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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Art, BeadFreaky, 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?
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:
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
RULE OF THIRDS
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.