Apr 242008

UR Charmed Mother's NecklaceThis month’s Ornament Thursday is “Motherhood”. I first created this pendant for my own mom…the pendant is super easy to make, and then it’s personalized with Swarovski crystals representing the birthstones for her children and grandchildren. Another twist would be to add charms that picture things Mom likes – if she loves the beach, use a theme of starfish, shells, lighthouses and fish! Add a couple of aquamarine rough chips or drilled beach glass that look like water. The possibilities are endless with the number of charms available today!


The other Ornament Thursday gals have been hard at work as well….check out their blogs for more great projects!
5 Generations of Mothers
Art Bead Scene
Candie Cooper
Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Modern Glass Link Earrings
Strands of Beads
The Swell Life – Swelldesigner’s blog

Apr 202008

I got a note from my good friend Ruth Smith, who lives in Manitoba. “There’s a new beading magazine that’s specific to Canada…would you like my thoughts on it?”

Well, sure!!! Beading Help Web has lots of Canadian readers, and I’d love to share information on a publication that’s written specifically for them!!! Here’s Ruth’s take on Canadian Beading.

New magazine geared toward beaders in Canada. Contains over a dozen projects per issue. Articles, what went wrong, advice column, contests.

What I liked: quantity of projects with clear instructions and indication of complexity, Canadian advertisers, Canadian designers, lots of illustrations, what went wrong article with pictures to illustrate common beading mistakes. Small format makes it easy to slip into your purse and take along for reading. All projects are available for purchase as kits, royalties go to designers. Easy project submission process.

What I didn’t like: advice column appeared to be made up questions, kits are available through your LBS, but there were none listed for my province – kits are currently only available in 4 provinces, nearest one being over 1000 miles away & not available on the web (hey, Canada is a big country…) Illustrations were of varying quality.

Would I buy it again? absolutely !!- reasonably priced, large volume of projects, easy to throw in my purse – obviously new and learning as a magazine but fills a huge void in Canada.

Canadian Beading magazine retails for $4.95/issue ($20 CAD yearly), published quarterly. The format is booklet size (8 1/2″ by 11″ folded in half). Subscriptions are available through the website.

Thanks Ruth for your insight on Canadian Beading!!!

Apr 182008

What’s worse…knowing or not knowing????

I sent in my application for the Grand Cities Art Festival on the March 15 deadline. I was a bit concerned, because I didn’t have a good photo of my set up (the jury required three photos of your work, and one of your display), and certainly not one in the dimensions that were outlined in the application. However, hubby suggested “Send this one” (from the ARTitudes show last November/December) and I did. I thought I had pretty good photos of my work though, submitting three pieces that reflect my best skills…Crowning Glory, Owl’s Eyes, and Lab Work.

Days and weeks passed. I felt like it had been years since I’d sent in that app! I checked email, snail mail and the Grand Cities web site daily for a response.


I figured it was a done deal – my photos weren’t good enough, my work wasn’t “artsy” enough, something just wasn’t right. then today, I came home to a thin (very thin) envelope with the festival logo in the return address.


I slowly tore open the envelope, and slowly pulled out the single sheet of paper inside. It didn’t even occur to me that my checks (booth and advertisement fees) weren’t falling out with the paper. I read….



Hoo boy. Take out that Craft Show Checklist and beef it up a bit!! I’m in!!!! Two day, outdoor show…with THOUSANDS of people walking through.

Now, of course, I’m stressing that I won’t have “enough” product to sell. I have a rather large three-day show the first weekend in May, so I will need to get busy! I told hubby that I will need to have my pliers permanently attached to my hands all the non-working hours between now and June 14!!!

My friend Amy suggested an article or blog entry on how to enter a juried show, and I’m going to have to prod her to help me out with it (I’m really not an expert…my only advice is to read the instructions CAREFULLY) because I think it’s a great idea.

That’d be after I get another Endless Maille bracelet completed……

Apr 152008

A few days ago, I talked about a pink drusy stone that I picked up at the Omaha Bead Show. While I’m not a “pink” girl, I loved the sparkle of the stone, and wanted to do something with it that would be simple and elegant.

The wrap method is the same method that’s described in our free tutorial….. except because of the cut of the stone, I didn’t need to do anything on the front to hold it in place. My stone had a slight slope inward, toward the crystal, so when I made the frame for my wrap, it held the stone in place.

I did a little research on the drusy stone, and was advised that I shouldn’t tumble it. Too much risk of knocking off one of those beautiful crystals! I did want to clean up and harden my sterling silver frame, however, so I tumbled it for a couple of hours before setting the stone.

To hold the drusy in place, I had to do some wrapping on the back. Because my wraps were very tight, I opted to cut and then wrap some of the sections.

End result is a very secure piece…and still, while I don’t really like pink all that much for me (it clashes with my hair LOL), this is a gorgeous stone, and I think the wrap is perfect to showcase it. 🙂

Apr 132008

My good friend Judy presented me with a challenge a few weeks ago. “Make me a necklace using this pendant.”

