Thursday, December 29, 2011

Magazine Destash

Well, I've decided I own too much stuff. Why do we as a culture accumulate so much junk? *shrug* Anyway, since I have gleaned all the knowledge I can from these old magazines, I find that I would rather pass them on than throw them out. Please come over to my Vanishing Pearl Facebook page and take a look at my Magazine Destash album.

The rules:

Like my page.

Comment on what you want.

(optional, but much appreciated) Donate $2 per magazine to my Paypal account as a gift for

Wait for your new magazine(s) to arrive in the mail.

Bead to your heart's content!

<3 Tamara

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Hello everyone! I missed you.....

I've also missed beading. :-( Thanks to those of you who have kept up with me. I'd like to show you how my senior exhibition turned out. Have a look!

Now that college is done with, I will (won't) have time to work on the 240+ projects on my to do list. Wish me luck. :-)

First up, find my bead stash among all the other junk in my apartment. I few trips to Goodwill may be in order.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Well.......I've Been Busy

I know that's a terrible excuse for not posting in exactly a month, but it's the truth! For those of you who might be curious about what I've been up to, I'm going to show you. I decided that while I still had access to the studio at school, I needed to do something about my craft show display.

A while back, I wrote this post about how I have been setting up my booth for roughly the last three years. As glorious, and pretty, and elegant, and nice it all is, I have to admit that the setup is HEAVY. Oh, and it also takes up a lot of space. For once, I'd like to go on a road trip and see out of my rear view mirror.

That, and I'd like my jewelry to be seen instead of my displays.

Soooooo, I packed up most of these displays.............

.........and will shortly be shipping them off to Shalena White of Shalena Designs. Go check out her gorgeous metalsmithing work if you've never seen it! She is a friend of mine and a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin. Thank you Shalena and I hope they serve you well!!!

*The four displays in front with the contrasting colors are up for grabs to the first person commenting below that you want them.*

Anyway, I had to replace these three dimensional pedestals with something flat and portable. The FMG equivalent was going to cost me over $270 for the amount I eventually ended up making.

This lovely collection of cherry stained red oak cost me around $160 from Lowe's.....

Pictured here are 6 large necklace pedestals, 12 medium necklace pedestals, 18 small necklace pedestals, 36 necklace pedestal bases with slots, 18 bracelet ramps, 12 arches, 16 block risers, 2 business card holders, and two "handy" displays.

Every one of these was cut, sanded, and stained by hand. I'm so excited to see them in action at both my senior exhibition and at next year's craft shows! What do you think? Am I crazy or what?

Oh, oh, oh! Guess what? Exactly half fits in this suitcase. I just need a matching one to put the other half in. I forsee a trip downtown fairly soon.

 Voila! I will soon have a decorative suitcase that hides my brand new displays! (I have used this technique before to store the curtains and table cloths used in my setup.)

Wish me luck! Senior show is next Friday and I have to try hunting for last minute show deadlines for next summer and fall.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Two for Tuesday: Jasper Lariat

Sorry for missing last week's post. *shrug* I do however have another fabulous sketch and finished piece to show you this week. TADA.......

Photo collage made using
I made this lariat last September. I originally wanted to make enough freeform peyote circles to make a belt. It fit around my waist, but didn't stay in place to well. (Now I have to find a creative use for the toggle clasp with extra circle, which isn't pictured here.) So I decided to make it a lariat instead!!

Miscellaneous news:

I just recently finished a new Eileen necklace, bracelet, and earring set!!! So excited that this one turned out fabulously well. :-) I have to say that freeform peyote is not usually my thing, but this design always makes me happy. 

And now, Eileen! 

I used a coil inductor for the centerpiece as well as a cathedral bead that has been embellished along the equator.

(Hey I just realized this post was themed around freeform peyote. *accident*)

I was also just recently informed that I won a free Modahaus through Pearl's giveaway!!!!!! This made my week.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Two for Thursday?: Enameled Profile

Photo collage made with

I apologize for missing my update on Tuesday. I have no excuse except for forgetfulness. The photo mosaic above is what was next on my list. It's a double sided enameled profile of my face. The copper base was a practice piece for my first Two for Tuesday post piece. Since it wasn't textured, I decided to enamel it instead.

