Inspired by Reading Book Club: Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin


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The idea behind Allegory Gallery‘s Inspired by Reading Book Club is to read that month’s book and make something inspired by it.  This month, the book is Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin. I read this series years ago in college; it was fun to revisit it.  I liked it the second time around too.  The characters are real and generally sympathetic.  This book is told from the perspectives of various characters; my piece is based on the character Mary Ann Singleton. She’s a young woman from Ohio who goes to San Francisco on vacation and decides to stay.  She is looking for something else in life than the traditional path she was destined for in Cleveland.

I thought about the type of jewelry that was popular in the late 1970s when this book took place. There was a lot of minimalist gold and silver.  I remember the big names in stores I went to being Napier, Monet, and Trifari.  I remember wanting a Speidel ID bracelet with the passion of a 12 year old.  So those were the things rolling around in my head when I made this bracelet inspired by those things but made for today.

I used a Tim Holtz Idea-Ology word band as a bracelet bar.  The quote, “live the life you’ve imagined” is what Mary Ann was trying to do, as well as advice Mrs. Madrigal, landlady and sort of den mother to her tenants, might have imparted. I made the band part of the bracelet from gorgeous wobble beads by Heather Powers of Humblebeads.  I included two charms.  The heart is a nod to the Speidel ID bracelet of my youth that this was inspired by, and the vintage mouse charm is a reference to Mary Ann’s friend (and fellow tenant) Michael “Mouse” Tolliver.

Thanks to William and Andrew of Allegory Gallery for these great book club challenges!  This was a really fun challenge that took me back to the jewelry of my childhood. Have a look at what other participants were inspired to make on the Inspired by Reading Book Club Facebook page.

No Procrastination Necklace Remake


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I do not like remaking things.  If I make something and end up not liking it, the poor piece will languish perhaps forever.  Certainly for months or even years. So yesterday I made a necklace.  I liked parts of it – the pendant, the color combination.  But I did not like the overall effect.  Somehow the round put me off in the middle with the chips.  It seemed like an unbalanced texture or perhaps size mismatch.  Here that is.

I really love this bird by Heather Powers of Humblebeads.  She calls it Mod Geo in Terra Cotta. (Not a good picture, but I’m taking it apart anyway.)  I love turquoise with it which might not be a natural color choice.  But the composition of this necklace is just off.  I slept on it overnight, and I’m still not satisfied.  I decided to change it up right away because I don’t want it to languish.  Finished, it will be a great necklace for spring and summer.

I had a bag of mixed beads sitting on my bead table.  I had made a necklace I really liked with them that I gave away.  Here was my chance to have another version of that necklace. That necklace had been heavy on pink, so most of the pink beads were gone.  I added white, turquoise and some handmade natural clay beads from the shop fromNothing Earth & Stars Joshua V. Davis.

This design still didn’t quite satisfy me, although I liked it. Perhaps if I had made it longer, I would have left it. But the white chips were still nagging at me. I had really liked them with the bird. I went to redesign it again. I thought about discarding the turquoise colored dangle which would open up more design possibilities, but I really loved that pop of color.  I decided to use just the mother of pearl chip knotted on turquoise blue waxed linen to tie in that color. Of course I didn’t cut the linen long enough (will I never learn?!) so I added some chain at the back.  Now I have choice of lengths.

None of these pictures is great, but I have no patience to wait for better light. Makeover mission accomplished in less than 24 hours.  That’s the way to do it!


Family Jewels


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At a bead show last year, my sister’s girlfriend bought me a beautiful stamped glass pendant.  I made it into a necklace a few weeks ago, but I was waiting to “finish” it because I wanted the orange and yellow ends of the ribbon to show. I finally decided trying to do that was too fussy and to just leave it the way it is. Depending on how I want it to hang, tying the ends could allow a bit of those colors to show.

The lampwork bead above the pendant is from Trinket Foundry.  I have a tiny stash of those in different colors from one of their one-off projects. So special. I’ve used two and must hoard the rest for a while longer. The silk ribbon is hand painted from Quintess. Doesn’t this just make you believe spring is coming, whatever the weather does?

And a long, long time ago I got this lampwork cow bead for my sister from a now closed bead store in town. I made her a bracelet with it, but it was really too big/heavy for a bracelet, so I told her I’d make her a necklace.

