May 31, 2010

23 Days of Inspiration: Gnomes

The inspiration for these little guys came from two places.  First, last summer I heard illustrator Don Yaccarino speak at a children's book conference and he mentioned his new book, Lawn to Lawn about a gnome, lawn jockey and other yard ornaments.  Gnomes?  My right eyebrow arched inquisitively and I made a little sketch in my notebook. 

So when I got home and started thinking about gnomes I couldn't help by remember Amelie and her father's gnome.  If you don't know the movie, Amelie steals her father's garden gnome and sends it around the world with her friend who is a flight attendant to be photographed.  The photos finally inspire Amelie's Dad to let go of the past and start off on his own adventure.  Love it!

So that's how my gnomes came to be. Now, go order Amelie from Netflix, it's such a sweet and quirky movie! 

May 30, 2010

23 Days of Inspiration: Dogwoods and the Bead Buzz

The inspiration for my dogwood pendants came from an object, rather than an idea.  My aunt Rosanne and I were making bead molds from objects one summer and we raided my grandmother's spoon collection.  I love each one of these as they remind me of that visit home and my grandmother.  And in case you couldn't tell, my grandmother is completely precious to me and I always miss her!  I'm looking forward to visiting her again soon during my summer vacation.

Here is the Bead Buzz - a round up of this week's best bead inspired links:

A Bead A Day
Looking to make some super-sized jewelry just perfect for a princess? Lisa uses large blueberry briolettes and a swarovski mix to create just that! Jewelry Making
Tammy ask in this quick poll about how you use social networking to promote you and/or your jewelry business.

Art Bead Scene
ABS is here to help you with your business. Check out Zazzle to customize your earring cards for your jewelry business.

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Book Review: Wrap, Stitch, Fold and Rivet

Beading Arts
How many people out there are participating in the Bead Journal Project this year?

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi's button maker is the reason for this new vintage image necklace.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
This week's Wednesday Wire is a free tutorial, "Matchin' by Wrappin'."

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Learn about the Raku firing process and see the results of Melanie's new Raku adventures!

Heather shares some time management tips for creatives.

Jean Campbell
Jean reviews Kate McKinnon's wonderful new addition, Sculptural Metal Clay.

Snap Out of It, Jean! There's Beading to be Done!
Jean is delighted to review Totally Twisted by Kerry Bogert! You will LOVE this book which focuses on wire and art beads!

Strands of Beads
Melissa discusses the process of reworking a weak necklace design - the revised version of which now appears on the cover of The Best of Step by Step Beads.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Like Czech glass? Andrew hosts a giveaway courtesy of Raven's Journey. Find out how you can win these luminous beads!

May 29, 2010

23 Days of Inspiration: Poppies

The poppies were inspired by little red paper poppies my grandmother would have in her house, they were sold at the grocery store and the money would help veterans.  I don't know why they stuck with me through the years, but they have.  They are more in honor of my grandmother and my childhood memories than the meaning and symbol behind them.  To me, they are reflection of a childhood filled with small wonders and cherished moments.

May 28, 2010

23 Days of Inspiration: Eggs

I don't remember when I first made the eggs, but I do vividly remember the inspiration.  I think they may have been for Bead & Button last year.

They were inspired by my buddy Dianna Hutts Aston's beautiful book, An Egg Is Quiet.  I have a signed copy of the book in my studio.  The illustrations are by Sylvia Long.  Dianna has some of my jewelry, so I like that some how our creative energies have inspired each other along our journey.  To me an egg is hope, the promise of a possibility and a reminder to let our dreams take flight when they are ready.

May 27, 2010

23 Days of Inspiration: Urchins

I found my first urchins in a little shell shop during the first Bead Cruise. I had never seen them before and was immediately inspired.  I made some urchin beads that we sculpted and painted.  I can't dig up the photo right now.  But as soon after I created these urchins. 

I keep a few bowls of shells and urchins scattered throughout my studio, they bring an instant smile to my face.
Part of the reason is that they remind me of one of my favorite family vacations.  One Easter weekend we went to Galveston, stayed on a hotel right on the beach, visited Mermaid Pier, enjoyed the ocean and just had fun together.  My girls seem so tiny to me in this photo.  My oldest is turning 14 in just a few weeks.
Another reason I love the urchins, my soul is happiest on the shores of the beach - whether it's a lake, pond or ocean, when I'm near water I feel at home.

