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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wow....They Were Actually There!

I received a message on Facebook Sunday, April 13th from a fellow member of the Artisan Group telling me she believed she saw a pair of earrings I had gifted through the Artisan Group to the stylist of CW's Hart of Dixie in Saturday's episode "A Good Run of Bad Luck".  Of course I was like, "NO WAY!" I had to go look up the episode online and guess what!  They were actually there!  In the opening sequence of the show was the main character, Zoe Hart, visiting with a fortune teller to discuss the run of bad luck she was having.  On the ears of the fortune teller were none other than my Cancun Sunset earrings.  I was so ecstatic!  I couldn't believe my eyes.  Dangling from this beautiful dark skinned lady were my tropical colored earrings.  She wore them well, and they fit the character.  My earrings did have that gypsy/boho vibe to them.

Screen shot taken from the show.

Here they are.  Cancun Sunset Earrings.
If you would like to order a pair, they are available in limited quantities in my Etsy shop.

To order, please visit

Two pair have already sold.

For those who don't know what the Artisan Group is, here is some information taken from their website:
At The Artisan Group® we are on a mission to introduce Hollywood to the best of the handcrafted movement. We do it by providing owners of artisan businesses the chance to introduce their products to celebrities, industry leaders and members of the press through participation in celebrity gift lounges such as those leading up to The Academy Awards*, The Golden Globes* and The Primetime Emmys*. Because The Artisan Group takes a collaborative approach to participation in these lounges, a marketing opportunity that would be prohibitively expensive for most small companies becomes surprisingly affordable.
Members of The Artisan Group showcase an array of handcrafted products, including jewelry; bath and spa products; designer stationery and paper goods; crocheted accessories; children’s apparel; purses and totes; hand-poured candles; hand-bound books and journals; illustrations and paintings; hand-dyed scarves; fine art photography; hair accessories; and pet accessories and toys.
The Artisan Group also offers members guidance in sales, marketing, social media and public relations. For nearly three years, our experienced event representatives have acted as spokespersons and ambassadors for countless artists at Hollywood's top gift lounges, with fantastic results. Because they know and trust us, most celebrities will pose for a professional photo with our artisans’ products.
Participation in The Artisan Group is by invitation only. The result is an exclusive, close-knit community of talented artisans who exhibit excellence of product, great product photography, impressive branding and online shop presence, unique products, an established online sales record and products appropriate (size-wise) for gifting.
 I am so excited to be a part of The Artisan Group.  I appreciate all the advice and help they give to artisans about getting their brand out there.  Their team works tirelessly to promote, encourage, and find opportunities to further the handmade community.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

And the Madness Continues.....It's Okay...We Are All Mad Here Anyway.

As in a previous post, I have begun bead embroidery.  I have to say, I AM TOTALLY ADDICTED!  After I made my mom's lovely for her birthday (she totally cried by the way when she opened it), I have made two more pieces.

I love the earthiness of Tiger's Eye and decided to use it in my next two pieces.

I did a little different bezel for the stone on these pieces than the first one.  On the first one, I did a back stitch method. On these pieces, I used even count Peyote stitch.  I can't decide which one I like better.  I can see flaws in this photograph.  I didn't have any obvious flaws showing in the back stitch method.

Attaching those spines was an interesting adventure to say the least. :)

I love the design I came up with for the "chain" part of the necklace.  It is a combination of ladder and brick stitches.  I like how these oval Tiger's Eye beads look like candy.

On this next piece, I went simplistic.  I again used the Even Count Peyote stitch for the bezel. Instead of a basic beaded edge, I went with a picot edge which turned out very lovely.  I woven a bail for it as well so I could put it on a chain.

The stitching is much better for this one. 

Still a few wobbles around the edge, but all in all a very lovely piece.

Materials used were:
Toho 11/0 Round in Galvanized Gold and Matte Opaque Soft Brown
Toho 15/0 Round in Matte Opaque Oxblood
Toho 6/0 Round in Bronze
Cousin Bead Basics 11/0 Matte Brown and 6/0 in Amber/Bronze
Toho 9mm Bugle Beads in Antique Bronze
Bead Treasures Tiger's Eye 6mm rounds and 25mm x 17mm oval
Bead Treasures 11/0 Czech Glass in 14 kt Gold Plated Crystal
Tiger's Eye Cabochons: 30mm x 40mm and 25mm x 18mm
Tiger's Eye Bead Chips
Cousin's Elegance Metal 14 kt Gold Plated Jump Rings, Link Chain, and Clasp
Nicole's Bead Backing
Suede Leather
22 gauge Red Brass Wire
Beadalon's Wildfire Braided Beading Thread in both Crystal and Smoke
NYMO thread in Peach
Size 12 English Beading Needle
White Craft Glue

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Descention Into Insanity

While being around an amazing bead embroiderer (if that's a word) that happened to be one of my fellow Creative Circle Ambassador's, back in February, I was inspired to give it a try.  Thanks Dawn Doucette (Bella Amore Legacy Jewelry).  Just another insane obsession to add to the long, ever growing list I already have.

