Although I have made a few jewelry pieces over the past year, I have definitely cut more paper than I have strung beads. I hand cut sheets of black paper into works of fine art. Curious? Just jump on over to my blog Perfect Papercuts. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. And remember...no matter what you choose to do today...make it wonderful! :)
Somewhere...somehow in the week before the wedding, I managed to find time to comprise this necklace from beads and findings I already had on hand. Not bad for last minute preparations. I wore this with an iris purple dress coupled with a silver shrug. I think the filigree findings would also lend themselves nicely to casual wear.
Our daughter got married this past weekend! It was a festive celebration bedecked in jewel tones and full of non-traditional fun! She chose jewel-tone colors for her bridesmaids dresses accompanied with silver-glitter tennis shoes. The groomsmen wore black pants and shirts with silver vests and black Converse star tennis shoes. It was beautiful and just what she wanted! Her beauty radiated as she enchanted us all with her gorgeous gown, an off-the-shoulder A-line with a side draped bodice. She also wore silver-glitter tennis shoes with the words "I DO" spelled out on the bottoms in crystals. :)
She had asked that I make jewelry sets for the bridesmaids and for her! I was elated!! I knew it had to be simple as she is no bigger than a minute and anything lavish would quickly overwhelm her small frame. Together we brain-stormed, and finally this is what she chose. She chose it for it's simple elegance, as well as, the smallest hint of vintage. Everything looked spectacular!
All in all, it was a wonderful celebration!! We are so proud of her and feel completely blessed to have a wonderful, Spirit-filled man as the husband to our sweet daughter.
I was recently given the privilege to re-purpose some crystal necklaces. They came in a vintage necklace box with pieces and parts neatly tucked in the lining. I was curious that such pieces should be so heavy, and my curiosity deepened as I discovered the necklaces were strung on five strands of cotton thread. Yes, thread! Conversation eluded to the fact that the crystals were indeed lead crystal and had belonged to my clients great-grandmother who was born in the 1850's. It is then no wonder that they were strung on threads.
The crystals that comprise this necklace (above) are all original to the piece. It was originally a two-strand necklace. However, the box clasp was 'broken' in that the clasp had been pushed too far into the box to allow repair. So, I incorporated it as the focal piece of the necklace and added a new silver toggle clasp for closure. It is a 19" necklace and the dangles add a couple inches to the bottom. Very sweet and feminine.
This necklace (above) is made of the remaining crystal beads that are original to the first necklace shown above. Since my client expressed interest in having nesting necklaces to allow for wardrobe options, I shortened this necklace to 17 inches to accommodate her wishes. The crystals omitted from this necklace were used to make the dangles shown in the first necklace. They look very smart, rich and full of sparkle when worn together. Oh my! Did she ever get compliments when she wore both necklaces for Christmas with her green velvet dress. Stunning!
Also inside the vintage necklace box was another small box full of loose vintage lead crystal beads. In our conversations, my client mentioned wanting a three-strand necklace and thought maybe there would be enough beads in the box to create one. She was right. There was enough beads to do just that and more.
So, with the necklaces completed in time for her Christmas performances, recitals, and parties, I got busy and re-purposed some of the loose beads into earrings and included some of the findings that were neatly tucked inside the necklace box.
All this, and there are more crystals! There is yet another tray of rondelle-shaped crystals with cones on each end. Beautiful! Can't wait to see them all cleaned, polished and restrung into another beautiful necklace.
Thank you, my treasured friend, for the opportunity to breathe new life into your precious heirloom jewelry. May you wear them in good health!
Yes, I'm still as busy as a bee! It seems the 'fine art' part of me has overtaken my beading passion. Not necessarily by choice, but I'm not complaining either. You see, unbeknownst to me, my oldest brother posted a link to my papercutting blog on his facebook page one evening. When I woke up the next morning, my inbox was flooded with orders and the messages were coming in faster than I could answer them. Some want their orders filled by Christmas, while others are willing to wait. I enjoy cutting and find it to be very relaxing. Like jewelry making, there is always a wonderful sense of instant gratification no matter where I am in my piece. I simply pick up a piece of paper and begin to cut. The cutting evolves as my thought process is interpreted into positive and negative spaces. I love it. It is soothing to my soul. For now I am happy and content snipping my clean floor into a scattered mess of snippets!
The swirl lentil bead was made with polymer clay by my dear friend, Jane. She is such an inspiration. Seems that anything she makes turn to true perfection. You can see more of her things at http://www.notsoplainbyjane.com/
This is a quick evening project. I love the purple and copper. I wear this piece alot as it pairs nicely with most colors.
I think am currently enamored with black and white. The positive and negative of things. What is and what isn't. What you see and what you don't see.
Another favorite, relaxing hobby of mine is paper cutting. It involves considerable thought in regards to positive and negative spaces. This piece, which I recently completed as a 'test drive' for my new pair of scissors, is a perfect example of how one can see the positive simply by removing the negative. But removing the negative is not a negative thing as it compliments and becomes part of the positive. Okay! okay! I'll spare you the mental turmoil. This piece will be framed and grace our walls for many July's to come. (yes, there are 50 stars!)
