Friday, April 27, 2012

Featured Budding Artist Friday - A. Storey

Budding Young Artist - A. Storey
This post is being written with a huge smile on my face.  Last week my sister brought the kids over so I could help her package and ship a care package to her friend.  The kids were giddy to come visit Auntie Dawn and had a blast while we took care of the shipping process. 

They loved the fact that there are stairs and a basement... they loved the big blue exercise ball.  And wouldn't you know, you're supposed to try to play kickball with a ball that is 2/3 as tall as you are?  :o)  They loved my little warm up dumbells (2 & 3 pounders) they think working out is fun!  Wouldn't Bob Harper be so proud?? 

But then they needed to check out Auntie Dawn's studio.... where there entirely too many projects, too many small beads and enough trouble for an entire elementary school.  Ashlynn (3 1/2 - yes the half is important) ☺asks, "Auntie Dawn, can we make a project?" 

How could I ever turn down that adorable pouty face... I have just the solution.  I keep on hand for such occasions an old bag of pony beads in a whole variety of sizes.  If I had a shoe string laying around I've have given her that to string, but I can't find a shoe string to save my life.  Inspiration strikes looking at the memory wire sitting on my table.  I cut a few rounds and created a big loop at the end so the beads wouldn't fall off and I was set!

It's amazing seeing creative young minds at work.  Liam (2) thought it was fun just to take the beads out of their packages and count them as he put them back in there containers.  Ashlynn put alot of thought into her colors and shapes as she created this bracelet.  When she was finished, she beamed at me with pride as I wrapped the finishing loop so she could wear it.  She said, "Auntie Dawn, my Daddy is going to be so proud of me.  I need to put this in my backpack to show him." 

Makes my heart go pitter-patter, that little nugget!  I asked her if I could take a picture first so I could share it with my friends.  Her response... "Sure Auntie Dawn, then I can be a famous jewelry artist just like you."  What a precious, precious gift that compliment is.

So today, we're featuring the work of budding young jewelry artist Ashlynn Storey.  In time, I'm sure we'll be seeing her in galleries throughout Wisconsin and all around the world. ;)  Here's your name in lights my sweet darling!!!  May you achieve all your dreams! xo ~Auntie Dawn

Also a future Belly Dancer ☺
You fill in the caption!
Kids do say the darndest things!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hot Sets - yes, with a T

I love a good hot set... of jewelry.  Holy cow, slow down your reading, I know what you were thinking. :o)  Because I have a gremlin in my brain.  There, I admitted it. 

My gremlin tells me when I finish a necklace, "Don't you want earrings to go with that."  And of course my inner soul is all "matchy, matchy Dawn."  So really, there was no choice left but to make earring to go with the Eternal Growth bead embroidered necklace I showcased last week. 
Earrings Designed with 15/0 Miyuki and Delica Seed Beads

I wanted the earrings to be more simplified, allowing the necklace to be the star of the show.  Since the necklace has such a beautiful focal and all that wild and crazy fringe, I made the earrings less of a show stopper and more of a supporting actress style.

I used the Tropical Berry Nicole's Bead Backing again, and this time, I created a tear drop shape allowing the bead backing to show through.  It's the perfect compliment to the beadwork, so it was a great opportunity to let my colors show - literally! 

Originally, I was going to hang them the other way from the ear wires, so the larger part was on top and it tapered down.  But to me, it just didn't look right... so upside down they went and I think they have a much better flow.  No fringe... although I did fight with my inner goddess urge to make them dance with a wild and crazy fringe.  I had to tame her down reminding her these are supporting actresses for the main show... the necklace.
Turquoise colored focal bead is 8mm

Hope you like!  Hope you check out Nicole's Bead Backing too because it's really just the best!  No dye, no mess and LOTS of colors!  When in doubt, I love her Dove Grey which really lets the beadwork pop, but it doesn't contrast like stark white LSS does when it peeks through!  If you've never done bead embroidery before, Nicole also has authored a book called "Flatwork Beading Techniques from old to new Elegance in Tradition."  You can scoop that up in her store too!

Have a fantastic day! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hot Tropical Berry - You have GOT to See The New Nicole's Bead Backing

Before we go any further, I have to give you a disclaimer:  When I'm making bead embroidered jewelry, I have a thing for matchy matchy.  Meaning all those tiny little finishing details kind of a big deal for me.  Between seeing the thread and the bead backing, I like things to look aesthetically finished to anybody's eye.

