Friday, December 31, 2010

My New Baby Rebel

My husband came through the holidays with flying colors in the gift department.  Since he's still not back, we skyped and emailed about how we'd celebrate--and made plans for how we'll celebrate together next year.  It's going to be so cool when he gets home in less than 60 days, even if he will still be living three hours away.  Anyway, I digress...

Taking pictures of jewelry has been a complete pain from the beginning of my crafting ventures.  I think I've improved significantly by reading books and taking the advice of my fellow bloggers on how to get the best results from a point-and-shoot camera.  But, I have been more and more enamored, lately, with getting good shots, not just for documenting my craftiness, but for capturing a bit of everything around me.  After spending hours and hours playing with photo editing software and loving (almost) every minute of it, I'm realizing that I need to follow this passion path.  My sweetie understands my need and agreed that we'd add a new Rebel to our family.  After doing lots of comparison shopping, I picked one up on the way home from work the other night, got the battery charged and then started shooting away.  My first random shots around the apartment left me with 113 takes (about 10 worth keeping) and lots of excitement.  I headed over to B&N for some books.  My photographer (and Army aviator) friend, Brad, recommended some books by Scott Kelby, so I've fallen asleep reading the first volume every night.  I'm all about working the macro shot...I still don't know exactly what that means, but I'm excited!  haaaaaaaaa

This is a piece I made up a couple of years ago when I was practicing my wrapped loops (the little things that each of the beads is hanging on) and I've always loved it.  My sister actually wore it a couple of times, but it still hangs around here most of the time as a piece of wall art.  Now, it's blog header art!  It was an overcast day yesterday, so I used that lighting and my black desk to set up a little baby studio for an hour.  I apparently need to dust off the desk!  Brando, my white cat, has his touch of fuzz in most of the pics, too.

I have tons of good post ideas and a resolution to write more, so I guess tomorrow will be a great place to start!  I have tons of bead porn that I can't wait to shoot...and since I'm realizing that my stash has grown a bit too unwieldy, it's also time to share some with destashing in my Etsy shop and some giveaways.  In the meantime, I have to go get a massage to finish off 2010!

Love to all my blog friends and family...and especially to my Rebel daddy, Curtis!  haaaaaaaaa

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

At Ma & Pa's House

I've been missing for a while because it was a frantic week of finishing up taskers at work and then getting packages together to mail out for family across the country...but, now I'm all settled in at my parents' house, relaxing with a cup of coffee, and spending some quality time doing nothing!  Whoooo hooooo!

But, before I really get into doing nothing, I have to share...I recently discovered, well, more like re-discovered, the Bedford County Arts Council here in my hometown.  A couple of months ago, my mom asked me to send some jewelry for the council to consider for consignment.  Well, I went in to see the display and take in a few more pieces yesterday and, man, was I surprised.  In a good way....the shop is really looking fantastic!!!  I just pulled this pic from the shop's website and it really doesn't do it justice, but you can get a taste of the goodness...look at those amazing dyed blouses!

The shop is in one of the historical buildings downtown--The Anderson House, which was built in 1815.

I will go back and snap some pics of the very cool purses that are crafted out of repurposed fabric with vintage brooches.  Or, more likely, I'll soon own one and then take pics!  haaaaaaaa

Anyway, I have to go find some of my mom's cookies so I can get properly fueled for my visit to the gym later.  It's all about balance, right?

Merry Christmas Week!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Zebra Stripes & Shells?


I fell in love with this Donna Millard bead as soon as I saw it.  I just loooooove those stripes and the whole organic feel of it.  I have serious problems when I see her updates--there really isn't any of her work that I don't love and I have to hold myself back because I already have a big stack of them!  I'm just happy that I finally sat down and crafted something up with this one. 

So, how about those little striped shells?  I've never seen anything like them and when a little Happy Mango holiday coupon came out, I did a little splurging.  They're called "Columbilia shells."  I think they're just perfect little zebra striped bits!!  It's all mixed up with amethyst, green garnet, & lava rock rounds along with a couple of HMBStudios lampwork disks.   It has been hard for me to go symmetric, but I really think it was the best thing to do to really feature this bead.  I was able to go asymmetric on the bracelet instead.  haaaaaaaaaaa

I'm off to get these babies posted to Etsy...then if I sell them I can buy some more of Donna's beads!  haaaaaaaaaaa

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Call to Create With Lisa New

I thought I blogged about this already, but apparently not...and, since I'm sitting in Dallas for about six hours, I have time to get some writing in!

