April 29, 2011

Earthenwood Design Team Inspired Jewelry

Last month the oh so talented beadmaker Melanie Brooks of Earthenwood Studio sent me some goodies to play with and this week I finally sat myself down for a little creative session.

First up, thanks to Tracy Stanley's class on the Bead Cruise, I learned how to make my own chain and decided that's what I wanted to do with a big ol' chunk of a tassel.  I had this ivy covered porcelain bead from Joan Miller from my first trip to Bead & Button.  (Just saying the word makes my eye twitch.) I paired it with a lantern and ceramic drop from Gaea.  And look, there is Melanie's resin covered key.  It's the most!  It's hard to see but there is text that says medley.  I liked that, like a little secret message was written on the key, maybe an invitation to some fairy shindig in some secret garden.  The other key is from Objects and Elements and then some of my favorite Vintaj leaves.

I like jewelry that reminds of paths or lessons I need to learn.  Right now nest eggs are on my mind and saving money up for some big things that are coming my way.  When the egg shaped pendant first arrived, I immediately knew I would turn it into a toggle. I'm all over that crackle glaze finish on Melanie's pendant and connector pieces - sweet!  I paired it up with ceramic beads from Melanie that I had in my stash and a little round tab from Elaine Ray.  The bird, egg and golden branch disk bead are from my Humblebeads inventory - yeah for inventory.  That needs to grow faster.  (There goes my twitching eye again.) 

You can see more Design Team member results on Melaine's blog.

April 27, 2011

BTW - Barely!

Almost missed today - I have been making beads non stop for the last three days, getting orders out the door and hurrying to answer emails before I fall into bed.  Above are things done and things left undone.  Seriously I need like 4 more hands!

Pictured  - baby birds, new headpins, lots of beads waiting to be painted, pink dogwood beads au natural, more headpins soon to be earrings, the mother lode of headpins just waitin' for paint. 

What was on your table today?

April 21, 2011

Bead of the Month Club Update

I thought I would share with you the beads that I have created so far for the Bead of the Month Club.  It is so much fun to give myself a day to play in the studio and make something special.  It's a nice change from my production work and often spurs on several other ideas while I test out prototypes.

The Cherry Blossom Tree pendants will be available at the beginning of May with 50% of the sales going to the Red Cross for aid to Japan.

I created this necklace with one of the Cherry Blossom Tree Pendants, as I made several extras last month.  I paired them with dyed buri nuts, resin beads and brass.

The Bead of the Month Club was sold out, but I have decided to offer 5 more.  You can purchase the year long subscription here.  You'll first package will include the 3 beads above and April's bead.  They will go quickly as two have already sold this morning.  Don't wait this will be your last chance. 

Do you schedule days to play and explore new creative ideas?  I highly recommend pencilling in a date! 

April 20, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday - Tropical Pendants

I'm missing tropical islands and beaches so much today that I had to create something to remind me of those awesome days on the Bead Cruise!  Although, at 90 degrees it's feeling rather tropical here today too. 

I created these Hibiscus Petal/Leaf Pendants in some yummy colors.  I'm rather smitten with leaf and teardrop shaped pendants at the moment and thought I needed some of my own.

Loving the colors, bright and fun but antiqued with an earthy umber.

Do not adjust your monitor, this photo is so sad to me.

Burnt beads.

There is nothing worse in my studio than a batch of burnt beads.  It hasn't happened in years, I had adjusted my oven to work on a different project a few days ago and forget to set it back.  Oh the waste, the horror.  Oh the bead-manity!

Ok, so it wasn't exactly Apocalypse Now, but a few choice words may have been uttered.

So those are the goodies and the bad-ies from my bead table, it's Wednesday - so what's on your bead table?

Share your photos at the BTW flickr group and go meet some new beady friends!

April 19, 2011

Amazed by You - Customer Gallery

Have I told you lately how amazing I think my customers are?  So many of you are friends, beautiful sources of encouragement and inspiration!
Thank You!
Thank You!

This post is dedicated to you, my heart-felt thanks being sent out to each one of you - you are a bright spot in my day.  And here are some of the beautiful works you've sent to me via flickr or facebook.  Thank you for sharing your work with me!

I love that necklace, like could-look-at-that-photo-over-and-over-again kind of love!  The necklace and earrings were created by Kristy Caroll Abner.  You can see more of her work on her facebook page and in her Etsy shop.

Malin, dear sweet Malin!  She is one of my Bead of the Month customers and whipped up this beauty recently with February's bead.  It was a limited edition butterfly that I created just for that group.  I love how she paired up it with the rich copper color and purple patina chain.  Malin de Koning is a very talented designer and avid blogger from Sweden.  Be sure to stop by her blog to see her work and get to know this creative artist!

