Saturday, October 27, 2012

Relatively wordless...

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Earrings to match yesterday's bracelet. Yummy. Nuff said.

You all didn't think I could actually do WORDLESS, right?

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Lingering Taste of Summer...

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Now that the days are getting shorter (and colder!) I love anything that reminds me of summer. What a great treat to receive some fresh strawberries in my mailbox today...

Say what!?

Well, almost fresh... actually some fresh-looking polymer clay strawberry charms, handmade by Hazel Ward of Nottingham, UK based Continuum Designs. Hazel specializes in elegant nature-inspired beads and charms. Waaay back in late July, I asked to take part in Hazel's blog hop. It was a strange summer and it seems that my little berries were lost at sea somewhere in the North Atlantic. We chatted a few times since then and Hazel kindly offered to send me another set. I had prepared a bracelet specifically for this project quite a while back so I quickly added three of the berries and voilà:

I am of course aware that dragonflies are carnivorous, so I suppose this little fellow (in antique copper from Trinity Brass) is just admiring the life-like berries and not eating them LOL.

Some 4 mm sunshine yellow Swarovski for the dear departed summer sun. If you are reading this in the Southern Hemisphere, then YOUR summer is just around the corner. Enjoy!

Don't those berries look good enough to eat? They have a luscious golden glow. Thank you so much, Hazel... these were worth the wait! I have two left, so I think a little pair of earrings is in the plans for later tonight.

If anyone is experiencing a sudden craving, strawberries are  available in two sizes and as either charms (like mine), or as beads with a hole from top to bottom. Check Hazel's Etsy shop for other unique styles, too.

Monday, October 22, 2012

New Etsy Seller... Welcome Zoe!

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Lampwork-Spaceships by Tea Stained Beads

This morning I was pleased to see the newest Etsy shop using art beads in a cute and funky style. Miss Zoe, AKA Lady Grey, has her own blog, Beads, Tea and Sweets, and her shop is called Tea Stained Beads. A perfect name for a fellow tea lover, don't you agree?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My precious...

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I have a confession to make: I LOVE Czech glass beads... nay, I am addicted to them. I like to make little piles with them... or string them (not as jewellery, just to admire them LOL).

A couple weeks ago, while drooling over the gemstones at Magpie, I stumbled across some great bargains in Czechs: 100 g (that's nearly a 1/4 pound!) bags of beads, sorted by colour... only $4.99 per bag. I had to have some... O.K. a LOT! I've just sorted the blue so far; each bag has "between 100 and 200" beads in 10 different designs. I love them all!

Well the time has come to break my unhealthy hoarding addiction! Most of my latest haul (the blue portion) has been earmarked for the 7000 Bracelets for-Hope campaign. I have been collecting blue pretties for a while now: cording, buttons, ceramic bracelet cuffs... and of course, lots and lots of beads. As autumn gently turns to winter...

(Cue the autumn foliage) I was saying, as the seasons turn, I plan to be cozy in my little workshop making lots of beautiful blue bracelets. And overcoming separation anxiety from... MY PRECIOUS... 

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Bring on the BLING!

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This tale begins early in the hot and summery month of August, when our fearless leaders, Marlene Cupo of Amazing Designs by Marlene, and Shelley Graham Turner of Fabric of My Life (big kudos, ladies!), first announced to the blogging world that, come October, an event without precedent would be brought forth for all to see: 

This momentous happening would come to pass after the humble blogger applicants had passed rigorous testing requested admittance and received partners. Each one would consult the other and commence fabrication of an ornament or piece of jewellery.

When I received an email from Jo-Ann of It's a Beadiful Creation, I immediately checked out her blog. Jo-Ann makes beautiful jewellery but her speciality seemed to be dimensional bead-weaving. We chose a general theme and got to work. 

As with most plans, mine had a few hitches. My original cane work had to be scraped and restarted. The next one came together smoothly over the course of a week. Thankfully I was nearly done assembling my items as the deadline approached. This was when Murphy's Law swung into action, and I had almost two weeks of family illness, a visit to the emergency room with my son, followed by pet surgery.

It's always soothing to have a hobby to fall back on at these times. I finished my projects, and all human and pet family members started returning to good health. When I got Jo-Ann's parcel at the end of this, it was like a beautiful promise of better things! 

