Jan 29, 2013


Just a short drive north of Phoenix and Scottsdale on Cave Creek Road, amidst the beautifully rugged Arizona Desert, in the Red Truck Trading shopping area of Cave Creek sits Etania Gems, an upscale boutique that's a feast for your eyes! 
Photos Courtesy of Etania Gems
(Taken during their Grand Opening last year)
Etania Gems offers exquisite gemstone jewelry designs in sterling silver, handcrafted cloth and leather bags, various accessories and now,
Hand-Knotted Pearls by MiShel Designs.
I'm excited to offer my Hand-Knotted Pearl Designs Exclusively for Etania Gems at
6501 E. Cave Creek Road, Ste. #6,
Cave Creek, AZ 85331.

When you're in the area, please stop in and say hello to Lisa, (owner of Etania Gems) and ask to see her MiShel Designs Hand-Knotted Pearls!

You will just drool over all the gorgeous pieces she and various artists have created for her boutique - they're simply amazing!
Oh, and don't forget to say hello to Kaiah, too!!

Cute little Kaiah!  Photo Courtesy of Etania Gems

Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Pearls, Baby!

Jan 26, 2013

Focusing on Life: 52 Photos - Week 4 - Create ART

It's Saturday again (woo hoo) and time for Week 4 of the Photography challenge that Sally over at the Studio Sublime started for 2013:  Focusing on Life: 52 Photos.
This week's prompt was "Create Art".  Art is one of those words that means something different to each person. 
When I think of Art, I think of my sister. She's the most wonderful artist I know and the Art she creates, no matter what it is, is always amazing! Me, well, I just laugh and say I can't draw a straight line with out a ruler and she says back to me, "Good. That's what they're for!" 
Seriously, I suck a drawing/painting, etc. and haven't tried much in regards to other art mediums as an adult either, but I loved creating things as a child.

I would sit at my neighbor Donna's house for hours and she'd have these little pillow cases she'd make me and I'd use some sort of paints on them, or she'd let me sit and glue cool photo collages together or paint (paint by numbers!) and she always encouraged me to try something different. I was constantly wanting to go over to her house because I was so excited to 'make' something!
Itching to create.
That feeling still resides in me today. Wanting to create. Create something. Anything. I even see cooking as creating something. Anyway, when I can't create I get kinda cranky.  Like those people who get grumpy when they're hungry (my hubby comes to mind here).  Yeah, I'm one of those, only instead of food I gotta sit down and create every once in a while or I turn into a bit of a "B".
My medium of choice (it chose me, by the way) is creating jewelry. Jewelry is my "Art". But instead of creating a piece of my art and showing you here on my blog (cause I never do that!) I wanted to show you something that feels just as good as a finished piece of jewelry to me.

 My sketchbook.  It's a rather sad little sketchbook. Not a fancy artist's sketchbook. In fact, I've got a couple of them that date back a few years,...or so.  
My original sketchbook
See, nothing fancy,....just paper to capture what's up in my head (wish it came out on paper as beautiful as it appears in my head,...).  It's rather private - I don't share it much with anyone.  I see my 'jewelry life' as it transitions and I love looking back to see how 'spot on' I was years earlier with things happening now or how I was just 'out there' with certain designs. Growing. It's my growth chart, if you will.

My markers, my sketchbook and my new Art Poem! ;-)
My most recent (and largest) sketchbook was with me a couple of summer's ago at my sis's cabin when we were evacuated during the Wallow Fire here in Arizona.   It was in my book bag along with some of my new and/or favorite beading/jewelry books. As we tossed things into the Subaru to evacuate, the book bag was tossed in the back along with a few gallon jugs of water and other things.

 The water ended up tipping and leaking out all over.  The next morning when I opened the back of the Subaru I found the spilled water jugs. I was a bit upset, but then I reached for my book bag and it was soaked - the bottom was just drenched! My heart sank and tears welled up before anything could even really click in my brain,...my heart knew what was going on.
The heart always knows first!

The pages are dry, but not as neat as they once were!
I have one of those liners for the back of my subaru, so that wasn't the issue. The issue wasn't even our suitcases, those didn't get too saturated. The issue was my book bag. That did not have a lining,...that was cloth and paper. And inside the book bag was something that was practically priceless to me - my jewelry sketchbook. My inspiration. My ideas. My art before it becomes art in my hands. My inner me!
 All my books, including my precious sketchbook, were completely water logged. Soaked through and through.  I just stood there holding it, looking at it like it was something foreign to me. I was in disbelief. "No, not my sketchbook?!"  My brain said to me.  "Oh, and look at all my poor bead books - some I haven't even gotten to look through yet! Oh man!"

