Archive for the ‘blah blah blah’ Category

It’s a quick update to let you know that my z-beads online shop is live! There are a few things in there right now that didn’t get picked up at the last sale, and there is more to come.

this is about what it looks like, and you can clicky the picky to get right on over there

I’m so glad I went ahead with this plan. I did figure out a thing or two in the process: firstly, for the purpose of selling, it’s so elegant. I realize many of you are using various devices, oftentimes smaller than a home computer or a standard laptop, and it looks great and works well on a small screen. And the shopping cart! What a wonderful thing. I don’t have to tend to the inbox like I did before… even though I never hated the extra chit-chat, sending the invoices manually created a good bit of extra work for me and I’m pretty relieved that a bot is going to do that for me. (but again, if you want to say hello directly, please do!) I was also able to find my Photoshop disk last month, so now I can properly edit my photos to a reasonable size, and they are also saved to load quickly. I think you’ll be pleased with the appearance and functionality.

But one not so great thing – sales tax is added to each item. I know, it sucks. It’s getting harder to escape this on the various online sales platforms. I’m sorry. I just thought I would warn you because I still forget about it when I buy stuff on ebay and I’m surprised almost every time. Apparently I have the memory of a flea.

Here is how I will be doing this – on the days I list things for sale, there will be a brief period when my shop won’t be available, so be aware of that and don’t worry. Also, I’m pretty sure I have arranged things so that even if something is sold out (and it will be marked as sold out, so there shouldn’t be any confusion there) you can still see it in the shop until I manually remove it. I don’t necessarily expect you to be waiting with baited breath, but either way, I will announce it here when the listings are live. I’m reluctant to make a big to-do about it like I have in the past, times being what they are and all that rot… then again, creating a little excitement about something fun and positive like beads might not be such a bad thing.

I normally list things for sale on Thursday, but I might change it up a bit – let’s just say I’m aiming for sometime this week, for sure. You’ll be hearing from me again soon. Thanks for being such wonderful and patient bead friends!

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missing the not so old days when you and your bestie could lick the world with reckless abandon?

(Before I begin, I will note that I refuse to give the THING – you know the THING to which I refer – any more acknowledgement than it already receives. I won’t get politicky or boss you or rehash what a bummer it is because you already get it, and you’re probably here because you need a break from it. But I will say that anything you buy from me will be cleaned and handled carefully on my end and suitable for being submerged in disinfectant on yours, unless otherwise noted. In that circumstance you can use your own judgment.)

So, hey, remember more than two years ago when I was all “Blah blah BLAH, Etsy Wants to Usurp The Bank Accounts of Helpless Little Artists and I’m gonna get a bigcartel shop”… and then I was all “NEVER MIND, I’m a cheapskate.” Well, I had pretty good luck hosting the last few sales on my blog in 2017, and the best thing about it was that I could have all the pictures I wanted, I could blather on endlessly about what a bead dork I am, and best of all it was FREE.

Then, in accordance with The Divine Law Of Nothing Is Free, several people informed me that they couldn’t tell if stuff was available or not at the last sale. I updated when things were claimed in real time, many times, but everything still showed as available via most viewing methods. My apologies. On that Sunday that I announced the upcoming sale, I had decided just a few hours earlier that I was going to do it and that I didn’t care whether or not I had everything perfectly perfect. As such, something was bound to go wrong, and I’m glad it was something minor. I’ve learned that excessive nitpicking doesn’t necessarily get you any farther than not giving a rat’s patoot. Something somewhere between the two things is probably going to accomplish something, but without the added stress of feeling like a control freak or a lazy bum. Who needs that kind of aggravation? Not me, homes. I’m just a chill bead artist without an Etsy shop.

oh, but wait!

