Saturday, February 26, 2011

Purple Passion Bead Embroidered Necklace

Wordless is for Wednesday.  So I'm deeming this Suitable for Saturday.  I'm headed off to the open house shortly, but really wanted to share something pretty with you for the weekend.

Purple Passion... be careful, drool ruins computers.  ;)  Click the photos to enlarge detail.

The focal stone is a Crazy Purple Agate, and the fire polished glass beads are the Winter Lilac Mix from  I have to say, I love, love, love the whole string of Agates.  Picking one to make this necklace was a challenge... so look for more purplicious love coming soon!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Crazy Agate - PURPLE - OMG for real

Seriously, if I had to live on beads alone, I'd be totally set for life with the shipment I just received from Artbeads!  First I have to thank Regina for referring me to before Christmas.  With an abundant amount of suppliers out there, choosing where to shop is a dilemma... or not. :)  But through Artbeads website, Regina so kindly offered me a holiday gift just to try them out.

I can honestly say... Sweeeeettttttt!  Artbeads you're lucky I don't live next door, or I'd be over there kissing you right now.  In this shipment I found a new FAVORITE bead... Crazy Purple Agate.  The picture on the website looked cool... but in person - holy.jeepers.batman.they.are.Awesome!  All hues of purple are laces with some brown veining.  They are going to be a STUNNING piece of bead embroidery (so much for paperwork this afternoon!) :o)
P.S. Those Czech FP beads are the winter lilac mix

I also tried a few cabs that intrigued me.  They are glass opals (in amethyst, blue and topaz).  I was really impressed with their fire... I never expected it in faux form.  The amethyst opal is in the middle of the ring of love... aka the purple crazy agate beads.  But love... yes, I'm in love!  So, I'm going to leave y'all now for a moment alone with my beads.... here's some tapas for you to enjoy!


P.S. the Crazy Agates are on sale today... so you can get your own! :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Prep for an Open House

Look at the sheen on the driveway
This week finds me going over my "Checklist" for my open house.  This Saturday I've been asked over to a friends house to display and sell my jewelry.  I've partnered with her to have an open house before so I'm looking forward to seeing some of her friends again!

As always, I'm tweaking my display, wanting to make maximum best use of the space I have and bring the best of my pieces that will appeal to a diverse audience.

I'm double checking my packaging, business cards and earring cards.

Over the weekend we had a mixed bag of weather... Saturday was sun and blue sky... yesterday!  Which promptly froze last night and I now am the proud owner of a driveway sized ice rink!  There is a beauty in ice however.  It's sparkly and freeform.  Looking out my backdoor, I have this beautiful crab apple tree that is just glistening with ice droplets this morning.  If the sun were to come out it would be breathtaking.  Alas, even under cloudy skies, I see the beauty!  So I wanted to share with you!
Tiny droplets of ice dripping off the branches

I hope you enjoy the day and see beauty in the simple things around you!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cotton Candy and Circus Peanuts

Muse: \ˈmyüz\ 1.  the source of an artist's inspiration.  2.  A state of deep thought or dreamy abstraction.

What's your Muse?

For the most part, my muse in my designs is happy things.  Things that make me feel like a kid or things that make me giggle.  My muse often stems from love and the feeling of abundance.  As of late, I've really been addicted to enjoying creating special pieces of jewelry with seed beads.  Bead Embroidery has been an artform I've oogled at online for a long time.  LONG time (like before I even dreamed of designing my own jewelry.)  So now that I'm learning and creating my own pieces I'm constantly feeling bubbly at what my two hands create.  It's almost like having an out of body experience when I see the finished product.

Recently I was inspired by the sound of a calliope that was on a commerical in the background.  That sound made me think of a wonderful experience as a child going to the circus with my family.  I instantly started seeing pink & orange... which also left me feeling very happy.  So I sorted through my stash and just started "playing" with colors & textures.  I created a necklace called "Cotton Candy & Circus Peanuts."  Take a peek this fun piece and a few more in the new youtube video I just uploaded! 

I've been having so much fun!
If you're looking for inspiration or to learn more about bead embroidery jewelry - this is the book that was my "Ah Ha" moment!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I'm Speechless - That NEVER Happens!

When I say never... I really mean it.  Dawn always has some witty comeback, or something sincere... but right now I'm so very humbled and grateful.

Yesterday Happy Mango Beads announced the winners of their Bead my Valentine Contest.  It was the first time I had ever stepped outside of my comfort zone and entered my unique jewelry in a contest for my peers to judge.  I was so very nervous, but suppressed those butterflies and the "What if's" and just said whatever will be, will be.  I put my heart into the piece and I find it beautiful and that's good enough for me.

