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.


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


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



Inspired by Reading: The Silver Witch

Book cover

This month’s book for the Inspired by Reading Book Club was The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston, a lovely novel which weaves together the stories of Seren, a witch and shaman from Celtic Wales, and ceramic artist Tilda, who has moved to a cottage near a Welsh village after her husband’s death. As Seren and her Prince’s lives are increasingly threatened, Tilda discovers she has powers of her own, and an ancestral connection to Seren and the nearby lake.

The book features a pretty spectacular piece of jewellery, a golden torc engraved with Celtic designs of a hare and a dog. Sadly it’s not something I could easily make, so I looked instead at Tilda, a potter who creates beautiful ceramics. The pieces she creates when she moves to Wales are decorated with Celtic patterns as well, and this is what inspired me.

I chose a pretty ceramic pendant by BluMudd (sadly, Moriah isn’t making beads anymore) featuring a Celtic pattern in pretty shades of aqua greens and blues, reminding me of the lake that features in the book (although as I thought about it, I realized that the lake would probably be more of a deep dark blue, than green, especially in winter, when the book is set). I surrounded the focal with Czech glass beads in shades of blue and green, and added a small length of double chain in brass. It’s a simple piece but I think it captures the cool wintery colours of the book, and certainly the Celtic influences. What do you think?

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I really enjoyed the book and a couple of others I read by the same author. If you like a book that blends history, witchcraft, and yes, even a bit of romance, you’ll probably like them too. I’ll be seeking out a few more of Paula’s books in the near future.


Inspired by Reading Book Club: The Fault in Our Stars.

This month’s book for the Inspired by Reading Book Club was John Green’s YA novel The Fault in Our Stars. It’s a book I had been meaning to read for a while, so it was lovely to have an excuse to do so!

I really enjoyed the book. It’s sad of course, given that the two main characters meet at a cancer group for teens, but I really liked Hazel and Augustus, and thought them very believable teens. I need to find time to watch the movie I think!

Now, I have to confess that the pieces I’m going to show you now are not all inspired directly by the books, but they fit the inspiration perfectly. I was quite taken with the Encouragements—illustrated sayings that decorated the house of Augustus and his family. I could just picture them as I read, cross-stitched maybe or perhaps with Mary Engelbreit illustrations.

Late last year I started to make what I call Inspiration Bracelets. I use stamped metal bars from the scrapbooking/papercrafts designer Tim Holtz which have inspirational sayings on them, and I stitch them with waxed linen to leather bracelets. They’ve been pretty popular at my markets and in the couple of shops which sell my jewellery. I think they fit the idea of Encouragements perfectly!

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But I also wanted to make something using a specific encouragement from the book—Home is where the heart is. Such a great saying, it’s so true, and yet so twee! I have lots of house beads and pendants in my stash, and with a bit of digging I unearthed a beauty, a colourful little polymer clay house (maker unknown) with a heart in the window! I also discovered I really need to work on my stamping skills, as I am not too happy with the little brass disc, on which I have stamped the saying. I will probably remake it in the coming days.


Thanks again to Andrew and William for choosing such a great selection of books. I’m looking forward to the next few challenges!



Inspired by Reading Book Club: A Wrinkle in Time

I’ve joined the Inspired by Reading Book Club, a crafty group of jewellery designers and more. The group was started by Andrew Thornton, and I’ve been sitting on the fence for sometime, wanting to join. I finally took the plunge this month, and I hope I can keep up with a design a month! The reading itself shouldn’t be a problem!

Anyway the idea is to read the book and then create a piece (or more) inspired by the book. This month’s book is A Wrinkle in Time, a classic children’s book by Madeline L’Engle, published in 1963. I first read this book when I was a child, and I was thrilled to find it just as readable as an adult, although somewhat dated. As the title might imply, it is a science fiction novel,  with travel through space and time through the tesseract, a form of travel akin to traveling through a wormhole. Meg Murray, a “difficult” and “different” child and her equally different little brother Charles, as well as school friend Calvin, have to rescue Meg’s father, a physicist who has been missing for a couple of years, and is stuck on a far away planet in a far away galaxy. At the heart of the book is the classic struggle between good and evil, with love conquering all in the end.

I did think about creating some pieces with the space theme. In fact, I have made various resin pendants, cufflinks and earrings fairly recently featuring images of space including nebulae and more.


However the passage in the book that inspired me was a simple description of one of the book’s characters, Mrs Whatsit. Appearing early in the book as an old lady with the appearance of a tramp, she plays an important role as one of the guides through time and space. But her description is what hooked me. She is described as being completely bundled up in clothes, with several scarves of assorted colours tied about the head:

Mrs Whatsit untied a blue and green Paisley scarf, a red and yellow flowered print, a gold Liberty print, a red and black bandanna.

