Friday, June 29, 2007

Silver Waves.

Finally...the pieces I've been working on at the kitchen table are finished. It will be nice to use the entire table for dinner instead of squishing close together to eat.

But, it was worth it. This design comes from the Silver Waves class with Janice Berkebile of Wired Arts. My hands are tired and sore - long days of typing followed by bending and forging thick wire is tough! By the outcome is wonderful. I've made two necklaces and three bracelets!

The necklace I made for my mom has a glass bead hanging from the center piece. She and I found the bead at Bead & Button from Lily Rose Beads. James has some really great glass beads. Typically glass beads are made on a mandrel and are solid, but this bead is actually blown and is hollow. And the photos on his site are much better than mine below.

I'll see you back here on Tuesday. Have a splendid weekend, everyone.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I haven't found any more white vases while thrifting lately, but I did find these cute little [white!] pyrex bowls. They are perfect for holding N.'s snacks and durable enough to survive being moved around by N. He likes to have his goldfish crackers be portable because he's a busy little guy. At 49 cents each, I couldn't resist!

I may have to have a snack out of them myself. They would be so cute filled with berries.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Unexpected gifts are the best kind.

Look at what my mom surprised me with! What a very nice thing to do. She made this with sterling silver and many different Swarovski Crystal components and beads. The cubes are very cool. I never know what to do with them, but now I don't have to worry about it!

Thanks, Mom!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


I received this pair of earrings for my birthday last year from my friend Lisa. She made these from sterling silver and included the crystal for a touch of sparkle. She holds some of the credit for really getting me started down this road. She has a great eye and makes some really fabulous jewelry.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I hope these shoes were made for walking.

After reading many favorable comments about Earth shoes, I really wanted to try a pair. I have some back issues after having been in many car accidents where I was rear-ended and Earth shoes are supposed to be good for spinal alignment. I feel like I'm on a constant quest for sandals that are comfortable enough to walk around in for a day of shopping. Does anyone else feel that way? I received my Tina Rice enamel pendant in the mail today. It's even better in person. I can't wait to wear it. real beading news today. I worked on a silver wire bracelet over the weekend. No pics yet.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The sparkly cube.

I learned how to make this cube in a Laura McCabe class. I don't often make things with green beads; I always seem to lean toward pinks and browns. Lately it's been sitting in my jewelry box and I look at it each time I open the drawer. I could have made it to be strung on a necklace, but it's not my kind of thing to wear. It has lots of shine and sparkle and is just a fun thing to hold.

Do you have any plans for the weekend? N. has swim lessons this morning, though it is looking rather dreary right now. I believe we have thunderstorms in our forecast. Our town is having its annual fest with rides, lots of food, and all the usual trimmings. We planned to check that out today, but if it's raining maybe we'll catch a movie. Tomorrow Mark and I have a date planned! But now, I'm off to make pancakes for breakfast.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Time for another ring basket.

My mom made this ring basket for a friend of hers as a retirement gift. She and I are very different; she is more free-spirited and random, while I prefer patterns and to map out the pattern I'm making. I like how her flowers in this basket are just sort of here and there, wherever she felt like putting them. I think the color combination is very nice as well.

And now, please indulge me while I have a short mommy moment. I have been scanning and uploading N.'s artwork on Artsonia and just scanned this lovely card from him. I think it says, "I love Mom" because he got tired and didn't feel like writing "Mommy." On the inside it says he loves me because I take him to McDonald's for breakfast every Saturday morning. Hmm. That's some wishful thinking right there.

Have you heard of Artsonia? It's a really wonderful site where you can upload children's artwork and share it with your friends and family. You can also purchase items with the artwork on it, such as mugs, magnets, and the like. It's a great way for schools to share their art exhibits as well. Uploading my scans was very easy; the downside is that it takes 1-2 business days for them to appear on the site. You can also visit the Museum to view different art galleries. There is some really great artwork on the site. Take a tour!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Needle cases.

