Strega Jewellry's Blog

jewelry, beads, stone lore, music, kids and nature

Superstition Blog Hop

Tammy Adams of Paisley Lizard designs came up with the terrific idea for a blog hop, the Superstition Hop.

She also created some wonderful black cat beads from polymer clay.  The first 13 people to sign up for her hop won a bead.  Our challenge was to make something with her bead.  We could also take our “favorite” superstition to inspire us to design.   This sounded like SUCH great fun, I rushed to sign up and sure did win one of these adorable little “lucky black cat beads”.


I’m not a really superstitious person.  I do not think that black cats are unlucky nor the number 13.  I love the number 13, after all, 1313 is the Munster’s address.   I do not avoid walking under ladders (though I do look carefully to make sure there are no tools in danger of falling on my head).

I do, however, toss salt over my shoulder if I spill some, just in case it does bring bad luck.  I do not kill spiders because it is good luck to see one.   At this particular time of year, I should be ROLLING in good fortune with all the spiders trying to move into to the house due to the cold weather.   I don’t kill crickets who come into the house just in case they DO bring good luck.  And, I do let thistles grow in my flower bed because they are supposed to keep thieves away.

Anyhow……….when I got my cute little bead, I looked around to try to find out why black cats were considered unlucky.  Supposedly, if a black cat crosses your path, you will have bad luck.   Hmmmm.   No reason why. ,

I have always, however been fascinated with African “hoodoo” magic, a version of Hatian voodun. Not that I want to practice voodoo, it’s way too complicated for me, but I love the mythos of the loa and stories of Haiti, the colorful alters and the interesting characteristics of the l’wa.


According to hoodoo or voodoo as it is sometimes called, a black cat bone carried in a mojo bag will bring a lover back to you again and again.  It is very strong magic so they say.  There was even a song written about it.  Black Cat Bone was a song done by many musicians from old bluesmen like Lightening Hopkins to more modern singers like Johnny Winter and  Eric Clapton.  The lyrics tell of a man singing that he believes that his “baby has a black cat bone” because she runs around and cheats on him, is gone all night and has several men but he keeps going back to her.  Maybe that was why the black cats were considered unlucky.  A man would be compelled to go back again and again to a cheating woman who had a black cat bone.

Lore says, a black cat bone was only effective if you boiled a pot of water at midnight on the waning moon and tossed in a live black cat, killing it and boiling the flesh away.  The  bone that floated to the top was the most effective.  EEEUUUUWW!  No WONDER  they came to mean bad luck!   I simply cannot imagine ANY good coming to a person who had a personality that would  DO such a thing!

ANYWAY……….black cat bones were considered such big mojo that a whole line of magical items grew out of this lore.  You can buy black cat incense, black cat oil, black cat candles and black cat powder.  Just for the heck of it, I checked on eBay and you can buy “black cat bones” which are actually (so I have heard) chicken bones splintered and painted black.  I also read that the black cat oil is not actually rendered fat from black cats but mineral oil scented with natural oils.  I would certainly hope so.

Just look at this cute bead I got from Tammy!   How could anybody think he was bad luck!


I sure did not want to make any jewelry out of black cat bones so I kept looking for inspiration.   I did find a spell and some lore that black cat hair is lucky for gamblers!   hey!   Here I go!   I created this “lucky black cat necklace” with some moon and star charms,  and some funny little beads that look sort of like bones to me, Tammy’s cool bead, a small glass tube with some black cat hair for luck and some stones and herbs that are good for drawing money.   Maybe I will wear it and go to the new casino here in Dayton!  I’ll play the horses!  I’ll play the slots!   It’s going to be my lucky necklace!  I just know it!


I also found this little list of reasons to adopt a black cat.   I’ve had some black cats in my life and I definitely considered myself lucky to have such good friends.


I had some fun making this piece and I know Ill have fun wearing it.   It was good fun to look up black cat lore too though the part about black cat bones was nasty!   I hope you’ll have some more fun and visit the other ladies in the hop to see what they made.

Sigh!   I HAD a list of participants.   But Tammy sent us a revised list and I deleted the list.  For some reason, WordPress will not let me paste the list here and because of the eye surgery, I can’t read what they want me to do.  Something about ctrol/cmd whatever that is.  Anyhow.  For a list of the other bloggers, please go to Tammy’s Paisley Lizard blog and see the list.  Sorry.


November 13, 2015 Posted by | challenges, Jewelry, metaphysical | , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Wheel of the Year: November

October’s brilliant foliage is but a memory, the bright leaves of autumn lie brown and damp on the ground.  The view from my window is bare tree and grey sky most days, the earth damp and brown.


Days are long (and mostly wet here in Ohio) and nights come early.   The chill outside makes the nights perfect for curling up with a great book or snuggling with your furry friends.   Nosey loves to perch on the arm of my chair and as soon as I start petting him, Vato puts his head on my lap and wants attention given to his ears.   It’s also perfect weather for a warm fire if you are lucky enough to have a fireplace and for twinkling candles.   It’s the quiet time between wiccan festivals, a time of turning within.  It’s also perfect for fire magic.   Whether warm fireplace embers or candle burning, flames have always been powerfully magical.    Fire enhances visualizations, meditations, divination and spellwork.


I like to get my candles ready after Samhain.   They need to be “dressed” (with the appropriate oil) and stored wrapped in white linen cloth until I want to use them.   I like to make house blessing candles and healing candles for winter “blahs” and negativity and maybe a money or prosperity candle just for that extra increase I need for the season.   A great gift for a friend is a tranquility candle to help with the stresses of the holiday season.   Use a light blue candle and put it on a white dish surrounded by blue chalcedony stones.

