Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!!

As I write this, it is almost noon on Dec. 31st, so let me take a second to wish everyone a new year full of peace and happiness.  2015 closes with a lot of positive outlook for me.  I have faced some major health issues (why I have been away for awhile)  and some personal changes as well.  I am looking forward to 2016 and all the new things it brings.

One of my favorite things to do at the beginning of the year is to buy a new day planner.  I have used one since I was in high school and there is nothing more enjoyable to me than to open up that new book and see all the empty pages just waiting for my little notes and doodles.  I may be a tech nerd, but I do still need that real planner to write on, some things just can't replace paper.

As my mind continues along what reminds me of a path of untouched snow, I want to touch on a few things that I have planned for the upcoming year here on the blog.  

  • Monthly Color Focus:  I have been pinning lots of color schemes over the years and it is about time I did something with them!  On the first of each month I will introduce you to the theme for the month.  Come on back to see what I make with the colors I've chosen!
  • WIPs:   Works in Progress  I want to give you a peek into my design process and show you how my pieces go from what is in my mind to a finished piece.
  • My Faves:  I will be introducing you to some of my favorite bead makers, designers and artists that inspire me in my creations.
I am sure there will be lots more,  but my main goal for this year on the blog is to really branch out.  There is so much more to Forest of Jewels than great pieces of jewelry, so I hope that you will come along with me on this creative adventure.

Finally,  the Leftover's challenge had to be postponed because of my illness.   I will be rescheduling it sometime in the near future so keep watching for an announcement about it.

Again,  have a great New Year and see you tomorrow for the first Color Focus of 2016!!

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Lunar Eclipse Challenge Reveal

I am very excited to be able to participate in another of Andrew Thornton's design challenges!  This month we got to work with a wonderful collection of beads.  The gemstone this time around was smoky quartz. I have a personal connection to this stone.  I remember as a young girl, my mother received a beautiful rectangular smoky quartz ring as a gift.   I always wanted to wear it when I played dress up.  It is a great memory, and that stone will always make me think of her when I see it.  

Here is a peek at some of the goodies Andrew sent along for me to create with.  Along with the smoky quartz there are some beautiful pieces of vintage glass, Czech beads, vintage acrylic, vintage seed beads and some Irish waxed linen.  As usual, even after I made three pieces I have a ton left over to keep designing with.   It is one of the reasons I love Andrew's challenges so much, there is always more to enjoy!

My first piece really came together quickly in my mind.  My only issue is that it doesn't have a Lunar theme to me but a warrior one.  Andrew made the beautiful pendant out of polymer clay and includes an alchemy symbol.  It really reminded me of something one would find on a talisman.  When I put it with the rectangular pieces of smoky quartz, it felt very strong and full of energy.  Something a warrior would wear.  I added the golden glass beads and a touch of bronze with the vintage seed beads.  I connected the beaded portion of my necklace to some larger links of gun metal chain. Again, it made me think of heavy metal you might find on ceremonial or war clothing.  To stick with my warrior theme, I finished the piece off with black leather in a slip necklace so it can be adjusted to size by the wearer.  I left the knotting on the leather rough to fit my design plan.

My second necklace returns to the Lunar theme of the design challenge.  Using the vintage acrylic, glass beads, and Czech beads I was able to create a piece that reminds me of what a planetary landscape might look like.  I think all these recent photos of Pluto and the evidence of water on Mars really inspired my design.

My final piece is a beautiful stretch bracelet that just really seems to fit this time of year.  I use some of the vintage glass beads from the kit along with a lot of other beads from the luxury bead mix Andrew provides.  I love the way the bronze and golden beads work together and this fun little bracelet will work all the way through to the Holidays.

Thank you so much for hosting us again Andrew and I look forward to seeing everyone else's designs.

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Beady Leftovers Blog Hop Sign Up

If you are like me, you have a collection of beads that are leftovers.  Mine is a collection of beads that are the pieces I didn't use from other blog hops and challenges.   Every time I finish working on one of those I add the orphan beads to the mix in a big takeout soup container.   Well,  what was once only one container is now two.   I keep looking at those containers and going, "I should make something with those someday!"  But nothing has motivated me to try.   Well,  I would like to motivate myself and bring you along with me on the creative journey by hosting a blog hop!

