Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Fever Design Challenge Reveal

Good day to you! I was so excited to have my name pulled out of the hat as a participant for the Spring Fever Design Challenge Reveal! I mean, really. Beads, components and silk from Lesley Watt, THEA Elements and THEA Jewellery; Caroline Dewison of Blueberri Beads; and Claire Braunbarth of Smitten Beads.

Here is the amazing loot that I received from these lovely ladies: the silk is from Claire, the birds and leave ceramic beads are by Caroline and the flower connector/pendant and blue/peach beads are by Lesley:
And here is the necklace I created:
In the end I decided to keep it simple. It slips right over my head. I connected the silk to the body of the necklace with twisted copper rings that I made. If you could see what my desk looks like you'd wonder how that happened. Do all of you drag out every single bead and component you own that you think will work in a particular design? It will take me a week to put it all away. I haven't dared to enter my studio since last weekend because it's such a mess.
Here's a close up of the birdhouse connector I made. This is a template in Laura Beth Love's (of Dishfunctional Designs) new book Boho Chic Jewelry. I clearly can't count because there are 3 roof shingles on the left and only 2 on the right..... I need to rework this. I think I would prefer it without the rhinestone connector on it and to do a little decorative painting instead. We'll see if that happens.
I still have a leave and peach bead left to play with. Thank you so much ladies for including me in this very fun hop. Oh, and by the way - spring? I woke to an inch of snow blanketing everything this morning. I sure wish she'd hurry up and decide to stay with us!! Now, grab a cup and hop along to see what all of these lovely ladies created!

Caroline Dewison - 
Erin Prais – Hintz –

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Soups are simmering!!

Well, hello! There's soup simmering everywhere, can you smell it? It smells delicious and looks divine!!

I received my bead soup ingredients from my very lovely and EXTREMELY talented partner Kelly Hosford Patterson of The Traveling Sideshow. Man, I was bowled over and completely humbled! Kelly is so talented and so thoughtful. Sunflowers are very special to me and my family, they represent my son T.J. for us. Kelly knew that because she had very thoughtfully read through my blog. She went all out and I can't wait to sit down and begin creating with the beautiful components she's sent to me.
Here's a group shot of the components of my soup that she made herself. SHE MADE THEM ALL! Oh my gosh, such beauty and love! Here are individual shots of the main ingredients:
The focal and clasp - Kelly created the faux sunflower druzy by crushing gemstones and setting them in resin within a copper bezel pendent she had created. Love! The hammered copper clasp wire wrapped with coral seed beads and including a vintage bead.
How fabulous is this pendant?!
Hammered copper sunflower connectors.
Hammered copper chain.
Talisman trinket box: front, back and interior. How cool is this?!
Fiber wrapped wire, felted beads with swirled copper caps and golden pheasant feathers.
And now, the supporting cast:
Pretty amazing, right!! That's a little black bird by Beady Eyed Bunny in the mix. I am a very lucky and grateful girl. Kelly's written a lovely post about creating my soup here.

Next up, the soup I sent to Kelly. Do you know how sometimes you start with a thought in mind and as you start adding, that thought moves in another direction but you love both and there are parts that go with both? Well, that's what happened when I created Kelly's soup. 
I started with this lampworked focal (I can't for the life of me remember the artist's name, I'll find it and post). I have several beads by this artist that I've been hoarding for quite some time. They're beautiful and detailed. 
Then I started pulling together the flavor enhancers. There are vintage metals, lucite, glass and MOP buttons, along with vintage brass earring filigree. There are some black vintage, cut glass (jet?) beads from a broken necklace my friend gave me that she'd picked up at a sale somewhere. They appear to be hand cut. I like 'em a lot.  I've added some pearls and stones - do you see those rainbow druzy beads? I fell in love with them when I saw them, I'd never seen druzy as beads before. I need to get some more!
Then I added some sari silk, and a vintage enameled flower stamping. While I was looking for something in my studio I happened to move a chain of leather color swatches that a friend had given me and a little piece of crochet lace that my husband's great-grandmother had made from another project. As I move them I thought, "I wonder what Kelly would do with something like this?" so I included them. 
I wanted to add a few drilled sea glass chips that I've picked up on my visits to the beach to the mix, to add a little bit of me to the soup. In the process I thought about making some connectors, so I ended up drilling a bunch of glass (Sorry I blew out the holes on the backs Kelly, so that there's a definite front/back. They drilled through before I could flip them over...). This is where things started moving in another direction... Then I remembered that I had some sea glass connectors set in brass bezels with resin, so I added those too.
Then I thought, all that sea glass doesn't REALLY go with the lampworked focal, so I decided to add some soldered pottery shards that I've collected. Then I needed a clasp that would go with that, so I made a couple of sea glass clasps that could hook onto a chain or jump ring into the mix. The green one would even work with the lampworked focal. So, one soup or two, or does it come full circle? I can't wait to see what Kelly makes with the goodies I've sent to her! Check back in May for the reveal!!
I've also sent a soup along to Lori Jean Poppe! I've included a tumbled glass ring, vintage lucite and chain, a slider bead that I made, lampworked beads and clasp by Kim Watanabe and a sterling toggle. I hope she has fun with it and can't wait to see what she makes!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Spring Fever Design Challenge & BSBP 8

