Halloween/Day of the Dead Jewellery Blog Hop

I like Halloween. It’s only just becoming a popular holiday in Australia, largely driven by the big retailers, but my kids have a lot of fun planning their costumes and going out trick-or-treating. And I have fond memories of living in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the local drag queens celebrated for at least a week, and the Halloween parade in the Castro was legendary for its excesses.

Today’s blog hop—the Day of the Dead and Halloween Jewellery blog hop—is brought to you by Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Studio. The challenge—to make jewellery with a Halloween/Day of the Dead theme using at least one art bead in each piece made.

For all my intentions, I only had time to make one piece. I used one of Natalie Fletcher‘s ceramic sugar skull pendants to make a necklace—it is similar to the one I used last year for my Mexican-themed Challenge of Travel piece. If you want to know more about Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead celebrations, I wrote a bit about it in that post.

Anyway, instead of using silver components like last time, I decided to go a bit darker, with dark metal chain and findings. I had some lovely big orange lampwork beads from Puddle Glass Art that said Halloween pumpkin to me, and some dyed fire agate rondelles in vibrant pinks, blues, purples and oranges. The chain came from the Vintaj Arte Metal range and the twisted link was from Fallen Angel Brass.

Dia de las Muertos necklace

There are more than 40 participants in this blog hop, so please go and visit a few of them!

Diana Ptaszynski  http://www.suburbangirlstudio.com <–HOSTESS!!

Staci Smith  http://www.stacilouiseoriginals.com/

Kathleen Breeding  http://99bobotw.blogspot.com

Sue Kennedy  ww.suebeads.blogspot.com

Dianne Miller  http://www.artbydianne.blogspot.com

Lisa Liddy  http://www.lisaliddy.wordpress.com

Toltec Jewels  http://www.JewelSchoolFriends.com

Linda Landig  http://www.LindasBeadBlog.com

Laura Medeiros  http://www.zoeowyn.blogspot.com

Veralynne Malone  http://www.veradesigns.blogspot.com

Lynn Jobber  http://thecreativeklutz.blogspot.co.uk

Michelle McCarthy  http://www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com

Karen Totten  http://www.starryroadstudio.blogspot.com

Jayne Capps  https://mamasgottodoodle.blogspot.com

Jenny Davies-Reazor  http://jdaviesreazor.com/blog

Joan Miller  http://metalmudandsand.blogspot.com/

Melissa Meman  http://melissameman.blogspot.com

Melissa Trudinger  http://www.beadrecipes.wordpress.com <– YOU ARE HERE!!!

Kari Asbury  http://hippiechickdesign.blogspot.com

Inge von Roos  http://www.ingetraud.wordpress.com

Andrea Glick  http://zenithjade.blogspot.com

Stephanie LaRosa  http://Www.stringaholic.blogspot.com

Lola Surwillo  http://www.beadlolabead.com

Jennifer Cameron  http://glassaddictions.com/blog

Diane Hawkey  http://dianehawkey.blogspot.com

Kristi Harrison  http://kristibasket-itsanewday.blogspot.com

Nicole Valentine Rimmer  http://www.nvalentine.blogspot.com

Tanya Goodwin  http://www.Pixiloo.blogspot.com

Shai Williams  http://shaihasramblings.blogspot.com/

Sandra McGriff  http://skyescreativechaos.blogspot.com

Sarajo Wentling  http://www.sjdesignsjewelry.blogspot.com

Marie Covert  http://thistledown-and-swaddlings.blogspot.com

Lisa Stukel  http://www.carefreejewelrybylisa.blogspot.com

Laurie Vyselaar  http://www.Lefthandjewelry.wordpress.com

Sherri Stokey  http://www.knotjustmacrame.com

Pam Traub  http://www.klassyjoolz.blogspot.com

Lori Dorrington  http://lorisglassworks.blogspot.com

Kristen Stevens  http://kristen-beadjourney.blogspot.com

Eleanor Burian-Mohr  http://cornerstoregoddessjewelry.blogspot.com

Sally Russick  http://thestudiosublime.com

Dawn M. Gallop  http://www.flipflopsandpoptarts.com

Christine Damm   http://storiestheytell.blogspot.com


Floral Fantasy: the final Designer Quest challenge

One of the beading groups I belong to online is an Aussie group called Beadingforum.com.au. It’s been around for quite a few years and has recently taken the decision to close its forum and move to Facebook. Sadly, along with the move, Beading Forum is planning to end its twice yearly Designer Quest challenges. These challenges are a lot of fun—a kit is put together by one of the Australian online bead shops, usually with a couple of colour choices. After purchasing the kit, you have a few weeks to come up with a design using as much of the kit as you can. And there are prizes for the best designs as picked by the judges and also by Beading Forum members.

This time around, the Designer Quest kit came from Kays Artycles. I chose the blue colourway, as I particularly liked the copper elements (the alternative was pink and silver). The key focal in the kit was a large white resin floral bead that we were encouraged to play around with and “colour in”. Along with that little challenge was a strand of lampwork beads in swirly blues and coppers, a generous baggie of cube-shaped seed beads in translucent blue with an AB finish, and a variety of copper rings, cones and cornflake beads. I added a few more of the middle-sized copper rings from my own stash.