I am going to keep participation requirements very easy for this one.  The only requirement is that you use beads that are leftovers.   You can use a few extra beads from your regular design stash along with findings, but since the point is to use up your leftovers,  the majority of your designs should be from there.   I ask that you take a before shot of your beads along with the photos of your completed designs.   That way we all get to see what kind of goodies you had to work with.

Your beads do not have to be leftovers from other blog hops and challenges.  It ok if you just use left over beads from other projects you worked on.   I just want to see your creativity at work!  

There will be two ways to participate.   You can hop along with us by writing a blog post on November 21st that shows us your before and after pictures and share a bit about your designs.  If you don't have a blog,  you can send your pictures to me at with a paragraph about your work and I will be happy to post them here on my blog on reveal day.  

Now...the good news!!! I will be drawing one name randomly from all the participants and that person will win a $25 dollar Amazon gift certificate!

To sign up, please comment below with your name and blog address if you will be hopping along with us.   If you don't have a blog just let me know your name and that you will be emailing me your photos.   Then get designing!   
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Friday, August 21, 2015

We're All Ears August Reveal

"USA Antelope-Canyon" by Lucas Löffler

Hi Blog I have missed you!!  Because of personal events, I haven't had a chance to stop in and visit lately so I was really excited when I saw this month's inspiration post for the We're All Ears challenge over at Earrings Everyday  If you have been following my blog for awhile, you may have seen these monthly challenges that start with a wonderful inspiration image and then all the participating artists post their pieces on the 3rd Friday of the month.   

The photo above is one of several beautiful photographs of Antelope Canyon that Erin chose for this month's inspiration here. These kinds of canyons are formed by thousands of years of weathering from wind and rain.   They are majestic and beautiful.   I true wonder right here in the USA.  Rock formations and canyons have always fascinated me, I would love to make it out West some day to get to experience such beautiful sites in person.

When it came time to design my earrings, I knew exactly what stones I wanted to use.  A few months ago,  I purchased two exquisite pieces of Red Creek Jasper from my favorite lapidary and I had been hoarding them until just the right pair of earrings called me.   They were perfect for this month's challenge!

Canyon Sunset by Forest of Jewels
Can you see the walls of the canyon weathered smooth by water in those beautiful stones?  Small gaps and outcrops changing the striations on the face?  I feel that they capture the theme of the challenge perfectly.   To finish off my design, I used Czech glass rondelles in shades of cream, brown and a touch of green.  The coloring in those beads also remind me of the canyon walls seen in the inspiration photo.  Tiny picasso finished Czech Druk beads add that little bit more of sandy earthiness to the design.   

Canyon Sunset Earrings
Thank you for stopping by and taking a peek at my earrings.  I always enjoy participating in these monthly challenges, hop on over to the Reveal Page to see what everyone else designed.   Have a great weekend!
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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Splendid Procession Challenge Reveal

Back in April, Designer Andrew Thornton announced his latest challenge, Splendid Procession.   He would post on his blog that his inspiration for the collection were Faeries.  He shared several wonderful pieces of art that fueled the inspiration and you can visit them here. Think of forests full of faeries celebrating in colorful costumes.  So much beauty that can be carried over into very special jewelry designs.
Here is a peek of some of the pretty beads included in the kit he sent:

Included in the selection are wonderful tourmaline chips, a vintage lucite flower, vintage seed beads, Czech glass, vintage German glass and dyed jade just to name a few of the yummies.

When I started designing the pieces for this challenge I was really excited.  The colors are different than what I usually work with and were rich and a bit bold for me.   It was an exciting challenge for me to sit with the beads and wait for them to tell me their story and come together in each piece.  Unfortunately, last week I had some personal sadness and I didn't get to finish making all the pieces I intended.  My service dog, Kellogg, passed away suddenly and I just haven't had my design mojo since then.   But,  I did successfully finish a few pieces before that, so I would like to share them with you.

