December 23, 2009

Special Delivery

This is a necklace I created for my teenage daughter.  Inside the envelope a little letter reads "C'est la via."   She wants to go to Paris one day, so I thought she'd like the pendant.  If you like it, you can find them at Ornamentea.

The ribbon is nice, right?  It's metallic ribbon from Martha Stewart.  I picked it up at Michael's last week.  It's got a heft to it.  I think it has some metal in it.  It feels like it.  I'm seriously lovin' this stuff.

In case you wanted to see how the ends were done.

Well that's it for me until Monday.

Everyone, have the most amazing holiday with people you love, good food, lots of laughs.  Play games, watch cheesy holiday movies, drink hot cocoa.  Listen to music while you sit in the dark with only the tree lights on.  Savor each moment, don't rush or stress.  Just live and love and be thankful for the next few days, everything else will take care of itself.  Have a Merry Christmas. 

December 22, 2009

Beady Christmas Tree

I wish I could take a better photo of the tree, this will have to do for now.  I went with a copper, teal, white and silver theme this year.  It's rather lovely.  Many beaded and beady items can be found on my tree.

Along with the mica items I posted a while ago, I have polymer clay birds in teal and a few other ornaments made with my snowflake/dandelion beads and lucite skeleton keys.  (I'll try to take a photo of those.) I also made these super simple decorations with large copper filigree and copper hooks. 

I need to read up on some tips for taking family photos.  I'm determined to get some good holiday shots this year.  I seem to take one photo each Christmas morning and that's it.  I start having fun and the camera gets put away.  And while I can take photos of jewelry, getting good candid family shots are not one of my skills. 

Hope you are having a fun and crafty holiday season.  I'm working tonight on sewing scarves for some special folks on my list.

December 17, 2009

Last Chance!

I'm having a sale in my Etsy shop on jewelry and ornaments.  Items are marked down 10-20%. Everything is in stock and ready to ship. If you want items before Christmas I have priority and express mail upgrades.  Ho! Ho! Ho!

Doesn't that gnome look like he has his hand in his pocket?  Maybe he is fishing for his little gnome car keys.

So are you ready for Christmas?  Are the halls decked?  Gifts wrapped?  I'm getting there!

December 16, 2009

Rings & Things Blog Partner Project: Holiday Charms

Here is a fun and easy project to whip up for last minute gifts like stocking stuffers, secret santa, student gift exchanges and teacher's gifts.  It's also a great way to use up any left over beads you have on your table!

Rings & Things sent us these Chinese lampwork glass beads.  They may not have the longest lifespan because they are not kiln annealed, so be aware of that when buying factory made lampwork beads. 

The "snowflake" charms are bead caps that have been flattened with my ball hammer. 

1. Penguin Zipper Charm: these little charms can be used on coats, purses or backpacks.  Add a lobster claw clasp to your charm with a jumpring.

2. Snowman Pendant: Add your charm to a cable chain for a cute necklace for a young one on your gift list.

3. Coal Cell Phone Charm: Add your charm to a cell phone lanyard to add a little holiday bling to your phone. 

These are also a perfect project to keep the kids busy and offers them a chance to make some fun gifts for their friends and family.

December 11, 2009

Mica Magic!

Mica, mica, mica!  What is a mica?  It's a mineral that has been laminated into tiles for the altered arts, crafts, scrapbooking market.  I ordered some from Ornamentea to create Christmas ornaments for my tree this year.  The small sheets are the size above, I simply stamped them with my favorite rubber stamps and Stayzon ink.  I used my 2-hole metal punch to make a hole and created a hanger with some 'brass' craft wire.

And that got my brain jumping and I thought, uh mica icicles!  For these pieces I cut the medium size mica tiles into long strips.  I used a pair of scissors for the cutting.  I used my metal punch for the holes and made a hanger with a copper eyepin.  I madea  dozen or so of these to add a little shimmer to those tree branches.

And those sparked the idea for these Frosty Window Pane Earrings that are featured on the Art Bead Scene today as one of our 12 Days of Christmas free projects! 

December 9, 2009

Sparkle Away

The 'shiny' reference was a nod to my favorite TV series/movie - Firefly and Serenity.  Come on, space cowboys, Nathan Fillion and Joss Whedon's witty banter, what's not to love?  Tina Lamasney was the only one to guess right, obliviously a fellow Browncoat.  Tina please email me your mailing address.

Here is a fast and easy earring for the holidays.

2 brass kidney wire earrings
2 brass 2" headpins
2 crystal ball beads
2 copper spacers
2 branch disk beads

1. String on a crystal beads, trim headpin and make a loop.
2. With the wire left from the headpin, form a loop and string on the spacer, disk bead, spacer.  Trim wire and form a loop.
3. Connect to the crystal dangle.  String on the earwire,  Use pliers to close the loop on the earwire.

