Thursday, December 24, 2015

Behind the Scenes at Beads Baubles and Jewels...

video

While I was scrolling through my blog recently, I realized that in the hubbub of moving, I didn't post about my experience of filming for Beads Baubles and Jewels.  I shared a few pictures on Facebook, but I didn't get an opportunity to do so here.  KS Productions, the team that puts together the show, just sent me the edited promo teaser and I thought that was a perfect excuse to write about my time in Cleveland.

Firstly, I have to thank Katie Hacker and the rest of the team that puts together this show.  There are a lot of moving parts and they do such a great job!  Katie is really patient and kind, which is super important for people like me who don't do a lot of filming.  She made me feel at ease and like I was sharing techniques with a friend in the comfort of my own home and not in a studio with a group of people watching me and cameras trained at my every move.

Even though the show is only half an hour long, we crammed a lot in!  I went over how to make your own silicone molds, work with fast-cast resin, finishing your resin pieces, and incorporating them into really cool bezels from TierraCast.

When you're filming a show, even if you've done something a thousand times, things can go awry.  It's not live TV, so there is some room for forgiveness, but just like with any business, time is money and the longer a shoot goes, the more expensive it gets.  So the goal is to keep the takes to a minimum.

I think things went well, but the hypercritical part of my brain sent up a half dozen red flags after I finished... thinking of where I could have phrased things differently or talked about something else or not said something.  Again, it comes with my inexperience with being on film.  Eventually you kind of just have to let go of that and just let it be what it is.  I imagine that the more one does it, the more leeway they give themselves and that preciousness subsides.

Here's a true behind the scenes look at the set.  When you see the show, it's easy to forget what goes on off camera.  There are cameras and (LOTS) of lights, and a bunch of cords and equipment that make the show possible.

All of the process that goes into making a TV show can be a little intimidating, but luckily I was in good hands and the topic I covered was something that I have a lot of experience with.  I've been working with resin for about twenty years now.  (Can it really be that long?)  I first encountered resin at a neighbor's garage sale.  During the 80's, she had made big cardboard earrings decorated with pearlescent puffy paint that were coated in resin.  She was getting rid of her supplies and I just so happened to stumble upon them.  I didn't have enough money for everything, so I got what I could and proceeded to knock on her door once a week with my crumbled up dollar bills and loose change. Eventually, I think she got tired of me and gave me the rest.  I'd like to think that she wanted to encourage my creativity, but more likely, it was to get rid of her pesky neighbor kid.

While my mom was encouraging of us doing crafts, she did not like the idea of anything that could make a mess, particularly anything that could make a sticky mess that would never get out of the carpet.  (There may or may not have been an incident with a bottle of Elmer's glue.)  So I had to work in secret and made a makeshift studio in my closet.  In hindsight, that was probably not the best idea, as it's important to have really good ventilation when working with resin.  Ever since then, I've been fascinated with the material and revisit it often.

Here I am in the green room with a pair of earrings that I made.  I'm a smitten kitten with the bezels from TierraCast.  They add such a nice finishing touch to the resin and the backs are decorated, which is great in pieces with a lot of movement where things have a habit of flipping.
  
It was the last day of filming, so most of the other guests had already filmed their segments.  I was lucky though and got to spend some time with Jill MacKay.  I adore her.  She was doing segments on her new line with Sizzix!  

I had a great time and I hope that they ask me to come back!  This experience has encouraged me to do some of my own videos.  I know that I said that last time I was on the show, but I wasn't really in the position to take on a big new project at the time.  Now that I have a little bit more freedom in my schedule, I think it's a perfect time to explore this medium.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Pantone Color of the Year 2016...


I'm usually right on the ball to announce Pantone's newest color of the year, but I got sidetracked with the move and missed the mark.  At this point, it's old news... but I'll announce it again anyway:  The Pantone Color of the Year is... two colors!  Yes, that's right!  For the first time ever, there are two colors!  2016 will be represented by Rose Quartz and Serenity!

