30 Days of Thankfulness

On November 1st, I started seeing my friends on Facebook talk about doing a Thankfulness Project.  The idea is to post a status update every day for the month of November detailing something you are thankful for.

My life has been pretty stressful for the last couple months, so the idea of this sort of project really appealed to me.  I liked the idea of refocusing myself to the important things of life and maybe even forgetting for a moment the things that are overwhelming me.

Since I love photography, I wanted to add my own unique spin and make it a photo project instead of a daily status update.

I thought I would post here the results of my little project.  You can click on any of the images to see them a little larger.  You still might not be able to read the text, but be assured that it was a Thankful month. :)

Days 1 through 9Days 28 through 30

Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal

Today is the big reveal for the 6th Bead Soup Blog Party.  Lori Anderson of Pretty Things was our hostess for this fun and creative swap.  Today is the 3rd and final set of reveals that have been going on for the past 4 weeks.

You might remember my partner Donetta Farrington of Simply Gorgeous sent me this fantastic collection of beads…

My task was to take the focal (which Donetta did create {wow!} ) and clasp and design at least one piece of jewelry.  I love what she sent me and the colors were so fun to work with.  I was going to drag out the reveal, but there is a lot of blog hopping to do, so I’ll give you the payout first and you can decide if you want to read all the nitty-gritty details. ;)

I knew I wanted to create something that incorporated the lovely silk ribbon Donetta sent me.  The original thought behind my design was to have the ribbon be towards the clasp, but I decided to switch it up a bit and use the ribbon to hold the focal.

Mustard yellow is so popular right now, but not a color I naturally gravitate towards.  Since I knew it would be more of a creative challenge and it looked so lovely with the aqua, I decided I had to use it in my necklace design.  I did struggle to find beads in my stash to compliment the yellow, but I am very pleased to report that I did not buy one new thing for the creation these two pieces.

I have a spool of Vintaj wire I’d picked up when I was designing my piece for the Fusion Beads Vintaj challenge, so I created several large jump rings and linked them together in kind of ring components.  I started with them at the focal, but used them in several places on the necklace.

With the lovely Chalcedony ring Donetta sent me, I knew I was going to create an asymmetrical design.  I love the ribbon bow on the ring.

I wanted to keep the design simple on the ring side of the necklace, so I just used a couple different seed beads and randomly added some silver toned rings I had.

On the other side of the necklace, I wanted a more chunky design.  I loved working with the Kyanite sticks {and I liked saying the name in my head ~ Kyanite, Kyanite}.  I had some semi-precious yellow-toned rounds to mix with the Kyanite and aqua stones.

And, of course, I finished up the necklace with the sooo pretty clasp from Donetta.

For the bracelet, I have to admit I was very inspired by all of the floss, ribbon and string designs from the Arm Party Exchange earlier this week.  I took the orange silk ribbon cord and used a knotting technique I learned back in the days of friendship bracelets.  I just had to make myself another fun heart clasp like I did for the bracelet I created for my partner in the Arm Party Exchange, AmarieBeauty.  Then I played with more of the beautiful aqua stones for the second strand.

I love everything Donetta sent me.  And I have quite a few components left.  I’m so excited to have more silk ribbon to play with!

Make sure you check out what Donetta of Simply Gorgeous did with the soup I sent her.  I can’t wait to see what she’s created!

And, here is the list of the other participants! Hope you have a *b.i.g.* pot of soup all prepped to sustain you through the hop.

