Sunday, March 31, 2013

Colourful Crane Mobile

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Here's a fun way to display all those paper cranes. This is in beautiful spring colours but would be stunning in all-white, too.

The full instructions for this mobile are on the Instructables website. Here is the worm's-eye view:

Don't have any paper cranes lying around? Here's a quick video from Youtube. A good craft for some downtime after the chocolate rush wears off tomorrow!


 Happy Easter/Spring Day to all you bloggers! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fresh Baked Jewelry: New on Etsy

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I get excited whenever I notice or hear about a new shop on Etsy. I try to spend a part of each day checking what my favorite artisans are up to (I know, I know, it's hard work but I refuse to back away from a challenge LOL).

Sometimes I luck in and notice a brand new shop... 

My personal pick: Teal Leaf Bracelet featuring artisan ceramics

Other times I hear about it from the source! Allow me to ring the bell and sound the trumpet! The lovely Lynda Carson has been selling her hand-crafted jewellery for several years in boutiques near her California home. As of three days ago, lovers of handmade can now find Lynda's creations at her very own Etsy shop!

I have been following Lynda's story as she stretches her creative muscles on her blog Fresh Baked Designs. Lynda is also an avid traveler who lends her talents to fundraising for a community in the far-off African country of Ghana. Many of her designs have featured the amazing hand-painted glass beads of that region.

I hope you will all join me in welcoming Lynda to the Etsy community. Lynda invites everyone to check out her shop and her blog (*read this post for a special bonus*).

Monday, March 25, 2013

Ecological Tagua Beads Giveaway

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If, like me, you have wondered about using tagua beads in your designs, Pearl Blay has the perfect opportunity. Go to her blog for a giveaway worth $40. from Ecuadorian hands, who create and supply these eco-friendly beads as a humane alternative to elephant ivory. 

A selection of beautiful dyed and carved tagua beads.

For everything you need to know about this giveaway, head over to Pearl's blog post and get in on the action!  

**This draw ends at 6 pm EST Monday,  April 1 , 2013 and is INTERNATIONAL**

Thanks for another exciting giveaway, Pearl!

March ABS Challenge Design

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So I haven't been in the Zone much this year. 2013 has been flying along... how many times have I read that very sentiment on the blogs I've visited? You all seem to agree: this first quarter of the year has been conspicuous for its desire to hurry on out the door!

While I loved the Art Bead Scene's inspiration art for January and February, various factors seemed to conspire to prevent my participating. So it was with gratitude that I found the time and motivation to make this simple bracelet:

I had these wonderful little lampwork beads in various earthy colours that I had purchased awhile back from Julie of Indian Creek Art Glass. She calls them "Random Minis" and they are a delightful size for earrings at only 10 mm x 6 mm... and perfect for the understated bracelet style I had in mind. This is the beautiful range of colours I received on just one strand:

Here is the cheerful abstract painting offered for this month's inspiration:

Deer In the Forest, 1911 by Marc Franz(This art is copyrighted and is to be used only as inspiration.)

Upon studying the work, the element that first caught my eye was the infinity symbol just to the right of center. I looked at different ways to express this, and coincidentally came across these simple charm/connectors that were just what I had in mind:

I wanted a bit of organic in my design to balance the glass and metal, so I made a clasp to represent antler bone using polymer clay:

You can see a couple of brightly coloured niobium jumprings for a playful touch. These elements are woven together with a natural colour waxed linen:

It was a relief to finally get a chance to join in another ABS Challenge. This ongoing monthly event was the motivation for me to finally start my blog last July, so it holds a special place in my heart. Do check the ABS flickr group for lots more art-inspired design.

The Deer Sleeps

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sprechen Sie Deutsch, Miezekätzchen?

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I already knew I should have been born a cat. Now come to find out I would want to be a GERMAN cat! Then I could live in this:

Seen on today. The sweet and cozy abode is by Dornroeschen Filzunikate creator Susanne Karg, who makes kitty's dreams come true in her studio near Heidelberg, Germany. The last link is to her Dawanda shop... lots of beautiful cat caves and other goodies.

Susanne also has a blog if you fancy more felted art and wearables.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Almost Wordless (Cute Ideas for Cat Lovers)

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Lots more sayings and colours on the listing.
Nina, you are a girl after my own heart!

Adopt Orphans (Bead Orphans)

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Now, I had planned on waiting until I had created something amazing with these beads I bought recently from Happyskull Lampwork:

 And another view of the beady goodness:

Purty, huh?

I am recently on a PURPLE slant (more about that in a future post), so I have settled for admiring my BLUES where they sit beside my computer/work area. They are polite and well-behaved companions. However, since bead creator extraordinaire Cherie Ranfranz happens to be on my radar, I noticed she just listed more wonderful orphan bead sets in a gorgeous array of colours. 

I have found orphans give my creativity a boost. Each individual bead tells its own story. If you haven't worked with orphans, give them a try. And Cherie, keep those wonderful beads coming!

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Bead Shop $75.00 Giveaway

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Pearl is at it again! She is sponsoring yet another draw over at The Beading Gem's Journal. This is for a $75 (or £50) gift certificate from The Bead Shop of Manchester, UK. Here are some of the unusual beads I found:

Hand-painted glass

Laser-cut wooden heart

Ball-chain beads

So head over to Pearl's post and get all the details. This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL and ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST MONDAY, MARCH 25 , 2013.

