Saturday, June 30, 2012

It's Bead Soup Blog Party Time Again - Meet my Partner!

Bead Soup Blog Party (BSBP) - what is it? It's the brainchild of Lori Anderson, who gets this thing rolling a couple of times a year. Every time, the party gets larger, and larger... and this time, it's so large that the party has been split into 3 separate "mini-parties".

Lori gathers all the participants together (virtually, of course), parses them into pairs, and each member of a pair mails their partner a focal bead, some matching beads, and a clasp (the "soup"). The partner then adds in some beads from their own bead stash, and creates jewelry magic! Then on the reveal day, all the participants reveal their creations on their individual blogs, and everyone (not just participants - everyone is invited to THIS party!) hops around visiting blogs, and oohing and aahing. It's a lot of fun!

I last participated in Lori's Bead Soup Party in August of last year - and this is one of the pieces I designed with my soup:

This year, I am paired with the talented Kate Richbourg. Kate started working and teaching beads in 1992, and this year marks her 20th anniversary as a jewelry instructor. She started at The Bead Shop of Palo Alto CA in what she thought would be just a temporary job until she went back to school to get an advanced degree. 20 years later, Kate reports she has no Master's, but she does have a career that she loves!

Kate was Class Director and instructor at The Bead Shop for 10 years. During that time she also traveled around the country teaching classes. She left The Bead Shop in 2002 and opened her own bead store, Beadissimo in San Francisco, focusing on classes and interesting beads from around the world. Her store ran its course and closed in 2008. She then went on to become Director of Education for, where she helped broaden their online class offerings and did "all kinds of educational stuff" for them. You can check out her free classes on their website!

Kate and Beaducation amicably parted ways in January of this year and now she teaches and writes full time. She has a book on Soldering coming out at the end of this year. Her book came about when she pitched the idea to create a book for the home metalworker based on her class experiences. Folks can preorder through her website or on Kate's videos are also available in her Etsy shop.

Kate and I will be mailing our soups to each other next week, and I hope she loves what I've put together. I am so excited about this challenge, and can't wait to see what Kate sends me. The reveal date for our creations is August 25 - so stay tuned! What we design is top secret until the reveal! But I'll be posting pictures of the soup Kate sends me as soon as I get it, plus some behind-the-scenes info about the creation of Kate's soup - but I'm not allowed to post any of that until after she receives it. No spoiling the surprise!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Missing my Gumball

I had to say goodbye to my Gumball this morning - he very suddenly became sick yesterday; he refused lunch, and after napping for about an hour from 1 - 2PM, he grew more and more restless, and got very clingy. He wanted me to hold him, which was SO out of character for him - he was an independent little cuss! Then he refused his supper, and just couldn't get comfortable (even in Bailey's bed). I knew he was tired, but he just kept pacing, then asking me to hold him. I had a long, sleepless night worrying about him, and had set the alarm for 2 hours earlier than usual so I could get him to the vet as soon as they opened - didn't NEED the alarm, since I never went to sleep.

Gumball drank a good bit of water around 11:30PM, and slept for about an hour. We got up around 1AM, and I took him outside to pee. Then more pacing around the bedroom. He fell asleep again around 4AM. I finally gave up on sleep and got up at 4:30 AM and showered, and then thought I would get some computer work done while we waited for the vet to open.  I logged onto the computer at 5AM, and at 5:10 I heard the bells on Gumball's collar going crazy, and thought he must be up and ready to go outside again. But no --- he was having a grand mal seizure. Scary. It lasted a long time - and then he was only semi-conscious for about 20 minutes afterward. Then his gait was very abnormal, and he paced in circles in the backyard for 2 hours until we could leave for the vet.

He was running a fever at the vet - about 2 degrees higher than normal. The vet could tell from the history that bloodwork was probably not going to reveal anything treatable, and recommended that we put him to sleep, which I had known was going to happen ever since the seizure - and so I lost my buddy Gumball this morning, and I really miss him!

Gumball on Sunday, 6/17/12 - curled up in his bed, but keeping one eye on me.

Last picture I took of Gumball - Sunday, 6/17/12. He loved to sneak into Bailey's big bed and curl up.
In the foreground? That's a big bowl of the metal beads I've been struggling to ream, waiting for me on the bedside table. The walls are scratched and dirty because unlike Gumball, Bailey has to squeeze into this space, and often scratches the walls when he turns around.

