Dear friends, I had such an exciting trip to Mexico this year. For two weeks, I traveled off the beaten path to do some swimming in a freshwater lagoon, birdwatching, kayaking, snorkeling, and exploring yet another Mayan ruin site deep in the Jungle. But I also visited some ‘touristy’ destinations. If you have never taken the ferry from Cancun to Isla Mujeres, you are in for a trip. Is is so much fun, and its a quick ride so there’s little chance of getting seasick. Most tourists probably never leave el Centro when they visit, or they are probably on a catamaran trip which also doesn’t allow for much exploration. But if you are a little more adventurous, jump in a taxi and explore the island. Yes, you can also rent a golf cart for the day, but I have found that a taxi is much cheaper and quicker if you are only headed to a few places.
On this trip, I stopped in to visit the Women’s Beading Cooperative on the island. These women make beautiful beaded jewelry – necklaces, earrings, bracelets, belts, and more. Most items are made by weaving tiny glass seed beads with nylon thread. Each piece is marked with the artisan’s name. When you purchase something, that artist receives 80% and the remainder is used for supplies. They also accept donations. I had brought over 1-lb. of Japanese size 15 seed beads as well as some Czech glass drop beads. Size 15 beads are rare in Mexico, so they were very happy to receive them! If you have the chance to visit this little shop, please do so, as you will be supporting the local community. These women work hard at creating some very unique jewelry!
At the end of the day, my companion and I went to Punta Sur. It is the southernmost tip of the island and it was one of my favorite places to visit. It had been very hot inland, so it was nice to catch some seabreeze here! At first, we thought there wasn’t much to explore here except Ixchel Temple and a sculpture garden. But as we made our way toward the tip of the island, we noticed that there were cliffside walking paths near the water’s edge which went in both directions. These paths are amazing and a little adventurous!
Once again, Mexico continues to surprise me. I already can’t wait to return! 🙂
Recently, I received a rather challenging and exciting custom order request for a pair of beaded Turquoise-Browed Motmot earrings! It was a nice surprise to receive a request for a beaded bird. Before I began beading dogs, I started out making beaded birds – both pins & paintings! I have always been interested in birdwatching, so last year I went on my first birding excursion in the Yucatán Peninsula. It was there where I viewed a motmot for the first time in the wild. He was perched in an orange tree as happy as can be!
To properly depict the Motmot in beads, I had to make the earrings in a large size. My customer wanted long statement earrings. These earrings consist of 4 separate pieces of bead embroidery which were linked together using sterling silver components. I beaded the bird’s body, tail, and feathers first, then I added a second layer of beaded fringe to accentuate the bird’s colors.
Once all the beadwork was complete, I stitched sterling silver eye pins, links, and sterling silver posts to the back. Now, the tail and feathers dangle freely. These were a little bit of a challenge to create as the construction of them was fairly time-consuming. Its never easy for me to duplicate one of my own pieces, so for that reason, earrings always take me a little longer to create.
As you can see, the finished earrings are quite long – approx. 4″ x 1″! They definitely attract attention! What do you think?
I liked how these turned out so much that I made a (slightly different) second pair for myself which I plan to wear this month! If you are interested in custom beaded bird jewelry of a different species, please let me know! Currently my Amazon shop is in vacation mode, and I would like to note that any Ready to Ship items purchased in my Etsy shop between Feb. 3 and Feb. 16 will not ship out until the week of February 18. Also, during this time, made to order items have been temporarily deactivated. I will be making my annual journey South of the Border in search of nature, adventure, inspiration. Perhaps I will see another motmot! 😀
Earlier this year, I watched the film A Plastic Ocean and immediately became sick to my stomach. I couldn’t bear to watch the birds and fish eat so much plastic and ultimately dying as a result. These images are disturbing reminders of the damage that humans do the environment every single day.
So, all year, I have been trying to change the types of products I purchase. I no longer buy plastic water bottles if I can avoid them. I try to buy things like sunscreen, toothpaste, dental floss, and vitamins in a glass jar. I buy shampoo bars instead of plastic bottles. I also got a stainless steel drinking straw to use when I’m out and about. And, of course I carry a reusable shopping bag with me at all times. Overall, I have been trying to consume less plastic whenever possible.
