30 June 2011

Fun with Photo Editing

"Art doesn't just happen by accident. It is about pulling out new tricks and trying new things."

~ Nicholas Meyer

I don't do a lot with photo editing, mainly because I just don't have time. (You, too?)

Instead, I use the free program called Picasa on my computer to do minor editing like cropping and light correction, and that takes care of most of my photo issues (I usually get away with the "I'm feeling lucky" button, plus I just like to click that button, now if it only came with a winning lottery ticket ;-), but sometimes it is just fun to see what is possible. I do have Photoshop Elements, but I am not so enamored with that. For what I paid for it, there should be a glittery fairy floating around making things happen, and Elements is just enough different from the full version of Photoshop that I use occasionally at work making me just a tad bit crazy when I use it. Cursing may or may not be involved. Plus it is a resource hog. And like I said, I just don't have time for that. 

Since I just don't have time to futz with the program, I like my Picasa the best. I discovered that downloading the newest version of Picasa allows you to click a button and be taken to the Picnik.com site which opens up tons more options. I had used Picnik before, but now that I can be transported there at the click of a button, I liked it even more. That is the sort of glittery fairy service that I am talking about. (Photoshop Elements should take note.)

I decided I liked what I was doing at Picnik so much, that I bought the Premium package.

I have to say that there is a lot to choose from, even with the free service. And you will have to play around to find the combination of tricks that will work for you. You can layer effects. You can add text (with fun fonts! I love fonts!). You can make collages (but you can do that in Picasa, too and I like that program more for the collages I make.) There are some things that I wish I could do with Picnik... like after I save it, I can't seem to go back and edit it again to tweak it. I have to start all over. That is a bit frustrating (or maybe I am just missing something?). And there are things that I wish they had, like a deckle edge would be a nice treatment other than just rounded corners, because I am a bit more rough around the edges. But all in all, both Picasa and Picnik are very robust programs that are worth a look, especially since you can use most of the services for free.

On my recent photo safari walk I took some cool shots and played around with the effects that are available on Picnik.com. There are the standard Sepia, and Black and White, as well as funky things like Pixelate and Film Grain. I personally love the Lomo-ish, Cross Process and the way the edges get all dark and mysterious on the Vignette. So I thought that it might be fun to see what just one effect does to the same photo, so I chose this vibrant center of a hibiscus bloom.

First up, I use a Gritty filter on the flower. Oh, and the rounded corners (wouldn't this be cool with a deckle, torn edge look? Come on, Picnik...let's make it happen!). The muted tones are beautiful in this example and give it an old-world quality that I love.

Whoa! For a completely opposite effect, I used the Heat Map setting. Look at that blue! This pumps up the volume quite a bit! Totally psychadelic, don't you think? (I'm trippin' man...)

For the minimalist, the Neon filter pairs down the outlines the focal point for a very cool bouquet effect. You can even change the color of the neon to acheive the look you want.

And then there is the Posterize setting. This makes me feel all Warhol-ish! Imagine what he would do today with the computer programs out there. I like this one a lot since it makes it more abstract and the colors work like a palette that would be fun to design around.

I think that all these options are very fun. And they might make a nice set of notecards...hey! That's a great idea! I might have to see about doing just that!

I obviously wouldn't use these funky techniques for product photography, but it is fun to play. The thing I have learned about taking pictures is that you do need good lighting (outdoor light is best, and I stay away from flash, or have a really great light source in my basement late at night for all my jewelry shots ;-), and composition (I think this shot works better because it is not centered), and while having a quality camera and lens certainly help, there is a lot that you can do to make your pictures even with your point and shoot just a bit better. I challenge you to have fun with your camera this holiday weekend and take some shots to play around with in a photo editing program. I would love to see what you do!

Your turn...
What photo software do you use?
Any tricks you care to share?
Which of these is your favorite technique?
Do tell!

27 June 2011

Art Bead Scene: Ophelia

Ophelia: Rosemary is for remembrance, this is for you.
               Pansies are for thoughts, there you go.

               There's a fennel for you, and a columbines.
               There's a rue for you, and here is some for me.
               There's a daisy. I would give you some violets,
               but all of them withered when my father died...

