Art Elements January Component of the Month Challenge Reveal


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Today is the reveal for the Art Elements January Component of the Month Challenge.  Mixed media artist Lindsay Starr of Phantasm Creations provided the components this month – painted leather cabs.  Some were painted with dots and some spattered with paint.  I got a spattered cab.  I loved them when I first saw them, but just seeing “cab” was enough to intimidate me. Then Lindsay changed all that with her great post about the components.  To quote: “Even if you are not a seed beader, these cabs should be something you can work with.  You could prong set, drill, or pierce them.”  I decided to try something new!

I forgot to take a picture of my cab, but here is one of Lindsay’s from her post.


Mine is the red one at the top.  I recently got a rotary tool, but had been a bit intimidated by that as well. This gave me the chance to use it. One of the best things about challenges is when they stretch our creative skills.  Although the placement of my holes is not perfect, I feel good about it overall.

I made so many sketches of possible designs because this cab can go with everything.  I ended up going with none of those ideas.  I had gotten a beautiful pair of earrings from Sasha Crow, but I can no longer wear earrings.  I couldn’t bear the idea of giving them away; they are too beautiful.  So I decided to repurpose them!  I removed the wire from one and used it as a dangle along with a bead from Lynda’s Lampwork.  I used waxed linen as my stringing material with large hole metal beads to cover the knots where they connect to the cab.  Dark amber works well in color and feel with the cab, and I was able to bring in a little of some other design ideas that involved playing up the white spatter with a little rustic seabird by Rebekah Payne of Tree Wings Studio.


I finished the necklace off with a gorgeous hammered indigo toggle from Miss Fickle Media and am pleased with the dramatic look of the piece. Thank you so much to Lindsay Starr and Art Elements for letting me participant in this challenge.  Please visit the blogs below to see what others made with their cabs!

Cuba Stone

I had a strand of mixed pearls out on my table as a possibility for a project, and it didn’t get used.  But it was one of those strands I really just wanted to use as is, so I did (part of it.)  I thought how pretty it would be in one of those delicate necklaces I always see people on television wearing with the beads spaced out and a nice little pendant.  In looking for the appropriate pendant, I found a vintage Cuba stone with the exact colors in the pearls.


I love knotting on waxed linen which I what I’ve done here. I actually meant to make it a little closer to the neck, but I guess I got carried away because suddenly it was way longer than had envisioned.  I will leave it for now.  One thing I find about light necklaces is they don’t necessarily lay well over a shirt. I’ll see how this one goes.  I can always re-knot it later.



Allegory Gallery Design Challenge – Frog Prince Reveal


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Today is the reveal for the Allegory Gallery Design Challenge – Frog Prince edition.  I love green, so this kit really appealed to me.  Here is a picture of the kit.


Artist Andrew Thornton not only puts together the kits, he also makes one or more handmade pieces to include.  For this kit, he made the two marbled polymer beads in the lower right above as well as this beautiful pendant.


When I separated out the kit beads to see what was there, I just loved them all!  Right away I decided to put three types together in a bracelet by knotting them on the waxed linen.


I randomly strung these lighter and darker rounds with marbled square in the middle.  I used a wooden button for the closure. I really like this bracelet; it will layer well with others.

I fell in love with these little rolled beads in the kit.  I decided to use them as one of the strands in a two strand necklace.


I used the green beads in front separated by silver spacers.  The second strand is some very pretty quartz, also separated by the silver.  I used a Green Girl frog and a Jade Scott crown.  The two strands come together at two diamond beads from the kit (which you can’t see) Then I added a little bling at the back with some silver Czech glass.  I love how this turned out!


I had more ideas for this kit, but not more time.  Please visit the Allegory Gallery Design Challenge page on Facebook to see what other participants have made.  Thanks, Andrew and William, for another fun challenge!

Flaming Heart Necklace


I’m working on some blog hop ideas, but in the midst of that, I wanted to use some recently acquired materials.  I got a couple of these little Patricia Healey flaming heart pendants. I love all the color of the copper and the little tentacles.


I was originally going to put it with two sizes of melon shaped Czech glass and some larger yellow/orange rounds.  The small melons ended up getting included with some garnet colored rondelles and multi-color Czech glass flowers.


I love how it looks like a little garden with a passion burning at the middle.