I made this in 2009. Wow, how time flies! For some reason, I zipped my mouth together with a picket fence and placed a kokopelli on the other side. *shrug* This was just a practice piece and I had fun making it. I'm happy to say that this is one case where the end product matches the initial sketch. :-)

I've been so busy lately that I've completely lost all track of time. Today was the first time in a week that I've been able to sit down and bead. (1 hour 40 minutes!) Sad, huh? :-( Once school is finished, expect to see me cranking out patterns like there is no tomorrow! Promise.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Two for Tuesday: Casting a Frog

Oooohhhh, a movie! Ah, not quite. Although the 'new' Disney release The Princess and the Frog is really well done.

This two finger ring was made in 2009 I believe. It is my very first attempt at casting anything EVER. It was a lost wax casting with bronze. Pretty proud of myself for carving the frog out of wax. There was a little toy frog this exact size just chilling on top of the chemical cabinet. As far as I know, he'd been there for years without anybody taking notice. Of course after I finished the ring I put the little guy right back where I found him. And he disappeared forever within a week. :-(

As with any new assignment, I was always eager to include beads within my design. In this case, I used a single dyed freshwater pearl, which is nestled inside the water lily. See.....

Photo collage from, photo of ring taken by Trevor Hunter
Anyway.....the result: one heavy sucker that could do some hefty damage, but look good doing it.

And now for some good news!!!

I have decided to get rid of my entire stash of old magazines. I'm down sizing (still) and trying to get rid of and give away things that I don't need or that are taking up space. Unfortunately, magazines take up a lot of space. I am determined to only purchase the ones in which I get published.

I will first make copies of my favorite untried projects (to keep the mags in good shape) and then give them away when I'm done with the photocopier. All for personal use, I promise. If anybody has a special request, I may just have the issue you're looking for. If not, I'll have pictures up on Facebook in a destash album within a couple of weeks/months/as I get to it. Just provide postage.

I told you it was good news. Who doesn't like a win-win?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Giveaway Winner!!

I really meant to have this up by last week, but lately I've spent my time doing nothing but cutting up vegetables it seems. Ah, the hazards of going back to work. I want to give my sincerest apologies.

There were five comments on my original post. And here's the pic for the random generator:

 Our winner is Designs by Dawn Marie. Congratulations Dawn!!!! Please email your address to

*And thank you Kristen for sending her my way. :-)

Here is your bracelet Dawn:

By the way, I have another batch of old magazines I don't need anymore. Do you guys think I should host another Facebook giveaway like I did before?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Two for Tuesday: Roped Into Love

This piece was for the Convergence contest a couple years ago. A jewelry designer was supposed to team up with a lampwork artist to create an earth, fire, water, and air themed piece of art. The International Society of Glass Beadmakers (ISGB) was in charge of the project. They grouped people in sets of two and gave each the other's contact information.

I think we had about six months to finish the project. I know for a fact that all I did for the first five of those months was doodle during political science. I had contacted my partner and we had discussed ideas. She never did make anything for me to work with, so I told her no hard feelings and that I was going to find someone else who was still available.

I then contacted Terry Hale, the lady in charge. My mom had recently been Terry's neighbor at a craft show in the Southeast somewhere and said she was personable, friendly, and a good friend of Susan Parry, a good friend of ours from the show circuit. I told Terry the problems I was having with my partner and that if Susan was a part of the group, I would love to work with her instead.

The next day, Susan emailed me and we started tossing around ideas. We decided on hearts and she got all excited in her usual manner. In two weeks flat I received about a dozen or more hearts and hollow vessels to choose from for the lariat necklace I had decided to make. I chose 4, purchased 2 for myself (which I still haven't used yet :-( ), and mailed the rest back to her for inventory. We even determined a price level in case the piece sold. A week and a half after that (and a few days before the deadline), I finished the necklace:
Photo collage made with
Photo from

I was pretty proud of myself *insert smug look here* for having found a partner and creating a finished piece in less than a sixth of the time allotted for the contest. I don't usually stress too much if I haven't finished something for a contest in time, but I just knew I wanted to work with Susan again and had to make it happen. Anyway, after all the sketching, planning, stress, joy, netting, right-angle-weave, and braiding, we weren't selected as a finalist. The results came back as "undermuted." What does that even mean? *shrug* That means you just enter it in the 2010 Fire Mountain Gems Glass Contest, which is exactly what I did (with Susan's permission of course). You can see our design in better detail here.

