June 29, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday - Oh the Possibilities

I want you to tell yourself that the next time you look at the disaster formerly known as your bead table. 

Oh, the possibilities!

And hey look, my beads are sending me little messages.  And guess what - today is a happy little day!!!

I have been working on planning an event, here are a few quick detail:

Inspired by Nature Weekend Retreat
South Haven, Michigan
September 16-19

Gather together for a weekend long retreat focusing on inspiration, nature and jewelry-making.  This event will celebrate the release of my book - all participants will get a signed copy of the book.

We are going to spend a weekend in my favorite place on earth, my sleepy little hometown in Michigan.

Each day will focus on a theme: Woodlands, Garden and Sea - just like my book! 
For each theme there will be a field trip to gather inspiration and workshop at the hotel.

This will be a weekend of renewal to recharge those creative batteries.

I'm so excited!  This will be way too much beady fun!  I will have 15 spaces available for this event.  If you want to be put on the mailing list to receive complete details next week send me a quick email.

Be sure to see what else is happening today on bead tables around the world.

June 27, 2011

Muffin Tin Challenge Complete!

Well, I wasn't about to throw a big ol' challenge out there without doing it myself.  So my crazy muffin tin challenge was a little bit of a struggle for me, but I did it.  It was hard to stick with what was in the tray rather than getting side tracked, but I avoided temptation and pushed the other beads aside while i focused on those little cups of goodies.

I can't show any great detail because what I finished was 4 possible magazine submissions, 3 possible future book projects and 4 upcoming free projects. Well, wait Heather, that doesn't exactly add up to 12.  I know, I know, one piece is not singing my tune and will end being edited before it goes anywhere.

I used beads from Bead & Button in every project - yeah!  And I found that by the last piece I suddenly had the urge to make a pendant with 3 beads.  Just saying, 12 projects over 3 days is a lot of work, after the 2nd necklace I started pulling in a lot more chain into my designs to complete the projects.

I can see using this format again when I have another round of projects coming up, like for the next book or another round of magazine submissions.  It really helped to clear out the mental clutter and focus on the tasks at hand.  Although I think next time I will include a little sketching before the bead gathering, having more of a plan before I started may have saved me some design time.

June 26, 2011

Inspired By: Willow Challenge

Do you know my book is coming out September 13th?  That will be here so quickly!  Right before I left for Bead & Button I got to see the preview.  I cried.  It's so beautiful.  Like, "right out of my imagination, just like I dreamt it" beautiful.  I can't wait to hold it in my hands.  My poor family - the embarrassment they will have to suffer whenever I see the book in a store.  I will be shameless. 
So my awesome book is all about inspiration from nature and one of my missions in life is to help inspire those on their creative journey.  So from now until the book release I'm going to have a weekly challenge. 

You have one week to complete a piece of jewelry inspired by the weekly theme.  Anything goes, it can include Humblebeads or not, art beads or whatever you have in your stash.  It's up to you and however the inspiration strikes you for that week.  To enter add your photo to the Inspired By Nature Jewelry Challenge Flickr group.  Every Monday I will draw one random winner from the week's entries and feature them here on my blog.

This week's prize: a Round Willow Pendant in navy!

Here are a few jewelry creations that I love that fit this week's challenge:

 Bittersweet by Erin Prais-Hintz

Birds & Bees by Kristy Carroll Abner

Meandering by Cindy Gimbrone

I have decided to offer signed copies of the book and my bead featured on the cover. You can pre-order your copy here

Now hurry off and dream up something wonderful and willow-y!

June 25, 2011

New Cuff Beads and My Bead & Button Stash

Cuff 'em Danno! 

I finally listed the new beads.  I'm so glad you all encouraged me to make more - they were a hit at the show.  Some are almost sold out.  I will make more but not for a little while.  I have more beads right now than I know what to do with.  It's quite fun to see them all stuffed in their bins - so many beads.  I made over 800 for the show - well I stopped counting at 800, who knows how many were actually finished by the time it was all said and done.  I sold a ton, but not 800!   

You can win one of the cuff beads on the Art Bead Scene this week. 

I thought I'd share some of my Bead & Button stash with you - this is about half of what I brought home.  Some things were traded with other artists, always an awesome way to collect new beads, others were picked up for projects for my new book proposal that I'm working on right now.  I used most of my Bead & Button stash last year on book and magazine projects - so proud of myself!

Top row, left to right: Sea of Glass lampwork from my buddy Melissa.  My favorite leaf chain from Primitive Earth Beads, one day I will splurge and buy a whole spool of this awesome stuff.  My favorite find from the show was Vintage Meadows's handpainted lucite flowers - Heather French is so talented and sweet - now if I can just encourage her to hurry up and join the online world!  These and Humblebeads - it's like they were made for each other.

Bottom row, first photo, clockwise: More from Sea of Glass. Patina sheets of copper and brass from Lilly Pilly - the turquoise is quite stunning.  Not sure what I'm going to do with them yet.  Raku beads from the very talented MAKU Studios.  Raku gingko from Lisa Peters Art. Filigree and brass stampings from Mermaid's Dowry.  Word beads from Diane Hawkey.  Polymer clay beads from Pam and Heather Wynn.  The oak leaf toggle is from Odd Designs Pottery, she had some great clasps.  And in the center are some new things from Green Girl Studio and Andrew Thornton.

