Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas traditions

I haven't felt very festive this year for some reason, and according to a pyschologist on the radio, as long as you admit it, it's not an issue. I didn't decorate the house, no lights outside. I will say that I don't decorate much, but I do have trees, ornaments and display items. On Christmas day, I realized that there are family traditions that I miss.
For as long a I remember, we had a small angel chime with 4 candles.You would light the candle and the angels would turn and hit the chimes and a wonderful tinging noise would fill the room. I have one that I bought in Germany. My sister had one on her table and it took me right back to standing by the table when it was first lite, on the crochet table cloth that always covered the table. That made me think of a few other things:
Peppermint ice cream - Not peppermint flavored, but vanilla ice cream with chunks of peppermint candy. That was a must on the table. I actually found some this year at the store (and a low fat version). One taste and I was 10 years old again.

Money Cake - growing up we always had "Money cake" - it was a simple round cake with clean washed coins inserted into the cake and then it was frosted. It was mostly pennies and nickles - and a quarter! I felt I was rich if I got the quarter. Years later I discovered that tradition came from my father's side of the family. He used to mark the plate that the cake sat on so that he knew how to make the cuts so that everyone received a coin.
Metallic Paper Chain - this was something that my sister usually did. We have these strips of metallic paper, about 1.5 inches by 8 and she would put them together in a chain that was hung on the mirror that I now have in my house. I bet that my sister still has these.
Another item that was on the mirror would be all the pictures that were sent with Christmas cards. This tradition is one that I still keep. But as the numbers of persons who mail cards decreases, so does the number of pictures. Fortunately, Facebook handles that pretty nicely!
German Christmas Pyramid - I do love my pyramid. My deceased brother Jim bought me one as a wedding present for my first marriage, and I kept it. I should display it every year along with all the nutcrackers that I have collected over the years. But alas, they are in a box in the air raid shelter.
New Years Eve - Mom and Dad would have another couple come to the house for beverages and snacks. At midnight, we were all on the porch in NW Detroit with fire crackers and noise makers. About 1am, there would be a pizza delivery; provided that us kids could stay up that long. As adults, my brother, Jim, built a canon that would fire with black powder and make a wonderful noise. Sadly, we haven't had that out since he passed away.
Ah, a short trip down memory lane.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Inspiration comes from many places

Much of the inspiration that I get is from movies that I watch on Turner Classic Movies, such at a movie that I watched in November called "Queen Christina" starring Greta Garbo from 1933. During much of the movie she is dressed as a man - as those are the clothes that she is most comfortable in.
In the picture from above, this is one of the few scenes she is dressed like the Queen that she is. Barely visible in this picture is a pendant that she is wearing. It's moments like this that I love being able to "stop" live TV and really look at something. I drew the sketch below based on what I saw in the movie. The stamped metal piece is part of a "challenge" that the Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild is doing.
I grabbed some dyed Lacey's Stiff Stuff that I purchased last spring and cut my pendant out and have started embellishing my piece. It's about 4 inches across and is promising to be quite elaborate when it's finished.

Once I get my Christmas gifts completed, I will return to work on this and the Taj Mahal, which has not been lost and forgotten - It's coming along wonderfully!!

Mid-December 2011

Where did the year go? I don't really know.
Since my last post, I took a Maggie Meister class through the Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild. That was in mid-November. What a fun and entertaining instructor. We laughed so much. I don't think that Cynthia and I are going to be allowed to sit next to each other for classes ever again. The class that I took was the "Iside Pendant" and it turned out wonderful. Maggie's combination of stitches as a great "aha" moment for me and it accured in the first 20 minutes of class.
I've been really busy at work and really busy at home. I have been making holiday ornaments for my co-workers and have a small stash earmarked for different people. Hopefully this weekend, I can finish my present for the boss (who does where my jewelry) and a few more ornaments.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What's up in the world of Liz??

