Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Swaps and exchanges

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.


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.


97 thoughts on “Owls and dragonflies: the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party reveal is here!”

  1. Melissa, one word – YUMMY! Great soup, wonderful meal. Best of all pure enjoyment without the calories 😀 Your earrings are full of whimsy, the bracelet is fun and light, the necklaces – WOW! I especially liked the dragonfly. Love owls as you know. Just know, what you created with the soup, lovely as it was made my heart smile. HAPPY, HAPPY am I. Thanks for sharing your art ❤

  2. Wow! Look at your haul!!! What a generous partner and the resulting creations are so pretty! The Owl in the Woods is my absolute favorite and such a treasure trove of color and shapes. Thank you for visiting my party post!

  3. You made beautiful jewelry with your beautiful soup, I love what you did with the owl pendant as it’s so colorful. But I love dragonflies too…

  4. All great colorful pieces Melissa. Love how you incorporated the pieces in the soup into individual little works of art. Love everything!

  5. such a gorgeous stash to work with and I love the drama of the dragon fly necklace and the modern touches in the wrap bracelet

  6. I can’t pick a favourite, you did a wonderful job with them all. I can’t wait to see what you come up with for the mica, I had some on my table in some planning that didn’t make it either.

  7. All such fun and colorful designs Melissa! You have a beautiful way of combining colors—I’m inspired looking at each one! I have to say though, the bracelet is my very favorite—the soft spring colors are delightfully sweet!

  8. Love the selection of beads you had to work with and absolutely love what you have made. The owl necklace is adorable. Just love all the happy colors. Nice work!

  9. LoveloveLOVE what you did there, and the beads you used in addition to mine. All those pieces have such a rich, organic, nature-y feel to it. I especially admire the knotted necklace with the owl, it’s beautiful. That trick with the linear pattern is definitely something I need to remember.

    The other necklace is gorgeous too, I love how you counterbalanced the button and the toggle clasp against each other, and those iridescent blue seed beads you picked to go in between, they really make me think of pond waters.

    Love the earrings of course (says the woman who owns enough pairs to wear a different one each day of the year), and the bracelet. Those flower dangles on the bracelet are a very nice idea, and the turquoise suede is a perfect match for the bracelet bar and the beads you picked. Very nice!


  10. Your pieces are so sweet – I love the colors in each piece! All of your pieces would be fun to wear!

  11. What a lovely soup and such fun designs you created! I think my favorite is the bracelet, I love how you used the leather and the knotted beads to accent the bar piece!

  12. I love the vast mixture of colors on the owl necklace and then the more subdued feel of the dragonfly piece!! both will be such fun to wear!! The earrings are delightful as well!!
    Great job!

  13. I understand why you like to keep the owl in the wood necklace for your own … It’s too cute! Even if it countains such a variety of colors and type of beads, it’s so well balanced. Love it!

  14. WOW! I love the mix of colors on your pieces! My favorite is the earrings with the blue polymer clay headpins.

  15. Melissa – I went through all your creations and when I got to the owl necklace decided that was the one. It’s darling. And I would wear it in a heartbeat. Rose

  16. I love how you paired that wonderful clasp on one side of the necklace against mr dragonfly on the other. Both elements get to be seen and make for a stunning piece. All of your creations are so well made and carefully thought out. Beautiful work.

  17. Melissa, I love your blog! It’s so beautiful, just like you. And what a fabulous BSBP8 reveal! Your bracelet just mesmerizes me. I’ve looked at it & looked at it, taking in the brilliant & beautiful design elements, learning from seeing & admiring your work. The colors, the techniques, the beads & Blu Mudd bar are ingenious and delectable! The dragonfly necklace is breath-taking — the layout you patterned is wonderful to the eye, graceful and lovely. And the owl! Charming and delightful – full of color, warmth, fun.
    As always, fantastic jewelry! I admire your work & learn so much from you. Bravo! Happy Hopping! ♥ Rita

  18. What a wonderful array of colors! I like all the pieces, but, we must be kindred souls, that little owl is sooo cool and the necklace is just beautiful. I would keep him also!

  19. Cute earrings Melissa and your bracelet is lovely. My brother photographs and catalogs dragonflies so I felt connected to that necklace as well. Great job using the owl pendant.

  20. Hi there …We’ll I just love your designs and the beads you chose for each design…I would have to say the Owl in the Woods is my absolute favorite piece…It has that whimsical, mystical feel about it…When I first saw it an old Disney movie popped into my head….This movie is so sweet ,It is in the red wood forest….the name of the movie is the gnome mobile….It was woodsy and colorful and I do believe an owl was in it but not sure. It had tons of gnomes in it though…I know it probably doesn’t make sense but that is what this adorable sweet and pretty necklace said to me…lol…Ty for sharing your brilliance with us all…I hate to chat and run but I have loads of hopping to get done …bye now

  21. Love the dragonfly the best! They are one of my favorite subjects to create cards with as well as jewelry. All your work is beautiful. Thank you for stopping by my blog.

  22. All of your designs are lovely. I especially like the bracelet with the leather and the last necklace. The colors and design are so happy.

  23. Very pretty jewelry! So cheerful and upbeat! Great use of your soup. I was anxious to see what you did with the mica sheets so I’ll be following to see what you come up with. My faves are the bracelet and dragonfly necklace! Thanks for sharing.

  24. Love, love, love both of your necklaces. And the earrings. And the bracelet. Everything is so lovely and colorful! Your photos are so clear that I almost feel I can touch the beads. You were very blessed with a gorgeous soup, and you made the very best of it.

  25. Oh wow oh wow oh wow!!! LOVE the soup that you got and I absolutely adore the pieces you’ve made! Such creativity!

    That owl necklace is pure perfection. Such a wonderful combo of colors and design! Great work!

  26. LOve your Dragonfly Pond necklace. Excellent use of the button. I love how you balanced the button with the toggle. Symmetrical and asymmetrical at the same time. And your Owl in the Woods necklace is awesome. A fun and fantastic mix of colors and textures.

  27. Hello Miss Melissa! I am still hopping (and will be for weeks!). Love your yummy soup! What a lot of great ingredients. I love the little polymer clay headpins. And that last necklace with the wee little owl is adorable. I knew that I would enjoy tasting your soup! Thank you for sharing your creations in the 8th Bead Soup! Enjoy the day. Erin

  28. I must apologize for being so late arriving, Melissa… I started at the end and worked backwards (we older gals can get a tad eccentric LOL). While all your creations are luscious, I am actually quite partial to your sweet bracelet with the leather (yum!) I actually picked up some pointers on asymmetry from your post which I hope to employ in future work 🙂

  29. Still hopping over here!! Love your soup what a beautiful lot of colour and texture. The owl necklace is my favourite but I love that dragonfly pendant and that clasp you have an eye for putting everything together 🙂

  30. Beautiful designs and all very different! The earrings are bright and richly ornamented, the bracelet is so richly textured and has a great color combo! The dragonfly necklace looks like it is floating on a lake and placing the button and clasp on the opposite sides is such a great design idea! The owl necklace has an array of so many beautiful shapes, colors and textures that I just couldn’t stop looking at it!

  31. Really like your bracelet! I’m actually organising a mass bead soup where all the crafters get the same set of beads 🙂 i think it ll be really cool too see what 10s or even 100s of people make with the same beads! planning to send out the beads 2 aug with designs revealed end aug. Would be cool if u d like to take part (details on 🙂

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