Saturday, January 14, 2017


Robert said to me" Take a break, you've been working awfully long hours." 
I do tend to put the nose to the grindstone when I have a show coming up. I had to get some big orders out of the way and now I'm concentrating on my new line. " What kind of life is this, sewing, sewing, sewing?" he asked.

It got me to thinking that, in a way, it is exactly what I wished for. In the 1970's in Juneau, I would walk to the B.M. Berands Bank where I worked as a key puncher. Everyday I passed this place and I would peer in the window of Nina's Originals. She made fantastical coats and hat out of leather that was laced together and trimmed with fur and feathers. You could see her work station with all the leather laid out, her desk with day to day business and  her small tv. I thought that must be a pretty fine way to go. And it is. It turns out after many years of the broke artist life, living in ramshackle cabins, hauling water and wood and no electricity, I'm finally living the high life like Nina. A dynamite work environment where I can create my pieces and I even have the little tv to keep myself entertained while I do it. Funny how things turn out. Anyhow, it got me curious so I did some poking around and this is what I found. There was one picture of a coat she made at a Juneau Museum site but( not allowed to share.) If anyone out there has a photo of her work or store, it would be brilliant to see!  Here is the loon dress that I did way back in the Juneau days, and I realize I was experimenting around with the lacing techniques she used.  I don't know if her work was an influence but her work life did make me target a goal.

 End of the Trail
Notices in this section are limited to names of those who have achieved pioneer status through many years in the North, or who are otherwise of unquestioned importance in the daily scene.

Nina Emily Chapman, 76,a Juneau businesswoman since 1946. died there January 30. She designed and patented Nina's Originals. Alaska coats and accessories sold throughout the United States, Her daughter. Nina Dawn Baldwin, now runs the Nina's Originals shop In Juneau. [June1981]
Ronda Mann modeling Loon Dress

cabin at 9 mile

young me at the cabin

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


Happy New Year to all! I can't believe how quickly 2016 went by, it seems that what people always say about the older you get, the fastest it goes is true. I put the "Our Lady" bag in the mail today. It feels good to have a clean slate on the bead table. These big bags that take a while to make are a fantastic finished project but I can never see them with a fresh eye.  I put a picture of me with the bag so you can see just how big it is. I know it's good and I hope my customer will love it, but it would be nice to appreciate the work without the "I'm sick of it" factor involved. One thing I was truly happy with was her expression. It only takes one bead to make the difference in a smile, and I think she has just the right look. Almost Mona Lisa...

Sunday, October 23, 2016


So I'm out in 20 degree weather trying to take pictures of the finished "Sanibel Birds" bag. It is sunny but NOT warm. I will get the gray form core board out and take some plain background pictures but I can resist trying for something more interesting. I have asked you guys and the general consensus is plain is better. But, when will I ever get to use this mosaic I did years ago except on this bag! Look how the colors go together!!! It's too much I know, but I had to try...

Monday, October 3, 2016


So, I've got the cough, sniffles, achy head, fever thing that has been going around. After lying around blowing my nose and feeling bad, I decided to get up and sit at the bead table. You feel better up right and with a cup of coffee anyway. Finally finished putting the little feathers on the leather strap so all the components for the "Sanibel Island Birds" are done. Now I can turn it over to Robert and he can assemble the bag. I love this part! He is the best and most precise leather worker. Of course then there will be all the whip stitch to do for the finishing touches but I should be feeling better by then. I hope, this bug is really hanging on...

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Just getting a box together, I'm sending some stuff toVivi in Santa Fe. She will be receiving the group of insect cuffs I've been working on. Butterflies, beetles and bees. Oh My! So while I was out in the sunshine snapping pictures I was trying to figure out what looks best. Do we like neat and in a row or a haphazard look. Is a plain background better than a busy one with pretty flowers. The question is "How do you take photographs to compliment the beadwork." What do you like?

Friday, July 1, 2016


Took a little trip to Anchorage and on a perfectly sunny summer day we walked around downtown and enjoyed the ambience of the big city. We were on 5th ave so Robert and I stopped into the Egan Center lobby where, an artwork that has been a favorite of mine for 25 years, is located. Beaded Sky Curtain by Jeanne Leffingwell,  YES, IT IS MADE OUT OF SEED BEADS! I haven't been there in quite awhile and I thought it was very cool the way the trees have grown up around the curtain. 
I know how hard it can be to capture the northern lights in beads. This is a stellar example of just that!
my version of northern lights with junk car.

Saturday, June 18, 2016


Yesterday I put my long time friend and bead buddy on the plane back to Florida. We had the greatest visit, I hadn't seen Susan in 13 years. My wonderful god daughter Grace has grown into a full fledged, (force to be reckoned with) adult. Kind and caring but with an under lying take no crap attitude. I'm impressed. She had her boyfriend Rocco with her and he was great, diving right in to every aspect of Alaska life including chopping every round of firewood in the pile. But with Susan it was different. We've known each other since 6th grade and the easiness of sitting around the bead table working on our projects was like old times, sharing stories new and old and laughing at some pretty silly stuff. The bond of sewing together seems timeless. I think it's something that has been part of many womens lives and I am grateful for it. Not to mention I was able to get my "Late Bag" finished and in the mail while they were here...