Hostess, Lori Anderson, Pretty Things

Agi Kiss, Moonsafari Beads
Alice Peterson, Alice Dreaming
Alison Sachs, Beads by Earthtones
Amanda Dittloff, Passion Smashin’
Andra Marasteanu, Bijoux de Monanage
Angie Szlovak, SweetBeads
Anitra Gordy, Leelu Creations
Ann Sherwood, Ann’s Blog
Arlene Dean, A Glass Bash
Audrey Belanger, Dreams of an Absolution

Barb Solem, Vivi Magoo Presents
Barbara Blaszczyk, laboratorim Flory
Becky Pancake, Becky Pancake Bead Designs
Bianca Odenthal, Zydies Glasperlen
Birgit Klughardt, GitesBeads
Bobbie Rafferty, Beadsong Jewelry
Bonnie Coursolle, Jasper Gems
Cece Cormier, The Beading Yogini
Charlene Jacka, Clay Space
Cherrie Fick, En La Lumie’re

Cheryl Foiles, Get Your Bead On
Christie Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry
Christina Miles, Wings n Scales
Christina Stofmeel, Feng Beads
Christine Stonefield, Sweet Girl Design
Cindy Cima Edwards, Live to Design
CJ Bauschka, 4 His Glory Creations
Claire Smith, Embergrass Jewelry
Cynthia Riggs, Cynth’s Blog
Dana Fowler, Trunk Full of Treasure

Dawn Pierro, Turtle Moon Designs
Dee Elgie, Cherry Obsidia
Donetta Farrington, Simply Gorgeous
Dot Lewallwn, Speedie Beadie
Elizabeth Bunn, Elizabeth Beads
Eva Kovacs, Ewa gyongyos vilaga!
Evelyn Duberry, Sheba Makeda
Fay Wolfenden, Torch Fairy
Fen Li, Bead Flora Jewels
Gail Zwang, AngelMoose Enterprises

Geneva Collins, Torque Story
Grace Dorsey, Fan of the Flame
Gretchen Nation, Art Food Lodging
Hannah Annear, Squintessential
Heather Goldsmith, As I Bead It
Heather Otto, The Craft Hopper
Heidi Kingman, My Bead Therapy
Hope Smitherman, Crafty Hope
Isolina Perez, Isolina Perez
Jacqueline Keller, CreARTelier

Jane Haag, Did You Make Something Today?
Janeen Sorensen, Wild Vanilla Designs
Jean Peter, Jean P. Designs
Jennifer Judd, Jen Judd Rocks
Jennifer L Justman, Soul’s Fire Designs
Joanna Matuszczyk, Bizuteria z filcu
Joanne Brown, Jo’s Jewels
Joanne Lockwood, Jo Bunkum
Joyce Becker, Joyce’s Joyful Gems
Judy Riley, Three Red Beads

Karen Mitchell, Over the Moon Design
Karen Williams, Baublicious
Karin von Hoeren, Creative Ideen
Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
Kashmira Patel, Sadafule .. always in bloom!
Kate Richbourg, We Can Make That at Home
Katrin Lembke, AllesPerle
Kathy Combs, Torched in Texas
Kathy Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz

Kelley Fogle, My Life, One Bead at at Time
Kelly Hosford Patterson, Traveling Side Show
Klaudette Koon, Only Road
Lara Lutrick, Lampwork Beads by Lara
Laura Guenther, Blue Antiquities
Laurie Lalonde, HourGlass Studio
Lilik Kristiani, Soul of My Embodiment
Linda Younkman, Lindy’s Designs
Lisa Chapman, Beach Cat Beads
Lisa Lodge, Pine Ridge Treasures

Loretta Carstensen, Designs by Loretta
Lori Bergmann, Lori Bergmann Design
Lori Dorrington, Lori’s Adventures in Etsy Land
Lupe Meter, Gem’s PC Corner
Lynn Davis, LLYYNN
Malin de Koning, Beading by Malin
Mandi Effron, Craft-o-licious
Mandy Williamson, Mimi’s Beading
Margot Potter, The Impatient Crafter
Maria Rosa Sharrow, Willow Street Shops

Marianne Baxter, Simply Seablime Jewelry
Marina Dobrynina, Savon Feutre
Marjolein Trewavas, Room for Change
Marelene Cupo, Amazing Designs
Marsha Neal, Marsha Neal Studio
Marta Kaczerowska, uhuhu
Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes
Menka Gupta, Menka’s Jewelry Blog
Michelle Burnett, Reverie and Revival

