Whew!

•August 11, 2020 • Leave a Comment


I’m so glad the last two weeks are over!  So many distractions stole time away from the project I’ve been working on for more than a month.  The good news is that I was able to spend three solid days writing the tutorial…it still needs more process photos and steps, and the actual piece needs to be assembled, but I now see ‘light at the end of the tunnel’!  I’m waiting for an order of several gemstones beads that will be used as accents in the design and I have shrink plastic beads to create, but I am making progress!  Our weather has been extremely hot and humid of late and being forced indoors encouraged me to accomplish much that can’t be done on the screened porch.  However, after a tremendous storm in our area yesterday, it is once again cool and just too beautiful to stay inside so here I am…outdoors and starting another project before the other is finished!  In our Midwest climate, one has to take advantage of every moment when the temperature feels perfect, the day is sunny and breezy, and there is a feeling of serenity in the atmosphere amidst all the chaos in the world.  My mantra for today…just breathe, relax, and bead.

Serenity NOW!!!

•August 2, 2020 • 2 Comments


That’s what George Costanza’s father would yell on ‘Seinfeld’ when life’s trials became too much for him.  I know this feeling all too well of late.  This past week has been fraught with tension…we had workmen coming and going and installation of new devices accompanied by technical difficulties and a general feeling of anxiety and discord has permeated my every waking moment. Whatever sleep I have had came in fitful stops and starts.  Adding to my aggravation packages containing items ordered for the beading project I have been trying to complete have not arrived because USPS Mail is being purposely delayed these days.  With staggering numbers of rising cases and deaths due to the pandemic as well as political shenanigans and corruption, I have stopped watching the news as it adds to my feeling of unease.  Perhaps the stars aren’t aligned in the heavens in conjunction with planets or a full moon…who knows? But my psyche requires less turmoil.  I’m hoping that after this coming week, which will prove to be equally challenging, life here will slow down a bit and be on a more even keel.  Perhaps I won’t feel like shouting, “Stop the world…I want to get off!”

I’m Still Working on the New Project, But…

•July 27, 2020 • 3 Comments


As I’ve written in my past blog, I’ve been experimenting with shrink plastic. It will be an integral component of the new design that I am just weeks from finishing.  But in the meantime, I’ve listed two new component kits in my Etsy shop.  I have only one of each (one kit contains a Butterfly focal and the other a Flower focal) and my guess it that they will be snapped up shortly! Either kit would be a wonderful gift for any beading enthusiast! I have only two of these One-of-a-Kind kits available! Instructions for use are not included…this is where your creativity come in to play! String a bracelet or make a bead-embroidered brooch or add materials from your stash to make a fantastic piece of wearable art! Each kit contains:
* One Handmade Shrink Plastic Focal Butterfly (2”) or Flower Blossom (2.25”)
* Handmade Shrink Plastic Floral-themed Flower Beads
* A Selection of Color Coordinated Seed Beads
* A Selection of Flower-shaped Sequins and Novelty bead
* Pearls
* Bead Embroidery Foundation in a 4” Flower Shape
* Leather Backing in a matching 4” Flower Shape
* Pin Back

Fun with Components!

•July 20, 2020 • 1 Comment


While waiting for a 2 terrabit backup drive to arrive so I can save all files on my computer before completely reinstalling the software, I’ve been very busy creating.  I started experimenting with shrink plastic several weeks ago and am finding the components I’ve made thus far are coming in very handy!  I recently bought this Johnny Was “Kella” kimono top and it came with these colossal tassels, but above the tassels were wooden beads, with which I was not enamored.  So, I removed the wooden beads and replaced them with several shrink plastic flowers and butterflies, One-of-a-Kind polymer clay beads, and tiny resin Buddha heads, which I find to be far more interesting!  I’ve collected quite a few JW tops that have tassels and I will be making more of these fun embellishments that will serve a dual purpose, not only as adornment, but as meditation beads too!

A Fly in the Ointment…

•July 14, 2020 • 5 Comments

Wouldn’t it be lovely if upgrading to a new computer were a seamless operation?  In a perfect world, it would be.  Fairy tales aside, sadly that’s not what happens.  I just replaced my old desktop computer and in upgrading to the new device some software applications were lost…the ones that I use most and depend upon for creating my tutorials.  Gone are my Photoshop and Word programs.  Neither are supported by iOS Catalina.  And iPhoto has been retired and replaced with a new Photos program that won’t open for some reason.  Alerts pop up telling me the program will not open because of a problem but with no instruction regarding what the problem is and how to fix it!  I’ve spent days hunting for solutions, trying to come up with alternatives, and trying my best not to become so frustrated that I break down and cry…we know that doesn’t solve anything!  As for Word, I truly dislike the new rental only plan Microsoft now has where you have to pay big bucks every year to continue using the software.  Every Word document I have in my files now shows up in Pages and any format Word used that Pages doesn’t support is unavailable.  I find that Pages isn’t as user friendly as Word and certainly doesn’t have all the ‘bells and whistles’ that Word has, but I can get by with it if I have to.  It’s the photos that I’m most concerned about.  I really would prefer not having to purchase another $600 Photoshop program.  In any event, the beading project that I’ve been diligently working on over this past month is on hold until I get things sorted out on my computer.  As Roseann Rosanadana said, “It’s always something”!

