A Bead Journey

Beads – How my passion got started

I have always done something crafty or artsy.  I wanted to go to art school but my parents thought that an art degree wouldn’t be practical.  

My grandmother taught me sewing.  She was a seamstress and worked in a sweatshop mill in upper state New York sewing clothing for a manufacturer until the mill moved south.  I even designed some clothing patterns.  She also taught me knitting.  And being me, I also taught myself to design some knitting patterns – pretty easy ones.  I took a painting class and it didn’t inspire me.  I loved doing needle work in the form of needlepoint and cross stitch.  I was designing cross stitch patterns for a shop in Las Vegas when we lived there.  The owner coaxed me to “name” my business and I chose Desert Bloom. Of course, I instantly designed a pattern in cross stitch for the business.  I showed it to Shirley, the shop owner, and she said “why don’t you add some beads to the design?”  

So I walked into a bead shop….OH MY!

bead journey

Beading can be overwhelming.  What technique did I want to start with?  I chose seed beads for the Desert Bloom cross stitch.  You might not be able to see them in the photo but they are there. And as soon as I finished that project I taught myself how to stitch designs and jewelry with seed beads. 

This is one of the first bracelets I made. (designed the pattern too).  And sold several hundred copies of this pattern online.  I decided that trying to sell the finished product was not feasible.  It takes a long time to complete, and I would never get the price to compensate for the hours of work.

bead journey

I designed more patterns, but I was having a hard time finding button closures.  In the meantime my youngest daughter was in college in Portland, OR and I went up to visit.  I had some time that weekend and decided to attend the Embellishment conference at the Convention Center.  And that is when I saw my first lampworked bead.  Of course I was familiar with Venetian beads.  But the lampwork beads I saw at this convention were tiny works of art.  And I was hooked.  And my journey with glass began in 1997.creating the desert in glass and metal

Salsa Cravings

Pico de Gallo vs Salsa

So are you eating salsa or pico de gallo.  They are similar, but I discovered it’s pico de gallo that I love …  and really that could be called salsa fresca.  It’s a mix of chopped tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, onions and cilantro.  It’s fresh and chunky and not as juicy as salsa.  I love it on eggs, potatoes, chips, meat and fish or just as a salad.  Or put some in your guacamole…. Ummmm


Here’s a great recipe from Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman.

And here’s a great video on salsa…. (it will make you smile)

Yeah I still watch those reruns….

Work in Progress

work in progress

new lariats too



Have a wonderful day!!! I’m off for a week in Coronado Island, CA.  Taking a class

creating the desert in glass and metal


My Anniversary


June 7, 1975

Forty two years ago

Baltimore, Maryland

two daughters

1 gandson

ups and downs

Life is Good



Ochre – I love this color


I love this color.  I call it ochre or mustard.

And I really consider this color to be a neutral at times.

So do you love it or hate it?

Both of my children are blond and blue eyed – so it’s not on their favorite color list.


What is ochre?

Ochre is a natural earth pigment containing hydrated iron oxide, which ranges in color from yellow to deep orange or brown. It is also the name of the colors produced by this pigment.  A variant of ochre containing a large amount of hematite, or dehydrated iron oxide, has a reddish tint known as “red ochre”.  Wow, I just wrote a blog about my love of hematite and now I find that ochre and hematite are related.  

To top it off another one of my favorite things is rock art…  and guess what.  The predominant colors used in rock art and cave art are black(from charcoal, soot, or manganese oxide), yellow ochre (limonite), red ochre (hematite or baked limonite), and white (kaolin clay, burnt shells, powdered gypsum, or powdered calcium carbonate).

Roussillion, France



The ochre of the Luberon fascinates.  Proudly perched on a hilltop, Roussillon overlooks the first quarries carved out over two centuries ago. The red of the cliff faces certainly explains the attraction of this village which is the only one located in the heart itself of the ochre deposits.

These natural pigments have been used since prehistoric times. Then in 1780, Jean Etienne Astier from the village of Roussillon discovered that, after processing, ochre became an inalterable and non-toxic dye.  He became the first ochre extractor in France.  The pigment is used in the making of stucco for the Provençal houses, because it is heat and sun resistant.

