Snippets from a bead artist.



So!  Day Three of Notbeading, and I've decided to cheer myself up by having a little giveaway.  I was fiddling around with an idea for the Art Charm Swap awhile ago, and decided to try to make little tiny charms with bead embroidery.  Then, after re-reading the rules carefully, I saw that the charms needed to be smaller, and also needed to be able to get wet a little - NO, bead embroidery wasn't going to work.  Back to the beading mat I went…  but I really liked the little component I ended up with, and thought it would look cool in a mixed media type bracelet or necklace, used as a bracelet 'blank' or maybe part of a pendant.

On the first one, I was trying out an experiment on attaching jump rings while doing the edging, and I really like how it came out, because I think it looks a little like a puzzle piece.  Diane Hyde has a lovely project in the Beading Across America book, and it includes using jump rings in her embroidered piece, and I was interested to see if edging along them would work.  I'm still playing with the idea- thank you for the inspiration and conversation, Diane!!  :)

I made another just because, and decided to try doing the edging differently, with two rows of brick stitch.  I think it looks a bit like a victorian pillow for a classy sitting room, and almost like it has a little fringe, even though it doesn't have actual fringe.  I used the new crystal Lilac Shadow color from Swarovski for the chaton and the bicone - but I think my pretty background ultra suede really overwhelms it a little, you can't see the colors of the crystal well, even though it's a pretty little thing.

I would still really love to see either of these used in a mixed media piece, but I don't personally have any sari silk, or waxed cord, or most of the things used in the mixed media pieces I admire so much.  So, if you have those types of supplies and enjoy mixed media, and think one of these is inspiring in some way, leave me a comment, and I will do a Doggy Draw to pick two winners, and these can fly off and live with you!  I would really like to see photos of what gets made with them, and share them with my FB friends and here on the blog; that's my only 'rule' for the give away.

I'll announce winners in a few days, and for those of you who haven't been part of a Doggy Draw before, it means that I write names on little scraps of paper and put them down on the floor; whichever piece sticks to either Teddy's or Nikki's nose first, is the winner.  ;)   Have a great day!




Found Object Blog Hop!

Freeeeeeeform!!!  Oh yeah!!

Today's blog hop is hostessed by Mandi Ainsworth and Karen Williams, of Bead Circle and SkunkHill Studio respectively.   I couldn't resist a freeform challenge.  Our only rule was that we must use a found object in our piece… and you know me, I had to pick one of my rocks.  :)

I believe this is a NH rock rather than a VT rock, and that I picked it up on the side of the road with Sherwood one day while he was doing genealogy research in a remote graveyard.  (It ISN'T a graveyard rock, though!)

My rock was made as a gift for a friend, and looks at first glance to be mostly freeform right angle weave, but there is freeform peyote in there as well, and bead embroidery, as well as picot and embellishment and stop stitch.  I can't ever just stick to one stitch when freeforming, it always calls for many!

There is a little path leading up to an adorable lamp work mushroom fairy house (and I can't for the life of me find my purchase for this, if you know who made this bead, please do let me know so I can give appropriate credit), which has been bead embroidered and then beaded into the freeform with peyote stitch,

a ton of flowers scattered around the fairy's meadow (here I used 2.5mm Swarovski crystals, lovely sequins in many shades, and some fabulous lucite from The Hole Bead Shoppe),

and leaves which have fallen from some of the trees from the surrounding woods, just out of sight.

I had so much fun with this - and I have two more lamp work mushrooms, too - there will be more fairy houses on rocks in the future for sure!  One will be a wintry one, and one will be a little similar to this one, I think, although possibly more woods or maybe autumn…

Please do visit either Mandi's or Karen's blog in order to find the blog list, as I can't make it work for me here, and take the time to hop around and see what everyone made - I know I will!!  Thanks so much to Mandi and Karen for showing us such a good time!