With the come-what-may attitude I have acquired over the last couple of years, I said frig it and gave Big Cartel’s free trial a go just to see how functional it is. And I’m happy to report that it’s fine. It’s customizable and seemingly without hassle. But the best thing of all: we now have a functioning shopping cart. That’s in bold because it’s so freaking great. You won’t even have to email me unless you just want to, and please do email me if you want to say “hey. great stuff but your hair’s a mess”. There will be no mistaking available vs not, because if it’s sold you can’t see it anymore, as far as I can tell. Seems easy enough to add photos here too when I announce the sales. I like to show my work, and you seem to like to look at it, and it would be a good solution to that little nuisance and give me something to talk about besides… well… this. I’m a problem solver who often gets so bogged down in the details that the solutions just look like more problems. No solution is perfect and everything in life is fraught with drawbacks – but the easiest, most comprehensive one is often the best option. Even if it costs (only) $10/month. And it does, with no additional fees per item. I guess I can deal with that.

like you don’t know who this is

So HERE is my bigcartel shop (it likely isn’t live at the moment, but you can have a link to it here, as well as on the sidebar: z-beads.bigcartel.com

Also, I ditched the z-beads facebook page in favor of Instagram. I mean, the z-beads page is still active but utterly useless as a means of marketing unless I want to fork over the dough, and I reckon facebook has enough money, don’t you? And since Fakebook owns Instagram it doesn’t really matter anyway. Instagram is way more fun and breezy, allowing for less frustration and more whimsy. So here is my instagram, and you can also find links to it in the sidebar:  https://www.instagram.com/zbeadslampwork/

Now, if only someone could tell me where I can dump my 2016 and 2017 galleries with such grace and ease. Or my whole website. Gah. I need to do something about my website. It’s old and clunky and needs to be updated. I don’t want to think about it.

Meanwhile, I’m working up to having a little sale next week – nothing too big, just something to alleviate the boredom, hopefully yours and definitely mine. Keep your eyeballs busy with some things I’ve made for myself over the last little while:




amazonite, amethyst and vintage glass set in sterling silver

Thanks for checking in! You’ll be hearing from me again soon.

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Before anything else, I’d like to express my gratitude for the many kind and encouraging messages sent after my last entry. Really, truly. Sometimes the only thing better than going on vacation is getting back to work. And I have, slowly but surely. I’ve said it more than once, I fell outta my mom ass first and two weeks late, and that is actually a true story. She says the labor was fairly quick and painless… and things usually are when I finally gather the nerve to show up.

As you can tell, I’m a bit rusty at everything (considering the language I’m using to announce an upcoming sale), but I’m feeling pretty whatever about things at the moment. What do I have to lose, I’ve been POOF for, like, two years, right? Neither one of us knows what to expect, so let’s have some fun with it. Here’s a quick peek at what’s to come later this week (click on each photo for a better view). LATER THIS WEEK! I say emphatically, as much for myself as I say it for you. I hope you’ll find something you like. These are not the photos I will be using for the sale, I have a few finishing touches to put on, mainly antiquing the silver. More detailed photos will be provided for the sale.

You who know me know my style: Easter eggs in October, red and green in June, and a sale during the week after Thanksgiving, when you’re more likely to be stuck on a tarmac or in a parking lot instead of at home in the twilight glow of your computer screen. Here is what you CAN expect:

  1. I’m shooting for Thursday, old school z-beads style
  2. I’m aiming for 8pm Central Time
  3. If it’s looking promising, I’ll post something like “It’s Happening” with more info on Wednesday
  4. The sale will happen HERE on my blog – yes, I’m still proudly flipping the big fat moustachioed bird to the ETSY Yarn Burglars
  5. This is a fixed price format, NOT AN AUCTION. I dislike auctions, and I suspect most of you do too.
  6. A few items will be one-of-a-kind and will not be repeated, and a few will be available made to order in your size – expect jewelry featuring my lampwork, a few sterling silver rings, and some entirely new offerings that might surprise you
  7. My shipping time will happen at the usual rate of efficiency, which is generally within 24 hours of payment
  8. I may be rusty and forget a couple of things in the descriptions, but hopefully you’ll bear with me

Thanks for being such wonderful bead friends in these trying times indeed. I can’t wait to share the details!! I hope to see you again soon…

PS – Something else you might find noteworthy: I started a perfume blog about three years ago. I haven’t done anything with it, so far I have only staked my claim to the name, The Perfumed Pontificator. The mere mention of fragrance in a place of bead and jewelry craft might send some highly sensitive individuals into a state of migraine or anaphylaxis, so there’s another place you can go if you’re actually interested in the subject.


