Monday, January 5, 2015


To jump start my studio time in this new year I participated in the Muffin Tin Challenge sponsored by Heather Powers of Humblebeads.  The challenge was to fill each individual cup of a 6 or 12 cup muffin tin with beads, wire, findings, etc. to complete one piece of jewelry per cup.  Once the supplies were assembled and cups filled you simply arranged everything into a sassy design and assembled each project as quickly as possible.

 (Easier said than done if you only found out about and decided to do the challenge on the fly the day before it ended....guilty....thank goodness for all those play days making up findings and embellishments or I never could have pulled this off!)

I don't actually think I did this challenge right as my jewelry does not consist of beads only but in mixed media style with plenty of beads on each piece....AND as if all the hurry and scurry were not enough, I am link went up three minutes after deadline...I tried so hard to make it but Blogger was being a pistol and loading photos so slow.  My reward is having 7 pieces of finished jewelry done!

Here is my muffin tin all filled to over flowing:
Don't these look delicious half baked?

 Fully cooked:
Part 1 of a set of 3 stack boho beach style bangles (this was a bonus project from leftovers in my tins, I had a few strays and scraps and you know I can't waste a good leftover)

A combination of teal, silver, and champagne make a refined feminine triple strand magnet clasp bracelet for dressy occasions: 

Simple soothing sea tones of aqua, green, and white mimic the oceans hues and sun bleached shells:

The charms of nature are abundant in this design a wire nest fulled with tiny pearl eggs, handmade leaves and branches, flowers, and a scampering squirrel and curious bunny charms delight the nature lover:

A book lovers delight, "The Librarian" is made from vintage finds such a card catalog pull, card catalog index card, and old brass key accompanied by lovely glass, stone, and brass beads as well as a tiny handmade book:

"Winters Frost" is a delicate rosary style chain piece that consists of tiny glass stones, pearls, and mother of pearl buttons in clear, white, and pale blue hues to mimic a winter frost.  The focal point is a metal leaf with a frosted tiny bird bead and a vintage chandelier crystal.  Handmade/beaded fabric beads as well as handmade leaf and nest embellishments round out the design:

I think the last one is my favorite, "Nature's Wonder" is an asymmetrical design of natural stone beads, natural wood beads, and handmade elements combined with fiber and vine like wire wrapping that invites one to wonder at all natures beauty:

 This was a fantastic exercise and I plan to incorporate it into my studio time. Thank you to Heather for a great kick start to my new year crafting!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014


"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven...a time to heal...a time to laugh...a time to dance...a time to embrace...a time to keep silence...a time to speak...a time to love...a time of peace..."
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
The past 14 months have taken quite a toll on me in many ways and there is so much I could but won't say about this passage of time other than it was a season of turbulence and it has come to pass.  I have entered into a new season.  While the physical world outside my window lies fallow in its drab bare bones winter chill I have entered a season more akin to spring, blooming and joyful, a time of healing.  While I have been absent online I have been, am being, fully present just living.

I've taken time to little grand dressed in a glittery costume sprinkled me with magic "pixie nuts" so I could fly and made me giggle.  Another grand pronounced me "so old school" and cracked me up.  The Handy Hubs and I fell into a fit of laughter that rolled in waves until we lost our breaths and our eyes watered, it began again every time we looked at one another.

I've taken time to dance...the tiniest grand adores music and does this little circle spin wiggle clap giggle in time to the tune.  We have adopted it as a family thing and it is amazing fun to have old and young alike circle spin wiggle clap and giggle together.  

I've taken time to embrace...mostly I have embraced my family spending lots of time with them, gathering them back home in my nest and smothering them with mothering love.  Little celebrations of nothingness just family, food, fun, conversation, laughter, and heart sharing, those things that really matter.

I've taken a time of silence...especially here online and mostly in my heart.  I have needed this time of withdrawal as part of reestablishing my life and creating a new pattern that fits new circumstances.  A lot of things felt like pressure to me and I had to assess what was most needful to direct my time and attention to.  I have embraced this time of silence to think, feel, pray, and process.  It has been my wintertime season of laying fallow like a farmers field.  It felt as if I had emotionally been plowed and harrowed but left unsown for a growing period in order to restore my productiveness.

I am now taking time to hopefully encourage you all that there are seasons of strife in life but they are just that, seasons, they do pass.

I am taking time to love...loving my family and friends by making them a high priority right now.  Loving my faith that keeps me afloat.  Loving my home back to its former state by cleaning and  sprucing.  Loving this Christmastide with its physical shine of tinsel and glow. Mostly I am loving the heart glow I get from a tiny little baby in a manger full of hay, born in a stable long ago on Christmas day.

I am taking time to enjoy the gift of peace...a peaceful mind of knowing I now have a great team of caregivers to help share the care of my mother.  Peaceful emotions reign now that situations and circumstances have settled themselves.  A peaceful heart that rests in the hands of Him who can handle burdens bigger than I can even imagine.  A peace of knowledge that rests in the truth that to everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under the heaven...

I wish you all the most blessed Christmas and happiest of New Year's.


P.S.  I will catch back up with you in the New Year!

Thursday, November 20, 2014


I have been exploring creating some art journals using Karla Nathan's (Karla's Cottage) online class, Creating An Art Journal. I started with the Hardcover Book Journal as described in the class...

