Pantone Spring 2013 Bead Play

Posted by on Feb 20, 2013 | 5 comments

Hi my creative friends!  I was working on getting some inspiration for some jewelry I have to make quickly and my mind is a little cluttered these days so it’s been hard to concentrate on making jewelry and feeling creative.

For a little help, I downloaded the Pantone Spring Color Report and then went digging through my bead boxes and poured some beads on the paper.  Now I’m feeling a little more focused and my bead play was kind of pretty so I thought I would take a picture for you!




Pantone Bead Play Spring 2013




You can enter your name and information on the Pantone site to receive alerts when the new season color forecast is available and you can download your own full color report with interesting information and pictures about how the big fashion designers get inspiration from the Pantone reports.  Whether you are making jewelry, items for your home or wanting to update your wardrobe with a few fun accessories for the new season, you will be right on trend if you follow this report!

Hope you are all doing well!


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Wellness Words Jewelry Challenge: Reveal

Posted by on Feb 2, 2013 | 33 comments

It’s time to reveal the work of over 50 jewelry designers that joined my Wellness Words Jewelry Challenge.  I issued this challenge one month ago.  It required a little thinking and soul searching on the part of the designers in addition to jewelry making.  You can click here for the inspiration and details about this challenge if you are new or missed the original post.


I have to tell you,  for the girl that created this challenge, for the one that felt it would be easy to come up with a word or phrase – it turned out to be harder than I anticipated.  There are so many specific things I want to work on this year and when I wrote about this challenge, I did not have a clue what words I would use!  I discovered how many words and phrases resonate with me and then I was reminded of how indecisive I can be at times when it comes to making a committment!  In the end, I’m happy where I landed.  Instead of being specific, my words represent more of a theme for the way I want to live my life and the way I want to make decisions to improve my overall well being.


Love, Live On Purpose



love,live cover shot



love, live collage



I want to appreciate (love) myself more and make a point to show more love and appreciation to those that are important to me.  Sending out more love is a great way to receive and feel more love – and hey – it’s February!

Live on Purpose

Living on purpose means that I want to fill my time with things that are most important to me.  I want to really take the time to plan things that propel me forward with my goals and then follow through and get them done.   I want to take action to finish projects that are almost done and stop letting little excuses get in my way.  I want to have less days where I’m busy all day – but I never quite feel like I accomplished what I wanted to.  Can anyone relate?  I don’t think I’m done with word jewelry.  After doing this exercise, I definitely think I am going to be making more expressive jewelry.

I can’t wait to see everyone’s words and the jewelry they created.  Thanks to everyone who put themselves out there and I hope this gives you some ideas and motivation for positive change this year!

Even if you did not participate in this challenge, take a few minutes to click on the links below to see what everyone is working on.  If you want to share some love, leave a supportive comment!

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Photography Challenge – Focusing on Life 52 Photos

Posted by on Jan 19, 2013 | 29 comments

I’m jumping in on Sally Russick’s  “Focusing on Life, 52 photos” challenge  for the first time this week.  I love to take photographs and I’ve noticed that lately I’m only picking up the camera to photograph jewelry.  I’m hoping this photo challenge will help break me out of that pattern!


Picture 3

 The photo prompt for Week 3 is Taking Time For Yourself.

Focusing on Life, Week 3

 The sun came out for the first time all week on Friday.  It provided the motivation to take a late afternoon walk all by myself.  Not the kind of walk where I jumped on the treadmill in the dark basement.  Not the kind of walk where I had to push the purple jogging stroller…

Instead, a walk where I took the time to bundle up,  stepped outside and got some fresh air.  Just my thoughts and I.   “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks” – John Muir.

Thanks for the photo prompt Sally!  You can head over to The Studio Sublime to see how everyone else took time for themselves.

Have  a great weekend!



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Inspire Change: Wellness Words Jewelry Challenge

Posted by on Jan 5, 2013 | 84 comments

I’d like to start the year together with a healthy jewelry making challenge.  Yes, that’s right, a “healthy” jewelry making challenge.  It involves choosing a powerful word or phrase that is meaningful to you and incorporating it into a jewelry design that will serve as a reminder to make a positive change in your life.  This challenge has an introspective component and a hands on component.  I have been thinking about coordinating a challenge like this for quite awhile.  The start of the new year seems to be as good a time as any!

Here is where the inspiration for this challenge comes from.  Before I sold new homes and before I was in sales, marketing and sales ops training in technology, I spent six years (between undergrad and graduate school) getting degrees in health education, fitness management and corporate wellness. Through a series of life’s twists and turns, I only ended up working in that industry for about four years.

