Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays!

The giving of gifts is not something man invented. God started the giving spree when he gave a gift beyond words, the unspeakable gift of His Son. - Robert Flatt

Christmastime for our family is a time of great joy, celebrating the gift of baby Jesus to the world. Without His birth and sacrifice, there would be no salvation for us!

I also think the anticipation of what's to come is another one of the special things about the holiday season, don't you? (And I'm not just talking about the presents under the tree!) Reflecting on the past year, we've gone through some really sad times, but there's still so much to be thankful for…and we're hoping and praying for a bright future and glad that God is with us all the way, no matter what life brings us…

Wishing all our friends and family a very special Christmas and a blessed New Year too! *Ü*

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Treasuries

Today I got the last of my Etsy orders out the door—just in time for Christmas!! Now it's time to take a break from my shop and focus on spending time with my family for the holidays and enjoying this special season, including wrapping all the gifts I have hidden around the house and baking my favorite goodies! I really hope I remember where I have everything stashed this time—last year I found a couple things months afterwards?! LOL

And yesterday, we got our first snowfall, so it's put me really in the mood for a White Christmas! I hope you're all having a wonderful time as well and if you're still doing some last minute shopping, here's a few fun Etsy Treasuries I'm in today to help get you even more in the holiday spirit! *Ü*

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pantone Spring 2013 Color Forecast

Sheesh! I've barely processed the Fall colors for this year, and find it's already time to look ahead to the Spring fashion forecast?!? EEK!! I'm almost afraid to blink my eyes or I might find myself in the middle of Summer if I don't watch it? LOL

But for those of you who are lucky enough to be enjoying a more leisurely Fall-into-Winter season so far, here are new colors you can look forward to wearing this coming Spring. And this is a great resource for helping you choose clothing or accessories as gifts for this Christmas too! ;-D

To be honest, I'm not loving this palette as much as I have in years past—most of these shades seem grayed down and don't have that fresh clarity in tone that I normally look for in Spring. But I do see a few colors that I would definitely wear and use in my bead designs, such as the African Violet, Dusk Blue, and Tender Shoots. And who could go wrong with a pop of Poppy Red?!

I'm looking forward to challenging myself to see how many of these colors I can incorporate into new designs. I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised by some of the results and will keep an open mind to the possibilities!

How about you? Do you see any of your favorite colors, or get a flash of inspiration for a new color combination you've never thought of before? *Ü*

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Christmas Goodies!

Thanksgiving passed in a blur and it was fun, but a little bittersweet spending the holiday with my husband's family and missing the fun banter with his Dad…and it was nice sharing more stories of him around the dinner table as we gave thanks for all our blessings this year.

The day after, my husband and I even ventured out into the Black Friday shopping frenzy—and if you know us, you know that is NOT something either one of us have ever wanted to try before!! LOL But there were a few things we wanted to pick up if we could and so we drove out to a few stores at 9 am in the morning. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the ones we went to didn't have any of those crazy crowds where everyone is practically foaming at the mouth to get their special deals. We even had time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast at a nearby restaurant to celebrate getting our "finds" so succesfully and relatively stress-free! :-D

Looking ahead to my favorite time of the year, I've also been inspired to make some new Christmas beads. They've been well received on my Facebook fan page and Etsy shop, and I have a few more in the works that I'll be sharing soon!

Red Silvered Earring Pair

Christmas Joy Set

Winter Berries Charm Bead

If you have any suggestions for other color combinations or seasonal designs (including Winter themes) that you would like to see me make, please feel free to email me or leave a comment here any time—I LOVE getting new design challenges! *Ü*

Friday, November 16, 2012

1,000+ Fans Celebration!

Edited to add: CONGRATULATIONS! to Libbi Shorts of Mt. Baldy Glassworks for being the lucky winner of my random drawing for this Acorn Necklace!! Thanks to everyone who participated and for being such great Fans! *Ü*

Whooohooooo! It's time for another Fan Giveaway!! I meant to do it when I reached 1,000 Fans on my Facebook Fan Page, but I've been so crazy busy this year—I just now realized that milestone had come and gone before I even had a chance to celebrate?!

