It’s (Bead Soup Blog) Party Time!

It’s finally reveal day for the Bead Soup Blog Party: Bead Hoarders Edition!

When I received my bead soup from Denise Milward a few weeks ago, I was sure I would use the big striped agate focal first, and struggle with the yellow agate pendant. But then I saw a Design Seeds palette that gave me the perfect colour inspiration for the yellow pendant and I ended up struggling with the striped pendant instead!

Just to remind you, here’s the soup Denise sent me:

Here’s the palette that inspired me — that yellow is just about a perfect match for the pendant isn’t it?

Palette by Design Seeds { flora hues } image via: @botanical_tales

I knew I had some amethyst in my stash of gemstones, and I was delighted to find a strand of faceted oval stones. As I was going through a box of mixed beads, I also came across a bag of vintage Czech glass rounds in that very same deep amber yellow (I believe Lennis Carrier gave them to me in a swap a couple of years ago). I knotted them on lavender waxed linen to make a very simple but striking necklace.

So once I got that necklace out of the way, it was time to tackle the big striped agate pendant. I fiddled around for quite a while, trying different combinations of beads, including the honey-coloured matte agate rounds and the tiny carnelian beads that Denise had sent along with the pendants. I added some ceramic rounds made by Natalie McKenna and some wooden beads that I’ve had for ages. Then I found some big agate beads that my sister had brought me back from Vietnam or Laos that provided the weight the necklace needed to balance the size of the pendant. But it still needed something, the colours were too similar. And then I remembered the turquoise turtles, and added a couple — and suddenly it all fell into place!

I made a pair of asymmetric earrings with a couple more of the turtles and two more of the painted wooden rounds. I think they’re pretty cute, don’t you?

And here are all three pieces together!

I still have quite a few bits and bobs from Denise’s soup. I think the embellishment Denise made from daggers and rounds would look great stitched onto a cuff bracelet, but the leather cuffs I have are not wide enough. Perhaps it would work on a denim cuff if I can get some darker denim. Stay tuned for that!

Thank you so much for the beautiful bead soup Denise, I’ve had loads of fun with it, and I’m pretty pleased with the pieces I made from it. I’m looking forward to seeing what you made with the soup I sent you. (Denise is posting on Pinterest right here.)

Somewhere around 160 beaders and jewellery designers have joined in this round of the Bead Soup Blog Party, and none of it would have happened without Lori Anderson. I’ll be spending much of my spare time in the next week visiting all of the BSBP blogs and I hope you have time to look at a few too. Here’s a list of all of the blogs — and the odd Pinterest board too!

Lori Anderson :: Hostess

Claire Fabian

Jennifer Strehler

Rochelle Brisson

Annita Wilson

Melissa Trudinger :: You are here!

