Tuesday Tips - A Colorful Find! The Beader's Color Palette

I had been looking for a color inspiration book for years.

Now I know there are a ton of color books on the market but none of them were right for my needs. Then, while doing my usual thumbing through the bead/craft section I stumbled on The Beader's Color Palette.


It helped me with several projects right off the bat not even related to jewelry creation.

I highly recommend it for anyone that could use some color help or just some inspiration with using color in their projects.

From their website:The Beader’s Color Palette: 20 Creative Projects and 220 Inspired Combinations for Beaded and Gemstone Jewelry opens the door to worlds of color inspiration. Gather colors from around the planet and to create stunning color schemes for beaded creations. Gorgeous beaded jewelry illustrating 220 specific palettes for glass and gemstone beads make The Beader’s Color Palette a coffee table book of inspiration for color lovers working in every medium. Includes detailed instructions for stringing, finishing, looming, and off-loom stitches.

Flash Back Friday - Peek Inside My Old Jewelry Studio

Being organized has never come easy to me. Not in my work or my personal life.

Over the years I have begun to develop an evolving system of storage and a functional workspace that fill my needs.

It has always interested me how and where other artists worked and I think I used to compare myself with them and sometimes feel badly that I didn’t have a “cool, funky, artsy” workspace. Like that made my art less creative somehow.

Now, being older and hopefully a bit wiser, I focus on myself and have begun to embrace and love how and where I create.

I know now that art is no less important if you are creating at your kitchen table instead of a fancy studio.

Below are some tips and suggestions that have worked for me…it is ever changing and I am very open to other ideas on ways to tweak my process and surroundings.

One area I have a constant struggle with is functionality vs. aesthetics. Sometimes I tend to be very black and white…all function…leaving no room for visual inspiration.

So now I buy things that make me smile. Things that are functional and pretty. At times that means re-purposing items and getting a little creative…but it’s totally worth it!

1. I had a constant issue with my tool storage…I fly quickly between tools and needed a simple way to access and store them in a small space.
I purchased this mesh box (I love mesh) at an office supply store and it has worked perfectly! All of my tools hang on the sides and I placed a glass in the center to hold pens, brushes, skinny tools, etc…

It also works great for me to hang earrings on that are in progress.
I put it on top of a folded placemat which keeps it from moving. Also the dark color of the mat shows any dropped findings.
By raising the tools up (they used to lie flat) I can see them better and it gave me the perfect spot in front for easy access to my steel block.

2. Plastic drawer units have been great for all kinds of storage in my studio. Here is an example of my baggie storage…it is quick and easy for me to find just the right size and keeps everything neat. I purchased a small label maker from an office supply store and love having neat storage signs. It makes me feel good to have everything so clear. I also use these drawer units to store beads and other supplies.

3. A great decision…which was actually a happy accident…was for me to use compact, student computer desks for my work. Now these probably wouldn’t be great if you do heavy duty wire and metal work…but for my purposes, they have been wonderful.
I purchased both of them at an office supply store and they cost between $45-$66 I believe.

I like them because they are compact and space saving. Also, I love the shelf that is supposed to be for a computer monitor. It keeps supplies at eye level but off of my work area. The drawer that is meant for the keyboard is also useful for small, frequently used findings and supplies.

I have used two trays and reused small boxes and those round, stacking, screw on, clear plastic containers…separating the lids and bottoms. It was sort of like a puzzle but once I got them to fit (using a variety of shapes and sizes) it has functioned perfectly…and I think it looks cool.

I purchased a twin sized velour blanket at a discount department store and cut a work mat for the desk. I also cut a piece for under the trays on the pull out shelf to keep them from sliding around. The light color velour is a great work surface. It protects stones and it keeps small beads from rolling away. Plus I have plenty left over to line drawers that hold delicate supplies and to refresh my work mat when it gets dirty from metals and vintage items.

4. When I work I like to keep everything that I use on a regular basis within arms reach. I have found that for the safety and care of my back and neck it is very important to be thoughtful in my work area planning. I try not to have to reach too far and like to be able to keep my arms in close to my body when I work.

5. This is my desk for my metal clay (PMC) work.
I love this set up! Because the desk is small and compact, I am able to leave my materials out all the time which saves me time and effort when I need to work.

