Keep On Truckin’

Season is ending here in Southwest Florida.  The tourists and snowbirds are leaving.  I am no longer sitting in half hour traffic jams.  The Lee County Sheriffs Department squad cars are out ticketing again.  They won’t go after our visitors.  They make their money off the permanent residents.  Just being good hosts, one might say.

So what does this mean for a crafts person who sells jewelry or a Tennis Pro that owns a club or a restaurant owner that has had a record season. … Quiet Time… New Idea Time…. Time to reflect …. or Maybe just Time to Keep On Truckin‘.

For me, Keep On Truckin means time to get working on the web-end of my business.  I started this new old endeavor a week ago with my niece, Laura Pennisi.  Laura just graduated with an Art Education major.  Not only is she an artist, but she is good with computers and lucky me, she hadn’t found a job yet.  It was March 30 and I knew I had exactly one day left to make my new Facebook banner before my Heaven Lane Creations page got changed over to the new format.  I was frantic.  I could not figure out how to make a collage of pictures that would fit into the new banner size.  Laura patiently showed me how to do it.  Like a good teacher, she modeled how to do it several times, assisted me and then let me demonstrate my understanding.  Look what we came up with

With my mentor next to me, it only took an hour.  Today, I tried to shoot more pictures of my latest creations to post on my store which I am hoping will be ready very soon.  But the shooting of the pictures and the editing took me three hours.  Not very efficient use of a jeweler’s time and I am still not satisfied with the photo results.  I will share with you my new creations.

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Here is my latest idea.  I want to find a person who lives really close by who is a great photographer.  Once a week they will shoot pictures of my jewelry and help me post.  Until I start making money off my business, I will pay them with lovely jewelry.  Any takers?


Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal Day is Here

This Bead Soup Blog Party is here.  This is my second time participating.  I must admit I had more time during the Summer Party than this Party.  You see everything slows down in Florida during the summer, but we are in season right now.  Season means lots of jewelry sales…Most of my sales have taken place on Sanibel Island at Traders, a very popular restaurant and gift shop owned by my good friends, Gretchen and Joe. Selling is good as long as you have time to make and replenish.  I have a show in less than two weeks and I am out of stock  That is a good problem.

On to the main event.  Amanda Tibbetts is my partner.  This is what she sent me. 

Here is a close up of the pendant she made.

Here is what I made

Floating Bead Necklace

Check out the rest of the Bead Soup Blog Party Participants. They hail from all over the world.  They are a group of talented beaders.

Hostess, Lori Anderson

Special Book Sneak Peeks, Cindy Wimmer

1.  Adlinah Kamsir (Singapore) and Hajer Waheed (Kingdom of Bahrain)
2. Adrienn Lukacs (Hungary) and Agata Grygiel (Poland)
3.  Agi Kiss (Hungary) and Carolien Muller-Genger (the Netherlands)
4.  Agnes Asztalos (Hungary) and B.R. Kuhlman
7.  Alicia Marinache (Canada) and Dita Basu
15.  Bonnie Coursolle (Canada) and Fay Wolfenden (Canada)
16.  Carmel McGinley (Australia) and Tracy Stillman (Australia)
21.  Cheryl Brown (Canada) and Diana Ptaszynski
22.  Christina Stofmeel (the Netherlands) and Eva Kovacs (Hungary)
24.  Cilla Watkins (Canada) and Elaine Robitaille (Canada)
25.  Sabrina Straub (Switzerland) and Kathy Combs
32.  Dee Elgie (UK) and Joanne Lockwood (UK)
33.  Dian Hierschel (Germany) and Eniko Fabian (Austria)
37.  Doris Stumpf (Germany) and Eszter Czibulyas (Hungary)
39.  Elke Leonhardt-Rath (Germany) and Marjolein Trewavas (UK)
41.  Erika Nooteboom (the Netherlands) and Giorgia Rossini (Italy)
43.  Evelyn Duberry (Canada) and Gaea Cannaday
45.  Ginger Bishop (military, Okinawa) and Martina Nagele (Germany)
48.  Helene Goldberg (Australia) and Karen Vincent
54.  Joanna Matuszczyk (Poland) and Julianna Kis (Hungary)
55.  Joanne Tinley (UK) and Michaela Pabeschitz (Austria)
65.  Kristina Johansson (Sweden) and Penny Neville (Canada)
66.  Krisztina Erlaki-Toth (Hungary) and Nicole Keller (Germany)
76.  Lori Finney (Canada) and Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp (Canada)
78.  Marta Kaczerowska (Poland) and Milla Starchik (Canada)
83.  Michelle Jensen and Sandra Young (Canada)
92.  Rosa Maria Cuevas (Mexico) and Tejae Floyde
93.  Sabine Dittrich (Germany) and Sally Russick
95.  Shanti Johnson and Tracy Mok (Canada)
97.  Sonya Stille and Traci Zeller (Canada)
98.  Stefanie Teufel (Germany) and Tania Hagen (New Zealand)

