June 28, 2012

Tree of Life Mixed Media Necklace

I have been determined to try my hand at mixing media for some time and have been admiring various art beads for a while.  I have been in love with lampwork forever but started adding ceramic and porcelain beads slowly to my stash.
Ceramic beads -  I  think I love them
  Recently I purchased a bunch of beautiful ceramic beads from  Ingrid Mueller and they have been begging me to make something.  Aren't they just the most gorgeous bunch of beauties?

Tree of Life Pendant Mixed Media Necklace
Yesterday I decided to make a necklace with the Tree of Life pendant.  I must admit the project was a real stinker as I decided to work with fiber, wire, chain and leather.  Nothing like trying to do it all at one time.  Then I decided to add some bead weaving as well.  I have not done knotting with fibers so that gave me the most trouble but I conquered it in the end.  

I used brass o-rings to attach the pendant but I wasn't happy with the spacing left between so added some tiny russet peanut beads into a sort of bead pod shape to fill in and I love the effect this has given to the overall necklace.  So there will be more mixed media in my future..... I'm sure of that!

June 25, 2012

Bead Soup is made

You cannot be a bead person or jewelry designer and not know about the Bead Soup Blog Party or BSBP as it has lovingly become known and looked forward to by so many.  There are many blog hop challenges but this is the big one and this time there are 399 participants who signed up.  In fact there will be three reveal dates over the summer.  Many thanks to Lori Anderson for her many hours, days and probably weeks of hard work that goes into planning this humungus event.  Goodness, you would think it would be enough to pull your pink hair out!  This is number 6 and I finally got the nerve to sign up. 

 I was paired up with Terry Matuszyk who has been a collector of fine vintage jewelry for years and recently started making her own line of beautiful jewelry.  There is much to love about her pieces as each one tells a story.  I could see  getting caught up in vintage as it is quite different from what I am accustomed to. 
We gave each other free reign to send whatever we wanted - after all this is a challenge right?

Sorry Terry no pictures of the beads but if you look hard you might find a clue.  That's about all you get for now.  I'm off to send your beads. 
Pacific Ocean at Nanaimo, BC

June 21, 2012

I am Bohemian Inspired and Wired

I recently purchased the ebook Bohemian Inspired Jewelry by Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel two of my favorite designers.  I have gone through and devoured all the designs in depth.  

But now here is my problem. I have beader's attention deficit disorder I swear to you.  I will have a design in my head and gather up all the beads I need for something in particular.  Somewhere along the way.... I get distracted and go off in another direction.  I'm sure you all don't have that problem.  

Yesterday I purchased this cute little ebook online at Daisychain Extra as well.  It has some simple macrame designs that I'm dying to get working on and incorporate into my bead weaving and wire work.

Wanted to make a bracelet inspired by these books and these dyed turquoise really called out to me.  I had some multi-colored ribbon that matched perfectly.  Instead of using a clasp, I wire wrapped a daisy shaped brass flower to the end of the bead segment.  The ribbon attaches securely to that and it adds a nice accent.   This was an easy project that only took about an hour and I actually stuck with it to the end.  Nice cool summery colors don't you think? 

June 18, 2012

Rocky Mountains - always a sight to see

 My blog today is pictures from our trip to British Columbia.  I love the beauty of nature and if anyone has not seen the majestic Rocky Mountains - here they are.  This is the Bow River between Calgary and Banff, Alberta with Mountains peeking over the trees.  Miles of nothing but trees, mountains and streams and the road ahead of us.....  Some of the tops were covered in cloud so I couldn't get as many pictures.

 A Walkway for Wildlife over the busy Trans Canada Highway so the animals don't get hit - there is one about every five miles in the Banff National Park.

 I have driven this trip dozens of times and I never get tired of these wondrous sights.  The only thing that changes is the season, lighting, weather and cloud and snow cover on that particular day.

 Still snow covered at this time of year but many streams with run off causing rivers to rise and swell.

 They attach netting so rocks don't fall down on your car - this is the worst part of the highway.

 Rogers Pass where there are hair pin turns and it is slow going - don't look down over the edge.

 So much rain has made everything lush and green and beautiful

 A common sight is the Canadian Pacific Railway cars running along side the highway.

 The long and twisty road usually takes us two days drive from Alberta to British Columbia but it is a beautiful drive and we never get tired of the sights.

So many beautiful waterfalls beside the road - just happened to catch this one driving by.  My husband is not good about stopping to take pictures so I am surprised when one turns out.

So that is my trip from Alberta to British Columbia.  
This is the ocean looking toward Vancouver from my deck this AM.  If you look behind the island on the far right you would see Mount Baker in Washington on a clear day. 

 Now I am going to set up my bead studio. Have a great day!

June 16, 2012

Bead Soup Blog Party and Why I make Jewelry

The Majestic Rocky Mountains of Alberta Canada
I am sitting in a lineup at Horeshoe Bay in Vancouver, British Columbia waiting to board the ferry to cross the Strait of Georgia to Vancouver Island to our home where I will spend the next month resting and relaxing. I packed our SUV with most of my beads and tools so I won't be bored. 

