Friday, January 11, 2013

Memories and Thanks Blog Hop Reveal

As a "silent" follower of Lori Anderson's blog, Pretty Things, I lurked in the shadows for ages...personally blogless and deeply impressed by all the amazing pieces of jewelry created by Lori's friends and followers for the annual Bead Soup Blog Parties.  I wanted to be part of this group...oh, I wanted it so badly!  But the mechanics of creating a blog were, I thought, beyond me.

With some encouragement from friends, and some HANDS ON (!) help from Lori herself, I finally created a blog, strictly so I could join the bead soup parties and be part of this community of beaders and stringers and knotters.  And I have done just this...poorly, for the most part, as the mechanics still mostly elude me.  Photography and technology in general are not where I excel.  But one of my resolutions for the coming year is to embrace the process, read the manual that came with the camera, and get with the program. 

This particular blog hop really spoke to me.  Memories and thanks...what a terrific idea!  I'm contributing to this blog hop in memory of my Grandma Ellen, who meant the world to me.  I loved her so much!  And you know what?  You would have loved her, too.

My grandma was the oldest of several children in a poor family in Indiana...she was born in 1898 (I know this, because when I was 10 she gave me a real silver dollar from that year so I'd never forget when she was born).  She worked in a bank until she married my grandfather at the advanced age of 28 (he was a young lad of only 22...quite a scandal!)  When her two children were mostly raised, the family moved to Sebastopol, California, where she began working as a bookkeeper in an apple cannery.  In fact, she worked as the cannery's bookkeeper full time until she was 76 years old, long after my grandpa died.  Every morning she would hook herself into the most amazing corset (swearing all the while...hating her large breasts and wishing they belonged to anyone but her), attach her support hose to the garters hanging from that corset, and put on her slip, blouse, and suit.  Then she would spray herself with Avon cologne, put on her makeup and do her hair, and finally she would visit her jewelry box and choose a brooch to wear, and matching clip-on earrings. Then she'd light a cigarette, drink a cup of percolated black coffee, and off she'd go.  In my mind, my grandma was the most exotic woman in the world.  She worked; she had a housekeeper; she bought cases of Coca Cola (in glass bottles) from the guy who stocked the vending machine at work, and kept cold Coke in her rounded vintage refrigerator just for her grandchildren!

Ah, those brooches!  My grandma was a short, stout woman...but she was drawn to Sarah Coventry brooches like a bee is drawn to nectar.  BIG brooches.  Big and glittery and showy.  I never knew what became of all the treasures in my grandma's jewelry box after she died; she lived a long time (until she was 96), and spent at least five years in a nursing home before she died.  When my father died two years ago, my sister found two of the brooches in Dad's handkerchief drawer.  She gave them both to me, thinking that I could use them in one of my creations. 

You know, I never really found a use for them...until I read Lori's post about the "Memories and Thanks" blog hop.  I tried everything I could think of to make this particular brooch into something that was "mine"...I tried inserting beads and pearls into the chain.  I tried using a beautiful antiqued brass bail.  Ultimately, every single thing I added actually detracted from the finished piece.  And that's not the point of making jewelry, is it?  It's not supposed to be so busy that it hurts the eyes to look at it!  And believe me, this focal is busy enough...bright and shiny enough...just by itself.  So although I feel like I'm cheating by simply attaching a stands alone much better than with anything else hanging from it or attached to it. 

Here we go:

Can you see the absolute glitziness of the center focal?  It's like GLITTER CONFETTI!  Here's a picture of more of the whole piece, which in reality is just a chain attached to the brooch:

Oh, this makes me miss my grandma more than ever!  She was the most understanding person in my world.  When I visited, I slept in Grandma's double bed with her.  She would wrap her hair in toilet paper and pin it in place, put on a hairnet, and TAKE OUT HER TEETH!  But then morning would come, and she would transform herself into an elegant (in my eyes, anyway) career amazing thing to behold.
Please visit the other bloggers participating in this challenge:

Adlinah Kamsir Dream Struck Designs
Aimee Biondolillo Aimee's Jewelry Treasures
Alicia Marinache All the Pretty Things
Andra Marasteanu Handmade by Indra Marasteanu
Andrea Trank Heaven Lane Creations
April Grinaway Brooklyn Bead Goddess
Barb Solem Vivi Magoo Presents
Bonnie Coursolle Jasper's Gems
Catherine King Catherine's Musings
Cece Cormier The Beading Yogini
Chandra Leitz Juniper Goods
Charissa Nesler FireStorm Designs
Charlie Jacka Clay Space
Christina Hickman Vintage Treasures Jewelry
Christine Stonefield Sweet Girl Design
Chrizette Bayman Bead Soup Mix
Cindy Wilson It's My Sea of Dreams
Crystal Thain Here Bead Dragons
Cyndi Lavin Beading Arts
Denielle Hagerman Some Beads... and other things I like
Diana Gonzalez Arte y Poemas
Diane Hawkey diane hawkey
Dita Basu ankarshilpa
Donetta Farrington Simply Gorgeous (You are here!)
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell Deeliteful Jewelry Creations
Erin Kenny beadiful therapy
Erin Prais-Hintz Treasures Found
Gina Hockett Freestyle Elements
Heather Marston CSW Designs
Inge von Roos Inge's Blog
Jacqueline Marchant Fiddledeedee Jewelry
Jami Shipp Celebrating Life!
Jennifer Reno Musings of a Crafty Jenny
Jenny Robledo Peppa's Dream
Jennifer VanBenschoten Jewelry, Art and Life
Jessica Klaaren Cellar Door Jewelry
Jessica Murray Whimsical Monkey
Joan Williams lilruby jewelry
Jo-Ann Woolverton It's a Beadiful Creation
Joanne Browne josjewels1
JuLee Wolfe The Polymer Penguin
Julie Bean Blue Pig Blog
Karen Mitchell Over the Moon Designs
Karin King The Sparklie Things Blog
Karin Slaton Backstory Beads
Kat Douglas Washoe Kat's
Kay Bolton Toodles and Binks
Kelly Hosford Patterson The Traveling SideShow
Kim Dworak CianciBlue
Kim Houston The Pink Martini
Kym Hunter Kym Hunter Designs
Laren Dee Barton Laren Dee Designs
Lea Avroch LA Jewelry Designs
Lena Adams (Mari's daughter) -- TBA
Liddy McLaughlin Liddy McLaughlin Art
Linda Inhelder Must-Haves Jewelry
Lisa Hamilton Simply Irresistable Jewelry
Lisa Suver Fancee That
Lori Bowring Michaud Artfully Ornamental
LouAnn Elwell Southpass Beads
Mandi Effron Craft-o-licious
Marcia DeCoster MadDesigns
Marie Covert Creating Interest
Marjorie Savill Linthwaite bennubirdrising
Martha Aleo Ornamento
Mary Ellen Parker BeeTree by m.e.
Mary Govaars MLH Jewelry Designs
Maureen Connolly Mrs Beadsley's Workshop
Maybeline Tay The Jewelry Larder
Melissa Elgin The Addicted Beader
Melissa Mesara one-eared pig beads
Menka Gupta Menka's Jewelry
Michaela Pabeschitz la mar de bonita
Mischelle Fanucchi Micheladas Musings
Mona Rae Baroody Who Does She Bead She Is?
Natalie Davidson NorthShore Days
Nikki Douglas Bead It and Weep
Pam Farren re-maker
Pam, the Crazier Sister The Crazy Creative Corner
Priya Krish Hellopalz
Rebecca Anderson Song Beads
Rebecca Sirevaag Becca's Place
Robin Kae Reed Artistry HCBD
Rochelle Brisson a creative chelle
Sabine Dittrich perlendschungel
Sandi Volpe Sandi Volpe
Sandra McGriff Creative Chaos
Sarah Goode Pookledo
Sarah Singer String a Song of Sixpence
Shai Williams Shaiha's Ramblings
Sharon Palac Sharon's Jewelry Garden
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson Sharyl's Jewelry & Reflections
Sheila Davis Stone Designs
Shelley Graham Turner Fabric of My Life
Sherri Stokey Knot Just Macrame
Sherry Baun Unicorns Jewels
Skylar Bre'z Brising Beads
Stephanie Haussler Pixybug Designs
Tania Spivey Moobie Grace Designs
Terri G. Blooming Ideas
Terry Carter Tapping Flamingo
Toltec Jewels Jewel School Friends
Tracy Kruse Goldkisses Art
Tracy Martin Nutkitten's Jewelry



  1. What a warm and lovely tribute

  2. That is the *perfect* way to showcase a wonderful pin. I hope you get good use out of the necklace, because it is a stunning piece.

    1. What a lovely comment! Thank you so truly means the world to me!

  3. Sometimes the best way to create is to let the piece speak to you...and the necklace you made from your grandmother's jewelry is amazing!

    1. The more I look at the brooch (I mean, the NECKLACE!) the more I like it...I guess it's still speaking to me! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

  4. Your grandmother, I'm sure, is looking down and smiling. It's a beautiful tribute to her life.

    1. Thank you so much...she was my favorite adult, and truly an inspiration to me. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

  5. What an awesome picture you depicted of your Grandmother. Thanks for sharing it it made me smile.

    1. I'm so happy to know I made you smile...I'll bet Grandma would be so tickled with the attention!

  6. Oh, that Lori Anderson!

    I love the story of your grandmother and your piece is really lovely.

    1. I know, right? Lori is such a lovely, talented, and generous lady. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

  7. I have the funny feeling that your grandmother and my gram would have been great friends. Thank you so much for introducing her to us. And the necklace is perfect! Adding anything to it would be overboard.