Even if you are not pagan, you can empower candles with magical energy.   Magic, after all, is simply enhancing the possibilities.   Choose the right color candle for what you want.

White = purity, truth, spirituality

Red = strength, love, energy, courage, passion

Blue = peace, tranquility, understanding, patience, health

Natural = all purpose, purification

Green = prosperity, fertility, luck

Yellow/Gold = mental clarity, success, concentration

Brown = grounding, centering, neutrality

Pink = affection, romance, friendship

Black = protection, ward off negativity

Purple = meditation, clairvoyance, power

Silver/Gray = cancellation, neutrality, stalemate

Orange = encouragement, adaptability, stimulation, attraction

To “dress” a candle, take olive oil between your thumb and forefinger and rub it on the candle from the middle to the tip, then from the middle to the bottom, visualizing the energy that you want to happen.   Pagans will certainly have natural oils or herbs to add to the olive oil to increase the energy.

When you burn it, be alone, have soft music playing if you want, visualize what you want to happen.   If you want a tranquility candle, for instance, visualize peaceful scenes, a harmonious home, serene scenes.  If you want, you can make up your own little rhyme or mantra, it does not have to be elaborate. When you have done this once, the candle is “charged” and each time you burn it, the energy radiates outward.   Oh, and don’t toss away your candle stubs into the trash.   You can reuse them to make new candles.

The end of November brings the Thanksgiving celebration.  No matter what your religion, you can take one day to gather with friends and family to celebrate the blessings in your life.   For some, this is the start of their shopping season, the mad search for gifts.  For me, it is the end of the gift search.  Mine have been set aside and are ready to be wrapped.

With luck, we may get a soft dusting of snow on Thanksgiving Day.   Where I grew up, in New York, Thanksgiving Day was considered especially blessed if we got an inch of snow.   Hunting season had started and the men would hunt until noon while the women cooked.   The snow made it easier to track.   For those of you who think hunting is but a cruel sport, you have never spent a long winter with very little food except what was brought in from the woods, the gardens and the streams we fished in summer.  There were plenty of times when that venison in the freezer made the difference between something and nothing on our plates.  Winter is sometimes the time of layoffs for people.   Back then, Food Stamps were not an option.   People made do with what they had, what they could hunt and fish and grow.

November is a good time for counting blessings, relaxing and rejuvenating as the Wheel of the Year turns.   Enjoy!

October 28, 2015 Posted by | holidays, pagan, wiccan | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wheel of the Year: Samhain


Misty mornings, bright, sunny afternoons and crisp cool nights, that’s October.  Then the changes to chill driving rainy days.   It’s the last harvest festival of the year, the final fruits of summer.   Apples, nuts, squash, and pumpkins abound.  The world is filled with glorious fall colors of leaves falling from the trees and smells of dry leaves, bonfires and apples.


All my animals are growing heavier coats.   The grass is brown.   We have plowed the space for next year’s garden and tomorrow, after the rain, I’ll sprinkle the ground with an organic recipe of nutrients that will soak in the soil and enrich it this winter.   A mixture of cola, dish detergent, ammonia, and water will make a great fertilizer for next year’s veggies.

The kitchen smells of hearty soup, a pot of chili or baking on the chilly mornings.   The hens will soon start laying and will give us fresh eggs through the long winter.

All the changes in the weather and the shortening of the days creates subtle changes in our bodies, preparing us for the shorter days of winter.  Our minds shift gears also, from the active mental energy of the spring and summer days to the quieter, more receptive state appropriate to the dark half of the year.   It is a time for divination.   Time to break out the tarot cards, the pendulum, your scrying crystals, whatever you prefer to use to seek answers.


In October is also the great sabbat, Samhain.   For those who are not pagan, it’s just a fun night of the year, a time of frolic and masquerade.  For pagans, it is no small holiday.   It’s actually bigger than your Christmas.
” The word Samhain, comes from the Scots Gaelic word Samhuinn, which litterally translated means “summer’s end.”  In Scotland and Ireland, Halloween is known as Oiche Shamhna, in Wales it’s Nos Calan Gaeaf, or the eve of the winter’s calendar.  With the rise of Christianity, Samhain was changed to Hallowmas, or All Saint’s Day to commemorate the souls of the blessed dead who had been canonized that year. So, the night before this celebration became known as Halloween, All Hallows Eve or Hallantide. November 2nd, became All Souls Day, a day when prayers were to be offered to the souls of all who departed and those who were awaiting entry to Heaven in Purgatory. Throughout time the Pagan and Christian traditions inevitably became intertwined and celebrations have been known to extend from October 31st through November 5th…”

Samhain is both the end and the beginning of the Celtic year.  First, it is a time of Thanksgiving.  For six days before the 31st, which most call Halloween, it’s a celebration of thanks.   Day 1 begins with a lighting of the first candle and giving thanks for all the plants that have died to give both life and comfort to us, for food, clothing, shelter, medicine and things as commonplace as paper, we have plants to thank.


Day 2:  Two candles and giving thanks for all the animals who have died to feed, clothes and support us.  Day 3 is for the pets who have brought joy, companionship and love into our lives.

Day 4:  for fallen warriors who have poured their life’s blood for our freedom and safety.  Light a candle to honor poiicemen, firefighters and soldiers.

Day 5:  honor for ancestors whose lifeblood, saint and sinner alike, connects to us.  By learning about them and honoring them, we send thanks for the lessons we have learned from them.

