Saturday, July 21, 2012

i heart macro Sunday

There's something about flowers that makes anyone smile.  A brightly colored bloom can light up a room.

This may be my new favorite color of rose.  The peach color is just divine.

For more macro goodness, check out Studio Waterstone.

studio waterstone

Friday, July 13, 2012

Simple Truths Celebration Challenge

I have been a fan of Erin Prais Hintz, from Treasures Found, for quite some time.  I love her sense of style and the jewelry she creates is amazing.

In addition to designing jewelry, Erin also makes a line of Simple Truth components.  These pendants are hand made by Erin and, trust me, each is a small work of art.  You can find Simple Truths and her jewelry in her etsy shop.

About a month ago, Erin asked us to join in a Simple Truths Celebration. Basically, Erin wanted us to create something wonderful with her Simple Truths.  hmm .. let me think .. of course, I wanted to play.

I was fortunate enough to win a 3 month membership to the Simple Truth sampler club and was taken by June's pendant.

The hummingbird is adorable an I can see her flying out of the pendant into the sky.

I knew right away I wanted to bead a flower or flowers for this cute little hummingbird.  As it happened, I had just purchased the Tarouk Blooms pattern from Heather Collin.  It seemed like a perfect match.

Heather's pattern was awesome and a blast to make.  I couldn't be happier with my funky bloom.  I also can't say enough good things about Heather's patterns.  You can check out all of them in her etsy shop.

I was trying to decide how to hang the pendant and flower when I had a chance conversation with Erin.  I had mentioned to Erin during the Bohemian Inspired Jewelry Blog Hop that I loved how all the artists in the hop took ideas from the book and put their own "spin" on them. 

Erin challenged me to do the same:  take one of the techniques in Bohemian Inspired Jewelry and incorporate it into a design.  I immediately agreed and couldn't think of a better project into which to incorporate this new challenge.

If you haven't picked up Lorelei Eurto's and Erin Siegel's book Bohemian Inspired Jewelry, I highly recommend it.  All of the projects are beautiful and they all incorporate all sorts of different ribbons, silks, leathers and fabrics.  I honestly want to try all the designs.

What follows is my interpretation of Lorelei's "The Beach House" necklace.

I started with some burgundy and yellow/green leather.

I made these kuchi beads to secure the leather.

I learned how to make these cute beads Debora Mauser in her Wild Woman Bangle class at Bead and Button.  You can see my finished bangles and my review of the class here.  (Spoiler:  the class was amazing and Debora was amazing.)

I used the loop in the leather and this button by C Koop Beads as my closure.

I strung peanut beads in the front of the necklace and added my pendant and the Tarouk bloom.

I took a kuchi bead and pulled it apart to make the bail for the bloom.

I like the way it wraps between the two strands of peanut beads.

And here is the finished necklace.

I love the way it looks when it is worn.  The bloom is a bit of a "statement," but sometimes, a girl needs to be heard.  :)

I'm still wavering, though, between loving the necklace and worrying that the bloom overpowers the pendant.    Any thoughts?

I owe a big "thanks" to Erin for hosting this challenge and for encouraging me to trust my instincts and to put my own spin on another design.  I also want to thank Lorelei for her inspiring design.

If you want to see how other people were able to use Erin's Simple Truths, check out the following list or hop on over to Erin's blog.

Erin Prais-Hintz
Sharon Misuraco
Tanya Goodwin
Alice Peterson
Melissa Trudinger
Lori Bowring Michaud
Rebecca Anderson
Chris White
Cherrie Fick
Rosanne Garvison
Shelley Turner
Marlene Cupo
Mary Harding
Lola Surwillo
Michelle Burnett
Kirsi Luostarinen
Paige Maxim
Kristen Fagan
Cynthia Riggs

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kreativ Blogger Award

I was surprised to see that Alicia, from All the Pretty Things, chose my blog and nine others to receive the Kreatv Blogger Award.

I seem to be in some amazing company.  Check out Alicia's blog post to see the other blogs she chose.

