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

Bead-ageddon (pt 2)

Loved Tucson and the whole vibe happening in the town. I was with my peeps! I’m not a rock hound, but I do love gemstones and beads and all things jewelry and the town was buzzing with that energy.

I had a day before Candie Cooper’s all day workshop to go on the bead hunt and after looking over all the information about shows/locations, I decided to go to the Casino Del Sol where To Bead True Blue and Colors of the Stone were located. I ended up going there twice during my time in Tucson and had a ball! What made it all so special was seeing the people in person from the DIY jewelry making world that I have been following online, in books and videos, Facebook, on tv, etc. So wonderful to meet them and chat. Such a great bunch of folks, and so kind and friendly.

So many vendors…be still my heart. I spent hours wandering from booth to booth. Not only was I shopping for myself, but I was also shopping for my friend. I usually see these products through their online store or Etsy shop. That’s the way of the world, but here I was able to touch and take it all in at a glance. Often, the artist themselves right there to talk with and ask questions.

I wasn’t alone in my adventure either. Several of us who met through Candie Cooper were hanging together and taking it all in. Some had been there before, others were first timers. Any way you slice it, it all was good times! I was exhausted by the end of that first full day. I sat in my hotel room going through all my purchases and relaxing. Sweet!

Lipstick Ranch & Patricia Healey
Dakota Stones
Dakota Stones
Golem Beads
top 3 rows

Pondering over beads and coffee…“A happy life is one which is in accordance with its own nature.” ~ Seneca

Don’t worry, be happy ~ Holly G

Back from Tucson Gem Show (pt 1)

First off let me say Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone. Now, I returned from Tucson a week ago and it’s taken me that long to recover and get myself back in the swing of things. Catching up with my husband and filling him in on the trip details, unpacking, laundry, resting my weary back, etc. I still haven’t organized all my purchases, but that will be next on my list. In addition, a fellow jewelry maker and bead enthusiast I met last Fall in Memphis was unable to attend the Tucson show and asked if I would do some bead shopping for her. Would I?! Of course I’d be happy to help out a friend and fellow bead hoarder collector. So once home, I needed to get her items packaged and shipped off. She has received them and gives a big thumbs up for her Tucson haul. I’m glad I was able to find things she loves and could use. Look forward to seeing what she makes.

This was my first time in Tucson and to the gem/mineral show, although I have been in AZ several times before. From what I saw of Tucson and the surrounding area, it seems like a very nice city. I love seeing the desert, as it is so unusual from the landscape we have here at home. I was hoping for a dry desert trip, unfortunately they got rain a few days. It seems to be following me. They also had cool temps, not cold like home, but enough to need the layers I had packed.

Since part of the reason I was going to Tucson was to participate in Candie Cooper’s Roam Free workshop day, I stayed at the hotel (Hotel McCoy) where she was hosting the event. It is a retro hotel that has been remodeled with a funky vibe. All the murals and artwork around the place is by local artists. Rooms were simply appointed with colorful art, a comfortable bed, large flat screen tv, and retro refridge. Complimentary breakfast was oatmeal, coffee, juice, fruit and Pop-Tarts. What’s not to love! Altho, I have to say by the end of the trip I was done with oatmeal! Once I arrived and settled in I met someone else staying there who was also going to be taking Candie’s workshop. Dinner and the complimentary beverage were in order and then rest for what was to come. More later…..

Sunset in Tucson

Pondering over beads and coffee- “All you need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” ~ Charles M Schulz