Supplies: Branch Disks, Humblebeads. Crystal ball beads, Ornamentea.  Brass findings, Bello Modo.

December 3, 2009


Yep, a shiny gold star for me!  It kills me to not be able to spill the beans for months, but finally I can say I'm a Bead Star once again!

This little gem is 3rd place in the stone category.  I like to think of it as winning the bronze, go team Humblebeads!  

And now let me give some props:
Focal bead is from Heather Wynn
Pewter coral is Green Girl Studio
Little seaside pewter charm is Mamacita Beadworks
The other shell is mine.  Should I make some for my Etsy shop?  Seems so out of season.  Hmm, what do you think? 
And all those gorgeous stones, why hello Rings & Things trunk show!

Congrats to all the winners, there work is amazing!  I think the magazine will be on newsstands on the 8th, so keep an eye out for that one. 

(And the first person who can tell me what movie/tv series my title is from, I'll send them a signed copy of Bead Star. Leave the answer in the comments.  And no, it's not the Shining!  Hint: It's a little catch phrase, not a title.)

December 2, 2009

What Genius!

Check out this amazing ring RosyRevolver.  I've never seen anything so beautiful with my beads!  I'm blown away.

I just listed this grab bag in my Etsy shop.  It's three beads for the price of two!

November 30, 2009

Cyber Monday

Are you shopping online today?  I'm not, I just don't have time!  Darn, if only I worked for a boss who would let me shop when I was on the clock.  What can I say, I'm a taskmaster. 

Actually I had some fun things planned for my blog this weekend, but family came first and we were hardly home over the holiday.  I have a few new free projects to share later this week.

Now to get caught up on emails and invoices!  Thanks to all who have been taking advantage of my 20% off sale.  And if you've been waiting for the one-of-a-kind jewelry that you saw last week, it is now in my etsy shop along with new ornaments.  (Use discount code THANKS09 in the note to seller.)

November 25, 2009


I've fallen under a pile of beads and can't get up!

Seems like I've fallen off the planet, but I'm slowly getting caught up.  I've also been working hard on new beads and holiday items.

I thought I'd give you a peak of some jewelry that I'll be listing in my etsy shop over the holiday weekend.  Stop by the Art Bead Scene tomorrow to read about our Black Friday through Cyber Monday sale! 

Yeah, it's that time of year.  How are you doing on your shopping?  Me, I have started picking up things here and there.  But we have a very uncommerical holiday with art supplies, books and handmade gifts only.  (Beside the traditional Christmas Eve PJs. Who doesn't love brand new jams for Christmas morning?)

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

November 6, 2009

Fun with Focals Winners!

Sorry this is being published later than 3pm.  I have been running around getting ready for a workshop tomorrow, nothing ever goes according to schedule does it?  Not in the Humblebeads Studio anyway!

The Winners!
Year subscription to Stringing magazine: Sandi Miller

Issue of the Best of Stringing: Bella Joy

$50 Humblebeads shopping spree and signed copy of the Best of Stringing: Artisan Clay

Winners will be contacted on Monday to arrange prize delivery.

Thanks to everyone who played along, your designs were so inspiring and beautiful!

So what do you think, should we keep the fun going with a weekly Fun with Focals challenge and more beady prizes?  Let me know if you are up for another round.

November 4, 2009

Feathers and Wings

I received a review copy of Cynthia Thornton's Enchanted Adornment about a month or so ago. It's my all time favorite bead book now. Not only are the projects beyond inspiring, it's filled with tips and beadmaking savvy, she has an awesome little narrative that runs through the book and tells the story of a jewelry maker who finds herself creating jewelry for mythical creatures.

Her story is completely enchanting! I love it and wish Cynthia would write a novel based on those characters. (I know I don't need to say go buy the book because you already plan to or you are waiting anxiously for your pre-ordered copy to arrive!)

I am so inspired by the book that I created a series of wing beads that represent angels, the phoenix, woodland sprite and the butterfly. And speaking of wings, check out the Art Bead Scene's new challenge. We are celebrating fairies and Cynthia's book all month on the ABS!

You can find the wings in my etsy shop, they are a very limited edition.

November 3, 2009

Leaves, branches and stormy skies

These are beads that I created for the Vintaj trunk show last month and I'm now listing them in my etsy shop.  Great fall designs with leaves, branches and petals - mix them up with brass, stones and wood for an earthy look.  I have more to show tomorrow, designs inspired by fairy wings!

Remember you have 3 days left to enter the Fun with Focals and Stringing drawing, click on the images on the right sidebar for details. 

November 1, 2009

Designer Spotlight - Lorelei Eurto

Super talented Lorelei Eurto designed these two pieces using my Poppy Beads. I love how she put together this necklace in a horizontal design using the two-holed bead. It's a great mix of textures with the cord, glass, brass and wood.

