Friday, September 25, 2015

Here's to a Swank Filled Season!

LOVE the piece above my display
Anytime is the right time to visit Swank Coffee in Handmade Market in Southern Pines!  The lovely Lisa, owner of Swank, has a heart as big as her head.  She kind, friendly, compassionate, patient, and so much more.  Her gentle soul is the real secret behind Swank's success, and I absolutely love working with her!

This morning I was thrilled to fully stock the shop with my latest creations, and I also had the opportunity to browse.  A walk through Swank is like a visit with dear friends and their work.  There are paintings by Jacqueline Sadler, Amy Smith, Jodi Ohl, and more!  pottery by Suzanne Rehbock.... photography and accessories by Sharon Augustyniak... the cutest clothing and accessories for adults and children... metal sculptures by Jean and Randy Chapman... dog collars and accessories by Kelly Lawson Stevens... and so much more!

What a lovely way to start the day!


Friday, September 18, 2015

Reacting and Responding - Part 2 - A Lighter Look

Theresa was clueless as to the
fun that awaited her!
In May of this year, my emotions were running on overdrive.  My Mom's health was declining at lightning speed; the needs for her care were changing daily; and I was exhausted!  As we prepared for our Flagship ReMe Retreat on Ocracoke Island, it seemed as if new challenges presented themselves on a daily basis.  Some, a flat tire or misplaced keys, were minor.  Others... like Mom's speedier than expected discharge from rehab, my swan dive down the stairs as I was packing for ReMe, and her caretaker's stroke on her first full day of work... were more significant.

Through it all, there were also bright spots.  Through it all, I somehow managed to trust that everything was happening for a reason.  Through it all, I maintained faith that the right solutions would present themselves at the exact time that I needed them most.  Thankfully this was consistently the case.

Midweek during our retreat, as I was enjoying a delightful shower under the Carolina Blue Sky, I discovered a 'skin tag' on my upper thigh.  Puzzled by this tag that I'd never felt previously, I perched Karate Kid style on my one good leg to glimpse it in the waist high mirror.  My balance not being at its best a few short days after my fall, I still couldn't be sure,.  So, I rinsed as quickly as possible, re-donned my soft stretchy pajamas, and proceeded directly to the house where I sought help.

(It should be noted that I strongly suspected that the 'skin tag' in question was actually a tick.  Ticks are one of those creatures that totally and completely freak me out!  When suspicion first dawned, I wanted to scream like a child and run like the wind; but I couldn't.  It's hard to run from one's own thigh, and I was playing Hostess at the time.  If I'd screamed and run naked away from The Inn, my ReMe Sisters would have been puzzled, and potentially scarred for life.)

Thankfully, our cool-headed Den Mother, Theresa, and ReMe Guest Extraordinaire, Lynne Simon Suprock, came to my rescue.  The tick was painlessly removed amidst our raucous laughter; the doctor was called; and any possible ill effects of the experience were thwarted.

The moral of this story...

Reacting by running naked and screaming would have been bad for all involved.

Responding by quietly asking for help, and laughing about the experience for days, provided a positive outcome for the experience and, a story that will last a lifetime.

Do you respond, react, or a bit of both?  
I'd love to hear all about it in the comment section of this post!  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Falling Into Fall

There's something about the change in seasons from Summer to Fall that touches my heart.  You can feel it in the air here in North Carolina.  One day it's a balmy eighty-something-plus-degrees; humidity hangs heavy; and even the nights are balmy.  The next day, the humidity evaporates; a crisp coolness returns like an old friend, and sweaters, blankets, and slippers come out of hibernation as Autumn returns.

A blustery beach day with
Debbie and Theresa.
As we plan for our next ReMe Retreat on Ocracoke Island in October, the changing seasons call for adjustments to our packing lists.  When it comes to clothes, layering prepares us for both the chilliest fall mornings on the beach, and also the warmest of Indian Summer afternoons.  Favorite slippers and  sweatshirts are a must, and we fill our cars with cozy blankets and throws to scatter around our Soundfront Inn.  

