• Live Life Inspired. Dream With Possibility! Donna Downey
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Spring Floral Peekaboo Frame


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This was a fun little frame that came together really easily using some papers from an 8×8 pack of Making Memories papers.  These $1 frames from Michael’s just happen to be the perfect size to allow you to use an 8×8 in its entirety.  This collection from Making Memories happened to have a lot of diecut papers in it and while flipping through them I found that I really liked the way the text looked behind this floral cutout so I Mod Podged them on as is.  You’ll notice the overhang on the sides (these frames aren’t perfectly square) – adding a couple of additional layers of Mod Podge to the front and back stabilizes those overhangs nicely.  I also added some glittery Scribbles (Duncan) to the flower openings to jazz them up a bit and then layered some Prima flowers for the corner.  The beads I used as the flower centers were from Flair from several years ago, but you can find coin-shaped beads like that in most bead departments of your local craft store.  

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Blue Green Necklace

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Yeah, so naming pieces is so out of my reach, lol!  I know, I know – this one definitely needs a more original name – I’ll get to it later, lol!  Another piece created solely to showcase these beautiful Chinese Chrysocolla beads (15x20mm horse eye shape) I got from Auntie’s Beads.  I just love all the variation in color!  When I first got the in I was a bit disappointed in the lack of an attempt to have the strand a little better matched, but have to admit that I love it’s imperfection as well.  It’s interesting (albeit a bit uncomfortable for a self-conscious person, lol) to note that when I wear it, people tend to take a moment and follow the line around my neck with their eyes to take in the different designs within the beads.  I strung them with tiny silver spacers from Fire Mountain Gems and a pendant from Blue Moon Beads.  The pendant wasn’t what I had planned on using, but my original piece just hadn’t been large enough to pull some focus to the front and got almost “lost” among the stone beads.  

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Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls

That would be these.

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My friend Kary and I went out for coffee yesterday morning and the coffee shop had these in a glass on the counter.  So here I am, ordering my frozen blended coffee concoction and eyeing these.  Pretty, aren’t they?  Well, of course Kary notices me looking at them.  And being the good friend that she is, SHE knows just WHY I’m looking at them.  And laughs at me.  😉  Now don’t get me wrong – I LOVE tea.  More of a coffee person these days,  but love the occasional cup of tea.  Especially a good tea.  But of course, I wasn’t originally thinking of drinking these, lol.

Did some research on these and here’s what I found:

Tea enriched with the fragrance of jasmine flowers has been a favorite since the Sung Dynasty ruled China 800 years ago. The jasmine plant was brought to China from Persia before the third century. These intoxicatingly fragrant flowers first made their appearance in tea around the fifth century.

Dragon Phoenix Pearl gets its name from the tea bushes “climbing the hillsides like a Dragon rising from the waters”. It is grown in a mountainous, often fog shrouded area near the border of the Fujian and Jiangxi provinces. Dragon Phoenix Pearl is one of the finest jasmines shipped from the port of Foochow.

The tea is plucked in April and May and stored until August when the finest jasmine blossoms are in bloom. Night blooming white jasmine flowers are picked in the morning when the tiny petals are tightly closed and kept cool until nightfall. In the early evening the flowers begin to open with a popping sound which is the signal for the scenting to begin.

Once open, the “mating” of the jasmine and tea leaves takes place in several applications, each taking up to four hours, after which the jasmine petals are removed. Once the petals are removed each leaf and bud set are skillfully hand rolled into a tiny pearl size ball. The tea is then wrapped in silk mesh and dried to set the form.

During infusion the boiling water causes the tiny pearls to open like flowers and then sink slowly to the bottom of the cup. We recommend placing 18 to 20 of these tiny pearls in a clear glass cup to watch their graceful unfurling. The superb fresh bouquet, delicate flavor and unique leaf shape make this tea extra special.

Let me tell you – these smell AMAZING.  So I bought some.  Kary followed me home to watch (she knew) and the minute I got in the door I tried to poke a hole in one with a needle tool.  I tried stabilizing them with Future Floor Finish first (just turned their pretty colors to a dark, shiny brown).  I tried wetting them down first.  Unfortunately, there just is not a way to string these.

