Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Swaps and exchanges

Owls and dragonflies: the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party reveal is here!

So here we are again, at the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party, the highlight of the blogging beader’s calendar! The premise is simple, participants are paired up by our amazing host Lori Anderson to swap a bead soup containing at the minimum a focal and a clasp, plus some coordinating beads. This year almost 500 beaders and jewellery designers from around the world signed up to play. Today we reveal what we made using the beads our partners sent us.

My partner, Sandra Wollberg, from Wiesbaden, Germany (you can read more about her here), sent me a fabulous soup, including a pendant, clasp and bracelet bar from Blu Mudd, handmade polymer clay headpins, a stunning Czech glass button and a selection of beads including Czech glass dragonflies, flowers, leaves and little critters, freshwater pearls and some painted shell beads, Indian glass, and peanut beads. There was also some sari silk and a packet of mica sheets, thrown in by Sandra as an extra challenge.

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To get my muse going, I started with a few pairs of earrings, using Sandra’s polymer clay headpins, one pair wrapped with the pretty painted shell beads, the other one combined with two little ladybird beads from the strand of Czech glass critters. A third pair of earrings became a posy of Czech glass flowers.

earring collage 1

Next on the list was the bracelet bar. I had it in mind to combine it with leather, and I found some lovely soft teal blue leather that picked up the blue colour in the flowers embossed on the bar. To counter its one-sided weight, I knotted a selection of beads onto some teal blue waxed linen.

bracelet collage

My first necklace was inspired by the dragonfly beads and the Czech glass button, which also features a dragonfly. The challenge for me in this piece was to work out how to incorporate the button into a necklace,, especially as I also wanted to use the clasp Sandra sent me. In the end, I cut off the button shank and used a filigree piece from Vintaj to wrap around the back of the button, with a couple of jump rings to create a link. Between the button link and the clasp, I strung the Czech glass dragonfly coins and the pearls, and used a Vintaj dragonfly as a pendant. I’ve called this necklace the Dragonfly Pond necklace.

Dragonfly pond necklace collage

And finally, a necklace with the Blu Mudd owl pendant. The pendant is glazed in a glossy gold with breakthrough undertones tones of teal and green. I was inspired by some of Lorelei Eurto‘s recent necklaces, with beads knotted on linen, so I picked out a selection of beads in blues, greens and bronze shades, as well as a deep red to give a pop of colour, from both the bead soup Sandra provided as well as my own stash and knotted them on teal blue waxed linen (you’ll recognize some of the beads from the bracelet). The pattern repeats linearly from the clasp to the pendant, but looks asymmetric—a trick I think I picked up from one of the posts in Love My Art Jewelry‘s recent bootcamp on asymmetry. I’m really pleased with how this necklace turned out, I think it really captures the autumn woodland feel of Sandra’s soup. I’ve called it the Owl in the Woods necklace, and I think I’ll keep it for myself!

Owl in the woods necklace collage

Now, there are a few elements from my soup that I haven’t yet used. The Indian glass beads are destined for a necklace when I find the right chain. I almost used the peanut beads in the dragonfly necklace, but the seed beads just looked better. And I plan to make a few more pairs of earrings as well. The sari silk is lovely and I’m sure I will use that somewhere soon. The mica sheets are a bit more challenging, and I’ve been looking at various tutorials and blog posts about how to use. I have had them out to play with but so far I haven’t actually done anything. I have plans though, which I am sure I will blog about down the road.

Thank you Lori, for once again throwing a wonderful party with fabulous guests, despite your own personal challenges besetting you at every turn! I’m already looking forward to whatever you dream up for next year’s party! And thank you Sandra for a fabulous soup, which stretched me as a jewellery designer. I hope you had as good a time playing with my soup as I did with yours!

Now, I have the daunting but enjoyable task of visiting as many of the other blogs partying with me as I can. To see what Sandra made with the soup I sent her, visit her blog. And for the full list of participants, go to the main BSBP page.

 

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Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Uncategorized

A BSBP Delay and the Liebster Award!

The Bead Soup Blog Party reveal has been pushed back a week, to allow our Hostess-with-the-Mostess Lori Anderson some time to recover from recent ill health. I have to say, I breathed a small sigh of relief at having a few more days to play with beads (and take photos and write up my blog post). In the mean time, I’ve got a post or two up my sleeve for you this week.

liebsteraward

A month or more ago, I was tagged by Sandra Wollberg—my BSBP partner and fellow beadlover—with a LIEBSTER award. The LIEBSTER award is a chain letter of sorts, which is supposed to bring new visitors to small, comparatively unknown blogs. “Liebster” is a German word, and basically means “dearest”, “most favourite”. As with most chain letters, there are a few rules to follow:

  • You have to link the person who nominated/tagged you.
  • You have to answer the 11 questions your nominator asked you
  • Pick 11 bloggers whose blogs have less than 200 followers, tag them, and don’t forget to inform them about it.
  • Come up with 11 new questions for the persons you’ve tagged.

