Thursday, October 15, 2009

Moving Blog to Wordpress

Hi all, I'm in the process of moving my website and my blog to which is on Wordpress rather than Blogspot. I realize that it is better to have my blog linked to my website rather than Google (which owns Blogspot). So.....My blog is up and running on Worpress and I would love those of you who follow me here on Blogsppot to follow me there. Instead of a list of followers, on Wordpress you can click the RSS icon at the bottom left of the page and subscribe through Google reader or Google homepage. My next goal is to move my website onto Wordpress as well. Up until now I have been using a template through a web hosting company and I want more flexibility than I currently have. I believe that with Wordpress and the fabulous designer Carey Baker, this will happen. I will keep you up-to-date on the changes.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Labor Day Weekend

This has been a wonderful long weekend here in Easthampton, MA. The weather has been perfect - mid 70's with no humidity and no rain. Glorious. I sometimes think how great it would be if the weather was like this all the time. But really, I think I would tire of it, missing the seasons changing, which is so wonderful in New England.

I have been spending my time changing all my tags on my jewelry to reflect that Magical Beadstalk is now a shared business of Terry & Sheryl's. I have a lot of jewelry and changing all the tags turned out to be a very big job. In between playing with Alya, who seems to be growing and changing on a daily basis, shopping for things for Alya, and checking out a lot of tag sales for great buys for Alya, I have been spending my time getting all my jewelry ready for the start of craft shows, which begins in two weeks.

I thought the summer would be a time for me to create lots of new pieces, learn and practice new techniques, and having lots of new creations photographed and up on the website. But really the summer has been about my granddaughter, Winde and Elaine, with the added pleasure of having my niece Lindsay coming for a visit. Glad to have had the time with no pressure of shows to get ready for.

It always seems to be more fun to go places when people are visiting. Lindsay's friend Mark is a basketball fanatic so we went to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA. He had a blast. I was glad to go because Cold Stone Ice Cream is sold next door. We went to Yankee Candle, and Magic Wings which is like Butterfly World in Florida. The butterflies are all around and it's a beautiful place to see - the plants and flowers are lush and if you're lucky the butterflies land on you!

Fall is just around the corner, and it is my favorite time of year.

Wishing everyone a great weekend.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

New Business Partner for Magical Beadstalk

Seems to be a time of great change for me. I feel my life has been forever changed with the birth of my first grandchild, Alya. It's amazing for me to notice how priorities can shift and change in ways that are not expected. I love how Alya's arrival into my family has brought Elaine, Winde and me to such a great place. What an amazing addition to my world.

I also made a big decision to bring a partner into my business. Sheryl Machat has been my beading buddy for quite some time and we work so well together that we decided to join forces. Her work is very different from mine, lots of bead weaving, and creative uses of wire, and her work complements mine well. She has now joined Magical Beadstalk and if you go to our website you will see some of her work. We haven't gotten much up as of yet, but more is to come shortly.

It's a great benefit to me, who has worked mostly in isolation, to have someone to talk things out with, problem solve with, and share costs of shows and supplies with. I am sure there will be some kinks to work out, but so far it's been a breeze!

It is a difficult time for jewelry artists. I know some have continued to do well, and bravo to them for their incredible marketing skills. But for many of us, a slow economy has meant less sales. As well, more artists are trying the craft show route, and the competition for jewelry spots has gotten even tighter.

I welcome Sheryl into my world and look forward to gaining from her creativity, and having someone as committed as I am to the art of jewelry making, and the development of a small business that we both believe in.

Here are a few pieces of Sheryl's work:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New Logo - The Importance of Branding

I finally bit the bullet and hired a graphic designer (Allison Biggs, to design a logo for my business. I've used different elements over the years - some I liked, some not - and I finally came to understand the importance of "branding". What I mean by branding is that all the printed material I use from now on will have the same logo and colors, including business cards, earrings cards, sales tags, letterhead, and mailing labels. Allison did the blog header here, which I think looks amazing. I want it to be that my logo will appear on everything related to my business so that it will come to be recognized as Magical Beadstalk in and of itself.

