28 June 2013

Sunny Seaside

“Look at that sea, girls--all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen.
We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more
if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.” 
~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

 Today is my day to share the monthly blog tour of participants in the Art Bead Scene challenge for June. It is my honor to curate this special gallery of goodies.

I didn't have time to make my own jewelry inspired by this month's painting by Franklin Carmichael called Jackknife Village, but I have been working this year to be inspired by the painting in my offerings to the Simple Truths Sampler Club.

This month I put my very rudimentary skills at polymer clay canes to work with a little scene lifted right out of the painting. (You can squint to see it ;-). I like the idea of 'painting with polymer' and hope to do more of this! I have to thank Heather Powers of Humblebeads for sharing her knowledge and expertise with me and I hope that I have done her proud! And see that wee little key hiding in the scene? That is a gift cane that Heather crafted for me inspired by my logo. I will 'sign' all my beads with that key from now on!

Hop on over to see all the other great pieces created in response to the Art Bead Scene for June!

24 June 2013

And the winner is...

Send me an email or a message on Facebook with the address you want the assorted goodies sent and
I will put together a custom package just for you!

20 June 2013

The Treasure that Awaits

Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him. ~ Paulo Coelho

My treasure is always found at Bead & Button!

It is hard to believe that the Great Bead Mothership has taken off without me...again! But I did have a grand time conferring with the other bead freaks out there! And more importantly, I found some new treasures I could not pass up! This year I did NOT take a class. That felt weird. But I am going to ArtBliss in September so I will have to get my learning fix then!

Sadly, I did not take one picture this year. But I did get to see some dear bead friends... some that I never miss seeing and some that were new to me... Lisa Peters and her lovely mom Donna... Cynthia and Greg Thornton of Green Girl Studios... Diane Hawkey... Melanie Brooks... my sister-in-rust, Brenda Schweder... Vlad and Kremena Ivanov of Golem Studio... Marsha Hedrick of Amazing Porcelain... Angie Graham of BlueFrog Art Studio... Lola Surwillo...  Stephanie Ann Dieleman and her friend Kelly... Joan Miller... sweet Miss Kristen Fagan and sweet Miss Sara Oehler of Soft Flex... someone I have long admired, Tracy Bell of Copper, Glass and Recycled Trash... I got to meet Marsha Neal for the first time. She is such a lovely soul! I am always blown away by her generosity and kindness. And Kaushambi Shah came all the way from DC to take a full lineup of classes. She and Lisa Peters were instrumental in setting up the fun Art Bead Scene dinner filled with laughter (much of it at my expense - you can ask Diane about that!) and bead swapping. What could be better?

I met Melinda Barta from Interweave along with Marilyn Koponen who is an ad rep there. I would have loved to go on the bead hunt with them. Maybe next year!

I got to see Karin from Kalmbach who is patiently waiting for me to make up my mind and just DO IT ALREADY! The good news is that Heather and I are going to hold each other accountable. Right, Heather?

I was delighted when Tanya Goodwin stopped by the booth for a visit. She was wearing the necklace she made to celebrate her black belt achievement with the special pendant I crafted for her. And Angela Lund-Logan popped up as well. It is fun to put names and faces together from people who are regulars on the Art Bead Scene.

It is always a treat to see my sister-from-another-mother, Jess Italia Lincoln. This year she had her full entourage with her... including her sweet husband Todd and her little princess Livi! Livi is even more darling than her pictures with those bright blue eyes and the most adorable wardrobe ever. She was even sporting a handmade drusy necklace. The most stylish one year old ever!

Of course, the highlight for me is always getting to spend time with my best friend Heather Powers of Humblebeads and her Aunt Rosanne. I get to fondle, er, admire all the Humblebeads I want for a whole weekend (and add to my collection!). It always goes by too fast! I think that one of these years we will need to stay one extra day just so we can chill and actually sit and talk!

I know that I am missing someone along the way...if that is you, please know that is purely unintentional! There were some people that were missing this year. I truly did miss seeing Kerri Fuhr and Jennifer Heynen. I hope they will be there next time.

One of the best things besides seeing people, is shopping, of course. And although I thought I was on a very strict bead diet, I really couldn't resist! It was like a diabetic being dropped in the middle of the Hershey factory. I was pretty good this year and didn't go nearly as overboard as in the past (or did I?). You be the judge....