Michelle Escano-Caballero, The Cabby Crafter
Miko Wiropati, Uniquely Yunikua
Milla Hope, LB Creative Arts and Crafts
Mimi Gardner, Other Curiosities
Miranda Ackerley, MirandackArts
Natalie McKenna, grubbi
Noemi Baena, fuego, metal, y color
Pam Ferrari, Ferrari Originals
Pam Sears, Crazy Creative Corner
Penny Neville, Copper Penny

Rachel Baron, R. Baron Designs
Rachel Myers, Rockabead Jewelry
Rana Wilson, Definitive Designs by R. Wilson
Rebecca Anderson, Song Beads
Rebecca Sirevaag, Becca’s Place
Riki Schumacher, Riki Jewelry
Rose Binoya, Ahtee’s Blog
Rossana De Gaspari, Rdegas Blog
Sally Anderson, Wild Sally Road
Sandi James, Do Be Do Bead Do

Sandi Volpe, Sandi Volpe
Sandra Wollberg, City of Brass Stories
Sarah Small, blog by salla
Shai Williams, Shaiha’s Ramblings
Shawn Mills, Shawn Marie Designs with Bent Wire
Sheila Davis, Stone Designs by Sheila
Sheryl Stephens, Babble Bead
Shiraz Biggie, Secret Song Designs
Solange Collin, Ahowin Handcrafted Jewelry
Sonya Stille, Dreamin’ of Beads

Stephanie Dixon, The Dixon Chick
Susan Kennedy, Sue Beads
Susan Sheehan, Strands of Thought
Suzann Sladcik Wilson, Beadphoria
Sweet Freedom, Sweet Freedom Designs
Tabatha Dinger, Modernly Created
Tania Hagen, Pelima Jewellery Design
Tanya Boden, Fusion Muse
Terry Carter, Tapping Flamingo
Tracy Stillman, Tracy Stillman Designs

It’s Time for an Arm Party!

Just over a month ago, I posted about the Summer Time Arm Party being hosted by Leonora of Yellow Heart Art and Ilene of Much Love, Illy.

My partner in this exchange is Angela Barnes of AmarieBeauty, and she was very quick with sending my package. She was so quick that I think it was in the mail before I’d even started her bracelet.

I planned to make her a couple bracelets, but I panicked a bit about time, so I only sent her one. And to be honest, I didn’t want to see what she’d sent me before I mailed her package.

{because I would have peeked…}

I’ve been having all sorts of fun with my own little arm party the past couple weeks courtesy of Angela, and it’s been hard not to be able to share my new, fun bracelets.

But I don’t have to wait any longer!

Here is what Angela sent me…

These bracelets are so fun! I love the braided rag bracelet made from tee-shirt scraps. It’s different than anything else I have. The colors are great too. I wearing a lot of that coral/pink color and the blue is perfect with jeans.

I’m also really digging the vintage button bracelet. It makes great clinking noises on my wrist and I’m constantly playing with moving the buttons around. It’s super light-weight and the colors are exactly what I need. Orange one of my favorite splashes of color right now.

Here they are in action…

Now that you’ve seen mine, be sure to hop on over to Angela’s blog and check out what I sent her. I design jewelry, so I had a lot of fun making her bracelet with no parameters other than a bit of color direction. Here’s a little sneak peek…

And when you’re done there, go over to Much Love, Illy and Yellow Heart Art to check out the other participants.

Arm Party Graphic (created by Yellow Heart Art)This has been a blast, and I hope there are more exchanges in the future!

Link Challenge Reveal!

Today is the reveal for Peggy’s Blogging Link Challenge.  As a recap, Peggy sent us 25 of her acrylic links to play with and challenged us to create a piece of jewelry using those links.  We’ve had about 3 weeks to work on our designs, and today is the day we show off our creations.

I received 25 tortoise-shell colored links.  I really like fun, chunky chain, and there are a couple of jewelry ideas I’ve been working on where chunky chain would be fun to have.  Unfortunately, these lovely brown-toned links weren’t quite the right color for my vision.  So I worked on something new.

