Generosity

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Hello.  It’s been a little while since I posted. First I was on vacation (I’ll have a post about that later) and then I was diagnosed with De Quervain’s tenosynovitis – a problem with the tendons running along the thumb. I’m doing therapeutic things right now, but I’m not making jewelry.  However, there is still plenty to blog about!

I recently participated in the Artists for Animals auction. (FYI – Michelle Ann McCarthy and Joan Miller are leaving the page active so we can have more auctions in the future.) Another participant in the auction, Mary Redman, not only made many beautiful things to raise money for animals, she also bought one of my necklaces in the auction. Then, she sent me a package. I opened it and was amazed as wonderful surprises just kept coming out of it.  So I thought I should show you what I got.

Mary and her husband, Walter Gross, are both wonderful makers and currently sell at local craft shows.  Now on with the show!

Wally makes a beautiful variety of lampwork beads.  I love all the different shapes and colors. Aren’t they fabulous?

Mary called these her polymer clay “experiments”.  I hope when I get brave enough to experiment, mine go as well. Here are earring pairs/charms.

And pendants. The shell is so realistic that when I unwrapped it, I was convinced it was a real shell until I turned it over and it wasn’t hollow on back!

Mary also included some polymer headpins! These are so impressive. I love them!

But wait, there’s more! One of the things Mary put in the auction were super cute earrings made with tin charms – many animal themed. And I got some holiday themed earrings. They are so sweet. The swirly tin that is so perfect and looks like candy is from a vintage cookie tin!

And then she shared her vintage tin with me! She sent earring pairs/charms:

And more. The last ones are hard to see – blue and gold. 

And dapped pairs. So many pretty tins! This encourages me to experiment with my own tin collection.

Mary also made this wonderful ornament. Sparkle – I love it!

And last but not least, some charms (resin covered something?) of a tuxedo kitten that reminds me of my own sweet MooKitty!  

Thank you so much Mary and Wally! This was very generous of you. I will have a lot of fun using these beauties.

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Random Winter Giveaway

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It’s been about 8 months since I’ve done a giveaway, so I think it’s time again. It’s a Random Winter Giveaway!

Snowflakes by spacefem

It might not be cold or snowy where you are; it might not even be winter! But you are still welcome to join the giveaway. Once I decided to do a giveaway, I just picked a variety of random things. Often I choose from boxes that are full enough that I have trouble closing them, thinking that will help in the organization of my studio.  So, here are the goods!

This is the top of the grouping.  It includes purple sari silk, two strands of tortoise pattern Czech glass, a Frida bead, a deco floral pendant by Melissa Gabelle of The Clay Hen, two large polymer beads by Artybecca, a lampwork pair by an unknown artist, a pendant and two barrel beads by Gaea, a mixed bag of purple beads and a strand of red cultured sea glass. 

Here is a picture of the bottom part of the grouping. It includes a black glass heart with a green clover, a gold beehive charm, a wooden elephant pendant by J-Lynn Jewels, an old key, a few swirly Czech glass beads, and a section of fancy, shiny silver chain. 

Here is a close up of the art beads. Just a note: I won’t be able to mail these out to the winner until early December.

To enter, just leave a comment listing something you are grateful for. Entries will close at 11:00 PM Central Time on Friday, November 24, 2017. International entries are welcome. I will announce the winner sometime that weekend.  Good luck!

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Art Bead Scene Challenge – November 2017

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The inspiration for this month’s Art Bead Scene challenge is a 1906 oil painting –Crozant, the Bouchardon Mill by Armand Guillaumin.

When I look at inspiration, I often first look at colors. In this painting, the color that presents itself to me first is purple. But the other colors and subject matter reminded me of a polymer clay autumn scene bead by Andrew Thornton. Looking at the inspiration color palette, Andrew’s bead has it (almost) all – brown branches, green leaves, a gorgeous blue background that could be the sheen of the sky at dusk or a body of water turning colder. There is also a pop of bright red, just like in the painting. Perfect.

I chose some dark green manik-manik glass beads that are a real favorite and Czech glass the same blue as in the art bead. The polymer has a subtle sparkle as do the Czech glass facets. I’ve also used some small red white heart beads as spacers to brighten up the look and bring in more pops of red.

