Friday, September 30, 2011

Last Cup of Bead Soup with Lutka and Co.

Today is the last day of the month, and that means the last Cup of Bead Soup with Lutka & Co.  Lutka & Co. makes lampwork beads, and if you remember, sent me these four sets:

You can see what I made with the big purple dotted beads by clicking here and what I did with half of the pink strand by clicking here.

OK.  Up first is the other half of the pink strand.  My first instinct was to go to my tried-and-trued, the dangly charm bracelet.  I love anything with dangles, as we all know.  However, that would be sort of like cheating.  So I did the unexpected -- I decided to do dangles, but stole the green leaves from the purple flowers for the dangles.  I added an errant silver dragonfly, and you get "Garden Party".

The dragonfly is purposefully off-center because that's how I roll these days.  It sits quite firmly on that leaf and don't ask me how I did it because frankly, I couldn't tell you but it required wire and a bit of swearing (no children or pets were harmed in the making of this necklace).  

And there you have it.  I split two sets into two.  And just realized I shot the photo with the leaves flipped the wrong way.  Dang.  But trust me, it's gorgeous when worn correctly.

Next is the perfume bottle.  This was a challenge.  I cut off the wire that came wrapped around the bottle because I had another idea, which quickly failed a miserable death, so it was back to wire.  I quickly learned just how DIFFICULT it is to wrap these bottles -- or, at least, for me.  Took a couple times.  I then decided to give the bottle cap a more Victorian flair and redid the top with a long headpin I had.

The rest, I left mostly chain, but with bits of silver, rhodonite,  and amethyst and a tiny bit of pink ribbon.  I saw SO much fiber and ribbon in the Bead Soup Blog Party and I've always wanted to try it but have just failed miserably, so I thought I'd start small.  So here is "Amphora".

Now, this last piece is hands down my favorite.  I don't know if it's the style or what, but I'm pretty sure it's the color combination.  It's (to me) unexpected.  I really wanted to rock those purple flower beads and this entire concoction came about so randomly.  I started with one idea and ended up SO far in left field for lack of the proper elements -- but I really, really, love it.  It needs a name -- anyone have one?

It may not look like much, but worn, it's so cool.  That sea green GLOWS.  The flowers hang just so.  And the chain is JUST the right openness.

And to tie it all together, earrings.

Overall, I'm really tickled with these recipes of soup!

You can visit Lutka and Co. by clicking here for their shop and clicking here for their blog.


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene and is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Monday, September 26, 2011

** Bead Soup Blog Party Necklace DO-OVER **

All right y'all.

You know I said on my original Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal post I wasn't happy with how my necklace turned out.  Most of you gently agreed -- and can I say I like that those of you who agreed were brave enough to say so?  I get tired of what I call the "Very Nice" syndrome.  It's what happens in this house whenever I hold up something I've made and ask my husband what he thinks.  He always, always, says, "Very nice."

So I ask Zack and he gives me the real scoop.

ANYWAY.  I posted on Facebook and asked for suggestions and took some to heart and spent several hours reworking.  Once again, I took out some expensive beads I'd purchased then hoarded which is stupid because why did I buy them only to lock them away and rub my hands together and whisper "My Preciousssss"?  Ridonculous.

And here it is.

I have to admit, this time Rick didn't say "Very Nice" but said "Big Improvement".

This time, I made it a long necklace with three strands of teeny, tiny multi-faceted rondelles and pears.  My challenge this time (other than these beads are incredibly little with miniscule holes) is I don't make multi-stranded necklaces.  I can't get the strands to lie correctly .  Nope.  Can't do it.  But this time, it worked.

The outer strand is opaque Sleeping Beauty turquoise, which is the bluest (and one of the most expensive) turquoises out there.  I hesitated on buying this strand because it's been knocked off so often as dyed howlite, but I trust my source and this is the real deal.  In between are tiny (oh my aching eyes tiny) 2mm Hill Tribe silver spacers.  The second strand is slightly smaller garnet for a little more sparkle, with skinny, thread-thin Thai tubes.  They're so thin you have to be careful not to use beads with regular-sized holes or they'll slide right through them.  And the third strand is chain linked with very sparkly peridot pears.  

So, what do you think?  Improvement?

What I worried about was if I did something simple, as in the After design, I wouldn't be doing justice to the bead.  I felt I had to do something WOW and WOAH to be creative and Bring It.  But in the end, I tried too hard and fell flat.  Now the bead can speak.  I hope Manuela agrees.

