Wood and leather

I love using natural materials in some of my designs (altho I am vegetarian, I do use leather in my designs on occasion). Here I’ve paired a hand braided leather cord I purchased online with a wood and brass focal that I painted using patina paints and gold leaf. I made it a bit rustic by using sand paper around the edges. I strung it with a few beads, including semi-precious stone, brass metal spacers, and czech glass, and voila!

Opposite side of pendant using a different patina paint as my base color
Close-up of wood pendant
The whole necklace

I decorated the wood pendant in a workshop conducted by Candie Cooper, who demonstrated various ways to enhance a raw wood focal. The patinas are from Vintaj, who carry a wide variety of colors and as you can see I used several to create a collage of color on the wood. Also, on the opposite side of the pendant, I chose to do another variation of the colors, only this time I used the orange patina as my base rather than the turquoise. It gives me options on how I wear it and what I can wear it with by just flipping the necklace over. When working with these patinas you need to realize that they do dry rather quickly, so you have to work fast. Because it’s a soft wood piece, a quick swipe of fine sandpaper (something that won’t scratch the surface, unless you desire a more distressed look) can take off the dry layer of patina if you don’t like how it looks. I actually did that with this piece. I did not like how the original paint job came out and the more patina I added to try and improve it the worse it got. So, out came the sandpaper and I sanded all the dry paint off and started over. I added wire to the top brass cap and strung some beads on it, made a loop and attached to this leather cord with a jump ring. If I wish to, I can remove the pendant by opening the jump ring and taking it off.

In addition to wood, you can also use these patinas on metal. I’ve done that on a few brass charms and pendants. Adds a nice artisan look to it. Next time try your hand at using patinas in your jewelry pieces!

Pondering over coffee and beads- “If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Take out those paints and brushes and get started! ~Holly G (HBG Jewelry)

Pairing old with new

As I mentioned previously, I love to shop for beads and artisan made pieces, often doing so from online sources. I get a little thrill when the packages arrive at my home. I rarely make anything with them right away. I like to let them sit on my bead table for awhile, letting them adjust to their new home. I honestly just like to look at them and admire their beauty. Eventually, I look for a place for them to safely reside in the assundry of beadbox containers I have. Beads, focals, charms, etc can sit in those containers for years, just waiting for the right inspiration or additional pieces to arrive before they are used in my creations. It will amaze me when a new piece comes in and as I’m sorting through my containers I’ll run across just the right color/shape bead to be used with that new piece. I usually had forgotten I had those older items or just passed over them many a time waiting for when I would use them. That’s the advantage of having a stash to sort through. I don’t always have a design in mind when I buy something, but putting it along side findings I already have can make for a great pairing and inspire ideas. I tend to lean toward similar colors, shapes and styles so often I have a mix of things that will blend together nicely.

Here are some examples of my inspirations of mixing new items with those I had tucked away in my bead containers. The new item was the pink stone ready made necklace I found on Etsy that matched well with the previous purchase of the lamp worked leaf bead (artist Rita Schneck, bought in Tucson 2019) coupled with beads I already had in my stash. A mix of semi precious stones, ceramic, artisan made and glass beads. (This necklace appears in a previous post).

Close up of the lamp worked leaf pendant
Ready made beaded necklace with the artisan leaf pendant

Again here is another example of old/new pairings. The new is the turquoise butterfly bead that I got as part of a recent subscription mailing from Candie Cooper. All other items I already had on hand. The round turquoise beads I have had in my stash for many years in which I have only used a few of the beads in previous pieces. I also found hiding in my container of crystal beads these precious little butterfly pieces, just perfect for the earrings. A nice nod to the butterfly pendant without looking too matchy matchy.

Close up of earrings with the crystal butterfly beads
Butterfly necklace and earrings

I feel blessed to be able to have such a variety of items on hand to play with in my designs and creations. You just never know what you can put together, old and new. Don’t forget what you may have tucked away in a box somewhere. You probably have something to go with that newly acquired piece. Play and have fun!

