Category Archives: Designing

8th Bead Soup Blog Party

Unfortunately, I am having severe computer issues and have been unable to post pictures. I will try again Sunday, May 4th, if you want to check back to see what I created.

I do realize photos where to be posted by 12am.

Marianne Hurley
Posted from my iPod.

Sitting Pretty

I volunteer for a local fundraising organization that supports only our local community hospital:  Cape Cod Hospital Auxilary.

This year one of our fundraisers will be an Auction of chairs refinished and redesigned by local artists.  You can look at all the chairs at

This is my “BEFORE” chair, although I did sand it before I took the picture, oops.

unfinished chair BEFORE-Mhurley

Here are multiple views of the final results of the chair I designed.

Chalkboard chair 1 Chalkboard chair 2 Chalkboard chair 3

Chair was coated in resin after these pictures were taken.

My chair was chosen to be part of a pre-auction display at the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis, MA.

In addition to this chair, I did another chair that was only for advertising purposes.  Multiple views are shown here. This chair looks better in person.  I have had many requests for this chair as it will not be auctioned.  Chair already has already been promised to someone  😦

DSCN1426 (2) DSCN1427 DSCN1426 DSCN1425 DSCN1424 DSCN1423

Check out the web site listed above to see these chairs and many others.

Information about reserving a place at the auction is available on the website.


Jewelry I made that I just cannot part with

Choosing A Color Scheme: Tips & Ideas

Choosing A Color Scheme: Tips & Ideas

One of the most challenging aspects of creating a beautiful piece of jewelry is choosing a color scheme that “works.” Whether you are going for a bold look, subtle, romantic, autumn inspired, or modern, it can be difficult to choose colors that convey the feeling you are trying to express and that work well together. We have all seen beautifully handmade jewelry pieces that would have been spectacular if the colors had not been a little “off.”
Golem Studios Ceramic Pendant
So how do you go about deciding on a color palette? The easiest way is to take whatever your focal bead is, and coordinate around it. For instance, if you are making a necklace around a gorgeous Golem Studios pendant, then look at what colors are present in the pendant itself and use those colors in your design. You can use red Toho seed beads, blue Czech glass beads, etc. Even if your focal is a solid color, use that solid color as your starting point and build around it.
Swarovski Color Carousel

If you are a fan of Swarovski Crystal, there is a great tool at your disposal: the Swarovski Color Carousel. Choose your main color, and this color wheel will automatically generate harmonious colors, contrasting colors, even the appropriate pearl color. As an example, I chose Siam as my main color and was then told that Ruby, Burgundy, and Garnet are harmonious colors. Erinite and Emerald are contrasting colors to Siam, and the appropriate pearl is Crystal Burgundy. Even if you are not using Swarovski Elements, you can use this tool to generate beautiful color stories.

Sample Color Palette

Other websites to check out include and Both of these sites are free and offer thousands of color palettes for you to look through. The palettes have been sorted by theme, popularity, etc. so you can quickly narrow down your selections. There are so many choices in just these two sites alone, you will surely be inspired by a color scheme.

© Design Seeds

A third website to check out is Design Seeds. This site takes a photograph, picks out all the colors from it, and gives you a handy color swatch palette to work off of. Seeing the colors in the photograph is really inspiring and gives you a better idea of how they will work together. Once you have chosen your colors, you can then purchase beads to match. When picking out the beads, I like to have a separate browser window open with the color palette displayed so that I can easily see if the beads I am considering match my color scheme.

Another great way of arriving at a color scheme is to take a piece of fabric, scarf, shirt, or dress where you really like the colors and use those colors for your jewelry design. An added bonus is that if it is a piece of clothing you are working off of, and you know you look good in it, then you know your jewelry colors will look good on you too.

Finally, a tip I learned from a fellow crafter was to go to the paint store and pick up some paint chips. You can then use these to develop your color schemes. You might also find the free booklets offered at paint stores helpful too. These usually have “designer” schemes pre-arranged and you can pick out the one that appeals to you.

Hopefully these ideas and tips were helpful!  
– Julie

Craft Show

It has been a long day. I have all my jewelry designs and creations out in my dining room. My kitchen is loaded with different items I want to paint and re-purpose to use at craft shows. I want my display to have height and I want to eliminate the use of tables as much as possible. I also want my displays to be easy and quick to set up. I don’t want to be hanging individual pieces for four hours prior to a show.

These are pictures of my designs and creations spread around my dining room. I made a mess.   Some of the pictures are also terrible.