One is silver and the others gold

Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the others gold.  This was a favorite camp song from my childhood.  I have had this little song in my head this week as I have learned how to solder silver and create a pendant… my new silver friend…

Soldering opens up a whole new world for me. My new best friend will require some new equipment including a torch. Don't tell Mark.

and as I went back to a dear old friend, a golden beading technique which allowed me to complete my Bead Soup Blog Challenge in time hosted by Lori Anderson

I will not reveal what I made from the products that were sent to me by  Amanda Tibbetts until Challenge Reveal Day, which is March 3rd, but I will tell you that I  would never have finished this project without my trusty old friend, the floating bead necklace, which I learned ten years ago at Studio Baboo in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Back then I was a full-time teacher.  One unbelievably snowy winter, I was sitting around the house on a three-week forced vacation called snow days with my three antsy sons, when I realized that I needed desperately to calm my mind and pour my enormous creative energy into a new hobby.  I discovered beading.  For the next year and half,  I learned several dozen techniques, but non as useful and versatile as the floating bead necklace.  It is my old stand-by.  It is by far, my most consistent seller and it has bailed me out of quite a few creative dilemmas.  Just a sampling of some of the jewelry I have made in the past few years using this technique.

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Jewelry makers, teachers, mothers, tennis pros… we all have our favorite tricks of the trade… the ones we know work and we can fall back on when we need an old friend.


Do Over Challenge Reveal

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…this simple phrase has been a part of my life for more  than 20 years.  In fact, in the late 80’s, I formed one of the first recycling organizations in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Bringing new life to old jewelry is a new twist on this old theme.  I found Jeannie through blog hopping.  What an amazing person she is.  I can’t begin to describe all the cool things she has done… from fitness trainer to hair dresser to business owner to jewelry maker. A month ago, Jeannie sent several jewelry designers old pieces of jewelry.  It was our job to re-design.

Original Necklace had one strand of wood beads, one strand of mother of pearl beads, two strands of gold seed beads and a leopard spotted focal shell

Now I thought this would be easy, but it wasn’t.  For three weeks, I fiddled with ideas and themes.  Maybe it could be a bracelet, maybe turn it into a halloween spider jewelry.  I was stymied by the multi-color focal shell and did not like the combination of wood and shell together.  Finally, a week ago, I received inspiration.  This is what I came up with.

Something old, something new is what I am calling this piece
Something old, Something new is what I named this piece.  I have a closeup of the focal which is much more subtle with the Vintaj Component on top of the Mother-of-Pearl.  I added color to the necklace with purple dyed Mother of Pearl Disks and picked up on the yellow with some beautiful faceted quartz crystals. I kept the wood separated from the shells and used the gold seed  beads to tie it all together.  I will show you a close-up the focal piece.

