Category Archives: Blog Hops/Parties

BSBP #7!!!

BSBP #7!!!

You know what that means, right?? It’s time once again to sign up for Lori Anderson’s infamous Blog Party!! That’s right! The 7th Bead Soup Blog Party sign-ups are underway all through this weekend, and I have already jumped on the bandwagon-and what a ride I had last time! I am so looking forward to this one, since the first one I participated in was such a big hit and I had the incredible luck of being partnered with a very awesome, down to earth lady from Oregon, Gretchen Nation of Art Food Lodging. We swapped little treasures that we thought each other would enjoy and it was so fun to see what the other created with the materials sent. In case you missed it, you can see my reveal here. I look forward to a whole new adventure!

Happy New Year and Let’s Get This Party Started!

Happy New Year and Let’s Get This Party Started!

Well, after quite a bit of a break here, I’m ready to get back into the swing of things. That said, I most definitely have not been sitting around idle since my last blog post. Oh no! In fact, I feel like we have been SO busy, that I just couldn’t quite find the time to sit down and put fingers to keyboard. (Get it? Instead of pen to paper?? yea…)

I will catch up with all the fun I’ve been up to-and as soon as I have finally delivered all the presents I made to all the good girls I know, I will share a special blog post about the holidays and the joy I had creating personalized gifts for some of my favorite women in my life that I am lucky to call friends. But until then, I want to share something I am incredibly excited about.

Two weeks ago, I received an email from Bill Zhang of ZnetShows, Inc. informing me that he knows Lori Anderson of Pretty Things Blog and is a fan of Bead Soup groups online, and he had seen my website and loved some of the pieces I created.  He wanted to know if I would be interested in joining their design team for their new cultured sea glass items. And if I was interested, I would receive beads from them, and anything I made would be shared on their Facebook page, their blog, and website, and a link to MY website on their testimonial page! Whew! Hmm, lemme think about that a minute…. Yes, PLEASE!  I wonder if Bill knew had me at “we can ship you a few pieces of our newest sea glass items”. I love the chance to play with different, new and fun materials! Not that I ever met a boring bead, but I’m sure if you’re reading this, you’re nodding your head right A few days later, I received a dense package in the mail and couldn’t stop grinning when I ripped the box open.

beadsoup*********Don’t forget to click the pics to enlarge!**********
Does this mix not just scream Valentine’s Day?! It was the very first thing I thought of when I took in all the luscious reds, dainty pinks, and sparkly crystal! And the Glitz Factor X10!! Right away I knew there would be several pieces that were perhaps not meant for beach wear………….Sorry guys, but I had to go with my heart on this one! Before I share my favorite piece(s?), I will go over the rest. I loved everything I made. I had a blast with it all! It was almost sensory overload at times! Jk.. but red is a very stimulating color, and I really felt my creative synapses firing up a storm.

Since the main focus was the new cultured sea glass-that is, sea glass that didn’t take it’s time being made by lavishing around in a great body of water, letting the waves and sands of time gently polish its edges smooth and its surfaces matte-no, this sea glass is cultured, sipping wine on a Tuscany veranda watching the sunset over the orchard. No, really, it’s man-made, and it is awesome. The free form shapes have great little details like the ridges one might see on a piece of sea glass that came from the bottom of a glass bottle and very abstract shapes. The shaped pieces were fun to use, being the perfect size, not too big as to add too much weight, but big enough that it can be seen! I made two “sets” if you will. Two necklaces, each with coordinating earrings, and one with a bracelet as well. I also made random earrings as the inspiration struck me. First up is my “Boho Beach” necklace and earrings, made with the cultured sea glass, hemp, brass and bronze wire, and brass chain, complete with hand crafted ear wires and hand made clasp.

I had a heck of a time with my so-called light box-only one of the three lamps I intended on using were working, so I took it outside and instead had to fight gale force winds threatening to blow everything into the next county! A new home-made light box is going to be an upcoming featured post soon, so stay tuned. But I digress. Here are a couple pairs of earrings I was inspired to make:
These were fun, spur of the moment pieces I whipped up, because I just LOVE the sparkles! (They will also go PURRRfectly with my second necklace!)
And finally, here is my favorite part. My “Sweet Valentine” necklace, earrings and two bracelets:
I LOVE the necklace and wrap bracelet. And the toggle bracelet. And the earrings. Ok, I love it all. And I’m not usually a sparkly, girly-girl. Not usually. But every once in awhile, She creeps out. Maybe it’s because Love is in the air with Valentine’s Day right around the corner? Who knows.

