Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Friends in far away places

This is not a story of how a friend went to China, and all I got was "this lousy t-shirt". No! This story is quite the opposite!

My friend Suzan was in China on vacation with her family, and she brought back BEADS!!!!
Specifically, these pearls. Look at these pearls! They are shaped like small potato chips, or smooth corn flakes. Unbelievable luster! I don't have the photography skills to do them justice. Oh, yeah, and she had a whole long strand of them!!

She came over to my house this week to bead together, and showed me everything she got in China (mostly all bargains, as you would imagine). She didn't go crazy (I know I would have), maybe because her husband was there. lol. (never take a husband bead shopping!) But she did pick out some very nice things - things you can't get here in the US, or maybe they're not here yet! She wanted to work on a project together, so we collaborated on this necklace and earrings. Actually, we made 2 sets - one for her and one for me!

We had to use 22 gauge wire (I think) because, you know how little the holes are in pearls!! To make them sturdier, we decided to do "bird-nesty" wire wraps. And, we all know that I love Vintaj brass, so we went with that. I feel fabulous when I wear it!

After we made the pearl necklaces and earrings, I got to thinking about other beads I have that might look good in the same design. I just bought these carved Dyed Howlite roses at the Rings N Things show. Hmmmmm...what would they look like if I did the same thing to them...I like!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

O-rings to the rescue!

I took my niece to a small but nice bead show a couple weeks ago. We shopped and brought home a few treasures.
The one item I knew I wanted to get was rubber O-rings. Here's why I needed them.
If you look in between the layers of the enameled flower, you can seewhere I used the little O-rings. They act as cushions for the enameled flowers, so I can tighten the layers a bit more than I've been able to. My earlier flower layers were not super tight. If you over tighten them, the enamel will crack off. So, I left them a tad loose, which is fine. The flowers can spin and move. But sometimes, I'd like to line up petals a certain way, so the O-rings will allow me to do that.
The added bonus is it builds a more 3-D look into the flowers! I purchased many colors of O-rings, to coordinate (or contrast) with the flower colors.

The O-rings are from My Elements. They have an etsy shop.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My fabulous Bead Soup ingredients!!

As previously mentioned, I'm participating in Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party. My partner in Jennifer Justman. Yeah yeah yeah, you heard about it before!

Enough about that, let's look at my bead soup ingredients!!!
OOOOOh pretty!!!
OK, let's discuss the particulars!
~The focal you may recognize as Marsha Neal (you are correct - it is!).
~The clasp was made by Jennifer using Fallen Angel Brass wire.
~All the filigree, butterfly, chain and findings are also Fallen Angel Brass. It's much darker than Vintaj, but not as black as Arte Metal - very lovely! I had never heard of Fallen Angel Brass before, but I found them on etsy, and might place an order myself!!
~Sari silk - in 3 colors!
~And some really nice beads, all agate, jade, jasper, etc. Some are faceted, some round. All really pretty.

Evidently, my bench is not perfectly level, and the beads started rolling to one side when I dumped them out, so I had to corral them in the glass salt wells!!
Francis (in the background) was Director of Photography!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Simple Truths Celebration Blog Hop

You know her.....you love her.....Miss Erin of Tesori Trovati and Simple Truths has done it again! She has found another way to inspire me (and others) by hosting the Simple Truths Celebration blog hop. She knows we are all hoarding our simple truths from the sampler club. Who could blame us? They are little works of art in a bezel!! So, she challenged those of us with a hoard of them to get creative and make something with them. I was really trying to get them ALL made into jewelry, but I fell a little short. I still have a few to use, and more just arrived this week (July sampler club!!) But here they are, in no particular order. Oh, also, I'm not going to give long descriptions or materials list, since there are quite a few!! :-)
My very first simple truth! I won it at ABS blog! Lucky me!

Be Happy. And can you believe I won this one too?? How lucky can one girl be?

