Saturday, March 26, 2011

Art Bead Scene Challenge - Some Tahiti for Your Wrist

I made some time this month to focus on a project for the Art Bead Scene Monthly Challenge.  The inspiration piece is this painting called Nave Nave Moe (Sacred Spring, Sweet Dreams) by Paul Gauguin, 1894.  According to the ABS's notes, Gauguin moved to Tahiti in the late 1800's looking for inspiration from the local culture.  This painting is an example of his work from that period.

The ABS editors pulled a palette out of the lusciously vibrant yet at the same time soft colors.  To get my own inspiration, I took a few minutes and just focused on the painting and tried to capture how it made me feel and what drew my attention the most.  I was really drawn to the red.  The spirited brightness is where I'm drawn to first, but then I noticed that I was really drawn to the red and pink together. The pink is smooth and soothing and just earthy-pretty.  The internal question for me at this point was, "uh, what about the whole cool beautiful blue and green of the fields?"  I'm realizing that since I haven't been beading all that much lately, I'm not really focusing on a favorite color or palette...think orange...but am open to different hues and combinations.  It's a little color breakthrough!  haaaaaaaaaaaa  

On that note, I went for the vibrancy of the pink and brought in the green--it's just a great complementary combination.  

As for my art beads...there are lots combined in here for a little mini wrist-gallery:

- The lampworked glass bicone focal of the group is by Catherine Steele at Art With Heart.  I found these during my Bead Soup shopping spree and I looooove them.  These are the kind of hoard-worthy beads that you put under your pillow and keep forever.
- The enameled greeny round is by Barbara Lewis of Painting With Fire.  In just two weeks I get to meet Barbara and take her enameling class up at Bead Fest Wire in Philly.  I've always been a fan of her work and got super-lucky a few months ago when I won a giveaway at Love My Art Jewelry and got the whole batch of beads that were featured on the cover of Handcrafted Jewelry in the fall.
- The enameled speckled oval is by Anne Lichtenstein of Gardanne Beads.  They're so springy!
- The lampworked glass disks are by Heather Boardman from HMB Studios.  I have tons of these in tons of colors.  They're so pretty in little piles that I like having lots of them in my stash.

All of these little works of art are combined on memory wire with rubber tubing...apparently my new favorite design...for this bangle.  There are a few Swarvoski crystals, some pink dyed wood, and some greenish seedbeads and random stones to finish balancing the color.

I've gotten lots of questions about where I get the rubber tubing.  I get it at my local bead shop, Bead Haven.  It's Beadsmith Rubber Tubing--I'm going to tell Joanne to put some out on the Bead Haven shopping site.

The rest of the monthly challenge entries are out in the ABS Flickr Group.  It's always cool to see how different people take the inspiration and run with it!  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Marcie, Margie, & Me

My first Margie & Me project.  Sure, it happened by accident, but apparently serendipity is in my creative corner lately so I'm just going to go with it!  I often wonder if things just pop out of my mind by themselves or if I picked up the ideas while wandering around and they went into little parts of my brain and even though I don't really know they're there, they appear somehow either on my worktable in wire or beads or even in my day job solving problems and doing lots of paperwork to document solving those problems...even bureaucracy benefits from creativity once in a while. 

Anyway, Marcie posted a sweet compliment yesterday and pointed out my recent bracelet and how it is perfectly in line with this month's Margie & Me challenge.  

The main color for March is yellow... 
Marcie used this Van Gogh painting to pull a palette together for inspiration:

See?  It's my glass bead festivus on memory wire!  There are other details about the challenge and the color inspirations over on this post from Marcie

Another cool thing about my blog relationship with Marcie is that this month I have a pair of earrings in the spring issue of Stringing feature a set of her beaded YELLOW!

Yeah, I know I posted about all these before, but now I'm looking around for yellows and it's just too cool to have this link with another creative mind like Marcie's!!!!  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tulips and Boys

I went picniking last night with this photo.  I was just taking some shots on Sunday afternoon as Curt was getting ready to hit the road and drive back to his house in the big city.  The cat was all sad watching him tie his shoes.  But, there were these gorgeous tulips on the counter that distracted me.  He brought them back after washing my car earlier in the weekend.  How awesome is that?  He even vacuumed the inside!  My french fry and crumb collection has been destroyed, but I can live with that.

Anyway, I finally downloaded Photoshop Elements, but I haven't figured out how to work it yet, so in the interests of lowering my stress from a long day rather than adding to it, I went to Picnik to play.

