Friday, August 30, 2013

August Monthly Blog Tour

The vibrant colors, the chalky texture, the images of the three people, the fantastic story of the re-discovery of this painting, all make this a dynamic choice for the hottest days of summer. Tres Personajes  by Rufino Tamayo gave us a lot of inspiration this month. Join me on the tour!


What is the story of the three people in this painting? That is the question that Mary Ellen asks. What an intriguing question! Obviously, Miss Mary Ellen sees this as a love story. Read more of her inspiration on her blog, beetree by m.e 

With such a saturated color palette, Kathy chose to keep her design simple. This pretty necklace inspires me with a reminder that sometimes less is more. Read more about it on her blog, Bay Moon Designs.

Susan created a forest at sunset for her response to the artwork. I can feel the heat of the colors in this quiet forest. Read more about it on her blog, Lady Flowers by Susan.

Shaiha shares that she has been struggling with her Muse lately. But this month the Tres Personajes painting wowed her and inspired her to create this lovely necklace. Read more about it on her blog, Shaiha's Ramblings.

Imagine a family of three on a big city street at sunset. That is the image that Ann sees when she looks at this painting. Read more about it on her blog, Bead Love.

Janel Dudley makes some lovely glass beads. She was inspired by the painting to make these pretty earrings. Visit her blog, Janel Dudley Beads.

I am smitten by the way that Miss Kate (hello, Miss Kate! We have missed you!) has deconstructed all the elements of the painting and created art beads for each section. So much thought went into each piece. You really must read more about it on her blog Organic Odysseys.

I find it wonderful serendipity when I happen to have the very thing in my stash that represent the painting. Miss Karin all the way over in France has been amassing quite a wonderful hoard of art beads and had these beauties and that perfect shade of purple leather cord just lurking around! Read more on her blog, Gingko et Coquelicot.

Beads with a graphic punch and a bright palette are all that is needed for this pretty bracelet from Miss Katherine. Read more on her blog, Catherine's Dreams.

The painting this month with its knockout colors inspired Miss Vera to try her hand at a new skill. Read more about it on her blog, Designed by Vera.

I am a fan of fiber arts, mostly because it involves skills that I don't possess. Miss Jen crafted not one, but two soft cuff bracelets as the perfect backdrop for some pretty art beads. Read more on her blog, Purple Fish Studio.

I am in awe of those who create magnificently complex polymer clay canes. I simply don't have the patience or the vision for that! I love the journey that Miss Cate shows us of her process. You really should go read it on her blog, Fulgorine.

I like the way the three dots on these yummy glass beads represent the three people in the painting. Read more of Miss Pam's inspiration on her blog Klassy Joolz.

The abstract figures in the painting reminded Miss Beth and her mom Miss Evie of space invaders! They created this remarkable focal from the actual images in the painting and show us their sketches that turned into reality on their blog, EB Bead & Metal Works.

Okay. I admit that I am cheating a bit as I didn't get the chance to finish my piece inspired by the painting. For this month's painting inspiration I created my first Stroppel Cane inspired by the colors and the strong linear lines. These were sent to my Simple Truths Sampler Club members and I also have them in my Etsy shop as well. I will eventually get to making something from this - I have all the beads out and in a bowl ready for the moment to whip them up! -  but I am so proud of this new skill that I wanted to share!


Thanks to all who played along with us!
I know I have mentioned this before, but it would really be a nice thing if everyone would add their exact URL to the description in Flickr. I love reading your blogs, but when I am doing this for a few days, and really reading your posts, it sure helps me out to not have to search for it!
I am thinking of a new way to do the blog hop and will see if I can make that happen next month. Time to shake things up a bit!

Stay tuned for the September challenge!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Fall Color Trends

Summer is giving us her last farwell this weekend and my thoughts are rushing ahead to fall and all the inspiration and beauty that autumn has to offer. Along with being inspired by the color expert Mother Nature proves to be, I'm also seriously inspired by the Fall 2013 Pantone Color Trend Report.

