Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mom's Christmas Necklace

Now that Christmas is behind us, I can share the necklace I made for my mom's gift this year. (Mom reads my blog, so I had to wait until now.)
This is a modified Tribal Treasures necklace, made with some rather expensive Venetian beads, ocean jasper, Thai silver charms, and some spotty green beads that I don't have a name for. The silver toggle was purchased, but the chain is handmade (from easy-links featured in Bead on a Wire).
I teach this class often; your next opportunity to learn how to make your own Tribal Treasures necklace will be on February 21st when I offer this workshop at The Gathering Place Studio in Naperville, Illinois. To sign up, contact Portia Mandel: 630 201-7970.
Hope to see you there!

Friday, December 26, 2008

10 Trippy Tricks Workshop offered tomorrow!

OK, it's your last chance to take a workshop with me this year!
Tomorrow I'm offering one of my very most popular workshops: 10 Trippy Tricks 2. This is a continuation of my 10 Trippy Tricks 1 workshop, but the first workshop is not a prerequisite for this class. You will learn at least 10 very different ways to wrap beads and make beautiful wire links that can be used interchangeably in hundreds of jewelry designs.
You'll come away with a variety of new skills and new techniques. Learn:
Hook & eye clasps
Double-spiral links
Eye-pin links
Wrapped eye-pin links
Jump rings
Silver-swirl bead wraps & wire links
Coil-wrapped beads
Double coil-wrapped beads
Figure-8 links
Wrapped eye-pin bead wraps
This workshop is fun and suitable for students of all skill levels. The fee is $95 and includes a full day of instruction with handouts, morning coffee, lunch, beverages and snacks. Such a deal! (Workshops at the Bead & Button Show are running $300 and more per day for a seven-hour class and they don't include lunch.)
If you're interested in coming to Idyllwild, California tomorrow for my workshop, please email me right away. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmas, everyone!

Good morning, and a happy Christmas to everyone!
I wish all of my students, friends and family a blessed Christmas and a new year full of adventure. There is so much talk right now about our poor economy and all of our financial investments in the stock market being in disarray. My strategy during tough times is pretty much the same as in easier times:
1. Trust God. No. Matter. What.
2. Continue giving, and look for ways to give more, not less. As bad as things might be for me, there always is someone out there who has it worse and needs my help.
3. Commit to personal growth and creativity by taking workshops, reading good books, trying new art forms and techniques, and making new art—my own art, not reproductions of others' art!
4. Be grateful for all the good things in my life: family, true friends, great opportunities, the gift of creativity, life itself; and, especially, my best friend, Jesus.
Happy Christmas, everyone!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

New Love Knot Necklace

I just had to post a photo of my new Love Knot Necklace, which I made yesterday while teaching a workshop in my home in Idyllwild.
It was great fun sitting around the dining room table with three friends—Dale, Tonia and Barbara—making love knot links, coiled wire bead wraps, S-clasps and jump rings. We spent the entire day making our necklaces and afterward I was able to use liver of sulfur to artificially age my necklace, polish it, and get it ready for the tumbler.
This morning I took some photos to show Dale how I use my EZ Cube photography system, and now we're getting ready to go out to breakfast at Cafe Aroma. I wish all my friends could be here on the mountain with us to share the beauty of this place! The snow is melting gradually, and the sky is a bright blue without a cloud anywhere to be seen... Looking forward to another day of counting my blessings in this gorgeous place!

