Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What does 'retirement' look like?

Okay, let me get ONE thing straight.

I'm not retired.

First, I'm 48. Unless I forgot that I started Google, I am too young to retire.

Second, just because I closed the Raleigh store doesn't mean I am leaving the beady world forever.
Or even for more than a long vacation.

I just can't. It's part of who I am, part of what I do. I ADORN things (remember the sign on the fence?) I just can't stop.

I did, however, close the store. It was a hard decision, and one I took in a mad rush. I just couldn't do it any longer. Ornamentea was not actually a business (on so many levels!) but more of an art project. A big, participatory art project. A 16+ year, multi-faceted, performance and visual art project. A hard and fabulous and challenging and exciting art project. A project with a zillion guest stars and a wonderful core cast and a LOT of different influences. Like any art project, any painting or dance or musical number, it had to end. It wore me out. I had to end that part of my creative self to make some space for new creative activities.

Which was good and will be fun and I will love it.

BUT OH IT'S SOOO MUCH WORK.

The closing down part. Really, I did not know how long it would take, or how much this part of the 'play' (I guess it's called striking the set?) would/could drag on. I feel like I've looked in a million boxes and sorted a zillion things. I've priced desks and shelves and chairs and lamps. I've been burning up the Craiglist postings for weeks. I'm making piles for the Scrap Exchange, and the Green Chair, and Habitat for Humanity.

It was actually easier to have a bead store.

(just kidding...)

But seriously, anyone want to buy a table?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Excerpted from our Tuesday Newsletter...which went out a bit late...

Happy rainy Tuesday. Actually, if you are reading this and are NOT in North Carolina, you may not be enjoying a rainy day. If so, I am sorry for you. I love a warm rainy day, especially when I have a lot to do. 

Usually I write to you earlier in the day, but this week, with the Raleigh store closed and rain looming over the trees, I decided to switch things up a bit. I took the dogs for a long morning walk and marvelled at the spring we've had. I say 'had' because I noticed that the mulberry trees were dropping berries already. In my Ohio-girl mind, that's a summer thing. Even after 20+ years in the South, I still marvel over the 'early' strawberries every year and the mulberries that fall before school lets out. My child-inside had to pick a few mulberries off a low branch and taste them. So few trees have flavorful berries, and I can't seem to remember, year-to-year, which ones will be delicious. The ones I tried were not. They stained my fingers anyway!

The rain is enjoyable today because I am working on some new jewelry designs for our revamped website, ornamentea.com. Don't tell anyone, but we are doing a soft opening NOW. Well, today. Soon. Right now I just clicked on the link above and it was the same-old site, but any second now it will switch...yes, I might be obsessively clicking it!

This weekend is both the fabulous ArtSplosure festival AND Pop-Up Raleigh. If it's rainy, don't forget that Pop-Up now includes LOTS of indoor vendor spaces. This weekend we'll be starting our Pop-Up Decal Game. This is a fun way to help us spread the word about Pop-Up AND for you to win some cool stuff. Decals will be available for sale at Pop-Up, but if you are super-speedy you can score a free one at Deco Raleigh on Hargett Street. I'll be dropping a few off on Wednesday around lunch time. Just pop in and say 'I love Pop-Up!' and ask for your decal. We have both big, car-sized decals and petit bike helmet-sized decals! You WILL want one because you need a decal to play along! 


Did you sign up for my 'new list' this last week? if so, you'll be getting an email from me with 6 free copies of some of my most-popular paid tutorials. I had set the deadline to the 15th (Sunday) but I've been distracted with mulberry tastings. If you sign up by tomorrow, you can still get the free projects! 


Yes, you can forward this to a friend who would like their own copies of the tutorials!
Bash & Lola Jewelry
Quirrky Girl Vintage
Raleigh Soapery

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Tuesday Newsletter, May 3, 2016

This is the full text of my newsletter essay...an edited version appeared in Tuesday's newsletter.

It is May. I am sitting here, in my home, writing to you. The big difference from today to last May is that I won't head down to the big green building after I send this email. I'll load up in my car and drive my grandmother back to Ohio. She's been visiting us for a week and we've shown her some powerful thunderstorms, all the best farmer's markets and a thrift store or eleven. It's nothing but the best for my Grammie. 

