February 22, 2010

Love Ya!

I'm sure you've read recently about a few designers who have been struggling with thieves stealing their designs.  It leaves one feeling frustrated and angry.  But we can't spend our energy focusing on the negative in this world.  Life is just too short.  So here are some ways to show your support.

1. Show your love by buying beads from your favorite hard-working beadmakers.  There is no better way to help them stay in business and take care of their families!  Buy directly from the beadmaker if you can, but also supporting shops that carry their work is great too. 

2. Spread the love.  Use handcrafted art beads in your submissions to magazines as often as you can.  I am thrilled when I see my beads in a designer's work in magazines and books.

3. Send folks their way.  Blog about your favorite bead they offer or show a design you created using their beads.  If you have a website add a link under a favorites page.  Or include their blog link on your sidebar.  Or hey why not go crazy and include a sidebar of links to your favorite beadmaker's bead shops.

All the photos above feature pewter beads from Green Girl Studios.  Read my article on the Art Bead Scene on how to avoid buying fakes at bead shows: Faux Pas - Avoiding Fakes.

Some of my favorite beadmakers





Not a complete list, but the ones that come to mind first.  I stalk their etsy shops on a regular basis, I have their beads in my stash at the moment or I have used their beads in my designs.

Okay, your turn.  Do you have a favorite beadmaker that's not in my list?  I'd love to learn about them, please leave a link in the comments!

February 20, 2010

whistle while you work

My inner teenage girl is squealing in delight over discovering Owl City

What else am I currently listening to while working away here in the studio?

Bright Eyes, Wilco, Arcade Fire, Be Good Tanyas, Vampire Weekend and Paul Simon.

February 17, 2010

A beginning

Currently on my desk: polymer clay acorn caps.  Ideas are spinning.  Run, little brain hamster, run!

Check out the Art Bead Scene's first blog carnival on the topic of beginnings.

February 16, 2010

Putter Up

Overheard last night at Hobby Lobby:

Kid: Mom, mom, can I have this?  PLEASE

Mom: No

Kid: Look mom, please? Please? PLEASE?

Mom: Okay, you see what this says? Silly Putty? Do you know what that means? Sticky putty.  No, you aren't getting this it will make a mess.

Kid: Mom

As they were leaving I notice the cashier putting the lady's items in her bag.  Yes, the silly putty was there.  Kids 1, Moms 0.

Making more resin molds, this time with the right stuff.  Amazing Mold Putty, hope it works as promised, amazingly.

February 15, 2010

ICE Resin Blog Hop

I have been itching to make some more ICE resin pendants, so this blog hop was the perfect excuse for a little play date here in the studio.  First, I have been wanting to try resin with some of my bead molds.  I had a few extra molds so I thought I'd see what happens.  I used some mold releasing agent that I picked up at Michael's to make sure the resin wouldn't stick to my mold.  For the color I used a few drops of alcohol ink. I had no idea how it would come out or if the experiment would be a success.  Much to my delight when I took the resin objects out of the mold, the color and translucent quality gave the pieces a beach glass feel.  Lovin' that.

Here is a little shell.  I have no clue what they will eventually become.  I'm thinking pendants or charms of some kind.  I'll keep you posted.

The next pieces that I wanted to try were using the Patera bezels and connectors from Bello Modo.  I threw in a little polymer clay 'feather' to add my little stamp to this one.  For the connector, I just chopped it in half and hammered the side that I cut.

Same idea here with a leafy connector.  I painted on this one first with acrylic paint dabbers.  The image is photocopied on to vellum for a translucent look.

And one more, this time I cut off the loops on the branch, bent it and attached it to the bezel with a little resin.

The next two are Alice In Wonder images in Vintaj bezels and altered blanks.  The were domed with my trusty dapping block.  Here is a hint if you are working with uneven bezels, like a domed shape, place the bezels in a tray of rice to hold them steady.  This one has the rabbit image underneath and flowers printed on vellum are layered on top.  Those little gears can be found at Ornamentea.

Pull out your bench block and hammer to flatten charms for a little extra old world feel.

This is the back of the Alice charm, stamped and textured with a Cheshire smile - made with a Phillips head screwdriver!

Here is the list of blogs participating in today's resin blog hop, hosted by Objects and Elements.  Be sure to visit each one for inspiration using ICE resin.

Molly Alexander - http://www.beautifullybrokenme.blogspot.com/

Ro Bhrun - http://www.robruhn.blogspot.com/

Karen Burns - www.web.me.com/vintagefindings/Vintage_Findings/Blog/Blog.html

Keecia Frazee Deveney - www.lemoncholys.blogspot.com/

Mary Jane Dodd - www.mairedodd.blogspot.com/

Melanie Earthenwood - http://www.earthenwood-beads.blogspot.com/

Shea Fragoso - www.whathappensnext.typepad.com/

Kerin Gale - www.remnantsofolde.com/posts/

Vickie Hallmark - www.fiberartglass.blogspot.com/

Jess Italia Lincoln - www.vintaj.com/wpblog/

Jill Liles - www.livngoodjewelry.blogspot.com/

Heather Powers - www.humblebeads.blogspot.com/ -You are here!

