A fine fall day


A few days ago I had the distinct pleasure of spending a warm fall afternoon wandering around in my favorite city, Chicago. My husband and I both grew up in Chicagoland, but moved from the area over 20 years ago so it’s always exciting to come home.

We took a Metra train into the city, which is part of the fun. That day the Cubs were playing the Pirates at “the friendly confines” of Wrigley Field, and many of the other train passengers were wearing Cubs shirts or jerseys.

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People might joke about the Cubs but they’ve definitely got loyal fans – my mom was a diehard fan most of her life.  And hey, maybe this is the year they’ll actually make it!


Just a block from the train station is the mighty Willis (formerly Sears) Tower. See those tiny boxes way up at the top? They’re made of thick glass, and the last time I was here I walked out into one and enjoyed the view from 104 stories up – it was fun, and not scary like I thought it would be!

On State Street I noticed that I could see three Chicago icons at the same time – one of the Marshall Field clocks, the Chicago Theater sign and the Marina Towers, so I managed to get them all in the same shot-

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I also couldn’t help but notice a name we’ve been seeing a lot of lately!

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As I walked along I kept hearing what sounded like a parade, and as I came around the corner I saw a marching band performing in Daley Plaza under the watchful eyes of the Picasso sculpture. I think he was enjoying it as much as everyone else!

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horn section

Next I went over a couple blocks to Michigan Avenue, as no walk around the loop is complete without stopping at Millennium Park.

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After the usual silly selfie taken in the reflection of the Bean, I was delighted to see some new sculptures in the park. This lovely series of faces are by Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa, and are beautifully serene.


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This one literally has her head in the clouds!

My last stop was the Art Institute, and as I walked through the little park next to it I came upon a photo shoot of a gorgeous model in a wonderful ruffled skirt in vivid red. She looked like a painting come to life!

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By now it was getting late in the afternoon and we decided to head back to the train station to beat the commuter rush. Even though it was only a couple of hours, I thoroughly enjoyed drinking in the sights and sounds of the city I love – hope you did too!

Mannequin Mania


I have a new obsession. It involves taking  paper mache mannequins like this one

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and making them look like these, using a combination of craft paint and metal reactive patina paints.

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The process is kind of messy, somewhat unpredictable and so much fun! Best of all, the result is that rusty, grungy chippy paint look that I love, and works perfectly with my jewelry style.

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Since it doesn’t look like I’m gonna be able to stop making these (it’s too much fun!) I’ve started offering some for sale. If you’re local, you can see them, and some lilruby jewelry too – at Harrison House Market in Ozark!

Art of awareness blog hop


Today is the reveal for the Art of Awareness blog hop, which was created by Lori Anderson of Bead Soup Blog Party fame. I love to participate in Lori’s blog hops and was intrigued by this one, in which we were instructed to think of a word or phrase that has special meaning and have a unique “word bean” created with it by Heather Millican of Swoondimples. (how cool is that?)

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The phrase I chose was “faith is”, because to me faith is what it all comes down to. This has become especially clear to me during the past five years, which have been tumultuous to say the least! But although it’s been tough with challenges and losses of just about every kind, we’ve come through it all with the realization that what seems insurmountable can be handled with faith not only in God but in ourselves, too.

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So for me, faith is the key.

This started out as a necklace, but since I often pray and reflect on my blessings while I’m driving to work I decided to hang it from my rear view mirror to remind me to keep the faith – and also to forget about the rear view (the past)!

Thanks so much for visiting – here’s the list of all the participants!

www.PrettyThingsBlog.com (hostess)
www.facebook.com/swoondimples (bead artist)
Candida Castleberry www.spunsugarbeadworks.blogspot.com
mischelle andrade https://micheladasmusings.blogspot.com
Paige Maxim http://delightfullittlegems.blogspot.com/
Laurie Vyselaar www.lefthandjewelry.wordpress.com
Marybeth Rich http://forestofjewels.blogspot.com/
Alice Peterson www.alice-dreaming.blogspot.com
Kim Dworak http://www.cianciblue.blogspot.com/
Audrey Bélanger http://esperianterra.blogspot.ca/
Karen mitchell www.overthemoon-design.com
Joan Williams www.lilrubyjewelry.com
Jean Wells jeanawells.blogspot.com
Ann Schroeder www.beadlove.wordpress.com
Gail Accinelli facebook.com/oregonmadejewelry
Tania Spivey www.moobiegracedesigns.blogspot.com
Mallory Hoffman http://rosebud101-fortheloveofbeads.blogspot.com/
Mary K McGraw mkaymac.blogspot.com
Shai Williams www.shaihasramblings.com/
Beth Emery storiesbyindigoheart.blogspot.com
Catie Doman http://drcatie.blogspot.com
Lorelei Eurto Http://lorelei1141.blogspot.com
Lee Koopman www.stregajewellry.wordpress.com
Tammy Adams www.paisleylizard.com/blog/
Katie Nelson https://www.facebook.com/katiebead
Patty Miller http://pattymillerbeads.blogspot.com
Chris Eisenberg www.wanderware.blogspot.com
Cassi Paslick http://badatbeingmom.blogspot.com/
Charlee Griffith https://www.facebook.com/charlee.griffith
Kelli Nelson www.afamilyaffarekelli.blogspot.com
Catherine King http://catherines-musings.blogspot.com
Melissa Trudinger beadrecipes.wordpress.com
susan Bowie https://susanbowie.wordpress.com
Jennifer Justman www.soulsfiredesigns.blogspot.com/
Cassi Paslick http://badatbeingmom.blogspot.com/
K Hutchinson http://jumbledhutch.wordpress.com
Veralynne Malone www.veradesigns.blogspot.com
Evie and Beth McCord http://ebbeadandmetalworks.blogspot.com/
Mihaela Georgescu http://michellemaya2005.wordpress.com
Rebecca Anderso Www.songbeads.blogspot.com
Charlene jacka www.clay-space.com
Kim Stevens www.pickingpoppies.blogspot.com
Susan McClelland Mistheword12.wordpress.com
Sally Russick www.sallyrussick.blogspot.com
Gina Hockett www.freestyleelements.blogspot.com
Mona Arnott bijouxgemsjoy.blogspot.ca
Sandi Volpe www.sandivolpe.com
Andrea Glick http://zenithjade.blogspot.com/
Janine Lucas http://www.esfera.me/travel/blog/travel-stories
Lori Bowring Michaud www.artfullyornamental.blogspot.com
Christie Murrow Www.charisdesignsjewelry.blogspot.com
B.R. Kuhlman www.mixedmayhemstudios.com
Lupe Meter www.gesmpccorner.blogspot.com
Lucy Bejarano www.lucybejaranojewelry.blogspot.com/
Stephanie Perry www.mustardbeadbystephanieperry.blogspot.com
Elisabeth Auld www.beadsforbusygals.com
Carolyn Lawson www.carolynscreationswa.blogspot.com
Heather Powers www.humblebeads.blogspot.com
Katie Hacker www.katiehacker.blogspot.com
Kepi Rasmussen www.kepirasmussen.blogspot.ca 
Gail Vanderster-Zwang www.angelmoose.blogspot.com
Elizabeth Hodges http://thewhisperingseas.blogspot.com/





