Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Art Bead Scene June Challenge

It’s been a few months since I managed to make something for the Art Bead Scene monthly challenge. But I did make something this month! Well, a small confession — I actually made this last month, but using the inspiration artwork for June (which I had downloaded earlier in the year thanks to ABS making us a little booklet containing the year’s artwork, month by month).

Profile on Red Meanders, formerly Jeanne d’Arc. Odelin Redon, 1900, Pastel

The artwork is by Odelin Redon, a French artist active in the late 1800s to early 1900s, and it really has the most vibrant and luminous colours, quite at odds with the renaissance feel to the female head featured in the painting. I was really taken by the combination of pinks and blues and greens.

I pulled out one of the folk-inspired birds that Heather “Humblebeads” Powers has been making in recent months, a beautiful deep pink one with blue accents. I made a tassel out of embroidery silks that coordinated with it beautifully, but I needed a large bead to balance it. Serendipitously I received a package of funky knitted beads from KnittenJen’s Beads, and one of them paired beautifully with Heather’s bird. I kept the rest of the necklace simple, just stringing it onto a piece of suede thonging. I have had thoughts about adding some more beads (I do have some similar knitted beads without the seed bead embellishment), although to be honest I would need some larger beads than are common in my stash to give the necklace balance. Maybe if the right beads come along I’ll play with a new design but I’m enjoying wearing it like thisat the moment.

Once I’d made the necklace, I of course needed some earrings to wear with it, so I pulled out a pair of Heather’s charms and some Czech glass beads and whipped up a pair in coordinating colours.

Thank you for the colourful inspiration ABS, I now have a new go-to necklace and I have some more birds and some more knitted beads that may find themselves paired together in something similar in the near future!

 

Beads, online shop

FLASH SALE in my Etsy Shop!

Sale_Tags I’m off  on my big US holiday next week so I thought I’d have a quick sale in my Etsy shop before I close it until October. Use the code USHOLIDAY15 to get 20% off any purchase until midnight on Saturday 8th August (that’s in US eastern time, which is 2pm Sunday 9th August in Melbourne, Australia and 5am Sunday 9th of August in the UK). I’ll ship on Monday.

Beads

January thoughts

I’ve been neglecting my blog the last few months, only posting when I need to, for a blog hop or challenge and happily ignoring it at other times. No really good reason for it other than, as usual, things get in the way. Like kids, a good book or three, too much time fooling around on Facebook, my real job, that sort of thing.

While I try not to make resolutions these days—they’re too easy to break—January is a really good time to stop and take stock of what has gone before and what is coming toward me, often at breakneck speed!

So, there were a few things I didn’t blog about in 2014, which I really should have done. For example, this necklace which I made for the Bead Society of Victoria’s annual Bead Challenge, which was displayed with all of the other entries at the BSV’s annual Bead Expo in mid-November. This challenge requires the purchase of a kit, and ALL of the beads in the kit must be incorporated into a single piece (yes they count them!).

Here’s the kit …

bead challenge 2014 pack

And here’s my necklace.

Spring flowers necklace

I was very pleased with it, even though I knew it wouldn’t be in the running at all—have a look here to see all the entries and here to see the winners. Part of me wishes that they would run the competition in different categories as those of us who don’t work with seed beads really don’t have a chance against those beautiful creations. But still, I was pleased with what I created and that’s the thing that matters. In case you’re wondering, the beautiful lampwork bead is made by Denise Smith of DKS Lampwork. Here’s a closeup.

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Marketwise, I had my ups and downs. I never seem to sell very well in the middle of the year, when the weather is cold and dreary. However, I had some wonderful markets in November and December. My biggest seller at the markets doesn’t tend to be my one of a kind creations, but I have a line of simple resin jewellery including pendants, earrings, cufflinks and most recently rings, featuring sweet pictures and patterns which sell quite well. This year I’ll keep doing my local market, The Handmade Show, which kicks off for the year in April (I’m now on the committee which is fun and a bit different) and a couple of others here and there as the opportunity comes up.

