Friday, February 28, 2014

Focusing on life: Macro photo

The Focusing on Life prompt this week is macro photography.I knew exactly what I wanted to photograph when I read this prompt. This Christmas cactus was my Grandmothers. Even though she has been gone for almost 40 years my Mom still has her Christmas cactus and it still blooms. I spent a couple of days at Mom's house this week and a chose this wonderful memory to be the subject of my photo.
Jennifer VanBenschten who writes Beading Daily announced a kumihimo challenge and I decided to participate. I have had the bobbins loaded for this project for about a year so this was the push I needed to finish this project. I made the strap and focal wrap for the necklace with kumihimo and beads. The enameled flower center was a pin that the mechanism was broken on. I could not find bead caps that I liked for this project so I made my own using polymer clay (first time I did that). I had planned on pushing the beads into the clay for some texture but this did not work out well so I attached the seed beads on wire and wound them around the caps. I used more of the wire to make the bail. A lucite flower completes the focal. I used brass wire to make my clasp. The link to post this for the challenge doesn't work so I am just posting it on my blog. I am glad that I finally finished this project.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Focusing on Life: Color

February's theme is cabin fever. It is fitting since a blizzard dumped another foot of snow last night and this morning and the wind outside sounds like Siberia. Sally at says that color can help snap us out of cabin fever. Here are the colors that inspired me this week. My first photo is the color on my beading board. The aqua, teal, turquoise color family is at the top of my list. They are soothing calming colors.Throw in some green for accents and these kumihimo braids are on their way to being a piece of jewelry.
I went to the local thrift store when I was in town  this week and these are the colors that came home with me. Orange is one of my least used colors but that strand of orange shell discs just spoke to me. The brown beads appear to be a natural substance, either wood of a seed pod of some kind. The holes in them will add wonderful texture to whatever piece of jewelry I include them in. The earrings I can see as necklace pendant and bracelet center.
This is my logo and I use it as my wallpaper too. I see this beautiful rainbow of color every day. It took me hours to lay out all of the beads for the photo shoot. Then more hours to separate them and get them back into the proper tubes and boxes. It was worth it though as I get to see this riot of color every day. Sometimes looking at the beads in it can trigger a new design idea.
This is my last photo for this week. It is my square for the quilts, shadowboxes, and ornaments that are auctioned off at the Bead & Button show each year to raise funds for breast cancer research.This is a cause that is dear to my heart as my Mother and sister have both had beast cancer. This is the fifth year that I have sent in a square. The pattern at the top of the photo I got at Bead and Button's website they have several each year to choose from or you can make your own.. Since I seldom do things from other's patterns I needed to make this one mine too. I added clouds, birds, and waves, made the sand multicolored, and moved the one sailboat closer and made it bigger to give the square more depth. I am proud of the tiny contribution that I make to this worthwhile project. If you want to know more about his project here is the link
To see what the other participants found this week in color please click on Sally's link above.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Focusing on Life:Love collage

This weeks prompt  from Sally was make a collage of the things that we love. This is an appropriate subject since Valentines day was yesterday. My family prefers not to be pictured on the internet so I am respecting that and I will not be showing my greatest love. I had a new furry family member show up this week. A beautiful calico cat. I haven't named her yet but I am glad she joined my life. My obsession with beads is something that I love. The photo on the top right is my bead board. I am working on a square for the beaded quilts that are sold at the Bead & Button show in June. The proceeds go the breast cancer research. I have sent squares for this worthwhile project for five years now. It is something that is dear to my heart. The Bead-It-Forward theme for 2014 is "Turn the tide on breast cancer," you can find out more at  I encourage everyone to take part in this. The squares are
1 1/2" in size so they don't take long to stitch up. There are free patterns to follow is you don't want to create your own. I am combining two patterns to make my square. The third photo in my collage is of my beading books. I love books they can transport you to another time or place and they have so much to teach.  I refer to them often for inspiration and techniques. I want to keep learning my whole life. There is one more photo that I want to show.
This is a sunset photo taken from my yard. I love to take sunset photos. Living in the country gives me many opportunities to do just that. It is quiet and peaceful at my house and I have splendid views. To see what the other participants love please click this link to Sally's blog

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I haven't posted jewelry in a while so here is the necklace that I finished today. When Amy was in Florida she picked up these sharks teeth. She wanted to use them in  a necklace in a neutral color so that she could wear it with lots of different tops. So the sharks teeth were the inspiration for this piece of jewelry. I started with the labradorite oval to represent the ocean. Doesn't it have wonderful flash?  I wire wrapped the teeth and suspended them below "the ocean." Above "the ocean" I wired a porcelain shark. All of the pieces have small vintage faux pearls that I used to represent the whitecaps and waves around them. This makes up the focal. The outer strand of the necklace has links made of gray crazy lace agate rounds flanked by gray oval faux pearls and matte grey size 8 triangle beads. These links are alternated with links made of gray cats eye ovals flanked by matte clear AB discs, 4mm gray faux pearl rounds, and 3mm  matte hematite fire polished beads. All of theses links are joined with two 6mm jumprings. The inner strand is made with gray bicones flanked by montana blue fire polished drops and snowflake obsidian rounds. These links are alrernated with small silver chain. I used Cindy Wimmer's wonderful new book "The Missing Link" as inspiration for the silver components that join the two strands together and hook to the clasp. I also handmade the  clasp. It was in Denisse Peck and Jane Dickerson's Book "Handcrafted Wire Findings." This was a fun necklace to make.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Focusing on Life: Quiet Calm

In Focusing on Life the February theme is cabin fever and here is what our hostess Sally had to say on the weekly prompt " The world begins to emerge from its wintry blanket quietly, calmly.  Subtle cues emerge with very little notice. For this week's photo assignment we will focus on the quiet calm of the world re-energize around us.". Here in Minnesota cabin fever really applies. The wind chills this week were again in the -30 degree range for several days so there were very few signs of spring yet. The only thing that I could think of was that the icicle on my front porch roof was no longer touching the ground. Then today it was 14 degrees (yeah) and I saw these two guys up in the corner of my front porch.  Well there really is a sign of spring here even if it is a long way off. To see what others found as signs of spring please click on the link to Sally's site

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Focusing on Life: Get Outside

"February's Focus: Cabin Fever

I don't know about you but around this time of year the walls of the house seem to start closing in and the routine of home, work, home, work becomes mundane.  Light is just starting to stick around a little longer though daily activity  still seems to be an effort.  We find ourselves in the dull-drum of winter.  This month we will break free of those feelings and focus on the fabulous-ness of February! " The quote is from Sally our hostess. This has been the coldest winter in 20 years. School has been closed here 5 times in January due to the cold. When I took these photos the wind chill was -34 degrees. needless to say I didn't stay out very long.  We have had more snow this winter than we have had in several years. The snowbanks on the south side of my driveway are as tall as I am and we still have 2 or 3 months of snow left to get through. Normally February is the month when we get the most snow.  I will be really glad to see spring but right now it feels a long way off. I do still go outside most days. I walk to my mailbox which according to my Garmin  is 1/10 of a mile. I just have to dress warm enough. To see what others found outside please click on Sally's blog