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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Bead Hoarders Blog Hop

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Bead Hoarders Blog Hop hosted by the always gracious and wonderfully talented Lori Anderson of Pretty Things.  I did not participate in this last year (and almost didn't make it this year, lol), but am very happy to be a part of it today :) .  The premise of this hop is to gather those beads that you've been holding on to for a while - in some cases, years - and finally create something with them.  In other words, it's a swift kick in the butt the inspiration to design something using materials that you have on hand (and have had sitting around for a long time...).  After we share our creations today, we commence "hopping" and hope that you will join us (the list of participants is posted on Lori's blog (link above and below).  You will find some beautiful "pretties" and maybe some new favorite artisans as well!

First, the photo above shows my selected hoard of beads.  The green and white artisan lampwork beads I'm fairly certain are from Lori Robbins which means I've had them since 2007 (eek...).  I purchased the sparkly deep green artisan lampwork ones from DerondaDesigns not quite so long ago... 2008 (I know...).

Here is the bracelet I finally designed with these stunning lampwork beauties, combined with green aventurine, Swarovski pearls and crystals, and sterling silver rounds, findings, and clasp.

I know I'll be enjoying this special bracelet throughout the holidays this season and am so glad I finally got this kick inspiration to use these gorgeous beads!

Please join me in hopping through Lori's blog to see her incredible pretties and on to the other talented artisans in the list posted there - grab a cup of joe, cocoa, or if it's a little later and you're feeling so inclined.... - and settle in to see some beautiful jewelry and post some comments :)  Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Octoberfest Blogfest 2014

Today is reveal day for the third annual Octoberfest Blogfest hosted by Toltec Jewels of Jewel School Friends.  While I'm a little late to the party today in posting ( if you know me, insert "chuckle" here), I am very excited to be a part of this hop, as autumn is hands down my favorite season.  The challenge was to find inspiration in and share creations from fall.  So, with my warm mug of cider at hand, I proceed.

Inspiration is never difficult this time of year, but my muse was especially delighted by a wonderful trip we took "Up North" a few weeks ago, where the trees, lakes, and vineyards were robed in their autumnal beauty.

When we returned, it didn't take me too long to find these gorgeous artisan lampwork beads, green with highlights of leafy brown, burnt orange, reds, to be the focals of this necklace and earring set.  The necklace also features carnelian, fancy jasper, and rainbow jasper nuggets with Swarovski crystals. Welcome fall! So happy to see you again!

Octoberfest Blog Hop 2014

Octoberfest Blogfest 2014

Please "hop" on over to our hostess, Toltec Jewels where you will find the list of all the Blogfest participants - so much awesome autumn inspiration and creations to discover! Happy hopping!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Catching Up

May?  And now, it's almost September?  Really??  Yep.  That's what happens when this happens.

Add a lot of
, ~ a little and, unfortunately, a fair dose of
and wow, yep, it IS almost September!  I'm getting healthy and ready for fall - hope you are, too!  It will be a new season in many ways!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Welcome to Reveal Day!

Yes, it is finally "Reveal Day" for the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party - which means that today, almost 500 artisan bloggers around the WORLD will be showing you for the first time and telling you about what they created with the soups of beads received from their partners...including me and my awesome partner, Susan Walls of Susan's Art Circus.

First, a reminder of the incredible soup that Susan sent me - I had sooo much to "cook" with and had such a great time!

Filled with mother of pearl, shells, shades of blues and greens, sea charms, and a  beautiful Tribal silver starfish focal, this treasure box was a perfect match for my ocean "spirit" - and the timing was great as we were due to spend a week on the Gulf coast which was great for feeding my muse!

My first piece was a necklace to feature two of the focals - a mother of pearl piece and the silver starfish - and also use one of the clasps from the soup.  I added a "fun" silver turtle to the focal and then used the blue and green crackle glass beads along with more mother of pearl rounds, plus blue chalcedony, tropic jade, and rainbow jasper, all wired with sterling silver.

"Beach Dreams" Necklace


Of course, then it was natural for the "fun" turtle to get some "friends." 

I LOVE this set sooo much and have already worn it many times - it is definitely a keeper for me :)

With such a wonderful soup collection, my muse kept going but this time I moved to a different color inspiration while still following the ocean/beach theme.