The first time Gumball coopted Bailey's bed - shortly after I rescued him. He looks so sick here (and he was.) Notice how much cleaner and less scratched the walls were. This was July, 2010.

My perky, "Zombie" Gumball - sucking on a rawhide chew, eyes glowing...

Gumball came in to my life July 22, 2010 - I had him for 23 months, and he was a wonderful dog. He was a roadside rescue who had clearly had a rough life before he stumbled in front of my car.  He went to work everyday with Bailey and me, greeted all the customers, and kept a watchful eye on his new Mama. He definitely had mama issues - he would cry so pitifully when he couldn't find me. He was deaf, almost blind, and had no bottom jaw, but he was a little fighter - and at home he fiercely defended his territory and his Mom - often giving Bailey an earful if Bailey got too close to me, or to Gumball's food, or Gumball's bed, or my bed, or to whatever territory Gumball had decided Bailey needed to back the hell away from! But at the bead shop? Different story - he was just as meek and mild as could be. Always on his best behavior!

He always ate like there was no tomorrow, prompting me to once compare him to the planet-eating Doomsday Machine on an old Star Trek episode. He especially loved people food - as long as it was meat. Fish, chicken, beef, pork - didn't matter. He wanted it NOW. And if he didn't get it, he started asking for it, LOUDLY. And a few months ago I discovered he loved ice cream (but not Frosty Paws!) - and I would always give him a little. He was quite the character.

Miss you, Gumball! I know I'll keep checking to make sure you aren't right under my feet every time I get up for a long, long time. The shop is so empty without you, and I know the house will be, too, when I get home tonight.

Blog Giveaway

The Gossiping Goddess is having a cool giveaway to celebrate her first tutorial - Check it out!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Double Stranded Pearl Necklace

I fell in love with this abalone pendant in its simple twisted silver bezel, and designed this double stranded necklace to go with it:

I used pale golden freshwater pearls, pale blue freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystals in light vitrail (which seems to go with everything!), and glass seed beads to create this necklace. I just love the play of the pastel colors.

It fastens in the back with a sterling silver S-hook and a length of sterling silver extender chain, so the length is adjustable.

Available on Etsy!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday Worktable

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel - it's dim, but I see it!

Only 5 inches of fringe to go!

When I scrutinize the necklace, and this picture, I can see slight differences between the 2 sides, but no more do-overs for this zombie! I am moving forward only, and could conceivably be done by next week. Depends on what else lands in my lap!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tangle Tuesday

I did my second zentangle yesterday:

It's OK - I'm not nearly as thrilled with it as I was with my first.

This one isn't nearly as complex as the one I did last week; I spent several hours pouring through tangle patterns, trying to find ones I wanted to try. I didn't want to repeat any from last week - I want to keep learning new tangles. Not counting my "research," this one took about 30 minutes to complete.

I really liked the look of "Tore-up" - an outline pattern that (theoretically) lets the rest of your design look like it's bursting through the paper. Not sure I accomplished that.

 Using "tore-up" left me with less space for tangling, so I decided to just go with 3-4 tangle patterns. I remembered my tendency to draw the patterns way too small, and I really tried not to, but the "soup bowl" area at the top right shows that I went to small again - all the details of the pattern are lost, and it just looks like poorly delineated black blobs. Which is what soup might look like if I actually cooked any, but that is a different story....

I really like "over and under" and paradox, and want to play more with them. I want to try to do at least one Zentangle a week, but I don't want to go out on a limb and commit to that, because then I will feel all sorts of guilt if I don't manage to squeeze in some tangling time!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Horses and Leopards...?

I live in a town known for its Thoroughbred horses (Aiken, SC) - so I designed a few pieces of jewelry that are "horse-themed."

I turned this Art Clay Silver pendant featuring a horse into a dangly pendant by adding lots of blingy 4 and 6mm Swarovski crystals in 3 different colors of blue, swinging from sterling silver chain.

Then I built the necklace, using an airy, open sterling chain and links made from leopard skin jasper and freshwater pearls (and more crystals, of course!)

And matching earrings (leopard skin jasper, freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystals) complete the set!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Peridot Byzantine Earrings

I wove these chainmaille earrings using the Byzantine weave, with a mixture of sterling silver rings and rings I made from this gorgeous peridot artistic silver wire - I just love this color!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Wide Metallic Herringbone Cuff

This 1.5 inch wide cuff was so much fun to make! Herringbone is one of my favorite stitches, and these glavanized gold iris metallic beads are so ... me! Bold, colorful - love 'em!