I am very excited to have signed up for the 6th Bead Soup Blog Party put on By Lori Anderson (my first). I love reading Lori Anderson's blog - she has inspired me so much this year even though I have never met her. It is because of her that I try to be REAL in my blogs.  And I'm posting more often.
Low lying clouds over the Rocky Mountains
So why do I make Jewelry?   Well....About 15 years ago, anklets and bracelets with big hole beads on leather or cord were very much "IN" so I made and sold them at farmer markets and craft shows until the market was flooded. These were rather a casual style.... and sold well with the young teens. Then I began making earrings with multi-dangles when very long earrings were in style - the longer the better. I always wore some as well. I made exclusively earrings for a while and that is why it is hard for me to make earrings now. I really have made enough of them in my day. I rarely wear them now either.
With my American Eskimo dog - Lucy
I took a break from making jewelry for about 5 years and then started buying beads and supplies on Etsy and other Bead Companies. I wanted to learn how to wrap, coil, forge and bend any gauge wire so bought copper, brass and sterling silver (when it was cheaper) but used mostly copper to practice with. I purchased tutorials to help with learning since I live where it is hard to take classes. Last year I took a Lampwork bead class and set up a torch and purchased supplies to make Lampwork beads. I loved that! I started bead weaving and find it very stress reducing. I have so many things in my head - ideas I want to try but I have no studio for the time being....a little more patience!  A little more time!

This year I have been unsure what to do. I was going to quit making jewelry many times because I didn't think I had it in me to do anything better.  Then I got involved with a couple challenges and met some new wonderful inspiring people who have been most encouraging.  So why give up?

 Beautiful reflection in this Pond!

Shuswap Lake in British Columbia Canada - love the wispy clouds

My plan for the future is to have fun with the bead soup blog party and hope that it pushes me in a different direction. One where I can combine beadweaving with wire work and stringing as well as incorporate my own lampwork beads or use art beads from some of my favorite bead artists. I am very much inspired by the current Boho trend and will use more of those techniques in my jewelry design in the future.

Please feel free to leave comments - I love comments.

June 11, 2012

A Time To Stitch Blog Hop

So I guess the reason we sign up for a challenge is to do just that. A Time To Stitch Blog Hop is hosted by Therese and Christine two wonderful ladies I have had the privilege of meeting recently.
Rings made when practicing Peyote stitch
  I signed up in the middle of moving and not sure if I would learn something new but because I love bead work and no matter what, I knew I would make something.  I figured I could fall back on my favorite free form peyote technique if need be.  I just didn't know how tired and exhausted I was going to be 'after the move'.

I thought it would be cool to do a  Photo Layout on the Latest Bead Trends Magazine  
Thankfully, I had researched Herringbone and found techniques on Fusion Beads a month ago so had instructions printed out and beads ready to go.  I had an idea in my head of a fringe bracelet I wanted to make but I needed to practice first.  Christine said, no worries, it is an easy stitch.... but that didn't ease my hesitant beating heart.  I am not good at following instructions and guess that is why free form appeals to me.

  I had a vial of 8/0 beads that I loved and thought it would be more than enough for a bracelet.  A few days ago, I finally got bead fever back again so sat down to play.  Well, the instructions were great and I whipped up the bracelet in no time, except that I ran out of 8/0 beads and it probably wouldn't have even fit a small child..... I was so disappointed.  So, I ripped it all apart and started over making sure to add green co-ordinating beads at each end to make it longer.  This time success.
Sure do like the transparent picasso beads used for the main body of the bracelet then adding transparent green every third row.  Surprisingly Christine was right Herringbone is an easy stitch once you get the hang of it!  My plan was to make a beaded toggle clasp as I have never made one before, but that idea fizzled out when I saw this beautiful faceted Agate stone.  I wish I knew the name of it but of course it was in a tray mixed with other stones and my beads are packed away so impossible to find the name..... anyway it is transparent with colors inside that match the rest of the bracelet.
I added a picot edging thinking that would be enough to finish off both sides but somehow it looked unfinished so I added fringe on one side and I love the texture and movement when its on my wrist and it swings back and forth.  This is exactly the bracelet that I had in mind when I started but I didn't know if it would ever materialize.  I am very happy that I learned a new stitch and joined in this challenge and now I want to go see everyone else's beautiful work. Thanks Christine and Therese for hosting.  Enjoy the Hop!

Katherine Gale - you are here 

June 05, 2012

So many memories etched in my mind

I would have to say that moving is one of the more stressful times of a person's life.  Last week we left a 4000 sq. ft. home that I had designed on a quarter of land and lived in for 23 years. All through the stages of purging and packing I said when I drive down the driveway for the last time, I will sigh a big sigh of relief just because it was so exhausting..... more like overwhelming on some days!  Boy, was I wrong.

On the last day I cleaned until 9:00 pm and then took a final stroll through the house. I was overtaken with emotion. The house suddenly seemed huge when empty. It was hauntingly beautiful as the evening sun shone through windows and as I went through various rooms, memories hit like waves and I sobbed. I took a few pictures of the empty rooms, but for what reason? I suppose trying to hold on to a tiny piece of that home in some way.  I thought it was fitting that the evening sun was centered over the house and shining through the spruce tree that my husband bought and planted for my 40th birthday quite a few of those years ago.  What a final goodbye to my beautiful home!

At the end of our hallway, we always measured the grand kids height and left a mark and date on the wall at birthdays or whenever we thought of it. I wanted to recreate that memory wall onto  scrapbook paper but of course time ran out. Now, I realize I failed to get a picture of it....  So many memories etched in my mind.

For now we are staying in our daughter's yard in our motorhome for some much needed down time. We purchased her home but she doesn't have another place to move to. Next week we will go to BC where we have a second home and spend the rest of the summer. It is on Vancouver Island and I love the calming atmosphere of the ocean.  It is a peaceful place and good for the body and soul.

I hope my beads fit in the back of our vehicle. I want to create but my mind and body is completely exhausted from this move. I have ordered more beads so maybe when they arrive, I will be motivated.

 What do you do when you want to create but you avoid it at the same time?  Oh yes, and what do you think of my new blog design by Karen Valentine Design?