Sunday, April 26, 2009

Bead & Jewelry Linky Love

Here's the Short One's and my latest collaborative masterpiece, entitled "Train" (it looks like a train, right? Right?). The SO has been quite keen on drawing lately. In fact, I turned on the television one night and discovered that he had, in a fit of enthusiasm, covered the screen in a crayon masterpiece while I was cooking dinner. Fortunately, this is actually quite unusual, as his preferred medium is still paper. (While I would like to avoid stifling his creativity, we've still taken what some might call a conservatively dim view towards coloring the walls, etc.)

Hope everyone is having a good weekend. Here are your intriguing bead and jewelry links for the week:

Katie's Beading Blog
Get ready for wedding season with Katie's beaded bridal necklace pattern. This necklace is the perfect accessory for brides, attendants, and guests alike!

Art Bead Scene
Is time for your 15 minutes of fame? There's still time to be the next Bead Star and 'bead famous!"

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Barbe makes a necklace with supplies from Alpha Stamps Jewelry Making
Be chic and make jewelry with some help from a new book: Chic Metal: Modern Metal Jewelry to Make at Home by Victoria Tillotson.

Bead&Button magazine
Leslie's keeping up the creativity--see what she's up to

Jewelry & Beading
Cyndi's written a tutorial on making a necklace with one of the new Swarovski discs from Artbeads!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Mixing different kinds of mud with bug images, Melanie has fun in the dirt with new brown Lava Stone beads from Rings & Things

Jennifer Jangles Blog
Jennifer gives a great source for getting your designs made into rubber stamps.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
There's a great giveaway prize to be had if you check out Soft Flex Company's Big Prize Giveaway! Jean has the low down on how to get in on it!

Strands of Beads
Melissa reviews Margot Potter's new book, Beyond the Bead

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bead Dreams 2009

I was trying to wait until tomorrow to post this, but I'm afraid I'm just too excited. I received a nice fat envelope from Bead & Button Magazine today in the mail. A fat one, rather than a thin one. (It reminded me of those days in my youth of waiting for a college acceptance letter.) So, I started hyperventilating a little and, okay, I might have ripped open the envelope.

It turns out my hellish days (see here) rushing around at the 11th hour to make the contest deadline were fruitful after all. I have made the cut for the finals of the 2009 Bead Dreams competition. I suppose if I were a more mature, sensible person, I'd wait until the contest were actually over first to talk about this, but, well, I'm not. My real(istic) goal has been to make the finals of Bead Dreams (I entered last year but was not successful), and I am completely thrilled to have made it. I actually leaped up into the air and did my happy Snoopy dance after reading my letter (the Short One was highly entertained).

Here is a sneak peek of the piece - it is a large belt buckle, entitled Natural History. This is new work whose design I have been working on since the beginning of the year. I'll post a complete photo later (addendum: I posted it here) with full description during the Bead & Button Show. It should be on display there in June.

Thanks so much for listening. If I told the Muggles (aka, non-beaders) about this, I would just get blank looks back, at best!


I've been meaning to review Margot Potter's new book, Beyond The Bead: Making Jewelry With Unexpected Finds, for a couple weeks now but kept putting it off, as there is so much information packed into this lovely tome that I wanted to just kept wanting to sit down to read and re-read it.

I do a little mixed-media work myself, but I am by no means an expert. In her new book, Ms. Potter covers a really nice range of techniques, some of which are familiar to me and some of which I am now dying to try (and have put on my longish list of things to do). From etching glass to resists, from making beads with embossing enamel to techniques for jazzing up polymer clay, from working with paper clay to hammering metal, this book covers it all. The breadth of projects is amazing and each one is covered in meticulous detail. The project layout is very clear and each project is very thoughtfully and well-written. I am particularly appreciative of the sheer number of photos that Ms. Potter has carefully included to illustrate each technique. I also love the fact that the author has included a thoughtful tip with each project to remind the reader (oh, so important in my mind) that the book's projects are just the start of the great adventure and that creative inspiration lies at one's fingertips.