Happy Bracelet: A Glimpse Into My Design Mind (and Giveaway Winner)


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I made a new bracelet, and I thought I would talk a little about how my pieces come about. I had drawn a design for a bracelet inspired by a random bracelet on Pinterest, where I had also seen some of my Malin de Koning pins. I love the way she puts things together. It’s like every bead she uses is elevated by every other bead she uses with it.

I was in my studio looking for beads I had in mind for the design I had drawn. Instead, I came upon some beautiful vintage glass “lemon” beads. I thought they’d be good in a bracelet, so I switched off the one I had drawn, and had Malin in the back of my mind. In the same box as the lemons were taupe German glass beads, which caught my eye because I have more German glass in that color, but it is in my Czech glass box (? I know) and I thought I should unite them. But as long as I had them out, I thought how well they went with the lemons. Then I started considering focals, even though I only went upstairs for a minute to put something in the studio and then get ready for bed. So I got out some lampwork and spotted a baggie of the most fabulous glass beads from Trinket Foundry. They were smaller than I’d been thinking for a focal….

At this point, the cat wandered into the studio where she is no longer allowed after ingesting a non-food item. I had left the door open slightly since I was only going to be in there “for a second”.  I decided to go to bed as long as I had to get up to shoo the cat out, so of course I went downstairs and hopped on the computer to get sucked into Pinterest looking at turquoise, yellow and taupe color combinations based on the beads on my table.


The next morning I saw Malin’s latest post on Earrings Everyday.  Yep, her stuff is still great.  Later, I went upstairs to take a shower and thought I’d quick look at those beads I’d gotten out.  I realized they were really just perfect together and, even though I wasn’t wearing my glasses since I’d just gone up for a shower, I’d quick make the bracelet. I found a stray piece of beading wire on my bead table, and some nearby seed beads in a an approximate color from the focal and a couple of larger seed beads (that had spilled on my table) for the larger lampwork holes. When I picked the clasp, I had to resize my original design. I removed a German glass bead and substituted a square Swarovski crystal sitting on my bead table.  Because I was making this quickly and without my glasses, I left a little too much slack in the wire when crimping, so I covered up that “happy accident” (Bob Ross) with some gold jump rings in a nod to the gold stripes in the lemon beads. Ta-da!

I really love the bracelet. I have come to embrace my casual design style. I think it even works in my favor because if I didn’t get distracted from my original idea, I wouldn’t have this bracelet! The lampwork bead is so happy, as are the lemons. I love German glass, but I normally wouldn’t have put taupe with yellow, thinking it is not colorful enough. But with Malin in the back of my mind, I decided to just use things I really love, and it worked for me.

Ok, now on to the winner of my Bits and Bobs giveaway: Ann Morgan

Congrats!  Please contact me with your mailing address.

Bits and Bobs Giveaway


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I was supposed to be cleaning my studio, and I got the idea to do a little “studio sweep” type giveaway.  I’ve purchased such grab bags from My Elements, Shipwreck Dandy Supply and Andrew Thornton, among others, I’m sure.  I do love my random, surprise, leftover bits!  It helped a little on the cleaning, but more importantly, I get to have a giveaway! Should you choose to enter, here is a glimpse of what you will receive that got swept up off my bead table.


You can see some of what is in the bags, but I will tell you that there are some findings, some bead pairs, and a variety of fiber bits.  There are also random beads (and some groups) including glass, wood, plastic, and gemstone.  There are two strands of beads, a couple of buttons, and even a couple of art beads. Those weren’t technically on my bead table, they were under it in a box of things I was meaning to take apart. I haven’t done it, so I decided those beads need to be re-homed too. I didn’t include those in the picture because they kept peeking their little heads out.  I want them to be a surprise; they are pretty good.

If you are an equal opportunity bead lover like I am who likes bits and bobs and is able to use random beads (I regularly use them right off my bead table in my designs) then you will be happy with this giveaway.

Entering is super easy to ease us into the new year.  Just leave a comment on this post telling me a favorite something – a book, a food, a bead artist, a movie, a cleaning tip – just anything you love and want to share.

The giveaway is open internationally and will end on Saturday, January 7th at Noon Central Time.  Please make sure I have a way to contact you.  I’ll announce the winner, chosen at random, at some point later that afternoon.

Have fun and good luck to all!