Eighteen years later,  I am still really interested in anything health and wellness related and find that many of the books and magazines I read have something to do with it.  It ranks right up with jewelry making in level of interest.  It does not mean I am in great shape (definitely not) and I don’t eat “perfectly” all the time.  Wellness is about making your actions line up with your values.  It’s about your life being in a reasonable balance that’s appropriate for the stage of life that you are currently in. It’s as much about keeping your body healthy as it is about figuring out what makes you happy and making sure you fuel yourself so you have the energy to make things happen for yourself.  It’s also about accepting the times when things just are not working for you.  Never an easy thing to do.  (She steps down off her soapbox)…


I consider jewelry making to be a big part of my health and wellness.  It helps me stay sane and I’m always learning new skills. It makes me happy.  It’s been proven that having a hobby you enjoy, so much that you easily lose track of time, is a healthy thing.  Sharing your hobby with people who have the same interest is even better!  That is where you come in my friends.

Challenge Details:


Starting today until January 20th, you can sign up if you want to join me in this challenge.  The Reveal and Blog Hop will be on February 2nd, 2013.  You have almost one month to get ready.  I will post all the participants and the links provided to me so that you can hop around from blog to blog and see everyone’s creation on the 2nd of February.

Challenge Step One:

Choose an inspirational word or phrase in an area of your life where you want to make positive change.  Make sure your words truly represent something you want to work on.  Don’t choose a word because it looks good, is popular right now or someone else thinks you should choose it.

These are the six categories of wellness that people generally want to make changes in:   Physical, Emotional, Occupational, Spiritual, Intellectual and Social.  Your words can represent any of these areas.

I have been compiling a categorized list of words and phrases in these different areas.  It’s not at all comprehensive, but I will email it to everyone who participates.  You can make up your own words or please feel free to use something from the list if it resonates with you.

Challenge Step Two:

You can make earrings, a necklace or a bracelet.  Incorporate your words into your design.  It does not have to be complicated.  Perhaps simple is better.  That way you may want to wear your jewelry more often so you can be reminded of your words and focus on the healthy change part of this challenge.  If you want to go all out on your design, then by all means, please do!

You don’t have to make the word component of your design.  You can buy a word bead, pendant or letter charms from an artist on Etsy.  Making your words will of course give you more freedom to choose a word that’s specific to you.  You can use resin to make a pendant, stamp letters in clay, metal or leather. Form a word from wire.  Maybe you know how to etch metal.  There are endless options. Your word can be central to the design or a more subtle part of the design.  Totally up to you!

On the morning of February 2nd, you will need to post pictures of your creation on your website.  You can write a little about the motivation for choosing your words and how you are doing with your change if you would like to.  I don’t want to pressure you to expose something you don’t want to share.  This is meant to be fun, supportive and motivational.  The picture of the jewelry can speak for itself in you want it to!

Sign Up:

Leave a comment on this blog post if you would like to join me in this challenge.  Make sure your email and blog or website is in your name tag or visible in your post.  I hope you can join me!   Sometimes all it takes is putting a healthy intention in writing and sharing it out loud with others who can support you to give you the motivation to make it happen!


Enjoy your first weekend of 2013!





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Merry & Bright

Posted by on Dec 24, 2012 | 12 comments

As I wrap my final gifts this Christmas Eve morning, I wanted to wish you a warm and cozy holiday full of love and meaning. Thank you my reader friends for allowing me to share my jewelry making with you.  2013 will bring some new twists and turns in my creative journey and  I look forward to sharing them with you as they unfold.



With love & gratitude,

To start the new year, be on the lookout for a blog challenge.  I have not hosted a blog challenge since ” Wrapped, Stacked & Layered”.   I think it will be different than any jewelry related blog challenge you have participated in before.  It has been rolling around in my head for a long time.  Stay tuned.  I hope you will be able to join me.

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From This: To That! Antique Dark Annealed Steel Wire

Posted by on Dec 20, 2012 | 11 comments

A few weeks ago a neighbor friend of mine was cleaning out his garage.  He has tons of tools and gadgets.  I’ve borrowed tools from him to complete my list of supplies for  jewelry/metal working workshops in the past.  His grandfather used to own a hardware store so you can imagine what his garage contains!  Knowing that I make jewelry, he brought out an old shoebox full of different kinds of old wire in 19 & 20 gauge.   He asked, “Do you think you could use this?”  I think I grabbed the box a little too quickly from him as I said, “Yes!”  I was a little excited.  I don’t think he understood why I was so enthusiastic about that old wire he was going to throw away.



I love the antique packaging.  This wire was only .59 cents way back then!  The box was full of copper, regular silver tone and black steel wire.  I had been wanting to buy dark annealed steel wire for quite a while, but just had not done it yet.  I researched it this morning and Hillman makes small packages of Dark Annealed Wire in a 19 gauge which is what I used for this bracelet and I am getting ready to order Hillman 20 gauge dark annealed wire because it will be a little easier to work with.  I am also ordering the 24ga to use with some of my regular beads with average to small size holes.  You won’t find it in craft stores because it is considered a mechanics wire. For those of you unfamiliar with wire gauge and size:

Lower number =  thicker wire = harder to bend and fit through beads

Higher number = thinner wire = easier to bend and fit through beads

Opposite of what you may expect!

Last night I opened up some dark wire and made this bracelet.  I really like it.   The silver plated beads I used have large holes so both the leather and the 19 gauge wire fit through easily.