Romance In Bloom
So imagine my surprise yesterday when I saw Happy Mango Beads facebook update that the winners had been announced and I saw the photo of my necklace.  My first thought was no way.  So I clicked over to their blog to read who the winners really were...

What happened next was almost like an out of body experience.

All of a sudden, I'm dancing, squealing, laughing, CRYING, and the dogs are barking like we have an intruder in the house.  The emotions that this simple webpage brought to the surface in me was unbelievable.  I called Chris at work... squealed, and was crying as I told him.  Then I had to call my mom... more crying and squealing.

I feel so incredibly blessed.  I just let my heart and the beads have a conversation... and what they decide to become is really beyond my control.  I'm just the instrument that does the work. 

But the story doesn't end here.  Happy Mango Beads is having a Viewers Choice contest among all of the entries.  I have two very dear friends that have their jewelry entered as well.  Voting runs through midnight February 18th.  Voting is open to anyone.  To vote, go to the Facebook album and designs you like give a "Thumbs Up Like" to.  The photo with the most likes at the end of the week will win a $50 shopping spree from Happy Mango Beads.  Here's the link to their facebook album:

By Dawn Horner - Northern Adornments
Can I ask you to consider 'Liking' these two very special pieces?  One of those pieces is the piece I blogged about from my good friend Dawn Horner in Alaska.  I just love the chainmaille bracelet with the really, really sparkly Swarovskis that run down the middle.
By Regina Santarre - Sundance Gems

My friend Regina of Sundance Gems won her category with her bracelet, Roses for my Sweetheart!  It's a beautiful bracelet that really has a soft, romantic feel.

Thanks to everybody for encouraging me to step out of my box.  I never expected the view to be so wonderful.  More contests and new adventures are in the works!  Can't wait to share with you!

Hope your day is absolutely amazing!
{Hugs & Blessings!}

Monday, February 14, 2011

Is anybody else singing the Dirty Dancing Song Do you Love Me at the top of your lungs?

Click to enlarge
I am... because I can!  And now you are too!  LOL

On this day of love, I do what I do everyday... :o)  I don't think it's proper to spread love just one day out of the year.  Rather, doing little things everyday for those you love is much more my style.  From a note in my sweeties lunch, to spontaneous hand written notes to a friend... I think the world is a much better place by spreading love every day!

So on this Day of Love, I hope you find yourself surrounded in happiness and love.  Take care of those you love and maybe surprise yourself by spreading love to somebody that might need it.  Smile at a stranger or buy a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you, or hold the door open for someone elder than you entering an establishment... you don't have to move mountains to make a difference in someone's day!

I might, just maybe be making brownies this afternoon... and they just might have caramel chips in them (yummy!) and I just might cut one in the shape of a heart... and it just might be served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on it... and it just might follow a wonderful homemade dinner.

Make sure whatever you do today is special to you!  Something that you know will make someone smile or feel special!

Have a wonderful Love Day~ ♥

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Top Super Secret Jewelry Exchange - REVEALED

Guess what?  We had sun... for just a wee bit this morning.  So I took full advantage and captured some photos that I know you were just chomping at the bit to see. :)

Back a few days ago I posted about a jewelry exchange I was doing with Dawn from Alaska.  (If you didn't read it, click here to catch up.)  I'll wait....

Well, Dawn wears mostly neutrals, I wanted to design a piece for her that fit with ANYTHING she wears.  SO, I've combined hues of black, browns and copper to give this piece the depth and color I had envisioned.  Something different, unique and one of a kind.  So in honor of finishing this before Valentine's day, I'm calling this piece - Dove Delight!

Dawn will be seeing this for the first time on The Hive... so I can't wait to hear her squeal!  I bet I won't even need a telephone to hear that! :o)

Have a fantastic weekend everybody!  I'm off to go enjoy our 40 degree heat wave we're experiencing!
A Bead in Time: 35 Jewelry Projects Inspired by Slices of Life

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Grocery List

I received a forwarded e-mail from my dear sister Amy this morning.  Amy doesn't usually send forwards, so it immediately caught my eye.  I read top to bottom and was very moved.  Thanks Amy for sharing with me!  Now in turn, I want to share with you!  I hope your grocery cart of life is overflowing with love, faith and abundance!
Louise Redden, a poorly dressed lady with a look of defeat on her face, walked into a grocery store.
She approached the owner of the store in a most humble manner and asked if he would let her charge a few groceries.

She softly explained that her husband was very ill and unable to work, they had seven children and they needed food.

