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Saturday, April 25, 2020

Blueberries in Season!

Holy Cow, my second post in a single day?  I have been working all week to collect supplies for more requested Blueberry Kits for the Caramel's Claws Necklace.  They are listed in my shop, although the last couple kits are still a few beads short.  Hopefully they do not sell out fast!  A reminder of the piece and a link below to the kit listing.


In any case, I wanted to use this space to post the focal photos, so you can take a good look and fall in love.  This time I have kitted with both the Polished AND Matte focal beads.  You can also choose whether you want a Blue Laguna acorn bead, or a Copper one, which would look very acorn-y indeed.

Here are the polished focals!

A nice soft blue with a little cloudy grey.  A small pit on the second side. SOLD OUT!

Great texture on the first side and a sweet little color ombre on side 2.  SOLD OUT!

Soft color with a cool fracture line.

Nice textural blend of light and deeper blues. Like an arial view of waterways. SOLD OUT!

Storm clouds rolling in.  Maybe that fracture line is lightning?   SOLD OUT!

And now the MATTE Focals.  I've not used these before.  
The colors are really vibrant and YUMMY!

OMGee it's just so pretty.  That patterning!  I'd have a hard time choosing a side.  
There is a little geode-ish pitting in the dark areas

Subtle patterning would allow the coppery prong setting to really shine.  SOLD OUT!

I love the swath of turquoise on side one.  Maybe I am beach lusting? Tide pool craving?

Deeper, richer royal blues here, with interesting patterns on both sides.

This last one has awesome patterning, but there is a little ding missing on the right side,
 near the drill hole.  I believe the bezel would fill it out without a problem.  
I've worked with similar pieces.  I may steal it for myself!


The Struggle is Real

This will be a short post.  I am finding that moving ahead with new projects is challenging.  As a designer I have (finally!) realized that unless the parts are available for my design in process, there is little point to spending gobs of time perfecting, photographing, illustrating and writing.  I am going to show you something I just made for myself, that inspired a potential new project.  I'm calling it "Crazy."

This was a pretty awesome piece of Mexican Crazy Lace Agate from one of my favorite lapidaries.  I was looking forward to seeing her at the local Gem and Lapidary Workers Show, but of course, Covid19 cancelled that gathering.  Her work is always impeccably calibrated, and that I love, but this piece has a crystalline bit that I think must have been challenging to work with.

I know that is not a great photo, but it does allow you to see the crystalline part.  Like it wanted to be a geode.  :)  It's a substantial piece of stone, and the base row for this peyote bezel was 116 Toho Treasures.  So of course, I wanted to echo that crystalline structure in the bezel and yoke.  I used some 2.5mm Swarovski bicones at the edge and then, given summer on the way, I wanted a light yoke and needed to scale down to a delicate chain.  That I accomplished with a small bail and progressively smaller crystals in a variety of shapes and colors, snugging neatly up to the chain.

This lapidary is local, but has only a PO Box contact.  I may try to ask if she is willing to cut for me for a project for you, but in the interim, I am working with a Swarovski crystal as a base.  The 2.5mm bicones in the colors I want seem to be hard to locate at a good price and in reasonable quantity, but I have not given up yet.

I just wanted to share that I have not entirely given up on writing tutorials and kitting.  But the current circumstances provide challenges.

Stay safe, and keep beading!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020


I have two limited sets of my stick pearl necklaces to release tomorrow, and then all of my messes will have been cleaned up and I will be free to begin a new project.  Yay!  I am calling them "Kingfisher" and "Bluebird".

Both of these new colorways feature 2X AB Swarovski bicones instead of crystal pearls.  I love the flashes of color and mystery, plus, eliminating the line of pearls at the top of the yoke allows me to imagine the shape as a bird in flight with body, tail and wings.  When the stick pearls are not white, I find the design looses much of its wintery aspect.  These sticks are a luminous golden copper.  When I first went button hunting for them I found this, and loved the colors.

