31 December 2012

You are Magic

I found this beautiful prayer for creatives on Oh My Handmade Goodness written by Tracey Selingo
and it embodies exactly what I wish for all my readers in the coming year. 

You are magic.

Shine on.

May 2013 be creatively inspiring!

21 December 2012

Operation S.A.N.T.A.

After the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14, 2012 and inspired by the call to action by television anchor Ann Curry, I thought about the call to practice more random acts of kindness. I was shoveling snow last night on our first large snowstorm and I started thinking about what that might mean and how it could look. As the Christmas holiday is looming large, I started to think of ways that I could be Santa to others, and that is where the idea was born.

I thought about those little children who were likely in the beginning stages of their belief. Santa was likely very real to them. Their wonderment would be palpable at this time of year. And then I thought of my own children. My almost 12-year old finally indicated that she 'knew' all about Santa. Pretty good that the magic lasted as long as it did. But I told her that I still hear the bells, that Santa is alive and very real, if you believe.

Santa isn't just a man in a white beard and red suit that shimmies down the chimney leaving presents one day a year. We have tried to teach our children that Santa lives in our hearts all year long and is not this fictional character but a spirit of compassion and understanding and kindness that comes from the heart.

Now that we are moving into the realm of being Santa to others, the next phase of the teaching, I want to set an example to her and others for how to keep Santa alive, but I don't want it to end on December 25th. It has to be all year long. So playing off the idea of the Random Acts of Kindness, and the #20Acts from Ann Curry, a new idea was born:

Operation S.A.N.T.A. - Simple Acts of Niceness To All

I am going to have a page on my blog that I will update as I go with these random acts of S.A.N.T.A. And I invite you to grab my graphic and share it on your site. I have decided to keep the spirit of Santa alive in my heart all year long and to document that here. I invite you to join me.

20 December 2012

Ripples of Kindness

"Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness.
Every act creates a ripple with no logical end."
~Scott Adams
I don't tweet so I wasn't aware of this, but I read over at one my favorite inspirational blogs, Kind Over Matter, today about something that is so simple yet the effect is so stunning.

Ann Curry (yes, that Ann Curry) shared the following thought:

Imagine if all of us committed to 20 mitvahs/acts of kindness to honor each child lost in Newtown. I'm in. If you are RT
Imagine the ripple effect! I believe that what you focus on grows, so why not focus on kindness?

Here is what Ann had to say of her recent experience covering the tragedy:

After the experience in Newtown. I thought, “What if? Imagine if everyone could commit to doing one act of kindness for every one of those children killed in Newtown.” So that’s what I tweeted. And guess what? People committed. I said in my tweet, “I’m in. RT if you’re in.” Not only did they commit to 20 acts of kindness, they wanted to up it to 26 acts of kindness for every child and adult who was lost at the school. Some even debated maybe we should include the mother, who died, at 27 acts. Some debated maybe we should include the killer as well as he was struggling and in pain.
Amanda at Kind over Matter suggested that we each commit to at least 26 (but I prefer her proposition to make it 28 to include both the shooter and his mother who also lost their lives) Random Acts of Kindness. That is less than one a day each month! And if you do something for 21 days it becomes a habit, right? So after a month of Kindness it should easily become a daily habit! And so easy to do! But in case you have trouble thinking of them, Amanda also posted a Random Acts of Kindness checklist.
{Click here to download your own copy}
She also has so many other great free printables like the Free Compliments, Take One and the Kindness Lollipop flowers that would also make great random acts. How easy would it be to send an anonymous note to someone in the phone book? In the past for Lent, I have done the Blessed Bucks challenge where I place 40 $1 bills in places that people would likely find them, like taped to a box of diapers or tucked inside the next newspaper in the stack, each with the following message written on them "May you be blessed with health, wealth & love."  I will certainly revive that for Lent again this year (join me if you like!). Of course, I particularly like the idea of making jewelry and dropping it off at a local women's shelter. I am going to look into doing just that.

Today I left a nice tip for my favorite coffee shop girl and I upgraded all my orders placed this week to Priority shipping so that they could receive their goodies in time for Christmas gifting.