{Lovely new shapes and colors of czech glass beads from Nirvana Beads. I especially like the new Concave - Piggy Beads, as they call them. Those coral ones over there on the left. They have one hole in the middle like a bead cap, and then one hole offset. So you can get this cool spooning effect! These were brand spankin' new and they didn't have many from the factory, so I made off with an entire hank of the Pink Luster color. Yummy!}
{Small nugget pearl strands from TA Pearls. Cannot.Get.Enough. And at just $3 a strand, I can afford to love them so! I still have many strands from last year. This year I added this deep navy-purple color and a mix of turquoisey-green strands to my stash. And the multi-colored keishi were an impulse buy on their 'clearance' table for $12 a strand.}

{Our neighbor to the right is Angi Graham of Blue Frog Art Studio. Her display is pretty darn cool (everyone wants her old wooden tool box!) and her glass is dynamite as well. This year I bought some of her 'orphans'... glass disks that are quite gorgeous. And look at those peacock beads! Definitely a splurge! Also shown here are an assortment of Green Girl Studios treasures. I told Aunt Rosanne NOT to let me over there, as I am hoarding half a printer's tray full of their pieces over the years. But I escaped and bought some anyway. That sweet little owlie? That is original artwork from Azalea Thornton, who apparently doesn't fall far from their creative tree! I HAD to buy it to support her art. She had robots and monsters and the cutest little daisy flower person. I went for the owl and it lives on my bulletin board. I am one of those people who stops at every lemonade stand...and this is lemonade for the artist's soul. ;-) Keep on making art, Miss Azalea!}

{I am sad to know that next year Melanie Brooks of Earthenwood Studio will not be exhibiting. I save my pennies all year to buy some of her goodies! Miss Melanie is embarking on new adventures and I wish her all the best. I picked up a few things that will round out my stash. And she had this great tray of lovelies from her friend Gaea and I couldn't resist this carved heart tube bead that looks like bark!}

{Miss Lisa Peters is located right across the aisle. Danger! I cannot stop myself from pouring over her trays. I love her flowers with the hole in the center, and there were several wee ones carded together by color. No orphan goes unloved with me! She also had some great cardinal bird heads, each one different. I am on the hunt for cardinals as that is our h.s. mascot and I plan to make jewelry for their upcoming fundraiser.}

{I cannot help but smile every time I am around Diane Hawkey. She is just so fun, and her beads speak to me...literally! The word beads she does are my favorite. And she had these cute little hearts with words I couldn't pass up. Plus I bought all the rest of her teeny tiny houses. And some birds with branches. But I really love the new iridescent raku style that she is working on. I called these 'grungies'; she calls them 'relics.' Those little moon and star connecters are so sweet! And the little purple star bead is reversible to a moon!}

{I always stop by Holy & Pure Gemstones. Like a million other booths, they have an interesting assortment of just about everything. This year I found some faux sea glass small rondelle beads with a sort of peacock AB finish on them.}

{Another find from Holy & Pure Gemstones... rhinestone encrusted saucer shaped beads with bling on both sides. I am thinking earrings, or pendants. For their size, they are heavy. I think they will be a special touch here and there.}

{Teeny-tinies! Crystals and glass pearls in 2mm will make great spacers!}

{Peanut beads and some really cool fringe type beads in tubes!}

{Of course, my week would not be complete without adding to my Humblebeads stash! It really is quite embarrassing how many of Heather's beads that I own. I really must make something with them! Her new bracelet connectors and pendants are so soft and ethereal... a couple of cardinals to add to my newest collection, and will you look at the colors on those shimmery leaves!? Real gold leaf is added for that amazing depth of color.}

Doh! I just realized that there is a picture missing! I got some great glass headpins from Nikki Thornberg and some ceramic ones from Marsha Neal Studio. If I can find the picture, I will add that to this post. But know that they are pretty marvelous treasures!

