Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snowbound and Wired

Two feet of snow? For real? That's what the forecasters were calling for, but could it really happen? Yep!

Luckily, my flight made it in safe and sound on Friday night and I was happily ensconced with the Smiths in Falls Church. We enjoyed a truly authentic snow day on Saturday! Noni was visiting, too, and Maggie kept us all entertained with her new train. A blizzard is the perfect excuse to craft up a, by the warmth of the fire and the lights of the Christmas tree, I busted out my crafty bag full of wire and started making some earrings with lots of cool colored wire. Other requirements for snowday crafting: coffee with cocoa and Kahlua, pajamas, and the prettiest hair ever. haaaaaaaaa (Do you see those huge drifts through the window??)
I spent a few hours twisting and bending and coiling with some fun results. This little pair is a tribute to the massive snowmen that we could've made had we actually ventured outside into the snow for more than five minutes.So, it's time to take another break from snowday relaxing and go watch Scott shovel while I wait for my own sweetie husband/driveway shoveler to arrive on his ultra-delayed flight from Indianapolis!
Happy Snowday and Merry Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Case of Cool

At the SAC's Gallery Art & Craft show a couple of weeks ago, one of my favorite booths featured the work of Alisha and her husband whose great decor and jewelry is all made from upcycled goodies. There were windchimes featuring all sorts of characters created out of kitchen utensils. But, more importanly, Alisha Case creates fun glass rings out of old wine and beer bottles that are part of this art. I was wandering around her booth coveting and she let me pick out some "raw" materials for my own creations! And, the fun part, her business name: Art by the Case. I love that!!

These glass bottle bits are soft and smooth and wonderful to work with! Here are just a couple of them that I turned into pendants with a few beads and some twists of wire. This one features some blueish-white glass from a beer bottle. It's a cute little pendant!

This one's a little bigger because it's hailing from a nice buttery chardonnay. :) Okay, I'm just guessing what kind of wine it was, but I love the dark, rich yellow of the glass. Just in case my sister's reading this...pretend you're surprised when you see this on a gift-giving day not far away. haaaaaaaaaaaa

So, another great upcycling artist!!!!!! Thanks, Alisha!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Punch Bunch with Kerry B. Beads!

Last week I had a stroke of luck during my online Christmas shopping adventures and came across the perfect thing for a crafty beadgirl I know. :) Kerry Bogert, genius designer and glass bead maker, was cleaning out her stash and listed a few "bead buyables" on her site Kab's Creative Concepts. Her beads are bright and fun--so are her designs!
I got three sets of beads and I love them all, but there were a bunch of pink that I just couldn't wait to work with! Kerry called them "Set 18" but I call them a perfect "Punch Bunch" with various shades of pink and shot of minty green.
You know how during the holidays just about anything goes in the punchbowl? Think of a fruity punch with a bunch of lime sherbet scoops floating in it. That's this necklace!!

I practiced some arranging and a bit of wire working and I'm thrilled with the final result! If you haven't checked out Kerry's blog, I'd highly recommend it. Plus, I just checked and there are still a couple of bead sets for sale on her site...while you're there you can also pre-order her new book that's coming out!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Thanks to the many folks who came out to visit and support me during my last couple of shows. I'm happy to say that now I'm ready to settle in for the season! If you still need something special that I can make up for you (or is already made somewhere in the house) don't hesitate to contact me. :)I tried some new vertical display pieces and they really helped open up the view of my goodies. It took a lot of black spray paint, with only a bit on my face, to finish them off, but they were well worth it. I added velcro to make hanging surfaces for pendant and earring cards or laminated pictures and magazine covers.

