Sunday, August 30, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful


This past week has been an odd one.
By this I mean I have been experiencing some highs and lows, some good things and bad things. Most of these things have come from external sources, doctor.
Some things have amused me and and some things have made me cry, whether in frustration or fear.

So far this has been a week of work on a variety of fronts, and a week where I was forced to experience, accept and own my feelings and reactions.

I have held off even trying to be thankful for this week until now because I was allowing myself some time to gain perspective on a lot of flying crap. I finally got a bead on what was good about this week just in time to write a post for Ten Things of Thankful. After all, if you can't think of ten things to be thankful for, then...something something something <--add your own finishing words. You understand what I mean.

1) I am thankful for social media. That is right, I am thankful for it! I am not going to bash it this week!
I have found consolation in social media in small doses. For example, I am grateful people liked my fairly blurry photo of this spider.

2) I researched the Native American spirit animal, Spider, and got some kick ass insight into how cool spiders are.
There is a wonderful quality spiders possess which makes the joy everyone gets out of the children's book, Charlotte'sWeb ,

that much more understandable. E.B. White was onto something there!
Lovely book.

3) I am thankful that the film "Legally Blonde" was on last night and I could watch part of it as I was doing stuff. I have always loved "Legally Blonde". I have one son who went to law school. When he was applying, I advised him, in all seriousness, to watch "Legally Blonde" and to study what makes an application to law school successful, I was particularly compelled to persuade him to do this because of Elle Woods' video she made for Harvard Law School. This (and her LSATS ) clinched her acceptance, remember?

I don't know if he did ever watch it, but I thought it was my duty as his mother to help him get the ball rolling on a really compelling application. Now I would like to take credit for his entire, amazing and phenomenal career as an attorney ever since. He is a terrific lawyer.

4) Speaking of him, I am thankful of all my kids. I have only ever gotten complete joy from being their mother. Thank you, kids

5) I am thankful for Tofu, breaded and then baked in Marinara sauce. Don't knock it until you have tried it.

6) I am thankful for synchronicity. I know it is OK to say that within this group as we have discussed it before. I do believe in it. I have had some great consolation from  synchronicity this week. It included seeing The Lawrence Welk show (yes they still replay it and it is still cringeworthy, but my Dad adored it. He would call me at 5 PM every Saturday and cheerfully announce to me that it was on. He would try to get me to watch it and never gave up. Thanks Dad, I have my own terrible taste in music ), SpongeBob, Yale University, and a bunch of other stuff. All of which is meaningful to me. All of it rolling neatly into place, perhaps to remind me I am not alone here in the Universe.

&) I am thankful I still am not perfect. This ampersand just proved it once again, as if I needed more proof.

"Lucky number ampersand".

*) sh**t!  OK, thankful! thanks !!!

)9  .

10) I am thankful for sleep when the day is over. I am thankful for the new day and interesting new developments on the accuweather front when the new day dawns.

I had no idea if I would be able to do this or not this week. Once again, I find that is really worth doing as it encourages me to see the positive. Try it.
Here are your hosts for this honest and uplifting blog hop:

is your aim true?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

BEADBLOGGERS Round up and a photo by Jean Baldridge Yates of a custom Blythe doll

RoXXanne is a Blythe completely customized by my dear friend, the talented artist Moon Rouge. 
She is one of the rare customizers who doesn't just do over a doll. Rather, she looks at the doll first and lets the year the doll was made and the style of the Blythe mold speak to her sensibilities before she adds her own changes. This makes each doll she customized that much more beautiful. Thank you Moon Rouge for all your great work!--photo by jean baldridge yates

Beading Arts
Cyndi has rounded up some of her favorite tutorials from the blogosphere this summer, and most are pretty easy and quick!

Art Bead Scene
Check out Mary's review of the new book 'Handcrafted Metal Findings' - it looks awesome!

Connie Gee's Designs
Connie has added a new free pattern to her site. It is the first in a series of vase-themed patterns inspired by motifs from vintage samplers.

Snap Out of It, Jean! There's Beading to Be Done!
Jean reviews the spectacular new book, Fine Art Wire Weaving by Sarah Thompson -- what a great design book!