Heather Trudeau, also known as the Peacock Fairy, is a fellow Michigan girl and her starfish bracelet calls to my inner mermaid! See more of work in her Etsy Shop and follow along on her blog as she shares her beading journey and her cute-as-a-button baby bump as she chronicles the growth of her little one!

My buddy Rose Noble has been blogging about her goal of creating everyday in 2011.  I'm thrilled to see that some Humblebeads have made their way onto her table of crafty goodness.  Rose is a designer for Vintaj and I love what she created with my Dogwood bead and egg in the first two necklaces.  They are so feminine and pretty.  She also created a totally adorable series of pendants with my woodland creatures and little friendly greetings.  Beyond cute, my friend!  Why hello to you little Mr. Fox, aren't you looking fantastic today!  Follow along on Rose's blog to see what creative adventures this mixed media artist is up to now.

I'd love to see what you've made with Humblebeads.  Stop by my facebook page and share a photo or two.

April 13, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday: Life Skills Needed!

It's Bead Table Wednesday and that means I'll show you mine if you show me yours.  Okay that was bad, I know.  Bad Heather, bad.  But really, I do love seeing what you creative folks are up to each week.  So let's check out the work table for today. 

First up, I have pulled together a little collection of beads to play along in this month's Art Bead Scene challenge. I have my Robin Pendant with some honey colored resin, yellow stones, copper beads, some Czech glass and a few copper connectors.  Jess is one of the sponsor's this month and you could win a few of his items!  Click here for all the details.

Next up, part of my post-Bead Cruise to-do list, thank you gifts for a few special behind the scene's helpers.  I'm making some simple pendants with ceramic pendants from Gaea, Joan Miller and Spirited Earth.

A glimpse of the horror scene that is my studio and this is the 'pretty' part, I don't dare show the entire mess!  I turn around and look at that table and I can hear the 'cheng, cheng, cheng' sound from the shower scene in Psycho. I start to put things away but then get quickly overwhelmed at the whole process.  Magic elves might be in order.  I wish my mom would come visit, she would clean off the bead tables.  Of course, there would be a price to pay, but I wouldn't mind trading in some Humblebeads for a clean desk!  Oh Jess, I think I have a job for you today...

Check out the Bead Table Wednesday Flickr group for more inspiration and spend some time connecting to your fellow bead enthusiasts!

April 12, 2011

A Behind the Scenes Look at Designing

"There is merit in the attempt, and a whole lot accomplished along the way." - unknown

I wanted to design a clasp for the Art Bead Scene and was playing with wire. I had the first part of the design in mind and I thought I was trying to create a toggle clasp.  I was playing around with different bar options and realized the bar would need to be for two strands - so I had a little flash and thought well let's transform this toggle into a multi-strand hook and eye clasp instead.

I used thin copper wire to noodle around with designs until I found one I liked.  After that I used craft wire in the desired gauge to make a prototype.  Once I finished a few and really understand how I created the clasp I was ready to make it in silver and photograph the step-by-steps. 

I thought you would enjoy seeing some of thought process that happens in creating - it's not just a here is my great idea let me whip it out kind of thing.  Nope, there are mis-steps and scraping plans altogether and then in a rush something inspired comes out of the mess and that is refined until it's tempered into a useful design. 

My next plan is to use the clasp in a bracelet with one of my Dogwood Pendants.  I'm sure more trial and errors await me, but that is part of the joy of creating your own work.  The playing and experimenting and failed attempts are as important as the finished piece.

April 7, 2011

Submitting to Magazines

You'll have to check out the May issue of BeadStyle magazine to see the cutest woodland charm necklace by designer Jamie Hogsett!  She combines Green Girl Studio connectors and a clasp with my little hedgies and disk beads.  They also show a sweet alternative featuring my gnome.  Guess what I'm making more of today!

Remember, if you have work published in a magazine send me an email and I will send you a $25 gift certificate to my website. 

Here are some links to magazine submission guides.
Stringing - Currently accepting for Winter 2011, deadline is June 17th.  Submitting bracelets & earrings to this publication is a great way to get your feet wet in the world of magazines.  You don't have to write the step by step directions for bracelets or earrings - just design something amazing.
Bead Trends - They are currently accepting work for their October issue, deadline is April 25th.
Bead Unique Magazine - Currently accepting submissions for October 2011, deadline is April 15th.
Jewelry Affaire - Next deadline is May 15th.
Belle Armoire Jewelry - Next deadline is April 15th.

Lori Anderson wrote a great article on Tips of Getting Published in Magazines.  And Lorelei Eurto also shares some tips on her blog for getting your work in magazinesTips on submitting to Stringing Magazine from Editor Danielle Fox.

