December 29, 2011

Peace to You

Thank you for all the thoughtful messages.  It's hard to put up a post like that.  I don't like to admit when I can't do it all, when I'm hurting or when I have failed at something.  That's never fun. 

I wish it was just me being sad or having the holiday blues.  But I do have a strength that comes from a deeper source and I will continue to draw from those waters while we take care of what needs to be done.

The best thing you can do for me, besides praying for us, is keep me busy.  If you love my beads, keep supporting me.  I've taken off the time that I needed and I've reduced several commitments on my end so that I can focus on working at what I need to do each day.  I find comfort in creating and knowing my work inspires others.

I made this bracelet as a gift for someone dear who I thought needed a reminder to find her own peace in this world too.  We can't control the storms outside, but we can control how we weather them.  That's a message for myself too.

Wishing a peaceful 2012 for all of us.

(Peace bead by Diane Hawkey, dove charm by Green Girl Studios.)

December 28, 2011

Two Hands, One Heart

I've been trying to decide what to share on my blog for the last few days.  I try to keep things positive here and for my family's privacy I don't share certain things that we are going though and I'm sure you can understand that.  But my world fell apart in November and I have been trying to keep the pieces pulled together.  That's all I can say without going into details.  I'm so thankful for my sister and husband who have been there to help me though this.  I'm so thankful for my mom who lets me cry with her on the phone.  I wish she were here, nothing beats having a hug from your mom. I'm so thankful for my dear friends who listen with kind and caring hearts as I share my heartbreak.  And there has been so much brokenness over the last month. 

I took a much needed break last week.  I should have done that sooner, but I didn't realize how hard everything had been on me and how it was effecting my business.

You see, I have two hands and one heart and they have to work together.

For a while, they weren't.

I'm doing better, thanks to my family and some serious self-care over the last week.

If I have upset you because of a lack of communication, please forgive me. 
I've done all I could over the last few weeks while trying to take care of my family. 
I hope you'll understand and move forward with me.

At this point, that is all I can do - move ahead.  One step at a time.

December 7, 2011

Ornament Blog Hop

I'm hosting an Ornament Blog Hop today on the Art Bead Scene.

We take decorating our Christmas tree very serious in the Humble Home.  For the last 17 years Jess and I have been making themed ornaments for our tree each year.  We come up with a theme together and get to work like little elves.  Over the last few years the ornament collection has been a reoccurring woodland theme with birds, nests, acorns, pine cones and snowflakes.  As you can imagine our tree is filled with beaded ornaments that I have created over the years.  It's one of my favorite crafty projects of the season!

This year's ornament features a Vintaj brass leaf embellished with embossing powders in a faux enamel finish. I layered on an Arte Metal leaf pendant and a trio of brass beads wrapped to look like berries. I paired them up with one of my disk beads, a rhinestone rondelle, a ceramic bead from Earthenwood and a fun beaded bead that I picked up at Michael's.

Jess sat down and made his own version of the design.

Be sure to stop by the Art Bead Scene today after 12pm (EST) for a chance to win a fabu prize from little ol' me.

Fix yourself a cup of hot cocoa and put on your favorite holiday radio station as you enjoy visiting the rest of the blog hop participants for a little ornament inspiration!

Humblebeads - You are here!

Hope you are having a fun and relaxing start to the holiday season!

December 2, 2011

Virtual Craft Show

I'm taking part in the Virtual Craft Show hosted by Lori Anderson.

Visit her blog for a chance to win a signed copy of my book and this Nest Pendant!

There is also a discount code you can use on my website and Etsy shop from now until Monday:

Yep, that will get you 20% off your order.

November 30, 2011

Customer Gallery

I'm always thrilled when I see what you have been up to with my Humblebeads.  Some of these were shared with me quite awhile ago but I thought they needed a little time to shine in the spotlight.

I love these earrings made with tiny crocheted snowflakes by Leslie Smith Gidden, she paired them up with some tiny blue spacer beads in a winter branches pattern.  Perfect as I'm impatiently waiting for the ground to be covered in white fluff here in Michigan!

Next up is a Blue Bird and wood bracelet by Sasha and Max.  Those bittersweet orange lampwork beads were the perfect touch and give the design a modern edge.

