Saturday, October 18, 2014

Photo Assistant Inspects New Jewelry

While I was outside taking pictures of jewelry to post on Etsy, my assistant joined me to see if I needed any help.  She closely inspected the items as I positioned them for their photo shoot.  Only when I assured her that all was well did she relax.  Since she so rarely holds still for her own photo, I took this quick pic.

This is my assistant, Xena, in her relax mode.

It is interesting how she loves to follow me around outside until I am ready to take her inside.  Then she finds a hiding spot where she sits very still and watches me call her and call her and her.  I have found a treat she can't resist and can trick her out of her hiding spot when I jiggle the bag of them..  

I thought you might like to see some of the beads and jewelry we photographed.  

I like to photograph my beads and jewelry outside when the weather permits.  I am usually able to get truer colors with better lighting that way.  We have had so many cloudy and rainy days that it has been difficult to do that. 

Wood seems to provide a good background but I have been experimenting with stone, aluminum foil and other surfaces.  I find that with certain glass colors the background can change the color tones.  They may appear brighter or darker depending on the color of the surface that surrounds them, despite the type of lighting.

Another problem I have with photographing glass is the reflections.  No one needs to see the photographer reflected in the beads.  Some days I need an invisibility cloak for me and everything around me to get a shot without these reflections. 

You can check out these beads and jewelry and more on Etsy.  Thanks for looking.  

Let's create!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Holding on to Summer

I love, love summer!!  And I hate to see it go.  I hold on to it as long as possible. 

I savor the last cherry tomatoes picked right off the vine, rinsed off and eaten right away.  Oh so good!

My geranium still has a few blooms that are trying to hang on despite all the rain. 

I even planted a few little mums that hopefully will come back next year after supplying some color now.
So who else is a summer lover that has a hard time letting it go?

Keep creating,

Monday, September 15, 2014

New Construction Pays Off

Sometimes when your husband decides he needs to add a garage on to the house, you can also reap some benefit.  That is how I have come to be getting a new bead studio. 

It is not all fun as this is what the back of my house looks like right now.  Backyard is just one big pile of dirt and rock.  And yes, tons of rock were damaged in the making of this hole.

Today was the first day of actually putting something back.  The cement truck arrived and the footers were poured. 

This corner is where my bead studio will live complete with windows and outside access. 

Can't wait to see how it turns out.  Stay tuned for progress. 
Keep creating,

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Jewelry for My Scissors

Lately, I have a new project that combines my love of jewelry with my sewing.  I have been seeing these scissor fobs around and knew I had to make one for me.  This is my first attempt for one to use on my small embroidery scissors.

Then I made a couple more using pink glass beads.  They are easy to attach and will move out of the way when using the scissors.
These are very helpful when you travel with your scissors or are using them around other seamstresses.  It makes it easy to identify yours (a little like a wine charm).  I am thinking that these would make nice gifts for friends, too.   
These clasps would only work on the smaller scissors but I have some larger clasps that should work with my dress shears.  Will have to give them a try.  And I think my scissors deserve fobs made with my lampwork beads.  What do you think? 
I might even put some of these in my Etsy shop.  If you would like to order some in certain colors, give me a shout and I will see what I can do. 
Use some new ideas in your creating,

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Gem and Bead Storage

If you are looking for the Bead Soup Blog Party, please click here. 

While participating in the Clean-Up, Fix-Up Challenge, I had to find ways to store some of my gemstones and beads.  Whenever I purchased gemstones, I would keep them in the bag from the store or gem show and stuff it in to a large shoebox (no pic of this mess, thank goodness).  Soon, I had no idea what I actually had.  After much searching through hardware, bead and department stores, I finally found a solution - boxes with bottles inside.  I found these boxes at a small bead shop and at Walmart.

These boxes and bottles come in two sizes.  The shorter boxes are great for the smaller beads or small amounts of beads.  The taller boxes work for larger gemstones or a larger amount of small beads.  I further organized by sorting the bottles by color in the boxes.   

I also discovered that I could hold the box and bottles to the light and look through to see the color of the beads.  This makes finding the stones I need or auditioning for color much easier.  I also put a sticker on the bottle lids showing the kind and price of each bead, which saves time in pricing a finished piece of jewelry. (Hint:  Put the sticker on the jar, not the lid, as the lids can get mixed up. Don't ask me how I know.)

The boxes stack together and fit neatly in my desk drawers or on shelves.  So one storage issue solved. 

Organize for creativity,

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bead Soup Addendum

If you are here to visit the Bead Soup Blog Party, please go here.

I have beads left in my soup, so I am still coming up with ideas.  First these sparklers have been planned for a while but are just now finished.  Perfect for a prom or special night on the town?

Then I decided that the dragonfly necklace from my Bead Soup needed some earrings.  So pulling out more of the blue beads and a couple of the small gold flowers from the soup, I put these together. 

I think they coordinate without trying to compete with the necklace.  What do you think?

