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! 😀
Happy New Year! Due to the high volume of orders which I have experienced recently, I have temporarily put my Amazon Handmade shop on vacation. However, my Etsy shop is still open for business. There you will find only ready to ship items, beading patterns and bead embroidery kits.
It seems to be the season of custom orders, as I have completed many of them lately. Some of my favorite items from 2018 are shown above, a few of which are still available for sale on Etsy.. Receive 10% off any order w/ coupon code YAPPYHOUR18! Please check out my Facebook and/or Instagram pages to see the progress of my latest custom work. I appreciate your interest in my beadwork!! Have a happy & healthy 2019!!
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 have been thinking about parties for pets recently. Apparently they are all the rage! People all over the world are having dog Birthday Parties, Bark Mitzvahs, and Yappy Hour events for their dogs. You can buy all sorts of fancy party favors and dog treats for these events on Amazon and Etsy, too! So, I decided to tap into the excitement, and start offering beaded doggie pins wearing party hats.
Here you can see the progress of my first pin, a Birthday Beagle. I added a felt hat to my original Beagle design and embroidered tiny blue glass beads to it. Please click the pic below to view the finished item for sale on Etsy.
If you are interested in a different breed of dog (or cat) pin wearing a birthday party hat, please send me a message via Etsy! Framed 8″ x 8″ mini portraits are also available. Anything is possible with beads! 🙂
Receive 10% off any order w/ coupon code YAPPYHOUR18!
Dear friends, just a quick announcement to let you know that I now accept Bitcoin as payment on Etsy and for customer orders via my website. I have been doing some research on this subject and I feel that cryptocurrency is here to stay and may eventually become the way of the future. Also there seems to be little risk for sellers to accept this form of payment. So, if you are a Bitcoin enthusiast looking for a custom hand- beaded animal pin pendant, dog jewelry, or bead-embroidered pet portrait, you have come to the right place. If you would like to purchase from my Etsy store, please use ‘Other’ as your payment method when checking out, and write that you’d like to pay with Bitcoin in the “Note to Seller” field. Once the order has been placed, I will send an invoice to your Etsy email address. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ADDITIONAL FEES WHEN PAYING WITH BITCOIN. NO RETURNS or REFUNDS WHEN PAYING WITH BITCOIN, however I would be happy to work out an exchange if needed. 🙂 If you have any other questions, please ask. Thanks for looking! 🙂
If you’ve ever wondered what to do with an old filigree locket or other jewelry piece, here is a little inspiration! Recently, one of my customers wrote to ask if I had ever made a beaded locket before. I had not, but was intrigued by the idea. My customer wanted a ‘mourning’ locket which featured a beaded portrait of her beloved pet Papillon named Star. Star had passed away as a result of bladder surgery. The locket was meant to hold a lock of her dog’s hair.
At the time, my customer did not have a locket in hand, but after an lengthy search (and a bit of trial and error) we found a vintage one which would work on Etsy. So, I cut out a piece of beading foundation roughly the same diameter as the locket. Then, I created a felt foundation in the shape of the dog’s head which I stitched to the beading foundation. Using size 15 Japanese seed beads, I carefully beaded a tiny portrait in black, gray, and white. I also stitched on a tiny star-shaped stone bead just below her nose. After I completed the first layer of beadwork (above), I added a second layer of beaded fringe to accentuate her beautiful hair (below).
After I completed the portrait, I peyote- stitched a silver and gray frame around the beadwork. This extended beyond the edge of the beading foundation and added some visual interest to the piece.
Once everything was complete, I opened the locket and carefully stitched my beadwork to the front of the piece. This took a bit of time and very tiny stitches in between the rows off beads. I stitched around the inside of the locket a few times to ensure that the piece was secure. Below, you can see – the stitches are barely visible!
I hope this unique bead embroidery piece will provide some comfort to my customer as she remembers her dog for many years to come. I think it will also be quite a conversation piece! What do you think? 🙂
Custom orders are always fun and challenging. If you have an idea for a custom bead- embroidered piece, please send me an email using the Contact form above or message me via Etsy. Due to another travel adventure, all Ready-to-Ship items purchased in my Etsy shop between Feb. 2 – Feb. 14, 2018 will ship out no later than Feb. 16, 2018. Most Made to Order items will ship according to production time stated in listing. All PDF beading patterns (English & Spanish language) will be 15% off Feb. 3 – Feb. 18, 2018 only. Thanks for looking! 🙂