28 February 2011

Color Palette Blog Walk 2::Inspired by...

"When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece." ~ John Ruskin

There is something really special about an art bead. It is like holding the hand of the maker in yours.

I can recall when I first started making jewelry. I would get my supplies from places like Michaels and Walmart, or take apart old jewelry for the parts. I never used a bead that cost me more than $5 and that felt like a lot.

And then someone told me that I should buy the best quality beads and components that I could afford, so I started to look a bit beyond my usual haunts for what might be out there. I was amazed at the variety! 

Eventually I found out that there were people out there who made beads for a living. Wonderful tiny masterpieces filled with light and color and whimsy. Artists whose chosen medium included glass and ceramic and polymer clay and metal. Artists who had studied art and those that had studied life and landed in art.

They all have a passion and a love to create that is evident in each tiny masterpiece.

Once I got over the sticker shock of paying $12, $25, $40, $59 or more for one single bead, I was hooked. There are some art beads that I purchased more than 4 years ago still waiting for good homes. And there are also some that are little sculptural friends who are lined up on my shelf keeping me company while I work.

And there may be some beads that I will never be able to part with because of their beauty, my reaction when I hold them, or my connection to the artist. They are just too special.

So in preparing for this blog walk with the theme "inspired by..." (which is my favorite theme, don't you know?!) I knew that I could find pictures of people that inspire me, or things in my world, or places I have been...but really I am inspired every day to tell the story of these precious art beads through my artisan jewelry.

Here are some of my favorite pieces of jewelry featuring art beads of all kinds. Enjoy!

{'twisted tattered torn' featuring a glass heart by Kerri Fuhr, dupioni silk ribbon, hand forged galvanized steel links and a sterling silver heart - featured in the Fall 2010 Jewelry Affaire}
{'Her Clockwork Heart' featuring Earthenwood Studios Toolbox Treasure ceramic heart, enameled cogs and gears from C-Koop, brass cogs from Rings and Things, three colors of Soft Flex wire loops - created for the Soft Flex Flex Your Creativity challenge, Fall 2010}

{'Besame Mucho' featuring a polymer clay long tube bead from Humblebeads, 24kt gold plated charlottes, a variety of colors, shapes and sizes of swarovski crystals - inspired by the painting "The Kiss" by Gustav Klimt for a gallery exhibit called Arts Walk, April 2009}
{'Good Advice' featuring ceramic beads from Jangles, glass and silver plated findings - won 2nd place in the 2009 Bead Star competition in the Hearts category}

{'Crimson Lace' featuring a double sided polymer clay flower focal from Humblebeads, Czech glass, Vintaj brass - for sale here}
{'Drops of Sunshine' featuring lampwork glass by Firelily on Etsy and brand spankin' new components from Kristi Bowman - she just started selling these in silver and bronze! Check them out!}

{'Promise of a Life Becoming' featuring a pure silver tulip charm from Beth Hemmila of Hint, hammered copper, pearls, glass, Bali silver origami cubes, leather - inspired by my sweet sister Kelly and featured in the Winter 2010 issue of Stringing}

{'Leatherbound Bloom' featuring a ceramic flower focal from Marsha Neal Studios, agate rounds, wood, chain and leather - created for the Color of Challenge blog hop (new one coming soon!) and donated to the My Mom Pattie shop on Etsy to raise money for a good cause - check it out!}

{'Out of this World' featuring a hollow focal bead by Kerry Bogert and an enamel round from Barbara Lewis with twisted wire and glass beads - created for my August 2010 solo exhibit at the Gallery Q inspired by a painting by Brenda Wenberg}

{'every thing happens for a reason' featuring one of my new 'simple truths' pendant (with that message on the back) and beautifully complemented by the three Humblebeads polymer clay disks - for my friend Kari who is embarking on a new journey in her life!}

Thank you to my friend, Brandi for coordinating this intriguing color walk. She made it very easy to participate by providing a great color palette template on her blog. I think I will use these in the future! 
Please visit the other blogs on the walk! 