However, it is not easy and I am not perfect. I do bring reusable cotton produce bags to the veggie market, but occasionally I find myself using a plastic produce bag or two. And, of course almost every type of food and beverage is packaged in plastic. I do reuse a lot of the plastic bags and containers and I do compost and recycle, but I feel it’s not enough.
All this got me thinking about the different types of industries that could and should use more sustainable products. The beading industry is definitely one of them. How many plastic ziploc bags do bead retailers and beadwork artists use? And how many plastic tube containers are filled with beads each day all around the world? What happens when we are finished with these containers? Bags end up in the trash, and the small tube containers most likely end up in the ocean, just like straws. So, what can business owners and consumers do? Personally, I have been searching for a bio-plastic manufacturer who would be interested in creating clear bio-plastic tubes which will eventually biodegrade in the landfill, but I haven’t found one yet. In the meantime, we must vote with our dollars. I will order biodegradable plastic baggies the next time I need them. I will purchase compostable shipping supplies whenever possible. I will boycott plastic beads and any products that contain them. I will ask my favorite bead shops and retailers to use more eco-friendly packaging supplies as well as implement better recycling programs & incentives. And, I will support businesses who make environmental sustainability a priority.
If you have any ideas on how to use less plastic, you may leave a comment below or use the Contact Form.
Please be kind to the planet – we are all in this together! 🙂
Dear friends, I am back to working on my Russian bead painting. Here is the latest progress – I have finished beading a large tree. The tree was created by first sewing together a felt foundation with several holes in it. I used a combination of bead embroidery and freeform peyote stitch to create a leafy texture which can be seen through when you move them around. Below is a sneak peak of what it might look like in the finished piece. This portion of the beadwork (tree + cathedral) measures approx. 12″x 15″. If you would like to see more photos of the progress of this piece, please visit this Facebook photo album.
Also, I am running a Christmas in July Sale Event on Etsy and Amazon Handmade. Save 25% on every purchase in my shop now thru July 23, 2017. This sale is my biggest sale ever as it also includes made-order-items and custom orders, as well! No coupon code needed! Please click the image above to visit my Etsy shop. Thanks for looking and have a safe and happy Fourth of July! 🙂
Dear friends, I would like to share with you the progress of my latest custom order. This is a new animal pin for me, one of which has been on my list for awhile now.. A beaded horse – in this case a majestic Anheuser-Busch bred Clydesdale horse:) This animal is much larger than the usual dogs & cats that I create, so the size of the pin must be larger as well, otherwise the details will be lost. So, I worked on a drawing based on the photo below and resized it to about 3″ x 3″.. This is usually a good size for a large brooch.
Next, I created a paper template which I used to cut out several layers of felt. The first layer is a stiff beading foundation, and the top layers or shapes were cut from felt. I can use any felt that I have on hand, either acrylic or wool. I stitched the layers of felt to the stiff stuff to create my overall foundation.
Next, I began by stitching a special 2mm glass eye onto the horse’s face, then I began beading. I always start with the animal’s face and work from there. In this case, I worked on the face, then legs as I outlined the horse’s body with Japanese size 15 seed beads.
Following those lines, I continued doing bead embroidery by simply filling in the rest of the legs and body. I used several different colors of seed beads to achieve the shading I wanted. Once the first layer of beadwork was complete, I began the second layer. I added tiny beaded fringe on the horse’s mane and legs. I also added some more lines to accentuate the animal’s features. Lastly, I stitched many long beaded fringes for the tail. I sort of stitched these together at the top so they sit right, but that was easier said than done.
This piece required a bit more time and patience than usual, but I think the results are worth the effort. I am really proud of how this piece turned out! What do you think? If you are an equestrian and are interested in a custom beaded horse pin or framed mini pet portrait, please use the Contact form above or message me through Etsy! I appreciate your interest in my beadwork! 🙂
Dear friends, I have just created a new tiny beaded poodle pendant! This piece has a sterling silver split ring attached at the top so you can wear it on your favorite necklace chain.
Click the pic below to view this listing on Etsy.
Enter coupon code HOLIDAY16 to save 15% on any purchase of $10 or more in my Etsy shop! Coupon expires December 16, 2016.
Thanks for looking! 🙂
Dear friends, just a quick post today to announce that I am running a Labor Day Sale on Etsy & Amazon all week long! Save 15% on all ready to ship beaded dog jewelry, bead embroidery patterns, beading kits and artwork now through Sept. 5, 2016. No coupon code needed! Thanks for looking & happy beading! 🙂