It’s One of Those Days When…

•July 6, 2020 • 2 Comments

I’m taking two steps forward and one step back.  I’m designing a new beading project and have been spending more time than I’d prefer tearing out beads that aren’t working in the design and replacing them with beads of other colors and/or type/sizes.  When a design is conceived and initially put to paper with colored pencils, it’s not the same as seeing the actual beadwork.  What works on paper does not necessarily translate to a 3-D piece.  I am making progress however and very much liking this beaded piece thus far.  I hope to have a completed design by the end of July or early August and of course tutorials and kits will be available for this design in my Etsy shop.  My idea is to create a pendant that will incorporate a spectacular geometric beaded bead using Delica and seed beads.  It will be accented with shrink plastic flower shapes and another very interesting component…you’ll just have to wait to find out!  Above is the bead I’m working on now.  I’ll be weaving another in a different colourway as well.  Stay tuned!

You’ve Probably Heard the Phrase…

•June 27, 2020 • Leave a Comment



Everything old is new again.  Do you remember Shrinky-Dinks from the 1970’s. Turns out that shrink plastic is the new “in” medium for creative projects!  This comes at a good time for me because I recently injured my right shoulder. I don’t know how I hurt it…when you get old, things just start falling apart and I’m finding that beading really aggravates the healing processes so it’s time to take a brief respite. I’d had shrink plastic sheets in my stash for awhile but had never found time to experiment with them.  Now that I need to take a temporary breather from beadwork, I’ve started experimenting with this new/old medium and find that wonderful jewelry components can be created with it! I’ve discovered that bigger is better when it comes to cutting out designs from the plastic sheet because it does shrink significantly. I haven’t compared the shrinkage rate between various brands (I use shrink plastic sheets that I purchased from Sizzix.com and JulieHaymaker.com) but I’ve found that the plastic shrinks 50% or more of the original size.  If I start with a one-inch cutout it will ultimately shrink down to a size between one-half and one-third inch. Above is a selection of various shapes I’ve cutout using my Sizzix Big Shot die cutting machine.  I used permanent markers and inks with stamps to add color and pattern.  Before I start color application, I sand off any shiny surface from the plastic sheets with 3M Scotch-Brite abrasive pads because I prefer the look of sandblasted glass.  I intend to use these in mixed media projects that will combine beadwork, metalwork, and polymer clay.  I should have something finished to show you in my next post!
Continue reading ‘You’ve Probably Heard the Phrase…’

I Am So Excited!!!

•June 19, 2020 • 10 Comments


The results of the 2020 Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Metals Jewelry-Making Contest have been announced and I’ve just learned that my entry,”Eat Your Vegetables” Necklace has won a Grand Prize Silver Award in the Gold Medal division of the contest!  My inspiration for this piece is derived from my appetite for luscious, ripe, fresh fruits and veggies…I’m getting hungry just writing about this topic! Materials used in my necklace are sterling sliver, cloisonné enamel on copper, fresh water pearls, and moonstone and jasper cabochons. Thank you FMG! You can check out all the winning and finalist pieces on the FMG website

This is the Time to Bead for Pleasure!

•June 12, 2020 • 3 Comments


I can’t remember when we last experienced a summer as lovely as this.  We have been graced with such beautiful weather thus far!  Surrounded by the dense leafy green of our forest, I watch woodland creatures foraging and scampering about and listen to the sweet serenades of birds as they flit from branch to branch.  I am thoroughly enjoying every moment!  The cats keep me company and have chosen their favorite lounging spots to snooze…I so wish I could peek into their minds and view the dreams that are making their tails twitch to and fro!  These days have been a true gift!  Rather than working in the studio I have had the good fortune to be able to spend every day on our screened porch!  It is a wonderful place to do beadwork! Summers are all too brief in the Midwest so I plan to keep beading outdoors as much as I can.  Months of cold weather will arrive all too soon…I’ll have plenty of time to hunker down in the studio then!

Above is a geometric beaded pendant I finished a few weeks ago.  Until now I wasn’t quite sure which would be the perfect vehicle on which to wear this pendant…a chain, cord, or ribbon?  Today I came across two tubes of 8/0 Delica beads and found that the their holes are large enough to allow them to be slipped onto a 16 gauge wire neck ring.  I adore neck rings for the versatility they offer!  Not only can long and short pendants be worn on a neck ring with equal panache, it fills the exposed area of one’s throat and chest when low-cut or v-neck garments are worn.  A neck ring can serve as an armature for beaded ropes or a bevy of beaded beads that strung otherwise would just hang with the pull of gravity.  I’m very pleased and am definitely going to enjoy wearing this pendant!

The Most Happy Fella!

•June 6, 2020 • Leave a Comment

 

I can’t remember where I originally found the laughing Buddha bead that I used in this pendant…probably at a Bead & Button Show I attended several years ago.  I came across him while rummaging through my novelty bead stash.  I wish I had purchased more because he sure is a cutie!  I’ve seen others, but none seem to have the wonderful detail that this guy has!  I couldn’t resist beading a little cap for his head.  Geometric beaded beads, a faux turquoise polymer clay bead, and tassel are integral components adding to the mix.  An ornate beaded loop slips onto a versatile peyote rope.  I love the bright colors in this happy piece and should the Buddha deem to bring me good luck all the better!

 
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