Merry Christmas to all – and to all Safe Travels

I hope that this finds everyone of you happy, healthy, and with loved ones in this holiday season. This morning I realized that for the first time in 22 years, Todd and will be childless on Christmas Eve . . . . Tyler is working all day and Sara is working in the evening while Todd and I travel to Iowa without them. They will be joining us tomorrow tho – so all is well.

And to all a Good Night!


Bead Soup Blog Hop 2014

The important link first: 2014 Bead Soup Blog Hop. If you want to see some really cool beadie stuff – go there and click around.

For those of you who aren’t “beaders” the gist behind Bead Soup is for people to exchange a bunch of beads/findings and making something with it. I believe Lori Anderson started it with the odds and ends that were left on her table after projects. Then started trading with friends and now it has grown to an international, fueled by facebook, annual event. This is my second time around.

My partner this year is Mallory Hoffman of For the Love of Beads. Please visit her blog and see what she did with some Twisted Chicken Beads! I knew we would connect when I saw her pink sparklie shoes!

So – from here I received:


picture 1

then I added a little from Annette Fisher’s stash:


picture 2


and then worked during open bead night at Free to Bead in Peoria, IL and made:


final picutre

I had sent the following to Mallory:

bead soup




8th Bead Soup Blog Party

Yes . . . I signed up again . . . I love the idea of trading beads!  LOVE the idea . . . but the details of getting the stuff on the computer drives me absolutely CRAZY.  So, I think I have the badge on my side bar (only 30 minutes!).  I have the beads photographed (yeah, well, we won’t talk about how long that took!), and the box sealed up (yup, had to reopen the fancy packaging cause I forgot the clasp!). 

But I am thrilled to make a new friend — meet Mallory Hoffman of For the Love of Beads.  Now for those of you who really know me, know that it was fate for her and I to be paired up!  Just Friday I talked to Michelle at Mr. Vinnie’s (she’s been doing my hair for YEARS!) about bright red hair to cover up the gray.  And did you see the pink shoes?  LOVE them!  From the pictures on her blog I can hardly wait to receive the soup mix she has sent me.  And I really hope she likes what I’ve chosen for her.  Here’s the picture, a little messed with, of what I sent her.  Once she has received it I will put a real picture on here so you all can see it.


And as this is the catch up post, here’s what’s been going on:

Last Saturday, Annette and I traveled to Fort Madison to visit Linda Ross at The Artisan’s Next Door.  We had a great time – old friends and new friends . . . and Chloe!  

The bead ladies (Merrell, Annette, and I) are not signing up for as many art shows this year.  Last year didn’t go too well so I am focusing my energy on more online sales and getting into some galleries.  Check out the twisted chicken square market (you know, when I get some stuff loaded . . . right now it’s just CSA)!

It’s been a LONG, COLD winter and we are all looking forward to spring and a lovely summer.  An update on the full-time job — still LOVE it!  Its a great place to work.  The only down side is that the patients there are so very sick, but everyone (staff and patients) are so very nice and care for each other.  It’s very inspiring.

So — here’s to a year with more blogging and more glass beads! 

Alas, Gardening Season is Over

So, its been a busy year — not that I blogged, but busy none the less.

I got a full-time job . . . in July!  That didn’t bode too well for the garden . . . horribly, actually.  After much soul searching, I cut the CSA season short.  I just couldn’t keep up.  It was painful — mostly for me, I think!  Everyone else seemed to take it with some amount of grace.

I also had booked a whole bunch of art shows . . . which also led to the shortening of the season.  I would like to report that we did well . . . but we didn’t.  Anywhere – but, Canton, IL.  That first time show ROCKED!  So that part of my life is also being re-evaluated.

I did not order new chicks this year.  It’s time to take a break from the twice a day going to the barn and worrying about the wild life and the weather and all that stuff.  There are on going discussions about tearing the barn down and building my own workshop.  But tonight that may have also been shelved.

I did submit some photos to a book . . . 1,000 beads – which will be out in April, 2014.  Everyone I know will be very sick of seeing me carrying around my copy!  I looked at Lampwork Etc (a forum that I belong to but rarely look at these days) and I can tell you that there are some really cool lampwork beads that are included in that book.  I am humbled to be included.

The family went to San Francisco for five days.  That was an adventure . . . . I would love to go back again someday.

I joined the electronic age — am typing on my brand new iPad Air with blue tooth keyboard.  I would hope that I can now take some pictures and get them posted to the blog more often!


So, stay tuned to see what’s next in the adventures of Twisted Chicken Beads, Etc.  

Saturday, March 30 — Bead Soup Blog Hop Reveal

Here’s the day!  When all the really cool pieces of art work are revealed to the world.  I was really lucky to be paired with Dana James — who, by the way, was recently published in Step by Step Wire Jewelry (her gallery photo link).  And I was the recipient of one of those really cool pendants.  Here are the pictures of what I sent Dana (taken by Dana ’cause I was so excited I put them in the mail before taking the picture.)

