Saturday, December 29, 2012

Almost a new year!

Getting Back to Work

So here I am again, finally "catching up on blogging." I'm caught between wanting to just pick up and go on as if I hadn't abandoned this blog for two months, or apologizing like crazy. With Jim's illness, Hurricane Sandy, various utility outages, and the holidays, I guess I have enough excuses. But basically, laziness and being somewhat busy covers the field. 

I have not made a lot of jewelry, not done any shows, and not sold much lately. That should change in 2013! Joined a photography challenge, and if I am good, will at least be posting 52 photos a week right here.  The host for this challenge is Sally Marcum Russick of The Studio Sublime. She will be sending the participants a photo prompt every week, and we will post our photos on Saturday that week. 

So here's a little peek at one of my favorite subjects, The iron bridge across from my home. 

See you soon!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

History Blog Hop: Ancient Egypt

The camera returns, the pictures are taken!

In my last post, I explained the scarcity of pictures to illustrate my creations for the History Blog Hop, sponsored by Leah Curtis of Beady Eyed Bunny  .

Now, the prodigal daughter has returned with my camera, and the necklace, earrings, and a pair of earring charms I created can be truly revealed!

When Leah announced this blog hop, I pounced on Ancient Egypt and the Art Deco period as my choices because I love their design elements, and because Art Deco in many ways reflects the aesthetic of Egypt. 

Ancient Egyptian Necklace
Using Lapis Lazuli gemstone beads, a carved scarab bead I happened to have, and two gauges of copper wire, I sat down to make what I hoped would be a modified bib type necklace.Obviously, the one pictured to the right would take years to construct, at my rate, but I liked the idea of a wider band. Something that could be worn with everyday outfits. 

Ancient Egyptian Scarab

When the Lapis beads arrived, I knew they would be a perfect match for the scarab I had, and the bugle beads that have been sitting there in a drawer waiting to shine! And just because I love earrings, these were born. Doesn't the blue look perfect with the copper?

Thank you for your patience, I hope to make the wait for the Art Deco creation worth your while!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

History Blog Hop - Reveal Day!


So here it is, History Blog Hop Reveal day. Leah Curtis, of Beady Eyed Bunny  set up this wonderful challenge. Pick a historical period and create jewelry inspired by the period. She even encouraged us to choose two periods! Being especially fond of the design possibilities of both Ancient Egypt and the 1920s to 30s Art Deco period, I went ahead and signed up for both! Yeah me! I even ordered supplies nice and early. 

Then, life stepped in and gave my husband a heart problem that could not be ignored (see my blog post of October 2 about that. I was able to finish the Egyptian pieces I had started, but the Art Deco eludes me to this moment. Fortunately, Hubby is home and things are well, but my work area is a bit disrupted. And.... I let my daughter borrow my camera without taking pictures of Ancient Egypt! 

So here are the pictures I have already posted once, and a promise to post more as soon as I can!

I created this pendant with Lapis Lazuli beads, copper wire, and a ceramic scarab bead I have had for a while. 

The necklace started out with a sketch. After playing a bit, I came up with something similar, that I will post when I get my camera back. It does not encircle the neck as an Egyptian piece would, but hangs from a chain giving it some modern wearablity. Earrings complete the set. Don't you love the blue lapis with the copper?

As for the Art Deco piece, I can tell you that it will feature this focal. I liked the idea of using insects in both pieces, and the angular Art Deco or Arts and Crafts Style of the brass stamping. I purchased two from B'Sue's Etsy shop, but will only use one for this project. 

Be sure to visit Leah's blog and see what she has created. Then, visit the other participants!

 Watch This Space, for more Ancient Egyptian and Art Deco goodies!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

And the bead goes on....

When I'm stressed I turn to bad puns.

So here I am on vacation! Or staycation. that's fine, because I really wanted to catch up on some jewelry designs, especially for the History Blog Hop, sponsored by Leah of Beady Eyed Bunny.

Life always has  a way of getting in the way, But I should be able to post on reveal day based on what I have done already. Hubby is in the hospital having heart surgery as I write this, though, so I'm not sure if the art deco piece will be ready.But Egypt is almost ready! Updates soon!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Coming Soon: History Blog Hop

What Have I Gotten Myself into This Time?

