Saturday, January 30, 2010

Finding treasures

I was rummaging thru drawers and boxes today trying to find the title to my truck. During this task I ran across this

This was a gift a few years ago from my husbands aunt. We don't decorate for chirstmas or put up a tree so this has been in a drawer all this time.

This is a lacey oak leaf, preserved in 24k gold.


I have some gold plated chain - I have some small wood you see where this is going? I am going to work on a design for this ornament to be the focal this weekend.

Such a shame to leave it in a drawer, don't you think?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Andi's Inspiration

I was cleaning my work area and ran across these mica 'tags'. They were given to my by my friend Andi. Andi came up to me a few months back and said "I want to learn to make jewelry" I answered "Fantastic!" She said "I want you to teach me"

I was speechless. Andi is this beautiful human, full of life and wonder and humor and love. Her asking me to 'teach' her to make jewelry was such a compliment. Of course I said Yes!. Andi brought over her supplies and we sat down and she began to show me her creations. There was no teaching this girl. She had it all. Her jewelry was fantastical and whimsy. She needed no guidance from me, only encouragement. She had made a pair of earrings out of these mica tags. They were so much fun. I ooh and ahhed over them. She tried to give them to me, and i declined. They were her masterpiece. She gave me two of the tags to make my own. So tonite I did, in honor and inspired by her.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fun Valentine beads from Art Beads!

Being part of the ArtBeads blogging team is such an honor especially when I see the other blog team members posts. Their work is outstanding and their vision of how to use the products from ArtBeads, stunning!

Duchess, the community coordinator of ArtBeads offers great support and enthusiasm for all the bloggers. She gets just as excited about the bead choices as I do! (I would love to see some of her designs, I bet they are awesome)

Keeping with the valentines theme for Feb. I chose these components as the base of the necklace I want to make:

QUEEN OF HEARTS Fire Designs Hand Blown Furnace Glass *A very fitting name :)
These glass beads make me happy. They are beautiful. They are heavy, and bigger than I thought. They will make a great base for this design. The color combinations are also a plus. With the black and white added, it can be a design that is worn all year, not limiting it to a seasonal favorite.
Sterling/Resin 16mm Pendant - Red XOXO Flowers* This is a fun and youthful pendant perfect to add a bit of whimsy to any design.

To go along with these beads, I couldn't pass up these items and had to purchase a few things to go along with them. The prices at Art Beads are unmatched online. To offer the deals they do, and offer discount codes to go along with their already low prices, not requiring a minimum order AND FREE SHIPPING!!! Who wouldn't want to shop there! (that combination makes me stupid!)

Here is what I added:
4mm Fire Polish Mix Pink Tones (50 Pack)
4mm Fire Polish Mix Red Tones (50 Pack)
TOHO™ Bead Round 6/0 Opaque-Lustered Pearl White 8g Bag
TOHO™ Bead Round 6/0 Opaque-Lustered Cream 8g Bag

What I forgot to take a picture of was these great little scrolled metal hearts -

Antique Silver Heart Scroll Bead

I can't wait to get started on this! Got Valentine jewelry ideas of your own? Post a link in my comments, I would love to see them!

Don't forget -

Artbeads' 10th Anniversary Sweeps

Sweepstakes Starts January 06, 2010 @ 09:00 am (PST)
Sweepstakes Ends March 04, 2010 @ 11:59 pm (PST) $1,000 Shopping Spree Sweepstakes

Good luck and happy shopping!!

*FTC compliance disclosure: the '*' items mentioned in this post credited to Art Beads were provided as a promotional gift as part of the Blogging for Beaders Program. These items are for review or design purposes.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It's getting better all the time - necklace re dux

Last week I posted a picture of a necklace I had started, that just wasn't working out for me. I was very indifferent to the design and wanted something more.

I put out a call for help from all of my readers and got some great responses. While reading thru them ,the creativity cog started to squeal and grind and ideas start to roll. I tried adding a chunkier chain, but the chain was brass and just didn't fit. I tried adding a smaller focal of the green kyanite wrapped in copper to the top chain but it took away from the MOP. I added several more layers of the Figaro chain, but that chain is too light I think, and had a bit of a tangled look to it.

Working with the multi layers and the chains can be difficult sometimes to have a vision of how it will look when it is laying flat or pinned to a board. It doesn't always "flow" from flat to your neck. With that said, I broke down and bought a bust to use when working on draping necklaces and also to use as a display for photos and shows. What a difference it makes. It was well worth the investment. I went with black for photo reasons, and white just gets to dirty.

*think* *think*

When I removed the figaro chains, I also removed the top chain, and left just the one chain and the chunky outer layer - wow, what a difference. It was so simple and so perfect. I added a few little dangles to bring your eye down to the MOP focal as opposed to it just blaring at you and WAHLA!!!!

