Friday, May 25, 2012

Cocktail Hour Blog Hop Reveal!

Back in April, Amy Freeland had a refreshing idea for a blog hop. The rules were simple:

Google the cocktail, and use the ingredients, image, color, season it's usually enjoyed, era it became famous (I'm looking at your absinthe), or whatever else to inspire any piece of jewelry. 

The cocktail assigned to me was "Captain & Coke." For those of you who aren't familiar with that particular beverage, Captain Morgan is a darker rum with the addition of spices and we all know what Coke is. Here's what it usually looks like:

My inspiration was the photo above and the pirate theme labels on Captain Morgan products. I used quartz with brownish streaks (ice cubes), crackled quartz in shades of brown (Captain and Coke), and Swarovski crystal bicones in Lime. The anchor and ship's wheel charms complete the theme. I actually like this necklace better than I expected. I apologize if the photos aren't great but it is almost midnite and I'm too tired to find better light!

Thanks to Amy for putting this blog hop together; can't wait for your next idea!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Suddenly Spring Challenge - The Big Reveal!

In January I entered this challenge posted by Michelle Mach.

I loved the rhinestone spacers and the color of the crystals in the kit. My kit arrived beautifully packaged by Michelle.

A recent issue of "Stringing" magazine featured a necklace incorporating lucite flowers as a sort of connector. When I first saw it I knew I'd find a use for Denise Yezbak Moore's technique and here was my opportunity. I brought out my stash of lucite flowers and pulled peach, daffodil, white and pink from the bag. Instantly, the daffodil popped with the aqua crystals. I added a few Swarovski crystals from my collection along with some Bali bead caps I'd been hoarding. Then, thinking about what else I could add in addition to the flowers that would be "springy", I added a tiny bird and nest from Earthenwood (Melanie Brooks). Here's the resulting necklace:

To see more detail you can click on any of the photos.

With a few crystals and spacers leftover, I chose to make a bracelet. I added more Swarovski crystals, antique silver flower beads and a lucite flower dangle. And a sweet little butterfly clasp.

I think I've done a reasonable job of portraying "Spring" in these two pieces. What do you think?

Please take a few minutes to check out what the other participants have created:

Michelle - Beads & Books [Hostess]

Andrew - The Writing & Art of Andrew Thornton

Christa - Adventures of One Beady Woman

Dita - Alankarshilpa

Donetta - Simply Gorgeous

Erin - Erin Siegel Jewelry

Heather - As I Bead It

Jean - Snap Out of It Jean - There's Beading to Be Done!

Karen - Over the Moon Design

Kate - We Can Make That At Home

Kim - CianciBlue

Kristina - Wild Roses and Blackberries

Linda - Lindy's Designs

Lisa - Pine Ridge Treasures

Marlene - Amazing Designs by Marlene

Michelle - Reverie & Revival

Pam - The Crazy Creative Corner

Pamela - Someday Beads

Renetha - Lamplight Crafts

Sharyl - Catchenthesun

Terry - Pink Chapeau Vintage Jewelry

Therese - Therese's Treasures

Monday, March 12, 2012

Been busy . . .

. . . but wanted to post these pics.

This is an official photo of Ospreys.
Osprey Photo

And an official description:

Unique among North American raptors for its diet of live fish and ability to dive into water to catch them, Ospreys are common sights soaring over shorelines, patrolling waterways, and standing on their huge stick nests, white heads gleaming. These large, rangy hawks do well around humans and have rebounded in numbers following the ban on the pesticide DDT. Hunting Ospreys are a picture of concentration, diving with feet outstretched and yellow eyes sighting straight along their talons.

Everywhere you go around Florida you will see platforms atop electric/phone poles with Osprey nests built on them. Here's Jim's photo of one.

And in another, totally unrelated photo, I want this.

That is all!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Palatka Azalea Festival

The Azalea Festival in Palatka, Florida, opened this morning. The scheduled festivities include an Arts & Crafts show in which we have a booth. It was a busy day and I only found time enough to make one bracelet:

The ceramic centerpiece is from Captured Moments. Very springlike, don't you think?

I found some time to wander down to the homemade ice cream stand and passed a bike store with some extremely cool bikes parked outside. I couldn't resist snapping a few photos. I've left them at their original resolution in case you'd like to zoom in for more detail. Zoom in on this first one and you'll see that it is RATTAN!

Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal !!!

Woot! It's finally here! Lori Anderson's 5th Annual Bead Soup Blog Party Blog Hop! Here's a photo of the  very generous bead soup I received from my partner, Amy Freeland. Look at all that treasure!

Here's my first piece. The concept came from my husband, an engineer and former builder. 

My soup contained several clasps, among them a cute little teapot toggle. I just happened to have three more sterling teapot toggles in my stash! I bought them off a clearance rack several years ago when we were living in Tampa. Here's a bracelet I made.

Here's another bracelet.

And another! If you've followed my blogs, the focal in this bracelet is the pink MOP ring that was lost (for days!) and finally found at the bottom of my tool box by my husband. 

And here's the pendant piece:

Any of the bracelets can be attached to the piece with the pretty ceramic pendant. Even the pendant piece could be used as a bracelet if desired. Three bracelets + the pendant component = an approximately 32-inch necklace. 

Add two bracelets to the pendant section for a 24-inch necklace.

 One bracelet + pendant piece = choker. Or any two bracelets make a choker. You could really glam it up with two chokers!

My second piece used the other pendant included in my package from Amy. I just happened to have some cherry quartz beads in my stash that matched it perfectly! I wired my beads along with some from Amy with antiqued brass rolo chain sections. I added the Vintaj dragonfly over the pendant and a sweet little dragonfly dangle at the back of the necklace.

This exchange was an exercise in stretching my "green" envelope -- I rarely use pink in my jewelry. Now that I've tried it, I still have lots of "soup" left that I will use for other creations. This was my first time in the Bead Soup Blog Party and I know I will want to try it again!

Thanks to Jim for the cool idea and for finding the lost MOP ring! Thanks to the Universe for the teapot clasps and cherry quartz beads sitting in my stash until the time was right! Thanks to my "Bead Soup" partner, Amy Freeland, for the great bead soup! Above all, thanks to Lori Anderson for all her work in putting this event together!

Be sure to visit all the participants of this Blog Hop!

1.  Adlinah Kamsir (Singapore) and Hajer Waheed (Kingdom of Bahrain)
2. Adrienn Lukacs (Hungary) and Agata Grygiel (Poland)
3.  Agi Kiss (Hungary) and Carolien Muller-Genger (the Netherlands)
4.  Agnes Asztalos (Hungary) and B.R. Kuhlman
7.  Alicia Marinache (Canada) and Dita Basu
10.  My partner, Amy Freeland 
15.  Bonnie Coursolle (Canada) and Fay Wolfenden (Canada)
16.  Carmel McGinley (Australia) and Tracy Stillman (Australia)
21.  Cheryl Brown (Canada) and Diana Ptaszynski
22.  Christina Stofmeel (the Netherlands) and Eva Kovacs (Hungary)
24.  Cilla Watkins (Canada) and Elaine Robitaille (Canada)
25.  Sabrina Straub (Switzerland) and Kathy Combs
32.  Dee Elgie (UK) and Joanne Lockwood (UK)
33.  Dian Hierschel (Germany) and Eniko Fabian (Austria)
34.  Diane Cook and Lyn Foley
37.  Doris Stumpf (Germany) and Eszter Czibulyas (Hungary)
39.  Elke Leonhardt-Rath (Germany) and Marjolein Trewavas (UK)
41.  Erika Nooteboom (the Netherlands) and Giorgia Rossini (Italy)
42.  Erin Grant and Jean Wells
43.  Evelyn Duberry (Canada) and Gaea Cannaday
45.  Ginger Bishop (military, Okinawa) and Martina Nagele (Germany)
48.  Helene Goldberg (Australia) and Karen Vincent
54.  Joanna Matuszczyk (Poland) and Julianna Kis (Hungary)
55.  Joanne Tinley (UK) and Michaela Pabeschitz (Austria)
61.  Kathy Lindemer and Rose Binoya
65.  Kristina Johansson (Sweden) and Penny Neville (Canada)
66.  Krisztina Erlaki-Toth (Hungary) and Nicole Keller (Germany)
 72.  Lisa Liddy and Marion Simmons
76.  Lori Finney (Canada) and Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp (Canada)
78.  Marta Kaczerowska (Poland) and Milla Starchik (Canada)
83.  Michelle Jensen and Sandra Young (Canada)
84.  Nan Emmett and Nicole Valentine-Rimmer (Canada)
92.  Rosa Maria Cuevas (Mexico) and Tejae Floyde
93.  Sabine Dittrich (Germany) and Sally Russick
95.  Shanti Johnson and Tracy Mok (Canada)
97.  Sonya Stille and Traci Zeller (Canada)
98.  Stefanie Teufel (Germany) and Tania Hagen (New Zealand)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This can't be happening. How is this happening?

Today was to be my day to work on my project for Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party. I got out my "soup" and my tools and thought briefly about a design. Actually it is a design suggested by Jim, but that is currently neither here nor there. I went through my dish of "orphans" and added a pink MOP ring about the size of a nickel to the plan. Jim left to do his errands and I was well on my way.

I was thinking how great it was to have some time alone in our cozy motorhome; just me, the flomar and my "stuff." It's an overcast day here at Tomoka State Park in Florida. The birds are singing and we are close enough to the Atlantic Ocean to catch the cool sea breeze through the open windows. Just delightful!

I decide to pickle and tumble some tiny sterling beads. I figure while they're in the pickle I might as well throw in some copper headpins that need freshening. After about an hour, I drain the pickle and there in the mix is a copper plated conical bead cap. Now how did that get in there? Mind you, it is not tiny. It is probably about two inches long. And the chemical reaction of the base metal under the plating has caused my sterling silver beads to become copper plated. Sigh. I polish the copper plate off the beads (by hand) and put everything in the tumbler.

I finish about one third of my project. I cut wire for the next segment which is going to use the MOP ring. It's gone. Where? I search my lap, the floor, my pockets. I search the table where I'm working, the counter tops, the bed. I take my seat apart, empty my tool box and the two carry-alls on the floor next to me. Then I search again. The good news is that I found $2. The bad news? Still no MOP ring.

I go back to the table to check my bead blanket for the third time to make sure my eyes aren't deceiving me. Yikes! The ring is still gone, but look what has appeared in its place.

It's a tiny brass resin-filled charm I made a couple of years ago. If you can't tell from the fuzzy photo, it says "true." Now I'm hearing the "Twilight Zone" song.

I decide this story is blog-worthy so I photograph the charm and transfer the camera card to the computer. I try to edit the photo and my software crashes but it won't go away. I try to begin the blog post but the computer shows I am no longer connected to the internet. I check the MiFi thingy and it shows a full battery charge and a full signal. ??? Time to restart both the laptop and the MiFi.

Meanwhile, as I'm going through this exercise, the inverter starts up and begins to beep. This is a piece of equipment in the motorhome that allows the use of electrical items (laptop, dremel, etc.) while the vehicle's motor is running and when the motorhome is not hooked up to an outside source of electricity. It was not on. The vehicle's motor isn't running. We are hooked up to the park's electric supply. There is no reason for the inverter to be on. It goes off then comes on again and begins beeping. No one near it, no one pressed the on button. I try to turn it off and it won't go off. I go sit down at the laptop and the inverter shuts off.

So here I am without my focal bead, with two extra dollars, and I'm wondering if 1:40 p.m. is too early for alcohol.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Not for everyone.

That's this necklace. I learned the techniques to make this masterpiece in a class with the incomparable Richard Salley at the Bead & Button Show last June. This is actually the second one I've made and won't be the last. I'm obsessed with these! Thank you, Richard! 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

First we circle the wagons . . .

. . . and then we EAT! This is what the RV-ing artists do on Saturdays after the art show closes. This show was produced by American Craft Endeavors and held in Dunedin, Florida, on Saturday and Sunday February 18th and 19th.

Here's our hostess, Helaine, demonstrating her considerable culinary skills.

Good food (and plenty of it!) and time spent chatting with fellow artists -- a great way to end a day!

P.S. I found this little gem of a house (not so little) in Dunedin. I SO want it! I even left a note in the mailbox asking to be contacted if ever the owner decides to sell!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Okay . . .

. . . we're back online. Spent the past week in a state park at the headwaters of the Everglades. We had no phone signal and no internet access. It was a nice, quiet week -- we did some bike riding, relaxing and general hanging out. I started reading "Twilight" and took some photos. Had some fun with the iPad and an app called "100 Cameras." 

Here we have a possum and friend. Unfortunately we didn't get any photos of the many armadillos roaming around each night.

Sunset in the town of Lake Wales where we had Valentine's Day dinner.

Here's our campsite as we were leaving. So pretty!

The Lake Kissimee State Park is absolutely the prettiest park we've stayed in. So far.

And with that, we're on the road again.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Oooooooooo, what's that smell?

Oranges! Heavenly! Makes me want a big old glass of OJ right now! This is a photo of a citrus processing plant. The scent, while driving by, is amazing.

Here are a few more pics so you can begin the see the magnitude of what goes on at JUST ONE PLANT!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Random photos from a beautiful state park!

These photos are from Lake Kissimee State Park in Florida. It's a beautiful park with lush, tropical foliage everywhere. I think you'll see quite a difference from the previous park inhabited mostly by Live Oaks. This park is a bit further south of Lake Griffin.

This is a sandhill crane. It is my understanding these birds are not Florida natives but migrate here for the winter. Nevertheless, I have seen them around at all times of the year down here. Their wingspan can range to almost seven feet so, yes, they are quite large. 

Here's a video of their mating dance from It's quite entertaining!

Here's the new toy Jim is coveting -- a folding boat.

Christmas is coming . . .