~ Shakespeare, Hamlet Act 4, Scene 5

In researching this painting, I came to find that Ophelia is one of the most illustrated of all Shakespeare's characters and scenes. Most depictions show her as tragic, mad, and distraught. While Odilon Redon's painting hints at the tragedy that befalls this lady, it has a sense of peace about it.

For this month's Art Bead Scene challenge I decided to focus on the color palette, with the bright turquoise, buttery yellow, gray stone and black hair. Diving into my art bead stash, I found this beautiful glass bloom from Lisa Kan. The yellow stamens were the perfect way to tie in the yellow that is so prevalent in this painting.

To hint at the black of the hair and vines, I decided to string this bracelet on black leather cord. Some of the leaf beads are tied to the bracelet with the leather to suggest the dark tones. The round ceramic beads in grays and soft turquoise are like the pool of water with the stone bank surrounding it. I added some silver plated spacers and leaves as well as some Czech glass leaves for the botanicals.

{Ophelia available on Etsy}

In Victorian times, flowers were a language all their own known as floriography. Ophelia's descent into madness is punctuated by her speech before the King when she passes out flowers to the onlookers. Ophelia would have known that secret coded language and it allowed her to speak volumes without really saying a word. Flowers allowed her to speak her mind to the King and Queen without being direct as that would have been impolite and inappropriate for a courtesan such as her. But the message would have been loud and clear to the patrons of the Bard who came to view the play.

A bit about the language of flowers:

Rosemary = remembrance. Ophelia wants her brother Laertes to have fond memories of their father.

Pansy = pleasant thoughts, think of me. Similar to the Rosemary, pansies were given as a symbol that thoughts of the loved one were always near. Ophelia may be hinting to her brother of her imminent demise, to think of her fondly when she is gone.

Fennel = worthy of praise and flattery. When Ophelia hands these to the King, it is a pretty brash move. She is flattering him, but also reminding him that once picked, fennel wilts quickly and this would be a subtle reminder of the foolishness of male adultery.

Columbine = foolishness. Ophelia is reminding the King of his foolish ways.

Rue = regret, disdain. This is a bitter herb and she hands some to the Queen and some to herself. This would be an insult to the Queen by insinuating that there is some action for her to regret and not so subtly telling the Queen that she has contempt for her actions.

Daisy = innocence, simplicity, loyal love. When Ophelia views the daisy it is more with the sadness of knowing that she no longer is filled with innocence, that the events of the play and the relationships she had have stolen that simplicity from her.

Violets = love and faithfulness. This last bloom tells much of her allegiance to her father. She is faithful to his memory and his death has shaken her faith to the core.

Coded messages in flowers were very popular in Victorian times and it was a clever dramatic element to include them in the story. Ophelia does not choose these flowers randomly, and their symbolism is loud and clear to the King and Queen, allowing Ophelia to have the voice that she lacked even in this moment of madness.

Today, the language of flowers is alive and well, with many happy meanings. The recent wedding ceremony of Kate and William continues the tradition with a bouquet chosen specifically for their coded messages in flowers. Flowers such as lily of the valley, hyacinth and ivy were chosen to directly speak to each other of their love and constancy and also included a sprig of myrtle (emblem of marriage and love) that came directly from a plant that Queen Victoria enjoyed.

Your turn...

What message would you like to receive coded in flowers?

Do tell!
Enjoy the day!

24 June 2011

Summer Escapes

Then followed that beautiful season... Summer....
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I was one of the fortunate recipients of the Chinook Jewelry design team challenge for this month. My friend Mellisa makes the most lovely pieces of ceramic art. Mini-masterpieces is what they are. They are so fine and delicate, but she assures me that they are very hearty indeed. I have always loved the architectural details on her pieces and her glazes are some of the best.

I put them in two spots on my Muffin Tin Challenge. I just got wind of this challenge from Heather Powers on Art Bead Scene yesterday so I am a bit behind, and I can assure you that I will NOT be completing 12 pieces before the 27th. That is crazy-talk. But I do like the idea of having some kick starts for my inspiration, or projects that I committed to right there in plain view. I cleared out these two pieces and already have replaced them with others. I think that I will continue to keep 12 pieces in rotation until I run out of beads or inspiration (that would be a never people! Do you remember what my stash from just THIS YEAR's Bead & Button looked like?).

