DIY Kits, great for cabin fever

Hello all! Winter is full on here, which means cold temps, short days and frequent overcast skies. As you may tell, it’s not my fave season….. at all. However, I do have to admit, I love the crisp winter air, very blue skies (when we have them) and the occasional snowfall, which we are getting this morning. I find myself mostly hibernating this time of year. Great time to get household chores done such as sorting, donating unused items and organizing. All of which I have been doing. With few things to do, chore-wise, outside I also put more attention into my jewelry making.

Last year I noticed several companies and independent sellers putting together and selling kits and subscription boxes for DIY jewelry makers. I would take a look-see, but wondered if I would like making something that someone else designed and where others could all make the same thing. They looked well thought out and put together, but I didn’t take the plunge, cost often being one of the main prohibitive factors. I then saw the kits offered by Czech Beads Exclusive (now known as Kraftika). As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a Czech bead fan and so these kits caught my eye. I had a hard time justifying making the commitment to a monthly subscription. Didn’t I already have a boat load of beads/findings as it was? However, there is something seductive about receiving all I need and the exact amount to make projects that were put together for me and mailed to my home. So, I decided to do Kraftika’s monthly subscription of their Bohemstyle boxes. They have the option to cancel anytime, so you’re not committed to receiving any more than you actually want.

I started to receive my boxes last Fall. I opened them right away, but did not put together the pieces. Then the holidays started to roll around and travel and I got busy with life. So each month I’d open my box, but put them aside and not make the projects!! By Christmas I had three unmade subscription boxes sitting on my workstation. Oy! I got a bit overwhelmed, so I cancelled my subscription and vowed to get these pieces made.

So, here is a photo of the contents of the December Bohemstyle box I received. Each box comes with a link to a video on what the design is and how to make them. There are also videos on YouTube of these subscription boxes being opened and revealed each month by Aleshia of beadifulnights. As you can see, it includes beads, stringing material, and all the necessary findings including crimps, crimp covers, jump rings, clasps, etc. It really is fun to open and be surprised as to what the pieces will be and to see the beautiful beads inside. It’s a little different feel than opening a package of items you specifically picked out and ordered, no surprise there. For this particular box, the pieces were a matching necklace and bracelet. I chose not to make the bracelet, as I prefer to have earrings that coordinate with my necklaces. So, after watching the how to video I decided to use some of my own materials, mixed with their beads and make a pair of earrings instead. The leftover materials from the box will be used in some other design. So, what do you think? I’m just loving the iridescent sheen of the leaves and flowers. For a December box, this was such a Spring-like design. Of course these are all Czech beads, so very good quality and style. All the materials were top notch, altho I found the head pins to be a finer gauge and therefore a bit flimsy. I prefer a heavier gauge. No problem if you have findings of your own to switch out and use, which is what I did. Other than that, the necklace is all the materials they sent me. For the earrings, since they were not part of the subscription box design, I used my own wire, eye pin and earring wires. Of course, they only send you the materials. All the necessary tools are things you have to have on hand. I liked having the video to follow as well. That way, you are putting the piece together as they intended. The bracelet was cute and looked like the necklace, but as I said that was not something I was interested in making.

Subscription box reveal

I just loved these beads and enjoyed making this project. I’ve started the second box which has some gorgeous beads and a beautiful design. I will post photos of that in the future. I hope you are inspired to try this or other subscription boxes and see what the designers come up with for you. Let it also spark your own creativity in the process.

Happy beading!! ~Holly G

Pondering while watching the snow fall- “Winter is the time of comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire. It is the time for home.” ~ Edith Sitwell

HBG Jewelry

Another (beady) year is here

Hello all and happy 2020! Can any of us believe it?! The days and years are just blowing by us like a speeding train. Seems not that long ago when the topic was Y2K and the start of a new millennium, but here we are days into 2020. Anyone out there doing resolutions? I tend to shy away from them, as I rarely succeed in keeping them. I do like to set mindful intentions and think of a word to focus on. This year’s word/intention for me is to find more joy in each day and feel gratitude in my life. How about you?

I have to make an admission here, I neglected my blog in the later half of 2019 and didn’t post near as much as I had planned when last year started. There are reasons, some good, others not so much, but it’s time to begin anew and see how this year goes in the blogosphere.

