Sunday, February 28, 2010

Weekly Wanderings Around the Beadosphere

These posts are my personal wanderings - I know there are many, many more bead/jewelry and associated crafts blogs out there, but these are the ones I visit every day via my Google Reader. If you have a favorite blog I'm not mentioning, let me know and I'll start visiting (and linking!) it, too.

A Bead A Day - this week has featured the Rings & Things blog partner goodies Lisa received. Starting with piles of pearls on Monday, featuring Electric Sparkle on Wednesday and her clever creations with them on Saturday.

Ahtee's blog -Rose's week featured lovely earrings, window shopping and "Romance in Brass"

Beading Gem's Journal - lots of great posts (as always!) this week, but I think my favorite one was about the pop-out jewelry - what a cool idea!

*New!* The Cerebral Dilettante - featured on the Ornamentea blog Shiny Little Things (a regular in the Supplier Blogs, below) last week, check out her fascinating designs!

Deez News - Davinia has a necklace in Australian Beading Magazine and talks about a dynamic designer.

ErtheFae - check out the beautiful necklaces this week - The Sun Spirals Ever Onward, and The Hungriest Pixie Ever.

Just A Tish - If you visit one post on one blog this weekend, visit this one: Share Your Wares and get in on some cool bead swapping! Then, check out the great pieces Tish has created with her Rings & Things blog partner goodies: Not Nanny's Necklace, Shell Pendant Design, and Blue Note.

Lampwork Diva - Cindy got her Rings & Things goodies, too which inspired her Slash of Blue necklace.

Livewire Jewelry - mixed metal bracelet comprised of beads and bits with special meaning.

Margot Potter - my favorite posts this week were the crocheted wire and crystal necklace, and how to write and publish a craft book, pt 1, but her thoughts on social media sites are very interesting and thought provoking.

Pretty Things - eye candy over on her other blog, An Artist's Year Off plus where to find more of her work to admire (I'll give you a hint, it's Flickr).

Shoozle's Wear Your Art! - I really love these mini glass graffiti walls she's made - look forward to seeing how they can be used in jewelry.

Silver Parrot - fascinating idea: lost in space necklace, she's got her Rings & Things goodies, too, double the bead porn, this week with posts on Wednesday and Friday.

Something Pacific Northwest - looking for a spring inspiration? Check out the colors on this beautiful tree! I'll be visiting with the blogger in April and am looking forward to seeing in person some of the beautiful spots she's featured on her blog.

Willow Walker - gorgeous black and silver dichroic fused glass earrings, and more glass cab designs with 22k gold decals.

Alpha Stamps - lots of great items and ideas for mixed media spring designs

Artbeads - Swarovski spring innovations coming soon, spring/summer fashion trends, St. Patrick's Day sale (thru March 4th)

The Beadin' Path - featuring JustATish! and Dara's Beadditudes: Spring Earrings

Daily Bead Buzz - Happy First Anniversary!, beading contest winners

Earthenwood Studios Blog - Melanie supplies great art beads she makes herself, but she's also a Rings & Things blog partner, too!

Friendly Plastic - Zentangle and Zentgangle how to video

Ornamentea - customer's lovely necklace

Rings & Things - a guest *ahem* blogger, bead soup party to correspond with the Rings & Things show in San Antonio, and a new season of the Bead Tour: "Bead Frenzy"

SoftFlexGirl - featuring Cindy Lietz, polymer clay tutor, Sara's new beads, and new books.

Also, if you follow* this blog, you'll never miss the weekly wanderings because you forgot to check - I'll be delivered right to your reader or Blogger dashboard every day!

*Look up at the uppermost left hand side of this page - see the boxes that say "search blog" "flag blog" and "follow blog" - just click the "follow blog" box!

Hope you have a great week - see you tomorrow!

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Commission Piece

A colleague of mine has two of my lanyards and has commissioned a third. She showed me a pair of earrings which have a large, square, blue faceted glass gem in the center and then smaller multi-color glass gems around it, set in an antique gold-tone metal.