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, said, "Joined together Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose one and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace."

The Pantone report also goes on to say that the choice to pick two colors is actually commentary on shifting gender roles and how society is moving toward gender equality.  They are blending colors that are traditionally associated with feminine and masculine roles, showing the blur of modernity.

It is also stressed that the colors were chosen out of necessity.  In the midst of devastating current events, it is more important than ever to find a sanctuary in color to relax and sooth our battered spirits.

I'm quite pleased with the choices and the meaning behind their selections.

I scoured Pinterest and collaged together some images that represent the new Colors of the Year:




Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Frost...

If you've read any of the interviews I've done about blogging, there's something that I bring up at least once each time and usually underline its importance: Consistency.  I'm not alone in this.  If you look up any others giving helpful tips on building readership and the like, creating a regular schedule of posting ranks pretty highly.

So... why have I broken this cardinal rule?

Part of that answer is simple.  I've been busy.  I've dove headfirst into nesting in our new home and setting up my studio.  So, whatever spare time I have is spent unpacking boxes and organizing things and rearranging things and repeating as necessary.

The less obvious and more esoteric reason is that I've needed a break.  I've actually needed a break for a long time, but I've felt the pressure of obligations to keep posting and phoning it in.  But that breaks another rule of mine concerning this little online journal of mine: always be genuine.

I don't want to say that I was being disingenuous.  But there was something missing and while there were kernels of good stuff, ultimately, it wasn't a true manifestation of my heart, head, and spirit.  Certainly there were glimmers of each aspect individually, but the trio was hard for me to tap into, because I simply wasn't feeling it.

At first this bothered me.  A LOT.  And then... I went for a walk.

It was still early in the morning and even with our unseasonably (and in my opinion, welcomed) warm weather, frost still glittered on the twigs and branches of last year's garden.  While it was a picture of starkness, I knew it was just sleeping.  It was resting after a profusion of abundance.  There's a price to be paid for an endless summer.  The farmer must let the fields lay fallow in order to allow the land to recharge and become fertile again.  While the frost looks cold and uninviting, it's necessary and it's okay.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

One Last Sunset...

As we packed the final box into the car, slightly cramming it between the cleaning products and the vacuum cleaner, the sun set behind the ridge.  We closed the door and drove away.  The deer we used to watch out the window while sipping our morning coffee, paraded past one last time.  William reached over to pat my knee.  He asked, "Are you happy in your heart?"

And I said, "I guess so."

While it is certainly time that we move on into our own home, it is bittersweet.  When we first moved to Pennsylvania, we were battered and wilted.  The hustle of the city had worn us both down, and we desperately needed to reset and recharge... and the place that we called home for six years did that.  We walked through the woods, ran through the tall grasses, and gingerly tiptoed across babbling streams.  When I was recovering from my cancer surgery, too tired and in pain to move around, I would sit in front of the window and stare for hours, counting bluebirds and watching dozens of purple martins comb the yard for worms.  I watched the drunken rise and fall of swallows feeding their families.  I would trace the serpent of mist hovering over creek, snaking through the landscape, a breathy beast.  In our postcard view, we experienced the ever-changing seasons.  The walls and roof sheltered us, our tears and our laughter.  Even though it was time to go, we called this piece of earth and sky our home.

So, while I'm truly happy to be in our own place and am so excited for all the things to come, part of me will miss all those sunrises and sunsets on the ridge.  A little bit of me will miss sitting on the deck at twilight, sipping blueberry wine and watching the bats flutter.  I will miss wrapping up in blankets, rushing out to stand in awe of the night sky, seeing stars fall and wishing for exactly what we have right now.

As we drove away, chasing the sunset down the driveway, I didn't look back.  Instead I looked ahead into the fading light of day, wondering what to make for dinner in the place we now call home.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Getting Back to Me...

