Purple boots

As I get older it’s the small moments/little details of life that are the most poignant. Recently, my daughter was so excited to put on her new purple shearling boots we bought at Costco. They’re supposed to be cabin boots because they are a bit too warm for Phoenix. I had put them away to take up north. She remembered them and asked if she could wear her new boots to school instead of her normal rainbow-colored sneakers.

Of course I said yes. Her eyes lit up when she saw them. When I dropped her off to school that morning she couldn’t stop looking at her pretty feet. As I watched her walk away, ponytail bouncing and skipping happily to school in her new boots, I had a moment of gratitude, once again, for this miracle baby of mine.

Being a mama in my 40s isn’t always easy. The energy level isn’t the same as it was with my son. Sometimes I don’t really want to color or read one more story after a long work day, making my family’s dinner, cleaning up, etc. What I desire most is to sit on the sofa and watch a movie on Netflix. But then I look into those lovely blue eyes and how can I say no because I’m tired? I do my best to say yes and keep going because God had enough faith in me to finally bring her to me.

I’m thankful today for my darling daughter and the simple fact that purple boots can make her so happy.

It’s Thanksgiving;  what are you grateful for?


Own a piece of my art


I have some fun news to share. I was invited to participate in an online juried art market to sell some of my handmade art this holiday season. Dozens of artists will be hosting an online store from Nov. 27th to Dec. 13th on the Handmade Art Market Facebook Page.  To participate, log into your Facebook account and then click to “Like” the H.A.M page. This is a limited shopping event for handmade items and you must have a Facebook account to participate.

The way it works is that the participating artists will display a photo of the item for sale, along with details like description, size, price, shipping costs in their shop on the Facebook page. The first person to type “Sold” and give a valid Paypal account will buy the piece. The artists will invoice immediately and items will be shipped out within 3 days of purchase. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Plus an easy way to do some holiday shopping in your jammies.

I often get emails from people wondering where they can purchase my work. At this time, I don’t have a virtual store for my jewelry. I just last week finally opened my Etsy shop so people can get a signed copy of my book, but I’ve always needed to keep the jewelry I make with me when I teach. That’s because I use many of the techniques I teach in the pieces I make, so when I’m demoing particular techniques I can point to components of my work for a visual reference. I do sell my work to my students and also at the vendor nights of the retreats.

But here’s the good news. I’m ready to let go of quite a few necklaces and earrings. Susan has some wonderful new products to debut next year with Ranger, so I’m going to be busy in my studio making all new jewelry (aka art samples). I also developed a lot of new classes for 2016, so you’re going to find me hunkering down here pretty soon. (Registration has begun for many of them. Check out my website and click on Workshops to see a list of confirmed workshops).

Here is a sneak peek of just two of the necklaces I’ll be selling over on Holiday Art Market. I will be sure to have pieces in a variety of price points. Since I am ready to let these babies go, I decided to not price any of my work over $100 for this special sale.



There are A LOT of amazing artists participating in this event to sell their unique work. Be sure to look around at all the shops. My jewelry might not be the thing for Aunt Martha this holiday season, but I can bet there is something wonderful to be found for just about everyone on your shopping list who appreciates handmade. Below is a picture of my shop storefront. Hopefully this makes it easy to find me.


Here’s wishing you a truly Artful day!


A soldier’s story

A long time ago before my work with ICE Resin and Susan, I was a magazine writer/editor and paper artist. I started my first WordPress blog in 2006. It truly was an online diary, and I was always surprised when anyone other than family read it. I gave it the catchy name of Get Real Scrapbooking because I was on a crazy quest at the time to get mothers to put photos of themselves in their family albums. This is wayyyyy before selfies. Almost every mom I knew went to crops with plastic bins stashed with family photos where they were nowhere to be found. (Remember when the photos were film that was developed at a photo center. Gasp!) Page after page was kiddo cuteness. How could a mother not love that face? Anyhoo…I digress…another story for another time perhaps.

Since today is Veteran’s Day, I remembered a post I wrote a long time ago when my now-teenage son was small regarding a trip to San Diego. I was determined to find it! When I closed down that blog, I made sure to import all the posts into a file. I spent 30 minutes today looking for what I wrote. After reading it again I decided to resurrect it in honor of all the United States Soldiers and Veterans who give/gave of themselves for our freedom.


***First published June 2007

The first day of summer break, we drove to California for a family vacation. We traded our timeshare week for a stay at Gaslamp Plaza Suites Hotel, located smack in the heart of downtown San Diego’s historic Gaslamp quarter. My hubby worked remotely for the first two days, which left my son and me to figure out how to pass the time. Big things, like going to Sea World or the Wild Animal Park, were out of the question since Dad really wanted to do those as a family. I asked my son on Tuesday, the day after Memorial Day, what he wanted to do.

