July 31, 2009

Studio Tour Dreams

1st the winner of the Studio Tour grand prize, (a $50 grab bag) is Sharon from Live Wire Jewelry!

I want to thank everyone who stopped by during my studio tour. I loved reading all of your comments and visited the blogs you shared with me. I didn't get to comment on every one, but I did stop by.
This is the complete layout of my studio, in case you were wondering. I also have a large closet, that is a challenge for another time!
Now that the studio is clean and organized, I've been thinking of how exactly I use this space. How to make it more functional, inviting and inspiring? I was looking at my window, thinking how much I'd love a window seat and them blam. Oh, am I not married to a sculptor who worked in a cabinet factory for years when he was in college? Why yes, yes I am! So I showed Jess my plan last night and he was jazzed.
This will be our project for September. Along with the window seat, I want bookshelves on both sides and window seat to be a long bookshelf for extra storage. (We have a lot of books!) And then I thought, well since we are building things I want to an island/work desk with cabinets underneath for all my storage. So that's the plan.
Dream Studio Layout

I'm off to work on getting ready for a children's book conference in LA next week. My shop will close the 5th - 13th. I know, Humblebeads are a rare bird this summer. So the free shipping will continue until Monday. Have a great weekend!

July 29, 2009

Last winner for today!

Doreen from Backyard Beads is the winner! You've won the silver earrings and copper lentil bead! Congrats and thanks for playing along.

The fun isn't over yet! Scroll down to see how to win $50 worth of Humblebeads.

Studio Tour: Storage

One of the hardest parts of being a bead artist is finding a good storage system that works for you. I'm more of the 'it's cheap and on-hand' kind of organizer. Most of my beads are stored in those clear plastic containers. I have them divided by colors. I have a box for each color of findings: brass, copper and gunmetal/silver. I have two boxes with art beads from my favorite artists. I have seed beads in those clear shoebox size containers. They are wrapped in rubber bands according to their color or if they are in small baggies, they are bagged together by color.

Stringing materials go in a handy adjustable tray organizer that I found in the housewares section at Walmart. I think it was for silverware.

My stash of clay is stored in these metal file drawers that I picked up for a few dollars at the goodwill a long time ago.

I store my canes and mixed colors on metal in/out boxes that I picked up at Office Max. They stack up and save space. Sheesh, you'd think I would have straightened out the rows for the photo at least!

You've seen trays and dishes stuffed in every corner of my studio. Above is one of my favorites. These are ceramic "egg cartons" that I found at Hobby Lobby in the spring/Easter displays. They are perfect for works-in-progress or to catch extra beads that need to be put away.

Now Jess is way cheaper and craftier than me. He just recycled the salt container into a pencil/tool jar by cutting off the lid.

Do you have a crafty/out-of-ordinary storage idea that you use for your beads or art supplies?
Okay, now for the grand prize to celebrate my studio tour and open house!
One lucky person is going to win one of my bead grab bags. These are filled with $50 worth of beads!
How do you enter?

One entry: make a comment on one of the Studio Tour posts to enter in the grand drawing.

Three bonus entries: you can earn an entry for spreading the word about my tour on your blog, facebook page or twitter. Just leave a comment to let me know you did.

When? You have until tomorrow at Midnight. On Friday morning I will announce the winner!
Thanks for joining me today. I hope I provided some inspiration, I know I enjoyed each comment and feel inspired too!
The next winner from the 3pm post will be announced in just a few minutes.

Another Winner!

Priscilla Burris is our next winner! Yeah Priscilla!!!
Don't fret, you can still enter to win another set, scroll down to the inspiration post below. You can also blog, facebook or twitter about the Studio Tour for 3 extra entries into the drawing. Just let me know you did.
Stop back at 5 o'clock to see the grand prize! My last post of the day will be on storage, don't miss it.
The treasure has been found!
Don't forget, free shipping in my shop until tomorrow night.

