Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Birthday Presents for you - Seriously!

Don't you just love birthdays... especially other peoples?  Well let me share with you, today is Nicole (the Beadwright's) birthday!  Yes, she's gained one more year of wisdom, her talent as always been out of this world and she's celebrating on her blog

To celebrate her birthday, she's giving away presents... seriously?  Who does that?  Someone awesome, that's who!

She's also having a sale in her Etsy store with a discount PLUS free shipping anywhere in the world!  Now that is one heck of a party.

So, pop on over to Nicole's Birthday Blog Post... leave her a birthday comment and check out her special birthday presents for all of us.  Isn't she a sweetie?

Happiest of Birthday's Nicole!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Greatest Compliment

The greatest compliment one can receive is that from a fellow artisan.  One you've looked up to and admired for years.  Yes, they might look at your work and critique it pieces because they create the same style you do, and they are a true expert in said medium.

BUT then you get a phone call that melts all that self-doubt away.  And they actually are wearing your design as you are speaking... and they are on their way to an appointment where others will see your work on this incredible artisan.  OMG what a genuine compliment you have paid this tender artisan heart.

You know who you are and you made my week.
From the bottom of my humbled heart, Thank you!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Chocolate - there's no such thing as too much!

Copyright JulsBeads
After I'm sure you've all had your fill of Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs, malted milk balls and chocolate bunnies, you still have not gotten your chocolate fill, right? :)

Good, that's what I thought!  So let me drip some more chocolate thoughts into your day!  LOL

Here's the history... I saw these chocolate beads in Juls Etsy Store.  For those of you that have been reading my blog for soem time, you know her beads make me Mrs. McSwooney.  So these did happen to be calling my name.


I waited, then went back and they were GONE! (gasp)

Then I get an e-mail saying "Hey Dawn, I bought some beads from Juls that I just had to have.  I asked her to send them to you.  Can you please make something with them for me?  Thanks, love you!"

Weeeeeeee, that's me squeeling in delight because I get to play with these beads.  See I don't need to covet thy beads... but I sure love to see them in person and play with them!

The beads came... left me speechless and so inspired, instantly!  I knew what I wanted to do.  I wanted to mimic the "swirl pattern" and keep with the warm, fudgy chocolate colors.  So out came the chocolate artistic wire and my tools and away we did play! 

I must say, we had a ball together (the tools, beads, wire and I.)  It was a party on my table and we didn't even plan it!  LOL

So without further adieu... here's the drizzle of hot fudge on your jewelry sundae!  Hope your week is sweet and delectable!

I just love making custom orders.  Especially when the customer asks me to take my creative liberties to do "whatever you think is perfect!"  I makes each piece that much more special!


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Open the wine, dip your eggs, it's Easter!

What's your Easter traditions?  Do you dye eggs with your kids or grandkids?  Do you attend Easter Service on Resurrection Sunday?  At meal time do you find yourself surrounded with a feast of bountiful food, family and lots of laughter?

Maybe this week you have been celebrating Passover.  While I was raised Christian and have not experienced a Jewish Holiday, it's always fascinated me.  I love to learn and experience new things.  Traditions and activities that have been practiced for centuries by others, but I've never had the chance to partake in.  One avenue that has helped me learn so very much is all the personal touches my blog friends share on their blogs.  That's right, I'm talking to you!  :)  By you opening up about yourself and sharing of yourself I've learned more and that file cabinet I call a brain... yup, it keeps getting bigger!  And that emotional file cabinet I call my heart, it keeps on growing too!

As so many are celebrating traditional religious holidays today, I'd love to know what your traditions are.  Our day is spent with family  (which I'm about to go make our traditional Corn Casserole for our family feast.)  Having two big families, we alternate Easter and Thanksgiving going back and forth between both sides.  We've found balance, love and it works!

So, what's your special day include today?  Sending hippity hoppity Easter wishes out to you and yours!

{Hugs & Love!}

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Inspired by a Friend

"Where does your inspiration come from?"

People ask me that all the time, and my answer is "Everywhere - people, nature, songs, artwork.  There's no rhyme or reason, inspiration just hits you when you're open to receiving it."

I recently saw this blog post on The Hive from my good friend Dawn in Alaska.  She had created an incredible chainmaille bracelet that "captured" Swarovski Crystal rondelles in a "net" of jumprings.  I happen to own one of these wonderful bracelets from when Dawn and I did a jewelry swap earlier this year.  I just love it - the way it's netted makes you look twice.

So after seeing this post I thought, how cool would it be to have a "netting" of sorts filled with pearls or gemstones or crystals... but the netting was made of beads.  Heck, I know how to make a netted rope, why not fill it up with pearl goodness?  After all, I'm a glass half-full sort of gal!

