Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Knitted Sweater Project

So, I started to knit a sweater a few days ago. I've only made one sweater since I learned to knit 2 years ago, and it's actually wearable! Now I'm at it again.

It's a similar "top down" pattern as my first sweater and I do believe it's a good pattern for a beginning knitter. I'm still working on the shaping of the top, so it hasn't been joined in "the round" yet.
The yarn I selected is simply yummy. It's an emerald green color. The fiber content is 50% pima cotton and 50% tencel. It's silky soft and very easy to work with.

I estimate this project will take at least 2 months!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Artisan Beaders Giveaway Continues!

We've come up to the last giveaway of the year! Thanks so much to all who participated. The Artisan Beaders appreciate every visit and every comment!

Today, we have a beautiful pair of earrings to give away, courtesy of Donna at Creative Treasures by Donna. They feature freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystals, and sterling silver findings, and measure 1 5/8th inches long. These are so lovely because they are versatile - perfect to carry you from day to night!

How to enter to win:

Visit Donna's shop, then leave a comment on the Artisan Beaders blog* with a link to your favorite item. We will be picking the winner** on Friday, January 2nd, at 5:00pm EST, so you have until then to leave a comment. The winner will be announced shortly after, so make sure you check back Friday night. Thanks for playing!

* If you don't have a Blogger account, please leave your email address or a way to contact you if you win.
** Winning name will be randomly chosen by using

Monday, December 29, 2008

One Dark ... One Light

Yesterday I made a nice bunch of cards. Here are two from that bunch. The first is the dark card featuring the Drunken Pearls technique from the August '04 issue of the Technique Junkie newsletter. This technique calls for black glossy cardstock, metallic ink, rubbing alcohol and some Pearl-Ex pigment powders, this results in a dark and dramatic background piece. I brightened it up with silver embossed fern images. It still needed a little something, so I added some sticky backed "diamonds". It still looks like it's missing something, but I decided to let it be.

In the second, lighter card, I started with the Bleeding Tissue technique from the February '05 issue of the newsletter. This tissue paper is wonderful stuff and comes in a huge array of colors. When dampened, it bleeds beautifully on glossy white cardstock and makes gorgeous backgrounds. No two will ever be alike! The colors I chose were soft and peaceful so I chose to stamp an image that evoked that same feeling. I finished it off with some coordinating organza ribbon.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Double Gray . Earrings

jewelry earrings sterling silver labradorite pearls gray grey
These earrings feature plump labradorite briolettes and steel gray freshwater pearls. I have let them hang on hand forged sterling silver earwires which I oxidized and tumbled for a shiny finish.

Most of the earrings I make hang on ready-made earwires, but I do like to make my own occasionally. This gives my pieces a more unique look. See this post for my tutorial on making this particular style of earwire.

Here's another photo of these earrings which shows the "flash" in the labradorite beads.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Earthy Trio

jewelry earrings earth tones black gray camel
These earrings feature a trio of earthy stone beads -- etched black onyx, crazy lace agate and butterscotch colored agate.

Starting with my hand forged earrings, I added a jump ring from which to hang the trio. All of the silver is sterling and has been oxidized and tumbled for a shiny steel gray finish.

They are for sale in my etsy shop. Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter to receive announcements about sales and specials.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Simple Necklace

jewelry vintage glass bead sterling silver chain purple violet
Several years ago, I found an amazing necklace at an antique store in Phoenix (I'll cover my addiction to vintage jewelry at another time). It was full of these faceted football shaped violet glass beads, with knots separating the beads. The condition of the necklace was poor, so I didn't feel bad about taking it apart to "rescue" the beads. The beads show some wear, with small chips here and there, but I love this aspect of vintage glass beads. It shows that they've actually been worn!

