Friday, April 29, 2011

Introducing the "Vintage Chic Collection"

A while back I mentioned I had a new collection inspired by vintage elements in the works. Today I present the first pieces in that set! I am going to post them in my Etsy shop over the weekend but I am giving my bloggy pals first crack at them. If you would like to purchase one leave me a comment or send me an email at kathryn7 dot gmail dot com. Each piece is one of a kind made from upcycled jewelry as well as some handmade components. They also layer together very well. I designed them to stand alone or be worn 2 or 3 together. Because I'm just nuts like that ;)

Victoria: 18 inches. Filigree focal balanced by handmade free form wire connector.

Diana: Cameo pendant with purple rhinestones. $20

Elizabeth: Intricate round pendant with layered chains. $25

Catherine: Handmade original design composed of black labradorite diamonds and silver colored wire. $30

Have an awesome weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

One focal...four or more options!

Yesterday for Bead Table Wednesday I showed you some of the things I was planning to work on. I got stuck. On one type of bead :) As I began to sketch some ideas with these large ceramic oval beads I had a stroke of inspiration. The beads are very large (40mm top to bottom) so it seemed like using one would be ideal for most people so that the weight could be kept at a comfortable level. But I couldn't decide the best way to orientate the bead. And then I remembered this awesome idea I saw on a blog I read earlier this week. I tried to find it again and couldn't if you know who I am talking about please leave me a comment because I wanted to link to her work to show you how awesome this idea is! Take a look.

I started by taking one bead and giving it extra large wire loops. I wanted to get as many options as possible out of the design so I attached it to 36 inches of copper chain (makes an 18 inch necklace when fully extended like above). The handmade hook clasp went on the other end of the chain and voila! I added the Vintaj fairy and the vintage turquoise bead to add a little whimsy and balance for when it's worn horizontally as seen below.

And finally...
Tada! The reason I decided on the 18 inch length was because you can also double the chain and wear it short, again with the vertical or horizontal option!

I loved it so much I had to do another one...

This time I made little dragon flies with grossular garnet rounds for accents and used different types of chain for a simple yet still asymmetrical look (when worn long) that turns symmetrical when worn short. Neat, huh?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


For my birthday mid-April my in-laws gave me a Hobby Lobby gift card and super cute damask patterned candle with matching holder. Today on my table are the beads that said gift card bought. I have recently fallen for ceramic beads thanks largely to Jen and the stash she sent me a while back which contained a wide variety of goodies including some awesome ceramics! Today I am hoping to work up some designs for these babies....starting with those giant ovals at the bottom. Aren't the gorgeous?!

For more Bead Table Wednesday check us out on Flickr and don't forget to hop over and say hi to Heather for starting this great group.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The runner up

Yesterday I posted about my ABS challenge entry. Yay! Now I will show you the other piece I had thought I might enter. Here she is....

The faux jade polymer pendant came from the same mold that my entry did. That mold is a current favorite. I love the little oriental (not sure what language it is) character surrounded by all the flora. As far as "wearability" goes, this piece goes with a surprising range of current colors. The amethyst rounds and rondelles add another aspect, allowing me to keep the design simple but still interesting to look at...nothing keeps you guessing and coming back for more like natural stones! Finally, the coins! As soon as I held them up to the mix I had going with the faux jade and amethyst I was hooked. I thought about using one coin to make a clasp but I wanted to be able to show both sides while it was being worn so I went with the symmetrical and simple all the way.

The reason I didn't enter this piece was because when I completed it i wasn't sure if it was *too* simple of a construction for the challenge. Also, while the colors I chose were a rough approximation of some that were in the color palette of the painting, I felt that the overall feel of the piece just wasn't close enough to suit me. But I'll let you in on a secret...I think this is the one I will be adding to my personal collection ;)

Monday, April 25, 2011

ABS Challenge April 2011

I posted last week about debating about whether I should enter my work in the ABS challenge.
Thank you to all you fantastic and supportive people who left comments and thoughts on such struggles :) The comments were a huge help! Sometimes hearing the same thing you are telling yourself sounds even more obvious coming from somebody else! is my submission for the challenge.

The polymer pendant was made using mokame gane techniques and keeping a somewhat irregular shape because I wanted shape that looked more a stone that you didn't want to cut away to much of to make the perfect form. The coordinating beads (the three on the opposite side of the flower) are also all made by me. All the polymer was inspired by the painting for this month that you see here.

The blossom is rose quartz and accented by the carved stone beads that I have forgotten what they are but love how they look and feel. The rest of the beads are carnelian rounds. The first piece that I created for this challenge was strung on waxed cotton. While I LOVE the piece (I will do a separate post about it later) I knew that that fiber was just not what I wanted for this second installment. So I went with artistic wire for an added boost the the asymmetrical design and also to bring in that tiny bit of green, giving a nod to the leaves in the painting.

This was a fun challenge and I think now I will try to do them more often. Thanks again for all the guys are awesome!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

BTW and my inner turmoil.

Wednesday, Wednesday...Bead Table Wednesday!

Here's the thing...I am working on two pieces right now and here are peeks at both of them.