Apparently all babies love to play peekaboo – even equine babies! I was hoping to get some pictures of a couple of foals at a neighbor’s ranch, so I just sat on the ground with my camera and waited, hoping that curiosity would bring them close enough. The little guy here is a Missouri Foxtrotter, and he’s 3 weeks old.

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His mama, bless her heart, brought him right to me – but he was shy and kept trying to hide behind her. At first he peeked at me through the cover of her tail-

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Then he inched around her and peeked under her belly-

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Finally, he got brave enough to come closer!

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Have you ever seen such a sweet face – he’s so adorable!

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But now the game was over, and with a saucy flip of his tail and what looked for all the world like a wink of his eye, he and his mama moved off to the far side of the pasture. I’ll have to stop by and see if he wants to play again in a few days!

Joyful Muse Component Challenge


A couple of months ago I accepted an invitation to “test drive” some of the delightful components made by Miriam from Joyful Muse. She asked that designers who accepted the challenge would use at least one of them in a jewelry design, and then share the results! Here are the components I used-

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A pair of ribbed connectors painted a rich brick red.

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And a very cool reversible spinner pendant!

Since I normally use darker colors and brick red happens to be one of my favorites, I tackled the ribbed connectors first. I layered them over some metal washers that I picked up at an antique show and wired on faceted turquoise blue Czech glass beads for a cool pair of  earrings that have a retro yet steampunk look to them – I like ’em!

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Now for the pendant – I will admit right off the bat that although the spinner pendant is an ingenious design and beautifully made, I don’t normally feel comfortable working with pastel colors so I struggled a bit with this! But after stewing about it a while I started digging through my bead stash and was able to put this necklace together using some Czech glass and crackle painted metal beads – I think it’ll be perfect for Spring!

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I enjoyed using these well made components and want to thank Miriam for the opportunity to work with them! Be sure to check out her Etsy shop to see more – http://www.JoyfulMuse.etsy.com

September in January


Mother Nature gave us a gift today – a beautiful 60 degree day that seemed more like mid September than mid January! We decided to take advantage of it and get outside, and since we’re just minutes away from Arkansas we headed to the Buffalo River area which is endlessly beautiful. Missouri is gorgeous too, but when you get into the hills in northwestern Arkansas you really know you’re in the Ozarks! We ended up at Steel Creek, which is a state park we hadn’t visited yet.

When we got to the park at the bottom of a steep, winding road we were rewarded with views of huge bluffs decorated with frozen waterfalls like this one.

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Below the bluff is the creek – quiet, shady and very cold at the area where the mountain blocks the sun, and bright and sunny just around the bend.

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There’s a horse camp there also, and we saw a group of riders enjoying the trail and crossing the stream – what could be more fun than that!

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Warm sun, clear skies and driving with my husband through the beautiful blue hills of the Ozarks equals a perfect day off and a great way to shake the mid -winter blues!



Look Homeward, Angel


Way back in high school I read “Look Homeward, Angel” by Thomas Wolfe. I don’t remember the specifics of the story ( it was a long time ago!) but I do remember being captivated by it, and I suddenly thought of it again as I fashioned this sweet little angel.

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The antique doll used here is called a “frozen Charlotte”- these tiny ceramic dolls are dug up by the thousands from the ground by the German factories where they were once made. I was fortunate to receive several of them from my partner in the Bead Soup Blog Party a couple years ago ( thanks Gretchen!). It’s rare to find one that’s completely intact, but I don’t think the imperfections take away from their beauty – the missing arms just give opportunity for wings to sprout, and that’s exactly what happened here!

I used rusty black filigree pieces from B’Sue Boutiques to make these wings, and added some very old lace scraps along with what I believe to be the oldest (and my favorite) button in my collection. A little wire and some tiny rhinestone spacer beads are the finishing touch, and she’s strung on vintage cuckoo clock chain.

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This little angel doesn’t need to look any further for her home – I’m keeping her with me!