Mr Frog jumped out of his pond one day

Mr Frog jumped out of his pond one day
And found himself in the rain
Said he, “I’ll get wet and I might catch a cold”
So he jumped in his pond again.

This nursery rhyme inspired a necklace recently. Actually, this rather fabulous bead inspired the necklace.

GGS Frog bead

It’s a pewter bead by Green Girl Studios, which has a frog on each of the four faces, alternating up and down. It was sent to me as part of a Bead Swap-USA exchange by Diana Keever, along with a bead soup containing all sorts of goodies to match, including a green raku ceramic donut by Olivia Dowdy Brown. As I played with the beads, the green donut, which has a lovely swirly texture, became a pond, and the frog bead jumped out of it. Some clear and white crystal beads dangling from the frog became raindrops. And I knotted a selection of the lovely soup beads—jade, dyed agate, carnelian, malachite, jasper, Czech glass—above the donut. The clasp is a dragonfly, because dragonflies and ponds and frogs all hang out together, right?

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Did I tell you I love frogs?

How do you like your blogs served?

I’m sure most people know by now that Google Reader is shutting up shop at the end of this month. I was pretty bummed when it was announced as I have quite a list of blogs that I like to read on a regular basis.

Anyway, I’d like to let you know that there are a few options out there if you want to keep reading via an RSS feed. Personally, I’ve switched to Bloglovin, it has quite a nice format that is easy to navigate, it gives me a daily update on what’s out there, and it gave me a nice big fat button to put on this blog to let others add it to their feed. It will happily import your Google Reader feed too. And I love that it has an iPhone and an iPad app.

Here is a link to follow me with Bloglovin, just to make it easy for you!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

There are a few other readers out there too, Feedly is one of them that is a bit more traditional, and NewsFire is a Mac-oriented RSS feed. They mostly have apps too, so you can read your blogs on a tablet or phone. And there others, try a few out and see which one works for you.

If you prefer, you can also subscribe to receive an email each time I update this blog, which is generally not more than 3-4 times in a week. There is a box there on the right which you can use to do that.

And if you’re a WordPress user, you can opt to follow through the WordPress reader.

J-Lynn Jewels’ Summertime Color Challenge

Last night I entered a necklace into J-Lynn JewelsSummertime Color Challenge, which has been running this past month or so on Facebook. Janice Everett, of JLynn Jewels, gave us a choice of four images for inspiration. I picked the owls, no surprise there!

Here is my entry. It features a beautiful ceramic owl pendant from Spirited Earth, and some more of those lovely sea glass beads in blue and lavender. When I saw the beads and the pendant together it was a match made in bead heaven. I added a couple of sweet antique silver beads and finished it off with antique silver chain. The clasp was from a swap I did with a friend (more on that swap in a day or two!).

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This necklace is for me, I just love it!

Boho Bird Jewellery is on Facebook!

I finally got a page for Boho Bird Jewellery up and running on Facebook  a couple of nights ago, and I’m astonished to see more than 60 likers already! It’s made me realise that I need to get an online shop going, so I need to really get my Etsy page up and running.

In the meantime, you can buy anything in the albums Bracelets, Necklaces and Earrings on Facebook, simply by commenting SOLD under the item you want to buy, or by sending me a message. And you can like my page directly from this blog, using the LIKE button on the right hand side of the page.

I have just put my application in to have a stall at The Handmade Show again in October, November and December—fingers crossed! I didn’t sell a lot at last week’s show, but I did sell a few pieces and made a small profit after the stall fee. There was a slow trickle of people through the venue, and hopefully that will improve over time as the show gains traction.

Here is a picture of my table this time around. I was quite pleased with how it looked and I got quite a few compliments from shoppers as they browsed the stalls.

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Long hot summer just passed me by … the Summer Elements Blog Hop

Today is the reveal date for the Summer Elements Blog Hop, hosted by Toltec Jewels on the Jewel School Friends blog. Now, while it’s winter down here in Australia (and boy oh boy, it’s definitely winter here this week!), the summer has started in the Northern Hemisphere and after the winter they just had, I’m sure it’s welcome! As for me, I’m already wishing it was summer again!

Anyway, the brief for this blog hop was to share something that celebrates a favourite element of summer—Air, Water, Fire, Earth or Spirit. The hop is not restricted to jewellery, it could be  about a jewellery creation, pretty photos, a summer recipe, a campfire song, a craft, family memories, a poem. I thought I would share a couple of things inspired by the summer elements Earth, Water and Spirit.

First of all, summer food! One of my favourite things to do on summer weekends is to get together with friends for an afternoon barbeque, lots of wine, the kids playing cricket or splashing through the sprinklers, lazing the afternoon away. And this salad, from a blog post last year, is a perfect accompaniment. Made using freshly-picked corn and tomatoes from our summer veggie patch, it embodies Earth.

