Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Welcome to the Color Challenge Blog Hop - You won't believe the palette I had

First, I really have to thank Erin over at Treasures Found for organizing this challenge.  When she asked me what color palette I want, I said, "Surprise me!"

Boy was I surprised!  And since it's a challenge, boy was I challenged!  I got the color palette BROWN - so I was thinking mocha, chocolate and earthy tones, okay!

What?  Green??? And Blue??? Holy jeez... I'm going to have to think on this!  Here was my challenge palette, created by Design Seeds.
Jarred Tones by Design Seeds

I loved the brown and blue combination, but tossing in green really threw me.  And then inspiration struck (or rather jumped) out of my bead stash and onto my table.  From there, bead by bead this cuff grew and really turned into something special.
A Walk in the Woods - A Beaded Cuff Bracelet

Not only did I use the color palette as inspiration, but I also used the photo itself.  See the glass jar in the photo?  The focal I started with for this design is a Druzy Agate.  It has the look of crackled glass of the jar with the warm earthy brown "dirt" around it. 

I have no idea what the side cabs are.  They've been sitting in my "I'" pile for oh, about a year... but I didn't know what I was going to do.  So alas, they are the perfect way to pull in the blue & green - Holla!!

The whole cuff was so out of my "zone" from concept to creation it was crazy.  But looking at the finished piece, I can honestly say I grew and I'm so excited to have created it.  I love that I was challenged by the color palette, but also by creating something I've never created - a bead embroidery cuff!  I was able to use some of the "special secrets" I learned just a few weeks ago in the Sherry Serafini class I took and look what it turned into.

By the way, I will totally be needing bi-focals if this addiction continues.  Those little bronze beads that are 3mm and the scalloped seed beads are 15/0s.  Yes they are tiny, and yes each is sewn on by hand... but the end result - totally worth it!

Now, I'm off to hop over to the other challengers blogs.  I love seeing how people embrace a challenge and grow from it!  Feel free to visit some more great bloggers and see the works of art they've created.  Also, if you're looking for inspiration, please do visit Design Seeds Blog.  They put out GREAT color palettes daily that are sure to inspire you! 

18 Tari Kahrs ~ Orange ~ Citrus Tones
35 CJ Bauschka ~ Teal ~ Teal Air
41 Jenni Connolly ~ Gray ~ Paw Tones

Monday, November 28, 2011

7 days - 70 vendors - 70 Giveaways - You know you want to find out more!

Yes, I'm sharing because it is the season of giving and I'd like to GIVE you the link to the biggest virtual craft fair in all the land.  Lori Anderson of Pretty Things (also known for her huge bead soup swap) had created a virtual craft fair.  She's having 7 days of amazing giveaways over on her blog.  Today is Day 3, but you can go back and check out Days 1 and 2 as well.

Each day Lori is featuring 10 different Artisans.  Each artisan has contributed something toward a HUGE giveaway - from handcrafted beads and jewelry making supplies to finished jewelry or books & magazines to build your design library!  Anybody can enter and each of the vendors participating also has an online store where you can continue to shop for those one-of-a-kind Christmas gift.  And even better... you're not having to battle crowds just to see the best vendors at the show!!

Even more fun than entering to win though is seeing some of my dear friends shops being featured!  SO while Cyber Monday is hitting online shopping portals all over, please take a moment (or 10) to check out small business owners and artisans on the web.  Supporting each other is the best way we can make a stronger community!

Have a terrific week!  {Hugs!}

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Recap - Video Style

In true "dawn" fashion, I have to share with you a snippet of our Thanksgiving... of course I did a video because it's so much more fun to look at pictures set to music!

We had a great Thanksgiving.  I am really, really blessed to come from such a loving family.  Truly, we're a family that doesn't fight.  We can laugh at the little things (often those are the funniest) and we know just how special that really is.

I have to say.... 3 year old girls are adorable, especially when they take my hand and say "Auntie Dawn, it's time for coffee. Let's make coffee." Love!!! **See photos in video.