This is the only photo that exists of the necklace because my laptop had a case of the 'I don't wanna' last summer. Sad day and a lot of missing reference pictures. However, go to the FMG website and zoom in to see really, really good closeups of Susan's beads. <3

The lariat is also no longer in existence. I kept it until late last year or early this year. It didn't sell and Susan needed the hearts for inventory, so I took it apart and sent those back to her. This was a fun project and I will be recycling the beaded ropes and tassels back into something new! It would be a pity to let all those turquoise heishis and garnet chips go to waste.

And isn't that mermaid bead just gorgeous?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Two for Tuesday: Flame Ring

Ever since I was nine, I've been making squiggly doodles on scrap paper. I've drawn on lined and unlined paper, in the margins of school notes, on napkins, on my jeans, on myself, on other people, and now in sketch books. 

This ring was made in 2008. Again, this was my first metals class. The assignment was to bezel a cabochon. I think this one is white howlite. I could be totally wrong. Of course, instead of a tiny pendant, I wanted to make something more fun. Here is the result:

Photo collage made with

It looks like fire! *Totally not the intent, but hey, it works.* I sold the ring earlier this year to the wife of a furniture maker who was set up across from me in Kerrville, TX.

On a side note: I seem to have misplaced the bracelet I planned on giving away for my 150 Facebook likes celebration. I will choose another piece instead, and it will be just as fabulous. The last couple of weeks have been quite hectic and my jewelry likes to run away on occasion (usually in someone's pocket). However, I'm pretty sure I just lost this one. The couch probably ate it. ;-)

And the best news: Today is the day I pay off my car!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Two for Tuesday: Chain of Memories

Good morning Tuesday! Today I have another piece that I started in 2008. This was actually my very first practice piece when I first took metals. It was a piercing and riveting assignment. I decided on a heart with some squiggles and spiky things. Why not? It's challenging, right? Yup. The scrap metal I found for the heart is steel. (My poor saw blades. *sigh*) And the other bits are aluminum.

Until last year, I let the piece sit around and mope until I found something to do with it. I eventually found the Soft Flex: Flex Your Creativity contest where they wanted designers to use their beading wire, but to have it exposed instead of hidden. This was my entry. You might want a picture before I continue:

Photo collage made with

I used one of their trios sets, which is what my local Hobby Lobby carries, to create a mass of squiggles and pearls all over what is now the front of the heart. I also used the beading wire to make a braided cord for one half of the neck strap.

By now, most of my followers may know that I absolutely love working with found objects. I get it from my mom. For this piece, I glued a stud that came off a pair of pants to a filigree square, and then glued both of them to a washer, which was then glued to the heart. Okay, I rarely use that much glue, but sometimes E6000 is the only solution when nothing else works or you're in a hurry, which I probably was to make the September 1st deadline.

I also brick stitched around parts of a dog chain I found at Wal-Mart. I have no idea what possessed me to buy the dog chain, but it has come in handy a few times. This piece came out wonderfully like the initial sketch, and then I added to it when an opportunity presented itself. One of my friends named it Chain of Memories because he said it reminded him of Kingdom Heats (which he was playing at the time of the conversation).

A little bit on the chaotic side, Chain of Memories ended up being a successful piece. This goes to show that you should always hold on to your first attempts at something. It might be useful later.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Putting a Face to a Name

All too often I forget what the artist of some of my favorite pieces actually looks like. I can almost instantaneously put a name to a piece with that certain style. However, if I saw any of these people on the street with no label indicating who they are, I wouldn't be able to call them by name or say "Oh! That's so-and-so."

