Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me


It's time once again for the latest installment of the Inspired By Reading Book Club.
This month we delved into the anthology My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, edited by Kate Bernheimer. The book is a compilation of fairy tales with a modern twist. As it is a rather long book, It was decided we could read as many or as few as we wanted as we found our inspiration.

After reading several of the fairy tales, "The Brother and the Bird", by Alissa Nutting spoke to me. It is based on the Grimm fairy tale, "The Juniper Tree". In this modern version, the jealous stepmother kills her husband's son, cuts him up and feeds him to his father. His sister eventually rescues his bones from the deep freeze and plans to bury them under the juniper tree. The juniper berries swarm off the tree to consume the bones. Meanwhile, the family's radio would mysteriously turn to static, send out the sound of fluttering wings and play the following song, "Mother killed her little son; what a beautiful bird am I. Father ate 'til meat was gone; what a beautiful bird I am. Sister saved my bones; now I sing and fly..."
File:Jun com cones.jpg
I did a little research. Found a few photos of juniper berries. And went in search of the perfect beads.

I found them in NYC at the Whole Bead Show. These vintage pine cone shaped vintage Blue Heron beads were perfect.

I actually won  these beads from the Whole Bead Shop!  I entered a contest on their Facebook page -  Whole Bead Shop - and won a $25 gift certificate!
Yeah - I spent more!
But scored some amazing vintage glass beads.    

The beads were wrapped onto a medium flat oval chain to resemble a
cluster of juniper berries. I added some pale gray labradorite to represent the the layer of ash at the base of the tree.
And a bird from Green Girl Studios finishes off the necklace.

As always, I have enjoyed the challenge put forth by fearless leader, Andrew Thornton.
Don't forget to check his blog, as well as the other participants.
I hope you'll consider joining us in the future.

Andrew Thornton  Our host!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Are you going to the Whole Bead Show in NYC? Oct.18-20

Do you want to win free beads?
From the Whole Bead Show's Facebook page....

"It's GiveAway Time! Who wants a $25 Gift Certificate to shop vintage glass beads from Blue Heron Bead Co? LIKE, SHARE & COMMENT to win. Tweet & Follow on Pinterest to increase your chances. 

This is for a $25 shopping certificate to shop online or at The Whole Bead Show for $25 worth of vintage glass beads from Blue Heron Bead Co."
Blue Heron Beads Contest

Friday, September 27, 2013

"Dogeaters" - September's pick for Inspired By Reading Book Club

Thank you again, Andrew Thornton for inspiring me, once again, to explore outside my comfort zone - in my reading and in my jewelry design. This past month, we read Dogeaters, by Jessica Hagedorn. Well - everyone else read the book, I'm still working on it. It takes place in Manilla, in the Phillipines in the late 1950's and follows the lives of several different characters. I have difficulty following books that seem to jump from one character to another and continually look for a connection. I have renewed the book from the library and will finish. For now, for a better synopsis, you will have to check the blogs of the other participants.

I was touched by Rio's relationship with her grandmother. and particularly related to the scene where she is curled up under her "lola's" crocheted bedspread. My grandmother crocheted bedspreads for her three adult children. She would not give them the spreads until she had finished all three. I now have my mother's crocheted bedspread.

I knew as I read those passages that I wanted to create a crocheted design. I could have wimped out and just photographed some crocheted designs from the past - jewelry and afghans. Instead, I decided to try something new. My goal was to mimic the floral motif in my grandmother's bedspread. I lot easier with cotton thread, than wire.
 After several missteps, I did create a flower motif I was satisfied with. I discovered that pearls are native to the Philippines, so I found some freshwater pearls in my stash for a center for my "flower".


A necklace with more freshwater pearls finishes the look.

I think I'd like to try this again with 5 petals.
And... I'm also not sure I love it as a pendant - maybe a brooch?

BTW - that is my grandmother's amazing crocheted bedspread!

Please visit the other members of our group!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I can't believe it's the last week of August already. That means it's time for the August reveal of the Inspired by Reading Book Club!

Thanks again to Andrew Thornton for selecting the books, organizing the blog hop and hosting an in-person meet up at his shop Allegory Gallery in Ligonier, PA. Maybe we should call the group Inspired by Andrew!

That said, I'm not sure what Andrew was thinking when he chose The Infinities, by John Banville. Maybe that's not fair of me to say. Perhaps, you will like this book. If not for the book club,. I'm sure I would have put it down after the first chapter. According to the "blurb" on the back cover, "a clan of mischievous immortals... begin to stir up trouble for the Godleys".  Sounds good - I like a good fantasy combined with modern day realism.

