Soup, soup, beautiful bead soup!

The Bead Soup Blog Party has begun, with the exchange of bead soups! Denise got hers early last week while mine showed up at the end of the week. And I have to say, I think we were both quite chuffed with what we got.

Denise sent me a lovely selection of beads, inspired by my name, Melissa, which means honey or honey bee in Greek. The beads span a  palette of delicate oranges and yellows as well as earthy tones, plus a set of turquoise blue turtles for contrast. The beads include carnelian, coral, dyed agates and jasper, to set off two gorgeous stone focals, one a larged striped agate and the other a mustard-coloured agate, She threw in some of her favourite one- and two-holed beads and another small beadwoven focal that I think she made.

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The colours remind me of the Australian desert landscapes, which may lead me to some inspiration!

As to the beads I sent Denise, well, they had an Australian flavour of sorts. I picked beads by some of my favourite Australian beadmakers, including a big beautiful ceramic focal by Natali Fletcher-Jones, that I have been hoarding for a while, plus some earring charms by Melissa Gabelle, another local clay artist whose work I tend to squirrel away. These two ceramic artists are among my very favourites, and both of them keep tempting me with more and more lovely beads, which they sell through various groups on Facebook including Australian Art Beads, Handmade Alchemy and Handmade Beads and Findings, among others.

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I added several lengths of sari silk in colours that and a selection of Czech beads in different sizes and shapes in coordinating hues. Finally, there is also a brass dragonfly clasp that is similar to one I received in my very first bead soup! I hope you really enjoy playing with this soup Denise, I had fun putting it together for you!

Ok, so now we both have until 25 March to create with our bead soups. I’d better get cracking!

It’s BSBP season again!

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One of the key reasons I set up this blog was so that I could take part in blog hops and challenges, and the one that I most wanted to do when I started was Lori Anderson‘s Bead Soup Blog Party aka the BSBP! I took part in three BSBPs (here, here and here) before Lori had to stop organising them due to ill-health.

But happy days are here again! Lori is feeling much better than she was a couple of years ago and has set up the 9th BSBP — this time with a fun twist! Not only are we sending our partner beads, but we have been asked to send hoarded beads, beads that we’ve been holding on to for one reason or another. Beads that have special meaning and personal value to us. It’s a lovely idea, and also a difficult task, it can be hard to give up our precious, special beads!

This year my partner is Denise Milward, a beader living in Nottinghamshire in the UK. Denise took part in the last BSBP too (here is the first of several blog posts she did with her designs).

So what have I sent Denise from my hoard stash? Well, I can’t show you more than this:

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But I can tell you it has somewhat of an Aussie theme to it. I’ve picked out some of my favourite Australian-made pretties to send to Denise, along with a few other bits and bobs from here and there. I really hope she enjoys what I have sent to her, and is inspired! And I can’t wait to see what she makes!

I’ll post again about the BSBP when I get my beads in the mail from Denise, I’m looking forward to that too! And the big reveal is March 25, only a month or so away. Hopefully I’ll have a good couple of weeks to play!

ABS January Challenge: Field of Flowers Earrings

I’m hoping to participate a bit more frequently with the Art Bead Scene monthly challenge this year, aided by the fact that they have published a little booklet with all twelve artworks for the year, so I can get a head start! Well, that’s the theory anyway!

This month’s painting — by Egon Schiele — is a riot of flowers in yellows, oranges and reds.

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I recently bought a couple of earring pairs from Melissa Gabelle. She decorates these little ceramic charms with slip to create a textured floral design. One of the pairs was a yellow and red design which was perfect for this challenge. I came up with a new way to hang the charms from the wires using deerhide leather, which I’m quite pleased with.

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In fact, I used the same technique to make a similar pair using smaller charms in purple.

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Thank you Art Bead Scene for an interesting and inspirational choice of art this month.

We’re All Ears: Greenery, the Pantone Colour of the Year!

I meant to post this yesterday but time got away with me, that’s school holidays for you! Anyway, this month’s challenge for the Earrings Everyday blog was to use Pantone’s Colour of the Year, Greenery. Erin helpfully provided a few colour palettes featuring the colour, which is a really lovely spring green, symbolic of new beginnings (and oh how apt that is this weekend!).

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Now, you might have seen this pair of earrings in last week’s Muffin Tin Challenge, but here they are again. The charms come from the talented torch of Cathleen Zaring and they are just bursting with green! The lampwork dangle comes from Lesley McIver, and the copper earwires are from The Curious Bead Shop.

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If you pop over to the Earrings Everyday blog here, you’ll find the links to the other participants in the challenge. Thanks to Erin for another great challenge, hopefully I’ll do more of them this year!

 

 

Muffin Tin Challenge 2017

January’s a funny time of the year for me. On one hand, I am usually not working so I should have plenty of time to do things. On the other hand it is the summer school holidays down here in Australia, and the chorus of “Mum I’m bored” from my three kids can be overwhelming. It’s hard to hear the muse amidst the clamour!

Thankfully, Heather Powers from Humblebeads has come to the rescue with a fun creative activity to get things moving — the Muffin Tin Challenge! Basically, a muffin tin is filled with jewellery projects, one per hole. And then, as time permits, the projects can be pulled out and completed.

