Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

A busy weekend coming up!

I thought I’d give you a heads up for lots of blog hopping this weekend coming up. I’ve managed to not only organize my own blog hop but join two others, so it’s beading central here this week!

Haby hop button

First of all is my own hop, the Haberdashery Blog Hop. The challenge here is to use components from the haberdashery department—buttons, ribbons, lace, and more—in jewellery designs. I had a lovely time collecting bits and pieces, from my own craft stash and from a variety of shops and even a big craft show. And there are 35 or so other bloggers joining in. The reveal date is Saturday 2 August, and I plan to post in the morning. Note that many of the participants won’t post until it is Saturday wherever they happen to be in the world.

Summer Carnival Widget

Also on Saturday is Lisa Lodge’s Summer Carnival Blog Hop. As with Lisa’s other hops, I have received a kit full of beads to make a piece or pieces for the hop. Because this hop in scheduled for Saturday in the USA, I’ll wait until my Saturday evening to post this one.

cccc design challenge button orange frame


And finally Sunday sees the Choosy Chicks Choose Chicklets Design Challenge, organized by Rita from Jewel School Friends. She sent me a rather lovely chicklet bead from Suebeads to incorporate into a piece. I’ll post this one late on Sunday my time, to be in time with the US reveal.

So come back on the weekend to have a look at all of the designs I come up with!




Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Mermaid bubbles: Art Bead Scene July Challenge

This month’s art inspiration from Art Bead Scene is a gorgeous illustration by Edmund Dulac, from a series for a book of Hans Christian Anderson fairytales published in 1911. This particular one is from “The Little Mermaid”. Don’t you love the muted watery palette?

The Little Mermaid, 1911 by Edmund Dulac  Pencil, pen, black ink and watercolour with scratching out on paper 12¼ x 9 7/8 in. (30.8 x 25.2 cm.) Colour palette by Brandi Hussey
The Little Mermaid, 1911 by Edmund Dulac
Pencil, pen, black ink and watercolour with scratching out on paper
12¼ x 9 7/8 in. (30.8 x 25.2 cm.)
Colour palette by Brandi Hussey

At first I thought I would make a pendant featuring the illustration itself, set under resin, after finding it in a digital collection of Dulac illustrations sized for domino pendants on Etsy. I still might do that one of these days, but when I printed out the image the colours were on the dark side, perhaps because it was so reduced in size.

So instead I went with plan B, combining a Green Girl Studios mermaid button with some lovely lampwork beads from Australian lampworker Darcy York, who sells her beads as Silver Gypsy on Etsy. The beads have have a pinky-purply core under clear glass, and blue spots on them that remind me of bubbles. The colours pick out the muted pink and purple hues in the picture. I strung them in a bracelet with a mixture of seed beads reflecting the colours in the illustration, using waxed linen in magenta and plum.

Mermaid bubbles bracelet

I’ll be linking this blog post to Art Bead Scene ‘s recap post at the end of the week.


Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Study in greys: Gemstone and Metal blog hop

It’s reveal day for the latest of Lisa Lodge ‘s blog hops—the Gemstone and Metal blog hop. In this challenge, Lisa sent us several shapes of one gemstone, and a variety of coordinating metal. My selection included beautiful black-veined jasper in coin shapes, flat ovals and rectangular pillows, and some small faceted square pillows, along with three different shapes of silver plated beads and a silver-plated clasp.


I initially knotted a selection of the beads onto deep red waxed linen, but when I looked at the necklace the small pops of red between each bead didn’t do it for me. I needed a bigger burst of colour to contrast with the silvers and blacks of the beads in the kit. That was on Thursday. After digging through my stash both yesterday and today (Saturday), I finally found a small oval red Czech glass bead that was both the right size to go with the jasper beads, and the right colour red to go with the waxed linen. I don’t have a lot of red beads, it’s not a colour I go to as a rule. And I was kind of bummed that I didn’t have an art bead or focal that worked nicely. The intense blacks and silvery-greys of the jasper were more challenging than I thought they’d be!