The image above is from Brandi Hussey's amazing blog post on color palettes using this season's trendy colors. Run over there right now to check it out!

I was inspired this weekend to create a few bracelets featuring a few color trend palettes. You can find the tutorial to this Hidden Clasp Bracelet here.

Are you digging the fall Pantone colors? Does one jump out at you as a must have for your fall designs? I have to say, I'm in love with all of them!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Designer of the Week :: Catherine's Dreams + Jangles

The vibrant tones and the circles caught my eye right away. These bright and funky beads from Jangles pick up all the different colors of the Tamayo painting. That little pop of red with the thread and the spacers draw my eye to the top bullseye bead. This is one happy bracelet!

Featured Designer :: Catherine's Dreams

Featured Art Beads :: Jangles
Just a few days left to get your creative juices flowing! 
Join me here on Friday, August 30th for the monthly blog tour.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Show Me Sunday - People beads with Rebecca of Songbead

Hello ABS-ers! Hope you've had a great week. Today is the last day of my epic 23-day craft fair, and I am celebrating :-) It's been a fantastic 3+ weeks, but I am glad that tomorrow, I don't need to set my alarm clock and can start to catch up on some sleep. I'm heading off for a few days R+R over the next week, and I can't wait. 

Today's the last of our 'People Beads' theme, and I've found this really cute Raku face bead to share with you. I am absolutely in love with the glaze!

Next month is September, can you believe's back to school and everything that entails. So I thought that, following Melanie's lead from last year, we'd do a back to school special - tutorials, books, how-tos....share your favourite educational link, be it yours or someone else's. 

And here are the Bead Blogger Links for you too:

A Bead A Day 
Have a great story about learning the Kumihimo braiding technique? Lisa would love to hear about it! Jewelry Making 
Say good-bye to summer but not your flip flops with this fun flip flop earring tutorial. 

Art Bead Scene 
Check out Brandi's colour palettes drawn from ceramic beads from Pajego Art House - yum! 

Beading Arts 
Cyndi shares information on finishing metal clay pieces with a great patina. 

Resin Crafts Blog 
A simple resin bird mold becomes a wonderful piece of jewelry. 

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! 
Jean shares a great free guide to etching jewelry by Jewelry Making Daily ! It is great! 

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton 
Chevrons are trending now and have found their way into one of Andrew's bracelets! 

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer, currently living in Manchester, England. You can read more about her and her work at her blog, and see more of her jewellery at She also has a supplies shop at

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Studio Saturday with Gaea Cannaday

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

This weeks winner is AliceCongratulations!
You have won a Story Tube bead from 
Erin Prais-Hintz at Tesori Trovati. 
Send Erin an email with your address and she will get them right out to you.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •
This week we visit the studio of Gaea Cannaday of Gaea Handmade.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • •


I am often asked "Where do you get the inspiration for ideas?" and my simple answer is everywhere, but it goes deeper than that.

Recently, scientist discovered that there is a specific area of the brain that actually lights up on an MRI when you have that "Aha!" moment or are inspired. Could they be close to finding a way to generate inspiration? How would our world change if we had that "Eureka" moment in a bottle at our disposal?! For me finding a new ideas today sometimes means looking at my past. Thinking about my childhood experiences led me to a recent pendant design. I remembered this about my childhood...

When I was a kid my dad built a mobile home out of a 1950's school bus. In its building phase, I remember my dad, standing atop of the elevated and exposed flat bed which accentuated his already intimidating 6' 3" frame. At some point, my unfortunately placed tricycle was flattened like a pancake by the back wheels of this giant rolling house. I cried. With mom's curtains in the windows and hand picked tiles on the counters, we traveled in what dad called our "house car" to Arizona, Oregon and Washington. That was the very early 1970's and I have no doubts that we were the hight of hippie chic. Some of my fondest and not so fond memories are of being in that bus. Getting to sleep in the big bed above the cab, roof pulled back to sleep under the stars. Waking up freezing in the winter with out central heating. Being warmed by the vintage potbelly stove. The times spent there as a teen were embarrassing. Why didn't we have a "normal" non moving house? With more privacy? HIPPIES!

