Study in greys: Gemstone and Metal blog hop

It’s reveal day for the latest of Lisa Lodge ‘s blog hops—the Gemstone and Metal blog hop. In this challenge, Lisa sent us several shapes of one gemstone, and a variety of coordinating metal. My selection included beautiful black-veined jasper in coin shapes, flat ovals and rectangular pillows, and some small faceted square pillows, along with three different shapes of silver plated beads and a silver-plated clasp.


I initially knotted a selection of the beads onto deep red waxed linen, but when I looked at the necklace the small pops of red between each bead didn’t do it for me. I needed a bigger burst of colour to contrast with the silvers and blacks of the beads in the kit. That was on Thursday. After digging through my stash both yesterday and today (Saturday), I finally found a small oval red Czech glass bead that was both the right size to go with the jasper beads, and the right colour red to go with the waxed linen. I don’t have a lot of red beads, it’s not a colour I go to as a rule. And I was kind of bummed that I didn’t have an art bead or focal that worked nicely. The intense blacks and silvery-greys of the jasper were more challenging than I thought they’d be!

But this is where the fun really started. First I didn’t like the spot I had put the red bead into, and pulled it apart. Then I forgot a knot between two beads, and couldn’t undo the last knot I had made, so I snipped it all apart again. Then I thought I had enough waxed linen, but came up too short. So all in all, I started over four times today. And I was very glad to have the “extra” day that comes from being halfway around the world (we won’t talk about how long I’ve actually had the kit)!

I finally finished it late this afternoon just as the light was disappearing, so I was lucky to get a useable photo. But I’m interested to know whether you think there is enough colour in it now? I like it, but it could use a few more red beads I think.


What didn’t I use? The small faceted squares and the tiny silver flowers. I’m sure they’ll find their way into something else at some point though!

Anyway, as always, this is a blog hop and there are a whole bunch of other jewellery designers playing along. Please take some time to visit their blogs and look at what they created! And thank you Lisa for a great challenge!

Hostess: Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist

Kim Dworak, Cianci Blue

Marybeth Rich, A Few Words from within the Pines

Karen Grosset Grange, Ginkgo et Coquelicot

Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera

Katrina Taylor, I Wanna Go Out

Ann Schroeder, Bead Love

Kathleen Breeding, 99 Bottles of Beads on the Wall

Terri Wlaschin, Dances in Fog

Margaret Pelech, Big Margaret

Jo-Ann Woolverton, It’s a Beadiful Creation

Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design

Heather Richter, Desert Jewelry Designs

Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn’s Creations

Toltec Jewels, Jewel School Friends

Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes <– YOU ARE HERE!!!

Shaiha Williams, Shaiha’s Ramblings

Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware (May be delayed a few days)

Eleanor Burian Moore, The Charmed Life

Christine Stonefield, Sweet Girl Design

Robin Reed, Artistry HCBD

Laurie Vyselaar, Lefthand Jewelry

Cassi Renee Paslick, Beads: Rolling Downhill

Crystal Thain, Here Bead Dragons

Alicia Marinache, All the Pretty Things (May be delayed a few days)

Becky Pancake, Becky Pancake Bead Designs

Judy Campbell, Macmillanmarie Jewellery Design

Nan Smith, Handmade Jewelry Nanmade

Marde Lowe, FanciMarDesigns

Linda Anderson, From the Bead Board

Leithleach Alainn Seodra, Alainn Jewelry

Lisa E. Prewitt Knappenberger, LiRaysa Designs

Paige Maxim, Paige Maxim Designs


Upcycling for jewellery display

I’m constantly working on my display options for markets and shows. Recently I have been inspired by Tammie Everly‘s upcycled suitcase display, which she blogged about in April. And then a group I belong to, Bead Swap USA, held a Facebook challenge to “think outside the box”, for us to take a plain box and decorate it. As the challenge description said:

You know those little wooden boxes available at all the big box craft stores? Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to go get one and decorate it with whatever medium or mediums you what. You can paint it, decoupage it, felt it, bead it, and mix media it up to your hearts content. You can choose whatever size box you like, with or without a clasp. 