Back to the projects...

The first piece I worked with is a sweet green button with the hint of an ancient floral pattern on it. I love the color of the glaze, somewhere between a sage and a teal. When I was at Bead & Button, one of the things I stocked up on were pewter components. Given the soaring price of silver, and the fact that I rarely work in sterling but like a little silver now and then, the options that were there were pretty comprehensive. In fact, I saw less of the real silver variety but plenty of shiny silver. They are getting much more fine and detailed in pewter designs these days. So don't be afraid to use them. Just be sure that you label them as such and charge appropriately.

I had this idea to use the bead caps I found without beads. I know, crazy-talk again. But I love the way these flower shapes match up with each other. But how to secure them? I had also bought a bunch of silk strands from Silk Painting is Fun and found a perfect match in my stash. But I didn't just want the green, and I needed another texture. Black leather cord it is! So I just wove this all together and tied some knots. When I got to the button, I flattened one of the bead caps slightly to sit better on the top. This is a two hole button but the holes are covered by the cap. And I love the echo of the floral pattern on the pretty Chinook button.

The other side was the problem. How to end? I thought of just tying this to a little bit of chain and then having a clasp. I just couldn't make the asymmetry work for me on this one. I knew I needed a buttonhole for the clasp and just started stringing 'E' beads and tying more knots. I like the extra texture these glass beads bring. If I were to do this over, I might add some of those glass beads into the design to pull them through.

I call this one "Summer Escape."

I see this as the perfect accompaniment to that little sundress and strappy sandals. Makes me wish that I had someplace fun to go during summer to escape the same old. Maybe I will wear it this weekend at the ballpark. Goes well with hot dogs and popcorn, don't you think?

I will admit that the second piece really stumped me.

Usually Mellisa has these really glossy finishes on her pieces. But this second piece was rough and matte instead of smooth and shiny. That worried me a bit, but I found that it was surprisingly soft to wear. This piece really has the look of some old crumbling Italian villa about it. Or maybe some piece of pottery unearthed at an ancient excavation. The earthy palette is one that is totally in my wheelhouse. And since I am longing for an escape, why not dream big of a villa in Tuscany?

I found a connector from the Vintaj Arte Metal line. What is really cool about these is the finish. It is like blackened steel. But the really fun part is that you can sand and buff them to bring out the highlights like I did here (although it is a bit hard to see at this angle). I found that the pattern complimented the ceramic pendant perfectly.

To add more of that black steel color, I found some chain in my vast bins. And the sandy brown color of the pendant is echoed in the leopard skin jasper twisted tubes. I love that shape as it implies movement. I also brought in a complimentary color in the rust/burgundy of the pearls and the Czech glass rondelles from Raven's Journey. I needed something to balance out the chain, so I added a few links of patterned antique silver large links for some interest. I finished with a clasp I made inspired by what I recently read in the neqw book Handcrafted Wire Findings. This book is SO worth it! I will be using it a lot in the future.

I call this one "Tarquinia." Because I think that and Etrsuscan escape would be the ultimate.

These are both for sale in my Etsy shop.

Thank you to Mellisa for letting me play with her stunning components. She offers so many choices in her shop. Do go and show her some love and tell her Erin sent you. ;-)

Your turn...
Do you prefer your ceramic glazed or naked? 
Do you like shiny or rough as a texture in your designs? What about mixing them?
If you were to escape someplace this summer, where would you go?
Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

22 June 2011

BTW: Fit for a Princess

"If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done."

Every woman wants to feel like a princess on her wedding day.

And to help a woman feel her absolute best on one of the biggest days of her life is special indeed.

I accepted the call to create a wedding ensemble for Kim along with a mother-of-the-bride set and two attendants back in February, and promptly ordered the materials. (Aren't you proud of me for being so FOCUSED at that time?! I am!). My time and talent and labor are my gift to Kim. But like most things in my life, if I don't do it right away, then it doesn't get done. I let other things (like this and this and this) take precedence.

