Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The commissioned beadwork Statement Necklace is finished - YAY!

Dazzling Statement Necklace  is finished - WOOT!
Ta da! Here it is, the Statement Necklace commissioned for Beverly Kaye. Oh I've discovered a world of joy in making pieces like this. I tried wearing it for a few minutes (I always test my pieces) and it sits well and isn't heavy. I worked hard on the necklace part so that it would be comfortable. Look at those colors! You could wear this with a number of different outfits, depending on whether you're feeling purple, black, silvery gray blue, or forest green....

The back of the cabochon
I glued the beautiful glass cabochon to Lacy's Stiff Stuff, which is excellent for beading, and after sewing the peyote stitched rows around the cab I covered the back with soft glove leather. Then added the fringe! I wanted this piece to be a bit asymmetrical, so made the fringe fluffy, but not predictable. There are some fun end pieces, such as the polka-dotted smooth oval bead and the glass teardrops. Also wanted to accent the shape of the piece itself so used several bicones in the fringe at strategic lengths.

Beaded toggle clasp
I discovered it would be good to have about four hands while beading the toggle clasp. I wanted the piece to be cohesive, no metal elements, so used flat peyote stitch on the toggle then zippered it up and added beads to the ends. It's fairly soft so goes through its loop nicely.
Toggle done up
The toggle clasp sits nicely and is quite secure and comfortable. Who knew the receiving loop would be the hardest part of the necklace? With nothing substantial to weave back into it presented some challenges, but I think I've got them covered.

Heck of a statement!

So I'm meeting Charlene so she can see and touch it, then will ship it out to her friend. Hope she enjoys wearing it as much as I did making it!

More to come and they'll go into my Dreamkeeper Creations Etsy shop and the Green Drake Gallery!



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

First commissioned piece of beadwork for Beverly Kaye via Charlene Binder - wow this is FUN!

Beautiful glass cabochon chose itself for Beverly Kaye!
So I had a commission before I even retired. One of my very favorite faculty course authors and instructors, Charlene Binder, sent me a note and said she has a friend who is going to be celebrating a milestone birthday between 50 and 100 (wow! the older I get the more I admire this). A very Happy Birthday to Beverly Kaye! I'm hoping she is quite proud of where she is, still so very active and influential, apologies for the semi-disclosure if she's still celebrating 29....

Charlene described this wonderful woman and sent me a few photos - I liked her immediately upon seeing them, she seems a cross between Coco Chanel and Auntie Mame - right up my alley to design for!

This particular commission is such solid confirmation from the Universe that making this move at this time (retiring from my wonderful university and going full-time into the art) is the right thing to do. Especially since Beverly Kaye is the author of a fabulous book that every manager should read called Love 'Em or Lose 'Em: Getting Good People to Stay. Of course I had to buy the book and read it, I like to know about the people I work for. Lots of great tips in there for keeping talented people.

So here's where I am now with the cab.

The pendant part of Beverly's necklace is shaping up nicely
This pendant will have a beaded bail (the part that attaches the necklace to the pendant) and a beaded toggle fastener, and it will most likely have a bit of fringe, cause you know me and fringe--I LOVE it!

I've already learned a lot with this project. It doesn't matter "where" you work, the Universe sends you challenges and it's all about how you meet them. With this project I spent several hours doing a stitch that I read about in a book written by another beader. I got pretty far but the cab was misbehaving and wanted to pop out of its setting. This beader didn't have the various rows stitched together, and recommended the wrong type of glue, so it was quite wobbly. Finally around 4 p.m., just before kitchen duty (dinner time) and after many hours of work, the cab POPPED out altogether and I just looked at it sort of blank faced, then had to laugh. I threw away the backing I'd been working on, very grateful that my tomorrows now belong to me so I could start over again the next day.

I closed the book and had a conversation with my own artist's muse and apologized for following someone else's directions. I think she forgave me since today, it took only 3 hours to do what it had taken 6 to try to bring about yesterday (epic fail). 

Today is GOOD!!!

I was reminded again to listen to the still, soft voice within, which was whispering to me the whole time I was "misworking" by following someone else's directions. Listen, listen. Our own small voice inside does not lead us astray. Great to get some tips, but if we listen first before applying, we may get much better results.

MUCH better stitching the second time!
Thank you to my muse, who is always invited to SHOUT when I forget to listen. 