They are both inspired by the same source and there are similarities (you'll just have to take my word because I deliberately didn't show those similarities to you ;) ). However, I am first of all having trouble deciding which one I like best for the challenge and secondly...well, I guess I am just having a bout of that self doubt that strikes most artists from time to time. Some really AMAZING artists enter this challenge and it's just kinda daunting to think "maybe my work could be in the same group with these people"?! I know I should just go for it. I probably will. We'll see.

Here are some photos of past BTW pieces that are now complete. Check out more of BTW on Flickr. And don't forget to check out Heather Powers who started it all!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Testing The Blogsy App

  • I am hoping that this app is the answer to my iPad blogging needs! We shall see :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

7000 Bracelets of Hope

Here is my bracelet for the rare disease awareness blog hop!

The theme was to make bracelets that go with blue jeans so I took the opportunity to use some artistic wire with a new color combo I have been experimenting with for my pillow beads

Since we don't know the wrist measurements for out recipients I made an adjustable clasp by making wire wrapped figure 8s. I have worn it on 2 different occasions to test it's comfort and I was very pleased that it attracted several comments as well as proving comfortable and durable.
Check out the full list of participants here!

*~Thank you to the fantabulous Lori Anderson for hosting this event~*

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The a-Ha earring moment

Kathleen Dustin wrote a fantastic article in the latest issue of Art Jewelry. It was about using the ear wire (the part of your earring that actually goes into the piercing) to enhance your design. I loved the article because for quite a while I have struggled to make earrings that I consider to be "WOW" earrings as opposed to just "nice" earrings. Thus began my project to begin developing my earring design skills.

Here you see a pair that I have used regular prefab ear wires. I decided to leave them this way for 2 reasons. A) Contrast and comparison to other options and B) I think that the prefabs in this design kind of "disappear" as in they go unnoticed. This suits me in this instance because it leaves all the attention on the art bead that I created. Will I change it in the future? Very possibly. But not today.

Here we have ear wires that I designed to go with the art beads I made but without drawing too much of their own attention. Yet by making my own I could keep the total length of the earring shorter because a prefab would have required using a jump ring or other element that would have made it too long.

Finally, I used fuchsia artistic wire to be an integral and essential part of this design. Are you surprised these are my favorite? ;)

What are your thoughts?

**Click on photos to enlarge**

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I have been experimenting with taking photos this morning. So while this actual table is really the coffee table in my living room and not my "real" bead table, this is my latest cane that I plan to incorporate into my Pink Garden pieces (like this bangle or these beads). I have also finished several pieces from previous BTW posts as you can see here...
Be sure to check out more BTW on Flickr!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring cleaning!

Since it's warm enough to be outdoors we do everything we can on the porch or in the yard. Today the boys wanted to draw and pay with playdoh so while they create, Mom can clean. How's that for a change of pace?!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

7000 Bracelets of Hope

Lori Anderson is hosting a blog hop for 7000 Bracelets of Hope. We are raising awareness for people with rare diseases. We will each be making at least one blue bracelet (to coordinate with blue denim which everyone has something denim, right?).

We will have the reveal on April 16th. So far we have over 100 beady bloggers participating and you can see the full list here.


I have been trying to come up with an efficient, effective method of making faux cinnabar and jade beads that have a carved and/or aged appearance. I think I am finally getting to a point where I have something I can be happy with! I will of course continue to hone my process and experiment with different patinas and finishes but these are what's taking up the focus of my Bead Table Wednesday. To see what's on everyone else's tables check out our Flickr group. And don't forget to drop in and say hi to Heather Powers who started BTW!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Don't you just hate it when you are all organized and somehow it falls in a heap?! I had this bracelet made a MONTH in advance and somehow missed sending it in for the Design Challenge on the Vintaj blog. GRR! Oh well, there's always next month, right? I will share it with you guys anyway because I just LOVE it :) The theme is Woodland Blush. As soon as I saw that the vision of this bracelet popped into my head. I have been using my new stash of sari silk in lots of projects but this has got to be one of my top favorites so far. I envisioned vines and forest foliage all tangling together and being guided by filigree into a functional form (see the "vines" being shaped to form the hole of the clasp?). The carved rose quartz "blush" button closure did just what I wanted and bought that touch of color that starts to peek through the leaves in the early morning hours. And of course we must not forget the mistress of the forest. Woodlands wouldn't be complete without our little magical friends, right?!

Monday, April 04, 2011


My husband Paul takes amazing photographs and he has just launched his new site Check out the few posts he's got up so far and leave him some comment love to let him know you visited! We all know what a boost that is, right? My current favorite shot is "Boarding in Style". Go see which one is your fav!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Who doesn't love compliments?!

I was paid two compliments in the last week in the form of Treasury features on Etsy! Check out this one from EB Bead and Metalworks called No Rhyme or Reason and it's a gorgeous, eclectic collection and one of her items are my Pop of Pink Pillow beads.

The other one is called Welcome to Polymer Clay Island by MetaphysicalShop and includes my Tropical Jumbo beads.
I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!