I think that it's taken me five years to figure this out which seems like a very long time. I went from purchasing a template for my website which was very "cutesy" to having someone redesign it to make it look more polished and professional looking. That led to wanting to change my business card to match the site. Turns out the person who did the website disappeared and I didn't have access to her. So I played around with my limited ability in Photoshop to make decent business cards, but of course they didn't match anything.

Next was to tackle the banner on my Etsy site. I hired someone through Etsy who made a banner for me, which I loved, so then I hired her to design my business card as well. I found myself using the banner design, shrinking and stretching it as needed.

Brings me to today. Now I have a logo - based on the Bodhi Tree leaf, which is an image that speaks to me. I am planning on using this logo in everything I use from this point onward.

I am also planning on starting another business providing Reiki now that I've completed my training and have become a Reiki Master. I will use the same logo but in purple. How cool is that?

Here are some of the great designs:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

She's Here - Alia Mae Whitaker - My First Grandchild!

It's difficult to articulate the experience I had today helping my daughter deliver her first baby, and my first grandchild. In fact I cannot think of what to say, so hopefully the pictures will say it for me. These pictures of Alia May Whitaker were taken within the first two hours of her life.

It was an incredible day for all those there - Me and Elaine, Hashi (father), and Jayne (sister).


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Time for a Break!

I seem to be on hold these days. I haven't created any jewelry in a week or two, nor have I updated my blog or website. Seems that I focused more on myself rather than my work.

I do go through periods of time when I'm super aware of my physical health, and the need to make some important changes. I've done different cleansings and fasts over the years so I guess it's not unusual that I am again feeling the need to cleanse. The reasons why are many - low energy, tire easily, joint aches, feeling bloated, etc. The list could go on. Maybe I'm just reacting to getting older....

So I've decided it's time to do a serious cleanse. I am off all food products that contain yeast, sugar, vinegar, all coffee and tea, no soda, no dairy. Sounds pretty frightening, doesn't it? Actually it's not so bad once I was through the first day. Seems that if I stay away from sugar I stop craving it. I love sugar......

I started this on Tuesday of this week and I must say I'm not feeling that great. I can feel the toxins leaving my body. But I know it will be great once I finish the first week. I've lost 6 pounds already. Weight loss is great but that's not my goal. I just want to feel better.

In my ideal life, I would stay away from foods with chemicals added - eating mostly fresh, raw foods. When life is busy that's difficult to do.

This is my wish for today - to stay mindful, focused and grounded with my goals.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson - The End of an Era

What a difficult day. I have many fond memories about Michael Jackson, his music and his dancing. I remember dancing the night away to his music, watching his performances, music videos, etc. His talent was an amazing gift.

At the same time over the years, I've felt ambivalence given the many allegations about inappropriate relationships with young boys, his ever-changing body, how he hid his children from the media, and his erratic behavior.

I seem able to separate the man from the artist. I don't condone the behavior of the man. He seemed like a tortured soul to me and I am not really surprised that he is gone. The complexity of this man was beyond comprehension, which I guess is somewhat typical for the highly creative.

He changed the face of music and dance and I will miss him.

I feel compassion and am saddened. I suspect his death is drug-related and I hope that those responsible will be held accountable. Add him to the list of tortured souls who died with the help of their "helpers", or as I would say, their enablers - Elvis Presley and Anna Nicole Smith - both their deaths are traceable to prescriptions provided by their Doctors. And so many other artists have died from illegal drug overdoses - the talent lost is profound.

Friday, June 19, 2009

I've Won an Award!! - One Lovely Blog Award

Wow - Miriam of Angel's hair awarded me with a "one lovely blog award" - see her blog @ I love how she writes and I follow her blog regularly. And I very much appreciate her giving me this award. I was blogging more regularly than I am currently and am hoping to get back into the regular is seeming very busy and intense these days. This award reminds me that I love the blogging world and need to give myself a push when I seem to move away from it. Thank you Miriam!

Now it is my turn to pass this lovely award on to Bloggers that I follow.

Here are the blogs that I enjoy reading and each of them are being awarded this "Lovely Blog Award"

" One Lovely Blog Award Rules": Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award."

