Sunday, December 25, 2011

Glad Tidings of Joy!

"'8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.'" Luke: 8-14 from the King James Version

Just popping in to wish everyone a very Blessed Christmas and hope that your morning was filled with fun suprises, laughter, and much love! 

For me, the days leading up to this special day were filled with a lot of chaos and stress—not at all the peaceful days of Advent that I had been looking forward to. But in the end, everything worked out… the house is clean (relatively speaking), my roots are no longer gray, and the kids and hubby were thrilled with their gifts (as was I!)—so I can finally breath a big sigh of relief and meditate better on the REAL reason for the season, which is the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I'm hoping and praying that you will be able to do the same and that you'll join me in celebrating today and the rest of this special season with much JOY! *Ü*

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sweet Swedish Treats

I know, I know… I've been woefully neglectful of my blog lately, haven't I? The good news is that my Etsy shop has been busier than ever these past several months—especially since November to the present—due to what I'm sure is the Christmas shopping rush. The "bad" news is that most of these orders have been custom or made-to-order beads, so I've been torching like a fiend almost every day and still have orders piling up on my desk! :-o

I know I can't really complain… but my Christmas decorating is only about halfway finished, my gray roots have needed a serious touch up for weeks, I've had to resort to catching up on all my favorite TV shows on TiVo at very odd hours of the night, and I haven't even begun to do my own gift shopping (EEK!!!!). But in the midst of all this chaos, I managed to find a little time the other day to bake one of my favorite cookie recipes (come on, a girl needs to keep her sugar levels up when she's on the run, right?!).

I adore these Swedish Tea Cakes (also known as Mexican Wedding Cakes) and thought I'd share my recipe, for those of you who might be looking for a great new holiday dessert for your own friends and family? So if you love buttery shortbread and/or powdered donuts—this is a recipe I'm sure you'll enjoy as much as I do!

Swedish Tea Cakes
Recipe from the Pillsbury Kitchens' Family Cookbook

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup margarine or butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour or unbleached flour
1 cup finely chopped or ground almonds or pecans
1/4 tsp. salt

Heat oven to 325°F. In large bowl, combine first 3 ingredients; blend well. Stir in remaining ingredients until dough holds together. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 325°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until set, but not brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Cool slightly; roll in powdered sugar. Cool completely; roll again in powdered sugar. Yields 60 cookies.

Now I confess, I cook mine a little longer towards the 20 minute time frame because I actually like to have the bottoms of my cookies reach a golden brown for a more "baked" taste. *Ü*

What are some of your favorite cookies to make for over the Christmas holidays? I'd love to hear them! *Ü*

Friday, November 25, 2011

Acorn Bead Tutorial is here!

It only took 2 more months than I thought it would to finish this up, but I'm happy to announce that my new Acorn Bead Tutorial is finally here! YAY!!! I know it's a little late for the Fall season this year, but I hope some of you will still like to get started learning how to make these fun nature-inspired beads—especially since people love to wear acorn jewelry all year 'round.

In this tutorial, I'll show you how to make acorn beads in three different ways:
   • My popular encased Golden Scroll Acorn
   • Sweet and Simple Acorn
   • Wired Acorn Nut (that you can add your choice of bead caps to)

I'm also offering this as a "Black Friday Special" this weekend only, at 10% off what I will normally be charging. You can check it out HERE in my Etsy shop and thanks so much for looking! *Ü*

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing a very Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all my fellow Americans who celebrate this wonderful holiday! And for those who don't, I'll wish a wonderful weekend as well, and hoping you'll be able to spend it with friends and family, giving thanks for all the blessings in your life. We're heading off to celebrate with my husband's family in Lacey, WA, and am looking forward to all the delicious goodies and good fun!

In the meantime, I also wanted to let you know that starting tomorrow (Black Friday, ack!!), I'm going to be offering a great tutorial on how to create my Golden Scroll Acorn beads, as well as acorns on a wire that you can add a bead cap to and make into an instant charm or pendant. I know I'm a little late in getting this up in my shop, as I had originally intended to have it ready over a month ago, but life has a way of derailing the best intentions sometimes and you just have to go with the flow, right? Besides, I figure that people love buying my acorn beads and wearing acorn theme jewelry all year round because it has such a special symbolism.

