Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ahhh Beadfest...friends,bead peeps, and amazing goodies

So I know many of you asked about my beadfest experience. And we'll I was totally exhausted just from being there all day Sunday and didn't post. Well here it is... **pictures of the day will be at the bottom because I have no clue how to arrange them in order on my blog from my phone haha**

So Saturday night I packed my beadfest bag as well as the snacks and drinks Caitlyn and I would need (*they got left in the car and all we used was one water bottle haha so much for packing*)

Sunday morning we woke up at 7 am, got ready , left home at 8:40am. With two stops on the way we arrived at beadfest at 9:27am. The doors were open so we went and paid our admission fees (cait was free..all kids under 12 are). I had a huge bag of beads, findings, and vintage stuff to donate to the Beat It Beads foundation so we headed over to their table to drop off our load and ended up chatting with the beautiful woman who runs the program. If your interested in finding out more about their organization please like their Facebook page Beaditbeads. Tell them the Beadwench sent ya!!

Then we were on our way. Caitlyn has never been to Beadfest with me and she was totally in awe of everything and really enjoyed it. Our first stop was 2 Bead Sisters,  these ladies are a bucket of fun, they remembered me from last year, their lampwork is absolutely incredible and only available for sale at shows/events. I got a few goodies here that are being used in my Superstitions blog hop.

We then headed over towards Artisan Alley where I wanted to say hello to a few artist peeps, first stop was Staci of she is an amazing polymer clay artist, she teaches classes at  Beadfest, she has been featured in many jewelry magazines, and won first place at Beadfest for her amazing necklace. It was pretty busy so I wasn't able to get a photo with Staci but I was able to snag one of her awesome polymer clay creations to use in my Pachyderms on Parade challenge :)

As we made our way down Artisans Alley I stopped at Marsha Neal Studios display because her silk caught my eye, Marsha I had never met before but recognized her name right away, she has amazing ceramic pieces,  kits, and silk of course I snagged some gorgeous silks and a ceramic to also use in my Pachyderms on Parade challenge. Marsha is a joyful spirit and is like sitting down with one of your besties  we had a great convo and I think she magically lent me some of her amazing energy she even struck a rock star pose for the camera just for this blog :)

After we left Marsha's booth we drooled over Diane Hawkyes booth, need I say more!!!!!. I had a delivery to make to the fantastic Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio, she traded me earrings she won in my trunk show for credit at her table, which is awesome I love trades. So I picked up some amazing goodies for the Danse Macabre Blog Hop I'm doing :)

As Michelle and I said our goodbyes , my very good friend and fellow artist Colleen Haurin  of Beadworks by Colleen appeared with her daughter Michalene, to hang with Cait and I for the day. The four of us had many many laughs and epic adventures ;)

We stopped at several booths and made several purchases. My favorite gemstone vendor this year was The Perfect Gem!!!! The quality of their gems are outstanding.

As we made our way among the hundreds of rows Kim Lyons fellow artist and SRAJD member spotted me apparently she had to threaten to break Michelle's display to track me down by clothing and tattoo description. ...haha kidding she asked to point her my way and I wasn't far. I have been chatting with Kim online for about a year as we frequent the same groups she also doesn't live far from me. So I got to meet and hang out with some amazing people at Beadfest. I got lots of goodies. I made a list and actually stuck to it. I didn't get a few things on my list because well I had a budget and I broke it in half literally because I splurged on a few things ...

By the end of the day I was worn out and in pain (my plantar facitis issues kicked in overdrive).

However for those of you wondering if Beadfest is worth the time, travel, lodging, and money..... my answer is absolutely yessss...   I am fortunate to live 45 minutes away and don't need lodging. But it's worth it. If you have thought about coming def come.. you won't regret it. The classes are amazing and worth every penny. There are classes to suit every budget. They have added 45 minute classes for $26.00 and small $2.00 mini make n takes as well.

There is so much to see and do. But the energy, atmosphere,  amazing vendors and fellow artists are well worth the trip.

I hope you've enjoyed my blog. Hope to see you there. Feel free to visit the artisans I mentioned tell them the BEADWENCH  sent ya or Betony lol

18th Blogger/Nonblogger Challenge "Pachyderms on Parade"

This is the first up of three blog hop challenges I have signed up for. This challenge is the 18th challenge but, a first for me!!! The theme for this challenge is:

Pachyderms On Parade

Our inspiration for this challenge. I love Elephants in general and to see them dressed up and painted was absolutely incredible. Such vibrant colors used to create a unique look for each pachyderm, as well as the exotic And beautiful vibrancy in the fabric coloring, the entire look is just simply fascinating. I knew right away I wanted to challenge myself as an artist and chose mediums I haven't really worked with before. So with that thought in mind I knew I wanted some bright fabrics, and a stand out focal with some texture. I did pick up some AMAZING  items to work with. I have an idea in my head so let's hope it comes to life!!!

The reveal for this Challenge is September 5th 2015 right here on my blog. I'll also keep you posted on the other artists blog info so you can leisurely see what each of us has interpreted for this theme. I absolutely love seei ng jewelry be pushed to its limits and brought to life.