Well hello! Holy cow, this is only the 18th time I've blogged in the past 14+ months. That's really sad. Sigh. I've got to work on changing this, well a lot of things. Let's start with the positive shall we?
A couple of weeks ago Lesley Watt of THEA Elements, The Gossiping Goddess and THEA jewellery as well as Claire Braunbarth of Smitten Beads and Caroline Dewison of Blueberri Beads put out a call for participants for their Spring Fever Design Challenge and I had my name pulled out of the proverbial hat! YAY me! We've all had enough of this winter, correct? I know I certainly have - I really don't have any desire for another gray day, or another flake of snow. We've had quite enough already. I'm ready for walks on the beach in my shirtsleeves and flip flops, thankyouverymuch! My beautiful components arrived earlier this week:
AMAZING, aren't they - each and every little piece! Now, I will say the peach will be a little bit of a design challenge for me - and that's a good thing! Usually if I use a bit of peach, it's peach with a tad bit of pink to it. My oldest daughter has fallen in love with Caroline's bird beads - she can't have them though, they're mine! Please stop back on reveal day - Wednesday, April 16 to see what I and the other 25 artists created with all of these lovely bits and bobs - they're all similar, but different!

Also coming up is the 8th annual Bead Soup Blog Party. Reveal day is Saturday, May 3. What a fun day (heck, week is more like it) that will be - I believe there are approximately 500 participants. The very  lovely Lori Anderson (and her husband Rick, and several very hard-working helpers) of Pretty Things created this wonderful event for us folks who love beads and love to create with them.

I've been paired with Kelly Hosford Patterson of PyxeeStyx and The Traveling Sideshow. To say that Kelly is an incredibly talented mixed media artist is a total understatement. She is a fiber/couture and jewelry artist - she creates her own fabrics folks! Kelly works with wire and metals, she enamels - honestly, I don't think there's a medium she couldn't tackle if she hasn't already tried it. Here are some amazing things Kelly has created, I mean seriously folks (photos all by Kelly):
I'm inspired and I can't wait to work with her. We're just getting to know one another and we're shipping our soup to each other a little bit after everyone else, but it will be so worth it. Stay tuned to see what we send and receive!

Monday, March 3, 2014

AJE Component of the Month - Fluttering Hearts!

Well welcome to my little corner of the internet! I'm so very excited to have been selected to participate in the Art Jewelry Elements February component of the month challenge! I couldn't wait to get my hands on one of the beautiful hearts Melissa created - it's gorgeous!
I had a thought in my head when I saw the original post, but I had to wait to receive my heart to see if it would work. I've altered my heart Melissa, I hope you don't mind!
The heart in hand motif has a lot of meaning for me, especially at this time of year. So, that's what I wanted to work on. I'm really happy with how my focal turned out. I balled up a couple of pieces of silver wire, colored them with alcohol ink and inserted them into the holes on the heart. I then used ICE Resin to attach the heart to the painted, stained glass hand pendant I created.
I used more alcohol ink on washers from the hardware store and connected them with jump rings (I'm short a couple of large ones so the necklace is not quite finished yet. I also added a Basha bead that I had received in a mix from a prior challenge with Andrew Thornton. The colors were a perfect match for this piece (though I may move it down to the lower washer location - not sure).
I finished it with a sterling heart lobster clasp and some short lengths of chain - and done!