During the Love My Art Jewelry (LMAJ) Call to Create for November, I submitted two pieces.  The first was one featuring the LizaJayne bead that I wrote about a week or so ago.  The other one features art glass by Lisa New as the focal piece to a bunch of pink and brown strands.  I'm not normally into multi-strand pieces, but I had just enough of these big pearls to do about six inches.  And, it turned out, I had some tourmaline chips and some brown coral to do just that length, too.  I had a bit of drama when it came to finding a cone that would fit over them and match the antiqued look of the chain.  I figured out a way to use some colored wire to create my own and they worked out perfectly!

Winter Pink Necklace available on Etsy
Apparently this inspiration bead was my lucky charm because I got randomly chosen from the entries to win a massive set of Barbara Lewis beads!  The Call to Create went out in late October with a unique color palette that included the pale pink that I decided to use.  Well, you never know what might come of an entry into something like a minimum it's finding new friends and inspiration.  To actually win the giveaway takes it to a whole new level.  The prize that Barbara generously provided is a set of all the beads from her Autumn Bliss cover piece on the latest issue of Handmade Jewelry:

Now that I'm feeling lucky and have new Hawaiian beads to motivate me even more, I guess it's time to sit down and work with the LMAJ December Call to Create color palette:

Bring on the bright yellow kukui nuts!!  haaaaaaaa

Monday, December 6, 2010

The End of Aloha

It's my last vacation day in Hawaii.  I'm relaxing here in my room overlooking the service entrance to the catering and reveling in the peace of trucks backing up.  The room was a bargain...haaaaaaaaaaaa  I really can't complain, though because I have palm trees swaying right in front of me and the sky is a phenomenal blue.  Oh, and I have powdered sugar all over my lap and computer from the donuts I just had--I did some sort of exercising almost every day, so a few munchkins won't kill me.

Monica and Kyle's wedding was gorgeous.  I cried.  But, I think it was less the joyful emotions and more the extraordinary amounts of fun drinks I had.  haaaaaaaaa  Remember in college when you learned not to mix different types of drinks all in one night?  Well, I apparently needed to remind myself.  Beer, champagne, wine, Mai Tais...all landed me home with a bra full of little orange umbrellas and an entire day lost to a hangover.  Many thanks to my friend, Beth, for keeping me safe and sound.  :)  And to my sweetie, who called from 13.5 hours away and got me at 0730 the next morning.  That was probably a great conversation, but I don't remember it!  haaaaaaaaaaaa

While the wedding was the highlight of the week, a close second was my trip to The Bead Gallery.  I found this shop back in 2008 while visiting with my friends Lauren and Marc.  I couldn't wait to go back and was not disappointed!!  I have all my treats packed up to head home, but will eventually share pics...tons of vintage lucite and plastic flower pieces, some gorgeous pearls, and then just pairs and trios of random beads from all around the store.  They have these little tiny bags of seed beads that are just $1 each, so they're addicting...I think I have at least 20 of them.  Until I get some pics, though, here's a quickie of some cool starflower cactus thingies that we saw while hiking up the trail at Koko Head.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Call to Create with LizaJayne

Creating Handmade with Handmade...the motto of the new (well, relatively new) Love My Art Jewelry blog.

For the month of November (which I can't believe is almost over) the editors threw down a challenge, or rather a Call to Create that's based on Pantone's color forecast for Fall. I've made a few other pieces based on this color palette, but this time I decided to focus on the pale pink.

Why pink in the fall?  Because I found this awesome lampwork focal and there's that pretty pink!  While wandering around Etsy, I searched on "murrini" because I love those little star-flower-pretties and happened upon this bead by Ms. Eliza Zelachowski, at Bead A Little Dream--her LizaJayne Etsy shop

Featuring LizaJayne

 Pink is mixed with a creamy white, bright turquoise, and swirls of earthy chartreuse on this gorgeous little number.  The colors of the bead were all I needed to pull together stones and chain that match and complement it.  For me, that's the most fun part of working with handmade beads--an artist sat down and chose those colors and made them sing.  It becomes my turn to put them into a bit of a chorus, if you will, to make them sing even louder!  So, in the call to create, I used the call of Eliza's creation to be my muse.