This week, I'm stalking waiting patiently for the mailman to deliver my package from with my 3mm bronze druks to finish my challenge piece for the Challenge of Color Blog Hop on Nov. 30th.  Please dear package, don't make me procrastinate!  LOL 

I can't wait to share my design... it's a first, and truly something one of a kind.  I am amazed at how much this color palette is playing together.

By the way... did you do some shopping today for Black Friday?  I have a funny story to share... but my sister Amy is reading this, so I can't share.  But if you can somehow outsmart the computer genius and block her reading my blog, I'll tell you sometime.  K?

Who wouldn't smile seeing this??
Hope your weekend is full of smiles! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Thanksgiving Style!

Family Love
Furry Love

Working Love
Art Love
Laughing Love
Love in Heaven
To my friends in the US - Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow.  To my friends around the globe, I am a believer that Thanksgiving isn't just one day a year, Rather... it should be everyday.  Count our blessings, tell those we love just how special they are, and share a smile with someone new.  Love is contagious... spread happiness wherever you go!

I'm thankful to all of you that read my blog and share your thoughts and feelings.  Your friendship is precious to me and fuels my creative spirit!

Happy Thanksgiving today and Always!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Great Interview about Social Media Marketing with Kathy Stover

Good morning!  I know how odd is it that I'm doing a blog post on a Sunday... BUT what I want to share with you is that good, that you'll want to kiss me for sharing!

This week, I listened to a great interview about social media marketing.  Suzy Manning, founder of Sizzzl interviewed me a while back for her blogtalk radio program about following your passion and what that can translate to in business.

On her live show this week, she interviewed well know social media expert and entrepreneur Kathy Stover.  Kathy is one of my greatest mentors in the world of social media marketing.  She's on top of everything new in the world of online marketing... and works with several high profile clients planning their social media marketing plan and creating their entire online presence.

Listen to internet radio with SuzyManning on Blog Talk Radio
In this interview she's sharing with you some very helpful tips about social media marketing that I think you'll find really helpful in growing your business online.  (If you can't see the media player above, click here to visit the website to listen to the recording.)

Hope your week is full of creativity, love and family.  With it being a holiday we'll be gathering around a big feast with family.  I've been "told" by my 3-yr old niece that she's going to bring her "jewelry book" and we're going to make jewelry on Thanksgiving.  I'm still laughing... I may not have birthed her, but she's a chip off the Auntie block!  LOL


Friday, November 18, 2011

What have I been working on - it's a SURPRISE!

And if I showed you now, A. it wouldn't be finished, and B. Erin Prais-Hintz writer of Treasures Found blog would probably come right to my house, string me up by my toenails and dress me in orange!  Not that there's anything wrong with orange... after all "Orange" season starts this weekend (aka the opening of hunting season.) 

SO even though I can't SHOW you what I'm doing, I can tell you... 

Erin has organized her 2nd annual color challenge.  She collaborated with Jessica of Design Seeds out of Madison, WI and has given each participant their very own color palette to design with.  We chose our main color and the rest was a surprise.  (Side Note:  If you go to Design Seeds website, you can sign up for their daily e-mail of new color palettes.  I did and I LOVE getting that e-mail in the morning!)

I told Erin, surprise me - and boy did she ever!  I told her I had stash in everything except red, orange or yellow.  Beyond that I was open to the challenge.... and can I say, I LOVE my color palette!  I would never have put all 5 of these colors together, but seeing them on paper... then creating with them, it has been helping me venture into a whole new area of creativity. 

So not only am I playing with fun colors (and I'll spill just a hint, my main color is brown... but that's all I'm sayin!)  I'm also designing something that I've NEVER made before!!!  Yes I'm challenging myself beyond what I've ever done and I feel so liberated!  Okay, I can hear Erin, I think she's on my shoulder saying, "Dawn, enough... don't say any more.  It's supposed to be a surprise."  I know, I know... I'm just excited at where this journey is taking me!

Enough babble!  I'm off to bead!

Have a beadiful day!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Playing with Seed Beads and Chain - REALLY

I'm smiling ear to ear about sharing these beautiful bead embroidered Tiger's Eye earrings with you.  Why?

