Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bead and Jewelry Link Love

Ugh, please forgive - I seem to have overextended myself in a big way between family and beady obligations. I should be able to dig myself out by the end of the year (touch wood), but I'm snowed under at the moment and don't have a lot of time to blog. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday (we certainly did), and I will be back in a few days. In the meantime, here's the usual set of lovely bead and jewelry links for your perusal.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean makes some SWEET earrings, using Green Girl Studios' beads! The fabulous crew over there are working on a book--it is going to be GREAT! No doubt about that!

Jewelry & Beading
Come drool over glass bead artist Kerri Fuhr's fabulous creations!

Art Jewelry magazine
Planning on coming to the 2009 Bead&Button show? Preregister today to make class sign-up a breeze! Jewelry Making
Giving With Your Jewelry Skills - With the coming new year, consider some new ways you can give back with your jewelry making skills.

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Marketing Monday (on a Tuesday)-Casting the net wider

Art Bead Scene
Did Santa bring you beads from your wish list? Use your new beads in these free projects from ABS!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi makes one last Christmas ornament that could also be worn.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Art Bead Scene's December prompt is, "Puttin' On the Glitz!" See how Andrew addressed the challenge with his crystalline creations. (Two of which moved on to become KGI Worldwide Design Contest Semi-finalists!)

Strands of Beads
Melissa shows off a simple snowflake necklace for her final seasonal piece of the year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Here's my final Ornament Thursday project for 2008. A little rough-cut chrysophase, faceted aquamarine, snowy white pearls and white seed beads (along with my snowflake pendant, again) for a simple statement on the season. Please visit the other OT participants for other great ways to conclude the holiday season:

BeadStyle magazine
A seed-beaded ornament for the holidays

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy's sharing her favorite OT project!

For myself, to be perfectly frank, I've seen enough snowflakes in the past two days to last the rest of the winter (it took my father two days to fly in, due to wintry conditions). Our family is now all together for the holiday, and the Short One is happy as a clam (although, admittedly, the first thing he said to his grandfather when he arrived this afternoon was, "Did you bring my checkers?!?" The SO has been quite keen to acquire a set of checkers ever since watching Elmo play the game a couple months ago and, between you and me, he has already figured out that his grandparents are a soft touch for this kind of thing). H. and I are looking forward to trying to assemble various items and then collapsing in bed for the night. (And since the SO doesn't really know what's going to hit him tomorrow, we are hoping for a late start to the morning, too.)

I hope this finds you likewise with loved ones for whatever seasonal celebrations in which you may partake. Thanks so much for reading!

ps. I ended up being too disorganized to hold a sale before Christmas, but I have marked down everything in the store by 25% through the end of the year. Should anyone be interested, that is.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Shameless Self Promotion: Step by Step Beads

Well, I actually haven't received my copies for this yet, but I was in my local bead shop yesterday, and the Jan/Feb 2009 issue of Step by Step Beads was already on the stands. My necklace, "Java Jive", is in this issue, and it's one of my favorite pieces. It's been at the publisher's office for almost a year, and I am really looking forward to getting it back. It incorporates my silver and fabulous beads by Jenn Kelly of CaliGirl Art Glass and Kristine Dery of Krissy Beads.

On other fronts, I've recently discovered my alter-ego. Mild-mannered mommy by day, once the Short One is in bed I turn into...the Cookie Monster! We've been decorating Danish butter cookies in the house, and I'm afraid I've found them irresistible. The SO took out the cookie tin today, looked in and said "Cookies gone!!" My mother, who is here for the holiday, tsks, tsks and says I should be ashamed of myself (making nooo mention of the fact that she kept eating the candy for the gingerbread house before we could use it, of course). I don't know what the SO and I will do once the holiday is over. Or, at least, I don't know what the SO will do. I'll be going on a diet...

Two more days! Everyone ready? I must confess that I'm still working on my Christmas cards for the year...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Piece de Resistance

We made "gingerbread" houses for the last session of the Short One's Mom and tot cooking class. The SO, who still has not yet been introduced to c-a-n-d-y and who is naturally suspicious of any foodstuff that he has not already vetted personally at least a dozen times, made no attempt to eat the decorations during class, but I did have a hard time keeping him from gobbling down the graham crackers (of which he is inordinately fond). Hansel and Gretel have nothing to it, and we all know what happened to them.

Anyway, the SO did a good deal of this on his own, including the chic, modernist-looking Necco wafer roof, the elegant Christmas tree and the urbane landscaped gumdrops. I have a feeling we are going to be making this project again next year, on our own. What a great class.

I hope everyone is having a fun not-too-snowy weekend (once again, we had a huge snow dump here while the Husband was out of town - I think this has happened once too often to be called mere chance, let me tell you. Having grown up in Oklahoma, I'm not terribly good at the whole shoveling thing). Here are your intriguing bead and jewelry links for the week:

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Despite his aversion to snow and the cold, Andrew finds appreciation for the winter whiteness and creates a buying guide for snowflake themed jewelry components.

Strands of Beads
Need a last minute gift idea? Don't panic! Melissa has a quick, easy and inexpensive snowball pendant project for you.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Remember the book, Rabbit Redux? Jean reviews another Redux-y book, Vintage Redux, a cool jewelry design book for your enjoyment!

Katie's Beading Blog
Check out Katie's polymer clay creations!

Jewelry & Beading
The fabulous Tammy Powley shares some of the secrets to her success in the jewelry making business!

Carter Seibels for Divali Glass Jewelry
Uncork the bubbly and put on your sparklies! Carter's studio is full of festive creations.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi upcycles an old coin necklace.

BeadStyle magazine
Sneak a peek at the projects in the January 2009 issue by watching our three new videos!

Art Bead Scene
Running out of ideas for gifts? Art Bead Scene has the Twelve Days of ABS projects ready for you! Jewelry Making
Get into the Christmas spirit with jingle jangling crystal dangles and Santa charm earrings! This jewelry project for the wire and bead lover.

