Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bead & Jewelry Linky Love

I've been reviewing old work recently. Here's one of the first necklaces I ever made, "Charmed Kiss", designed around one of Sarah Moran's wonderful buttons. (It ultimately appeared in the gallery section of Tammy Powley's Picture Yourself Creating Metal Clay Jewelry.)

I hope everyone had a happy holiday! Here are your links for the week:

Resin Crafts!
This week Carmi has a short tutorial on using resin as a glaze.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew takes a peek at Anne Choi's new BRONZE beads!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Rio Grande is encouraging a wonderful way of helping the people of Japan and it is SO EASY! Read about it on Jean's blog!

A Bead A Day
Do you like glitter AND jewelry making?! You are going to love this project that Lisa found over at!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
We all scream for Ice Cream! Melanie shows how she designed and made a new line of sweet pendants. Jewelry Making
What are your plans for your siver scraps now that silver is crazy expensive?

Cindy Gimbrone, The Lampwork Diva
Cindy's made some new blush pink drops, come see what she's done with them!

Art Bead Scene
Here's a fresh idea for spring - a garden gate clasp

Carmi's Art/Life World
This weeks blog features the poppies of Paris and the jewelery it inspires.

Barbe Saint John
Barbe's giving away the latest Industrial Chic booklet and some charms!

Beading Arts
As part of the Artbead challenge, "What's Old is New Again", Cyndi has constructed a flapper-style necklace from some very cool components!

The Bead Dreamer
A lovely tree branch, soft pink flowers and wisps of silk inspired two necklace designs.

Strands of Beads
Melissa is brooding about issues of originality this week.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Shameless Self-Promo

I just received my author copy of the magazine in the mail today - it was a fun trip down memory lane. The bulk of the projects I wrote for Creative Jewelry are reproduced here, as are many of my favorites by friends and colleagues (one of my absolute favorite designs by Lorelei Eurto, "The Kiss", is on page 61). It's on the stands now, so please check it out when you have the chance!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Roman Glass

My local bead store, Chelsea's Beads, has just brought in a really nice shipment of Roman glass beads. (I took a look, and some of them are available on-line. In fact - hey! - I didn't even see those cute fish shaped beads when I was in the store.) It's difficult to tell from the above photo, but these beads are actually pretty big - the focal pendant is about 2" in diameter. Look under the " Large Circle" section on-line for similar-sized strands. Ack - since I first drafted this, they've already sold out! On the plus side, the barrel shaped beads are now 50% off, so you may want to check them out (soon!).

This photo is pretty terrible, but I really loved these two strands - the blue is a beautiful cobalt blue and the smaller beads come from broken bangles and are very colorful. For those unfamiliar with this great, family-owned store, Chelsea's Beads does have wholesale accounts - please contact them for details. (By the way, I purchased all of these beads myself, and the store does not know that I am blogging about them.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Perfect Bronze Bead by Anne Choi.

Last year, I had this great idea to expand my "Love is a Puzzle" series of pendants - a big rebus with "Eye Love You". I have been cackling with glee over this one - I thought it was a really original, graphically appealing design. In fact, I was just getting ready to sketch it out and make it for a contest later this year, when I checked out Anne Choi's newsletter this morning and found the above bead - a design I am sure has been in her stable of beads for ages.

Damn it. I always hate it when a design I thought was very creative turns out to have already been better executed by a more talented artist. (Anne Choi is one of my heroes - who can resist her work? I mean, really?)

This is an object lesson to me to do my homework. I've had this happen once before. Several years ago, I was working on a metal clay window design. I was still in the sketching process when I came across Noel Yovovich's fabulous bracelet (you can see a photo of it on her blog, here). I got depressed and shelved the piece. Of course, many people have been playing with window design beads since then, and I have since come up with an original twist on it (knock on wood), so it is actually back on my list of things to do - but it's taken a few years in between to reconsider the design.

This one I think I'm going to have to scrap altogether, though. The originality is in the rebus itself, and I think Anne's bead is beautiful.

Has anyone else had this experience? Because, you know, misery loves company, and I am feeling seriously disappointed right now!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Weather is Here

Here's the view from my window this morning. The Short One was mighty excited (you can see his tracks in the bottom left of the photo). Me, less so! I fear our prime bunny real estate is no longer so prime...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bead and Jewelry Linky Love

"Celestial" - my fine silver Lunar Phases pendant
with gorgeous turquoise drums and onyx

Here are your intriguing links for the week: Jewelry Making
Pets and children are wonderful, but they can make jewelry making very challenging!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew debuts his new filigree bezels filled with vintage stamps coated in resin. Check them out!

