Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A "love note" from the birds!

My mom had a huge sunflower plant come up in her garden this year. They were planted by a neighbor last year, and they are popping up all over the neighborhood this year. This plant has produce lots of blooms, and lots of seeds. The goldfinches have been going to town on the seed heads. They are really active....eating and singing.
They left my mom a love note, of sorts.....
 
it's a heart!!
What little darlings!!

Here's  photo from 2 years ago, of goldfinches on our feeder - they sure like to eat!


Friday, July 01, 2016

Happy 4th of July (2016)

I don't usually make a big deal about the 4th of July. I mean, not as far as it concerns jewelry. We go to family picnics, enjoy fireworks, do all the traditional stuff. But I don't go to great lengths to make or wear patriotic jewelry.
But that all change a bit last week. I was looking through my etsy history, trying to locate a shop I'd purchased from before. I didn't find them, but stumbled into Porkshopshow again. He has the funnest, craziest stuff - I love it. They have images adhered to wood, and then laser cut. So, I couldn't help myself - I bought some. True confession here - I still have the stuff I purchased from them years ago!

Anyway, let's not dwell on the past.

I bought a couple different items, but I was drawn to the vintage patriotic collection of images. Here's what I made, in time for this weekend!!

First up - I went super simple. I wrapped the wooden "tile" in a piece of Vintaj filigree, and strung it on a piece of recycled silk ribbon.
 
 Next - same filigree wrapping, but I made some red & blue wire wrapped links with Chinese crystal (nothing's more patriotic than making red, white and blue jewelry with Chinese beads!! lol) and some vintage Lucite red beads, brass bead caps and spacers.
I plan to let my mother choose one of these 2 necklaces to wear to a picnic on Saturday, if she wants to.
 
 Lastly - I liked the blue and yellow color palette of this tile. Same filigree wrap as first 2, and a simple wire wrap link with yellow Czech glass flower as an accent. I plan to wear this one myself!
 
 In the meantime, I had also ordered some supplied from Craft Fantastic. The teardrop drop kit (bezel and glass) arrived this week too. So, I picked out the blue and yellow image, and made links, to match the necklace. These can be worn anytime, since there is nothing about them that's patriotic.
 
Have a happy and safe 4th of July celebration!!
 

Monday, May 02, 2016

Versatile Sea Glass - it's not just for jewelry!!

A while ago, the folks at Znetshows put out the call: show the versatility of our cultured sea glass!
 
While cultured sea glass beads are great for making jewelry (of course!), especially beachy, dreamy jewelry, they can do so much more. So the design team "brainstormed" ideas, and then we were given beads to put our money were our mouths are. As you will see, cultured sea glass can sure do a lot.
My ideas were to do a wreath, or table ware/ serve ware, or other household items.
 
For my wreath, I chose cultured sea glass beads in the Olive color. I wanted an earthy green that could have a Christmas feel, but that could also work at other times of the year.
My Woodland wreath on my red front door looks "holiday-ready", but it will just look like a natural woodsy wreath when I move it to my back door for the spring.
I started with a vine wreath, and wired the mesh ribbon to it, creating spaces for the "flowers". I created the "flowers" with the sea glass, and some wooden beads from my stash. Overall I'm happy with it. I am toying with the idea of adding a mesh bow, but haven't figured out how or where to do that.
 
 
Znetshows beads used for the wreath:
 


 
 

 
 
My next idea was to wire some cultured sea glass beads to some wood salad servers. I thought it would be easy to locate wooden spoons in the dollar store. But the only thing the dollar store had was unattractive plastic! (the dollar store ain't what it used to be) I finally located these bamboo utensils at Ross (also at Marshall's). I was relieved, because I had already requested the beads, and knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do.
I wired the beads to the ends of the utensils, to make a flower that looks like a poinsettia, one in red and one in olive green, to use at Christmas time. I used brown wooden beads in the center.
My new Salad Set looks great with my melamine bowl!
 
 
Here 's a closer look at the flowers. The utensils came in a set of 5, so I can make 3 more beaded utensils in the future!

 
Znetshows beads used for salad set:
 
 


While I was waiting for my olive green and red beads to arrive, I got started with some of the beads I received previously from Znetshows.
I found this little jar at the dollar store (while I was there looking for the salad set). It is the perfect size for Q-tips or cotton balls, or anything small. It also could be made into a candle!

