Jewelry I Bought – Upcycled Edition

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Here is another jewelry I bought post with a few things I’m currently excited about. First is a really clever and cute bracelet by Hope Smitherman of Crafty Hope. She makes great recycled/upcycled pieces and often mixes fancy and rustic, as she does here with distressed metal and crystal chain. 

The construction on this bracelet is perfection, so it fits like a dream and is even easy to put on by myself, kind of a miracle for a bracelet with a clasp! It’s really fun, and I find myself wearing it often.

I love buying vintage beads from Heather DeSimone when I get the chance. She owned the fabulous store The Beadin’ Path, and I was able to get some fun things from her online sales during those days. Now, when she posts on her Vintage Bead Vault Facebook page, I’m right there to snap up the wonderful, unique goodies. But her main creative gig is her jewelry company, Leetie Lovendale. She bought out a huge warehouse full of vintage lucite beads and makes beautiful jewelry with it. It’s all fun and upcycled! What I fell in love with first when seeing it on a sample sale video on her VIP page is a trinket necklace. These are simple, classic styles with one fabulous lucite bead. 

I love this one on a long antique brass chain. I like jewelry that I can fiddle with during the day; I find it calming. This is perfect for that purpose. It is a moonglow piece. I love moonglow. See a better representation of that below.

After I got this necklace, I love it so much I went back to see what she posted that was left from the sale. Two more moonglow trinket necklaces! I scooped those up. 

This bright pink (so me) curved component is on a ball chain. I haven’t looked at it through a magnifier, but the ball chain sparkles in a wonderful way that makes me think it is diamond cut, which I love. Below see the close up of the moonglow bubbles. 

I got a similar piece in a beautiful yellow. This one on a silver link chain.

All of these necklaces are different lengths and include extenders, so I can layer them together or with other pieces. I suspect my favorite way to wear them will just be alone; each one is perfect by itself. Each necklace also has this cute little brand tag.

There are a variety of single and multi-strand necklaces in the line, bracelet stacks and lots of post, hoop and drop earrings. Leetie’s hoops even made a list by Harper’s Bazaar about this summer’s lucite hoop earring trend. You gotta love a company that was trendy before the trend! I’m currently lusting after a Bauble style necklace on the Leetie website.

Here are all of my Leetie lovelies in a beautiful dish I got from Michelle Ann McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio. The flowers are a departure from her usual themes, but I love it. It looks to me like something passed down in the family.

An additional benefit of my new love of Leetie is renewed inspiration for getting out some of my own vintage lucite beads and adding them into my designs. Stay tuned!

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Color Explosion

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Color gets me every time. There are a lot of things that go into making a bead one that I want to buy, but color is definitely what catches my eye first. That is true of the beads in this necklace, especially the handmade focal beads by Andrew Thornton.

These multi-color focal beads are porcelain that Andrew hand painted and then covered with liquid polymer. So gorgeous. The pictures below show both sides so you can see how colorful they are. 

I also love the organic pod-like shape and the fabulous textures. I combined them with some vintage Czech glass (vintage Czech and German glass are so great)  in front and two other kinds of Czech glass in uplifting colors I love but that I think still let the focals shine.

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Delicate Necklace for a Vintage Leaf

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I can’t remember where I got this vintage brass leaf; I think I have another one also. I’ve got to label things better! But I think it’s beautiful. It didn’t have a hole, so I punched and sanded one.

I wire wrapped some small apatite nuggets for the front and used several lengths of delicate gold chain to make a long piece. 

Further toward the neck, I put some bone colored glass beads separated by gold filled stardust beads. I remember being so enthralled by the gold dust beads when I first saw them. These are some of the last I have from those days. My sister’s girlfriend gave me these lovely little coin beads. Thanks, Lisa! They are perfect here. 

I finished it off with a gold Tierra Cast toggle. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but my Dad said that was one of his favorite parts, so I’m going with his design advice.

This long, light necklace will be nice for summer.

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Miriam Haskell

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I love old jewelry. It doesn’t matter if it is fine jewelry (seeing the Cartier exhibit in person is still one of my favorite memories) or costume jewelry (I still have some of the Trifari, Napier, and Monet items I saved my money for and bought when I was young.)

I follow B’Sue Boutiques, especially enjoy buying vintage items from the etsy shop, and was moved to research Miriam Haskell a little more when A Grain of Sand had a competition to make a piece inspired by her designs. I also love the idea of a woman back in the day making such a successful business.

When I saw these beads available for purchase from Vintage Bead Vault, I loved them anyway because they are fantastic. But the fact that they were from an old Miriam Haskell piece gave them just a little bit of extra cachet.