Art Bead Scene
The Art Bead Scene shows off this month's challenge. Come take a look!

A Bead A Day
Are you a crafter AND a beader? Do you ever give in to mixing craft supplies into jewelry pieces? Stop by A Bead A Day to see Lisa's latest arts and crafts jewelry.

Cindy Gimbrone, The Lampwork Diva
Cindy shares one of her free projects.

Beading Arts
The final chapter of Cyndi's e-book is now available! "Fibers, Fabrics, and Beads" challenges you to integrate all the fiber arts that you already love with your bead embroidery!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie introduces a new egg themed design and wonders what the Earthenwood Design Team will hatch up in jewelry designs.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean is still taking part in the April A to Z blogging challenge: "L" is for "L"isa Niven Kelly, and her "L"ovley book Jean loved and previously reviewed

The Bead Dreamer
A vintage belt buckle takes center stage in a bold necklace designed by Charlene

Strands of Beads
Melissa is back and is wondering if anyone else has trouble using materials that are "too special" in their projects?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Cunning Plan?

So, my husband showed up at the dinner table tonight with the above photo - have you ever seen cuter bunnies nestled up together? Neither have we (I particularly enjoy the little hind leg and bottom on the right hand side of the photo). There's really only one problem with this scene:

Yes, it seems the mommy bunny that lives in our back yard took the initiative this year and set up her nest actually inside our garden box (right where the tomato and green bean seedlings are slated to be planted in a few weeks).

Each year, I watch our local rabbit wander oh-so-nonchalantly up to our garden boxes. Honestly, I can almost hear her whistling while looking in the opposite direction and gradually sidling up to the box in the most innocent manner. So, I just have this picture in my mind of her thinking, "Yes, prime real estate at last - maybe he won't even notice we're here!"

Not being the serious gardener in the family, the Short One and I are quite excited by our new neighbors. The Gardener, however, is somewhat tearing his hair out. Based on our extremely careful (ahem) internet research, though, it seems the babies should be leaving the nest in the next couple weeks, so the G. has agreed to wait until then. At which time, I'm sure he'll be seen spraying the box with fox pee (or whatever he thinks will actually keep the local wildlife away this year) - but that, as they say, is another story.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Good Problem to Have?

So, I've had this "problem" rattling around in the craft closet.

A while ago, when I was relatively new to metal clay and the Short One was more interested in reciting the alphabet than talking our ears off about Marvel superheroes, I toddled off with a 40% off coupon to purchase a packet of PMC3 from a local art supply store. When I went to check out, the nice young lady at the register asked me if I had seen the metal clay that they had marked for clearance. She took me over to the locked cabinet where they kept the clay and handed me the box, above: 10g of fine gold clay, marked down to 50% off. The price? $103.00.

Now, this seemed hideously expensive for a small lump of metal clay, but, even then, I knew it was a great price for gold, so I decided to splurge and picked it up. Because I felt like (and was) a neophyte with working with the clay, I set it aside until I felt more technically competent to deal with such a precious material.

I'm not even sure they sell this type any more - I haven't seen it around in catalogs for a while. This is the kind that actually fires to 24k. Despite the fact that it's several years old, the lump still seems perfectly malleable in its little sealed packet. I check this periodically while I debate what do to. (Of course, I could be wrong and the clay is completely unworkable now, which would make the whole issue moot. I try not to think about this possibility. A lot.)

Every few months after purchasing it, I would take the box out, think hard, and decide that my technical skills still weren't up to snuff for using it.

After I finally came off of my seven month hiatus in February and started working with the clay again, I was determined finally to get the gold clay out and use it (before it really gets too hard, and I have no choice but to turn it into paste). Then I checked the current price of precious metals and nearly fainted. 10g of PMC Gold, the 22k version currently on the market is now selling for over $600.00. Gack!

As stupid as it is, I may never get the nerve up to use this clay. Which I know would be a complete waste, but I find the whole situation paralyzing. Does anyone else have this problem, like buying particularly nice beads and then never finding a project "good enough" for them?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Eye Candy

I just finished my Bead Dreams entry yesterday, as usual, running right down to the wire - but I did make the deadline. Barely. Anyway, working on any contest piece means I've been getting out my high end strands for stringing inspiration. I didn't end up using the above in the Bead Dreams piece, but it's such a stunning strand that I thought I'd post a pic on the blog. Here's some malachite I picked up last year. Isn't it gorgeous?

The more I design, the more attracted I am to the less processed stone beads - raw tourmaline, rough-sliced garnet, and this gorgeous rough cut malachite. Mm-mmm.