These cultured sea glass beads are light aqua "coke bottle" and periwinkle that changes color. It looks more light blue in natural day light, and more lavender in warm incandescent light.
I think it will look nice in my pink tile bathroom, whatever the light source may be!

I wrapped annealed steel wire around the top of the jar, under the lip for the lid. Then, in a bird-nesty style, I made loops and twists, adding beads as I went around.
A different angle....
And another angle.....
 
Znetshows beads used for Vanity Jar:
 
P28-B88 - Cultured Sea Glass center-drilled bottle lip-style Pendants center drilled 25x13mm 88 - Light Aqua `Coke` bottle Seafoam 
S38-B39 - Cultured Sea Glass nugget Beads 10-15mm 39-Periwinkle Changes -periwinkle blue color (7-pc-str)      


Maybe you have other ideas to make non-jewelry items with beads - do tell!


Friday, April 29, 2016

Message On An Earring

I'm humming the song "Message in a bottle, yea"...

I got a request to make "message earrings". It's not really my thing. I make what the muse tells me to make. Most of the time. Sometimes, though, I set out to create something I have in mind. So, trying to create message earrings, the first pair I made was "Oui and Non". I love these charms, and have made earring with just the charms (I don't even need the muse's help to make those!). But I thought it might be cool to also incorporate red (for stop) and green (for go). So, I put some small vintage German glass beads in between some Vintaj bead caps at the top of the charms. Just a little of the bead colors peek out from under the bead caps.

The other pair of earrings are not even message earrings! That was a fail, as far as the mission goes, but I like the way they turned out anyway. I thought about of somehow adding words to the robin's egg colored wooden beads, but decided to stop. I like them as is.  The beads hanging from the birds are opalescent blue Czech glass. So, no message, but I've actually named them "Wing It!".

After not succeeding with making earrings with an actual message, I looked through my brass blanks, and decided to stamp something in these Arte Metal round discs (from Vintaj). One pair say "SOAR", the other pair says "FLY AWAY". I stamped the letters a bit crooked and imperfect on purpose.
Then, of course, I needed to use some Vintaj patina so the message could actually be seen. The patinas dry very quickly, and it left a mess all around the letters. So, I decided to smear the color all over, in a thin layer. Then I used a sanding block to remove a little, until I like how it looked.
I dangled little bees in front of "FLY AWAY", and little birds in front of "SOAR". The birds and bees are either Vintaj, or Trinity Brass (which has morphed into Creative Soul Supply).

Either of these could make a nice graduation gift - encouraging the grad to spread her wings and soar!
 
Thanks for stopping by my blog. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Spring inspired necklaces


I was sorting through some focals recently, and a few of them made their way to the desk. This pendant is from beadfreaky on etsy. I hate to admit how long I've had these (a very long time). The Red Creek Jasper beads are perfect for this pendant. Vintaj bead caps and chain, of course.
 
 I bought a couple of these vintage glass hearts at The Mr Venus Oddity Shop on etsy. I sold the first necklace I made, so I thought it was time to make another one. The blue beads in the necklace are vintage German beads from Fire Mountain. More Vintaj bead caps, jump rings and chain. The piece of filigree attached to the heart is from Ornamentea.
 
Another cute pendant from beadfreaky. Etched agate beads (from Beadfest, years ago) and Vintaj bead caps and chain, and the little connector too. I have no idea where the off-white (stone/rock of some sort) beads are from, maybe some old Bead Soup ingredients?
 
Yet another beadfreaky pendant! Such a cute little bird, in a pretty shade of pale lavender. The purple beads are jade (maybe?) Honestly, most of my bead stash is so old, I can't remember much about them. Maybe I knew what they were when I bought them, but now I'm just not sure. Vintaj bead caps and chain, as usual.
 
This fabulous pendant is from Humblebeads. I love the way the color is varied, from peach to pinkish peach. I wanted to hang a charm in front, but didn't want to cover it up, so the little bee seemed like the right thing. The ceramic square beads are from Joann's (Blue Moon) and matched pretty well. The round bead is a beaded bead from Walmart! Vintaj butterfly, chain, bead caps, etc.
 
Last but not least, another beadfreaky pendant. Yummy blues and aquas on this butterfly. I looked through my stash of tiny Chinese crystals (from Beadfest, various vendors) and located these. Since they are all very small (3-4mm), I decided to make color blocked connectors. This necklace is ready for summer!
 
That's it for now. Thank you for stopping by to see my blog!

Friday, April 15, 2016

How lucky can one girl be.....

