Do What You Love With Passion!

It's been said that if we do what we love, it stops being a job and becomes a passion. I love to write as much as I love to design jewelry. With this blog, I will share both with you!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Eastern Oregon in September

My family and I have made an annual trip to Bend, OR every September for three years now.  It is my Mother's birthday this time of year, so we enjoy an opportunity to drive through Eastern Oregon (The Dalles, Maupin, Madras), through Warm Springs Indian Reservation to the high desert of Bend, OR.  

I love the climate changes from the moisture and fir trees of my Washington home to the sage, pine and dry land in Oregon, four hours away.  It is so beautiful!  Here are a few photos from our trip this past weekend.  I found the colors to be very inspiring.

(above) Driving East in the Columbia Gorge towards The Dalles, OR.  Opposite shore is Washington state. The Columbia River naturally divides Washington and Oregon states.

(below) Driving South from The Dalles towards Bend, OR.  Daughter Melodee and husband Aaron in the car in front of us.  I am riding with daughter Cassandra (Cassie) and sixteen-year old grandson, Shawn.

Eastern Oregon is farm country at high elevation.  Dark greens of trees break up the endless rolling hills, announcing where water flows freely.  Cattle graze    on prairies and grains are harvested each fall.  The land is hot and dry.  As we drove further South the sky was layered by bands of smoke from forest fires.  Lightning storms commonly create fires at this time of year and can take weeks to get under controlled burning.

Dinner at McGrath's Restaurant the evening we arrived. The birthday girl was required to wear the obligatory fish hat while everyone sang the Happy Birthday song! She's a great sport and enjoyed the birthday sundae, too!

At Mom's home after dinner, time to celebrate with cake and candles, fresh flowers and pretty gifts.  In the photo below, my grandson Shawn with daughters Melodee (center) and Cassandra.  This was our third year in a row to do this, and we enjoyed the trip so much, with endless joy and laughter.

Lucille, my very sweet and beautiful step-mom, whose birthday is a joy to celebrate each year.  I've always told her I am doubly blessed because I have had two mothers to love. 

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Sunday, September 16, 2012



Winner will receive the Colors of Fall bracelet and earrings set, pictured below. Keep for yourself or use as a holiday gift!

RULES: Use the link below to go to LAREN DEE DESIGNS Facebook page.  Select ‘LIKE’.  Next, find this post on my page and SHARE the contest announcement on your own wall or news feed. Leave only one comment on the announcement post that you have shared. You are now entered for a chance to win!
When the number of likes turns over to 325, a WINNER will be determined by random number generator and announced immediately.  Winner will provide their address and I will ship the jewelry set immediately at no cost to the winner.
Contest will run no later than Wednesday 3:00 PM PST and one winner will be selected. Thank you for playing this game! I appreciate your support very much!
Here's the link to play:  

Thank you for participating!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


[Author's note:  This excerpt is taken from my monthly newsletter, JEWELETTER, and reprinted here today.  From September, 2012 edition.] 

Colors of fall are definitely here.  I love this time of year.  White the weather is still warm, the leaves are changing their colors and getting ready to drop.  The air has that particular fragrance I can't quite put into words.  As soon as the sun sets the temperature drops immediately.  Last night I looked outdoors at 8:30 in the evening and saw how dark it was.  We have a line of fir trees that the sun drops over in the late afternoon.  Because of those trees I am able to observe the position of the sun as the Earth rotates seasonally.

Our twenty-year old grandson arrived at Tongue Point Job Corp Center, Astoria, OR, yesterday.  We are so proud of him for making a decision to better himself in the trades.  He is a natural carpenter.  I have watched him do so many projects here at our home and I know he works intuitively.  It will be a joy to watch this next chapter of his life unfold.

It's back to school time for all the kids.  Cannot believe our other grandson is a high school sophomore this year.  I am not sure that I like these kids growing up and leaving their nests!
One of the gals in my beading groups sends me questions like, for example, what size wire did I use in that necklace?  It's easy to tell from her messages that she has not been beading long and does not feel confident in herself yet.  I wrote her the following reply, and like all things in life, it's not about what we're doing, it's how we go about it:
  • I always let the materials guide me, I do not guide them. I begin to create by being in a clean, organized space. I don't feel harried and rushed. I get very quiet inside, draw together the items I THINK I will use, knowing they can/will change. By getting quiet I begin to become one with the items and allow them to speak to me. It's a bit spiritual for me. I don't believe the beauty is in knowing what I will create...I only have ideas....I ALLOW the materials to tell me what they need to be. This, for me, is true inspiration. It takes me out of the ego and allows something else to happen.
  • So if you spend some time with these thoughts, perhaps they will resonate with you, as well. Don't be afraid, don't be tight. Let your fingers move with the tools and wire, beads. Relax, let go and let the magic happen - you can do this!
It doesn't matter what we are doing, it's our intent that only matters.  If our focus and intent are good, and we let go and allow spirit to move us, we cannot fail.  Have a wonderful September and do something wonderfu

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Where in the world does inspiration come from?

