Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bead Enemy No. 1

Last night, I was working on the computer when I heard caterwauling...which is not unusual, because whenever my cat, Gordon, re-kills the fake mouse I bought for him, he lets *everyone* know about it. Then I heard thumping...again not too unusual, but my cat's 15, has thyroid cancer, and has made me believe he is within an inch of death on numerous occasions (can you say drama king?).

Then I heard tumbling down the stairs. So either he got so excited by killing a fake mouse that he took a tumble while celebrating, or something else was going on.

Something else was going on.

I go up the first flight of stairs and spied his of my brand new artisan-made polymer clay beads! The nerve of him! By then, he was no where to be found, so I hiked up the second flight to my work area...where I found the little imp coveting a stash of beads he had spilled off my bead table...all over the carpet. As I picked up *my* beads, he had to nerve to start screaming at bead is safe.

I wish I had thought to grab my camera when he was in the midst of his bead-induced frenzy...he was like a furry little precioussssss....

So I found a picture that most suits his criminal nature. This is Bead Enemy No.1!

oooh, my precioussssss

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bead Soup Blog Hop Reveal!!

The day is finally here for my reveal in the Bead Soup Blog Hop, hosted by the lovely Lori Anderson! The rules were we had to use the clasp and focal sent to us, though not necessarily in the same piece. We had the option of using the coordinating beads.

 I was matched up with fellow designer, Menka Gupta, from sunny California! As a reminder, here is what Menka sent to me:

Faceted agate & some faceted gemstones

Dyed agate focal and silver & copper clasp

Silver links and bicones

I love green, but I find that I don't work with it very as a main color, so I was thrilled to see Menka sent me a "green" soup! I wanted to use the blog hop as a way to help stretch my skills, and part of that is being forced to break out of the colors you are most comfortable using!

Ironically, the first piece I made, was not "green" but pink! I fell in love with the silver links, and was holding them in my hands when I imagined they would make a good frame for a dangle. I had just picked up some pink acrylic beads that were the juiciest color of pink.

Next, I found myself looking at the larger faceted agate beads, and envisioned them on simple copper wire-wrapped links.

However, I wanted a little more color, so I added some green seed beads to the silver jump rings that connect the links. It's subtle, but enough to make the bracelet a bit more interesting. In this piece, I used the silver and copper clasp. The drape of this bracelet on your wrist is so elegant!


I struggled a bit with the focal...because of my own limitations in skill. I had tons of ideas, and wished that I could magically do beadweaving, or some funky stitches...I then had a design pop into my head as I was falling asleep last week! I tried wrapping the focal to some gunmetal chain, with more seed beads and some of the small faceted gemstones as well. It looked beautiful in my head...but not so pretty in person. So I pulled it all apart, using a few choice words.

I then went back to what I know and strung some seed beads on two different lengths of wire...I wanted an unique drape to showcase the focal. I was going to add a third strand, but when I held it up to my neck to test it, just two strands looked a lot more striking and allowed the focal to be the, well, focal.

I apologize that the photo isn't as good as the other two pieces--I pulled out my necklace display, and I must have dragged it along something, because it looks like someone took an axe to it! (Note to self: buy new display). So I had to hold the necklace up, so it would drape properly, with one hand, while I took the photo with the other. And while it drapes perfectly while on, I didn't want to make you all have to stare at an up close shot of my neck ;) I finished the necklace with the gunmetal chain I had cursed at earlier, and it just goes over your head--no clasp.

To thank everyone who visits, I am hosting a giveaway of the earrings and the bracelet (two separate giveaways). I am going to hold onto the necklace, because, in my heart, I have a feeling I am going to still work a bit more with it! To enter, just leave a comment waaaay down at the bottom of this post, and make sure you say if you prefer one over the other. I will assign everyone a number, and then use a random number generator to pick the winner on September 1st!

 Now, please visit the rest of the 3rd reveal participants to see some lovely creations!