So, without going into much detail (whew! sigh of relief!) I wanted to show the black and white pendant I made.
I love this piece! It is mother of pearl adorned with black AB 4mm and 6mm faceted stones. I love how the thread becomes an important design element upsetting the beaders philosophy to keep the thread matching and hidden. As you might imagine, my mind went into major overload with all the endless possibilities this piece affords. However, I did manage to restrain myself and keep it simple, yet elegant. I made the piece reversible simply by turning the AB finish to the front. When a more casual appearance is needed, I simply reverse it and wear it with a smile. I get compliments every time!
I sat down with the intention of making a simple black necklace that I could wear with almost anything. However, what went on in my head and what was stitched ended up being two very different things.
This is my version of Pearl Embrace Collar by Lisa Kan. (Beadwork Dec 2009). I stitched it using 4mm silver pearls embellished with black & gunmetal 15's.
I love its natural curve and the way it retains its shape. It lays nicely on the neck and is weighty enough to stay put, yet not so heavy to create constant awareness. I have worn it many times and have always received compliments.
These transparent pieces of sea glass were one of those brainstorm mixed media projects that my mother-in-law and I created last year when she was visiting for the summer. Speck by speck, we added tiny shreds of hand-painted tissue paper to the glass. The long slender pink one has long strands of silver filament running through it. The tiny aqua-colored one is wrapped with foil tape. The blue one on the bottom sports a blue swarovski crystal.
Did you notice the one in the top right. We named it Africa!
Sometimes when I look at them I think some need beaded bezels, and some need wire work bezels.
This is my rendition of the Netted Donut Pendant by Colleen McGraw (B&B April 2007). It has been a long time in the making. I started it before the boys were born and had the netting on the donut and the fringing completed. I finally added the spiral rope necklace with toggle clasp last month.
The donut is cherry quartz and is adorned with a netting of iris purple accented with gunmetal. The fringe is comprised of iris purples, light and dark gray matte delicas, and gunmetal.
Winter was reluctant to pry its cold fingers from the Rockies this year. Spring ushered in day after relentless day of gloom, rain, and chilly winds. Indoor activities for the little ones became routine and displeasing. The calendar was stale and uneventful. Dinner out each week seemed to be forced and unfulfilling. We longed for warm weather, gentle breezes, sunny days, and outdoor play.
...and then it happened...
The calendar exploded with events leaving no time to dwell on the dreary weather. Over the past three months we have celebrated 6 birthdays, a graduation, our anniversary, four holidays, and hosted the in-laws. Our oldest graduated from the University here in town (need I mention how proud we are!) and our youngest just turned 2! Our home has been crazy with activity, but in the midst of it all there was still time for beading. It's commonly referred to as nap time and it still occurs here daily...at least for now.
My mother-in-law is a very talented watercolor artist, and I just love the inspirational brainstorms that happen when we are together. We felt as if we climbed high mountains during our 'Retrieve-Sit-Create' sessions as we are just daring enough in each others company to dabble in all sorts of mixed media. It's always a sad day when the in-laws visit comes to an end.
I just feel so blessed! I feel that I am experiencing an early heaven. My wonderful hubby and the bond we share; our smart and responsible older kids~ who are productive members of society, and our little boys~ who just bring an extra ray of sunshine to everyday life. Best of all...we are happy!
A happy family is but an earlier heaven ~John Bowring
This is my first try at cubic RAW. My aim was to keep the project small while assessing the working condition of my fingers. They are doing much better and the swelling is completely gone. No more stiffness after beading. Yippee!
I'm itching to get stitching again. I'm past ready to delve into a larger project. I'm thinking I'm going to put my cubic RAW imagination into a finished piece.
Since I have been giving my hand a little break from beading, I decided to show you my little portable heaven. This is an ordinary breakfast tray that I've converted into my beading tray.
At the time, my hubby and I were almost empty nesters. We enjoyed watching NHRA drag racing on the weekends and planned to someday attend an event. We'd check the time slots on the guide and then schedule our weekends accordingly. Drag racing time slots can take two to three hours to watch. I was in heaven knowing that I could sit and bead uninterrupted at the kitchen table for hours on end while watching and/or listening to the drag racing qualifications on Saturday. However, the finals are on Sunday's and I didn't want to miss any of the action. I wanted to see every race, every detail, every red light. If I couldn't be there in person I wanted to be as close to the 'real' thing as possible. So, I'd drag out my wobbly ironing board and set it at the proper height for my chair. Then would come the beading mat, beads, threads, needles, scissors, etc. It was alot of work, but to me it was all part of the thrill!
Then one day, one of my beading buddies was telling me that she used a breakfast tray as her beading tray. What a fabulous idea! So, I went and got one. I got a clip-on lamp, too, since I knew I'd need the extra light no matter where I beaded. However, the plastic jaws of the lamp were no match for the side of my beading tray. They cracked and I complained. Then they broke and I complained louder.