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Then there is the music that reminds me of summer, embodying Spirit and evoking an instant mood. The Style Council’s Long Hot Summer takes me straight back to the long summers of my teenage years. The Kinks’ Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon is a classic. And in this dreary Melbourne winter weather, The Mamas and The Papas classic California Dreaming fits my mood, I miss summer!

Still, I can make jewellery that reminds me of the summer, and especially that all important element of Water. This little set, using a seahorse pendant from SlinginMud, reminds me of the beach.

Summer Seahorse Collage

And here are my Tropical Sunset earrings, with lampwork beads by Genschi. Swarovski crystals, and a sweet little silver palm tree bead.

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Please visit the other bloggers in the Summer Elements Blog Hop!

Toltec Jewels (Hostess)     http://www.jewelschoolfriends.com/
Marlene Cupo                   http://amazingdesigns-marlene.blogspot.com/
Cheri Reed                        http://creativedesignsbycheri.blogspot.com/
Ailsa Cordner                    http://www.bramalfiebeadsetc.co.uk/
Robin Reed                       http://willowdragon.blogspot.com/
Nan Smith                         http://www.wirednan.blogspot.com/
Sherri Stokey                     http://www.knotjustmacrame.com/
Christie (Charis Designs)    http://charisdesignsjewelry.blogspot.com/
Carolyn Lawson                 http://carolynscreationswa.blogspot.com/
Susie Harris                        http://jewelleryjunkie.blogspot.com/
Andrea Glick-Zenith           http://zenithjade.blogspot.com/
Nelly May                          http://smellynelly.blogspot.com/
Melissa Trudinger               https://beadrecipes.wordpress.com/  <- YOU ARE HERE
Dini Bruinsma                     http://angazabychanges.blogspot.com/
Kathy Lindemer                 http://bay-moon-design.blogspot.com/
Cory Tompkins                  http://tealwaterdesigns.blogspot.com/
Robin Reed                       http://willowdragon.blogspot.com/
Gina Hockett                     http://freestyleelements.blogspot.com/
Karen Martinez                 http://www.fairiesmarket.blogspot.com/
Liz                                    http://beadcontagion.blogspot.com/
Jasvanti Patel                     http://jewelrybyjasvanti.blogspot.com/
Solange Collin                    http://www.blog.ahowinjewelry.com/
Gerda                                http://gerdascraftsblog.blogspot.com/
Karla Morgan                    http://texaspepperjams.blogspot.com/
Anindita Basu                     http://alankarshilpa.blogspot.com/
Alicia Marinache                http://www.allprettythings.ca/
Andrea Trank                    http://heavenlanecreations.com/
Mischelle Fanucchi             http://micheladasmusings.blogspot.com/
Tanty Sri Hartanti               http://tjewellicious.blogspot.com/
Shaiha Williams                  http://shaihasramblings.blogspot.com/
Mary Govaars                    http://mlhjewelrydesigns.com/
Becca Sirevaag                  http://godsartistinresidence.blogspot.com/
Lennis Carrier                    http://windbent.wordpress.com/
Regina Wood                     http://www.gina-design.blogspot.com/
Sue Kennedy                     http://suebeads.blogspot.com/
Kathleen Breeding             https://www.facebook.com/99BOBOTW

Some new jewellery for The Handmade Show this weekend

The Handmade Show button

A quick update to show you some things I’ve been working on for The Handmade Show, where I have a stall again this coming Saturday. Hopefully the wintery weather won’t put people off coming, it’s inside and it’s warm! If you’re local to me, come along and have a look!

THS sneak peak collage

The two pendants, in case you’re wondering, are from Peruzi. And those lovely luminous round beads are cultured sea glass, which seems to be all the rage in the jewellery world right now. I love the combination of turquoise and lavender, might have to make something for me along these lines I think!

I’ve got a variety of earrings and a bundle of bracelets for the show too. Here are just a few …

earring collage

bracelet collage

This Sunday is the Summer Elements Blog Hop, and I’ll be posting a set with a real summery feel to it. Pop back in to have look.

I’m planning to get an online shop of some kind set up in the very near future. I’m not sure which way to go, though—should I set up on Etsy along with what feels like millions of other jewellery designers, try one of the lesser-known marketplaces, or use one of the emerging Facebook e-commerce platforms? Advice, experiences and suggestions would be welcomed!

(And finally, apologies for sending a half-completed blog post out into the world yesterday! Hit the wrong button and off it went … eeek!!!)

Victorian Charms — The History Hop 2

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It’s time for the second History Hop, hosted by Leah Curtis. I did this hop last year, creating a necklace and earrings inspired by the Art Nouveau movement. This time around, I’ve focused on Victorian jewellery—specifically English Romanticism and mourning jewellery.

The Victorian era spanned the long reign of Queen Victoria, who ascended the throne in 1837 and died in 1901. Queen Victoria, who was only 18 when she inherited the throne, loved jewellery, and her tastes in jewellery and fashion influenced the world!

