Do What You Love With Passion!

It's been said that if we do what we love, it stops being a job and becomes a passion. I love to write as much as I love to design jewelry. With this blog, I will share both with you!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!


Well, so what can I say?  I am a big kid at heart when it comes to Halloween.  Takes me back to those younger years of childhood.  The day of Halloween would inch forward slowly.  When it finally neared time for dinner who wanted to eat with all the excitement ahead?  Then, finally, it was time to get dressed in that special costume, wear a mask or put on make-up, carry a plastic pumpkin for goodies, and head out the door to neighbors' homes.  

The best houses were the scary ones, where the person who answered the door was in costume, too, and there were lots of carved pumpkins, bats, graveyard scenes and other frightening but fun things around the front door.  It meant a lot to see that they cared, too!  Headlights on cars driving slowly down the street illuminated other children in costumes and you could see their silhouettes ahead of you.

When are own two girls were around the ages of ten and twelve, my husband and I and the girls worked with two neighbor boys to set up a walk-through haunted house at the end of our driveway.  It was naturally dark with high holly shrubs and trees in the vicinity.  My husband put up metal stakes for walls and it was fully enclosed on all sides and ceiling with plastic tarps.  The doorway was draped so no one could see inside until they actually entered.  An outdoor extension cord provided electricity for a black light.

Neighbor kids were invited into the haunted house to get their candy from "the witch" and they loved the idea of a haunted house in their own neighborhood.  We did a good job because it really scared some of the little ones.  There were only one or two we could not talk into coming inside, that it would be okay, so they got their candy and were very happy to go on to the next house with their mom or dad. Parents loved what we had created!

We wore dark clothing and gloves so we could reach out like goblins, making shrieking or groaning noises, grabbing at shoulders as kids walked by, unsuspecting, towards the entryway. There were plenty surprised reactions and screams from our guests! Our younger daughter was dressed as the witch, sitting at one end of the structure.  Near her was a bucket of dry ice that flowed eerily around her like fog.  She handed out the candy when kids approached her.  Everything looked fantastic in the black light.  It was a great success - we laughed so much and then it was over much too soon.


"Trick or treat,
give us something good to eat!!"

I hope you'll let your own inner child out to play, and have a great day!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bead Packet Challenge #2 Blog Hop Reveal

Bead Packet Design Challenge #2
Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hosted by Sharyl McMillian-Nelson of Sharyl's Jewelry
featuring Natalie Pappas of NKP Art Beads and NKP Designs

The day Sharyl introduced the concept of this challenge, I was immediately captivated with the colors of these beads and wanted to participate in this event!

I was excited when the beads arrived and knew it would be pure fun to design a piece of jewelry.  The question of course, what?  Necklaces are one of my favoirte items to design and this would afford me the opportunity to use every bead in the packet.  I didn't want to leave a single bead out of this project!

My process of designing is not to be rushed, to lay the beads out so that I may consider sizes, shapes, colors.  I prefer necklaces that are in longer lengths and this allows me to use chain and extenders, incorporating yet another layer of texture, color, shape to the overall design elements.

Here, then, are five photographs of the necklace I created for this challenge:

for your consideration:

Artisan Crafted Gunmetal Finish Necklace with
Hand Made Ceramic and Lampwork Beads
Designed by Laren Dee Barton of Laren Dee Designs

Necklace measures 26 inches in length with 3 inch extender in high quality gunmetal finish cable chain link.  Extender has wire wrapped beads to hang down the neckline.

Necklace comprises one large soft red focal bead with scrolled design, approximately 19mm, and two medium sage green beads, approximately 15mm each. These are hand-made ceramic pottery art beads by Natalie Pappas of NKP Beads. 

Additional beads include four cream natural fossil and two soft red howlite beads, all 12 mm in size. Four multicolor and vividly patterned lampwork beads are included, as well.  Smaller natural stone beads in sage green and cream carry the necklace upwards to metal bead stations, connecting to high quality gun metal chain link. Lobster clasp and extender complete the look of this one-of-a-kind crafted necklace.

