Thursday, June 30, 2011

July Reader's Challenge...

This is the FIRST "Reader's Challenge" for the blog. It's a fun and informal way to play, create, and challenge yourself with a pre-selected set of components. Let's see what you can make!

To participate you must purchase a Design Kit from my Shop, featuring a ceramic leaf pendant from Melanie Brooks of Earthenwood Studio, a ceramic tube bead from Keith O'Connor, a lampwork glass bead by Bernadette Fuentes, Czech glass from Raven's Journey, Swarovski crystals, semi-precious stones, vintage Vaseline glass, one foot of oxidized natural brass chain, and a Luxury Bead Blend.

The Luxury Bead Blends consist of Japanese Toho seed beads, freshwater pearls, peridot chip, jade rounds, and other semi-precious stones, Czech glass, and trade beads.

Each kit also includes as special MYSTERY component! The mystery component will be publicly revealed on July 15th! Please keep it under wraps until then.

In selecting the pieces for the Design Kit, I thought a lot about the different flavors of summer. I drew inspiration from the the shades of summer foliage, limes, and peridot. I really wanted to spotlight stunning, artist-made pieces. The pieces are really versatile and could go in a lot of different directions. They could easily be transformed into something earthy or tropical. They could be made into a show-stopping necklace or as an everyday bracelet. Or even BOTH!

With your Design Kit, using as much or as little of it as you like, create a piece that showcases your creativity, individuality, and artistic expression. Ideally your creation will spotlight the great artisan components included, but the sky's the limit with what you make. Keep your project secret until the reveal date!

The reveal date is Monday, August 1st! Post a picture on your blog or send one to me (before the Reveal Date) to post on my blog if you don't have your own; the July Reader's Challenge will end in a Blog Hop with your other participants and showcase all the wonderful creations!

There are only 20 Design Kits available! (Last kit shipped Thursday, July 14th.) CLICK HERE to get your own Design Kit for the July Reader's Challenge. Hurry! Supplies are limited!

I also wanted to mention that all Reader's Challenge Design Kits will be shipped with Priority Mail to expedite shipping times. This means the postage will be slightly higher than normal to accommodate for the faster shipping. Due to the relatively short timeframe of this challenge, if you know it takes a long time to receive orders, please place your order early! I will do my best to get your kit out as early as possible, but unfortunately can't be held responsible if it arrives late. With that said... I hope you all have lots of fun and I can't wait to see what you make!

Getting Somewhere...

I started writing this post at 4:30 AM when I got up this morning. I couldn't sleep comfortably. Too many thoughts were whirling through my head. So instead of struggling with myself, I got up and started working. I looked up at the clock and a few hours had passed. Just like that! It seemed like a blink of the eye.

I was about to internally berate myself for not getting more done, when I caught movement out of corner of my eye. I looked out the window and there on the ridge, in the early morning light, was a small deer. It sensed the new watcher and lifted its head to gaze up at me. I stared back. It seemed as though our eyes had been locked for hours... when only a few seconds had passed. Time is a slippery thing – moving too fast at times and stopping almost completely at others.

I laughed to myself.

Most of the deadlines that I was working furiously to finish were ones that I had imposed upon myself. I had arbitrarily chosen a timeline and thought that I could do everything within these constraints. After starting these projects, it became evident that I wouldn't finish it all without the aid of a miracle. A miracle wasn't necessary though... just me being honest with myself.

So... I'm going to extend the Virtual Yard Sale through the long weekend. It'll officially end at midnight on July 4th! What better way to celebrate Independence Day than more Ebay Sales, giveaways, and new additions to the Shop? This means that the Virtual Yard Sale Giveaway is also extended. I will draw the winner at the close of the Sale. I apologize for any inconveniences this may have caused, but hope that you continue to patiently bare with me and enjoy all the fun activities that will take place this weekend!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

NEW Vintage Beads...

