Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February Monthly Blog Tour

Happy Hop Day!

The Conference of the Birds elicited some very creative minds this month. We see so many different varieties of birds, so many different variations on the peacock as well as abstract interpretations of the flora and fauna and a rich and varied color palette. It always makes the editors here so happy to see our faithful readers returning time and time again to regale us with their ever-evolving design sense, but this month we are delighted to also welcome some brand new participants to the challenge. We are so glad you are here! We know that you will find the ABS a wonderful community of incredibly talented people all here to share the joy of art beads and jewelry with one another. My only disappointment... no one picked up on the chicken motif!


On with the show!

Welcome to your first ABS Blog Tour Miss Bobbie of Beadsong Jewelry! We are so delighted that you chose to share your beautiful peacock feather design with us. I am crushing on that focal bead, and the swirls of the wire echo the eye of the feather. The fiber and the choice of the rest of the beads is a very nice tie in to the inspiration painting. We hope you will come back and share with us again!

Jo Tinley of Daisy Chain Designs Jewellery is an amazing metalsmith. She crafted a stunning feather clasp in silver to complement the beautiful lampwork glass bead in soft serene shades of blue and green. Jo says that she is going to make more of these shapes. To that I say, yes please! When can I buy them?

What I enjoy most about these monthly challenges is that every single person can look at the same inspiration and see completely different things. I almost missed the river flowing through the inspiration painting and the lovely lotus blossoms along the edge. That is until I read all about it from Angela Lund-Logan (above). Thank you for opening my eyes to all the details!

Sharyl of Sharyl's Jewelry & Reflections got super inspired this month and made not one but two pieces! Each of her necklaces has the soft blues and greens of the painting but really have completely different looks. I find it intriguing that each time you look you see a different direction to go in with this inspiration painting! Check out her blog post here.

Pam of KlassyJools gives us a beautiful bracelet with the soft sand tones and the ethereal blues. The birds in her piece make me think they are soaring high in the sky. I love the mix of textures in this piece. Read all about it here.

Sometimes you have to trust that you know what you are doing. I hope that after entering this first Art Bead Scene challenge, it won't be your last Miss Beth (above)! Beth created a lyrical and infinitely interesting design that keeps your eye moving and treats you to little surprises along the way. Read more about the design process at Three Trees Art.

So many new faces this month! Miss Madonna Lisa Cruz from Crazy Notions in the Philippines designed her own peacock with bright colors and loads of texture. I am in awe of creativity like that! Welcome to the ABS to another new international friend! We look forward to seeing more of what you will share with us.

Re-Maker crafted her sweet and feminine necklace from some repurposed pieces making her art truly one of a kind. I love the little details, like the strand of seed beads and the little ruffled edges of the pendant. Read more about her design process here

There is something so intriguing about this necklace. The rough druzy stones suspended from the intricate herringbone weave and the lush lampwork all work in harmony to create a most lovely interpretation of the inspiration color palette. Read more about the necklace (above) from Backstory Beads.

Kimberly of Kimi's Jewelry noticed right away that the peacock was trying to steal the show in the Conference of Birds. She crafted a gorgeous peacock with all the feathers ablaze in a knock out necklace. Go and read about her process here!

Lynne of Island Girl's Insights (above) felt the need to create her own version of the background in this painting through her glass. The photo above is a closeup of the bead she made that became the focal for her necklace. I love that it can be worn with the chain or removed. That is awesome! Read more of her inspiration on her blog.

Birgitta treats us to an eclectic and charmingly rustic beauty with her bib necklace. Plus her piece pulls from all sorts of far off places making it truly international. I love the charming mix of materials and colors. The fiber gives a softer edge to the piece. Beautiful work!

We welcome yet another newcomer to the Art Bead Scene challenge. Hello, Mirabeaux! The focal bead she chose is so reminiscent of a close up of a peacock feather and she tells that her choice of beads resembled bird beaks. So soft and soothing yet so wild and free is this design. We are so glad you chose to share it with us!

