Wednesday, March 10

Bead Soup Cafe - Bead Soup Swap

Thank you to Lori McDaniel Anderson for creating and hosting the Bead Soup Café site and matching me up with Joyce Becker from Oregon who has been a perfect swap partner and now a great friend. I learned that Fire Mountain Gems & Beads has a facility in Oregon at One Fire Mountain Way, Grants Pass, OR 97526.

I enjoyed opening each of the little wrapped packages of beads! My swap partner Joyce Becker chose beautiful beads and lovely colors that all make a delicious and appealing bead soup. The pearls, Adventurine and mother of pearl all churn together to make a lovely ocean mix of colors and shapes. The Lotus flower focal is very exotic and I can envision wearing it in a long necklace. The oblong lampwork pendant is swirled with colors that match the other beads. I am excited to begin the design process and see how these lovely beads inspire me.
I added the gold elongated beads to spotlight the handmade brass embossed, painted and glazed Vintaj art beads that Joyce Becker made. She included the teal rondelles that she matched so perfectly. I needed ear wires to match so took a trip to the bead store. The brass seemed more gold than what I usually think of as brass and I don’t have much for findings in gold. But I like the shine and brightness that the gold brings and I’m excited about wearing them with a teal top. 

The Lilly Pilly mother of pearl focal from Artbeads needed to be adorned with the Adventurine rounds and silver star fish to complement the shine in the elongated mother of pearl beads. It’s almost as if we transported to the sea where we can enjoy the smell of the air and warmth of the sun. I can almost feel the sand under my feet...wouldn’t that be wonderful! The star fish looks much darker in the picture than in real. I’m not sure why they cast such a shadow during the photo shoot.

I first slid and knotted the elongated carved mother of pearl beads onto a silk ribbon and added a rolo tube to attach the focal too. I enjoyed bringing sparkle and width to the Lampwork Art Bead by wrapping it with 22 gauge silver wire (another recent bead store purchase). I think the earrings match well and are created using the pearl drops, Adventurine and silver spacers (which I also added to the end of the focal). 

I have owned this silver circle chain for a very long time and it seemed to be in hibernation while it waited so it could shine in this design. It brought together a beautiful design with all of the different shapes of Aventurine skipping through the park of circles. The dragonfly focal is laying on a sterling silver loop with the word RESPECT. Respect life, respect nature, respect the earth, respect the individuality of each person. Which of the earring pairs do you want to wear with this necklace? 

Joyce Becker handmade the beautiful Vintaj brass embossed, painted and glazed tree components that I used to make earrings with Swarovski crystals in my favorite colors of turquoise and purple. I will enjoy wearing them and they are keepers as mementos of the fun that we have had creating jewelry. I am also showing my bead board as I try to think of a design to use white and teal rice pearls. I used 28 gauge tarnish resistant silver argentine wire to make a little flower from the white pearls but the wire breaks very easy so I’m on to a new design.

In the end, I used .45mm silver beading wire to string the rice pearls and the accent silver beads. I had the square beads with two holes side-by-side allowing me to double strand the bracelet. I also had a square magnetic clasp with crystals that matched the square components within the bracelet. I am pleased with the results and happy that I found something that worked. The rice pearls have a iridescent teal shine and that is the more dominant color when looking at them in the sunlight. That color didn’t come through in the photo but does a photo ever do the piece justice compared to holding it in person?

This is a photo of the entire jewelry collection from one bead swap with add in’s from my stash. It is surprising that new beads that come matched up for inspiration can lead to all of this!

 Thank you to Joyce Becker for being my bead soup swap partner! I enjoyed getting to know you and wish Oregon and Minnesota were next door neighbors so that we could have tea and share jewelry tips and techniques.

The Bead Soup Swap & Participants:

Lori Anderson, hostess

Anastasia Urbanski

Andrea Garvens

Ann Snyder Rishell

Bee Kuhlman

Becky Pancake

Birgit Klughardt

Bobbie Rafferty

Bridget Torres

Candida Castleberry

Christina Hickman

Divya N

Donna Hoblit

Dorit Woldenga

Elaine Robitaille

Elisabeth Auld

Ginger Bishop

Heather Canepa

Hope Smitherman

Inge von Roos

Jackie Locantore

Jayne Capps

Jenny Kyrlach

Jennifer Reeb

Jill Bradley

Joan Williams

Jodie Marshall

Joyce Becker

Kate Dufour

Kathleen Breeding

Kathy Lindemer

Katie Nielson-Nunez

Katrina Baslow

Kelly Hosford Patterson

Kim Hutchinson

Lisa Baxa

Lisa Long

Lorelei Eurto

Lucy Clasen

Marianna Wehner

Melissa Trudinger

Monica Dockery

Natalie Ettinger

Natalie Moton

Pamela Traub

Raquel Rosario

Robin Reed

Rochelle Brisson

Sarah Beardslee

Shaiha Williams

Susan Kelly

Terri Gauthier

Terry Jeanette Carter

Valerie Norton

Sunday, September 7

Anchors Aweigh Blog Hop

Jewel School Friends - Anchors Aweigh!! Blog Hop Featuring Suburban Girl Studio 
The beautiful blue anchor pieces by Suburban Girl Studio arrived and inspired me to design a set of jewelry in honor of our men & women at sea. 