  • Because I mixed mediums... namely seed beads and chain.
  • Because I incorporated some of my new found "balance" in my design.
  • Because I would totally wear these with blue jeans to the store - just because.

Don't you just love it when something beautiful comes together?  I sure due, because lord knows we've all had pieces we've not finished or taken apart because they just weren't "right."  So when we get it, we do a little dance and keep on beading!  Which is where I'm about to go!


P.S. If you like these earrings, you can snag them from my Etsy Store:  I'll happily wrap them if you're giving them as a gift too! ;)

To see more bead embroidered jewelry from Designs by Dawn Marie, visit her website: or "Like" her on Facebook

Monday, November 14, 2011

Reveal - Things I Learned from the Sherry Serafini Bead Embroidery Class I took

I'm still overflowing with creative juices from the class I took with Sherry Serafini a few weekends back now.  What was so very cool for me was to broaden how I "picture" designs.  In other words, seeing pieces in a different way from beginning to end than what my brain had previously seen. 

Here's a picture of my finished pendant - I used Sherry's pattern and supply list, but I put the supplies/components together myself.  So the color palette for this one is designed in true "Dawn Colors." ☺

One really HUGE "ah ha" moment for me was to break things down into individual components.  So I created this "component" and not sure what to do with it, it could be a part of something bigger like a bracelet, collar or pair of earrings.  Who knows just where that one piece of the puzzle fits into play!

Balance - not just in a "weighted balance" terminology.  But color balance.  This was also HUGE for me.  Because I don't naturally "see things" asymmetrically, hearing about balancing color rather than size or quantity was incredible. 

Swarovski Lochrosen - aka sequins - are my new favorite Swarovski component.  You see them embellishing the top cab and the second component.  I LOVE how they add sparkle (which is hard to see in my photo because I haven't had a good sunny day to capture a true picture of this piece).  Yet they are a "low profile" sparkle.  They just kind of sit there like "Look at me, I'm pretty!"  Will definitely be adding more of these to my working stash.

Stitch in the Ditch!!!  My mom taught me years ago when she was teaching me to sew and then as we were creating quilts to Stitch in the Ditch.  I hadn't heard this term in over 2 decades!  LOL  But when Sherry described the embellisments we were adding to the top and middle component, she said stitch in the ditch!  And I knew exactly what she was talking about!  What a fun trip down memory lane!

So those were a few of my "Ah Ha" moments in this great bead embroidery class.  Sherry was a great teacher, so real and awesome at explaining and answering questions.  I love my pendant.  Because of the tremendous amount of Swarovski on the pendant, I wanted to keep the necklace simple so the pendant could really "Shine" as the star of the show.  I beaded it on some memory wire and viola!  I love it!  And I wore it to a local craft fair this weekend and got tons of compliments.  Even other jewelry people that are non-seed bead style designers, were amazed at the detail! 

Hope your week is creative, fun and full of greatness!

To see more bead embroidered jewelry from Designs by Dawn Marie, visit her website: or "Like" her on Facebook

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Because I Love You I am Sharing this Book Giveaway with YOU

BUT I really, really want to win, so if you don't get a chance to check it out, I'll forgive you. tee hee hee

Over on Lori Anderson's blog, Pretty Things, there's a great giveaway for not one but TWO great books!  She was asked to review both books for Potter Craft and now she's generously giving away the books.  I'm not sure if she's drooled all over them or not, because I sure would have!  BUT if you're interested and want to win (which you don't because I really, really want to) check out her blog!
Great for Upcycled Crafting

And if you aren't a follower of Lori's blog... become one.  She's full of spunk, humor, pie (as in the food, not the mathematical calculation without the 'e' kind) and sincerity.  She's also a really great jewelry designer that thinks outside of the box.  SO check her out and let her know I sent you her way! K?
Taken this morning on her 12th birthday

As a P.S. to this blog post, today is my Brandi's 12th birthday!!  We woke up to a light dusting of snow this morning, so she's THRILLED!  That crazy dog LOVES snow.  I know, I said she was crazy.  I adopted Brandi from the English Springer Rescue of America (ESRA) many moons ago and she has been the perfect dog for me.  Even when she shredded a box of kleenex because she wanted it to snow INSIDE... yes I told you she loves snow!