Hostess, Lori Anderson, Pretty Things

Agi Kiss,
Moonsafari Beads 
Alice Peterson,
Alice Dreaming
Alison Sachs, Beads by Earthtones
Amanda Dittloff, Passion Smashin'
Andra Marasteanu, Bijoux de Monanage
Angie Szlovak, SweetBeads
Anitra Gordy, Leelu Creations
Ann Sherwood, Ann's Blog
Arlene Dean, A Glass Bash
Audrey Belanger, Dreams of an Absolution
Barb Solem, Vivi Magoo Presents

Barbara Blaszczyk, laboratorim Flory
Bianca Odenthal, Zydies Glasperlen
Birgit Klughardt, GitesBeads
Bobbie Rafferty,
Beadsong Jewelry
Bonnie Coursolle, 
Jasper Gems
Cece Cormier,
The Beading Yogini
Charlene Jacka,
Clay Space
Cherrie Fick,
EnLa Lumie're
Cheryl Foiles,
Get Your Bead On
Christie Murrow,
Charis Designs Jewelry

Christina Miles,
Wings n Scales
Christina Stofmeel,
Feng Beads
Christine Stonefield,
Sweet Girl Design
Cindy Cima Edwards,
Live to Design
CJ Bauschka,
4 His Glory Creations
Claire Smith,
Embergrass Jewelry
Cynthia Riggs,
Cynth's Blog
Dana Fowler,
Trunk Full of Treasure
Dawn Pierro,
Turtle Moon Designs
Dee Elgie,
Cherry Obsidia
Donetta Farrington,
Simply Gorgeous

Dot Lewallwn,
Speedie Beadie
Elizabeth Bunn,
Elizabeth Beads
Eva Kovacs,
Ewa gyongyos vilaga!
Evelyn Duberry,
Sheba Makeda
Fay Wolfenden,
Torch Fairy
Fen Li,
Bead Flora Jewels
Gail Zwang,
Angel Moose Enterprises
Geneva Collins,
Torque Story
Grace Dorsey,
Fan of the Flame
Gretchen Nation, 
Art Food Lodging

Hannah Annear,
Hajer Waheed,
My Beaded World
Heather Goldsmith,
As I Bead It
Heather Otto,
The Craft Hopper
Heidi Kingman,
My Bead Therapy
Hope Smitherman,
Crafty Hope
Isolina Perez,
Isolina Perez
Jacqueline Keller,
Jane Haag,
Did You Make Something Today?
Janeen Sorensen,
Wild Vanilla Designs
Jean Peter,
Jean P. Designs

Jennifer Judd,
Jen Judd Rocks
Jennifer L Justman,
Soul's Fire Designs
Joanna Matuszczyk,
Bizuteria z filcu
Joanne Brown,
Jo's Jewels
Joanne Lockwood,
Jo Bunkum
Joyce Becker,
Joyce's Joyful Gems
Judy Riley,
Three Red Beads
Karen Mitchell,
Over the Moon Design
Karen Williams,
Karin von Hoeren,
Creative Ideen

Karla Morgan,
Texas Pepper Jams
Kashmira Patel,
Sadafule .. always in bloom!
Kate Richbourg,
We Can Make That at Home

Katrin Lembke,
Kathy Combs,
Torched in Texas
Kathy Lindemer,
Bay Moon Design
Kay Thomerson,
Kayz Kreationz
Kelley Fogle,
My Life, One Bead at at Time
Kelly Hosford Patterson,
Traveling Side Show

Klaudette Koon,
Only Road
Lara Lutrick,
Lampwork Beads by Lara
Laura Guenther,
Blue Antiquities

Laurie Lalonde,
Simply Mod Jewelry
Lilik Kristiani,
Soul of My Embodiment
Linda Younkman,
Lindy's Designs
Lisa Chapman,
Beach Cat Beads
Lisa Lodge,
Pine Ridge Treasures
Loretta Carstensen,
Designs by Loretta
Lori Bergmann,
Lori Bergmann Design
Lori Dorrington,
Lori's Adventures in Etsy Land
Lupe Meter,
Gem's PC Corner
Lynn Davis,