That's why I first tried Nicole's beadbacking.  (that and I couldn't stand the whole picking of frizzies from the LSS from multiple passes with the needle after the piece was completed.)  I had created a bead embroidered necklace in blacks & grays on LSS and when it was done, the itty bitty bits of white that were left stuck out like a sore thumb.  It drove me crazy, and I knew there had to be a better way.  I mean sure, I could dye it and then spill all over my counter, stain my thumbs and have dogs licking up Rit dye, but that would be supremely bad.

Enter into my life Nicole Campanella whom you might know as The Beadwright.  Nicole has been doing traditional beading longer than I've been alive.  Her experience in all different types of designing led her to creating her own line of Nicole's Bead Backing.  I love the fact Nicole's Bead Backing comes in a whole host of colors... which is why I'm sharing this post with you.

I saw Nicole's 2 newest shades Tropical Berry and Kermit the Frog... no not Kermit, but it is called Chartreuse Shine and I was immediately drooling.  I began seeing vibrant flowers, fruity drinks and yet, Kermit & Ms. Piggy did pop into my brain.  The colors are very vibrant and when put together I think even the angels in heaven are singing because they are gorgeous!

If you create bead embroidered jewelry, or you are contemplating trying, you have to give NBB a try.  She has a sampler pack that includes all of her color options - including the 2 newest options - so you can try something new without breaking the bank.

I created this piece using Nicole's Bead Backing in Tropical Berry.  I like how the vibrant pink edges the design.  It makes the pressed flower pop and adds that summer feel.  The necklace chain was created by braiding Softflex Beading wire with teal fire-polished Czech Glass crystals.

Now, Nicole has a birthday coming up, another anniversary of her 29th birthday last I checked.  You can give yourself and Nicole a present by trying her newest colors of bead backing.  You'll smile the minute you open the package because these colors just exude happiness.

Connect with Nicole online:

Bead Embroidery as an art form has given my creative soul the ability to dance!  Just letting the artwork talk has provided me with so many ah ha moments in the last year!  I encourage you to step out of your box and try something new.  You just might really like it!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

This Bead Embroidered Necklace has Gone to the Dogs!

No really, my bead embroidered necklace really is going to the dogs, or rather FOR the dogs!  

Our local humane society (Lakeland Animal Shelter) is having a big charity dinner.  At the dinner they are hosting a silent auction of all sorts of items to help raise funds for our furry friends that don't have a voice for themselves.  When I first heard of the dinner and silent auction I felt compelled to participate.

Right now the shelter is much too small for the amounts of animals that need help.  Even with the help of foster homes, there seems to be more animals than beds at the inn.  Recently the shelter acquired additional land adjacent to their current facility.  The goal is to raise the funds to build a much larger shelter with a special surgery room for any medical treatment the animals need when they come into the shelter. 

In my effort to help, I raise my tools (pliers and sewing needles) and make something special just for our furry friends.  You see, all of our dogs have been rescue dogs.  Cody actually was adopted from Lakeland as he was supposed to be a hunting dog and was afraid of anything that went boom.  Brandi we got from the Springer Rescue (ESRA) after her prior owner passed away and his family no longer wanted her.  Bella adopted us... enough said.  So I know how important it is to these "unwanted" dogs (and cats too) to find a home that appreciates their quirks and nuances and loves them unconditionally no matter what! 

This necklace features a custom designed focal created by Sandy Spivey.  I've ordered from Sandy's Etsy store in the past on a referral from a friend and was so pleased with her quality that I knew she would be the perfect one to take on my "special project."  I asked Sandy to custom design several cabochons with each of my dogs featured.  We had a blast trying to get just the right pictures and I'm so very happy with how they all turned out.  Just wait until you see what else I design with my babies!

The photo I chose to feature of Brandi is on her 12th birthday!  I must say, she's a looker - especially for being her age.  She's in beautiful health and just the picture perfect image of a dream dog that once found herself homeless. 

I used shades of rich chocolate brown and white to really make the photo of Brandi stand out.  For the necklace I used a strand of beautiful, elegant pearls accented with Swarovski crystals.  The piece is finished with antiqued copper chain and a lobster claw because I just don't know who the winner will be, so I wanted to make the necklace versatile and adjustable.