To remedy this problem for my followers, here is a picture of me:

Glasses, pimple, and fever blister included. (Three weeks into a new semester, plus taking my job back. *sigh*)

My logo for all of my online profiles is the same for consistency. Most of my online friends don't know what I actually look like unless they are friends of mine on my personal Facebook page.

I did have a picture of me for my first blog post, but I was 19 when it was taken. This is of me today taken by my computer's camera. I just turned 23 on Monday! I cut most of my hair off this past summer and now have a puff of a pony tail. :-)

I don't know about you, but I'm often surprised to find out what some of my favorite artists and authors look like. What do you think?

And now for a picture of something pretty: (besides myself)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fan Page Giveaway!

After much deliberating, I have decided to give away a piece of jewelry for my 150 Facebook fan page celebration. I am at 144 likes right now.


1. You must "Like" my Vanishing Pearl Facebook page.

2. Please leave a comment on this blog post.

3. (Optional for those of you who don't use Facebook): tell your friends and spread the word!

Only those who have liked my page and left a comment will be eligible to win THIS!

A memory wire bracelet with Botswana Agate, a vintage glass button, E beads, bugle beads, and swivel hooks! (Wait, swivel hooks? Kinda odd to use fishing equipment in a bracelet, huh? Not at all!) One size fits all.

This is honestly the first bracelet image I came across that I know for sure hasn't sold yet. I will host more giveaways at each 50 like mark, or spontaneously. So check back often and always tell your friends.

Please leave an email in your comment so I can contact you if you win. :-) Good luck!


Okay, so I happened to misplace/lose/hide the bracelet pictured above. Never fear! I promised a bracelet to the winner, and you will get one. So here goes:

 I made this tulip cuff in my sophomore or junior year of high school. To the best of my knowledge, it's the only peyote cuff I've made with E-beads. It measures 8 3/4 inches. I used picot edging along the sides, a button and loop at each end, tiny herringbone tulips from Diane Fitzgerald's The Beaded Garden, and three lampworked disks by Sherry Nickell of elektraArt.

I have reached 150 Facebook likes now. Good luck to the randomly selected winner! Tell your friends and I'll have the winner posted tomorrow. :-)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Two for Tuesday: Asymmetry

This necklace was a complete surprise to me. I received a text from JD with a message saying, "You have me drawing jewelry designs at work. :-/" And this was the sketch:
After deciding that this design was too fabulous to pass up, I promptly began making the piece with materials I had on hand. I eventually ended up giving it to JD's mom as a Christmas present. Here's the two of them together with Linda wearing the necklace:

I don't have a better view of the necklace itself, but I think it's nice to see a happy recipient of my work on occasion. This was my first piece of beadwork created from the sketch of another person. Thanks JD. <3

Sorry that I got to this update a little late, but I'm proud of having kept to my self imposed deadline thus far. Stay tuned for next week's sketch vs. finished piece.

By the way, once my Facebook Vanishing Pearl page receives 150 likes, I'm going to announce a giveaway of one of my pieces! Tell your friends and I'll be back with a photo of the piece that will soon make its way to a new home.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Two for Tuesday: 3x3 Square

Hello everyone! Sorry I've been absent for over a week. I got a chance to visit my grandmother right before school started, went to my first week of classes, and *sigh* took my old job back. However, I've come up with something to keep me posting at least once a week for most of the next year.

I'm going to start a series of blog posts called Two for Tuesday. (If you have a better name, please share). You will see a minimum of one sketch and one photo of the finished piece made from the sketch. Our ideas have to come from somewhere don't they?

I seem to find myself stuck somewhere in the middle when it comes to designing jewelry (or anything else). One one hand, there are people who never put pen to paper before creating a piece. They record their ideas during the creation process. On the other, there are those that plan out every single detail before even picking up a tool. I do both, or neither, or even sometimes one or the other.

For today's piece I planned out the majority of the details before hand, especially since this was my first metals assignment in 2008. We had to make a 3x3 square out of sheet metal with a minimum of three sheets of copper, nickel silver, brass, or aluminum. I did five layers with a bit of exterior decoration (mostly to hide my terrible first attempts at tube rivets). The project had to be a self portrait with a bit of personal information. I had just moved out of my sister's home at the time, which explains the keys and the door.