When I think about it, we had it good. Not much money but lots of love, friends and adventures. We were happy campers.

Here is what was inspired by that memory...

Love Bulb, Camp Light and Happy Camper pendant with spinning a wheel!

Inspiration can be around the corner...
Driving to a friends house last week, we turned a corner and there in a yard was a...

Peacock! We stopped and took photos and this guy and he talked his funny "yowling" talk to us. We were mesmerized! They are actually quite common here but we had not seen one this close up. I remember hearing them in the orange orchards as a kid and thinking that there was a sad cat some where out there! I later found out it was the sound a peacock makes. 

Together, we drew pictures of peacock feathers.

Works in progress.

I am also inspired by others. Jewelry designer Lorelei Eurto posted a video tutorial on how to knot disk beads. Her technique was perfect for my disk beads and I spent the day making bracelets. I also have quite a collection of art beads from Genea BeadsMamacita Beadworks, and Green Girl Studios. Their work is inspirational! My new copper frames inspired by fall.

Sometimes, I feel uninspired. I usually take that as my minds cue to rest, an important tool for letting inspiration find its way in. But with our hectic lives sometimes a good cup of coffee will just have to suffice!

• • • • • •

What has been your biggest inspiration in life? Please comment to be entered to win a new "Happy Camper" pendant!  A person will be chosen at random next week!

• • • • • •

Wearing many hats, Gaea lives in Ojai, California. You can see her work here... or here... and here...

Friday, August 23, 2013

Bead Fest Pity Party Sale

Are you sad about missing Bead Fest this weekend?  I am! Okay, wipe away those tears - you are going to need those Kleenex's for drooling! I've gathered together some awesome beadmakers and shops to share discounts with you for the weekend.  All sales are Friday through Sunday. Discount code for each shop is PITYPARTY13.

Humblebeads - 20% off beads and jewelry.

Tesori Trovati - 15% off.

MoreSkye Jewels - 15% off.

Gaea - 15% off.

Second Surf - 20% off.  Also check our Second Surf's Facebook page for one-of-a-kind bead sets through the weekend.

Grubbi - 40% off.

Kristi Bowman Design - 15% off.

The Curious Bead Shop - 10% off.

SongBead - 20% off.

Jewellery Quarter - 30% off.

Olla Podrida - 25% off.

Join me all weekend on my blog for giveaways, a weekend of inspiration and connecting with other creative folks online!

If You Are Ever Stuck in an Elevator with Me

"Life is like riding an elevator.
It has a lot of ups and downs and someone is
always pushing your buttons."
~ fortune cookie

I love the blog Indie Retail Academy by Clare Yuille. So much so that when she had a five week e-class on What Retailers Want, I signed up and paid my money without hesitation {and then promptly got so busy that I couldn't even do one of the exercises. But I think that I can go back and do them all later. *Sigh* Does that happen to anyone else?} Clare is in the UK, but her lessons and wisdom are spot on no matter where you are in the world. Plus she is just so darn nice!

Recently, she has been unfolding a series she called "How To Stop Worrying and Start Selling." I read all her posts with great interest as she seems to know exactly what I am hoping to hear and does it in a way that is easy to understand and actionable. This particular message in her series is one that resonated with me: how do you describe what you do in one snappy sentence?

As a maker, I have creative ADD. {Ooh...shiny!} I cannot sit still for long periods of time unless I am completely absorbed in what I am doing and then time stands still. That is when I forget to eat or use the bathroom. But finding that thing that sucks me in completely is sometimes a crap-shoot. There are so many inputs, so many piles and lists clamoring for my attention, so many crafty ideas left unexamined, that it is hard for me to focus when I walk into my studio. I feel like every bead is screaming at me to 'MAKE SOMETHING' and 'PICK ME!' that I have to stop the beady voices and often leave the room completely. {Or is that just me?}

Okay. It sounds like I need an organizational intervention. Perhaps in another post. ;-)

But back to the one sentence idea.

