Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's Almost Time for the Big Day

Am I the only one away from blogland recently?  I've been bad, really bad.  I hope you gals will forgive my absence.  I think you all understand and are going through exactly the same thing.  So much to do in so little time.  I finally finished up my jewelry projects for gifts.  I can't show you anything yet.  You never know who might be watching. 

Oh, and I need to show you a picture of Lauren's Narnia bracelet. 

This is how she will receive it on Christmas but it is far from finished.  I decided it would be a nice adventure for me to have the bracelet along with the charms purchased and then we could work together to finish the piece in whichever way she chooses.  We need some color so I might suggest some gemstones in Narnian colors.  The charms are big so it will be interesting to see how it fits on her small wrist.

Along with the Christmas hustle and bustle, we are planning a trip to the in-laws.  They live in Nashville so I'm hoping I'll get a chance to meet my blogging buddy Judy from Judith B Designs.  This girl is a hoot!  I just hope things work out during this busy time where we can hang out for "girl time".

Well, that's it for me.  I want to wish everyone a wonderful, family filled, stress-free Christmas!  I'll leave you girls with a picture of our roads with the snow and Lauren with her miniature sized snowman. 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Hope For Etsians!

There's hope for us Etsy ladies out there!  Check out this article in the New York Times.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

*I'm So Crafty*

Here's a few chuckles for today!

Frenchie Friendliness

I was treated to such a nice surprise recently.  A package from my friend Esther in France!  For those of you who don't know Esther let me tell you a little bit about her.  To start, she's amazing in every craft she tries!  Yes, I really mean this.  She really has incredible talent that shines through in everything she touches.  If you don't believe me just take a look at her blog Mes illusions baroques.  Secondly, her sincerity will really surprise you.  Her heart is huge and she is always giving encouragement to others and even the occasional gift. ;)  And last but not least, not only is she beautiful inside, she is stunning on the outside as well.  I've seen pictures of her with her jewelry and it definitely shouts French beauty. 

Here is the lovely gift that she created.

What wonderful sparkle these earrings have and I love blue!  How did she know?  My daughter was amazed by the gift just as I was and suggested using the card Esther created as a book mark so I can think of her every time I use it.  What a wonderful idea!  The card is beautiful with its vintage angel having red glitter on her lips and crown.  So sweet!

Thanks so much, Esther!  I'm so happy to have friends like you and all my other blogging buddies!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Wow, where is the time going?  It was just Halloween, right?  This time of year really passes by in a blur.  It's a shame we can't extend it through January and February when there's nothing to do and the weather is so miserable.  I promise I'll have another jewelry exchange in those nasty winter months to keep us all entertained.

And it's typical of me to wait until the last minute to order all my supplies for family gifts.  I'm doing more simplistic pieces for everyone with the same theme.  I don't want to give too much away in case they are reading this.  I can't wait to show you girls the finished product after the holidays.  How are your gifts coming along?  Are any of you creating gifts this year?

I've also been doing a lot of thinking about changing my style or look of the the pieces I sell.  After the first of the year I would like to go with a more simplistic modern look and may be a lot more in silver.  I will still be using copper quite often but mostly for the pieces I make for myself or family.  I still love copper and it won't be taken out completely.  This will give me the flexibility to hopefully make some creative pieces without worrying about the cost of time involved and what it might take to sell a piece.  I guess copper would turn into my hobby metal and silver would be for resale.  We'll see how it goes!

I finally took a picture of the tree.  We went overboard with the tree decorations this year.  We even have a boxer ornament.  My fur babies did their best to stay still while I snapped a few shots.  Nothing like a nice bone to intice them to sit in front of the tree for me. 

And we made Christmas cookies last week.  I was on sugar overload that day with all the icing and sprinkles.  We stuck a few in the freezer to stay fresh for Santa.  Hope he likes them.

Lauren looks half asleep in this picture.  She's probably coming down from a big sugar high while she stuffs more goodies into her mouth.  

