Friday, May 1, 2015

April Pretty Palettes :: Lavender Fields Forever

This month has been busy! This week I taped two segments with the wonderful Katie Hacker for the PBS television show, Beads, Baubles & Jewels. The show tapes in Cleveland, and this time I got a chance to share an entire year's worth of birthstone projects as well as finishing techniques!  It's a great show that features some amazing designers. Every week you can see free video of the show on the Beads, Baubles & Jewels website. Check it out!
Katie Hacker and me on the set of Beads, Baubles & Jewels!
I managed to finish my project for my favorite blog hop before I left for Cleveland, but I didn't manage to get the piece photographed and written up, so I apologize for being a bit late to the Pretty Palettes party this month.
Here's the great Design Seeds palette Erin posted for us to use as inspiration. Gorgeous!
I decided to play around with a little finding that was new to me this month: the slide connector from Beadalon. 
Beadalon's slide connector comes in silver and gold in multiple widths
The slide connector has a channel into which you could put a thin material like leather, silk or other cording. 

Here are the Bead Gallery beads that I chose for this project. I must admit that I have a new favorite bead. It's the green faceted Czech glass with the mottled finish. I want to put these little earthy guys in everything I make.
I didn't have many of these beads left when I finished, but here's what they look like when you get them from Michaels.
Here's what you need to make this project.
I played around a bit with the idea of using cording, but in the end I thought I'd give it a try as a multi-strand connector for a bracelet. 
Inside the connector I used a gold round and a crimp to hold things in place. When I was finished, I pinched the connector together to hold the flexible beading wire in place so that it didn't get abraded. I was concerned that the connector could cause the wire to break. I've worn the bracelet a few times and haven't had any issues. I'll update this if I have any problems with it. 

Now, I wasn't quite finished, and I had a few beads left, so I decided to make a little pendant to go along with the bracelet. Something simple and easy to wear, but with a chevron-esque look. 

If you want to play along or just check out the rest of the projects on the Halcraft blog, visit the April Pretty Palettes post.  Erin Prais-Hintz will have May's inspiration photo up next week, and word is, that the next blogger partner is none other than the fantastic and talented Heather Powers of Humblebeads!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

30 Words :: Puddle Jumpers

when rain falls
in sheets and the world is
wet with promises
of yellow days and warmth,
we take hands
puddle jump
both feet at once

The premise of 30 Words Thursdays is simple...
Take an image (preferably one you shot, or have permission to use). 
Write 30 Words about it. No more. No less.
Post it each Thursday.
Add your link to the InLinkz on my 30 Words Thursday post.
(InLinkz code will be open for one week.) 
Enjoy seeing the verse and vision others have captured by visiting them and leaving a comment.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March Pretty Palettes

What a winter! It feels good to talk about it in the past tense. We've made it to spring, and Halcraft's March Pretty Palettes palette is gorgeous.  Erin picked some of my favorites, and working with these colors was like visiting an old friend.
Erin found this palette here:

I'd been wanting a chance to make a chevron style necklace for a while now, and this seemed like a great chance to do it. I used a few of the new strands of Bead Gallery beads on the end cap at Michaels that features multiple colors of blue beads, and then I added pops of copper and gold strung on a long piece of knotted white leather with a slightly shiny finish. 
Instead of using two eye pins, I used a slightly heavier gauge wire (20- gauge gold German style Wire from Beadalon, which can be found at Michaels as well), made wrapped loops at the ends, and bent the loops at an angle that would easily accommodate the leather cording. I didn't knot the top ends of the loops so that the beads can slide up and down the cording, just for a little fun! 

Enjoy the rest of the Pretty Palettes posts back at the Halcraft USA blog today! 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

30 Words :: Up, Up & Away!


on the orthodontist's appointment slip:

MAKE time to create with words.

Unraveling the memory of us

floating above the earth

sharing a shivering, silent reverie.

Your knuckles brushing mine.

The premise of 30 Words Thursdays is simple...
Take an image (preferably one you shot, or have permission to use).
Write 30 Words about it. No more. No less.
Post it each Thursday.
Add your link to the InLinkz on Erin's 30 Words Thursday post.
(InLinkz code will be open for one week.)
Enjoy seeing the verse and vision others have captured by visiting them and leaving a comment.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Two posts in one day? It might never happen again, but I couldn't keep myself from sharing how heartbreakingly beautiful my yard was this morning. Here's a little taste of my "commute" out to my studio office in the barn.

