Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Gentle Spring Blog Hop

Gentle Spring

It’s time for the reveal for Lisa Lodge’s Gentle Spring Blog Hop. As with all her hops, Lisa sent out a kit for this hop containing a variety of beads in soft pinks and purples, plus a few supporting elements. Here is the kit I received—it’s got so many beads!

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I ended up making several pieces. For the first, I used a ceramic owl focal by Gaea and combined with some of the larger faceted dark purple beads plus the light purple faux sea glass nuggets (I added an extra strand of these from my stash), and knotted it all on some magenta waxed linen. It’s a short necklace, slightly longer than a choker—the owl nestles at the base of the throat.

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The second necklace features a pretty focal Art Tile from JLynn Jewels, dangling from a Fallen Angel Brass twisted ring, with a Czech glass teardrop dangle. I wire-wrapped some more of the dark purple beads, along with some small flat sea glass squares and added some Vintaj Arte Metal chain.

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Some smaller JLynn Jewels Art Tiles in the same paisley pattern make a pretty pair of matching earrings (although these ones don’t feature any beads from the kit).

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Finally, I made another pair of earrings, again with JLynn Jewels tiles and a couple of the tiny pink rondelles from the kit.

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I have heaps of beads left over, plus the clasp and the silver birds, which will no doubt find their way into more pieces down the road. Thanks for a great little kit Lisa! Please think about visiting the other participants in the hop:

Hostess: Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist

Kim Dworak, Cianci Blue

Shaiha Williams, Shaiha’s Ramblings

Gloria Allen, Gloria Allen Designs

Saundra Farren, Something by Saundra

Ann Schroeder, Bead Love

Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes

Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn’s Creations

Becky Pancake, Becky Pancake Bead Designs

Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware

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Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Clay and Metal Blog Hop

Widgit5 Metal and Clay

It’s reveal day for Lisa Lodge‘s latest blog hop, the Clay and Metal Blog Hop. This time, she’s chosen to send all of the participants something from Sharyl McMillian-Nelson, who works with both polymer clay and metal (hence the name!), with each of us receiving either one or the other, plus some coordinating beads. Sharyl has recently opened a new store online to focus on her polymer clay and metal components, called Metapolies. You can find it in two places, Etsy and Artisan Component Marketplace, a fantastic new online market for beautiful components (stay tuned, as I have plans to write more about this site soon!).

These are the polymer clay charms I received, a pair of long rectangular matchstick-shaped charms that are the colour of nougat, with soft purple stripes across them. I do like the asymmetry of them, enhanced by the purple stripes that continue across both matchsticks. I also received some clear faceted crystal rondelles, but in the end I didn’t use them as to me they didn’t really go well with the organic shades of the matchsticks.

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Because they are made of polymer clay, and therefore so light, I decided to make earrings with the matchsticks. I softened them further using a Czech glass table cut flower, and used waxed linen to tie the two components together and then to the Vintaj brass earwires.

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Thank you Lisa for sending me this challenging pair of charms, and thank you Sharyl too! And as this is a blog hop, here is the list of participants. Please pop over and have a look at their blog posts!

Your hostess: Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist

Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes <– YOU ARE HERE!

Jo-Ann Woolverton, It’s a Beadiful Creation

Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn’s Creations

Shaiha Williams,   Shaiha’s Ramblings

Toltec Jewels, Jewel School Friends

Heather Richter, Desert Jewelry Designs

Marybeth Rich, A Few Words from within the Pines

Kim Dworak, Cianci Blue

Karen Grosset Grange, Ginkgo et Coquelicot

Ann Schroeder, Bead Love

Lisa Prewitt Knappenberger, LiRaysa Designs

Carol Briody, A Beads Life

Miranda Ackerley, MirandAck

Kari Asbury, Hippie Chick Design

Susan Anderson, La Main Tresor

LeAnne Loftus, First Impression Design

Leithleach Seodra, Alainn Jewelry

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Summer Carnival Blog Hop

If you’re looking for the Haberdashery Blog Hop Reveal it’s here!

Today’s the day for the Summer Carnival Blog Hop, another one from Lisa Lodge. As with her other hops, she provided a kit to kick start the creative process. This is what she sent me, a mixture of shapes in turquoise blue and lemon yellow sea glass and some sparkling yellow Chinese crystal rondelles.

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First of all, I made some earrings. The sea glass heishi always throw me, but I was determined to use some, and they worked nicely as spacers for the yellow crystals in these earrings. The second pair uses some acrylic starbursts I got from the kids’ beads selection at Spotlight, definitely a carnival vibe to them!