One of the wonderful things about blogging and reading others' blogs, is that you find ideas and inspiration for your own work. Just looking at pictures works, but participating in Blog Hops and challenges of all sorts is a way to challenge yourself with the support of others. Leah Curtis who blogs at  Beady Eyed Bunny is hosting a History Hop, inviting jewelry artists to create pieces based on a period of history which is associated with a recognizable style of jewelry. 

So, I could not decide whether I should pick Ancient Egypt ( 3000 BC to 369 AD) or the Art Deco period (1920s to 1930) - so I chose both! Aside from making more work for myself, I do admire the work done in both periods, and find many similarities in the styles. As a matter of fact, Art Deco Style echos that of Ancient Egypt quite closely. 

My original sketch

I have started on the Egyptian piece, and let's just say that my artistic muse may have gotten a little bit ahead of my jewelry-making skills. But I am working. 

What I have so far - seems to be a focal!

Stay tuned for the reveal on October 13!. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Creative Bead Chat

It's CBC Administrator's Day!

Actually, that sounds like "Principal's Day at school, but it is really just a day to salute and feature the wonderful work of those who make possible connections that never would have been forged between jewelry artists all over the globe! This bunch administer a lively Facebook page for Jewelry artists of all types, from bead weavers to metal smiths, and everyone in between. I am a fairly recent member, and they have made me feel so welcome, and have been so encouraging, that I am about to open my first Etsy Shop!

Visit the CBC Administrators' Shops

Marla Gibson: Marla has some health problems and has temporarily closed her shop. Visit her Blog here:

 Keirsten Giles:

Click to visit the Creative Bead Chat Facebook Page.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Beads for Blogging: The Pendant Has Landed

At Long Last....

I have finally finished the pendant necklace I have been working on using the beads provided by Tania from Fusionmuse.

Free Beads for Blogging. Contact:

Oh my, did I overthink this one. But then, Isn't that the source of our "creative blocks?" Oh well, there's really nothing to do but try to relax.

The Stash:

The initial attempt:                                                               Closeup of the pendant:

The finished piece. 

Now, That wasn't so hard, was it?

I hope to do a little more with the rest of the beads, but for now, this is my offering for "Beads For Blogging!" Thank you Tania!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Free Beads for Blogging: Status Report

Part 1

A Serious Challenge

Free Beads for Blogging. Contact:

So, to refresh your memory, here are the beads I received from Tanya:

I have been staring at them, playing with them, trying to wrap the tear drops (disaster) and trying desperately to use things together. Not working. So, I said, "What do I have that will compliment a fall spectrum bead like the Japa Mala beads?"

Turned out it was a glass pendant I picked up at the Flea Market a few weeks earlier.

So  far, I have only used one Japa Mala bead, and a head pin, along with the brass wire to create this pendant. I'm not sure if the chain you see is going to remain part of the design. But it's a start! 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Coordinating Jewelry

Choosing what goes with what...

This week, I delivered to one of my best customers, a necklace and earrings made to match. Notice, I did not say "matching set" because when I made the necklace, I had no interest in making "matching" earrings. But...when one of your best customers asks you for matching earrings, you don't turn to her and say, "Why, you already have several pairs that would look splendid with this necklace."  No, you make the earrings. As a matter of fact, you make two pairs of earrings, so she can have a choice. 

So, the customer is (nearly) always right. Right? But I am not a "matchy matchy" type. I don't like to make sets, although I do, occasionally,  because people ask for them. I will suggest earrings that I think would look good with a necklace or bracelet but that's a whole different thing for me. 

Here's a combination I am wearing a lot these days:

The pendant is something I "bought" from myself, I liked it, and took it out of my items for sale. The earrings, are from MaryAnn Carroll, copper tubing with heat enameling. They certainly were not made to match. Yet they reflect color, shape, and I think a certain playfulness that make them look good together.   
Then, there is the issue of matching clothing to jewelry. I cringe when I hear someone say, "Oh, I'd love those earrings, but I don't have a shirt to match." Really? No white? No black? Okay, I especially cringe if the person is looking at MY earrings, but still....

