Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gluten Free Jewelry Making - Say What?

Now if you're wondering "What in the heck is Dawn talking about - Gluten Free Jewelry Making?"  It's this... making jewelry while eating the most amazing, scrumptious, ooey gooey chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven because I can AND the are gluten free!

Say what????

I have to share this with you because I love you... and because I know many of my friends are eating gluten free and I want to help as many people as possible to enjoy the simple pleasure of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies.

It's been over a year since I've had chocolate chip cookies.  G-free cookies just aren't the same.  No matter how hard I tried with the almond flour, rice flour... blah, blah, blah flour... there just wasn't a substitute for good old-fashioned homemade chocolate chip cookies.  Until now!

A fellow g-free friend suggested I try Domata flour... but the challenge was it wasn't easy to find.  It was only available in this one specialty store and that was a half hour drive.... read my lips  So I hadn't had a chance to try it, until I found it while picking up a "few quick things" (translation $150 of stuff) at our local Walmart! *It's not possible to run in & out of Walmart and not drop $100+ seriously, just not possible.

But this time... I didn't care!  I had Domata flour - and the part about Domata flour that's really, really awesome is that it's a cup-for-cup exchange.  Meaning you can follow any cookie recipe, add exactly the same amount of flour it calls for and continue mixing on your merry way!  No messing around with additional ingredients like xanthum gum or trying to figure out a conversion between regular flour and gluten free flour.  Domata flour is a rice flour that all ready has done the mixing of the extra special ingredients for you!  BRILLIANT! 

So Sunday I tested this in a cup-for-cup challenge.  I made my favorite type of chocolate chip pudding cookies.  Like I said, I haven't had a fresh baked choclate chip cookie in over a year.  And I'm really, really happy to share with you that they were devine... were because I shared a few and I've since polished off the rest.  Shhhhhh, don't tell my Beachbody coach friends that! :) But they were seriously that good. 

Domata also makes a seasoned flour mix and a pizza crust flour.  I'd be willing to try either of those after how good these cookies turned out.  If you are like me and you're eating gluten free for your health, try Domata flour for your baked goods.  I know I'll use it again soon... right after I burn the 3,402,287 calories I consumed from this batch! ;)

P.S.  So you're wondering about the jewelry I made... sorry, I can't show you!  It's a secret for a large retail bead store as an assignment for the Cousin Creative Circle.  BUT I'd love to take you back to a really happy, inspired cuff I designed that makes me really want to dance on the beach!  Visit this blog post for lots of fun, happy pictures:   AND follow it up by heading over and connecting with me on Facebook!  I'd love to show you what work is in progress in my studio as we speak! 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

30 Word Thursday at Lake Geneva Beach

Winter ice has finally gone,
Open water lapping the shore.
Summer peeking around the corner
Sunshine is waiting to kiss our cheeks.
My heart is smiling at what is coming.

Friday, April 4, 2014

30 Word Thursday - Oops is it Friday Already?

Two years ago we had little snow,
The temps were mild and spring went wild.
This was my yard, trees were in full bloom...
the first week in April 2012.

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 Prais-Hintz 30 Words Thursday post.
(InLinkz code will be open for one week.)
Enjoy seeing what others have captured by visiting them and leaving a comment.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

More than just a Beaded Bracelet - It's Wrist Candy

A bracelet by any other name is just a bracelet... but this bead embroidered cuff is like a kiss of Hawaii, a dance along the Florida Gulf and a sip of a Rum Runner all in one!  

And this is where I tell you if it had magical powers, my nose would be twitching like Tabitha, I'd be nodding my head like Jeannie and I'd be finding myself on the perfect tropical beach wearing this cuff... maybe just this cuff it's so delicious!

One day last week I woke up and said (in my best Jimmy Kimmel voice) "Dear Winter, thank you for the lovely blankets of fluffy, white diamonds you sprinkled on us, (*rolls eyes).  For without you, I'd forget just how much I love summer.  Love, Dawn"

After that I was a one woman wrecking crew determined to bring sunshine and happiness to my little corner of the world.  I pulled from tropical vacation memories, from places and colors that make me smile and made my soul sing.  Lime, Fuchsia, Purple, Aqua... marry them all together and BAM!  It's like sunshine just kissed my wrist!

