Photo on 10-7-13 at 7.23 AM

The designer and her cat, Miss Skittles Bowerman. Meanwhile, Susan’s muse is lurking in the shadows, playfully planning another bout of mischief. She is a certifiable troublemaker!

Alrighty now, welcome and hello, hello! So glad you’ve stopped in to see what Miss Skittles, my muse–a spirited, playful sprite–and I have all been up to. We get into trouble together, that muse and I…loads of trouble.  Not to be undone, Skittles jumps in every project on all fours…she’s been glued, and painted, and been known to post Facebook updates for me. Now that muse of mine, well she’s turned us all into “Attention Deficit Disorder Poster Children,” sending us on more than one wild goose chase. Let me explain.

I’m at the midpoint in the Build a Line Master Class Challenge, and focus is the name of the game.

January swam by; we were on a roll. I had prepared well, carefully placing my supply orders from B’Sue Boutiques (, organized my space and felt quite giddy. I figured out my theme, got to work and before I knew it, I had about a dozen pieces made for my “Cashmere and Pearls”   line…Happy, happy!  Life was good.


A yummy order with a dear note. Life is good, good, good!


Just because a girl never has enough pearls! I do love these.

I took pictures along the way, lots of pictures—all in an effort to determine if the parts I’d chosen flowed together because our goal is to build a cohesive line of work. Cameras seldom lie. Frankly a few pieces may get kicked to the curb because I’m starting to doubt if they pass the cohesive test.

No, it isn't a spider. It only looks like one! You won't believe what this became!

No, it isn’t a spider. It only looks like one! You won’t believe what this became!

In case some of you missed the maiden post, my line uses metals, most of which are altered by painting to a soft dewy finish with these amazing paints. All pieces will include pearls, some will include stampings, while others will be embellished with flowers. Spring is around the corner, right? Timely, I thought.


I love this paint. It has a silken texture that flows like whipped butter. Where has this stuff been all my life?


Here are a bunch of parts primed and ready to roll!

Now about those flowers…Oh my goodness. I love them. I truly love them. But, they are all basically the same size and I felt like I needed some variety. I do have some tinier ones, but I didn’t like they way they took to my chosen paint. What’s a girl to do? I’ll make my own! AND THAT’S WHEN THE TROUBLE STARTED!  Armed with a plan, off to YouTube I went. Of course my unruly muse was ecstatic…both she and I were getting a wee bit bored.  Yes, that muse of mine felt it was time to stir the pot and all hell broke loose!


These are the flowers (plus others), which I’ll be using. I needed some others of varying sizes. And that is when my troubles began.

After watching several videos, I said to myself, “I can do that,” cocky old cuss that I am. I unearthed an old pasta machine, and pulled out some clay that’s been taking up real estate around here for two plus decades, and proceeded to play. Piece of cake, right?

You see this plate of clay. It is a graveyard of failed attempts! What was I thinking???

You see this plate of clay. It is a graveyard of failed attempts! What was I thinking???

Oh my gosh! Talk.About.A.Disaster! My first attempts, had they been in an appropriate color looked like they belonged in a litter box. Who’s cocky now? Not me! When I went into this little venture, I said to my mom, “Practice makes perfect.” I liedonly I just didn’t realize it at the time!  Holy cow!

The challenge ends in April of this year, not a decade from now. Unless my technique improves, the flowers I already have will have to do. My sweaty, chubby fingers can’t seem to master that last tiny rose petal. Just when I think I’m setting the world on fire, it tears.


Seriously ugly…I have much to learn. You should see their predecessors. They were even worse. How is that possible?

And of course, since I was on YouTube already, you know I had to watch a trillion other videos, which naturally led to more experiments. This would be about the time I decided that my muse was a cosmonaut, (or at least on crack!) for in a week’s time, we have taken so many detours from what we are supposed to be doing we had practically forgotten our purpose. We left the highways, traveled the back rounds, abandoned the continent, and she now had me spinning in another galaxy, filling my head with ideas that came and went like a thousand shooting stars. “Just do it,” she’d whisper, fully knowing that I hadn’t the foggiest notion how to execute those ideas, nor the skill set to do so either!  She is quite naughty, actually.


Now these aren’t too bad…

But I love that muse of mine, despite her shortcomings. I dearly love her. I love the fact that she teaches me that failure is the first step in the long road to mastery. I love that she insists I ignore the rules and forge my own path and that she kicks me in my hind parts and insists that I venture into unknown lands. She can be quite a bitch, but she is a loving bitch, for she knows in my secret heart of hearts, I am a one of a kind artist. That is who I am. And she also knows that if I don’t at least move forward—even if I fail—I will become stagnant.

