Wednesday, February 25, 2009

ArtFire Artisan Jewelers Guild Challenge

Some of the talented designers on ArtFire have joined forces to form the ArtFire Artisan Jewelers Guild. Our Febuary challenge, First Sign of Spring is now open for voting. Have a look at all the wonderful entries below, then go HERE to vote for your favorite. Voting ends Feb, 28th.

From Twigs and Heather: Last Days of Winter- Twig with Buds

From TeresaBoland: . Happy Spring

From simplyuniquejewelry: Bursting Spring

From SilverRiverJewelry: Spring is coming

From RenzianniDesigns: First Sign of Spring Earrings
From Popnicute: First Sign of Spring
From FlybirdDesigns:. Leaves and Beads Pendant
From Cyndiesmithdesgins: Mother Nature-Spring

Good luck to all who participated!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Peaches & Cream

Not long after figuring out some of the basic bead weaving stitches, I started netting and weaving around cabochons. The idea that you can take a lonely stone and suspend it securely within woven beads, without backing, still tickles me.
I had yet to try this technique out with round crystals, until this past weekend. It took a couple tries to get the number of beads just right, but the end result was very satisfying. I'm looking forward to wrapping more of these crystals, perhaps for a lovely set of earrings next time.
The crystal is a 12mm peach swarovski rivoli, captured in size 11 delica beads. I used a spiral weave for the necklace itself, which measures 18" from end to end.

The clasp is a very important part of a can make an otherwise beautiful creation cheap and flimsy. Very seldom do I know at the start of something what I will be using for a clasp. Several pieces sit in my "to finish" pile for this very reason...they are waiting for the perfect clasp. One of my favorite ways to finish a necklace (and bracelets too, sometimes) is with a beaded clasp. It takes no extra components, and flows seamlessly into the design.

Monday, February 16, 2009

"Tropical Holiday" challenge winner

The winner of the EBW challenge "Tropical Holiday" has been chosen by popular demand...with a total of 104 votes, Mariya of BeadCatcher has won 1st place with her gorgeous necklace, Tropical Treasures. Congratualations Mariya! Have a look at this stunning necklace, it really is a work of art!
Tied for second place are Hadass of Spring Colors with the necklace "Tropical Garden" and Verod of Veroque with a beadwoven "Tropical Holiday" necklace.

Third place goes to Miriam of CieloDesign with her beautiful "Tropical Paradise" necklace.

Congratulations to the winners and everyone who participated, you should all be very proud!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Tropical Holiday

All the entries for the Etsy Bead Weaver's challenge "Tropical Holiday" are in, and they are simply jaw dropping. It's safe to say that collectively this month's participants spent over a thousand hours weaving and creating. Amazing! It's never an easy vote, but this month is going to be an especially difficult pic. Be sure to look closer at each entry with the links below and visit the EBW Blog between Feb. 9th and Feb. 15th to vote!


