Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Given recent events, the Short One and I have been spending some time learning about volcanoes. My mother actually managed to find a book on the subject meant for elementary school-aged kids. I have to simplify the contents a bit, but he's been quite interested to learn about how volcanoes are formed and their destructive power (what is it with boys and destruction, eh?). The SO, in particular, loves all of the dramatic photos of molten lava spitting and flowing from the volcano.

So, imagine how impressed he was when he discovered that we actually had lava rock in the house (although he was a little disappointed that it wasn't glowing orange, as in the photos). Yep, I took out my small stash of lava beads (some of which he surreptitiously added to his rock collection - I pretended not to notice) and we discussed how the stone looked and felt and what we liked about it. From my perspective, this was a nice, educational and practical way to use the beads. In the end, we took a little time out to make matching bracelets on stretchy cord, too. Here's the SO's version. Pretty manly, eh? I'll have to find some obsidian, now...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bead & Jewelry Linky Love

What do you do when you like a piece of jewelry but never really wear it? You may recall this piece from a few months ago. I made it for myself to wear (the reverse side of the pendant has a photo of the Short One in a shallow bezel), but I just never seem to get around to actually wearing it. Really, these days, I hardly ever wear any jewelry apart from my engagement ring and wedding band. Is this strange? Anyway, I've been having some thoughts of cutting this apart and starting over - that rough cut pink tourmaline is too good to waste.

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Here are your bead and jewelry links for the week:

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Be entered to win a one year subscription to Beadwork magazine! Find out how!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Stranded by the volcano, Carmi has time for a little more window shopping.

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
For Cindy, yellow is the color of anticipation.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie sets up a trunk show at her favorite local indie craft gallery. Check out her display!

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Resin has become quite popular in jewelry design lately. It's a lot trickier than Lorelei had originally thought. She tries out the technique for the first time.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Do not miss out on Andrew Thornton's amazing sale and giveaway! It is fantastic!!! Go now! Really fun!

Strands of Beads
Melissa creates a sweet Spring necklace from wasabi-colored pearls and a beautiful Lillypilly pendant courtesy of Artbeads.com.

About.com Jewelry Making
It is flower power time! Mix resin, real flowers, and beads for this necklace design.

Art Bead Scene
The Art Bead Scene Welcomes Miss Fickle Media to the editorial staff!

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Barbe will be at Unique LA promoting the Steampunk Style book.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Psst - Andrew's Sale and Giveaway

In case you haven't already heard, Andrew Thornton is holding a Spring Cleaning Sale over at his shop right now. Lots of good stuff there, including this wonderful shibuichi skull by Bob Burkett:

I purchased one of these from Andrew earlier in the year, and I love it (as beautiful as it looks in the photo, it's much better in person)! Anyone who makes a purchase from his shop will be automatically entered to win a subscription to Beadwork Magazine. Go here for more details.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bead Dreams 2010

Yesterday was a kiss-the-postman kind of day. He brought me a nice, fat envelope from Bead & Button Magazine with good news - both of my entries for the metal clay category have been juried into the finals of the 2010 Bead Dreams Competition.

As sad as it is to admit, it has become traditional for me to tear my hair out, weep and have at least one major meltdown - during which my little boy comes up to me and asks me if he can kiss my boo-boo better - while trying to complete my entry for Bead Dreams. This year was particularly difficult, as my son and his health has been my priority this spring and the time I have been spending on jewelry was cut down to virtually nothing. I had one piece prepared before his diagnosis, but I sort of kissed the second one good-bye after our hospital stay. That I was ultimately able to finish the second piece is due entirely to the generosity of my family - who helped me free up enough time to work on the piece - and the fact that my son is a remarkably brave and good child. All of which is not to say that I did not follow tradition to a "T" and weep and cry and carry on, et cetera, up until the competition deadline, of course.

Anyway, here's a sneak peek of the first piece I made for competition. You can probably kind of guess the style of piece it is (if you know my work at all). However, after the super-cool, substantial response I received to those ceramic teeth last summer when I posted a pic on the blog (go here to view), I just wanted to follow up and let you know that, yes, I used them and, moreover, I used them all together. :) They do make a statement, right?

