Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Art Jewelry Elements - July 2014 Component of the Month Giveaway/Challenge

I was so completely honored to be chosen as one of three Reader Winners for the July 2014 Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month Giveaway!  Still dancing & skipping gleefully here!  That will likely go on for quite a while!

Earlier this week, I revealed which Francesca Watson cabochon was sent to me.  Oh, it's beautiful.  Lovely greens, slightly sage, slightly minty, hints of grassy green.  It also has glimmers of blue and copper, with small black flecks.  Awesomeness all favorite color and tons of style.

My first challenge was to select 'the perfect beads' to coordinate. During the week my cabochon was expected to arrive here in Delaware, I decided to visit one of my favorite vintage bead shops at Etsy, named beadbrats. The shop owner is Marie, who carries a marvelous selection of vintage bead stock. After filling my shopping cart with several options, I mentioned the AJE COM news to Marie. She included a few extra beads with my order, in a slightly different colorway..and look what happened!..these are right out of their shipping wrappers (beadmat-spur-of-the-moment pic):

Did anything ever go-together so perfectly the first time!?!  Thank you, Marie!

What to do next?  To compliment the gorgeous shimmer of both the cabochon and these beads, it seemed that rich, mellow copper components were needed (silver was too 'cold'; gold a 'no-go'). At my request, Francesca had drilled a stringing hole at the top of the cabochon. I remembered purchasing a detailed Tierra Cast copper pinch bail at a bead event years ago! Thinking that would work for my design, but not remembering exactly where it was stashed (oh no!!), a great search & find mission began within my beading room walls. Whew, found it!..along with a bunch of other forgotten lovely things! That moment was immediately followed by selecting a batch of swirling copper beads, also purchased many many years ago. These had mellowed with a soft patina that everyone loves in copper.  YAY!

Then...for days afterwards, I struggled to 'make' something. Perfect colors and components were sitting in front of me, so what was wrong?  Stringing, un-stringing, re-stringing...different design..too complex...not complex enough..where had my muse gone?

Finally, on a whim, I pulled this out of my collection...

...and my 'first ever' attempt to use Sari Silk was realized (about time, too!).  Also included are a handful of size 8 green/coppery Japanese seed beads and copper SoftFlex wire. I decided to keep the whole process simple and soft in order to let the vibrant color and beautiful components shine:

This was such a wonderful experience. Here's what I learned:

"Keep it simple, soft...let the colors and beads speak"

Thank you to AJE, Francesca and Marie for this wonderful opportunity!

Please take a look at what everyone created!  That's where I'll be!
Here is the full list of designer links:

Guest Designers

Deb Fortin  -

Toltec Jewels -

The AJE Team

Caroline Dewison -

Susan Kennedy -

Melissa Meman -

Jenny Davies-Reazor -

Kristen Stevens -

Francesca Watson -

Carol  :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

My Pups Bracelet

It's been a really long time since I made jewelry for myself!  You know how it're focused on other things...working, kids, house & home, the world...lots of other things...

Every once in a while tho, you find Artisan beads that are so special, they just demand that you 'stop and make'. Bonus: finding a wonderful Artist who makes 'custom' beads', just for you!  Awesome!

That's what happened when I found Rebekah Payne at TreeWingsStudio on Etsy (WARNING: be prepared for ultimate cuteness and beauty when you visit her shop!). Several months ago, I asked Rebekah if she could make beads in her style to resemble my dogs (you've seen my girls in prior posts - Mindy, Cherry and Poppy).

Rebekah said absolutely!  All she needed was a few pictures of my girls. That was easy! When my beads arrived, I was amazed.  Rebekah created beautiful mini replicas of my dogs!

Then, I got stumped...should they be in a necklace?  a bracelet?  which style?  which color?  So, these lovely beads sat, for a while.  Bad me.

Last week, while reading one of my favorite Blogs, Heather Powers' humblebeads, a style became clear!  Heather's post was focused on a specific design challenge (please see her July 22, 2014 post for details - Designing Dilemma).  However, I knew her style would work wonderfully with my pup beads!  It combined my current peanut bead fixation with a simple style to allow focus on Rebekah's beads.  Best of all, this style would prevent the pup beads from spinning to the backside of my wrist where no one would see them.  Don't you hate when that happens?

First, using memory wire cutters, I cut about 2-circle lengths of memory wire. Always use memory wire cutters with memory wire...otherwise, you will ruin your expensive wire cutters! (been there, done that). The number of circle-lengths is up to you, based on how full you want a bracelet to be.  More lengths=more fullness, more wraps around the wrist.  I wanted my bracelet to be slim, so 2 circle-lengths was perfect.

Then, I turned a simple loop at one end of the wire.  For a better fit and more comfortable wearing, I like to turn my memory wire loops facing 'outward' rather than 'inward' towards the wrist.  Next, I made a lovely 'peanut bead soup mix' in colors/finishes to coordinate with my pup, violet, blush, grey, metallic green/black and soft beige.  I wanted my pup beads to lay on top of my wrist, so I added them after stringing the first 1/2 circle of peanut beads.  In order to create some space and wiggle-room, I added 4 peanut beads between each pup bead..that seemed to be the right number of peanut beads to keep everything centered as well. After re-checking the spacing of the pup beads, I continued adding peanut beads until reaching within about 1/2 inch inch at the memory wire end. Turned another simple outward loop..and wa lah!

Yesterday, everyone at work loved this bracelet!  I even coordinated my outfit around it! This is sure to be a favorite, much-loved piece in my that I will wear often because it is so stylish, comfortable and easy to wear.  My girls can be with me all the time, too!