Studio Tour - Inspiration

I am a big fan of filling your space with inspiring objects, art work and images. You need a visual feast to feed your inner artist.

I'm a also friend of the bowl o' goodies. I collect ceramic dishes, both commercial and handmade, to fill up with treasures. Picture above: in delicate lotus shaped bowls I keep the beginnings of a few projects I will work on soon. A bowl of urchins, how I love those urchins! A tiny bowl is keeping a precious little stone collection, moments from one of my days at the beach in Michigan. I have a abstract leaf dish that is filled with Humblebeads that I have stashed away.

In my studio I have a large inspiration board above my clay table. I pin up projects that I'm working on (waiting written instructions), my fav photos, clippings from books, other artist's beads and artwork.

Yes, that is where I make my beads. Nothing fancy, just a simple set up with easy access to everything I need. It looks a little bit different when I'm in production mode. I fill up trays and trays of beads for Jess to roll or that I need to paint. And then everything starts to fill up the table behind me. (You'll notice an abundance of wax paper, keeps the dust out of the clay.)

Birds are tucked into little corners all over my studio. This one came from my grandmother. On these little shelves I keep glass jars of some of my favorite beads. They are in front of cork boards that display a collection of sundries.

And then there is Jesse's corner of the studio. Which is really a giant sculpture installation, isn't it? Behind this desk sits a very large book shelf, filled with all sorts of wonderful inspiration. Jesse's half has art history, religion and philosophy books. My half has bead magazines, bead, craft and business books. The top of the bookshelf houses my sketchbook collection.

Well, I don't know about you, but thinking so much about my studio has inspired me to the next level. I'm ready to repaint, I have a nature/bird/tree theme in mind. Hmm, I need to finish the closet and keep going in here!
Has this studio tour inspired you? Leave me a comment to tell me what you'd like to do with your work space or if you plan on leaving the chaos in all it's glory because that's what suits your creative needs best. One random commenter will be drawn to receive this pair of earrings, again inspired by Denise Peck's 101 Wire Earrings and a matching lentil bead.
The winner from the tools tour will be posted in just a few moments.

1st Winner!

Okay, our first winner is BellaJoya!

But wait, I have this awesome grand prize that I will be announcing at 5pm today. Anyone who makes a comment throughout the day will be entered. So there is still time to blog, tweet or facebook about the Studio Tour for up to 3 extra chances to enter. Just let me know here or in the 1st Studio Tour post where you did the deed. (hee, hee!)

Studio Tour - Tools

My studio is filled with all sorts of tools of the trade. I keep them in their relative workstations so I can grab them quickly when inspiration strikes. Although, I don't consider myself a gadget girl. In fact, to create my beads I use only my pasta machine, cutting blade, two small mirrors and dental pick. (Along with stamps, molds and paintbrush too.) I have been slowly adding to my tool collection.

A few new tools I picked up this month from Rings & Things (as one of their blog partners):

A hole punch - how I did I live without this thing! You just twist those screw things and viola, holes in metal!

metal shears - watch out, I can cut shapes out of metal, I'm scared!

cup bur - I want to make my own earwires and this is so handy for smoothing those rough edges on metal.

Tools I can't live without:

My Lindstrom pliers. How long did I suffer without my set. I know, you look at the price and think "come on, how can they be that different from my ol' cheap-o's. You have no idea how comfortable they are and how much they are worth every penny! Put them on your wish list.

Dapping block - a new edition to my tool box, can you tell I love this little thing!

Bench block and ball peen hammer - opens up a lot of possibilities with wire.

On my wish list:

A torch! a small butane torch will be my next acquisition. I want to make those ball headpins so bad.
An embossing hammer for create some great textures on metal.

Next prize:

Brass earrings with golden branch beads. This design was also inspired by the book 101 Wire Earrings. Visit the Art Bead Scene for a review of the book.

