Category Archives: Uncategorized

It’s Bead Soup time again!

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Once again I’ve signed up for Lori Anderson’s Bead Soup Blog Party, which is the major event each year in bead/blogging world! This is the 8th year for the party, and my 3rd year participating. How it works is this – Lori pairs up the participants and you then swap bead soup ingredients for each other to create with. On reveal day you do a blog post showing what you designed with the soup you received from your partner. It’s lots of fun and a great way to challenge yourself to create with beads and components that someone else chose for you. My partner this year is Kim Paige of Red Tree Studio. Her metal clay work is elegant and simply amazing! Before I show you the incredible soup she sent, here is what i sent to her-

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I’ve been hoarding these oversized pale pink cut glass beads for a few years – I love the way they’re cut, but because I’m “pastel impaired” I haven’t been able to decide what to do with them! (I saved a few just in case I ever figure it out though!) I paired them with a hand carved mother of pearl pendant from Plum Bazaar, which is the awesome bead shop in Branson where I just started working.

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Next I gathered up some pewter beads – some with dragonflies, and some that remind me of ocean waves, along with a pair of large filigree beads. I added some tiny garnets, some hand dyed silk ribbon and a sterling and moonstone clasp. I sure hope Kim likes what I’ve chosen – it’s surprisingly hard to decide what to send to someone you’ve never met!

One thing I do know is that I’m absolutely thrilled with what Kim sent – just look!Image

A great assortment of stone, bone and wood beads, copper chain, leather cord and two fabulous clasps! That in itself would be a wonderful soup, but now for the really exciting stuff!

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Aren’t these amazing? Kim made these from metal clay, using blueberry leaves from her yard for texture. And finally, this stunning focal –

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I’m so excited to start working with these gorgeous pieces – I only hope I can somehow do them justice. Thanks, Kim, for a truly wonderful soup!

A frosty fog morning

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When I looked out this morning and saw that it was both foggy and frosty, I forgot all about my coffee and grabbed my camera. Knowing it wouldn’t last long, I drove to Swan Creek, which is just a few minutes away. It was so pretty and I hoped I could get some good shots!

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There was a wonderful thick, white coating on everything – transforming even simple weeds into beautiful little sculptures.

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The fog gave the creek a monochromatic dreamlike look – these look like black & white photos but they’re not!

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Even barbed wire looked like it had grown soft white fur-

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I so enjoyed taking these photos, and I’m glad I did – an hour or so later the sun came out and it all disappeared!

Arkansas getaway

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My husband and I took a much needed mini vacation last weekend and headed down the road to nearby Arkansas, taking our time and stopping  here and there on the way to our hotel. First stop was Eureka Springs, where I did a little bead shopping (Czech glass, yay!) and where we saw two very different deities –

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The Christ of the Ozarks, a seven story tall statue high atop Magnetic Mountain that overlooks the town below, and

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the Goddess of Feminine Cosmic Energy, also known as Aza, or Adora Zelina Astra. Each was equally impressive in their own way!

As we continued on our way to Bentonville I spotted one of my favorite things to photograph – a fabulous abandoned farmhouse-

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It’s hard to explain, but somehow I see a dignified beauty in the skeletal remains of old falling down buildings and always feel compelled to take their picture before they’re gone forever.

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After a couple of days of relaxing (comfy hotel bed – yesss!) we headed back home – but on the way out we spent an afternoon at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. I’d heard a lot of good things about it, and they were right – it’s amazing! I’ll show you about that next time – stay tuned!

The welcoming committee

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My husband and I took a few minutes this evening to walk by a nearby lake and enjoy the sunset. As we were headed back to the car, a  trio of snow white ducks got out of the water and walked over to where I was standing. I assumed they were looking for a food handout and that they’d start squawking at me when they realized I didn’t have anything for them.

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When they got to me though, they stopped.

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And they just stood there, calmly regarding me with their dark eyes and cheerful orange feet. This went on for several moments, with me snapping picture after picture and with them just silently watching.

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Then, they turned to each other and had a lengthy conversation amongst themselves while I stood there and laughed  at how cute they were.

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Finally, as quietly as they came, they turned in unison and headed back to the lake while I walked back to my husband feeling utterly charmed by my encounter with the welcoming committee of Rockaway Beach!

5×5 Challenge

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This past month I participated in a very intriguing challenge, along with 4 other Artisan Whimsy members. It’s called 5×5 Testers, and works like this: five artists are chosen each month and each are given five identical components to create with. At the end of the month, all of the pieces are revealed and are featured in the beautiful Bead Chat e-magazine. To see it, click on the “Glossi” link on the right side of the page.

The results are fascinating, as each artist interprets the pieces in their own unique style. I wish I’d have thought to take a picture of the components before I used them (d’oh!), but I do know that some of the other team members did.

Here’s what I came up with-

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I decided to work with this filigree piece first. This was the easiest piece for me, since I work with this style so often. I enhanced just the center of the filigree with Vintaj patinas, and curled the ends under at the sides. At first I was going to join the chain with jumprings, but instead I inserted a headpin with tiny brass beads to work as stoppers. Some absinthe green Czech glass drops swing from the filigree.

Next came the X shaped piece of brass. I gently shaped it with bailing pliers so that it fit the curve of my wrist, and carefully wound hemp cord around the legs and over the center, adding a few African trade beads as I went along. Some vintage cuckoo clock chain and a lobster clasp was added to finish.