Edited to add, now that I've recovered my files from my old computer and my darling wonderful incredible husband got them all loaded over to my other laptop, a picture via camera phone, so it's not great, of the earring in question:

She wanted a lanyard that had those colors and was really vibrant, "just this side of garish". I strung several series of pattern ideas on a sample strand and had her pick which she liked best. Some of the patterns had pearls, some had smaller beads. With a little from one series and a little from another we came up with this pattern.

I've left it unfinished for now, will get a final approval from her on Monday before finishing it off. It's a good thing I didn't finish it off, because after I took the picture above I realized that in one of the sequences I'd forgotten a purple bead and had to re-string nearly half the strand.

I think this is my most interesting commission yet (not that I've had all that many). What was yours?

Be here tomorrow for Wandering Around the Beadosphere - there were really great posts last week - you'll want to check them out!

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Color Challenge!

Been busy at work and tired in the evenings lately, so no new project to share with you today, but Art Bead Scene blog is sponsoring a color contest featuring Margie Deeb and a palette from her Spring/Summer 2010 color report:

According to the blog, "We have three judges who will select a winner based on creativity, aesthetics, use of color, and wearability. Our judges include Marcia DeCoster, Jane Dickerson and Lorelei Eurto."

Contest details are here. Deadline is April 1st and the entry must include an art bead, either one you have obtained from a bead artist, or one you've made yourself. Great prize, too: "Winner will receive a year’s worth (2) of Margie Deeb’s Color Report for Bead & Jewelry Artists and a $50 gift certificate from"

So, you going to enter? I'm pondering...

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Thursday, February 25, 2010


Just got the March 2010 issue of Bead Trends in the mail. May I direct your attention to pages 28 & 29, where you can see Tahiti by Dawn O'Bryan-Lamb. This is a necklace I made using aquamarine and pearls, aquamarine being the March birthstone featured in this month's issue.

Whoo Hoo!!!

This is my first submitted and published work, if you don't count the necklace I entered in the Step by Step Beads Colorworks contest. I am so thrilled to see my work in Bead Trends, which is such a lovely magazine, and one that showcases so many artists with gorgeous photography and very little in the way of intrusive ads.

Thanks go out to Artbeads, Rings & Things and Soft Flex for providing the perfect components to make the necklace, and for the support of the wonderful people from those companies, Steve, Duchess, Dave and Sara, for helping me stretch my creativity and gain confidence!

Thank you, also, to my dear friends of this blog who have left such wonderful supportive comments these past 500+ posts - you, too, have been a source of inspiration and delight!

'Til tomorrow!

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Using Up the Stash #5 with Bonus Rings & Things Goodies

Several things to share before I get to my project for today. First, with the crash of the VAIO I have lost access to a bunch of software and notes and other stuff I desperately need to get to, one of which is all my photo editing stuff. I've downloaded Picassa to this computer so I can do some very basic manipulation, but I miss my PaintShop Pro!

Secondly, yesterday was my 500th post! Snuck right past me - only noticed it tonight when I was on my dashboard to create tonight's post.

Finally, I need to update something from yesterday's post about my blog partner goodies from Rings & Things. In it I mentioned that some of the shell pearls I received were a bit banged up. I want to say for the record that nothing I've ever purchased from Rings & Things has ever gotten here the least bit damaged. They do a fabulous job of carefully packing every piece (and they throw in some yummy candy, too). I just felt that it was important to give a completely objective report of what I received - your experience as a customer of Rings & Things should be just as exemplary as mine have been.

OK, on to tonight's jewelry project - it's a combination of using up the stash and partner goodies - I picked out some of the lighter, pastel peach-ish 10mm shell pearls - they're not quite gold, not quite peach - I'm really not sure what to call them! Since there weren't enough to do a necklace, I made a bracelet from them with 4mm CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski Elements bicones in a vivid fuchsia color (that's looking a lot more purple than pink in the light from my Ott lamp than they looked as I was using them), some bright lime green rice pearls and gold plated TierraCast pewter beadcaps.

