Monday, December 21, 2015


It's almost over.... and a fresh new year is almost HERE!  I for one ---  CAN. NOT. WAIT.  With the exception of all the election crap that will be bombarding me - I am looking forward to a happier, lighter, funnier 2016!

And with that - changes to this blog.   Everyone is always asking me if I have an 'online site'.  Like a website.  Or goddess forbid - ETSY.  UGH.  (3 times and out on that disaster....)  But then I realized I DO.  I have this blog.  And I have a PayPal account.  And a Square credit card reader that allows me to hand enter info.  SO....

Instead of BORING all of you with my babbling on and on.... I'm planning to use this blog mainly for JEWELRY POSTING.  With links to options for using PayPal or emailing me info.  May not be as easy as 1-2-3 - but it's a start.
So I'll be getting rid of the separate page for jewelry sales - and just putting some of best and brightest right HERE.   At least until show season.  Which may start in April.  Or not until the end of June.  I have 3 or 4 months to decide....

I'm also putting together an email list for notifying my readers/fans of upcoming SALES (of both bead and jewelry), CLASSES/WORKSHOPS (both here and elsewhere), and also my event listings - where all my art fairs and festivals will be this year.   If you'd like to be included, send me a message.

Until next year.....  peaceful beading,  and love to you all,


Monday, December 14, 2015

GIVING is living

I found my holiday HAPPY!

As you may recall, my last post was sorta semi gloomy - I was feeling all grinchy green
and unable to find my Christmas cheer.

You'll be glad to know that it seems to have finally appeared!

And it appeared in the form of GIVING.
             As in being someone's Secret Santa (for about a minute. Guess I'm just too describable!).

                                As in giving necklaces to ALL the girls at the party on Saturday.

                                         As in putting up and decorating my mother in law's Christmas tree while she was out of town for a day.

Now THAT'S Christmas.

So for those of you that may be reading this that seem to think it's 'all about me' (although as I currently live and breathe, it sorta IS) - I CAN be a giving person.  I CAN think and do for others.

BUT that's NOT why I did it.

I didn't do it to make a point - but because it made ME feel good - which again  - 
makes it ABOUT ME.

So I've decided that in 2016, I will make no more apologies for being ME, being excited about what I DO, and creating things that make ME happy - whether they be for ME - or for others.

Read with me.  Or read not.
Bead with me.  Or bead not.
But what ever you do....

Do it peacefully.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Just ready for the RIGHT year

SOOO ready for 2015 to go bye bye.  Lots of loss, disappointment, let down and general sadness.  So much so that it sort of sapped my holiday spirit.  Here we are 20 DAYS before the 'big day', and I have not got one gift wrapped - and only an inkling of what needs to be purchased and for who.  The Grinch has been in the house, and he brought his fellow friend the gremlin. 

I suppose it can only go RIGHT from here....

Not sure what to expect from 2016 - other than election CRAP and a year that leaps.  I already know I won't be showing/selling as much artwork, but hoping to sell just enough in just the RIGHT places, meet just the RIGHT people, with just the RIGHT offers of opportunities that will help me follow my dreams....

As I just posted on Facebook - here's what I'm considering my New Year's "Resolution":

Hoping to start 2016 FRESH.... ideas, knowledge, friendships and dreams.... cheers!

I need the hope of all of them if I'm going to get through even the first month of 2016 RIGHT.

What are your hopes for the new year?

Peaceful beading,

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Contemplating life after beads

For those of you that follow, read, and comment, you KNOW that beads have been my life, and my passion, and sometimes my only saving grace on a dreary day.

So it may surprise some of you that I'm considering life without them.

With just one more show left to do this year, and what a dismal sales year it has been - I'm considering taking a year, or more - away from the bead.

Not sure I can do it.

It's been such a part of me.

What would take their place?  For awhile - organizing, purging, putting my house and life back into some sort of order.  So many things have gotten away from me, gotten cluttered, that I wonder if taking the time to clean - to refresh - might put new perspective on where to go from here - 

whether it includes the bead 


I still have a book in my head that I should start putting down on paper.  

Image result for bookImage courtesy of Google
I have SOOOO many things in this house - in my life -  that need to be spiffed up, polished and made shiny again.
  My brain is feeling rather cluttered too -  muddled and overflowing with thoughts lately - 

Image result for handsOn one hand - I think I could use a break.  On the other hand - I know I'd be fine for awhile, but I'm afraid once my friends, my fellow artists, my PEEPS start the show season come summer - that I am going to feel miserably left. OUT.