I can't decide if I love this pic, but I know I like it.  The foreground/background differences are cool!

I know it's supposed to be Bead Table Wednesday, but I am dealing with "real work" Wednesday and have to run off and get ready for work and staff meetings and dozens of emails and random bureaucratic crises.  Another day in paradise!  haaaaaaaaa At least I know there's a weekend in my near future!  

Monday, March 21, 2011

Squiggles + Resin = Awesome

I've had this 2-part resin sitting here in the kitchen for weeks.  It was there next to the sad little bezels that were waiting to be made into something interesting.  I've been thinking multi-media lately and wanted to come up with something really interesting and unique  But, there's so much potential "stuff" to put into the resin that I was feeling a little lost.  Last night, though, I had a breakthrough.  Next to the resin and the empty bezels I had a tray filled with some practice steel wire squiggles that I'm planning to use for links and whathaveyou.  It became obvious right then that one of those little squiggles would be just right for the bezel and then I could get a nice three-dimensional look with the resin.  


My new cool results...

I ended up with a couple of overflows and a couple of air bubbles...those will be my pendant to work with.  Overall, though, I'm thrilled and now I have to go find some more bezels to cheer up with my squiggles!

I put the good ones into my Etsy shop.  :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Art Beads, Memory Wire & Rubber

I have been on an art bead high lately...that's what it's like when you go on an Etsy spree and start buying beads you don't need and then you get tons of little packages in the mail.  It's such a rush!

To help me deal with that addiction and actually give me some justification to do more "support of other artists" I finally sat down to make something.  Memory wire and rubber tubing are two of my favorite things right now.  I just love how easy it is to create something fun and dramatic so quickly.  I have two designs to share...

First, this is a springy piece in honor of the coming season.  I actually have a lot of purple and yellow beads and didn't really think about it until I started looking.  The lead bead in this batch is the etched rondelle from Cherie R. and then the others fell in line:  a disc from HMB Studios, a big rondelle from Libelula, and two shades of purple from SueBeads.  I threw in some bright yellow Swarovski crystal and some purple coils to keep things interesting.  The brown rubber tubing makes it look like leather, but then you get faked out because it just wraps around your wrist without a clasp and stays there!  

The second one has a different, more serious, vibe.  The chartreuse-based lampwork from Julsbeads gets mixed with a speckled enameled oval from GardanneBeads for the focal grouping on this one.  I used some cool heishi pearls from a recent trunk show over at Bead Haven along with black rubber tubing to fill in the blanks.  It's just the right balance of beads for a bangle.

I put these both for sale out on my Etsy site.  :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring Flowers on my Bead Table

I went in to look at my bead table and see what I could post about for Bead Table Wednesday, but it was too hard to see beads because there's a big cookie sheet filled with paper flowers on top of everything!  Last weekend I had a little burst of energy...not enough to get up off the couch, but enough that I wanted to make something.  So, I grabbed the big containers of paper flowers that I've accumulated along with some of the scrapbooking embellishments I've had for years.  After a couple of hours with DVR'd TV I ended up with a huge garden of pretty paper goodness!!  I don't know what exactly I'll do with them...I'm thinking more paper boxes.  Creating for a purpose is not my strong suite. haaaaaaaa

Oh, these flowers just reminded me of a funny from the other day.  I had lunch with my friend, Jeff.  He's an Air Force officer like me and we've known each other for years and worked on a lot of huge manpower reduction issues together at Big Air Force back then.  We could solve all the problems if people would just take our advice, I'm sure...haaaaaaaaa  Anyway, we ate at the cafeteria over at the NASA side of Langley Air Force Base--I call it the NASAteria--where we eat at least once a week.  While walking back to his office he feels the need to point out the flowers that have burst out around his office.  They were yellow and I couldn't remember what they were called (because my mind was addled by the sugar rush from the whip cream on the cafeteria-style banana cream pie) so he quickly responded "Daffodil" when I asked.  I burst out laughing at his 6'5" bald tough guy look with the details of springtime flora at the top of his mind.  It was just so incongruent...made me laugh all afternoon thinking about it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Think back to January has been a while.  I'm having trouble remembering where I lived back then.  I think it was here in Virginia, but back in my townhouse...the one with the giant mortgage that I'll never get rid of!  haaaaaaaaa  Anyway, that townhouse also happened to have a huge basement where I could spread out all my wire and beads and paper and goods.  Eventually I'll move back up there, but I guess this time I'll have to give Curt half the room.  I guess I'll manage

Back in 2009, I posted about the Daring Squiggle necklace project that was my very first published piece.  I was beyond thrilled at the time...and now I get to revisit that good feeling with a new eBook that Interweave just published that features 10 of these 5-minute jewelry projects.