Later I will be dropping everything and cutting snowflake ballerinas with my daughter so we can send them to Newtown to decorate their new school and I think we will whip up some sweets to send to school for the teachers on Friday (today is a snow day. Hello, Winter Storm Draco!). I also plan to make a surprise mother's necklace for my office mate who wouldn't be able to buy one for herself. 

That is the start of my #28Acts. It doesn't matter how many you choose to do nor the reasons why, what matters is that you do them.

Are you in? 

19 December 2012

Holiday Party Tablescape

"Someone said that life is a party. You join in after it's started
and leave before it's finished."

~Elsa Maxwell, American special events planner and hostess
If you have paid attention to my blog, you know that I have been on a design team for Halcraft USA. Have you ever been to a Michaels.com store and seen the wall of beads in the Bead Gallery line? Yup. That's Halcraft. And I am one of six designers that gets to play with new-not-yet-released beads and findings months in advance to share with Michaels.com. {I can tell you that something fun is coming out in the spring! You will want to keep your eyes peeled for those!}

Back in October, the fine folks at Halcraft asked us to switch gears and create holiday themed designs. Instead of our usual offerings, they asked us to think outside the jewelry box... I was simply astonished by the clever and cool Yule designs that our team created!

For this holiday project I chose to work with a festive tablescape. I wanted to come up with designs that had a great impact and were easy to produce. Click the links to take you to the step by step instructions for each project on the Michaels.com website.

{Happy To Serve - bejeweled serving utensils}

Wouldn't these Happy to Serve utensils make the perfect hostess gift?

{Close up of the slotted spoon. Dollar store finds never looked so good!}
I bought the utensils at the dollar store and used a little wire and some pretty vintage-y metal and jewel-encrusted slides from the Bead Gallery line at Michaels.com to whip these up. You could have a whole set done tonight! You can find the instructions here.

For a more blingy project and one that might be better for next year at this point, you could go with the O Bejeweled Christmas Tree for your mantel or tabletop.
{Jeweled Tree - Frontgate.com}
I was inspired by this jeweled tree that I found on Frontgate for the bargain price of........ {wait for it}....... $699! {It has now been marked down to $449 - what a deal! ;-)} Zoinks! I knew that this would be a pricier design due to the amount of materials required but I was certain that it wouldn't cost me nearly that ridiculous amount!

Because I was on a tight time frame, I was not able to take advantage of any good sales for the materials. Still, I think that I spent less than $100 on this. I am sure that if I had been able to buy these items on sale, I could have made this for about $60. I know that sounds like a lot, but this is not a throw-away decoration. This is something that would make my Aunt Charlotte proud and something that would be passed down. And it is heavy so you know it will last. However, Michaels.com is always having a good sale, and if I were to make this again, I would buy and hoard all the vintage sliders needed so that eventually I could sit down and make this again.  Because it really is that spectacular.
{O Bejeweled Christmas Tree - doesn't it look spectacular against my red wall?}

The way the vintage sliders from the Bead Gallery line at Michaels.com catch the light is dazzling! My pictures just do not do this justice. And the base was a tall candleholder that I found at Michaels on clearance in the Halloween section! I used a little bit of gold paint rubbed on to give it that burnished antique look. But you might already have a candleholder to use or could even pick on up at a thrift store for cheap!

{O Bejeweled Christmas Tree - showing all sides of the tree. I like mine better than the pricier one, don't you?}
This would be a festive design in any color, but I chose the same red, green and turquoise palette as the serving utensils. The cool thing is that you could do this in just about any color. Black, white, silver and gold was another combo that I considered. And you could go really quirky with purple and pink and lime! You could even sprinkle in some of grandma's earrings and brooches and fill in the blanks on this to make it ultra personal and use the Michaels vintage line to fill in the spaces.

So there you have it! Two festive holiday ideas that there is still time to whip up for Christmas! ;-)

18 December 2012

Every Snowflake is Unique

"Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look at what they can do when they stick together." ~ Anonymous

There are just no words to express the sadness and sorrow that we all feel over the tragedy that unfolded on December 14th to the littlest members of our society at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. We all want to find a way to show support for this community that will never be the same without these beloved ones in their midst, but how to do that?