The hubby came to my rescue and assured me all would be okay and that it was going to dry out and we'd take care of the pages, etc.  Even though it took more than a week to carefully seperate the pages as they were drying, it did turn out fine. Some of my bead books didn't recover so nicely, but I can always get more of those,.....my sketchbook however, is definitely One-Of-A-Kind ART!

Upper Left: the beginnings of my wire wrapped "Freya" Pendant in 2010
 Upper Right: Earring Designs from 2006
Lower Left: Design from Metalsmith class in 2005 - still have not made that!
Lower Right: Amber pendant drawn out and created back in 2009.
So this week, I played around with some photos and more editing programs for the photo challenge. I have not however, been able to create jewelry due to smacking metal around for tons of earwire orders, so this little girl's getting a bit cranky,.....and now it's time to go CREATE ART!

My Poem for Week 4: Create Art
My sketchbook and I are outta here - see ya later!
Please hop on over to the Studio Sublime and see what all the other participants have done this week to Create Art for Week 4 of Focusing on Life!
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Creating Art!

Jan 24, 2013

Quick Reminders

Just wanted to give you a quick reminder of a couple of things happening in the blog world right now,...
First up, don't forget that this weekend (starting January 25th) is Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party Sign Ups - and there's only one Party each year - so don't miss out if this is what you've been wanting to do!
Also, Artisan Whimsy's got a couple of challenges that are sure to catch your eye and it's the place to go to find out all sorts of info and stay informed, so be sure to drop by there this week.

Also, if you're up for a fun photo challenge this year, be sure to check out Sally Russick's Focusing on Life: 52 Photos weekly challenge over on the Studio Sublime - we're on week 4 this Saturday, but you can join in any time!

There's tons more out there this week/month,....so be sure to share all the fun things you know about here in the comments so other's can find them too!
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Fun Things to Do!

Jan 19, 2013

Focusing on Life - Week 3 - Take Time

By now you probably know that I've joined in with Sally over at The Studio Sublime to step up to the photo challenge each week. 
We were to Take Time for ourselves (something a lot of us don't do very much, if at all) and to photograph what we did to Take Time for ourselves.
Me, I took a break one afternoon and sat outside. 
I read my new book, sipped some Chai Tea and enjoyed some yummy chocolate!

Taking Time for Myself - NICE!

I even had some fun playing with some editing software, too.

And YES,...I  did enjoy my favorite chocolate.

Thank you for asking!

Please hop on over and check out what the rest of the group did to Take Time for themselves this week!

And thanks to Sally for hosting such a fun photo challenge each week. It actually makes me Take Time for myself,...to think and photograph our next prompt!! :-)
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Taking the Time for Ourselves!

Jan 15, 2013

Learning, Sharing and Growing,...

I wanted share a few things I've learned with you here today,...hopefully you'll stick around for this!!

My first ever piece of jewelry was published back in July of 2011 in BeadStyle magazine. A pair of my keshi pearl dangle earrings got accepted as a project and then they re-ran the project in their big book, Easy Beading Volume 8, so of course I was over the moon!

And, I submitted those pearl earrings in the summer of 2010,.....goes to show you that it can sometimes take a while for things to happen! 

I am so grateful to Tatia and all the folks over at Bead Trends Magazine.  They have made submitting pieces to their magazine (something which I was afraid to do!) a fun and exciting experience and I strongly encourage other jewelry designers out there to give it a go!
I started submitting my designs last year and was fortunate enough to have a few pieces selected and used in both the November and December 2012 issues. And then this January I was lucky enough to have an entire bridal set in their Pearls, Pearls, Pearls section.  

Tahitian Bridal Set
The real fun came when Tatia asked me to write a piece for them on pearls for their Jewel School section they have each month and include several of my designs along with the article to see if it would be something they could use.  So, I did. And Wow, I just received my copy of the February 2013 issue with my Pearl Appeal article in their Jewel School Section and was blown away!! HOLY COW!  

They always do an amazing job of photographing all the jewelry pieces that go into their magazine and the subjects they select for the Jewel School section is always filled with great information on fun topics. 
The designer spotlight in Bead Trends is always a favorite as well because each story is so different and getting to glimpse inside another designer's creative process and thinking allows you to view their designs with new admiration and respect.

