Friday, January 15, 2016

Znetshows Non-Jewelry Challenge

This challenge was a long time in the making!  Hope from Znetshows initially contacted her designers in October, asking us to brainstorm and come up with some designs featuring the beautiful Znetshows cultured sea glass beads...but not for jewelry.  (This is a more difficult challenge than you can imagine!)  So my mind started to churn, and I came up with a couple of ideas...first, a jeweled topper for a gift-wrapped package (telling you now, this would have to be for a VSP...a Very Special Person!), and the other being a "vase bracelet".  Years ago, I received a gorgeous bouquet of roses in a dark purple matte glass vase...and around the neck of the vase were some pretty beads strung on wire.  I loved the flowers, but REALLY loved the vase bracelet...I still have it, in fact!

And then...well, things happened.  I had knee replacement surgery, which was much worse than I had expected, and then very shortly, much better than I had expected.  Does that make sense?  It will if you've ever have joint replacement surgery!  It's a brutal surgery...I can't really think of a better descriptive word.  They use construction tools in the operating room, which thankfully I was oblivious to.  And then that very same day, the nurses make you get out of bed and stand on that wounded leg.  Honestly?  For the first 8-10 days, I thought I would have been better off the way I was pre-surgery (in pain ALL THE TIME, but predictable pain...pain I was accustomed to).  And then, like magic really, it all turned around.  And let me tell you, I would do it again without hesitation...maybe with some cursing and crying, but knowing full well that the outcome is totally worth it.

All of which has nothing to do with a non-jewelry challenge, except that it put me (for longer than I'd expected) out of the disorganized, chaotic den of madness that I call my craft room.  I apologized to Hope, and she was (as usual) wonderful: no worries, thanks for letting me know, I am so sorry you're hurting, keep in touch.  Which...I kind of didn't do, at least not very well.  So when the most recent reminder email arrived from Hope, I felt all kinds of bad.  And I got to work.  I went with my original ideas, but changed things up slightly...I used less of the beads that I'd requested for this challenge, and more of the beads in my stash (from previous Znetshows challenges, and know...some of the hundreds of thousands of beads I've collected over the years).

Here's the gift topper...which is indeed for a VSP!

In addition to those aforementioned "stash beads", here's a list of the Znetshows cultured sea glass beads I used:

My next project was the "vase bracelet" (although maybe it's a "vase necklace", since it wraps around the neck of the vase, which BTW was purchased at Goodwill).  

This was quite simply FUN to make.  I started out with a bracelet strand I'd taken off a 3-strand bracelet, and added links (eye pins are our friend!) until it fit around the neck of the vase.  Then I took about 3 yards of craft wire, added the beads for the dangle, and spiraled the end of the wire to prevent the beads from slipping off.  Then I added beads and twisted and spiraled the wire as I saw fit...totally freehand.  I slipped the wire through the links in a random way, ensuring that they won't separate from each other.  And at the end, I spiraled the end of the wire just as I'd done at the beginning.  

I enjoyed these projects immensely, and can't wait until the next Znetshows challenge!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

My Friends at Navneet Gems!

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a representative of Navneet Gems, complimenting my jewelry designs and my blog, and asking if I would be interested in applying to be one of their jewelry designer affiliates.  I filled out the questionnaire they attached, and sent it off, as a lark.  I'm not particularly high-profile, and although I do follow another of their designers (Jewels of Sayuri), and have participated in many of the blog hops and challenges with Jewels of Sayuri, I really had no expectation of hearing from them again.  I had much on my mind at that time...I was facing a BIG surgery (a total replacement of my right knee).

Amazingly, I did hear back from Sachin Goyal at Navneet Gems, advising me that they had accepted me as a one of their representatives, and my questionnaire/interview is posted on their website!  I am so happy...surprised, and grateful, and excited! Navneet Gems reminded me...very lucky, since only 5-10% of applicant interviews are accepted for publication.

