Snippets from a bead artist.


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


  1. I love the symbolism behind your forget-me-not, Nancy! That's so thoughtful. You did such an amazing job on BOTH your charms - I love how you incorporated faceted crystals (?) into all of them! :) What an amazing photography job on all of the charms! And such sweet observations on all of them! - Julie

  2. Nancy!!!!!! Forget me nots were my moms favorite flower and you captured them amazingly!!! I love all your work!!!!

  3. Your sweet flowers are the perfect choice, Nancy, and I am so proud to have received one. Your photos are stunning, also :) PS you DO realize your charm just sold on eBay??? Congrats!

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  5. Your forget me not flowers are truly stunning! I love seed beads and crystals many creative designs come from such tiny treasures!

  6. I love your charm! Forget me not! How tender!

  7. Believe it or not, the first thing I thought of, when I received one of your charms in the swap, was the language of flowers. I too, had recently read an article about this tradition. When I read your post, I was tickled to think that my instinct was correct. Beautiful work!

  8. Wow! Your charms are fabulous and so intricate! Beautiful. I have to admit, I'm pretty jealous that I didn't receive one of them. :)

  9. I am obsessed with those that can do seed beading, and I love both of your designs and happily have a forget me not from the swap and a purple heart that you gave me. LOVE THEM! Thanks for participating and for helping to raise money for Beads of Courage!

  10. Love the forget me knot idea! Just sweet...beautiful charm(s) Nancy! Wish I would have received one of to the auction to bid though :) thanks for letting me know about the charm exchange to begin with. Such an amazing event so far!

  11. What a wonderful idea to represent love with forget me nots! And the beadwork is so amazing!

  12. Love the forget-me-not, and how appropriate. You are indeed unforgettable.

  13. I wanted one of your charms from the first second that I saw them - you are an *awesome* artisan - one of my favorites. When my oldest son was married some years back, they had chosen yellow and blue as their wedding colors. I was asked to make a garter adornment - and I went straight for the 'something blue' and 'something old' by beading tiny forget-me-nots with antique size 20 yellow bead centers. I had forgotten about that. Thank you for reminding me that love is also everlasting - it lives in our children. I can only cross my fingers that my bid holds on for one of your charms!

  14. Ooh, I considered myself very lucky before your post, now I consider it some sort of fate / karma - I got the forget-me-not and it's one of my favourite flowers... it always has been; it just links me to my childhood forever. Thank you for sharing!

  15. Nancy I was delighted to receive one of your beautiful delicate forget-me-not charms and so pleased you got one of my doves in return. What a great turn out!

  16. Beautiful charms, everybody did such a wonderful job!!

  17. I love the language of flowers and the secret meanings of gemstones in Victorian jewelry! Your charms are lovely and a lot of work and thought when into them.

  18. You're a wizard with those beads Nancy! They're beautiful!!!

  19. Hi love your web-site. Have questions. Do you have a pattern/tutorial for the Bugle Spiral Bracelet, and have you heard/seen pattern for twin spiral bracelet. Thank you for your help.


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