Defend and Protect: the Art of Awareness blog hop

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A couple of months ago, Lori Anderson announced a blog hop she was holding with Heather Millican of Swoondimples: The Art of Awareness blog hop. Swoondimples is known for its word beans, polymer clay beads with inspirational word(s) stamped on them. The idea was to choose a cause that means something to you, order a custom bead from Heather to represent the cause through words or colour and make something with the bead.

I thought about this hop for a while, as I found it hard to settle on a particular cause—like everyone, lives in my family and friendship circles have been touched by cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, heart disease and more. I felt that what I chose should mean something to me, and eventually it came to me.

Immunization.

Yes, I know it’s not really a disease, but to me it’s just as important to raise awareness of the importance of immunizing children against the handful of really awful childhood diseases. It’s probably the one thing that will get me up on my high horse! Perhaps a little background will help. I’m an immunologist and microbiologist by degree (although I no longer work as a scientist) and I worked for a number of years for a biotech company developing vaccines against herpes and influenza. I know firsthand what motivates the scientists doing this kind of R&D and believe me, it’s not money (if you think any scientist does research for the money, think again). Put simply, it’s about stopping children from dying from entirely preventable diseases like whooping cough and measles.

Now I know that many people don’t agree with me, and I am not writing about this to start a debate (so please don’t leave me nasty messages), and I’m not going to get any further into the politics of vaccines and immunization. If you are interested about the issues, I do urge you to watch an award-winning Australian documentary made a couple of years ago, that does a pretty good job of presenting the debate. It’s called Jabbed and you can find snippets of it on YouTube, and the full version on SBS On Demand (SBS is one of our public television networks here in Australia) among other places. And that’s where I am going to leave the issue of the motivation behind my choice.

Anyway, when I decided on immunization as my cause, I looked to see if there was any kind of official awareness campaign, but as far as I can tell, there is not, at least not in the way that diseases such as breast cancer have specific colours and ribbons and so on. There are events like National Immunization Week in the US, but they don’t have the high profile campaigns that some diseases have. Instead I chose to create my own. I picked lime green for my bead colour (partly because that was one of the colours used in one of the events I came across) and I came up with the words Defend and Protect to stamp on the bean. I also chose not to have a ribbon stamped on the back.

I toyed with the idea of creating an immunization superhero for my design, but sadly, I’m not capable of drawing something like that. So in the end I put my bead into a bracelet with some equally bold colours—orange and light purple to go with the lime green—and strung on waxed linen. And here is the end result.

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Now, this is a blog hop, and there are a bunch of people taking part, so go and have a look at what they made and why. I can guarantee you’ll find some really interesting stories! Here’s the list:

