Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Black and White Challenge Reveal

BW Badge

Hello friends,

Another fun "challenge and reveal" has come and gone.  For some reason I seem to work well under pressure.  I've had a long dry spell with little to no creative juice. This is why I decided to sign up for this Black and White Challenge and push myself to follow through.  Even though this piece isn't real complicated, I love the outcome.  Although it qualifies as a "choker" it sits very comfortably on the neck.


2  - Donna Millard Lampwork Beads
Sterling Silver Findings (to taste)

1 - Copper Washer (enameled black)

16 - Faceted Black Onix Beads

13 - Medium Metal Beads (enameled black and white)


Mix vigorously and connect.


The following designers are also participating in this challenge - please take a moment and check them out:


Thank you for checking out my blog!!


Monday, June 17, 2013

Black and White Challenge (It may be the catalist)

Good morning,

I haven't made a piece of jewelry since March.  I'm not sure why inspiration hasn't knocked on my door, but I've been waiting patiently.  Anyway, I saw this challenge and thought this may be the kick-in-the-butt that I need.  Well....... my piece is finished and I think it may spark more jewelry in my future.  Please come back and visit on reveal day (July 10). 

The Challenge:

  Design a piece of jewelry that uses only black and white in the design. 
It can be elaborate or minimalist but only in black and white.
Exceptions To The Rules:
1.  wire, metal or chain in silver, copper, brass, bronze, white or black can be used
2.  crystal or crystal AB color beads can also be used to ACCENT the piece

Reveal Date: 

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

Bead Soup Blog Party # 7

Today is the day!  I’ve been waiting since early March to share my “first” Bead Soup Masterpiece.  It began in February when my new friend Linda Sadler from Ida Louise Jewelry sent me this beautiful stash:


Here is a closer look:

Lori Anderson is the wonderful person who took on this huge endeavor.  She paired us with artists who have different styles so I was a little nervous until I received Linda’s beautiful beads.  Visit Linda at her Etsy shop:  - or - her blog:

And so it begins - trial and error:
My first error; I was trying to design a piece using everything Linda gave me.  It was just too busy.  Many designers think “more is more” but my designs are usually pretty simple.  Nothing I tried appealed to me and I really wanted to make a wearable piece.  Well they don’t call it “Bead Chat” for nothing; I took it to the experts.  After posing the question to my friends on Facebook I found out I could make multiple pieces.  With that problem solved I jumped in.

I created my necklace in sections.  First, I took the focal piece and designed around it.  From the very start, I was happy with that part of the necklace.  Next, I tried to incorporate the silk ribbon.  OMGoodness, I had never used ribbon in my jewelry before and it did not come easy.  When I used it by itself, it just didn’t have enough substance.  The more I played with the ribbon, the more it frayed so I had to consider the design without using my usual trial and error.  Then it came to me; I had been making upscale friendship bracelets using chain and leather by weaving the leather cord in an out of the chain link. (I would love to give credit to the designer but can’t remember where I learned it). I tried it and was very happy with the outcome.  Two sections down with one to go. 
Now I need to create balance between the left and right side of the necklace.  I had several different chains in my stash but they were too heavy or too light so I made a chain using tiger eye beads.  These beads complemented the antique tiger eye beads that were part of the stash. 

Here is a closeup of the left and right side:



Here is my necklace:  (Please excuse the 59 year old neck!)

The bracelet came together quickly because Linda was so generous with her beads.
Here is piece number 2:


Last, but not least, I made a pair of earrings using these beautiful antique brass and glass beads.  I wanted them to stand out so I saved them specifically for this pair of earrings.

Here is piece number 3:


That’s it, my first Bead Soup!  Many thanks to our host Lori Anderson!  It was fun and I learned so much, I can’t wait for number "8"  :-)  If you are interested please go to Pinterest and check out the first of three reveals and don't forget to check back on April 4th and April 16th for the other two groups.  Or, you can read everyone's blog entries to see how each artist approached their design. Enjoy!

