Beading and Basketball

Hi all! I’ve been away from the blog site for a few weeks, sorry about that. I’m a huge college basketball fan (men and women teams) and I love this time of year for March Madness, so I’ve been watching all the coverage. It’s hard for me to watch games and work on jewelry at the same time, so my jewelry making has taken a back seat. My bracket choices are doing okay, but some surprise wins have knocked down my bracket standings. Congrats to those teams, but boo for me. The Sweet Sixteen games are coming up this weekend, so good luck to all….. but especially my picks. ;D

In between game days, I did get to my beading table and I sorted, organized and made a few pieces. I’m one of those creatives that likes an organized, cleaned up space before I start working. It doesn’t stay that way during the process, but I like to start that way. It helps me get inspired when I go through my bead containers and see what’s in there and see things that I have forgotten about. I have found that I’ll have a component or beads for months, sometimes years, and suddenly see it with ‘new eyes’ and whip something up using them. Not sure what triggers that, but maybe I’ve seen them used elsewhere, watched a video on a particular technique and realize I could use it with those pieces, whatever. It really jazzes me when that happens and motivates me to keep going.

So I got some new components from Goody Beads after watching one of their Facebook videos. They are four pair of fan tassel components on silver tone rings. They are so fun looking and would be great for Spring and Summer. During my sorting I pulled some beads out that I had stashed and tried to come up with a way to use these fan tassel pieces for earrings. For the one set with the matching necklace, I just strung some complimentary beads I had in my collection, attached the fan tassel component to the bottom of the eye pin and put on ear wires. With the other two I actually used jewelry glue and glued the beads to the top of the ring so the fan tassel hung underneath. I love how they turned out! I’ve already received compliments when I wore the black pair the other night. I have had those rectangular beads I used on the necklace a long time, wondering what I would ever do with them. When I started putting the earrings together I saw these ceramic beads in the mix and thought they would make a great addition to a coordinating necklace, without looking too matchy-matchy to the earrings. You just never know when the beads and components you have had tucked away will ‘speak to you’ and all come together. I really like how the multi-colored tassels take on a different look depending on what colors are used with them and of course you can’t go wrong with silver and black in anything. So, what do you think?

Pondering over beads and coffee- “What people call serendipity sometimes is just having your eyes open.” ~ Jose Manuel Barroso

Keep a sharp eye ~ Holly G

Learning, making, shopping and more in Tucson (pt 3)

One reason, of many, for my attending Tucson this year was to attend Candie Cooper’s Roam Free full day jewelry making workshop. Having attended the first one she hosted in Memphis last Fall, I was looking forward to another fun day of learning, making, and fellowship with like minded members of the ‘bead tribe’, affectionately named The Canes.

Candie lined up some wonderful artists for us to learn from and who willingly shared their knowledge and talents. In addition to Candie, there was Andrew Thornton, Cynthia Thornton, Rita Schneck (who we often refer to as Rita Keys and Rita leaves as she makes some wonderful glass leaves and glass beads around old skeleton keys), Tammie Rae Wolter, Tory from Goody Beads, as well as Rita Padula-Panulla from Impress Arts, Taylor Falls reps, Jool Tool Rep Anie Jolie, the good folks of Beadalon, and others who’s names escape me right now (forgive me). From setting intentions, to diving right into skill building, it was a full, fun day (lunch, snacks and dinner were part of the deal, all of which were delish!).

Recycled glass necklace and leather pendant with Green Girl button
Intentions keepsake pendant
Earrings made from Tammy Rae’s glass pieces

I never seem to do as well in these classes as I do (or seem like I do) at home on my own. Being surrounded by talented folk can make one question their own abilities and be a bit intimidate! lol However, everyone that attends these workshop events have all been a very supportive bunch of gals. So willing to help and share, an amazing group! We all come from diverse backgrounds and various locations around the country, but we come together in a spirit of fun and giving. I feel blessed to have found a wonderful group of ladies. Not just with Candie’s group, but everywhere I went in Tucson, the people had such a welcoming spirit. I’ve posted some pics of a few of the items worked on that day. I did not post pics of all projects. We made a cute memory wire bracelet from GoodyBeads, and an enamel pendant from Rita of ImpressArts polished with Anie’s Jool Tool, as well as a beaded pendant stick from Beadalon. Everyone’s individual talents and artistry were supported and encouraged. By the end of the night it was a lively party atmosphere with beads, jewelry making, food and drinks mixed with laughter and fun.

