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Monday, January 30, 2012

Fiber Beads and Cinnabar Necklace

Last night I made this necklace using Carolyn Saxby's beads which were so thoughtfully given to me by Sophie Watkins.  I used Ingrid Mueller's two-sided pendant as a focal and a great bow shaped bead of red cinnabar that I've had for a very very long time.  It was too bright so I thought "What would Marina do?"  I painted it and then sealed it with Renaissance Wax.  The leather is a metallic copper that I recently purchased and just love.  I made the clasp myself out of copper wire and turquoise rounds.  Would love to hear what you think - especially about the part of the pendant being hung askew like it is.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

New Tools and New Jewelry

I recently decided to award myself with new tools.  With the help of the advice of my friend, Karen Totten, I decided to go with the Lundstrom RX and purchased a set during RioGrande's sale.  I really wanted to buy the Swanstrom because I buy USA made whenever possible, but because my right wrist has been giving me some tendon problems, I went for the ergonomic feature.  You see, heretofore, (love that word), I have made all my jewelry with the Walmart tools that I've had for years.  Sad, but true.  I don't know if the new tools will make the jewelry any better, but I will feel like a professional, I hope.

I also purchased a small pocket crimper.  The crimper I had was good, but it didn't work well on the smaller 1mm crimps so I either had to avoid them or just flatten them which was not my first choice.  So, with this handy dandy pocket crimper - problem solved.

Here is the first necklace I made with these tools and then earrings that I made using some rubber tubing that I've had but didn't have an idea what to do with it.  The white and purple beads were a gift.  I used pink artwire with these.  My goal was to make something springy, colorful and fun!  Did I do'ed it?

I also used my new tools on my Bead Soup project which I finished but can't show you yet.  The necklace and earrings are in the shop.

Also, I also want to let you all know about a Giveaway for some wonderful leather pieces.  Go to Barbara Bechtel's blog at to read all about it.  The leather is being given by  Check out both websites for more information.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bead Soup Exchange.......

I received my bead soup from Erin Grant in today's mail.  I was so excited when I opened it up.  It is wonderful!  Lovely blues, aquas, teals......and look at that lampwork seahorse pendant.  I especially like those four little sea shells....they are unusual.  She also sent a silver square toggle clasp.  Well, I am already bursting with ideas on what to do with it.  So many, fun, fun.

Erin also let me know that she has received her soup.  A quote from her....."...they are lovely.   I don't know what I'm going to make tho".....    haha     Isn't that just the whole point to the whole thing - to push beyond your comfort zone......Erin, I have no doubt that you will make something perfect with them.....

And now so the rest of you can see what she received....

Included are mother of pearl rings and rounds, a selection of seed beads, peanut seed beads, raku cubes, stone crescent moons, porcelain by Ingrid Mueller, fancy jasper, glass leaves, fire polished Czech beads, sugared bronze glass beads, a Czech pink picasso starburst oval, a silver bail, a silver butterfly and a silver butterfly toggle clasp.  The focal is by Kylie Parry.

I can't tell you how difficult it was for me to put this together for someone else.  If the purpose of this party is to create something with materials you might not be accustomed to in order to push yourself beyond your creative comfort zone, it has got to be just as challenging to pick out materials for someone else.....I don't know for sure, I will let you know after I have done the creating part with Erin's soup.

P.S.:  It is now 9:37 p.m. of the same day I received Erin's bead soup.  They so filled me with inspiration that I must say my necklace and a pair of matching earrings are finished!  Yep, picking out her beads was harder.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sophie Made My Day!

First, let me say that I have met some wonderful women since I went on-line with my jewelry.  Women that are far apart in distance but close by their ability to give to one another, even if it is just in the way of sending a kind word now and then, or an unexpected "Love this piece", etc.  I know that you all know of what I speak.

Earlier this week, I received a gift in the mail that absolutely made not only my day, but still has me riding high.  It was from Sophie, a jewelry designer that I recently met.  She lives in Canada and I live in the midwest United States, but she has managed to touch my heart as if she was in the same room.   In response to my creative slowdown that I have recently experienced, she arranged with Carolyn Saxby, who lives in England, yet another continent away, to send me some absolutely amazing fiber beads.  Carolyn is a mixed media textile artist that sells her wares through her etsy shop.

Well, I am still an attorney, and I can smell a conspiracy a mile away.  You see Carolyn included a gift card in which she forged Sophie's name.   Sophie and Carolyn conspired to inspire and I couldn't be more inspired by these fabulous beads.  They are just the kind of thing I love - handmade, unique and teal! 

