Thursday 30 April 2015

Art Bead Scene April Inspiration Challenge

The ABS blog inspiration for the April challenge was this self-portrait by Frida Kahlo, painted after her divorce from Diego Rivera and the end of her affair with photographer Nickolas Muray. The painting depicts Kahlo wearing a white dress with a monkey on her right shoulder and a cat on her left, wearing a necklace made of thorns and a dead hummingbird. The thorns dig into Kahlo's skin, making her bleed.

Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940
By Frida Kahlo
Oil on Canvas, 61.25 cm × 47 cm (24.11 in × 18.5 in)
Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin

I was fascinated by the many symbolic images in this painting. I was drawn to the brightness of the leaves in the background, but also to the imagery of the thorns.

At the end of March my bid was the winning bid for several auctions of ceramic spike beads made by Joan Miller. A new(ish) Facebook page, Ceramic Art Bead Market, is hosted by a group of talented art bead makers and is available for anyone to join as a buyer, and for approved sellers to offer their products for auction.

Some of the ceramic spikes were used for this necklace.

Necklace for Frida

 The greenish cast to some of the spikes, along with the random and different embellishments seemed perfect for this challenge. I used copper wire, with a steel blue coating that looks black, for all of the wire elements, from the vaguely heart like squiggle the spikes hang from to the hook clasp and loop and the smaller wire wrapped around the ribbons. The loops that hold the pendant piece on the necklace, and that make up the clasp, have wire wrapped around them for another interpretation of the thorns.

Because I wanted to bring some more brightness to the overall look I decided to use Cotton Batik ribbons, in green and earthy orange, along with a green organza ribbon. They were lightly woven together to make the softest feel around the neck.

I struggled with the final result, not quite happy with how the pendant portion hangs off of the ribbons, but decided to post it here anyway. I’ll wait a bit before making any further decisions.

Now please check out what everyone else made here.

Monday 27 April 2015

In the Home Stretch for Mom

Over the last couple of weeks I have celebrated handmade artisans in my listings of ideas for Mom.

We’re a couple of weeks away from Mom’s big day now, so here’s one final list of gift suggestions. This time they are from my online shop.

I hope you find the right gift for her, whether from one of my previous recommendations, from this list or elsewhere.  I wish you happiness in your selection and joy for your mother, this day and all days.

Carnelian and Opalite Necklace

Classic Loops with Freshwater Pearls

Gift from the Heart Pendant

Sunshine Bracelet

Blue Flash Too Necklace

Boa Love Bracelet

In The Raw Necklace

Heartfelt Earrings

Monday 20 April 2015

Tax Month in Canada

Apologies for missing the Thursday blog post. It’s tax season in Canada. I’ve been busy filing my sales tax return and my parents’ tax returns.

Some craft show applications have also needed attention and several of those have been sent out too.

Still to come – returns for my husband, son, daughter and myself. I’m looking forward to being done all of them soon.

 Hope yours is going well, or went well for everyone in other countries.

Monday 13 April 2015

More Ideas For Your Mother

Last week I blogged about a whole bunch of non-jewellery related gift ideas for Mother’s Day. This week I thought it would be fun to show you what some of the jewellery artists that I admire most are doing. 

Any of these would be excellent gifts, and each of these artists has their handmade beads and components available to buy so you can create your own treasure. 

Winter Song Bird Pendant
Heather Powers of HumbleBeads creates beautiful Polymer Clay beads and focal pendants that she uses in stunning jewellery like this pendant. Heather’s true passion is the beads she creates, also available in her two shops, both of which can be reached from her main page.

Simply Charming Pendants

Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati creates charming pendants like these two. Like Heather, Erin’s true muse is the beads and components she creates. They are simply stunning and can be found in her 2 stores. Both can be reached from her main page.

Harbinger Collection Bracelet

Lorelei Eurto upcycles tin containers into toggle clasps, bead caps and other pretty items like this bracelet. Her Tin Snippets are also available for purchase to make your own creations.

Woodlands Bracelet

Claire Lockwood of Something to Do makes jewellery using her ceramic beads that are somewhat rustic looking, experimenting with different looks and textures. Claire also sells her handmade beads at Something to Do Beads.

Modern Primitive Earrings

Kristi Bowman hand makes metal components from metal clay, as well as Polymer Clay components. She uses her creations in jewellery like these earrings. Kristi also sells her components here.

Cattails and Spirals Ceramic Earrings

Cindy Pack of Cindy’s Art & Soul creates beautiful ceramic beads which she then turns into beautiful jewellery, like the earrings above. Cindy also sells her ceramic beads on her website.

There are so many more artists that inspire me, and from whom I have purchased little treasures to create with. I think this gives you a small peak into my world of creative inspiration.

Thanks and have a great day!

Thursday 9 April 2015

Do You Pin?

Back in January I blogged about starting my business Pinterest account.

