Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort Donation

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A BIG whopping thank you to my fabulous friends who came together for this wonderful cause. Together we raised almost $1,000! ALL that money was donated to

the church of Iglesia Pentecostal de Jesucristo Cristo Viene on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island. Mandy Bickerstaff personally delivered a check to them Wednesday night. Maggie, the wife of the reverend, has been leading the charge to feed those still reeling from the destruction multiple times a day. This money will go to support their continued meal service as well as provide money to defer the costs of rebuilding the church, which was badly damaged in the storm, so they can continue to provide such great services to the community and ensure that everyone is safe.

Copying this from Mandy Bickerstaff, who runs UWSLoves

Today we made a family and community happy. Augustine and Milagros, the reverends of the church, and the proud momma of Maggie, accepted the check for almost $1000 that was raised by the Artisanal Holiday Sale. Thank you to everyone that helped!

 ***Disclaimer: Excerpts have been taken from UWSLoves***

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort is in Full Swing!

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Almost 4 weeks since Hurricane Sandy hit (WOW!!! I can't believe how long it's been though it seems like yesterday!) & there are still so many people that are affected. Those that lost their homes have been put up in hotels, but many don't have enough money for food & supplies. My cousin, Mandy Bickerstaff, set up a grassroots fundraising group to help victims almost as soon as the storm hit and she's STILL helping them through her group, UWSLoves.

Being without power for 9 days ourselves and the gas shortage, I felt powerless to help. So, I enlisted the help of my wonderful artisan friends, who generously donated items to be auctioned off. 100% will be donated to UWSLoves to help fund the Winter Wishes project. This is a great way to buy something meaningful for a loved one for the holidays or a nice treat for yourself. Please share with friends and family!

CLICK HERE to view the Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort fundraiser album:
 runs through Monday night, 9PM EST, 11/26!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Biggest Artisan Cyber Sale Ever!!

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Get in on the holiday sales for Cyber week!

The largest Artisan Jewelry Sale ever!

I will be offering 
 ~ 15% off  ~ 
in both my Artfire and Etsy shops
use coupon code: AWHOLIDAY

I will also offer a giveaway of a 
$25 gift certificate to either of my shops to 1 lucky winner!
Leave a comment below to be entered.
All other participants will be offering a giveaway on their blogs and discounts in their online stores.
Sale and giveaways start on 
Thanksgiving Day & end on Friday, Nov 30th~
There will be 3 exciting "special giveaways" hidden throughout the participants blog be sure to visit them all and find them!
You can search Etsy with the code: AWHOLIDAY to see participating stores...

Here are the other participants ~ 
If you would like to participate in the cyber sale as a vendor,
please click here for the details

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Book Review: Lark Books' Bead Riffs by Rachel Nelson-Smith

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I was recently asked to review several Lark Books. Which to read and review first since they're all idols of mine?? So, I randomly selected Rachel Nelson-Smiths' Bead Riffs. What a fun read! Different from most beading books I've come across, Rachel makes the connection between her love of beading and her love of jazz. She's spent about 10 years singing jazz and almost 2 decades beading, so is well versed on both topics. I love knowing something about my beading idols besides just their work, sort of like seeing one of my schoolteachers in the grocery store. They DO have another life! ;-)

I first came across Rachel's work when she came out with her Ootheca cuff. This was a design that I just couldn't quite fathom how she made it. Looked WAY too difficult to me, from photos alone. Now that I've read her book, I feel confident that I COULD tackle it given Rachel's wonderful tutorial writing abilities. She takes us from the basics of the stitches involved with some very good basic hints (more about his later) to step by step instructions and very understandable illustrations to over 20 projects ranging from the basic to advanced designs.

As to the basics, I had an "AHA" moment when reading her instructions for right angle weave (RAW).  This has been one of my most challenging stitches. I mostly gravitate to double needle RAW designs, but on page 16, Rule 1 for RAW states: " Each subsequent unit travels in a circular direction opposite from the previous row. For example, a unit formed with a clockwise thread path is followed by a unit formed with a counterclockwise thread path." So simple, yet in all the years I've been beading, I had never thought of it in those simple terms. I struggled with each and every pattern I attempted to make. Following beautiful patterns shared by talented artists is great, but an AHA moment is priceless.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Kalmbach Bead Soup

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Who doesn't love bead soup?? Imagine my excitement when this envelope showed up in my mailbox! I was thrilled to be one of the ones selected to take part in the Kalmbach Bead Soup Challenge. Thank you so much for extending the deadline for those of us affected by the hurricane. I was just finishing up my design when my area of the country was hit by Hurricane Sandy. I lost power for 9 days and didn't get my internet back on for another couple of days but am very thankful that we are all safe and did not sustain any property damage. Getting back to normal has taken some time, so I apologize for the delay in writing this post.

I'd like to especially thank the Boston Bead Company for my particular bead soup donation. It was in a color scheme that I don't often work in often, but really lovely, so enjoyed the process even more. I tried many different designs and finally settled on the necklace I've shared. I decided to make it into an asymmetrical design, using the focal as a design element. I surrounded it with 2 of my ruffled lampwork disk beads, which I thought added a bit of whimsy. I also incorporated another pink swirled lampwork bead and a coordinating boro bead on the opposing side. For the focal, I used one of my large boro rounds, a fun indigo boro disk, and then the lovely pearlized rose colored bead and blue/pink rondelle from the soup. The rondelles were my favorite. I may need to contact Boston Bead Company to get some more. I thought the midnight blue faceted rounds were equally wonderful, as were all the soup ingredients actually.