I just finished uploading four NEW types of Vintage Beads to my Shop! I really love these beads. They are some of my favorites! Some hail from 1950's Japan and others come from what was once 1930's Czechoslovakia (which is now the Czech Republic). I particularly like the bright yellowish-green of the Vaseline Beads. The yellow actually comes from Uranium! (Don't worry; they are safe! Just don't grind them into a powder and breathe them in or eat them... both scenarios are not recommended for any glass beads.) I purchased these in bulk, but am running low on some of them. So get them before they're gone! CLICK HERE to see the full selection of newly added Vintage Beads.

Quick Fire Giveaway: LillyPilly Designs...

I adore these laser-engraved shell pendants from LillyPilly Designs. They're your's if you're the sixth comment (one comment per person)! Come on lucky 6!

50 Mixed Lots are HERE...

I've been really serious about weeding through my collection and destashing my hoard. In the process, I've created 50 Mixed Lots! Each lot includes a really cool mix of interesting beads and components. I've tried to do them by color and have added them to my Shop. Some of them include things like artisan-made lampwork glass, gemstones, pearls, shells, bone beads, Czech glass, Swarovski crystals, vintage lucite, handmade ceramic beads, trade beads, and all kinds of goodies. No matter what the contents, they are all marked at $10. Each lot is different. What you see, is what you get! And if you look closely, you'll see all kinds of treasures.

All of the lots are valued at least at $10, but I've sprinkled a bunch of "Mystery Items" in the 50 Mixed Lots worth far more! I've hidden them in the mixes, as a way to say THANK YOU and to create more treasure-hunting adventure!

But wait... that's not all....

One of lots has been randomly selected and a Golden Ticket has been placed inside. Well, not an actual Golden Ticket, but a gift certificate for $25 to my Shop. So not only will you score a bag of loot, you'll increase your chances to win the Virtual Yard Sale Giveaway AND potentially get your hands on a $25 Gift Certificate! CLICK HERE to check out the full selection of the 50 Mixed Lots!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Quick Fire Giveaway: Jill MacKay...

This is a stunning bezel bracelet by Jill MacKay. It's silver-plated and has nice, deep bezels so you can embed lots of really cool goodies. This prize goes to the sixth person to comment (one comment per person). Come on lucky 6!

Quick Fire Giveaway: HumbleBeads...

This is a lovely polymer clay focal bead by Heather Powers of HumbleBeads! I love the organic patterning. If you want it, it's your's if you're the first comment! Come on lucky 1!

Quick Fire Giveaway: Gaea Beads...

Aren't these ceramic link pendants cool? If you want these skull beads by Gaea for your very own, be the seventh comment (one comment per person) and this pendant will be your's! Come on lucky 7!

UPDATE: The winner of this giveaway is Shannon of For My Sweet Daughter.

Baltimore Best Bead Show Recap...

I headed out on Thursday evening, making my way to Baltimore from Bolivar. I took a rather scary route through the mountains, the snaking black asphalt slick and shiny with rain. Besides driving longer than I anticipated and with white knuckles most of the way, the trip was without incident.

I arrived just in time for a few hours of sleep before set-up at the Best Bead Show at the Marriot at Hunt Valley. I was surrounded by friendly faces and relished in my luck at having such delightful neighbors.

Across the way was Beth and Tom of Kabela Design with their filigree, Gilder's Paste, and new epoxy clay. To my right was Chloe Dunsmore of Grama Tortoise, who creates beautifully detailed lampwork glass animals and goddesses. She also makes stunning metalwork focals. To my right was Anne and her niece Rosie of Craft Fantastic, selling glass cabs, paper and "the secret sauce" for creating mixed media pendants and rings. On my way to the restroom, I snapped this picture of Alice St. Germain of Succulent Glass, Joan Miller, and Lisa Peters Russ.

We had some wonderful guests attend the show as well! Kelly Russell, a talented artisan with polymer and metal clay stopped by. Fellow blogger and jewelry-maker, Courtney Breul (with her daughter) came by as well. We can't forget fellow Bead Peep, Kristen Ho of Beaded Treasures!