Thanks so much to the folks at AJE for the opportunity to play along! Please take a peek at what the other artists did with their components:

Lori Bowring Michaud (you are here)
Kathy Lindemer
Kim Bender 

AJE Team...
Melissa Meman
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Rebekah Payne
Caroline Dewison
Kristen Stevens
Keirsten Giles
Sue Kennedy

Friday, February 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy

In Loving Memory Of
On His 29th Birthday, February 28

Fly free and happy
beyond birthdays and across forever,
and we'll meet now and then when we wish,
in the midst of the one celebration
that never can end.
 -Richard Bach

Happy Birthday, beautiful boy.
It's hard to believe it's been ten years
since we've celebrated with you.

We love you and miss you every day.
Dad & Mom, Caiti & Josh, Matt & Katie, Gabi

Thursday, December 12, 2013

2013 ABS Ornament Blog Hop

Well hello! Welcome to the fourth annual (my third) Art Bead Scene Ornament Blog Hop! A great big thank you to the lovely Heather Powers of Humblebeads, Art Bead Scene and Earrings Everyday for hosting this fun hop! I love, love, love collecting and making Christmas ornaments - thus, Artfully Ornamental.

Nearly every ornament on my tree is handcrafted either by me or by an artisan who I bought the ornament directly from. I love that! I have sent two boxes of ornaments away with two of my children, now that they've established their own homes. I have the ornaments of my other two still on my tree. It's fast becoming too full! Next year, I think I may buy - I can't believe I'm going to say this - a tall, narrow artificial tree (the hubster and I have only ever had a real tree) to put in another room with one of my ornament groupings on it. Not sure yet which grouping - ocean themed, trees, angels - there are other collections but those 3 are the largest, will go on the tree. We'll see!

The ornament I created for this hop has been on my mind for over a year. I just had to figure out the mechanics of it, and find the time to create it! I present: Walking In A Winter Wonderland

This is a sweet little snowboy snow globe! I also painted snowflakes on a red resin bead attached to the ornament hanger.The sweetest part of this ornament for me is that it's interactive - it works like a snow globe! I am so, so happy with how this ornament came out!
See the glitter at the bottom of the globe? See how it's in a drift on the right side of the ornament in the picture above this one, and how it's in a drift on the left in the photo above? Squeeee!!
See!?! The glitter moves!!

I also painted a snowflake on the back (which I'll be removing and repainting, it's a bit too scrunched together - easy fix though). Sigh...
Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you enjoy your hopping today and are enjoying a cup of hot cocoa while you hop (click here for links)!
As a treat for you, I'm sharing a recipe I've made for years: Hot Fudge Sauce! It's a recipe my friend Julie shared with me. Last Christmas I gifted small containers of it to my co-workers, they loved it (I used the small snack sized Glad containers)! My family is disappointed when it's not in the fridge. I always double it (or more.....), but this is the standard recipe (and yes, I made a double batch last night - yum):
Hot Fudge Sauce
1 1/2 squares unsweetened chocolate (I use Ghirardelli 60% cacao)
1/4 cup unsalted butter (I use Land 'o Lakes)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghirardelli)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light cream
1 teaspoon vanilla (use good quality real vanilla, not artificial)

Melt the butter and chocolate in a medium sauce pan over low heat. In a bowl, mix cocoa powder, sugar & salt (I whisk them together, it breaks up the cocoa powder). Remove pan from heat and add cocoa mixture to the pan, mix well. I add the powdered mixture to the pan in either 1/2 or 1/3 increments, stirring 'til blended - this will be thick. Add the light cream slowly and stir 'til smooth and blended. Again, I add the light cream in either 1/2 or 1/3 increments. I've found this is the best way to easily incorporate it into the thicker mixture. Return the pan to heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir to mix. Pour into your container(s). Cool, then refrigerate and keep refrigerated; it thickens as it cools. I portion out a couple of spoonfuls and zap it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds to pour over my ice cream. Enjoy!!

