Monday, March 31, 2014

Birthday Bash WINNERS!

And I promised you WINNERS! Eight random winners of eight awesome prizes from eight ABS Editors. If you have won, please email me at with your full name and mailing address and "Winner!" in the subject line, and I will forward that to the editor to ship your prize. I really did read each of the 143 comments, and it was fun to hear how you found ABS, what you love about ABS and why you continue joining in the ABS community.
Thank YOU for making our 7th Birthday Bash so much fun!
And the winners are..

Here's to the next 7 years...and beyond!

March Monthly Challenge Recap

This charming illustration from Adolph Dietrich shows a child-like fascination with the jewels of the sky welcoming spring. From the bright feathers to the hint at the energetic movements of these wee birds, this painting has a lot to offer for our inspiration. And the creations that were made to honor this art were just as varied and fresh!

Welcome Spring!

Your turn!

Click the InLinz Link-up below to add your blog post to the hop!
Please add your exact URL to the blog hop for the
March 2014 Art Bead Scene Monthly Challenge Recap.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Bead Addicts, Jewelry Making Machines & Connoisseurs of Handmade

ABS March 2014 Monthly Challenge brings us a mix of a snowy landscape with twittering colorful birds to announce spring ! 



POLYMER CLAY PODS SET by Claire Maunsell








 So kick-start your SPRING creating with LOVELY colors and fun beads!
And stay PINNED to the Art Bead Scene Challenge Boards HERE .


(Jewelry Artist at Ornament Lounge)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Inside the Studio with Rebecca of Songbead

Welcome to Inside the Studio!

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.

Congratulations Kathy Lindemer! You have won a pendant of The King, aka Elvis from Tari Sasser of Creative Impressions In Clay
Please send Tari an email with your information.

Phew! I am at the end of a looooong fortnight and am ready for the weekend. Extremely ready! I had a full-on working weekend last weekend which you can read about over on my own blog if you are interested (the 'song' bit of Songbead had some action), and so I feel like I've been dashing around in the hamster wheel of life relentlessly for quite a while, what with one thing and another. You know that feeling when you complete one task, only to have another one loom its ugly head up almost immediately? That's what this past month has been like - satisfyingly (bordering on overwhelmingly!) busy. 

One of the things that has kept me busy over the past two weeks has been these rather marvellous czech glass beads which I am currently stocking over at The Curious Bead Shop

My work table today.

They are pretty hard to get hold of, and so I was thrilled when my supplier restocked in colours I had bought previously, and then last week had an offering new colours! Yuuuuuummmm. These are *such* beautiful beads - I cannot enthuse enough about them. The perfect addition to your art bead-laden jewellery! Just look at the scrummy colours I have in stock ~

I am so happy to have such a lovely range of colours - they are perfect for my rustic, whimsical narrative jewellery and I am snaffling quite a few of these away for my own Songbead designs. It seems like Spring has only just begun, but before I know it, it will be the summer and craft fair madness will set in again! My first fair of the season is in June, which is really not that far off....

Along with Czech glass, I've also been stocking up on Art Beads. I mean, as if I need to....I have enough art beads to last me until the end of the century, I'm pretty sure! Here are some lovelies that have arrived recently or will be arriving with me soon. Try not to be too jealous....;-)

I am a colour-a-holic, as you can see from the above! I think these colours will go perfectly with my new pansy beads too. Vibrant, cheerful and fun!

So, my question to you is - what art beads have you bought - or made! - recently? What's on your wish list if you haven't bought recently - what beads are you dreaming of for your summer designs? Share your favourites in the comments below! My prize for you is a selection of the pansy blooms from The Curious Bead Shop :-)

Have a fabulous weekend!

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer, currently living in Belfast, Northern Ireland. 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

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Art Bead Palette :: BombPop

Barolo & Peaches

Mad for Mid Mod

5 Tyvek Girls on Bikes

I was browsing Etsy for this month's Art Bead Palette post and my eye caught the most unusual looking beads from Carol Ann's shop, BombPop. The textures (and colors, naturally) grabbed me, and the more I looked at them, the more curious I became. These were fascinating!

Turns out, they're made from a synthetic fabric called Tyvek, and the way Carol Ann has created them, they look like either smooth barrels or an explosion of flower petals. Aren't they fabulous?