    1. What a lovely comment you left! Thank you so means the world to me!

  8. Totally love your blog colorful. Thanks for sharing your story with us. Your jewelry design is perfect!
    Peace and Love.

  9. Thanx for sharing your story with us. I think that it is the sentiment of the blog hop that counts not how complicated a piece is. You did your Grandma proud.

    1. Well...this particular piece just didn't lend itself to any additional embellishment...and it was a wonderful experience to write some of my memories of my favorite adult! Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

  10. I LOVE your brooch necklace - it doesn't need anything else! Your grandma sounds like a wonderful woman, thank you for sharing her with us!!

    1. I think my grandma would have loved all this thank you on her behalf, and thank you for taking the time to send a lovely compliment!

  11. Oh, my, this is such a sweet and wonderful story - thank you for sharing! The necklace is perfect as is, you were right: the brooch is enough and this way it truly stands out, just like your grandma must have done during her life.

    1. Thank YOU so much for reading and are so sweet!

  12. I LOVE the brooch! It is perfect on a simple chain! Your honored your grandmother very well! You are a great writer!

    1. *Blush*...thanks a million for reading, commenting, and complimenting!

  13. you know, you're right - I think I love your grandmother too - what a wonderful story that accompanied your piece. she would, I believe, love that you used her glittery brooch in your tribute to her!

    1. What a super-sweet comment...and I agree that she would have loved the necklace (especially since it was all "Grandma" and no "Donetta"!), but I also think she would have said "Where are the earrings?"!

  14. What a lovely story and what a beautiful necklace to remember her by.

    1. Ah...thanks so much for reading and truly means the world to me!

  15. It's lovely and as a necklace it is just fine. What a delightful Grandma you had (mine brought me a horse). What a wonderful way to remember her.


    1. I always wanted a horse! (I never got a horse, btw.) Thanks so much for stopping by, and for commenting!

  16. A gorgeous piece to honor your Grandmother. I have similar memories of my grandmother pin curling her hair. I have to say I don't remember the TP. Just a big ol' jar of ponds cold cream and a bottle of oil of olay on the back of the shelves over the toilet and along side the tin of her bobby pins. Thanks for triggering these memories. Grandmothers are indeed special women in our lives. Enjoy the hop.
    Terri G.

    1. What? You don't remember your grandma wrapping her "do" in toilet paper at night, before hairnetting it into place? Ah, those weekly visits to the "beauty shop" for a shampoo and set, and every now and again that special rinse to maintain the correct almost-lavender shade of her hair...I DO have some great memories! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

  17. Wonderful memories of an exceptional person. After your storie I even could imagine how she looked like. I thank you for sharing your memories with us. The brooch is a stunning piece, something to cherish!

    1. Thank you so much for the lovely compliment! The best part of this blog hop was that it brought back so many memories...I can even remember the rose petal fragrance of her cologne!

  18. I loved reading about your grandmother - thank you so much for sharing. What an extraordinary, special woman she must have been. And yes, totally agree that we all would have loved her had we known her. I'm glad you have a few of her brooches - they must be eyecatchingly beautiful if the necklace focal is anything to go by. A lovely necklace and a wonderful tribute to your grandmother.

    1. Thank you so, so much for stopping by, and for the lovely comment!

  19. Congrats on jumping in with both feet. Your blog is great, and the story of your Grandma is so sweet. Bet you never thought of that use for tissue paper.

    1. Marlene, my blog is...sporadic! But thank you so, so much for stopping by and for commenting; it means the world to me. You are one of the "big girls" of the bead blog world...I admire you so much!

  20. Your story is touching, there is nothing like the memories of grandmothers and your necklace is beautiful!

    1. Ah, thank you so much. My grandma was truly the one person in my life who loved me unconditionally, even when I was quite unloveable (age 13 comes to mind...).

  21. I love the story of your Grandma! Thank you so much for sharing.
    And the necklace is beautiful. What a special treasure to have one of her brooches that you can wear. I think the chain is perfect, and not cheating!

    1. I tried not to cheat, I swear. But this has given me the desire to do something with the other brooch...

  22. I can just picture your grandmother, full of moxie and ready to take on the world! What an amazing role model she must have been for you! And I do so love that brooch. It is perfect just like that. Thank you for sharing your story. Enjoy the day. Erin

  23. What a gorgeous necklace; it's very Elizabethan! Thanks for stopping my my blog and the compliment on my Talisman necklace.

  24. I LOVE that brooch. You did it justice just like that. Your grandma sounds like an awesome lady. Thank you so much for sharing.

  25. What a great way to use your lovely (and fun!) grandmother's brooch in a tribute piece....incidentally, and somewhat fittingly for your grandmother, that brooch is called "Contessa," and is from Sarah Coventry's 1976 catalog.

  26. The brooch is amazing! I love that you chose to just feature it.

  27. You're right, I do quite like her! I can see your trouble with that brooch being so ornate for starters... maybe a beaded or braided cord?? that was all the popped into my head as you described the trouble. A chain works just as well though


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