How to win: tell me what tool you are itching to add to your tool box?

I will draw a random winner from the comments to this post at 3pm.

I will announce the 1st winner from the previous post in just a few moments...

Studio Tour - How & Why

Welcome to the Humblebeads Studio Tour and Open House

I'm organizationally challenged, to say the least. Creativity and chaos go hand-in-hand in my world. But after a month of my grandmother's tidy little home and one too many episodes of Clean House, I decided I was done with my foolishness and needed to get organized and clean out my studio. A herculean feat to be sure!
I started with one box and one bag. (The box for garage sale items, the bag for trash.) I just jumped in, cleaning off my shelves first so that I would have a place to put things. I would work on one section at a time. The more I did, the easier the task became. It's easier to clean when you have a place to put things.

My studio is a large room in my house, this is my office, sanctuary and occasionally ground zero. A space to create, where you don't have to clean up a project and drag it out the next day, saves a lot of time. But that may also be my downfall, it's so easy to shut the door and run to the front of the house when I'm tired of the mess!

Click on the photos to see the notes.
My room is arranged in 7 stations: storage, clay table, beads/bead table, work table, computer desk, library and Jesse's corner. With each area stuffed with it's own supplies and tools as needed.

It's a work in progress! I'm in need of some real tables. Right now I work on folding tables, they serve a purpose but I think I could find something a little more stylish at Ikea. But this was my Clean House version, not the Design on a Dime episode!
I have more to share. The nooks and crannies if you will.

Right now I have my first prize to giveaway. It's this awesome pair of earrings inspired by the book 101 Wire Earrings and a matching lentil bead.

So how do you win them? Blog, twitter or facebook about my studio tour. After you complete your mission let me know which ones you did in the comment section below. I will draw one name at noon. Good luck! (Yes, you can get your name in the bucket 3 times if you do all three. Don't do any of those things, well then just email a friend the news.)

Need help cleaning out your creative space? I don't have a stash of magical elves to send your way, but here are some helpful links:

Art Studio Makeover Flickr Group
Studios Magazine
Tips on Conquering Your Clutter from Zen Habits
Bead Storage Tips on the Art Bead Scene

Stop back at noon for more of the tour!

July 28, 2009

Online Open House & Studio Tour

I'm not quite sure what got into me, but when I returned home from Michigan I was a woman on a mission. The mission? To finally clean and organize my studio! I know, crazy right?
I wish I had a 'before' picture so you could see just how much work this job involved. Let's just say 3 whole days and I still haven't tackled the closet. In fact, you couldn't find the tables in my studio if you wanted to, we are talking shamefully bad. Archaeological dig bad. Crazy cat lady hoarder bad! (Oh, but I don't have a cat...)
So to celebrate, and it is a cause for celebration, on Wednesday I'm having a online studio tour right here on my blog. Join me tomorrow at 10am for all sorts of fun as I give you the grand go-around. I have 3 awesome prizes I'll give away throughout the day and a drawing for a grand prize that I will draw on Thursday.
And what's an open house without a sale? Not much, so I'm offering free shipping in my etsy shop until Thursday at midnight. The free shipping is already adjusted in my shop, no code needed.
Did you notice the hardwood floors in the photo? You couldn't find them a few days ago! See you tomorrow for some fun!

July 27, 2009

Pods & Leaves

One day while Rosanne and I were waiting for our metal to etch, we worked on the pea pods from Mary Hettmansperger's book, "Wrap, Stitch, Fold & Rivet." Mary is teaching again on the next Bead Cruise, she is wonderful and her classes were a huge hit this year! There were fun and easy once you got the hang of it.

Yesterday I gave myself a little free time to play around and was drawn to some aluminum flashing that Jess has in the studio. At first I tried using the flashing for the pea pods, but the metal didn't fold as nicely as the copper. I had wanted to make a pod with my clay work breaking through. Instead, I wound up making these petal forms and quickly decided to use it as a base for a thin layer of my branch designs.