If you celebrate Valentine’s Day, I hope it is a special one. If you created jewelry for the occasion, I hope it is beautiful and made you smile.

Pondering over coffee and beads- ” Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning.” ~ Paulo Coelho

Regards; Holly G (HBG Jewelry)

DIY Kits, great for cabin fever

Hello all! Winter is full on here, which means cold temps, short days and frequent overcast skies. As you may tell, it’s not my fave season….. at all. However, I do have to admit, I love the crisp winter air, very blue skies (when we have them) and the occasional snowfall, which we are getting this morning. I find myself mostly hibernating this time of year. Great time to get household chores done such as sorting, donating unused items and organizing. All of which I have been doing. With few things to do, chore-wise, outside I also put more attention into my jewelry making.

Last year I noticed several companies and independent sellers putting together and selling kits and subscription boxes for DIY jewelry makers. I would take a look-see, but wondered if I would like making something that someone else designed and where others could all make the same thing. They looked well thought out and put together, but I didn’t take the plunge, cost often being one of the main prohibitive factors. I then saw the kits offered by Czech Beads Exclusive (now known as Kraftika). As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a Czech bead fan and so these kits caught my eye. I had a hard time justifying making the commitment to a monthly subscription. Didn’t I already have a boat load of beads/findings as it was? However, there is something seductive about receiving all I need and the exact amount to make projects that were put together for me and mailed to my home. So, I decided to do Kraftika’s monthly subscription of their Bohemstyle boxes. They have the option to cancel anytime, so you’re not committed to receiving any more than you actually want.

I started to receive my boxes last Fall. I opened them right away, but did not put together the pieces. Then the holidays started to roll around and travel and I got busy with life. So each month I’d open my box, but put them aside and not make the projects!! By Christmas I had three unmade subscription boxes sitting on my workstation. Oy! I got a bit overwhelmed, so I cancelled my subscription and vowed to get these pieces made.

So, here is a photo of the contents of the December Bohemstyle box I received. Each box comes with a link to a video on what the design is and how to make them. There are also videos on YouTube of these subscription boxes being opened and revealed each month by Aleshia of beadifulnights. As you can see, it includes beads, stringing material, and all the necessary findings including crimps, crimp covers, jump rings, clasps, etc. It really is fun to open and be surprised as to what the pieces will be and to see the beautiful beads inside. It’s a little different feel than opening a package of items you specifically picked out and ordered, no surprise there. For this particular box, the pieces were a matching necklace and bracelet. I chose not to make the bracelet, as I prefer to have earrings that coordinate with my necklaces. So, after watching the how to video I decided to use some of my own materials, mixed with their beads and make a pair of earrings instead. The leftover materials from the box will be used in some other design. So, what do you think? I’m just loving the iridescent sheen of the leaves and flowers. For a December box, this was such a Spring-like design. Of course these are all Czech beads, so very good quality and style. All the materials were top notch, altho I found the head pins to be a finer gauge and therefore a bit flimsy. I prefer a heavier gauge. No problem if you have findings of your own to switch out and use, which is what I did. Other than that, the necklace is all the materials they sent me. For the earrings, since they were not part of the subscription box design, I used my own wire, eye pin and earring wires. Of course, they only send you the materials. All the necessary tools are things you have to have on hand. I liked having the video to follow as well. That way, you are putting the piece together as they intended. The bracelet was cute and looked like the necklace, but as I said that was not something I was interested in making.

Subscription box reveal

I just loved these beads and enjoyed making this project. I’ve started the second box which has some gorgeous beads and a beautiful design. I will post photos of that in the future. I hope you are inspired to try this or other subscription boxes and see what the designers come up with for you. Let it also spark your own creativity in the process.

