Apr 27, 2013

Soup's On! (Bead Soup, that is!)

If you're looking for Week 17 of the
Focus on Life: 52 Photos Challenge - Click HERE!
And now,...It's time for the 3rd Reveal in
First, a super hearty thank you to our hostess, Lori Anderson who puts together the best "Soup Parties" on the planet!  Lori's knack for bringing people together from all over the world is just phenomenal and with this, the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party, there are 541 participants in 28 countries on 4 continents having fun creating fabulous designs of all kinds with heaps of 'beads soups' that were traded out between partners. With three 'Reveals' over the last few weeks in order to accommodate everyone who wanted to play along, my hat's off to Lori (and her hubby!) for all the hard work and coordinating efforts this huge bead party takes to make it such a success!!

And so now, with out further ado,...

Lori paired me with the uber-talented 
(and super sweet!) Francesca Watson.
My Bead Soup Partner, Francesca Watson
Francesca and I shared our 'Bead Soups' we sent each other in our posts, here and here.  
I'll say it again - she's super sweet - and the Bead Soup Francesca sent me was just over the top, filled to the brim of my bowl with yummy bead-goodness! 
Bead Soup I received from Francesca!
Bead Soup is meant to get you to step out of your comfort zone and try new things.  Try as I might to step out of my comfort zone, my lack of skills kept me from accomplishing the things that were inside of my head (which looked really cool in my brain, by the way!) and so my pieces were assembled, taken apart, re-assembled,....  

However, I was having lots of fun playing around with all the beads Francesca had sent and was truly enjoying all their wonderful colors and shapes.
Click Photos To Enlarge ;-)

The first necklace I finished has the beautiful stone pendant that Francesca sent along with several of the gemstone beads she sent as well. I love the colors and texture and how this necklace feels when it's on (it feels fabulous!!).

I really wanted to somehow make a brass backing/bezel for it in order to highlight it a bit more, but I need to get some thinner gauge metal sheet to do this.  The sheet I have is so thick I can't cut it w/anything but a jewelry saw and (luckily) I'm out of saw blades (because my sawing skills are horrible. That's a compliment, trust me!).   My hubby says this one has my sister written all over it - color and texture wise - and I think he's right!

Here's the earrings I created to go with the necklace.
I REALLY like these!
Next, I took the amazing copper enameled (2nd) focal pendant that Francesca sent me and played around with it. I actually thought that most of the beads she sent would look fabulous all knotted in waxed linen in a multi-strand necklace with this focal. They did look fabulous all knotted, but again, the design just wasn't doing it for me, so that's another one of the designs that got scrapped.
Click Photos to Enlarge! :-)

I ended up creating these tube-shaped paper beads from a magazine add that had a picture of the Grand Canyon it - the colors match perfectly and really (my opinion here) let the focal pendant take center stage. I also used the third focal that Francesca sent me - the carved, dyed horn bead - as one of the beads in the necklace - I just LOVE this bead!  It was hard not to make that bead the focal of a hand-knotted/beaded type of wrap bracelet, let me tell you, but I was trying to steer away from my 'usual' here,....at least a tiny bit anyway!
I'm so in love with this necklace!
These colors,...totally my colors!!
I could wear this every day of the week!!

And then this bracelet is where I used the super fabulous clasp that Francesca made herself and sent me.  These aren't colors I usually work with or wear, but I'm finding them fun and they were much easier to work with than I thought they would be. (Green really does go w/everything!)  
I decided after all the 're-dos' I had w/the necklaces, that I deserved a nice, simple (design-wise) new bracelet all my own! I strung the bracelet on waxed linen and it feels so good on. I'm wearing this one right now, along with the earrings, too. (well, as I write this post I have it on!)

I've got a ton (yes a TON) of beads left over from the wonderful bead soup that Francesca sent me and I've got a couple of bracelets and earrings in the works using them, but nothing to show off as of yet.

I want to thank Francesca for sending such a lovely soup recipe to me and for allowing me to step out of my box a bit and try some shapes and colors of beads that I don't normally try and also for the wonderful focal pendants and clasp she sent me - I couldn't have asked for components that were more beautiful or fun!

Please stop by Francesca's Blog and see what she has cooked up with the beads I sent her - I know it will be wonderful - her designs always are!

Click HERE to go to
Lori Anderson's Blog, Pretty Things,
and see the 3rd Reveal Participants with their links so you can hop around the 'world' (literally) and drool over all the amazing soups that everyone else has simmering!

Have fun!

Thanks again to Lori Anderson for another successful and super fun Bead Soup Blog Party!

Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Bead Soup Fun!

Focus on Life: 52 Photos - COLOR!

For the Bead Soup Blog Party 3rd Reveal Post
Click HERE!

