Thursday, September 20, 2012

Beading Path Lucite Challenge - Reveal Day


Who knew this challenge was going to whip my patootie!  I work with vintage beads ALL of the time. I work with these lovely colors on a regular basis - as a matter of fact I seek them out!  So, what's UP, Buttercup?

Lorelei picked out some AWESOME lucite beads from The Beading Path for this challenge.

I ordered my stash the first day and couldn't WAIT to work with those black flowers.  I've never worked with anything like them before and I was thrilled.  Unfortunately, 2 of the three arrived broken into pieces.  The Beading Path (awesome store, BTW) quickly sent me 2 replacements, but this put a reality check on my idea for a super chunky bracelet.  Not very practical!

It turns out that the new loves of my life had more difficulty in store for me.  (Isn't that always the case?)  Let me just show you the finished necklace first - then I'll explain what I mean.

So, I used some lovely vintage glass headpins to decorate the center of the flowers.  They turned out to be very pretty!  But, when I tried to incorporate them into a necklace design (and there were MANY designs that I went through) they would never lay right.  They would turn over, droop, basically look simple awful.  So, I did something I never do when making jewelry - I used GLUE!  I actually glued each flower contraptions to an aqua lucite links.  Well, you know gave them the support they needed to lay properly.  It did limit my design ideas, but I actually like the way it turned out.  I added some vintage chain and made it 19 inches because I wanted to wear it with this dress:


The lucite links have a tendency to wiggle right out of those large jump rings and I'm not sure it is going to stay together long enough for a night on the town.  I may just glue those damn things shut too!  Apparently glue is my new best friend.

So, I spent something like a total of 7 hours (over several days) on the necklace alone.  I had VERY little time left to do the other things I wanted to do - like earrings and a bracelet.....not to mention I had a whole crap-load of beads left over that I hadn't even touched!  I got to a couple pair of earrings but the bracelet is still a glimmer in my eye.  And there's still some lovely lucite I have yet to touch!!!

So, 2 pair of earrings is all you get at the moment....

These are the teal buttons, with the orange lucite and some vintage glass from my stash.  I actually like these a lot and I'm sort of proud of myself for using the buttons in a way that is different for me (I am still holding onto one for a clasp).

Here's 2 of the links with the red lucite and some leather cord.  

So, who knows.....I may rip the whole thing apart next week and put together Lucite Challenge Part 2. Plus, there's still a bracelet in the works.  

I STILL really love those flowers.  Maybe I'll have a 2 am epiphany about them and end up with the necklace of my dreams - because the components are there!

Meanwhile, I'm going to give it a trial run with the dress and see how it holds up.  I'll take pics of the complete outfit.

Go check out what other participants have done with these goodies.  I'm looking forward to seeing who did ingenious things with the flowers and who avoided the glue!

Lisa Cone 
(You are here)
Suzanne Kiertianis
Copper Diem


Friday, September 7, 2012

Bracelet Stalking

I have a couple of main "styles" of jewelry I like to work with.  One one hand, I like collagey, art bead goodness and on the other hand I love to do modern recreations of vintage pieces.  There's a bracelet worn by Grace Kelly in Rear Window and I simply love it.  I want to do my own version of it one day soon, but I can't seem to find a good (ie: clear) picture of it.

I'll take that top too!

The bracelet is not only beautiful as well as substantial, but it has little charms hanging off of it and makes the most WONDERFUL sounds.  It's almost like wearing a subtle wind chime on your wrist.

Here's the section of the film with the bracelet (it's also where she open up her TINY Mark Cross bag and her voluminous night gown pops out. (pardon the commercial interruption)

One day, all of this lusting will result in a Grace Kelly Inspired Bracelet.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Challenge of Travel Blog Hop

It seems the only way I can get myself to actually PHOTOGRAPH and POST pics of my work is to participate in a blog hop.  So, when Erin of Tesori Trovati Jewelry  posted on her blog, Treasures Found - Inspiration is Everywhere about the upcoming Challenge of Travel Blog Hop, I signed myself up.  We got to choose our region and country.  I immediately choose Japan.

