Apr 16, 2014

Spring Fever Design Challenge with THEa Elements, BlueberriBeads, and Smitten Beads

Welcome to the Spring Fever Challenge, co-hosted by Lesley Watt of The Gossiping GoddessCaroline Dewey of  BlueberriBeads, and Claire Braunbarth of Smitten Beads.  

Our challenge was to create with bead mixes made with art jewelry elements from each hostess. Participants each received beautiful ceramic layered flowers and coordinating beads by Lesley Watt (THEA Elements), lovely sari ribbon from Claire Braunbarth (Smitten Beads), and beads by Carolyn Dewey (BlueBerriBeads) featuring her beloved, quintessential ceramic birds. 

The bead mix I received is full of vibrant color! 

As I meditated on the happy colors, I began to relish the memories of blue, yellow and cream colorways from my life: my kitchen growing up with yellow checkered curtains, years spent happy, laughing with my sister as our mom chatted with us. I thought of childhood and nature, remembering my wild child hair that I was warned "would attract birds for a nest" -- haha! 
Oh, how I now love and cherish my memories and my bead mix. 

Spring has sprung!  

Here in Orlando, life is warm and lovely year round, 
yet spring brings even more lovely changes ...

the sun shines brightly, and each day is very warm

Our backyard fountains and pool comes to life 

Soft clouds gently dance in the sky

Sweet, clean ocean air breezes across the peninsula

Daily tropical afternoon showers bring rainbows

Everywhere flowers bloom and life gets growing

This week, the lunar eclipse was so magical, my family stayed up all night long to experience it! My daughter and grandson played outside in the middle of night. 


My grandson in the eerie light of the lunar eclipse

And I finished my jewelry, working as the sun and moon danced! 

THEa ELEMENTS Ceramic Flower Focal & Floral blue bead:

Rosary chain stations in brass with blue chalcedony rondelles and yellow AB crystal rondelles,
sunshine yellow ceramic round beads by THEa Elements accented with Swarovski sapphire bicones;
AND so excited to addvery special beads: orange yellow lampwork made by Lori Anderson! She gifted the rare beads to me in our Pantone swap, and I love how they perfectly reflect the sunset shades in Lesley's beautiful flower, as if always meant for this necklace. So uplifting and full of warmth!

Among her many talents, Lori Anderson of Pretty Things also makes lampwork beads! Isn't she incredible? I love the beads she gifted me, and they are wonderful in the spring necklace. Her lampwork in sunset, along with Lesley's yellow ceramics, look so pretty! I also added lampwork by SueBeads along with the blue ceramic bead in the clasp. 

In addition, I created coordinating earrings. I was delighted when some of my left over beautiful recycled glass discs gifted from my lovely BSBP6 partner, Mags Saari (see her blog! She is an AMAZING artist) coordinated with the pretty blue of Lesley's ceramic art beads! I added Swarovski bicones (from Margot Potter store :) in sunny yellow and sapphire, and the sunset AB rondelles. The wonderful gold triangle jump rings are from my beloved Windbent. 

 Blueberri Beads Ceramic Feather

Along with Caroline's popular and lovely "mummy and baby" birdies, I was given a feather.
Inspiration struck as I decided to celebrate the feather and design with unique carved bones recently given to me by Heather Richter, and faux carved bone beads by Nicole Welch. I added a little abstract feather by Scorched Earth at the clasp. So often in spring, my girls and i would begin camping, or gather with friends around campfires singing, "The Earth The Air The Fire the Water Returns Returns Returns Returns...." This necklace reminds me of earth in spring, drumming, celebrating mother, returning to each other.

Ceramic feather, bone, agate, faux bone, cotton ribbon, antique copper and brass.

In honor of the lunar eclipse, I made coordinating turtle earrings with crescent moons.
The turtles arrived in the mail as a surprise gift just in time to become lunar lovelies!

I added a little abstract leaf to the clasp - it looks like a smile! -- from Scorched Earth

With the birds, I created a Mother's Day pearl lariat necklace. I decided to use the sweet birds as charms, and made three beaded rondelles to add to the ceramic charms. I wasn't sure if i should keep the lariat simple with the mummy and baby, keeping two of my beaded beads for earrings, but I decided to create "fringe" instead. I like the effect. 

