A little bit of life, love, and artisan jewelry but mostly the

Home of the Confused Muse..

Where you will find the meadering thoughts of an actively artistic brain - as well as my latest creations, events, soapboxes, dramas, crisis, blessings, and life in general.

This is also the home of "ChrissyMarie Jewelry and Accessories", named for my daughter! Twenty-Five Percent of all sales from this line are donated to B.I.T.S. aka "Better in the Saddle", a local non-profit Equine Assisted Therapy Program ....because we KNOW horses help make miracles!


January 26, 2010

Bead Soup Party - It's Huge!

I just realized I haven't posted the list of 85 talented beaders participating in the virtual "Bead Soup Party"!!

Here is the list...I wanted you to have it so you can "Blog Hop" on February 10th when the great unveiling takes place.  Each of us will then post our creations made from the materials provided by our bead party partners. It's going to be a beautiful array of color and imagination!  Please come join us and please take the time to visit each blog listed here.  Leave a comment if you wish or press the oh so important "Follow" button so you can revisit the Blogs you enjoy most!  Here they are......

Party Participants

1. Lori, Pretty Things
2. Mallory, For the Love of Beads
3. Terri, Blooming Ideas
4. Cindy, Sweet Bead Studio
5. Lorelei, Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
6. Kerry, Kab's Creative Concepts
7. Erin, Treasures Found
8. Jeannette, Jeannette Blix Wire and Metal Jewelry
9. Adrienne, Adrienne Designs
10. Nan, Spirit Rattles
11. Laurel, Rue's Daftique
12. Nancy, Beading From the Heart
13. Mary, MK's Creative Musings
14. Cassie, The Glass Beadle
15. Dot, Winchell Clayworks
16. Sharon, Sharon's Jewelry Garden
17. Lisa, Lo and Behold
19. Judith, Judith B.
20. Debbie, Prairie Emporium
21. Maria, Garden Path Beads
24. Marianna, Pretty Shiny Things
25. Lisa, Joolz by Lisa
26. Cristi, 2 If By Sea
29. Barbara, Jewelry of Distinction
30. Leslie, Bei Mondi
31. Loretta, Designs by Loretta
32. Linda, Bella Bead Jewelry
33. Kathie, The Bead Cult
34. Patty, Plays With Fire
35. Nicki, Nicki's Reef
36. Anne Marie, Heart's Desire
39. Emanda, Artemesia's Studio
40. Whitney, Whitney Lassini
41. Marcie, La Bella Joya
42. Suzann, Beadphoria
43. Jen, Jen Judd Rocks
45. Janiece, J Birds Garden
46. Kate, Organic Odysseys
47. Laurie, The Mermaid Tale
49. Sue, Sue Beads
50. Janeen, Janeen 365
51. Nancy, The Rabbit Muse
52. Kristie, Artisan Clay
53. Regina, Regina's Writings
54. Tari, Pearl and Pebble
55. Lyn, Lyn Foley
57. Cathryn, Chile Cats
58. Emma, Fred Bean's Nook
60. Juli, Jul's Beads
61. Julie, RockerJewlz
70. Lynette, Rock Hill Designs
74. Ruthie, Rose Works Jewelry
75. Elizabeth, Turquoise Sky
76. Maire, Maire Dodd
77. Janet, Singing Woods
78. Eileen, Dorset Hill Beads
80. Joann, Jo's Jewels
81. Patti, PJ Clark Designs
82. Mel, Kookie Designs
84. Dale, Flights of Fancy
85. Dee, Runako Designs

January 24, 2010

Bead Soup Ingredients

Yay!  It came in the mail the other day...my Bead Soup Party package from my partner in design Debbie Goering of Prairie Emporium Handcrafted Jewelry.  This is a photo of the ingredients she sent to get my "Muse" stirred up.  Now, if can just figure out the recipe!

The ingredients included beads...handcrafted clay beads, beautiful dark Green Quartz faceted rondelles, pretty little tan beads...not sure if these are Riverstone or Indian Opal?..and a beautifully handcrafted Sterling Silver clasp!  Debbie tossed in a package of pretty seed beads as well for a little extra spice :)

Words from James Taylor's "Sweet Baby James" popped in my head as soon as I opened the package..."Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose..."  Alas, one of my favorite songs and definitely a truism when it comes to my personal color choices!

I must admit I'm a bit overwhelmed with ideas at the moment but "it" will come....my Muse will climb out of her dizzy spin and a piece of jewelry will emerge.  We can be surprised together when I post the final results here on February 10th!  I'm not allowed to post the photo until then so be sure to come back and take a look. 