The projects themselves are beautifully constructed and will appeal to a wide range of tastes - some are romantic in flavor, some baroque, some have supreme vintage appeal, others are downright quirky and witty. They are all gorgeous pieces - the author has an eye for assemblage that I really envy. My particular favorites here are the necklace of candy-colored Buddha head pendants (made from ultra-thick embossing enamel - a technique I would love to try), an acrylic necklace with a lovely inked acrylic star pendant focal and a funky pin made from a painted wooden flower and collage-filled watch face.

But wait, there's more! Frankly, the above is enough for me to keep this book in a prominent position on my craft shelf, but add in Ms. Potter's inimicable, warm writing style and you have a book I'll return to again and again, because it's just fun to do it. Reading anything Ms. Potter writes is like chatting with an old friend - and the fact that this old friend wants to spend time talking with me about making great beads and jewelry, well, what could be better?

If you would like to get to know Ms. Potter and her work even better (and why wouldn't you, after this review, eh? Eh?!), she has a new video out about the new Yudu, a silkscreening system:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bead & Jewelry Linky Love

I am extremely late with these links this week. My sincere apologies on this one - the whole family came down with a case of stomach flu towards the end of last week and it took us, collectively, a while to re-gather our wits. Erm, such as they are.

I'll pause to note that the above is a bracelet I made for my friend Ingrid a while back - it seemed appropriate for spring weather to show again here. On to the good stuff, now:

Candie Cooper
Mother's Day is coming fast! Do you need a project idea? Candie and Katie have just the thing!

Art Bead Scene

Worried about the economy? Take care of your bead business with these tips.

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Marketing Monday: Its all about word of mouth Jewelry Making
Puzzle piece jewelry is perfect to make during the month of April since it happens to be autism awareness month. Here are a few projects to help you make your own puzzle piece jewelry.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews an excellent wire wrapping book, Beautiful Wire Jewelry for Beaders, by Irina Miech

Art Jewelry magazine
Demos and more planned for the Bead&Button Show 2009

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi creates a punched fiber collage necklace.

Jewelry & Beading
Make a fiber and wire necklace that will slide right on with no clasp!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Taking advantage of's free shipping and fast, friendly service, Andrew attempts to capture the beauty of a Lord Byron poem with the new Crystallized - Swarovski Element Disk Pendants in his new necklace design, "Cloudless Climes".

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Spring is here and Melanie announces a big springtime sale on her website, going on from now until Earth Day.

Strands of Beads
Melissa shows off a new necklace design inspired by Sir Thomas Wyatt's poem "Whoso List to Hunt"

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Deep Purple

Here's a recent acquisition from Sarah Moran. I haven't cut them apart yet, because I love how, despite the radical differences in style, the three beads are so beautifully complementary in color. A happy accident. Or is it?

Living Dangerously (the spiky one) has my name on it, as it will be incorporated into the next big piece I make. Now that tax day has passed, I don't have many excuses left. I've had this sketched out for about two months now, and I know exactly where I'm going with the necklace, for once. Now I just have to sit down and DO IT. I am the master procrastinator.

Hope all of you are having a good week.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Love Code

I thought I'd show off another project from Barb Switzer's Earrings, Earrings, Earrings! This one is entitled "Love Code" - for my Geek Love pendant which spells out the word "love" in binary code. This one is probably my favorite of the three sets I have in the book. In case you are wondering, this is the photo I sent in as part of my project proposal - the photography in the book is significantly more stunning. This is a great book - I'm so happy to have had the opportunity to be a part of it.

On other fronts, I've been enjoying watching Susan Boyle sing "I Dreamed A Dream" from Les Mis on the Internet. I have to confess, I haven't ever watched a single second of "American Idol" - the show has never really appealed to me for some reason. However, I have watched a few clips from the English version, "Britains Got Talent". I love underdog stories and this show has had a couple doozies, including Susan's audition for the 2009 season of the show, which was wonderful. ITV, the English station that airs the show, will not allow embedding of the video (and you have to sit through the sponsor's commercial to see it), but you can see an abbreviated version of her audition through the channel's website, here. It's brilliant - well worth watching if you have not already seen it. Let's hear it for underdogs.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Noli Me Tangere

I thought I'd share this with you today, even though it's no longer quite seasonal (I envision it as more of a winter piece, for some reason). Here's my unicorn pendant along with a coral rose set in a shallow checkered silver dome with a chunk of rose quartz.