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this past year, in summary

You might have some questions, so I’ll get right to it: the stuff that lands folks in jail or rehab ain’t my jam. My heart just grew too heavy and I had to rest. I’m adjusting to the harsh reality that I’m too small to move the really heavy things. In my own life, in the lives of those I care about, and the people I’ve never met and never will, who I also care a great deal about.

If you emailed me I probably didn’t respond. I’m sorry, truly, but I thank you for reaching out to me because it did make a difference. I’ve been writing this entry for nearly a year and perhaps it will be an adequate response. I’m not entirely comfortable with it. It feels like too much, yet incomplete, but I’m trying not to overthink because it’s time for me to do this. This will barely cover it, but it still feels like a titanic sized gob of… vague, guarded honesty? Self-pity? You decide. I’ve lost my muscle memory of the me that you may have come to truly admire or be completely nauseated by. And now I’ve reappeared after a year to trot out this weak excuse for my absence.

Last year, I paid a visit to a used book store. I’ll admit that I did not accidentally land in the midst of Dr Phil schlock and colorful hardback pamphlets crafted to convince teenagers to stop acting like psychopaths. I’m usually able to keep my own counsel just fine, but I was feeling particularly desperate at that moment. A strange little nearsighted man, who was also standing in the cramped space, studied me for several minutes before he asked, “What’s bothering you?” I took several seconds to consider an ambiguous but honest answer to such a probing question from a stranger. I finally replied, “Everything.” Turns out this fellow was just looking to sell his neurolinguistic programming services, which included hypnosis. But I know why he was there in my life right that second: to ask a question that needed asking. What IS bothering me? Dissatisfied with the self-help section, I left with a stack of books about jewelry and even more questions.

entre chien et loup #2 by josette simon-gestin (the hour at which the light is too dim to discern a dog from a wolf)

Soon after, I tried therapy. I’m sure I have at least a couple of therapists in my readership. In advance, I’ll go ahead and make it clear that I mean no offense, and note that this is not a criticism of the service I received. I’ve been told by my personal counsel (I don’t mean the therapist, although she did hint at it, too) that my expectations of therapy were a little bit off. I needed a professional to tell me what to do because I obviously couldn’t hack it on my own right then. When I expressed this desire to my trusted confidants, they actually laughed at me, much to my confusion. Every single one of them. By most accounts, the purpose of therapy is to be “gently guided” into knowing what to do, without being told directly what to do. But I prefer direct. Direct gets the job done. Sometimes painfully, but at least it’s quick. Of course, one of the perks of that indirect and gentle arrangement is that the professional can remain blameless for any bad choices I might make, and they could gently draw this guidance out, along with my money, for years.

Yes, I am a cynic, and I suppose the high value I place upon personal responsibility, thrift and simplicity prevented me from fully committing to being “handled” this way. If I want the unvarnished truth badly enough to pay for it, it’s a freaking emergency. But since my “I feel like I’m losing my damn mind and I’d rather save us both the hassle and just die” face is very similar to my “oh, hey, what’s up” face, nobody should be blamed for proceeding with caution. Ultimately, I felt just as foolish, misunderstood and out of place in that office as I did everywhere else in my life. And since I have trust issues (as we all should) the whole thing was bound to fail. Some people need a therapist to tell them they have trust issues, but I walked in there knowing it, and walked out of there feeling completely righteous in retaining them. Go ME.

death is a circus by dorshak blok (bombsawayart.com)

I have since pulled myself together, somewhat. These are strangely serious times. There is no comfort when we must choose our words and our actions so very cautiously. It’s hard to be light when so many things are so terribly wrong. And when it comes down to righting certain wrongs, certain other things could suffer too greatly. Sometimes I wish it would burn down and we could start all over. And what is it, exactly?

