Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer Bird

Here is a great summer necklace I whipped up, using a Humblebeads bird I got at B & B. All of the wood beads came on a strand from Michael's, although I did not like the bright silver they were linked together with for this design. So, I restrung them with a dark brown wire, and added some cute feather charms inside some of the oval links. The blue beads matched this bird perfectly and I love the earthy feel the wood gives it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Smarter. Better. Faster. Stronger.

I only do one Art Fair a year - through the Art Center. I've tried other ones here and there with mixed results, but this one is very good to me. Each year, I get better and better at finding out what works and what doesn't work. How to pack things, how to display things, how to price things. It's a lot of work! Maybe I am unintentionally gearing up to enter into more in the future, but for now I am satisfied.

To back up a bit here, I had to go to Chicago for work on Thursday and Friday. The meetings I attended were great, but they always seem to fall on the days leading up to the Art Fair so I have to make sure I have everything in place before I leave. Also, my parents always come over from Wisconsin to visit for the weekend and help at the Fair. Terrible storms rolled through Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan both days and I worried all of my hard work would be a "washout". Saturday morning was cool and grey, looking like it could rain again but it didn't. It cleared up and it was a beautiful day!

Here is a picture of the first piece that sold. It's a newer piece and the pattern on the Lillypilly Designs shell pendant reminded me of these gear components I had. I love how it turned out!
Here is a pic of my Mom and I - she is always game to wear a peacock shirt while working the booth. We found these shirts on our way to Bead & Button a few weeks ago.My Dad and Jon made some great sales while us girls were at lunch.And Jon wore his peacock shirt with very little protest! I'm so lucky to have him!

My Mom has taken the remainder of my stock with her and is going to take it to her work. Since Jon and I are going to Wisconsin next weekend for vacation, I'll be able to assess what is left then. Overall though, I am very happy with how much I sold and all of the positive comments I received. My studio is a mess since I had to take about half of it with me (table, displays, etc...) so now seems a good time to organize. I just hope I can overcome some of the storage challenges I've been having. I have several ideas floating around but it will probably be a work in progress.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kandinsky Kuff

I didn't think I was going to enter this month's ABS challenge. I didn't have any grand ideas and didn't think I'd have enough time. But the other night, while pricing my jewelry for the art fair, I had one of those "Ah ha" moments! The target pattern I burn onto some of my wood burned pieces is perfect for this painting. I tried a new technique of coloring the circles with watercolor pencils. Then I used a water pen to blurr the edges and let the colors run together a bit. I attached all 3 components to a black leather cuff bracelet and added filigree behind each one for a little extra embellishment.

I like how it turned out and am looking forward to the possibility of coloring more of my wood burned beads. I'd also welcome anyone else to use their imagination to color or paint my beads to fit whatever design they have in mind!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Honoring Nancy

Today, I would like to post about a very talented porcelain artist: Nancy Schindler. She has a lovely feature in Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine this summer. She created the most beautiful peacock *work of art* necklace that I fell in love with at the beginning of this year when she first revealed it as an entry to an Art Bead Scene blog challenge. This necklace is perfect for the feel this magazine gives a reader.

She sells her gorgeous jewelry at local art markets and on Etsy. Recently, she began offering the peacock components in her "extras" shop. I think I cleaned her out the very first day she posted them! I've had these for a while now and they are so pretty on their own that I knew I'd have to keep the designs for them simple. You might remember the very first one I did was layered with one of my wood pendants. Here are a few more that I've created for my upcoming Art Fair next Saturday.

Layered upon a Lillypilly Designs shell and accented with shimmery glass beads:
Nancy extended the length of the peacock's feathers in her design by making wire wrapped loops. Inspired by that, I wired one to a wood fan and added a simple drop and chain:These are going to be hard to let go of - I just love how they turned out!
Catch up with Nancy on her blog.

Get on over to her shops and treat yourself:

And be sure to check out Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine! I know I've been selfish in only talking about her peacock pieces - everything she makes is so cool!!! You'll see.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Binder Park Zoo

Today at work, we had a team outing to the local zoo. The forecast was not good and it did, indeed, rain most of the day. Therefore, I did not bring my camera but am now kicking myself. Why? Because I honestly do not know of any other zoo with as many peacocks as Binder Park Zoo! I have been to zoos in Milwaukee, WI - Chicago, IL - Dallas, TX - Racine, WI - heck even one in China! I counted 13 different peacocks roaming the grounds today. I stopped to ask a worker how many they had there and he said between 20-25! There are even all white ones there. They are very tame and you can walk right up to them and/or feed them. You can hear their telltale call throughout the park. Because there was a slight chill in the air today, when I was watching one calling up close I could actually see steam coming out of his mouth.