Which color are you surrounding yourself in lately? 

Enjoy the day!

Monday, Feb. 28th
Erin at Treasures Found ------ You are here!

Tuesday, March 1st
Julia at UlvDesign

Wednesday, March 2nd
Jescalyn at Peach Honey Love
Katrina at Ma Joie Press
Jenni at Jenni's Beads

Thursday, March 3rd
Christie at Displaced Urbanite
Rachel at TatterBeans
Brittany at The Home Ground

Friday, March 4th
Rachel at Balanced Crafts
Wren at Each Day
Kelly at Mackin Art

25 February 2011

RAW::Kindness Matters

{Isn't this Original Tree painting just lovely? I found this from AllisonBWonderland on Etsy. On the wishlist it goes!}

"Be kind whenever possible.

It's always possible."

~Dalai Lama

P.S. Check out my Bead Soup sneak peek!
I finished a heaping pot of Bead Soup last night (okay, very VERY early this morning ;-) with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Loaded with color, spice and sass... I think that I am loving the flavor (in fact I am wearing it today!).
Check back in tomorrow for the big reveal...and a giveaway!

Enjoy the day!

24 February 2011

Mark Your Calendars! Color Palette Blog Walk

My friend Brandi from CatiesBlue makes the most stunning jewelry. It is infused with color and life and is so yummy I want to lick every piece (is that so wrong?). I am waffling now with just which piece will come and live with me. I love to support other artists and I have been coveting Brandi's work since the moment I laid eyes on it. And really, so affordable. I must make one mine.

Brandi is sponsoring a special blog walk from February 28th to March 4th and I have jumped on in with both feet and my eyes closed filled with blind faith and dumb luck! Blind because I had no idea how to make a palette and dumb luck that Brandi has so graciously designed a template for us to use!

Each of the 20 bloggers who signed up come from vastly different blogging worlds. Some are fellow jewelry artists, or color enthusiasts, or extraordinary photographers, or general lifestyle observers. I think that this hop will be fun and introduce me to new bloggers I may not have known before. That is the thrill of challenges and blog hops for me... to have the potential to meet new friends or see those that I am friends with in a new light and always it is about inspiration. I have met the most incredible souls through hops like this. Maybe you will, too!

Brandi has parsed out only 4 blogs per day (very manageable in hopping terms), and we're all going to be blogging and creating new color palettes around things that inspire us using our own photos. My turn to post will be right away on Monday, February 28th, and we'll be sharing our thoughts about each color palette we've made. If you love color, too, you can follow along with the fun below!

Check out the BrandiGirlBlog for tons of inspiration, tutorials, e-books, encouragement, and don't forget her juicy jewelry at her new gorgeous new website CatiesBlue.

Be sure to check back starting on Monday to see what inspires this incredibly talented crew!

Monday, Feb. 28th
Brandi at Brandi Girl Blog
Erin at Treasures Found ---> You are here!
Jen at Jen Judd Rocks
Shari at Exploring the Wonders of Life

Tuesday, March 1st
Karen at Creative Thoughts and Inspirations
Julia at UlvDesign
Jessa at The ReArtingDotNet Blog
Lyn at Lyn Foley Jewelry Blog

Wednesday, March 2nd
Jescalyn at Peach Honey Love
Paige at Paige Maxim Designs
Katrina at Ma Joie Press
Jenni at Jenni's Beads

Thursday, March 3rd
Christie at Displaced Urbanite
Rachel at TatterBeans
Brittany at The Home Ground
Cindy at Sweet Bead Studio

Friday, March 4th
Rachel at Balanced Crafts
Wren at Each Day
Kelly at Mackin Art
Kristy at Simply Shiny Blog

Answer me this...
What do you like about blog hops?
Is it the thrill of discovering a new-to-you blog?
The potential for making new friends?
Peeking through the curtains of their little world?
Do you participate in blog hops? If the answer is no... why not?
Do you travel around blog hops even if you are not participating?
Or do you only hop with the ones that you are involved with?
Do tell!