I started out with 6 boards which were my original personal boards; Gardening, DYI for the Home, Outdoor Spaces, Making Jewellery, Sayings, Something for the Home.

Well now there are 24 boards on my Pinterest site with the latest added just yesterday, all about gifts for Mother’s Day.

I would love to get your feedback. What’s good? what needs work? What would you like to see added? Give me your feedback by April 25th, midnight EST (5:00 GMT), and I’ll make a random draw for a pair of earrings. Please leave your email address if you don’t have a blog link.


Monday 6 April 2015

Mother's Day - Planning Ahead

Mother’s Day – It’s sneaking up quickly. Are you looking for a gift yet?

Did you know “Mothering Day” in the UK is celebrated in March? (At least that’s according to one site I googled). What if your mom isn’t into jewellery? Horrors! 

I’m playing with you, I know many people don’t really care for jewellery, so I thought I would pull together some thoughtful gifts available online. All of the items I selected are from Etsy. There are many other online marketplaces and independent sites so do explore and look further.

Is your mother into home decorating?

She may appreciate some cushion covers from Pickfair, like this lovely blue and white Ikat cover.

Perhaps a new area carpet would tickle her fancy? Something like this black and cream Greek key carpet from Jaisalmer Handloom.

Does she love plants?

A pretty pot for growing herbs or trailing flowers may be the right touch. This rustic one from Manuela Marino Ceramic is a sweet option.

Some stoneware garden markers are always appreciated by the avid gardener. Barbara Robertson will let you pick the marker names for this 5 piece set and also has a set of 3 markers in her pottery shop.

Does she like to write?

A leather journal or notebook could be the perfect gift. Beverley of La Paperie has many beautiful styles to select from.

Doesn’t need a journal? Well how about a beautiful bright pencil case instead? Gao Wenying has this cheerful red one.

Does your mother have an artist’s soul?

Sketching, drawing or painting may be what she prefers. A gorgeous sketchbook with its own leather carrying case from Erika’s Leather would be handy.

If clay is her muse try some hand crafted sculpting tools from Decapitated Penguin.

If not an artist how about an art collector?

Prints of nature inspired original artwork, like this one of a Spotted Owl by Amber Alexander, always make a great gift.

If you’re looking for something more abstract or unusual here’s a paper quilled original from Mari Fantasy Quilling.

Sculpture may be her preferred artwork

This resin and pewter sculpture of ironworkers high up on the Rockefeller Centre was created by Creative Nuts and is based on the epic photo of 1932.

For something abstract and contemporary, check out this freestanding metal sculpture from Jon Allen Metal Art.

Does cooking bring her joy?

A handsome olive wood cutting board may be just the thing. This one, from Premium Olive Wood is even heart shaped.

A new casserole dish would be a nice present. This handmade covered dish in deep browns and blues from Happy Sandman holds 40 ounces.

Is stylish shopping on her list?

A waxed cotton market tote is perfect for many a shopper. This one from Newton Supply Co has sturdy leather handles and is available in a variety of colours.

A tote with a famous landmark such as this one from Ashleigh Hodges Photo may be better suited.

Some stylish office related accessories may fit her

As a busy executive your mother may be looking for a great messenger bag. This one from Filzcraft is made of felt with leather strap handles and closure.

Many people like to have a stylish phone case to protect their smart phones. This one by Hello Nut Case hits both the professional and stylish notes appreciated by busy professionals.

We’ve reached the end of the post for today. I have tried to feature handmade products as much as possible. I hope you are inspired to find the perfect gift for your mom.

I would love to hear if any of these options sparked a successful hunt for you. 

Thanks and have a great day!

Sunday 5 April 2015

Thursday 2 April 2015

Musings on a 30 Day Challenge

The 30 Day Fusion Bead Challenge was a great challenge. The rules were simple:
  • Create something to meet the theme of the day
  • Share on the Fusion Beads Facebook page
  • Go ahead, make projects in advance to be ready for the challenge


Here’s what I learned or experienced from joining in:

  • It was fun
  • A month celebrating crafting is great
  • I didn’t have as many pieces ready before the start as I thought I did
  • It sucked up free time like crazy
  • My bill paying job kept getting in the way
  • Other plans got pushed to the back burner
  • I was stretched to try things I would never have thought of
  • I wasn’t always happy with the results
  • Some days it felt like I settled just to meet the deadline – Those items sit on the shelf waiting for a redo
  • There’s no time to redo if something doesn’t work as expected
  • I learned lots from others
  • I learned a lot about myself including there are jewellery mediums I have no talent or interest in
  • I now have a deep and profound admiration for those who work with tiny seed beads
  • I “met” some great people online
  • It’s April 2nd and I’m still tired

How about yourself? Have you tried participating in this or other challenges that really pushed you? How did it turn out? I would love to hear about your experiences