Thursday, June 19, 2014


In a previous post I shared how I have been trying to pick up the pieces of a broken routine and found inspiration in a photo full of shards of broken bits.  I also showed the beginnings of a new piece of jewelry using one of those broken treasures.  I finally worked out the kinks in the enamel process and reworked the piece of ironstone until I got all the bubbles out of the surface and then the fun began to see how to turn a piece of pottery into wearable art...

I was inspired to use an image of a happy bright Eastern Blue Bird after weeks of trying to capture a photo of one of these winged beauties but it has eluded my camera lens.  It dips, dives, chirps, poses, and plays in the garden pond waterfall that is until I get out the camera.  He is a cocky little fellow who is happy to show off as long as I sit still observing, I guess he is camera shy.  Not being able to use his real image a copy from an old bird book was a good stand in...
Blue birds are said to be a symbol of love and happiness.  The feisty little blue bird flitting around my home has helped me to embrace the beauty, love, and happiness that creativity brings me.  Blue birds also connect me to my heritage of the Cherokee.  Blue Bird Medicine (in Cherokee: tsaquoladagi nvwati) was considered sacred for their blue color like the sky.  The Cherokee believed that at one time the birds were white or grey, then one day Bluebird found a lake up in the mountains, she bathed in it turning her feathers as blue as the sky.  They are considered messenger birds from the Great Spirit sent to teach lessons in admiration, love, contentment, hope, and happiness...
My lessons have been learned well this week as I have been a student of nature admiring the handy work of the Creator.  I have dipped into my love for creating something with my hands and found great contentment in my work.  My heart has been singing a song of happiness.  My hope has been renewed that broken things can indeed be made beautiful again...
Now, I am off to tackle a piece of bottle glass, until next time, wishing you all a song of happiness all your own.


Thursday, June 12, 2014


If you have spent any time hanging around my virtual studio you know I almost can't bear to throw away those delicious snippets and scraps of fabrics, fibers, and papers leftover from projects.  I am always looking for ways to use them up. One way I like to use extra fabric scraps is to make beads that can be used in jewelry making or mixed-media embellishment.  This not a new concept and there are various ways of making the beads, I thought I would share my preferred method with you.

* Bamboo Skewer
* Scraps of Fabric - generally a 4 to 6 inch piece - plain or printed cotton, muslin, and canvas all make good bead bases
* Aileen's Tacky Glue
* Spreader or Old Gift Card or Fake Credit Card or Small piece of stiff cardboard
* Wax Paper
* Printable Pattern (optional) - I usually just use my odd shaped scraps or free form cut them for shaped beads but for those who prefer a pattern the printable below works well for different shape beads of fabric or paper:
To print, right click on image, choose "save image as" on your drop down menu to save to your computer or choose "print" option and then print in your chosen print program.

* 20, 24 or 26 Gauge Wire
* Wire Cutters
* Round Nose Pliers
* Seed or Small Beads
* Fibers
* Paper Snippets
* Scissors


* Cut, rip, or snip your fabric into a 3 to 6 inch long strip (the longer you make the strip the fatter your bead will be), be sure to use at least a 1 inch width (the wider your fabric is the longer your bead will be), you can play with the measurements to achieve different effects
* Roll one end of fabric scrap around bamboo skewer working an inch or so away from the pointed end of the skewer until skewer is completely covered. If using  printable pattern be sure to roll the flat cut end not the pointed one
* Add a small bead of glue, fabric to fabric, making sure not to get any on skewer, you don't want your bead glued to the stick
* Holding the rolled fabric gently in place, lay on wax paper, run a bead of glue down the center of the fabric from roll to loose end of fabric
* Use spreader, old gift card, or face credit card, or stiff cardboard and smooth glue from rolled end to loose end of fabric
* Gently lift and roll between thumb and finger to coil fabric around itself on the skewer, make sure you don't wind too tightly or bead will not be easily removed from skewer
* If needed dab excess glue from spreader on end of fabric strip and smooth to secure
* Gently slide bead off of skewer being careful not to disturb the shape and lay aside on piece of waxed paper to thoroughly dry
Once the beads are dry they are ready for embellishing.


* To embellish, slide dry bead back onto bamboo skewer, this will allow you to tightly embellish without losing the shape of the bead or narrowing the opening
* Using paper scraps, fabric scraps, or fibers, arrange around bead (optional)


* Cut a 16 inch  length of  24 or 26 gauge wire per bead, holding embellishments in place wrap one end of wire around bead and twist a couple of times to secure leaving a small tail of wire
* Add a seed or small bead, loop wire around bead, continue adding beads and wrapping until you like the look of your bead, wind wire back to beginning, beading the opposite side of the bead as you wrap. Twist wire ends to secure
*Clip off excess wire, use needle nose pliers to tuck clipped ends into bead OR for an added decorative touch twist ends of wire together to from a 1 inch or longer wire rope, clip off excess wire, with round nose pliers curl into a coil, flatten coil to bead

* Slide off of skewer and string.