So happy birthday to my wonderful, loyal and loving Springer Spaniel!  I am so lucky you picked me! 
Brandi looking beautiful in 2005! 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Taking YOU on a Vacation with this Beaded Brooch

Yes, as Matt Lauer is taking us all around the world on the Today Show, playing Where in the World is Matt Lauer, I created a piece that is definitely inspired by somewhere other than the land of brats and cheese.  LOL

I created this beaded brooch at the beginning of last week.  I have no idea where the inspiration came from, but I love the tropical yet native feel.  I purchased a set of 4 of these clay "bricks" because they were pretty.  I had no idea what I would make, but they just looked like little treasures. 

So after making the Hope beaded brooch as a custom order, I had brooches on the brain.  I saw these beads again and thought "Ah ha!" Because of all the colors in one bead, creating a brooch would be perfect!

I'll be putting this brooch in my online store tomorrow.  If you would like it for yourself or to give as a gift for X-mas to someone special, I'll give you first dibs.  For my blog followers, the beaded brooch is $40.  E-mail me at dawn {AT} designsbydawnmarie {DOT} com and we can chat! 

Hope you feel the inspiration I felt creating this piece.  It's a real color play for the eyes!  As it's raining hammer, nails & pitchforks here for the second day in a row, I'll just look at all the pretty colors in this beaded brooch and pretend I'm on a beach in the Carribbean!  Bring on the umbrella drinks!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Learning and Growing - Sherry Serafini Class REALLY Expanded my Creativity

This weekend was such a weekend of extreme emotion.  Starting with a very hard good-bye to my uncle who was taken too soon.  He was an incredible man, father, husband, brother and son.  To my aunt, he was her soulmate... the person that could finish her sentences, make her laugh, show her the kind of love you only find once in a lifetime.  It was precious to be able to share memories, but everyone also shed so many tears - Bill was such a genuine wonderful person, filled with love and gone too soon.

Can you say WOW?? Stunning collar by Sherry Serafini
As if I was sent a message from Heaven, I also was able to take a great bead embroidery workshop from Sherry Serafini on Sunday.  The chances that she was teaching anywhere that I could drive to was miraculous on it's own.  I didn't know when I registered over 2 months ago just how much this workshop would be needed for my soul.  Honestly, I know things happen for a reason... this "happening" fell into place perfectly.

I had never taken a class... beyond college... but a class I was looking forward to taking for fun - this was a first.  The ladies at Funky Hanna's in Racine were so accommodating, answering all my questions and making sure everyone felt welcome.  Class was full and the energy amongst all the women beading was incredible!

The project we were working on was a component style pendant.  I'm about 75% done, so I'll post those photos when I finish.  We were also able to play in Sherry's stash.  I scored the MOST amazing cameo that I can't wait to turn into something extraordinary.

BUT even beyond the project was the little tips or "Golden Nuggets" that you pick up from Sherry and other beaders just working side-by-side.  I learned so much!  I can't even believe how crazy fast my brain is working right now.  Honestly.... this class was all about thinking outside of the box.  Making components that can come together to creating something incredible!

Sherry, if you should happen to land here on my blog, thank you so much!  I cannot express in words what I feel in emotions.  Getting a peek inside of how your brain works was so much fun!!!  Letting us "play dress up" with some of your amazing collars was inspiring!  Your kind remarks about my necklace was so, so touching.  I'm humbled, flattered and sincerely grateful.  I very much look forward to sharing classroom space with you again.