All in all, I had fun working with the sweet glass beads from ZnetShows, and I hope you enjoyed my designs as much as I enjoyed making them. If any of my pieces are selected by the staff at ZnetShows, they will be mailed off to Tuscon, where ZnetShows will be exhibiting at Gem Mall at the G&LW Tucson Gem Show, one of the largest wholesale shows in the US! Cross your fingers for me, and until next time, play nice, and try something new. =^..^=

Holiday Bling Blog Hop, Part Deux!

Holiday Bling Blog Hop, Part Deux!

That’s right, I joined another blog hop. I know, I know… I have joined a support group, and the interventions have been delivered by friends and family. This is my last one for a little while, I swear! 😉
I had such a good time with the last couple of hops that when I saw a post for the Holiday Bling Blog Hop 2, I decided to go ahead and sign up!

I really have to give Shelley, of Tori Sophia and Fabric of My Life for having a GREAT intuition on who is paired up as swap partners. This time around, I was partnered with Elaine Ray, an incredible ceramic/clay artist who expresses and celebrates her love of the earth by recreating “tiny bits of the land we all walk and live on” in the form of beautiful hand formed pendants and beads. Elaine carries her wares on and has some really sweet seasonal pieces as well as great year round designs.

I must admit that I entered semi-stalker mode when “researching” Elaine. Allow me to explain a little-I love creating personalized items for people. I love reading their blogs-the words they write, the words they don’t write, the pictures they post, and the emotions they share. I love to get a feel for a person, to reach out to them with heart and soul, and find in them something that matches in me, that I can then transform into something special just for them. Elaine doesn’t have much posted in the way that some do, with personal recounts of family history, photos of family, friends and home, but what I did find made my heart sing. Her love for the earth compliments perfectly my love for green growing things which depend on the good earth for strong roots, tall limbs, and beautiful fruit. Earth, without which roots cannot take hold, trees cannot reach their branches high and wide. So with all that in mind and heart, I sat down and knew I needed to make Elaine a tree.


Agate slab dyed blue goes so perfectly with the bare copper wire and “chimes” made of repurposed copper tubing! Little bicone crystals sparkle when they catch the light, and the chimes give such a soft tinkling when the wind blows. The roots of this tree are wrapped firmly to the frame after a heat treatment to give them and the trunk a little color. After the tubing was cut, sanded, drilled and sanded some more, I also drew a flame over each one several times to create the colors you see.

I couldn’t leave the opposite side plain! I swirled and twirled heavy gauge copper, climbing the agate’s frame like the tendrils of a wild vine, which also left the center of the agate visible here, to highlight how pretty the variations of color are throughout the agate. I finished the wind chime/sun catcher with a handmade hook attached securely with both a copper clad steel chain and 25 pound pull Beadalon wire, just in case Elaine gets the occasional crazy winds we get down here in the country. I hope I have created for Elaine something that will put a smile on her face and light in her step every day for years to come. <3

I have truly enjoyed participating in this Blog Hop. I received the most incredible vessel, handcrafted by Elaine, and absolutely love it. Such a perfect sentiment inscribed around the rim, such perfect colors!! I had goosebumps and tears in my eyes as I read it, and I wondered how Elaine knew just what to say. I will cherish it always! Please check out her blog, to see what she posted about the vessel she sent me! When you’re done there, please visit the blogs of all my fellow participants!

Thank you, thank you, Marlene and Shelley, for having me be a part of your hop!

Shirley Moore
Lori Bowring Michaud
Catherine King
Dyanne Cantrell
Sonya Stille
Elaine Ray
Gina Hockett
Jo-Ann Woolverton
Debbie Rasmussen
Renetha Stanziano
Ginger Bishop
Miranda Ackerley
Sandra McGriff
Tammie Everly
Alicia Marinache
Melinda Abrahamson
Rita/ Toltec Jewels
Chandra Merod
Mary Govaars
Kelley Fogel
Tiffany Goff Smith
Heather “Rats” Otto <——YOU ARE HERE!!
Anitra Gordy Boyers 
Marlene Cupo
Shelley Graham Turner


Kalmbach Bead Soup Party

Kalmbach Bead Soup Party

Again? Why yes, yes I did! Kalmbach Publishing Co. was so impressed with the incredible work done by Lori Anderson of PrettyThingsBlog in her role as hostess to the world’s biggest Bead Soup Blog Party ever, that they decided to host one themselves. Bead shops and suppliers all across the US sent in Bead Soups that were then distributed to participants who signed up! I was so excited when I received a Soup from Patti Mullard, Ph.D., of Wired Up Beads!!