This is one of my favorite designs; “Frozen Penguin.”. Tough to see the details.  Will have to try a better picture so the details can be better appreciated.  It is for sale.  Everything in this post is for sale except display features and the “happy Face” Mugs.

So, as you can see I have much more work to do.  Once I get some larger displays made I should be able to organize better.  The picture make my display seem more of a mess than they really are.  I will be getting rid of the plates and the wire basket displaying the Halloween jewelry.

I am thinking of using Black, White, Gold and a Dark Royal purple as my “splash” of color.

My next post will be the beginnings of my displays before I begin working on them.  Also coming are some unusual uses for ordinary things and pictures of my studio.  My studio pictures are messy.  The mess is because I am still finishing putting things away and I got a few orders of supplies in.  There are some odd decorations in my studio.  Most notably children’s items and sports equipment.  My studio was my 17 year old, Matthew’s bedroom before he died of a seizure while asleep in bed on May 1, 2010.  I kept the memories that made me happy and really meant something to him.  Where I could I added items reminding me of my two elder sons.  My son Bryant has a blog, “Semi-daily Grumblings of a Madman.”  There is also a link posted on my blog.

If you are into crafting with stamps and creative challenges check out my other links.

Necklace Making: Five Ideas for Designing Beaded Necklaces

Necklace Making: Five Ideas for Designing Beaded Necklaces

11-09-2011 by Vanbeads

Necklace making is something that has always come easy for me. Even now, I find that my sketchbooks are full of more necklace designs than anything else, and I’m always finding inspiration for new designs everywhere.

My process for designing and making a beaded necklace depends on where I get my idea for the finished piece. Usually, a cabochon or other focal bead is the starting point for making my necklace, as I design around that. I’ll draw my colors from the colors in the focal piece and then figure out what beading stitch or beading technique will be used for the rest of the piece.

But sometimes I sit down with the beads and I have no idea where to start. When my necklace making ideas dry up, there are a few things that I’ll do to give my beady brain a little bit of a jump-start. Here are five ideas for necklace making when you need a little inspiration for a new beading project!

Try Dustin Wedekind’s Right Angle Bezel if you are bored with making peyote stitch bezels for your cabochons and rivolis.  

1. Bezel something.Take a crystal stone, a gemstone cabochon, a bottle cap filled with resin, an old Scrabble tile – you can stitch a beaded bezel around pretty much anything to turn it into a pendant for a beaded necklace. If you’re bored with making peyote stitch bezels, try something different – use right-angle weave or herringbone stitch to create a unique beaded bezel, and play around with shaping your beaded bezels.

  Alkia Kalaida’s Roped In Turkish crocheted beaded rope is a perfect example of how a simple beaded rope can be turned into a bold beaded necklace.

2. Make a beaded rope. Embellished or not, a great way to get your creativity flowing is to just sit and make a beaded rope. Start with a simple spiral rope, or try something new like bead crochet or a tubular variation of your favorite beading stitch. You can either use your beaded rope just as it is with no other embellishment, or add drop beads, daggers, glass flowers or a fabulous handmade focal bead!

Make a fast and fabulous beaded necklace like Perie Brown’s Sophisticated Fringe necklace.  

3. Beaded Fringe. You can’t get much easier than this idea for beaded necklace making. String a length of beads, attach a clasp, and then attach a new thread in the center and start making beaded fringe! Fringe necklaces are fast and fun, depending on how much and what kind of fringe you want to use. Add gemstones for a more natural look, or use funky glass beads to accent your fringe. Try making strands of long, looped fringe for a thicker necklace.

4. Freeform beadwork. Freeform beadwork is an excellent way to make a unique necklace out of leftover bits of beadwork. Using leftover bits of beadwork for freeform beadwork is less intimidating than starting from scratch with just a pile of beads. It’s also a great way to get your creative juices going as you think about ways to connect these pieces of beadwork into a necklace!

5. Make a beaded bead. If you’re making a necklace that is primarily just strung beads and want to add a dash of beadweaving, stitch up a quick peyote beaded bead. You can string it on a headpin to make a dangle or slide it over a section of fine chain to be the focal point of your necklace. Making beaded beads is also a fabulous way to use up little bits of leftover seed beads!


Are you ready to get more creative with your jewelry-making projects? Do you love the Creative Jewelry special issues full of ideas for making great beaded jewelry? Now you can pre-order your CD collection of all seven issues of Creative Jewelry magazine! The CD is fully searchable and includes all the same great content as the print editions. (And since it’s a CD, it takes up less space – more room for beads, please!)

How do you design your own beaded necklaces? Do you have a great necklace making tip for someone just starting out? Leave a comment and share your thoughts here on the blog!

Bead Happy,