Carolyn also included a really nice chunk of fabulously textured fiber as well.  I hope to have something beautiful to show you all very soon.

Sophie -- Thank You from the bottom of my heart.  Your gift and thoughtfulness really touched me and I do consider you my friend.  Carolyn, I love your art and I am so happy to have had your shop brought to my attention.  Thank you both so much.  I can assure you that there will be no prosecution on either the conspiracy or forgery.

I feel like Marina of Fancifuldevices.  She is always showing pictures of wonderful things people send her for her art.  Wow! Lucky me!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Porcelain Face Necklace with Lampwork Beads

Good Monday morning to you all.  Here are pictures of my latest necklace.  It was made using one of Ingrid's wonderful porcelain face pendants.  I have had this piece out for several weeks and it finally occurred to me that I had these lampwork beads.  They were made by my friend Deb Houde who lives in Overland Park, Kansas.  I think she makes beautiful lampwork beads and most of the lampwork beads that I use were made by her.  I think these beads look a lot like they could be porcelain or stoneware of some type but they are glass.

I finished it out on Greek Leather with Indonesian spun glass beads, hand carved bone beads and glass seed beads.  I hope you all like it.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Bead Soup Is In The Mail

I was finally able to put together bead soup that I am satisfied with.  I can't share photographs of the actual soup yet, but I can show you the package.  I don't want to spoil the surprise for Erin but as soon as she lets me know that she received the soup, I will post a picture of it. 

Now, I'm excited and can't wait to hear what Erin thinks of the soup.  Does it need rolls or crackers? or more salt and pepper?

Friday, January 20, 2012

New Bracelets

I just love making bracelets - I guess because I love wearing them.  I wear them more than any other type of jewelry with the exception of my wedding ring.

I found a shop on etsy a few months ago, Keystone Clay and Bead, owned by Kristin Baldschwiler.  She had a connector listed that I really liked but it was flat and I wanted to use it as a bracelet cuff.  She made one special just for me, along with several other pieces, and I am excited to debut a braclet made with her cuff.  I love the colors of it and I think the bracelet does it justice.  This is one of the pieces I have been struggling recently to finish and last night, I took another stab at it and it just came together.  I am anxious to also work with the other pieces I received from her.  She also generously included several gift pieces.  Thank you Kristin!

 I so enjoyed making the bangle with the clasp that I posted a few days ago that I set out to make another one.  I decided I wanted to make this one with smaller beads but still needed to stay with the handmade clay or some other beads that would fit on the 14 gauge wire that forms the skeleton of this bracelet.  I used a copper glaze heart from Karen Totten at Starry Road Studio as the focal.  I used two small red lampwork beads from Joyce O'Shay and four really small stoneware beads also by Karen.  I love the color palette of the green copper, brick red, and mustard tan.  I finished the ends with a variety of small copper beads. 

After I had the basic beads placed on the heavy gauge wire, I generously wrapped more copper wire between the beads on which I had strung small seed beads.  Remember the light and dark amber ones that I had left over from the Kristy Bowman ammonite blog bracelet - yep, I used those along with some copper seed beads.

I like this version, but the stoneware beads sort of fade into the copper wire wrapping.  This is one of those designs that is difficult to redo so I am leaving it like it is, but next time, I will know to use a tad larger beads.

Monday, January 16, 2012


I am no stranger to challenges.  I have had many during my lifetime.  Some I got through pretty well and some with not so much grace.  Anyway, I am thrilled to say that I was chosen for Lori Anderson's Fifth Bead Soup Party.  In the past she has allowed anyone to participate that wanted to, but it was such a huge success that it became a real job for her to manage.  So this time she limited the party to 200 people that were drawn randomly by our handy-dandy internet randomness machines.  How would you like 200 people showing up at your house for a party! 

I have been paired with Erin Grant.  Her etsy store is named CreativelyErin and I really look forward to getting to know her and to participate in the party.  For those of you who may not be familiar with Lori's bead soup party, two participants are paired to exchange a focal, some coordinating beads and a nice clasp.  The purpose of the exchange is to challenge yourself to use the components and beads that your partner sends you even though they may be something you wouldn't ordinarily stretch yourself creatively beyond bounds that you may be comfortable with.  When I think about all of my personal creative neurosis's (read that as plural) I will probably need to seek counseling before it is over, but at the same time I am sooooo looking foward to participating.  In any event, my sister Kathy is always ready, willing and able to tell me to snap out of it anytime I need her to, no matter what "it" may be.