Lost Earring Cleverly Replaced
Eileen lost one of the earrings the very first time she wore this pretty set. Don't you just hate when that happens?

Video Book Review
The Crafty Princess takes a look at a new book called "Super Cute Crochet for Little Feet."

How to Sew a Pillow
This easy pillow tutorial uses scrap fabric (from an old receiving blanket) to make a perfect pillow for a little kid's rest time.

Christian Art Greeting Cards
Cherie introduces some new greeting cards she's made with her artwork.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
For August, the Inspired by Reading Book Club read, "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern. See what the participants were inspired to create with this fantastical book in mind!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A review of FINE ART WIRE WEAVING, Weaving Techniques for stunning jewelry designs, by Sarah Thompson

Weaving Techniques for stunning jewelry designs

by Sarah Thompson

a review by Jean Baldridge Yates

Dive Into the Exhilarating Technique of Wire Weaving!

FINE ART WIRE WEAVING, Weaving Techniques for stunning jewelry designs, by Sarah Thompson, is a breathtakingly beautiful introduction to the art of wire weaving.
The book isn't just about the beauty of this jewelry however, although it has that in spades. It also delivers a solid, concise learning base for the reader. 
 You can see just from the cover photo alone how amazing fine art wire weaving is, when taught by author Sarah Thompson. Her step-by-step instructions are clear and understandable. The photos of the projects are totally gorgeous.  
You will be seeing rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. Some are fashioned from wire alone. Some have gems, pearls or crystals as a part of the design, front and center or as accents. Many of the projects have really fine variations. You get your money's worth when you purchase  FINE ART WIRE WEAVING!
 There is a holistic sensibility to these woven wire designs,  They are classic in form yet have gorgeous leaps of freedom and wildness. Sarah Thompson balances artful tension and control, backed up by her dynamite originality .  FINE ART WIRE WEAVING  is very  complete, containing not only the projects, but lists of materials,tools, ways to fix mistakes (I love her for that!) and other great additions such as instructions with photos on how to make your own findings for your jewelry. There is also a resource section.

The projects range from beginner to intermediate to advanced, so don't be afraid of this style of making jewelry. You will be able to make your own chic jewelry right away. 

There is nothing which isn't exceptional about  FINE ART WIRE WEAVING. I was immediately engaged by it.  Every detail is carefully thought out and explained. The author has translated her own experience and love of creating this style of jewelry into a treasure chest of inspiration for the reader.

For example, in the earliest section of projects, for beginners, I found the "Embrace" adjustable ring. As the author says, "This ring is beautiful on its own, but when combined with a splash of balled wire ends and an hint of a swirl, you get a wonderful, yet simple, adjustable ring."   This is an understatement--I was blown away by the smashing artistry of her design! It is a knockout. Even better, as with her other designs, there is no sense that anything is forced. It is so great to see such intact design work, with no unnecessary extras clogging it up. All of the designs flow perfectly.    

When you reach the intermediate section, take a look at the Petal bracelet.

This is an instant classic if I ever saw one. Made up of really cool components linked together, it will stop traffic whenever you wear it. Her variation, a pair of earrings made from the same components but with sexy fringe added, are divine! 

Speaking of earrings, check out the "Scorpio" earrings while you are at it. If you are like me, you are going to fall flat when you see these. I have never seen earrings so unique and incredible. Learning to make these earrings alone is worth the price of the book. This is great work from an outstanding teacher.

Finally, to give you an idea of what you will find in the advanced section, take a look at the "Kayla" pendant.

Employing different sizes of crystals, chain and a graceful symmetrical focal, it has a hand made clasp component to complete the elegance. Wear this one to meet the Queen!
Or just hang out at home in it. It is perfect, either way.

If you are intrigued by the look of woven wire (whether plain or set with gems and pearls) but don't know where to start, this will be a great work book to teach and inspire you. Perhaps you don't believe you have the skills to weave wire but would love to try it. With  FINE ART WIRE WEAVING, you will access the confidence to learn, as well the understanding to make your own woven wire jewelry. Sarah Thompson shares her knowledge with great generosity and flair.
She wholeheartedly hands over the "How To" key to fine art woven wire. 

