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"Art Bead Scene Blog" - 5 new articles

  1. Firefly Design Studio Designer Challenge - Round 2
  2. Swaps and Exchanges
  3. Meeting Songbead
  4. My First Bead Cruise
  5. Perfect Pairings :: Bay Moon Design + Mary Harding
  6. More Recent Articles
  7. Search Art Bead Scene Blog
  8. Prior Mailing Archive

Firefly Design Studio Designer Challenge - Round 2

I host a designers challenge on Facebook and round 2 voting started today!  30 designers purchased a kit with the same pendant and had 2 color choices, blue or brown.  Since it's summer time, our theme is a starfish on the beach.  Here are the 2 kit choices:

There is also a polymer clay connector in the kit made by Cory Tompkins, but it was a secret component when I took these pictures Lol.  Everything in the kit has to be used with any beading technique and any additional supplies from their personal stash.  I have opened up the group for voting through Friday, June 3rd at midnight EDT.  All likes and comments on the designers 4 pictures counts as a vote.  A necklace, bracelet and earring pair plus a group shot has been uploaded to the Facebook group for voting.  There are 3 prizes.  One for the most votes from the public, one for best use of the ceramic components and one for best use of the polymer clay connector.

Our next round will be in the fall and I am thinking a bird on a branch would be a fun theme! You are all invited to join the group and play along!


Swaps and Exchanges

I (Michelle from Firefly Design Studio) have been participating in bead and jewelry swaps and exchanges for many year now.  Sometimes you are paired up with one partner, and other times you send in a certain amount of items and get a random selection in return.  No matter the details, it is lots of fun and a great way to get your creations in the hands of art bead loving friends!

Sunday was the reveal for the "Swap and Hop" hostessed by Linda Anderson.  She has the big job of pairing up partners and keeping all the behind the scene action flowing.  Pretty much the only requirements are you have a blog and love handmade jewelry!  I was partnered up with Jenny Kyrlach from Cincinnati, Ohio.  She is a paper bead artist and made me at least 100 of them in white, black, red, blue and brown shades.  I wanted her beads to be the star of my designs.  These are the 2 necklaces I made and I also used the pendants, clasps and spacer beads she included.  I added the waxed linen and chain from my own stash.

Brown necklace:
Red, White and Black Necklace:
And this is what Jenny made with my ceramic beads I sent her:
And Jenny's version of the Red, White and Black Necklace:

We hopped around to all the participant's blogs, made comments and admired the many varieties of beads and jewelry that was sent and created.  I usually find out about swaps on Facebook through the many bead groups I belong to.  So I encourage you to participate in the future if you come across an opportunity.  Really the best thing is now I have a great new beading friend, Jenny!

Meeting Songbead

I have just recently returned from a holiday in Scotland. We had been planning the trip for over a year in anticipation of an epic wedding! My husband's family is Scottish and his uncle was getting married at St. Giles cathedral. Oh, what a glorious event it was, the weather was gorgeous and the reception was exceptionally top notch. 

Our youngest, Graham, was given the honor of paige boy and he would be wearing a kilt! I literally counted down the days until my heart would explode from the cuteness!! He suited it well and performed his duties like a wee gentleman. He somehow managed to score a date during the reception and wooed many young beauties on the dance floor.

I was given the honor of reading during the ceremony and recited a beautiful portion of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë ~

I have for the first time found what I can truly love-
I have found you. 

You are my sympathy- my better self- my good angel; I am bound to you with a strong attachment. 

I think you good, gifted, lovely; a fervent, solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my center and spring of life, 

wraps my existence about you- and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one. 

It was because I felt and knew this, that I resolved to marry you.

I was reciting these lovely words for over a year and became emotional a handful of times but nothing prepared me for the day I would stand before the most breathtaking of brides in St, Giles Cathedral. 

Another event that I was looking forward to while visiting Edinburgh, was meeting my friend Rebecca Anderson. No need to tell you how awesome she is because anyone reading this blog is keenly well aware.  Rebecca is a brilliant artist and it was such a joy to finally hug her neck and have a face to face chat. We planned to meet at her flat (which is in a super cool artsy part of Edinburgh) Her space was just as I imagined, brimming with creativity and life.