When I gave it to her yesterday, she didn’t even remember the bead because I’d kept it captive so long. Maybe it took me this long because I finally found the perfect thing to make it into a necklace – Zola Elements chain. My sister had liked it when I showed it to her, so when the cow surfaced, I thought they were perfect together!

It’s nice and long, the way she likes.  I see the horns make it look more like a steer, but whatever.  This is jewelry making, not animal husbandry!

One more family related part of this post is the photo background for the cow necklace. My parents are having some work done at their house, and my dad dug this broken piece of tile out of the garbage because he knew it would be good for my jewelry photos.  What a great guy!  It really works; thanks, dad!


Allegory Gallery Design Challenge Reveal – Forest Journey


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Today is the reveal for the Forest Journey edition of the Allegory Gallery Design Challenge, and this time it’s a competition! Artist Andrew Thornton has put together yet another fabulous kit with one of his lovely handmade components. Of course I forgot to get a picture of the kit – grrr! – but almost everything I used came from the kits, so you’ll have a good idea of what it contained.

The first thing that struck me were these metal drops that were perfect for earrings, so I made some.

Then, looking at the variety of wonderful beads in this kit, I decided to use a mix of them together in a long necklace with the handmade pendant.

All of these beads are from the kit except a few Elaine Ray ceramic beads – the brown lentil above the pendant, three brown discs stacked together, the polka dot bead and the little brown cube.  I strung them all on the waxed linen from the kit. Other than that, I only added the leafy clasp. The colors in this necklace are wonderful, and the variety of shapes remind me of treasures collected during a walk in the forest.

This is not dissimilar to necklaces I’ve made in the past, but I do love this style that allows me to use a few of a lot of different styles of wonderful beads. This one is extra long which I think lends elegance.

To see what other participants made, visit the Allegory Design Challenge Facebook group.  Thanks once again to Andrew, William, Allegory Gallery and everyone who plays along and makes it so much fun to join in these design challenges.



African Bead Strand Necklace

Last year at the Madison Art Glass and Bead Show, I got several strands of beautiful African glass, including one very mixed, craggy strand.  I used it in a necklace with a clay pendant from Mali.

The pendant has three holes at the bottom, and I considered various things with that. Nothing felt quite right, so I am just leaving it alone. I love the length of this necklace and the fact that I was able to basically leave this strand of beads intact.

Funny Face


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I made a necklace sketch and went to the studio to get out the beads for it.  In the process of searching for one of the beads, I got inspired with materials for 4 other necklaces.  “Oh look, this will go with…”  When that happens, I just go with it. My attention span is better served by making whatever I have already found the materials for.

I had a Dana Swisher ceramic face bead sitting on my bead table, and when I got out a box of jasper and agate, I saw these big rounds that would go with it perfectly! I also got out some ovals I thought could complement the design.

I first put some of the smaller ovals at the front, but I wasn’t happy with that. I decided the big rounds looked best around the face.  I did put a few at the back near the beautiful bronze Saki Silver clasp.  I included a teal polymer clay swirly design bead by Staci Louise Smith for a nice pop of color.

I am in love with this necklace.  So much wonderful fun and beads that just get to be themselves.

Two New Necklaces


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I recently made two new necklaces.  I feel like as long as I have beads, I’ll never run out of ideas!  Thank you to all the wonderful bead artists who make gorgeous art and bead vendors who find and make treasures available!

I’ve become a big fan of Michelle Ann McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio.  I recently got the cutest pendant – a multi-color lollipop!

I used colors from the pendant to choose a variety of beads (a great way to use leftovers) to make the necklace.  I think it’s a really fun piece. It looks ready for the warm weather to come.

Then I made another necklace going in a completely different, more chunky direction.  I had this beautiful strand of blue agate faceted graduated rounds. Beautiful just as they came temporarily strung, so I didn’t want to add much.  I added some bronze spacers to the front and a hammered bronze clasp by Miss Fickle Media.

I love making jewelry!

Bead Soup Blog Party – Bead Hoarder’s Edition Reveal


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I always hoped I’d be able to take part in one of Lori Anderson’s Bead Soup Blog Parties, and this year I am! This year it is the Bead Hoarders Edition with the idea of counteracting the negativity in the world by sending someone else something we treasure.  Host Lori Anderson advised us to pick something we love and hoard and package it up with a note prior to knowing who our partner is.  That is what I did, but it wasn’t easy because I hoard everything bead related. My partner is Lorelei Euro. I love all her work and own several of her pieces. I learned a lot about art beads from her blog and shops, and I believe I have every one of her tutorials and the book she co-authored.  (No pressure!) She sent an amazing group of things!


