Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Last October I got married. Now, I knew I had found the right person when, having just found out my parents were going to throw us a wedding, my husband Rob looked at me mischievously. He paused for a long moment like he was trying to figure out how to phrase something, and then he asked, “I was thinking, if we’re going to have a big reception, how about a Halloween wedding?”. Never has someone more clearly read my mind! So, I present to you, our Halloween wedding!

So, it fell to me to design our wedding. And it came to be that it was up to me, and mostly ONLY me, to create it and make it happen. The first thing that really helped was, the Internet. I really feel the desire to just generally thank Pinterest and Etsy for giving those of us who are more “alternative” a wonderful outlet to find each other.

I set to work. For this first half of this post I want to show you my decorations. Working with a few general themes, I came up with a overall design. Doing this wedding was the most expansive project I’ve ever done. I’ve done jewelry for a bridal party, worked on some commissioned favors, and I’ve made some of my own displays and things for shows, but this was...HUGE.

So, let’s start with something small. This simple votive holder. Purple and black were my main colors, because they are my favorite. I got a case of simple purple glass votives and dressed them up with two bands of black rhinestones and a custom printed label. I did about 72 of them.

before and after blinging!
Another thing that really had to be produced in large numbers were the wedding favors. I couldn’t let the favors just be something simple and boring, everyone knows I make jewelry! Luck and comprise came into play here. Originally I had ordered these kinda cute, coffin shaped, favor boxes, but they weren’t “just right”. I was also reminded by my brother, coffin and casket imagery upsets my mother. Well, I truly did not want to that, so I went back on the hunt for a gothy, cool alternative.

Surely, it should come as no surprise that I like bats.

I like them just a little bit!
I found these wonderful bat-wing favor boxes. I blinged them up a bit with some purple rhinestones, lined them with light grey tissue paper and put in little, purple, organza drawstring bags. I put some tasty purple candy gems in them. I used the bags drawstring to attach the handmade favor. My thought was, a little for now (the candy) a little for latter ( the charm). I will talk about the charm itself in the next post.

The favor box, with friend!
Now, the biggest part of any wedding table arrangement is the centerpiece. Me, being me, managed to pick the most expensive flowers I could. I wanted purple roses and black calla lilies. So, to keep costs down, and not lose the theme, my florist hooked me up with some florist-grade synthetic purple roses. These are not your craft store fake flowers, these are the ones florists use to make their displays. I found these really excellent Halloween themed apothecary bottles at Michael’s craft store. They helped take a huge chunk of the work I had to do out of the way, because they were exactly what I was going to make to on my own. They just needed a little touch of bling, and voila!  I added little, rain drop shaped, rhinestones to some of the rose petals and I had the floral part of my centerpiece.

But I wanted more. I took these really cool, black glitter, foam core candelabras I got from a Halloween retailer and added large rhinestone gems to the “flames” so they would catch the light of the votive candles and the room light. I got them in two sizes, big and small, so I would have ones that “fit” everywhere.

Then, to really bring the Halloween, I painted these paper mache skulls pearl white and put purple acrylic gems in the eyes. I was thinking of how a witch’s table always seems to have a skull on it somewhere.

And so, this is the whole centerpiece arrangement
The next big table design I really needed to tackle was the gift table. Now, what Halloween is complete without a pumpkin? I found a lot of cool ideas. But, you know how is, “if I only had more time!”. One idea I knew I definitely wanted was a monogrammed pumpkin.  I had to figure this one out for myself. I was kind of lucky, as “K” is a pretty easy letter, because I could NOT find a rhinestone letter in the right size! But, I think it came out pretty good! I love these white pumpkins!

I wanted to use the pumpkin, and one of the smaller black glitter candelabras as the centerpiece for the gift table.

For the gift boxes themselves, I found these really neat blank paper mache book boxes. It’s a cardboard box that looks like a book that you can customize. I have to admit that, by this time, things were getting pretty close. I had “big plans” for the boxes, like labeling them with the names of famous, “evil” books like the “Necronomicon” and “To Serve Man” (from the Twilight Zone), but I also needed to get done!

The gift table with the pumpkin, the "books" and the small candelabra 

So, what I did was, on the spine, to help everyone to know where to put their gift cards, I stenciled “Thank You” and decorated in a general Halloweeny way. The one I’m most proud of is the one with the medallion on it. I had found these really cool, felt, coasters. They were a swirly design with a skull in the middle. They were black felt, so to make them stand out I painted them with a base of white pearl paint and a top coat of silver paint. I used it as the center of one “book” and used rhinestone flourish designs on the corners.

And in this picture, you can see the stenciling I did on the "book" spines.

Lastly, there is the cake topper. Well, that’s actually kind of something I had been mulling over since day one. I had once used some Playmobil figures to make a custom “Big Lebowski” cake topper for a friend's wedding.

The Dude abides! 
I thought of doing something like that again. Or, if, I couldn’t think of, or find anything else, I had these:
Such a cute couple! 
But, none of that was to be. While out at the craft store, looking for supplies and inspiration, my friend spotted the perfect cake topper. It wasn’t even designed to be a cake topper, just a little bit of Halloween statuary. But, it fit into our wedding theme so well, I just had to bring it home with me!

