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1  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / Custom Nativity Star on: November 27, 2011 11:24:30 AM
A local lady came to me with a very ambitious commission idea- she wanted me to create a 10 inch tall nativity star that she would gift to her church, which has a completely hand-crafted nativity scene (but had been using an inexpensive store-bought star). 

This was a challenge! I've never made a single piece that big, and stars are challenging for my techniques because they're made for curvy, natural flower shapes.  She wanted silver and gold, and lots of sparkle and "wow".  I used 11/0 square-holed silver lined seed beads in silver and 3 shades of gold. The center is a large swarovski crystal rondelle. The back is reinforced with heavy pieces of wire, making the whole piece really stable.  It was hard work, but I think I pulled it off nicely!

I'd love to hear your thoughts, comments, critiques, whatever! Smiley  Thanks for looking!

2  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Halloween French Beaded Rose (4 pics) on: October 30, 2011 09:17:50 AM
I have a friend who's birthday is on Halloween.  She's also a beading student of mine, so I knew I wanted to make her something special.  She likes things spooky, but I wanted to make sure it wasn't too Halloween-y so that she could have it displayed all year round. Here's what I came up with!

This is what the whole arrangement looks like.  It barely fit in my light box, so I had a hard time getting a good photo of it.  I balanced the size of the rose with some glass pearls and crystals. 

The rose uses 4 shades of japanese seed beads to create a red fading to black effect.  It's about 6 inches wide. It's pretty heavy.

The vase is actually a wine bottle that I got about a year ago.  I knew it was just waiting for its perfect home!  I added a dark red velvet collar with a bat-shaped bell.

Here's another shot of the rose, this time from above.

The birthday girl was VERY happy!
3  CRAFTY BUSINESS ADVICE / Get Product and Website Opinions / Opinions on Photo Background? on: October 09, 2011 08:06:21 AM
I take photos of my jewelry with a homemade light box.  Since I cater to a more upscale, art-appreciating customer, I work really hard to make my photos look professional and clean. 

Previously, I used a soft white paper with a subtle texture as my backdrop.  I like the clean feel of a white backdrop, but it was really hard to edit.  With so many obvious shadows, I had a hard time lightening the photo enough without making the whole thing look over-exposed. So now I'm experimenting with more forgiving backgrounds.  Here's the first experiment.  The paper is the same type as the white, with the same subtle texture, but in taupe instead of white. 

Keep in mind that the necklace is mostly the same, but I did switch out the orange beads in the necklace.  Still, hopefully these two photos will give you a good head-to-head comparison.

Which background do you like better, and why? Thanks in advance for your opinions!


4  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / Three New French Beaded Statement Necklaces (6 pics) on: October 02, 2011 11:44:58 AM
Hi everyone!  Here's some of my recent work.  Please let me know what you think, which are your favorite, what I could do better, etc.  Thanks!

1) Autumn "Cluster" Necklace

This one isn't actually french beaded, but it's still really pretty.  This was commissioned by a bride in Washington (state) who was married on the first day of fall and wanted a rich, autumn-y necklace to make her simple gown more special.  I think it came out beautifully, and the bride loved it.  There's lots of swarovski crystal, along with some glass, carnelian, red agate, and bronzite.

2) Snowflake Necklace

This is a class sample that I'll be teaching in November.  I love the snowflake, and I plan to make a bunch of them as ornaments to give to my mom for Christmas this year.  It's made with 2mm swarovski crystals and 15/0 japanese seed beads. The necklace is glass and swarovski crystals.

3) "Champagne and Rubies"

I found these beautiful silky matte vintage czech pearls and knew I had to make something with them.  However, my french beading is always the focal of each piece, so it took me a while to figure out how to make something that would compliment the pearls but would stand out as the clear focal.  I used 15/0 seed beads, swarovski crystals, and antique copper accents.

5  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / More French Beaded Statement Necklaces (Pic heavy!) on: July 23, 2011 06:47:59 AM
I know I don't submit often.  I guess I just feel weird only posting one necklace at a time.  I'd rather give you guys a lot of eye candy at once!  Since my last post, I got some of my work accepted into a really nice art gallery, which is really exciting. Smiley

So here we go... my most recent work...  All comments, critiques, etc are encouraged and welcomed!

"African Sunset"
Made with 15/0 japanese seed beads, faceted carnelian pebbles, czech glass, Kazuri beads (handmade in Africa), and silver accents

Made with 15/0 japanese seed beads, angelite, swarovski crystals, sterling silver accents, and a cute little sterling silver fish charm

"Autumn Beaded Bead Caps"
Made with 15/0 japanese seed beads (of course), faceted red agate, swarovski crystals, antique copper accents

"Dogwood Blossom"
Made with 15/0 japanese seed beads, glass pearls, silver accents, peridot chips

Which one's your favorite?
6  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / Dragonfly, Daffodil, Plum Blossoms-- Necklaces (Pic Heavy) on: May 01, 2011 01:35:34 PM
I'm finally submitting more pictures of my work.  I've been busy, as always!  I finally opened up my etsy shop, but I have a lot more stuff to put in it! Here's some of my recent work.  As always, comments and critiques are welcomed and encouraged!

Steampunk-inspired Dragonfly Necklace-
This is a class sample, so if you're in the Columbus, Ohio area and want to learn how to do this, contact me for more information!  It uses swarovski crystal, vintaj, 15/0 seed beads, bugle beads, chain, and czech glass.

Next up, a daffodil necklace!  A lot of people requested that I make a daffodil, so I welcomed the challenge.  I used buttery yellow colors to make sure the piece looked sophisticated instead of childish.  This is made with 15/0 seed beads, czech "sea glass", swarovski crystals, and gold accents.

