Archive for the ‘blah blah blah’ Category

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/discovery 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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Howdy, Bead Ninjas –

It has just come to my attention that I have not been receiving email to my z-beads@sbcglobal.net account since about Saturday, but possibly before that. I’m quite sure it’s related to the Verizon takeover of Yahoo mail. If you have tried to contact me regarding jewelry, possible orders, or just to chat, please use evolutionnow@sbcglobal.net until it all gets sorted out. I apologize for the inconvenience.
I doubt Verizon will be apologizing for mine, however.

nelson is being greatly inconvenienced with kissus on his stripey face

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once upon a time, mo hated nelson – now look at them! beads and cats, two of my favorite things!

It occurred to me today that perhaps the reason that “old” people are so “cranky” is because they’ve long since discovered that “adapting” truly means giving up pieces of themselves and denying their preferences for the sake of survival, and at best, the comfort of whoever/whatever surrounds them. Once upon a time, they were probably nice and wanted to get along. By the time they’re 80 and nothing is remotely the same as it was even 10 years ago, who gives a rodent’s hiney anymore about manners and propriety. And at the very end, most of them would tell you that all the work, the worry and the stuff they accumulated didn’t matter as much as the people they loved.

my sister handed me these as she got out of her car the other day: Oscar de la Renta, Niki De Saint Phalle, and holy smokes, KL – a whopping 1.7 ounces of my absolute favorite. All vintage, all extremely well preserved, and close enough to full. you guys should’a seen my face.

I’ll admit I’m having a hard time making the change from Etsy to Big Cartel. Plus, other things have been on my mind. My favorite cylinder delivery guy quit and now I’ll have someone new to deal with, and as a woman whose career requires lots of guy stuff to deal with, not to mention non-cookie cutter tastes in art and decor, the distinct possibility of having to charm my way out of some sexist/judgmental BS may now suddenly be on my list of things to do. It’s way too soon to tell if it will be that way, and I try not to expect the worst – but it’s always a smallish concern. When people walk into my space there’s no telling what they’ll think. It could be “wow, you’re pretty cool” or “wow, you’re weird and scary and I don’t understand you, and as such, I don’t like you”. Understanding is not a requirement, but kind acceptance is a good place to start any sort of relationship. I figured out recently that most people end up liking me and those who don’t have a silly bug up their bum and aren’t worth the worry.

I’ve been making beaded beads:

And jewelry:

a recent custom order

And looking through some of the stuff I’ve already made:

jewelry I have extracted from the stacks of train cases

I’ve decided that more is probably too much and sharing is more exciting than keeping it all to myself. If I don’t need it (and I probably don’t) I’d like to pass it along to someone who does, and I can do so without regret. I’m hoping that in the interim – that is, between Etsy and Big Cartel – I might be able to share some of it with you here, with the assistance of some halfway decent photos and descriptions, and by modeling these pieces myself to give you a better idea of scale. As you’ll be able to surmise by the photos, I’m not so experienced with modeling my own jewelry for this purpose, and I’m definitely not entirely comfortable with taking pictures of myself. I didn’t even bother with anything but lipstick. But it should do the job, and if you require more photos/descriptions, just ask!

#1 Katamari Necklace (circa 2006) – $225 – (SOLD)  – click on any one of the photos to see everything up close

Do you know what a Katamari is? Google it. Meanwhile, I made this necklace at least 10 years ago. I know I wore it to a Flaming Lips concert in 2008 after having it for at least a year or so, and people were stopping me and asking me where I got it. If you’re into your jewelry announcing your presence, this is a good way to go. This is made with macrame’d ultra strong deep black beeswax nyltex, which is basically nylon. It isn’t itchy, it won’t fade, and since it has been worn a few times it has softened up flexibility-wise quite a bit. This also means it has stretched as much as it is going to. It’s surprisingly comfortable, even with all those protrusions, but since it’s 100% glass, chunky glass at that, it’s delightfully heavy. It weighs about 5 ounces, which I suppose isn’t all that bad, but if you’re accustomed to dainty chains this might be a grand change of pace. As for the beads themselves, we have 6 Katamari beads, 7 Bubble Toggles, 2 Fizz Tabs, 2 Happy Tabs and 12 Czech rounds and size 6/0 seed beads in Prussian blue. It’s finished off with a signature “S” lampwork button.