Thank you Rebekah and Heather for these fabulous beads and for the super inspiration.

See what you can do with this idea?!  I'm 'gonna do more for me!

Monday, July 28, 2014

On your mark....

It's almost time for Blog Hop and Challenge 'reveals'....  Yay!  I've been busy creating.

On Thursday, I will reveal my AJE July Component of the Month creation.  One of Francesca Watson's beautiful glass cabochon's was the focal inspiration.  I received the piece towards the top left-of-center in the picture, triangular-shaped, with coppery and shimmery green colors:

Hint: my piece is vibrant green and incorporates lovely sari silk with gorgeous vintage beads from beadbrats at Etsy. It was like these 3 components were made for each other, right from the beginning.

On Saturday, it's time to reveal my Haberdashery Blog Hop creations! I made several pieces, all using the same 'technique', but each with a different color-way or with different bead assortments. It was a first time for me to try this 'technique'...I've always been a bit scared of it before. However, this Hop gave me the courage to try. It was also really amazing to see how much a design could change by using different sizes, shapes and textures of beads, even tho I kept the foundation elements exactly the same.  Quite an eye-opener for me.

Hint: here's a picture of a few of my design elements.  I've had a real love-affair with peanut beads recently (these came from Fusion Beads). The DMC floss was one of those spur-of-the-moment purchases from A.C.Moore Arts and Crafts Store during a recent trip home to visit family.  A few more skeins of floss in my stash can't hurt, right?  OK..can't say more until Saturday...

I want to send a loud shout-out to AJE/Francesca Watson and to Melissa Trudinger/beadrecipies for these wonderful opportunities!  Thank you!

GET SET......GET READY.....  :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 2014 ABS Challenge Creation

Wow..has it really been almost 2 weeks since I've posted?   Well, let's get caught up, right away!

I just posted my inspiration piece to Artbeadscene for their July 2014 Challenge.  This will always be a thrill for me!

At first, I thought to use a very appropriate sea-green or aqua color pallette to compliment The Little Mermaid artwork (by Edmund Dulac)..but things just didn't seem to jive for me...ugh, these were beads I had been chomping-at-the-bit-all-week to use (does anyone else know that feeling?!).  My first selection was not meant to be for this particular project...back to the beady drawing board.

Ultimately, the goldens/topaz, deep cool purples and a bit of sage green were my inspiration and everything just clicked..happy happy :)

This artwork connector is from Pajego Art House at Etsy.  It was lovingly stored in my stash, just waiting for the right inspiration.  It is a fabulous creation meant to resemble an urchin tidepool.  Also, this beautifully-shaped vintage Lucite Topaz shell bead from beadsellergirl at Etsy, was stored-away in my 'favorites' collection.  The ABS Team and Heather Powers have a great way of getting us to make sure all of these lovely items are seen, not stored!

The Antique silver shell dangle chain, Swarovski bi-cone crystals in Satin Tanzanite, plus a variety of silver/sterling sea themed charms found their way onto my beadmat.  It's so hard to find a demure mermaid?, but I was successful.  To find out more about why there is a 'bone charm' on this bracelet..take a closer peek a the will see why!  I've wanted to use a bunch of Farfelle seed beads in a design..and this was it.  It seemed wise to add a real pearl, too? up next are:
1.  ArtJewelryElements Component of the Month Challenge Reveal on July 31 - I just received some excellent beads to go with this from Marie at beadbrats/Etsy.  'Creation' begins this weekend.
2.  Haberdashery Hop Reveal on August 2 (my pieces are done and photos are ready!)
3.  I just found out I was accepted to the Resin Crafts Klik Collaborative Challenge which will be revealed towards the end of August!

Whoo hoo and see you soon!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Art Jewelry Elements July 2014 Component of the Month

Hello there everyone,

Here's my scoop for this week.  I was so thrilled with the piece I made for Melissa Trudinger's Haberdashery Hop over this past weekend, that I made 3 versions! The Haby Hop reveal date isn't until August 2nd, so I can't post any pictures here just yet.  Please promise that you will come back?'s 'my girl' Poppy with white paint on her head!...she is too quick, always into something...including the fresh paint my hubby put on a wall!  Don't worry, it's latex and temporary!

Last week, I entered my name into Art Jewelry Elements July Component of the Month Giveaway. Imagine my complete surprised to hear from Francesca Watson last Saturday morning saying that I am one of 3 Readers chosen to participate in this challenge!  I'm still so OMG excited that I almost can't breathe!'s such an honor to be selected!  

Francesca is hosting the AJE Giveaway this month.  She made these beautiful, yummy glass cabochon pieces.  I'm not sure which one is coming to me, but that is a GOOD thing because I never would have been able to choose just one..they are all so gorgeous!  Look at those colors and that shimmer!:

Our challenge is to make something wonderful with our cabochon and to post the finished piece on our blog July 31, 2014.  So, I'm watching my mailbox and need to get cracking, asap!  Which one do you think will arrive?...ohh, the red one?...or one of those bright turquoise ones? about that orange one?..or the lime one?...or..... :)

Happy beading,
Happy dancin' in Delaware!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The July 2014 ArtBeadScene Challenge is posted!

ABS revealed their July Challenge artwork today!  It's another beautiful piece, of course.
The Little Mermaid, 1911 by Edmund Tulac:

I was hoping for something in a range of blues..and my wish was granted!

This is not 'Ariel from Disney'....but rather is inspired by the the original story from Hans Anderson, which has a slightly darker and more mysterious tone.  Check-out the full story of the piece over at artbeadscene.

Happy beading,