The other cool part of the big SAC's gallery show was all the oooohs and aaaahs over the polymer clay pendants. I'm so happy about that! I'm actually headed out right now for some lessons from a local polymer clay artist!
Oh, and my my favorite part of the weekend happened when two lovely ladies came into my booth and were so excited to meet me...they'd seen my story in copy of The Edge magazine that comes out with the Army Times. They checked out the blog and then decided it was worth the drive up to Montgomery from Fort Rucker. How cool is that!? I actually have fans! The story in the magazine is a whole other story that I'll save for another post. :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Great Earrings...Awesome Beads!

I was browsing through my latest issue of BeadStyle (Jan 2010) and was delighted to see some familiar work. See page 28....

I found Heather Boardman's disks on Etsy a while back and have loved using them in all sorts of projects. So, when I saw her disks in some wirework "disk-and-coil" earrings that are just too cool! I would recommend checking them out at her site: HMB Studios or at her Etsy shop.

Here are a couple of pieces that feature Heather's beads:
This necklace features just a few (haaaaaaaa) of her disks and rondelles--I just loved the green and blues. Some of the beads are actually made from recycled glass which I think is really cool!

And this piece, that I made for Heather Powers' challenge last month, features some great "wacky chunky" red disks from HMB Studios. These are some of my faves!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

$20 and Under Gift Guide

Looking for some art and craft this holiday? My friend, Jen Athanas, who creates the most wonderful fleece accessories, has set up a great guide for finding great gifts--for under $20! Check out her blog for the links here: Jen-A-Fusion.

She makes some fantastic fingerless fleece gloves which you can see in this picture of Jen in action...Also on the list are my poly clay pendants--all under $20--which are available in my Etsy shop and I'll have lots more of them at my upcoming shows here in Montgomery. Come see me at the Maxwell Officers' Club on 2 December or at the SAC's Art & Craft Show at the Renaissance Hotel on 4 - 6 December.

Happy holiday shopping!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I'm raising my cinnamon-sweet coffee in a toast to all my family and friends on this Thanksgiving morning! I hope you enjoy the love, friendship, and fellowship in your homes today while eating amazing quantities of yummy food. I'll be eating with lovely friends down here in Alabama while my sweetie husband serves a meal to the troops up in Indiana.

The best benefit of being geographically-separated is that I'm free from all cooking responsibilities. The last time I tried my hand at a turkey, a couple of years ago, I was pretty grossed out by having to touch the creepy skin. Then, with my mom on the phone advising on cooking methodology, I pulled the roasting pan out of the oven and tried to find the breast to put in the thermometer. My two girlfriends and I stared at the turkey for at least a minute, trying to figure out where the breast was. Finally we realized that it was upside-down! My lovely girlfriends and I laughed for an hour over that one but then enjoyed some seriously moist white meat!
Now that it's finally "officially" the holiday season, here's my take on some Christmas-colored pendants...
While you relax this afternoon, feel free to browse through my little etsy shop and see some of my new clay pieces.

Friday, November 20, 2009

BBB (that's Buggy Beady Bracelets...)

I don't know where the week went! Oh, yes I do, I had a midterm exam to write and even though I procrastinated many hours, I was forbidden from beading until after it was done. :)

But, I was determined to get my "bug" on before the week was out for the challenge over at the Silver Parrot, so here are my bits and pieces!! Both of them feature my very own polymer clay focal pieces. I'm still playing around with finishing and using them, but I'm pretty happy with these results. Plus, I have been coupon-happy at Michael's over the last few weeks so I used some of my latest "bargain" chain and wire acquisitions...

The delicate patterns of the luna moth's wings come are represented in the mokume gane finish of this green piece. I used some nice heavy chain and a few random beads from my green stash (see below) to finish it off.

This one originally came out of the butterfly realm, but I'm thinking more like peacock now that it's finished. Either way, I think it's pretty!! Plus, I got to use a fun combo of colors

And, as a beader constantly fighting for organization, I sympathize with the challenges and share my own version of the "green" drawers in my own "towers" of supplies. It's easy to fall into a monochromatic trance when I open up just one drawer and see so many lovely versions of texture, color, tone, shape...whatever! So, thanks, KJ, for a little focus. And also thanks to my fellow beady bloggers for the great inspiration!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bugs & Beads...a natural combination!