I do loads of things with beads, but bead stitching is still my favorite thing to do and peyote stitch is my favorite stitch. I love how the beads click into their little spots. After doing many, many ring baskets (and I still have more to show!) and the hexagonal box, I made some beaded needle cases. The beaded part can actually slip off of the wooden case. The pattern for this one was in one of Jenny Might's books, though it was so long ago that I made these that I cannot remember which book it was in.

Please forgive that the photo below isn't the best photo ever. I'd have redone it, but it's from years ago and the purple one on the left has been living with my friend Andrea for some time.

I decided to make one with my own pattern on it, but as you can see, I didn't get very far. I like the pattern and should really finish it one of these days.

I don't really use my needle case as such; instead, it's more of a decoration (because I use my sewing book made by Jenn). If you click on the bookshelf photo in this post, you should be able to see it on the second shelf nestled amongst some books on the far left.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tina Rice enamel.

Oh man. I love this pendant I just bought from Tina Rice. I've really been into pinks and I adore things that look sort of earthy, old, and organic. I've been checking out her Etsy shop for some time now, just waiting for the right piece for me. When I saw this piece on her blog, I hurried on over to her shop and it was available. Yay!

I can't wait to receive it! I really need to pull out my kiln, figure out how to work the temperature controller, and try some enameling. Really.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fairy Flutter earrings

I made these Fairy Flutter earrings from a Cynthia Rutledge class. They are bursting with lovely stones in them, like sapphire, green garnets, and amethyst. There are also some Swarovski crystals that are made to look like semi-precious, right down to the tiny little holes.

Monday, June 18, 2007

For the birds.

Drumroll, is the finished birdhouse necklace. You may recall from a previous post that the pendant was purchased from Elemental Adornments and Bead & Button. The rest is made up of sterling silver, tourmaline, smoky quartz, pearls, Bali silver, clear quartz, a stone I cannot remember the name of, and another finding from Elemental Adornments.

Can you see the little pearl eggs inside all snuggled in the nest?

I like the house is sort of wild looking, like a faerie could drop in at any time. Looking at the birdhouse makes me want to pull out my PMC and get to work. But, alas, that's as far as I get. I have enough wirework/metal forging going on right now to keep my busy. More on that project another day. For now, I need to set about finding N. something to eat for dinner.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The hutch.

When I showed you My Sweet Rose, I mentioned that I'd had it framed and it was in a hutch that Mark made for me. This hutch used to be by the front door of our old house and was made to fit snugly in that spot. I'm so happy we have a spot for it in this house. Just like the bookshelf, Mark did his woodworking magic and I took over with painting. The glass knobs are from Anthropologie.

A few close-ups. Here are My Sweet Rose and a bouquet of beaded lavendar.

Some teacups and saucers that belonged to Mark's grandma. She's tickled pink every time she is here and sees her favorite teacups on display. Also, some vintage french beaded flowers.

More pretty teacups. I love how pretty and feminine they are.

And in case you wondered about the cut-off picture in the hutch photo, here's a full shot. A friend at work cross-stitched this for me for a housewarming gift. She knows I like little fairies. She wasn't sure what I would do with it, so she gave me the piece unframed. I was so touched by the work she had done that I immediately set about getting it framed. It's quite large.

Hope you are all enjoying Father's Day. We've spent most of it at home, hanging out and cooking meals on the grill. Marvelous.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A different take on the Waterhouse painting.

I was reading Louise Hill's blog yesterday and saw she had posted some pictures of Diane Hyde's work (photos below are from Louise's blog). I remembered this bag from the Bead Dreams competition at Bead & Button.

The bag is called Scent of a Rose. Read Louise's post for more details about this bag (and to see the bags Louise made). It is stunningly beautiful in person. I couldn't stop looking at it at the show. Stunning. I love, love, love beaded bags. Someday I am going to make one. For now, I'm content to admire.

Friday, June 15, 2007

My Sweet Rose

This is probably my all-time favorite piece to date. It's done in peyote stitch and is made up of 3,021 delica beads. Not 3,020. 3,021. Every bead counts.