That's Life! This is from the sampler club.

Make a Wish. This is possibly my favorite, AND this necklace was published in the Apr 2012 Bead Trends! 

Bicycle. This one being silver was a challenge for me, but the ceramic beads I found in my stash matched it perfectly!

MORE! MORE! MORE! (a la Billy Idol)

Owlet. From last October sampler club! Again, silver is challenging for me, but pink is so fun!

Queen Bee. I decided less was more with this one. The photo does not portray the grey opal Swarovski beads very well.

A closer look!

Sow Seeds. I mixed 3 colors of peanut beads to pull out the colors of the flowers.

Happy Ending. Erin gave me this one as a gift when my "Make a Wish" was published! So Sweet, Miss Erin!

Holy Crap - you mean there's more?!?!? Yeah, there's more!

No Fear. Sampler club from the winter, I don't remember which month.

A close up of the pendant. I added a little bead cap to the wire wrapped bail.

Nature. Last November, Erin asked us for what we were thankful for (and why). We all received one-of-a-kind pendants that month!

A little bit closer look

Unique. The faceted Blue Chalcedony in my stash matched this one perfectly. Obviously, I've been hoarding this since last winter! (it's a snowflake, not a flower!)

The wording on the back!

These are yet to be used - resting comfortably in my stash. The little Stars and Stripes are new arrivals!
Did you make it to the end??

Well, all I can say that I am happy I joined the sampler club - just look at all the pendants I've gotten! I always get compliments whenever I wear any of them.
If you do not have any Simple Truths of your own, Miss Erin is having a give away. One lucky winner will win a 3-month subscription to the simple truths sampler club! Make sure you visit her blog and leave a comment to win!
Enjoy visiting the rest of the other bloggers!
Erin Prais-Hintz http://treasures-found.blogspot.com
Sharon Misuraco http://goinoffthebeadinpath.blogspot.com/
Tanya Goodwin http://pixiloo.blogspot.com
Alice Peterson http://www.alice-dreaming.blogspot.com
Melissa Trudinger http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Lori Bowring Michaud http://artfullyornamental.blogspot.com
Rebecca Anderson http://songbeads.blogspot.com
Chris White http://dzeyenrstudio.blogspot.com
Cherrie Fick http://designsinthelight.com
Rosanne Garvison http://fabfibers@blogspot.com
Shelley Turner http://www.shelleygrahamturner.blogspot.com
Marlene Cupo http://amazingdesigns-marlene.blogspot.com/
Mary Harding http://www.maryhardingjewelrybeadblog.blogspot.com
Lola Surwillo http://www.beadlolabead.blogspot.com
Michelle Burnett http://reverieandrevival.blogspot.com
Kirsi Luostarinen http://kirsiluokorut.blogspot.com
Paige Maxim http://pmaximdesigns.blogspot.com
Kristen Fagan http://www.creativestash.com

Bead Soup has Landed

My package has arrived from my wonderful partner, Jennifer Justman. SQUEEEE! I still need to take a photo of the soup ingredients! (just waiting to be near the soup, while the sun's still up to take the picture) Wait until you see what I got!!

Here's what I sent Jenn:
Da Soup! Enameled flower focal (made by me), an assortment of enameled beads and key charms (made by me), a Vintaj clasp using the Bead Pod Creative bar, that I filled with red beads, a strand of vintage red beads from Czechoslovakia, some furnace glass, some modern Czech glass, and some red sari silk.

Da clasp!
Da flower focal - 3 flowers stacked on top of a Vintaj Violet filigree
Da keys! The 2 blue ones are really tiny - so cute!
I hope she makes beautiful soup! Can't wait to see it!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A watched pot never boils

While we're waiting for the bead soup to come up to a boil, how about some more enameled beads and flowers?!?
While the weather's been boiling here in the Northeast, my torch has been red hot in my cool basement!