And how about that vintage German glass button as a clasp - it was such a perfect match for the beads.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Freeform Wire Wrapped Earrings

Here are the earrings that I started on Wednesday:
3 and 4 mm Czech firepolish beads, in matte tanzanite and purple iris, and tanzanite 11/0 seed beads.

Available on Etsy!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

New Earring in the Works

My student yesterday was late so I had to fill some time. Not knowing how late she was going to be, I didn't want to dive into the fringe necklace, so I started playing with some beads, wire, and hoop earrings.
This is how far I got before she finally showed up:

Hoping to finish this pair today - they're freeform, so they go fairly quickly, even though I'm doing a pretty dense pattern.

And here is the finished garnet torsade I created while teaching the multistrand class yesterday:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday Worktable

I still have the ubiquitous zombie iolite fringe necklace on my workbench this morning.

It suffered a little setback last week, when I passed the halfway point and started fringing up the other side - I had worried about this, because I knew that the 2 halves needed to match, and I thought I was measuring and compensating for the decrease, but after I powered through 4 inches of fringing on Friday, it was time to change thread. I held the necklace up, and the entire 4 inches I had just finished was too long, and it was obvious. So I spent Saturday taking out the 4 inches, and I started this section again yesterday.

So I will be working on the fringe today, but...

I'll have to take a little break to work on this:

This is a repair - the customer brought in a very old garnet necklace (these are 4mm garnet rounds). It had been woven, in some variation of netting, on silk thread. The silk was filthy, and had stretched out over 2 inches - so repair was definitely called for.
I didn't want to attempt to re-weave it, so we decided to turn it into a multistrand twisted torsade, which she  is very excited about.

It took several days to string all these garnets - it was slow and tedious, so I'd work for a few hours and then go on to something else. I started to dread stringing the garnets! My friend Sonya actually finished the last of it for me - yay!

I delayed finishing the necklace because I am teaching a class in multistrand finishing this afternoon, and it is SO much easier to teach a stringing class when you actually have a project to demo on! So I saved this project for class this afternoon - I'll have 5 strands to demonstrate with, so I hope that suffices!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Very First Zentangle

I must confess: I took the Zombie Iolite Fringe Necklace home Saturday evening, with good intentions of working on it Sunday, but never did. Instead, I got sucked into Pinterest. I'm sure some of you know what I mean! I feel bad when I make promises to myself (in other words, when I set goals) and then don't follow through.

But Monday was Zentangle day - another promise I had made for the weekend, and here is my very first Zentangle:
I really love it - and it was fun to do.

It was advertised (in the kit I received) as taking about 15 minutes to do, but this one took me over 4 hours.

The tile (the paper it is drawn on) measures 3.5 x 3.5 inches, which is pretty small. I drew a complex string, because I wanted to try a bunch of different tangle patterns. That's me - always biting off too big a bite!
So part of my 4+ hours was finding and learning the different tangles (shown below).

Another problem I ran into was trying to fit my chosen tangle patterns into such a tiny space - I ended up making the designs too small (I had to use my optivisor to see my work!) - so that was also time consuming. Most of the designs I chose should have been much bigger.

Here is a breakdown of the tangle patterns I incorporated into my Zentangle:

2 of the tangles are labelled "TBE" - that stands for "to be edited" - I did this drawing at home yesterday, and left my list of all the patterns I used on the bedside table - so I don't have it with me. I looked up as many as I can, but will have to retrieve those 2 and edit them in, or something.

The pattern labeled "Egyptian" came from one of Suzanne McNeill's Master Class videos.

I enjoyed doing this, and there are so many more tangles I want to try! I feel so limited by the tiny tiles - I can already see I will have to go find bigger paper, so I can do bigger designs. I also need to work more with space, negative space, and working outside the lines. More goals!

Edited 6-20-12 to add names of the tangle patterns I couldn't remember yesterday.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Turquoise and Chocolate Brown Lampwork Earrings

A friend of mine made these cute turquoise and chocolate brown lampwork cubes - don't you just love the shape, and the dots?

