August 23, 2012

Fall Color Inspiration

Need some color inspiration?  Check out Pantone's Fall Color Report

These are my favorite picks from the palette that mixes bright pops of color with neutrals.


 Bright Chartreuse

 Tangerine Tango

Honey Gold

August 22, 2012

Bead Table Wednesday - Class Samples

Is it Wednesday already?  I'm in an accelerated time warp lately, days slip by in a flash and I wonder where did my day go?  Summer is whizzing by and I feel like want to grab onto the tip of it's tail before it's run off into the wild.  But I know my heart is already longing for September.

It's Bead Table Wednesday and time to share what's on your table.  Whether it's the whole table, a carefully edited snippet or just what you are working on today - please stop by our Flickr group to share and meet up with other creatives.

On my desk today are a few more class samples and variations for my retreat.  I am thinking of making a few of the leaves to use in a lariat design or some kind of cluster of leaves to form a pendant. 

 My current color palette.

 Head on over to the Flickr group to share your bead table and current work!

August 20, 2012

Pity Party Winners

Okay, the party is over - I hope you guys had a fun time.  I will be checking out all of your links later today and seeing what you were up to.  Now three of you will be jumping up and down and really ready to party because you've just won a $25 gift certificate to Humblebeads.comEmail me and I will send those to you right away. 

Day One: Melanie Swope
Day Two: Kim Idalski of Kimi's Jewelry & Gifts
Day Three: Alice of Alice Dreaming

I'm going to extend my sale until Tuesday at midnight.  I know some of you were away this weekend and said you were sad that missed the sale.  PITYPARTY is the discount code that you'll need for 20% off. 
Humblebeads Etsy Shop

If you had fun this weekend you might want to check out my retreat details.  Just think of how much more inspiring I am in person as I lead you three days of classes and creative prompts.   

So how did I finish my weekend?  I didn't get around to playing with wire and beads with Kerri's book.  Instead my body decided I needed a day off and I sat around quietly and made some tiny felt beads and practiced my new-found skill of french knots.  It was fun and relaxing and just what I needed for the day.

August 19, 2012

Pity Party Day 3 - Class of One

 (Click here if you are looking for the Pity Party Bead Sale List)

Today's Pity Party theme is a Class of One. I've never actually taken a class at a big bead show since I usually work them, but classes are a big part of the fun.  So today let's pull out a favorite book or online tutorial and give it a try.  I know this may be hard today since Sunday might be your family day, so maybe your task for today is finding a project that you'll work on later this week.

I'm a book junkie and I love teaching myself through books.  I have quite a stack of new ones but my favorite at the moment is Rustic Wrappings written by my friend Kerry Bogert. The techniques and projects in the book have me blown away.  I want to try almost every one of them.  First up, I am going to try Kerry's embrodiery technique with wire.  I can't get over the cleverness of this idea!  I may also give her braided wire bracelet a go, I love the look of that one too.  I'm going to give Kerry's book a full review on the Art Bead Scene so I won't say much more.  But I do highly recommend picking up a copy.

I thought you'd enjoy seeing photos from my Inspiration Adventure yesterday.  We spent 3 hours walking the aisles of the Michigan Fiber Fest.  What fun!  I picked up sari ribbon, felted beads, wool roving and was gifted with some yummy embrodiery wool embrodiery floss that I am using today on those felted beads. Last night I practiced embroidering French Knots, which are harder than they seem.

How is your Pity Party going this weekend?  Have you had a chance to shop? I did! Have you busted your stash?  I made a fun necklace that got quite a few compliments on Saturday!  Did you go on an inspiration adventure?  Mission accomplished here.  It's been a fun way to avoid all my horrible jealous feelings of missing out on Bead Fest.  Be sure to share with me on the posts from the last two days to enter to win a gift certificate from

Today is our last day and another chance to win a $25 gift certificate.  In the comments share your favorite online crafty tutorial with me. It doesn't have to be bead related, just one you find inspiring. I will pick one random commenter on Monday as the winner.

My tutorial that I'm sharing today isn't bead related, they are embroidery videos from Mary Corbet.  I'm using them on beads, so it's related in a round-about way.   Share your tutorials in the comments below! (They don't have to be video ones.)

August 18, 2012

Pity Party Day 2 - Inspiration Adventure

 (Click here is you are looking for this weekend's discount codes)

Today we aren't going to sit on the computer and look longingly at photos from Bead Fest posted by our friends on Facebook.  Oh no, it's time to get out of the house and find something to inspire you.  You can go to a farmer's market, craft show, festival, museum, gallery, bead store, antique store, book store, walk in the park - whatever you can fit into your weekend that will inspire you. Stuck at home? Talk a walk in your neighborhood with your camera and go on a color hunt, snapping photos of things you find interesting. 

