Nov 302005

Found an interesting contest last night.

Preston Ruether’s Wireworking web site is sponsoring a Christmas Ornament contest. Your entry must be primarily made from wire, but can use other materials as well. Deadline is December 16 to enter if you are interested!

I do have an entry planned out. Believe it or not, it’s going to be created from a mistake. 🙂 Last night I was goofing around with some sterling wire and Swarovski crystals, making a centerpiece for a necklace. It turned out….well, let’s say interesting.

Once I got the chain on the centerpiece and tried it on (always to that to look at how something lays and how it looks on!), I was less than impressed with it. Rather than tear it apart and waste all that wire, I decided to just set it down and think about it.

Went to check emails, and lo and behold, there was the contest entry announcement. I thought some more, and decided that with just a little rework, my necklace centerpiece could make an awesome tree ornament.

So there you have it. One woman’s trash becomes the same woman’s masterpiece.

Nov 282005

Top Ten Beader Gifts (or what you can pick up for me if you are so inclined)

10. More space. I need more room to put my stuff. If I can’t have more space, I’d at least like some shelves so I can take advantage of all that floor-to-ceiling space that is currently going to waste.

9. Beading magazines. I love BeadStyle. I already have a subscription, but it only comes every other month. Another magazine that comes on the off months would probably give me the fix I need.

8. PMC (precious metal clay) starter kit. I’d like to learn how to use this stuff, and the starter kit available at or look like a great introduction.

7. Gift certificate for a beading or PMC class. Always, always, alwayswork on increasing knowledge. New skills are essential.

6. Gift certificate to a local bead store. Large dollar amounts are welcome. Alternative would be an eBay GC that I could use at any one of a million vendors with unique and fun products for auction.

5. Storage (not to be confused with #10, which is really “a workshop that I can trash and not have to worry about cleaning up when I don’t want to”) containers to put beads and other materials in. Yes…I’ve outgrown mycurrent ones (again.)

4. Beading Calendar. Keep track of what day it is because I always lose track when I’m creating.3. A maid, a cook, and a personal assistant. Because I’d rather be creating art than cleaning, cooking, or going to the grocery store.

2. A day with Luann Udell, Maria Grimes or Paula Radke. Who wouldn’t love to spend time with another artist? I love each of these women’s work and they seem like they’d be really interesting to talk to.

1. Beads, beads, beads. I’m not really picky, which is obvious if you look at my current stock. I love unique, fun things, but I always have room for basics too.

Nov 262005

Went “over the river and through the woods” to my parents house for Thanksgiving this week. To keep me occupied on the trip, I brought along a beading project (of course!)…something easy that traveled easy and could be worked on in the car. I decided to bring a bag of assorted glass beads, headpins, seed beads and a couple of pliers and make some dangles for a Gone Wild bracelet.

I worked out of a plastic pencil box; I’m sure there’s a better way to “travel” with beads, but I didn’t have any great ideas at the last minute. Since I do a decent amount of travel by car and plane, I need some tips!

At any rate, I did get the dangles done, and time spent beading is always nice and relaxing!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 222005

My “Gone Wild” bracelets have suddenly GONE NUTS! I started making them earlier this spring, and while people would pick them up and comment on them, none had actually sold until two weeks ago at a private showing for How Cute is That!, a new boutique in Omaha.

Since that time, I can’t keep them on the table! Not only have I sold all my original Gone Wild bracelets, but I’ve had orders for more in all kinds of colors.

The bracelet is fun to make (easy to follow instructions on, all you need is a little imagination in chosing the beads you use. I like Czech Glass Assortments, with different sizes, shades and shapes that meld together into a finished product that is crazy, unique, and probably could be used as a weapon if need be, LOL.

Pictured is the “Amy’s Gone Wild” bracelet, made with amethyst chips. I’ve also made this bracelet using dyed red howlite, blue lace agate and malachite chips; Czech 3mm assorted crystals (Christmas Lights Gone Wild), and mixes of blue/brown/neutral, floral/garden themed glass beads, and red/green/violet glass beads.

Nov 152005

I’m obsessed. Today I spent $180 at my favorite bead shop. I had a list of the things I needed, but like running into the grocery store for milk and bread, I always manage to “find” something that I just can’t live without.

I tell my husband that we are going to need to add on another room soon, because when guests come to stay, I have to clear out The Bead Room (formerly known as The Daughter Who Has Now Gone To College’s Room) so they can find the bed. Actually, it’s just easier if I let them use our bedroom, because then I don’t have to worry about kicking the guests out of bed if I catch a creative bug and want to design something at 3 a.m.