Will I be throwing my hands up in despair?  Crying Uncle?  Waving the white flag?

Or just keep on keeping on   

doing what I love, and saving my sanity?

So much to think about over the course of the long, cold winter.
To bead, or not to bead.
To create, or not create.

For now, STILL, as if my life depends on it,

Peaceful beading,

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Quick and dirty

A quick blog today -

because my house is still DIRTY - and I'm not ready!   LOL.  

Happening THIS WEEK!  EEEEEK!!!!   The 33rd Annual Holt Holiday Craft Show.  Still lots to do, and spaces to prepare.  I've got most of the table displays out, and posed- but as it ALWAYS happens with set up - there WILL be changes and moving things around.  Tomorrow morning is when all that will happen, followed by more sprucing and goosing of floors, corners and walls....

And not only am I sprucing up the house - I'm off to spruce up my 'do too!  It should - if my stylist is her usual magic making self - look JUST LIKE THIS when she's done with me - minus the cute little nose and young face.

I had hoped to have time to COLOR too - but for now - a new do will have to do!

Inverted Cool Short Layered Bob Hairstyle:

Will try to post a few photos of the place - and MAYBE ME -  all ready for the show - IF I have time and remember (the brain is getting old, along with my knees and my eyesight) to do so.

Just wanted to blog - so you won't forget about me.  :)   And if you DO happen to miss me - there're always my Facebook pages - either my own personal page - Sheryl Mayes Stephens in Holt, Michigan - or my Cool Moon Creations and Beads page.  Those are posted on much more regularly than the blog....

There probably won't be much time for beading for ME - well, maybe a little...

Peaceful beading,

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The road MOST traveled

 When you live in Michigan, or probably any state where the seasons change - a fall color tour - or leaf peeping tour as we like to call it - is a must.  We weren't sure there would be an opportunity this year, with icky weekend weather, my busy show schedule - and of course, archery deer season all happening at once.

Fallasburg Covered Bridge, Lowell, Michigan - YES, it is still a working bridge, on a well traveled road - 5 mph over the bridge.  Reminds us of the movies Funny Farm and Beetlejuice every time we pass through....
We managed to find a pretty and unseasonably warm Sunday for a drive, which took us to our favorite spots for fall color.  We always say we'll take a new way - but end up in our favorites every time.  And Mother Nature never disappoints us with lovely color.

 THIS is our absolute favorite fall color stop - Lyons Dam in Lyons, Michigan - just outside of Portland.

2015 - not quite as vibrant as 2014.

Once I get these fall colors in my system though, they seem to come pouring out of me in my beadwork as well - this year was no exception:

I think a tribute to our changing seasons may be where my brain is taking me for my next big foray into winter competition pieces.  There's a spark of it up there.  And 3 opportunities - at least - for it to come to fruition:

Battle of the Beadsmith (I know, I know.  So sue me.)
Fire Mountain Gems
                    and BEAD DREAMS

Peaceful beading,

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Burning the midnight brain

I have vowed not to give you any more blah downer blog posts - so they may be few and far between.

But in the mean time - just so you know -  my brain is churning - and burning, thinking about upcoming shows, and then the downtime that is Mid-December to Mid-June here in what is already chilly, rainy, wet, snowy, blowy COLD Michigan.    

 So here's what's churning and burning up there....

(Courtesy of Google Images)

The three remaining shows I have to do between now and the first week of December.  At both of the shows that I'm doing in other venues (one of the venues is here in my home) - I chose to take it easy on myself, pay the extra $$ for them to furnish me with a table.  Less to haul.  Less to carry.  Less to deal with.  I may start doing that when it's offered every time.  Just easier.
I think I'm ready for the one coming up on the 13&14.  In fact, I loaded the earring racks, looked through the inventory - and pretty much packed it all up and got it ready.
Because as soon as that show's over, I have to set the house up for the show HERE the following week....
why do I do this to myself?  EEK. 
That show, I've decided, is going to consist largely of older pieces that I need to move.
Clearance.  Reprice.  Buy one, get one.  What ever I can to free some of the pieces that have been around forever.  They want homes and someone to love and wear them.
I'm also creating some crocheted items to sell too.  It's not all about the beads this year!


