March 30, 2010

Why 1255 is my lucky number

Okay, so what can possibly be bigger than a book deal?  Not much really, that is the tippy top of the mountain as far as I'm concerned.  But what is the next best thing in this career path? Oh I don't know, how about a booth at Bead & Button in June?

Yep, that'll do it.  I still squeal every time I think about it.  And 1255 - my booth number, right in the first row with the all the other beadmakers.  It's a very happy time at Humblebeads manor. 

Now come back tomorrow for news about the next Bead Cruise.  Until then, here is a set of beads inspired by one of my favorite new songs, Captains and Cruise Ships by Owl City.

Visit my Etsy shop to see more of the new beads.

March 29, 2010

Sisterhood of the Traveling Beads Winners!

Sorry for the wait for those who wanted to know the winner for the Sisterhood of the Traveling Beads.  I had to work hard this weekend and took a few days of an "internet vacation" so I could catch up. 

This was so much fun.  For those who missed the original post, it's here.

The winner is Mikki!

Mikki will receive her box in just a few days and she has 2 weeks to go through the stash and take what she'd like and replace them with items from her stash.  To keep it interesting, let's have a two week deadline for everyone who participates.  She'll post on her blog when she ready for the beads to travel and I'll post here too. 

All I ask is that each time it passes hands, the winner will email me when the next giveaway starts so I can enjoy the traveling and help promote your giveaway!

Kella is the international winner of a sweet little grab bag from my etsy shop.

Here were some fun comments from the contest that I thought I'd share:

"How about if contributors post pix of the contents when they get it and what they add? It would be very interesting to see how it changes." - Deerwoman

"I'd love to play. Is it possible to share your turn? Because I know my bead society would love to join in but most of them don't blog or have sites." - Mikki

"A friend of mine started something like this a little while ago - on a much smaller scale of course - only $15 worth of beads - and we have 4 beaders who are participate currently. When the pkgs contain beads we originally put into the stash, we take them out and replace them and just keep the traveling bead circle going. :) It's a really fun way to destash/share and receive/discover new goodies!" - Kismet1990

Some questions that I was asked:
How do we know the value to replace the beads?  I only ask that you think generously of the next winner and replace the beads with what you think is a fair trade.

Did I lose my mind giving away this stash?  Honestly these are things I will never use.  They were stuffed in boxes or piled in corners.  I'm not giving up anything precious.  I also happen to be a big believer that only open hands can receive new gifts! (Or beads in this case.)

Can I do this on my blog?  By all means, de-stash and do your own traveling bead box!  I didn't make this up, gardeners trade seeds, readers trade books, there are crafty swaps going on all the time.  Have fun, I'm happy to inspire such beady goodness.

I smell a good theme for a bead party too!  Why not host a bead swap in your home?  Serve something delicious, invite a few beady friends and ask them to bring beads they want to swap.  You may have to set up some kind of rules or it could get ugly! 

Thanks to everyone who played along.  It was a great way to celebrate my clean studio - which is still clean!

Stop back tomorrow for BIG news and lots of new beads!

March 22, 2010

From Sketch to Design

I thought you might enjoy seeing how my latest creations came into being.

First my inspirations:
Illustrations from my childhood
From artist's like Gyo Fujikawa and Tasha Tudor.

So with those inspirations rattling around in my brain and the need to create a line of clasps scratching it's way to the surface I sat down with my sketchbook.
I pulled out the clay, my lino block carving tool and my favorite sculpting tools and made the molds.  It took me a few experiments as I've never made a mold or stamp for the clay.  Fun, but I wasted quite bit of polymer clay and mold making stuff in the process, oh well it's part of the journey.

After I had a few molds that I was happy with I threw them in the oven and waited.  From the molds I pressed my toggles. After those baked; I painted them and did some surface treatments to create a 'watercolor' effect. 

Now in a perfect world at this point I would have whipped out my precious metal clay and created bronze or silver branch toggles.  But being kiln deficient, , that didn't happen.  So after some brain storming I created a 'branch' from copper that is hammered for texture and antiqued.  Here are some of the results:

And a necklace designed with the Spring Willow toggle pendant:

Clasps will arrive attached with a small piece of copper chain that can be removed before adding it to your design:
Visit my Etsy shop to view all the new clasps.
Next up is to try the clasps in different colors for the different seasons.