I like the way the rolled/stuffed nylon cord looks, but I wanted to try something different with it, so I stitched feather trim along the underside. It doesn't show up in this photo, but the toggle ring is stamped with the words "noli me tangere" which translates as "touch me not". The toggle bar is horn-shaped.

Even though the image on the pendant is that of an unicorn and not an hind, this piece was inspired primarily by the poem "Whoso List to Hunt" by Sir Thomas Wyatt:

Whoso list to hunt, I know where is an hind,
But as for me, hélas, I may no more.
The vain travail hath wearied me so sore,
I am of them that farthest cometh behind.
Yet may I by no means my wearied mind
Draw from the deer, but as she fleeth afore
Fainting I follow. I leave off therefore,
Sithens in a net I seek to hold the wind.
Who list her hunt, I put him out of doubt,
As well as I may spend his time in vain.
And graven with diamonds in letters plain
There is written, her fair neck round about:
Noli me tangere, for Caesar's I am,
And wild for to hold, though I seem tame.

(By the way, the hind in this poem was supposedly Anne Boleyn, ill-fated wife of Henry VIII - with "Caesar" being a reference to Henry VIII himself.)

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Bead & Jewelry Linky Love

Greetings. If you celebrate Easter, I hope the Easter Bunny brought you an Egg today. Due to various circumstances, including two separate egg hunts and an Easter giveaway at the local brunch spot, we now have 26 new eggs in our house. And that figure doesn't even include the real eggs the Short One colored this afternoon (see Exhibit A, above - note the "Maltese Egg" at the top, as the SO insisted on combining every single color dye together in one bowl and making a black egg). The SO was in such a frenzy over them (the 26 plastic ones, I mean) that he resorted to hiding the eggs himself after we explained that the egg hunt was over for the year.

I think I've finally resigned myself to missing the contest submission deadlines I was hoping to meet this month. I just can't seem to find the time I need to get things done right now. I have to say, though, the one piece I did complete during my miserable week last week, has spawned a number of new ideas about which I'm pretty excited. And, really, you can't ask for more than that, right? I hope to have something new to show next week, and at least one book review. I'm keeping my goals modest in hopes that I can meet them for once!

In the meantime, here are your bead and jewelry links for the week:

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Barbe talks about riveting & finding the right size drill bits

Bead&Button magazine
Julia Gerlach talks about bead patterns and gifts

Art Bead Scene

This month's challenge is Botticelli's Birth of Venus.

Jacket Corsage
Carmi sews a few hooked flowers and beads to create a jacket corsage. Jewelry Making

Oy, may aching back! Tammy is de-stashing her jewelry and other craft supplies while on spring break. Here are de-stashing tips and places that need your jewelry supply orphans.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
A splendid night out at the Smart Shop metalsmithing studio's gallery crawl inspires Melanie

Jewelry & Beading
Think that shell jewelry is just for kids? Take a look at Karen Sugarman's designs, and I guarantee you'll change your mind!

Katie's Beading Blog
Check Out Katie's Fun and Flowery Spring Inspiration!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
April is Austism Awareness Month. Express yourself creatively!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
A new double-sided sugar skull pendant from Anne Choi, inspires Andrew to create this new bracelet.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Full Fathom Five

I've been getting that drowning feeling this week - every time I feel as if I've managed to tread clear, another wave crests over my head. Of course, even this sensation reminds me of...beads!

I've seen these cut Roman glass beads popping up here and there recently, and I've really fallen in love with them. The glass is just gorgeous, full of imperfections and great character. The sheer weight of history in the glass is charming.

I have seen the strands in shades of both blue and green, and I own a few of the bluer ones. For whatever reason, despite their provenance, they always remind me of water.

These would be nice for a light, summer necklace, don't you think?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Knitting up the Ravell'd Sleeve of Care

In a word, SLEEP (see Macbeth, I believe it's Act 2, Scene 2, if you're confused). I got some last night, and I'm feeling much better - funny how that works. This isn't a great shot, but here's an impromptu process photo I took a few days ago. I love working with metal clay, but some nights, I love not working with metal clay, I have to admit.

I've been having this urge to redesign the blog lately (read: for the last six months). I see everyone else looking so sleek and professional (or quirky and iconoclastic), and I'm feeling more and more dumpy and without. Of course, I cannot deny the truth in the advertising, as I run around in my soccer mom sneakers everywhere. Still, I'm thinking that making over the blog would be a good start. I'll have to see if I can get off my posterior and at least learn about all of the function upgrades Blogger has developed over the past two years. Sigh.