I strung freshwater pearls with pearlized blue seed bead spacers into a very long necklace; 
using the ceramic clasp by Pajado Art House, I made a  lariat of pearls. My beaded beads 
were made just for the birds, as a garden for the sweet Blueberri Beads ceramics.

Smitten Beads Sari Silk Ribbon
With the sari ribbon, I was thrilled to create a soft, gentle necklace for a a seed bead
focal I created with The Color of Dreams bead. The blue of the silk and the purple lace
 look so pretty with the crystals and blue freshwater pearls.

I wanted to braid or arrange the ribbons in a brilliant way..
I tried to think of something clever, but I'm hoping I'll get new ideas
 today from our reveals! For now, they are soft against the lush focal.

Caroline Dewison - http://www.blueberribeads.co.uk 
Erin Prais – Hintz – http://treasures-found.blogspot.co.uk/
see what has sprung up! 

Thanks for looking!  

Apr 14, 2014

BSBP8: Soups On! Meet my Partner Bobbie Rafferty and See the Beads!

Bead Soup Blog Party 8 is underway and it's time to reveal the bead soups and introduce you to my fantastic and talented Bead Soup Party partner this year, Bobbie Rafferty of Beadsong Jewelry! 

What's a Bead Soup Blog Party? 

The Bead Soup Blog Parties are an international jewelry arts event, one of the largest bead swaps and design challenges in existence, with almost 500 jewelry designers and artists participating annually. The BSBParties are hosted by author and jewelry designer artist Lori Anderson, who pairs participants with her
 talents as an organizer extraordinaire. Participants then send their partners the finest beads to design with, or as Lori describes, "a Party Pack, something nice we would give our best friend" that includes:

::  A focal  ::
::  Some coordinating spacers or beads  ::
::  A special clasp (not just a lobster claw)  ::

Participants blog about the bead soups given and received, sharing info about their partners & their partner's jewelry and art, and last but not least, create jewelry with the beads exchanged. The jewelry designs made for the Party are revealed all at once, together in a grand event for one day (this year on May 3rd) as everyone visits each other's blogs (the "hop") to see all the jewelry created with the exchanged beads.

The Last Bead Soup Party? 

Lori has mentioned that this may be the last year for the Bead Soup Blog Parties as we know them, and thus I'm holding every part of this wonderful event dear to my heart. 

Lori shared that she may very well have to let the pairings, partnerships and bead swaps fall away from future Bead soup blog Parties. Thus I am cherishing every step of the process and appreciating all I can: the fun of making a new friend, the challenge of exchanging great beads, the process of photography and blog posting, and the excitement of creating with beads chosen by another artist. 

Whether this is the last BSBParty or simply the 8th in a long line of annual events, I'm relishing each step of the event. The Bead soup Parties are not just blog hops -- they transform the jewelry arts community. BSBParties create new connections, foster unique and empowering interactions, and manifest an abundance of beautiful beads and exceptionally outstanding jewelry art!

Muchas Gracias, Lori Anderson

Meet my Partner, Bobbie Rafferty of Beadsong Jewelry

This year I'm paired with the warm and lovely Bobbie Rafferty of Beadsong Jewelry. Bobbie immediately amazed me with her exquisite jewelry designs, especially those found on her website and gallery, featuring incredible beadwork and jewelry designs such as her free form peyote necklace, "Aphrodite, Queen of the Sea." Treat yourself to some gorgeous jewelry arts eye candy and visit her website, Beadsong Jewelry. You'll find an array of outstanding jewelry designs to delight as she works in bead weaving, stitching, wireworking, and stringing! 

"Aphrodite, Queen of the Sea" by Bobbie Rafferty, BeadSong Jewelry Gallery.

Bobbie is also the hostess of the whimsical yet infamous "Hat's Off Challenge" -- a blog hop celebrating the many styles and fab fashions of the hats of the Kentucky Derby! Bobbie had planned on making the popular challenge an annual event, but had to do some rescheduling when the timing was exactly that of this year's Bead Soup Blog Party 8. She plans on hosting the event again, however, so be sure to visit Beadsong Jewelry blog to sign up for email posts so you won't miss the next gala Kentucky Derby design event!  