I chose a mix of Delicas that had some greens, pinks and peaches and mixed it with some vintage peach little round crystals... I scooped up a whole batch of beads in an estate sale when I first started experimenting.  I love the sparkle of them, mixed with the delicas the net turned out really well... fill it up with positivity and somebody will really love wearing this comfortable bracelet.

But I still wanted to be able to see more of the "filling" - after all the best part of an eclair is that ooey gooey last bite that has the remainder of the custard filling.  Mmmmmm  So I continued experimenting.  I tried lots of things, un-ravelled and finally it struck me, build the filling into the netting!  So I did... and so it worked.  I love it when a plan comes together (even if you weren't sure what the plan was to begin with.)
Wouldn't this be beautiful with white pearls & silver seed beads as wedding jewelry?

This bracelet is more stiff than the peach one, and I threaded copper wire through it to keep the perfect shape.  It wears like a bangle, but this would also be awesome strung on Softflex beading wire for a more flexible necklace.  So I owe Dawn a big thank you for inspiring me to learn something new and expand that already exploding brain of mine!  You're a gem!

Hope you find yourself in a state of awww at something wonderful today!  Appreciate and love all around us as we're blessed to be right where we are~

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What's the next best thing to free?

A big A$$ sale!  You heard me, I'm sharing the abundance of love display by my super friend Juli Cannon - JulsBeads.  The sale started yesterday (and I'm a bit slow) so I'm telling y'all (Juls word) about her super.duper.fantastic tax sale!  It runs through Wednesday so y'all can still get in on the good stuff!

Here's the link to Juls' Etsy Store:
Still Available in Juls Etsy Store
When you go there, the message is at the top for getting free shipping AND FREE BEADS!  Yes, I didn't have a typo there... free beads! 
Mine, Mine, Mine
If you've been drooling then now's the time to act!  Scoop up some of these gorgeous lampwork beads and I can't wait to see what you design with them!  I got these in the mail on Monday and I have to tell you, it was love at first sight!  Honestly!

Sent to me for a custom order!
Peace & Beading!

Monday, April 18, 2011

A present for you...

Who doesn't want a present... especially on tax day, right?  My present to you is CUTE!*  Seriously... 

At a birthday party for my baby brother a few weeks back, I realized that my niece is just like her Auntie Dawn.  She has beads in her veins... and she's 2!  Just think at how talented she'll be when she's my age 29-again, honestly!

Ashlynn had found these pony beads at my mom's house quite some time ago.  Her comment when she found them was "Gramma, we give these to Auntie Dawn to make pretty jewelry."  (*I did promise you CUTE!)  So when she remembered them at the party, she just haddddd to get them out.  Auntie Dawn asked if she wanted to help... my mom's eyes rolled to the back of her head as all she could vision was a quart size ziplock back of pony beads spilling all over the floor and doing a fancy dance to keep the puppy from ingesting  "No worries," I say, "Dad do you have a shoelace we can borrow."

Dad points to shoe Ashlynn precedes to untie his shoe thinking he was serious... dad laughs like a creature off Seasme Street, bobbling head and all...

So Ashlynn begins to make her beautiful bracelet... for Uncle Chris.  We're still laughing about why specifically for Uncle Chris, but she was 100% positive in that decision.  At various points she takes it to Uncle Chris for approval, when he tells her how beautiful it is she beams with pride.  About 10" into this custom bracelet, Ashlynn decides the beads need a nap*.  She unstrings them, puts them all back in the baggie and announces she's done!

How precious is that?  What I really find amazing is that 1.  She's two, 2. She had the hand/eye coordination to actually string the beads herself, 3. she was very particular about which color she strung and in which order, 4. She's only TWO...

I promised you CUTE... and you got beads as a bonus!  Hope your week is starting out great.

P.S. If you want to read specifically how to do your taxes... you've gotta head over here... trust me!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I want to design jewelry for Latoya Jackson

Have you been watching Celebrity Apprentice this time around?  If you are, then this post will make you nod your head and say "Uh huh!"

From the very first night, seeing Latoya Jackson's jewelry made me want to run up and squeeze her.  The pieces she has chosen to wear have been so complimentary to her wardrobe... and piece that are so elegant and bead rich!

Each piece is a statement piece... I find myself actually becoming giddy as we roll into Sunday evening to see what Latoya will have on this time!  I know it might sound silly... but her jewelry and I could be soul sisters! Seriously!