Classic chic, hip and fun,  Fine Art Wire Weaving  has it all going on!  Sarah Thompson is a wire wonder worker!
Her book will entrance you, coax your creativity into full gear, and help you understand how to grow as a jewelry designer at every turn, twist, and swirl.

Interweave/F+W; $24.99

disclaimer: This book was given to me in exchange for my honest, unbiased review. Thank you, jean

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful

Ten Things of Thankful
Hi! I learned a lot this week, so I wanted to discuss learning and why I am thankful for it.

I am thankful that the things around me make me curious. I love to research things so the Internet is a great assistance to my curiosity, whether I want to learn about famous people, nature, colors, films, or whatever has interested me that day.

so here are some things I learned and thought about and learned and did this week

1) I learned I cannot figure out everything in one sitting sometimes. I know I KNEW this but it was really obvious to me this week. Movies help me a lot when I need to learn stuff about human nature.
I saw Whiplash this week, and Crazy Heart.
I made a lot of snap judgements from a pompous high place about these films, their musical scores, and the plots. Then I went back and thought about what I had learned. If I had any original conclusions about these movies, it is because they were worth thinking about, for me, I learned I just might not be the greatest movie critic in the world, with instant insight and trenchant observations, even if it is really important to me and I secretly sometimes think I am a good movie critic.
Whiplash trailer
here is the trailer from Crazy Heart

Ask me if I loved one of these films and hated the other. Yes, I loved one and hated the other and totally learned stuff from both of them, including more about music. I didn't know I had such strong feelings in new ways about jazz and about country western music. I even loved the music from one and hated the other, and it was the opposite of how I feel about jazz and county, normally.
I am shocked at how strong my feelings are concerning these two movies.

2) I am thankful that I am learning to live FREE (hello, not for free; just free). I cannot be thankful enough for this. This is the best thing which has ever happened to me.

3) fill in your own stuff, here and I will be thankful

4) I am thankful that I had time this week. That was a gift I really happy to have. I cooked stuff (chickpeas fried in olive oil, and tofu marinara) and photographed stuff (bracelets, magazines and shea butter).

5) I am thankful this week that I had an extra (small amount) couple of bucks and bought something superfluous when let loose in the drugstore. I also saw my former skin doctor in the drugstore (he is retired) and kidded around with him for a while. He has a great tan. Interesting for a skin doctor to have a tan, I think. What do you think?

6) I am thankful I got a kickass printer for free because I review for Amazon:
the Epsom Workforce  ET-4500 Wireless All-in-One Printer with Scanner, Copier & Fax.
Nice work, Epsom.

7) I am thankful for my family, as always.

8) I am thankful I can participate in this cool blog hop!

9) I am thankful for Spotify, where I can once again collect all of my favorite music in one place, which I have been unable to do since the unfortunate demise of my beloved Napster.

10) I am thankful for Modern Family.

your hosts:
a LoopDeDoo friendship bracelet I made this morning. I am learning to do this just this week

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Who remembers copper bracelets worn for health benefits? I do, and they are back--and with magnets added

it is magnet therapy!

Review of the Lifestyle Plus Magnet Therapy Bracelet
review by Jean

written for

5.0 out of 5 stars Very pretty design in an easy to wear magnetic therapy bracelet in brushed copper!

I am a jewelry designer who loves aesthetically pleasing adornments. This bracelet by Lifestyle Plus has a really nice, striking presence and a good weight to it.
I like the way it looks on my wrist. I also noticed that one of the members of my family was admiring it as well. So it is not just for women! It could be considered a good choice for men too, which is great if you have a guy who wears jewelry you need a gift for.
My grandmother wore a copper bracelet on each wrist to help ease the pain of the arthritis in her hands. She had plenty of gold and silver bracelets, however she believed in the power of copper metal to combat her arthritis. There was no such thing as magnet therapy back when she wore her bracelets. However, I have just now read up on it, as well as brushing up on the merits of wearing copper.
Here's the thing: wear your Lifestyle Plus bracelet, and believe it will work as a therapeutic device for your pain if you want to. There is no proof, according to what I read, that these kinds of bracelets are harmful in any way. They may work by providing hope, according to studies I read.
What do we need hope for?
Just everything in life: hope makes things better.
If you have an allergy to nickel, like the reviewer who got a rash from the magnets in the bracelet, don't wear it, Good to know.