Twisted Chicken Color Set

Twisted Chicken Color Set

earth tone set

earth tone set

I sent two sets cause I could!  The bright color one is one of my favorite set of beads/colors to work with — lampwork, whimsey, and happiness!  After looking at Dana’s website I decided to send a second set of earth tone beads that were left over (truly a soup rather than selected just for her).  Visit her website here!  Be sure to visit her blog to see what she made with these beads!

So — I received the following from her:

Stones and Crystals

Stones, Crystal, and Chain

handmade clasp

handmade clasp

and the Pendant!

and the Pendant!

There were also some great silks — three colors!  The finished design only included one of the silks but I have some new beads that are just begging to be put with those silks.  Last night Todd helped me with the new camera and I may actually start posting pictures.

Now for the confession:  I have help with my design work and color choices from Merrell Hickey.  She manages to include colors that I would have never put together but the finished product is ALWAYS fabulous and I love it.  This one in particular is just grand.  From earlier posts you know that We had major room changes over winter break.  My “craft” room has been moved to the basement.  While the kids have their bed rooms put all back together my craft stuff is still kind of all over the house because I want to go through it before I put it in the “craft room.”  So, as I have been going through things I have found unloved beads . . . and I had a stash to give to Merrell.  In that were some lampwork beads that I made a really, really, really long time ago — petrolium green and red . . . well, in Merrell’s words, they “play well with these beads over here” and wow — did they ever.  There are also some more current beads (like the half bicone on either side of the pendant and where the chain attaches to the strung piece).

Pendant up close

Pendant up close

The up close photo shows Dana’s great pendant and we added some parts that were in the soup and some of my lampwork beads dangling off the bottom.

Indoor photo

Indoor photo

my favorite photo

my favorite photo

My favorite photo was taken on a really old, outdoor picnic table (see the snow in the left hand corner?) just as the sun was going down.  And I did manage to get some help from Houdini the one-eyed cat . . .

Houdini Helping with the Photos

Houdini Helping with the Photos

And so ends my adventure with the Bead Soup Blog hop.  I hope everyone enjoys the pictures and be sure to check out the others who are participating.  You can find a list of all the blogs here!  Though I’m pretty sure that no one has such a handsome helper as Houdini!

and here is the link to Dana’s post.  She did a great job on turning a lampwork bead into one of her cool pendants.  And the bright colors pop on the bracelet!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I got the news yesterday — I did not get into the Marion Fine Arts Festival this year . . . . I’m kinda bummed but am going to keep applying to some other art fairs . . . . trying to break out of my geographic region!  The flip side is that I am going to participate in two Art Sprees with the Illinois Artisans Program in Chicago — one in July and one in September.  I am very excited about that!

The class in Galesburg on Saturday (sorry, no pictures . . . .) went so well that Annette and I are going to go back on March 9 to teach a leather wrap bracelet class.  March 2 we will be in Fort Madison, IA, teaching the Viking knit to ladies there.  Be sure to come by and see us, even if you can’t come for class — just say hi!

Regarding my participation in the Bead Soup Blog Party:  I received my wonderful package from my exchange partner Dana James (find her blog here!).  Her packaging was much nicer than mine . . . and I was so excited to receive it that I didn’t get a picture taken!  (notice a theme about pictures?)  Do you remember that I was moving the “sewing room” over the holidays (all of my stuff out of the room, Sara’s stuff in, Tyler’s stuff into Sara’s old room and, in theory, my stuff into Tyler’s old room)?  I’ve been taking my time (that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it) to organize as I put things away . . . Getting rid of things I haven’t used and probably won’t use as I touch them.  I found some long ago made and much unloved lampwork beads that I was going to gift to my friend Merrell.  I was also asking her to help me design something with my Bead Soup.  You will all be amazed that the beads were perfect to match to the Soup mix I received.  Merrell took all of it to her workshop (do you see elves with little hammers?) and transformed it into a wonderful piece of jewelry.  And I do promise pictures —  but not until 03/30/13!  (teaser alert!)

In farming news — last week I managed not to burn down the barn!  I came home (Wednesday, I think), came in the house (as always), checked the mail changed my clothes . . . went to the barn.  Wondered what that odd smell was and figured that the neighbors were burning something.  Turned out my heat lamp had fallen, probably about the time I pulled into the garage and straw trapped under the metal was starting the smolder!  I haven’t had it plugged in since — I’m a little weirded out about how close that was . . . .

I have managed to sprout two flats of 72 cells of lettuce (each a different kind) and planted one flat of 48 of peppers. . . . that one hasn’t sprouted yet.  I’m thinking of bringing in a heat mat to give it a boost.  But since the heat lamp incident, I really want to be home the whole day to keep an eye on it.  Maybe Sunday . . .


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Just a quick one – cause I still need to do six months of bookkeeping stuff . . . today!  Like that is going to happen.

So – I’m participating in the Pretty Things – Bead Soup Blog Party and yesterday, after many stops and starts put my package in the mail to my partner, Dana James (  I’m hoping she likes it.  I can’t put any of the details here – just in case!  You can find a list of all the participating blog hop people at:  blog hop!  One night I’m going to sit in front of the tv and blog surf . . . .