Also in attendance at the show was Carol Wingfield Myers. She's a hoot and a half! It was also good to see Priscilla Marban, a fellow exhibitor, who swung by to say hello! I caught Denise Billups Walker of Fire Dance Lampwork Glass hanging out in front of Rashan Omari Jone's booth.

I definitely think that this was a great show for shoppers. There were so many talented artists from all across the country and lots of room to look around in a nice venue. It wasn't crowded, so customers had their pick and choose of eager vendors to peruse.

One of the customers filled Cathy Collison of Glass Garden Beads in on a beach glass spot. We were warned that it wasn't a pretty beach (and to beware of washed up hypodermic needles), but the treasures to be found were plentiful. I tagged along with Jessica Prill, Cathy, and Anne and Rosie of Craft Fantastic for an early morning adventure.

Above is a shot of Jessica and Cathy. I was a little distracted as I lost my wallet, but was adamant about enjoying the morning without worrying too much. I had faith that if I retraced by steps carefully, I could locate it. AND I DID! The lovely folks at the Cockeysville McDonald's held on to it and returned it to me! I give them FIVE gold stars!

The beach was littered with all kinds of glass and pottery shards. The middle image is what I took home. I was very pleased with my yield. Some of the glass fragments have really great textures and unusual colors. One of the pieces that I was most thrilled about is what looks like the remnants of a burnt dump, a factory byproduct or something. Chunks of this fused glass could be found, with swirling patterns of green. Some of the perfectly round stones on the beach were actually bits of this glass tumbled smooth. I'm sorely tempted to go back and find as much as possible!

Besides the drama with the wallet and some traffic jams, it was a perfect morning before heading back home.

(I later found out that Jess and Cathy had a run in with a deer on the way home... quite literally, and are stuck in Cumberland while they figure out how to get home. Luckily no one was hurt – that is, besides the deer.)

Thursday Giveaway Winner...

The winner for this past week's Thursday Giveaway featuring lots of glass Vintage Reproduction beads from Eclectica is Therese! Congrats! Be on the look out all week for more chances to win!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Weekly Word: Solid...

This week's word is "solid". Create a piece of jewelry, a work of art, or take a picture that, in your opinion, best captures the meaning of the word. Think about the word and its different interpretations and how it makes you feel. Translate it into whatever medium you'd like and then post about it on your blog. Once you've uploaded your blog post, copy and paste the URL into a new comment on this post. Be sure to check out what others are making, inspired by the weekly word. Don't delay; you have a week until the new word is posted.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Beaded Links... Jewelry Making
As an admirer of all things arts & crafts, Lisa shares the handpainted jewelry pieces of "Moni's Originals". Stop by to check out these miniature works of art! Jewelrymaking
Looking to make some easy metalsmithing jewelry? Take a look at these new jewelry videos.

Art Bead Scene
Looking for some creative jewelry displays? So is ABS Editor Heather Powers. Come check out what she's found.

Beading Arts
Free-form peyote stitch and wire work...what could be more fun than combining the two?!

Carmi's Art Life/World
Carmi's new ring features a rock garden!

Earthenwood Studio
Melanie opens a weeked bead store at her local artist market and has lots of pictures of her booth to share.

Resin Crafts!
Resin Crafts has a great tutorial showing you how to create a pendant with a spoon.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Andrew Thornton, a wonderful person and a member of our group, is having a "Virtual Yard Sale" as he calls it . Check it out on Jean's blog and then go have FUN!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew hosts a week-long Virtual Yard Sale! The week is filled with Ebay sales, new products added to the Shop, lots of giveaways, and some major deals!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Quick Fire Giveaway: Heather Wynn-Millican...

Isn't this polymer birdie pendant just so sweet? If you want to call this charming piece by Heather Wynn-Millican your own, be the seventh comment (one comment per person) and this pendant will be your's! Come on lucky 7!