“I want to take a trolley ride, Mom.” I didn’t want to shell out $32/adult and $16/child to ride the tourist trolley that visited all the usual places. Instead, I thought it was time to teach my country boy about big city public transportation. It turned into an educational lesson where he figured out how to take the light rail’s Orange Line from Gaslamp Quarter to American Plaza so we could transfer to the Blue Line. Then to take the Blue Line to Old Town Station so we could catch the Green Line for Mission Valley Center. We also picked out other landmarks throughout the day so my son could learn how to navigate cross town busses.

He was unsure of himself at first, but soon got the hang of things. He quickly went from being a wide-eyed country boy looking for people to exchange smiles with to sitting stoically on the seat and keeping a bored expression on his face as he looked above, rather than at, his fellow passengers. At one point in the light rail ride, I told him to get up from the seats we were sitting on. He asked me why and I nodded my head in the direction of the man in a wheelchair who was coming aboard.

I explained it’s respectful for able-bodied people to give their seats to elderly or handicapped. The man thanked us as we moved diagonally from him. My son knew it was not polite to stare. He did, however, keep glancing at his legs or rather lack of legs, which were cut off above the knees.

“I bet you’re wondering why I don’t have any legs,” the man who looked to be in his 20s said, smiling at my son, who looked at me after the question was raised for visual clues as to how best to respond. I smiled at the man and then at my son and nodded to indicate it was safe to talk to him.

“I was wondering, but my mom would say it’s rude to ask.”

“Well, buddy, I’m a soldier. I lost my legs in Iraq,” the man said softly, looking straight into my son’s eyes.

My boy looked at him earnestly, a flicker of sadness crossing his young face. He looked at me and then looked back at the man. Then he said something that made my heart drop to my knees.

“I’m sorry you lost your legs, but thank you for fighting for our country.”

The soldier was so surprised by such an honest and heartfelt response from a child. His eyes grew wet and he blinked back tears. My eyes watered and I blinked back tears. 

My heart filled with pride when I realized, yet again, what an extraordinary difference my son makes to my world.

Save the Date; Art is You Santa Rosa


I have some more exciting news to share. I’ll be teaching at Art is You retreats for the first time in 2016. I’ve admired what Sallianne and Ellen have been doing for a long time with their wonderfully creative art retreats. Some of my closest friends are instructors at Art is You, and I have been hearing rave reviews about their classes and students for a long time now.  I’m truly honored to be included in an unbelievable lineup of talent for Art is You in Santa Rosa, California.

I’m happy to say that I developed all brand new workshops for this retreat. I’ll be teaching three mixed-media classes. Two are jewelry related and the other is a beautiful leather journal. I wanted to ensure people with beginning jewelry-making skills feel confident about their abilities to do the class. To this end, I built projects that I know are completely doable as well as lovely. And for many of you who subscribe to my blog, please don’t worry. I kept you in mind as I was creating these workshops because I know you’ve got some mad jewelry skills already. I have a few tricks up my sleeve.

Take peek at the workshop schedule .

If you click this link to register, you’ll receive $20 off your registration fee.

Want to see what I’m teaching? Here’s some pics.


My Wild and Free Gypsy Heart


PeepPie Leather Journal


Bronze Bambino Art to Wear

More to come on Art is You Santa Rosa. For now, I’m thrilled to tell you to simply Save the Date.


Art Jewelry Retreat opens today


Happy Sunday everyone. Hope you are having a great day. I just wanted to let you know the “Buy It Before You Win It” contest for the upcoming Art Jewelry Adventure Retreat is now closed. Winners have been announced. Congrats to Karen Lackey. She is the winner from my contest. Karen was one of the first 25 people to enter and she was the first person to share my information on Facebook. Trusty online app RandomNumberGenerator.org picked number 17 and made Karen the winner.

Thanks for all of the support you guys showed me in both entering and sharing of the contest. I’m so pleased with the response that I’ll be sending everyone who entered their name and email on my form a free resin project sheet .pdf that I promised to the first 25 folks. For those who entered, please keep an eye out for it in your mailboxes this coming week.

Today is the first day that online registration for Art Jewelry Adventure Retreat online opens. Illysa and Kira have made 100 goodie bags that are packed with product for those who sign up. If you’re thinking this is the right online art retreat for you next year, please click my instructor link here and make it happen.

Not convinced? Want to see a little video to learn more? Here’s one that introduces all the instructors for the event.

