Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Okay, I Know!

I know, I know. I said the blog was shut down. But I had to share some of the pictures I took yesterday towards the end of the super-sized rainstorm we've had going on for the last WEEK!

Most of the serious damage occurred north and east of where I am, but if you saw any of the pictures of downtown Laguna Beach on the news - the ones where the main road had turned into a raging river? - that's the backside of the ridge from my house. Evey time we get major rain, that whole area gets wiped out. I think people forget that the whole reason there is a Laguna CANYON is because CANYONS get carved by RIVERS. And what are rivers? Basically - they are rain run-off

So what do the dumb humans do? They build their main access road to an entire communit right straight down the center of the original riverbed.

Can you say DUHHHH???!

Anyway, here are the pics I took yesterday:

This used to be the tot lot in our neighborhood (it's one door down from my house). Playground equipment is gone and the entire lot is now a mini-lake. Small child included in picture for size perspective (and because he demanded to be in the picture).

Mother Nature decided to give us a new lake for Christmas. Right in the middle of our local park. No fish or lifeguards available yet.

This was the first bit of blue sky (up there in the right hand corner) and sun that we've seen for an entire week. I took this picture at around 4 PM yesterday...and 30 minutes later it rained again.

Okay, I'm heading back into my holiday coma, but wanted to at least share the only interesting thing that's happened around here for months LOL!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Silence is Golden

Hi everyone, bead porn today (sorry). Things have just been too crazy around here this last week so I haven't really had time to collect all the pictures and get them uploaded and stuff.

In fact, I don't see an end to the insanity until the holidays are over so I've made the reluctant decision to shut the blog down for the rest of the year.

I'll be back (unless I get run over by a reindeer or something) in 2011 with, I hope, a revamped, refreshed blog produced by a revamped, refreshed brain. I've already got some ideas of new things I want to try so please, meet me back here the first week of January and we'll kick off the new year with a bang!

In the meantime, thank you all for the fun over the past year. I've so enjoyed all the comments and laughter and getting to know you.

Happy Holidays!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Made You Look Bead Porn

Is anyone else having just the week from hell? I swear I know at least four people who got the $*#& kicked out of them by life this week (including me) and I'm trying to figure out what is UP with the universe.

Is it some kind of Mercury in retrograde kinda thing or what?

Well, whatever it is, the only antidote I can come up with (that won't require me to be on a future episode of "Intervention") is bead porn.

So, whether your week has been good, bad or just mediocre, come join me in a bout of bead indulgence, won'tcha?

I don't mention it that often, but I work at the corporate headquarters of a medium-sized chicken restaurant chain. If you live in California, you probably have heard of it, but the rest of the country? Not so much. Like I said, we are medium-sized.

Anyway, this week we had our annual charity auction and every year I try to donate some kind of chicken-themed jewelry. Last year I did a couple of pieces using gorgeous lampwork chicken beads mixed with silver and gemstones. I decided to go a little more simple this year by using this darling sterling silver chicken charm from Beth Hemmila at Hint. I made my own bail for the charm using some sterling silver wire wrapping and a freshwater pearl. Attached the whole thing to sterling silver chain and then wire-wrapped on a few dangles of peridot, turquoise, garnet, carnelian and crystal. Sadly, didn't get the finished piece photographed before I had to turn it in for the auction, but I think it turned out cute.

AND, it helped raise money to support our charity group who donates both money AND food from our restaurants to lots of causes throughout the year.

Usually, I get silver pieces from Cathy Dailey, but occasionally she has some bronze items and I just love the color and texture of them so I snapped up these rings.

And this really cute flower pendant, too.

Then, I saw these laurel green patinated rondelles from Miss Fickle Media and thought they'd be perfect for Christmas designs.

Or anything else, really. Because they are perfect and I love them.

I keep trying NOT to buy matching chain and findings for everything, but really? That's just NOT who I am LOL! I am and always will be an overly-matchy girl at heart.

I was raised that my shoes and purse needed to match not only each other but also my hemline.

I wear pearls with everything.
In high school I was SOOO preppy - wore argyle sweaters over oxford shirts and penny loafers with EVERYTHING.

And besides, when Shannon is so kind to provide such gorgeously matching chain for those beads...why should I even bother to resist?

Yeah, I'm kinda obsessed with Czech glass. You didn't notice until I pointed it out, though, right? Love these cool, swirly snail beads.

Okay, there is ONE cure for matchiness obsession - a set of beads that's ALREADY in a mix of gorgeous colors.

This is a new shape in Czech glass - kind of a faceted nugget, but slightly lopsided so they don't look machine cut.

Rondelles in a dainty, feminine transparent pink with a Picasso finish.

(BTW...does anyone else wonder why this finish is called "Picasso?" Because I can't figure out how it relates to Picasso or his art - it's not like the beads have some mismatched eyes or upside down noses or anything.)

