Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!

Enjoy these fantastic Handmade Vintage Ornaments by Jessica Ramey. See all of her wonderful Ornaments at Jessica also has some cool Halloween jewelry you can look at by downloading her catalog.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Mask bead from Lavender Creek.

Do you know what would be really scary? If you missed out on your chance at winning a $100 gift certificate from Rings & Things and over $150 worth of really cool beads from Cindy Gimbrone!

Enter your Gothic or Halloween inspired creation that features art beads today! The DEADline is tomorrow at midnight. (CST)

Can't figure out flickr? Then send your entry to me at along with your name and any information you'd like posted with your entry.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Spooky Skulls and Skeleton Beads

With Halloween and the Day of the Dead close upon us, what better way to celebrate than with this gang of spooky skeleton art beads?

Porcelain Spookyheads by Earthenwood Studio

PMC skull charms by Melissa Lee on her Strands of Beads blog

Colorful bone lampworked pendants by LORiOLA on Etsy

Skeletal Skull Girl pendant by Dolphin Daze on Etsy

Two holed polymer skull beads by Dragonfly Lane on Etsy

Lampworked glass Skull pendants and bone toggles by Michele Goldstein

A Pirate's Life for Me! PMC pendants by Zoa Art

Ceramic Skull bead by Jangles

Pewter Skeleton Key pendant by Green Girl Studios

Ceramic Day of the Dead Pendant by Gaea

As the Bead Turns, Octber 28th, 2007

Bringing you all the dirt and drama from the beading blog world...

Fab Fibers Our friend Rosanne from the Fab Fibers Blog made a spiral seed beaded rope chain to go with her new Halloweeny Joan Miller/Penny Michelle pendant. This is a good reminder that the Art Bead Scene challenge is almost up for the month, so get your entries in!

Bead Arts There are lots of great lampwork and hot glass forums out there! Can you think of any to add to Cyndi's list?

Jewelry and Beading Blog Tammy at the Jewelry and Beading Blog has spotted some adorable wire pumpkins from Wig Jig.

Katie's Beading Blog Beading Daily spotlighted Katie's book, Hip to Bead, this week. Read her post for links to a fun Q&A and free project download and a sneak peek into Katie's crafty organic farming lifestyle.

Naughty Secretary Club Have you taken the Handmade Pledge? Jen chats about how her girl gang the Austin Craft Mafia joined forces with the likes of Etsy, The American Craft Council, Interweave Press, Design Sponge and more to bring you Buy Handmade!

PearlEsq. Are you a Perfectionist? Robin's got a quiz for you and some thoughts on not sweating the small stuff and to embrace imperfection in your art!
Savvy Crafter Grab your skull beads!!! Dia De Los Muertos is right around the corner. Make some festive jewels for this mucho fun and special celebration.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! A stunning Geisha polymer focal bead by Janet Farris was dressed up using lustrous coin pearls and tiny multihued spinels to express classic Japanese beauty. Take a look at Jean's latest offering in Beadwork Magazine!

The Impatient Blogger Are you tired of playing by the rules and itching to break free? Guess what, you can! Check out this inspired post by Margot Potter that gives you the kick in the pants you need to follow your bliss.

Did you read or write any good dirt on a bead blog this week? Leave us a comment and a link and tell us the latest scoop!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Book Review - Hardwear - Jewelry From a Toolbox

I had a hard time putting this book down at the bookstore recently and couldn't help but think of the many ways an art bead could be incorporated into the designs.

The author, Hannah Rogge, was inspired by the variety of interlocking geometric shapes she saw on a routine trip to the hardware store one day and got the idea to create jewelry from them.

This "hard" cover book is beautifully written and designed and would make a good beginner's book for someone wanting to get started designing jewelry inexpensively. A seasoned jewelry designer will also appreciate this book for it's resourceful and "outside the box" perspective toward jewelry design.

One thing is for sure - your visits to the hardware store will never be the same after you've read this book!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Alternate uses for Art Beads - Masks

Art beads can used to embellish a simple mask for your Halloween celebrations. Here is a very elaborate example from New Zealand bead artist, Joslyn Hobbis.

You could use art bead cabochons, like Joslyn cleverly did for the face of her butterfly. Or add them to a geometric design and bead around them, letting the fabric of the mask show if you aren't up to beading a whole mask.

Another way to add art beads to a mask would be to use it as part of the embellishment on an opera style mask, where a dowel is used to hold the mask in front of your face. Attach your favorite art bead to the top of the dowel. I'd tie some varied fibers under the bead for added texture.

Visit this link for basic information on bead embroidery for art dolls. The directions can be used to embellish a fabric mask, found at hobby stores.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Bead Scoop: Fall Favorites

Here a some of my favorites from a few of the many talented beadmakers on etsy:

Click on each picture for more details.