It fits in a tiny corner of my studio…right next to a window and everything I need is close at hand.

The monitor shelf is useful here because it supplies additional storage underneath. The pull out keyboard drawer is the perfect spot for items I need nearby but don’t use often. Most of what I use for my PMC work is small and fits in little bins or baskets.

This area was one of the first where I began buying pretty items for storage. I had some fun trips to a very popular discount department store where I found decorative ceramic trays to hold small containers and cutters, plates to hold my frequently used tools and bowls to hold a variety of other items as well as a basket that was supposed to be used for utensils but now separates and organizes my baggies, tags, hole punches, ribbon and cards.
When I sit down to work here it makes me happy to have real, everyday items that I find attractive and fuels my creative spirit. I think it makes it easier to stay organized too when you like where you work!

Custom Music Tattoo Design

This was kind of a different request from me. 

Clients Description Request:
"maybe" 3 shrunken heads of generic rock stars, not ghoulish but iconic. Maybe crossed drumsticks or instruments behind, or ?

I'm looking for fresh Ideas. On the upper arm and colors a little muted, just off bright. Must say ...  Musician Headhunter. It's a business that helps musicians network. I'm doing a tattoo as a celebration of the business.

Custom Infinity Children's Name Tattoo Design

Parent/child tattoos are special to me and I LOVE when I get to see the finished piece. I really liked how clean and fluid this design came out.

Clients Description Request:
Looking for something I've never seen before! I want boy’s names on or around my wrist w/unique design elements! I am looking for a unique way to tattoo my two boy’s names on my wrist.  It can either be a bracelet or just on the inside of the wrist.  The boy’s names are Clark and Jack. 

I was originally thinking of just the text - but adding some design elements might be cool.  Unfortunately everything I have seen seems to be too girly (for the boy’s names).  On the opposite end of the pendulum - I don't want it to be too manly due to the fact that I am a mom. Therein lies the challenge.  I am open to multi colors and/or only black ink.  I am open to all types of designs - as I am looking for something I've never seen before.

Client feedback: Thanks for the submissions! They are fantastic... I could see them on my wrists! They are what I've been looking for - unique, and worthy of both me and the boys. Thanks again!

Tattoo Quote from Vince Hemingson

"If the body is a temple,
then tattoos are its stained glass windows."

- Vince Hemingson

Check out his beautiful photography by clicking here

Revelations: When Lightening Strikes, Write it in a Book!

I seem to have my best, most useful ideas at the most inopportune times!

Like when I'm driving or when I am about to fall asleep and don't want to move or even at the movies.

My ideas generally come at me like a tidal wave, a runaway train or a pot boiling over. It can feel involuntary and take on a life of it's own...but just as quick and hard as they come, if I don't write something down they can leave and fade away.

Take yesterday. I was on the highway and an idea for something related to my business hit me like a ton of bricks. I knew if I didn't write at least one key word down it would be gone in a flash. I reached next to me to grab a piece of paper out of my notebook and when I held the paper I had just pulled out in front of my face...I realized I had accidentally ripped out a page from a book I was reading. Aghh!! Not what I meant to do.

I know that I can't be trusted with notes on little pieces of paper...they never make it where they are supposed to and my desk just ends up cluttered with scraps that don't make sense.

Because of this, I like to write things in bound notebooks.

I was thinking about my commitment to blog on a regular basis and thought a dedicated "blog idea" journal sounded like a good idea. That way, instead of staring at a blank computer screen trying to instantly formulate some clever post, I will have a book full of ideas and topics to use.

So now I have a pretty journal with a pearl metallic cover to collect ideas, notes, stories and other random blog related stuff! 

Custom Ragdoll Tattoo Design

This was very fun to draw!

Clients Description Request:
Detailed rag doll on its back all back but with blue button eyes. I would like a unique rag doll tattoo for my upper leg. I want the rag doll on its back as tho its falling. It is to be high detail and all black but with blue button eyes.  A mouth is optional maybe a zipper or stitch. I do not want it to be scary.   

Client feedback:
Wow I love the design. Exactly the sort of thing I’m after. I will be very happy with them thank you lots for everything.