I wish you girls the best on your Christmas shopping.  Hopefully none of you will get too stressed out.  It is a crazy time of year.  :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Check Out This Wire Work

I was looking through my usual blogs this morning and happened upon Joslin Jewels post.  I've never been a fan of pyrite.  For some reason it has always looked cheap to me like it's trying to be gold or something ;) .  I was blown away when I saw her earrings made with pyrite and black spinel.  What an amazing combination!  
This girl knows how to do such creative wire work.   And that's not all!  Take a look at this.
I can't even begin to guess how in the world she made this or even came up with the idea that she could.  Bravo!  And the colors are so perfect for paisley, right?  Keep up the great work, Joslin!  We can't wait to see what else you come up with.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Blown Away By Charms

As you may know, several of us blogging buddies are part of a charm exchange group.  The most recent one I participated in was for the Words, Words, Words swap and look at the beauties I received in the mail.


Did Christmas come early?  Santa thought I needed a little "pick me up" and he sure did deliver with this package.  So much great talent here!  It's hard to choose a favorite.  And Erin from Tesori Trovati s really "knocked this one out of the park" with her packaging.  Way to go girl!  Most of the charms are too large for a charm bracelet so maybe I can think of a creative way to incorporate them into an eclectic necklace of sorts.  Hm, I'll have to ponder on that for a while.

And I just have to show you a recent Etsy purchase.  These are from Black Dog Studio and just look at these cute pictures and sayings.

I asked them to make the one in the left hand corner especially for my sister.  This is one of her favorite sayings.  Please pardon the bad language.  The rest are for in-laws, music teacher, and my mom which we like to tease and call her the cat lady even though she only has 2 cats.  These will probably be used as tags on the outside of the gifts and they can use them on a keychain or necklace if they like.

Happy Wednesday to you!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pity Party Train has left town

Hey gals!  No negativity and self pity today.  I'm dusting myself off and getting down to business.  You girls have set me straight and I thank you for it.  Seriously though, I appreciate all of your kind words and advice.  I'm so glad we can all help each other out when it's needed.  You girls ROCK!

Did you know there is only 16 days left until Christmas?  I hope you're on track with your gift buying and merriment.  I've seen lots of beautiful trees on everyone's blogs and such creative decorations.  Does anyone celebrate Chanukkah or Kwanzaa?  Let's see those decorations too.  We've got our tree and decorations up so I'll try to take a picture soon.

And speaking of Christmas, I finally saw the animated "Christmas Carol" in 3D.  I really enjoyed it although it is a very dark movie.  The story was the same as the original but this one was quite spooky.  The little kid sitting behind me in the theater kept saying, "Daddy, this is scary."  A bit different for a Christmas movie but the message was there.  And the 3D effects were great.  I felt like the snow was actually coming down on my head.

I'll wrap this up with what I've been working on.  Here goes!

Oh yes, if you are a Sharilyn Miller fan then you recognize this bracelet.  Which, by the way, she has a new book out that Mary Jane and I are totally stoked about.  Although I could never do wirework like the Queen (she is the best), this bracelet is just for me and serves as more wirework practice.  I wanted something lightweight (used 16 gauge rather than 14) with that beautiful copper glow to it.  This definitely fits my personality and we all need to give ourselves something every now and then, right?

Trying to get creative with the use of copper with lampwork beads.  This is Norma Brink's lampwork once again and the details are amazing.  I didn't have any copper headpins so I made my own with a little swirl at the end.  Oh, and look at the light bulb clasp.  I learned how to make that from Miss Cindy at Sweet Bead Studios.  The tutorial was in the recent Easy Wire magazine.  Thanks, Cindy!

More Norma Brink lampwork with sterling silver beads and wire this time.  I didn't oxidize this piece.  I like the bright silver with these colors.  I tried to bring out the purple and greens in the lampwork with all the Swarovski.  I hope I didn't over do it.

