Friday, February 28, 2014

At The Sea

Courtesy of D.F.
A few weeks ago, I spent some time really studying the colors of beads that attracted me.  Looking over my designs, I tend to focus on pinks, purples and blues.   I also have a love for Victorian and Edwardian mourning jewelry too, so every once in awhile something black shows up on my work space.   While I was studying my beads, trying to focus on where I was going next,   I decided to challenge myself.   Expanding my horizons seems to be a theme for me this year, so I decided to embrace it in my jewelry.

What challenge did I take on?  I have decided to create a line.  A group of pieces that all have the same theme.  In the past, I have created one thing at a time.  Colors may be similar because I am in that "phase",  but I have never tried anything this organized before.  Why am I doing this?  Because I want to focus on my designing chops.  Making sure that pieces are cohesive means that I have to plan better.   I need to sit down with paper and pencil and sketch (which I am horrible at!)  out what I have in my head, keeping in mind that they should all work together.  I am excited about this...I am looking forward to the day I can come back here proudly displaying all that I have created.  

Before I go, I want to introduce you to the inspiration for my work.  If you hadn't guessed, it is the lovely picture up above.  A shot taken by a dear friend of a beach I love.   I know what the sand feels like between my toes, the sounds of the waves lapping at the shores and that slightly salty air.  I look forward to presenting you pieces that capture those memories and I hope they inspire your own warm thoughts of the signature

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Winter Sparkle Blog Hop Reveal

It has arrived!!!  I have been waiting to share with everyone the pieces I created for this fun blog hop.   Lisa Lodge over at A Grateful Artist has put together a wonderful collection of beads for me to create with.  If you are not familiar with a blog hop, this is how they work.  Those interesting in participating sign up with the host and then you receive a collection of beads in the mail.  (to see the unveiling of what I received, check out this post)  Then you get to creating!! On the assigned day, all the participants post their blogs with the reveal of their designs. Then, it is off to visit all the other participants to see what they came up with.

Now if you are ready for me to get past the explanation and show you my pieces; wait no more!  Lisa sent me a lovely selection of crystals, beads and a great focal.  There were enough there for me to make three different designs.  

Royal Milky Way
I love these earrings.  They combine my love of purple and crystals wonderfully and the metal components just seem to work to come together in such a great way.  The clear crystal rondelles highlight the flat purple beads and it reminds me of stars in orbit around a planet.  The metal connectors continue on the planet theme, and I topped each earring with two amethyst colored crystals and darker seed beads.  The metal bar beads tie the earrings to the necklace that you will see in a bit.

Sparkle in the Night Sky
I was drawn to these faceted beads when they first arrived.  Surrounding them with the amethyst and clear crystals really highlights the sparkle in each bead.  Where I live, it is very easy to see the starry night sky.  When I look up on a winter night, the sky seems to come alive with shimmery light.   Those stars and the cold bite on my skin as I look up is my inspiration for my bracelet.  

Bird in Flight

Up Close
When I posted about the beads I had received, this bird in flight was the favorite of my readers.  So how could I not include it in a piece?  She seems to take flight through a sparkly sky, surrounded by the crystals I used in the other two pieces.  To connect with the deep metal color of the pendant, I added some gunmetal glass seed beads.  Finally, to set off the pendant, metal bar beads segment that part of the necklace from the rest.  Finally, I added a clasp that contains a purple velvet Swarovski crystal nestled in the heart.  

I had a lot of fun working with the beads sent to me for this hop.  I even have quite a bit of supplies left, so be on the look out for more designs in this color palette.  Winter can be full of sparkle and in those quiet moments, it is extremely beautiful.  Now it is time to have some fun, follow the links below and hop around to see what everyone else has created.  

Your hostess:  Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist

Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes

Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design

Eleanor Burian Moore, The Charmed Life 

Jo-Ann Woolverton, It's a Beadiful Creation

Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware

Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn's Creations

Toltec  Jewels, Jewel School Friends

Christie Searle Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry

Heather Richter, Desert Jewelry Designs

Ev Shelby, Raindrop Creations 

Dolores Raml, CraftyD's Creations

Kim Dworak, Cianci Blue

Cassi Renee Paslick, Beads: Rolling Downhill

Annette Rivers, Mama Owl's Mess

Tammie Tusher Everly, TTE Designs

Crystal Thain, Here Bead Dragons

Marybeth Rich, A Few Words from within the Pines (you are here)

Norbel Marolla, She Flies Again Jewelry

Karen Burg, KEB Designs

Karin Grosset Grange, Ginkgo et Coquelicot

Jasvanti Patel, Jewels by Jasvanti

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Friday, February 21, 2014

We're All Ears-Earrings Everyday Monthly Creative Challenge Reveal

Damsel's In Love

While reading some great beading blogs earlier this month,  I found the Earrings Everyday blog.   I just love earrings.  No matter what you are wearing, you can find something fun to dangle from your ears.  That was why I found the daily dose of love for the ears exciting to read.  Back on the 7th, the blog's author announced that  she would be hosting a monthly creative challenge. Each month would have a new inspiration and based on that item (picture, poem, music) we had a few weeks to design a great pair of earrings.   How could I not say yes to this adventure?  You don't have to ask me twice to make earrings.

When I saw the inspiration for the first month, I wasn't very sure.  If you know anything about me, you know I hate bugs.  I think they are really icky.  But once I got past their heads, I focused on the beautiful colors of these damselflies in love.  And decided to give it a try.