All things bright and beautiful!

January's Pretty Palettes :: Rose Blush Necklace/Bracelet

According to Pantone, 2015's color of the year is Marsala, a rich red wine shade with earthy tones and killer versatility. I love this image showing Marsala with some of its possible color companions. This color was the start for Erin Prais-Hintz' January Pretty Palettes blog hop hosted by Halcraft USA.

For more information about the blog hop and to see what others have made using the same color palette of beads, visit the Halcraft blog here.

Erin used this image as the inspiration image for her post, and I LOVE it. Whoever thought to put succulents in a bridal bouquet? Brilliant! The dusty rose and the almost greenish gray of what we around here call "hen & chicks" feel sophisticated and lush.

Here are the beads I started with to match the Pretty Palette. I used the image as much as the swatches at the bottom, and I really loved the faux pearls in dusty rose. I ended up adding some metal spacers with crystals and left out many of the pinkier beads in favor of just using the ombre pearls in the end.

My Bead Gallery beads from Michaels Stores!
I fumbled a bit with this project, as the colors were way pinker than what I am usually comfortable working with. What is it about pink? It's intimidating to me. Is it to you?

Do you ever have days where you just want to do something sort of monotonous and repetitive? That was my day yesterday. I wanted a project in which I could just enjoy the beads, their rosy color, their different textures and finishes, so I decided that I wanted to create a really long knotted bead necklace. 

I ended up using the great ombre pearls, some of the green blue faceted beads, and some of the marsala red rounds along with the great silvery resin rounds that look like they have tiny crystal caves inside. 

I used Beadalon's handheld knotting tool (how-to video in the link). They have a newer tabletop tool (how-to video in the link) that I haven't tried yet, but I'm really happy with my little handheld jobbie. I love this little wooden thing. It makes the knots slide off easily and keeps them close to the beads. If you haven't tried one, it's definitely worth asking some of your beading friends about. Maybe one has a knotting tool you can take for a test drive. You string all of the beads you'd like to use, then slowly and meditatively get into the rhythm of knotting and sliding a bead, knotting and sliding a bead. It's lovely, and just as relaxing as knitting!

Maybe I'll get a chance to use the newer tabletop tool next week when I visit the Beadalon booth in Tucson!
You can wear this as a long necklace, or wrapped around your wrist multiple times as a bracelet, or even doubled as a longer and shorter strand necklace, as I did on my little mannequin here in my office.

And with the leftover beads, don't forget to make yourself a pretty pair of earrings!

Even though the greenish gray flashes that showed up in the succulents didn't show up in the little samples on the palette, I decided to incorporate them into my jewelry. I love how this color looks with the dusty rose and marsala red. It's so sophisticated and unexpected!

Thank you for another wonderful Pretty Palettes blog hop, Erin!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December Pretty Palettes :: Dark Matter

It's time for Pretty Palettes again! To learn more about the Pretty Palettes blog hop, go to This month's palette selected by Erin Prais-Hintz is glistening and sophisticated! Check out the palette, fit for a New Year's Eve party:

The beads that Erin chose were so pretty, but I couldn't find all of them at my local Michaels Store. (There's a Michaels in my town now, and it has the really pretty bead section up near the front with lights! When I walk in there, I can spend an hour just looking at them all!) 
I could find the mixed metal cubes and the black faceted cubes, but the pretty little stars and pyramids were out!
The ones I did have were the little mixed metal cubes and I had plenty of black faceted glass beads and pearls, which I thought would work, but I didn't really have a strong direction. It wasn't until I saw this image in the National Geographic magazine that I really gained a direction with this project.

Isn't this crazy? This machine is used to track/investigate dark matter in the universe. I read a bit about it, but to be honest, the kids were running around, and to really absorb all of it, I would have needed my reading glasses, some quiet, and my thinking cap. Anyway, I loved this image, and it really jump started my creative process. The reflective metal squares arranged in circles got me thinking.

I found some oval links and wired the mixed metal cubes around them for a pair of earrings, then I did a larger version with some more black faceted beads for a pendant. I found that attaching the dangles to the oval links before wire wrapping the cubes to them made the process a lot smoother than trying to attach the loops after the wire was wrapped. 

The finished product is alright, and has a sort of Art Deco feel with the black, white and the metallic cubes, especially the earrings. 

What do you think?
Thanks for hopping along with me! Join Erin by checking out the Halcraft USA blog next Wednesday, January 7 for the January Pretty Palettes bead selection and palette!