I initially thought I would create a necklace combining these colour schemes, but I ended up creating 4 necklaces, one for each scarf (and hence I’m late posting this blog update!).

The paisley scarf became a necklace featuring a paisley pendant from Humblebeads, knotted on waxed linen with a collection of flowers and leaves in similar shades of green, blue and purple.

Paisley scarf necklace

The red and yellow flowered print scarf uses a pendant I made myself using a scrap of Liberty of London print floral fabric and a clever miniature embroidery hoop from Melbourne-based Etsy seller Dandelyne (these come in a variety of shapes and sizes—this particular one is 4cm in diameter). I attached it to a long copper chain embellished with dainty Czech glass flowers.

red-yellow floral scarf necklace

The gold Liberty print uses another embroidery hoop pendant featuring a scrap of Liberty fabric with gold and purple flowers and leaves. This time I have paired it with a trio of seed bead strands in shades of purple, gold and bronze and finished it with brass chain.

gold liberty scarf necklace

Finally the red and black bandanna is represented by a red pendant by Peruzi and a selection of black and red beads. Although the pendant is very Art Deco in style, I think the geometric nature of it reminds me of bandanna prints.

red-black bandanna necklace

And here they are all together!

Mrs Whatsits scarves

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

Bead Peeps Swap’n’Hop

The day has arrived for the Bead Peeps Swap’n’Hop reveal. This blog hop is hosted by Linda Anderson and the Facebook group Bead Peeps, and like other bead soup-style blog hops, participants were paired up and asked to exchange a selection of beads including at least one artisan-made bead, a nice clasp and some coordinating beads.

My partner this time around is Niky Sayers, a UK-based designer and metalsmith who makes the most fabulous jewellery. I’m really looking forward to seeing what she has made using the bead soup I sent her. She treated me to a lovely selection of artisan goodies including some of her own delicious goodies—a clasp, a connector and a bead made from coins, and more.

Swapnhop soup

The first piece I made featured the gorgeous chocolate clay and turquoise heart focal made by Gaea and the 6mm serpentine rondelles. I added some Czech glass coins and flowers and some supersoft chocolate brown deerhide lace, which simply ties into a bow at the back of the neck.

Turquoise heart necklace

Next up is a pair of earrings featuring two Kylie Parry birds—not quite the same, but similar—perched on top of Niky’s sweet little copper mushroom headpins. The earwires are antiqued copper from The Curious Bead Shop.

Shroombirds earrings

And then finally is a rather special necklace I’m calling the Bowerbird, after the Australian bird that collects all sorts of bits and bobs to decorate its bower to entice a mate. I’ve created a necklace featuring a collection of bits and bobs from my art bead hoard, all linked together.

I’ve used several things from the soup, including two of Niky’s coin components (the copper farthing-based clasp and connector), as well as the enamel script bead by Blue Antiquities, the aqua Karen Totten beads and the Bo Hulley fly connector. Niky’s connector features a lampwork headpin by Jennifer Cameron in deep pinky purples and yellow, which goes well with the pink and yellow lampwork beads from Michelle Mahre. A Gaea love nest bead plus the coordinating beads from the bundle, and a Gaea rainbow wave bead are also in there, and I’ve also included a Humblebeads polymer clay house bead and a tiny charm from Jade Scott. Rounding out the art beads are 2 copper beads with a violet patina, two copper rings with a violet patina and two antiqued copper rings, all from Miss Fickle Media. Finally, I’ve added in tumbled fluorite nuggets and a selection of Czech glass beads in a variety of shapes and colours.

Bowerbird collage

The resulting necklace is an eclectic collection, that I think would happily grace a bowerbird’s nest, or my neck! It was super-hard to photograph in its entirety though!

Bowerbird necklace

Thank you Niky for sending me such a delicious soup! I still have a few pieces yet to use, and I’m looking forward to finding the right pieces to feature them in. And thank you to Linda and Bead Peeps for hosting the hop! There are loads of participants listed below, so pick a few to go and visit!

Finally, if you’re looking for a new blog hop challenge, consider my Epic Inspirations Blog Hop, which has a reveal date in early June.

Bead Peeps Swap N Hop 2015  Partner List

Our Hostess: Linda Anderson       http//:fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com

Linda Anderson                               http://fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com
Marica Zammit                                 http://www.beadlovelies.com

Linda Anderson                                http://fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com
Jessica Hocutt                                  https://faithfamilyandadventure.wordpress.com

Kristina Hahn Eleniak                      http://www.peacockandlime.wordpress.com
Debbie Jeffries                                   http://wordpress/debrasdivinedesigns/blog.com

Rosantia Petkova                              http://bairozan.blogspot.com/
Shalini Austin                                    http://jewellerybyshalini.co.uk/my-blog/

Catherine La Vite                             http://drygulchbeadsandjewelry.blogspot.com
Annica Larsson                                 http://zestyfrog.wordpress.com/

