Monday, March 20, 2017

Welcome to the Bead Soup Blog Party, Bead Hoarders Edition!

SO! It's finally time for the Bead Soup Blog Party (BSBP) Bead Hoarder's Blog Hop!

I first want to thank all participants. It was a bit daunting dusting off something I've done for years after many years of making nothing at all but a good-sized dent in the bed, and it was equally daunting to even MAKE jewelry when I hadn't touched my tools for a long, long, long time. Everyone I've come in contact with over the years on Facebook during these parties couldn't have been sweeter. So...

The Bead Soup Blog Party began in 2010, ran twice a year for short time, and then for some reason it quickly exploded. The last few BSBP's had upwards of 500 people covering every continent except South America and Antarctica. A book was written, a bunch of us in the Bead Soup Cafe wore green ribbons and met each other at the Bead and Button Show, and it was the thing I felt I brought to the beading community -- creating an online community that connected friendship, lots of countries, thousands of beads, and creativity. Thank you to all of you for sticking with me even during my hiatus!

This party involved a person sending a hoarded, much-loved bead or beads to their partner. That meant sending a bead that was special to you, sending something you really loved, to someone you didn't know, as a gesture of goodwill and as a sort of Pay It Forward. I thought the world could use some Random Kindness about now.

Let's get started, shall we?

read details about these beads at

I had two partners. First is Audrey Belanger from Canada. She and I have been friends since even before the parties, and I got a lovely package from her, not just with beautiful beads, but body sprays, chocolates, and lip balm. You can see a comprehensive set of photos and descriptions by clicking here (but do come back!)

I'm very happy you're here!

The first bead I worked with was the purple Donna Millard lampwork bead.

I decided to make a bead-encrusted bangle from heavy gauge pale lavender wire. I made a loop at one end, planned the spacing of the beads, and went to town with hair-thin sterling wire. The gemstones and Czech glass I used were no larger than 4 mm and in some cases smaller. Four Thai silver beads flanked the lampwork bead. I used iolite, amethyst, pale blue chalcedony, rose quartz, and brighter blue faceted Czech glass beads. Once I finished moving all the way to the right of the bracelet, I went back towards the left with more fine wire and gemstones to fill in holes and make it fuller.

Then I made a clasp and jump rings with wire to match the base. This type of bracelet takes a long time to make, but it's so worth it!

The second piece I made used Audrey's handmade resin pendant. This one took some painstaking work with tiny wrapped loops and very delicate chain on the pendant itself, which involved digging through 10, 242 packages of chain just to find the RIGHT one. How is it the more you have, the more you need?

I started with 4 mm Swarovski crystals in Khaki, Copper, and Dorado 2X. I used jeweler's bronze to link them randomly, connecting a length of delicate chain in between each beaded chain.  The top of the pendant is a lampwork bead that I thought fit the color scheme well and a collection of crystal dangles stacked atop each other to create a backdrop for the bead. I love how it turned out!

I didn't have a bronze daisy spacer or bead cap, so I made one by weaving five large jump rings into a love knot.  And with those crystals being a tiny 4 mm, you can really see here how delicate the chain is.

For the neckline, I didn't want to draw too much away from the intricacy of the pendant. To that end, I added just a few Swarovski Copper crystals, some carved pale green jade, a lampwork bead that matched the pendant, and a button that honest to goodness was just sitting on my desk for four years. I linked that to double love knots of large bronze rings and connected it all to a long length of chain.

I made my own clasp, but I'm not that happy with it and need to practice a bit more.

Now on to the pieces Loralee Kolton sent me!

I will admit this now -- I am intimidated by dagger beads. I have no idea how to work them into a unique design. One night while fighting insomnia, though, I came up with an idea. A simple idea, but an idea. I briolette-wrapped three of them and connected them to small-gauge chain. I needed a way to make them dangle from the BACK of the heart pendant, so I linked two largish jump rings through the holes in the heart and attached a short link of chain to the back of the heart. Then I connected the smaller chains with the daggers to the back. Finally, I dotted a bit of glue to each chain to keep them from flying over the top of the heart if I turned to fast.



