BSBP Bead Hoarders Edition

I have done many Bead Soup Bead Parties and I have to say it’s one of the best things I have ever done. I have connected with so many fantastic creatives over the years thru this wonderful blog hop hosted by Lori Anderson.

This time my partner is Maria Rios, who sent me a beautiful focal and coordinating beads.  I decided I wanted to do a multi strand necklace. I knew one strand would be a piece made with my lucet that I purchased from Cooky Shock. I was practicing with the lucet creating a chain, but had no idea what I would use it for…well the color and texture were perfect for the pendant that Maria sent me. Next I decided I wanted to add some leather or silk and a hand knotted cord with the beads.  I am really pleased with the way it came out.  My three cords did not line up the way I wanted so I have knotted the ends together and will add a length of chain with  simple toggle or lobster clasp.


I can’t wait to see what everyone else created. Please check out the list of the participants at Lori Anderson’s blog and check out the BSBP pinterest board.

To see what everyone else created click HERE, enjoy!

Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month Reveal July

I was so fortunate to get picked for the Art Jewelry Elements July monthly challenge.

Lesley Watt aka The Gossiping Goddess provided use with gorgeous ceramic pendants, you  can find similar pendants in Lesley’s shop THEAElements.  

I’ve been busy organizing my studio and getting rid of items I don’t need. It was fun to design a new piece and I decided to use a tutorial I had sitting on my Pinterest board, which is a tutorial from Cold Feet Studio.   I knew I wanted to try making this chain.   So practiced on copper then on to sterling.  I am happy with how it turned out.  I was going to use more pearls, but I could not ream bigger holes, I need an electric bead reamer.  The pearls that I loved using with it barely fit 22g wire and I was not happy with that for the entire design.

I just love the pendant that came my way and was able to match some pearls and glass beads with it. I made the chain and the clasp. Trying to decide if I am going to polish it up more or leave the heat patina on it.

Please check out Art Jewelry Elements  and the participants below to see what everyone else created, you will find so much inspiration.

Thank you Lesley and the team at Art Jewelry Elements for all the inspiration!  Thanks so much for stopping by I hope everyone is enjoying some lazy days of summer.




Inspiration and Action a Creative Guide

I am so grateful to be walking this path as a creative, but it isn’t always easy. The wealth of information at our fingertips is truly overwhelming.

I feel like I am finally cracking the code of inspiration and action. We all need some inspiration, but we also need to take action.  Last  year I started  listening to podcasts with Tiffany Han  and wow, they are full of inspiration and I feel like in my head I am saying yes, yes yes.  Many of these podcasts motivated me to get to doing the work, but I felt like I needed more.

I had been following Marketing Your Creativity by Lisa Jacobs, but I wasn’t engaged.  Finally Lisa’s voice reached me, resonated with me and I felt like I had a coach in my corner and the marketing savvy that I lacked.   I am a maker, I love making, but marketing seemed elusive.  I felt like I knew what to do, but it was like a diet I was not following it.  I have to say I am not sure why it all seemed to click, but I think it was because I was ready and willing to change they way I am doing things.

I would be remiss if I didn’t add the tool that really has helped with my process is,  using the Bullet Journal by Ryder Carroll. I have always kept a notebook for as long as I can remember, a steno, a legal pad, my levenger planner…the brillance in Ryders system for me is the index and collection pages.  I have my small bright orange leuchtturm bullet journal that I carry everywhere, the color makes me happy and I can add notes easily. I also have a big levenger planner for business and blogging that I am numbering pages and keeping an index.  Writing down the actionable steps, not just a to do list has really helped me move forward.


Bullet JournalI have always loved simplicity, so finding inspiration,  action and  a tool to use, I know I will have a great 2016.   So I challenge you to find the one person that inspires, one person who helps you take action and a tool to help keep you on track.  Let me know where are you find inspiration, action and the tool you use.

If you fail to plan you plan to fail. Ben Franklin.