Malin de Koning,
Beading by Malin
Mandi Effron,
Mandy Williamson,
Mimi's Beading
Margot Potter,
The Impatient Crafter
Maria Rosa Sharrow,
Willow Street Shops
Marianne Baxter,
Simply Seablime Jewelry
Marina Dobrynina,
Savon Feutre
Marjolein Trewavas,
Room for Change
Marelene Cupo,
Amazing Designs
Marsha Neal,
Marsha Neal Studio

Marta Kaczerowska,
Mary Govaars,
MLH Jewelry Designs
Melissa Trudinger,
Bead Recipes
This is my partner!
---> Menka Gupta, Menka's Jewelry Blog
Michelle Burnett,
Reverie and Revival
Michelle Escano-Caballero,
The Cabby Crafter
Miko Wiropati,
Uniquely Yunikua
Milla Hope, 
LB Creative Arts and Crafts
Mimi Gardner,
Other Curiosities
Miranda Ackerley,
Natalie McKenna,

Noemi Baena,
fuego, metal, y color
Pam Ferrari,
Ferrari Originals
Pam Sears,
Crazy Creative Corner
Penny Neville,
Copper Penny
Rachel Baron,
R. Baron Designs
Rachel Myers,
Rockabead Jewelry
Rana Wilson,
Definitive Designs by R. Wilson
Rebecca Anderson,
Song Beads
Rebecca Sirevaag,
Becca's Place
Riki Schumacher,
Riki Jewelry

Rose Binoya,
Ahtee's Blog
Rossana De Gaspari,
Rdegas Blog
Sally Anderson,
Wild Sally Road
Sandi James,
Do Be Do Bead Do
Sandi Volpe,
Sandi Volpe
Sandra Wollberg,
City of Brass Stories
Sarah Goode,

Sarah Small,
blog by salla
Shai Williams,
Shaiha's Ramblings
Shawn Mills,
Shawn Marie Designs with Bent Wire
Sheila Davis,
Stone Designs by Sheila

Sheryl Stephens,
Babble Bead
Shiraz Biggie,
Secret Song Designs
Solange Collin, 
Ahowin Handcrafted Jewelry
Sonya Stille,
Dreamin' of Beads
Stephanie Dixon,
The Dixon Chick
Susan Kennedy,
Sue Beads
Susan Sheehan,
Strands of Thought
Suzann Sladcik Wilson,
Sweet Freedom,
Sweet Freedom Designs
Tabatha Dinger,
Modernly Created
Tania Hagen,
Pelima Jewellery Design

Tanya Boden,
Fusion Muse
Terri Gauthier,
Blooming Ideas
Terry Carter,
Tapping Flamingo
Tracy Stillman,
Tracy Stillman Designs

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I love Beads of Clay!!!!

As I blogged last week, I went to Bead Fest this year...and fell in *love* with ceramic beads! I went to Bead Fest with the intention of buying some handmade beads, because I simply don't have the time to make enough lampwork on my own for the jewelry I create. So this is how I really stumbled for the first time into the ceramic world!

My first purchase came from White Clover Kiln...I was supposed to still be in the "overview" mode where I walk to whole show and make decisions after I have surveyed what's available. However, when I stopped at Mary's booth, my self-control finally evaporated. I fell in love with her bead caps, and the delicious colors of her glazes.

Next, I knew I had to get back to Suburban Girl Studio...I had set my sights on her Egyptian pharoah and scarabs...but was still undecided on what else to get...because I wanted one of everything. Diana was very patient as I stood there looking...and looking...and looking.  I can't wait until she re-stocks her etsy store, so I can get some more of her beads soon! I have had the teardrop beads dancing through my brain the past couple of days, so I think those will be the first I use!

By this time, I was running out of time--the show was closing for the day. So I made a couple of mental notes and knew I would be shopping during the break between my classes on Saturday!

During the break, I found some very cool bead pairs and a focal by Marsha Neal. The picture does not do the colors justice!

And finally, I had been eying a dragonfly pendant from Joan Miller ever since my first walk-through on Friday. I decided I *had* to have one, or else I really would regret it! So this will be made into my own personal piece! I absolutely love him!

I am so happy to have had the chance to buy such beautiful beads from talented artists. The pieces I make with be gorgeous, no doubt!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Beads Only a Mother Could Love...

