Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Big News, Slightly Late!

Goodness, time does get away!  I meant to post this when I received it a couple weeks ago and completely forgot!  I HAVE MY DESIGN IN BEAD & BUTTON MAGAZINE!!!!

This piece was a magic creation from beginning to end.  I picked up the MAKU Studios heart one day while I was working at Julie's Xpressions.  I started on it, and everything came together wonderfully and even the cord design was my own!  The piece contains screw-in spikes, double hole pyramids, vintage Swarovski crystals in bicone and margarita flower shapes, hand dyed flowers, a vintage button, scrapbook embellishments, and teardrop seed beads.  The necklace is half Tilas, peanut beads, and O beads.  The piece is backed with metallic leather and is embellished on the back as well!  I am thrilled with the responses I have received, and feel blessed to have a piece published!  I even finished it in time to wear it for our family pictures and to have an artist shot taken!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

My First Tutorial is in the Newest Issue of Creative Spark EMagazine!

Last month the Creative Spark designer group (for ZnetShows, wholesale bead company) was contacted by Hope Smitherman, (our group leader and editor of Creative Spark) to create designs for the new issue and a few simple earring tutorials would also be needed.  I decided to try my hand at the tutorial since Chris and Mina had done some last year for Soda Lime Times.  These are the earrings I created.

I used small rolo chain with the globe beads and crystal cupchain to create the porcelain butterfly earrings.  You can find my tutorials in the newest copy of Creative Spark!

Creative Spark Winter 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bead Peeps Swap N Hop, Part 2: Meet Lori Alainn Blanchard

I too am participating in the Bead Peeps Swap N Hop!  My lovely partner, Lori Alainn Blanchard, lives in Ohio.  Lori & I are paired up in the Seed Bead category of the Hop.  Here are a few of Lori's beadiful, beautiful creations! 
Sugar Skull bracelet, design by FunPatternDesigns, beaded by Lori
I thought this was an appropriate design to share since it is Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras Time!  Lori used the pattern and added some of her own touches when she beaded it.

Alainn Jewelry on Facebook
I was very taken with these Pop Culture bracelets designed and beaded by Lori.  Aren't they fabulous?! (You can also find Lori on Etsy: My Alainn Jewelry ).

Lori and I had quite the conversation about our "fur kids".  She has dogs and cats (with one troublemaker in the group).  Here are the photos she shared with me.
Not sure which one is the culprit, but they look like they would be fun to live with!  Lori also shared with me that she is the baby of her family, she is 29 (gosh I felt so OLD!), and has been with her husband for 7 years.  We share a love and passion for seeds and all the new shaped seed beads.  We also enjoy beading objects and bead embroidery is a favorite. 

I have quite the stash of goodies pulled for Lori, and can NOT wait to see what she has for me!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Bead Peeps Swap N Hop partner Introduction, part 1

Hi there dear readers!  Part time blogger Chris here, getting ready to introduce to you my partner for the 1st Annual Bead Peeps Swap N Hop!  This is my second hop that I have been involved in.  I  participated in Lori Anderson's final Bead Soup Blog Hop last year.

That was then, this is now.  This year my partner is Stephanie Stamper, from down in the Sunshine State.  She has an orange tree at her house!  Living in Nebraska, growing citrus is a rather strange idea!
 She has been making jewelry for about 10 years now. 

The last few of years or so have been a bit crazed and/or blessed for her as she is a full-time mommy of three little boys, age 4 and younger.  Being the middle one of five boys myself, I can only imagine life from the other side. She does not have as much time to play with her beads as she would like, but it has not stopped her from adding to her stash.  Stephanie and I have been chatting back and forth, learning about each other and exchanging ideas. 

As I type this, part of Stephanie's goodies are sitting in an old peanut butter jar at my elbow, while the rest are cooling in the kiln.  Gee, the deadline for shipping her stash is over three weeks away and I nearly have everything ready, except for the packaging.  How in the world did that happen?

I have been looking forward to this Swap.  I expect to learn some new things while I learn a new technique or two.  Bring it on. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Back In Time Blog Hop - Episode 1

Hi!  Long time no blog posts!  We have been busy with college visits, taxes, scholarships, and prom  dress shopping.  Time goes by way too quickly and there are always way to many things to accomplish! 

Speaking of time, I (and Chris helped too) am participating in the Back in Time Blog Hop through a group I was honored to be invited to join.  The group is headed up by Lindsay Starr of Phantasm Creations, and Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.  They are amazing artists and this was a fun challenge to participate in.