But it was too big and lacked any luminosity that might have equalled the pearls.  Then I saw a beautiful photo of a Dwarf Kingfisher Fledgling by Miguel David De Leon in the Philippines. And that led me back to the colors I had originally imagined.

I used Dark Topaz Matte AB in the yoke to hint at the beautiful depth of the wings, and tasked the 2XAB Topaz bicones with adding flashes of lavender and pink.  I can't effectively show you those flashes in still photos, and I did not try to get all the vibrant color in the finished product.  Well, actually, I did, but I personally would not have worn it anywhere, for fear of knocking observers eyes out.  I made four bezels before finding one I really liked and let it teach me about the rest of the work.  I love the necklace on white, black, and neutrals, and especially on an orchid sweater.  I think I got the essence of the beautiful bird without going too far over the top.  Here's a link to the Kingfisher kit:

The Bluebird colorway is similar to this one.  But I had only 3 sets of stick pearls and only one of them has all 19 sticks.  The other two have only 17, so the result will be a 3/8" shorter necklace.  My Kingfisher sample (and most of my other samples) is made with only 17 sticks, so it would be similar to my Kingfisher sample in size, except for my using a 1" button for the Bluebird focal, instead of the 7/8" one for the Kingfisher.

I re-colored my illustration in what I think is a reasonable image of the finished piece.  Since I had only three sets of parts, I did not make up a sample. But I will , if you don't want them, lol!

Here's my color inspiration, with some of my bead selections.

And here's more of the beads with the stick pearl and button sets.

I colored the buttons for this version with Alcohol Inks.  They are not a perfect match for the sticks, but they have fabulous nacre and great rainbow effects.  The bezel beads reflect their gold and copper sheen and I think they will be lovely in situ.  The Smoke Topaz Matte AB Yoke hints at the birds reddish browns, while flashing a bit of blue, and Swarovski Smoke Topaz AB continues the flashes of blue and periwinkle. It's all mysterious blues and browns with hints of purple. Here's a link to the Bluebird kit in my Etsy shop:

I'll get my listings completed this evening, and all the beads packed up and will list officially at noon tomorrow.  I will mark down the two Bluebird listings with only 17 instead of 19 sticks by $5, and if you are quick, you can choose.  

The brown stick pearls are drilled through the flat part of the stick, so they are more likely to sit sideways instead of flat in the completed project.  Many of them have interesting character but not as much size variation as usual.

So.  That concludes the informational portion of this post.  But now I want to wish you all good health.  Please stay safe through the Covid 19 crisis.  Keep your social distance.  There will be a time to have your beautiful jewelry admired up close again, but this is not it.  There will be a time to wear it out to dinner, or to a concert, even though we can't today.  I have gotten to know some of you well, especially you repeat buyers, and I love you all.  Please take good care of yourselves and families, and I'll see you on the other side!

Friday, March 6, 2020

Pink Abalone Shell Buttons!

 Remember my mission to kit ALL THE BEADS?  I am in an interesting stage in my life, and trying to clean up all my messes.  This was a really pretty one to clean!

When I designed and wrote the tutorial for "A Hazy Shade of Winter" I got out all the stick pearls I owned, and imagined that I would use them for future "rare-just-a-few-of-a-kind" kits for this project.  I am now in the process of trying to clear all those trays and boxes of collected bits, and to focus on finding the perfect finishing touches.  I am really happy to be releasing 5 of these kits on Saturday, March 7th to noon CST.  I MAYBE will have one more, depending on whether an order I placed will arrive with enough supporting beads for one final kit.  When these are gone, there will be no more. Edited to say, the beads that arrived were a paler pink, so I made that last kit up for myself.  I LOVE it.  Very delicate and I sized it to sit right at the bas of my neck and barely dip into my cleavage with a black jumpsuit I own.  Yum. That is what you see above, and you can see the alternating color in the rice beads at the top of the yoke fringes.