But this is where the fun really started. First I didn’t like the spot I had put the red bead into, and pulled it apart. Then I forgot a knot between two beads, and couldn’t undo the last knot I had made, so I snipped it all apart again. Then I thought I had enough waxed linen, but came up too short. So all in all, I started over four times today. And I was very glad to have the “extra” day that comes from being halfway around the world (we won’t talk about how long I’ve actually had the kit)!

I finally finished it late this afternoon just as the light was disappearing, so I was lucky to get a useable photo. But I’m interested to know whether you think there is enough colour in it now? I like it, but it could use a few more red beads I think.


What didn’t I use? The small faceted squares and the tiny silver flowers. I’m sure they’ll find their way into something else at some point though!

Anyway, as always, this is a blog hop and there are a whole bunch of other jewellery designers playing along. Please take some time to visit their blogs and look at what they created! And thank you Lisa for a great challenge!

Hostess: Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist

Kim Dworak, Cianci Blue

Marybeth Rich, A Few Words from within the Pines

Karen Grosset Grange, Ginkgo et Coquelicot

Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera

Katrina Taylor, I Wanna Go Out

Ann Schroeder, Bead Love

Kathleen Breeding, 99 Bottles of Beads on the Wall

Terri Wlaschin, Dances in Fog

Margaret Pelech, Big Margaret

Jo-Ann Woolverton, It’s a Beadiful Creation

Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design

Heather Richter, Desert Jewelry Designs

Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn’s Creations

Toltec Jewels, Jewel School Friends

Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes <– YOU ARE HERE!!!

Shaiha Williams, Shaiha’s Ramblings

Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware (May be delayed a few days)

Eleanor Burian Moore, The Charmed Life

Christine Stonefield, Sweet Girl Design

Robin Reed, Artistry HCBD

Laurie Vyselaar, Lefthand Jewelry

Cassi Renee Paslick, Beads: Rolling Downhill

Crystal Thain, Here Bead Dragons

Alicia Marinache, All the Pretty Things (May be delayed a few days)

Becky Pancake, Becky Pancake Bead Designs

Judy Campbell, Macmillanmarie Jewellery Design

Nan Smith, Handmade Jewelry Nanmade

Marde Lowe, FanciMarDesigns

Linda Anderson, From the Bead Board

Leithleach Alainn Seodra, Alainn Jewelry

Lisa E. Prewitt Knappenberger, LiRaysa Designs

Paige Maxim, Paige Maxim Designs


Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Markets

Upcycling for jewellery display

I’m constantly working on my display options for markets and shows. Recently I have been inspired by Tammie Everly‘s upcycled suitcase display, which she blogged about in April. And then a group I belong to, Bead Swap USA, held a Facebook challenge to “think outside the box”, for us to take a plain box and decorate it. As the challenge description said:

You know those little wooden boxes available at all the big box craft stores? Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to go get one and decorate it with whatever medium or mediums you what. You can paint it, decoupage it, felt it, bead it, and mix media it up to your hearts content. You can choose whatever size box you like, with or without a clasp. 

Well, some time ago (maybe a couple of years ago), I picked up a wooden box on the side of the road, someone had put it into hard rubbish. It had a broken clasp and the inserts inside it were also broken, but I thought that I would be able to do something with it. Of course, it then sat there, and sat there, and sat there …


When I started doing shows about 18 months ago, I started to paint it, and then went on to easier things, like trays and papier maché busts. So it sat there some more. And then this challenge came along and I thought, aha!

So I painted it inside and outside, first with a colour called Eggshell (it’s kind of a greyish off-white), and then with a lovely aqua blue called Sea Breeze, which I watered down a bit and also wiped with a sponge to get a streaky translucent effect. In retrospect, I probably should have sanded the outside of the box down, but it’s fine for the intended purpose.


I took some foamcore board and cut it just a bit smaller than the inside of the box—two pieces, one for each side—and covered it with burlap. The pieces just pop in nicely, although I think I will get some double-sided tape and stick them in a bit more firmly. And voila!