I am very intrigued by the process that artists go through to create their beautiful baubles. Jenna of Honey Bijou (above) is a talented polymer clay artist and a gifted jewelry designer. She shows how she went about creating the cane for the peacock beads in this stunning piece.Thank you for sharing how you went about it. That makes your work all the more special to me.

Pulling in the regal colors of purple and royal blue, Lorelei Eurto proves that even the most simple design can be stunning and magical.

Patti of My Addictions Hand Crafted drew inspiration from the creek and the rocks to the beaks of the birds (which I totally never noticed until you pointed that out!). I love this eclectic style that has so much to look at that your eye is roving all the time. I would never be bored wearing a necklace like this!

This dreamy interpretation from bee tree by m.e. has a soft trance-like quality. The birds seem to be in flight in the bright blue sky with the sun shining. I love that sense of movement in this piece (above). Learn more about the design process here.

Miss Cindy Wimmer of Sweet Bead Studio found some hidden treasures in her stash... lampwork glass beads in the perfect shades of the painting with even a river running through it! I love the special chain that she created using jump rings. Stunning!

Lynda Moseley of SCDiva (above) is celebrating a return to the well of creativity with these lovely peacock earrings. They have this old world quality that Lynda is famous for creating, and yet the colors are so modern. Read more about her inspiration here.

Speaking of peacocks, you have to check out the cute little peacock that Jennifer Cruz of Purple Luggage created. Her commissioned necklace is made from polymer clay using a special cane that she developed for a truly delightful design.

Cece Cormier, The Beading Yogini,  says that this design just sprang to life in her hands. Isn't that the nicest thing when that happens? Her bird focal is something special and a must see!

Miss Rebekah of Tree Wing Studio (above) admits that blue is a hard color for her to design with, especially this light blue that is predominant in the painting. She chose to see the abstract bushes in the design as a wing shape and used a pretty pendant as her focal. But it is what she did with the leather and the ornate bead caps that make this piece truly sing!

And last, but certainly not least, Miss Beth and Miss Evie eked out another amazing design! Their teamwork is inspiring, even despite illnesses and set backs this month. They persisted to create this intricate peacock focal and lampwork beads and we are so fortunate to be able to learn more about it! Read about their Peatalk design here.


Thank you all for participating in the February Monthly Challenge. Stay tuned for the announcement of the March Monthly Challenge!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thinking Outside the Box part II

You should remember my last post about Thinking outside the box. If not, you may want to go HERE and read it first, before you start on this one. 
For part 2 I am honoured to share the designs of two wonderful designers. I challenged them to use my components thinking outside the box, look at them in different ways, and see what they could create that is slightly out of the ordinary. 

Here is what they came up with...
Donna Martin Bradley was the first one I asked.  I asked her to use one of my large 1.5 inch round pendants, in a different way.
She turned it into a fantastic large Bracelet focal, instead of using it in a necklace! Fantastic results! With Spring coming soon, it's a great time to start thinking about making your summer jewelry!
The use of woven ribbon inside the chain is always a wonderful extra touch. You can find Donna on Facebook on her STRANDED BEADS page! Her beautiful designs are also available on Etsy

Next I asked Diana Ptaszynski. I thought it would be fun if Diana could make some earrings. 

Here is what she came up with...
Great idea to mix and match different charms and make the earring asymmetrical! I love that she incorporated her own handmade sea shell charm and bead links.
These look fun and beachy! You can find Diana on Facebook on her SUBURBAN GIRL STUDIO page! Her Fun original jewelry is available in her Etsy shop.

It was a complete coincidence that both designers used Ocean inspired pieces. I did not pick the components, so it was fun to see that they went so well together!

To get your own fun, quality Ephemera pieces, please visit my More Skye Jewels shop and shop around or feel free to request something special! For more ideas on how to use them you can also visit my Skye Jewels Blog.