And do come back for a very rare Saturday blog post for me as I blog about the Bead Soup that I am concocting for the Mother of all Blog Hops, and also stop by Art Bead Scene on Saturday for my very first Studio Saturday post with a giveaway!
Enjoy the day!

23 February 2011

30 Words::Soup is Simmering on BTW

Ribbons and silk.
Copper chain and washers.
Color and pattern.
Beads galore.
Special treats from Germany...
Marzipan and Nougat.
Thimble, Nutcracker, cologne.
Gummy bears gobbled up by 10 year old.

Bead Soup is on!

Special thanks to Lori Anderson of Pretty Things for being the hostess with the mostest and to my delightful partner Stefanie Teufel from Germany and her beautiful blog Stefanies Sammelsurium
Come back on Saturday, February 26th when I unveil my Bead Soup creation and provide links to the 209 other jewelry designers who are participating from around the globe!

But since you stopped by... do you have any ideas for me on what to do with all this bounty!? Since it is 1:01 in the AM on Bead Table Wednesday and this is the first time I have taken all the pieces out of the package, I could really use the help! Gah! The Procrastinator is in the building! Whatever I make will be created with magic dust, that is for sure!

Enjoy the day!

20 February 2011

Coming to my Senses::10 Years Flash Before My Eyes

{This is what the last decade of my life looked like...click to enlarge and view the many faces of my Tiny Dancer!}
I see...smiles from ear to ear...orange frosting...ink on fingers...flashlight tag...thank you notes written...three candles left lit (three boyfriends, teehee!)...brand new CZ studs in her newly pierced ears...the last decade of my life flash before my eyes...

I hear....shrieks of laughter...'Rasputin' and 'Crazy in Love' on Just Dance 2...more giggles...paper ripping off packages...the wave of quiet that comes when they all leave in a whoosh...

I taste...smooth creamy ice cream with pebbles of cookie in a fudge ribbon...fruity bubbles in the punch...salty and slightly stale pretzels...

I smell...fruity lip gloss and sugar...the smoke from 10 birthday candles...cupcakes baking in the oven...

I touch...the chain of the charm bracelets we are making at the party...my hammer stamping their names on the metal...my lips to the top of my daughter's head as she gives me a hug...

I feel...amazed that this girl-child is wavering between so grown up and still a little girl...thrilled that I could share this fun with her besties...humbled that my baby is 10...that time is slipping by...

{The birthday superstar with the CZ studs licking the frosting off her cupcake!}
Happy 10th birthday, Tiny Dancer!

P.S. The winner of my Beaded Romanov earrings is....Pretty Things! But wait! Scott David has generously offered to send a Beaded Romanov kit to all of the commenters on the review post. Congrats to Something Unique, Barbara Lewis, Melissa Meman, Craftymoose Crafts, CJ Vierow, Janet, EmandaJ, Cindy and JeannieK! I will email you with the details on how to get your own Beaded Romanov Kit direct from Scott David Plumlee.

Enjoy the day!

18 February 2011

Read All About It:: Chain and Bead Jewelry: Geometric Connections

"Welcome to a new plateau of creativity, where shiny metal jump rings and yummy gemstone beads are combined in endless possibilities..."

So begins the Preface from author and chain jewelry expert Scott David Plumlee in his third book Chain and Bead Jewelry: Geometric Connections.

{Don't you just want that necklace on the cover?
I think that is totally red-carpet worthy!}

David contacted me at the end of last year and asked if he could send me a copy of his new book in exchange for a review. I met him briefly at the Bead & Button show in 2009 {I am sure he doesn't remember me unless he can picture me as the one whose purse went crashing into his display as I nearly spilled my coffee all over his pretty books. ;-}and purchased a copy of his previous book, so I jumped at the chance to see this new resource. Little did he know that I am not the speediest at getting to projects {Procrastination is my middle name}.