Now in theory, each muffin hole should contain all of the materials required for the project, but I never manage to be quite that organised. Instead I put in my focal and a few coordinating beads, and when I pull out the project from the tin, I find whatever else I need — findings, chain, extra beads and so on — in my stash.

So for the last two weeks I’ve had a muffin tin full of projects and I’ve been adding bits and pieces as I go. But of course, I’ve left it to the last minute to do anything! Last night I made five pairs of earrings, and this morning I’ve made a quick and easy necklace. I was going to make more than one but … kids! But I will keep going with my muffin tin over the next days and weeks, I hope!

Here’s the tin, with various focals and pendants, as well as some of the beads I picked out to go with the them.

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My first pair of earrings will probably be used for next week’s Earrings Everyday challenge, but here’s a picture of them anyway. Enamel charms by Cathleen Zaring, lampwork by Lesley McIver.

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Another pair featuring Cathleen’s enamel charms, in sunny blues and yellows (it is summer here after all!).

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This pair of earrings showcases Heather’s new style of earring charms – they are very versatile! The pink flowers remind me of eucalyptus blossoms.

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My fourth pair matches stunning lampwork spikes by Liz DeLuca with faceted Czech glass.

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And last, but definitely not least, these stunning lampwork spikes by Liz DeLuca go beautifully with Rebecca Anderson‘s “end of the day” beaded beads.

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The necklace is an homage to Heather’s gorgeous variety of stacked necklaces, with one of her beautiful gilded folk art birds on top of an equally gorgeous Czech glass briar rose bead.

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Thank you for the challenge Heather, it did give me the kick up the bum I needed to get started this year! Now to start thinking about the Art Bead Scene challenge for January …

To see what others have made, visit Heather’s post here for the links.

 

AJE Challenge: Autumn Dusk Necklace

This month’s challenge from Art Jewelry Elements focused on trees and autumn. My thoughts immediately went to the gorgeous tree pendants that Natalie Fletcher-Jones makes, with a design she carved herself a few years ago. She glazes them in a myriad of different colours and I have a couple of them in my collection, the one I eventually selected glazed in lovely dusky colours.

As I was shuffling through my beads to see what might work with the pendant, I came across a recent selection from The Curiosity Club in just the right combination of soft dusky pinks and purples to go with the necklace. Finished off with a leafy clasp, it has an autumnal feel to it.

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Thank you AJE for another great challenge! This is a blog hop, so if you have time, pop over and see what others have made:

AJE Team

Jennifer Stout Cameron

Lesley Watt

Jenny Davies-Reazor

Laney Mead

Niky Sayers

Cooky Schock

Cathy Spivey Mendola

Caroline Dewison

Guests

Brooke Bock

Karin Grosset Grange

Merja Sundström

Cindy Martin Shaw

Allison L Norfleet Bruenger

Kathy Lindemer

Gloria Allen

Shai Williams

Tammy Adams

Mona Arnott

Terri Del Signore

 

Rio and Rings: An Olympic Challenge Revealed

A couple of weeks ago I put out a challenge to friends in the beading community to come up with designs inspired by the Olympic Games, which were celebrated in Rio in August. As I said then, I love the Olympic Games, it’s one of the few sporting events I avidly watch (along with the similar but smaller Commonwealth Games and the Winter Olympics). The Aussie team is huge (especially given we are a nation of only 25 million or so people) and usually brings home a few medals, mostly in various watersports like swimming, sailing, canoeing/kayaking, and rowing, and even a few athletics medals as well as random sports like shooting and equestrian events. But while the medals are nice, I just love seeing the camaraderie between athletes of all nationalities and the joy as they compete and win. The sheer athleticism of the gymnasts astounds me, the achievements of superstars like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt is mindblowing, and I love seeing sports that I’m not familiar with (pingpong anybody? Or perhaps the Modern Pentathlon?). Even the team sports are fun to watch!

In my original post, I mentioned various things that could be used as inspirational jumping off points. I had lots of ideas, such as a metal piece echoing the graceful lines of a gymnast in mid-flight, but sadly I had neither the time nor the metalwork skills to pull that one off! So I went in a different direction.

As a self-confessed colour lover, I was very drawn to the colours used by the Rio Olympics in their logos and branding—vibrant hues of bright blue, orange, yellow and green, in organic, swirling graphics.

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I decided to feature those colours in a lariat style necklace. The lampwork beads come from Beatlebaby Glassworks, and they’ve been sitting in a drawer for a couple of years awaiting the right project. The necklace itself is very simple, with the beads strung along a length of 3mm wide chocolate brown deer hide leather, and it can be worn in several ways—wrapped around the neck or even around the wrist as a bracelet.

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When I was digging out the beads I used above, I found another set of beads—little rings in translucent frosted glass—from the same bead artist, and these made me think of the Olympic Rings, a symbol that above all others says Olympic Games, although they are completely the wrong colours! I used slightly wider deer hide leather in black to string them in another lariat-style necklace. It’s very comfortable to wear!

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Oh yes, and later this week the Paralympics start—have you ever watched them? The athletes are simply amazing, and many of them have overcome the most incredible of challenges to reach the Olympics. It’s worth seeing if it is showing on TV in your area.

A couple of my jewellery-making friends have joined me in this little challenge, so if you have time, go and see what they made!

Lennis at windbent.wordpress.com

Michelle at www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com

Linda at  fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com