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Monday, February 27, 2012

Designer of the Week: Kimberly Idalski

 Each Monday the Art Bead Scene features a Designer of the Week.
One of our editors picks her favorite from the Monthly Challenge entries.
This week's featured designer is....
Here is what ABS editor Erin Prais-Hintz said about Kimberly's necklace:

"I am amazed at the size of this polymer clay focal and all the detail. Just look at those feathers! The wire work backing this stunning peacock truly adds an element of sophistication to this design."
You can see more of Kimberly's work in her Etsy Shop.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Link Library with Melanie

A peek back in the archives from 2008 uncovers an inspiring and colorful post by Tari about her business promotional materials.  Click here to see the suggestions and examples she had to offer.
And here are this week's beady links from some of our friends:

A Bead A Day
Have you been developing new healthy habits this year? How about rewarding yourself in beads? Jewelry Making
Owls are making a comeback from the 1970s and an owl charm was the inspiration for two jewelry tutorials.
Art Bead Scene
We celebrate some of our artisan bead crafters from across the pond with this treasury of UK bead artist awesomeness
Beading Arts
Cyndi works through the first steps in turning an antique key into a lampworked pendant.
Carmi's Art/Life World
Ruby Violet necklace kits are fun and easy to work with!
Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie shows off a new creation using the new Pantone Crystal Mixes from Fusion Beads
Jean Campbell
"Stuff Beaders Say" Are you a beader? If you're not sure, just check out this video and see if anything sounds familiar.
Resin Crafts!
A dollar store butterfly becomes a necklace center piece with resin!
Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
There is a remarkbly beautiful new jewelry store on Etsy! Come read all about it, and learn who is behind it!
Melanie Brooks is the ceramic beadmaker behind Earthenwood Studio, who blogs from her Metro Detroit, Michigan home.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Studio Saturday with Erin Prais-Hintz, Tesori Trovati Jewelry

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard.
The following week we choose a random winner.

This week's winner is Catherine of Meadowland Designs.
Congratulations! You have won a new ceramic Connector Bug from Tari Sasser of Creative Impressions in Clay. Send Tari an e-mail with your address and she will get it out to you as soon as she returns from gallivanting around Norway!
This week we visit the studio of
Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati Jewelry.

Since when did the shortest month of the year mean the most projects are due?

I am working seemingly non-stop on something in my studio just about every day (or rather every night. Late, late into the night!). If it weren't for the sticky notes on my computer screen I might not know what to do next!

{My organizational flow chart}
 Unfortunately, some of the stick seems to be going in these cute little skeleton key notes (thank you Michaels dollar spot!) and they frequently fall under my keyboard or I find that they have attached themselves to my elbow which when I find them promptly puts me in a tizzy because I may have forgotten to do them in the right order and on time!

Here is just a quick rundown of just some of the sticky notes have kept me busy this month (or at least the ones that didn't get lost!)...

...I created two new jewelry designs for the "That's Amore" juried art show at the Central Wisconsin Cultural Center including the necklace "Nothing Like the Sun" featuring my new Story Beads (below) with lines of Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 on it so that you can read the poem as you travel through the necklace.
{Sticky note to self: make more Story Beads!}

{Story Beads with Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 - what lines would your Story Bead say?}
...I cranked out 65 sea-inspired pendants (below) that will be cruising the high seas with Heather Powers and the Bead Cruise as my sponsorship package. {Sticky note to self: summer is coming! Make more sea-themed charms!}

{Some of the 65 sea-inspired 'simple truths' pendants ready for the Bead Cruise}
...And as long as I was creating 65 charms, I thought, "Why not make 7 more?" (below). So I hopped into the Ornamentea Lucky Charm swap (deadline is February 29th, there is still time to play!). {Sticky note to self: can't wait to see all the great charms that I will get in the swap... but what to do with them?}

{"Beauty" - new Chinese Chop charms coming soon!}
...I issued my next quarterly challenge. The Challenge of Music inspires my readers to make an accessory of their choosing using their favorite music as inspiration. There are 46 marvelous hoppers from around the world and I can't wait to hear the world beat that we will be jammin' to with this challenge! I would love to say that I am done with mine, but it seems that I could be late to my own party. I can tell you that I have narrowed my inspiration down to a favorite artist and even three of her songs, but no real progress on that. The good news is that I still have a few days to get it all done and magic can most certainly happen in the 11th hour! {Sticky Start planning the next quarterly Challenge... for May 2012}