O.M.G. I am over the moon about this....

My neighbor casually mentioned he had printer's trays (dozens of them) and did I want any? I said probably not, but I have always wanted a printer's cabinet. To my surprise, he said he has TWO!! And did I want them?? I said *YES* but I only had room for one of them. I was sure I knew someone who'd take the other one (actually, I know 4 people that would like it!). I am so excited to get this over to my house, so I can clean it up and start using it. My beads will be soooo happy to have such a nice home!

This is currently in my neighbor's basement, but will be coming to my house this weekend!!!!!!! Pinch me!

Earrings, all with vintage appeal

Some recent earrings for your viewing pleasure!

I l.o.v.e. the faux opal connectors on the first pair! The green leaves are vintage supply and Czech flowers and Vintaj bead caps. The purple pair are Czech table cut flowers and vintage rhinestone dangles. I did not notice when I snapped the photo that they are laying on their sides. They have purple rhinestone navettes.
 
 More vintage yumminess! More vintage leaves in black. More rhinestone connectors. Some rhinestone rondelles with brass beads. And green druk beads with Vintaj beads caps.
 
 These 2 pair have the same Czech table cut flowers. The shorter pair also have vintage German glass beads from Fire Mountain. The longer pair have a vintage green rhinestone connector and some crystal beads.
 
I actually forced myself to put all these in the shop. Several have sold already, so, there's that. I know I'm supposed to be happy when I sell things, but I really liked all of these. I hope their new owners will love them too.

Thanks for stopping by!!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

This N That

I started this post a while ago, but never published it!

These earrings are made with Humblebeads bee charms, some teensy Vintaj Arte Metal leaves, and some fall-inspired Swarovski bicones. The charms have a bee/ honeycomb design on 1 side, and a flower on the other, so, no matter how these hang, they look good (comin' and goin').
 
Lots of cool vintage finds in this pair of earrings. The leaves are vintage glass from The Mr Venus Oddity Shop on etsy. The rhinestone connectors are also vintage stock from StDymphnaSupplies on etsy. Little Czech flowers with Vintaj bead caps to finish them off.
 
This is a second making of this necklace. My first one was a success (in black and white and grey), and I have worn it many times. My idea/concept is a necklace made from the "treasures" you might find in child's pocket - rocks, sticks, feathers, etc.
The "treasures" used are: My enameled bead, key charms, a feather charm, a dagger from Scorched Earth, a strawberry "quartz" bead, a beaded bead, and pink dyed Howlite(?). Vintaj chain and spacer beads.
 
A closer look. The feather with the rhinestone cup chain was actually from a disassembled pair of earrings.
 
Jumping back to earrings...these are all Czech glass, Swarovski bicones and Vintaj (BTW, ear wires are not Vintaj). The leaf beads are opalescent and glow when light hits them.
 
Thanks for reading my blog!!
 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Reusing African beads, for a good cause.

My friend Sheryl came into these African beads. Knowing her love for beads, they were given to her by a friend, and were from the collection of that friend's sister.
Sheryl had the idea to create a necklace for her friend with the beads, as a remembrance of her sister. There were 2 large strands of beads, so Sheryl wanted me to come up with several designs. The remainder of the necklaces would be used for fund raising for "Dining For Women".

So I started to put together some necklaces. She wanted fairly simple necklaces. The necklace second from the left is my favorite, and I was asked to keep it for myself - I gladly accepted.
 
 This necklace is convertible - it can be worn as a necklace, or, with the chain removed, a bracelet.
 
 After I showed the above group to Sheryl, she had the idea about turning these beads into the fund raising, by making as many necklaces as possible (for Dining For Women, as mentioned above). So I explored more designs, keeping the bead usage per necklace low, to stretch our beads!
 
 I gave those necklaces to Sheryl, and she was going to let her friend chose one to keep. The unknown detail to me is that her friend is not able to use a clasp well, and could not manage to get any of these on! OK, no problem! These last two necklace are easy to wear. The necklace on the left is on a long chain that will slip over her head. The other necklace has a magnetic clasp. The smaller brass "bead" is the clasp! Simply pull apart, put the chain around your neck, and then put the 2 sides of the clasps near each other and they'll snap together!

Since our last meeting, Sheryl's friend has given her MORE African beads to make up necklaces for Dining For Women. She also had received some feedback from others about possibly using cord or leather instead of brass chain. I will look into that.
I'll be making these necklaces, in various beads, colors, designs for some time to come!
So many beads, so little time!!!