I really, really love piece from Jess Italia-Lincoln.  Even more so because it's the perfect memento of my trip to Galena and all the fun things we did during the Vintaj workshop.  Notice the willow branch wrapped into a toggle - awesome!  and I love the wire nest bead.  Jess used some of my Bittersweet Branch disks, one of my Robin's eggs and paired them up with a Simple Truths pendant from my dearest bead buddy, Erin Prais-Hintz.

Have you made something with your Humblebeads that you'd like to share?  Stop by my Humblebeads Facebook page and post a photo or two on my wall!

November 23, 2011

Black Friday Deals!

Okay, it's not really Friday - but we are going to be crazy busy this weekend, so I wanted to share this with you today.

I'm offering the Bead of the Month Club for 2012 and you get a bonus month because I'm starting it in December!  The club will go from December 2011 until December 2012

This next round will be a little different - each month you'll receive an exclusive set of disk beads inspired by the paintings from the Art Bead Scene's monthly challenge.  Each package will ship on the 1st of the month.

Did I mention you'll save more than 1/2 off for this 12 month subscription?  I know, I know - but it is that time of year for deals that make your mouth drop right?  There are only 20 available - hmm early holiday gift to yourself - why not!

Click here for the complete scoop and to scoop up this deal.

And for those of you who want to pick up a few goodies my Black Friday - Cyber Monday Sale is 20% off orders from my Etsy shop.  Use discount code Holiday2011.  This will be my last sale for quite a while.  The sale starts today because I know you'll be all sorts of crazy busy this weekend too.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 11, 2011


It's a case of life imitating art!

Yesterday was the first snow of the season.  Which led me to burst into song:

It's snowing, it's snowing, it's S-N-O-W-I-N-G!

Michigan is all together lovely - I thought I might feel a little sad when all the trees were bare, but I had forgotten how enchanting the woods are in their minimalist state.  Each time I'm outside I find myself completely overtaken by nature's abundance.

I'm looking forward to the Holiday Trunk Show at Bead Quest tomorrow.  
I'm off to work like a little elf finishing up a few more holiday beads.

November 9, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday

Charms and pendants waiting to be painted.

Enamel pieces that I made a few weeks ago while visiting my Aunt Rosanne.  
They are rough, but pretty cool and I will be using them in jewelry shortly.  
I would like to take a class to learn how to do it right, it was trickier than I thought it would be.

 And finally - the view from my window.  


So that's what's on my Bead Table.  

What's on your table?

Check out the Bead Table Wednesday flickr group to see what's going on with other bead bloggers.

November 7, 2011

Holiday Happenings

I have three holiday events that are fast approaching.

The first one is this weekend, Saturday November 12th from 10-5pm at Bead Quest in Grand Rapids, MI.

Bead Quest is hosting their annual holiday event with several artists and a crystal event.  It should be quite the party.  I am teaching my nest class in the morning and then from 2-5pm I'm signing books.  My beads will be available throughout the day.  I am making lots of the new holiday items, they flew out of my Etsy shop as fast I could make them this weekend.  I have a feeling they will do well at the open house too.
(Photo credit: Bead Quest)

And speaking of making things quickly, I'm also preparing to take items for the South Haven Art Center for their annual Mistletoe Market.  That is a holiday boutique that goes from November 18th until December 11th.  I'm making lots of impulse buy items: pendants, earrings, hair pins, etc - it's a tourist town that is pretty slow in the winter, but the artsy folks in the area brave the cold and support local artists.  Don't you just love that?  Ah, that makes me feel nostalgic - I remember shopping for Christmas gifts at the Mistletoe Market when I was in high school and then selling at the market for many years when I was a budding jewelry designer.  Oh, those were the salad days.

And finally, my last event of the year will be the Artist's Market at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts.  We used to do this show back in the day too.  Now the UICA is all spiffy in their new big building and it's their 23rd annual show.  This will be the show I pull out the big guns and get all super high end creative with designs like the ones in my book. 

I haven't even started to explore Grand Rapids.  There are all these hip little shops in my old neighborhood - it's totally urban chic.  I want to go check out The Sparrows coffee shop - okay, I just love the name.  There are some wonderful galleries and shops and I'd like to visit.  Hopefully at the beginning of December when I slow down a bit and we are all settled here in GR.  