I'll post more as we progress. This is one deadline that I am happy to meet - it's just me and my muse and we can take naps in-between and watch episodes of Miss Marple (two yesterday, what heaven, and a nap with the pups as well).

Dreamkeeper Creations is beginning to blossom, yaybers! Yes, I will do some of these for you!



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Little Goddess Necklace is about half done!

Little Goddess necklace with finished fringe
So now I've finished the Little Goddess clay face cabochon necklace's fringe. I love doing fringe - probably because I also love to play with it. When you hold her up, the accent beads line up very nicely making "V" patterns.

The necklace part is coming along
I decided that I wanted to peyote stitch the necklace part so have been working on this today. Have never done this before (peyote stitch with nothing under it) so it's very interesting. I threaded a piece of leather inside the peyote tube to give it some support while I'm working on it. Will probably leave the leather inside after it's finished to lend stability.

I will make a toggle and loop to connect the necklace, so it'll be all beads, with no metal fasteners. I like the cohesion of having the materials all the same. Have never done the toggle loop thing, so will need to learn about that too.

I figure it'll take another day or two to finish--takes about an hour to do an inch of peyote stitch tubing. I work with a piece of thread that's about a yard long, so it can be tricky. Also take some breaks to give my eyes and hands a rest. The plants got watered, breakfast dishes done (how nice that housework becomes a nice break), and there was time for a little porch sitting in a sunbeam.

Will post soon when she's done. Good work today - Roberta Flack accompanied me : ) It's so incredibly wonderful to know I can get up tomorrow morning (or stay up all night) to work on this some more! Yaybers!

I might enter her in a beading contest--will see....

Hope your day was just as wonderful!


Saturday, October 19, 2013

How To Retire Without Freaking Out

My new badge of distinction!
Retirement from a chapter in life that's lasted a long time is a bit of a yoyo. You go from having a very structured schedule to complete freedom. This takes some negotiating in order to create some balance.

I had planned to retire at some point after my kids all flew the nest and started to spread their wings three years ago. I wasn't sure quite when I'd retire, but eased myself into it by going to part-time for a few years in order to devote more time to the artwork I love to do.

Pretty soon I found I was burning my candle at both ends because I loved the artwork so much I was constantly working on various projects. It was difficult to leave my studio in the mornings, and I'd look wistfully over my shoulder on my way out the door to the office. Then when I came home after a full day at the office I'd work on some lovely project involving sparkling beads, color, line, form, great music, and satisfaction. 

When I finally decided to retire from the office work and devote myself to the artwork full-time the expanse of freedom confronting me was intimidating to say the least, so in order to create structure and a new sense of purpose I wrote myself a letter, this time as the boss (me) to the new employee (me). I love to read this letter because it reminds me of where the new freedoms are in contrast to the limitations of the other working lifestyle.

What's the purpose of this letter?

When you find yourself confronted with too many things you love to do and a backlog of projects that have been started but not yet finished, it helps to create a new structure around that, sort of carrying the best of the project management skills from the office to the new place of work, my studio--so I began at the beginning by welcoming myself onboard.

How do you write a letter like this?

  • Ask yourself what you'd like to hear from a new boss
  • What kind of culture and environment best suits your purpose?
  • What do you want this new boss to recognize about you as an employee?
  • What do you want from this new boss? (recognition, praise, opportunities for advancement, flexibility, creative freedom, encouragement, and support)
Here's what I came up with, and I'm pretty thrilled about signing on--

The Letter

Dearest Jen,

Welcome aboard! We’ve been very eager to embrace you as a full-time member of Dreamkeeper Creations! Thank you for deciding to join us, we anticipate wonderful things to come.

We’re thrilled that you’ve decided to join us in the business of bringing beauty into the world and feeding souls through Dreamkeeper Creations, our joint venture composed of the mix of mind, body, spirit, and soul and the sharing of our results for the benefit of all.

Our mission is to shine a light that will illuminate pathways that others can take to sustain themselves, and to offer support and encouragement where needed to help others reach their potentials. We understand that you have a solid base of experience and we’re excited to be able to facilitate your use of the talents you’ve developed, including your artistic creativity, as well as your business acumen. We’re also here to lend energy to your endeavors, and support in a number of additional ways.

We appreciate the dedication with which you’ve devoted yourself to your endeavors throughout your lifetime up to this point, and we applaud the creativity, the relationship building, and the sharing of all you’ve learned with those who can benefit from it, including family, students, faculty, co-workers, and the larger communities of those in your fields of expertise.

