Monthly Archives: February 2016

Build a Line Master Challenge Class Part 2


That just makes me smile!

I hope my Brass Straw Bonnet line will bring a smile too.

 We are two thirds the way through our journey.. the Master Class taught by Brenda Landsdowne. She is the driving force behind Her supply business has the best brass components and other multi media materials. She has had a very successful jewelry line in the past, and is working alongside us all to bring a new line to market.

When we set upon a journey we focus strongly on the destination . Through the years I often considered that I just wanted to be there… looking at the process of getting there as an irritating inconvenience.  Realizing I was missing many rich experiences by wishing away my time spent in travel, I have learned to appreciate the adventure.


 Just as with my travels, I am enjoying this journey with my classmates. We have discussed our design influences. I am working on making my own voice be heard.

Early in the class we worked on photo collages. Photography is essential to your brand and your image, if you are not selling in person in shows. Your presentation represents your style, and the quality of your goods. Editing and finishing your pictures are as important as finishing touches on your jewelry.

Will this remain a hobby?  Will I become a Maker? Could I go to Production Designer? The answers to all those questions are not  easy for me to come by. I am learning in this class there are so many elements to consider.



Sammy Kat and I spend a lot of time staring out at the road.. thinking about our next destination.. but knowing how we choose to get there is just as important.

Be knotafrayed.

Please hop on down thru the blogs of our fearless leader, Brenda and all the other talented artists who are taking this class with me.

Brenda Sue Lansdowne Jewelry Making Outside the Box


Diana Buynak Butterfly Emporium Ceramic Studio


Irene Hoffman, Heart’s Dezire by Irene


Clare Wells Nemeth, Creative Magick


Mary Reckmeyer, Afrayed Not


Marcia Tuzzolino, Aurora Designs


Elizabeth Wilks, Wearable Art by Lizzie


Jeanette Rose Belmont, One Canvas At A Time


Lyn Joy Reeve, A Journey From Jewels To Jubilation


Belinda Reed-Ingle, Vogue Rocks


Beth Trubman, The Journey of Jewelry


Carole Carlson, Bead Sophisticate


Jann Tague, Clever Designs by Jann


Shari Gardner, SLG Jewelry Designs


Susan Bolton, Fern’s Place


Chris Kemp, Noodle Pie Bracelets


Barbara Kelley, Angels’ Keep


Susan Bowerman, Woodside Wireworks


Pamela Anger, Novegatti Designs


Joan Donovan, Hailey’s Cottage


Alison Huie, Ally’s Baubles


Sharon Palac, Sharon’s Jewelry Garden


Erica Olmos, Beeb’s Closet


Erin Whitacre, Shattered Time Jewelry


Fran Sitton, Sitton Up Front


Ginger Hammond, Lynn Leigh Designs


Paula Gaskill, Lovely LaylaBug Jewels


Mary Deis, The Rose Sword


Renee Webb Allen, Small Stuff Design


Valerie Tilghman, ArtJewelsandGifts


Chris Cravens, Vintage Cravens


Leslie Carver, Adorn Divine Designs


Donna Parry, JewelryDonna


Gina-Marie Hammer, Tangles, Twists and Treasures


Kelly Wymer, Winged Wisdom Enchantments

Ain’t one of ’em a problem

complaining addiction

We all have challenges.  The path to our goals will have many obstacles facing us.

When we face our challenges and obstacles we do so with motivation. We get fired up, ready to do battle and inspired to defeat our foe.

If we view them as problems,  we are already defeated. To consider we have a problem is a negative mindset.

What if we were to find a gladness in every situation?  Pollyanna found her joy in the “glad game” She would find a gladness in every situation she encountered. Starting with a gift of crutches, when she had been hoping for a doll, Pollyanna, with her father’s help chooses to be glad for the crutches. Glad that she doesn’t need them.


Optimism and joyful thoughts are replacing my doubts and fears.

I choose to be glad for my distracted, chaotic mindset that takes me jumping from thought to thought… connecting things that no one else would likely see a connection in.


Tomorrow we start 2016 Build a Line Master Class Challenge.

Thank you to Donna Parry, for reminding me to let obstacles be an inspiration and motivation. Sometimes when you are distracted from your path you find the greatest accomplishments.

It is the Deficit in my Attention that has led me to my Art of  Distraction.


Be Afrayedknot

Build a Line Challenge and Master Class

“Mary is her own worst enemy.”

That phrase has turned up on  high school and college report cards, employer reviews, and even a letter of reference.