At Bead and Button, a group of beaders thought it might be fun to have a hat/hair accessory beaded contest and guess who won first place with this littl number??
Dot Lewallen and I compare our beaded handbags.
Excitment at Bead and Button sitting with "rock star" bead artists - Huib Petersen, Beverly Ash Gilbert, June Huber, Sherry Serafini, Amy Katz and myself signing copies of Beading Across America.
This is pulled from the Bead and Button Show facebook page - it shows
Denise Gillitzer Uttke and I talking about, what else, beads!
Bead Cruise 2011 - relaxing on the beach in Jamaica - ahhhh, lobster red tonight. And that was me, not the entree...
This necklace started out as a hat accessory and ended up a really pretty necklace.
Fatima's Fantasy
I submitted this to Bead and Button this year to teach. Now that I know it wasn't accepted, it will be sent to the magazines to see if they might be interested. If they aren't, well, I can always sell the pattern and teach it local. There are lots of opportunities in the bead world!
Bead Embroidered purse - made in the USA in 2011. It might be my favorite.

Taj Mahal Bead Tapestry

Above is a picture from August 2009, when I first started working on the Taj Mahal. And below is how it looked last night:I've been working on the Taj Mahal for over two years - on and off since August 2009 - mostly off because I like working on multiple projects at a time, but a comment on my Facebook page recently made me pull this out of it's hiding place, fortunately, all the beads I have been using are in a project bag. So it's time to work on it again.

Why the Taj Mahal? It's just a stunning building - very distinct, very gracious and beautiful. One of these days I will get there, perhaps when I retire (even though everyone that I know from India lives in the USA now).

The size of this piece is about 8x11 inches. The building itself is being beaded with size 15 seed beads in shades of cream, silver and gold. The circles in the sky are guidelines for the blue sky and white clouds. I am thinking of the trees being a little more dimensional, but haven't completely decided. The towers (minarets?) and the dome have an additional layer of interfacing to give a little dimension there. Did you know that the word minaret is taken from the Turkish and Arabic languages for lighthouse? I didn't either.

When I finish the piece, it will be framed in a shadowbox and will hang somewhere in the house. Of course, unless someone loves it enough to buy it. Many of my bead embroidered pieces are framed around the house - some are pictured on this blog post from 2009.

Friday, October 07, 2011


Marcia posted recently about collections. While we all have a bead collection, I was thinking about other collections that I have: certainly I have a moose plethora (how many times came you really use that word plethora?) - so much that I have told friends and family that the moose collection is officially closed. But they still keep coming! Here are a few!
The first picture shows three moose tiles that I have been gifted over the years. They hang in the hallway of my home.
My "Welcome" Moose lives just inside the front door.

My Moose planter was a gift from fellow beader and traveler, Rosanne Garvison.  Thank you Rosanne as this moose hangs out in the dining room

Little Moose cookie cutter hangs under a cabinet in the kitchen while the cutting board moose below sits on top of a door frame.

Mr. Styling Moose was a gift from my beading buddy Sandy,
 who gifted him to me a couple of years ago.

Below is a shelf in my studio with:  glass moose bought on my Alaskan cruise in 2009, a toy moose from my friend Deb, a stuffed moose from Alaska, moose patch also from Alaska and a tiny jointed moose which was a gift from a co-worker many years ago.

Gracing the walls of my bedroom are a series of moose greeting cards that have been framed nicely

What's in your collection!?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

September Update

I had a really nice post about our summer vacation camping in Michigan, and then our new travel trailer but all that is pushed aside by some news that really caught Alan and I offside.

Alan was laid off effective this Friday. With the demise of the Michigan tax incentive for films shot here (thank you Governor Snyder, I knew that I didn't like you), the Grace and Wild film lab had a short future. Between tax incentives and digital photography, film is quickly going the way of the 8-track player and it took my husband (and several others) employment with it.

Now we knew that this might be coming, but we were hoping that it would hold off for at least a few years so that our house would be paid for. It's going to be tight, I'm going to have to hold off on extra spending, shoes, beads, etc. We should be okay, it's the period of uncertainity that we have until he finds new employment.

Big Sigh! But I have friends that I can vent to, bounce ideas off of and drink with. I will be okay - although the dogs are worried about the Milkbones....

Here's the post that I started to write about the new trailer: About 6 years ago, my husband and I were very excited that we could buy a small travel trailer - a 21MB Ameri-lite. We were really excited. It was self contained, it was everything that we ever wanted in a travel trailer. At least, for the first few years. We made a few modifications - we took out the dinette benches because the storage under them was under utilized. Alan found a recliner chair that was RV sized on line and bought that to replace one bench, and my beading spot was in an office chair that we bought at Ikea (who doesn't love Ikea). Taking the benches out allowed for more room to move, but not much.

