Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Here Comes the Sun: Art Jewelry Elements Rebirth of the Sun Challenge

The Art Jewelry Elements challenge this month is celebrating the rebirth of the sun during the winter solstice. Well, here in Australia, we are at the other end of the sun’s cycle and have just passed midsummer. That’s just fine with me as I love summer, well, up until it gets really stinking hot, so I’m happy to just celebrate the sun!

This time around I didn’t win one of the challenge giveaways so instead I bought one of Lesley Watt‘s sun pendants, rather a lovely one I think! I had chosen a bunch of Czech beads and laid them out in a reasonably complex order. And then I looked at the pendant again and decided simple was best. So I linked a small selection of beads together and added them to the pendant, popped some rather nice brass chain on as well, and created a little dangle for the bottom of the pendant.

Rebirth of the Sun necklace

I realised after I made it that the little pops of orangey-pink remind me of the colours in the sky at dawn, when the sun is reborn each day.

There are others joining in this AJE challenge, so if you can, go and see what they made too! Thank you Lesley and the AJE team for the challenge theme!

Guest Designers
Melissa Trudinger <– YOU ARE HERE!

AJE Team
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Beads, Swaps and exchanges

BeadFest part 4 — the people and the swaps

One last BeadFest post and then I’m done, promise! This time I want to mention a few of the people I met at BeadFest and afterwards. I’ve been involved in the beading/jewellery design online community for a few years now, blogging, taking part in challenges, swapping beads and chatting on Facebook. So it was fabulous to meet some of the people I have talked to over the last few years.

I took with me a little stash of art beads from some of my favourite Aussie beadmakers—Natalie Fletcher-Jones, Melissa Gabelle (a new discovery), Pauline Delaney, and more to swap with friends I met on my travels (by the way, these three beadmakers are very active on FB bead groups including Australian Art Beads which is a great page for buying beads). I should have taken a picture of it all before I left, but alas, I didn’t.

One of the people I was really hoping to meet was Lori Anderson. As luck would have it, we walked into each other right outside the expo hall, as she was arriving with her son Zach and I was leaving. Of course I knew her immediately from her pink hair! We chatted happily for 10-15 minutes, and had hoped to catch up later that day or the next day, but unfortunately she was unwell and had to leave before we managed to meet up again. Lori gifted me a lovely bag stuffed full of beads and toggles (and I later sent her a bag of beads too, as I didn’t happen to have them on me that day). Sadly, I didn’t think to take a photo of Lori at the time, but here’s a picture of the gift!

Loris gift

I had lunch another day with Heather Powers, who is the creative soul behind Humblebeads. We had such a good chat! Some of the beads I showed in my last post came from a swap I did with Heather.

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At Jenny Davies-Reazor‘s booth, I met not just Jenny but several of the other Art Jewelry Elements bloggers too—Lesley Watt (who came over from the UK to attend the show), Diana Ptaszynski and Linda Landig (who took photos but managed to stay out of one herself!). There were definitely swapsies involved with Jenny, Lesley and Diana, and they kindly allowed me to rest my poor tired feet behind their stand.

AJE swaps

Michelle McCarthy and I had already arranged to do a swap through a swap group we belong to, and decided to do it in person at the show.

Michelle swaps

And here’s a picture of me and Marsha Neal, just because!

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After BeadFest there were a few more chances to meet people and to swap beads via the mail with friends I didn’t get a chance to meet in person.

Lennis Carrier sent me a fabulous selection of art beads, almost all of them with a few coordinating Czech beads as well. We had hoped to catch up in person, but she ended up helping out a friend on the other side of the country instead of coming to BeadFest.

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Cory Tompkins sent me a lovely selection of her polymer clay creations, and a stash of other bits and bobs as well. Aren’t those polymer sugar skulls awesome?!

Corys gift

A few weeks after BeadFest I went roadtripping through the southwest with my family and we had dinner with Gina Hockett, another friend from my bead swap group. She gifted me some lovely turquoise cabs (from Judy McCourt), some lampwork beads, and a bracelet and earrings too, as well as some petrified wood pieces for my kids (collected from outside the national park of course!).

Gina swap

It was wonderful to meet online friends in real life, even if it was only for a short time—I will be back! And of course, I would love to see some of my beady friends in Australia one day…

Beads

BeadFest part 3 — the art bead shopping

Of course I didn’t forget the art beads at BeadFest. Some of my favourite beadmakers were there, as well as some I have eyed from afar but never seen in person.

A group of beadmakers had a progressive make’n’take going on, so of course I had to play along. The ceramic house is by Diane Hawkey, the copper house frame was made by me on Brenda Schweder’s Now that’s a Jig wire wrapping jig, the dangles are by Nikki Thornburg (who also showed me a cool way to wire-wrap long stems) and the tiny enameled tubes were from C-Koop Beads (who also provided the leather). I’ve worn this a lot as I’ve travelled around the US, it’s nice and light for summer and the colours work beautifully with a lot of my clothing.

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I bought a few more beads from Diane Hawkey. The glass beads in the picture were from Beach House Glass Beads.IMG_0860

I also bought some more beads from Nikki Thornburg—some of her headpins. I’m sure I can find some uses for them somewhere!

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Between Diane Hawkey and Nikki Thornburg was Marsha Neal Studio. Marsha was absolutely lovely and we chatted for ages (more than once!). I bought a few bead pairs from her, one of her organic pod/vessels (and one for my mum, not pictured) and one of her great wrap bracelet kits. Which I had every intention of making as I travelled but, well, you know …

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And I had to buy a few somethings from C-Koop Beads too.

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I had lunch with one of my very favourite bead makers, Heather Powers, on Saturday and then had a little splurge at her booth. Such beautiful beads, I could have bought one of everything. We also did a little swap – more on that in the next blog post.

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Staci Smith’s stand was full of fabulous treasures. I picked out some fun bits and pieces there, and a gorgeous necklace for my sister in law’s 40th birthday (yes I know I could have just bought some of the components and made something myself, but the necklace just seemed right for her, apologies as I don’t have a picture of it).

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Michelle McCarthy, a swap buddy of mine from the old Bead Swap USA group (now disbanded) had a booth of her ceramics (Firefly Design Studio) and I selected some great summery beads and pendants there.

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Right next door was Anne Gardanne‘s stall and I picked up some more enameled components there.

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I splurged on a few exquisitely made beads from Joan Miller Porcelain. I wanted to buy a lot more.

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Green Girls Studios was good for a few more beads too.

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At Jenny Davies-Reazor ‘s booth, I picked up one of her mixed media word pendants — this one just called to me and I suspect I’ll be keeping it. And then I did some swapping with the Art Jewelry Elements girls, again more on that tomorrow.

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I have to say, it’s fantastic to actually be able to see the beads in person, pick them up and fondle them. Although it makes choosing them even harder.

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

AJE Firefly Challenge reveal

Last month I won one of Jen Cameron ‘s Firefly beads as part of the Art Jewelry Elements quarterly theme challenge. Today is the day to reveal my design, and in typical fashion, I have waited until the very last minute to make something (in my defence, it’s been a busy month, and my weekend was filled with dance and gymnastics competitions—not me, my daughters!—and now it’s school holidays).

Anyway, Jen’s beads look like this (I borrowed Jen’s photo, thank you!).

Jen Firefly beads

Fireflies, are found in parts of the USA, as well as other places around the world, and tend to appear on warm summer nights. I once saw fireflies in Nebraska when I was visiting a friend and her family (we drove her car back to California where we were both at grad school). Alas, here in this part of Australia we don’t have fireflies, although we do have glowworms, which I have seen in the Victorian bush. One of my daughters said the bead looked like the Van Gogh painting Starry Starry Night, which it definitely does.

It’s a big bead too, a couple of inches long, and quite fat, so it was destined to go into a necklace. I knew it would need to be balanced by the rest of the design, so I thought I would do a multi-strand necklace and braid the strands together to give each side some visual weight. I chose a combination of some deep blue seed beads surrounding a variety of golden yellow Czech glass flowers, pale translucent yellow beads interspersed with blue rondelles, and after some thought, a strand of mixed seed beads in greens, blues and purples with some pops of yellow.

Last but not least, I added a tassel underneath the bead. I wanted a yellow tassel but could only get blue and green, so I went with green. I tried to age the shiny golden cap but alas it is plastic, so I need to think of the best way to do that—clearly gilder’s paste is unlikely to work. Although, now that the necklace is assembled, it doesn’t look too out of place with the golden yellow beads.

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(Apologies for the picture—which is not the best as it was taken at night under lights. I may replace it tomorrow if I can get a better one.)

Anyway, thank you Jen for the fabulous bead, and thank you AJE for the challenge! I’ve listed the other participants below, make sure you go and check out their creations.

Guest Designers:

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

Mary Detray – http://www.brassrabbitstudio.com/blog

Keren Panthaki – https://vasdea.wordpress.com

Tammy Adams – http://www.paisleylizard.com/blog/

Veralynne Malone – www.veradesigns.blogspot.com

Terri Del Signore – http://artisticaos.blogspot.com

Heather Powers – http://www.humblebeads.blogspot.com

Susan Delphine Delaney – https://susandolphindelaney.wordpress.com

 

AJE Team:

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

Lesley Watt – http://www.thegossipinggoddess.blogspot.com

Niky Sayers – http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk

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

Jen Cameron – http://www.glassaddictions.com/blog

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Giveaways and contests

AJE Elements Use Your Stash blog hop

Way back in the middle of December, Art Jewelry Elements announced that in January it would amp up the Component of the Month challenge, with every member of the team designing something using a component from their stash made by one of the other team members. Readers were encouraged to do the same, and to add a little extra, nine lucky jewellery designers would receive an art bead.

I was lucky enough to have my name drawn to receive this fabulous ceramic pendant from Lesley Watt.

Daisy pendant

It’s summer here in Australia, and our lawn is sprouting daisies and dandelions. I combined the pendant with a literal bunch of flowers, all knotted together on sunny yellow waxed linen cord.

Summer Daisy necklace

Thank you Lesley for sending me such a sweet little pendant to play with—I hope this necklace brings a ray of sunshine to brighten up your English winter today!

Here are the links to the AJE team blogs as well as the other winners and some jewellery designers who raided their stash to play along.

AJE team: 
Guest Participants ( aka winners)
Samantha- Wescott Jewelry
Kathy – Bay Moon Designs
Nikki – Silver Nik nats
Yvette – Blue Kiln Beads
Bonus participants! 
Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Waterhole Dreaming necklace: AJE Component of the Month

Art Jewelry Elements is one of my favourite beady blogs, with a focus on beautiful handmade beads, pendants and other components. Last month, I was fortunate enough to be picked to receive one of Rebekah Payne‘s speckle beads for the AJE December Component of the Month giveaway. The beads immediately reminded me of the dot paintings created by the Aboriginal people of central Australia. Inspired by these paintings, I requested one of the beads in the brown/white/reddish-orange colourway, as these are the colours typically used. I forgot to take a photo of the bead prior to using it, but here is a (slightly blurry) closeup.
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Dot paintings, like other Aboriginal art forms, generally tell a story about events in the Dreamtime—the mythical time of the ancestors and the events that shaped the landscape. The dots form symbols representing places or events, which together tell a story about a journey or an important event. I looked for some dot paintings that I could use in this blog post, but try as I might, I couldn’t find any suitable examples in the public domain. This site and this site both have some good examples of Aboriginal art as well as explanations of the iconography if you’d like to see some good examples and read more about it.

Anyway, a pattern of dots in concentric circles typically represents a meeting place, a campfire or a waterhole, which inspired the name of the necklace I designed using Rebekah’s speckle bead. After much contemplation of my bead stash, I dug into my small collection of Krobo beads from Ghana, which had both the colours and the patterns to complement the focal bead. I also found some small Indonesian recycled glass beads in reddish-orange and white, which my parents brought me back from a trip to Bali a couple of years ago. In keeping with the organic feel of the beads I knotted them on chocolate brown waxed linen, and finished with a small plain brass toggle clasp.

Waterhole necklace Collage

Thank you Rebekah for the opportunity to work with one of these lovely beads, it’s been a fun challenge! I’m looking forward to seeing what the other participants come up with. Take some time to visit the other blogs to see what they have made:

Guest Designers:
Ann – Bead Love
Melissa – Bead Recipes <– you are here
AJE Team:
Kristen – My Bead Journey
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!