Now the wedding is but a few weeks away, and I am sure that the anxious bride is hoping that I will complete this asap! This is what I have been working on the past few nights.

{Wire, chain & crystals waiting their turn...}

When I met with the bride, I had just picked up a copy of The Earring Style Book by Stephanie Wells. I enjoy this book because it has striking photography and some very current styles worn by all the hottest celebrities. However, they are a bit too much for me to wear as earrings, so I would not likely make them that way (I tend to only make things that I would likely wear, since if it doesn't sell it is part of my personal collection!). But if you look past the intent of a piece in a book and focus on the parts, you can find some great ideas for connectors and pendants in this book. I highly recommend it.

Kim's dress has some rather ornate detailing, and I thought that might be a nice focal for her piece. Kim's mom wanted something similar to her daughter, but a bit on the smaller scale. These shapes come straight from Kim's dress with scrolls and tendrils.

{For the bride and the mother-of-the-bride... similarly matched sets!}

And for the bridesmaids we chose a page straight from The Earring Style Book. Page 144 to be exact. Shown there are the Osiris earrings in a serpentine style wrapped in gemstones. To keep it simple, we opted for one stunning Swarovski crystal with the scroll a little smaller in size. I hammered a bit of texture to catch the light.

{For Colette}

The size and color on these Swarovski crystals is really quite extraordinary. Their huge irregular shapes make this feel more organic. Simple, yet stunning. (Hmmm... I think I should make more like this!) Oh, and all have a matching pair of earrings to coordinate. Of course.

{The wedding party}

I don't do a lot of weddings. It is not that I wouldn't mind doing them, but around here they are just all the same. I find it incredibly boring to 'design' for an army of taffeta wearing, rose-toting girls. Besides, I would have a hard time making anything the same. Like I had a hard time making the frames on the the two attendants pieces to match up. It is a good thing they aren't supposed to be a matched set. The fact that they each have a different color scheme makes me feel a bit better about the repetition and allowed me to put a more individual spin on things. In fact, I will always lead someone to select different ensembles for their bridesmaids to match their personality and style. Color is great place to start, but there is oh-so-much more that you could do! It is a much better gift that way, when you think about the person that it is intended for, don't you think? I did enjoy making these, and testing out this fabulous new-to-me book, although I wish (and likely Kim does, too!) that I weren't such a Last Minute Lucy. ;-)

{Fit for a princess!}
I wish Kim and Randy a lifetime of happiness and good fortune. She will be a beautiful bride and I am delighted that I could help complete her princess outfit!

Your turn...
Have you ever made wedding jewelry? 
Do you like making it or hate making it?
Did you wear jewelry in your wedding that you loved or was special is some way? I hate the cheap costume earrings that I wore. I so wish that I had discovered this talent back then!

Have you ever done anything unconventional for weddings? The first commission I ever got was a wedding with the bride, eight bridesmaids and three special attendants. Every single piece was different but in the same color scheme. It was the best wedding ensemble I have ever done! How about you? I used to help do floral arrangements for weddings, and the best trick we used was rolls of screen door replacement spray painted in metallics as a camouflage for the huge glass vases on the tables.

If you were to re-do your own wedding, would you do anything different? I would have different flowers, perhaps a brooch bouquet or one made of feathers.
Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

20 June 2011

Try a Little TENderness

"Tenderness is greater proof of love than the most passionate of vows." ~ Marlene Dietrich

My friend Shane is the truly the most romantic guy I know.

He approached me a few weeks back with a request: Would I make a special necklace to celebrate his 10th wedding anniversary with his wife Michelle?

Of course, I said yes!

There is nothing better to me than to make something that comes from the heart, something that tells a story and something that can be made personal.

I showed Shane the 'simple truths' that I have been creating. He liked the idea of a special message that is just for Michelle. We discussed colors and style. He picked out some special art beads from my stash.

But there had to be something more to this. Ten years is a beautiful milestone for any relationship.

As we were talking, Shane shared what he classified as 'hokey' and I classified as 'hopelessly romantic'.