And so, I present to you, my Kalmbach Bead Soup necklace! Thank you all once again! Can't wait to see what the other participants made with their soup!

2012 Beads Of Courage Art Charm Swap and Reveal

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What a fun and CHALLENGING challenge! This year's art charms swap's theme is laughter. Not known for making whimsical beads, I tortured myself over what to make. For you see, while this is a fun swap, it's really about the kids in the Beads of Courage, (BOC) program. What an amazing organization!

The organizer of the swap, Jennifer Cameron, asked us to create 11 art charms to swap with other participants, one of which will be auctioned off on ebay at 3PM EST along with all the other charms, the proceeds of which will be donated to BOC. BOC is a wonderful program started by Jean Baruch, to help children who are coping with serious illnesses and their families. The children are given artisan beads for certain milestones in their treatment program. I've been a supporter of BOC for some time now so was delighted to participate.

Back to my dilemma.....I tried to think of something the kids might like, something whimsical in keeping with the 'laughter' theme. I finally realized that I was making it more difficult than it had to be. I wanted it to be something that both boys and girls would appreciate. I created a yellow sun lampwork bead with red and yellow rays and using my tools, I made the eyes and a smiley face. I wired it up with a crystal at each end. But I felt it needed more. I found these adorable pennies on ebay that had a smiley face cut out. I'm really pleased with how it came out. I hope my swap partners are too. But more importantly, please bookmark this link for the auction. I hope it brings in lots of money for the Beads of Courage program.

Please also check out the other participants' blogs to see the adorable charms they created. I've highlighted in red those people whose adorable charms I received. Love them all!

Auction Site, beginning @ 3PM EST today!!

Alenka Obid
Alicia Marinache 
Babette Cox
Carol Watson
Carolyn Chenault 
Cassi Paslick
Charlene Jacka
Cheri Reed
Cheryl McCloud
Deb Kauzlarich  
Denielle Hagerman  
Emma Todd
Erin Prais-Hintz
Ginger Bishop
Inge vonRoos
Jean Peter
Jeannie K Dukic
Jennifer Cameron
Kia Dallons
Kimberly Roberts
Kristi Bowman 
Lea Avroch *that's me! :) * 
Leslie Schenkel
Linda Florian
Lori Greenberg
Lynnea Bennett  
Mallory Hoffman
Marcy Lamberson
Marsha Neal Studio
Maureen Connolly 
Melissa Meman
Monique Urquhart
Natalie McKenna 
Perri Jackson
Renetha Stanziano
Robin Koza 
Shaiha Williams
Shannon Hicks
Shelby Foxwell   
Shelley Graham Turner
Shirley Moore
Stephanie Haussler
Susan Kennedy
Toltec Jewels
Vanessa Gilkes

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Help for Hurricane Sandy Victims

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Living in Queens, NY and on Long Island for 33 years, I've lived through and experienced many hurricanes in my lifetime, but none that impacted as many and created the devastation that Hurricane Sandy did. We prepared and got the necessary supplies for several days in preparation for the storm. Got tons of advice from my wonderful Facebook friends too.

Our lights went out around 6PM Monday night, October 29th and they did not come back on until Tues night of the following week. Unlike so many others, fortunately, we did not sustain any property damage. As luck would have it, I had driven home from my mother's house in Queens to vote. Hubby and I were debating if we would return to Queens due to the gas shortage and long lines. As I was returning home from the post office, I got a call that power had been restored. My joy was overshadowed by the images I finally got to see online of the devastation so many others had endured. We lost the contents of our refrigerator and freezer, but many lost their homes and loved ones.

It was just as I signed onto facebook that I saw my son had shared a link from his cousin, Mandy Bickerstaff. We've known her since she was a little girl, but had lost touch. She's now living in NYC. Along with several of her friends, they took it upon themselves to do something! They're providing hot meals, sandwiches, clothing and supplies to those hit the hardest by the storm. They're doing all this is her small apartment in NYC. Her story is so inspirational. I knew I wanted to help in some way, but with the gas shortage and distance between us, I didn't know what to do. Mandy started a blog about their work, UWSLoves. Took me a few days to figure it out. UWS=Upper West! She also has a facebook fan page, also called UWSLoves, which I hope you'll check out.

I decided to donate 100% of my bead sales to this wonderful cause. I wanted my money to go to the people directly rather than a big corporation, for obvious reasons and I knew that Mandy would make sure of that. I tallied up my sales total and was surprised and happy to see it add up to $136, which I'll be sending to UWSLoves. This is a very significant number in the Jewish religion. 18 stands for Chai, which is life. So, 136 is double Chai. Serendipity, or as we say in Yiddish, bashert!

I hope you'll find it in your hearts to give as well. Or if anyone has links to anyone in the food services industr, that might be willing to donate any food items that are sorely needed, please contact Mandy. Last week Serene Green, a farm from out east on Long Island donated 300 pounds of produce and through another connection the produce was driven into NYC via Hampton Jitney, who donated their services . She and her friends made some yummy looking dishes to feed those without power. It's so hard to see the images of the destruction! And sadly, there are still many without power that need our help.