Well, some time ago (maybe a couple of years ago), I picked up a wooden box on the side of the road, someone had put it into hard rubbish. It had a broken clasp and the inserts inside it were also broken, but I thought that I would be able to do something with it. Of course, it then sat there, and sat there, and sat there …


When I started doing shows about 18 months ago, I started to paint it, and then went on to easier things, like trays and papier maché busts. So it sat there some more. And then this challenge came along and I thought, aha!

So I painted it inside and outside, first with a colour called Eggshell (it’s kind of a greyish off-white), and then with a lovely aqua blue called Sea Breeze, which I watered down a bit and also wiped with a sponge to get a streaky translucent effect. In retrospect, I probably should have sanded the outside of the box down, but it’s fine for the intended purpose.


I took some foamcore board and cut it just a bit smaller than the inside of the box—two pieces, one for each side—and covered it with burlap. The pieces just pop in nicely, although I think I will get some double-sided tape and stick them in a bit more firmly. And voila!


I’m undecided what I will display in this box, but bracelets are a good possibility. Or perhaps my collection of resin cufflinks and earrings. I will have to experiment before The Handmade Show next month. And I’ll need to rework my table to fit it in too. Currently my display looks something like this:


Would you like to see some of the other elements of my display sometime?

Leaves and flowers: Art Bead Scene June Challenge

For the My Country blog hop post click here!

Sadly, I didn’t get my entry for the Art Bead Scene June challenge finished in time. The piece was finished, it was the photos and blog post that stumped me! I thought you might like to see it anyway!

The inspiration for the June challenge was a lovely illustration from Victorian era botanical artist Marianne North.

june 2014 - Marianne North - Trees Laden with Parasites and Epiphytes in a Brazilian Garden

Trees Laden with Parasites and Epiphytes in a Brazilian Garden, 1873, by Marianne North, Oil on Paper. Colour palette by Brandi Hussey.

The focal element of this illustration is the lush green foliage, and the contrast of the tiny red flowers. I used a Blu Mudd connector with a leafy pattern and two sizes of green beads , along with some tiny red and white ceramic beads to make a sweet bracelet.

Leaves and flowers bracelet Collage

Visit the Art Bead Scene June challenge recap post to see what others were inspired to make!

Two Trees: My Country blog hop

Canadian bead blogger Nan Smith is hosting the My Country blog hop today (which happens to be Canada Day). We’ve been challenged to use our own country as inspiration to make something, not necessarily a piece of jewellery. Australia is my country of birth and of residence, but Australia is a big country, with a lot of potential inspiration, from the beaches to the deserts, cities to bush and more. So I’ve been thinking hard about what I could do for this challenge.

A few weeks ago, we went away for a long weekend, up in Northern Victoria. The drive up, especially once you get off the Hume Highway, is pretty, passing through farming land and wine country. There’s an iconic rural Australian-ness about the scenery, rolling hills, gum (eucalyptus) trees dotted across the landscape, perhaps some sheep or cattle in the dusty green paddocks. The sky is blue, maybe with some high clouds scattered across it. And the landscape is wide open.

By Matilda at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

By Matilda at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Of course I didn’t get any pictures of the trees at the time, but when I started thinking about this blog hop, the images were the ones I kept seeing in my mind’s eye. So I went looking for some pictures online for you. Here’s another good one! As you can see, the shape is really distinctive.

By Alexander110 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Alexander110 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

With this in mind, I went looking for tree pendants from my favourite Aussie bead maker Peruzi, and found the perfect one. Only, there were two versions that appealed to me, a daytime pendant with the tree against the blue and white sky, and a sunset pendant with a background of vivid oranges and yellows, and I couldn’t decide which one I liked more. So I ended up with two necklaces, each of mixed Czech beads knotted onto walnut brown waxed linen cord. The bead above each pendant is a natural wooden bead made from an Australian timber, although I can’t tell you which one each is made from.