Quote of the Day:  "Fear Comes to Tea"


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene and is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Musings from Midnight

For the past few weeks, my husband and I have have lain in bed well past midnight, talking in the dark about deep things, secret things held close to our hearts, things we'd be afraid anyone else would scoff at or wouldn't understand.  They've been the sort of nights a lot of people had when they were newlyweds but after years of married life had gotten out of practice.

One of the recurring themes I've agonized over with Rick is how to find who I really am and what I really want to do.  Do I want to keep making jewelry?  Do I want to concentrate on making beads, and make jewelry JUST with my beads?  Do I want to just SELL beads?  Or do I want to write?  And if so, WHAT?  Blog posts for other blogs?  Magazine articles?  Books?

Flash backward to a mind-clearing trip over the Big Scary Bridge to shop for clothes.  I despise clothes shopping.  It's hard to believe I once fought anorexia.  Well, I won that battle and apparently ate the skinny girl I once was.  Clothes shopping is akin to fighting the Saxons with nail clippers and a shield made out of sponge cake.  Not fun.  But what's a girl to do but fight that dragon and do it when the seasons change and her waist size did, too?

Across the street from a tolerable clothing store is Paper Source, a remarkable paper/cards/things-I-somehow-convince-myself-I-can't-live-without place, and I found an amazing book.

As of today, it's only $7.98 on  I have it, and plan to sit down and do some soul-searching with it.  It's got an interesting perspective about things, and it's not just a workbook -- in fact, it's actually NOT a workbook so much as a jumping-off point for your thoughts.

Here are some of the pages:

It does give you some ideas to get you started, if you get stumped.  Sometimes, I think we just need a little help finding our way.  We're too close to the source of our fears to think clearly.

I have no idea where this will take me.  I bought a few other books and I'm sure I'll be sharing tidbits of those along the way.

I know I'm behind the power curve in updating my web site daily, marketing as I know I should, keeping up with making new things, coming up with new jewelry ideas, getting out to the lampwork studio.  Almost the entire summer went to being a Mom with a capital M-O-M.  And let me tell you something -- it paid off in HUGE ways I can't even explain here.   There are some things even I won't blog about.

I've been sad a lot lately, and I know it has to do with my lack of place.  I know I'm a good mother.  Hugs that knock me on the floor, nearly squashing the cat, tell me so.  I know I'm a great wife.  Long midnight talks and waking up as I fell asleep -- in the arms of a man I love and trust -- tell me so.  Now I need to figure out how *I* feel about me and my place in this world.  What am I good at, what am I happy doing, what can I do to feel successful and maybe make a little money while doing it.

Money isn't the reason to do anything, of course.  People do get mixed up with thinking their place in the grand world scheme has to do with how much is in their bank account.  I've lived on both sides of the coin -- abject poverty while putting myself through school and the finer days during the boom.  Having seen both sides, I can safely say -- no job is worth any amount of money if you're miserable doing it.

Somewhere along the line, I'm going to figure things out. I plan on stubbing my toe a lot, shouting a few Very Bad Words along with some whoops of joy.  I just have no idea when anything is going to happen or what will happen or how.  

I just need to know, to remember, to PROMISE myself, that I'm on my way -- to something big.


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene and is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Winner of the Bead Soup Blog Party Earrings is .....

As a thanks to all the people who commeted
I had my son Zack pull a name out of the hat.

and he proclaims
as the winner!



Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene and is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Aftermath of the 4th Bead Soup Blog Party

Continue blog hopping the 4th Bead Soup Blog Party by clicking here!

I thought you might be interested in what my blog hopping was like over the weekend.  Yep, I visited all the blogs, and only a few didn't have posts up yet -- a very few, actually!  That's an amazing feat for 362 blogs!

I slept in on Saturday because I had (of course) a migraine.  Rick got me a lovely cup of coffee, I set myself up in the library of my house, opened the laptop, and scanned email for any last minute hop issues.  I found out that a link wasn't directing to someone's blog correctly.  No problem -- I can fix that in a second.

Or so one would think.

I seemingly had the internet connection of a 1990's 14.4 modem.

I could NOT get blogger to open.  Then after the computer spun and spun and spun for literally fifteen minutes, and I changed the link, I couldn't get it to PUBLISH.  My husband started getting that look in his eyes because *I* was getting that look in my eyes and that look was panic and more panic.  So Rick first got on the phone with our internet provider ("there's noise on the line, we're working on it") and then he got on email and chat with the person who needed their link fixed.  After about an hour, during which at one point I threw my glasses on the keyboard and burst into tears, the connection magically appeared and I was able to attend my own darned party.

