It’s reveal day for the Art Elements February challenge and this month’s theme, chosen by Cathy Spivey Mendola, is Birds of Prey. My bird of prey of choice is the owl, although my owl is definitely on the cute side rather than the formidable side!
I picked out a small owl pendant by Erin Prais-Hintz from my stash, and knotted it up with a selection of Czech glass beads on orange waxed linen, finishing it off with a little brass chain around the back of the neck. It’s a simple piece, but with the blue and orange colour scheme quite striking. The back of the owl is stamped “hoot hoot”, hence the name of the piece.
And at the very last minute while I was putting things away, I found a pair of earring charms from Humblebeads in her faux tin style, with owls (I had been looking for them but they were in a place I didn’t expect to find them!). I love making earrings, they come together so quickly.
Thanks for the theme Cathy, owls are a favourite around here, and even the cute ones are predators. This is a blog hop, so please have a look to see what others have been inspired by the theme to make:
Now, I had grand plans for this blog hop, but let’s face it, it’s a tricky time of year, with the holidays staring down at me, and well, I ran out of time! So I thought I would show you a couple of pieces I made earlier this year using some of my favourite hoarded beads.
First up is a bracelet, using a gorgeous focal from Peruzi. I’ve got a lovely stash of Peruzi pendants and beads, and Natalie keeps coming up with new covetable designs too. This is a bracelet focal from her watercolour series that I’ve paired with some Czech beads and Irish waxed linen.
Next up is a necklace I made for my Mum for Mother’s Day this year, featuring a pendant from Erin Prais-Hintz‘s Simple Truths series. Many of the beads in the necklace, including the spotted lampwork beads by Helen Chalmers, come from a Curiousity Club kit I received early in the year. I featured this necklace in the Waxed Linen blog hop earlier this year, but I thought it was a fitting addition here too.
Lastly, I’ve recently made a pair of earrings for myself using some cute copper charms from Kristi Bowman Design, and some earwires by Cheryl Foiles Designs. Although I didn’t hoard these charms for quite as long as the other two above, I’m keeping them for myself, which is also a way to hoard lovely beads and components.
Well, that’s it from me, it’s time to pop along to see the other blogs in this hop. Thank you Lori, for this fun trawl through everyone’s bead hoard, I’m sure I’ll discover a few new favourite artists!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pick a significant year in your life history. Now pick a song to help tell that story. Your playlist is as unique as you are! The music of your past weaves a story that only you can tell. The choices of song will tell us a lot about who you are, where you come from, what is important to you and give great insight.
Create something of your choice – jewelry, accessory or some other artistic representation – that helps us experience this special song. I am opening this challenge up to any artistic interpretation. Whatever way this inspiration moves you, follow its lead!
Well. What year to pick, what song to pick! I had a few ideas, but once again, the beads had their say.
The year was 1990. I had graduated from university, worked for a few months and then packed my bags to move across the word to start grad school at the University of California, Berkeley (go Bears!!). My first year there I decided to live at International House, a fabulous residence for graduate students (and the odd Senior) from all around the world, and their US counterparts who had a foreign connection, whether it was being born abroad, or spending time abroad while at high school or college, or even just more than a passing interest in the world.
Living in the I-House was an amazing experience. I met some wonderful people from all around the world, made some lifelong friends, and started figuring out who I was. But strangely, one of the things that really has stayed with me is the fabulous parties that the residents would throw. That year, I-House had a big group of students who liked to get down and dance the night away, drinking cheap wine, beer and cocktails. And while the recreation rooms had that student residence feel to them, listening to the B52s song Love Shack, which was doing the rounds at that time (well, strictly speaking it was released in 1989, but give me a little artistic license!), takes me right back to those parties.
So here is my little homage to I-House parties, and the ever-danceable Love Shack. I recently acquired one of Heather Powers ‘ Folk Art House beads, which lo and behold, has a rusted tin roof (again with the artistic license!). I cut a little sign out of copper and stamped it with the directions (15 miles to the Love Shaaack!), antiqued it with liver of sulfur and highlighted the stamped words with a dab of Vintaj patina ink in Marble. Then I dangled the house from the sign to complete my focal (that’s one of Rebecca Anderson‘s Deco Rose copper headpins there).
