16 December 2013

Tassel It Winner!

Please email me your address and I will send this purse fob out this week to you ready for gifting to someone 
...or to keep for yourself! 

Ho! Ho! Ho!

(Does that look like a Santa to you?)

14 December 2013

3rd Annual Holiday Ornament Swap

“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!”
~Dave Barry
Since you know I love to decorate the tree for Christmas (see my previous post!), it should come as no surprise that I would participate in a holiday ornament swap! My lovely friend, Miss Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime organizes the swap and pairs each participant with another designer. This year I had the good fortune to be paired with my friend from Down Under, Miss Melissa Trudinger of BeadRecipes!

 She sent me a funny card - Christmas in the Sun - with hilarious little cartoon images like Santa in swimming trunks and floaties, a decorated palm tree and sand 'snow' man! Also these little candy treats: Malteasers (tasted like malted milk balls) and Cherry Ripe, a sort of chewy cherry and chocolate sensation. The kids were eager to try them!

Miss Melissa actually sent me TWO ornaments! The first is a sweet little homemade cinnamon stick tree! I love the red lashing and the star at the top! 

The second is a very cool garland design. Strung on evergreen sari silk, it features some pretty lampwork glass beads from Bellissimo Jewels and polymer clay stamped disks that Melissa made! 

She very cleverly designed it with large jump rings on each end that allow it to be secured to a branch for draping. Here is how it looks on my tree!

To see what I made Miss Melissa, please go and check out her blog!

Thank you Miss Melissa for the wonderful presents! And thanks to Miss Sally for organizing this fun swap again. Here are the participants for the swap/hop.
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Blessed New year to all!

List of Holiday Ornament Swappers

12 December 2013

Art Bead Scene Ornament Blog Hop

Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse. 
 ~ Clark Griswold, Christmas Vacation

Ahahaha! I love Christmas Vacation!

Thank you for joining me for the 4th Annual Art Bead Scene Ornament Blog Hop!

[I apologize for the pictures... my camera lens has been broken since early October and my phone has stopped allowing me to snap pictures, so scans it is! Picture if you will a beautiful sparkling white light tree branch...]

First up, a nod to one of the best scenes in the Christmas Vacation movie, a SQUIRREL!
This pretty porcelain image is from White Swan Illuminations. And what would a squirrel be without a NUT? I made this one from a huge acorn bead cap (I really should get better about reading dimensions in listings...) and a really cool brown and copper leaf peeled paint bead from Jeannie Dukic. It is the only bead in my studio that can fit that cap! Little peanut beads and a sari silk ribbon scrap complete the ornament.

Did you know that squirrel was my now 15 1/2 year old son's first word?
And you will have to ask me sometime about the Great Squirrel Quest of 1974.
My dad battled a family of squirrels getting it on in the attic above his bedroom that rivals anything that Chevy Chase has done!

Next is a pretty little bauble that I whipped up by accident. 
Classify this as things-that-were-just-lying-near-each-other inspiration! 

I used a cool swirly glass headpin from Genea Beads. To that I added a polymer clay blackbird from Heather Powers of Humblebeads. On top I added a faceted golden crystal moon. I used some tiny faceted crystal rondelles to the outer edge but miscalculated the amount of wire I needed. I wanted it to go all the way around. Happy accident that I just eyeballed it. I quite like the assymetry. And then I ran out of steam to finish the top so I used a little bit of silk cord from Marsha Neal Studios. However, now that I look at this, I think I will make a little beaded swirl hook using the same crystals to carry the curve. Picture it in your mind....

And finally, I thought I should use one of my own Simple Truths for an ornament. I actually made a whole lot more ornaments this year for sale at the Gallery Q (see two below), along with some great beaded ornaments with art bead toppers a la Heather Powers' tutorial from last year which I don't have pictures of. I guess I didn't get around to listing them in my shop. Sorry about that! Message me if you think this this something you are interested in. If there are any left after the holidays, maybe I will have a flash sale. ;-)

{Jewel of Bleak Winter and Flor de la Bueno Noche ornaments with swirly beaded hooks (not shown) $25}

 I do these limited edition quarterly birds in my Simple Truths style.
For Winter 2013, I introduce the Snowflake Bird.