Tattoo Quote from Dave Navarro

"My skin is my canvas. The artwork on it represents something that is very powerful and meaningful in my life. I look at my skin as something of a living diary because all my tattoos represent a time in my life. And I never wish to shut the door on the past, so I carry it all with me."

- Dave Navarro

Custom Tattoo Design of the Four Elements

It's so much fun to work with clients all over the world! 

Clients Description Request:
Sorry for my poor explanations, my English is not very good.  (from France)
I like skate, snowbaord, punk, Rock and Ska musics (does it really helps ??) I'm looking for a modern style tattoo on my shoulder/scapula. I'm trying to draw it since 2 years, and I can't find the perfect drawing I'm looking for. Thanks to become maybe my personal tattoo designer, I'm waiting for your ideas Looking for a modern and unique tattoo representing the 4 elements: Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire in one logo with something like Peter Aurisch artwork style I would like a colored one, and not only black inked one. Not flashy colours, but something discrete, modern... Well, Something sober and hi-tech designed

Client feedback:
Yesss.... ! I love your drawings ideas!!! Ouaw, I'm really enthusiastic.  I like your art, it's really so nice, I really hope you'll get my perfect first tattoo !! I think you found the perfect drawing. That's it :o)
I'm really, really, fascinated by the result of your work

A Tattoo Quote from Virat Kohli

I love tattoos. And mine symbolize who I really am. I have a Samurai on my left arm. At a subconscious level, I connect to this warrior and model myself on his discipline, skills and honour. There is also a tribal tattoo and a Chinese symbol of faith. I have seen a lot of people getting tattoos just because it's a trend.

- Virat Kohli

Custom Tattoo Design for Chest with Hearts, Wings and Stars

When a design request is so open, it can sometimes be hard for me to pin-point a place to start. For some reason, with this client, I just pictured this heart with the laces. Not sure why it came into my head...but I LOVED it when it was done. Wish I could have seen this one completed. 

Clients Description Request:
Full women’s chest tattoo. Open to colors, designs. I'm looking for a tattoo to cover the top of my chest from inside shoulder to shoulder, collarbone to top of breasts. I'd like to possibly incorporate skulls, but not too masculine or cartoonish. Stars, hearts, wings or even flowers, but I'd like the design to be fluid.. I'm not dead set on a certain design, just looking for something original and awesome. I am open to any colors because I'm pretty pale and most come out bright. Even grayscale or incorporating color with black and white is acceptable.

Client feedback: The heart is absolutely perfect. The best. The heart just blew me away with the laces. Amazing work!!! You must have pulled an idea out of my head I didn't even know I was looking for! Hit the nail on its head. I love the stars and how the wings come from the side of the heart. Honestly all these submissions are just amazing. I love everything you have coming my way.

December Birth Month Flower - Narcissus


The birth month flower for December is the Narcissus (Daffodil).

Narcissus or Daffodils symbolize new beginnings…and and end to winter.
They can also represent clarity, renewal, creativity and inner focus.  

Other flowers connected to the month of December are holly and poinsettia.

This was a different take on a traditional Daffodil that I did for a client in a very loose, water-color style custom tattoo.

Custom Family Tree Tattoo Design

I love doing family tattoos. They are always so meaningful. Here are two of the variations I did for this client.

Clients Description Request:
Tree of Life with names of wife and kids in it. Looking for a Tree "Tree of Life" Tattoo with the names Lindsay, Taylor and Cash in it. The names could be branches, the trunk, make the tree itself. I would not be opposed to the names being external from the tree too. It would be a shoulder, arm or fore arm Tattoo. Do not have a preference of BW or color.

A Tattoo Quote from Warren Ellis

“When I got the tattoo, I knew I was drawing a crooked line between myself and society.” 