{National Geographic - photo by Patricia Rasmussen}

I will not get into a rhetoric of the hows and whys and the should-of-been-dones. We need to find a way to get up and keep moving and along the way it is my hope that we will find solutions so that no one else will have to go through this nightmare again. But the most important thing is to honor these young lives and those adults that also lost their lives in this tragedy, to let them know that they are loved, to never forget them.

I just found out this morning that there is a campaign spearheaded by the Connecticut PTSA to show support in the simplest way: hand cutting snowflakes and sending them to Newtown so that the new school will be blanketed in white to show our support. You can read about it here.

Each snowflake is unique. God does some marvelous work with even the tiniest. They are something to be marveled at, cherished. Something to gaze at in awe of the masterful design. Seeing them individually you can appreciate their ornate intricacies, the thing that makes them stand out. They are minute sculptural masterpieces that don't last and that makes them even more precious. And seeing them as a whole you can appreciate the way they stick together and blanket the world in a soft hush of white.

The snowflake is the perfect embodiment of healing and remembrance for these tiniest and most pure ones. We need to see each of these people for their uniqueness that they brought to this world...we need to say their names out loud...we need to honor their beautiful intricacies. And now we can come together to blanket this school and community in a mantle of warmth and white, lending our shoulders to them to lean on as they find their way through.

{Snowflake image captured by Wilson Bentley in 1885}

Every year on the first real snowfall, I would stop what we were scheduled to do and we would get lost in a world of white. I would share with them the images that Wilson Bentley, a humble Vermont farmer captured in 1885 proving that no two snowflakes are alike. Imagine how challenging that must have been! I capture something so ethereal given the photographic technology of the day! It boggles my mind. Then I would break out the white paper and scissors and we would blanket the room in snowflakes. Even though I taught seventh graders - too-cool-for-school 13-year olds - I found that they were never too old to do this simple childhood activity.

I hope that you might join me in snipping a few flakes and sending them off to show your love and support to the people of Newtown. Here are some templates you might use to cut some unique six-sided snowflakes. (Click the links under the pictures to be taken to the websites of these images.)

{Snowflake ballerinas}

{Link to print out and cut six sided snowflakes}

{I knew there was a reason I just bought coffee filters..
good tutorial on how to turn coffee filters into flakes}

15 December 2012

Ornament Blog Hop

Miss Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime invited us to participate in the 2nd Annual Ornament Swap Blog Hop. I had a great time last year so I knew that I wanted in on the fun!

(Apologies to all. I had computer issues last night. I set it up first thing this morning. And it STILL wasn't right! ;-(

I was paired up with the delightful Miss Kathleen Lange Klik of Modern Nature Studio. Miss Kathleen has partied with me on some of my hops and I always appreciate her fine attention to detail. She recently hosted her first home party that is not only a model experience for home shows but if I lived anywhere near there wild horses couldn't have kept me away! I love her sense of design and her sweet nature. It was an honor to be paired with her!
Look at that sweet packaging! And hiding inside is the prettiest little birdie ornament! I just love the attention to details from the beautiful ribbon, the little metal leaf tag, the lovely note, and then the sparkly crystals and the handmade wire hanger! Thank you Miss Kathleen! I will treasure this always and it will be in my studio all year round to remind me of your friendship!

I have been promising a glimpse of my new holiday mantelscape. I posted a YouTube video of it on Facebook in my attempts to get it off my phone and someplace that you all could see it.

Here's how I did it....

I started with a 30x40 canvas that I picked up at Michaels.com with a 40% off coupon, three bottles of Plaid Champagne metallic acrylic paint and some flat snowflake stickers from the dollar spot at Michaels and some Martha Stewart puffy dimensional snowflakes stickers.

1:: Randomly place the stickers on the canvas concentrating more of the stickers at the top.

2:: At the bottom, I freehand drew the words "Let is Snow."

3:: Next I painted around the entire canvas, pretty haphazardly. I wanted that sort of old crumbling wall effect and I was going for a tone-on-tone look.