As in most pieces, I strive to include some beadweaving in my work. My instructor was dubious about including any, but my beaded screen doors came out fairly well. Here's a mosaic of the sketches, paper maquette, and the finished piece. What do you think?

Photo collage:

I have to say that the most important thing I've gotten out of college is to always keep a sketch book nearby. You never know when inspiration will hit and you can have a written or visual record of all your ideas, whether they be stupid, silly, phenomenal, or abstract.

I think the evolution of a piece from concept to completion should be recorded if possible.

Friday, August 19, 2011

FREE: Beaded Washer with Scallop Stitched Edging Tutorial

Hello on this fine middle of the night/morning! Blogging in the AM. Look at me being productive! I wanted to share my latest design:

I made this last night while trying to tell myself that I can make new designs with old ideas. (Trying not to beat a dead horse here). It turned out vastly better than expected! I almost always forget that scallop stitch provides such a pretty edging. I learned it years ago and have since applied it to my work only a handful of times. *shame on you Tamara* Never fear! I will promise to use it more in the future. This is the reverse of my newly created beaded washer pendant:

If you would like to purchase this little beauty, then please visit my Etsy store. I just finished listing it (among updating almost everything on my web pages).

However, if you would like to learn how to create the turquoise washer, read on:

Beaded Washer with Scallop Stitched Edging Tutorial


· Size 11° seed beads in two colors

· Size 8° seed beads

· Fireline

· Needle

· Scissors

· Washer (any size)

Step 1: Attaching the thread to a washer.

Make a loop with the tail of your thread using an overhand knot (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1

Make a lark’s head knot around a washer by passing the needle through the washer and then through the loop (Fig. 2). Pull tight.

Fig. 2

Step 2: First Round

String two Delicas. Pass the thread under the washer and back through the second Delica (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3

Using this brick stitch technique, continue adding one bead at a time until the washer is stitched with an even number of beads. Pass down through the first bead, under the washer, and back through the first bead. The first round is complete (Fig. 4

Fig. 4

Step 3: Scallop Stitched Edging

3A: String 5A and pass down through the third base bead. (Fig. 5) Pass up through the second base bead.

Fig. 5

3B: String 2B, an 8°, and 2B. Pass down through the fourth base bead. (Fig. 6)Pass up through the third base bead and the last A from the previous unit.

Fig. 6

*String 4A and pass down through the fifth base bead. (Fig. 7) Pass up through the fourth base bead and the last B in the previous unit.

Fig. 7

String 1B, an 8°, and 2B. Pass down through the sixth base bead. (Fig. 8) Pass up through the fifth base bead and the last A of the previous unit.*

Fig. 8
Repeat from * until you pass down through the last base bead.

Pass up through the next to last base bead and the last B from the previous unit.

String 3A and pass down through both the first A from step 3A and the first base bead. Pass up through the last base bead.

String 1B, an 8°, and 1B. Pass down through both the first B from step 3B and the second base bead. Weave the thread through your work and trim.

*Note: remember to pass the needle under each seed bead unit as you pass up through the two seed beads.

You should end up with a washer that looks like this:

If you have any questions, please let me know. Keep in mind that I am writing this during a time that any reasonable human being should be asleep.

And yes, those are my fingers. Somehow, I've always had a hard time believing that one can have pretty fingernails AND work with their hands. (That is unless of course you are paid to do so). Personal opinion I guess. The up side is that I quit biting my fingernails in February!!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tamara Spills Her Show Secrets

The secret is I have no secrets. I have an ever changing conglomeration of ideas. I am constantly on the lookout for new and interesting jewelry display ideas. Here are some of mine. I suppose you could call this a tutorial, but in creative display rather than jewelry making. Here goes!

*******Please note that this is my one day show setup. I would never leave my stuff overnight anywhere unprotected.*******

Everybody, these are Bob, Sue, and Joe. Bob, Sue, and Joe, meet everybody!