Last but not least, my plum blossom necklace.  I used 15/0 and 11/0 seed beads, genuine pearl and mother-of-pearl, peridot chips, swarovski crystals, and sterling silver.

Thanks for looking!

7  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / 3 New Necklaces! (6 pictures) on: February 13, 2011 02:08:47 PM
Hi all,

I've been hard at work and thought I'd post some new pictures of what I've created lately.  I would love to get feedback on what you do or don't like.  Thanks!

1)  Chinese Themed Necklace-  I orginally planned to have this finished by Chinese New Year, but that didn't happen.  I also wanted to have some Chinese themed charms (coin, dragonfly, etc) hanging under the flower, but I decided that there was enough going on already and charms would make it too crowded.  The flower is a camillia, red seed beads with gold stamen topped with little gold-plated metal beads.  I used all glass beads (and more gold-plated metal beads) in reds and blacks.  3 is a very lucky number in the Chinese culture, so I made 3 strands and grouped many of the beads in 3s. 

2) Modern Pear Tree Blossoms-  One of my bosses commissioned me to make a necklace for her.  She wanted it to be symmetrical and black/white.  I like to keep flowers in natural colors, and black/white flowers are hard to find, but I found these beautiful little pear blossoms. The strung section is white quartz with czech glass and silver spacers.  I love the way it turned out- modern, yet classic.  It's the perfect replacement for a boring strand of pearls with a little black dress.

3) Calla Lily and Pearls-  At my local bead store, I found these itty bitty teeny tiny real pearls, and I knew I had to use them.  Making a lifesize beaded calla lily is incredibly hard, but I really enjoyed making this mini one.  I used more pearls for the necklace portion, czech glass, and gold-plated beads for the stamen and in the necklace. 

Which is your favorite? What flowers would you like me to feature next? 
8  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / I make jewelry now! on: January 09, 2011 07:52:18 PM
I know it's been FOREVER since I've posted anything new.  This past year has been crazy.  Last May I was super sick and ended up in the ICU for 4 days getting boatloads of tests done. I ultimately was diagnosed with Crohn's disease and now have a wonderful GI and medicine that's been working out really well.  It took a few months to start beading again.  By then, I had decided to change my focus and combine my loves for french beading and jewelry using some new techniques I developed.  Here are some of the results!  I would LOVE to get everyone's critical feedback, as I hope to be selling these in the near future.  

Thanks for looking!

Plumeria:  Made with 15/0 seed beads, shell beads, glass leaf, various crystals

Peacock:  Made with 15/0 seed beads, real and glass pearls, various crystals, czech glass

Cherry Blossom: 15/0 seed beads, czech glass, crystals, peridot chips, silver spacers

9  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / I am obsessed with Vintaj- 3 necklaces on: July 25, 2010 06:42:36 PM
After years of creating french beaded flowers, I've finally found a way to make them reflect my personal style in wearable art.  Here are 3 of the vintaj bronze and beaded flower necklaces I've made so far.  What do you think?

"Through the Garden Gates"-- This piece reminds me of a secret garden...
This piece uses Vintaj components, size 15 japanese seed beads, some beautiful czech glass with hints of green and blue, crystal bicones, and a ceramic leaf pendant. Each side of the beaded portion is about 8 inches long, and the entire necklace is about 17 inches long (not including the draping chain portions).

"Vintaj Queen"-- This is the kind of necklace I think a queen would wear.
The flower is made with 15/0 bronze charlotte-cut seed beads, 15/0 topaz, and a smokey quartz bead. The charlotte-cut beads give a subtle sparkle. It's mounted on a Vintaj piece. The hexagons are beautiful pieces of smokey quartz, and the round beads are wood agate and smokey quartz. I actually don't remember what type of stone the oval is... if you recognize it, let me know.

"Vintaj Princess"-- This one is a little more delicate and princess-like.
This necklace features a small Vintaj piece with a 5-petal forget-me-not mounted to it. All the beads used for this piece are navy blue-lined topaz, so they give a bit of topaz sparkle. There are 3 topaz swarovski briolettes, as well as a topaz swarovski bicone in the center of the flower. The chain hangs beautifully just as it does in this picture.

10  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Weddings and Bridal Showers / Dark Pink French Beaded Bridal Bouquet-- tons of pics! on: March 21, 2010 04:39:45 PM
I've been creating french beaded flowers for almost 3 years now. I've seen people use them to create wedding bouquets, and I have been commissioned to create bouquets in the past.  This bouquet is created as a sample, not a commission, and I really wanted to see if I could make a bouquet that looked like a western floral designer had put it together.  I wanted people across the room to have no idea that it's made of beads.  I chose to make it in shades of dark pink.  I'm happy with the results and wanted to show all of you!

The bouquet is made completely out of size 11 seed beads strung on red and green colored copper wire.  Each of the flowers is my own design, as is the overall look.  There are 5 large roses and lots of little flowers created with different shades of pink.  Each small flower has a clear swarovski bicone in the center.

It's not huge.  The whole thing is 9 inches from top to bottom.  Yes, it's a little heavy.

I made each stem a little more "polished" by wrapping them in green embroidery floss.  Then I wrapped the whole thing with pink/gold ribbon and burgundy velvet ribbon with 9 swarovski rhinestones. 

Here's what the top looks like:

The best thing about this bouquet is that it won't wilt and it will last for a loooong time.  This is something that could be passed on to your daughter, and perhaps even to your granddaughter. 

I would love to hear your comments and critiques, and I hope this post opens you up to the idea of using french beaded flowers in your wedding! 
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