Wood and leather

I love using natural materials in some of my designs (altho I am vegetarian, I do use leather in my designs on occasion). Here I’ve paired a hand braided leather cord I purchased online with a wood and brass focal that I painted using patina paints and gold leaf. I made it a bit rustic by using sand paper around the edges. I strung it with a few beads, including semi-precious stone, brass metal spacers, and czech glass, and voila!

Opposite side of pendant using a different patina paint as my base color
Close-up of wood pendant
The whole necklace

I decorated the wood pendant in a workshop conducted by Candie Cooper, who demonstrated various ways to enhance a raw wood focal. The patinas are from Vintaj, who carry a wide variety of colors and as you can see I used several to create a collage of color on the wood. Also, on the opposite side of the pendant, I chose to do another variation of the colors, only this time I used the orange patina as my base rather than the turquoise. It gives me options on how I wear it and what I can wear it with by just flipping the necklace over. When working with these patinas you need to realize that they do dry rather quickly, so you have to work fast. Because it’s a soft wood piece, a quick swipe of fine sandpaper (something that won’t scratch the surface, unless you desire a more distressed look) can take off the dry layer of patina if you don’t like how it looks. I actually did that with this piece. I did not like how the original paint job came out and the more patina I added to try and improve it the worse it got. So, out came the sandpaper and I sanded all the dry paint off and started over. I added wire to the top brass cap and strung some beads on it, made a loop and attached to this leather cord with a jump ring. If I wish to, I can remove the pendant by opening the jump ring and taking it off.

In addition to wood, you can also use these patinas on metal. I’ve done that on a few brass charms and pendants. Adds a nice artisan look to it. Next time try your hand at using patinas in your jewelry pieces!

Pondering over coffee and beads- “If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Take out those paints and brushes and get started! ~Holly G (HBG Jewelry)

Pairing old with new

As I mentioned previously, I love to shop for beads and artisan made pieces, often doing so from online sources. I get a little thrill when the packages arrive at my home. I rarely make anything with them right away. I like to let them sit on my bead table for awhile, letting them adjust to their new home. I honestly just like to look at them and admire their beauty. Eventually, I look for a place for them to safely reside in the assundry of beadbox containers I have. Beads, focals, charms, etc can sit in those containers for years, just waiting for the right inspiration or additional pieces to arrive before they are used in my creations. It will amaze me when a new piece comes in and as I’m sorting through my containers I’ll run across just the right color/shape bead to be used with that new piece. I usually had forgotten I had those older items or just passed over them many a time waiting for when I would use them. That’s the advantage of having a stash to sort through. I don’t always have a design in mind when I buy something, but putting it along side findings I already have can make for a great pairing and inspire ideas. I tend to lean toward similar colors, shapes and styles so often I have a mix of things that will blend together nicely.

Here are some examples of my inspirations of mixing new items with those I had tucked away in my bead containers. The new item was the pink stone ready made necklace I found on Etsy that matched well with the previous purchase of the lamp worked leaf bead (artist Rita Schneck, bought in Tucson 2019) coupled with beads I already had in my stash. A mix of semi precious stones, ceramic, artisan made and glass beads. (This necklace appears in a previous post).

Close up of the lamp worked leaf pendant
Ready made beaded necklace with the artisan leaf pendant

Again here is another example of old/new pairings. The new is the turquoise butterfly bead that I got as part of a recent subscription mailing from Candie Cooper. All other items I already had on hand. The round turquoise beads I have had in my stash for many years in which I have only used a few of the beads in previous pieces. I also found hiding in my container of crystal beads these precious little butterfly pieces, just perfect for the earrings. A nice nod to the butterfly pendant without looking too matchy matchy.

Close up of earrings with the crystal butterfly beads
Butterfly necklace and earrings

I feel blessed to be able to have such a variety of items on hand to play with in my designs and creations. You just never know what you can put together, old and new. Don’t forget what you may have tucked away in a box somewhere. You probably have something to go with that newly acquired piece. Play and have fun!

If you celebrate Valentine’s Day, I hope it is a special one. If you created jewelry for the occasion, I hope it is beautiful and made you smile.

Pondering over coffee and beads- ” Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning.” ~ Paulo Coelho

Regards; Holly G (HBG Jewelry)

Subscription Boxes cont.

Let me first give a shout out to the Kansas City Chiefs for their Super Bowl win! My husband and I follow other NFL teams, but KCC put in a phenomenal 4th quarter performance that was fun to watch….unless you were a 49ers fan… my sympathies to them this morning.

I promised to share another one of my Czech Beads subscription boxes and so I will. This one is a completely different look than the previous box and made more pieces. They look a bit more formal and jazzy than the more casual flower motif of the previous one. Once again I did not follow exactly the recommended use of the materials with regards to the bracelet. I made it a stretch bracelet rather than a double strand on stringing wire with a clasp. That’s just my personal preference. Doing that leaves extra beads to use in other projects, should I choose to do that.

Just a reminder, this particular subscription box (BohemStyle from Kraftika aka Czech Beads Exclusive) gives you all the materials to use plus a link to a video that shows you how to put together the pieces. This was the November 2019 box, which also came with an extra (Christmas) gift that made earrings that matched the set. The beads were lovely in the laboradite like colors with an AB coating and etched look to them, with donut/ring, barrel, melon, metal tube (donut beads go over the tubes) and druk shapes. These beads really show off their colors in reflective light. What I like about these subscription boxes is that you get materials that you may not typically buy or use, plus instructions on how to use the beads to make each piece. Some may find this crimps your creative vibe, but I sometimes like just having it all together to make something without any frustrations on what to do. Can be very meditative and relaxing. So here is the subscription box as it comes and then put together by me…..

Final pieces …. the hoop earrings were the extra gift
Subscription box reveal

I have one more subscription box to complete and I will post the before and after pics of that, whenever I get it completed.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope this inspires you to take a serious look at signing up for subscription boxes from the various DIY bead and jewelry sources out there.

Have a great day! ~Holly G (HBG Jewelry)

Pondering over coffee and beads….”Of this be sure: You do not find the happy life, you make it.” ~Thomas S Monson

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