Lots of knots: Waxed Linen Blog Hop

If you are looking for my BSBP8 post, it’s HERE!

About a month ago, Diana Ptaszynski had the brilliant idea to host a blog hop using waxed linen. Quick as a flash I signed up, as I really really like using waxed linen cord in my jewellery designs. I first came across it in Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel ‘s book Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry, which is a fantastic book, and one of my go-to books for inspiration. I love how both of these designers incorporate waxed linen into their designs, they are both a source of great inspiration to me!

What do I like so much about waxed linen? It comes in a whole range of colours, like teal or lavender, denim blue or rusty red, chocolate brown, black or naturally off-white.  It comes in several sizes, or plies (which refers to the number of strands incorporating the cord, usually 4 or 7, but as few as 2 and as many as 12!), so you can find one to fit most beads, except perhaps those tiny-holed pearls and small seed beads. And the waxing makes it kind of sticky, so knots really stay where they are supposed to stay. It’s lightweight and drapes nicely in a necklace, and is strong enough for bracelets too. And it adds a textural element to all jewellery designs that wire just doesn’t have.

For this blog hop I did a couple of pieces. The first is a necklace that is similar in design to the owl necklace I did a few weeks ago for BSBP8. As I have mentioned before, I am a member of Rebecca Anderson‘s Curiosity Club, and the April kit, entitled “Delft”, contained a combination of blue, aqua, white and translucent beads as well as two disk-shaped lampwork beads made by Helen Chalmers. And, like all of Rebecca’s kits, there were 2 skeins of waxed linen, in orange and denim blue.

In my stash, I had a polymer clay pendant in copper and blue-green from Erin Prais-Hintz, with a bird on one side and the phrase “Mother knows best” on the other: perfect as I planned to give this necklace to my Mum as a belated Mother’s day and birthday gift. I combed through my stash for some more beads in similar shades of blue, adding the white and blue floral ceramic beads and some blue seed beads to the mix. A copper chain at the ends of the beaded section allows the length of the necklace to be adjusted.

Mother knows best necklace Collage

My next design also used beads from one of Rebecca’s kits, this one the March kit, called “After the Rain”. Rebecca included a piece of Liberty print bias binding, and I was racking my brains to come up with an interesting use for it. Inspired by one of the other designers, I decided to wrap it around a Vintaj creative hoop to make a bangle. Instead of the more common wire wrapped around the fabric to help secure it, I wrapped some yellow and orange linen around instead, with a few tiny translucent pink Czech beads (both the linen and the rounds also came from the kit). I found an interesting lobster clasp in my stash and used it to close the bangle.

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I also made a pair of earrings from the same kit, using orange waxed linen to dangle yellow and orange flower beads and “mushrooms”—piggies on top of a round bead—from a brass ring.

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Finally, I thought I would show you some other earring designs using waxed linen (these were made a few months ago, not with this blog hop in mind). The first pair uses a pair of ceramic rounds from Jennifer Heynen, with seed beads knotted on waxed linen dangling below. The second pair uses some porcelain charms made by my Mum, with a sweet little floral decal adorning them. A small Czech coin with an embossed bird is knotted over the charm.

Waxed linen earrings Collage

Mum and I have also collaborated to make sweet bird ornaments: a porcelain bird with waxed linen “legs” knotted onto an antiqued brass or silver branch.

Birds of a feather Collage

It seems like there are a lot of other fans of waxed linen out there with Diana and I, as 44 people are taking part in this blog hop. If you have time to visit some of their blogs, the links are below.

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Owls and dragonflies: the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party reveal is here!

So here we are again, at the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party, the highlight of the blogging beader’s calendar! The premise is simple, participants are paired up by our amazing host Lori Anderson to swap a bead soup containing at the minimum a focal and a clasp, plus some coordinating beads. This year almost 500 beaders and jewellery designers from around the world signed up to play. Today we reveal what we made using the beads our partners sent us.