I managed to incorporate one of my leather infinity links, which worked as a softer contrast to the steel wire.  The huge white pearl, silver pearl and faceted onyx bead add a fun little jingle when you wear it.

Tips for Using Annealed Steel Wire For Jewelry Making

1)  Use a hardware grade metal cutter.  Don’t use your Tronex  if you know what I mean!

2) Wear safetly glasses when cutting.

3) Sand the cut edges with a file.

4) Fine sand paper or 00 steel wool will take off some of the dark color and add interest to your piece.

5) Don’t get it wet if  you don’t want it to rust!  You can use something like Renaissance wax to help protect the finish.

6) Don’t make it for someone with metal allergies and be sure to note what it is made of if you are going to sell it!


Have fun and experiment!  Dark annealed steel wire is a great way to add a rustic, oxidized look at a fraction of the cost of sterling silver or silver filled wire.


Warm Thoughts!

P.S.  I have been posting less frequently than usual because I accidently poured water on the keyboard of my MacBook Pro and drowned it.  Totally out of commission. I spent lots of time at the Apple store hoping to find someone to tell me it made sense to fix it.  No such luck.   I need to buy a new one and I can’t stomach that right now in the height of gift giving season.  So, I have been working on my old MacBook which moves at least  5 times slower.  I am not long on patience so it has been a forced break from technology.  So, I am still here.  Just not at my computer as much.  It’s been good for my mind – once I got through the shakes and withdrawal phase of less keyboard time.  You should try it – just don’t pour water on your keyboard and I would suggest backing up your hard drive every now and then!   Lesson learned for me!













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Happy Thanksgiving & A Winner

Posted by on Nov 21, 2012 | 7 comments

Happy Thanksgiving from Wisconsin!  I’m  very happy to be spending some time with my mom, dad, sister and her family.  It’s the first time my kids are meeting their new cousin.  Nick and baby Henry were excited to help me announce my winner of the Prima Bead Giveaway:

 Congratulations Sherry S. you were the 9th person to comment!  Please email me so I can get your mailing address.

When I get home, I am assembling a surprise package of beads, findings and some cording to send off to Sherry S.  (If you entered Prima Beads Sweepstakes on Facebook, you would be contacted by them directly if you are a winner).

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!



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Prima Bead – Giveaway!

Posted by on Nov 16, 2012 | 66 comments

I want to introduce you to Prima Bead.  Have you heard of them?   They are a young subsidiary of family owned Cousin Corporation of America, which has been in the jewelry supply and bead business for over 40 years.  What an awesome family business!   Here are a few things, in my opinion, that makes Prima Bead stand out in the jewelry supply world:

  • Prima offers free shipping on all U.S. ground orders  (no minimum) and they offer volume discounts between 10-25%.
  • I’m impressed with their designers who have a current and fashionable design aesthetic.  They have put together chic bracelets, necklaces and other projects for inspiration.  Lots of great photos-   I love that!
  • To make it easy, you can order all of the jewelry supplies in each project with just the click of a button or of course you can order ‘al a carte.   Their website is really well done!
  • They offer kits and color coordinating bead assortments for beginners or for those times when you just need a quick project fix and don’t want to think too hard about a design.
  • Prima does lots of sweepstakes and fun giveaways.  More about that at the end of this post


They sent me a beautiful box of jewelry making supplies to play with.  It was lined in pretty purple tissue paper – their signature color.  It definitely made an impression!

 I created a contrasting rustic/glam necklace.  The big circle chain was too fun for me not to grab right away.

Prima offers great color coordinated charm mixes.  This is not something I am accustomed to seeing from other online jewelry supply stores.  Having some assembled bead charms made it so easy to add some sparkle to a pendant I had in my stash.  I attached the pendant with 7 ply walnut, waxed Irish linen, instead of wire, to give it a more rustic look.


Now for the Sweepstakes/Giveaway Opportunities

Each week Prima Bead holds a Sweepstakes on their Facebook page.

 1)  Go to their page,  and “Like” them.  Click on the Sweeps tab and enter the Sweepstakes.

Sweepstakes runs from Friday at midnight November 16th – midnight on Monday, November 19th, 2012  

2)  Leave a comment on my blog if you “Liked” Prima Beads.  Let me know know if you have been making lots of jewelry lately, a little or none at all.  Have you felt inspired or are you in need of inspiration?

I am thankful, blessed and possibly one bead strand away from Hoarders knocking on my door, so I am going to pick a random commenter from my blog to send a jewelry goodie bag to with some of the beads and findings that Prima sent to me.  Hint:  It includes some stretch cord!  So you have two chances to win goodies.  One at Prima Bead’s Facebook page and one here on my blog.

Go to Prima’s page and “Like” them now and enter to win!   Don’t forget to leave a comment on this blog.

To answer my own question:  I have been making the minimum amount of jewelry to get by to fill orders and obligations.  I have been travelling quite a bit this month so I have not had much time to sit still and make jewelry.  We just returned from my husband’s family in CA and we are headed to WI this week to spend Thanksgiving with my parents, my sister’s family and her new baby!  I’m so excited.

Enjoy your weekend!


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