B’Sue Boutiques Build a Line Challenge, Susan Bowerman, Woodside WireWorks

Deck out that Denim

Meet Skittles Bowerman, Woodside WireWorks Quality Control Director…inspecting the line.

A few years ago, my creative life changed with a simple mouse click. I was perusing Pinterest for inspiration and discovered a red-headed firecracker named Brenda Sue Lansdowne. She was making the coolest necklace out of buttons. Buttons!   And it was bursting with tropical colors. She grabbed some buttons, dabbed them with glue, and stuck them on a blank. While she was making it, she chatted, giggled, talked. I felt as if I had known her for years. Here was a woman who was fun, made groovy stuff, had an authentic voice and her quirky, inviting down home style, captivated me. The end result of that video was a show stopping, stinking cute necklace. We had to order pizza that night because I watched videos ALL.DAY.LONG. I was hooked and soon joined the B’Sue Boutiques Creative Group on Facebook. Here are some pieces I’ve made for my “Deck Out that Denim” line, most of which were inspired by those videos I watched so long ago.

These are the first pieces made for my "Deck Out Your Denim" line.  I love how the mixed metals play off of each other.

These are the first pieces made for my “Deck Out Your Denim” line. I love how the mixed metals play off of each other. This is the lower tier of my pricing pyramid. They are simple, elegant pieces, which will make an outfit pop.

As I sat there, watching the first video, I thought, “I can do that,” and placed an order from B’Sue Boutiques. I about assaulted the mailman until it came! Then came the glue part. I’m a glue stick kind of girl. Holy Guacamole! The stuff I tried to stick kept sliding all over the place while Skittles, my crazy cat kept walking through it. My “eureka” moment lost its shine during those first futile attempts at assemblage.

Meanwhile, I joined a few other jewelry groups on Facebook. Oddly, for some reason the only one I participate in is the one I had no business being in!  These were mixed media artists, something I hadn’t even attempted. Up until then, I only made beaded jewelry. It never crossed my mind to use glue and patinas and all the stuff these folks use with ease.

Here's another part of my denim line.  I love that Lion and Rose Ox filigree from B'Sue Boutiques.  Picture this on a simple shirt.  It's going to pop!

Here’s another part of my denim line. I love that Lion and Rose Ox filigree from B’Sue Boutiques. Picture this on a simple shirt. It’s going to pop!

More of the line.

But, in my heart, I knew I’d be wise to participate…to stay the course.  I fell in love with Brenda, made wonderful friends among the members, and soon nicknamed it “The B’Sue Creative Group and University.” Chances are, whenever I get stuck, and ask a question, someone in that worthy forum will provide a fast answer. Still, I was so out of my league I often felt like quitting.  Plus my life was taking many stressful detours so I drifted in and out, only occasionally participating in the monthly challenges.

When I had this wonderful blank on my table, I kept staring at it.  I've seen quite a few members of the creative group use it beautifully, often embellishing a piece like this a great deal, with many smaller components.  I find these larger forms gorgeous in their own right, and opted to enhance it only slightly with a flower and a dangle.

When I had this wonderful blank on my table, I kept staring at it. I’ve seen quite a few members of the creative group use it beautifully, often embellishing a piece like this a great deal, with many smaller components. I find these larger forms gorgeous in their own right, and opted to enhance it only slightly with a flower and a dangle.

The pull to be part of the group was strong though, I knew I’d be a fool to ignore it. It was if the universe was taking a sledgehammer to my head screaming, “pay attention,” so I did. I realized I would learn much, be frustrated often, but the learning outweighed the angst and on a deeper level and most importantly, intuitively I knew I found my creative home.  I bore easily and at the creative group, there is so much talent and inspiration. It is an ideal environment for someone who wants to learn, to forge new territory, to create imaginative pieces, and add to improve their skills.  Brenda and the creative group have taught me more than I would have ever learned flying solo.

This is an example of an embellished blank.  Once I add a chain and a clasp it will be finished.  Because I still tend to be "glue challenged," this one was "less than cooperative" to assemble.