This first group of earrings are the same flower, but different colors. They are about 1/2" wide and have little crystals dangling in the front center. You can't really see it in this picture, but these flowers have a hole in the center. I use them in the layered flowers, but I like to cover the holes in the earrings with sparklies.
 This next pair is my favorite flower shape! It reminds me of a violet. They are "old new stock" and are no longer available. Or, at least, I have not been able to find more. I'll keep trolling the internet for them! In the meantime, I'm hoarding what little I have left!
 These are some groovy daisies! I like the imperfectness of the turquoise enamel. They almost look like I could have found them on a beach or sidewalk.
Another one of my favorite flower shapes are these bent leaves. They look good in any color. This is orange with a yellow center, and a small coral colored bead in the center.
 The side view shows more of the story! I love getting the 3-D affect in my flowers!
 A little late for the 4th of July, but this necklace can be worn anytime! Red, white and blue enameled filigree beads!
 And, a red, white and blue flower too!
 More filigree beads, but I used some raku frit on a couple of them. I love raku frit and I don't care who knows it!!!
No. Not tired on enameling yet, but thanks for your concern. It's a good thing too, because I just got a few more colors to play with! Will post more later!

Monday, July 09, 2012

Some recent finds

I was on vacation last week, visiting with family members from out-of-town. My brother and his wife were here (from Georgia), as well as my niece Isabelle (from California). We decided to take a little day trip, and went to a Bucks County State Park called Ringing Rocks. Now, as hard as it might be to believe, it's called Ringing Rocks because there is boulder field full of rocks that ring! You must take your own hammer. This is probably the only place on earth (except at a hardware store) where you will see people walking around with hammers, and you think nothing of it! Going into the boulder field is not for weak legged people. You have to jump from rock to rock, and it takes pretty good balance too! Then you just take your hammer and bang on the rocks. Some ring better than others. It's so cool to pick out a rock about the size of a hippo, and hear it ring like a bell!
There is also a little trail that leads through the woods to a water fall. The water fall was just about dried up - it was just a trickle.
We got back into the car and headed towards the Delaware River, and crossed into New Jersey, at Milford. My husband and I go there from time to time. I somehow convinced my brother to stop, and we had a delicious lunch at the Ship Inn. They brew their own British style beer, and serve British style food. My brother has spent a fair amount of time in the UK, and said the beer was really close to what you would get over there! He liked it a lot! I guess I did a good job "selling" it, because everyone ordered the fish and chips, which is outstanding at the Ship Inn. We all ate it and it was so good!!!

A half block away was an antique shop. I normally do not find anything to buy in antique shops. Not sure why not. I like a bargain, so the prices are usually too high for me. But, I found two things I liked.

The first thing looks to be solid brass and is a door "Push" plate". It's really in great condition, and is very heavy. I'm hoping to possibly use it as a texture plate. It's so detailed and pretty and I love it.

The next bargain was this mini hutch. It was piled high with bobbins of thread, and had lots of dust. I almost didn't buy it. It's made of fairly thin plywood, but the little details on it are nice so I thought, "why not?" Plus, the shop was having a 20% off sale, and he marked it down even more! It's about 16" tall. It will go in my bead room somewhere....I just have to figure out where!

We finished our day driving down the New Jersey side of the river, passing through Frenchtown (another cute town with antique shops, but didn't stop!) and Stockton, finally crossing the river at Lambertville (another cute town with antique shops, but didn't stop again!!) into New Hope, PA (lots of shops, but did not stop).
Then back to my parent's house, for a dip in the pool! Fun day!

Lori's done it again!

You really have to check out Lori Anderson's blog. She is having a fantastic give away - no wait - she having FIVE fantastic give aways!! The odds are low, since she's so popular - but I have my fingers crossed anyway!!

I'll be posting photos of the bead soup ingredients I sent to my partner (Jennifer Justman - check out her blog!) once she confirms she receives them!! I'm soooooo excited!!!!!