CandidaCastleberrywww.spunsugarbeadworks.blogspot.com

Lori Anderson www.PrettyThingsBlog.com (hostess)
Heather Millican www.facebook.com/swoondimples (bead artist)
mischelle andrade https://micheladasmusings.blogspot.com
Paige Maxim http://delightfullittlegems.blogspot.com/
Laurie Vyselaar www.lefthandjewelry.wordpress.com
Marybeth Rich http://forestofjewels.blogspot.com/
Alice Peterson www.alice-dreaming.blogspot.com
Kim Dworak http://www.cianciblue.blogspot.com/
Audrey Bélanger http://esperianterra.blogspot.ca/
Karen mitchell www.overthemoon-design.com
Joan Williams www.lilrubyjewelry.com
Jean Wells jeanawells.blogspot.com
Ann Schroeder www.beadlove.wordpress.com
Gail Accinelli facebook.com/oregonmadejewelry
Tania Spivey www.moobiegracedesigns.blogspot.com
Mallory Hoffman http://rosebud101-fortheloveofbeads.blogspot.com/
Mary K McGraw mkaymac.blogspot.com
Shai Williams www.shaihasramblings.com/
Beth Emery storiesbyindigoheart.blogspot.com
Catie Doman http://drcatie.blogspot.com
Lorelei Eurto Http://lorelei1141.blogspot.com
Lee Koopman www.stregajewellry.wordpress.com
Tammy Adams www.paisleylizard.com/blog/
Katie Nelson https://www.facebook.com/katiebead
Patty Miller http://pattymillerbeads.blogspot.com
Chris Eisenberg www.wanderware.blogspot.com
Cassi Paslick http://badatbeingmom.blogspot.com/
Charlee Griffith https://www.facebook.com/charlee.griffith
Kelli Nelson www.afamilyaffarekelli.blogspot.com
Catherine King http://catherines-musings.blogspot.com
Melissa Trudinger beadrecipes.wordpress.com <– YOU ARE HERE
susan Bowie https://susanbowie.wordpress.com
Jennifer Justman www.soulsfiredesigns.blogspot.com/
Cassi Paslick http://badatbeingmom.blogspot.com/
K Hutchinson http://jumbledhutch.wordpress.com
Veralynne Malone www.veradesigns.blogspot.com
Evie and Beth McCord http://ebbeadandmetalworks.blogspot.com/
Mihaela Georgescu http://michellemaya2005.wordpress.com
Rebecca Anderson Www.songbeads.blogspot.com
Charlene jacka www.clay-space.com
Kim Stevens www.pickingpoppies.blogspot.com
Susan McClelland Mistheword12.wordpress.com
Sally Russick www.sallyrussick.blogspot.com
Gina Hockett www.freestyleelements.blogspot.com
Mona Arnott bijouxgemsjoy.blogspot.ca
Sandi Volpe www.sandivolpe.com
Andrea Glick http://zenithjade.blogspot.com/
Janine Lucas http://www.esfera.me/travel/blog/travel-stories
Lori Bowring Michaud www.artfullyornamental.blogspot.com
Christie Murrow Www.charisdesignsjewelry.blogspot.com
B.R. Kuhlman www.mixedmayhemstudios.com
Lupe Meter www.gesmpccorner.blogspot.com
Lucy Bejarano www.lucybejaranojewelry.blogspot.com/
Stephanie Perry www.mustardbeadbystephanieperry.blogspot.com
Elisabeth Auld www.beadsforbusygals.com
Carolyn Lawson www.carolynscreationswa.blogspot.com
Heather Powers www.humblebeads.blogspot.com
Katie Hacker www.katiehacker.blogspot.com
Kepi Rasmussen www.kepirasmussen.blogspot.ca 
Gail Vanderster-Zwang www.angelmoose.blogspot.com
Elizabeth Hodges http://thewhisperingseas.blogspot.com/

Bead Peeps Swap’n’Hop

The day has arrived for the Bead Peeps Swap’n’Hop reveal. This blog hop is hosted by Linda Anderson and the Facebook group Bead Peeps, and like other bead soup-style blog hops, participants were paired up and asked to exchange a selection of beads including at least one artisan-made bead, a nice clasp and some coordinating beads.

My partner this time around is Niky Sayers, a UK-based designer and metalsmith who makes the most fabulous jewellery. I’m really looking forward to seeing what she has made using the bead soup I sent her. She treated me to a lovely selection of artisan goodies including some of her own delicious goodies—a clasp, a connector and a bead made from coins, and more.

Swapnhop soup

The first piece I made featured the gorgeous chocolate clay and turquoise heart focal made by Gaea and the 6mm serpentine rondelles. I added some Czech glass coins and flowers and some supersoft chocolate brown deerhide lace, which simply ties into a bow at the back of the neck.

Turquoise heart necklace

Next up is a pair of earrings featuring two Kylie Parry birds—not quite the same, but similar—perched on top of Niky’s sweet little copper mushroom headpins. The earwires are antiqued copper from The Curious Bead Shop.

Shroombirds earrings

And then finally is a rather special necklace I’m calling the Bowerbird, after the Australian bird that collects all sorts of bits and bobs to decorate its bower to entice a mate. I’ve created a necklace featuring a collection of bits and bobs from my art bead hoard, all linked together.