I have had this idea for a BOOK for awhile - but it needs to be actually PUBLISHED.  And published by a bead and craft related publisher.  Still.  I have pieces and parts and info scattered up there among the beads.  It's a book about organizing, participating in, and attending art fairs and shows from every perspective - organizer, participant AND attendee.  I think there's a need for the info I've got crammed in my brain.  So I should probably start getting it all down on paper - or in a word doc.  Somewhere that it doesn't get lost.
And if that weren't enough....

I am also toying with the wacky idea of entering Battle of the Beadsmith again.   I know.  I know.  Shoot me now.  I swore I wouldn't.  Ever again.  The competition IS super fierce, but this contest gave me one of the best statement pieces I have ever created - and I long to try and stretch my brain some more (which could make the book stuff fall out....)  PLUS - my beautiful photographer friend Jaime has agreed to be the photo genius from the start this time - so a professional photographer is already in the bead bag!

Another winter idea churning -
 Bead Dreams.  Do I have it in me to create not one - but TWO - big statement pieces this winter?  I really don't think I'll need to up my inventory of pieces for sale (but wouldn't that be nice?) - so I'm gonna need to bead.

I've been spending quite a bit of time on Pinterest.  Looking for that perfect photo.  Color.  Scene.  That perfect THING for

All in all - instead of sitting around thinking of what could have been, should have been, what was, and what has happened -  I'm starting to think about

WHAT COULD BE.It's the much prettier side of the brain.  And mostly happier one too.


So whatever my brain decides to do to keep me busy over the winter months,
it will most certainly be

Peaceful beading.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Burning and turning

If you're here for a bubbly, babbley post - STOP READING NOW.  Not sure how long it will be before the babbley bubbly me is back - life just isn't being very kind.  I fear that this blog has turned into more of a journal - one that I probably shouldn't publish for you all to see - but I guess I'm hoping maybe, just maybe someone will have a comment and words that will somehow help me cope.  I've lost a lot this year - income, opportunities, ZEUS, and even more than that - I've lost a major source of support that I ALWAYS, ALWAYS thought would be there for me.  And it hurts to know it's gone.

So if you want to commiserate with me  - read on.  I promise there's a bright spot at the end....

At the end of my (our) rope, and burning the candle at both ends.

Makes me want to, well...... AAAAAHHHHHHH!

The rope that is life is fraying, and just about to break.  

Set back after set back, unexpected circumstance after circumstance - both my husband and I
are feeling the stress, the strain, THE REALITY of working hard and getting nowhere.

And we don't even have children.  I can't imagine how we'd be managing to cope if we had children to feed as well as ourselves.  

Someone always wants another slice, a BIGGER slice of the meager pie we have.

And then somehow - the pie is gone.  And you have to rely on the NEST EGG pie you put away for your future.  THAT's the REALLY BIG PIE. 

 It too - now has a slice or two missing.

We managed to come to an agreement on how to get through this particular setback, as well as plan for future unexpected circumstances.
Now about that bright spot. 

 I still have 4 more art fairs to do before the end of the year.  BIG ones.  AND - I got another art gallery check today.

(All images courtesy of Google Images)

 I'm still hopeful - MORE than hopeful - that these beads are going to pay off.  BIG TIME.

They are going to help turn the tide and get us through to a new year.  A new slate.   A new attempt at making dreams come true.....  because you know what?

I've heard they do.

Peaceful beading,

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Life and lemons

Everyone has heard the adage.   
"When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!", 
which tries to instill positive thoughts into our psyche.

(lemon images courtesty of Google Images)

Yep.  I've heard it a 1,000 times.  Or more....

But when life gives you so many lemons that you couldn't possibly drink all the lemonade, you start to look at things with a rather SOUR disposition.
That's been my YEAR.    It saddens me when I think back on all the LOSS.  This disappointment. The setbacks.


Having to step away from situations and people that used to bring me joy - but now only bring me
the bitter reality that good things just don't last forever.

But I'm muddling through.  I've got a few true friends I can still rely on, and most importantly,


And this is what I do with them - even on my darkest days.....

Peaceful beading,

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Offended by offending the offended


Is it because social media has made so many uncaring and insensitive to peoples'

Is it because they aren't face to face with that person, so that they can't see the reaction,
 the facial expression, 
the frown, and in some cases
the TEARS?

Once again, a perfectly innocent WORD has offended someone.  
And they have to be a BULLY.