And yes, I am wearing it today!

Next time you are stumped on a design, ask a friend, you would be amazed at how just a few suggestions can get the creativity going again!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Learning to love turquoise

I was not a fan, I'll admit it. The only reason I started working with turquoise is my husband. We were at the Tucson Gem show, I was completly in sensory overload, wanting to buy everything at the first table I saw. If it wasn't for my husband I dont' think I would have made it. He dragged me by the hand keeping me on a steady cruisng pace to see all there was to see, then let me go. By then I had calmed down and was at a mere froth as opposed to a frenzy, somewhat in control. As we shopped, he kept taking me back to the turquoise. I didn't want any, I didn't like it - he said, "it isnt what you want dear, it is what your customers want."

I hate when he is right.......

In my mind I see the squash blossoms set in heavy silver designs from the 70's. I can't do that. I am a stringer. On the flip side of that, when I would see turquoise, it was a single strand of nothing but turquoise. Elegant, yes, boring, could be. Stop making excuses, Tish. I had to get over what I thought turquoise was for and find out what it was about. Turquoise is a great stone, beautiful in color, a beautiful focus, and a wonderful accent. It really does have it all. I have had a lot of fun with turquoise since then and I have to give my husband all the credit.

This is a fun chunky necklace that came about from the focal. About a 18 months ago, I was playing with this chunk of turquoise, trying to figgure out how to wrap it. It is so round I was having a hard time coming up with a design that would hold it securly. It is a drilled bead so I went with the obvious. I didn't care for it and set it aside. I came across it again, that little lonely piece of turquoise needing to be placed in a design. So I sat down to work.

Turquoise has an earthy feel to me. A real connection with the earth and all the things around me, so pairing it with wood was a no brainer.

I used a triple strand design. First strand of solid tiger eye. The second of red toho 3/0 beads accented with turquoise. The third strand, the 'focus strand', a symmetrical pattern of turquoise, red beads, quartz and wood beads. I added the wrapped pendant stone to the third strand. Then loosely weave them all together for a fun and jumbled look. It hangs about 20" so it is great with about any style shirt.

That lonely pendant that started it all.

What projects have you started and then set aside? Try picking it back up and see what creativity comes your way!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sharing a re purpose idea from Beading Daily

I signed up a while back with Beading Daily and get great email updates with wonderful tips and project ideas. They have a great blogging team sure to keep you interested and right now they are offering a free download of 5 patterns. The patterns rotate with the refreshing of the page so if you are not into bead stitching, refresh till you see the style of work you want to learn and click!

This one I wanted to share with you. I have seen a trend lately in the blogs I follow on 're purposing' jewelry. I thought it would be a great addition to the blogosphere as people are "googleing" for more information on this.

Don't miss out on Beading Daily emails - you can sign up here

7 Tips for Redesigning Jewelry

Second Chances

As part of my "get organized" resolution, I've been cleaning my studio (a.k.a. "unfinished basement"). One cardboard box in the corner held my first necklaces. Some were badly made, but others were just no longer me. And some, like the necklace with spiky rubber neon green beads, fell into the "What was I thinking?" category.

Before I wrote the "Take 2" article for the spring issue of Stringing, I would have tucked these beading disasters away forever. But now that I've seen the spectacular redesign results of designers Danielle Fox, Andrew Thornton, Molly Schaller, and Denise Yezbak Moore, I firmly believe that almost every piece of unworn jewelry (except perhaps neon necklaces) deserves a second chance.

If you have jewelry that you never wear or pieces that just won't sell, maybe it's time to give them another look. Here are some tips I've uncovered:

7 Tips for Redesigning Jewelry

1: Be open to possibilities. Just because you start with one idea doesn't mean you need to stick with it. I intended just to restring my bracelet (shown below), but as I worked, I realized that I'd prefer a necklace. (Bracelets make such a racket when you're typing at the computer!)

2: Ask for feedback. Get opinions from someone you trust. Sometimes it's easier for others to spot problems than it is to see them ourselves.

3: Seek inspiration. Page through copies of Stringing, study reader galleries on the Beading Daily forums, and paw through your bead stash or local bead shop. What catches your eye?

4: Start small. While a necklace might need a total overhaul, often changing just one element, such as a focal or clasp, will be enough to make it work.

5: Take a photo. If you're nervous about taking a piece apart, take a photo of it first. This will give you a security blanket. You can always reconstruct the original piece if you don't like the new results.

6: Go back to Square One. If you're unhappy with a piece of jewelry, but don't know what to do to improve it, think back to why you were inspired to make the piece in the first place. If it was a color combination that you loved, for instance, make that your springboard for another design.