Don't forget to submit your entry to the Art Bead Scene's Gothic Queen challenge, only a few days left! How would you spend a $100 gift certificate from Rings & Things? Haven't you been drooling over Cindy Gimbrone's collection of fun and funky beads? This is one month I wish I could enter the challenge!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I Heart Jewelry Tools - Lindstrom Pliers

Okay I'll confess, my pliers are an embarrassment! Old, out-dated and I'm sure more of a hindrance than a help, I'm in serious need of a pliers overhaul. Maybe I could star in a new reality TV show like "Extreme Craft Makeovers" or "Pimp my Jewelry-Making Supply Box."

That probably won't happen, so instead I'll rely on Santa. Top on my wish list this year is a set of Lindstrom Pliers!

If the big guy lets me down I know I can pick them up at, one of my favorite places to buy sterling silver wire. But you can find them at places like Rio Grande and Fire Mountain Gems too.

While we are waiting for those wishes to come true, Connie Fox has a few pointers about using pliers and how to minimize and reduce marks made by your tools.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Jewelry Home Parties

Are you looking for a new way to market your jewelry or perhaps you are just starting out and would like to test the waters before you commit to a big show?

A home jewelry party might be the answer. Take a look at the Jewelry Home Party Tips by Rena Klingenberg to answer your basic questions on how to have a successful event.

Other the years I've met designers who enjoyed doing home parties and had a great deal of success having others host these events for them. Have you blogged about your jewelry home party experiences? If so, leave a comment with the link, I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Beadmaker Interview with Joan Miller

Enjoy our interview today with porcelain bead artist Joan Miller, where you will get a little peek into her creative life and process. Just this year Joan took home first place in handmade beads and buttons in Bead Dreams 2007 with her exquisite "Mermaid and Sea Creatures" beads. We are pleased to share this interview with her.

What is your personal name, business name, website and location?

Joan MillerJoan Miller Porcelain,, Fleetwood, PA

2. What kind of beads do you make? What kinds of processes do you use? What is your favorite beadmaking technique?

Most of my beads are colored porcelain with a high gloss glaze. I use a combination of techniques with colored porcelain slip. I use the same porcelain stained different colors to both form my beads and decorate on them. Bead bases may be hand formed or cast or combination. Decoration is applied with small detail brushes and needle tools.

3. How did you get into beadmaking?

Before concentrating on beads, I had a line of porcelain jewelry (also done in my colored slips) that were primarily flat pieces made into pins and earrings. I always did a few beads but never thought of concentrating on them until lampwork glass gained popularity. At that time I was getting tired of my flat work and the working in the round on a small scale opened up a lot of design ideas and possibilities for me.

4. What are some of the important things you do for your business?

Most importantly I keep working and trying new things, whether it is designs or different ways of marketing. I have learned to cherish the slow times because that is when I get to spread my wings creatively. As a result I find I don't have too many of those slow times to cherish.

5. What is your workspace like and how do you work in your studio? What is a typical day like?

I work at home in a small spare bedroom and have my kilns in the basement. Typically I try and work in 2 to 3 hour sessions. I take breaks and try and get outside. Having three dogs helps; I am not allowed to skip walks! Drying time is crucial in my process, so I will often have several piecesgoing at once. Usually if I am working on a complicated focal, I will work at several smaller beads at the same time so that each stage is applied at the optimum time. Often I do a morning, afternoon and evening session.

5. How do you stay inspired and motivated?

My bills and my stomach keep me motivated. If I don't work, I don't eat! And I like to eat. Staying inspired is never a problem. I always have more ideas than I can get to (going back to that cherish the slow times thing.) A favorite saying of one of my most important teachers was "Life is short and Art is long."

6. What type of beads and jewelry designs do you feel best compliment your art beads? Do you design your own jewelry too?

My first year in Tucson I met Penny Michelle known for her fun and fabulous silver components. I do a lot of work designing beads specifically forPenny's components. I am much more into making the beads than making jewelry so this is just perfect for me. I can have some finished pieces that are truly unique by just doing a few wire wraps. We also join forces in our marketing efforts and that has worked out really well for both of us. For example check out our Halloween pages on and . Other than that my customers do a much better job ofcreating jewelry with my beads than I do. I just don't have the time to focus on both the bead making and jewelry design.

7. What beady plans do you have for the future? Do you have new designs or ideas you will be exploring soon?

I am planning on concentrating a little more on web business in the upcoming months and next year. I actually am staying home from shows for 4 whole months starting Nov. 1. I also have some plans for some finished bracelets using my patterned disc spacer beads. Skulls were the new addition to my Halloween line and I am also working on new bird pendants (It's good to be me...........I say I want silver bird feet and I get silver bird feet) . The ravens were my first bird design but I have been working on some more fanciful birds. My favorite so far is my checker-bird which should be appearing on my website sometime soon.

