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Grief - Courage- Art and Inspiration

"Sad Angel"
A miniature painting created while I was caring for my elderly mom who passed away last year.

"Grief can be the rich under painting that strengthens our life's work of art." - Melody Lea Lamb

This post is written by my Beaded Art partner and dear friend Karen Lideen:

We’re pleased to introduce two of our new friends. Casey and Kelly are a mother and daughter who not only share a love for art and a superb talent for creating art but the courage to live rich lives despite grief.

Casey suffered a massive brain-stem stroke which rendered her right and dominant hand useless. Kelly lives with acute leukemia. Despite their challenges they approach life with grace and beauty; literally. Sumi-e, ink painting, exemplifies the concept of "Less is More."
"Time Electric" by Casey Shannon

Throughout her stroke recovery Casey learned to do more with less. She worked hard,
eventually learning to talk again and walk with the assistance of her service dog. Her lovely spirit and fierce determination shine through in her art.
"Noble Snow Spirit Like Bamboo" by Casey Shannon

In her own words, Kelly "is a painter!" She is not defined by the deadly disease that might escort us to our own pity party. Her water color paintings practically breathe – Giraffe with a slight sense of humor, Cougar with an intense gaze and Leafy Sea Dragon in delightful play.

"Orchid" by Kelly Kuhlman-Chester

We never know what the day might bring for us - great joy, sorrow, success, disappointment. What we can do is decide how to approach what we are given. Casey and Kelly chose the high road and give back each day through the beauty of their art. We are blessed to be aware of these two women. They shake us up. They push us to be better. They encourage us to improve.

"Tree Frog" by Kelly Kuhlman-Chester

"Sea Turtle" by Kelly Kuhlman-Chester

Take a moment to visit Casey’s website and Kelly’s Etsy shop where you can learn more about these women and purchase their beautiful art. When you buy from Kelly you help support her and her family through her fight of acute leukemia. All proceeds go to raising Kelly’s sweet baby daughter, Aven.

Decorating Your Vacation Home on a Budget

By Bead Artist, Karen Lideen

In 2004 my husband and I fulfilled a dream we’d shared for years; we bought a lake home. It’s not big or fancy but it’s ours. Ironically all the time we dreamed, planned and saved we didn’t think about how we’d furnish or decorate a second house.

As luck would have it, in 2004 I owned an interior redesign business - decorating with what you already have and making the most of furniture placement and organizing. I was my own best client. So when Melody suggested I write a post about decorating a summer home, I took the easy route and wrote from experience.

Tips for spending less & enjoying more:


When new towels, rugs, lamps, bedding or furniture is purchased for our primary home the lake house usually gets the hand-me-downs. Although my decorating style has changed with the times I find that things I purchased years ago blend well with newer items. As I would tell my redesign clients – Things you own tend to work well together because they are things you love and enjoy. Don’t worry so much about trying to match the sofa with the easy chair. In a vacation home it’s more important that the sofa is a fold-out that sleeps two.

Maybe toss a hand beaded pillow on that miss-matched sofa.

•Retain and Repair

Once-in-a-while family members ask me if I need anything “for the cabin.” This could mean items from dishes to lamps, bedding to board games, books and lawn chairs to DVD’s. A few years ago my sister accidentally dropped a huge wall mirror breaking the wooden frame and chipping the glass in one corner. She was going to throw it away but then asked if I could use it “at the cabin.” Sure could. My father-in-law repaired the brown frame, which I painted a sea-blue; I then glued green and blue glass beads over the damaged part of the mirror. Now it has new life reflecting the lake from the living room wall. With each “donation” the lake house
becomes a little homier and visitors oftentimes find an old familiar treasure in one room or another.

Try propping a charming beaded pillow against your renewed treasure.


During one of my organizing marathons I found artwork created by my kids when they were in grade school. I matted and framed a few for inexpensive wall art. My son’s 2nd grade version of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, once displayed in our local post office, now hangs in my bedroom. My daughter’s 6th grade painting of a ship, which won a 4-H blue ribbon at the Oregon State Fair, graces a wall in the living room. Before you spend on wall d├ęcor, think about framing school projects, or enlarge and frame favorite photos.

Then add a hand beaded pillow for the perfect accent.

•Reduce and Relax

Don’t stress too much about having everything in your second house perfectly coordinated. Less is more when it comes to a vacation home: less stuff, more time for what’s really important– relaxing and enjoying time with family and friends. Kick back, put your feet up and admire the view.

And a lovely beaded pillow on the sofa doesn’t hurt either.