After being shamed by one of my compadres in crime, I finally started sorting my beads by color, and reorganized my wire and projects “in process”. Hate to admit it, but I waste much less time when I know I want something pink than I did before when I “knew” which Tupperware box a particular strand of beads was in. And I’m actually using some of those old strands that I’d conveniently forgotten about. (It was like Christmas every day when I went searching for something in particular and found all sorts of things I’d forgotten I had!)

Got to go. I think I need milk and bread again.

Nov 122005

Bead stringing is easy. It’s the design component that’s difficult for most people. Walking into a bead shop or gazing through a catalog can be intimidating at first, but once you get over the initial shock of “what the heck do I pick?”, you’ll find the possibilities are endless.
Where do I look for ideas and inspiration? Ask 100 artists, and you’ll probably get 100 answers. I am learning to look everywhere for color combinations that I wouldn’t normally think of….I’m by nature a mono-chromatic sort, who at one time in her life wouldn’t park a red car next to a purple one (I’ve since purchased only silver, white or grey vehicles). Clashing of colors hurt my head.
Since that time, however, I’ve learned to embrace “clashes” and train wrecks. Red and orange. Pink and green. Silver and gold. Complementary can be found in the oddest combinations if you have the right material and eye for design. Too much in a delicate piece and you’ll find yourself cringing. Bold colors sometimes speak best from bold work…and the same can be said for delicate mixes.
So to answer the question of “where do you look for ideas and inspiration” I can’t pick one answer. I’m constantly on the look out, finding ideas, color combinations and shapes in every thing imaginable. Sometimes I’ll pick up a strand of beads, a focal stone, or a cluster of silver and have no idea what I’ll do with it, but know it will “come to me” some day. Sometimes it will even come to me in a dream…sounds a little mystical, but I’ll admit that I design jewelry in my nightly dreams.
Good thing I dream in color. 🙂

Nov 102005

Question: How do you make crystals and pearls float?

I made these crystals float by using Supplemax, a thin stringing material that is near transparent, and gold and silver plated SmartBeads (from Rings and Things), which hold their position on a wire. The “illusion” necklace is around 16.5″ long, and is very elegant and feminine

Other styles are equally as gorgeous and fun to make.

The dark green top-drilled pearls in this necklace were glued to the SuppleMax, and tiny freshwater rice pearls were left free to give the piece movement and flow.

Finally, my experiment tonight concluded with green, blue and cobalt shades of Swarovski crystals held in place by the SmartBeads. The colors remind me of the waves of the ocean…and will compliment a beautiful green-blue button down shirt.

I’m having a blast creating lighter looks with the SuppleMax. Perhaps next an illusion bracelet that will look like crystals are magically hanging on my wrist….

Nov 072005

I get a number of online newsletters from various beading sources. Like magazines, they tend to pile up and I read when I get a chance. I do like to get them to keep up on trends (brown and longer necklaces are in for 2005 fall) and to see if there are “specials” from suppliers.

At least in my email box, they take up less space!

Nov 062005

Now appearing….

Wow! My “Partner in Jewelry” Angie and I have been asked to sell our wares to a new shop that’s going to be opening soon in a trendy area of Omaha. We’re excited about the opportunity…it should be FUN, and a great way to get our names out in the public eye! The shop is so new it doesn’t even have an official name yet, but the owners loved our work and are hoping to open in the next couple of weeks. I’ll give them a plug here when we get ready for Grand Opening!

Good show today…copper wire necklaces were HOT, as well as turquoise anything and the ear threads (starter sets AND extra beads). I have a lot of work to do before next weekend’s show!

Nov 052005

Did some reasearch today on Awareness Ribbons. You know, the ones that you can wear (or display) in a bazillion different ways? Wear a plain fabric ribbon on your lapel, put a ribbon magnet on your car, attach a ribbon charm to a necklace or bracelet, and presto! everyone knows what cause you support.

Or do they?

In my research for an article for, I found colors and color combinations for everything and anything you can think of. Orange, for example, is for “Fighting for Democracy” as well as leukemia and lupus. If you want to show your support for lupus, however, and don’t like orange, it’s perfectly acceptable to wear a purple ribbon. But then again, you might be mistaken for someone who works against domestic violence (which can also be represented by dark blue ribbons) or animal abuse.

Confused yet?

Well, to be honest, a colored ribbon, while it does provide solidarity when used by the masses (is there ANYONE out there who doesn’t know what a pink ribbon is for????), can stand for whatever the wearer or displayer wants it to. It’s meant to show support, promote awareness, and begin conversations.

So the next time you see someone wearing a yellow ribbon, don’t just assume they are supporting our troops overseas, smile, and move on. Ask them what their ribbon stands for. You may hear an interesting story, or find a commonality with a stranger who may become a friend. (Yellow ribbons also represent adoptive parents and are a general symbol for hope.)