Sunday, January 27, 2013

Off to Tucson!

Okay...well...I'm not actually going to Tucson, but two of my bracelets are going to Tucson!  I received a lovely e-mail from Bill at this morning, telling me to pat myself on the back, and to package up the bracelets and send them to him.  What a terrific way to start the day! 

Seriously, Bill...thank you so much for the fantastic opportunity, for the beautiful box of beads (some alliteration, free of charge!), and for introducing me to a group of lovely ladies with talent to spare.  I am so honored, and so grateful. 

Here they are again...
I'm thrilled.  Thanks again to!

Friday, January 18, 2013


Yesterday I spent several hours at my bead table, playing with the super-pretty cultured sea glass beads from znetshows.  I can't remember the last time I played like this...and I had so much fun!  Yesterday I showed pictures of the sleek-and-chic beads sent by Bill Zhang, and although I didn't use all of them, I made quite a dent!

I started with earrings.  I always start with earrings; they are small, relatively easy to put together, and I love making earrings because I love wearing earrings!  Here's what I made:

I used the two long rectangular top-drilled pieces, attached them to small crystal and bead components for a bit of sparkle and shine, and added them to a pair of elegant silver-plated ear wires. 
All charged up from the earring business, I moved on to a necklace, which you see here:
Although I started with silver chain, I could quickly see that it wasn't giving me the look I had in mind.  So I pulled out some beading wire and strung a series of black and white beads (the larger white beads are cultured sea glass, as are the round black beads).  I attached a simple crystal and sea glass teardrop dangle to one of my favorite black resin roses for the pendant.  This necklace hangs's about 18 inches long, not including the pendant, and will be beautiful worn with summer whites and brights.
I couldn't help but notice a strand of double-hole black cultured sea glass beads, and definitely wanted to showcase them, as they are unusual and eye-catching.  I used two pieces of memory wire and began beading...
This bracelet is beautiful on the wrist...and it was so much fun to make!
On to yet another bracelet.  You might remember the starfish bead from the selection sent by Bill...I really wanted to use I did!  Here's the result:

I paired it with some of the asymmetrical black beads, a few shiny silver glass beads. and more of the round white beads.  It definitely needed a counterweight, so I made two dangles to hang from the toggle. 
By this time, I was running out of steam, and figured that I should finish the day with another pair of earrings.  Those smoky gray sleek...I had to use them!
For this group of beads, I chose to create simple, sleek pieces without a lot of ornamentation.  The beads have a matte finish, they are simple geometric shapes, and I wanted the cultured sea glass to be the focus.  I hope I've succeeded in my mission.
Bill, thank you so much for the opportunity to create some designs for you, using your beautiful beads.  It was truly a pleasure.


Thursday, January 17, 2013


Several months ago, I purchased some cultured sea glass beads online, from a company called znetshows. The beads are truly lovely...I chose aqua, white, and orange matte glass beads in a mix of top-drilled curvy beauties and tiny little rondelles.  I made several pieces of jewelry using the this one, for instance:
I recently received a letter from Bill Zhang at Znetshows, complimenting  me on the use of their beads in a blog hop I'd joined, and asking if I'd be interested in joining their design team for their Tucson gemshow booth.  Oh, my!  Why...I'd be delighted! 
Bill sent me a box of lovely beads and metal components, asking only that I try to make the sea glass the focus of my jewelry designs, and to use the crystal, pearl, and metal components (plus items from my own stash, if I feel inclined) for the rest of the design.  They are looking for simple and elegant designs with a summery vibe.
Here you can see what Bill sent to me:
I don't usually think of black and white when I'm thinking of summertime...but why not?  There is nothing crisper and more elegant that a black and white ensemble any time of the's a truly seasonless color combination.  And black makes a perfect accent to cool white cotton, which is most definitely a summer staple.
On this note, I'd better take myself to the beading table and see what comes to mind.  I have some ideas, but what's in my head is not necessarily representative of the final result!


Friday, January 11, 2013

Memories and Thanks Blog Hop Reveal

As a "silent" follower of Lori Anderson's blog, Pretty Things, I lurked in the shadows for ages...personally blogless and deeply impressed by all the amazing pieces of jewelry created by Lori's friends and followers for the annual Bead Soup Blog Parties.  I wanted to be part of this group...oh, I wanted it so badly!  But the mechanics of creating a blog were, I thought, beyond me.