The theme: Back in Time, Pre-Human.  Hopefully, my piece fits that theme!  I started with a piece of this:
Chris and I purchased a couple of the very smooth stones last summer in Lincoln at the Haymarket Farmers Market from the Lincoln Rock Shop.  I loved the shape and texture and the bits of fossil in the texture.  I thought I would use it in bead embroidery, but this was the PERFECT challenge for the piece.  I was originally going to wire wrap it, but while the front side looked great, the back was a mess from trying to anchor it on the smooth texture of the stone.  So I channeled one of my favorite artists, Darcy Horn (The Jade Dog), who does amazing things with free form peyote.

Here is my creation:

When I started, Mina suggested I use greens, which I hadn't considered but which worked very well against the smooth gray.  I varied, matte forest green, opaque olive, opaque seafoam lined topaz, matte seafoam ab, and matte metallic gray.  Because we all liked the designs on both sides of the stone, I made the piece reversible.  Side one shows off the fossil design quite nicely near the circle and the back side has interesting designs with the bead work.  I finished the piece with a gorgeous hand dyed cord using kumihimo, and finishing bead cones and a clasp in gunmetal black.

Want to see all the other amazing designs?  Here is the list!

Co-hostess: Lindsay Starr of Phantasm Creations http://phantasmcreation.blogspot.com/
Co-hostess: Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame
Kelly Rodgers of Beadin' Black & Blue http://beadinblacknblue.blogspot.com/
Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio http://www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com/2015/01/beading-back- in-time.html
Caroline Dewison of Blueberribeads http://blueberribeads.co.uk/
Melissa Trudinger of Boho Bird Jewellery https://beadrecipes.wordpress.com/
Sue Kennedy of SueBeads http://www.suebeads.blogspot.com/
Stephanie and Chris Haussler of Pixybug Designs You Are Here
Jen Cameron of Glass Addictions www.glassaddictions.com/blog
Jean Wells of Jean A. Wells Artisan Jewelry http://jeanawells.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas, Family, & Inspiration

Last night I quickly edited photos to create our Christmas cards before and after Mina's final High School Christmas concert (sob!).  We had not had our family photos taken for some time, so when we had Mina's Senior pictures taken this summer, we also had our family photos and some artist shots for Chris & I taken.  Here is what I came up with for our family card.

Amy Bryan took the photos and did such a marvelous job!  We had fun watching our amazing daughter show off her natural beauty, and Amy had some fun ideas.  These were taken during the studio time and we were kind of goofing around.  I love that there are goofy and good pics with Mina in them.  I had fun putting this together and ordered some collage prints of them to hand out and hang on the wall.

I also created our business Christmas cards, which brought me round to thinking about our year.  We accomplished much this year.  Chris and Mina created his first tutorial on his dragon beads and it was published in Soda Lime Times.  He also had his creations in several other issues of Soda Lime Times.  I received word recently that I will be published in an upcoming issue of a beading magazine also, which I can't say more about at this point!  So very exciting!  We had another exhausting year of shows, FOURTEEN!!  Besides which, we showed at three different art galleries (two of which were new for us), sold at the Highland Park Farmers Market ten Saturday's in June, July, August, and September, and participated as vendors at our first two week (Friday, Saturday, & Sunday each week) show.   Goodness, that is exhausting just to read!  We were featured artists in July at Smiling Turtle Art Spot in Omaha (THANKS DORI!) where Chris also demonstrated during our reception.

With all that work, in addition to our normal full-time and part-time jobs (yes we both have each), we have struggled to balance work, Pixybug, our family time, chores around the house, and our relationship as a couple.  I would like to paint the picture that everything is always rosy and never a problem arises.  However, that would be lying and not really make anything easier.  I have been working on my boundaries in difficult relationships, Chris and I are trying to work on spending quality time with each other, and we are all working on the goal of getting Mina ready for COLLEGE.  (Good grief, how did time go by that fast!  Wasn't she just a baby yesterday?)  Our house is a total disaster (it might be easier to move than declutter and clean our current one) and our TO DO list is pretty long.  Keeping this in mind, I was thankful this morning when I read the Art Jewelry Elements post.  Jen Cameron shared these poems from Neil Gaiman (I love his books) and I knew I was meant to read them to ease my burdens a bit.

