Skill Swap with Sue Beads

Skill Swap with Sue Beads


I was excited to hear from my friend and favorite glass artist, Sue Kennedy from Sue Beads. A few weeks back she invited me to play with her newest Ammonite Flame Glass “wide hole” beads.

Sue Kennedy – Flamed Glass Beads

After chatting a bit we decided to swap her beads for some of my leather and findings.  We would both design and share today!  I was a bit short on time, but managed to make some pretty cool designs.  One of which is my all time favorite bracelet & I’m keeping just for me! (but happy to create one for anyone interested) Read her Article here

Ammonite Scroll Necklace

I had fun with this design.  Love the copper swirls with blue bead…I wanted to fill the wide hole snuggly, so I started with hammered swirl ends, slid through the opening the curled the bottoms of the wires and carefully hammered those.  Added 3mm Rolo Chain from my store and it’s a fun whimsy design worn long.

Swirled Copper Cuff with Spinning Ammonite Beads

Fun Copper Cuff made with 8 gauge hammered copper – I made the curve part first – hammered then shaped it on my mandrel.  Slid on the beads and hammered the opposite end and curved up slightly so easy to slide on your wrist.  All the beads spin and have a nice wind chime sound when wearing.. A nice thing about this bracelet is that it can be worn Metal swirl down or up…depending on what you feel like! 0100133749d7a9794a67e9ab37dd59fae6af3aef0c

Ammonite Scroll Necklace

This is such a “wearable” design! Boho and Summery!  The  leather is so soft and beads so beautiful.  To the right is a summary of how I achieved the patina look on the beads.  I knotted a long piece of leather, knotted and added Ammonite beads with curved tube beads.  at the end I added a copper “Key and Lock” for the clasp.   Super cute and very easy to make!!

Etched Ammonite Beads shown with Gilder's Paste accent

Playing around with Sue’s etched beads…I wanted to high light this muted white etched bead so lightly applied “patina” Gilders Paste to pull slight patina finish.  Was totally pleased with the outcome it’s just the right touch!  To do this I used a piece of scrap dish towel and added a light amount of Gilders paste…and lightly rubbed on the raised parts of the bead & let dry.

Ammonite Scroll Necklace

I wanted to think out of the box, so to speak, of ways to use the wide hole beads in a different way. I added a large 11mm Rolo link to each side of the brown ammonite bead & carefully closed the ends, so as not to break the glass beads.  I added this wonderful flat chain link that I picked up recently – It has a wonderful texture and just brings the design alive.  Topping it off with mini turquoise beads add just the right accent!

Etched Ammonite Beads shown with Gilder's Paste accent

This is my ALL TIME favorite bracelet!!! As soon as I made it, I put it on and only remove to shower!  It’s 1mm leather based with beaded picasso Matubo beads and Sue’s Red Ammonite bead as a focal.   Added some fun chain to the back side with lobster clasp and drop bead… Full of color and life & looks great with everything I put on for summer casual!


by Melinda Orr

Find me: 


Jewelry & Component Designer – focusing on texture and color in metals & leather.

Most all of the findings and components used for these designs can be found in my DIY Supply Store 

Southwestern Ammonite Beaded Braclet

I’d say we are a perfect mix! Would love to hear your comments!

Sue Beads

by Sue Kennedy 

Find her: 


Flamed glass component designer – focusing on color and texture

Sue is an “Arts Jewelry Elements” contributor and you can find her article at their website!

Sue has generously offered a giveaway!! 

To enter:

You must comment below


on Sue’s post over on Art Jewelry Elements

Sue Beads Ammonite Giveaway Beads

Winner will be chosen on Friday, June 26 – 10:00 EST
To be elegible, you must comment on both posts! Good Luck!

Congratulations to Lori Schneider – winner of Sue Beads Giveaway!
She’ll be in contact via email!!
Lindy’s Video Picks:  Diamond Bracelet with Toho Cubes and Seed Beads

Lindy’s Video Picks: Diamond Bracelet with Toho Cubes and Seed Beads


Shirley Jones Moore

Recently on facebook, Shirley Moore posted a photo of a fun summer bracelet that she had just completed. The orange and pink are such fun summer colors, looking like ice cream sherbet .