When I got back home from the Cousin Creative Circle Ambassador Retreat, I made a beeline to my local Gem and Mineral Show.  I picked up a few cabochons to play with.

I went to Jo-Ann's looking for stiff felt, but they didn't have anything stiff enough to hold up.  So I ordered some on the recommendation of Dawn, again, from Nicole Campanella's website, Beadwright. Her stuff is really nice and comes in some really great colors that compliment your stones rather well.

Anywho......I picked out three stones that went well together and got started.  I glued the stones down to the felt with E-6000 and trimmed down the felt.

I gathered by supplies, some Czech glass seed beads I had picked up at the Gem and Mineral Show, some Toho from Fusion Beads, Miyuki seed beads from Jewelry Supply, sharp scissors, beading string, leather for backing, and beading needles.  I used Beadalon's Wildfire beading thread, but I did discover that Berkley's Fireline works way much better.  Good to know for next time.  The leather I purchased from Michael's for $6.99 a piece.  It's a pretty big piece.

Then the beading started.
 First row was done and then I realized that my stone wasn't exactly perfect on all sides.  It's a bit lumpy on one side.  Oh, well.  To late now.   I just kept going.

I ended up doing four more rows atop the stone and then went back and added a outer row of 3mm round silver plated copper beads before trimming and gluing the foundation to the leather.
Here is what the untrimmed focal looked like after adding the outer silver ring of beads.  After I trimmed it, I added a row of the turquoise seed beads to hide the edge.

I moved on to the smaller stones and then attached the embroidered pieces together with 8mm round genuine turquoise beads I picked up at the Rock Man and Gemstone Lady in Longbeach, gunmetal 8/0 Toho beads, and 2.5 mm silver plated copper beads.

After I beaded around it all, the color of the stones seemed to transform into something very lovely.  They went from bland and unexciting stones to knock outs.

I added a place to attach it to the rest of the necklace that I was going to create.  The plan was the use gunmetal enameled copper jump rings to attach it to a chain. I changed my mind when I sat down to finish it.  I used more beading thread to create a unique strand for the back.

Finished piece that will be given to my mom for her 68th birthday. Total time working on this piece was 18 to 20 hours.  Well worth it.  I think I have now descended into a little bit of insanity, because I want to do more of this.  Unfortunately, my hands and wrists are screaming at me.  They are super sore and stiff from the weaving of the beads.  Now I remember why I quit beadweaving in the first place.  LOL....back to the madness.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Prima Bead Giveaway!

Prima Bead has been teasing all last month about beginning a giveaway.  Well, today it starts!  Make sure you hop on over to their Facebook page and enter to win.

While you are there, sign up for their email list and check out the latest products and FREE projects.

#PrimaBead, #Giveaway, #freebeads

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Gearing up for Florida!

In just a few days, I will fly out to sunny and WARM Tampa, Florida to hang out with the Cousin Corporation gang and meet my new Creative Circle Ambassadors.  We have five new ladies that I will get to enjoy the company of on our trip, Lisa Stukel, Vicki O'Dell, Allison Cooling, and Rebecca Utermohlen.  I will be able to hang out with my fellow Silver Sisters, Suzette Bentley and Lisa Crone as well.

In preparation for our trip, Cousin sent us a nice package.  Mine contained a personalized sand bucket, a lovely beach towel, a package of dried tropical fruit (YUM), sunblock (I greatly appreciate this considering I am extremely pain, er...pasty), and a lovely sea star.  Well.....let's just say the sea star did something for my creative juices.  It sat on my workbench for a couple of weeks before I could figure out what exactly to do with it.  And here is what I came up with......

I glued down Swarovski flat backs to the center of the star using BeadFix jewelry adhesive.  To the back of the star, I glued down flattened 18 gauge silver plated copper wire using E-6000.  If you have never tried to glue anything to a sea star, it takes a ton of glue because the star is very porous.  I put more E-6000 over the wires once they had completely dried just to be on the safe side.  I made a wrapped loop at the the wire.

Using 22 gauge stainless steel wire, I wrapped the top point of the star to give it a more polished look.

I found this lovely elongated oval chain at Walmart in the bead aisle.  With it's twisted rope-like links, I felt it was the perfect combo to the star for a sea inspired piece.  I knew I wanted splashes of color here and there, pearls and shells.  Fortunately I am a bead hoarder so I had tons to work with.

Very few of the beads in this necklace are not from Cousin, the lovely freshwater pearls, the Swarovski flat backs and turquoise gemstone chips.  The thin chain, shells, wooden beads, glass pearls, mirrored glass beads, red gemstone, and mother of pearl coins are are Cousin products.  The bead dangles with the swirl at the bottom are made from 20 gauge stainless steel wire that I curled and then hammered to flatten.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Valentine Project - DIY Valentine Heart Necklace

Cousin asked the Creative Circle Ambassadors to come up with a project inspired by Valentine's Day.  This is what they asked us to do:
"We would like everyone to come up with their own interpretation of Valentine’s Day in a project that you will be submitting. What colors, materials and symbols remind you of romance, love and affection? Some classic examples are hearts, arrows, keys and doves/birds. This does not have to be a standard jewelry item, and may be used as a craft in a non-traditional way if you like. Of course we always appreciate that you use all Cousin product if/when possible. We would really love to see a new take on something traditional to add some variety to our current offerings. Anything goes with this project and it will be fun and interesting to see what everyone comes up with."
Hmm........Not too bad of a project to do except the fact that I don't usually create heart jewelry or even think about the traditional colors when it comes to Valentine's Day.  When I think of romance, I think more on a time period in history when romance and love were innocent, a time in which lace and pearls were the height of the fashion world.  The Victorian and Edwardian eras were to me the most romantic periods. Images of Downton Abby dance through my head (even though that is set Post-Edwardian). Lace, pearls, and hints of crystals pop instantly cross my mind. The only problem is that isn't what is being asked for.