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Let is Snow, let it snow, let it...well, you know

Greetings. CAN YOU BELIEVE CHRISTMAS IS ONLY ONE WEEK AWAY?!?! Ack. Rationally, this shouldn't bother me, as I believe I have all of my shopping done. However, for whatever reason (possibly because I am anal) the closeness of the holiday still makes my palms sweat, my heart palpitate and my mind wake me up at 3am wondering if there's anyone on my list for whom I forgot to buy a present.

It could happen, right? If you find yourself in this situation, my Ornament Thursday project may be just the thing for you. Turn a plain mother-of-pearl lentil bead into a cute snowball pendant by adding a couple small red beads and two green Czech glass leaves. It's simple, it's extremely quick, and it won't break the bank. I attached my version, above, to a cute chain and turned it into a nice seasonal necklace, but this pendant is small and light enough for earrings or could be worn as a charm on a charm bracelet. Versatile, eh?

Meanwhile, the Short One is somehow convinced that Santa (of whom he had not previously heard) is going to bring him a purple pop-up book "tomorrow" (the SO has held the belief that Santa will arrive "tomorrow" for the past month). In the interest of getting a decent night's sleep, the Husband and I have decided NOT to inform the SO when Christmas Eve actually rolls around. Maybe it's a little Grinchy of us, but we figure that we have the next 7 years or so years to be woken up at 4am on Christmas, so we might as well get our rest while we can.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Make a Confetti Ring to Wear at Your Next Holiday Party!

Holiday Sparkly Fan Pull
Lisa creates a dress up look for a ceiling fan

Linda's snowman
Some paper, beads, and fabric are transformed into an adorable snow guy.

Poinsettia Madness
Beautiful poinsettias in glass.

Poinsettia Ornament
Polymer clay and glittery snow recreate a Christmas memory

Don't forget to visit next Thursday (Christmas! Ack!) for the final Ornament Thursday of 2008.

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Shameless Self Promotion: Stringing

This is both a beginning and an end for me - my first appearance in Stringing and my last appearance in print for 2008. The Winter 2008 Stringing goes on sale December 30th and contains my Dragon Hearted necklace project. Thank you so much to the editors of Stringing!

I've said this so many times already, but I have to say it once more - this was my first year in print, and I'm really grateful to everyone with whom I worked for taking a chance on my freshman work. I have certainly enjoyed designing for the magazines. Maybe the time will come when I feel so blase about the process that I will no longer even mention it on the blog, but I must (embarrassingly) admit that I still get as excited as a kid in a candy store whenever I have a new piece coming out. Professionalism, shmufessionalism.

And now that I'm through (for the moment) being shameless, I'll return you to your regularly-scheduled programming. Thanks for dropping in.

Bead and Jewelry Link Love

My mother-in-law very kindly took this shot for me back in October, when we were visiting the zoo with the Short One. (Over Thanksgiving, his teachers created an "I am Thankful For" statement for each student. The SO was apparently thankful for his stuffed monkey, the color green and "when Grandma and Grandpa take me to the zoo", so the trip clearly made a deep impression on him. But I digress.)

The shot was meant to inspire me to create a new winter-themed piece, and, like so much else recently, I just never found the time this year to do it. Despite the fact that I'm working at even more of a snail's pace now than I ever have (sigh), I thought I'd at least share this photo, which I think came out quite nicely. I wonder if there's any chance that Santa will bring me that extra hour in the day that I've been wanting for Christmas...

On more enlightening fronts, here are your bead and jewelry links for the week:

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Inspired by Chinese creation myths, Andrew creates a Swarovski-encrusted and bead embellished sculpture. Jewelry Making
Think you don't have time to make any bead and wire holiday ornaments? Think again! Tammy has a super easy project so easy even children can make them.

Art Bead Scene
It's the holiday season! Art Bead Scene is getting glitzy.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi experiments with Claudine Hellmuth's new product line and ends up with another fun necklace!

Carter Seibels for Divali Glass Jewelry
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Carter's studio.

Erin of
Erin's chosen a few free jewelry how-to's to get you crossing off the names on your shopping list.

Jewelry & Beading
Glass bead artists galore are being featured on Jewelry & Beading!

Naughty Secretary Club
Raid your stash of vintage baubles to make some Floral Fros – jewelry encrusted coifs to make your walls swoon!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean's in a holiday mood for Soft Flex Company!

Strands of Beads
Melissa shows off a simple winter rose bracelet project this week.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Short Order

I can't decided if this is just another example of how my creative process works or if it means I need to get out more. I was playing with the Short One as usual yesterday afternoon, when I finally noticed that several pieces in his miniature cooking set (he loooves to cook - it was my little short-legged toddler and a bunch of elementary school aged girls at the doll furniture section of FAO Shwarz when we were in NYC last) had holes at the end. "Yes!" I thought, "No drilling required!"

Lo and behold, they make a pretty cute necklace, right? Right? I think they'd also look good with big, colorful lucite beads, but I couldn't resist pairing them with pearls, here. (Okay, okay, this is just a mock-up, as I can't even begin to imagine the complaints from management if I took these and used them as jewelry components right now. One of these days, maybe...)

Anyway, at the very least, I offer this necklace as another illustration of the fact that you really often don't have to look very far to come up with a simple, original - if not downright kitschy - piece of jewelry.

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Winter Roses

Welcome to Ornament Thursday, Part Deux.

Here's another extremely simple and quick idea for holiday adornment. This project is based on one I made back in October for Terrorific Tuesday, entitled Gothic Pink. I'm still rather in love with the vintage pink lucite rose beads I purchased several months ago, so I thought I'd use them again for a similar, albeit slightly more feminine, project.

For some reason, I've always been intrigued by the idea of winter roses, so I combined these with faceted white quartz and one of my snowflake pendants. I strung the beads simply on stretchy Magic Cord. It's gone over well in this house. The Short One took it over and spent the afternoon playing with it - nothing like stretchy beaded thingies for hours of fun (and it's still in one piece, even).

I'm off to coerce my husband into finalizing gift selections for his side of the family. He's the only person I know who starts hyperventilating when forced to shop on-line. (Or maybe it's just a guy thing?)

