Friday, December 31, 2010


Checked the mail today and there was a letter from the Anchorage Museum of Art. I got all nervous with the anticipation and fear of rejection.  But it was just a form letter saying they haven't decided yet. We were suppose to know who was chosen for the solo show by the end of December but they moved the decision up to the end of January. Reminded me of how much I really would like to get this. I shouldn't get my hopes up, there are so many talented artist out there, but it's hard not to. Oh well, one more month and I can put it behind me or dive in depending on how it all plays out. So, hope you are all feeling great about 2011. I'm sure it will be a good year!

Friday, December 24, 2010


Crazy the cat, sleeps soundly on heated tiles by the wood stove.
Robert naps on the couch.
The white rabbits are plentiful, leaving tracks where ever they go.
Happy full coyotes pause in the pull-off, showing off their lush coats,

and the moose have an easy winter with only 5 inches of snow...
Peace on earth, good will to all, Merry, Merry, Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Winter is long and dark but this being Solstice, tomorrow we'll start gaining daylight again. The weather's been bitter cold lately, the inlet has turned to slush and the waves look like they are in slow motion, a strange sight to see. It was fun watching the eclipse last night. I was surprised at how many hours it took for the shadow to cover the moon and then uncover it. The good news is, besides the eclipse, this time of year there are no distraction. So, I've started filling orders. The bread and butter of the beadwork business, not always my favorite subject matter or color scheme but thank goodness for people who want to buy beaded bags! The piece I'm working on is roses, flowers, and butterflies. Yes it's been done, but I try to put a lot of creativity and spice into every piece. Also, finished my little hand piece for the breast cancer quilt. Getting things done, I love it, soon the new year will be here and I''ll have a little cleaner slate to start with. So, instead of lamenting the lack of sun and missing summer on this, the shortest day of the year, I count my blessings. I'm so glad to have orders to fill and time to sit at the bead table...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


So much is going on! I wanted to get a few pieces sent to the Santa Fe gallery for the holiday so I've been working over time to get things done and in the mail. You have to give them at least two weeks to try and sell the stuff, Christmas is usually a good time for moving the beadwork wares... Also trying to get everything sent to friends and family who happen to be all over the country. And I'm baking, baking, and foolishly eating every moose leg, bear head and coyote tail that breaks off of the sugar cookies that deliciously melt in your mouth. Anyway, tomorrow everything goes in the mail so I can take it down a notch and stop eating cookies!

Monday, November 29, 2010


view from the bead table today
Feeling inspired by my new blog colors I decided to post a piece that matches the gorgeous blues. This Raven and the Moon fits. I like doing skies like this, where you mix the colors to achieve light blue to dark blue, and the half circle is a fun direction to lay the beads. This beadwork also fits my mood. Winter has come. The moon has been huge lately, illuminating the light dusting of fresh snow. The clear weather brings the cold and it's crisp and beautiful!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Here's the finished piece of beadwork. As you can see I did add the little rice bowl and its shadow.  There are actually several things in this piece that I've never done before. I wanted to design a challenge for myself. The light patch on the corner of the table is suppose to be from a light in the room. The refection in the mirror.  The shadow of the clear vase not being solid. Also, making the curtain out of all satin beads in 3 different colors,( doesn't it look like curtain material?) and the silhouette of the bird in her nest behind the curtain. All new things! I'm pretty happy with it. So I lazy stitched it onto the leather that will be the front of the bag and now it has to be made into a purse.

Robert hard at it...
Use to be that I did it all, but after we bought the leather sewing machine my husband took over the leather work. He is very good at it and it frees me up to be creative with the beadwork! I can't tell you how much I appreciate this, not only do I not have to sweat the meticulous leather sewing, but he also does the linings and his amazing work has stepped up the quality of the finished product. Thank you Robert!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Just got back from mailing the repaired Raven Bag and running tons of errands.We're about 30 miles out of town so you want to check lots of things off your list when you go to Homer. The sun is setting and it's clear so I'm getting excited to go shooting star gazing. Tonite is the beginning of the Leonid's meteor shower! Have to bundle up (it's about 20 degrees here) but the sky is jet black with about a half moon so it should be spectacular. I'm going to try and take some pictures, I would love to be able to capture some inspiration for the beadwork. Have done lots of night skies, but none with shooting stars! I would like to do a piece with a crystal drop,(like the one in this piece) hanging in a window that shows some constellations and the shooting stars outside. I was happy with this crystal drop but think the piece was too busy to show it off very well. I have a petty clear vision of this future beadwork but tonites meteors should add the final element.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


                                               Happy Veterans Day!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


This is a story of a well meaning nature lover who was trying to rescue a hurt bee. Unfortunately while transferring the injured insect (who was resting on her raven bag ) she tripped and fell into a rock wall. The bee didn't make it and the raven bag took a bad blow. So the bag is back on the table being remade. You wouldn't think that I would have to take the whole thing apart but I do. You have to undo the lazy stitch to get to the back of the beadwork. Today I carefully undid all portions of the beadwork that were broken, backing out lots of threads to make them long enough to tie knots. Tomorrow I will rebuild the birds wings. Not to bad, right?                                                                        The problem is you can not do the lazy stitch on a purse that is assembled, you can't, I've tried. ( not to mention the lining.) It has to be on a flat piece of leather. So the whole purse has to be remade. This happens sometimes. The owner has request a beaded bee be sewn into the lining which I think is a wonderful idea. A memorial. It all goes toward the idea that these bags are meaningful heirlooms but also they are to be used everyday and then, if need bee, (lol) repaired...