So, with that in mind.....I tried something that turned out better than I had hoped.  Below is a project for more of the advanced jewelry maker.  With that said, I believe a beginner can also pull this off with a little effort.

Skill Level: Intermediate to Advances
Crafting Time: 1 to 2 hours depending on skill

Tools Needed:
Flat or Chain Nose Pliers
Side or Flush Cutters
Round Nose Pliers
Two different sized mandrels or cylindrical objects such as marker barrels
8oz. Ball Peen Hammer
Steel Bench Block

34722027 -  51pc 8-10mm Pearl-Crystal Mix Pink-Bronze (Prima Bead)
34718092 -  100in Small Silver Curb Chain (Prima Bead)
34719059 -  134pc Starter Pack- Silver (Prima Bead)

162089 - Bead Landing 10/12 mm Bronze Pearls (Michael's)
20 Gauge Jewelry Wire (I used Beadalon's German Style Wire - Available at most craft stores)

Create the following by threading beads onto an eye pin and forming a loop:
Three 10mm bronze pearl connectors
Two 12mm bronze pearl connectors
Two 6mm pink crystal connectors
Two 10mm pearl/crystal/8mm pearl connectors

Create the following by threading beads onto a head pin and forming a loop:
Three 6mm crystal dangles
One 8mm pearl/crystal/10mm pearl dangle

Measure and cut two 5 inch sections of curb chain. Using a jump ring, attach the clasp to the end of one piece.  Cut a 3 inch section extender chain from Starter Pack and attach to one end of the other 5 inch section of curb chain. At the end of the extender chain, attach one of the pink crystal dangles. Set aside.
Measure, cut and straighten two 6 inch sections of wire and one 8 inch section.
Using your round nose pliers, find the center point of each piece of wire, form a loop by crossing the wire over itself around the barrel of the pliers. Bow the ends inward.

Using your smaller mandrel (1/2 inch diameter) curl one end of the wire loosely around crossing over the other end of the wire. 

NOTE: I used a steel graduated ring mandrel to make my curls.  I placed the wire at size 1 for the smaller hearts and size 4 for the larger one.  

Lace the loose end of the wire into the loop and pull towards the loop. 

Place back on the mandrel and push against it to make a smooth loop. Remove from mandrel. Tug the loops slightly apart to loosen. Push the bottoms of the loops up until a heart shape forms.

Wrap the ends of the wire around the bottom edge of the loop to secure the shape. Trim excess wire. Repeat for the other two pieces of 6 inch wire. Following the same steps use the larger mandrel for the 8 inch piece.

Place heart shape on a bench block and hammer the top of the loops and the very bottom loop of the heart taking care not to hammer where wire crosses wire.

Attach a small heart on each side of the large heart using 6mm jump rings. Attach the crystal dangles to the smaller hearts. Add a 10mm pearl connector to the bottom loop of the larger heart. Attach a 4mm jump ring to the bottom loop of the connector. Attach the last heart to the jump ring with two 6mm jump rings. The jump rings should be placed through the top loops of the heart.
Attach the 8mm pearl/crystal/10mm pearl dangle to the bottom loop of the small heart.

Attach a pearl/crystal/pearl connector to each side of the hearts. Attach a 12 mm pearl connector using a jump ring on each side, followed by a crystal connector and a 10 mm pearl connector.

Attach the chain using jump rings to the last connectors.

Finished piece

Close up of hearts

If you find that some of the silver plating has come off when hammering, you can touch it up with a Krylon Silver Leafing Pen available at most craft stores.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I'm Drooling Over Here!

Okay, so today I receive the new Prima Bead catalog in the mail.  I have to say, I was so taken away into Beadland with the gorgeous new beads, findings, and patterns that I had to wipe the drool.  The creative wheels were turning like crazy.  Here are some of the drool worthy items:

Super feminine and romantic, this pretty is perfect for Victorian style jewelry designs

Get this, it's only $5.99!

Beautiful little acrylic flowers and Shamballa Style beads mixed together.  How perfect?

Price: 24 pieces for $5.99

GORGEOUS!  I love the colors on this baby!
Gemstone Round Dipped Pendant- Purple/Brown

Price: $4.99

Wowza!  I love the look of these
Two Hole Faceted Acrylic Bead Sliders

A 4pc set is only $2.99!
There is so much more to see including NEW Beadalon™ items on the Prima Bead website.  Make sure to check it all out here.