John Longhouse, the grocer, scoffed at her and requested that she leave his store at once…

Visualizing the family needs, she said: 'Please, sir! I will bring you the money just as soon as I can.'

John told her he could not give her credit, since she did not have a charge account at his store.

Standing beside the counter was a customer who overheard the conversation between the two. The customer walked forward and told the grocer that he would stand good for whatever she needed for her family. The grocer said in a very reluctant voice, 'Do you have a grocery list?'

Louise replied, 'Yes sir.' 'O.K' he said, 'put your grocery list on the scales and whatever your grocery list weighs, I will give you that amount in groceries…

Louise hesitated a moment with a bowed head, then she reached into her purse and took out a piece of paper and scribbled something on it. She then laid the piece of paper on the scale carefully with her head still bowed.

The eyes of the grocer and the customer showed amazement when the scales went down and stayed down.

The grocer, staring at the scales, turned slowly to the customer and said begrudgingly, 'I can't believe it.'

The customer smiled and the grocer started putting the groceries on the other side of the scales. The scale did not balance so he continued to put more and more groceries on them until the scales would hold no more.

The grocer stood there in utter disgust. Finally, he grabbed the piece of paper from the scales and looked at it with greater amazement.

It was not a grocery list, it was a prayer, which said:
'Dear Lord, you know my needs and I am leaving this in your hands.'

The grocer gave her the groceries that he had gathered and stood in stunned silence.

Louise thanked him and left the store.... The other customer handed a fifty-dollar bill to the grocer and said; 'It was worth every penny of it. Only God Knows how much a prayer weighs…

THE POWER: When you receive this, say a prayer… That's all you have to do.  Just stop right now, and say a prayer of thanks for your own good fortune. Then please send this to all your friends and relatives.

I very rarely share forwards or send forwards.

But this story reminded me how in these trying times, be greatful for what you have,and for who our lives are blessed with every day!

I am greatful for your friendships and the inspiration you provide me every single day!

Have a wonderful weekend!


8/2/2007 - Taken on the way home from visiting Chris' Dad after SUCCESSFUL heart surgery!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Marketing Tip for your Artfire Store & Giveaway Alert

How many of us use Artfire as a marketplace to promote our artisan designs?  My question to you is are you using your Artfire subscription to it's fullest?  One of the reasons I chose Artfire as a vendor to market my jewelry is because of their "searchability" on the web (i.e. google, yahoo, etc.)  Not only are your listings fed directly to google (so be keyword smart when writing your titles and descriptions) but the BLOG feature is also indexed instantly in google.

"I already have a blog.  Why do I want another?"

Because people that find your Artfire store may not realize you publish a full time blog.  In this day & age where people have so many options of what to purchase and from whom, it's critical to really stand out and build a personal relationship with your viewers and customers.  People choose who to do business with based on if they trust you or not.

Your Artfire blog doesn't have to be a daily update.  But when I'm shopping in Artfire, and finding new artisans to follow and promote, I always check their blog.  The people that stand out to me are blogging occasionally.  Topics that are great to write about on that Artfire blog are:  your products!  How did you create, what was the inspiration for, what type of products you design, what are the preferred materials you work with and DO YOU DO CUSTOM WORK?  People don't know if you don't put it out there!

So that's my marketing tip of the day for you!  As a secondary bonus, right now I'm aware of several giveaways!  I want to pass the love along to you so you can enter to win some great things too!

1.  SLM Petersen - This giveaway is terrific for anybody that SEWS!  Stacy is having a vintage pattern giveaway AND she extended the deadline to enter until Saturday.  Just go to her blog and leave her a comment!  

2.  JulsBeads - I'm telling you about this because I love Juls... but I'm going to win, so no need for you to enter. K? ;)  Juls is giving away a stash of Bead Embroidery swag... yes, I'm in LOVE with this mix of jewels (or is it Juls).  So there, you've been told... :o)

3.  Kerry Bogert & Cindy Wimmer, two great jewelry artists have just been published in a new book Wire Style 2.  Kerry is giving away one copy on her blog!  Leave her a comment to win.  Or you can pick up a copy right this minute by clicking here!

Good luck, happy marketing and have a TERRIFIC day!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gifts From ALASKA!

Just when you think the frozen tundra can't get any more frozen, a package from ALASKA shows up in my mailbox!  Actually from the now famous WASILLA, Alaska!  And because I'm over the moon with excitement, I had to spill right here in the middle of blog land.  LOOK at what my friend Dawn sent me...