I was wandering through beadblogland this afternoon, looking for something more inspiring than wholewheat english muffins, stinky cat food, and World War II in the Pacific (my snack, my cats' snack, and my afternoon reading assignment). I was lucky enough to come across a post by Lorelei about a contest featuring bugs! Since I get grossed out on nearly a daily basis by some sort of critter or another wandering around outside my door, I figure this must be the challenge for me. :)

Here's the deal: Over at Silver Parrot Designs, the challenge is to create a bracelet inspired by bugs. I think it's hilarious because KJ has been inspired by looking at so many bug pictures on-line with her bug-obsessed kid!

Thanks to Lorelei for this great collage of the (creepy) inspiration pics!

Since I usually go with my first instincts, I headed right back to my workshop because I have the greatest new polymer pieces in fun greens to work with. I'm a monochromatic schemer most of the time, so the luna moth (bottom left) calls out because I can see the simple patterns in my green pieces...

I made these oval pieces using multiple tones of green in a variation of mokume gane.

But, then again, I love these clay pieces that ended up with delicate washed designs that remind me of butterfly wings. Maybe a combo of the shiny beetles and the butterfly will work this time...

I made these ovals using all sort of peacock-butterfly colors jammed into a clay extruder. It was worth the trouble of squeezing it out to get these pretty results, don't you think?! All those great glass disks are my faves from HMB Studios.

It'll be interesting to see what happens with these! I the meantime, go get your "bug" on and check out the Silver Parrot Designs challenge post.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

These Quesadas are going into the shop...

I barely survived Friday the 13th. I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that I ended the whole day locked out of my own house! Oh, and I live alone (if you don't count the cats) so it's not a good thing when the keys are inside and the cats have no "go fetch" skills. I had to spend some quality time in the rental car (which I earned by cracking up my own car earlier in the day) while I waited for the locksmith who took approximately 10 seconds to open my door with two little toothpick thingys.

Anyway, in celebration of making it through Friday night, I spent HOURS crafting yesterday and had some help from my bud, Mary. We played with clay all day and my bad luck didn't carryover--I only cut myself twice! haaaaaaaa

So, these pieces are going into my Etsy shop...

I just love the watercolored look....
Enjoy the day!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sweet Shopping in the Sweet Shop

I think it's some sort of seasonal affective deal...every day at about five in the evening I think I should be going to sleep because it's as dark as midnight outside! So, I've moved more lamps into my living room and have been all about big bright color combinations this week. In addition to keeping me up past seven, they make me think of candy!!

The items I just added to my Etsy shop are under the "Sweet" label. You can see some fantastic glass beads...

Plus, I have one of my latest original polymer pieces. I did a wear test of this pink/red/green pendant yesterday when I went to lunch with the girls. I even had one of them cry over how cool it is!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thanks, Veterans

Hello to all my lovely bead blog buds...friends, idols, family, role models, muses, inspirations...and fellow veterans.

I want to take a minute to say thanks to all of you for your support of my Air Force life as well as thank you for your own service, in whatever good works you're doing. I've been spending a lot of time reading history books, lately, and have come to realize just how lucky I am. I'm part of part of this great 30-something generation that's bridging the operations of the past into the missions of our future.

I'm a big fan of color and design and fun and, again, feel lucky that this creative outlet has helped me become a better problem-solver, thinker, and leader. I may not fly or fight on the front lines, but I do what I can to help out my fellow Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, & Marines from back in the world of cubicles.

Some special thoughts and prayers to...
- The Provincial Reconstruction Teams making progress across Afghanistan
- The Renegades taking care of business in Iraq
- The 82nd Airborne down in southern Afghanistan
- All those Pentagon staffers floating in a sea of Powerpoint


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sweet Quesada!

