Sunday, December 15, 2013

Znetshows Winter Pearl Challenge (and Glossi!)

My favorite bead company has done it again!  They sponsored a "Winter Pearl Challenge", and asked their designers to pick a generous stash of pearls and crystals...and to put our fingers into gear and create some pretty pieces from all the gorgeous beads we received.  Emphasis on winter...this challenge was to be featured in Znetshows' Glossi (an e-magazine), winter edition. 

I chose a colorway called "Steel Rose", which I thought was perfect for winter: icy crystal, a sparkly barely-there gray crystal, a darker metallic gray crystal, and (be still my beating heart) a crystal with a rosy blush.  Then I chose tiny 3 mm white pearls (the most versatile "ingredient" in this mix, hands down),  6 mm pale gray pearls, and 10 mm darker gray pearls.  Opening the box was like opening a treasure chest:
See what I mean?  Oh, those little (4mm) cube crystals!  And the teardrops! 
My first project was a pair of earrings.  I made loops of the tiny white pearls, using beading wire and a crimp, which I covered with a silver crimp cover.  I added the loops to a simple arrangement of a large dark gray pearl topped with another tiny white pearl for a classically elegant earring, perfect for winter (or for any season...pearls are seasonless).  Can you imagine my excitement when I opened the Glossi link to discover MY EARRINGS on the cover!

I!  Such an honor!  My second project was a necklace.  I started with a silver connector, one with space for a center dangle, with room also for a couple of smaller dangles on each side.  For the focal piece, I used a Znetshows crystal from one of the previous challenges...the key chain challenge.  The crystals are large and gorgeous, and have a finish that creates a different color on each side.  The name of this "color" is Sahara Green.  If I had my way, it would be called Alexandrite.  It's green(ish) on one side, but on the other side it has the most beautiful purple "flash"...spectacular.  I used a silver paddle headpin and an ornate silver bead cap for this dangle.  The other dangles are made using the teardrop and cube crystals from this challenge.  The necklace itself is a continuous rope of my favorite 3 mm white pearls, and attach to the silver connector with crystal teardrop and pearl connectors made with silver eye pins.

Now for the bracelets.  I made two.  The first is made from five loops of memory wire, and has a different arrangement of pearls and crystals on each loop.  I struggle with symmetry...I prefer symmetry over asymmetry, although when using memory wire, I usually end up with exactly the same arrangements on each loop of wire, which isn't visually pleasing.  I worked HARD to create a bracelet in which each loop of wire had a different arrangement...what do you think? 

My final piece is a three-strand bracelet, using a combination of the pearls and crystals in a different way...different for me, that is!  Strand #1 is actually the last of the beautifully wire-wrapped white pearls from Jeannie Dukic's last Do-Over Challenge.  I had just enough for this bracelet.  The second  piece is a super-simple strand of randomly-chosen (oh, so hard for me to do random!) 4 mm crystal cubes.  I paid no attention to the colors I randomly chose, and I was thrilled with the outcome.  The final strand is comprised of a mix of the three pearls chosen for this challenge, with some crystal rondelles tossed in for some sparkle.  The bracelet is finished with two using a decorative silver headpin and crystal beads; the other using a silver paddle headpin and pearls. 

And there you have it!  I LOVED this challenge!  It was a joy to receive another package of gorgeousness from Znetshows, and a joy to create pretty pieces of jewelry with them.  All my gratitude and thanks to Bill and to Hope for this amazing opportunity.
But guess what?  There's a super Znetshows give-away for our friends and fans!  Details are here, on the Znetshows blog!  Go there now, and enter to win!  And while you're there, take a look at the creations from the other Znetshows designers...they are spectacular!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

7,000 Bracelets of Hope

Hope from Znetshows sent out a little challenge to the designers, asking if we'd consider using some fabulous Znetshows beads to make bracelets for the Global Genes/ RARE project, which is an advocacy organization for individuals with rare and genetic diseases. (Their symbol is a denim ribbon, a play on the word genes.)  Every year, jewelry designers and artists from all over create and donate a bracelet (maybe several bracelets!) for the "7,000 Bracelets of Hope" project, showing support for families affected by (you guessed it) rare and genetic diseases. 

There are a few guidelines...but 0not many; the idea is to create something unique to showcase each designer's aesthetic or "style".  It's a good idea to make something that could fit almost anyone; we have no idea who will end up with our bracelet, and it would diminish the pleasure for the recipient if the bracelet was unwearable.  Also, of course, the main color should be blue.  The designers are encouraged to write a note to the recipient...just a little something from the heart, possibly explaining how we were inspired to make this particular bracelet, and certainly expressing our empathy and support. 