I used to have a few quirky words of wisdom, and a “we’ve got this” sort of resolve to share, but when it has lost its effect on me, what’s the point in sharing it with you? I removed three paragraphs of some pretty serious doom and gloom stuff, because even though I feel it to the very center of my core, it isn’t the message I’d like to send. That’s why I haven’t said anything in a really long time. But I’m still here, with my usual eye out for a twinkle in the fog, for diamonds in the debris. I do find them now and then, and that has to be enough for now. Hope is about all I have, and I’m clinging to it for dear life. LIFE, people. I want to live, but in a better world than the one we’re living in now. I hope you will cling to hope too, that you’ll hang on and resist the wrong, whoever you are, in the tempest of whatever you might be feeling in this moment.

life is persistent

Maybe I have been working this past year in a different sort of way: walking miles, painting my eyelids a different color each day, closely examining humanity and myself… and finally accepting that it’s okay to be human, to need other people, to need help in times of weakness and sadness. But mostly, I’ve just been trying to be brave in a terrifying place. I think we all are. This work has not produced much of anything tangible or quantifiable, and it means nothing to anyone but me… and even that meaningfulness is iffy. ‘Tis the nature of the emotional free fall, I suppose, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t landed yet. I may never. The good news is, something new is looming on my horizon. This hiatus may have yielded new ways for me to work, share and be inspired. Be looking for new work from me in the not too distant future. And I mean it this time.

If I haven’t lost you yet, thank you for helping me let this go. Feel free to email me (z-beads@sbcglobal.net) if you have any comments or curiosities.

I’ll leave you with this, a pearl of inspiration:

watercolor by carol carter

“It takes irritation to produce a pearl…and pearls don’t form in a day. There are irritants in your life at this moment demanding of you to rearrange yourself inside to address the discomfort, annoyance, and intrusion. Yet these elements in our lives we experience as noxious are the very things around which we craft an inner beauty, our pearl of great price. That process is not always a pleasant one, and, who doesn’t wish at times that we could produce that glory in a day, rather than in a year, or a lifetime. Still, I believe the treasure will far outlast the discomfort. That annoyed little critter inside the oyster shell will be long gone, though the pearl will remain.”
Gil Hedley, Integral Anatomy

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a beautiful visitor on my live forever last fall

It’s been a long while since we’ve seen each other, and I don’t really want to talk about why. My relationship with details has taken on a different flavor these days, and I’ve lost my taste for discussing them. I needed a break, probably not the kind I took, but I took it nonetheless. Us ‘Merkans do enjoy our moving pictures, so I’ve opted to console myself with shows about baby animals, art and cake. I never knew how much work and detail was involved in cake. Those are my kinda details…

Recently, the Japanese technique of kintsugi came up twice in conversations with two different people. Both times it was used metaphorically – in one conversation, as a way of gluing your damaged, broken self back together with some character and beauty. The other was the mention of the title of Hipster King Ben Gibbard’s (Death Cab For Cutie) album about his breakup with his Hipster Queen Zooey Deschanel, utilizing the same metaphor, but with a heavy dose of “waah, because of my beautiful superstar wife, I’m no longer the center of everything” added. I found it interesting that this somewhat obscure subject came up as many times as it did within a matter of days, and if you’re like me and the sort that pays attention to such things… well, even in the midst of my fog of confusion, I paid attention.

mom’s new cat – the tabby siamese I’ve always wanted, and one of the sweetest cats ever. she reminds me of my Fred, who left us a couple of years ago. mom needed her more than I did.