Art Jewelry Elements is hosting a mini-blog hop today...and I'm a little late to the party, as usual, but it was such a fun idea, I wanted to join in.

The blog hop is focusing on growth as an artist. It is serving as a good reminder of how far we have all come in terms of skill level, as well as a reminder that we were all beginners at one point!

So I dug into my stash of starter beads, and found the actual bag of beads I made at my first class. They are pretty sad, but when I made them, I was soooo awed by the fact that I created them, it was love at first sight!

Lots of blobs, undercut dots and sharp holes! What's not to love? :)

Want to hear something funny? The big pink blob on the left is supposed to be a heart! I haven't made many heart beads in my time, but thank goodness they don't still look like this! I tried to find a picture of a more recent heart, but I realized I only make them in this style when I am doing Beads of Courage purple hearts, and I don't have any made right now. Even funnier, you can't really see it, but on the right side of the heart is a little bump...have no idea what I was doing there. Maybe it's a pacemaker.

Even the Tin Man would say,"No thanks!"
Even though I have definitely gained a lot of skill since that first day, I have more to learn. In fact, I went to a one-on-one tutoring session today to help correct some of the bad habits I have developed over the years. As much information is out there on the internet, there is no substitute for having a teacher sit next to you and correct and guide you as you work in the flame.

So what can I do now? These days I like to make focals, and work in silver glasses. Here's some of my more recent pieces!

Hopefully, the more recent ones look a tad bit better! :) Please check out the other artists participating in this blog hop on the Art Jewelry Elements blog!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Soldering Silver Bead Fest Class!

SUCCESS! I did NOT solder any part of any component to myself. Actually, that would be impossible, but I was so tired, I could imagine it happening to me.

The first class I took at Bead Fest this year was on Soldering Silver Components. I have wanted to learn how to solder for a while, mainly to create some closed rings for use with my jewelry. When I saw the class, I signed up, even though it started at 8:00 AM. In my summer world, that is the equivalent of about 4:00 AM to the rest of the world that rises early.

So armed with a coffee that was so small it wouldn't satisfy a toddler, I stumbled my way in to the class.

It's as small as it looks. Actually, it's smaller.
The teacher of the class was Mark Lareau. I realized that I had a book of his on wire work (I'm a book junkie). All Wired Up was one of the first wire-working books I had purchased.

Mark was a great teacher. He had the rare ability to take some technical material and make it so easy to understand. I was able to quickly understand why soldering was a preferred method, versus the use of the "paste" used in many cheaper components. He was also very enthusiastic and open with his knowledge. If you ever have a chance to take a class from him, go for it.

The one thing he made us do that was painful was think. At 8:30 in the morning. Have a mentioned I'm not a morning person? But he charged us with the task of designing a piece that needed to be soldered in multiple places, so we could jump into the fire (no pun intended). This is what I came up with in my foggy brain.

Kind of reminds me of a health class poster...
But the exciting part is that all of the pieces stayed attached to each other! There is definitely a slight learning curve with soldering--it reminds me of lampworking in the sense that you have to *know* your material and at what point in it's heating cycle it's at.

The soldered piece; a few gaps, but not too bad!

So I got brave and tried to make a flower. Now I would do it totally different if I try one again, but it was good practice in making some shaped rings and trying to solder a lot of points in a small area. You can see that there are some chunks of solder still there. I was so concerned with overheating the silver that I didn't wait for the solder to flow.

The "flower", even though it didn't work out quite like I had planned, was the best learning tool of the day. This is what I like the most about good classes--they give you a chance to play and experiment and actually learn; sometimes learning what not to do is much more valuable.

My final piece was simple. I wanted to make a component I could use to make earrings. I just soldered together a couple of "S" shapes, and voila!

Not too fancy, but they will make a pretty pair of earrings for my personal collection!

When I have more energy, I will post about my other class, with Gail Crosman Moore!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Bead Fest!! A Bead-for-All!!

I am happily at Bead Fest Philadelphia this week...not as a vendor, but as a happy ecstatic buyer! I got to meet some very cool people today, *and* buy lots and lots of beads!