Shirley is an excellent bead weaver and we have become friends through facebook. Shirley often times provides encouragement on my attempts at bead weaving and provides me with links to patterns. After seeing the photo of this bracelet, I asked Shirley if she would be willing to share a link to the pattern.

This pattern is called :

“How to Make a diamond bracelet using Toho cubes and seed beads” by MargheBeadbyBead

As luck would have it, I go looking through my bead stash to try and locate beads to make a bracelet of my own.  No cube beads, no orange seed beads in the correct size and no pink beads either.  Most of you can relate to my dilemma, tons of beads but wrong size, wrong color so off to the bead store I go.

I manage to pick up the crystal cube beads, an orange size 11 and a matte pink bead.  Back home with my beading mat out and my beading light, I lay out my beads to begin – well the crystal and orange are fine but now in the proper lighting, the matte pink bead that I bought just isn’t going to work – just not the right feel to the bracelet.  So back to my bead stash I go again and guess what, I find not one but three beads in various shades of pink in the size that I needed for the bracelet.

I take all of the pink beads back to my beading mat and decided that I like the combination of multiple shades of pink with the orange.  I’ve got the You Tube video playing and my needle threaded and I’m off. After several messages with Shirley about the sizing of her bracelet I got mine completed.

Only problem, even though I used the correct size cubes and seed beads and increased the number of seed beads per row, my center section is measuring about 3 ¾”.  I wear a size 7 ½” bracelet and some modifications were going to be needed to increase the bracelet portion.  I modified my bracelet by adding a couple more diamond shapes at each end with smaller rows of beads to connect the main section.

A trip to JoAnn fabrics provided me with several button options for my clasp.  I love buttons and often use them for closures to my bracelets.  Bracelet completed, not like the tutorial and different from Shirley’s but pleasing to me none the less.

Lindy's Designs

Lindy’s Designs

An added bonus, the bracelet matches a summer top that I have in my wardrobe and a pair of earrings that I just recently purchased (none of this was planned).

It’s a perfect match!

Want to give the bracelet a try?

Check out the You Tube video and grab your favorite summer colors.
Be sure to add an image of your finished piece in the comments below so everyone can see!

Amazon To Add New Handmade Market

Amazon To Add New Handmade Market


Amazon is launching a new marketplace for handcrafted goods called Handmade at Amazon. Etsy sellers discussed an email invitation they received from Amazon with great interest, and those who didn’t get an invitation were eager to learn more from those who did. The email invitation said, “Introducing Handmade, a new shopping experience at Amazon. amazonWe’re offering artisans like you a first peek at Handmade, a new marketplace for handcrafted goods.” Amazon included a link to a form where sellers could provide information about their businesses in exchange for receiving exclusive updates in advance of the launch. Amazon wanted sellers to indicate the primary category in which they sold, giving them the choice of selecting one of the following categories: Apparel; Accessories; Baby; Beauty & Personal Care; Grocery & Gourmet; Home & Kitchen; Jewelry; Pet Supplies; Sporting Goods; Stationary & Party Supplies; and Toys & Games. Sellers discussing the new marketplace wondered if could provide a suitable environment for handmade goods, or if it would have to be a separate marketplace from its main site, though the latter method is not in keeping with Amazon’s usual approach. Some of the concerns about selling handmade goods on the regular marketplace included fees (“Keep in mind, Amazon takes 15% for product AND shipping for themselves on their regular site. I know that can kill margins for lots of people.”) and expected speed of preparation and delivery time (“People will expect 2 day delivery just like with Amazon Prime.”). Sellers were also concerned about the amount of work to list items on and about whether other sellers would piggyback onto their listings – some were particularly concerned about the possibility of others using their proprietary photos. Both Amazon and Etsy spokespeople declined to comment for this story. Story ffrom Please visit their site ~

Etsy Team Discussion

Here are a few of the comments from the Etsy Team Discussion and here.