And last but not least is a sweet little pair of lampwork and sterling silver swirly earrings.  Do you recognize these beads?  These are from the wonderful Miss Sue from Sue Beads.  Love the tiny silver specks trailing around each bead.  Oh, and I do believe Sue is having another sale.  She's had a different sale like every couple of days.  If you need lampwork check her out.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bah, Humbug!

Let's face it, we've all had those days when you just don't want to be bothered and you are completely annoyed at everything.  I realized this morning while driving my kid to school that I must be having one of those days.  I guess it's a sign when you see kids in the hallway and you just want to ask them, "What are you looking at?"  and when you are complaining that your kid closed the car door too hard when you did it exactly the same way.  Or when you get annoyed with the lady who is in a hurry in the car behind you and you purposely decide to go as slow as you can so she can have an awful day too.  I promise, I'm not a horrible person and I usually don't act like scrooge but I'm entitled to one day every now and then, right?

On a happier note, my trip to the Pittsburgh Glass Center was a blast.  Several artists set up booths to sell their glass art.  We also watched a group make a huge glass Christmas stocking that took about 2 1/2 hours to create with the help of five people.  These guys reminded me of a doctor doing surgery.  They all seemed to work so well together and could anticipate each other's next move.  Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the completed piece since they only held it up for like 15 seconds and I didn't have my camera ready and they said it would take about 14 hours for it to cool enough to show.  Darn! 


The only bad experience in the whole trip was when I was leaving.  I was meeting a group there but I also decided to take Lauren along.  Well, it wasn't in the best area of town.  And as you might expect, someone came up and asked us for money as we were leaving.  As adults I think most of us are familiar with this and even though it is an uncomfortable situation we learn to deal with it.  For Lauren this was the first time.  Even though the man didn't seem to mean us any harm, it was dark and I think she could sense that I was a little on edge.  On the drive home I didn't notice right away how quiet she was being because I was focusing on driving in the craziness of downtown.  Once I got on the highway I looked in the back seat to find her with this horrible look of fear on her face.  When I asked her if she was ok she busted out crying.  Poor thing! 

I have some new items to list soon but I still need to take photos.  I feel like I've really been dragging my feet lately.  I'm having a tough time selling although I've tried different ideas to bring in more sales.  If anyone has constructive critism they could offer me I would love the advice.  Don't worry, I don't get my feelings hurt that easily and I'm very open to suggestions.  You gals have been down this road and you know what works.

I also need advice on another subject.  I'm asking for tools and books for Christmas and I'd like to know what tools you use the most and why.  I am definitely interested in metal/wire working tools but I don't know which ones I would get the most use out of and which ones are really worth the money.  I love your suggestions!  :)

Ok, I'll do my best to change my attitude today.  Maybe a little piece of chocolate will help.  Or maybe a whole box of chocolate. ;)  I hope you enjoy the day!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pretty Cool!

What a Lovely Friday!

What a beautiful Friday!  The clouds look like cotton candy and the sun is shining bright.  I might grab my sneakers and head to the park.  I've really been MIA on the blogging scene lately.  I hope you girls forgive me.  I just finished up a project for my aunt-in-law.  Simple silver necklaces with a few birthstones for Christmas gifts she's giving away.  I hope they are well recieived.  My favorite is the Sacred Heart with the citrine stones.  After I oxidized and polished the piece it really came to life.  I love the halo around the head.

I'll be taking a trip to the Pittsburgh Glass Center tonight for the Hot Jam.  This is a free event where you can watch the master glass artists at work.  I've thought of taking classes there so this might be what finally pushes me to go ahead with it.  Sue from Sue Beads and I were talking over lunch a few weeks ago and she said this is where she learned how to make her stunning glass beads.  Her little gems are so gorgeous and I think she's running a sale right now.  I'll show off some earrings I made with her beads a little later.  Here's the link to her Etsy shop

We hope to make the Christmas Carol movie this weekend.  We went to the theater last weekend and they were sold out.  What a bummer!