Something Old, Something New

I am still not thrilled with the result, but I ran out of time.  Fall is Jewelry Show season and if I want to continue making jewelry, than I need to sell more jewelry.  So off to the Bead Room. Check out what my fellow jewelry artists made by hopping over to their blogs.
Jeannie  and Donna

Art Alliance of Lee County draws a crowd

The skies were blue, the sun was shining and for the most part there was only a gentle breeze–Southwest Florida at its finest.  Saturday, October 22nd, the Art Alliance of Lee County held their second annual Fall for the Arts.  I knew it was going to be a good day, when my booth was stationed right next to one of my icons… Doug MacGregor, a political cartoonist and author. I figured if I didn’t make any sales or have a customers, I was in for great conversation.  What I love about events like this is that it attracts people who appreciate art and recognize people who have turned their passion into a potential living.  The other great thing about this event is that it encourages demonstrations.  I demonstrated bead crochet and actually completed a bracelet during the day.

Teaching and Selling at the same time works for me.

So now I am going to stop talking and show you a few pictures from the event.

My Banner adds a Nice Touch Photo by Mark Trank


By the time Mark got there to shoot the Crowds had thinned out

I really enjoy talking with customers. Photo by Mark Trank

By the way,  I have to share something really interesting.  There is a growing trend among jewelry artists to combine efforts to increase sales for all.  I saw evidence of this at the show… when a a few artists came up to me and offered to share space at a store or even give me a heads up on future events.  This is happening on line as well.  Check out Melinda Orr’s blog at to be part of a Big Yard Sale and Give Away.


Risk versus Reward

I currently have two teenager boys  living at home, so I am constantly reminded of the risk taking behaviors of adolescents.  But now it seems,  according to new research on the teenage brain, that this risk taking behavior is actually an evolutionarily developed advantage for helping the teen transition from the safe home life to the “big, bad world” out there. In fact, according to author David Dobbs in the October 2011 National Geographic, the teen risk-loving behaviors are not the result of the “puny brain” or “work in progress”  brain, but rather the “result of teens weighing risk versus reward differently than adults. ” (pg. 54) Reward can often involve the elevation of status among their friends.  So today, I am looking at my two sons differently. I am figuring out more rewards that I can offer them for “smart decisions.”  I am also pondering why so many middle and high school teachers use punishment rather than reward to motivate teens.   Even on days like today, where I spent most of my time in my studio creating jewelry, I am also thinking about education.  I am as passionate about the right way of teaching as I am about creating jewelry.

Here are my designs today and here are my wishes for teachers of teenagers.

1) Please don’t belittle teens (especially not in front of their peers)

2)Please don’t automatically assume they are lying, cheating or stealing.

3) Please allow them to explain why they are not cooperating, not completing the work or not paying attention to you.

4) Please try to motivate the teens with interesting and relevant assignments

5) Please learn about the teenage brain so you understand what motivates them and what doesn’t

6) Please take a risk and try to be different than most teachers of teenagers and I guarantee the rewards will be great.  Believe me, I know.  I am still in touch with many of my former students who rewarded me with their love and attention while I was teaching them and continue to reward me by staying in touch.



Bead Soup Party 2011 Official Site is

  Well its finally here…Bead Soup Blog 2011 Party Day.  In the end, I made two necklaces out of my wonderful ingredients sent by Jayne aka Boot C .  The first necklace was my effort to be symmetrical.  I wrote about my need for symmetry in my last blog.  I would actually call this reverse symmetry…   I was challenged by how to use the hammered piece of copper and ended up using my new wire wrapping technique to make it a pendant.  Then I used the ribbon Jayne sent to connect her wire wrapped semi precious stone flower in front.  But there was still one more centerpiece that I could not fit into this design, so I designed an entirely different necklace for that. I used Bead Weaving techniques.  Jayne had wire wrapped a lime green pearl in the copper.  I played upon those two colors in choosing my seed beads and glass pearls.  I ended up using Jayne’s clasp as a connector on the first necklace, so I used a button to clasp the second necklace. Let me know what you think please.  I wish every party was this long and fun.  Thanks Lori.