There are a few rules:
  • Post a link to the person who awarded you
  • Share 7 well thought out random things about yourself
  • Award 10 other deserving bloggers and let them know

I don't talk about myself very much, so ... seven things ... hmm ..

1)  I know how to use nunchakus.  Seriously.  I'm not saying I'm any good with them or would win in a street fight, but I understand how to swing them, how to hit something and how to use them to trap an attacker.

2)  I didn't like dogs until I met Pixi.  I didn't even like Pixi at first.  One day, I started feeling sick at work and went to my husband's house to lay down (he was my boyfriend at the time).  Pixi layed with me the whole time.  I now realize she just wanted my blanket, but at the time, I thought she was trying to make me feel better.  In this picture, Pixi is on the left and Roxi is on the right.

3)  I never leave the house without jewelry of some sort.  I don't always wear jewelry that I've made, though.  Although it's hard darn near impossible to pick a favorite, one of the pieces I wear most is a design by Keirsten Giles, from Cerebral Dillettante.  Keirsten was kind enough to pattern a necklace after one I had seen on Bones.  (The photo is Keirsten's.)  

4)  I have read comic books since I was a child.  One of my favorite Christmas presents was a large box full of 25 cent comic books from my parents.  My favorites, at the time, were the Silver Age Superman, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, etc.  (The image is from

5)  My husband never thought I was a good cook until I started cooking with more butter and oil.  I think the first dish I made that he deemed "acceptable" was a baked ziti.

My Baked ziti had about a half cup of olive oil, a pound of sausage, about 3 heads of garlic (yes, three heads), a pound of romano cheese, a few cups of tomato sauce and .. oh, yeah, some pasta.  :)

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of my baked ziti.  Instead, I'll show you a picture of the wonderful tenderloin my husband made for my birthday a few years ago.

6)  I love to bake.  My favorite dessert is cheesecake.  I've made many different kinds of cheesecakes over the years:  chocolate mousse, strawberry, white chocolate raspberry, cookie dough, oreo.  They have all been very good, if I do say so myself.  The richeset one, though, was a recipe from Junior's Cheesecake Cookbook:  a three layer chocolate cake with a layer of cheesecake in the middle.

7)  I started watching British television in college.  It started with Red Dwarf, a British sci-fi comedy that centered on the last human, a hologram, a senile computer, a lifeform evolved from a cat and a robot obsessed with cleanliness.  It sounds odd, but the first six or seven series are absolutely hilarious.

Currently, I'm waiting for the new season of Dr. Who.  While I love Matt Smith, my favorite Doctor is David Tennant.  I have yet to watch "The End of Time" because I don't want to say goodbye to the Tenth Doctor.

The image is from "Polymorph," one of my favorite Red Dwarf episodes and is from

Okay, now onto the really fun part:

Ten blogs that I love (in alphabetical order):

Keirsten's necklace was featured
in BeadTrends magazine

Cerebral Dilettante - Keirsten's designs are breathtaking.  I am constantly blown away by her sense of style and her ability to work with beads and metal.  Keirsten makes her own components, which results in stunning, unique jewlery.  On top of that, she has a great sense of humor and her blog is always a joy to read.

Lampworkified bullet
casing used in a tassel,
created by Jen

Glass Addictions - Jen is a wonderful lampworker and jewelry designer.  Her beads are filled with gorgeous colors.  Jen recently hosted a "blog slumber party" and I  really enjoyed staying up with her, reading her blog posts (one every 5 or 10 minutes) and ogling her gorgeous beads.

Gwen's sweater coat

Gwen Beads - I am constantly amazed by Gwen's designs and her ability to incorporate math and beading.  Gwen's blog is always a pleasure to read.  She makes me thing of beading in totally different ways.  In addition to beading, Gwen sews and felts.  I ran to my computer almost every day to look for an update on her sweater coat.

Kim's entry for the One
Color challenge

Kimmy Kats - Kim has a great eye for color and takes beautiful pictures of her creations.  Kim does amazing work with old spoons, turning them into gorgeous jewelry.  She's also been experimenting with seed beads, achieving wonderful results.