You know the traditional gifts for wedding anniversaries? Shane told me that he likes to keep to that list in some fashion for each year they are married.The first anniversary is paper. On their first anniversary, Shane got a map of the United States and plotted out the route that they took on their honeymoon across the country, noting places of interest along the way and framed it.

Couldn't you just melt? (And can Shane phone my husband and give him some suggestions for 19 years?)

The tenth anniversary is tin. He thought that might be a stretch for me. But that just lit me up. You see, my husband works for a manufacturing plant. They make filters, like the kind that go in your car. One day he brought home a baggie of little silver circles in various sizes. They are a stamping that gets thrown away through the manufacturing process. He thought that I might be able to utilize them in some way for jewelry. (That is how my husband is romantic ;-) Back in February, we used them as the basis for a charm bracelet project for my daughter's 10th birthday party. So, it is fitting that I am using them again for the 10th anniversary of Shane and Michelle.

These little circles are actually tin coated steel. They are lightweight and durable. They have a matte finish but buff up to a high shine. And apparently I can have all I want. This project makes me want more of them.

I took a larger disc and cut it down to size with my disc cutter. I just wanted the metal to frame the pendant and give it more presence. I hammered it up with some texture hammers and then buffed it to bring out the relief.

The 'simple truth' message that Shane requested was "TENderness" for the back. This is a message that will be special for Michelle for sure, especially when she gets all the TEN references!

I wire wrapped tiny pearls, silver spacers and some of my new Czech glass beads (yes! I am starting to use my haul from the Bead & Button show!). I added two new Humblebeads that I picked up there as well that suited the color scheme perfectly. And I connected it all with jump rings in my favorite pattern of a love knot. And after I was finished, I realized that there were ten of these love knots. How fitting. It is finished with a double length of my new favorite silver plated chain from Rings & Things.

I present "TENderness."

Happy 10th Anniversary, Shane and Michelle! May you enjoy many, many more.

Your turn...
What is the most romantic gift that you have ever received? 
Or what is the most romantic gift that you have ever given?
Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

17 June 2011

Treasures Galore

I have been a bit absent as we are enjoying our family this week. We had a big family picture session for about an hour and a half this morning, and tonight we are celebrating my mom with a surprise party. There has been much laughter and fun at the 'cousin camp' and it is great to be with my sister and her family whom we don't see enough.

So many others have written such great things about the Bead & Button show, I am not quite sure that there is more for me to add. You should really read Andrew Thornton's awesome recaps (plus his awesome Thursday giveaway!) and the Art Bead Scene. I think that I will just dazzle you with the bounty that I amassed while I was there. And no, I don't have one cent left to purchase even one more thing until who knows when. Best be off creating things with all this beady goodness!

1:: Clockwise from top left: lampwork set including one wicked cool hollow bead and a starfish bead (I am STILL hoarding its partner from last year ;-) from the sweet Stephanie Ann of StephanieBeads; skeleton key with glass bead (how could I resist a key?), glass bird about to sing a beautiful song and a butterfly from the delightful firecracker of an artist, Kerri Fuhr.
2:: Porcelain beads in yummy jelly bean colors from Splendid Loon Studio. I want to know more about them so I hope to do an interview in the future with the talented mother-daughter duo.
3::I could not pass by this amazing booth with these beads in all shapes and sizes in these earthy, saturated colors.  According to his business card, he is 'building the finest single-source collection of glass beads in the history of mankind.' Harold of Studio for the New American Trade Bead gave me quite the entertaining education for my purchase! ;-)
4::Silk ribbons from Class Act Designs and silk cords from Silk Painting is Fun.

5:: The color on these Basha Beads are luminous. I am so glad my friend Andrew Thornton had them for me to see in person. They are quite amazing and he picked me out an assortment of the best.
6:: Stacking buttons and beads from the always sunny and fun, Miss Jennifer of Jangles. Her new booth included her new fabric! It is so happy it makes me want to learn how to sew, but since that isn't going to happen anytime soon, I will be content to use her happy beads!
7:: Peanut beads! I have always wanted to try them! They are quite tiny, and go against my self-imposed no seed bead policy, but I just couldn't resist. These are from Out on a Whim.
8:: Painted steel cutouts from recycled filing cabinets, silver keyhole and flower from silver plated serving trays, Tibetan brass rings with the coolest natural patinas, copper and brass funky spacers and some bottlecap flowers from Glass Garden Beads.

