You’re a Star(fish)

I recently got this gorgeous starfish pendant in a destash sale, so unfortunately I don’t know who made it. But I love it, so I wanted to use it right away. Because of the beautiful colors, it was easy to decide on beads.

I love the vibrant colors and funkiness of this pendant. I used citrine and amethyst beads with tiny green seed beads. I love how rich it looks. I finished it off with an amethyst box clasp. I’ve been focused on the Artists for Animals Auction, which ends today. It feels good to make something just for fun.

I love gemstones, and these go so well with the pendant. I think I’m going to pick out an outfit that will allow me to wear this tomorrow!


Artists for Animals Auction Starts Monday!


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I’m excited! Michelle Ann McCarthy and Joan Miller have made it so easy to raise money for my favorite animal charity, Madison Cat Project. The next Artists for Animals Auction starts on Monday, November 11, 2019 and runs through Sunday, November 17, 2019. A variety of artists and types of art will be for sale to benefit different animal charities. It’s a wonderful thing!

Madison Cat Project is an adoption guarantee organization that finds a home for every cat that comes to them (including cats who prefer to live as barn cats and still have food and shelter), runs a spay/neuter clinic, and has an extensive network of fosters to rehabilitate and care for hard to place cats in order to get them ready for their forever homes.

I’m going to show a few of the things I’ve made for the auction. I hope you will join us next week to take a look.

Here is a sweet kitty necklace with all sorts of lovely Czech glass.

I am in love with this next necklace called Favorite Things.

Beads, cats, coffee and color! It features two vintage moonglow lucite charms, a kitty pedant by Green Girl Studios (that says “kitty comfort” on the back) and a patterned coffee cup by Inviciti. I used silver chain in the front and sections of a variety of colored chain in the back for a surprise pop of color. If you read this blog, you know how I love chain sections. I hope someone else loves this necklace as much as I do! (The kitty charm is pewter; the slight greenish cast on it is a reflection from the moonglow charm!)

Although I usually make necklaces for myself, I think earrings are easier for people to buy, so I make more of those for the auction. Here are four pair.

Going clockwise from top left: German glass and vintage brass, African glass and donuts by Yvonne Irvin-Faus, anodized aluminum and skulls by Andrew Thornton, vintage glass and hollow metal drops.

I have lots more, and there are many other artists participating too. I am off to finish up my descriptions and make sure I have all the pictures I need. Hope to see you at the auction!

Cats, Vintage Metal and Tiny Gemstones


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I think the title of this post sounds a little like the title of the first in a cozy mystery series. I’ve been having so much fun getting boxes of vintage supplies from Suzanne Branca. She has a huge inventory she is selling through her Facebook page Famous Vintage Bead Hoard Liquidation Destash so that her online store, A Grain of Sand, can focus on gemstones. Back in the day, A Grain of Sand had the Curiosities Club where members would get a monthly box filled with vintage goods. I am loving getting access to some of these boxes. It is so fun to sift though them to see what treasures are there. One thing that is not in short supply is vintage metal, something I absolutely love. I’m taking advantage of some of it to make items for the upcoming Artists for Animals Auction, starting on November 11th.

First, I got some of these long brass pieces. They are such a lovely shape and have beautiful movement. 

I added a square of vesuvianite to the top of each one. I think they are beautiful in their simplicity with the wonderful patina on the metal.

Next, I got some cute glass cat beads from Andrew Thornton: Project Destash. I can always count on Andrew and Allegory Gallery, where he is Creative Director, to supply me with great beads. My sales from the auction will support Madison Cat Project, so what better than cat beads?

Here, I’ve used this colorful tabby and a Czech glass fish from Sondra’s Estate Beads Destash Depot with some jasper and matte seed beads to create a fun necklace. I knotted it on orange linen to bring out the one nice orange stripe on the cat’s cheek. Such a cutie!

Last but not least, I got some cool earring hoop forms in one of the boxes of vintage items. I still have a pair of these with a hologram disc in the middle that I got at a vintage shop in Chicago when I was in college. I wore them all the time with a secondhand white blouse with big orange polka dots. Yep, that’s how I rolled in the ’80s. Actually, that is something I would still wear now if I had it! Anyway, on to the earrings!