Finding the gold to fill the cracks with, or even being able to recognize it as such when your perspective has lost all of its color, can seem impossible. Sometimes fool’s gold will have to do, and I do have that on hand. Barrels of it. It’s sparkly enough. Making the best of what you have to work with in any situation is better than feeling sad about what you don’t have.

Above is some of the jewelry I’ve made (or have decided to part with) in the past several months… it will make its way here for sale soon, but if you’re feeling impatient and are curious about something you see there, hit me up and I’ll reply with photos and details. (yes, details – I can certainly deal with details of this sort)

Thanks for sticking with me through these times of totes redonkulousness… you all are such great bead friends. More to come!

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new beads tomorrow (Monday)!

Hey beaded buckaroos! Check it:

The new stuff will be here tomorrow, Monday September 18th 2017 at 8PM Central Time!

As usual, you’ll get an update from wordpress as soon as the new beads are live!

That’s that for now… I’d best get busy. Thanks for checking in!

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thank you

I get paid to melt rainbows into eyeballs, I don’t have any kids, or debt, or a gym membership… the cats poop in a box, and pretty much help themselves to whatever’s on the stove, so that’s mostly covered… and now my life is easier still, even if by only one teeny tiny increment, now that I don’t have to maintain the z-beads mailing list all by my lonesome anymore. Thank you all so very much for signing up for notifications through wordpress. You’ve saved my bacon, and probably a big hunk of my grey matter. I’ll need that hunk later.

fizz tabs, also known as Rancid Eyeballs by the vodka soaked ravingpoodles on stumbleupon

I find myself saying “thank you” often. I’m thankful for what I have: shelter, food, sanity (I think…) I work hard to maintain these things I have, and I know it all hangs by a thread for me as much as it does for you. But kindness, generosity and sincerity are gifts, not givens. Especially these days. When I do my outside-the-house things, I’ve noticed that people are actually taken aback when someone is nice to them. More so than ever before. They sometimes seem surprised when someone smiles at them or holds the door for them, or when someone is friendly and polite when placing an order for food, and understanding if something goes wrong. They have come to expect you to be distracted by pointless gossip on the phone, or to be extremely rude and impatient. I think a growing lack of empathy for our fellow travelers is to blame.

I get it – empathy is exhausting. Depending on who you ask, you’ll hear that it’s natural, or that it’s learned. Or that it’s purely a psychological function of the human brain or that it’s some of that with a largely intuitive component. I tend to agree with the latter, and feeling this, that’s where I begin to doubt my own sanity. I have a hard time in large crowds, and talking to strangers, but I’m working on it. So being the (relatively) sweet-natured Scorpio I am, I crawl under the dresser and hide in the dark for a while so that I don’t sting someone with all that venom that’s been welling up. I try to turn that venom into more rainbows. The more technical term for this is “effective coping skills.” This is why I go *poof* for a while, from time to time. I find that I need to re-energize, to gather the courage to face humanity once again, because it must be done if I hope to find the glimmers under the murk.

Truth is, I do not like what I see right now. Maybe it’s just my INFP’ness, but I have spent my entire life being utterly confused by the way people treat each other, and it seems to be getting close to saturation point. Critical mass, maybe? I dunno, I’m no scientist. But I can identify that when people who hold a great deal of power are encouraging us to deny each other basic human dignities and kindnesses based on gender, skin color, religious beliefs, political leanings, sexual proclivities, and other nebulous labels yet to be determined, the end of civilization as we know it is nigh.

the chanel counter at neiman’s (dallas)

This is not my soapbox. I mean, it is, but I’d rather kvetch about beads, perfume and the price of silver. I am not trying to scare you. I don’t like to talk specifically about politics, religion or other hot button issues because a) I don’t know much about any of it and b) some people get really mad when you don’t agree with them 100%. But every now and then, and a bit more frequently than usual these days, even at the risk of my livelihood, I feel called upon to remind you that being kind to your fellow travelers is how we change the world… I can probably count on the fact that if you’re reading this, I’m preaching to the choir. Just don’t give up, is all I’m saying. Especially now.