Friday, November 15, 2013

2013 Art Charm Exchange Benefiting Beads of Courage

Welcome to the 2013 Art Charm Exchange hosted by the lovely Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictions, benefiting Beads of Courage! What is Beads of Courage? BOC provides arts-in-medicine programs for seriously ill children and their families in over 150 hospitals in the United States and around the world. The beads and materials provided by BOC allow children to tell their story. Not only are monetary donations made to BOC, many artists contribute art beads to BOC to help make each piece a child makes very, very special.
When I saw Jen's post about the swap and it's theme of LOVE I knew I had to join! Create 11 charms to send to Jen - 1 to be used in the auction to raise money for BOC and 10 (including one of our own) to be returned to each of us. 9 new, lovingly created art charms and money for charity - it's a win-win! Last year the auction raised $600 for BOC.

AUCTION INFORMATION: You have the opportunity to help raise funds by either bidding on a charm or charms that make your heart sing (bid high, bid often) or use the Buy It Now option (new this year) to get your favorites! The auction is here on ebay: the auctions are staggered over 3 days - today starting at 7 a.m., Saturday (11/16) starting at 9 a.m., and Sunday (11/17) starting at 5 p.m. Each day, charms will be added every 2 minutes. Jen will combine shipping charges and hold your items to ship at one time. If you opt for the Buy It Now option you must buy immediately. Jen will hold your BIN and not charge additional shipping for your auction items. You'll need to message her through ebay to let her know.
Now, for my inspiration - I LOVE the beach, I've written about my love for the beach and my favorite local beach, Willard Beach, a number of times on my blog. I also always have my camera with me when I walk the beach, whether it's my iPhone or my DSLR I'm always taking pictures. I have a thing for hearts and search them out wherever I'm walking. When I find one I take a picture of it in its "habitat" and quite often bring it home with me if it's a rock, a shell, or a piece of sea glass. I generally have my happy little trinkets in either my camera or my pocket.
Auction Charm: LOVE spelled using a rock, a rusty doorknob, mussel shells and white shells; seaweed heart

I also like to "write on the beach" whether it's directly in the sand or with the trinkets I pick up. I happen to write the word LOVE a lot! So, when I saw Jen's call for participants I knew I needed to join! Using Photoshop I reduced the image size of 10 of my pictures - 5 beach hearts and 5 of the word LOVE. The word LOVE is spelled out using driftwood, rocks, sea glass, white rocks, white shells, mussel shells, a sand dollar, tumbled brick "stones", and written in the sand. The "hearts" are a seaweed, clump a piece of heart shaped seaweed, a rosa rugosa petal, mussel shells, and a heart shaped piece of tumbled brick. The bezels were another story- for another post. I ended up finding base metal pendants that I could use as double-sided bezels. I used a punch to punch out the images, sealed them multiple times and glued them to the bezels; then I glued sand in the bezels around the pictures - multiple times. I also used German glass glitter to highlight the ocean foam. Then I sealed it all with several pours of ICE Resin. The sand ended up being a bit sparse in a few places, but wasn't visible until the resin cured...Sigh.....

Did you know sand grains encased in resin can be sharp as a knife? Well they can be, so some filing was involved and re-coating with ICE. This resin is fantastic! Its leveling and doming properties, its glass like finish - fabulous! I love the charms I created - they totally represent me and what I love. I hope the ladies who received my charms love them as much as I do.

These are the amazing charms I received. I am so honored to have received such beautiful, miniature works of art. I'm not certain yet whether I'll combine them into one piece, use them sparingly, or hoard them (and participate again to add to my collection) to make something at a later date. I am so thrilled with each and every one of these charms and the love infused into the making of them.
Kristi Bowman, Linda Haskell, Caroline Dewison
Cheryl (Lee) Koopman, Charlene Jacka, Shai Williams
Julie Schmidt Bowen, Ginger Bishop, Carolyn Chenault

To our hostess with the mostest - Jen Cameron, thank you so very much for coordinating such a wonderful swap and fundraiser. I'm raising my glass to you! I can't wait to hop along this weekend. Now, check out the auctions & check out the other artists blogs to see what they created and the inspiration behind their designs:

Caroline Dewison:
Lori Bowring Michaud: (you are here!)
Charlene Bausinger Jacka:
Kristi Bowman: