Restrung At Last



I’m the worst at remaking anything.  I don’t like to spend time on redoing things, even if they don’t take that much time.  It’s kind of ridiculous, but there it is.  I made the following necklace and the first time I tried it on, the ring side of the clasp came off.  I decided to string it again with a closed ring, and it took weeks and weeks.  But today I finally got it done!  It took some nominal amount of time, maybe 15 minutes.  So I am glad I got it done because I like the necklace, and now I can wear it.


The pendant is by Jennifer Tough.  The swirl clasp is from Miss Fickle Media.  I think this is one of those necklaces that will go with almost everything.  I’m so glad I didn’t just let it languish like so many of my re-dos.




I was sort of mooning around a lot in the studio today because I wasn’t inspired, and I just hate that because I generally only make things on weekends.  So if I didn’t make something today, it would be another week! Finally, I went up there to try something inspired by a necklace I pinned by Miss Fickle Media.  Of course I didn’t end up making anything like it, but I found these hammered quartz beads in blue grey with wonderful flash that I’ve been hoarding from that shop for a while and decided to try them with some pearls that also have a lot of color.


This picture is kind of dark, but that seemed to be the only way I could get the flash and the color.  I really wanted to use this vintage rhinestone clasp (that doesn’t show at all) but I needed something to go with the hook that would be secure.  I finally found this hammered, asymmetrical silver piece.  It’s kind of jury-rigged, so I might have to modify it to make sure it is secure.

But I love how the quartz and pearls look together, so luxurious.  The pearls are big and gorgeous, and have wonderful color, just like the quartz.  I might just change out the clasp all together, but I really wanted one that looked special. The rhinestone does to me, but I’m not sure about the rest. Let me know what you think.

Plain and Simple



I’ve made another necklace in keeping with my “I like the beads best in their strand” philosophy.  I have this beautiful strand of chunky faceted amethyst nuggets.


Aren’t they pretty?  I didn’t want to break them up!  So I thought perhaps I would just separate the beads with seeds beads, small silver rounds or even knots.  But then this lovely Green Girl Studios pendant came to mind, and I decided to try them with that.  I’ve been attempting to make my own version of this great necklace the Miranda character is wearing in the Valentine’s dinner scene in the first Sex and the City movie for a while and have never hit the mark.  This is it!

I’m pretty excited.  I love how it turned out, and yet it’s so simple and kept the strand of beads together.


Allegory Gallery Mermaid Lagoon Challenge Reveal


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Today is the reveal for the Allegory Gallery Mermaid Lagoon Mystery Challenge! Artist Andrew Thornton curates wonderful kits available through Allegory Gallery.  He includes Mystery Components that he hand makes and lucky participants use these materials to make whatever they want.  It’s fun to see the differences (and sometimes similarities) in what people make when they start from the same materials.

I actually remembered to take pictures of the kit this time!  Good thing because, as a mystery challenge, there wasn’t a picture of the kit included in the blog post.  The materials were a secret even to participants until we received the kit. This poses an extra challenge for me because I often design by looking at the picture of the kit.  Here it is:


Andrew made two mystery components for this kit:


I am often drawn to one thing from the kit and work with that first.  This time it was the white teardrop beads.  I wanted to make a fringe front necklace.  I added a turquoise bead below the teardrop and a shell bead above it to make the dangles.  I put those on some chain.


Initially, I was going to add a few beads on each side and finish with chain. Then I thought why not use the chip beads.  I thought the long, white swath around the neck would be elegant.  But then I thought about all the lovely small mixed seed and other beads in the Luxury Blend.  I decided to use those in a random manner.  I like it; the strand looks like a collection of sea glass and other treasures picked up during a walk on the beach.  I struggle with blue and also water themes.  I’m not a beach person.  I like the pool, but the beach is all about bad smells, sand sticking to me, live critters I want nothing to do with, and too much sun.  I know that is not most other people’s experience!  So when I can make something that doesn’t bring me any of those unfortunate associations, but still has a beachy feel, I’ve met the challenge.

Next I made some earrings.  These came out of my “try whatever is on the bead table” aesthetic.  I think it really worked.