We appreciate the unflagging devotion to doing your best, being your best, and providing quality resources to help others reach their best potential, including love, support, encouragement, information, technical facilitation, and product enhancement through the application of creativity, instructional design, and innovation.

We know from your track record that you’re great at applying yourself, and we’d like to support this. Please feel free to spend as much time learning as you want to, by watching videos, taking courses, soaking up the resources that are widely available on the Internet, attending workshops, conferences, and trade shows, and take all the time you like to practice and perfect your skill sets.

We pledge to provide you with all the resources you need, including fresh air whenever you want it, sunshine as the climate provides, surroundings that provide the right atmosphere for your creativity, including quiet, stimulation, exposure to others in your field, sleep, meditation, and relaxation when and where you feel would be the most supportive of your continued application of your talents and skills. We also encourage you to take whatever time you need to reflect and savor your accomplishments.

A few words of advice – please feel free to exercise whenever you feel you’d like to get out and about, as well as take in a change of scenery. Don’t forget to check in by meditating whenever you feel you’d like some guidance or inspiration, we’re here for you all the time. Sleep when you need to, work and play when you need to. We’re all about balance, which we feel is great for bringing you to your best potential. And please feel free to play whatever music or television entertainment you like for background inspiration.

Drink lots of good pure water, tea, and if you feel like it at times, wine in celebration.  Take whatever time you like to prepare your food – make a salad, fry an egg, or go out to the cafĂ© to partake of nourishment. Spend time with those who encourage and love you whenever you like, including your fur peeps.

About compensation – the sky’s the limit! What comes around goes around – do your best and you’ll be rewarded with the best of the best in all forms (time well spent, kindred friendships, happy customers, and the wherewithal that sustains you and feeds your soul as well as those whose lives you touch through giving).  

We appreciate all that you’ve done in support of your endeavors and look forward to your application of all of your talents and skills in your position with Dreamkeeper Creations. We’re so thrilled for each moment we get to spend in pursuit of our common goals.


Warm regards,

DKC Team

* * *

Who wouldn't want to sign on?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How to Create Relationship with Your Self To Become Strong and Stay That Way

As an artist, sometimes I write and sometimes I paint. This time, I'm writing to share thoughts and good things....

This painting is called "Circle of Life" and is by Frank Howell. It is a limited edition serigraph. Copies are available at

The idea of recognizing the stages of our lives as women is not new, and there is a wealth of information available to us about this, such as Linda Savage’s Ph.D. work on Reclaiming Goddess Sexuality (though this is not a post about sexuality per se except that when we feel alive, really alive, and not threatened, healthy sexuality flourishes as a natural result).

The Forks in our Lives

I started to acknowledge the stages of my growth when confronted with a fork in my life that was simultaneously devastating and completely invigorating (divorce, dreams shattered, children in jeopardy, all personal pathways interrupted, new directions). At that time, I felt as though I was surrounded by a darkness so huge, I felt lost and totally helpless. The image I described in my journal was of being suspended in space, with no floor, no ceiling, no walls, just vast, dark space surrounding me. This feeling was highly anxiety producing to say the least.

What I didn’t understand at the time was that all creation is born of the void, or the darkness, and in reality, I was in a safer, if intimidating, place. A place of birth.

Support Systems

In order to find strength where I didn’t have any support systems, I turned to Middle Woman--the older version of myself, who would survive these times and circumstances that threatened me. I wrote her a letter.

I will share the contents of this letter but first want to share why I wrote it and how it has helped me so that you, too, can begin a rewarding relationship with your best Selves in order to surmount the forks, changes, or difficulties in your life.

Why I Wrote to Middle Woman Self

I wrote out of faith. I knew that if I were to survive (and dare to dream of flourishing), there was a “me” out there that had developed all that I didn’t now know and I wanted to tap that strength.

How I Wrote

I wrote from the heart, sharing fears and asking for support. Not miracles, I knew there was work to be done--my own work, emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual—I wrote to create a connection between us, a faith that would sustain me as I traversed uncharted ground.

