Woodside WireWorks

Wit, Whimsy, & Wisdom…

Month: December 2014

Creativity. Chaos. Clutter.

One of the toughest things for me to do is to throw things away.  I’m not intentionally a hoarder, but when it comes to crafty stuff, it takes an act of congress for me to toss something.  I won’t bore you with all of my excuses for clinging to stuff–just know that this is a real issue that I battle all.the.time!

Evidently, this is no recent development.  In grade school, I kept every paper,  project, every stinking little piece of art work until there was barely room in my closet for clothes.  When I was  in the second or third grade, my mom–fed up with the state of my room–started cleaning.  Bless her heart!    I’ve been trying to clean up after me for years… It ain’t easy!  She worked tirelessly.  She was smart,  I was in school and couldn’t object.  When I popped off of the bus, scurrying home in my shiny shoes and lacy socks, I saw my things sticking out from under the lid of the  garbage can, awaiting pickup.  I really don’t remember this at all and love to hear Mom tell the story.

She says I was sobbing when I raced into the house and wailed, “Mom, somebody made a terrible mistake.  All of my treasures are outside in the trashcan.”  Evidently, I was heartbroken.  Mom must of said something like “Oh no!,” (perhaps after thinking damn!) grabbed my hand and together we went outside to retrieve my “treasures.”

This brings us to the present.  We had this conversation yesterday because I admitted to Mom that I still had my grade school pastels, one of my most coveted childhood Christmas presents.  I hadn’t touched them in at least forty years, other than to move them occasionally.  Every time I tried to pitch them, my hand would hover over the trashcan, I’d drop them in and, within minutes, retrieve them.   (There is also pile of Nancy Drew books in my attic, too.)  Somethings are just too much a part of who we are to let go.


Fortunately, I’m not terribly picky about a spotless house…I’ve never had one, but having my beading supplies out in my great room really started getting on my nerves.  I don’t know how to be creative and neat.   So, I bought two big cabinets and converted the mudroom into a studio area.  Between the beads, and findings, wire, sketchpads, paints, and the like, my cabinets are full.

I actually fiddled with the pastels again yesterday.  I was experimenting with adding texture to something–jewelry related.  Here is one of the things I came up with that will be used in a pendant.IMG_4221

Having those pastels in my hand took me back to truly happy, carefree times!  My childhood was perfect, at least in my view.  And as we approach Christmas, I remember the coloring books that filled my stocking, the paint by number sets, those little looms that we wove potholders out of, a plastic spinning wheel, and pop beads!  I guess it was just a matter of time before I graduated from plastic to glass, metal, shells, gemstones, wire and pearls.

And the next time you look at a handcrafted piece of jewelry, like this one, made as part of the B’Sue Creative Group “Kitchen Sink Challenge” a while back, kindly look at all the little pieces and parts that comprise that jewelry…All those charms, beads, dangles, and chains need a home.  And that, my friends is why my home will never be on the garden tour or featured in House Beautiful!


Leather and Pearls…Seriously?

My Father used to say, “I like my women in cashmere and pearls.”   I think perhaps he was suggesting I should be more ladylike, which was a valid assessment.  My parents gave me a beautiful pearl bracelet one Christmas; it was gorgeous.  I have a string of my Mom’s pearls, too.  And trust me, I put those pieces on for “state occasions.”

When I had a big meeting at work, the pearls went on.  Period.  My friend Amy used to take note:  “Mama’s got her pearls on today…Something big must be up!”  Frankly, I put them on to remind myself of my roots and to hopefully, keep my mouth shut, which isn’t easy for me.  It has been said that I “march to the beat of my own drummer” and that statement is spot on accurate.

I use pearls quite often in my designs simply because I think they are beautiful.  I love a simple strand of pearls, but I also love them mixed with other elements for an updated, funky look.  This is the first time I have paired pearls with leather.  I like it.






You just can’t have too many pearls in your stash!

This is what I have on my table today.  I adore pearls.  Just love them.  I love their luster, their creamy beautiful texture, yes I clearly have a passion for pearls.  I’m going to try to create something a wee bit different this time–maybe a trinket or two, perhaps some leather.  We shall see.  Sadly, every time I gaze out of my window, I see the mountain of leaves that needs attention.  Guess I’ll call the yard service. That would be me!  But, the good news is the sun is shining and it is 54 degrees out there.  I’ll take it!

Hall of Mirrors

I’ve always been fairly straightforward, pretty honest, and often my head fails to filter what flies from my mouth. Anyone else have that problem? So, when I post little stories on this blog, you can expect it to reflect what I’m feeling at the time.  What comes up, comes out and that is that.