Again, I got a little lazy with the top and just used some silk cord from Marsha Neal, and I might leave that since it matches the silver tone of the snowflake so well.

I have these cool little branches in my stash and I wired one to the bottom so that it looks as though the birdie is perched there. There are little holes in the branch, so I added a little leaf shape from some fold formed copper that I made at my class with Stacie Florer at ArtBliss in September. I stamped it with the year and decided that a tiny gray crystal was needed for a little flash. 

My husband and I have a tradition where we gift each other an ornament every year and don't buy gifts. 21 years. This will be my special gift to him {he doesn't read my blog - I'm not even sure he knows what a blog is - so I am sure he won't see this!} ;-)

Thanks for hopping along with me. There are plenty of talented people taking part in this blog hop. So grab a cup of hot cocoa, a candy cane, put on some festive tunes and have fun seeing all the ways we add a little sparkle to December!

11 December 2013

Tassel-It with Dazzle-It

When Miss Carmi comes calling, I always answer!

This girl is very creative and full of ideas and so sweet to boot! She works with John Bead and Envirotex to promote and introduce new products. Miss Carmi contacted me about a new product that is coming out from John Bead and the Dazzle-It line that are tassels. I understand that tassels and fringe will be big in 2014 fashion, so I was willing to give it a shot.

I received a full package of tassels in many different colors, along with some coordinating lengths of faux suede and some clasps. For now, I stuck with the tassels themselves.

The first thing I made was a Christmas ornament. I admit it. I cheated a little. I had made the decorated bezel (from Nunn Design) last year as part of my time in the Nunn Design Innovation Team. To make the bezel I filled it with a two-part jewelry clay, like this set from Envirotex, embedded chatons and rubbed fine glitter into it. I had a completely different handmade tassel on the bottom that I really didn't care for because, well, it looked like a deranged jellyfish with tentacles waving. These tassels are so much nicer! I like that it looks very polished and professional and consistent. But the white was just a bit too stark. Part of getting products like this to play with is that I feel I should try to innovate with them whenever I can. So I turned to my overflowing art supplies.

Frosted ornament

I decided to see what would happen if I used alcohol inks on the white tassel. That soaked up quickly! But this didn't give me the ombre effect that I wanted. So I went back and painted two different ink colors on each strand at the bottoms, leaving the top white. For a little added bling, I painted some strands with white glue and sprinkled dusting of fine glitter on them.

The Tickler ring

The totally oddball piece that I created was a ring. I snipped the loop on the top off and then mixed up some jewelry clay to attach it to an adjustable ring base. I added little sparkly AB Swarovski chatons and let it dry overnight. I like zany jewelry, but the tassel was really a tad bit too high to make it wearable. But my officemate Laura gave me the idea of trimming the tops, even handing me her scissors to do it! We decided that this would be double duty as a cocktail ring and could also be used as a little duster for your keyboard. Maybe there is a new market to be explored... office bling! ;-)

Honor What is in your Heart purse fob

While I was modifying the first two, I decided that I would try to keep it simple (I know! That is hard for me to do!) and just see about adding it directly to a project. They are really fun to add a little bit of color, texture and movement, and with the loop at the top and the metal color, they can match just about anything. Now I am looking for things to add tassels to! So I just added the tassel to the bottom of a new Simple Truths piece that I was working on that says 'honor what is in your heart'. On my table nearby was an embossed and painted wing, a rhinestone flower and a little crystal teardrop. I just gathered them all up and added a large lobster claw clasp at the top. I meant this to be a purse fob (although it could work as a key chain as well). This would make a wonderful present for someone special for Christmas, don't you think?

I am feel very generous today, so I think that I will give away the purse fob pictured above to one lucky commenter on this post. Winner will be selected at random from all comments with an email for contacting and will be mailed out in time for Christmas gifting! Winner will be announced on Monday, December 16th.

Thank you Miss Carmi, for the chance to play with these new products! Be sure to hop over to the Dazzle-It blog for a list of all the participants in this hop.