But "better late than never," right? LOL I took a poll earlier and requests for one of my Acorns came in first place, with Finished Jewelry coming in second, so I thought it would be fun to combine the two and hopefully, get a lot of people excited to enter?!

In appreciation for everyone who helped me reach over 1,300 Fans to date and in honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I'm giving away one of my new Acorn Necklaces to one lucky winner! It features one of my green-blue glass and natural acorn cap pendants on an antique copper ball chain, or I can make an Acorn in a different color of your choice too.
You have up to 3 separate chances to enter to win this necklace:
1) "LIKE" my Fan Page by visiting it HERE.
But please don't like my Page just for this Giveaway and then "unlike" me after it's over—it breaks my heart every time that happens! If you already liked my Fan Page before, you can give me a suggestion for a new bead design you'd like to see me make. ;-)

2) and/or SHARE this Giveaway with a LINK back to this post on your own blog or Fan Page.

3) and/or "HEART" my Etsy shop by clicking on the "Favorite" button in the upper right corner of my shop page HERE. If you have already hearted my shop, post a link here to one of your favorite items in my shop and tell me why you like it.

For any of the above actions and to increase your chances of winning, leave a maximum of 3 separate comments here after this post saying which one(s) you did, i.e. one comment for liking my fan page, another comment for hearting my Etsy shop. And please make sure to also give me your name and a good way to contact you if you are the winner on at least one of your entries.

Deadline to enter is November 20, 2012 by 5 pm. 
I will pick a winner later in the evening by a random drawing of names. Please note this giveaway is in no affiliated with Facebook or any of its subsidiaries and I am solely responsible for the management of this event and distribution of all prizes.

Good luck and I am SO thankful for your continued support and encouragement! *Ü*

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Upcoming Holiday Shows

My booth at the Salmon Days Festival (still needed to add the curtains in the back!)

It seems like I've been on the run like a hamster on a wheel ever since this Summer! *whew!* With the girls on summer break from school, and participating in the Issaquah Farmer's Market and several big local shows—I've been in perpetual motion and a creative frenzy. The girls are back in school now, but I still have a few more shows on my schedule this year—just in time to kick off the big holiday shopping season!

St. Barbara's Holiday Artisans Bazaar
When: Saturday, October 27th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: 32416 6th Avenue, Black Diamond, WA
The church hall at the corner of Sixth and Baker streets. This event is sponsored by the Circle of Joy and proceeds benefit St. Barbara Church.

Tahoma Band Boosters Holiday Bazaar
When: Saturday, November 3rd from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Tahoma High School, 18200 SE 240th Street, Covington, WA
This show benefits the Tahoma School District's Band Program.

MultiCare Clinic Holiday Bazaar
When: Tues. Nov. 13th through Wed. Nov. 14th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Covington MultiCare Clinic, 17700 SE 272nd St., Covington, WA

 And here is a sneak peek at just some of the goodies I'll be bringing…

New acorn pendants with real acorn caps and hand-wrapped copper bails.

My all-glass Acorns, in my favorite new color combination and tiny earring size!

Updated version of my Mistletoe Stackable Charm Necklace

Note that I won't have any of these new designs in my Etsy shop yet, since I'm saving them for my local shows. But if you see something you like, feel free to email me and I'm sure I can make something similar for you if it sells before I have a chance to offer it in my shop or on my Facebook Fan Page. And if you have any suggestions for other colors or designs you'd like to see in either of my Acorn designs, I'd love to hear them in your comments!

I hope you'll tell all your friends about these great upcoming events and that I'll see some of you there! *Ü*

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

An Unexpected Passing…

On the morning of September 28th, we lost a beloved member of our family, Ray Bergmann—a loving and supportive Father, Grandpa and Father-in-Law. At 91 years of age, Ray wasn't in the best of health, but had been doing well and so it was a complete shock that he passed away quietly in his sleep without any warning of what was to come.

Ashley posted this message on her Facebook page right after she came home from school and we told her the sad news…

"Today I came home to find out my grandpa passed away. So I just want to talk about him for a bit. He was my hero. I wear his dog tag around my neck every day. Everyone always said how we were so alike and there was no greater compliment than that for me. No one was greater than my grandpa. Nobody was or ever will be braver, smarter, or more kind hearted and lovingly sarcastic than him. I love my grandpa more than anything or anyone in this world. And I never got to say goodbye."

and Katie shared this moving tribute later that day…

"Today, God was given one more angel in Heaven. From teaching me how to fish and amazing Thanksgiving dinners to joking about how I owed you money to borrow your wheel chair, you've always been my hero. Through everything in my life you've always encouraged me to follow my dreams, never give up and to never settle for less than I deserve. I can't believe you're gone and I miss you so much Grandpa...I thank God for blessing me with someone so special in my life and that you're not hurting anymore. I can't wait for the day when I see you again, but for now at least I'm lucky enough to know now you're looking after me always. Thank you so much for all of the beautiful memories I have of you and the impact you've made in my life. You always were and still will be my hero."

My husband Kraig wrote this for the obituary notice—but there wasn't enough room to relate what a funny, hard-working, quirky, and smart man his Dad truly was…

On September 28th, Ray passed away peacefully in his sleep. We lost a devoted husband, a loving father, a cherished grandfather and a committed friend to many. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Dora, his sons Kurt (Wendy), Kel (Sue), Kris and Kraig (Lori) and 5 grandchildren, Michael, Lauren, Lisa, Kaitlyn and Ashley. Ray was born in Portland OR on June 24, 1921. He grew up in the Illinois River Valley of Southern Oregon. 

Ray was one of many that committed to faithfully serve our country in WWII as a pilot in the Army Air Corp attaining the rank of Major in the Air Force. He survived being shot down over Yugoslavia and detainment as a POW. Ray returned from Germany at the end of the war to marry his wife Dora in 1945. Ray served his community by bringing electricity to much of southern Oregon and building dams and power plants for Pacific Corporation throughout the Northwest. Ray was very aware of the cost of power and would ensure his family and friends would not be wasteful; he was a creative recycler well before it was in vogue. 

Ray lived throughout the Pacific Northwest, first living in Oregon, Wyoming and then Washington where he enjoyed many years of retirement. He was an avid fishing enthusiast and a conservationist. He would spend endless hours fishing for salmon or trout and teaching his sons the pleasure of these times. He enjoyed gardening, hiking, and camping with his family.

Ray was well known and loved for his sharp mind, a quick wit and endless amounts of humorous pranks. Many visitors found something unusual tucked deep in their shoe, luggage or a piece of wood in your pillow. He was also a wonderful story teller, especially when sharing with his grandchildren the events of his life. To his final day Ray enjoyed a sharp repartee with his family that always resulted in much laughter.

(from me):
I loved how Ray was always so interested and encouraging in whatever we were doing... and the way his face would light up with that devilish grin after he made an especially snappy comment or received a sassy zinger of an answer in return. His devotion to his family was always evident and we were blessed to have had a great character like him in our lives. Rest in Peace, Ray…we'll all miss and think of you each and every day… XOXO

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Northwest Bead Bazaar

I've been in a feverish frenzy of bead making for weeks now, trying to get ready for the Northwest Bead Society's annual Bead Bazaar, which is my second big show of the year and will be held this weekend. For this show, I'll be selling just my loose beads, but the weekend after that, I'll be selling finished jewelry and other beaded goodies at the Salmon Days Festival in Issaquah, WA. (insert mild panic attack…)

So I'm heading back out to the studio to torch some new designs into life, but thought I'd pop in and share all the juicy details—in case you'll be in the area or know someone who might enjoy overdosing themselves on delicious bead eye candy? *Ü*

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Blasts from the Past

Autumn is just around the corner and I can hardly wait! I've decided that it's now my favorite season—nudging ahead of Spring because around here, Spring is a bit too rainy for enjoying the new flowers as much as I'd like. But the Autumn season is wonderful in my area—with lots of sunshine, the leaves changing color, and lovely temperatures for strolling around comfortably in soft sweaters.

Autumn is also my busiest show season and this year I've signed up to do four—yes, FOUR!—craft shows within the next 7 weeks!! EEK!! So I'm trying to build up my bead and jewelry inventory as much as possible, which means digging up some old "recipes" of past popular designs that will compliment my newer ones.

I recently finished up a few sets inspired by this bead I created last year:

Fairy Dust European Charm Bead

And this is one of the new "nuggety" sets with a slightly more Chartreuse tint (which also happens to be one of the Pantone color trends for this Fall):

Green Gossamer Nuggets

As with all silver-laden glass, the results can differ by quite a bit—depending on the way the glass is worked, kiln temperatures, and some say even the phase of the moon! One of my other sets is a little bluer and one is a mix of the two—but they all look so lovely with that inner shimmer that is characteristic of silver glass designs.

And here is another popular past favorite, but using a different silver glass and technique:

Wisteria Waves No. 2

I love the gradated colors ranging from purples, blues and robin egg in the "waves," with rims of a pale brownish olive green. These were some of the hardest beads to capture on camera, and I wish you could see how much prettier and softer looking these are in person. I've just listed them in my Etsy shop and will be making more for my upcoming shows. To me, these totally say "Autumn" and I think I'll have to make a set for myself too! *Ü*

What are you looking forward to for this Fall season?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bead Soup #6 Final Reveal

Are you ready for some more fabulous eye candy?! It's time for the final installment of three Reveals for the 6th Bead Soup Blog Party—and this time, I get to play and share my own design too! If you're new to my blog or unfamiliar with the Bead Soup events, you can CLICK HERE to learn more about this fun annual event.

To recap, this is what my wonderful partner Barb Solem of Vivi Magoo Presents, sent me:

As you can see, I had quite a mix of sparkly bits and rich brass elements to choose from! I'm not used to working with vintage rhinestones, but I love the look and was excited to have the challenge to work with them for the first time. And this is what I ended up creating…

To balance the nearly 5" long focal piece, I decided to go with a dramatic 36" opera length design. I love how it turned out, but it's a really hard to photograph such a long piece! LOL I used some of the quartz and cream stones, faceted topaz beads, and the vintage rhinestone square spacers Barb sent me, as well as some of my lampwork beads and other brass findings to create two layered strands. I wire-wrapped each beaded section with a looser, more rustic look to mimic those on the focal piece. These transition into a smaller doubled up antique brass chain which is capped off with more of my beads and Barb's lovely beaded toggle clasp. Here's another view, showing most of the two-strand mixed section and the focal…

I'm really happy with how this turned out and can't wait to wear it to upcoming holiday parties. And an extra bonus is that I still have some of my "soup" components left over that I can use in other designs too!

Please click on the blue highlighted link (at the beginning of the second paragraph) to see what my awesome partner Barb created with the soup mix I sent her. This last reveal is the largest of the three, so please also read Hostess Lori Anderson's blog, Pretty Things to visit the links for all the other participants. But I warn you—be prepared for a massive case of Creative Inspiration Overload!! *Ü*

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bead Soup No. 6 - Reveal #2

It's time for the second of three Reveals for the 6th Bead Soup Blog Party! YAY!!! So if you're into beads and jewelry design, you're gonna LOVE checking out all these great blogs for some fantastic creative inspiration:

Hostess, Lori Anderson, Pretty Things

Adlinah Kamsir, Dream Struck Designs
Adrienn Lukacs, Raszputyin Designs
Agata Grygiel, Cytherea Bijoux
Alenka Obid, Pepita Handmade
Amy Schmidt, Amy's Treasure
Amy Severino, Amy Beads 
Andrea Trank, Heaven Lane Creations
Anke Humpert, Anart Island Studios
Ann Rishell, My Critical Eye
April Grinaway, Brooklyn Bead Goddess
Ashley Bunting, Miss Ashely Kate
Astrid Boyce, Astrid Boyce Beads
B.R. Kuhlman, Mixed Mayhem Studios
Barb Fernald, Barbara S. Fernald Jewelry
Barbe Saint John, Saints and Sinners

Beata Benkone Meggyesi, Beahobbi
Brandy McNair, Bella Vita Handmade Jewelry
Bryna Lumb, Bryna's Bead Box
Carmen Lau, Little Maketto
Cate van Alphen, Fulgorine
Cathie Carroll, Cathie Carroll's Studio
Cathy Khoury, Touch Jewelry
Christina Stofmeel, Feng Beads
Collette Collins, Fire Fly Myst Artisan Jewelry
Courtney Breul, Beads by Breul
Crystal Thain, Here Bead Dragons
Cynthia Abner, Created Treasures
Deana Hager, Just Deez'Art & Life
Debbie Davis, Natural Treasures by Deb
Debbie Phenes, Deb Joy Sing
Debbie Rasmussen, A Little of This, A Little of That
Dhea Powers, Java Bead
Diana Welte, Lilyweeds
Dita Basu, alankarshilpa
Dorota Zeranska, gdymamczas
Dot Lewallwn, Speedie Beadie
Eleanor Snare, The Magic Square Foundation
Elisabeth Auld, Beads For Busy Gals
Ema Kilroy, Ema K Designs
Emma Todd, A Polymer Penchant
Eva Sherman, Eva Sherman Designs
Evie and Beth McCord, EB Bead and Metal Works
Francy Inman, Francy's Studio

Ginger Bishop, lilmummy likes...
Giorgia Rossini, Jo in Wonderland
Ine Vande Cappelle, Jewels by Ine
Iveth Caruso, Creative Atelier
JJ Jacobs, Coming Abstractions
Jackie Ryan, Kydo Jewellery
Jeannie Dukic, Jeannie's Blog
Jelveh Jaferian, Jelveh Designs
Jenna Tomalka, Twin Birch Studio
Jenni Connolly, Jenni's Beads

Jennifer Van Horn, Jennifers Jewels and Junk
Jo-Ann Woolverton, It's a Beadiful Creation
Johanna Rhodes-Nash, Fire Phoenix Creations
Joyce Blair, Bent Wire West Coast
JuLee Wolfe, The Polymer Penguin
Karen Vincent, Swallow Tail Jewellery
Karin Slaton, Backstory Beads
Kayla Potega, The Eclectic Element
Kim Dworak, CianciBlue
Krafty Max, Krafty Max Originals
Kris Lanae Binsfeld, Cherish Designs by Kris Lanae

Kristen Latimer, MJM Jewelry Designs
Kumi Fisher, Malie Kai Designs
Kym Hunter, Kym Hunter Designs
Lennis Carrier, Windbent
Leslie Wayment, AA Beads & More
Linda Florian, Lilys of the Valley Jewelry Creations
Linda Murphy, Bonita Bead
Lisa Johnson, Whimsey Wonders
Lisa Lodge, Pine Ridge Treasures

Lisa Sittniewski, Love, Yesterdays
Lois Moon, Que Onda, Q'Town?
Lola Surwillo, Bead Lola Bead
Lorelei Eurto, Lorelei's Blog
Lori Bowring Michaud, Artfully Ornamental
Lori Callahan, Dancing Wire and Beads by Lori
Lori Finney, Using My Beads
Marcia Dunne, The Alternative Foundry
Margareta Saari, Mags-koruja
Maria Horvath, Horimarika Beads
Marian Hertzog, M's Place

Mary Ellen Parker, BeeTree by m.e.
Mary K McGraw, MK's Creative Musings
MaryLou Holvenstot, time2cre8
Martha Aleo, Ornamento
Maybeline Tay, The Jewelry Larder
Megan Collins, Churchy & Her Sailor
Melissa Meman, Art. Life. Love.
Melissa Mesara, One-Eared Pig Beads
Melissa Muir, Kelsi's Closet Jewelbox

Paige Maxim, Paige Maxim Designs
Pam DeBoer, Purple Notes from the Studio
Pam Farren, re-maker
Pam Hurst, Pam Hurst Designs
Patricia Handschuh, The Color of Dreams
Patty Miller, CabariBeads
Penney Klapoth, Faerie Acres
Regina Santerre, Regina's Writings
Rhea Freitag, starrgazer creates
Rochelle Brisson, A Creative Chelle

Sabine Dittrich, PerlenDschungel
Sandra McGriff, Creative Chaos
Sandra Neights, Petalo Azul
Sandra Young, It's a Bead Life!
Sara Oehler, SoftFlex Girl
Saturday Sequins, Saturday Sequins
Shanti Johnson, Sunshine Bliss
Shari Replogle, Plays With Paper
Sonya Stille, Dreamin' of Beads

Stefanie Teufel, Stefanies Sammelsurium
Tammie Everly, TTE Designs
Tania Spivey, Moobie Grace Designs
Tanya Wiles, Tenebrous Hollow Studio
Therese Frank, Therese's Treasures
Tina Holden, Polymer Clay Bytes!
Toltec Jewels, Jewel School Friends
Tracey Nanstad, A Beadiful Mess
Tracy Choy, BumbleBeads Designs
Valerie Norton, Hot Art

And as if all this eye candy wasn't enough—there's one more Reveal coming up! LOL Please come back and join me for my own reveal with my partner Barb Solem, and many other great jewelry bloggers on August 25th! *Ü*

Friday, August 3, 2012

Pantone Fall 2012 Forecast

I can't believe I totally dropped the ball on finishing up my individual posts for the Spring/Summer 2012 color forecast, but I'm hoping I'll do much better for the upcoming Fall season! I know many of you are in the midst of a big heat wave, so I thought I'd start posting the new color trends to give you something cooler to look forward to (even if the thought of snuggly sweaters isn't so appealing at the moment?! LOL).

Here's what the official Pantone site says we can look forward to for this Fall:

From love potions and the magical hour of sunset to witches and warlocks, fantasy and illusion are inspiring designers this fall season. With an unexpected mix of darks, brights and neutrals, they cleverly manipulate reality to transport consumers to an enchanting place, free from the stresses of everyday life.

“By playing to consumers’ practical side with versatile neutrals, and boosting their confidence with bold, spirited hues, this skillfully balanced palette has something for everyone,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®.

Since Tangerine Tango is Pantone's 2012 Color of the Year, you may have noticed that it has carried over into the Fall season—which is great for all those outfits or accessories you may have already on hand from Spring and Summer. You'll be able to mix them in with these deeper, more subdued colors (with the exception of the eye popping Bright Chartreuse, that is!).

I'm really digging the thought of the strong neutrals like French Roast or Titanium paired with the brighter colors like Pink Flambe and Olympian Blue. I'll be highlighting all these individual colors in upcoming posts, and would love to hear which ones are your favorites! *Ü*

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bead Soup No. 6

(NOTE: Anything highlighted in color in this post is an active link, so you can click on any of them and it will take you directly to that website if you would like to learn more! *Ü* )

Whoohooo!! I'm so excited to announce that I'm participating in another one of Lori Anderson's wonderful Bead Soup parties! This time, I've been partnered with Barb Solem, who is a very talented interior designer, jewelry artist, and art retreat event planner. Her style is vintage and mixed media, which are two elements that have always appealed to me, and it turns out we have a lot of other things in common too!

After a few emailed "interviews" so that I could get a feeling for what Barb likes, here is what I sent to her:

Most of the beads I made myself (glass, of course!), in some of her favorite colors and with a "Miriam Haskell" vibe that we both love. I gave her two different color sets so she could pick and choose which one she might like to work with best. (The only requirement of Bead Soup is that each partner needs to use at least one focal and the clasp provided, but can add in their own mix of elements if they prefer.) I also included some freshwater peacock pearls, silver toggle clasp, fun nest beads, and some of my favorite tiny flat discs covered in fine silver.

And this is what Barb sent me:


… and utter DELIGHT!!! 

She sent me a wonderful collection of lovely goodies in warm brass and caramel tones, and sparkly vintage rhinestones. Some of these type of items are things I've loved seeing in other artist's designs, but haven't tried myself—so I'm really looking forward to this challenge to think outside of the box. The creative wheels are turning and I can't wait to get started on my design(s)! Our reveal date is the last one, which is August 25—so you'll have to wait until then to see what I end up making with this great stash! ;-D

It's a good thing I have some time to work on this project, since I'll be attending the ISGB Gathering conference all this week—including learning from the amazing Robert Dancik in a three-day workshop! I might even bring this big focal piece into the workshop and see if I'll be inspired to do something extra special with it? I'll share more photos and news of this fun event later this week too! *Ü*

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Christmas in July

Things are crazy busy around my studio lately—with summer Farmer's Market shows on the weekends and The Gathering glass conference just around the corner! But I'm excited to announce that I'm participating in Etsy's "Christmas in July" promo this month too! Starting today, July 12 through the 22nd, I'm offering FREE Shipping on all my orders, no matter how big or small. Just use my special coupon code "CIJ2012" when you check out!

To be honest, I'm hoarding a lot of my newest beads for the Gathering bead show, where I'll have a vendor booth. But I'm still trying to offer up a few goodies whenever I can—like this set that I listed earlier today:

Gossamer Nuggets

Aren't they purty?! I first stumbled onto the unique technique to make this cool effect with silver-laden glass a few years ago, but haven't made more of this type of bead in over a year. And now that I've started making them again, I'm wondering what in the world took me so long?! LOL They're a lot of fun to make and always a surprise to see how they look when I pull them out of the kiln.

This set has sold already, but I'll be making more for the show and my shop, so keep an eye out for other colorful versions. And if you would like some for your own jewelry creations, you're always more than welcome to email me directly any time! *Ü*

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pantone Summer Trend: Solar Yellow

Oops! Looks like I totally dropped the ball on continuing my feature of all the new Pantone Color Trends for this Spring. EEK! The good news is, these colors also carry into the Summer season—whew! So I'm going to try and finish up the list over the next week and I'm hoping all of you can help keep me accountable for it?! LOL

Pantone Solar Yellow

The next color I wanted to showcase is Solar Yellow, which Pantone describes as "…providing a jolt of energy…and radiates warmth and cheer." (That jolt is just what I needed to jump start this series again too! ;-D)

I love this color because I am not partial to primary colors, but love it when a bright color has a mix of something else in it to make it more interesting—in this case, just a hint of golden orange sunshine. This gives Solar Yellow a warmth and richness that I think makes it a great color to also carry over into the Autumn season. And that means our fashion dollars will stretch even that much farther this year—which is always a good thing, right?!

This little daisy button has a center of Solar Yellow, with slightly raised bumps to give it some fun interest. I used an odd lot of a glass called Pumpkin Orange by Creation is Messy (CiM) and think it's a perfect match. Wouldn't this look so fresh and sweet as an accessory on a summer headband or a cardigan sweater in the Fall?

White Daisy Lampwork Button

Here are some other similar glass colors to consider for making your lampwork beads…

Ghee (CiM)

Mystic Yellow (Reichenbach 104)

Doodle Daisies with Translucent Lemon Yellow (Vetrofond)

Opal Yellow (Reichenbach 104)

Yellow Pastel (Effetre)

I can see Solar Yellow combined with a wide variety of other summery colors like ruby red, navy blue, or tangerine orange. And in the Fall, it would add a nice pop of color to more subdued earth tones and greens. Now that the sun is finally shining more often these days, I think it's all the inspiration I need to make some fun new bead designs featuring this sunny color too! *Ü*

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Roses are Red…

But this color in glass sure is difficult to work with when combined with fine silver because they react with each other and end up looking extremely "blechky" (and yes, that's a word—at least in my vocabulary! LOL) Fortunately, after much experimentation and many failed test runs, I was able to achieve a successful blending of these two temperamental elements to create a new Red Watercolor Rose series! YAY!!

Red Rose European Charm Bead with Sterling Silver Core

Red Watercolor Rose set

Aren't they gorgeous and sooooo romantic?! On the flip side, this color combination also reminds me a bit of "Victorian Gothic meets Biker Chick"?! hmmm…what do you think? *Ü*

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Facebook Fan Appreciation Sale!

Recently, I was very excited and honored to reach the 1,000 Fan Milestone on my Facebook Page—with the help of a lot of wonderful people. YAY!! So in appreciation of their support, I'm offering a special 10% discount to all my fans for the next 24 hours! Just use my coupon code "FBFANS10" when you check out from my Etsy store.

This special coupon is only for my existing Facebook fans, but anyone who would like to "like" my Facebook Page today before they check out are welcome too! Sale ends 10 am PST on Friday, May 25th.

Thanks again for all your support and I'm really looking forward to getting to know all of you better as we share and drool over all things relating to glass, jewelry, and other fun stuff! *Ü*

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Treasures

This Mother's Day was so nice because my oldest daughter, Katie, had just returned from her first year of college the day before—so I was able to celebrate with both my favorite girls! As per our annual tradition, I received a delicious breakfast and lovely flowers, and then they took me to one of my favorite Seattle street markets and to see The Avengers movie later that evening (which I had been dying to see!).

At the market, I was happy to find some beautiful pearls and beads, which I'm looking forward to incorporating into some new jewelry designs. But by far, my greatest treasures of the day (and for the past 20 years) are my two precious daughters, Katie and Ashley! They have grown into such wonderful young women and now that we're finally getting over the tough "Teenageritis" phase, I can see where all our hard work as parents is finally showing the positive results. Katie even surprised me with a two-page letter that brought me to tears. Here's a little excerpt…

"…I am so thankful for everything you've done in my life and shaping me into the person I am today, even though I might not have realized it at the time. I'm so blessed to have you and there is no other mother in the world I would want instead."

There were a lot of other deeply moving things she wrote me that I prefer to keep private, but I don't think she'll mind my sharing this small part because I felt it would be such an encouragement to all you Moms out there who might be struggling in your relationships with your children right now. Her current attitude and amazing maturity over this past year are MILES away from what she had during most of her teenage years—which were filled with great frustration, fear, tears, and sometimes deep depression for me. My knees were worn out from all the praying her father and I did over her and I'm so happy (and relieved!) now to see that our "tough love" and perseverance has finally paid off.

So I just wanted to send out a message to any Mom who might be feeling as low as I was and dealing with a similar situation…hang in there, pray often, and stick with your convictions while still showing unfailing love for your children. God is always watching over all of you and I promise, things will get better and someday they will realize and be grateful for what a Treasure you are too! *Ü*

Friday, May 11, 2012

Beachcomber Preview

After pushing like crazy to build up my inventory for my big Portland show last weekend, I have some beads left over that I'm going to start listing in my Etsy shop over the next week or so (but still might hold some back for some of my Summer shows too). So I thought I'd share them all here and if you see anything you like, please feel free to email me with a request and I'll throw in Free Shipping if I haven't already listed it on Etsy!

Tide Pool Focals: prices range from $36 to $48

New Water Wave beads: $29 per set of 5

Mixed Beachcomber Sets: $49 per set, including 3 matching pairs for earrings

Thanks for looking and if you have any suggestions for other colors or shapes that you would like to see, I'd love to hear them! *Ü*

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pilchuck Glass Retreat

This past weekend, I was away having tons of fun at the annual glass retreat for our Northwest ISGB chapter. This year, we were extremely fortunate to have the famous Pilchuck Glass School host us, which was a first for any outside group to be invited to do. Pilchuck is where one of my favorite glass artists, Dale Chihuly, once taught and studied, so it made it extra special for me to get to visit this wonderful facility!

Over a jam-packed three days, we got to explore the fabulous wooded campus, watch demonstrations from some amazingly talented people, practice what we learned at the torch, eat delicious meals, and visit with other "kindred spirits."

There were glassy goodies scattered casually everywhere over the campus, including this amazing William Morris blown glass sculpture…it was so fun to try and find as many as I could every time I went outside during meals and break time!

An abundance of demonstrations by talented artists like Cynthia Toops, Kimberly Affleck, Andrea Guarino-Slemmons and others throughout each day have all sorts of new ideas buzzing around in my head…

One of the neatest discoveries while I was out exploring with some other attendees was this quirky little concrete structure called "The Trojan Horse," which was so named because it was built as a "temporary" class project many years ago, but was never really intended by the teacher to be dismantled afterwards. LOL It was covered with an eclectic mix of unusual glass castings in the oddest places!

I almost didn't go to the Retreat this year because I was feeling stressed out about getting ready for my upcoming Portland bead show, but I'm really glad I did…it gave me a chance to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings, learn wonderful new techniques, and make some great new friends along the way. I hope we get to do this again someday at this magical place! *Ü*
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