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Viking Knit!

 Years ago, I met a woman at the Craftsy meet-up who said she'd teach me Viking Knit. But, she and her husband moved before we got the chance to get together. Flash forward to 2016, and a friend from Bucks County Bead Society (another Cynthia) knows how to do Viking Knit, and she showed me. It's really much less difficult than the end product looks. And I am sure there are techniques and nuances that make the end result more uniform and perfect. But heck, I'm just happy to have done this!
The front part of the necklace is the Viking Knit section, finished with cones on the ends. I added a mother-of-pearl flower button and bead on 1 side, and a stack of mother-of-pearl beads on the other. Vintaj rolo chain at the back of the necklace.
 
 The pendant is a vintage mother-of-pearl buckle, with a Vintaj butterfly dangling in front.
 
There are "imperfections" in the Viking Knit I made, but who could tell? If I'm going to do more Viking knit, I'll need to get my own a draw plate, to pull the knit through.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, February 29, 2016

More Mahjong inspiration

 
After I finished making Sharon's custom necklace (see previous post), I was still feeling the inspiration to make more!

I found some similar beaded beads at.....Walmart, of all places! A new Walmart just opened near me, and I happened upon a little bag of mixed beaded beads, much to my delight.

So, here we have 2 odd "Indonesian" beads, some faceted Czech beads, and more of the love knot connectors that I'm currently smitten with making. Vintaj chain, bead caps, clasp, filigree.

 
 Here's a close up of the beads - they appear to be made by pushing beads into clay or epoxy.
 
Below is another Mahjong necklace, not inspired by the previous one. While circling the bead dept at AC Moore, these Czech beads caught my eye. They are like slag glass - with a mix of yellow, orange, brown and bits of aqua. And they were on clearance!! I thought they'd look great with some of my Mahjong tiles, and they do! Along with the filigree wrap around the tile, I used a little piece of filigree, and one link that's made completely of brass beads, just to mix things up. This necklace is going to a good home on March 6th. I am donating it to "Dining For Women", for a charity raffle. The money will go towards helping impoverished women around the world gain skills and a means to support themselves. I hope it will bring some money in, for a worthy cause.

And lastly, a colorful bird tile. I had a made a similar necklace a while back with these flower beads, but I expanded the color palette in this necklace. I have a stash of Czech glass table-cut flowers in a variety of colors, and just started laying them out until I was happy with the arrangement! I added the filigree leaf, since the bird is sitting on a branch with leaves.

Another angle of the bird tile. This tile is a bit brighter in color than the other two. I'd guess it's not quite as old.
 
 If you're getting sick (and tired) of Mahjong necklaces, not to worry. My next post will show my first ever attempt at Viking knit!!
Thanks for visiting my blog.
 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Another Custom Mahjong Necklace

Time sure flies! I have the best intentions of writing posts for my blog, but somehow never get the photos taken of my new jewelry. So, this past Saturday morning, I went outside and took pictures in the brisk sunlight! I was cold, but I did it anyway! I'll try to space the blog posts out a little....

I received a custom necklace request from a friend of a friend! She had seen one of my Mahjong necklaces on her friend's neck, and wondered if she could get one for herself. So, she & I "talked" through email. She wanted a tile with a red dragon, but I didn't have one in my stash. So, she found one on the internet, and then we finally met in person, for her to give me her red dragon. We chatted about what she'd like in the necklace, and about other things. It was a nice chat!
She also gave me some beads she'd bought here and there, to use or not to use, as I saw fit. Her beads were pretty cool, and I thought they'd be great with the tile. So, here you see the results!

All the beads used were her beads. She had a couple strands of faceted Czech or fire-polished beads in a mix of colors, which were a perfect compliment to her beaded beads. The beaded beads look to be hand made, possibly Indonesian? They are covered with tiny beads that are glued on, or pushed into epoxy. I made some love knot connectors with Vintaj twisted jumprings. Everything else (filigree, bead caps, chain, clasp) is also Vintaj.
 
 Here's a close up of the Red Dragon tile, and Sharon's beads.
 
 Here's another close up of her beads and the love-knot connector I made.
 
 She also was happy to get earrings. She said that they didn't need to be matchy-matchy with the necklace, so I used some of her other beads that I didn't use in the necklace, but made them in a similar way as the connectors in the necklace.
 
