Can a bead room be a metaphor for one’s life?

Anyone who knows me will say “Andrea’s life is an open book!”  I am not very good at hiding my feelings nor keeping my insights to myself.  Today, I am sharing another part of my life… my workroom. Now you might be asking yourself, “How can a person create in such a chaotic environment?” Well, I must admit, it ain’t easy.  But I really don’t know how to simplify my life, so somehow I manage.

I am out of workspace! Time to find a surface in the living room

If a picture is worth a thousand words, and this picture is a metaphor for my life, well what more is there to say…. except somehow I meet my deadlines, continue to produce and have fun doing it.  In the next week, I will be revealing a creation that was part of the 2012 Bead Soup Blog Party.  This was my second foray into this design challenge.  Thanks to Lori Anderson of, beaders and jewelry artists from around the world trade beads and challenge themselves to create a piece with the goodies they got from their randomly assigned partner.  More on my partner later in the week.  Thanks for not giving up on me.  With my renewed inspiration to create, comes a renewed inspiration to write.


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 believe in evolution

I believe in evolution –this is not a political statement.  Although as a science teacher, I really have studied the evidence presented by scientists on evolution and I have taught it as part of the earth science curriculum.  But I am not talking here about human evolution, I am talking about my evolution as a jewelry designer.  I finally photographed a few of my signficant early pieces in my growth as a jewelry designer.  My very first piece, which I can’t part with, the bracelet I made for my son to give to a girl on Valentine’s Day, when he was in seventh grade. I worked feverishly on it up until the day before, when he announced to me that he decided to break up with her.  I have kept that bracelet to remind me of all the hearts my Danny is going to break.  My first efforts at bead weaving…edges curling, half completed spirals, hundreds of dollars spent on lessons and materials producing products that would never be worn, let alone see the light of day.  Then there are the pieces, where I thought I had a great idea, but the execution of that idea quite what I had hoped for… so into the junk pile it went. Finally, there are some pieces that are just dated.  Now I have not been beading that long, but like clothing styles, jewelry styles come and go and some of them are more likely to be worn regionally like my hippie Unakite necklace, which was popular in Charlottesville, Virginia, not so in Southwest Florida.  So take a journey with me down ten years of jewelry making.  Its ok to laugh.  Its even better if you want to say “my she has evolved and adapted over time.”  Lol

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My Bead Soup Ingredients Arrived Today


I love interacting with people, I don’t always love interacting with technology.  Case-in-point, while working today at my friend’s store, the cash register roll jammed,  the inventory reader had an error message, my cell phone kept disconnecting while my friend was trying to help me navigate a complicated sale and I couldn’t ring up several sales.

So when I arrived home and saw this adorable package waiting for me, I just knew that my day was about to improve….my bead soup ingredients were here all the way from Oklahoma via Jayne aka BootC It got better when I opened up a pdf tutuorial produced by Christine Miles, who showed me how to improve my photographs.  So here are my beautiful bead ingredients in much better photographs. I think…


It arrived in a Heart.  How cool is that?

When I spread out ithe beads, it looked liked palm trees and Florida skies

 Then I tried a technique that Chris taught me in her tutorial about cropping close and then expanding the photo, so here are my close-ups.

Lampwork beads the color of the Palms

Does this not look like a cool insect you would find in Florida. Did Jayne know I was a former science teacher?



A beaded bead made of semi precious stones and copper wire

 Thanks you BootC.  I think I am going to name my piece Oklahoma’s Majestic Palms.

Reveal Date is September 17



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.


A Trip Down Memory Lane

I have been on a cleaning craze since the beginning of school.  I have almost made it into my beadroom… first it was one of my son’s rooms, then it was my closet.  I found the sweetest pictures of my three boys when they were little.  But I have also uncovered some of my failed beading projects.  I will photograph them and put up a slide show of them tomorrow. 

Returning to my roots as an educator, I think the slide show will show how learning progresses up a ladder.  In teacher terms,  “scaffolding” to help a student learn.  It seems as I read many blogs of my fellow beaders, most have scaffolded themselves from the very simple to a more sophisticated form of beading.  For me, it has taken me from simply stringing into the use of fibers, seed beads, sewing, braiding, Kumihimo, knotting and crocheting.  But lately I have had a hankering to learn more about wire wrapping.  So tomorrow I am so excited to be taking a class from a wonderful Jeweler and teacher Babs in Fort Myers.  I will hopefully have a product worth showing.


Florida skies provide a backdrop for Heaven Lane Creations

I am in my car alot these days… driving kids to school, picking up my parents, going to work at either Park Meadows Tennis Shop, Traders on Sanibel, FGCU or schools all over the county. I know its not the safest thing to do, but I have this need to capture the amazing skies that I am witnessing.  Nature often provides us with the backdrop for creative endeavors.  I am going to share one week of the skies I have witnessed.  My plan is to design a piece of jewelry for each sky view.  I challenge any jewelry designers to do the same and then let’s share the results.  Email me if you are interested at