My way of tackling visiting blogs was first to visit my partner, and then to visit all the people who'd commented on my blog.  It was easy to click their comment and BOOM -- blog-a-rooni.  I'd read, look, comment, and then mark the person off my spreadsheet.

Midway through the day, my husband served me coconut cake.

Now, I know what you're thinking.

That came an hour later -- French Silk.

And then, as I got tireder and tireder, but more determined to be a good hostess, I took a break for a hot bath and a shot of Scotch.

Now I don't fit into any of my clothes.

Seriously, as much as I talk about pie, it's a "I don't usually get any" talk -- a longing for what I know I shouldn't have.  But this weekend?  Throw that out the door, hand me a couple of plates, and what a great husband to serve it up without my even saying a word.  And the Scotch?  I usually only have a shot or two at Christmas.  But oh that was a nice treat.

A few more blogs, and then a game of Apples to Apples with the family.  And then I was smart and called it a day night and slept until noon. I kid you not -- noon.  EXHAUSTED but in a good way.  I dreamed of beads.  And ok, some pie.  Which is what I had for breakfast.

Oh hush.  You would have done it, too.

Sunday, my internet connection held, but I ended up moving my computer to the bed where there were fluffy pillows.  Mmmmmm, pillows.

And around 11pm, I finished the hop.

I noticed one thing -- FIBER!  Lots of fiber.  And I wish I knew how to use it!  I'm either using the wrong stuff, or just haven't got the knack.  The only time I can use fiber is when I use it at the back of the neck like I did in my Bead Soup piece.  I want to learn how you guys weave it and tie it without it looking like when *I* do it.  When *I* do it, it looks like a 5-year old tried to wrap a present.  I just don't get it.

I also noticed that seed beaders are forever in my awe.  I don't even think that's proper grammar, that's how gobsmacked I am by what they do with tiny beads and a needle, let alone how they design things.  Holy smokes, hand out some medals!  Hand them out to EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU -- all 361 of you.

And oh my.  I realized how humbled and grateful I am that you came to my party.  No one could have asked for better.  You didn't trash my house (too much -- who left the wine glass and beads in the backyard?) and you, for some reason, all wanted to come.  I'm exhausted, it took TONS of work (and thank you, thank you, thank you to all of you who helped me -- you know who you are!), but as with all the fun parties, you have to work hard to have awesome-cool fun.

You guys rock.  Thank you for coming.

 all photos via Pinterest

Book Review: "A Storm of Swords"
Quote of the Day: "Never Judge..."


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene and is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Want to Participate in the NEXT Bead Soup Blog Party?

Continue blog hopping the 4th Bead Soup Blog Party by clicking here!

If you're fired up and want to participate in the next Bead Soup Blog Party, good news! I already have the dates!

An important note -- the party will now be run by lottery.

During the registration dates, you'll enter your information into a registration form. When registration closes, a random number generator will pick the group of people. No more than 200 people will be able to participate.

Partners will be announced a week after registration closes, and the party will then proceed as usual, which I'll outline below.

Here's the button for your blog. First, right click and save the photo to your computer.  Then, all you have to do (in Blogger, anyway) is go to Design/Add Gadget and choose Photo. Uncheck the resize photo.  Add the photo you saved, and then cut-and-paste this this link where it gives you the html option so people can go to the page to learn all about it....

Thanks to Gr8findings for the photo for the new button!

What is a Bead Soup Blog Party?

Here's how it works!

First, you must have a blog!
Second, NO, you do NOT have to make your own beads!
Third, YES it is open to International beaders!
This is NOT a competition.
This is open to ALL skill levels.

Here are the past parties!

*** Make sure lori at lorianderson dot net ***
is in your "safe list" in your spam folder.

Participants send:

:: A focal ::
:: Some coordinating spacers or beads ::
:: A special clasp (not just a lobster claw) ::


As you will see, some will send a smaller amount, some will send a larger amount, but you do NOT have to send an entire necklace or bracelet kit. The idea is you will use the focal and the clasp, and if you wish, some of the coordinating beads, also incorporating beads from your own stash. Using some of the coordinating beads IS encouraged (even if you only make earrings) but not required.
The idea is to help you think outside the box and work outside your normal comfort zone, pushing you into creative directions you may never have gone. You can make one piece, two, three -- you can use the clasp in one piece and focal in another. LOTS to be creative with!

photo by Carol Bradley

my first soup

When you get your package of beads, show your beads on your blog, then make something with it, take a picture, and post it on your blog on the Party day. Then everyone hops around to as many Party Blogs as possible to see what people made on Party Day!