I'm sitting at my desk in the room in the new house that will be my temporary studio.  I am surrounded by boxes and half assembled furniture.  It's a daunting task to go through everything, to find homes and places for all the little things.  I'm not deterred though.  It is a good feeling and one that I'm relishing.  I am a bird building a nest.

There is potential here.  I can feel it like the fast-beating pulse of blood behind skin.  I can almost see it, like shimmering rivers behind the walls. All I have to do is reach out and grab it, plucking it like a squirming, silvery fish.

The truth is... I've been blocked lately.  That river of energy has been just a bit out of reach.  While I could press myself up against it, trying to submerge myself in the quick moving currents, I simply couldn't.  I laid floating on the surface, on the verge of losing myself in act of creation.  This is not to say that I've been devoid of creativity or that I have been sitting stagnantly... I have been making things.  It's just not the same.  It's kind of like the difference of running through the pine grove of my youth, screaming and laughing, chasing after friends and friends chasing after you... and running in the rain, getting drenched, trying to drag your suitcase and flag down a fleet of unstopping taxi cabs to get to your next destination.  One is an act of joy and the other is an act of necessity.

As I unpack the boxes, I'm also unpacking our new life.  We've had some big changes recently.  We've found our new home and William has moved over to the store full-time.  And I am... I am getting back to me.

While I have loved being at the store and meeting so many great people, I think that after awhile I was losing touch with myself.  I got caught up in things like restocking bags, answering emails, and trying to build up the business as best I could.  And while I did it and did it for years, it wasn't the right fit.  My strengths lie in making things, finding things, and telling stories.  Until William could really devote all his attention to the store, I've sort of been trying to cover all the bases, running back and forth.

Before anyone jumps to the wrong conclusion... I'll still be involved with the store.  It's my baby and I'll still be at the brick and mortar on a regular basis.  I'll just be focusing the majority of my energies on creating and acquiring new things and developing more online content and connection.   We'll also be working on separating the idea of me and the brand of the store.  Over the years, those things have gotten muddled and have become interchangeable.  As I scroll back through my blog, I've noticed that it has become less of a chronicle of my journey as a creative person and more about the things we do at the store.  While fun and still engaging, I've also noticed that my posts have become fewer and less frequent.  I guess somewhere in all the things I've had to do to make the store a success, part of my personal journey had to go into hibernation.  It has been a trade off that I've been happy to make, but I'm looking forward to refocusing a little on myself.

The changes ahead are a little frightening.  I've gotten so used to doing things a certain way and people have grown used to my haphazard methods.  I think it'll be a good change though and a needed one.  This will allow us to grow, not only as a business, but personally I'll be able to tap back into that potential and explore more of the things that make me happy and bring me joy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Anniversary...

Eight years ago something special happened.  In the grand scheme of things, of drifting continents and colliding stars, a date might not seem that important... but for me, it started a wonderful journey with someone I love and appreciate very much.   I could not have known then that it would profoundly and irrevocably alter my life.  It has been a good life and I am deeply grateful that the stars aligned and brought us together.  These eight years, filled with an abundance of experiences and brimming with memories, have flashed by in the blink of an eye.  Happy anniversary, William.  Here's to many more years and many more happy memories together!







Little by Little...

 I always forget how much work goes into moving.  I also forget just how expensive it is as well!  It's not the cardboard boxes and packing tape... it's the disruptions to life and work that cost the most.  In an effort to swing the needle a little more in our favor, I thought about making a limited edition pendant to help make up for all the additional expenses from the move.

I made a bronze coin pendant that says, "little by little the bird builds its nest".  It comes from a French saying, "Petit à petit, l'oiseau fait son nid"  that basically means, "every little bit helps".  I thought it was appropriate!

I've embellished the bronze with a little Glider's Paste and sealed it with Renaissance Wax.  I only made 15 of them and they sold out SUPER FAST!  There's even a waiting list!  It means so much to me that people want to help us reach our goals... little by little!  THANK YOU!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Polymer Clay Experiments...