One tree paddock Collage

I’m really rather pleased with these two necklaces!

As I said, this is a blog hop, and there are 25 participants. Please take some time to visit their blogs.

Hostess: Nan Smith (Canada)            

Ana (Portugal)                                       

Rita (Orlando)                                       

Dini (The Netherlands)                       

Robin Reed (Indiana)                          

Lilik Kristiana (Indonesia )                

Karla Morgan (Texas)                          

Karen Mitchell (South Australia)      

Jayne Capps (Oklahoma)                    

Melissa Trudinger (Australia)             <– YOU ARE HERE

Johana Nunez (Puerto Rico)               

Kepi (Alberta)                                         

Deb Fortin (Ontario)                             

Divya (India)                                           

Tammy Adams (Arizona)                     

Kay Thomerson (Texas)                       

Bairozan (Bulgaria)                               

Carolyn’s Creations                               

Lecia Woessner (New Orleans)          

Linda A. (Wash. D.C.                            

Inge Van Roos (California)                  

Natalie (New Zealand)                         

Lori Schneider                                       

Mary Harding (New York)                  

Bouchra Rebai (Algeria)                      

Michelle McCarthy (Florida )             

The Haberdashery Blog Hop: Signups open now

If you’ve been a reader of my blog for a while you know I join lots of blog hops and challenges, it’s a way of making me stretch myself and try new things. Anyway, I’ve had this idea in my mind about a blog hop for quite a while now, and I think it’s time to put it into action!

So, without further ado, I’m introducing The Haberdashery Blog Hop (or Haby Hop for short, we Aussies like to nickname everything)!

Haby hop button

(you can use this image as a blog button, just copy the image to your own blog!)

It’s time to pull out your ribbons and buttons, trims and fabric scraps to create beautiful and unique pieces of jewellery. Pinterest is a fantastic source of ideas—take a look at the board I’ve been putting together for some stunning examples, and a few tutorials too. It can be as simple as adding a beautiful ribbon or scrap of sari silk to your necklace or bracelet, or a complex collage of beads, buttons and more.

Haby hop inspiration

Some examples of jewellery I have made using sari silk ribbon

Take yourself off to your local big box craft store or fabric store and peruse the goodies there. Op-shops and thrift stores can also be a good source, particularly if you like vintage buttons and ribbons. Raid your mum or grandma’s sewing box (or your own if you are a craftaholic). Look for interesting scraps of lace, unique buttons, felt flowers, yarn and embroidery silks, zippers, anything you can incorporate into jewellery! Think of unusual ways to incorporate your finds, and stitch, embellish, string away!

Haby hop supplies

From top left, clockwise, my great aunt’s button jar, a selection of ribbons and fibres, lace ribbon from the scrapbooking aisle, a fabulously decorative (and very large) button.

Some books with good ideas include Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel’s book Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry and Melinda Barta’s Custom Cool Jewelry.

To sign up, email me at melissa_trudinger at yahoo dot com, with your blog name by July 1st. I’ll send out a reminder email a week or so before the hop, and a list of participants too! The blog hop itself will be on Saturday August 2nd, so you have all month to create something fabulous!

I’m excited, are you??

Winners are grinners

I’ve had a pretty lucky run in the last month or two, with my name being pulled out of the hat three times for various things.

First of all, I was fortunate enough to win one of Pearl Blay’s giveaways from her blog The Beading Gem in a redraw when the first recipient did not get back to her. I won $40 to spend at Etsy shop Beadeux, which supplies laser cut blanks for cross-stitched pendants. I chose a rainbow cloud kit, plus a couple of different options for pendants. The kit is great, as it provides embroidery thread and a needle, as well as the suggested pattern, allowing me to get started straight away. I should point out it has been years since I have done any embroidery! But this kit is very straightforward and simple to do and I am already planning what to do with the other blanks. Now, if I could just see to thread the needle!

