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

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