May 25, 2010

23 Days of Inspiration: October Skies

October Skies were a limited edition series from last fall, I hope to whip us some more for the show.  I love autumn!  The cooler days, the changing colors of the season, sweaters, scarves, hot tea - these are all tiny bits of bliss.  With summer just starting, I know I should live in the moment.  But you'd have to spend a summer day in Texas to understand my longing for the cool nights of October already!  I was made for North, what can I say.

Photograph from Life is Good on Flickr.

23 Days of Inspiration: Fantastic

Opps, missed one day - I was busy making beads!
Okay, here is the story about my fox beads:

There were inspired by this movie. It is my all time favorite movie, had to see it 5 times and laughed like a idiot through each screening. I love the puppets, their handmade charm and crafty goodness just won me over! We quote this movie, it has moved in with our family like a long lost cousin. A Kristofferson, if you will. If you haven't seen this movie, you need to!

Foxes have crept in other places, like my illustrations.
You can check out my little zazzle shop for more of my work on t-shirts, cards, etc.

May 23, 2010

23 Days of Inspiration: Hedgie & the Bead Buzz

 What is the only thing cuter than a baby hedgehog?
(Photo courtesy of Docpi)

A pair of them!
Really, my only inspiration for these guys are the cute factor and my need for quirkiness.
Check out the adorable earrings Lorelei created with them.

(Hedgie & the Bead Buzz - that's that new punk band, right?)

Here is the Bead Buzz - a round up of this week's best bead inspired links:

Lisa explains her thoughts behind part 1 of a new bracelet project.

Tammy recently took a trip to the Bahamas and discovered some souvenir pennies in her purse. They were so bright and shiny they had to be turned into jewelry.

Art Bead Scene
It's the fifth month anniversary of the ABS Carnival Blog! Come see how we've grown!

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Take a jewelry class with me at CREATE!

Beading Arts

The new Rubber Glass silicone has inspired Cyndi to create some beginner projects!

Carmi's Art/Life World

In an effort to use all that she buys, Carmi repairs and recycles vintage metal from Paris.

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva

Cindy's starting a new feature on her blog - The Wednesday Wire! Come take a look!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles

A gift from a local potter starts Melanie on a new clay adventure: Raku!


Heather explores 23 days of inspiration as she gets ready for the Bead & Button Show. See how Van Gogh has inspired her through the years.

Jean Campbell

Jean's just full of travelogues, isn't she? This time she went to a Kansas bead retreat.

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio

Voting has now opened in the Bead Star competition, come check out my 5 entries!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!

The best wedding I never went to! My editor's incredibly romantic wedding -- Australian Beading Magazine

Strands of Beads

Like several of her esteemed colleagues, Melissa has a few pieces in the Bead Star competition to show off this week!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton

Andrew has six finalists pieces in the Bead Star competition. Please take a moment to vote!

Vote for your Bead Star Favorites!

May 22, 2010

23 Days of Inspiration: Battle of the Flowers

I can't claim to completely comprehend the Battle of the Flowers Parade or the spectacle that is San Antonio's Fiesta - but it is inspiring!  The photo above is from Lanna DeLarosa.  All of the princesses and royal court of Fiesta that ride the floats in the parades wear crazy shoes under their gowns, as the drive by everyone shouts "Show us your shoes!" and I realize I will never understand this land called Texas.  They are crazy here.
But when in Rome!

No, I'm not running around showing off my bad taste in footwear.  But I did create a piece of jewelry inspired by San Antonio and the Battle of the Flowers parade for the next issue of Bead Style magazine.  (That's a sneak peek above.) It's an All Star issue where they asked their favorite designers to create a piece of jewelry inspired by their hometown.  It's was fun and I knew I would do something Fiesta related as soon as they asked.  I can't wait to see the issue which should be out soon!