For this cuff, I used the coolest amethyst purple crystal buttons I picked up on the crazy Cousin shopping spree when I was there on the Ambassador Retreat.  I also pulled in freshwater pearls in peridot, raspberry and aquamarine.  I used some flat backed glass stones that have the coolest iridescent finish!  I backed this piece of happiness with a metallic fuschsia Italian lambskin leather and... you guessed it.  I haven't stopped smiling since!

If you like this and want one of your own, I'll gladly create the perfect Cuff of Happiness to fit your wrist exactly!  I can play with the same colors or I can tailor it to be exactly what you're looking for!  With warmer weather, we're gearing up for halter tops & swimsuits here! How about a little arm candy to make you smile every time you look at your wrist? 

Apply for a complimentary design session at: and we'll create magic together!

Peace & Love,
♥ Dawn

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fetishes Can Be Dangerous

Especially when you drop everything else to fulfill your desires! 

I'm sure I'm not alone. I'm not the only one with crazy fetishes.  Here's my story: 

The mail came, an unexpected package was in the mail.  It was from my favorite lampwork artist Juliana Cannon - Studio Juls.  Hmmm, I could either wonder what was inside... nope, no time to wonder! I ripped open the package with the eagerness of a kid at the candy store. 

You know what I found? 

The most amazing, seriously lickable, lampwork glass cabochon that was screaming my name.  The color, the uniformity, the size, it's like we were a match made in heaven.  To me, I saw this cab and it spoke of ocean waves, sandy beaches, the romantic sounds of the sea. 

And Turquoise... so the fetish begins! 

Everything else got shoved right off the table so I could sit down and play. Like immediately...

The way this necklace came together was magical!  I have to thank Juls for giving me the privilege of playing with her glass and share it with you.  Here online store is loaded with brand new cabs, as well as her beads.  If you haven't used Juls lampwork before, you owe it to yourself to try it!  Each piece is perfection and I won't tell if you end up licking yours too! ;)

The aqua nuggets, crystal and copper accents are all from Cousin when I visited earlier this year.  I saw the nuggets in their warehouse and!  Thank goodness I didn't need to wrestle anybody for them because you know who would have won... and I'm a lover, not a fighter. ♥

Have an amazing day, do something fun and make a difference in the world!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bones & Bling - How I Made This Beaded Paw Print Cuff Bracelet

As a creative person, it's easy to get sidetracked.  **Beads!**  It's also a common occurrence to have multiple projects all going on at the same time in my studio.  So this month, our group of Cousin Ambassadors was assigned a big project for JoAnn's using supplies from their store and Cousin beads.

While deciding what to do, I took a little stroll through our local JoAnn's in Lake Geneva, WI to see what jewelry or craft inspiration came to mind.  *This is where I have to tell you, you won't get to see the finished design until JoAnn's says so because they are planning on using these creations in their marketing and advertising over the coming months... so stay tuned.

But... I have THIS funky fun cuff to share instead ~ ♥

Wandering through the fabric area, I was falling in love with all the color.  I'm always all swoony around a rainbow of color.  But that's when I had an idea about incorporating my beloved beaded designs with fabric to make something out of the box different.

So set aside the supplies for the real project and time for the ADD designer to kick in.  And because I've had several inquiries over the last few months about how I do what I do, I'm actually going to talk you through this little project step by step.  :)  Because I love you...

Bones & Bling Materials
Pellon Interfacing
Bead Backing
Seed Beads
Cousin Mirror Beads - 4mm
Cousin Crystal Bicones - 4mm
Fireline Beading Thread
Leather or Ultrasuede to back the cuff
Metal Cuff Blank - if you want a bangle style
   - or hook & eye if you want a clasp
Beading Needle
E-6000 Adhesive

1.  Measure the size bracelet you want and cut out the bead backing to reflect that.
2.  Cut the same size piece of Pellon Interfacing.
3.  Measure the fabric allowing an extra 1/2" on either side to fold over for a seamless finish.
4.  Using a hot iron and the Pellon Interfacing, adhere the fabric to the bead backing.