This is an example of an embellished blank. Once I add a chain and a clasp it will be finished. Because I still tend to be “glue challenged,” this one was “less than cooperative” to assemble. This piece, and those which follow, are at the top of the pyramid.

When I decided to join in the Build a Line Challenge, a few of my pals made the suggestion that the motivation behind doing something for a purveyor of parts was a brilliant ploy to improve sales. True and so what??? As the child of a self-made man who formed his own company, employed many, and had more integrity than most, I am an ardent believer in free enterprise. Don’t get me started on that! Everyone should be compensated for his or her time and talent. And, to get ahead, one needs to be an innovator, and creator of opportunities.  I would gladly pay a fee to be part of this class.

But, for the cost of a few parts, the lessons our group has taken from this far outweigh what we paid in supplies. Every step of the way, Brenda passionately returned our meager investments, empowering us with her knowledge.   She challenged, encouraged, nurtured, and inspired us, giving us the benefit of her thirty plus years experience in the trade. She gave far more than we did by a long shot. We grew as a group but more importantly, as individuals. We fretted, we whined, we had triumphs, and shared secrets.   Oh, and we were so often resistant to new ideas.   We had passionate dialogues and I’d be sitting at my computer going, “Damn, really?” So many of the things we were mentioning never crossed my mind.

I love this one.  Again, a blank was used along with many embellishments from B'Sue Boutiques.  I am so pleased with how this line is coming together.  I feel like these metals make an amazing statement when used together.

I love this one. Again, a blank was used along with many embellishments from B’Sue Boutiques. I am so pleased with how this line is coming together. I feel like these metals make an amazing statement when used together.

My dad used to say to me, “Susie, have you ever really learned anything with your mouth open?”  I would protest, wanting so badly to drive my point home.  But my dad was wise, he had the benefit of many years more than I had.  Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies.  It is helpful to see a situation through a different lens rather than being stuck in our own stale thinking.  Sometimes I wonder if the stars were crossed the day I was born. Misfit comes to mind, as does dreamer, dabbler, and maker of shiny things.  I was blessed with great parents, who set a good example and forced me to think.   Being part of this experience reinforced my image of myself. I guess you could say I have followed my own path for most of my adult life, but flying solo comes with a price.

This bracelet was made with 6 strands of beads from my stash and bracelet bars from B'Sue Boutiques.  It closes with a lobster clasp for security.

This bracelet was made with 6 strands of beads from my stash and bracelet bars from B’Sue Boutiques. It closes with a lobster clasp for security.

This charm bracelet was made with book chain from B'Sue Boutiques, and some bits and pieces from my stash and some groovy little charms from Virginia Beach Beads.  I love the movement of it.  It closes with a incredibly strong magnetic clasp.  When you "Deck Out that Denim" you can't forget to adorn the wrist!

This charm bracelet was made with book chain from B’Sue Boutiques, and some bits and pieces from my stash and some groovy little charms from Virginia Beach Beads. I love the movement of it. It closes with a incredibly strong magnetic clasp. When you “Deck Out that Denim” you can’t forget to adorn the wrist!

Belonging to a community like this fosters personal power, self-actualization, creativity, and enlightenment. The flow of ideas creates sparks, which become fires. Please if you ever have an opportunity to join forces with a tribe of like-minded souls, don’t wait forever, sitting in the wilderness with a wee book of matches as I did. Rather, jump in, enjoy the ride, and let your creative fires burn.  I will always be a dreamer, it is part of the tapestry that makes me “me” and I am totally good with that, but shared dreams often bear more fruit than do solitary ones.  My husband used to have a saying, ” He’s  like a little fire in the wilderness, cheerful but not too bright.”  I’ve been “brightened” on so many levels by being part of this group.

Look who is napping on the job.  Finding good help is tough these days!

Look who is napping on the job. Finding good help is tough these days!

Please, take a moment to visit the other members of our community. We are on this pilgrimage together. I know they will appreciate your visit as much as I do. Thank you for following each of us on our journey, and if you are so inclined, a comment here and there is always welcome.

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