So please check back tomorrow and I'll tell you more about it! ;-D

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Find: Shutter Displays

Looking for more fun show display ideas? Here's a great one that I picked up when I was at a Portland show earlier this year, but it's taken me until recently to finally get around to putting one together for myself…

Earring Shutter Display Stand

This is SO much nicer than the little black plastic rotating stand I was using and I love how it shows off my earrings and puts them more at eye level. I found some vintage shutters on eBay (it took me a while to find something affordable in the height I wanted), spray painted them soft white and added a small ledge at the bottom so that I can clamp them securely to my table. They were originally hinged together as a pair, which is how I've seen other vendors use them, but I only have room for single panels on each side of my booth with my current configuration. I created my own custom earring cards, which are folded in half and hang on the shutter slats.

I've also been tinkering more with my overall booth display and here's what it looks like now:

This was on an 8' table, but I normally use a 6' one, so every available inch of space is used up as efficiently as possible. I really love how my booth has evolved as I've become more involved in doing shows this year. I'll share a few more other display tricks I've discovered later too! *Ü*

What are some of your favorite ways to display your jewelry?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Do You Love Mice?

Well, evidently a lot of people do—if my recent jump in "Magical Mice" bead sales are any indication?! LOL I can tell that people are starting to get a jump on their Christmas holiday shopping and fellow Disney lovers around the world are going to wake up to find goodies like these in their stockings:

Charm Beads: fits most add-a-bead bracelet brands like Pandora, Troll, etc.

Along with these classic designs, I've also been having a lot of fun working on custom orders for customers who would like to change out the colors or shapes that coordinate with them. And I've created fresh new Disney-inspired designs coming soon that I'm pretty excited about. Good thing I love making these special mouse beads and jewelry—almost as much as people love to wear them!

And don't forget, if you'd like to order some of these beads or any other goodies from my Etsy shop, you can find out how to get Free Shipping by reading my last blog post HERE, or clicking on the green Treasure Hunt button in the upper right side of this blog. *Ü*

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November Treasure Hunt

I'm so excited to announce that the Promotional Frenzy team is offering a HUGE special event for the entire month of November! Over 50 individual Etsy shops (including yours truly) are offering fun specials and discounts such as free gifts, free shipping, BOGO’s, and an assortment of other great deals—just in time for your holiday shopping!

All you have to do is search through these shops and find the “treasured” item, which will be indicated by an image of the graphic above, somewhere in the listing photos. This will not be the main picture so you may have to click around. Each shop will have the details in their shop announcement as to what their special is. Please read each announcement carefully, as some shops will give you hints to help save you time in your search.

My special offer for this event is Free Shipping on any size order from my shop HERE, for both domestic and international customers. And I'll give you a hint: you can find the special photo and more information on how to receive your free shipping in one of the listings in my "Lampwork Bead Sets" section… ;-D

This is the perfect opportunity to go through your favorite shops (and find some new ones), discover loads of goodies for the holidays AND get a wonderful deal! For more information and a list of participating shops, please visit the Promo Frenzy Team Blog. I hope you have a lot of fun on your hunt and I wish you good luck finding all the Treasured Items! *Ü*

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Custom Made Challenges

I don't know if it's the upcoming holiday season or what, but one of the reasons I've been so busy these days is the rash of custom designs I've been commissioned to do over the past month or so. And I've been having so much fun with them! I know a lot of my artistic friends don't like to do them, but I'm one of those weird artists who actually loves the challenge of doing something different by request. Some of my best ideas and new designs have been born as a result of these fun collaborations with my customers! Here are just some of the cool projects I've finished up over the past month or so…

There was the set requested by a customer who wanted me to create beads that looked like the pattern and colors of her beloved Calico cat. After a few test runs, this is what she chose as her final design and was over the moon in love with them:

And this is the result of one of the other "Calico" test beads that I thought turned out looking more like exotic Ocelot Spots, and I ended up putting in my Etsy shop:

Then there was a set of cabinet knobs inspired by a customer who wanted some extra "glam" for her newly remodeled Mermaid-themed bathroom. We met while I was vending at a local craft show and after a bit of confab back and forth, and experimenting in my studio, I came up with this design featuring transparent pale aqua over sparkling silver foil, with "ripples" across the tops that mimic the look of movement in the water…

Making unique European Charm beads (aka "big hole beads") for those add-on charm bracelets like Pandora and Troll has also been a popular request, including the fun challenge of creating this Bat design, which consisted of two logos on a tiny 15mm diameter bead. It took me several tries to get it right, but "third time was the charm!"…(literally! LOL)

And remember my post about the Paw Print beads I made for a customer who wanted them to be as tiny as possible to work with her pendant design? Here's an order I just wrapped up for another customer who wanted colorful swirled backgrounds, similar to what she had seen in some of my other bead designs:

I loved playing around with the mix of colors so much, I'm planning on creating more sets with this type of background pattern too!