I also submitted to Jewelry Stringing Magazine last year and although they said I didn't have what they were looking for at the moment, they still asked to keep my designs for a while just in case and then they ended up using a pair of my earrings in the Winter edition and they used my earring wires in their "Beads to Buy" section.

I also got an email asking of they could use my ear wires on a couple of designs in their holiday earrings ebook this winter too, so it all turned out pretty well in the end!
Okay, here comes the advice,...or more aptly, what I've learned that I'd like to pass along.  Even though it's been said before by people who have been published way more than I have, I want to pass along some things I learned in submitting to bead magazines in order to possibly help some other talented designers who might have had the same 'fear' of putting your designs out there that I did. 
So here goes:
"My Beloved Cherry Tree"
Cherry Blossom Pendant by Jeannie Dukic of Jewelry by Jeannie
Echo Creative Club Design Team - 2012
Check out the magazines you like and select designs of yours that you believe would be a good fit for the magazine. Check out their submission requirements if they publish it online and find out what they're accepting or asking for at the moment. 

Great example of a "Simple and Classic" Design.
The photo is awful,...but I guess it's proof of progress in the last 5 years in the photo department!!
Bon't be afraid to send in something that's a bit unusual or different from all the other designs in the magazine. As long as it's in the same medium/materials they publish in, go for it. Different and unusual are the 'norm' now, so your design will probably be a big hit! But remember,...elaborate, mix-it-all-together designs aren't the only ones people like. Simple, sleek, clean lines are lovely too. Don't think because a design you've created is visually 'simple' or labeled as 'classic' that it won't be accepted.  I've seen tons of designs that some people would call simple, basic or classic that make me stop in my tracks when I see them because they're so well crafted and down right stunning!

Clean, crisp photo. Probably one of the best I've ever taken.
I'm pretty sure most of it was pure luck! LOL!! ;-)
Which leads me to Photography.  

Take good, clear photos that are on clean, un-cluttered backgrounds and show how good your workmanship is. I should repeat that sentence - it's that important!  Even with a point and shoot camera (that's what I have) if you use your macro setting (little flower thingy on your settings), photograph in a well lit or filtered sun area with out your flash and use a tripod or set your camera on something so it's not moving, you should be able to get some good photos. It will probably take some practice and lots of pics that you click through on your computer and say 'no-way' to, but you can do it. There's some great photo editing software out there to help you make the shots pop - but don't over do it on the textures and all that stuff when sending in a photo, the editors want to see your jewelry, not your cool editing tricks. Plus, there's also online classes for photographing jewelry, tons of great books and even You Tube videos on the subject - so invest your time in this one - it's important!

It's okay to use other people's designs as inspiration, but don't copy. This is a hard one because so many of us use the same materials, purchase from the same suppliers, like the same trends and have very similar design styles, but you can still make yours just a bit different than someone who inspired you.  I can't tell you how many designs I was ready to submit or even list on my Etsy site and then, as I'm surfing the web or looking through various bead magazines, there is something almost identical to what I just created. This is where the saying, "The early bird gets the worm" pops into my brain and I smack myself up side of the head for being so slow to get things done!  It's also where I stuff my design away in my bead cabinet and don't even photograph it because it looks too much like someone else's design which is already out there.  I realize with everyone who's into designing jewelry and with all the stuff that's floating around out there on the internet that it may be hard to know if one of your designs looks similar to something someone else has created, so do your best to try to be aware with out stressing yourself out.  At the same time, don't allow it to stop you from submitting a design of yours that you love and really want published - as long as you truly haven't copied anyone. 

Okay, these weren't copied from anyone, but seriously,
you can find ones that look just like this every day of the week all over the internet and in every magazine - It's kinda hard not to with a simple design like this!  To make them my own I created my own eye pins,
made my own ear wires and used a mix of bali beads I wasn't used to seeing with coin pearls. 
Follow instructions to the best of your ability. When you send in your creations to a magazine, be sure to follow their instructions and requirements as close as you can to exactly how they've asked for them. This is important because they wouldn't tell you how they wanted stuff if they didn't care and it could hinder them from wanting to work with you on future endeavors if you don't. 
Be patient. This was a hard one for me because I'd email a magazine and then check my email every 5 minutes for the next month! And once a design of yours does get accepted, realize that magazines work several months ahead of whatever month we're in and it could take several months or even up to a year to see your work in print. 