In that regard, as you may know, Kristi Bowman makes beautiful copper components from metal clay.  I recently acquired a relatively large inventory of her goodies and plan to begin using them as soon as the ideas begin to come.  I love copper and if you are at all familiar with my jewelry know that I use a lot of copper wire and have used more than a few copper components in bracelets.  I am delighted with Kristi's work.  Earlier this month, she posted that she is having a blog hop with a reveal date of February 4  using a new bracelet component that she has designed.  She provided them with an ammonite design and also an urchin design.  I chose the ammonite and here is a picture of it.

In preparation for the Lori Anderson blog, and to participate in Kristi's blog, I challenged myself to use a little bag of beads that I received as a gift when I placed an etsy order for beads.  I am so sorry that I cannot remember who gave them to me and I wish I had taken a picture of them before I posted this (I'm learning as I go how to do an effective blog so bear with me).  But, since I want to wait until the reveal day I will tell you only that there were some little fire agates, some size 6 amber silver lined seed beads, some wild horse jasper coins, a glass heart, a tibetan eye agate and some little tiny matte black seed beads. 

Anyway you can check out Kristi's blog here or you can get to her blog in my blog list below and to the right.  You can also check out Lori Anderson's bead soup party by clicking the avatar below and to the right as well.  It should be great fun - and I hope to grow a bit as a jewelry designer - even if it is scary.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I have shared with a couple of you that I have been somewhat stiffled creatively the last week or so.  I have had lots of ideas and have made several starts, but haven't been able to get a lot finished to my satisfaction.  I may be breaking free of that as I have been able to finish a necklace that I am very pleased with.

I acquired this porcelain pendant from Ingrid Mueller some time ago.  I had just begun to take notice of the ephemera art that was getting popular and I thought her pendant looked like she had built a bezel into it - so I bought it.  I added a photograph of a vintage cupid from an etsy digital artist and covered it with resin.  Just about my favorite way to make jewelry is to wire beads onto wire so I did some of that and added some leather.  I am pleased with it.  It is romantic, features a beautiful handmade component and certainly won't be your run-of-the-mill Valentine's Day necklace. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Big Handed Woman Bangle Bracelet

I have big hands.  I mean big hands.  Women's gloves in a size large are tight on me.  Fortunately, they still look like women's hands, but they are large.  Did I say they are large.  Anyway, I have always loved bangle bracelets, especially the ones in silver and turquoise in the American Indian designs.  But, I have never been able to wear one because I could never get them over my hand or if I got it over my hand then it was too large on my wrist and looked like a hoola hoop on my arm.

Well, over the last few days I have been playing around with anything in my stash that even resembled a heart.  I came across this porcelain textured heart that I purchased from Ingrid Mueller.   I love the heart and when I spent a little time with it, I decided to try to put it and some other beads on a 14 gauge copper wire.  One thing led to another and I ended up with this bracelet.  What I love about it is that it has a clasp.  Even though it is very stiff and no doubt is a bangle style, I can still get it on without it being too large for my wrist.  I have now listed it in the Valentine's Day section of the shop.  I hope you guys like it.  It also includes other porcelain beads by Ingrid and a couple of lampwork beads.

I am already planning my next one.  I love to work with copper wire and this is a great way to get to do that.

Isn't that a gorgeous heart bead.  Ingrid, you are sooooo talented.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

More Goodies for Valentine's Day

The first necklace I am showing you was given to me by a client that I really enjoyed working with last year.  She told me I could do whatever I wanted to with it.  Well, when I began to think about Valentine's Day I remembered how feminine and romantic it looked and I just LOVED the cameo.  So, I took it apart last night, threw in some of my own goodies, and this is what I came up with.  I had enough parts to make earrings which will be given to the lucky woman that buys it.

The other necklaces, the silver pendant hearts and the mended heart pendant, are a reaction to some constructive criticism I recently received from one of my sisters.  She told me that although she loved my jewelry, most of it was too elaborate or artsy for her taste and she would like to see me make some simple pendant pieces, etc.  Her mother-in-law agreed with her.  So for those of you that prefer something a little more basic or simple, but still gorgeous, these are for you. 

So, that leads me to a question:  Please leave a comment and compare and contrast the more "artsy" jewelry with more "basic" jewelry.