I am as I write this looking over the materials I gathered to use and I'm am so excited. This is all new material for me as I'm used to working with wire, gemstones, and lampwork.

Here is is a "teaser" photo and some of the amazing photos we used for inspiration.

Let's see who can guess what type of materials I'll be using :)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

TRUNK SHOWS, BLOG HOPS, and Fun Galore 2015

Hi everyone. So FALL 2015 Calendar is kicking of to an awesome start!!  Listed here you will find my trunk show dates, and blog hops.



August 25th - August 27th
September 2nd - September 4th
October 12th - October 14th
November 9th - November 11th
December 9th - December 11th

All shows start at 10:00 PM EST and end at 9:00 PM EST _ comment


September 13th - September 15th
October 6th - October 8th

All shows start at 10:00 PM  CST and end at 9:00 PM  CST


September 18th - September 20th
October 26th - October 28th
December 27th - December 29th

All shows start at 6:00 PM  EST and end at 5:30 PM EST



"Pachyderms on Parade"

Reveal date : September 5th 2015


"Danse Macabre"

Reveal date : October 17th 2015



Reveal date : November 13th 2015

Please stay tuned for more in do regarding each blog hope. This is definitely an opportunity you don't want to miss. There is no purchase required as these are challenges for artists.  However there is public voting and it's alot of fun going to each artists blog to see their designs for each challenge as well as the process they used to create it. And we'll if a design strikes your fancy and tou want to inquire about a purchase you can do so by contacting that artist. Each of us are given the challenge to design a piece in any medium that is within that chosen category. It really does push us to think outside the box and try new things. And it's fun to see what we come up with :)

So please check back often. For further info.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Navigating Beadfest & other expos

So I've decided to share my personal tips for when your headed to your first Beadfest or any type of expo. You can use these handy tips to make your trip better.

Beadfest that I attend is here in Oaks Pa at The Philadelphia Expo Center. It's held in the Spring (April) & Fall (August)

1) Wear comfortable walking shoes!!! Keep in mind you'll be on your feet for many hours!!!

2) Wear comfortable clothing. Regardless of the weather outside dress accordingly and comfortably you'll be indoors for many hours. No matter the weather I always bring a light sweater indoors. I usually wear a cotton shirt, and comfy pants or shorts

3) Bring a backpack or small rolling case to carry your purchases. Tote bags are fine to but keep in mind they will get weighed down and you may want comfy straps and make sure they don't constantly need to be adjusted or pushed up on your shoulder. Rolling cases are great but can hinder movement in smaller booths when crowded. I prefer a backpack  myself as it carries everything I need and it distributes weight evenly so it doesn't hurt your back again you want comfy shoulder straps.

4) Beadfest as well as many expos have food and drink vendors and areas for you to sit and eat. However the lines are always long, and the prices can vary. I hate paying $2.00 for a bottle of water. I bring a small coleman  cooler that I pack water, ice tea and my lunch in. When I am hungry I go out to my car and take a break for some fresh air before I go back in.

5) Always take a water bottle and a light snack with you.  There are alot of people in the building and it's a lot of walking stay hydrated. I find it easier to have these on hand with me.

6) Hand Sanitizer- lots of people touching stuff, and if your digging thru metal your hands get a smell to them.

7) Handy wipes- I always bring a small travel wipes pack with me and a small pack of tissues.

8) Lotion- I also always pack a small lotion, my hands become very dry from digging thru beads, metals, findings, touching things all day etc. But I have very dry skin so I bring it lol

9) Wallet- now I don't bring my everyday wallet I bring a small Vera Bradley Wristlet. I don't want to have to dig into my bag each time I make a purchase so I use a wristlet mine has a Keychain clip on it so if I dont want to wear it on my wrist I can clip it to my jeans/shorts . Make sure to have your Photo ID (for credit/debit purchases), credit /debit cards, cash (there are atm  machines located in the building but I always make sure to have cash on hand )

10) A List (hahahaha) yea so I actually do make a list of things I want to see or items I know I want to purchase. I don't always stick to the list because well it's Beadfest and there is always something else I have to have!! I also make list of my favorite vendors and their booth #'s.

11) Beadfest is HUGE!! It can become overwhelming, but remain calm, there is so so so much to see and do. You can become lost among the rows of booths but they do offer a map online and at the door. Definitely have one it helps and there are many volunteers to guide you as well.

12) No matter if you have a budget or not there is something for everyone. In April I went to beadfest with $75.00 that included my $5.00 entrance fee (see #13), lunch, and my purchases which included a vast amount of beads, gemstones, a hammer, bench block, and more, and I had $10 left over. So yes it can be done on a budget. I like to go and shop but I always know what I have to get and I always find amazing deals!!!

13) There are many vendors online that offer coupons you can print and fill out which gains you an entrance fee of $5.00 rather than $15.00. Many vendors will offer these coupons at certain times on their websites or facebook pages.