One of the best rewards after completing a custom design is hearing back from a customer who is obviously delirious with joy over their special beads, especially after they've arrived and they can see and touch them in person. Who knew that such a small item could bring so much happiness?! So if you're looking for a unique set of beads or a finished jewelry design, feel free to contact me any time about creating something special just for you. As you should be able to tell by now, my attitude is: Bring It On! *Ü*

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Portland Art & Soul Retreat

Geez, I think this is the longest time I've been AWOL from blogging in quite a while?! LOL Not because I haven't had anything to say, but because I've been so doggone crazy busy since my last post! ;-P

Right after posting about the fun Bead Soup Party event, I spent the rest of the week visiting many of the cool blogs on the Party list and also getting ready to attend the Art & Soul event down in Portland, Oregon with my little sister, Kimberly. This was my second time there, but my sister's first time at ANY type of artistic event and we were both so excited to get away for some creative inspiration and just plain ol' fun with each other. She is a very talented "late bloomer" in the artistic department (she creates amazing 3-D painted terracotta wall art), so I think I was almost as excited as she was to attend her first ever classes! She flew in, while I rode the Amtrak train down and during the trip, I worked on making some cute little lampwork flower charms to trade with other Art & Soul attendees…

We got there a day before our classes were to start, so we spent that first afternoon walking around the popular Hawthorne district, which is chock full of cool vintage shops and other great places to explore. We ended up walking around for over four hours straight!

One of the first places we stopped at was the Powell's Home and Garden shop and boy, was it a wonderland of eye candy—crammed full with charming vignettes around every corner. This was easily one of our favorite places we discovered during our walk…I drooled over and bought some gorgeous mercury glass candle holders and took home one of these neat little birds that reminded me of a vintage French decoration from one of my trips to Europe…

Kimberly, shopping for her dinner at the organic food store next door!

A few of the vintage thrift stores brought back quite a bit of nostalgic memories for both of us as we strolled through them—including this pair of lamps that we swear we once had a similar pair in our house while growing up! LOL

Footsore and happy with our purchases, we rode the MAX train back to our hotel, and the next day went to our first of two all-day classes. We both signed up for different ones, but met during the lunch break to catch up or do a little shopping at the on-site store at the hotel for more goodies.

My first class was with an artist names Lisa Kaus, whose wonderful and whimsical work I have admired for many years. I love how she combines found objects and ephemera with paint and beeswax, and mixes them all up together in tidy little separate compartments… something that has great appeal for my graphic designer's heart!

I didn't have time to complete my project during class, but I worked on it a bit more in the hotel room, and plan to finish it up soon here in my home studio. I think I have a pretty good start though and love the pretty, "old world" vibe I'm hoping to achieve by the time I'm done…

The next day, I took a class with Sally Jean Alexander, who is a fabulous designer who specializes in soldering just about anything she can get her hands on. We worked on a really cool pendant/necklace project, where the focal pendant was a vintage perfume bottle she had cut in half for us, then we learned how to solder it back together and create our own hinges and fastening. I wasn't able to finish this project either, but promise to post about it when I'm finished! In the meantime, you can drool with me over this gorgeous class example, done by Sally Jean…

That night, we got together with two new friends named Tiffin and Jenni that we had met at breakfast that morning, and went down to explore the famous Pearl District, which is known for its cool artsy boutiques and restaurants. Unfortunately, by the time we got there, almost all the boutiques were closing, so we didn't get to shop much—just spent quite a bit of time with our noses pressed to storefront windows and sighing in regret. LOL We did manage to stumble onto a great little restaurant called Papa Haydn during our walk that was obviously a local favorite, judging from the long and constant line leading up to their dessert display inside!

I wanted this coat in the worst way!!
My German Chocolate Cake dessert…as scrumptious as it looks!!!

