Monday, August 22, 2016

Some New Earrings

I've been super busy trying to get a bunch of new designs worked up for my big show in September and I wanted to give you all a bit of a preview of some of the earrings I've been making!  Enjoy the eye candy!

Fun with flame painted copper rings!  Amazonite and Swaroviski crystal on the left, Chalcedony and Swarovski on the right.

Brass painted feathers by me paired with matching Czech glass.

Polymer clay birds by Humblebeads with nest charms that I painted to coordinate.

Variations playing with honeycomb and bee combination.  I've got copper versions in the works!

I've clearly been obsessed with earrings lately... what have you been working on?

Friday, August 19, 2016

We're All Ears: August 2016

The theme for this month's We're All Ears challenge over on the Earrings Everyday blog is campfires!  This is perfect for the end of summer (although this girl who hates the heat is way more interested in sitting around a fire come the cooler temperatures of autumn).  We really have to use our fire pit more... add that to our life goals!  

[Photo credit :: Tirza van Dijk :: Unsplash]
I decided to focus on the colors of the flames for my design this month.  This seemed like a great time to break out my Swarovski crystals in their "Fire opal" color!  At first I was thinking that I would attach the crystal bicones to lengths of chain dangling from... well, something.  Before I could figure out that idea, I stumbled on some flame treated (or "rainbow") copper rings.  I picked two that had a rich, darker orange color and hung the crystals from those.  I could have stopped there, but it just didn't have as much umph as I wanted.  I added a larger orange bead above the ring along with a bead cap that reminded me of flames a little bit even though it's supposed to be a flower.  Here's the finished product...

Sorry the picture is so dark... it's super gloomy here today!       

And I'll end by sharing a little funny that Erin put in her original post.  This totally sums up how I feel about camping.  Have a great weekend, everyone!  Oh, and head over to Earrings Everyday to see what everyone else made!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Art Bead Scene: August 2016

I'm not going to lie, some of the artwork that the Art Bead Scene has chosen for their monthly challenges have been, well, challenging for me.  This month is no exception with the choice of "Park Near Lu" by Paul Klee.   The mix of colors and the abstract shapes really throw me off!  You can read more about the artwork and artist over on the Art Bead Scene blog HERE.

"Park Near Lu"
By Paul Klee, 1938

Since I try not to buy any new art beads for the monthly challenge (my monthly subscription to Erin's Simple Truths Sampler Club doesn't count by my twisty logic!) I was more than a bit worried about my ability to make something this month.  Luckily, when digging through my art beads I found a set of tribal beads by Gaea that I'd totally forgotten about that were pretty perfect!  (I actually won this set a while back for an ABS challenge so it comes full circle!)

I chose waxed Irish linen to keep to the primitive feel of the painting.  I tied the ceramic beads, some jasper, Czech glass, and brass along black and teal linen and then finished it off with brass chain.  The end effect is totally different from my usual style but I'm pretty happy with how it came together.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Few New Designs

It feels like I've been a little bit too quiet on my blog recently... a problem when most of your jewelry challenges have reveals at the end of the month!  I've been keeping myself pretty busy making jewelry, but much of it can't be shared just yet.  Not everything I've created has to be kept under a veil of secrecy though... I thought I'd do a quick post with pictures of a few random designs I've created over the past couple of weeks.  Enjoy!

Starfish pedant by Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio

Fun butterfly set!

New version of a favorite bracelet design using leather cord! 

Turquoise and copper... a favorite combo!

Bombette Beads by Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati

I love the way the paint job on this pendant turned out... and all that yummy Czech glass!

Monday, August 1, 2016

August 2016 Inspiration for the Honey Do List

Welcome to August!  (Seriously, where is the time going??)  It's been a busy summer with no signs of life calming down anytime soon... maybe October.  No matter how much I wish these summer days would slow down, time just keeps marching on and that means it's time for the newest Honey Do List challenge!

This year, my husband Eric has decided to issue me a design challenge each month to get me out of my comfort zone and to help clear out my bead stash... we're calling it the Honey Do List.  I know that I'm not the only one who loves a good design challenge, so I'm inviting folks to play along!  

Here is this month's inspiration and what Eric had to say about it:  

This month I chose a picture from our recent trip out to Ligonier, PA for the Allegory Gallery's Creative Camp.  Andrew Thornton directed us out to a nearby bog where the carnivorous plants were in full bloom.  An entire field of these pitcher plants and much smaller sundews stretched around us--beauty and savagery all wrapped up in one tiny leafy package.  The strange shape, as well as the striated deep red patterns against green really jumped out at me and I wanted to see what a bunch of jewelry designers could pull off with this inspiration!