As much as I'd like to go sit at my bead table right now and work on some matching earrings or something, instead I'm going to put on my blue polyester pants with matching itchy blue sweater and go serve my country.  I'm down to less than 100 unread emails in my inbox--and I have two days to get them to zero before I leave for vacation!  haaaaaaaaa  Oh, speaking of...I finished the wedding jewelry last night; one thing checked off my list!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Paper, Paper, Everywhere!

With four days off, you'd think I'd be knee deep in new beaded masterpieces...alas, no.  I had lists of things to do:
- Get in touch with old friends--I hate talking on the phone, so I bought a little earpiece thing hoping that I'd find it less annoying.
- Create wedding jewelry for my friend, Monica's, wedding that's next weekend in Hawaii--that's right, I leave on did that come up so quickly??
- Run outside in the crisp, clear weather--I'm down seven pounds (whoo hoo) and it's totally motivating.
- Scrub the kitchen floor since it's been months since the last big clean.
- Find some promotion paperwork buried deep in a file drawer so I can try to get another promotion--maybe I need some new pretty colored file folders?
- Pack up a care package for my honey so he has some love and joy at Christmas.  :)

Alas...none of these things happened. 
Instead, I discovered (or, rather, re-discovered) paper.  
I flippin' love paper.

There was a little tiny link at Art Bead Scene the other day to a tutorial on making paper boxes.  Well, that little link, combined with my overwhelming urge to use "doorbuster" coupons at Michael's and JoAnn's means that hours and hours were lost to folding...

The best part about this whole venture?  I don't have any reason to have all these boxes!!!!  What am I going to do with them?!  haaaaaaaaaaa  Sure, I could use some for packaging my own little gems and baubles, but I need hundreds of them?

I stayed up late digging through this stack of paper pads (which is only a small portion of the whole selectcion) and decided to make little stacks of "nesting" boxes.  For what?  I don't know.  I just think they're cool.  Be ready,'s pretty apparent what you're getting from Jen this year!  haaaaaaaaaa  Then you can figure out what to do with them!

I haven't even mentioned the card "festival" I had on Thanksgiving day...if I could take some dang decent pictures of them, you'd see them, but I've almost got myself convinced that I need a new camera....haaaaaaaaa

On that note...THANKS!  I'm thankful for having the time to procrastinate and play with paper all day.  I'm thankful for friends and family who understand my need to procrastinate and play with paper all day.  Oh, and, Curtis...your package is almost done!  :)  Love you!  Jen

Monday, November 15, 2010

Corsage Cuffs...My Version

Thanks for all the lovely comments on my jewelry swap post!  I'm glad you liked the cuff with the big flower...I absolutely loved it, so that became my motivation to grow a bit of a garden on my beading table.  I found a good source for the brass cuffs and bought more than I really need, so I got my vintage metal flower action on!

The simple golden tone of the brass works so well with the mixed metal and vintage enameled flower petals!  I dug around and found all sorts of bead caps and other scrapbooking flower thingies to use.  Some thin copper wire wraps the flower onto the bracelet and keeps it in place.  I did a quick coat of spray lacquer to, hopefully, keep the brass shiny and reduce oxidation.

And here's the rest of the far.  Yes, it probably could be a Spring thing, but I am loving these no matter how cold it gets outside!

I'm going to experiment with some paint markers on the brass...there were some inspirations in the last issue of Handcrafted Jewelry.  I went through to rip out project to save and ended up with more than half of the magazine.  Now my kitchen counter is a mess of painted towels, paint pens, spray bottles, and little bits of things to paint.  I'll be lucky if I don't jack up the garbage disposal with some little bead or bead cap.  I'll keep you posted on my experiments.  :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Little Swaparoo Treasure

My latest beady-jewelry challenge was a jewelry swap hosted by Ms. Lori Anderson.  Instead of the usual "bead soup" of loose beads and findings, this time we swapped pieces of finished jewelry.  This allowed for a little digging through old or not-so-successful designs.  I have plenty of oddball pieces in a container called "Tear Apart and Start Over" so it wasn't hard for me to find one to share.  My partner in this little venture is Ms. Erin Prais-Hintz of Treasure's Found.  Her blog is always full of inspiration and gorgeous designs, so I was thrilled to see what she might share.  Since I wasn't focused on what I was doing, I forgot to take a picture of the piece she sent, but the basics are:  asymmetric multi-strand necklace with sterling silver tubes, purple pearls, and a big Thai silver floral focal.