9:: Lisa Peters makes the most amazing raku beads, buttons and cabochons. What I love most is that every single one is different. And there are hundreds upon hundreds of them. She and her mom are always a delight! I fell in love with an assortment of flower shapes.
10:: Marianne Kasparian of MAKUStudio coaxes beautiful colors from her raku firings. I love all her shaped hearts and am plotting the day when I can make one mine. In the meantime, I settled on an assortment of rounds (that leaf is part of my giveaway on Art Bead Scene! Hurry over to this post to leave a comment for a chance!). I so enjoyed the opportunity to have dinner with her and her friend.
11:: Glass beads from our booth neighbor Angi Graham of Blue Frog Art Studio, enameled copper leaf from Julie Nordine of Credit River Glass, and two whimsical pressed glass flower pendants from Lily Studios (one for my sister the tulip-lover for letting me and my friends crash her house every summer!).
12:: Filigree rings from Filigree Supply because I love me some rings.

 13:: The sweet Sun Park of Ezel Findings was backing up to the Humblebeads booth, and she would poke her head through to ooh and aah each time I brought something new back. Of course I had to go over and see what she had and walked away with sweet little copper plated leaves and branches and the cutest origami cranes!
14:: I just about fell over when I spotted this antique button turned into a hefty clasp at Hidden Treasures. The Stars and Crescent is the badge of my sorority, Delta Delta Delta. I would have bought more of these if they had them, but as it is, this will be destined for something special just for me!
15:: The stars and moon continue in these cool pendants I made at the Vintaj booth with Jess. Their new embossing and etching folders and the contraption that you use to do it with are calling my name! I best save up for this one, but it is so very cool!
16:: Green Girl Studios always has the biggest assortment of whimsy on the planet. This year the booth was even fuller than I have ever seen it. My favorites are the little robot, the elephant and the flower clasp with bee hook. (P.S. Keep little Max in your prayers... Cynthia wasn't there because her little one was sick. I missed seeing her and the delightful Miss Azalea, but more importantly I am praying for a quick recovery for Max).

17:: Vlad of Golem Studios joined us at dinner on Saturday. It was so great to learn of his creative process. These are the goodies I came home with, including a set of the ladybug beads in the bottom that garnered him the top prize in the Bead Dreams competition. Congratulations, Vlad!
18:: I met Genevieve Church of Loot! and heard of her quest to make beautiful things from the castoffs of other glass artists. These glass links are the byproduct of the glass industry. I love how she sees the beauty in these things that would be thrown away. I want to learn more with a potential interview in the future.
19:: I am not a sterling silver gal, but I like to mix my metals. There was an abundance of pewter options that are so much nicer than they have been in the past. I selected this assortment of pewter bead caps and spacers from North Lake Trading Co.
20:: Humblebeads. My very favorite place to shop and hang out. It was not long enough to spend with Heather and her Aunt Roseanne. And I think that my beads multiplied while my back was turned! Humblebeady goodness!

21:: Very sparkly beads from Holy & Pure Gemstones.
22:: Blue and green agate, plus these amazingly large crystals from North Lake Trading Co. I must have been on a blue streak!
23:: The treasure trove of Czech glass from Raven's Journey. I went a tad bit nuts over here. And I won't need to buy any glass beads for a really, really long time!

 24:: Kara from The Lipstick Ranch was new to me, but I am so glad that I got to meet her! She lives on a huge ranch in Colorado...all the better to farm rust! These are but a few of the trinkets I found. Amazing stories of how she does it!
25:: Assorted goodies from AD Adornments. There is always something special to be found there.
26:: Bezels to fill from Amate Studios. I love the ones I use for my 'simple truths', but I thought I would give these fun shapes a try. And rings too!
27:: Chain, chain, chain! Thanks to my friend Sharon, I may have gone a bit crazy here. But you can never have enough chain, can you? Fringe chains, rollow, and some aluminum links all from Primitive Earth. I also got two spools of chain from Rings & Things.