Now, those of you that know my style or have seen my house don't think of traditional Japan.  But, I wasn't thinking of traditional Japanese style.  I went right to contemporary Japanese Pop Culture.

I visited Tokyo for 10 days in 2005.  While we visited some historical sites, the most memorable parts of our trip were focused on pop culture and food (oh the glorious food!).  We spent days (and nights) at Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Seas, The Ghibli Museum, shopping in Shibuya and Shinjuku, spotting Harajuku girls, seeing underground pop bands, shopping at places like Tokyu Hands, the Kitchen District and the amazing and wondrous department stores.  Oh, and the vending machines!  I put many a coin in those vending machines.
(Photo from

No one, no where, does pop culture like the Japanese.....and I adore it all.  The odd thing about my love of Japanese Pop Culture is that I am pretty much CLUELESS about American Pop Culture.  But, I find all things "Kawaii" (ie" Super Cute in Japanese) to be amazing.  The bold (and extravagant) use of color and pattern is way out of my comfort zone (and I'm not shy) and minimalism is an unknown commodity.   Harajuku Cosplay has gotten quite popular in the US recently and it is amazing and inspiring to see in person.  There's a whole Flickr Group devoted to Harajuku fashion.

So, that's where I started - with Japanese Pop Culture and a bunch of stuff from my stash.    Luckily, i have a ton of vintage lucite, lots of plastic, some toys from Japan and lots of other beads to work with from my ever-growing vintage (ie: hoarder) collection.  It didn't start out to be as easy as I thought it would be, however.  I've been working mostly with art beads, fibers, leather and other more "earthy" elements lately. Apparently, I've toned down my style!  I made, tore apart, re-made, tore apart my first piece several times - and it is still my least favorite piece of the trio I ended up with.  But then, I got my groove back and I went a little nuts.  So, yes, there are 3 pieces here (and I really could have made more).  Oh, and I'm still futzing with photography.  And by futzing, I mean cussing.

Here's my first (and more sedate) piece.  The colors are so not me.  I must have been channeling Martha Stewart here.  But, the vintage lucite, the plastic flowers, the My Elements rubber rings and the sweet blue owls are lots of fun.

Then I went nuts.  Plastic dinosaurs from earrings I used to wear in 1984, more plastic flowers, a string devil doll, a Gloomy Bear from a Japanese vending machine capsule, more vintage lucite, random glass flowers, more My Elements stash, and - oh look - a couple of Elaine Ray art beads.

My last piece was more gothic inspired with a Disney twist.  I seem to have quite a collection of Little Green Men (from Toy Story).  I got most of these in Japan and, while I haven't been wearing them lately, I seem to never trow anything out.  So, these guys got mixed with vintage American vending machine baubles, more vintage lucite, My Elements plastics and rubber and some (almost eatable) vintage glass beads.

I'm just crazy enough that I will wear 2 our of 3 of these.  Martha Stewart can have the pastel bracelet. ;)

There are 59!!! bloggers on this blog hop.  It may take be a few days but I will visit each and ever one of these sites.  Enjoy your own journey!


Region Chosen
Inspiration Nation
Monique Urquhart
Burkina Faso
Niky Sayers
Therese Frank
Raychelle Heath
Joan Williams
Sherri Stokey
Regina Santerre
Raida Disbrow
Kristi Wodek
Sally Russick
Melissa Trudinger
Tracy Stillman
Sandra Wolberg
Tanya Goodwin
Susan Kennedy
Beth Emery
Lisa Cone
Japan < Here U R!
Tanya Boden
Inge von Roos
Erin Prais-Hintz
Dee Elgie
Carolyn Lawson
South Korea
Lisa Stukel
Sri Lanka
Elly Snare
Shelley Graham Turner
Mallory Hoffman
Bosnia Herzegovina
Paige Maxim
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson
Evelyn Shelby
Holly Westfall
Rebecca Siervaag
Toltec Jewels
Lee Koopman
Laren Dee Barton
Cindy Wilson
Kathleen Lange Klik
Shaiha Williams
Jennifer Justman
Elsie Deliz-Fonseca
Lola Surwillo
Kim Hora
Leanne Loftus
The Netherlands
Patti Vanderbloemen
The Netherlands
Marcie Carroll
Marlene Cupo
Federated States of Micronesia
Ine Vande Cappelle
Tammie Everly
Alice Peterson
Elisabeth Auld
Susan McClelland
New Zealand
D Lynne Bowland
New Zealand
Denielle Hagerman
New Zeland
Rebecca Anderson
Papua New Guinea
Mischelle Fanucchi
Kari Asbury
Solomon Islands
Cece Cormier
Emma Todd
Debbie Price