After I tore it all apart and made little piles of all the different pieces and beads, I got down to business on a new necklace.  I chose a big lampwork glass focal by Kay Bolden, a local artisan from here around Hampton.  The pretty purple in the glass worked perfectly with the purple pearls from Erin. I added some lemon quartz, shimmery blue moonstone, and a few green Swarovski pearls along with the sterling silver tubes to create an asymmetric multi-strand piece finished off with a little brown leather.

I call it "Lavender & Lemon" and wore it out on Friday feels good.  Not too heavy. 

Since I still had more beads in my little piles, I went on ahead with some memory wire and strung up a matching bracelet.  The Thai silver beads from Erin's piece worked perfectly.

And last but not least, I wanted to do something cool with that big focal and a brass cuff blank served as the perfect base.  I finished off the purple pearl pile along with some silver wire to string the flower and create a mixed metal bracelet.

The rest of the artists in this swap have blogs worth checking's a list!

Erin Prais-Hintz
Johanna Rhodes
Laurel Steven
Loretta Carstensen
Lori Anderson
Mallory Hoffman
Marianna Boylan
Norma Turvey
Sharon Misuraco
Stacey Curry
Tyne Bodenburg

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Celebrate Freedom--Go Hug A Veteran...

Celebrations are the theme of the Art Bead Scene Carnival this month and I can think of tons of things to celebrate, but none quite as important as Veteran's Day--the 11th of November.  Of course I take it a little personally because of my own uniformed life, but there are a ton of folks out there who are doing things a lot more challenging than managing email (my normal focus) to ensure that as Americans we can go about our daily lives with the rights that we enjoy.

I can worship--or not worship--the way I want. 
I can argue with my crazy conservative friends about U.S. policies without threat.
I can vote for the folks who represent my ideals.
I can walk down the street wearing what I want, whenever I want.
I can sing songs in the cubicle where I can work for a living.

There are folks out there in the world who can't do these things, so I appreciate my friends and family who are part of a larger cause.  And, whether you think our missions are right or wrong you can't fault the commitment of those who give their days, years, and even lives to protecting the fundamental freedoms that we enjoy. 

Since this is a bead-related post...I'm going to encourage freedom through creative expression and shopping with a few links to some beads that make me think of the blue sky where we daily Aim High.  :)

Irridescent Blue-Black Lampwork from Paulina's Bead Shop

Gyrate Lampwork Focal from Flaming Fools

Blue Velvet Lampwork from Emmylou Beads
On that note, I'm going to proudly put on my camouflage and boots and get to work...even if it's email and meetings, taking care of Air Force people is what I try to do everyday and that's pretty important.  :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Change of Command

I just have to send a little shout out to my husband who had a memorable day today as he finished his tour in Kapisa with his change of command.  I'm so proud!!!  I love you, Curtis!!

The commander of Provincial Reconstruction Team Kapisa, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Curtis Velasquez, talks with the sub-governer of Koh band District, Afghanistan, about future projects for the PRT and the future of the region. The PRT routinely performs missions throughout Kapisa to interact and engage with local leaders. The PRT's mission is to stabilize the region by enabling local governments to care for, educate, employ and protect their people through the construction of basic infrastructure and mentorship.

He's not headed home quite yet...a couple more months doing some staff work and reports about the last year.  Then he'll be headed to D.C...yes, that's not where I live, so we'll have a bit of a love-commute.  Luckily he likes to drive!  haaaaaaaaaaaa

If you're interested, here's a link to a Photo Essay on some Kapisa operations.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Lap is on Fire...

....because this laptop is burnin' up some photo editing:

The Capitol

I think I might have to print and see what it looks like.  When I first look at the colors in the sky it feels like they're pulling on my eyes...then the cool green settles them down.  Who would've thought you could actually feel a picture like that?