I have a love affair with ancient Roman glass.  There's just something magical that happens when the glass is buried for a few thousand years.  I am smitten with the blend of rustic and iridescent.  But there are some drawbacks to working with it.

For one, it's... understandably... on the expensive side.  Most of it is found in Afghanistan in old Roman bottle dumps.  It has a finite source and once the dumps run dry, that's it!

Another thing that is less than ideal is that even though the glass has survived for thousands of years beneath sand and stone, it's on the more fragile side.  Not only is it prone to chipping and breaking, but the delicate finish on top can be worn away with body oils or flake off.

So I set about creating a similar effect in polymer clay.  I'm still experimenting with other mediums, but that's another blog post for another day.  After several different attempts, I think I've figured it out and came up with a method that I'm pleased with.

Here are my results:
This is one version of my Faux Roman Glass.  I really like it!  I even added larger holes in this batch to replicate the look of authentic pieces even more.

This is another experiment with the Faux Roman glass.  It has a slightly different color recipe and I finished them a bit differently as well.  I think it looks spot on!

Here's what the backs look like.  You can't really tell in this light, but the pieces are translucent and play with the light nicely!  I added inclusions to the polymer to make it look even more like ancient glass.

The nice thing about working in polymer is that the pieces are super flexible and bendy!  It really opens up design options.  Along with the flexibility, another perk is that I can do whatever shape I like and am not constrained by what's available on the market.

Here's another view of the Faux Roman glass pieces!

The pictures really don't do these justice, as the iridescent layers don't get to sing like they do in real life!  I spent a long time trying to figure out just the right formula and am pleased with the way they turned out.

While I was experimenting with what started off as a way to figure out the look and feel of ancient Roman glass, I branched out and played with some other color combinations and surface treatments.  This combination plays with shades of purple, glints of pink, and touches of blue with a vivid contrast of gold highlights.  I call them Gypsy Drops.  They remind me of the colorful scarves that adorned the costumes of the gypsies in my childhood stories.

This is another colorway.  This plays with pale greens and subtle blues with touches of gold.  I call them Ocean Tears.  They remind me so much of light on the waves of the ocean.


This colorway is called Magma Drops.  I really embellished these pieces with the crusty factor and added layers of rust reds and coppers to the pinks and pale purples.  When I looked at them, there was something primal that came to mind, that the churning surface of molten volcanic earth.

I'm going to keep playing around with this technique of building layers and balancing the right combination of matte, shiny, and pearlescent.  I really love how the idea of simulating ancient Roman glass sort of formed and I used it as a springboard for other ideas and surface treatment applications.  Hope you all like them as much as I do!

Monday, November 09, 2015

Brave Angel Silent Auction 4...

This is another bracelet that I made to auction off to help raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  This piece is made up of Czech glass, vintage sequins, vintage Japanese glass, hand-made copper headpins by me, a shibuichi flower clasp from my family at Green Girl Studios, and beaded beads by Rebecca Anderson of Song Beads.  (She donated these last year and I've been waiting to incorporate them into something fun!  Thanks, Rebecca!)  The bracelet is made up of a length of chain that has been embellished by wire-wrapped dangles.  It has a lot of fun movement!  The bracelet is approximately 8" inches long.

For this auction, the bidding will start at $1! There is no minimum reserve and there are no bidding increments. The highest bidder in the comments is the winner! As a thank you, we will ship the piece to the winner free of charge (to US participants). This auction is open to international participants. This auction will run from today (November 9th) to November 16th. Please make sure to include your name and an email address with your bid. The winner will be announced November 17th. When the winner is announced, we will send a Paypal invoice for the total. Please make sure to pay promptly. The funds we raise will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. 

Over the next few weeks, I hope to add several more auctions and will hopefully raise a tidy sum for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  I hope you'll consider bidding!

Brave Angel Silent Auction 3...

