My friend Sandi is the bomb!  We try and get together a couple times a year to create - we live in the same metro area, you would think it would be easy - but we both have busy families so time away to create is sometimes hard to fine.  Sandi reached out and said that she was going to Bead Fest Philly, and did I want to go.  For the first time in YEARS, it worked out schedule wise, so I picked her up last Saturday and off we zoomed.  Sandi had connected with another awesome jewelry buddy Sally, and we could all crash in her room.  I told you Sandi was the bomb :-)

We ended up taking two classes, one with Eva Sherman where I learned brazing - a way of melting wire together.  Eva and I had been Bead Soup partners a couple years ago and I was excited to finally meet her in person.  She was a wonderful, warm and gracious teacher!

Then we took a 1-hour class from the incredible Kate Richbourg.  She was amazing - in one hour we left class with awesome stacking rings and a cool button - our graduation gift :-) After the two classes I m fired up (ha ha!) to try more soldering.

And the shopping, oh the shopping! Of course new classes meant I needed new tools and wire (especially from Parawire and

A bunch of us snapped up this nifty crochet tool called a Lucet from Cooky Schock.  It's portable and addicting!

And the art beads - amazing!! Urchin beads by Nikki of Thornburg Bead Studio, lamp work pairs by Heather of HMB Studios, colored O-rings from Yvonne of My Elements, an incredible rabbit from my dear friend Jenny Davies Razor and some metal components from Cooky.     

Last but not least, I picked up some cool and interesting Czech glass from Nirvana Beads.

I have so many ideas! So many pretty things to be inspired by! Thanks Sandi and Sally for a great weekend!

I was straightening out the top of my dresser the other day, where I keep all my personal jewelry.  Usually it becomes a big messy pile until I spend a few minutes and reorganize.  As I straightened, it occurred to me that all my jewelry had a story - whether it was something I made, bought or was given.  It was a bright, beautiful day, so I collected up a few pieces I thought had interesting stories and got some great shots.  My creative outlet lately has been writing, far more than making beads or jewelry, and rather than fight it, let's go with it, shall we? Every once in a while I will pull one of the pictures and tell you the story.

I wish I could tell you who made this bead, because it is a stunner.  I bought it the every first time I went to Bead Fest Philly - maybe 2010?  It was $65, a shocking price to me at the time, although now that I have tried to make my own hollow glass beads I know that $65 was a steal. This one is about the size of a golf ball, and it's colors and design are something I would love to be able to do myself some day.

My first design was this:

But I didn't wear it very much because the chain really needed to be longer for such a large bead. It ended up wearing like a chocker which is not my favorite.  Eventually I redid it, and now it's on a much longer chain and way more wearable. I still look at it in wonder, and hope I could be skilled enough to make something like it.  And it also reminds me of that first trip to Bead Fest, and the great friends and connections I made there :-)

At the bottom of this post I showed the dress I planned to wear to a dear friends wedding, along with the jewelry I had made to go with it (of course).

My gift to her was to make her wedding jewelry.  It was a fun project especially because we live in the same neighborhood, so we could visit a local bead shop and pick out beads, and then she could try on what I made with her dress before I did the final finishing work.

It was a BEAUTIFUL wedding, the chapel and reception were stunning, the weather was lovely, and many good friends were there.  It was so great to see the happy glow of my friend and her new husband.  Our daughter was invited also (she's been friends with the bride's daughter since 3rd grade) and it was a treat to see her dressed up and having a great time with her friends.  It really was one of the best evenings out I've had in a long time.  The bride was kind enough to share these pictures that the photographer took of what I made...

Doesn't she and her groom look so happy?

Like I said, the wedding was even better because of the great friends there - these ladies and our daughters have known each other for at least 10 years now.  I would be lost with out them - their sage advice, their ability to listen, their strength of character - sure life savers!

I used more of my NYC treasures - ready made tassels - to make a light and fun necklace.  To wear with what I haven't figured out yet, but as I made it I thought of my youngest niece Caroline.  She loves to play with whatever jewelry I am wearing as we sit together in church, so I will probably wear it tomorrow.  I am not 100% on the earrings - I was looking for a bead about the same shade as the tassels and this was the best I could find. That's the best part of making our own jewelry - modifications are easy :-)

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