A chronicle of the meanderings, false starts (which in retrospect, while sort of embarrassing turned out to be highly instructive), epiphanies, selective apathy (still evolving), wild mood swings, opinions (subject to frequent change), and life lessons of an inveterate dabbler (and her latest dabblings).

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Blues. And the Greens.

I've got The Blues. And apparently The Greens, too. See what I mean?

I wanted to make some bracelets, because I haven't in a while, and I wanted to use copper. I love blues and greens with copper so I started looking in my blue and green bins and holy cow! I have a lot of green beads. When did I get those? WHERE did I get those? Alas, I stopped keeping track a long time ago, and figuring out where they all came from would be rather a chore. I do generally know WHAT they are however--the beads in this bracelet are lapis lazuli, blue agate, azurite, blue impression jasper, turquoise, and probably green howlite. (I'm guessing they came mostly from Happy Mango Beads, Lima Beads, and maybe an Etsy shop or two.)

And because one of each thingy is never enough (this one has the same beads, except with some bronzite and a chrysocolla thrown in, royal blue cording instead of brown, and a smattering of tiny lampwork donuts):

And lastly this one (I wasn't quite sick of blue and green yet so I made just one more):

I will be listing these in my shop in the next few days--probably one at a time, so that it's less confusion (they are slightly different sizes).

Monday, May 15, 2017

Buttons

What is it with me and anything shaped like a coin? (Except for actual coins?) Buttons activate some kind of primal gluttony in me for small, disc-shaped items. And then this happens:
And this:
Gray Skies
And even this:
Mother of Pearl
And then I just bought some more...I guess a button addiction is more economically sustainable than, say, a Faberge egg addiction.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Wonder Woman, the Lone Star state, and Aidan Quinn

What do Wonder Woman, the Lone Star state, and Aidan Quinn have in common?

I think of them when I look at these earrings!

I Fought the Law, and the Law Won
I love these chubby little Mykonos stars from Stinky Dog Beads, and was thinking for a long time about how to create a pair of earrings with them. I thought I would pop them into a ring, and do up a whole mixed metal thing. While I was working on them, I couldn't help thinking of Texas, Wonder Woman (which I watched religiously as a youngster), and badges (Grandma and I used to watch Marshal Dillon clean up Dodge City, and how many times have I watched Practical Magic now?)

via GIPHY


Have a splendid week, readers!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Waste Not, Want Not

Fiesta
(sold)
I have been looking and looking for some plain, slim, tubular beadcaps/endcaps--could I find any anywhere? Of course not! Then I stumbled across these spent .22 caliber bullet casings for sale at Design From Dixie on Etsy and I thought "Eureka!" They gather these up--and other calibers--at shooting ranges, check to make sure the primer is spent, and make them available for purchase for craft projects in their Etsy shop. (The brass is lovely, especially after banging it up with my hammer!). I'm not into shooting guns, but I will happily use these babies to make jewelry! I got some in stainless steel too. They're really a snap to drill, and if you have any questions about that, the shop owners are great and super helpful. They also have a website about how to use bullet casings in craft projects. I used them above with moukaite ovals and roundels, and brass wire.

Industrial
For these I stuck with a two-tone pallette of silver and brass--golden pyrite ovals, fine and Argentium silver wires, brass shell casings and brass wire. (Can't decide what I love more--the brass casings or the pyrite....) These are currently available in my Etsy shop.

OK, that's all I got! (Can't wait to use a pair of the steel ones.)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Y's, Happy Fish and White Clover

Spring in the Rockies
(SOLD)
Hello there, adoring fans. In case you were wondering, I'm still working my way through my artisan ceramic stash, most recently using some fab stoneware tubes in sea green glazes by Jana Bližňáková of Happy Fish Things. I'm intrigued by Y necklaces (I think they're sexy and I'm all about that) so I thought I would do really elongated shapes with these. For the necklace above, I topped Jana's stoneware tube with an icy tablet of recycled glass from Happy Mango Beads (clear, with just the barest hint of a fluorite-type green), and dangled a few carved amethyst tulips underneath. It says SPRING to me!! I was playing with some dragonfly-wing shapes with copper wire, and initially thought it was going to form one side of the necklace, but then I liked it so much as part of the pendant section I left it there. I added some more clear glass nuggets to the necklace portion, and two long strands of gorgeous little seed beads in pearly lavender. (I'm really into stringing seed beads lately, I love the look).

Glacial Lakes
(SOLD)
For this one, I hit the turquoise hard. (I love these variegated nuggets I got from a local bead store several years ago--I will be beside myself when I run out.) I kept it simple, with leather and copper. Recycled glass tablet in azure from Happy Mango Beads.

