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!


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