Victorian jewellery is classified into three periods: the Romantic period or English Romanticism, which spanned 1837-1860, the Grand Period from 1860-1885, and the Aesthetic Period from 1885-1901. English Romantic jewellery featured stylised and symbolic themes from nature, including flowers, leaves, grapes, and berries, as well as motifs such as snakes, birds and insects. Gold was the prominent metal, but due to its scarcity at the time—the US and Australian gold rushes didn’t happen until the mid-1800s—filigree and other light forms such as chasing and repousse were popular. Gemstones and natural materials including tortoise shell, lava, jet, agate, bog oak, ivory and coral were frequently used. Jewellery was largely still handcrafted during this period.

The increase in English tourism to destinations throughout Europe made jewellery a frequent souvenir, with cameos from Pompei, micro-mosaics from Rome, enamelled plaques from Switzerland and more coming back to England. Cameos had been around since Roman times, and enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the Victorian era, in materials including shell, coral, onyx, carnelian and agate.

Brooches, bracelets and rings were the most popular jewellery forms, in part due to the high necklines and bonnets of daytime fashions. Necklaces tended to be worn close to the neck and ranged from simple chokers, ribbons and chains displaying a pendant or locket to elaborate designs incorporating gemstones and more. Queen Victoria also loved charm bracelets, and would often give her family members charms as gifts.

Mourning jewellery was also prevalent during Victorian times, although it had been around for a few centuries. Hair jewellery was very prevalent, with elaborate woven pieces of jewellery made from human hair, as well as simple lockets holding small locks of hair from deceased loved ones. But mourning jewellery really came to the fore after Queen Victoria’s beloved husband Prince Albert died in 1861. The bereaved queen entered a long period of full mourning, with strict protocols requiring both black dress and black jewellery, utilising dark gems and materials including jet and onyx, black enamel and black glass.

So, after reading as much as I could find about English Romanticism and mourning jewellery I decided to create two pieces inspired by the era, a cameo necklace and a charm bracelet in a dark gothic style inspired by mourning jewellery.

I found it difficult to find images of cameo jewellery specifically from the Victorian era—plenty of cameos, but mostly on fairly simple chains. Most of the pictures I found came from the mid-20th century revival of Victorian style jewellery and later. My version has a green and white cameo on an antique brass frame, with some  brass connectors.  Although probably not particularly authentic, I used freshwater pearls and some faceted Czech crystal to highlight the green background of the cameo.

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The gorgeously gothic dark tones of Fallen Angel Brass inspired the mourning charm bracelet. I used a lovely heavy chain for the bracelet, and dangled a series of charms from it including hearts, flowers, an acorn, a tiny hinged book of love, a dragonfly, a lock and key, a swallow, interspersed with black and smoky grey crystals set into pronged settings, dark grey pearls, black Czech crystals and even a few tiny garnet red Swarovski crystals. I did plan to include some fabulous black intaglios (reverse cameos with the image carved into the glass) set into an ornate frame, but I ran into problems getting the glass to stay glued in the frame, and decided to save that for another day.

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Now that you’ve seen what inspired me, please take some time to look at the creations of the other blog hop participants. There is a wonderful range of time periods and places represented amongst them!

Leah Curtis – Indus Valley – beadyeyedbunny.blogspot.co.uk <– Our Hostess!
Laney Mead – Māori – laney-izzybeads.blogspot.co.uk
Becca – Art Nouveau – godsartistinresidence.blogspot.com
Melissa – English Romanticism and Mourning Jewellery – beadrecipes.wordpress.com <– You are Here!
Tracy Stillman – Native American – tracystillmandesigns.com

Gerda – English Romanticism and Mourning Jewellery – gerdascraftsblog.blogspot.com
Liz E – Native North American – beadcontagion.blogspot.com
Ahowin – Māori (New Zealand)  – blog.ahowinjewelry.com 
Jasvanti – Indus Valley – jewelrybyjasvanti.blogspot.com
Lizzie – Art Nouveau – theneedtobead.blogspot.co.uk

Julia Hay – Merovingian – pandanimal.blogspot.co.uk
Dini – Celtic – angazabychanges.blogspot.nl
Caroline – Art Nouveau – blueberribeads.co.uk 
Charlie – Moche of Peru – clay-space.com/blog
Karin – China – maverickbeads.blogspot.com

Niky Sayers – Rome – silverniknats.blogspot.com
Marcia Dunne – Celtic and Mourning Jewellery – thealternativefoundry.blogspot.co.uk
anafiassa – Mesopotamia – anafiassa.blogspot.com
Kokopelli – Native American – kokopellidesign.blogspot.com
Christa – Native American – adventuresofwonebeadywoman.blogspot.com

Clair – Roman – obstinatepursuit.blogspot.co.uk
Susan Bowie – Native American – susanbowie.wordpress.com
Gloria Allen – English Romanticism – gloriaallendesigns.blogspot.com
Sheila Garrett – Early Russia – 4brownowl.blogspot.co.uk