Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Courage Tiger Has a New Home!

by Jen VanBenschoten

Well, all of the Best Little Bead Box(es) have made their way to upstate New York!  We apologize for the delay in getting the eBay auctions together, but we had a slight change of plans.  The boxes all arrived safely today, and with them, Courage Tiger!

Carol Dean and I were wondering where Courage Tiger should go next, and it suddenly became apparent where his new home should be.  A friend of my sister has a 10-year-old son who will turn 11 in August.  He and his family live on the Gulf Coast of Texas, and last summer right around his birthday, he was diagnosed with leukemia.  Right after he was diagnosed, he began chemotherapy treatments.  Today he is finishing up a required hospital-stay round of chemotherapy (three days of intense IV treatment that leaves him feeling extremely sick) and then he has more chemo treatments that will keep him out of school until October.  He's missed most of 5th grade, but will be able to enter 6th grade in the fall thanks to a teacher that comes to his house and helps him keep up with his school work.  

We thought that Courage Tiger would have a wonderful new home with him as he gets through each treatment for leukemia.  His prognosis is still good, mainly because of the type of leukemia he has, but it still requires a lot of intense treatments that would be difficult for anyone to endure.  

So once I get Courage Tiger sent off to his new home, I will be sorting through all the amazing, generous contributions from our amazing, talented beaders in this second round of The Best Little Bead Box!  Let me tell you, these are going to be some killer auctions this time around - there are seed beads, cabochons, handmade polymer clay, findings of all kinds, beading kits, gemstones - even a great little book on bead stringing techniques and leather scraps!  (And I may throw in one more goody before the auctions get started, since I just discovered a fabulous new bead embroidery backing!)

Stay tuned for the eBay auctions, and thank you again to all of you incredible, generous ladies!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Best Little Bead Box Visits Pennsburg Pa!

 Well, I came home from shopping with the kids the other day, and this is what greeted me on my porch!  The Best Little Bead box is now 5 large bead boxes!  I cannot even tell you how awesome this is!  They were almost as tall as my littlest guy!
So, being the last person was really wonderful, and really awful at the same time.  I feel like I took soooo much, because there was sooo much wonderfulness, although, honestly, it doesn't look like I put a dent in it.  There were so many awesome beads, by wonderfully talented people, and gemstones and crystals, oh my!  So without further ado, heres what I picked..........(don't judge me, I love beads;)

Here is everything together, but I will break it down.
I picked some cool wood and nut beads.
I got me some glass and crystal, since I don't have a lot in that department.
 I took these wonderful lampworked beads, because I thought they'd be great in some bracelets.
 This one tormented me.  It is gigantic, and wonderful, and it was in and out of the box many times.  I just love the asian feel of it, and so, I kept it.  It will be the most lovely chunky bracelet ever.
 Then my weakness, gemstones........

 Some little metal odds and ends....
 some pearls and cloisone...
 leather scraps and a hole puncher (I really needed one!)
 and last but not least..........some ceramic and raku!  Love the stars and the skull.
There are still sooooo many wonderful things in there.  Carol will have her work cut out for her, and I had to keep resisting the temtation to start organizing it by bead type, ect......These auction will be GREAT!

Ok- here is what I put in...........
Here is the whole heap of it.