I'm planning to attend a Fiber Fest here in West Michigan.  I'm a little obsessed with felt lately and will be teaching a needle felting and bead embroidery class at my upcoming retreat.  Check out my Wool Pinterest board to see what has my creative wheels spinning.

Share photos from your adventure on your blog or the Creative Bead Chat facebook page.

So, here is your second chance to win a $25 gift certificate from  (Yes you can win more than one, so enter, enter, enter.) Today leave a comment and tell me what you did or plan to do for your adventure.  Earn another entry if you share my Retreat Link on twitter or Facebook.  You have until Sunday to enter, leave a comment to let me know you shared the link.  I will draw the winners on Monday morning. 

August 17, 2012

Pity Party Day 1 - Bust Your Stash

(Click here is you are looking for this weekend's discount codes)

Today to avoid bead envy for those lucky sticks at Bead Fest, we are busting our bead stash!  My challenge for you is to dig in that bead stash and pull out something that hasn't seen the light of day for a while. If you have been to a big bead show, I challenge you to find something from a past bead show purchase.  You can share a photo and story about it.  Create something with it or give it away on your blog or Facebook page.

For my Bead Stash Bust I'm sharing my three most treasured beads from the Bead & Button show, tips on using those precious beads and then I totally went for bust and made something with a few beads I have collected over several bead shows.

First up - my treasures.  They include a lampwork bird from Kerri Fuhr.  A lampwork flower from Kim Fields. And my Anne Choi bead that reads, "Had we but world enough and time."  Each of these were from trades I did with the artists, which makes them even more special too me.  Because those artists found my work worthy of the exchange, it was an honor that I treasure.  One day I will break down and use them in a design, but that time hasn't arrived.  Do you have beads like that?

Daffodil Fields is a project from my book.

"Some beads are little works of art and could sit on a shelf to be admired as such.  The trouble is, it can be hard to feel like those art beads will be done justice in a jewelry design - there is a fear they will be swallowed up by a supporting cast of beads.  I feel that way about Anne Choi's beads - they are so amazing, it's hard to create a design that doesn't distract from their simple and understated beauty.  My goal for this design was to create a necklace that let the art bead tell the story.  Picking up on the color of daffodils that one would imagine in this silver rendition, I created a lush pendant of faceted citrine dangles.  Each part of the necklace is carefully considered to relate to and accent the art bead.  From the silver links in the geometric design to the oval link cable chain and subtle grey of the lampwork disk bead - each part speaks to the art bead without overpowering it."  - Jewelry Designs from Nature, Heather Powers

And now for the piece I whipped up to wear this weekend.  It features a copper pendant from my buddy Andrew Thornton that he gifted me one year.  A ceramic bead from Golem Studio that I picked up this year at Bead & Button, one of my willow disks beads and a tiny spacer from a Hager Studios that I picked up a small local bead show last year.  I combined some of my favorite leafy chain - a B & B find, with a delicate chain to finish the design. Stash busted, mission accomplished!

And now for the giveaway - I will pick one random comment for a $25 gift certificate to my website, If you "bust your stash" today and blog or share about it on the Creative Bead Chat Facebook group you'll be entered twice - be sure to let me know if you do that in the comments too.  I will give you until Sunday to bust your stash and will pick the winner Monday morning. 

Pity Party Bead Sale

Okay, wipe away those tears - you are going to need those Kleenex's for drooling! I've gathered together some awesome beadmakers and designers to share discounts with you for the weekend.  All sales are Friday through Sunday and be sure to use the discount codes listed for each shop.

Shop Name - Discount Code - Deal

Humblebeads - PITYPARTY - 20% off

Earthenwood Studio Website & Etsy Shop - PITYPARTY - 15% off 

More Skye Jewels - PHILLYFEST - 15%

Tesori Trovati -  PITYPARTY - 15% 

Clay Buttons - PITYPARTY - 20% off minimum $20 order. Tari is traveling and orders will be filled after 8/28.

Song Bead - PITYPARTY - 20% off

Marla's Mud - BFW20 - 20% off

Genea Beadsbfetsy - 20% off through Sunday at 5pm

Bo Hulley Beads - PITY15 - 15% off


Kristi Bowman Designs - PITYPARTY - 15%

Summers Studio Etc - BFPP10 - 10% off through Sunday, 8 pm

Visit my blog all weekend for more Pity Party fun and a chance to win one of three gift certificates to 

August 16, 2012

Bead Fest Pity Party

Okay, so I'm all sorts of bummed that I'm not going to Bead Fest this year.  I was going to have a booth, but it just wasn't something I could realistically fit into my schedule and live to tell the tale.  But I'm not one to sit around and pout for long, so I've come up with a Pity Party (heavy on the party) for us to have together so we don't feel like we are missing out on all the fun and all those beads!  With a little thought I've come up with three days of fun for us to join together, inspire each other and get creative.

