Thursday, July 30, 2009

Multi-talented Artistic Jen on the Crazy Train

Just love to find someone who's so multi-talented and is able to create such beautiful things with each one of those talents.

So it is with Artistic Jen, the current rider on the Artfire Crazy Train. Jen's studio features beautiful items in several different media, including polymer clay artwork (beads, hand painted pendants, etc.), crochet and jewelry crafting. Here are a few examples:
Crocheting and needlework are crafts I've never had much luck (or patience) with, so I'm always impressed. That is one fine afghan!
O.K., I'll 'fess up. I love the macaw because it reminds me of my favorite Monty Python sketch ("Norwegian Blue. Beautiful plumage.") This does NOT mean I don't love the piece, and Jen's studio features hand painted portraits of several beautiful macaws. Well worth having a look!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Here GemKItty kitty kitty!

The current Studio of the Week, brought to you by The Artfire Jewelry Designers and Jewelry Supply Sellers Guild is GemKitty.

Gem Kitty (aka Kathy) is an active member of the guild and a true asset to Artfire. Her creations are stunning--I'm especially in awe of her earrings, as (unlike most jewelry designers), I don't have much patience with earrings and applaud those that have that special skill!

Here are just two examples of her special jewelry pieces. Those yellow lucite flower earrings are simply yummy!

Visit GemKitty's studio at And don't forget...the Christmas in July promotion is still offering incredible buys on handmade items through July 31!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Heather Designs--Artfire Crazy Train Rider July 22-23

Heather Designs, Artfire's Crazy Train Rider July 22-23, offers some beautifully made lampwork beads, jewelry and other artisan offerings that showcase a truly special talent. Just a few items from her studio at: are pictured here.

You'll want to take a moment and browse her shop. Get ready to drool!

The Longest Week

It's been a long week for me. There's not been much time to do creative things in that time, probably because my mind has been completely wrapped around other, vastly more important, things.

On July 16, my 84-year-old mother passed away. There's a cliche that normally bounces around in many situation such as these wherein folks say "Well, it was a blessing." In this case, yes, it was a blessing. Mother had been afflicted with a chronic illness most of her life. In fact, when I was five years old, I was told my mother would be dead before I was 10. I'm 52 now, so that just goes to show you that doctors don't always know everything, or even much, and frequently zero in on the negative, rather than the positive.

But that's another blog for another time.

Mother went to the hospital by ambulance on July 13. After that, she was unable to move, either on her own or with the help of nurses, without screaming in pain. She was receiving copious pain shots, pills and other forms of relief, but to little or no avail. Over the course of the ensuing few days, she became weak, unable (or unwilling) to eat and by Thursday, it was obvious she was ready to go. She had even told some of us that she'd seen my dad and her sister, another sign that the end was at hand.

Because she was in such pain, it indeed was the proverbial 'blessing'.

However, it is better to look back on a life that was lived so openly and so obviously to its fullest. And lived despite pain and despair and disappointment that came with. She never lost her faith and always tried to see the good in people and in every situation.

As for me, I will miss her, even though we had out 'moments' (mothers and daughters usually do), and it will take me some time to feel as if I'm back in a 'normal' frame of mind.

I deeply appreciated all the kind words of condolence and the show of support given to me and my family by other family members and friends--some who didn't even know mother, but knew the pain I and others were (and are) going through. I will try to forgive those that, by their actions of late, have shown that they are only fair weather 'friends' and couldn't see their way clear to call, write a note, pay a visit or even, probably, think about us. Eventually I will be able to forgive that, hoping such people just are unable to understand true friendship and true caring.

Forgiveness is admittedly difficult for me, but for the memory of my mother, my father, my brother, my sister and my son, I'll do it. And do it gladly. There really isn't much to be gained by doing other wise!

Mother would've wanted it that way.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

AJDJSS Guild Studio of the Week--Rouge River Beads

If you're looking for a great selection of beading supplies, including glass and gemstone beads, findings (clasps, headpins, beadcaps and many others), then head over to Rouge River Beads, this week's Artfire Jewelry Designers & Jewelry Supplies Sellers Guild's 'Studio of the Week'.
I know I'm having serious thoughts about both the examples above...I just have to tell myself that there's always room for 'a few more' supplies. husband would probably disagree. But, hey, what does HE know??? (Love you, honey! !)
To check out the dozens of offerings from Rouge River Beads just click here:
And don't forget to enter the AJDJSS July 'Rock Green' giveaway. Just visit the Guild's blog and post a comment by clicking here: You could win some fabulous handmade jewelry prizes!
Have a great day!

Sometimes Life Just Gets in the Way

Just when I decide to 'keep up' with blogging, life comes along and puts a spanner in my plans.
My elderly (84) mother is seriously ill and in hospital. She's currently unable to move with being in intense pain. Her physical problems are too many, and too complicated to try and explain here. Let's just say that, in my 52 years, I can remember few times when she was feeling 'good'. It is difficult to see her in this state, as she is such a stubborn fighter and, despite problems we've had over the years, I still love her and would not want her to suffer in this way (or anyone, come to that).
For the present, I'm trying to come to terms with the situation and still find/make time for me (read: creativity time). It's just one of those moments in life that seem to go on forever, and that you take one minute (vs. one day) at a time.
If you read this, and can send some strength and calming vibes her way, please do. She won't know you're doing it, but if it works, she--and her family--will appreciate it!