4:: I had to be a little more careful around the words, but the same rough painting applied. The only thing I would have done differently is that I would have erased the pencil lines before painting. I realized that after I started painting.

5:: When the paint dried, we peeled off the stickers. The flat stickers worked like a charm! They left behind the prettiest little white snowflakes! The dimensional stickers, not so much. Paint pooled in the spaces and even seeped under the stickers. So I left them.

6:: I bought the Martha Stewart snow glitter and her glue bottle with the tiny tip. I think that any white craft glue would work, but that tiny tip was perfect! I added little highlights of glitter to the words and also around each of the dimensional snowflakes. I actually like the fact that the happy accident happened and I had to leave the dimensional stickers on there. They are toned down quite a bit from their overly silver color and they literally make the canvas pop.

7:: The best part about this is that it lights up! I was inspired by some beautiful artwork like this and this and even this to make my own mantel glow. I used two sets of twinkling icicle lights behind the canvas. At first I taped each light behind a snowflake. Painstaking stuff. But then when it was lit at night you could see the tape. Doh! So I pulled off all that tape and then just jimmied it up to the outer edges of the frame. When I take it down, I plan to string it better and use a staple gun to attach it more permanently.

{Bottle brush trees fresh from their bleach bath}
For my forest of bottle brush trees, I was inspired by these pins on Pinterest here, here and here. I picked up a set of 21 trees from very tiny to about 8" tall at Michaels.com, but they were that really ugly not-found-in-nature bluish-green color with white frosty chunks on their tips. I can't seem to locate it now, but I had read several tutorials online about how you can bleach the trees.

I filled an old ice cream bucket with bleach and dumped them in. The bleach turns this disgusting brown color and the trees start losing their blue-green hue almost immediately. You can leave them in for as long as you like to get that really creamy white, or you can take them out a different points and you will have frosty mint trees. I am assuming that you could dye them in the same way, with RIT or even alcohol inks. I am going to look for more trees after Christmas so that I can add more to my little forest!

When they were dry, I took a little paintbrush and brushed on the lightest layer of white craft glue. Then I glittered them up. I love the way they look on my mantel against the red wall! Next year I plan to add more trees, need to find some larger ones, and also some faux tin houses made from chipboard house forms and acrylic paint! I would have done that this year but I just ran out of time.

Want more ornament and decorating ideas? After you are done with the hop, skip on over  to Art Bead Scene Studio Saturday where I share some suggestions for handmade holiday ornaments and you can register there for chance to win a wintery pendant that you can turn into an ornament and even find a few codes for discounts in my Etsy shop for last minute gifts!

12 December 2012

Top 12

Sheldon: What is the best number? By the way, there's only one correct answer.
Wrong! The best number is 73. [Short silence] You're probably wondering why.
Leonard & Howard:
No no, we're good.
73, is the 21st prime number, its mirror 37 is the 12th and its mirror 21 is the product of multiplying, hang on to your hats, 7 and 3. Did I lie?
We did it! 73 is the... Chuck Norris of numbers!
Chuck Norris wishes! In binary, 73 is a palindrome, 1001001, which backwards is 1001001, exactly the same. All Chuck Norris gets you backwards is Sirron Kcuhc!
Just for the record, when you enter 5,318,008 in a calculator, upside down it spells BOOBIES!
{That has nothing to do with the number 12. I just happen to think that the Big Bang Theory is hilarious!}
The next time the trifecta of dates will happen is 88 years hence, on January 1st, 2101. Since I don't believe that I will see that, I think that celebrating this unique mathematical puzzle is in order today!

Today is Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers #12, in case you have no clue) day in Wisconsin. Did you know that? I assume that if you aren't used to sporting green and gold or wearing blocks of cheese on your head you may not know this. There will be a lot of the wearing of the colors today of America's Team, and also a lot of charity events to give back to communities and causes around the state. The drive to establish this date in our beloved QBs honor was spearheaded by a woman who lives in my hometown of Stevens Point! A testament to the power of social media!