She didn’t want a plain chain, and really didn’t have any ideas on what she was looking for…just said she knew I’d come up with something.

When I started thinking about what to do, I first looked for colors. The crystals in the pendant are green, pink and clear AB Swarovski’s…but that green is more of a Granny Smith apple green than anything else. Peridot stones were close, but not a perfect match, and I couldn’t find any colors in seed beads that were even all that close.

I decided to offer Judy options…anything that she didn’t like could be sold, after all! The first thing I tried were some pink 11.0 seed beads interspersed with Peridot chips, and then twisted with another strand of the pink seed beads.

Second try was a tubular herringbone using the same pink seed beads. I love the feel of this snakey chain, and while bead weaving isn’t one of my favorite things to do, it worked up pretty quickly once I got started.

I got my final inspiration after I posted the first two options on a jewelry making forum…I thought about using a chunky chain and tossing in some peridot and light pink Swarovski crystals. Since I didn’t have any chunky pre-made chain, I made my own! The ovals are soldered jump rings, which I then “spread” using my Wubbers chain nosed pliers. I really like the looks of this chain a lot, and I think it sets off the pendant well – a funky and hip look overall.

I like this chain a lot, and I think I’ll make another – it was time consuming, but I think the end result was worth it.

So tomorrow I hope to present Judy with all three options and let her decide which is her favorite. How about you? What other options could I have come up with?

Apr 102008

I think it was about November, 2006. For some reason my stylist, Roseanne’s, words stuck with me…”You have a LOT of hair!!” and her other memorable quote “It’s JUST hair!!!”. I decided to work toward donating my hair to women who have experienced hair loss due to cancer and other disease. I began checking out donation sites, and found that the most common hair donations are to Locks of Love – making wigs for children who are fighting cancer.

Locks of Love has some pretty stringent guidelines, and I’d heard reports that hair that didn’t meet those guidelines was thrown out. I certainly didn’t want my (mumble mumble)-year old hair being thrown out, so I did more research.

I was happy to find that Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program accepts hair that has some grey (yeah, okay, so I have “natural” highlights…) and a little shorter (8″) pony tail. So I kept growing my hair out. It grows fast (about 1″ a month) but with trims to keep it healthy, it was still going to take a while!!!

About 3 weeks ago, I thought to myself that this long hair wasn’t so bad…it looked good, and wasn’t all that much work. I was growing attached to it, and maybe I wanted to just keep it.

But there was a greater force working. A few days later, I was ready to take a chain saw to it myself. I was walking through the bank and ZING! there went my hair clip. My hair was just “too big” to stay in a clip. Pony tail holders were not even keeping the mop in place. Something was working at me to say CUT IT and let someone else enjoy it.

On Tuesday, April 9, I went to my new stylist, Tammy (Roseanne, my old stylist had retired). We measured the length, and there was enough to donate. As she cut off the first chunk (so much darn hair that she had to do two sections!!!), I felt a pang of grief. Looking at the tails of hair on her table, I almost felt like I’d had a limb amputated.

BUT. I love my new style. I went out Tuesday night with girlfriends and was told that I tossed my hair all night (I didn’t realize I did it LOL!). I went to work the next day and felt more professional, and (true story!) I got a promotion.

Long story short (hahahaha), I don’t consider myself to be an altruistic person. I had a commodity that I could take care of for a while, and I wanted to let someone else maybe feel pretty while they were going through one of the most horrific and courageous fights I can imagine. I sincerely hope that by donating my hair, I’m giving someone else a gift that helps them get through the day…to be able to go to the grocery store, day care, or work and appear “normal”.

So that’s me this week. Yes, I’m working on some jewelry projects (and will share them with you in a bit 😉 ), but this just seemed a little more important at this point. 🙂

Apr 072008
Over the weekend, I had the good fortune to have some girlfriend time with fellow jewelry makers Lynn Bowes and Jan Addison. We met up at the Omaha Bead Show, and spent lots of time shopping, chatting and comparing ideas.
One of my favorite finds of the day was a nice little oval chunk of pink drusy. Now, I’m not a “pink” girl, but I fell in love with this little stone, and couldn’t stop plotting what to do with it! I’ve had a few folks asking “What’s drusy?”, so I thought I’d share. 🙂
Drusy is any crystal quartz formation occurring on quartz or occurring on any other stone. Essentially, it’s the inside of a geode.
Drusy (or as it’s sometimes spelled “druzy”) can be found in many colors, shapes and sizes. I love the sections of tiny, tiny crystals that are so small, they look velvety. The stone can be treated using titanium or dyed…we’re suspicious that titanium was used to created my pink stone.
At the show, we also got to meet Tera Belinsky-Yoder, aka BeadyGirl Beads on Etsy. I instantly recognized Tera’s beads and stopped to chat with her – she was fun and easy to talk to and creates colorful, ecclectic beads that look as great in person as they do in her online shop!
Overall, it was a great little get away…I’ll share what I did with the drusy soon!!!