Looking for a fantasy photo? Look no further than MyMagicMe on Artfire

There are just so many words to describe the work of Artfire's newest Crazy Train Rider, MyMagicMe.

Photo morphing is an art that interests me from my old days in advertising, but I haven't been able to even come close to what these artisans can achieve (and likely never will!) If your looking for adorable, classical, whimsical or just plain bizarre (and scary--see the zombie above!), then look no further than MyMagicMe.
Check out all their fabulous morphs at

Sunday, July 12, 2009

AJDJSS "Rock Green" Giveaway!

Green with envy...Green, green grass of home... Green cheese....Wearin' O' the Green...Jack o' the Green..It's Not Easy Being Green...Greenbacks (and who doesn't want some?)...Little Green Bag (if you're old enough to remember that goofy song...)...Greenpeace...Alan Greenspan.

O.K., I'll stop. Let's face it, green has been, and probably always will be, part of everyone's life. Here's a chance to make it a fun part of your life!

The Artfire Jewelry Designers and Jewelry Supply Sellers Guild is having a "Rock Green" giveaway this month!

Nine members of the guild have each generously donated a beautiful prize for "Rock Green" winners. If you want a chance to win, you can enter just by posting a comment to the AJDJSS blog:

How easy is that?

Not only will you be entered in the contest, but you'll also learn more about this group of talented artisans and the people who make their creations possible!

Bead Lady 5 Rides the Crazy Train

Bead Lady 5 (Margo) is a busy gal over at Artfire. She not only creates and sells beautiful jewelry, she also rides herd the the Artfire Jewelry Designers & Jewelry Supplies Sellers Guild (AJDJSS), also at Artfire.
In addition to the examples above, ]take a look at her work by visiting her Artfire studio:
Good luck with your sales!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hello Kitty, Goodbye Dignity

I'll admit it. I'm a big sucker for 'Hello, Kitty', that really twee little white cat that, usually, comes with a pink background (though I've seen it in a very lovely baby blue, as well). You can see her everywhere, from purses to checkbooks (oooh, got one!), necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings (check, check, check and check...), clothing (t-shirt and pajamas) and many other things. It's a product of the Sanrio Corp. and, as you can see, I've bolstered that company's bottom line on more than one occasion.Without fail (or at least among those I know) men are appalled by even the idea of Hello, Kitty. In my husband's case, I think it's the color pink that normally comes with that he finds most worthy of eye-rolling commentary. (What is it with men and pink, anyway? Colors have no either macho or feminine attributes unless we ascribe those attributes to them. Go figure...).
A few weeks ago I went into our bank to make a cash deposit. It was a rare occasion when I don't use an ATM to get things done faster. Anyway, I pulled out my checkbook to confirm my checking account number with the teller. Noticing my Hello, Kitty checkbook cover, she said: "Hey, you know you can get a Hello, Kitty ATM card from us?" I was immediately intrigued but curbed my enthusiasm until I made doubly sure getting the card wasn't going to cost me anything. Good. It wasn't. So I proceeded to order my Hello, Kitty bank card with well disguised glee. Fully aware of my husband's distaste for the simply drawn little creature, I made a point to ask that if I got this card, would he get one also (to replace his existing one)? I was told 'No', not unless he asks for it.
With the proverbial coast clear (at least for my husband), I completed the request. About a week later, I got my new bank card in the post. Just in time for Christmas! My husband, of course, rolled his eyes and made some comment about 'Well, as long as I don't have to use it' and all was well. Until two weeks later. When an envelope arrived from our bank, addressed to my husband, that quite obviously had a plastic card inside. I immediately presumed it was another offer for another credit card, but didn't immediately toss it, cut up, into the trash. Imagine our surprise when he opened the envelope and found his brand-spankin' new Hello, Kitty ATM card!

After reassuring him, several times and, very vehemently in fact, that I had nothing to do with this and, in fact, had made sure I could replace my card with no change to his, he made a few more (amusingly) disparaging comments and immediately took off for the bank before it closed (it was a Saturday). Roughly forty-five minutes later he returned, a defeated and bemused man. The bank had told him that if I'd requested a new card, his would automatically follow (why it took two additional weeks AND why this happened after I was told it wouldn't is anybody's guess). According to his retelling of the incident, he told them, quite pointedly, that he didn't want a Hello, Kitty card and how could they expect HIM to use such a thing in public?Sadly for him, first of all there was nothing he could do about it. He was stuck with the card for better or worse; and secondly, all of the three people working in the bank that morning were women. Apparently, they all thought the whole thing very, very amusing.
Me? Well, I tried to express my sympathies with a straight face, reassured him that one very seldom has to actually hand a cashier a debit card these days (usually either tapping or swiping it does the trick), then made my excuses and went upstairs. To check I said. Actually, I was ROTFLMAO. If he realized I was doing this he didn't (or wouldn't) let on.
Mind you, the card is a simple one, with a white background and the sweet li'l face of Hello, Kitty. The only pink on it is a pale pink stripe on one side and the color of Hello, Kitty's bow (or flower, I don't remember offhand). So...what's the big deal, eh? :) For the record, even I usually eschew such saccharine, trendy marketing ploys, but Hello, Kitty is my simple guilty pleasure. She is the doppleganger to my obsession with Happy Bunny (or...vice versa). BTW, I also have a Hello, Kitty mouse pad, wallet, necklace, ring...(deep intake of breath)... Long may she purr!