Monday, March 26, 2012

New Earrings

Thanks to the rain this weekend, I got some much needed downtime and was able to clear the decks with various projects. I had three repair jobs that I'd been dragging my feet on forever because who wants to do repairs when you can make new stuff instead, right? Anyway, got those done and out of the way. The result was that I had some time to make a few pairs of earrings.


These...are probably a mistake. I thought they'd be so much fun with the brightly colored poly clay charms from Floridity, but the more I look at them, I'm not happy with the final design. I love the charms and the colors in them and my original thought was to have a bright pink bead as the upper section, but every time I put one with it, the pink color on the charms just went blech. So, I had to give up on the bright pink idea. I also wanted a very casual, beachy-boho kind of vibe and when I saw the pale pink stick pearls I thought "aha!" They'll give me the right vibe and they won't fight with the brighter pink of the flowers. The only problem with the stick pearls is the holes are so tiny that I can't use my normal gauge of wire or head pins...even my pearl reamer won't fit very far in and would take me HOURS of time to enlarge the holes. Not something I relished doing. So, I grabbed some very thin brass wire and wire-wrapped everything to make it sturdier and then I added the apatite round at the top to tie in the teal color.

I really liked them in the moment, but when I looked at them the next day and was taking the pictures, naaahh...not lovin' it any more. Am I the only one that happens to? Does anyone else "wake up" and have designer's remorse?

So, these are headed to the re-do pile - I really want to fix them because I love the daisy charms so much. They deserve a good design.

This pair I'm much happier with. These cute little red ceramic heart charms are from Slate Studios Supply. I added some dark navy blue Chinese crystals and gold Bali vermeil spacers. Simple and sweet.

This pair started with some pretty enameled hearts from Gardanne to which I added some faceted smoky quartz and tiny rondelles of rose quartz.

I really need to stop hoarding all the gorgeous copper pieces I've gotten from Kristin Bowman's shop. I thought I'd ease into that plan with these textured rings and they just seemed to cry out for some lampwork beads. I had a new set I'd just picked up from Radiant Mind that made a great match.

That set of lampwork beads had six beads in it. I used 4 in the previous pair of earrings and so I had just enough left for one more pair. I really liked the mix with copper so I grabbed some Patricia Healey bird charms and made this pair.

I'm just getting back into designing after quite a long hiatus (other than my Bead Soup pieces) so I wanted to keep things pretty simple. I definitely noticed a degradation in both my eyesight (getting old SUCKS!) and my wire-wrapping skills. Those bounced back...just took me a few more attempts that it normally does. Of course, about the time I was really getting on a hot streak and wanted to start laying out a bracelet or a necklace, it was time to get groceries, then get dinner on the table, review the kid's homework for the week and get his backpack ready to go for Monday, run the dishwasher, run a load of laundry (everybody needed clean underwear), get showers done and go to bed.

I get so frustrated when I run out of time like that. Thought I'd be able to pick back up last night when I got home, but the photos needed to get done and the Etsy site needed to be updated and there were new resin pieces to prep. Oh, and I had to fling some food at the kid before he started gnawing on the table.

Speaking of which...would you believe he ended up in the nurse's office AGAIN yesterday? Some other kid was goofing around acting all crazy and throwing pretend punches and guess whose nose he managed to connect with? Yep. Ryan ended up with a bloody nose bad enough that they changed his shirt in the office and sent him home wearing a loaner shirt (which I assume I have to wash and send back? what's the protocol on that?) I had a nice conversation with the nurse where she told me how delightful Ryan is and that he's intelligent and that they love having him in the office. How many other kids get to know the school nurse THAT well? Sheesh!

Oh well, maybe more design time tonight. Assuming there are no further accidents...


Friday, March 23, 2012


Okay, I think everyone's had their fill of Bead Soup for now. The next round is this summer so check back for a new soup recipe then.

One last bit of housekeeping, though. I mentioned in my Soup post that I hadn't been able to come up with a name for my necklace and if anyone gave me a name I liked, they'd win a resin pendant. I'm happy to announce that I loved the name "Summer's Dawn" as submitted by Skylar of Brising Beads. Congratulations, Skylar! You win a resin pendant so drop me a line via e-mail and send me your snail address and I'll get that right out to you! Or, if anybody knows/chats with Skylar, be sure to let her know.