I’ve used several things from the soup, including two of Niky’s coin components (the copper farthing-based clasp and connector), as well as the enamel script bead by Blue Antiquities, the aqua Karen Totten beads and the Bo Hulley fly connector. Niky’s connector features a lampwork headpin by Jennifer Cameron in deep pinky purples and yellow, which goes well with the pink and yellow lampwork beads from Michelle Mahre. A Gaea love nest bead plus the coordinating beads from the bundle, and a Gaea rainbow wave bead are also in there, and I’ve also included a Humblebeads polymer clay house bead and a tiny charm from Jade Scott. Rounding out the art beads are 2 copper beads with a violet patina, two copper rings with a violet patina and two antiqued copper rings, all from Miss Fickle Media. Finally, I’ve added in tumbled fluorite nuggets and a selection of Czech glass beads in a variety of shapes and colours.

Bowerbird collage

The resulting necklace is an eclectic collection, that I think would happily grace a bowerbird’s nest, or my neck! It was super-hard to photograph in its entirety though!

Bowerbird necklace

Thank you Niky for sending me such a delicious soup! I still have a few pieces yet to use, and I’m looking forward to finding the right pieces to feature them in. And thank you to Linda and Bead Peeps for hosting the hop! There are loads of participants listed below, so pick a few to go and visit!

Finally, if you’re looking for a new blog hop challenge, consider my Epic Inspirations Blog Hop, which has a reveal date in early June.

Bead Peeps Swap N Hop 2015  Partner List

Our Hostess: Linda Anderson       http//:fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com

Linda Anderson                               http://fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com
Marica Zammit                                 http://www.beadlovelies.com

Linda Anderson                                http://fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com
Jessica Hocutt                                  https://faithfamilyandadventure.wordpress.com

Kristina Hahn Eleniak                      http://www.peacockandlime.wordpress.com
Debbie Jeffries                                   http://wordpress/debrasdivinedesigns/blog.com

Rosantia Petkova                              http://bairozan.blogspot.com/
Shalini Austin                                    http://jewellerybyshalini.co.uk/my-blog/

Catherine La Vite                             http://drygulchbeadsandjewelry.blogspot.com
Annica Larsson                                 http://zestyfrog.wordpress.com/

Lori Schneider                                  http://beadaddicted.blogspot.com/
Divya N                                              http://www.jewelsofsayuri.com

Mowse Doyle                                    http://mowsemadethis.blogspot.com
Fay Wolfenden                                 http://torchfairy.blogspot.com

Kathy Lindemer                               http://bay-moon-design.blogspot.com/
Claire Fabian                                     http://saraccino.blogspot.de/

Janice Warden Bergeron               http://thejewelryroom.blogspot.ca
Natalie Davidson                             http://www.northshoredays.com

Deb Fortin                                         http://www.studiok24.blogspot.ca
Inge von Roos                                  http://ingetraud.wordpress.com

Karen Mitchell                                  http://overthemoon-design.com
Robin Reed                                        http://willowdragon.blogspot.com

Marie Covert                                     http://thistledown-and-swaddlings.blogspot.com/
Alicia Marinache                              http://www.allprettythings.ca

Nan Smith                                         http://www.wirednan.blogspot.ca
Johana Nunez                                   http://artincendi.com

Kelly Hosford Patterson                 http://travelingsideshow.blogspot.com/
Lori Blanchard                                  http://alainnjewelry.WordPress.com

Sue  Kennedy                                    http://suebeads.blogspot.com
Shai Williams                                    http://shaihasramblings.com

Niky Sayers                                       http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk
Melissa Trudinger                            https://beadrecipes.wordpress.com  <– ME!

