Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bead Soup Blog Party #6 Second Reveal!

The second reveal for the GIGANTIC Bead Soup Blog Party is today. What's a Bead Soup? Lori Anderson of Pretty Things Blog hosts a hop where partners pick a focal bead and clasp, together with any other supplies they choose, and swap them with their partners. What they've sent is a suprise till it's received, and what they've made is a suprise until the reveal! My partner is Jeannie Dukic, and she sent me a beautiful soup of  her polymer beads, a gorgeous "gin blossom" focal and button, beautiful clasps.
A necklace and bracelet featuring the beautiful focal and button came together very easily-- see what you think.

I strung faceted amazonite and brass spacers, pink opal nuggets and the cherry quartz that Jeannie sent with the polymer focal, and added a brass bee charm buzzing around that blossom.

Jeannie's beautiful hand-made copper clasp on the necklace.
On the bracelet, I added Peruvian opal to the pink, oval amazonite, some fire polished Czech glass, a leaf charm and sari silk. 

I'm pleased with how the pieces came together-- they are substantial but very wearable. This pushed me out of my comfort zone as I haven't worked with polymer focal pieces, and I haven't strung  such weighty stones in a very long time. But they were the perfect complement to Jeannie's floral pieces, and I'd definately design something similar again.

Be sure to visit Jeannie's blog next! Here is the list of the other participants -- you are in for a real treat!

Hostess, Lori Anderson, Pretty Things

Adlinah Kamsir, Dream Struck Designs
Adrienn Lukacs, Raszputyin Designs
Agata Grygiel, Cytherea Bijoux 
Alenka Obid, Pepita Handmade 
Amy Dickerson, Damyjo Designs 
Amy Schmidt, Amy's Treasure 
Amy Severino, Amy Beads 

Andrea Trank, Heaven Lane Creations
Anke Humpert, Anart Island Studios
Ann Rishell, My Critical Eye
April Grinaway, Brooklyn Bead Goddess 
Ashley Bunting, Miss Ashely Kate 
Astrid Boyce, Astrid Boyce Beads 
B.R. Kuhlman, Mixed Mayhem Studios 
Barbe Saint John, Saints and Sinners

Beata Benkone Meggyesi, Beahobbi
Brandy McNair, Bella Vita Handmade Jewelry 
 Bryna Lumb, Bryna's Bead Box
Carmen Lau, Little Maketto
Cate van Alphen, Fulgorine
Cathie Carroll, Cathie Carroll's Studio
Cathy Khoury, Touch Jewelry 
Christina Stofmeel, Feng Beads 

 Collette Collins, Fire Fly Myst Artisan Jewelry
Courtney Breul, Beads by Breul 
Crystal Thain, Here Bead Dragons
Cynthia Abner, Created Treasures
Deana Hager, Just Deez'Art & Life
Debbie Phenes, Deb Joy Sing
Dhea Powers, Java Bead

Diana Welte, Lilyweeds
Dita Basu, alankarshilpa
Dorota Zeranska, gdymamczas 
Dot Lewallwn, Speedie Beadie
Elisabeth Auld, Beads For Busy Gals
Ema Kilroy, Ema K Designs
Emma Todd, A Polymer Penchant
Eva Sherman, Eva Sherman Designs
Evie and Beth McCord, EB Bead and Metal Works
Francy Inman, Francy's Studio

Ginger Bishop, lilmummy likes...
Giorgia Rossini, Jo in Wonderland
Ine Vande Cappelle, Jewels by Ine 
Iveth Caruso, Creative Atelier 
JJ Jacobs, Coming Abstractions
Jackie Ryan, Kydo Jewellery
Jeannie Dukic, Jeannie's Blog
Jelveh Jaferian, Jelveh Designs
Jenna Tomalka, Twin Birch Studio
Jenni Connolly, Jenni's Beads

Jennifer Van Horn, Jennifers Jewels and Junk
Jo-Ann Woolverton, It's a Beadiful Creation
Johanna Rhodes-Nash, Fire Phoenix Creations 
 Joyce Blair, Bent Wire West Coast
JuLee Wolfe, The Polymer Penguin
Karen Vincent, Swallow Tail Jewellery
Karin Slaton, Backstory Beads
Kayla Potega, The Eclectic Element 
Kim Dworak, CianciBlue
Kris Lanae Binsfeld, Cherish Designs by Kris Lanae

Kristen Latimer, MJM Jewelry Designs
Kumi Fisher, Malie Kai Designs
Kym Hunter, Kym Hunter Designs
Lennis Carrier, Windbent
Leslie Wayment, AA Beads & More
Linda Murphy, Bonita Bead
Lisa Johnson, Whimsey Wonders