So I'm putting it all out there again... one of my dreams is to create a one of a kind piece of beaded jewelry for Latoya Jackson!  Because I have learned that sometimes the greatest risks bring the best rewards!  I've got it in my mind... bold, sparkly, something that makes heads turn... a real WOW statement piece!  Hey, it could happen... and when it does, you'll be glad you're not in my living room to hear me squeal!  Because your eardrums would be crying in pain!  :o)

Something like this... 

I'm off to perch my perky little butt on cloud 9 while I dream!
Hope your day is fantastic!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fairies are Dancing on my Keyboard...

Because they all should be wearing these earrings!  The pink & purple just sing of girly glam and fairy dust!  Doncha think? 

I listed these lampwork glass earrings in my Artfire store over the weekend.  People are loving earrings, such a simple way to dress up an outfit, add a pop of color, or showcase some amazing beads!

Yup, these do all of the above!  Plus these have the coolest Tanzanite Crystals on them... they are a twisted cube sort.of.kind.of.  I had purchased a few of them at my local bead store last summer because they were soooo sparkley and pretty.  But every time I was going to use them, the bead devil on my left shoulder jumped right off my shoulder and put them back in their place in my bead organizer.  So I moved on, coveting all the Tanzanite crystals. 

But now, these beautiful JulsBeads were crying out for friends.  They really, really wanted to party like rockstars with the coveted crystals.  How could I not oblige them?  I mean seriously, don't they make the perfect couple? 


Friday, April 8, 2011

Blogmania is This Weekend!

Earlier this week I blogged about a very special necklace I had created with turquoise and petrified wood, Chitralekha was her name.  To complete the look, I made some fun, beaded dangle earrings.  The earrings use some vintage czech glass button beads and I've embroidered around them with seed beads.  I added fringe for fun with turquoise chips dangling off the bottom.  They are a great compliment and were so fun to make! 

This weekend is Blogmania - a HUGE bloghop giveaway.  I am unable to participate this round due to some personal circumstances.  However, I want you to win a boatload of prizes.  So if you're interested in hopping around to all of the Blogmania blogs - and let me tell you, "boatload" is not a dingy.  :o)  It's like the USS Alabama + the Love Boat combined (Nearly $15K and growing!)  You can hop from blog to blog, checking out their prizes and entering to win what you wish. 

To start the party, I want to refer you to Bree's blog  Bree has done a ton of work to organize all the bloggers and prize sponsors for the giveaways.  The party starts at midnight tonight and runs through the entire weekend.  From Bree's blog, you'll be able to enter her giveaway and she will have links to every other blog participant!  So hop around, and enjoy meeting new bloggers!

I hope your weekend is superb!  Thanks so much for visiting with me this Friday!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Customized Baby Shower Gifts

I'm excited to post this but I had to wait until the secret was out.  Last weekend I attended a baby shower for my cousin.  While most people give diapers, cloths, nursing supplies and more... I'm not a mom and wanted to give a gift that was unique, something special that wasn't on the registry list or even expected.

I chose to make a wrap bracelet customized with her baby's name - Haylee Grace.  Last summer, I had designed the jewelry for her wedding, all the brides were beautiful in petunia pink with black accents.  So I wanted to carry the theme into this gift as I know that pink is one of my cousin's favorite colors.

She was thrilled to have something so personal.  The other thing I gave her was a children's cookbook from my friend Stacy - SLM Petersen.  I included a personal note that while babies are so cute, and itty bitty... they quickly grow up into two year olds.  And since we don't have showers for two year olds, this would be the perfect gift for a rainy day when you're pulling your hair out sighing "What am I going to do with you child?"

This cookbook has all the recipes you can imagine to keep your child entertained for hours... from sidewalk chalk (yes homemade) to playdoh to gak (I'm sure all mom's want this one!)  These are things that mom can do with the kids that are completely safe, inexpensive and hours of entertainment.

Side note:  I had given my sister the same cookbook at Christmas and she just LOVES it.

My cousin was thrilled with her gift, and so touched by how personal I made it.  The personal note made her tear up, I know... pregnant women are overflowing with emotion already... but she was really moved.  This is her first baby, and she and her husband are both very excited.  I know they will be wonderful parents and I feel blessed to share a piece of Designs by Dawn Marie that has so much meaning!

The simplicity of the Alphabet - it's amazing at how personal it can become!

Hope your day is splendid!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Call for Bloggers to Unite and Help Out

I know I'm not usually a late night blogger, but this post is really, really important to me... so I had to get the message out right away.

I have a cousin Lexi, whom is almost like a daughter to me - except I skipped the whole labor pains part.  But I did teach her to crawl and walk... and recently I've taught her the great art of coffee drinking.  She's a freshman at the University of Tampa, so coffee is a must, right?