So with Kary giggling and offering helpful suggestions along the way (I am soooo converting her to a crafty girl!), I began testing other options.  I cut a small piece of acrylic and began gluing the pearls onto it using Helmar’s 450 Quick Dry Adhesive.  Kary suggested it might look better if I added some color to the acrylic so I pulled out some alcohol inks and dabbed the back, then added a silver bail and popped it onto a hemp cord.  I actually braided some of the cord but forgot to string it before tying off the knots and didn’t feel like re-doing it for the photo, lol.  But anyways.  Here’s my tea pendant.

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And yes – it tastes every bit as heavenly as it smells!


New Post Up at the Helmar DT Blog

Come check out another version of handmade beads at the Helmar DT blog!  Here’s a sneak peak of the bracelet I made.

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Instructions to make these beads are on the Helmar site, but I just wanted to go into a little more detail on the self-adhesive denim I used.  This is by a company called Shortcuts who was purchased by DMD a few years back.  I’m not positive if they are still producing this particular line, but it included printable, self-adhesive vellums, canvas (no, Ranger did not come up with something brand new), denim, mulberry paper, metals, and more.  It’s a fabulous line!

Also, just a quick note – I have also glued down the bead caps to the ends of the beads to avoid that disjointed look.  I’ll try to get a pic of it later!

Cappuccino for Two Necklace

This piece was about two things – experimenting with making something very versatile, and those gorgeous coffee quartz drops (Auntie’s Beads).  I’ve had that pair of drops for about a year now, trying to think up something “worthy” of them, lol!  I thought I’d like something where I could adjust where they would lie so started chaining jumprings and some silver connectors from Fire Mountain Gems.  48 inches worth of chaining, to be exact (I’m really starting to get good at opening and closing jumprings, lol).  Yes, it’s super long, and meant to be wrapped around a few times and then use the clasp (I actually switched the one shown out for a lobster clasp that stays put better) to secure it so that you can literally place the two quartz pieces anywhere you’d like.  I’ve tried it out with several different styles of shirts and love that I can make it work with anything. Plus it’s a fabulous toy for those moments of boredom, lol.

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Safari Necklace

Ok, so yesterday’s necklace was a really easy one, this one?  Not so much.  Working in two strands like this is something I really don’t do often so I had to totally wing it to guess how to make it work and lay right.  Luckily I guessed right (using 2mm silver beads on the top row and 3mm on the bottom – silver beads from Fire Mountain Gems) and it lays perfectly around my neck.  My main focus was on these lovely acacia seed beads I got from Auntie’s Beads.  I bought bunches of naturals – mainly different seeds and they’ve been sitting around for about a year now and I just happened to pull them out and the design pretty much just decided itself.  I don’t know if most people work from one side or from the middle when working with double-strands, but since I wasn’t sure how this would work, I had to work from the middle.  Let’s just say I found that extremely challenging, lol, to hang onto four wire ends while stringing and counting.   Maybe too much multi-tasking for me, lol.  The silver elephant was a last minute addition after I decided the collar was too predictable.  I had pulled out a baggie I got full of random things I bought at a bead store some time ago and when that little elephant charm came out of the baggie, I thought it would be just perfect with the acacia seeds.  Gotta admit.  From “gee, I’ve had these seeds a while – I should use them”, I ended up with what is probably one of my favorite pieces I’ve made.  Definitely one of the more ambitious, since I usually do strictly simple stringing (shhh, those of you who are saying “But Jenna, that IS still simple stringing – I don’t want to know, preferring to tell myself it was impressive, lol).  My photography on this was less than impressive, I know.  And it’s snowing yet again.  So by the time we see the sun again, I’ll forget that this needs to be re-photographed, lol, so I won’t even promise it!

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Nature’s Hues Necklace

I got on a roll last week and ended up making three pieces that really made me happy.  This one was really simple, but I just love how the ceramic beads (Fire Mountain Gems) looked against the wood (the big one was from a local bead store and all the rest from Fire Mountain Gems).  The clasp from Blue Moon just finished off the organic feel for me.

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