Day 6 is more personal.  This is for friends and family who have gone before us to the Other Side, those whose lives have directly touched ours.

Day 7:  With all the candles blazing, thanks is given for all the lives given for our own, all the LIFE connected to ours.   It’s a celebration of life.

It’s also a time of looking inward.  What has this past year brought?   What needs to be “weeded” from my life and how do I prepare for the seeds I will plant in the coming year?   Have my work and spiritual efforts brought forth the “harvest” I expected?   What do I need to do in the coming year to increase next year’s “harvest”.?


The “Addams Family”  celebrates with a big feast, plenty of food, treats for the little kids and camaraderie.  We celebrate LIFE and we remember our loved ones.   When everyone has gone home, I fix a plate to leave outside for any spirits who drop by while the veil between the worlds is thin.

It’s a magical time!


October 27, 2015 Posted by | metaphysical, New Age | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1st Annual Danse Macabre Blog Hop

I am so excited to present the first ever (hosted by me) Danse Macabre Blog Hop.


Danse Macabre, in case you missed the post about this, is the Dance of Death, the dance we all must make through life on our way to the grave for we all must come to the same end, rich man, poor man, bagger man, thief, priest and pope.  It’s the same end for everyone.  What we do with our lives is more important than what we have or acquire so we should all celebrate life by laughing at death and the fears of “things that go bump in the night”.   Our challenge was to take either a generic term for something macabre, like vampire or ghost or to choose a specific character from television, books or movies and design something for them.   It did not have to be jewelry.  It could be any type of craft.   I had such a talented group of ladies sign up, I cannot wait to see what they all made!

Those of you who know me also know that our whole family is known locally as “The Addams Family”.   We all love Halloween, the spooky, the scary and the weird and wonderful.   I chose my designs for the television Adams Family for whom we are named.

I made this huge sugar skull for my “coffin book case” that my son built for me.   It’s some definite Addams décor.


Here is my “pet bird” in his cage.  You can see his tiny skeleton toy and if you look close, there is a tiny ceramic cattle skull in his nest.  I just painted his cage black.  He does not sing much, but I suppose that could be a good thing.   Maybe Morticia can teach him some French.


Now for some jewelry.  Morticia Adams is such a classy lady, I designed her this lacy cuff bracelet.


I also made her some “beerings” with Day of the Dead beer caps and a matching key fob for Gomez.



I made Lurch a key fob with a Hobgoblin beer cap.  It sort of looks like Lurch!


This bat gargoyle moon necklace has brass stampings and filigree


A pair of bat wing earrings for Morticia’s other black dress


and, maybe my favorite thing……….this “mummy’s mirror” necklace with such a weird cabochon and brass filigree


Yes, I went crazy loco.   I made lots more stuff but will put that on my Facebook page.  For now, I hope you will go visit my friends and see what dances they are doing.

Lee Koopman                           Strega Jewellry

Sam Waghorn                           Pale Moon Creations

Dini Bruinsma                            Angaza by Changes

Mowse Doyle                              Mouse Made This

Robin Showstack                        The Crazy Bead Hoarder

Amy Jorgensen                           Hoarders Corner

Nan Smith                                    Wired Nan

Tammy Adams                             Paisley Lizard

Catherine King                              Catherine’s Musings

Michelle McCarthy                         Firefly Designs Studio

Betony Maiden                             Beadwenches Blog

Becca White                                  Morgana Fey Creations

Kim Dworak                                   Cianci Blue

Tami Norris                                   Tamis Creative Spot

Inge Von Roos                               Inge’s Blog

Terry Jeanette Carter                    Tapping Flamingo

Deb Fortin                                       Mhoti Studio

Melissa Trudinger                           Bead Recipes

October 15, 2015 Posted by | challenges, Jewelry | , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Wheel of the Year: Mabon


Most pagans live their lives by the turning of the year.  We pay attention to nature and attune our bodies and minds to the cycles of the seasons.   I’ll be adding blogs posts all year about the seasonal celebrations we observe.  Some, like Mabon, are lesser observances.   You know Mabon as a solstice or equinox.  Most folk pay no attention at all.  September is the time when kids go back to school.  Stores are full of Halloween and Christmas decorations in an attempt to lure people into spending money.

Pagan “holidays” or celebrations are called esbats and sabbats.  Esbats are the lesser observances, sabbats, the greater celebration.


This is our wheel of the year.

In September, the harvest is our focus.   The abundance of food is slowing down and the focus is on crops of the vine.   Days are warm and nights cool off.   There is plenty of work to do outside during the warm and often windy days.  Brush must be cut and stacked in and around the firepit.   It will be nice and dry and ready for the Halloween bonfires.


Weeds will be pulled a final time and stacked in the compost heap.   My strawberry patch is finally weed free for the runners to grow unencumbered and I have circles the plants with oyster shell for extra calcium to enter the ground over winter.   Clothes can be hung on the line and the winds whip the wrinkle free.   Bed linens are washed and the warmer blankets come out of the cedar chest, filling the house with that subtle scent.  Tomato vines are pulled and the green tomatoes left to ripen in a sunny window.   Herbs are gathered and hung to dry.   The parsley is cut back and the sage, the chives and lemon balm.  Russian sage is cut and put into a glass vase to spread its scent.   Potting soil is mixed with vermiculite and put into a tub for easy  reach when starting seeds in the spring.  The rest of the garden is cleared.

