Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bead Soul on Etsy Featuring Lisa Hamilton ~ Custom Jewelry & More

Stacker Rings 

As a musician, I had been looking for hand cut stamped guitar picks on Fortunately I found  BeadSoul custom jewelry and more. She had such fresh, clean lines and attuned for accuracy. So impressed, I asked her for a blog bio.

Before I could ask about her background, I had to know if she was a musician as well and why guitar picks?  Lisa was kind enough to share this story:

Tasty Trio
" I fell into making the guitar picks quite by accident. A repeat customer saw a shop with them on Etsy but she thought I could do a better job. She asked me to make one for her daughter's guitar teacher for Christmas 2010. I said sure, ran to get a guitar pick for a template and just went for it. I look at the pictures of that one and cringe. She and the instructor were happy, but it was pretty elementary, lol! I am so grateful to her for that request, you have no idea. I am really good at cutting them out now and cut all of them myself except for the aluminum ones- that metal is just too thick for me to mess with, but I like to offer it as a good pendant alternative."

Lisa Hamilton, age 45,  has lived in  Denver, CO area her entire life. She currently lives in the same town as one of my sisters: Littleton. She blames her mom for her interest in jewelry making. Lisa said she would go nuts every year trying to come up with a gift for her and decided to create something with her hands- that way she couldn't say, "you shouldn't have!" She was  hooked. 

Brass Pick
"Mom always was crafting, crochet, macrame, pottery, etc, and it rubbed off on me. Eventually, I got tired of stringing beads and began to explore other ways of creating jewelry. I stumbled upon metal stamping/metalwork and the light went on! I do a more "quick and dirty" form of metal work. I had to make due with what I already had and add equipment slowly. I would probably horrify more traditional metalworkers with the shortcuts I take. I also have a neurologic movement disorder that doesn't allow me to do some of the finer motor skills, such as detailed saw work. I have fun, get to try new things and have found that I can do more than I can't do."
I asked about her favorite feedback from customers. She said, " I get convos and feed back from people who cried when they opened their gift box- that just blows my mind that I can bring someone that much joy!"

All jewelry makers have their challenges. When I asked Lisa what hers are, she replied;
"The hardest part of my work would be the fact that I really want to make people happy and can be overly neurotic and worry if they like things. I cause myself a great deal of harm when 99% of the time, people are delighted (insert laugh)! 

It seems as though jewelry making would not create an environment for disaster and Lisa concurs:

"Mishaps have been pretty tame, though I did watch myself as I got a polishing wheel caught in my scarf the other day... that could have been pretty bad! Most mistakes with this are learning experiences, which is great! 
Injuries are mostly burns, cuts and an occasional hammer blow gone bad. I am pretty fortunate and feel my guardian angel deserves a raise; I can be clumsy and have the "dropsies" sometimes."

Lisa  married at the young age of 21 young and has 3 kids who are mostly grown.  Her  oldest just graduated from college; middle is son in college and youngest is 20. 

"She is an amazing kid. They all are. My hubby is a teacher and is the real hero. Teaching second graders is tough enough, but these days it seems to be more difficult. He loves kids and it is heartwarming to see how hard he works to help them learn. He is my biggest cheerleader and moral support. I was having a meltdown at Christmas due to a huge rush of orders- he just calmly told me that I could do it and he would help me with the packaging- what a guy!"

Canyon Copper Wire Ring
I asked Lisa if she had goals in mind for her business. She sheepishly replied that she has no goals per se with the shop but strives to learn new techniques, meet great people and help them make the piece they would love to give or get. 

"I would like to teach more and don't know how that would fit in my life right now. My kids don't need me much and will be gone before I know it; who knows?"

Lisa, I know plenty of musicians who will need those picks!

I was so lucky to have had the pleasure of speaking with Lisa via phone. She is gracious, full of energy, positive and very uplifting. I am of the belief that these attributes show through in her jewelry. 

Here is some information to follow Lisa

Mailing list: Get the latest news and sales

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

SockMonkeyCards on Etsy

I was not having one of my best days when I happened upon a card of Sock Monkeys sledding down a hill. Immediately I felt a sense of hilarity wash over my mood and I admittedly needed more giggles. I clicked on the shop responsible for making me smile. SockMonkeyCards by Laurie. I had to know where the heck this humor came from and how such award winning style develops. I feel a first- person inquiry helps to appreciate this brand of success with such positive force.

Thanks goes to Laurie of SockMonkeyCards on Etsy for submitting this tell-all about her shop. 