The rest of my time in Tucson was spent doing more looking and shopping at multiple venues and hanging out with some fun gals. Most of my $$ was spent at the vendors at the Casino Del Sol, but I found some goodies at the other venues as well. I should have brought an empty suitcase! I had a crazy fun dinner adventure with some ‘Canes’ one night and was able to go to the African market before I flew home. The weather made some places very muddy and cold, but I persevered and enjoyed myself. I guess I can shop under any circumstances. Met some nice Lyft drivers and some who could learn a few things about customer service. Saw some lovely desert landscapes, beautiful sunsets, and nature blessed me with a close sighting of a bobcat who ran across the road right in front of my Lyft car. The bobcat was running at top speed, avoided getting hit thank goodness and continued his run up the mountain side by the road. Gorgeous animal!

Here are a few more pics from my travels to Tucson. I hope to make it back one day, but if that’s not meant to be, I am more than thrilled with my experiences on this trip and happy to have met and got to know all the people I did. Memories for a lifetime.

Pondering over beads and coffee- “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” – Confucius

Ciao all, until next time- Holly G

African Market
African Market

Bead-ageddon (pt 2)

Loved Tucson and the whole vibe happening in the town. I was with my peeps! I’m not a rock hound, but I do love gemstones and beads and all things jewelry and the town was buzzing with that energy.

I had a day before Candie Cooper’s all day workshop to go on the bead hunt and after looking over all the information about shows/locations, I decided to go to the Casino Del Sol where To Bead True Blue and Colors of the Stone were located. I ended up going there twice during my time in Tucson and had a ball! What made it all so special was seeing the people in person from the DIY jewelry making world that I have been following online, in books and videos, Facebook, on tv, etc. So wonderful to meet them and chat. Such a great bunch of folks, and so kind and friendly.

So many vendors…be still my heart. I spent hours wandering from booth to booth. Not only was I shopping for myself, but I was also shopping for my friend. I usually see these products through their online store or Etsy shop. That’s the way of the world, but here I was able to touch and take it all in at a glance. Often, the artist themselves right there to talk with and ask questions.

I wasn’t alone in my adventure either. Several of us who met through Candie Cooper were hanging together and taking it all in. Some had been there before, others were first timers. Any way you slice it, it all was good times! I was exhausted by the end of that first full day. I sat in my hotel room going through all my purchases and relaxing. Sweet!

Lipstick Ranch & Patricia Healey
Dakota Stones
Dakota Stones
Golem Beads
top 3 rows

Pondering over beads and coffee…“A happy life is one which is in accordance with its own nature.” ~ Seneca

Don’t worry, be happy ~ Holly G

Back from Tucson Gem Show (pt 1)

First off let me say Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone. Now, I returned from Tucson a week ago and it’s taken me that long to recover and get myself back in the swing of things. Catching up with my husband and filling him in on the trip details, unpacking, laundry, resting my weary back, etc. I still haven’t organized all my purchases, but that will be next on my list. In addition, a fellow jewelry maker and bead enthusiast I met last Fall in Memphis was unable to attend the Tucson show and asked if I would do some bead shopping for her. Would I?! Of course I’d be happy to help out a friend and fellow bead hoarder collector. So once home, I needed to get her items packaged and shipped off. She has received them and gives a big thumbs up for her Tucson haul. I’m glad I was able to find things she loves and could use. Look forward to seeing what she makes.

This was my first time in Tucson and to the gem/mineral show, although I have been in AZ several times before. From what I saw of Tucson and the surrounding area, it seems like a very nice city. I love seeing the desert, as it is so unusual from the landscape we have here at home. I was hoping for a dry desert trip, unfortunately they got rain a few days. It seems to be following me. They also had cool temps, not cold like home, but enough to need the layers I had packed.