Also, check out Bobbie's spring collection of jewelry designs as a Znet Design Team artist. She has several pieces published in Spring 2014 issue of Creative Spark, including an elegant "centerfold" with a colorway that will surprise you, starting on page 34. 

See Bobbie's Beautiful Spring Collection of Designs

 The Soups! 

What Bobbie Sent Me: 

First Course: A Pink Soup

An exquisite soup featuring an ethereal cherry quartz butterfly focal that took my breath away when I lay my eyes on it! Bobbie may not know this, but my eldest daughter passed on during my first Bead Soup Blog Party. She had been very ill and had lived such a rich full life -- however short in time, and although we didn't expect her death, I know with all my heart it is ok, she is still the beautiful amazing person she has always been -- all of herself and now more -- and is with us still. Death is not loss, but with open hearts full of love and appreciation, is a new way of being with those we love if we can feel Heaven on Earth with our hearts. 

The butterfly is the representation Beads of Courage uses for children who have passed on. So I will create in her honor with my beautiful butterfly.

As for the coordinating beads, they are stunning! A nostalsia colorway mix of Czech flowers and fabulous rondelles, soft and smoky in a rainbow of soft, irridescent colors. There are fantasy faceted fine quartz crystals too -- magical! And an abundant overflowing gift of cherry quartz faceted flat pears! In addition, marble and more Czech in soft sandy shades abound, as well as rich chocolate freshwater pearls, shimmering white stick pearls, and delicious faceted fire agate rounds! 
I am in heaven and love everything.

Overview of the Pink Soup Bobbie Rafferty sent me: Lusciousness! 

Second Course: A Blue Soup

Second course! This blue soup features a powerful talisman as its focal! The handcrafted lampwork mandala (artist unknown) is a "kaleidoscope mandala" and an amazing bead! Imagine the possibilities in design. Coordinating with the lampwork art focal are ceramic beads, pretty crystal rondelles in two sizes and shades, Czech beads galore: coins, druk rounds, pinch beads, ovals, and the special Czech color edition of green and blue rondelles. There is also a lovely lucite flower matching Bobbie's handmade sterling silver clasp (see the lovely silvers photo too). The special blue bead with "grates" is actually a vintage treasure! And to top it all, there are seed beads made of gemstones: azurite! The moment I saw these gem treasures, I knew exactly what to do with them! I'm excited! 

Overview of the Blue soup Bobbie Sent me (along with the silver treasures above!): Sophisticated 

Silver Findings! Including Handcrafted Sterling Silver clasps by Bobbie.

What I sent Bobbie:

First Course: A Pink Soup

Overview of the Pink Soup I sent Bobbie Rafferty. With gold and gold plated beads, artisan treasures, vintage & gems.

Second Course: A Blue Soup

Overview of the Blue Bead Soup I sent Bobbie Rafferty. It's full of artisan goodies, gems, & seed bead shapes galore! 

Isn't that amazing synchronicity? We created and exchanged two soups for each other and we both sent along a soup in pink and a soup in blue! 

Suppliers of  beads & findings for Bobbie: 

Handcrafted Artists of my soups for Bobbie: 

A Party Favor:

Comment on this post to be entered to win a $20 gift certificate to Lima Beads. Comment on our soups, visit Bobbie's gallery and comment here about your favorite design, or share the link in your comment to your Bead Soup blog Party soup reveal, and you'll be entered to win on Sunday, April 20th. I'll be using Random.org to pick the winner. Party on! 

Apr 13, 2014

The Color of Dreams Giveaway, Plus a Surprise and a Second Giveaway Too

The Color of Dreams Blog Hop Giveaway

The winner of this gorgeous bead set donated by Patricia Handschuh of The Color of Dreams Boutique was chosen using random.org. And the winner is ...

Shirley Moore, Beads and Bread

Congratulations, Shirley! Enjoy your lovely set of beads! 

Screen shot of Random.org

The Color of Dreams Glossi Publication

This blog hop was so lovely, and so inspiring! Thank you everyone for your thoughtful posts, your moving words, your phenomenal jewelry, beautiful photography, unique and varied designs. And most of all, thank you for sharing your dreams! How hopeful and wonderful it has been to read everyone's posts! Your dreams are an inspiration to me! Your jewelry art is amazing. Your courageous willingness to share personally, to create your dreams in art, made this one of the best blog hops ever! 