As promised, here's another piece that I made to auction off to help raise money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  This bracelet is made up of Czech glass, vintage acrylic, and dyed stone pulled from the Brave Angel kit, copper, lampwork glass from SueBeads and a polymer clay bead (that reads, "take courage") by Erin Prais-Hintz.  Susan Kennedy and Erin both donated these beads last year to help raise money for breast cancer awareness, prevention and treatment!  (Thank you, Sue!  Thank you, Erin!) The bracelet is approximately 9" inches long.

For this auction, the bidding will start at $1! There is no minimum reserve and there are no bidding increments. The highest bidder in the comments is the winner! As a thank you, we will ship the piece to the winner free of charge (to US participants). This auction is open to international participants. This auction will run from today (November 9th) to November 16th. Please make sure to include your name and an email address with your bid. The winner will be announced November 17th. When the winner is announced, we will send a Paypal invoice for the total. Please make sure to pay promptly. The funds we raise will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. 

I'll be posting more auctions over the next few weeks to help beef up our donation to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  Please consider bidding!  It's a great way to get pieces for yourself or for gifts.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Bead and Craft Bloggers...

Leftover Halloween Candy Cookies
Leftover Halloween candy isn't exactly a problem, but if you want to do something with it aside from just eating it as candy, try these easy and yummy cookies.

David's Puzzle
Check out the model Connie's cousin, Cindy, stitched for the David's Puzzle pattern from the Connie Gee's Designs Etsy shop and learn the story behind the pattern name.

Thumbprint Penguin Bar Towel
Kids can help make these thumbprint penguin bar towels.  They make charming housewarming gifts and fun keepsakes for grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

Art Bead Scene
Take a peek at our new November challenge!

Crafting Update
Crochet, knitting, jewelry-making, catch up on the crafting action from the Crafty Princess on the latest video podcast.

Snap out of it, Jean!  There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews a marvelous new book by Nealay Patel, "Jewelry Designs with Knitted Wire".  It's very original and totally cool!

Beading Arts
Here's a book review of one of Cyndi's top picks for Christmas gift-giving this year: "DIY Wrap Bracelets!"

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Ligonier Art Walk Recap...

Earlier today was the Ligonier Art Walk.  It was a really fun event with seven participating art venues in the area opening their doors and presenting a wide array of artwork and creative activities.  You can read more about what everyone had planned by CLICKING HERE.  We represented Theodore Bolha, who creates intricate paper-cuttings.

Here's an example of one of his pieces.  He stacks layers of these hand-cut, lace-like pieces of paper to create his scenes.  He also had some new pieces that incorporated found rocks, chalk and his cut paper.  

Below are some snapshots taken during Theodore's demonstration:
We're so thankful for all the people who came out and supported the arts in Ligonier today!  It was really nice to chat with people from all over and hear about their favorite pieces.

The Ligonier Art Walk is a really special event for me, because it connects the community to things that they might not have seen before and opens them up to new ideas and images.  Art has had such a powerful impact on my own life and it's an honor and a pleasure to be a part of this group of art venues that are dedicated to fostering the art scene in our little town and sharing art.

If you couldn't make it out to the art walk, you can still swing by several of the galleries and see the shows that were up.  Theodore's show at Allegory Gallery will be up until January.  Hope you get a chance to stop by and see it in person!  It's amazing!

Friday, November 06, 2015

Silent Auction Winners...

The winner of this bracelet is Ann Schroeder!  Thank you for your support!  I hope you enjoy this piece I made using the Brave Angel Kit!

The winner of this necklace is Carolyn Lawson!  Much gratitude for bidding and contributing to our donation to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation!  

Congratulations to all the winners and many thanks to everyone who bid!  

We'd like to increase our donation, so I'll be posting silent auction lots all throughout the month.  I know that October is over and breast cancer awareness month has technically ended, but I'd like to think that awareness shouldn't be limited to just one month.  So we'll keep raising money and hopefully do our part to help! 

Thanks again to all the winners and bidders!  You guys are most excellent!  

Monday, November 02, 2015

Spirit Walk Challenge SOLD OUT...