1. Design something you love and want to share with the whole world.
2. Decide which magazine it would best fit in - each magazine has it's own slant.
3. Follow the submission guidelines and send it in!

Rights & Compensation - Read the contract carefully - some magazines ask for all rights and may publish your design again and again without further compensation.  And make sure you ask if you can still teach a design if you publish it in a magazine, for some all-rights contracts the answer is surprisingly no.  If you are a beadmaker and publish as an advertiser you can retain all rights to your project, but you also most likely won't be compensated.  Some magazines will ask that you not have a piece online until after it's published. In general, magazines can pay anywhere from $0 - $300 for a project.  It depends on the magazine and the rights you are giving away.  For magazines that don't pay, ask if you can have a copy of the high resolution photos to use for your promotions and website.  Sometimes having your work professionally photographed and being able to use those photos on your website is worth more than you would get paid for a project. 

You won't get rich submitting your work to magazines - but if you are building a career in the bead world it is a great stepping stone.  It can increase your clout as an instructor, it will impress your customers and it can lead to new sales. 

April 6, 2011

BTW - Owl Themes & New Bunting Banners

New Owl Themes
It's Bead Table Wednesday!  Jess chickened out on writing on the blog last week, baby steps folks - he is just learning how to take care of his Etsy shop.  I think the blog idea scares him.  Silly boy! 

So I've been working on some new owl beads since I returned home.  Just playing and trying new things before I go back to the daily routine.  I'm thinking of working these into something for the Bead Star contest since the deadline is the 8th.  Hmm, two more days I can whip up a few things by then. 

The first photo features a pendant that I drew the owl and hand-painted it.  The second is a toggle with wings holding a key - kind of loving that one.  The last photo on the bottom shows where I'm heading with an egg from Kelley's Beads, a Green Girl Studio nest and a mix of copper beads, pewter spacers and stick pearls.

New Work from Jess
Now let's head over to Jess' table.  Here are the bunting banner pendants finished.  LOOOOVE them!  They will be in shop later today.  He also has a few more pendants that he has been working on lately. 

So what are you working on this week?  Show me the good, the bad and the ugly.  Messy tables, piles only you can navigate or little vignettes of goodies.  Whatever you want to show, share it on the Bead Table Wednesday flickr group and visit with your fellow beaders for some inspiration and camaraderie. 

April 5, 2011

Island Photos

Some days I feel really spoiled.

The Bead Cruise was amazing and just flew by way too quickly.  So I had a day off to recover and now it's back to work.  If you are waiting for an email from me, it's coming in just a wee bit.  I wanted to relive a few of my favorite moments with you before I get back to business.

Our first island was Cozumel and a group us went to Chankanaab Park for the day for snorkeling, an eco tour and lunch on the beach.

The park hosts the only lagoon on the island that features a coral reef.  There were tropical fish swimming in this teal blue water that was crystal clear.

This is Paco, he is 18 years old and a favorite in the park!  He just hangs out by the lagoon all day.  Not a bad life.

He wasn't the only wild life found on the island.  We ordered a round of Dirty Monkeys served in pineapples and coconuts.  (A Dirty Monkey is a pina colada with Khalua, Bailey's and a banana.  Yes, you do need to try one soon and if you can get them in a pineapple with a fruit monkey face - all the better!)  Did I mention they served these drinks to us on the beach, while we laid on lounge chairs under a cabana?  I did mention that I'm spoiled, didn't I?
On the eco tour through the gardens, they had a replica of a traditional Mayan house and this lovely bit of weaving was on display.

Mayan Kitchen
They had a Mayan woman who cooked us handmade corn tortillas with a salsa of fresh tomatoes, squash blossoms and cilantro. 

Jamaica was fun and very touristy.  I was smitten with the fruit stands and local handcrafted goods. We went to Falmouth, which is a new port and our ship was the first to visit it. The locals had bands and dancing and were so happy to have the cruise ships visit this impoverished area.  Our island hosts were warm and friendly and completely charming.  It was a joy-filled day for the local people and they left a great impression on those who visited.   
In Jamaica we took a quick tour and enjoyed learning more about the country. I was happy to support the local artists selling their handmade goods.  These baskets were made from coconut and palm leaves and are the dark and light patterns are called "rice and peas".

We also spent the day in Grand Cayman, but for some reason that was a no photo day for me.  We didn't do anything special, just shopped, goofed off and had lunch.  You know - just another day in paradise.
The best part of the cruise was spending time with my mom and aunt, visiting with our amazing instructors and making new friends with those traveling with us and our little family reunion with those who returned to enjoy another great week together. 

I'll share more later.  Right now I have to go to work.  (Pouty face!) I have some new bead ideas I must make and my shops will open later today. 

I did miss our little visits here, thanks for stopping by again!