And I strung them with an eclectic collection of beads that took my fancy (I’m being sneaky here and combining two challenges in one here—I’m playing along with Heather Powers’ Jewelry Making Mojo Challenge and creating something using a bead soup for the second challenge, more to come in a future blog post!). I was trying to get the feeling of a quirky little boho dive, the kind with tatty couches in the corner, maybe some locally-made art on the walls, definitely interesting reading material on the toilet walls, and a small dancefloor with a DJ and a disco ball in the evenings. The drinks are cold, the kitchen has some awesome bar snacks and all my friends are there on a Saturday night!
Among them are a Gaea dotted heart and dotty bead, a Jennifer Heynen pink swirly bead, the red heart from my Curiosity Club Paintbox kit, a couple of other interesting Czech glass beads and some blue melon beads to tie it all together. The swirly copper clasp (which my photo doesn’t really show well at all) is also from Rebecca Anderson’s Deco Rose collection.
I hope you will join me at the Love Shack sometime. Now, it’s time for you to go and see what the other participants in Erin’s Challenge of Music have come up with! The best way is to click on this link to go to Erin’s reveal page (once it is Saturday in the USA, I’m a bit early here) and look for the InLinkz list at the bottom of the page. I’ll be adding my link as soon as I can.
Thank you Miss Erin for another excellent challenge, it’s been fun!
Late last year I bought myself a Christmas present—six months membership in Rebecca Anderson’s Curiosity Club. Rebecca, one of my favourite and inspirational jewellery artists, has a little bead supply shop on Etsy, selling Czech beads, waxed linen cord, her own range of handmade findings and most recently a nice little selection of Vintaj components and leather cord. Last year she set up the Curiosity Club, a monthly shipment of beads and components personally selected by her. Along with the shipment, there is a Facebook page for members to share their designs, and each month Rebecca does a little tour on her shop’s Facebook page to show off what we all make from the kits.
So far I have received two kits, and the third should arrive any day now. Silly me, I haven’t taken a picture of each kit before diving in, but they’ve been lovely, with some waxed linen, a selection of beads sweetly threaded with a little brass or silver key and a special component or two! Anyway, I thought I would show you some of the things I’ve made so far using the beads and findings I’ve received.
The first kit, sent in December was called Winter’s Tale (Rebecca is from the UK, currently living in Belfast, Ireland), The special item in this kit was a pair of snowflake charms from Bohulley Beads, which I used in a pair of earrings along with the charcoal grey waxed linen and some of the clear and smoky rondelles, Rather than just stringing the beads on the linen, I did a little macramé between each bead.
Sadly, the school holidays prevented me from making more from this kit, although I am still mulling over the remaining beads, which include a variety of minty green and olive beads. Before I knew it, it was time for the January kit to arrive. Aptly named Paintbox, this kit contained a bright and happy selection of beads in aqua blue, lavender, and bright fuschia pink, some pale green leaves, a red heart, Picasso-finished flowers, waxed linen in lavender and denim blue, and some of Rebecca’s own components—a spiral clasp and a pair of heart headpins.
The first beads I turned to were the aqua blue piggies—little curved beads with two holes. I wove the lavender waxed linen in and out of the beads and dangled them from the fuschia flowers.
The lavender and aqua combination looked great so I dug out some fantastic aqua blue lampwork beads from Brisbane-based lampworker Liz de Luca to make some more earrings, this time with the lavender rondelles and some tiny Hill Tribe silver bead caps and spacers.
So far, obviously, it’s all been about the earrings. I’m working on a challenge at the moment—the 3rd Annual Challenge of Music—which may well find itself using a few more of the beads from the kits in a bigger piece. The reveal date is this Saturday so come visit me then to see what I have come up with.