Since part of the reason I was going to Tucson was to participate in Candie Cooper’s Roam Free workshop day, I stayed at the hotel (Hotel McCoy) where she was hosting the event. It is a retro hotel that has been remodeled with a funky vibe. All the murals and artwork around the place is by local artists. Rooms were simply appointed with colorful art, a comfortable bed, large flat screen tv, and retro refridge. Complimentary breakfast was oatmeal, coffee, juice, fruit and Pop-Tarts. What’s not to love! Altho, I have to say by the end of the trip I was done with oatmeal! Once I arrived and settled in I met someone else staying there who was also going to be taking Candie’s workshop. Dinner and the complimentary beverage were in order and then rest for what was to come. More later…..

Sunset in Tucson

Pondering over beads and coffee- “All you need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” ~ Charles M Schulz

Road to Mecca (jewelry mecca that is)

Necklace I made using a commissioned piece from Ashley of Summer Wind Art

Unfortunately I’ve been nursing a sore back, which has kept me away from the computer. Feeling well enough to write now, I decided to post something before I head to Tucson for the Gem, Mineral, Fossil, and Jewelry Show. Woohoo, desert here I come! This will be my first time attending and I’m beyond excited! This has been on my bucket list for several years and I finally made the decision to attend this year.

For those unfamiliar with the event it is a 2 1/2 week gathering of hundreds of gem, mineral, bead, fossil, and jewelry vendors, experts, artisans, and shoppers, all converging on Tucson, AZ. There are over 40 different venues located in hotels, the convention center, warehouses, casino, and on sidewalks and in huge tents all over town. Take your pick, there is something for everyone from dino bones to flamework glass beads, to metalsmith pieces and fine gem stones. Vendors come from all over the world to sell, trade, and just share their expertise with the public and wholesalers alike.

Being a newbie I decided to purchase the Tucson Gem Show catalog which has loads of information on all the shows, how to get around town, maps, restaurants in the area, hotels, etc. Totally worth the investment. Also, there are apps one can download and information online. I was propelled to take the leap to attend when a jewelry artist I follow online decided to run a day long workshop there (Candie Cooper). She is holding it in a cool motel and she has lined up some wonderful artists that will be doing classes with her. Candie’s event is a day and a half long which includes visiting the African markets and other venues, but I booked time before and after to do some things on my own. Of course I’ll be shopping and will definitely go to the shows located in the casino. Many people I’ve purchased from will be located there. There are a few others venues on my list that I want to attend, but being new and not sure of the layout and transportation I’ll just play my free time by ear and see what happens. I will be attending the Beads of Courage bracelet making fundraiser one evening. People I’m familiar with in the DIY jewelry world will be there and it all sounds fun and for a great cause.

I will be posting pics from my time there, so keep a sharp eye out for that. I’ll also share what trinkets I find and bring home with me.

Time to start packing! ~ Holly G

Pondering over beads and coffee- “What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The right components

As a Do It Yourself jewelry maker, I’m always on the hunt for the perfect components to use in my pieces. That’s half the fun! Beads of all shapes and sizes can be found in a variety of hobby stores or venues like Etsy and Amazon and are often mass produced. I buy those by the boatload, especially during sales. I love the variety in colors and mediums. I’m partial to glass, but I also like wood, lava, clay, resin, and of course natural gemstones. If you have a design in mind and find just the right size bead, in the right color, that’s magical! I can hardly wait to put it all together.

I also love love love buying handmade components. There are so many unique and talented artisans out there that create lovely pieces. I feel I have only scratched the surface in locating them. I have some favorite artists that I return to and I’m adding more to the list all the time. Facebook has been a great source for me to find individuals or groups of people who specialize in making jewelry components. They often have sales/auctions live on FB. You often have to be fast tho, as items sell quickly. I’ll be talking about these people here periodically, as I so enjoy their work and incorporating it into mine.

This photo is of a pair of earrings I made using Czech glass beads, spacers, silver plated beads and sunburst design charms/components I believe came from Wild Raven Studio. (That’s the bad part, I don’t always remember who made what without going through my stack of purchases. I’ll need to do better getting that information organized this year.) I just love the southwest (or beachy) vibe of the colors and design. They are lightweight and so easy to wear. It actually has been easy to find clothing that goes well with these colors too. A great pair of earrings to wear on a Caribbean cruise or while wintering in Sedona sipping wine watching a desert sunset. Don’t mind if I do!