 What about you? Do you make or buy sets? Do you meticulously match earrings, necklace, bracelet, and ring? How about metals? Gold always with gold, silver with silver? If you wear colorful jewelry, do the earrings have to match the top? If you make jewelry, do you make a lot of sets, or do you let nature take its course, and let the customer put it all together? 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Free Beads for Blogging. Contact:
My free beads have arrived from Tanya at FusionMuse! What an assortment of interesting beads (and filigree, and head pins, and wire.....) I have received! This is going to be fun.

I kind of think of the mixture as a "soup." Here are the ingredients.

First, there are ten Japa Mala beads, finished with gold leaf. 

They are Buddhist prayer beads, so I am a bit intimidated by them. But o do see them used in jewelry, so now the challenge is to come up with a design worthy of them.

Also included are two faceted glass tear drops, and some gem stone chips. 

Helping things along are some brass round-head pins, and brass wire and filigree pieces. 

Stay tuned for further developments!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Check this one out!

This could be yours!

Dhea, at Java Bead is doing a give-away of her Bead Soup Blog Party bracelet! Hurry on over and sign up to win this fantastic piece.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bead Soup Redux

A second serving of delicious wonders!

Please join over a hundred participants for Lori Anderson's 6th Bead Soup Blog Party, Second Reveal! Click on "Second Reveal", then scroll down until you hit the list of Second Reveal participants, and dig in!  The fun starts at the stroke of midnight EDT tomorrow, August 11.  

I had such a good time playing with the bead soup I got from my partner, Carolyn Lawson last month, I am sure this collection of jewelry made from beads supplied by a partner will be equally fantastic!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Thrift Store Blog Hop

The big reveal: Better late than never!

I was so excited to participate in Sarah Goode's challenge, Thrift Store Blog Hop. I immediately started looking for a new piece of jewelry from one of the local thrift stores to repurpose. I love to do this! and I do collect old jewelry and odds and ends to rework. But when I set out looking for something new, I found it hard to stay within the price limit of $1.50!

After some looking, I found these earrings for a dollar at a yard sale. 

They were "signed" by the jewelry maker Edwin Berebi, but the posts had been damaged, so I felt justified in turning them into a necklace. 

I started playing with a pleasing arrangement.

They went together fairly quickly, But I wasn't too sure what to do with that last piece. Eventually. I just overlapped things a bit and everything fell into place. 

Now, what to do to finish it? I made some big jump rings, and some wrapped bead sections. I linked them together, then put it aside. It was very pretty (you will have to believe me on that, forgot to take pictures of that step! ) But I had a sinking feeling that my hand made chain was too delicate to stand up to wear. Some sari silk ribbon would be nice, but I I did not have any , and it was now August 2, too late to order anything. I went to the craft store, but they had nothing that seemed suitable, ribbon was too stiff, and not the right color, and buying fabric just to cut a piece off for a ribbon seemed unnecessarily wasteful, and not at all in keeping with out recycling theme. 

Home I went, where I found this.

 Which became this.

Which fit nicely in here.

Somehow, tying off the ends does not seem quite right, but that is a problem to be solved another day!

Please visit the other participants, listed here:


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Art Jewelry Elements July Component of the Month

AJE Blog Button Image 150x150

Blog Hop!!

I was lucky enough to win a drawing for one of Jennifer Cameron's wonderful Nightmare Insomnia Lampwork beads. This was part of a challenge sponsored by Art Jewelry Elements. And today is the big reveal. All we had to do was use our amazing bead in a piece of jewelry. Easy right? Weeeellll, At first I didn't think so. Here is the bead I won.