In other news, things have been crazy around here as usual. We did a trip to New Mexico in mid-February to get caught up with some of the family. Visited the old family farms in Las Cruces and Hatch and then made the 4 hour drive up to Albuquerque where, through really fantastic planning on our part, all of our family was out of town. Hey, I never said I was a travel agent. Weather was a little on the chilly side and we had rain one night, but no snow (darn it!). More details and pics from the trip later if I ever get my act together.

After we got home, we had a whole series of accidents/illnesses which I mentioned a bit in my Bead Soup post as almost preventing me from getting my pieces done. My back went out for several days so I was laying flat on an ice pack for quite a while. The kid and I both had colds for a week. But the scariest thing that happened was the call I got from his school one day telling me that I needed to drop everything, fly there as fast as I could and get him to the ER.

Why, you ask?

Well, let me tell you.

He and several other children were sent from their classroom into an area known as the "pod." It's sort of a central hub that several rooms connect to and is used as a storage/workroom for the teachers, houses their supplies and has several small tables with chairs where kids are occasionally sent to work alone or in groups for various reasons. Normally, there is a teacher or a parent volunteer in there.

On this day, unfortunately, there was no adult supervision. Ryan's group was sent into the area where the large paper cutter is (you can see where this is going, right?) They found the table they were supposed to use for their project covered with items so one child went back to the main room to tell the teacher about this. In the meantime, the other children discovered the paper cutter and one girl undid the latch on it (it's supposed to be a "safety latch", but it's incredibly easy to undo as I found out later). She began to lift up and drop the large, saw-like blade.

Ryan stuck his hand out and told her to stop...and she chopped off a chunk out of the tip of his middle right ring finger. And when I say "chunk", I mean the pad area of the fingertip almost down to the bone.

He was then sent, bleeding profusely, with only another child for an escort, all the way to the office.

Oh, and did I mention that it was POURING rain that day so my drive to the school and then to the ER was rather a bit of a nightmare?

Upon arrival at the ER, the doctor decided he could try to glue the piece of Ryan's finger back on using surgical glue. So, he didn't have to have stitches which was good news. It was also good news that the cut missed the nail so he didn't lose that AND it missed any vital nerve/tendon areas so they didn't have to call in the hand surgeon.

Of course, it was his dominant hand so homework and handwriting and certain other tasks were challenging for a while, but thank goodness everything seems to be healing well and it doesn't look like he'll have any noticeable scarring...he just won't have a fingerprint on that finger!

So, yeah, I've completed my quotient of excitement for the time being and am looking forward to things quieting down a bit and maybe even a nice, relaxing Spring Break vacation on our annual trip to the desert in a few weeks.

That's it for now.


Saturday, March 03, 2012

Bead Soup!

It's finally here! My soup is finally finished...and neither a vacation, nor a last minute back injury, nor a rush trip to take the kidlet to the ER kept me from finishing. I didn't even let the rainy day prevent me from getting my photos done (although it was really freakin' cold out there and it was awfully hard to keep things from blowing over while taking pictures!)

But I was determined to be on time.

So, just as a memory refresh, here are the wonderful materials that my blog partner, Kat Barron Miller sent to me:

This stunning and unusual fused glass focal wire-wrapped to an etched brass background piece.

She also sent a matching brass toggle clasp, a mix of brass tubes and beads and some Swarovski crystals so I could get my sparkle on!

Although all the components and especially the pendant were absolutely gorgeous, I knew I was facing a few challenges right away. First off, the sheer size of the pendant made it obvious that my typical "go to" design (about a 20" necklace with a center pendant) was not going to work. Also, I felt that the size of the pendant would overwhelm the much smaller accent beads that were sent.

Thank goodness that Kat included that larger matching brass toggle so at least that would help balance out the pendant and continue the metal theme.

So, off I went to Michael's to see what I could find in the way of "large", "brass", "chain", and "purple" (to match the focal). I lucked out and found some great items including some large link brass mesh chain, large purple ceramic rounds and large dyed purple agate oval slices.

I was also able to pull some brass stardust cut-out beads, brass jump rings and mirror-finish aqua stone rounds from my stash. Oh, and I found some great squiggley brass metal rings in my stash as well and had a really cool idea about how to add some sparkle to them with the crystals from the Soup Mix!