The next morning, we sadly said our goodbyes and made our way back to our respective homes. But we both had such a wonderful time, we're already planning on making this into an annual "sister tradition" from now on—which definitely includes visiting the Pearl District again for a full day—when all the shops are open! *Ü*

P.S.—The day I first got to Portland, my sweet little "hairy baby" Indy had to go in for emergency surgery to remove a tumor we didn't know he had. I received frequent updates during my trip, including these two photos my daughter Ashley sent me from her cell phone:

Ashley thought Indy felt better after she "Beadazzled" his neck cone! LOL

He took nearly a week to recuperate, which is the other reason I didn't get around to blogging all last week, as I was up until at least 3 or 4 am each morning with him. He is now doing a lot better and got his stitches removed today—and we're all finally getting a full night's sleep too! *Ü*

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bead Soup Reveal

Ta-DAH! It's Party Time!! Waahooooo!!!

Today, I can finally share what I created from the fun mix of goodies that my awesome partner, Jill MacKay, gave me to use for the Bead Soup Blog Party! As a refresher to what this is all about, last month I posted about a huge blog hop event called Bead Soup that I had signed up for. It's run by the "Hostess with the Mostest" Lori Anderson of the Pretty Things blog. The premise of this event is we are all assigned partners to swap beads and findings with, then we make something out of these supplies, with the minimum requirement being that we have to use at least the focal and toggle that we were given. Then we post our creations on our blogs on the same day and have tons of fun visiting each other's blogs over the next several days (or even weeks) and getting "eye candy" overload!

Here are the goodies Jill sent me to work with, featuring several beautiful pieces from her own line of silver findings:

And this is the necklace that I created…

I think it turned out rather well, considering I was stumped on what to do until the very last minute!? LOL I used Jill's lovely sterling leaf focal, her leaf connector finding, and the toggle, and combined them with faceted crystal quartz rondelles and some of my lampwork beads. I had every intention of also using the pretty green crystals that Jill sent in this piece and even spent one night making lampwork beads especially to go with them, but then—as it often happens with the design process—I decided to go another direction and ended up with this simpler design instead.

I used different beads I already had in my bead box, which have a mother-of-pearl shimmer with shades of soft aqua, teal, and green. They pick up the soft green color of the little rhinestones in the leaf focal perfectly! I also challenged myself to try something new by using a more rustic wire wrapping technique, where excess wire is wrapped around several times for a more relaxed effect. I definitely had to work at this, since I'm a little anal about getting perfect 3-wrap ends on all my designs. And with the current cost of sterling silver these days ($40.50/ounce, EEK!), I admit it was tough to add on those extra few inches of wire! LOL But I prevailed and think it adds a nice touch to this piece. Plus, I was lazy and didn't feel like using my reading/magnifying glasses like I usually do—so this was a good excuse! ;-D

I planned to use more of the goodies that Jill sent me in at least one other piece, but I ran out of time to finish it before the Blog Party started. But I'll add it on to this post as soon as it's done, I promise! In the meantime, please visit Jill's blog to see what she created using the beads I sent her—I can't wait to see for myself! And make sure to check out Lori's blog HERE for the full list of the rest of the talented participants and get yourself even more eye candy! *Ü*

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Paw Print Customer Necklace Share

Lately, I've been working on a lot of custom bead orders, which is one of the fun things I love about being an artist—the thrill of the design challenge! Amy, one of my customers, just sent me a photo today of the finished necklace she made using custom paw print beads I made for her and I just couldn't wait to share them with you too!

Isn't it gorgeous!?! She asked me to create her beads using her nephew's school colors and their Bearcat mascot paw, which she turned into a necklace honoring his football number. These 13mm lentils are the smallest size bead in this style I've ever made, and boy, was it a challenge to squeeze that paw print on it! LOL But it was so worth it, especially when I found out that she is making these necklaces to help raise money for breast cancer research through the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer organization in her local area. Since my mother-in-law, Dora, is currently being treated for ovarian cancer and I know several breast cancer survivors, a cause like this is definitely something I would love to help with spreading the word.

Amy is making these necklaces with a variety of other themes such as baseball, cheerleader, golf, gymnastics, music, soccer, and softball. If you would like to order a similar necklace like this one for yourself, using your own custom colors, please email her directly at for more info and pricing.

If you would like to order a custom paw print bead separately, I have them available in several styles such as grizzly bear, bobcat, and dog, and can make them in just about any color combination and in several sizes of slim lentil or square nugget beads. Of course, I welcome any new paw print design challenges as well! *Ü*

Friday, September 9, 2011

Customer Appreciation Special!

