Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bead Stringing How To

Today I am working with heishi river shell beads. Some people are under the impression that since beads are prestrung you can simply slap closures on the ends and voila you're done! While some designers may do this it is simply not acceptable at Bellina Creations. When dealing with man made symmetrical beads and crystal it is much easier. But when using organic pieces such as stone and shell it's almost like putting together a puzzle. It takes many strands of shell to make one necklace. For this necklace it took three strands. All the shells must be removed from the strands they came on and be properly strung on beading wire.

Beading wire differs in strand count. You want a kink resistant, strong, flexible wire that will give the piece you are working on the drape you are looking for.

Each shell is inspected.  A few shells are strung together to see how they fit against one another.  Obvious less desirable shells are removed and put aside.

You want to try to look for shells that have the hole directly in the middle.  You will find many with the hole on top, bottom or off to the side.  If you don't inspect them carefully and see how they fall together you will end up with something that looks like a pregnant earth worm.  This photo below is actually the string laying straight and you can see it is very misshapen and won't lay in a straight line.

While you may think at first it looks better to not be able to see any of the beading wire it is a must.  In order for the finished necklace to have give you must leave a small amount of play between the beads so that it can bend.  Otherwise when you finish your strand it will resemble a straight wooden stick and you will not be able to drape the piece.  

Strung too tightly strand has no give.

You don't want to make your shells so perfect that it looses it's organic quality.  And since they are not synthetic it will not be machine made perfect.  Your final piece should look something like this.

Blue Heishi River Shell Unisex Necklace

Blue Heishi River Shell Unisex Necklace

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Today's Words of Encouragement

 So many are struggling especially in this down economy.  We are bombarded with negativity through media outlets so trying to stay positive is harder then ever.  It seems every person I talk to lately is having quite a time of things. To all of those who are struggling but keep following their dreams...

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with another blow,
Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit. 
- Author Unknown

coil wrapped rock crystal necklace

Friday, January 27, 2012

From The Workbench

Some of you know that I have a special place in my heart for hummingbirds.  In honor of this I decided to create some hummingbird nest rings.  These rings are tiny cousins of the larger rings.  With only two delicate tiny eggs.  Hummingbirds usually have two babies in a nest.  To get a good idea of just how tiny and delicate these nests are take a look at the photo of me holding the nest.  One nest measures about as large as my thumbnail.  These little nests really make me smile.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Take Time

I have been feeling completely overwhelmed as of late.  Life's stresses has me in a tizzy.  At times I forget to slow down and smell the roses so to speak.  I've been running around like a whirlwind.  Sometimes it takes a near breakdown for me to suddenly snap out of it and take at the bare minimum a fifteen minute break.  Not a break where I sit on the couch and try to relax where I really do nothing but stew over my worries.  But an actual moment where I can be completely present.  That moment happened this morning when I went outside to discover a family of mushrooms had popped up.  I admired how the dew glistened in the grass like little diamonds.  In the desert photo opportunities such as as these as far and far between.  I grabbed my fuzz girls, a towel and my camera.  I spent the next twenty minutes laying in the wet grass, insects buzzing in my ears and the sun beating down on me.  But I enjoyed every minute of it.  This is what we saw.  

Be sure to click on the photos for full detail. Please do not use my images without my permission.  Thank you.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Waiting-Oriah Mountain Dreamer

A lovely poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.  I've posted this in honor of my mom's battle with cancer.  Mom I know you will not read this but I love you. 

To wait when waiting feels unbearable
When action seems imperative
But there is nothing to be done.
To trust that what is needed will be provided
When human resources are limited and needs are great
And distrust is more available, but divisive and destructive.
To accept
What is unacceptable
Because to fight with what is adds suffering to pain.
To be attentive
When the mind is clouded with exhaustion
So that opportunities to hold with tenderness are not missed.
To be with the anxiety that arises in muscle and bone
Not letting it drive action or paralyze
Allowing breath to create mercy around the anguish.
To take a break
When the fear-driven mind screams for constant vigilance
So the mind and heart and body can find respite and rejuvenation.
To receive the help offered
From others and from the Great Heart that holds us all
Letting gratitude temper grief,
fullness counter fear,
and compassion carry us all.

I took this photo at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Middletown, RI

Friday, January 20, 2012


Gemstones are not only beautiful but have a wide range of uses. Many gemstones correlate to the different signs in the zodiac, planets, anniversary dates and to the chakras. According to wikipedia chakras "  refer to the wheel-like vortices which, according to traditional Indian medicine, are believed to exist in the surface of the etheric double of man. The Chakras are said to be  force centers or whorls of energy permeating, from a point on the physical body, the layers of the subtle bodies in an ever-increasing fan-shaped formation. Rotating vortices of subtle matter they are considered the focal points for the reception and transmission of energies. Different systems posit a varying number of chakras; the most well known system in the West is that of seven chakras."

Gemstones are thought to posses many powers for protection, wisdom, luck, healing and power depending on the stone. 