Now that you have the foundation to bead on, you can design how you want to bead.  For this cuff, I used the pattern in the fabric as inspiration!  But this is where your creativity is unique and special!  Let the beads take you on a journey that tells your story!

Once you are finished beading, fold over the sides and adhere to metal cuff blank using E-6000.  Cut the leather or ultrasuede to be the same size as the finished bead design.  Adhere that to the back and finish by beading around the edges.

After I beaded this cuff, I found some amazing batik fabrics that made me all drooly and happy inside.  So I have a number of different ideas rolling around in this creative space called my mind.  I hope this inspires you to try something new.  Mix materials and use new things that you haven't worked with before!  But most importantly, have fun!

Hugs & Love!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Business, Beads and the Beach

I'm so excited to share what I've been up to lately! Life moves very fast, so it's hard to believe that it was 3 weeks ago already that I traveled to Florida for a whirlwind, amazing trip!

First, here's the souvenir... Squeeee Beads! Not that I have ADD or anything. ;)

The trip to Florida was an incredible experience. As an Ambassador for Cousin Corporation, one of the benefits to reward us for sharing & promoting Cousin beads was a retreat with all the other Ambassadors for 3 amazing days of business, pleasure and you guessed it... BEADS!

Instantly, Florida felt like home... warmth, sunshine and super wonderful people.  Jessica our incredible leader from Cousin set us up with the most amazing rooms at the Double Tree Resort.  Can I tell you, the view of the ocean was magnificent, but waking up to the sound of waves rolling in because I could leave my balcony door open was PRICELESS.  Seriously, I almost went down to the front desk and offered to buy my room because I could totally live there forever!

Day 1 was about getting to know you and lots of fun!  We took an amazing photo as a group with the Chamber-of-Commerce-Worthy Florida sunset in the background.  Then cocktail party fun that lasted until the wee hours.  Sleep was a minimum while fun was at a maximum!

Day 2 brought and EARLY rise & shine (translation multi-coffee kind of morning) and headed off to "work" while the coffee was trying to kick in.   We toured the Cousin offices and warehouse, client stores, brainstormed trends and new ideas and discussed the current products Cousin carries.  

What was fascinating to my entrepreneurial brain was the B-2-B side of business.  In my business, my clients are amazing women that wear the finished pieces of jewelry I design.  However, for Cousin, their clients are the stores and boutiques that carry their beads.  As a jewelry designer you can purchase beads through their daughter site, but the corporate site is designed to help businesses carry and sell Cousin beads.  So from marketing to various collections of designs, each step is very well thought out so that it resonates with their clients.

Then in the afternoon we had the chance to design with an amazing group of designers from Cousin.  Kristine was the designer that Vicki O'Dell (a.k.a. The Creative Goddess) and I worked with.  We had a blast and Kristine was super helpful to bounce ideas off of and create with.  The project we designed are for A.C. Moore to use in their advertising and marketing.  It was a blast playing with beads that haven't even been introduced for sale yet (coming soon to A.C. Moore.)  I can't show you photos of my finished pieces because they are highly classified... ;) BUT I will tell you I got assigned the turquoise color palette to work with and I was dancing all the way to the bead room!

That evening we shared an amazing dinner with Jeff Cousin, owner of Cousin Corporation and members of the management team.  We dined at Middle Grounds Grill in Treasure Island, FL.  Let me tell you, when I retire in Florida, I'm totally becoming a regular there!  The food was amazing and the service was exceptional!  They really know how to take care of their clients every need! 

Seeing my necklace on display was a nice welcome present!
Day 3 brought meetings in the board room, discussing social media, more about upcoming trends in jewelry design and beads.  Finally we went on a whirlwind no budget bead shopping spree in BeadLand before we had to head back to the airport to come home.  I won't regale you with the adventures of airport and weather suffice it to say I almost tossed my boarding pass and headed back to the beach to permanently become a Florida resident. 