I promised that I would post the questionnaire on my blog (I already posted on Facebook) here it is!
Interviewing Donetta Farrington - Jewelry Designer
Interviewing Donetta Farrington - Jewelry Designer
1. Tell us something about you? Answer - I am retired from a career in the medical field; for many years, I worked with physicians employed by Kaiser and (later) for Legacy Health in Portland, Oregon. I collected background information, investigated and verified the information, and worked with local and national insurance companies to have our providers added to their panels.
I began making jewelry when I was visiting a hospital on the east coast...I noticed that the hospital employees were wearing beautiful beaded necklaces to hold their photo ID cards, and wondered how I could replicate that idea. I bought one of the badge necklaces, took it apart (making notes about the way it was assembled), and purchased the tools and materials I would need to make some for myself. I learned by trial and error (and through books and blogs by other jewelry designers!) which types of materials were best. Once I started wearing the necklaces with my ID badge attached, people began asking me to make them to sell...and from there, I branched into other forms of jewelry. It has been a wonderful journey!
My blog ( was initially started so I could join various challenges and blog hops with other jewelry designers. I've taken part in several international Bead Soup challenges, and have also participated in Jeannie Dukic's "Do Over" challenges twice yearly, Michelle Mach's challenges, and several others over the years. It is a wonderful experience to receive jewelry designs or beads from other jewelry artists, and create something unique and completely new from those materials. I design for (a cultured sea glass bead company), and I sell my jewelry locally at two different salons. I have recently been chosen to sell my work on Amazon Handmade, and I am opening an Etsy shop as well. I display photographs of some of my jewelry designs on Flickr and on Facebook, but have never used those as marketing tools.
2. How do you brush your ideas about designing? Answer - I am inspired by everything around me...I collect vintage brooches and earrings, and use them to create beautiful new designs; I take inspiration from jewelry trends, but I have my own very distinct style, and prefer to modify trends to fit my own artistic "signature".
3. How often do you do blogging? Answer - I was a very enthusiastic blogger in the beginning, but as my jewelry business has grown, I've been blogging only for online blog hops and challenges. I'd like to change that, and return to a series of blog posts once or twice weekly which showcase not only jewelry, but also my mixed media work and artist trading cards.
4. Any one of your designs so far that you are most proud of? Answer - I have created several pieces of jewelry that I'm very fond of. One is a necklace I made for my daughter's birthday, with a rough geode as the focal:
Lisa's birthday necklace (geode focal):

Another is a charm bracelet created for Znetshows, which contains charms made from various cultured sea glass beads, as well as beads and findings from my stash: 
Znetshows Autumn Bead Challenge:

What are your favorite stones or colors to work with? Answer - My favorite colors are definitely earthy and rich: deep reds, topaz, the colors found in nature. I also enjoy using muted and elegant colors, such as grey tones (from very pale to carbon), tanzanite, alexandrite...gemstone colors which in actuality are comprised of many colors. One of my favorite stones is jasper...there are so many beautiful variations of this lovely stone; tourmaline (particularly watermelon tourmaline) is also a favorite; and labradorite, with it's beautiful blue flash.
6. What is your ultimate dream? Answer - My ultimate dream is to create small collections of jewelry that are affordable and recognizable as my own. I am not at all interested in mass production, and don't feel qualified to create "fine jewelry". That said, my jewelry is beautifully made, and made to last. I am very detail-oriented, and each piece is meticulously checked before being offered for sale.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Jeannie Dukic's 9th Do-Over Challenge

Well...apparently all the "excitement" (translation: terror, time-consuming appointments and tests) surrounding my upcoming knee replacement surgery has affected my short-term memory.  Jeannie's Do-Over reveal was Saturday, the 10th.  In my MENTAL calendar, it is this coming Saturday.  I have my done-over piece made and photographed...just the blog post to write...I was going to set it to post at 1:00 a.m. on Saturday, the 17th.

I apologize from the bottom of my heart to Jeannie and to her lovely peeps (Kara!), for being such a space cadet.  I'm completely aware that the beauty and rhythm of a challenge such as this one depend on the participants being present.  Honestly, I don't know why my mind has gone blank on so many things lately...I sure hope it isn't a permanent situation!

I received a necklace from Jeannie that contained a hefty portion of silver-plated chain, lovely MOP shell sticks in creamy white, aqua, turquoise, and a pretty almost-royal blue...all the colors of the sea on a very good day!  Additionally, I was gifted a BEAUTIFUL polymer sand dollar pendant and some sweet starfish polymer pendants (how does Jeannie DO this???).  You know...first step was to photograph the "before" item:

Second step, take it apart and sort the pieces.  Is there something wrong with me that I so enjoy taking things apart?  Why does it give me such a thrill to deconstruct?  I do a LOT of it...I have never, not once, said "This isn't right, so I'll throw it away"!  So I organized the stick pearls according to color, and put the gorgeous faux beach residents nearby.  And I began to ponder.  What to do, what to do?

And this is what I came up with...another necklace! 

I made a long slips over the head and is about 36 inches long, not including the pendant.  Going with the beautiful sea-inspired colors and feel, I used small (4 mm) glass pearls for the necklace.  I had separated the stick pearls according to color, and used small groups of each color, set off with small crystal cultured sea glass beads.  Rather than using the silver findings, I went with antiqued copper.  Attached to a hammered antiqued copper oval ring, I attached one of the polymer starfish, and five assorted lengths of small antiqued copper chain, each with a pearl attached to the very end.  I love the way the chain drapes and falls around the starfish, reminiscent of seaweed. 

