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I march for the dignity of every American.

Every human being deserves dignity. In response to the excruciating lack of dignity I’ve witnessed in my country I march.

I march for hope.

I know that in the darkest times there is always light available to each one of us individually, and to humanity as a whole. I hold within me that light and I carry it to Washington D.C. I march with hope for everyone who is hopeless, angry, and frightened.

I march because I matter.

So often I’ve considered my voice insignificant in the face of a massive and twisted political system. Now too much is at stake. And I no longer have the luxury of indulging in insignificance. Every voice on this planet matters, including mine. My voice and my presence matter enough to have impact, even if it cannot be measured. I march my voice and presence in Washington D.C. because I matter.

Jamie’s latest book is, like all of her books, pleasingly straightforward and easy to follow. She is a master teacher as well as a master at her art, her technique, and her craft.

I asked Jamie about tassel making and her book.

What is a common problem you see when it comes to making tassels?

Jamie: I think that many beaders see a tassel and their mind immediately and simply sees it as fringe techniques stitched up into a bead.

Margie: This is true for me!

Jamie: The problem with this is that the bead hole will only accommodate the thread a limited number of times and usually that will create only a sparse, feeble tassel. Unfortunately, I see finished designs that clearly would be wonderful with a tassel but what was done was out of proportion with the beaded piece, a few strands indicating a tassel but clearly limited by a bead hole. I am stubborn and worked on techniques until I could get the appearance I wanted for any tassel with the fullness, richness I desired no matter what limitations the beads and beadwork presented.

Margie: That’s what I love about your tassels: they are substantial and robust… nothing wimpy about ’em.

Is making tassels as difficult as it appears to be?

Jamie: Making tassels is no more difficult than any other kind of beading! And it’s always fun to be able to bead something that you envision in your mind. So I’ve included in this book four different methods/techniques for creating tassels, and within each technique there are a variety of different looks you can achieve by changing lengths, bead sizes, fringe styles, etc.

Margie: Will everyone find it simple?

Jamie: Probably not since I’ve observed over the years that any individual beader can struggle with a particular stitch. But with clear instruction and practice, this is easily overcome. The key with my tassels is using a technique to achieve whatever appearance you desire for your tassel. Some people will find it super easy and I’ve seen beginner beaders succeed wonderfully with these techniques.

Margie: I’ve had problems with tassels in the past. I scoured websites for instructions, and the ones I made I was never happy with. As I look at your book, I see now that was because I didn’t have proper instructions. Thank you for adding your clear, practical techniques to the bead artists’ repertoire.

Jamie: You are very welcome!

Purchase “Bead Play with Tassels” on Amazon

My Craftsy class, Jewelry Design for Bead Artists has been available for a week.After more than 6 months of work by myself and many others, I am proud! My husband and I have been watching portions of it at night and are so impressed by the HD quality, the graphics, the pacing, the ease of navigation, and the downloadable materials.

Over 150 students have enrolled in the first week, and I’ve received some great questions. Participants can ask a question right in the browser and attach photos of their work. I answer as soon as possible, usually within a day. Others can read the questions and answers as they watch the class videos.

I enjoy seeing others’ work as they ask me about the amount of repetition or variety they’ve used in the composition

. Before I answer these kinds of questions I ask them questions. I can give more helpful, accurate answers when I know what the artist was going for in their design. So I ask them what the goal of the piece was. Who is going to wear it and where? What’s the persona of the one wearing it? What do you want it to convey? And the most important question: What do you want the person wearing the jewelry to feel?

The first thing I set in my mind before I design anything is this: what do I want the customer to feel when they wear the jewelry I’m making? (By “customer” I mean anyone I design jewelry for, whether or not money is exchanged.) To me it’s the most important design decision I make, because it informs every other decision, from color, to length. I also discuss  this in my book, “The Beader’s Guide to Jewelry Design.

Please check out the class preview if you’ve not had a chance.

"Jewelry Design for Bead Artists" on

“Jewelry Design for Bead Artists” on

Monday, May 18th! Stay tuned, jewelry designers! You’ll be able to learn how to create more unity in your designs, how to design for customers you know, and those you’ve never met, how to design for specific body types, and so much more!