Royal blue with lavender accents? MUST come live at my house.

Lavender opal with Picasso finish.

It's probably too early to start planning for Spring jewelry, but I couldn't help thinking of that when I saw these lovely green and lilac beads.

All the Czech glass is from Bead and Ribbon on Etsy.

More springtime beads - tiny lampwork nuggets from Radiant Mind.

More tiny nuggets - in fiery shades of gold, red and fuchsia. Also from Radiant Mind.

I love Juls Beads - both because they are beautiful and because their creator and I have a lot of things in common (like our love for Dr. Pepper). So, when she started making all these funky glass birds, I just had to have one. And I wasn't the only one. Every time I had one all picked out? Somebody else bought it before I could get to it.

Eventually, I prevailed and now Silverparrot has her very own glass Juls Beads parrot. And he is a total cutie-pie!

Thanks, Julianna! You rock!

This set? I got off Juls' site before anyone else. So nyah, nyah, nuh, nyah, nyah.

Right after I found THESE ridged lampwork beads at Flame Crazy. They are my new obsession.

I fell off the lampwork wagon pretty hard this last month LOL! It's not my fault. Darned lampworkers always tempting me with their shiny, sparkly creations! I liked the denim blue color of this set with the splashes of yellow in it. Lampwork is from Firebabies.

I'm gearing up for the holidays with this sparkling set of hollow beads from Mermaid Glass. And really, if you think they look great in the picture...I only wish I could show you the real thing. They are SO pretty. And mixed with some black crystals or other sparkley beads they will be THE thing to complete my New Year's Eve ensemble.

Umm...that is...if I were going to go anywhere besides my couch and wear anything besides my flannel pj's and fluffy socks that night. Because I am a party animal, yo.

That's the end of this week's bead porn. Hope you enjoyed it! Sorry for the no links - I'm running short on time to get this posted, but I figure y'all are internet-savvy enough to type those vendor names in the search engine on Etsy and figure it out for yourselves. If not, e-mail me and I'll hook you up.


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Late Show Bead Porn

Back in...oh, I don't know...let's say maybe October? I went to a local bead show and bought some cool stuff and then the bag promptly disappeared into the overflowing mess that is currently my studio.

And I forgot about it.

Happened to re-discover it this weekend so thought I should take some pictures to share. Wish I could give you the names of the various vendors, but not only do I not remember what they are - they don't have websites anyway.

Just look at the sparkly goodness and pretend you don't notice that I don't remember where any of it came from.

A beautiful strand of graduated fire-crackle agate rondelles - dyed a lovely blue-turquoise-aqua shade.

Mored dyed fire crackle agate in a round shape with facets. I liked the mottled coloring on this strand - everything from dark blue and teal to olive green, white and brown.

Blogger has, in its infinte wisdom, decided that this picture can only be show vertically. Who am I to argue (and besides, I don't have time to futz with it). These are plain white wood slivers.

More slivers in a smaller, more rounded size and shape along with some carved rondelles.

Dyed vanilla-colored palm seed beads.

The same material in a round shape.

Mother of pearl leaves (or hearts - depending on which side faces forward). Apparently, at this particular show, I had decided I was in need of a ton of white and/or off-white materials.

Now, if only I could remember WHY! I'm sure I must've had some fantastic design in mind?

Brown lava beads in both round and oval shapes - these babies were $1 a strand!

And Patricia Healey was there with her heat treated copper pieces that I keep buying and hoarding.

This was a new shape and design for that show (see? I remember SOME things about that day!)

This pretty moon and star riveted pendant is heading out to a special friend soon...and if she's reading this, she probably knows she's getting it now LOL!

Beautiful sea creatures - a starfish and three scallop shells.

And the piece de resistance - a giant sand dollar. I don't usually buy this big, but Patricia was wearing the most amazing necklace that day featuring this piece and I thought it looked fantastic so I wanted to try designing something with it.

Every time this show comes through, there are these two older men who look EXACTLY like you would picture old miners looking - and their booth is nothing but Nnevada turquoise and lapis in all different shapes and sizes. I've collected some turquoise there in the past, but this time I grabbed a lovely strand of Nevada lapis - such pretty shades of pink and green!

I love this vendor - she always has a bucket of mixed $3-4 strands and if you dig in it long enough, you can come out with something like this great strand of multi-colored agate pebbles.

I've been looking at EB Bead & Metalworks pendants for a long time, but couldn't quite pull the trigger. Guess I was waiting for the right piece to "speak" to me and when they recently posted this amazing "Water" pendant...I HAD to have it. Water is my element and the coloring and size are just perfect.

Here's another view. Really, it's exquisite. If you haven't checked out their work yet, you are either blind or spending too much time smoking crack. They WON the ABS challenge last month with an amazing tree pendant necklace and you really NEED to own some of their work.

Besides, now that I found all these beads...

How AWESOME are these going to look with that pendant. Oh...the matchingness!