Each of the Znetshows designers was allowed to choose two items, from the sea glass, glass pearl,  and/or crystal lines.  We were supposed to take pictures of our beads before taking them apart to use in our bracelets, and naturally I forgot this step and immediately parted out the strands of beads (in my case, a strand of double-hole sea glass beads in light sapphire blue, and a few strands of mixed blue and clear crystal rondelles).  After my piece was complete, I realized my mistake, and tried to rectify by taking this picture:

There were several other colors of blue crystals (aqua, turquoise, and a super-sparkly almost green color), but upon inspection, I didn't feel that they would set off the gorgeous sapphire blue of the cultured sea glass beads.  And I assure you, this is a picture of just a few of the "leftovers" selection of beads was very generous!
I played around a bit, experimented with some antiqued brass beads from my own stash, and liked the combination.  I used two equal lengths of memory wire, and started stringing...oh, the first few inches was torture!  Memory wire is essentially a spring (think of your childhood Slinky toy), and with two separate pieces, the snapping and slapping is doubled.  Painful...seriously.  Anyway.  I added and subtracted, changed things around many times, and finally ended up with a bracelet I loved.  To finish off the ends, I used two pieces of beige silk ribbon from the incredible Marsha Neal, and tied a few little charms to the ends.  Here's what I sent to the Global Genes Project:

And maybe another view...
As the mother of an adult son with autism and severe mental retardation, I have a special place in my heart for families who struggle with diseases and disorders of all types.  My family is one of those families.  For several reasons, I have been convinced for almost 40 years that autism is a genetic disorder...and I believe that medical science is finally coming to that conclusion as well.  When my son was a child, a psychiatrist at Stanford University Hospital told me that I was fooling myself if I believed that Michael recognized me, or had any sort of bond with me other than, say, a stray cat who came around to be fed. That man broke my heart...but even then, I knew he was wrong. 
I plan to participate in this project every is very dear to my heart.  Thank you Hope, and thank you Znetshows, for giving me the nudge and the beads so that I can show my support to another family like mine!



Saturday, October 26, 2013

Oh dear...

Yeah...that previous post didn't work out very well.  I am in a weakened state!  At this moment, trying to delete that post is beyond me, so I'll just try to move forward.  As I was saying, here's a picture of just a small piece of Jeannie's pearls:

Oh, dear.  I can't find the photo of JUST the pearls.  (This picture shows the detail of the necklace strands.)  However, you can see here the precision that marks Jeannie's work.  I am in awe.  I wanted to use as many of the pearl links as I could, without just presenting you with Jeannie's work.  That wouldn't be the spirit of the challenge, would it? 
I started with a bracelet; a strand of the pearls and a strand of some Czech fire-polished Picasso beads in a variety of golden honey colors.  In fact, as I was working on my pieces, I kept thinking "milk and honey" that's what I'm calling this set.  Here's the bracelet I made:
Next up came a necklace.  Again, I used as many of the pearls as I could, and added strands of the Picasso beads mixed with faceted bronze-y metal beads; I created a focal piece using a massive silver flower bead cap and a super-pretty lampwork glass bead in just the right colors.  

So there you have it.  Jeannie, I hope I did justice to your beautiful pearls...I kept as many of the links intact as I could, while changing the feel of the pieces.  Thank you so much for the opportunity to work with you is always such a pleasure!  Please don't forget to stop by and see what the other "do over" participants have created:




Jeannie Dukic's 6th Do-Over Challenge!

I do believe that this is the first time I've participated in a blog hop reveal that I haven't had my post ready and set to publish at 0100 the day of the reveal...and I apologize to Jeannie for the lapse.  Nothing to do with the beautiful wire-wrapped rosary strands of small, sweet white pearls that I received...everything to do with the horrific migraine headache I've been struggling with for the past five days.  Yes.  FIVE DAYS.  I guess I got cocky because I hadn't had a really terrible migraine for a few years, and...well, there's also the fact that I don't currently have prescription coverage...but it got out of hand, and forced me to finally visit my doctor and have a shot of something painful, which is supposed to be a super-powerful muscle relaxer and is also supposed to work on migraines, but which honestly didn't do much for me.  After I woke up (the one benefit being that it put me to sleep), the pain was still there.  Calling it a headache is doing it a disservice.  Imagine having a sadistic torturer put your head in a vise and tighten it...then tighten it some get the idea. 

Enough of that.  Here's a close-up of one of the jewelry pieces sent to me by the awesome Jeannie.  There was a double-strand necklace, a bracelet, and a pair of earrings.  Jeannie, your wire-wrapping skills leave me astounded.  Each wrap is exactly like the last, and each is...well, perfect. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Znetshows Keychain Lightning Round!

Oh, I love these challenges...the chance to shop and choose from the vast array of Znetshows cultured sea glass, super-sparkly crystal, and metal beads and chains is irresistible!  This challenge is called a "lightning round", meaning fast turnaround.  We were sent three silvertone keychains (let's be adventurous...they could be zipper pulls, or cell phone charms, and probably many other things, too), and had the opportunity to browse and choose a couple of crystal items. 

Because I'm such a creature of habit (aka: "set in my ways"), I usually choose the same type of crystals...usually rondelles, and usually in a variety of traditional-ish colors.  So this time, considering that the entire challenge is kind of out of the box for me, I went with BIG crystals, in a gorgeous pear shape and a super-sleek rectangle shape, and I chose the coolest color I could find: Sahara green.  Now, you may think there's not much green in the Sahara, and you may even think that green is green.  I beg to differ.  If I were choosing a name for this color, I would call it "Alexandrite".  It flashes from green to purple, and there's a brilliant bit of totally clear flash when the light hits the crystals.  It is gorgeous.  In fact, I would say that it's...Simply Gorgeous!