Art Bead Scene - www.artbeadscene.com/

Amy Purdes - www.spritecreations.blogspot.com/

Jenny Barnett Rohrs - www.crafttestdummies.com/

Stephanie Rubiano - www.soigathered.typepad.com/

Lisa Sommerville - http://www.lisasomerville.com/

Kim Taylor - www.sassycrafter.blogspot.com/

Jen Cushman - www.objectsandelements.typepad.com/jencushman/

Deryn Mentock - www.somethingsublime.typepad.com/

Kristen Robinson - www.kristenrobinson.typepad.com/

Barbe Saint John - www.barbesaintjohn.blogspot.com/

Susan Lenart Kazmer - http://www.susan-lenart-kazmer.blogspot.com/

February 14, 2010

My Valentine

We met in a drawing class.  Our first conversation was about the price of Folio paper. ($4.25 a sheet)  I thought he was amazing.  He drew pictures in my sketchbook while he talked about his life in Texas.  Our first date was dinner at my house, I served a mean bowl of noodles with tomatoes and parmesan cheese.  This was 17 years ago on February  11th.  We married a few months later on August 7th, yes fools do rush in.  I was 19.

He is the best dad to our two beautiful daughters, makes me laugh everyday and wraps his feet around my cold icy toes each night when I crawl into bed. 

I could not run this business without his support.  He never complains when I travel around the country.  Okay, he pouts when I go on the Bead Cruise, he knows he is missing out on all the fun.

He loves to read, watch SCI-FI movies, he is an amazing artist, he works so hard everyday and I happen to love him to pieces. 

I know, I count my lucky stars and thank God everyday for him. 

A house that Jess made for me.

On of my favorite necklaces that he made.

His studio and yes he does have an etsy shop.

February 13, 2010

Poppy Fields

Hey, there it is...the whole dang thing.  I wanted to wait until today to show it off so that I could send you along to the Vintaj blog to vote for your favorite design in their latest challenge.  Click on the image to see it larger.  Hmm, you'll see if 12 is my lucky number.

The ceramic bead in the center is from Earthenwood Studios.  The big round beads throughout are Elaine Ray. The lampwork ruffle beads were a gift from Rosanne, she'll have to clue on the name of the artist. I also have some of my branch beads in copper.

February 12, 2010

Sneak Peek

Okay, here is a peak at my challenge piece for Vintaj's contest this month.  The pendant is a Vintaj blank turned into a bezel with a collage of images, words and polymer clay. 

The back of the bezel.  These were part of our first metal etching session we did last summer.

And here was a flash of brilliance. (I know what happen to the humble Ms. Humblebeads?)  Anyway, I made these large jump rings with 16 gauge wire and used the metal texturing sheets to hammer a design for a faux 'etched' metal look.  Seriously love them. 

February 11, 2010

The Chain Gang

Oh those buds of mine at Rings & Things sent me this chain before Christmas. It sat on my desk waiting for inspiration to strike and ta-da! I present to you another Rings & Things Blog Partner post.

The first chain is a ring/connector copper chain.  I liked the open and airy feel of the chain and thought it would pair up nicely with a whole mess of dangles.

And said mess includes a lovely collection of spring inspired hues.  Sky blue and lime green branch disk beads, crystals and drops in a pinky/peach color, green Czech glass drops that look like eggs and copper disks.
The clasp is pretty amazing, right? It's a C-Koop enamel toggle that I bought from Bello Modo on the Bead Cruise.  I love the color. 

The next necklace I lovingly refer to as the 'big chunk'.  When I first saw that crazy wooden chain, I thought what in the world can I do with this that won't look like a prop for Marley from A Christmas Carol.  Well, after seeing the latest R & T catalog with a great design using the chain, I was inspired.  It's huge and not for the faint of heart, but I like.  I wear with a black and white striped shirt, it has some sort of nautical vibe to me.  No, I don't get out much.

The other half of the necklace is created with large oval curb chain in copper. The key is a repo from Ornamentea and just hangs there like some weird tassel.  Okay, did I mention when I wear this I walk up and down my hallway pretending I'm modeling some haute couture design. 

One of my Pop Art focal beads and a toggle made with copper link and wire.  Okay, enough of that one - here is the design from Rings & Things that uses the wood chain in a much better design.  If I could pick the wood chain to work with, it would have been this one.

February 10, 2010

Need a Challenge?