I've used the beads sparingly over the years. This simple necklace features one of these lovelies hanging all alone on an oxidized sterling silver rolo chain. I added a front toggle closure and that's it. This great necklace is for sale in my etsy shop.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sweet Gift for my Sweet Husband

Rick is incredibly difficult to purchase gifts for. He builds many of his own metalsmithing tools and he's an avid thrift store shopper. What to do, what to do ....

Fortunately, he's also a big fan of some of my kitchen creations. I made him this little coupon booklet with lots of of his favorite baked goods (sweet & savory). I made sure to put an expiration date on each one!

The first photo shows the booklet closed. I used the Gated Tag Card Technique from the TJ Newsletter and lots of scraps of designer papers that I've been collecting for years. The second photo shows the individual tags (coupons) that Rick can redeem anytime throughout the year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A(nother) Bracelet for Every Day

Today's feature is a mother of pearl bracelet with lots of little drops. These mother of pearl rectangles are creamy on one side and golden on the other.

In between each rectangle, I've added dangles of freshwater pearls of neutral colors and Swarovski crystals in the same range of colors.

This is another easy to wear bracelet that will work with so many outfits. It is for sale in my etsy shop.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Woven and Fringed Bracelets

bracelet seed beads woven
I've been making these intricate bracelets for several years. They don't sell quickly or often (I sell about 2-3 per year), but they always get lots of oohs and aahs. There are currently 3 listed in my etsy shop. While they may not look the same to you, all 3 were created using the same technique.

I start with a modified right-angle-weave base. This flat, flexible stitch ensures comfort when wearing. The top is then embellished with lots of short fringe -- 3-4 seed beads maximum. I usually add some beads of differing shapes for interest. These could be small lentil beads, spear shaped beads or small sterling silver beads. This gives the bracelets an organic look. I finish these bracelets with decorative buttons, sometimes metal, sometimes vintage glass.

These bracelets are labor intensive, but so much fun to create. Be sure to sign up for my etsy shop newsletter to receive information on specials and sales.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fuchsia Clusters

These bold, bright earrings feature coin pearls in a beautiful fuchsia (or raspberry, if you prefer) color. Hanging freely below them is a cluster of coordinating beads. Included are Swarovski crystals in three shades of pink and 4 mm garnets.

While I can't promise delivery before Christmas, wouldn't these earrings be perfect for a New Year's Eve party?

These earrings are available for sale in my etsy shop.

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Smoky Quartz Earrings

The color combination of pink and brown has been popular for a while and I still like it. In this pair of earrings, the colors are subdued. The smoky quartz faceted coins are a light, cocoa brown and the freshwater pearls are the palest of pink.I created the earwires from sterling silver wire using first a small torch and then a hammer and anvil. I oxidized the silver and tumbled it for that shiny, steel gray finish I love. These earrings are for sale in my etsy shop.

To receive news of specials and sales, don't forget to sign up for my etsy shop newsletter using the form on the right!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hello Quizzy

I found a link to this interesting quiz website on my friend Diane's blog. Just for fun, I decided to take the test myself. It turns out, I'm a Bette Davis! Here are some facts:


You are a Bette -- "I must be strong"

Bettes are direct, self-reliant, self-confident, and protective.

How to Get Along with Me
  • * Stand up for yourself... and me.
  • * Be confident, strong, and direct.
  • * Don't gossip about me or betray my trust.
  • * Be vulnerable and share your feelings. See and acknowledge my tender, vulnerable side.
  • * Give me space to be alone.
  • * Acknowledge the contributions I make, but don't flatter me.
  • * I often speak in an assertive way. Don't automatically assume it's a personal attack.
  • * When I scream, curse, and stomp around, try to remember that's just the way I am.