Before I show you what I made, it's time for a confession.  I've never used this type of keychain, zipper pull, or whatever.  Never.  I know that it has a retractable clip thingy on one end; I can see that very clearly.  It's the other end that concerns me.  It's a loop thing that appears to be attached to the clip it a screw?  I thought maybe the loop thing came off, so I spent 10 minutes trying to remove the screw-like thing.  I tried a little screwdriver, but that didn't work at all.  Maybe the screw is too tight for my little screwdriver...hmmm.  What might work?  I tried loosening the "screw" with a pair of flat-nose pliers; still no luck.  Then I found the most interesting thing, in the back of my tool drawer.  Tiny.  Looks like wee scissors on one end, and tweezers on the other end.  Maybe the tweezer end?  Yeah...not exactly.  After puncturing my left thumb with the scissor end (lethally sharp), I gave up.  I don't think it's a screw at all.  I think it's a little metal plug-thing, meant to permanently keep the loop attached to the clip thing.  So I went with Plan B, which was to attach my crystal charms to a jump ring, and attach the jump ring to the loop.  It worked.

Here is the first keychain I made.  I used silver headpins with paddle ends.  And because I know from personal experience that the edges of the paddle headpins are sharp and will eventually cut the crystal (!!!), I used a teensy little silver spacer as a barrier between the sharp edge of the headpin and the rectangular crystal.  The headpin used with the pear-shaped crystal has a leaf on the end.  I added a length of silver chain as the third "charm", and attached leaf charms and a lock and key charm to the chain.  I like this one.  I'm going to use this one myself.  Where do I put the keys, though?  Do they go on the jump ring with the charms, or do I stick them onto the clip thing, which opens?  Why am I such a dummy about this?
I like this one, too.  I attached the crystals in the same way as the first one...only this time, I added one to the jump ring, and the other two to lengths of silver chain.  Each crystal hangs at a different length, going symmetrically from short to medium to long(er). 
Now to keychain #3.  I've had a pair of lampworked glass leaf headpins in my stash for ages.  They are beautiful, and I don't believe this picture shows how pretty they really are.  The veins of the leaves are gold...I think lampwork artists call it frit?  Gold frit.  Again, I wanted different lengths, so I added the rectangle crystal charm to a length of silver chain.  And yes, another silver leaf headpin for the pear-shaped crystal.  Guess what?  I like this one, too. 
Forgive me,'s a note to one person: Rebecca Ednie, I know you're reading this, and I can HEAR you (all the way from Oregon to Ontario!) exclaiming about the photography, the shadows, and so forth.  I have misplaced the instructions for my light box setup, and I spent TWO HOURS yesterday searching for the special folder in which I'd placed your step-by-step email instructions, with no success.  I believe I have an organizational problem.  One of my many problems, may, in fact, be that I am not well organized, regardless of what my Pinterest boards lead you to believe.  The light box is sitting on my dining room table, but unfortunately the shadows were worse when I tried to use it.  Much worse.  And I do not hold the light box responsible; I'm positive it's a personal problem.



Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lori Anderson's Bead Hoarder's Blog Hop!

Aren't we all bead hoarders?  Doesn't it go with the territory?  I have so many special beads and cabochons...too special to put on my display at the hair salons where most of my jewelry sells.  See, I have to create pieces that are completely affordable, and that don't take hours and hours to put time is worth something, after all...and my particular market will not support the higher prices that really special beads and labor-intensive pieces must command. 

When I read about this blog hop, I thought it would be a really great way to use some of those beads I've been hoarding for a special occasion.  As I was creating each piece, I could absolutely picture it being worn by my daughter (my very best salesperson!), or by me, myself, and I! 

I started with a gorgeous lampwork scallop shell bead, created by Catherine Steele of artwithheart.  Here is Catherine's list of materials: "glass, silver, time, love".  Here's the necklace I created, using the scallop shell bead as a pendant, with a recycled glass dangle at the bottom.  The "chain" was created with a whole bunch of shell bead chips I salvaged from an old necklace I bought in Hawaii in 1988, interspersed with some aqua cultured sea glass tiny rondelles.

Here's a close-up of the was available in "regular" or tumbled glass, and I chose the tumbled glass for the matte sea glass appearance.
I bought a set of gorgeous turquoise glass flower headpins ages ago, from an Etsy seller called HavanaBeads.  The headpins are described as "Aqua Sparkle Headpin Flowers"...and they came with a matched set of beautiful glass leaf headpins.  I made a pair of earrings...just for me!  I used the headpin itself (copper with a beautiful patina) for wire wrapping.  Can you see the lacy-looking frit on the edge of the flower?
My next project made use of three hoarded items!  I glued a vintage Limoges china cabochon to an old brass...thing.  Drawer pull?  Door hinge?  I don't know...but I do know it's a household thing, not a jewelry thing.  I've been hanging on to this brass "thing" for some time.  I attached a simple antiqued brass chain to create a necklace, and then carefully took apart a beautiful vintage rosary and used some of the lead crystal links to dress up the chain. 
The rosary chain (a "decade" of crystal beads in each section) is attached to the antiqued brass chain with the tiniest of antiqued brass jump rings. 
Here's a closer look at the Limoges cabochon:
There we have just a few of my hoarded beads.  I feel better, now that I've given them life!  Please join the other blog hoppers to see what they've created.  I always get inspired by seeing the beautiful pieces of jewelry created by members of this community!
1.  Lori Anderson, Pretty Things
2. Nancy Dale, NEDBeads
3. Roxanne Mendoza, Roxi Designs
4.  Melissa Trudinger, beadrecipes
5.  Rana Lea, Rana Lea Designs
6.  Leah Tees, My Beady Little Eyes
7.  Rita Avila, Jewel School Friends
8.  Linda Anderson, From the Bead Board
9.  Sharon Palac, Sharon's Jewelry Garden
10.  Erin Guest, Renlish