I'm happy to say I did finish the book, although I found Banville's style difficult to read. One reviewer compared John Banville to Shakespeare. I think that could be an appropriate comparison. Banville uses so many obscure words and phrases that I needed a dictionary as I read. I also found the story line hard to follow at times.

My inspiration this month, quite simply, was the title - The Infinities. I decided to challenge my wire skills and make a linked bracelet. I used 16 gauge sterling silver wire to make the infinity symbol, which I hammered flat. I then connected them with 5mm jump rings and created a hook. I gently curved each link so it would sit comfortably on the wrist.

I am so glad I took photos immediately -
(I so often forget)

This beauty sold on Saturday at the fair in Shelter Island!
Looks like I'll be creating another one before HarborFest!

I can't wait to read the other blogs and see how the other members of our group felt about this book.

You can also check out the facebook group and join us next month. You do not have to create jewelry, although many of us do. We'd love to see other art forms!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Inspired By Reading Book Club/Blog Hop ---- July

I was excited about the July selection for several reasons. For the first time ever, I finished the book and project on time!

And… I had decided to take a road trip. Yes, I traveled 7+ hours to join the group at Allegory Gallery in Ligonier, PA. It was so great to meet Andrew, Laurel, Amy, Terri and Connie. We enjoyed Andrew’s hospitality, including the yummy peach cobbler and interesting chocolate “wedding cake”. Thanks to Amy and Laurel for running down to the ice cream shop.

For the month of July Andrew chose the book,  The Cookbook Collector, by Allegra Goodman.  It is the story of two sisters who are very different from each other. Emily is the corporate CEO during the rapid growth of technology, while Jess, the philosophy major is the perennial scholar/environmentalist. As Goodman introduces her many characters, you wonder what their connection will be. The free-spirited Jess spoke to me early on. I went in search of the “Green Girl” pendant I purchased a few years ago, but could figure out how to use. It’s a rather large, heavy rectangle, with 2 holes on top and 3 on the bottom. When I reread the quote on the back I knew it was perfect for Jess!


My goal this month was to work out of my stash. The conch shell on the front of the pendant steered me toward a ‘beachy’ theme. Out came the larimar I purchased in the Dominican Republic. I challenged myself to work “outside the box”, or should I say “outside my box”.  The finished piece is asymmetrical or unbalanced. 

I also wanted to to showcase some wirework and be a little more creative this time. I've included wirewrapped sections of beads, handcrafted links and connectors.

Finally, I created a simple pair of earrings with my handcrafted earwires.

Check Andrew Thornton's blog for more information and links to the other members of the group.
The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bead Hoarders Blog Hop - Done!!!

Lori Anderson has done it again. This time it's the Bead Hoarders Bog Hop.We all have those beads that have been hanging around for ages - just waiting to be loved.

For me it was a strand of brown tourmaline I found at my local bead store.

I fell in love with them the minute I saw them...
square cut, sparkling facets, slightly graduated.
But the retail price was a bit out of my reach. (To be honest, a lot out of my reach.)

Then a year and a half ago, the owner called to let me know that she had decided to close the shop. I coveted that golden goodness at 30% and 50% off. Finally, when the discount dropped to 65% off retail, those babies were mine.

Teaching full time and building inventory for shows didn't leave me much time to create for me.

I decided to keep the necklace unadorned.
The stones really do speak for themselves.

Just two gold filled beads at the ends with a simple lobster claw clasp.

The earrings presented more of problem. I also purchased 2 gorgeous pear shaped citrine briolets at the same time. I had intended to wire wrap and have some dangling tourmaline, but I found my supplies lacking. I have all sorts of sterling wire, but no 28ga gold-filled. I strung the earrings on beading wire, crimped together, then finished with a crimp cover.
I might redo them when if the price of wire goes down again.

For now, I plan to keep this set.

Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to check out the other hoarders!