The resin charm and copper wrapped key are from Miss Fickle Media, three (!) coils of WoolyWire, two packages of enameled beauties from Art Incendi, a beautiful donut from The Classic Bead, an owl pendant by Golem Studio and another gorgeous donut from Marsha Neal Studio. Wow!  I love everything.

It was not my intention to use most of what Lorelei sent in time for the hop, but I did!  So, on with the show.


This necklace uses the trio of Art Incendi hearts with beads from my stash on waxed linen with a macrame loop.  I included a few beads I’ve had for many years (we’re talking double digits) – the dark green irregular shaped beads with gold and the pumpkin shaped light green. I ended it with a painted polymer clay box clasp by Sherri Stokey that I’ve been hoarding for just the right piece.

Lorelei included so many lovely items, I decided to make a charm necklace. In keeping with the theme of this hop, I used some of my own favorite items.


Here is a close up of the charm part so you can see them better.

I used one of the enamel over brass charms from Art Incendi and the resin piece from Miss Fickle Media.  From my own stash, I wire wrapped some garnets (my first gemstone crush and still a favorite) and a fabulous Staci Louise Smith crystal and polymer drop. I hung all of them off of a verdigis metal triple ring, also from Staci Louise Smith.  I used a strand of every other way simple cut turquoise.  The simple cut is my favorite shape, even more so when the holes are drilled through every other bead top to bottom and every other bead side to side.

Lorelei is a big owl fan, and she generously sent me a beautiful owl pendant by Golem Studio. I often feel I “should” try new things and new designs.  But with this pendant, I went classic.  I just love a simple, knotted necklace.  Meditative and relaxing to make, easy to wear.

I used several different Czech glass beads, waxed linen and a sterling toggle clasp.

I told Lorelei that I was glad she had sent some donuts because I find those a little challenging.  I love the Marsha Neal green and turquoise donut she sent. I have a small Marsha Neal stash, and this will help me become more confident in using the donuts. I absolutely love the colors and the multiple textures.

I thought roman glass would be perfect with the donut, but I couldn’t quite get my shapes to work for me.  I did put a few pieces above the donut on wire to form a pendant, and I do love how they look! I tried a variety of other beads with the pendant, but nothing worked as well as the leftover turquoise from the charm necklace I also made for this hop! I added some suede, chain, one dyed malachite bead and a toggle clasp from Miss Fickle Media.

I used the enamel starfish by Art Incendi in a bracelet with some jasper and copper. I strung it on leather and added a wire wrapped stone and copper goddess charm.

I just couldn’t stop being inspired. The Miss Fickle Media key is such a unique statement piece, I knew I wouldn’t need much with it. Some very large ball chain I got at the hardware store came to mind as something that was also a bit different and could hold its own with the key!

I added a wire wrapped black tourmaline nugget with some irregular large holed glass beads on a large jump ring for a little color.

I like what some might consider unusual color combinations. I find them very exciting and energizing, so that’s what I’ve used here – red and chartreuse – with the donut from The Classic Bead.

Many pendants by Tracee Dock of The Classic Bead (yes, I have a stash) bring to mind the country cottage look – comfortable, pretty, soft.  I decided to take this one a different way!  I used a mix of vintage Czech glass beads (I love the whimsical nature of the dice), and metal.  I even put chartreuse seed beads in this peek-a-boo toggle bar.

Last but not least, Lorelei said she included WoolyWire to boost my creativity. I have to admit, I struggled a little with how to best use some of it. Then I decided to put a smoke-fired heart pendant by Kristie Roeder of Artisan Clay with some matte amazonite rounds.  I made a bail form for the pendant and wrapped some WoolyWire around it.  Perfect color!

I had so much fun creating for this hop and am grateful to my partner Lorelei Eurto.  Please visit her blog to see what I sent her and what she made.  Also, visit our host Lori Anderson’s blog to see what she made and access the links to the over 150 other people who have also taken part in this Bead Soup Blog Party Blog and Pinterest hop.  You can also click on the links below. Have fun; I will!