Lisa Sittniewski, Love, Yesterdays
Lois Moon, Que Onda, Q'Town?
Lola Surwillo, Bead Lola Bead
Lorelei Eurto, Lorelei's Blog
Lori Bowring Michaud, Artfully Ornamental
Lori Finney, Using My Beads
Margareta Saari, Mags-koruja
Maria Horvath, Horimarika Beads
Marian Hertzog, M's Place

 Mary Ellen Parker, BeeTree by m.e.
Mary K McGraw, MK's Creative Musings
MaryLou Holvenstot, time2cre8 
Martha Aleo, Ornamento
 Maybeline Tay, The Jewelry Larder
Megan Collins, Churchy & Her Sailor
Melissa Meman, Art. Life. Love.
Melissa Mesara, One-Eared Pig Beads
Paige Maxim, Paige Maxim Designs

Pam Farren, re-maker
Pam Hurst, Pam Hurst Designs
Patricia Handschuh, The Color of Dreams
Patty Miller, CabariBeads
Penney Klapoth, Faerie Acres
Regina Santerre, Regina's Writings
Rhea Freitag, starrgazer creates
Rochelle Brisson, A Creative Chelle

Sabine Dittrich, PerlenDschungel
Sandra McGriff, Creative Chaos
Sandra Neights, Petalo Azul
Sandra Young, It's a Bead Life!
Sara Oehler, SoftFlex Girl
Saturday Sequins, Saturday Sequins
Shanti Johnson, Sunshine Bliss
Shari Replogle, Plays With Paper
Sonya Stille, Dreamin' of Beads

Stefanie Teufel, Stefanies Sammelsurium
Tammie Everly, TTE Designs
Tania Spivey, Moobie Grace Designs
Therese Frank, Therese's Treasures
Tina Holden, Polymer Clay Bytes!
Toltec Jewels, Jewel School Friends 

Tracey Nanstad, A Beadiful Mess
Tracy Choy, BumbleBeads Designs
Valerie Norton, Hot Art

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What's in a Name?

Welcome! Today I'm participating in Shelley Turner's "What's in a Name?" Blog Hop, where several designers are telling the story behind the name of their blog, site, or business.

The name of my blog and studio actually started from a dream-- a dream my husband and I shared of building our own home. Not the traditional way of hiring contractors to do  most of it... no, we thought we'd like to do it ourselves.

That's me, the chop saw chick. You might think we were contractors, or somehow otherwise qualified to take this on. No, I was a stay at home mom at the time, and my husband worked in an office. We had done quite a few DIY projects in the past, but the most we'd ever built was a shed. A SHED. Until 2003. And somehow... we're still married. But that's another blog post...

We bought property, worked with an architect at First Day Cottage, and came up with a plan. The property we chose to build on was a heavily wooded ravine. At the top of the hill, looking down to the building site, were two little paper birch trees. Eventually, I thought, they would grow into a beautiful gateway to our home, so we named the place Twin Birch Cottage, and of course, started a blog.

Here are my kids and a family friend watching the 'dozers from the birch trees.

Construction was underway! Then, just as the site was cleared, the driveway was in and the basement was about finished, a storm hit and knocked down one of the birch trees. I was crushed. But we carried on and my dad planted a new birch tree for us-- this time a River Birch, better suited to our site.

Soon we had a basement, and a floor, and rafters.

 The idea behind the First Day Cottage is that a couple or family could purchase all the materials and the plan necessary to get a house weather-tight in 12 weeks. With the help of lots of family and friends, we got our larger model weather-tight in about 16 weeks.

Over the next 6-7 months, we worked on the interior, hiring a mason to build a masonry heater, building our two tall staircases, and adding building our kitchen around this antique surgery sink salvaged from a local landmark.


The second summer of the project, another storm hit and took out the second paper birch. I'm not making this up.But this time we just laughed and shook our heads. Twin Birch Cottage had no more birches, but this is the view from where the birches used to be. When it came time to name my business, my studio, my blog-- what else would I choose except the name of our one-time dream-- a dream we made reality with a lot of hard work and a lot of help from family and friends!

Hope you enjoyed the story of Twin Birch Studio-- please visit the rest of the participants, and don't forget to wish Shelly Graham Turner a happy birthday!