2013 Art Charm Swap and Auction for Beads of Courage

Good morning!  I hope you have a nice hot cup of something to sip on, and your comfy slippers on, because you should be hopping all over the place for quite awhile, bidding and reading and enjoying a ton of eye candy while you're here - or there, as the case may be. ;)

Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictions hosts this Art Charm Swap once a year, and each year sends in a nice hefty donation to Beads of Courage with the proceeds from the auction.  Beads of Courage provides children in and out of hospitals with beads of every size and shape to help them remember their courage, keep track of milestones they've reached, and help them deal with the emotional realities of living with chronic, serious illnesses. Here's how the swap works; each participant creates eleven art charms; one for the Beads of Courage Auction, one for each of the people in their group, and one that gets sent back home; they all get mailed off to Jennifer (who really works hard to make this easy for everyone), who then makes sure the charms are swapped out to everyone in the group and mails them back out, keeping one aside for the auction.   The auction for the charms is on NOW and will be for three days - please go check out Glass Addictions on eBay and bid on the charms, I guarantee you will find one you just have to have!

This year's theme for the charms was 'Love.'  I instantly seized on the classic heart shape as the way to go… and designed the Sweetheart Solitaire pendant/charms.  Love!  There you go…

…but then, I decided that I really wanted to make something a little different.  I started to feel like I would rather have something a little more symbolic, and not quite as blatant, and so I went searching for 'love-y' things.  Have I mentioned that I read romance novels?  Er, no??  *blush*  Well, I do… and so one of the things that came to mind was the Language of Flowers.  Prospective beaus in romance novels are quite consistent about bringing the lady in question blooms of one sort or another, and in one of the books I read recently, it talked about what the different flowers mean.  For the most part, in modern times, we assume that a red rose stands for Love, but when I looked things up, roses can mean a LOT of different things, including love for a parent, or a sibling, or a child, or for sympathy rather than love… My historical (1800s? 1900s?) romance book, however, named a different flower as representing True Love; the Forget Me Not.  I love Forget Me Nots!  Delicate, and a glorious shade of blue, a matte sort of white, with just a touch of a lemony yellow…  I had to try it.

So, here are my Forget Me Nots.  Made with size 11 and 15 seed beads, in the closest blue I could find to the real thing, five petals surrounding a Swarovski 6mm chaton crystal.  :)

And, here are the absolutely GORGEOUS charms I received from my swap mates!! I could seriously write a full paragraph or more full of praise for each of these beauties, but since it's actually pretty late at night as I write this, and I'm a bit behind on maybe 100 things, I'm going to keep it fairly short.   Feast your eyes upon (in no particular order);

A beautiful bronze clay dove, crafted by Lesley Watt of THEA too - the dove is gently sculpted with head slightly uplifted, the words 'Set them free' on one side, and a raised heart on the other.  This displays such grace…

A most adorable teapot with lamp work bead, created by Renetha Stanziano of Lamplight Crafts - Renetha's tea pot came tied with a ribbon to a pretty card which said 'Cuppa Tea Luv?' on it, the perfect touch…

A wonderful woodland charm which features a wooden bead hand-burned with 'Love' on one side and the heart with an arrow through it symbol on the other side, a polymer clay rondelle bead and a tiny little leaf dangle by Emma Todd of A Polymer Penchant…

A very special resin charm by Lori Bowring Michaud of Artfully Ornamental - Lori took the photos that are featured in the charm after arranging found objects on the beach, then cropped them down to teensy tinesy, and encased them along with beach sand with resin in a metal frame…

A happy, pudgy little birdie in bright red with spots and a dangling hematite heart with copper headpin from Carolyn Chenault, cheerful and bringing love with him as he flies…

A really cute pearlized pink oyster shell with a rotund freshwater pearl and Czech pressed matte glass heart on gold headpins made by Susan Delphine Delaney…

A lovely milk white lamp worked glass bead featuring a red dotted heart motif on either side and hugged by a beautifully crafted copper wrap (which has 'love' stamped on the edge), made by Julie Bowen of Autochthonous Evolved - and this is a tiny description of a lot of hard work, Julie shared with me how these were made, and WOW…

A stunning polymer clay heart which features a fully sculpted rose and leaves on the front, a lush texture on the back, and the words 'My love is like a red, red rose' around the outer edge, lovingly crafted by Monique Urquhart of A Half-Baked Notion…

And a luxurious clear glass lamp worked heart bead sporting a heart murrini slice by Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictions, hung from a bali silver head pin and suspended by a heart shaped (I love it!) jump ring.