This necklace and many more great items will be up for auction at the Lakeland Animal Shelter - Second Chances Charity Dinner on May 4th.  If you are local in Southeast Wisconsin or Northern Illinois, the dinner is going to be hosted by The Abbey Resort and Spa in Fontana.  For information about the Second Chances Charity dinner, or to see how you can help visit the Lakeland Animal Shelter's Facebook page at:

This piece is near and dear to my heart.  My Brandi has been with me through so much and I just cherish her.  All the volunteers that donate countless hours to help socialize and find homes for the animals that can't speak for themselves are truly priceless.  I think you are all angels on earth!  I'll be dropping off my donation in the next day or two and hope that the dinner attendees bid high and bid often to raise funds for this great cause!

I hope your day is full of love and joy!

Dawn Doucette is an international jewelry artisan that creates one-of-a-kind art jewelry out of her studio in Lake Geneva, WI.  Each piece Dawn makes is truly unique and takes countless hours designing and creating.  Each bead is hand stitched, then the pendant is professionally backed with a soft Ultrasuede for utmost comfort of the customer.  Dawn specializes in custom designs that brings your dreams into a real, tangible piece of art jewelry you can pass down from generation to generation.  Find Dawn online at:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Playing with Color And Showcasing some Cute Kiddos

Hope you're not checked into Jelly Bean Addicts Anonymous yet, because if you are, you forgot to pick me up!  I love fruity, chewy, gummy candy... And I like chocolate too.  Which pretty much means the Easter basket with all the naughty yumminess that the Easter Bunny leaves me is just pure delight!

I'm excited to share with you that I'm participating in another color challenge!  Ms. Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime is hosting the One Crayon Color Challenge!  In other words, pick your crayon and whether you use it hard to create a dark shade or your crayon barely touches the paper creating a very soft shade, we are supposed to create a monochromatic jewelry design.

The blog hop and reveal are scheduled to take place on May 5th!  The color I've chosen is ... PURPLE!  But you knew that already, didn't you.  So I'm pondering just what I'm going to make... but I'm very excited to be participating in this challenge.

Crayon Hop Blog Badge 1
In other cute news, I created a little video clip from our family Easter Celebration which was also my brother's birthday.  We kept it very low key and stress free this year focusing on my niece and nephew.  Here's a look-see to add a smile to your day!

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope your week is Fan-Tast-TIC!!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Accessorizing a Grand Wedding Celebration - Part 2

Who doesn't love a good wedding??? Honestly, weddings put the fa, la, la in "Eat, Drink & Be Merry!"

As the premier designer for my sister Amy's wedding (like that Amy... premier designer, you lucky girl) ;)  I am getting to make several pieces of custom beaded jewelry, for the leading actress and all her supporting actresses.  Except we know she's not just acting... it's the real deal!

Now I've gotten permission to share this, so nobody can give me blog spankings, okay?

I've started on the bride's jewelry.  The WOW piece (in addition to her veil, which I see in my mind, but haven't yet started on) is her bracelet.  I was contemplating what to create for her when the April/May Beadwork arrived.  One thing that is really important to Amy is to have some serious sparkle in her jewelry.

Yet she's a tiny little size 4, so the jewelry couldn't be overstated, bulky or heavy.  Together we wanted something that looks classy and elegant.

So when my Beadwork arrived, the bangle on the cover starting talking to me.  My usual routine is to flip through the magazine, admire the creations and the talent artists that designed them, then follow my heart creating something not at all related.  BUT this time, this bangle really sparked an idea - AND I LEARNED Something!

Did you know they make oval shaped memory wire for bracelets?  Why of course YOU did, but I didn't until I saw this tutorial.  I was super excited when I found out though!

So looking at the makings of this bracelet I had 2 distinct thoughts.  1.  LOVE how the oval wire will keep the bracelet from turning around on the wrist.  2.  All that Swarovski will stay on the top and blind people!

YES!  This was it!

Tutorial From April/May 2012 Beadwork by Cristie Prince

SO indeed this is the first time I've actually made a piece right out of Beadwork, using my own colors - light silver grey Miyuki 15's and Ceylon pearl cubes.  With the dynamic sparkle of the crystal this bracelet is fitting for a queen... and most definitely will be a beautiful accessory for a beautiful bride.

If you didn't get a chance to check out Part 1 of Accessorizing a Wedding, check it out.  I made a very special pair of bead embroidered earrings for the Mother of the Bride (my sweet mom.)

More to come... love to share!  Thanks so much to you for following and sharing my love for creating special, one of a kind jewelry.


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