Disclaimer aside, setting up this site reminds of my hotel days: I was charged with overseeing our website development. We hired professionals to do the designing, write the code, and all that niggling background stuff that one never sees on a website.  I can remember management grumbling about the cost, the timing, etc. etc. etc. We’d sit around the conference table and some of us–not me of course–would nod our heads approvingly as if we knew what was being said! Not!  Techie speak is a language unto itself, period.  In hindsight, those meetings were quite comical, especially now.

Deep pockets  paid for the hotel’s website.  The “loose change in my pockets” won’t stretch that far.  So I’ve been dabbling at this for a couple of days, flying solo as it were, and I can assure you, while I would love to hire a professional–their services were WORTH.EVERY.DIME!–pushing myself to learn something new is a good thing.  It seems as if every door I open, trying to learn ONE STINKING THING, leads me to seventeen more.  Ugh!  It is as if I’m in a hall of mirrors , bumping and stumbling, and creating enough passwords and user names to have yet another identity crisis.

When I surf the web now, and click on a link that says “page not found,” I get it!  Yes, I so totally and completely get it!  One might wonder, “Why is she doing this if it frustrates her so much?”  Well, that is another post for another time.  The short answer is that I want to, I truly want to.  As for the long answer, stay tuned.

done, proceeding, or occurring with promptness or rapidity, as an action, process, etc.; prompt; immediate

Define “Quick!”


Patience…My Evaporating Virtue

Yesterday I wrote about the perks of aging…and now I must publicly contradict myself.  And so soon into this journey!  I’m trying to learn how to navigate in WordPress.  Oh.My.Goodness!  This “rule breaker” is trying real hard to follow directions but the “baby steps” I am having to take are maddening!

I want to know how to do everything NOW!  Not two months from now, not two days from now but NOW!

My late husband used to chide me for lacking patience.  I would argue quite passionately that I have tons, thank you!  I.Was.Wrong.  Whatever patience I once had is rapidly evaporating.  I need to find a bright ten-year-old to come over here and teach me how to master this software so that I can get back to making jewelry.

Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade

The Perks of Aging

When I think back to the person I was in my twenties, I realize that person  was a neurotic mess.   She took herself  far too seriously.  And, to confound things even more, she was an “approval seeking missile!”  What a tedious way to live!

Now that I am on the far side of fifty, I am  much happier.  Yes, I still care what others think, but not nearly as much and have reached an age where I realize it is perfectly fine to be a wee bit quirky.  In fact, I prefer it.  Yes, my face is lined, the color in my hair comes from a bottle, but so what. That is a small price to pay for being comfortable in my own skin.  Life is good.

This mousepad was created by Beverly Ash Gilbert.   I cherish it,  for it is a wonderful reminder of how far I’ve come.  Meanwhile, have a colorful day!

Say No to Vanilla

Say No to Vanilla


About Me…

Welcome to my humble, but wonderful world. My name is Susan Bowerman, and I share my home and studio with my two aging girls, Skittles—a cat who is about 18 years old, and my yellow lab, Sundog who is eleven.  For those of you who are Facebook friends, you will recognize my girls as members of this “Critter Kingdom,” for I have often shared their pictures and antics on my personal page, as well as on my handcrafted jewelry page, Woodside WireWorks.

I “fell into” jewelry making accidentally: I had a neighbor who relocated here to take care of her aging parents. She truly needed a friend, having left her old life behind, and couldn’t drive. If I was going out, she’d pile in the car with me, and we would run our errands together.

She was a talker! Oh my goodness, could she talk, and talk, and talk! And I really, really, really like quiet. It was tough. I used to tease her about the chatter, hoping she’d take the hint. She didn’t. But we hung together, for several years, because I felt it was the right thing to do.

We’d enter a store and if she went left, I went right. I just needed a little “breathing room.” So one day, we pop into A.C. Moore, and this stranger nearly runs me down going toward the beads. She smiles an apology, and says, “I’m here to feed my addiction.” She was bright-eyed, joyful, and so full of life and enthusiasm. I liked her instantly, and since I was just killing time, I followed her. She proceeded to give me an on-the-spot tutorial on basic stringing and before I knew it, I was tossing pliers, wire, and a basic kit into a shopping basket. I was so proud of my creations—there was nothing much to them at all, really. But in my eyes, they were treasures. That was about eight years ago. Honestly, it feels like a lifetime.

About midway through my journey, my friend passed away. Had it not been for her, I would have never discovered the soulful satisfaction that comes with creating a piece of jewelry. My life has taken many twists and turns since I grabbed the first bead. I feel so blessed to have found something that engages me so completely.

I do not intend to only blog about jewelry here at Woodside WireWorks.  As much as I love playing in the studio, my life is multi-dimensional.  I may post a recipe from time to time, share a music video, who knows?  This is the beginning of my blogging journey.  No guts, no glory.  Right?  Stay tuned!

Yours truly…at home in the studio.

Yours truly…at home in the studio.

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