Friday, April 30, 2010

Here Comes the Bride....

. . . . . . .well, actually not until August! This is my adorable niece, Ashlee and her fiance Adam.

Ashlee loved my Marcia DeCoster Terracita bracelet so much I told her I could make her one to wear on her wedding day. Instead of the browns and golds, I used crystal, pearl, silver, and white. Although it's not very photogenic (unlike Ashlee and Adam - teehee) here it is:

It is absolutely stunning in person! I made up an earring too - if she likes the style, I 'll make another, if not, I'll come up with something else!

Off to golf - whoo hoo - first time this year!!

Bead Happy and Often :)

P. S. My Beading for a Cure auction pieces will be sold off on Sunday, so if you want to put a little bling on your desk, get your bid in soon !! Link is at the top of my sidebar (as if you didn't know that by now). Thanks lots and lots!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuscarora Tuesday

Welcome to my very first edition of Tuscarora Tuesday!

I'll try not to bore you with too much text, but I think it is important to tell you a bit about the Tuscarora Nation. They are one of the 'Six Nations' of the Iroquois Confederacy and are located in Niagara County, New York.

During the War of 1812, the Tuscarora men assisted US General Peter B. Porter. They even went so far as to rescue him after his capture by the British. As it turned out, General Porter's family owned all the land adjacent to Niagara Falls, and as a gesture of gratitude, granted the Tuscarora women the exclusive right to sell their beadwork along the rapids of the Falls - forever.

Of course, all good things never last, and the US Government changed their minds and currently the only way a Tuscarora beader (be it man or woman) can sell their art along the Falls is by being lucky enough to obtain one of five permits, issued under a lottery system. Ah yes, bullies are everywhere, aren't they?

Anywho, let's get to the beads! There is so much to talk about, but I will just mention a few tid-bits each week.

The Tuscarora adorned their pieces with nature inspired motifs. I love this one because it has that sweet little owl. He looks a bit concerned to me-a little sad, almost.
The center of the flower features a very popular technique. They call this a 'birds nest.' Perfect description, don't you think?
Clear glass beads are the most prominent in their work. I understand this may be because of the popularity of lace during the same time period, and these pieces were made to be a sort of 'beader's lace.'

The beads appear to be size 11, with the only other shape being those tube beads, which in upcoming Tuesdays, you will see how often they show up in their art.

If you have any questions, please ask and I'll do my best to find the answer for you.

Bead Happy and Often!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Just a quickie

Just wanted to let everyone know my friend Debbie at Craftymoose Crafts is giving away the most adorable french beaded butterfly. Fly on over to her blog by May 9 to enter ......

Sunday, April 25, 2010

6th Photo Game

While catching up on my blog roll, Lisa at A Bead a Day mentioned this fun game where you post the 6th picture you shared on your blog and then critique it and talk about what you've learned since then.

Here's my 6th pic, posted on September 24, 2008:

My first thought was the hateful glare from using the flash. I guess the lesson I have learned most would be to wait until the natural light in my studio is bright enough to eliminate using a flash. Other than that, its a good picture in that it represents the chaos that ensues as I bead. Although I must admit, I should have taken my nasty-looking leather thimble out of the shot!

I would love to see your 6th picture - so if you feel like playing along, let me know!

Bead Happy and Often!

Oh, I wanted to remind everyone the next batch of auctions are open for the Beading For a Cure benefit. My desk set is now available along with some other fabulous items-click the link at the top of my side bar to go to the auctions -- thanks for checking it out!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I seem to be becoming a button glutton

I have always loved buttons. Even as a young girl I remember sewing a ton of buttons on a t-shirt because I thought it would be really cool. It wasn't. The buttons were too heavy and it made the shirt all weird and stretched out.

This is a really cool piece that hangs in the Rochester Children's Museum. It was made around 1940. I wonder how many buttons it's made of?

I recently got these button from Marquina over in her etsy store, Destash Party. They look a bit like fancy feathers to me.
Aren't they great?

And then my husband and I went prowling through a local antique co-op this morning and I came across these lovelies:
The thistle ones are actually metal.
Ihave no plans for any of them, but just like to admire them for now.

Speaking of admiring things, I was out in my yard today just soaking up all the spring newborns in my gardens.

Baby Ferns unfurling are just magical.

Forget-me-nots are super sweet. I wonder why some have a yellow center and some have white?

Look at this beetle that popped into the picture. Cheeky little guy. I think he (she?) is called a sargent beetle. I've seen them around, but never in my yard.

Then he climbed over to the hyacinths. Won't be too much longer before those are done blooming.
The primrose are still vibrant, but looking a tad tattered. They've been in bloom for a few weeks now. This particular one was a shower favor I got probably 7 or 8 years ago. It blooms beautifully every year.