Sandi Volpe

My post contains an affiliate link to the journal that I use, my blog will only contain links to  products  that I personally use and recommend.








Photographing your Jewelry, how I learned to take better pictures

I have been making jewelry for several years and I have finally found my style and what makes my heart sing.

I sell very well at the small trunk shows that I do, but I knew that to get to the next level I had to up my game in taking photos of my jewelry.

I have taken some great pictures, but they were hit and miss. I love taking pictures in natural light, but I needed to come up with a consistent way to take great photos and spend more time creating.

I first went to a photographer friend’s house for pointers and she convinced me to nail down the indoor set up with my tent and lights and stick to a gray background.

Pictures definitely improved, but I did not quite have my settings right.  I went  back to the shop where I bought my camera and finally got my settings and the light set up figured out.

What a game changer.   The texture and the color are spot on. Often times our pictures don’t do our handmade jewelry  justice and if someone is buying online they need to.

So, my top 3 tips would be to

  • set up your tent and lighting
  • use a gray background
  • get to know your camera settings

There are plenty of diys on making a light box, which I did initially, but when my camera broke I purchased a pop up light tent. I bought my camera and light tent at Ace Camera in Ashburn, Virginia. I highly recommend this store they have great staff and were helpful with all my questions when I bought my camera and last week when I was trying to get my lighting right.

My pictures were taken with a Nikon D3100,  ISO 400 f/5.6 with 1st picture  1/60, 2nd  1/40,  and final 1/50.

I still love taking photos outside on a cloudy day, but love the results I got after putting in some time to learn what settings to use. What are your favorite photo tips?


Simply Sterling Pendant

One of a kind enamel pendant

Pink enamel earrings

Back in the Studio and Wine and Design Workshop at ArtSpace Herndon

I am finally back in the studio creating and it feels great. I kicked off this fall by participating in Herndon’s Art Crawl in October, it really re-ignited my creative flame.

It was fun to chat about my work and I have a clearer vision of what I want to make.  I have two upcoming events in December.

I will be joining Mary Sears of Glorious Goblets at her open house on December 4, 2015 and December 5, 2015, please email me if you would like more details. I will be featuring both a customized pendant and earring bar, where you can select the perfect color combination just for you or as a gift for a friend.


Copper Pendant


I am also teaching a Wine and Design workshop at ArtSpace Herndon on December 8, 2015 7-9 p.m.  In class you will be designing a metal pendant or earrings, by hammering the metal and shaping the metal and adding beads to it. It will be a fun and  fast paced class, no experience necessary.

For more information and to register click here.

Wine and Design Pendants



Body, Mind and Soul

I have had this blog topic on my mind for a very long time. I am a firm believer in moving my body and getting exercise.  I find that when I exercise, it clears my mind and feeds my soul.

I also find when I exercise I eat better and sleep better.  I love walking outside, beautiful scene taken on my walk today!

I am going to give you my top 10 tips for  moving and what I have learned along the way.

I would love to hear about your exercise routine and please feel free to ask any questions.

Before you start any exercise program, please make sure you have been cleared by your doctor.


Lake Anne Canoes

  1. Do something, thats right just get moving, walking, biking swimming.  Start where you are and add as you get stronger.
  2. Make sure you have comfortable shoes, go to a running store to get fitted properly, the wrong shoes will create problems…shoes or equipment is an investment in your health.
  3. I always regret not working out, so I try to make sure to get it in even when my schedule gets crazy.
  4. Find a friend,  I was  a runner, but  after knee surgery 2 years ago I could only walk, so I started walking with friends. It is a great way to catch up and I am moving.
  5. Don’t over due it, if you are tired take a recovery day, your body will thank you and your gains come during recovery.
  6. Plan your work outs for the week. I try to get 3-4 classes in at a local gym and 1-2 walks a week. If the weather is bad or too hot I walk in my house or go to a mall.
  7. Involve your kids, both human and furry if possible. When my boys were younger I would run to a playground and then they got to play.
  8. If you get injured, rest  and ice your injured body part.
  9. Thermacare warm patches are always in my house, they are great to wear on my back all day if I have overdone it and my muscles are tight.
  10. Have fun, find something that you enjoy doing and you will stick with it.