Then the holidays took over and it took me some time to come back around to giving this book the time that it deserves. You see, I can tell you from just the first impression that this book is beautifully laid out and the projects are shown with stunningly gorgeous photography. But when I agree to review something I want to be sure that I know more about it than just a surface impression. I think that you, dear Readers, and the author as well, deserve more than that.

So I asked David to be patient with me so that I could really devour the book and find some projects that I could try to be sure that I was giving this task the attention it deserved.

{Scott's Serrated Byzantine bracelet - sorry for the craptastic scans}

I have always been fascinated by chain-making. It looks so complex and yet uses such simple materials. I have taken one small course in Byzantine chain, and that course would be what I classify as a waste of money. It was at Bead & Button and the instructor {NOT David} gave us the kits, provided us with some pointers and then sat back and read a magazine while we worked. The room was dead silent except for the fun hammering sounds coming through the curtains in this cavernous room. I got done with a three hour Byzantine chain class in just over an hour and asked to be excused to go shop while my earrings tumbled {Can you blame me? I was just steps away from one of the largest bead expos anywhere!}. I always felt sort of gypped that I could have learned this all with the instructors kit. I would have learned much more had I just had a copy of  any of David's books or taken one of his classes. I can tell from the care that has gone into this book that he would be a very thorough and attentive teacher.

Since I already had that one Byzantine project under my belt, I was delighted to learn that pretty much all of the patterns in this book are variations and transformations of the Byzantine chain. This particular chain is one of the most enduring patterns in all of chain-making history. I found that the variations on this theme were intriguing and filled with possibilities for how to combine them with gemstone beads. Oh, and I want that one from the cover. {Or maybe I should just make myself one!}

The book is broken down into 8 sections. You definitely want to start at the beginning with "Chain & Bead Basics" and move into "Essential Techniques." These two chapters are like having Scott as your own personal chain-making instructor. I will warn you... there is a lot of math, which I loathe. But this sort of chain pattern requires precise measurements. I will admit that all the talk of calculating aspect ratios makes my eyes glaze over, but it is apparent that David really knows his stuff. And if you are going to take off with doing chain-making on your own, without the benefit of pre-made rings, then you need this knowledge.
{Clear pictures with precise details even for the simplest things like how to open a jump ring properly. I learned a lot here!}

I think that these are really great opening chapters because there is a wealth of knowledge on things like forging an s-clasp, making matching earring wires, and the proper way to work with jump rings. I have to say that I learned a lot in these tips with the great photography clearly showing each step. I will come back to these again even if I am not creating my own chains. {I have to tell you that my favorite thing to do is take jump rings and make them into a flower formation. It bulks them up, adds texture and strength and is a simple way to add your own spacers with an inexpensive material.}

I was going to attempt to make my own jump rings {you can stop laughing right now!}, but there was that whole pesky math thing. Not to mention my fundamental lack of time. Plus I didn't have the right wire to do that sort of thing, and I have never taken my jump ring maker {essentially different sized rods} out of the package. I really hate getting out my jeweler's saw, and then there is that whole kerfless thing {to kerf or not to kerf, that is the question!}. Lucky for me there is a great resource page in the back with suppliers of jump rings and so I proceeded to look them up. But trying to get the right number of rings in the right gauge for the pattern proved a bit daunting to me. Hey, wait a minute! It was then that I noticed that David offers complete kits for many of the projects in this book. Hooray! So I went right out and bought four kits all in brass just to give myself a kickstart: beaded Romanov bracelet and earrings; serrated Byzantine bracelet and earrings. I decided to start with the earrings figuring if I can get that pattern down I can finish the rest.

