Tattoo Stories – London 2002

My doodle...
My doodle…

I challenged myself to a doodle a day for the month of October. It’s harder than it sounds. After only a couple of days, I had to resort to my old standbys. This pierced heart with initials, ‘G’ for Greg and ‘R’ for Richelle, is something I doodle a lot. The two droplets represent our two kids. Awwww…


First stop, the pub...
First stop, the pub…

My London tattoo story…

In 2001, British airways kicked off new non-stop service from San Diego to Heathrow by offering a deal that was too good to be true; round trip tickets for two for $750. Neither of us had ever even thought about visiting London, but how could we pass it up? We imagined friendly, charming pubs on every corner, lots of beer, and jolly patrons having a party every night. Maybe some sing-alongs. You know, like in the movies. There were pubs everywhere, that’s for sure, but most were full of yuppies drinking Bud Light and Smirnoff Ice, and they weren’t particularly jolly or friendly.


our 'local' pub
our ‘local’ pub

During the days, we visited some of the best museums in the world, which was super cool because we are big time museum nerds. Each night we’d try a different pub hoping for a party and end up sipping pints of stout by ourselves while everyone else enjoyed a Corona with a lime or Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Were we were in London or Pacific Beach? On our last day, we decided to go all out, starting with tattoos, then our own self guided pub crawl. We were getting pretty good at taking public transportation so we just rode around on the bus, hopping off when we saw an interesting looking place to stop for a beer.

londonpubs 10061411


The tattoo place we found took cash only, so we hit the ATM but due to some sort of glitch, no money came out. We tried again, but since (in theory anyway) we had just taken out our daily limit, it wouldn’t give us any more. We found a tattoo parlor that took credit, and since I knew what I wanted (see above doodle), I got in the chair right away. The tattoo artist was offended when I offered to draw my design. I ended up with a tattoo that only vaguely resembled my drawing. Then for no apparent reason the manager decided he wanted to close an hour early, so no more tattoos after me, meaning Greg wasn’t going to get one. Bummer. Our pub crawl was not going that great either, and it had started to rain, so we decided to grab one last pint and call it a night.

One last chance to have a great night...
One last chance to have a great night…



The pub wasn’t yet crowded when we got there so we sat alone and sipped our beers as the place filled up.

Empty pub, but not for long...
Empty pub, but not for long…

Eventually, a couple asked if they could share our table, and of course we welcomed them. After an awkward minute, I broke the ice with that old pick-up line, “So do you come here often?” As it turned out, they did not, in fact it was their first time. They were going to a play and stopped of for a drink before the theater. We chatted for a bit before they had to leave to make their show, and immediately two young ladies asked if they could take the empty seats. I tried out a different line this time, “Are you from around here?” No, actually, they were from Canada, in London on a work exchange program. We drank several rounds with them, joined by a girl from Holland who had just returned from a trip to LA where she attended a taping of the Jay Leno show, and a group of guys from Nottingham whose accents were so thick, I could barely understand them. We partied with our new friends until closing time (not that impressive since the pubs close at midnight) then rode the bus back to our room, very pleased that we were able to end our trip on a fantastic note.


The next day was a little rough, I must say. Fortunately we were able to sleep on the long flight. We returned home, safe and sound, with wonderful memories of an amazing night, and a super cool souvenir. It’s not how I pictured it, but I love it.



By the way, I have abandoned my doodle challenge, and that is ok. Sometimes you need to know what is not working and cut it loose.


Got a tattoo story? Please share in the comments!





Art & Artists Blog

Artists Around The World – Blog Hop

Amy McClain invited me to join this blog-hop, and I was absolutely delighted. It is my dream to someday be able to paint and express myself as freely and brilliantly as Amy, Consu & Sam. And to visit them in PDX would also be pretty awesome.

Q: Why do you do what you do?

The short answer is that I love it, and I especially love the feeling I get when I give someone a beautiful, truly personal gift or make it possible for a client to give one and feel those feelings.

I have always been a creative person and adore making handmade gifts. I feel very lucky to be able to do it as my job.

cl 8 201412

Q: How does your work differ from others in your genre?

My work differs from other artists in this blog hop because most of them are painters and express their creativity through original visual art. I am split right brain/left brain so I tend to express myself a little differently, mostly through writing. I envy and adore the ability to freely express creativity though painting and drawing. My art leans more toward practical. At this point I consider myself more artisan than artist. But I am constantly learning and expanding my bead art.

My jewelry differs from other designers in that it is truly personal and very well crafted. My talent is a desire for perfection and an eye for color. I love beads!

Treasured Heirloom
Treasured Heirloom

Q:  How does your creative process work?

I am constantly daydreaming about stuff I want to make. I read a lot of books about crafts and making, and I am always up to try new things. My brain is always buzzing!

When making jewelry, the process is a little bit simplified for me, since I am working from clients’ photos and therefore, I know what I am going to end up with. Creating the perfect color palette of beads to complement the photo is always a wonderful challenge.

Share Special Memories
Share Special Memories

Q:  What are you working on now?

Right now I am working on two custom necklaces for gifts. I am also working on developing some fresh bead designs. And I have an unfinished painting that I need to pay attention to.

Making Progress
Making Progress


Thank you for hopping over to my blog! Please visit the other participants:

If you are interested in finding out more about my work, please click here.