***please note... I printed a vendor coupon offered by Stacy Louise Originals in her blog post that came out today ..tell her the Beadwench sent ya ***

14) This is the most IMPORTANT tip.........
HAVE FUN... enjoy the amazing vendors, artists, and people of Beadfest. Don't be afraid to strike up a conversation with anyone, you may be surprised at who you will meet along the way! !!

15) Just a last tip, Beadfest has added $2.00 mini classes and $26.00 45 minute classes in addition to their normal classes. The lines form around the building if you registered for a class please be aware of the lines. If your just a shopper like me don't panic about that line. You can enter in the lobby with out a wait. There is plenty of parking at Beadfest. It is located in a nice area, and is easy to get too. Plan your travel route accordingly and allow time for traffic. Don't rush Beadfest isn't going anywhere.

So there you have it.My handy tips for attending Beadfest Philly!!!

If you have any questions or have something to add please leave a comment below!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The end is a new beginning

So as a jewelry artist we are always learning new things, it's just part of our creative make up, we have to tinker, and try, and see how things work, we often step outside the box, we often walk off the beaten path,  we search high n low for something that calls to our blood, to our soul. It's not often we remain in still waters though at times our feet are firmly planted while our imagination and creativity takes a back seat to our every day life occurences. I've had such a recent occurence. Back in June just two days before my beloved black lab Winston turned 9 years old he had started to get sick,  a visit to the vet revealed a.major infection and the possibility of tumors and cancer. Skipping over the worst parts of this story and with a broken heart my best friend and soul dog passed away at home surrounded by those who loved him dearly and went to the rainbow bridge. While I was at peace with the fact that he knew how much he was loved and cherished and that he would no longer suffer, his passing broke me truly and completely . Some have said it was silly to feel such grief over an animal but to me he was my family, this wee little puppy who chose to be mine at only a week old. He had been my best friend, my companion, my everything. And on June 30th he went to the great beyond. I still miss him everyday,  now when I look about for him my eyes go to his box that holds his ashes and a piece of my soul is there with him and always will be.

During his illness I had stopped creating, I was overwhelmed,  I was tired, I fought  hard for him, I cared for him, I comforted and loved him, I comforted my children and my husband . I shielded them all from the worse parts of Winstons illness, I didn't want them to see him deteriorate,  I didn't want Winston to lose his dignity and so that's how it went every day for three weeks. Ohhh I had to fight with my stubborn old man fur dog to take his medicines, to try to get him up and to move, to get better, I begged him not to leave me.

Tuesday June 30th I woke up to a normal day of getting my kids up and feeding them breakfast, caring for Winston,  changing bandages,  bathing wounds, doing household cleaning etc. It had been an overcast day promising some crazy storms, my middle child had a dance class that evening and as we.left the house after dinner we had seen rainbows all along the way, it had rained I mean the heavens opened up and for twenty minutes it poured as though the sea itself was emptying out upon the earth, and just as suddenly as it started it had stopped and on our ride home as my daughter and I cried about Winston knowing with all my heart that he wasn't going to be with us much longer we drove home in silence. When we got home I went into the basement where he had been that last week as he lost the use of his hind legs, and where it was easier to care for his needs, I went to him and looked him in the eyes and that's when I knew with every fiber of my being that my best friend, my companion, my rock, my familier, my soul dog was leaving, he waited for us to come home, I told him that as much as it would hurt me that I was a survivor and I would survive I would be changed but I would survive, that if he needed to go it was okay that I loved him and always would and that one day gods willing we would see one another soon.  I called my family down to say what they needed to. And he passed away five minutes later.

Since then I had taken time off from jewelry designing,  I stepped away from the groups that I was in on a constant basis, those that I was an admin on, I stepped entirely away from the facebook, and Internet world, I took time to grieve, to be with my family, because I know  life is short and people we love pass away , I know that we grieve differently, but I needed time with my children, we needed to be a unit, we needed one another. Winstons passing affected us all.

A week ago I decided to finally sit down and force my self to create something, creating jewelry to me is the one thing that heals me, that takes my soul and makes a story, that makes me feel.good, joyous and free. It takes my mind to a different world, in it I get lost in the beauty of the art, it's like sitting outside yourself and watching you light up from within. And so I created a design based upon the sea where a seahorse lives, and dreams. Where the ocean calms and opens it's arms and surrounds you in warmth, like a hug from mother nature herself. It grounded me. It brought me back to a part of myself that had drifted.

I decided to take this slow season for many of us artists and work on trying new designs,  and becoming more involved in jewelry swaps and challenges. And so that's the path I am on at the moment. I am seeing new things and I'm liking where I'm headed.

Oh it was no easy task leaving the groups I was an admin in not easy at all but the timing felt right and thank goodness to the beautiful souls of my new sisters for always understanding and still wanting to take my journey with me. For never giving up on me. It means so much.

And so my friends if your reading this thank you for being here. This blog will continue to grow so please be sure to come back often.

In Loving Memory
Winston S. Maiden

6/11/06 - 6/30/15