Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Swaps and exchanges

Bead Soup has arrived!

I got a lovely parcel in the mail today—my Bead Soup for the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party—all the way from Indonesia. It was left by the door while I was dropping the kids off at school and daycare, so I had a lovely quiet house to unwrap it, oohing and aahing to myself as I took photos.

My partner, Jane Pranata Lim, lives in Jakarta, Indonesia. She sent me a wonderful selection of Indonesian goodies, and a few bits and pieces she made herself as well. It all arrived in a batik-patterned box.


First of all, the focals. Not just one, but three! The most amazing is a wooden batik mask pendant. Then there is also a heart shaped pendant with batik motifs. And a stainless steel pendant of a “gunungan”—a symbolic representation of an ancient tree motif. Alongside the three focals above is a piece of pretty batik fabric wrapped by Jane with copper wire. I’m not sure yet whether I’ll use this as part of a bracelet or in a necklace, it could go either way.


The clasp is something I believe that Jane made herself, a copper toggle clasp. I can’t believe it though, I missed taking a photo of the clasp! I’ll take one tomorrow and edit this post, as I really want to get it out there tonight.

And then there are the beads! A selection of different shapes of wooden beads with batik patterns. And a long strand of Java Gudo beads, glass beads from Indonesian bead shop Manik Jawa, owned by another Indonesian bead souper, Lili Krist.


I am really looking forward to working with this bead soup! I love the colours, so different to my normal selection, but so vibrant and exciting! The mask is fantastic, and I’ll write more about the mask style in a later post. Funnily enough, I have always had a thing for masks, and over the years I have collected quite a few of them, from Indonesia, from Venice, from New Orleans, although I don’t have them displayed right now. Thank you Jane!

Now, would you like to see what I sent Jane? She has received her soup now, so I can show you:


I built this soup around the “Bollywood Daisy” toggle clasp and matching connector, which was made by Queensland-based ceramic bead-maker Natalie Fletcher-Jones (Peruzi). I added a polymer clay pendant focal made by Barbara Bechtel (Second Surf Studio), which was the perfect shade of yellow, and a second clasp in bright brass as well as a few tiny brass leaves. And I completed the soup with a selection of colourful beads in coordinating colours. Clockwise from the top left are flat rectangular Czech glass beads in white, purple and yellow, then some smooth organic nuggets of West German glass in yellow and purple, a selection of Czech glass faceted rounds and smooth drops in amethyst lustre, a strand of tiny Czech glass rounds in amethyst shades, and in the bottom left is a mixture of glass beads (might be Czech but I’m not sure) in yellow, purple, green, pink and blue. Finally, I wrapped the package with a length of green sari silk (not shown).

Jane and I will be unveiling our creations on 13 April, so make sure you come back to have a look at what I make then!

Beads, Markets

The Handmade Show

The Handmade Show button

You might remember me saying something last year about making more of an effort to sell my jewellery. Up until now, I’ve only sold a few pieces, largely to family and friends. Last year I took part in a little craft market at my kids’ school, but at that market I mostly sold jewellery to little girls.

Well, at the end of January, I applied to a local handmade craft market called The Handmade Show, and last weekend I was notified that my application was approved for the three dates I requested, in April, June and August. It’s a small market, run by artists, and doesn’t cost a lot to participate. And it’s literally around the corner, I can even walk there!

So now, I need to put my head down and try to make as much jewellery as I can for the next few weeks, as I will be away on holidays for a couple of weeks prior to the show. I just hope that what I like to make is something that people want to buy!

I’ll have more details on the show in a few weeks. In the meantime, I’ll be madly making new stock, finishing off a couple or three challenge pieces, and putting together a nice display. Any tips from the veterans appreciated!

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Red blossom necklace

I have made a personal goal for myself to try to complete a piece for the Art Bead Scene monthly challenge at least every couple of months this year. February’s challenge is based on Heijinja, a woodblock print by the Japanese artist Toshi Yoshida (1911-1995), which features a striking red building, surrounded by softer colours in the blossom-laden tree, the people, birds and so on.