And this lovely, eternal, couple kept watch over our beautiful cake all night!

And lastly, a picture of the whole cake!

Not only was it beautiful, it was delicious! 
I want to thank Palermo’s Bakery for our amazing cake! I also want to thank our amazing photographer, Colleen at Astonishing Portraits for the wonderful pictures! Not only did she make our wedding look FABULOUS, but she made this post possible by capturing most of these pictures of my work!

The next post is all about the jewelry and the bling! I hope you’ve enjoyed this. Wedding season is upon us, and I just want to remind everyone, do what YOU want! It’s your day, claim it!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mother's Day is coming.

Good news everybody! I finally have a Facebook page dedicated to my work! You can find it here. I will be posting the most current pictures of my work on this new page, so "like" and "share" it with friends to see my latest creations. 

Now, as I am sure you know, Mother's day is coming up. It's a time to show our mom's how much they mean to us in a special way. Now, I won't knock the flowers and chocolates, because I love both of those things, but, jewelry is a wonderful, lasting way, to commemorate all our mom's have done for us. 

And this special gift is also a great way to let your mom know you appreciate her sense of style! Giving a hand made, custom gift let's mom know that you really took the time to find something she will love and cherish forever. 

So, I present to you: My featured pieces for Mother's Day! 

This necklace has a very classic look. It not only has that "vintage flair" that is resonating with so many of us today, it has a real piece of history as its centerpiece. The rose pendant is a real, vintage, ivory carving from an old brooch. I paired it with Swarovski's gem colored pearls. They come in lovely shades like pink and red coral and jade and lapis. 

I have to admit, that I have had a bit of a rose obsession most of my life. And there is just something wonderful about a rose that you can have for eternity. This is another romantic piece made with lucite cabochons, filigrees that has this really lovely patina on them, and Swarovski crystals. And of course, it uses my favorite color, purple. 

Another style that is not only big right now, but timelessly classic, is monochrome, or black and white. What's wonderful about this stark contrast is that it goes with everything and has a lovely way of making a simple design bold and eye-catching. 

Or maybe your mom would love a simple, lovely bracelet. I used two Swarovski sew on stones, placed back to back, to make this cute little bow tie centerpiece. 

Well, those are my Mother's Day pieces. I hope you see something you think you're mother will enjoy for years to come! All of these pieces are available for purchase. Just post to my page, Belfry Beads Creations on Facebook or private message me there. Stay tuned, I have a post planned about all the jewelry and decorations I made for my my wedding. Hopefully, they will inspire you as "wedding season" comes around!  

Friday, February 6, 2015

Woo Hoo! I remembered I have a blog!

I know its been, like, FOREVER since I did a post. But now that my wedding is over, and I've had some time to recover, I want to get back into keeping this blog up to date. I thought Valentine's Day would be a good place to start, and as such, I have a new line of jewelry just for the occasion! 

Tanzanite colored crystals and a rose cameo  

Roses are a favorite of mine, and they were a big part of my wedding. So, I thought for this holiday a lovely theme would be "Eternal Blooms". That way the flowers you give this Valentine's Day will never wither! 

Lovely white rose cabs on black filigree

A very popular theme this year, that I love, is Monochrome, or black and white. Its been big with clothes, jewelry, and accessories. I love it because its always classy, and it matches almost everything. While looking for components that fit with this style, I  have found these black filigree pieces and I have absolutely fallen in love with them! They add that dramatic flair to these designs. I think these next earrings came out lovely, and they are especially neat because the cameos are actually vintage. 

Vintage rose cameo and Swarovski crystal

Another design that plays up the monochrome theme, is this set. It uses these very cool printed Swarovski coin crystals and a cosmic cut bead as a pendant. Its simple, but elegant; and it has that element of surprise when you see the clever paisley printed on the coin crystal. 

An elegant, but fun set

Here is a close up of the earrings.

Paisley print coin crystals

And, for that touch of spring, I made these sweet little pastel cameo earrings. These remind me as much of Easter as Valentine's Day. 

Lovely flower cameo and silver filigree

Well, that's it for my first post in a very long time! I hope you like these pieces. I have more posts planed and plenty more designs to show you! Please, if you like this post, share it with friends. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I have just a quick post for right now.  This is not bead or jewelry related, but it is very close to my  heart and important to me.  I have recently became the care taker, along with my boyfriend, Rob, of a friend’s father’s cats.  The father recently had an illness, and is at a rehabilitation home recuperating.  We are taking care of his cats in the meantime, and there are 7 of them!  We need to find new homes for these lovely kitties, as our friend’s dad no longer can take care of all them. 

Hammy is a big ham who wants love!
Please check out our Facebook page for the cats.  There you can see pictures of them and get descriptions of their beautiful personalities.  There is also a Picasa web album for the kitties.  These kitties are all generally healthy and well behaved.  They are all from one litter, and have lived together their whole lives.  They handle living with other cats well, and have also had experience living with a dog. 