UPDATE: Pine Ridge Treasures is the winner of this Quick Fire Giveaway! Send me your address ( and I will put your prize in the post!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Quick Fire Giveaway: Earthenwood Studio...

Want to win these great ceramic components from Earthenwood Studio? Be the seventh comment (one comment per person) and you'll get these really cool links and components from Melanie! Come on lucky 7!

UPDATE: Deci is the winner of this Quick Fire Giveaway! Send me your address ( and I will put your prize in the post!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Ebay Sales...

I've been designing jewelry for magazines, publications and competitions for almost a decade now. Hard to believe that so much time has passed! It's also hard to believe how much jewelry I've amassed. It gets loaned out for months at a time (if not longer) and it's easy to forget that you even made it.

But then one day it gets sent back and you're covered in piles of it!

In an effort to trim down my personal collection of my own work, I've started to add pieces to Ebay. No matter the materials, the time that went into making the piece, or what prizes it won or how prominently it was featured in the magazines and books... they are all starting out at $0.99! All of the pieces created with the finest materials and with tons of artist-made beads and components. CLICK HERE to check them out!

I've already added 20 pieces and have aims to add three times as much throughout the duration of the Virtual Yard Sale. The current pieces posted have auctions that will end in two days and many of them are still quite low in price. You could easily end up an instant collection of my finished jewelry, or you could take your handy cutters and end up with piles of art beads. (I know... sacrilege, but honestly it won't hurt my feelings if I don't know about it and goodness knows that I've cut up and reconfigured hundreds of my own pieces already.)

So, check the Ebay Sales often and regularly to score your favorite design of mine! (And don't forget! If you win an auction, you'll automatically be entered in the Virtual Yard Sale Giveaway!)

Thursday Giveaway...

This week, one lucky winner will score this huge pile of Vintage Reproduction Glass Beads! They come courtesy of the fine folks at Eclectica! The beads are made out of two-tone glass in original vintage molds. They're newly crafted in Germany and have a retail value of $200! What I love about these beads is their timeless designs; although they've got a vintage vibe, they'd be perfect for contemporary jewelry – especially in some really cool Steampunk pieces. Want to see the full selection of Vintage Reproduction Glass beads from Eclectica, CLICK HERE. They've got a wide array to choose from!

To win these awesome glass beads is so EASY! All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post. It's that simple! One lucky winner will be randomly selected from the comment section of this post on Monday (June 27th) at midnight EST. Anonymous comments won't fly with this prize; make sure to leave your name and email address if it doesn't already appear next to your comment. This giveaway is open to all participants, including international readers!

Bonus Points: Do you really want these lovely glass beads? If you're seriously lusting after them, you can earn additional entries to win by blogging, updating your Facebook status, and/or Twittering about this Thursday Giveaway. Don't forget to add your act of social media kindness as a SEPARATE comment to this blog post for your extra shot at winning these luscious pieces from Eclectica! (Also, if you spread the word about this giveaway, you'll qualify for the Virtual Yard Sale Giveaway too! To find out more about winning that prize, CLICK HERE.)

EXTRA Bonus Points: Wait, that's not all! You can earn yet ANOTHER chance to win these beads by "Liking" Eclectica on Facebook. Take a trip over to their page, make sure you're signed in, and click "LIKE". (If you already LIKE them that's cool too – keep up the good work!) Once you've successfully liked them, report back here and comment again saying that you've accomplished the task! CLICK HERE to visit their Facebook page.

Quick Fire Giveaway: Glass Garden Beads...

I have fond memories of summertime in Brooklyn. We'd have cookouts in the backyard, on the roof, or we'd escape the heat at our local hangout. Somehow Pabst Blue Ribbon was always involved. Although not necessarily my first choice in beers, when served ice cold it is more than tolerable on a hot day.

Want to share in the nostalgia for summer in the City and win this fun, PBR bottle-cap bead from Glass Garden Beads? It's really cool. Two bottle-caps have been domed out, soldiered together and drilled. Be the first comment (one comment per person) and you'll get this bead! Come on lucky 1!