They were perfect for a quick pair of earrings!
These fun, casual earrings are available in my Etsy shop.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Chainmaille Earrings with Swarovski Crystals

Chainmaille is near and dear to my heart, in all its iterations - but with my well-known love of embellishing, this pair of earrings was a natural:

They began as "flat chain", a weave I really love - it looks especially nice in bracelets, because it lies so flat. Hmmm -- wonder if that's where the name came from? LOL. This particular flat weave was done with 14g square rings (meaning, the round jump rings were created from 14g square wire). Many of you know I love to mix up my chainmaille by using heavier gauges and/or square or twisted wire for the rings, like this JPL, this dragonscale, and this tryzantine.

Anyway, since this weave does like to lie flat, it was an unusual choice for earrings. But I wanted the earrings, to go with the matching bracelet (which doesn't have crystals - yet). Once I had woven the rings into the earring length I wanted, I saw that they just didn't want to hang right, so I started thinking about dangles. I love Swarovski crystals in Fire Opal AB, and like how they look when paired with citrine AB Swarovskis - so bright, vivid, and summery! So that's what I chose, and I love these earrings!

I haven't listed the bracelet on Etsy - I'm debating with myself over whether to put the fire opal and citrine crystals on the bracelet. But the earrings are available! And if you like them, and would like a matching bracelet (with or without crystals) feel free to contact me through my Etsy shop!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tiger Stripe Dichroic Earrings

Did y'all know I also make fused glass? I have been fusing glass since 2007, and even have 2 kilns!

I love glass fusing - it is always a happy surprise to see what the kiln goddess does to your carefully designed pieces once you close up the kiln - such wonders emerge when the kiln cools down!

These pieces came out looking like tigers, so I shaped them into semi-matching drops, and glued them to bails to create these fun striped earrings:

Since I don't have a dedicated area in the studio for glasswork, it takes a lot of time and effort to get a run up for the kiln. Hauling out all the equipment and the glass, bandaging all my wounds because I always forget that glass is SHARP.  But it's so much fun - I really need to make the effort more often!

These tiger stripe earrings are available on Etsy!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Another new hobby!

Are you guys familiar with Zentangling? I wasn't, until I discovered it on Pinterest 3 weeks ago, and got hooked.

Awesome Zentangle

Zentangles are a form of doodling - doodling in different patterns to create little pieces of art.

The first thing that attracted me to this art form was the black and white - I LOVE black and white. There's something dramatic about it that draws me in. Probably why I make a lot of black and white jewelry!

The combination of textures and patterns drew me in next - so cool! And this was before I found out there were hundreds (literally) of different Zentangle patterns that can be combined!

To me, there's something very mathematical about this type of "doodling" - filling defined spaces with different shapes - very geometric and logical. It takes some planning to create these "doodles" - which, of course, aren't your everyday, aimless, killing-time-in-a-stupid-business-meeting doodles at all. Looks to me like this art form requires a healthy coordination of right and left brain activity! I have absolutely zero ability to draw, but I really feel like I can do this!

And I love the name "zentangle" - is it possible to achieve a little zen by zentangling?

I have been thoroughly sucked into the world of zentangling, and actually ordered the beginner kit from their website, and it arrived yesterday:

A beautiful hunter green keepsake box...

Filled with all kinds of goodies...pens, pencils, a sharpener, cardstock sheets for drawing, a DVD, and a 20-sided die. I had NO idea what the die was for, so I buzzed back over to the site just now to look. Evidently, if I am stumped as to what tangle pattern to use, I should roll the die and then check the tangle "crib sheet" which is conveniently numbered with 20 different tangle patterns - and let the die choose a pattern for me!

This is obviously going to be my weekend project (when I am not sucked into Pinterest!).

So now I have a new quandary - I just promised 2 days ago to take my Zombie Fringe Necklace home every weekend until I finish it - I guess THAT's not gonna happen this weekend! Gotta Tangle!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ruby in Zoisite Wire Wrapped Bracelet

New listing in my Etsy shop - I actually made this awhile back, but somehow never got around to photographing it and listing it, apparently. I looked for it in my Etsy shop yesterday, couldn't find it - looked in Expireds, Inactives, everywhere - baffled. Then I searched for the photos on my computer, and ... not a one, anywhere. Weird.

So - it's listed now!

The stone is a gorgeous specimen of ruby in zoisite, which has only been lightly polished, so that the natural beauty of the stone shines through.