Ok, that's it for me.  Enjoy yourselves and put up those holiday decorations if you haven't already!  Oh, and I'd love to see pictures of everyone's decorations to get us in the festive mood.  :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Star Wars in Concert

Just wanted to share with you a clip and picture from our trip to "Star Wars in Concert".  This featured clips from all the Star Wars movies with an orchestra playing all of the background music.  I thought this would be a nice treat for Lauren since she is in the school orchestra playing the cello.  Please excuse the quality of the video.  This was made with my little snap and shoot camera.

The Thanksgiving feast was great except for one major problem.  I ruined the turkey.  Yes, ruined!  It was way over cooked (so I thought) and dry.  And when we finished dinner I started cutting up the turkey to find out that the whole bottom portion was still not done.  Ugh!  I told the hubby he can cook the turkey next year.

I hope my blogging buddies will forgive my absence the past week.  With the holiday and deadlines to meet for projects, I just haven't had the time.  I hope to get caught up today.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Big Cyber Monday Sale!

I have several items in the Bei Mondi shop marked 20% off for Cyber Monday.  That's a sweet discount to grab a unique handcrafted item for the holidays.  Here's a peek of a few items up for grabs.


My Etsy shop is on vacation today and these items can only be purchased through the Bei Mondi shop.  And there is free shipping on all items! 

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bunny Commerical!

Watch this video if you love bunnies!

Words, Words, Words and Cyber Monday Sale!

I'm going through blogging withdrawals.  I need to blog but I have another busy day planned.  First, painting pottery.  Miss Lauren will be painting a Christmas present for me with my husband's help and vice versa.  Then we're off to see "The Christmas Carol" in 3D.  I'm so excited about this movie.  I'm a sucker for Christmas flicks.

I thought I'd show you gals what I've been working on lately.  I'm sure you've heard me and others talk about the Charmsters group.  We all make charms for a specific theme and swap them.  It's always such a surprise to see what will be in your package when it arrives.  So the swap I am currently working on is called "Words, words, words!"  And here's my charms.

These charms were first metal etched and then I used a torch to add some color.  I used some oil on them before the torch and it made a tie dye effect.  They are a bit hard to capture in the photo if the light is not just right.  I then had my assistant (Lauren) cut out newspaper that we folded into envelope shapes (gotta keep with that word theme).  I like the way each one is unique and they all have an old look to them.  Hope the group likes them!  

I also wanted to tell everyone that I'll be having a big Cyber Monday Sale!  I'm taking 20% off half the items in the Bei Mondi shop.  There will be lots of goodies to choose from and if there is something you've had your eye on please let me know so I can make sure to add it to the list.

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and a killer Black Friday!  Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I almost wrote TGIF!  It really feels like Friday.  This is Lauren's last day of school until after the holiday so it is her Friday.  I hope to do some girl things tomorrow and the Monday after Thanksgiving to take advantage of the extra days she has off.  We might go paint pottery again or maybe Monster Golf or try something new for a change.  Money is tight so even watching a movie at home while playing games sounds good. 

Anyone traveling for the holidays?  I wish you safe travels if you are.  I miss my family so much but, unfortunately, traveling is not on the agenda for us on Thanksgiving.  Instead, we'll be making the usual feast for only three.  The hubby has turned into a real foodie recently.  He can't get enough of Food Network so he's decided to put a spin on all my old favorites for the holiday.  At first I was a little annoyed, this is my day to shine, right?  But if he shows an interest in it and is willing to help out, then why not?  "Sure, I'll go along with pancetta in my stuffing.  Whatever you want, honey.  Just don't burn the house down."  I told him the turkey was off limits though.  I gotta draw the line some where.