You can see more Tyvek beads here, and all of Carol Ann's shop here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Perfect Pairings :: Monique U + Pepita Handmade + PotteryGirl1 + Outwest + Two Glassy Ladies + BeadSwedeSupplies + ColourComplements

It is sweet serendipity when you happen to have the components you want to use on hand to make something for the monthly challenges. That is what happened to Monique of A Half-Baked Notion. She had just ordered some sweet little ombre enamel bird components right before the challenge painting was announced for the month. That is what I call meant to be(ad)! (See what I did there? ;-)
The colors are lively and there are so many wonderful details to keep my eyes dancing. From a variety of art bead artists (that's a lot of art beads!), to the handmade feathers from Monique herself, these components just sing, like the birds outside my window so happy for the warmer days of early spring. And do you see the window in the center? That is so very clever to include!
Featured Designer :: Monique at A Half-Baked Notion

Featured Bead Artists :: Pepita Handmade + PotteryGirl1 + Outwest +  
Let's see what YOU can create inspired by bird themed painting!
Join me here on Monday, March 31st for the Monthly Challenge Recap
with a picture gallery and InLinkz blog hop!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tutorial Tuesday: Waiting for Spring Necklace

My necklace tutorial is about Spring, or maybe I should say waiting for Spring.  As I write this early in the morning, the temperature outside has just plummeted to 8 degrees below zero F.  The house pops and bangs as the temperature falls, snow covers our fields, the trees are bare.  But as I looked
 for swelling buds yesterday, I did find a few.
swelling buds of Spring and greenness (left Rosa Rugosa and right Lilac)

Of course I know that Spring will come.  Just a question of when we will see birds and butterflies and colorful flowers and woods that have come to life.
Meanwhile, I have been making my own Spring with beads and wire .
I hope you enjoy my Waiting for Spring necklace.  It is about loving the outdoors and creating with art beads.
Specifically, my Waiting for Spring necklace measures 30 inches from end to end.  The dark brown ball chain is added as a layer and is not connected to the necklace but I see it as being worn with the  necklace.  The necklace is made by wire wrapping art beads and attaching them to a length of etched bronze chain.  My instructions will focus on the specifics of making the focal assembly and the stacked disk beads. 
Please note that some of the bead pictures are not exactly like the ones in the necklace because at the last moment I changed that center curved bead into a smaller straight bead.  But the technique for creating the  the focal bail and assembly are the same.  
Here is a closeup of how the center bead assembly looks now
Closeup of the focal pendant 


Art Beads
2 Ceramic Bird Beads by Mary Harding
2 Rustic Glass disks 27mm x 5mm  8mm center hole by Outwest
1 Pewter Mushroom charm by Green Girl Studios
1 Ceramic Butterfly Focal Bead Large 2 inches high and 2 inches wide by Mary Harding
1 Peach color Porcelain Toggle Clasp with teal blue toggle bar by Mary Harding
1 sun charm center hole by Mary Harding

 8 yards of patinated 20 gauge copper wire.  If you want to have a patina on your wire you will need to do it beforehand due to the wood and fiber beads.  As you cut off pieces from your coil of wire, slip them through some dry paper towel to remove some of the patina and keep your fingers from getting stained with black . Or you could purchase copper wire with an antique patina.

12 inches of Vintaj Natural Brass chain  9.5m x6.5m etched cable unsoldered chain ( this is an easy chain to find)  on line try or The Curious Bead shop on Etsy

1 copper tube bead  about 1 inch long and 1/4 inch in diameter

2  6mm antiqued copper jump rings
1  14 mm copper jump ring
1  10mm copper jump ring
1  5mm copper jump ring

1 20 gauge 3 inch long balled end head pin

7 beads assorted colors and sizes--including
1 lime green ceramic bead  6 mm
1 turquoise ceramic bead 8 mm
1 6mm thick disk bead light blue
1 faux sea glass dark burgundy 5mm
3 peach colored ceramic beads 3-4mm

6 Mixed Tree branch Wooden Beads from Pymatuning Crafts

48 inches dark brass ball chain for layering with necklace connected into one long loop. check out Etsy or Ornamentea for this kind of ball chain

2  Brass 1/16 inch Screw rivets 3/4 inches long  source Objects and Elements but they are going out of business and don't carry them anymore.  I found them HERE on Etsy.

1 Felt disk center hold punched or other fiber about 1 inch in diameter. I made this one but found some on Etsy Here
2  plain unstamped 26 gauge copper disks center hole punched:  1 meassures 5/8 inch and 1 measures 1/2 inch
2 stamped 26 gauge copper disks center hole punched: 1 measures 5/8 inch and 1 measures 1/2 inch
1 copper tube bead about 3/4 inches long and 1/4 inch wide.  I found something similar HERE

Epoxy glue

Flush cutters
Chain nose pliers
Round nose pliers
Bent nose pliers
1/16 or 1/8 inch hole punch
Tiny eyeglass screw driver (optional)

We are going to begin with making the stacked rustic glass disk beads.

There are two of these beads in the necklace.  One has the fiber and a sun charm and the other has two stamped disks.  The Sun charm one will be our model.
1. We will begin with making wrapped loop bails on opposite sides of the disk.  