"Life is sometimes hard. 
Things go wrong, in life and in love 
and business and in friendship
and in health and in all the other ways
that life can go wrong.
And when things get tough,
this is what you should do. 
Make Good Art.
Husband runs off with a politician?
Make Good Art
Leg crushed and then eaten by mutated boa constrictor?
Make Good Art
IRS on your trail?
Make Good Art
Cat exploded?
Make Good Art
Somebody on the Internet thinks what you do is stupid or evil or it's all been done before?
Make Good Art..."
                -Neil Gaiman
This is precisely why I can't get my bead table organized!  It is so easy to get distracted by the beads I touch, that I never get anywhere with the cleaning!  This quote was also in Jen's post this morning and it sums up the challenges of being overwhelmed by the big goal, rather than looking at the tiny steps it takes to get there.

"Something that worked for me 
was imagining where I wanted to be-
(an author, primarily of fiction, making good books, 
making good comics, and supporting myself though  my words)
-was a mountain
A distant mountain.
My goal. 
And I knew that as long as I kept walking towards the mountain, I would be alright. 
And when I truly was not sure what to do, I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain...."
    -Neil Gaiman
Thanks to Jen, for the uplifting quotes!  Thanks to Neil, I can now see that a day in which my cat doesn't explode or my leg hasn't been eaten by a mutated boa, it can be conquered by a few steps toward the tough goals!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

We Give Thanks!

Thank you to all our wonderful customers!  Thank you to all the amazing artists we have met, worked with, and been fortunate enough to become acquainted with through the internet.  YOU can't know how much we appreciate you.  May your day be filled with all the foods that make you happy, the people you love the most, and the peace and happiness of a day spent together with both!  Enjoy, indulge, be thankful, and say a prayer for all that are not so blessed!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Seward Show Saturday

You can find us this Saturday at the Seward Young Women's Holiday Craft Fair!  Get a great start on your holiday shopping with loads of handmade items, enough for 2 buildings!  You can find more info on their website, Seward Holiday Craft Fair or their Facebook  page.

On other fronts, look at these beautiful creations from Deb Brooks, (From the Heart Creations), using Chris's glass cabochons!

This piece was sold before Deb even finished it!  She was putting it together and the gal saw it and bought it to wear with this sweater!  Wow, that is the way to sell jewelry!

Here are the pendants after Deb created them from PMC and set the cabochons in the bezel settings.

Here is the other piece after a bit of bead stringing magic!  This one is my favorite of the two!  I love the designs Deb creates around whatever she is creating.  Her nature designs are so beautiful!

I was up until 2am designing for the show tomorrow, so no photos yet!  However, I hope to take them after we get the tables set up.  This is our last "away" show for the season, we have a couple events at the Historic Hastings Old Middle School in the 2nd Floor Studio and we are selling at the Prairie Winds Art Center in Grand Island during the Holiday Showcase. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Creative Spark! Fall 2014 Now Available!

The new issue of Creative Spark e magazine is now available!  I don't have any designs in this issue as I had WAY too many shows going on during the designing period, but I do have a couple quotes on my inspiration and what I love about autumn!

The cover is so PRETTY!  Love the bracelet!

Here is the link for you to check it out!  Creative Spark Fall 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

New Designs, This Month's Shows

Wow, look...another month in between posts!  Good grief!  There was a time when I posted several times per week!  Now it seems that all I post about is jewelry and shows!  Well, this post will be no different!  Here is the scoop!

TV Stars!

Chris and I spent time near Kearney yesterday at the NTV Studio!  We were interviewed on Good Life (the morning show).  We showed our newest creations and talked about our design process working together. Here is the link to watch the show!
segment one
segment two

New Designs!

Fan Favorites jewelry!  Polymer swirl beads by Lisa

 New beads!  Love that fancy display plate, don't you?!
 New Skullie pendant with hair!

 Show Schedule!

Tomorrow and Sunday we will be hosting the 1st Annual Autumn Open House at the 2nd Floor Studio in Hastings.  The show is located at 505 N. Hastings in Suite 206 (Historic Hastings Old Middle School).
For more info : 1st Annual Autumn Open House at the 2nd Floor Studio

Next week on Saturday we will be in Lincoln for the Lincoln Bead Bazaar.  More details on that event can be found here:

Lincoln Bead Bazaar

Hope you can visit with us at one of our shows!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What We Have Been Up To and What's Coming Up...

Our Schedule for the rest of the month:

Saturday, Sept. 13 Bead Extravaganza, Hastings, NE at Adams County Fairgrounds, 10-4

Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, September 19-21 Barn Festival, Hastings, NE
Saturday, September 20 Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Fair, Hillsboro, KS, 9-4

Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, September 26-28  Barn Festival, Hastings, NE
Saturday, September 27 Artwalk,  Aurora, NE  1-5

Yes, that is correct two weekends we are in 2 places at once!  Goodness!

Here are a few photos of what we have been up to!