I visited Provence a few years back and we visited the quarrys at Roussillion.  I even bought some powdered ochre.

me in the ochre quarry


Ochre and jewelry making

I use ochre in my art jewelry fabrication when I solder.  By applying a paste of ochre to solder joins it acts as an inhibitor and prevents solder flowing onto places you do not want the solder.  Great stuff.

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creating the desert in glass and metal

The Beatles Or the Stones – leave me a comment who you prefer

beatles or stones

Beatles or Stones

Well, I was 17 when the Beatles and then the Stones invaded the US.

I like them both. 

But overwhelmingly I am a Beatles fan.

I think there has always been a battle between these two groups especially as they traded weeks at Number 1 on the charts in the 60’s. 

But I look at the Beatles as a pop group and the Stones as a rock band. 

Sorta like the boys next door and the bad boys.  I was a sucker for the boy next door.

The Beatles were just ahead of the Rolling Stones,

and you might not know this but John Lennon and Paul McCarney agreed to write an original single for the Rolling Stones called “I Wanna Be Your Man”.

The song gave the Stones their first commercial success and Mick Jagger and Keith Richards began writing as well.

Regardless of who you prefer the sixties really had great music!

beatles or stones



Louise in the 60's

ME – 1964

creating the desert in glass and metal

Orange is the New Black – and so much more

I Love Orange

If Your Favorite Color is Orange…..

you are warm, optimistic, extroverted and often flamboyant.

You are friendly, good-natured and a generally agreeable person.

You are assertive and determined rather than aggressive

you are more light-hearted and less intense than those who love red.

Orange aids in the assimilation of new ideas and frees the spirit of its limitations, giving us the freedom to be ourselves. At the same time it encourages self-respect and respect of others.

Orange is a warm and inviting color

it is both physically and mentally stimulating, so it gets people thinking and talking

The color orange radiates warmth and happiness, combining the physical energy and stimulation of red with the cheerfulness of yellow.

While you may not exhibit all the character traits for a personality color orange as listed above, if orange is your favorite color you will find yourself somewhere in the description.



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creating the desert in glass and metal

Do you remember the circle pin?

circle pin

The Circle Pin

Are you old enough to remember them?

I was recently asked what was my first memory of a special piece of jewelry.  And that question brought back memories of the circle pin I wore when I was 15.

The circle pin is a classic piece of jewelry that was particularly popular in the 1950’s and 60’s and often worn on a cardigan or blouse. There are lots of different stories about the pins and their significance. It is said that they had different meanings depending on the pin style and where it was worn. 

“Circle Pins meant you were a virgin.” And you wore them on the left.

“Circle Pins also symbolize undying love.”  
The story is that this kind of pin was given by a guy to a girl in the 50’s to show that they were dating. The round shape symbolizes eternity. 

“For friendship.”
Girls would exchange matching pins to show friendship. Sometimes if they were all in the same sorority, club or school group, girls would all wear matching pins to show membership and belonging.

I was in a sorority in high school we wore our circle pins on our blazers.

(I’m in the top row third from the left)

circle pins on blazers

I also received a circle pin from a boyfriend.  

So yes…  fond memories of my first piece of memorable jewelry



That happened to me…..  

I started my journey to health January 2016 and today I am 42 pounds thinner, limit sugar in my diet, and am in the best shape ever

I hate the word diet.  It seems that I have been on a diet most of my life but never lost the weight I wanted.  And people would always say “oh you don’t need to lose weight; you look great”  But I didn’t feel great.

But all that changed last January.  I woke up one day in the middle of the month and decided I needed to get healthy- that included exercise, losing some weight and taking control over food.

The first thing I did was find my LA Fitness membership pass and decided I would exercise 30 minutes a day 4 times a week.  I started with the treadmill.  Then I added swimming over the summer.  I still like walks outside but that is in addition to working out at the gym.  

It wasn’t easy at first.  But I invested in a pair of bluetooth headphones and I listen to my music and now the 30 minutes flies by.  I even created special playlists for working out.  I am walking a 15 minute mile on a low incline and burn about 200 calories every workout.  I learned its not just the calories burned while working out but the fact that your metabolism becomes more efficient all day if you work out regularly.

Okay – got the exercise started and then thought about food.  I decided I would not go on a diet per se….  yes I would monitor calories, but I would eat the foods I like.  Nothing would be off limits except I knew I needed to cut down on my sugar intake.  I downloaded an app for the iphone called lose-it and set up the program to monitor my calories.  It decided I should be on 1200 calories a day.  The first 3 weeks were the hardest.  I was hungry.  