Thank you Miriam for picking me - and congrats to all the bloggers that I follow for sharing of yourselves.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Wonderful Day Celebrating Our Soon-to-Be First Grandchild

It's been an exciting time here as our daughter is having a baby. In the past week we've met the Dr., had a tour of the hospital, and got to listen to the baby's heartbeat. What an amazing experience.

Today Winde's friends got together to throw her a baby shower. Now I've not been to a baby shower in 40 years or so, and am not what I would consider experienced with such events. It was a beautiful day. I am posting pictures for those who may want to see how great it all was. I'm a proud mom, soon to be grandma....

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sometimes It's Difficult to Get Motivated!

I seem to have stopped writing in my blog. My last post was Mother's Day. I'm not sure if there is a connection between the last post being about my mother, and my not writing. I don't think so but I'm not sure.

What I do know is that it is a struggle to keep myself "up" given the challenges I face making a living as a jewelry maker. Things that used to roll off my back are effecting me more these days.

An example of this is that I was not accepted into a big craft show this year that I got into last year. I know how competitive it is for jewelers at craft shows and therefore shouldn't be surprised, but for some reason, this year it hit me harder than usual. Makes me think of the things I need to do to increase my chances of acceptance.

For example, I think I need better photographs to send to shows. My photos look pretty good on the web, but printed they are not as professional looking. I also think I need to add an artist statement to my applications, acknowledging that there is a ton of competition for jewelry makers, and what it is about my jewelry that stands out and makes me a good candidate for their show. As a "beader" it is easy to discount the quality of the work I do although when people get a chance to see it up close, it is clear that the pieces are not run of the mill, given my use of color and design.

So.....I've been in a funk and am hoping that I am moving out of it. I have a show in Connecticut this Sunday at an Art Fair, and I hope that will help. I love talking to people about my work.

Here are a few of my new pieces. I seem to be using pendants more and more, and these are particular ones that I've been hoarding. When I find components that I love, I hang on to them for a while, not wanting them to go.....then after a while I can use them and put them up for sale. I suspect other jewelry artists understand that dynamic!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

For Bea on Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day and it is a day when I miss my mother with such intensity. She died in 2007 and even though the sadness lessens with time, Mother's Day continues to be a difficult day. My mother loved being acknowledged with a mushy card and a phone call. She never wanted gifts, and would be clear about that if I ever did buy her something. Our daughter took us out for breakfast today - a yearly tradition that is so sweet. And as some of you know, she is due to have her first child in July. The cycle of life is profoundly moving to me. For today, I just want to acknowledge my mother, Beatrice, whom I loved. I love you Mom, and miss you like crazy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Adapting, Family, and Change!

I follow a blog that is written by Miriam (Angel's Hair -, a woman originally from France who is now living in New York. I so enjoy reading her blog entries and I noticed this week that she has family visiting from France. She writes about looking forward to showing off her new home to them.

When I moved to the US from Canada I found the adjustment quite difficult, and English is my mother tongue. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to make a move from another continent - let alone not have English as my first language. She seems to have adjusted quite well and I would recommend folks go read her blog - it's very interesting.

I've been in the US for 10 years and I've adjusted, rarely feeling like a fish out of water like I used to. That's a good thing I guess. Although I now feel like a fish out of water when I go back to Canada for a visit. Adaptation is a strange phenomenon.

Here are a couple of her illustrations!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

New Beauties!

I've been hard at work creating. Seems that my busy season swooped down on me and I'm not feeling as prepared as I like. Next weekend I am going to see the Dalai Lama speak and I'm so excited about that. It feels like a once in a lifetime experience.

The following 3 weeks I have 4 shows - one 2-day show in Flemington, New Jersey, a 1-day show in Bennington, VT, Easthampton, MA and Holyoke, MA. Should be an exciting time. I'm sure by the end I will feel exhausted and worried that my stock is too low. At least that's my hope.

How cool it was that a woman I don't know commented on a blog entry and said that she will be a vendor at the Easthampton show as well. I'm looking forward to meeting you Dawn.

Here are some new pieces that will be going up on my website soon.