Thank you SO MUCH to all of my swap-mates!  It's clear to me how much each of you love your art, and how much of yourself you put into your creations.  I love each one!!  Huge thank you to Jennifer for hostessing this, and for all of your hard work - I can't wait for next year's!!

I hope your next stop is the auction and that the stop after that takes you through the blog list, too... have a wonderful day, and if you bid - thank you so much for supporting Beads of Courage and the kids.  :)

Caroline Dewison
Alicia Marinache
Terri Del Signore
Cheryl (Lee) Koopman:
Jacqueline Carlson:
Charlene Bausinger Jacka



There is so much of it...  Generosity seems to surround me, and on the days when I am depressed and/or stressed, I try to remember all of it and remind myself to be grateful for all of the wonder in life.  If you can find something to be grateful for, it pushes the negatives to the back and lets you see what there is to celebrate, and you can keep pushing for courage and bright days.

This morning, despite two days of pretty heavy depression and the killer headache from hell, I am remembering, reminding, and feeling very grateful indeed.  In my last post, I talked about how lucky I am to have such a wonderful friend in Julie Cowan of UniquelyJuls, and how generous she was with me, to take the time to take an online class with me, and to gift me the gorgeous result of her inspiration.   (If you were interested in seeing the goddess I made from the class, I posted pics on my Facebook page a bit ago…)  Two days or so after that, I met another Julie - and found more generosity and matched an artist with a blog.

I am participating in an Art Charm Swap this year, which is hosted by Jennifer Stout Cameron of Glass Addictions.  (If you'd like to read more about the swap, here is the sign up blog post, where Jennifer includes all of the information on it.)  It includes an auction of art charms, with all proceeds going to benefit Beads of Courage, an arts in medicine program for children with serious illness.  The swap consists of ten folks per group, with each making 11 charms - nine charms are swapped with the other participants, one goes to the auction, and one comes back home to you.  I've received my charms now, and will be writing a blog to reveal both my charms and those I received as swaps and linking to the auction on November 15th - and I can guarantee you will REALLY want to come back and look and buy yourself a charm - they are gorgeous!  I am looking forward to the auction a great deal, and plan to purchase several more charms myself!  There will be plenty to choose from, as there are 39 people (or more?) that participated, and extra charms donated just for the auction, as well.

The charm group has a Facebook group to chat in, and I was, as usual, worrying about whether what I came up with would be good enough or if anyone would like them - a lot of the charms in the past have been made with mixed media, polymer clay, metals and glass, and not so many seed beads.  One of the ladies participating, Julie Schmidt Bowen, left me a really sweet reply, so I thanked her, and since we hadn't connected yet on FB, asked if she would 'friend' me there.  She did, and I immediately went in search of links to see her work.

I have been following the Autochthonous Evolved blog for while; I originally found the blog when I spotted the artist's work during a blog hop. It totally didn't matter that 1) I couldn't pronounce it (ah-TOCK-thuh-nuss) and 2) I had no idea what it meant (found in the place where formed, when referring to natural resources):  I loooooove the jewelry.  I looooooove the beads.  I loooove that the author shares such in-depth tutorials on methods and projects, free, right there on the blog.  (Generosity!!) I was just overjoyed to learn that JULIE was Autochthonous Evolved - and very touched that she had left me such a lovely comment in the group.  Julie does amazing things, creates beautiful constantly, and had taken the time to reassure me.  Feast upon just a taste of the amazing…

 Gorgeous lamp work!!