Maybe it's one of my Libra birth sign tendencies.  The NEED for balance, the need for peace.  
But mostly - I just don't think ANYONE deserves to be verbally abused that way.

So here's my Libra birthday wish (coming up in a couple weeks)


If you can't say/write/type KIND words -

Don't say anything at all.


Peaceful beading,

Monday, September 14, 2015

The fate of the festival

I fear for the fate of the art fair/festival in the state of Michigan.

Honestly, between the weather, the seriously unorganized organizers, who seem to have no clue what WE as vendors need and want, and the obviously lack of respect by festival goers, I'm not sure Michigan's art fair culture can survive.

The money is being held tighter, but the mouths are becoming more brazen, more snarky and more rude at every show.

The weather is impossible to predict in ANY state, I'm sure, but Michigan?  We have almost Winter, Winter, still a little Winter, and practice for Winter with a side of orange barrels.  And last weekend was no exception.  SOOOO glad I thought to pack my Ugg sweater boots.  It's the only thing that kept me from being a completely frozen vendor-cicle on Saturday.  

And it's supposedly STILL SUMMER. 

So here's my space for Saturdays event - I was pretty pleased with how it turned out, and plan to use this layout again - IF I remember it next year.  This was the LAST of my outdoor shows that will need a canopy.  

Not too shabby, but still not enough to win the prize - which went to my friend and fellow fair vendor Jane.  We say she sprinkles everything with fairy dust - because she sells her unique antique-y and stamped metal pendants and bracelets like gang busters, and now she's got the "Best Jewelry" prize to prove it.

But back to the whole festival question - I wonder just how festivals in this small window of time between May and October even survive.  Add the fact that more and more people seem to attend these events just to razz the vendors, be rude to the vendors, and bring absolutely no money to BUY from the vendors.  Why bother?  It's NOT just a SHOW.  We didn't go through all the trouble of arriving at the butt crack of dawn and working in the cold, sometimes even the rain, just to SHOW you what we can do.  And then have you question that we really did it ourselves.  No.  I just went to Wally World and bought it all.  And jacked the prices up 3000 percent.
It seems to be what they think.

How do we better educate them without becoming rude, snarky and insensitive ourselves?
It's becoming harder and harder for me, I'll tell ya.

I've actually cancelled my show for this coming weekend - again - seriously under organized organizers that may not even have the planned venue available on Saturday, since the township in which the festival is held decided parking lot paving -the parking lot that would need to be used by us, the festival goers, everyone - needed to be paved before festival season was over. 
 PAID festival season.
And since that snarkiness I mentioned is clearly coming out, I decided I better take a small break before the fall and holiday season of shows kicks in.
I hope those INDOOR, heated, ample parking events make up for the
CRAPPY SUMMER OF FESTIVALS that 2015 has brought me.

And with that,
Peaceful beading,

Thursday, September 10, 2015


For those of you artists that do art fairs and shows - how far are you willing to go to do them?

Do you travel?  Do you go out of your local range?  Does the cost of gas/food/lodging factor into your bottom line?

I have never gone out of my 'comfort zone' of about 30 minutes from home before.  Especially for the outdoor fairs, that involve erecting the canopy, pounding stakes, hauling absolutely EVERYTHING to the site, and just general WORK.

I LOVE doing the the 'decorating part' - and in fact, probably go overboard when it comes to my displays, and the 'coordination' thereof.  But it's all the OTHER STUFF - that I've always been grateful to have help with-NEEDED to have help with.

Until now.

Coming up this weekend - I'm branching out.  On my own.  The logistics of having hubby go and keep himself busy all day, and having a dog at home that can't be left over night, and many other factors - have me doing this one solo.

And I'm scared to death.

Most of you don't know that about me -  I'm a big chicken.  Always have been.  It has always been hard for me to try new things, go places I've never been, assert myself.  BY MYSELF.  It just isn't 'me'.

So here goes.  Another big step to check off my list. BRAVERY.  And technically, I'm not really doing it alone - my two art fair besties - Jane and Claudia - have also been juried into this show, and are making the jaunt as well.  Jane is a seasoned art fair traveler - she'll even go as far as New York STATE to do art fairs.  But we all suffer from the same challenges when it comes to art fair set up.

So wish us luck.  Rockford Art in Garden Park in Rockford, MI (a suburb of Grand Rapids), on Saturday, September 12.   9am (why do the big shows insist on starting so dang early?) to 5pm.