Rupert here just wants to be pet!
I greatly appreciate you’re taking the time to check out the page and spread the word! 

Thank you all!

P.S.  There will be a new 2 part post on lucite and plastic beads coming very shortly!  I promise!

Friday, June 18, 2010

OK, Belfry fans, the pictures are still in the works. Sorry about that. The long and the short of it is that I had to move. Packing up all those beads…..so heavy. Thanks to everyone who helped us with the packing and the move.

Right now, my studio i
s in pieces in our new basement. I’m not even sure exactly were my camera is! Which is sad, because I can’t take pictures of my beautiful kitties! But I do have some pics for you guys. One is of a new piece I got done right before we moved. It’s a lovely combination of Palace Green Opal crystals, and fresh water pearls. I really love the Swarovski opal crystals. That combination of milky translucence and sparkle is so intriguing!

The other is a pic of a piece that I’ve been working on. If you appreciate the whole skull bead craze, or just the “tribal chic” look, then you should really like this piece. It’s my tribute to my favorite show that never was, Korgoth of Barbaria. Check it out on youtube.com. It was a cartoon take on Conan the Barbarian, with a little Dungeons and Dragons thrown in. It is NOT a cartoon for children, though, so you are warned!

I will soon have unpacked enough to be able to start creating new, beautiful pieces. I picked up a few interesting necklaces at my local Goodwill. As with most finds like these, the beads are interesting, and all they need is a good wash and a design that shows them off!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pictures Coming!

Hello Belfry Bead fans! I just wanted to let you all know that a gallery of my work, past and present, is in the works. The lighting conditions in our apartment haven't been very conducive to getting good pictures, so I’ve ordered new energy efficient bulbs. As soon as they arrive, I will be taking new, beautiful pictures. In the meantime, you can see my "rough draft" pictures on my Picasa Web Album: http://picasaweb.google.com/belfrybeads/BelfrybeadsGmailCom#, but as you will see, the lighting is very dark, which does no justice to the gemstones or the pieces!

But that album does show some of the commission pieces that I have done in the last few years. I am very open to both commissions and repair work. As the holidays roll toward us, a handmade custom piece is always a great way to show that someone special that you appreciate them. I am always available for custom work, feel free to email me your requests. Maybe someone you love has a favorite type of gemstone. Even their favorite color is a good starting point for custom work. Dressy, sparkly or casual I have many options available!

I will be posting soon!

Have a good holiday!

Remember, you can always email me at: belfrybeads@gmail.com

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kid in a candy store

I was lucky enough to get the time (and funds) to go to a bead show two weeks ago. Me + a room full of stones + cash = good times! I got some great stuff that I look forward to making into great jewelry. Here is a sampling of these beautiful stones:

Kunzite: This pretty pink stone is a variety of the mineral spodumene, which is a type of naturally occurring crystal. It has a slight chatoyance, which is the name for that light-bending effect in stones like Tigereye. This effect makes them seem like they have a satiny sheen.

Picasso Jasper: Jasper is the most common type of opaque gemstone. It is a semiprecious type of chalcedony. This stone has these wonderful black lines across a gray background, like a lace overlay. The coin shape of these stones really brings out that effect. The thing I like about Jasper, this one especially, is the way you can dress them "up" or "down" depending on what other stones and metals you pair them with.

Gray Agate: Agate is the other common type of semiprecious gemstone, although its usually translucent. This gray agate has the same versatility as the Picasso Jasper, but I think it might look best with some nice coin pearls.

Black Agate with Quartz: These beads are interesting because they were cut from a composite of Black Agate and Quartz. I love the banding and the contrast in these stones

Serpentine Skulls: Skulls are in this year, and I love it! I already have a design laid out for this strand. You'll have to keep checking this blog to see the finished design (hint, hint). Serpentine is often listed as "New Jade", but it is softer then real Nephrite jade, but no less beautiful!

"Soo Chow" Jade: These carved barrels are very cool. Jade, I have learned from buying gemstones, is an over-used term for a variety of green, or sometimes Asian-themed carved stones. These other stones are often a type of Serpentine, in this case bowenite. There is nothing wrong with these stones, its just that wholesalers and jewelry retailers think labeling things "Jade" will raise the perceived value. Personally I find it cooler to know what the stones really are, that way you can find more of them!

Fleur de lis: Of course, sometimes you just buy stones because they are cool. I found this pendant in the pile, without a bag or description, and it was the only one. But, if I had to guess, I think that it's a banded agate, possibly Botswana.

Natural Agate: This key is carved of Natural Agate.

I also picked up some very cute dyed Mother of Pearl rounds in lavenderish-pink, a strand of gray Botswana agate roundels and Fluorite.

Well, I hope this introduction to some of the gemstones I use has inspired you to love them as much as I do. I will be posting new works when I make them, and I hope to fill you in on my beading adventures. Right now I'm working on a necklace for myself for Halloween. I found some really cool two-hole bone-shaped glass beads, cute glass skulls and Halloween-themed buttons. I hope to have the necklace done by the end of the week, because my good friend is taking me to FurFright. http://www.furfright.org/ It will be a furry Halloween!