When blog hops I've participated in have been this terrific, I've dreamed of having a way to catalog and keep the links to the blog hop posts. I have wished for a way to keep all the posts together, to have one content list, so returning to a blog hop was possible at any moment in time.  It would be so cool to return to the Heather Powers hop I participated in a couple years ago, for example, and to again see all the designs, or refresh my memory regarding an idea or way to use a Humblebeads bead. 

Here it is! My dream :) I've put together a Glossi publication featuring everyone's designs, with links to all the Color of Dreams blog posts. I hope you enjoy the publication now, and even years from now, have fun looking back at all the awesome contributions! 

And Another Chance at Another Giveaway

 I'd like to share another giveaway just for the fun of it! Leave a comment on my Bead Soup Blog Party 8 post -- link here -- and you will be entered to win a $20 gift certificate to Lima Beads! That could come in handy with a few beads here and a bead or two more there as you design and create your finest jewelry of the year for Bead Soup Blog Party! The winner of the $20 Lima Beads gift certificate will be chosen using random.org and announced Sunday, April 20th. Good luck! 

Apr 10, 2014

Bead Table Wednesday: Spring Fever Challenge and Bead Swap USA Art Charm Swap

On my bead table this week are two, well, really three, well no... actually, four wonderful projects! But I'll focus on two: next week's blog hop and an art charm exchange. 


I am very honored and excited to have been one of the 23 lucky artists chosen to participate in the Spring Fever Challenge, co-hosted by Lesley Watt of The Gossiping GoddessCaroline Dewey of  BlueberriBeads, and Claire Braunbarth of Smitten Beads. The blog hop is next Wednesday, April 16th. 

  The challenge is to create with bead mixes made with art jewelry elements from each hostess. Participants each received beautiful ceramic layered flowers and coordinating beads by Lesley Watt (THEA Elements), lovely sari ribbon from Claire Braunbarth (Smitten Beads), and beads by Carolyn Dewey (BlueBerriBeads) featuring her beloved, quintessential ceramic birds. 

The bead mix I received is full of retro summer color! 

The combination of sunshine yellow, pool blue and true blue, and soft creams reminds me of walking along the ocean in a soft white cotton shirt, with pretty yellow sandals and sun-hat, with light blue capri shorts or a soft silk skirt. 

The colorway also reminds me of my kitchen in the summer growing up in the 1970's: checkered white and yellow curtains are lit by sunshine pouring into the cool air conditioned room as my sister and I share snacks together after swimming the afternoon away in our pretty backyard pool. Happiness and simple love. Bliss. 

Looking through my own bead stash, I gathered gemstones and additional art beads to match: blue chalcedony, moonstone and citrine, a ceramic bird clasp by Pajago Art House gifted to me by sweet Lori Anderson, and a pretty ceramic button that matches the soft blues.  I'm looking forward to going where the beads take me. 


After next week's fabulous art jewelry challenge and blog hop, there is an art charm exchange at Bead Swap USAI really love this group! We share monthly challenges in jewelry making and bead swaps, and fun events on Facebook. (And a quick mention: the group is open to all bead lovers and jewelry makers world-wide; not just those in the USA.)

Twenty seven artists are exchanging art charms. Last year, I created chainmaille stars. This year, I created beaded mandalas (with hidden stars for wishes) made with each person's favorite colors. 

I enjoyed the beadwork immensely, finding the task of creating unique mandala rondelles wonderfully relaxing, grounding. I loved going through my seed beads, playing with color and style of beads. I had so much fun! If I show the group, I won't spoil who gets what. I'll share photos of the mandalas in greater detail after our swap.

Want to make mandalas? You'll find the pattern at Datz Katz

After these two events, I have cleared my schedule of major events to completely enjoy and totally devote myself to Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party 8. And I am so excited to reveal all the amazing BSBP8 beads I have been showered with by the amazing Bobbie Rafferty of Beadsong, whom I am very honored to be paired with this year! I can't wait to introduce Bobbie Rafferty and show you the awesome beads she sent me! Oh, you're gonna like this! :) 

What's on your bead table? Share your work on BTW.