Saturday, August 29, 2015

Black Raspberry

I finally got around to making a necklace with the drop bead raspberries. The opaque purple Czech seed beads are reminiscent of black raspberry ice cream, so I used them to make petals for the Paua shell beads. Originally I was going to use three flowers on the necklace, but instead I decided to make a matching bracelet and ring. I was pleased to discover the set had won a bronze metal in the 2015 Fire Mountain Gems Seed Bead contest.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Tackling the bead stash

Over the last year I have met a lot of people who share my passion for beads. After friending many bead people on Facebook I began seeing posts of beaded works made for the OTTBS challenge. When I finally figured out OTTBS stood for Operation Tackle That Bead Stash, I went to their blog. It seems that there is a monthly theme, and August was purple, green, blue and black. They had me at purple and green. There was also a twist, but I didn't have any spike beads and my bead stash is already large enough that I decided to limit my entry to what I had on hand. There are a lot of purples and greens to choose from, but I was influenced by the photo on the blog and used those shades. They are my favorites anyway, so it was an easy color way to work with. I started with flowers, it helps me think and I end up with usable components. I wanted to use a pretty shade rivoli, something I always have trouble with. After wrapping it, I decided to make a pendant using the flowers. I ended up with a cute component and I stitched an simple edged RAW chain to hang it from. Something was missing, the bottom was too wide. A perfect place for the spike bead, so I searched for a substitute, I know I have some crystals in the right shape but I could not find them. I finally came across a vintage glass drop that was the perfect shade green, so I added it to the bottom of the pendant. I like the overall shape much better with it, and I used a drop I never thought I'd find a place for. Win, win. I am psyched I found some inspiration, and was able to use up some beads. I am looking forward to participating in future challenges. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Black, White, and One

The theme for the September Etsy Beadweavers Challenge is Black, White and One (other color.) 
After deliberating over many different purple beads, I decided to use a bright yellow with the black and white.

Friday, July 17, 2015


Lately I have been looking to find inspiration from designs of the past. One of the things I have been checking out is vintage jewelry from auction sites like They have some beautiful pieces offered for sale. Some of them are really unusual. It encouraged me to look through my jewelry box for vintage and unique items. I like to go to the local auctions and various markets, and have bought some interesting things there.

This is a vintage ring I found at auction. I am not sure what it's story is, but it has different colored stones set around the top, and it is really tall. I thought it was a great find.
Some of my favorite pieces of jewelry are one of a kind, and some are just different from anything I see readily available.

This is a piece I found at a second hand store.
 The enamel egg and amber design is similar to one I remember seeing in the book  Africa Adorned by Angela Fisher. I believe it said the style of necklace was given to a woman to commemorate her becoming a mother. 

 These amber rings belonged to my maternal grandmother. She loved big rings. I found the necklace at a flea market. Some of the beads are missing, but the remaining ones are pretty nice.

 My paternal grandmother received this pin when she graduated college in 1930. She had a degree in Spanish, which I find strange because I was never good at languages. I love the pearls in the heart shaped part.

These are some easy to make bracelets. I used sterling wire with trade beads. They are fun to wear with just about everything I own.

 Rubies and opals are my favorite stones. I found the rubies at the gem show in Tucson in 2006. I strung the two strands of faceted beads separately, but I wear them together, usually wrapped around my wrist. They look great with gold bracelets.

These rings came from the local farmers market. They do have some bakery and produce there, but most of the place is odd little shops. When I spotted the rings in the coin shop I bought them because, well,  I love opals.

This is a piece of jewelry that has a pin back as well as the chain. It came from a jewelry shop in an antique mall. I don't know how old it is, but I have had it for 20 years.  I really like the way the different kinds of turquoise are used together. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Chains and Freedom

My entry for the 2015 IBA competition. The theme was "On A Journey of Discovery." I chose to make a beaded representation of the Liberty Bell, since that is the symbol of choice for the city of Philadelphia. There is much emphasis on the history of the early days of the United States in the county that I live in. There is even a replica of the Liberty Bell in my town! You can see my picture of it on the Liberty Hall Wikipedia page.