I have come to know that creative people – the artists, writers, musicians (and cat people, I’m sure of it) – the people of simple means, wants and ideas – are exponentially more powerful than those not so nice guys in suits who stack weapons and hate and money. I was so lucky to have been born into the family I was born into, to learn to do what I do as an artist, and very importantly, to meet all of you, whether you are long time patrons or admirers of my work from afar. I’ve been selling my work for many years, and have met so many kind, thoughtful and considerate people through that. Other avenues have not been nearly as fulfilling. Creative people and people who truly love art – not just because it will match their carpet – make life just a little bit more bearable.

the guerlain counter at neiman’s (dallas)

Also, I have been watching some shows lately. I like to watch stuff that makes me think.

Here’s a good one: I Love Dick, on Amazon Prime – it’s a light little story about artists and their strange lives and loves, but it’s mostly centered around a married woman who falls in love at first sight with the main art guy in town and writes stacks and stacks of flowery letters to him. These letters remind me of the letters I’ve written privately throughout my lifetime but never gave, and the ones I’ve published here, and addressed to no one specifically. Some were to you… some were to me, maybe. Someone once referred to these as “my love letters to the world”. I took it as a compliment because the world needs more love letters and less Tinder/syphilis. So if you like interesting stories about quirky people and weird art, I Love Dick won’t disappoint. I should warn you, it’s a little racy at times, so keep that in mind.

Mr Robot

Mr. Robot. Wow, what a thing this is. A hacker and his crew set out to erase everyone’s debt. If you think someone has to be crazy to do such a thing, you may be right. Or maybe not. There is much more to the story. So as not to spoil anything, I’ll just say this: to witness such a succinct portrayal of the division, the struggle within a complicated psyche such as that of Elliot Alderson should be something of a comfort to thinking people. The people who crave more from life than stuff and things, the people who truly care about other people. The message I take away from Mr Robot: Question EVERYTHING. Including yourself. You may have no idea how truly powerful you are.

warning: very tiny kittens may cause smiling in the grumpiest of grumpy cats

And lastly, my friend Laura called me one night a couple of weeks ago with a strange noise in the background… she said “there’s a very tiny KITTEN on my PORCH and I don’t know what to DO.” (She’s a dog person.) I said, “it sounds like you have a kitten now” and she actually thought she was just going to bring it over here and leave it with “the cat people”. Instead, I instructed her to get some kitten formula and a bottle and I sent her a link to instructions on how to care for a very young abandoned kitten. I think she’s glad I did, because she dotes on it and is very good at taking care of it. So, no, I don’t have a new kitten, but there have been many kitten visits, and more proof in my pocket that I’m not particularly motherly towards anything except kittens, and even that is questionable.

NOM!!! I’m gonna eat Laura’s tiny grey kitten

See? Not motherly at all.

And there was that whole total eclipse of the sun thing… did you guys hear about that? Har. It was weird, the last one happened when I wasn’t even two years old and I swear I remember it. The one last week solidified that memory. The light outside looked strange, just as it did before. Filtered sun, as if it was behind a cloud, but with shadows cast as if in full light. Surreal, just how I like it. I figured “they” would be coming for me, but here I sit, so I thought I’d check in and tell you I’m still alive and making beads. I’m currently working on a big order, but will be back to the come-what-may grind soon enough.

Thanks once again for checking in… you guys are the greatest!!!


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First order of business: I now have a facebook page for z-beads!

click here to get to the z-beads facebook page!