Now are you drooling too?  This stunning bracelet was created by Dawn Horner of Northern Adornments.  Dawn and I have just connected recently in a forum we both particpate in. (It's The Hive, and if you're an artisan and haven't checked it out, you must!)  Both being "Dawn's" it's like we're kindred spirits.  Dawn operates Northern Adornments and creates BEAUTIFUL chainmaille jewelry.  It's funny, because I don't think I'd have the patience to connect all those jump rings one at a time. At the same time, creating pieces with seed beads brings me to a very peaceful, zen-like place.

Dawn was inspired to create this piece because I was challenging myself and whomever wanted to join me to create piece for the Happy Mango Beads Valentine Contest.  For me, Dawn's beautiful bracelet just spoke to me.  I love the vibrant red mix with the shiny sterling silver.... ahhhh, I could continue for hours.  Because I keep glancing at my wrist as I type this, and that bracelet keeps smiling back!  LOL

When I commented on how much I LOVED the bracelet Dawn sent me a really nice e-mail back.  She was incredibly appreciative - BUT- She doesn't like red!  GASP, for real?  Somebody doesn't like red?!?!  Whoa.... I better sit down for this!  So Dawn offered to do a Jewelry Swap! 

So while I create a piece especially for Dawn using colors that I know she loves, she sent the bracelet out right away before she got snowed in for 3 months. :o)  After all, it's Alaska!  It's the first piece of chainmaille jewelry I've ever owned and I just love it.  Dawn, your talent is incredible and your friendship is so special to me.  Thank you for welcoming me to The Hive and continually providing encouragement and inspiration! 

I'd really love it if you took a moment to connect with Dawn!  
She's a true gem and a wonderfully talented artisan!
Northern Adornments Website:

Beadmaille: Jewelry with Bead Weaving & Metal Rings (Lark Jewelry Books)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

How's This for A Contest Piece?

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to step out of my comfort zone in 2011.  Well, I'm happy to announce I've finished a piece to enter in the Happy Mango Beads - Bead My Valentine contest.

In looking at all the themes and categories in which contest entries will be judged, I chose "Roses are Red, Violets are Blue - FLOWERS!!!"  Yes, flowers speak to me.  If you've seen some of my jewelry over the summer months, you'll notice I use lots of flower as props.  From Zinnias to Morning Glories and BOATLOADS of daylilies I just love how they provide a rainbow of color and happiness. 
So for me, the theme of flowers was perfect!

I used a handpainted ceramic bead that I had been hoarding as a focal.  Using a circular brick stich, I created petals in a mix of delicas with small pink crystals forming the petals.  For the necklace I stitched 2 leaves using the same mix of delicas.  I added a few pearls and fire polished czech glass beads for a bit more color & sparkle and kept the rest of the chain simple. 

The necklace wears beautifully flat against your collar bones and makes a statement without being heavy.  It's actually very lightweight!  So while I'm still trying to get the "perfect" photo to e-mail in, I'll leave you with a few that really do show the detail and coloring!

Thanks so much for all your encouragement to step outside of my box.  I did, I'll continue to and I look forward to growing!  Hope you all have a WONDERFUL Superbowl Sunday!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ginormous Snow

Yuppers, we made it through the Great Blizzard of 2011 (not to be confused with the Dairy Queen variety - which would be totally awesome right now if it wasn't -2 degrees outside).  As the weather guessers predicted, we got pummeled with copious amounts of God's dandruff.  Then the winds came and created their very own sculptures... causing drifts to be up to 5"+ tall in some areas.  Our driveway was drifted over at about 3' tall and we have a parking lot for a driveway (literally).  So we were soooooo greatful to have a Kubota tractor to move the mountains!

I wanted to document this crazy Snowmagedon because I've never in over 30 years of my life seen this much snow in one single storm.  We had about 20" total, with Kenosha just 40 minutes down the road where Chris' family lives getting over 2 FEET! 

What words can't say, photos will.  In this photo collage, look at the top row of pictures.  Taken Monday, Tuesday and then yesterday.  Notice the birch stump sticking out of the ground... it's our built in measuring stick.  Our English Setter standing next to it in the first picture is about a 60 lb. dog to give you a bearing of the size.  Look at Day 1, Day 2, but then really Day 3!  How crazy is that?

The Dogs thoroughly love the snow mountains.  It's like a whole new world and they get to mark their territory all over again!  Ahhhh, if only our lives were so simple!  :o)  The screened in porch picture in the middle speaks volumes.  We've NEVER gotten this kind of snow in the porch.  The winds were just that crazy.
Everybody needs to eat sometime, I just choose birdseed!

Today is a beautiful, bright blue sky.  The temps are frigid, but the scenery is gorgeous!  I will definitely need to break out the sunglasses to go out and about this afternoon! 

Stay warm & snuggly!


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