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!

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Leaves and flowers: Art Bead Scene June Challenge

For the My Country blog hop post click here!

Sadly, I didn’t get my entry for the Art Bead Scene June challenge finished in time. The piece was finished, it was the photos and blog post that stumped me! I thought you might like to see it anyway!

The inspiration for the June challenge was a lovely illustration from Victorian era botanical artist Marianne North.

june 2014 - Marianne North - Trees Laden with Parasites and Epiphytes in a Brazilian Garden

Trees Laden with Parasites and Epiphytes in a Brazilian Garden, 1873, by Marianne North, Oil on Paper. Colour palette by Brandi Hussey.

The focal element of this illustration is the lush green foliage, and the contrast of the tiny red flowers. I used a Blu Mudd connector with a leafy pattern and two sizes of green beads , along with some tiny red and white ceramic beads to make a sweet bracelet.

Leaves and flowers bracelet Collage

Visit the Art Bead Scene June challenge recap post to see what others were inspired to make!

Lots of knots: Waxed Linen Blog Hop

If you are looking for my BSBP8 post, it’s HERE!

About a month ago, Diana Ptaszynski had the brilliant idea to host a blog hop using waxed linen. Quick as a flash I signed up, as I really really like using waxed linen cord in my jewellery designs. I first came across it in Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel ‘s book Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry, which is a fantastic book, and one of my go-to books for inspiration. I love how both of these designers incorporate waxed linen into their designs, they are both a source of great inspiration to me!

What do I like so much about waxed linen? It comes in a whole range of colours, like teal or lavender, denim blue or rusty red, chocolate brown, black or naturally off-white.  It comes in several sizes, or plies (which refers to the number of strands incorporating the cord, usually 4 or 7, but as few as 2 and as many as 12!), so you can find one to fit most beads, except perhaps those tiny-holed pearls and small seed beads. And the waxing makes it kind of sticky, so knots really stay where they are supposed to stay. It’s lightweight and drapes nicely in a necklace, and is strong enough for bracelets too. And it adds a textural element to all jewellery designs that wire just doesn’t have.

For this blog hop I did a couple of pieces. The first is a necklace that is similar in design to the owl necklace I did a few weeks ago for BSBP8. As I have mentioned before, I am a member of Rebecca Anderson‘s Curiosity Club, and the April kit, entitled “Delft”, contained a combination of blue, aqua, white and translucent beads as well as two disk-shaped lampwork beads made by Helen Chalmers. And, like all of Rebecca’s kits, there were 2 skeins of waxed linen, in orange and denim blue.

In my stash, I had a polymer clay pendant in copper and blue-green from Erin Prais-Hintz, with a bird on one side and the phrase “Mother knows best” on the other: perfect as I planned to give this necklace to my Mum as a belated Mother’s day and birthday gift. I combed through my stash for some more beads in similar shades of blue, adding the white and blue floral ceramic beads and some blue seed beads to the mix. A copper chain at the ends of the beaded section allows the length of the necklace to be adjusted.

Mother knows best necklace Collage

My next design also used beads from one of Rebecca’s kits, this one the March kit, called “After the Rain”. Rebecca included a piece of Liberty print bias binding, and I was racking my brains to come up with an interesting use for it. Inspired by one of the other designers, I decided to wrap it around a Vintaj creative hoop to make a bangle. Instead of the more common wire wrapped around the fabric to help secure it, I wrapped some yellow and orange linen around instead, with a few tiny translucent pink Czech beads (both the linen and the rounds also came from the kit). I found an interesting lobster clasp in my stash and used it to close the bangle.

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I also made a pair of earrings from the same kit, using orange waxed linen to dangle yellow and orange flower beads and “mushrooms”—piggies on top of a round bead—from a brass ring.

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Finally, I thought I would show you some other earring designs using waxed linen (these were made a few months ago, not with this blog hop in mind). The first pair uses a pair of ceramic rounds from Jennifer Heynen, with seed beads knotted on waxed linen dangling below. The second pair uses some porcelain charms made by my Mum, with a sweet little floral decal adorning them. A small Czech coin with an embossed bird is knotted over the charm.

Waxed linen earrings Collage

Mum and I have also collaborated to make sweet bird ornaments: a porcelain bird with waxed linen “legs” knotted onto an antiqued brass or silver branch.

Birds of a feather Collage

It seems like there are a lot of other fans of waxed linen out there with Diana and I, as 44 people are taking part in this blog hop. If you have time to visit some of their blogs, the links are below.

I Love Clay blog hop

We are well and truly in the middle of what we call the silly season here in Australia: the school year finishes in two weeks, we have daycare, kinder and school events to go to, a ballet school concert of epic proportions, catch-ups with friends, birthday parties for TWO of my kids, and more. In the midst of all of that madness, I am trying to sneak off to do the Christmas shopping, make presents for teachers and family, and all the rest of it! As I said, we call it the silly season and for good reason!

So, I guess I’m trying to say I haven’t done as much as I’d like for this blog hop, the latest in a series organised and hosted by Lisa Lodge. As is usual in Lisa’s blog hops, a kit was purchased, with the idea of using as much of it as possible. Given the title of the blog hop, the kit consisted of clay beads, and in my case the beads came from Elaine Ray, a wonderful bead artist from North Carolina.

I forgot to take a photo of all the beads together, sigh. But here are most of them, and you’ll see the other ones if you keep reading. The beads are glazed with a deep dark navy blue glaze with a light biscuit brown clay background. The pendant is cute with its little victory salute, it makes me think of hippies.

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I did a bit of thinking about what colour to put the navy beads with, and was inspired by the current Art Bead Scene painting by Wassily Kandinsky, which features a lot of navy blue and a deep rosy pink, among other colours. So I paired the diamond-shaped frame beads with tiny pink Czech glass rounds in raspberry pink to make a sweet little pair of earrings.

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I’m still contemplating what to do with the remaining beads, and I hope that I can make something else with them all soon. In the mean time, thank you for a fun kit and hop, Lisa. And please check out the other participants in this blog hop:

Your hostess:  Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist
Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes <– YOU ARE HERE
Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Eleanor Burian Moore, The Charmed Life
Jo-Ann Woolverton, It’s a Beadiful Creation
Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyns Creations
Bonnie Coursolle, Jasper’s Gems
Therese Frank, Therese’s Treasures
Christine Stonefield, Sweet Girl Design
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn’s Creations
Mowse Doyle, Mowse Made This
Janine Lucas, Esfera Travel Blog
 Karin Grosset Grange, Ginkgo et Coquelicot
Kelli Nelson, Zenith Jade Creations
Ann Schroeder, Bead Love
Jasvanti Patel, Jewelry by Jasvanti
Candida Castleberry, Sugar Spun Beadworks
Robin Reed, Artistry HCBD
Katrina Taylor, I Wanna Go Out