Summer carnival earrings

Jennifer Heynen‘s bright and cheery ceramic beads always make me think of carnivals, so I was happy to find this gorgeous flower focal in just the right combo of colours  in my stash. I included a couple of her disk beads and a selection of the sea glass along with some orange and smaller blue shapes, and knotted it all together on yellow and teal blue waxed linen.

Summer carnival necklace

In the end, I used some of everything except the little brass spacers and the shells. Thank you for sending such a versatile selection of beads Lisa, and for yet another excellent challenge theme. Now it’s time to see what everyone else made.

Your hostess: Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist

Kim Dworak, Cianci Blue

Marybeth Rich, A Few Words from within the Pines

Karin Grosset Grange, Ginkgo et Coquelicot

Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera

Ann Schroeder, Bead Love

Kathleen Breeding, 99 Bottles of Beads on the Wall

Jo-Ann Woolverton, It’s a Beadiful Creation

Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design

Heather Richter, Desert Jewelry Designs

Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn’s Creations

Candida Elkins Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks

Catherine Yvonne King, Catherine’s Musings

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

Shaiha Williams, Shaiha’s Ramblings

Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware

Eleanor Burian Moore, The Charmed Life

Dee Alcalde, Agape Creations Jewelry

Marianne Baxter, Simply Seablime Jewelry

Carole Carlson, Bead Sophisticate

Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams

Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz

Christie Searle Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry

Dolores Raml, CraftyD’s Creations

Marianne Hurley, Reads and Beads

Kathleen Breeding, 99 Bottles of Beads on the Wall

Marci Allen Koziolek, Krafty Max Originals

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

The Ocean Blog Hop

First up, I’m sorry I’m a bit late to the Ocean Blog Hop, a combination of busy times at home and some struggles with the muse mean I’m late to the party. Well, better late than never.

Of course, there shouldn’t really be a need for excuses, as Lisa Lodge, the host of the hop, sent these beads out months ago. Look at what she sent me! Cultured (aka faux) sea glass in two shades of blue as well as orange, vibrant orange impression jasper, tiny mother of pearl heishi and some brass starfish, fabulous stampings that look like coral and some tiny brass beads and a clasp!

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So the first piece I made I’ve called Washed Up. It uses some of the irregular sea glass links and the orange beads. I wanted to use an art bead in this piece and I found a great ceramic shell link made by Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Designs, that I think I got in a destash from Lisa a while ago. I tried to use brass link the beads together, but the holes in the sea glass weren’t quite in the right places to hold a jump ring, so I ended up using waxed linen, which kind of reminds me of rope or fishermen’s nets on the beach. I added some barrel-shaped sea glass beads in a lighter blue (that I also got from Lisa) and some orange sea glass rounds.

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Then I made some earrings using the brass starfish, and some large aqua blue sea glass charms I got from Lisa a while ago. Very simple, but they didn’t really need anything else!

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My third piece is a necklace, although it started out as a bracelet! I’ve called it Out on the Reef. The brain coral stampings are used to connect a little twisted strand of beads. The mother of pearl heishi beads remind me so much of those shell necklaces I used to wear as a kid, and I love the contrast of the deep blue glass and the orange impression jasper. I toyed with using chain for the back half of the necklace, but in the end I used a gorgeous blue sari silk ribbon (from Etsy shop Ribbons and Silk). The blue sea glass shard on one side balances the clasp on the other side.

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Thank you Lisa for the lovely selection of beads to play with, I’m looking forward to the next hop in a couple of months! Please take some time to look at the blogs of other participants in this hop!

Ocean Blog Hop June 14th Reveal:

Your hostess: Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist

Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn’s Creations

Ev Shelby, Raindrop Creations

Toltec Jewels, Jewel School Friends (Posting Later)

Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams

Ema Kilroy, Ema K Designs

Candida Elkins Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks

Catherine Yvonne King, Catherine’s Musings

Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes <– YOU ARE HERE!

Shaiha Williams, Shaiha’s Ramblings

Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware (Posting Sunday)

Eleanor Burian Moore, The Charmed Life

Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz

Jill Bradley, Chat 2 Jill

Rebecca Ednie, Eclectic Endeavours

Ocean Blog Hop May 31st Reveal:

Your hostess:  Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist

Christie Searle Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry 

Kim Dworak, Cianci Blue

Marybeth Rich, A Few Words from within the Pines

Karin Grosset Grange, Ginkgo et Coquelicot

Candida Elkins Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks (moved to June 14th reveal)

Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera

Monique Urquhart, A Half-Baked Notion

Katrina Taylor, I Wanna Go Out

Mary Ann Macri Jacobs, Trucksville Crafts

Jeanne Steck, Gems by Jeanne Marie

Ann Schroeder, Bead Love

Kathleen Breeding, 99 Bottles of Beads on the Wall

Marianne Baxter, Simply Seablime Jewelry

Terri Wlaschin, Dances in Fog

Margaret Pelech, Margaret Pelech’s Ocean Blog

Jo-Ann Woolverton, It’s a Beadiful Creation

Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design

Heather Richter, Desert Jewelry Designs

Andrea Glick-Zenith, ZenithJade Creations

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Deep Forest necklace: Into the Forest Blog Hop

It’s been busy this week—school holidays, three kids at daily swimming lessons, fun stuff!—but I finally got some time to play with the beads (Mum I’m hungry, Mum I’m bored!!!). And in the nick of time too, as today is the reveal date for Lisa Lodge‘s Into the Forest blog hop.

As with all of Lisa’s blog hops, she puts together kits for a small price, and the challenge is to make something with the kit contents. My kit contained a lovely spiral polymer clay pendant by Staci Louise Smith, who makes fabulous beads from a variety of mediums, as well as coordinating yellow turquoise beads, green Czech fire-polished beads and green seed beads, both in yummy shades of green. Sadly, I didn’t manage to take a picture of the kit before I started playing with it, my bad! But, here is a (slightly blurry) picture of the focal pendant, with lovely greens ranging from olive to deep green tones as well as a rich bronzey brown.

Deep forest pendant

Anyway. With the deep green colours in the pendant I thought about the dense green rainforests found in Australia’s far north. I dug through my stash to find some Czech glass rondelles in deep green with a picasso finish, some Czech squares in green and brown and some appropriately named rainforest jasper (rhyolite), and strung them together with some of the kit’s yellow turquoise and Czech beads, using the seed beads as spacers. I wire-wrapped the pendant with one of the turquoise beads and added a couple of brass birds to represent the life hiding within the forest.

Deep Forest Collage

I have a few beads left from Lisa’s kit, which no doubt will make their way into earrings and other pieces over the next few months. Thank you again for a great kit and a fun challenge Lisa, I always enjoy your blog hops! Stay tuned, the next one is in about a month!

And of course, I wasn’t the only participant! To see the rest of the creations, just follow the links below!

Your hostess:  Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist
Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes <– YOU ARE HERE
Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Eleanor Burian Moore, The Charmed Life
Jo-Ann Woolverton, It’s a Beadiful Creation
Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware
Christine Stonefield, Sweet Girl Design
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn’s Creations
Janine Lucas, Esfera Travel Blog
Jasvanti Patel, Jewelry by Jasvanti
Shaiha Williams,   Shaiha’s Ramblings
Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz
Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera
Toltec  Jewels, Jewel School Friends
Christie Searle Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry
Molly Alexander, Beautifully Broken Me
Monique Urquhart, A Half-Baked Notion
Janet Bocciardi, Honey from the Bee
Dini Bruinsma, Angaza by Changes
Heather Richter, Desert Jewelry Designs
Christina Miles, Wings n Scales
Elizabeth Engriser, Bead Contagion
Alice Peterson, Alice Dreaming
Alicia Marinache, All the Pretty Things
Catherine Yvonne King, Catherine’s Musings
Ema Kilroy, Ema K Designs
Beads, Recipes

Looking forward and looking back

I cannot believe 2013 is over and 2014 has begun! What a whirlwind 2013 was—between my family, a very part-time job and the beads (oh the beads!)—I feel like I barely stopped for breath!

Some of the jewellery-making highlights of 2013 include

  • the multitude of blog hops I took part in—they stretched my wings and challenged my muse
  • selling my jewellery at The Handmade Show, a lovely, and local to me, show with a real focus on handmade products
  • starting a Facebook page, which has introduced me to many new people, and of course
  • getting my Etsy shop up and running!

Here are a few of my favourite designs from the last 12 months:

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Sand and sea necklace collage DS

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AJE blue orchid necklace Collage boho owl necklace

Luna Park collage

Dark Heart Necklace collage IMG_6654

turquoise heart collage

I’m going to spend the next few weeks entertaining my kids during our summer holidays, so I don’t think too much jewellery-making is going to happen. But I have a few things to get photographed and uploaded on Etsy, and I want to take some time to play. This is one of my Christmas presents …

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… a set of uppercase, lowercase and numerical stamps, some fun design stamps, a stamping hammer and small metal block! I also got a handful of stamping blanks in brass and copper to play with.

Another project for 2014 is bead making. Mum and I are going to work together on some ceramic beads and pendants. She’s got a new (old) smaller kiln which will allow us to play a bit more easily. I’d also like to play with polymer clay a little bit more, maybe take another class or two. And I’ve taken a few metalwork classes over the last year or so, so I’m looking forward to combining the techniques I’ve learnt, and perhaps add some new ones.