And do a little NO RAIN DANCE for us too, will ya?

Peaceful beading,

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Rainy days and Saturdays

Well.  I don't know whether to be happy - or sad.  I think I'm sort of a little of both.

The Coyote Wisdom Fair THING - at least the arts and crafts vendors out on the lawn part - fizzled and drizzled and got rained out.
I had the option of selling a seriously reduced inventory INSIDE - up the tall narrow flight of steps, in a room filled with 3 other vendors.  In past experience of TWICE tried during events - 1.  People don't like those stairs (me included), and won't traverse them for anything short of an appointment with someone that rents the offices up there.  2.  They look in the doorway to the classroom, huffing and puffing after the trip up the stairs - and decide it's not worth coming in.  3.  Ask at the bottom of the stairs 'what's up there?' - and decide they've spent enough in the store.  ~sigh~

So here sit.  Wondering what the Universe has in mind.  Those are my peeps after all.  And I've been missing out on spending time with many of the them for one reason on another all summer long.  If everything happens for a reason -

What's up with that?

I suppose I should have kept this in mind when I made that decision this morning....

But no matter what - I don't think I'm ready to give up YET.  So - just like the title of my last blog post - I'm carrying on - BECAUSE.....

Not participating today has given me time to contemplate just a bit on what's next (I DO have about 6 more events before the end of the year, so there is still lots of opportunity) - and have decided that I am ready to part with my THREE BIG contest statement pieces.  So - 

Petoskey Shores.  $475

Mariposa $500

Night & Day (Western Skies)
$300 with optional matching bracelet and earrings.

I am very proud of all three of them, and have worn each one on a RARE occasional basis.  If they choose to find a new neck to adorn - I can only hope they love and wear them well.

Peaceful beading,

Monday, August 24, 2015

Carrying on

This has sorta been the summer of SUCK for our 'family';  funky weather,family issues, health, loss.  You name it.  The least of my worries have been my weekly art fair events - I have been lucky to have wonderful weather arrive in time for all but one so far, but unfortunately - still dismal turnouts.  I'm making a little bit at each one, but not nearly what I would have hoped compared to last year.   4 more til end of September - then on to the HOLIDAY shows.  

I really thought this piece would be gone right away:

And expected this one to be around for my upcoming psychic fair/art festival.  She, however, went home with a lovely lady who came to Meridian Market yesterday:

I'm having a hard time determining what my buyers will like this summer; last summer was the summer of bracelets.  Lots and lots of denim bracelets.  This year, just a few, and the bulk of those all to one person who loves them so much, she keeps returning for more!  

Here are a few that DID go home with their people so far this year:

Along with few earrings, and some surprising big statement pieces too - I can't complain.

 Looking forward to the next few show.  In three weeks - my first BIG out of town art fair - an overnighter with my two best fellow art fair vendors.  Slumber party art fair!  LOL.

Hope you are all having a happy, healthy BEADY good summer,

Peaceful beading,

Friday, August 14, 2015

Living with loss

This isn't my ordinary bubbly, babble-y and mostly annoying post.  This is a post about losing one of my own.  One of my babies.  One of my DOGS.  

We lost our Zeus on Tuesday.  He just turned 13 a few weeks ago, and up until just a week or so before, he was running, healthy (with a touch of arthritis that didn't keep him down) and happy.
A bout of something nasty after a dog park visit took him down, and he never recovered from it.
A tumor was discovered during the exams to find the problem - he stopped eating and lost 20 pounds in a short period of time.
It was time.  So we let him go.

 He had an 'inner dinner bell' and this was his 'feed me' face.  Priceless.  And I miss it.

Thank goodness for my princess girl, Bella.  She's loving, and happy and way more healthy than she probably should be because she's spoiled.

Now that hubby doesn't have his park and woods buddy, I think Bella is going to get a taste of the outdoor life a little more than she would like.  She does, however, enjoy the dog park POND.

She's made it easier to survive the week.  Easier to survive coming in the back door and not having our guard dog Zeus face on duty.  
She's still not quite sure about playing by herself - she loved to steal Zeus' ball and play keep away with it.  I think she's feeling a little bit of the loss herself.

But we will all survive.  

He was a great dog.  Hubby's best friend, and our faithful companion.  Zeus.  2002 - 2015

I've been able to create a little.... you'll see what I've done if you visit my Cool Moon Creations & Beads FB page...

Peaceful beading - even through the pain of loss,