Then it was time to head off to the design board. After futzing around with various arrangements for a while, I decided the oval agate slices weren't going to work. The shade of purple wasn't quite right and they were taking over the design.

I messed around with the layout a bit more, decided the necklace really needed to be a longer piece and that the fused glass focal needed to be strung in-line with one side rather than hanging as a pendant. This meant removing the lovely silver wire bail that Kat had created for it (which I hope she is not going to kill me for doing).

I also took some 26 gauge wire and wire-wrapped some of the smaller crystals onto the squiggly brass ring - it was a great way to add the sparkle I wanted and use the smaller beads without them getting overwhelmed by the size of the other components.

Then it was simply a matter of stringing and wire-wrapping all the sections together.

And ta da! I usually name my creations, but this one has me stumped so if anyone wants to volunteer name suggestions in the comments (be nice! LOL), I'll flip you a resin pendant if I pick your suggestion.

Here's another close-up of Kat's focal. She really put a lot of work into the elements of making this: fusing the glass, stamping and cutting the metal frame and wire-wrapping it all together. If you look closely, you can see that the glass has not only some sparkle in it, but also some hints of aqua along with the purples. I replicated those two elements throughout the design.

Here's a closeup of the center section including the large ceramic rounds I got at Michael's, the brass stardust cutout beads and some of the larger crystals from the Soup Mix.

Here's a closeup of the clasp that Kat provided in the mix. I love the touch of silver on it and it was great to have this extra metal element to play with. You can also see the component that I added the crystals to.

Here's a closeup of the mesh brass chain. I just thought it was so cool and unusual, I had to use it. I strung and crimped loops of some of the remaining smaller crystals to attach the main necklace section to the brass chain. Another way to include the sparkle and the smaller beads without them being dwarfed by the larger pieces.

Here's another view of what is technically the back although this necklace does not have to be worn symmetrically.

In fact, it works in different arrangements. Here's a view of how it can be worn asymmetrically - to let more of the large mesh chain links show.

Here's a final view of the overall piece.

After completing the main necklace, I had lots of the leftover smaller beads and components from the bead mix so I made up some additional pieces:

I just knew those curved tube beads were crying out to be earrings. I actually was going to add more tube/chain sections, but when I got to this point I was so pleased with the design that I decided to go the "less is more" route and stop.

My favorite kind of earrings: long, dramatic, sparkly, and swingy.

I still had some bits and pieces left so I came up with a bracelet, too.

I was dying to see the contrast between the lacy brass bead caps that came in the Soup Mix with these aqua jade beads.

The clasp is a Vintaj textured ring that I was actually saving to use in some earrings, but with the brass hook, I thought it would make a perfect clasp.

That's it for my soup. To help you continue on in your travels, here's the list of Bead Soup participants:

Hostess, Lori Anderson

1. Adlinah Kamsir (Singapore) and Hajer Waheed (Kingdom of Bahrain)

2. Adrienn Lukacs (Hungary) and Agata Grygiel (Poland)

3. Agi Kiss (Hungary) and Carolien Muller-Genger (the Netherlands)

4. Agnes Asztalos (Hungary) and B.R. Kuhlman

5. Alesha Conklin and Becki Mendivil

6. Alice Peterson and Carol Dillman

7. Alicia Marinache (Canada) and Dita Basu

8. Amanda Dittloff and Brandy Thomason McNair

9. Amanda Tibbetts and Andrea Trank

10. Amy Freeland and Kay Mallery

11. Andra Weber and Christine Murrow

12. Ann Sherwood and Diane Welte

13. Barbara Bechtel and Kerry Bogert

14. Barbara Lewis and Cat Pruitt

15. Bonnie Coursolle (Canada) and Fay Wolfenden (Canada)

16. Carmel McGinley (Australia) and Tracy Stillman (Australia)

17. Cassie Donlen and Deryn Mentock

18. Cathie Carroll and Janel Dudley

19. Cece Cormier and Morwyn Mullins

20. Charlene Jacka and Christina Hickman

21. Cheryl Brown (Canada) and Diana Ptaszynski

22. Christina Stofmeel (the Netherlands) and Eva Kovacs (Hungary)

23. Christine Damm and Deb Brooks

24. Cilla Watkins (Canada) and Elaine Robitaille (Canada)

25. Sabrina Straub (Switzerland) and Kathy Combs

26. Cindy Cima Edwards and Eleanor Burian-Mohr

27. Cory Celaya and Rhea Freitieg

28. Courtney Breul and Dana Hickey

29. Cynthia Abner and Jennifer Boreck

30. Cynthia Tucker and Jean Peter

31. Debbie Goering and Heidi Post

32. Dee Elgie (UK) and Joanne Lockwood (UK)

33. Dian Hierschel (Germany) and Eniko Fabian (Austria)

34. Diane Cook and Lyn Foley

35. Donna Bohler and Lisa Lodge

36. Donna Millard and Kiersten Giles

37. Doris Stumpf (Germany) and Eszter Czibulyas (Hungary)

38. Elisabeth Auld and Eva Sherman

39. Elke Leonhardt-Rath (Germany) and Marjolein Trewavas (UK)

40. Ema Kilroy and Laurie Keefe-Cecere

41. Erika Nooteboom (the Netherlands) and Giorgia Rossini (Italy)

42. Erin Grant and Jean Wells

43. Evelyn Duberry (Canada) and Gaea Cannaday

44. Genea Crivello-Knable and Heather Powers

45. Ginger Bishop (military, Okinawa) and Martina Nagele (Germany)

46. Heidi Kingman and Lori Greenberg

47. Helen Kemp and Lisa Wangeman

48. Helene Goldberg (Australia) and Karen Vincent

49. Jamie Hogsett and Jeannie Dukic

50. Jeanette Ryan and Jelveh Jaferian

51. Jennifer Cameron and Tania Spivey

52. Jennifer Justman and Kari Carrigan

53. Jennifer Tough and Lorelei Eurto

54. Joanna Matuszczyk (Poland) and Julianna Kis (Hungary)

55. Joanne Tinley (UK) and Michaela Pabeschitz (Austria)

56. Julie Anne Leggett and Kelley Fogle

57. Karen Hess and Linda Landig

58. Karyn Bonfiglio and Kathleen Lange Klik

59. Kashmira Patel and Kat White

60. Kat Barron Miller and Kelly Morgan

61. Kathy Lindemer and Rose Binoya

62. Krafty Max and Sandra Miller

63. Kristen Latimer and Pam Ferrari

64. Kristie Roeder and Lea Avroch

65. Kristina Johansson (Sweden) and Penny Neville (Canada)

66. Krisztina Erlaki-Toth (Hungary) and Nicole Keller (Germany)

67. Lara Lutrick and Lisa Suver

68. Laura DeMoya and Lisa Hanna

69. Libby Leuchtman and Melanie Brooks

70. Linda Koch and Rosemarie Cowit

71. Lisa Chapman and Menka Gupta

72. Lisa Liddy and Marion Simmons

73. Lori Anderson and Marcie Abney

74. Lori Bowring-Michaud and Mary Govaars

75. Lori Dorrington and Maria Rosa Sharrow

76. Lori Finney (Canada) and Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp (Canada)

77. Lynn Bennett and Mandi Ainsworth

78. Marta Kaczerowska (Poland) and Milla Starchik (Canada)

79. Mary Harding and Shannon LeVart

80. Mary Jane Dodd and Stacey Curry

81. Melinda Orr and Molly Alexander

82. Melissa Meman and Michelle Escano-Caballaro

83. Michelle Jensen and Sandra Young (Canada)

84. Nan Emmett and Nicole Valentine-Rimmer (Canada)

85. Nancy Boylan and Suzette Bentley

86. Natasha Lutes and Patti Vanderbloemen

87. Pam Hurst and Rebekah Payne

88. Patty Miller and Sara Rhoades

89. Rebecca Anderson (UK) and Lori Anderson

90. Rebecca Sirevaag and Sharon Driscoll

91. Rochelle Brisson and Shannon Chomanczuk

92. Rosa Maria Cuevas (Mexico) and Tejae Floyde

93. Sabine Dittrich (Germany) and Sally Russick

94. Sandi Volpe and Sarah/Saturday Sequins

95. Shanti Johnson and Tracy Mok (Canada)

96. Skylar Brez and Theresa Buchle

97. Sonya Stille and Traci Zeller (Canada)

98. Stefanie Teufel (Germany) and Tania Hagen (New Zealand)

99. Stephanie LaRosa and Vonna Maslanka

100. Terri Wlaschin and Wendy Blum