There are some more Capitol pics that I played with out in my Flickr album...let me know what you think!

Steampunk Soft Flex Stalking: PointyKitty

I was out wandering the Internet looking for goodness and came across the Soft Flex "Flex Your Creativity Beading Contest"'s time to vote on the finalists!  The theme this year was "Steampunk" which is kind of a cool take on components...rough and strong are used to reflect beauty and intelligence.  Most steampunk pieces feature gears, watch components, hardware, keys and other antique or aged bits and bobs turned into one-of-kind, handmade, multimedia creations.

I'm not honestly a huge fan of the steampunk style, but am always interested to see the latest and greatest, so I checked out the entries.  I know some of my friends and fellow bloggers have entries in there, which are all very cool...but, my favorite piece is this one by Alyska Bailey Peterson.  The mixed metal tones are the best part.  It makes me want to go bust out my base metal beads and wire and get something going.

"The Last Ten Minutes of the Lost City"

There's more to the story, though...I got permission to show this picture.  The funny thing, though, is that the entries only have the name of the piece and the artis.  So, I had to go on a bead stalking adventure to find out more about this girl and her work! haaaaaaa

Hence, I found her website at Pointykitty Studios.  That name just cracks me up!!!  Plus, there are more designs in her Pointykitty Studios Etsy shop.  When I contacted her to admit my stalking, she was sweet...apparently she has plans for a larger steampunk line, but they sell before she can photograph them and list them.  Wouldn't I love to have that problem!?  haaaaaaaaaa

So, I'm sharing my new finds as well as encouraging you to check out the other candidates in the Soft Flex contest because there weren't very many votes out there (which I can tell because after I voted, it reports the numbers for each piece.)  So, click here and go check them out.  I'd love to here what you think...or if you have a design out there, share a link!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bring on the Shaterra

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to win the Art Bead Scene drawing in the September Challenge.  I didn't realize how lucky, though, until I redeemed the gift certificate for Shaterra Clay Studio.  Sharleen Newland's ceramic pendants are FANTASTIC!  I've had them out on my kitchen counter just so I could see them when I walked by...I even took them into my local bead shop so we could all oooohhhh and ahhhhh over them.  If you want to see more, check out her blog and then skip on over to her website.  I have a lot of them on my Etsy fave's too hard to pick just one.

I was motivated by my latest adventures with the Pantone Fall 2010 Color Report to bring out the "Golden Glow" and when I was looking through my stash, this donut was absolutely the perfect piece of goldness with a glowing raku finish. 

In addition to the Shaterra donut, I used some lampwork rounds from Loupiac de Gatteville and a ceramic round by Natalie Pappas from NKPBeads.  It has been a while since I went asymmetric, so I like how the art beads are balanced.

On that note, I'll send a little shout out to my friends on the Beads of Clay blog...I feel like they've opened up a whole new world of art beads that come from earthen clay.  Many thanks, Sharleen!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

More Pantone & - Woodbine This Time

Woodbine. Or, in other words, Army Green. You'd think I'd see enough khaki in my day to day military job, but with our latest Air Force uniforms, it's more of a dull gray than anything that would keep you hidden in a forest. So, back to pretty...Woodbine. This is Pantone's green in their Fall 2010 Color Report. Some freshwater pearls in a pretty olive color were my pick...

I went with shiny copper wire to create a funky little bracelet with tons of wire wrapping--I had to practice to be imprecise.  I adore little bangles and this design was fun and quick, so I see more of them on the horizon...there are lots of pearls out there!

Disclosure...As a parter in the Designers program, I received the olive freshwater pearls free of charge. I've been asked to review these products and give my honest opinion of the products...positive or negative. I am not being compensated by for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received and reviewed.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pantone's Fall & Living Coral

As a parter in's blogging program, I was lucky enough to help celebrate the season with the latest hot colors according to the Pantone's Color Report for Fall 2010 in the Colors of Fall challenge.

I love they way Pantone describes the can taste, touch, and smell them...not just see them. 