To read the Blogs:
Check out pics on Pinterest:


Friday, March 15, 2013

AJE Earring Challenge - Week 9 and 10

Well, the first group has almost come to the end of their allotted responsibility.  I'd like to say this challenge kept me going to my work table and for that I'm grateful.  Before I became active with the folks at AJE I would let days pass without even thinking about jewelry.  This challenge provided me with the discipline that I needed to meet deadlines weather feeling up to the challenge or not.  I also enjoyed having to use handmade elements.  I have to say, my earrings made with crystals and pearls and store bought items are more appealing to the eye but it's fun to know each pair that I made included a piece of me.

Here are my Week 9 and Week 10 entries:

Here is week 10:

Well, that's it for now - have a wonderful evening.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fun Day Learning Something New

Good evening,

This past weekend, I spent the day learning something new.  Christi Friesen came to Northern Virginia  and taught some of her polymer clay techniques. It was so much fun!  The class was held in a Federal Prison, no lie!  Fairfax County Virginia took a Federal Prison and converted it to a center for the arts.  They teach cooking, drama, ceramics, painting, all of the glass arts (to include glass blowing) and much more.  The classes are conducted in the old prison workhouses (that is where the prisoners did laundry, etc.)  If you would like to learn more go to
It is truly a fabulous facility.

Anyway, I have included several photos of us having fun (I'm not in any of the pictures - I didn't have the smarts to have my pic taken with Christi).

A picture of a necklace that Christi made - it appears in several of her published works. It was stunning up close.

This was a piece framed on black velvet. This picture doesn't do it justice, her work is very detailed.

This piece is not finished, but it was her training example, again, wish I had taken a picture of the completed heart. duh!

Here is a picture of my first piece, I have a long way to go but it sure was fun:

Have a great evening - going to my studio to make another pair of earrings for the AJE Earring Challenge.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Week 7 and 8 AJE Earring Challenge

Well, I almost failed to post week 7 and 8 of the AJE Challenge and honestly they are two of my favorite pairs so far!

Here you go, week 7:

These are made with copper elements that I purchased from Melinda Orr. She does beautiful metal embossing.  Of course I had to put my spin on them, I punched a couple additional holes and added the turquoise stones that I purchased in New Mexico.  I really like these and will wear them.
Here is Week 8:
These are made with Quick Fire Bronze Clay elements that I made (the bead caps and the little charm dangles).  I also made the lampwork beads - the photo doesn't capture the beads but as I stated in an earlier post, I plan on working on my photography.
I'm off to continue work on my Bead Swap project - I can't wait for you to see it!  I'm very proud of what I've done so far and pride isn't a word I use very often when describing my own work.
Later friends,

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Week 5 and 6 of the AJE Earring Challenge Reveal

Good Morning,

Well, I've been failing to blog about my earrings and we just completed week 5 and 6, where is the time going? A word about this challenge; I've become very popular amongst my friends and family members regarding my earrings.  I make beautiful crystal and pearl chandelier earrings using real silver or gold elements.  Although they are beautiful, it doesn't satisfy my creative side because I feel like I'm just throwing elements together.  Although the earrings I've been making for this challenge aren't my favorite, it has been great fun trying to use the unusual.  We are now half way there and I hope my creativity blossoms more and more each week.  Here are pictures of week 5 and 6.

Week 5:


Week 6:

Well there you have it,  time to work on Week 7 and 8, talk to you soon.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bead Lovers Valentines Challenge - Artisan Whimsy

Good morning! 

Guess what,  I was one of the winners of the Artisan Whimsy Valentine Challenge.  Thank you all for your support!  I won a piece of jewelry and can't wait to show you.  I'll give you a picture and a little background on the artist in an upcoming Blog post.  Woot Woot!!!

Bead Lovers Valentines Challenge - Artisan Whimsy


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Good afternoon, 

Today I get to introduce you to my partner and share with you the wonderful bead soup that I received from her.  First let me tell you a little about Linda.