UPDATE: Regina is the winner of this Quick Fire Giveaway! Send my your address ( and I will put your prize in the post.

Quick Fire Giveaway: Raven's Journey...

I was over at Gaea's blog the other day and saw her doing what I've dubbed "Quick Fire Giveaways" and thought that I'd have some throughout the duration of The Virtual Yard Sale to help de-stash.

Want these luscious opalescent glass teardrops, faceted rondelles and daggers from Raven's Journey? Be the ninth comment (one comment per person) and you'll get the beads! Come on lucky 9!

UPDATE: LulaJean is the winner of this Quick Fire Giveaway! Send me your address ( and I will put your prize in the post.

Pressed for Time...

In the blur that was the past few days, I sat down and pressed out some bronze coins. I've restocked the ones that Cynthia carved. (Yes, there are now more ravens with keys!) I also managed to press out the last batch of designs that I carved. I've only made them in copper before and was quite pleased with the way they look in bronze.

Above are some of the newer designs done in bronze, including the new trillium with two holes, the crowned skull, the lucky four-leaf clover and the scarlet pimpernel. I also got a special request for a Little Bird Pendant made in bronze and made a few while I had the mold out.

I've been on a roll creating new designs. There are four new ones! I just pulled the test batch from the kiln and think they look great! I've been playing around with a more rustic carving style and using more texture. It has been fun and I like the results.

Let me introduce you to my NEW little friends:

I'm a smitten kitten with Atomic Stars. I made the Shatter Star pendant and decided to do a smaller solo version. I imagine that I'll be making many different permutations of the Atomic Star since I love them so. (I got a request to do a bracelet link with stars and have that on my work bench as I type this.)

This little guy was inspired by the recent visitors to the hummingbird feeders. I've been enjoying their buzz as they dart about, fiercely dive-bombing each other and occasionally sticking out their tongues. I'm thinking about doing a more sculptural hummingbird at actual size and covering it in enamel with a few CZs.

I have always loved the iconography of the flying fish. They're magical to me. They live between two elements, and it's this in-between state that I find so appealing. When I was in Hawaii last, we found a baby one that had washed up on the sand. We rescued it and returned it back to the waves, where it hopefully lived to have many adventures between sea and sky.

I also just finished this peacock. I might make some smaller pieces of just the feathers. I think the pendants would look really cool framed by some filigree with some Gilder's Paste for some pops of color and strung up with some fluorite and lapis.

We'll see how they do in the Shop. If they do well, I'll do them in copper also and play around with adding prong set CZs. You can see the full selection of my pendants by CLICKING HERE.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Virtual Yard Sale Giveaway...

When I was growing up, my parents took their yard sales seriously. (They still do to this day, actually.) We'd wake up early on the weekends, driving around keeping an eye peeled for handwritten neon posters and the infamous arrowed black and white signs with red-lettering. We'd search out treasures, hunt for deals, and in the process meet the neighbors. Each of the kids got a dollar in their pocket and we could buy whatever we wanted with it.

When it would come time to do our own yard sale, we'd plan it around a big cleaning event like mucking out the storage shed, emptying the barn, or clearing out the porch. We'd have a couple of items that we'd spend extra time on, making special and hopefully ready to go to the right home at a fair price. But we also had giveaway piles and bins designated "dime boxes", where everything in the box – no matter what it was – cost a dime. You had to sell a lot of ten cent bargains to see any decent money, but it was less about profit and more about making space and passing along the thrill of the Find. Sometimes we'd hide a really cool toy or handicraft in the dime box amongst the inexpensive knickknacks, so that a kid like us who only had a dollar to spend could take home a real prize and not spend it all in one place.

Going into this Virtual Yard Sale, I'm carrying all those memories and applying some of those homespun principles. Besides making a little extra money, part of the reason why I'm having this Virtual Yard Sale is to purge the studio AND share some really great finds. I'm featuring lots of artist-made pieces at severely discounted prices in hopes that they will go to a good home and possibly introduce the buyer to a new artist or reacquaint them with an old favorite.