I drafted my application to the class many times. I edited, rewrote it and started over many times.You might have thought it was a PhD thesis. In the end what I submitted was a paragraph and a half of run on sentences and unfinished thoughts.  I was accepted!!  Maybe, just maybe I demand too much of myself, and I am my own worst enemy.

My struggles with Attention Deficit make me pretty  good at the unfinished. I have have started projects all over the house. Scrapbooking, painting and jewelry designs. To apply for this challenge, I had to trust myself that I will finish. Aside from completing 5 prototype pieces for a line of jewelry there will be 3 blog hops.  Kind of like a semester report in High School. Something I failed miserably at.
But I have been working at techniques to work with my distracted mind instead of against it.  Learning why I lose interest in a project has helped me to stay on task.

I am so excited to begin this endeavor! I will be sitting in the virtual classroom along side  very talented jewelry designers. We will be discussing fashion trends, how to design a cohesive line and branding.

This class will make me better. At design, recognizing trends, branding.. and maybe just maybe I will learn to  love my creative self, and stop being my own enemy.

Being Afraidknot12034379_10153396891579232_7541209791967433524_o

Abandoning fear

lI have discovered bravery is not  about proceeding with out fear. Courage is proceeding despite the fear.  Last May, I hopped into my little car and drove a bit more than a thousand miles to meet some people who previously had only existed in a box on top of my desk. Christi Friesen, world renown polymer clay artist was offering a weekend of classes. Bohemian Vibe, sponsored by Brenda Sue Landsdowne of Of course, I already felt as though these women were my best friends. I’d logged quite a few hours watching them in their instructional videos on youtube.  Both, very down to earth and easy to like.  I was among the first to reserve my place at the retreat. If I hesitated at all the fear would win and my weekend would turn into a huge regret.

I have decided this year to schedule in my creativity breaks. Just as I fill my calendar with work hours, gym time, and other obligations I need to put into my schedule creativity sessions. It is all to easy to sit at the computer Crushing Candy when I need to be productive. I know I am capable. I just have to stop giving into 288 procrastination and distraction. I’ve spent the last two days reorganizing my work space and clearing my head so I may visualize what I intend to work on. This is my year.I’m going to use the same self discipline  that has helped me stay with a workout routine, eat healthier. The next project is “me time”. By  inking it into my routine the time becomes dedicated to my art.

And I had so much fun in Ohio I am planning on going again. I cant way to see Brenda, Donna, and all the gang. It is so rewarding when artists share ideas and best practices. We all save ourselves so much time by sharing our experience, what works… what doesn’t. You might think that  a group of artists all interested in marketing their art would be more proprietary about their knowledge and techniques. This group is amazing. We all grow together.  It’s pretty neat how it works… when you share what you have you wind up getting what you need.

Be Afrayedknot.

Days of Future Passed

Or Not

I spent the first couple days of the New Year with a walk down memory lane. While considering the future and all the possibilities available to me, I realized how easy it is to become chained to the past.

I am a member of a FaceBook group who’s members have ties to a small town in New England. Often we talk about past experiences, residents or places of note.  Every now again there is a squawker about how things aren’t the same. The town has changed. Things are no longer as they were in retrospect. These comments are made in a negative manner as though time should stand still.

I find my self being frustrated by these comments, but really can’t find a pleasant way to explain – Nothing stays the same… things evolve. There are some good changes and some not so good… but the only consistency in life is how fast things change.
Just as when we were young and thought we ruled the world, we wanted transformation. We changed musical history, created technology, invented, designed new clothing styles and tore down the old and built the new. We innovated.

And now the young people continue to innovate and evolve and change. The older generations continue to shake their heads and say things have changed.

I do my best to embrace technology. I stay connected with social media. Learn how things work. I try to keep up. It keeps me young. But most of all it keeps me independent. The more flexible I become and the more I embrace technology and keep up with the new and the changes the better I am at adapting to my world and remaining relevant. I truly hope as you age you refuse to become bitter at how things change. You may have been that fresh faced kid watching that Elvis guy swivel his hips while the parents declared it an indecency. Perhaps you enjoyed classic rock while  the old folks lamented the end of the swing era.

You changed the world once… it isn’t going to stop changing. Open your mind and your heart.

This Year It Will Be Different

Or Not

My mother loved Christmas. She gracefully hosted a houseful of her kids and their kids. There were piles of gifts under the tree. The “good” china came out of the closet and the linen table cloth was used.