New Year’s Day Necklace


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This necklace really has nothing to do with New Year’s Day except that I made it today.  I broke out one of my precious Jade Scott pieces. (Warning: do not fall in love with her work.  She has retired.)  A while ago I bought several vintage necklaces to repurpose.


When going through my Jade Scott treasures and coming upon a light colored connector pendant, I thought of these white beads.


I knotted the white beads on blue waxed linen. The writing on the pendant, which says, “be silly, be honest, be kind” is in an army-ish green that I echoed in the bottom beads.  Those are also large holed and were able to go down over the waxed linen knots. I used one glass calla lily bead with tin beads caps that I made from a Lorelei Eurto tutorial. I added a few dangles in front and a really cute floral toggle that I got from Stinky Dog Beads.

I love this fun necklace.  I thank you for visiting and wish you a wonderful 2017.


Have a Carrot or an Apple



When I was a kid and my sisters and I would complain about there being “nothing” to eat (i.e. no junk food) my mother would always say, “Have a carrot or an apple.”  I’m sure that produced nothing but a groan at the time. Now my sisters and I say it to each other, and it will crack us up every time. (I also realize now my mother was right, like she is about most things.) When I got a wonderful carrot pendant by Joan Miller I knew what I would name the necklace I made with it. I subsequently got a couple of carrot charms, also by Joan Miller. I had to look around a bit for an apple charm and found this sterling silver one.


I didn’t have a specific design idea in mind for this piece. Just the carrots and apple. In fact, when I went to finally make the piece this morning, I tried several different designs.


I added a textured copper necklace bar and copper chain and beads with black patina by Miss Fickle Media.  I love how the copper shows through on both the chain and the beads.  To bring the sterling apple into the design, I used a sterling jump ring to connect the pendant and a sterling clasp at the back.

I never think necklaces without a lot of structure when they are not being worn, like those with chain, look that great in my pictures. I’ll have to notice how other people photograph “floppy” necklaces.  But I think this one turned out very cute, and it will make me smile every time I wear it.  Maybe it will even encourage me to eat more carrots and apples.



Rough Amethyst


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Yep, another necklace today.  I’m having a great time creating during my vacation!  Today I used some rough amethyst nuggets, a steel and plum sari silk connector by Anna Pierson from her component page SagaHus Components and a pewter bird pendant designed by Cynthia Thornton (though not Green Girl).


I love LOVE how this turned out.  I had been trying to do wire wrapped loops for the amethyst, but I can never make wire wrapping on irregular beads look nice. It finally hit me that I could do simple loops, and it would be better because I wouldn’t feel quite so much like it wasn’t neat enough.

Thanks for stopping by.  I might have something else to post tomorrow!

12 Designs of Winter Vacation


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Ok, I’m unlikely to actually make 12 designs, but even posting multiple designs in a week is unusual for me.  During vacation, I have more design time and hope to make and share several pieces.  That reminded me of the Art Bead Scene blog’s 12 Days of Christmas posts, which are proving very fun.  I recently came across jewelry artist Toni McCarthy and absolutely fell in love with her chunky, eclectic style.  I love large beads but often don’t know how to use them. I saw this necklace by McCarthy and had an idea of how to use some with a strand of carnelian nuggets I recently acquired. The bright colors also appealed to me.


My original design, captured here in a quick picture so I could recreate it when I got to the construction stage, was quite heavy. I changed it, even though I thought it perfect, because I know from experience I won’t wear super heavy necklaces.  Here are some of the beads I had to let go.


I desperately tried to include at least one of those two yellow glass beads, but they were just so heavy.  I loved the two dotty discs by Andrew Thornton, and they weren’t heavy, but I had to remove as much as possible to get the colors and weight I needed, and I’d just as soon use those in a way that will show their texture better.


I love the bright blue seed beads between the carnelian as well as the white Mali wedding bead, although neither shows well in this picture.  The melon cut red dyed coral bead almost got cut, but I loved the bright red and the texture helped replace that cute little green plaid bicone in the previous photo.  I replaced my beloved yellow glass with a yellow clay bead to preserve the color without the weight.  I added a small blue paper bead for more texture; it was gifted to me, which makes it extra special.  This large bead design also allowed me to use one of the large, rustic clasps I am also drawn to.

I’ve sketched designs for about half a dozen other necklaces in recent days. I hope to post a couple more of those on this blog before I have to go back to work.