Monday, December 16, 2013

Znetshows Winter Creative Spark Glossi is here!

I may have mentioned it once or a bunch of times - I'm on the design team for Znetshows.
The Winter edition of their Creative Spark Glossi is ready for viewing!

There are tons of fabulous pearl designs in this issue!! (my designs start on page 121)

They are also having a giveaway! All you have to do is share the Glossi - on your blog, FB, twitter, etc. Go to the Znetshows blog for more information, for a chance to win free stuff!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

When inspiration hits

I try to never question why I feel creative, because I know there will be times when I don't. There are evenings where I go to my bead room, and sit there, and sit there. I open bins of beads, look through my stash, and nothing happens. I know most (if not all) of us experience this sometimes. I've seen other blog posts about this subject, so I know I'm not alone. On those nights, I try to get motivated, but after an hour or so, it's time to shut it down and try a different activity.
So, when I have one of those creative nights where I'm making necklace after necklace, I don't question it. Admittedly, many times, it's the product of finishing off ideas that were previously started. But sometimes, I'll have a focal on my desk for weeks (or months). Then, suddenly, an idea will come to me, and I'm able to make something with it. There must be an explanation for it - like my subconscious brain is working on the design without my knowing it. Or, maybe muses really do exist, and mine comes and goes as she pleases. Whatever  the reason, I just go with it.

I made these on a creative night recently...
The first is the completion of my yellow Tree of Life I posted previously. I've had this idea in my brain a little while, I guess. I don't think I planned on making the chain part symmetrical, but that's how it worked out. Crystals and Sea Glass from Znetshows.

Next are a couple Holiday focals I got (last year and this year) at Beadfest, from White Clover Kiln. The cardinal is from this year. I rooted around in my Czech glass and found these red beads with Picasso finish (from Nirvana Beads) to go with the focal. Then, in my "red" bead stash, I had the red velvet crystals that were sooooo popular several years ago.


The snowman is from last year, also from White Clover Kiln (better late than never). I looked through bags of beads, and the aqua sea glass (from Znetshows) seemed to go. It looks like frosty ice to me. Then, in my search for beads to use, I spotted a strand of antique copper bird beads, and added him (or her). He/she looks like it's about to land on the arm of the snowman. Once I picked out the bird, I simply added round copper beads. I really like the copper color and the aqua sea glass together.


The last necklace is completely new, never a thought of it until the day I stumbled on it. We were walking to the car after working out. I was really cold, because I was sweaty from the workout, and the wind was very cold. But, in the parking lot, there was a tree that had dropped some bits of bark. It's some sort of fruit tree - maybe a crab apple. I liked the texture of the bark, so I picked some up. I have admired jewelry made by other artists, using actual bark and twigs. I decided to see if I could wrap filigree around it, without breaking it to bits. The wrapping went well. Next, I tried bending the little flourish on the front, but the metal is a thicker gauge, and was not meant to be bent (it broke), so I gave in and used glue. (I don't really like to glue things, if it can be helped) I have lots more bark pieces, so I plan to explore this a bit more. Chain and filigree from Vintaj, as usual.
Isn't the bark texture pretty?
And, if I get tired of the bark, the butterfly on the back is nice too!
That's all for now.
I spent Black Friday with a girl friend doing nothing but beading. I'll have pictures from that day soon.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bead Widowers photo contest at Znetshows blog

Znetshows blog is running a photo contest - for Bead Widowers. You submit a funny photo of your guy "shopping" for beads with you!! There will be 3 winners, and the prize is nothing to sneeze at - $100, $75 or $50 gift certificates from Znetshows.

Sadly, I can not enter....My husband would rather die than go to a bead shop or show (and I'd probably die too, or we'd kill each other!). Hopefully, others are able to drag their men to bead/ jewelry shops to snap a photo.
This is a true story....
Once I was at a bead show, looking at a table full of beads. The woman standing next to me was there with her husband. She picked up a bead to look at it and he said (accusingly), "What do you need that for?". So I leaned over and whispered "You never bring the husband".
And I never will, it's just too painful.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Hey, make me!