- Warren Ellis, Crooked Little Vein

Custom Heart and Lettering Tattoo Design

Clients Description Request:

An open heart shaped by the phrase, Le coeur ouvert a l'inconnu. I want my tattoo to be a French phrase, Le coeur ouvert a l'inconnu. This means, the heart opens at the unknown. I want it on my side near my hip, not my lower back and not on my hip. I'm thinking more of it wrapping from the lower back to the side/front along the hip, but nothing very big at all. It will be my first tattoo. I was envisioning the shape of a heart that is open at the bottom and the shape of the heart is formed in scroll of the words of the phrase. I want it delicate and feminine, thin lines and not too many colors. I'm not sure I want colors at all but I'm open to a touch of color with brown or black. Super delicate and thin line of text;  more wispy than solid. I want the sideways heart to be more abstract than a straight heart. The top line would be formed by the text itself. The bottom by shading. Super light and delicate. Hope this helps and thanks!

Tattoo Quote from Angelina Jolie

Usually all my tattoos came at good times.
A tattoo is something permanent 
when you've made a self-discovery, 
or something you've come to a conclusion about.

USA Today interview, July 17, 2003

Custom Addition to a Wrist Tattoo

Clients Description Request:
Right around the wrist! Adding to current Themes: Football (soccer), World Travel, Music, Family
See what I currently have on my wrist. I want to add to it so it goes fully around my wrist/lower arm. The current tat is about 9cm in length so I’d like it that length all the way around my wrist.

The current tat is of a football club (soccer). I would like something to do with my travels. Maybe a world globe with a star or something on the countries I've visited? Completely up to you though.

Things that can be added to fill in space, music notes? Something to do with football (soccer) ...themes are Football (soccer), World Travel, Music, Family

Hope this give you a bit of freedom. Looking forward to seeing what you can come up with

Client feedback: ...well done.

Custom Tattoo Design for a Mom of Son's Name

A simple design for a mom.

Clients Description Request:

Wrist tattoo of son's name. I’m looking for a wrist tattoo idea of my son's name, Takeo. It’s Japanese & it means strong like bamboo. Definitely want bamboo in there somewhere, maybe the lettering or something. 

The Magic of Tattoos

When the designs are chosen with care, tattoos have a power and magic all their own.

They decorate the body but they also enhance the soul.

- Michelle Delio

Half Sleeve Battle Custom Tattoo Design

I was so happy with how this custom tattoo design came out. It was one of my favorite pieces of art… with the lacing up the back. This is a great example of how I collaborate with my clients. He gave me lots of feedback and suggestions, which really helped me draw exactly what he wanted. I would have LOVED to see this one completed.

Clients Description Request:
Detailed Anglo Saxon shield wall 1/2 sleeve , got a feeling it'll be for the more experienced artist.
Right arm wrist to 3 inches above elbow. No colour please just shading. I would like some text as a part of the tattoo, at the bottom round the wrist I would like" UBIQUE QUO FAS ET GLORIA DUCUNT" this means, everywhere with right and glory we lead. That is my old regimental motto  (I'm ex British army) this text could be in like a scroll type format, but open to ideas? The main design of the tattoo is a Anglo Saxon shield wall. With Anglo Saxon warriors in full battle dress with overlapping shields going around my arm with their feet starting just above the text( just above my wrist). For details of how they looked, please search "1066 battle of Hastings Anglo Saxon shield wall" further up the arm I'm prepared to let u experiment a bit. Maybe a sky full of arrows or a battle in the distance, or just woodland, I’m not 100% sure so please feel free to go crazy. Many thanks I'm very excited. Just an idea also would be king Harold standing behind the shield wall, clutching his face with a arrow in his eye (that's how he died at the battle of Hastings)

Client feedback:
:) hi Pam :) this is fantastic. Think this looks really good! Just what I was picturing in my head!! At the back of the arm could the bit the text is written on be made to look like its tied together? Nothing to complicated perhaps just a bow or a knot, and a slightly bigger hill. (this battle was known for being on a hill just down the road from where I live).

 Yes!! that looks bloody brilliant, what u think? I'd say with the laces all the way up! I think we have ourselves a winner!! Thanks. Cheers Pam, great work. :) 

A Custom Tattoo Design Using Kitchen Utensils

This was a fun design.

Clients Description Request:

Looking for creativity in the kitchen! "Mise En Place" utilizing kitchen equipment and produce ingredients. I am a food and wine lover, and enjoy displaying my passions on my personal canvas. I have been trying to design (with fail) a tattoo saying "mise en place" but using kitchen equipment, produce ingredients and such to spell out the letters. I am up for any colors you'd like to utilize, and would like it to be small and located on my foot across the top near my toes. (So the "m" at the beginning of the text would be near my pinky toe and the "e" at the end of the text would be around the middle of my toes or so.