strawberry patch

strawberry patch



ripening tomatoes

ripening tomatoes

It’s also a time for planting.  root vegetable can have a second plating.  Carrots and beets and kale can be planted in early September and grow until the snow flies.   This year I read about “fairy carrots”.   I’m going to try it.   You can plant 3 or 4 carrot seeds in mason jars.  By thanksgiving, you will have baby carrots for your dinner.   This will be great to show the little kids how root vegetables grow.   Some herbs are actually better for having cold winter months to germinate before they pop up in the spring.   This year, I am adding aconite to my plants.  Aconite is better known as wolfsbane, a deterrent to werewolves and I thought the grandboys would get a kick out of planting this.   We whall see what comes up in the spring.

fairy carrots

fairy carrots



I’ve spent a lazy summer sitting in the shade reading books.  The heat just tires me OUT!  This weather energizes me.  I still read outside in the cool evening, enjoying the crickets songs.   The hens will be ready to lay eggs in about 4 weeks.  They go to bed earlier now.  By 7:30, they are in the roost.   My bird friends also go to bed earlier.  Now they are flocking and I can hear so many of them in the trees at night.   They are getting ready tor their long journeys.   Geese fly overhead in formation in the evening hours.  They have practice runs now, also getting ready to fly south.  Their cries mark the official end of summer and the readiness for the cold changes to come.

Yes, I have been incredibly lazy this summer in the stifling heat and humidity.   With the changes, I become energized.   I begin to make links and jumpring rosettes for projects I will work on this winter.

copper links

copper links

jumpring rosettes and chain

jumpring rosettes and chain

I begin to craft some fall jewelry.   Here are some beads I won in a giveaway from Terra Rustica Designs.  Perfect fall colors.   I made them into such a pretty necklace!   Her sandblasted pendants are gorgeous and these beautiful beads with terra cotta color, green and amber remind me of fall’s gorgeous color palette!

Terra Rustica beads and pendant

Terra Rustica beads and pendant\



today, I took some of my new ripe tomatoes and made a big pot of chili.   Every September, when I do this, I think it is the best chili I EVER made!   I can almost taste the sunshine.  I put it in the freezer.   It will be my Mabon feast meal along with home made bread.   And the wheel turns.

September 18, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Official!

Signups ended and I have a good turnout for the Danse Macabre Blog Hop.   By almost unanimous vote, the official badge is this one.   Please note that this graphic is courtesy of Grapic Stock, modified with Picmonkey of course.


Grab the badge and put it on your own page.  Here’s the link to use

You can put it on your sidebar to direct your readers to the post.

Ladies, we have a small group which makes me happy since this is the first hop I have ever hosted.   It might be small, but there are some great designers here and all have active blogs.   Now, if anything changes, life gets in the way and you can’t participate, please notify me before the hop so we do not have dead links.   A dead link will stop the hopper “dead” in their tracks and we do not want that!  We are dancing after all.  The other good news is that everyone who signed up is a blog hop vet so I don’t think I have to remind you of blog etiquette.   The reveal is August 17th.  Join the dance as soon as possible after posting and be sure to leave comments.   It should not take long to get through this list, just make sure to visit everyone.   It’s part of the fun.   I’ll be having a couple of giveaways too, so you might want to tell a buddy, bring a friend.

Ladies, here is our list of participants.   You should be able to copy it from here and paste it into your own blog.  Don’t forget the list so your readers can see what the rest of the group has made.

Starting, of course with your weird hostess:

Lee Koopman                           Strega Jewellry

Sam Waghorn                           Pale Moon Creations

Dini Bruinsma                            Angaza by Changes

Mowse Doyle                              Mouse Made This

Lori Blanchard                            Alainn Jewelry

Robin Showstack                        Hearts Desire Jewelry for You

Amy Jorgensen                           Hoarders Corner

Nan Smith                                    Wired Nan

Tammy Adams                             Paisley Lizard

Catherine King                              Catherine’s Musings

Michelle McCarthy                         Firefly Designs Studio

Betony Maiden                             Beadwenches Blog

Becca White                                  Morgana Fey Creations

Kim Dworak                                   Cianci Blue

Tami Norris                                   Tamis Creative Spot

Inge Von Roos                               Inge’s Blog

Terry Jeanette Carter                    Tapping Flamingo

Deb Fortin                                       Mohti Studio

Melissa Trudinger                           Bead Recipes

August 30, 2015 Posted by | challenges, Jewelry | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Join the dance!

Lying around all summer, laid up with back problems and suffocating in the heat and humidity in Ohio, I have not posted in months.   I have spent most of the summer reading books and living in some far off world and not creating much of anything.   I’m kicking myself and trying to get back in the dance.   To do so, I believe I’m going to host a blog hop.   It’s something I wanted to do before but had no idea how to accomplish such a thing.   I chose the month of October for this hop to happen and I chose a theme that goes hand in hand with Samhain, or Halloween as you may call it.   My hop is going to be called Danse Macabre.

Oh, right, it’s French, you say, what the heck is that.   Literally, it means the dance of death and the phrase was coined in Medieval times when artistic types used allegories most of the time.   Danse Macabre illustrates the universal aspect of death.   It comes to all, regardless of station in life.  Paintings were created with skeletons dancing their way to the grave, sermons were preached cautioning people that the material side of life was unimportant, death is a fate we must all meet, peasant, pauper, priest, pope or noble.  So, enjoy life, make the most of it for we are all on our way to the same fate.   Life, after all, is a glorious dance with the grave as the finale, dance through it with joy!