A brand spakin new copy (with dvd) of Wire Style 2, with some aluminum wire.
 Some very nice beading cord in green and brown, a small wire jig that was opened but never used, some copper for stamping or etching, tape measure, bottle caps made for resin, gold plated chain, some duponi silk scaps, pewter pendant, rings for keychains and a bead scoop.
 some bronze, brass and silver plated charms, focals, and three feet of a great brass chain that I love!
 GEMSTONES!!!!!  Amazonite mix, black agate tear drops, turquoise mix, green crackle agate, shells, moukite, flourite, and three strands of focal beads, since they are my absolute favorite to work with.
 Some odds and ends, large lucite beads, mother of pearl buckle, shell charms, mother of pearl composite donut focal...
 MORE GEMSTONES........ prehnite strand of focals, picasso jasper pendants, blue crackle agate, brown gemstone and pearl mix, red jad, red jasper mix, labradorite focals, crazy horse stone focal, green jasper focal, MOP Butterfly focal, green jade beads, red agate pendant, hawk eye jasper (sooo pretty)....
 Some sea shell cabs, genuine sea glass to use in bead embroidery, and a wonderful sparkly drusy cab!
 Wood beads in black, a strand of purple crystal, a swarovski pendant......
 Two strands of pearls, fancy jasper, large gemstone pendant, mix of gemstone pendants, mix of gemstone charms, mix of stick and coin pearls..........
 Sterling silver pendants and large swirl focal by me........
 I didn't have much to give in the way of glass, but here a some, a wonderful black and white heart by Jane Perala, some boro disc beads by Two Sisters, and a couple of purplish lampwork discs.
 Then I dug into my ceramic collection.....there are some Artisan Clay pendants, some Lisa Peters Art Focals, and one Maku bead.
 These are some of my focals from the Artisan Accents Shop.  A bronze coin focal, bronze wings with a patina, and a large copper tear stained heart focal.
 I also added these two blue lichen charms from my collection, a blue colored bronze donut and a fine silver abstract pendant..........
 Then I threw in a bunch of my polymer hearts...........
 and some of my misc. polymer clay beads..............
And thats it.  Whew!  What a swap. 

I feel so blessed to be a part of this.  I cannot wait to see how much this raises for Beads of Courage!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Courage Tiger's Stay in Eastern PA

The Courage Tiger was really happy to get out of that box!  And he only traveled from Western Pa!  I think he is going to be really happy when he is finally home.

He had a relaxing stay here.  With three little kids, life is never dull, but we don't go fancy places or anything. So he pretty much just hung around with my family.
He arrived in time for Earth Day and helped to plant this little tree.
He was also here for Easter.  I think he loved his basket!!!

He had lots of fun playing out back with the kids one last time before being stuff back into that box!!!

The kids will miss him, but they are sending lots of love to the kids who will get to love him next!!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Week Twelve: Staci Smith

For its final stop before returning to New Mexico The Best Little Bead Box (in its current five incarnations!) is staying in Pennsylvania, more specifically at the home of Staci Smith in Pennsburg.

photo courtesy of Tammy Snyder

Occupation (either bead-related or non-bead related): stay at home mom- jewelry designer
Facebook Fan Page:  staci louise originals

How long have you been a beader/jewelry maker?
since I was about 12....when I used to make earrings with beads and head pins.

Why do you want to participate in the Best Little Bead Box project? 
Heaven knows I have beads to share, and if my bead addiction can help others, then that would be great!!!

Have beads changed your life? How? 
Yes. I have always been an artist. When I began to have kids, and stay home, I needed something I could do- to feel creative, something for just me. So I began to make jewelry- since it has always been a love of mine. Making jewelry has allowed me to help earn some money for my family, as well as be able to bless others with jewelry fundraisers, and gifts. I love to be able to give someone a handmade gift they can wear for years and years, made just for them. It makes me feel like there is a little piece of me out in the world.

Do you consider yourself a beginner, intermediate or advanced beader/jewelry maker?
Intermediate / advanced

How did you get started working with beads? 
Sprung from a love of gemstones, beads were just another way to collect gemstones and wear them....then pearls, then art beads- so I just started buying them and teaching myself all the different ways they can be used with books and learning from friends, ect...

If you were a bead, what kind would you be? Why? 
a handmade bead of some sort- ceramic, pmc, ect........because someone put their heart into them, and their style, and I would be a little piece of artist.