My jewelry making was a hit or miss for me in 2019. I went through prolific periods and also droughts of creativity. One thing I was consistent in doing though was buying all kinds of jewelry making supplies (much to the chagrin of my husband, I’m sure). I can’t pass up a bargain or miss out on artisan jewelry components from someone that I just found online. It got to a point where my work table was piled high with strands of beads, metal components and artisan wares. Mostly purchased online (Facebook, Etsy stores, online stores) but not always. Chain craft stores got some of my $$ this past year as well. Of course having this stash means I need to have it organized and stored, so a variety of containers and carts were purchased as well. It was getting a bit out of control. I finally got it all put in proper containers and cleared a path in my work space to get back to using my creative mojo and make things. Posted below are photos of just some of the pieces I made, showing a variety of the materials I used this past year.

You can see czech glass, metal, Swarovski crystals, fan tassels, polymer and acrylic components mixed in*. This reflects what I’m really interested in creating. I hope to expand my jewelry making skills in 2020 by learning some bead weaving. It’s taken me awhile to really find a personal interest in doing that. For a long time using a needle or loom to work with beads didn’t appeal to me. However, I’m finding more designs and bead options in the market that make it something I want to try. We’ll see how that goes. It can be hard to start and learn something new, but the readily available videos and products online makes it a bit easier to jump in.

So here’s hoping for a healthy, creative, and peace-filled 2020 for all of us.

Pondering over beads and coffee- “You’ll never get bored over trying something new. There’s really no limit to what you can do.” ~ Dr Seuss

~Holly G (HBG Jewelry)

*individual component sources include (but are not limited to)- Candie Cooper, Humblebeads, Rita Schneck, Kim Vagnone, Goody Beads, DryGulch, & Artbeads

Summertime happenings

It’s been over three months since my last post here. Shameful really. Life has marched on and has taken my attention elsewhere. I traveled, my mother had several health issues and I just got behind in doing anything creative with my jewelry, including coming here.

As I said previously, summer is my jam. With it’s warm temps, long days, vacations, sunshine and all things leafed out and blooming who can resist. I know a lot of people do not like nor tolerate the heat and humidity and I have to admit there are days where I do not venture out in it. I just always feel better in the summer, being someone who loves lazy days and opportunities to do outdoor things.

In the travel department I went on a girlfriend trip to Charleston and a big trip with my hubs to Alaska! Great trips and fun times. Wherever I go, if time allows, I try to find a locally owned bead shop. I was not disappointed in either Charleston or Alaska.

The Charleston bead shop was just a few blocks from the VRBO home we rented for the week, so lucky!! I ventured over one morning with one of my friends and we found a charming little house converted into a store. I did not leave empty handed….rarely do.

Wasn’t sure what I’d find in Alaska bead shop wise, and I have to admit finding a bead shop was not top priority on this trip. With so much natural beauty and wildlife around it was hard to think about spending time shopping. Plus, one week we would be on a cruise ship, visiting three different ports before landing in Vancouver. Not sure how much time we’d have to shop around. Well, it just so happened I stumbled upon a little bead shop in a small Alaskan town where we were to board a train we were taking to our ship. I was giddy to see it and of course did not leave this shop empty-handed either. The town, Talkeetna, is just charming. I read somewhere it is the town Cicely, Alaska was modeled after in the tv show Northern Exposure. The store had the cutest signage, with the brightly colored moose figure and beautiful flowers. There was more than beads and jewelry in there and a fun place to look around.

Just goes to show, you never know what you’ll find in the far reaches of the world. I had a great time traveling and look forward to more trips ahead. Fingers crossed my mother continues to feel good after having a difficult year with her health. I’m back in the groove of being home and things settled down more, so hope to use my new beads in some future pieces. If so, I’ll definitely post what I make.

Pondering over beads and coffee- “We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend. ” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Birds of a feather

Hi all! Happy Spring! I’m usually a summer gal, but this has been a long, dull winter and the onset of Spring is glorious right now. Trees and tulips blooming, grass greening up and birds with nests full of babies. Sweet! Yes, there has been rain, but we’ve also had sunny warm days too, which makes me hopeful.

Once again life has kept me from the beading table a bit. My mother had a health scare and was in need of attention and care. She’s on the mend now and progressing well. Thank goodness! So, I ventured back to beading to relax and create.

