Here's another shot of a view from our garden. H. is growing okra for the first time this year. I never knew okra blooms were so attractive! (I love that color combination.)
Despite the opening of my new store (store-let?), I feel as if I've been taking a little holiday from jewelry, with the end of my competition "season". I think I'm ready to dive back into it now, though. How about you? Here are some links for the week to get you inspired:
The Short One wanted to admire his plants in the garden (the lima bean plants have recently been joined by kidney bean plants), so we took a look this afternoon. Imagine my surprise when I noticed that the lima bean plant - the one the SO grew as a preschool project and that he and his Daddy planted last month - is flowering. The plant is so small still, we're not really sure if it will actually yield beans or not, but it's kind of cool, nonetheless.
Of course, if anyone has any insight into this process, please feel free to let me know - my experience with lima beans is pretty much limited to growing them in, well, it was probably first grade for me, but you know what I mean. And they keeled over pretty quickly after I took them home - I have a completely brown thumb.
Anyway, here are your bead & jewelry links for the week:
A Bead A Day Lisa learned quite a bit this week about the need to clean beads if they have a powdery residue inside. Stop by if you have a chance for some safety tips.
About.com Jewelry Making Who says jewelry tools are mainly for metalsmiths? There are plenty of cool tools and gadgets for beaders too!
The store is now open, such that it is. At the beginning of the year, I had big ambitions to get off Etsy, establish my own storefront on a newly-developed website and really get rolling with bigger pieces. Then, life got in the way, and I find that I don't really have a lot of time to devote to jewelry-making at all right now, and that this lack of time will probably continue for the next two to three years. At which point, who knows where any of us will be? Life is full of possibilities, after all.
However, in the meantime, I still have modest ambitions. I've scaled back, but I have at least tied my blog into my web address (www.melissajlee.com, for those of you who come to me through www.strandsofbeads.blogspot.com). I still intend to phase out my Etsy presence during the course of the year (I am leaving it up while magazines and books which identify that store as the place to find me are still new and around). And I have opened a small, little storefront directly on my blog. There aren't many pieces in there right now - just a few pendants. However, they're pendants that, with one exception, I haven't previously offered for sale. And this trend will continue from here on out.
You see, I've decided to be selfish. Since I have very limited time, I'm going to work only on making pendants, beads and jewelry that actually interest me now. Which happen to be more three dimensional pieces - like the divided boxes. Although I still like my earlier designs, like "Geek Love" (which still appears in the Etsy store), I'm really more interested in new work. And maybe some large finished pieces. And if the wind shifts and my interest turns, I'll create different projects at that point.
Given my circumstances, even when I put up new work, there will never be more than a few pieces in the store at one time. Nevertheless, I hope you will check there periodically to see what I've been up to.
Thank you - and thank you for continuing to follow my work!
Bead Chic: 36 Stylish Jewelry Projects & Inspired Variations by Margot Potter has now been officially launched! Margot is not only a wonderful designer, she is a truly engaging writer. In this new work, she had the clever idea to write a book focusing on variations on a theme. She created beautiful original designs for the book, then invited other jewelry designers to come up with variations based on these designs.
Here's a rough pic of my own necklace design, entitled "Sweet Dreams", that appears in Bead Chic:
My design was inspired by Margot's original, entitled "Green Man", which used beads from Melanie Brooks of Earthenwood Studio. An image of the piece appears in the table of contents of the book. (You can see it by using the sneak peek function on Amazon. Click on the book link, above, to go there. Can you find it?)
There's a little secret associated with my variation. My necklace uses fab beads from ceramic artist Diane Hawkey. In fact, Melanie was the person who actually introduced me to Diane and her work several years ago, so I felt it would be fitting to use Diane's beads here to create a subtle link between the work of the two artists.
When you get a chance, please take a look at Bead Chic, Margot Potter's excellent new work.
I meant to write an insightful, thoughtful post today, but I'm so exhausted that I think I'm going to go fall on my face instead. You may have noticed I have had a "New Shop...coming soon!" notice in my sidebar for a yonk's age. These pendants will be going in there...sometime. If I'm lucky, by the end of the week. But, given my track record, you might want to take that statement with a grain of salt. The photo looks nice, though, right?
Among other excursions, we took the Short One to tour the Jelly Bell factory in Wisconsin last weekend.
As my husband commented, there's something perverse about taking a diabetic to a candy factory. However, it's a fact that the SO's favorite treat are sugar-free Jelly Bellys, which come in ten great flavors, including Buttered Popcorn (my personal favorite). From my perspective, these have really been a lifesaver, as just a few will satisfy my son's pre-schooler sweet tooth, and they also have proven quite easy to calculate into his daily carb count. I really don't know what we would do without them.
Thrillingly, we found even more sugar-free flavors (the sour Bellys) and even sugar-free taffy - which the SO had never tried - at the factory, so it ended up being a big hit from the SO's perspective. He didn't even seem to notice that the other 99% of the store was off-limits, for which we were quite grateful.
Anyway, here's a pic of the favorite candy in our house right now, in all of their glorious colors. Doesn't it just make you want to go out and design something bright and fun to wear for the summer?
Here are your bead and jewelry links for the week:
Creative Jewelry 2010 is now on the stands. I personally really like this issue - there are a ton of interesting designs from some of my favorite designers in here (and a truly monumental showing of beautiful ceramic beads and components from Earthenwood Studio - yay, Melanie!).
As for myself, I have four necklaces in this issue, all a little unusual for me in that they are slightly more ornate than I tend toward. One of them uses a tube of 4-color peppercorns for adornment and another uses a strand of very delicate, fan-shaped sapphires that I purchased at Bead & Button.
Anyway, I hope you'll check out the issue - it's worth it!
I am an intellectual property lawyer by training and have a background in English Renaissance literature. I love science fiction. I primarily watch Sesame Street these days and find myself humming "Pop Goes the Weasel" at odd moments (guess why). I can happily eat ice cream in the middle of winter when the wind chill is 20 below 0. I have been making beads and designing jewelry since 2007.
2010 - Winner, First Place, British Bead Awards, Other Finished Bead Jewellery 2010 - Winner, Second Place, British Bead Awards, Metal Clay Jewellery 2010 - Winner, Second Place, Bead Dreams, Metal Clay
2010 - Grand Prize, Gold Medal Winner, Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, Metal Clay, Metal Beads, Wirework and Chain Jewelry-Making Contest
2010 - Finalist, Bead Star, Stones, Plastics and Designs with Heart Categories
2009 - Winner, First Place, British Bead Awards, Metal Clay
2009 - Winner, Second Place, British Bead Awards, Beyond Glass, Handmade Beads and Components
2009 - Winner, Second Place, Bead Arts Awards, Necklace
2009 - Finalist, Bead Dreams, Metal Clay
2008 - Finalist Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Beading Contest, Metal Clay
2008 - Finalist, Bead Star, Pearls
A quick note
Welcome to my blog (my "virtual home") and thanks for visiting. I love to hear from people, so please do feel free to leave comments. I'm also quite open to friendly discussions and even constructive criticism. Please note, however, that I will not approve of any rudeness or profanity here and any comments containing same will be deleted. Thank you!
A word about copyright
As indicated in the copyright notice, the contents of this blog are copyright by me. To the extent that instructions to make jewelry, beads, knit items or other instructions are included in this blog, they are free for you to use to make the projects for personal use. They should not be used for commercial purposes, ie, to make items for resale.