Monday, June 29, 2015

Row By Row H20 2015

Row By Row H2O is underway and a GREAT opportunity for you to meet local shop owners, dive into a new project and share you experience with the world!!  This is a “hop” of a different kind and a QUILTERS challenge.   
Go out and collect at least eight (8) FREE patterns.  Each pattern will be for one row on the quilt.  Create a quilt consisting of eight rows from eight participating shops in your area.  Start visiting your local shops and collect their 2015 Row by Row H2O pattern now!  Then start designing your 2015 Row By Row H2O Quilt.  The theme is water so let your creativity flow.
The challenge started on June 21, 2015 and will run through September 8, 2015.  There are thousands of shops participating in this event so pick a state and get started.  You have until October 31, 2015 to submit a quilt for a PRIZE!! 
There are lots of prizes to be collected along the way so be sure you visit with shop owners to learn about the prizes they are offering this year.  This is going to be a great adventure for many so be sure you share…we want to hear all about your adventure.  You will find lots of FREE patterns and some giveaways I’m sure.  Don’t hesitate to share them with others.  
I hope everyone has a crafty good time!
Keep Creating!!!


Friday, June 12, 2015

Sewing With Friends

A few weeks ago my mother was kind enough to offer a private class to me and a couple of my friends.  We asked her to teach us how to use our sewing machines and notions.
The project of the day was Seamless Pillowcases aka Pillowcases with French Seams.  This is a great project for beginners!  We had a really nice day sharing stories, helping one another and discovering what all the dials and buttons on our machines are really for.  We all got a lot of experience using the ripper too....

My friend Karen B. working on her project
We didn't use a pattern that day - we call that learn as you sew.  Because this is such a simple project my mom had everything memorized.  I was able to find a great pattern at The Cottage Mama.  I'm sure you can find others online.

NOTE:  Fabric widths can range from 42" to 45" so measure your pillow if you want to be precise. 
For the BODY you will need 27" x the width of the fabric; for example 27"x42".  For the CUFF you will need 12" of fabric in a coordinating pattern.  You can use the same fabric as the body if you'd like.  For the BAND you will need 2" x the width of the fabric.  You can use large rick rack for the band also.  

You can choose fabrics in so many designs the possibilities are endless -- just be sure you select 100% cotton fabric.

Here is another example of various fabrics pulled together to create a wonderful set of pillowcases.

Give this project a try, it's easy and the end result is a pair of seamless pillowcases that will make a lovely gift or give any room a fresh look.  Share your color combinations, tips or suggestions with us!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Epic Inspiration Jewelry Design Blog Hop

It's time for the Epic Inspiration Jewelry Design Challenge and Blog Hop hosted by Melissa Trudinger the author and designer behind Beadrecipes who challenged several bead lovers to create a piece of jewelry inspired by a favorite television show.  

The first show that popped in my head was Mad Men, not so much because I'm glued to the tube to catch every episode of the show (which recently came to an end) but mostly because of the costume design team.  Janie Bryant and her team created a vintage fantasy land.  I absolutely love seeing what everyone is wearing -- and I mean every member of the cast.  It's fun!

The 1960's was a time where American women found new opportunities in the business world.  GO Girl Power!!!  The cast includes many strong female characters who dress the part.  The cast includes Joan (Christina Hendricks), Betty (January Jones), Peggy (Elizabeth Moss) and Megan (Jessica Pare).  Each has great fashion sense wearing oversized sunglasses, faux pearls and furs and beautiful statement pieces (many brooches) true to the time.

This show also captured many of the fundamental characteristics of that era.  There were episodes related to the death of President John F. Kennedy, the Woodstock Festival, Man on the Moon and the Vietnam War.  

While I especially like Joan I was drawn to Betty's necklaces.  I created a double strand necklace and earrings.  The earrings were something that Megan would wear and not Betty so much.  Betty mostly wears post earrings.

The vivid color of the beads - orange, red and chartreuse were in fashion at that time.  I knew immediately when I saw the beads that these would work wonderfully for this project.