1493 medieval painting


from the Creative Life of Bob Sparks on blogspot

It’s also a brilliant classical music composition for violin and piano.   I’m sharing here a modern dance version

Now you want to know what is this blog hop about?   Please, no medieval stuff you say.   Nope.  and we are not going to get morbid either.   We are going to join the dance.  We’re going to have a party.

The challenge?   Pick a spooky or scary or creepy representation from a Halloween type character as your inspiration.   It can be really scary or it can be generic, like “a witch”.  It can be cute, like Mavis, Dracula’s daughter  from Hotel Transylvania.  It can be a zombie or a mummy. It can be Elvira, that Queen of the Night or your favorite vampire.   Make something.  It does not have to be jewelry.   It can be decorations or some other type of craft.  It can be a costume.   Make it, show it off and tell us about it.  How will you celebrate at our dance?

Sign up by commenting on this blog.   Tell me you are IN and leave your name and blog address.  You might want to leave your email address also, especially if you are not in the Bead Peeps Group so I can email you and remind you of the date.    And while you are here, choose one of these pictures for our blog badge.    I simply cannot decide.

one    Please do not sigh up if you do not have an active blog!   I will check links.

Signups are open until August 25th.   On the 31st of August, I’ll have a list of participants here on the blog.  You can copy and paste for your own blog.   And, I will have chosen the official badge for the hop with a link.  




or three?


come on now, you know it’s going to be fun!

August 13, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Epic Blog Hop

I love Melissa Trudinger’s idea for an “epic” blog hop.  We all got to choose our favorite television series to design some jewelry.   I had no trouble at all choosing my series.   I love The Tudors.   I started watching the series because I love anything where Jonathan Rhys Myers appears.  But history AND fabulous costumes AND Henry VIII who was such a character?   Hands down my favorite!   Yes, there is a lot of sex but Henry was just that kind of guy.   He changed wives and mistresses like most guys change clothes for gosh sake.

I checked out the IMDb page for the Tudors and the show was nominated for 60 awards between the Emmy awards and ASCAP.   It won over 40 of the 60 nominations!  That’s pretty incredible.


They won a lot of awards for costumes.   The costumes and jewelry were so real for the time period it was amazing!  In fact, some of the awards they won were for costume design.

I decided not try to make designs that copied the originals.   They did this in the movie and the pieces were so  beautiful.   Instead, I wanted to design something modern that fit the personality of the characters who were actual people.   I decided to do one piece for each of Henry’s six wives.


Jonathan Rhys Myers played Henry VIII and did an incredible job of portraying his craziness, his volatile temper, and his aging.   You can see the great costume and awesome jewelry.   I did not design anything for him.   Quite frankly, I’d be happy to see him in nothing but an simple silver earring.

Catherine of Aragon was Henry’s first wife.   This was an arranged marriage to form an alliance between England and Spain.   She was betrothed to Henry’s brother, Arthur first when extremely young.  When Arthur died, Henry’s father still wanted the Spanish alliance so married her to Henry in 1509.   They remained married until 1533.   They had only one child, Mary, no male heirs which probably played a large part in Henry’s decision to divorce her.   Marie Doyle Kennedy played an excellent Catherine, a very pious woman whose religion meant the world to her.  Catherine was very proper and an extremely strong woman who refused to accept divorce and who continued to pray for Henry’s soul after his abominable treatment.


For her, I created this piece.   The bead sections are quatre feuille made of faceted black beads with deep red flowers in the center.  I’ve never done quatre feuille before.   The cross is HUGE, showing the depth of her faith and religion.


When the Pope refused to grant Henry an annulment of his marriage to Catherine, he broke with the Catholic Church and made way for the Protestant Reformation.   He faced excummuniction to marry Anne Boleyn in 1533.   Anne was a young girl who had spent a lot of time in the French court.   Her father’s ambition for his family led to her involvement with the King.   Women were used to further family prospects.   He first ordered her sister to attempt to snare the King and when that relationship went down the tubes, he had Anne try to do better.   Anne passed herself off as virginal, insisting that she would not have relations with Henry until she had a ring on her finger.  Natalie Dormer played this Queen of Tarts.   The marriage lasted 3 years.   After giving birth to one daughter, Elizabeth, Anne had a series of miscarriages.  Henry tired of her anxiety and jealous nature and had found another love interest, a true “virgin” so it was said.   He accused Anne of adultery, which for a queen is treason.   She was beheaded in 1536.


Anne wore a lot of pearls, a symbol of chastity and loyalty.   Her most famous piece of jewelry was a pearl and diamond B necklace.  For her, I made these pearl and copper earrings.


Jane Seymour was in service to Queen Anne when she first caught Henry’s eye.  She did not reject the advances of a married man and accepted gifts from him.   Also pushed by her family to further their ambitions she was presented by herself and by them as young and inexperienced.   She left the court and retired to her father’s estate when Henry was in the process of trying Anne for treason.   She and Henry were married in 1536, the day after Anne was beheaded, literally dragging her wedding dress through the spilled blood.  Their marriage was short lived.  She died in 1537 just days after the birth of their son.


For Jane, I made this “dark angel wing” necklace because she was no angel though her supporters and those of her family certainly presented her in that way.


After Jane’s death, Henry’s advisors insisted he needed to find a bride who would be good for military alliance as he was having problems with both France and Spain.   Cromwell and others persuaded him to marry Anne of Cleves (played by Joss Stone in the series).  The marriage took place in early in 1540.   Henry reconsidered the marriage, said she had been misrepresented to him and their marriage was annulled before it was ever consummated.   Apparently, she wasn’t pretty enough for Henry.  To be fair, she was not crazy about him either.   He gave her a generous settlement and she lived in England until she died.