I think that might have been a record!  The Spirit Walk Challenge Design Kit is now sold out!  It really means a lot to me that people are still interested in the challenges and continue to claim the kits!  I love seeing the packages go out all over the world!  I like to imagine people opening them up and going through all the components, picking their favorites and beginning the design process.

Thanks again to everyone who got a kit and is participating in this creative challenge!

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Spirit Walk Challenge...

I hadn't planned on creating another kit so soon after the last.  (I actually had thought that I might take a break for a little bit.)  I was at the shop late one night and before I knew it, I had gathered together a lovely mix of purples, violet, and lilac.  It was almost like my hands were on autopilot.  Thusly, the Spirit Walk Challenge was born.

After I looked at the calendar, I realized that it wasn't so far off from when I was supposed to debut another kit.  So perhaps this was the Universe guiding me to keep going?

If you aren't familiar with the kits, they're a really informal and fun way to test your creativity by working with a selection of components that I handpicked.  

To participate, you must purchase a Design Kit. This kit features a selection of premium Czech glass (both new and vintage), vintage lucite, vintage acrylic, waxed Irish linen, manik-manik Indonesian glass, vintage seed beads, amethyst, recycled sari silk ribbon, dyed pyrite and a Luxury Bead Blend.

The Luxury Bead Blend consists of Japanese Miyuki seed beads, Toho seed beads, Japanese Matsuno seed beads, vintage Czech seed beads, vintage French seed beads, freshwater pearls, Czech glass (both old and new), amethyst, fluorite, stone, vintage sequins, vintage plastic, Swarovski crystals, vintage Japanese glass, and vintage lucite.

Each kit will come with a special handmade component that will remain a mystery until it arrives at your door! It may be more than one piece!

The mystery component(s) will be publicly revealed on Monday, December 28th, 2015!

For the past few challenges, I've been basing my kits off of gemstone inspirations.  Earlier this year, I created the Amethyst Aether Special Challenge and while there was a lot of amethyst in it, the kit was more inspired by Steampunk.  This kit started with a strand of faceted amethyst rondelles.  I started mixing and matching things, pulling strands of purple glass and darkly dyed pyrite.  Before I knew it, I had made the beginnings of a kit.  The funny thing is that the color purple is often associated with the spirit and the mind, of dreams and mystery, and the subconscious.  So it was apt that the components sort of came together on their own, as I hadn't really intentionally set out to put together a new kit.

With your kit, using as much or as little of it as you like, create a piece that showcases your creativity, individuality, and artistic expression!  Ideally you'll pull from the components in the kit and spotlight them, but feel free to use beads from your own stash to supplement the offered selection. Whether you use a little or a lot of the kit, make sure you keep your project secret until the reveal date!

The Reveal Date for this challenge is: Thursday, January 7th, 2016!

Post a picture on your blog or send one to me to post on your behalf (if you don't have a blog of your own). The Spirit Walk Challenge will end in a blog hop, sharing all the lovely things created with your kit with your fellow participants.

There are only 20 Design Kits available (with one set aside for me)! Once we receive your order, we will process your kit and send it out within seven Allegory Gallery business days. Hurry! Supplies are limited and are on a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE basis! (Sorry, no exceptions!)

I also wanted to mention that all the Design Kits will be shipped with Priority mail. This can take anywhere from one business day to ten. For international orders, it may take longer! If you know that it take a long time to reach your destination (from Southwestern Pennsylvania) please place your orders early! I will do my best to get your kit out as early as possible, but unfortunately I can't be held responsible if it arrives late due to the postal service.

All sales of the Design Kits are final and there are no returns or exchanges. Sorry!

With all that being said... we really hope you'll enjoy working with the kit and have a ball playing with it! We can't wait to see what you make!

CLICK HERE to get your Design Kit!

Friday, October 30, 2015

To New Beginnings...