My partner, Sandra Wollberg, from Wiesbaden, Germany (you can read more about her here), sent me a fabulous soup, including a pendant, clasp and bracelet bar from Blu Mudd, handmade polymer clay headpins, a stunning Czech glass button and a selection of beads including Czech glass dragonflies, flowers, leaves and little critters, freshwater pearls and some painted shell beads, Indian glass, and peanut beads. There was also some sari silk and a packet of mica sheets, thrown in by Sandra as an extra challenge.

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To get my muse going, I started with a few pairs of earrings, using Sandra’s polymer clay headpins, one pair wrapped with the pretty painted shell beads, the other one combined with two little ladybird beads from the strand of Czech glass critters. A third pair of earrings became a posy of Czech glass flowers.

earring collage 1

Next on the list was the bracelet bar. I had it in mind to combine it with leather, and I found some lovely soft teal blue leather that picked up the blue colour in the flowers embossed on the bar. To counter its one-sided weight, I knotted a selection of beads onto some teal blue waxed linen.

bracelet collage

My first necklace was inspired by the dragonfly beads and the Czech glass button, which also features a dragonfly. The challenge for me in this piece was to work out how to incorporate the button into a necklace,, especially as I also wanted to use the clasp Sandra sent me. In the end, I cut off the button shank and used a filigree piece from Vintaj to wrap around the back of the button, with a couple of jump rings to create a link. Between the button link and the clasp, I strung the Czech glass dragonfly coins and the pearls, and used a Vintaj dragonfly as a pendant. I’ve called this necklace the Dragonfly Pond necklace.

Dragonfly pond necklace collage

And finally, a necklace with the Blu Mudd owl pendant. The pendant is glazed in a glossy gold with breakthrough undertones tones of teal and green. I was inspired by some of Lorelei Eurto‘s recent necklaces, with beads knotted on linen, so I picked out a selection of beads in blues, greens and bronze shades, as well as a deep red to give a pop of colour, from both the bead soup Sandra provided as well as my own stash and knotted them on teal blue waxed linen (you’ll recognize some of the beads from the bracelet). The pattern repeats linearly from the clasp to the pendant, but looks asymmetric—a trick I think I picked up from one of the posts in Love My Art Jewelry‘s recent bootcamp on asymmetry. I’m really pleased with how this necklace turned out, I think it really captures the autumn woodland feel of Sandra’s soup. I’ve called it the Owl in the Woods necklace, and I think I’ll keep it for myself!

Owl in the woods necklace collage

Now, there are a few elements from my soup that I haven’t yet used. The Indian glass beads are destined for a necklace when I find the right chain. I almost used the peanut beads in the dragonfly necklace, but the seed beads just looked better. And I plan to make a few more pairs of earrings as well. The sari silk is lovely and I’m sure I will use that somewhere soon. The mica sheets are a bit more challenging, and I’ve been looking at various tutorials and blog posts about how to use. I have had them out to play with but so far I haven’t actually done anything. I have plans though, which I am sure I will blog about down the road.

Thank you Lori, for once again throwing a wonderful party with fabulous guests, despite your own personal challenges besetting you at every turn! I’m already looking forward to whatever you dream up for next year’s party! And thank you Sandra for a fabulous soup, which stretched me as a jewellery designer. I hope you had as good a time playing with my soup as I did with yours!

Now, I have the daunting but enjoyable task of visiting as many of the other blogs partying with me as I can. To see what Sandra made with the soup I sent her, visit her blog. And for the full list of participants, go to the main BSBP page.

 

A BSBP Delay and the Liebster Award!

The Bead Soup Blog Party reveal has been pushed back a week, to allow our Hostess-with-the-Mostess Lori Anderson some time to recover from recent ill health. I have to say, I breathed a small sigh of relief at having a few more days to play with beads (and take photos and write up my blog post). In the mean time, I’ve got a post or two up my sleeve for you this week.