The Magnetic Therapy Bracelet is not expensive and is a good value. It is said to be bendy (malleable) but my experience has been that it is very strong. I like the smoothness of it and I like the way it looks.

If you are a person who is curious about nature, and loves to read about the special powers of different kinds of stones which come from the earth (like rose quartz, amethyst and diamonds) why not consider being more open minded about the metals which come from the earth? Maybe they do have some sort of abilities to heal or make us feel better, when formed into bracelets as lovely as these ... and worn with hope.
I like my Lifestyle Plus Magnetic Therapy Bracelet very much. The company did a great job presently and designing this cuff style look.
It is comfortable, goes with any outfit and is a really cool addition to anyone's style. I have a small-average wrist and it fits me loosely (I can slide it on) but does not fall off. I have arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome and I plan to wear it and show it off proudly!

Monday, August 17, 2015

A review by Jean Baldrige Yates of DRAGON OF THE STARS by Alex J. Cavanaugh


by Alex J. Cavanaugh

DRAGON OF THE STARS is unique, intriguing, and action packed.
The main character, Aden, is a young but ardently dedicated military warrior.
As the book begins, he soon finds himself going on the attack. He and his ship are the last hope to save his homeland, Hyrath, and her people. In order to do this, Aden must locate the Dragon, a ship which is a powerful weapon even if long lost. Then he must find a way to get the Dragon in fighting shape. Aden is in a deadly situation and rapidly becomes the main hope of his people.

The venture is an urgent one, with Lt. Commander Aden and his band racing to find the Dragon.
Who is going to assist Aden the most on this mission? Will he succeed in this vital race to save his homeland?

Get caught up in the tale and find out!

The twists and turns of Aden's adventure are fascinating.

There is a memorable and touching romance between Aden and crew member Tamsin. It brings a sweet humanity to the story. It is as critical to the plot as the breathtaking fighting scenes.

The bold vividness which threads through this well written tale will  keep you on the edge of your seat... and the surprising ending will especially move you.

DRAGON OF THE STARS is a thrilling space fantasy from start to finish.  Highly recommended.

review by Jean Baldridge Yates

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful

Ten Things of Thankful

I. jean, am back, having never thought that I could seriously feel thankful for anything again, ever.
If you had a list called Ten Things to Complain about I would have sniffed at that too, because I was too busy almost dying to be bothered. However, I am not dead and have no plans to shuffle off this mortal coil any time soon. Maybe in 35 years or so, I am 63--you do the math. I am going to be like one of those old Russian peasants who mystify everyone by living to be really, really, old.They smoke, they drink tons, and they carouse around until they are 126 years old and had their interview on how they got to live so long, which invariably involves tobacco and yogurt. Let's dooo that thing! Let's live that long! Without the tobacco and yogurt.

But I digress.

Getting back to the subject at hand, thanks to all the great creators of this hop. I love you all. You got me out of my desultory clam shell to write again.
Here goes the link to some lovely people, spearheaded by the originator,
Considerer Lizzi Rogers the Lovely,on her blog Summat to Think On ,
as well as all the gang:
A Fly on our (Chicken Coop) Wall, Amycake and the Dude, Considerings, Finding Ninee, Getting Literal, I Want Backsies, The Meaning of Me, Thankful Me, Uncharted, The Wakefield Doctrine

Hop on over and check them out!
Here is my Thankful list.
1) Incredibly thankful I am once again single and no longer have the shackles of a crappy marriage dragging me down. The pretense of that was dopey.

2) I am thankful for my kids and my family.

3) Obviously, I am thankful I am not dead.

4) I am thankful for Bruce Willis
here is a very up to date depiction of Bruce Willis. Maybe. Why watch anything else on HBO when Bruce is on, I ask you. I have seen all the Die Hards eighty bazillion million times

5) I am thankful for pretty weddings if they are not my own
This came from a blog I found called The Frosted Petticoat
I don't drink but this be looking banging

6) I am thankful for my leetle friend asterisk* who usually appears as thankful #8 but I remembered early

7) I am thankful for films where whole teams of guys triumph over adversity.
What is your favorite one?