Lori Anderson :: Hostess

Claire Fabian

Jennifer Strehler

Rochelle Brisson

Annita Wilson

Melissa Trudinger

Loralee Kolton

Valerie Tilghman

Mischelle Andrade

Elizabeth Bunn

Marianna DeLuca Wehner

Johana Nunez

Jenny Kyrlach

Elizabeth Hodges

Lennis Carrier

Candida Castleberry

Mary Govaars

Sandi James

Arlene Dean

Kristina Eleniak

Nan Smith

Nadine Edris

Denise McCabe

Donna Marie Hanna

Audrey Belanger

Nicole Rennell

Robin Reed

Gail Zwang

Terry Jeanette Carter

Donna Hoblit

Ann Schroeder – You are here!

Klaudete Koon

Veralynne Malone

Lorelei Eurto – This is my partner!

Ann  Sherwood

Jackie Locantore

Mowse Doyle

Dorit Woldenga

Cheri Reed

Dolores Raml

Palak Udeshi

Laurie Vyselaar

Heather Canepa

Dorothy Supri

Sharyl King

Elaine Robitaille

Heather Marston

Terry Matuszyk

Andra Weber

D’Arsie Manzella

Sooz Anzalone

Karin King

Leona Smith

Tania Spivey

Jasvanti Patel

Danielle Kelley

Shai Williams

Jacqueline Marchant

Erin Kenny

Becky Pancake

Kelly Schermerhorn

Renetha Stanziano

Rana Wilson

Janine Lucas

Kelly Hosford Patterson

Andrea Glick

Joanne Bell

Sarah Strover

Sam Waghorn

Helena Hatten

Jackie Ryan

Bridget Torres

Inge von Roos

Krafty Max

Iveth Caruso

Rebecca Ednie

Amy Severino

Sandra Wollberg

Blanca Medina

Dyanne Everett-Cantrell

Samantha Wescott

Christine Stonefield

Silke Groeber

Alenka Obid

Lori Bowring Michaud

April Grinaway

Yvette Goodridge

Kathy Lindemer

Kathleen A Breeding

Joyce Becker

Pam Farren

Divya N

Sherri Stokey

Terri DelSignore

Kate Gonska

Jean Wells

CJ Bauschka

Bonnie Coursolle

Barb Fernald

Noemí Baena

Dana Phillips

Karen Firnberg

Michelle  Escano Caballero

Natalie Ettinger

Valerie Norton

Rachel Malli

Denise Milward

Bobbie Rafferty

Vonna Maslanka

Elisabeth Auld

Hannah Rosner

Carla Fry

Terri Gauthier

Teresa Fischer

Tanya Goodwin

Barbara Judy

Leanne Loftus

Carrie Stalcup

Lori Schneider

Joelyn Bissing

Kate Dufour

Gail Poveda

Katie Nielsen-Nunez

Pam DeBoer

Dee Elgie

Judy Jacobs

Elisabeth Matouschek

Shawn Elkins

Sally Russick

Susan McClelland

Tracy Stillman

Robin Lynne Showstack

Marianne Baxter

Maria Rosa Sharrow

Therese Frank

Sandi Volpe

Leslie Scholz

Joan Williams

Laura Guenther

Liz Engriser


Bev Breisinger

Radel Vela

Kim Dworak

Carol Dillman

Alice Craddick

Janeen Burlingame

Leah Curtis

Ann Marie Hodrick

Donna Millard

Hajer Waheed Khalil

Lucy Clasen

Michelle McCarthy

Maria Rios

Babette Cox

Natalie Davidson

Brenda Ballou

Christina Hickman

Heather Gunther


Darn Good Beads Kit #2


I received my second Darn Good Beads kit from Darn Good Yarn and remain pleased.  This kit is called Love Encompasses.  It is actually the February kit, although I didn’t get it made until March.  The insert says it was “designed with the idea that love doesn’t have one size and encompasses us all.” What a lovely sentiment. There are many different kinds of love in the world, and we can all partake. The absolute best kind of love is to love yourself. I always think the more you love yourself, the more energy and love you have to put out into the world.

Enough philosophical waxing!  On to the beads.  Here is the kit.

It looks simple, but it makes such a pretty bracelet.  And again, like the first kit, there was enough effort involved to feel like a project.  It consists of some leather, a metal slider bead and three of the most gorgeous Czech glass beads I’ve ever seen.  I know I’ll be searching for more of these.

Neither of these pictures shows the beads as pretty as they are.  They are pink/purple with real gold and faceted to be just sparkly enough.  The kit has materials for two bracelets, so one can share or just layer them.  The slider design and amount of leather means these can be made to fit any size wrist.

I can’t wait to see my next kit!