Today was a gold star day!  We signed the papers for our new house.  It's finally sinking in that we're going to be in our own home soon.  I think I was holding my breath.  I don't think I was ready to give into the sweet relief that comes with finally finding a place until all the paperwork was taken care of.  My mother always told me to "not count the chicks before the eggs have hatched".  I was worried that something would fall through or that someone would change their mind and that we'd be left without a place of our own.

But... today we met with the attorney and got everything squared away.  It's hard to believe.  When we were living in our tiny little apartment in Brooklyn, I didn't think it would ever be possible.  It seemed like something that would eventually be nice one day, but I didn't really think that we would be able to.  Things sort of fell into place and now here we are!

I feel so overwhelmingly blessed right now.  Of course, I know it'll be a lot of work and I know it's a big commitment, but I think we're ready.  It'll be nice to set down more roots and make new memories in our new home.  Here's to new beginnings...

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Brave Angel Reveal and Silent Auction 2...

Throughout the weekend, I'll be adding more pieces that I created using the Brave Angel Special Challenge kit.  These pieces will be auctioned off and the proceeds will be used to help make a donation to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

This is another of the pieces that I made to help out.  It's made mostly of the Luxury Bead Blend and includes a mix of Czech glass, Japanese seed beads, vintage sequins, and a base metal heart toggle.  The bracelet is approximately 7.5" inches long.

For this auction, the bidding will start at $1!  There is no minimum reserve and there are no bidding increments.  The highest bidder in the comments is the winner!  As a thank you, we will ship the piece to the winner free of charge (to US participants).  This auction is open to international participants.  This auction will run from today (October 29th) to November 5th.  Please make sure to include your name and an email address with your bid.  The winner will be announced November 6th.  When the winner is announced, we will send a Paypal invoice for the total.  Please make sure to pay promptly.  The funds we raise will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Please keep in mind that although this piece is part of a blog hop, not all of the reveals are auctions!  (And that's okay!  The auctions were completely optional!)  While you're hopping, you'll notice that some of the auctions will be going to different charities.  (That's okay too!)  So if you're interested in participating in an auction, please take note and make sure to read over each artist's instructions carefully, as they may vary!  More auctions will be posted throughout the day and over the weekend.  So stay tuned!

CLICK HERE to see the rest of the blog hop reveal.

Brave Angel Reveal and Silent Auction 1...

I know that there's a lot of controversy over "pink-washing" October, but even so, I still wanted to use it as an opportunity to raise funds for breast cancer awareness and treatment.  We don't have a lot of extra money laying around, so I thought this would be a nice way for me to use my talents to help make a donation to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  We spent a lot of time researching places to donate money and found that this charity to be excellent.  CLICK HERE to take a look at their rating from Charity Navigator.

This is one of the pieces that I made to help out.  It's made of vintage Czech glass, faceted crystal rondelles, copper, fire-polished Czech glass, and a bronze bird toggle from my family at Green Girl Studios.  The necklace is approximately 22.5" inches long and depending on wrist-size, can also be worn as a bracelet.

For this auction, the bidding will start at $1!  There is no minimum reserve and there are no bidding increments.  The highest bidder in the comments is the winner!  As a thank you, we will ship the piece to the winner free of charge (to US participants).  This auction is open to international participants.  This auction will run from today (October 29th) to November 5th.  Please make sure to include your name and an email address with your bid.  The winner will be announced November 6th.  When the winner is announced, we will send a Paypal invoice for the total.  Please make sure to pay promptly.  The funds we raise will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Keep in mind that although this piece is part of a blog hop, not all of the reveals are auctions!  And some of the auctions will be going to different charities.  So please take note and make sure to read over each artist's instructions carefully, as they may vary!  More auctions will be posted throughout the day and over the weekend.  So also keep an eye out for them!  We thought this would be a fun and creative way to raise money and hope that you enjoy visiting the participating blogs.  This is a wonderful way to get holiday gifts and help with finding a cure for this disease and raise awareness for treatment and prevention.  Even if you aren't bidding, please consider hopping around and showing your support for the amazing work of all of the participants!