1.  Lori Anderson, Pretty Things
2. Nancy Dale, NEDBeads
3. Roxanne Mendoza, Roxi Designs
4.  Melissa Trudinger, beadrecipes
5.  Rana Lea, Rana Lea Designs
6.  Perri Jackson, Shaktipaj Designs
7.  Rita Avila, Jewel School Friends
8.  Linda Anderson, From the Bead Board
  10.  Erin Guest, Renlish

11.  Joan Williams, lilruby jewelry

12. Diane Hawkey, Diane Hawkey
13.  Jo-Ann Woolverton, It's a Beadiful Creation
14.  Sue Kennedy, SueBeads
15.  Lisa Cone, Inspired Adornments
16.  Kari Asbury, Hippie Chick Design
18.  Lori Jean Poppe, Adventures in Creativity
19.  Linda Landig, Linda's Bead Blog and Meanderings
20.  Lori Schneider, Bead Addict

21.  Molly Alexander, Beautifully Broken Me
22. Cece Cormier, The Beading Yogini
23.  Niki Sayers, Silver Nik Nats
24.  Elsie Deliz-Fonseca, Eliz-Eliz and All That Craft
25.  Amber Dawn, Inventive Soul
26.  Heather Powers, Humblebeads
27.  Sarah Goode, Pookledo
28.  Monique Urquhart, A Half-Baked Notion
29.  JJ Jacobs, Coming Abstractions
30.  Cheri Reed, Creative Designs by Cheri

31.  Robyn, Museiddity
32.  Catherine King, Catherine's Musings
33.  Jacquie, Bead Gypsy
34.  Janet McDonald, Singing Woods
35. Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreations
36.  Tanty Sri Hartanti, TJewellicious by Tanti
37.  Hannah Rosner, Good River Valley
38.  Rochelle Brisson, A Creative Chelle
39.  Nelly May, Smelly Nelly
40.  Skylar Bre'z, Brising Beads

41.  Beti Horvath, Stringing Fool
42.  Christie Murrow, Charis Designs
43.  Leanne Loftus, First Impression Design
44.  Valerie Norton, Hot Art
45.  Judy Riggs, Rigglettes
46.  Crystal Thain, Here Bead Dragons
47.  Terry Carter,  Tapping Flamingo
49.  Nan Smith, Wired Nan
50.  Miranda Ackerley, MirandAck Arts

51.  Marie Covert, Creating Interest
52.  D'Arsie Manzella, This Here Now, Mamacita
53.  Stephanie Haussler, Pixybug Designs
54.  Lori Bergmann, Lori Bergmann Design
55.  Johanna Nunez, The Lovely One Design
56.  Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
57.  Becky Pancake, Becky Pancake Bead Designs
58.  Alicia Marinache, All the Pretty Things
59.  Debbie Rasmussen, A Little of This, A Little of That
60.  Nat, Grubbi Ceramics

61.  Marjorie Savill Linthwaite, Bennu Bird Rising
62.  Cheryl McCloud, One Thing Leads to Another
63.  Heather Otto, The Crafthopper
64.  Candida Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks
66.  JuLee Wolfe, The Polymer Penguin
67.  Ginger Bishop, Lil Mummy Likes
68.  Karen Mitchell, Over the Moon Design
69.  Jeannie Dukic, Jeannie's Blog
70.  Dini Bruinsma, Angaza by Changes

71.  Birgitta Lejonklou, Create With Spirit
72.  Shalini Austin, Jewellery by Shalini
73.  Jayne Capps, Mama's Got to Doodle
76.  Annita Wilson, AW Jewelry 
77.  Sherri Stokey, Knot Just Macrame
78.  Hannah Trost, PZ Designs
79.  Linda Inhelder, Must Haves Jewelry
80.  Miri Agassi, Beadwork

81.  Hope Smitherman, Crafty Hope
82.  Dyanne Cantrell, Dee-Liteful Jewelry Creations
83.  Susan Bowie, Susan Nelson Bowie
84.  Megan Milliken, MaeMaeMills
85.  Menka Gupta, Menka's Jewelry
86.  Ambra Gostoli, Chic and Frog
87.  Lori Lochner, Bloghner
88.  Gerda Jurimae, Gerda's Crafts Blog
89.  Susan, Mistheword
90.  MaryLou Holvenstot, MaryLou's time2cre8

91.  Mary Shannon Hicks, falling into the sky
92.  Karin King, The Sparklie Things Blog
93.  Christa Murphy, Adventures of One Beady Woman
94.  Jenny Davie-Reazor, Jenny Davies-Reazor
95.  Donetta Farrington, Simply Gorgeous
96.  Mallory Hoffman, Rosebud 101 - For the Love of Beads
97.  Danielle Kelley, Imbue the Muse
98.  Kym Hunter, Kym Hunter Designs
99.  Dolores Rami, CraftyD's Creations
100.  Marcia Dunne, 13 Alternatives