These earrings took me less than an hour to make each pair, and that was with me being sick on the couch that day. So if I can do this using David's clear instructions when I am sicker than a dog, without the proper light, on a co-opted lunch room tray and squinting because I obviously need glasses, then you can do it, too. I wasn't sure that I had all the same tools that David recommends so I punted a little bit, but I think that they turned out great. I can see the potential for this design with different beads and alternate metal options, especially mixing metals which I love to do. {My tip to you: open all your jump rings the same way before you start. Saves a lot of time and futzing.}
{My Serrated Byzantine earrings - LOVE!}

I love the way the serrated Byzantine looks. That simple bend in the pattern and connecting the larger rings gives it such movement. Again, I can see the potential to transform this pattern with different stones. maybe wire wrapped in each large ring or dangling from the bottom. I only got around to making the two pairs of earrings but now that I know how to do them, it should be easy to jump in and make the matching bracelets.
{Someday I will attempt this Trapezoid bracelet.}

Having tried a few projects in the book, I can honestly say that this is a book I am proud to own. I would love to work my way up into some more complicated designs like the Incan Triangle necklace, the Japanese Rose necklace or the Trapezoid bracelet. And David has laid it out in such a way that builds on the previous projects and  I do believe that I would be successful with any of these projects.

I would recommend the book Chain and Bead Jewelry: Geometric Connections by Scott David Plumlee to anyone that is curious about adding chain that they fabricate to their designs, and likes the possibility of combining that with gemstones.

Oh, and anyone who likes math. ;-)
{Win these Beaded Romanov earrings!}

Would you like to win these Beaded Romanov earrings? Their pretty red beads will liven up your ears in the dead of winter! 

How to enter? 

Hop on over to Scott's website www.DavidChain.com and take a look around. Then come back here and tell me which of the kits/designs from his website you like the most. I will pick a random winner from all entries on this post on through Sunday, February 20th. 

Enjoy the day!

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of the book from the author in order to provide a review. I purchased all the kits I used in testing out the designs.

17 February 2011

Fly High on Imagination

"Imagination is the highest kite one can fly."
~Lauren Bacall

When I decided to start making some components, I did it with my own needs in mind. I wanted to create something with a time-worn look, brimming with color and filled with words that are powerful. In short, I wanted to make things that I would want to use in my own creations. Then the idea came to me that maybe there were others out there that would like something to kick-start their creativity. Why not offer them to a larger audience?

Deciding to put them out there by themselves was a bit nerve-wracking, because although I loved them I didn't know if anyone else would. But your comments on my recent post most definitely told me that you appreciated what I was doing.

Little did I know when I put this little project out there that there would be some who would rush right out and buy them. To you, I say thank you. I try to put a hand written note in with each one asking the recipient to share with me what they create so that I can share it with all of you. I was just thrilled that Kristy Abner bought some of my first pendants. She makes some pretty lovely things that have a romantic flair and a contemporary edge. I was so glad that this little robin on a branch with the message to 'fly high' was coming to live with her and knew it was destined to soar.

Kristy says that when she got the package she was immediately inspired to create something. Look what she did with it! The pops of color in those red beads draw me in, and that chain - could it be MissFickle? Swoon! The use of the ribbon makes it adjustable and soft and pretty.

Thank you Kristy for doing me the honor of using my 'simple truths' pendant in your lovely necklace! It is so nice to know that you were inspired. You are my 'something good' today!

Has someone done something for you that touched your heart recently?
Have you ever been so inspired that you had to drop everything to let that inspiration out?
What is a 'something good' in your life today?
Do tell!

16 February 2011

BTW::Custom Upcycle

I did it! I finally remembered that it was BTW before it was actually Wednesday!

{reinventing the bling - Julsbeads choices}

{sentimental favorites - Humblebeads choices for the two daughters}
{pulling it apart to put it together}

Tonight I managed to finish three necklaces.
I was given the opportunity to take some sentimental pieces from a friend from church named Rosan - like her mother's three strand costume pearl necklace and a pair of over the top crystal cluster earrings - and turn them into something new.