So, here's the deal...

If you help me "hang signs" around the internet, I'll enter you to win the above stash of artist beads and jewelry-making components. You can mention the sales in the Ebay shop, the new additions to my regular Shop, the Quick Fire Giveaways happening all week long, this giveaway, the fifty $10 Lots to appear in the Sale section of my Shop or even the Thursday Giveaway scheduled for tomorrow courtesy of Eclectica Beads. Just add a comment to this post with your act of social media kindness. You can blog, tweet on Twitter, or update your Facebook status (or any number of ways to get the word out) about any or all of these great events. Don't forget to leave a separate comment for each "sign" posted, for all your chances to win.

And... if you're the winning bid on an Ebay auction or place an order in my Shop during this Virtual Yard Sale, you'll automatically be entered to win! And if that wasn't enough... for every $10 you spend, you'll earn an extra entry (i.e. spend $80 in a transaction = 8 additional automatic entries)!

Here's what you'll win:

1. Ceramic components, Keith O'Connor.
2. Electroplated lampwork glass, Denise Billups Walker.
6. Fine pewter, Green Girl Studios.
7. Dyed jade, Bead Trust.
8. Metallic lucite leaves, The Hole Bead Shoppe.
9. Etched shells and wood, Lillypilly Designs.
10. Silver-plated chain, Michael's.
11. Flexible beading wire, Soft Flex Company.
12. Ceramic components, Melanie Brooks of Earthenwood Studio.
13. Ceramic button, Lisa Peters Art.
16. Czech glass, Raven's Journey.
17. Natural Brass charms, Vintaj.
18. Silver-plated bezel bracelet, Jill MacKay collection.

This giveaway, with a retail value over $200 is open to all blog-readers, including international readers. The winner of this prize will be randomly drawn on Friday, July 1st at midnight EST. Anonymous comments will not land this prize, make sure you leave your name and email address if it doesn't already appear next to your name. Don't FORGET to include your random act of social media kindness promoting any or all of the great events taking place this week! (You do not need to leave additional comments for your automatic entries.)

Where'd Tuesday Go...

All I've got to say is... where'd Tuesday go? Actually at this point on Wednesday afternoon, I want to know where most of Wednesday went as well. It seems like one whole day (and part of today) completely vanished for me. It's like the other days of the week got mad at them and just swallowed them up!

My only clue that they actually happened are... the house is spotlessly clean at the moment (except for the studio), the studio is extra ransacked and divided into little piles, the car is piled with Green Girl Studios display for the Best Bead Show in Baltimore this weekend, and I've got a couple of things listed on Ebay right now. The mucking out of my life is taking a surprising amount of time and I feel wore out. I've got some listings that will expire soon, that you can check out by CLICKING HERE. All the bidding has started at $0.99... so there's a chance to get some of my work for a song. Hurry and place your bid before time runs out... you never know, some of your days might vanish too!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thursday Giveaway Winner...

The winner for this past week's Thursday Giveaway featuring an assortment of beads from artists at the Bead & Button Show in Milwaukee is Tara Linda! Congratulations! Be on the look all week for more chances to win! (On Thursday there will be a MASSIVE giveaway courtesy of Eclectica Beads!)

Monday, June 20, 2011


The cleaning of the studio continues. I've unearthed some rather amazing treasures. I imagine that the process of organizing would go much quicker if I didn't stop to admire my rediscovered goodies every five minutes. But I'm proud of the small strides I'm taking.

I have to be honest and say that the task of sorting beads can be a bit mind-numbing after awhile. I find my thoughts drifting and it's not altogether a bad thing. In fact, I've been using the time to good effect. I've mentally been drafting lists of my goals and charting paths to get where I want to go.

One of the big things that I'd like to do is finally pay off the medical debt I incurred earlier this year for my cancer treatment. I'm SOOOO close! I'd also like to pay down some of my credit card debt that went back up while I wasn't able to work. I've been slowly chipping away at both, but it seems as though most months I'm just treading water. So it'd be nice to finally swing the ax and bring them both down.

