Monday, December 16, 2013

C Koop Book Challenge

A couple of months ago, Lorelei Eurto announced a new challenge on her blog.  She was giving away these adorable "books", and those chosen were to create a piece of jewelry with them that told a story, and to also use at least 3 components from our local bead store.  

Photo courtesy of Lorelei Eurto

Immediately, ideas started forming, and I was thrilled to be chosen to participate.  

This is the necklace I created and the story behind it.

I decided to base the necklace I created for this challenge on one of my favorite books, On Folly Beach, by Karen White.  I’ve always been a fan of historical fiction, and this book combines the past and present in a book about a family during WWII South Carolina and present day Folly Beach.   I created pages in the book to look like letters and pictures soldiers would have sent home during the war.  In fact, the images featured are copies of pictures my grandfather sent home from WWII Germany and France, and he is the gentleman on the right in the first picture. 

The yellow floral beads, deep red “sea glass”, and pearls are from a bead store called Plumb Alley Beads, located 45 minutes from my home.  The floral beads represent the floral designs popular during the 1940s, and the sea glass and pearls are a nod to the ocean and the part it played in On Folly Beach. 

I hope you enjoy this peek into a book I love, as well as my own personal link to the necklace. 

I had a wonderful time participating in this challenge and this will always be a special piece to me!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

More Christmas jewelry

Thought I'd share a couple of Christmas themed pieces I created.  The large red and green beads in the earrings are from Potomac Bead Company in Alexandria, VA.  They're so festive--I love them!

The bracelet was created from a pattern I found on the internet, but for the life of me I can't remember the website!  

I've also been working on some more broken china jewelry for my friend, Misty, and hope to have pics posted soon.

Now off to enjoy a Christmas movie with the family!

Monday, December 9, 2013


 A week or so ago, Heather Powers posted a tutorial for polymer clay owls on her blog.  Since I absolutely adore owls, I had to give them a try.  I made 4, and two of them turned out well. 

Although the white and gray owl didn't photograph quite as well, it's my favorite.  I was thinking of Hedwig, Harry Potter's owl, when I made it.  I loved it so much, I had to make a necklace out of it last night.

It's a neutral necklace, using lots of gray and clear crystal.  I wanted to be able to wear it with a variety of outfits.  

Still trying to squeeze in some last minute Christmas jewelry making into my schedule.  It's such a hectic time of year, but you can never have too much Christmas themed jewelry, right?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cyber Monday Sale

I've just renewed some listings in my Etsy shop, and am offering 10% off today with the coupon code CYBER13.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I'm back

Last Thursday - Saturday I attended a human resources conference in Washington, D.C. (well, technically, it was on the Maryland side of the river in National Harbor).  I stayed at a hotel with the most beautiful atrium.  They had a large Christmas tree suspended from the ceiling that they lit every night, with the lights choreographed to Christmas carols.  They also had fake snow during the lighting!  I discovered this while getting my coffee one evening (yes, there was a Starbucks-like coffee shop in the atrium!!).  There were little shops and restaurants, and even a toy train that ran through it.  It was wonderful!

On my way home Saturday I stopped at the Potomac Bead Company in nearby Alexandria, VA.  I bought a few things, but haven't taken pictures yet.  On my way out, I took a wrong turn somewhere and wound up heading back to Maryland, instead of home.  About the time I realized my mistake, my gps died.  It eventually came back on, but I spent about an hour lost, driving in what felt like complete circles.  I think my gps was amused.  I was not!  No surprise I got lost.  It's the very rare occasion I travel without a hitch.

Today is the last work day this week.  I'm very excited about having tomorrow off with no place to go.  I plan to do some baking and cooking for Thanksgiving, and make some Christmas jewelry.  We're expecting several inches of snow, but I hope we don't get too much.  We always go to my in-laws house and my parents' house for dinner (two dinners in one day--can't beat that!), and I hope the roads are safe.

I hope everyone who travels this week is able to do so safely!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Small show

Last night a cooking show was held here at the college, and they allowed vendors to set up for a couple of hours pre-show.  I decided to participate, and had a very good time!

I made a very simple display, using Christmas trees and place mats, and brought enough jewelry, but not too much.  I was rather pleased with the sales and received a lot of great feedback.  It was definitely worth my time!

Tomorrow I'm off to Washington, D.C. for a conference.  I'm sure the conference will be good, but most of all I'm looking forward to having some alone time in the hotel room tomorrow and Friday nights.  I love to take along reading material and beads, and spending the evening doing what I want, when I want.  I'll definitely miss Travis and the girls, but sometimes it's nice to have a couple of days away from the demands of everyday life!

Friday, November 15, 2013


Have I been neglectful or what?!  There's been so much going on that I've barely known if I'm coming or going.  It's the busy season, but I love it!  

