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But why does it taste so good?

June 25, 2010
gr8findings on Etsy

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That’s the question my husband and kids usually ask me when I serve a home run meal … not the chomp and gulp kind of dinner that they rush through because they’re jockeying for second helpings, but rather the kind of menu that usually begins at my farmers market where I’ve selected a half dozen really prime ingredients to work with. Of course that kind of meal usually involves three or four courses (and a nice bottle of wine for me), but even so it’s always surprisingly easy to put together because you can just let the wonderful ingredients speak for themselves. It’s very similar, in fact, to what I think this Bead Soup fun has been for me — not just another beading project, it’s been more like that 4-course farm market meal.

Let’s start with the ingredients: I was partnered with Sandi James, a wonderful beader in California with a gift for polymer clay, and she sent me a beautiful assortment of beads she had made. They had gorgeous swirls of carnelian red, black and flecks of  gold worked into them. How she got the translucent quality in them, too, defies my imagination. Her package also included a mix of natural stones featuring the same palette — reds, golds and browns — in a variety of shapes. The focal beads in particular had a very vintage heirloom feel to me — even though they had been hand formed and featured a very natural shape, the abundance of warm, lush colors and delicate swirls reminded me of a delicate piece of silk. Basically, I knew at a glance I would need to look beyond my usual silver findings collection to find the right elements to complement these beauties. The quest had begun.

Fortunately, a bead show was just around the corner and I was able to load up on a few key supplies from Beth and Tom at Kabela Design. For years I had admired their beautiful brass and copper filigree materials every time I saw them at a bead show, but I just didn’t have the confidence to make the leap. But now I had a reason to dive into something different — heck, it was a mission! I spent quite a lot of time picking out just a few beads, donuts and chains. I didn’t know exactly what I needed, but it wasn’t much so the selection seemed especially important.

In terms of process and technique, once I got home and arranged all the ingredients together on my beading table, the necklace idea came to me pretty quickly. All I had to do was roll up my sleeves and dig into a little wire wrapping — just like those farm market meals, the ingredients were so beautiful and delicious, I simply attached one bead to the next and that was that. One of the things I really like about this necklace is its versatility — the chain can be worn as a single strand so the necklace hangs long (flapper fashion) or doubled if you prefer a shorter length. After that was finished, I had just enough extra materials to make a matching bracelet and pair or earrings.

When I step back and look at the finished pieces, I sort of swoon with that just-in-love feeling. Not just because I like the look and feel of them, but because they represent me getting to work with some new materials, and they prove to me that it’s really much easier to move in different directions than I had previously thought. And that feeling, I must admit, is truly delicious.

41 Comments leave one →
  1. June 25, 2010 3:13 am

    Wow – these beads are polymer – I thought they were stones. What a nice piece you made. It looks elegant and earty – I would love to wear it.

  2. June 25, 2010 3:57 am

    This is a wonderful set. great job!

  3. June 25, 2010 5:36 am

    First off I love the way you wrote you blog post, in all honesty after reading I didn’t feel the need to scroll back up and look at the pictures (don’t worry I did get a good look at the photos of your soup).

    It’s just your writing style was like reading a novel that inspires you to create your own pictures in your head 🙂

    Your soup serving was certainly delicious to read about and to see, I love the colours, so very earthy and your photography skills with the use of your props really helped to show them off.

    I just know you’ll enjoy your pieces and why shouldn’t you,they are beautiful.

  4. June 25, 2010 7:12 am

    What a wonderful design, that’s a very beautiful set. Well done.

  5. June 25, 2010 7:31 am

    I really, really like the filigree. It gives it such an antique feel. You did a wonderful job pairing your own bead findings with your gifts. Congrats!

  6. June 25, 2010 8:03 am

    love this necklace..beautiful..also the earrings..

  7. June 25, 2010 9:22 am

    Oh so beautiful! I love the polymer beads. This would be soooo fun to wear! Enjoy:)

  8. June 25, 2010 9:34 am

    Your necklace is just 1st class! Its so lovely..
    the beads are so wonderful wow they are
    something I would buy. Really taken by
    your pc its timeless as well as something
    you can wear anyplace anytime!

  9. June 25, 2010 9:46 am

    I re-read your post twice because I got caught up in your story about “homemade goodies.” This bead soup is very much like your concept–where you taste the texture, the different flavors rolling around on your palette, and the fragrances combining with texture, taste, and ambiance. I really appreciated your soup and how you mixed the beads so each mouthful was a delight of texture and color! Great job!

  10. lorelei permalink
    June 25, 2010 10:08 am

    very cool! love the slide show too!!
    those orange tube/barrel beads are great- are they carnelian?? gorgeous!