Anyhoo, Lexi has recently taken on the responsibility to be the Captain for her Relay for Life team.  For Lexi, this is a personal mission... I want to see her exceed her wildest expectations because she's just that special.  So this is why I'm sharing with you, and asking you to help me knock her socks off!

This past year Lexi's world has been turn upside down, inside out and then shaken up just to make sure her eyes were crossed because of Cancer.  Not only did she lose her Grandpa to cancer, her Step-Dad Bill has also been fighting a rigorous fight, not once complaining or looking sour.  Rather every single day he along with my Aunt Monica focus on the positive things they are blessed with, obey all the doctors orders and pray for God to show them the path they are supposed to travel down.

So while Bill is still going through his treatments, Lexi embraced the University of Tampa's Relay for Life event as a personal mission!  I know so many of us have been touch by cancer.  It's a really, really oppressive disease that would be incredible to be able to understand better and find the way to treat or even cure.

If you would like to help Lexi raise funds to continue the research that Relay for Life supports, would you please consider making a donation to Lexi's team?  I'll put the link to her personal website at the bottom of this post!  If you make a donation in honor of a loved one, I'll shed tears with you.  It really means so much that you'd be willing to share the memory.  Love is all there is!

(C) Life Photography by MaryBeth
Lexi, I'm so very proud of you for making this your personal mission.  Your constant optimism and happiness despite all the challenges is commendable!  I love you so very much! XOXO

A message Lexi sent me:  
"Hope never dies, but someday, cancer will. You guys have seen me deal with Bill's cancer through the best and worst of times, and you guided me into something better, some path that led me to participating in this event, and for that I would like to thank you. When everything else feels empty, hope and love prevail. Thank you guys!

Thank you for reading this, and I hope you know that you are making a huge difference . Hope is in the air. Let the helping hands unite! I love you all! You guys mean the world to me :)" ~Lexi Holland

Here's the link to Lexi's personal website:

I appreciate you spending your time right here in my little corner of the Blog-o-sphere. It means the world to me!  Thank you so very much for any help you can give Lexi and her Relay for Life team!

{Peace, Love & Hugs!}

Lexi & I circa 1994-ish

Saturday, April 2, 2011

As Beautiful As a Picture - Beaded Dreams Collection

Meet Chitralekha!

Chitralekha means as beautiful as a picture in Native American, Alaskan, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Mohawk and Miwok.  I thought it absolutely fitting for this beautiful necklace.

She started as a beautiful turquoise stone and a petrified wood bead.  I love the way the browns and turquoise families play with each other.  So fun, so rich and so appealing to the eyes.  I didn't draw her out, I just let the beads tell me when they wanted more embellishments and when they were fit to finish.  The petrified wood fascinates me.  Those beads can be millions of years old!  (I ordered them along with the magnesite at the bottom from Happy Mango Beads).  GREAT selection of unique beads from around the world.  So where those trees were before, what was their story, and how they finally traveled to my hands will always be a mystery.  But the energy and feeling they give off is almost magical!

I also want to give credit for the ceramic beads I used in the chain.  MaryAnn Carroll creates some incredible ceramic focals and beads for her business Artisan Beads Plus on Etsy.  I had been a follower of MaryAnn's blog for some time and wanted to experiment with ceramic beads, but the vision had not yet come to me.  When she had a contest I quickly shared with all my friends because MaryAnn's designs are just special.  Low and behold, I won.  But these precious ceramic beads were so unique I knew they would take a very special piece of jewelry to showcase them properly.  When the creative inspiration arrived, the beads were waiting!  Thanks MaryAnn for these delicious baubles! ♥

Chitralekha told me two wasn't finished, she needed the third focal bead added. For so many reasons, three resonates with me.   Three is an out of the box number.  In recent years, we've seen three used to represent past, present and future.  Taken literally, the number three invokes expression, versatility and the pure joy of creativity.  And for me, this being one of the pieces of my new line, Beaded Dreams, was a pure joy to create.   Three also symbolizes reward and success in most undertakings! ♥

I can't wait to share more from this collection, but you'll have to wait.  Beaded Dreams will be revealed in it's entirety at my debut on April 28th, live in Williams Bay, WI.  It will be a grand event showcasing this entire line.  Named because each piece of beaded art jewelry is allowing all of my dreams to come true ~ one bead at a time.  The love that goes into each piece is truly special and for anyone that will own a piece from this collection I know you'll feel it personally, too!

Have a wonderful weekend!  I'm off to spend time with family at a baby shower today and a birthday party tomorrow!  LOVE IT!



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