May 21, 2010

23 Days of Inspiration: Tiger Lilies

I actually think these are called day lilies.  Tiger lilies have more spots, which is sort of strange considering tigers have stripes.  But whether it's a spot or stripe, the vivid warmth of these lilies remind me of one thing - SUMMER!  Growing up in Michigan we would look forward to the warm days, the sun and sand on the beach, flowers blooming, blueberries and corn from the local farms. 

Yep, tiger lilies remind me of bliss, complete joy, carefree days and why wouldn't you want to capture that in bead form and wear it around your neck?  My beautiful tiger lily beads are made possible with artwork from Allison Fomich.  I can't say I have the same fondness for summer living in Texas, it's a different world down here.  But I do long for the days when I can return home in the summer and enjoy those simple pleasures again.

May 20, 2010

23 Days of Inspiration: Branches

In the town I grew up in there wasn't a 4 story building, the tallest things were trees.  I love the woods.  We lived on the edge of a forest, we had forts and adventures among the trees.  The way they change with the seasons and give us hope for the eternal renewal of life is something I've always cherish.
My all time favorite bead designs are my branch beads.  I'm sure it's because of the connection from my childhood and the feeling of home that trees symbolize that I find so appealing.  There is nothing quite as stunning as nature.  I hope we work hard to keep it beautiful and preserved for our children and beyond.

May 19, 2010

23 Days of Inspiration - Production

I think I have to give a nod to my industrial Michigan roots and thank Ford for showing America the benefits of production work. Some days I am a beadmaking factory, working in assembly line fashion.
Is there joy working like this?  There is, it's quite satisfying to see piles of you pendants stacked up, wondering where each one will travel to once it's complete.  I love that my inspiration will travel to another designer's table and in turn help them along their creative journey.  It's an exciting process.

May 18, 2010

23 Days of Inspiration: Van Gogh

I fell in love with Van Gogh in high school.  Tortured artist, utterly unique, strange and socially awkward - what teenage girl wouldn't be all over that.  Seriously, I can still remember the joy of seeing his work in person for the first time.  I mean to think you can see and be just a few feet away from a painting that the real artist created, it blows my mind to grasp it. 

I really want to explore more of his paintings in my beads, but for now I keep coming up with new designs from my favorite, his Starry Night.  Katie Hacker sent me a few of her Katiedids to play with and I immediate thought - toggle! 

May 17, 2010

23 Days of Inspiration: Willows

The count down until Bead & Button is both scary and exciting!  I thought to keep my sanity, to keep blogging and to not disappear into a pile of beads, I would do a series of 23 days of inspiration.  I will share with you each day something that has inspired my creative journey in beads and jewelry.  I hope you enjoy it.

I love this photograph from Alicia Bock titled BlueGrey Monday.  How perfect, right? When I was a child I used to love finding willows in the fields near the woods.  How magical they seemed, like little gifts left from fairies. 

I don't know why I felt they needed to entwine an egg, but they did.  That's the wonderful thing about art, sometimes there is no rhyme or reason, it's just following what the heart wants.

May 16, 2010

The Bead Buzz

Starting this week join me each Sunday for a round up of great Bead Blogger links and more from my favorite peeps!

A Bead A Day

Creating jewelry for special vacations can help you look forward to upcoming trips and keep the memories fresh afterwards.

Art Bead Scene

Art Bead Scene has a new look and some new opportunities to get involved. Come see!

Beading Arts

Rubber glass? Rubber glass?!? What the heck is rubber glass?

Carmi's Art/Life World

Carmi uses some amazing digital images to create a new resin filled bezel necklace.

Check out the new beads on Cindy's site - Turquoise Sky!

Melanie starts production for the Bead & Button Show and has studio pictures to prove it!

Heather shares some sketches of possible designs.

This week, Jean Campbell interviewed Katie for Beading Daily. Read some bonus Q&A on Katie's blog.

Snap out of it, Jean!There's beading to be done!

Jean reviews Kate McKinnon's inspiring new book, Sculptural Metal Clay Jewelry, with DVD included!

Strands of Beads

Melissa shows off new designs using cool skull beads and charms from Rings & Things

Andrew hosts another Thursday Giveaway! This time, the prize comes courtesy of Natural Touch Beads! Find out how you can win some awesome resin jewelry components!