What I Like About Being a Bette
  • * being independent and self-reliant
  • * being able to take charge and meet challenges head on
  • * being courageous, straightforward, and honest
  • * getting all the enjoyment I can out of life
  • * supporting, empowering, and protecting those close to me
  • * upholding just causes

What's Hard About Being a Bette
  • * overwhelming people with my bluntness; scaring them away when I don't intend to
  • * being restless and impatient with others' incompetence
  • * sticking my neck out for people and receiving no appreciation for it
  • * never forgetting injuries or injustices
  • * putting too much pressure on myself
  • * getting high blood pressure when people don't obey the rules or when things don't go right

Bettes as Children Often
  • * are independent; have an inner strength and a fighting spirit
  • * are sometimes loners
  • * seize control so they won't be controlled
  • * figure out others' weaknesses
  • * attack verbally or physically when provoked
  • * take charge in the family because they perceive themselves as the strongest, or grow up in difficult or abusive surroundings

Bettes as Parents
  • * are often loyal, caring, involved, and devoted
  • * are sometimes overprotective
  • * can be demanding, controlling, and rigid

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


earrings sterling silver woven baskets
I have a bit of a fascination with baskets of all sorts -- wicker, birch bark, rattan -- so when I found these silver ones at a bead show, I just had to have them. I've tried using them in necklaces, but the detail gets lost amid the other components. The best use of these lovelies is in earrings, where they can stand alone and be the center of attention!

I've hung the baskets on handcrafted sterling silver headpins and earwires that I oxidized and tumbled for a shiny gray finish. The contrast between the bright and dark silver is perfect. These earrings are for sale in my etsy shop.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Artisan Beaders Giveaway!

We're nearing the end of our holiday giveaways, so don't miss out on a great chance to win!

Today, we have a truly gorgeous necklace to give away, courtesy of Nicole Campanella/Beadwright. This is a necklace that can be worn either by a guy or a gal. The glass focal bead is silver foil with light lavender, dark turquoise and ruby accent glass. Triangle matt silver beads frame the glass focal bead. Step down to size 4mm lavender rounds. The backing is turquoise leather and the edging is 11/o Czech seed beads and 4mm ruby rounds. The necklace is done in a Dutch spiral weave with 11/o Czech seed beads that match the glass focal bead perfectly. The small yellow signature bead guarantees that this is an original piece of beadwork by Nicole Campanella/Beadwright. This necklace measures 22.5 inches long.

How to enter to win:

Visit any of the gallery pages on Nicole's site (Bead Jewelery 1, Bead Art 2, Bead Jewelry 3, Beaded Gourd Art, or Faces), then leave a comment on the Artisan Beaders blog with a link to your favorite item. We will be picking the winner** on Friday, December 19th, at 5:00pm EST, so you have until then to leave a comment. The winner will be announced shortly after, so make sure you check back Friday night. Thanks for playing!

* If you don't have a Blogger account, please leave your email address or a way to contact you if you win.
** Winning name will be randomly chosen by using

Monday, December 15, 2008

Artisan Beaders - Secret Santa Gifts

The street team I belong to on etsy, Artisan Beaders, decided it would be fun to exchange gifts this holiday season. I received the most gorgeous bracelet from Deb of Crysallis Creations. She used a generous number of tiny seed pearls, some beautiful turquoise beads, amethyst and a lovely faceted cubic zirconia in a pale peach color. I adore this bracelet with all of its intricate wire wrapping. Thank you Deb for being such a great partner and friend!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Marcasite & Keshi Pearls

necklace sterling silver keshi pearls marcasite olive green gray
Recently listed in my etsy shop is this lovely necklace featuring olive green keshi pearls and perfectly round marcasite beads.

The keshi pearls are in a cup-like shape and the headpins that hold them in place have a ball at the end that makes the combination look a little like a flower. The grayish green color of the marcasite beads is a perfect complement to the pearls. This cluster hangs from a circle of fine silver wire that I shaped and fused from wire.

I purchased the marcasite beads from my friend Deb at Crysallis Creations. I had never seen marcasite in bead form before -- only as little sparkling elements.