Let me start with orange...okay, it's not really orange, it's Living Coral which is a "softer, more inviting orange with a hint of pink undertone."  How about an "accent in Tangerine?"  It's a "spirited color with an energizing effect."  Love it!!!  I started with a little pile of coral Swarovski pearls.  I wasn't really sure about the sheen and finish on them when I first opened my package, but the matte shine and richness grew on me...uh, I guess I felt the spirit and the energizing effect.

I dug out some memory wire and went for overload!  I often feel like I need Tim Gunn looking over my shoulder encouraging editing...but, this is one case where I threw him out the window and put on whatever I wanted.  There are some green Swarovski pearls that add another texture and then some olivine Swarovski crystals.  Oh, I threw in some purple, too, just 'cause I like it.

From there it was all art beads...all the time...coral-based lampwork rounds from Libelula Designs and perfectly colored lampwork disks from HMB Studios.

Since I started this time with the bracelet--usually the necklace comes first in my brain's processing--I kept my art bead groove on for the necklace.

In addition to the lampwork disks and rounds, I pulled out a little ceramic goodness that I picked up a few weeks ago at Art on the Avenue in the Del Ray section of Alexandria, Virginia.  Curt, my sweetie husband, was the perfect art festival companion...he let me shop and browse and shop some more as long as he got yummy festival snacks!  haaaaaaaaa  This gorgeous pendant is from Ceramic's signed on the back by Olivia with an '03 date.  She said it was one of her first pendant pieces, so I felt like I found a little treasure in her bowl of pendants and shards.

Disclosure...As a parter in the Designers program, I received the coral Swarovski pearls free of charge. I've been asked to review these products and give my honest opinion of the products...positive or negative. I am not being compensated by for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received and reviewed.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Okay, it's a rooster...but, still, he has to get across for some reason...

To shop at a cute little bead shop in Occoquan, Virginia, for a ton of pretty things
To demonstrate a perfect Project Runway walk.  (Mondo kicks ass!)
To get out of my sister's driveway so he doesn't get run over. (Like one of his relatives.)
Maybe it was just to get to the other side and get on with his day.  :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Orange You Glad It's Autumn?

I sure am! haaaaaaaaaa Mind you, it's 90 degrees out, so it's not exactly feeling like it's supposed to, but I'll take it. I had a chance to visit with my four favorite little nephews, Steven, Kevin, Liam & Austin. They are so fun to be around, but make me appreciate my livealoneness since I actually get some peace and quiet once in a while, unlike my siblings.

I cut pumpkins up into jack-o-lanterns with Kevin, whose favorite part was the "brain" that came dripping out of the eye. He's a kindergartner, so I guess that's just how it is. From out there in the driveway working, there's a view of a small maple in the yard that's just about on fire with yellow-gold-orange-redness.  Gorgeous!!

My friend, Jason, just gave me the greatest fall news...there's a marching band competition in Norfolk this weekend!!!  haaaaaaaaa  As a former Syracuse drum major, he's more of a bandcamp nerd than I am, so we've already got our plans together for geeking out with some kickass drumlines!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cider Spirited Bracelets

Last week during an Etsy shopping spree, I found some lovely big ceramic beads by Natalie Pappas of NKPBeads...she called them "apple crunching raku" which is just down the autumn-y leaf-strewn street in my mind.  Rolling them around in my hands, I perused my random stash and found some cool pieces with big enough holes to fit on some bigger wire...the faceted golden glass is new from Kansas City and the little brass starburst thingies are sooooo cool!  I've been waiting for the perfect reason to use them.

So, here are my two bits of bling that are channeling the spirit of apples and cider and all the cinnamon goodness wandering through my mind!

Aren't those big green raku beads amazing!

And, here's a few more of them combined with some brighter red wooden beads and some HMBStudios glass "green apple" of course!  haaaaaaaaaa

I'm all prepped now for my trip to Pennsylvania.  But, in the meantime,...these bracelets are both available in ye olde Etsy shop

Monday, October 4, 2010

Boys--A Great Reason for a Blog Break

Well, it's just one boy...and one boy cat.  :)

I've been off the blog for a while because my sweet husband, Curtis, has been home for a while on his R&R leave.  We've had lots of good time to catch up and lounge around together--since we've been married we've only really spent about two weeks in the same house, so it has been wonderful to have him here.  But, alas, he leaves again this week for another four months of his Afghan adventure. 