I briefly toyed with hanging something in the middle like my earrings, but I decided to update them to my current favorite look – rustic glam. I used tiny, uneven labradorite beads and wire wrapped them roughly to the forms. I love the look. Since the metal form and wire are pretty plain, I made my own simple sterling silver ear wires to bump up the glam quotient.

I’m having fun creating a variety of pieces for the auction. I still have more ideas, so I hope to have a good number of pieces done. Please visit me and the other artists to check out the auction. Don’t worry; I’ll remind you. 😉

SJ Designs Honey Do Challenge – October 2019


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Sarajo Wentling does a monthly challenge on her SJ Designs Jewelry blog; the Honey Do List. Her husband Eric, an excellent photographer, chooses one of his photos and challenges us to make something inspired by it. This month, the inspiration is a bit wicked and dark, suitable for October and Halloween.

This is Eric’s photo of a raven from the Tower of London.

Photo by Eric Wentling

It’s so cool and full of inspiration. I had a lot of ideas, and I knew there were at least a couple of ravens in my stash, so I decided to put my focus there and let a raven guide me. I had a gorgeous resin raven pendant by Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery.

The background of the pendant has the beautiful iridescent colors that can be found in a raven’s feathers. I wanted to play that up somewhat. There is a lot of color in the photo, but it still looks rough and somewhat dark. I decided to use rough black tourmaline beads, and play up the colors with some matte purple metallic spacers. I used copper findings and a few copper colored beveled beads to bring a little sparkle.

In the end, I don’t find my raven all that creepy. It reminds me of those memes that show a cute little bat saying, “I am the darkness.” But inspiration leads where it leads, and I like my beautiful raven necklace all the same. Thanks, Sarajo and Eric! Visit Sarajo’s blog to see what others have made.

Artists for Animals Earrings – Coming November 11, 2019


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I have been slowly making things for the next Artists for Animals Auction. The auction will run November 11 – 17, 2019. I wish I could just whip my way through earring making, but I’m not quick. I did make three pair today, though. I’ll preview them here and hope to entice you to visit the auction. There will be many artists with a variety of items – not only jewelry – and each artist uses their sales to support their chosen animal charity. My sales will support Madison Cat Project.

First up, angel wing earrings. These feature vintage rough metal connectors by Anne Dick with vintage angel wing sequins. There is a subtle AB type coating on the wings. I’ve put them back to back on each earring to give dimension and make the sequins more full bodied.

This second pair features copper hoops with Nadia Terra clay disks. This is a style I love. They remind me of my college days when I wore hoops all the time. There are three grey discs with a smaller, brown disk in front. I show these from the front and also the side, so you can see the full beauty of the clay beads.

The last pair might be my favorite. They feature Joan Moritz Langmo handmade copper connectors and beautiful organic shaped clear glass beads with pink and gold touches.

I have more things made and have a little more time, so I hope to add to my offerings. I love being able to sell in the auction and raise money for Madison Cat Project. Please visit the Artists for Animals Auction in November!

Art Journey #7: Big Cats


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I made it under the wire! Today is the deadline to join in Art Bead Scene Studio’s Art Journey #7: Big Cats. The inspiration this time is paintings and illustrations featuring lions, leopards and tigers.

(c) National Galleries of Scotland; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

I really love all of the inspiration, but I focused on the piece above, Una and the Lion by William Bell Scott. I used a Denise Peters Galloway lion pendant that I got recently, though my lion isn’t nearly as placid as the one in the painting. It must be the “before” part of the story behind the painting. (Denise often sells on the Ravens Meadow Artisan Beads, Components and Jewelry Facebook page.) I also used two Heather Behrendt lampwork beads. The color and the swirl design reminded me of the fabric of Una’s jacket. 

I used a variety of stones in a rosary style chain that echoed some of the various colors in the painting. I wrapped ivory sari silk, that reminded me of Una’s blouse and skirt, around the bail and secured it with wire. This also helps the necklace hang better because the pendant doesn’t slide around on the jump rings as much.

Thanks to Art Bead Scene Studio for great inspiration, as always! You can see what other people were inspired to make by visiting the Art Bead Scene Studio and looking at the Gallery.

Allegory Gallery Prompt: Historic Jewelry



Allegory Gallery has once again given us a month full of inspiration in October. Today I worked on the prompt to draw inspiration from an historic piece of jewelry. I immediately thought of my favorite piece and favorite book about historic jewelry: Cartier. Many years ago, I saw this exhibit and bought the book that is full of beautiful inspiration. It never gets old.