Candida Castleberry                        http://www.spunsugarbeadworks.blogspot.com
Erin Guest                                          http://www.renlish.com

Nicole Rennell                                  http://nicolerennell.com/blog
Ien Temaluru                                    http://ienmaginationsjewelry.wordpress.com

Robin Showstack                             http://heartsdesiresjewelryforyou.blogspot.com/
Sam Waghorn                                  http://palemooncreation.blogspot.co.uk

Marianne Baxter                              http://www.simplyseablimejewelry.blogspot.com
Elsie Deliz-Fonseca                          http://ladelizchica.blogspot.com

Shai Williams                                    http://shaihasramblings.com
Lee Koopman                                   http://stregajewellry.wordpress.com

Jayne Capps                                      http://mamasgottodoodle.blogspot.com
Marti Conrad                                    http://marticsclay.blogspot.com

Tina Bosh                                          http://bookbug-somanybookssolittletime.blogspot.com/
Eleanor Thomas                               http://woolywireetc.blogspot.com

Jeanne Steck                                     http://www.gemsbyjeannemarie.blogspot.com
Gloria Allen                                       http://www.wingsandbeads.blogspot.com

Rachel Mallis                                    http://www.mintmonarch.com/#!blog/c1jlz
Andrea Glick                                     http://zenithjade.blogspot.com/

Stephanie Stamper                          http://skwds.blogspot.com
Chris Haussler                                  http://pixybugdesigns.blogspot.com

Betony Maiden                                  http://www.beadwenches.blogspot.com/
Kari Asbury                                        http://hippiechickjewelrydesign.com/blog/

Jenny Kyrlach                                   http://anafiassa.blogspot.com/
Colleen Foley                                     http://colleenfoleycreations.blogspot.com

Marybeth Rich                                  http://forestofjewels.blogspot.com/
Marcy Lamberson                           http://www.StudioMarcy.blogspot.com

Dyanne Everett-Cantrell                http://www.deelitefuljewelrycreations.blogspot.com
Ginny Lones                                      http://www.Skippingintotheunknown.blogspot.com

Maria Rosa Sharrow                       http://willowstreetshops.blogspot.com
Loretta Carstensen                          http://designsbyloretta.blogspot.com

Dolores Raml                                    http://craftydscreations.wordpress.com
Michelle McCarthy                          http://www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com

Louise McCormick-Glazier           http://jewelrytreasuresbylouise.blogspot.com/
Heather Richter                               http://desertjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com

Tammy Adams                                 http://www.paisleylizard.com/blog/
Shirley Moore                                   http://beadsandbread.blogspot.com

Seed Beaders

Susanne Stelljes                               http://pearlify.blogspot.de
Sheila Prosterman                           http://catswithbeads.blogspot.com

Pallavi Asher                                     http://kalaabhushan.blogspot.in/
Jami Shipp                                         http://celebratinglifewithdamamashipp.blogspot.com

Peggy Kosier                                     http://www.kosydesigns.blogspot.ca/
Andra Weber                                    http://andrasjoyfuljourney.blogspot.com

Catherine King                                  http://catherines-musings.blogspot.com
Krafty Max                                        http://kraftymax.com

Sierra Barrett                                    http://giraffecanhas.wordpress.com
Lois Sherwood                                 http://thiznthat5454blog.wordpress.com

Katy Heider                                       http://onthepondcreations.blogspot.com
Rebecca Robertson   (White)        http://morganafeycreations.121hub.com/

Heather Richter                               http://desertjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com
Brandy Collier                                   http://bhjewelry.wordpress.com

Stephanie Haussler                          http://www.pixybugdesigns.blogspot.com
Lori Blanchard                                  http://alainnjewelry.WordPress.com

Kathleen Breeding                           http://99bobotw.blogspot.com
Becky Pancake                                 http://beckypancakebeaddesigns.blogspot.com

Renetha Stanziano                          http://lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com/
Tami Norris                                       https://jewelrybytami.wordpress.com/

Ginger Bishop                                   http://lilmummylikes.blogspot.com/
Peggy Johnson                                 http://charmbarn.blogspot.com

Epic Inspiration Jewellery Design Challenge and Blog Hop

Epic Inspiration Blog Hop badge

I think you’d have to have been living in a cave in the last few years if you’ve missed the wave of Epic TV that has been filling our screens. From Game of Thrones to Outlander, Black Sails to Vikings, Downtown Abbey to Poldark, and more, these shows are lavishly filmed, gorgeously costumed, and rich in inspiration for jewellery design.