{Last, but not least, I stopped by the Beads Direct Online booth. I first found them last year and was amazed at the colors their finishes add to the gems. I brought so many people back to their booth and this time, while I was talking to owner Leslie D'Souza and his wife Mary, I could have sold the necklace I was wearing that featured their beads in it a dozen times over! People were literally walking across the aisle to touch it. This year I picked out the following treasures: chrysocolla onion briolettes, lapis AB rondelles and cushion-cut squares, natural aquamarine AB with a gorgeous sandy color, pink opalite AB (I think...), labradorite AB, onyx and green hematite AB tiny rondelles, hessionite garnet AB, natural aquamarine AB cushion-cut cubes, hessionite garnet AB nuggets and the last two strands they had of a titanium coated garnet in rough cut. This was the big splurge of the year. But I do think it was worth it!}
I have been so absent of late on this place that I love. I am trying to get back to it. (Did anyone notice that I didn't do the Challenge of Literature in May?) I am spending nearly every single night (except for Mondays) at a ballpark for my two kids teams, five between the two of them: league baseball, league softball, travel baseball (my husband coaches all three) and new this year travel softball and the Junior Legion traveling team. It is a good thing I like diamonds (of the ballpark variety) and I am happy not to have to cook until August! I want to be present for these moments as they will not be going on forever. Beading and ballparks don't seem to mix very well, at least not for me. And I am working nearly every day on a new venture that I am excited to release that will allow me to do fundraising for causes I am connected to as well as making a little income on the side (more on that at a later date). I am hoping to work back into the swing of things and get back to the Challenge of Travel in August. I have already been thinking of the concept. I hope you will consider joining me.

As promised, I would like to have a little giveaway. It has been awhile since I did one.

Since I am a hoarder of the highest degree, I have treasures that I have yet to break into from the last THREE Bead & Button shows. I know! Criminal! But cutting into them will surely get me to start using them. I will pick out a lovely assortment of goodies from my past stashes, as well as my current spoils to gift to one lucky winner. All you need to do is answer the following question:

If you were to go to Bead & Button,
would you spend your money on classes or beads?
What classes? What beads?

I will pick a random winner from all comments on this post on Monday, June 24th. 

18 June 2013

Lovely Knots

I don't usually suffer from a crisis of confidence when I am learning a new skill. I have taken all sorts of classes in all sorts of medium and I usually pick things up relatively quickly. This can, of course, be a problem. Like when I learned to rivet with Tracy Stanley. I did it right the first time and then I was unable to figure out why it went so horribly wrong when I came home to try it. Because I never struggled I never learned how to fix it. To this day it is a miracle if I can get a rivet to go the way it is supposed to go.

Carmi Cimicata of Resin Crafts asked me to play along on a new adventure with her: Chinese knots. Using a special polyester cord that we were provided and an instruction booklet by Fernando DaSilva, a group of us were challenged to learn how to make knots and showcase them.

I, of course, wait until the absolute last minute. The ballpark this past weekend was not conducive to using silky fibers. Baseball (and softball) and beading don't seem to mesh for me. So here it is, the night before the deadline, and I am struggling. I am sure that my procrastination played a role in this!

I had the pleasure of meeting Fernando at the Bead & Button show recently. I came around the corner and there he was! I introduced myself and told him that I had been on a previous hop with the Instant Glam line of jewelry components. He actually said that he was very impressed with my project because I was the only one that didn't make jewelry. I made it into an ornament and used polymer clay. I told him that I would be working with the knots and I got to see all the projects from the book up close. They looked deceptively easy, so of course that made me a little too sure of myself.

So I had this idea to do a necklace with a fringe of leaves and the knots as spacers. I picked out what I felt looked like a pretty simple knot to master. After all, it is listed as the most popular Chinese knot.

I only had one color of cord, but there is an alternate style that combines two colors that I would like to try. But I think that I still need more practice. Like a few hundred more knots.

Getting the loops was actually the easy part for me. And the first one seemed to work like a charm. Then I strung on three lucite leaves and then started on the next one. It was when I went to pull the knot tight that things started to (figuratively) unravel. I wanted the knots to be snug to the lucite leaves in between to get that fringe effect. But no matter what I did, the knots would not come out as cleanly as the first. There were always a few extraneous loops that would not tighten up!

Remember those Chinese finger torture things as a kid? The mesh tube that you would put two fingers into and then when you tried to pull them out it would only get tighter and then you were stuck? Yeah. That was what I was experiencing with these knots! Now I totally get the reference to 'tied up in knots'!