There is a slight asymmetrical element to the spacing of the beads, and the necklace is meant to hang asymmetrically as well with the larger art bead a bit up on the side. Also, remember that purple was the color that stood out to me? I didn’t feel that it fit in with my design with beads, but I chose purple waxed linen as the stringing material. Although the color doesn’t show, I know it’s there. I do that often to make a design feel more complete to me.

As soon as I saw it, I knew Andrew Thornton‘s autumn bead was meant for something special. I haven’t made anything for the Art Bead Scene for several months; I’m glad I was so inspired this month.

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The Never-Ending Search for Storage

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Recently I watched a video tour of Heather Powers’ studio where she creates her fabulous Humblebeads and shares wonderful free projects on her Bead Table Wednesday videos. I love seeing inside people’s studios. If you do too, watch the video.  Anyway, she was casually showing her enviable trove of art beads in these great sectioned wooden trays she had stacked on her table. I thought she had found a slew of them in an old farmhouse barn at an estate auction or something, when she said they were from Nile Corp! Oh. My. Goodness.

I immediately went and ordered a bunch. They are on sale and some sizes/colors are out of stock. I hope that doesn’t mean they are discontinuing them! But at least I got eight. I originally intended them for beads, but an ongoing storage need I have is also for jewelry.

I originally started out with this old wooden rake for some jewelry storage in my studio. Once it became full (it’s only not totally full now because when I wear a necklace, it gets put away elsewhere.) 

Then I ordered some super strong magnets and repurposed this calendar system for jewelry storage. Then I ordered more magnets and employed the side of my filing cabinet.

And more magnets that moved some of my jewelry into other parts of the house.

But I still have a mess on just about every surface, and a lot of it is jewelry.

This poor little cabinet always looks like this except for a day or two after I clean it. Mostly jewelry and jewelry-related items. Some random mail I’m pretending I’ll attend to “soon” and that blue thing a duster fits on that shows I at least intended to dust at one point. The wooden box with the building has jewelry in it, but it’s always covered with other jewelry, so I never wear whatever is in it. (It was covered with jewelry right before this picture, but I cleaned off the jewelry to try the experiment you will see in the next photo.

Here is one of the Nile Corp. trays with jewelry in it! If I put jewelry that fits fully into the cubbies in these, I can stack about three on each side of that little cabinet and keep it much cleaner.  

Chunkier jewelry can still hang. I’ll try this and see if it helps me keep a tidier area and a better way to find the items I’m looking for.

Whenever I do a storage post, I like to ask – what are your storage solutions? Share in the comments.  Pictures welcome!

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Allegory Gallery Design Challenge – Yearning

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Today is the reveal for the Allegory Gallery Design Challenge – Yearning. The inspiration for the kit is a piece by artist Christi Friesen. The kit colors are beige, gold, red, pink, and green. I love the color mix – so fresh! I had my first necklace idea almost immediately based on the beige. Generally, I love bright colors. But there is a certain type of beige bead – vintage German and Czech glass –  that I just love. Opaque, often with etched designs or facets in a variety of shapes and sizes. The kit included some spacers in this color.

Originally, I thought it would be fun to make a long necklace. When it was finished, it was pretty but not quite right. I wrapped it in two when I put it down to think about it and saw it would be much better as a double strand necklace.I strung it on waxed linen from the kit and also used two sizes of opaque beige spacers, beige crystals, and gold spacers from the kit. I used several shapes of the beige glass beads from my stash. I also brought in some other colors from the kit with Czech glass from my stash – tiny beige/green spacers, and red/pink flowers, crystals and ice pearls. At the back of the necklace, I used some tiny versions of the ice pearls that were in the kit. I love how these colors pop against each other. 

I have had this vintage clasp for a long, long time. I’m thrilled that I found the perfect use for it. I feel like the clasp and the necklace have a 1950s vibe, and gold fits right in with the kit.

This challenge snuck up on me a bit, and I only got this one necklace done. I still had fun! Thanks William, Andrew and Allegory Gallery for another wonderful kit and challenge! Visit the Allegory Gallery Design Challenges Facebook page to see what other participants created.

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#Makeover Monday – Gummy Fish

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In my past, I often had good ideas that I wasn’t able to execute as well as I would have liked.  I didn’t have a lot of design knowledge, but mostly I didn’t know where to get the best beads (or even what they were.) There are pieces from that time that I don’t wear (and didn’t wear much then) but that I didn’t take apart because I really loved the idea of them. One such necklace is the gummy fish necklace. 