Okay, I'm so totally jealous that I didn't get a chance to participate in the Bead Soup Party.  But not to worry, there is an abundance of beady challenges/blog hops happening right now and here is a round up of my top picks.

Vintaj Design Challenge: Lover's Bouqet, deadline is this Friday, 2/12 by noon!

Elements and Objects: Ice Resin Blog Hop - Posts need to be up by 2/12.

Art Bead Scene Monthly Challenge: Luna Park, deadline 2/28

Treasures Found: Inspired By Challenge: The Solar System, deadline 2/28

Beads of Clay: Complimentary Color Challenge, deadline 3/5

(pictured above - art beads: bird pendant and nest bead, green girl studios. ceramic leaf, every heart crafts, ceramic houses, jubilee. ceramic round beads, elaine ray. egg, humblebeads.)

I have been working on a surprise Art Bead Scene challenge that will be revealed on Friday - you heard it here first!

February 9, 2010

Faux Patina Pendants

On the Bead Cruise each instructor had a 30 minute session during our evening events.  There were demos, lectures and two make-and-takes.  Bello Modo did a UV resin project provided by TierraCast.

I did a make-and-take using Vintaj altered blanks to create faux patina pendants.

Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabbers (Stream, Juniper, Lettuce and Pebble)

1. Dab on the paint lightly, wipe the excess with a tissue.  You can wait for this coat to dry or dab on another one for a mixed paint effect.

2. Stamp with StazOn ink pad and rubber stamp.

3. After the pendant is completely dry, use a tissue to wipe on a thin coat of wax.  Let dry completely.  If you don't have wax you could use Matte Spray.

This example was domed first with a dapping block and punch.  Use an unmounted rubber stamp for domed pieces.

Use can use domed pieces turned over as a bezel cup for trinkets and resin. 
1. Paint.  2. Stamp. 3. Add resin, 1/2 way.  Cure.  4. Add trinkets and more resin.  Cure again.

Egg beads can be found in my etsy shop.  Read all about the silk ribbon used on this pendant on the Art Bead Scene today.

And my mom happened to catch part of the demo on her Flip video camera:

Part 1. Here is the link, in case you can't see the video.

Part 2. And the link.

February 8, 2010

Other Fish in the Sea

Here is another Rings & Things Blog Partner project.  They sent a strand of coral to work into a design.  Being the beachy bead girl that I am, these really appealed to me. 

I paired them up with a pendant from Off Center Productions, a brass fish pendant from Vintaj, the nautical looking beadcap came from TierraCast via Bello Modo.  The amazonite rondelles are ones that I picked up at Rings & Things trunk show last year.  (Counting down the days for the next one!) All four of these companies were Bead Cruise sponsors this year!

The urchin connector is from my Etsy shop.  I used two 15mm jump rings from Vintaj - I love working with those big rings!

If you read my Studio Saturday post you know I'm all about working my designs with a little more thought and care. Here I focused on textures, mixing rugged coral and brass elements with smooth ceramic and copper. Color, I went with a basic compliment of copper and teal, with white for the contrast.

Czech glass flowers, handmade copper jumprings and curved copper tubes round out this design.

Even the clasp works into the motif of the necklace with a fish hook design. 

February 5, 2010

Love Birds

I've been working away designing new jewelry with some goodies that Rings & Things sent to their blog partners.  They sent these fun little lampwork heart beads that remind me of candy!  I've seen some of my fellow bloggers work their magic with them and decided to give them a try.

Art beads:
polymer clay bird - humblebeads
pewter nest - green girl studios
beehive pewter button - mamacita beadworks
lampwork disks - studio rent

I mixed in some crystal, silver spacers and Czech glass beads.  The clasp was created with steel wire and the pewter button.  Here is a detail:

I love being able to support Rings & Things, they are such a great company that really work to inspire their customers.  Have your received the latest supplement catalog?  These are fast becoming treasured items to me. I love the designs included in them, of course you can see all of their great inspiration pieces on their website.  Jess and I went through the catalog and made a nice long wish list.  I'll share more on that next week! 

Stop by the Art Bead Scene tomorrow, I'll be sharing some thoughts and giving away a free bead for Studio Saturday.

February 1, 2010

ABS Challenge Favs

Art Bead Scene readers rock!  When I started the ABS I had no idea what a talented group of artists would join in our monthly creative challenge.  I'm inspired each month by the entries and enthusiasm of our readers!

Click on the image to see the photos in greater detail or visit the links below:

1. january 2010 ABS - the magpie bracelet, 2. let it snow - janabs, 3. Faded Leaf necklace, 4. Shadowy Branches - Art Bead Scene Challenge, 5. January ABS, 6. ABS Jan 2010: Eye of the Blackbird, 7. JANABS, 8. Winter Journey by Michelle Mach, 9. winterberries and la pie

We are going to post the new challenge tomorrow, I hope you'll play along this month!