Sunday, October 31, 2010


                                               HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


 Here's the progress on the still life piece. It's coming along, I added the chair in the foreground and the silhouette  behind the curtain, (haven't beaded that yet, wanted to make sure you can tell what it is) Let me know if you can make it out. Thought putting something behind the curtain would add to the transparency effect. Still undecided on the table cloth color, probably going with pale blue but will consider any suggestions. I like the mirror. Should there be one more thing on the table or would that be over kill? Anyhow, as you can see there is fresh snow on the mountains this morning, looking very chilly out there on the inlet. No snow on the ground yet though. It's coming...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


 Love, Love, Love my new boots! Don't they remind you of beadwork? In Alaska everybody has rubber boots, they are a must. About a year ago these colorful with great patterns boots started showing up in the stores. What a treat, why do they have to be black and brown anyway? BOGGS!  Like beadwork on the feet only waterproof, and warm too...

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Sent this out on Thursday, an order for a fellow beader and wonderful lady. It's intimidating to do beadwork for a beader, I hope it's just what she is wanting. Didn't want to spoil the opening of the box but she asked for a picture, are you peeking Jeanette? Check out her work, maybe you already know her, she organizes the bead quilt for breast cancer every year, a fun and worthwhile thing to participate in...

Jeanette Shanigan Check out my beadwork books and bead kits!
Bead-It-Forward Breast Cancer Projects:

Monday, October 11, 2010


The application for the solo show has been sent in! Yea, that's done. They let people know at the end of December, so I can move on and think about other things. Wanted to challenge myself so I'm trying to do things I consider difficult, like sheer curtains, clear glass, reflective surfaces. I drew this still life up and started on it but I can see it's missing something. I could go simple and put another small item on the table. Maybe a pair of glasses?  But I'm thinking of adding a hand up close, another major challenge for me. Hands are hard! Maybe then some nail polish on the table???  Any suggestions? Added some how-to stuff on this piece since I'm just beginning and you can see the process. I like using a hoop but know lots of beaders who don't. The thread is Nymo, size B and size 0. The beads are size 16 to size 11. I mix them around, using the small ones where I need detail.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


 Dragonfly and Roses  $650.00
9 inches by 9 inches
Dragonflies and Flower  $650.00
9 inches by 9 inches

 Northern Lights and Car    $650.00
9 inches by 9 inches

 Raven and Lotus  $2600.00
10 1/2 inches by 9 1/2 inches

 Rooms   $2900.00   3inches deep, !0 1/2 inches by 9 1/2 inches



 Butterfly Bag $700.00                                          11 inches by 9 inches

3 Ravens Bag    $750.00
9 inches by 9 inches

The gallery is closed for the season. I had a customer contact me to see what stock is for sale, so I'm posting them here.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


 I'm trying to design a great piece of beadwork of moose. All summer we had this family in the yard. Got to watch the twins romp, explore, play and grow. I really fell in love with these little guys, who, are not so little any more! So, feeling inspired I've put my creative juices to trying to do them justice, don't quite have it worked out yet but when I get the idea down I will be happy to start beading. I don't think people say enough about the design, start with a boring one, (even if you are a great beadworker) and the piece will be lacking. So take your time and get it the way you want. The beadwork will always take 20 times longer than your design process!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


A quick word about the next step in the process of getting the individual show. 20 pictures. Got to represent!! So, what I'm realizing is that I have so many bad, bad pictures. Beaders are not photographers. But, as artist, we have to market ourselves, so we better learn. Here is an example of a blurry picture of a wonderful piece.  I got distracted by the lilies. Alas that ship has sailed.  I mean being able to use this as an example of my beadwork.  Take good pictures!!!!  You never know when you are going to need them.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


So back to the solo show application. The museum wants a no longer than 250 words artists statement explaining what your proposal is, basically, what your show  will be. Here's a rough draft.

 Just returning from a financially successful show in Santa Fe I feel invigorated, full of creativity and ready to take on an idea that’s been percolating for a few years. Dip netting for red salmon on the Kasilof River is a way of life for residence of the Kenai Peninsula. While my husband stands in the icy water and hauls out the winter supply of fish, I observe, take photos and sketch. My plan for a solo show is to do a series of pieces about this subject. Each piece will be beadwork, starting with three large wall pockets as the focal point of the display.  Many different size bags will serve as the main body of the show. The subject matter will range from life size salmon in the nets to seagulls congregating over dead fish head, families, tents, campfires, full coolers, 4 wheelers, fishing boats, fillet knives, waves, sunsets and sand. I want to capture the sometimes chaos and sometimes peaceful scene of dip netting with my own storytelling ability and a touch of magic thrown in.
As a working artist I agree with Franklin D. Roosevelt who said that “ Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”  The effort it will take to complete this show will be monumental, but the happiness I would feel at being able to create a masterpiece depicting this uniquely Alaskan experience would be immeasurable. Please know that if I am chosen for the solo show, I will give it my all!

