Saturday, August 29, 2009

Problem Solved!

Quite a while ago, I bought these cool beads from an Etsy seller. I am positive they are handmade, but the seller did not have any info with them (i.e. artist, year made, etc..). They seem to be a clay of some kind, with peacock and other designs imprinted on them. I really loved them, however, the problem was they had such big holes I didn't know how to string them! The holes measure about a half an inch wide. So, they have sat for months and I wished for an idea to come to me.
This week, it came to me. In my love of recycling/upcycling things, I saw an idea to make a necklace out of an old men's tie. The basic idea is, you split open the ends of the tie so you can put beads inside the fabric and tie them off with knots. I used this technique, however, I also added these large holed beads on the outside. I am happy with how it turned out! As chunky as it looks, it is quite light because I used wood beads on the inside. This is quite a statement piece and will look great with simply jeans and a t-shirt. Or for work, dress pants and a blouse. If you'd like to make your own tie necklace, I suggest finding a skinny tie rather than a traditional one. This way, you have less bulky fabric and do not have to deal with the fabric getting larger on one side.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Groovy Baby!

This month marks the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. It seems everywhere you turn this summer, hippie style is back in a big way! I love it! Since I have to be semi-reserved at work during the week, I love throwing on my cutoff jean shorts, crazy colored t-shirts, and braiding my hair on weekends.
I made this bracelet this week for a friend of mine to give as a gift. It features a mood bead and a little peace sign I wired myself. From what I heard it was well received!
I am anxious to wind up some more peace signs!
And here's something else that is groovy...... I reduced shipping in my Etsy shop! Now that I have gotten the hang of mailing things out more efficiently, I wanted to pass on the savings! I'll be adding new work all week so stop by and check it out!

Monday, August 17, 2009

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

Recently, I was the lucky winner of a giveaway that Erin at TesoriTrovati was doing. I won a wonderful book, called Your Eco-Friendly Yard, by her friend Tom Girolamo. And, she made me a beautiful wire wrapped ring! I absolutely love it! It is made from a vintage button and Vintaj wire. It fits perfectly and I couldn't be more pleased! I am modeling it above as I start to flip through this awesome book!

Building on the theme of this cool gardening book, I thought I'd share a tour of my own garden and some of the unusual recycled objects in it.

As you look at this picture of my front door, you can see where I came up with my Dr. Seuss title for this post. The steps are flanked on each side by a red fish planter and a blue fish planter. On the right hand side you can see a glimpse of an ornamental bonsai like tree and on the left, part of a Japanese maple that I love!
Of course I have peacocks in my garden, so I might as well show them off first! This one is in my rose garden, to the right side of our back door. Here, we've also used an old fence gate that we found when we moved in as a decorative interest. You can also see part of the walk out area of our old stone foundation basement.
Here is my other peacock that Jon got me for our 6th Anniversary. This is on the corner of our garage and you can see our pool in the background.
Since my second love is owls, I have a few of them too! This guy lives under a big old tree. We constructed a ring around the tree with found rocks so that we could plant flowers around it.
Here's my other little owl who stands guard at the front corner of the house and you can see him welcoming you everyday as you pull in the driveway.
On the other front corner of the house is my wine bottle tree. I think I did a post about this when I first set it up. Many of the bottles are from local Michigan vineyards that are delicious and reasonably priced. Perhaps I'll expand more on that in a future post, as you might be able to find some of these near you!
Around the back of that same corner the wine bottle tree is on, is what we consider a shade garden. We get lots of perennials from my Dad when he splits his and they are the best thriving plants in our garden. All of the plants shown here are from him (I love the ferns)! But, he lives in Wisconsin so it's hard to have access to them all the time. I am just thankful for what I do get.
Speaking of my Dad, he built this birdhouse! It has 4 "homes" in it and I am happy to report it is full this year! I mean really, with the economy the way it is, good shelter is hard to find! Hee. Hee. And it's all about location, location, location - look at how close their bath is! And a feeder is not too far away either! Seriously though, the ground cover in this section needs some work.
Here is another recycled element in our garden - a dog planter! He's now moved to another location, but we got him at the Art Fair in June from a gentleman who made all kinds of cool things out of old metal, tools, and parts.
Here's the entrance to our back door, and we usually plant several of my McCoy pots with annuals. Most of my McCoy collection is inside though. Here you can see the rose garden and basement walk out I talked about before.
Here, Mocha is walking the path from the back door into the yard. Repaving this path is on our wish list. It is river rock set into cement but is so old that all of the rocks are falling out and as you can see it is hard to contain mulch in the beds. Also on the wish list is to have a pergola covering the brick square at the end of this path. Someday, someday.....
And finally, here we are looking up the path from the backside, when my peonies were in bloom! The light in the upstairs window is my bead studio - what a lovely view I have for inspiration!
Being a young, busy couple, it can be hard to maintain the "perfect yard". Thank goodness we don't live in one of those ritzy neighborhoods! We have been here about 7 years now and each year we build more and more on what we have. We already had several mature trees, bushes and plants to work with as well as established landscaped areas. But we have also created our own, new gardens. We have found out what works and what doesn't work for us. Having a lawn that is almost 2 acres, we have made peace with the fact that it is not going to look like a golf course. These pictures were taken in June, when everything was lush and green. But trust me, when it doesn't rain for a few weeks it's not pretty. We just do what is necessary to keep the flowers alive, and don't water the grass. I am looking forward to some solutions in the book about different watering methods.
Many people know our home from growing up in the area and told us the door used to be red. So last year we decided to change the blue that it was back to red for some curb appeal and get red mulch to pull that color out.
I hope you enjoyed this little tour of my garden. I am really looking forward to "digging" into my new book to see what new ideas we can work with. As you can see, we already love recycling old things into our landscape (wine bottles, old fences, pots made out of repurposed things).
And my new ring..... I will cherish it and wear it forever! Thanks Erin!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fun Trades