There is a cooking show here Tuesday night, and from 5-7 they're allowing vendors to come set up a booth.  I decided to participate, so I'm busy making plans for that.  I like the fact that it's only a couple of hours, there should be lots of traffic, and the only cost for setting up was a $12 ticket to the show.  Can't beat that!

I have managed to make some earrings with the acorn caps I found.  

I just love these.  Definitely worth the trek in the woods.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

BB&J technique

I've been checking out some of the new projects on the Beads, Baubles and Jewels website.  Their series 1900 is now online, and there are several projects I'd like to try.  The first was these quick crystal earrings, demonstrated by Katie Hacker.

These worked up in no time at all, using 6mm crystals (red, brown and orange), and 26 gauge wire.  I think I'll have to make some with Christmas colors, as well, since we're quickly heading into that season!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Gaea focal

I finally used the Gaea focal I've been hoarding for a little while in this necklace.

The necklace is slightly asymmetrical, which is a feat for me.  I tend to have a much easier time with symmetrical designs--I do have an accounting degree after all, and we know that both sides of a balance sheet must match.  Anyway...  I also used waxed linen cord, which I knotted between beads, rather than wire.  I'm a bit ashamed this is the first time I've done that, but I really like the look.  

I'm slowly but surely learning a little about Twitter, and have posted a couple of pics there, so check me out at MustardBead!

Hope everyone out there has a happy weekend!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone!  Today I'm wearing this bracelet:

I stitched this a couple of years ago, using a pattern I found on Beadaholique.

Hope everyone enjoys the little trick or treaters!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I'm finally on Twitter!  You can find me at mustardbead.  Now I just need to figure out how to use it and all the things I can do with it!  Be patient--I'm too young to be this technologically challenged!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sparkly necklace

Yesterday I attended a conference for work, and I couldn't help but notice the necklace the lady across from me was wearing.  I'm sure you've seen similar ones--it's a strand of rhinestones attached to a chain so that you can control the length.  I started thinking about how I could use a sparkly necklace (what girl couldn't).  I had some beads that aren't rhinestones, but still catch the light beautifully, so I decided to make my own version.  

It's hard to see the sparkle in the picture, but it turned out well.  I whipped it up in the car while Katie was in gymnastics.  I managed to throw seed beads all over the front floor, but I suppose a few beads never hurt anything!

I found out today that I was randomly chosen to participate in Lorelei Eurto's book challenge.  Yay!  I'm so excited!  You can read more about the challenge here:  

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Acorn pendants

I finished several of my acorn pendants this weekend, and I love how they turned out.  I did learn something, though.  The caps have to be quite small to fit a regular sized bead.  A lot of the caps I gathered were pretty big, but luckily I had a few beads large enough to work.  Here's the finished product.

These are now listed in my etsy shop.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday randoms

Just some random thoughts for this Friday...

* My bead embroidery piece is nearly finished.  I worked on it last night in the car, while Katie was in gymnastics.  The light gave out before I could finish, though, since the days are getting shorter.

* My new Elaine Ray beads from Ornamentea came last week, and I have yet to photograph them--much less do anything with them.

* I think I may have to give up my beloved Sunday afternoon naps.  There just aren't enough hours in the day to do what I'd like to get done.

* It's starting to get cool enough to think about dragging out the fall/winter clothes.  It's a big job, though, and one I think I can put off a bit longer.

* We're having another craft festival in the area tomorrow.  Someday I may participate.  For now, I just enjoy going.

* This is a picture Travis took last weekend of the girls and me at the lake.  I think Hannah can now say she's taller than me.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, October 14, 2013


I did something Saturday that I don't do a whole lot of--I went to a local lake.  I'm not very outdoorsy, and I can't swim, so we only go there once or twice a year.  I wanted to look for acorn caps, and I knew I'd find a lot since there are so many trees around the lake.  My goal is to make acorn pendants, using the caps (which I will seal) and beads.  I've seen this done before, and think they're absolutely adorable.  This is a small part of my loot.

I wound up with several different sizes--from quite large to very small.  Hopefully I have beads to fit several of them.  

Today is my birthday, or as I've been calling it, my first annual 39th birthday.  Yep--it's my last year in my 30s.  I have to say I've enjoyed my 30s, and hope the last year of them will be extra special!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New necklace

A couple of weeks ago, I made two necklaces to submit to the Spring issue of Stringing magazine.  I was asked to send one in for further consideration.  This is the other.

It's funny because this is the necklace I really struggled with.  The one they asked me to send in was a last minute idea, and I put it together quickly before bed one night.  Maybe the spur-of-the-moment ideas are the best!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Projects underway

I mentioned the other day I had the itch to try bead embroidery, so I gave it a shot the other day.  I haven't finished, of course, but this is the progress I've made so far.

