Barbara’s Blog – BBD Art Jewelry

Color Play!

I’m easing into designing with bright colors and wanted a simple project that would work up quickly.  The result? Immediate gratification and a new pair of earrings to wear!  I opted for bead-woven triangles as a fun way to combine subtle shades of blue, orange, and lemon (all silver-lined Delicas) with vivid dark red and vibrant pea green opaque beads.  I really like the results! The addition of a single 4mm Czech Druk bead strung on the earwire at the center of each triangle (an orange Druk on the predominantly blue/orange/red triangle and a red Druk on the green/orange/violet triangle) adds a nice finishing touch!  Each geometrically woven double-sided triangle measure 30mm and hangs on a 33mm long silver-plated stainless steel earwire for lots of swing and sway! The title of these earrings is “Color Play”.

It’s Interesting How One’s Tastes Evolve…

When I first learned to bead a decade or so ago I preferred to work with beads that were muted in color…transparent or silver-lined or accented with rainbow or metallic finishes. I am still fond of those, but suddenly I find I am attracted to opaque bright-colored beads.  This is quite a leap for me because I found those colors rather garish back then. They were just too “loud”!  I truly don’t know why I find them so appealing now. Perhaps because we are in the midst of winter…the landscape is so white with snow and many days are overcast and grey. There is no color in the neutral tones outdoors at the moment. The frigid temperatures seem to contribute to a craving for the warmth of tropical colors! I’ve just ordered a selection of Delica beads and 4mm round Czech Druk beads in intensely bright shades…juicy yellow shades of mango and pineapple, vivid reds and sunset orange, kiwi and palm frond greens, turquoise and deep Caribbean blues! Just a few of those colors are shown here.  I can’t wait to start a new project using these beads…I can almost hear them sing “Happy” to me!

Repurposing again…

I love giving objects a second life and having just finished with the holidays, I found that many of the gifts we received were packaged in wonderfully sturdy, reusable  boxes! This particular box housed teabags in four individual compartments (each measuring 3.25 x3.25 inches) that are ample enough to hold tubes and jars of beads as well as other supplies and ephemera. An additional feature is its magnetic closure hidden in the overlying flap on the lid!

After consuming the tea that came in this box, I stamped and decoupaged colorful torn papers and text and covered up any surfaces on the box that contained lettering. It was a fun project and this box now  graces my beading table!


Faux is Great!

I haven’t worked with bronze metal clay in some time…I just haven’t been “into” it!

But I recently ran out of the flower-shaped disks that I include in my “Bollywood Bling” Beaded Ruffle Cuff design. Then I had an idea…why not use Polymer clay to make the disks? It makes sense because Polymer clay will never tarnish and it’s smoother than metal so it won’t abrade beading thread. Metal clay shrinks while firing so the finished size is always iffy whereas Polymer clay remains the same size both raw and cured. Plus it’s less expensive so I’m able to sell the kit for less! I used Premo! Sculpey Gold #5303 and the finish on these disks is really phenomenal…so rich in color I doubt Midas could tell the difference!  Win-win!

Santa was most generous!

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’ve been working with paper most recently. Well, Santa brought me a lot of new dies from which to create more tiny boxes, envelopes, bags, and if you look in the center of the photo, you’ll see a garland of tiny geometric components.

I’ve just started to play with this die and after making a few components from paper, I can see these worked as beadwoven pieces and I’m also wondering how this design might translate in polymer clay! Obviously, this geometric component will provide hours of exploration and I haven’t even had a chance to experiment with the other dies. Thank you so much, Santa!


Yes…Most Definitely!

I will get back to beading and metal work, but every now and then I need to step back from it all and delve into something totally new. In this case, I’ve wandered off into working with paper collage, creating tiny one-of-a-kind boxes, pillow envelopes, bags, and notecards and adding stamped and cut-out embellishment to each. I’m really having fun making these and am finding they are coming in very handy for holiday gift giving! Thus far, they have been very well received! Changing direction periodically and working with a different art form is beneficial because I feel refreshed and ready to return to beading and metal work anew! In the past three weeks I have been making so many little treasure boxes and bags that I’ve decided to list several collections of these in my Etsy shop…just in time for the holidays! read more…

Do You Remember This Piece?