Pondering over beads and coffee… “Sunsets, like childhood, are viewed with wonder not just because they are beautiful but because they are fleeting.”  –Richard Paul Evans

Enjoy the day- Holly G


I love artists and their works. Of all mediums. Wandering museums, art shows, craft markets are my jam! I truly envy their talent and courage to put their work out for others to see (and judge). I just love the inspiration it gives me, makes me believe I too can be an artist. However, that thought that I am not an artist has been a major stumbling block to me and my creativity. I have to remind myself that a person does not have to be a trained artist with an MFA to be a creative. Because I’m not trained in jewelry design (or art of any kind) I do look around for inspiration and help in how to make and create.

I began my jewelry making journey in prehistoric times (aka pre-internet). My sources for how-tos were jewelry making books and magazines. I’d either go to the local bookshops or the library to find anything I could on the subject. At the time, there seemed to be quite the variety of magazines to peruse through. I had quite the stack for awhile. I really enjoyed repeatedly flipping through the pages and getting jazzed up by all that I saw. Some designs I felt were beyond my reach and talents, others were possibilities. I rarely buy these magazines now as they are getting harder and harder to find both in stores and online.

Years ago I found a PBS show, Beads Baubles and Jewels that still runs on my local public TV station every Friday. Ah, more like minded peeps! I love the show because I much prefer to watch someone make something and give instructions instead of seeing still photos and reading the instructions. Now, the internet is the main source of locating inspiration for me. The how to videos on YouTube and Facebook as well as on bead sellers/jewelry makers websites has just blown up over the past several years. Lucky us! What a great way to see and met people who share my passion and can talk the ‘bead talk’. Can’t forget to mention Pinterest as well. What a great way to waste time find great ideas and more people connections.

Truly, there are many ways to find inspiration. If you want to find color combinations to use in your pieces look to nature, such as walking through the park, catching a sunset on the beach, desert beauty, country living, etc. Fashion and home design/decorating magazines are also great sources for seeing what is currently on trend. I’ve seen jewelry makers challenge themselves and others to create a piece based on colors in a particular painting or photograph. I’ve tried this when I’ve been stuck creatively and couldn’t find my muse for awhile. It helps get the juices flowing again.

Pondering over beads and coffee….“Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.” -Alan Alda

Creatively yours~ Holly G


Since the 70s I have been a fan of the Peace sign. You know the one, the round circle with the three pronged bird foot looking symbol. At the time it was the image to wear on t-shirts, purses, jean patches and of course jewelry. My fave was a necklace with the peace sign hanging from a long chain or piece of leather. So cool. I didn’t own one as a youngster, but quite a few years ago my husband and I went to a NYE party that had a ’60s’ costume theme. I went to a local vintage shop to find some things for us to wear and found just such a necklace and bought it. After all those years, I finally had one. It was a must have piece. Not sure who manufactured it tho. I also got a Lucky Brand chunk chain PEACE bracelet that I wore regularly for awhile. Might be time to get that back in the wearing rotation.

Of course I have been buying and collecting Peace symbol charms and beads to use in my jewelry as well. These findings can be located in retail hobby/craft stores and online shops. I also found some delicious Czech glass Peace beads and bought some in several colors. More colors are available and are on my wish list, because more is more! They are on my bead table to use some day. I like to let pieces sit around a bit until inspiration hits. I also just like to have them and look at them. They make me smile! Once I get something put together I’ll post a pic. I recommend using findings in your jewelry designs that mean something to you like the peace symbol, or beads/charms in other shapes and colors, because if they mean something to you likely it means something to others. It is especially nice if you are making a pair of earrings or a bracelet for someone to incorporate items that reflect the wearer in some way. Makes it so much more personal and special

BTW, if I were to get another tattoo (I only have one now), it would be the Peace sign, but that’s for another day.