"Sand Dunes" Set

Finally, I used the beautiful turquoise nuggets provided along with chips of amethyst, quartz,  and turquoise in a memory wrap bracelet with whimsical sea charms from the soup.

"Beach Wrap" Bracelet

I still have leftover soup, and in this case "leftovers" are great!  So, I'm sure I'll be adding to the "Beach Collection" in the near future.  It has been such fun getting to know a new super-talented friend, and I can't wait to see what Susan has created with the soup I sent her.  Be sure to "hop" over to Susan's Art Circus and see for yourself.  And then, check out all the other incredible creations and blogs today and this weekend - you can get the complete list from our fearless leader Lori Anderson at Pretty Things.  Have fun hopping!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Friday, May 2, 2014

Extra! Extra!

As in an "extra" week until the Bead Soup Blog Party reveal - Lori, our fearless (and I mean, fearless, bless her heart) leader, is facing extremely challenging health issues (please keep her in your thoughts and prayers) and has asked that we move the reveal date back one week.  So, if you stop by here tomorrow you won't see the incredible necklace, bracelet, and earrings that I can't wait to show you....

But since I now have an extra week....when you stop by NEXT Saturday, May 10th, you might possibly see that awesome necklace, bracelet, pair of earrings PLUS even more great items since the stash I received from my super soup partner is overflowing, and my creative juices have even more time to play! :)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Feature: Susan's Charming Trinkets

I am so pleased today to finally feature my Bead Soup Blog Party partner, Susan Walls of Susan's Charming Trinkets.  Susan and her art are all about creativity and fun, and I am having such fun getting to know her as we participate in this year's soup exchange.  I hope you'll get to know her a little bit more here and take the time to visit some of her sites. Welcome, Susan!

Explain the story behind your store or trade name.
Let’s see…to be honest I’m not entirely sure how I came up with that name. My business started for me back in 1996 (or before) as Hardwear by Susan. I was into everything creative and focused on nothing. It was (and still is sometimes) pure artistic schizophrenia. The original name was a play on words as my husband is a software computer guy…Hardwear, software…most days that’s an inside joke. As I started to hone in on jewelry as my focus, and themed charm jewelry, Charming Trinkets was uttered one day and I thought it sounded right. I’ve been that ever since…but am having a branding identity crisis yet again and I’m seriously thinking of changing it to Susan’s Art Circus. (my current web and blog name) Just the word circus explains my creative process, my home life, and so many other things!
2.     Explain how and why, if applicable, your work has changed in the last 5 years.
Change has happened gradually with the opening of ideas and really concentrating on what I love to do and shedding the things I don’t like so much. I’ve zeroed in much better on running with my intuition and gut rather than overthinking everything. (not everyday but more days that not) That translates into jewelry pieces with more of a mixed media flare, more varied mix of materials and themes, and much more of my sense of humor. I don’t worry so much that the general public will or will not like it. I just go with it…
3.     What and/or who influences your work?  OR  What and/or who motivates you in your work?  How do you find your muse?
My family is perhaps my best inspiration on a daily basis. We hang out together a lot and share many humorous stories, jokes, or situations. There always seems to be laughter in my house. Aside from that I love all kinds of people. Part of my career was spent in the restaurant business dealing with hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Faces show up constantly.  I work all the time so motivation comes in waves. Sometimes it’s the pressure of an upcoming show, other times the thought process of an idea. And the days when motivation seems to be lacking? Well, that I can normally fix with a cup of strong coffee and some studio clean up!
4.     What do you enjoy most about your work?
Two things: the freedom of being able to work for yourself and the control that comes with that. It’s very freeing after many years of working for someone else to be able to figure it out for yourself. It’s also a blessing (and some days a curse) to be able to figure out your own destiny and work your passion.
5.    What is your favorite piece in your shop right now?  Why?

I hate to admit my shop is totally empty currently. I am headed into my first show of the season and everything is going with me!* But if I had to pick something off the table it would be a bracelet filled with images from my own mixed media painting. It’s a fairly new technique I’ve been creating and allows me to take photos or fragments of a painting or larger work and turn it into a wearable piece of jewelry.
*Susan completed this interview over a month ago, but I'm just now posting it (see earlier post "Excuses, Excuses, Excuses"). ;)
You can find Susan and her work at the following sites - be sure to stop by!  (my jewelry supply shop)  (my old blog but has lots of stuff still there)

"Stay tuned" as Susan and I (and almost 500 other "beader-bloggers") participate in the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party next Saturday, May 8th - stop by here to see the creations I make from Susan's wonderful soup and start hopping to Susan's blog to see what she created with my soup...and on to the other talented designers!