I pulled out some new beads I purchased from Goody Beads that I saw featured on a recent live video with Tory (Goody Beads) and Candie Cooper. They are homespun beads made by an artist in Spain (Jana Severin). Tory mentioned these were in limited supply, so I snatched up a few. Even though the colors are saturated, I thought they would be perfect for spring/summer outfits. I paired them up with silver spacers, glass beads and these fabulous thunderbird charms from TierraCast. There is definitely a Native American vibe to them. Really love the hues of teal and pink together and the charms have such wonderfully clear details to them.

In keeping with the bird theme I also made a leather tassel pendant using a black bird bead and rondelle bead from Humblebeads (Heather Powers). I paired it with a side drilled crystal upon which the bird and bead perch, almost nest like, atop the silver capped tassel. I used a messy wrap technique above the bird, which mimics a nest like appearance. I’m still in the process of putting together the necklace to hang this from. Still playing around with the beads and chain I want to use. That can happen, I’ll sit with something awhile until inspiration hits as to how to finish a project. I hope to get it together by the end of the weekend. If so, I’ll share a photo of the finished piece.

I leave for a girlfriends trip right after Easter, in just over a week! Woohoo! We are scattered all over the country, so it takes some planning to get us together. We’ve been doing this for years (15?!). For most of the gatherings I’ve made my friends something to commemorate the trip and I still need to make this year’s pieces!!! Yikes! I better get on it. I’ll share pics after they’ve received them. No peeking ahead of time.

Pondering over beads and coffee – “No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.” ~ William Blake

Bye for now ~ Holly G

Beading and Basketball

Hi all! I’ve been away from the blog site for a few weeks, sorry about that. I’m a huge college basketball fan (men and women teams) and I love this time of year for March Madness, so I’ve been watching all the coverage. It’s hard for me to watch games and work on jewelry at the same time, so my jewelry making has taken a back seat. My bracket choices are doing okay, but some surprise wins have knocked down my bracket standings. Congrats to those teams, but boo for me. The Sweet Sixteen games are coming up this weekend, so good luck to all….. but especially my picks. ;D

In between game days, I did get to my beading table and I sorted, organized and made a few pieces. I’m one of those creatives that likes an organized, cleaned up space before I start working. It doesn’t stay that way during the process, but I like to start that way. It helps me get inspired when I go through my bead containers and see what’s in there and see things that I have forgotten about. I have found that I’ll have a component or beads for months, sometimes years, and suddenly see it with ‘new eyes’ and whip something up using them. Not sure what triggers that, but maybe I’ve seen them used elsewhere, watched a video on a particular technique and realize I could use it with those pieces, whatever. It really jazzes me when that happens and motivates me to keep going.

So I got some new components from Goody Beads after watching one of their Facebook videos. They are four pair of fan tassel components on silver tone rings. They are so fun looking and would be great for Spring and Summer. During my sorting I pulled some beads out that I had stashed and tried to come up with a way to use these fan tassel pieces for earrings. For the one set with the matching necklace, I just strung some complimentary beads I had in my collection, attached the fan tassel component to the bottom of the eye pin and put on ear wires. With the other two I actually used jewelry glue and glued the beads to the top of the ring so the fan tassel hung underneath. I love how they turned out! I’ve already received compliments when I wore the black pair the other night. I have had those rectangular beads I used on the necklace a long time, wondering what I would ever do with them. When I started putting the earrings together I saw these ceramic beads in the mix and thought they would make a great addition to a coordinating necklace, without looking too matchy-matchy to the earrings. You just never know when the beads and components you have had tucked away will ‘speak to you’ and all come together. I really like how the multi-colored tassels take on a different look depending on what colors are used with them and of course you can’t go wrong with silver and black in anything. So, what do you think?

Pondering over beads and coffee- “What people call serendipity sometimes is just having your eyes open.” ~ Jose Manuel Barroso

Keep a sharp eye ~ Holly G

Whatever strikes your fancy

Flower ceramic findings from Jennifer Powers of Quinlan Glass Art, & czech glass melon beads

I’ve stated before that I love looking for and finding handmade components to use in my jewelry. I personally don’t have the time or skill to make any of these components myself and I’m just fine with that. There are so many talented people out there that love to do it and do it so well. I recently made these earrings using these ceramic flower components from Quinlan Glass Art. I just love them and they are the perfect earring size and great for Spring and Summer.