You can play along on your blog or the Creative Bead Chat Facebook group.

All weekend - Sale & Giveaways.  I've joined up with some of my beadmaking friends to offer discounts for the weekend and I will be hosting a giveaway each day for gift certificates to my website.

Friday - Bust your Stash.  On Friday we going to go into our bead stashes and pull out something that hasn't seen the light of day for a while. If you'd been to a big bead show, I challenge you to find something from a past bead show purchase.  You can share a photo and story about it.  Create something with it or give it away on your blog or Facebook page.

Saturday - Inspiration Adventure.  Get out of the house and find something to inspire you.  You can go to a farmer's market, craft show, festival, museum, gallery, bead store, antique store, walk in the park - whatever you can fit into your weekend that will inspire you.  I'm planning to attend a Fiber Fest that is not too far away.  Share photos from your adventure.

Sunday - Class of One.  Pull out a jewelry book and try one of the projects in the book. Go through a few books and pick a project.  How often do we really do that?  For me the answer is hardly ever!   I'm going to pull out Kerry Bogert's Rustic Wrappings and try my hand at one of the new techniques in her book.  Share your results with us.  We'll also share links of our favorite online tutorials. 

That should keep us busy and our minds off Philly!  Who is going to join me?  I'm looking forward to having some fun and being inspired together.

August 15, 2012

Bead Table Wednesday - Working in Small Spaces

I've had a few people ask me if I was going to start Bead Table Wednesday again and I thought, yeah, I should do that!  So here we on Wednesday and I know there is a still a faithful group sharing on their blogs, I hope they will also share on our Flickr group so we can connect again!  It's always so much fun to see what everyone is up and their messy work tables!

I'm in a temporary studio setting.  We have a large studio space downstairs.  It's the size of our main floor.  It has a nice sliding glass door to let in light.  It had the bare bones of something awesome.  And then I injured my knee and stairs are a no-no for now.  So there sits my empty studio and we work in every nook and cranny in my living and dining room. 

Since I have been making more jewelry the beads were taking over the dining room table.  We weren't eating at the dining room table and bead piles were growing out of control.  So I had Jess bring up one of my studio tables and we re-arranged the dining room to include a bead corner.  The tables we found for my studio have two leaves on both sides that fold down and can be used as a buffet if needed.

Most of my beads are stored on a large bookshelf. Nothing fancy, just boxes sorted by materials and colors. Labeled on the outside with my trusty sharpie marker to find things easier.

My essentials tools are on the table, but the big tools hang out in our pantry.  A pantry that doesn't house any dry goods, only beads, tools and various business stuff.

It's not ideal, but I wanted to share that you can be creative and look around in your current space - no matter how small - to carve out a dedicated work space for your beads.

When we were young and rented a small apartment, we used a large cubby bookshelf as a room divider and lined one wall with skinny folding tables and storage under the tables.  It didn't matter that is was a 8' x 4' space, it was mine! 

We hope to move soon and that our new place will include a room that we can use as a dedicated studio/office.  I can't wait to stretch out again.  And more importantly have a door that closes at the end of the day and I can separate from work at night.

And what kind of beads are on my table? Just orders mostly getting ready to head out across the country.  I do have these that are heading into my Etsy shop soon.  Queen Anne's Lace have been one of my muses this summer.

So what's on your Bead Table today?  Check out the Flickr group to see what others are creating and to add your photos.

August 10, 2012

Inspired by Nature Retreat

Details for my next Inspired by Nature Retreat are up.  It's going to be October 26th - 28th in South Haven, MI.  It will be three days of non-stop creativity surrounded by the beauty of nature.  I'm so looking forward to this! 

Along with the three classes that I'm teaching, designer extraordinaire Erin Prais-Hintz is joining us as a guest instructor leading a workshop on Saturday night.  My classes range from beadmaking, metalwork to bead embroidery.  The theme of the retreat is "Into the Woods" and all the projects have a woodland motif.

The leaves will be awash in autumn's splendor, the retreat cabin is surrounded by a deck that we can sit out and enjoy the scenery.  We'll gather in the beautiful lodge to create and connect with new friends.  We'll walk the nature trails nearby with camera's in hand hunting for colors to inspire our jewelry creations.  We'll listen to the river and the leaves rustling.  It will be like a Robert Frost poem!  Only with beads, which makes it even better. 

Check out all the details at the Inspired by Nature Retreat site.

I'm off for the weekend to sell at the Blueberry Festival in South Haven.  A great event, filled with lots of nostalgia for me, spending time with my family in my favorite little town - I couldn't ask for more.  Tomorrow is also my birthday, so I plan to make lots of wishes and spoil myself too!  And I will be eating one of these cupcakes or two. Okay, maybe just the frosting off two cupcakes - it's my birthday after all.