I only have a few sales since I’ve opened in Sept. and probably won’t be getting any until next winter, but I’ve been hearing that a lot of sales have been dropping. I think the IPO has been getting people’s attention, but not in the good way. They hear bad things, so they decide to stay away. At least that’s my impression of it.
Just got my invitation. Looks like they will be offering direct competition to Etsy, IMO. From the email, sign-up for info form, looks like they are in the early stages of putting this together. It will be just handmade, it seems. Interesting.
I’m definitely signing up for more info, thanks for the link! I haven’t found a single other venue that I’m interested in selling on, but I have been a long-time happy Amazon customer, and I would be willing to try selling there. I’m very interested in seeing how this goes.

I’m all around happy with Etsy, and I will stick around here as long as I make sales, but I don’t feel the same loyalty and love I used to.

I got the letter as well. I am extremely interested. I know that Amazon is not known for being all unicorns and rainbows when it comes to sellers but I am a business person and if it appears it will be good for my business then I am on board. We will have to see.

It is way too soon to speculate on what the Handmade at Amazon is all about but I hope their definition of handmade aligns with mine. Sadly Etsy’s does not anymore.

I was contacted by an amazon rep last week about this. I had honestly never thought about selling on amazon until they contacted me…. through facebook actually. we spoke on the phone yesterday and I think I will sign up soon. She sent me all the info and instructions on how to do it. Seems like you can offer custom items, which is what most of my stuff is but I also make a lot of jewelry that I don’t have listed here. For non-custom items, you can send them to amazon so they can be eligible for prime.
I would run from this not walk.

If any of you have seen the documentary about how amazon got started and how it stays so successful its because they compete with their own sellers. They track what sells best and then contact the manufacturer to buy in bulk and sell directly at better price. Its Walmart of online shopping.

Most of us cant copyright our stuff. For instance i cannot copyright my best selling baby blanket so what would stop Amazon from acquiring some manufacturer to create a blanket just like mine so they can sell at better price.
I’ve had about 50 sales since i started 5 months ago and i have no doubt i would be successful on Amazon but im terrified of having to compete with Amazon.

I’ll pass.

Keep in mind many of us have been selling handmade there for years. So that part isn’t new to Amazon. What is new is Amazon having a “handmade market” and promoting it as that.

I think their strict rules will still be in effect for this too. And that will probably turn a lot of Etsy sellers off. Many Etsy sellers are not used to a venue that is actively involved with the buyers. They even time you on how fast you answer messages. They expect all messages to be answered within 24 hours 7 days per week. And they would prefer it be just a couple hours. The buyer is always right on Amazon which is why so many prefer to buy there

Amazon is not for everyone. But I have always said if you are a trustworthy seller that cares about your customers; you will do fine. If your one of those that thinks the customer is always wrong, that getting a package to destination is not your responsibility-Amazon is not for you,.

Here’s an article from Etsy-preneurship : Jason Malinak

Through the years, alternative selling venues have come, gone and lingered . . . this seems to me like it might be different though . . . a big ecommerce name with lots of resources = solid competition.

 Handmade Marketplace for Artisans


A number of Etsy sellers already sell some of their products on Amazon, but what appears unique in this case is that Amazon is using a few words key words to describe this project:


  • Handmade what will Amazon’s definition of handmade be and how will they enforce it?


  • Marketplace a unique place for handmade to be sold as compared to being lumped with everything else on Amazon?


  • Artisans They didn’t use the word “small-scale manufacturer” or “reseller”. . . but for artisans (higher quality standards)?


Amazon is known for their higher fee structure, fast shipping, and high seller standards for response time and shipping.  They focus on the buyer experience at high levels.  Amazon is a much bigger marketplace in total transaction size, traffic, and name recognition.


In this email, Amazon sent out an interest form. (I’ll share the link so you can access it at the end of this article).


Handmade at Amazon Artisan Interest Form 1


It looks like Amazon is just getting started and are currently “setting up shop”. . . I wonder if Amazon is trying to place themselves in the market before the upcoming holiday sales rush?