My first piece uses Andrew's handmade mystery component as it's star.  He made a beautiful butterfly wing in rich shades of maroon and forest green.  I then used the tourmaline, many different pieces of the glass he included as well as a few crystals.   Imagine the Faerie Queen showing up wearing this special statement piece. 

My next piece used the wonderful flower.  I wanted it to be a focal piece in a necklace but I am also always trying to get out of my symmetrical head when I design for these challenges.  So I combined the best of both worlds.  The flower looks wonderful as the connector between some great gunmetal chain and the vintage green seed beads, wonderful burgundy faceted glass beads, and these fun leaf shaped glass pieces.   I can see one of the faeries dancing in the forest, moon light shining off the beads.

The young princess in the procession will be wearing a fun bracelet made up of lots of glass beads, quartz,vintage lucite,  Swarovski crystal and glittery seed beads.  A sweet little leaf dangles from the clasp. 

Finally, I of course had to make earrings or it just wouldn't be a challenge without one!  There were these wonderful pink pillowy squares in the collection of beads and I found the matching cube beads in the collection as well so I just had to pair them up with some of the vintage seed beads to make a romantic pair of summer earrings.  I love how the cubes are drilled asymmetrically for a great effect!

Thank you for stopping by and looking at my work.  As always, I enjoyed working with the beads and artisan made component Andrew included with this challenge.  On a personal note, if you have a special pet in your life give them a hug for me; it will make me smile.  

Stop by and visit the other designers participating in the challenge:

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Art of Awareness Blog Hop and Reveal

A couple of months ago, Lori McDaniel Anderson announced on her blog that she was hosting a blog hop that would be focusing on the awareness of a cause that was important to us.  Some people also might have used the blog hop as a way to remember someone special in their life or an event that may have been significant in their life.  To participate in the hop, we had to purchase at least one bead made by Heather Millican at swoondimples.  Heather even went out of her way to have a special stamp commissioned for the hop for those who wanted to use an awareness ribbon color for their bead.

When I heard about this hop, I knew right away that I wanted to participate.  Like most people, I have had my share of issues I deal with either personally or in my family.   So, while I sat down to decide what I wanted my bead to look like I actually had a bit of a challenge.  There were ribbon colors available from me to select, but to be honest I really didn't feel comfortable sitting down to my blog and telling the whole world about my health.   I never do that.   I am not comfortable opening up the windows and telling just anyone my personal details.  But, at the same time I wanted to honor myself, how strong I am and how I face the barriers that get in my way from time to time.  So how did I do that?  Let me give you a peek.

My bean bead doesn't have a ribbon on it, and it isn't pink for the reasons you might think.   Pink is my favorite color and it represents me.  I have friends that see pink items and immediately think of me.  :)  So of course my bead had to be pink!!  I wanted the piece of jewelry I designed to be fun and happy.  When I showed it to a friend she said it reminded her of balloons at a party and that was the look I was going for!  My bracelet is a celebration of my survival.  How brave I am and how special too.   Marybeth is great and no matter what she faces,  she can do so bravely.   

I am so happy with the way it came out.   I used light rose crystal rondelles, these fun resin beads with spikey crystals in them, frosted glass beads and finally little baby pink seed beads to make my memory wire bracelet.  

Please check out the stories of all the other participants on Lori's page because I am having technical difficulties with the list:

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Bead Destash Group on Facebook

For a little while now I have been setting up a Facebook group to sell beads, gemstones and findings.   I think I have made everything all pretty and ready for shoppers, so I would like to announce the grand opening.  So, if you are looking to add some pretties to your bead stash, stop by and say hello!  

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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Bead Peeps Swap N' Hop Reveal

Today is the day!!!  I am so excited to share with you the wonderful creations I  made using some wonderful glass beads sent to me by my partner, Marcy Lamberson.   Here is a link to her blog so come check her out when you get the chance.   Marcy is an incredible glass artist (in fact I have since gone and bought more of her work because I just love her style)   Here is a look at all the wonderful beads she sent me to work with.