I've been making lots of jewelry these days. Nothing like some free beads and a deadline to motivate a girl! I am design team member for Znetshows! I received a nice package of pearls and crystals, with the challenge to create designs inspired by "winter". I'll reveal some of my designs soon! But in the meantime, while I've been busy designing with pearls and crystals, a couple things on my bead desk caught my eye, and yelled - "Hey, make me!!". These do not contain any pearls or crystals from Znetshows. I simply allowed myself to become distracted long enough to make them.

 OK, actually, this yellow Tree of Life was made with Znetshows crystals and sea glass, but these beads are not part of the Winter Design challenge. They were left over from last Jan, when we were challenged to make designs using Sea Glass beads. I'm pretty happy with the way this turned out. I've only made 3 or 4 Trees of Life prior to this one, so, I'm liking it. It came right back to me, and even seemed easier than I remembered. Of course, my fingers were a little sore after wrapping all the fine gauge wire. Totally worth it.
This big cool button was an auction score! It's big (about 2 inches in diameter) and is made out of an unknown material. If I had to guess, I'd say Gutta Percha, but I'm really not sure. The little screw heads don't hold anything together, they are just decoration! The 3 corrugated beads going up the chain are vintage too, from Earthly Adornments. Chain is from Vintaj.
 I wrapped wire around the tops of the Fleur-de-lis, just below the top row of ribbed lines, to hide it in plain site. Then, wire wrapped a bail to hang it from. On the back (sorry I didn't take a picture of it), I wired a piece of Vintaj filigree, so it looks good from either side.

A couple years ago, I was on a buckle binge! I made up about 20 pendants using vintage buckles, with butterflies and dragonflies. While I was rooting around for red beads to use for my Znetshows winter challenge, this buckle caught my eye, and I just had to follow through.
Czech glass flowers, Swarovski bicones, and flower chain. Not wintry at all!
That's it for now. In my next post, I will begin to reveal my designs for the Znetshows Winter  Design Challenge. Please stop back.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Unrelated things

Unrelated stuff, just things I've made no particular order.

 First up, I got some Earthenwood hearts that were "overstock". They are crackled, with spotty green glaze.
Next are some earrings. These are made with my enameled beads. I think this is my favorite filigree bead to enamel. Dangling below are Czech glass flower beads, with filigree brass bead caps and small filigree copper rond beads.
These are the same bead as above, but in a slightly different color (more yellow, less pink). Hanging below on some jumpring chain are small Czech glass flower beads with bali-style copper daisy spacers and tiny copper rounds. Very swingy!
That's it for now. I hope you all enjoy your weekend, where ever you are. Here in Philly, we're hoping the rain will stop before Monday! Enjoy!

Monday, October 07, 2013

Scorched Earth goodies

This post is long over due. I bought some really cool drops back in July from Scorched Earth on etsy. When I was shopping, I had in mind to make earrings, since the drops are sold in pairs. I went a little hog wild, and bought way more than I needed - I mean really, how many pairs of earrings do I need to make. While each drop is OOAK due to the nature of handmade things, they are also quite similar, and every earring would look like the next, just a different (but fabulous) color. Included in my package were some "gifts". I love getting gifts, and I really loved these. Among the gifts were the spike drops in different colors, with stripes. I had not picked them, but I loved them. Going through the package, unwrapping each piece, they were in a pile on the the table. That's when it occured to me that  they would all make a fabulous necklace. So, I made 2 pair of earrings (but did not take photos of them) and a fabulous necklace. Everytime I wear it, I get compliments. I seems to go with everything in my closet. When worn, the drops are "crowded" and overlap a bit.

The photography on etsy is much better than mine - the colors are so gorgeous in person!
I'm ordering more, to make some Christmas gifts!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

5 day self imposed challenge

I'm still talking about my bead society (Bucks County Bead Society), and last month's meeting. We had show and tell and I brought what I had made that week.....related background story.....