I love the dark purple star in the middle of this flower. Can't remember the name of this one, its a vine ground cover kind of thing I got from my mom's garden. It grows amid the sweet woodruff that's just beginning to sprout buds.
The lily-of-the-valley are beginning to join the party - I love to stuff a tiny vase with these and place it on my desk - how something so tiny can smell so heavenly is beyond me!
Ah yes, and the ever-present wildflower -- the dandelion! I have to admit I like dandelions. I don't understand why so many people think they are a weed. Look at that bloom! It's adorable - and how can you beat the puff ball it turns into?? Too fun!

Last, but certainly far from least, the bleeding heart.
~sigh~ I love spring.
Bead Happy and Often!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Just What I needed ....... times 2

Just What I Needed - Part I

I could never begin to tell you how much all your advice, support, concern and prayers have helped me find a bit of peace again in my soul. I know there is a lot wrong with our society and that sometimes sucks me down into a very sad and dark place, but through all of you I have begun again to focus on the good in life. I can't thank you enough for that. I will continue to investigate what can be done to prevent (and punish) the bullying and harassment that is prevelant in our schools. But for right now, I need to re-group, take a deep breath and separate some of the high emotion that I am feeling, so I can approach the issue in a logical, professional way.

Just What I Needed - Part II

I get this email on Wednesday from my local historical society letting me know of a lecture being held (somewhat impromtu) on Thursday at 2 p.m. The topic? Tuscarora Raised Beadwork! What? Really? I was dancing in my chair - as many of you probably know, nothing sets my heart beating faster than beads! Especially Tuscarora bead art!!

The speaker was Grant Jonathan, a member of the Tuscarora Nation Bear Clan who is on a mission to preserve these cultural treasures and educate the public on his ancestors' role in the creation and sale of these extraordinary works of art. Adding to my delight, was seeing Rosemary Rickard Hill - the bead artist from whom I have taken many many lessons! Come to find out, they are cousins, and this was the man she always talked about in our classes who would get her the most wonderful velvets from NYC for us. What a treat!
Here is Grant and Rosie (sporting a hat made by Grant)

Well, needless to say I took a million pictures and learned a lot - so rather than cramming everything into one post, I came up with "Tuscarora Tuesday." Each Tuesday I will post about Tuscarora Beadwork and we can all drool over them together!

But until then, here's a little sample:
There were 3 or 4 (can't remember) tables just loaded with vintage 'souvenir art' most of which were made by the Tuscarora Nation (some they think were made by the Mohawk, which I'll explain why at a later post) and sold along the edge of Niagara Falls in the mid 1800s up through the 1950s or so. I literally had to pull myself away to leave, I could have studied each individual piece for hours. They fascinate me.

I hope your day is filled with beauty and laughter and love - take care of each other!

Bead Happy and Often!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

An Open Letter To Judge Watson

Honorable Justice:

Thank you for extending the orders of protection on behalf of my daughter for a full year.

How naive of me to think that I would get the opportunity to provide you with the reason the girls were in your courtroom in the first place. To have you watch the savage behavior and vicious attack on my daughter in full view of the two top security officials in the school. To show you the slanderous, hateful, disgusting things these girls posted about her on their Facebook pages, not to mention their flippant attitude about being suspended and having to appear in court. To have you speak with Hannah and hear from her how school is nothing more than a living hell for her and the countless times she went to the school administration and told them what was happening and they did nothing.

Why did I ever think this would be the start of a new attitude toward bullying? That the District Attorney would actually give me the time to explain the harrassment that led up to the attack and would have the heart to make the effort to persuade the court to treat this as more than, as he told me "than a traffic violation" which is basically how the court sees this type of charge? Have you any idea what that felt like to be told that the emotional hell our family has been put through at the hands of these punks is viewed in the same light as that as say, someone speeding? But his hands are tied, so he tells me. Extended orders of protection are the best I can hope for.

So the court's message to these defendants: "stay away from Hannah" Plain and simple. No 'punishment', no court mandated counseling, or community service. Nothing. So what is the lesson they have learned here? That they can continue in their bullying and harrassment of someone else, anyone - as long as it's not Hannah. I only hope the next victim, and I am sure there will be one, is as strong as Hannah. The cycle will continue, of that I am certain.

Lynn Batt

Out of my element

Pre-trial conference in less than an hour. I will be begging the District Attorney to do whatever he can to convince the Judge not to dismiss the disorderly conduct charges. I pray they are both good men and I have the ability to convince them without sounding like a lunatic over-emotional mother.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A few new toys

My co-worker and friend Heather came across an old cigar box filled with all sorts of buttons which she gifted over to me. :)

Most of them were your typical run-of-the-mill plastic, but a few gems were hidden amongst the everyday:
I really love that long toggle button - its actually got a metallic sheen to it. Really neat! There are a few old leather shoe buttons that I love and that tiny oval glass button is really fun too. And those flat backed black hexagons and the faceted rectangle have lots of potential too! Such history, I wish they could talk. Well, not really - that would be just plain weird...