So, I thought the time was right to have a design challenge and blog hop inspired by Epic TV. Of course, almost as soon as I thought of the idea, Heather Powers came up with her Game of Thrones challenge, but we talked about it and decided there was enough scope in TV series out there to inspire a dozen blog hops!

If you’re after a starting point for inspiration, may I suggest you check out the official site for your favourite show, as they often have fantastic galleries of pictures as well as links to special features on sets and costume design and so on. There is a myriad of fan blogs and tumblrs for shows too, which can be a great source of inspiration and images taken straight from episodes.

Take my favourite show, Outlander, a period drama (with a splash of time travel), set in 18th century Scotland, based on the first in a series of books written by Diana Gabaldon. It features spectacular scenery and fabulous sets, and the costumes are rich in details and authenticity. The official Starz Outlander website has loads of pictures and videos providing inspiration. And costume designer Terry Dresbach has a gorgeous blog featuring details of the costumes and her own inspirations (I particularly like her posts on the materials used in Claire’s wedding dress—that exquisite metal embroidery!!—and the amazing eye brooch in Geillis’s costume for the Gathering). There isn’t a huge amount of jewellery worn, other than Claire’s wedding ring and a pearl necklace given to her by her new husband, so I know I’m going to have to dig deeper for inspiration.

So. Onto the blog hop. The rules are simple:

  1. Sign up here by commenting on this blog post (if for some reason you can’t leave a comment here, my email address is on the About page of this blog). I’ve put May 3rd as the date to sign up by, but I’m not really going to turn anyone away.
  2. Pick your favourite TV series. Or more than one if you like. It doesn’t have to be a fantasy or period setting, you could choose Revenge or Empire or something like that. But let’s stick to TV—movies can wait for another hop.
  3. Design at least one piece inspired by the series, by the characters or the setting, the costumes or the story, even a particularly inspiring line from the show.
  4. On June 6th, publish a blog post featuring your piece(s), and tell us about your favourite show and how it inspired you, who might wear it (if it is for one of the characters) and so on.
  5. Hop around and check out what others have made. You never know, you might find a new favourite!

Feel free to copy the image at the top of the post to use as a button.

Daenerys’ dragons: Game of Thrones Jewellery Challenge

A couple of weeks ago, Heather Powers suggested that we do a challenge based on the fantastic world of Game of Thrones, the book series by George R. R. Martin and the TV series from HBO. And as a long time reader of the books and fan of the TV series too, I just had to join in.

I had a couple of ideas, but so far I have only managed to put one of them together, thanks to a busy schedule and school holidays. I plan to use the other two for an upcoming blog hop (stay tuned for an announcement of that hop in the next week or two).

For today’s piece I was inspired by Daenerys of House Targaryen and her dragons. Although the dragons were thought to have died out long before the last Targaryen king ruled in Westeros, his exiled daughter Daenerys was given three fossilized dragon eggs on her marriage to Khal Drogo. When her husband died, she placed the eggs on his funeral pyre, and then walked into the flames to claim the newly hatched dragons.

(Image from fanpop.com)

(Image from fanpop.com)

Daenerys wears shades of icy blue and silvery grey and, at least in the early seasons, not a lot of jewellery, other than some wonderful armbands. I am looking forward to seeing what her style becomes as she moves to reclaim her birthright. In the meantime, this bracelet features a Green Girl Studios dragon egg, as well as two beaded beads in shades of aqua and silver made by Rebecca Anderson of The Curious Bead Shop, which remind me of the dragon eggs. The icy blue and silver Czech glass peanut beads also come from The Curious Bead Shop. I love the matted, almost pitted texture of them, almost like stone.