♥ Good luck everyone!

UPDATE: WINNER  is Patricia Schwab. Congratulations!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Incredible Glass Art from Germany (Giveaway)

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So y'all know I can never resist an artist who wants to give someone their handmade pretties, right? The text on the photo below explains it quite well, but I've included a few more links for your drooling pleasure:

Click here to go to FB giveaway!

Karolin Wagner of Bermbach, Germany sells her amazing miniature creations through her Etsy shop. I love them all but this little guy taking shelter from the raindrops stole my heart:

Click here to go to this fella's Etsy listing!

**In case you missed it: THIS GIVEAWAY WILL TAKE PLACE ON MARCH 31st, 2013** and you must enter on Karo's Glasmagie FB page. Good luck to everyone!  

Thank you so much for offering 
your adorable horse sculpture, Karolin.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Fantasy Flower

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I just received some lovely complimentary Czech glass beads from Cyndi of Beading Arts, courtesy of The Best Beads. I got some Moonstone Bicones and Leaves in both black and red. I love primary and highly contrasting colours like this, but strangely, I had never worked in that combination before. 

This is the inspiration design I have come up with to get me started. I am SO not a beader! I just wanted to have a little something at my worktable that would encourage me to come up with larger projects. I find once I "store" my components, I tend to forget about them. Out of sight, out of mind?

Fantasy Flower... maybe the Red Queen would grow these!

What do you use to help seed designs? How do you store your pretties so they are readily available when the Muse is in the mood?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Crochet Tutorial by Miss P...

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If you love those popular crochet and chain combinations, I found this beautifully written and photographed tutorial over on Portia's blog Miss P... I'm going to try this one out! Portia writes about fashion sewing, repurposing, thrifting, DIY, crafting, knitting and enjoys the occasional jewellery foray. She offers lots of enjoyable, easy-to-understand tutorials and has a great chatty style that makes her blog fun to read. Do check her out!  

Saturday, March 09, 2013

We Shall Go To The Sea (A Blog Hop)

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Welcome to my reveal for the Bead Table Blog Hop II - Sand and Sea Edition, sponsored by Lisa Lodge of A Grateful Artist. Back in December, when most of us were still getting used to having snow around, Lisa offered some sweet reprieve. Namely, a kit of beads in either "sand" or "sea" colours. I was tickled to receive my set of pretty blue and green, glass and pearl, with a little gold thrown in for good measure! As I rarely work with gold components, I felt challenged, in a good way!

I had a ball with these beautiful beads: faceted and smooth glass, mother-of-pearl daggers in two shades of blue, dusky pearls and neutral seed beads, all accented with delicate gold bead caps and spacers. All unusual for me... and I love the results.

Love these mysterious and dramatic green beauties!

I made three separate strands. 

A little twist before joining the strands.

That sweet little seashell tile was included in my bead kit. It's by Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp of Skye Jewels. The silk ribbons were some short lengths remaining from a previous project (besides basic findings, it was the only component not in my original kit). The silk was purchased from Marsha Neal Studio... I am partial to a little fabric in a bracelet design, and these ribbons really soften the "feel" on my wrist.

I had enough beads left over for a pair of matching earrings:

I have very few beads remaining from my kit. It was tempting to add "extras" to my design but I resisted! In a way it is liberating to be so limited in what one can use, and still have fun and come up with an appealing design. Thanks for this great event, Lisa!

Now here is a completely gratuitous photo a friend emailed me this week. I couldn't resist sharing!

Ahhhh! Now THAT looks cozy!

Thanks for visiting! Now check out what these creative artists have come up with:

HOSTESS Lisa Lodge   A Grateful Artist
Eleanor Burian-Mohr    The Charmed Life
Mary Govaars    MLH Jewelry Designs
Tanya Goodwin    A Work in Progress
Kathy Lindemer    Bay Moon Design
Toltec Jewels    Jewel School Friends
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson    Sharyl's Jewelry 
Marla Gibson    Spice Box Designs
Melissa Trudinger    Bead Recipes
Dot Lewallen    Speedie Beadie
Ema Kilroy    Ema K Designs
Jami Shipp    Celebrating Life
Leah Tees    My Beady Little Eyes
Christie Murrow    Charis Designs Jewelry
(YOU ARE HERE) Monique Urquhart    A Half Baked Notion
Gloria Allen    Gloria Allen Designs
Cindy Anderson Wilson     It's My Sea of Dreams
Suzi Campbell    Suzi Campbell Creations
Shaiha Williams    Shaiha's Ramblings
Annette Rivers    Mamaowl's Mess 

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Unique Goddess Beads (Giveaway)

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I learned yesterday of these amazing Goddess beads being offered by Louise Ingram to celebrate the coming of Spring. (Thank you Bonnie of Jasper's Gems for the heads-up!) Fittingly, this draw will take place on the first day of Spring - March 20th! Here's a pic of Louise's creation:

Don't they look like they are ready for bright sunshine, longer days and warmer winds? Louise creates these gorgeous glass ladies in her studio in Merrickville, Canada, and offers them for sale in her Etsy shop,  Fireseed.  For this "welcome to Spring", she is giving away not one but three beautiful pendants, one for each of three winners. Read all about the awesomeness on Louise's website. Good luck, everyone!

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