 And here she is modeling her creation.

She whipped up an edgy primitive design using the poppy bead, wood and some bright pops of color.  I could see this one on the pages of a fashion magazine.  Mixing wood with bright colors is so spot on for fall designs.

Thanks for sharing your work with my readers Lorelei, your work is always an inspiration!

I've added a few new beads to my etsy shop, including these Moss Poppy beads, be sure to stop by and check them out!

October 31, 2009

Treats, we want treats!!!

Happy Halloween!

Here are a few answers to some questions about the challenge:

1. You can enter more than one submission for each challenge - for fun, but only one entry per day is put into the drawing.

2. You don't have to make a piece of jewelry for each assignement to enter. You can do one or as many as you'd like.  Each day you can enter and that gives you more chances to win.

3. If you have an older piece of jewelry that you made and it fits in the challenge, you can enter it.

Have fun, you now have until Nov. 6th to complete your assignments.  I love what I'm seeing so far.

And if you haven't entered to win a free subscription to Stringing magazine, click the magazine photo on the right to enter!

October 30, 2009

Fun with Focals - Day 5

The inspiration: Cynthia Thornton's Seek Wisdom Lariat from the Winter 2007 issue of Stringing.

My Version: This one really had my muse jumping up and down.  I choose to work with findings in an unusual way to create a focal element.  I filled 3 Vintaj bead pod toggle clasps with pearls and wire-wrapped them together to create a modern, sculptural element.  I also used a square toggle clasp as part of the pendant along with a leaf and bird from Vintaj.  I completed the focal with a 3-hole spacer bead in my branch design and finished the necklace with keishi pearls in cream and coffee bean brown. 

The assignment: Use a finding in an usual way to create a focal element.  (Designs with clasps in the front would count!)

You have until Nov. 6th to add a link to this post with your version of today's challenge.

The grand prize is a $50 gift certificate to!

Read the full details for the contest here and a chance to win a year's subscription to Stringing magazine.

I'm looking forward to seeing your creations and hope you have been inspired to play along!

October 29, 2009

Fun with Focals - Day 4

The Inspiration: Silvija and Taya Koschnick's Chained Labradorite pendant from the Fall 2008 issue of Stringing.

My Version: I love this technique and have wanted to give it a try for a while now.  I pulled out the gunmetal chain for my design.  I chained up a faux beach glass bead, added in a chain tassel, a Humblebead branch lentil and strung this long elegant pendant on 3 different strands of chain for texture and interest.  What you can't see it that I used chain to create a bail for this pendant.  (The chain on the focal bead is only on one side.)

The Assignment: Chain up your focal bead!  This works great for stones, ceramic or glass that have flat sides and large plain surfaces.

You have until Nov. 6th to add a link to this post with your version of today's challenge.

The grand prize is a $50 gift certificate to!

Read the full details for the contest here and a chance to win a year's subscription to Stringing magazine.

October 28, 2009

Fun with Focals Flickr Group

Your wish is granted!  I created a flickr group for our Fun with Focals Challenge pieces.  You'll still need to add your link to the comments for the assignement day that inspired your creation.  For example: if you did a horizontal pendant, you'll need to add the link to the Day 1 comments, etc.

Can't wait to see what you create!

Fun with Focals - Day 3

The Inspiration: Kathy Thompson's Refreshingly Green necklace in the Spring 2009 issue.

My Version: My necklace is long leap from the inspiration piece in the magazine. The focal used jump rings as embellishment and here I paired clusters of jump rings to create a "nest" for my owl bead.  I also used another cluster of Vintaj etched jumprings as a bail.  The leaf is from my favorite leaf-maker, Every Heart Crafts and the necklace is finished off with a simple silk ribbon in a soft earthy green.

The Assignment: Use jumprings as embellishment for your focal piece, the more the merrier!

You have until Nov. 6th to add a link to this post with your version of today's challenge.

The grand prize is a $50 gift certificate to!

Read the full details for the contest here and a chance to win a year's subscription to Stringing magazine.

October 27, 2009

Fun with Focals - Day 2

The Inspiration: Cynthia Thornton's Burning Bush necklace from the Fall 2006 issue of Stringing.

My Version: The focal element of this project used ribbon as a bail.  I made a little ribbon from some silk dupioni that I had on hand as the bail for my bird pendant.  I paired up the focal bead with striking red Czech faceted glass, copper spacers, humblebeads branch disk beads, brass jump rings and chain.

The Assignment: Use ribbon, string or leather to create a bail for your focal bead/pendant.

You have until Nov. 6th to add a link to this post with your version of today's challenge.

The grand prize is a $50 gift certificate to!

Read the full details for the contest here and a chance to win a year's subscription to Stringing magazine.