I made it through the Halloween week with only minor candy intake...that's a major success for a girl who could survive on chocolate alone. The constant candy messaging, though, got me motivated to work with some fun colors of clay this week. And, because I was supposed to be reading about air power history (not playing with clay), I'm giving these pieces the title of "Sweet Quesadas" after their sugary looking colors and their link to the father of tactical air power, Major General Pete Quesada. :)
I experimented with some different techniques and I just love the results. But, now the hard part...sanding and polishing.
There were a few other developments in my polymer clay world this week:
- First, I met Andrea Beeler. I feel like I found a little treasure in the cow fields of the Pike Road market on Saturday. Her Clayin-Around adventure features amazing cane work. If you don't know what cane work is, I highly recommend checking out her site. The detail and finishing is amazing, so I'm looking forward to lessons.
- Second, I sold a polymer clay piece on Etsy! This is a huge deal...Etsy is the website that I use to sell my pieces on-line and it's always cool when someone I don't know actually wants to own something that I made.
- Finally, I participated in an art swap with a few great folks and ended up making a wonderful connection with Cindy Wimmer at Sweet Bead Studio. She has some really cool Reasons to Smile and one of them is a red pendant from my house. That's so cool!
I have to get back to World War II and think of Quesada as I forge new ground in polymer clay doctrine!

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Walk in the Forest

No, I wasn't actually walking in a forest. I'm too afraid of toads and spiders and such. haaaaaaaa

I got a wonderful update today from Beading Daily...and there's "A Walk in the Forest" which is one of my very own designs!! I created it after picking up a wonderful strand of chunky green garnet nuggets. I apparently had pearls out on my table and decided that a great mix of stones, pearls and crystals were in order. So, with a cluster of coolness down in the front, I have this lovely, forest-floor inspired piece!Here's a look at the bracelet that I made to go along with the necklace. I'm not a big fan of being all matchy-matchy, but I really wanted to use some more of that green garnet. Recycled glass, along with some jasper, pearls, and crystals finish it all off.
The projects I've been working on all week, displayed in this week's posts, are part of a challenge that Heather over at Humblebeads put together based on Stringing Magazine's recent "Best of" issue that includes tons of their coolest projects and ideas. This Beading Daily update features this issue of Stringing along with a couple of new projects available for free download...and there's my name on one of them!! I'm so excited!!!!

Click here to go to the site to download a .pdf version of the project: Beading Daily

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blue Rock Special

I'm thinking Air Force...thinking blue! I learned lots about negotiating while spending time in a big blue auditorium. I should be spending time now reading about British air power advocates, but I'm sticking with my own blue adventures right here. :)

For today's challenge in Heather's Fun with Focals week, it's all about the chain. And, not in the chain that goes around your's about adding chain to the main event!

Here's my "Blue Rock Special" necklace!

First, there's a big agate slice. This baby has been sitting in my drawer for ages. I just couldn't figure out how to make it work with other beads. Alas, the chain solution! I used some silver-plated chain to create a couple of loops and added some additional decor with a recycled glass bead, a nice Kazuri clay round and then finished off the bottom with a bit of sodalite. It's not petite, but it sure does the job!!!

My sources:
- Agate slice - Original Beads, in La Villita, San Antonio, Texas
- Kazuri - Off the Beading Path, Occoquan, VA
- Recycled Glass - Happy Mango Beads, on-line
- Chain - Michael's, too close to my house!
- Leather necklace - Rings & Things, on-line

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Let Autumn Ring!

I've had a ton of colored jump rings in my supply stash for ages, just waiting to be called upon for duty in some fantastic design. Luckily today, Day 3 of the Fun Focal challenge, is the day! According to the rules over on the Humblebeads blog, the key to this project: include jump rings in the focal, here she is!

