Friday, March 28, 2014

Springy Enough for Florida in March!

Since we can't seem to get ourselves transitioned to spring here in Ohio, I'm heading for Florida again, yay!

This will be a fun and relaxing beach trip and I am SO ready!

I made this fun and cheerful necklace using pieces I pulled from the Cousin Warehouse "shopping" trip. I just love it and plan to wear it with all white one day. It's perfect for a monochromatic outfit!

Sometimes, I just want to wear all black, so this will be quite a change! :) Inspired by the sunshine I am hoping to see.

Bring on the sunshine!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

So Sparkly...So Cheerful!

It looks like I've basked in my trip to Cousin for just the right amount of time. I'm ready to move on and begin celebrating beads again! :)

Well, that and I'm preparing to head back to Florida, this time for a relaxing vacation with my hubby, yay!

I have a couple of new projects I haven't shared with you yet, so I'll do that this week. First up is one of those projects that sort of made itself. I wanted something cheerful to wear on the plane rides since I always like to have something sparkly to focus on. 

Cousin Trinkettes were the first beads that came to mind since they're so bright and colorful. At first I thought of using memory wire so I could have several strands of wow, but this is the part that sort of evolved on its own.

I used three pieces of memory wire and connected them all with a toggle clasp. That way, when I put it on, the three strands spread apart so it becomes a really wide bangle. 

Quite attention getting, I must say. It has gotten many double takes, a few laughs, but definitely lots of smiles. You just can't help it!!!

I'd love to hear about other interesting ways to use these large hole beads, so please share or leave a link in the comments. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ahh...Sweet Beadland Memories

I've been sort of holding off sharing the last day of my recent Florida trip to Cousin Corporation headquarters so I could savor and process all of it. :)

I also wanted to wait until my special shipment arrived back at home from our warehouse "shopping" trip. Yay! 

First, though I should mention the wonderful dinner and experience with the Cousin family.

Great food, drink and conversation at a gorgeous restaurant and then out on the beach at the hotel. We probably stayed up a little too late, but with the sound of the waves and the warm breeze, I didn't want it to end!

On our last day we got an early start and had a chance to hear more about design, production, marketing, trends and so much more. My head was spinning and I didn't want to lose any of it. 

I've tried to stop time before by reveling in every moment and this was one of those experiences. 

Now, here's the icing on all that cake...our last half hour at Cousin was spent bead "shopping" in the warehouse next door. We were all so excited to have the chance to pick anything we wanted from walls and walls of products. Thirty minutes and a shipping box...a very dream-like experience!! 

And, last but not least, here's a peek at some of the great products I picked! Like any good Virgo, I sorted everything into categories and took group pictures too. :) I'm sure some of them will crop up here soon. 

I've been pining away for everyone and wish we could do it all over again! 

All my ambassador friends and the Cuz-bus.. I feel confident in saying a great time and wonderful educational experience was had by all!  (Thanks to Rebecca Utermohlen for the pic!)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Daylight Savings Time & Bead Bloggers...It's All Good!

I'm not exactly sure how it got to be Sunday already, but here we are...11:30pm? That's all I'm going to say.

I'm not going to complain about daylight savings time because that means we're getting closer to spring!

Happy Daylight Savings time everyone! Woo hoo!

That's an example of how to embrace something even when it feels like 60 minutes are strangely missing from your life!

This is the perfect time to take a quick trip to blogland and get some last minute creative inspiration from our bead blogger friends!

So much creativity, starting with Andrew Thornton's monthly jewelry making challenge inspired by a book club!

The first necklace, pictured above, was created by Laurel who was inspired by the book, "The Enchantress of Florence."


The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew hosts a monthly challenge on his blog called, Inspired by Reading. Check out the reveal for January and February’s selections, The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie and Difficult Loves by Italio Calvino.

Resin Crafts Blog
A broken mirror floor becomes the inspiration for this new resin filled bezel!

Carmi’s Art/Life World
What I look for when I see junk, vintage and antique jewelry!

Art Bead Scene
Check out our new monthly challenge piece - Birds on Riser, by Swiss artist Adolf Dietrich.

You Could Win Your Kid’s Dream Craft Room!
March is National Crafting Month and to get YOU inspired, Kiwi Crate is teaming up with Highlights Magazine and to offer your kid(s) a dream craft room!

Snap out of it, Jean! There’s beading to be done!
Jean won a pair of earrings from the wonderful designer Linda Landig. She was so knocked out by their beauty she decided to interview her! Come and read Linda’s inspiring answers to Jean’s questions and look at all the glorious jewelry Linda has on display! Wow!

June shows off some of the mail art exchanged last month, and posts the next mail art call!!! Come join the fun!

