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, April 23, 2013



I am happy to report that our family getaway to Happy Camp at Netarts, OR proved to be everything I needed for renewal and inspiration. The good news gets better in that we have moved from rain and wind to blue skies and sunshine!

Grass is growing (dandelions have sprouted) and flowering trees are beautiful blossoms of pink and white. Doors and windows in the house are open today to fresh air and breezes. Wind chimes on the deck are singing, too, when there is enough movement for them. All signs are telling me that winter is now behind us. 

Let me share with you some photos that I took from the garden today. Nature always inspires me!

I used all this inspiration to set about creating new designs in the studio and will share some of them with you here.

The ceramic shell bead arrived while I was at the beach and I was thrilled to find it when I returned home. I knew immediately that it would become my first inspiration for design.

Lampwork beads are creamy in color, banded with blue stripes that pull the identical colors right out of the pendant.

I love pearls for their natural and unique characteristics and wanted to pair them with lovely spiral shells.

These spiral shells have been sliced to reveal their beautiful inner geometry and colors. White potato pearls and peach blister pearls are strung together in this casual arrangement. All the shells turn freely so that the wearer can play with the shells and pearls, turning them endlessly, enjoying individual shapes and textures.

Sea sediment jasper is a beautiful natural stone in a variety of rainbow color. The necklace below is sea sediment jasper and pyrite. Pyrite, a mineral that occurs naturally with jasper, often referred to as Fool's Gold, is found in sedimentary rocks. 

The beauty of the jasper is brilliant in itself and needed to be showcased so that it was the outstanding feature. Each bead is separated by tiny clear lampwork bead spacers and attached to silvertone cable chain through silver connectors.

The inspiration for this charm bracelet comes from a set of nine genuine silvery seashells hand-picked on beaches in Scotland.

Charm bracelets are known for their soft 'swishy' sound and this one is no exception - I do love to design charm bracelets. Using double cable chain link, the bracelet is strung with mint green 1940's vintage flower charms, green Czech beads, transparent green glass beads in shell motif and silvertone fish charms. The bracelet has a lobster clasp and extender with bead drop, adjustable for wrists 7" to 8 1/4".

Each design is available at LAREN DEE DESIGNS
and featured on page one of shop listings. 

May you find your own inspiration and feel blessed
in all that Nature gives us. Amen.

Thank you for reading and have a great day!

Friday, April 12, 2013


Nature Is Renewing

We are truly products of our environment. When the sun comes out after a torrent of rain, it's as if a bad day has reason to be good once more.

The opposite reaction occurs when we hear about a weather forecast warning of more snowfall. A Kansas City friend was incredulous when forecasters reported another twelve inches were imminent in her town last month. Another friend wrote from Nebraska to share that they had snow on April 1st and it was not a joke!

After a tough winter of freezing weather and snowfalls, March and April forecasts have been depressing! Just when we begin  to feel a thaw in the air our breath is sucked out of us by yet another chill. We reach for thicker outer clothing and try to "suck it up" again.

Goodbye March, hello April... Spring?? 

Well, I am not so sure because it remains chilly and wet across our Pacific Northwest and central United States. The Cascade Mountains are getting lots of fresh snowfall and skiers are loving it.

In our family we usually go to the coast in February to celebrate my birthday. This year I thought it would be nice to replace February chill and rain with warmer temperatures and maybe less rain, even sunshine! What was I thinking?? 

Sunshine, you ask? It's the large yellow orb in the sky that is bright to the eyes and very warm on the skin. 

April provided spring break for my grandson and a chance to find some of that bright yellow stuff - oh, duh, really? The family made plans for a visit to the Oregon coast at Happy Camp in Netarts. 

A little history here: Netarts was originally spelled "ne ta at", a Killamook tribal word that  meant "near the waters".  The new city that built up was later named Tillamook and coined the phrase, "land of cheese, trees and ocean breeze". Very fitting.

For nearly fifty years our family had a small one bedroom home overlooking Netarts Bay. Happy Camp is within a mile of that former home, on a spit of beach where the ocean fills the bay. 

Our Happy Camp vacation rental home was beautiful and well stocked with everything for a great visit. The weather was rainy and windy each day and generally kept us indoors. Two nights were very stormy (which I love) and seventeen-year-old Shawn was not quite sure how safe we were and worried about tornados in the darkening skies. He kept eyeing the wall of windows when the rain beat a torrent against them. I tried to reassure him we don't generally get those in the Pacific Northwest but I don't think I accomplished much.

One of the first things I unpacked after arriving was a package of white pillar candles and package of seashells. I found a very pretty ceramic plate in the kitchen and set them on the coffee table. I love candle light and creating a mood within spaces. 