Check out some of my gemstone pieces:

Aventurine Earrings

Aventurine has been used as a lucky talisman.

Legends say that it is an all-purpose healer, used to reduce stress, develop confidence, imagination and improve prosperity. A legend from ancient Tibet says that aventurine was used to improve nearsightedness and to increase the wearer's creativity.

Many believe that aventurine has the capacity to calm a troubled spirit and bring about inner peace.

Aventurine is said to increase libido. Releases fear and anxiety. Green aventurine strengthens one's blood and muscle tissues.

Aventurine is said to increase confidence, and gratitude, promotes emotional tranquility and positive attitudes. Aventurine is a wonderful stone to use daily, especially during meditation and prayer. 
Unakite Necklace

Unakite is a made up of a combination of three minerals: Green Epidote, Pink Fieldspar and Quartz. It is a balancing stone helping to balance all aspects of the self; emotional, spiritual and mental, and allowing you to feel more centred. Unakite is also believed to help release energy blockages, that may be inhibiting your growth, and to encourage you to live in the present rather than in the past.

The Pink Fieldspar in Unakite encourages you to love yourself for who you are, which in turn allows you to attract and keep the love of others.

Unakite is said to be of benefit to the female reproductive system and during pregnancy. It is also said to provide support to those recovering from a major illness or convalescing . Placing Unakite in a room, either as a large piece or as several small tumble stones in a bowl, is said to bring in a gentle calming energy. Unakite is believed to be helpful in reducing the effects of electromagnetic smog. For this reason it can be beneficial to place a piece on top of, or near, the television set. 

Amethyst Necklace

Amethyst is a powerful and protective stone.  It guards against psychic attack, transmuting the energy into love and protecting the wearer from all types of harm, including geopathic or electromagnetic stress and ill wishes from others.  Amethyst is a natural tranquilizer, it relieves stress and strain, soothes irritability, balances mood swings, dispels anger, rage, fear and anxiety.  Alleviates sadness and grief, and dissolves negativity.  Amethyst activates spiritual awareness, opens intuition and enhances psychic abilities.  It has strong healing and cleansing powers.  Amethyst encourages sobriety, having a sobering effect on overindulgence of alcohol, drugs or other addictions.  It calms and stimulates the mind, helping you become more focused, enhancing memory and improving motivation.  Amethyst assists in remembering and understanding dreams.  It relieves insomnia.  Encourages selflessness and spiritual wisdom.

Amethyst boosts hormone production, tunes the endocrine system and metabolism.  It strengthens the immune system.  Cleanses the blood.  Relieves physical, emotional and psychological pain or stress.  Amethyst eases headaches and releases tension.  It reduces bruising, swellings, injuries, and treats hearing disorders.  Amethyst heals diseases of the lungs and respiratory tract, skin conditions, cellular disorders and diseases of the digestive tract.

Check out more at:  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Earth Angel Giveaway Announced!

Congratulations to Aik who was randomly selected to win the earrings!  Aik I will contact you via email soon.  Entries received after cut off were not counted.  Stay tuned for more contests!  Thank you to everyone who participated.  I plan on doing this more often!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Charlize Theron and Sea Glass

An update on Charlize.  It turns out that she was shooting Vogue when I saw her.  How cool is that?  The portion where she is in the water among the rocks is when I saw her.  I tell you she is a trooper.  It was a typical New England day during the hurricane season last September and it was COLD!  Now I know why everyone was so young, sylph and beautiful.  Hah!  My story below...

Vogue Video

So you might be asking yourself what does Charlize Theron have to do with sea glass? That I know of? Nothing directly. But today when I went to my normal hunting grounds I was surprised to find a normally vacant street filled with trailers, caterers, cars from New York and lots of equipment. There were many fresh faced early twenty somethings scuttling about in galoshes touting wardrobe and equipment around. Most of the men were emoish. Everyone was quite waif and good looking without makeup. Some men in black suits who appeared to be body guards were standing off to the side. And there was a police officer patrolling. I thought for sure I would be shooed away, but no. I went on about my business and made my way down to my spot. I found only one lone clear piece of glass. So I decided to go for a walk instead. I made my way to the right of the cliffs that dot the coast line. This is a rugged terrain with very small inlets here and there. I made my way down to the beach and turned around and came back to the same spot I had started. I didn't feel properly exercised so I continued in the other direction. As I made my way to the top of the cliff I started to see a caravan of people making their way up. There is only one small trail and there were about fifty or so people approaching. Arms filled with generators, scuba gear and such. I could see a tent on the beach below. As I said this is very rocky terrain and you could easily fall to your death. Whoever decided on galoshes for these people hopefully had a lot of insurance. Many didn't even have a hand free. So I politely stood off to the side so they could get by, but really I didn't have much room to go anywhere.