Selecting Italy for this Olympic Blog Hop was a simple matter for me, as I have studied the country and language for about three years.  My fascination began years ago with the movie Under the Tuscan Sun with Diane Lane.  Years later, I read Elizabeth Gilbert's emotional and spiritual novel Eat, Pray, Love and was captivated with Italy.  Here then, is my story in pictures, from a town in Northern Italy and the necklace I created from its inspiration.

Everything about these colors and patterns cries out Italy to me! Bella! I thought it would be challenging to represent the elements, from building facade and tiles to circular blue glass windows to the natural element of greens and reds in potted geraniums.
My decision was to create a torsade necklace with five lengths, all somewhat equal to each other.  Each length would represent one of the elements of color and form as seen in the inspiration photo.
The beginning layout:  Five individual wire strands about sixteen inches in length connected to antique brass chain by means of tulip-shaped end caps.  Lobster clasp closure.

Literal interpretation for potted geraniums, red and green natural beads are strung on first of the five wires:

Here, the fourth strand is being connected.  Darker tones in beads, used to depict the building facade tiles are interpreted on this wire:

The final wire represents blues and whites in the circular glass windows.  Blue and white glass beads with brass spacers are strung on:

Thirty-one inch torsade necklace in antique brass.  Five individual lengths approximately sixteen inches each in length, attached by tulip-shaped antique brass findings to chain.  Lobster clasp closure allows for adjustment in length, as well.


I knew that if done properly, the necklace should 'disappear' when laid on top of the inspired print.

Thank you for stopping at my blog and thank you,
in advance, for your comments.  Have a great day!

Laren Dee Barton


Special thanks to Erin, Tesori Trovati Jewelry!

Name                 Region           Chosen Inspiration Nation

Monique Urquhart Africa Burkina Faso

Niky Sayers Africa Egypt

Therese Frank Africa Kenya

Raychelle Heath Africa Lesotho

Joan Williams Africa Mauritania

Sherri Stokey Africa Senegal

Regina Santerre Africa Seychelles

Raida Disbrow Africa Tanzania

Kristi Wodek Africa Zimbabwe

Sally Russick Americas Brazil

Melissa Trudinger Americas Mexico

Tracy Stillman Americas USA

Sandra Wolberg Asia India

Tanya Goodwin Asia Japan

Susan Kennedy Asia Japan

Beth Emery Asia Japan

Lisa Cone Asia Japan

Tanya Boden Asia Japan

Inge von Roos Asia Laos

Erin Prais-Hintz Asia Nepal

Dee Elgie Asia Phillipines

Carolyn Lawson Asia South Korea

Lisa Stukel Asia Sri Lanka

Elly Snare Asia Thailand

Shelley Graham Turner Europe Austria

Mallory Hoffman Europe Bosnia Herzegovina

Paige Maxim Europe France

Jenny Davies-Reazor Europe Germany

Sharyl McMillian-Nelson Europe Greece

Evelyn Shelby Europe Iceland

Holly Westfall Europe Ireland

Rebecca Siervaag Europe Ireland

Toltec Jewels Europe Ireland

Lee Koopman Europe Ireland

Laren Dee Barton Europe Italy

Cindy Wilson Europe Norway

Kathleen Lange Klik Europe Poland

Shaiha Williams Europe Portugal

Jennifer Justman Europe Romania

Elsie Deliz-Fonseca Europe Spain

Lola Surwillo Europe Sweden

Kim Hora Europe Switzerland

Leanne Loftus Europe The Netherlands

Patti Vanderbloemen Europe The Netherlands

Marcie Carroll Europe Turkey

Marlene Cupo Oceania Federated States of Micronesia

Ine Vande Cappelle Oceania Fiji

Tammie Everly Oceania Guam

Alice Peterson Oceania Kiribati

Elisabeth Auld Oceania Nauru

Susan McClelland Oceania New Zealand

D Lynne Bowland Oceania New Zealand

Denielle Hagerman Oceania New Zeland

Rebecca Anderson Oceania Papua New Guinea

Mischelle Fanucchi Oceania Samoa

Kari Asbury Oceania Solomon Islands

Cece Cormier Oceania Tonga

Emma Todd Oceania Tuvalu

Debbie Price Oceania Vanuatu