Here's a closer look at the focal:

I loved making this necklace, and I love wearing it even more!  Thank you so much for the opportunity, Jeannie and Kara...I look forward to this challenge every time, and I'm sad that this will be the last one!  Please check out the other participants to see the beautiful items they created from some of Jeannie's fabulous beads:

Jeannie Dukic

Rachel Mallis

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Znetshows Summer Challenge!

Another fabulous bead challenge from Znetshows...this time in honor of the beautiful summer season!  Each participant was assigned to create pieces from one of the following categories: Sea Inspired, Fresh From the Garden, More than Jewelry, or Upcycled.  I chose to make pieces inspired by the sea, which speaks to my soul...the colors, the sounds, and the ever-changing intensity of Mother Nature.

The lovely peeps at Znetshows provided me with many beautiful cultured sea glass beads...some were of my choosing, and some were extra "freebies" generous!  I picked beads in beautiful seaside colors: turquoise, aqua, a beautiful sea green, and crystal.  And oh...the fun I had!

Here are some of the beads I received from Znetshows:

My first project was a necklace...I had some drilled scallop shells that I was DYING to use, and started playing with that idea.  I teamed the scallop shell with a gorgeous green starfish, and wire-wrapped them together.  I used some keishi pearls from my stash, as well as some classic round green cultured sea glass beads and tiny glass pearls.  Here's the result:

And you know, a girl HAS to have some earrings to go with this beachy theme, so I made these:

The corner-drilled squares are slightly convex, and while the crystal starfish are attached to the headpins, the drilled squares and keishi pearl dangles swing a little bit when worn.  (They are adorable when I allowed to say that about my own creations?)

After all this seafoam green gorgeousness, I turned my attention to the beautiful turquoise pebbles and starfish.  I knew I wanted to make a multi-strand bracelet, so I started with one strand of tiny round turquoise beads.  From there, I did some white work...I made a strand using crystal starfish, some frosted white glass beads, and some tiny white glass pearls; I used silver bead caps on the large frosty white beads.  My third and final strand is made with the beautiful turquoise pebbles, which are irregularly shaped and very organic and natural in appearance.  To the finished bracelet, I added two dangles: one with another crystal starfish, and one with tiny silver beads and a frosted white glass round bead.  This bracelet ROCKS on a summer-tanned wrist!

I made a pair of earrings that combine beautifully with the well as with the fact, this pair of earrings looks spectacular with anything!  I used a couple of the gorgeous crystal shard pendants, which dangle from frosted white glass beads with silver bead caps and decorative spacers.  These earrings have just the right amount of "swing"!

My final project was nothing but fun.  I wantedto make a purse charm for a good friend in Texas, who loves sea glass and beachy colors.  Say no more!  I knew what I was meant to make!

I had some beautiful variegated silk ribbon that shifts ever so slightly from ivory to sandy brown and then to the palest of turquoise tints...absolute heaven!  I knotted a length of this ribbon to a large silver jump ring, and added a wire-wrapped turquoise starfish (it's top/side drilled), a crystal starfish (center drilled) and turquoise pebble dangle, and another dangle using those sweet keishi pearls and a small white round cultured sea glass bead.  I attached the jump ring to a clip.  

Can you tell that this challenge was a pleasure and a joy?  It WAS!  I can't thank my Znetshows friends (Hope and Bill)'s an honor to design for Znetshows, and I look forward to many future challenges.  Please check out the Znetshows Glossi (online magazine) will be thrilled with the beautiful creations from my fellow designers!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Znetshows "ICY" Winter Challenge!

I love these challenges...I do!  This time around, the Znetshows designers received a package of beads chosen by an anonymous "someone" at the bead company...we had no idea what we might receive (now THAT'S a challenge!).  We were charged with creating pieces of jewelry that had an "icy" feel, to honor the winter season.

