Lapis Lazuli and Sodalite

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Lapis Lazuli Necklace

On one of my gemstone buying trips, I had a list of colors that I wanted to add to my collection.  Blue is a very popular color for jewelry, but I didn’t have much blue available in my stash.  Naturally, blue was on my list.

Since I didn’t/don’t know a thing about gemstones, I chose strands based solely on their beauty and affordability.  I found this gorgeous strand of smooth, almost silky, blue chips.  I have a bit of trouble designing with chips, so I knew I needed something to go with them.  On a distant corner table, I was fortunate enough to find a strand of carved rectangle focal beads that matched perfectly!  The tags on the two strands were labeled differently – the chips were Lapis Lazuli and the rectangles were Sodalite – but since they matched so perfectly, I figured this stone must have multiple names.

It turns out that Lapis Lazuli and Sodalite are in fact two different stones, but they are often mistaken for each other.  Lapis Lazuli can be found in many places including Canada, Colorado and California.  It is sensitive to strong pressure and high temperatures.  Sodalite is also found in many places including Canada and Montana.  It often contains white veins from white calcite.  (Interesting stuff (yawn), I know!)

Although I’m not sure how I feel about the validity of healing with gemstones, I am fascinated by the theory and would really enjoy learning more about it.  I did find that Lapis Lazuli is thought to help with headaches, sore throat, sciatica, varicose veins, and blisters.  Do you have a favorite book about healing with gemstones?  I’d love to hear from you!

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Inspired by Vintage Vogue

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Prior to my new found drive for pursuing my beading career, I allowed my beading magazine subscriptions expire. I hardly took time to look at the magazines and almost never tried any projects or drew inspiration from them.  I found that I missed discovering the brightly colored pages in my mailbox and decided to renew my subscriptions, with one condition…

Vintage Vogue project by Jane Danley Cruz, Bead and Button Magazine, February 2014

Vintage Vogue project by Jane Danley Cruz, Bead and Button Magazine, February 2014

I told myself that I could only renew my two favorite subscriptions (Bead and Button and Beadwork) if I tried a new technique or drew inspiration from at least one project in each issue.  The February 2014 issue of Bead and Button Magazine has a lovely project by Jane Danley Cruz called ‘Vintage Vogue’.  Since my bead-embroidery skills could use some exercise, I decided to use this project to fill my quota for this issue.

Light Blue Hibiscus Flower Cameo Necklace with Light Blue PearlsI picked up some cup chain from A Cute Bead a few weeks ago specifically for this project.  I already had the other materials in my stash, and was able to sneak in a few studio hours to complete my version of this project.

I chose a light blue Hibiscus flower cabochon, silver and clear cup chain, and matching glass beads.  I wanted a little color and some additional texture against the cabochon, so I added a seed bead between each rhinestone in the cup chain.  Since I used seed beads in a different size than the pattern called for, I had to do some adjusting, ripping out, and reworking to get the peyote stitch bezel to lay correctly.  I started to make the Russian spiral rope, but then decided it wasn’t quite the look I wanted.  Instead, I strung some glass pearls and added a bit of ‘frill’ to the strand with some seed beads and am happy with the completed look.

Because of copyright laws, beading etiquette, and respect for the artist, I contacted Jane Danley Cruz and received permission to sell this design as my own.  However, I’d like to give her a huge ‘shout out’ for the inspiration and for getting me to try some new techniques.

Moss Agate

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Moss Agate and Brown Goldstone NecklaceI decided it was time to sort through my jewelry stash to find out exactly what I have listed on my website, and what is ready to be listed.  It was a fun task as I don’t always remember all of the goodies that have traveled from the depths of my creative mind, over my beading desk and into the completed projects bin.  In the midst of this project I found a fabulous Moss Agate and Brown Goldstone necklace that certainly shouldn’t be sitting in a bin for no one to see.

Now, I’m primarily a seed bead artist however, I do enjoy using gemstones and semi-precious stones.  I enjoy using those stones purely for their beauty.  I love the way the marbling and visual texture add a natural element to my pieces.  Admittedly, I the only way I know what any of these stones are called is by reading the label on the package.

Moss Agate and Brown Goldstone EarringsAfter finding this lovely necklace and earring set in my jewelry stash, I decided to do a little Google search to learn more about these beautiful stones.  I found that gemstones are not only a wonderful source of beauty, but they also hold deeper meaning and offer many healing properties.  Moss agate is the most powerful of the agates and helps balance emotional energy.

I’ve decided to order a book on gemstones to learn more about some of the beads in my stash.  Are there any particular stones that you’d like to know more about?

A treat to me from Edie Cournoyer

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I treated my creativity with an altered domino from Edie Cournoyer

Sometime ago a FaceBook friend of mine, Edie Cournoyer, posted a tutorial on making altered art domino pendants. Now, if you’ve never heard of Edie, you HAVE to check her out. She is an absolutely enthusiastic, incredibly talented mixed media artist. You can find her YouTube channel here: http://www.youtube.com/user/ediebug7701

Anyhow, I’ve always liked the idea of the altered scrabble tiles and dominos, but they always seemed a bit tacky to me. Then, I saw Edie’s version of this fad and I knew that this is what I had been looking for. I immediately ordered an altered domino for myself and anxiously awaited it’s arrival.

Of course, this all happened while I was busy with custom orders for Christmas. So, when the beautiful pendant arrived, it sat on my desk, taunting me until I finally had time to play with it.

This necklace was so much fun to work with. I’d love to get my hands on another domino from Edie, but for now, I must move on to my next adventure. Perhaps I’ll work with the goodies I picked up from A Cute Bead, or maybe a Valentine project. We’ll see!

What have you been working on? Do you have a to-do list of someday projects?

Thinking Outside of My Comfort Zone

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The completed necklace.

The completed necklace.

A lot of the pieces I do are custom orders. Recently I received a custom order for a Rihanna necklace using a photo chosen by the customer. I’ve heard of Rihanna, and was pretty sure she is a singer, but that’s as far as my knowledge of her went. I did a little searching in hopes that I could get a feel for the style required for this necklace.

First, I tackled the part I was comfortable with… the peyote chart.

2" x 4.25"

Next I attached the peyote swatch to a felt backing and added edging and fringe.

Fringe and Edging

Finally, I added the necklace straps and finished with a linked beaded chain.

Strands of seed beads begin the necklace.

Strands of seed beads begin the necklace.

Wrapped links and antiqued copper circles form the necklace strap.

Wrapped links and antiqued copper circles form the necklace strap.

Although this custom order fell through in the early stages of planning, I am glad I went through with the challenge.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect from myself as I had never done anything this far out of my style zone before.

What I learned from this piece:  Show up at your passion.  Let it guide you.  Enjoy the ride!