I'm loving them and this opens up many new ideas and possibilities.

I'm going to make some for myself, I see a lariat or tassel necklace in my future. Metal work in general is more appealing to me every day. Now I just need to get my hands on a torch!

I decided to take a quick photo of what my grab bags look like, for those who are curious. Each one has at least 5 beads, some more. I coordinate the beads so you have a nice selection that will work together. I have 6 new sets that I put together after a serious studio cleaning this weekend.
If you aren't on my email list, #1 - why not? and #2 - you may not know that my humblebeads website is currently open for wholesale only. And until September 1st, anyone who meets the wholesale minimum can take advantage of 50% off. Use discount code wh2008 when you check out for 50% of your order of $300 or more.

July 26, 2009

I miss green

The morning after I returned to Texas I opened my front door and quickly noticed that Jess had not been watering the lawn. The grass had died, nary a weed was growing. Perturb, I looked around the neighborhood ready to see how bad our lawn compared. Everything is brown, all the lawns are crispy and golden. I miss green!
Above is one part of my sister's beautiful garden, it's a zen garden with rocks and a calming fountain. I need two truck loads of rocks and about 4 strong men to shovel them into my yard. Maybe that will be my project for September. A rock garden instead of a dying lawn.

You'll be seeing lots of green and water inspired beads soon. If I can't have them, I will create them! Above are two pendants filled with my branch canes. I have plans for a whole series of branch beads set in bezels. So many things to create, so little time!

July 25, 2009

A Fleeting Moment

Resin experiments:

One of my favorite days from my vacation, spent with dear Melanie and Rosanne - two very creative peeps. Rosanne had a copy machine and vellum, and I had old botanical books, a great combination for altered art/collage inspiration! Jess from Vintaj had sent me some wonderful samples to create bezels. Melanie torched them, we dapped, stamped, hammered and then filled until our hearts were content.

My series of pendants were inspired by summer's fleeting moments: the play of waves on a shore, dandelions blowing, a bird's song. I'm waiting for some more ICE resin from Bello Modo to add a second layer to a few of the pendants and will show them next week.

Metal Etching:
Here are few samples from our metal etching days. We made a video review that I will edit soon and share. I LOVE ETCHING!!! I have a pile of etched bezels to fill with polymer clay and will have those done for next week. The copper ones we cut the metal and did the etching.

The brass ones were Vintaj brass blanks. I don't think one can have enough of these in stock. After I get back from LA I'm going to order some of the etching solution and have a creative day with Jess. I know he'd enjoy this process. It reminds me of my old printmaking studio days, so much fun!
You can find these and more in my etsy shop.

July 14, 2009

In the moment

I had a wonderful night at the beach yesterday. The photos are from the private beach near my aunt's house. I love that place, it was completely empty. Just us, the waves and the sand. How near heaven that feels!

I've been thinking a lot about my business over the last few weeks, how I've struggled to keep up as it seems to grow faster than my two hands can make the beads. Which is good, I love making beads and staying home to work. But I seem to have no balance and work to the detriment of missing out on my life. Spending time with my girls, doing things as a family, hanging out with Jess. Time is short, I don't want to put aside the most important things in my life to make a living. There isn't a Humblebeads factory, it's just me and my two hands.

And what about me? Is my life only about making things? What about having time to take care of myself? To have fun, relax, play, pray, read, dream. I need these things like I need water and air. I have been enjoying rediscovering these tiny pleasures, while I work part-time during my vacation.

So my etsy shop will close in the morning until the 23rd when I return home. My Humblebeads website will not open for retail orders until September when my girls are back in school. Wholesale yes, but retail shoppers will have to see what's on hand in my etsy shop or order from Bello Modo until I'm ready to work full-time again. I probably won't blog again until I return home. There are birthday parties, friends, creative play-dates, movies to watch, sunsets to enjoy, meals to savor, games to play, shops to visit, walks to take. I have 7 more days of vacation and I need to live them.