When I opened my package of beads, I found so many strands that it takes two pictures to show them all:

I!  The thing is...when I looked at all this gorgeousness, all I could think about was "beach"...and I don't mean an icy beach!  I wanted to blink my eyes and summon the balmy days of summer!  But, you know, that wasn't the challenge.  So I had some thinking to do.  Fortunately, we are never expected to use each and every bead.  And equally fortunately, we are allowed to use any beads and findings that we have in our stash.  So this wasn't going to be Mission Impossible, not by a long shot!
I bucked my own tradition, and started with a bracelet rather than earrings.  (For some reason known only to my inner self, I almost always begin with earrings.)  I pulled a bunch of white dichroic glass beads from my stash, because they have an "icy" look.  And since I wanted to put as much variety as possible onto this bracelet, I made a stacked memory wire wrap.
I used every single one of the cultured sea glass pebble beads (BDS1926-46), along with most of the icy white dichroic glass beads in my stash, and some aqua beads that I also thought had a frosty appearance.  I added a dangle created from an adorable cultured sea glass large starfish in Pacific blue (S27-B30T) at one end, and an icy white drop dangle at the opposite end.  I knew I wanted to use silver findings with this theme, since it has a "cooler" vibe than gold, brass, or copper.
I also created a collarbone-hugging necklace, not too short and not too long...about 19 inches long.
In my mind, I called this "Frozen Mermaid Tears", due to the clusters of AB teardrop crystals that I interspersed with small and medium round silver balls, a few round white dichroic glass beads, and one of my favorite Znetshows "go-to" beads, the 4 mm rounds...this time in light aqua (S03-28FIVE).  And, of course...some of those stunning top-drilled starfish (S27-B30T).
The first pair of earrings I made are what I call "show-stoppers".  Elegant shoulder-dusters for special occasions.
When I first saw these gorgeous round teardrop beads in opaque seafoam green (S77-B43), my mind flashed to a pair of crystal clusters I had removed from a thrift shop "find"...a silver chain, with two silvery-coated crystal dangles hanging front and center.  I found the dangles, and connected them to the long, elegant teardrop beads as you see above. 
I knew I wanted another pair of earrings, and this time I noticed that I had exactly two of my larger white dichroic "ice cube" beads remaining. 

 I made 24 little wire-wrapped dangles, using ball-tipped silver headpins and 4mm round cultured sea glass beads in "Moonstone Opal" (S03-86FIVE).  Yes, 24.  12 for each earring.  I attached them to tiny silver jump rings in clusters of 3, and added them to a larger silver jump ring to dangle over the tops of the large white beads.  They are such fun to wear!  There's a bit of movement from the dangles, a lot of flash and glam from the ice cube beads...and plenty of sparkle from the silver and the "ice cubes"!
I had a wonderful time with this challenge, and thank Hope and Bill from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity to participate.  I can't wait for the next challenge!  Please check out the other designers and the Znetshows Glossi here:
And I will tell you honestly that my favorite design of ALL is on the cover of the Glossi...check it out!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Bead Hoarder's Blog Hop!

For the first time EVER, I forgot about a blog hop.  I'm speechless...with dismay.  I wish I had a handy reason for my lapse, but I don't. 

In an effort to present SOMETHING...anything, really...I'm going to show you a few things I've made recently, using some of my favorite old (although not hoarded) beads, as well as some new beads from various sources: Jeannie Dukic, Znetshows, and possibly a BSBP partner or two from the recent past.

I made this bead-wrapped key into a not-so-long necklace, using a strand of the metallic seed beads I used to wrap the top of the key.  To add a bit of pizazz, I added links made from faceted stone beads.
I call this the "Ice Princess" bracelet...I had a special request for a bracelet using "ice cube" (dichroic glass) beads.  I've used these beads before and now I remember how much I liked them.  Which then leads me to the question we all face: why do I have so MUCH stash, and why do I continue to purchase beads...every time I look into my meticulously organized bead boxes I find something that truly is new to me! 
And honestly, here's what I've really been doing, rather than working with beads and wire...
Winter Fairy Artist Trading Card
Blue and Silver Artist Trading Card
"Sender's Choice" Artist Trading Card
It seems that I can either work with paper, or with beads, but not both.  Or maybe my attention span is getting shorter as my age gets longer.  Either way, I am really embarrassed that I forgot...please forgive me, Lori!
Here's the list of the real participants...please stop by and let them know how special they are!
Lori  (Hostess)

Audrey Belanger
Jenny Kyrlach
Kathy Lindemer
Lori Schneider
Dee Elgie
Dolores Raml
Rebecca EdnieHttp://
Lili Krist
Marybeth Rich
Hannah Rosner
Nicole Prince
Deana Hager
Jackie Ryan
Elsie Deliz-Fonseca
Mowse Doyle
Evelyn Shelby
Lisa Johnson
Terri Gauthier
Patti Pruhs
Shai Williams
Andrea Glick
K Hutchinson
Marci Brooks
Maria Rosa
Inge von
Ghislaine Kruse-van
Mary K
Donetta  (You are here!)
Kelly Hosford
Robin Kae Reed                            
Melissa Trudinger