Retrieved from Earrings Everyday 
I mostly design in pinks, purples and blues so when I decided to embrace this month's theme, I focused on using colors outside my palette.  Looking through my beads, I chose to focus on orange, green, yellow and bright blue.

The spots on the orange and yellow-green (the beads are more green than reflected in this picture) really matched the way the brown on the flies legs blended in with their bodies.  I couldn't resist the use of the glass seed beads.  The color was perfect and they remind me of the heads!

So, after all that bead searching through my stash...who knew I had so much orange in my collection...what did I end up with?  Well, without further ado...

Damsels in Love
I strove to create earrings that created a sense of flight.  It was one of the two themes that most inspired me from the picture.  I feel I accomplished this with the length of the earrings in general, and also by the generous dangle.  I also tried to segment the earrings with the different shaped beads to represent the way the bugs body is segmented.  Can you almost sense they are ready to fly away?

Notice how each earring is not exactly the same?  The beads are similar, but not quite identical.  Why? The answer is found in the other bit of inspiration I got from the picture.  The way the individual can come together with another and make a whole.  Humans best represent this when they meet and fall in love.  Each person retains their individuality, but what they build together is even better.    

I am a very symmetrical designer.  My eye finds comfort when every pendant ends up in the middle, or when all the beads match in exact count and pattern.  I have been wanting to try to work on some asymmetrical pieces. The work of other designers has captured my eye lately and I love how designs that surprise you add a lot of interest to the piece.  My use of slightly varying beads is a way for me to crack open the door to another style of design just a little.

It was a lot of fun to embrace this challenge.  I overcame my original response to the photo and also pushed myself to make bead choices I wouldn't normally do.  I am looking forward to see what everyone else has posted and to get started on next month's theme. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Winter Sparkle Blog Hop Beads

Nothing like a little sparkle to brighten up what is turning out to be a long winter.   Even down here in Florida we have had our share of very cold days and a lot of rain.   I have missed the sunshine!  What is a good way to wash away the winter blues?  A blog hop of course!!  Lisa over at A Grateful Artist is hosting a blog hop this Feb. 22nd.   Make sure to check back here on that day to see what I create and to visit the blogs of all the other wonderful artists who have joined in.

So what is on my work table today?  All the wonderful beads I received from Lisa.  There is a lot of inspiration here.  The color palettes are purples, clear, amethyst, black and silver.   It makes me think of a winter night when everything is quiet.  When you look up into the sky, you see the sparkle of all the stars.  I will be using that as my motivation for my designs.

This is the large focal I received.  Isn't the sparkle on the bird's wings just wonderful?  I can't wait to see it take flight on a necklace.

Here are a few more shots of the other beads in the packet:

So much sparkle!

I love these silver mirror ball beads!!!

You can't see it, but the square bead on the right sparkles.

There are a lot of wonderful beads here and even though I am allowed to add beads from my own stash, I don't think I will need to do much of that.  Just in the little bit of time I have had them on my work space, I can already see a great necklace,  pair of earrings and a bracelet in this collection.   What a fun way to make winter sparkle!   Make sure to check back here on the 22nd to see what I create and to hop along to the other posts for the event.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Kind Words

The last few months I have been venturing into Subscription Boxes with a few of my products.   These boxes are a new trend,  you sign up to receive a box of curated items, giving you the chance to try something new that you might not have been exposed to otherwise.  They have these boxes for almost, clothing, soap, I even saw one for cocktails the other day!  There are a few companies out there that focus on handmade items.  I have submitted my work to a few and had the pleasure to be able to add my items in their boxes.  

Back in January,  I was featured in the Dottiebox  mini box.  I made 105 pairs of earrings, and off they went to the kind people over at Dottiebox.   From a designers point of view,  sending all these little treasures off to be shipped to new homes makes me nervous.  I know that most of us want the person who is buying our latest piece to like what we create.   But when you send off  that many pairs at once it can bring up a bit of anxiety!  A lot of time and energy has gone into creating those little jewels, and of course I want each new recipient to be happy.  Adding to it is the fact that reviewing these boxes is popular with bloggers and I peek at the Net carefully as I wait to hear what they thought.  It is a wonderful way to get feedback and get your name out there, but I do think I know what an ingenue waiting backstage for her first write-up by a critic must feel!! 

When I saw this review yesterday,  it made my heart smile.  Every one of those little earrings went out with a piece of my heart, and kind words like this is what motivates me to continue to create my little bits of sparkle.   Thank you Grey Duck Blogging for this wonderful review!!!!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Moving in to a New Place

No,  I haven't moved into a new home, I am still loving living in the middle of all these beautiful long leaf pines.  But,  I have moved my blog to a new home.  Welcome!!  I am excited to bring my thoughts and designs over here to Blogger.  It gives me more options to share not only what I am currently working on, but also to highlight where you can find my designs, information on upcoming events and also share some of the beautiful work my design friends are doing.

In upcoming posts, I will be highlighting some of the beads that have made their way to my work space lately,  show off new designs and post my blog hop entries.   Also,  just like I did on the old blog, I will be posting about the creative process.  This will include thoughts on things that inspire me and challenge me.   Through my posts I hope that you will come to learn more about Marybeth..the person behind Forest of Jewels.   So, welcome again and come sit with me and enjoy a beautiful day in Florida, underneath the pines.