The buttons are quite luscious!  They are made from Pink Abalone shell, and some of the nacre is just staggering!  In the photo above, two of the buttons are not catching the light as they could, but you can see a range of beauty in the four that are reflecting like they mean it. They are luminous, and flask from soft grey through peach and pink, with tiny hints of rainbow.

I have supported the pink in the nacre with Swarovski Rosaline Pearls, for H, J, and K beads.  I could find no 5mm in this color, so have subbed 6mm.  This K bead sits in the bezel fringe and also at the top center of the yoke.  If you have a wider neck, the 6mm should work nicely for you, and if your neck is more slim, then I have included an extra 4mm pearl in the K bag for you to use in that center yoke position. These push the pink a little, but feel like a nice choice when I view them situated in position.  The L beads are Czech drops, and transparent Rose with a rainbow finish.  What a good find they were!  They help to make the pinks and peaches and rainbow flashes all hang together.

The A and B (and one row of C) beads form the bezel, and I tried to emulate both the pearly finish and primary peachy-pink shade in the bead choice.  C and D provide sparkle (transparent with an AB finish) and are used as spacers in the yoke and the fringe.  For the majority of the yoke, I chose a flat matte silver bead, trying not to compete with or overwhelm the soft pinks.

I know I have missed the wintery season.  But this necklace with its delicate pink might be pretty spectacular at Easter.  And for what this is worth, as a Northern Girl, I have made Snow Bunnies (like Snowmen, but with ears!!!) for Easter on more than one occasion. So there is still the potential for Winter for at least some of us.

I am hunting beads for one more version of this piece, and hope to bring it to you soon.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Sunset Mookaite Jasper "Honey & Berries" Caramel's Claws Necklace Kits Back in Stock

I think I mentioned in my last post that I had moved my beading supplies out of my kitchen bay window.  In the process, I discovered many partly finished kitting projects.  This one was put on hold because I could not locate the Aiko bead in the bezel, one of my all time favorites.  Magically, this week, that bead is available.  I love this acorn especially, it is luminously transparent.  I will also get some matching earring kits done because they make especially fine earrings, dangling in the light, looking a lot like honey!

I have assembled 8 kits of both the necklace and earrings to offer for sale in my Etsy shop on Saturday February 29th at noon CST.  I don't expect there to be a rush, but some of my buyers like to know in advance, so here you go!

Please click here for a link to the listing for the Caramel's Claws Necklace kits.
Please click here for a link to the listing for the Caramel's Acorn Earrings kits.

The Sunset Mookaite Jasper focal beads are SO lovely and so varied that I have made images of them for your shopping pleasure.  In each case, the front and back have a different look, so I am showing your both. If you wear taupe, khaki, beige, and muted golds, and like soft berry and purple accents, these are for you.

Lots of purple accents here! A has a small nick at the edge of the bead, which you can see in the upper right of the Side 2 pic, but this would not be visible and would not affect the bezel shape. 

B is mostly soft gold and taupe with a river of berry juice running through it. Like a wheat field.

C is soft gold with a purply taupe swath on Side 1.  Side 2 is mostly gold and beige, 
with a little berry colored cross.  Reminds me of petrified wood.

D is very similar on both sides, with just a small purple swath along the edge of one quadrant, which would be half covered by the bezel.  This stone would let the bezel be featured.

E is a very graphic stone with loads of interesting markings, almost like a desert landscape.

In the F bead, the markings stripe from top to bottom.  A very nice, smooth surface for all the drama.

G Side 1 has a lovely variety of colors and markings, and lots of purply grey on Side 2.
  Nice dendritic, Japanese tree-like markings on Side 2!

H features nice berry patterning throughout, and both sides are quite similar.

I am always interested in how jewelry is worn with clothing, and when I got the Honey & Berries necklace sample out, I had a great time matching it with various pieces in my wardrobe! This is my favorite pairing, with a long Liz Claiborne cardigan, Conceited jeggings (order a size up, they run small) from Amazon, and a masterfully delicate gauge wool sweater from Vince at Nordstrom Rack.  It would be swell with soft, smokey purples too.