"We are always getting ready to live but never living." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

July 8, 2009

Bead-O-Sphere Links

I know, I'm on vacation and yet I still find work to do! I listed these copper disks in my etsy shop along with marking down prices on my beach-inspired jewelry. I've spent the day whipping up some new jewelry designs that I will share tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy these inspiring links from the bead-o-sphere!
Strands of Beads Melissa wants to know what outrageous materials are in your beading stash?
Beading Arts Cyndi reports on her experiences with firing and finishing CopprClay pieces. This stuff rocks!
About.com Jewelry Making Heard about copper clay or coppr clay? Find out more about this great new metal clay product and check out some new metal clay projects too.
The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton Stop by and say hello to Andrew in Charlotte, NC this weekend. Check out his new designs and some delicious new metal clay coins!
Carmi's Art/Life World Carmi tries Ice Resin and upcycles a greeting card into a necklace.
Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva Cindy learns to make murrini and deals with mud.
Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio Instead of continuing on with the tried and true techniques of jewelry design, Lorelei is finally ready to take the leap and try something new.
A Bead A Day Do you love Swarovski Crystals? Inspired by talented jewelry designer, Lillian Chen, Lisa creates a Swarovski “sculpture” ring.
Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts Sometimes you need to have a jewelry makeover.
Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Even without a lot of time on her hands, Melanie finishes a clockwork themed bracelet using Swarovski faceted rings from ArtBeads.com.
Jean Campbell Ink: Eureka! Jean gives a sneak peek of her next Beadwork magazine piece.
Katie's Beading BlogCheck out Katie's wire-wrapped dragonfly!
Humblebeads Bead & Button stash and Heather's inspired creations.
Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! Jean gets her cool stash from Use the Muse II, and muses about it.
Art Bead Scene Art Bead Scene gets creative with the "Best of ABS."

Don't forget to enter the Art Bead Scene's challenge this month! 3 great sponsors with a nice little stash of prizes. Here is a peek at one I put together.

July 6, 2009


She's got eggs, and she knows how to use them.
Okay, I'll spare you my ZZ Top impersonation and just let you continue to stare at these little beauties in peace and quiet.
In my Etsy shop and ready to find their way to your nest.

July 5, 2009


After my mellow yellow post a few weeks ago I decided to try my hand at making nests. Ha! They are not as easy as they look. I have two books with directions, Semi-Precious Salvage and A Charming Exchange. These follow along the directions more of the Charming Exchange project but with a little of my own touch, because I seem to be incapable of following directions. (Good thing I can write them though!)

It took a good 4 or 5 tries before I liked one. I made the following one with steel wire and yellow turquoise. Yep, that's another Sue Bead frit spacer there, Sue Beads and Humblebeads like to hang out!
Bird nest tutorial here.

July 4, 2009

Beady Finds

Yes, I know I just went to Bead & Button. Yes, my bead boxes are stuffed to the gills. Oh yes I did go to another local bead show last week and oh yes I did find some goodies calling my name!

This was a small show, only 17 vendors I think. And most were the kind that sell remainders, those cheap strands of pearls and stones for $3 & $5. And while those can be fun and you can find some interesting items I was the hunt for a few specific things. In particular copper from my favorite local show vendor, Beading House. I picked up 2 strands of copper disks. They don't sell them on their website, I use them often and have people emailing where to find them. I'm going to list them in small quantities in my etsy shop.
Along with my copper I found a few out-of-the-ordinary things that caught my eye. A shell bead of some type, this carved wood bead (love you) and mosaic turquoise (uh, you mean reconstituted?) and my favs from the show those unpolished fire agate in the first photo, I love the teal blue ones. They remind me of a cross between beach glass and bird eggs. Oh how I have plans for you my friends!
Happy 4th of July!