A while back, I walked up to Yvonne Irwin's booth at Beadfest and drooled for about an hour over her MyElements components. She makes these little funky components and the colors and patterns and textures and options were just too much! I ended up with a few handfuls that I've been saving for a special occasion. This evening I had a blast searching through them for the perfect pieces for this necklace. The oranges of these little flowers said, "Hey, we want to be your pretty autumn bits!!" And, I agreed, so they were combined with these great jump rings to create a simple, yet totally fun necklace.

Now that my little flowers and I are finished, I'm off to read about World War I history. Wish me luck. :)

Time to Renew

It's the next day of the Fun Focal challenge and I'm on it! The inspiration today was a bail (the piece that hangs the pendant) made out of fabric, ribbon, or leather.

So, here's my bit of leather that's knotted (which makes me knotty, right?) to form a nice thick bail. I'm highlighting a recycled glass bead from HMB Studios. Heather made these out of old glass bottles and jars. Then, I was thinking "green" and reached for some paper beads. These are imported from Uganda. I picked these up at my fave shop in Occoquan, Off the Beading Path, but you can also find similar free trade sources through the Bead for Life program. Another great source for fantastic paper bead jewelry is my friend, April, and her shop April Mist.

So, get in the spirit of green! Take a deep breath of fresh air and have a fantastic Wednesday!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Poppy

There's a lot of inspiration in my house this morning...
First off, there's a challenge from Heather over at her Humblebeads Blog. She's got us working on creating unique, fun focals using some classic Stringing designs as jumping-off points. The first challenge is based on a design called "Cowgirl" by Teri Bienvenue (from the Summer 2007 issue). If you click on the link you can see the original as well as Heather's cool interpretation.

More importantly, I think of my sweetie husband often. He's currently over in Afghanistan for some training. I've got to turn the thoughts to positive, so how about focusing on the prettiness of the poppies? Lo' and behold I found one of Heather's vibrant red poppy beads in my "special" stash. I keep the "special" ones for special occasions, obviously. :) Plus, I had a nice bunch of my favorite "wacky chunky" discs from Heather at HMB studios in some great red blends. Perfect!
Gotta love a challenge...Enjoy!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall Weather Means a Fall Arts & Craft Show!!

If you're hanging around down in Alabama, you know that we got ourselves some autumn this week...the temperature was 37 this morning and there are actually some leaves blowing around in my yard!

Fall is my favorite season, probably because I grew up with a yard full of big maple trees that made for fantastic piles of leaves. Many thanks to Ma and Pa for all the raking--and then the re-raking after we all ran through the piles over and over.

I have a new reason to love fall here in Alabama, and that's the Spinners' Pumpkin Patch Arts & Crafts Show. If you're down around here this weekend:

Location: Spinners' Park, 6th Street in Prattville, AL
Dates & Times: Saturday, 24 Oct from 9:00 - 5:00 &
Sunday, 25 Oct from 11:00 - 5:00
There's a motorcycle & car show plus lots of activities for kids!

Admission is free!

Come on down and visit...I'll be among nearly 90 vendors...and, if you're not excited by the crafts, you should at least be tempted by the funnel cake! I'm going to have lots of squiggles--think earrings--and some gorgeous clay pendants! Of course, my superfancy pieces will be there, too...something for just about every jewelry-lover's budget. :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Can Frogs Be Cute?

The other day I was at the gas station just doing the normal activity of pumping gas. When I was finished, I got in the car to drive off and looked over towards the passenger side door and saw a frog on my window. Seriously! It was a little green frog just wandering around on the window. I screamed, of course, because frogs are VERY scary. haaaaaaaaaa But then, I couldn't stop laughing. I mean, I'm not in a real nature trail sort of area, just a regular suburban Alabama neighborhood. I never expected to feel like a National Geographic explorer at my local filling station!

Little green frog on my folding pink chair on the back deck...
a scream a laugh every time.

So, all that fuel-pumping craziness aside, I've seen lots of frogs since that day. I guess I'm more aware of them somehow. One of them was staring up at me on my way out the door the other morning. Another scream followed by laughter. It was about a half-inch long...could probably do some damage, you know. haaaaaaaa

In honor of the little meanie greenie on his posh pink background, I worked on a spring piece...