Tattoos as a Personal Message

“Getting ink felt right, like it would help her put her life in order, to move forwards. It was her body, despite the things that'd been done to it, and she wanted to claim it, to own it, to prove that to herself. She knew it wasn't magic, but the idea of writing her own identity felt like the closest she could get to reclaiming her life. Sometimes there's power in the act; sometimes there's strength in words. She wanted to find an image that represented those things she was feeling, to etch it on her skin as tangible proof of her decision to change.” 

Custom Bird Tattoo in the Style of Artist Ralph Steadman

This custom bird tattoo design was done in the style of artist Ralph Steadman who is a bit edgy and graphic. I LOVED doing this design. I only wish I had seen the completed tattoo because I think (when done right) ink splatters and lines like this make really cool tattoos.

Clients Description Request:
Bird is the word. I've spent the past 6 months at a wild bird rescue facility and want to get a tattoo to commemorate a truly life changing experience. I'm looking to get a tattoo of my two favourite birds that I worked with: Brown pelican and a Common murre.

Black and grey please. I don't have a set location for this tattoo. No text please.

I'm not set on getting both birds,Uhg, I wish I knew more what I wanted…haha. I guess I'm just looking for something maybe a little different, or abstract. My favourite artist is Ralph Steadman - he does some pretty weird stuff. The purpose behind this tattoo is in memory of my time at a bird rehabilitation center that mostly deals with oiled birds. The center is in California near the water so that could tie into it. 

Client feedback:
Awesome! Thanks! These are outstanding 

Words and Lettering Custom Tattoo Design

 I so identify with all of the words my client requested! I thought this was a really pretty way to incorporate them into a meaningful tattoo. As far as the finished size of the tattoo, I did suggest it be slightly larger or that maybe the ribbon would have to just be pink without the black outline. You have to be careful with skinny areas like that. They can close over time.

Below is the lettering without the ribbon.

Clients Description Request:

I would like it to be smallish, sexy, readable, individual, creative J I was thinking of either getting a tattoo on the left side on my ribs (just under my armpit) or on my left shoulder blade. I would like it to involve text (the words that means most to me) which are family, courage, love, faith, strength and dream (doesn't matter if strength and dream are not in the tattoo, but the others I would like in text in the tattoo). I was thinking of maybe a cursive but easily readable sort of text. The colour I was thinking is a light colour so it doesn't stand out as much such as light blue or pink, (but 1,2 colours max) but still want it visible. I don't want the tattoo to be huge, maybe within a 15cm by 15cm, can be smaller. Would like it to be creative,  P.s. the smaller the tattoo, the better :-)

Frozen Beauty Custom Tattoo Design Add-on

 What a lovely testament between a mother and child. I love doing add-ons to existing tattoos. This is the final design and a close up of some details. You can see her request description below. I looked up the meaning of the name Ryan and it seemd it means "little king" or "kingly" so I did a tribal crown...kind of in the style of her existing tattoo.

Clients Description Request:

Incomplete blue rose representing beauty and love that never dies. A testimony to the love I now keep for my son. I got this tattoo done and never finished it because I ended up buying a house and falling pregnant. A minor distraction. The concept was the rose being blue and it's beauty being frozen in time, that real beauty never fades and is different to the norm. I would also like my son to be added in some way. His name is Ryan James. My love for him will also never die. I have no idea what to do with this. I feel like what I have now is just a stencil for something better. It's on my right upper arm. Not sure about colours yet either. The blue will need to redone as it's faded a lot.

Client Feedback:

Wait, I love the crown idea! That's beautiful. I like how you've added the extra blue in there too. Maybe try a purple colour?  I'm really taken with that. :)

Squares in your Tattoo Design and Suggested Symbolic Meanings of Squares

Squares and rectangles are solid and fixed by nature. They seem to have more stable meanings like balance, strong foundation, safety, security and order.

The four sides of the square can also symbolize a group of meanings like
Summer, winter, spring and fall
Earth, water, fire and air
East, west, north and south
Sun, moon, planets and stars