So, here are my questions and answers. Hopefully you’ll find a little out about me, that you might not have known before.

Which three tracks are a MUST on your current playlists?

I got Lana del Rey’s album for Christmas, and I have to say I love her song Summertime Sadness. I also find myself bopping along to Pharrell William’s Happy when I hear it on the radio. It’s such a, well, happy song isn’t it? For number three? Let’s go with my all time favourite Paul Kelly song Deeper Water.

Sparkly or matte?

Mostly Matt. He’s my husband. But if you really want to know, I like both. Although I am probably more drawn to matte textures.

Imagine you’re lucky and win a large sum of money. What would be the first thing you spend it on?

I do need a new car, and the mortgage can always use some help, but if I had my druthers, I’d take the family on a round the world holiday! Oh and beads of course!!!

BTW, what was the last thing you’ve purchased?

Winter clothes for the kidlets and a new pair of ankle boots for me. Oh yes, does pizza for dinner count?

How is the weather, right now, at your place?

I’m always surprised by the speed that winter arrives here in Melbourne. It’s like a switch is thrown in late April, early May, and all of a sudden, it’s cold and wet. Today it was damp and cold, tomorrow we’re expecting rain, thunderstorms and even hail. Sadly our school is holding its biggest fundraising event of the year tomorrow, and it’s mostly outside. So I know I’ll be cold and wet tomorrow!

Do you have allergies/intolerances? Would you share which ones?

I am allergic to a lot of trees—birch, maples and the like. And grasses. When I lived in Northern California I sniffled and sneezed from early Spring until mid-Autumn. It’s not quite so bad here in Melbourne, but I definitely suffer in Spring.

What kind of character trait do you hate in other persons?

I really dislike it when people blindly follow someone else’s beliefs without thought, whether political, religious or otherwise.

What kind of character trait do you like in other persons?

Compassion, and a sense of humour.

Which metal do you like best?

My current favourite is copper.

Is there a person in your life you’d consider a soul mate?

My husband.

To which country would you love to travel if you had the chance?

In a list a mile long, I think South Africa would be near the top. And Vietnam. And I’m always up for a trip to the US or Europe!

Now, these are the bloggers I am nominating to continue this chain letter!

Corrie at http://thecedarbeader.blogspot.com.au/

Lennis at http://Windbent.wordpress.com/

Ann at http://beadlove.wordpress.com/

Andrea at http://zenithjade.blogspot.com.au/

Cory at http://tealwaterdesigns.blogspot.com.au/

Tiffany at http://southerngalsdesign.blogspot.com.au/

Solange at http://www.blog.ahowinjewelry.com/

Karen at http://www.overthemoon-design.com/

Tracy at http://beadtrilogy.com/

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

Patti at http://myaddictionshandcrafted.blogspot.com.au/

And my questions for you are:

  1. Dog or cat?
  2. Dark chocolate or milk?
  3. What’s your favourite time of year (season or holiday) and why?
  4. What’s your favourite recipe? Link to it if it’s online!
  5. Where in the world would you most like to travel?
  6. Name three books that you really really enjoyed reading.
  7. If you could travel in time, which period would you most want to visit?
  8. What’s your favourite gemstone?
  9. When was the last time you dressed up in a costume? And what did you wear?
  10. What craft or technique would you really like to learn?
  11. Do you live close to where you grew up, or far away?

 

 

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Swaps and exchanges

BSBP: The other soup!

It’s just over a week until the BSBP reveal. So excited! Not that I’ve finished my pieces, far from it! But I thought I would show you what I sent my partner Sandra Wollberg. It took a quite a while for my bead soup to reach her, in fact, I was thinking I would have to send another soup! I don’t think she was quite so worried though, turns out some strike activity at German airports may have slowed it down a bit.

I took a while putting together this soup. It had to have some beads Sandra might not have been so familiar with, and it definitely had to include at least one Aussie artist. And Sandra and I have overlapping tastes (especially when it comes to Czech glass), so I had to try to challenge her at least a little! In the end this is what I went with.

Bead Soup sent

As you can see, there are multiple possibilities in this soup, with both a cool and a warm colour scheme. First of all, the focals. The big blue/gold pendant on the right hand side is from Peruzi, my favourite Aussie bead artisan. I love this pendant, but I have never been able to come up with a design for it other than knotting it onto a large piece of ribbon or cord, so I am intrigued to see what Sandra can do with it (and I was very amused to see that another bead soup this year also uses this focal).  Immediately to the left of this focal is a second ceramic pendant by Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio. It’s a lovely cheerful yellow tree of life. And just for fun I threw in a third focal, a faux sea glass seashell in a deep red.