For me, the best thing I could do was to put my pinkie finger in the middle of this knot as I gently wiggled it back and forth to get the knot as snug as possible to the leaves while also pulling all the loops in. I am still not sure that I did it right, but I do like the possibility of it.

I am calling this "Berries on the Vine." I found some lightweight vinyl chain that I bought from Yvonne at My Elements in a mottled green color. I just knotted the chain to the cord and then used a match to burn the edges to melt them secure. It is such a light necklace. And I love the combination of hot pink and acid green. Reminds me of every outfit I wore in the 80s. Retro is in, right?

The Lovely Knots cord from Dazzle-It is probably the best stuff. It has a silky feel, is very supple and lightweight, it holds the knots well, but also doesn't get out of shape if you have to rework a knot or two. I will have to give some of the more complex knots a shot when I have a bit more time to experiment.

Thank you, Miss Carmi for issuing this challenge, and thank you Fernando for continuing to push the envelope of your creativity and bringing new products to light!

Stay tuned for a long overdue wrap up of the Bead & Button loot. I think it might be time for a giveaway, too!

Note: I was given the Lovely Knots book and cord by Dazzle-it for review purposes. 

06 June 2013

The Great Bead Mothership Has Landed

"I can’t stress this enough: Do what you love…in between work commitments, and family commitments, and commitments that tend to pop up and take immediate precedence over doing the thing you love. Because the bottom line is that life is short, and you owe it to yourself to spend the majority of it giving yourself wholly and completely to something you absolutely hate, and 20 minutes here and there doing what you feel you were put on this earth to do."

 from Find The Thing You're Most Passionate About, Then Do It On Nights and Weekends For The Rest of Your Life ~ The Onion

I am leaving tomorrow today for Milwaukee. I can't wait! I get to visit - however briefly - with my sister and her family, but more importantly I get to commune with people who get me like no one else does. The Great Bead Mothership has landed and I am ready to hop on board! It is always so exciting to get there and meet up with old friends and also to know that when I leave I will have some new friends. I hope that if you are reading this and you will be there, you will seek me out. I would love to meet you!

I get to hang out with Heather Powers at Humblebeads in booth #1212 and her Aunt Rosanne. The aisle that we are in is in the heart of the Art Bead side of the show. It is the place that I can't wait to visit as I am always blown away by the talent of so many.

My bead budget will be considerably smaller than in years past - mostly because I found the box with the beads that I bought last year and the vast majority of them are untouched - but more so because I have a new venture that I am focusing on that is causing me to branch out my creativity while helping causes that I care about. All of my available capitol right now is being funneled into setting all of this up. When I have a clearer picture of how this will work, I will be sure to share.

On Saturday night, the Art Bead Scene will be hosting a little meet and greet of art bead artists and enthusiasts. I look forward to kicking back with my bead peeps and swapping a few art beads. I am sure that my art bead museum can make room for a few more entries!

So since I have a veritable dragons' hoard of beads - including a museum full of art beads that I apparently buy and then allow to collect dust - I decided to whip up a few necklaces to show off some of the friends that I will be seeing at the Bead & Button with pieces that I scored from them in the last year...or so. Sort of my salute to Art Bead artists.

Home to Roost
 Featuring MoreSkyeJewels nest tile, polymer clay egg from Second Surf, peridot carved leaves, Vintaj brass branch, wood slices, Czech glass

Earth Laughs in F;owers
Featuring Humblebeads and my own Simple Truths along with brass and Czech glass

O, Happy Day
Featuring components from Michaels by Jangles and Czech glass

No Small Thing, Courage
Featuring glass from imakebeads, word bead from Diane Hawkey, one of my own enameled beads, copper leaf fringe chain, my own patinaed bead cap, Czech glass

Lasso Me A Lovely
Featuring a flower from Lisa Peters Art, an iron flower from The Lipstick Ranch, leather cord and a big hole pearl from TA Pearls

Outta Time
Faux lariat featuring a ceramic toggle from Earthenwood Studio, lampwork glass from Sea of Glass, chain and beads

And with that, I am officially Outta Time! I need to get myself down to Milwaukee before all the beads are taken and the Great Bead Mothership takes off without me! ;-)

See you next week!


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