Please visit the other blogs to see what favorite show inspired their creativity.
Melissa Trudinger    (Hostess)
Karen Mitchell         
Andrea Glick            
Karen Martinez       
Lennis Carrier          
Lindsay Starr            
Mona Arnott            
Lee Koopman          
Shaiha Williams       
Veralynne Malone  
Elisabeth Auld          
Kelly Schermerhorn
Dini Bruinsma          
Jami Shipp                

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Art Jewelry Elements May Component Reveal

Art Jewelry Elements (AJE) is a sisterhood of talented jewelry makers.  They share tips, host giveaways, encourage crafters to participate in fun blog hops and they've created a supportive space to share ideas of all sorts.  This awesome team consists of Jennifer Cameron, Niky Sayers, (I follow Niky SOOO much she probably thinks I’m stalking her), Diana Ptaszynski, Lindsay Starr, Kristen Stevens,  Jennifer Davies-Reazor, Lesley Watt, Melissa Meman, Linda Landig (SUPER TALENTED LADY), Susan Kennedy and Caroline Dewison.  They have great energy and are willing to share their talent with a universal audience.
Let me tell you, these ladies might look like a friendly bunch but they scare the bejeebers out of me.  They are driven, talented, passionate and inspiring.  I am a beginning beader/jewelry maker and these ladies are leading artists at the top of their game.  Regardless I keep signing up for their blog hops and giveaways because the AJE team is a source of encouragement for me. 
This month I won a couple of beautiful Beaded Beads from Sue Beads.  The design came from Debra Schwartz @ Datz Katz.  Sue made several pairs in different color combinations and gave them to three luck winners (ME) who have to create something with the beads and write a blog post revealing their project.  I was a lucky winner a few months ago too!!

The three lucky winners for May are:

Karen Martinez

So when I was chosen the wheels started turning but I am not a seed bead expert.  As the month continued on and time crept up on me I decided to create an eclectic piece.  I love bracelets...wear one everyday.  So this is what I came up with!

Materials used:
2-Beaded beads provided by Sue Beads
16mm Venetian glass disc blue/gold
11mm seed beads
8mm Swarovski rounds
6mm Swarovski pearls - fern, ivory
4mm white cat eye beads
Lampwork discs
Gold findings
Thank you ladies for all you do for our community.  I am honored to have been chosen and my hope was to do your pretty beads justice. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Life is pulling me in many directions these days; my health, my garden, my family, the J.O.B., my chickens…you know what I’m talking about.  Despite my lack of focus there has been a lot of activity in our shop this past month! 
We’re not getting any activity on Etsy other than team generated likes, etc.  Even though I’ve read many, many blog posts and books about marketing, SEO and blogging there are days where I just don’t feel that the results warrant the time and energy that I have put into this.  Right now we are only posting a few items on our Fairies Market Etsy site because shop members are having better luck by focusing their efforts elsewhere like craft fairs and local art shows.  

My goal is to be a successful blogger who has time to post on several sites and create relationships, building on those relationships and working together on artful projects.  Creating success for all!  Strategizing and understanding the numbers is an area that I’m learning more about but when I’m doing that I’m not creating.  How do you do both?  Do tell how you maintain "balance".
I’m happy to report that the other shop members are creating and selling and growing the business!!  Go TEAM!  Knowing what makes people make a purchase is analytical, I know.  Artists aren’t always analytical and techies aren’t always crafty.  Here we are back at finding balance - it is tough at times.
Trying to create a successful campaign is where I’m at so if you have any helpful hints or recommendations please share that information in the comment box below.  I know there are readers out there that could use some helpful hints (besides me).  

One thing I know for sure is that this path is different for everyone.  There is no set number of hours that will give you “X” results.  It is a lot of work and something you have to work at if you want MAJOR results for your site.  I'd be happy with a few more followers but without the content that's unrealistic.
Below are some helpful sites that I’ve found online for creating a blog, maintaining a blog, SEO, finding your niche, etc.  I hope you find this information helpful.  Please share your tips with our audience. 
You will find lots of helpful information on creating and blogging at Interweave. 

Want to learn how to make money with your blog check out.....

Need help adding social media icons to your sight?  I found some helpful hints on Sew Many Ways you'll lots of good information and fun link parties here too.