Teardrop Link Necklace - this is a tutorial on Julie's blog 

 Beach Ball Treasure Necklaces - I lust after the garnet sand filled one...

Reading through blogs and seeing all the beautiful eye candy out there sometimes really helps me out and lifts my spirits if I'm down and draggy, and I wanted to do something to repay Julie for the days when she helped me out without even knowing about it, so I wrote her and asked if she did any seed bead work at all, and if so, if she would like to pick a tutorial or two of mine that she could have for fun.  I was astounded when she replied and asked if we could swap instead - and that she would like to send me one of her fabulous beads to work with!  I couldn't believe it, especially as I had just barely shared a link on my FB wall of one of the beads she had for sale in her shop that had me drooling...THIS gorgeousness is what Julie gave me!!!!!   I cannot wait for a chance to set to work designing with this, and only hope I can do it some justice.

And, not only did she send me that incredible bead above, but she also sent me A WHOLE SET of beads in another color way, just because!!!  They are wonderful - and challenging, as they include orange. (Yes, I did say orange.)  I don't have a pic of the beads, but I have plans, ohhhhh yes, I have plans for them!!  Then, to top it all off, Julie made a blog post about meeting me, and said way too many nice things about me.  Wayyyyy too many.  The blog post concludes with Julie musing that she wants to interact more online, and I'm excited about that - because she has so much to offer.  Thank you so much, Julie - and I am so glad we finally 'met' and I am looking forward to working with my beads so much!  (And there is a small packet headed your way, too… ;) )

Another example of the generosity I am surrounded with; Marcia DeCoster has done many, many kind and generous things for me, and now one more - she has written another book and asked me to be a part of it.  I am so humbled - this book is FULL of awesome.  I'm not even going to try to name them all, because I know I will inadvertently leave someone out if I do, but some of my best friends, and some of the world's best beaders (THIRTY of them!!!), are included in this book, and I have to keep pinching myself to remind myself it's real, that I'm really in there, too.  One very very very special artist is in this book as well - one that I miss daily, and think of constantly with a great deal of love;  Linda L. Jones will be featured in Marcia DeCoster Presents, allowing her art to finally be shared with the world in a way that would make Linda so happy.  She will inspire millions of beaders with her pieces, and with her words.  Just typing about it makes me cry a little, but they're good tears.

I am so happy that Linda's work will be shared beyond the social media and photo sites.  Marcia, thank you - thank you SO much for including Linda, and for including me, too.  And thank you for meeting with me when you came to NH, and for all of the 'small' kindnesses you do me all the time.  The book has publication date of February 4th, 2014, but is available for preorder HERE.  :)

Last but not least on the NEDbeads list of things I wanted to share, the original charm I designed for the Art Charm Swap is available as a tutorial in my shop.  I loved my hearts, but I also felt that they were kind of too common - I wanted something different, so I scrapped them for the art charm swap and designed something else (I'll Show and Tell on the 15th!).   These are fairly quick and lots of fun, and if you want to make some too, they're here.  :)  If you don't want to make any, but want one, some of these will be available in the auction to benefit Beads Of Courage, so please come and bid!!

The Summertime Wrap Bracelet tutorial that was published in Digital Beading Magazine (Australia) has been released, so it is available for sale in my shop as well, if you didn't get the chance to grab the magazine issue.

And in more personal news, for those of you who have followed the blog for awhile now, my Dad is now finally HOME again, and has left the rehab hospital behind!  He is breathing on his own, no ventilator, and is walking a little, although he still has both wheelchair and walker if he needs them.  He's settling into a routine in his own apartment again, and is doing really well.  Thank you so much for the generous support during his illness, and for being there to listen.

It's all generosity - and it's all around me.  I'm so grateful.

And now I'm off to take more headache medicine.  yow...