At my full-time job, we had been "asked" to rotate working 11am to 7pm once every 10 weeks or so. The week of the last bead society meeting was the week I was working the "late shift".

On Monday, I thought I'd see if the couple extra hours I had in the morning were enough time to make jewelry. I had a strand of grey top drilled pearls I wanted to use (I bought them at Beadfest for my sister, but she didn't like them, and I already have about 5 gallons of pearls, so I didn't want to add them to my stash). Anyway. I made this necklace. Grey pearls with copper bali daisy spacers. The added bonus is that I used a Green Girl Studios pendant that I have been hoarding for probably 10 years!! So, I was very pleased with myself.

On Tuesday morning, I had some left-over ideas in my head. There were more pearls that I wanted to use (and not add to the already ridiculous pearl stash). So, I went to the bead room, to do another design. I used tiny copper round spacer beads from Panda Hall between the pearls. The added bonus here is that I used a beautiful lampwork bead (by Jennifer Cameron) I just bought at Beadfest, and did not add it to my humongous stash of lampwork beads!! (my stash is really getting too big - and that's something I never thought I'd ever say!)
On Wednesday morning, with more left-over ideas in my head, I had now set a goal to make something every day that week! As I was making Tuesday's necklace, I noticed that the strand of pearls looked good with the lampwork bead, but they also looked good with my enameled flower pendant. What to do?!? I used half of the strand for each necklace, and added chain at the back for the needed length. This pendant is one of my enameled flowers layered with a Vintaj filigree flower.

This is where I need to talk about the bead society again. For my show and tell that Wed night, I took my 3 necklaces I had made that week and told my story (same as above). I think I actually heard clapping! They cheered me! They were so supportive of my little goal that week. This, compared to my husband, who I did not even tell. Because, I know if I told him I made jewelry every morning that week, he would have asked if I did anything else, like clean something, wash something, etc. He just doesn't "get it", but the bead society members do!

On Thursday, I used another strand of pearls from Beadfest. While rummaging through things earlier in the week, I ran across some antique copper discs with different leaf designs. I most likely got them on clearance at Michaels or AC Moore. I bought 2 packages of 3, thinking they'd make cute earrings, and they would have, but they are way too heavy. So, I made a pendant. I forgot to snap a photo of the back of the pendant, but I used 2 discs, so there's a cute leaf design on the back of the pendant too. I had the mother of pearl leaves, from Fire Mountain, on hand.

On Friday, I decided to make a necklace with one of the wire wrapped pendants I made at the bead society meeting. I really liked the red in this cabachon, so I went with it. I bought the tiny picasso Czech cut beads at Beadfest a couple years ago from Grain of Sand. They were sold by the hank, with mixed colors on every strand. So I picked a strand with plenty of red beads. And I sprinkled in some random Czech beads that were laying around, to add texture. I also added a length of chain, to give it a slightly heavier look.
 Believe it or not, I had time to make a second necklace that morning! I used another wire wrapped cab from the bead society meeting. It's black with raku. I liked how it looked with the Czech glass I found in my stash - black with green picasso finish.

To wrap up this post, my additional pleasure that week was, after making jewelry for a couple hours, I came downstairs, took my shower, and got dressed for work, picking out clothes to wear with my new necklace I made that morning!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Where the heck have you been??

Oh my, where does the time go? It's been too long since I've written a blog post. I hope to get back in the groove of things around here. Sorry I've been gone!