Cindy Gimbrone Puts Up Her Xmas Tree!
Fused Glass Xmas tree ornament sparkles from Cindy's real Xmas tree.

Friendly Plastic Ornaments and Sew simple mittens
This week in the countdown to Christmas, Michelle shares her recipe for Friendly Plastic Ornaments and Helen sews another tree ornament

Gingham and beads and buttons, oh my
Counterchanges smocked gingham forms the foundation for this homespun ornament

HHH Enterprises
We are pleased to have this special guest join us this month!

My Favorite Things in an Ornament!
Lisa shares a special gift ornament

New Beaded Ornament
See our special guest's beautiful creation!

Secret Garden Christmas Tree Ornament
Michelle's got a special tree from the Botanicabella collection!

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Here's more otaku goodness from me. Last month when the SO and I were suffering from cabin fever, the Husband very kindly took us to Rotofugi to play with all of the Japanese import toys. The SO came home with a cute Wish Come True toy that he calls his "snowman", and I came home with this green Mini-Trexi Voodoo Kong, that started out life as part of a key chain.

Some women shop for the perfect black pumps to go with their new dress - I spent several days searching for the perfect tacky plastic banana charms to go with Kong-san (actually, I believe the Trexis are made by a Singapore-based company, but still). I wanted charms that looked like true bunches of bananas and, by golly, I found them. Woo-hoo. Throw in some hot pink vintage lucite and you have a bracelet that makes a Statement (in my humble opinion).

I love this bracelet - I really do. Sometimes you just have to throw subtlety out the window.

Thanks for visiting!

ps. I solved the whole problem with the Christmas cards. While the SO was occupied with decorating Christmas cookies (his current favorite pastime), I shoved the holiday hat I knit for him on his head and snapped away with the camera. The photos came out lovely - he even looked up and smiled for me on occasion. I must remember this trick next year...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bead and Jewelry Link Love

I'm currently engaged in the holiday tradition of trying to take a cute photo of the Short One for Christmas cards - it's been very uphill going (also a tradition). While I was flipping through old photos, desperately looking for one I could use instead of the gazillion I took this weekend that came out blurry (the SO is quite fast on his feet these days), I came across this photo. It won't do for holiday cards, of course, but I still find it kind of appealing. The SO was playing with his little Playmobil figures right after we had our new windows installed. I'm still not sure if the people are admiring our windows or trying to see out of them, but I thought the whole installation had a lot of character.

So, everyone have their Christmas shopping done yet? Should we change the subject?

How about a few intriguing bead and jewelry links?

Art Bead Scene has a deal for you!
Got $10? Then you can make lovely home decor with art buttons and beads!

Brilliant Crystal Jewelry 2
Get the scoop on this special issue from Bead&Button Magazine

Carter Seibels for Divali Glass Jewelry
Carter ponders her love of color and the meanings behind the colors we love

Katie's Beading Blog
Make your own jewelry sets in minutes with these projects that are perfect for gifting.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean, an "Amazon top 1000 reviewer" pens her thoughts concerning Melinda Barta's new custom jewelry making book!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
The mythic riddler-of-old prompts Andrew to find Sphinx Inspired jewelry components. Jewelry Making
Thinking of ways to sign your jewelry art? How about a metal stamp? Even better, how about a cool sale Tammy found out about on metal stamps and jewelry tags?

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Barbe reviews Tammy Powleys Making Designer Mixed Media and Memory Jewelry with 2 big thumbs up!

Carmi's Chinese Silk Button Covers
The simple button form is used to create these stunning asian inspired fabric pendants.

Jewelry & Beading
Cyndi is hosting a Beadmaker's Blitz this month!

Naughty Secretary Club
Jen is in the midst of a 4 day jewelry display extravaganza with this post that gives you a glimpse into the jewelry boxes of the ladies behind Felt Club, Crafty Chica, Handmade Detroit, 31 Corn Lane and More!

Strands of Beads
Melissa makes very simple Christmas tree earrings to kick off the holiday season.

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy Holiday Earrings

We're getting back to basics with Ornament Thursday this month, to celebrate the season. Ornament Thursday was originally created last year as a craft round-up to celebrate the holidays. In honor of the group's history, every Thursday this month we will have seasonal projects to show off and, hopefully, to inspire you with your own holiday crafts.

I love the holidays, and I love holiday-themed jewelry (the cuter - or tackier, depending on your perspective - the better). I love colorful Christmas ball earrings and candy cane necklaces - you name it! Yay for the holidays! (The only thing preventing me from wearing a lot of this jewelry nowadays is the less-than-three-foot-tall person running around the house tugging on and getting into everything. We already have arguments on who owns the cool beads in the house - no need to fan the flames, I say!)

I have a very simple earring design for you today, something that you can likely make out of what you already have in your stash. I like cones, not just for finishing up multi-strand necklaces but also for use in sculptural pieces. They remind me of, well, Christmas trees, for example. Add a Venetian glass star on top and a circular or square glass bead on the bottom, and you have a super-quick and easy gift for holiday giving. I had a hard time photographing these well, so here's a second photo of the pair I whipped up today (during the SO's naptime):

As a bonus, the glass bead at the bottom acts as sort of a clapper, so the earrings make a nice jingly noise when worn, like small bells.

Please visit these links for the other cute OT projects (and look forward to more next week!):

Brandi's keepsake childrens coaster ornament!
Super fun and easy ornaments to make for the whole family!

Christmas Past and Needle Magic at
Michelle is addressing the ghosts of Christmas past and Helen gets down and dirty sewing a Christmas ornament - stand well clear, she is dangerous with a needle.

It's ORNAMENT Ornament Thursday!
Michelle's got some cheap, easy mini clipboard ornaments to share!

It's Ornament Thursday Again: Icicle Time!
Lisa takes a look at handmade icicle ornaments from Ruskin Designs

Needlepoint Stocking on
Linda's ornament this week is a mini stocking in needlepoint.