I still have the black buttons with the rhinestone centers that I am trying to fashion in to a bracelet.  I just can't figure out how to make them sit properly.  Stay tuned to see how that turns out. 

Keep those creative thoughts,

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Bead Soup Blog Party

It is now time for the Reveal of the finished jewelry in the 8th Bead Soup Party hosted by the lovely Lori Anderson.  The idea is to be paired with a partner, send each other a gorgeous bead soup that will stretch the imagination, make some fabulous jewelry with the bead soup you receive and share on the Reveal day.  This year there are nearly 500 participants so if you like jewelry, you can view to your heart's content.

I was honored to be paired with Cathy Buckley, a mixed media jewelry artist, at Cat's Meow.  Here is the bead soup, with some of my lampwork beads and handmade clasp, that I sent her.  Can't wait to see what she has done with it. 
And here is the Bead Soup I received from her.  Lovely gold, black and brown components that are definitely different than what I am used to using.

 So here is the first piece that I created.  I took 2 of the fan shaped pieces and drilled a few extra holes to be able to join them in a new way and wired a bead to the top.  Then using the rest of the animal print beads I finished the bracelet and added the clasp.

Then here is the second piece I made, although it is the one that I have pondered since first seeing the dragonfly.  The whole bead soup reminded me of Art Deco pieces I have seen.  So that was my inspiration.  But I have to say that this piece changed several times before I finished it.  These blue beads were not my original plan, but when auditioning choices they won out.

I still have more beads and will be adding a pair of earrings on here later today.

Hope you have enjoyed your visit to my blog and the Bead Soup Party.  If you would like to see more, go HERE for the list of participants.  

Thanks for stopping by and keep creating,

Bead Soup Reveal coming!

Building suspense for the Bead Soup Party reveal today! ...

Really, I am not quite ready.  So please come back a little later today to see what I have cooked up. 
Thanks for your patience.

Love to create,

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Finished Project

In case you are looking for the Bead Soup Party results, Lori Anderson, the organizer, has delayed the party till next Saturday.  So please come back on May 10 to see the results of this jewelry challenge. 

In the meantime, I have another project to share.  My sister had a big decade birthday so I had to make something special just for her.  She is a great seamstress and is on the road a lot.  I had been contemplating this travel sewing caddy for a while and this seemed like the perfect time to make it. 

It has zippered pockets, pencil slots and a sleeve to hold patterns and such.  The caddy holds a lot of tools, thread, and pins necessary for handwork.  It folds up compact to drop in your tote bag or purse to use for projects on the go. 

I found this sewing themed fabric - how appropriate is that.  Striped fabric makes great binding and the interior fabric is bright red.  What's not to love?  So this has been mailed off to the birthday girl.  I hope she will enjoy it and find it useful and maybe remember her sis when she sees it.   

And since I liked this caddy so much, I just made one for myself.  Right down to the same fabric.  Just a little perk for me.

Keep creating,

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Clean-up, Fix-Up Your Workspace Challenge

Many artists have blogged about the process of cleaning and organizing their studios.  I really appreciate these studio visits because I get new ideas from other artists on ways to corral the tools and supplies necessary to be creative.  We spend many hours in our studios and for me a certain amount of order is necessary to be productive.  So how do you get motivated to start the cleaning process?

Well that motivation came on February 1st, as Sharyl of Sharyl's Jewelry posed a challenge to jewelry designers and bead artists to clean up and fix up our studios.  Now I don't know about you but this is not my favorite activity.  But that is exactly why I took up the challenge.  I can work and be creative with some chaos in my workspace but there is a certain line, that when crossed tends to put a halt to creativity and productivity.  Well look out, 'cause I had reached that point.  Check out my lampwork area where it is easy to pull the glass out of my storage tubes on the right.  But it is not as much fun to sort and put it away.  Even the tools begin to pile up and make it hard to find the one you need.

Glass and torch table BEFORE

This space is doubling as my jeweler's bench and my photography space.  Most of the time I like to do photos outdoors but not in cold or rainy weather. 

And the worst space was my jewelry making desk.  Yes, it really is was this cluttered with creativity.

So now for the results!  The lampwork table was relatively easy to clean though it did take some time.  All glass and tools are back in their places. 

The jeweler's bench was not as messy.  A quick cleanup and removing things that didn't belong on the bench (books, beads). 

For the really big job, the jewelry design area.  Wow!  I can see the desktop again.  Hurrah! 
It seems with all the items like the tool turntable, the desk drawers,  the little drawer cabinets and bead boxes that all would be organized.  Well it might be if I never bought another bead or tool or worked on another item of jewelry.  Nah!

But for now doesn't it look nice.  I am still pondering how to store my lampwork beads.  When I figure that out I will share.  I have a new solution for gemstones so that will also be a future share.  So I hope you will come back for more of this story.

Let's get busy now and go check on all the other fixed up studios.  Thanks Sharyl for hosting this helpful and fun event.