Rolo style chain is my latest favorite. The links are round and substantial. I oxidized all of the silver and tumbled it for a sleek, polished gray finish.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Midnight Blue

necklace handcrafted jewelry sterling silver dark blue pearls iolite
I listed this new necklace in my etsy shop a few days ago. I adore the deep blue pearls that make up a good part of the chain and most of the front waterfall. I've added some sterling silver chain and a decorative dangle at the clasp end. The addition of the 2 faceted twist iolite beads contributes just the right amount of sparkle.

Another special element is the sterling silver ring you see where the 2 sides of the necklace join to form the waterfall. It has a bit of a brushed finish and a soft, hammered texture. To receive special offers, please sign up for my etsy shop newsletter using the form on the right side of my blog.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Another Pair of Cards

My card-share today includes one very old technique and one brand new technique -- both from the Technique Junkies Newsletter.

Starting with the old technique, Drunken Pearls, from the August 04 newsletter. This technique features the use of alcohol, metallic re-inkers and PearlEx powders, resulting in lots of sparkle that just can't be appreciated from a scan. The image is from Stampin Up and I embossed in it black on brushed metallic silver cardstock, then mounted that panel on gold brushed metallic cardstock. The finishing touch are these brand new teeny-tiny black brads that I found at my local stamp shop (I also bought them in brown and white) and a length of silver ribbon.
For the next card, I used the Two Toned Crunch technique from the current newsletter. While I wasn't thrilled with the colors I chose, I managed to work with it. To dress up the background, I stamped the image (from Stampin Up) with black StazOn ink on acetate and used eyelets to attach it to the next layer of cardstock. This gives the card a more 3-dimensional look and it's a technique I use when I want a lot of the background to be visible.

Don't forget, to receive special offers and discount coupons, please sign up for my etsy shop newsletter -- see the from to the right!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Patina Technique - For Paper!

I finally had some time to try the Patina Technique from the October issue of the Technique Junkies newsletter. I used metallic acrylic paints because that's what I had on hand. I made a whole sheet at once and cut it up for these cards.

The first card features a stamp from Hero Arts that I embossed with an embossing powder from The Powder Keg called New Endgland Autumn. It was almost an exact match for the paint colors I used. I added some copper colored beads strung on nylon cord, both of which I borrowed from the jewelry making side of my studio! The patina panel is mounted on shiny copper cardstock and for the card, I used bright green cardstock.

For the next card I embossed an image of a doorplate in black. I attached a miniature door knocker that I purchased from Sky Blue Pink, which has its own built-in brad. I reversed the colors here and mounted the patina panel on the bright green cardstock and the card itself is rust colored cardstock.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dragonfly Lovers Unite!

I just listed a brand new pair of earrings in my etsy shop featuring little brass dragonfly charms. These round charms are resting on a textured leaf charm of copper. These warm metals look beautiful together. If you're looking for some cute and lightweight earrings, these are perfect for you.

As long as we're focused on dragonflies, here are some other pieces of jewelry in my shop that have dragonflies on them in one form or another.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Freeform Wire Wrapping

These "messy" (aka freeform) wire wrapped bracelets are fun to make. I start with lots and lots of 20 ga dead soft sterling silver wire and create the wrapped elements. I oxidize them and sand them by hand with 800 grit sand paper to highlight just a small amount of the shiny silver.

The elements are connected with jump rings and decorative dangles are added in between. Voila, a bracelet is born! jewelry bracelet wire wrapped sterling silver oxidized

I currently have 2 of these bracelets listed in my etsy shop. To receive special offers and news, please sign up for my etsy shop newsletter.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Artisan Beaders Giveaway!

With the holidays almost upon us, we're nearing the end of our weekly giveaways, so don't miss your chance at winning a gorgeous artisan piece of jewelry!

This week, we have a spectacular pendant courtesy of Jael from Jael's Jewels! It is created by hand from polymer clay, and the center of the flower is accented with a dichroic glass cab. This beautiful pendant hangs from a gold plated headpin and measures 1 1/2 inches long by 7/8 inches wide x 3/8 inches thick.