You see, I adore the process of creating something that is uniquely mine…not a bunch of remakes of the same thing.   My father loved working jigsaw puzzles and when I have all of my cherished parts in front of me, I often think of him. He would sit down at the card table, methodically laying out the pieces, and slowly begin to work the puzzle. When I’m moving parts left and right, up and down, I am reminded of sitting at that wonderful table with my dad. There is a beautiful stillness that comes from this kind of meditative focus.  It creates balance and calm.

Every once in a while, you think you have the perfect puzzle piece, for the perfect spot and when you put it all together, it doesn’t fit—be it a puzzle or jewelry. The back story of the piece I’m going to show you today is fraught with frustration. First of all, I wondered what I was thinking when I bought the mount. It was so stinking big…Sheesh! And as I kept moving parts around, for the life of me, I couldn’t find any combination that I liked. After a while, that frustration turned into determination. I was seriously annoyed!  (That comment has been cleaned up for general audiences!)


Nothing was working but my sheer determination. As I was fiddling with this I thought if I can make something out of this it will be a minor miracle.

At just the right moment, about the time I was ready to deep six the whole project, my muse conjured up a memory—reminding me of a piece of art a friend of mine created for a trade show 20 or 30 years ago. I can remember it as if it were yesterday.


I took a bunch of junk and created texture. As I was doing this I wondered, can I pull this off, knowing that it was going to be awful or awesome.

He took trash: old hubcaps, hammers, old albums, CD’s, gears—a bunch of disconnected stuff. From this junk, David created a backdrop that stopped people in their tracks on the show floor. It was huge, it was brilliant, and as I studied it, I was amazed what paint and glue and junk could become! Picture a billboard sized steampunk statement piece. It was amazing! And, once I remembered that, thank you muse (!), I knew how to approach my own pile of discordant materials. I realize this one is way “over the top” (too much so for most folks), and only a handful of women would wear it.  But in honor of those kindred souls who “dance to the beat of their own drummer,” I say let the music play!

Over the top? Yes! Is it for everyone? No! Do I love it? Yes I do, mostly for the lessons it taught me!

Over the top? Yes! Is it for everyone? No! Do I love it? Yes I do, mostly for the lessons it taught me!

Thank you so much for stopping by. I truly hope you will leave a comment and also visit my friends who are also working very hard on this challenge. Simply click on a link and subsequent links to follow this journey with us. We’d truly appreciate a visit and a little note to let us know you came by!  And, all of us would greatly appreciate a return visit on April 1st for our final reveal where everyone will be posting all that they made.  Thanks again and cheers!

Brenda Sue Lansdowne Jewelry Making Outside the Box


Diana Buynak Butterfly Emporium Ceramic Studio


Irene Hoffman, Heart’s Dezire by Irene


Clare Wells Nemeth, Creative Magick


Mary Reckmeyer, Afrayed Not


Marcia Tuzzolino, Aurora Designs


Elizabeth Wilks, Wearable Art by Lizzie


Jeanette Rose Belmont, One Canvas At A Time


Lyn Joy Reeve, A Journey From Jewels To Jubilation


Belinda Reed-Ingle, Vogue Rocks


Beth Trubman, The Journey of Jewelry


Carole Carlson, Bead Sophisticate


Jann Tague, Clever Designs by Jann


Shari Gardner, SLG Jewelry Designs


Susan Bolton, Fern’s Place


Chris Kemp, Noodle Pie Bracelets


Barbara Kelley, Angels’ Keep


Susan Bowerman, Woodside Wireworks


Pamela Anger, Novegatti Designs


Joan Donovan, Hailey’s Cottage


Alison Huie, Ally’s Baubles


Sharon Palac, Sharon’s Jewelry Garden


Erica Olmos, Beeb’s Closet


Erin Whitacre, Shattered Time Jewelry


Fran Sitton, Sitton Up Front


Ginger Hammond, Lynn Leigh Designs


Paula Gaskill, Lovely LaylaBug Jewels


Mary Deis, The Rose Sword


Renee Webb Allen, Small Stuff Design


Valerie Tilghman, ArtJewelsandGifts


Chris Cravens, Vintage Cravens


Leslie Carver, Adorn Divine Designs


Donna Parry, JewelryDonna


Gina-Marie Hammer, Tangles, Twists and Treasures


Kelly Wymer, Winged Wisdom Enchantments