I am not a celebrity hound type. I don't read tabloids or keep up to date on the comings or goings. I don't scream or pass out or go to any lengths to get autographs. In fact if and when I do see a celebrity I try to be polite. I've never asked for an autograph or taken a picture. I've never said more than hello. I think how much they must have to go through with paparazzi and fans and being recognized everywhere they go. They are just people like everyone else. I have a few people that I do like a great deal based on roles they have played. This list is small. Charlize happens to be my favorite female actress. I have always thought she was so pretty yet she is so classy. She isn't afraid to get dirty and the roles she plays have grit. I have a great respect for her. And sure enough climbing up the rocks in her white robe was Charlize. Her hair was wet and she looked tired. But she was stunning. I was looking around expecting some body guards to start shoving me away but no she walked right by me never looking up. This is a good thing given the terrain I mentioned. But my heart jumped into my throat. I think more than anything because it was a bit of a shock. I mean you don't normally go out for your casual sea glass outing and end up on a movie set arms length from your favorite actress. It was so strange, as if I was in a movie. Hah! So at some point a movie will come out and I will say "  I was there! "

Did you already forget about the sea glass?  This is the piece I found.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

This Weeks Interview - Atelier Denise

This week's interview is with Denise of Atelier Denise.  Denise makes unique salt dough decorations.  You are not going to find these in just any holiday stores.  She has her own characters along with some amazing likenesses of the legends like Jim Morrison, Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O!  This is her story written in her own words.  I really take a step back in editing people.  I think that is part of the fun in getting to know an artist is reading things in their own words.
"Back story- I’ve always been creative and mischievous. A few years ago I found myself in my fifties, unemployed and in danger of becoming bitter. With few prospects my husband and I decided that life change was a good idea so we sold our coop in Brooklyn and moved to southern Ocean County New Jersey along with our Doberman, Bella Nerina- a fresh start in the country. We moved here in June of 2010.

To encapsulate my life experience- . I’m peripatetic by nature, easily bored. I have a degree in fine arts, I used to do large abstract paintings. I attended culinary school in 1991, the French Culinary Institute in NYC, I loved it but I found that I was a bit too old to start in restaurant work. I went back to the industry that I knew, contract interiors, and for over twenty years I was quite successful but not very happy.

I decided to take a leap of faith and re-awaken my artistic side. My house has a “studio” attached to the freestanding garage, I kept looking at it and thinking hmm- perhaps I’ll start painting again. I procrastinated for about one year and this September I decided to take the plunge. The dough is essentially clay and it allows me to use my tactile sense, the painting allows me to do what I love best, and the characters give my imagination free reign. I love the detail and the sense of whimsy. My sense was that decorative art would have a wider audience so I started creating my inventory and Etsy seemed like the best venue. A lifetime in the business world left an indelible mark so I have a very keen understanding of customer service, the need to perform, and the need to be disciplined and reliable. I have a diva’s temperament balanced by a very pragmatic side."

How did you get started with your craft? 

It was a decision to take “serious” art and make it whimsical. Many years ago I had read a piece in a “woman’s magazine” about salt dough. It intrigued me so I tried it. I made Christmas ornaments for my family for quite a few years, my sister still has some from 25 years ago. For myriad reasons I stopped making them, life got in the way. This time around they are not Christmas centric, certainly more elaborate and much more reflective of who I am. Each piece is unique. I like the idea of creating accessible little pieces of art that serve no function other than to be decorative.

What are your favorite materials to work with/favorite mediums? 

Salt dough, acrylic paint, occasionally canvas and plaster.

What inspires you?

Humor, music, beauty, memories. My mouse series is a result of living in the city for most of my life where mice were ever present, my chefs reflect my experience and my love of food, the divas reflect my love of opera and costumes. I have several series in the works for the New Year.

What do you enjoy doing in your off time?

Gardening-there is nothing like growing your own food! Reading, cooking, thinking deep thoughts.

What items in your store are your favorite and why? 

Jackie Kennedy Onassis - I love the ornament because she was a Bouvier, I was a DuBois and I adore that song.

Coco appealed to my sense of humor, and I love fashion and pigs. I gave her such a haughty expression. I particularly enjoy the ornaments that are purely figments of my imagination. 

Maria Callas - I share her temperament, not her voice! I’ve always loved her.

Audrey Hepburn- I wanted to be her when I was a girl. The epitome of beauty and elegance.


Do you have a favorite buyer experience? A moment when your worked touched another?  

My first sale was to an exceptionally lovely woman. Her son is in culinary school and she wanted a custom chef ornament using his face. She was very pleased with the result and that gave me such a tremendous confidence boost. I ended up painting one of her daughters, a beauty contestant, and her son in law in a barbershop quartet costume- really wonderful. She inspired me to not be afraid.

Do you have any advice for other Etsy sellers? 

I haven’t been around long enough to offer Etsy specific advise, that would be far too presumptuous. I can say that starting a business is a rough road, if you’re looking for immediate gratification find it in your art and have patience with the sales. I look at every sale as a joyous moment of self validation and I am profoundly grateful for each and every one.

Where can we find you on the web:
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