I was so busy taking it all in, I didn't snap many photos.  BUT here's the ones I did take! 
These were some examples of the Wavy Cuff Class Sherry taught on Saturday.
I fell in LOVE with this collar... seriously it was all sparkly with gorgeous Swarovski Crystals and gold... oh baby did it have some gold!  Honestly, reminded me of what royalty would wear in ancient Egypt!
Who's royalty now?
I told you I love that collar... It was stunning.  I am now an honorary member of Ancient Egyptian Royalty... seriously! ;)
 My lessons for the weekend:
  • Surround yourself in love - family, friends, and business associates.  Life is too short to hold on to negative feelings.
  • Say "I love you!"  Tell those you love how much they mean to you. 
  • Surround yourself with people that have achieved more success than you.  You will learn something new all the time and continue to grow as a person.  
  • Beauty is everywhere!  Embrace it!
Hugs and creativity to you this week!

P.S.  For anybody looking to learn how to do bead embroidery, I learned from Sherry's book The Art of Bead Embroidery that she co-wrote with Heidi Kummli.  That book was my bible and the coolest part is that it's almost like two books in one.  Sherry and Heidi share each of their styles (which are very different) and learning both styles let me figure out "Dawn's way" a style unique to me. Sherry was my teacher even before she knew she was my teacher!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Surprise Accomplished - Now I can tell you the story of the HOPE Beaded Brooch

Can I tell you how much I love to help surprise people?  Custom orders are always so much fun when the client gives me creative freedom.  In this particular case, a son-in-law came to me asking me to make something really special for his Mother-in-Law's 70th birthday.  Since it was a surprise, I couldn't share the story ... until now. 
Custom Beaded Brooch

Here was my "instructions" - she doesn't wear jewelry, but she's a breast cancer survivor and very proudly sports the pink ribbon whenever she can.  Maybe something like a pin would be perfect!

I mulled this over for some time... because when inspiration strikes, magic happens when I'm designing custom made jewelry.  When this design struck.... it was the perfect idea, at the perfect time.  Here's the note I sent with the beaded brooch to give to the MIL after she opened her gift:

"When I was commissioned to create your birthday present, I was also taking care of our oldest dog, Cody who was aging and injured at the same time.  Since I have no children, my dogs are my babies and they are truly treated as such.  So while taking care of Cody, I had worked on a few design ideas for your gift, but the “perfect” design just hadn’t come to me. 

While Cody’s health deteriorated, and my heart broke, it came to the day we had tosay our final goodbyes.  I was beside myself because I couldn’t do anything more to help him.  That morning I was cleaning and organizing like a wild woman.  I just didn’t know what else to do.  While I was organizing my desk and studio, I came across a pendant that sparkled so much I just knew I had to have it over a year ago.  At that time I had no idea why I needed it, but I just did.  Inspiration struck in that moment and the colors and sparkle said Gloria!  The perfect design idea came to me like a bolt of lightening.

From there I let the stones and crystals do all the talking.  The design came together like a mini work of art that I hope you truly enjoy.  It’s beautiful, made with love and shares the message of Hope!  I think my final gift from Cody was the inspiration to create the One-of-a-Kind gift for you.  I couldn’t be happier that it goes to someone who I’m told shines despite adversity and   continues to be the light of the family. 

Happy Birthday Gloria!  I hope this year brings you all the dreams and wishes you ask for and that you are surrounded more love than you could ever imagine!  I feel so very blessed to be able to share in your special day!"

And can I tell you, the e-mail I received after the party was nothing short of wonderful.  Honestly, I feel so lucky to have added such a special moment to such a special 70th birthday for this special woman.

"Hi Dear,
Here is a pic of Gloria in all her glory!!! It was an absolutely fabulous evening and the brooch you made her was perfect!! She loves it and has already received complements from people as she walks by them!! The letter you included was simply icing on a perfect cake....she will tell your story a million times....every time she wears the brooch..... Thank you Thank you Thank you for making such a unique gift for her......she'll always remember turning 70 with fondness....
Thanks to for your thoughtfulness in sending something for're truely a special lady....Chris is one lucky fella!!! Make sure he never forgets it!!! ;0)"
The Birthday Girl - 70 years young & glowing!
If you would like to have a piece of custom made jewelry from Designs by Dawn Marie, contact Dawn to discuss your dream style.  Each piece of artistic jewelry is OOAK and made to order just for the recipient!  For handcrafted beaded jewelry that is ready to ship, visit Dawn's online store!


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