Thursday, November 30, 2006

Handmade beaded bracelets for the holidays!

I started kicking into gear yesterday for the holiday season! The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas goes so quickly, and then we throw Hanukkah into the mix...


It was past time to start making the smaller items that are always so popular at this time of the year. First stop..bracelets. I love making these. They're a terrific use of those beads that are left over from other projects. They're quick. You can add a couple of pricier beads without the cost rising out of control.

So, my advice? Make bracelets for the holidays this year. Or take a look at mine!

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A cute pig pin for the Year of the Boar

Look at how cute this pin is! These little piggies are available at a store on Xinhua Road in Bozhou, east China. In the mood for a road trip?

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Monday, November 27, 2006

What I'm reading now

The Language of God by Francis Collins

You might recognize Francis Collins's name from several places. He is the head of the Human Genome project, that most ambitious of programs which cataloged the entire sequence of human DNA. No slouch, huh? You might also recognize him as the brilliant scientist and Christian believer who went head to head with Richard Dawkins in the November 13th issue of Time Magazine, debating the existence of the supernatural, and whether one can be a serious scientist if he also believes in a Supreme Being.

Dawkins says no. But of course, this is the very same man who proposed just a week earlier at the Salk Institute that science...excuse me, Science...should be the new religion for everyone. My, my. This is the man who decries religion as the greatest evil in the world. So much harm has been done in the name of religion, he wails. So, don't you think making science our new religion is a great idea?

Francis Collins doesn't. Among other words of wisdom in his book, he points out the fallacy of Dawkins and so many others who raise that cry, "Religious people are hypocrites! Therefore religion is dangerous and evil." Put that way, just about anyone (except for Dawkins) can see the fallacy: don't confuse the rusty cracked vessels that we all are with the pure water that we are striving to be holding. Don't be surprised when the rust of our own selves taints the water that sits inside of us somewhat. If we keep washing ourselves out with that pure flowing stream of water, we will day by day find ourselves becoming more and more of what we want to be, and less and less of what we despise.

The science explored in Collins's book is fascinating. He writes so that a layman can pretty well follow it, and he does it without getting you bogged down in terminology. And as far as science and theology goes, one of the most thought-provoking ideas that he puts forth is this: don't make your G-d the "G-d of the gaps". In other words, don't let your faith hinge on the belief that every place there's currently a gap in science, that must be where G-d worked miraculously. What happens in a few years when science comes up with the answer to that gap? Let science deal with the how, and allow religion to deal with the why.

Collins points out that there are plenty of positive reasons to believe in G-d, and we don't have to help Him out by making up reasons that aren't rational. This guy is truly worth a read, whichever side of the line you fall on. I can't remember when I've enjoyed a book more that challenged me this much.

My next project (it's smiling at you...)

I'm not exactly sure where this one is going. I know that I'm going to make beaded cabochons out of each of the seven beads (from Jeanne Kent of New Terra Artifacts).

I've just run out of silver delicas, so the one that's in progress up there in the picture will remain like that until my order comes in. I'm going to go ahead and start each of the others, and just leave a thread behind that I can go back and finish each with.

I'm planning on hooking them all together somehow, but I'm just not exactly certain what it will all look like. Do you ever start out projects like that? Uncertain where you're going, but pretty sure you're going to end up somewhere? Sorry, I don't believe in the "Muse", or in waiting for it to speak. What I believe in is getting down to work!

If I waited for the "Muse", I'd get very little done :-)

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Big Bead Jewelry

Big Beaded Jewelry is a fairly new book, and I haven't even seen any reviews of it yet, so I honestly can't tell you whether or not it's a great book or not. It's published by North Light Books, and the author, Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell is very prolific, so I'm going to take a guess that this is probably a pretty nice book to have! I think at the very least, it's probably a good source of ideas for people who don't quite know what to do with all those chunky ethnic and designer beads that they've collected :-)

I'm going to look into getting a copy the next time I go on a book-buying spree. If you've seen this one, will you leave your impressions in the comments here?

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Making mixed media jewelry

Tammy Powley's newest book is ready for pre-orders at Amazon. I can't wait to see this one...just look at that gorgeous necklace on the cover!

One of my projects made it into the book as well, my recycled jewelry pins. Not that you can really see it, but the second small photo from the bottom on the left side of the cover is one of them :-)

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Monday, November 20, 2006

I got such a kick out of this...

Life Explained:

Jewelry ruts

One of my previous ruts :-)

Tammy's got an interesting discussion going over at about how to get out of a rut in jewelry making. I am happy to report that I am much too busy right now to be in a rut, a low point, a funk, or anything else other than...well, BUSY!! Technorati Tags:,,,,,

Friday, November 17, 2006

A couple of fun blogs!

Check out Stephanie's blog, titled Back in Skinny Jeans (the tagline is: get involved. feed a model.) She has been featuring some jewelry lately, including yours truly! But there is tons of wonderful stuff to look at, including a link to her newer blog...Noshtopia.

Now look, I'm warning's probably going to cost you more than a few calories to visit Noshtopia, but I think it's worth it!