 The three-strand pearl necklace was not in the best shape, but the piece is sentimental to my client. She asked me to make an updated necklace for two of her daughters. I featured Humblebeads in both of these necklaces, using coordinating seed beads as spacers to make the beads go further, since a fair number of them had their lustre worn away over time. I mimicked the lines in the Humblebeads with the wavy silver and gold disks that remind me of flower petals.

I still have to make a double strand bracelet for my client from the remaining faux pearls. And to make it special I am going to use the ornate filigree pearl clasp as a little dangle.

Rosan also presented the challenge to take a very bling-y black crystal cluster earrings (complete with silver plated bows!) and tone it down a bit to make it something she would actually wear. So I selected a Julsbead from my prodigious stash and pitched the idea of breaking up the crystals into a necklace and earring set. I took apart about 30 crystals off their head pins and still only managed to use one of the earrings.

I like the way this piece turned out and think that Rosan will be proud to wear them now!

Turning someone's treasures into something they will actually wear is a great rush for me. It is like breathing new life into something that was forgotten or neglected.

14 February 2011


{paper garland from PaperPolaroid on Etsy}
“To love deeply in one direction makes us
more loving in all others.”
― Anne-Sophie Swetchine

{set of 'you complete my heart' puzzle heart cards from PoochD on Etsy}
“Things are beautiful if you love them.”
― Jean Anouilh

{'simply kissable' Polaroid by thePhotoZoo on Etsy}
“We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh.”
― Agnes Repplier

{sleepy owl baby puzzle from MountainBluebirdBaby on Etsy}
“True love begins when nothing is looked for in return.”
― Antoine De Saint-Exupery

P.S. The winner of the simple truths pendant 'bloom where you are planted' is Cynthia who wrote:
Oh Erin! These are so beautiful! When I saw your collage of all of them I let out a little gasp - so beautiful. I think your colors, images and words are perfect. You don't need any suggestion from the blogoshere - just keep making the way you are.
If I were lucky enough to win one, I would look at my lampwork beads I have on hand, and Czech glass, and possibly some vintage beads. I think vintage elements would look great!
You are so very talented!!

I will be in touch to send you your pendant!
I just received a surprise one dozen red roses.
I am truly and deeply blessed.
Wishing you love in all its many forms today and always.
Enjoy the day!
{'found' print from UK artist BelleandBoo on Etsy}

“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.”
― Morrie Schwartz

11 February 2011

simple truths::modern wisdom

"The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple."
~Oscar Wilde

{simple truths::modern wisdom}
Last fall I embarked on a journey to developing my own line of jewelry. Now I am finally ready to unveil it.

When I joined the Working Artists Initiative group in September we had to set goals for our 7 months together that would culminate in a body of artwork. My focus included creating a line of jewelry components that I would sell in the spring. My plan included developing a cohesive idea; selecting different mediums to experiment with; conducting market research at shows, through the Gallery Q sales, and through my blog; seeking the feedback of trusted bead artist and designer friends; and culminating in creating jewelry with the components for sale as well as selling them individually.

My goal is to sell 100 of the pieces (either as finished jewelry or as components).

I have been selling these as finished pieces of jewelry since the beginning of the year and so far they have been popular. I love this piece called 'fly high on love' with a sweet little robin. These pendants pair well with so much in my stash, from different metal tones (copper, silver, gold) to the beautiful array of Czech pressed glass to art beads from other polymer to ceramic to glass.

{a sweet little robin on a branch, for sale at Gallery Q}
 I started by making initial pendants for my niece and daughter for Christmas and a special necklace for my sister-in-law Mary who has done so much for our family and our kids.
{Christmas present for my sister in law Mary who loves teal and brown}

{the back, with the message 'life is grand'}

I have made custom pieces, like this pair of necklaces that are a remembrance of a young girl named Holly who died in a car accident right before Christmas. These two matching necklaces were given to Holly's mom and sister as a way to remember her always, the message in French says 'do not forget me'  and one small crystal to represent a tear.