101.  Marlene Cupo, Amazing Designs
102.  Emma Todd, A Polymer Penchant
103.  Wendy Holder, Jewelry by WendyLea
104.  Michelle Escano, The Cabby Crafter
105.  Louise Glazier, Lily and Jasmine Treasures
106.  Dana Hickey, Wind Dancer Studios
107.  Lennis Carter, windbent
108.  Anne Betenson, Crystal River Beads
109.  Audrey Belanger,  Dreams of an Absolution
110.  Lisa Stukel, Carefree Jewelry by Lisa

111.  Janine Lucas, Travel Stories
112.  Claire Lockwood, Something to Do With Your Hands
113.  Kathy Engstrom, Catherine's Dreams
114.  Paula Hisel, Simply Beadiful
115.  Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
116.  Mischelle Fanucchi, Micheladas Musings
117.  Kim, Cianci Blue
118.  Linda Sadler, Ida Louise Jewelry
119.  Karen, Spokalulu
120.  Jennifer LaVite, Dry Gulch Bead and Jewelry

121.  Andrea Glick-Zenith, ZenithJade Creations
122.  Karen Martinez, Fairies Market
123.  Robin Reed, Artistry HCBD
124.  Amy Bright, LABweorc
125.  Jasvanti Patel, Jewels by Jasvanti
126.  Tammie Everly, TTE Designs
127.  Karin Slaton, Backstory Beads
128.  Natalie Moten, Running Out of Thread
129.  Sharyl McMillian-Nelson, Sharyl's Jewelry & Reflections
130.  Jenny Kyrlach, Wonder and Whimsy

131.  LiliKrist, Handmade by LilK
132.  Jessica Klaaren, The Truth Space
133.  Cynthia Abner, Created Treasures
134.  Beth Emery, Stories by Indigo Heart
135.  Heather Davis, Blissful Garden Beads
136.  Jeanne, Gems by Jeanne Marie
137.  Sandi Volpe, Sandi Volpe
138.  Laren Dee Barton, Laren Dee Designs
140.  Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn's Creations

141.  B. R. Kuhlman, Mixed Mayhem
142.  Patty Miller, Cabari Beads
143.  Elizabeth Bunn, Elizabeth Beads
144.  Marianna Boylan, Pretty Shiny Things
145.  Lizzie Clarke, The Need to Bead
146.  Christina Miles, Wings 'n' Scales
147.  Patricia, The Color of Dreams
148.  Marde Lowe, Fancimar
149.  Ev Shelby, Raindrop Creations
150.  Sarah Small, By Salla

151.  Perri Jackson, Shaktipaj Designs
152.  Laurie Vyselaar, Lefthand Jewelry
153.  Pam Traub, Klassy Joolz
154.  Lisa Harrison, Daisy Meadow Studio
155.  Anzia Parks, Anzi-Panzi's Work Shoppe
157.  Andra Weber, Andra's Joyful Journey
158.  Kelly Hosford Patterson, The Traveling Side Show
159.  Adlinah Kamsir, Dreamstruck Designs
160.  Marci, That Nothing Be Wasted

161.  Kris Lanae Binsfield,  Cherish Designs
162.  Stephanie Perry, Mustard Bead
163.  Birgit Klughardt, Gites Beads
164.  Inge von Roos, Inge's Blog
165.  Rebecca Sirevaag, Becca's Place
166.  Sandy Markley, Gypsy Spirit Designs
167.  Elena Adams, Lena's Beady Blog

Another deadline missed

So it seems that if it weren't for blog hops, I might not blog at all.
I keep promising myself I'll write weekly.

Anyhow, today is the reveal for the Bead Hoarders Blog Hop and my pieces are not finished.
Oh, what a surprise.

I have strung some beautiful beads, but need to create the earrings. If not tonight, tomorrow after the Farmers Market.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Inspired by.... The Bucolic Plague

Wow - I can't believe almost a month has passed.

I am so glad school is over so I'll be able to finish reading my books! I now have 3 in progress!
And I'll have time to work on my jewelry projects.

This month's book was the Bucolic Plague by Josh Kilmer-Purcell. It's a tongue-in-cheek memoir of two professional men from Manhattan who decide to run a farm in upstate New York. It's a quick, engrossing book that had me laughing out loud as I shared anecdotes with whomever would listen.

The creativity and talent of the other members of the group is astounding. I almost feel like my simple pieces are not worthy of the group. That said - I am still excited with the materials I found and what I created in a short amount of time.