At the end of March, the Gem and Fossil Show came to town. A dizzying selection of beads, fossils, crystals - ah! it was heaven. But in the end I only came home with these:
I think my head just couldn't absorb anything - it was right after the "Hannah Incident" and I was still numb from that.
Wondrousstrange had these cool raku pieces available in her etsy store:

When I ordered them, I had a collar piece in mind - something I've been wanting to do forever. (I don't know why I have such a fascination with those gigantic over-the-top bib-type collar pieces, I would never actually wear it. ) But now that I have them, I don't know if that's where they'll end up or not. Until I get my niece's wedding jewelry made, the mother-of-the-bride earrings done for my sister and the Haute Couture beading challenge done, I'm not even going to start pawing through my stash to find more components to match. Well, at least that's the plan, anyway!
Bead Happy and Often :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Here is my 'donation' for next year's Beading for a Cure auction.

A sweet little evening bag, just big enough for the essentials.I really like it, but it is impossible to photograph, and of course, this year participants have to take their own pictures to submit. Figures I make something that just doesn't photograph well. I do have a light tent and will (eventually) set it up and spend some time getting some good shots, but right now, that's just beyond me. Luckily I have until August!

If you look closely, you will see that the stars are just slightly different. I reversed the colors of the beads. The star on the left has gold around the center pearl and the tips are gold. The star to the right has a purple center and purple tips.Since I didn't really have a full game plan set when I started, I wasn't exactly sure what kind of strap I was going to use or how to attach it.

Luckily the stars aligned (sorry, I couldn't resist) and it all came together without a hitch.

I found these super-strong magnets at the craft store, so I used them under the lining for the closure. So no fumbling with a snap, just press the flap down and it stays closed. I love that.

Don't forget this year's auctions are still in full swing. Please take a moment to pop over to see if anything catches your eye - and bid high for a good cause. The link is right at the top of my sidebar!

A huge and heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone for their concern and prayers for Hannah. You are all wonderful women and your friendship means the world to me!

Friday, April 16, 2010

I'll Try to Keep this Light

My life has been turned inside out and upside down since March 24.

To make a very long story as short as possible, I will just explain enough to say that Hannah (my 15 year old) was attacked at school by 3 girls. Not jumped in some secluded area, but in full view of the on-staff police officer and the school resource officer (a man who could easily moonlight as a bar bouncer) right in front of the main office of the school. The school resource officer jumped in and took the hit intended for Hannah and was given a bloody lip. Yeah. Scary. Unbelievable these girls - no respect for authority, let alone fellow students.

Luckily the school surveillance camera caught the entire incident. The offenders have been charged with disorderly conduct and I have been to court to fight for orders of protection, which were granted.

The school principal, on the other hand, doesn't seem to think this incident is something he needs to be bothered with. Just another fight, one of many throughout the school day. Although I have presented him with a mountain of evidence that this is the result of months of bullying and harrassment by these girls, he continued to blame Hannah. Regardless of the fact that Hannah had been down 3 times to the office that week alone trying to get help, it is easier for him to take the stand that she must have deserved it somehow and now it's over. Not.

I don't use the word "hate" in speaking of other people very often. But, I will say I hate this man. I won't go into detail just because it is a very ugly story, but in keeping with my 'look on the bright side' attitude, I have to sing the praises of Michelle Bradley, the Assistant Superintendent, and Terry Ann Carbone, our Superindent of the school district.

Mrs. Bradley and I became acquainted with each other when she was a teacher at the elementary school my daughters attended. I was there a lot volunteering and, although Mrs. Bradley wasn't a teacher to any of my girls, we just hit it off. She eventually became the principal of the school and is now the Assistant Superintendent. I hadn't spoken to her in years, our paths just never crossed anymore, other than at some district school functions and it was simply a warm "hello how are you" kind of conversation. I continued to admire her and was always happy to see her.

A few months ago she contacted me because she had heard I was having difficulty with one of Hannah's teachers (another ugly story - some teachers just shouldn't be teachers) and at that time she told me if there was anything she could ever do for me, to let her know. I was so touched that she would get involved in such a minor incident (and don't even know how she found out) and I was again reminded of how much I like Mrs. Bradley. She is truly a Good Woman.