Handmade at Amazon Artisan Interst Form 2


You can also see that Amazon is trying to learn more about the product categories that would apply in the new marketplace.


Handmade at Amazon Artisan Interst Form 3


Amazon specifically asks about sub categories in the Home & Kitchen category and Jewelry category as these are markets that cover a lot of products that are for sale on Etsy.


Finally, notice the last line . . . “Know any fellow Artisans who may also be interested in Handmade?  Forward the email we sent or list their email below!”


They know there is going to be big interest in this . . . that’s why I’m sharing it with you now!

So what do you think? 

What are you looking for in a selling venue.  What do you like and what don’t you like.  Would love to hear your thoughts!

My Birthday Bead Binge

My Birthday Bead Binge


I love to celebrate my birthday by treating myself to nice things. I usually have a “spa” day where I get a facial and massage. I also buy myself presents. Because I’m worth it. Oh, and also, I don’t just celebrate my birthday on the actual day. I celebrate all month long. My birthmonth celebration takes place from April 1st to the 30th each year.

This year I treated myself to a little artisan bead-buying binge as part of the birthmonth festivities. I love artisan beads, and who knows better than I which ones I want? I have to say, I was very very very good to me this year. I shouldn’t have. But, oh, well, thank me very much, I’m too kind.  Look at what I gave me.

Gaea beads

Ceramic beads and components from Gaea . Some from her shop on Etsy and others won at the Ceramic Art Bead Market group on Facebook.

These ceramic beads and components from Gaea will make their way into some one-of-a-kind statement pieces. I love the way she turns everyday objects like a telephone or a classic truck into whimsical focals for jewelry. You can find more like this in her shop on Etsy, or you can try to win some of her unique pieces at the Ceramic Art Bead Market (CABM, for short) auctions on Facebook.

Beads by Jetta Bug Jewelry

Whimsical woodland critters sculpted in polymer clay by Rejetta Sellers of Jetta Bug Jewelry on Etsy. There are bunnies, mice, birds of all kinds, a fox, a feather, and a hedgehog.

Speaking of whimsical, Rejetta Sellers has a magical way of turning polymer clay into delightful woodland critters with just the right touch of realism. You can find her hand-carved and painted components at Jetta Bug Jewelry on Etsy. You really need to visit her shop to see her photos, which show these itty bead sculptures in better detail than my photos. Oh, wait, I might have bought them all. Technically, these were added to my collection before birthmonth. What’s a holiday in March I can use as an excuse for having bought them?

Beads by J Davies Reazor

These ceramic beads by Jennifer Davies-Reazor were won in the Ceramic Art Bead Market group on Facebook. Except for the top two, which were gifts from the artist.

Jennifer Davies-Reazor has a way with animals and ceramics. I’m not yet sure how I will use the fox, killer whale, and raven pendants, but I knew I had to have them when they were up for auction in the CABM. You can find Jennifer’s components on the CABM and in her shop on Etsy.  I saw she was working on more ravens. I’ll be haunting her shop in hopes of nabbing another. That will make it easier to part with one in a jewelry design for my shop.

Beads by Terri DelSignore

These adorable woodland critters by Terri DelSignore are ceramic.  I won the fox set at auction on Ceramic Art Bead Market, but lost out on the owl because bidding times were so close.  Terri very generously made me my own owl.

Another ceramic artist who has a way with critters is Terri DelSignore. I discovered her work at the CABM. Something about her style reminds me of my home in Arizona. I’m pretty sure that fox and owl will remain in my personal collection, even after I incorporate them into jewelry. I see a bracelet and a necklace in my future. You can find Terri’s components at the CABM on Facebook and in her Esty shop, Artisticaos.

Beads from Thea Elements

I am starting my own rabbit warren with these ceramic and copper hares from Thea Elements. And I have a view of the water.