She lives in Beaufort, North Carolina on the beautiful crystal coast. She began jewelry making about 5 years ago and started taking it seriously about 2 years ago.  She makes one-of-a-kind pieces with an heirloom romantic feel. She also enjoys repurposing found objects to create sentimental memory jewelry.  Visit Linda at her Etsy shop:  - or - her Blog:

Now let me show you some of the beautiful things that I received. First, look at the beautiful package I received:

And then:
And then:
And now the contents: 
Aren’t the beads beautiful?!  I love all of the antique pieces that I received and can’t wait to tackle the design.  The item that seems most challenging at this stage of the game is the silk ribbon.  I have never incorporated ribbon into my jewelry before and can’t wait to give this a go. Wish me luck.


Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Soup is in the Mail!

Good evening,

Well, after changing the clasp and adding more beads and second guessing myself several times, I finally put my soup in the mail.  If I hadn't been reading everyone's posts with the realization that lots of folks were having the same anxiety, I might have totally freaked.  My partner and I touched base this morning and both of us have sent our soup, crossed our fingers and are looking forward to receiving our little surprises.  Here is a pic of the soup I sent Ms. Linda:

Do you love it?  Oh well, I guess we will have to wait until next week for the reveal.  In the mean time, back to the AJE Earring Challenge - week 6.

Toodles - Dee

Monday, February 4, 2013

Today is the day we find out our partner for Lori’s 7th Bead Soup Blog Party! 

I’m amazed at how the creativity flowed when I was putting together my bead soup.  I left my conservative little comfy place and started thinking out of the box while arranging beads for someone else.  Funny isn’t it, I thought the creativity would come when I received my bits and bobs.

Now, I can’t wait to receive my little package.  The anticipation of receiving elements completely different from my style really excites me.

According to the rules, I can’t show the bead soup that I sent until I receive my package so I’ll keep it under wraps.  I did take a little peek at my partner’s web site and let’s just say I’m thrilled.

Talk to you soon.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Artist Whimsy Valentine Challenge

Good morning!

Taking a time out from the Art Jewelry Element Earring Challenge and the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party; I thought I would take my chances and enter the Artist Whimsy Bead Lovers Challenge.  Here are the details:

Design a piece of jewelry or component(s) that represent your
You may enter once per category ~
Winners will be revealed by a random pick in
Jewelry & Component Categories
on February 13 midnight (EST)
Each will win a prize.
There will also be a Voted Category
"most original representation"
I was going to submit the following:
Then I keyed in on the statement "most original representation" so I thought maybe my other romantic piece which represents a love letter with a key to my heart would get more votes.  So, here is my submission, a handmade lampwork bead and a loveletter made of bronze metal clay:
I don't know if you can see it but the key is hanging from an open heart - :-)  Voting instructions will follow.
Later,  Dee

Monday, January 28, 2013

Good morning,

Guess what, I found my peeps!!!!  I'm participating in my first "Bead Soup."  Over 500 people are participating; can you believe it?  In the coming days I will be blogging about the experience and hope you will take the journey with me.

Cover Photo

In a nutshell, 500 bead lovers are paired and they exchange a focal bead, an unusual clasp and various other beauties from their stash.  Once you receive your goodies you create a beautiful piece of jewelry and reveal it on the predetermined deadline.

In addition to upcoming blogs about this experience, I will tell you a little about the organizer, Ms. Lori Anderson, Jewelry Designer and author of her new book "Bead Soup".

More to come, have a great day!


Friday, January 25, 2013

AJE Earring Challenge Week 4 and ReCap

Well it is almost Week 4 of the Art Jewelry Element Earring Challenge.  I've noticed a couple of things about me that are different from my other colleagues.  First of all, I'm one of the few artists not selling my work.  I've always been afraid that making this into a Business would mean that I'm working again.  Even though my retirement has been challenging so far; I'm so happy each day when I get up and know my schedule is my own.  The other thing I've noticed is my photo's are horrible, I guess that means I need to work harder on my digital photography skills (sounds like a good goal for 2013).  With each week (thus far) I've tried to throw something new into the mix:  Week one was purely about the lampwork, Week two was to show you can make earrings using just about any technique, mine happened to be crochet.  Week three, cotton cording instead of metal and now Week four is all about the metal, bronze clay.