I love the colors in the cover necklace. That was a large part of my inspiration. I also looked through the book to see if there was inspiration for a specific design (since I don’t have a bunch of emeralds, sapphires and rubies sitting around). These earrings inspired my necklace. 

The shape of the center red enamel pieces reminded me of a connector I had in my stash, though those are a Chinese character, and I think mine is a Celtic symbol. It is purplish blue. I also had a nice sized carved bead that had the same feel and a similar color to the enamel. I had a bunch of faux jade vintage glass beads to round out the blue/red/green color scheme.

To bring in a little bling, I added a red and green enamel bead circled with rhinestones as well as some clear fire polished crystals at the bottom of the strand. 

I’m pretty pleased with how this came out. I think it really has the coloring and general feel of my inspiration.

Allegory Gallery Prompt: Use an Artisan Bead in a Design


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Allegory Gallery has been sharing monthly calendars with weekly prompts. I haven’t been following strictly, but I’m having fun when I do. The first week in October was the prompt use an artisan bead in a design. I used a pendant and some beads I have by one of my favorite raku artists: Duane Collins of Elements Pottery

I got the pendant in a destash, and I decided to use it with a variety of gemstone slices and tubes, highlighted with a few of Duane’s beads already in my stash. It’s hard to get a picture of the fabulous textures and colors. 

I used a some Czech glass beads at the back. I find smaller beads more comfortable on the back of my neck, especially for a longer, heavier necklace like this. It’s all knotted on waxed linen and fits right over my head. The colors and the fact that raku always makes me think of fire make this necklace perfect for the fall weather we’ve been having. Thanks for the fun and inspiration, Allegory Gallery!

Mr. Oliver Zebra


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I am a big fan of Anne Potter’s designs. They are simple enough that jewelry makers of all skill levels would find them accessible, but they are sophisticated and beautiful. They also lend themselves well to being inspirational as a springboard to one’s own designs. I love reading her quarterly magazine Travelogue.

Anne is also a contributor to the Art Bead Scene Studio blog. In one of her posts, she made a fun and pretty necklace with paper-covered wooden butterflies from Pork Chop Show. When I saw that, several ideas coalesced. I had been admiring a friend’s necklace with enamel butterflies. I had also been looking at the Pork Shop Show shop for some time, and I finally made an order. I did order some butterflies, but what really spoke to me were some fun animals. They reminded me of a necklace I had tried to make with plastic animals based on a tutorial from Flamingo Toes, which in turn was based on an Anthropologie necklace. The result is the Mr. Oliver Zebra necklace.

His little bowler hat reminds me of a proper English gentleman, but with panache. So he needs to be addressed fittingly by his entire name, with honorific. His flair for fashion is also evident in his bright stripes and off-white newsprint style under coating. I used vintage off-white beads, vintage red beads, a few paper beads and some matte black seed beads to get just the right look. He goes on right over the head with no clasp: easy and stylish, that’s how he rolls.

Mr. Oliver Zebra got a vintage brass bail because I found that drilling marred the paper a little. I think if I were a more confident, faster driller (and maybe used a smaller bit) it would be less noticeable. I did drill this butterfly as a practice piece and used it for one of the Allegory Gallery September prompts: make a non-jewelry item. It is an ornament I will put on the ornament tree in my studio. 

Earrings Everyday: Dotty


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It’s been some time since I’ve participated in an Earrings Everyday: We’re All Ears challenge, but I couldn’t pass up the September inspiration. Dotty! I love polka dots and dots of all kinds. There is something so fun about them. I didn’t even look around much in my stash before I found three great specimens. So here we go!

For this pair, I went a little elegant by adding the dotty lampworks beads to some sterling silver jump rings. These are perfect for, well, every day! (Artist unknown; I got these in a destash.)

Next I decided to try a funky take. These feature anodized aluminum scales along with polka dot lampwork by BuliBeads

And last but not least, a mod look. These fun polka dot vintage lucite dangles go big and bold with large faux pearls. I could see these on Minnie Mouse herself.

Dots look good in any style! Thanks to Erin Prais-Hintz and Earrings Everyday for this fun inspiration. Go see what dotty creations other people were inspired to make.