But really, she likes those things. She likes the time travel of a trip to the South in the Spring. She likes picking up a nice big tomato plant to tuck in her greenhouse for a week before adding it to her garden. She likes seeing what treasures are found here at our flea markets (hint I learned this time: Depression glass is WAY cheaper in the Midwest!) I like her visits and I like that I'm driving her back to Ohio, just the two of us. We will talk the entire time. She'll tell me stories that I've never heard before about family members long gone. We'll play Highway Botany guessing the names of trees and grasses as we wind up the Appalachian mountains, cross the river and find our way to her hillside. That day-long drive will speed by in a flash of years and memories. By the time we arrive I will have traveled back and forth over her stories and the season, hearing tales of old folks grown young and watching the leaves on the trees we pass shrink back to buds. 

I've lived in the South now for over 20 years, and I hate to admit it but I've returned home more rarely than I like. The call to be with my family is one of the reasons I needed to move away from having a 'real' store in Raleigh. I was an obsessively happy, 'chained-to-the-shop' store owner for years, until the ring of other places became too loud to ignore. I hope this year I can heed that chime. 

Here in Raleigh, in the week since we've closed the shop doors, we've been busy sorting and moving all our shop furniture to get ready for the Big Garage Sale we are having next week. Get the info about that here, if you are interested. Our site is also being updated as the stock is getting settled into the new warehouse space and the 'new' version of the site is being put together. While we hoped that the site would reopen this Friday (May 6th) the overwhelming task of adding all the new items (all at ONCE!) means that we won't reopen until next Tuesday, a week from today. I'm prepping four new projects for you, so I can promise the wait will be worth it!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Friday, April 22, 2016

I'm already excited about my new life...

I have LOVED being the Queen Bee of Ornamentea. LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it.

But then, one day, I realized I wanted to do more.

I was struggling to write new projects.

I was forcing myself to get excited about classes and events.

I was faking it.

After having a job I LOVED for so long, the faking and pretending and half-assed work was killing me. It was time for me to move on to something new (I STILL don't know what that is, exactly*) and for the shop to close.

So I wrote a note to my customers and hit the 'send' key and then stopped pretending. I was, suddenly, free to say what had been hidden in my brain for so long. I was able to admit that I wasn't endlessly creative in a retail sense, that I needed a recharge, that I needed a change.

And the floodgates opened.

I'm already designing new kits for the 'next' version of Ornamentea. It's an online-only (mostly?) version that will leave me with more time to be creative in a more personal way.

This will be one of the kits:


Well, not exactly this. It needs a tweak or two. 

The basic ingredients are as follows:
  • 4 strands of 3 mm fire polished beads
  • 1 strand of fancy hematite beads
  • 5 tassels
  • 5 jump rings (I used 5 mm)
  • 1 strand hematite cross/plus beads
  • 1 strand hematite star beads
  • 1 card of #2 or 3 or 4 silk


I started by putting the jump rings through the tops of all the tassels. Close them securely, and twist them so the split in the jump ring is hidden inside the tassel.

String about 2 inches of one of the beads onto your silk. Then add a star or a cross. Then switch colors and repeat. Keep going. When it's about the length you want, add your first tassel instead of a star or cross. Repeat to add 5 tassels. Go back to the bead-star-bead-cross thing for a while. Then, when it's long enough, knot it super tight and glue that knot. 

I swear, the kit will have better directions. Come in to the shop this weekend and I'll help you pick out the parts for your very own version of this necklace. 

xxoo-C


*I really don't know what my full-time thing will be. I'll do the kits and projects for Ornamentea.com, but that's only a bit of what is in store for me. I do know that the world is big and there is something out there I need to try. So I am going to do it. Yep.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

from our newsletter


from our weekly Tuesday newsletter:

Well, it's finally here. The last week of the Big O in Raleigh. After this week, our website will stay up, but this week is your last chance to come in and shop for goodies in person. I'll be at the shop almost every day (and almost every hour we are open!) so if you come in, please ask for me. 

What do we have for you this week? Well, to start off our store discount is now 65% on all the beads, stones and gems. If you've been waiting for that really pretty strand of your favorite stone, come get it before someone else does. 

If you sell jewelry, and need beads for your designs, our designer-quality findings and parts are at an all-time low price right now. We can still process designer sales (if you have an NC tax id #) so be sure to bring it with you. 

I've been asked over and over if I will keep writing this newsletter. Guess what? I will! I'm going to create a new mailing list for just for folks who want to hear from me, even after we close the Raleigh shop. I will still be making things, and I'll write about that. I will still be designing kits and projects (you'll find them on Ornamentea.com) and I'll write about that. I will still be getting up early to walk the dogs and make coffee, and I'll write about that. If you want to keep hearing from me, just click that link below and add your name to my new list. 

I  hope I'll see you soon, I'm going to go walk those dogs now-