This is my “Loch Ness Sea Dragon III” Wrap design (inspired by Contemporary Geometric Beadwork).  I entered it in the Fire Mountain Gems 2017 Seed Bead Contest and the results have just been announced.  Lucky me!  This piece won a Bronze Medal Award in the Fashion Accessories category!  They’ve sent me a gift certificate, which I’ll use to buy more Delica beads and other goodies!  

FMG holds four contests each year: Metal, Creative Clays, Seed Beads, and Swarovski and I always try to have a piece ready to submit by each deadline. I’ll be entering the Metal Contest before it closes in February.  In the meantime, I’ve just renewed my listing for the “Loch Ness Sea Dragon III” Wrap beading kit as well as the tutorial. You’ll find both in my Etsy shop. Happy Beading!

Reflecting on Time…

When I was a young girl, it seemed that every person over the age of fifty constantly remarked how fast time was passing. I didn’t understand why they felt that way. I’d watch the clock in my classroom edge along at snail pace. I waited for the hands to strike 3 p.m. signaling the end of the school day so I could run home and watch Mickey Mouse Club on TV. I so looked forward to the weekends (they seemed to take forever to arrive!) because I spent them with my father. Every Sunday afternoon he’d take me to Kiddie Land where I’d get to eat cotton candy, ride the tiny Choo-Choo train, and sit in a boat that didn’t need to be steered because it just floated around in a circle!  The three-month summer break from school seemed endless and by August I was actually anticipating going back to school. Waiting for Christmas to arrive was always almost unbearable! So what were these old people talking about? As far as I could tell, time didn’t go fast at all! Did you feel the same about time when you were young?

As I grew to become a busy adult working full-time and dealing with a multitude of daily minutiae, time did seem to pass a bit faster, but weekends still didn’t arrive soon enough. Unlike the Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey, I knew what weekends were and I really looked forward to them! Life was still a waiting game…a “wait and see” for what happens next week, next year, in ten years! There was so much time left!

Now, as I am traveling in what is referred to as “the Golden Years” (surely a misnomer as far as I’m concerned), I can hardly believe how rapidly time passes! I’m busier than ever and weeks fly by as if they were days! With the holiday season rapidly approaching, I haven’t found time to bead in weeks and resin projects have been languishing on my metalsmithing workbench in anticipation of becoming rings and bracelets and pendants! Never more than now have I felt that I need more hours in a day, more days in a week, more months in a year! In fact, I need another lifetime to accomplish all that I’d like! Yet, upon reflection, I am so thankful to be a person who is never bored, one that always has much to do and projects waiting in the wings!



Staying Ahead of the Holidays…

What am I doing this week? I’m creating tiny gift boxes and bags. With the holidays rapidly approaching, I’ll need hostess gifts and small tokens of appreciation to give to friends and service people.  

To make this process easier than cutting and measuring cardstock with ruler and cutting matt, I’ve invested in a Big Shot Plus cutting and embossing machine. 

It can handle paper and cardstock up to 8.5” in width so I can make nifty pillow boxes that are large enough to hold materials for my beading kits. Each box and bag is one of a kind because I buy plain cardstock and embellish it with stamped designs and/or apply torn art papers onto them. It’s a fun creative outlet and makes gifts and kits all the more special!

This little box is the perfect size for holding my Delica-filled Large Color Wheels!  I know of several beaders who would love to receive gifts like these!

It’s Never Too Early…

Many gift-giving dates are fixed…birthdays and Christmas, to name a few. Preparing for these occasions is stressful enough without the task of running out at the last minute to buy gifts. When I see an item that I know someone would love, I buy it even if it’s months before the occasion, because I’ve learned that a particular item(s) may no longer be available when the time comes.

With that in mind, I’ve put together these wonderful little color-coordinated wheels of 11/0 Delica beads to use as gifts and stocking stuffers during the holidays and as birthday presents for my bead enthusiast friends. The collections are presently available in the following color combinations…Spring Tones, Sunset Tones, Twilight Tones, Pomegranate Tones, and Neutral Tones and two sizes (the large container measures 3.25” in diameter and the small container measures 2.25” in diameter). Each wheel holds a collection of twelve color-coordinated Delica beads. All are accompanied by a list of the color numbers and names. Depending on bead finish and color, the large wheel holds approximately 18 to 21 grams. The small wheel holds approximately 12 to 15 grams of beads. These are perfect amounts for creating “on the go” projects…just toss a wheel or two in your bag, add needles, thread, and scissors and you’re ready for the road!  You’ll find these collections in my Etsy shop!

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