I've been involved with some fun trades over the past few weeks! It's so great to be a part of such a fun and generous beading community.

First up, Sue from Sue Beads contacted me about my inside painted glass beads. Her travels to Japan have given her and her daughter a fondness for Geisha, and I was happy to share some of my stash with her.
In return, look at these gorgeous lampwork beads she sent me!Next is from a fellow Estian; Jenny. One of my morning rituals is to type the word "peacock" into the search box on Etsy so that I can always keep up to date on the latest peacock lovelies. I came across a necklace Jenny made with some cool peacock feather charms. I inquired where she got them and the answer was A.C. Moore craft store. Unfortunately, I don't have that chain here in Michigan so Jenny was nice enough to purchase some for me........ ....... in return for some of my wood burned beads:Check out Jenny's cool Etsy shop, Bee's Knees Boutique. She seems to share a fondness for owls!

I am looking forward to playing with my new things and finding just the right designs for them!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Giving Back

As a jewelry making, I truly love sharing my talent to help others. Over the years I have donated portions of my sales to the Susan G. Komen foundation and the ASPCA. More recently, I have donated pieces of work for auctions to benefit organizations like Girls on the Run, my local Optimist Club, and our United Way drive at work.

My friend Jennifer reached out to me a few weeks ago regarding a member of her church. This individual has a severe form of cancer, and they are holding an auction to help fund the treatments. I thought I'd share the 2 necklaces I am donating to the cause.

An intricate filigree plate serves as the focal for crackled glass drops in hues of lavender, soft yellow, and copper.
Three drusy drops are accented with shimmery rounds on a simple chain.Do you donate from your bead business? If so, I'd love to hear about it!
Update: I forgot to mention earlier that I plan to make some pieces in the next few months here to auction off for the Art Center of Battle Creek. I am willing to part with some of my Anne Choi beads, so they will be incorporated into some of the jewelry. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 10, 2009

How I became the Peacock Fairy

I would like to start off by first thanking those who left comments on my previous post. I have to admit, I was a bit hesitant to post something that I know can spark some serious emotion in people. I didn't want to point fingers at anyone, but I was interested to know if anyone else noticed the same thing I did with the Bead Style magazine. I totally agree with one comment that talked about being inspired by retailers, but drawing the line at using that for a magazine submission. Another talked about how each artist has to decide for themselves if what they are doing feels right. Making a piece that is very similar to another is not something that I do very often. But it is fun once in a while when, upon looking at something, you can immediately imagine in your head the components you have at home and wonder how your version of it would look. Lastly, another comment made me think about the flip side of this argument - about retailers copying artists ideas. I can totally see this too. One might never know the entire story. Perhaps the designer in Bead Style also designs for Anthropologie? Anyway, thank you for the nice dialect amongst beady friends!