Another thing that I'd like to do is get some new equipment for the studio that would make my life a lot easier and take the stress off my hands. For instance, getting a lapidary drill press would be most excellent! It'd save me from the wrist-jarring vibrations of the hand-drill. I'd also like to do a line of my own cast-components. Having them cast would save so much time, as opposed to me making one-offs by hand.

There are also tons of projects that I want to start or experiment with. I'd love to get my hands on one of Sherri Haab's new electroforming kits. I've heard so many great things and I have a couple of ideas of how I want to use it. I've also got my eye on that new riveting system. Oh and I definitely want to try out some of the new metal clays.

While there are a lot of new things I'd like to try out, I'd also like to get back to other things that are important to me... like writing, painting and collages. Usually I just get so busy with keeping the creative castle afloat, that I rarely have time to do anything creative. So, getting back to my roots would be wonderful.

So.... how you may ask am I going to get all these things done? Well, I doubt that I can get them all done at once, BUT I can try to make a dent in the list. Firstly, I'm going to list some of my finished work on Ebay. Next I'm going to post some Treasure Lots in my Shop and liquidate some of the jewelry I've been collecting. I also have a really cool idea for a Reader Challenge with a kit that will also be available in my Shop. All of these things will not only help raise money, but they'll also help clear out the studio. Two birds with one stone!

And if you help me out, I'll help you out. I'll host some quick-fire giveaways, give freebies with every order, and have lots of fun surprises along the way! So stay tuned!

Weekly Word: Gather...

This week's word is "gather". Create a piece of jewelry, a work of art, or take a picture that, in your opinion, best captures the meaning of the word. Think about the word and its different interpretations and how it makes you feel. Translate it into whatever medium you'd like and then post about it on your blog. Once you've uploaded your blog post, copy and paste the URL into a new comment on this post. Be sure to check out what others are making, inspired by the weekly word. Don't delay; you have a week until the new word is posted.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Dinner...

I used to cook Sunday dinner almost every weekend. I would gather about me the displaced, the Florida Ex-Pats, those who had gone without a home-cooked for too long and the lonely looking for a little bit of home in the Big City. That's not to say that we were a miserable bunch – in fact our gatherings were quite lively. It was open invitation and all were welcome. People would bring their favorite dishes, a bottle of wine, or a bag of groceries. Sometimes they'd just bring their smiles and a helping hand washing dishes.

I made beef bourguignon today. It was served over buttered egg noodles. I thought fondly of the conversations and good times dished up over dreams of stardom, toils at work, and happy companionship. It was nice way to spend part of the day.

When everything was ready, I got together a couple of plates and sent some over to the neighbors. Along with the piping hot plates of food came all my good intentions and many pleasant memories.

Beaded Links...

A Bead A Day
Earrings make great gifts in a hurry for yourself and friends! Lisa shares a few newly made pairs using both sparkly and vintage beads! Jewelry Making
Get in the mood for summer jewelry fun with two turtle jewelry tutorials from Tammy.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene dishes up some lovely sunshine - come get some!

Beading Arts
Cyndi's favorite wire guru, Paul Bishop, shares a wonderful tutorial with Cyndi's readers!

Beads & Books
Have you ever wondered how much traffic websites such as Etsy or ArtFire get? Michelle shares a free online tool that gives you quick website statistics.

Carmi's Art Life/World
Carmi is experimenting with Apoxie Sculpt!

Resin Crafts!
Resin crafts has a special $200 give-a-way ending June 21!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Cyndi Lavin, multi media artist and beader extraordinaire, has added a new chapter to her e-book! Please read my review of it! Her book is now 5 chapters long and is filled with great ideas and beauty -- irresistible! Plus, as you may know,the first chapter continues to be a FREE download! Hooray!