I had only read about half of the book when I wandered around the local bead shop (Island Bead in Eastport, NY) waiting for inspiration to hit me. And there they were - little glass goldfish reminiscent of Josh's drag queen costume. (I expect you can find out more about that in his first book, I Am Not Myself These Days:  A Memoir, which I plan to read sometime in the future.)

I found some 4mm neon orange candy jade beads and amber swarovski crystal in my stash.
Then I wrapped lots of fish and round beads to create dangling earrings and an ankle bracelet.
There are 3 lonely fish left - maybe the future holds a long chain necklace.

These dangle from my
 handcrafted ss earwires.
Hoping this is a hit in The Hamptons!

I love the way the gold pops out in this photo.
 Depending on the angle the coating on the fish looks gold or silver.

I have since finished (and loved) the Bucolic Plague and can't wait to start our next book, The Cookbook Collector, by Allegra Goodman. I'm looking forward to having the time to plan out my next project instead of putting it together at the last minute.          

I'm also very jealous of the folks who get to meet up in person with Andrew Thornton at the Allegory Gallery.  Check out Andrew's blog for more info -
ps - Check out the other participants!
Sarajo Wentling
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Jeanne Steck
Mary Harding
Judy Campbell
Michelle Mach
Mary K. McGraw
Andrew Thornton, Amy Roadman, and Laurel Ross

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Rumor of Gems - Inspired By Reading Design

As if I didn't have enough to do, I decided it would be fun to join an online book club organized by Andrew Thornton.
Ah - but this is no ordinary book club. Each month we read a different book which should inspire us to create.
Click here to find out more about the club and upcoming titles

For the month of May we read (or are still reading) A Rumor Of Gems, by Ellen Steiber. It's a very engrossing story of magic and relationships set in an old town, but in modern times. I tend to be very literal and became obsessed with the moonstones.  With little time before a weekend show, I put together two very simple pieces with amazonite, moonstone and sterling silver.

Finally, I wanted to create a labradorite bridge. Instead settled for this bracelet with beautiful labradorite from my stash. I just had to highlight it's brilliant flash with apatite. There are some great charcoal gray shell pearls and, of course, sterling silver.

 I can't wait to see what some of the other participants have created. I'm sure they'll be a bit more creative then me.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A promise...

My goal was - still is - to post weekly. But alas, here I am a month later.
It's been a very busy, stressful time at work.  Just 20 days left of school - then retirement!
Retirement - that word invokes stress, but it is also a promise. A promise of moving from one stage of my life to another. I don't believe I will leave completely put teaching in the past. I've had a few propositions - things to consider.

In the meantime, I look forward to the time to devote to creating jewelry, time to take classes, explore new or perfect current techniques, time to expand the business.
I look forward to time to read, to participate in my 3 bookclubs (what was I thinking?)
I look forward to time to travel, time to do whatever I want.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Rainy Saturday Morning

... Wondering why I'm up so early on Saturday morning. It's 7 am now - been up since 5:30 and I've actually been pretty productive.

*I'm pleased to say I now have one clean flat surface in my "studio". It is just a 14x19" snack table. but it does provide clear work space! 

*I've inventoried and put away several orders from the last few months.

*Found some gold-filled jump rings.

*Found some great stone focal beads.

Unfortunately there's still a lot more to be done.
Including creating bracelets to fill customer orders.

In case you're wondering how I get anything done - it's simple - I just move to another clean surface!

I'm really looking forward to June and retiring from teaching - my goal is to clean my "office" and create a real studio.

Hope you all are having a great Saturday!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Time To Party! Bead Soup Blog Party, That Is!

My partner Tracie Dean sent me this amazing collection of red, white and silver beads.

Since it was close to Valentine's Day, I immediately did a few quick wraps with the cinnabar heart and red ceramic beads.  Threw them on a ribbon and had the perfect necklace for a first grade teacher to wear to school.

The other beads presented a bit more of a challenge.

I knew the clasp Tracie sent was too pretty to hide in the back, so I had to figure out a way to feature it in front.
She also included some beautiful matching 2-hole connectors. I added seed beads, glass pearls, and sterling silver rounds.  The result was a very romantic 24" necklace.  My designs are usually symmetrical so, I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

I love the oval focal - I think it's a dyed "jade". 
It told me it wanted to be wrapped. I know it's not the best wrap - It's still a pretty new skill for me, but I am excited with the results. I must admit that I am still wrapping chain links. Yes - that is a totally handcrafted sterling chain. I'm not sure how long it will take to finish so here it is...

Don't forget to visit Tracie's blog to see what she created with the blue soup I sent her.

and Lori to see what the other artists have created with their soups.