In case you didn’t see my last blog post, this is the necklace I’ll be teaching you how to make. Techniques include working with backless bezels, designing with transparent imagery, embedding organics in ICE Resin and, of course, guaranteed success when working with ICE for your jewelry making. I’ll also be teaching how to make a beautiful wireworked chain from my favorite metal fibers and bronze wire. This includes a handmade wireworked clasp to complete your necklace. You guys know how much I adore making (and teaching!) jewelry using 100% handmade components.




Here’s wishing everyone a truly Artful week to come!


Art Jewelry Online Adventure Contest


I have some pretty exciting news to share. Many of you have been asking me to teach an online workshop for years. I keep coming back with the response that I promise, I’m working on it. Well…this time I mean it. I will be participating in an AMAZING online jewelry making workshop that will happen for all of 2016 with 16 other incredible talented jewelry artists.

Maybe you’ve heard of — or participated in — the wildly successful Polymer Clay Adventure that’s been happening online this year. Well, Ilysa and Kira, the organizers of this retreat who’re also pretty fantastic polymer clay experts/artists (plus podcasters + authors + hosts of Polymer Clay TV) asked if I’d bring an ICE Resin workshop to their latest endeavor called Art Jewelry Adventure. Fellow travelers, hang on. I said Yes with a capital Y and I jumped on board for some seriously rockin’ fun.

Registration open Sunday, October 25th. However, these ladies have put together a really cool contest called Win It Before You Can Buy It. If you fill out this form then you will be tied to me and will be entered for a chance to win your spot in the Art Jewelry Online Adventure. Also, as an added bonus, I’ll send a free resin .pdf tutorial to the first 25 people who register with my link that comes directly from the new book Explore, Create, Resinate Jewelry.

For my online workshop, I’ll be teaching you how to successfully work with backless bezels, transparent imagery and organic material. Also how to properly use ICE Resin with guaranteed results. I’ll also be teaching some fun and easy wire link chain making (which includes how to properly and safely use a torch to draw beads on wire and create “metal fibers”.) And this is just my little ‘ole self/class. Take a peek. The instructor line up is awesome.

Lots more info on Art Jewelry Adventure Online to come here on my blog and also my social media channels. Stay tuned. For now, here’s the 411 for entering the contest. Act now because, it’s only for this week.

Remember — Click this Link. Fill out the Form. Please share this exact link with jewelry making friends and family. First 25 to sign up with this link will get a free resin .pdf tutorial.





Looking for Big Magic


The past seven weeks I’ve been working on lots and lots of behind the scenes stuff that I can’t share yet. This is always a challenge for me because my days fly by busy and working, but since everything I’m doing is for future big revels, I always struggle with updating my blog and doing my social media.

Basically, Susan and I are working on new product development to debut at the winter CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) trade show now that we are working hand-in-hand with Ranger Industries. I can tell you the process has been so enjoyable. I love the meetings because not only is there a fabulous team, but everyone at Ranger is happy, fulfilled and doing their jobs so effectively. We are loving being an integral part of a larger team and seeing how much ICE Resin is going to grow and soar with these changes. There’s lots of new product ideas, testing, sourcing, concocting, brainstorming, working with the in-house chemist and everything else that goes into bringing art products to market.

It’s been eight years since I joined the crafts industry, first as a designer and then as a manufacturer with Susan. When I look back on it, I cannot believe the changes I’ve made, the lessons learned, the information that’s inside my head and what it’s like to work each day as an insider in the industry. I truly feel as though I received a hands-on MBA, particularly in the past four years.

My days are still busy and full, but they have shifted. This means I’m also getting a lot of family time as well. It’s been wonderful to reconnect with my kids and husband in a way that’s been difficult as we were working 24/7 to grow ICE Resin.  I haven’t been doing nearly as much actual artwork as I would like to, but this is a personal choice. I’ve decided that my downtime right now is better spent on family, reading and listening to TED Talks, exploring new recipes and rediscovering myself and who I truly am as a creative being. I’ve also been spending a lot of time with my mother, and still working through the process of getting her eventually settled  in a new home.

I’m finding inspiration right now in Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book Big Magic. What a perfect time for me to be reading this new book on creativity! I’m only a few chapters into it, but, WOW, I haven’t been this excited about a book since I read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. I feel like what I am doing now, and what we (Susan and I) are building for the future truly is big magic. It’s all our ideas coming to fruition on a grand scale.

For those of you who are looking for our Tucson 2016 classes, I’m working on getting those put together. I’ll write a blog post soon when they’re available. Also, keep an eye out here and over at the ICE Queen eZine  for some more information on some upcoming news.

I hope as I’ve been taking some time for rediscovery that each of you have been living and enjoying your Artful lives as well.

Till next time,