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! 


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November Pretty Palettes :: Frost on the Pumpkin

This month's pretty palette features very familiar colors for me, as a pile of pumpkins sit jumbled next to the door to my house, which is sided in a gray so similar to the gray in this month's Pretty Palettes blog hop! Find out more about Erin Prais-Hintz' Pretty Palettes blog hop on the Halcraft USA Inspiration blog.
Actually, when I checked them this morning, one looked decidedly squishy, so I think it might be about time to clear the pumpkins out to make room for some Christmas decorations!

I've seen so many color block style necklaces lately that I just loved that I decided that this was my chance to give making one of my own a try. I just had to find the right beads.

When I saw the white gradient pearls in the Bead Gallery aisle at Michaels, I knew that I had to use them in this project for the warm grey tones. They're so easy to use, in that you just string them in the order that they are strung on the plastic cord on the card. Each card has two strands, so it took 3 cards to make this 3-strand necklace. The best part of this is that you can remove a few faux pearls from the ends of the strand near where the clasp attaches to create the right drape for the necklace as well as lining up the more strongly colored beads near the center of the necklace.

One other pick was a bit of a luxury: these faceted banded onyx beads are a little larger than I usually wear, but they're so amazing in their colors and striations.
All I needed to do now was string some strong orange rounds and add a few rhinestone spacers for flare, and I've got the perfect necklace for my trip home for Thanksgiving! I think this would look great with a pair of brown cords, slouchy sweater, and boots, as it's on the long side, which makes it feel more casual than a traditional pearl necklace.
 To see others' project for this month's Pretty Palettes blog hop, jump on over to the Halcraft blog & thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October's Pretty Palette Challenge :: Cowgirl Chic

Oh, was this one a hard one! I don' t know if it was the fact that I was too oh-so-in-love with this color palette or that I had mostly rounds to work with this time. For more information and to see the rest of the participants' creations, click here to be whisked off to the Halcraft Pretty Palettes Challenge, hosted by Erin Prais-Hintz for this month! 

Here is our inspiration piece and the palette I chose to work with, by Erin Fitzhugh Gregory
Isn't this gorgeous!?!

Even though the painting is decidedly floral, the colors, when pulled out together, gave me a feel of leather and blue jeans, a sort of cowgirl chic, which gave rise to the Cowgirl Chic necklace.

I have been digging the often undervalued but very useful rounds lately, and this color palette really worked with the beads I had on hand. A few of the beads that I used have facets, but most are the smooth, round workhorses of the beading world.

This palette includes so many wonderful colors, and they're all over the color wheel in intensity as well as color value, giving me a brain bending workout in that way, as well.

Did anyone else struggle in this way with this palette?

Although it looks simple, it took me a surprisingly long time to design the Cowgirl Chic Necklace (hence my evening post)! I'm probably not alone in this, but although the techniques used to create this necklace are common, I find that choosing the beads for the almost-symmetrical look is challenging for me.

One special part of this necklace is the golden honey-colored beaded bead. I used Beadalon's WildFire cord to make this one.

I couldn't stop at just a necklace so I went ahead and used some very cowgirl-esque leather in one bracelet, some stretch cord to make another bracelet, and a traditional beading wire bracelet, along with a pair of earrings, perfect for horsing around. ;)

Thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope you find the time to play along next month! Erin will be revealing next month's Pretty Palette on the Halcraft blog next Wednesday, November 5th!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

September Pretty Palettes Challenge :: riding a bike...that sparkles

Beading is best when shared! 

For months, a couple of my friends and I had been striving to schedule a beading "play date" for ourselves. Our busy schedules, our kids' busy schedules, and the fact that we don't live in the same town made it challenging, but soon after Erin posted September's Pretty Palettes post, my friends contacted me and let me know that this was THEIR palette and we couldn't let this month go by without giving this palette a go.

After bunches of messages, Jenn, Rachel and I managed to carve out a few hours to work together to make something beautiful based on this gorgeous palette from Jessica Colaluca of Fresh Hues. YUM!

To get ready for our beading play date, I made an amazing--but so easy--roasted tomato and pepper soup the night before, stocked the little fridge in my studio with some drinks and snacks, and set out the goodies for us to play with that worked with the palette. All of these beads are from Halcraft's Bead Gallery line available at Michaels Stores.
These are some of the goodies that we played with during our play date!
Jenn and Rachel and I went to college together, traveled together, and wrote poetry together. It was about time the three of us sat down and created something sparkly.

Speaking of sparkly, I have to share a photo of what happens in my studio on sunny mornings when I put the beads out on the table. Kinda dreamy, right?

Sometimes I just need to watch the beads sparkle!

After rifling through beads, Rachel and Jenn and I chose the ones we liked best and went from there. Jenn, who has a penchant for sparkles, chose a rose gold slider and coordinating beads. Jenn is known for her need to balance, in her life, in her work, and definitely in her beading! Jenn and I have been beading together for over a decade, and I most definitely noticed this trend in her work. Jenn described our morning like this: "I beaded today...for the first time in a long time. It was like riding a bike...that sparkles. Also, yes, I did, in fact, put a bird on my earrings."
Rachel chose some gorgeous glass points and made "grape cluster" earrings. I taught her to pinch her crimps shut to hold the marquis-shaped chain to the strand of glass points, which she carefully placed in an order so that the longest points were in the center of the necklace. Aren't they beautiful? I realized during our time together that I didn't have a mirror in my studio, so Rachel was clever enough to think of using the Photo Booth on my computer. Did I ever tell you that Rachel is, like CRAZY smart? (I think that the carving on this one is beautiful. Maybe when I win the lottery?)

I found myself drawn to  coppery chain as well, but I used a smaller version and hung little dangles from it to create a lariat-style necklace, and I couldn't help but make a few stretch bracelets to layer, too.

Thank you so much for taking the time to peruse our beading projects. I hope that they inspire you to participate in the Pretty Palettes challenge next month, and maybe even plan a girls' night to make a grouping of projects like we did! I know I'd love to be able to do this every month. 

Visit next Wednesday, October 1, to see Erin's October's Pretty Palette!