♥ You know how I "heart" all of you!! ♥

Where would I be without the encouragement and support from all my customers?! So in appreciation for helping to make these past two years as an Etsy shop owner a success for me, I would like to offer this fun little perk to all my returning customers:

All customers who have already placed at least one order in the past, may use the coupon code "SHIPFREE" for free shipping on any new order of $20 or more! 

I don't have an expiration on this special at the moment, and am planning on offering it at least through the next few months, for all of you to enjoy while doing your holiday shopping. International customers will receive a refund for any shipping costs charged since it looks like I set the coupon up for Domestic only and can't edit it now. (eek!) If you're a new visitor to my shop, your first order will need to include shipping, but you could use this coupon on any qualifying order after that! ;-D

I will also offer this same coupon code in my ArtFire shop, but I plan to close this shop by the 14th of this month, so be sure to take advantage of this offer while you can if you prefer to shop through this forum.

Thanks again for everything and I hope you all have a wonderful weekend too! I'll be at the Issaquah Farmer's Market over the next 3 Saturdays, so please stop by and say "hi!" if you'll be in the area! ♥

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Craving Chocolate?

*** Warning: If you're on a diet, you might not want to read this particular article!! ***

Too late, you say? Did the word "chocolate" capture your attention like a siren's call like it does me? LOL Oh well, I promise this will be just about zero calorie eye candy! ;-D

For those of you who have been keeping up with my blog, you may have already seen a past post about the new chocolate glass bead sets that I've been making? Well, they've been so well received in my Etsy shop, I've had a hard time keeping up with new listings, so I thought it would be smart to offer one where customers can choose from these shapes and designs to create their own Custom Chocolate Mix in a Tin:

Are these not totally drool-worthy?!! Even *I* have a very hard time resisting taking a bite sometimes! LOL But I'm not sure yet if this is something that will catch on for customers who would rather see a finished set to buy, so I'll be offering those as well in my Etsy shop. I also have some great new ideas to do with this kit concept that would work perfectly for the upcoming holiday season, so be sure to check back soon! *Ü*

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Find: Finger Tips

Here's a Friday Find that I can thank my wonderful nail salon for! I like to get my nails done about once or twice a month, because I use my hands so much for my creative projects and they end up getting a lot of "wear and tear"—and as a result, are in constant need of professional help! LOL

Amy, my favorite manicurist, was doing my nails one day and I was bemoaning how nasty my nails were looking because I had just finished working on a big batch of metal clay charms, and I had dark brown dust caked underneath and scratches from my tools all over them. Then I noticed the rubber finger tips she was wearing as she was filing my nails and **BOING!!** I had the idea of "why not try those for my type of work too?!" When I asked her more about how well they work for her, she kindly offered to give me a pair to try out for myself—and as you can see from this photo—they obviously have been working rather well! ;-D

I was going to take a cool photo of me actually having the tips on and working on something, but I keep forgetting to ask someone else in the house to help me with it. And since it's a little hard to file a tiny metal charm with both hands AND snap a photo of it, you'll have to use your imagination a bit, k? 

These nifty little gizmos work by covering your fingers with a soft, flexible rubber tip that serve to protect them while doing repetitive work like filing or sanding. I just use one on my thumb and pointer finger on the hand that does the holding. I love how the rubber surface also helps me hold the tiny metal clay shapes securely as I do my refining work, and are tight enough on my fingers that I can still handle the delicate unfired pieces without breaking them. After I've fired my charms in my kiln, I also use these when I'm doing any kind of hand polishing work too!

Amy buys hers from a beauty supply store, but I also discovered that office supply stores have these as well. They can be found in the mailing/stationary aisle because they are used to help with tasks like sorting mail, and are available in at least two sizes.

This is the box I found at my local Staples store—they're not a pretty hot pink color like the ones Amy gave me, but I think they'll still do a fine job. Speaking of which… I think I'm due to make another batch of my bronze clay oak leaf charms!… *Ü*

What kind of work could you use finger tips like these for?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bead Soup Goodies

The other day I got a package from my Bead Soup partner, Jill MacKay—and here's all the wonderful goodies she sent me:

Aren't they cool!! They include several beautiful things from her own line of sterling findings and some lovely green faceted beads, blue-green glass diamonds, what I think are natural stone lentils, and bronzy-green freshwater pearls.

