Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Brief Intermission


The next few days will be internet-less for me (gasp horror!!!!).  I'll be back in my hometown to help my mom as she undergoes some surgery - planned, but still should have her out of commission for a few days.

So I'm packing up my seeds and my needles and a few extra prayers and hitting the road.  Y'all behave yourselves (well, as much as any of us ever behave!), and I look forward to catching up on all your creativity and wit when I return next week.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sourcing Materials

blurry photo, taken before the vendor could give me the stinkeye
Did I ever tell y'all that my day job involves persuasive writing?  One of the results of this professional reality is that I can find ways to sling the BS rephrase things to sound as attractive or positive as possible.

So this weekend, I went sourcing materials, which was really a thinly veiled way of saying that I went to a bead show to shop.  Which, since the show was in the same city that my son lives in, was really a thinly veiled excuse to visit my son.  And since my daughter lives relatively close by, it was a great excuse (not even thinly disguised) for her to come over.  And for the superfecta, since my husband had the weekend off, we all gathered in one city.  Because Mom needed to source materials.

See?  Win, win, win!

Turns out my daughter is a great enabler when bead shopping.  Here, she modeled some golden agates.

And she learned the bead show truism that, if the crowds at the front of the table are too deep, go to the side of the table and reach over...politely. So much better than throwing an elbow or wedging in by using your freakishly oversized shopping tote.

I got some really good stuff...some of it that I picked out myself.  And I hope you all had as good and fun a weekend as I did. (Photos of the weekend's haul to come in the next few days!)

Monday, January 21, 2013

ZNetShows Design Team Reveal

(Heads up - this post is photo heavy, so you may want to refresh that cup of coffee and settle in for a bit...)

A few weeks ago, I as one of a number of people invited by Bill Zhang of ZNetShows to design some jewelry using his company's cultured sea glass beads.  Once I picked myself up off the floor from the dead faint of surprise, I said yes and kept watching the mail for what I figured would be a bead or two.

As I described here, what I got was a veritable treasure chest of goodies to work with!

This photo doesn't show a couple of packets of base metal components
that were included -- oops!  You'll see them in the final projects.
And here's what I made with it.  First up, three pairs of earrings:

ZNet Shows sea glass ovals suspended from peyote stitched loops
Another view

ZNet Shows sea glass donuts, Chinese crystal, metal barrels in antique copper finish
ZNet Shows sea glass with mother of pearl ruffles from my stash
(these mother of pearl beads were a BEAR to photograph!)

Four necklaces:

ZNet Shows sea glass shell shapes dangling from doubled length of copper chain
Here's a view of the whole thing - I love how it drapes when worn

ZNet Shows sea glass pendant, clear faceted Chinese crystal,
sea glass rounds,and silver tone beads
(my own fabricated sterling  clasp)

The necklace to go with the earrings above - ZNet Shows sea glass
nuggets and  Chinese crystal.  The mother of pearl ruffles and coral
beads were from my stash.  I made the clasp with an arc-shaped
ZNet Shows sea glass component and a loop of coral beads.
Again, the luster of the mother of pearl made this a bear to photograph nicely.
 And if you know me, you know I had to break out the seed beads sooner or later:

ZNetShows sea glass marquises, sea glass rounds, bead embroidered.
All suspended from multiple strands of silk rattail,
with my own sterling fabricated clasp.
And finally, a freeform peyote bracelet.  This one was the result of my wanting to use the absolutely adorable sea glass starfish as a clasp.

ZNetShows sea glass starfish button, Chinese crystal in a couple of shapes and finishes,
base metal barrels in antique copper finish.  I added lots of my own seed beads.

Big thanks to Bill for letting me play with these great beads!  I hope I did you proud.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Save The Date (You'll Thank Me!)

Y'all, mark your calendars, set your alarms, hold your breath, and make your plans to sign up for the next Bead Soup Blog Hop.

Go here to find out more about it, and enjoy the excuse to go bead shopping!

Friday, January 18, 2013

She Gave/She Gave

Are y'all familiar with the She Made / She Made reveals that Therese and Christine do each month?  These two fabulous ladies swapped beads, and each month one of them decides which beads to use from the swap stash, and they both create something from the choices.

So today, I have a twist on that idea, that I'm calling She Gave / She Gave.  Bear with me, it makes sense (at least as much sense as I ever make...), even though the explanation may get a little long-winded (often another of my great gifts traits)

I had the great joy of meeting Therese in person in October.  In addition to big hugs and lots of chatting, Therese gifted me with some beautiful jewelry she had made, along with a couple of very cool goodies that you can see in the last photo on this post.

Christine has become a great online bloggy friend, and while we haven't had the chance to meet in person yet, I love her sense of humor and her eye for creating stunning jewelry.

When I recently began a torrid love affair with St. Petersburg Stitch, I remembered a fantastic bezel Christine had made using double St. Petersburg.  I wanted to try.  But it obviously needed a bead with a thicker side.  What to do?