Thanks for letting me brag a bit - this has been a bright spot in the year for me, and, well, I couldn't resist sharing.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Shameless You-Know-What

I love this magazine. It's bad for my budget, but I do love perusing the wonderful new products profiled here each year. I haven't had a chance to sit down and read it cover-to-cover yet, but I'm really drooling over a number of the ceramic artist beads in this issue (you can see several of them on the cover).

My Stone and Shore box pendant (the one with a tides design on one side and small pebbles from Lake Michigan on the reverse) is on page 25 of the magazine. The photographs of the piece really knock me out. As usual, many thanks to the editors for making my work look so good.

What I Did Over Spring Break

As I mentioned earlier, it's been sort of a tough start to the year for the Short One. So, over Spring Break, we took him on a well-needed vacation to Disney World. It was his first trip there, and Mom's and Dad's first trip to the Magic Kingdom in about 30 years.

The SO had a great time. After receiving a thousand kisses from Minnie Mouse, he insisted on meeting all of Mickey's friends, rode his first (kiddie) roller coaster and loved "It's a Small World" and "Peter Pan" - but NOT "Pirates of the Caribbean." Mom and Dad hadn't realized just how much the ride had been re-vamped post-movies - it's definitely not as child-friendly as it used to be.

Naturally, the SO made out like a bandit souvenir-wise (and we even found some sugar-free gummy candy in the shape of Mickey and Minnie for him, which was a nice surprise), but I also managed to come home with a little remembrance of the trip. Of course, this small bracelet is meant for a little girl (although it actually fits my skinny wrist). If you look closely at the photo, you'll see that the colorful plastic beads are actually in the shape of mouse ears. I thought they were cute, as well as an interesting example of Disney's dominant branding. And do I ever miss an opportunity for bead shopping, wherever I may be? Well, duh.

The SO and I will probably cut this apart and use the beads for other projects, but being a nice find for the intrepid bead-hunter (in my opinion, anyway), I thought I'd show it to you now.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sweet Pea

Yes, it is I, your friendly neighborhood jewelry blogger. It seems I was a little bit optimistic about blogging more regularly last month - but I do at least have a nice, new spring design to share today. A while back, Artbeads.com asked their blog partners to select a few items from their catalog with which to create a new spring design. I chose this beautiful mother of pearl pendant by Lillypilly and a strand of wasabi potato pearls. I thought the color combination would work very well together. I elected to combine them with pale pink resin flowers that I already had in my stash. Artbeads.com has a beautiful selection of similar beads here. I also added a little sparkle with Swarovski crystal bicones (again, Artbeads.com has a beautiful selection of similar beads here). I finished the piece off with a few rose quartz nuggets and a very simple sterling silver toggle clasp.

I'm quite happy with the result. Although the wasabi color of the pearls is not quite a true pea color, they still reminded me enough of sweet peas for the name. Obviously, the focal here is the beautiful Lillypilly pendant, but I could easily see taking the pearls and resin flowers to make a cheerful multi-strand bracelet, perhaps with a nice, ornate box clasp.

I strung this piece while waiting for the Short One to finish his Spanish class. The timing was good from my perspective, as a few of the other mothers in the waiting area commented on the piece as I put it together. Since I usually work alone, I never have any third-party input in a piece while I am designing it, so I found the comments quite interesting. When I spread the materials out on the table initially, the other women felt that the colors I selected did not really work well together, and in particular, that the brown shade of the Swarovski crystal bicones clashed with the more pastel shades of the piece. For my part, I felt that the pastel green and pinks looked too washed out without a bit of contrast, so I kept a few of the brown bicones in the finished design, although I did reduce the number of the bicones I incorporated. What do you think? Would you have taken them out or left them in?

As always, this piece was made as part of the blogging program with Artbeads.com and would not have been created without their generous contribution of the pendant and pearls. Thank you, Artbeads.com, for once again giving me an opportunity to design with your lovely products.

Please note: (as stated in the post) some of the products mentioned above were promotional gifts from Artbeads.com for review and/or design partnership purposes.