Though Henry didn’t think Anne pretty enough, I thought she should have a really pretty necklace.   This one is made from silver metal clay and set with red dichroic glass.


Henry’s “friends” and advisors introduced him to his next “love”.   Katherine Howard was even younger than his other wives, if not in years, then in maturity.   She was the daughter of a 10th son who had no prospects at all.  Actually, she was a cousin of Anne Boleyn so perhaps this was a family attempt to get back in court favor.   She has been fostered at the home of a prominent duchess who took in wards, both male and female but spent most of her time at court.  Her wards had very little supervision.   She had an affair with her music teacher when she was 13.  After that, she had another affair with one of the other wards and they promised to marry each other.   When she was presented at court in 1542, she immediately caught Henry’s eye and they were married.    Katherine Howard (played by Tamzin Merchant) was flighty, poorly educated and spent most of her time trying on new gowns and jewels and dancing and cavorting.   Very childish, she had no idea of how to act like a queen.   She fell in love with Henry’s secretary, Mr. Culpepper.   She was beheaded for treason before year’s end.


For her, I designed this dragonfly necklace in painted brass with resin for she is like a dragonfly, carelessly flitting from flower to flower.


The hast of Henry’s wives was Katherine Parr (Joely Richardson).  She was older and a widow who had taken care of her husband until he died.    Katherine and Henry were married in 1543.   She was mature and gathered all of his children into the same household, befriending Mary and Elizabeth both.   She wasn’t afraid to nurse Henry who suffered terribly from a suppurating leg ulcer, a grievous thing that had tormented him for years.


For her, I made this fibula pin.   I thought of her spending long nights nursing Henry’s leg in a drafty old castle and thought she might use such a thing to hold a warm shawl around her shoulders.


I hope you are going to hop around and visit the other ladies, see what shows they liked and what they made for their characters.

Melissa Trudinger    (Hostess)

Karen Mitchell         

Andrea Glick            

Karen Martinez       

Lennis Carrier          

Lindsay Starr            

Mona Arnott            

Lee Koopman          

Shaiha Williams       

Veralynne Malone  

Elisabeth Auld          

Kelly Schermerhorn

Dini Bruinsma          

Jami Shipp                

June 6, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 18 Comments

Seize the Day


Welcome to Lori Anderson’s Awareness Blog Hop.   Lori gave us a challenge to use a hand made “awareness bead”, a cute polymer clay bead with an awareness ribbon on one side and a mantra on the other.   These beads were each made for us by Heather Millican of Swoondimples who did a fantastic job of creating each bead with the correct color for awareness of that issue.

Lori truly gave us a challenge this time because while most often, we are inspired by nature, art or music, sometimes our muse will not come unless we examine the trials we are facing in our lives, the dark twists and turns that we are stumbling through.  In fact, for many of us, it is these dark times that brought us to embrace our creative side to “save” ourselves.   I know that is how I started.   I took my first jewelry class when I was struggling with the worst challenge of my life.

You will find that each of us has a life altering illness or issue that is our own because we have had experience facing this challenge.  With these beads we are to create a piece, “even if it is only a keychain”  and write about our experience then share the photos of our work.  There will not be a lot of pretty pictures in my blog and if you are looking for an easy read, stop right now.  This will not be an easy and fun blog hop as you journey with us in our struggles while we re-examine our Life Challenges and try to create beauty from the often depressing and devastating paths we follow. Still,  I encourage you to hop along with us.   You may be or might at some time be facing similar issues or challenges and it might help to know how much using your creativity to express yourself helps you grow and change and also, to cope. Making jewelry is sometimes what keeps us sane.

I know that my own post is upsetting and I want readers to know that I am not looking for a pity party here. There are lessons I have learned and strengths I have gained.   I have touched people all over the world who have been through the same thing and found strength in that.   I have a strong faith and encourage that for everyone.   I also encourage looking within and finding something creative, not necessarily making jewelry but using and developing a talent to help you through hard times.

My ribbon is red and black.


Most of you, who are mothers, have had this experience and can relate.

You are at the mall or a festival/parade/ ball game or somewhere in public, you look around and your child is NOT THERE.   Your stomach clenches, your heart starts racing, your legs become rubbery and the air you are breathing seems too heavy.   You franticly look around while your thoughts are racing……ohmigod, he was RIGHT HERE  I stopped to talk to someone, I wasn’t paying attention   where IS he?  visions of a scruffy pedophile smiling and taking his hand flood your brain and the feeling gets worse while you call his name and other people are looking now and is your heart going to stop or beat right out of your chest and where is he?  and finally………..finally, there he is……..happily engrossed in whatever caught his toddler eye oblivious to the panic in your eyes and voice until you sharply say his name and he lifts up his angel face and says mom?  why are you crying?


Months or weeks pass and you forget about it until a newscast comes on with a poster of a missing child  Just for a moment, you relive that day when he disappeared. Your breath gets short and your heart starts thumping and you cannot watch that broadcast without that feeling.   That night, you hug your own a bit harder and remember those feelings and wonder about those poor parents.   Was it the same for them?  Does that feeling lessen or go away while the days go by and they search?   You hug yours closer and thank god that he is safe with you and all is right in your world.

But it is never again all right in the world of a parent with a missing child. That terrible panic……does it go away?

No.  It is there while you search the woods and gets worse when you spy a bit of fabric in the mud and say please god, don’t let that be his shirt in a shallow grave.

It stays while you walk the river banks …… that a turtle floating out there or is it him?  Please do not let it be him.