Happy beading!! ~Holly G

Pondering while watching the snow fall- “Winter is the time of comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire. It is the time for home.” ~ Edith Sitwell

HBG Jewelry

Birds of a feather

Hi all! Happy Spring! I’m usually a summer gal, but this has been a long, dull winter and the onset of Spring is glorious right now. Trees and tulips blooming, grass greening up and birds with nests full of babies. Sweet! Yes, there has been rain, but we’ve also had sunny warm days too, which makes me hopeful.

Once again life has kept me from the beading table a bit. My mother had a health scare and was in need of attention and care. She’s on the mend now and progressing well. Thank goodness! So, I ventured back to beading to relax and create.

I pulled out some new beads I purchased from Goody Beads that I saw featured on a recent live video with Tory (Goody Beads) and Candie Cooper. They are homespun beads made by an artist in Spain (Jana Severin). Tory mentioned these were in limited supply, so I snatched up a few. Even though the colors are saturated, I thought they would be perfect for spring/summer outfits. I paired them up with silver spacers, glass beads and these fabulous thunderbird charms from TierraCast. There is definitely a Native American vibe to them. Really love the hues of teal and pink together and the charms have such wonderfully clear details to them.

In keeping with the bird theme I also made a leather tassel pendant using a black bird bead and rondelle bead from Humblebeads (Heather Powers). I paired it with a side drilled crystal upon which the bird and bead perch, almost nest like, atop the silver capped tassel. I used a messy wrap technique above the bird, which mimics a nest like appearance. I’m still in the process of putting together the necklace to hang this from. Still playing around with the beads and chain I want to use. That can happen, I’ll sit with something awhile until inspiration hits as to how to finish a project. I hope to get it together by the end of the weekend. If so, I’ll share a photo of the finished piece.

I leave for a girlfriends trip right after Easter, in just over a week! Woohoo! We are scattered all over the country, so it takes some planning to get us together. We’ve been doing this for years (15?!). For most of the gatherings I’ve made my friends something to commemorate the trip and I still need to make this year’s pieces!!! Yikes! I better get on it. I’ll share pics after they’ve received them. No peeking ahead of time.

Pondering over beads and coffee – “No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.” ~ William Blake

Bye for now ~ Holly G

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

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

So it begins….

Hello and welcome to my blog. First, introductions. My name is Holly and I retired as a psychologist after 27 years. I have a long time passion for jewelry making (and wearing!) and collecting (nee amassing) beads and jewelry findings and now I can devote more time to this. Woohoo!

I am an amateur in this field and in no way an expert, so please keep that in mind. I am self taught in jewelry making, having gone to a few workshops, read articles and how-to books, and watched online videos for my ‘training’. In the twenty plus years I have been engaged in this endeavor I have made many mistakes and continue to do so, but I love the creative process in jewelry making more than anything. Czech glass beads are a particular obsession at the moment, but I love discovering artists who create objects to be used in jewelry making as well. So many talented people out there! I enjoy making earrings, bracelets, anklets, and necklaces by stringing on artistic wire or cord using glass, metal, clay, wood beads, semi-precious stones, and artisan made components. I hope to expand my knowledge and skill set and maybe even try my hand at stitching/bead weaving. Since I’m retired, I now have a little more time (and less money?!) to travel to workshops and bead shows as well. Cannot wait to see where all this will lead me!

Since it has become ‘a thing’ to state ones intentions for doing something, I’ll state mine for this blog. My intention is to share my thoughts/feelings on this jewelry making hobby gone wild as I journey through the creative process, and whatever else comes to mind on the matter including sharing my latest creations and bead finds, information about other creatives in the field, etc. Conversations may occasionally digress to my other obsessions passions in life (beach vacations, meditation, books, cats, walks in the park on sunny days, and the general welfare of Mother Earth and all her inhabitants). I am sure this will morph and change as time goes on. I will try to keep this positive and lighthearted. I want this to be fun for me, as well as anyone else that may wish to read it.

What I’m pondering over beads and coffee …. “I’m going to stop putting things off….. starting tomorrow.” ~Sam Levenson