These are Bob's legs. Use short lengths of PVC to elevate the table about six inches above the ground. This allows the items displayed on the table to be seen better without having customers bend over too far. We don't want to promote bad posture, do we? No slumping!

Next, we're going to take some adhesive velcro and cut out little squares. Peel off the back of one side and stick it to one of the tables. Use three or four squares for the long side of one table. Use one square on each of the short sides of the table as well.

Then place one of your table cloths over the table. Peel off the other side of the velcro squares (still attached to the squares on the table). Press firmly to the table cloth.

Here comes the fun part! Heck, on a hot day, none of this is fun. But make sure to arrive at the location in plenty of time to set up your booth to your liking. Also bring lots of water.

Next, I fold the table cloth on the sides of the short tables up to keep it off the ground. I pin it in place with decorative brooches at the back:

I put a greenish brown cloth evenly draped over the center table (Bob). Since Bob is taller, there is no need to fold the edges of the table cloth. Mine doesn't reach the ground and won't get tripped over.

I used teal ones for the side tables and draped them at an angle to direct the eye to the center of the booth:

I picked up these handy plant stands at Wal-Mart a couple years back. They're perfect for elevating your art to the next level! (*snickers at totally intended pun*)

This is a collapsible corner shelf that I picked up at an antique mall where I live. I wrapped a sheer window curtain around the edges to dress it up a bit.

Place shelf between the plant stands, and voila! Triangular display with plenty of height! There's nothing sadder than seeing beautiful jewelry displayed flat on a table. Hand crafted work deserves better.

Arrange the remainder of your displays in whatever way looks good. I have a couple more plant stand and what my Big Lots receipt claimed were magazine racks. *shrug* I thought they were pretty. (I sold the mannequin at this show, which suits me fine. Often, I will get offers for people to purchase my displays rather than my jewelry. I used to be upset about this, but now I figure it gives me a chance to remodel!)

Time to dress up the plant stands! (Chances are that you will be the only one who notices how much better this step makes your booth look, but it can be our secret, okay?)

Want to see how it's done? Guess what? Paper! Take two long strips and tape them together in the size of a circle that fits the specific plant stand you are decorating. I used wallpaper samples! (I got the wallpaper samples by dumpster diving. Never underestimate a college art building dumpster. :-) Use more than one color if desired.

Go ahead and plop a plate on top! Tada! Instant pretty display or some such contraption. Repeat for the other plant stands.

Why not just use more plates for the magazine rack thingies? I placed mine upside down and then put the plate on top. Or is it the bottom?

Set your necklace pedestal and jewelry on your new displays. Horray! Beautiful work at eye level.

Don't forget to have a sign of some sort that prominently displays your business name. Here's a cute idea: painted suitcase. Jenna did this one for me. Wait. This was done with markers. AND it doubles as a curtain and/or table cloth carrying case. Functionality is key, especially when traveling a lot.

I love those little green chairs! Too bad they take up a lot of space. The following are images of my finished booth. Enjoy!

Mirrors to display pieces on. Bargain basket for thrifty shoppers.

Here is a mirror prominently placed in the center shelf right at eye level. Customers can easily view how your creations look.

Full shot:

Guest book and business cards:

And finally, but definitely not least: sketch books and a portfolio of your work. I went overboard here on sketch books. I usually have one hanging around, especially if you place it in front of a finished piece. Customers find it amusing. (Or they chide you for sketching during English class.)

I hope this helps a bit. It should spark a few ideas. My two and three day show setup is quite different. To see that, hop over to my Evolution of a Craft Tent album on my Facebook page.

I did this blog post because I see some people asking for advice about jewelry setups. I am by no means an expert, but am always willing to share what I do know! I also have a really hard time when it comes to finding inspiration for displays. I guess my best advice is to go shopping at thrift stores, discount stores, home and garden places, and antique malls. You never know when an idea will pop into your head. Just experiment and have fun.

Always remember that a booth setup is a constant work in progress. I am tweaking mine all the time and am actually planning a complete overhaul to match my de-cluttered take on life. Or not. Who knows? Until next time......

Is it safe to blog and cook at the same time? Probably not.