The Bead Dreamer
Ever wonder if the Knew Concepts red jeweler's saw frame is really better? Charlene shares her take on it.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Want a "post-Bead&Button Show" stash of jewelry-making goodies? Enter to win this week's Thursday Giveaway!


I was in the studio last night doing a little bit of organizing and hung up the last batch of returned magazine submissions. I've been writing for beading books and magazines for nearly a decade now and things have a tendency of piling up. On the wall were pieces featured in various publications, prize-winners, and a fair share of rejected pieces. Some of them I love and others... well... not so much. Have you ever gotten that "what was I thinking" thought run through your mind while looking at old work?

And then it hit me... love them or hate them, I will never wear them. They'll stay hung up on this wall for a very long time. That is... unless... I do something about it. I think tomorrow or Tuesday, I'll start posting them on Ebay in an online yard sale. I've held on to some of these pieces for far too long. It'll be nice to let them out into the wilds of the world.

Keep your eyes peeled for details as I figure out the logistics.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Road to Baltimore...

I was once close to moving to Baltimore. I had to pick between MICA and SVA. I decided on the latter. Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like had I chosen bricks over concrete; it's usually a fleeting thought as I'm driving by.

Speaking of Baltimore, I'm actually scheduled to be in the Baltimore area this weekend coming up for the Best Bead Show. I'll be representing my family at Green Girl Studios. It'll be nice to go back. If you're around, you should definitely stop by and say hello! Also, if you have any recommendations for arty things to do (preferably at night, after the show has closed for the day) drop me a line.


I have been playing catch-up since I returned from Milwaukee. It's an odd sensation to be displaced in the time-stream. I have been just a few days behind, but have also been simultaneously addressing the concerns-du-jour. Straddling both has been a bit disorienting and I'll be honest in saying that my mind has been elsewhere.

I woke up early and there was a perfect quiet and stillness. That gap between the work of yesterday and the deeds of today had ceased its stretching and returned to something a little more normal. Good news came from Cynthia and Greg that Max was recovering and doing very well. It's hard to believe that two tiny magnets could cause such damage. I cannot express the profound relief to hear that he will make a full recovery. Seeing the video Cynthia sent of him playing and alert in his hospital bed was just beautiful.

I finally feel at home, and not just drifting while standing still.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Stash...

I know that this is the post most folks wait for from me after a big show. I have to admit that it's one of my favorites to write, as it gives me a chance to go through my recent acquisitions and fondly think of the people I got them from.

Before I continue, I'd like to insert a short note of gratitude. I really appreciate the kindness and generosity of my fellow vendors and colleagues who gifted me with some pretty amazing beads, provided ample discounts, and/or gave me product samples to play with. THANK YOU! I was on a pretty tight budget this year and didn't get a chance to leave the booth much since we were short-staffed, so feel very fortunate to be able to take home such an incredibly SWEET stash!

1. Lampwork glass beads, Lori Greenberg.
2. Polymer clay focals, Heather Wynn-Millican.
3. Ceramic components, Melanie Brooks of Earthenwood Studio.

1. Cast bronze and silver, Anne Choi.
2. Lampwork glass focals, Kerri Fuhr.
3. Polymer and metal focals, Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati.

1. Ceramic components, Diane Hawkey.
2. Fine pewter and bronze components, Green Girl Studios.
3. Lampwork glass components, JoAnne Zekowski of Z Designs in Glass.

1. Lamwork glass components, Stephanie Ann.
2. Vintage key from her grandfather's collection, Kate Richbourg of Beaducation.
3. Polymer clay components, Heather Powers of HumbleBeads.

1. Hollow glass "raku pearl" beads, Cathy Collison of Glass Garden Beads.
2. Polymer clay components, Pam Wynn.
3. Ceramic components, Marsha Hedrick of Amazing Porcelain.

1. Lampwork focal bead, Maureen Kelly of Pumpkin Hill Beads.
2. Ceramic beads, Golem Studio.
3. Lampwork beads, Patti Cahill of Dyed in the Fire.