Before and After


The camp host down the road is a Deadhead too. I determined this fact when I noticed she wore a necklace with a Grateful Dead dancing bear pendant. Every time I talked to her, I was happy to see that bear kicking its leg right above her uniform shirt.

A couple of weeks into the season, I saw she wasn’t wearing the necklace, but I didn’t think too much about it. I figured the heat had probably made wearing the necklace uncomfortable, so she took it off.

One day the Deadhead camp host came to the parking lot to pick up some day passes. She saw me making a hemp necklace and got excited.  Her necklace with the bear pendant was coming apart. Maybe I could fix it? I told her to bring the necklace by sometime and I’d have a look at it.

This is what the camp host's necklace looked like before I rehabbed it.

This is what the Deadhead camp host’s necklace looked like before I rehabbed it.

My two days off rolled around, and I decided to save money by not leaving the mountain. When the Deadhead camp host did her patrol through my campground on Monday morning, I invited her to get the necklace to me. She had it with her when she came through the campground that evening.

Hemp is a very strong, sturdy material. (If you’re unfamiliar with hemp, you can learn about it here: However, just like most everything else, it eventually wears out. Her necklace was coming apart at the loop that slipped over a bead and held the whole thing together. I told her there was no way I could fix the loop, but I offered to take the necklace apart and restring the beads. The Deadhead camp host offered to pay me for my work, but I’m not one to take money from another Deadhead, especially a Deadhead who’s also a nice co-worker.

I thought it was going to be an easy task: tie a few knots, restring the beads in the same order they were in originally, tie a few more knots, done. Unfortunately, the job turned out to be a bit more difficult than I had planned.

My first problem what that the thinnest hemp cord I had was thicker than the hemp cord used in the original necklace. I used what I had, hoping the Deadhead camp host would like a slightly thicker look.

The second problem was that the original necklace only used one strand of hemp as the carrier (middle) cord, and I was using two strands for the carrier. I didn’t realize this until I had made four inches of very nice spiral knots. The double strand carrier cord wasn’t a problem until I started trying to string the smaller beads. My double strand carrier cord was just microns too large for the tiny holes in the little beads.

To compound my difficulties, my eyes have apparently changed and my glasses don’t help me see anything close. I had to repeatedly remove my glasses so I could do the up-close work with the tiny beads. My large, clumsy fingers did not help the situation.

Every time I tried to shove the tiny beads onto the carrier cord, the hemp frayed. I had to snip the carrier cord after every bead in order to be able to work with the hemp.

I had to take some artistic license. I quit trying to use the tiny beads carved from bone. The holes were just too small. I could work the tiny metal beads onto the necklace, but it was a struggle. I had some small metal beads on hand that I used to replace the missing bone beads.

I think the rehabbed necklace looks great! The Deadhead camp host seems to like it too. When I gave the necklace back to her, she gave me a big hug and put it on immediately. She also wrote a very nice review on my Blaizin’ Sun Creations Facebook page.

Here’s what the Deadhead camp host said at

Blaize rescued my favorite dancing bear hemp necklace. It was old and worn and the “clasp” was no longer working. She restrung it beautifully, retaining it’s [sic] uniqueness. I couldn’t be happier with the result. Thank you Blaize!!

This is how the camp host's necklace looked after I rehabbed it.

This is how the Deadhead camp host’s necklace looked after I rehabbed it.

About Blaize Sun

I live in my van, which makes me a rubber tramp. I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. I like to play with color. I make collages and hemp jewelry and cheerful winter hats. I take photographs and (sometimes, not in a long time) write poetry. All of those things make me an artist. Although I like to spread joy and to make people laugh, my wit can be sharp. I try to stay positives in all situations, to find the goodness in all people. But I often feel compelled to point out bullshit when I smell it. I like to have fun, to dance, to eat yummy food, to sit by a fire and share stories. I want to know what people hold dear and important, not just make surface small talk. This blog is a way for me to share stories. This blog is made up of my stories, rants, and observations, as well as my photographs.

4 Responses »

  1. Things seem to go that way when we try to do our best work. I’m glad the finished project made everyone happy.

    • It makes me happy whenever I see the other camp host wearing her new and improved necklace. Thanks for commenting, Jennifer.

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