8. If you have a discount code you would like to give our readers, please list it here, including the expiration date:

Email me by Oct. 31 that you read my interview on Art Bead Scene and be entered in a drawing for one of my flower skulls . Drawing on Nov. 1.

Thanks Joan! And thanks also for donating a great stash of exquisite beads for last month's Art Bead Scene Challenge.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

As The Bead Turns, October 21, 2007

Bringing you all the dirt and drama from the beading blog world...

Melanie from the Earthenwood-Beads Blog is giving away this set of handcrafted Halloween beads to one random person who comments with their favorite scary movie moment. Hurry and enter...Today (Sunday, Oct 21st) is the last day!

Bead Arts Cyndi explores how to use wire crochet to give new life to some moonstone nuggets.

Jewelry and Beading Even more fun than growing your pumpkin, you can make your own pumpkin beads with a little know-how from the Jewelry and Beading Blog.

Katie's Beading Blog Have you heard about the public television show Beads, Baubles & Jewels? Now you can watch Katie's segments on your computer anytime.

Naughty Secretary Club Look for a bracelet by Jen in a new series of Holiday Ads by Michaels. Can’t wait until then? Check out the Naughty Secretary Club blog to get a sneak peak at the Twinkle Charm Bracelet and how-to instructions.

PearlEsq. Robin talks about what it is to work with Tim Holtz in prepping for Ranger U and she provides his fun link for Grungeboard(tm).

Snap out of it Jean! There's beading to be done! Jean's third shot at spiral seed beading is fun!, with its butterfly clasp and its colorful Swarovski bicones sparkling like crazy on a deep background of emerald and sapphire!

The Impatient Blogger Sometimes we make wonderful things and sometimes we make a whole lot of crap. Fret not! Join Margot as she shares her crafty mishaps and encourages you to make glorious mistakes! (Warning: This post is rated P for Potty Mouth Syndrome!)

Did you read or write any good dirt on a bead blog this week? Leave us a comment and a link and tell us the latest scoop!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Bead Scoop: Handcrafted Headpins on Etsy

While on Etsy recently, I came across a wonderful variety of findings and components that are handmade by artists. Here are some beautifully handcrafted headpins, for when you need that special handcrafted detail in your jewelry project. Many of these artists also have other components like clasps and earwires, so take a good look around at their Etsy shops for other finding supply ideas!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Findings Worth Finding: Art Beads and Fibers

I love the look of using different fibers combined with art beads, the play of textures is perfect for fall and winter designs.
And a few favorites:

Hand-dyed and hand-sewn silk ribbon from Art Beads.

I'd love to see your designs that have combined fibers with art beads, share your links in the comments section.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Removing Tarnish from Silver

Did you know that you can brighten up your tarnished silver components and jewelry without leaving your kitchen? Baking soda is the secret ingredient in this method which I recently put to the test and have directions and photos to share with you.

You will need:

baking soda

aluminum foil


boiling water

metal tray

The photo below shows some ear wires that have been on sample boards for the last five years and had developed some unsightly tarnish.

Below are two cups of boiling water to which I've added 1/2 cup of baking soda.

After lining a shallow toaster oven baking tray with aluminum foil and arranging the ear wires so that each one had contact with the aluminim foil, I gently poured the water and baking soda solution over the findings. This photo shows the bubbles that formed during the chemical reaction.

Here are the ear wires free from tarnish and ready for a little buffing with my Sunshine Cloth.

A simplified explanation of the science behind this method is that when silver tarnishes, it combines with sulfur from the air and forms silver sulfide which is black. There are two ways to remove this coating – one is to remove the silver sulfide from the surface using abrasion and the other is to reverse the chemical process. When the tarnish is removed through abrasion (polishing) some of the silver is also removed. With the method described today none of the silver is removed. The aluminum is effective because it has a stronger affinity to sulfur than silver does, so the warm baking soda solution carries the sulfur atoms from the silver to the aluminum.

Thank you Cindy Gimbrone for bringing this method to my attention. Now there's no need to stress when I notice that my silver pieces are tarnishing with this quick, easy and inexpensive method!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Restorative Power of Creative Living

To start this post, let me give you a bit of background. As many of you may know, I am an Occupational Therapist (OT) by training and degree. Currently, I am not working as an OT and have let my license lapse. My OT area of specialty was working with students with special needs within the public school system. I miss the interaction with the students, teachers and parents. I don't miss the meetings, paper work or driving between too many schools.

The current me is always surrounded by beads and pendants, and I only use my training as an OT for ergonomics of my work space and activity analysis to speed up production and decrease my error rate. This, is all reality, is sort of boring to most people and not worth blogging about. But, during my last trunk show at Ornamentea I got a chance to hear how my two areas of interest have merged right here in Raleigh.