Overwhelmed - nope, not really.  Way more excited about living my dream everyday and rising to the challenge.

"And you could say, because it’s your right to, that you’re feeling “overwhelmed”. 

But don’t. Don’t go there. 

Stay with me, on the light side of change and bursting creativity; on the front end of pressure, and greatness, and the best and worst kinds of challenges." 

From Danielle LaPorte, read the whole blog post here: Strike "Overwhelmed" From Your Vocabulary. (Via MissFickleMedia on twitter - thanks Shannon!)

November 6, 2011

Snowy Woods Earrings

Stopping by Woods on a Snowing Evening
Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

(Photo credit: adapted from a photo by Mike Sandman.)

Hurry up snowflakes!

Charms & more are 20% off until tomorrow.
Discount code HolidayPreview.

November 4, 2011

Holiday Charms

Yesterday I made a collection of tiny holiday charms.  You can find a fun pendant project on the Art Bead Scene today showing this technique.  Here is one using a Vintaj Arte Metal blank.

Here are two more holiday variations - so cute and fun!

Another fun idea with the tiny charms is to create a wire nest to surround one, these are simple and quick.  I sent a few of them to the Kingman Art Museum in Battle Creek where you can find a lovely collection of Nature Inspired Jewelry during their trunk show.

And I'm adding to my nest egg this weekend and I'm offering a Holiday Preview Sale and Free Gift.  Today through Monday save 20% off in my Etsy shop using discount code: HolidayPreview.  And below is the free gift - yeah for gifts, whether you are getting them or making them!

P.S. Christmas music is playing in the background as I write this.  I can almost smell the pine trees from here.

November 3, 2011

Birds: Hope and Strength

You know what I love?  Looking out a window into a snowy field, dark tree branches stretched across the sky - and then, you see it!  A tiny little red bird hopping from snow covered branch to snow covered branch.

Cardinals are a symbol of strength during trying times.  A symbol of life and hope during the cold winter months.  I like a bird that reminds us that even the frailest of creatures can endure hardship.

I'm eagerly awaiting the snow.  Fall has been amazingly lovely.  Nature's refuse sweeps across the landscape in warm shades of bronze, copper and gold.  I marvel at the the flame red bushes and Japanese maple.  But I'm secretly waiting for the morning I wake up to a world transformed by ice and snow.  Or better yet, look out my window to the magic of those fluffy white flakes.  When those berry red leaves will look like sugar-coated confections.

The change is drastic from Texas. I've made fast friends with soft, warm socks after 10 years of running barefoot for most of the year.  I've relished in finally being able to wear my sweet scarf collection - and not with sandals.  I wait more for the sunlight than before, the days get darker quicker.  It's taken a while to find the perfect spot to take photos of the beads.  I enjoy each contrast from the sun-drenched and brown land we lived in before.

Michigan is all together amazing.  I'm loving every minute as I feel the seasons change.

The cardinal and blue bird have been sitting on a page in my sketchbook, patiently waiting for me to find the time to bring them to life.  They look like little paintings.  I'm glad I finally had a chance whip them up!

My life has been filled with trials and joy.  With challenges and blessings.  Moving across the country has been exactly as it should be - life changing!  I finally feel like I'm catching up from it all and getting a handle on the new daily rhythm.  It's a new work schedule, more of a balanced life with lots of family time.  Life isn't quite settled, but it will be soon.  And through it all I've found strength I didn't know I had and a peace that guides me through each day.

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" - Matthew 6:26

October 15, 2011

Oh You! Customer Gallery

You guys - you always amaze me!  Here is a round up of some recent creations using Humblebeads.

First up is this beautiful fall inspired bracelet from SoulsFireDesigns.

Another autumnal beauty from Kristy Abner.

Love the little bit of ribbon on these earrings from Bead Muse.

And this very sweet bracelet is from Skye Jewels.

I always love seeing what you make with your Humblebeads! 
Share them with me on my Facebook page!

October 12, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday

It's been a while since I've done a Bead Table Wednesday post.  I'm finally starting to get into a regular schedule again and gearing up for the rest of the season.

