Week 53: 2017 IN REVIEW

Thank you, dear readers, for your congratulatory comments! And thank you (WBS), for the bottles of champagne!  We’re all celebrating the achievement of a goal!  I couldn’t have done it without you, reading and commenting.  I received 326 of your encouraging comments over last year!  Thank you, thank you!


I couldn’t resist doing some analysis. The most popular week was #11 (amber glass) with 11 comments; followed by week 17 (dark green) and week 38 (chrysoprase) with 9 comments; and week 25 (iridescent), with 8 comments.  Then I checked he lower end:  the peach necklace of week 15 got one comment, as did weeks 9 and 24 (brown and black with other colors).


What was easy? Writing each blog flowed like a charm; not once did I experience  writer’s block.  Two things helped:  lots of research so my head was full of interesting tidbits and I like to write.


What was hard? The technical stuff–especially adding more than one image and having it land where I wanted it.  I chatted with WordPress so many times on that subject that they finally asked me what operating system I was using.  They told me it was too old (as did my webmaster and others.  So I did the cyber Monday thing and bought a new PC, to be installed soon!)


The other difficult challenge was to get rid of the blue background in most of my pictures. Not possible until I realized my kitchen window was UV-tinted, so I moved my photo area to a north-facing un-tinted window.


I intended to rejuvenate my bead artistry as I turned 75. It turned out that meant I must create a spectacular necklace once a week for 52 weeks:  that realization hit me early on; it became a point of pride and the true challenge.  Twenty-nine necklaces sold.  I am humbled and gratified.

One existing collector (MBL) bought 5; a new collector (DS) also bought 5: to you both, a belated but heartfelt tip of the NYEve champagne glass!  Another existing collector (SL) bought 2 and a long term friend (SG) bought 2!  New friends, local friends, plus California friends took this year over the top for me!  Thank you!

More than one person has asked me to put this together in book form.  That thought is a little overpowering right now.

Over 52 weeks, my thoughts have delved more and more frequently into the ageing process. Having fun, making moments count, valuing relationships, letting the unimportant slip away, leaning into quality workmanship, keeping promises (to post every Wednesday come hell or high water!)—-  this is what I learned this year.  And how lucky I was that Rochelle Ford’s centerpiece and philosophy were the grand finale!

One unintended consequence yielded a great benefit: I will donate four boxes of beads I no longer want after going through 52 drawers of beads acquired over  23-years, to Rosie’s Place, a non-profit in Boston, founded in 1974, which serves more than 12,000 poor and homeless women a year.  Their Craft Cooperative teaches women to make bead jewelry and learn a new skill.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.  I’m taking the rest of January off.  I shall present a new program on February 1, 2018.  Thank you all.  See you soon.  Be well.


Drawer 15: Peach & Gray


“Emotionally Rich”


My Apothecary Chest: in 1994, it arrived via container to California from Hong Kong, where I discovered beading during an ex-pat assignment there. Serves as the repository for my beads. Handcrafted. It has 52 Drawers.

2017 Challenge: Create a Necklace a Week, using only the Beads from one Drawer at a time. Voila! 52 Necklaces!

Week 15/Drawer 15: April 12, 2017: “Emotionally Rich”

Since I had just a few peach and gray beads, I put them together in Drawer 15 and they have co-existed over the years. While rummaging through the drawer, I was excited to find two strands of gorgeous peach aventurine to feature this week.

Aventurine is a crystal with a lot of quartz in it, mostly opaque and often green, leading some to incorrectly identify it as jade. Peach is a lesser known aventurine color which is achieved by the presence of the minerals orange mica and pyrite (aka “fools’ gold”). These minerals are said to enhance creativity.

When I found the four large peach aventurine ovals, I knew I had enough to make a two-strand necklace! Notice how the sparkle of the coppery seed beads brings out the brightness of the minerals.

The highlight of the necklace is the lampwork glass creation of Gail Crosman Moore. Gail is special to me: a familiar face at the many CA bead shows where I shopped; she is from Western MA; and she is a redhead!   Mostly she is a truly creative artist as she wields colorful glass canes in one hand and in the other hand, she shapes the molten into a unique bead, all while wearing protective gear in front of flame!

Shaped like a bell, the centerpiece is peach with striations of green and blue. The bottom has beautiful blue pods waiting for your caress.

Read Gail’s website and be sure to note her shop in P-Town!

This necklace demanded a copper clasp and is accompanied by a simple pair of copper and aventurine earrings. It is 20” long.  $115.