It's still a nice trailer - but Alan wanted...more. He wanted more space, he wanted a couch and a slide. When we went camping in July, he saw what he wanted. It was a hybrid travel trailer. A hybrid is a cross between the traditional hard sided travel trailer and a pop-up trailer (with canvas ends). After our vacation, he started haunting CraigsList to see what he could find. And he found it.

He found a 23 foot Surveyor hybrid TT that fit all our needs:

We could tow with our current truck
It had a slide (or wall what do go out) with a couch
It had a queen size bed for us, and a double for guests.
In bad weather, we could fit more than 2-3 persons inside - probably about 6 now.

Maiden camping voyage is this weekend and we can hardly wait!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Beading Across America Book Signing Event

Thanks to the magic of the internet, one of my friends was able to find a picture of the book signing event at the recent Bead and Button show and I was in it. Thank you to Cindy, who has allowed me to use her picture here!!

Seated from left: Huib Peterson, Beverly Ash Gilbert, June Huber, Sherry Serafini, Amy Kaatz, Liz Thompson (me wearing my winning hat!)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bead and Button Show Update

Bead and Button is always a whirlwind of excitement and this year was no different. I took the train, which I love, always restful and relaxing. I leave Dearborn, Michigan at 7:11 and get off the train in Milwaukee at 2:30 or so (actually 3:30 Dearborn time), and with a short walk to the Hilton Hotel - I am at my resting place for the next week.
Milwaukee - AKA Bead Town

This year was a little different for me - I was actually co-teaching a class with Marcia DeCoster (imagine - me!!), not just being the assistant....nervous? A little, but once the class started, I felt just as if I was teaching at Stony Creek Beads! Our class was "Under the Mast II" - which took Marcia's popular "Under the Mast" class and added dangling rivoli's to it.Under the Mast II

Also different was that many of my friends from the Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild were going to be attending: Kate, Sue, Sharon, Cynthia, Michelle, Gail and many more - it was like a board meeting in Milwaukee! Several of my friends also roomed together so visiting them in the Hyatt was like summer camp with GOOD beads. I also ran into several of my Facebook friends - Gwen, Dot (Dot and I met in a bar with our bead embroidered purses)Picture of Dot and Liz taken by Stacy Creamer/Picture of Gwen and Liz taken by ???I don't remember

This year, with Marcia's name and mine as instructors, we had two tables for the "Meet the Teachers" event. With a great display and her two "Marc-ettes" (Pat and myself), we have a nice evening of talking with former students (Denise found me to talk about my "Indiscret" necklace and other necklaces and then we found our picture on the Bead and Button show Facebook page - OMG!) and hopefully future students.
taken by LizFrom the B&B Show Facebook page
Preparing for next year? If I save enough money - I would love to to this! Master class with Sherry Serafini That would be such a thrill to learn more from her! Let's see, time from work shouldn't be a problem, just need to start saving! I know, I know - I can do bead embroidery, but I believe that I could take it to the next level if I am exposed to Sherry for that lenght of time!

Here is an assortment of other pictures from the week. It truely is a thrill to have had a small part in this experience.

Petra and Liz pose for a picture! Thank you!

I won the first annual B&B Show hat contest for my

"Bad Ass Bird" hat (named by Nikia Angel of Buy the Kit)

This picture was taken so that my friends in the Hyatt knew that I returned safely to

the Hilton. Of course, I had to stop in for a beverage before calling it a night

The ever stylish and talented, Marcia DeCoster, takes my picture while I take hers

Jill Wiseman and I have a "walk-by" in the hall between the convention center and the Hyatt

and discover that we have AWESOME taste in shoes!

Martina, Sandy, Sabine, and Petra in the Hyatt "Gathering Place"

Cyn Bicker's wonderful Zentangled lamp - love it!

Benjamin Bunny and Little Hoot hang out together during classes

And finally, my stash that came home with me! Can you say that I have a little bit of a crystal fetish? I love them. This year, I found crystal chain for $2 a foot. I found crystal clay and crystals to put in in (picture an altoids container covered!). I bought some of the new Tulip needles that are supposed to be wonderful - I haven't tried them out yet.

And the one thing that I found in Milwaukee that is the best? Friends!

Marcia, Tracy, Janice, Martina, Dot, Anna, Gail, Sabine, Petra and everyone else who made this a wonderful week.