About 12 years ago I took a black and white photograph of my sister's 3 sock monkeys, then started adopting my own sock monkeys. I made a few cards for friends, then my sister-in-law said she thought I really had something. At the time I started photographing the sock monkeys, my work life was pretty stressful, and this really got my active imagination going in a good direction. When I was photographing sock monkeys, I wasn't worried about the problems of the world. I approached a couple stores, and they agreed to sell my cards. That was probably about 8 years ago. SInce then, other stores have approached me either after seeing my cards in stores, or seeing them on Etsy. 

I truly don't think of myself as having a great sense of humor.  I find such joy and contentment in the simple things in life; being outdoors, canoeing, cross-country skiing, making a snowman, bicycling. I appreciate the awesome beauty and strength of nature. I love photography, which I started studying in the early 90's. I do like to be silly sometimes. I always thought when I grew up I'd feel sophisticated, but that has never happened! 

I was born in London England, though was only there for 6 months. I have lived all over the U.S in this order: 

  • Pennsylvania
  • Wyoming
  • Pennsylvania
  • California
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • Maryland
  • Arizona
  •  New Mexico

We have been living in Maine for the past 14 years and love it. 

When I started college I was a music major, then switched to early childhood education. I taught preschool for a number of years, which I really enjoyed, but the money was terrible. I went on a 3 month bicycle trip in 1982 in Europe with a friend, which got the travel bug in me. When I returned home, I went to a career counselor, who suggested I be a flight attendant. So that's what I've been doing for 28 years now. After 9/11, my imagination went into overdrive, and photographing sock monkeys truly has been a serendipity for me.

I am inspired by those who bring good things to the world, be it medicine, music, art, writing, healing, encouragement and 
support. I love going to art museums, playing the piano, reading, and doing almost anything outside. And of course, sock monkeys are always in the back of my mind. 

I have been making a sock monkey calendar each year for 7 years, and sell my cards and calendars and new book at about 12 stores throughout the U.S. and Canada. I have many repeat customers, and I like the fact that my work makes people smile or even laugh out loud. I like the fact that it is good, clean fun. 

Three of my favorite images are "Tiptoeing", which was chosen to be in a juried photography show by well known photographer Joyce Tenneson, "Snow Angels" because my husband and I were cross-country skiing after a beautiful snow when the idea popped into my head. I told him when we got home I wanted him to put up the big ladder in the back yard, which I photographed the sock monkeys making snow angels from. Also I love the "Surfer Sock Monkeys" because people get a kick out of it. I had the surfboards made by someone in Redondo Beach CA. A firefighter makes wooden items, and his wife paints them. She sells her things at the store where I sell my sock monkey cards, so it was a good situation for us all.

Wow-- probably too much information, but I was on a roll there. Sometimes if my husband joins me on a trip or we go somewhere, he'll put a couple sock monkeys in his suitcase so I can photograph them in a new place. The first time he met me somewhere and he was so worried that security would make him open his suitcase and he'd be petrified with embarrassment. Oh- and my sock monkeys all have names. 

Thank you so much Laurie! We want to know their names!
CeCi @ BeltaneMoon

Monday, January 9, 2012

Gothic Glass

Gothic Glass is owned by Angie Chase of Nova Scotia. She appears to be a pixie of a gal and as light and breezy as her shop represents. 

Angie and I "met" on Twitter and we had some shared passions and friendly exchanges. This led to me looking into her shop on Etsy. I was very impressed and interested in this unique lady and the beauty found within her shop.

First thing that struck me was the name of her shop.  Gothic Glass. A fellow fan of historical appreciation for stained glass, I could not click the link on her page quickly enough! Angie chose a name that reflected the architectural history of stained glass. The Gothic style was an expression appealing to the emotions as seen in its characteristic pointed arch, ribbed vault, flying buttress and most notably, the Rose window. The same light that refracted stained glass centuries ago still holds the same inner glow and timeless presentation today. 

Angie was born in  Berwick, NS on August 10th. Her beginnings in glass debuted during summer employment while attending Acadia University. Merelys Williams of Fancy Glass & Crafts in Grand Pre was her mentor. Angie felt a natural affinity in working with glass that  led to three consecutive summers working with and learning from Merelys.  She later instituted her  own home-based business in 1988.

Growing bored with patterns, Angie developed her own which resulted in  signature appeal that is seen in her work. Guiding her creations  from her spiritual beliefs, she re-creates those symbolic intra-connections in my designs.  She says she is connected to Mother Earth and celebrates her through Gothic Glass.

Working with glass can be a sharp daunting task if one becomes tired or lets their guard down. Angie has respect for the material she works with . While she wears a safety glasses, face mask and constructs in a well ventilated area, she refuses to wear gloves both in the studio as well as garden. This clearly gives her an edge (so to speak) on working closely and with marvelous detail. It makes perfect sense to those who are inextricably linked to their craft.