1. Caribbean Surf Collar by: nemeton

2. Scorpion Fish by: njema

3. Dreaming of Hawaii by: randomcreative

4. A Walk on the Beach by: beadsandblooms

5. Peace on the beach by: PFordCustomJewelry

6. Orchid Beauty by: ArtfulAr

7. Rainforest Necklace by: charmingthings

8. Blue lagoon necklace N961 by: FleurDeIrk

9. Paradise by: beadsforever

10.Pink Flamingo Fantasy Necklace by: gypsyeyesjewelry

11. Sultry Salty Sand and Surf by: janetkemp88

12. hawaii '09 necklace by: thebeadedlily

13. Tropical Sunset Garden Necklace (1384) by: clairecreations

14. The Lively Sea by: farfrumplainjane

15. Tropical Holiday bracelet by: 6Carmen6

16. Beachcombing the Sea of Cortez - A Tropical Holiday by: dreambeadweaver

17. What if I'm a Mermaid by: ThesePreciousThings

18. Tropical Breezes by: RegalBeads

19. Tropical Chic - Choker by: Triz

20. Spinny Girl on the Beach by: BeadArtbyShari

21. Tropical Garden by: SpringColors

22. Tropical Paradise Necklace by: CieloDesign

23. Coral Reef Cuff Bracelet by: FrancescasFancy

24. TORTUGA by: caraway

25. CRYSTAL LEI by: fashionsfrome

26. Tropical Nights by: SmadarsTreasure

27. Tropical Flower Brooch by: enchantedbeads

28. Tropical Dream Cuff by: arosebyname

29. Calypso Necklace by: DeepSeaBeads

30. Tropical Whale Tails Bracelet by: SalamanderHouse

31. Tropical Holiday by: veroque

32. Caribbean Sunset by: totallytwisted

33. Bougainvillea Bouquet by: KerrieSlade

34. Tropical greenwood by: beadshead

35. Beachcomber by: vanishingpearl

36. Island Treasure Chest by: BeadazzledofOregon

37. Mayan Sun by: ThreeFatesDesign

38. Girlie Drinks and Sunsets by: HannahRachel

39. MAUI WEDDING by: Chrisbeads

40. Strelitzia by: MadeByOlga

41. ti leaf and orchid lei by: beadwoman3

42. Sunset in the Islands by: 1965angelika

43. Tropical Treasures by: BeadCatcher

44. On The Beach by: SilverDragon

45. Loopy Lei Necklace by: beadworkbyamanda

46. Tropical Rainforest Getaway by: Bead4you

47. Sea and Sand Necklace by: Beadmatrix

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hearts A Plenty

I'll admit, I'm usually behind the power curve when it comes to "seasonal" jewelry. Actually finishing two heart themed necklaces 8 days before Valentine's Day is pretty good for me.
I think the key may be thinking two holidays ahead. If I could forget about St. Patricks Day and concentrate on Easter, then I might get something accomplished. But I'm Irish, how can I forget about St. Patty's!? I guess we'll see what happens...a lot of times I don't choose the project, they choose me.
In any event, here are my two latest creations, Hearts-a-Plenty. Both were beaded with sz. 11 Toho seed beads in a netted weave. They are very light, and have an incredible drape to them. Holding one in your hand, it almost feels like sand wanting to sift through your fingers. The texture just makes you want to touch it!
The first is a very subtle blue-on-blue. I used a transparent blue for the background, and an opaque light blue for the hearts.

For the second, I used the same transparent blue background, but used a lilac-lined blue for the hearts to give the necklace more contrast. Both necklaces were finished with a silver-plated swivel lobster clasp. I love the swivel clasps, because you don't have to worry about your clasp twisting on you.

Look for these choker style necklaces in my Artfire shop, they'll be available later this evening.
All of my items come shipped in a box suitable for gift giving (with your reciept outside the box of course) so you don't have to worry about buying wrapping paper, or a special's all taken care of for you. Order by Feb. 10th for guaranteed delivery by Feb. 14th. I will ship overnight at the cost of the buyer if last minute shopping is your thing.
Valentine's Day is only a week away fellas!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Rings n things

Lately I've been all over the place - beadily speaking. I have a plethora of almost finished pieces. Some are waiting for that special component or clasp to come in, and others I have no excuse for, except that I have a severe case of B.A.D.D. - beaders attention deficit disorder. If I am working on a labor intensive piece, I feel the need to take time off from it to do smaller "tweener" projects.

I wanted to do something similar to the Blue Crystal Fantasy ring I did awhile back, but in different colors, and with a slightly smaller band. It came out just as I was hoping, and is extremely comfortable for what could be considered a "chunky" ring. It's definitely bold, and the silver lined purple beads are eye-catching.
This one is a bit simpler than the rings I usually make. The band is a single string of beads, as opposed to a woven band, like the ring above. Have no fear, however...this ring was woven with PowerPro, a super strong braided cord. I wove the thread through the band several times before weaving it back into the ring for knotting. After it was finished I gave it a real good tug, too, just to be certain. Solid as a rock.
This dainty ring includes swarovski pearls, galvanized toho seed beads, transparent opal toho beads, and opal pink swarovski crystals.

Both rings will be available for purchase through my Artfire shop, with a full description and sizing information shortly.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Is spring here yet?

It may be the middle of winter, but my head is in the tropics. Every once in a while the mood strikes me to bead up a snowflake but, frankly, I don't like snow. I can appreciate the beauty of freshly fallen snow, and I try to take in each breath, each moment as I live it. However inevitably each winter I find myself longing for spring, anticipating the first signs of new life, and the return of the green buds of my garden. Perhaps in the summer I'll be able to bead a snowman without grimacing, but for this month, I needed a little taste of summer. I used a pattern from the July/August issue of Bead-Patterns the magazine to weave up this hibiscus bracelet in peyote stitch. The page didn't have a designer name on it so I'm assuming the designer is Rita Sova herself. If you're interested in beading one up for yourself, you can purchase the pattern HERE.

In case anyone is wondering, I will NOT be selling this bracelet in any of my shops. A bracelet that is woven using another person's pattern should not be sold, unless you have permission from the designer themselves. A little beading ethics 101 for you.