Happy holidays!

ps. One of my favorite bloggers, Amy Locurto, is giving away a beautiful personalized photo frame with matching ribbon. Go here for details.

Bead and Jewelry Link Love

Hi there. I'm back from my trip and trying to get organized. I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. We had a nice time, but the Husband sprained his ankle the day before Thanksgiving (it wasn't a bad sprain, luckily), which meant he was laid up for a couple days. We did take the Short One to see the balloons being blown up for the Macy's parade before the accident, which is always fun.

I did not have as much access to the Internet while I was away as I was expecting, so I am terribly, terribly late with these, but here are the week's bead and jewelry links. I will be back later tonight with my Ornament Thursday project - a cute set of Christmas tree earrings. Ornament Thursday will be running weekly this month in honor of the season, so look forward to a lot of holiday projects. Jewelry Making
Tammy's drooling over the big and beautiful cloisonne beads.

Art Bead Scene Inspired by Steam
Art Bead Scene picks for Steampunk Style.

Art Jewelry Magazine
A holiday gift to you: a sale on downloadable patterns from BeadStyle, Bead&Button, and Art Jewelry magazines.

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Getting know Barbe=7 random things post!

Jennifer Jangles Blog
It's time to get started on those Holly - day projects, here's one from Jennifer.

Jewelry & Beading
Cyndi has rounded up a few fast and easy projects from some of her favorite suppliers.

Naughty Secretary Club
See what fun baubles Jen and her collage artist buddy Traci Bautista come up with this week. Hint: there are vintage cupcake toppers, chunky plastic chain and fabric involved!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean thinks this class with Anne Mitchell and Gail Crosman Moore would be a fabulously fun and educational experience. Make this upcoming February a truly special one! Read all about it here!

Strands of Beads
Melissa is inspired by astrolabes and orreries to create a pendant from a beautiful lampworked bead.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Magic Words � Text-based jewelry components can be a great source of inspiration. Andrew investigates these worded beads and pendants in six new designs.

Oh, and speaking of Andrew Thornton, he's currently holding a Studio Sale - lots of wonderful stuff, including a necklace published in Stringing and a beautiful fine silver tree ring. Check it out!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bead and Jewelry Link Love

Here's a little seasonal artwork from the Short One. He amused himself after making this by picking off the turkey's googly eyes then complaining vociferously that the turkey was "broken" after the eye came off. I have no idea when the eye came off again, but this guy is clearly destined to be a one-eyed turkey for the holiday.

As I mentioned earlier, I've decided not to sweat the holidays, and I'm taking the week off. I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving! In the meantime, here are your intriguing bead and jewelry links for the week:

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Finding Inspiration – Andrew explores a few examples of where he discovers inspiration and how it relates to the jewelry he makes. Jewelry Making
New Gathering Leaf Project - Use a chipboard sticker and some wire to make a leaf necklace for fall or to wear at the Thanksgiving table.

Bead&Button Magazine
Always wanted to publish a beading or jewelry-making book? Kalmbach Publishing Co. is looking for authors.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi decides to make a name tag she'll actually wear.

Jennifer Jangles Blog
Jennifer's showing some funky sticks for your hair this week.

Naughty Secretary Club
Naughty Secretary Club and Etsy team up for a fun bracelet how-to project and a shopping guide for kitschy cool jewelry supplies.

Strands of Beads
Melissa gets inspired by a favorite strip from "Peanuts."

Art Bead Scene reviews their favorite tools
This tool gets around!

CHA Winter Show and Trends
Join Katie as she shares trends from the upcoming CHA Winter Show.

Carter Seibels for Divali Glass Jewelry
It's not beaded, but it's quite entertaining! Carter shares some of her other creative talents this week.

Jewelry & Beading
Kerry Wilkinson works with resin and...fruit? Well, ok, it's really polymer clay!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean could easily picture herself as the lead in the book, The Secret Garden. Come play dress up with some jewelry using Green Girl Studios components!

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Celestial Globe

I took a series of photos for this post, but most of them came out massively blurry for some reason, so I gave up and have reverted back to my usual image-lite blogging. This photo, however, does require a little explanation, so please bear with me.

A while back, Carter Seibels held a little contest to name one of her completely gorgeous lampworked necklaces (I couldn't link directly to the necklace, but it's the one in the upper left hand corner). I should probably save this as a random fact about me for the next time I get tagged, but it is a peculiar part of my personality that I can never resist a naming game. What I come up with may not be terribly apt, mind you, but I love coming up with names (which, frankly, made the ultimate name game - what moniker to saddle the Short One with - difficult, as H. and I came up with dozens of candidates, but that's another story). Anyway, having spent two years playing with the SO's toys, Carter's lampworked beads reminded me very strongly of jungle animals. I also knew from her blog post that Carter had been specifically working to create the beautiful rectangular shapes of the beads. So I came up with "Geometric Safari", which - as you can see on the link - is the name she ultimately chose for the piece.

As my prize, she sent me a beautiful sea green hollow bead with a smaller lampworked bead inside of it. I was smitten with it the minute I saw it - the bead seemed very kinetic, and I wanted to preserve the sense of movement in it. The construction also reminded me vaguely of a spherical astrolabe, also called an armillary sphere (if you are unfamiliar with spherical astrolabes, you can see an illustration of one here). I am a huge fan of historical mechanical instruments of all kinds, but none are quite so romantic to my mind as astrolabes and orreries, those devices that were created to simulate the motions of heavenly spheres.

I sat down to think of how to turn this concept into a working pendant and ultimately came up with the above. Initially, I wanted to have two concentric fine silver rings, but the size would have made the whole thing unwieldy, so I settled for one. The ring is stamped on each side with a favorite quote from (who else) Shakespeare's "The Tempest": "We are such stuff / As dreams are made on". I managed to preserve a sense of motion in the piece - the bead spins, the ring swivels (actually, I keep thinking that the whole thing would probably make a fun cat toy if it weren't so, well, fragile and expensive). Sometimes, in my design process, the end result doesn't really resemble the initial concept all that much, but I think it translates fairly well here.