Friday, August 31, 2012

Playing with Tutorials

I've only taken a few actual jewelry-making workshops.  Most of those have involved elements of fire that I don't feel comfortable just experimenting without the watchful eye of someone who knows what they are doing.  When I started making jewelry, I relied on books and on-line tutorials to learn new skills and techniques.  Of course, being one that doesn't follow directions very well, I'd often end up learning something totally new along with the skill I had set out to learn.  (This is why I don't bake, folks.)

I ran across two great tutorials recently and thought I'd try them out.  Both tutorials are fantastic and I highly recommend them to anyone looking to expand their skill set.  

The first one is from The Gossiping Goddess.  It is for a Double Strand Seed Bead and Jump Ring Bracelet.  It is an easy technique and an incredibly BRILLIANT idea.  I absolutely LOVE the way the double strand of beads interlock and look almost woven - but there's no bead weaving involved here (or else I wouldn't be doing it - I also have no patience).

I took the concept and did a partial strand using small Czech glass Picasso beads (a favorite of mine), added a few vintage lucide beads and some czech glass, a pretty focal by Round Rabbit Extra, then finished off with the same bead series on the other end.  I love it and I can't wait to play with this concept even more.

I also watched a couple of video tutorials from Lorelei Eurto.  Lorelei make fun video tutes and I suggest you take a look on her blog for more of her fun tutes.  There's lots to learn here and her blog is inspiring as well.  (And, OH, the eye candy!!!)

Lorelei did 3 tutes - 2 on basic knotting of linen cord and one on stringing and knotting lampwork disks.  I just happened to buy some lovely lampwork disks from Veda's Beads and I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them yet.  I watched the tute and, voila, I had my answer.  I ended up making 2 very different pieces.  This technique is so versatile that I'll be using it quite a bit in my future, I'm sure.

The blue disks are from Veda's Beads as it the glass bead on top of the focal, the pendant is from Jade Scott and the adorable lampwork owl is something I got at the Pasadena Bead Show and (I'll be damned if I can find the name of the artist.  I used a deep red linen cord and included some indonesian glass beads and some lucite flowers.  

The second piece I made is completely different and I totally love it.  The beautiful glass poppy is from Tanya McGuire, a lovely bunch of Orange Chalcodony gemstones and some Lumpy Bumpy beads from Tanya.  I used the same red waxed linen and strung the whole thing on a soft suede cord.  

And, just for kicks, here's another little piece I made the other day with a lovely little house from Elukka who makes the most charming ceramic houses, owls and other adorable goodness.  That lovely red matt glass bead is from Veda's Beads and there's lot of other goodies involved including My Elements Pixies, some Indonesian Glass, some dyed coral (I think) and red leather.  After I made this piece, I decided this was a little boat house on the ocean and I wanted to go there immediately.

That's all for now!  But, look for the Challenge of Travel tomorrow.  There are 3 pieces that are COMPLETELY different from these.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jewelry Designs from Nature Challenge

A month or so ago, I was lucky enough to be chosen to an Art Bead Scene blog challenge.  The reveal date is today and I have my pretty necklace to share with you.  But first, a bit about this challenge and my inspiration.

The concept of the challenge was inspired by Heather Powers' awesome book Jewelry Designs from Nature and to celebrate now that it's out making its way into the big craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michaels. .  (You can buy the book from one of my favorite stores - Ornamentea.)

