Jan 30, 2015

Art Jewelry Elements January Component Stash Challenge



One challenge I always put my name in the hat for Art Jewelry Elements Component challenge.  Each month one of the blog team members will design up an art element and share it with the rest of the team.  They are also kind enough to invite in some guest designers.  And you guessed it, I was lucky enough to be one of the designers chosen this month.



This first hop of the year is a bit different then from the past because each of the blog team donated an item from their stash.   My name was drawn for Jenny Davies-Reazor who creates fabulous ceramic focals and beads.  Jenny had actually donated a couple focals for the cause and she was quick to assure me that I only needed to work with one.  But just look at those focals?  Could you choose just one?



I started out working with the focal on the left.  That tree really reminded me of an ancient one that grows in the center Circle.  I pictured women in the far past dancing around it to celebrate the changing of seasons. Circle Dancing features that gorgeous focal along with recycled Indonesian glass beads and pewter beads hand knotted on Irish Waxed Linen.  It is finished off with a pewter clasp.

To purchase, click here.

And since it really is about the focal, here is a close up.

I am not sure how other designers work but as part of my design process, play around with different looks and styles in my mind before I ever start playing with the beads.  This next necklace started with thoughts of turquoise and more ceramic beads.  Then it went to thoughts of navy blue seed beads.  It was when I stopped by to visit this focal and I noticed some new Czech glass beads that I had picked up in a destash that the name 'Roses In The Snow' popped into my mind along with the design..



This design is a departure from my usual in that I finally incorporated in some of the silk strings that I have been hoarding.  (And I do mean hoarding.  I picked them up a few years ago and they have just been decorating up my studio since.)  After braiding them with some brass chain, I attached the braid to some heavier brass chain so the necklace is adjustable.

To purchase click here,

To this glorious focal, I added some Czech glass beads, crystals and some vintage lucite.  Did I do her justice?


I also want to thank Art Jewelry Elements  and Jenny Davies-Reazor  for inviting me to play with you this month.


Now this is a challenge so be sure to check out what everyone else made.  Remember, we all got different art components to play and I can't wait to see just what everyone else came up with. 



AJE team: 

Guest Participants ( aka winners)
Samantha- Wescott Jewelry
Nikki - Silver Nik nats
Yvette - Blue Kiln Beads


Bonus participants! 
 
Jan 28, 2015

First Kiss



Do you remember your first kiss?  I am almost ashamed to admit that it has been so many years ago that I don't.  I couldn't even tell you who the guy was.  Pretty sad but it just wasn't that memorable. 

Now I can remember my first real date though again I don't recall the gentleman's name.  As you have probably guessed, we went out and saw Saturday Night Fever on opening night.  I was so in lust with John Travolta back then and how he moved.  Come to think of it, most of my crushes on stars have been more on their grace and movements then how they actually look. 

It was kinda a chaperoned date since we had to take along my little sister because he was older and *gasp* able to drive.  After the movie, we stopped by a burger joint.  I remember how lousy of a chaperon my sister was since she found a bottle of beer, drank it and fell asleep for the rest of the evening. 

So do you remember your first kiss?  How about your first date?  Do you remember what jewelry or clothes you were wearing then?
Jan 26, 2015

Review: Dangerous Dream




Catch up with Ethan, Lena, and Link as they finally graduate from high school and get ready to leave the small Southern town of Gatlin. But when Dark Caster Ridley makes an appearance, the sometime bad girl can't resist picking a fight with her sometime boyfriend, Link. Angry and rebellious as ever, Ridley ends up alone in New York City and becomes entangled in the dangerous underground Caster club scene, where the stakes are high and losers pay the ultimate price.

Where's a Linkubus when you need him?


* * * * *

Novellas can be the perfect way to check out a series.  They are usually fairly quick reading and can be rather enjoyable as long as you don't expect a lot of depth.  This particular novella was number 0.5 in the series so I expected it to be a prelude to the series which would give me some glimpses of the characters as well as a taste of the authors' writing style.  And it did both.

I think who ever numbered this novella in the series was on something good.  I spent the first half of the story totally confused because it was assumed that I had already read the series.   Once I managed to figure out just who was who, I found that I enjoyed the tale.  It was quick paced and Ridley is that bad girl who tries so hard to actually be bad.  

DANGEROUS DREAM did just what it was supposed to do.  It interested me in the series which I am going to have to check out.  Just don't expect to read this novella first and make sense on what is happening from the beginning.
Jan 24, 2015

I remember when




It amazes me to think that I have been playing around with beads for almost ten years now.  I remember that when I first started out, I didn't feel that I had a creative bone in my body.  In fact, I had people ask me what I created since my husband is an author and I told them that while I can clean things up on the back-end there was NO way I could start with nothing and come up with a finished product.

And then it happened.  I remember going in to pick up some yarn so that I could work on an afghan during the slower times at work. As I wandered around the store, I found myself in the beading section and I found a kit that had everything I needed to make a necklace and a couple pairs of earrings.  The rest they say is history.