Many thanks to Carter Seibels for the beautiful bead and the great inspiration!

And thank you for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Piece of Pi

So, as I was saying yesterday, I decided to make this little mathematical frippery. What, you say, is it? Think back to your geometry class in high school. Think circles, think circumference, think area. Yup, it's pi (taken out to eight decimal places). I couldn't help myself. I've been wanting to make one for ages. It's one of those pieces that probably only I will ever like, but I do like it. Before you know it, I'll be making conic sections jewelry. Sometimes I have to follow my inner geek.

Plus, the Husband, who is an engineer, finds it amusing.

On other fronts, we made pumpkin squares at the SO's Mom and tot cooking class today. With cream cheese icing. I have to say - we both really enjoy this class, but I am finding, given that most of the stuff we make are baked goods, that it's quite detrimental to my waistline. The old equator has definitely been expanding over the past month and, for once, it's not because I scarfed down leftover Halloween candy. If only I could find it in me to NOT EAT SWEET STUFF when it's in the house. This is the reason I hardly ever bake anymore. I would appreciate finding a little willpower in my Christmas stocking this holiday season, please.

Believe it or not, I have even more new work tomorrow. (I should mention at this juncture, however, that I am going to be taking next week off for Thanksgiving.) Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Moons of Saturn Got in My Eyes

Here's new work from me - the first bead in a series. If I were actually organized about this, I'd wait until I had more of the beads finished to show them as a group, but given my current stunning rate of progress, that could be at the end of 2009, so I'm just going to introduce them on the blog as I get around to making them.

The inspiration behind this is a bit oddball - it comes from the quote above, which Lucy van Pelt said to Charlie Brown to explain why she (yet again) managed to miss catching that pop-fly ball during (yet another) sad baseball game. I can't really explain why I was thinking of this particular strip, except to say that, as a child, I was a huge "Peanuts" fan. I love comics and I still read them (for one thing, I started re-reading "Calvin and Hobbes" after we found out that we were going to be having a little boy), but I don't think I've loved any comic as much as "Peanuts". From the quote, I started thinking about, well, Saturn, and the solar system, astronomy, life, the universe and everything and decided that maybe I'd start out by making a Saturn bead.

This is kind of embarrassing to confess, but this was actually my first time using cork clay. Call me a paranoid mother (well, I am a paranoid mother), but I haven't wanted to use it, due to potential toxicity of the fumes during burnout. (If this is all Greek to you, let me just say that cork clay is sort of a modeling compound used by metal clay artists to create a base for larger beads. The cork clay burns away in the kiln leaving a nice hollow silver bead behind.) As it is, I ensured that the SO wouldn't be anywhere near the kiln (I usually ensure this anyway, for obvious reasons) during firing or for an extended period after firing, to give the garage a chance to ventilate.

I'm pretty happy with the results, although the bead is slightly heavier than I intended. As you may know, I hardly ever use a ruler, and I don't really like perfect geometric shapes in my work. I wanted a somewhat rough-cut, rugged looking sphere here. I added a heavy patina and then polished the bead, to bring out a little depth.

Believe it or not, I should have more new work to show tomorrow. It's a bit of a bagatelle, a frippery of a bead (in a geeky sort of way), but it's one that I've been wanting to make for a while, now.

Thanks for visiting!

ps. I almost forgot! For any knitting fans out there, it's Vickie Howell's 35th birthday today. To celebrate, she's giving away 35 fantastic craft books from Lark. To wish her a Happy Birthday and enter, please go here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bead and Jewelry Link Love

For your appreciation (applause, please), the Short One's first ceramic plate. Well, okay, I rolled out and cut the clay for him and we consulted on the octopus in the corner (it was supposed to be a frog, but the SO made the artistic decision not to stop with four legs), but the SO did the stamping on this own and chose the color glazes on his own. Although I had to touch up the painting to ensure coverage over the plate, placement of the colors was also pretty much the SO's decision. Not bad for a first try, eh? He's awfully proud of it. He carries it around to show everyone who visits (which makes me nervous, as he has no concept that it will break if dropped and that the pieces could cut him - I am one step behind him when he runs to pick it up each time).

I hope everyone had a great weekend. We did, despite the cold weather around these parts. I just took a kiln-load out, so I hope to have a couple new pieces to show off this week. In the meantime, here are your intriguine bead and jewelry links for the week:

Venetian Glass = Yummy!
Katie adds Venetian Glass into the mix to create a new fall favorite. Check it out!

Strands of Beads
Melissa remembers an important trip through the (what else?) beads she collected.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean is all kinds of entertained reviewing Jennifer Perkins' book, The Naughty Secretary Club

Savvy Crafter-Candie Cooper
Warm up your Thanksgiving table with these festive fall candle holders.

Naughty Secretary Club
Do you tune in to watch Mad Men each week? Ever pay attention to the jewelry the ladies in the office wear? You might just spot a Naughty Secretary Club Pencil Pusher Necklace.

Jewelry & Beading
Cyndi doesn't often play with clay, but she figured out how to make a really easy pendant that she really likes!

Jennifer Jangles Blog
Jennifer is showing a easy brooch project.

Contacting New Venues
Another Marketing Monday and Barbe gives some tips about how to contact new venues to sell your work.

Carter Seibels for Divali Glass Jewelry
Carter talks about the importance of getting yourself out there!

Carmi's Lucky Chips Necklace
Carmi glams up some old poker chips for this new necklace.
Naomi from BeadStyle visits Target and suggests that you can create jewelry that is as current as theirs.

Art Bead Scene: Stick or Non-Stick at Studio Saturday?
Take a tour of Art Bead Scene Editor, Lynn Davis's sticky studio!

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thanks for the Memories

Last week's post got me thinking just generally about the sentimental value of beads and how we commemorate special occasions with beads or jewelry. I dug around in my stash and came up with these - a carved Japanese boxwood bead and a set of three raku beads. They're a pretty nondescript collection, but they have a lot of sentimental value to me. You see, I bought them during my honeymoon in Hawaii.