Beadeux collage

Then I won a draw from Art Bead Scene‘s monthly challenge, which turned out to be two fantastic lampwork beads from The Art of the Bead, Chris Thommen’s shop showcasing both her own and other artists’ beads. The glass donut is by Lea Zinke and the heart is by Susan Elgar.


And finally, I also won a house bead from Tari Sasser of Creative Impressions in Clay for commenting on her recent Art Bead Scene Studio Saturday blog post. Isn’t it sweet?


Thank you very much to all of the blog hosts and donating artists, I will be putting my winnings to good use!

The Ocean Blog Hop

First up, I’m sorry I’m a bit late to the Ocean Blog Hop, a combination of busy times at home and some struggles with the muse mean I’m late to the party. Well, better late than never.

Of course, there shouldn’t really be a need for excuses, as Lisa Lodge, the host of the hop, sent these beads out months ago. Look at what she sent me! Cultured (aka faux) sea glass in two shades of blue as well as orange, vibrant orange impression jasper, tiny mother of pearl heishi and some brass starfish, fabulous stampings that look like coral and some tiny brass beads and a clasp!


So the first piece I made I’ve called Washed Up. It uses some of the irregular sea glass links and the orange beads. I wanted to use an art bead in this piece and I found a great ceramic shell link made by Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Designs, that I think I got in a destash from Lisa a while ago. I tried to use brass link the beads together, but the holes in the sea glass weren’t quite in the right places to hold a jump ring, so I ended up using waxed linen, which kind of reminds me of rope or fishermen’s nets on the beach. I added some barrel-shaped sea glass beads in a lighter blue (that I also got from Lisa) and some orange sea glass rounds.


Then I made some earrings using the brass starfish, and some large aqua blue sea glass charms I got from Lisa a while ago. Very simple, but they didn’t really need anything else!


My third piece is a necklace, although it started out as a bracelet! I’ve called it Out on the Reef. The brain coral stampings are used to connect a little twisted strand of beads. The mother of pearl heishi beads remind me so much of those shell necklaces I used to wear as a kid, and I love the contrast of the deep blue glass and the orange impression jasper. I toyed with using chain for the back half of the necklace, but in the end I used a gorgeous blue sari silk ribbon (from Etsy shop Ribbons and Silk). The blue sea glass shard on one side balances the clasp on the other side.


Thank you Lisa for the lovely selection of beads to play with, I’m looking forward to the next hop in a couple of months! Please take some time to look at the blogs of other participants in this hop!

Ocean Blog Hop June 14th Reveal:

Your hostess: Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist

Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn’s Creations

Ev Shelby, Raindrop Creations

Toltec Jewels, Jewel School Friends (Posting Later)

Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams

Ema Kilroy, Ema K Designs

Candida Elkins Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks

Catherine Yvonne King, Catherine’s Musings

Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes <– YOU ARE HERE!

Shaiha Williams, Shaiha’s Ramblings

Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware (Posting Sunday)

Eleanor Burian Moore, The Charmed Life

Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz

Jill Bradley, Chat 2 Jill

Rebecca Ednie, Eclectic Endeavours

Ocean Blog Hop May 31st Reveal:

Your hostess:  Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist

Christie Searle Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry 

Kim Dworak, Cianci Blue

Marybeth Rich, A Few Words from within the Pines

Karin Grosset Grange, Ginkgo et Coquelicot

Candida Elkins Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks (moved to June 14th reveal)

Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera

Monique Urquhart, A Half-Baked Notion

Katrina Taylor, I Wanna Go Out

Mary Ann Macri Jacobs, Trucksville Crafts

Jeanne Steck, Gems by Jeanne Marie

Ann Schroeder, Bead Love

Kathleen Breeding, 99 Bottles of Beads on the Wall

Marianne Baxter, Simply Seablime Jewelry

Terri Wlaschin, Dances in Fog

Margaret Pelech, Margaret Pelech’s Ocean Blog

Jo-Ann Woolverton, It’s a Beadiful Creation

Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design

Heather Richter, Desert Jewelry Designs

Andrea Glick-Zenith, ZenithJade Creations