His kitty, Brando, was happy to have him home, too...can't you see the joy on his little one-eyed face!  haaaaaaaa

It hasn't all been just the two of us holed up here in the apartment...there has been some on-the-road adventures...and some beads.  We went out to Kansas City and had a wonderful visit with his family.  It was a quick trip, but we got to catch up with his Mom, Dad, brothers, sisters, and some fun nephews.  Plus, I was able to get the girls to stop into a couple of bead shops around the city--I have some serious goodness to share later on. 

The amazing discovery of the trip wasn't the bead shops, though, it was frozen margarita popsicles called Shark Attack Margaritas!!!  They're like those freezie juice things that you buy in a plastic sheath as liquid and then freeze.  They're only available in Kansas and Missouri at the moment, but watch out...they are awesome! 

I'm trying to get myself some projects set up for when my sweetie's gone and I get all sad and lonely...
- Teaching at Bead Haven on the 16th & 17th, so if you're around here in Hampton, come on down and get your beadin' learn on. 
- I'm in a jewelry swap courtesy of the greatest group moderator, Lori Anderson...I'm paired with Ms. Erin Prais-Hintz,designer extraordinaire.  We get to send each other a piece of finished jewelry from our stash--one that's okay, but just not awesome--and then tear them up and remake them into something new.
- I'm off to my cousin, Jacey's, wedding in Pennsylvania next weekend--I'll share the pretties that I contributed to her event afterwards when I have the full complement of pics.
- Oh, and there's the Fall Foliage festival back in my hometown...think orange & yellow leaves all over the place, the sound of a cider press, and the smell of funnel cakes. 
- I guess I should think working out, not funnel cakes...oh well!!  haaaaaaaaaa

Monday, September 27, 2010

Love. Art. Jewelry. 'Nuf Said


It's one word that makes me happy, so here's a toast (and a link) to a new blog called Love My Art Jewelry.  There are some familiar faces and familiar pieces, so whether you're in the market for components to make your own or you want a totally unique handmade piece, this is a blog to check out.

Oh, and there's a giveaway involved, which is always a good thing.  haaaaaaaaaa

While I'm here, I want to send a shout out to Julianna Cannon, aka Juls, who is one of the artisans featured on the new site.  She made this stack of lovelies:

They're still here in the kitchen just 'cause they're sooooo pretty!

My sweetie's home for just a couple of days, so not much bead action for me...but that's a good thing!!!  haaaaaaaaaaa

Sunday, September 26, 2010

ABS Challenge - Persia in September

The work of art that the Art Bead Scene folks picked out this month for inspiration in their challenge is a work called "Persia" by George Barbier.  I focused on the orange of the lovely robe for my art beads this month and came up with this set...

Persia Challenge Collage

There are a few different artists represented in these pieces:
A set of Brendan Blake lampwork beads called "Orange Violet Pebbles,"
some lampwork discs from HMB Studios, and
enameled beads and bead caps from SueBeads.

For some reason, I just can't get enough of this antiqued brass looking metal.  So, I splurged on some Vintaj leafy branches to round out this look--love them on the earrings.  Plus, I'm not a big user of beadcaps, but I love the effect of these little brass floral ends.

I used spiny oyster, vintage brass, and random orange stone rondelles and rounds to finish the long necklace.  Then more of the same on memory wire (my personal addiction), with some tourmaline nuggets--it took a while to separate out the purples from the rest, but it was worth it.

Feel free to shop...this one just got listed in my Etsy:  jenjuddrocks

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Screaming in Barnes & Noble

I thought this October issue of Bead Trends would be out soon, so yesterday morning I strolled into B&N to check and there it was!!!  Big as ever...with my earring design on the COVER!!!  haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa  I screamed and laughed and then ran to the counter to thumb through it while waiting for my pumpkin spice latte (with skim milk, no whip, for my weight-watcher supporting friends...haaaaaaaa).  I was so wound up that I practically threw the money at the lovely girl ringing me up and then buzzed away from the counter.  Yes, without my coffee.  I was over at the DVD section paying for the season of CHiPs that I had to have (because my friend Brandee--also known as "Kelly"--and I--also known as "Susie"--used to actually live out our own episodes of the show with our boyfriends, Ponch and John; until we caught them cheating on us!) and I realized as I was telling this poor checkout guy about my magazine cover that I didn't have my coffee.  Another screaming laugh and I ran back to the other side of the store and there it was patiently waiting for me.