But I changed the way I dealt with food.  If I wanted pizza I ate it in the amount that would keep me on track for my daily calories and then I would forget about food until the next meal.  It also helped to plan out my calorie intake for the day and decide what foods I would eat.  And some days I would look forward to the ice cream at the end of the day because it was included in the calories I could eat.

The goal was to lose 1 pound a week and by June I was down 20 pounds,  Felt wonderful and decided to lose just a few more.  And by Thanksgiving I was down 20 more pounds.  I went from a size 10-12 to size 4-6.  But more importantly I am healthier.  We always ate healthy – limited red meat, ate whole grains… but now I am really conscious of portion control.  I never limit what I can eat just how much of it.  

Now the lose-it app has me up to 1500 calories a day for maintenance.  And I find that is just fine.

So if I can do it – you can too…..

Go Get healthy!




Ciao 2016

Ciao 2016 – it’s time to say good-bye

2016 – some memories


So, some good things happened in 2016

and some not so good things…

I really honed my soldering skills and am planning a great series of bracelets for 2017

I finished 3 great knitting projects that I’m really proud of 

and I’m working on a “BABY” blanket now

(Our first grandbaby will make his appearance in 2017)

Reconnected with several old friends…  so nice

Made some new friends at Bead Camp in Florida in March

Had a beautiful trip to Great Britain in the summer

and to upstate New York in the fall

Attended a tennis tournament in Cincinatti 

and reminisced in Dayton –  where we used to live

Learned the technique of colored pencils on metal – you’ll get see some in those bracelets I am planning

that course was at Bead and Button in Milwaukee last June

Had my heart broken

And am slowly learning to trust and love again

So thankful for a friend in Tucson for all of her support

And I couldn’t have made it without all my friends scattered all over the US and Canada – only an email or call away

Homer turned 13 – grateful he is spry and still thinks he’s a puppy at times

Learned a lot about myself

Writing this blog is making me happy although there are many posts that I chose not to publish this year

I am thankful for all of you who follow my blog

And for all the clients who have purchased some of my jewelry

As well as those who like to look….  Feedback is always appreciated

Lastly I am thankful for living in the Southwest

where every day brings inspiration for me and my art.

Now it’s time to look to next year and what it will bring


Ciao (hello) 2017

Stop by on the first to follow my goals for the new year


creating the desert in glass and metal



Time Machine

time machine

Time Machine and Time Travel

I originally wrote this back in October……….   decided to wait to publish it at the end of 2016

I sat here yesterday thinking about time travel

I think the word melancholy would describe my mood

sad, sorrowful, unhappy, desolate, mournful, lugubrious, gloomy, forlorn, despondent, dejected, depressed, downhearted, downcast, disconsolate, glum, miserable, wretched, dismal, morose, woeful, woebegone, doleful, joyless, heavy-hearted;

Ummmmm – definitely glum

ok – time travel

Find yourself a time machine

Hop in, enter a date and off you go.

I didn’t want to go to the future.

Yesterday all I wanted to do was go back in time..  to a happier place

To pick one moment where I was happy;

but in that moment perhaps did not realize or appreciate all I had and what it meant to me

But I couldn’t decide what day that should be.

I had all the rules ready

I couldn’t change anything

I couldn’t stay for more than that one day

And I couldn’t interact – just watch and absorb the happiness

Fill my soul with all that was precious and perhaps what I took for granted at the time

Or maybe look for the signs that I once missed

But I couldn’t decide on a day….




All things change; yes I know this

Life evolves

We adapt to all the little changes along the way and openly welcome many of them

But yesterday I looked around and found myself in a today without the warm comfort of people and places that had made me happy; made me confident and made me cherish life; people who knew me along the way

When did those changes happen and why did I never consider that they would represent something that would be missed?

Why didn’t I notice the changes along the way?  Mark the day so I would have the memory so clear in my mind it would give me comfort when I needed it.

So I could reach out and grasp what was dear and hold on

But during those minutes when change is happening we are unaware even blissful as we journey forward

So I don’t want to go back in time

I just need to let my heart remember all the wonderful things in the past

to recognize that part of the journey has ended

as I enter a new beginning

“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings” – Lao Tzu

Perhaps the future will be better