It is there when you approach that dumpster…….please god when I lift that lid, do NOT let him be tossed in there like the trash.

At night, if you can sleep, it goes away.   In the morning, you open your eyes and take that first breath while the sun streams  in the window but as you exhale …….Ben…..his name echoes through your mind and you KNOW he is missing and that feeling comes back and you have to jump out of bed and clean the floor or do the laundry or  something………., anything to keep from thinking.

It is there when someone tells you that you  need to go get something to eat, get out of the house!  It s days later and your friend is trying to be kind and take you away from the phone that won’t ring with his voice at the end.   For a few moments it subsides till you get to Subway and there is the Missing Poster with his face.

It gets worse when the police are walking toward you,  their faces like stone and now it’s time to face a horrible truth.   You know where he is now and he is never coming home again. And even that knowing does not stop it.  Because he is gone and……….. what was it like?

Was he scared?

did he call your name?  Was he in agony?  All of his life you have watched over him and now he has gone somewhere you have never been and no one you know has ever been and no matter what you believe you have NOT been there where he IS!  And he is alone without you.

My awareness ribbon is red and black.   These are the colors for Homicide Awareness.   My mantra on my bead is Carpe Diem.   Seize The Day!   Your days may be consumed by illnesses that no one else understands, or racked with pain.  Maybe your financial state is in chaos  or you hate your job  or the bills are piling up and you do not know what you are going to do….. If your child is alive and you can hug him.   Let that hug sustain you and seize that small bit of joy.  Hold on to it.   Cling to that seemingly small blessing.   SIEZE the DAY!  ……the day that  you have right now.  The hugs you can get right now!   Seize the day.  Say I love you when you walk out that door!   Say it at night and in the morning.  You can’t say it too many times.   In the morning, look for the possible good things that can happen.

My ribbon is red and black. 

My colors are for Homicide Awareness.  And yet, Seize the Day can apply for anyone.   You can lose a child through accidents, disease or suicide.   So when your children  are driving you up a banana tree, seize the day by learning to embrace the  small things.    the simple joys that  can get overwhelmed by  life’s stressors  Never forget that joy can all be snatched away in a moment.   Take time to laugh and time to play.

My necklace is red, black and silver.  Red and black are the colors for the homicide awareness ribbon.   I used silver to represent the memories of my son which are like tiny lights left by him to brighten my own path  into the Stillness beyond.  The beautiful black “book chain” comes from Bsue Boutiques. The bead of course is from Swoondimples.  Thanks Heather for making a “special” red and black for me.  The tiny beaded chain is my own

There is a clock charm because somehow there is never enough timeYou must make time to love and enjoy.  And because time can be snatched away from you in a heartbeat.     It’s better not to waste the time you have.  Seize The Day!  Make the most of the possibilities!


I wear this necklace for 3 members of our family all taken  from us suddenly.

Ben Koopman, my son, age 17,  born Father’s Day 1979. 


Murdered  on Mothers Day, May 11 1997.


He has taken his light and is gone now……….into a room I cannot find…….but I know he has been here… all of the lights he has left behind.

Tim Coffman  my son in law, son of my heart.   Murdered  May 18th 2006.   Carjacked and shot to death by five teen aged boys.


Katrina Coffman killed in a freak accident May 16th 2007.


If you notice the dates, you will see how appropriate this hop is for me.   The sadness at this time of year engulfs our whole family.  Our family has learned to SEIZE the DAY! 

  .   If you have lost a child, you may find this previous blog post helpful.   It is a very powerful post.

If you nave never lost a child, I pray for you that you never will know the pain.

Again, I encourage you to visit the others in this blog hop and support them in their struggles.   Here is the list of those who wish to share their stories.

Note to my awesome daughter:  thanks for the input on this design.  xoxoxo




Millican (hostess) (bead artist)
Candida Castleberry
mischelle andrade
Paige Maxim
Laurie Vyselaar
Marybeth Rich
Alice Peterson
Kim Dworak
Audrey Bélanger
Karen mitchell
Joan Williams
Jean Wells
Ann Schroeder
Gail Accinelli
Tania Spivey
Mallory Hoffman
Mary K McGraw
Shai Williams
Beth Emery
Catie Doman
Lorelei Eurto Http://
Lee Koopman
Tammy Adams
Katie Nelson
Patty Miller
Chris Eisenberg
Cassi Paslick
Charlee Griffith
Kelli Nelson
Catherine King
Melissa Trudinger
susan Bowie
Jennifer Justman
Cassi Paslick
K Hutchinson
Veralynne Malone
Evie and Beth McCord
Mihaela Georgescu
Rebecca Anderso
Charlene jacka
Kim Stevens
Susan McClelland
Sally Russick
Gina Hockett
Mona Arnott
Sandi Volpe
Andrea Glick
Janine Lucas
Lori Bowring Michaud
Christie Murrow
B.R. Kuhlman
Lupe Meter
Lucy Bejarano
Stephanie Perry
Elisabeth Auld
Carolyn Lawson
Heather Powers
Katie Hacker
Kepi Rasmussen 
Gail Vanderster-Zwang
Elizabeth Hodges

May 16, 2015 Posted by | challenges, Jewelry | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Bead Peeps Swap N Hop

swapnhopbadgeWhat a great bunch of ladies in my Facebook group, Bead Peeps!   Linda Anderson, organized a bead swap and blog hop for this month.   We each got a partner and swapped some beads then had to get busy and design some pieces with what we received.  This is what I sent my partner, Shaiha Williams.


She sent me a bunch of really cool beads.  You can read about them here.