Then I remembered the bead from Therese.  Perfect.

Beautiful, subtle coloration in the stone.

And this, my friends, is the result - the bead given to me by Therese, bezeled through an inspiration given to me by Christine.

A little more thread showing than I'd like,
but for a first try, I can live with it.

Thanks, ladies!  This will probably end up in a bracelet I'm contemplating...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

ZNetShows Design Team

Holy cow, y'all -- I got invited by Bill at ZnetShows to design some pieces using their sea glass beads.  If I  cross my fingers and make something spectacular (not at the same time - it's hard to make jewelry with your fingers crossed....), one or more of my creations may be used in ZnetShows' booth display in Tuscon next month.

Yeah, I can't believe it either!  As the former scrawny pipsqueak who was always picked last for any team in gym class, getting invited to be part of a team is a rush!

Anyway, I was thrilled to receive these beautiful beads:

Look at that variety!
What lovely soft shades of green - from mint to sea to peridot.  Aren't they delicious??\

A closer look at some of the seashell shapes included in the mix
As soon as I opened the shipping box, I was inspired to sit and create. And create. And create.

I can't wait to share the final pieces with you here as soon as they've gone to Bill to (hopefully) accompany him to Tuscon.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Aerodynamics of Beads....

...or why multi-tasking is not always a good idea.

We live in an old, three-story house.  The bead room is on the third floor, but I'll often take a project down to the ground floor to work on while watching television.  This means I then have to carry the projects up and/or down many steps.

Many, many steps.  Can you see where this is heading?

I was headed up to the third floor, carrying a bead tray full of seed beads and other assorted goodies, a Diet Coke, the cell phone, and a couple of other things.  It seemed like a good way to accomplish several things at once.  Halfway between the second floor and the third, I misjudged something and the bead tray tipped just a little bit.

Let me tell ya, when beads fall two and a half stories and hit the hardwood floor, they scatter like you wouldn't believe.  They take flight.  They roll.  They skitter.  They bounce.

These suckers look innocent and tiny, but they can FLY!!

Most of what fell was these 3mm turquoise discs.  I've found these four so far, separated by as much as twenty feet in their landing places.  I'm choosing to think of the recovery as kind of like an extended Easter egg hunt.

And now you know why nobody calls me "Grace"...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Getting An Earful

Some days, even the most devoted bead weaver needs a little immediate gratification.  Something that works up fairly quickly.  Something that doesn't require you to put on the stronger glasses and thread that tiny, tiny needle with that tiny, tiny thread.

Lampwork flower discs  by Susan Barnes of Fire Goddess
with some matte crystals on yummy soft leather
So some days, it's time for an earring-making binge.  An earring-palooza.  An earful (sorry, couldn't resist a little pun).

Mother of pearl curls, nestling peridot glass

These are a few pictures from my latest earring extravaganza -- not all that came off the work table that day, but a little sampling.

Jade, rhyolite, and alexandrite faceted glass
The eye beads are fun, but the best part about these are the
vintage buttons that came off of an old sweater
Instant gratification!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Two Pieces, A New Stitch, And A Long-Hidden Pendant

Kicking off 2013 with the two newest pieces off of the bead table.

First, a peyote bangle  -- a new version of a design I've made a couple of times before, this time in shades of rose and mauve that seemed attractively warm on a cold day.  The shades kind of remind me of the camellias that bloomed outside my bedroom window in the middle of winter when I grew up in SC.

The second piece is the result of digging deep in a stash of cabochons and focals that have been living in my supply drawers for a ridiculously long time.  Almost as long as it's been since there were camellias outside my bedroom window.

I wish I could tell you the name of the artist who made the lovely dichroic glass pendant.  Her name was in a spreadsheet that lived on my computer until my computer lost the will to live a few years ago and wiped its own hard drive clean as it died.  I believe her first name was Jeanne.  Any ideas as to who it might have been would be greatly appreciated.  (I've had the pendant for at least 10 years - shameful!!)

New year, new stitch
This was my first time using St. Petersburg stitch.  I do love it!  I'll be playing with this stitch a lot in the near future...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

And If You Turn Them Upside Down, They Look Like Fireworks!

Happy New Year to each of you!  While 2012 brought some truly fabulous experiences and opportunities, it also seriously kicked my butt more than a couple of times.  So I look forward to 2013 with great anticipation, hopefully wiser from what the last year has allowed me to learn.

Today seemed like a perfectly lazy day, but considering I got all the Christmas decorations down and (mostly) packed away, got to the bottom of the mountain of laundry, and got some time in the bead room, it was actually pretty productive.

Here's a little something that's come off the worktable over the past few days -- an experiment that turned out almost exactly like I'd envisioned it.  Color me surprised!

Look at them upside down, and they look a little like fireworks.
See?  I created a New Year's celebration tie-in!
Okay, it's a stretch, but indulge me...

Back to work tomorrow.  I'll bet I won't be the only one having a hard time getting back into the routine...