11.  Joan Williams, lilruby jewelry
12. Diane Hawkey, Diane Hawkey
13.  Jo-Ann Woolverton, It's a Beadiful Creation
14.  Sue Kennedy, SueBeads
15.  Lisa Cone, Inspired Adornments
16.  Kari Asbury, Hippie Chick Design
17.  Nichole Byers, Nichole Byers
18.  Lori Jean Poppe, Adventures in Creativity
19.  Linda Landig, Linda's Bead Blog and Meanderings
20.  Lori Schneider, Bead Addict

21.  Molly Alexander, Beautifully Broken Me
22. Cece Cormier, The Beading Yogini
23.  Niki Sayers, Silver Nik Nats
24.  Elsie Deliz-Fonseca, Eliz-Eliz and All That Craft
25.  Amber Dawn, Inventive Soul
26.  Heather Powers, Humblebeads
27.  Sarah Goode, Pookledo
28.  Monique Urquhart, A Half-Baked Notion
29.  JJ Jacobs, Coming Abstractions
30.  Cheri Reed, Creative Designs by Cheri

 31.  Robyn, Museiddity
32.  Catherine King, Catherine's Musings
33.  Jacquie, Bead Gypsy
34.  Janet McDonald, Singing Woods
35. Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreations
36.  Tanty Sri Hartanti, TJewellicious by Tanti
37.  Hannah Rosner, Good River Valley
38.  Rochelle Brisson, A Creative Chelle
39.  Nelly May, Smelly Nelly
40.  Skylar Bre'z, Brising Beads

41.  Beti Horvath, Stringing Fool
42.  Christie Murrow, Charis Designs
43.  Leanne Loftus, First Impression Design
44.  Valerie Norton, Hot Art
45.  Judy Riggs, Rigglettes
46.  Crystal Thain, Here Bead Dragons
47.  Terry Carter,  Tapping Flamingo
48.  Sue, Mid-Life Great Expectations
49.  Nan Smith, Wired Nan
50.  Miranda Ackerley, MirandAck Arts

51.  Marie Covert, Creating Interest
52.  D'Arsie Manzella, This Here Now, Mamacita
53.  Stephanie Haussler, Pixybug Designs
54.  Lori Bergmann, Lori Bergmann Design
55.  Johanna Nunez, The Lovely One Design
56.  Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
57.  Becky Pancake, Becky Pancake Bead Designs
58.  Alicia Marinache, All the Pretty Things
59.  Debbie Rasmussen, A Little of This, A Little of That
60.  Nat, Grubbi Ceramics

61.  Marjorie Savill Linthwaite, Bennu Bird Rising
62.  Cheryl McCloud, One Thing Leads to Another
63.  Heather Otto, The Crafthopper
64.  Candida Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks
65.  Tracie Dean, Dean Designs
66.  JuLee Wolfe, The Polymer Penguin
67.  Ginger Bishop, Lil Mummy Likes
68.  Karen Mitchell, Over the Moon Design
69.  Jeannie Dukic, Jeannie's Blog
70.  Dini Bruinsma, Angaza by Changes

71.  Birgitta Lejonklou, Create With Spirit
72.  Shalini Austin, Jewellery by Shalini
73.  Jayne Capps, Mama's Got to Doodle
74.  Ile Ruzza, Ilenia's Unique Beaded Jewelry
75.  Jackie Marchant, Fiddledeedee Jewelry
76.  Annita Wilson, AW Jewelry 
77.  Sherri Stokey, Knot Just Macrame
78.  Hannah Trost, PZ Designs
79.  Linda Inhelder, Must Haves Jewelry
80.  Miri Agassi, Beadwork

81.  Hope Smitherman, Crafty Hope
82.  Dyanne Cantrell, Dee-Liteful Jewelry Creations
83.  Susan Bowie, Susan Nelson Bowie
84.  Megan Milliken, MaeMaeMills
85.  Menka Gupta, Menka's Jewelry
86.  Ambra Gostoli, Chic and Frog
87.  Lori Lochner, Bloghner
88.  Gerda Jurimae, Gerda's Crafts Blog
89.  Susan, Mistheword
90.  MaryLou Holvenstot, MaryLou's time2cre8

91.  Mary Shannon Hicks, falling into the sky
92.  Karin King, The Sparklie Things Blog
93.  Christa Murphy, Adventures of One Beady Woman
94.  Jenny Davie-Reazor, Jenny Davies-Reazor
95.  Donetta Farrington, Simply Gorgeous
96.  Mallory Hoffman, Rosebud 101 - For the Love of Beads
97.  Danielle Kelley, Imbue the Muse
98.  Kym Hunter, Kym Hunter Designs
99.  Dolores Rami, CraftyD's Creations
100.  Marcia Dunne, 13 Alternatives