Participant List:

Host: Sharyl McMillian-Nelson …

Donna Millard

Beda Hendrix ... 

Ann Schroeder…

Pamela Rachelle…

Kristin L Oppold…

Heidi Kingman ...

Andi ...

Patricia Buchanan Click “Blog” on the menu bar at

Helen Simon…

Kashmira …

somethingunique ...

Renetha ...

Kathy Lindemer ...

Swapna Dinesh …

Linda Landig ...

Ann Schroeder ...

Beti Horvath ...

Sam S ... 

Christina Miles ...

Islandgirl ... 

macmillanmarie ...

Emma Todd …

Neena Shilvock …

Dee Clark…

motidana ...

Here Bead Dragons ...

Carol D. ...  You are here!

Pam Sears ...

Nan Smith ...

AliMc ...

Kari Asbury ...

Shirley Moore ...

PyxeeStyx ...

Jayne Capps …

Louann Elwell 


Rain ...

Lori Bergmann ...

Helen Simon…

Arlene Dean ...


Alicia ...

Natalie Pappas ...

Stay organized and keep creating,

Monday, February 17, 2014

Winter Surprise

Last Thursday, snow was predicted for our area of SW Virginia.  It was a pretty sure thing and the accumulation guesses varied from 4" to 12".  Well we did indeed get snow and when it stopped around 10 a.m. we had 10 inches.  Okay, that was not too bad.  Then it began to snow again after noon.  And it snowed hard - for hours!  In the end we got 16 inches and were still digging out yesterday (Sunday).  It was getting late in the day so it is a little dark in the pictures.

Showing the 16 inches on the yardstick.

Our Blue Spruce that looks so regal covered in snow.

Daughter and my hubby trying to dig us out.
My daughter was visiting and made good use of the snow shovel.  I have pulled a muscle in my back and was glad she was here to help (of course, I got comments about my timing of the bad back).  My husband likes to get his tractor out and clear the drive and even goes a way down the road. 

So even though it is pretty, it is also cold.  I really don't need to see anymore this winter.  But the weather forecast shows that we will add another inch or so of snow on Monday night.  Aren't we lucky?  No.  But then the temperatures are going to climb to 60 on Wednesday.  Isn't this crazy?  Maybe all the snow will melt quickly which would suit me fine. 

Staying inside to create,

Sunday, February 9, 2014

New Studio Challenge

If you are looking for my Grow Your Blog post, please go HERE.  I hope you have been enjoying the blog party as much as I am.  I am still working my way through and it will take me a while longer. 

Another project I am working on is a challenge by Sharyl of Sharyl's Jewelry and Reflections.  Sharyl calls it the "pick up your beads, clean off your worktable, so you can design something beautiful" challenge!

So it is time to get to work on organizing and finding a place for everything.  I had a sunny day and was able to snap some "before" pictures.  It remains to be seen how many of those I will share. 

Here is one picture of my torch area.  There is glass everywhere though it all has a place to be.  Somehow when I am working, I think I may need the exact colors to make more (which is sometimes true), but then I don't seem to get back to put them away when done.  Then the next batch piles on top and so on.....  This may be a good place to start. 

My desk for making jewelry is really another story.  Some things do have a place but I really haven't figured out a way to store my own lampwork beads so that I can still see them.  I like to have them sorted by color and size on mandrels but that ends up taking a lot of the space on the desktop. 

 I am wondering if I can find some plastic cases to set the mandrels in that can be seen through so I can pull by color.  The mandrels are about 9 inches long.  Any ideas?

Luckily, I do have a "new-to-me" jeweler's bench for metal work.  I need a place devoted to taking pictures that doesn't have to be disassembled after each use.  And a packing and mailing section would be nice, and a place for the computer, and ....  Oh my!  Better get to work!

Off to clean and then create,

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Grow Your Blog

Welcome to the "Grow Your Blog" Party - 2014.  Vicki, at 2 Bags Full blog, is hosting this event.  Over 500 bloggers have signed up and the fun will begin on January 25th.  She'll have a list of all of the participants and links to all of the wonderful blogs that are participating.  Many of the blogs are also having giveaways.  So come join in.

By taking part in this event, I hope to meet lots of other bloggers from around the world as I visit their blogs and hopefully, they visit mine.  To participate, I need to introduce myself and my blog.

My name is Carol Dillman and I live in the mountains of Virginia, USA.  I am retired and keeping busier than ever.  I am so glad you have come to visit my little space in the blogosphere.  It is so much fun to hear from others and share mutual interests.  

My lampwork beads used in a bracelet
This is where I get to share my adventures in lampwork glass beads, jewelry, sewing and some photography.  I need to be busy all the time with creating something and learning and improving skills.  

Makeup bag made from recycled leather jacket

I have two grown children, one married and one engaged to marry in October.  I also have 4 grown stepchildren. We have 3 fabulous grandchildren that my husband and I love to entertain and spoil.  Occasionally some of our family make it in to the blog.  

WIP quilt

Keep creating,
Carol D.


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