On the business end, I need to work out what markets I would like to do in 2014. It’s probably not going to be as many as I did in the last few months as I am not finding them to be particularly profitable for me. I’ll be doing my best to keep my Etsy shop well stocked too. I’ll make sure to keep everyone up to date with my activities via my Facebook page.

Finally, I’ve got a few blog hops lined up already, starting with the December Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month, which I will be posting tomorrow. I’m also signed up for several of Lisa Lodge‘s blog hops, starting with the Into the Forest blog hop on 11 January. It’s more than likely that I’ll take part in more than one of Erin Prais-Hintz‘s blog hops as well as Lori Anderson‘s Bead Soup Blog Party. I’ll do as many of the Art Bead Scene monthly challenges as I can. And I’ll keep taking part in swaps over at Bead Swap-USA. So there’ll be plenty to blog about!

Foodwise, I’ll keep posting recipes I come across that I think are worth a mention. It might be once or twice a month, it may be less often. But I did get a lovely stack of cookbooks for Christmas so I’m hoping to find a few keepers!

I’m looking forward to sharing my adventures with you in 2014! In the mean time, Happy New Year!

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

21 again—Seasons Blog Hop

Today is the reveal date for the Seasons Blog Hop, a challenge put together by Lisa Lodge of Pine Ridge Treasures and the blog A Grateful Artist. Lisa’s blog hops start with a kit especially created by Lisa containing unique combinations of beads, findings, pendants and art beads.

In this blog hop, Lisa asked us to create jewellery that fits one of these two themes:

A season of the year—Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall

A season in your life—for example, first love, collage days, and so on.

My kit was lovely, with a couple of filigree components and bead caps painted a deep, almost iridescent blue by Sharyl McMillian-Nelson, and some coordinating beads in blues and creams, as well as a couple of small silver keys.

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The keys made me think of turning 21, a rite of passage into adulthood for my generation here in Australia that these days has largely been replaced by the 18th birthday celebrations. The keys are significant—symbolising opening the door into your future as an adult.

My own 21st, back in the late 1980s, came at a turning point in my life. I was in my last year of my undergraduate university degree (molecular and cell biology, in case you’re wondering), and applying for graduate school positions in the USA, where I moved a little more than a year later.

To celebrate my 21st birthday, I had a lovely big party with all of my friends and family around me. Here’s a picture of me, I look so young!!

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But my jewellery, well, that was less than inspired. It looks like I am wearing a chain with a small charm on it—if memory serves me rightly, it’s a pair of theatrical masks. The earrings are a bit better—moonstones set in silver dangles (I still have them although they need a good clean!). The bracelet was a present from family friends, a gorgeous silver bangle that I wore frequently for many years.

So with my blog hop kit I made some earrings and a necklace to wear with that lovely blue dress!

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I used almost all of the beads that Lisa sent me. I wanted to use the filigree bead caps but I couldn’t get them to work properly with my design. And the silver tubes didn’t get used. I had a bead mix which contained the same blues as the cubes and big bead in my kit, so they filled out the necklace. I added some silver bead caps and textured silver chain to finish off the necklace.

Thank you Lisa, for such a fun challenge!  And please take some time to have a look at the other blogs, there are some really lovely pieces!

Hostess: Lisa Lodge, Grateful Artist

Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Cassi Paslick, Beads: Rolling Downhill
Stephanie Sanner Haussler, PixyBug Designs
Leah Mifflin Tees, My Beady Little Eyes
Karin Slaton, BackStory Beads

Audrey Belanger, Dreams of an Absolution
Lori Jean Poppe, Lorillijean Creative Corner
Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
Christine Stonefield, Sweet Girl Design
Eleanor Burian-Mohr, The Charmed Life

Alicia Marinache,  All the Pretty Things
Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera
Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz
Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
Toltec Jewels, Toltec Jewels for Jewel School Friends

Lennis Carrier, Windbent
Erin Kenny, Beadifultherapy
Tanya Goodwin, A Work in Progress
Cilla Watkins, Tell Your Girlfriends
Renetha Williams Stanziano, Lamplight Crafts

Christie Searle Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry
Sierra Barrett, Giraffe Can Has
Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes <<– YOU ARE HERE
Shirley Jones Moore, Beads and Bread
Dawn Horner, Northern Adornments

Charlene Bausinger Jacka, Clay Space
Tara Plote, The Newbie Beader’s Blog
Candida Elkins Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks
Miranda Ackerley, Daze and Days