I’m undecided what I will display in this box, but bracelets are a good possibility. Or perhaps my collection of resin cufflinks and earrings. I will have to experiment before The Handmade Show next month. And I’ll need to rework my table to fit it in too. Currently my display looks something like this:


Would you like to see some of the other elements of my display sometime?

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Leaves and flowers: Art Bead Scene June Challenge

For the My Country blog hop post click here!

Sadly, I didn’t get my entry for the Art Bead Scene June challenge finished in time. The piece was finished, it was the photos and blog post that stumped me! I thought you might like to see it anyway!

The inspiration for the June challenge was a lovely illustration from Victorian era botanical artist Marianne North.

june 2014 - Marianne North - Trees Laden with Parasites and Epiphytes in a Brazilian Garden
Trees Laden with Parasites and Epiphytes in a Brazilian Garden, 1873, by Marianne North, Oil on Paper. Colour palette by Brandi Hussey.

The focal element of this illustration is the lush green foliage, and the contrast of the tiny red flowers. I used a Blu Mudd connector with a leafy pattern and two sizes of green beads , along with some tiny red and white ceramic beads to make a sweet bracelet.

Leaves and flowers bracelet Collage

Visit the Art Bead Scene June challenge recap post to see what others were inspired to make!

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Two Trees: My Country blog hop

Canadian bead blogger Nan Smith is hosting the My Country blog hop today (which happens to be Canada Day). We’ve been challenged to use our own country as inspiration to make something, not necessarily a piece of jewellery. Australia is my country of birth and of residence, but Australia is a big country, with a lot of potential inspiration, from the beaches to the deserts, cities to bush and more. So I’ve been thinking hard about what I could do for this challenge.

A few weeks ago, we went away for a long weekend, up in Northern Victoria. The drive up, especially once you get off the Hume Highway, is pretty, passing through farming land and wine country. There’s an iconic rural Australian-ness about the scenery, rolling hills, gum (eucalyptus) trees dotted across the landscape, perhaps some sheep or cattle in the dusty green paddocks. The sky is blue, maybe with some high clouds scattered across it. And the landscape is wide open.

By Matilda at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
By Matilda at en.wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
Of course I didn’t get any pictures of the trees at the time, but when I started thinking about this blog hop, the images were the ones I kept seeing in my mind’s eye. So I went looking for some pictures online for you. Here’s another good one! As you can see, the shape is really distinctive.

By Alexander110 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Alexander110 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
With this in mind, I went looking for tree pendants from my favourite Aussie bead maker Peruzi, and found the perfect one. Only, there were two versions that appealed to me, a daytime pendant with the tree against the blue and white sky, and a sunset pendant with a background of vivid oranges and yellows, and I couldn’t decide which one I liked more. So I ended up with two necklaces, each of mixed Czech beads knotted onto walnut brown waxed linen cord. The bead above each pendant is a natural wooden bead made from an Australian timber, although I can’t tell you which one each is made from.

One tree paddock Collage

I’m really rather pleased with these two necklaces!

As I said, this is a blog hop, and there are 25 participants. Please take some time to visit their blogs.

Hostess: Nan Smith (Canada)            

Ana (Portugal)                                       

Rita (Orlando)                                       

Dini (The Netherlands)                       

Robin Reed (Indiana)                          

Lilik Kristiana (Indonesia )                

Karla Morgan (Texas)                          

Karen Mitchell (South Australia)      

Jayne Capps (Oklahoma)                    

Melissa Trudinger (Australia)             <– YOU ARE HERE

Johana Nunez (Puerto Rico)               

Kepi (Alberta)                                         

Deb Fortin (Ontario)                             

Divya (India)                                           

Tammy Adams (Arizona)                     

Kay Thomerson (Texas)                       

Bairozan (Bulgaria)                               

Carolyn’s Creations                               

Lecia Woessner (New Orleans)          

Linda A. (Wash. D.C.                            

Inge Van Roos (California)                  

Natalie (New Zealand)                         

Lori Schneider                                       

Mary Harding (New York)                  

Bouchra Rebai (Algeria)                      

Michelle McCarthy (Florida )