October 29, 2010

Rings & Things Blog Partner Project - Steampunk

I'm so late posting this! I was lucky enough to get some components from the Rings & Things blog partner program last month and I have just now gotten around to creating with them. Such is the life in this busy studio.

I received an assortment of steampunk inspired gears, sprockets and cogs in brass and copper. I pulled out an Earthenwood gear bead and went to work...

I textured the gears and sprockets with my ball peen hammer, riveting hammer and a screw driver. (The screwdriver makes that great dot pattern.) I antiqued some with silver/black and others I used acrylic dabbers to create a faux patina look. I sealed the painted finish with Renaissance wax.

I pulled out my Vintaj blanks and drilled a few holes and riveted on the gears and sprockets. The rivets are also from Vintaj.

The necklace is put together with jump rings, chain and check out those cog beads - very cool. I had to show them off by using them with etched jump rings. In between you'll find my teal branch beads.

You can find a lot of Vintaj at Rings & Things now too!
There are over 20 pages of beads, chain, charms, pendants and metal blanks on Rings & Things site that are categorized as Steampunk. Have fun.

I made this necklace for my daughter for her Halloween costume. You see my girls met Melanie from Earthenwood Studios a few summers ago and learned about Steampunk and have been smitten with it ever since. This is Vangie's costume from last year, she was a steampunk explorer. This year she is some steampunk/fantasy hybrid that includes an Aztec cat mask - Steampunked out, Steampunk wire fairy wings and her trusty goggles. There are striped arm sleeves involved too. Yep, that's how my kids roll. Weird and wonderful!

October 28, 2010

Autumn Bliss

Every leaf speaks bliss to me

Fluttering from the autumn tree.

-Emily Bronte

When I was eleven I would go and spend the weekends with my dad and step-mom. We would play rummy (cards), charades and watch movies on some weird 1980's disc player - that I thought was pretty cutting edge.  Charlotte's web was a favorite. They lived in a cozy log cabin near a woody area and we would spend hours walking through the forest.

I loved walking in those woods. On one fall Saturday morning as we walked the paths through the trees, my dad ran across a sassafras tree and noticed the roots were sticking out in the path.  He extracted some of the roots, proudly telling me that is what they used to make root beer out of - hence the root in name!  He decided we should try our hand at making sassafras tea and gathered a few more roots.  It really did taste like root beer. 

I love memories like those, the simple joys of nature and childhood.  I think about those times when I create beads and jewelry that reflect my love of the outdoors and the beauty of creation.

The scoop on the bracelet: I whipped that up using some parts left over from my wreath project.  I used one of Vintaj's Maple Leaf Blank and created a texture with a riveting hammer.  I riveted a leaf pendant to the blank and layered a fern charm on top. (I love layering Vintaj components.)

October 27, 2010


“Learn and grow all you can; serve and befriend all you can; enrich and inspire all you can.” - William Arthur Ward

I've had a challenging month, to say the least. I won't share details, because they are private family matters, but I have had to do a lot of reflection on how I'm living my life, spending my time and affecting those around me. I have spent the last few years with the single focus of growing my business. With my husbands' periods of unemployment it was a necessity. But I've had to stop and ask myself - at what cost?

As I was working this week I've been researching and focusing on what it means to share and tell your story as an artist. I feel my own story has been overshadowed by the bottom line of running a business. You can not pour water out of an empty pitcher - what do I fill my soul up for inspiration? What relationships am I cultivating to enrich my journey? Does the fruit of my labor reward my family or are the sacrifices I've asked of them too much?

Unfortunately there are no easy answers, it's just a daily growing and being available to those around me. Just knowing that the questions need to be asked is a good first step.

“Don't go through life, grow through life.” - Eric Butterworth

Vintaj arte metal name tag, jump rings, wire & bead caps. Humblebeads' acorn. Silk Cord from Angela Brittain.

October 26, 2010

Boho Chic

Boho (Bohemian) chic combines organic, colorful, detailed, folk-inspired pieces with simple, modern pieces. - from the Urban Dictionary

I created this Vintage Blue Poppy Necklace using one of my new pendants, ceramic beads, vintaj etched jump rings, chain and 24 gauge vintaj parawire for the bail and links. It's a simple design that has lots of character.

Sometimes all you need are a few well chosen accessories to transform a plain outfit into something a little more fun and funky.