Wishing you a happy and creative weekend! 

August 7, 2012

Mossy Display Makeover

Do you have some tired old necklace displays and want to breathe fresh life into them?  With a little bit moss and a handy glue gun you can give your displays a makeover in minutes.

We used Supermoss Moss Mat that we picked up at Hobby Lobby.  They are thin, flat sheets that can be cut with scissors.  Lay down some newspaper before you start for easier clean up.
Step 1. Cut the moss 1" larger than your displays.
Step 2: Fold the moss sheet around to the back of the board.  Pull the moss sheet tightly and glue it down. 
Step 3: Go back along with edge of the moss with another bead of glue to secure the edges.
Step 4: For the corners, trim the excess moss and glue the edges of the corners to the display.

And that's it! You'll want to give it a few taps on the table to shed some of the loose moss.  I also recommend wrapping these in bubble wrap when you are packing for a show to protect them.  

(Jess created these, I was merely the art director. Add display and prop guy to his job title!)

You can do the same technique with fabric.  I've used some lovely silk on some of my displays.  You could even try paper, although that would probably need some Modge Podge magic and that's beyond my skill set.

You can fill little bowls with Styrofoam and glue some of the moss on top for coordinating displays.  Just make sure to balance all this mossy goodness with other colors and textures.

August 4, 2012

Butterfly Jewelry and Show Prep

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.  ~Rabindranath Tagore

Here are some new pieces that will be part of my wholesale line, I will be testing them out at the local show next weekend.

I kind of did a little 'oh yeah!' when I finished this piece yesterday.  It's so striking and beautiful and will be eye-catching enough to get customers to venture into my booth.  I also have this crazy idea of displaying them on moss covered necklace displays - I will let you know how that turns out. 

I did the smaller pieces in three different colors for this pendant, the tiny butterfly pendant and the earrings.  Well the earrings I did several of each color.  There is a part of me that would like to make a ton more, but honestly I already have enough to fill the booth and won't be able to put it all out.  I do have a few pieces that need to be completed and I will make about 20 more pairs of earrings. That will land me 50+, which seems like a lot and it is, but you can never have too many earrings and I always sell tons of them.

My to-do list for the show:
Etch leaves for bracelets & necklaces and house pendants
Piece those together
Finish earrings
Starfish pendants and earrings
A few more nest pendants
(That's what I want to do, but I am giving myself until Monday and then what I have is what I have!)

Price jewelry
Update display busts with silk and some with moss (maybe)
Find tablecloths
Get sales receipts printed from Kinkos (a step up for the store bought generic ones)
Gather display materials

Might need to pick up:
Bamboo shade for the backdrop in my booth
Another large picture frame
A new mirror

August 2, 2012

Bead Bundles, Production and Designing for Wholesale

Just a quick note to let you know that I am having a little sale in my Etsy shop.  I just put up 10 Bead Bundles that are listed at almost wholesale prices.  It's a great way to pick up some sweet Humblebeads.  This is a special sale and once they are gone, that's it. 

I also have some new leafy beads in the shop - fall is sneaking up on us, poking it head around the corner even here at the beginning of August.

I have been working between bead orders and prepping for the show.  Above is my handiwork from last night. I love mixing ceramic work with my beads.  They add a nice weight to my light-weight polymer and our finishes work so well together. 

I like to work in assembly line fashion with a design, changing out a piece here and there but keeping it the same formula.  It's an easy way to whip up six pendants in a half hour!  And speaking of assembly line fashion...

I have been working on samples and designs for my wholesale line.  One thing I've been working on is the idea of creating collections.  So I'll have a design motif and see how many different ways I can work it into a series of jewelry.  It's a lot unlike working on a series or body of work when I was in art school.  I've found that when I'm working on the designs for wholesale it is a completely different mindset than working on one-of-kind designs.  I have to ask myself:

1. Can I easily reproduce this?
2. Are the materials affordable? (If I work with net 30 terms am I going to have to invest a fortune to fill an order?  I certainly don't want to!)
3. Is this design keeping in my price point that I want to offer to wholesale customers?
4. Can I make it quickly and can I train others to make it too?
5. Is this design cohesive with the entire collection?
6. Is this is a seasonal design, should it wait to be released until later in the year?

Now, I'm moving in a completely different direction than even what I offer at say a local art market. I'm thinking much more in terms of how I can produce these in quantities and offer them to a larger market.  It's a bigger kind of thinking than I've done before and a slower process. 

Would you like to see some jewelry collection samples?  Check out the wholesale shops at Trunkt for inspiration and quite an education!