{Join us on February 29th for a Leap Day Rockin' party!}
...I am working on a super special secret project right now. Shhhhh! You will have to wait a few months to see what this is. I know! I am such a tease! {Stick note to self: get some pretty on these naked pendants quick!}
{Pendants baked and ready for some painterly love. but you can't see them yet! By the way... I love so much more than I ever loved Picnik!)

 ...And finally, just in the nick of time, I completed my pieces for the 2nd Annual Verse & Vision art exhibition at the Gallery Q where I exhibit my work. This highly respected show pairs original verses from Wisconsin poets with an artist at Gallery Q where we interpret the inspiration of their words with our chosen art medium. When we pick the poems it is completely blind, we have no idea until the reading at the event who the poets are. The level of creativity runs very high with this show and there is talk of it being a traveling exhibit across the state! Of course, for my chosen art medium I created necklaces. And what amazing sculptural pieces they have turned out to be! I love these neck sculptures because I have collaborated with some incredible bead artisans. Below are just little snippets of each of the three pieces showing some of the art beads I used. Sorry that I am teasing you with just a glimpse, but until the show is live in mid May I cannot reveal the whole thing. But I promise that I will reveal them all, along with the poems that inspired them in May when the exhibit goes live! {Sticky note to self: get these to the photographer by Tuesday for their close up for the book! And find out who the poets are in May so that I can get permission to share their poems with the world!}

{detail from "in the heron's wings" inspired by the poem of the same name featuring a custom enameled heron from Beth & Evie McCord of EBBeadandMetalWorks}
{detail from 'For Those Who Endure Midwest Winters' inspired by the poem of the same name featuring a ceramic birdie from LeAnn Weih of Summers Studio Etc and fold formed and patina-ed leaves from Mary Jane Dodd of  Speaking Your Truth}
{detail of "Old Love" inspired by the poem of the same name featuring a silver charm from Beth Hemmila of Hint Jewelry trapped in a handmade copper bezel}

As if that weren't enough things (and truly there are many more things I didn't mention!), next week I will be pulling together the Art Bead Scene monthly Blog Tour for the wonderful inspiration painting. Hmmm.... I wonder if I can squeeze in an entry for that? I might not have time, but there is still time for you to do it! Hope to see you then! {Sticky note to self: try not to drool too much over the lovely baubles created by the awesome ABS-ers!}
Whew! I think that I need a break. Too bad I don't have the Bead Cruise to look forward to. I sure could use a vacation after this month! {Sticky note to self: schedule a massage and pedicure to treat yourself for getting this all done in the shortest amount of time and keeping all your balls from spinning out of control!}
This week I am giving away one of my 'simple truths' rings, found in my Etsy shop. Winner's choice (doesn't have to be the little owlet, but ain't he sweet?). Share a comment below answering this question...
You see my awesome organization with the sticky notes on the 'puter (above). I like being able to see them at a glance to know what is coming up, and also being able to move them around. But I hate it when the sticky loses it's stick and they fall off on and float under the keyboard causing me to drop one of the balls I am juggling. I sure could use some help.
Share your best organizational tip for keeping up all your balls in the air and you could win a mighty fine 'simple truths' ring of your very own!
Erin Prais-Hintz invites you to go on a journey of inspiration at her blog Treasures Found :: Inspiration is Everywhere. You can view a gallery of her work at or purchase her new line of 'Simple Truths' in her Etsy shop.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tag! You're It!

At some point your jewelry or art beads may need to be put on display or take a trip somewhere. A gift given on a lovely card, tag or in a package is all the more special! Jewelry displayed on a simple but original card will help it stand out and give it a back ground to stand out on. Recycling is a great way to make original tags. Old magazines or news print can be the perfect base for a fantastic card. 