Mom loved to cook, it never seemed an effort for her to put out a meal for 12 or 15, however many showed up, got fed. And they were well fed. With all of us around the table there was always laughter

Everyone would gather in the living room, we would exchange gifts. It was just as much fun to ooh and ahh over what every one else received as it was to open your own packages.
Well Into my 40’s I still looked forward to the holiday with the excitement of a child waiting for Santa. Every bit of her condo decorated, the table set just so, it was, well, it was Christmas!

Having taken over hosting Christmas since my Mom died it just never seemed to have the same magical feeling to it.

For various reasons this year, some having to do with changing employment, my children opted out of a gift exchange. Now, mind you, my children are in their 30’s and 20’s.. It wasn’t like telling a kid the truth about Santa.. but that’s exactly how I felt.

Initially I was in denial  I was pretty sure they were going to come to their senses.  One of them would call and say it was all a joke. Just Kidding.

Then I became angry with these kids, who did they think they were anyway… I can buy you gifts if I want to! And you can just take them too! So what if you choose not to shop for me..  you are gonna take what I give you and be happy damn it.

Then I tried to cajole them into it. It’ll be okay.. just a couple small gifts.. nothing like last year.   You don’t have to exchange gifts… just take the ones I get for you.

I cried, not because of what I wouldn’t get, but because of  what I couldn’t give.

The day came,  my children and my siblings arrived. Family.  My sister brought Hula Hoops, and Paddle Balls.It was fun remembering how great mom was  at paddle ball. I even went out into the front yard to see if I could keep the Hula Hoop  up off  the ground.  Not so much.

I realized the gift exchange had nothing at all to do with presents.

It really was about taking time to focus on each other. The love that went into choosing the perfect token to carefully wrap and then present to a parent or sibling or child. It was about watching someones face to see their expression as they unwrapped something you had especially chosen for them. It was the time taken to thank someone for thinking of you.

Next year it will be different. Whether we have a gift exchange or not, I will not spend so much time fussing in the kitchen. I won’t be agonizing over making sure every side dish comes out of the oven at the same time for culinary perfection. After dinner I am going to linger over dessert and lottery scratch tickets.  Who cares if the dishes get washed now or later.  So what if I don’t get the casserole covered and in the fridge.   Next year… I will take the time to sit with all of my family and simply appreciate  and enjoy being together because

it’s all about the presence.

Executive Function

Or Not

It sounds a bit like a group of people in suits having cocktails, but Executive Function is the core of your every day life.   A mental process, EF is the set of cognitive skills that keeps you on time, organized and in control of your life. When there is Executive Function Disorder,even simple tasks can become immensely difficult.  EF is independent of intelligence. Individuals can have extremely high intellect and low functioning mental processes that control planning, time management, organization and impulse.

Almost every one at sometime has had “doorway amnesia”-  when you walk into a room and cant remember what you came in for. Faced with a transition, your working memory has moved on and forgotten that thought, once you passed through the door, Someone with EF may struggle to write a phone number or address down as it is rattled off to them. Your working memory holds multiple pieces of information as you are manipulating them. Except, when it isn’t working. For most, distraction comes with a sudden loud noise, or an unexpected movement, something shiny. I can be distracted by my own thoughts.  Trying to count anything usually results in something like this: 2,4,6,8 ( I wonder if I ate that banana this morning) 16, 18, 20, (oh in 20 minutes I need to get on that conference call) 32…. “oh crap! where was I??”

You see how that could be a challenge.

If you ask an adult with Executive Function Disorder  to clean their apartment, or desk, or task them with organizing a cluttered mess,  it can be akin to making the request to a 3 year old. With out the cognitive skills to break the project into manageable chunks it will quickly become overwhelming. If you ask a 3 year old child to clean his room with out simple direction you can reasonably expect to find him playing with his toys when you check on him in 5 or 10 minutes.  I spend a lot of time playing with my toys.

In essence EF is your command center, The processes that work together to let you plan, organize, estimate the time a task takes, your mood and emotion, working memory, and impulse control all function with in each other and at times overlap.

Not having an appropriate braking system on your impulses can lead to substance abuse or other compulsions which often go hand in hand with Attention Deficit Disorder, or EFD. It is difficult to see the consequences of an action even when your intellect is telling you otherwise. It is like the old joke of having the devil sitting on one shoulder and an angel on the other.

Ironically the suggested tips for coping with EFD are the very same skills I have difficulty with. Recommending to me that I remove clutter and become better organized is a moot point. This is why I am researching strategies to cope with EFD, I have no organizational skills.

But the understanding that this is a neurological disorder is helping me to know, finally know.. I am not lazy. I am not incompetent. I just  need to find better strategies to keep myself on task.

Be Afrayedknot