I’ll also be giving away a free class!

I wanted to remind you that Mosaic is still available on Amazon for free, if you enjoy fiction and poetry.

As I mentioned last week, a group of writer’s who met virtually in an online writing class created this eBook together. I’ve contributed two flash fiction stories to Mosaic.

Here’s an excerpt from my story, “Leonardo”:

“It had been over five centuries since Luigi, Leonardo’s guardian angel, had ushered the great artist into Paradise. And in those five centuries Leonardo had done nothing but sit in the garden gazing at hummingbirds. “The zenith of all flying machines!” Leo frequently exclaimed, startling Luigi out of a long stretch of silence.

Luigi was distraught, for it was his job to ensure that Leonardo progressed to higher planes. As all angels know, in order for humans to progress, they must first recognize their earthly failures and accomplishments. But Luigi couldn’t get Leo to pay attention to anything but the birds. In five centuries Leo had not left the garden once.”

Creating Mosaic has been challenging, inspiring, fun, and I’m so proud to be sharing it with you.

We’re offering it for free at several online resellers. For now, here’s the link to Mosaic on Amazon.
I’d love for you to download it and give us a review.

One of my co-authors, Brian Rella, explains why reviews are important. “Customer Reviews help readers make informed decisions before spending hard earned cash on a book and help independent authors get noticed.”

Good customer reviews are gold to Indie Writers.

Having said that, please understand I’m asking for an honest review. I’m not asking you to leave a 5 star review if you didn’t like it.

Thank you for your time. I hope you enjoy Mosaic.

Here’s something fun. It has nothing to do with visual arts or jewelry or beads.

It has everything to do with imagination, creativity, and the discipline to follow-through with productivity.

A group of writer’s and I have created an eBook compilation of short stories and poems called Mosaic. We met virtually in an online writing class by Joe Bunting called “The Story Cartel Course” this summer and have been working together since. I’ve contributed two flash fiction stories to Mosaic.

Creating Mosaic has been challenging, inspiring, fun, and I’m so proud to be sharing it with you.

We’re offering it for free at several online resellers. For now, here’s the link to Mosaic on Amazon.
I’d love for you to download it and give us a review.

One of my co-authors, Brian Rella, explains why reviews are important. “Customer Reviews help readers make informed decisions before spending hard earned cash on a book and help independent authors get noticed.”

Good customer reviews are gold to Indie Writers.

Having said that, please understand I’m asking for an honest review. I’m not asking you to leave a 5 star review if you didn’t like it.

Like Brian says: “leaving a customer review will motivate someone else to take a chance and download the book. And wouldn’t spreading some joy be awesome with all the crap going on in the world?…What if you thought the book was just ok?…If you leave a 3 star, honest, and constructive review, telling us what you did and didn’t like, it will help us grow as writers, and that’s just as helpful. We want to get better. Constructive criticism will help us get better.”

Thank you for your time. I hope you enjoy Mosaic.

JM_logo_2014Jewelry Maven is a mobile app for jewelry wearers and designers. It displays visual combinations of jewelry styles overlaid upon specific fashions styles and rates them which ones work and which don’t.

Why Firefox?

Most people in the US don’t own a Firefox phone. One reason is that we want to smooth out the bugs and get user feedback in smaller markets first. Also, Firefox is an open source, web-based platform dedicated to building affordable phones for emerging markets (currently Columbia, Germany, Greece, Spain). We want to be part of that.

If you’re on a Firefox phone and living in Columbia, Germany, Greece, Spain, please check out Jewelry Maven in the app store.

If not, don’t worry, you’ll be able to enjoy Jewelry Maven soon on your Android and iPhone…if all goes as intended, by the end of 2014.

For now I want to share the good news. Darren (my husband) and I have been working on this for over a year and a half. And we are proud parents!

Thank you for reading!


DylanA friend of mine texted me the other day. Her 6-year-old son had asked if he could look at The Beader’s Guide to Jewelry Design in the car as they ran errands. He poured over it intently, studying page after page. At one stop (looks like a QuikTrip gas station to me) he said, “Mommy, this book is beautiful! Can I keep it forever?”