It was my hope to create a look that represented a badge of honor and to do so I needed to add a bit more weight to the anchor piece. Finding the perfect sized silver circle to frame the anchor brought the piece to life, added depth, and shine.  Topping the anchor with the square stone proved to reflect the color and motion from waves of the sea.

I knew I wanted to work with "rope" so the piece was more theme oriented and finding creamy white silk cording fit perfectly once it was knotted using macramé.   

It became clear to me that the second Suburban Girl Studio anchor would be useful as a button to fasten a matching bracelet.  Finally the whimsical steering wheel earrings pulled it all together to be sea worthy indeed.
Featured & Honored Artist: Diana Ptaszynski
Diana's Shop Suburban Girl Beads
Diana's Blog:                      Suburban Girl Studio
Hostess: TJ                         Jewel School Friends
Bobbie Rafferty                  Beadsong Jewelry
Chris Eisenberg                  Wanderware
Heather Richter                  Desert Jewelry Designs
Michelle McCarthy            Firefly Design Studio
Kathy Lindemer                 Bay Moon Design
Dini Bruinsma                   Angaza by Changes
Cynthia Machata               Antiquity Travelers
Kathleen Breeding            99 Bottles of Beads on the Wall
Linda Younkman               Lindy's Designs
Robin Reed                        Artistry HCBD
Marla Gibson                     Spice Box Designs
Gina Hockett                      Freestyle Elements
Renetha Stanziano             Lamplight Crafts
Marianne Baxter                Simply Seablime Jewelry        
Christina Miles                  Wings N Scales
Marybeth Rich                   A Few Words from Within the Pines
Shai Williams                    Shaiha's Ramblings
Cheri Reed                         Creative Designs by Cheri
Monique Urquhart             A Half-Baked Notion
Jennifer Reno                     Musings of a Crafty Jenny
Shirley Moore                    Beads and Bread
Tammy Adams                  Paisley Lizard
Melissa Trudinger             Bead Recipes
Jill Bradley                        JillyBeads

Saturday, September 6

Blue Fantasy Blog Hop

Pine Ridge Treasures - Blue Fantasy Blog Hop

Between keeping up the house, having summer guests, preparing for one craft sale after another and working full time at the university, I have had the worst time getting back to my beading.  When I finally caught the fever…beading fever…the beautiful blue of the beads that Lisa Lodge provided in the Blue Fantasy kit made it easy to design one item after another!  
Soon I had three pieces done, but, inspired by each of their individual styles I added a pair of earrings to polish off the threesome.   I started to put the remaining beads away but that revealed enough components and crystals for a bracelet which was the Pièce de résistance to add to the set.
The inspiration, excitement, and fun of the design process was over and I had much to admire.  For a week these pieces lay limp within the beading tray where they were born.  I’d get home from work and after dinner sit at my bead table and look at these very wearable pieces and start wondering how I could best photograph them.

I will admit, photography is not something I like doing or know what I’m doing and the challenge to get the job done was looming over me.  I have a simple “point and shoot” camera of which I would simple click away and hope for the best and mostly I was disappointed with the results.  

So it was with intimidation that I stepped through the process of photographing, downloading, cropping and framing the first round of pictures.  I dubbed the results ugly, uglier and ugliest and swiftly deleted each one!   
Having a bad picture of something so beautiful is not only disappointing but it ruins the entire experience.  After my first photos were such a flop I felt that I wasted the day, hated photography and certainly didn't want to do the whole process over again! 
But, I did do it again…a week later…armed with a bit more knowledge after doing some research online.  Do I use plain backgrounds, colors or white, designs or textures?  Do I stage the pieces with a bust, old wood, antiques, or lace?  I “listened” to some of the tips I read on Facebook such as only taking pictures on a sunny day and using filtered light.  This time I approached my task as an experiment to see what works and what doesn't in the world of photography.
I took pictures in shade and sun, indoors by a window, outdoors under a tree, draped on a flower or branch. The images revealed lessons about light, shadow, texture, and color. This Blog Hop ended up teaching me more about taking useful pictures rather than an outlet to show off the creation of the jewelry.
I’m satisfied that my determination seemed to pay off with photos that provide color and shine and show off each piece in a fun, outdoorsy way.  They also add a bit of the beauty of nature into your lives which is what inspires me to create the jewelry!

Thanks to Lisa Lodge for the wonderful components and the opportunity to take a break from my typical routine to explore, create and discuss my newest passion of jewelry making! To see what the other designers created with their Blue Fantasy kit, check out the links below:
Our hostess:  Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist
Kim Dworak, Cianci Blue
Karen Grosset Grange, Ginkgo et Coquelicot
Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera
Jo-Ann Woolverton, It's a Beadiful Creation
Heather Richter, Desert Jewelry Designs
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn's Creations
Candida Elkins Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks
Shaiha Williams, Shaiha's Ramblings
Eleanor Burian-Mohr, The Charmed Life
Gloria Allen, Wings and Beads
Laurie Vyselaar, Lefthand Jewelry
Terri Wlaschin, Dances in Fog
Lisa Prewitt Knappenberger, LiRaysa Designs
Toltec Jewels, Jewel School Friends
Raissa de Guzman, Abloro
Jill Bradley, Jilly Beads