I have spent literally HOURS thumbing through this book resulting in loads of inspiration for jewelry projects.  Heather uses some of her own amazing Humblebeads as well as lots of art beads from other artists.  It is a book that is right up my own alley.

10 winners were  sent a packet and had a few weeks to create a piece of jewelry inspired by their packets.  There will also be a voting for your favorite challenge piece during the blog hop with a giveaway of beads from the book!

The Challenge Packet Contents:

1. A few Humblebeads featured in the book
2. A nature-inspired poem
3. A photo for color and design inspiration

The packets will be themed and I could have gotten a garden, woodlands or sea set!  I ended up with a woodlands packet.  Whoo hoo!!!

It included a lovely photo, a woodlands-themed Humblebead pendant and a poem by Robert Frost.  Here's the poem:
Nothing Gold Can Stay
Robert Frost
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold,
Her earl leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Next to the crepuscular blue of twilight, the golden light of morning is my favorite (even though I don't see it very often - I'm NOT a morning person).

But, I am all to familiar to that fleeting sense of light that goes quickly from a soft glow to a the bright blue and orange of morning.  I DO see a lot of this harsher, but still invigorating light.  

My piece was meant to invoke the feeling of waking up at the crack of dawn and seeing nature unfold before my eyes.  The pale blues of the sky only serve to contrast with the golden light (and the golden buds on the tree branches in the picture.

I used a lot of czech glass, some vintage chain, a few lucite flowers and a patina butterfly that I created.  I love the way it turned out!  It's a piece that is much "prettier" than the pieces I've made lately.  

I'll have to come back tomorrow and add in a list of other blogs where artists are going to be showing off their creations.  Or you can visit the ABS blog and see if the links are up there.  Meanwhile, enjoy the fleeting bits of gold - because it cannot stay for very long.

Enjoy this blog hop.  I'm sure looking forward to it!


Here are the participants!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Silk Color Palette - Marsha Neal Challenge

I should be dealing with the piles of papers I have just sorted, however seeing that Marsha Neal has this silk color challenge going on, I thought that would be MUCH more fun to do tonight than sort.

I've been obsessed with landscaping.  We've just ripped out our yucky front and side yard and will be installing a California Native (and water-wise) garden over the next few months.  My landscape color palette is Orange, Purple and Chartreuse with bits of grays and greens thrown in.  So, of COURSE that inspired my color palette for this challenge.

I LOVE this combination and it works so well with the style of my 1927 Spanish Revival Bungalow.  Now I want to hang long strands of these silk colors from the front porch to act as outdoor curtains!  What a wild idea (and not in any way practical).  

Oh, look at all those papers strewn over my bed.  I'd better get back to work!

Giveaway Alert

Giveaway alert!

Three, yes THREE beautiful sets of art beads are being given away over on Lorelei's Blog.

I've thrown my name in the hat to win.  You should too!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

New Blog Challenge - Jewelry Designs from Nature

Just when I needed a reason to get back to my bead table, I get chosen for a fantastic challenge!  

One of my (almost) daily blog reads is the fantastic Art Bead Scene blog.  Heather Powers of Humblebeads has based this challenge he beautiful book Jewelry Designs from Nature.

Here's what the 10 participants will be doing (and YAY, I'm one of them!)

This is a creative blog challenge.  10 winners will be sent a packet and have a few weeks to create a piece of jewelry inspired by their packets.  On July 6th we'll have a blog hop featuring the results.  We'll also have voting for your favorite challenge piece during the blog hop and giveaway beads from the book!
The Challenge:
I'm going to pick 10 participants randomly from the comments below.  Each participant will receive a packet that contains:
1. A few Humblebeads featured in the book2. A nature-inspired poem3. A photo for color and design inspiration
The packets will be themed and you could get a garden, woodlands or sea set!

I'll take some photos of whatever I get in my packet.  I'm excited to see where this will take me!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Spring Shows Galore

I've been a little crazy prepping for 4 upcoming shows I have on my schedule.

First up THIS SUNDAY is the wonderful Patchwork Indie Arts and Craft Festival.

This is followed a week later by the Patchwork Santa Ana in their NEW location is a really cool area of Santa Ana.