You can find more information about this bracelet here, in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday Worktable

I officially reached the halfway point of my Zombie Fringe Necklace yesterday evening, a few minutes after 6PM. (Click on that link if you want to see the history of this project.)

The fringed portion is about 2.5 inches longer than it was when I posted last Wednesday, so I continue to progress about 1.2 inch per session - so slow and tedious!

I am feeling very starved creatively, with lots of ideas rolling around in my head, so I am making a new resolution - I am going to work on this necklace on my days "off", too - (whoopee! a whole extra inch of progress per weekend!) - but I simply have to get this necklace off my workbench so I can move on to some new designs!.

The challenge now is to see how I feel about this new resolution when "Pajama Days" roll around this weekend!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Another way to look at burned bridges

Comments on yesterday's post about burning bridges have led me to look at the topic again.

Let's face it - we've all burned bridges here and there -

Sometimes, we regret it later. Fortunately, with some careful ... reconstruction, you can actually rebuild a lot of bridges! So if you have bad feelings about a bridge you burned, you might want to try rebuilding!

But other times, bridges are better left burned -

Bad romantic relationships spring to mind: don't go back! If it was wrong the first time, it's more than likely not going to suddenly be right. At least, not in the long run.

This seems appropriate right now:

 And other interpersonal relationships are often better left behind - haters, users, negative people that bring you down...and I could go on and on.

Learn from the situation, and move forward, with the light from your burning bridges shining brightly!

Don't get me wrong - I am not advocating you go around burning bridges left and right. Approach all your bridges with careful thought, logic, and sensitivity before you make the decision to cross!  But if you've burned a bridge, you have 3 choices:
  • repair the damage
  • wallow in regret
  • move forward with your life

The choice is yours!

Monday, June 11, 2012


I was doing some blog hopping early this week, reading about this and that, and got pleasantly diverted to, and a link to a memoir entitled "Let's Pretend This Never Happened." Already sounds like my kind of book, so I had to read further!

"Let's Pretend This Never Happened" is by Jen Lawson, a wickedly funny woman, as revealed in the interview posted by Amazon. And I'm sure she would get a laugh out of the fact that people who bought her book on Amazon also purchased "Fifty Shades of Grey." But back to the interview.

I literally laughed out loud at this quote from the interview: "I burn bridges because I like the pretty way they glow."

It reminded me of one of my favorite pins over at Pinterest:

Because I am a BIG-ole Bridge Burner. Can't seem to help myself. It's like bridges just catch fire the minute I set foot on them!

So, check out the Amazon link - I bet you'd enjoy her interview. And probably her book - I wish I had spare pennies to buy it!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lovin' Bloglovin - are you guys familiar with this wonderful website?

This is one of the best things I have discovered in a long time. Bloglovin is a wonderful tool - it saves me time, increases my productivity and efficiency - I just love it. Can't say it enough!

What is Bloglovin, you ask?

It is a totally 100% free website, which I would totally pay for, by the way, which is saying a LOT these days.

You register on Bloglovin - which involves entering your e-mail and picking a password, and get ready to simplify your life.

Bloglovin keeps track of the blogs you want to follow. You copy and paste the URL of any blog you desire into Bloglovin's search field, and Bloglovin pops up a little button that says "Follow", you click the button, and then once a day you get ONE e-mail from Bloglovin with a list of any new posts from the blogs you've chosen to follow.

Bloglovin supports all blog platforms - Blogger, Wordpress, and even free-standing sites.

This is what my daily e-mail from Bloglovin looked like yesterday morning:

 Of all the blogs I follow, 3 had posted new content in the previous 24 hours.

The daily Bloglovin feed contains 2 clickable links for each new post - shown by the 2 arrows above.

The large arrowhead points to the direct permalink to the new post. This is provided through Bloglovin directly, which is an important distinction I will come back to.

The feathered arrow points to a hyperlink to the blog itself - no bypassing through Bloglovin. This is important to all you Pinterest pinners out there - if you want to pin something from one of these posts, you need to use this link, because you cannot Pin through a Bloglovin link. Does that make sense? Bloglovin prefers you to click through their link, so they put it first, and made it bigger. But I have gotten into the habit of clicking on the smaller text underneath, so I can pin if I "need" to.