If you were stranded on a desert island and could have only one kind of bead with you, what would it be and why? 
ceramic raku focals.....I love the shimmers and crackles and they would look great in the sun on a desert island :)

What is the best advice you've ever received from a bead artist, teacher or beading friend?

be yourself, find your style, don't design to please anyone else

What was the best beady gift that you have ever received? What was the best beady gift that you ever gave to someone else?
Received: an Artisan Clay necklace from my friend Kristie Roeder. It has little greenish blue ceramic squares, and picture jasper with wire links. It goes with almost anything and is sooo super comfortable to wear.

Gave: I made a PMC necklace (pmc focal) with heart and wings for a friend that just lost a child, in the back I stamped his name and inserted his birthstone. It was just something I felt compelled to do, in hopes that it would bless them in some small way.

Aside from beading, do you do any other crafts? What are they?

What three words would best describe your current bead stash?
pearls, artisan beads, gemstones

Please include a photograph of your very best piece of beadwork, if you have one available.

Friday, April 22, 2011

How Three Boxes Become Five

Written by Rosita. Posted by Carol Dean

When I received the 3 big boxes, Bernie and me were working hard on our annual tax returns, so I decided to postpone opening the boxes until after all this was finished. It was hard, but had to be done!

Once the taxes done, it was time to open and have fun.

The items to pick from were wonderful thanks to everyone else’s generosity.

So here is what I picked: First I chose the book by Jeanette Cook (you can never have too many books on beading techniques!) and a pattern/kit by Nikia Angel.

Then my greedy hands went to the black Parawire and I picked 5 spools, these will come handy as I am increasing the amount of wire work I am including in my beading. Then I chose a short strand of peacock rondelles, a baggie of fat silver toned beads and 5 baggies of small rice shape silver toned beads, a baggie of tiny peacock bicones (Swarovski?), a baggie of funny fan shaped polka dotted beads that looked neat and 4 little glass beads that looked like mini tortoiseshell. And two tubes of #8 beads in chocolate brown and olive.

I could not resist picking 6 fancy Czech glass buttons as Buttons are often prominent in my beadwoven cuffs.

Now for focal beads and pendants: A long mottled brown and ivory lampwork bead, a large lovely ocean blue/green long bead, a large clay bead with a dreamy face and sparkles, another clay face cab with a bit of a snotty expression I found appealing! I will have to figure out how to use this one!

There were many interesting pendants and I chose a dark blue ceramic one, a green and blue pillow porcelain by Marsha Neal, a rectangular porcelain piece and a fantastic triangular slide pendant in soft beige tones( I will probably make something for myself with this one!).

Then I chose the tongs with scoop end, a Tierracast toggle clasp and the sweetest little pink parrot dangles.

Now for what I added to the treasure chest.

When adding to the chest, my thoughts went to adding as much value as possible so that when auctioning for the fundraiser, there would be items attractive for a wide range of beaders and jewelry makers, so I did add some items in large quantities of multiple bundles and strands. These can all be taken apart to create smaller bundles.

As pictures are better than a thousand words. Here they are. My husband Bernie donated all the stones and cabs from his Lodin's Gems and Minerals sock.

Fire Polished glass beads.

Czech round beads.
More Czech beads.

Betel nut beads from the Philippines.
Burnt wood beads from the Philippines.
Freshwater pearls.
Cloisonne/enamel focals and beads.
Agates, Sardonyx and various porcelains.
Various stone cabs and beads.
More stone cabs and beads.
Gold plated findings and Fiber optic beads
Painted wood beads.
Various stone beads.
Seed bead tubes.
More seed beads and cubes.
Hand-made lampwork, clay and other beads.
A bunch of Swarovskis.
A crimp plier, trays and a metal hole puncher.

More glass beads.

A glue gun and glue. Colored wires.
Leather scraps.
I had to add another large flat rate Priority box to pack all the goodies, but this was not enough so I added a medium flat rate priority box to carry everything.

So Beads of Courage 2011 are now to 5 boxes!

Courage Tiger supervised me during the entire process and helped me pick out the donations, he was the one to have the last say and was the ultimate decision maker. His favorite item was the heavy metal hole puncher as he sees himself as a ‘tool man’ since his visit here!