{Think Good Thoughts - bracelets}
I am the 'Queen of the Cliches' as my secretly snarky husband recently said to me. But I would prefer to think of myself as the 'Princess of Positive' instead! I made up these bracelets with the hopes of getting the attention of the Uncommon Goods jewelry call for submissions back in June, but unfortunately, they were not chosen, despite telling a story and being 'uncommon.' {But I understand that this is now an ongoing monthly contest, so scoot over there and enter something!}

So I walked into a local boutique called Girls in Pearls while wearing the 'take risks' bracelet. I went in there to pitch some other jewelry, but this bracelet is what caught her eye. In addition to the jewelry, she asked that I write up a little card about me and my inspirations to put in a frame by the display.

Uh-oh. Even though I am a prolific writer, I always find it a bit daunting to write that short bio for publication without sounding full of myself. I try to be pithy and fun, but also serious about what I do. So this one sentence idea seemed like a great place to start.

{Think Good Thoughts connectors. I am proof that wearing these messages work!}
This is also known as the 'elevator pitch': a clear, succinct and precise explanation of your proposition. If you were stuck in an elevator with the editor of a magazine you loved, or the CEO of a company you wanted to work for, you would have roughly a 30 seconds to a minute to share what you do, why you do it and who you do it for.

Per Clare's instructions, the fill-in-the blank breakdown goes like this:

I am ______________________I make ____________________ for _________________
and I create _________________.

Here is what I would write:

I am an artisan jewelry designer who makes unique jewelry  for people who appreciate handmade one-of-a-kind art and I create jewelry that tells your story.

Of course, as a former English teacher, I would jazz it up a bit. You can change the syntax anyway you like. And it can be more than one sentence. But not more than three. {You are riding an elevator, remember?}

Erin Prais-Hintz is a creator, inspirationalist, encourager and connector.
An artisan jewelry designer, Erin creates wearable works of art
that tell your one-of-a-kind story.
What story do you want to tell?

The descriptive words to define me are intriguing and hopefully want someone to find out more. Adding a question at the end, gets the listener {or reader} involved in the action and gives them a way to feel connected to what I am pitching. It opens the door to a conversation. If I wanted to distill it down even further, to just a motto or byline, I would say something like this:

Tesori Trovati Jewelry - Creatively Telling Your One-of-a-Kind Story

My 'elevator pitch' is always a work in progress, and I will continue to play with words to keep refining my message, but for now, I feel confident that if I am stuck in that elevator with the magazine editor or the CEO I would have a pretty compelling pitch that might make them invite me to step off at their floor.


So my challenge to you is to think of your own 'elevator pitch', your short description of what you do and why you do it and who you do it for that you can use to grow your business, put on cards and banners and define what you do to help the audience who is looking for you hone in on what makes you special and unique and hopefully sell more!

Share your 'elevator pitch' in the comments!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Art Bead Palette :: Pajego Art House

Three Tone Rustic Sunshine Water and Sage Ceramic Clasp by PajegoArtHouse

Two Tone Rustic Earth and Water Ceramic Clasp by PajegoArtHouse

Tufted Rust and Water Birdie Clasp by PajegoArtHouse

I have to confess that when I made jewelry, I didn't spend a whole lot of time thinking about the clasps. Mostly for me, it was all about function, something to hold a bracelet or necklace on. I usually opted for clasps that didn't draw a lot of attention, and that would blend into the overall design instead of standing out.

Boy, was I missing out!

When I stumbled across an Etsy shop called Pajego Art House, I couldn't help but pause. What lovely, colorful clasps! Now these are clasps that demand and deserve a little attention, don't you think? Much more in line with a focal than something to hide, I found a few favorites to share with you today.