I loved these blue pieces of shell from the kit, and they look great with these floral patterned beads that were on my table from a failed earring design.  I added two light blue crystals from the kit and voila.

I love the Mystery Components Andrew made, and I wanted to make sure I had time to use at least one.  I have a desire to make a chunky necklace, but it just wasn’t working with my mermaid.  I looked around and saw some labradorite with a lot of flash.  Mermaids are very magical creatures, so that seemed right. I added in some sea glass various seed beads and more beads from the kit at back.  A sweet little hook and eye clasp finished it off.


These labradorite cubes have a lot of beautiful flash that I didn’t capture at all, but this is the best overall picture of the necklace.  But in person, the sparkle leading down to the beautiful mermaid makes the piece.

As I was digging through the kit beads to find enough matching seed beads, I saw two little opalite-type dangles.  Earrings!  There were also two pieces of rough apatite (I think – there’s something I always get mixed up with apatite, and it could be that) and a couple more pieces of shell.  I had my lovely ocean treasure earrings…until I broke one apatite bead wire wrapping it.  No worries. I had some similar in my stash…and broke that one too.  I’m very willing to take direction from the universe.  Mismatched it was.  So I used a similarly colored tube from the kit.


I used dark purple craft wire which amused me even though you can’t really tell. I know it’s purple.

As usual, I got a lot of inspiration and had a lot of fun with this kit!  Please visit the Allegory Gallery Design Challenge Facebook page to see what everyone made!


There It Is!


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Today’s necklace is so simple but still just lovely.  This is what is great about art beads; it doesn’t take much to make a gorgeous piece of jewelry because you are using art as your material!

I went up to my studio and was sort of mooning around.  I had left the challenge kit I was going to look at downstairs, and I could have gone to get it, but I couldn’t see getting anything done because my bead table was already so messy.  I know many artists who say they thrive in the mess, but I just become distracted.  I have my “try what is on the table” aesthetic, but if there is too much on the table, I don’t know what to look at first!

However, while I was looking for the challenge kit, I opened a box of beads from Staci Louise Smith. I got this fabulous spike bead from her with the most wonderful colors.  Also sitting on my bead table was some hand dyed suede cord from Shipwreck Dandy Supply in rustic raspberry orchid, the most perfect color for the spike.  I wanted to just have it be very un-fussy, and I’ve always liked those adjustable closures, so I looked for a bead with the right size hole.  Once I found it, I worried that the necklace could still get caught on something and get yanked off (believe me, it would happen) so I put little purple wire wraps on the ends.


So simple but just what I wanted for this spike.  I’m very pleased with it.  I also love that it is adjustable for different necklines.  Maybe I’ll start a periodic blog feature called “Simple Sundays” because I find myself making simple jewelry more often lately.  I’ve given up the idea that more complex always means better.

Then and Now



Over the years, I’ve noticed that jewelry styles and bead types that I’ve liked in the past are still things I like now.  The difference is that in the past I couldn’t get as close to my vision because lacked technical knowledge and access to different materials.  As my knowledge has grown, it’s fun to look back and see hints of what was to come. I’ll look at a necklace I made way back when, understand what the vision was, and be able to make a better version of it now. Fun!

I am absolutely enthralled with the beads made by Kathrin Kneidl available in her shop Donna Perlinplim. (The shop has a 40% off sale on until 9/30/16 – check the shop announcement if you visit.)  Many of her things have a certain 1970s DIY vibe.  I remember, while growing up in the 1970s, my parents delving into a variety of crafts – batik, wood burning, decoupage, and more.  So not only are her wares beautiful, but they feel like home to me.  Here is one set of her beads I have.


When I got these, they reminded me of something. I’ve had this bead comparison rattling around in my brain for a while and decided to write about it today.  Another theme I notice in my life is not being able to find things when I need them.  This happens on my bead table, it happens at work when I’m constantly searching for notes on my messy desk.  I need a better plan!  But I’m going to make it work.  (I’m watching a lot of Project Runway and Project Runway All Stars lately!) I have a small bag of these beads, but could only find three I had on a necklace now that I need them! I’ve had these since I was a kid.


