Don't hate me for bringing up Christmas on November 16th...but...we have spent almost all of last week decorating our house for Christmas. Yes...in November....before Thanksgiving. Personally, I despise anything Christmas-related BEFORE Halloween. After that...it's fair game with me! Actually, I am hosting several get together's at my home beginning on Thanksgiving, and I have TONS of decorations that I have accumulated through the years. If it's not done by now..it ain't gettin' done!
The majority of my decorations are handmade. Some from craft shows I have attended through the years...but most have been made by me or my extremely talented mother. She has dabbled in all crafts - ceramics, lapidary, jewelry making, sewing, quilting, crocheting - if I have any creativity at all, it comes from my mother's genes (no disrespect to my Dad)!
It is a CHORE to decorate: empty plastic bin after plastic bin, move the everyday stuff out of the way and pack it away, dust, arrange, rearrange, put the plastic bins away. It's a workout. But I must say, each year as I open the bins and pull out a special decoration, memories - sweet memories - flood my mind.
While I promise to end this post as it relates to the title - Art Beads - I thought I would share just a sampling of what I have uncovered this past week.
The Snow Babies collection - anyone else remember these? I believe the original "maker" of these gems is Department 56. I have probably a hundred of these hand painted lovelies - most are ornaments - painted by either me or Mom.
Some of my Snow Babies are not ornaments, but stand alone decorations.
My parents lived in Florida for at least 25 years. When I visited, I preferred to stay indoors as I absolutely despise the heat (sorry Karen - way too hot for me where you live!) So, during yearly visits, Mom would plan craft marathon sessions, and we would sit and paint ornament after ornament, while Dad watched football, golf, etc..
This little guy has such a mischievous face...
This one of Mary and Jesus is still one of my favorites that my mom painted - a dry brush technique. The eyes are perfect, which is why I know this is one of Mom's creations and not mine!
My favorite ornaments were made from light bulbs! Yes - light bulbs! Flesh-tone painted (Mom had to paint the eyes), lots of glue and batting, and felt...so cute!
Somewhere - there are matching reindeer light bulb ornaments...but I cannot find them...yet!
One of my trees - I have 3 - is decorated with about 20 of these quilted poinsettia flowers that Mom made just a couple of years ago.
Mom moved in with us five years ago - and her focus nowadays is quilting. I have gorgeous handmade quilts, place mats, and the most beautiful table toppers- for pretty much every single season! Yes...I am blessed!
On to the art beads!
For the past few years, I joined Sally Russick's Ornament blog hop. I loved participating in this hop - swapping handmade ornaments made with art beads.
Pam Ferrari gifted me these tiny little treasures a few years ago, made with her lampwork beads. Look at that angel on the left - a bead cone for the body!
Susan Kennedy combined one of her gorgeous handmade lampwork beads with Crystals from a chandelier for this ornament.
I sent Susan Kennedy this ornament, with a perfect holly-themed bead by Donna Millard, and a bit of metalwork by me.
I was attempting to recreate the striping on the sides of a drum with wire...for some reason, the song "The Little Drummer Boy" was stuck in my head when trying to come up with an idea.
Last year, my partner was Jenny Davies-Reazor - who pretty much does everything in the World of Art - polymer clay, ceramics, metalwork, bead work, etc. She asked me a series of questions related to my favorite things, and then sent me this sweet felted ornament (yes...coffee is my favorite beverage)!
Every evening - usually by 8:00 PM - I can be found on my sofa - I-Pad in hand. This is "my time" to peruse Face Book, You-Tube, etc. Very recently, the very talented Raida Disbrow of Havanna Beads posted pictures of the cutest Santa Lampwork Beads I have ever seen!
I had to have them! Even the backs have Santa's fluffy hair - in glass.
I knew I was going to make ornaments....but I had no clue what to make. My mother suggested I create a bead frame...similar to this necklace I recently made.
I did not want to use silver, as these ornaments will be gifted - who wants to polish silver ornaments every year? Not me. So, copper it is.
This "geometric style" frame is a smaller version of these bangles I recently made - very cool technique - squared sides in a circle.
The next bead frame is for a very special lady. I donate the proceeds from jewelry sales to Miracle Horse Rescue - a sanctuary that has been near and dear to my heart for over 13 years now. Stephanie and her husband have devoted their lives to rescuing these animals in need. So, I personalized this bead frame just a little, by soldering a little horse shoe (right side up for luck) to the top of the frame.
I just need to add my ornament hangars, and I am done!
Years ago at Christmas-time, I would be the one wearing the loud, Santa sweater with matching jewelry. Suffice it say, with age, my style has mellowed and it's all I can do to get out of my sweats these days But, I still love to use the beads - and ornaments are a perfect solution for me!
Thank you for hanging in there for my very long trip down memory lane!
Now...go make something beautiful!!