Inside circumference: 15 inches
Katamari beads measure approximately 20mm
Bubble Toggles measure approximately 13x28mm
Fizz Tabs measure 16x20mm
Happy Tabs measure 11x18mm
signature lampwork button measures 15mm across


#2 Tab-Tab Necklace (circa 2006) – $175 – (SOLD) – click on any one of the photos to see everything up close

When I came up with this bead design, I thought it was the coolest thing, but it only lends itself to tighter bracelets and choker style necklaces. Macramé works very well for these. The backs of the Tab-Tabs are reinforced with two strings of the macramé material that will keep them protruding outward. The string I used for the macramé is beeswaxed nyltex, a hemp weight deep black nylon material. It isn’t itchy, it won’t fade, and since it has been worn a few times it has softened up flexibility-wise quite a bit. This also means it has stretched as much as it is going to. It ends with two Happy Tabs, two incredibly chartreuse Czech cube beads, red pony beads, and has red size 6/0 Czech seed beads knotted in between each lampwork bead. It’s finished off with a signature “S” lampwork button.

Tab-tab beads measure anywhere from 15mm to 18mm and are approximately 18mm tall
Happy Tabs measure 12x15mm
Czech cube beads measure 10mm
button measures 15mm across
Inside circumference measures 14 inches


#3 Mink Stole – Lucite, pearls, Czech glass and lampwork – $200 – (SOLD) – click on any one of the photos to see everything up close

This is another one that gets many compliments. Large cool mink brown Lucite moonglow beads (a whopping 22mm, and in perfect condition), my favorite champagne colored pearls, Czech faceted disks and saucers in a lovely vanilla latte color, and a variety of my lampwork in my tea-stained colorway – a Glitter Toggle (center), two Bubble Triangles, and two Fly-Eye Tabs, all finished off with a sizeable sterling lobster clasp. Strung on heavy-duty softflex.

moonglow Lucite beads measure 22mm
lampwork measures approximately 16x19mm – 16x30mm
pearls measure approximately 10mm
Czech saucers measure 8mm
sterling clasp is 13mm and easy to manage
Inside circumference measures 15 inches

I hope you see something you like! Hit me up via the comments section, or for more privacy, email me (evolutionnow@sbcglobal.net).

Thanks so much for reading, and being around through this unsteady time… bead folk seem to be particularly reasonable people, and I’m glad to know you all!

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First things first.

If you have a facebook, you’ve probably already seen this. If you haven’t, you have to watch this. You must. All the way through. You’ll notice they put the real cats away after the very beginning. Because claws.


And next in order of importance, these beads will be on Etsy:

the last etsy beads

They’re almost ready, it won’t be long now! I’ll post here again when they are.

See you in a bit.


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As I stood washing dishes at the crack of dawn (after having been up all night, of course), nature’s sweet perfume of honeysuckle wafted in through the open window as if on a breeze made of winged flutes and glitter. I almost smiled. Almost. Before I could, I realized what was happening.


“Blah!” I said aloud. It’s here: the season of constant sweating, bathing, washing my hair, hairballs (cats’, not mine, ok, some of them mine), lawn mowers and chainsaws whirring when SOME grumpy cats are trying to SLEEP because they’ve been WORKING all night. And, of course, ants. And sun. Lest we forget that dastardly thing, it comes back. Every day, without fail. Why can’t it go live behind a dark cloud forever, and only keep us semi-warm? I don’t have time for this kind of aggravation. Sweaters and boots, por favor, I implore? NOPE. Just pit stains for you and yours. BLAH! I say once more.

I’ve been working on stuff! Here, a special order beaded bead bracelet. I’ve been working on this for years. I’m not exaggerating.

Can I complain just a little bit? Not that I haven’t been constantly, already. But this hunching over a 1000+ degree flame in the midst of these sultry southern summers has grown tiresome. Loathsome. A few months back I mentioned not working with silver for a while, and perhaps July/August might be a good time to (tentatively) plan for it. There’s no kiln baking or a torch running nonstop for silversmithing activities, which helps keep the room temperature down. I need to buy a bit of silver before I can proceed, and I probably would have by now if it weren’t for the deals, Deals, DEALS on perfume on eBay. Egads. The stash is getting stupid out of control, and I’m loving every second of it. Dr. Phil was chastising some spoiled princess on his show last week for having – gasp – THIRTEEN bottles of perfume! I just laughed. Amateurs. So cute. But I must get my priorities straight… after I get my grubby mitts on that blue/black/silver can of Rive Gauche I’ve been eyeballing. Yes, people who know what Rive Gauche even is. It’s in a CAN now. And I gotsta have it.

recent ebay scores: Kobako, Givenchy Vetiver and vintage Mitsouko EDT

So, if you need some glass beads, gimme a jangle for an order in June. Don’t be shy, now. June isn’t so bad heat-wise. Usually. I was wearing a sweater yesterday morning, so who knows how it will all go. You have a few more days to peruse my Etsy sold listings for ideas, and I really will get my website updated. Another thing I can do while sweating my guts out these next couple of months.

special order knotted leather necklaces – want something like this? you know what to do.