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To see what other participants in this jewellery challenge have made, visit Heather Powers’ blog for the links.

Bead Peeps Swap’n’Hop: You’ve got mail!

A lovely package showed up in my mailbox yesterday, all the way from England. A bundle of awesome goodies from Niky Sayers, my partner in the Bead Peeps Swap’n’Hop. And she has totally spoiled me with goodies!

Here’s what I saw when I opened the package …

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Then after the letter was removed:

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And here is what was in those intriguing packages!

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So, the big heart in the middle is a Gaea ceramic heart in a lovely soft aqua on chocolate brown clay. To the right of the heart is an awesome enamel scrip bead from Blue Antiquities, a pair of ceramic beads by Karen Totten and a fly connector by Bo Hulley. Below the heart is a trio of tiny lampwork drops by Laura Sparling — they are like little double droplets. Over on the far right are 4 faceted fossilized coral coin beads plus 2 fossilized wood  beads. A strand of Serpentine rondelles, again in shades of aqua and copper.

And then there are the gorgeous components made by Niky herself! A pair of copper mushroom headpins, a copper roll bead and a copper safety pin (I have plans for you, little pin!). And finally some coin-creations: a sixpence bead, a farthing clasp (I love the little wren adorning the coin!) and a farthing connector featuring a headpin by Jen Cameron! Oh I love Niky’s coin components!

The colours Niky has picked are absolutely me, and I can’t wait to get started with these beauties! I’ve already got some ideas rattling around my head.

Reveal day is 2 May. It’s sooner than you (and I) think!

 

Meet my Swap’n’Hop Partner: Niky Sayers

Swapnhop button

I’m taking part in the Bead Peeps Swap’n’Hop, a riff on the popular “swap beads with a partner and make something”-style blog challenges. I was thrilled to discover that my assigned swap partner is Niky Sayers of Silver NikNats. Niky is a super-talented, self taught jewellery designer and metalsmith in the UK.

I’ve been following Niky’s blog for a while, and I just love her work. We share a love of art beads, among other things. And I wish I could do the things she does with metal and gemstones!

She has been playing with old coins, making fabulous lockets, pendants and clasps from shillings and sixpence and farthing coins, which she sells on Etsy. I love how she combines the old coins with the sparkly gems.

Niky Sayers lockets

And I love this set of rings she made recently for Sally Russick’s Make a Statement Challenge, using one of Jen Cameron’s headpins.

Niky Sayers rings

Her earrings are tiny works of art, inspired by—and indeed fit for—a princess. This pair was inspired by Cinderella.

Cinderella earrings

So now I’m looking at my own collection of art beads and thinking about what I could send Niky. I’ve got a few ideas, and hopefully will have something in the mail for her by the end of the week. Can’t wait to see what you’ve picked out for me Niky, I’m sure it’ll be amazing!

 

 

We’re All Ears: Floral February

This month’s We’re All Ears inspiration over on the Earrings Everyday blog comes from a series of mixed media collages featuring watercolour paintings with fresh flowers by Malaysian artist Limzy. Aren’t they stunning!

LimzyFlowergirlsCollage7

The first pair of earrings was inspired in part by my favourite series of books (and now TV series) Outlander (or CrossStitch as it was called in Australia and the UK) by Diana Gabaldon, about an English woman who travels back in time to the days of the last Jacobite rebellion in Scotland in the mid-1700s. Her journey back in time is triggered as she reaches to pick blue forget-me-nots at the base of a standing stone in the Scottish Highlands. They are on handmade copper earwires from Rebecca Anderson and feature Czech glass flowers and waxed linen.

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The second pair is a dainty pink pair for my daughter’s best friend. It’s fun to think that over the next few years as my girls get older and start wearing earrings, I’ll be making earrings for them and their friends too! This pair is on sterling silver for sensitive young ears and again feature Czech glass flowers.

Dainty pinks

Pop over to Earrings Everyday for links to other participants in the monthly blog hop!