    • June 25, 2010 12:51 pm

      @Lorelei — yes, carnelian. I have a bunch, email me and I’ll send you some!

  11. June 25, 2010 10:44 am

    Your words are as lovely as the pieces you created.

  12. chris murphy permalink
    June 25, 2010 11:02 am

    Wow, those beads are gorgeous. It is hard to believe they are polymer clay. You did a fabulous job putting together a gorgeous set and I am simply drooling over it. I loved your writing about it as well. A job well done and a wonderful use of your ingredients.

  13. June 25, 2010 11:06 am

    Beautiful. I love the asymmetry here. You have really worked with the wonderful materials you have and let the beads speak for themselves in this lovely design.

  14. June 25, 2010 11:10 am

    very yummy! you do make good soup! those poly beads are beautiful!

  15. June 25, 2010 11:41 am

    Ooooh. So earthy and lovely. Nice soup. Sometime I’d like to come to dinner when you do a farmer’s market meal.

  16. June 25, 2010 12:26 pm

    Beautiful pieces!! I love the earrings! The pieces are elegant and classic.

  17. June 25, 2010 12:50 pm

    I have never seen my beads in another’s design before now and I have to say (once I pick my chin up off the floor), well, all I can say is WOW. You do such beautiful work. Thank you, thank serendipity and thank Lori for making you my partner. Wonderful job!

  18. June 25, 2010 12:54 pm

    Shea, I’m back … in all of my excitement at seeing your lovely work, I forgot to Thank YOU.

  19. June 25, 2010 1:18 pm

    I love you slide show! And a wonderful feast! Funny, I too was just at a bead show and stopped by Beth and Toms booth of Kabela Design. I spent at least 20 minutes there trying different components with my focal bead I got and finally settled on one and some other goodies but when I got it home I decided against it. But now I have those to work into some other project! Your’s came out fabulous!

  20. June 25, 2010 1:27 pm

    Absolutely wonderful – the beads are amazing but you have showcased them beautifully. Love your write up too!

  21. June 25, 2010 1:38 pm

    GORGEOUS! And I love how you talk about your process. Wonderful work!

  22. June 25, 2010 2:24 pm

    Very elegant and unique pieces. Love them!

  23. June 25, 2010 4:01 pm

    Would not have believed the beads were polymer clay! I love how you use them, really beautiful work!

  24. June 25, 2010 4:14 pm

    This is one yummy helping of soup! Thanks for taking us on that journey with you. I love the way you describe your process. And…you have a new follower!
    Enjoy the day!

  25. June 25, 2010 5:25 pm

    It’s just beautiful – very nice!

  26. June 25, 2010 6:15 pm

    Thanks, EVERYONE, for all of your encouragement and kind comments … I am so grateful to Lori Anderson for creating so many opportunities for us to connect. The internet is such a vast and limitless space, but today I’ve felt especially attached and grounded in it all.

  27. June 25, 2010 6:24 pm

    You are a talented jeweler, cook, photographer, cook and author- your descriptions are delicious. I love the versatility of the chain feature. It is so hard to get the correct length in jewelry when you don’t know who is going to wear it. The colors are stunning and kudos to Sandi for such mystifying polymer clay beads. They make the piece totally stunning!! I love the photo with the trunk in the background- totally continental!

  28. June 25, 2010 6:50 pm

    I work with Polymer Clay, so I really love the beautiful beads that your partner included in your soup mix. AND, you did a beautiful job using them in your design. Bon Appetit!

  29. June 25, 2010 7:35 pm

    What beautiful jewelry you made!

  30. June 25, 2010 7:40 pm

    Very nice and earthy-feeling!

  31. June 25, 2010 8:03 pm

    What a lovely way to show your creations. They are beautiful. bravo!

  32. June 26, 2010 3:15 am

    Wow – What a beautiful design and bead soup mix. Your photography is amazing. Great job!

  33. June 26, 2010 8:03 am

    How professional it all looks: the photographs, the diaporama, the writing…and the beading of course! fab ^_^ Virginie

  34. Melissa Mesara permalink
    June 26, 2010 3:40 pm


  35. June 27, 2010 9:10 am

    I simply love the necklace and enjoyed reading you post tremendous.

  36. June 27, 2010 2:25 pm

    I thought the polymer beads were stones too! I wish my polymer work was that good! I love what you’ve done with them – you’ve shown them off beautifully.

  37. June 28, 2010 10:53 am

    Your pieces are stunning! I am so coming over for Bead Soup dinner at your house 😉

  38. June 28, 2010 12:00 pm

    OMG polymer! OH so wonderful! I love the colors!


  1. Leave it to Lorelei « gr8findings

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