In future weeks, I will be exploring resin, ceramics and chain maile.  I can't wait to start working on Week 5!

Later - Dee

Thursday, January 24, 2013

AJE Earring Challenge - Week 3

Good morning!  This has been a sunny but very cold week.  My old bones have been creaking and my creative spirit very difficult to locate.  Last night while I was trying desperately to sleep two earring ideas came to me.  Here is the first of two:

My second pair will be posted later this evening.  Check out the AJE Earring Challenge - the earrings are spectacular!  A button appears at the bottom of my blog that will take you directly to the site.  Have a great day.


Monday, January 21, 2013

I thought I would share a little about my journey towards being a jewelry designer.  After all, it is my blog :-)

I played with beads as a child, my mom said she could buy me a little vial of beads and I would string beads for hours.  I went to kindergarten at our family church and mom explained that every time arts and crafts ended each day, I would cry.  As a teenager, I remember all my wonderful art classes I had along the way….slab clay, charcoal sketches, batik, floor loom; joy pure joy.  My senior year I decided I wanted to take wood shop, but my father told me it was only for boys (it was a different time) so I signed up for Metalsmithing, Lapidary and Gem Cutting.  Mr. Hicks, my hero – the only teacher I really remember.  He introduced me to many wonderful things – jewelry design, power tools (yummy) and how to identify rocks and minerals.  Then, off to college.  I will never forget the first drawing class with our nude male model and our design teacher who gave us such elaborate assignments I spent all my money on art supplies instead of food. 

Then my life was put on pause.  I was raised with modest means and school was very expensive.  I had to go to work to make ends meet and never found my way back to school.  I retired a little over a year ago to help my mother care for my father and all of my creative juices have returned.  I can hardly keep up with my desire to create.  In a future blog I will share my horrible experiences with learning how to blog; about social networking; photographing my work, etc.
Bye for now ----- Dee

Friday, January 18, 2013

AJE Earring Challenge Week 2

Good afternoon,

Well, the sun is finally out here in Virginia!  That's the good news, it's 35 degrees and it's almost noon.  Anyway, it's time to submit my second pair of earrings for the AJE Challenge.  They will have a reveal every two weeks and the reveal for the first two weeks occurs Sunday.

One of my favorite techniques (which I haven't mastered yet) is MicoMacrame.  I say that because anyone that knows me knows I love to learn a technique as much as anything else I do in the jewelry world.  My social networking brought me to Ms. Sherri Stokely's door and it was love at first sight!  She makes the most incredible MicroMacrame and being the old hippy that I am, I can't wait to try my hand at it.  In the mean time, I've taken her inspiration and created a pair of earrings using crochet.  Not as pretty, but certainly inspired by her fabulous works of art.  Here they are:

Thank you for checking in, see you again in 2 weeks.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Week one of the Art Jewelry Elements Earring Challenge

See the blog entry made earlier this week to learn about the Art Jewelry Elements Earring Challenge.  Here is my first entry

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Art Jewelry Elements Earring Challenge

It's a new year and what a better way to start the new year then participating in a jewelry challenge. 

Participants will sign on for 13 weeks at a time.  We are challenging ourselves to make one pair of earrings a week.  The rules state the earring designs will feature at least one artisan component, such as a handmade charm or bead.  The artisan components may be made by me or by another artist.  Well, anyone that knows me knows my joy is learning new techniques.  My personal challenge will be to produce all of the artisan components myself.  I will be submitting wire wrap, lampwork, chain maille, metal clay, crochet and anything else that may make this challenge fun and interesting.

If you want to follow this challenge, every other Sunday we will be posting our entries to Pinterest, I will also be posting my entries to this blog.  It should prove to be challenging for me and hopefully fun for you.

Talk to everyone soon.