Meanwhile, I’m getting ready for My Last Etsy Sale. I plan to spend today/tomorrow getting everything ready, and to list it all for sale on Saturday or Sunday. Yeah, I know, it’s Memorial Day weekend, probably the worst time for a sale because everyone is outside in the sun catching their deaths. But hey, maybe some of y’all hate the sun as much as I do and you’ll be inside in the air-conditioning, possibly saying goodbye to some of your other favorite sellers who are also abandoning their Etsy shops for more reasonable digs. What a shame. I assume my shop will go defunct on June 1st at 12AM, when ye olde tyrannical neckbeards will descend from high (of the doobage variety, presumably) and make it so. I’ll take a short while to mourn the Great Massacre of Derp and get my Big Cartel shop put together, but you will surely hear about it here once I’ve shed my darkened veil of moustaches and popsicle sticks.

Waah. I’m really gonna miss hurling insults at Etsy from behind the safety of my computer screen.

Here’s a glimmer of what’s coming up – sorry, some of it’s still in the kiln so I don’t have a photo of everything yet:

(experimental) yippee-yi-yay petite hollows! come see us and our friends on Etsy this weekend!

Smell you later!


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go here for source of fanged sock monkey

Etsy shows no sign of backing down on the Etsy Payments takeover. Or, as I fondly refer to anything Etsy is involved in, The Feast of Unfathomable F*ckery. They’ve so generously granted us another two weeks of grace, I’m guessing to either figure out that the “other guys” suck way worse, or, knowing us crafters, extra time to find our social security cards and photo ID’s and birth certificates under our piles of sewing accoutrement and moustaches. And plenty of time to find the perfect palm frond to fan them with whilst we serve them some fava beans and a nice chianti. But I’m standing firm – I’m not signing on for that. The extra time is appreciated, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is a total greedy deebag move, Etsy. I am not a compliant little robot, but I AM a reasonable and thoughtful person. I think about stuff and act deliberately, and I’m not the type to get all lathered up and knee-jerk react. Since I’ve ultimately decided to adopt a wait and see attitude about this, I’m not going to say I’ll never sell on Etsy again. I’ll keep a psychic claw in the undercurrents, an eye on the Etsy forums, and see what sort of issues arise. If it feels okay I’ll go for it. But it doesn’t feel okay right now.

my latest email from etsy – click on this for a full gander at the tomfoolery

I must comment on this quote from the above email:
“According to a 2016 Etsy analysis, in countries where Etsy Payments (formerly know as Direct Checkout) was available, active sellers using Etsy Payments saw more than twice the revenue (on average) of active sellers not using Etsy Payments.”

I cry horsefeathers. If eBay can auto-sort listings in any category based on certain seller criteria (eBay calls it Best Match), Etsy can just as easily make sellers who signed up for DC/EP more findable than those who didn’t. Duh.

And just so you know… you can pay anyone who has a Paypal account with a credit card WITHOUT maintaining your own paypal account. Isn’t that convenient? Probably not for Etsy’s superfluous payment processing system. But whatever.

Anyway, I’m really sorry about this. If you feel like this is going to make it more difficult to buy from me in the future, I totally understand. I would hate being asked to tromp-a-lomp all over heck and half of creation to buy someone’s art. I’m sure that if you had to drive 30 miles out of your way to buy toilet paper, you would. But luxury items such as the ones I produce? Probably not.

But please bear with me and give this a chance. When the time comes, I’m going to try Big Cartel, which is simply a shopping cart service, just as Etsy is (whether anyone wants to admit it or not)… and it’s cheap. Etsy wants 40 of my dollars this month, even with a relatively low number of sales. Big Cartel wants a flat fee – one that is significantly less than that for an entire month of service, no matter how much I sell. I’ll need to ask them a few specific questions before I choose the plan that will work best for me. By the looks of things, it works just like Etsy does, but without a feedback system and nifty networking features. I think.

But again, it works the same way Etsy does, meaning, I’ll have to do all my own marketing. If the item shows available, it is, just like Etsy. You add it to your cart, you choose your payment method, you pay me and I mail it to you. Same. I’ll be allowed the same number of photos, I can accept Paypal and whatever other methods of payment I choose. I can even customize my shop. Big Cartel doesn’t appear to want to force a payment system with unclear terms of service into my life, where, at the very least, my yearly accounting is further complicated. (We’re artists, for cripes sake. We’re already really bad at this sort of thing.) I’ll announce new items here, just as I always have, and you’ll be linked to my Big Cartel shop instead of Etsy. I’ll also keep a permanent link to my Big Cartel shop handy here on my blog so that you can visit it any time. I think it’s worth a try, considering my alternative. It all seems pretty easy in theory, but I do realize it may take me and you both a little while to adjust to these changes. I hope we can, together. Kumbaya and all that rot.