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Collaboration with Amy

I haven't done too much more work on this piece that I started awhile ago, because I've been waiting for the pendant that will hang from the bottom. It's hard to get the scale here, but the silver armature is only about 4 inches across. There will be beaded straps coming up from each of the loops at the top.

So I need help! Amy just made a whole batch of gorgeous pendants, and I don't know which to choose. Give me your opinions, and I'll love you forever LOL!! OK, I'll love you anyway...

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Art opening last night

The show that I wrote about, "Stay Tuned", opened last night! Mike went with me, and we had a really good time. I ended up being interviewed by the tv station that was hosting the show, but I think that was probably just because I was the only jeweler there!

Anyway, it was fun.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Saturday was a busy day

I received my order from Jeanne Kent on Thursday, and I just couldn't couldn't couldn't wait to dive into working with the beautiful fused glass pendants that I got! Isn't this one gorgeous? The bad part is that I made this piece specifically for an article that I'm writing on color choice, so it now has to get packed up and sent off...and I probably won't see it again for 6 months or so. Wahhhh!

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Where it's at

As we head into the holiday weekend, here's the scoop:

One of my friend Amy's medallions is going to end up at the bottom of this piece. I should have stuck a ruler in the shot so that you could see the's about 4 inches across and will have beaded strands off of each of the loops at the top.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Carnival of the Creators #15

I received a boatload of submission this time for the newest Carnival! I'm really excited to be able to share some blogs with you all that are a bit different from our usual fare...not that there's a thing wrong with the usual either! But this time, I found literary posts, performance art posts, and some that I hardly even know how to characterize :-)

Anyway, let's get started. Here are some fabulous blogs for you to visit, in no particular order!

Michelle is sharing "6 fun ways to carry trash" on the American Inventorspot blog. It's not what you think...she's sharing handbags made from recycled materials! Great stuff.

My friend Bobbi tends to pick up trash too :-) In this case, it's a poor pitiful doll that she has given new life.

Pamela has written a great post on what she calls "Great Writing about Writing"...she shares a number of books that are not only beautifully written, but are about the art of writing!

My friend Tammy has written a post about a topic that particularly touched me: giving ourselves permission to do the art that we want to without always worrying about the resale potential. She focuses on beading, but you can apply Tammy's insights to any media you desire.

Another friend, Derek, has shared the incredible process he goes through to secure his materials before any art can be done. I'm not going to tell you what it have to go look. I promise you'll find it fascinating!

Derek suggested a second post from another blog for your enlightenment as well. (Do you see how my friends are stuffing the Carnival full of their own stuff? You've got to submit to the next Carnival if you want to see your own stuff here instead!) Anyway, Derek has posted about the current state of the art among woodturners. Oops, now you have a clue about Derek's other post, but hopefully you've already visited it so the surprise wasn't spoiled!)

Joe sent me a link to a post that completely baffled me at first! I've never heard of corde lisse before. You have to see what Joe does! You may consider it more of a sport, but I definitely think it falls into the broad category of performance art!

Isabella discusses "Art that makes a difference" in her blog called Change Therapy. She lists the books, films, and music that have changed her life, and invites her readers to do the same.

Katelyn presents a moving poem called "Dream Man" on her Alzheimer's advocacy blog. Her blog's main focus is to provide support for Alzheimer's patient caregivers. It's titled "Life Without Memories" and it made me cry. Visit it. Please.

There are only a few posts at Denise's new blog called "Glintlit Gloss", but it promises to be a very interesting one to track. She is planning on documenting her renovation of an older home!

Cecelia has made a little foray into the art of crewel embroidery, and she shares both the results of her adventure and also a link to a site with kits.

One of my new pals, Angela, has sent me a blog post on making nursing necklaces! Now I had never heard of these before, but I wish I had since it would have saved my hair countless times! (How many of you are aware that babies like to pull whatever they can get their chubby little mitts on?)

And last, my own mixed media blog, Layers Upon Layers, recently featured a tutorial on embellishing your collages with embroidery.

That's it for this month! Next month will be hosted on my friend Amy's blog, Exalted Beauty, so get your submissions in right away!

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Measure of a Woman

She's known by the content of her character, not her measurements :-)

Made from vintage rulers, the necklace is reversible.

handmade beaded jewelry
The Measure of a Woman
The other side

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Monday, November 06, 2006

New paua shell piece

ahndmade beaded jewelry

It took me most of the weekend to even decide what I was going to make next :-) I kind of got side-tracked on making these cute little skinny scarves for holiday gifts this year. I've never made them before, but I figured, "how hard can they be?"


They're not hard at all, but they're really hard to stop making!! I'm telling you, they're addictive. It didn't help that I stopped into Michael's this morning to buy some over-sized knitting needles, and there were bins and bins of wonderful (and CHEAP!!) fantasy yarns in every color of the rainbow.

I limited myself to blue, but still came home with three new skeins...

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Where is a (Bead) Doctor when you need one?

Well, there is a new doctor among us...not exactly a bead doctor, but a bono fide doctor nonetheless. Drum roll please.... Tammy Powley! Yup, the beloved guide to's jewelry making site is now a genuine PhD! Stop over at the forum and tell her congratulations :-)

You can also find Tammy hanging out at her Jewelry and Beading blog at b5media.

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