The cabochon has pretty shades of pink, brown and olive green in it, so I'm using those colors.  Obviously it's not perfect, but I'm hoping it will turn out well in the end.  If not, it is my first try, after all!

I'm also working on a tennis bracelet pattern I found.  The pattern calls for 4mm crystals, but I love the colors of these 6mm crystals I have, so I thought I'd use those and adjust the number of seed beads used.  I'm not so sure about this.  I'm not satisfied with it, so I'm seriously considering taking it apart and using 4mm crystals after all.  

So, those are the projects I currently have going.  I'm also starting to really think about Christmas projects now, too.  

Friday, September 27, 2013

Happy Birthday

Happy 12th birthday to my daughter, Katie!

I can't believe how quickly time flies!!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Catching up

My goodness--it's almost been a week since I last blogged.  Things have been pretty busy between work and two active girls.  I've also been working late to finish my submissions to Stringing's Spring 2014 issue.  Emailed them today, so now it's a waiting game.

I did finally get back on the torch this past weekend.  One of the beads I made is featured in one of the Stringing submissions.  This is one of my other favorites.

I plan to us it in a Halloween themed piece--as soon as I feel inspired!

Tomorrow is my youngest's 12th birthday.  That means one thing--a sleepover tomorrow night.  She's only having 3 girls over, but it's amazing how they can make such big messes!  I'm anticipating a marathon cleaning day Saturday!

Tonight, after Hannah's volleyball game, I hope to try my hand at bead embroidery.  I've never attempted it, but I'm itching to try something new.  We'll see how it goes!

Friday, September 20, 2013


I had my showing for the lady at the local gift shop yesterday, and despite my extreme nervousness, it went quite well.  I took a couple dozen pieces for her to look at, and she chose 10 to display in her store.  I'm very excited.  This is my first consignment arrangement, and I hope it goes well.  Among her choices were:

Hearts Aflutter

Industrial Chic


Flower Drops

Hope everyone has a great weekend!  I'm hoping for a nice, relaxing one.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I'm nervous!

I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon with the owner of a local gift shop to see if she will carry some of my jewelry.  I've been a bundle of nerves for days!  This is the first time I've done anything like this, and it took a lot for me to get up the nerve to even touch base with her.  I'm hoping for good news, but there's always that fear of rejection.  

I made these tags to put on my necklaces and bracelets, and plan to make similar ones for earring cards.

They're kind of rustic looking, which is what I was going for. If I had more time, I probably would have had some printed, but I only had about a week to prepare.  Tonight I have to finish picking out my pieces and get everything ready to go.

Hopefully by this time tomorrow I'll have some good news!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I'm in love

I am in love.  Round Rabbit is having a shop update tomorrow, and I absolutely adore these items.

I can't decide which I like the most.  If only my purse were a little larger!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Happy birthday

Today is my BFF Misty's birthday.  She's a whole month and 5 days older than me, so every year I tease her about that.  One of her gifts is this bracelet I made.

I haven't mailed it yet, so hopefully she won't see this post until she gets it.  If she does, at least she has another gift that isn't pictured on the way.  

The happy bead and the red dangly bead are Jangles.  You can't tell it from this pic (the sun was quite bright), but the red bead has little pale orange polka dots on it. 

Happy birthday, Misty! 

Friday, September 6, 2013


Seems like it's been a long week, and I'm so ready for the weekend!  I'm pretty psyched, too, that the kids don't have any activities tonight, so we get a (hopefully) relaxing night at home.  Tomorrow I'm planning to decorate the house for fall, but tonight I hope to do as little as possible.

These are some pendants I whipped up.  I was on a roll the night I made them, but I didn't finish the pieces.  Maybe this weekend I'll get a chance to.

The leaf in pendant #1 is from Humblebeads, and the lampwork glass bead is from Heirlooms in Glass.  The orange and brown bead in pendant #2 is from Ornamentea.  Pendant #3 contains beads from Gaea and Heirlooms in Glass.  Finally, the leaf and brown spacer in pendant #4 are from Ornamentea, and the brown and orange beads from Heirlooms in Glass.  

Hope you have a relaxing weekend, too!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

2nd Annual Challenge of Travel Reveal

When I read about this year's challenge of travel, where designers were challenged to create pieces inspired by their hometowns, I jumped at the opportunity.  I have spent nearly all my life in Wise County, VA, located in the far southwestern corner of the state.  My husband, daughters and I settled in his hometown of Coeburn over 10 years ago.  It's a small, rural area in the Appalachian Mountains, rich with mountain traditions.

Many things came to mind when I thought of this area:  the natural beauty of the land, quilting, bluegrass music, small country churches, tight knit families...but the two things that I kept coming back to were coal and fall leaves.  