101.  Marlene Cupo, Amazing Designs
102.  Emma Todd, A Polymer Penchant
103.  Wendy Holder, Jewelry by WendyLea
104.  Michelle Escano, The Cabby Crafter
105.  Louise Glazier, Lily and Jasmine Treasures
106.  Dana Hickey, Wind Dancer Studios
107.  Lennis Carter, windbent
108.  Anne Betenson, Crystal River Beads
109.  Audrey Belanger,  Dreams of an Absolution
110.  Lisa Stukel, Carefree Jewelry by Lisa

111.  Janine Lucas, Travel Stories
112.  Claire Lockwood, Something to Do With Your Hands
113.  Kathy Engstrom, Catherine's Dreams
114.  Paula Hisel, Simply Beadiful
115.  Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
116.  Mischelle Fanucchi, Micheladas Musings
117.  Kim, Cianci Blue
118.  Linda Sadler, Ida Louise Jewelry
119.  Karen, Spokalulu
120.  Jennifer LaVite, Dry Gulch Bead and Jewelry

121.  Andrea Glick-Zenith, ZenithJade Creations
122.  Karen Martinez, Fairies Market
123.  Robin Reed, Artistry HCBD
124.  Amy Bright, LABweorc
125.  Jasvanti Patel, Jewels by Jasvanti
126.  Tammie Everly, TTE Designs
127.  Karin Slaton, Backstory Beads
128.  Natalie Moten, Running Out of Thread
129.  Sharyl McMillian-Nelson, Sharyl's Jewelry & Reflections
130.  Jenny Kyrlach, Wonder and Whimsy

131.  LiliKrist, Handmade by LilK
132.  Jessica Klaaren, The Truth Space
133.  Cynthia Abner, Created Treasures
134.  Beth Emery, Stories by Indigo Heart
135.  Heather Davis, Blissful Garden Beads
136.  Jeanne, Gems by Jeanne Marie
137.  Sandi Volpe, Sandi Volpe
138.  Laren Dee Barton, Laren Dee Designs
139.  Steph, Confessions of a Bead Hoarder
140.  Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn's Creations

141.  B. R. Kuhlman, Mixed Mayhem
142.  Patty Miller, Cabari Beads
143.  Elizabeth Bunn, Elizabeth Beads
144.  Marianna Boylan, Pretty Shiny Things
145.  Lizzie Clarke, The Need to Bead
146.  Christina Miles, Wings 'n' Scales
147.  Patricia, The Color of Dreams
148.  Marde Lowe, Fancimar
149.  Ev Shelby, Raindrop Creations
150.  Sarah Small, By Salla

151.  Perri Jackson, Shaktipaj Designs
152.  Laurie Vyselaar, Lefthand Jewelry
153.  Pam Traub, Klassy Joolz
154.  Lisa Harrison, Daisy Meadow Studio
155.  Anzia Parks, Anzi-Panzi's Work Shoppe
156.  Ingrid, Lilisgems Handcrafted Jewelry Inspirations
157.  Andra Weber, Andra's Joyful Journey
158.  Kelly Hosford Patterson, The Traveling Side Show
159.  Adlinah Kamsir, Dreamstruck Designs
160.  Marci, That Nothing Be Wasted

161.  Kris Lanae Binsfield,  Cherish Designs
162.  Stephanie Perry, Mustard Bead
163.  Birgit Klughardt, Gites Beads
164.  Inge von Roos, Inge's Blog
165.  Rebecca Sirevaag, Becca's Place
166.  Sandy Markley, Gypsy Spirit Designs
167.  Elena Adams, Lena's Beady Blog



Friday, July 5, 2013

Znetshows Cultured Sea Glass Reveal!

It's time to reveal what I made from the fabulous selection of Znetshows beads chosen for me by the lovely Andra, of Andra's Joyful Journey blog.  We did communicate a bit before we chose beads for each other, so I knew I'd be receiving something special.  Andra did a fabulous job of picking and choosing for me!  I received a strand or two of glorious polished citrine nuggets, several strands of beautiful jade green cultured sea glass coins and a few conch shells, strands of peachy "baby pink" pearls and raspberry teardrop pearls, beautiful antiqued brass leaf chain, and tons of the most amazingly sparkly Chinese rondelle crystals in the "cherry blossom" colorway.  Let me tell you...this box of beads was to die for!

I worked with the green cultured sea glass coins first, and strung them with some of the crystals for sparkle and shine.  I added the leaf chain as a separate strand, and attached it to the stones intermittently, using small antiqued brass jump rings.  I love this bracelet!

