My Fight with Mona Lisa


Mona Lisa caught my eye last year in Paris—not the one in the Louvre, but the one on these tiny cameo-type cabochons that I could only buy by the bag. (Expect a spate of Mona Lisa jewelry.)

Of course she needed to be the centerpiece of an embroidered cuff bracelet. I put some frames around her face: gold, red glass, a stripe of brown, and a parenthesis in ivory. I installed matching red glass ovals and framed then in gold also.

Then the mysterious Mona got difficult.

I filled in with the brown she likes. It was muddy. Ripped it up.

Started over with red. Ouch! Garish! Ripped it up again.

How about a lot of gold? No….too bright. Rip rip rip.

Then I looked at what Leonardo had done. He put the glowy light in the middle, the dark hair and clothes around her in an oval. Eventually, I surrounded my dark ovals with light.

A subtle bronze to bridge the gold and brown, a pale ivory bead with a shimmer, and then a very pale yellow just within the border to echo her flesh tones. (Face it. She’s yellowish.)

This laying down and tearing up lasted for six weeks, which is about twice as long as average. I could not get it right, and I would not abandon her. This kind of determination and patience is new to me, and I learned it from beading.

Now I’m happy. She just needs a mount, lining, and an edge. And after that, only 11 more Mona Lisa cabochons to go!



Last spring in Paris, I saw tassel necklaces everywhere, and now I can’t stop making them! These are lei-length — versatile for any neckline, and very flattering as they draw that vertical line down your front. They are both luxe and understated.

These bubble bracelets in different sizes and colors have been a big hit! They can be very sedate in the narrow width with orderly beads and leaves, or wild and wooly with an explosion of color. Note the jingle bells! Most of the year this is a textured silver bracelet; but in the holiday season it just comes alive as a festive symbol. And a little bit of a noisy one at that.
Find them here:

Portland Bead Society Bead Bazaar
Montgomery Park
Portland OR
November 4th and 5th , 9 to 5

Tremont Woodstock Craft Fair
7115 SE Woodstock Blvd.
Portland, OR
November 19th, 10 to 4

Or, custom order your favorite size and colors here. NEW! I’m now offering sterling silver findings in custom work.

Searching for a Beach Bride

pearl necklace
(Click to enlarge)

While wandering the beaches of Costa Rica in January, I couldn’t resist plucking up these little flat shells and stones from the sand. I cleaned them thoroughly, and then arranged them in a scattered design with a variety of sewn­-on glass pearls and a few tiny gold beads. In the end, I had a unique piece that ideally wants to be worn by a beach bride along with a long white linen dress or a silk pareo. Barefoot, of course. Or it could be worn by her mother. Or anybody who loves partying on the beach.

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Foodie Pendants

The pendant
Foodie charm necklace. Cheeseburger, pizza or vegetarian. $20.
Photo of beer stein earrings
Click to enlarge

Last March in Paris (don’t you love blog posts that start like that?) I raided all the retail bead stores on the Rue du Temple, and I grabbed a bag of charms I’ve never seen before. Perfect for the Portland foodie market! Or anyone who eats. I knew I had to do something fun with them, and it all came together at a bead store in Berkeley: put a food on it!

Take a look at the matching earrings: two frosty mugs of beer, $15. Adorbs?

Mexican Sunrise

Photo of Mexican Sunrise
Click to enlarge

I finally finished Mexican Sunrise! This is a bib collar (gold chain at the back) densely studded with semi-precious stones, ceramic, and glass beads. It is bold, but compact enough that you don’t have to be 5’10” to wear it. Mexican Sunrise is also guaranteed to bring cheer to everyone around you, in any season of the year.

Very good with black, ivory, camel, white, and peach, and all the shades of orange that surround us now. To wear inside a white shirt collar by day or with a little black dress by night. Pair with small gold earrings.  Price upon request. (See “Contact” button.)

Smart Phone Stylus Leash

Photo of leash
Click to enlarge
A friend asked me if I could make a stylus leash for her phone and tablet.
It’s pictured above. One end features a rubber-tipped stylus; the other end plugs into the earphone jack (as an anchor: no electronics).
They’re going for $15 if you want one! Any color, your favorite, a color to match your phone case, your school colors, all gold or silver…you name it.
Nice little present, too!

Beating the Heat

Photo of embroidery project

Whoa! It’s been really hot here in Portland. Up to 100 degrees and sometmes a little more. I’ve been keeping cool by beading in the air conditioning. I’ve been working on bead embroidery this summer. The current project is on the little orange stand.