There. Whew. I am pooped just thinking about all this loot!

That ought to keep me busy for awhile.


Have you ever gone crazy on a shopping spree? 
If money were no object, what would you have bought at the Bead & Button show?
What is your favorite of what I have shown? What should I use first?

Enjoy the day!

14 June 2011

Random Ramblings

{My hibiscus macro from my front porch...just a pretty thing to tide you over until you get bead overload!}

I'm baaaaaaaaccccckkkk!

Some random thoughts to tide you over until I can fully recap what has been going on...

  • There is a great big pile o' beads and components littering the floor of my studio (step gingerly!).
  • I didn't think that I would spend every last penny, I thought I would come home with some money to put towards a new laptop (my first!) but unfortunately, if I had it with me, I spent it. I should know better.
  • I thought that I had lost a special little baggie from a very cool brand new-to-me vendor (very panicky few moments until I found it tucked inside a big bag o' chain!). I am using it for a special project for my Earthenwoods Design Team for July.
  • And speaking of desing teams... I just found out that I will be getting a surprise goodie from the Chinook Design Team. What a treat! I love what Mellisa does.
  • On Sunday I had planned to leave the Bead & Button at noon to catch the semi-final baseball game in the tournament my son was playing in. I told my husband on the phone that I was just about ready to leave....and I left two hours later!!! But that is okay, because they won the semi-final and made it into the championship game and I got there just as it started. They won that one 16-5 and got a huge trophy. No pictures though since I was mighty pooped by that time. The games had been postponed due to rain so this one started at 4:00 pm (should have started at 11:00 am!) and then was pretty slow due to the big hitters we have and got done around 6:45! And then, as if I had not driven through the construction on Hwy 41 enough, we had to head back south (the exact direction I came from earlier) to go to my husband's nephew's graduation party. We got there around 8pm just in time to eat the last of the burgers and brats and stayed for about an hour before turning around and driving 2 hours home. Through the wicked bad construction (that is three times in one day, people!).
  • And last night we had ball until after 10pm for league, and pulled out an amazing win at 19-9 in the 5th inning. But I was too pooped to create...
  • I have a special anniversary necklace to make for a client (he is uber romantic!) and a whole wedding party ensemble I committed to months ago that is due now. As in yesterday.
  • There will be a surprise party for my mom this Friday (shhhhhh!!!), my sister and her family are coming into town, we are having a Prais family portrait session, and I will be entertaining my niece and nephew for the weekend with nothing going on in this dinky town. Do you think I could get them to clean my studio and sort beads?!
  • There are some other deadlines looming for publications that I have to complete. I can't tell you anything more than they are both for books rather than magazines. I am delighted to be participating in both.
  • I had the distinct honor to view the proof copy of the book that Heather Powers is writing. I am blown away. Heather's designs are always amazing, but I am most impressed with the way that Kalmbach has presented her work. If you haven't gone out and pre-ordered your copy, you really should. Right now. It is stunningly beautiful. I am so proud of her!
  • Speaking of books, do you think I have one in me? What do you think it would be about? Hmmmmm...
  • I have to get crackin' on the 'simple truth' charms for the sampler club for July. And I am delighted that the supplier of my bezels likes them so much she bought three of my newest ones I didn't even have pictures of! 
  • And if you are interested in a mystery bundle of goodies from the Bead & Button show, head on over to the Art Bead Scene Studio Saturday from June 11th... leave a comment there to be entered. The winner will be drawn at the end of this week!
  • I feel so blessed to have spent the time that I did with my best friend Heather and her Aunt Roseanne (I am officially adopted ;-), meeting friends from all over, seeing Heather Trudeau's beautiful baby boy, shopping with my friend Sharon, learning about the process of some amazing artists, enjoying food and mysterious fun with my bead peep friends at the Safehouse and making some phenomenal connections (and I mean phenomenal!). Sorry to be a tease....More later, I promise! 
Enjoy the day!