{Click here to see Miss Brandi's wonderful blogging recap of 2012}
I came across a wonderful compilation post from my friend Brandi Hussey chronicling her 12 favorite posts from 2012. This is a riff off an idea from Darren Rowse of Problogger fame of creating a snapshot of your blog in just 7 links. However, I prefer the significance of 12 that Miss Brandi chose, one for each month. I thought that sounded like fun, and it might be a great thing to do every year on 12-12 {hint, hint, Miss Brandi! You could start an annual hop on that date, and I would be the first in line to sign up!}

What I loved about Miss Brandi's list is that it helped me have a more focused picture of who she is. I seem to recall a lot of those posts, but there were no comments from me which means that I likely never saw them. How did that happen? So I am most happy that she shared them with me! They seem to convey a real sense of the journey that Miss Brandi was on this year. It was fun to read them.

I think it is a good thing to go back and revisit where you have been. Not to get stuck in the past but to see with clearer vision where you have come from to assess where you would like to be going in the future. It is something that I do each year as I ponder how I manifested my Word of the Year and help me choose a new one {that I am already considering...narrowed down to two that might be used in tandem}.

I found this far tougher than I thought it would be. To narrow it down to just one per month as a vision of where I came from, who I am, was sort of daunting. There were so many that I totally forgot that I even wrote! It was good to read them again and to still feel connected to their message. And even though all year long I look forward to my quarterly challenges, and that is the one I gravitated to each month that they came around, there was always one other post that really grabbed me. I think that these 12 are the ones that I was most happy to read again and I think spoke the loudest about me and my blog.

So here are my Top 12 of 2012, with thanks to Miss Brandi for the concept!

January :: My One Word 2012
February :: Nothing Like the Sun
March :: Sow Seeds of Love
April :: Hope Within
May :: Declaration of Contribution
June :: Sampling the Fruits of Originality
July :: Simple Truths Celebration
August :: Chasing Big Dreams
September :: Toast of the Town
October :: Commitment...with a Kiss
November :: Exercise Your Right
December :: Superhero Christmas

Your turn... what would your curated list of 12 posts say about you from 2012?

11 December 2012

Superhero Christmas

"I mean, first of all, let me say whichever superhero first came up with the idea of wearing a cape, he wasn't really onto anything good. The number of times I'm treading on that damn thing, or I throw a punch and it ends up covering my whole head.
It's really not practical."
~ Christian Bale
The living room is still a mini-mess {but getting better!} due the construction project that should have been done last Wednesday with the installation of a wall of built-ins to turn my sad laundry room into a kick-ass mudroom. Alas, nothing ever goes as planned. The doors appeared to be hung backwards (The raised panel is on the INSIDE. Turns out this is called a 'reverse raised panel.' Whoever heard of spending all that money and then hiding it behind the doors?), but in reality were ordered wrong. So that custom mudroom? Yeah. It will have to wait a few weeks until the new doors arrive. So no hardware, but it is functional. (And they are using it, yeah!) Just disappointing. That was supposed to be my Christmas present, something to show off. Why am I telling you this tale of woe? Because I promised pictures of my new mantel. And with the mess that is in my living room at present, it will be awhile yet before I want to share that view with you all. But I will soon!

I was sad about my unfinished cabinetry. So instead I went shoe shopping and got these.

{Petal Scalloped pretties from Anthropologie. Mine. All mine. ;-)}

Retail therapy never looked so good.

I have never ordered from Anthropologie but when I saw these I just had to have them. If there were a shoe that was me, it might be these. I have a love of pewter shoes dating back to that pair I wore to the Whitney Houston Summerfest concert in 1986. The one where it rained so much the glue on my shoes melted away. I left them in the parking lot and drove home barefoot. I love me some pewter shoes and have been searching for the perfect pair ever since. These are so much fancier, but I think I may have found my perfect match. Pewter with cutouts in bronze. These babies better fit. Because I am already starting to plan the jewelry I will make to wear with them and one of the new pencil skirts I picked up at Target of all places.

But none of that has anything to do with the title of this post.