Lori Schneider                                  http://beadaddicted.blogspot.com/
Divya N                                              http://www.jewelsofsayuri.com

Mowse Doyle                                    http://mowsemadethis.blogspot.com
Fay Wolfenden                                 http://torchfairy.blogspot.com

Kathy Lindemer                               http://bay-moon-design.blogspot.com/
Claire Fabian                                     http://saraccino.blogspot.de/

Janice Warden Bergeron               http://thejewelryroom.blogspot.ca
Natalie Davidson                             http://www.northshoredays.com

Deb Fortin                                         http://www.studiok24.blogspot.ca
Inge von Roos                                  http://ingetraud.wordpress.com

Karen Mitchell                                  http://overthemoon-design.com
Robin Reed                                        http://willowdragon.blogspot.com

Marie Covert                                     http://thistledown-and-swaddlings.blogspot.com/
Alicia Marinache                              http://www.allprettythings.ca

Nan Smith                                         http://www.wirednan.blogspot.ca
Johana Nunez                                   http://artincendi.com

Kelly Hosford Patterson                 http://travelingsideshow.blogspot.com/
Lori Blanchard                                  http://alainnjewelry.WordPress.com

Sue  Kennedy                                    http://suebeads.blogspot.com
Shai Williams                                    http://shaihasramblings.com

Niky Sayers                                       http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk
Melissa Trudinger                            https://beadrecipes.wordpress.com  <– ME!

Candida Castleberry                        http://www.spunsugarbeadworks.blogspot.com
Erin Guest                                          http://www.renlish.com

Nicole Rennell                                  http://nicolerennell.com/blog
Ien Temaluru                                    http://ienmaginationsjewelry.wordpress.com

Robin Showstack                             http://heartsdesiresjewelryforyou.blogspot.com/
Sam Waghorn                                  http://palemooncreation.blogspot.co.uk

Marianne Baxter                              http://www.simplyseablimejewelry.blogspot.com
Elsie Deliz-Fonseca                          http://ladelizchica.blogspot.com

Shai Williams                                    http://shaihasramblings.com
Lee Koopman                                   http://stregajewellry.wordpress.com

Jayne Capps                                      http://mamasgottodoodle.blogspot.com
Marti Conrad                                    http://marticsclay.blogspot.com

Tina Bosh                                          http://bookbug-somanybookssolittletime.blogspot.com/
Eleanor Thomas                               http://woolywireetc.blogspot.com

Jeanne Steck                                     http://www.gemsbyjeannemarie.blogspot.com
Gloria Allen                                       http://www.wingsandbeads.blogspot.com

Rachel Mallis                                    http://www.mintmonarch.com/#!blog/c1jlz
Andrea Glick                                     http://zenithjade.blogspot.com/

Stephanie Stamper                          http://skwds.blogspot.com
Chris Haussler                                  http://pixybugdesigns.blogspot.com

Betony Maiden                                  http://www.beadwenches.blogspot.com/
Kari Asbury                                        http://hippiechickjewelrydesign.com/blog/

Jenny Kyrlach                                   http://anafiassa.blogspot.com/
Colleen Foley                                     http://colleenfoleycreations.blogspot.com

Marybeth Rich                                  http://forestofjewels.blogspot.com/
Marcy Lamberson                           http://www.StudioMarcy.blogspot.com

Dyanne Everett-Cantrell                http://www.deelitefuljewelrycreations.blogspot.com
Ginny Lones                                      http://www.Skippingintotheunknown.blogspot.com

Maria Rosa Sharrow                       http://willowstreetshops.blogspot.com
Loretta Carstensen                          http://designsbyloretta.blogspot.com

Dolores Raml                                    http://craftydscreations.wordpress.com
Michelle McCarthy                          http://www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com

Louise McCormick-Glazier           http://jewelrytreasuresbylouise.blogspot.com/
Heather Richter                               http://desertjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com

Tammy Adams                                 http://www.paisleylizard.com/blog/
Shirley Moore                                   http://beadsandbread.blogspot.com

Seed Beaders

Susanne Stelljes                               http://pearlify.blogspot.de
Sheila Prosterman                           http://catswithbeads.blogspot.com

Pallavi Asher                                     http://kalaabhushan.blogspot.in/
Jami Shipp                                         http://celebratinglifewithdamamashipp.blogspot.com

Peggy Kosier                                     http://www.kosydesigns.blogspot.ca/
Andra Weber                                    http://andrasjoyfuljourney.blogspot.com

Catherine King                                  http://catherines-musings.blogspot.com
Krafty Max                                        http://kraftymax.com

Sierra Barrett                                    http://giraffecanhas.wordpress.com
Lois Sherwood                                 http://thiznthat5454blog.wordpress.com