For more information about Dazzle-it products visit www.dazzle-it.com or their blog http://blog.dazzle-it.com. They are on Facebook, too, with regular give-a-ways: www.facebook.com/Dazzleit.

[Disclosure: I received the Dazzle-It products mentioned in this post for free from John Bead in consideration for review.]

02 December 2013

4th Annual Challenge of Color :: ColourLovers

Please click the link if you are looking for the Typhoon Relief Auction.
The auction will be open until 12/5.
Current high bids: #1 = $30; #2 = $55; #3 = $55; #4 = $95
Thank you!

Welcome to the 4th Annual Challenge of Color!

This year I suggested that we get our palettes from the ColourLovers.com website. The people who are part of that community do a great job of making really interesting palettes and also naming the colors and their corresponding palettes very intriguingly! One of the things that hooked me on the site, was the ability to make my own palettes using the names of the colors as the guide in a community game called WordLinks. You can read more about the game and how to play on my original blog post.

I will admit that even though this is my Challenge, it can be a real challenge to me, too! My biggest nemesis is time. So on Sunday night at about 7:30 I was actually able to sit down and build a palette and create something. I had hoped to do more than this, but time just didn't seem to slow down, even though my computer made it seem like time had stood still. I have issues with this old beast in that I can move from one page or window to another, but it takes like 20 minutes to refresh. And of course, I had the ubiquitous camera issues since I dropped my camera a few months ago. So please bear with me!

I decided to give myself the twist - the Word Link palette.
I had a beautiful ceramic pendant from Marsha Neal Studios on my table so I knew that I wanted to start with a nice deep red, so I chose Red Red Wine. What followed next is exactly plucked from the rabbit hole of the color palette generator!


Red Red Wine led to Wine Stained which brought me to Stained Green.

I had this lovely beaded component from Kristen Stevens. I love her little beaded gems! The deep garnet and soft touch of matte green would make a beautiful focal!

And I also happened to have this half strand of mossy green jasper, not sure what it is called. Perfect for the Stained Green color!

The next one was the wildcard. The greatest thing with the Word Links challenge is making a circular link where the first word of the first color matches the last word of the last color. So I knew that I needed to end on Red.

Typing in Green Gem gave me a lot to choose from with that color name. Everything from bright lime to deep forest. But my eye was drawn to the more mellow teal color. This is a surprising twist in this palette. But I like it! I chose to use a beautiful rough cut emerald stone to represent the Green Gem, since that is a true green gem. Yes, these are real emeralds! Not heat treated or highly polished, but a rich and saturated deep blue-green. I got them at Soft Flex who happens to be having a 70% off sale on their beads and gemstones.

And that led me back to Red. Gems Red!

For a little motion, I added these little rizo beads that look like funky little colored bits of rice. They have a hole at the top and are coated with an AB finish on one side, giving them a unique color and flash.I like to think not only of color, but texture when I am designing. This broke up the field of color and shape and played with the light.

I call my necklace Wine-Stained Gems in reference to the palette.


Here are the Word Link colors with their Hex numbers:

Red Red Wine 6E0000
Wine-Stained 351A22
Stained Green 506C05
Green Gem 0C6457
Gems Red 4 691A30

You will notice that the colors in this palette are all in a more muted shade. None of them are outside of the same saturation level as the others. I think that is why it works, but I am no color guru! Speaking of color gurus...if you haven't already checked out Brandi's blog she is the one to watch. Her posts on color theory are awesome and her book, Understanding Color,  is a great reference. She just relaunched her Color Palette Club as a reference tool that will be fantastic for designers!

And just for fun, I created this pattern using their online tools.

I really wanted to make a few more things based off a few more palettes, and I think I will, because I had a lot of fun making the palettes themselves. A good tool to remember when I find myself stuck in a drab color rut!

If you were able to carve out some time to play along with me, please feel free to add your blog to the InLinkz code below. If the holidays took over and you find yourself with more ideas than time, no worries! The number one rule is this is supposed to be FUN! If you are not having fun, you aren't doing it right! ;-)


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