Do any of you belong to a local bead society? I do. It started up almost 2 years ago, and it's really coming into it's own. The last 2 meetings we worked with wire. While we are all jewelry makers, we all have different strengths and weaknesses. Several months ago, we learned how to make seed bead fringe. Not really my style, but it's pretty cool looking!
So, last month we made wire head pins and ear wires. I can not tell you why I never tried to make my own ear wires - just never go around to it.
These are what I made in the 60 or so minutes.
 I had read on a blog a while ago about making ear wires in pairs, by doubling the wire. This way, it doesn't matter how consistent you are from one pair to the next - the pair will always match. Keep them un-cut until you use them, so you won't need to match them up later. This angle shot shows the pairs together!
 This past month, we wire wrapped cabochons!  The top 2 are wrapped with one wire strand. The lower left is done with 2 strands twisted together, then brought up and around from the bottom. The center one (red) is 3 strands, except I kinds baled on that one. After wrapping 26 gauge wire around 3 20 gauge wires, while trying to hold them (because I did not know to bring some sort of clip) I decided I was done doing that! If you look closely, you can see the 26g wire at the very bottom. But, still, I like how this turned out.
These are not my usual style, but I like them. I already made the lower left one into a necklace....I'll talk more about that next time.
All the lampwork glass cabochons, BTW, are from 2 Bead Sisters.

The moral of this little story is to join your local bead society!! We meet once a month, and it's fun to just hang out & be with "your people". Everyone is invited to do a show and tell at every meeting, and receive supportive feedback. Or, if a beginner, they can ask for advice on how to do something. It's really a win-win situation. Then we either have a demonstration (I demo'ed torch fired enamel several months ago), or someone will teach a technique (like the above wire working). All I can say is that I'm glad they started the bead society in my local area.

Again, sorry I've been such a recluse. I promise to be a better blogger in the weeks and months ahead!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Some recent tidbits

I haven't made too much new jewelry, except for the recent collaboration items, but I did manage to finish a few necklaces. Looking at them you might wonder what took me so long. I can't really explain, other than to say it's been a tough year so far.

This is one of my first enameled beads. The hole on one side was very rough, so, bead cap to the rescue! And the bead cap's design sort of mimics the pattern on the bead. The bead spins! So, if I'm wearing it, and need to keep my hands busy for some reason, I can spin it!
 This is the other side. I kinda like the non-bead cap side best.
 I picked up this fabulous old rhinestone component last year at Bead Fest, at the April Melody booth. They carry TONS of Czech glass beads, but also some interesting odds and ends! This component (it's not an old pin or pendant) is so old looking, but still fabulous. I stumbled across the rhinestone chain links in my stash. They match perfectly. I refrained from adding anything else. I chose a bigger chain (Vintaj), to match the size of the piece.
 This is an antique mother of pearl button I got from a friend with a ridiculous button collection (thank you Leslie!!). I hesitated to glue the vintage flower cabochon on the button. It looked fine with out it, but I really liked the flower, so I went with it. I can always make another one with out it (different button, of course). It will kill me to sell this one, but I'm gonna do it - I put it in the gallery this weekend!
Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Letting go of my babies

My friend Diane Worthington is a talented lampwork bead maker, and jewelry designer. She sells her jewelry at the Orchard Artworks, where I sell mine. She sells her beads with her sister at bead shows under the name 2 Bead Sisters. In fact, before I knew her at the gallery, I was a customer! She and her sister generously offered to sell my beads at their booth at an upcoming Bead Show. This will be my first time selling my beads.

I have been very busy, enameling beads in an assortment of colors. I gave Diane a sandwich baggie full of beads last week. I failed to snap a photo of the beads, but let me tell you, it is a delicious looking multi-colored bag of beads. They look so yummy together, I could eat them!
Diane has been so supportive, and is also encouraging me to sell my enameled flowers. I'm not really comfortable selling the components. And, I'd have to figure prices for the different sizes, which could turn into a nightmare. So, Diane suggested that I sell my layered flower pendants. Hmmmm, I like that idea better. I did take some photos over the weekend. I'll be handing my babies over to Diane this week.

Here's the first group. These are all about 2 inches wide.
 And some closer shots...

 Here's the second group. These are all about 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches wide.
 And some closer shots...

If you live near Philly or Bucks County PA, it's the Innovative Bead Show being held at Ag Hall on the Delaware Valley College campus in Doylestown, PA. The show is June 22nd and 23rd.