You can’t imagine how many emails I have received over the years from clients and peers, gently nudging me to get my beaded hiney onto facebook. Actually, I bet you can imagine. I signed up for facebook only a year and a half ago, like, ages after the rest of humanity and half of the cat, dog and hedgehog population. I fully intended to create a business page toot sweet… but, well, I won’t bore you with the hassles that plagued me. I created the page early this morning because it was time. So. Like/follow me if you’re into the facebook thing, and I hope to be mostly on top of updating that as regularly as I do here. If in doubt, subscribe to this blog. Facebook doesn’t lend itself to the lines of unabridged screed I trot out here, so guess where I’ll be spending more of my time?

where’s nelson going? not too far, that suitcase is full of perfume.

Also, in the interest of keeping things cheap and streamlined, I have opted to hand Wordpress (the host of my blog) the task of managing my Superstars mailing list for me. No, this isn’t a service WordPress offers, per se, but they seem to be aces at making sure the new post notifications get to my blog subscribers’ inboxes in a timely manner. I don’t seem to have much luck with that when trying to manage my sizeable mailing list myself. For free, anyway. (A 60 day “free” trial with Constant Contact yielded numerous early morning phone calls and incessant email. Constant Contact, indeed. I was too annoyed to even mess with it after that.) Due to Verizon eating Yahoo, and a switch to a new operating system in the very near future, I don’t see things getting any more manageable. Especially if I end up having to ditch my Microsoft Outlook and rely solely on a web-based mail interface. So if you’re interested in continuing to receive Superstars notifications, all you must do is subscribe to my blog up there in the Email Subscription field on the upper right of the page (if you’re on a mobile device you may be prompted to “follow” and enter your email address there) and you will get an email every time I add a new entry. You’ll also stay up-to-date on my weekly specials. I’ll try to be clear about which entries are about beads for sale, and which ones are about The Meaning of Life and Frozen Taquitos.

So I’ve posted this info here, sent out notifications to my Superstars email subscribers, posted it on my website… and the redundancy portion of my e-business/marketing is now concluded.

Now, for the new beads – have a quick peek at what’s to come… they’ll be here, on this blog, tomorrow (Saturday 7/29/17) at 3PM Central Time!

We’ll be for sale here Saturday 7/29 at 3PM Central Time! Set your alarms or watch your inbox for the notification.

And on that note, I’d better get on with making it all presentable for you tomorrow (Saturday). See you then!
Thanks for reading.



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the blessed unrest

I’ll keep this short – these are the beads I made this week.

z-beads, week of july 10th 2017

They will be available here on my blog later this evening. I’m shaking my tail feathers to get it all done by a reasonable hour. I’m shooting for 10PM Central Time, but I might get it done a bit earlier. I hope to see you later this evening!

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Dear Readers:

The internet is just a microcosm of this fine planet earth. Both are full of trash, noise, beauty and despair. I’m touched beyond words that you spend any length of your valuable time in my little corner of it.

Thank you for your kind words of support and encouragement, always.

The last few years of my life have been very strange, indeed. Perhaps you’ve noticed. At the beginning of this bizarre stretch of time, I expressed my intention of being more open, more fearless. I got way more than I bargained for; self repair is not an easy maze to navigate. Some people never bother and opt for sweatpants. That’s fine… for them. No judgments here. I was teetering on the edge of the sweatpants abyss, closer to falling in real permanent-like than ever I had been, when one day, while in the midst of the seemingly menial activity of trying on purple lipstick at the mall, the hand of fate? destiny? slapped me firmly on the buttocks and the mirror said: “Girl, you’re jiggly in all the wrong spots. You’re sick and angry, you’re in physical and emotional pain, your face is blotchy, and the people in your life are gonna draw and quarter you. And you’ve got nobody to blame but yourself.” *** “Oh, and that particular shade of purple is not a good fit.”