CLICK HERE to see the rest of the blog hop reveal.

Brave Angel Special Challenge Reveal...

Today marks the reveal for the Brave Angel Special Challenge.  If you're not familiar with the challenges, they're a fun way for folks to push themselves creatively, by working from a selection of components that I put together.  When we were talking about kits that we wanted to create, I knew that I wanted to make one that helped raise awareness for breast cancer treatment and prevention.

I was really blown away by how quickly the kits sold out.  (So many people were disappointed that they didn't get a kit that we had to do a second run of kits!)  It was a bittersweet feeling though.  Mainly because many of people who claimed kits were either breast cancer survivors or know someone who battled this disease.  It shines a new light on things when you go from the conceptual idea of creating a kit, to meeting people who have had firsthand encounters with the disease.  It made me think of all the people that I have lost along the way to breast cancer.  It was a truly humbling experience and I'm proud to be able to present this kit.

To find out more about what was in the kit, CLICK HERE.

This was the Mystery Component that I created for the kit.  It was made of polymer clay and hand-painted by me.  After I sent everything out, I found out that the fixative that I used to seal the pieces didn't fully cure and caused the pieces to be slightly sticky.  I was really heartbroken to discover this, because I spent a lot of time making them.  I have to apologize to anyone who received them, as it was not my intention to send anything out that was not perfect.  (Some folks said that their pieces were fine and others got sticky ones.)  I've tried to reach out to everyone who got a kit, but if I didn't get a chance to, just let me know if you got a tacky one and I can replace it.  (Alternatively, the pieces can be washed in warm, soapy water and recoated with a different sealant and that should do the trick.)  Once again, I apologize and hope folks found other things to work with in the kit.

And without further ado... here's the reveal:
This piece was made by Denise Slass-Lipson.  Here's what she had to say about it:  "My necklace includes many beads from the kit.  From my stash, I have added a small mirror, Czech glass beads, crystals, and flower sequins.  I love to work with flower sequins and frequently add them to my bead embroidery to carry the eye from component to component.  This piece contains two hearts – one to fly like the wind faster than caner and the other to show my heartfelt wish that someday soon we will see cancer cured.  There is a small local craft fair next month and I have taken a table.  I will exhibit it there and silently auction it off there."

The next five pieces were made by Angela Taylor.  Here's what she had to say about them:  "Here are the pieces I made from the Brave Angel kit.  The first bracelet was inspired by Stephanie Sersich and her spiny knotted bracelets and the amazing bead mix."

 Another bracelet by Angela Taylor.

 Another bracelet by Angela Taylor.

 A pair of earrings by Angela Taylor.

A necklace made by Angela Taylor.

These pieces were made by Melissa Wynne.  Here's what she had to say about them:  "Thank you for another fun challenge!  Loved the colors and bead selection and the meaning behind the name of the challenge.  I also wanted to show everyone the "Plant Pokes" that I made using the beautiful medallions.  At first, I'd put the Mystery Components in my beadwork, but then I thought they were too beautiful to be hidden away with my jewelry.  I wanted to see them more often.  So I thought I'd design them using sample/test beadwork pieces that I make."

This piece was made by Donna Krtil Hoblit of VeraDonna Treasures.  Here's what she had to say about it:  "I call this piece, "Lend a Hand with Love".  It uses one of my favorite "Andrew" creations.  This piece will be donated to a local cancer organization to be auctioned at one of their events."


This necklace was designed by me and is up for auction.  To find out more about it and to bid, CLICK HERE.

This bracelet was designed by me and is also up for auction.  To find out more and to bid, CLICK HERE.

But wait... there's even more to see! Check out what these participants made for the Brave Angel Special Challenge:
We hope you'll check back here throughout the weekend and bid on some of the auction pieces!  

Up next is the Last Harvest Challenge.  I have scheduled the reveal for Thursday, November 6th! So make sure to swing back around and see all the amazing creations!