I will also be at a table giving information about the Bucks County Bead Society, of which I am a member. Stop by if you're in the area!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


As I have said previously, I sell my jewelry in a small local Gallery, the Orchard Artworks. It's a cooperative, with artists of just about every media. Our June show will feature collaborative art. The members were encouraged to collaborate with another artist. It could be someone from outside the gallery, or another gallery artist.
Ellen Pine Litwin is a ceramic artist who is a member of Orchard Artworks. Her art usually manifests itself in beautiful pitchers, mugs, bowls, etc - items for the home. So, when she said she would make beads if a jewelry artist wanted to collaborate with her, I was intrigued (and said yes!).
About a month ago, she handed over 3 baggies of beads and pendants. I have not counted them, but there are many I haven't gotten to yet! Every piece is made from Terracotta. The beads are unglazed, and the pendants are partially glazed. Here now, is our collaborative works:

Pendant and beads by Ellen Pine Litwin, copper bead caps and chain. I'm just now noticing that my photos doesn't really show the cool square jump rings I used - they are vintage, a.k.a. old-new stock.
 This pendant is the same glaze as the above pendant. I love the scalloped edge! The necklace is a little simpler. I didn't want every necklace to be "fussy". Chain is Vintaj, bead caps from Fire Mountain.
 This pendant has aqua glaze that was rubbed off, to highlight the rope texture (I love this one!). Ellen also made a handful of textured beads, so I used them on this necklace. After I finished the front of the necklace, I looked through my new stash of silk ribbon, to see if anything coordinated with the beads. OMG - this ribbon has the aqua of the pendant, and the pink-coral of the terracotta (looks less pink in real life). This silk ribbon is from RibbonsAndSilk on etsy. They have beautiful silk ribbon (as you'll see, if you click the link)!!
 A closer look at the focal...
Ellen made a couple pendants with a sunrise/ sunset. Is that like glass half full/ half empty? If so, I'll call this a sunrise! I have had these colored tin discs for soooooooo long. So long that I can't even guess how long. I bought them when I was very new to jewelry making, at a cool little shop in Lambertville, NJ - Sojourner. They carry lots of cool imported things, and lots of beads. It was the only place, back then, where I could get quality beads. And, coincidentally, I got more of the exact discs at the auction a couple years ago!!
Anyway, I thought the colors matched the pendant pretty well. I used aqua colored Beadalon bead wire, and some filigree tubes from Panda Hall.
 Beads and pendant by Ellen, Vintaj brass chain, Fire Mountain bead caps. This is aqua matte glaze....pretty!
 I think this my favorite pendant that Ellen made. I love the scalloped edge (like the grey one above) and the matte aqua glaze. I paired it with Vintaj bead caps and aqua translucent crystal beads.
This pendant is baby blue. I found an odd bag of blue beads. I couldn't tell you anything about them or even where they came from, only to say they are glass, I think. I used some delicate Vintaj chain and bead caps.
This is a second sunrise pendant. I paired this with some vintage Amazonite beads I got years ago at the auction. (I love it when there's jewelry making supplies at the auction - it's rare when it happens!)
 And, of course a couple pair of earrings. There are a couple other pair, but I did not photograph them. Just your basic, everyday earrings.
It was fun to participate, and collaborate with someone. I had no idea what Ellen would make, and it felt a bit like the Bead Soup Blog Party- time was limited, and I had to work with the materials I was given. But, I truly enjoyed working with Ellen's pendants and beads. I tried to stay true to my style, while showcasing Ellen's work as well.

If you live in the Bucks/ Montgomery area (of PA), please stop by the gallery during June to see these in person, and all the other Collaborative art on display. There will be an opening on June 2 from 1pm to 4pm. Orchard Artworks is located on Tomlinson Rd in beautiful Bryn Athyn, Pa.
You can visit our facebook page (and like us, if you like us!)