I used one of the Lucite nuggets (my favorite part of the package!) and then coated strips of cheese cloth with Fray Check, let it dry, and tied the stiffened cloth above and below the bead. Using Fray Check is a great way to make delicate fabric keep its look but be stronger. I trimmed the cloth, then created an asymmetric necklace with cream and olive Swarovski pearls, Czech glass hearts I forgot I owned, and pale gray and Vitrail Medium Swarovski crystals. Those last were tiny tiny tiny and I have a bunch on the floor now!

One side of the necklace was largely beaded, but the other side! I made a Shaggy Loops chain and then added the tiny 4 mm Swarovski Vitrail Medium rounds as tiny dangles to catch the light in the chain.

The clasp is a pretty lobster claw I'd been hoarding, and you can see I added some faceted onyx in both rondelle and round.

I tackled those dagger beads again and made a matching pair of earrings with 4 mm Swarovski Khaki crystals and those pretty hearts to match the heart pendant.

All together...

Lastly, I combined the beads I got from both Audrey and Loralee to make a bracelet! I was determined to use as many beads as my partners had sent me.

I HAD to use the rest of those awesome Lucite nuggets! I also had planned to use Audrey's fluorite ovals in her necklace, but changed my mind for a more delicate look.

I cut chain in three-loop lengths, wired on the fluorite, and found one of my many hoarded lampwork sets, rondelles that picked up just the right amount of color.  I love the final result!

And that is that!

All of these pieces were made in two days and all were photographed today. I very nearly lost the light on some of them! It always seems that way when I hostess a party -- I'm finding the extra cups, putting out plates of cake, running the Pictionary Game (every drawing looked like a bead with these folks -- go figure!) so I felt really fortunate to have gotten this done and to have made pieces I'm truly proud of with no shortcuts. I'm an hour late in posting (it's 1 AM and I. Am. Toast.) but that's the fun of parties. People stay late, you pull out the reserve box of cookies, get a little giggly and put party hats on the cat. 

And it's all very worth it in the morning.

I hope you'll take the time to visit as many of the people below as you can (skip around -- you don't have to start from top to bottom).  

(The jewelry shown was made by me, mostly for other BSBPs!)

Lori Anderson :: Hostess

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Bead Soup -- What I Received From My Two Partners

The Bead Soup Blog Party, Bead Hoarders Edition, will come to its blog-hopping party date this coming Saturday the 25th. Be sure to come back here on Saturday for my reveal and the list of links of participants!

The goal of this bead swap was to trade with a partner you don't know, giving them a bead or beads you have hoarded, treasured, and loved, sending them out to be worked up into a piece of jewelry or art. Each participant was also supposed to write a note about the beads they sent -- where they came from and why they were chosen.

I have two partners, Audrey Belanger and Loralee Kolton. First, we have Audrey. This is what I sent her:

The large focal is made by Keysha Koy. I love Keysha's work and at one show I practically poured all her beads into my bag. It was difficult to give one up but it went to a good home!

This is what Audrey sent me -- the front of the pendant....

And the back:

Audrey made this piece using resin. The front is made with a bird from a silk paper kit, adorned with glitter flakes and flowers. The backdrop is from a French dictionary, which she thought was apt for me, an avid reader! This is the only piece out of all my pieces I received that I knew immediately what to do with it. Stay tuned!

She also sent me this ceramic piece:

This one is Zack's favorite. He said he saw the organic birds in the ceramic as pterodactyls! Audrey said she bought this when Moriah Betterly of Blu Mudd stopped making beads and had her final sale.

Finally, she sent this one:

This lampwork bead was part of a custom set of three made by Donna Millard. Audrey's girlfriend owns one of them, Audrey has one, and now I am incredibly honored to own the third. She said this one was the hardest to give up, and I can totally understand why! She also sent some sweet vintage acrylic rose beads. 

