Friday, October 29, 2010

Ghost Bead Porn

Shhh...I'm not really here. I'm on vacation.

You didn't see anything....

These are not the droids you're looking for...

But they ARE the beads you're looking for:

Indigo and chestnut chain from who else? Miss Fickle Media, of course.

Deep red and gold ceramic charms from Dot Winchell at Winchell Clay Works.

She also made these cute fall foliage charms.

And these pretty blue and green ceramic beads.

And a blue and green triangle pendant.

(Okay, Dot, it's official - you can tell everyone you're a porn star now).

This lovely and wintry-looking clay blossom is from Tracee Dock at Classic Bead.

Ceramic and crackled glass charms in a deep teal color from Artisan Clay. This is definitely a case where the picture doesn't do justice to the finished product. They are a much deeper, more mysterious-looking teal in real life and they just GLISTEN in the light. I definitely hope she makes more of these little guys!

Matte and transparent lavender glass lampwork rings - beautifully etched to a nice soft finish by Outwest.

I've been looking and looking at these babies on Gardanne's site for a while. Tried to resist, but I just couldn't pass up that drenched color on the black - it's gorgeous!

Blue Seraphim has started adding these gorgeous glass pendants to her already-amazing lampwork sets. The pendant is made by applying artwork to the back of a glass dome and sealing it with resin. I hesitated to get one since I already do my own resin work, but I just loved the earthy greens and browns touched off by silver in this set so had to get one to investigate.

Despite my best efforts, I'm apparently still unable to resist blue and green lampwork. This set is from Flamecrazy.

And last but not least, this incredible set of beads from Libelula. Etched to look like sea glass and touched with droplets of silver, they are just gorgeous in real life. I've already been playing around with them trying to come up with a design that fits and so far, I'm kind of thinking all they need is a bunch of silver between the beads to bring out the silver drops on the lampwork and then to be left alone to take center stage.

Hope you all enjoyed my ghostly bead porn. Have a Happy Halloween and don't eat too much of your kids' candy!!

I'll see you on Monday.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Might As Well Face It...'re addicted to (bead) porn.

At least, you are if you're showing up here every Friday with your hands shaking and a drool cloth standing by.

And if you locked the door and turned down the lights...well, then, I'm afraid you're a goner, but you might as well enjoy yourself on your way out so here you go:

These copper beads have been given a beautiful deep red patina by the amazing Shannon at Miss Fickle Media. What could possibly be more perfect for Fall?

I dunno...maybe this red leaf that she also created? I love the touches of purple in it!

As long as I was on a red kick, thought I might as well get some red Picasso Czech glass rondelles from Uncommon Beads.

A few months ago, my friend Erin, sent me a stash of these wonderful mesh-covered beads. I've been dying to find more of them ever since, but the original supplier was out. These are not quite an exact match because the mesh on the ones Erin sent me was more of an aged brass color and these are a bright gold, but I thought they were still pretty.

And the cobalt blue is just delicious. They remind me of Japanese glass fishing floats that used to wash up on the beach in Hawaii when I was a kid. We used to collect them and take them home for decorations. Both sets of mesh beads are from Gemme Tresor.

Still loving this melon shape in Czech glass. Every time I find a new color, I have to get more. They are just the BEST filler and accent beads! This color is sort of a cross between a deep red and a caramel brown.

And this one is a purple/lavender with a gold luster on it

And perhaps my favorite to date: gorgeous cranberry with a gold luster. All are from Uncommon Beads.

Puffed bronzite coins from Gemme Tresor.

And lookie! I found carved black onyx beads in that awesome melon shape. Just in time for Halloween! They are also from Gemme Tresor.

This picture does not do justice to these beads. They are carved black spinel nuggets that have had an AB coating applied to them. In real life, they glow and flash almost like a darker version of labradorite. And such a great shape, too! They are from Lily's Offering.

You can see I was on a kick to add some fall colors to my stash - these "pumpkin spice latte" polymer clay beads are from Humblebeads.

Did you think that Miss Fickle Media only did metal? Cuz it ain't so. She is a wiz with the polymer clay, too! These are sea urchin buttons made from poly clay and of course given a wonderful patina-style finish.

She made these sunflower buttons, too, and I think they are my favorites of everything I've gotten from her (which is saying a lot because I can't seem to stay out of her Etsy shop for more than a few days at at time!)

Gaea is still killing me with her sale beads. I'd already boughta set of her "mermaid" beads and then saw this "seaweed" set. It's similar, but has more yellowy-green undertones.

I had so much fun making those earrings a couple of weeks ago with the tiny lampwork beads so I decided to stock up on some more. Purple and teal - one of my favorite color combos!

And how about tiny faux sea glass nuggets with siver bubbles? YUMMY!

And then I saw this set. How incredible is that deep berry color with the rusty, crusty glass and touches of silver? All three of the sets of lampwork are from Radiant Mind.