Wing charms from the brand Bead Treasures, their Fairy Tales pieces.

However, I don’t restrict my buying to just artisan pieces. I do find ready made items that I think are cute, whimsical or just the right item to incorporate in my designs. Big box craft stores often have sections for DIY jewelry making and have the ready made charms, pendants, beads, findings, etc. You know the stores and items I mean. It was on a recent excursion to one such store that I picked out some charms that I thought were really cute and a shape that I have also seen used in home decor in the past year, so they were on trend. On top of that, the store was having a sale on this particular brand. Bingo! What could I lose trying them out? I luckily found some beads that I already had on hand that I thought complimented the charms. I liked the off white, sparkly finish and size of these wings and I just really enjoy how they turned out. Inspiration can be found just about anywhere and with just about anything.

Pondering over beads and coffee- “Your dreams are what define your individuality. They have the power to give you wings and make you fly high.” ~ P.V. Sindhu

Soar high ~Holly G

Learning, making, shopping and more in Tucson (pt 3)

One reason, of many, for my attending Tucson this year was to attend Candie Cooper’s Roam Free full day jewelry making workshop. Having attended the first one she hosted in Memphis last Fall, I was looking forward to another fun day of learning, making, and fellowship with like minded members of the ‘bead tribe’, affectionately named The Canes.

Candie lined up some wonderful artists for us to learn from and who willingly shared their knowledge and talents. In addition to Candie, there was Andrew Thornton, Cynthia Thornton, Rita Schneck (who we often refer to as Rita Keys and Rita leaves as she makes some wonderful glass leaves and glass beads around old skeleton keys), Tammie Rae Wolter, Tory from Goody Beads, as well as Rita Padula-Panulla from Impress Arts, Taylor Falls reps, Jool Tool Rep Anie Jolie, the good folks of Beadalon, and others who’s names escape me right now (forgive me). From setting intentions, to diving right into skill building, it was a full, fun day (lunch, snacks and dinner were part of the deal, all of which were delish!).

Recycled glass necklace and leather pendant with Green Girl button
Intentions keepsake pendant
Earrings made from Tammy Rae’s glass pieces

I never seem to do as well in these classes as I do (or seem like I do) at home on my own. Being surrounded by talented folk can make one question their own abilities and be a bit intimidate! lol However, everyone that attends these workshop events have all been a very supportive bunch of gals. So willing to help and share, an amazing group! We all come from diverse backgrounds and various locations around the country, but we come together in a spirit of fun and giving. I feel blessed to have found a wonderful group of ladies. Not just with Candie’s group, but everywhere I went in Tucson, the people had such a welcoming spirit. I’ve posted some pics of a few of the items worked on that day. I did not post pics of all projects. We made a cute memory wire bracelet from GoodyBeads, and an enamel pendant from Rita of ImpressArts polished with Anie’s Jool Tool, as well as a beaded pendant stick from Beadalon. Everyone’s individual talents and artistry were supported and encouraged. By the end of the night it was a lively party atmosphere with beads, jewelry making, food and drinks mixed with laughter and fun.

The rest of my time in Tucson was spent doing more looking and shopping at multiple venues and hanging out with some fun gals. Most of my $$ was spent at the vendors at the Casino Del Sol, but I found some goodies at the other venues as well. I should have brought an empty suitcase! I had a crazy fun dinner adventure with some ‘Canes’ one night and was able to go to the African market before I flew home. The weather made some places very muddy and cold, but I persevered and enjoyed myself. I guess I can shop under any circumstances. Met some nice Lyft drivers and some who could learn a few things about customer service. Saw some lovely desert landscapes, beautiful sunsets, and nature blessed me with a close sighting of a bobcat who ran across the road right in front of my Lyft car. The bobcat was running at top speed, avoided getting hit thank goodness and continued his run up the mountain side by the road. Gorgeous animal!

Here are a few more pics from my travels to Tucson. I hope to make it back one day, but if that’s not meant to be, I am more than thrilled with my experiences on this trip and happy to have met and got to know all the people I did. Memories for a lifetime.

Pondering over beads and coffee- “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” – Confucius

Ciao all, until next time- Holly G

African Market
African Market