My generally unflappable veneer was quite flapped, I’ll admit. This revelation was so tiny you could have fit it onto the point of a pin, but also crackingly larger than life. Like lightning. All of the pain and burden that I could no longer avoid had actually done me the favor of finally breaking me open, just a little bit, so that I could see a wee glimmer of what was inside. Everything I thought I had forgotten and willingly gave away was still there under the armor of fear, chub and denial. I saw it all, in one second. I was so rattled, in fact, that I scurried home and contemplated my next move. The solution was very clear – I had work to do. It wouldn’t be easy, but the important tasks rarely are.

I am so willful and self-reliant that I seldom know when I truly need help. But I knew I needed it then, and I knew I had to be open to accepting any little bit that was extended to me. I knew I had to leave my house to retrieve it, which would be new. It turns out that all I really needed were just a few friendly human gestures that, under any other circumstance, would have registered as another day at the office. I saw the beauty in it, the importance of it… finally. The kindness of both friends and strangers, along with my willingness to accept it, to see it for what it was, has been richly rewarding. I find myself seeking it out now because it takes the sting out of the human unkindnesses doled out on a daily basis. I’ve sorted many things out, uncovered hidden treasures and truths – some of these nuggets have been illuminated by brilliant emotional explosions. What a mess! As I’ve plucked the answers from the detritus, more questions have revealed themselves. I often wish I had started on this endeavor sooner, but so much in life is about timing. And I know at least one thing for sure about myself now: I am endlessly patient, and I have a good sense of when the time is right.

Joane Fogel 8/8/32 – 5/31/2017

As my beloved and powerful Aunt Joane lay unconscious, mere days from death and surrounded by her equally powerful female descendants, I sat on her front porch on a picnic bench, contemplating the path my life has taken. As I sat, a small black beetle walked in a circle around my feet three times, following the exact same path each time. I didn’t give it a chance for a fourth because I was afraid I knew what it was trying to tell me: I’m going in circles and I’ll never find a way out of this maze now that I’ve gallumped so deeply into it. Tears threatening to spill forth, I regained my composure and went inside. And I remembered what Joane told me when I had just turned 19 years old as we sat at her kitchen table. She looked at me and said tearfully, “You have a gift, a greater sense, and you’re strong. You are meant to do great things. You can help people.” And she gave me a metric ass-ton of beads and such and sent me on my way.

fogel family portrait: norman, joane, nancy and dara

At 19 years old, I could not fathom anything greater. In fact, I felt aimless and without any real purpose. I felt like I had the potential to grow up to be a real disappointment instead. At that time, I was staying up until the sun rose, piddling with beads while bad late night TV droned on to help distract me from my weighty wonderings. If we’re being brutally honest, things are no different now, except for the size of the apparatus and stacks of means to create. Sometimes it feels hollow. Unimportant. But I keep doing it because it’s all I can do. I’m grateful for my talents and abilities, yet at the same time, I long for something more reliable, more common. Alas, each time I reach the same conclusion: the ONLY entity I can rely on is myself, and this is by no means a common frame of mind in the state of humanity. I’m the only thing I am totally in charge of, I am the only one who deserves my unwavering loyalty. No one is in charge of me. Fate included. It can tell me what to do, but the work and decisions are ultimately mine, and mine alone.

These days, I find myself disgusted by excuses of “I can’t, I shouldn’t, because that’s not how things are or ought to be.” Especially my own, especially when I dare to utter them out loud. It’s almost empowering to hear myself say something so patently untrue, and quite frankly, ignorant. When I’m in a confident mood, or when someone else points it out to me, I look at my life and realize that I make things happen. Often I must break my own rules, destroy my own shell, in order to do that.

strike a pose, woozball. that unkempt hair is just the tip of the unruly iceberg.

So you know what this may mean, right? I will spend another stretch of time without any sort of shopping cart system, just to see how it hits me, and you, to break that self-imposed rule. Over the next several hours I’ll be editing photos and writing descriptions for the next little bunch of beads that will be available right here in my corner, and I’ll post them at a very reasonable hour tomorrow. Sound good? Perfect. See you then – or not!

Thank you once again.


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