I've been drooling over all the flowery beads from Serena Smith's store for a long time. I've bought a few pansies in the past, but thought it was time I expanded my repertoire and I just couldn't resist these silverd black calla lily blossoms. I totally see a vampire queen wearing a necklace with these gleaming blooms to the annual Halloween ball, don't you?

That's it for this week. I'll be leaving on vacation next week so no posts Monday - Thursday, but I'm going to try to get a porn post scheduled to auto-post on Friday. Wouldn't want any of you addicts to get strung out or anything.

Happy Weekend!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

R U Sketchy?

Once upon a time, I had this great idea for a blog post. I'd done something that is quite rare for me - sketching a design out ahead of time - and thought it might be fun to write about that whole process from the sketch through the finished jewelry.

Everything went well right up until the time I was ready to scan my drawings and then sit down and write the blog entry - whereupon I realized that I'd lost the original sketch.

Yeah, kinda hard to do a blog post about sketching with no sketch to use for an example. Still, the blog needed posts so I went ahead and posted the finished jewelry last week and earlier this week.

Then, last night, I found the sketch.


Isn't that always the way? You can't find something when you really need it and then later on when you've given up and moved on with your life, it finally shows up?

Kinda like an ex-husband...

But I digress (as usual)

Anyway, the point is, I'm still going to do the post about to sketch or not to sketch (because I know that is a burning question that you all are staying up nights and biting your nails over) because I finally found the $(#)&&)!!! drawing...and...I have nothing else to talk about today.

So, here are the reasons I don't USUALLY do a sketch:

1. If you've been around this blog for any length of time, you've heard me mention that I failed 7th grade art class. Mostly because of my spectacular lack of drawing skills. So, when I do draw something, not only does it bring back painful memories, but my inner perfectionist gets all caught up in wanting the drawing to be all pretty and perfect and that's a total creative buzzkill, yo.

2. I get easily overexcited by the gorgeousness of the beads and want to just dive right in to playing with them. This drawing sh*t takes too much time - and I don't have a lot of creative time to myself to begin with so anything that takes away from the actual jewelry-putting-together process is a speedbump I don't want to deal with.

3. On the rare occasions when I do sketch something out, the final product never ends up looking anything like the original sketch so doesn't that make the drawing process even MORE of a time waster?

Now, here's the flip side of the argument:

1. Sometimes ideas come to me in mental flashes - like someone just hit the flash button on a camera in my head and POOF! Instant jewelry design. This tends to happen at inopportune moments for actual jewelry creation - like while I'm walking down the hallway at work, driving in traffic, trying not to fall asleep in a meeting or standing in the shower. Chances are, by the time I can actually get to my workspace, the idea will be gone. Making a quick sketch or even listing the types of beads and colors at least gives me a hope in hell of remembering my idea later on.

2. Rather than shopping through my massive stash of beads and getting distracted by the pretty while trying to put together a design, I can use the sketch like a "shopping list" so I only go to what I need for the piece.

Now, let's take a look at my actual drawings and see how they did or did not turn into actual jewelry:

This is the drawing I did for what turned out to be the "Chocolate & Roses" bracelet that I posted last week. It started with the aqua ceramic "button" style links from Mary Ann Carroll. In the original vision, I added some large amethyst chunks along with smaller rondelles of amazonite or turqoise and purple jade, some brass chain and brass sand dollar and seahorse charms.

How retarded is my seahorse drawing btw? LOL!

Besides that, things went wrong immediately when I dug into the stash in search of the purple amethyst chunks only to realize they were gone. I knew I'd used some in a design years ago, but somehow I thought there were a couple left over. WRONG! I didn't have anything else of the right size and shape in a color that worked with the aqua links that I could use in place of the amethyst so that idea was out the window.

Then, I couldn't get the plan I had for wiring the button links into the right place to work. It just felt too flimsy like it wouldn't hold together.

And I'd never been convinced that I could properly balance the weight on this piece as drawn because of having the lighter chain on the sides.


Well, large links from a brass chain turned into jump rings which solved my linking problem and then I had that strand of carved floral chocolate brown beads from Michael's sitting on my workspace anyway so I decided to go with that. Add in an amazonite nugget, pearls and some seed beads and wire and done!

See what I mean about how the finished product never looks much like the sketch? I do think the color combination in the original drawing is prettier and still like the idea of adding in the brass "ocean life" charms, but I may have to pursue that in a different format in a future design.

Now, here's a look at another sketch:

This is the sketch I did for the "Jungle Boogie" necklace I posted earlier this week. My favorite part is the way the brass pendant is so totally out of whack from a size perspective AND that I ended up using a different brass pendant anyway. I was going to go with the leafy one, but it looked too busy with the necklace - which already had a lot going on in it.

I also ended up doing clusters of 5 flower dangles instead of 3 as drawn. I started out with 3, but it just looked kind of wimpy on the necklace and the flowers weren't lying the way I wanted them to.