On other fronts, we introduced the Short One to Hayao Miyazaki's work last week. The Husband and I are huge fans - "Spirited Away" is still my favorite and H. likes "Princess Mononoke" the best. Our local Borders had a 40% off DVD sale, and they had "My Neighbor Totoro" in stock, which none of us had seen. Needless to say it came home with us. We loved it. (Okay, I also snuck back and picked up a copy of "Howl's Moving Castle", too. Shhhh - don't tell H.) I love the female protagonists in all of his films - they are such well-realized, well-rounded, strong and engaging characters. We are really forward to seeing "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea" when it comes out in the US (this year, I think?). Anyone else here like Miyazaki's films? Here's the trailer for "Spirited Away", in case you haven't seen it in a while:

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bead & Jewelry Linky Love

Ugh, sorry to be MIA all week. I did manage to complete a project by my deadline (sort of - I didn't actually complete the project I set out to make, but I completed something - it's a little complicated), but it was a completely miserable experience. I ended up bawling in front of the Short One this afternoon, I was so stressed out. He came over, gave me a big hug and said he would kiss my owie, if I told him where it was. IS THAT NOT THE CUTEST THING EVER? Ahem. Then I spent an hour tonight vomiting in the bathroom (I'm presuming from stress, although I also have a bit of a cold). I don't think I'm going to be doing this again. I like what I made, but the resulting chaos, lack of sleep and angst is just not worth it - and it causes the family to worry.

Anyway, here's a super-interesting shot of me mixing epoxy adhesive on the top of an old baby food container cover. Yay. I have to admit - I hate taking process photos. For one thing, I usually need an assistant cameraman (aka, the Husband), and we always squabble over camera angle, lighting etc., etc. (We can't cook together, either, for the same reason.) Also, my hands are in terrible shape - they are awful looking right now, not suitable for publishable photos at all. Fortunately, I got to wear gloves for this one.

And, with apologies for being a day late with these, here are your intriguing links for the week: Jewelry Making
Tammy has some tips for branding yourself and your jewelry product while also putting together some awesome packaging.

Art Bead Scene
Feeling out of step with the trends? Here's some inspiration for the fall 2009 season!

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Barbe reviews Dr. Weiman's 101 More Jewelry Selling Techniques Ebook

BeadStyle magazine
Linda's jewelry does the Lindy Hop far better than she does...check out her inspiration!

Collage Brooches
Carmi features a mini canvas pendant on a felted background.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Using gluable bracelet blanks from Rings and Things, Melanie shares ideas for how to use them in two very different ways

Jewelry & Beading
The question of the month on Jewelry & Beading is about your hardest business decisions. Let your voice be heard!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
If it has Margot Potter's name on the cover, you know it will be a superfun and interesting book! Beyond the Bead, Margot's latest, is just that!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
A sleepless night for Andrew produced seven new necklace designs.

Strands of Beads
Melissa shows off a celadon-themed necklace she made for Ornament Thursday

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Remember that huge pile of resin beads I picked up last month? Here's something simple that I made with a strand. I love the subdued cola-color of these beads, and they are nice and chunky. It's a little hard to see in this photo, but it picks up a similar shade in the beautiful rhodonite lentil bead. The shape of the focal was inspired by Japanese wind chimes, called furin. The little "chime" at the bottom is one of my small Dragon Heart pendants.

I've been reading Margot Potter's Beyond The Bead: Making Jewelry With Unexpected Finds, and it's pretty fab. I hope to have a full review of the book either this week or next week.

On other fronts, for some reason, the Short One has gone made for "Blue's Clues" again. I'm going equally mad trying to pick up licensed goods from the show - it's been off the air for long enough now that the manufacturers have discontinued all of the products, except a handful of books and DVDs. It seems you can only find handy dandy notebooks for exorbitant amounts on the secondary market (ie, eBay) these days. Since I know that the SO has probably only about a year - year and a half left before he outgrows the show, I don't want to invest a huge amount in it. I think I may have to resort to making my own... Oh, if only the show had lasted for one more year. Sigh.

Thanks for visiting!