 Blog Host/Birthday Girl! - Shelley Graham Turner of Tori Sophia

Saturday, July 7, 2012

My Bead Soup Partner is Mixed Media Artist, Jeannie Dukic

Let's just talk about how talented my Bead Soup partner, Jeannie Dukic, is.  When my box arrived, I had no idea the variety of artwork and thoughtful goodies that would be carefully packaged inside. Sure, I expected beautiful beads, maybe even a few of her stunning polymer clay beads or, if I was lucky, a focal. But did you know:  Jeannie is a mixed media artist! Take a look at what I found--
Jeannie created two art journals where I can capture my sketches or ideas for the pieces I will design, gorgeous collaged boxes, and a 4"x4" mixed media canvas with my initial and the lovely guidance "follow your heart" on it.

Let me repeat that: I received a piece of original Jeannie Dukic wall (or desk) art. Look at those luscious colors. So beautiful. (We're not even talking about the beads yet!) Jeannie is so utterly thoughtful, she included a beautiful cup and special teabags, and even sweet treats in the "provisions" canister. You are going to have to trust me that it came full of candy; my children found it before I shot the photos and enjoyed it immensely!

Then I opened the lovely art boxes and found the beads, clasps and patinated copper wire. Look at the special packaging for the beads! And inside the baggies... 

Can't wait to start using these lovelies. I'm going to go make myself some fancy (iced) tea, and sketch a few designs!

I also wanted to toss in the soup that I sent to Jeannie-- featuring a glass focal by Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictions and etched and patinated discs by Lisa Liddy of Metal Me This.

Have a beautiful day!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Art Fair!

Just a few photos of my booth from Kalamazoo's Art in the Park yesterday. It was a great experience, we had beautiful weather, and I learned a whole lot. More on lessons learned another day-- here are some pics!

All set up, and sweet Amelia's at her pendant station.

Displays are muslin covered wire dress forms, serving tray, antique glove mold,
 old boards and windows. Great window display idea from Lorelei's Blog.

Fused agate glass on an old window, and my $5 flea market pink mirror-- That's authentic "old" all over that thing, not fake "old." ;) Also, it's just fun to take photos of teenagers that don't want to be photographed.

Necklaces on whitewashed boards-- another great idea picked up on Pinterest from this tashamck's flickr stream.

Dear friend and style maven Gayle stopped by to say hello. :)

That's it for now---still have unpacking to do. 
What are some of your Art Fair lessons learned?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Beachy, coppery goodness for your wrist

First BIG show this weekend and I am still making, making, making.
Here's some rustic, beachy arm candy-- ready for a stroll on the pier.

Copper shells and sand dollars, patinaed, laquered and buffed with wax. Added chalcedony, jasper, lampworked beads,  czech glass, and hammered copper washers.

Handmade clasps, patinaed chain, amazonite, lampwork bead, bronze stone, French seam binding.

Fold-formed focal, sari silk, Peruvian opal, and peacock freshwater pearl.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bead Soup Blog Party Sign Ups

Here we go! I just signed up for Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party.
It's so huge, there will be three reveal dates. This is how it works: Lori assigns a partner, you send out beads by July 2, make some beautiful items with the soup you are sent, and reveal and hop on your date. Can't wait. Great blogging and beading resources on Lori's site too!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Graduation Charmer

Custom work: Flattering and scary.
My coworker asked if I could put together a fun necklace to celebrate her younger sister's graduation from high school. (Of couuuuurrrse, I said confidently!) Armed with school colors, birthstone, metal preference, a special quote, favorite symbols-- (hearts and stars) and a favorite activity (band/music), I jumped right in and started forging some silver. Second guessing myself, my artistic vision, my meager skills, and my coworker's choice in designers the entire time, I hammered away. Somehow  a pretty nice textured sterling ring, several chunky jump rings, and a handful of balled up headpins appeared. Huh. Ok. Maybe I can do this...

Next step, begin to pull together the charms. I cut, textured and stamped the year, wrapped a birthstone dangle, made a silver music note charm from 1940's sheet music, and filled a "message in a bottle" charm with her requested lyric and German glass glitter. Finally shushing the negative voices in my head, I found the zone, and rendered a pretty nice collection of charms that were meaningful to my co-worker and her sister.

I was really concerned that my customer and her sister wouldn't like it-- that it may have been my vision, but it wasn't theirs. In the end, I knew I had done my best to incorporate what my customer requested, and I did it genuinely.  I was alright with that. More than alright-- I was flat out pleased with it. Happily, my customer came to my desk yesterday and told me how much her sister loved the necklace, all the thought and detail that went into it, and that each hand-made charm really captured something important to her. Music to my ears!