Fun and Funky. It's okay to play!!
Be professional and courteous even if your designs are rejected. Send a thank you email or card expressing your appreciation for their time and energy in looking at your designs. And when you do get accepted remember to send a thank you email or card letting them know you appreciate the opportunity.  Then, after the issue comes out, send another thank you and help promote the magazine or special issue with your social media contacts such as your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, etc. This last part can be challenging at times because we all have super busy lifestyles and many responsibilities, (and some of us are more forgetful than others - points finger at self!) but simple acts of professionalism and kindess go a long way.


Be organized, take good notes and keep good files. Or at least try. This is especially true if you're sending different designs into various magazines in the industry and trying to keep track of who has what, what's required of you and by what date, which issue is the piece being published in, who's returning what, who's not, and so on.
Ask for help. If you're not sure how to send in inquiry letter (I think I still need help on this one!) or if you want someone to look at your piece before you actually send an email or mail the piece in for submission, ask a trusted friend and get their opinion or advice (don't put it out there on facebook for the entire world though!).  This doesn't mean you have to take their advice or agree with their opinion mind you, but sometimes it's good practice for things to come.

Shel's Ribbons - Metal Awareness Ribbons by MiShel Designs
Now, go ahead. Edit that perfect pic you just took of that awesome design you just created and send that email or pop that piece in the mail today!  You can do it!
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Learning, Sharing and Growing!

Jan 14, 2013

Each Week,...

I've joined up with Sally over at The Studio Sublime for her weekly photo challenge this year called
Each week she gives us a prompt and we go and snap a pic of how we interpret the prompt and then share it with the group.
(Feel free to join in with all of us - there's still time!!) 
The first week was Self Portrait and you can see the post I did by clicking here.
This last Saturday (week 2) was: Your Word. We had to pick our word for the year and blog about it and of course, since it's a photo challenge, take a photo and explain it.  You can see Saturday's post here.
I had never chosen a word for the year before. It's kinda like New Year's resolutions - I don't really do those either. But hey, it was a challenge so my word for 2013 is READY.
Yep, pretty simple a word, huh?!
I chose ready because I felt so many words resonating with me for 2013 and I felt 'Ready' for all of them.
I decided I'm actually going to do a very un-official version of a "Word a Week" for myself this year.  I will choose a word each Monday as my mantra word,...what I want to improve, focus on, do,...you get the picture.
I'll probably share quite a few of my words with you here on the blog and when I do, I'd love for you to chime in with your own words and things you're focusing on and are READY for.
For the first week of the year my word was 'Organize'.
I did that here,...in this post.
For the 2nd week of the year my word was 'Change' because I am making some changes this year to some things and I was focusing on those.
And that brings us to this week. Week 3 of 2013.

My word for this week is "Grow". I'm READY to grow my business in some new directions, GROW my skills with new techniques, GROW by sharing things I know or feel passionate about,...Grow. 

This week I am READY to GROW!

What are you focusing on this week? 
This month, this year?
This Moment?
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Words with Meanings!

Jan 13, 2013

I Heart Macro - It's Sunday!

Happy Sunday Everyone!
Linking up with I Heart Macro over at
Studio Waterstone this Sunday
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Up Close!

Jan 12, 2013

Focusing on Life - Week 2 - Your Word

It's Week 2 for Sally Russick's "Focusing on Life: 52 Photos".  Our prompt for this week is:  Your Word.
Okay,...this week was way more challenging than the first week for me. 
I started thinking and writing down words last weekend when Sally gave us the prompt. She said we could write out the word or photograph something that represented the word. What ever we wanted. 
Your Word.  My word.  One Word.  Just One Word.
So many people chose their 'word' for the year,...their mantra, what they focus on, what helps them get through things, gives them strength, etc.
Not me. I've yet to be able to pick just one word for an entire year (maybe for a week or a month, but not for an entire year!) and it's probably the same reason I don't have a tattoo (other than I'm not real partial to pain or needles!).  I can be indecisive. At least on some things anyway.
There's so many words right now that seem to resonate with me for 2013.