As I opened the carefully wrapped package, I found a cheerful holiday greeting card wishing me a "Beadiful Holiday Season", I started to get excited. Could it be?

Yes... I was now the proud owner of an amazing beaded box! I forgot to mention this is another of Jo-Ann's many talents. That is a Swarovski crystal snowflake on top. But wait... there seemed to something inside the box...

A gorgeous little beaded star! See how it is a perfect "fit"?

And I wasn't done! There was yet ANOTHER star... so perfect!

I know my poor little camera doesn't capture how it twinkles!

I am so spoiled! Three gifts in one... they are SO pretty. I have always loved the look of beading, and it appeals to my math mind, so orderly and planned. But these old(er) eyes are not up to such delicate work. So you can imagine how precious these are to me. I LOVE my gift, Jo-Ann!

Everyone at my house was speechless as they admired my amazing little treasures. Check out the beautiful snowflake pattern on the box!

The next day I even dug out a miniature artificial tree to display the stars against a Holiday background. Now, anyone who knows me knows I am a last-minute decorator, and Hubby does most of it. Christmas has definitely come early this year! Thank you so much, Jo-Ann... I have the Christmas Spirit in a big way now!

Even Jo-Ann's business cards are adorable... look at those sweet little owls on a branch!

This guy was the inspiration for the cane I designed for my gift to Jo-Ann. But I'll save that story for another day!

Now check out all these talented folks who have chosen to help us start the Holidays early:

Michelle Fanucchi 
Lennis Carrier
Mary Howell Govaars
Shelley Graham Turner
Stephanie Stamper (Woods)
Mary Hicks, Shannon Hicks

Friday, October 05, 2012

Take a bow, Sarah!

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Today I'd like to share a special artist I've just discovered. Sarah is a talented young mixed media artist with her own blog and Etsy shop, both named Sensible Sarah... how cool is that? The picture above is of Sarah's own hand-drawn and laminated bookmarks, some depicting famous literary characters. I bet you will be able to guess some of them, but check her blog and shop for more details and other goodies. These would be fabulous as a gift to a discriminating younger reader. I wish I'd had Sarah's courage and business savvy when I was her age! 

Her blog:

Her shop:

Congratulations on joining the Blogger and Etsy communities, Sarah. Your work is just beautiful! 

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Casual Bracelet Style

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Don't you love my prop? I was inspired by a photo on Marla
Gibson's Spice Box Designs during a recent blog hop!

I took a few minutes to put together a bracelet inspired by elements of several design ideas over at Linda's Mixed Kreations Jewelry blog. I'm just learning to use cording in casual jewellery styles, so I love being able to buy small amounts of different colours (thank you, Carolyn of Dragonfly's Supplies). This is waxed cotton cord in School Bus Yellow; the one metre length is perfect for practising my knots, with a little leftover to brighten up a pair of earrings!

I had a small collection of rustic Ridged Rounds from Rebekah of Tree Wings Studio which I interspersed with some Mookaite Jasper nuggets for the bracelet. There are also some cool burgundy spacers in organic polymer clay shapes, also by Rebekah, for variety. The simple tassels are Picasso Czech glass beads. Finally, the earrings are an easy design featuring Rebekah's PC rounds in a gorgeous pearly finish, topped with 8mm Mykonos Greek ceramic washers stacked over cord ends.

I'm lovin' this more casual style, and I notice lots of other bloggers are lovin' it, too!

P.S. If you haven't seen Rebekah's new Sleepy Critters, take a peak over at her Tree Wings Studio blog. They are too cute to miss!

Monday, October 01, 2012

New Screen Saver (Thanks Cari-Jane!)

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I love it when someone else takes the time to make a cool screensaver. This is the second month Cari-Jane Hakes of hybrid handmade has offered a monthly calendar featuring her original art. Drop by her blog and spend a bit of time. 

For October 2012 we have an image featuring her prototype copper work, "Into the Wild". Over the course of several posts, starting with her September 19 introduction, Cari-Jane has mused about the place of Art in art, so to speak, and the gentle path one must often follow as a speaker of narrative. I think you will find it food for thought.

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