Do you see the similarities to the art beads?  I don’t know where these came from.  My first memory of them is a necklace that I put on a stuffed animal cat made from an old quilt that I got from my parents’ antiques store.


I like the idea that perhaps our style is with us from the beginning but can grow and mature and deepen over time.

Do you find yourself liking some of the same style themes you did when you were younger?  Or have you made a total change?

Building a Pendant


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I buy pendants for their look, not their size.  But many pendants tend to be small.  I like larger beads. I do like delicate necklaces, but since I’m designing for myself, I generally like a larger piece.  I’m kinda tall, kinda big.  I take up space.  I want my jewelry to take up space as well.  So, I’m starting to realize (yeah, slow on the uptake) what I can do to make pendants the size I need is build them out of several components.


I got this beautiful dogwood pendant by Heather Powers of Humblebeads that I’ve admired for a while.  I had been planning something else for it, but when I saw it near these faceted yellow-green stitchtite nuggets, I decided to use those. The colors are perfect together. Except the size and visual weight of the nuggets overwhelmed the pendant.


The easy fix was to take a few of the pink beads and one of the nuggets to make a longer, bolder pendant to balance the necklace. This also adds a design element over just a beads-and-pendant type construction. I strung this on waxed linen and used a Saki Silver bronze toggle clasp. I think it turned out very pretty, and this highlights the beautiful dogwood pendant better than if I had used it on its own.

Allegory Gallery Mystery Challenge 3 Reveal


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Today is the reveal for the Allegory Gallery Design Challege – Mystery Challenge 3 edition.  People really seem to like the mystery challenge kits where we don’t see any of the components prior to getting them.  In other Allegory Gallery Design Challenges, only the Mystery Component that is hand made by Andrew Thornton is a surprise.  Well this kit came as a complete surprise to me. Judging by the photo above, I thought it was going to be all neutrals – taupe, cream and beige.  I did not pick up on the color of the lettering.  The kit actually consists of soft pinks, peaches and greens.  Love!  Just gorgeous.

My first piece is a necklace using the Mystery Component that Andrew made – a gorgeous bird pendant.

BeadLove - Mystery Challenge 3 MC necklaceMaterials I used from the kit include the pendant, the two green saucers above it, a few of the pearly seed beads and the waxed linen.

I made another necklace based on a sketch I had made to use some “flag” beads I have in a necklace unrelated to this kit.  It wasn’t quite working, so I thought why not try a version of it with some of the kit beads.

BeadLove - Mystery 3 Thornton seaglass necklace

I used a sea glass pendant made by Andrew Thornton and his sister Sheila.  I’m in love with it. Above it, I put three chip beads from the kit and two serpentine rounds.  Then I used the flag beads and green beads from my stash along with pink rice beads and pearly seed beads from the kit.  I finished it off with some chain bits because I’m enthralled with chain bits.  This picture was difficult due to the shine on the flags. Also, we’ll see how long this necklace lasts because the flags flap and there doesn’t have to be any wind.  It may or may not bother me enough to take it apart.  But I like how it looks.  I love the look of bunting flags, and hope I got a bit of that here.

Next I wanted to use those gorgeous, lightweight pink barrels from the kit.  I had gotten some of my serpentine out to see if it went with anything, and these twisted barrels were perfect.

BeadLove - Mystery 3 A.T. flower pendant necklace

In addition to the pink barrels from the kit, I used a flower pendant by Andrew Thornton, a few Czech cathedral beads, and the serpentine with some tiny bright green colored pyrite between them. These are all I had of this color of cathedral bead.  It’s gratifying when a small number of beads is just what I have and just what I need! I love the slight asymmetry.

Then I focused on earrings.  When getting the pendant above out of my Andrew Thornton box (I group art beads for storage by artist) I saw a pair of his polymer roman glass pieces in a perfect color for the kit.

BeadLove - AT roman glass earrings

All the other beads in these earrings, along with the waxed linen, are from the kit. I think these earrings are so cute!

Then I moved on to some fabulous faux strawberry quartz dangles from the kit. (I don’t know if they were trying to be faux, but that’s what these plastic pieces looked like to me.)