For Week 17 of the photo challenge,
our host, Sally with The Studio Sublime,
gave us this prompt:
Color / Colour
"Did you ever notice the way color can effect our mood and perception of the environment around us?
Colors can elevate our mood or change our perception of an object.  Whether photographing a full shot of amazing colors or small pops of color against a muted background, this week break out your camera and capture some color. Think about how the colors of the shot effect your mood, feelings, perception of your surroundings! Focus on how the colors impact your decision to take a particular shot."
Each week these challenges capture my attention and make me think about and focus upon something that I normally take for granted or am in too much of a hurry with 'life' to slow down and appreciate on a daily basis the way I should.
So this week's prompt of "Color" allowed me to actually
'Feel' the colors and how they affect my moods; how they excite, how they mellow, how they make me smile!
Just take a look at the colors in these beads.
Rather rustic and muted in appearance, yet vibrant compared to the black and white photo of the same beads below.
Think of how different our world would be with out all the amazing colors we have around us!
Pretty heavy thought there, isn't it?!

I love that we have COLOR in our lives!!
Oh, and here's some pink and green.
These colors just make me happy!!
Now, go check out what colors everyone else over at
The Studio Sublime is capturing today!
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Colors, Baby!!

Apr 20, 2013

Focus on Life: 52 Photos - Take a Walk

It's week 16 over at the Studio Sublime's
and Sally's prompt for this week was:
"Grab your camera, open the door and step outside into the fresh air. Take a walk! Whether you walk to your favorite chair on the porch, walk a few miles down a rural road or a busy city street;  take a moment to be aware of the beauty of the world and let its grandeur energize your soul, inspire your mind and jump start your creativity. Step back and look at the wide world around you and capture a shot of the landscape in front of you!"

Greenbelt area with some pretty trees near my home where I walk.
Sure doesn't look like the middle of the desert, does it?! ;-)  

 It was the perfect weather this week for walks here, too - temperature wise.
Lakes in my neighborhood along my walking 'path' (sidewalk!)
It was a bit windy for several days with gusts from 40-60 miles per hour one day and on Wednesday we had a micro-burst come through the neighborhood sending the trash bins rolling down the street - but other than that it was perfect spring weather in the desert. 

 Here's what I snapped on a couple of walks around the neighborhood. 

We have some green belts in our neighborhood and a few lakes (duck poo ponds, as we call them!) and some really pretty trees too, so it makes for some lovely walks.

So, get up, and go for a walk over at the Studio Sublime today and see where everyone else's walk will take you!!

Evening Walk with the Sunset Over the Lake
One thing's certain; Arizona truly has some gorgeous sunsets!
**Thanks to you all who have been leaving such wonderful comments each week on here - your posts and comments always make me so happy - Thank you!!  Last week I was trying to 'reply' to all of them, but when I hit the reply button on blogger here in the comments section it just 'spun' and spun,....loading,...loading,...and never loaded. Not sure what the deal was but I wanted you all to know that I wasn't trying to be rude - it just wasn't letting me 'play nicely'  last/this week. I haven't been able to comment for several days and although I think it's okay now, I talked w/a few of my other blogger friends and a couple of them had the same problem for a day or two, so I don't feel like such an idiot!! LOL!!   So, please accept my apologies for not responding to your replies here in the comments section this last time, hopefully this week I'll be able to read them and respond.**
Everyone have a great week!
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Lovely Walks!!

Apr 14, 2013

Ohhhh,...Knotted Leather!

Yep, you know it. If it's leather and knotted with some beads or pearls anywhere near it - I'm in!

Leather (real or imitation) is all the rage right now and Tracy over at Make Bracelets Blog came up with a new, innovative and fun way to incorporate this ever so fabulous material into your jewelry designs.

She posted a link not long ago to her ever so hip and cool "Leather Links Video Tutorial" and I just had to purchase it!
Click here to go to the Leather Links Post Info

I had a blast listening and watching the step by step instructions and in her video tutorial Tracy shares many tips and tricks to working with leather (and hypo-cement!) and even throws in some handy-dandy 'touch-up' tricks you won't want to miss.

Here's a few pics of the first two leather links I created after watching the video and a couple of bracelets I made using them.
Click to Enlarge

Tracy's a real sweatheart and has created a Pinterest Board for those of us who have purchased the tutorial and have created items with the leather links - how cool is that?!   After all, Pinterest is the latest and greatest thing,...you know,...next to leather (and beads and pearls!).
So, whatcha waitin' for?  Hop on over and check it out and have fun creating some cool Leather Links!
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Leather Links!!