I included two clasps in my soup—a gorgeous handmade copper Deco rose button-style clasp by Rebecca Anderson, and a silver-tone leaf-shaped clasp. I popped in a couple of other silver-toned beads and a braided ring, and some copper headpins, and double-ball-ended headpins made by Tanglebeads.

As for the rest of the beads, there are a variety of Czech beads in different shapes and colours, including some intriguing twisted lozenge-shaped beads in a deep red, some faux sea glass in orange, frosted and opaque white, and two big amazonite nuggets. The big swirly orange bead is from Puddle Glass Art, a local lampworker.

Of course, there is ribbon, a lovely sari silk ribbon from Ribbons and Silk on Etsy (also based here in Australia), which I used to tie up the box.

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The reveal will be next Saturday, 3 May. At this point I anticipate that my post will go live mid-afternoon on Saturday (when it is midnight on the East Coast of the USA), at the official start time for the hop. Come back then to see what Sandra and I—and 500 or so other jewellery designers—have made.

 

 

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Swaps and exchanges

Perlensuppe!

Perlensuppe is German for bead soup. And my bead soup has arrived! Yesterday I picked it up from the post office, a heavy little package from Germany! Of course I ripped it open as soon as I got home. And it was packed full of inspiration from my bead soup partner Sandra Wollberg.

First of all there are some beads, lots of them! Indian glass beads, Czech glass leaves and flowers, a strand of mixed critters ranging from butterflies to frogs and even scarab beetles, a strand of dragonfly-embossed coin-shaped beads, cultured pearls, delicately painted Chinese shell beads, peanut seed beads. The beads are richly coloured in both earthy and more vibrant shades.

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Then there are the special components. First of all some polymer clay leaf headpins made by Sandra herself. Then a big Czech glass button, again with the dragonfly.

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And three ceramic components from Blu Mudd—an owl pendant, a bracelet bar and a toggle clasp.

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Finally some sari silk in a lovely rust colour. And a few sheets of mica, to stretch my creativity to the limits!

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There’s definitely a theme to the soup—a kind of woodsy, late summer, early autumn theme. The ideas are spinning around, I think I can make some beauties! Thanks again Sandra, I hope you like your soup just as much! Fingers crossed it arrives really soon!

Oh, Sandra also sent me a little gift, a pair of vintage cuckoo clock earrings! I can just imagine these in a little gift shop somewhere, waiting for the right person to come along and buy them. Aren’t they sweet?

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I’ll be posting about the soup I sent Sandra once she has received it. Reveal date for the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party is not too far away now … 3 May!

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Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Swaps and exchanges

Introducing my BSBP swap partner

It’s Bead Soup Blog Party time again! This year marks the 8th BSBP, and there are almost 500 blogging beaders and jewellery designers from all over the world taking part. Lori Anderson has once again put in a tremendous amount of work to carefully pair us all up, no easy task! She visits each and every blog along the way, and the pairing process alone takes several weeks (and a lot of help from her family, thanks guys!).

The idea is simple. We are paired up with another jewellery designer, and we send each other a bead soup, containing at least one focal bead or pendant, a special clasp and some coordinating beads to make the soup sing!

So without further ado, let me introduce you to my swap partner for the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party. This year I am paired with Sandra Wollberg, who lives in Wiesbaden, in Germany. And I’m thrilled!

Sandra is someone I have crossed paths with many times on the Bead Soup Café Facebook group, and in various blog hops, but we’ve never really been formally introduced before now. We both tend toward an eclectic boho style: she works with more filigree and stampings than I do, but we both share a love for Czech beads, and like me, she tries out different techniques and styles as the mood takes her. This is what she made last year for BSBP7, from a soup put together by Finnish beader Merja Sundström:

Sandra collage BSBP7
Photos by Sandra Wollberg
http://city-of-brass-stories.blogspot.com

So, I needed to come up with a soup that might offer a bit of a challenge, one way or another. Sandra tells me that she mostly works with earthy colours, greens and teals. OK, cross them off the list, along with the brass stampings. In the end, I sent her a few choices, a couple of different palettes to play with. I hope she has a lot of fun with her soup!

Here’s a teaser — I’ve pixelated this with Lego Photo (a fun app I have on my iPhone) and randomly chosen the colours too!

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The package is in the mail, hope the trip across the world goes quickly!

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I’ll blog about the soups we’ve sent each other once we have both received them. The big reveal is a couple of months away yet—May 3rd is the date. Can’t wait!