I have a little stash of beads I keep nearby so I can work on nests when I have a spare moment.  I'm stocking up for holiday shows.  I try to not work once the kids are home, but I do sneak in a little nest time when they are doing homework or off goofing around.  

Eventually the nests will be used as pendants - simple and sweet and just awesome gifts.  I was invited to do an Inspired by Nature Jewelry Trunk Show at the Kingman Museum in Battle Creek next month - so most of these are heading over there.

Along with a few shows I'm hoping to get into, I have a trunk show, book signing and Birds of a Feather Nest Workshop at Bead Quest here in Grand Rapids on November 12th - just a month away.  The class will be lots of fun and a great way to get started on a few of your own holiday gifts!  Everyone will leave with at least two completed nests.

I'm also working on plans for a Humblebeads Holiday Workshop for November and will have details posted soon.

Be sure to stop by the Bead Table Wednesday Flickr Group to see what other bead obsessed folks are up to this week.

If you'd like to stock up on some beads for your projects I am having a sale in my Etsy shop until 10pm tonight.  Use discount code BEADS4FALL for a whopping 25% off!!!  

October 11, 2011

The Key to Happiness

Oh, I likey!  I took two floral skeleton keys from Vintaj and made them into curved bracelet components.  I punched holes in one end of each key to convert them into connectors.  The big leaf was from Ornamentea, it was raw brass that I antiqued with liver of sulphur - love that stuff.  I added a little pinch of navy blue ribbon to offset my branch disk bead in midnight blue.

The keys were hammered and buffed to bring out the silver under tones.

I picked up a whole new bag of tricks from the Vintaj 2-Day workshop that I attended last month.  Jess and her gang are so creative and inspiring!  I love how innovative they were with their decorivets line. They transformed them into charms and connectors.  I love being wowed and seeing something I would never have thought of - that's how you know it was a good class!  More on that later.

So let's talk about the key to happiness.  

It's something I've been thinking about a lot lately.

I am happy.

My happiness doesn't come from moving here to Michigan or being with my family.  Although that is awesome!

The key to my happiness is not letting outward things dictate my happiness.  

My happiness comes from a well deep within.

My happiness comes from ability to be thankful no matter the circumstance.

People can disappoint or fail me, but I still love them.

I weed out bitterness and never let that root take hold.

I accept the struggles as a chance to grow.

I find the good in each day and the more I look, the more good there is to find.

We all have struggles, but we are not alone.  Reach out when you need someone to help lighten the load.  I don't know of anything that makes my heart lighter than sharing with a friend and being able to find the humor in what seems unbearable at the moment.

Life passes by so quickly, if we only wait for those perfect moments or when things are going our way to find happiness we will miss out on all the good that is mixed in with the mess.  

And you thought I just made a pretty bracelet to share!  Jewelry is a way to share our stories.  They have different meanings for the maker and the wearer, what stories are you telling?

Sending hugs out to all those who need them today.

October 8, 2011

Falling for Color!

My memories of fall pale in comparison to the tapestry of color I get to see every day here in Michigan.  Each time I go out of the house it's a visual feast.  I need to find some time to take photos before the colors start to fade.  It's a mix of green, purple, yellow, crimson red and fiery orange.  I was surprised by how lovely all the purple wildflowers set off the autumn hues.  You know that's making it's way into a bead soon!

 Oh and don't even get my started on Queen Anne's Lace.  It's everywhere!

Here is a little bit of that purple snuck in with copper and olive.  Love it!  These are two hole spacer beads and a toggle set that can be used in with the Zen Garden Bracelet project from my book or used in a stringing project.  They are something fun and different and make really color bracelet spacers.

These are some color variations of Bittersweet beads that I made some time ago.  Inspired by those autumn colors that have my muse spinning around in my head!

So that's a little peek of beads from September.  Now that I've soaked in the colors of fall I'm itching for more free time to make new beads.  I have a trunk show in November and will need to start on the holiday goodies soon too.  

So who's figured out how to make a clone yet?  Or maybe Dr. Brown will deliver a DeLorean to me and I can squeeze in a few extra hours this week!

Visit my Etsy shop to see what else I have been up to in the bead studio!