We look forward to seeing all that evolves as Angie walks this path of light and reflection as she shares her talent and beauty expressed in her work as a glass artist. Thank you, Angie!

Body Jewelry ~ The Captive Bead Ring ~ how to open and close captive bead ring jewelry

The captive bead ring (CBR) is the classic standard for many body piercings - at least from a historical point of view. When speaking of Gypsies or belly dancers, the image of a simple ring through the navel typically comes to mind.

A basic captive bead ring can be worn in many a piercing and the variations are seemingly endless. Basic structure is a almost completed circular ring with ends that have been burred to a smooth finish. There is a small gap into which a small round bead fits. These beads either have two  dimples, or shallow cusps on either side. The center bead may a hole drilled through the center. In any event, all three are held between the ring ends by the pressure/tension of the ring ends at the terminal of the bead. Though there is a modified bead which is soldered onto one end of the ring, generally speaking the bead is not a permanent fixture on the ring.

The standard operation for the classic CBR involves the use of 2 different piercing pliers: opening and closing. Of course new styles of pliers offer 2 in 1 options now. Depending on the CBR diameter, and gauge (thickness of the jewelry) two separate pliers would be more advantageous over the other. For most standard CBR styles of 10 gauge+ and 1/2" diameter I typically chose a small dual purpose 2 in 1 open/close plier. Manufacturer and size of the pliers as well as the shape and size of the plier nose affects my choice.

Most CBR jewelry comes assembled if you do not have it installed by your piercer. For example, if you purchase from me, the jewelry comes autoclave sterilized in a sealed pouch already assembled. Disassembling   the CBR is the first step toward installing into the piercing.

For the purpose of this article, I am speaking in terms of utilizing two separate pliers: both the opening and closing tools.

Before you begin:
1. consider wrapping the ends of the plier nose in cloth medical tape to protect your jewelry.

2. place a clean towel beneath your working area in case a center bead escapes your grip.

3. have sterile water based lubricant on hand and ready to use on the ring end to allow for easier insertion into the piercing.


In the relaxed, non working status position, the jaws of the plier nose are closed. (Imagine a bird beak in the closed position when viewing the profile).

The opening pliers typically have spring loaded jaws. When the handles are squeezed the jaws open outward. This is a similar functional concept as auto shop snap ring pliers.

Insert the nose of the pliers into the center of the CBR. Hold the center bead with the thumb and forefinger of one hand and the pliers with the other. Holding the center bead will keep its location in check once the bead has been released from the CBR.

Gently squeeze the plier grip so that the jaws open and thereby increase the ring diameter, and thereby reduce ring pressure on the bead. At this point the bead should release.


Place the bead in a readily accessible area. Hold the ring in one hand and open the jaws of the pliers. Place the jaws around the diameter of the CBR.

Gently,slowly & slightly squeeze the plier grips. This will  decrease the diameter (thereby increasing  CBR pressure). Avoid closing too much or the ring may warp out of shape.

Lube Time - if you have not already done so, dab one end of the ring into some water base lube.

Insert ring into the piercing without using undue force. (Remain calm and breathe!)

Once the CBR is inserted, carefully insert the opening pliers as in step one into the CBR and slightly open the jaws to open up the ring.

This is where things get tricky when you first start! Open just enough to align the dimples (or drilled holes) of the bead one side at a time with the ends of the ring. The goal is to abut the ring ends with the bead anchoring.

The ring tensile properties usually keep the ring somewhat "springy" if not opened far to wide for insertion of the bead. Therefore, once you are able to abut one side of the bead and one ring end, further gentle manipulation of the second side should allow some tension to hold the bead in place - or - captive.

In difficult to navigate piercing areas, it is best to have a pro piercer install the jewelry. Even in areas that have easier access such as the navel, have a pro show you how to safely execute this tricky little maneuver. As a piercer I have done countless CBR installations. In fact, I dont even look as much as I feel where the ring and bead are when installing. Everyone has a unique method and when you do them as often as a pro piercer it seems as though we can do them in our sleep!

Sometimes this can frustrate the most patient of beginners. Don't give up - get assistance from a reputable shop if you need it. Some charge a nominal fee for this service. Regardless, it is worth your safety and patience to learn how should it prove too tedious the first few times.

Good luck and feel free to email me at or if you need advice. I may not always have the answers, but I will do my best to find them for you - or at least refer you to help.

All photos courtesy of Beltane Moon ©. Permission to link or reuse photos and or article required. Please link back to this blog when granted permission and credit Beltane Moon © as original photographer and author.