My muse took a break and left me after the Build a Line Challenge and I was worried I would never get done!  But, it’s finally time and here’s what I finished!

The first pieces I made were from the gorgeous goddess pieces she sent me.


I turned this into two necklaces.   I made a short choker type with just that little blue square.   The center hanger is sterling silver and I can reverse this piece and wear it plain.   That focal came from Clay Impressions.


This longer piece can be worn with the above.    I used that awesome little goddess charm and painted her blue and purple sky colors with lumiere paints.  and put her on a charm holder with a tiny spellbook, a candle I made from bone and beadcaps and one of my own bronze charms that says Blessed Be.  The blue glass pony beads have silver bead caps and smokey amethyst faceted crystals.  Silver infinity chain links are handmade by me.   These pieces are mine!  


Shaiha sent me some little lampwork bows made by Mandrel 2.   Now, the first thing I thought of when I saw those bows was how many “bad hair days” I have.  The least bit of humidity and my head looks like a dandelion gone to seed.  No lie!   So, I made a little polymer lady with “bad hair” as my focal.   I wanted to keep the bead level simple and focus on the bows so only used a few beads, some hunmetal links and chain that Shaiha sent.   I”m not totally happy with the lady’s face.  .  It does not seem to be defined enough.  I got to figure this out.  But she is ready enough to show here.


I had a totally different idea when I started this piece.   Shaiha sent me beautiful magnesite beads and some gorgeous blue butterflies that she painted herself.  I love the colors.  I also love butterflies flying around the flowers in the summer.   I wanted to make a resin piece.  So, using a picture frame bezel I got from B’Sue Boutiques and a picture I got from Graphic Stock, this is what emerged.  One butterfly lurking around the flowers and one emerging from his Hill Tribe Siilver cocoon.   The darker beads are Swarovski glass pearls and the wire and bead caps are copper.  I’m keeping this one too.   LOL


Remember when I said this little elephant from Okawa  Beads was adorable but I do  not do adorable and he would be my biggest challenge?   I sure had a time coming up with an idea.   I researched the significance of the elephant in African lore and Indian lore and came up with dignity and integrity and some other stuffy and honorable traits.    Well, this little guy, with his flowers and happy face was ready to party.      He wanted to prance and parade through the town!  I wanted beads that would bring out his flower colors so I used some ceramic beads I had and some sari silk for a festive look.   I loved the beads Shaiha sent, but these worked better for what I wanted to do.   Don’t you think he looks like a happy little guy?

Short side note to Shaiha:    I have a toddler grandson who loves to work with me.  He was fascinated with this little elephant.  Somehow, the tip of that jaunty little hat was broken when I next took it out of the bag  That is why there is a bead cap on the tip of his hat.  (I expect he might have had a run in with “the Justice League or some Transformers or perhaps a giant anaconda).  With a touch of silver Gilder’s Paste on the trim, it almost looks like it belongs there.


Because the beads I used for the elephant were so large, I could not incorporate  the little elephant clasp.  And he is so cute!   So I made some sari silk bangles and still thinking about  Africa, I used bright colors.   This is a set and he is perfect for a charm.   I’m going to  put some bells on these bracelets too.


Anyhow, you can see I had a good time.   Please stop by Shairha’s blog and see what she made with what I sent to her.   Here is a list of the rest of the hoppers.   Check them out.

Bead Peeps Swap N Hop 2015 
Partner List  

 Our Hostess: Linda Anderson from http//

Linda Anderson
Marica Zammit
Linda Anderson
Jessica Hocutt
Kristina Hahn Eleniak
Debbie Jeffries http://wordpress/debrasdivinedesigns/
Rosantia Petkova
Shalini Austin
Catherine La Vite
Annica Larsson
Lori Schneider
Divya N
Mowse Doyle
Fay Wolfenden
Kathy Lindemer
Claire Fabian
Janice Warden Bergeron
Natalie Davidson
Deb Fortin
Inge von Roos
Karen Mitchell
Robin Reed
Marie Covert
Alicia Marinache
Nan Smith
Johana Nunez
Kelly Hosford Patterson
Lori Blanchard
Sue Kennedy
Shai Williams
Niky Sayers
Melissa Trudinger
Candida Castleberry
Erin Guest
Nicole Rennell
Ien Temaluru
Robin Showstack
Sam Waghorn
Marianne Baxter
Elsie Deliz-Fonseca
Shai Williams
Lee Koopman      X (you are here)
Jayne Capps
Marti Conrad
Tina Bosh
Eleanor Thomas
Jeanne Steck
Gloria Allen
Rachel Mallis!blog/c1jlz
Andrea Glick
Stephanie Stamper
Chris Haussler
Betony Maiden
Kari Asbury
Jenny Kyrlach
Colleen Foley
Marybeth Rich
Marcy Lamberson
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell
Ginny Lones
Maria Rosa Sharrow
Loretta Carstensen
Dolores Raml
Michelle McCarthy
Louise McCormick-Glazier
Heather Richter
Tammy Adams
Shirley Moore
Seed Beaders
Susanne Stelljes
Sheila Prosterman
Pallavi Asher
Jami Shipp
Peggy Kosier
Andra Weber
Catherine King
Krafty Max
Sierra Barrett
Lois Sherwood
Katy Heider
Rebecca Robertson   (White)
Heather Richter
Brandy Collier
Stephanie Haussler
Lori Blanchard
Kathleen Breeding
Becky Pancake
Renetha Stanziano
Tami Norris
Ginger Bishop
Peggy Johnson


May 2, 2015 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments


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