(p.s. I could have been happy to leave the bronchitis in Milwaukee, but if someone had to catch it, I am glad that it was me!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bead Cruise 2011

This year's Bead Cruise was a week filled with wonderful!
Wonderful teachers: Tracy Stanley, Dallas Lovett, Marcia DeCoster and Jean Campbell.

Wonderful food: sushi, lobster, jerk chicken, red beans and rice.

Wonderful alcohol: Margaritas, a Long Island Ice Tea that was so strong that I couldn't finish it (me!!), margaritas, and another couple of margaritas. Wonderful people: Bev, Sharon, Linda, Susan, Deb, Rosanne, Rita, Sharon, Sharon and Sharon!

Wonderful itinerary: Cozumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; and Falmouth, Jamaica.

And a wonderful sunburn that has finally stopped peeling off my body about 2.5 weeks after the sunburn (note to others: face moisturizer at 15 SPF + face make-up at 15 SPF + sunscreen at 4 SPF does not equal 34 SPF. Just trust me on this one).

I took a metal class from Tracy in which I made my first completely handmade copper necklace, using snips, jeweler's saw, hole punches, rivets and jump rings. It turned out so very cool - I am really happy with it. I do not believe that I will be throwing away all my seed beads to continue this forever, but now I do know how to do it. Marcia - don't worry. I still love RAW. Plus beads are lighter around the neck.

I (laughingly) signed up for a class with Marca - called "Bird of Paradise" which I finished over the weekend. It's so sweet and I do love it!

I then took an additional class with Dallas Lovett for "La Fiesta" earrings - I knew when I signed up for this class that I was going to gift these earrings to Marcia (just because I can). Of course, I had to wear them to tease her and take them out of my ears when she saw them. They look so stunning on her!

It's time for a Bead and Button countdown

It's getting closer and closer! Every year, I am very excited to go to the Bead and Button show in Milwaukee and this year I am even more excited. I will be co-teaching a class with the very fabulous and famous Marcia DeCoster. Our class is on Tuesday, June 7th and is a variation of her wonderful "Under the Mast" necklace.

One weekend last summer, Marcia and I were texting forth and back with ideas and thoughts and practice pieces (this works, this doesn't, that's bad) and we ended up with "Under the Mast II" - it's truely Marcia's piece with my spin on the thought of "maybe we should add more." And look! I even have an official teacher page! Me!

There is still room if you would like to take this class. Go to the Bead and Button website at

I'm very excited to have "instructor" status on a national level added to my resume. I love my teaching gig with Stony Creek Bead in Ypsilanti as Jenn and Sue are great to work with. But this is so cool!! I wonder what we can come up with for next year. Actually, we have a couple of ideas lurking in the back of our minds.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Beading Across America

I can't begin to tell you how grateful I am to have been included in Beading Across America, published by Kalmbach Publishing. I first wrote about this back in 2009

The book has been published and is in my hand how. I am so geeked!

This sounds so funny to imagine, but I will be at Stony Creek Bead in Ypsilanti, Michigan on April 16th, from 10am to 4pm for a book signing. As if I was Stephen King, or Charlotte Bronte! Stop by and harass me!

February 24, 2011

New Years Eve at the Thompson house
Alas, I am guilty. Where have I been? Hanging out on Face book and totally ignoring my blog. I should be flogged with a hank of beads, ones with a cut, because they might draw blood.

Last week was the Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild Bead Daze - 4 daze of great classes, with fabulous instructors. This year we featured Kim St. Jean, Barb Switzer, Marcia DeCoster and Sherry Serafini. I was fortunate enough to have a class with Barb - the "Eye of the Muse" piece which will be stunning when I learn to have the correct tension for working with wire. If I never finish my piece, I learned how to hammer wire correctly and a great piece of information about ultra suede on the back side of rivoli crystals. I had taken a class many years ago with Barb and she has shown tremendous growth since then. For two days, I assisted Marcia with two of her classes (Under the Mast and Aurelia bracelet). My final day was spent with Sherry, where I listed with eager ears for snippets of bead embroidery wisdom. Her work never ceases to amaze me!

Peacock Rivoli - early in the class

Finally, Marcia and I had a few quiet moments to talk about beads and travel, and one of our dinner companions snapped our picture. We are tossing a few ideas back and forth to see what comes to fruition.