It's beautiful, complex, and large. I was also involved in the Bead Soup Blog Party effort, so what was I thinking challenging myself again? And then I realized what I needed to do was go with my strength. Although I admire complex designs, I did not have to push myself that far. Because this is a pretty complex bead. Here is what Jennifer had to say about her Nightmare Insomnia beads, after first explaining that she was coping with her daughter's nightmares:

'One night, as I was torching, I was stewing about this particular issue, and suddenly my beads started growing these stylized spider end caps thingys on them before I realized what was going on. The next morning when I showed my lovely daughter, she responded with "that's really mean that you made those because of my nightmare, but also really cool." '
So in a way this is an emotionally charged bead. I suddenly knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to turn the nightmare into a sweet dream. I couldn't get wild with dangles, crystals and fiddly bits, Uh-uh, no tassels, although I was tempted. So I started looking through my stash of seed beads and came up with some coordinating colors. A trip to the discount store resulted in the purchase of some bar shaped glass beads in cool colors - two of which coordinated with the Nightmare Insomnia bead. And after quickly laying out and stringing the main part of the design, it sat for a few days. I didn't know how to finish it. Ok, a couple of cones, then what? I really like magnetic clasps, for their practicality and also their ability to blend into many designs. But I needed something a bit more assertive. I went back to the store and came back with several clasps. Some small but decorative toggles, and a little larger, fancier magnetic clasp. Then I went with my gut. Magnetic it was.   

Here is, A Daughter's Sweet Dream.

The clasp

The camera liked my concrete steps better than the black velvet, go figure. 

Please visit these talented Artists to see what they have come up with for their unique bead!

Beti Horvath: Stringing Fool
Gretchen Nation: Art Food Lodging
Karen Totten: Starry Road Studio
Kathleen Douglas: Washoe Kat's
Keirsten Giles: The Cerebral Dilettante
Kristen Stevens: My Bead Journey
Lori Anderson: Pretty Things
Rana Wilson: Rana Lea Designs
Shannon Chomanczuk: For My Sweet Daughter

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bead Soup is Served!

Rhapsody in Blue

The big day has arrived for the Bead soup Blog Party first reveal. First, a peek at what I received from my partner Carolyn Lawson..

The focal is a rectangular glass pendant, complete with bail. The clasp is a fancy silver toggle. The beads include these giant blue howlite tear drop shapes, three donuts, and other shiny blue beads and some silver spacers.Lovely colors, interesting shapes. What to do?  There is a lot here to work with, so I decided not to try to load everything into a few pieces. 

The Rhapsody in Blue Suite is Born!

The pendant/focal was obviously destined to be a necklace. In it I used the little blue teardrop shaped beads, the foil lined bars, some of the spacers, and some seed beads from my stash. The streamlined look is completed by a small plain magnetic clasp. 

Here it is modeled by the lovely Haruko!
Next, I made the bracelet that was screaming to be made from the howlite.

One of the donuts looked good here, and of course the toggle clasp went perfectly. Some Czech glass beads from my stash rounded out the design. 

Two pairs of earrings came next, one utilizing the last of the howlite (so pretty!) and a couple of the Czech beads, the other simply consists of the blue tear drops strung on head pins. 

A few days went by, and the idea for another bracelet presented itself.

Strung on blue cotton cord, this one introduces some hardware from my "furnace collection" and some round pink foil lined beads to complement the blue ones. The clasp is made from a metal bar from a simple toggle, and one of the donuts. 

This has been a wonderful challenge and experience. This is my first Bead Soup, but not my last!

  Hostess, Lori Anderson,

Alice Craddick,  Alice's Beads and Baubles
Alicia Marinache,  All The Pretty Things
Amanda Tibbetts,  Amanda Made
Amber Dawn Goldish, Inventive Soul
Annita Wilson,  AW Jewelry
Beti Horvath, Stringing Fool
Birgitta Lejonklou,  Create With Spirit   
Candida Castleberry,    Spinning Spun Sugar
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn's Creations

Cassie Donlen, Glass Beadle
Cheryl McCloud,  One Thing Leads to Another
Cheryl Roe, BeadRoe
Christina Hickman, Vintage Treasures Jewelry
Christine Hendrickson,  Clamworks
Cilla Watkins, Tell Your Girlfriends
Cindy Wilson, Mommy's Dream
Cindy Wimmer, Sweet Bead Studio
Cory Celaya, Art With Moxie

Cory Tompkins, Tealwater Designs
Cris Peacock, Cris' Page
Cynthia Deis, Shiny Little Things
Cynthia Machata, Antiquity Travelers
Cynthia Wainscott, Exotic Peru
Dana Hickey, Magpie Approved
Denielle Hagerman, Some Beads and Other Things