The overall take away from the retreat was this:  Cousin is a family owned corporation.  I felt like part of the family.  Meeting Jeff & his wonderful wife Marie really allowed me to build a personal connection to the company and the family that started it.  The management team that helps coordinate all of us crazy, creative ambassadors are so kind and generous.  Everybody listened to what each of us shared and we were truly able to contribute to ideas, plans and future projects Cousin is working on.  We're really lucky to have gotten the opportunity to put faces with the names and online personalities we've connected with since I became an ambassador last summer. I loved getting to know the other ambassadors and spend time brainstorming and of course, collaborating over sparkly jewelry!  Thank you Cousin Corp and everybody there for making this trip so special! 

If you'd like to see the necklace I wore in the group photo, head over to my website!  You'll see all the beads and be able to connect with me, up close and personal!

Until next time... peace, love & beads!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

30 Words from my Heart

30 words from my soul...

The loss is painful
deep in my core.
I know you would want me
to love some more.
Into my life springs a new love,
a gift from heaven above.

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.
Share your link with Erin at Treasures Found

P.S. Just one picture, c'mon you know me better than that. ;)  Visit Erin's blog and take a peek at who else is participating in this week's 30 word challenge!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mocha Latte - Chocolate - Love - Inspired Jewelry to Last a Lifetime

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, it's time we talk a little about LOVE!  Personally, I show my love for all those I care about!  Yes, in DawnVille, it's always Valentine's Day!  However some people need subtle reminders or gentle nudges about how to show their love and appreciation to those that matter.

This month, our assignment from Cousin Corporation was to design something that is Valentine's Day inspired.  My interpretation is your everyday Valentine.  

For my inspiration in my design, I think back to my first day with my sweetie!  We had a date at a coffee shop on a chilly fall night.  Drank mochas, watched the stars come out... until we saw floating orange orbs silently moving across the sky but those are for discussion on a different forum. ;)  I talked, he listened.  We shared stories until the frothy whip cream was long gone and the coffee shop was closing up for the night... so in honor of my first date with my love, this necklace is called Mocha Love!

For this necklace, I used a lampwork heart designed by Juli Cannon - Studio Juls and created the necklace with a mix of beads from Cousin Corporation.  The necklace has pearls, glass crystals, mirror beads, oval gemstone beads and copper accents

Every love is different, special and unique.  Meant to help us learn and grow.  Meant to cherish and represent a place & time in our lives.  Just like no two pieces of jewelry I design are the same.  Beadwork, stitching, accent beads... there will never be a necklace just like this!

If you are looking to celebrate your love with a one of a kind piece of legacy jewelry, apply for a free design session to work with me!  Not everybody appreciates art or celebrates love like I do.  But if this piece speaks to you and you'd like something original designed exclusively for you, I'd love to have a personal conversation!

For more pieces of legacy jewelry, follow Bella Amore on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Keeping secrets...

I've got a secret....  You know, there are some secrets that I really, really, really lock away and am very good about keeping.  There are other secrets that I just have to get out in the open.  Those kind of secrets like the I-got-you-the-most-amazing-Christmas-present-and-I-cannot-wait-to-give-it-to-you variety are just jonsin' to get out and spread love and happiness. 

So because I'm overflowing in excitement for giving this Christmas... I had to share a picture with you.  But I can't tell you the story (yet) because, uhhhh, SECRET!  So for now, what started as this...
was transformed into this...

What are you just jonsin' to spill but don't want it out there for everybody to know?  C'mon, you can tell me.  I promise I won't tell.  :) 

Click here to view ready-to-ship jewelry designs created by Dawn Doucette - Bella Amore Legacy Jewelry 

P.S.  Love the lampwork heart?  You can scoop up many more beautiful artisan designs from Juli Cannon - JulsBeads!  Her quality is out of this world and her designs... simply swoon worthy!  I promise!

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