Because I'm a traditional kind of lady, I like to have earrings that either match or coordinate nicely with my necklaces and bracelets, so I made these:
They are delightfully "swingy" when worn.
At this point, I was ready for a necklace.  I wanted something showy and spectacular in a shorter length.  I started with a beautiful sand-colored silk ribbon from Marsha Neal Studios, rather than using chain.  I made a three-strand necklace, using some of the crystals for my first amazing pale pinkish-gold color.  The second, slightly longer strand made use of the pale gold crystals, interspersed with seed beads and some antiqued brass swirly beads from my stash.  Ah...the third and final strand is made with the polished citrine nuggets and some antiqued brass spacers.  This necklace is lovely when hangs beautifully, and the weight of the citrines keeps it perfectly in place.
Here's a closer shot of the three strands.  In this picture, you can see the gorgeous coppery/gold tint on the pink crystals!
I really, really wanted to use the adorable cultured sea glass conch shells, and they just had to be made into earrings.  I used some fine silver wire, and made these:
For my final piece, I made a charm bracelet of sorts.  I used some of the pearls, plus the last of the leaf chain and citrine nuggets.  Yep, even a few crystals.  It was fun to make, and it's fun to wear.
I need to give the product codes for the znetshows items used in my pieces, so here goes!
     Green cultured sea glass coins: S15-B43
     Green cultured sea glass conch shells: S29-B23S
     "Cherry Blossom" Chinese crystals: zmx-19-02
     Raspberry glass teardrop pearls: BDS1867-17
     Baby Pink glass pearls: BDS1618-03
     Citrine nuggets: BDS1513-05
     Antiqued brass leaf chain: M0512-AB  
Now for something really cool...there's a giveaway for blog readers!  Please head over to the ZnetShows Blog ( to see the complete list of participants and enter the giveaway...tons of beautiful beads, crystals, pearls, metallic joy...a special package could be yours for the asking.   
I hope you've enjoyed seeing my creations as much as I enjoyed making them!  I can't thank Bill and Hope from Znetshows enough for the opportunity to play with their beads!  This is the second time they've given me the opportunity to play, and I hope they think of me again next time.  I had a blast!  




Monday, June 17, 2013

Znetshows challenge!

I received an email from Hope at Znetshows Beads, asking if I'd be interested in joining several other jewelry bloggers in a design challenge...and of course I said "sign me up"!  Hope teamed each participant with another blogger, and we chose beads for each other with the idea of creating pieces with a "beachy" aesthetic.  Similar to a bead soup, but instead of using beads from our stash we were allowed to choose beads from the Znetshows "stash"!  I was teamed with lovely Andra from Delaware. I looked at Andra's blog and chose some beads for her, and Andra did the same for me. 

Here were the requirements from Znetshows: pick 1 stone item, 1 sea glass item, 1 glass pearl item, 1 base metal item, 1 Chinese crystal item, and 2 items of your own choice (for a total of 7 items).  There was an extensive list to peruse, and I have to say that it was definitely a challenge to narrow down my choices for Andra.  We did communicate before choosing for each other, which helped immensely.  I'll let Andra show you what I chose for her...but here's what Andra chose for me:

Oh, I can SO work with this!  Beautifully polished citrine pebbles, jade green sea glass coins and conch shells, peachy round glass pearls and some raspberry rice-shaped glass pearls, antiqued brass leaf chain, and some beautiful Chinese crystals in the  "apple blossom" colorway.  Let me show you the beads in greater detail...
Just look at the crystals!  Beautiful, delicate colors, and so much sparkle!  You can also see a tiny bit of the beautiful jade green sea glass coins in the corner.
Here are the peachy glass pearls, and the fabulous antiqued brass leaf chain.  The little leaves are connected to the chain along the entire length.  Freaking adorable!
The citrine nuggets are in the top left corner, and here you can see the cultured sea glass conch shells. 
Oh yes, I can definitely work with this selection of beads!  Our challenge reveal will be July 6th, so stay tuned for the excitement.  I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Bill from Znetshows for giving me the opportunity to participate, Hope from Znetshows for being a wonderful facilitator, and my partner Andra for choosing such lovely beads on my behalf.  I will try to make you proud!  

Monday, May 6, 2013

Spring Weather!

My friend in Arkansas ruined her back last month, taking out the plants she'd been over-wintering inside.  Last week, she was taking those plants back inside because of a snow warning and frosty, plant-killing nighttime temperatures.  Here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, we are having day after day of mood-lifting sunshine and summer-like temperatures, which is very unusual for us.  Our spring usually consists of day after day of gray skies and rain, with occasional "sun breaks", until summer arrives on or near July 4th. 

I don't know why our weather patterns have turned upside-down, but I am certainly enjoying the sunshine and warm temperatures.  My patio is still bare, since I have neglected my plants until they are nothing but brown sticks.  In ugly nursery pots, ick.  Last summer was a tough time for me...but this summer, I will take better care of my plants, starting with immediately repotting them into pretty pots with good soil and plenty of fertilizer. 

In a continuing attempt to show myself how productive I am, because I don't feel productive at all these days, I've taken photos of some of my projects.  First up is my yo yo coverlet.  Will it ever be finished?  Was I over-ambitious?  No...I just need to keep at it.  Last week, I finished several color-themed squares, two in red, one purple set, and one green set:

Why do you suppose my uploaded pictures have black borders on two sides, partially obscuring the picture itself?  The pictures do not have this feature anywhere else.  It's annoying, and it's also a reminder of how photo-illiterate I continue to be.
Moving on.  I also managed to create several wee pieces of art, for my artist trading card (etc.) swaps.  Like this set of three twinchies (2x2-inch pieces of art):
Also in the play-with-paper category are an artist trading card (The Colors of China), using one of the same ladies from my twinchie set:
Why is this pretty lady lying down?  This isn't right!  In Picasa, she is upright.  Aaaargh...I am hating this!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Why do we blog?