Mixed Media Artist
Have you ever woven a quilt?

Beading Arts
Cyndi shows the next steps of how she integrated soutache braid into one of her bead embroidered necklaces.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Glass Bead Goodness

Wow, just came across these new large hole beads and wanted to share.

I saw an email and a Facebook post about them, but then got sidetracked. I just opened an email from PrimaBead and there they were.

This watery aqua blue color is ahhhh, so peaceful and calming! I wanted to jump in the picture, but sadly even google can't make that happen.

I haven't really decided how I might use these beads, but the possibilities seem interesting and endless!

There is also a pretty rose color that looks like it belongs in the radiant orchid family. Nice!

You could even use pieces of fabric or large ribbon with these! For a simple approach it might be dainty and sweet to just put a few on a pretty chain.

Any ideas?

Monday, March 3, 2014

National Craft Month & Bead Blogger Fun!

March is National Craft Month! It's the perfect time to get out all your beads, fabric, finding, notions, glue and glitter! Yay!

I'd love to hear any special plans you have to learn a new technique, join a blog hop or just plain set more time aside to create!

For now, here's some inspiration from our bead and craft blogger friends, starting with all the gorgeous pieces created for the Art Bead Scene monthly design challenge, GORGEOUS!!

Enjoy!  :)

Art Bead Scene
It’s February’s Monthly Challenge Recap! Come and see what our amazing readers created based on Paul Klee’s The Rose Garden.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew hosted a Design Challenge on his blog! “Radiant Orchid” was the theme! Come check out what all the participants made in the blog hop!

Resin Crafts Blog
How to make a mold with a half doll body.

Anniversary Quilt: Middles and Ends
Cherie continues working on her quilt project.

Carmi’s Art/Life World
How to turn a group of brooches into a necklace!

Snap out of it, Jean! There’s beading to be done!
Jean writes a poem about (what else?) jewelry making as she participates in a fun 30 word blog hop created by Erin Prais-Hintz

Cinnabar Chinese Lantern Earrings & Necklace
Eileen set out to make a set of jewelry for Valentine’s Day. When she went to her red bead stash, her eyes locked on some beautiful red carved cinnabar beads just perfect for the design she had in mind anyway!

Mixed Media Artist
Check out how you can use dryer sheets to “paint” a quilt!

Beading Arts
Cyndi is struggling to keep up with the Bead Journal Project this year, but that’s probably because she decided to do much bigger pieces!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Beadland Whirlwind - Day 2

The thought that kept crossing my mind during the Cousin Corporation Ambassador trip to what I'm now calling "Beadland" was:

"Is this the real life or is this just fantasy?"

A little bit of Bohemian Rhapsody seemed very appropriate on this dream-like trip!

On day two we were picked up bright and early since our day would be packed very full with a facility tour, company overview, trips to three of the big craft stores, ambassador presentations and, drum-roll, a jewelry making project with Cousin designers! YAY!


When you walk in the door at Cousin you immediately see that everyone not only lives and breathes the beauty of individual beads, but the finished pieces too.

Because their staff is so thoughtful, they had the Ambassador's recent Valentine's Day projects displayed front and center. :)

Throughout the facility there are jewelry displays, framed graphics and dress forms fully outfitted with sparkle! (Hopefully I'm not giving away company secrets when I give you this TMI detail, but seriously, there's even a gorgeous jewelry display in the restroom!)

The tour covered every department so we had a chance to meet lots of staff and see firsthand what their day to day operation looks and feels like. As you might expect, there are bead walls everywhere!

Strands and strands! I couldn't resist getting a picture of my favorites, SHAMBALLA BEADS! Those sparkly rounds are so cute in their natural habitat, but I really wanted to grab a few for my pocket. ;) Don't worry, I resisted. This is one island I don't want to get kicked off...

This is where all the packaging for the big chains like Joann's, Michaels, Walmart, etc. happens. It was great to see that safety is a top priority at Cousin. We also got to hear about future plans for making their processes more efficient. Yeah, I'm one of those people who gets excited about plans to implement new business solutions.

Project time, YAY! We were all assigned a designer to work with and had a couple hours to design and create a necklace, bracelet and pair of! Each of us were given a tub of beads with a specific color story and down the hall in the next room was a wall full of pendants, findings, chain, etc. that could be used as well. It was a little like cupcake wars. I think I made at least three trips to the wall as my project evolved. The last two were at a jog! Too fun!

It's becoming clear to me now that I'll need a couple more posts to share this experience. Please stay tuned for more fun in Beadland!

(Special thanks to Ambassador, Rebecca Utermohlen, for the project making pic!)