* Cut a 16 in length of 20 or 24 gauge wire
* Form a loop in the wire using round nose pliers as shown leaving a 3 inch tail
* Wrap loose tail of wire around long end of wire 3 times
* Slide a small bead onto the wire, twist 3 or 4 times to secure, clip excess
* Slide fabric bead onto wire
* Add fiber embellish to bead if desired (optional)
(I did not do this step in the demo)
* Wrap wire in a coil form up the length of the bead as shown, you can add seed or small beads as you coil if desired, wrap wire twice under beginning bead and coil back to other end of bead
* When you reach the other end of the bead make another loop, slip on another small bead, wrap loose end of wired around 2 times above bead, then 2 times below bead as shown
* Going in the opposite direction, wrap wire in a coil back to starting bead, wrap loose end of wire twice under bead, clip excess
* Add jump rings or chain your own beads to use as a link


The beads dry very hard and are very durable, however, if you choose to use any paper embellishment or make paper beads you will need to seal them against moisture, there are several options:

* Clear non-yellowing spray sealer, use in well ventilated area
* Tacky glue or Matte Gel Medium or other durable craft glue thinned with a little water and brushed on
* Mod Podge brushed on
* Clear brush on non-yellowing varnish
I like to make a whole bunch of the bead bases up (warning: this can be addictive) and store them in a jar once they are dry, often preferring to embellish as I use them so I can customize them for whatever project I am working on.

That's a wrap, gotta roll (more beads that is), enjoy!


Friday, June 6, 2014


Resurrection:  To bring back to life
On a cold gray day in January I felt a flutter of my former creative life return.  I was looking for something, anything really, after long months of silence from my creative muse to experience that certain spark of inspiration.  I typed in some random search of images when I saw this...
(Image above and below from Jetsam & Juniper)

Now to most sensible people, the above might look like a pile of rubble, something useless, not worthy of ones time or attention, much less their cash.  I can't exactly explain it but something stirred in me when I saw this image of random objects.  Red and green glass, cracked pottery, broken bottles, metal, button, and bone all castoffs waiting to receive a new purpose.  Looking at this grouping you might say "How is that possible?".  Deep down I knew that to me these shards were a representation of the messy broken life I had been living for months while coping and dealing with my mothers illness as well as some major life changes.   I knew, like these things, that I could not go back to the way things were, we were both too broken for that.  I also knew that both these broken bits and I could move forward reassembling ourselves in some new way to live a vibrant existence of beauty.
     The date did not escape my notice, it was the third day of January.  A niggling echo of the "third day" kept playing itself over and over in my heart and mind.  I knew that I was being gifted my own personal resurrection and I could not help seeing the symbolism.  My heart had been entombed in grief, the heavy stone of emotion being a barrier tightly sealed with the weight of worry standing guard.  There I sat at barely dawn on the third day of a brand new year seeking my creative savior, if you will, when I saw this fragmented image and it was as if the stone of grief was pushed aside and a ray of hope and light shown in.  I felt a literal surge of emotion rise from the depths of the seat of my soul.  A mixture of gratitude and joy bubbled to the surface and I could see all the possibilities for me and for these precious shattered shards.
(The chose shard)
They say that a fool and his money are soon parted and in this case maybe that is true...I bought the relics after tracing the original image back to an Etsy shop.  A sandwich bag full of discards from the literal streets of Chicago arrived much to my joy.  Can you see what I saw?  Hope...hope of a discarded dream being pieced back together.  Surety...surety that personal resurrection is possible after what can seem the most dire of circumstances.  Inspiration...the process of being spiritually, mentally, and physically stimulated to feel something other than despair, to do something, to create something, to drawn in a deep life giving breath of divine influence from a single simple source.
(Playing with enamel  beads, can't seem to get the bubbles out, will keep trying, maybe they are just little bubbles of joy.)

It is time to bring this blog back to life right along with my new found creative influences, I hope you will join me on the journey.

Many Blessings,

P.S.  Thank you to all of you who kept us in your thoughts and prayers, sent emails, cards, etc.  My mother continues to linger in the dark depths of confusion of Alzheimer's, her physical health is flagging some but she is a strong spirit and is holding her own.
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