Tips for Writing to Your Middle Woman or Elder Self
  •  Imagine your best Self
  • Know that she exists, and acknowledge that survival has already happened in a good way
  • Tap her knowledge and experience
  • Listen to what she tells you—if she offers advice, take it, follow it
  • Be honest, it’s okay to acknowledge fears or difficulties or obstacles
  • Imagine the best in Middle or Elder Woman and what she would say to you having succeeded in what you’re trying to do
  •  Let love shine through
  •  Offer gratitude and thanks

Wow. I went from being an uneducated single mother working a menial job to being employed in a professional capacity by one of the greatest universities in America.

I went from washing floors and cleaning bathrooms (all the while telling myself if I couldn’t handle the little shit I’d never be able to handle the big shit) to sitting around glossy conference tables with groups of people who came together to make decisions in support of goals that would change the lives of hundreds of people.

Yes I took courses to develop my education. I highly recommend this, but not necessarily in the traditional pathways, get your education wherever you feel it will serve you best.

Yes, I worked hard, really hard. Dreams come into this plane of reality as a result of action. Taking action to build the foundation of your very own, precious dreams DOES bring AWESOME results.

My Letter

Now I’ll open up to a little vulnerability and share my letter. I’m not perfect and never will be so I feel a bit out there doing this, but if it helps you, it’s worth it (let me know).

Dearest Elder-Middle Woman,

Hello, hello, it's me, Middle Woman; I've grown into you, and though it happened at a reasonable pace, I hardly realized I was there until now, when I realize it's time to reach out to you. Years ago when I was a young and struggling single mother, I wrote to Middle Woman (the me I would become), asking for you to take my hand and share your wisdom, your self-confidence, your strength, your endurance, and your faith. You did; many times I turned to you and you were there, reaching out your hand to pull me up. I can see our hands entwined so clearly in my mind's eye, as I have so many times, and I am sincerely thankful for all that you have shared.

Since I wrote to you, and continued to reach out to you from my mind and heart, I've been able to progress from one who did not go to college and had only a menial job and undeveloped skills to one who now has one of the most sought after jobs in the world as an instructional designer, with influence across the globe, and opportunities that support my learning, my growth, my skillsets, and even better, this job is meaningful in that it improves and enhances the lives of many others. It also brings me a financial income that is life sustaining, which is important and much appreciated. These things that have come to pass have been greater and more rewarding than I imagined possible, thank you.

My first dream was to be an editor, and I became one, earning credentials that are recognized in the field and a lot of really comprehensive experience, which serves me still very strongly, and likely will continue. My second dream was to be a writer, and I am one, who's been published numerous times in a newspaper with a circulation of 20,000 readers, and courses that I help to develop and publish that are changing the lives of hundreds of people for the better. I understand that I am part of the transformation of our society from a production oriented economy to an information oriented economy and I am honored to be contributing in this meaningful way. It is an important historical era, in which I have a part, like my ancestors had a part in their eras. Thank you, Middle Woman, for the work we did as we developed our education to best serve our skills.

I am so grateful for all the circumstances that came together to place me where I find myself today. I am also sincerely grateful for the wonderful, wonderful people (Earth angels) who've come into my life since then. Not only am I surrounded by a group of really fine, highly creative and well educated people who have wonderful attitudes and great commitment to the work we do, but I also found my true love, my sweet gem of a husband, and we've accomplished so much together and are able to enjoy such wonderful companionship and romantic love, laughter, our strengths, compassion and understanding and support for our past histories, as well as our hopes and dreams, and the wonderful comfort of daily routines. I am full of gratitude and thorough and ongoing appreciation for this special relationship and the good influence we are able to have on our four children, our animals, and the home and land that we care for and that feeds our souls and those who visit us here. Thank you Middle Woman, Angels, Great Spirit, my Creative Source, for your beautiful presence in our lives! Please continue to protect this very special relatonship, XO.

I look back and am so grateful for the protection that we've enjoyed, and look forward with gratitude to that which will come. I am grateful for the mystery, the unpredictable synchronicities, the inspiration, and the love that feeds my spirit as I move about in this world, this place, that I love so very much, the Earth. I think back on the times that felt difficult, challenging, hard, emotionally exhausting, and I remember that there was always something to bring comfort, whether in the form of a person, an activity, a circumstance, a story, a bit of music, a dream, or any number of the other ways in which you communicate with me, in which you love me. I am grateful for this comfort in my life, thank you XO

So here I am today, realizing that I am no longer Child, Little Girl, or Young Woman, but Middle Woman, solidly placed and having her first glimpses at who Elder-Middle Woman may be.