I was inspired by an old magazine ad for silverware, the demure belle in the ad reminded me a little of Melanie in Gone With the Wind.  I imagined that she like to dance in dainty silk slippers under glittering crystal chandeliers with pale pink roses pinned in her hair as the ribbons and lace of her dress flutter at each spin...
I picture her as a sentimental sort who collects mementos from her memorable moments and pastes them in her scrapbook, a quaint poem her first collection...
Vintage paper pages await being filled with her artful fancies...

A tiny clasp with dainty golden key keep her secrets locked away for only her eyes to see...
A pile of pretties await their turn at being pasted in.

Next I followed her Vintage Cabinet Card Folder Journal and am in the process of making two versions as described in the class.  I used two vintage upholstery fabrics for one and a favorite old sweater for the covering of the other one...
Both are very much still in the works...

I am enjoying so much inspiration from this class!
I hope to have them finished soon.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014


TOME:  A volume forming part of a larger work; book

~ Merriam-Webster ~

 I have been working on small parts of larger works, tiny tomes created to mimic antique books for some new jewelry designs.  Books have always played a large part of my life.  I was an early and avid reader as a child.  Books were my friends and means of travel, escape, and doorway to knowledge.  As an only child they were often my companions.
As a child I played "library".  On most Saturdays I would set up my "library" in our formal dining room using the big lace covered dining table as my desk.  My mother indulged me by letting me remove items from a shelf or two of her whatnot cabinet and fill them with my books.  I created library cards for the neighborhood children and our rarely used front door became my grand library entrance.  I would sit on a stack of large books piled up in a chair so I would appear more adult and invite the children in the check out books.

My mother would often take a break from her Saturday cleaning and read a story to the group.  Now, my mother was not and is not an animated type of person, she is pretty no nonsense, but you put a book in her hand and as she began to read aloud a transformation took place.  She would relax and the best part was that she did the "voices" of the characters.  One of the begged for neighborhood favorites was The Tales of Uncle Remus.  Being from the South and growing up in rural farm community which boasts a twang and language all its own, she would lapse back into her native dialect, it was both enchanting and fascinating to hear.

My mother read to me every night of my childhood.  I often lay in bed staring at her lips as they formed the words and listened to her voice lift and lilt with expression and feeling.  She never tired of reading and I could beg and beg for another book and she kept going until I fell asleep.  I think we both sort of missed those times of reading aloud when I grew older.  We still read together in the same space only quietly and separately pursuing our own tastes in tomes.

She was the first one to foster my love of words and reading.  She was the one who influenced and introduced me to the magic of moving through worlds unknown, places of imagination, and she gave me the gift of books.

I am hoping to foster that same gift to a few of those on my gift giving list this year with a custom jewelry piece inspired by books and the library as well as nice hardbound volume that will take them on a magical journey of words.

What is your all time favorite book and/or book related memory?


Thursday, November 13, 2014


"My connection to the earth is reinforced through the rhythm of the waves."
~ Mike Dolan ~

"Serenity by the Sea" mixed media necklace:
I recently viewed a new video class, Mixed Media Etched Jewelry, by Ruth Rae through my Craft Daily subscription (it is also available for purchase through the Interweave Store).  I am enamored by Ruth's artwork and loved getting a chance to learn from her via video.  I used some of the tips and techniques in her class to create a new piece of jewelry.  While I did not follow her tutorial exactly as I did not have all the metal etching supplies on hand I did not let that stop me from diving in and doing what I could with what I did have.  That said I have metal supplies on their way and can't wait to try my hand at etching!
Some of you asked how I would use the hand made beads from my own free embellished fabric bead tutorial in a piece of jewelry and this was a perfect opportunity to incorporate a couple.  Here they are below: 
Ruth's class sample was demonstrated as a wrap bracelet that could be worn as a necklace.  My piece is just a necklace.  I was most proud of being able to make my own closure, never done that before!
I used her crochet, wiring, beading, resin, sewing, joining, and clasp forging techniques in this piece.  I chose to create my piece with a summer feel, that of a stroll along the shore incorporating glass beads, stone chips, cultured pearls, and tiny shells.  I titled this piece Serenity by the Sea based on the feelings of serenity, peace and calm that accompany a visit to the shore.  I applied those words to the back of each sewn section, tucked away like sweet summer memories.  
The piece can be worn either way.
Thanks Ruth for sharing the inspiration of your teaching.  Ruth also has some other fabulous new videos as well as a couple of new books with fellow artist Kristen Robinson out and I want to explore them all!

What is something new and artful you would like to explore?


Tuesday, November 11, 2014


I know that like me many of you have turned your thoughts towards Christmas crafting whether it be making gifts, ornaments and holiday decor, or filling shops with custom items for sale.  I wanted to share a little reminder of the Quill Cottage Christmas site where you can find a grouping of my FREE holiday tutorials that have at one time or another been featured here on my blog.  

For a full listing of the tutorials visit A Quill Cottage Christmas, scroll down to the bottom of the blog where you will find an archive linking list.  All tutorials feature photographed step by step instructions with variations on each project.  I have placed a clickable icon on my sidebar for easy access.

Besides the tutorials that share a variety of ornaments, tips, and techniques, you will also find an Advent celebration that my family I share with friends and family featuring a handmade center piece idea for using in each weeks gathering plus a program guide.  I hope you will join me for the holidays.

Happy Holiday Crafting!

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