I am somewhat addicted to these lunar hares by Lesley Watt. In addition to the ceramic ones pictured, which I won on CABM, and the copper ones I bought from her Etsy shop, I custom ordered a baker’s dozen more. That’s 13 more ceramic wabbits.  They’re on their way across the pond right now. It’s the spirals. I can’t resist the spirals. She’s also put spirals into turtles, owls, butterflies, and foxes. Some of those are on their way to me as well. Oh, and how awesome is that “view of the water” pendant?

Beads by Marsha Neal

Swirls, rustic swirls, and spirals galore. All in ceramic, by Marsha Neal-Minutella. That’s not even the whole collection. I forgot to include all the porcelain from another box.

While we’re on the subject of spirals I cannot resist, Marsha Neal-Minutella has me hooked on her rustic ceramic spiral components. Especially the chocolate stoneware. Yummy. Some of these I bought from her Etsy shop, some I won at CABM, and others were gifts from the artist. I forgot that I had another handful in porcelain, in a different storage box, and they didn’t make it for the photo shoot. But they are every bit as dreamy as these.

Did I mention how generous artisan component makers are? Not always, but very often, they include an extra bead or three with your order. I never expect it, and it is always a very very pleasant surprise. And one more reason I enjoy supporting them with my business.

Beads by Scorched Earth

These components from Scorched Earth are made from ceramic, but they look like bits of bark and wood and things.

In case you hadn’t noticed by now, I love rustic components. And organic shapes and colors. Which is why pretty much everything in Petra Capreau’s Etsy shop, Scorched Earth, is on my wish list. I’m not even kidding. I treated myself to a few sets of earring components, and Petra generously added a few other bits and drops. I think the next gift-giving occasion I can use as an excuse to treat myself to more would be summer solstice.

Beads by Suburban Girl Studio

About half of these ceramic components are from Suburban Girl Studio shop on Etsy, and the rest were won on CABM (or gifts from the artist). More yummy chocolate stoneware. And oh, that root beer glaze on the ammonites. Delish.

Until recently, I didn’t know that ceramic clays came in flavors. And then I learned about chocolate stoneware. Which Diana Ptaszynski frosts with just the right touches of glaze, to let the beauty of the clay show through. And then there’s that root beer glaze, which makes me want to lick those ammonite drops. What? There’s nothing wrong with that. You can find Diana’s yummy components on CABM and in her Etsy shop, Suburban Girl Studio.

Beads by Sue Kennedy

A gorgeous mix of bright and earthy colors in lampwork glass beads from Sue Kenedy. Some look like candy and others like mosaic stone.

No collection of yummy beads could be complete without some “chicklets” from Susan Kennedy. Chicklets are those tab-shaped beads with flowers stamped in them. I have a pair in cinnamon and a set of bright citrus fruits. And then I added some other shapes and colors to my collection because Sue was having a sale for her birthday this month. You can find Sue’s delicious lampwork beads in her Etsy shop.

Beads by Genea

Luscious lampwork glass beads by Genea Crivello-Knable on Etsy.  I adore the frosted finish, which makes them look like either sea glass or sand-blasted stone.

Another lampwork artist who helped make birthmonth a blast was Genea Crivello-Knable. Or I might have bought these beauties a few weeks before then, when she was having sale. I can’t remember. It doesn’t matter. These are mine, all mine. The ones with her cute tags on them were chosen to go together in a necklace. Maybe a bracelet. The others, in the lower right corner, were gifts from Genea. You can find her fabulous lampwork beads in her Etsy shop.

Beads from Majoyoal

These ceramic beads from Majoyoal were won on CABM. Except the top two, which were gifts from the artist. I won a few more of her components but they were in the mail (from Spain) during the photo shoot.

Another ceramic artist I discovered thanks to the CABM is Mari Carmen Rodriguez Martinez. She uses these incredible spicy looking glaze combinations in all my favorite earth tones. She also makes bright cheery color combinations. And fun organic shapes. You can find her components at CABM and in her shop, Majoyoal, at the Artisan Component Marketplace.

Beads by Karen Totten

Buying these ceramic components from Starry Road Studio was a total adrenalin rush. If you’ve participated in one of her shop updates, you know what I mean. You have to be quick.