I did pull some pictures from a visit there Jon and I had last summer. They even have a peacock bench on their carousel. I love it there!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Here are some pics of the pieces I created after coming off the Bead & Button high. These will make their way to Etsy, although I am getting ready for the Art Fair that I do in a few weeks.

Did I mention how cold it was in Wisconsin!?!?! It was just terrible to think that it's June! The only good thing was I didn't feel so guilty then for being inside a convention hall if the weather had been beautiful. It was like Winter!

This was a natural combo: Jennifer Stumpf's etched pendant with a mixed strand from Bead Trust. I love how the copper looks with all of the pretty colors!
Ojime owl paired with a Vintaj branch makes this very wise necklace.A broken chain finds new life with some other found flowers and leaves.
Vintaj beetles make a good match with the shimmery beetle wings! Gears for your ears with Joan Miller's pieces.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bead & Button Show

Whew! I went to the show both Saturday and Sunday! Normally, I get my fill on Saturday but it just took me so much longer this year. I had a list, and got everything I was going for plus a few extras. I certainly spent enough and it was a nice surprise that my hubby handed me $50 to spend on myself (not for things to put into designs and sell).

I didn't buy many strands of beads or stones, but I think it's because I got so many when I went to the International Gem & Jewelry show last Fall. I also tend to not buy any components or findings unless they are really unique - I figure I can find that stuff locally or online. Two regrets this year - I forgot my camera and my business cards - I knew I'd forget something!

Here's a new product I couldn't pass up after doing a demo. Since I have been decoupaging lately, I thought this was really cool. its (image transfer solution) by Sherri Haab Designs allows you to permanently bake images onto just about anything - metal, glass, clay, tile, etc... I won't bore you with all of the details right now, but when I do my first project I will explain more for those interested.
Lavender opalite from Holy & Pure Gemstone Inc.

Silver rounds from Nina Designs - I got the idea from their website to combine different sizes and textures like this.....

Beetle wings, 2 Ojime owls, and ammonite fossils from Tika
My stash from Green Girl Studios.... it was lovely to meet Andrew in person and chat with him and Greg.

Fordite ring, Fordite clasp, and button ring from Jess Imports. I was so thrilled to find Fordite at the show! This was her last ring and it fit me!

Beetle & Toolbox Treasures from Earthenwood Studio - also nice to meet Melanie in person!

Faceted beads from Diane Hawkey

From the Bello Modo booth - lots of Vintaj, an etched copper/gemstone piece from Jennifer Stumpf, and a bird, egg, and urchin from Humblebeads. Heather was not at the booth when I was there so I didn't get to meet her. :-(

Druzy teardrops - can't find the vendor's name at the moment.

Dragonfly bone tiles and Cloisonne peacocks from Ancient Moon Beads

Blank rings and bracelets for multimedia from Patera - I've already found some buttons that fit in them just perfectly!

Gear inspired pieces from Joan Miller

Pretties from Zoa Art - it was nice to introduce myself to Lisa since winning their blog giveaway a while ago. :-)

Sugar skulls from Anne Choi - I think I have all of Anne's skulls now - I'm a bit obsessive. I got these on Saturday and Anne had already sold out of most everything already!

Strands from Bead Trust. I am drawn to strands that are already mixed into great color combos!
OMG, I think that's it. I'm exhausted. But the creative juices are flowing - I made 3 necklaces and 2 pairs of earrings today. I'll post about them tomorrow.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hot Rod Power Tour

Many reasons for going to Wisconsin this weekend - to see our families (we haven't been back since Christmas, although some have visited us here) - Bead & Button - and lastly the Hot Rod Power Tour. If you've been following me for a while here, you probably know my husband is a car nut. Every year, this tour goes through different states stopping in a different city every day. It came around this way a few years ago so we went to the stop in Kalamazoo, MI. This year it is coming through my hometown - Racine, WI - again. So that is what will fill our day on Sunday (unless I find an excuse to go back to B & B a second day - hee, hee). Jon was hoping to get his Chevelle done to actually drive there, but no luck.