If you don't know, Bead Fest is one of the biggest bead shows held each year. It's total Bead Overload. It's more beads than you know what to do with. It's heaven.

Even my hotel room is amazing. I wanted to make sure I had a fridge, and last time I came, I stayed in a suite, which had a fridge and sink. I figured this hotel room would be similar. Wrong!

That. is. a. fireplace. I was seriously tempted to crank up the air condition so that I could snuggle in front of the fire...but that would be such an egregious waste of energy I would suffer from bad karma for months. I don't want bad karma.

I know no one really cares about my hotel room, even if I am incredibly excited about it. You all want to see some beads, right? I apologize for the phone pictures, but I didn't drag my photo set-up with me! ;)

I have fallen in love with porcelain beads this trip. They are my *thing* to over-indulge in this year. And what's better, is that I am supporting fellow handmade artists!

My first haul came from White Clover Kiln (they have an etsy shop)! I just fell in love with the colors and patterns on her pieces and will make some beautiful earrings with her beads. The one salmon colored bead is all mine. I fell in love with it, and will probably just string it on a black cord so it can be showcased as the star it is.

My next stash of handmade porcelain were found at Suburban Girl Studio LLC's booth. Her beads are so original and unique, and since I love all things Egyptian, I will be claiming the pharaoh head pendant and scarab earrings for my own person stash! I'm thinking of hoarding the paw print pendant as well. I need some new jewelry as much as anybody!

I will be visiting a couple more porcelain artists tomorrow--I actually ran out of time today at the show!

Next, I picked up a kumihimo kit. Kumihimo is a type of Japanese braiding, which makes a great complement to lampwork beads. I have been wanting to try this technique out for a while, but waited until BeadFest. Better yet, I found a artist selling the kits, so even though I didn't get any of her lampwork beads, I was still able to support her! I bought the kit from Emerald Artistry, who makes adorable animal beads!

This is only the board and rattail...lots more was in the kit!

I also got a few base metal findings, but didn't take pics of those. And of course, I had to hit some of the bigger vendors to replenish my supplies of crystals and a few gemstone strands.

My camera couldn't capture the gorgeous colors in these beads!

Gorgeous lead-free pewter!
Some chain, lapis and other good stuff!
Tomorrow, I am taking two classes. One on soldering components. I am a little worried that I may solder myself, since I am running on little sleep, and class starts at 8am tomorrow! Then, I am super excited to take an enameling class with Gail Crosman Moore! I hope to have some fun experiments to share in the next couple of days!

Friday, August 10, 2012

It's time for the 2nd Bead Soup Reveal!

The second batch of Bead Soup has been served! You still need to wait until the 28th to see my creations, but have fun hopping the second reveal participants. Tell them I sent you!