Second photo: Ceramic beads from Golem Studios, should have bought more!  The branch rings are from Ezel Findings, who were my neighbors behind the curtain at the show.  Love these earthy findings.  A random collection of bits and bobs from AD Adornment.  More Green Girl Pewter and in the center are you ready for it - my Kerri Fuhr bead!  I had been wishing and lusting and hinting to everyone I know that they could buy this for my birthday - and what do you know - it's now mine!!!  I love Kerri - what an incredibly talented artist. 

I've wasted now time and started working on projects with my new treasures.  If you haven't read about the Muffin Tin Jewelry Challenge, check it out.  You can still play along!  The prize is a $75 goodie bag from the Bead & Button show, including Humblebeads!

June 24, 2011

Hello Again

I kinda eased my way back into the studio today.  There is always a little funk when trying to get back into a routine after traveling.  I sorted through beads and organized inventory.  I puttered around and filled a muffin tray with treasures from Bead & Button.  I'm wrapping my head around upcoming plans, things that need to happen, things I'm super excited about, opportunities that floated into my life like dandelion seeds on a summer breeze.  Over the last few weeks I have enjoyed my family and favorite places.  Sorted through my priorities and where I want to head over the next 6 months - how is 2011 almost half over?

I'm trying to let go of things that are weighing me down.  Sorting through what is important and what's holding me back.  My biggest goal right now is trying to eliminate stress and cut out things that I don't need to do any longer.  I am way too busy and I hate it.  Really, really hate it.  The workaholic in me has received a smack down from the mother in me - the one that is telling me to take care of myself first or I won't be able to take care of anything else.  Am I the only one that has these crazy talks with myself? 

There is also the girl in me who wants to enjoy summer and find balance between work and family.  I want to sip ice tea from a glass jar and eat juicy watermelon, corn on the cob and big red tomatoes hand plucked from the farmer's market.  I want to string fairy lights in my backyard, pull out a table and dine alfresco.  There is the girl in me that wants to spend the end of the day sitting in a pool.  And listen to cicadas sing their summer song at night.  I want to lay my head down at night on a cool crisp pillow and not worry about tomorrow but close my eyes and think of how wonderful today was.  I want to be carefree and happy-go-lucky.  I want things simpler. 

How do I get from where my life is to where I want it to be?  I wish I knew an easy answer for that.  I guess it's mostly just a matter of being in the moment and letting go.

June 13, 2011


What an amazing show.  I had the best time this year.  I was able to meet so many wonderful people.  I'm always so thankful for those who visit with me at the show and indulge in their art bead fix at my table!  I love the thoughtfulness of Humblebead fans who bring in their jewelry to show me how they used the beads they bought the previous year.  It really touches my heart that you took the time to share your creations with me.

I'm so thankful for this community - for the amazing beadmakers, creative designers and those companies that support the handcrafted mission of using art beads with their products. So very, very thankful for the friendships forged over the years and for new connections made with beady friends.

The show always whizzes by way before I'm ready for it to end.  There were people I wish I could have visited with more and others I didn't get a chance to meet.  I find I just didn't have a very high energy level this year.  I think 24 hours in the car driving up didn't help!  So now I'm taking a week off to spend with my family, regroup and have some fun.  I will share more goodies later and I have more updates to share on the Art Bead Scene about the show.  

There are crazy days ahead and this will be a very memorable summer - I couldn't have asked for a better kick off to the season! 

My cup overfloweth...that's how I feel today.

June 4, 2011

Bead & Button Update

I have been working away and I'm on schedule and I've slept 8 hours for the last three nights! (That's a miracle!) Today will be my last day of clay work and then we'll be painting, sanding and tagging things for 2 days.  I stopped counting when I reached 700 focal bead, pendants, connectors and clasps. That doesn't include disk beads or charms.  I think I may have enough!  Funny though, the pile doesn't look like 700 beads.  But I will have a full table.


I have sketched out a new plan for my booth and it involves needing 3 of these:
Which led me to list 8 of my new cuff beads on Etsy to pay for said displays!

So if you were lusting and thought you'd have to wait until mid-June to get your mitts on one - well here is your chance.

Some of you have been asking about the vintage image pendants.  I ran into a technical issue with the permanency of the the image transfers and didn't want to cover them in resin.  So I'm waiting on my new supplies and will have those after the show.  My last tests were a success, but I couldn't find one of the items locally, so I'm waiting on the FedEx truck. 

Shop Schedule:
Humblebeads.com closes tomorrow.
Humblebeads.etsy.com closes on Monday. 

I will reopen mid-June, I'm not sure of the date yet.

(I'm planning on taking a little time off when I'm done with B & B to recover and work on some long overdue projects.)

June 1, 2011

BTW - Beads In Progress

It's Bead Table Wednesday or By The Way - I have 6 days left to get ready for Bead & Button!

This is what we are working on today - antiquing, sanding and finishing all of these beads.  They look so different in this candy coated state.

So thankful I have full-time help or I would be crying and not blogging right now.

I finished making my clasps last night and they await paint.  Today I'm thinking I should press out some more of the new cuff beads.  I only made 6 of each style.  That doesn't seem like enough does it?  Or does it?  I'm not sure, maybe it is. 

I hate this part of getting ready - the second guessing.  On EVERYTHING!

And the best and worst part of working with polymer clay - I can make beads up until the day I leave.  I'm really trying to finish all the beadmaking by Sunday and have 1 day to work on the rest of the finishing.

So dear friends - what's on your bead table today?  Check out the BTW flickr group for some eye candy and inspiration!