 Okay, what do you think? Please send me any constructive criticism  you have, I really would love some input. 
p.s. Here's a shot of me 20 years ago pedaling my wares on the streets of Anchorage. Maybe I can get inside this time!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


InIn the yard this afternoon and I heard the guttural rattle of the sandhill cranes. Looked up to see a huge group, long necks stretched towards the southern destination where they will winter.  Alas, they are leaving... I'm am so not ready for the end of summer but the sandhill cranes flying south is a sure sign that it's happening whether I like it or not Better bring the geraniums in, the frost is surely next.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Happy Labor Day! The official end of summer, seems like it was just the beginning. Wow that went by fast. So, everyone who said they wanted a book in the book give away (ending last night) contact me with  your address at  because you all get one!!! Thanks for your interest, I'll get those in the mail as soon as I get all your addresses.
Now, on to my next venture, with much trepidation,  I have decided to tackle applying for a solo show at The Anchorage Museum of History and Art. Lots of hoops to jump through, I have until Oct. 31st. So I'll be keeping you posted and be asking for opinions and advice with this mind bending adventure...

Monday, August 30, 2010


Hello all! Today I'm posting a book give away, (THE BLUE BEAD). I'll leave it up until Sunday and then I will mail the book out first thing Monday morning. All you have to do is let me know that you would like to have it and write your name and address so I can find you. I'll do a random drawing, names in the hat type of thing. Also, I wanted to mention this new blog about writing and reading children's books in the north. Where ravens roam and writers dream.  Ann Dixon, author and librarian, has taken on the task of informing us about whats hot and happening out there for readers who enjoy stories from the north. Check it out!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I'm back from Santa Fe, exhausted but happy. When ever I do a show, I always joke ( not really) that there will be either elation or depression, well, ELATION is the winner. After all the months and months of preparation there was a big payoff at the end. The gallery opening was pack with patrons who loved the work and were willing to pay for it! Fantastic feeling and I got to share it with my sister Maggie and my niece Annie, who took these wonderful pictures. It was the girls on the loose amongst the teeming hoards of art buyer who came to town for Indian market. Santa Fe is crazzzzzy! Came home with orders, so in a couple of days I will be back to the bead table, but for now I'm taking a break and playing in the sun. Yes it finally came out. How lucky are we!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I love the southwest. If I wasn't a die- hard Alaskan I would live in the desert with the lizards and the cactus.  There is something about the  brilliant sunsets and the evening skies that  feel magical to me.  This piece with the dactura flowers and dragonflies is meant to convey the feeling of a warm mysterious night.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I've always loved poppies. The gorgeous  summer fields of the common orange poppy and the huge and spectacular Arctic blue poppy that everyone grows around in the summer. But this year I tried the red oriental poppies. Started the seeds early in the green house, babied them along until the weather was warm enough to plant them in the ground. Then it just rained and rained on them, so I thought that no way was I going to get blooms. But low and behold, first the intriguing buds, then walla, beautiful red delights. I love using red and black in my  beadwork as a color scheme so these beauties  were definitely an inspiration. Yea, Happy gardening and happy beading...

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Well, I really never wanted to talk about the weather in this blog, but the frustrating summer we are having is working my last nerve! It's raining right now, and has been raining all month. We set a record for rainfall. When you live in Alaska you find that  during the long winter months you dream about the sunny summer to come, it's a really a downer when the sun doesn't show up... So, I put up my still life jacket, it kind of fits my mood. Floating sunglasses that don't need use, the butterfly that is hiding inside, and in general an abstract feeling. Through the looking glass and hopefully out the other side to a sunny day...

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Yea, the finished wolf piece! Long hours, very tired eyes and sore wrist. I think it's my favorite bag for the Santa Fe show. Seems like something that will be well received down there, as a artist who makes a living selling beadwork you always have to balance what you think will sell and beading your hearts desire. It's always so wonderful when the two can meet. Sometimes what you want to bead is something that you can make money with, at least I hope so. Starting to get that nervous feeling that I always get before hand. I'm not really good at the openings, I really dislike having to promote myself and chat up the customers who may or may not be interested. Ahhh, Wish me luck....

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Getting very close to finishing the wolf piece I've been working on  and pulling my hair out over. A couple more days and I'll post the done deal. Thank goodness, I'm really happy with it.  This got me to thinking about all the wolves and coyotes I've done in the past. In the beginning of my bead career I didn't struggle with how to make the fur look right, it was more about just learning the technique. Many long hours of trying to get the beads to lay flat. (The best tip on that is don't crowd the beads. So tempting to try and fill in every space, don't try.) 37 years later and things have changed... Here are some pictures of my early work, I like this coyote vest and my young hands but I'm glad I've moved past the basics.