Have a lovely day!!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Supplies Added To Our Shop

We are expanding our Etsy shop to include beautiful lapidary work in jewelry supplies.  To start out we listed a few gemstone cabochons.  We will expand this section very soon. 

Agate is a semi-precious silica mineral and is a favorite among jewelry makers because of the interesting variation of grain and color.  Polished agate is a wonderful stone that usually includes bands of color and sometimes crystals are present, like in the photo above.  Stones come in so many colors, depending on where it was mined. 

This stone has been used for centuries, there are early recordings of agate mining in Europe dating to the 1400’s. Ancient treasures have been found including bowls, pendants (believed to having healing properties) and vases.  

Some folks love agate for its interesting colors while others believe that its strong connection to the earth gives it the healing properties such as strength, protection and harmony. 

Our beads were created from raw forms of agate, cut, drilled and polished. 

Dinosaurs were roaming the earth approximately 245 million years ago.  The name dinosaur comes from the Greek work deinos meaning fearfully great and sauros meaning reptile or lizard.  Dino bones are ancient fossilized bones that turned to rock (stones).  To think that these amazing creatures walked the earth millions of years ago and that paleontologists are able to find skeletal remains today just amazes me. 

When asked most gemologists are not sure what part of the world a specific dinosaur bone came from nevertheless these stones are popular among jewelry makers.  Cellular formations within the bone make them interesting to look at and talk about.  Most of the stones on the market today are bone fragments. 

Some believe that fossilized dinosaur bone increases physical energy, communication, healing of broken bones and that is helps increase memory.

Obsidian (Volcanic Glass)

Obsidian, better known as natural glass of volcanic origin, is formed by the rapid cooling of lava.   This is one of my favorite stones.  One of the things I find interesting about obsidian is that some stones are composed of many, many tiny crystalline materials.  The crystals are so closely spaced that they appear as one.  If you read up on obsidian you will learn more about what an interesting mineral this is. 

History buffs know that obsidian was widely used by ancient peoples to make weapons, tools, and even mirrors.  Arrowhead artifacts reveal that this stone is one of the sharpest and hardest.   

Like many gemstones obsidian comes in many colors and properties.  We have Blue Snowflake Obsidian in our shop. 

Some believe that the properties of obsidian are both soothing and grounding.  Healers often believe the specific color of the stone also has specific healing powers. 

This is just a small sample of the many good things to come!  Please stop by periodically to see new additions in shop our shop sections.

Some of the photos published here belong to their respective owners.  

Keep Creating


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

ABS Monthly Challenge - Tribute to Frida Kahlo

The Art Bead Scene (ABS) Monthly Challenge has been on my radar for some time now.  I love art!  So the idea of using a piece of art, usually a painting, to inspire creativity is an absolutely fantastic idea.  The ABS hosts are not saying, copy it, they're saying embrace this piece and use it how you choose; research, color, emotion, etc. -- dive deep and CREATE an original piece of jewelry that is uniquely yours.

This month's inspirational art piece is a masterpiece by the artist Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, entitled Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird.  I've been a fan of Frida's work for many years.  I was fortunate enough to see some of her work in a couple of museum exhibits.  I own many books and art pieces replicating her original work.  When I see her work I am drawn to her bold use of color, her odd choices for pets, her ability to depict how painful life really is and her strength as a woman. 

In many photos you will see Frida's magnificent use of clothes and jewelry which was quite the contrast from the Hollywood bombshell in the 1930's.  Her fashion choices are synonymous with this legendary lady. She built on her individuality and all the tragedies and pain that shaped her life.  Despite major health issues and a passionately painful relationship she managed to present herself as a beautiful and talented woman.  Frida's art was a true expression of herself.  She didn't hide behind the canvas instead she used the canvas to show the world what was going on inside of her; the woman, the wife, the artist, the activist, the animal lover.

The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.  Frida

Her individuality is the very thing that draws audiences to her - past and present.  She often wore large jewelry pieces and flowing cotton dresses/skirts.  Frida used every bit of herself to create beauty, she didn't hide behind the monobrow, instead she painted it for all to see.  Her hair was always a beautiful display of creativity.  These bold choices help us to know just who this beautiful woman was.