{'non m'oubliez pas' - do not forget me in remembrance of a life cut short}
Or the mother's necklace for a girl I work with whose first child, Zayden, was born in October. And I even made a custom piece for my dear friend Kari as she starts a new chapter in her life, this piece has a dragonfly and the message 'every thing happens for a reason' and coordinates beautifully with Heather Powers' Humblebeads.
{for my dear friend Kari who is starting new - 'every thing happens for a reason' paired with humblebeads}
And I am currently offering a special semi-custom order form for these pendants as simple necklaces featuring my daughter's dance school logo on one side, and their initial or the name of the show on the other ("X" as in ten) and their favorite birthstone all as a fundraiser to celebrate Dance Education Center's 10th anniversary.

I am well on my way to selling the 100 pieces for my goal.

So, what is the concept and how did it come about?

I was inspired to create these pendants and charms, most of which feature a positive message, after reading a book by Patti Digh called "Four Word Self Help." This pithy little book is a great motivator. The idea is that by coming up with your positive message in just four words and carrying it with you, that it will manifest in your life. You know I love words. They hold so much power and presence for me. I pick a word to frame my year and I have quotes and snippets of poetry that mean something to me all over my life. So when it came time for me to settle on a direction for this line, I knew that words would play a big part.

Combining my love of words and jewelry has been a dream of mine. I like things that look old and worn, have a sense of wit and whimsy, and speak a deeper truth. I wanted to create components that I could use in my own jewelry, but also that others might want to put their own spin on. It would give me great pleasure to see what others would do with these!

{my initial prototypes included tiny dog tags - these are popular but not my favorite}
I started with metal. I stamped words on individual tiny dog tags, hammered them for texture and oxidized them for interest. People really liked these, and I still do them on request, but there are a lot of people who do stamped words so much better than I ever could, so I would have a hard time standing out in the Etsy Ocean. So, I will still hammer metal, and probably offer these through Gallery Q, but this idea was too much like things that have already been done and I wanted it to be my own.

{I love using resin and combining these fun pops of color with the words}
I also did the same thing with resin-filled bezels. I layered Japanese chiyogami papers in the bezels and then floated the words in the resin. I liked the colors, but no one really purchased any of these in my market research. So, I will still use resin, and it helped me decide that I wanted to bring color and whimsy to the pieces, but this idea didn't pan out for the components.

I really thought that etching the metal would be the way to go. But I couldn't come up with a plan that would make it easy, even with the E3 etching system. So, I will still experiment with etching, I do have a custom order pending for the dance studio using etched pieces, and I still want to try out all those patinas that I bought from MissFickle, but etching just wasn't it.

Then right before Christmas, Heather Powers had a little tutorial on little bezel bobby pins as last minute Christmas presents. Even though my plan that week was to have 10 pieces etched and patina-ed by Monday, I went out and bought polymer clay instead. Of course. Makes perfect sense. I used the bezels I bought in the fall for the resin experiments and started coming up with my own ideas.

{hoots - available on Etsy}
Each 'simple truths' pendant or charm is lovingly hand made by me using polymer clay set in bezels then detailed with paint and buffed with Renaissance Wax. I love the mixed media feeling of these and they have a painterly quality that I adore. Some are one sided with just an image or a combination of words and image, some are double-sided so that you can choose which side is facing out. Or hold the words close to your heart.

Each one is different and there are no two alike. I like it that way. I am not a machine, and I don't really have an interest in making dozens of the same charms. Who really wants to see the exact same pendant used by someone else? I made the decision to hand craft each one individually, and that is how I do it. While I do carry around a little notebook that has ideas for the words, I am never sure what the image will look like until it is done. Perhaps it isn't the most efficient way of doing things, but that is okay. I like them organic, growing from the work of my two hands, and lovingly painted and sealed.

Because I will make these in small batches, I plan to have updates from time to time. If you are interested in being included in a simple truths pendant update, please fill out the Treasures Found Nation form in the sidebar. I hate being spammed and I promise that I will only use that email to communicate with you about pendant updates or special subscriber only deals and discounts.