Well, I feel quite guilty.  Here's the deal.  I signed up for this craft exchange quite a while back and I still haven't blogged about it.  I guess other things have gotten in the way but there's really no excuses.  I received two amazing gifts that I can't believe I haven't blogged about before now.  The first one is from Bonnie Fisher from Explorations of Color.  This is a mixed media piece that is simply brilliant.  I've never seen mixed media up close before, I've only seen pictures on the internet.  I know, how lame am I?  This piece is so beautiful!  I don't know how good my picture taking skills are to see the fine details so I'll tell you a little bit of what I see.  The lady pops out a bit, she's actually kinda floating above the piece and her dress has been painted yellow.  And there is very faint type beyond the painted background that I can't quite make out.  The lines at the bottom of the page are actually sewn on!  How cool, she sewed on cardboard.  Oh, I just can't say enough about her artwork.  I've never dabbled in mixed media before but she has me intrigued for sure.  If you have the time please send some blog love her way.  Thanks, Bonnie!

And the other art I recieved were these sweet little apple earrings.  These were made by Lynette from Every Day Jewelry.  They are simply darling apples made of clay!!!  How did she make these?  While looking at her blog I noticed she has an Etsy shop where she sells these.  Check it out!  These would be perfect to make a pair of earrings out of for a teacher's gift.  Thanks, Lynette!

Here is my art exchange gift that I made for Diana Frey.  I wanted to make her a unique little flip book on Pittsburgh.  Sometimes ideas work out better in our head them the real deal!  It ended up looking rather childish but I decided that I would send it anyway but include another gift as well.  So, I added in these earrings I made with some metal etched pieces, freshwater pearls, and Swarovski crystals.  If you follow Diana's blog you'd know that she has great style and a real flair for decorating.  I was very nervous about sending this to her.


Ok, I am off to finish up some metal etching.  Enjoy your Friday Tuesday!  ;)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Vintage Sheet Music Necklace Tutorial

I entered into the Totally Tutorials Exchange Program recently.  For those of you not familiar with the program, here's how it works.  A supply seller sends items to a recipient willing to write a tutorial using the items.  This offers free exposure for the supplier showing techniques on using their product.  And the individual writing the tutorial gets free stuff!  I decided to try out this program for my friends at Tanith's Odds and Ends

 First off I want to say that you really need to check out their Etsy shop.  They have some really unique stuff like sheet music and dictionary pages from the 1930's that would be great for mixed media projects.  My favorites are the paper beads and the felt wool beads.  I'll be showing off some of their sheet music paper beads in this tutorial.  So here goes!

Here's the materials. 
  • 23 - 5 inch sections of copper wire
  • 3 - paper music note beads (from Tanith's Odds and Ends)
  • 19 - black czech beads in various sizes
  • 1 - large black czech bead for focal
  • 1 - Copper clasp
I used copper wire that was oxidized in liver of sulfur.  These were cut into 5 inch sections prior to dipping.  You can use any type of metal but if you decide you'd like a patina on your metal you must oxidize the metal prior to making the necklace.

To create a wrapped loop first start by placing the bead in the center of the wire.  Then make a right angle right above where the bead is sitting.

Slide the bead off and then bend the wire over the pliers to create a loop.

Finish by overlapping the wire to close the loop.

Next, grab the loop end with a pair of flat nose pliers with your left hand.  With another set of pliers in your right hand, grab the tail of the wire.

Wrap the tail end of the wire around the straight portion of the wire several times.  You can have these wraps tight and straight or go for a crazy look like I've done.

Now add your first paper bead and create another wrapped wire loop on the opposite end.

Connect another piece of wire to one of the wrapped ends of your bead creating another loop at the end of this wire.  Add another paper bead.  Repeat until you have three paper beads connected together.

Now start connecting the black beads in the same way by creating wrapped loops.  I added five beads on one side and two on the other.

Next, create a large wrapped loop on the end for your focal bead.  Add your focal bead and twist your wire to make a spiral holding the bead in place.

Create the other side of the necklace by wire wrapping eleven more black beads together.

Add a clasp to the end of your piece.

Here is your end piece.

Now you can use steel wool to polish up the wire and remove any tool marks.  This will create light and dark areas to your copper adding depth to the metal.  Voila, you're done!