The wonderful wall of art

Rebecca Anderson, me, Jen Cunningham, Graham (he wanted to be in the photograph as well-ha)

Thank you for your gracious hospitality and generous gifts, Rebecca. It was such a treat to spend some time with you and your fish n chips recommendation was stellar!! As you know, we dined there twice :) (I tried the brown sauce- YUM!)

We explored Stockbrige a few days after our visit and perused a fab market filled with handmade crafts and goodies. Graham gifted this sweet little piece of art by painter & printmaker Sally Fisher

My sweet husband purchase these darling handmade earrings by Alexis Southam. There were SO many options and I spent a good 10 minutes agonizing over a decision. All of her wares were so pretty!!

Alexis Southam

stag necklace (swoon)

We also picked up some handmade dog treats for our Oliver, a few antique books, and some eppoisse (so stinky good)

Scotland is truly amazing! The landscapes are glorious and everyone we encountered was genuine & kind. We wish to move there one day. For now, I will relish the memories :)

Sean Connery slept here ;)


My First Bead Cruise

I (Michelle from Firefly Design Studio) returned a few days ago from my first Bead Cruise.  Our own Heather Powers says she plans her dream vacation and invites 65 friends to join her!  Heather keeps us busy, but there is plenty of time to enjoy the ship and ports.  For me, it was the top notch classes that got me excited.  This is what I took and learned:

Kerry Bogert is a wire worker expert.  She has written 3 books and has so many tips and tricks that she is willing to share.  My first class with Kerry was an earring class.  We received sheets of copper and brass, 24 g and 18g wire.  We punched circles and cut rectangles as well as punched small circles around the edges of our shapes.  It was fun texturing the metal with fancy hammers.  Here they are!
Next I learned chain making from Kerry.  She also showed us how to make a few kinds of clasps, which I was excited to learn.  We made 1 chain each hour.  We used dowels, pliers, punches, and made jump rings.  Which is your favorite?  Mine is the circle one, third from left.  I plan on dangling a ceramic bead at the end of the extender chains I made to make these bracelets and 1 necklace "me."
This necklace that Kerry taught us is so cool!  We used a coil machine, or hand coiling, as well as wrapping 16g wire around different sized dowels.  We connected our links together for this statement piece design!
Beverly Herman is a very talented, patient and fun seed bead instructor.  This is only my third time doing bead embroidery.  Time Traveler used multiple sizes of seed bead, pearls and a ceramic disc that I had the honor of making for the student kits!  I am about half finished at this point.  Isn't it going to be gorgeous?
Bead Cruise 2017 is already more than half booked.  I know the ship departs from Texas and is going to the Western Caribbean next year in February.  I am already going on a cruise in February with my friends, so I didn't think 2 cruises in 1 month would work with my schedule.  If you'd like to learn more, go to and check it out.

Perfect Pairings :: Bay Moon Design + Mary Harding

These intense cobalt blues mixed with the more earthy browns, bronze and tan are what drew me to this bracelet for the challenge. It wasn't until I hopped over and saw more angles of this bracelet that I could see the knotting and the textures. It reminds me of branches against a clear blue sky and I love all the different textures going on. And that button! I love buttons as clasps!

Featured Designer :: BayMoonDesign
Featured Bead Artists :: Mary Harding Jewelry

And see the other post for today for
a second helping of Perfect Pairings!

We are now using Pinterest! 
You can find more details in this post about the exciting new changes
including a board devoted to art beads inspired by the monthly challenge!
(Ooh! Look! More pretty beads to lust after!)

Pretty please make sure that you post a link in your Pinterest description
so that I have someplace to attribute the picture! 
And don't forget to tell us about those art beads - providing links to bead makers is appreciated!

Deadline May 28th to get your pictures posted to the Pinterest boards for the creation of the Monthly Challenge Recap post for May 31st.

TIP: If you upload your photo rather than pin it from your blog or shop, edit the pin (the little pencil button) and add your link as the source. Save your edits. This will allow us to click directly on your photo and go to your blog or shop to read more about your entry. If you don't, I might not be able to access the photo to share it.


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