Move your body to clear your mind and feed your soul!


The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
-Mark Twain 




Creating with Cabochons

Sally Russick is one of my first beady friends that I met in class at ArtBliss, she is inspiring and creative.

I signed up for the creating with cabochons challenge with good intentions, but chickened out in completing  my plan.

I have a gorgeous cab by Kerry Bogart and I am afraid I will mess up setting it, so it sits on my workbench waiting to be finished.

I chickened out, mainly because I have not had a torch out in so long.

I am posting my in progress project and hope to get my torch out and practice so I can finish and have a beautiful new pendant.

Cab Challenge


If anyone is local and wants to coach me thru my fear or face time me, please let me know.

Thanks for coming by, and please stop by and see all the fabulous creations by the other participants.

Sandi Volpe-You are here.


The Art of Awareness Blog Hop

I am so happy to be poking around in the studio again. Thanks to Lori Anderson and Heather Millican for sponsoring this blog hop.

Every day we have no idea what another person is going through.

I decided to pick  Carpe Diem as one of my beads, because every day is a gift and I want to live it to the fullest.

I decided to pick Namaste which means I acknowledge the divine in you, for more information check out  the information on yoga journal.

This year has been a difficult one for my family, but I feel blessed everyday by the beauty that surrounds me and the souls I see and touch every day.

I walk with friends several times a week and it has been become a highlight of my week and great therapy…I highly recommend it!

I hope you have a beautiful day and thanks for stopping by.

My beads are a work in progress. Carpe Diem has a knotted head pin and a lamp work bead by OutWest.

Namaste is in the works, I really wanted to make a bracelet with the word going across the wrist…finally decided this morning that tab setting it would give it a base to

make it the way I envision it. They will both go on leather.




Holiday Ornament Swap and Focus on Life Ornate

I love doing the ornament swap that Sally Russick hosts and was lucky to be paired with Linda Landig this year.

I love the ornament Linda sent. Linda made the stone snowflake and topped it with a beautiful lamp work bead.

photo 1 (5)

 For  Linda’s ornament I wanted to make a stained glass type star.

When that was not working I reached for this molten star made by Sharon Palac and left over from my bead soup.

I love the way Sharon added the bit of glitter.

The lamp work I got thru a Bead Fest swap and I am not sure who made it,  although I think it is Jan from Molten Mayhem.

I started pairing art beads and decided the blue lamp work reminded me of a beautiful winter night sky and I added sari silk to finish it.

photo 2 (1)

To you and yours I hope you have a wonderful Holiday spending time with family and friends.

A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Take a look at the other beautiful ornaments. Thank you Sally and Linda, the perfect challenge for the end of the year.

I have also participated in focus on life with Sally this year and I have had a hard time keeping up, but wanted to try and post for these last weeks.
 I was lucky enough to be flying with my son to Florida and we saw the most amazing clouds and sky so I decided to choose it for my picture this week.
The clouds were thick and had amazing shapes, the picture does not quite do it justice, but I think nature is so amazingly beautiful and ornate.
photo (16)


Walking this year and Focus on Life Week 46-Faithful

I am finally coming up for air after a very difficult summer and fall.

One thing I started doing this year is walking with friends.  A couple of friends had challenges at work to see who got the most steps. Weekly now I have walked with many friends before school during the week, early in the morning on the weekends and even at soccer games.  The walking and talking has deepened my friendships and made this year so much easier to manage.

We frequently walk the paths by my house that have creeks. Lately we have seen a blue heron  on our walks.  This week I felt like it was posing and we were able to get close enough to take a picture. I love that I have such peace and tranquility that is near me.  I have had faith in my journey this year and try to take it one step at a time.  Have a great week.




Heron in flight