In the meantime, a lovely little shop in Alexandra, a small town north east of Melbourne, has a selection of my jewellery for sale. If you happen to be out that way, pop in and say hi to Cindy at Rustic Simplicity.

I’m also planning to revamp my Etsy shop, Boho Bird Jewellery, and I’m going to kickstart my efforts with this course. It starts in a couple of weeks, and you may well see some posts about it here as I work through it.

I’ve already got three or four blog hops and challenges lined up for the next couple of weeks, as well as a few overdue Christmas pressies, so I really need to spend some time making jewellery! Yay! And it’s plum jam making time! If you’re lucky I’ll post a recipe for plum icecream in the next few days. Yummy!

 

 

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Giveaways and contests

Autumn leaves: BluMudd challenge

I had so much fun with the last BluMudd Design Team challenge that I signed up straight away for the next challenge, Leaves and Acorns. This time around Moriah Betterley put together a set of beads with a definite autumnal feel to them. Yes, it can be strange designing for autumn when it is winter-turning-to-spring here in Australia, but the beads were so lovely, it really wasn’t a chore!

Anyhow, this is the kit I received. A leaf-shaped cuff bracelet focal, an acorn connector bead and a trio of leaf-textured tube beads, in lovely shades of amber and burgundy (this is Moriah’s picture, not mine).

Amber-burgundy set

According to the rules, I needed to use the beautiful leaf-shaped cuff in my design, but in the end I used the acorn as well, and two of the three beads. I went with the shape of the cuff to make a bracelet, using four strands of burgundy waxed linen to string a variety of seed beads and small Czech glass beads, plus two of the tube beads. The acorn finished off the bracelet length, along with a copper clasp.

BluMudd challenge 5 collage

Now, this challenge is also a contest, and you can see all of the other designs here. If you like my bracelet, please vote for it by liking it!

Beads, Markets

Cufflinks for Dad

Here in Australia it’s Father’s Day on Sunday 7th September, and if you’re looking for a handmade gift for Dad, I’ve got new cufflinks to show you.

It’s always fun to find different papers and images that work well under resin to make interesting cufflinks. And this year I came across a great set of images from Etsy seller Valentine Grimm featuring iconic images and signage from the 50s and 60s such as the Route 66 sign, Vegas signs and more. I picked out a few that I thought might work, what do you think?

Roadside collage

From the same Etsy seller, I also picked up some pretty Art Nouveau tile designs and floral designs, as well as some medieval illumination-style images. I selected ones that I thought were not too feminine, although I realize that can be very subjective. My husband said he’d wear them, so that works for me!

art nouveau collage

Finally, I made a couple of pairs using scrapbook paper with a musical theme.

musical collage

If you’re interested in buying a pair of these cufflinks, I will have them at The Handmade Show this Saturday, and on my Facebook page on Sunday or Monday. And if Father’s Day isn’t coming up for you, don’t forget there are only 19 weeks until Christmas!

Beads, online shop

Facebook auctions are live

In the last few months, a number of Facebook groups devoted to buying and selling jewellery and supplies have popped up. This week marks the debut of the Aussie Artisan Jewellery Buy and Sell group, which as the name suggests, will provide a marketplace for Australian jewellery designers to showcase their wares.

It’s a straightforward concept with an auction approach to selling. The designer lists each piece with a starting price and a Buy it Now (BIN) price and gives a time and date for the auction to finish. Then potential buyers can bid until the auction ends or the BIN price is reached.

Here are the pieces I’ve listed today. If you click on them, it should open up the appropriate photo in Facebook! They are available until Sunday 15 July at noon Australian Eastern time. And the prices are listed in Australian dollars, but don’t let that stop you from bidding. One other thing—I will always post at the most inexpensive rate available, but due to the fragile nature of the components, I have to package them as securely as I can.