A large part of me is human, as it should be here in this place, and with that comes some degree of struggle, and I am writing to reach out to you for assistance. The invitation for help in gentle ways, is extended with humility and appreciation, and I extend my determination to be worthy of it and see it through for the benefit of all. I have some areas of weakness, some areas where knowledge needs to be developed, and some small fears. I also have sublimely strong inspiration, substantial faith, and unflagging enthusiasm for the possibilities that I can bring to life with your help.

So, Elder-Middle Woman, one of my weaknesses is that through the years of struggle, when I was younger, I made decisions that no longer serve me. Some of those have to do with my level of movement/exercise, and some have to do with stresses I put on my physical systems, such as smoking or drinking alcohol. So I invite you to gently lead me towards better expressions of movement, reclaiming my love of dance, my love of walking, my love of being in Nature, and towards better practices of eating what my body will thrive on and exposing it to fewer stressful substances such as smoke, nicotine, chemicals, and the like.

I have devoted much of my life to the development of my mind, and the demands on my time have been such that there has been no balance of physical activity - but I love to move, the feel of sweet movement, and am open to bringing more into my life if time will allow. I have also sought solace in chemical substances such as nicotine/cigarettes, which I would like to replace with fresh air, with no backlash from the sometimes unwise choices of youth.

There have been times when I loved sitting alone, either in Nature or in my home, or when I have been with other people when cigarettes brought comfort, ease, peace, acceptance, etc. Now I find that I am open to the idea of letting them go, gently, easily, with no adverse physical health issues whatsoever. Let these substances only gentle me, not own me. I like that the new activities I am engaged in keep my hands occupied and there is hardly room to participate in activities that are not life sustaining to me.

I am open to more of this, and more of simply enjoying the beingness without the unbalanced support of these substances. I enjoy them, and I'd like them to be only enjoyable, rather than addictive. I so appreciate any gentle help you can give me in addressing these issues. Please help me to make the life sustaining choices simply easy and rewarding. Thank you.

Another area that is challenging right now is the learning that must take place to make me good at these new endeavors. I am watching my business become a reality - brought from the dream world, a long time in coming, and I love it as I love my children, fiercely, devotedly, unceasingly, relentlessly, and with great interest and excitement. I am now encountering business practices in this world that I must learn to understand, and I ask you to send me the very best contacts who can help me set up the systems and negotiations and processes that will support the growth of the inspirational ideas you send to me to bring to life, to reality, for the benefit of all. Please help me to connect with them, to understand what I need to understand to be effective, efficient, and fruitful. I am grateful for your assistance.

What I know of my ability to learn is that I can, and I am ever so grateful for the very good mind I have in this lifetime, the unceasing interest and unquenchable enthusiasm that underlies its continuing search for satisfaction and the ability to put out in the world, to contribute in a meaningful way to many others. I also know that whatever I want to know is out there and will come to me if I seek it. Please send me the best of the best for all who can benefit, thank you. And so it is.

Now we come to fears. I have some, which I invite you to help me put to rest for all time. I fear there will be no audience for my outpourings of creation. Let there be a huge audience who will purchase, and benefit, who will soak up the great inspiration of these pieces of spirit, of art, of soul food. Thank you. And so it is.

There is fear that I will be unable to negotiate all that I need to learn to be competent in the realms of business operation. Let me easily learn all that I need to, to streamline things for all those involved. Thank you. Bring to me the people who can help me, and let their hearts be in my best interests and in the best interest for those who will feel my influence, thank you. And so it is.

There is fear that I will not know how to deal with a huge, ongoing income of money, to make it stable, to make it grow, to make it life sustaining for me and my family. Please help me to easily understand how to make money work for the best for all concerned. Thank you. And so it is. Energy is life sustaining, may it grow and become nuclear so that it sustains itself for the benefit of all. And so it is and so it will be. Thank you.

So Elder-Middle Woman, here is my first invitation for you to join me in what we are creating. I give you strength, as you give me strength, I love you as you love me. I welcome your input in dreams, in my mind and heart each day and night. I extend heartfelt gratitude, and celebration for all that is possible and will become reality, for the benefit of all. May the Great Spirit guide us. XO

Sincerely, with great affection and love,

Me, Middle Woman XOXO

Please don’t be shy about sharing your comments on this post. I’d love to hear if you’ve written to your Middle Woman, and how that has helped you, and I’m sure that others would too. There’s much strength to be gained from sharing.