I love the green colors (I'm a Nature Lover girl, remember?!), but don't usually work with crystal beads, so I'm looking forward to the fun challenge of seeing how I can incorporate them with my own lampwork beads and/or mixed media pieces into my finished jewelry design. The rules of the Bead Soup Party are that I only have to use the focal and the clasp, but I would love to see how many of these components I can use. That's the beauty of the Bead Soup concept—being challenged to get out of my comfort zone to try new things out and see how they can expand my creative horizons!

hmmmmm… the thinkin' wheels are a spinnin' like crazy! …*Ü*

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fire Divas Team Treasury Giveaway!

This month, the Divas are breaking out all the stops and creating a fabulous treasure trove of beads to be featured in the Fire Divas first ever Etsy Team Treasury Giveaway!

Most of you are probably familiar with Etsy's Treasuries, which are collections of items illustrating a special theme chosen by individual curators. Well, the Fire Divas are doing something a little extra special! Not only are we creating a Treasury featuring many of the Fire Divas showing off their renditions of a "Bead Jeweled" theme, but we are giving them all away to four—yes we said, FOUR!—very lucky winners! All you have to do for a chance to win is leave a comment on our Treasury HERE and "heart" or add all the featured shops in it as a favorite.

Only one comment/person, please! Winners will be chosen at random on August 21, 2011.

The best way you can show your love and support for the Divas is to make sure that you and everyone you know stops by to view this amazing Treasury! Please also take a few moments to spread the news by posting a link to Facebook or your blog, tweet it, StumbleUpon, or any other social media you prefer to use.

And in the style of those infamous infomercials…"WAIT! There's more!!"

Since some of our team members don't have their own Etsy shops, we're also offering a separate Blog Giveaway here to one lucky reader, who will win a wonderful prize from Patrice of Shepherd Creations!

To enter our Blog Giveaway (separate from our Etsy Treasury Giveaway!):
Please leave a comment HERE on the Diva team blog (and please make sure to include the best way to contact you!) and one winner will be chosen at random at the same time we pick the other four Treasury winners.

They say that a person's greatest treasure is their friends—and you, our fans—are some of our greatest treasures too! Thank you very much for your support from all of us here on the Fire Divas team!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Beachcomber Style

I love all things relating to the ocean and have recently been working on a new "Beachcomber" series inspired by it that I'm pretty excited about! One of my favorite things to do on the beach is comb it for bits of colorful beach glass, unusual rocks, and pretty shells. And I'm always thinking of ideas on what to do with them (besides stick them all in a clear jar on my shelf), but it's kind of hard to find pieces that are easy to drill a hole in to make jewelry with. So I figured it would be easier (and almost as fun!) to create my own "faux" beach glass and other ocean inspired beads out of glass to use. So here's what I've working on lately…

This is one of my "Tide Pool" heart focals, made with a lovely pale aqua glass that has tiny seed bubbles in it—looks like it's really underwater! Then I layered on some of my handmade silvered ivory shards (thin pieces of glass that are blown into large bubbles and broken apart), a fun starfish, and my handmade "barnacle" murrini. I love the cool 3-D effect on these beads and plan on offering them in several other starfish colors.

Next, I have my "Beach Pebbles" and yes, they're all made out of glass too! I've given them soft facets and dents, then etched them to look like they really just tumbled onto the beach…

And then some of my favorites—my faux "Beach Glass" that I've created into organic looking disks with a hole in the center, and also etched to a velvety finish. They look so much like the real thing, even *I* have a hard time believing I didn't find them on a beach somewhere (except the hole gives them away! LOL). I'm also making these in other colors, such as pale aqua and amber.

I'm working on these Beach Glass beads in other shapes and also have coordinating spacer beads made out of the same seeded aqua glass as I used for the Tide Pool hearts. You can find all of these new beads in my Etsy shop HERE.

I created similar beads last year to make this cool bracelet that was featured in Bead Trends magazine, but I haven't really dedicated myself to creating a series until now. But my Muse has been urging me on and I'm working on other coordinating designs that I hope to blog about soon…while the great ideas keep flowing and before I lose my beachcombing mojo! *Ü*

P.S. ~ And don't forget that I'm offering up to 20% off all my finished jewelry and selected beads from my shop throughout the entire month of August, with new sale items being listed to my "MEGA PromoFrenzy Special" section all the time! You can also search for great deals from all the other PromoFrenzy Team shops that are participating by either clicking on the links in my sidebar, or searching for the "promofrenzyteam" tag. ;-D

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