It’s cold and rainy here.  Annette is coming over and we are going to complete the kits for our upcoming classes at Vintages Tasting Room, Galesburg, Saturday, February 16th and Artisans Next Door, Fort Madison, IA, Saturday, March 2.  I have shipped a bunch of earrings and two samples to Linda Ross at the Artisans Next Door — stop by and check them out.  We will also have the box of make and take and finished jewelry for those who don’t want to do the longer class.  Be sure to visit all your local shops!

Got to get started!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I’m busy procrastinating on my book work — stuck in April, 2012!  So, my web store hosting bill came (via e-mail — thanks to Tammy Finch at Web Services Inc).  So I sent her the new pictures I received from Tim Lester (applying for some art shows out of the area and wanted fresh pictures).  She instantly put them on my site (shameless plug).  I sent her a thank you and asked if there was a cheetah taped to her back . . . apparently she hasn’t seen that commercial (have no idea what it’s for . . . ) and almost spewed tea all over her computer.   In another time/day this would have taken much longer to transpire than the 10 minutes it took today!

I also threw myself into the Bead Soup Blog Party . . . and seem to have gotten the link on the right side of my screen . . . I tell ya – the things I have to learn!  And Lori Anderson, bless her soul, is the one that coordinates this huge blog party and keeps apologizing for not getting things done quickly.  Really, LOOK – a chicken, I don’t understand why she would feel that way — LOOK, a really pretty bead that I need to do something with RIGHT NOW.  I mean, I’m getting my book work done (see note above about April — have been stuck there for . . . LOOK — KNITTING!).  You get my drift.  Even planning coffee with someone can seem to be a huge deal these days.

And why is that — I’m pushing spring to come as soon as possible — I brought in some seed starting mix and planted about 20 little pots of spinach seeds . . . (see note about book work and April, again!).  They have begun to sprout and today started three more little pots of cilantro.  If you can imagine, the cilantro in the hoop house (yes, some nights have gotten down to zero finally) is not looking too bad for this time of year.  Apparently, tho we want it to be a warm weather herb (tomatoes anyone?) it is more of a cool weather lover.

So, now to procrastinate some more – I’m gonna go get something to eat and check out the pregame action on tv.  My darling daughter was born right in the middle of the Super Bowl 19 years ago . . . I was sad when the date was changed to February, though that year I understood.  She’s at college and I’m busy trying not to work!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Yes . . . I haven’t been very good about posting.  I so hate to turn on the computer after I’ve sent the day at the computer at work . . . and I enjoy what I’m doing at work, just don’t want home to feel like work.  And yesterday’s excuse was that I went to the eye doctor and had my eyes dilated . . . had a head ache and couldn’t see — so went out to melt some glass.  Actually, that turned out pretty well.  I’ve made some “head pins” – glass on the end of some steel wire.  The first couple I made a couple weeks ago were just drops on either end of about 3 inches of wire.  After about three it occurred to me that I could make them flat and add a second color so they looked more like my kinda work.  Yesterday I made some more and I’m going to see what kind of earrings they turn into.  Stay tuned.

Today Annette is coming over and we are going to put kits together for viking knit classes at Vintages in Galesburg and The Artisan’s Next Door in Fort Madison, IA.  Check out the facebook page for the official event notices.  We love traveling to see old friends and making new ones at the classes.  It’s something to do during the drab part of the year while we are all waiting for spring.

And I’m on the computer cause I signed up for another blog hop with Lori McDaniel Anderson . . . one of the official bead soup hops.  These look like fun and am excited to see what I receive and what the person I send my soup to does with it.  I’m guessing it will probably include some of the new head pins . . . what ya think?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Home today getting caught up on things!  I have added two new things to the online store and discovered that I can put a bigger picture with each item . . . except of course the one I can’t find the picture for!

If you aren’t following me on facebook you haven’t read that I have applied for the Marion Art Festival in May.  I will hear in February – so stay posted.  I’m very excited about it for a couple of reasons — it is out of my usual range of travel.  But — I use to live there and have some really good friends that I haven’t seen in a while who still live there . . . so it would be a great art fair and a great weekend!  What more could a gal ask for?!  I also has some jury quality photos taken of some of my new stuff . . . what do you think?



Bell Flower Earrings

Bell Flower Earrings







The earrings are $30 per pair — if you are interested contact me on facebook and you can let me know which pair you are interested in.

On the gardening side of my life . . . it’s still winter!  But yesterday I placed my seed order and I have a couple spots in the CSA still available (you must live in Peoria!)  Or through out the season I will have extra stuff that I would be happy to get to you . . .  I’m not planning on participating in Farmer’s Market tho I will probably stop by and see my friends.  The best part of market was the community — farmers and customers!  The new chickens have started laying and the second batch of 2012 chicks should start laying in March.  Contact me if you want to purchase eggs!

The big upheaval of the holidays was moving Sara into the sewing room (smaller bed room — she’s at college now, you know!) and Tyler into Sara’s old room and my crafts (let’s face it – I don’t sew!) into Tyler’s old room which is larger that what I had and downstairs.  The kid’s rooms are all put back together, but mine not so much . . . .So – today I’m going to work on that for a couple hours then bookwork for a couple hours then on to the pool to walk with another beader!

Life is good!