Feel free to tell your friends!
for announcements of smaller hops, bead exchanges,
and comaraderie!


The book about the Bead Soup Blog Party,
written by me and published by Kalmbach,
will be out October 2012!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Welcome to the 4th Bead Soup Blog Party!

What is a Bead Soup Blog Party?

Well, for the long answer and to learn about signing up for the next one, click here.

The short answer -- I pair up two jewelry designers who send each other a grouping of beads, or "bead soup", and the recipient, who has never seen these beads before they get them, is tasked with making something with whatever came in the mail.

The rules -- You must use the focal and the clasp sent by your partner.  You could use any, all, or none of the accompanying beads sent, and were encouraged to invade your own stash.

The object -- For each designer to push themselves by using beads they may never have chosen for themselves and see what they can do.  It's a lesson in creativity, pushing yourself, and sometimes even feeling uncomfortable -- and that's totally OK in the creative world!

My Bead Soup partner is Manuela Wutschke, a German lampwork artist who makes breathtaking beads.  Seriously.  Gasp-worthy.  And therein lay my problem.

Here's what Manuela sent me:

Do you see the issue?  That bird focal is so amazing, so intricate, and really a large bead, so all I wanted to do was hang it from a silver chain and call it a day.  I mean, how the heck do I do something with that????

So I did something I rarely do, and pulled out a notebook and tried to figure things out.

My first and favorite idea was to make a Stephanie Sersich-style spiny knotted necklace (check out Steph's book here.)  I'm still smitten with the idea, but if you saw the cover of Steph's book, you can see that the necklace would take days to make, tons of a true bead soup mix, and if I goofed it up -- horrible heartache.  Plus, I really wanted to try something in MY way.  

This next piece is based upon a necklace I made several years ago.  I pounded the heck out of 10-gauge silver, wrapped Thai flowers around the edges, and in the middle were lampwork beads I'd strung before I pounded the wire.  The problem HERE was how to make the pendant stay in one place.  I though of waxed linen, which would work -- but then I remembered the necklace I'd made several years ago looked fabulous on other people but lousy on me.  And I'm definitely keeping this.  So onward.

Then I thought of using ALL the large lampwork beads together with some large silver links, and using waxed linen and thin ribbon on the other side to create a woven chain for the spacers.  And then I quickly realized there was a serious weight ratio issue so I put the beads away and went to take a hot bath.

I finally went with what I knew.  I love dangles.  I make a lot of things with dangles.  So dangles, here we go.  I oxidized the clasp and some beads, brushed them up with steel wool, grabbed some 4mm crystals and a large-linked chain, found some fuchsia sari silk, and started going.  Here's what happened:

(click for a larger photo)

I honestly am not 100% happy with this.  It's still not what I want.  I have considered taking out my jeweler's saw and a piece of nickel silver and cutting a swirl and doing some feather and flower cut outs for a dramatic side piece, but that's just going to have to wait.  And there's the lesson in this -- NEVER BE AFRAID to take apart something you've made.  I remade this particular piece three times.  I tried using waxed linen instead of silver to connect my dangles -- nope.  Tried using the larger lampwork beads with it -- nope.  So never feel afraid to redo, and then redo again.

(HEY!  EDIT!  I did remake it later -- click here to see it, then come back!)

The bracelet, on the other hand, I love.  And it was again, my style.  The thing that made it different it I stash-busted and finally used some tiny Thai "log" beads I'd been hoarding for literally three years because they cost a bazillion dollars now and can only be bought by the strand.

I used the same chain I did in the necklace, and a very very expensive toggle that I'd been hoarding for two years (why do we buy expensive stuff, and then hoard it?  Either don't buy it, or USE it!).  I clustered a bunch of Thai beads between the two lampwork beads to take up the empty space (really liked that effect) and then used those crazy Thai "logs" and JUST the turquoise spacers with a little bit of dark purple Swarovski crystal on one side of the chain.

And now I have something for YOU!

If you comment below
you're in the running
for a pair of earrings made with Manuela's 
cool funky spacers.

And now, take a few hours/days/weeks to visit the rest of the team.

Print out the list or cut and paste it into Word and take your time,
but don't miss anyone -- you'll miss some GREAT work!

These are the partner pairs.

The Hostess, Lori Anderson and her partner, Manuela Wutschke

19. Anna Sabina­­­­ and Erin Siegel

For a total of 362 people making jewelry!


(PS: I'll be announcing the dates 
for the next party 
in the next few days!)