My daughters did a lot of cooking and baking in the beautiful kitchen and everything was so delicious! We lacked for nothing in the food category! I am so proud of them.  :)

My two grandsons enjoyed rough-housing and playing with nerf guns. I finally chased them around the dining room table after they attacked me with nerf bullets hitting me everywhere, then we all laughed and giggled at the fun of it all. They know it takes an awful lot before this grandma has had enough! 

I packed a stack of six DVDs of current movies and we never watched any of them! We curled up on the couches and talked, read, enjoyed cups of coffee and snacked. The jigsaw puzzle was put together Friday afternoon on one end of the dining room table and on the other end a board game received a lot of attention.

I knew this 500-piece jigsaw puzzle would grab the attention of my girls. We all love Hawaii and daughter Cassie loves turtles. My strategy worked (ha-ha!) as we sat together at the table and shared this activity. Brandon and his girlfriend Bri were the first to join me and worked on the border. Then they left and Cassie sat down. It only took a few hours to put it together. To sit and chit chat with her while we worked together was wonderful and we agreed the puzzle was beautiful! 

We kept a fire going in the fireplace each day and it felt so warm and cozy inside the house. One evening we were all curled up visiting while Brandon and my daughter Melodee played a game of Uno (Brandon won).

I've always been one to enjoy party-planning and love to send gifts and surprise friends and family through-out the year. Easter is a deeply meaningful and Holy holiday for me and I also love the joy of chocolate bunnies and pretty Easter baskets during this season.

I had decided it would be fun to surprise everyone with their own Easter basket. The girls received spa goodies with chocolate Easter eggs and real sea shells tucked into their baskets. The "boys" received dried fruits and nuts and an assortment of really nice snacks. I gave Shawn a popcorn box filled with movie candy and a DVD movie I knew he would enjoy. (He was thrilled.)

Since I had driven my car, I had everything tucked out of sight and no one had a clue I was up to something.  After we arrived, Brandon said he would bring in my luggage and I told him that there were some extra things in the back that needed to be carried in, too. He came in the house carrying packages with a look of astonishment on his face. "Grandma, what have you done?" It was really sweet and I won't forget that. After we had settled in everyone made it very clear that they would like to open their baskets. I think I can safely say that joy ensued!

Here is a cute photo of daughter Cassie. We were all relaxing and settling in soon after arriving.

Melodee was curled up to, too, and checking her phone when I snapped this photo. "Really, Mom, did you have to do that?"

We had arrived at the beach on Thursday afternoon. By Saturday evening I found myself regretting that we would have to leave on Sunday. It had been a number of years since I had been on the beach and this time together had become a treasured visit for me. At the same time, I was feeling a little tired in the energy department. I decided to curl up in my bedroom on a chair and ottoman and spend some quiet time away from the volume of laughter and play in other parts of the house.

You have to understand that "play" in this family is more than two brothers chasing each other and playing with nerf guns. Playfulness included Cassie harassing her sister by running into her bedroom and jumping on her; the more sister yelled "Leave me alone!" and "Get out of here!", the more Cassie harassed! Giggles always ensued, wherever they were and whatever one was doing to the other.

Neither did Melodee expect to be doused with a large glass of cold water while in the shower! But in this family, what goes around comes around, and the effort was returned upon Cassie the next day, with ice cubes in a bucket of water. Oh, my.

Candles slowly burning down over four days.

Seeking a little quiet, then, I curled up in my room and enjoyed the late afternoon as it moved into darkness, good coffee with a good book, my notebook and skyping with friend Lisa from Tennessee.  As the day wore on, Cassie came in and curled up in my bed with her laptop and we talked and talked and talked. Later, Melodee came in and curled up in my bed, too!  Oh, I love my girls and cherish the hours with them. 

We must nurture our relationships to keep them
growing and blooming brightly.

Regretfully, Sunday morning arrived. Yet, we had time to sleep in, enjoy a delicious breakfast and not rush to clean up and pack. 

I was going to leave the candles and sea shells on the coffee table as a contribution for the next family staying there, but  without knowing, Melodee had packed them up for me. When she gave them to me I thought, that's okay, I am meant to take them home, to take all the love and energy that spiritually filled those candles for four days, and bring it all home with me!

Melodee helped me pack up my bouquet of flowers. They were a lovely surprise when they had gone grocery shopping and brought them home for me. I have enjoyed those beautiful spring flowers on my desk all week long. I have cut them down, given them fresh water and the orange lilies have completely opened.

I don't have a doubt in my mind that Mother Nature gave me renewal at the beach. She brought me new memories at Happy Camp, where we already had a lifetime of memories in our former vacation home overlooking Netarts Bay. The winter 'cobwebs' were cleared away, refreshed by rain and wind, like negative ions that fill the air after a storm. I do feel that She called to us, refreshed our spirits and gave us energy to move forward on. 

She did one more thing, too. She created a longing in me not to stay away so long again. I am already visualizing a return - very, very soon.

Thank you for reading and have a great day!