 So, this "Your Word" thing had me totally baffled.
I want to connect more with my family on a deeper level. Connect.
I want to be present, live in the moment, take it all in: Present. Aware. Live. Listen. Absorb. Breathe.
I'm working to manage my time better: Organize. Streamline.
I want to accept changes more easily and move forward: Accept. Change. Forward.
I want to create more: Create. Inspire.
I want to earn more: Abundance. Gratitude.
I want to learn new things: Learn. Grow. Thrive. Reach. Fearless. Jump.
I'd like to be more gracious in all I do: Grace. Acceptance.
I feel more comfortable in my skin these days, but I'm still doing a bit of soul searching and trying to listen to my heart more: Soul. Search. Heart.
And the list goes on. 
All great words with equally personal and deep meanings.
In this moment I feel ready to connect; to be present and aware. To live, listen and absorb things around me and to organize my time and streamline my life. Ready to accept change and move forward without fear and to create more and inspire others to create as well. To be more thankful for the abundance of things in my life such as my family, our health, our home. I'm excited to learn new things and grow and thrive in areas not yet known to me and to reach fearlessly out of my comfort zone and jump in with both feet.
I'm eager to search within my heart and feed my soul.
I'm ready to do these things with grace and acceptance of who I am and who I want to be.
Inhale. Exhale. Breathe. Relax. Enjoy.
This Year, I am READY.
Don't know what's in there.
Don't know where it's going.
But like me, it's Ready!
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Ready!

*Please sail on over to the Studio Sublime today and catch everyone else's WORD!


Jan 9, 2013

BTW - Before and After

I cannot stand clutter. Loathe it.

 But for some strange reason - planetary alignment, Zombie Apocalypse, Mayan Calender/Word Ending kind of thing, the Holidays, you name it - my creative space was a wreck.
I was super-ready to have my office/studio cleaned up and better organized!
So, between Thanksgiving and Christmas break I started slowly (r.e.a.l.l.y. slowly) reorganizing a few things.


Little by little things got moved and re-arranged.

Doming Block, Letter Stamps, Extra Easy Knotter for My Students, etc.
I started with my clothes,...moving them from the dresser into the master bath and closet area and filled the drawers with my hammers, bench blocks and other goodies! 

Gold, Silver, Brass, Copper, Steal and Craft Wires,
along with some Soft Flex and other stringing materials.

 I used to have a room all to myself as an office, but in
this house, my office/studio is in our master bedroom. I could consider it a draw back, but looking on the bright side, I have a killer view of our backyard and the lake and I can open the sliding glass doors and create right on my patio with out having to move hardly any supplies! (heaven!)

I must admit - I have the best views in the house!

Anyway, things became crystal clear (in my head) as to how everything else should be arranged and organized and so after the tree and all the holiday decorations had come down I kicked it into high gear and got to rockin' and a rollin'. 


OMG - What was I thinking to let it get this out of hand?!

Much better than before!  And there's room for more!


I finished up late Monday night, with a few more little odds and ends done yesterday,...just because I changed my mind! (imagine that!)

Holy Cow Smokes - Looks like the paper monster threw up in here!
(And some other monsters, too!)
Organized packing supplies and a few left over fibers in baskets,...much better!

The before shots were taken between late 2011 and December of 2012 and the after shots (I'm pretty sure you can figure out which is which w/out me telling you!!) were taken Monday.


Not too bad,..but I have a large antique sewing box and tons of baskets for my ribbons/ fibers
so why waste this gorgeous space?!!
Love how this chest looks now!
Mixed media supplies, Vintaj Big Kick, Cuttlebug, Patinas, gilder's paste, paints, sealants.
Oh, and some Ice Resin that's not opened,....wonder when I'll get the guts to try that again?!

Organized, convenient, pretty much 'clutter-free' and it makes sense,....things are where I would reach for them or they're with their similar counter-parts, etc.
(yep,....I'm a bit anal!).

Clutter Capital! And what's w/all the empty boxes under my desk?
Must have been close to the holidays and I needed them for shipping?
Who knows! ;-)

It's still the hub,...I have to work and also create here, so it's 'busier' than I'd like,
But it's nice to have the boxes removed and my Knotty Do It All close at hand!

The one thing I didn't clean or de-clutter was my bookcase. However, the bookcase WILL be tackled this weekend for sure as it's the only thing distracting me from being ready for everything that 2013 is going to be lovingly tossing my way!! 
(Attitude is Everything!)
So, what's 2013 bringing for you? 
Are you working on special goals, starting new projects and hitting the ground running or are you taking it easy, sitting back and savoring each moment? 
I hope you're enjoying all of the above!
Until Nex Time,
Peace, Love and Ahhhh,...


**Linking up with Bead Table Wednesday (BTW) over on Flickr Today**