The necklace I made was not in the same color scheme as the portrait chosen by the ABS group but the beads are rich in color which makes a dramatic statement.

The Tierra Cast swallow and 25mm metal ring make a great focal point for this tribute to Frida.  I added a bit of wire wrapping to the metal ring with 24 ga. Artistic Wire in gun metal and bronze canon copper wire.  The Raku pottery beads were made by Amy Mealy of the Xaz Bead Company.  These beautiful rust 12mm beads and the vivid blue/green 20mm beads have been in my stash for some time.  I met Amy in Santa Fe at Bead Fest in 2013. 

I included some large 20mm copper beads, spacer beads and findings that I purchased at Beads & Needs in Colorado.  The finishing touch was some small turquoise pieces to add to the length of the necklace.  This eclectic range of metals and the kaleidescope from the Raku pottery beads comes together nicely.

These are two of my favorite images of Frida. Each shows Frida's dark eyes, smooth skin, dark hair and full lips.  She was young and beautiful.  Looking at life head on.

This is a photo I have in my home.  Frida in another self portrait with her hair down.  The dark brow draws attention to the third eye.  The vine-like appearance of her clothing adds another dimension to her work which in and of itself was her autobiography.

Please click here to view the ABS Pinterest board where you will find jewelry of every category imaginable for this monthly challenge...our tribute to this beautiful and intriguing woman.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Torch Enameling 101

During Bead Fest Santa Fe I was able to take a class with Sara Lukkonen owner of C-Koop Beads from Duluth, Minnesota.  Sara shared her expertise with us teaching basic enameling techniques. 

 I especially liked that she emphasized safety precautions repeatedly throughout the class.  SAFETY FIRST!!!  Because everyone knows that the more you do something the more "comfortable" we become.  Comfort is fine but being safe is the most important -- we are working with FIRE and glass powder!

With 30 years of enameling/bead making experience Sara creates quality components and shares her expertise nation-wide. Here is another photo of Sara teaching torch enameling techniques in Santa Fe, NM.

Her easy to follow instructions inspired me to try my hand at torch enameling so I set up a new station in my studio.  We'll see what transpires.

components made in class
If there's something in particular you are interested in learning about I encourage you to take a class.  The environment allows the creative process to begin without worrying about EVERYTHING because so much is done for you.  Step-by-step instructions, instant feedback, Q & A and praise!  Get out there and do it!


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Game of Thrones Jewelry Reveal

Game of Thrones fans are anxiously waiting for Season 5 to begin.  Will you be watching? Many of my beading buddies and I anxious to find out where Tyrion is and whether or not the dragons turn on Dany?  Who will live and who will die?  

The costume designers on go all out and create a fantasy world that captivates (us) their audience. There is something for everyone ... that's what makes it exciting and so fun to watch.

Margaery Tyrell's wedding dress
As a tribute to Game of Thrones Heather Powers owner of HumbleBeads invited jewelry makers to join her in the Game of Thrones blog hop!  Heather recommended that we choose a House or character as our inspiration.  

I chose Castle Black for obvious reasons...Jon Snow. 

Jon Snow is Lord Commander of the the Night's Watch who's duty is to guard The Wall; protecting the Seven Kingdoms in the far north. The Night's Watch live in Castle Black which is located in a remote region at the base of a glacier.  You won't see an actual castle here it's more of a fort.  

Headquarters of Night's Watch
This dark and chilling place is home to a band of misfit soldiers who take their vow to serve and protect seriously.  They face their enemies in the harshest of elements.  

To represent this cold dark place I chose some pretty onyx round and faceted beads.  I strung them with silver crystals and included a couple of Venetian beads that give the look of cracked ice.  

The show is sometimes very dark and I love black so I automatically was drawn to my stash of black beads.  The silver and gun metal findings represent the armor that you see throughout the show.  

Please stop by the other blogs to see the wonderful creations that they're showing in the Game of Thrones Jewelry Challenge.  Do leave a post telling me who your favorite GOT character is....