My husband and I were married on the Big Island of Hawaii several years ago. Neither one of us had ever been to Hawaii, but we liked the thought of having our wedding there (and thereby making the islands special for us in that way). Also, as I think I've said a gazillion times already on this blog (not that I dwell on the issue or anything), the Husband wasn't interested in wearing a suit to the wedding, so I told him that showing up barefoot in casual clothes would be fine with me if we actually held the ceremony on the beach in Hawaii. We ended up marrying four years and 364 days after our first meeting. It made the anniversary slightly easier to remember, although one of us has always suspected the other party of arranging things so as to be able to claim that we married within four years of meeting rather than five. Some people are just naturally suspicious that way.

After the ceremony, we stayed at the resort for another week to relax and tour around. Despite the fact that we were on our honeymoon, and despite the fact that I wasn't even really designing jewelry back then, I still managed to locate and spend time in the one bead store on the island (whose name completely escapes me - anyone know of it?). I had never seen Japanese boxwood beads before, so I was completely smitten by how intricately carved the beads are. Also, I've always loved raku pottery, so I gravitated pretty naturally to those three beads. This small collection is still a really a nice memento of our time in Hawaii, and I know, once I design with them, that whatever piece I make will continue to serve as a reminder of a particularly happy event in my life.

I have to imagine that most of us search out beads and bead stores (or yarn and yarn stores - or both, come to think of it) when we travel. What are your favorite beady mementos from trips? I'd love to know.

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Short One's Necklace

I know I usually save the Short One's artwork to show off for my Bead & Jewelry Link Love post, but I couldn't resist sharing this one today. His first necklace - yay! This is not my doing - when I picked him up yesterday at his Mom's Morning Away class, he was wearing it (although he later complained that it was "itchy" - which I could see, with the square and triangular-shaped construction paper). I'm so proud. Of course, the SO being the SO, he immediately demanded more beads, and the house is now littered with tri-colored pasta, but we will discreetly gloss over that fact.

I ended up having an emergency root canal yesterday. It wasn't completely unexpected, as I'd had some weird sensitivity issues with one tooth for a while. Also, I really liked my endodontist - she was so fast and efficient that I didn't even realize she was shooting me up with novacaine until after my mouth started going numb. Still, I have to say, getting dental work done (especially something like this) is probably on my list of ten least favorite things to do, along with talking to car salespeople and selling (or buying) a house (yet three more random facts about me).

On the beading front, I'd been setting aside what little time I've had for the past couple weeks to work up new proposals for various magazines. With one exception, I've been getting almost unilaterally shot down on each piece as I submitted it. So depressing, but I feel that rejection is pretty much par for the course, at least some of the time. If anything, it's made me set out with grim determination to try again (in fact, I've been so grimly determined that I'm halfway expecting one of the long-suffering editors I have worked with to finally tell me to Give It A Rest for a couple months. I hope this won't happen, but you never know.)

Oh, and I need your help with Christmas gifts, please. Does anyone own (or live with someone who owns) a Wii? The Husband will be getting one for Christmas (it's not a surprise - and he never reads my blog anyway, so I feel safe in mentioning this). He's been wanting one ever since the console came out, so he's pretty excited, but neither of us is "up" enough on the games to know what's especially good. We are also trying to find games that are toddler friendly, so that the SO can participate. We've identified a cooking game (which we think the SO will like to try) and a carnival games game (and, of course, Wii Fit, which no one seems to have in stock for less than $100 right now). Does anyone have any recommendations? The way I see it, the family will probably resort to getting him games (it seems like an easy and natural choice for them), and I need some good intel to pass along to them. Thanks for your help!

And thanks for visiting! I know the blog has been a bit barren lately, but I'm hoping to shake off this slump and have a bit more substantial content henceforth.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Stop and Go

It's been so difficult these days to find enough cumulative time to do new work. I'm putting more finished pieces right now (rather than making beads). I have a bunch of ideas, including one involving my Road of Life traffic light pendant, above, but I just haven't had been able to spend much time on them all. I know this time crunch is just going to get worse with the approach of the holidays, and it drives me batty. Not to mention that when I do find the time, my Muse just ends up thumbing her nose at me and not cooperating.

On the plus side, part of the reason I'm in a time crunch is that the Short One's personality just keeps getting bigger and bigger and demanding more attention. I find it fascinating watching him as his imagination expands exponentially. Even as recently as last month, he wasn't really engaged in more than very rudimentary pretend play. All of a sudden, though, his thoughts have just exploded and everything is grist to his mill right now - simple objects stand in for complex machines, and he has learned that he can use imaginary objects with his actual toys. I love watching this, even though I can tell it's still a struggle for him to find enough words to express all of this to me and his Daddy. I have pretty much no prior experience with young kids (shh, don't tell the SO), so the whole parenthood thing has been a complete revelation to me that way.

I hope everyone had a good weekend. I have a few new stash acquisitions to show off, plus a couple jewelry making ideas, but I'm afraid that will have to wait until later this week. Thanks for your patience!

ps. By the way, thanks to everyone who has been reading my post on ivory vintage beads. I think that entry has garnered more comments (and substantial comments, too) than anything else I've written. It's been a very interesting discussion!

pps. I just found out that today is a Refugees United Blog Day initiative. I've added the relevant badge to my sidebar. Please do click on it to find out more.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bead and Jewelry Link Love

Hello, there. I hope everyone is having a nice weekend. We took the Short One to the Legoland Discovery Center this morning and a fun time was had by all. The SO went on his first amusement park-style ride and first movie (3D movie, even - although H. and I had to hold his 3D glasses in place for the whole movie). He loved it. It's a bit, shall we say, overpriced, not to put too fine a point on it, but it was definitely fun and a great activity for a crummy mid-30s with snow flurries kind of day.