I actually have the necklace hanging in my kitchen as part of my decor because it has a lot of positive energy and that's always a good thing.  

A quick flip through the pages of this little eBook reminded me that it's not about all that fancy and ornateness all the time...sometimes the perfect piece is just a bend of wire from being a perfect accoutrement to an otherwise uneventful day.

I wish I had the energy to go bend some wire.  Maybe this weekend will be a big craft-time...tonight I just want to hold my aching head, lay on the couch and listen to the rain.  (I'm sure I'll be up in a few minutes doing something, but it's nice to imagine just laying and listening to rain...haaaaaaaaa)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Twelfth Floor Baltimore

Just sharing a pic this Wednesday evening.  
It has been a long day and this picture makes me happy.

I took this shot up in Baltimore when Curt & I were at the Hotel Monaco.  This shot is of part of the bench and carpet out by the elevators on our floor.  

It made me smile every time we walked by because it's just such a cool vignette.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Soup's Pocketbook Effect

The Bead Soup Blog Party posted two Saturdays ago, but I'm still getting through all the blogs.  It's like being at a big fiesta with a lot of people that share common interests and obsessions, so it takes a while to get through reading about new people and making fun connections.

In the process, I keep finding cool new sources for beads and components.  Hence, the "Pocketbook Effect" of the Soup...through all these new blogs I've found a few new bead sources and gone back to some old friends.  I got a bunch of packages in the mail today which made my crazy workaday Monday so much better!

Here's some bead porn...enjoy!

These gorgeous organic diamondy bicones from Artwithheart came in the mail today.
I am absolutely in love.

I saw one of these beaded toggles on Maggie's Soup design, 
so I headed on over to MadMaggieDesigns and picked one up.

This great color combo had me at "hello" when I
skipped upon GlassBeadArt.

My 'Bama girl Juliana's Julsbeads shop had some chartreuse
going on that I couldn't resist

I was strangely attracted to these beads 
called "Strange Attractions" from AnnesGlassJewels.

 This Richard Ronsick pretty from RonsickOriginals came in the mail
today and it's cool from all angles.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dorks & Champagne

I haven't been out and about in blog and crafty land much lately but it's for a good reason...
My husband is home!

We had a fantastic weekend in Baltimore when after he arrived at BWI.  We stayed at the Hotel Monaco which is just gorgeous in and of itself and even moreso when there's a man in a zebra robe with a bottle of champagne ready!      

We're not going to be living in the same place for at least another year or so, but at least he's only a few hours away now.  He was here this weekend and I got him to help with some more copper etching experiments.  He's sort of a dork, so he was excited with all the acid and chemical reactions and such.  He became very skilled with the steel wool and even oooohd and aaaaahd at the right times when I started playing with a torch and different heat effects.  

Add that to the fact that we take a traveling Scrabble out with us and play at bars and restaurants and you'll understand that we are both dorks.  I guess that's how we ended up together.  haaaaaaaaa  p.s. I usually beat him at Scrabble.  :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Rockstars in the Garden

The Spring issue of Stringing came out and I was thrilled to see a few things in there that I forgot about!  Along with a ton of wonderful designs and an overall new magazine layout--which I'm still getting used to--there are a couple of pieces in there from my very own work table!

I want to share these little earrings because they feature beaded beads from my sweet friend, Marcie, at La Bella Joya.  She spends most of her time working amazing seed bead work but went through a little stint of beaded beads that I couldn't pass up.  I posted on them originally last summer.

I have lots more to say about this issue, but I have to go to work and do some analysis of how we can RIF (reduction in force) a lot of people.  It's not all that pleasant work.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Blue Giveaway Winner!

Okay, so I was supposed to pick a winner on Monday.  I have a good excuse as to why I husband's home!  Having him back threw my normal world into a little bit of a spin, so the beads and blog and all that took a back seat.  I'll write more about him and some of the wonderful things he sent me throughout the year--think shiny and faceted!

Anyway...the blues are headed to


Awesome graphic from Kate's blog!
I used the random number generator to pick.
Kate says she has a bunch of sari ribbon on the way, too, so I can't wait to see what she comes up with. 
Plus, I browsed around her blog a bit and found lots of cool polymer clay beads and bangles and baubles!


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About Me

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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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