ArtoftheWeek, Blog, jewelry

JusJoJan – Living the Life We Love

What a world we are living in right now. It is stressful and offers us every opportunity to fall apart or curl up in a little ball and hide away. But we all know that is no way to live. How we live our life is a choice.

There were times in my life when I felt trapped. Looking back now, I realize I was paralyzed by fear. I always had the power to live differently, but I let fear guide my way. Just like Dorothy, I had the power all along.

Gif courtesy of Giphy.com

I did a writing exercise yesterday that asked “What color is your fear?” Through the writing, I discovered the color I used to describe my fear was also the color I used to describe my dreams. How could that be?

Life is full of infinite possibility. As I look around at the bloggers I follow, I am amazed at how many of you are living your dreams. That does not mean that there are not daily challenges. Even in the midst of challenges, there is always possibility.

When I attended the Seasons of Surrender retreat last fall, I had every excuse in the book ready to respond to the “why” I am not living my dreams. Those women helped me push those roadblocks aside and take action. I have taken so many positive steps. Moving forward is exhilarating.

Yesterday I spent some time photographing some of my jewelry to put on my Facebook page. Not to try and sell, but simply to be seen. I will at some point put an online store up, but that is not the important step right now.

I have learned to say yes when opportunity knocks at my door. Now that I have opened myself to possibility, my 2020 calendar is filling up with things I am excited to do!

This will be the first post for my Art of the Week page on my blog. I plan to add a new creative post to this page at least once per week.


This post is also written for Just Jot it January, hosted by the lovely and generous Linda Hill.

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Blog, jewelry

Pop Beads

As early as I remember, we had pop beads. My grandmother had them and they looked like pearls. She often wore them to church and had several strands of different pale pastel colors.

The great thing about pop beads was that you could make the strand as long or as short as you wanted by snapping the individual beads together. You could even fashion a bracelet from them as long as your wrist was not too small.

Each bead had a stem that popped into a hole on another bead. They were a fashion statement in the 50’s and 60’s.

Pop beads were made of plastic, resin or lucite and their translucent look made them look like pearls. They were actually well made and would last a long time unless owned by a child. You see, for a child, the constant popping and un-popping the beads was irresistible. Especially in the middle of church service. If you were skilled, you could ease the beads apart quietly by slightly bending them which, in time, would weaken the connection. If they were new, they made a lovely “popping” noise when pulled apart.

I bought a strand of vintage pop beads off eBay for my sister before she passed away. Even with so many girls in the family, none of our pop beads survived.

Now they are sold as children’s toys and come in a variety of bold or neon colors. That would never be suitable for a fashionable lady of my era.

I could not find a photo I felt I could use here, but I will keep looking.

Did you own pop beads?

art, Blog, jewelry, Lapidary, music

My Relationship with Art

Image Courtesy of Pixabay (altered)

Day 359

Throughout my life I have dabbled in all types of art. When I was in first grade, I was home sick one day lying on the couch watching “Topper” on TV. A commercial came on for a poster contest. I chose a topic — Know Your Policeman. I sketched a stick figure scene of a child shaking a policeman’s hand in front of a jail. All on notebook paper. I am not sure if my grandfather mailed it for me or just how it got into the mail, but my parents did not know. Long story short, my parents received a letter stating I had won second prize in an FBI poster contest and it was signed by J. Edgar Hoover. I got to go to Asheville to be on TV and was interviewed and had my picture in the local paper. I won a doll, but I was secretly so envious of the older kids who received cameras. This was my introduction to the art world.

In second grade, I realized I could draw differently from the other kids. We had to draw a picture of our home and I remember drawing our stove and made it three dimensional. I can remember kids asking me how I did that and I wasn’t sure what they meant.

I took art classes in school anytime they were offered. Those classes were magical to me and the place where I always felt the most like myself.

My sister and I took ceramic classes from a woman who had a small studio in Alaska. We glazed poured ceramic pieces and she fired them in her kiln. We became good friends with her and eventually helped her poor ceramics in exchange for free classes. It was a great time in my relationship with my sister. One I will never forget.

While in Alaska I took oil painting classes from a woman who painted gold pans to sell to tourists. She was very talented and so much fun to be around. She made enough money selling gold pans that she bought a house and an airplane and paid cash for both. It was not a formal class, but it was at a time when I needed some creative time away from a very chaotic home life.

