Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Soup That Stayed Home

In putting together bead soup mixes this year, I came up with five possibilities.  Yes, five. I was having a grand time, sitting in my bead room, cackling like a bit of a mad beady scientist.

I eventually settled on the one (okay, ones) to send to my partner Rita. But the third runner up, or the Miss Congeniality of the bunch, kept calling to me.

So I made something with it myself.

Ceramic, agate, jade, freshwater pearls, Czech glass, ZNet Shows
 crystals, copper, hand fabricated clasp

The pendant is two ceramic beads, an agate donut, and some
copper discs, all on waxed cotton

I wore this soup out to lunch yesterday, which in a strange way seemed an appropriate place for it to make its debut. The soft greens felt especially spring-like to me, which was a welcome reminder that the weather will, eventually, warm up.

Friday, March 28, 2014

I'm Only A Few Weeks Behind

For no apparent reason, I have recently lost all concept of time.

Two weeks ago, the newest issue of Creative Spark, featuring designs using beads from ZNet Shows, went live.  Several of my designs, along with the work of many talented designers, are included, and I should have shared the publication immediately!

So without further ado, here's the link -- please go check out the lovely things everyone made!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Super Serving of Soup!

Y'all, my soup arrived, and I have just now picked myself up off the floor and recovered enough to share it with you.  Holy cow, but I feel like I've hit the beady lotto!

My spectacular partner, Rita of Toltec Jewels, is married to a professional gourmet chef.  Why is this relevant? Because Ms. Rita is quite the chef herself, having cooked up two truly delectable soups to send along to me.  And if that weren't enough, she and I must be related in some way, because the soups we exchanged were in virtually the same colorways.

First, like any good chef, Rita spent a lot of time and care on the presentation of her soup.  I opened the package, which was stuffed to within an inch of bursting,  and found a lovely red silk purse.  Inside the purse was a bounty of smaller red silk pouches. Each of the pouches was packed with beautiful goodies -- I spent almost as much time happy dancing as I did unwrapping the packages!

Well, hello Kitty!
Doesn't this just scream, "We are full of gorgeous treasure"?

Soup number one, or the Blue Soup:

I mean, seriously. Cool ceramics by Beadfreaky and Blu Mudd! Lampwork from Maryse at GlassBeadArt! Gorgeous pieces from Thea Elements! Funky painted leather feathers from Tree Wing Studios! Freshwater pearls! Czech glass! Swarovski elements! And on and on and on!

Oooh, the creative juices are flowing....

And then there's the pink soup, which had a bit more drama in its creation.  Rita told me that, as she was packing the soup up, the lampwork focal she'd chosen did a Loony Tunes slo-mo flip and smash from her hands, breaking on the floor.  So she contacted the artist, Maryse at GlassBeadArt to request a replacement, and as a backup, worked with another wonderful glass artist, Lara Lutrick, to create something in the same color blend.  Lara's beautiful bead is pictured in the group shot:

Again, a smorgasbord of beautiful choices. Lara's bead is the cylindrical bead that looks like a muted sunset. And there are lampwork headpins from Southern Gal Designs, a clasp that Rita made with a lampwork bead from Sue Beads, a wonderful little brass bird from Leslie Watt, polymer from Sweet Birch Designs, enamels from Sue Beads, Czech glass, Slovakian glass, gemstones, freshwater pearls, gold plated seed beads (!!!!), and on and on and on......

Then a couple of days later, a package arrived from Luxembourg with the replacement focal from Maryse.

I am well and truly spoiled, folks. Thank you, Rita, for your incredible generosity! I cannot wait to dig in and get started making things.  The wheels in my brain are spinning......

Monday, March 17, 2014

BSBP Partner Introduction and Sneak Peek!

For the fourth time, I'm participating in the epic, worldwide phenomenon that is the Bead Soup blog hop.  I have been so incredibly fortunate to have awesome partners each time, and this time is no different.

Folks, allow me to introduce you to Rita of Toltec Jewels!  A real Renaissance woman, Rita is an author, jewelry maker, creator of tutorials, and organizer of swaps that allow bead aficionados to discover and share handmade artisan beads.  She works in multiple techniques, with everything from chain maille to beadweaving to patina work in her repertoire.  We've had fun getting to know each other better, and I know we'd have a blast if we ever found ourselves in the same city!

Look at a few examples of her work:
Look how she integrates beads into the chain maille!
I love how Rita has used chain maille as a bezel for the focal gemstone

So what does one send to a woman who can work wonders in a multitude of media? If you know me at all, you know that some times I have a hard time choosing among options (pecan or apple pie? Snickers or Mounds? High heel pump or cute little flats? Obviously, the answers to all three are "both, please!") So after putting together five different soups, I found that I could not choose just one, so two batches are winging their way to Florida for Rita's magic touch:

Mwahahaha!!!!!!!! I told Rita I felt a bit like a mad scientist, concocting lots of different potions to come up with the combinations.  These were such fun to put together -- I can't wait to see what Rita cooks up with her soup!