There were only two copies, so I got one and then my bead-store-owning bud, Joanne, went over and got the other.  We were giddy all day...including through a totally awesome class I taught all afternoon!  (More on that later...memory wire is all that.)

I have to give a little a little shout out to Forest Flower Jewelry--that's where those lovely leaves came from.  I picked them up a couple of years ago at the Occoquan, Virginia, Arts & Crafts Show.  You can find all sorts of pressed flower & leave pieces at their website.

I'm off to have some home-brewed pumpkin spiced coffee, work on my first nap of the day, and get some beading on.  Happy Autumn!!!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Credit River Nut

Well, it's actually an acorn, but I think the word "nut" is funnier.  And, even though it looks natural, it's a handmade work of art from Julie Nordine's Credit River Art Glass.  This little piece of glass and copper goodness that came in the mail today is just the most wonderful thing to appear on this Monday!

This is Julie's photo from her Etsy shop...this is the actual nut that's
on my kitchen counter--but the lighting in my
apartment is so crappy I can't get any good photos myself.  :)
For me, Mondays are all about itchy uniform shirts and getting back in the swing of overwhelming amounts of email after a relaxing weekend.  But, the cooler weather and refreshing sunshine makes me so happy...autumn is absolutely my favorite time of the year.  I lost my mind (in a good way) the other day with all the cinnamon candles, pumpkin spiced coffee, and orange everywhere while shopping!  That smell is unbeatable.  Throw in some crunchy leaves and I'm hooked.  I'm immediately transported back to my huge yard at the house where I grew up on Juliana Street with the trails and mazes we'd make out of the huge piles of leaves, much to my raking parents' dismay.  As soon as they could get them in piles, we'd make sure they were spread back out.  I know my mom and dad will read this and remember that I've always been such a super helpful daughter!  haaaaaaaaaaaa

Anyway, back to the nut...and my original Bead Soup partner, Julie Nordine who I met back in the party in February.  She's been off the blog scene for a while getting her production and sales on, so I was thrilled when she celebrated a big Beadwork feature by putting some of her latest work in her Etsy shop.  If you're in the mood for some gorgeous organic glasswork combined with wonderful etched copper...Julie's your girl.

She etches these cool copper leaves that work beautifully
with the acorns...and she sent me one to work with!! 
I'm going to end up keeping it for myself, I just know it.
Julie's also filling up the galleries on her website with more photos, including a designer gallery.  She's including this piece from our Bead Soup swap that I crafted out of her artisan glass and copper bits...

Thank you, Julie, for the nutty treasures and the wonderful autumn sensations.  :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pic Me Up: Shutter Up? Never!!

I had a little more fun with Picnik after a recent Yorktown trip.  Looooove these pretty blue shutters in just a plain old picture, but with the funky photo tools, I love them even more and just want to share!

Yorktown Shutters OriginalYorktown Shutters 5Yorktown Shutters 2
Yorktown Shutters 3

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Luscious Lori Lochner...

It's amazing how excited I get over little pieces of glass.  But, they're more than that...they're sweet little hand-made wonders!  I got a couple of new beads in the mail today from two artists I haven't seen before, but I'll share more on them later.  For now, I want to go back a ways to an Etsy purchase I made ages ago from lampwork artist Lori Lochner.  It's just a gorgeous, big, bold bead that made it's way onto my worktable. 

The vein of blue through the soft floral patterns called for this great shape of blue apatite.  Then, a bunch of pretty oranges--ceramics and stones rounded out the color picture.  I've been trying new methods for creating bails and I just love the way this leather piece turned out.  The continuation of the leather around back finishes up the design.

Of course, I had to move onto bracelet land with my memory wire at hand...lots more apatite, this time little faceted beads, along with ceramics, stones, and a few HMB Studios glass discs to complement the big glass focal.

I just listed the whole set in my Etsy shop...even threw in a little pair of coordinating earrings.  :)


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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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