Art Bead Scene colour guru Brandi Hussey pulled out a palette from the print, which features that striking red, plus the softer shades of pinks, peaches, greys.

ArtBeadScene February challenge

Heijinja, 1941
Tōshi Yoshida
Woodblock Print
(Please note this art is copyrighted and is to be used only as inspiration.)

I recently acquired a flower pendant from Australian ceramic artist Natalie Fletcher-Jones (Peruzi) in a shade close to that vibrant deep red colour. I paired it with Czech glass rondelles and rounds in muted shades of red, brown and that denim-y blue seen in the palette above, strung onto a denim blue waxed linen cord and gunmetal chain. A simple pair of earrings in the same colours are also knotted onto waxed linen.

red blossom necklace collage

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Swaps and exchanges

It’s Bead Soup time again—introducing my partner


A couple of weeks ago, I signed up for the biggest jewellery making blog hop of the year—Lori Anderson ‘s 7th Bead Soup Blog Party! It’s my second time taking part … click here if you want to see what I made in BSBP6!

The premise of BSBP is to swap a carefully thought out bead soup with your assigned partner, including at least one focal bead and a clasp, which must be used in the resulting piece(s). On the reveal date, everyone blogs about the soup they received, and the pieces of jewellery they made. This time, like last time, there are 3 reveal dates spread over three weekends—with more than 500 participants overall, I’ll be visiting blogs for weeks! I’m in the third group, and will be unveiling my creations on 13 April.

Early last week, I was assigned my partner, and we sent our soups off to each other .


This time around I am swapping with Jane Pranata Lim, of Cherry Eve Jewelry, a beader who lives in Jakarta, Indonesia. Jane, who is a graphic designer and mum to a 2 year old, in addition to jewellery designer, works mostly with wire, seed beads and cabochons. Jane’s blog Cherry Eve Corner shows some really beautiful wire-wrapped and beaded pieces! I’m really looking forward to seeing what she sends me.

As for what I sent Jane, here’s a sneak peek! I can tell you there are a couple of main colours featured and the clasp is quite special!


Come back in a week or two, to see what we sent each other.

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

A matter of balance


Today is the reveal day for Tracy Statler’s Wellness Words jewellery challenge and blog hop.

In Tracy’s words:

Choose an inspirational word or phrase in an area of your life where you want to make positive change.  Make sure your words truly represent something you want to work on.  Don’t choose a word because it looks good, is popular right now or someone else thinks you should choose it.

Incorporate your words into your design.  It does not have to be complicated.  Perhaps simple is better.  That way you may want to wear your jewelry more often so you can be reminded of your words and focus on the healthy change part of this challenge.

My word is a word I keep coming back to:


My life at the moment is not balanced. I have three children ranging in age from 3 to 7. The two girls are have just gone back to school, my little boy starts kindergarten (preschool) next week. I have a (very) part time job that I fit in around school drop offs and pick ups. Then there are after school activities like swimming, gymnastics, ballet, music practice and homework! I love to make jewellery, but that is usually relegated to the evenings and weekends, when I’m not running around to birthday parties and family gatherings. I spend too much time on the computer and not enough time doing things I need to do. I rarely get to bed before midnight, and I am usually up just after 7am, with at least one wake-up to kids in the middle of the night. I ended last year feeling absolutely exhausted. And now it’s all starting up again, with school starting back this week after the summer holidays.

So this is my year to work toward a more balanced life. I know that I won’t achieve everything, but some balance will not go astray. If nothing else I’d like to find a bit of time for me, to take a dance class, go for a walk, anything to make sure that doing the grocery shopping on my own isn’t the highlight of my week!