As you can see,  all of her beautiful gifts are sea related.  When I was checking out Marcy's Facebook page before we talked, I noticed that just a few days before the partners were announced she had been to visit my little rural spot of Florida!!!  What are the odds?  When we talked it was a great starting point for our getting to know you conversations.  While I live in the middle of the Withlacoochee State Forest,  I am also just 2 miles from the Gulf of Mexico.  So not only do I share a love for forests and trees, I have a deep love for water and the sea.  I often design based on water and sea themes and Marcy was kind enough to indulge my love of the water in the beads she sent.  Her work is incredible and the detail superb.  Even the back sides of her pieces are special.

My first design uses Marcy's beautiful shell bead.   If you were just looking at the bead you would not know it wasn't real.  It is the most detailed glass shell I have ever seen.   I created a Y necklace with it using pink cultured sea glass rounds, light rose crystal rondelles and the most delicious candy looking watermelon tourmaline.  This necklace just sings summer evening to me.   Here is a look at the shell from the back.  See how she carries the detail through her work?

My next design uses the really fun bead my son has called the mini aquarium and the sand dollar and scallop shell beads.

This necklace is just so much fun!!  The detail in the aquarium bead is really cool.   It has shells on both sides and what my son argues is a crab walking inside (I say it is coral).  I made another Y necklace and this time used opaque cultured sea glass rounds, crystals in padparadscha, teal and opalite and closed it with a cultured sea glass toggle clasp.   On a fun note, scallop fishing is very big here.  We are one of the best places to get Gulf scallops and it is a very big event here with people traveling from all over to go diving for them each  year, so this necklace has a bit of homage to my hometown too!  Here is a peek at the backside so you can see the detail on the aquarium bead.

Now if you know anything about me, you know that whenever I do a challenge or a blog hop I have to make earrings.  I just love making them so any excuse to do so, I create at least one pair.   This time Marcy had provided two wonderful little shells.  They are not quite a pair, but they are close enough and I just love the touch of asymmetry, it adds a bit of fun to the earrings.

To tie them back to the shell necklace, I used the same pink cultured sea glass rounds and a light rose crystal for that touch of sparkle.

My final piece is the one I just love.  Those two glass manatee beads are very special and I am going to hoard one for a very long time.  He needs to peek out at me from my special spot I have for artisan beads and become the mascot to my work area.  His partner  I paired with several of the glass rings to make this:

The blue rings made me think of bubbles moving through the water so my little manatee sits under the viewing dome at Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park munching on his lettuce all the while the water above him sparkles.  I used icy blue seed beads and aqua and opalite crystals to give the necklace that watery feel.   This necklace is asymmetrical with bubbles going up one side.   I still try and embrace that not every necklace has to be the same on both sides; it remains a challenge for me and it is something I enjoy embracing when working on blog hops.

Here is a close up of the manatee:

If you are interested in seeing manatees, check out the manatee cam during the day.  It is dark and eerie at night.  :)

I had so much fun participating in this hop.   I had a wonderful partner who went above and beyond making special beads for me.   Thanks to Marcy and to Linda for organizing such a big hop.  Please stop by and visit all the other hoppers to see what they designed.

Bead Peeps Swap N Hop 2015 
Partner List  

 Our Hostess: Linda Anderson from http//

KristinaHahn Eleniak
CatherineLa Vite
JaniceWarden Bergeron
Ingevon Roos
KellyHosford Patterson
Sue Kennedy
MarybethRich   (you are here)
Maria RosaSharrow
Seed Beaders
RebeccaRobertson   (White)
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Monday, April 20, 2015

We're All Ears April Reveal

Reference piece from Earrings Everyday
For a little over a year now,  Erin over at Earrings Everyday has hosted a monthly design challenge.  Each month she chooses an inspiration item for us to focus on as we create our designs.  She is wonderful at coming up with ideas!  This month she chose the architecture at The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain.   These buildings are very modern and amazing!  I strongly encourage you to read the inspiration blog post here to see examples of the buildings and the marvels of architecture design.

The building I chose to use as  my inspiration (pictured above) is L'Oceanografic which is the largest oceanographic aquarium in Europe.  I just love the design.  It reminds me of a dolphin crashing back into water after it has just taken a breath.  The sleekness and the round curve is what drew me to the photograph.

Last week,  I also participated in Andrew Thornton's Frenzied Motion Challenge. While I was making the pieces for that challenge,  I couldn't help but think how much some of the beads he had included in the kit would work perfectly for this month's earring design.