I used Vintaj patinas to paint my focal. On the back side I used Earth, and on the front, I decorated the flowers with patinas in Cobalt and Garnet with Ochre for the centres. And over the top I dabbed the Victorian Gold patina. In retrospect, I realized I had some copper Gilders Paste which might have matched the findings a bit better than the gold, but I was pretty happy with how it looked in the end. It was a bit of a challenge to incorporate into the design too, as it is a top heavy piece. I found I needed to dangle it from the main necklace, rather than, as I originally planned, string it in the middle.


I added a small dangly tassel to the focal using waxed linen and some of the cube beads and cornflakes, then wired the rings and the lampwork beads together to make a necklace. The blue ribbon is sari silk.


In the end I didn’t use the coiled cones (but I have some earrings in progress), and I didn’t use many of the tiny cube beads. I have a few of the lampwork beads left over too, that will probably find their way into earrings and bracelets. I am quite pleased with how it turned out. It was a fun kit to work with and definitely a challenge.

If you’d like to see some of the other entries, visit the BeadingForum website here.

It’s less than 10 weeks until Christmas …

… are you making your Christmas list yet?

I’ve got a few markets between now and Christmas if you want to do some Christmas shopping.

Tomorrow is the first of three stalls I will have at The Handmade Show, at St Anthony’s Parish Hall on the corner of Neerim and Grange Rds in Glen Huntly. I’ll also be there on 16 November and 14 December. New to this market is the ability to pay by EFTPOS, through special arrangement with the market organisers. If it looks like a good option for me, I’ll sign on for my own EFTPOS setup.

Bowl of earrings

On Sunday 3 November, I will be at the Fitzroy Lions Market, which is at the Fitzroy Victoria Bowling and Sports Club, next to Edinburgh Gardens. I don’t know much about this market, but hopefully it will be a good day with lots of happy shoppers.

Summer colour challenge

And on 24 November, I will be back at the Bend and Snap Market behind the 1000£ Bend Café on Little Lonsdale St in Melbourne CBD. I didn’t have a great day at this market last month, so fingers crossed next time the Christmas crowds will be out in force!

bracelet collage

It looks like my girls’ school will have another twilight craft market in late November or early December, and I will do that one this year too. I’ll be selling jewellery appealing to the primary school set, as well as some easy and inexpensive Christmas stocking stuffers like earrings and cufflinks.


And I promise my Etsy shop will be open soon! I have just not had enough time to work on it recently! In the meantime, if you see something you like, drop me a line via my Facebook page.

Autumn Design Challenge

I recently got the chance to participate in the Autumn Design Challenge using beads and components by Caroline Dewison (Blueberribeads) and Lesley Watt (Thea Elements). Caroline and Lesley, who are both based in the UK, combined their talents to put together little packages of goodies each containing a strand of ceramic beads from Caroline and a pair of bronze components from Lesley, and sent them off at a minimal cost to 20 participants randomly chosen from blog comments.

Although I wasn’t initially selected, I was fortunate enough to get chosen when one of the chosen participants pulled out. A couple of weeks later I received these lovely beads in the mail.


I decided to make three pieces using these beads. The first, using the pretty enameled flower from Lesley, is a simple but super-long necklace. I matched the colours in the pendant with a little bag of vintage Czech beads I received from Lennis Carrier (Windbent) in a swap we did earlier this year. According to Lennis, these beads, in luscious pinks, reds and purples, are from the 1920s and 1930s! The flower is wired to the pink melon-shaped ceramic bead as well as a couple of the Czech glass beads to make a substantial pendant.

Vintage flower necklace collage

The second piece is another necklace, this time using the chocolate brown ceramic heart bead made by Caroline, as well as the two larger dark brown ceramic beads. I added Czech melon beads in shades of pink, burgundy and dark bronze. I think I’ll call this one “Dark Heart”.

Dark Heart Necklace collage

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to finish the final piece, a bracelet using the pretty bronze patinaed connector. I’ve picked out some beads to use, but that’s as far as I have gone with it.

I’d like to thank Lesley and Caroline for putting together such a fantastic little package of beads to play with, I’ll definitely be back for more! If you’d like to see what other participants have made, here are their blog links:

Lesley Watt – http://thegossipinggoddess.blogspot.co.uk/

Caroline Dewison – http://blueberribeads.co.uk

Gay Messander – http://gaysiemay.blogspot.co.uk/

Made By Jules – http://madebyjulesblog.blogspot.co.uk/

Heidi Post – http://expostfactojewelry.blogspot.co.uk/

Janet Bocciardi – http://www.honeyfromthebee.com/

Alice – http://alice-dreaming.blogspot.com

Dolores Raml – http://craftydscreations.wordpress.com

Lucy Haslam – http://faerystone.blogspot.co.uk/

Pine Ridge treasures – http://pineridgetreasures.blogspot.com

Shirley Moore – http://beadsandbread.blogspot.com

Tracy Collins – http://travelsintimedesigns.blogspot.co.uk

Melissa Trudinger – https://beadrecipes.wordpress.com/    YOU ARE HERE!!!

Mags – http://magsinhelmet.blogspot.com

Pepita – http://pepita-handmade.blogspot.co.uk/

Jo-Ann – http://itsabeadifulcreation.blogspot.com

Toltec Jewels – http://www.jewelschoolfriends.com

Judith Johnston – http://www.judith-johnston.com/blog

Janine Lucas – http://www.esfera.me/travel/blog/travel-stories

Madeline Bunyan – http://madelinebunyan.com/mlj/

Chic and frog – http://www.chicandfrog.wordpress.com