I chose the vivid colors as a fun contrast - what do you think?

Thanks for stopping by!

FTC notice of material connections: the items in this post from Rings&Things were provided as a promotional gift as part of the Blog Partner Program for review or design purposes.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rings & Things Blog Partner Goodies Are Here!

My Rings & Things Blog Partner package of shell pearls and faceted glass roundelles arrived from Rings & Things on Saturday. The shell pearl colors are a wonderful mix with a dark orange-y peach, antique gold, purple, mauve, and some light and dark gray. Forgive me for being lazy, but since JustATish already itemized her package, and it looks pretty much the same. I'll just provide you with a link to her post (and you can read what she's up to with hers, as well!)

The roundelles came in a deep purple and a dark royal blue with an iridescent coating. There were also a few loose pearl-like beads (also made to look like freshwater pearls with shell or perhaps they are freshwater pearls - not sure) in the shipping package. Sadly, quite a few of those loose beads were cracked, chipped and broken.

The shell pearls fared better, but there are dents in some of the larger (16mm) ones, which is unfortunate, as they're otherwise really pretty, but I'd hesitate to use them in earrings or as necklace focals. They were all packed quite tightly in a zip lock bag inside the padded mailer and perhaps that's why rather than a manufacturing defect. I do hope that the same beads would be better packed for purchase, it would be very disappointing to get them in poor condition.

For some reason I immediately got a mental picture of the big pearls as earrings, so I grabbed some headpins and bead caps in antiqued brass for these:

I don't know if your computer shows the color well, but these are done with the purple shell pearls and roundelles. The purple color is really lovely in person. Also, the larger pearl, it's pretty bold for a pearl - would cover up a dime if you set it on one.

I'll be making more pieces with the goodies and sharing soon. I've got a necklace and a bracelet idea already!

In other news, my wonderful Sony VAIO laptop's display went on the fritz today and isn't working anymore, so the DH is getting my little Dell set up for me. I'm doing this post on my work laptop (at home, after hours!)

I think the VAIO may be replaced rather than repaired - and I'll miss it, it's been a fabulous laptop with a big screen, great keyboard and built in video camera. There is also a lot of helpful software on it, but as my next laptop will undoubtedly be a Mac, I'll have to learn how to use a whole new suite of programs.

FTC compliance notice of material connection: The assorted beads, as noted above, were provided to me for free, to be used for design purposes, or for a statement of my honest opinion of them, by Rings & Things.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Using Up the Stash #4

I have a lot of older beads in the stash that I bought from Michael's when I was first starting out. Nothing against Michael's, it's got a lot of fun stuff and tons of basics, plus if you're into mixed media it's a handy supplier of so many different media.

However, as I got more into making jewelry and then decided I wanted to try and sell my pieces, I found that I needed better better quality and better priced supplies. That's when I started shopping from places like Artbeads, Rings & Things, and other online suppliers you will find on my blogroll to the right of the post.

That said, I still shop there quite often. Sometimes because it's close and I need something quick, and sometimes because they have some cool, fun and different stuff to choose from I haven't seen online. I also head there when I'm traveling out of town and just want something to keep me occupied at the hotel in the evenings.

The bracelet I made for today's UUtS project is from a strand of circle shell beads (donuts?) from Bead Gallery, iridescent champagne glass beads sorted out from a Blue Moon bead mix, gold freshwater pearls and gold seed beads. It's in the 'Orbit' design family, like the lanyard I shared earlier in the series.

I keep meaning to make earrings with those circle/donut beads - they're really perfect for that. I hope I have a couple left over!

I noticed that Tish talked about grabbing from her bead stash to get inspired to make a gorgeous necklace recently - how about you? Any recent work you've done with beads you've had lying around forever and finally realized what they were waiting to become?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Weekly Wanderings Around the Beadosphere (is back!)

