Friday, May 27, 2016

Time out for books: Notorious RBG

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader GinsburgNotorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, I have to say that, if you haven't already purchased this book, do yourself a favor and buy the hardback version. I probably would have gone the electronic route had it not been for my friend who purchased Notorious RBG and loaned it to me. It is a gorgeous book with so many wonderful photos and terrific graphics, befitting someone whose style has become part of her legacy. Co-authors Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik dedicated the book "To the women on whose shoulders we stand" and I am so grateful to women like Ruth Bader Ginsburg for doing so much of the heavy lifting that moved boulders for women like me.

More than anything, I take delight in the fact that RBG defies easy labeling. On the surface, you might conclude she is a traditional woman - in a wonderful marriage to her husband and partner, Marty, for 56 years, mother to a daughter and son and grandmother of four. She is diminutive and soft-spoken but don't let these characteristics fool you. As the book notes, RBG is "Not a bombshell thrower but a bombshell achiever." She has quietly gone about her business of law since 1960 but her cases have carved a path of progressiveness through social and legal muck.

This is the second book this year I have read about remarkable women - the first being My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem. While these woman led very different personal lives, I was struck by how similar they were in style and approach. They are listeners and more than anything, hard workers - putting in hours that most people would never dream of.  On the more frivolous side, both Steinem and Ginsburg have also received attention for their appearance. While physically nearly opposites with Steinem's blonde to Ginsburg's brunette, both were known for achieving a certain fashion distinction.

And Ginsburg's sense of fashion and whimsy is perhaps most evident in her collars - called jabots - and we see one on the above cover. In August of 2014, Katie Couric interviewed Ginsburg about her collars and it is her dissension jabot that earned the slogan, "Fear the Frill". It looks like RBG may earn yet another distinction among bead enthusiasts as advancing the cause of bead art in the courts!

The book summarizes how we can each be like RBG:

  • Work for what you believe in. 
  • But pick your battles. 
  • And don't burn your bridges. 
  • Don't be afraid to take charge. 
  • Think about what you want then do the work. 
  • But then enjoy what makes you happy. 
  • Bring along your crew. 
  • Have a sense of humor.

What a terrific book about an amazing, wonderful woman! Thank you RBG!

View all my reviews

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Bargain Bead Box Creation: Rainforest Earrings

Earlier this year, I enrolled in a bead subscription service that I wrote about in this post.

The service is called Bargain Bead Box and, while it's great fun to get packages of beads in the mail, it's a little overwhelming when you didn't order them for anything specific. I guess some folks like the challenge of coming up with creative uses but for me, they have just been piling up.... literally. It's amazing how quickly a month goes by and a new package arrives in my mail box.

Guilt got the better of me and I decided I should do something.... anything.... with one of the shipments. So I dug out the March goodies and selected something from bag #2.

I made some wire-wrapped dangles that I connected to silver chain links and combined them with some polymer clay leaves I had on hand to come up with these Rainforest Earrings.

Rainforest Earrings

While I was a bit lukewarm on the February and March shipments, I really like the beads in the April and May packages and will write about those as soon as I get some creative inspiration and make something with them!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Art Jewelry Adventure Class #5: Bead Crochet

We moved back into my comfort zone for the fifth class in the Art Jewelry Adventure Series: bead crochet! yay! The instructor was Olga Poltavets who dabbles in a couple different media including polymer clay as well as bead crochet.  Here is a screenshot to Olga's Facebook page along with the link:

Link to Olga's Facebook Page

The class was for a crochet rope made into a bangle or bracelet with a traditional closure. I think bead crochet is a pretty tricky enterprise. I took a class at my local bead shop a couple years ago and don't know how well I would have done learning online. Olga uses larger beads and yarn in her instructional video, which is a good place to start, but she never covers tips for moving to smaller beads and thinner crochet thread, which is the real tricky business. If there were bead crochet newbies in the crowd, I think they may have had trouble with the transition.

Olga did offer a kit for the class but for once, I had everything I needed on hand.

Anyhoo - here is my rope. Pretty basic.

I decided to use a beaded bead I made as the focal and went in search of bead caps. And just as I was getting ready to order some, I found a tutorial online for these adorable bead caps.

Link to Bead Caps Tutorial
The bead cap tutorial is in Russian but is very easy to follow. Using the copper-color super duos gives them a metal appearance.

And here is the finished bangle:

The class was first-rate and Olga was a great instructor. She even offered a bonus section on making designs for bead crochet. My only suggestion was to spend more time on how to transition to the smaller beads and threads.

Here is a list of all the Art Jewelry Adventure classes I have taken with links to their blog posts.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Falling in love.... with beautiful designs

I have a tendency to go ga-ga over certain designs. They just bowl me over and I make them repeatedly until my fancies are captured by a new one. And often it's the simplest of designs that become the most compelling. Such was the case with the Seed of Life earring design by Svetlana Chernitsky from the April 2016 Bead&Button.

Design by Svetlana Chernitsky, April 2016 Bead&Button

I saved the pattern because I thought it would be a nice motif for bead embroidered pieces I have been making as wedding gifts. Here's a peak at the motif from a gift I am just finishing and will write more about in a later post.

Once I finished the pieces for my keepsake design I had some beads left over and decided to make a pendant. I am just smitten with these turquoise picasso super duo beads. I paired the pendant with a sweet charm from The Lipstick Ranch and strung them on bronze silver silk chain. And then I thought it would be nice to have earrings to go with the pendant. Before stringing, I dunked the pendant and earrings in a little Future floor wax to give them some stability and let them dry on wax paper.

I was so enamored with the colorway, I decided to make a bracelet to round out the set. The bracelet design is the Pathways cuff by This link takes you to the page for all the kits but each kit page has a link to a free downloadable tutorial. There is also a series of YouTube tutorials to go along with the printed tutorial but unless you are a beginner, the printed tutorial is super-clear and easy-to-follow. I had admired a similar piece made by Therese Frank and was happy to find the tutorial so I could try my hand at it.

Pathways Design by

I liked the set so well, I decided to gift it to my niece for her birthday this week. Happy Birthday, Kelsey!

© Cave Creek Beads