The reveal date will be Monday, August 29th.  To make it super easy for you to participate and share your creations, I'll set up an Inlinkz link up so folks can add their blogs as they are ready.  Just stop by my blog on August 29th and join the fun!  I'll leave the link up open for a while... so you have plenty of time to add your links.  (Last month's is still open... check it out HERE.)  No blog?  No worries!  Feel free to send me a picture of your creation and some brief comments and I'll happily share in my blog post.  You can reach me at  The more the merrier, so I hope you'll play along with me this month!

I can't wait to see what everyone makes this time!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Inspired by Reading: The Fault in Our Stars

The July selection for the Inspired by Reading Book Club is a book written by one of my favorite young adult authors...  it's The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  I feel more than a bit guilty admitting this, but I didn't reread the book this month.  In my defense, I have read the book twice before and watched the movie within the last six months.  I just couldn't bring myself to commit to the cry-fest that I knew would result from another reading right now!  (Seriously, you will need the Kleenex box for this one... you have been warned.)  The book tells the story of teenagers Hazel Lancaster and Augustus Waters from their first meeting in a cancer support group through their blossoming relationship.  As usual, I'm not going to give too much away about the plot... but two kids who've had cancer falling in love, what could go wrong?  I'll just say that John really captures something special and real here.

As a bit of an aside, if you haven't read John Green's books, get yourself to the library or a bookstore!  Looking for Alaska, John's debut novel, is still one of my favorite bookss (it delivers a major emotional punch in the gut that stays with you); An Abundance of Katherines (a book which I had the pleasure of being on the committee that named it a Printz Honor Award winner) is a more light hearted book with great humor.  When The Fault in Our Stars was announced as his next novel, John also proclaimed that he would personally be signing every single copy of the 150,000 first edition print run.  (I suspect that mid way through his signing jag, he may have regretted that decision but fans loved it!!)  I had a fun encounter with a couple of teen girls at our local bookstore who were discussing what color ink each of their pre-order copies were signed in and generally gushing over John Green and his books.  We got to talking and I told them that I had the pleasure of sitting next to him when the folks from Penguin took our committee out to lunch to celebrate his award and they pretty much freaked out.  It's not too often that librarians get to feel a little like rock stars, so the memory sticks with me.  

Another confession, since I didn't re-read the book I made Eric give me ideas of inspirational jumping off points.  (Yes, I AM a big cheating cheater this month!)  One of the things he mentioned to me the scene where Hazel and Augustus were having their fancy and romantic dinner in Amsterdam and they are served champagne.  Their waiter tells them what Dom Perignon said after inventing champagne... "Come quickly, I am tasting the stars."  I had a mixed strand of faceted citrine and freshwater pearls that reminded me of the colors of champagne.  I kept it pretty straightforward and just added seed beads in between and attached brass chain at the back.  The picture is a tad dark, but hopefully you can get the general idea!

I also made a bracelet using the macrame techniques I learned from Erin Siegel on the Bead Cruise a couple of years ago.  I used a star shaped charm from Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Studio as a button clasp combined with new jade and aventurine.  I hadn't decided if I was going to add any small beads to the ends of the waxed Irish linen or not when I snapped this picture during a brief moment of sunlight yesterday.  In the end, I decided to keep it simple and trim the ends fairly short.  No special symbolism here... just playing off the "stars" in the title.

If you are interested in seeing what the other book club members made or want to join in the fun yourself, check out our Inspired by Reading Book Club Facebook page HERE.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Honey Do List: July 2016

This year, my husband Eric has decided to issue me a design challenge each month to get me out of my comfort zone and to help clear out my bead stash... we're calling it the Honey Do List.  I know that I'm not the only one who loves a good design challenge, so I'm inviting folks to play along!  

Here is this month's inspiration and what Eric had to say about it:  

I'm a huge fan of the beauty to be found in nature, especially that hidden within the depths of the earth.  The random patterns of these stone pendants are a work of art unto themselves--some abstract, others more defined.  The challenge this month is to incorporate such a patterned natural stone into your jewelry!

I'm sure that Eric was thinking about all the gemstone pairs and pendants that he helped pick out at Bead & Button when he chose this challenge!  Here is a shot of some of those goodies.

Even though I strongly suspected that Eric most wanted me to make use of some of my new pendants, I was in an earring mood when I started working on this month's Honey Do List so I started with some of the fun earring pairs.  I made one pair with red creek jasper (left) and one with a combination of galaxy jasper and apple jasper rounds (right).

I wanted to do at least one necklace for this challenge... I chose a large red creek jasper pendant for my focal.  Seriously, this is a statement piece!  Red creek jasper is one of my favorite stones... so many great colors and patterns... Yum!  My biggest challenge for this piece was the wire wraps for the pendant.  (I'm jealous of folks who make that seem so effortless!)  For the left side of the necklace I chose red creek jasper in a variety of sizes and shapes.  The right side features copper beads and some abreciated jasper nuggets.

I didn't make this last necklace for this challenge (and I shared it in an earlier post) but I think it works here too so I'm sharing again!

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