Another lovely week out there in the Beadosphere, even when it's snowing or raining like crazy outside the window, it's warm and bright on every blog.

These posts are my personal wanderings - I know there are many, many more bead/jewelry and associated crafts blogs out there, but these are the ones I visit every day via my Google Reader. If you have a favorite blog I'm not mentioning, let me know and I'll start visiting (and linking!) it, too.

A Bead A Day - it's always hard to keep from linking to each post over at Lisa's! I've been trying to incorporate a knitted (or net) wire ribbon into a necklace I'm making, so I'll link to her post about it, but you should always check in every day, if only to start the day off with a smile!

Ahtee's blog - Rose (who leaves the most wonderful and encouraging comments here - thanks!) shares her beautiful glass pearl necklace/bracelet set, some cool purple pillar earrings and check out the watercolor sketchbook she made for her boyfriend - lucky guy!

Beading Arts - I think you'll agree that Cyndi's lavish beaded collar with Artbeads CZs is breathtaking!

Beading Gem's Journal - My favorites of the week were easy chainmaille earrings, square tile mother of pearl beads, making prong cabochon settings using wire wrapping techniques

Deez News - Davinia's copy of Lisa's A Bead in Time book has arrived, she's gone "girly and glam" with some new designs, too. Because I haven't posted a wandering in a while there are a lot of previous week's posts you should check - more gorgeous grungeboard and wallpaper earrings (the pair with the swirly gunmetal scrapbook paperclips as an embellishment are my favorites!), a fabulous find for $2, and more. I hope you've followed her blog!

ErtheFae - check out the entire week's posts about her RenFaire trip and admire the cool headpiece she made to match her outfit!

Jeanette Blix - patinaed brass ribcage earrings and a riveted spinner ring in copper - very cool and inspirational, too - I really want to try making more cold connection pieces. I guess a trip to the hardware store isn't out of the question...

Just A Tish - Lisa from A Bead a Day and Tish do a swap, Tish answers the challenge, and Tish uses Artbeads furnace glass in a new, beautiful, creation.

Just Something I've Made - a fabulous mega measuring tape growth chart how-to from a vintage cloth measuring tape.

Lampwork Diva - Cindy goes bead shopping in Toronto and features the Art Bead Scene Blog Carnival.

Livewire Jewelry - beautiful paper/mixed media crafts and a bit of jewelry were featured this week

Margot Potter - Margot's thoughts about sharing ideas on our blogs and seeing them appropriated without permission is a worthwhile read. Check out the cool collars and hat she made with a Knifty Knitter, too.

Pretty Things - Lori shares good ideas for bringing in the readers

Shoozle's Wear Your Art! - showing off a dozen adorable post earrings

Silver Parrot - I really look forward to Friday at Silver Parrot, who could help but drool over the bead porn? Then there's the stellar (pardon the pun) necklace she made featuring a dramatic lampwork focal from a Bastille Bleu bead.

Willow Walker - St. Patrick's day is coming up and these gorgeous emerald green earrings would make the leprechauns give up the gold! While each pair is beautiful on this post, I'm very fond of the gleaming white ones. I don't often plug stores here, but you should really visit her ArtFire shop and see the gorgeous work she does there. And, great news, her comments are working again!

Artbeads - You can pre-order your Use the Muse IV kits now at Artbeads, inexpensive Metallite metalized plastic from Zamba Pro are available at Artbeads.

The Beadin' Path - be sure to check back frequently to the Design Partner Blogs feature (Tish was featured recently!) Dara's Weekly Beadditude about showcasing vintage jewelry is a good read, too.

Earthenwood Studios Blog - check out their pieces in the Ice Resin Blog Hop, especially this one featuring some darling Rings & Things charms.

Friendly Plastic - Cool2Craft live interactive web tv event featuring a how to with Friendly Plastic, also check out the fun charm swap!

Ornamentea - a bit of a cheat, since it was from the week before last, but in my opinion, you simply *must* read the story of these "freaky fish" beads.