For my first piece, I knew I wanted to create a bracelet.  I love working with bracelets, and these links almost naturally form into a cuff.  I played around with the links a bit and figured out how to best link them together.  I wanted to make sure the openings for each link went in the same direction.

The links don’t seem to have a difference between the front or back, so it doesn’t really matter how you link them together, but I wanted them to be the same direction because that sort of thing matters to me.

Once they were linked, I decided I wanted to weave a ribbon in the links.  I raided my mom’s stash of trims and ribbons and found several I loved.  I first wove in the mustard and then figured out how to work the turquoise into the weave.

For the ends, I just tied a simple overhand knot and tightened it as best I could.  I’m going to add a small dab of glue just for security.  I cut the ends to my desired length {then I wore it for a bit and made them shorter}.

I created a simple hook clasp and a couple of large sized jump rings out of 16-gage copper wire to finish off the piece.  I love how this turned out!

Then I looked at my remaining links and realized I had 15 left!  So I had to make something else.  I really need {ok, want} some more long length necklaces.  I decided to create beaded segments and use some of Peggy’s links between them.

This time I used fabric ties to attach the links to the wrapped wire.  I liked the idea of the fraying fabric.  I started with long ties and it just didn’t look right, so I kept making them shorter and shorter until the are almost down to just the knots.  These will also get glued for added security {I have a 14-month-old who loves momma’s jewelry}.

The thing I really, really liked about creating this piece was the ability add and remove links.  Did I want 3 links here?  Click, click.  There you go.  Maybe I really wanted 5.  Click, click.  No, 4 is perfect.

Then there was the section of beads that I realized were facing the wrong direction.  Just a couple of clicks and it was all fixed.  With standard chain I would have been re-wrapping and wasting wire.  I really liked that flexibility.

Here is the completed necklace.  It ended up at 29 inches, which is pretty decent for a longer necklace.

Now for the fun part!

Here is the list of other designers who tackled this challenge…

Shelley Graham Turner ~ Fabric of My Life
Tania Spivey ~ Moobie Grace Designs
Ambra Gostoli ~ Chick and Frog ~ Jewels with Love
Kashmira Patel ~ Sadafulee…always in bloom!
Linda Florian ~ Lily’s of the Valley Jewelry & Creative Creations
Jami Shipp ~ Celebrating Life!
Terri Gauthier ~ Blooming Ideas
Miranda Ackerley ~ Everything Fabulous!
Mary Govaars ~ MLH Jewelry Designs
Sarah Goode ~ Pookledo
Paula Hisel ~ simply stated
Shai Williams ~ Shaiha’s Ramblings
Jennifer Reno ~ Musings of a Crafty Jenny
Kay Thomerson ~ KayzKreationz
Denielle Hagerman ~ A Blog About Some Beads and Other Things I Like
Janeen Sorensen ~ Wild Vanilla Designs {you’re here}
Emma Todd ~ A Polymer Penchant
Audrey Bélanger ~ Dreams of an Absolution
Mischelle Fanucchi ~ Micheladas Musings
Ilenia Ruzza ~ Ilenia’s Unique Beaded and Painted Jewelry

You can see all of our creations on Peggy’s blog, and don’t forget to vote for your favorite design!

Ingredients from my Partner

My soup ingredients arrived a few weeks ago, and I love them!!  Donetta did such a great job sending me a fun focal and toggle clasp.

The focal is a decoupaged wood tile in an antiqued brass filigree.  I *think* she made it.  I will need to find out.  The brass toggle is handmade by Thea too and it is so pretty.  I love working with flowers.