Hostess, Lori Anderson, Pretty Things
Adlinah Kamsir, Dream Struck Designs
Adrienn Lukacs, Raszputyin Designs
Agata Grygiel, Cytherea Bijoux 
Alenka Obid, Pepita Handmade 
Amy Dickerson, Damyjo Designs 
Amy Schmidt, Amy's Treasure 
Amy Severino, Amy Beads 
Andrea Trank, Heaven Lane Creations
Anke Humpert, Anart Island Studios
Ann Rishell, My Critical Eye
April Grinaway, Brooklyn Bead Goddess 
Ashley Bunting, Miss Ashely Kate 
Astrid Boyce, Astrid Boyce Beads 
B.R. Kuhlman, Mixed Mayhem Studios 
Barbe Saint John, Saints and Sinners
Beata Benkone Meggyesi, Beahobbi
Brandy McNair, Bella Vita Handmade Jewelry 
 Bryna Lumb, Bryna's Bead Box
Carmen Lau, Little Maketto
Cate van Alphen, Fulgorine
Cathie Carroll, Cathie Carroll's Studio
Cathy Khoury, Touch Jewelry 
Christina Stofmeel, Feng Beads 
 Collette Collins, Fire Fly Myst Artisan Jewelry
Courtney Breul, Beads by Breul 
Crystal Thain, Here Bead Dragons
Cynthia Abner, Created Treasures
Deana Hager, Just Deez'Art & Life
Debbie Phenes, Deb Joy Sing
Dhea Powers, Java Bead
Diana Welte, Lilyweeds
Dita Basu, alankarshilpa
Dorota Zeranska, gdymamczas 
Dot Lewallwn, Speedie Beadie
Elisabeth Auld, Beads For Busy Gals
Ema Kilroy, Ema K Designs
Emma Todd, A Polymer Penchant
Eva Sherman, Eva Sherman Designs
Evie and Beth McCord, EB Bead and Metal Works
Francy Inman, Francy's Studio
Ginger Bishop, lilmummy likes...
Giorgia Rossini, Jo in Wonderland
Ine Vande Cappelle, Jewels by Ine 
Iveth Caruso, Creative Atelier 
JJ Jacobs, Coming Abstractions
Jackie Ryan, Kydo Jewellery
Jeannie Dukic, Jeannie's Blog
Jelveh Jaferian, Jelveh Designs
Jenna Tomalka, Twin Birch Studio
Jenni Connolly, Jenni's Beads
Jennifer Van Horn, Jennifers Jewels and Junk
Jo-Ann Woolverton, It's a Beadiful Creation
Johanna Rhodes-Nash, Fire Phoenix Creations 
 Joyce Blair, Bent Wire West Coast
JuLee Wolfe, The Polymer Penguin
Karen Vincent, Swallow Tail Jewellery
Karin Slaton, Backstory Beads
Kayla Potega, The Eclectic Element 
Kim Dworak, CianciBlue
Kris Lanae Binsfeld, Cherish Designs by Kris Lanae
Kristen Latimer, MJM Jewelry Designs
Kumi Fisher, Malie Kai Designs
Kym Hunter, Kym Hunter Designs
Lennis Carrier, Windbent
Leslie Wayment, AA Beads & More
Linda Murphy, Bonita Bead
Lisa Johnson, Whimsey Wonders
Lisa Sittniewski, Love, Yesterdays
Lois Moon, Que Onda, Q'Town?
Lola Surwillo, Bead Lola Bead
Lorelei Eurto, Lorelei's Blog
Lori Bowring Michaud, Artfully Ornamental
Lori Finney, Using My Beads
Margareta Saari, Mags-koruja
Maria Horvath, Horimarika Beads
Marian Hertzog, M's Place
 Mary Ellen Parker, BeeTree by m.e.
Mary K McGraw, MK's Creative Musings
MaryLou Holvenstot, time2cre8 
Martha Aleo, Ornamento
 Maybeline Tay, The Jewelry Larder
Megan Collins, Churchy & Her Sailor
Melissa Meman, Art. Life. Love.
Melissa Mesara, One-Eared Pig Beads
Paige Maxim, Paige Maxim Designs
Pam Farren, re-maker
Pam Hurst, Pam Hurst Designs
Patricia Handschuh, The Color of Dreams
Patty Miller, CabariBeads
Penney Klapoth, Faerie Acres
Regina Santerre, Regina's Writings
Rhea Freitag, starrgazer creates
Rochelle Brisson, A Creative Chelle
Sabine Dittrich, PerlenDschungel
Sandra McGriff, Creative Chaos
Sandra Neights, Petalo Azul
Sandra Young, It's a Bead Life!
Sara Oehler, SoftFlex Girl
Saturday Sequins, Saturday Sequins
Shanti Johnson, Sunshine Bliss
Shari Replogle, Plays With Paper
Sonya Stille, Dreamin' of Beads
Stefanie Teufel, Stefanies Sammelsurium
Tammie Everly, TTE Designs
Tania Spivey, Moobie Grace Designs
Therese Frank, Therese's Treasures
Tina Holden, Polymer Clay Bytes!
Toltec Jewels, Jewel School Friends 
Tracey Nanstad, A Beadiful Mess
Tracy Choy, BumbleBeads Designs
Valerie Norton, Hot Art

As for what I have coming up? A little tease...color-wise, here are some of the hues you will see in my soup in two weeks!