She told me he carried it with him all day.

I was astounded that a 6-year-old recognized beauty in that form.

It made my day.

I’d like to ask for your help. Will you write a book review for The Beader’s Guide to Design?

I ask because reviews sell books. Gone are the days when publisher’s marketing departments passionately push one book like mine to bookstores, because, well… gone are bookstores (for the most part)! Potential readers now rely on online reviews to decide if they want to purchase a book.

If you’re not sure how to approach writing a review, keep reading.
Whether you like the book or not isn’t as important as you might think. Book reviews aren’t about opinions. What makes a good review is you expressing what you found valuable.

BGJD_cover_3stack_3inches_highHow To Write a Valuable Review of an Instructional Book

I’m currently taking The Story Cartel Course by writer/teacher Joe Bunting. Joe, who encourages us to both publish reviews each other’s work and to ask for reviews, inspired me to write this post. Some of these guidelines were inspired by him and his work.

Your job as a reviewer is to help readers discover whether they will enjoy the book.

Questions to consider answering:
  • Did the author communicate concepts and instructions clearly?
  • Was the writing style engaging and easy to read?
  • Was enough information presented to challenge you?
  • What information was included in the book and what did you learn (or disagree, or not learn) from it?
  • Were accompanying diagrams, photos, and illustrations appropriate? Did you learn from them?
  • Are you more empowered and knowledgeable as a result of reading the book?
And finally, I agree with Joe’s question “Did this book succeed or not? The question is not “did you like this book?”  Your review is not about you. It’s about the reader.”

You may want to focus on a section or chapter that you learned from (or didn’t learn from for a specific reason) and quote from it.

If You Don’t Like the Book
Joe Bunting says “I always err on the side of leaving positive rather than negative reviews, even if the book doesn’t suit my taste. If you follow these rules, readers will be able to see whether the book is for them or not, regardless of whether you give them a verdict or not. As John Updike said, “Try to understand what the author wished to do, and do not blame him for not achieving what he did not attempt.”
A good reviewer rises above her own personal preference as a sign of respect to both readers and the author who wrote the book.
And if the book failed, give the author the benefit of the doubt. Updike said, “Try to understand the failure. Are you sure it’s his and not yours?”

However, if you still think the book is bad, remember your first loyalty is to the reader: Leave the bad review!”

Thank you in advance for writing a book review either on Amazon or Barnes & Noble:

Leave a review on Amazon

Leave a review on Barnes & Noble


purple_astonishmentA friend of mine loves the word “astonish.” What a fun word! I love being astonished. And I love astonishing.

Do your creations have the ability to astonish? Of course not every piece of jewelry you make. But have you made a piece where you purposefully set out to make a piece that astonishes?

I’ve seen a trend in the last decade in beaded jewelry. An assumption that the more beads one can load onto backing or string, the better a piece will be.

This “more is better” attitude is everywhere. When we watch the news we see 5 boxes of information being fed to us rather than concentrating on one story.

My husband, a guitar player, has shown me that line of thinking takes the form of how fast a player can play; how may notes the artist can cram into one or two seconds. The more notes, the better the player. Absurd, as it sounds, that’s the thinking.

In reality, “more is better” is a lazy approach. If one doesn’t have the focus, competency, or knowledge to consciously compose something interesting or beautiful, one falls back on simply doing more, more, and more of something, hoping others will be dazzled by sheer volume or amount of energy expended.

How many items one can attach to leather backing is production, not true creativity. It is not astonishing.

I find that in jewelry that astonishes me, every bead is (or looks as if it is) purposefully arranged, with thought to each bead around it, and how it relates to the entirety of the piece.

  • The composition is planned and ordered, even if it appears to be spontaneous and random.
  • Colors harmonize with each other and are balanced throughout the entire piece.
  • It’s well-planned movement guides my eyes and delights my senses: I enjoy following it.
  • It interacts with the body in fluid, seamless motion.
  • The technique intrigues me.
  • An overall harmony exists: of the entire piece as a whole, and each individual piece.

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts. What astonishes you?