Now, onto the title of today's post. Quite often, people ask me how I came up with the name Peacock Fairy. One easy answer is: I love peacocks and I like fairies.... so it just came naturally. But really, it goes much deeper.

(some newly decoupaged Vintaj components that will be used soon)

I started seriously beading about 10 years ago. Sure, when I was younger I made the friendship bracelets out of seed beads with my friends. But in my early twenties, I discovered peyote stitch. I was always fascinated by loom work, but trying a loom seemed so daunting. Here was something that gave the same effect but without the loom. I promptly signed up to take a class at my local bead store Funky Hannah's. Here, you can see my very first attempt at peyote stitch in the smaller peacock amulet bag, with a color scheme made to match a shirt I had. There is also another larger peacock feather I made in a class I took later.

(while I don't do much peyote anymore, it is fun to dabble in it once in a while)

When I decided to start selling my work, I had to come up with a name and business cards. Having just gotten into scrapbooking too, I had a collection of ephemera that included quite an interesting little image: a little fairy flocked in peacock feathers. That is how the name The Peacock Fairy came to be. Here she is on my first business cards. Since then, my business cards have evolved into different designs. But she will always be the beginning of The Peacock Fairy.

(I used to do hand painted furniture too, but now just focus on jewelry)

A move to Illinois, and now Michigan, and I am still having fun doing what I am doing. Making jewelry is a huge part of my life, and it has been quite a journey to see how my style has evolved and what new opportunities have come my way. My blog is not quite a year old yet, and this year I started submitting to magazines. So many people that I have met personally or online now associate me with peacocks. I love getting emails from people, pointing me to a lovely new peacock find. And generous friends, like Debbie at Prairie Emporium, who sent me a beautiful bundle of peacock feathers from her birds.
Oh how I'd love to own my own peacocks someday! But for now, I love surrounding myself with pretty peacock things. Jewelry and beading components of course are most exciting! But I also have picture frames, candle holders, garden statues, dining sets, ornaments, sculptures, and too many other things to name. In my wardrobe I have lots of shirts, skirts, dresses, scarves, even jeans - enough to the point that if I wanted to, I could wear a peacock item everyday without using anything else from my closet! It truly is fun being The Peacock Fairy!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Retail Inspiration

Have you seen the current issue of Bead Style magazine? I wasn't quite sure how to feel when I saw the necklace on the cover. I immediately recognized it from the lovely, upscale chain store Anthropologie. While they no longer have this necklace for sale on their website, here is the clipping I had saved from the catalog. I obviously thought it was cool enough to save and somehow get inspired with the design. But I wonder if the editor was aware this design was so similar? How do you feel about it?

We all get inspiration from a variety of places. Anthropologie is one of my favorite places to swoon over. The items they sell are unique and have a vintage artist type feel to them. I personally was inspired by this owl necklace from Anthropologie.
This is one of those touchy situations. I feel that I have put enough of my own spin on this necklace to sell it. I also will most certainly disclose that I was inspired by Anthropologie. Here are the details - let me know your thoughts: Handmade owl by Erin of Every Heart Crafts, which is framed in a piece of filigree

Flower and leaf links/charms

Bow from Michaels - had a blue crystal in it which I colored black

Dalmatian jasper and toggle clasp

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I had to get my eyes dilated today, so it doesn't look like I will get anything accomplished tonight. I have to wear my glasses instead of my contacts, but even with them on things are still blurry.

But, I did want to show this new necklace that is now listed on Etsy. It's a very simple, light, airy design for summer! The polymer plumeria pendant is from This soft pink crinkle ribbon I had was the perfect match! I love that the toggle clasp is a matching flower too! Subtle silver shimmers are brought out with accent beads.
I'm off to rest my eyes.............