Apr 13, 2013

Focus on Life: Week 15 - Aged Beauty

***The Bead Soup Blog Party 2nd and 3rd Reveals were postponed one week so today is the 2nd Reveal (instead of the 3rd Reveal).  Please hop on over to Lori Anderson's Pretty Things Blog to see all the participants and get to hoppin' !
Please come back here next Saturday, April 20th, for the 3rd Reveal where my Bead Soup Blog Party Partner, Francesca Watson and I, along with a slew of other bead-chefs will be
serving up some great soups for you to taste!!
Now,...On with the weekly photo challenge:
This week our prompt from Sally over at the
Our admiration of the antique is not admiration of the old,
but of the natural.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

"There is always something so intriguing about old things. Whether an heirloom or flea market find we are always intrigued by the back story of the piece that has caught our eye and the thrill of a possible story of family history, lost love or travel to forgotten worlds. In the rust is character, scratches and dents are their badges of courage and the bare metal exposed by peeling paint is acceptance of time.
Aged pieces have a beauty all their own, a beauty that draws us in to look a little deeper into a past time.
This week focus on the aged beauty that may be an old building or an aging vehicle in a parking lot, items in a local barn, flea market, garage or in your jewelry box and snap a shot of a vintage beauty! "
So, here's my take on "Aged Beauty"
This is the violin that my Uncle
gave to my Dad.
It's 100 years old.
Click to Enlarge
I thought of having it restored but I don't think I want to do that.
To me, that would take away all the
'life-prints' of everyone who handled this.
These 'life prints' as I call them, are what makes this "Aged Beauty" so special to me.
Please hop on over to the Studio Sublime and see the different types of
Aged Beauties
everyone else has captured this week!
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Sentimental Aged Beauty!

Apr 6, 2013

Focus on Life: Week 14 - Up Close

*I'm in Sedona this Friday/Saturday with out internet service, so please forgive me for posting late over at the Studio Sublime this weekend.  I'll be hopping to everyone's blogs that I can on Sunday/Monday!!*

Sally's prompt for Week 14 of
Up Close
"Macro Shots - How Close Can You Get?"
I LOVE me some Macro!
Taken w/my Canon. I had to hold the flower still because it was windy!
I cannot seem to get as close with my new
Canon Powershot XS 160 that I just got as I can
with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH5 camera.

I've had 3 Lumix and I love them!
The one I use most has 'macro zoom'.
(translation: super-duper macro!)

This one was taken w/my Lumix. Click to enlarge any of the pics.

The Canon's got a feature that lets you'zoom' while doing video. I know, so does an actual video camera, but a still shot camera seemed more up my alley so I decided to try it. 

I'll let you know what I think after I use it a bit. 
So far I'm rather pleased with the still shots.

 Of course, if I'd ever save up the $$ for a 'big daddy camera' (the kind where the lens costs more than the camera itself), I'm sure my pics could be even better.  And closer!

Spring has Sprung! Captured with the Canon.

But until then, here's some "Macro Love" for you!

Comparing the different photos,...what do you think?

Off Center because of the wind - but still rather close w/the Lumix.

Jump on over to The Studio Sublime and see what the other participants have captured Up Close today!
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Getting Up Close!

Apr 3, 2013

Earring Swap!

Last week my friend, Kashmira, and I decided to 'swap' earrings.
Kashmira told me she liked a pair of earrings I had posted a pic of over on Facebook and wanted them, but they were already 'spoken' for.
So I told her if she was up for it (she had gone through some major therapy on her hand and hadn't been able to create anything for quite a while),  that I'd make another pair in the colors she wanted and she could make me a pair of earrings in exchange. "Something with some color!", I told her. 
Now, here's the kicker - Kashmira and I have never met! We got to know each other via online jewelry sites, blogs and facebook groups. We email and facebook each other quite often, share blog comments (she's much better about commenting than I am!!), and we're participating in the Studio Sublime's Focusing on Life: 52 Photos challenge together this year as well. 
Anyway, after a few emails back and forth - here's what we came up with! 

Earrings by MiShel Designs
Kashmira decided on purple in her earrings, so I re-created some wire wrapped hoops with recycled Sari Silk and purple dyed lava stone (the original ones she had spotted had blue lava stone dangles).
Kashmira wearing Shelly's Earrings
And, she had someone take her pic so she could show me - how sweet is that?!  She's making them look fabulous, don't you think?! 
Then, when I got Kashmira's package in the mail, I opened it to find she had not only created an awesome pair of earrings for me, but this cute little paper box for them as well! 
Earrings by Kashmira of Sadafulee
Here's a link to the tutorial that tells how she created the box!
Aren't the earrings she created just the coolest?!  I love the pop of orange!  It's a color I'm drawn to but never wear because I think I can't pull it off. 
Shelly wearing Kashmira's earrings!
(Lame self pic - cause the hubs and son were gone!!)
I'm rethinking that now. See how they just pop!
Kashmira has a lot more beautiful jewelry over in her Etsy shop - she's a very talented jewelry designer!
She's also an amazing woman who enjoys helping others and is involved with something called Project Why.  Project Why is a New Delhi based organization working with kids in the area. Kashmira has been helping them for a while now and you can read her story (and theirs) over on her blog, Sadafulee,...Always in Bloom, it's something you won't soon forget!  Watch the video she has posted, too - it's awesome!!
I'm looking forward to the day I finally get to meet Kashmira.
I imagine with the way we chat online and via email now, no one around us will get a word in edge-wise!!  LOL!
Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Making Friends!