We met again last week for me to give Sharon her new necklace and earrings!! She was very happy with them!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Custom Majong necklace

I hope this blog post finds you all well, and enjoying the holiday season. I don't mind the mild weather we've been having. But it is time for Winter to get on with it, no? Here in the Philadelphia area, we've only had a few frosts so far. Now we know what it's like to celebrate Christmas in one of the Carolinas! But, this post is not about the weather....

A while back, I was contacted to create a custom Majong necklace. I sorted through the tiles I have, and snapped some photos to see which tile my client might like to use. She didn't like any of them, and set out to find her own. I thought at that point that maybe she had changed her mind, and was letting me down easy. Until, a couple weeks ago, I received an email, letting me know she found the perfect tile! So, we met and she gave me the tile. I have to say, the tile is in perfect condition, and is quite nice!

So, I took it home, to get started creating the necklace. The first order of business was to wrap a piece of filigree around it to make it into a pendant. I was so nervous. I didn't want to scratch the tile, as I've done previously to some of my own tiles. But that went very well. Yay!

I then looked in my stash for beads to use in the necklace. I recently got the black fluted rounds (with gold in the recessed areas) and they looked great with the tile. I also wanted to put together some beads to look like the vase pictured on the tile. I put together one of my enameled beads with some various bead caps to mimic the vase shape.  I ended up using it "upside down", but the  vase shape is still apparent. Then, I noticed, sitting on my desk, my special stash of vintage glass leaves! Could I let go of my precious? I used one black leaves connector in the necklace. I just love cool old stuff like these leaves!!
So, here's Ellyn's necklace!

 
Ellyn did not want to tell me what she wanted, as she did not want to cramp my style, or stifle my creativity. The only thing we discussed was the necklace length, and she also hoped it would be asymmetrical.

When we first talked about what I would make, she wasn't sure if she wanted a pair of earrings to match. I told her she could get the earrings, but she could NOT get them too - whatever she wanted. No pressure! But she liked the earrings I made with the vintage leaves, so she took those. The other pair of earrings are made with my enameled beads. They are currently on Sterling Vermeil ear wires, due to possible allergy concerns. I'll change them to Vintaj brass ear wires, and put them in the gallery. Black earrings go with anything!
 
By all accounts, Ellyn loves the necklace and earrings!! I am thrilled she's happy with them.

Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

A Dragon's Hoard of Dragonflies!

Ever since I discovered Vintaj Natural Brass (many years ago!) and the different dragonflies they offer, I have had a love affair with dragonflies (& butterflies).
I've mentioned before that I sell my jewelry in a small local gallery - The Orchard Artworks. It is a small but wonderful gallery, filled with all sorts of art and fine craft: jewelry (or course), paintings, wood, fiber and pottery. The gallery has an arrangement with the local Whole Foods store to set up tables on the first Saturday of the month. This happens off and on, but in October, I set up a table there. I was there with Gail Simons & Louise Sussman. Gail is a jewelry artist and Louise is a ceramic artist. Louise continuously makes new and interesting things, and I was helpless to resist buying one of her fabulous wall pockets - with a dragonfly! She even included the sprigs of seasonal flowers.

 
 So, I took it home and hung it on my folk art rack, in my kitchen. I change this "display" according to the season. It's time to change it to a more winter/ holiday look.

 
But, while we stood there all day in Whole Foods, chatting and occasionally looking for free food samples, I mentioned to Louise that if she would make just the dragonflies, I could make jewelry out of them. So, we worked out the details, and she said she'd do it!! I was surprised to get a phone call from her about 2-3 week later, saying they were ready! She got right to work on them. She had never made jewelry components before, but luckily there was someone at the art center who had, and helped her when she was working on them. They gave her wires for hanging, rather than makings the holes she and I had discussed. I absolutely love the glazes she used. Lots of blues and greens and purples. They were a bit rough on the back sides, so I had to dremel some of the the pokey bits, but, so thrilled with them. Here are most of them!!

 
I made 2 necklaces right away. This one is tan and green and purple. I used grayish green crystals and faceted purple howlite and some seed beads, along with Vintaj bead caps, jumprings and chain.

 
 Ooooh, so pretty!!!
 
 This dragonfly is a gorgeous turquoise color, so I just made a simple beaded chain of Vintaj brass and turquoise howlite beads. Simple, but delicate.

 
 Honestly!?! Just squeeee!
 
I have made more of the loose dragonflies into necklaces. I'll get some photos of them and post more dragonfly goodness, hopefully soon.
Thanks for stopping by my blog!