I just signed up for the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party, the third I will participate in! I’ve got a very soft spot for this blog hop, it was the one that got me blogging in the first place (although not the first blog hop I did), and it’s certainly the biggest and best known of the jewellery design blog hops. And Lori Anderson, the founder and the organizer of the hop (believe me when I say it’s a massive effort on her part, I suspect that for the next 2-3 weeks, she and her family will eat, sleep and breathe the partnering process, and that’s a big job even when you haven’t been ill for the best part of the last 12 months), is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, in real life or otherwise (hoping one day it will be in real life).
Anyway, by the end of the month I should be paired up and I can finalise the bead soup, tailored to my lucky victim partner. It’s got to have a bit of Australia in it, so I’m thinking about the various bead artists I know and like down here. The big reveal isn’t until 3rd May, which sounds like a long way away, but really isn’t so far! Expect another post or two from me along the way. Click through if you want to see what I made in 2012 and 2013.
In the meantime, I have a few things to keep me busy. One of my favourite blogs, Earrings Everyday, is starting a monthly earring challenge, which is due on the 21st Feb, and I am doing Lisa Lodge‘s Winter Sparkle blog hop on the 22nd. I’ve got a good idea percolating for this month’s Art Bead Scene Monthly Challenge, which has a beautiful Paul Klee painting as its inspiration. And the 3rd Annual Challenge of Music, from the endlessly inventive Erin Prais-Hintz, is on 1st of March. I try to keep all of the upcoming blog hops listed via linked blog buttons at the top of the right hand column of this blog, while completed hops are moved down to the bottom of the column. One day I might even manage to make a page for blog hop links, does that sound useful??
I’ve also signed up to do a couple of markets in March, a school fair and a new market that hopefully will be in the right place at the right time to get some sales. More details on both of those when I have them. My regular market—The Handmade Show—doesn’t start until April, and my first show there will be in May as I’ll be away in April.
I’ll be back on the weekend with some recent designs and a new jam recipe variation!
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:
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 …
… 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!
Without further ado, here is the beautiful ornament Erin sent me. It incorporates one of her limited edition Snowflake Birds and the leaves are frosted with gold.
Thank you so much Erin! I absolutely love it! I haven’t found exactly the right place for it yet, but it may just hang next to my desk so I can see it all the time. Our Christmas tree is a bit, umm, crowded (remind me to buy a taller one next year)!
To see what I sent Erin, you will have to visit her blog.
And follow the links to the rest of the swap-hoppers below:
Erin Prais-Hintz always runs the coolest challenges, guaranteed to stretch us all as jewellery designers. And this year’s Challenge of Color, the fourth she has held, is no exception. Last year, Erin and her colour guru friend Brandi Hussey provided participants with colour palettes drawn from satellite images of Earth, but this year, we were sent to the fabulous website COLOURlovers to find, or create, our own.
COLOURlovers is a website that lets you create and name colours, palettes and even patterns made using the cool colour palettes you create. With thousands of users, inspiration is a click away.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Challenge without a challenge, right? Erin’s extra twist involved using the names of the colours to create a poem of sorts, using the names of each colour in a game called wordlinks.
From the wordlink instructions…
“with wordlink palettes you start with a two-word (or more) colour name. the next colour name has to start with the last word of the colour before it. each colour continues this way to the end. try to make the last word of the last colour the first word of the first colour. this is really hard, though.”
Sounds like fun, but it’s harder than you’d think! I created two palettes using the Wordlinks game. My first one is called Shimmer Song:
As the sky shimmers Shimmer of magic Magic of starlight Starlight song Song of the sky
As this was a muted colour palette, I thought I would make another in brighter colours. This one is called Pool Party Summer:
Summer at the pool Pool party Party people People laughing Summer of laughs.
I even used the second palette to make a pattern, Summer in the Pool, in keeping with its theme:
Pool Party Summer was the palette I eventually went with, using some wonderfully aquatic lampwork beads made by Vivian Houser at Dragyn’s Fyre Designs (these were some of the first artisan-made lampwork beads I ever bought), knotted onto deep plum waxed linen, along with a large amazonite nugget, dyed fire agate and Czech glass, a pewter mermaid connector from Green Girl Studios and antiqued silver-plated chain and clasp, to make a necklace. It’s a rare foray for me into an asymmetrical design. The matching earrings feature the lampwork beads and a few seed beads knotted onto lavender waxed linen.