 Cut a 15 inch piece of the 20 gauge copper wire.  Make a loose fold in the wire at about the 2 1/2 inches from  one end.  Insert the disk bead as shown in the picture above.

 Wrap the shorter wire around the longer wire (similar to wire wrapping a briolette)

 Make two or three wraps and then but off the shorter end.

Use the chain nose pliers to make a right angle bend in the longer wire slightly above the wire wrap and make a wrapped loop.

How the disk bead will look with the two wire wrapped loops.

Making the Bead Stack

1.  Using a 3/4 long screw rivet insert it into the center 1/16 inch hole in the 3/4 inch diameter plain patinaed copper disk as seen below:

 2.  Add the felted disk to the long screw rivet as seen below:

 3.  Add the rustic glass disk bead as seen below

 4.  Add the plain copper 1/2 inch diameter disk as seen below:

 5.  Add the sun charm as seen below

6.   Add the brass nut and screw the assembly together as seen below.  If you have a tiny screw driver use it to hold the head of the screw or use your finger nail to hold the head of the screw so it does not spin as you tighten the nut. 

8.  For the stamped copper stacked bead follow the steps above but omit the felt and the sun charm steps.  For both beads, cut off the excess screw and file smooth.  Add a couple of drops of epoxy glue to the screw head to insure that it does not work itself loose later on.  

The Focal Butterfly Pendant Assembly

1.  Use a copper tube bead that is about 3/4 inch long and 1/4 inch in diameter.  Patina the tube bead before you start.  
2.  Cut a 4 inch piece of 20 gauge copper wire.  Make wire wrapped loops on each end.  Insert the wire into the bead and curve the wire slightly upward.
3.  To make the bail to hang the butterfly pendant from, cut a 15 inch  piece of the 20 gauge wire and insert  2 inches of it into the wire stringing loop of the butterfly pendant . Fold the wire together and wrap the short end of the wire around the longer piece, in the same manner that you did to wrap the stacked rustic glass disk beads in the steps above.

5. Clip off the extra short wire.  Then wrap the long end of the wire around a pencil or ball point pen or a 3/8 diameter copper tube  as seen in the picture below.

6.  Then bring the wire around the strung loop and to the back of the pendant and back over the tube bead mandrel and back front again.  Then around one more time and then begin to make a wrapped loop

                                                    wrapped loop completed
7.  Embellish the bail and further secure the wrap by using  a balled end head pins.  Shape the head pins into a U and insert into the bail wrapping the wires around the tube bead on each side.

the orange colored wire is the wrapped balled end pin

7.  So now you have  your bail completed and you will begin adding embellishments to the pendant.  Wire wrap the three peach colored small 4mm beads with the 20 gauge balled end head pins.  Attach all three beads to a single 4-5mm  jump ring and attach to bail you just made for the Butterfly flocal.

Now attach the Green Girl Mushroom bead to the bottom of the butterfly focal as seen in the picture below with the 16 jump ring.

Necklace Assembly
1. Double wire wrap the beads on each side of the necklace in the order that they are in the picture.  Use 15 inch pieces of wire for the wooden beads and the bird beads. Use about 8-10 inches of wire for the smaller round beads.  Link your wire wrapped beads together as you go on the left side in the following order:  wooden branch bead, brown and blue ceramic bird bead, wooden branch bead, stacked sun charm glass bead (that we assembled earlier), wooden branch bead, lime green ceramic bead, faux glass bead. 
For the wooden branch beads and the bird beads I make hefty wire wraps by going up and down the bead 3 times for a total of 9 wraps.

2. Now make the double wire loop wraps for the right side of the necklace in the following order: wooden branch bead, green ceramic bird bead, thick dotted ceramic disk bead, wooden branch bead, stacked stamped glass disk bead( that we assembled earlier), turquoise porcelain ceramic bead.

3. Then add the 6mm jump ring to the last wrapped bead on each side of the necklace and attach to the assembled Butterfly Focal bead.

5.  Add the chain to the loops of the wooden branch beads at the top of the necklace by opening the unsoldered links as seen in the picture below.  

Do this for both sides of the necklace.  Then determine the link that is in the middle of the necklace that will allow the butterfly focal bead to hang evenly and straight. I found that 18 links of chain ( 5 inches) on the left side and 20 links( 5 1/2 inches) for the right side made it fall about even.  Open that link on the left side of the necklace ( facing you) and attach the teal blue toggle bar. On the remaining chain add a the 10 mm jump ring and attach the peach color porcelain toggle clasp.

6.  When you wear your new necklace, add the ball chain doubled and adjust it to fall the way you like it.  I had mine make descending loops.

Enjoy your new necklace and your Spring!!

Thanks so much for stopping by today.

Posted by Mary Harding

Waiting for Spring Necklace  by Mary Harding
(picture taken on snow background)