I really wish that I still had the pictures of those pieces I made way back then but I had a hard-drive meltdown and that was before I knew about backing everything up online.  So the earliest pics I have are actually from a couple years ago. 

I still remember my first class which I took at out local bead store, The Bead Factory.  It was on how to wire wrap pearls and chain.  I still retain my love of both pearls and wirewrapping to this day though I tend to knot pearls rather then using wire.



I remember how excited I was when I got in my first order of beads from Fire Mountain.  In those days, I really had no idea of where I was going to picked up a little bit of everything.  Some of it, I still have left but most I have donated since I wasn't really using it.  I don't know that I have really found my niche yet but I do tend to avoid the plastic beads as well as the lower quality gemmies.

Do I have a certain style that is recognizable as me?  I would have to say no.  I am still looking for a signature style.  What I have found is that I am addicted to artisan lampwork, ceramic and polymer beads.  I want every piece that I design to be unique and those artisan components help me to achieve that.  I also tend to mix in semi-precious gemstones with my work to both highlight the handmade and to keep the cost down. 

When I look through my stash, I do have to say that it is rather eclectic mix of vintage lucite, artisan beads, semi-precious gemstones, chains and wire.  About the only thing you won't find is the color yellow.  It's a color that I don't wear and I am just not attracted to so I don't tend to purchase it either.

I do feel that I have grown as a jewelry artist and that I have a lot of growing left to do.  I would love to finally find my signature style.  I would love to learn to solder as well as enamel.  Heck, I would love to learn to make lampwork beads since I love playing with fire but I don't think my body would cooperate there.  I do have to say that I can hardly wait to see where the next ten years takes me.

Now I guess that I really should explain what brought on all this introspection.  You probably guessed it.  Yep I am taking part in a blog hop sponsored by Bead Peeps and this is one of the fun juried hops where the hostesses will be assigning us partners, we chat, exchange beads and then get to show off our designs.  And some of the questions that they are asking on the groups caused me to take a look that where I came from and hopefully where I am going.  I hope that you have enjoyed this little jaunt down memory lane.

Jan 23, 2015

Ramblings



  • We had our potluck on Saturday and it really struck me how we are all getting older.  Since our last potluck, which was actually a couple months ago due to the holidays, one of my friends had broken both of her legs and another had a heart attack.  They were both feeling up to joining us though so I felt blessed.  These incidents do make me want to gather my friends closer to me. It's too bad that I am such an introvert that I really only get to see them about once a month.
  • I always tend to forget just how much more difficult brass wire is to work with them sterling or copper.  I am wirewrapping a some beads up with brass and my hands are just yelling at me.  Why can't my muse learn that I can only use brass in the summer?
  • I am being perfectly horrible this month on posting.  Can I blame it on my love of Iron Bull in the DragonAge game?  The only video game I tend to play is the DragonAge saga mainly due to the character interactions.
  • It amazes just how our skies can go from grey to blue depending on the day.  The picture above was taken at the same location as the one last week.
Jan 20, 2015

Review: The Lost Wolf's Destiny




A desperate mother. A scarred man. A powerful bond.

The moment he saw Blythe Daphne on the television news, Lucas Kenyon knew three things: she was a shapeshifter, like him. She was the most desirable creature he had ever seen. And she was in terrible danger.

Now, the wolf in Lucas is driving him to save Blythe and her young daughter from a man he knows is evil personified. A man who believes all shapeshifters are demons straight from hell. But Lucas knows he must never reveal the secret that threatens to tear him apart; not even to the one woman who could heal him.


* * * * *

I really enjoy reviewing books.  It is hard though when I read a book that I did enjoy but I found it for the most part to be totally average for the genre.  There were a couple things that did stand out for me though.

First of all was Blythe's strength when it came to her daughter.  She would do whatever was needed to rescue and protect her.  This helped her to battle her wolf when a human's cooler head was needed.  She made some decisions that had me scratching my head when it didn't involve Hailey but no one can fault her mothering instincts.

The one thing that really had me puzzled though was when Blythe was fitted with a leg holster which was supposed to be concealed by her jeans.  I don't know of any women who wear their jeans loose enough to hide a gun unless they were planning on this before they got dressed for the day.  This scene actually bothered me enough as I was puzzling it out to pull me way out of the story.