Thanks again for another stimulating challenge Miss Erin, it’s always fun! And make sure you visit the other participants in the blog hop (as InLinkz doesn’t work very well on WordPress-hosted websites, you’ll need to visit Erin’s blog to see the full list of participants).
Welcome to Melbourne … as seen by me. Today’s blog is the reveal of the 2nd Annual Challenge of Travel blog hop, hosted by Erin Prais-Hintz. Erin had the delightful idea of writing about our hometowns in this year’s Challenge—a “stay-cation” if you will.
So let me tell you about my hometown. Melbourne is not my original hometown—I grew up in Perth, on the other side of Australia—but I have always have had family here, and when my husband and I moved back to Australia over ten years ago, we chose Melbourne as our place to settle down.
Melbourne is the capital city of Victoria, one of the six Australian states. It’s Australia’s second largest city, with a population of more than 4 million. It was founded in 1835 and, after the discovery of gold in Victoria in the 1850s, became one of the richest cities in the world (sadly nowadays, it’s one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, despite its title as the most liveable city).
Nowadays, Melbourne is a vibrant city, known more for its culture and addiction to sports of all kinds (tennis, cricket, motor sports, and especially Aussie Rules Football, locally known as the footy), than its looks. It has a moderate climate, warm to hot in the summer, and cool in the winter, and we frequently experience “four seasons in one day” thanks to the cold waters of the Southern Ocean below us and the heat of inland Australia above. It’s one of Australia’s leafiest cities, thanks to both the climate and the English influence, and there are beautiful parks in all corners of the metropolitan area.
But what I like best about Melbourne is its ambiance. Generations of migrants, starting with the British (convicts!), the gold diggers of the mid-1800s including plenty of Chinese, German and Irish fortune seekers, post WWII immigration by southern Europeans, particularly from Italy and Greece, and more recently SE Asian, Middle-Eastern and African immigrants have made Melbourne home, resulting in a melting pot of multicultural influence, and the ability to find just about any kind of food you might desire! Our damp cold winters lend themselves to art and theatre, while our summers can be delightful. And every neighbourhood has its own personality.
One of my favourite parts of Melbourne is St Kilda, where I lived for a few years. Down by the beach, it’s a magnet for tourists and backpackers, and a lively spot with lots of good cafes and restaurants, with vestiges of a seedy past that give it a bit of an edge. St Kilda Beach, on Port Phillip Bay, is no Bondi, but it has its charms, and is a fabulous spot for a walk.
It’s also the home of Luna Park, an historic amusement park, and the inspiration for my first piece. Luna Park was built in 1912, and has operated more or less continuously since then. Its Scenic Railway is the oldest continuously operating rollercoaster in the world. And its iconic “Mr Moon” facade is instantly recognisable.
I used a fair chunk of my stash of bright happy beads by Jennifer “Jangles” Heynen to reflect the primary colours in the facade, and natural waxed linen inspired by the rollercoaster framework to make a fun necklace and a pair of (mis)matching earrings.
My other piece was more inspired by the colours of Melbourne than a particular landmark. First of all, I’d like to note that this bracelet is heavily influenced by Lorelei Eurto, who regularly makes bracelets in this style. Thank you for the inspiration Lorelei (and my version is for personal use only). The Humblebeads birds nest house represents my home in Melbourne, and the other beads are inspired by the colours of Port Phillip Bay and its beaches, the Yarra River (notably a very muddy river), and the greens of Melbourne’s leafy vegetation. The big lampwork bead is by a local artist, Puddle Glass Art.
I hope you have enjoyed my little introduction to Melbourne! I’d have loved to take you further afield, but there’s a blog hop to get to! Erin has linked up all the participants on her blog post so mosey on over there and take a peek at some wonderful places.