...that features some of my fave glass beads from HMB Studios and Lisa New Designs along with some vintage glass, pearls and stones. I think it's the perfect balance of greenie meanie and slinky pinky! haaaaaaaaa

Why all this talk about frogs? Because there's a giveaway over at Lorelei Eurto's blog! She's working with Green Girl Studios for another Enchanted Adornments giveaway. If you click the link you'll go over to her blog. Lorelei is one of my bead artist mentors...great designs, great photos, and lots of inspiration. So, I want to share her goods with my friends and connections. Mind you, if you win these little froggies and you don't know what to make with them because you're not all bead-y, send them to me and I'll make you up something special!!!

So, can frogs be cute? I think it's still debatable...the scary ones around my house are getting cuter the longer I live here in Alabama. And, these awesome pewter frogs would make something cute, too!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happy Cow Makes for Happy Girl...

It's Art Bead Scene challenge time again and I'm on it! I'm doing just about anything today that will keep me from working on my paper about military headquarters organizations...haaaaaaaaa

Check out this inspiration: It's Piano Playing Cow by Ruby Williams. This wonderful folk artist has more of her work on the Folkvine website.

So, I got hooked on the orange (go figure) and that's where it all started. I was lucky enough to have this huge orange glass disk in my stash that I picked up last year sometime from bead artist Bronwen Heilman of Ghostcow Glassworks. It's perfect for this project! Plus, I have a new addiction to Heather Boardman's "wacky chunky" disks from her HMBStudios shop. So, there were these great bright etched beads that bring in the bright blue and red from the painting just perfectly. I created a simply strung black and white loop to put it all together in the spirit of the piano playing cow!

I finished it all off with some simple leather so you can really focus on these great beads! Hope you enjoy! Now that I'm a happy girl it's time to get back to the schoolwork...and maybe a snack...haaaaaaaaaaaa

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Glass Focal that Rocks...

A couple of weeks ago I was the lucky recipient of a great Patty Lakinsmith lampworked glass bead. It's been nudging at me from the side of my worktable and finally, the other day, I ended up with a wonderfully rock-y piece that, in my opinion, honors this bead perfectly!

When I packed up my workshop in Virginia for the move to Alabama, I had a big container filled with "Projects that need to be Finished." With the help of one of my beading friends, Elisabeth, I took a fresh look at those projects. In amidst them, I found some great green garnet nuggets. The original unfinished masterpiece got finished without them because when I laid them out next to this glass bead I just had to use them! I started digging through my "cool" color drawers of beads looking for more to mix and was pleased and surprised with the results.

So from this gorgeous Patty Lakinsmith bead...
I added the green garnets--including a big nugget--some sodalite to accent the dark blue of the focal's swirls, smoky quartz in a neat bean shape, and finally, kyanite rounds that have an awesome blue/grey tone.

This is one of those necklaces that I'd be tempted to keep, but will put it out for sale in a couple of weeks at the Spinners' Pumpkin Patch Arts & Crafts show on 24 and 25 October...come out and see me!!


It was a great Tuesday with sunshine, cool breezes, and no school, so what better to do than head to the zoo for some inspiration! There were little giraffes and big giraffes along with lots of other great animals at the Montgomery Zoo. My favorites were the spider monkeys...they were running around and playing like crazy monkeys, go figure!

We finished off the visit in the "Australian" section and the warthogs were just so ugly I couldn't stop laughing so this one gave me a mean look.
I got home in the mood to do some "wild" designs and here's a cool piece with a swirly bone bead that matches a swirly silver pendant I made. A little smoky quartz and a polymer Humble Bead and I think it's a simple zoo-worthy piece!


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Charleston, SC, United States
I'm a retiree/artist/student who makes things. It's a nice kind of lifestyle!

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