09 June 2011

Off to the Bead & Button

Just a quick note that I will be leaving for the Bead & Button show in Milwaukee in a few moments. I am very excited to see all my friends and to shop. While I am away, my Etsy shop will remain open. I have a very rare sale going on there for 30% off with the code bbs2011. Sale ends on Sunday, June 12th and I will ship the items next week!

And here is a picture of the first month's exclusive charms sent to the Simple Truth Sampler Club members. As each month's sampler is exclusive, I will not be making another. Check back soon to see what some of the sampler club members did with their charms.

There are still openings available. Click the tab at the top to be taken to the sign up page.

Enjoy the day!

06 June 2011

The Road To Bead & Button...SALE!

My friend Andrew Thornton reminded me that there are but a few days left until we all convene on Milwaukee for the best bead show ever... Bead & Button show. I am excited to see all my bead peeps, and this year I am only going to work in Heather Powers' Humblebeads booth (stop by 1212 and say hi!) and shop, shop, shop!

There are tools that I would like to get, some beads (of course!) and as many art beads as I can carry home.
I will also be clearing out my Etsy shop to take the remaining 'simple truths' with me to the show along with all the new ones that I have been making. Now is the time to grab yours while you can... and get 30% off doing it!

Go to my Etsy shop and enter the code bbs2011. This 30% off code will be good through June 12th. But hurry! I will be leaving on Thursday and likely taking any 'simple truths' with me that have not sold. (And anything that is sold from the 9th-12th will be shipped next week when I come back). Check back late, late, later today or early tomorrow for some more jewelry to pop into the site as well.

And please go and visit my friends who are also hosting the sale on their blogs/shops:

Erin Prais-Hintz
Andrew Thornton
Heather Trudeau
Lorelei Eurto

Enjoy the day!

Winner of a special treat!

is the random winner of the sweet treat necklace from my Earthenwood Studio design team project. Email me Miss Mel with your address and I will send it right out to you!

And for another special treat, check out these recent treasuries that I have been featured in along with some really talented people!

The first is from my friend Cherrie Fick of En La Lumiere. She is a very talented jewelry designer. I love the soft pastel colors here.

'Butter Mint' by enlalumiere

Butter yellow, aqua and baby blur he colors of summer.

Butter Mint

SALE Sterling Silver A...

Orinoco Flow Deluxe Sta...

NEW Nagy in Lemonade &q...

White Agate Pendant Nec...

Any four 8x8 Fine Art P...

Lemon Starfish Artisan ...

Handmade Lampwork Glass...

Shabby Nouveau Tiny Hea...

Bubbling As seen in Wir...

Breathe, Balance, Calm ...

Stone Bee Necklace

Amazonite & Czech Glass...

Yellow White Acai Croch...

Delicate Balance - Orig...

dare to dream - simple...

The second was a surprise to me. I love the theme and the way that all these things fit together.

'EtsyRx to get over a hard day' by newnanc

A little chocolate, wine, a bath, and gratitude for all that's good in life, and I'm back to my happy self! :-)

Hush - 5x5 Original Sig...

Eat Sign Made with Recy...

Hard Cider - Handmade A...

gives good back rub

Ooey Gooey Brownie Cook...

Organic Mellow Mood Flo...

Natural Pet Products an...

Exotic Essential Oil Ba...

adapt & overcome - simp...

Vintage London Winery G...

WINE Natural Tumbled Ma...

All Sorts Of Corks - La...

I Am Grateful For Journ...

In vain I have struggle...

Illuminated Earth Light...

Vintage 40's Interp...

Making treasuries is a lot of fun.

I like to challenge myself to see what connections I can make with items in Etsy, whether it is color or theme or even telling a story. Sometimes I share them, sometimes I don't.

Have you ever made a Treasury? I wish that they would make it easier to do, by allowing you to just click a button as you are surfing so that you don't have to have multiple browsers open and cutting and pasting all the time. To make these Treasuries work on my website, I used a special treasury tool from Whale Shark Websites. Check it out!

So now it is your turn... what is the best theme for a treasury on Etsy that you have seen? Have you been featured in a treasury? Have you made any treasuries of your own? Do you know of any cool Etsy apps that help with Treasuries? What features would you like to see added in to the Treasury?
Do tell!

Enjoy the day!


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