Now I don't have to trudge through the list of blogs I follow on Google, trying to find updates. They are delivered to my e-mail daily! And I don't have to get mad because I accidentally closed the wrong window while I was reading blogs, and lost my place on that Google list! When I think about how much time I've wasted trying to track my way back to where I left off reading!

Can you blog hoppers imagine how handy Bloglovin would be when participating in a blog swap? Just feed all the participants' URLs into Bloglovin, and on the day of the swap, only those blogs that have updated will show up in your feed! No more clicking on blogs, just to find out they haven't updated their blog in 6 weeks - or more! Frustration over! Just don't enter all those URLs way in advance of the swap date UNLESS you really want to follow them, or your daily Bloglovin feed will get longer and longer!

/End of unsolicited, unpaid endorsement of Bloglovin. Check it out! You won't be sorry!

Edited to add important info for Pinners: If you DO click on the second link, to go directly to the blog, so that you can pin images, remember to first click on the title of the blog post! That way, you will be sure to add the permalink for the image, so that when other folks click on your pin, they go to the correct blog post!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Woke up to a Trojan

Not that kind, people!

I turned on my PC to catch up on Pinterest this morning, and nothing would work right! Well, almost nothing - my browsers worked, but didn't show up in the taskbar as being open. Weird.

I tried to open Photoshop, and 10 tries later, I had no Photoshop, plus the Task Manager told me it wasn't even trying to open. I've had it get hung up trying to open, but never just ignore me! So I decided to go into the start menu, and open Photoshop directly from its root folder, instead of from the desktop shortcut.

That worked - Photoshop opened, but .... Oops - now the start menu is filling almost 1/2 of my screen, and won't go away. And photoshop is behind it, mostly covered up with start menu. Which I cannot get rid of, no matter what I try.

Then my antivirus software pops up a window, telling me I have a trojan infection of a "high" malicious nature, and asks if I want to get rid of it. Well now, let me think about it .... hell, yeah - get rid of that thing! Why didn't you block it to begin with?!?

So my antivirus program told me it had successfully removed the virus, but the start menu still wouldn't minimize, so I did a shut down through the task manager, then restarted, and everything was fine again.


No telling where I picked it up yesterday. I surf around to so many sites - probably several hundred different sites in the space of a couple of hours. I just hope I don't happen upon whatever site infected my PC again - that was a first for me!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Right angle weave

I used bamboo coral (in unusual little bicone shapes!) in this right angle weave, and I really like the result - I have done this pattern many times, with pearls, and with Czech glass in various styles, sizes, and shapes, but had never tried anything else.
Black and red always look so dramatic together!

This bracelet is available in my Etsy shop.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bi-colored Quartz, Pearls, and Lampwork

Don't you hate it when pictures just don't do your work justice?

In reality, no picture, I don't care WHO takes it, under what conditions, can show the real beauty and all the intricate details (and love!) that goes into a piece. But most of the time, my pictures do a good job of representing my work.

My nemesis, picture-wise, is purple. In all of its shades, from the palest lilac to the deepest purple velvet, and even spreading across the spectrum to cobalt/royal blue. Nothing I do (so far) lets the true color of the purples shine through.

But purple isn't the culprit here:

This double stranded necklace started with the gorgeous, earthy lampwork focal. It has several shades of browns, greens, and cream, with big textury dots - love this bead.

I paired it with some mouthwatering faceted bicolored quartz (half lemon quartz, half smoky quartz) - their colors matched the focal perfectly, and the added some sparkle! Then I added some sage green faceted Czech glass, some peach freshwater pearls, and some Swarovski crystals (more sparkle!), and some sterling silver.

I really love the necklace. It all came together perfectly (in my opinion, of course!).

But the photographs didn't come together at all - this is the best one, and it is overexposed, but when I reduced the exposure, the details of the focal and the quartz were lost. I know I took 75 pictures of this necklace if I took one. All different camera settings, angles, backdrops. Crazy.

But the necklace (and it's beautiful components) stood on their own - with the earrings selling right away, and the necklace selling a few months later.

 This is another set that has given me "Seller's remorse" - I miss it!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday Worktable


Iolite Fringe this morning:
6.5 inches of fringe completed - notice how it is graduating in length toward the middle of the necklace.