Aren't the colors in the lampwork bead totally me?

Thank you, Audrey!

And now for Loralee Kolton! This is what I sent to her:

I sent a set of Jelveh Jaferian. I totally hoard her beads. She is also one of the very first lampwork artists I ever bought from, way back when I started making jewelry. I believe in loyalty!

And this is what I received from Loralee. First, she had a cute box with a sweet glittery heart perched on top:

The heart was quite apt, as when I set aside the cushioning, it revealed a Round Rabbit ceramic heart! This is special to me because Nancy is no longer making ceramic jewelry pieces, but please visit her store to see her amazing sewn goods!

It reminds me of a Victorian summer dress. I've been reading a lot of Deborah Moggach (author of a ton of books but also the film "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", which was awesome) and in her books, expats in Pakistan and India take center stage. Maybe that's why I think of this piece that way.

Here's the entire set. I'm a huge fan of vintage Lucite and these pale olive green nuggets just call my name. She also added a strand of matte black Czech glass daggers. I've got to admit, I am lousy with daggers, so we'll see what happens!

She also sent me a gift a week ago, a charm handpainted by Gaea, and if I have time (and I'm already laughing -- extra time? Bosh.) I'll work with it. But it's so special I don't know yet what to do!

 So the hoarding begins again.

Book Giveaway!

It's been awhile since I've done a giveaway! This should appeal to those who color!

I purchased this book, "Color Charts: 50 Color Charts to record your color collection of pencils, paints, and pastels all in one place.

Just click

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Mar 25, 2017 11:59 PM PDT. See Official Rules


Friday, March 03, 2017

Fear and how to deal with it

(source unknown)

In the past month, I've learned that two of my friends with aggressive cancer are not getting better (in part because insurance has decided they no longer want to pay for the chemo the DOCTOR has prescribed. As if an insurance person would have the slightest IDEA having never met either person.) 

Then I learned that not one, not two, but three people developed cancer. (Since the first writing, one more friend has developed cancer.)  One was misdiagnosed. One was lucky enough to find it themselves. The newest find, I'm unclear on. The third one -- that one I don't know but it breaks my heart and my I've got a big heart.


There's not a thing I can do financially to help these awesome people. In the case of my friend whose insurance-doesn't-count company failed her, I'd have to raise $25K-$30K a MONTH. As many contacts as I have, I can't come up with that for her, and GoFundMe just doesn't work for that, either. 

For these people I love, The Cliff of Fear can be freaking terrifying. I wouldn't want to even look over the edge. I just hope that everyone involved can hold tight to the hope that it's truly a little jump .... a baby jump. I tiny, tiny, barely there jump. Dust off, move on.

I wish I knew what to do. I pray, I cry, I pray. Two people are nearby. Three are across the country. One is about a seven hour drive away. It's times like this I wish I had a little tiny pod trailer I could hook to the Bug or the van and just go do a round-the-nation visit. Knock on the door, give a gentle hug, take them to chemo if needed, cook something they can stomach, take them shopping for what they would love but wouldn't buy for themselves. Rick and I have been checking out trailers, kind of like these:



I quit like this, but in pink, Or purple.


It's so awesome how these little trailers use every single bit of space.


Is this selfish? But is it OK to be selfish because it would make me feel good, too? Because I would love to do all that, travel, sit in traffic jams, pouring rain or beautiful sunny days, trying to deliver a little happiness..... but I'd like to think my friends would like the visit, too. Instead of exhaust fumes, I'd love to spread cotton-candy smelling puffs of pink. But I'm sure there's an ordinance about that.

The only thing that's stopping me is Zack. I could never spend that much time away from Zack, and Rick could never take that much time away from work. I'd thought about taking Zack with me, have an XBox-less summer, but.... he's fourteen. Maybe before college, when we can just visit spots on the map. I think this should me a Lori-only trip.

It's a dream. I'll put it into my Bucket List but Lord, please let all my friends who are hurting get better before I can put the pedal to the metal.