Here's a different kind of crumb-y - the apple cake that the SO and I made at our Mom and Tot cooking class this week. We liked it but think that we could've done without the too-sweet topping (well, I found the topping too sweet - it might have been more of a texture issue on the SO's part). The SO is quite an avid baker at home and seems to really enjoy cooking class (which takes place in the middle of a play room, so the kids can go wild when they get tired of mixing batter). I enjoy watching the SO interact with the other kids, although he does have a dismaying tendency to try to direct everyone else's play time ("Which one of you does he take after?" one mother asked pointedly - yeah, that would be me, the anal one.)

On other fronts, the SO has, hilariously, taken to one line Steve Martin impressions. We have a disc of the Best of the Muppet Show that a friend gave us many years ago. It contains the episode with Steve Martin in which he does a version of the balloon animals skit. The other day, the SO was messing with strips of construction paper and suddenly held up a bunch of them and pronounced, with the exact same intonation as Martin, "Puppy dog!" We nearly keeled over. I suppose if he has to imitate something, there could be much worse things to imitate.

Anyway, here are your intriguing bead and jewelry links for the week. Thanks for visiting! Jewelry Making
Looking for some early holiday jewelry ideas? Start now with these simple projects that will apeal to a range of fashion tastes.

Art Bead Scene
Ribbon Isn't Just for Wrapping Presents!

Art Jewelry Magazine
A reader tests Art Jewelry's acid-free etching technique

Barbe Saint John - New Treasures from Forgotten Artifacts
Barbe is giving a way a copy of "Get Your Sparkle On', find out how to win it!

Carter Seibels for Divali Glass Jewelry
New designs for Fall are live on the Divali website; and Carter gets a technology facelift!

Get ready for the holidays with Katie's great gift ideas
Check out three of Katie's favorite gifts to give (and create!) this holiday season!

Jewelry & Beading
Using multiple techniques, Cyndi has made an autumn necklace that warms her heart now that the days are cold!

Naughty Secretary Club
Jen invites collage artist Traci Bautista to Austin for a little paint meets jewelry adventure.

Savvy Crafter-Candie Cooper
Candie's teaching at Ornamentea---see the class projects and details on her blog...

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
The day before the election, Jean urged us all to vote, which we did! On a jewelry note, she mentioned her fun article concerning gift ideas for the upcoming holidays which she wrote for Soft Flex!

Strands of Beads
Melissa ponders ethical issues involving some vintage beads.

Vacation Necklace

Carmi thinks nature provides pre-drilled shells just for her.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

An Ethical Problem

I've had an ethical issue sitting in my bead drawer since, well, since I had a bead drawer. Although I have only been designing jewelry for a short time, like many women I have had an interest in jewelry since I was a child, an interest that probably started with my many forays into my mother's jewelry box. I remember spending time with my mother examining the jewelry she collected as a young woman being a "special occasion". Her box was always interesting, and I loved each piece: an amethyst cocktail ring, a finely carved jade Buddha, porcelain rose earrings and enamel pieces with delicate mother-of-pearl inlay were among the treasures I remember.

When I became a teenager, she gave most of the jewelry to me, including this bracelet. My mother purchased this piece when she was traveling in Japan as a young woman, some time in the 1950s. These lovely hand-carved beads are genuine ivory. Mom was doing a little cleaning a few years ago and stumbled upon the box in my old room. Since the elastic had gone on the bracelet, she brought it with her when visiting and gave it to me, thinking that I might like to use the beads for other projects. And they've sat around, first in a drawer - and then in my bead box, once I started a bead box - ever since.

I love these beads - they always remind me of my childhood (and back then the elastic was still good, and I remember wearing them quite happily) and of images of my mother as a young woman. Even though they cannot be classified as antique - I believe a piece has to be pre-1948 to be considered antique - they have been in my family for over 50 years, and they are definitely pre-ban ivory. Still, I have qualms about what to do with them. I initially thought that, since I know for a fact that this ivory is vintage, it wouldn't be a problem to use them to design new jewelry. However, to be honest, I don't want to do anything that might be construed as promoting the desirability of ivory. Due to the sheer sentimental value of the beads, I do not intend to discard or destroy them. However, I've been on the fence about what to do with them for a while, now.

Does anyone else have vintage pieces like this - toroiseshell or ivory, for example - that you've acquired or inherited from family members or have simply had in your possession for a long time? If so, if you have similar feelings about these pieces, what did you decide to do with them? I'd be interested in hearing your stories.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Simply Beads - Even More Shameless Self-Promotion

Would you believe I have another published project this month? It's my first (but not last) with Simply Beads (the December 2008 issue). I will be appearing in one final issue (Stringing, Winter 2008) before the year is out and then that will be it for 2008. Once again, the photography and layout are gorgeous in this issue. I have a secret obsession with Christmas-themed craft magazines, so I was bound to like this one. Plus, the issue contains great projects from designers I admire, like Melanie Lukacs of Earthenwood Studio, Jennifer Heynen of Jangles, Impatient Crafter Margot Potter, Savvy Crafter Candie Cooper, Katie Hacker and Barb Switzer. Please check it out if you get the chance!

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bead and Jewelry Link Love

As you can see, it was make-a-silly-hat day at our house this week. Did everyone have a fun Halloween? The Short One was completely beside himself as all of these strangely dressed kids came up to his house and took the brightly colored things in the bowl that his Mommy wouldn't let him touch. He spent twenty minutes putting on his shoes, taking them off, putting them back on and staring out the back window waiting for Daddy to show up to take him trick-or-treating. And to think we actually were considering not going trick-or-treating at all, since the SO doesn't eat c-a-n-d-y yet.

H and I had discussed how to handle the whole candy issue and had settled on a little quid pro quo for the SO. While he was excitedly dragging H around the neighborhood, I wrapped a little Playmobil race car and driver in white tissue paper and pasted on two black construction paper circles and a smiley face to make a ghost. When the SO came home, we negotiated a trade - the brightly colored thingys in the SO's pumpkin basket for a present from the Great Pumpkin. It worked (huzzah)! The SO clearly felt that a new toy was much better than some brightly colored pieces of paper with lumpy things inside. I imagine that this little trick-for-a-treat will only work this year, but I also imagine he will have a very good idea what c-a-n-d-y is by next year anyway, so it will all be a moot point.