Caribbean Adventure
I went all cool greens with this one, with recycled glass rounds and discs (the latter from Happy Mango Beads) in sea green, little rectangular nuggets of pale amazonite in iceberg hues, and a dollop of green dragon blood jasper (the rondelles at the end). I kept it earthy with leather and chubby seed beads in deep cocoa brown.

I'm Going to Sandals
For this one, I was inspired by some ombre-shaded seed beads I found at Michael's, so I decided to do three strands of them (when I love something, I REALLY love it), with a pair of my hand-formed tulip ends. I stacked up some recycled glass discs from Happy Mango Beads in sea green, "Capri blue" and powder blue under the stoneware tube, and then completed the pendant section with a large tablet of faux sea glass in a light azure from Stinky Dog Beads. The wrapped loop I made for the sea glass pendant seemed to need something, so I wrapped it in a bunch of waxed linen cording and more seed beads. Always remember, more is more.

Morning Alpenglow
(SOLD)
And lastly, having used up my set of four Happy Fish tubes, I grabbed a gorgeous little porcelain pendant by Mary Hubbard of White Clover Kiln from my stash--I'd been wanting to use this little gem forever but just didn't have any ideas that seemed worthy of it. It fit right inside this wrapped ring I had made a long time ago for I-don't-know-what. Just futzing, I guess. I didn't want it to get too frothy with the pink, so I used Botswana agate (LOVE that stone) to draw out the gray and slatey violet tones in the swirls of the pendant, and added dark cocoa leather to ground it. I added some 3mm round beads at the ends--I think most of these are also Botswana agate, but I mixed in some rhodochrosite for a little extra pink. A dash of silver seemed right too.

Well that's all I got. I have another set of three tubes from Jana, that are a more vivid green--they remind me of bamboo. I think I'm going to use those horizontally...stay tuned!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Pendants with Happy Fish Things!


I have embarked on a mission to use up my two bins (ahem) of ceramic artist components--first up, Jana Bližňáková of Happy Fish Things and Happy Fish with Heart! I decided to knot them--I find knotting so meditative! Needed a little of that.

This was the first one I made, with one of a pair of Jana's feather/wing-like elements (with their size and lightness, you could use them for fabulous earrings too, but I wanted to make them go farther, and I thought they'd be great in a more petite necklace). I just love the fine black tracery in the glaze. Sublime! I combined it with a pewter heart connector from Happy Mango Beads, Indonesian glass beads in variegated turquoise (also from Happy Mango--aren't they fabulous? I love how obviously handmade they are), blackstone nuggets, transparent straw-hued Delicas, sterling silver, black Greek leather and waxed linen cording.
Heart Takes Flight
Here is the second one--I had these wonderful Czech glass leaves in autumn tones hanging out in my workspace (where did I get those???...) and when I saw them together, I had to do it! I went back to my Happy Mango turquoise seed beads for a splash of matchy-matchy, added a little Red Creek jasper and a couple of carved black horn feathers, and finished the stringing with glossy black 1 mm leather cord and 11/0 matte black seed beads. I anchored the ends to a pair of my hand-textured silver connector rings, adding some nut brown 2 mm Greek leather with my coil ends, and a short length of sterling silver connector chain terminating in one of my hand-forged sterling hook and eye clasps. Sterling silver accent beads.
Autumn on the Wing
(sold)
I also had two of these fantastically delicate cherry-blossom-style pieces of Jana's left in my ceramics bin (I had only used one so far). The glaze on this one was a bit lighter than the other--a soft teal fading into a diaphanous sea green. It reminded me so much of the sea, I thought some recycled glass rounds with their sea-glass feel would be a nice addition, and I had some in a lovely celadon that went nicely with the glaze. I decided to stay with lighter colors, knotting it all together with Irish waxed linen cording in ivory, and adding Czech Picasso 3-cut glass seed beads in sea green and cobalt blue from Stinky Dog Beads. For a second it was a tossup between teal Greek leather and this lovely mint -- the mint seemed to make the whole thing pop more so I went with that. It's finished the same as the pieces above, with connector rings, coil ends, and extender chain. (That's a dollop of kyanite on the clasp ring.)
Serenity Now! Right Here Under My Beach Umbrella
The other cherry blossom was in slightly more saturated, vivid hues of turquoise and teal, so I used bolder colors. I'm obsessed with these Czech "wampum" beads from Stinky Dog Beads (they make the most wonderfully mellow clacking sound as they move together). I love the Southwest palette! I added black accents to ground it--black Indonesian glass nuggets from Happy Mango (I love the soft sheen on them), more of my 11/0 matte black Japanese seed beads from Fusion Beads, black Irish waxed linen cording, and black Greek leather--and of course sterling silver (I love that little star jasmine charm--it makes me think of a marshal's badge!). The sweet little Czech glass bird bead is also from Stinky Dog Beads.
Marshal Miss Kitty
I had two of these lovely crackle-glaze medallions in teal and turquoise tones--I love Jana's muted flower pattern, it makes me think of a batik. I thought the vibrant glaze could hold its own against some genuine turquoise, so I went to my favorite blocky turquoise heishi and paired them with garnets--I adore turquoise and garnets together! It's sort of a twist on the traditional Southwest palette, I guess. I love the juxtaposition of the opaque, matte turquoise with the translucent glossy garnets. To bring in some lightness, I teamed them up with vintage Ghanaian glass seed beads in ivory from Afrobeadia, sterling silver, matte black 11/0 seed beads, black waxed linen cord and black Greek leather.
Star Power
This is the other medallion. I wanted to go warm with it, so I pawed through my enormous bin of Indonesian glass beads from Happy Mango until I found my favorite ones, in cocoa brown with stripes of pumpkin, saffron and ivory. To echo the teal in the medallion, I added large and small Indonesian glass beads in translucent teal (from Happy Mango Beads) and 11/0 Japanese seed beads in a similar color; and riffing off the colors in the brown striped beads I added more 11/0 seed beads in a warm maize color, Ghanaian seed beads in ivory, a few 8/10 seeds in root beer brown here and there, and deertan lace in a golden buff color. I added a pewter Celtic knot bead from Happy Mango, and finished it off as I did the others, with sterling silver rings, coils, chain and hook-and-eye clasp. (That little Czech glass flower in teal on the clasp is from Stinky Dog Beads.)
The Warm and Cool of It
I have more awesome stuff of Jana's left--this is what's on my worktable now:



Sunday, August 28, 2016

Tasselmania

I recently learned how to make beaded tassel earrings (a year ago--what can I say? I'm slow), thanks to Bianca at All About Beads and  her Fabby YouTube channel. HERE is the tut if you're interested.

Well, as you can see, I went a little crazy--my wrapping my head around this technique coincided with a delivery of some rather delectable Czech glass beads from Stinky Dog Beads. I'm crazy for the "wampum" tube beads, as you can see below. As well as the Picasso beads of every other shape and color--like the 3-cut seed beads and faceted rondelles in transparent sea green, and the red Picasso spacers below.

Southwest Bonanza

These began with a gorgeous set of enameled beadcaps from Anne Gardanne--these aged Picasso seed beads from Beads and Babble seemed perfect with them, as well as the short Czech Picasso barrels in mint green from Stinky Dog Beads, and again with the sea green 3-cut seeds--LOVE those.
How Green Was My Lawn

This pair of earrings began as 10 lovely Czech Picasso glass teardrops in azure and a couple of faceted sky blue rondelles from (yes, you guessed it) Stinky Dog Beads, which eventually joined ranks with more seed beads from Beads and Babble, big aqua glass spacers, my own embossed copper beadcaps, and Indonesian glass beads in turquoise from Happy Mango Beads (on the earwires).
Island Paradise

Well here is a little Cinco de Mayo for you at the end of August. I started with the little scarlet Czech flowers (need I say it? from Stinky Dog Beads--or just "The Dog," as it is known at my house), determined to use them in a tassel earring. I finally settled on some other beads to go with them--variegated turquoise seed beads, pale yellow seed beads, Indonesian glass seed beads in coral red and transparent teal (those are the larger ones right on top of the flowers) from Happy Mango Beads, my own embossed copper beadcaps, a couple of faceted Czech rondelles in azure from The Dog, and two carnelian rondelles from my ancient bead stash. I picture Frida Kahlo in these.
Cinco de Mayo RIGHT NOW

For these I started out with Czech Picasso seed beads from Beads and Babble (I believe they are the same ones as above in Island Paradise and How Green Was My Lawn, except not etched). I used some heavily Picassoed sea green 3-cuts in the tassels, as well as a pair of jade green faceted Czech rondelles, sea green wampum tubes in metallic-accented sea green, all courtesy of The Dog, my own embossed beadcaps topped with a pair of Tierra Cast caps, and some old glass tile beads in amber from Fire Mountain (which they of course no longer carry because they were too fabulous.)
Green and Gold

And lastly, this is the first design I attempted when I finally sucked up the courage to try Bianca's tutorial. I started with a pair of Gardanne beadcaps, and went from there. I used a mix of both Japanese and Indonesian seed beads in turquoise (the latter from Happy Mango), rose-gold faceted Czech rondelles from BobbiThisnThat, and sultry black-finish rhinestone spacers from The Dog. And then lots of pewter and sterling silver. (I think the silver heishi are from Fusion Beads, and the little daisies are probably from Monsterslayer.) GIRLY!!! You could blow the lid off a My Little Pony party with this kind of ear candy.
Girl Power

Well, frankly, I'm exhausted after all that. Time for a nap.