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A month or more ago, I was tagged by Sandra Wollberg—my BSBP partner and fellow beadlover—with a LIEBSTER award. The LIEBSTER award is a chain letter of sorts, which is supposed to bring new visitors to small, comparatively unknown blogs. “Liebster” is a German word, and basically means “dearest”, “most favourite”. As with most chain letters, there are a few rules to follow:

  • You have to link the person who nominated/tagged you.
  • You have to answer the 11 questions your nominator asked you
  • Pick 11 bloggers whose blogs have less than 200 followers, tag them, and don’t forget to inform them about it.
  • Come up with 11 new questions for the persons you’ve tagged.

So, here are my questions and answers. Hopefully you’ll find a little out about me, that you might not have known before.

Which three tracks are a MUST on your current playlists?

I got Lana del Rey’s album for Christmas, and I have to say I love her song Summertime Sadness. I also find myself bopping along to Pharrell William’s Happy when I hear it on the radio. It’s such a, well, happy song isn’t it? For number three? Let’s go with my all time favourite Paul Kelly song Deeper Water.

Sparkly or matte?

Mostly Matt. He’s my husband. But if you really want to know, I like both. Although I am probably more drawn to matte textures.

Imagine you’re lucky and win a large sum of money. What would be the first thing you spend it on?

I do need a new car, and the mortgage can always use some help, but if I had my druthers, I’d take the family on a round the world holiday! Oh and beads of course!!!

BTW, what was the last thing you’ve purchased?

Winter clothes for the kidlets and a new pair of ankle boots for me. Oh yes, does pizza for dinner count?

How is the weather, right now, at your place?

I’m always surprised by the speed that winter arrives here in Melbourne. It’s like a switch is thrown in late April, early May, and all of a sudden, it’s cold and wet. Today it was damp and cold, tomorrow we’re expecting rain, thunderstorms and even hail. Sadly our school is holding its biggest fundraising event of the year tomorrow, and it’s mostly outside. So I know I’ll be cold and wet tomorrow!

Do you have allergies/intolerances? Would you share which ones?

I am allergic to a lot of trees—birch, maples and the like. And grasses. When I lived in Northern California I sniffled and sneezed from early Spring until mid-Autumn. It’s not quite so bad here in Melbourne, but I definitely suffer in Spring.

What kind of character trait do you hate in other persons?

I really dislike it when people blindly follow someone else’s beliefs without thought, whether political, religious or otherwise.

What kind of character trait do you like in other persons?

Compassion, and a sense of humour.

Which metal do you like best?

My current favourite is copper.

Is there a person in your life you’d consider a soul mate?

My husband.

To which country would you love to travel if you had the chance?

In a list a mile long, I think South Africa would be near the top. And Vietnam. And I’m always up for a trip to the US or Europe!

Now, these are the bloggers I am nominating to continue this chain letter!

Corrie at http://thecedarbeader.blogspot.com.au/

Lennis at http://Windbent.wordpress.com/

Ann at http://beadlove.wordpress.com/

Andrea at http://zenithjade.blogspot.com.au/

Cory at http://tealwaterdesigns.blogspot.com.au/

Tiffany at http://southerngalsdesign.blogspot.com.au/

Solange at http://www.blog.ahowinjewelry.com/

Karen at http://www.overthemoon-design.com/

Tracy at http://beadtrilogy.com/

Lee at http://stregajewellry.wordpress.com/

Patti at http://myaddictionshandcrafted.blogspot.com.au/

And my questions for you are:

  1. Dog or cat?
  2. Dark chocolate or milk?
  3. What’s your favourite time of year (season or holiday) and why?
  4. What’s your favourite recipe? Link to it if it’s online!
  5. Where in the world would you most like to travel?
  6. Name three books that you really really enjoyed reading.
  7. If you could travel in time, which period would you most want to visit?
  8. What’s your favourite gemstone?
  9. When was the last time you dressed up in a costume? And what did you wear?
  10. What craft or technique would you really like to learn?
  11. Do you live close to where you grew up, or far away?