Rings & Things - a "snappy logo" you can use when linking to Rings & Things and some of the best craft tips from Twitter and Facebook followers of Rings & Things.

SoftFlexGirl - Lisa from A Bead a Day is showing up *everywhere* - check out her designs with SoftFlex featured on their blog, free project ideas, and Jamie Hogsett's piece in Margie Deeb's Spring Color Report

Also, if you follow* this blog, you'll never miss the weekly wanderings because you forgot to check - I'll be delivered right to your reader or Blogger dashboard every day!

*Look up at the uppermost left hand side of this page - see the boxes that say "search blog" "flag blog" and "follow blog" - just click the "follow blog" box!

Hope you have a great week - see you tomorrow!

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Using Up the Stash #3

In another Michael's close-out last year or so, I saw several Blue Moon lampwork bead sets and thought they were adorable, so I grabbed them. I think the smaller matte, facet patterned glass beads were in them too, but I really can't recall. I used the greener ones in yesterday's necklace and the bluer ones in this, along with blue opal CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski Elements bicones, sterling bead caps and sterling beads.

This piece makes me think of a lagoon by a tropical island for some reason. Not that I've ever been...maybe some day! Meanwhile I can wear this and dream of palm trees and white sand beaches. If you click the picture you can view it in more detail.

More UUtS stuff to come - so please visit again!

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Using Up the Stash #2

Continuing my quest to use up the stash, I pulled out these light green enameled beads with large holes I bought a bunch of packages of when they were on closeout at Michael's. When I color sorted various beads they ended up in a box with some unusual geometric patterned light green glass beads that closely matched.

I never figured out what I wanted to do with them and they've been lying around for a year or two. Then I pulled out a coil of Beadalon jewelry cable I'd wanted to use and these beads came to mind. I planned the pattern and spacing out on a bead board then started to string them with crimp beads along the cable. Green glass bead holes were the tiniest bit small, so I had to ream them out a bit.

The holes in the spacer beads are quite large, so I designed the pattern so they'd fit over the ends of the glass beads.

sorry this is off center, too lazy to go photograph it again

Now, I could have sworn that the larger enameled beads were the same shade of green as all the others, but in these photos they show up creamy yellow, so I guess I was wrong. Even so, I think the color difference is ok, and a good combination for spring.

UUtS#3 coming soon!

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Project Series: Using Up the Stash #1

Here's a new lanyard design called Orbit - it comes out of my goal to start reducing my bead stash. I've had both the shell circle beads and the silver topped light topaz cathedral beads in my stash forever. I think I picked them up at Michael's two or three years ago.

I've added some silver beads with a silverdust finish that I can't for the life of me remember how or why I bought them, but I think they go well with this design. The final touch were some light topaz seed beads as spacers inside and between the shell circles.

This design is more modern and bold than I usually do, but was fun to make.

Just an aside, I saw that gold prices were over $1,100 an oz. today. When I do make new supply purchases, think I'll be getting copper, brass and silver.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mid-Week Mutterings - Peach Moonstone Necklace Lanyard

Here's another "Baroness" necklace lanyard - because I don't have the clasps on yet, I'm showing just the front. I used peach moonstone rounds, pale mauve Swarovski pearls, small disk shaped shells that vary from light peach to ivory to pale mauve shades and 4mm CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski Elements bicones in a pale pink with tiny gold plated TierraCast™ petaled beadcaps. Those beadcaps are a real workhorse in my jewelry designs - I try to keep a couple hundred in the stash at all times.

I've done a lot of pieces that explore various design types, but this romantic, old-fashioned look is always my favorite and I keep going back to it.

My company has started an internal classifieds on our company intranet and I'm thinking about putting up an ad about my jewelry lanyards. It's free, so that's a huge plus! I'm pretty much decided to do it, just really thinking about how I want to word my ad. They allow pictures, too.

Hope all is well, wherever you are. See you tomorrow!