Also, once I started actually putting the necklace together, I realized that the back half as drawn was a little too sleek and regimented for the wild front. I added extra sections of crescent beads and flower dangles, reduced the amount of the green rectangular beads at the back and broke up their silhouette by adding a few more orange rounds between them.

And that's how I got my "Jungle Boogie" on ;-)

So, what about you? Do you sketch first? Always, sometimes, rarely or never? Why or why not? Are there other advantages or disadvantages to sketching designs besides what I've mentioned here?

Also, do you think my 7th grade art teacher should be tarred and feathered? Or do you kind of agree with her and I should maybe have my colored pencils confiscated in the interest of public eye safety???


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Over the Limit

There should be a limit on how many of the "Big Questions" your kid gets to ask you in one day.

Last night I got hit with both "Is Santa Claus real?" and "Where do babies come from?" within 10 minutes of each other (and no, I don't know why the kid was thinking about Santa and the origin of life at the same time).

That is just...not fair.

Also, no fair asking me stuff like that while I am trying to pay the drive-thru attendant at Carl's, Jr. Because some stuff just cannot be multi-tasked. Anatomy explanations and French fries do not go together.

Unless I get a LOT of alcohol.

Which was not really appropriate for this situation anyway.

But to get back to my point...NOT FAIR.

New limit is one earth-shattering question per day. Unless anatomy is involved - then it's a limit of one per week.

Because Mommy's brain needs time to recover from the trauma.


P.S. For those who want to know, the answer to "Is Santa Claus real?" is "What do YOU think?" I figure that buys me one more year at least ;-)

P.P.S. As for the other question, I dodged the bullet a bit because it turns out he didn't want an explanation of the actual PROCESS so much as the geographic location of where a baby comes out. An "appropriate for a 7 year old" explanation of this location was provided - AFTER we got home.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Jungle Boogie

It feels weird to be showing and writing about a piece inspired by lush, hot, humid tropical jungles while it is pouring rain outside. And we're not just getting rain - we're getting probably the most intense and longest-lasting bout of lightning and thunder I've ever experienced in Southern California. It started at 4 AM this morning and we've had pretty much continuous activity since then.

I'm sure it's wimpy compared to what happens in other parts of the country, but for's quite exciting. I've even heard that a Sam's Club not far from here took a direct lightning strike! Personally, I think we should all get to go home. You know...just in case.

But in the meantime, tropical jungles it is!

This design is a little on the funky, crazy side compared to what I usually do, but tropical jungles are not tame and orderly now are they? When I think of jungles, I hear words like wild, lush, riotous, etc. And this necklace certainly fits that description.

I started with the etched brass dragonfly focal from Summer's Studio and added in some dyed green palm seed rectangle beads I got at a bead show last year. Then, I found these dark brown crescent beads (don't know what the material is - some kind of wood or seed, I think?) at Michael's. The green Czech glass flowers have stripes of orange down their sides so I added in the dyed orange wood beads from Fusion beads.

A few touches of purple Czech glass and brass seed beads are the final accents.

A brass ring and hook clasp at the back and last few beads as a dangle and "Jungle Boogie" is finished!

Can you hear the drums?


Monday, October 18, 2010

Patience is a Virtue

Which I sooooo totally don't have. BUT! I wanted to thank everyone for patiently awaiting the posting of the game results and bead porn from Friday. So, thank you for that AND for the "get well" wishes, too. I greatly appreciated the thoughts!

So, now that you've all waited an extra three days, here's the winner: Paige from Paige Maxim Designs! Congratulations! You've won a mystery package of de-stash beads and a pair of earrings - just e-mail me your shipping address and I'll get them out to you!

And no, I didn't forget to bring the porn:

Sterling silver flowering leaf and branch component from Sweet Rock Candy Beads.

A cute pair of leafy links from the same source.

And a simple branch component as well.

And because I just can't resist a pansy "anything" - this pair of sterling silver pansy dangles.

Stone rondelles dyed in a variety of candy shades - just like a candy necklace!

Chinese turquoise barrels - both sets of stones are from Excellent Gem.

Carved feather charm from Floridity.

Matching bird bead from the same source.

Cute blue and red stoneware ceramic bird buttons from Sandhra Lee.

Bird's nest on a branch pendant from her as well. I really like the contrast between the blue glaze and the red clay showing through.

Beautiful sunburst flower pendant from The Classic Bead - great colors in this piece!

Cute little acorn bead from Summer's Studio, Etc.

Dragonfly and sunflower pendant in wonderful fall shades.

And a matching daisy pendant.

Gorgeous seashell raku lampwork beads from Kelley's Beads. The colors on these are just yummy!

Unusual "Canyon Road" swirled lampwork glass disks from Alisha White. Great touches of purple, orange, mustard and sage green in these beads.

Hope everyone had a great weekend and I'll see you tomorrow!