Every year for the last few the Hintz family has done a theme for Christmas. I blame my sweet sister-in-law Mary for this foolishness. Each year we throw out ideas at Thanksgiving and then put them to a vote. We have done crazy Christmas sweater (that was the year that I got my then 11 year old son to wear a frost forest of trees on a pink sweatshirt!), pajama party (that was by far the comfiest), red and green (how much more cliche can you get?) and redneck Christmas (with one sister-in-law sporting a 5 o'clock shadow from makeup in a coonskin hat and the other one wearing the worst jumble of fake teeth sporting a pillow pregnancy and carrying around another baby doll child all while staying in character all night long). The theatricality of this crew can be quite astonishing.

Every year I have been suggesting the 12 Days of Christmas. You could come dressed as 5 Golden Rings, or 8 Maids a Milking. Or if you are like me, you might choose the 12 Pains of Christmas (like the song) and come as Stringing Up Those Lights or the whining child Buy Me Something. That would be most fun. I am still going to keep suggesting that until there are no other suggestions and they have to vote for mine!

This year the winner was Superhero Christmas.

So that means I need to put my super powers of deduction to work and figure out what that means for me and the Incredibles family. We could be our favorite superheroes, like Batman or Wonder Woman, but I sort of like the idea of coming up with my own. I did start a Pinterest board you can check out, but I could use some help!

I think that it will be a struggle to get my crew in some sort of costume. Oh, Tiny Dancer has all sorts of crazy dance costumes to choose from and she has already told us that her superhero will be some sort of Dancer Girl. She told me that she would have Plie Power. All she will need is a mask, I think (provided I can make one from felt or something lying around the house).

But what do you get the 14 y.o. in? Not to mention the 44 y.o.?!?

My son is named for a comic book character who has his own superhero alter ego. How clever - and easy - would this be for him to dress up as Stupendous Man?

But he is having none of it (and he is the only one of us that voted for this theme, so he better think of something or be open to the possibilities that I suggest!)

My first thought was to find some t-shirts that we could all wear. I love this one. I could see my husband wearing it.

{from The Joy of Ex Foundation}

Or how about this one for my son.

{from Red Bubble}

For me, as a former English teacher, I am thinking that this one would work.

{from CafePress}
 But this one is probably more appropriate...and true.

{from Red Bubble}

I love the simple addition of these wings to the laces on your shoes. Of course, Chucks are a must.

{from SmallFly on Etsy}
And how easy would this be to add cuffs to our t-shirts?

{tutorial for superhero cuffs from Buggie and Jellybean}
Or maybe we can get some funny masks like these.

{printables from BessiePooh on Etsy}

And there are all sorts of ideas we can use to decorate and eat.

Like these Kapow Cake Pops

and Wonder Woman's ropes and those funny lollipops with capes

{from The Party Dress blog}

and Kryptonite in a jar

{glow stick lanterns from LilBlueBoo}
I even found a company called Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.

They have great gear that is essential to the modern-day hero like this

{from Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co}
In doing my research, I found a whole mess of sites with Christmas comic books. Who knew? Some of the covers are hilarious!

{check out those legs on Santa!}

{this one looks vaguely disturbing...}
I thought it would be fun to buy some party favors like these funky sunglasses and gliders
{from Oriental Trading}

{from Oriental Trading}
My niece is a darn good photographer and I have asked her to take my family picture each Christmas so I can use it in my New Year's cards (Christmas cards are just too hard for me to do.) I thought it would be fun to have some sort of a photo booth type set up with a city skyline we could fly over and some props we could hold up. {Both pictures from Love The Day}

And if she takes the pictures it will make for a really cute photo album is we all have to fill out our Superhero Identity sheet.
{wish I could find the original that this came from...}
Now I just need to get my cape back from the dry cleaners.


So, what do you think? Is this Christmas theme crazy cool or just plain crazy? Help me out! I would love to hear your suggestions. I need to figure this out this week so that I don't have to be obsessing about it on the last shopping day, December 22nd!

Tell me... 
What would your superhero name be?
What are your special powers?
How did you get your super powers?
What would your costume look like?

And if you want some more fun, check out this Marvel Create a Superhero game!