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Snowy Day

We just had a couple of major snowstorms blow through Idyllwild this week, and I was housebound for three days.
But yesterday the sun came out and the sky is such a beautiful, deep-cerulean blue, it's hard to believe it's real. Today, more of the same gorgeous sunshine sparkles on a white and green world, and I'm so glad I was able to capture it in several photos.
During my "downtime" earlier this week, it would have been easy to get depressed. Outside, the storm raged and it was dark and gloomy, and very cold. Inside, I had the lights on most of the time and my heater ran continuously, burning up expensive propane.
At times like these, it's easy to become discouraged. But I choose to stay encouraged, to believe that, as I work, God will provide for my needs. While I do work hard and employ all of my creative abilities, I also know where my provision really comes from, and it is not from my own weak self. My provision comes from the Lord, and with that trust comes the peace of resting in Him.
In other words, while our country is in recession and the entire world is in a financial tailspin, I am at peace. I simply trust God, put Him first in my life, and thank Him every day for His presence and loving concern. I also look for ways to increase my giving, even in the toughest economic times. It may not make sense in the natural, so to speak, but it makes perfect sense in the supernatural. Give what you can, help others, be a blessing. Trust God to take care of you, and look for ways to help others.
This week while it was dark outside, I turned my thoughts toward the future and made some new jewelry designs to share with my students next year. I have several more ideas that I'll be creating over the coming days, and soon I'll be sharing them through books, DVDs, and live workshops. I hope to meet you in a workshop someday.
Tomorrow I'm hosting a day-long workshop in my home on the Love Knot Necklace, and on December 27 I'll be offering another day-long workshop on the 10 Trippy Tricks 2 Necklace. If you're interested in attending, contact me soon! I do have a few openings in both classes.
My workshop schedule changes regularly and I add classes to it almost every week, so be sure to stay tuned by visiting my Web site:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Two new openings in upcoming retreat!

I suddenly have two openings in my next Wild Wire Women retreat taking place next week, December 11-15.
You can save $100 by signing up for this retreat, which costs $625 for three full days of personal instruction, four nights lodging, a welcome dinner, four simple breakfasts, and three lunches. Transportation to and from Idyllwild, wire, beads, and three dinners are not included in the workshop fee. In 2009, the fee goes up to $725, so if you were considering attending a retreat, I'd pick this one.
Thursday afternoon arrival, unpack and get settled, then join us for a delicious dinner at my favorite restaurant in Idyllwild.
Friday morning breakfast is followed by the Tribal Treasures workshop, bracelet or necklace, with a break for lunch (included). Dinner is on your own in town.
Saturday morning breakfast is followed by the Love Knot Necklace workshop, with a break for lunch (included). Dinner is on your own in town, but we may opt to have pizza and wine at home and enjoy a movie.
Sunday morning breakfast is followed by an abbreviated version of the Etruscan Spiral Necklace workshop. After lunch, we will make Fantastic Fibula pins. Dinner is on your own in town.
This will be a terrific retreat and I hope you take advantage of the reduced price. If you're interested in attending, please email right away:

Monday, December 1, 2008

Next Wire Workshop Coming Up Soon...

My Saturday workshop at Brea Bead Works was a terrific success, and I am so pleased with and proud of my talented and hardworking students. We learned a lot from each other as we each made an Etruscan Spiral Necklace inspired by my latest trip to Cortona, Italy. One gal in the class surpassed us all (yes, me too!) by making a complete necklace, bracelet and earrings set (two pair of earrings, not just one) in one day. She did stay during lunch to work on her projects, but still! I'm always amazed by my students.
So now I'm gearing up for the next workshop on my schedule: the Faux Metals technique, which can be applied to making necklaces, earrings, and/or bracelets. The workshop runs from 9:30 am to 5 pm (approximately) this Saturday, December 6, at my home studio in beautiful Idyllwild, California.
Some materials are even supplied for this class: thanks to Lucky Squirrel for providing our shrink plastic and Jacquard Products for donating gorgeous metallic paint. I also have rubber stamps, scissors and punches, heat guns, and other supplies needed to make the beautiful "faux metal" charms. You just need to bring your own wire (copper or silver) and the beads of your choice, and lots of headpins.
The fee is $95 and includes morning coffee and a delicious salad-bar lunch! You can't beat that.
If you're interested in signing up, I have three openings in this workshop. Send me an email and I'll register you right away.