The pattern is from Sigrid Wynne-Evans Masterpieces for Beadwork. This particular piece is an adaptation of John William Waterhouse's My Sweet Rose. Waterhouse is one of my favorites and I think the beaded version is pretty darn good considering the limitations of expressing a detailed painted piece with beads.

I have my piece framed and will take a picture of it soon. It's sitting in a hutch that Mark made for me. I did have a photo of it, but I think it's been lost due to computer troubles. My digital camera isn't hooked up yet, either. Getting the computer in order is on our to-do list for this weekend.

Oh! That reminds me! LeeAnn tagged me a while back to post my to-do list. Hmmm...I have a pretty large list in my head, so I'll put down my top 5.

  1. Get the computer in order. Mark thinks he backed everything up recently, so hopefully all my 2007 photos are there. Right now they are nowhere to be found on this hard drive.
  2. Wrap Father's Day gifts for Mark, his dad, and my mom. (Yes, I know it's Father's Day, but my mom raised the three of us, so I give her both Mother's Day and Father's Day gifts.) And buy some cards. And figure out what N. and I are going to do: take Mark out to breakfast? Go to the movies? Take a train downtown and go to one of the Lake Michigan beaches?
  3. Pull Mark's great-grandmother's sewing machine out of my studio closet to see if it works. I almost did this last night, but instead I set up the slip and slide for N. and sat outside.
  4. Finish at least one of the bead/wirework projects I have going. I have a project set up on each floor of our house! I think I have a studio to avoid this, but unfortunately for Mark, it doesn't work out that way.
  5. Clean out the refrigerator. One of my big pet peeves is a messy icebox. Mine needs to be wiped out and it's annoying me every time I open it.
That's it for now. On my longer list are things like picking out paint because I can't take every room in the house being white, figuring out when Mark and I will do the actual painting, packing up some things to donate, trying out a few new project ideas, etc., etc., etc.

Now, who's it? I think I'll tag Jenn, Ginny, and Jessi.

Wait! I have to list one more thing! Learn how to make granny squares so the large pile of yarn will stop staring at me accusingly. Would you believe my mom tried to get away with giving me the granny square she made to figure it out on my own? No, no, no, Mom, that's not happening. I'm expecting a step-by-step tutorial.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A beautiful necklace and a worthy cause.

This morning I was reading ErtheFae's Meandering Thoughts and learned about an auction to help out with funds for a kidney transplant. I put in a bid and didn't pay any attention to the time line of the auction. I thought someone would outbid me and that would be that. Imagine my surprise when a little while later I received an e-mail telling me I had won the auction!

A beautiful piece and a worthy cause. Can't beat that.

And by the way, my computer is currently being operated on. Hopefully I'll be up and running again tomorrow.

Computer update: My poor computer needed several new parts due to overheating. Parts are on their way and I should be back in business on Friday.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Minerva's Necklace by Lisa Niven Kelly

Computer's still down for the count, so this photo is from Lisa Niven Kelly's site. I bought the kit for Minerva's Necklace at B&B. I really like the pendant part of it - especially because I'm a sucker for crystal rivolis. It's all about the sparkle. Lisa's kits are always put together well and have fantastic instructions.

Over the weekend I made the necklace for my birdhouse pendant. I wish my computer was up and running so I could show it to you!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

I'll be back...

Our computer crashed last night, so it may be a few days until my next post. I have to see about getting it fixed. It's a new computer, too! It turned itself off while I was in the middle of typing something. How rude. We've even tried re-installing the operating system. All to no avail.

Before I sign off, I wanted to show you something else I got at Bead & Button. The picture below is from Cynthia Thornton's blog (of Green Girl Studios). I bought the castle and the acorn-shaped bezel bead. I saw the castle on her blog after she had carved it from wax. The photo below doesn't do it justice. It's so cool. I have to get some resin to put a picture or something in the acorn bezel. It is hard to see the stuff at their booth because they always jam-packed with people - but so worth the struggle. I got a few other things from them, too. I'll post those once the computer is up and running again.

I'll meet you back here in a few days!