Let’s discuss the lack of a feedback system… in case that’s a concern for you, I guess it’s on me to inspire your confidence. There is one thing I can promise: I take quick shipping and careful packaging very seriously and I always have, no matter where I sell my work. This is my livelihood. My reputation – whether it’s what you read online or hear through word of mouth – is all I have, and I strive to maintain high standards in that regard. Yeah, I know I can be a little odd sometimes, but business is business, and if I don’t do things above board I don’t eat. Not too many things in life are simple, but this one thing seems to be the simplest of all.

So. Until my Etsy selling privileges are yanked on May 31st for non-compliance in their evil plot to commandeer every bank account in the crafter circuit, let’s enjoy my time on Etsy while it lasts. I plan to add some new things early-mid next week. And Superstars (on my website) will continue to happen whenever I have the energy. And if you’ve been using my sold Etsy listings as a catalogue for made-to-orders, worry not – I WILL get everything from 2016 to now added to my website gallery, hopefully within the next month or two.

And now, my incessant complaining about Etsy concludes. I’ll see you back here next week with my usual grand announcements of new things for sale. Thanks for checking in!

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IT’S CANDY SEASON! I mean, it’s almost Easter. This is what I’m lovin’ this year:

BUT. They still haven’t brought back the orange crème eggs and for that they should be flogged. FLOGGED!

Dad brought me an easter basket every year, and it was always full of plastic grass, fillable plastic eggs, jelly beans, a chocolate bunny, a metric ass-ton of Peeps and a little stuffed animal. Like, until just a few years ago, when I was probably waaay too old for an easter basket. I could never figure out why he put SO MANY PEEPS in there. But I never said anything because he put the baskets together himself. That was really sweet of him. I think I miss him most this time of year. Candy was sort of our thing. Funny thing, candy hurt his teeth, but when he got falsies we went ape from there.

I’ve been eyeballin’ my seed beads again. You may or may not know seed beads were my first bead-love. Yep… eyeballin’ those seed beads, trying to figure out how in the world I’m gonna fit seed beads into my schedule. Between gawking at cowboy boots on ebay (new obsession, but likely to be short-lived), making jewelry, melting beads, jazzercising/walking off my mini eggs and trying to find something interesting to eat for dinner every day… Hmm. Can I give up sleep or my frequent hot baths in exchange for calculating the circumference of wooden beads while taking into account how many size 15 miyukis (vs matsunos or tohos) or size 11 Czech seed beads will wrap around said circumference? And then going ahead and stitching these beads, who are the size of little specks, one at a time until I start to see double, while Bates Motel and Grace & Frankie drone on in the background…? Meanwhile, I think I forgot how to peyote stitch anyway. Whatever. I think what I really need is a vacation from my brain.

bebeadeds of yesteryear

I could barely believe it, someone wanted to buy the garnet/raspberry quartz necklace I showed you last week. So I sold it. But then I was suddenly missing a garnet/pink themed thing. What’s a girl to do? Make another one, of course… but since that cleaned me out of garnet rondells and raspberry quartz, I had to get creative.

I made this one with Czech glass rondells in garnet (a truer red than the slightly more wine hued garnets), amethysts in three different shapes/cuts, garnets in two different shapes/cuts, and of course, little foiled lampwork rondells in fuschia pink. Sorry guys, I’m keeping this one. For now.

But the best thing is the beads this week! Working puts me in a very good mood… (and also, there’s a bottle of Yves Saint Laurent’s Kouros waiting for me – it’s allegedly one of the stinkiest man perfumes in history, and if in fact that’s the case, it’s sure to lift my mood even higher.) I’ve been preparing a good many new experiments and old favorites for your bead-related hankerings… So here’s what I’m gonna do: I’ll put my listings together this evening, have everything ready to list so that when I finally drag myself out of bed, which is likely to be early-mid Friday afternoon, all I’ll need to do is click on a few things and there they’ll be. I’ll post here again when everything is good to go. Here’s a look at what’s coming up:

z-beads week of march 27th – that’s a bracelet (or necklace) up top, which will be finished before tomorrow, barring any unforeseen sparkly distractions

Thanks for checking in, guys… I’ll see you again tomorrow!

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I know you guys enjoy a quick peek at what’s to come, and I completely spaced it in my last post. So here you go! In about an hour or two, this is what will be in my shop:

z-beads etsy, week of march 20th

I’ll post here again with the links as soon as they’re live!

Meanwhile, I made this over the weekend, a slight nod at “fine” strung jewelry – a verrry long rhodolite (?) garnet, raspberry quartz, my favorite little garnet Japanese seed beads and thai silver necklace:

I suppose I could six it up and wear it as a bracelet:

But I’ve been wearing it long and tied in a knot:

It was strung on softflex and the clasp secured with crimps in 4 different spots. I’ve come to distrust silk cord for anything but pearls…

Anyway, I’ll be back in a jiff with the etsy stuff.

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