BeadLove - Mystery 3 pearl earrings

All the beads in these earrings are from the kit.  I even got to use some of the sequins!  I’m always thrilled when I get to do that.  And then I loved these so much I used more of the “strawberry quartz” drops in another pair.

BeadLove - Mystery 3 earrings 3

All the beads from these earrings are also from the kit.  Next I wanted to use one of the big, faceted pink plastic rectangles.  I originally thought of earrings, but even though they are light, they are kind of big. I regularly look at Pinterest for inspiration, and saw these fab bracelets by Shannon of Miss Fickle Media. She has a whole bunch in her shop, along with components that are some of my favorites. I had an open bracelet bar by her and decided to try to use it.  My bracelet isn’t perfect, but I love it anyway. It’s very much my style.

BeadLove - Mystery 3 bangle bracelet

All the beads are from the kit, and I added some WoolyWire on the bottom.  I didn’t want to use it all the way around because the bracelet bar itself is so beautiful.

There were lots of beautiful rounds in the kit. I also had a bunch of fun large glass pearls, faceted plastic and large “sugar” beads I had been trying to use together in a piece. This kit brought them all together!BeadLove - Mystery 3 rounds 4I used about half a dozen green and pink round from the kit along with the other beads, some bead caps and waxed linen for this fun necklace.

This was another super fun and inspiring kit!  Thanks to Andrew and William for this challenge!  Please visit the Allegory Gallery Design Challenge Facebook page to see what other participants made.


Gifted Beads


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I recently bought a gorgeous necklace from Patti Vanderbloemen.


She makes beautiful handcrafted jewelry and all net proceeds go to the Miracle Horse Rescue organization.  With my order, she very generously gifted me some beads she thought I would like based on what she has seen on my blog.  She was right!  And I’ve already used two sets she sent.

I am also a huge fan of Staci Smith‘s beads.  Just after I received the beads from Patti,  I got a fabulous peacock feather pendant by Staci.  I immediately thought of some lucite barrels Patti had sent that were the perfect color family for the pendant. I made a rough beaded chain with dark annealed steal wire.  I also added one drilled beach stone I got from Martha’s Ruby Acorn and a clasp from Saki Silver.


I’m very pleased with how that turned out.  So then I was on a roll, and the beads Patti sent were sitting right there (except some turquoise squares with a swirl on them that were on another table already slated for a project!) I had a vintage bracelet link with a faux shell background I had gotten from Shipwreck Dandy Supply that I had planned to use in a necklace with some white rounds (MOP? faux shell?) and accent crystals.


I also planned to hang a floral pastel butterfly made by Vincenza Fazz of Earthly Beads from the bottom of the bracelet link. This necklace takes me back to my past. Long before I got heavily into art beads, I was in love with used and one might even say garish pieces that could be repurposed.  I love ornate.  Gold! Flowers! Enamel! Crystals! Scrollwork!  Who could resist?  Well, many, but not me!  I also love vintage beads, especially if they are an unusual shape or color. Enter vintage twist beads from Patti!  Even though they are vintage, they are very like serenity blue, one of the Pantone 2016 colors of the year along with rose quartz.  So now I have these great vintage beads that go with a project I’ve already got planned out, and they are one of the colors of the year!  This was just kismet.


I had originally thought I would make a beaded chain, but I am so lazy about those; that’s why the beads were still sitting around.  So I decided they were really waiting for the vintage blue twists and gave myself permission to put it all on waxed linen.  So easy!  I added a fancy toggle, and I’m so pleased by this unusual necklace.


Thank you so much, Patti! I will be using the beautiful beads you sent me in many more fun projects.

Chevron Is In!



Chevron is very popular right now, and I am not immune to the trend.  I love the chevron pattern.  I’ve purchased several types of chevron chain, including smaller patina sections from Miss Fickle Media, one of my favorite shops for chain.  Those in this necklace are brass with soot black patina.

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The lapis dangles are also from Miss Fickle Media.  The hand-formed copper clay spacers are by Andrew Thornton.  This turned out so pretty.  Lovely components that just fit together.

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