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Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Flower Power necklace: Art Bead Scene January challenge

This year I’m really going to make an effort to participate in Art Bead Scene ‘s monthly challenge as often as I can. January‘s art inspiration is a lovely floral textile design by talented American artist Lois Mailou Jones. The colours are soft with the muted blues and greens balancing the brighter yellows, oranges, purples and reds.

LoisMailouJones
Textile Design for Cretonne, 1928?
by Lois Mailou Jones
Tempera on Paper

The focal of the necklace I was inspired to make by this painting is a sweet floral pendant from Natalie Fletcher, aka Peruzi. The soft purple-pink of the flower is close to Radiant Orchid, the 2014 Pantone Colour of the Year, and the pendant is rimmed in a soft aqua blue. I paired it with a variety of Czech beads in blues and pinks, including a deep dark pink flower, as well as some beautiful faceted amazonite beads.

Flower power necklace collage

I’ll be linking this blog post up to ABS’s blog tour on 31 Jan, so pop over there to look at everyone’s designs. And I hope to get back to a more regular blogging schedule now that the kids have started school for the year. Stay tuned for more blog hops and some new designs. I might even throw a recipe or two in there!

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, online shop

Open for Business!

Last night I took a big step into the unknown and pressed Publish on my Etsy shop, Boho Bird Jewellery. It’s something that, to be honest, I have been procrastinating about for months. So it was kind of a relief to put it all out there! At the same time, I am really really nervous—will people like my creations enough to actually buy them?

Liss's Etsy Shop

Currently I only have 12 items listed, I’ll be adding to that over the next couple of weeks—I just need to take some more photos. I’ll try to upload new items every week, Please come and visit—after all, there are only 7 weeks left until Christmas!

If you would like to see my work in person, and you live in or around Melbourne, I will be doing several more craft markets between now and mid-December. You can see the list here.

Beads

To market, to market

Well, I survived the school craft market! And it was fun! I sold some jewellery, made a little money, and I got a few compliments on my designs too.

To put it all in context, this market was primarily for school kids, and their accompanying parents. I knew my customers were mostly going to be little girls, aged between 5 and 12. So I decided to make necklaces appealing to girls like my daughters, who are 7 1/2 and almost 6 years old, with mysterious keys, heart-shaped lockets, bright flowers, butterflies, rainbows, fairies and unicorns, cute little critters. I mostly used silver-toned metals, but I also had some antique copper and brass chains and charms. And I had a few wooden pendants with a broader appeal—some surfboards and some tribal-looking pendants.

I ended up selling almost half of the necklaces I made, mostly the silver ones. Some large silver lockets I found on Etsy were the most popular item, which didn’t surprise me.

To tempt the adults, I also made a few things—earrings, the bracelets I featured in this post, and a handful of necklaces in various designs using pendants from Marsha Neal Studio, Humblebeads and White Clover Kiln and Czech beads. I didn’t expect to sell much—I ended up selling two pairs of earrings—but I wasn’t disappointed, as I knew the main customers were going to be the kids. But one customer was very taken with my Día de las Muertos necklace and took my card—maybe I’ll hear from her, maybe I won’t.

So what’s next? Well, there is a monthly handmade market, aptly named The Handmade Show, just around the corner from me. I went and had a look yesterday and there were a few jewellery sellers there, but they do restrict the numbers of each kind of stall so not too many. This particular show is closed over the summer months, but I have made note of the date when applications open for the first show in April next year, and I think I will apply. It’s inexpensive, and, I think, a good starting point for me. I also need to seriously think about opening an Etsy shop—I’ve started the process but I need to pull together some more stock, take some good photos, and start listing. And I need to make a Facebook business page, and perhaps have a small sale there in the run up to Christmas.

In the mean time, if you’re thinking about getting someone something special for Christmas, let me know if I can help!