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Necklace 2 started off as a bracelet, but it was too big for my wrist, so being a fan of symmetry, I repeated the pattern on the other side and voila, it was choker.



I created this blog a month ago so I could join in the Bead Soup Blog Party.  I cannot begin to describe the benefits I have received from being part of this creative community.  At first, I became overwhelmed, “How on earth, can there be so many talented artists who in addition to making their beads or jewelry, also have time to take beautiful pictures, post them on several different mediums, keep up with life etc.  Would they include a bumbling new blogger and help her along.” 

Yes, they did.  Since joining this party, I have learned to create an Etsy treasury (still have not done yet), learned to properly use Facebook for business, learned abit about marketing properly for blogs and getting others to notice your blog and your jewelry. I have added a signature to all my emails which will help promote my business and I have learned about the generosity of so many people, who don’t consider each other as competition, but as collaborators in the making of beautiful jewelry and educating people about our craft.  So thanks to Lori Anderson and all of you out there who have willingly participated and helped others like me. 

I still have not solved my photography conundrum, but I will post a picture of my first foray into wire wrapping cabochons.  I took a class last week from my friend, Babs Snyderman of Bab’s Beads in Fort Myers, Florida.  She is an accomplished jeweler and a very patient teacher. 

My First Wire Wrap. The Cabochan is Petried Wood. Wire is silver-filled.

 I have since worked on two more cabochans.  I am very proud of the second one.  If I ever figure out my lens conundrum, I will post.  One thing I have learned in all my years teaching, is that if you don’t immediatley practice a new skill, you will never remember it.  So I am determined to make many more wrapped cabochans in the next week to solifidy my learning.


Promises, promises

I promised my children that I would watch them play tennis.  When I sat on the side of the court, I was not allowed to comment or laugh or look at them or say good shot.  So why was I there? I guess they needed me right?  I promised my brother that I would come over and help with my mother… even though I have to be at the University tomorrow for the beginning of the semester.  Why am I doing it?  Because my mom has Alzheimers and everyday she forgets a bit more. I promised my friend I would cover her store because she bought a house and needed the day to move even though I have to work my night job three nights this week. Why?  Because she treats me well and I want her business to succeed.  I promised my girlfriends to arrange the tennis round robin.  Why?  Because I feel guilty when someone gets left out and I know I will make sure that doesn’t happen. I promised my husband I would not spend money this month even though I keep seeing the coolest beads I want to buy.  Well, you know why?  You are all struggling artists and it sure is hard to make living this way. And I promised whoever reads my blogs that I would post a picture of my new  improved and much more efficient technique for doing wrap bracelets.  It uses one needle, instead  two.  So here it is.  Promises, promises, promises…

Making Jewelry on my fancy frame made of cardboard, bead mat and rubber bands


Summer Creation

This summer I joined the Bead Dreamer’s Long Days of Summer Design Challenge.  I met Charlene on line and we immediately connected.  I was in Massachussettes in a cabin with two of my three sons and my husband.  It was quite rustic and I decided that what made this really a challenge for me was how to bead on the road without all your supplies or beads or lights.  I decided only to use what I had brought and try to design a bracelet that evoked my natural surroundings, the Berkshire Mountains .  Here is what I came up with …its based on a pattern I saw in Bead and Button Magazine.  I used seed beads, delicas, tubes, amber and a sewing clasp, which I am not thrilled with. It actually looks more fall-like than summer, but that is because I was in the boreal forest, which contains a great deal of evergreens, some maple trees and birch. 

Long Days of Summer Challenge The Berkshire Bangle

Here are blog addresses for the other participants in this challenge. Go see what they created.

 Andrew Thornton –

 Therese –

 Mary Ellen Parker –

 Tara Linda –

Charlene Sevier –

Its not midnight yet, so I am going to add a picture of my two sons and husband in the Berkshires that inspired my summer creation.

My Boys in the Berkshires