Well, after running into a dead end in trying to get the school to address the bullying and harrassment of Hannah, I was at my wit's end. In desperation, I called Mrs. Bradley to see what, if anything, the school district should be doing about the attack. She immediately got the Superintendent involved. Mrs. Carbone is one tough woman, let me tell you. She forced the principal to meet with Pete and I that very day to discuss the problem. I wish I had a tape of that meeting. She was wonderful! To see and hear her put this ignorant bastard in his place was so encouraging. Through her, Hannah has now been assigned a sort of "bodyguard" to escort her (discreetly) to her classes until Hannah feels safe. And if she never feels safe, the school would provide an at-home tutor. Anytime Hannah feels threatened she should come to the main office and seek his help.

This battle is far from over. Just last Friday, 3 different girls threatened Hannah and were getting ready to fight (taking out earrings and putting up their hair). She sought refuge in a classroom of a caring teacher until they passed and then went to the office to report the incident. The principal's response? To accuse her of being the problem and sent her home for the day! Let me again mention that I hate this man.

Needless to say, I am a nervous wreck when she leaves for school. I am now taking a prescription tranquilizer. I worry every second of the day she is there. I am sick to think that her memories of high school will be nothing she will want to remember. The school is completely useless in addressing the bullying problem. It's too big. The administration is too overwhelmed. Hannah wants to go to school and I put on my brave face and send her. She's stronger than me. I want to move, send her somewhere else, but from what I hear, that's not the answer - bullies are everywhere.

So what does any of this have to do with beading? Well, as a thank you to Mrs. Bradley and Mrs. Carbone, I made them post-it-note holders for their desk!

When I went with my mom to the stamp store a few weeks back, I picked up this tube of papery-fabric flowers. They are such fun to work with!

Here is the inside fabric for Mrs. Bradley's.
And the back:I used the same velvet, but made my favorite motif on Mrs. Carbone's. I added a hint of purple to match the fabric liner.

Today I'm going to the school (again). This time to meet with all of Hannah's teachers to set up a game plan to help her refocus on school work. Wish me luck. I will try to "Keep Calm and Carry On"

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I Feel Special!

One of the blogs I stumbled upon during the One World One Heart event was Li's My Thoughts My Voice.
Li was offering up an adorable crocheted kokeshi doll and I wanted to be the winner so badly. But I wasn't. :(

I contacted Li and asked her if I could buy one. She told me absolutely not - she would make me one - just because I asked! How special is that?!?

Well, she arrived safely at my doorstep all the way from the Philippines and she brought with her a handful of wishing stars.

How sweet is she? I just can't stop looking at her! Every tiny stitch is perfect. Look at that flower in her hair - what a perfect little detail! And speaking of her hair - it is perfectly straight. Amazing. Li is a super-talented woman!! Not to mention a huge sweetheart :)

Now, back to those wishing stars my little wee one brought with her....
Li tells me it was a magical night and these stars just came tumbling in so she caught some in her jar and is sharing them with me. Really? How fun is that! They are light as air and definitely hold magic, I can tell.
I was so drawn to this little kokeshi because I have 2 dolls that were given to me when I was young and they watch over me as I bead, perched upon a china cabinet-turned beading cabinet. The tall girl is from Vietnam and was given to me by my uncle in 1969 for my 5th birthday. The wooden kokeshi was a gift from my dad who was in Seoul, South Korea, on business in 1976. I always wanted a third doll to join them, since I'm 1 of 3 sisters and I have 3 daughters, it just seemed like I should have 3 dolls. They needed a little sister to join them and Li's wee one was a perfect choice.

But I can't bear to see her so far away from me, so she gets special treatment and will sit right on my beading table surrounded by her magical wishing stars.

Li - thank you from the bottom of my heart! I will treasure her always!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

As I was completing my next year's Beading For a Cure project, I was in a bit of a panic, because I still hadn't used the 6 mm bicone crystals. Rules are that you have to use at least 1 of every bead in the kit.

My friend Cynthia (who doesn't blog, but should, because she is an incredible beader -- are you listening Cynthia??!), sent me a YouTube link with Sherry Serafini demonstrating a cuff bracelet. Well, you know how this internet think works, right? One thing leads to another, to another, to another......and before I knew it, I had stumbled across a video showing how to make a beaded bead. A beaded bead out of bicone crystals! Perfect

Just what I needed for the tassel. At first I strung the seed beads right up to the beaded bicone bead (ooh, another tongue twister like the spring bling ring, lol), but it didn't look right. So I just added another bicone to the top half of the fringe and one before I started the bottom fringe, and it looked much better.

I've got the whole thing constructed and edged.
And just have the handle to finish and attach. I say 'just' like it's a 5 minute project-but we beaders know really what 'just' means - hours more to go......

Today, being the Saturday before Easter (what we always called Holy Saturday in my days of being a practicing Roman Catholic), we are off to our annual girls' day of breakfast, a trip to the Botanical Gardens

(2 of many many pictures taken last year)

and a visit to Our Lady of Victory Basilica.

An architectural masterpiece, no matter what your religious background.
Happy Easter! and hug your loved ones tight!