With the focal and clasp she also included some other metal components to play with including a Vintaj dragonfly, two brass flowers with rhinestones, and an adorable brass flower charm from also Thea too.  Those antiqued brass flowers are screaming to be made into earrings, but I’m considering denying them.  That’s just too predictable. ;)

For coordinating beads, she sent me a lovely selection of aqua blue toned stones to work with including a rough chunk of recycled glass, faceted recycled glass rondelles, and blue Kyanite sticks.  I have never worked with Kyanite before.  I love the texture and brown flecks in the stones.  There are also faceted rectangles and a smooth oval of what we think is Chalcedony.

I am really excited about the silk ribbons from Marsha Neal Studio.  I have done very little work with silk ribbon, but it is something I really want get more comfortable with.  The mustard, burnt orange and pink ribbons are all such wonderful compliments to the aqua that I’m not sure if I can choose just one color.

The colors in this soup are so perfect for me.  I just love blue and brown together.  And aqua is such a calming color.  It makes me think of beautiful tropical waters.

Here is everything together complete with labels…

Thank you so much, Donetta!!!  I really hope I can do justice to all these lovely ingredients.

Fusion Beads Vintaj Challenge

At the end of June, Fusion Beads posted a Jewelry Design Challenge.  The parameters were that you had to use specific colored Swarovski bicones in 4mm and 6mm, coordinated seed beads, and your choice of Vintaj elements.

I have not worked with Vintaj much before and I really liked the Swarovski colors, so I thought it would be a fun challenge to participate in.  And the chance to win one of three $75 gift certificates to Fusion was very exciting!

In mid-July, my sister and I spent the afternoon at Fusion Beads.  She gave me a gift certificate for my birthday and wanted to come with me when I went shopping.  We decided to go visit the store during their 20% off everything sale.

I found all sorts of fun treasures.  And I picked up the elements I needed for the challenge along with a selection of Vintaj that spoke to me.  I had an idea to make a bracelet with a Vintaj focal.

At the beginning of August, I spent a couple evenings working out my design.  I knew I wanted to create a stitched piece for this challenge.  My inspiration was based on the design of a right-angle weave bracelet from a class I took several years ago.  For the clasp, I took a Vintaj flower with open petals for the “loop” and shaped some Vintaj wire into the “hook”.

When it was done, I felt like the Vintaj focal needed something, so I stitched a pattern of seed beads on it.  I was really happy with how it turned out.

But, when I looked at the requirements again, I was concerned that I didn’t use enough of the seed beads in my design, so I decided I wouldn’t enter my bracelet in the challenge.

The next day I tweeted a picture of my creation because it’s not very often that I create something new. I noted in the tweet that I wouldn’t be entering the bracelet in the contest.  I was pleasantly surprised to get feedback from @FusionBeads.  They checked with the judges and let me know they would accept my piece.

I was really happy to be included in the challenge, but I’m ecstatic to find out I was selected as one of the winners!  I received my gift code this afternoon, and I can’t wait to go shopping.

So the moral of my long tale is, if you see a contest or challenge that inspires you, then give it a shot, and if it doesn’t seem quite right, ask or just enter anyway.  The worst that can happen is you don’t qualify, but the best that can happen is you just might win!

Thanks Fusion Beads for hosting such a fun challenge!  I look forward to whatever you cook up next.



Header Changes

I am working on content still, but it’s a little hard to see since most of it is back-dating.  Ok, it’s only one new post as of this writing, but I have several that need to get out there ~ and some exciting stuff too!

My brother pointed out to me this morning that my header was taking up a lot of important “above the fold” real-estate, and he was right.  So I’ve spent some time fixing that up.  Then I dove into the code to figure out how to bring the post-title size down a bit.

The height of the menu bar was also bugging me, so I narrowed that a little.  But I hit a snag with the search field.  I can’t figure out where it is in the code.  I also played around with the color of the menu bar a bit.  Did you know it’s a gradient?  It’s pretty hard to tell, but I like it.

So, here’s the before image ~ just so you can get an idea of the difference.

I really do like how the site is coming along.  It still has a long way to go before it’s where I’d like it to be, but I can see that I’m learning more and more about WordPress.  And learning quite a bit about what I don’t know.

Up next is the comment form.