Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Missing ME Home Companion

I like to save hoard magazines. Yes, its an addiction, but not a bad one. I try to store them in order of the seasons so I can easily find the ones I want. The other day I was pulling out my autumn issues and I found these from Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion. If I had to choose a favorite magazine it would be this one. The issues are full of colorful photos, artist features, yummy recipes, inspiring articles, home decor and so much more. I started getting these when my youngest daughter was little. In each issue there was an entire page with a cute paper doll and accessories to cut and keep. My daughter was as excited as I to see this magazine arrive in the mail. She kept each and every one of those paper dolls for years. Also included was a darling tear-out art page created by Mary. For a time I kept them on the fridge for fun. The magazine is no longer in print, and I sure miss it. As I look through these issues I find Mary was very forward thinking.  Many of the things featured in these older issues are still in style today.  Here are some of the October/November issues I hung on to.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Kalmbach Bead Soup

A while back I signed up for the Kalmbach Bead Soup Party in honor of Lori Anderson's new book Bead Soup. Generous bead and Jewelry stores all over the US sent in bead soups.  The recipients are asked to create a necklace with the soup ingredients they received.  I kept waiting, and hoping, but no yellow envelopes arrived in the mail. Dozens of other people had already received theirs, and I figured my name did not get chosen.  Then a couple days ago it arrived!  Right on the front of the mailer was a big star that said 'Bead Soup Enclosed'   Here's the beautiful  bead soup I received from The Creative Fringe.  The soup reminds me of the beautiful blue Kansas sky, and our state flower--the Sunflower. I can't wait to get started!

The Creative Fringe (love that name) is a bead shop in Grand Haven Michigan.  In addition to an extensive selection of beads, they have all kinds of supplies such as fibers, tools, sheet metals, metal clays and more.  Also they offer classes, and an open bench, and they will even help you finish your project.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Fell Off The Wagon

First, I want to thank everyone who commented on my Bead Soup Reveal and The Challenge of Travel Reveal. I had so much fun with both and met a few new jewelry and bead designers.

And now for the confession. At the end of last year I decided I needed to use up the beads in my stash before buying more. I allowed myself to purchase the necessary components and findings like clasps, spacers, wire, crimps etc, and beads that were required for a customer request, and once for a bead challenge.

I'm surprised that I lasted so long because it sure isn't easy when every blog I visit had some awesome beads they made or purchased themselves. And finally I caved. It was just about a month ago, and once I started, I just kept going. So here are the offenders; the beads that I just couldn't live without:

These are the cutest little lampwork beads I've ever seen. From Pebble Dreams

And Too Aquarius makes these wonderful polymer beads. I've purchased them before and just had to have more for my Challenge of Travel.

Also from Too Aquarius

From Penny at Fagins Daughter
I considered these findings....don't you agree?

More from Fagins Daughter; mostly vintage, and yes, there are definitely beads in here.

I purchased some wire from Fusion Beads, and they just happened to have a great coupon. But I needed to spend just a bit more in order to make the limit. These Jade beads are gorgeous, and of course I love anything Vintaj. If you haven't signed up for Fusion Beads emails you are missing out on some great discounts from time to time, plus free shipping over $25.00.

I purchased a little surprise from Erin for my daughter's Christmas present. I can't show it here just in case she reads this post. But when it arrived there was a sweet coupon that I just had to take advantage of. I purchased one of her Motley Owls, and a beautiful polymer shell pendant.
On the back the pendant reads 'You can't cross the sea merely standing on the shore'. Erin has the most beautiful packaging.

And I just had to share what I won from Heather Power's Bead Fest Pity Party (the prize was a coupon to her site). The little squirrel, fox, and bird house are just adorable!

I'm going to hop back on the wagon and see how long I can continue this self-imposed 'bead diet'. If you want to join me I could use the company.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Perfect Match and a Giveaway

Have you heard about the collaboration between two fabulous artists Genea and Staci? Yup it's true. And they have a new blog dedicated to this wonderful collaboration. To celebrate, they are giving away beads. Yes giving them away! Check out their blog, there's lots to see. I'm sure you'll want to follow them so you don't miss a thing.

Here are the bead for the first giveaway.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Creative Bead Chat Appreciation Day

Today is the day we celebrate five wonderful ladies from the Creative Bead Chat site on Facebook. These ladies take time out of their own busy lives to provide a place for us to be inspired, learn new things, ask and give advice, and so much more. I am enjoying meeting new people and I’m so glad to be a part of this wonderful group.

So who are these fabulous ladies?

Keirsten Giles of Lune Designs

Marla Gibson of Spice Box Designs

Karen Totten of Starry Road Studio

Melinda Orr of Orrtec

Marla James of Marlas Mud

A big thanks to all these wonderful ladies!!!! If you want in on the action click the Creative Bead Chat Logo at the top to see what it's all about.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Challenge of Travel

If you’ve been reading my blog for long you already know I love to travel. In fact I crave it. So when Erin offered up the Challenge of Travel I signed up right away. The challenge was to pick a region we do not live in (Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania). Then we were to pick a nation from that region, or let Erin Choose for us. I chose the Oceania region, and since this was a challenge I let Erin choose the Nation, which is Kiribati.

The republic of Kiribati is an island group in Micronesia straddling the equator. Kiribati's 33 atolls and one raised coral island are scattered over an area of 3.5 million km, however their land mass comprises of only 810 sq. km. Kiribati has a population of roughly 90,000 people. While there are sandy beaches and warm water year round, Kiribati has almost no tourists. Getting there is not cheap or easy, but if by chance you find yourself there, you should be prepared to rough it.

The average high temperatures are quite reasonable compared to other well-known places in the tropics but the humidity more than makes up for this, making it feel very sauna-like. Industry includes fishing and handmade crafts. Exports include coconuts, seaweed, fish, and Copra which is dried coconut kernels from which oil is obtained. Agriculture includes Copra, taro, sweet potatoes and fish.

I chose to tell the story of Kiribati through the pieces I made; all earrings, because I can't seem to stop making them.

Nearly every article I read reported the Kiribati people to be very polite, laid back, warm and friendly, and very welcoming to tourists. They love to dance and host lavish celebrations with colorful costumes.

The earrings below represent the people of Kiribati, their personality and colorful costumes. I used polymer flower beads from Too Aquarious, tiny lampwork beads from Pebble Dreams, and Vintaj Brass.

'South Pacific Paradise'

These earrings represent their heritage, hard work, pride, and independence. I used lampwork beads from Flameart, Copper dangles from Missficklemedia, and Vintaj Brass.


Kiribati is home to the South Pacific's largest marine reserve. It is also one of the low-lying Pacific island states seen as highly vulnerable to rising sea levels and global warming, and frequently lends its voice to calls for action on climate change. In the last couple years there have been articles predicting the entire island chain sinking under water, and the prospect of finding land elsewhere or even settling in Australia.

These earrings represent both fresh and salt water; the very water they depend on for living and making an income may very well be the thing that destroys this beautiful nation. Made with tiny lampwork beads from Pebble Dreams, and sterling silver.

'Drops of Water'

Not everything is bright and colorful in Kiribati. Tarawa is the capital of Kiribati. South Tarawa is one of the most densely populated, severely poverty-stricken places in the world. Other islands have far fewer people, but getting to them can be difficult, and conditions are even more primitive. These earrings represent the darker side; poverty, overcrowding, lack of jobs, and wondering if or when they will have to leave the islands. The earrings are made with Czech nuggets, Swarovski pearls and crystals, and sterling silver.

'Storm Brewing'

A big thanks to Erin for hosting another fun challenge. Please visit Erin's blog for the list of the other participants.