That is the necklace there on the right made many, many years ago – like maybe 15 or 20. I have no idea where I got the Czech glass fish; I didn’t even know the term Czech glass at that time. I’m not surprised I bought them; I like beads that look like candy. Also, I can see that I often loved just the strand of beads as it was, as I still do, and tried to change it as little as possible. Back in the day, that usually involved just separating things with seed beads. That can look a little skimpy, as with these larger fish beads. My designs are still often simple, which I like, but they are more balanced and pleasing.

When I got the chance to get these gorgeous vintage Czech glass light blue rondelles from Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery on his destash page, I jumped at it. I just love the shape and, like my previous set of blue rondelles, I loved that it was a long strand. I know I mention Andrew and William and their shop and the destash often, but I’m so thrilled with the variety and quality of beads I can get. When I saw these and thought what to do with them, my gummy fish necklace came to mind. I could finally make it something I would like to wear.  

It’s not really that different. It just has a bit more heft and a quality, finished look. It is true to the original concept – my lovely gummy fish swimming through a bead sea of blue water. I’m so thrilled with the makeover and can’t wait to wear it.

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Artists for Animals

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Artist Michelle Ann McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio makes beautiful pottery. I love her ceramic beads and other creations.  She also has a heart for animals. In the past, she has done fundraisers for animal rescues and now she has invited others to join in. I have never sold my jewelry before, but I could not pass up the opportunity to raise funds to help animals. I think how little they ask for and how much they give. 

This is my sweetie girl, MooKitty. She was born a barn cat and then lived in a home where she was abused before she found her way to my sister when she was 6 months old. She came to live with me about a year and a half ago, and she has enriched my life in so many ways.

Michelle blogged about the Artists for Animals fundraiser on the Art Bead Scene Studio blog. November 6 – 12, 2017, artists from around the world will auction off their handmade items to raise money for their favorite animal charity.  The sale of my items will benefit Madison Cat Project, a no kill organization dedicated to finding a home for every cat who comes to them. I like that they work extra hard to find homes for cats with behavioral or medical issues who might not have a chance in a different shelter environment. They have creative solutions to finding a good outcome for every cat.

I wanted to whet your appetite with a couple pictures of pieces I’ve made so far for the auction.  I hope you like them!
Here is a necklace in lovely fall colors with a peek-a-boo cat pendant by Michelle herself! I love her peek-a-boo animal pendant series.  So cute!Here is a bohemian style necklace with wood and colorful clay beads and a brass lizard pendant.

I’m also planning to make some earrings.  I was excited to get these lovely kitty drops by Anna Pierson of SagaHus Components for this project.  I haven’t designed them yet, so I hope they turn out really great!

I have more made and have more to make, but I’ll leave you with just this preview.  Not all of my pieces will be animal themed, so if you are not an animal jewelry person, there will still be things for you. Please join us November 6 – 12, 2017.  Maybe do some holiday shopping or just get yourself something.  There will be lots of artists (not just me) and the animals thank you!

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Foxy

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I got this gorgeous resin fox pendant by Andrew Thornton from Allegory Gallery. I loved it on sight.

I knew I would use some agate or jasper with it. I ended up using both! I used Botswana agate and red creek jasper with dark red seed beads as spacers. I strung it all on waxed linen.

I love being able to use special pieces of art to make jewelry so I can wear them. It adds a bright spot to every day.

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Blue

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I’m a pretty equal opportunity bead lover, especially colors. I do really like pretty much all colors. I will say that I think blue is my least favorite color, though. However, sometimes the perfect beads come along and a least favorite shape or color or size doesn’t matter.

Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery has a Facebook destash page where I am able to get some really fabulous beads. Recently he had some vintage Czech glass beads in extra long strands. I’m always thrilled when I can get a really long strand because I love the look of a long necklace made primarily of one fabulous bead. When I saw these beads, they were the perfect shape, size and color – yes, blue! Cobalt blue. I love everything about them. So this is one of the many times when I wanted to keep the original strand of beads mostly as I saw it and fell in love with it.

I strung the beads, that have a wonderful weight, on waxed linen with tiny dark red seed beads in between. These have become some of my favorite spacers. I added a lampwork bead for interest. (I got it in a different destash and don’t know the artist.) I think it kind of looks like an owl!

I really love how this necklace looks with these beautiful, luminous blue beads.

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