7: Wear it. Some flaws––a faulty clasp, a too-short necklace––only become apparent with the piece on. Figure out why your piece doesn't fit comfortably, then fix it.

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My "Before" Bracelet and "After" Necklace

I enjoyed this redesign process so much that I redid a second piece in addition to the one in Stringing.

I'm sharing it exclusively on Beading Daily.

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After: The redesigned necklace has an edgier, more modern look with gunmetal chain and an enamel clasp.

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Before: This bracelet was too sweet for my personal taste.

Be sure to check out all five sets of before and after photos in the spring issue of Stringing, along with nearly 100 new necklace, bracelet, and earring designs (including some with great floral ceramic beads!), tips on how to sell your jewelry at outdoor shows, and where to get the latest woodland creature beads and the cutest little raku house beads I've ever seen.

While we wait for our copies of Stringing to arrive, tell us your tales of redesign. Have you ever redesigned a piece? Why or why not?

Share your ideas here on Beading Daily.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

And now for something completely different- Rescue mode

Although it appears that my passion in life is jewelry, there is one other passion that fuels my soul - that is my animals. Maybe it is a sickness, but I feel that I have to help where I can.

There is a dog in need of rescuing and I am focusing on that for the next couple of days trying to arrange what I can to get this dog a new lease on life.

Pray, I need help with this one kids.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

With a little help from my friends - Green kyanite necklace

I am at a crossroads and I need your help.

I am working on this necklace -

I want it to have the feel or look that you are wearing more than one necklace. A layering look. I love to pair up necklaces and wear several at a time. With this one, there is no effort, the one necklace does it for you.

I love this green kyanite. Kyanite is a personal favorite of mine. It is used for so many things. From fire bricks for kilns to brake pads to spark plugs to your very own porcelain bathroom sink! Did you know that??

I have an appreciation for kyanite and its everyday worth in our world, but I love it because of its properties. Kyanite brings loyalty, honesty and tranquility, and diminishes anger and confusion. Kyanite does not retain negative energy and never needs energetic cleansing. (1)

I paired the kyanite with peach aventurine and quartz. They compliment each other so well.

Aventurine benefits one in all areas of creativity, and imagination as well as intellect and mental clarity. It enhances prosperity and brings career success. It is a gentle stone energetically that gives a sense of calm and balance and enhances happiness. It also helps one to see potentials in all situations, giving a positive outlook, courage and inner strength. Aventurine brings friendship to one’s life.(2)

Honesty and friendship - I can't think of anything better :)

I did a simple wire wrap with copper on this mother of pearl pendant to create the focal.

Now I need to know what is missing. I keep looking at it scratching my head. It is two great looks, simple and clunky. It should work, right? Do I need to add dangles on the chain? Coins? Copper beads? Crystals? Would that flesh it out more? Do I need to separate the two and leave it at that?

What do I do?

Help me Bead-Oh-Wan-Kanobi, you're my only hope.

(1) from
(2) from

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Odds and Ends - earrings, charity update

Didn't know what to title this entry, so I called it exactly what it is - odds and ends.

I love making jewelry, love looking at jewelry, love learning how to do new techniques, love love love! I was encouraged by everyone to take the next step. Go on out there and sell it. When you do something you love, it is tuff to put it out for sale. It is a harsh way to be judged. If it isn't bought, it isn't liked, or that is how it can feel sometimes.

I took that step and now I am in several local stores. I recently stopped by one of the retailers that sells my jewelry and she needs more earrings. How exciting!! I made a few pair last nite, here is an example of what I am taking to her -

Resin, seed beads and silver plated wire.

Stamped brass peace signs with ruby in zoisite and fresh water pearls. Ruby in Zoisite is an energy amplification stone and pearls attune the wearer to ebb and flow of life. They are calming and centering. They give purity and promote faith, charity, and integrity, truth and loyalty. I thought they were the perfect stones to put with the peace symbol.

Fun, simple little copper spirals with fire opal swarovski crystals. These are a staple to most collections, mine included. It is one of the first wire wrap designs I learned. This is an easy design and very versatile.

I have had so much encouragement and so much support from so many people, I feel I need to give back. To me, it is so exciting to me to be able to give. That being said, I began to choose a charity a month that proceeds from all sales would go to. I have had some really lean months, so I changed it to reflect quarterly sales. My 4Q charity for 2009 was NEADS (Dogs For Deaf and Disabled Americans), of Princeton, MA, is a non-profit organization, organized under section 501c (3) of the IRS code. NEADS was established in 1976 to train and provide independence to people who are deaf or physically disabled through the use of canine assistance. These assistance dogs become an extension of their owners and bring security, freedom, independence and relief from social isolation to their human partners. I am happy to announce that my 4Q charity, will be getting a check for $150!!