Well, Jon and I will have some new Peacock Fairy originals to debut at the car show this weekend and to enjoy for the rest of the summer. You might remember a while ago I posted about a material called Fordite - it's basically layers of old car paint from the Ford plants that people saved and cut into cabs. I bought some cabs a while ago and have started to put them into designs. Take a look:

Here is the necklace I made for Jon. This was the most "manly" shape I bought, and to make it simple I just glued a bail onto the back of it. I wove black leather cord through the chain and added an old Ford key. He hasn't committed to a closure yet and is trying out the wheel looking button I have on there for now.

Here is the necklace I think I am going to wear myself. The design could change as time goes on - I'm not sure. It might be too long.... For this cab, I used Ezel Bezel - has anyone else tried this? It can be challenging to get a tight wrap. The "sprocket" is from the Tim Holtz line at Michael's and I used an old Ford key again. Jon is eyeing up my key, so I might have to find him another one like it because I don't think I want to give it up. :-)

This one will be listed on Etsy. The "Journey" charm certainly fits the theme of car cruising or road trips and the lobster clasp attaches to the off-center key.This one will be on Etsy too. I wanted to make one that was not totally car themed, so this cab is wrapped in filigree and has a few silver beads within the chain.I still have more Fordite cabs to create with and wonder what goodies I will find at B & B to pair them up with. The first thing that comes to mind is some items from Melanie's (Earthenwood) new toolbox line (especially cool that Melanie is from the Detroit area). With Father's Day coming up, I'd like to make some more masculine designs. I hope that when I go to all of the different cruises this summer (believe me, there is a lot) that it will become a conversation starter and I can sell some that way too. It's just a really neat material. It's a meaningful piece of history as we sadly see the car companies struggle. And I love the recycling aspect of it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Every Heart Crafts & Toggle Experiments

A couple weeks ago, I made my very first purchase from Erin at Every Heart Crafts - lovely things and oh so nice! Here is what I have made so far:

The first thing that comes to mind for me when I think of leaves is Fall... but I was able to mix her pretty sage green leaf pendant with some shimmery pinks and champagnes for a look that can be very Spring and Summer. I layered the leaf with some metal leaves - one I'm not sure where I got but the small one is Vintaj. A focal front strand of seed beads, pearls and glass beads is balanced in the back with polyester chain. I was thrilled when I came up with the idea to use one of my new Tim Holtz safety pins as a toggle!
I also bought one of her new leaf toggles in the same green glaze and when I got it, I saw it matched perfectly to one of Earthenwood Studio's peacock pendants which I had wrapped in filigree. I loved the pink/green color combo of the first necklace so much, that I decided to repeat it here - only adding wood slivers this time. But fussing around with different combinations of the toggle off to the side was just not working. I was stumped for a few days until I came up with the idea to "feed" one side of the necklace through the leaf, a lariat type look I have always admired. I love how it turned out!I am keeping the peacock necklace for now, but listing the layered leaf one on Etsy. I do have some more peacocks from Earthenwood though that will be showing up in designs soon. I'd love to do the same lariat design, but I'll have to get more toggles from Erin when she gets back.

I've realized that I have been hooked on using the same beads in recent projects - if you haven't noticed my favorites are: pink/purple seed bead hanks and glass rounds that have a green/gold polka dot effect - both from Michael's. The safety pins are from Michael's too.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Can't. Hardly. Wait.

Here is the cover of the Summer issue of Stringing magazine, set to hit newsstands on June 16th. In it, is my very first published project - Fluttering Links - featuring Kerri Fuhr lampwork and Vintaj brass. I am so excited! Thanks to Kerri for encouraging me to submit the necklace. Let me tell ya, once you get in it can get addictive! I will have a project in the Fall issue, a project in The Best of Stringing (coming out September 22nd), and I am putting together ideas of what I am going to submit for Winter.

Hmmm, I wonder if I will get my advance copy this week, in time to show my family during my visit this weekend. And, if I get my necklace back I could wear it to Bead & Button. BEAD & BUTTON!!! I am so friggin' excited! I can tell already this week is going to go soooooo slooooowwwww. I have my list started: GGS, Anne Choi, Joan Miller, Kerri Fuhr, Eclectica, Funky Hannah's, Jess Imports, Kevin O'Grady, Lillypilly Design, Tika, Earthenwood Studio, it will get longer and longer I am sure!