Diane Valasek, Dragonfly Close
Doris Stumpf, Glaszwerg
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell, Dee-Liteful Jewelry Creations
Elaine Robitaille, Too Aquarius
Eleanor Burian-Mohr, The Charmed Life
Enik√∂ Fabian, Perl-eni
Erin Prais-Hintz, Treasures Found
Heather Davis, Blissful Garden Beads
Heidi Post, Ex Post Facto Jewelry

Hilary Frye, FryeStyle
Inge von Roos, Inge's Blog
Jami Shipp, Celebrating Life
Jayne Capps, Mama's Got to Doodle
Jennifer Cameron, Glass Addictions
Jennifer Pottner, Rock Candy Beads
Jennifer VanBenschoten,  Jewelry, Art and Life

Jenny Davies-Reazor, Jenny Davies-Reazor
Jenny Vidberg, Shyme Design
Jessica Dickens, My Jewelry, My Life, Me
Jessica Klaaren, Beadful-Things by Jessica
JJ Jacobs, Coming Abstractions
Joan Williams, Lilruby Jewelry
Judith Johnston, Judith Johnston
Judy Riggs, Rigglettes
Judy Turner, Silver Rains

Julie Anne Leggett, The Peaceful Bead
K Hutchinson, Jumbled Hutch
Karen Meador, Dreamcatcher Ranch
Karyn Bonfiglio, Plus Size Bangles
Katherine Gale, Terra Beadworks
Kathleen Lange Klik, Modern Nature Studio
Katja Benevol Gabrijelcic, Slovonske Technobe
Kelli Jacobson, Creative Moon
Kelly Ramstack, Adventures with Kelly
Keri Lee Sereika, Pink Lemonade

Kim Bender-Hora, KimmyKat
Kirsi Luostarinen, Kirsi Luo Korut
Kitty Bozzini, Kitty Lampwork
Laura Demoya, The Bead Therapist
Laurie Hanna, Laurie's Jewelbox
Leah Curtis, Beady Eyed Bunny
Lesley Watt, The Gossiping Goddess
Linda Inhelder, Must-Haves Jewelry

Lisa Liddy, Metal Me This
Mallory Hoffman, For the Love of Beads
Marge Beebe, Rock Creek Creations
Marianna Boylan, Pretty Shiny Things
Marion Simmons, Shade Tree Studio
Marla Gibson, Spice Box Design
Marta Weaver, Marta Weaver Jewelry

Marti Conrad, Marti C's Clay Blog
Maryse Fritzsch-Thillens, GlassBeadArt, Lampwork Beads
Melanie Brooks, Earthenwood Studio
Michelle Hardy, Firefly Visions
Mikala Coates, Maybe Just Perhaps
Mowse Doyle, HoCArt
Nancy Boylan, Snazzy Doodle Designs
Nancy Peterson, Beading From the Heart
Nicole Rennell, Nicole Rennell Designs

Niki Meiners, 365 Days of Craft
Niky Sayers, Silver Nik Nats
Norma Turvey, Moonlit Fantaseas
Paige Maxim, Paige Maxim Designs
Pamela Gangler, She Always Loved Pink
Patricia Johnson, Patricia L. Johnson Glass Art
Perri Jackson, Shaktipaj Designs
Raida Disbrow, Havana Beads
Renetha Stanziano, Lamplight Crafts
Shannon Hicks, Falling Into the Sky

Shannon LeVart, Miss Fickle Media
Sharon Driscoll, Right Turn Art Werks
Shelley Graham Turner, Fabric of My Life
Sherri Stokey, Knot Just Macrame
Shirley Moore, Beads and Bread
Skylar Bre'z, Brising Beads
Stacie Florer, Soul to Substance
Stacie Stamper, Park Avenue
Stacy Alderson, Iridal's Attic

Stephanie Haussler, Pixybug Designs
Stephanie Stamper, Rainy Day Designs
Suzette Bentley, Ellie's Bijoux
Tammy Jones, Jewelry Making Daily
Tanty Sri Hartanti, TJewellicious by Tanti
Terry Matuszyk, Pink Chapeau

Vonna Maslanka, Just Vonna