Iolite Fringe last Wednesday:
3 inches completed. *Sigh* - I thought I had done more, until I compared these pics! It takes 2-3 hours to do one inch, so that works out to about 10 or so hours I have put into this project since last Wednesday. My goal was to do 2 hours a day, so I'm right on track, but this may be the most time consuming (not to mention, repetitively boring and mind-numbing!) jewelry design I have ever tackled.

This is a shot of the original, 4.5 years ago fringe:
It's hard to tell, but the fringe is quite different. I like this fringe, but I like the new fringe, too.

What are you working on?

Back to work now - Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Bead Police

I am on record, more than once, claiming there are no bead police. Like, here, and more recently, here.

I teach a lot of classes, and I own a bead shop, and I am always telling my students and my customers the same thing - no bead police! Want to mix rounds, rondelles, and cubes all in the same necklace - go for it! Wood, glass, gemstones, and pearls in the same piece - certainly! Asymmetry - be my guest! You like those colors together - terrific! It's your design - make yourself happy. Knock yourself out!

The pattern tells you to use 15/0 seed beads, but you'd rather use 11/0s - no problem. Some beading book says you must crimp your crimp tubes with crimping pliers, but you'd rather use chainnose pliers - it's OK! Somebody says you have to heat-set alcohol inks, but you've found a different technique that works for you - yay! All the best metal workers say you should saw your metal, but you prefer to use metal shears - go for it! Technique, schmechnique: if it works for you and has a durable outcome, it's all good.

There really aren't many rules in jewelry design. If it makes you happy, or it works for you, do it. I'm not going to say there are NO rules - because one thing I DO know is, Never say Never. And, right off the top of my head, I can think of one rule: don't smoke when you're doing torch work! So, there. There are a few rules here and there. But outside of obvious safety stuff, jewelry design is pretty forgiving and free-wheeling.

But I got to thinking last night: What if there were bead police?

Let's say, for the sake of argument, there ARE bead police. And this is them. Nice, huh? Scared?

Note: they are armed! Bead Police don't fool around!

In my head, the bead police are sort of like Santa - they saw what you did, and now you're on the naughty list. For all I know, they may even see you when you're sleeping (!)

They saw me substitute 11/0s for 15/0s in that bracelet I made Saturday from the July, 2012, Bead & Button. They know I used firepolish instead of Swarovskis. And wire guardians instead of French wire. My bead felonies are piling up!

Any moment, they'll burst in, and I'll be in Big Trouble. Of course, I will have to be frisked. Preferably, by all four, because my bead crimes are massive!

So you can bet, with these guys on the lookout, I will be breaking rules left and right! Bring on the Bead Police!

I wonder if I should put this poster up in my classroom?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Metaphysics and Gemstones - Happiness

This is Part 4 in a series of posts about the metaphysical properties of gemstones.

Part 1 was dedicated to creativity and artistic expression, and also gave a brief background on metaphysics. Part 1 also described how to incorporate gemstones and crystals into your lifestyle in order to benefit from their purported healing benefits.

Part 2 covered focus and concentration.

Part 3 focused on patience.

Today I'll cover those gemstones believed to help increase happiness. Need more happiness in your life (who doesn't?) - these gemstones may be for you!

Please note: This information is provided for entertainment purposes only, and should not be construed as diagnosis, prescription, or healthcare information, directives, recommendation, or advice. Please see a licensed healthcare provider for advice and recommendations regarding specific injuries or illnesses.

You may have noticed by now that I am obsessed with raw gemstones - I love how beautiful these minerals are in their natural state, and I actually have a huge personal collection of them. I am enjoying the research I am doing for this series, partly because I get to look at hundreds of pictures of gorgeous rocks! And that is why I am showing so many pictures with these posts - it pleases me!

Many, many gemstones are believed to help with happiness, so if you're looking to try the metaphysical route, you have a lot of options!

Since several of these gemstones have been featured in a previous post, I'll just link to that post, rather than repeating the pics again!

Gemstones believed to help those seeking happiness include:

Smoky Quartz

Blue Lace Agate

Rose Quartz


Other gemstones associated with happiness, but not readily available to jewelry designers, include pyrite, Herkimer diamond, and this beauty, which I just have to show you:

 I never heard of Euclase until I started researching this post, but isn't it incredible?

These gemstones, which we've previously covered, are also linked to happiness: amethyst, chrysoprase, aventurine, and carnelian.

That's it for happy stones - anyone out there have a trait or illness they'd like me to cover in my next post - this is fun!