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When I saw this large, kind of open weave brass ring I knew I wanted to make a bezel with it, but wasn’t really sure how to go about it. After reading about the process on the ICE resin website, I decided to attempt a backless bezel with resin. I set the frame on a piece of packing tape and poured just a little resin in to cover the inside of the frame. After the first layer was dry I cut a piece of heavy scrapbook paper and laid it in for a background, and continued to add several thin layers of resin, letting it cure between layers. To finish, I painted a brass bird charm and glued it to the front. A couple of tiny bead caps painted with Vintaj patina became little flowers to hide the holes in the bird’s wings.

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Next I tackled the little square of copper. The edges were pretty sharp, so I filed them a little, and then coated the square with Vintaj patina. Once it dried I sanded it here and there for a distressed look, and added a rusty metal flower layered with a bright Czech glass flower bead. It’s strung on bright turquoise suede cord.

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Finally, the domed copper disc! This pretty much had me stumped, and I put off dealing with it until the very last minute. I thought about somehow winding wire through the slots but couldn’t come up with anything I liked, so out of desperation I just started punching holes in it. I had some bright colored embroidery thread laying on my table so I used it to make knots in the holes, and glued a flower shaped Czech glass bead to the front. It’s a little weird, but I kind of like it!

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This challenge was a great exercise, and forced me to think outside my normal creative box! Thanks so much to Melinda Orr for letting me participate, to Alicia Marinache for moderating the challenge, and to Heather Kelly Marston, who generously provided the materials!

Here are links to the rest of this amazing team’s blogs and their fabulous creations –

Charlene Bausinger Jacka     http://www.clay-space.com/blog

Lesley Freedom   http://www.sweetfreedom-designs.blogspot.com

Heidi Kingman     http://www.heidikingman.blogspot.com

Sharyl McMillian-Nelson  http://www.sharylsjewelry.blogspot.com

Heather Kelly Marston      http://www.cswdesignsbyhehe.blogspot.com

 

I’m honored…

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…that my earrings are featured in the Spring issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry!

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These were made from vintage clock hands that I rusted and manipulated into curves and curliques, and dressed up with gears and beads. They’re lots of fun to make, although they’re too long for my fat little neck.

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But that’s okay, because the real fun for me is getting to see them inside my favorite jewelry magazine! 🙂

p.s  If you’re one of those lucky ladies with a long neck, these and others can be found in my Etsy shop!

http://www.lilruby.etsy.com

Oh, the possibilities!

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It’s Bead Soup time again – I’m participating in the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party hosted by Lori Anderson. This is my 2nd year for Bead Soup, and my reveal date is March 30th.

If you haven’t heard about this wildly popular and fun blog hop, here’s how it works: Lori assigns each participant a partner, and you each choose a mixture of beads and findings (a soup) from your stash and exchange them. On reveal day, you post what you created on your blog. Creating with beads you didn’t choose yourself is a good way to stretch your creativity, and is lots of fun – especially since my partner, Gretchen Nation, sent me an absolute treasure trove of goodies – so much it takes two pictures to see it all! Check this out-

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In this pic you can see vintage beads and buttons, found objects, a strand of fire agates and more!

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Here we have more great buttons and beads, and best of all – Frozen Charlottes! There were five of these little beauties, but I’ve already started creating with one of them. Be sure to check back on March 30th to see what I come up with!

love life

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jewelry 563When I started to make this bracelet, it was with the intention of just making a fun piece to sell for Valentines Day. But as I was deciding how to etch it and what the text would say, instead it became a reminder – to love life – no matter what challenges it holds. My husband and I have experienced some doozies over the past couple of years – illness, the loss of both of our mothers, job loss followed by extended unemployment which in turn has caused financial hardship…all of which equals stress levels that are off the charts! But – love endures – for each other, and for the life we share.
So, instead of a holiday sale piece, I think I’ll keep this one…or at least make another one for me! 🙂

Remembering Clara – Memories and Thanks blog hop reveal

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When I saw that Lori Anderson was hosting another of her great blog hops I was ready to sign up, especially since this one has to do with memory jewelry – that is, jewelry that’s created to honor the memory of someone who has played a special part in your life.

Clara was my paternal grandmother, and was special not only to me, but to our entire family. Christmas Eves and family birthdays were always spent at Grandma’s house on Hendee St.

Grandma was gentle and soft spoken, but also very strong. She’s been gone many years now, but I can still see her in her dress, apron and cute little old lady shoes. She always wore a jeweled pin on her apron or a necklace, and had tea and cookies every afternoon at 4:00. To this day I think of her everytime I see a box of Lorna Doones!

God only knows what I was jabbering at her!

God only knows what I was jabbering at her!

I’m the youngest child in our family by over 10 years so Grandma was already 70 years old when I was born. I knew her as the adorable elderly lady she was at that time, but I’ve always been fascinated by the lovely young woman she once was. So much so that way back in high school I painted this portrait of her –

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The image I chose to use for my memory bracelet is from her wedding picture. I photocopied the photo, inserted it into a lovely brass stamping piece from B’Sue Boutiques and coated it with ICE resin. After that it was just a matter of adding a few crystals and a length of chain that I threaded with some tea dyed ribbon.

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I like to think that Clara would have approved!

Thanks so much for joining me on my little trip down memory lane! Now go and check out all the talented artists and their beautiful creations on this blog hop –

http://www.prettythingsblog.com/2012/11/participants-for-memories-and-thanks.html

2012 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

I found it to be pretty interesting, and was thrilled to see that folks all over the world have visited my lil blog! Thanks to all of you who have stopped by to take a look or leave a comment – it means a lot to me! 

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 10 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.