To see more, be sure to click on over and see the lovely ceramic work!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Designer of the Week :: Susan Delaney of Lady Flowers by Susan

I am drawn to the graphic quality of this pendant created by Susan Delaney of Lady Flowers by Susan. Susan chose to use birches standing tall to represent the three people in the painting. I think it looks like a forest with a sunset blazing.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Show Me Sunday - People Beads with Rebecca of Songbead

Hello ABS-ers! Hope you are having a great August. I am busy, busy, busy - today is day 16 of my 23 day craft fair, in the Edinburgh Festival. Phew! As you can imagine, I'm pretty shattered, but I'm also thoroughly enjoying the experience - I'm surrounded by other lovely stall-holders, and on the most part, the weather has been good to us! It's amazing how quickly you fall into the routine of these things. I can tell I will miss it when it is over, although I'll be glad of a little down time. Already planning a little escape for a few days, once it's all over!

This week, I have a really striking piece of jewellery to share with you from Saraccino, which features an amazing bead which she created herself. You can read all about it over on her blog, here.

As always when I see talented people do things with polymer clay, I am totally in awe here! A stunning  bead, and necklace. 

We also had a couple of shares from Karin, featuring her bead embroidery work. Some more beautiful pieces - do take a minute to go and check them out! Here and here. Thanks so much ladies, for sharing your beautiful creations!

And here's a themed bead I found on etsy, from Bo Hulley Beads. 

There's something almost a little ghostly about the impression of this face...I can see some really atmospheric jewellery being created with it.

And now for the Bead Blogger Links. Happy Sunday, everyone!

A Bead A Day 
It's new product sharing day on A Bead A Day blog! It's all about stainless steel findings. Jewelry Making 
There is still time for some summer time earrings. 
Art Bead Scene 
Check out Erin's big news - she will be presenting a webinar on Fibre Findings and Finshing Techniques for Jewelry for Interweave/FW Media! 
Beading Arts 
Cyndi has been experimenting with CopprClay again! 
Carmi's Art/Life World 
Do you have a charm bracelet? Wear it again as a necklace! 
Resin Crafts Blog! 
A vintage Parisian frame and a very old dried flower makes this new resin filled object special. 
Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! 
Jean reviews the 10th Anniversary Collector's Issue of Bead Style Magazine and it is GREAT! See Jean's blog! 
The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton 
Andrew was (subconsciously) inspired by the color palette of his shirt when working on this brick stitch bracelet. 

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer, currently living in Manchester, England. You can read more about her and her work at her blog, and see more of her jewellery at She also has a supplies shop at

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Studio Saturday with Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati Jewelry

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner. 

This weeks winner is Ann Schroeder of Bead LoveCongratulations! 
You have won a Pendant, a Button and a Cabochon from Tari Sasser at Creative Impressions In Clay.
Send Tari an email with your address and she will get them right out to you.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •
This week we visit the studio of 
Erin Prais-Hintz
at Tesori Trovati.
• • • • • • • • • • • • • •
"Don't listen to those 
who would give you reasons 
why you can't succeed. 
You're a child of God 
and with credentials like that 
you can do anything." 
~ Linda Lee Elrod

I truly believe that we are all called by a higher power to be creative.

The act of making something new and valuable is the driving force behind the tallest buildings, the tastiest meals, the most vibrant paintings, the most heart-wrenching lyrics, that is what it means to be creative.

People frequently tell me they are not creative. Does that ever happen to you? Usually this occurs in response to seeing some sort of art that I have created. At that point, I tell them that they are indeed creative. I will argue with them, passionately, if need be.

We are each creative in our own way. My creativity comes through in my art, in pushing beads around and wrangling them into something more beautiful together than they might be by themselves, in seeing the possibility in things that are not even typically used for making adornments, in telling the story of the person who is wearing a personal talisman that I will manifest just for them.