My awesome hubby, being the master of all things mechanical, immediately came to the rescue. He took the light and the tray to the garage where he transformed the clip-on lamp into a stationary lamp. He routed the cord thru the tray so it is never in the way. Very handy.
I marked inch measurements along the front wood edge and cut some bead matting to cover the melamine tray. I cut additional pieces of mat so I could work on multiple projects at the same time. I just loved how convenient it was. I would just grab it, fold down the legs, turn on the light, and bead on the sofa for hours while watching drag racing. Then fold it up and put it away when needed. I even threatened to attach an 'over the shoulder' strap to it for traveling. That idea was immediately squelched by my hubby. If we were going to travel we were going to enjoy every minute of it together. I agreed.
I loved my portable heaven then and I really love it now.
Life turned a corner and now we are blessed with two little boys. I try to be creative everyday in some way. When I bead during naptimes, I bead on my beading tray. Everything is convenient, right where I left it, and all in one place. When I hear little feet coming down the hallway, I can quickly pick up my portable heaven and put it out of reach knowing my projects will be waiting undisturbed.
Then I turn and welcome warm little boys into my lap and snuggle with them while they wake up. Life is good.
What is up lately with the constant craving of all things delicious, yet wicked? I am certain my taste buds are raging war with my will power as I have been working diligently at loosing the last 10 pounds from having had our two beautiful boys. The local market is my biggest challenge. Candies, breads, chips and chocolates scream my name as I confidently shop the good food items.
Determined to stay focused, I stitched up some candies to enjoy anytime of the day. I think I will make more and display them in a pretty little candy dish.
As a child, I remember when the spring rains came. I loved the smell of freshness in the air as the rains approached from across the fields. I pretended I was floating away on the clouds as the cool, invigorating breezes billowed the window sheers around me. Ahhh! It is spring!
Advance thirty-some years later...
Ahhh! Yes, it is spring! The smell of freshness is in the air. The billowing clouds bring some rain, some snow. The birds urgently sing of spring cheer and the creek is beginning to flow again. The spring garden flowers are showing their happy faces.
I just had to 'plant' some spring for my widow, and this is what my stiff, swollen fingers would allow. And now for the rain.
Oh, how I wish it would rain down...rain down beads!
When you hear about someone shutting their hand in the car door and the door was completely latched closed...you quietly think to yourself, "Ya, right! That's not logically possible."
...Oh, IT'S POSSIBLE!
A couple weeks ago, I did just that. I shut my hand in the sliding door of our van, and heard the door lock as it latched. OUCH! My bag with my keys in it was on the ground just out of reach. Luckily, my husband had a set of keys with him and was able to unlock the door without much delay. Grunting and groaning, I held my hand above my head waiting for the initial wave of pain to subside so I could determine the extent of my injury. Inspite of the swelling and deep pinch marks, I was able to move my fingers and didn't think that I needed any medical attention.
All in all, it's been almost 3 weeks and healing is still in progress. The tenderness has subsided...just enough to get back to my all-important... BEADING!
So, I thought I'd try my hand at spool knitting. What was I thinking?! For me, it is far too monotonous. However, I convinced myself to complete the project, and was rewarded with a very soft and supple 18" necklace. It is very slinky and fluid. I love the feel of it. Hmm...to make another one or not?
Facing a particuliar challenge in the midst of an already difficult week, I found myself becoming overwhelmed in the details surrounding the situation. Once I decided to focus on the good that could result from the issue...that is when I was rewarded with my silver lining. This bracelet was inspired by that moment...the moment I realized I could be thankful for adversity. Not that the silver lining erases the experience, however, it gives me hope and allows me to cope.
Pea pods generally symbolize the close bonds we share with friends and family. I, however, feel that I formed a close bond with these earrings after many false starts. After a brief rest from them, they stitched up quick, and I am happy with the results.
I had a serious case of Spring Fever the other day and decided to allow it to manifest itself in a pair of butterflies. I think I will attach them to hair clips for my niece. She will be pleasantly surprised.
This piece is unique as it is from Elephant Wanderings, an original watercolor painting by my talented mother-in-law. The painting was reduced in size and then a photo transfer technique was used to transfer it onto polymer clay.
Pottery-colored and wood beads encase the cabachon and comprise the 2-drop peyote bail, as well as, a variation of spiral rope for the necklace.
It is particularly special to me and a joy to wear.
This is my version of the St. Petersburg Lariat by Hatsumi Oshitani. I used black-striped white seed beads with 3mm and 4mm fire-polished faceted rounds and gunmetal delicas. It lends itself to being very supple, and is easy to wear.
This is my version of the Duomo bracelet by Tina Koyama. I love the textures of the beads and the richness of the purples. Regal to say the least.
Duomo is a generic Italian term for a cathedral church. This bracelet showcases a domed effect with each step up to a larger bead. Fun to wear and a huge boost to my beading ego with all the compliments it evokes.
I'm happily married to the man of my life, and am honored to be able to step aside from my career of 17 years to be the best mommy I can to our two yummy little boys! They are just SO dear! We also have two wonderful adult children who are now footloose and fancy-free. It is satisfying knowing that they are responsible, respectable, and productive members of society.