Paisley clutch from Handbag Heaven, ankle boot from the Avenue, tie belt cardigan and grey cords from Old Navy. (Use this link to save 15% from Handbag Heaven.) I have that little clutch and love it, it's so cute.

I love Lorelei's outfit collages and thought I'd give it go. Since I'm a plus-size girl, that's what I'm showing here. I adore clothes and shopping, my favorite fashion blog is Saks in the City - because your size shouldn't dictate your style!

1. Cut a 10" piece of wire, wire-wrap a bail for the pendant, keep wrapping the wire around to create the desired texture.
2. Create 6 wire-wrapped links with the ceramic beads and 3" lengths of wire.
3. Attach the pendant and 2 links with an etched jump ring. Attach the remaining links with the jump rings.
4. Add 3 jump rings to the last link and attach 5" of chain to the last jump ring, attach the clasp to the end of the chain. Repeat on the other side. (If you want a longer necklace add a longer length of chain.)

Ceramic beads and chain from Hobby Lobby. Vintaj jump rings and wire from Bello Modo.

October 25, 2010

Raven Necklace

Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

I'm not one for spooky stuff but a little chill down the spine this time of year is always fun.
I whipped up this Raven necklace to celebrate the season. Nothing scary here, I promise!

Raven bead
32" silk cord
1 brass filigree ring
1 brass branch
3 brass 15mm jump rings
1 brass leaf blank
1 brass leaf charm
1 arte metal key
1 brass flower beadcap
5 etched jump rings
3 gunmetal ball headpins
1 8mm pyrite bead
2 6mm labradorite faceted rondelles
20" brass colored wire 24 gauge

1. Cut the wire into two 10" lengths, set one aside. 3" from the top of the wire create a wrapped loop and continue wrapping the wire around the loop to create the desired texture.

2. String the raven onto the wire. Wrap the wire around the branch a few times and create a double loop at the bottom, wire-wrap the bottom loop. Continue wrapping the wire around the wrapped loop, the branch and under the raven with the rest of the length of wire. Use the other 10" of wire to wrap the section again, alternating around the branch, under the bird the wrapped looped at the bottom.

3. On a large jump ring string the two brass leaves and the key. Create a dangle with a headpin and labradorite bead, end with a wrapped loop. Add the dangle to the large jump ring. Attach the jump ring to the loop at the bottom of the pendant.

4. Attach the brass filigree ring to the bird pendant with a large jump ring. Add another large jump ring to the top of the filigree ring. Create two wrapped loop dangles on the headpins, one a labradorite bead and the other with the pyrite bead and beadcap.

5. String the cord through the top jump ring and tie a knot. On the cord string 5 etched jump rings to hide the knot . Use a drop of beaders' glue on the last jump ring to secure it to the cord.

Resources: Raven, Humblebeads. Vintaj brass findings, Bello Modo. Stones, Rings & Things. Silk Cord: Angela Brittain. (Angela's store is now open - she is adding more trios tonight, so be sure to stop by her shop.)
And more treats: Free shipping in my Etsy shop and free disk beads with purchase - visit my Etsy shop for details. They are almost as tasty as a reese's peanut butter cup, okay not really, but they have less calories! Halloween special good until October 31st.

October 24, 2010

Sneaky Covers for Crimp Beads

I'm not one to use crimp covers, they just aren't my style.  Usually I let my crimps hang out wild and free, but sometimes they distract from a design.  Like in the example above where the stones attach to the chain, a quick and easy solution - a trio of jump rings to hide the transition. 

Here is the whole necklace: my new bird pendant, ceramic beads, pyrite, brass chain and ribbon.

Close-up of the pendant, I repeated the jump ring trio to tie into the elements above.

If you are using a clasp that goes in the front of a design you may want to cover up those crimps.  Here I used a cluster of dangles to camouflage the crimp bead.  They are attached to the bracelet with a small jump ring.

The bracelet features one of my toggle clasps, stick pearls, glass and stones.

October 23, 2010

For Andrew

Like so many in the beading community it has been my great fortune to meet Andrew Thornton. His generous, creative spirit has been a bright spot to so many both online and off that I want to help with the current auction efforts on his behalf. Andrew is recovering from surgery and has a mountain of medical bills.

I'm auctioning off my Seek Wisdom Necklace and Earring set that was featured in the October 2009 issue of Bead Trends magazine in the Featured Designer section. 