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit

I crocheted these Amigurumi lovebirds for my daughter for Valentine's Day, from a free Lion Brand yarn pattern. I also bought the materials for them from Lion Brand on the same page. I love the Wool-ease yarn (a blend of lambs wool and acrylic), very soft. A bit challenging to work tight stitches with the size 6 hook as the yarn fibers are a bit loose. Also, the crochet hook in the materials is plastic, and not fun to use, so I went digging for my metal hook in the same size.

The first try at the pattern turned out way too large with the plastic needle for some reason, but the second try was ok using the metal one. Still, they turned out bigger than I thought they would - it would be nice if the Lion Brand picture had some point of reference in it for size. The birds below are about 4 inches high. I used some jasper coin beads for the eyes.

It's been ages since I followed a crochet pattern and I need more practice, but I was happy with the way these turned out.

I'll be back tomorrow with a new lanyard. Hope you'll be back, too!

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Monday Miscellany - New Lanyard Necklace Design

Still trying to get back into the groove around here. It's been an interesting few weeks - like the "May you live in interesting times," curse kind of interesting.

I've made a few new pieces that I can share this week, though. Today's is a lanyard using Swarovski pearls, CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski Elements Mocca 6mm bicones, small gold glass bicones and large dark topaz glass with an iridescent coating on one side. It's a long lanyard, 30", finished with gold lobster claws. I used medium 49 strand SoftFlex for the stringing wire. Everything in it came from my stash, so I'm doing fairly well sticking to my plan to use what I have and buy fewer new items. That said, I have broken down and bought a few new things - I'm particularly excited about my new Earthenwood Studios stuff.

I'm pretty fond of this pattern and will probably make a series of lanyard necklaces with a similar look using other colors. I've called this pattern Baroness and this particular lanyard "Mink". When I get my photography studio (aka my daughter's bedroom which she's currently occupying for the weekend) back, I'll be taking better photos and listing it at Artfire.

Thanks for coming by!

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Artbeads Ceramic Pendant Necklace

Today was Groundhog day and apparently we're in for an extra six weeks of winter, oh joy. Looking out the window at the gray skies and rain, I guess I'm not really surprised. Meanwhile, although my official Valentine's Day projects are done, I do have one more to share. As one of the Artbeads Blogging for Beads partners, I get the opportunity to choose from a specific set of their beads, use them for review or design purposes.

Artbeads suggested I select from their Valentine's day charms, beads and stoneware pendants. I chose one of the new stoneware pendants with matching beads: Stoneware Large Red with White Flowers Heart Pendant-Offset Hole Right -15% OFF .

I really liked the idea of working with a heart bead that was drilled with an off center hole. I created the necklace in a symmetrical pattern, added a little heart glass dangle bead and a beaded wire bail.

The stoneware beads and pendant are quite lovely. The beads have a handmade feel to them, the pendant, while the design is folksy, looks a little more mass produced, but not to the detriment of the overall look.

The way I made this was to string and finish each side of the necklace using scrimps and at one end looping the beading wire (SoftFlex medium satin silver) through the wire wrapped bail. At the other end I put the clasp findings.

The bail was very easy to make - just wrap the center of a length of wire add a bead to the wire left over at each side, create a wrapped loop and trim after each bead.

If you shop the Artbeads Sweetheart Sale, you'll save 15% on all orders of $60 or more storewide (20% if you're a newsletter subscriber). To receive these savings, enter coupon code SCW15P-SHS at checkout. The Sweetheart Sale ends at 9am (PST) on Thursday, February 4, 2010.

Looking through FB, Twitter and the blog, it doesn't appear that anyone was really interested in the bracelet I offered to give away:

However, there were a couple re-tweets of my Valentine's Day projects last month, and if you think you were entering the drawing with those, or you'd just like a chance so you can have the beads to make into something else, let me know in comments. I'll draw the winner from today's comments. Offer ends at Midnight, Pacific, tomorrow (Feb. 3rd).

FTC notice of material connection: Artbeads has generously provided the stoneware heart and red stoneware beads for review and/or design purposes.

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