Oh my gosh, I can hardly stand how fantastic these crystal and glass beaded beads are. Those glass drop beads look so unusual paired with the blue crystals; I just love everything about them. So I bought these four beads from an old Miriam Haskell piece – all that were available. I didn’t have a plan, but my favorite way to design is to buy beads I like and believe they will find their place. And these did.

I got some vintage glass macaroni beads from Sondra Jackson and some vintage German glass matte blue rounds from Ava Motherwell. I had all of these beads separately in my collection, and one day it hit me that they might all go together. I’m not sure what brought it to mind, but I got them out, and it was like they were made for each other!

I can’t believe how perfect the colors are. Although I love this bright orange, it’s not something I really see often. Since they are both vintage beads, maybe it was a popular color sometime in the past? 

I might end up adding some beads to the back that would lift the macaroni beads off my neck a bit. They seem like they could be pokey, and my skin never misses an opportunity to complain. I’ll wear it and see.

I’m thrilled how this necklace came together.

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Resin

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I like all kinds of beads, but I don’t always know much about them. Yvonne Irvin-Faus of My Elements was having a destash. I love a destash because, in addition to good deals, I can sometimes get unusual beads. Talented designers with good taste have been hoarding these beads but haven’t found the right project for them or whatever and have decided to release them out into the world. Score! I have gotten some really good beads this way.

Ok, now flash back to one of the first times I ever went to Bead & Button. I don’t know about other people, but sometimes I feel a bit jaded. I feel like I’ve seen all the beads. That’s why I get so excited over art beads, vintage and anything unusual. So, back at that Bead & Button show many years ago, I wandered into a booth that was full of resin and lucite, materials I didn’t have a lot of experience with. I fellllll in love with these beads. (I have more that I made into a bracelet I never wear, but these were easy to find.) 

Then flash forward to Yvonne’s destash and she had several lots of “Sobral resin from Brazil.”

I didn’t know exactly what that meant, but it reminded me of my exciting find at Bead & Button. I did a search and found that the beads from the destash were by designer Carlos Sobral. I’m sure I’ve seen his jewelry and home design work in magazines over the years. I don’t necessarily think the beads I got at Bead & Button are Sobral (they don’t seem to be exactly that same quality, but they are still fun) but it was exciting to see this type of bead again, especially in the rounds as I find that shape easier to use. 

Although I have no desire to make jewelry for sale, I often think it would be fun to design a line of jewelry. For example, these wonderful Sobral beads could look so different even just depending on the accent beads I used. I decided to use yellow just because I like yellow and have a lot. But the necklace would look so different using brown, the wonderful forest green, turquoise, white or even the subtle, more translucent purple. I’d love to see the beads played out in all those different ways as they would be in a line of jewelry.

Alas, this is all I have of these beads. I like the way this turned out and enjoy wearing sunny yellow. I will also enjoy doing a little more research on Carlos Sobral. His colorful, graphic work is just my kind of thing.

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Vintage Czech and German Glass

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Vintage Czech and German glass are probably my favorite beads. In a local bead shop that is now closed, there was always a small basket of vintage German glass strands. Every time I visited, I looked at those first. I like new glass beads too, but there is just something about vintage. Lately I’m able to get amazing vintage Czech and German glass beads from Allegory Gallery and Ava Motherwell.

The strand of elongated givre bicones I used in this necklace are vintage Czech glass I got from Allegory Gallery. I have no idea where I got the purple rhombus beads, but they were the perfect color match.

The pewter horse is by Green Girl Studios, also from Allegory Gallery. 

I’m always in it for the beads, and I feel like they just shine here.

 

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Artists for Animals Auction Begins Today!

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I am part of the Artists for Animals Auction. It is a Facebook group where artists join together to auction our handmade goods in support of our favorite animal charity. The auction runs through Sunday, May 20th. My proceeds will go to Madison Cat Project. They are a no kill shelter/foster program that finds homes for hundreds of cats who come into their care every year. 

This is my sweetie pie, MooKitty.

I’m putting a variety of necklaces and earrings in the auction. Here are pictures.

Tuxedo Kitty Earrings with striped beads by Gaea Handmade and charms by Mary Redman.

Blingy Kitty Earrings for when you want to have a little sparkly fun

Jasper and Pyrite Necklace with Gaea Handmade Accent Bead (This necklace is a favorite from the things I made for this auction!)

Hugs and Kisses Earrings with Charms by Sue-Lin Tarnowski

Queen Kitty Necklace with Gaea Handmade (Come see more pictures at the auction; it’s so cute!)