The necklace is graced by an amazing ceramic pendant from UK artist, Lisa Stevens of Sea Urchin.  I paired it with an Elaine Ray ceramic lentil bead, a Winter Branches lentil bead and Blue Branches disk created by me and a Seek Wisdom connector from Green Girl Studios.  The art beads are complimented by a collection of ceramic beads, sterling silver spacers, a crystal rondell and blue kyanite daggers and beads.  The pewter clasp has a dogwood floral design.

A close up of the art beads.

Why I choose this piece - after looking through my BIG box of jewelry this one kept coming back to me.  When I created it I was thinking that I wanted an icy winter feel to the necklace to remind the wearer to seek wisdom in the "winters" of our life.  Those bleak times when things appear to be dark, cold and without hope.  Those are the times we need wisdom to remember that there is always hope when it comes to the spirit's ability to triumph over adversity.  I love that the Seek Wisdom pendant was created by Andrew's sister and I think that gives the design even more meaning for this auction.

The matching earrings with charms from Chinook Jewelry and Branch Disk beads from me. Sterling silver wire, accents and earwires.

*The opening bid reserve is $50. 

*Bid by leaving a comment in the comments section below with your bidding amount.

*The winner can pay by Paypal or credit card. 

*The auction will end on Friday November 5th. 

You can visit Andrew's blog to see other auctions happening on his behalf.

October 22, 2010


Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all...

-Emily Dickinson

Things I'm hoping for:


Humblebead Disk, Earthenwood Studio bead, Kelley's Bead Studio Egg.  I wish I had snatched up a million of Kelley's eggs when I had a chance.  I suppose I will make a few of these pendants with my egg beads, although I love the mix of textures with the glass, porcelain and polymer.  I'll just need to find some glass disks with the matte raku colors since glass eggs are rare finds.

October 20, 2010

Taking It Easy

My mom is visiting/helping me out this week. You are just never too old to need your mom! I've been working on a new schedule that includes me only working from 8-3pm. I can't even tell you how hard this is, but necessary. I was working from 7am until 11pm everyday with just a few breaks for dinner and hardly any time for anything else. Isn't that just a recipe for disaster!

Artists - you can NOT work every waking moment! Enjoy life and lift your head up from the work desk every now and then.

A few things from this week's beadmaking sessions.

Well not really new - just new takes on older designs.

October 18, 2010

Woodland Charm Bracelet

 Here is a quick and easy fall inspired charm bracelet to whip up.

1 mushroom bead
1 squirrel bead
1 acorn bead
1 pewter acorn
1 flower clasp
4 teal faceted 12mm Czech glass rondelles
4 red 6mm bicone crystals
4 teal 6mm ceramic beads
4 pewter leaf charms
4 copper 4mm flat spacers
4 nickel 11/0 seed beads
15 gunmetal 1" headpins
18 gunmetal 5mm jump rings
7" gunmetal chain

1. Attach clasp to join with jump rings.

2. String mushroom, squirrel and acorn on headpins, form loops and attach to chain with small jump rings. Attach squirrel to the center of the chain and skip five links to attach the next bead on either side.

3. Create the charms on headpins, four each: red crystals; seed bead and glass bead; spacer and ceramic bead.

4. Attach the charms to 2nd link on the chain from the main beads. Attach two charms with one jump ring and repeat on the other side of the link with the other two charms.

5. Attach pewter acorn with jump ring to chain.

Designer Notes: This bracelet is 8" long. For a shorter bracelet cut the chain 1" shorter than the final length needed.

Squirrel, Acorn and Mushroom: Humblebeads. Czech glass and pewter acorn: Shipwreck Beads. All other beads: Hobby Lobby.

Humblebeads Etsy Sale! 20% off Monday - Wednesday - add "October Sale" to the notes section and wait for an updated invoice. http://www.humblebeads.etsy.com

October 11, 2010

Humblebeads Holiday Collection

What? A crumby commercial!  Sorry blog readers I needed a quick and easy way to show my holiday beads to someone and the blog seemed to be the quickest.  I apologize for the following commercial post and promise creative goodness for the rest of the week!  Carry on dear readers and please return tomorrow. 

Winter Branches Lentil $15                   First Frost Bead $15

Frosted Berries Bead $15                      Holiday Disk Mix $28 

Teal Snowflake Bead $15                   Purple Snowflake Bead $15 

Evergreen Toggle (with copper wire bail and wire toggle clasp) $28, Evergreen Pendant $18

Winter Branches - Dark & Light $18

Not shown: Elf -gnome bead with a green shirt, red hat and brown pants $12

Click on the links to read details on each bead.