Loralee Kolton

Valerie Tilghman

Mischelle Andrade

Elizabeth Bunn

Marianna DeLuca Wehner

Johana Nunez

Jenny Kyrlach

Elizabeth Hodges

Lennis Carrier

Candida Castleberry

Mary Govaars

Sandi James

Arlene Dean

Kristina Eleniak

Nan Smith

Nadine Edris

Denise McCabe

Donna Marie Hanna

Audrey Belanger

Nicole Rennell

Robin Reed

Gail Zwang

Terry Jeanette Carter

Donna Hoblit Ann Schroeder

Klaudete Koon

Veralynne Malone

Lorelei Eurto

Ann  Sherwood

Jackie Locantore

Mowse Doyle

Dorit Woldenga

Cheri Reed

Dolores Raml

Palak Udeshi

Laurie Vyselaar

Heather Canepa

Dorothy Supri

Sharyl King

Elaine Robitaille

Heather Marston

Terry Matuszyk

Andra Weber

D’Arsie Manzella

Sooz Anzalone

Karin King

Leona Smith

Tania Spivey

Jasvanti Patel

Danielle Kelley

Shai Williams

Jacqueline Marchant

Erin Kenny

Becky Pancake

Kelly Schermerhorn

Renetha Stanziano

Rana Wilson

Janine Lucas

Kelly Hosford Patterson

Andrea Glick

Joanne Bell

Sarah Strover

Sam Waghorn

Helena Hatten

Jackie Ryan

Bridget Torres

Inge von Roos

Krafty Max

Iveth Caruso

Rebecca Ednie

Amy Severino

Sandra Wollberg

Blanca Medina

Dyanne Everett-Cantrell

Samantha Wescott

Christine Stonefield

Silke Groeber

Alenka Obid

Lori Bowring Michaud

April Grinaway

Yvette Goodridge

Kathy Lindemer

Kathleen A Breeding

Joyce Becker

Pam Farren

Divya N

Sherri Stokey

Terri DelSignore

Kate Gonska

Jean Wells

CJ Bauschka

Bonnie Coursolle

Barb Fernald

Noemí Baena

Dana Phillips

Karen Firnberg

Michelle Escano Caballero

Natalie Ettinger

Valerie Norton

Rachel Mallis

Denise Milward :: My partner

Bobbie Rafferty

Vonna Maslanka

Elisabeth Auld

Hannah Rosner

Carla Fry

Terri Gauthier

Teresa Fischer

Tanya Goodwin

Barbara Judy

Leanne Loftus

Carrie Stalcup

Lori Schneider

Joelyn Bissing

Kate Dufour

Gail Poveda

Katie Nielsen-Nunez

Pam DeBoer

Dee Elgie

Judy Jacobs

Elisabeth Matouschek

Shawn Elkins

Sally Russick

Susan McClelland

Tracy Stillman

Robin Lynne Showstack

Marianne Baxter

Maria Rosa Sharrow

Therese Frank

Sandi Volpe

Leslie Scholz

Joan Williams

Laura Guenther

Liz Engriser

B.R.Kuhlman

Bev Breisinger

Radel Vela

Kim Dworak

Carol Dillman

Alice Craddick

Janeen Burlingame

Leah Curtis

Ann Marie Hodrick

Donna Millard

Hajer Waheed Khalil

Lucy Clasen

Michelle McCarthy

Maria Rios

Babette Cox

Natalie Davidson

Brenda Ballou

Christina Hickman

Heather Gunther

 

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!

Inspired by Reading: A Place of My Own

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The January book for the Inspired by Reading Book Club was Michael Pollan’s book A Place of My Own: The Architechure of Daydreams. It’s not a new book, it was first published in 1997 or thereabouts, and it deals with the design and construction of a small building — a place for the author to write. In typical Pollan style, though, it’s about much more than that, it’s about architecture, it’s about the conflict between the architect, who puts dreams onto paper and the builder who has to turn them into reality, and a lot more.

From the back of the book:

Inspired in equal parts by Thoreau and Mr Blandings, A Place of My Own not only explores the history and meaning of all human building, it also demonstrates architecture’s unique power to give our bodies, minds, and dreams a home in the world.

It’s a pretty wordy book, and gets a bit long-winded at times, but on the whole I enjoyed it and it certainly made me think! Perhaps that’s because my husband and I are starting to talk a little more seriously about renovating our home, or at least think about getting the process started with dreams and plans!

So I thought I would take a slightly different approach this month, and talk about the plans I have to create a small studio space of my own. Our home is a (typical for the area) single storey, 4 bedroom house built almost 100 years ago originally, with a dated extension that’s probably 25 years old. But one of the attractions for us when we bought it was the existence of a detached bungalow (as we call them here in Australia) aka studio. It’s a two-room plus tiny bathroom space that is mostly used as a guest bedroom and spillover storage for everything that doesn’t fit in the house. Most of my books are in there (I have a lot much to my husband’s dismay), and the cupboards are full of random art and sewing supplies, extra kitchen stuff and more.

Anyway, with a recent reorganisation of various rooms and associated furniture within our house, I have decided to move all of my jewellery making supplies out there and turn part of it into a studio for myself. It will still have to double as a guest bedroom on a regular basis (don’t worry Gran and Papa, I’ll leave plenty of room for you!), so I can’t take over the whole space, and I can see myself bringing projects back inside to work on too, especially in the evenings.

Keeping in mind that it is a work in progress, I thought I would give you some before pictures, and I’ll come back in a few weeks to show you how it’s shaping up as a space to work.

Late last year I bought a fantastic old jeweller’s bench from a retired goldsmith. It was covered in layers of utilitarian grey paint, well hammered board as a working surface, and many other layers of grime, but it was a solid piece of furniture and at a pretty good price too! I immediately set to work sanding back the top and getting it ready to use. And then I ran out of steam and it’s been sitting there for a couple of months with things piling up on top of it. I’m hoping this weekend I might get back to it.

Here’s the before picture:

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My plan is to use the bench for metalwork — hammering, soldering, stamping, and so on. I am also planning to set up space for torch-fired enamelling, but because this workbench will be against a wall, I think I need to set up on a smaller table I can pull out into the middle of the room so that the flame is not directed straight at the wall.

My beads are in a complete mess, so my next job will be to sort them out. Most of my art beads and a fair few of the Czech glass beads I use most often are in this Ikea chest of drawers. It’s sitting in my hallway right now.

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I’ve moved most of the other boxes of supplies into the bungalow but I haven’t had a chance to sort it out yet, and I’ve got a bit of work to do to make the space my own. Fingers crossed I can get in there soon.

But wait. I couldn’t let this book go by without making something inspired by it. So I pulled out a tiny pair of house charms made by Lesley Watt and turned them into a sweet little pair of earrings.

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It’s on to the next book now, thanks again for another interesting read Andrew and William!

 

 

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.