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

Road to Mecca (jewelry mecca that is)

Necklace I made using a commissioned piece from Ashley of Summer Wind Art

Unfortunately I’ve been nursing a sore back, which has kept me away from the computer. Feeling well enough to write now, I decided to post something before I head to Tucson for the Gem, Mineral, Fossil, and Jewelry Show. Woohoo, desert here I come! This will be my first time attending and I’m beyond excited! This has been on my bucket list for several years and I finally made the decision to attend this year.

For those unfamiliar with the event it is a 2 1/2 week gathering of hundreds of gem, mineral, bead, fossil, and jewelry vendors, experts, artisans, and shoppers, all converging on Tucson, AZ. There are over 40 different venues located in hotels, the convention center, warehouses, casino, and on sidewalks and in huge tents all over town. Take your pick, there is something for everyone from dino bones to flamework glass beads, to metalsmith pieces and fine gem stones. Vendors come from all over the world to sell, trade, and just share their expertise with the public and wholesalers alike.

Being a newbie I decided to purchase the Tucson Gem Show catalog which has loads of information on all the shows, how to get around town, maps, restaurants in the area, hotels, etc. Totally worth the investment. Also, there are apps one can download and information online. I was propelled to take the leap to attend when a jewelry artist I follow online decided to run a day long workshop there (Candie Cooper). She is holding it in a cool motel and she has lined up some wonderful artists that will be doing classes with her. Candie’s event is a day and a half long which includes visiting the African markets and other venues, but I booked time before and after to do some things on my own. Of course I’ll be shopping and will definitely go to the shows located in the casino. Many people I’ve purchased from will be located there. There are a few others venues on my list that I want to attend, but being new and not sure of the layout and transportation I’ll just play my free time by ear and see what happens. I will be attending the Beads of Courage bracelet making fundraiser one evening. People I’m familiar with in the DIY jewelry world will be there and it all sounds fun and for a great cause.

I will be posting pics from my time there, so keep a sharp eye out for that. I’ll also share what trinkets I find and bring home with me.

Time to start packing! ~ Holly G

Pondering over beads and coffee- “What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Back home with a few goodies

Well, we are back home after enjoying our vacation in Florida. Although it was chilly by Florida standards it was still much warmer than back home. Our condo on the beach was just wonderful. The views, amazing. We did luck out and had a few days warm and sunny enough to lounge by the pool. It has been quite the re-entry coming back north. We got snow and very cold temps to deal with, but that is what winter is like here, even for a southern state.

When I travel I like to seek out independently owned bead shops and lo and behold I found one, located just up the road from where we were staying, called Island Cove Beads and Gallery. If I lived in that area, I’m sure it would become my second home. Friendly staff, lots of great beads, some of which were made by local glass bead artists, and an area to sit and hang out making jewelry. My kind of place. I was glad I found it and got to spend some time in there. Of course I found some goodies to bring home with me! How could I not, I ask you. I’m saving my $$ for ‘the’ Tucson show (more on that later), but I could not resist. Plus I’m supporting a locally owned shop. All good.

Pondering over beads and coffee- “Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”  –Martin Luther King

Peace to all – Holly G

On the beach

I am not a winter or cold weather person, even though I was born in the upper Midwest where winters can get crazy. I crave sun and warmth, much like my cats. So it’s not unusual for my husband and myself to seek out warmer climes for a few days during our winters at home. Currently, I am sitting in my condo on a beach in sunny Florida watching palm trees swaying, and waves a crashin’. My kind of winter day.

One of the things I love to do on these visits is to walk the beaches enjoying the sights and sounds and sun. I’ll scoop up any shells I see along the way that I find interesting and beautiful. I have jars full at home from years of collecting. What I find more difficult to find is sea glass. I just love the stuff, but find it hard to find. I know some of you may have been lucky to find loads on other beaches you have visited, but they elude me. Whatever pieces I own, I have purchased them. In the past I have used pieces in my jewelry making, mostly wire wrapping them for pendants or earrings. I just love the smooth shapes and frosted look of it. I’ve seen tutorials on drilling into the glass, but haven’t tried my hand at it.

Do any of you work with sea glass in your jewelry making? What do you think of it?h

Pondering over coffee and beads…. “ A beach is not only a sweep of sand, but shells of sea creatures, the sea glass, the seaweed, the incongruous objects washed up by the ocean.” ~ Henry Grunwald

Greetings from Margaritaville – Holly G