Witch Hunts, Fat Albert and Bruce Lee? Halloween rocked when I was a kid.

I was always tearing stuff up and reinventing it when I was kid, especially when it came to jewelry and clothes. I think I got it from my older brother, the youngest brother of four. He was stylish, inventive, and I was so envious that he got to be a teen in the eighties. Hence his collection of Duran Duran, Culture Club, and The Human League records (the list is a lot longer, but I’m rambling). At least I still got to be a kid in the eighties.

I remember one year for Halloween I demolished this glittery, red costume my sister and I had in our closet. It was Halloween morning and I didn’t have a costume for school. I was not going to show up at school without a costume. Most other kids bought there costumes. My mom usually made ours. Not this year. So I was panicking and feeling lost. And when I’m feeling lost, I get creative. Look out.

All I can say is, wow. Whatever it was that I managed to piece together on this All Hallows Eve was . . . well . . . I’ll just say it wasn’t worth bragging about. But let me tell you, nobody else had a costume that came anything close to this one.

But, I was upset at my mom for not letting me wear my prized, glow-in-the-dark butterfly, queen costume. She made it special for me and had the gull to hand it down to one of my cousins. She insisted that it was too small for me. So, I was stuck with my own quick inventiveness, and ended up looking like Elvira on crack. Elvira already looked pretty strung out, so, you can only imagine. I did, however, put my brother’s make-up and hair tips to good use and got some compliments. (Yes, my brother would do wardrobe and makeup for me on talent days for school. And I would turn . . . it . . . out, sister!)

The costume didn’t hold up and was thrown out when I got home from school that day. Don’t ask. I’m sure I was pretending to be Bruce Lee again during recess and karate chopped my fellow class mates and in my delusional, fighting seizure, I shredded my costume.

I remember being a lot more excited than this, I swear. Trick-or-treating always wore me out.

I ended up wearing my sister’s witch costume that evening for trick-or-treating. My mom did my makeup. That usually meant that I didn’t look scary at all, but very sophisticated, in a black costume with a pointy hat. It didn’t matter. That night rocked! The adults, under the teen supervision of my brother, made a witch hunt in our backyard and we had all our neighborhood friends over. I don’t remember in detail, but we had to find clues and there was scary music and really great decorations. It was my brother’s job to take us trick-or-treating and I was disappointed that we missed the Fat Albert Halloween special. Ah, those were the days!

Thank goodness for youtube. Now I’ll never miss the Fat Albert Halloween Special.

Lovely earrings for Autumn


Back in Black-sexy black beaded bracelet

The Beaded Box, Revised

My sister’s special beaded jar.

I was stumped when I began to contemplate what to make my sister this year for her birthday. She has a whole collection of jewelry made by me. Some she wears, others she keeps as mementos (the not-so-refined beginner pieces). I didn’t want to make her yet another pair of earrings, a bracelet, or a necklace.

In my October 2012 issue of Bead & Button magazine, I saw a wonderful, little beaded box (or jar) designed by Heidi Kummli called the Dream Box. I read the article and looked at the instructions and thought hmm, that’s really neat. I continued to flip through my magazine voraciously, like I usually do, and then I had an epiphany. Something like this would be great for a birthday gift.

And so began the tedious tasks of finding materials, special beads, and an ideal jar.

To my bewilderment, everything came together. Heidi used tan leather and ultrasuede. I found black leather and used something similar to ultrasuede to attach my beadwork to (I wasn’t familiar with ultrasuede and didn’t find anything called ultrasuede in local shops).

I don’t make projects out of bead magazine instructions, but I buy bead magazines like some people collect baseball cards. They serve as inspiration for me and often have great articles on how to run a jewelry business and how to stand out in the market. But this time, I was grateful for the inspiration, along with how-to’s. I still created my sister’s Dream Box a little differently, using different methods of bead weaving then the directions called for. I created my own patterns and designs as well as color schemes.

My sister has had a growing interest in St. Francis and doves. I tried to incorporate a turquoise bead of a bird that closely resembles a dove. (I really can’t wait until I can make my own beads!) The dove sits on top of a flower button made from horn. The boxes feet are faceted blue goldstones.

The piece came out wonderful and she was thrilled when she opened her gift. I still threw in a couple of earrings!