Since a silver clasp was included, I felt the dire need to use silver wire on the necklace I was to create. I struggled a bit, as I really wanted desperately to incorporate a lot of wire work, since that is one of my favorite techniques. These sat on my desk for weeks and weeks, and every once in awhile, I’d pick up the focal, wrap it, hate it and cut all the wires off. Finally, I came up with something I truly liked, and was then able to move forward on how to turn it into a necklace! I tried stringing the beads, but they were sad….they complained loudly about not getting individual attention as the focal did, so I took it all apart, and decided to use one of my absolute favorite chain-making techniques:

Once I had them all wrapped and pampered, I began playing with the order in which they would be connected, and decided this was to be a two-strand necklace. After much tweaking and playing, I declared this necklace Done. As you can see, I ended up NOT using every since bead sent, and did not use every single wire-wrapped section!

There is voting involved on the Kalmbach Jewelry Books Facebook page starting November 12th and prizes to be had, but really, I am appreciative of the opportunity to participate, regardless of the outcome!
Thanks for visiting, and stay tuned for more fun from Mama’s Craft Room! =^..^=

October Fest!! ~Revised, after realizing much of it did not post!!

October Fest!! ~Revised, after realizing much of it did not post!!

First, a very happy birthday to our gracious hostess, Rita of Toltec Jewels!!! October birthdays are so fun! Just ask my little boy:

He turned two with a whirlwind of cake, balloons (that still float above his highchair) and joyous squeals. Rita, I hope your birthday makes you grin and giggle with the same enthusiasm and excitement!

Fall has always been my favorite season with October being my favorite month as it is in October that Autumn unfurls and blazes forth in all its colorful glory! The sights and smells and the feeling of the crisper air insights within me a frantic twitterpation that I only feel at this time of year. It is my most productive month, filled with crafts, day trips, baking, “fall cleaning” and ending with a bang by attending the Texas Renaissance Festival for All Hallow’s Eve.

Among the crafts I worked on this month was my Autumn Harvest necklace. I love it so much, I made another!!

I created the leaf myself, sawn from copper sheet, then hammered, formed, filed, etches, buffed and oxidized with LOS, creating the incredible swirling of colors not only on the leaf, but on the clasp I made, and the links and everything in between! Have I mentioned I totally love it?! I miss the colors of fall and at this time of year, I try desperately to round them up and surround myself with them in any way, shape or form I can think of!

Living now in the south, I tend to shy away from my oven for about six months out of the year. It’s just too darn hot! So when you catch a whiff of my infamous Banana-Craisan Chocolate chip muffins, you know it must be October and Autumn has arrived!!

It’s also a time I get all excited about fibers again. Crocheting and knitting have a long rooted history in my life, and I have always loved the wide variety of colors, textures and even smells of various yarns. It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I have taken up spinning, first on a spindle that the Muscle made me (and I continue to use) and now on a spinning wheel. Here is my latest favorite, a very earthy, all natural color tweed-looking ply I made:

Very rustic and soft, I think it would make a great little button down sweater jacket with wood buttons and square pockets on the front. Maybe some felted flowers in muted blues, greens and burgundy? Time will tell!

Here are a few more things that I absolutely love about October and Autumn:

The first leaf to change on my flowering pear tree..

the amazing changes in sunrises…

and sunsets..

sweet baby boots…

and cat naps on chilly days..

We always end our month of October at the Renaissance Festival. We live out in the country, so this is a time our little ones get to use their imagination to dress up, act silly, and beg random strangers for candy. I can’t help but feel a little sad every Halloween, knowing yet another great October has come to an end. But the sights we enjoy at faire are priceless and always find a way to make me smile!

Post Script…
When I returned home, I found that half the post did not upload, as I wanted to add pictures from Faire from Saturday, so I do apologize for having an incomplete post. I should have known better than to trust my not so smartphone to do that job right! Though it seemed it had all uploaded, indeed it did not. So, there is the rest of the post, if any happen to stumble upon it, and thank you again Rita, for including me in your birthday celebratory hop! =^..^=



Host Toltec Jewels
Heather Otto          <—————————you are here!!
Mischelle Fanucchi
Marlene Cupo        
Shaiha Williams    
Shelly Graham Turner
Shelly Joyce         
Charlie Jacka        
Pam Sears           
Margareta Saari    
Marita Suominen   
Lisa Posthumus    
Jeannie Dukic       
Cheri Reed           
Arlene Dean         
Duffy Blevins        
Susan Kennedy   
Dita Basu            
Sonya Ann Stille  
Audrey Allen        
Kashmira Patel     
Kathy Lindemer    
Kris Mattingly       
Lennis Carrier       
Shannon Hicks     
Paula Hisel          
Karin Slaton         
Shirley Moore       
Alicia Marinache   
Valeria G. Rome   
Zoe Marcin           
Carolyn Lawson    
Kimberly Booth     
Sherri Stokey        
Tanya McGuire      
Debbie Rasmussen
Christine Stonefield
Sandra McGriff       
Renetha Stanziano 
Evelyn Shelby        

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