March 18, 2010

New Beads

Fantastic!  My favorite movie last year, hands down was Fantastic Mr. Fox.  I loved it so much I ran home and made beads.  They sat unpainted for months.  They have now come to life and made their way into my etsy shop.  I'm kinda smitten.
If you haven't seen it, the movie will be on DVD on the 23rd.  If you need to laugh, it's a good place to start.

Other new beads include disk beads that are in pairs, perfect for earrings, and I have listed some of my mum beads in my etsy shop.  They have been on my website since 2007, but I have quite a stash of them and decided to list them in my etsy shop too.

And check out Lorelei's awesome necklace that is featured in the latest issue of Stringing magazine with one of my long flower beads.  I love Lorelei's designs, her knows how to work an art bead!

March 17, 2010

Van Gogh's Almond Blossoms

Have you entered the ABS' monthly challenge?  I picked this month's inspiration painting, Van Gogh's Almond Blossoms.  I love the colors and design.  And hey even the texture.  Did you know there is a website where you can view every brushstroke of the painting?  Check it out here and click on the 'show enlargement' link to see the painting up close and personal!
Order something teal from my website or Etsy shop and I'll throw in a free surprise for you!  Ends tonight at midnight.

March 16, 2010

Midnight Garden

This is a Rings & Things blog partner project.  They sent us a mix of shell pearls and faceted glass in this lux color scheme.*

I mixed them with a set of branch disk beads in purple and midnight blue, a dark blue dogwood bead, a key from Green Girl Studios, a flower button from Mamacita beadworks and a copper leaf from a bead shop in Michigan. I combined the beads with a big chunky silver plated chain and a delicate gunmetal chain to off set the bright silver. 

(*As a blog partner we are sent products to review and give our honest evaluations.)

Dogwood beads: I have four colors in my etsy shop.  I have 2 left in this midnight blue color.  If you'd like one send me a convo on Etsy and I will list it for you. They are $12.00.

So what did I think of the shell pearls?  I actually dig them.  They have the a nice weight to them and I like that they are not perfectly smooth.  Give me a little organic any day!  You can read more about shell pearls here.

More dogwood beads! These are designs from some of my customers:
Gunilla Back from Finland designed this amazing necklace with two dogwoods, a Mary Harding pendant and leaves from Diane Hawkey.  I love it!

Beverly Herman taught this dragonfly necklace on the Bead Cruise this year.  She has the kits and patterns for sale in her Etsy shop.

And a wonderful earthy design from Lorelei Eurto.

March 15, 2010

Sisterhood of the Traveling Beads Giveaway

This is a box full of goodies from my studio purge. 
One woman's tossed out beads is another woman's treasures! 

The giveaway: The entire box of goodies, over $200 worth of beads.

The stipulations: You'll pay for shipping: $8.95 for flat rate priority mail.

The rules: You'll take what you want from the box, add in items from your own bead stash to replace the items you took and do the same giveaway on your blog. We'll keep the beads traveling for as long as we can.

To enter: Leave a comment, include your email.
Bonus: Blog, facebook or twitter about it to enter twice.  Leave another comment letting me know you helped spread the word.

Deadline: March 26 at 12pm (Central time)

International bloggers: I'm sorry, but due to shipping only those in the U.S. can play along.  But I'm suddenly feeling really bad for my non-U.S. blog readers.  If you are outside the states leave a comment and I'll also draw one international winner for a bead grab bag from my Etsy shop.

So let's take a closer look at this box o'wonders:
Metal beads of all sorts.

Some bead soup mixes with pearls, stones and glass.  Glass beads, crystals, lucite flowers and some goodies from Rings & Things.

A whole mess of older Humblebeads.  Experiments and earlier versions.

Art beads, some left over form the Bead Cruise.  Gaea, Jangles, C-Koop, Marsha Neal, Earthenwood Studio, Lisa Shifflet, Summer Studios and more.