Drawer 4: Wood

drawer-4-5My Apothecary Chest: It arrived via container to California from Hong Kong in 1994 after an ex-pat assignment there; where I discovered beading; my repository of many beads.

2017 Challenge:  from 52 drawers of Beads; Create a Necklace a Week, using only the Beads from one Drawer at a time.  Voila!  52 Necklaces!

Week 4/Drawer 4: January 25, 2017: “Celtic Turf”

Opening Drawer 4 full of wood beads was a big letdown. Wood is brown!  Brown is boring!  It took an Irish Claddagh and scented rosewood to bring life to brown beads!

The Claddagh symbol has been worn as a ring since Roman times; the hands, heart and crown symbolize friendship, love and loyalty. It became an Irish icon in 1637 when the design was approved by Charles I.  It was named after a small fishing village in Galway.  I bought this Claddagh during my first and only trip to Ireland to discover my ancestral land.

The title of this necklace is Celtic Turf for a reason: the centerpiece is made from ancient turf, or black peat soil, found in bogs all around Ireland.  This turf can be 5000 years old.  Interesting fact:  Ireland’s decayed organic matter is the most efficient carbon sink on the planet.

The rosewood beads have their own story to tell. Called red sandalwood in the Indian culture, these beads ask the god Ganesh to remove obstacles.  And it is believed their scent calms the immune system.  There is only a vague scent remaining with these beads I bought in Asia in 1993-4, my first year of a long love affair with beads.

I’ve learned a lesson. Not all of the 48 remaining drawers will be exciting, but they will be interesting because they have their own special stories to reveal.

Wear this necklace with your own sterling silver earrings.

The necklace is 25” long plus a 2.5” centerpiece.  $69.00

Welcome to my Open Studio


Teal windsocks on cross streets in Hull will mark the locations for fascinating studios where real artists work!

Please visit me in my studio in Hull Village on July 9 or 10, Saturday or Sunday from 10am to 5pm.

23 Andrew Ave (3rd Left after Library on Main St), Hull.


Be prepared to find newly designed Beadleful necklaces, lots of my trademark chunky bead jewelry, some bracelets and earrings!

Also, Marilyn MacDonnell returns with fabulous totes, key chains, purses and a new line of beach towels!

OPEN STUDIOS has been proudly presented by www.hullartists.com for 21 years. Visit our website for a map and info about the 39 participating artists


Happy New Year

Today, January 4, 2016, is the first day back to work in the New Year.   Dear readers, may you be happy, healthy and productive in 2016!


Writing this on Dec 10, 2015 marks the fifth anniversary of my return to Boston, or more specifically, Hull, a small town on the South Shore.  It’s trite but true:  time flies!


 Thanksgiving, 2015:  When I booked my trip back to California in February, I thought it would celebrate my post-knee replacement return to travel.  It was much more:  it was a return to warm embraces by old friends in San Jose and San Luis Obispo.

 I was seeking the past and I found the present—it was marvelous!

 In San Jose, I stayed in the Paris room at Bob and Sandra’s + the perfect dog Rubee, a Golden Retriever.  We enjoyed great girlfriend time, lots of R&R, good shopping, fabulous wine-ing and dining.

 Next I drove three hours south to San Luis Obispo where Don and I moved in 2000.  The weather was great for the whole trip; especially 72 degrees upon my arrival seemed very welcoming!  I met girlfriends for coffee and catching up.  I was invited to dinner at Patti and Robbie’s, who just sold their olive oil and balsamic vinegar company (www.robbinsfamilyfarm.com  It’s delicious!  Order some; they send it to me; you can enjoy it too.  Burt and Diane, my husband’s and my first friends at Edna Ranch where we lived among the vineyards, drove me there.

 Then on Dec 3rd I traveled through time with Sharon and Rich who invited the other four couples of the Wine Club, founded in 2000, for a reunion.  Sandy bought a bottle of Chardonnay from that year…we all tasted it and reminisced.  Yes, we made Chard and Pinot Noir in our garages in 60 gallon French oak barrels.  Each barrel makes 270 bottles.  We were pretty good at it!  My friends still make wine.

It had to end; all vacations do.  I went out with a bang—driving to Santa Barbara with my bead sister, Elaine; shopping at the Gem Faire (3 times as large as what’s available in all of New England); lunching at Tre Lune; shopping on Coast Village Road; and a drop off at the airport for my trip to SFO where a red eye was waiting to whisk me to Logan

It was a great trip.  Very rejuvenating.  Emotionally satisfying; confirming that old friends are still friends