Then on June 1st and 2nd is the Uptown Village Market.

This is a show I am Presenting and Coordinating with the Expo Arts Center and Bella Cosa Boutique.  We did our first show in December and it was jam packed!  We've got a LOT of really great vendors this year and we've already got some wonderful press rolling in.

I just hope I have enough jewelry and accessories to last through 4 shows!  Finding studio time has been a challenge lately.  PreFurred Pet Care (my other company) is doing quite well, but that means it is taking up a great deal of time.  I can't complain about success, though.

So, if you're local to Southern California, come out and see me at one of these shows!  I've got a whole new bunch of lovelies that are just waiting to find homes with people who appreciate one-of-a-kind art jewelry.

See you soon!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Bracelet Challenge

Tracy over at Making Bracelets Blog put together an idea for a great blog hop. Bracelet stacks are super trendy at the moment and it's a trend that keeps going. We were challenged to create a bracelet stack using bracelets we made combined with bracelets we already had (not necessarily our own designs).

There are 80 participants in this hop! This time I'm presenting it to you semi low tech. I'm out in Joshua Tree (again) and am almost completely off the grid. I have no wifi but a few bars of coverage on my phone, so please pardon the iPhone photos and short descriptions (and the photos that I can't place in the appropriate location).  [Edit - I'm back home so I fixed things.]

My starting point for the challenge was 3 fabulous bakelite bracelets my wonderful husband got me for my birthday. Scrumptious colors, aren't they?

From there it was just pilfering my stash for beads and components to modernize the look. There are several styles here and I've been quite bracelet addicted recently, so I keep coming up with new styles to make.

But, I couldn't stop there. I had to get a blue/teal collection going as well. An amazing vintage beetle bracelet was my starting point.

Please visit the other bloggers who participated in this challenge:

Friday, April 6, 2012

Glass Headpin Challenge Reveal!

Remember these lovely glass headpins?  I won a set during a giveaway over on Lorelei's Blog last month.  

The glass headpins were made by Anne of Gardanne Beads.   The headpins not only have a beautiful glass piece on one end, but a bead has been drawn on the other end of the pin.  What does "Drawing a Bead" mean?  Well, I've actually done this in my limited experience with torch firing enamel.  Basically, you torch the end of the metal, which melts into a lovely ball.  Here's a better picture that shows the ends of the headpins.

Normally, I would use a headpin to string beads on, but with the ball on one end, only large beads can fit.  But, I took one look at the head pins I got a decided I wasn't going to use them the traditional way.  

But, first, I needed to get out my torch, and draw some more beads on the end of a wire.  I was experimenting with some Blue Steel colored Parawire since the headpins I got were the blue one's on the left.  But Parawire doesn't seem to react to the flame the same way an uncoated wire does.

So, I went back to an uncoated copper wire and torched that.  That wire responded just like I thought it would and some lovely bead balls appeared on the ends.  (It is a bonus that the wire gets a beautiful charred patina on it as well.)

I have had flowers on the brain lately.  I'm getting ready to landscape my front yard (I've ONLY lived here 12 years!) and I remembered I had purchased some Vintage Meadow Artworks hand painted lucite trumpet flowers a while back.  These babies are hard to come by and I have been hoarding the 4 sets I bought, waiting for the perfect project or two.  Well, the blue flowers were a dream match to the headpins.  I used both ends of the headpin, added a few tendrils of the copper wire I had torched, mixed in a few findings (bead caps from Vintaj and copper ear wire I made) and Voila!

I really love these.  I'm a sucker for Fuchsia and these remind me of those beautiful blossoms.  I also loved that I had an "excuse" to get out the torch and play a bit.  I haven't had nearly enough time to just experiment with techniques I have learned but not mastered.  

Visit Anne's Etsy Shop and pick up some headpins of your own to play with.  She updates her shop every Wednesday and there are lots of great goodies to choose from.

And, Thank You Lorelei for hosting another great challenge!  It's always a pleasure to participate.

Now, go see what other lovelies were created by the other blog hop participants.