Friday, December 03, 2010

Color Challenge Blog Hop

When I first read about Erin's Color Challenge Blog Hop, I thought it sounded like lots of fun. So, I signed up.

And then, in typical me fashion, I promptly forgot about it.

Until this arrived in the mail:

And had me going "What the heck? who on earth would mail me a paint chip palette?" Then I turned it over, saw Erin's name and it all came rushing back so I had to race to her blog to check on the deadline.

On the positive side - I hadn't missed it (whew!)

On the negative side - it was set for just a couple of days away from another major deadline that I was working towards.


And then that sneaky voice in the back of my head (the one I don't usually admit to in public) said "y'know, you COULD make one item that satisifies BOTH of the project guidelines."

But I argued myself out of that on the basis of it maybe being kind of a sneaky thing to do (which is why it was suggested by that sneaky voice - see how these things work?)

And then I immersed myself in the other project, and the holidays happened, and the paint chip got lost for a week in my kitchen clutter, and the kid had ginormous amounts of really annoying math homework and that whole sneaky idea? Started to seem like GENIUS!

Except I still couldn't find the paint chip so I had to go for it from memory and this is the result:

I used a textured novelty yarn, size 5 DMC Perle Cotton, seed beads, Swarovski pearls and patinated brass chain from Patina Queen to create this necklace

The focal is a ceramic "petroglyph" style pendant from Star Spirit Studio on Etsy.

It was only days after I finished the piece that I found the color palette and held my breath as I put them next to each other to see how it all turned out:

Thank goodness that one of my few ACTUAL talents is the ability to exactly match colors - even from memory. If you show me a particular bead, I can walk into a bead store and pull every single other bead that exactly matches it.

Can't do anything contrasting or complementary to save my life, but if you want matchy-matchy monotone...I'm your girl!

And also? Thank goodness for multi-tonal novelty yarn. Both the "Porch Swing" and Dusty Spruce" colors were captured in the same yarn.
The patinated chain and deeper browns on the pendant were a good match for the "Picnic Basket" color and the golden Swarovski pearls represent the "Cottage Timber" color perfectly.

As for the sneaky aspect of things - Erin told me she didn't mind if I "killed two birds with one stone."

So I did.

Enjoy the rest of the blog hop! A complete list of participants can be found on Erin's blog.


Thursday, December 02, 2010

Pornarella's Premature Bead Porn

I told you I was keeping that nickname!

As mentioned yesterday, Friday's posting this week is reserved for a blog hop so you get your weekly dose of porn one day early - yay!

Silver butterfly charm with a gold patina to make the design stand out. I love this piece, but it is another stunning example of my inability to figure out sizes when shopping on-line. It's TINY. I mean...REALLY TINY. And it's not like the size isn't mentioned in the listing by the vendor, Jocalatte, because it totally is. I'm just blinded by all the shiny goodness when I shop and sometimes a little too quick to hit that "buy" button. It is cute, though, and I'm sure will make a nice little accent dangle on something someday.

The Czech glass obsession continues. These are a twisted nugget shape in purple glass with a picasso finish.

More twisted nuggest in a lilac/vanilla color combo that I just loved.

Beautiful lilac opal picasso rondelles.

Similar beads with more of a cloudy blue/lavender color.

Peachy-pink faceted nuggets with picasso finish (say that three times fast!)

As usual, I am always a sucker for the "water" tones in beads.

These are a lighter amethyst and cream shade of the beads I used in my Poe's Raven necklace.

I liked the etched pattern on these Czech glass disks. Kind of unusual.

And un-etched disks in a similar color scheme. All of the above Czech glass is from Bead and Ribbon.

Faceted red aventurine coins.

I liked the size, shape and quality of these coins so much that I bought three sets. These are amazonite.

And the last of the three is this set of lapis lazuli coins. Great size and quality. I can't wait to use them in a design. All three sets are from MintDestash.

Enough is enough with the lampwork diet, right? I mean, if I'm gonna eat pecan pie, I might as well buy some lampwork, too. Because of the ribbon, cord, etc. projects I was working on recently, I invested in some beads with larger holes to accommodate the thicker stringing material - like this set of large hole spacers from HMB Studios.

Another set of large-hole spacers from HMB. These are etched and offered a great variety of colors.

More large hole beads - these feature dots of silver and are from Sue Beads.

Another set from Sue with great swirls of lovely purple, green, turquoise and blue.

And as long as I was on Sue's site, I helped myself to this pair of gorgeous lampwork lentils. I think the "webbing" effect on them is fantastic. Reminds me of an underwater kelp garden - one of my favorite things!

I've been anxiously waiting for Mermaid Glass to open her store back up because I am addicted to these Fairy Skirt beads. And voila! Not only new beads, but a new color combo that I didn't already have. Score!

That's it for this week's porn. Tune in tomorrow for the Color Challenge Blog Hop!