With recent events, I have chosen my 1Q charity to be going to the relief fund for Haiti. 15% of all sales for 1Q of 2010 will go to the relief fund benefiting the population of Haiti devastated by the earthquake. There are so many ways to be involved in offering help to the people of Haiti. ArtBeads posted this on their FaceBook page - Etsy Shop Owners Unite! Join "Hearts for Haiti' and "Craft Hope' and help the people of Haiti by donating a piece of jewelry or craft to raise money for Doctors Without Borders.
Hearts for Haiti:
Craft Hope:
Doctors Without Borders:

I am touched and have had my faith in humanity restored with the outpouring of help going from so many people to this tiny island nation.

So heres to you and your support, you are helping to shape me into the artist I am. Thank you!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Don't rush the creativity - Rings & Things Blogger challenge

I love being a blogger for Rings & Things. Dave is fantastic with his support, and encouragement. He is the first person to ever comment on my blog, even before I began to blog with them. He is interested in your opinions about the product, your thought processes and the final design. He seems to be truly waiting in anticipation to see what you make. It makes me giddy.

Now flip that coin. I have guilt. I don't feel I am always up for the challenge. Dave has never once asked me "I sent you a item, and I have never seen you use it, what's up with that?" There is no pressure to 'perform' from him, only that you do your best and be honest with the product.
I want to be fair to Dave. I dont' want to work with the product because it is there. I want to be true to it. Still, it troubles me to see the beads on my work table, or I run across them in my inventory and I feel that pang...I put them out and push them around on the table - and -


I had found a mess of beads from last summer that came from one of the Designer Assortments for the blogger challenge. This one was pastels - sea foam greens, pinks and blues. It just didn't speak to me. I worked up a necklace with some of it last year, but there was still so much of it left over. I was stumped, and personally, I was a bit put off with them. There is nothing wrong with the quality of the beads, nor the ABUNDANCE of the pieces you get for the price. It is a fantastic deal, so much so, I bought the black Designer Assortment, and have made many things from it. I think it was mebbe the colors. Bottom line, I was being a bit petty I think, because I didn't like them.

You are getting wordy again Tish - Where are you going with this??? Let me make a left turn and then we'll get back on track, promise.

I went to a party a while back, several people there I didn't know. Met some great people and met some artists that, well - because they were good, they no longer felt they needed to connect. I don't want to be that artist. I don't ever want to be above anyone else's art. I never judge your vision or the destination you chose for your piece. I never 'pity' a beginner due to to many questions or that they 'haven't found their direction yet'. I can't. I can't understand when others do. We were all beginners once. If that is how you have to evolve to be successful, then no sir, I don't want it. It isn't that precious to me to give up reaching out to all artists with encouragement and support.

That woke me up and I re considered the Designer Assortment again. I am in Bead Trends (they are accepting entries till the 28th!) mode so my pieces are very summery right now. These beads were perfect for that challenge. I paired them with copper and amazonite for light and whimsical look for any summer activity!

I did a 'hippie wrap' around a piece of carved MOP with copper wire. Next string four strands to create the bulk of the design.

First strand is amazonite chips, seperated with copper spiral beads and rose quartz. (amazonite is the stone of truth, rose quartz is the stone of passion, perfect for this piece)
Second strand is the beads from the Designer Assortment strung randomly
Third and fourth strand is the seed beads that come in the Designer Assortment as a compliment to the beads. I strung the two strands thru one copper bead.
Random weaving of the strands and connected with a copper S clasp

And here she is.

Close up of the focal

Never feel you are not up for the challenge - don't rush yourself. The creativity will come!

*FTC compliance disclosure: the '*' items mentioned in this post credited to Rings & Things were provided as a promotional gift as part of the Blog Partner Program. These items are for review or design purposes. Find out more about the Rings & Things Blog Partner Program

Friday, January 15, 2010

Everything but the kitchen sink - multistone necklace

You know that cliche, "everything but the kitchen sink" meaning everything that you can think of, but with no rhyme or reason. That was the study in this piece.

I have a box of bead odds and ends. They are left overs from a project that were not put back into the proper baggie or separated out after being swept into a pile during a whirlwind attempt at cleaning.

I love this look, and it is a great activity to jump start your creativity. Grab a handful of beads and arrange them either on the table or by stringing them. You will be amazed at how fast those wheels start to turn and the ideas start to roll out. It may be just the ticket you need if you are looking to expand your jewelry lines. If you always use the same pattern, if you always are symmetrical, if you are afraid to try new looks because you are in a comfort zone. Try it, see where it takes you. I would love to see your designs.

This is truly a random design that is brought together by the repetition of three seed beads between each bead.

I love the random