The Bead Dreamer’s blog is moving to a new home. It will still be a WordPress blog, I’m just moving it to my own domain. When I started the blog, I was focused on learning how to use the software, figuring out what to write about, finding my own voice. I thought about which blog platform to use and liked WordPress the best, still do. I did not even realize I also needed to consider where to host the blog, so I used WordPress and it worked just great.

But like so many things in life, we learn, we grow, we have different needs, and so it is time to move. Here’s where you can now find The Bead Dreamer’s Blog.

A while back, I wrote about these gorgeous CZ drops and a necklace I made using four of them.  Well, I started out with six CZ teardrops and had two left – one red and the other amber.  I didn’t want to use them together again since I had already done that.  I also thought one of them might look a little sad alone, so I looked for a companion and found this little black glass piece with a red splash.  He said he wanted to play so I said OK.

I love the pairing and I call the piece dash dot.  I realize that technically it’s maybe more of an exclamation point and dot, but at this point the dash dot name has stuck.

I used black beads with white spots and black glass for the main body of the necklace and for some reason, brown crystals seemed right for the front.  A few tiny shell squares and two silver crescent roll beads complete the design.

Photo courtesy of Kiva

There are so many desperate needs in the world today and like most people, I want to help.  The magnitude of some of the problems is almost beyond comprehension.  It is easy to become overwhelmed or to feel as though the contribution I can make is too small, it won’t make a difference.  I was feeling that way earlier today and then I saw Nora Leon’s blog and this quote:

“I can do no great things, only small things with great love.” Mother Teresa

It helped me remember that small things matter.  I’ve assembled kits for women in Rebecca Sower’s Haiti by Hand group.  I’ll work on an instruction sheet showing them how to make the earrings as soon as I can get someone to photograph my hands.  Since we don’t speak the same language, I figure showing them is the best way.  My goal is to finish the kits and get a box to her next week.  I need to go to a craft store to get some small hand tools for the women.

I made a Kiva loan to the woman entrepreneur pictured above.  She is running a beauty parlor and needs help getting supplies.  Her name is Titilayo Ajakaye and she is from Nigeria.

Through Hope International, I purchased a hair dryer for a woman in the Dominican Republic, also running a beauty parlor.

Small things.  Done with love.  And they matter.

I love the simple sweetness of this bracelet.  There are three red white heart Venetian trail beads at the center.  “White heart” beads are ones where a color – red in this case – is layered over a white core (heart).  In the days when these beads were made, colored glass was harder to make and more expensive so this was a technique used to keep the beads more affordable.  I find the white heart also gives the beads a touch of luminosity.  I kept the design simple – jet crystal, black glass, aquamarine teardrops and darkened sterling silver chain.

Sometimes when I make very simple jewelry, I question whether I’ve done enough.  At times, I will ask my boyfriend what he thinks.  He always says the same thing – more notes don’t make a better song.  And he’s right – there can be just as much artistry in a simple, clean design as in one with a lot of complexity.

Photo courtesy of Candy.com

Remember them?  Oh how I would love it when I would manage to get one.  I’d put it on and wear it intact as long as I could.  But eventually the candy was too much to resist and so I’d pull the necklace up and bite off a piece or two.  And I’d nibble again and again.  Before long, my neck would be sticky and candy colored from trying to wear the necklace and eat it at the same time.  Eventually, I’d take it off and finish the candy, savoring each piece until I was left with the sticky piece of elastic.

And I was happy with this simple childhood pleasure.  Funny the things you remember.  I wonder if I would like it if I ate one now…

Photo courtesy of Blair Candy

No candy was provided to me by either company.  I would eat it if some was and be sure to fully disclose the fact.

As an artisan, it’s important to me to continue to grow and develop my skills.  And so I work at it and play at it.  When I returned from Penland School of Craft this past summer, I knew I wanted to expand the type of jewelry I was making to fully capitalize on what I learned in the class.

In the car on the way back from Penland, I started making a list of those things that if I did them would further cement and expand upon what I learned in the class.  When I got home, I typed it up, posted it in a prominent place, and here it is.

Everything on the list is definite and concrete – something that is either done or not done.  There is nothing like – improve sawing skills – which you can never really finish because you can always improve.  Instead I have something like – cut out the details from one coin.

The bright pink marks are things I’ve completed.  Here and there I get pulled by other things a realize I haven’t looked at the list in a while.  When I realize it, I go back to the list and check it.  Sometimes I see that I’ve completed an item or two while doing other things.  Other times, I pick an item and get going.

What I especially like are those things that started out on the list but have now become ingrained in my arsenal of techniques.

Here are some of the things that I still need to do:

  • Make four folded, cut, and hammered leaves
  • Make two pieces with hinges
  • Select a historical piece of jewelry and create a design inspired by it using fragmentation and abstraction

I will get there.  I will.

I’ve been of two minds here lately – on one hand I’ve been making larger, chunkier ethnic eclectic pieces and I am so in love with them.

On the other, I’m equally enamored with a series of pieces based on images from the forest floor – tiny leaves, pods, vines, moss, lichen.

This pair of earrings is from the latter.  I’m working in brass primarily, cutting tiny designs in it, and then adding a second layer of related designs by stamping the metal.  I then add additional interest by darkening the brass, sanding it, and then darkening it again.  The result is darker edges – a small touch, but one that I think matters.

When I first learned to saw metal and was breaking saw blades right and left, I could not have imagined making such tiny cuts.  It’s nice being better with the saw and being able to make some of what is in my imagination.  So far, I’ve done two necklaces and this pair of earrings in the series.  I’m calling it “Secrets from the Forest Floor”.  I’d like to explore it more over the coming months.