"Friday Feature," is a highlight available to artisans/bloggers who follow this blog - just become a "GFC" (Google Friend Connect - in the right hand column) and I'll forward you the information.  If you know of someone who might like to be featured, let them know about this opportunity!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

Awol, I know...and when I've been supposed to be blogging about the amazing Bead Soup Blog Party exchange that I'm participating in (our big "reveal" of creations is coming NEXT Saturday, May 3rd).  If it matters, I do have some good excuses (a couple of unexpected hospital stays, a much needed vacation), some reasonable excuses (extra Mimi time with the kiddos, some final celebrations with soccer girl as she approaches graduation, a calendar full of graduation and wedding preparations), and yes, those excuses that just don't hold water (procrastination, "oh, I've put it off for so long so where do I begin now").  But, I'm here now so here we go...

First, let me say I am thrilled to be paired with the multi-talented Susan M. Walls of  Susan’sCharming Trinkets.  Just a reminder, with the BSBP, each partner sends a "soup" of beads which must contain at least one focal and one clasp and a variety of other beads. As the "cook," our guidelines are that the design(s) must use the provided focal and clasp.  I was wonderfully surprised and so excited to receive the following soup from Susan - who apparently miraculously tapped into my love of all things "ocean" :)

As soon as I opened the package, I immediately knew that Susan had a great whimsical character and sense of fun that I would love. :) 

 Each package was wrapped carefully with a touch of beautiful color.

I felt like Susan was right there with me as I opened her package :)

And in a way, she was  :)
And look, such a gorgeous soup, I have to work with!!

You'll learn more about Susan when I feature her and her work here on Friday.  As for me,  I better get working on this soup!!

Friday, March 21, 2014

It's Here!!!!

Yay!! My soup has arrived, and I am SOOOO excited! It is just what the doctor ordered :)  First, excuses for being AWOL....well, there you go.  No, seriously, a repeat bout with a nasty infection landed me in the hospital for a few days - and said infection really beats the energy out of me as well (nice stuff, eh?) so yes, it actually took this package to "kick" me back here ;)

Back in January, I posted an announcement about the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party, hosted by the most-incredible, super-awesome, unbelievably-talented Lori Anderson (all of those superlative adjectives mean you really must take some time to visit her blog, her website, and show her some love).  After only ONE day of sign-ups this year, we still have almost 500 participants WORLD-WIDE!  This is my second year so I still consider myself a "newbie."

As a "newbie," I was a little surprised but VERY thrilled to be matched up with my soup partner, Susan M. Walls of Charming Trinkets, who is participating in the soup for the first time (but as you can/will see has creativity and experience that is so inspiring).  The "rules" of the soup are that we "make" a bead "soup" for each other which must contain at least one focal and one clasp in addition to whatever else we would like to add to the "recipe."  Once each "cook" receives the soup, we have until May 3rd to design and create at least one piece featuring the focal and/or clasp (but more pieces can be made) by adding to the "recipe" as needed.  On May 3rd, ALL soupers will post their creations on their blogs AND on the 8th BSBP Pinterest Board.  AND a wonderful blog hop begins as we all start jumping around to see what we've created by visiting as many blogs as we can.

Last week, before I was sidelined, I carefully mixed my soup for Susan and packed it all for her, ready to head for sunny southern California (someone might be trying to tell me something as my soup partner last year, Mandi E., of Craft-o-licious, is also from southern California!). :)

Here's a sneak peek of what I sent - the "big reveal" of the soups will be next week as both Susan & I have now received our packages.

And NOW, it's here - my soup from Susan arrived today! is SOOOOO over-the-stovetop,  perfectly terrific!  I'm holding off on sharing it with you until next week - and be sure to check in next Friday when I'll have a special feature on Susan and her shop!  But, for now, enjoy what I did as I opened the package and found such joy I'm learning, Susan's trademark, "FUN!" inside!! :)

"FUN!" indeed!  See you next week! ;)