With some encouragement from friends, and some HANDS ON (!) help from Lori herself, I finally created a blog, strictly so I could join the bead soup parties and be part of this community of beaders and stringers and knotters.  And I have done just this...poorly, for the most part, as the mechanics still mostly elude me.  Photography and technology in general are not where I excel.  But one of my resolutions for the coming year is to embrace the process, read the manual that came with the camera, and get with the program. 

This particular blog hop really spoke to me.  Memories and thanks...what a terrific idea!  I'm contributing to this blog hop in memory of my Grandma Ellen, who meant the world to me.  I loved her so much!  And you know what?  You would have loved her, too.

My grandma was the oldest of several children in a poor family in Indiana...she was born in 1898 (I know this, because when I was 10 she gave me a real silver dollar from that year so I'd never forget when she was born).  She worked in a bank until she married my grandfather at the advanced age of 28 (he was a young lad of only 22...quite a scandal!)  When her two children were mostly raised, the family moved to Sebastopol, California, where she began working as a bookkeeper in an apple cannery.  In fact, she worked as the cannery's bookkeeper full time until she was 76 years old, long after my grandpa died.  Every morning she would hook herself into the most amazing corset (swearing all the while...hating her large breasts and wishing they belonged to anyone but her), attach her support hose to the garters hanging from that corset, and put on her slip, blouse, and suit.  Then she would spray herself with Avon cologne, put on her makeup and do her hair, and finally she would visit her jewelry box and choose a brooch to wear, and matching clip-on earrings. Then she'd light a cigarette, drink a cup of percolated black coffee, and off she'd go.  In my mind, my grandma was the most exotic woman in the world.  She worked; she had a housekeeper; she bought cases of Coca Cola (in glass bottles) from the guy who stocked the vending machine at work, and kept cold Coke in her rounded vintage refrigerator just for her grandchildren!

Ah, those brooches!  My grandma was a short, stout woman...but she was drawn to Sarah Coventry brooches like a bee is drawn to nectar.  BIG brooches.  Big and glittery and showy.  I never knew what became of all the treasures in my grandma's jewelry box after she died; she lived a long time (until she was 96), and spent at least five years in a nursing home before she died.  When my father died two years ago, my sister found two of the brooches in Dad's handkerchief drawer.  She gave them both to me, thinking that I could use them in one of my creations. 

You know, I never really found a use for them...until I read Lori's post about the "Memories and Thanks" blog hop.  I tried everything I could think of to make this particular brooch into something that was "mine"...I tried inserting beads and pearls into the chain.  I tried using a beautiful antiqued brass bail.  Ultimately, every single thing I added actually detracted from the finished piece.  And that's not the point of making jewelry, is it?  It's not supposed to be so busy that it hurts the eyes to look at it!  And believe me, this focal is busy enough...bright and shiny enough...just by itself.  So although I feel like I'm cheating by simply attaching a stands alone much better than with anything else hanging from it or attached to it. 

Here we go:

Can you see the absolute glitziness of the center focal?  It's like GLITTER CONFETTI!  Here's a picture of more of the whole piece, which in reality is just a chain attached to the brooch:

Oh, this makes me miss my grandma more than ever!  She was the most understanding person in my world.  When I visited, I slept in Grandma's double bed with her.  She would wrap her hair in toilet paper and pin it in place, put on a hairnet, and TAKE OUT HER TEETH!  But then morning would come, and she would transform herself into an elegant (in my eyes, anyway) career amazing thing to behold.
Please visit the other bloggers participating in this challenge:

Adlinah Kamsir Dream Struck Designs
Aimee Biondolillo Aimee's Jewelry Treasures
Alicia Marinache All the Pretty Things
Andra Marasteanu Handmade by Indra Marasteanu
Andrea Trank Heaven Lane Creations
April Grinaway Brooklyn Bead Goddess
Barb Solem Vivi Magoo Presents
Bonnie Coursolle Jasper's Gems
Catherine King Catherine's Musings
Cece Cormier The Beading Yogini
Chandra Leitz Juniper Goods
Charissa Nesler FireStorm Designs
Charlie Jacka Clay Space
Christina Hickman Vintage Treasures Jewelry
Christine Stonefield Sweet Girl Design
Chrizette Bayman Bead Soup Mix
Cindy Wilson It's My Sea of Dreams
Crystal Thain Here Bead Dragons
Cyndi Lavin Beading Arts
Denielle Hagerman Some Beads... and other things I like
Diana Gonzalez Arte y Poemas
Diane Hawkey diane hawkey
Dita Basu ankarshilpa
Donetta Farrington Simply Gorgeous (You are here!)
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell Deeliteful Jewelry Creations
Erin Kenny beadiful therapy
Erin Prais-Hintz Treasures Found
Gina Hockett Freestyle Elements
Heather Marston CSW Designs
Inge von Roos Inge's Blog
Jacqueline Marchant Fiddledeedee Jewelry
Jami Shipp Celebrating Life!
Jennifer Reno Musings of a Crafty Jenny
Jenny Robledo Peppa's Dream
Jennifer VanBenschoten Jewelry, Art and Life
Jessica Klaaren Cellar Door Jewelry
Jessica Murray Whimsical Monkey
Joan Williams lilruby jewelry
Jo-Ann Woolverton It's a Beadiful Creation
Joanne Browne josjewels1
JuLee Wolfe The Polymer Penguin
Julie Bean Blue Pig Blog
Karen Mitchell Over the Moon Designs
Karin King The Sparklie Things Blog
Karin Slaton Backstory Beads
Kat Douglas Washoe Kat's
Kay Bolton Toodles and Binks
Kelly Hosford Patterson The Traveling SideShow
Kim Dworak CianciBlue
Kim Houston The Pink Martini
Kym Hunter Kym Hunter Designs
Laren Dee Barton Laren Dee Designs
Lea Avroch LA Jewelry Designs
Lena Adams (Mari's daughter) -- TBA
Liddy McLaughlin Liddy McLaughlin Art
Linda Inhelder Must-Haves Jewelry
Lisa Hamilton Simply Irresistable Jewelry
Lisa Suver Fancee That
Lori Bowring Michaud Artfully Ornamental
LouAnn Elwell Southpass Beads
Mandi Effron Craft-o-licious
Marcia DeCoster MadDesigns
Marie Covert Creating Interest
Marjorie Savill Linthwaite bennubirdrising
Martha Aleo Ornamento
Mary Ellen Parker BeeTree by m.e.
Mary Govaars MLH Jewelry Designs
Maureen Connolly Mrs Beadsley's Workshop
Maybeline Tay The Jewelry Larder
Melissa Elgin The Addicted Beader
Melissa Mesara one-eared pig beads
Menka Gupta Menka's Jewelry
Michaela Pabeschitz la mar de bonita
Mischelle Fanucchi Micheladas Musings
Mona Rae Baroody Who Does She Bead She Is?
Natalie Davidson NorthShore Days
Nikki Douglas Bead It and Weep
Pam Farren re-maker
Pam, the Crazier Sister The Crazy Creative Corner
Priya Krish Hellopalz
Rebecca Anderson Song Beads
Rebecca Sirevaag Becca's Place
Robin Kae Reed Artistry HCBD
Rochelle Brisson a creative chelle
Sabine Dittrich perlendschungel
Sandi Volpe Sandi Volpe
Sandra McGriff Creative Chaos
Sarah Goode Pookledo
Sarah Singer String a Song of Sixpence
Shai Williams Shaiha's Ramblings
Sharon Palac Sharon's Jewelry Garden
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson Sharyl's Jewelry & Reflections
Sheila Davis Stone Designs
Shelley Graham Turner Fabric of My Life
Sherri Stokey Knot Just Macrame
Sherry Baun Unicorns Jewels
Skylar Bre'z Brising Beads
Stephanie Haussler Pixybug Designs
Tania Spivey Moobie Grace Designs
Terri G. Blooming Ideas
Terry Carter Tapping Flamingo
Toltec Jewels Jewel School Friends
Tracy Kruse Goldkisses Art
Tracy Martin Nutkitten's Jewelry