No, really...why DO we blog?  Some of us are very good bloggers...frequent posts, great pictures, inspiring posts.  Some of us are middle-of-the-road bloggers...frequent posts, okay pictures, mostly uninspiring posts.  And some of us are what I call reluctant bloggers...infrequent posts, mostly dreadful pictures, and random posts that may (or may not) grab the attention of anyone passing by.

I am in the third category.  I started blogging so I could wade into the pool of amazing jewelry designers whose blogs I follow.  I wanted to join in!  I am certainly not an amazing jewelry designer; I have so, so much to learn...but I wanted to participate in the online challenges such as Jeannie Dukic's Do-Over Challenge and Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party.  I wanted to play with the big girls!  The ladies whose work inspires me every time I see it.

I don't follow only jewelry blogs.  I follow blogs written by women who crochet amazing things.  Blogs written by women who are funny as hell, and write about their lives (Crazy Aunt Purl, this means YOU!).  Blogs written by women who live beautifully...or at least whose photographs indicate that they live beautifully.  Don't ask me to pick a category as my favorite; I just couldn't do it.  I love variety.

And in my own life, there is so much more going on than a few jewelry blog parties each year.  I like variety in my life, too.  And I've noticed that my days seem to slip away, one after another, without any real feeling of accomplishment on my part.  I no longer have a job, which is good...and bad.  Being retired isn't all it's cracked up to be!  I never, ever thought I'd be drifting through this quarter of my life...after all, I do so much!  I make jewelry; I sell jewelry.  I crochet.  I love my needlework and I love it most when it's very intricate.  I sew.  I cook.  Actually, I used to cook.  Now I mostly reheat.  That's another thing I never thought would happen: the microwave is my favorite kitchen tool. 

So I think I might start documenting the things I do accomplish each day; maybe that will make me feel less like a drifter.  Just for me.  Not for show (although anyone is invited to peek).  Really...just for my own benefit.

Yesterday, which was Saturday April 27th, I displayed some truly dreadful pictures of my jewelry makes from the bead soup sent by my Minnesota friend, Brenda Sigafoos.  But I did other stuff, too.  I finished my monthly private swaps for my Swap-bot friend, Sheryl.  I made a dotee doll:

Dotees are handmade dollies (funky little dollies about five inches long) with no arms and no legs; they must have a hanger of some sort and a tail.  This month's theme was "Diamonds".  This is Diamond Lil.  She is wearing diamond-patterned clothing, her tail (not visible here) is an organza ribbon with a "diamond" dangle, her jewelry is made from Swarovski "diamonds".
I am making...I've been making, for such a long time...a color-blocked yo yo coverlet for my king-size bed.  Oh, the hours I've spent making yo yos!  I believe my coverlet is about 2/3 complete...but I could be wrong.  It is so big now, and so heavy, that I'm making the squares individually and will attach them to the body of the coverlet later.  Yesterday I stitched together two squares (each square contains 16 yo yos in a particular color range).  I made a square of pink...
And a square of blue...

There are 10 colors in the coverlet. I may never finish.  Strike that: I WILL finish!  It will take time, lots of time.  I alternate my projects; I'm not capable of going start-to-finish on any one project, unless it is an artist trading card or something equally small.  I have a rotation list, and it gives me pleasure to work on one project for two weeks, knowing that I'll be on to another project soon. 
Just for me, this has been a visual representation of what I did on Saturday, April 27th.


Friday, April 26, 2013

7th Bead Soup Blog Party!

I seriously do not know how Lori pulled off another massive BSBP while feeling like she's been feeling.  But she did!  And I can't wait to see what the other third reveal jewelry artists have created!

I was teamed with a lovely lady from Minnesota, Brenda Sigafoos.  I almost cried when I opened the package from Brenda...she sent masses of stuff, not just a few beads and a focal and a clasp, oh NO...she sent the most amazing assortment of black and white beads and crystals, a beautiful handmade silver wire clasp, a stunning black and white cameo focal, and a bunch of vintage loveliness all wrapped in three vintage hankies.  Amazing. 

I wanted to make a few pieces of jewelry that honored Brenda's sweetness and generosity, and that would showcase the beautiful pieces she chose for me.

I knew I wanted to show off the beautiful handmade silver wire clasp...I didn't want to stick it in the back of a necklace where it would be hidden; I wanted it to be the focus of this necklace.  I created a very simple strand of various beads, and made an equally simple fake chain maille (maybe it's real chain maille, I've never done it before!) section on the opposite side of the clasp to give balance to the piece.
Close-up of clasp in hankie.
Once again, I am reminded of the general suckiness of my photographs.  When will I make this a priority?  When will I set up and actually learn to use the light box I bought a full month ago?  Rhetorical questions...don't feel compelled to answer.  Really...don't.
Moving on.  The cameo.  Lovely, lovely cameo.  Again, I wanted it to be showcased.  The star of the show, so to speak.  So here it is:
I added a little dangle to the cameo, using one of Brenda's (I mean, my) cracked glass beads.  The chain...ah, that chain.  It was made by Jeannie Dukic, of do-over challenge fame!  I received two strands of these meticulously wire-wrapped pearls as my challenge to "do over" into something different.  Make them over?  Take them apart?  Oh no.  Let me tell you, Jeannie is a wire-wrapping MACHINE!  Each is identical to the next.  Perfection.  I couldn't demolish it.  All I could do was add to it.  So I did.  I took small sections (3 pearls each) and made a double strand on each side at the top of the pendant.  Added a couple swirly "S"-like connectors, and placed a single strand of pearls around to form a short necklace.  The cameo rests just below the collarbone in front.  The clasp...there is no clasp.  It is very simple to wind one of the silver jump rings around and up one of the connectors to put on and take off.  Simple but secure. 
I created a super-long necklace using many (oh, so many) small graphite beads from my stash.  Each bead is separated by a tiny seed bead.  I had a black ceramic connector in my stash with five holes on each side.  I turned it on end and added a different dangle to each hole.  The center dangle has a crystal dagger on the bottom, and the beads are wire wrapped together. I added equal lengths of black chain to each of the five holes on the top end, and connected them all to a graphite circle.  The long rope of beads is attached to the circle.  This necklace can be worn long, or may be looped around the neck to form a choker and a longer necklace.  (Why do you suppose this photograph is appropriately oriented in Picasa, but will not rotate here?)