Katy Heider                                       http://onthepondcreations.blogspot.com
Rebecca Robertson   (White)        http://morganafeycreations.121hub.com/

Heather Richter                               http://desertjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com
Brandy Collier                                   http://bhjewelry.wordpress.com

Stephanie Haussler                          http://www.pixybugdesigns.blogspot.com
Lori Blanchard                                  http://alainnjewelry.WordPress.com

Kathleen Breeding                           http://99bobotw.blogspot.com
Becky Pancake                                 http://beckypancakebeaddesigns.blogspot.com

Renetha Stanziano                          http://lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com/
Tami Norris                                       https://jewelrybytami.wordpress.com/

Ginger Bishop                                   http://lilmummylikes.blogspot.com/
Peggy Johnson                                 http://charmbarn.blogspot.com

The Beads of Courage Art Charms auction is live!

I recently told you about the Art Charm Exchange and Charity Auction to raise money for Beads of Courage. Well, today is the day the auction goes live and also the day of the blog hop, where I get to tell you about the charms I made for the exchange.

This year’s theme was SOAR. To me, the word evokes a bird high up in the sky, wings outstretched, soaring through the sky, or hovering. I decided that this was an image I wanted to incorporate into my charms. I had some small Vintaj bezel charms that I could use, but the back of them was not flat and finished-looking. And also, I really wanted to include the word soar into my design. So I decided to go for a mixed media design.

On the back side of the charm, I pressed a small lump of turquoise-coloured polymer clay to cover the grooves. I gave it some texture, used some rubber stamps to press the word soar into it and baked it. I used acrylic paint (in a burnt umber colour) to highlight the texture and words without covering up the lovely colour, and sealed with Renaissance wax.


Then I pasted and sealed the images into the bezel side of the charm and finished it off with resin. The images, which I got from Piddix on Etsy, are quite fun, they show the silhouette of a soaring bird over a background of rusty, patinaed metal.


I picked out the 11 best to send to Jennifer Cameron. She then sent 10 of them out to participants (including me, as we each got one of our own back), and kept the last one for the auction. And here is a nice close up picture of my charm that is being auctioned right here right now!

Soar auction collage

At the time of writing this blog post it has a starting price of USD$9.99. If you like it, please bid on it and help raise some funds for Beads of Courage. 100% of the sale price goes to Beads of Courage—I would love to see it sell for a good price! The auction goes for seven days, and this one will be ending next Monday night December 1st, at 10:17pm EST or Tuesday afternoon AEST if you happen to live in Australia like me (note: you should check the auction end-time in your own time zone).

A few more things. I will post the charms I received in a few days (maybe this weekend). And also, this post is part of the Art Charm Exchange blog hop. Here is a list of the rest of the participants. Please take some time to visit their blogs and the other auctions and see what they were inspired to make!

2014 Art Charm Exchange Participants

Jennifer Cameron: http://www.glassaddictions.com/blog

Alenka Obid: http://pepita-handmade.blogspot.com

Alicia Marinache: http://www.allprettythings.ca

Andrea Glick: http://zenithjade.blogspot.com

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

Cassi Paslick: http://badatbeingmom.blogspot.com/

Cate van Alphen: http://fulgorine.wordpress.com

Cheri Reed: http://creativedesignsbycheri.blogspot.com

Chris Eisenberg: http://www.wanderware.blogspot.com

Cory Tompkins: http://www.tealwaterdesigns.blogspot.com

Elizabeth Auld: http://www.beadsforbusygals.com

Genevieve Gabbert: http://www.glassaddictions.com/blog

Jami Shipp: http://celebratinglifewithdamamashipp.blogspot.com

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

Jill Bradley: http://www.jillybeads.blogspot.com

Kim Dworak: http://www.cianciblue.blogspot.com

Lee Koopman: http://stregajewellry.wordpress.com

Lennis Carrier: http://www.windbent.net

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

Mallory Hoffman: http://rosebud101-fortheloveofbeads.blogspot.com

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

Michelle McCarthy: http://www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com

Monique Urquhart: http://ahalfbakednotion.blogspot.com/

Moriah Betterly: http://mlbetterly.blogspot.com

Nancy Dale: http://nedbeads.blogspot.com

Nancy Smith: http://wirednan.blogspot.ca

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

Perri Jackson: http://ShaktipajDesigns.com/blog/

Renetha Stanziano: http://www.lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com

Shai Williams: http://www.shaihasramblings.com/2014/11/art-charm-exchange-auction.html

Sheila Prosterman: http://catswithbeads.blogspot.com

Susan Delaney: http://susandolphindelaney.wordpress.com

Susan Kennedy: http://www.suebeads.blogspot.com

Terri DelSignore: http://artisticaos.blogspot.com

Toltec Jewels: http://www.jewelschoolfriends.com

Vanessa Gilkes: http://culturezine.com/blog/