Our blankets and throws are a mix of treasured old favorites and soft new finds.  They lounge on the back of the sofa and at other strategic points around the house, and it's not uncommon to find us wrapped in them in the rockers on the front porch as the sun bids farewell to the day.

Yay Fall!  

Yay Ocracoke!  

Yay ReMe!  

Here's to a season filled with comfort, hope, friends old and new, and limitless possibilities. 


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

My Love for Hyperbole and a Half

I've been savoring this gem of a book since I discovered it at Books To Be Red during our ReMe Retreat on Ocracoke Island in May.  I admit that it was an impulse buy.  The artwork on the cover grabbed my attention, and after browsing a few random pages, I had to have it! 

In Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh provides readers with a lighthearted look at serious issues like depression and mental health, while also drawing attention to the random absurdities of everyday life...and our pets...and our love of cake...and the heinous nature of geese...and so much more!  Virtually every drawing and chapter in this book brings a smile to my face, and I can't begin to count the number of times that these pages have made me laugh aloud.

Signs of love, or maybe jealously, left by
Clark the Cat.  He seems to be at his friskiest when I'm
laughing madly for no apparent reason. 
Given my love of instant gratification, by not reading this treat in one marathon session, I'm exercising great restraint.  Instead, it lives nearby, at the ready for those days that I need it most.  I'm hoping that I can make it last until April 2016, when Allie Brosh's new book, Solutions and Other Problems, will hit bookstores.


For Leslie Lanier, the lovely and talented owner of 
Books to Be Red, if you're reading this, please reserve a copy of Solutions and Other Problems for me during my visit in May!  For my ReMe Sisters, and anyone else who loves this sweet bookstore on Ocracoke Island, please contact Leslie by email, phone, or Facebook to order or reserve your copies too.  While there's nothing like an in person experience at Books to Be Red, 
mail order from Ocracoke is the next best thing!  


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tips and Tricks From The Studio - Consistency in Matched Earrings

This week I created for the first time in my new studio.  (Yay Me!)  I was on a mission to make earrings as specific styles had been requested from several of my galleries and boutiques.  As I began to prepare my work area, it occurred to me that a few of my routines might be share-worthy.

Earrings made by Jean Skipper.
Somehow it's against my imperfection-loving-nature to create consistently.  Asymmetry comes naturally to me; symmetry, not so much.  When making a matched set of earrings, both consistency and symmetry are important considerations.  

A few of the tricks of the trade that help me to achieve this follow...

When selecting the components, beads, head pins, and ear wires, that I plan to use in each pair, I check them carefully to ensure that they're reasonably the same size.  Many of the parts and pieces that I use are handmade, and differences in their form are to be expected.  This is what draws me to them; it just doesn't always translate well into matched pairs of earrings.

As I gather the tools needed for this project, I spend a little extra time with my round nose plyers.  Using a Sharpie Marker, I mark two pairs of parallel lines around each side.  The first is a quarter inch or so down from the tip, and the second is about a half inch below that.  As I wrap my wire around the pliers these lines guide me.  If I'm seeking tiny loops that disappear into the design, I wrap the wire around the smaller line.  For larger loops, the kind that become a noticeable element in the design of the earrings, I use the larger lines.

When each pair is finished, I perform a final inspection by hanging them from a horizontal surface.  The edge of a glass or tin can work perfectly for this.  This process allows me to see the earrings as they'll appear when worn.  It also allows me to make any final adjustments before presenting them as a finished creation.  

Does consistency and symmetry come naturally for you?  If so, "Yay You!"  If not, how do you manage to overcome this challenge?   

I'm happy to announce that we'll be making earrings in my classes
at Creative Studios NC in Vass, North Carolina.
My schedule will be announced next week.
Please send an email to me at
to be among the first to receive this update.