It doesn't mean that other people are not creative, it just means that they are not creative in the same way as I am. That sort of negative comparison is so detrimental. But we all do it. We look at our friend who is an amazing scrapbooker and takes the time to document her children's life story so beautifully and we find fault in our own inability to even put one picture in a frame, despite the fact that we have all the paper and embellishments in the world (maybe even a mini scrapbook store in their basement... ahem!). We see those who have a perfectly ordered household with beautiful art on the walls, a place for everything, a knack for arranging furniture in such a way that is is so welcoming and think that we don't measure up because the dust bunnies in our own house compete with the spiders weaving fortresses and the piles are threatening to topple over and bury you under an avalanche.

(Or is that just me?)

We are all called to be creative, whether that creativity comes through in making the world's best creme brulee, or raising really compassionate children, or painting portraits, or coaxing gardens into bloom, or making beads that tell a story and jewelry that makes people happy.

I just wrote a post about a dear man who recently passed away. His name was Erv and he was a larger than life personality. Erv gave me that mug above for my 20th birthday on August 11, 1988. It is amazing that I have kept this mug all these years; in fact, I used those words to make a bulletin board in my classroom each fall to greet my new group of students when I was a 7th grade English teacher so many years ago. Last week I shared the story of how I received this mug with his grieving daughter and dear granddaughter. They were incredibly touched by the story, but not at all surprised. He lived that statement and he truly believed that we could do anything.

And that last line, about being a child of God really resonated with me. So of course it came through in my creative way as a new Story Tube bead in my Simple Truths line.

YOU are a 
child of GOD & 
with credentials 
like that you can 

Soon I will be offering these in my Etsy Shop, but as a belated birthday gift from me to you, I would like to give away one of them. (I am also giving away two more, for a total of three, through my blog: Treasures Found. Feel free to enter there as well. But there will only be three individual winners total.)

[NOT the new beads, but these are other Story Beads so you get the idea ;-)]
I am ready to put the finishing touches on them. Right now they are 'naked' without any color [the beads above will just give you an idea of what they will look like]. I haven't painted them yet, so YOU get to choose the colors. [I think they look best in a wash of 2-3 tones. Your choice.] You can choose silver or copper for the metal.

But here is the twist... if you win, you have to agree to do a little blog reveal with me in a few weeks, on Friday, September 20th. I want to see how this message and this bead inspire you!

So, who is with me?

Just leave a comment on this post answering the following: 

If you are a Child of God and you can do anything,
what is that anything that you are called to do? 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Uncommon Goods Jewelry Contest

Uncommon Goods is hosting a monthly contest to find unique handmade jewelry for their website. They are looking for fresh designs, interesting materials and jewelry that tells a story.  Do you have what it takes?  Enter your favorite design today and see what happens - you never know!

Here are some of my favorite handcrafted picks from Uncommon Goods to give you a feel for what they are all about.  You can also see some of the current designs from last month's challenge here.

Above, clockwise:
Blue Pinecone Necklace from Nancy Nelson are brass pendants cast from real pinecones, so sweet and precious!
Reminder Breath Necklace by designer Yayoi Inada is etched sterling silver and handcrafted.
Parchment Blossom Earrings are the creation of Margaret Dorfman. The flowers have petals and leaves are crafted from thinly sliced vegetables! Not that is uncommon!
Golden Sunflower Necklaces are handcrafted sterling silver and gold-plated pendants from designer Eileen Baumeister McIntyre.  
Faceted Pendant by ceramic artist Julie Moon that is hand-sculpted and painted in a trendy palette.

-Grand Prize: $500 and an UncommonGoods Vendor Contract

- Necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings designs (all sorts of materials are welcome as long as they are safe and animal-friendly)

- Judge: UncommonGoods Assistant Jewelry & Accessories Buyer Sharon Hitchcock. 

-Submission Deadline: August 31, 2013 at 11:59 PM ET

-Questions? Email

-Submission page: Uncommon Goods  

- Judges will provide runners-up with a critique of their work, tips for marketing and growing your business.

This post is sponsored by Uncommon Goods.