*) I am thankful for the bemusement I feel when I check out FB and nothing has happened in the entire year I eschewed it. What is it good for?

9) I am thankful for my hat (picture below)
which is from the wonderful folks at The Wakefield Doctrine
--well, Clark. Thanks Clark. I love it and when I am not using it as part of my decor,
I wear it. I like wearing it at the Scotts Corner Market 
in town, where people see me and because of my hat ask me where the
guacamole is, and the scotch tape. Very cool! Thank you so much!!!

10) I am thankful for Paraiba Tourmalines, like this one below

dog by jean from a photo

Friday, September 19, 2014

Review: Unexpected Findings, Fifty plus clever jewelry designs featuring everyday components by Michelle Mach

Unexpected Findings
featuring everyday components
by Michelle Mach
There is a lot of fun and inspiration to be had when you open and learn from Unexpected Findings by Michelle Mach.

Ms. Mach creates great projects which include super pretty and inventive findings,  intriguing "stars of the show", which are great fun to try out.
Additionally. the author has chosen great contributors to pack some added punch to Unexpected Findings. These contributors are designers Lorelei Eurto, Erin Siegal, Jamie Hogsett, Denise Yesbak Moore, Erin Praiz-Hintz, Andrew Thornton, Molly Shaller, Erin Strother, Barb Switzer, and Cindy Wimmer.

Along with the author, these are some of the most beloved designers working in the jewelry field today. It is a treat to have them all together with Ms. Mach.

The focus is truly original. The reader is presented with a terrific way to learn a new jewelry style. The author shares her knowledge concerning how to make all sorts of jewelry components from the findings you might have in your jewelry collection. There are fifty projects to linger over and enjoy as you learn. You not only get earrings to try, you get necklaces and bracelets as well, all showcasing findings in a most delightful way.Unexpected Findings is a wonderful book filled with great jewelry designs!

The beginning of the book introduces the reader to the many kinds of findings which will be used. After that is a look at how to jazz up those findings. This section really gets right to the point, including adding patina, hole punching, painting and more. It is a great introduction to the direction that Unexpected Findings will be heading.
There is a very complete list of other findings and tools before the projects begin.
The idea of using findings as a way of making jewelry is a lot of fun.
The projects are very pretty and quite fascinating. Michelle Mach has done a fine job designing using findings.
There are many styles of jewelry presented, all of which are lovely.
"Tuesday Night Book Club" by Michelle herself, is a wonderful and charming  leather cord and pendant necklace. Once the reader sees how it is made and understands the techniques used, it is a very fun and easy project, and one you will want to make.
"Vertebrand" is a great bracelet by Barb Switzer.
If you love Swarovki Elements crystals, check this one out. The findings used are spacer bars which, along with the crystals, have a lot of impact.
Dalle de Verre, by once again by Ms. Mach, is a really gorgeous seed bead and ball chain connector necklace anyone would want to make. Give it a try! It has variation suggestions also, which many of the projects offer.
Another good thing about Unexpected Findings is that the cost of the materials does not seem to be prohibitive. I, and I am sure many other designers, appreciate that!

To sum up, Unexpected Findings is a new way of  looking at jewelry design, one which is very welcome and cool.
I think that many of the projects are perfectly beautiful, such as Molly Shaller's Tidal Treasures, a delicate aquatic necklace which uses a toggle clasp as a connector.
Michelle Mach's bracelet called Gypsy Girl, which cleverly uses snap clasps, is a total thrill. It has pretty colors of teals and magenta, and lots of jangle.

It is hard to know where to stop when admiring this excellent book, Unexpected Findings,
It is such a original concept, which is presented so well.
I totally recommend Unexpected Findings. It is a very appealing, fun, and clever book!

Unexpected Findings
By Michelle Mach
Interweave/F+W; $22.99

Saturday, September 13, 2014


The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew does a recap of his recent trip out to Philadelphia for BeadFest.
Did someone say Sparkle? Lisa's come up with a new mantra: sparkle, sparkle, sparkle! Join her as she obsesses over shamballa beads.