Friday, June 8, 2007

The bookshelf.

Today I thought I'd show off some of Mark's woodworking talent. He made this bookshelf for me a couple of years ago and I painted it. I had seen a similar bookcase in a magazine and kept it for years to use as an inspiration piece for Mark to use when he drew up plans. I especially like that the shelves are so unevenly spaced.

Let's see...some of the items on the shelves...the little bird on the top is from the past Christmas collection at Pottery Barn. I liked it, so I kept it out. The bird in flight tile is from Sid Dickens. I love his stuff and I have a big problem in that I cannot resist them. There's a glass pear in honor of N. who is absolutely obsessed with pears, a concrete fairy piece that my mom gave me, some antique tiles, and an iron grate. Oh, and and the tree stained glass piece is by a fabulous Naperville, IL artist named Alison Fox. I could not find a website for her, but I did find a photo of another of her pieces from an art show website. Take a look.

And here are a few more Sid Dickens tiles.

I have lots to show from my bead show class and shopping yesterday. Since I showed you some of my bird things, I have to take a moment to tell you about the purchase I am most excited about: a birdhouse pendant made from PMC by Christi from Elemental Adornments. It was her first Bead & Button show and I think it will be a big success. Her booth was packed! My pendant is similar to this one, but doesn't have anything dangling from it.

It's amazing. The front door opens (and so does one half of the roof) to reveal a small nest with pearl eggs. I have to make a necklace for mine (hopefully this weekend!) and will post pictures when I do. I just couldn't wait to tell you about her amazing stuff. Her website is still under a bit of constructions, but you can check out her gallery.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Yay! Today's the day!

I'm headed to the Bead & Button Show in Milwaukee today. This time I didn't take a beading class. Rather, I signed up for a soldering class. I'm very excited. I have all sorts of ideas of things to make once I know how to properly solder a piece. All I will need is the time to do it! My mom is also going. She took a Viking Knit class, where she will be knitting with wire. Interesting.

Tonight is also bead preview night for those who are registered to do some shopping before the show opens to the public. It's nice to go when it isn't so crowded. I can't wait to visit booths by Cynthia Rutledge, Laura McCabe, Anne Choi, Funky Hannah's, Eclectica, Green Girl Studios, Lea Zinke, Kristina Logan, and scads more. It's a big show and by the end of it I always feel a little dazed from all the sparkle and exhausted.

I guess it's lucky that my wallet will be lighter as I drag my tired self from the show.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Flower earrings.

I made these earrings this past weekend. They are made of labradorite and sterling silver. I'm pleased that they resemble little flowers.

And this little flower bowl was a thrift store find from a little while ago. Everything I find seems to be white!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

PMC Pendants

These pendants were made from precious metal clay (PMC). PMC is made up of silver particles suspended in clay that can be molded or sculpted. When fired, the finished piece is 99% pure silver. It's some pretty cool stuff and lots of fun to play with. The pendants below were made by first creating a mold from antique buttons, then putting the PMC into the mold, carefully getting them out of the mold (the hardest part!) and then firing them. Some of the flowers and Swarovski crystals set in them. I also antiqued them in Liver of Sulfur solution. My favorite is the swirly one in the center. I recently sold it. I need to make another one for me.

Monday, June 4, 2007

A day at Millennium Park in The Windy City - Part 2

A visit to the garden at Millennium Park in Chicago.

That's Mark on the left with the backpack on.

Hope your day is filled with sunshine and flowers.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

A day at Millennium Park in The Windy City - Part 1

We hopped on a train yesterday and spent the day at Millennium Park in Chicago with our friend Lori and her son Avery. I even bought three Chicago postcards to send to Jennifer.

The Chicago skyline reflected in the Bean.

Under the bean.

There are two large fountains facing each other with an area of water in between. Faces appear on each.

Then the faces open their mouths and a stream of water pours out.

And after that a torrent of water falls from the top of the fountain.

It's a nice place to cool off. If you don't want to get soaked you can just take off your shoes and stand in the cool water.

Tomorrow I'll share some pictures of the gardens.