A necklace by Lorelei using
urchin sticks as fringe

Lorelei's Blog - Lorelei has tremendous ability to create the most beautiful jewelry almost effortlessly.  I love everything she does.  In addition, her blog is so much fun to read.  She shares her life with her readers and I totally feel like we're friends through her blog.

Dragonfly component
by Melinda

Melinda Orr Designs - Melinda does amazing work with metals, wire, patinas, paints and leather.  Her designs are inspiring.  Plus, she offers some great tutorials.  I always love to see what Melinda has come up with, whether it be a new component or design.

Boreas necklace created
by Sharyl for the
April 2012 ABS challenge

Sharyl's Jewelry and Reflections - Sharyl's blog features both beautiful jewelry and wonderful photography.  Sharyl joins in the Art Bead monthly challenge and offers up some gorgeous interpretations of artworks in jewelry form.  She also hosts giveaways, challenges and puts the spotlight on some talented artisans.

Hippititi, by Marla,
based on Helena Tang's
Echoes of Nefertiti

Spice Box Designs - Marla has a great eye for color and for design.  She can take anything and make something so unique and fun.  I love to see her creations.  Marla also has some funny stories to share.  Her blog always makes me smile.

A necklace Staci made
using several of her components

Staci Louise Originals - Staci has the most amazing style.  Her jewelry is stunning and, lucky for us, she also makes components.  I love reading about what Staci has created or about the progress she's made on this or that.  Staci also posts about the art/craft shows she attends, which is always a treat.

Erin's Opulent Odyssey
Treasures Found - Erin is a gifted designer in so many ways.  She creates the most beautiful jewelry and also has a line of Simple Truth pendants made from polymer clay (I think).  The color she achieves in her simple Truths are nothing short of amazing.  Erin also hosts periodic challenges (of music, color, or literature, to name a few).  Her blog is a wonderful read.

** The ten photos above are taken from the designers' websites. **
** The photos are not mine and are intended only to show off the creativity of these talented ladies. **

Saturday, July 7, 2012

i heart macro Sunday

It's been terribly hot for the past few weeks.  I thought about taking a few pictures of our poor, dying grass, but opted, instead, for a few snapshots from our last trip to the arboretum.

For more macro goodness, check out Studio Waterstone.

studio waterstone

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Wild Woman Bangles

I've been lax and didn't blog at all about my Bead and  Button trip.  I had a fabulous time (like spending a week beading could be anything but fabulous).

My classes were wonderful and it was such fun meeting and getting to know the teachers.  Most of the instructors took time to talk with everyone in the class, which I thought was awesome.

One of my favorite classes was the Wild Woman Bangle class, taught by Debora Mauser.  I haven't done very much wirework and was apprehensive about the class.  I emailed Debora with questions about tools and ended up having a longer email conversation with her.  She was very reassuring and excited to help me try something new.

I wasn't even nervous when I walked into the classroom.  Even if I had been, Debora's big smile and friendly demeanor would have instantly put me at ease.  

These bangles look best with a mixture of brass, copper, silver and any mixture of beads.    The kit Debora supplied had several different kinds of wire and beads .. plenty for two bangles.

Debora spent the first part of the class teaching us to twist wire and make both kuchi beads and tornado beads.  They look daunting, but Debora's technique is so simple.  It really was fun to twist and turn the different wires into something cool.

I'll admit that I was wondering if we would have enough time for the bangles, but all of us finished at least one  bangle and most of us finished two.

Debora supplied liver of sulpher and a tumbler for our use and we left with finished pieces of jewelry!

I highly recommend this class to anyone interested in wirework.  Debora was a great teacher and the class was really fun and, as Debora said, there is no wrong way to do it.  Seriously, no wrong way!  How awesome is that?

I can see these bangles becoming a staple.  I love wearing them with other bracelets and I plan to make a few more.

Thank you, Debora, for such an awesome class!