Enough about the why, let’s move on. I have been playing with clay with my Mum. A couple of weeks ago, we had a lovely day making pendants and stuff out of porcelain clay, including some (hopefully) great leaf-shaped bracelet connectors with my word stamped on them. Unfortunately they’re sitting in the kiln waiting to be bisque fired. So it was time for plan B. After thinking about what I could do with some metal blanks but no stamps, I decided to break out the polymer clay.

Here are the two bracelet connectors I made, using Premo, late last night (nothing like a deadline … thankfully it worked!). I highlighted the word with Vintaj patina ink in Cobalt as it was the only thing I could think of — most of the paints in our house are of the Crayola variety. They’re not super-clean but they have a certain appeal, I think!


I matched the connector to some sari silk from my stash, and added some elongated brass chain. It’s a very simple design, but that makes it more likely I’ll wear it!


I still plan to use the porcelain connectors once they are completed. I made several, so Mum and I will be able to play with different oxides and glazes. I promise I’ll show you what works!

Thanks Tracy, for making me think about what is important to me! And please hop over to some of the other blogs involved! — YOU ARE HERE! — our Hostess!
Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Twilight’s Dawn, a Jewel of Power — the Sci Fi Blog Hop

Most people who know me well know that I love to read. When I was a kid, it wasn’t unusual for me to read a book, sometimes two, every day. These days it usually takes me several days, occasionally several weeks when life gets busy, to read a book. And my favourite genre is fantasy and science fiction. My husband despairs at all of the books I have precariously stacked in my “library”, not to mention next to the bed. Surely if I’ve read them, I can thoughtfully dispose of them, he suggests. Um, no, sorry!

So when Pam Rachelle, aka the Crazier Sister from The Crazy Creative Corner, suggested a science fiction-themed blog hop, I jumped at the chance to combine two of my interests. But that was months ago, and life has this funny habit of getting in the way. Not only have I pulled this together at the last minute, but I’m a couple of days late! Sorry Pam!

Anyway. I’ve read a lot of science fiction and a lot of fantasy, and I’ve got a list of favourites as long as my arm. But a series I have been devouring recently kept creeping to the top of the list—Anne Bishop ‘s Black Jewels books. I’ve read all of them (there are nine so far, starting with the Black Jewels Trilogy and ending up with a volume of four short stories and novellas called Twilight’s Dawn) in the last couple of months, and I have to say I have thoroughly enjoyed them. Magic, romance, and a decidedly dark, sensual slant have enthralled me. If you are a lover of fantasy, I’d highly recommend them!

A key element of this series—and probably what has inspired me here the most—is the source of power for the Blood, a race of magic-wielding humans whose strength and position depends on the colour of the jewel they wear. There is a hierarchy of colour ranging from the weakest—White—to the strongest—Black. At the centre of the series is Jaenelle, the Witch-Queen who has been born to cleanse the realms of tainted, twisted power. Her Jewel is Ebony, blacker than black, but she destroys it in the process of removing the taint, and is given another Jewel—Twilight’s Dawn—which appears to display different colours at different times.

And it is this Jewel that kept drawing me back to this series when I was thinking about what I could make. I’ve been combing through my stash looking for a suitable bead I could use, and coming up with nothing. I’d almost decided to try something different. And then, at the last minute, in the local craft store, I came across the perfect bead, a large facetted glass flower, with a reflective coating on the back to create a spectrum of colours playing through it.


As this is a Jewel of Power, used to work magic, I felt it needed to be wearable, rather than an ornate necklace of state. I chose to mount it on a black brass filigree flower (from Fallen Angel Brass), and hung it from a black Vintaj Arte Metal chain, with a deep pink faceted crystal and some smaller lavender crystals highlighting it. The chain is delicately etched, but quite sturdy.


See what I mean about those colours?

Anyway, I’m glad I was able to finally post my pieces for this challenge, and hopefully I’ll get to make some more pieces inspired by my favourite books one of these days.

And please visit the other participants in this blog hop:

Melissa Trudinger ~  YOU ARE HERE!