"Thank you for looking - have a wonderful day!" 
-Laren Dee Barton

Bead Packet Design Challenge #2 Blog Hop Reveal

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Welcome to Artisan Whimsy's Owl Challenge

Submission by Laren Dee Barton,

Category: Jewelry, Necklace


Little Hooty Owl is a handmade ceramic from Marla James of Marla's Mud, an Etsy shop. The six red medallion beads are handmade ceramics by Lisa Lilly Hughes of Huzee's Beads, an Etsy shop, as well.

Necklace was designed October, 2012 without knowledge of this upcoming challenge.  It is my pleasure to enter it for your consideration.  It was my desire to make the necklace holding Little Hooty Owl feel very organic and tree-like, that this necklace make a strong statement of Earth, Nature and Animal. Additional photos and the materials used in this design are included in the following photographs and conclusion:

Little Hooty Owl measures 1 3/8" x 1 1/2".  The drop of the entire pendant section is 2 1/4 inches, wire wrapped and permanently attached to the body of the necklace.  High quality antique brass chain is secured with hook and loop closure.  Necklace is strung with all natural stones, natural betel nut round tube beads, red faceted crystals and brass metal spacer beads. Necklace measures 30 inches in length. A 2" extender has a wire wrapped bead hanging down the neckline.

Little Hooty Owl is available for purchase at Laren Dee Designs.

Thank you - have a great day!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Inspirational Bracelets of Faith

One of the things I love designing, is jewelry that provides the wearer an opportunity to display their faith in a quiet, subtle manner.  Anyone can wear large glaring crosses that are blinged out from top to bottom, but a lifetime of faith makes it difficult for me to warm to those.  They are, after all, just for fashion.  I believe faith or spirituality is a quiet and very personal gift we are given.  In that light, I would like to share with you some bracelets of faith that I made this week.

The antique brass crosses are two inches in length.  They are gently curved so that they fit the wrist very comfortably.  I used lobster clasps and a small amount of chain on the opposite side of the bracelet for closure and adjustability.  

The first grouping of five crosses were made using a variety of natural stone in soft colors, dark brown variegated Czech beads and faceted crystals:

The final four bracelets were designed using different colors of magnesite in green or blue shades with a matrix, and in a variety of shapes; coin, round, octagon and flattened oval.  I was equally pleased with the results:

I like this grouping of all four together:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Melodee Projects - Done!

I get a real kick out of my daughters because they love jewelry as much as I do.  Daughter Melodee loves to dress up for work, looking professional and sharp.  Sometimes her wardrobe has a flare for the dramatic, too, with a bustier under a jacket and five inch heels in animal print.

When she has a chance to come to my studio to see what's new, she'll say, "Let's go shopping, Mom!"  

Months ago when looking through my 'stash' of beads, she found a white jade Buddha and said she had to have it.  Looking further, she spied a brass metal dragonfly and said she had to have that, too.

Finally, after a summer full of designing new pieces for my inventory at Laren Dee Designs, I turned to those projects and said, "now!".  Here is a photo of what I chose to do with the Buddha: 

I wanted to keep the design light in weight, quiet with a soft nature about it.  I used white beads in three different shapes and then chose the lampwork beads that had just recently arrived in the shop.  Although difficult to see, they are very dark green with white on smooth round beads enhanced with antique silver end caps.  I felt the completed piece turned out well as a inspirational design.

Turning to the dragonfly was a entirely different direction in design.  It needed to be light-hearted, fun, reflective of sunlight while hanging in Melodee's car from the visor mirror.  I chose one lampwork floral bead in a black background surrounded with white flowers with yellow centers.  Yellow faceted crystals were the obvious choice to highlight the yellow in the center of those lampwork flowers.

I found a leaf in good proportion to the dragonfly and envisioned him flying while holding it.  And it was a natural to hang three individual crystals from the leaf, as if they were droplets of sunshine falling down onto a pond below.  

Now that these two designs are done and she will be receiving them in a few days, my next concern will be wondering what she will find next, that she likes!  At least in the meantime, my Melodee Projects are done, along with a few others, as well.  Phew!