October 26, 2009

Fun with Focals - Day 1

The inspiration: Teri Bienvenue's Cowgirl necklace that appeared in the Summer 2007 issue of Stringing. 

For my version  I used Czech faceted glass, copper spacers, clusters of etched Vintaj jumprings, a humblebeads branch disk bead, Vintaj brass wire and chain.

The assignment: Create a horizontal focal using chunky beads lined up on wire. 

You have until Nov. 6th to add a link to this post with your version of today's challenge. 

The grand prize is a $50 gift certificate to

Read the full details for the contest here and a chance to win a year's subscription to Stringing magazine.

Fun with Focals Challenge

Have you seen the Best of Stringing? Humblebeads abound - I have a necklace and an earring project in this issue. Molly Schaller created a necklace using a few of my disk beads and Cristi Clothier has an amazing necklace using a limited edition set of orchid beads.

One of the most interesting features in the magazine is the Fun with Focals section. It includes 30 tips and innovations for creating interesting and clever focal elements.

I was so inspired by this feature I picked my favorite 5, came up with my own versions and have partnered with Interweave Press for a new contest and a challenge.

There are two parts to this contest, one is a random drawing and the other is a creative challenge with assignments!

The Best of Stringing Drawing:
Grand Prize - a year subscription to Stringing Magazine
Runner Up - a free copy of the Best of Stringing
How to enter:
Leave a comment here answering this question - For focal beads are you more likely to grab an art bead, a metal pendant or a large bead such as stone, wood, shell, etc.?

One entry per person.

The Fun with Focals Challenge:
Prize: $50 gift certificate from and a signed copy of the Best of Stringing.

How to enter:
1. Each day this week I'll post my version of the Fun with Focals project along with the assignment to follow along.
2. You'll have a week to create a piece of jewelry inspired by the assignment and put it online. It can be on your blog, facebook page, flickr or other online photo album or in your Etsy shop, etc..
3. Put the link to the creation in the comments of the matching post.

You may submit one link per assignment.
The winner of this prize will be randomly drawn from all the assignment links.

For both parts of the contest please leave your email if you don't have a blog account, so that I can notify the winners. Winners will be drawn at 3pm on Friday, November 6th.

Your first assignment will be posted soon!

October 24, 2009

Fly Home Little One

Fly Home
Another necklace that I created from our inspiration painting.  Of course for this one, it was about the color of orange and black & white.  (Which is really brown and cream here, eh that's close enough.)

That's a ceramic bead from Jangles as the focal.

Yep, more Elaine Ray - those tiny teal ceramic cubes.  A few copper Humblebeads.  Lots of Vintaj.  And a few things thrown in from the local craft store, like the red ceramic bead, nest, the chain and bone bead.  And one lone crystallized cube that came in our Rings & Things blog partner packet a few months ago.  It takes a village to make a necklace!

October 23, 2009

Piano Playing Birds Lay Better Eggs

I thought I'd jump in and play along with this month's Art Bead Scene challenge.  The inspiration painting this month is a funky outsider art/folk painting by Ruby Williams. 

Along with the bird from my shop, I have an Elaine Ray almond bead, the leaf is from our dear Erin at Every Heart Crafts and the glass, unknown.  It was a gifty from Rosanne, maybe she'll remember for me.

The prizes for the monthly challenge are beads from Diane Hawkey and Jangles, so pull out your beads and play along. 

And speaking of beads and playing - you HAVE to stop back on Monday. 

I'm going to host a fun challenge/contest to celebrate my work in the Best of Stringing.  Play along to win a free subscription to Stringing along with other prizes!

October 22, 2009

Rings & Things Blog Partner Project

Rings & Things sent their blog partners some sterling silver and gold-filled wire connectors to play with a while ago.  I finally got around to taking photos, so today I'm presenting a free project featuring the gold-filled wire connector and a hardware store retaining ring. 

Rags to Riches Pendant

1 1/18" retaining ring
gold-filled connector
Branch lentil bead
copper seed bead
Vintaj flower beadcap
2 brass 7mm jump rings
2 gunmetal 6mm jump rings
2 gunmetal 4mm jump rings
18" gunmetal chain

bench block
ball peen hammer
round nose and chain pliers
wire cutters

1. Slightly flatten and texture the gold-filled connector with the ball peen hammer.
*AVOID the loops, they will break off!*

2. String the seed bead, lentil and flower bead cap onto a headpin and create a wire-wrapped looped.

3. Attach the lentil to the connector with a 7mm jump ring.  Attach the bottom of the connector to the bottom of the retaining ring with the other 7mm jump ring.

3. Attach the top of the retaining ring to the connector with the 6mm jump rings.

4. Cut the chain in half and attach each side to the pendant with 4mm jump rings.

You can work magic with a bench block and ball peen hammer, I consider these as essential as my set of pliers.