Next I turned my attention to one of the vintage pieces...a beautiful, flashy bright gold pendant with seven dangling daggers.  (Doesn't that sound like something you'd chant while jumping rope?  Seven dangling daggers...six dangling daggers...)  Anyway.  Inspired by Lil Ruby and her ice enamel perfection in the first reveal, I decided to enamel this piece.  Alas, the enamels I purchased are, green, and blue.  I wanted something more muted for this piece.  So I took a breath, dared myself to do it, and used a combination of dark gold, black, and silver embossing powders.  Yes, I did.  And I blasted it with my heat gun till it was melted. Twice. I did it two times. I attached this pendant to a simple strand of cathedral beads...clear glass with antiqued gold ends.  I can't say I'm exactly thrilled with the result...but I'm not horrified by it, either.  I believe I will be playing with this pendant for some time, until I get a result I really am thrilled with. 
And then, just to make good use of many (many, many!) of Brenda's beads plus some of my own, I made a five-coil memory wire bracelet, as seen here: I strung the beads in random patterns...I have a bad habit of making things so symmetrical that all the beads line up when worn, and that's not a look I like.  Variety is the spice of life on these bracelets.  I had to work REALLY HARD to make random patterns (you will notice I am not exactly saying that I strung the beads randomly, because I did create little sets...little satisfy my secret OCD tendency to make things symmetrical). 
Thanks so much for viewing what I made with Brenda's generous gift, and please stop by the other bloggers who are revealing their creations today!
Agi Kiss
Amanda Tibbetts
Ana Cravidao
Andra Marasteanu
Angela Perkins
Anja Schultz
Ann Sherwood
Anna Nordeman
Annita Wilson
Arlene Dean
Astrid Boyce
Barb Fernald
Betty James
Bonnie Coursolle
Brandy Thomason
Brenda Sigafoos
Carmen Lau
Carol Wilson
Caroline Dewison
Catharine Temaluru
Catherine Turrell
Cherrie Warzocha
Christa Murphy
Christina Hickman
Christine Hansen
Cindy Cima
Colleen Vinthagen
Dagmar Liebisch
Danielle Kelley
Dee Elgie
Denise Milward
Diah Anggreni
Diane Valasek
Dita Basu
Donetta Farrington (You are here)
Doris Stumpf
Elizabeth Bunn
Elizabeth Drake
Elizabeth Jones
Elizabeth Stolarczyk
Ema Kilroy
Erin Kenny
Francesca Watson
Gen Smith
Ginger Davis
Heather Otto
Jackie Locantore
Jane Pranata Lim
Jennifer Davis
Jennifer Tough
Jenny Vidberg
Jessica KlaarenHttp://
Joanna Matuszczyk
Judith Johnston
June Butt
Karen Mitchell
Kari Asbury
Karin von
Karla Morgan
Kathrin Lembke
Kathy Stemke
Katja Benevol Gabrijelcic
Katy Heider
Kay Thomerson
Keren Panthaki
Kimberly Idalski
Kirsi Loponen
Klaudia Tóth
Kristina Hahn
Laney Mead
Lara Lutrick
Lena Adams
Linda Kropp
Linda Newnham
Lisa Boucher
Lora Bright
Lorelle McIntyre
Lori Finney
Lucie Bouvier
Malin de Koning
Marina Dobrynina
Marina Kosovic
Marion Simmons
Marita Suominen
Marjolein Trewavas
Mary K McGraw
Maybeline Tay
Menka Gupta
Merja Sundström
Merja Syrjämäki
Michelle Buettner
Michelle Wigginton
Miranda Ackerely
Mowse Doyle
Mrs M
Natalie Davidson
Natalie Moten
Nikki Banham-Hall
Noemi Baena
Norma Turvey
Pam DeBoer
Patti Pruhs
Penny Houghton
Regina Santerre
Regina Wood
Rosanagh Watson

Rose Johnson
Rossana De Gaspari
Sam Waghorn
Sandi James
Sandra McGriff
Sandra Wollberg
Sandra Young
Shai Williams
Sierra Barrett
Silke Gröber
Siobhán Keogh
Stefanie Teufel
Sue Hamel
Sue Rennie
Susan McClelland
Susanna Lehto
Susie Hibdon
Suzann Sladcik
Tara Plote
Terri G.
Terry Carter
Terry Matuszyk
Theresa Frank
Tina Bosh