Felt and fiber beads

Seed Beads

Findings and stringing materials.  Some from Hobby Lobby, silk cord, memory wire, fan pull kits, chain and bead wires from Rings & Things. 

McGrabbies - Mom and Jess tried to steal some of the goodies.  Don't worry, I fended them off.

And yes, days later and projects passed my desk is still clean!
Good luck everyone.

March 14, 2010

Rings & Things Trunk Show Party

So the Rings & Things trunk show arrived in San Antonio yesterday.  We had a day filled with beads and friends.
We started off the day at Anne Pearce's Jewelry & Beads.  Anne is a very talented jewelry designer who has a cute little shop stocked with high quality stones and pearls that she hand picks from Tucson each year.  Her beads are sold by the strand and by the inch!  Ann is the queen of customer service and I highly recommend a visit to her shop if you are in the area. 

We gathered a small group for a Bead Soup party at Anne's.  We each brought a strand of beads in teal, green, blue or brown.  Tossed them into the tray and gave it a stir.  We took turns scooping out spoonfuls of the random mix.  Everyone needed to bring a focal, clasp, accent beads and stringing material.  It helped that we held this party at a bead store and shopped if we were missing anything.  We could use as few or as many of the beads as we wanted from the soup.  Here are the results.

6 completely different designs from the same basic stash of beads.  Amazing, huh?

Here is my design. I cheated and came up with the idea the night before.  But what the hey, not a single Humblebead.  Oh, I might have to go back and put in a few.  I used Vintaj flower bead caps and long curved brass beads.  I added in a little raw brass chain from Ornamentea.

After two hours of beading, we headed over to the trunk show where an entire room of amazing beads awaited us.

Here is part of my Rings & Things stash.  As you can see I'm in a Spring inspired color mood.  From top to bottom: amazonite, green fluorite, green rutilated quartz, pyrite, smoky quartz, botswana agate, rutilated quartz faceted rounds, tourmalated quartz, rock crystal, blue lace agate, lepidolite and mica sunstone.  Along with my beads I picked up chain, wire and a few memory pendants.

March 13, 2010

Bead Bundles

I have two new bead bundles on my website for beads that were featured in the Spring issue of Stringing.

March 12, 2010

Studio Tour Part 2

Here is a quick go around in my clean and organized creative space.  I have to type that just to make it feel real.  This place has been a scary mess for so long, I forgot I had hardwood floors!  I am ordering a cushion for my window seat.  Yes, the table skirt above is a cover up job for Jesse's junk under his desk.  I can lead a horse to water, but I can't make him organize. That's his corner behind my island.

On the other side of the window seat, a new book shelf that is filled with my art, craft and reference books and magazines.  And look, you see that empty stop? It's just begging for an oversized fluffy chair for day dreaming, isn't it?  I think so.  That's my next hunt.  Love the inspiration board and shelf.  A much needed item in any studio space.

Do you remember how this looked the other day?  No? Well scroll down to see the shameful mess!  Of course, sensible things like ironing the silk before I hang it up escapes me.  But I try.  This little skirt is not hiding a mess, just some ugly items that don't need to be on display, like stacks of printmaking materials and a few extra pasta machines.  Oh, look - I'm now a two oven bead studio, fancy I know.

And because I'm as much about the business as I am a creative, I have my little office on the other side of the studio.  The computer is a recent upgrade from my dino-bot, but as you can see it's not top of the line over here.  It works, the price was right (free) so what else can I ask for!

I made a necklace today and it was super easy to find everything and clean up when I was done.  My mom is here now, she is making a mess on my table.  I'm holding my tongue. And pawing through her beads when she's now looking.  We are having a super fun Rings & Things Bead Soup party tomorrow.  We'll share pics and maybe even a video on Monday!

Until then my friends, reap the benefits of my clean studio.  Here is a wonderful pile of disk beads that have been rustled up from all corners of the studio.  Any order from either my etsy shop or website will receive a set of 3 coordinating disk beads.  No discount code needed, any order placed until Midnight on Sunday will receive a free set!