How to enter to win:

Visit Jael's shop, then leave a comment on the Artsian Beaders blog with a link to your favorite item. We will be picking the winner** on Friday, December 12th, at 5:00pm EST, so you have until then to leave a comment. The winner will be announced shortly after, so make sure you check back Friday night. Thanks for playing!

* If you don't have a Blogger account, please leave your email address or a way to contact you if you win.
** Winning name will be randomly chosen by using

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Beaded Barrettes

These labor intensive lovelies get plenty of attention in my etsy shop and at craft shows. They require the kind of beadwork that takes intense concentration and constant measuring. The beaded panel is completed before the piece is attached to the barrette finding.

Freeform bead weaving can use all of the stitches, but the ones I use most are peyote, brick, and right-angle-weave. Looking for the perfect "add-on", such as a pearl or a single gemstone is the fun part. The difficult part is including it in such a way that it looks very much at home in the piece.barrette beaded freeform woven

These barrettes are all one-of-a-kind. I couldn't repeat them, even if I wanted to. I use high quality barrette findings that are made in France. The beaded panels are sewn securely onto the finding as a separate step in the process.

Click here to see more photos of each of these barrettes.

Don't forget, newsletter subscribers get 25% off any one item in my etsy store!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Prasiolite, or Green Amethyst if You Prefer!

prasiolite green amethyst necklace sterling silver tourmaline
This necklace has been in my etsy store for quite a while. It has over 1000 views and 31 people call it a favorite! I'm flattered by all of the attention on this piece.

The briolette that is the focal point of this cluster is a highly faceted large prasiolite, also known as green amethyst (aka quartz). You can see 2 smaller prasiolite beads off to the left. The rest of the stones are tourmaline in various shades of green.

I love the elegance of this necklace. All of the silver is sterling. More details in my etsy shop.

Don't forget, newsletter subscribers get 25% off any one item in my etsy store!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Golden Clarity . Citrine Earrings

I purchased these extraordinarily clear and smooth citrine briolettes at one of my local bead stores. The owner of the Bead Shack is a world traveler and owning a bead store gives her all the reason she needs to travel and explore.

I topped these yummy beads with a small cluster of mystic topaz and pink and green tourmaline beads. The color combination is a bit different for me, but I do love the way these earrings turned out.artisan jewelry earrings sterling silver citrine briolette

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Coppery Goodness

necklace copper wire oxidized beads swirly
I've owned my Wig-Jig for several years and rarely use it. Then, earlier this year, I was playing around with some 18 gauge copper wire and developed a pattern I thought might make a nice pendant at a very affordable price.

I made a series of these necklaces in a variety of color schemes and most of them were sold during my fall shows. There are two listed in my etsy shop, and I've pictured them here.

The chains are solid copper and I hand-crafted a simple hook clasp from copper wire. I oxidized all of the copper and hand sanded it, allowing just some of the copper color to show through.

Visit my etsy shop to see more photos of these necklaces and my entire jewelry collection.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Little Earrings

earrings artisan garnet citrine pearls red yellow teal
Some women like large earrings that make a statement and some prefer smaller, simple earrings that are more subtle. Here are 3 pairs of earrings that fit that second criteria.

This first pair features some small garnet briolettes that I wrapped (messy style!) with sterling silver wire. The garnets are diamond shaped and are highly faceted for maximum sparkle. These deep red garnets are perfect for the holiday season.

These citrine earrings are very similar to the garnets. The stone has a similar cut, but I've wrapped the briolettes in a slightly neater fashion.
The last little pair I'd like to share features some of my favorite pearls. I purchased these little teal coins in HUGE volume (don't ask) because I loved them so much. Here, I've topped them with a small sterling silver bead and an aqua colored crystal. Swarovski calls this color "Indicolite", which is the name of torumaline when it occurs in a blue-ish color.
All of these earrings are for sale in my etsy shop. Remember, all items are shipped USPS Priority and are packaged for gift-giving.