Zulu Tassel Necklace, Chris designed a focal to match seed beads I purchased from The Jade Dog

Hidden Nest, focal, accent, and bird beads by Chris, plus Czech glass & Chinese crystal

Halloween dangle, Ghostly dangle & earrings, Autumn bird necklace (bird focal & accents by Shaterra Clay Studio, basketball earrings

Fairy Fancies, tiny accents created by Chris for fairy gardens and plants!

Rustic Autumn Bird, ceramic bird by MAKU Studios

ceramic earrings

Bermuda Pure Leaf necklace and earrings, Swarovski crystals & Czech glass flower cups

Leaf  Dragon, dragon by Chris, wire, crystals, Czech glass

Spiral Autumn, focal, and bird beads by Chris, Czech glass

Bemused & Bejeweled, sculptural pieces created by Chris & I stitched her tiny leather purse.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Soda Lime Times Tutorial

Chris wrote his first tutorial last month on making his dragon beads.  It was published in the new Soda Lime Times issue!
Mina was his photographer and received photo credit in the article too!  With the publication, Chris created some of his dragons for our Etsy shop! 
Mylanth the Dragon
Avrae of the Hills
Camroth the Dragon
Stop by the Etsy shop and visit these beauties and all the other goodies we have posted!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hastings Art in the Park this Sunday!

Looking for some fun this Sunday, August 3rd?  Stop by Libs Park in Hastings from 10 am to 5 pm for Art in the Park!  Lots of shade, free admission, and a wide variety of art vendors!  Hope to see you there!

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Heart of the Adventurer

This is my latest creation!  The Heart of the Explorer combines a handmade raku pottery heart cabochon (created by MAKUstudio or her Etsy store), a vintage button with a compass rose on it, Tim Holtz game spinner hands embellishments,  hand dyed Lucite flowers from Vintage Meadow Artworks, screw-in metal spike embellishments and California Gold Rush (color) seed beads in sizes 11, 15, and teardrops from Bead & Glass Boutique, vintage Swarovski crystals (reclaimed from a necklace purchased at an antique show), and a variety of Czech glass beads (pyramids, peanuts, half Tila, O beads, matte fire polish, and other seed beads) from Julie's Xpressions in Hastings, Nebraska.  Talk about exploration!  Look at all the styles of beads from all over the United States!  Too bad I haven't actually traveled to all the places I buy beads from!

My "philosphy" for bead embroidery:  Start with the focal and go for it!  I rarely start a piece with a design in mind!  This piece actually is one of the few that I have made that has NO Swarovski crystal cupchain!  (Gasp, how did I let that happen!)  Mostly, that happened because I had nothing that worked with the other colors of the piece.  Note to self, buy more cupchain to match everything!  Instead, I used some beautiful smoked topaz AB finish vintage Swarovski crystals reclaimed from an antique necklace I purchased and cut apart.  I know, that seems like sacrilege.  But, rather than that necklace lying unworn, it now has a new life!  Plus I reclaimed almost three vials of crystals to be used in many pieces! 

Other embellishments, the vintage button, Chris & Mina found for me on a visit to an antique store in Lincoln, while I was in a beading class.  The Tim Holtz game spinner hands can be used in SO many different ways!  I love when one craft medium can be merged with another!  You just never know what will add interest to a design.  The screw-in spikes were an item I had never used, but were very intriguing!  They come in different antique finishes, I used two antique brass and one antique copper on the upper left hand edge of the heart.  These were actually added to balance the design with the bead pyramids on the other side of the heart.
When I added the spikes, I wondered how to edge them.  I used size 15 seed beads to encircle them.  When I had completed those three, I liked the lacy look the rounded bead work added to the piece, so I continued it by adding the vintage crystals and the Lucite flowers.  At this point, I figured I had better stop before I added too much and complicated but didn't enhance the piece.  So the finishing edge was done with size 8 seeds topped with size 15 seeds and the tear drop beads.  It is brick stitch with the 15s and drops added as embellishment. 

The next challenge came when Chris tried to help me figure out how the piece should hang.  My first idea was to leave the shank on the button and attach the necklace with a lobster to each side of the piece.  This idea didn't work because of the weight of the piece.  So I did a square stitch bail and attached it when I was edging the piece.  The necklace design is of my own creating.  I used half Tila, O beads, and peanut bead and used the double needle weaving technique to put it together.  I used the ENTIRE tube of O beads, right down to the very last bead in the very last stitch!  Even though I am not a snake fan, the weave pattern and matte finish on the beads, gives the chain a snake skin look.  Hope you love it as much as I do!

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