Most of these ceramic components from Starry Road Studio were impulse buys. As in, see it, click the buy button, and rush to check out before they disappear from your cart. No time to study the colors or think “do I really need this?”  I don’t regret a single purchase. Her auctions on CABM go about the same way. If the artist, Karen Totten, had a brick and mortar store and announced a shop update, people would be camping outside the door, lined up around the block, for days in advance. Me included. I have a couple more of those bear totems on order. Can’t wait to meet them.

Artisan beads in boxes

This is my full collection of artisan beads, made from ceramic, glass, and polymer clay. Plus a couple of copper bunnies. I didn’t share close ups of all of them. But you might be able to spot work from some of your other favorite artisans.

I didn’t share photos of my entire artisan component collection – just the ones I bought recently. I also have treasured beads and focals from Donna Millard, Grubbi Ceramics, Tree Wings Studio, Sweet Birch Designs, Captured Moments, Numinosity, Glass Bead ArtBeadFreaky, Summer Wind Art, and Bead Lovelies. So far, all my artisan components fit in these four plastic storage containers. That likely won’t be the case once the mail from across the pond is delivered. All in all, it was a very happy birthmonth, and I would like to thank me, and the artisans, for making it so special.

As you can see, I have a problem with artisan jewelry components. I’m not ashamed to admit it. My problem very clearly is that I may never have enough time to come up with jewelry designs worthy of all this rustic, whimsical, swirly, spiraling, spicy, chocolate-root beery, fruity chicklet, frosted beady goodness.

Do you have an artisan bead problem? Who are your favorite artisans? What design elements do you find irresistible and which artisan’s components do you hoard?

How to Take Great Pictures with the Camera You Already Own! | The Pinning Mama

How to Take Great Pictures with the Camera You Already Own! | The Pinning Mama


Taking pictures with your camera

Whether you own an old point and shoot, went in head first and bought a fancy DSLR camera, or just use your iPhone,  there are some simple things you can do to make your pictures look better with the gear  you have got and your knowledge level right now.


As I mentioned in my I am a MOMtographer post, I got really interested in photography once I had a baby.  I started with a point and shoot (ie your everyday compact camera) and soon was convinced that I had to have a big, fancy DSLR (big camera with interchangeable lenses.) I was way out of my league and had no idea how to use it.  And with a baby who was moving faster every day I really didn’t have the time, effort and energy to figure out how to use the beast of a camera I bought.  Try telling a new walker to just hold still while I think through the settings I need to do on my camera to get this shot!  Not happening.

After baby went to bed though, once I finally could have time to concentrate on something, I read and researched and found a lot of things that vastly helped me in my photography journey.  I went backwards from most photographers. First learning all of the things I could do to improve my photography without learning how to use my camera, then much later learning how to actually use my camera to its fullest.  I am no photography expert, BUT I have learned quite a bit along the way.

When we get done you will know these simple tricks to get much better photos no matter what you use to capture the memory! We will cover this topic in a four part series:

  • Composition
  • Light
  • Editing
  • Printing

So no more chit chat! Let’s get started! Our first topic is composition.  This refers to how you decide what will be in your camera frame when you push the button and snap the picture.  This is one of the absolute easiest things you can learn and implement immediately to make a huge difference in the quality of your photos.  Although there are no black and white rules in photography there are definitely things that will help you get a more eye catching photo.  Four steps to great composition are:

The Rule of Thirds

  • Fill the Frame
  • Pay attention to crop lines
  • Check the background


Have you ever noticed on your phone’s camera  a 3×3 grid overlaying the image on the screen as you take a picture?  This is the rule of thirds! Basically, this is a grid guides you to center your subject or the most interesting part of your photo at the line intersections rather than the center of the frame.  There have been many studies done that show people think an image is more interesting and appealing when it is offset.  This rule applies for everything whether it is a close up, a full person, a group or an inanimate object.  What a simple way to start to improve your photography.  Just move your subject toward the right or left third of the frame!  Check out how the rule of thirds is applied in these photos.

Read the full story via How to Take Great Pictures with the Camera You Already Own! | The Pinning Mama.

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