Monday, December 18, 2006

Bead Embroidery & Cloisonne ~
Pin/Wall Hanging Combination

by Karen Cohen

Bead embroidery and cloisonne by Karen Cohen
If you've been following my blog for a while, you may remember seeing bead embroidery (here and here) by Karen Cohen, who is primarily an enamel artist. In the last year, Karen has added bead embroidery to her considerable skills and is now combining the two. Here is a bead embroidered wall hanging, which serves as a "frame" for her triangular cloisonne pin. (The pin is removable when you want to wear it rather than see it on the wall). Don't you think she's done a grand job of blending the two art forms? Here you can see a larger image of this piece.

Storms Keeping Us Busy

I wanted to start this post on an up note, turning the attention from our weather-related hardships back to beads and art. However, it feels important to explain my long silence. Since our snow storm three weeks ago (see here and here) and more recent extreme high wind storms, we've been focused on repairs and fixes around our 5-acre property (on San Juan Island, WA). This has been very unusual weather for us with temps well below freezing, very high winds, record precipitation. Here is some of what we've been dealing with.

Many fallen trees and branches, photo by Robin Atkins

Trees and branches down... all over the place, some caused by the weight of the snow, others by the wind. Much chainsaw work is needed.

Fallen tree on trash shed, photo by Robin Atkins

Fortunately, no trees fell on our house, but one nailed our garbage storage shed.

Prone fir lost upright trunk, photo by Robin Atkins

One of my favorite trees, a huge, mostly prone fir, along the trail to the studio, lost it's only upright limb. I guess the good news is that we have lots of firewood for the next year or so.

Hauling branches to burn pile, photo by Robin Atkins

Once the useable parts of fallen trees get bucked-up for firewood, we have to haul the remainder to an open area where we can burn it. This is the first burn getting started.

First burn pile underway, photo by Robin Atkins

Here is Robert feeding our first all-day burn. We roasted hot dogs in the coals later that night! We'll probably need at least three more burns like this before things begin to look normal around here.

Shattered plumbing connection, photo by Robin Atkins

The other thing that happened is damage to our plumbing. Our property is on rock and at an elevation of about 500 feet, making a well expensive, if we could even find water. So we collect rain from the roof of the garage, house and studio in large cisterns. From the cisterns it is pumped to the house. The pump and outside plumbing are very vulnerable to freezing temperatures. Normally they are protected by heat lamps (in the pump houses) and heat tape (on the pipes). But with the temperatures 8-12 degrees F. and our power out for 48 hours during the snow storm, there was unavoidable damage. This picture shows one of the shattered pipe connections for the studio.

Old and new pump parts, photo by Robin Atkins

The pump for the house cracked. Robert ordered and installed a new pump, but unfortunately, the replacemet pump had a defective impeller. For 5 days he experimented with it, trying to get the system working. And, of course, we had no running water during this time. Finally he took apart the new pump and the cracked pump, and using parts from both made one that works! Running water is SUCH a blessing!!!

There you have it. I intent to return to beading and more frequent blogging soon. In the meantime, please don't give up on me, and thanks for your moral support!


  1. What a mess... and isn't it great to have a handy husband around when you need one! ;0) So glad to see you back blogging... missed ya!

  2. Anonymous6:07 AM

    Dear Robin,

    dear me, you must be busy! But I am sure you also see the good side of it all: Isn't there a host of beading inspiration in all the shapes and colours which nature created out of the ordinary? The sight of the photo documentation alone sets me dreaming. But apart from the lovely and expressive pictures you have taken, the live memory of this exciting experience will stay with you ...

    Best regards,

  3. Good to see you blogging again.
    Must ask, what kind of camera do you use? Your photos are always so sharp and clear -- Karen's pin/wall hanging are great.

  4. I'm glad you're getting your house back together again. We are at the mercy of nature, aren't we? Here's hoping for a more normal winter from here on out.

  5. Robin I was worried about you and Robert. Cleaning up after a storm is a lot of work. Thanks for sharing Karen's bead embroidery. It is incredible. Keep safe and warm.

  6. That storm looks like it was WICKED! :0

  7. How lucky you are to have such a handy husband....
    Karen's work is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing it....
    Living close to the elements brings its rewards...but also a ton of work sometimes.
    Very glad you will be beading and blogging more soon...

  8. The beaded piece is beautiful. I'm so happy to see you back blogging and showing us luscious beadwork.
    Those storms must have been so scary. I hate to see all the trees broken and downed but I guess it's much better than having someone hurt or your house damaged.
    Aren't handy guys great to have around?! Stay warm and safe.

  9. Glad to hear you're alll right. Except for a few hours of no power,
    and spotty phone service, we didn't have any problems at all.

  10. It's been an interesting winter so far, hasn't it! We were really fortunate and the 100+mph winds didn't take down any of our trees!
    The bead embroidered pin/wall hanging is wonderful!
    Glad robert is so talented in many ways!

  11. To all ~ Thanks! You gift me with warm, fuzzy feelings when I don't blog for so long, and then when I do, you're right there! Amazing!

    To Sabine ~ I'll email you soon... I hope your daughter is doing ok. Thanks for the encouragement to see the hardships as inspiration!

    To Beadin' Gram ~ I use a Sony 717 digital camera. Sony, of course, has upgraded, changed and replaced this model many times over, but I think you can still find new ones. It's a gem. Also, it helps to be handy with Photoshop... I use CS (which I prefer over CS2).

    To Barbara ~ Yes, we are at the mercy of nature... keeps us humble.

    To Allie, Janet and Beadbabe ~ Yup, it is a blessing to have a handyman husband. Also it's been fun to work together, which we seem to do well.

  12. Robin, I've been concerned about you not blogging when you got back--at least when I thought you had. And I figured this might some of the stuff happening. We think we are in control and we never are. Old Mom Nature always has the last word! You guys are making good progress!

    We are under a blizzard warning today and it is so bad the little street going up the hill from our house is so I can't see the houses and trees that I know are up there. A day for soup, hot tea and a good mystery.

    Take care of each other and hope you can get back to beading soon.

  13. I'm glad you're back, but more importantly, I'm glad you are safe, despite having to endure the hardships brought on by those storms. Your blogs are always such gems, too; I really look forward to them. So again, welcome back!

  14. NOAA is asking for suggestions for a name for the storm. "Blowhard" comes to mind
    "A mighty wind" too obvious.
    How about "Rural Free Christmas Tree Delivery"

  15. Anonymous11:16 AM

    Could someone please explain "LOL" to me? I think I more or less get the meaning, but what is it? A word, an abbreviation? Where did it come from? And how come its use does not seem to be limited to a particular age group? Is it a new expression, or has it been around for long?

    Curious: Sabine

  16. Anonymous4:50 PM

    To Lane Savant ~ Well, yes, those are three good suggestions for naming the storm... I've been thinking about that too. Thinking about what a Native American might call it. Maybe something like "Wind Breaking Trees."

    To Sabine ~ LOL (as far as I know) stands for either "laughing out loud" or "laugh out loud."

    To Mary ~ Having a white Christmas in the Denver area is one thing... suffering hardships of cold, confinement, and power outages is quite another. I hope all's well there now.


Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!