Pondering over beads and coffee…. “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” Jimi Hendrix

Peace Out! ~Holly G

Whatever possessed me

I’m really not sure when or why my passion in jewelry started. I do know it goes way back. Rings were my early obsession (and still are). I loved looking at them on others and always wanted to wear them. I wore inexpensive adjustable rings as a little girl. Plastic or cheap metal ones. The kind that would turn my finger green over night. I knew I wouldn’t be getting ‘real’ rings at that age, but I did covet them. One of my childhood girlfriends got a birthstone ring as a gift from her parents and I so wanted one like it. The ‘stone’ was colored glass and the metal plated, but that didn’t matter. I must have made my desires known to my friend, because for my birthday she and her mother took me to the department store where she got hers and bought me one in my birthstone. I still have that ring today, scuffed up and lackluster after so much wear. It meant the world to me at the time. I’ve had pieces handed down to me from my grandmothers, aunts, and mother. All unique and carry their own story. Once when I was admiring a ring my aunt was wearing she took it off and gave it to me right then. It was a birthstone ring she had purchased in Italy, her native country (we shared the same birthstone). I was so surprised by and appreciative of her gesture. I wore it for a long time and cherish it. My husband knows all too well my love of jewelry and has given me so many lovely pieces over the years. I love them all… and him too. It’s wonderful to have a spouse that more than tolerates my jewelry hobby. When I was a young teen, mood rings became the fad (mid 70s). Of course I had to have one and got an inexpensive version. I thought it was, in the vernacular of the day, neat. I wish I still had it. Jewelry is not just something that adorns a person, but can carry with it sentimental value that is worth more than any monetary amount.

I have drawers and boxes full of fashion (junk?!) jewelry I’ve amassed over the years even after having donated quite a bit to charitable yard sales and Goodwill. Still, when I go to antique shops or flea markets the jewelry booths are my favorite stops. I like to linger over the cases of antique fashion pins or Bakelite bangles. Maybe I’ll find a hidden treasure I think. Rare now to find a bygone trinket at a bargain. I’ve bought a few faves, the ‘just can’t live without’ pieces, but mostly I’m just a looky-loo. Now I have loads of earrings, necklaces, bracelets that I’ve made for myself. I still like to buy rings however. That is something I haven’t mastered making, nor do I really want to. It’s fun to go on the hunt.

Pondering over beads and coffee….. “The ring has awoken, it’s heard its master’s call” – Gandalf The Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkien)

Ciao! ~Holly G

New Year At The Bead Table

A new year usually means new year resolutions. I’ve decided to try Gretchen Rubin’s approach (author of The Happiness Project, host of the Happier podcast, etc) by doing a 19 for 2019 list. Maybe I’ll do better following through on doing them, however I won’t chastise myself if I don’t. Being less critical of myself is on the list. Also, I’ll be using GR’s recommendation for a one word theme for the new year. I’ve chosen FORWARD. To me, it conjures up positive movement and taking on challenges and pushing through any fears or doubts. Not a bad way to begin.

My 19 goals are varied, but the central idea seems to be to try to be more disciplined and consistent in whatever it is I wish to do, be it exercise, creating, meditating, reading, traveling, have more fun, and so on.

Items related to jewelry making include working at my bead table at least 5 days a week. Should be easy, right? I mean I love creating and playing with my bead collection, but I can get distracted by my to-do list and put ‘creating’ for later. This will probably mean organizing my day a little better and sticking to a schedule. I’m not always a fan of that. I like flexibility, so this will be a work in progress. I’ll let you know how I do.

Also on my list is to learn a bead stitch. I know, many of you have already gone down that path, but I have been resistant for some reason. Maybe because my previous hobby was cross stitch and that about did in my eyes and patience. I find I like immediate gratification when it comes to creating. In addition, I will hopefully be attending more bead workshops and bead shows. I already have plans to go to Tuscon in February! I will try my hand at an Etsy shop as well, which means refining my jewelry design style, business name/logo, and business practices. I ran my own therapy practice, but this is a 180 from that! Lots of new to try this year as well as just trying to keep up.

May we all have a blessed and peaceful 2019.

Pondering over beads and coffee…. “Hope, smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’.” 
― Alfred Lord Tennyson

Ciao! ~Holly G