{what would you do with 'bloom where you are planted'?}

In honor of the big release of these pendants/charms (already selling - thank you!), I would like to give someone the opportunity to win a simple truths pendant of their very own. And I would really love to see what you would create with it (or if you are not someone who makes beaded jewelry, then I will provide you with a chain so you can wear it out of the box!). Leave a comment below to enter. That is all there is to it. You don't have to be a follower, you don't have to sign up for the pendant updates, you just need to leave me a comment, like...

Tell me what you like about these...is it the colors? the metals? the words?
Tell me what quote or phrase or word you would like to see on future pendants?

Tell me what colors you would like to see them painted in?
Tell me what type of beads you would pair with this pendant if you won... art beads? glass? pearls? gemstones?

I will pick a random winner from all comments on this post by 02/14/2011!
Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

08 February 2011

Come on Baby, Light My Fire!

"Education is not the filling of a bucket but the lighting of a fire."
~W.B. Yeats

I love to learn something new. And to do that with friends is a the best of all possibilities.

I always take classes at Bead & Button. I have taken some really awesome classes. My preference is for at least whole day classes, and multi-day are even better. I  need time to get into a rhythm with an instructor, and getting to know them is a great opportunity. This year I was determined to take a class with Richard Salley. Easy to do since he was teaching a class every single day at Bead & Button. But I am also the Great Procrastinator. And I waited too long. I was so disappointed. But there are like 559 other classes there so there was bound to be something else. And I looked. And looked. But rather than take classes that I was not fully invested in, just to take them, I decided to start looking around for an alternative.

I found it in the upcoming ArtBliss workshop coordinated by Cindy Wimmer and Jeannette Blix. The workshops coming up in March feature Stephanie Lee of Semiprecious Salvage fame. You know I am a serious bibliophile. I have virtually every jewelry making, craft wielding book on the market. I remember vividly when Semiprecious Salvage was in my hot little hands. I was practically weeping in awe of the beauty of those projects and wanted desperately to be that sort of artist who can see the possibility in the mundane and the beauty in the everyday object. And now I get to take a class with her. I can't tell you how thrilled I am that I will get to meet her! She will be lighting a fire for sure with me... literally!

There are three classes being offered. I opted to take the Junk Drawer Metalsmithing class all day on Saturday and the Pipe Dreams class all day on Sunday. I think that they will build nicely upon each other. I mean if I am going to fly out to the D.C. area I need to make it worth my while and stay for a bit! If you are in the area, I think that this is going to be one awesome workshop. Come! Join me!

I just booked my non-stop flight to D.C. on Friday with a return flight on Monday. I am getting in nice an early so that I can enjoy the commute from the airport and still have time to relax and unwind. I sent in a request for my reservation of space in both classes and hotel room. I have a long list of supplies that I need to start gathering., and I have been making arrangements with Cindy and Jeannette and Lori Anderson to meet up with them since they are each taking one of the classes that I am in. I think that almost more than the classes with the great Stephanie Lee I am very excited to get to finally meet some blogging sisters. This will be a B.L.A.S.T.

So I will be learning metalsmithing techniques in 2011 and building on what I have already learned and hopefully actually using what I learned. What about you?

What new techniques are you hoping to learn this year? 
Is it something that you could teach yourself using tutorials and online classes and eBooks? 
Or is it something that is best learned from an expert in their field? 
If you could take a class by anyone, anywhere and money were no object, what would that class be? Who would the teacher be? Why would you want to take it? Do tell!

04 February 2011

30 Words::I'm A Super Cheesehead

I hardly thought it could happen
but here we are
Green and Gold
in the biggest game of them all
Win or lose 
it will be super.
Go Pack Go!

'Titletown' by TesoriTrovati

Here's to the Green and Gold in the Super Bowl! Go Pack Go!

{Click the link above to view the entire treasury.}


















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