Skellie Friend Earrings with Bead and Fiber Drops by Anna Pierson of SagaHus Components

Necklace with Pendant by Kristie Ann Roeder of Artisan Clay 

Turquoise and Wire-Wrapped Key Necklace with Disc by Yvonne Irvin-Faus of My Elements on Leather

Royal Kitty Earrings with Kitty Drops by SagaHus Components and Drops by Yvonne Irvin-Faus

Knotted Necklace with Mother-of-Pearl and Repurposed Dangle Pendant

If you want to check out my auction or those of the many other artists, please visit the Artists for Animals Auction page. The other artists and I will be posting things through the day today and throughout the week, so please check back.

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Labradorite, Ruby and Pyrite

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Labradorite is a favorite stone of mine, and I got this excellent strand with a wonderful rectangular nugget shape with the hole through the length of the bead. As is my way, I wanted to preserve the beauty of the strand, but make it even more special as a piece of jewelry. I added a few rough rubies, another favorite stone. For even more of a pop of color, I sandwiched the rubies with faceted pyrite coated in flamingo pink. 

The labradorite beads have a wonderful texture and lovely flash. I wasn’t sure if I was trying too hard with this necklace when I made it. But I wore it last week, and it looked lovely and felt nice as well.

This weekend I am finishing up jewelry for the Artists for Animals Auction that starts on Monday, May 14th and runs through May 20th. My sales will benefit Madison Cat Project. If you would like to see what is up for auction from all of the artists, visit the page: Artists for Animals.

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Art Bead Scene May 2018

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The Art Bead Scene inspiration piece this month is Primavera by Sandro Botticelli. 

Primavera means spring, and this is a lovely representation. I appreciated that the blog post this month had a little video with some information about the piece. I’m really a “what it looks like” kind of gal rather than researching meaning, but it was quite interesting and answered a couple of questions. It is such a peaceful scene, but then there is that blue-grey figure that seems kind of menacing. I found that is Zephyr, god of wind. 

These are the three graces. I love the look and feel of their gossamer gowns. They immediately reminded me of some amazing vintage Japanese glass twist beads I recently got from Sondra’s Estate Beads Destash Depot. They are so lovely with a luminous quality and light AB-type coloring that shines from the white glass. These, in turn, reminded me of a Joan Miller bead with a wavy design and luminous quality of its own in the blue-grey of Zephyr. I remember describing it to my mother after I got it as the most beautiful bead I’d ever seen. Now I’ll admit I’ve said that more than once in my life, but still. I was excited to see the two beads together. 

When I saw them together, I knew they were a winning combination. My first thought was to introduce some version of an orange color, the pop color in the painting, into the design. But I decided it would be so much more elegant to keep to a quieter color scheme. I had semi-matte opaline rounds in mind as they go very well with the glass twists. In looking at my Czech glass, I chose some silvery  “mercury glass” rondelles, light blue faceted bicones and light green druks – the colors of the waves on the Joan Miller bead. I finished the piece off with a sterling clasp by Miss Fickle Media.

I hoard art beads pretty hard, including a nice stash of Joan Miller, and it’s always gratifying when I find what I think is the perfect project for one. I really love how this turned out and how it looks like the three graces dancing in a spring wind.

 

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Allegory Gallery Design Be Challenge

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April 26th was the reveal for the Allegory Gallery Design Challenge: Be Edition. I had this post all ready but forgot to post it until now! So, here it is.

This challenge offered a choice of eight kits, and we could choose as many as we wanted. The Be Challenge kits include Be Here, Be Mindful, Be Calm, Be Creative, Be Wise, Be Strong, Be Kind and Be Inspired. All good things! All the kits are beautiful, but I only ordered one because I didn’t think I would have time for more (and I was right). I chose Be Kind. I love the colors, and I feel as though I’m not as kind as I used to be. Maybe this kit and the piece I make will influence me in a positive way. 🙂

Here is a picture of the kit.

These kits came with a mix of beads, a strand and a handmade pendant made by Andrew Thornton. Here is a closer look at the pendant. It has a lovely texture and subtle gold accents. 

I put together a few things from my stash I thought I might use and went to my assistant’s office. MooKitty inspects all beads to make sure they are not food. Very helpful. 

I had decided to use some beads from Staci Louise Smith as part of the pendant. I thought about adding old off white or champagne glass pearls I had gotten from Staci in a destash, but after I finalized the components in the pendant, I wanted a more rustic organic look. I started to use a variety of beads from the kit. After a couple of different designs, I saw that the look I was really going for could be best accomplished by using just the strand of chip beads.

I wanted it to be long enough to slip over my head without a clasp, so once I used up the chip strand, I added other beads from the kit to achieve the desired length. I think the colors are lovely.

Visit the Allegory Gallery Design Challenge Facebook page to see what others made with their kits.

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