Now, if you'll exuse me...I have to get to work!Posted by Picasa

Bead Soup Party Exchange

I'm so excited about this party!  I got an email from my exchange partner Debbie Goering and we worked out the logistics...snail mail addresses, etc.  We didn't discuss our design styles or what kind of materials we normally work with. I visited her blog to check out her work so I'd have some idea of what she normally works with....all with the intent of sending her something completely out of her element.  I thought it might make for more fun and tease her creative muse. 

However, as I got in the mode of collecting components and a clasp for her package, I found myself gathering items I would use.  We have very similar design styles.  I didn't send a huge package.  I was rather in a dither about it too!  Send more? Send less?  Did I send enough?

I finally decided "less is more".  My intent was to share a "spark" ... the kindling so to speak...without actually gathering all of the wood and lighting the fire!  I can tell you, Debbie has enough creative energy to set her own fire :) Just look at these earrings from her Etsy shop!  Aren't they gorgeous!

Go visit her blog to see the materials she received from my hearth.  While you're there take a look at all of her wonderful jewelry designs!  Prairie Emporium, Handcrafted Jewelry

January 18, 2010

My Favorite Piece of Jewelry

Recently I was asked by a fellow jewelry designer, “What is your favorite piece of jewelry and why?” This is my response….

A few years ago a dear friend asked me to design a piece of jewelry for her husband (who is also very good friend) using an heirloom piece of jewelry he had received from the estate of his late Aunt. The piece I was given to work with was made of small brass plated spikes (concrete nails) soldered together to form a Cross. His Aunt had been a woman of great faith and she wore this simple piece of jewelry often. The brass plating had worn away where her hands had caressed the cross while wearing it as a pendant. "Her cross" held very fond and distinct memories for my friend.

A bit about my friend....

The son of Christian Missionaries, Jay spent his childhood in Israel - spoke fluent Hebrew, and has the voice of an angel. He is an inspiration in my life. He exudes "peace" with his music and in his every expression. I know he would be embarrassed to know I think so highly of him but sometimes we need to let others know what a positive influence they have in our daily lives. He now serves as the Worship Pastor for our tiny little church in Kansas City, MO while holding down a full time job and raising a beautiful family with his wife Susan.

The Process...

I was almost afraid to begin the project. I wanted it to be as close to perfect as I could make it but I did not want to do anything to desecrate the original piece. I mean, really...for a Christian, the "Empty Cross" is one of the greatest symbols of our faith. How do you improve on a perfect symbol?

For me "the Cross" is a symbol of God's most important gift to us. However, is it also a reminder of the gifts He gives us to use in our daily lives. Music, song, a voice... these are all words I think of when I see or hear Jay. These are the gifts he was given.

I decided to integrate what I knew of his life into this piece. Jay’s faith, family, talent, his childhood memories...these are the things most precious to him. These are the events responsible for his very identity.

I located a woman who's talent lies in making custom rubber stamps. I asked her if she could make a stamp, a tiny stamp, with only one word - "Sing"...but...I wanted it in Hebrew! How could I possibly know she had studied Hebrew and her response would be "of course I can do that!”?

I asked another friend who specializes in working with precious metal clay to help me make a miniature plaque for the cross. It would need to be “stamped” with one word. This friend is a pro at PMC art and I was not at all surprised that she could accomplish this...the trick was in teaching ME to make the tiny plaque. She graciously offered up her time, supplies, kiln, and her home to give me a crash course in PMC. I know she would have made a perfect piece but I wanted to make it myself.  As it turned out, the one I made revealed a surprise for both of us! But....I'll get to that later....

Using the original cross, and wanting to keep that rough-hewn feel, I decided to use mixed metals. I wire wrapped the little plaque to the cross...99% pure silver wrapped in simple copper wire. I hung it from a beautiful but masculine black braided cord and attached a simple handmade sterling silver clasp. The piece was nearly finished and I hoped Jay would be not only happy with the finished product but also engulfed in memories as he took in the detail. Its design was after all, a product of his life.

It wasn't until the final step I discovered one detail I had not noticed before...The surprise I spoke of earlier. I have never been one to "sign" my pieces. It is always a difficult process for me. My hands may construct the jewelry but the ideas, the designs and talent I possess is a gift I have received. In essence, it is my gift from “the Cross”.

I was applying the final polish to the piece as I considered how to leave my signature in the most discreet way possible. It was only then I noticed a series of fine lines in the plaque. They looked almost like wood and I wondered what could possibly have caused the imprint. It was then I realized I had inadvertently "signed" this piece of jewelry with my own fingerprints. My own very personal “brand” was already there!

This "Gift of the Cross" is my favorite piece of jewelry. "God works in mysterious ways." We have all heard it but this time it was very real for me. Every person I met in the design process, every person I asked for help, every step no matter how tedious became an integral part of the design.

I hope every jewelry creator, every artist; every person with a special gift has the opportunity to experience this kind of "revelation" in at least one creative endeavor.

Live Joyfully!