Coal is the main industry here, and it's rare to find a family without at least one coal miner (my father is a retired miner), or take a trip to town without seeing men in their mining uniforms.  Fall is my favorite time of year, and the mountains come alive with brilliant yellows, reds, and oranges.  I love the colors, the crisp fall mountain air, and the various festivals that take place in the surrounding towns.  

This is the necklace I created with these two things in mind.

The black stone in the pendant isn't actually coal, but it looks exactly like it.  I added leaves in browns, oranges, and deep reds, then added chips in similar colors to form the chain.  The necklace is simple, much like the way of life in this area.

I hope you've enjoyed a peek into rural southwest Virginia.  If you enjoy mountains, small towns, lakes and creeks, grab a pair of hiking boots and come visit!

Be sure to head back to Erin's blog to see what inspires other bloggers.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


I know it's hard to tell with the way I've neglected this blog, but I have been working!  Here are a few of the new pieces I have.  

I'm planning to list these in my etsy shop soon.  

This weekend I'm participating in the 2nd annual Challenge of Travel blog hop, hosted by Erin Prais-Hintz.  I'm getting a bit stressed, though, because I don't have a clear picture of what I plan to do in mind.  I worked up part of idea #1 last night, and it just wasn't what I wanted.  So, back to the drawing board.

Tune in this Saturday to see what I came up with!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

College spirit

A week or two ago, a lady at work asked if I could make a "gaudy" bracelet and earrings set for her in the University of Tennessee colors.  Once I heard the word "gaudy", I knew this little project was for me.  

College football is very popular here, with most folks being fans of the University of Tennessee or Virginia Tech.  We have a few University of Virginia fans floating around (i.e., my husband), but for the most part it's UT or Tech.  Personally, I prefer UT, even though I know next to nothing about football.  

I decided to make a memory wire bracelet, using neon orange beads, crystals, and big crystal coated beads.  Gaudy?  Yes.  But, apparently she liked it because she ordered 3 more sets for friends yesterday.

These aren't the greatest pictures--I took them at my desk right before giving them to her--but you can get the idea.

The only problem is I realized I'm not charging enough.  By the time I buy supplies, I'm barely (and I do mean barely) clearing anything.  Oh well.  Live and learn, I suppose.  At least she's pulling for the right team! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Festival and something new

This past Saturday Travis and I stopped by the Virginia Highlands Festival in nearby Abingdon, VA.  I look forward to this festival each year, even though, unfortunately vendor participation has decreased the past few years.  I only bought one thing this year, but I absolutely fell in love with it.  One of the vendors was selling pendants and earrings made from real acorn caps and beads.  After much deliberation, this is the one I brought home.

I absolutely love it!  I have got to make some of these for myself.  I don't know how many times I've seen little acorn caps lying around, and wondered if there was anything I could do with them.  

I did a little research, and some sites say you need to dry the caps out before you use them, and put them in the oven on a low temp for a while to kill any little worms that might be living in the cap.  Could have done without knowing they might be infested, but...  It looks like there's some kind of coating on the cap to make it somewhat shiny (and I assume more durable).  

This will be so pretty to use in a necklace this fall.  My only wish is that I had bought a few more!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Ocean's Gifts

Several years ago I purchased a very large seashell pendant at a local bead store.  I've held onto it for years, not knowing exactly what to do with it.  I finally used it the other day, turning it into this necklace with pearls and blue chip beads, reminiscent of the ocean.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


No major news, so I thought I'd share a few randoms.

  • I made this necklace for a friend's birthday.  This is the picture from the Ornamentea tutorial.  I did her necklace in blue shades, but forgot to snap a picture.
  • I went to the doctor the other day, and she said those vulgar words to me:  diet and exercise.  So, for the past two mornings I've been up early walking.  After this morning's workout, I decided that no matter what doctors tell you, exercise is NOT good for you.
  • Tomorrow is the girls' first day of school.  I can't believe Hannah starts high school, and Katie is in the 6th grade.  Where does time go?
  • I just placed an order at Ornamentea for some Elaine Ray ceramic beads.  Woo hoo!  Can't wait for them to arrive!
  • I'm making a "gaudy" (her request) University of Tennessee bracelet for a lady at work, so I also placed an order for orange beads at Fire Mountain Gems.  
Hope everyone has a good evening!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Not the original purpose

Several months ago, my friend Tessa's mother bought her a beautiful silver hair clip with her initial on it.  However, right about the same time, Tessa decided to cut her hair short.  The hair clip had such a nice curve to it, I told her she should make a bracelet out of it.  A couple of months ago she gave it to me and asked me to make her one.  This is what I came up with.

She was very pleased with the result, which made me very happy!