On Independence Day my favorite activity is taking pictures of fireworks!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Battle of the Beadsmith

Space 25/50
My Battle of the Beadsmith entry this year represented the culmination of a year of intense beading. I had only finished my Bead Dreams entry the week before the April 1st start date, and I made a bracelet for the Etsy Beadweavers spring swap in that time. I had no idea what I was going to make, and at midnight on April 1 I was struck with the idea of a space theme. The free form format I had been playing with seemed a perfect medium, and even though the idea was very self indulgent I went with it. The second week of April I started making my entry for the Fire Mountain seed bead contest, and I spent three weeks on that. It was accepted to the next round of judging, so it was time well spent. That piece was purple flowers, and may have proved a better choice for my Battle piece since my space themed necklace was voted out in round 1. The space necklace was the second in my Earth and Sky series, and I probably should have taken more time with it. The thing about the Battle is all the beautiful beadwork designs are amazing, in some battles especially it is so hard to choose. There are some really unique ideas this year, and once again I am happy just to be included with such talented bead artists. 


Friday, April 10, 2015

Waterfall Necklace

Some pictures of Glen Onoko Falls in the Pocono Mountains near Jim Thorpe, Pa.

 The blue bead I found while hiking the trail that gave me the idea to bead the waterfall. I added it to the necklace, under a fern.

Close up of bracelet and necklace

I used labradorite and aquamarine beads along with two hole beads and seed beads to create the waterfall.

 Reverse view

 The sun came out for this picture

The entire piece is free form bead work incorporating brick, peyote, square, herringbone, spiral stitch and fringe. I worked on it over five months and am very happy it was chosen as a finalist.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Romantic Floral Bracelet in Purple

This Mercury retrograde I decided to finish up some projects that I had started in the past year. One of my favorites is this floral bracelet. I had so many flowers I made and never used I was able to make a bracelet in purple and blue as well as the pink. The center flower has a superduo center with luminescent Japanese seed beads. The berry clusters are Swarovski pearls. I made the toggle bar into a caterpillar that blends in with the flowers.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Waltz of the Flowers

This barrette is inspired by the music of Tchaikovsky, and was created for the February Etsy Beadweavers challenge, Let the Show Begin. I thought to represent the ballet, using the gentle sway of the flowered fringe to capture the flow of the dance. The blue flower beads are vintage German glass that I mixed with some modern Czech glass and vintage seed beads. The majority of beadwork is done using Czech seed beads with some Japanese seed bead accents. I also added some Swarovski pearls. To balance the blue flowers I made a few bead woven bell flowers in shades of purple which also add to the texture of the fringe. The beadwork is sewn on to chamois, and attached to the metal barrette. 
Visit the Etsy Beadweavers team blog to vote for your favorite from February 9th to February 15th.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

2015 Beading Contests

Beading contests 2015

End dates for submissions- double check all info with websites, and verify dates for yourself- end dates sometimes are extended. I will update this list when more information becomes available.

Jan. 31, 2015 International Bead Awards, Perlen Poesie - On a Journey of Discovery

Jan. 31, 2015. Beadworkers Guild UK 15th anniversary Swarovski contest

March 25, 2015 Bead Dreams Bead and Button magazine

April 1, 2015 Piecework pincushion contest.

April 30, 2015 Fire Mountain Gems seed bead contest

May 15, 2015. This is a Facebook contest inspired by Earth Day and sponsored by Happy Mango beads.

This is a monthly design contest sponsored by Preciosa Ornela, makers of Czech glass beads. Each month features a different theme and entries must be comprised of Preciosa beads.

June 15, 2015.  Fashion Colorworks

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Azurite malachite Flower bracelet

This year for the Fire Mountain Gems seed bead contest I used some azurite malachite composite cabochons, and made them into flower centers. I wrapped the cabs, then added petals. One of them I used on a necklace, the other as the center focal of a bracelet. I accented them with smaller flowers, some on the necklace used cats eye beads as centers. I used vintage French seed beads to make the leaves. The bracelet was selected as a silver medal winner.