But what it really comes down to is the fact that I did enjoy the book though I doubt I would go out of my way to follow this series.  Now mind you, your mileage may vary and if you enjoy paranormal romances, you might want to give it a try.
Jan 16, 2015

Ramblings



  • Wow it has been a crazy couple weeks.  I am sorry that I totally forgot about posting my ramblings from last week.  I ended up working a couple days in the office which totally thew me off.
  • I am beginning to wonder if you can teach an old dog new tricks even if they were tricks I used years before.  I have been on a special project for the past three years and finally moved back to my 'normal' position and I feel like I am struggling uphill to master behaviors that used to be second nature.  I have my goal which is to make enough to pay for this house that I love and have been trying to purchase for the last three years.
  • Our days here can be beautiful even when they are gray.  It's a matter of enjoying the different shades of gray.
  • Why is it that people are wanting to solve their problems with guns.  Personally I wish that guns or any long distance method of violence would stop working.  Perhaps if you had to grab a sword and have the risk of being killed yourself, the mayham would decrease.
  • I have been selected to work on ZNETShow's next e-zine!  The theme is going to be Icy and I can hardly wait to see what I will be receiving to work with.  Just the thought is causing my creative juices to churn and bubble.
  • Found out that I won a Go Cam through work.  Not quite sure just what I will do with it since I am not one to make videos but I am sure that I will find a good use for it.  Perhaps attaching it to my magpie dog's collar to see just what all he has in his stash and maybe locate them all.
Jan 8, 2015

Star Frost Challenge




I live here in the Puget Sound region of Washington where we don't get a lot of snow and ice but I do kinda miss those white winters that I got to experience when I lived in Idaho.  I don't really miss the cold but the site of the pristine snows after a storm were a sight to behold.  Those icicles hanging from the trees and feeling of being hushed will always linger in my memories.



So I had a good start with the concept that I wanted to do for this challenge.  And just look at all the goodies that I received to assist with bringing it to life.  You would think that it would be a piece of cake.  Ummm... not to so much.



I actually started out making a charm bracelet with all those wonderful white and clear beads but my hands quickly let me know that my weather here is being too wet and cold for any of that malarky.  Besides, a charm bracelet wouldn't have this wonderful polymer focal from Andrew Thornton



Enter plan two which I think I am actually much happier with anyways.  I used that beautiful focal along with the larger what lucite beads.  I found some Indonesian recycled glass in the same color as the focal and used that to bring in more of the colder blue colors.  It is all wire wrapped to a pewter chain with a sterling S-hook so the length on this frosty necklace is adjustable.

Now that you have seen my humble offering be sure to check out what everyone else has done. Just click here to get a list of everyone.    I just love seeing the end results that differ so greatly when we all start from the same place. 
Jan 4, 2015

Muffin Tin Challenge




I needed something to jumpstart my creativity for 2015 so when I saw that Heather Powers was holding another Muffin Tin Challenge, I jumped on board.  My job, since I choose to accept it, was to put together some bit and pieces such as focals and supporting beads, clasps and whatnots in a muffin tin.  Once that was done, all I needed to do was put the designs together.

The picture above is what I started out what.  I ended up filling up the other three spots also as I went along.  I only ended up making eight different pieces in the time allowed (only able to show off six as the other are for upcoming challenges) but I discovered that I really love this system.  As I would empty out a spot, I would end up refilling it with another idea. 



Now to show you what I came up with.  This first necklace is based around a ceramic focal from Blu Mudd.  I just loved this delicate dragonfly and wanted to play up the soft colors with agate and bone beads.  They are all handknotted on waxed linen.



Next up is a rustic necklace featuring a ceramic heart focal from Grubbi along with a couple supporting ceramic beads and magnesite chips.  This was probably the most difficult to get to cooperate because the holes in the magnesite are so tiny.



I wanted to go simple with this necklace with one that you could just toss over your head and go.  Both the elephant and the red bead are vintage lucite.  Very lightweight.




This next necklace is one that I have had in the back of my mind ever since I picked up this gorgeous focal from BeadLovelies.  The focal has a copper tint to it that I really wanted to play up so I combined some copper findings and some copper colored fresh water pearls.  To play homage to the beautiful blue, I also included some dyed jade roundelles and knotted it all together.



Now I have shown off all the necklaces, next up is the lone bracelet.  I used a bracelet bar from the Jangles line along with some brass beads, some peanut seed beads and a brass clasp.  I am rather pleased with just how this turned out.



And finally a pair of earrings.  Both the leaves and the yellow beads are from Metapolies.  I don't tend to work a lot with yellow but the beads and the leaves were packed together and demanded they stay that way.

I really had a lot of fun with this challenge and loved how I learned a new technique to corral my creativity.  For more information about this technique and to see what other designers came up with,  be sure to click here.
Jan 2, 2015

Ramblings



  • I do hope that everyone that celebrate Christmas had a great day!  I meant to put a blog post for the holiday but totally lost track of time.
  • Pooka, my foster puppy has turned into a total cuddle but only with me.  I can't seem to convince him that other people, including my husband, would love to put and cuddle him also.  I am not even a dog person but they all seem to latch onto me.


  • I just have to show off my surprise present.  This was sent by one of my facebook friends and when it arrived, I will admit to being worried that I had forgotten a swap or something.  Nope.  Laren Dee sent these out to her friends on Facebook just to brighten our holiday. 
  • Spent a couple easy days over NYE & New Years Day.  Just played video games, rested and worked on jewelry.  I still have couple designs left to finish for the Muffin Tin Challenge on January 5th.  
Jan 1, 2015

Welcome 2015!!!



I hope that everyone has a happy and blessed 2015!