First, a lovely customer, Maria, told me about how she had a stroke and was in recovery when she decided to try her hand at beading. At the time Maria was still having difficulty following multiple step verbal directions and presented with left handed weakness and poor coordination - both results of the stroke. At that point, Maria enrolled in a class taught by Pam to make this cute pin. Something about the words Pam used, paired with the visual demonstrations she did helped Maria's neuro network rehab itself. Maria said it was like a "miracle". She suddenly could follow directions and her left hand got right in there and did its work. Maria says she still has some healing to do, but the giant step she took towards healing that day has never left her. The physical and mental gains she made while completing that class with Pam has spread into all other areas of Maria's life and she continues to make improvements everyday! Wow - we all knew the healing power of creative living, but seldom do we get to see it so vividly.

The second story is of a more gradual process, but one of healing and growth all the same. Cynthia explained to me how various therapist have had their clients enroll in beading classes to help them get over fears of trying new things and break out of life ruts. The instructors at Ornamentea, as well as most beaders everywhere, are exceptionally encouraging and seem to have an innate ability to help others find their creative spark. Again, this helps all of us see the healing / restorative power of creative thinking and doing.
As far as I can tell, we have many readers that not only make jewelry, but also teach and guide others in creative endeavors. I'm sure there are many inspiring stories that you can share with us. Tell us your stories - we all need to warm the cockles of our hearts more often....

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Beadmaker Interview with Gaea

1. What is your personal name, business name, website and location?

Gaea Cannaday, Gaea Pendants,, Ojai, California.

2. What kind of beads do you make? What kinds of processes do you use? What is your favorite beadmaking technique?
I make ceramic beads by hand building some and press molding others. I love "free form" creating molds. I love sculpting little pieces like stars or flowers in clay to create a scene or story. I guess I really like the story telling aspect of it.

3. How did you get into beadmaking? What are some of the important things you do for your business?

My business started as a love of jewelry and a need to stay home with my son. I was "down sized" from an art director job after I had my son. I had made jewelry as a side thing for fun and gifts and had spent many years in the ceramic studio at collage and LOVED it! Totally addicting. I would decorate pots and cups with "jewelry" bits. One holiday season I had wanted to make some of my own components and picked up some sculpey. Baked and painted it with some fun results. My husband quickly pointed out that the pieces would be a good fit for ceramics. Ding! Light bulb moment! We experimented and fired up the old kiln. That first batch was horrible but really amazing with potential. Just seeing how the different clays and glazes worked together was just pure excitement!

4. What is your workspace like and how do you work in your studio? What is a typical day like?

My workspace is where ever my kids are but mostly the kitchen and bathroom. The patio is crammed with my work things. Kiln, glazes, clay tools, jewelry supplies, beads in various states are all kept there, safely out of the munchkins reach. They do like to play with the clay. My two year old still likes to put it up her nose or eat it so it's closely supervised. Luckily when you work from home you have flexibility to get things done at your own pace. I try to center my day around my kids. Beads are pretty portable and most things if planned right cant be taken with us. It is a joy to be able to take my son and daughter to school and pick them up, take swim lessons, gymnastics or a martial art. I would hate for them not to have those opportunities. If I'm in the car on a family trip I make a kit to take with me. I usually bend wires or do something that is repetitive but I can still carry on a conversation. Our days are pretty full so laundry and pick up time often get over looked for reading or coloring.

5. How do you stay inspired and motivated?

Inspiration comes from all directions! Necessity is the mother of invention sometimes. Other times my family are my inspiration. The past, good memories, even bad one. There is room for everything in inspiration. Life.

6. What type of beads and jewelry designs do you feel best compliment your art beads? Do you design your own jewelry too?

I love designing jewelry. My Mom and I are both jewelry addicts (I will blame this on my Mom!). I've spread the bead disease to here now though and we hit a local gem faire pretty hard a few weeks back! Go Mom, GO! I've been heavy into wire wrapping for a while and feel like that lets each bead make its own statement but also tell a story with the other elements. I feel stuck in the "necklace" and should break out of that a bit into other things. I've been thinking about hair ornamentation for a while and playing with some ideas on and off.

7. What beady plans do you have for the future? Do you have new designs or ideas you will be exploring soon?

A few years ago I made these light up wood, story wall boxes that had decoupage and beads. Maybe revisiting this idea with handmade beads would be a hoot.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Gothic Queen Art Beads

Canadian artist, Pat Wilde, creates the most amazing hand painted glass pendants. They are the perfect goth girls and if you are lucky enough to win one of her auctions, her work would be the idea focal bead for this month's theme!

Thanks Rosanne for sending this artist's link to me!