Anyway, here are your intriguing bead and jewelry links for the week:

1000 Jewelry Inspirations Book Review
Barbe gets run over with inspiration from this book.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene Gives a Primer on Jewelry Displays, just in time for your Holiday Show!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi salutes the sock monkey with a fun to wear necklace.

Carter Seibels for Divali Glass Jewelry
Carter gives us an inside glimpse at setting up for craft shows at the Contemporary Crafts Market in Santa Monica

Get Your Bead On!
Check out Katie's latest news and notes!

Jennifer Jangles Blog
Holiday or Anytime Ornament Project

Jewelry & Beading
Take a look at the beautiful way artist Beth Cummings has combined photography and jewelry!

Katie from Art Jewelry magazine and studio safety
Read about safe studio practices during this busy jewelry-making season

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean intervews Sara Hardin of Soft Flex Company for her wonderful Links collection of interview stars!

Strands of Beads
Melissa reads a little Sylvia Plath for inspiration this week

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Seven More Random Facts

I've been tagged by Maria Grimes! (Actually I was tagged by Carter Seibels, too, last week and I took a pass, since I'd done it so recently - so this is for Carter, too.) Here are the rules:

1. Link to tagger and display these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself - some random, some WEIRD.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by including links to their blog.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Okay, seven (more) random facts about me:

1. I am a procrastinator (and possibly a little masochistic that way). I work best under pressure and under deadline. If I don't have an impending deadline and just slightly less time than I actually need to finish something, I just don't work as efficiently. I used to take all-nighters all the time as a student.
2. While I don't really follow/believe in astrological signs, I still consider myself a classic Gemini - unpredictible and a blend of contrasts - outgoing yet pathologically shy, verbal yet quiet, etc. I'm a little hard to live with - but you'd have to ask the Husband, and he'll probably lie and say it's not true (if he knows what's good for him).
3. Back in the early 90s in England, when I was living in Brighton, there was a company that used to sell "savoury peanut butter" - a spicy rather than sweet peanut butter. I LOVE this stuff. Unfortunately, I think it's been discontinued (and you can't get it in the US anyway, sigh).
4. I am a cheap date - I have no tolerance for alcohol. After 1 drink, my face turns red, I start feeling dizzy, etc. This has always been a social nuisance, both personally and professionally, for me. I was so happy when I got pregnant and no longer needed an excuse for not drinking. Since the SO arrived, I've given up and just tell people that I don't drink.
5. This one has been on my mind recently, given the time of year - I have no idea how to cook a Thanksgiving turkey. I didn't learn how to cook until I graduated from college (it's one of the reasons I cook with the SO now - it's an important life skill!). I can cook a decent variety of dishes now, and I enjoy baking, but I've never done a bird. We never had it at home when I was growing up, either (I always requested Korean food, instead). I live in fear of the day that the SO is old enough to want a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
6. I am a packrat - I save EVERYTHING. Mix that in with my husband's clutter and the SO's toys and, well, you could say we tend towards piles of stuff in this house. (I don't really like to admit this, but it's true.) I always say I am going to try to do better, but so far I haven't made much headway.
7. I love genre fiction - I read everything except Westerns. Science fiction is a favorite, but I also love mystery novels. I'm the type of reader who can't go to sleep on a cliffhanger - if it's exciting, I have been known to stay up until 5am to finish a book.

There you have it. Seven more random facts about me. Here's a list of my victi - er, the lovely people I am tagging in turn:

Carmi Cimicata (Carmi's Art/Life World)
Amy Locurto (Living Locurto)
Alexa Westerfield (Swelldesigner)
Barbe St. John

Thanks for visiting and - Happy Halloween!! (Note the Short One's efficient use of his feet in the artwork above.)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ornament Thursday - Gratitude

Welcome to another Ornament Thursday! This month's theme is "Gratitude". I did not participate this month, due to home improvement issues and Halloween costume issues, but you can see all of the great projects my colleagues created by following the links, as usual:

Cat's Attitude of Gratitude
Michelle at http design has a fun take on gratitude - think about it - what do cats give you when they love you? Mice!

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy's grateful for Ornament Thursday!

Gratitude Screen
Michelle's grateful for OT!

Linda shares her expression of gratitude
Of course there's a story behind Linda's shadowbox on the blog

Lisa looks at the meaning of the word
Just some reflection this month

Ornament Thursday - Gratitude
I am grateful that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

There are so many ways to say thank you
Helen from http design puts to work to create these earrings which say thank you in so many ways.


Brandi’s got some journals to share!

I, of course, am grateful to you, for visiting - thank you!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lady Lazarus

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.

-from "Lady Lazarus" by Sylvia Plath

Well, this post isn't really about jewelry or beading directly, so I suppose I'm cheating a little bit. However, I've been looking for inspiration tonight, and, for me, that often entails reading poetry - and, for once, it's not Shakespeare! I am a fan of Sylvia Plath's work. I read The Bell Jar in high school and started reading her poetry shortly thereafter. Out of all of her work, I have always found "Lady Lazarus" to be the most powerful. It is tactile, graphic, disturbing and even offensive. (Regarding this last, I have been fretting a little that people unfamiliar with the poem and Plath's work may find it offensive, so you have been warned. It is what I have been reading right now, so I decided to go ahead and post this.) Whether you like it or hate it, it tends to linger in the mind after reading. I happen to love the image of the phoenix that appears at the end (see above quote). How this will translate for me into a new jewelry design, I don't know yet, but I know that it eventually will, whether it be in the color or mood of a piece (right off the top of my head, the poem makes me think of stark, sharp pieces in bold colors) or whether I will simply use a quotation from the poem.

The BBC has a wonderful recording of Plath reading the poem herself in their arts section. Please go here to listen to it and/or to read the entire poem (and judge for yourself whether you find it inspiring). If you find that this poem also inspires you to create new work, please do share. If you are also inspired by what you are currently reading, I'd love to hear about it (and learn what you're reading, of course), too.

Thanks for visiting!