And other juicy links not to miss:

Check out Erin's new challenge inspired by wedding flowers!
Jangles Blog
Jennifer is having a sweet giveaway with some of her new woodland creatures charms, the deadline is today!

Laura Bray
I just took an awesome ecourse with Laura Bray, she is one smart crafty-biz cookie.  Poke around her blog, she offers classes, a great newsletter and more.  I'm not sure when her next class will be, but I highly recommend signing up!
A Fanciful Twist
Why is a raven like a writing desk?  I'm not sure, but you can join in the nonsense and creativity at this crafty Mad Hatter Tea Party blog hop later this summer. 

May 8, 2010

Only One

Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,

Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,

Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,

But only one mother the wide world over.

~George Cooper

May 7, 2010

Birds of a Feather

Thanks for all the input on your favorite Humblebeads the other day.  The winner of the egg bead is Elizabeth!  Please email me your address. 

I am busy working away on beads.  Along with the new beads yesterday, I listed a few things that have been sitting on my desk for a while.  Three toggle clasps in a summery blue sky background and a grab bags filled with owls, birds and eggs - I had quite an overstock.  They are earlier versions - still cute as can be, but just not quite what I want to take to Bead & Button. 

I'm making new beads today, some willow branch disk beads - like my branch disk beads only with a willow design.  I'm pretty excited and will take pictures this weekend.  Enjoy your Friday!

May 6, 2010

Bittersweet Tales

My dear friend Erin asked me to work on a special collaboration for a jewelry series she is creating.  She is asking beadmakers to create beads based on the paintings in the gallery that shows her work.  For me she picked an artist who creates the most amazing paintings on metal.  I love them. The artist is Ann Singsass.  You can see the inspiration painting here.  

I really love the color combination and floral design. I can't wait to see what Erin creates with them.  I've been wanting to add some beads in a fall inspired color scheme and these just what I needed.  They are limited edition series for now.

I love working with jewelry designers to create something so personal and amazing.  You guys always have the best ideas!

May 5, 2010

Possible Designs

I've been thinking of design ideas for the new pendants.  Here are two that I'm loving.  The Willow Fields necklace pairs melon glass beads with elongated Vintaj brass chain. For summer styles I tend to go longer with necklaces.  I'd use a simple over sized brass hook and jump ring for the clasp.  For the pendant, I would wire-wrap a bail, attach it to a large jump ring and add on a few accent dangles in crystals that match the pendant.  Beads, Vintaj findings and chain can be found at Bello Modo.  Pendant is in my etsy shop.

I want to pull out the waxed linen and work up some summer-inspired designs.  I think the linen with it's lightweight and texture works nicely for those of us in hotter climates.  For this one I'd create another wire-wrapped bail.  And then  I would knot the glass drops and Elaine Ray ceramic cubes on the linen.  I'd use a few strands of the linen for some visual interest.  For the clasp, I'd create a braided loop for the closure and use a branch disk bead for the button part.  All the beads and linen can be found at Ornamentea.  The pendant is in my Etsy shop.

May 4, 2010

Bead & Button Prep

Okay folks, the countdown has begun!  I have a new booth number for Bead & Button, #1212.  I like that!  There are so many little details to think about along with making beads and making beads and did I mention making beads? 

I designed postcards, business cards and two banners for my booth.  I ordered the banners from Vista Print.  I hope they turn out.  I ordered them early enough that I can come up with a back up plan if they don't.  That is my banner design above.  I also did a banner for the Bead Cruise. They are 3' x  2.5'.  I use Vista Print for postcards all the time, so hopefully the banners will rock.

How cute is this?  They put the image on all sorts of products and ask if you want to add them to your cart.  And why yes, yes I did.  They also had it on a coffee mug and journal and that has me thinking about opening a little zazzle or cafe press shop with some of my bead images and inspirational quotes.  I mean, I know you like Humblebeads, but I'm sure you'd rather have some nice little saying on a bag or journal rather than my business name!

Okay, you've read this far - let's have a nice giveaway today.  I will pick on random winner on Friday to win an egg bead.  All you have to do is answer this question - what Humblebeads would you like to see at my booth at Bead & Button?  It's okay if you are only dreaming about going, I'd still like to hear from you!