When I lived in Maine, I took drawing classes from a woman who had a beautiful studio with amazing natural light. She was an accomplished portrait artist and I managed to hone my portrait skills under her tutelage. My children were in junior high and still young enough that I could coax them to sit for me. I wish I had kept all those sketches of my children at that age, but they disappeared somewhere along the way.

I also bought my first 35mm camera while living in Maine. A Pentax K1000. It was inexpensive and all that I could afford. I found a local photographer that helped me learn about black and white photography. He rented me his darkroom for $5 an hour. It was there I learned how to process black and white film and print photos on graded paper. He also gave me my first lesson in handcoloring photographs.

I took piano classes twice in my life — once in Alaska from an amazing concert pianist and once in Maine from a leather-wearing, motorcycle-riding young concert pianist. That was the first and only time I ever got to play a Steinway baby grand piano. I never became an accomplished piano player, but I enjoyed this time very much.

After moving to Florida, I took classes continuously. Stained glass for a while, then photography, life drawing, mosaics, portraiture, painting and eventually my first foray into jewelry-making. It was then my daughter and soon to be daughter-in-law asked me to make their engagement rings — a post for another day.

I taught art to at-risk teen moms for five years. It was a hard job, but the most satisfying job I think I ever had. Art and teaching and children all together was a dream come true.

Once in North Carolina, I took my first lapidary classes — another dream I held for a long time. I have also taken more jewelry classes and love making jewelry so much. I found a wonderful teacher in Molly Sharp and have learned so much from her. Now if I could just get hubby to build me a small studio.

For me, art has been a major factor in my life. Making art to sell was never my motivation. Creating is what I enjoy. It’s the ability to get totally lost in something that feeds my soul.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” 
Thomas Merton

Blog, jewelry

Happy Friday

Day 306

I have slowly stated to recover from my vertigo. I still feel a little on the edge, however it a huge improvement since earlier in the week.

Today was the final day of my workshop. I was much more capable and steady so it was much easier to enjoy the experience. Yesterday I was just not in my best frame of mind.

I still had hubby drop me off at class because I was still not feeling confident enough to drive. There was a little shuffling of space before class this morning which gave me a larger space in which to work.

The workshop was taught by Mary Karg who has an amazing process for applying color pencils to copper. We also worked making cold connections using riveting.

Today we were able to choose a project we wanted to work on. I decided to try and create a pendant by drawing a rough sketch of a giraffe. It was the kind of work I love to do. Slow, methodical work to lose myself in.

So, all-in-all, a very good day. I made some new friends and made some connections to the local writing community as well. Both things I love very much.

Hopefully tomorrow I will still be feeling well so I can get my house back in order. Hubby has done a great job doing all the chores and carting me around. It’s nice and I am thankful, but I am ready to get my life back on track.

How are things in your world? Hopefully not topsy turvy like mine.

Blog, jewelry

Sawing, Filing, Drilling and Soldering

Day 292

The start of my day was a little rough. I was unable to fall asleep until after 2:00 a.m. and had to get up at 6:30 a.m. My stomach was feeling a bit queasy. Not the way you want to start a two day class. I managed to get up and have some coffee and an egg scrambled with cheese. It tasted so good, but my stomach was not impressed.

After I showered, I had a little time to rest before I packed my lunch and gathered my tools. Then I was off on my thirty minute drive which gave me a few minutes to gather myself.

The first day of class went really well. It was a full day. We made three pieces of the five that will go on the necklace. I had a few stumbles, but overall I was happy with the way my pieces turned out.

We had a quick video chat with our granddaughter. We sent her a couple of stuffed toy birds and she was so delighted with them. They have recordings of the actual bird songs inside which make them more fun for a toddler. She was her normal jovial self and we were glad to get some kisses and some ‘I Love You’s‘ from her amidst her rather busy life.

Now I am relaxed with a glass of wine while hubby is grilling some chicken and asparagus. He’s so good to me.

I think I will be hitting the sack early to make up for my lack of sleep last night.

Enjoy your weekend everyone. I cannot believe tomorrow is Saturday. The week flew by!