Handmade cards and pins from Carrie Rubalcava.
Wooden cards/tags from
Jewelry and cards from Tobi Jo Green at
 Packaging and pendant from
Pillow box from

Clean and lovely!
Satin and paper hang tags from
Felted art dolls and bead from

No more wire hangers! Except for these from karboojeh Handmade Jewelry

Stamped tags from Humblebeads.

What are your favorite ways to display or send jewelry or beads?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ribbon Rosettes Tutorial

I decided to try my hand at making a fabric rose since I have a sea of sari ribbon sitting on my desk and wanted to show some creative ways to use it.  This project is so easy, you'll have a little garden before you know it.  The trick it use a filigree piece on the underside to give it some stability and offer unlimited design options to incorporate your roses into your jewelry designs.

2" sari silk ribbon
28.5 mm kaleidoscope filigree
10" 6lb. Fireline thread
Beading needle

1. Roll the end of the ribbon around itself several times. 
2. Sew the thread through the knot horizontally.
3. Continue wrapping and sewing through the flower every 4 or 5 turns.
4. For the last few wraps, wrap the ribbon a little loose and pull the edge of the ribbon to give it some body.
5. Sew the rose securely severely times.  If there are any parts of the flower that are loose, sew it into the flower, hiding the threads on the under part of the flower.
6. Sew the rose unto the filigree until it's securely attached. 

For the bracelet I paired my flower with a word bead from Diane Hawkey, ceramic beads from Earthenwood Studio and Golem Designs and a disk bead from Humblebeads.  The awesome flower clasp is a design from Cindy Wimmer, you can find the tutorial for the clasp here.

Resources: Filigree: Vintaj.  Ribbon: Humblebeads.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

UK Art Bead Artisans

As the International Bead Correspondent for Art Bead Scene (that's an unofficial title that I've given myself), I am here today to bring you some bead news from overseas! (Apart from if you're reading this in the UK, in which case I am your Local Bead Correspondent.)

As a lover of Etsy (and who isn't?), I frequently buy from overseas, particularly the USA and Canada. I love that I can communicate directly with designers and makers literally thousands of miles away, and buy straight from them. I love thinking of the individual artist sitting in their studio all that way around the world from me, packing up beads they have created by hand, and sending them on, directly to me. It's amazing that websites such as Etsy have opened up such possibilities for us all. And although international shipping can be daunting, it's actually surprisingly simple and easy to buy from many places abroad. I have limited experience of it, but I have bought from all over Europe, North America, Australia and China, and not had any more problems with postage than I would expect from online shopping confined to the UK. Bear in mind customs regulations (larger orders may require you to pay a charge) and the world really is just one giant art bead market!

However, I also love that on Etsy I can track down local bead artists and designers. Shopping direct and shopping local are two things that I like to do when I can. I've gathered a selection of artists together in this, my first ever Etsy Treasury (let's just say, it took me a while...). I plan on making some more treasuries featuring designers and makers from all over Europe, as well as these below who are more directly local to me. Hopefully my treasury making skills will speed up too...!

'UK Art Beads, Findings and Beyond' by songbead

A selection of beads, ribbons, findings and buttons by some of the UK's wonderful artisans.

SowZerE - Let's Dance -...
5 buzzy bee beads
Bird bead. Handmade lampwork...
Juicy Fruit Drops - Bead Set
Moogin beads -kimono silk ro...
Sunspots Buttons .. handmade...
Medium Oxidised Sterling Sil...
Sunrise Sparkle Nuggets Trio...
Copper Toggle Clasp - Prom P...
Bag of mixed handmade cerami...
Ornamentum Antiqua. Handmade...
Lampwork Sra Purple Haze Foc...
Feathered Lampwork bead set ...
Owl bead 65
Handmade Ceramic Beads Set i...
Headpins - Raspberry Ripple-...

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer and singer, currently living in Manchester, England. You can read more about beads and singing at her blog, and see more of her jewellery at