I love the smooth circular lines of the saucer shaped beads and I continued the roundness in my choice of the light lavender coin shaped beads in the dangle as well.  Since this is an ocean themed inspiration picture,  I added Swarovski crystals in shades of blue and grey to mimic the color of the sea.

Thank you so much for stopping by and checking out my entry for this month's challenge! Check out everyone's designs below!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Frenzied Motion Challenge Reveal

Hello!  Welcome to my reveal post for Andrew Thornton's Frenzied Motion Challenge!  I am always excited when I see Andrew is hosting a new challenge because the combination of beads he uses are always incredible.  Between the handmade components and the selected beads it is always a large selection of great beads.  If you would like to learn more about Andrew, check out his blog here.  He always limits the number of participants, so I was very happy to get to participate this time.   

This month's theme was the frenetic energy of a New York City dance club.  The music, the lights, the people coming together in a group of motion, energy and excitement.   When I learned of his inspiration I was immediately taken back to my college days.  I loved to go dancing.  Every Tuesday and Thursday you could find me in a club for hours.  Ybor City in Tampa had a particular club that had several dance floors and I was always on one come Tuesday night.  It was the late 80's, early 90's so think lots of bright colors and big hair! Here is a peek at the beads Andrew sent us.

Look at all that fabulous pink and blue!!!  If you know me at all, you know I love pink.  It is my favorite color.  Blue is the color I design the most in, so this challenge was just made for me.  Among those beads are rose quartz, Czech beads, Japanese seed beads, vintage Italian seed beads, mother of pearl, vintage lucite, dogtooth amethyst and dyed jade.  Finally, there is a bag full of all kinds of goodies including crystals, vintage glass, all kinds of seed beads, rose quartz, Czech glass and so many lovelies I could never identify every one. Andrew also made several of the components like the pink and blue polymer clay round beads.   Also, he includes a special mystery component with each collection and this time he made a wonderful pendant. 

Courtesy Andrew Thornton

His pendant reminds me so much of the lights flashing all around the dance floor and the colors you would see in your eyes as you looked around the room.  Those lights would flash to the beat of the music.  If I close my eyes I can hear Madonna's Vogue playing and I am whisked away on a dance floor to some wonderful memories.

For this challenge I created three necklaces, a bracelet and a pair of earrings.   You will have to wait to see the earrings tomorrow because while I was making them I kept thinking how much they fit this month's We're All Ears Challenge.  But now, lets take a peek at what I made.

My first piece is a necklace that I used the two large oval pieces of rose quartz as the focus.  I just love those two stones!  The soft pink is so delicate and feminine.  I paired them with a large blue-grey crystal that was included in the luxury bead mix.  I also used some Swarovski crystals and some other blue beads I found in the bead mix.  I finished it off with some light rose crystal rondelles of my own to carry that soft pink feminine touch.  

My second necklace uses the three round pink and blue polymer clay beads Andrew made.  I paired them with some wonderful faced dyed pink jade pillow beads, more Swarovski crystal and what I believe are Czech glass square beads in a soft pink.  I can see myself on the dance floor wearing this piece.

My final necklace uses Andrew's mystery component as its focus.  I love that I found the just perfect magenta pink colored wire to make the bail for this piece.  I wanted it to be part of the design with a retro feel.  All the beads used in this piece were from the kit except for four large bright blue crystal rondelles that just worked so well with the color palette and helped highlight the soft color of the beads they surround.

There were a lot of really cool single beads in the mix of beads and I wanted to come up with a way to highlight them in a piece.  There was also a bag full of these bright blue vintage seed beads that I just had to use.  I decided a bracelet was the best way to show off these special one-of-a-kind beads.  Can you just imagine the lights capturing the facets in the beads as you sway your arms to the music?

I had so much fun with this challenge.  As always, Andrew gives the designer and abundance of beautiful beads to work with.  I have so many left, I am sure you will see them in future designs.  I want to thank Andrew Thornton again for putting these challenges together and I look forward to participating in the future.  Make sure to stop by and see what the other designers have made with these beautiful beads.

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