{Watch the Christmas Knight trailer}
In nothing else, you simply must watch this short teaser of a film that is being shopped around called Christmas Knight of a superhero Santa on a mission. I totally want to see this in the theater!

Oh, and today is my day over at Earrings Everyday. Come on over and check them out!

10 December 2012

Your Love is Worth More Than Gold: Instant Glam Blog Hop

"Remember this December, that love is worth more than gold."
~ Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon

Before I forget... I chose TWO winners of the Illuminated Chevron necklaces from my Challenge of Color Blog Hop. Congratulations.......................Karin Slaton of Backstory Beads and Sandra Stein of Sanni Panni!
I will be in touch with you to arrange the two colors of your choice for the necklace!


I met the talented Miss Carmi Cimicata of Resin Crafts blog back in June at the Bead & Button show. I have been following her blog with great interest since she does a lot of really cool and innovative things with Envirotex Resin. I use resin here and there, and I even have used Envirotex with great results, but what always draws me in is what she uses for a bezel.

All that resin needs to be trapped, sort of like my clay in the Simple Truths line. And I love the way Miss Carmi fearlessly jumps right in and her playful attitude toward her materials and her process.

So when she came to me and asked if I would be interested in a little blog hop with a new product, I jumped at that chance! I had no idea what she was going to send me, but I was honored that she asked!

What I received in the mail was a brand new product designed for by Fernando Dasilva called Instant Glam. Fernando is a whiz with crystals and makes glamorous jewelry. This new line of his features large bezels in very interesting shapes, like a three sided flower called tres and a sort of shield shape. What makes this even more intriguing is that there are Swarovski crystal inserts that are in the same shapes. I received a bright silver teardrop shape and golden colored crystals to fit.

The first thing I noticed is that this is a LARGE bezel. The dimensions are 2 1/2" long by 1 1/2" at the widest point. Much, much larger than I typically work with for jewelry. What to do? I have been making a lot of ornaments of late, so I thought that this might be good for that purpose.

The crystals are double pointed like a bicone except that they have no holes. Instead, they are backed by a clear sheet of hot fix adhesive. That means that they can be added to fabric! But for my purposes, I had to use a little glue.

See how nicely the crystal sheet fits in the bezel?

My husband and I have a tradition where we gift each other with one ornament in our stockings each Christmas. We don't buy each other gifts so this is our way to do something special for each other. I decided that this would be the perfect quote for my husband because his 'love is worth more than gold.'

I decided to try cutting the crystal sheet into a heart shape. I traced the shape on the back. The thing is, that adhesive backing is tough stuff! It was not easy to cut this out without marring the glass crystals. I know that I crushed a few of them before I carefully used a craft knife to cut the shape I wanted. 

As long as I am working with something new, why not add something else? I just got a shipment of some Kato Polyclay to test. I have never used that brand before! It works much the same as others, however it does have a bit of an odor I would have to get used to, but the consistency was good. So I used that for the bezel then stamped the words. I impressed the crystals into the clay before baking since I knew I would need to glue it after it was finished. 

After it baked, I painted the entire piece with brown paint. The borders on the bezel have a scroll design that I thought was lost due to the shiny silver plating. But my antiquing brought that design out. In reading the instructions Carmi sent, it was noted that the bezel can be antiqued with Liver of Sulphur or patinaed with Gilder's Paste. I grabbed my favorite paste color - German Silver - because I like the soft gold color of that particular one. I think I would experiment with other ways to change the look of the metal, like the Ranger metal patinas or Swellegant as well. 

Finally, I glued the crystal heart into the impression and added a pretty cream bow. I like the way the crystals catch the light. It will be perfect on our tree.

The perfect way to tell my husband how much I love him this Christmas.

Thank you Miss Carmi for inviting me to play with these new components in the Instant Glam line by Fernando. I look forward to seeing more!

Check back on the Metal Complex blog for a blog hop starting tomorrow, December 11th featuring all the projects created with the new Instant Glam line.


Today is also my day to share a project on the Art Bead Scene for our annual 12 Days of Christmas holiday project ideas. Come on over and see how easy it is to make my Whoville Shooting Stars ornaments!


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