Thank you for the necklace Lynn.  I hope you like what I've done with it.

This mended heart pendant is stoneware and was made by Marti Conrad.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Valentine's Day Is Coming.......

It occurred to me this morning just how soon Valentine's Day is approaching.  It seems as if we just finish one holiday and the next one is upon us.  It keeps things interesting and new, I guess.  I began readying my etsy shop for Valentine's Day this morning.  I have set up a special category just for the occasion and am listing items in that category at special Valentine's Day pricing and I am also offering free shipping on those items.  I have purchased a new Valentine's Day banner for my shop and for the blog and I really like them.   I get tired of looking at the same thing every day and I expect that all of you do to so I am going to try to keep things a bit interesting.

Here are a couple of new listings made just for Valentine's Day and a couple of older items.  Hope you enjoy them.

Focal is by Marti Conrad.

Focal is by Ingrid Mueller.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Dream Catcher Earrings - Outwest Lampwork

I recently received an order of lampwork disc beads from Outwest.  I have been playing around with them and last night made these earrings that I am calling Dream Catchers.  I was inspired by an ornament design that I saw this holiday season and once they were finished, they looked like Dream Catchers to me.  When I showed the finished earrings to my husband, he grimmaced and asked why I had the "hair" on them.  He was no more impressed when I explained to him that it is not "hair" it is "fiber" or if you are a literalist, the package identifies it as "fun fur."   Not that I consider his opinion to be the definitive decision on what I make or don't make, it has got me thinking.  So I am going to put it to you guys.  So, ....."hair or no hair?".....that is the question.  Please comment on your preference.

On a personal note, we saw two movies yesterday.  We can go months and months and there is nothing playing that we want to see, but right now, there are FIVE.  We saw Breaking Dawn, Part 1 and Mission Impossible.  They were both very good.  I still want to see We bought a Zoo, War Horse and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. 

 The theater we always go to has recently remodeled.  They now have recliners and they also now have self-serve drinks with 104 flavors.  I told the manager that I really liked the remodeling, but I thought they needed more flavors.  Also a funny thing happened yesterday when we were being seated for Breaking Dawn.  The theater was full and by the time we made our choice of what flavor of soda we wanted, there was only a sprinkling of single empty seats throughout the theater.  On the end of one row, there was an empty seat, a woman, a man, and an empty seat.  I asked the woman if they could scoot down one seat allowing us to use the two empty seats together.  She said "No" - not just once, but twice.  So my husband sat beside her husband on the 4th seat in the row and I sat by her on the end.  We began passing our popcorn and drink back and forth -- more than was necessary.  It only took a few minutes and soon she caved, the woman stood up and "told" me to scoot down.  I first thanked her for her kind offer, but declined telling her that we were comfortable with the way it was, she then said "please".  I could tell she was about to have a breakdown.  I have never in my life experienced such rudeness at the theater, but ended up having a really fun time with the situation.  We talked to management about it and they told us they couldn't make them move if they didn't want to, so we just handled it in our own "mature" way.  By the way, we were always sure to apologize to them verbally each time we passed.  We are nothing if not polite.  Fortunately, the movie hadn't yet started.  Are we bad or what?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Marti Conrad Is Having A Sale - Time To Stock Up On Her Beautiful Components

As everyone that is a regular visitor to my blog knows, Marti Conrad is one of my favorite component artists.  She primarily sculpts from stoneware and I have commented more than once on the skill with which she finishes her pieces.  As a jewelry designer that regularly uses handmade stoneware, porcelain or other clay components in their work knows, the consistency of the holes and professional finishing makes all the difference in the quality and beauty of a finished piece of jewelry.

Marti just announced a 20% sale in her shop that is scheduled to run through January 5, 2012.  You can get to her shop by clicking HERE to take advantage of this sale.  I can tell you, she doesn't have sales all that often so don't delay.

Here are just a few of my favorites:

I have listed two new items in my etsy store today.  Hope you enjoy looking at them.

The bracelet is another focal by Ingrid Mueller.  I love this one.  The horses look like ghosts emerging from the brown glaze.  I coupled it with paint brush jasper beads, rollo chain, and a silver saddle charm.

And I recently made a purchase from Outwest.  These lampwork disc beads are matte mustard, purple and blue.  I dangled them from purple leather lace and a variety of amethy, lapis lazuli, yellow jade, pink howlite, sesame jasper gemstones dangling from a piece of rollo chain.