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

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!


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


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!


More blog hops and challenges

I’ve signed myself up for two more beady blog hops.

The first is Erin Prais-Hintz’s latest blog hop, in celebration of her Simple Truths pendants. I have bought a couple of these pendants in the past, one for a necklace that I made for a friend and a Woodsy Owl for me, which has been sitting in my bead box waiting for inspiration. And I just bought another, which may or may not make its way to me in time for the challenge. Anyway, the challenge is to make something with a Simple Truths pendant and then on 13 July, we’ll reveal what we made.

Here is my Woodsy Owl. I’m going to have a look through my collection of jaspers and other stones, and my Czech glass this weekend to see what might jump out at me.

The second challenge is the big one, the 6th Bead Soup Blog Party, organised by the very talented and inspired Lori Anderson. Lori partners up all of the participants who then send their partner some beads, including a focal, a clasp and some coordinating beads. The idea is to use both the focal and the clasp, separately or together, along with some of the other beads to make one or more pieces. The challenge comes from working with beads picked out by someone else, so perhaps in an unfamiliar style or colour scheme. This year the blog hop is happening on three different dates so that more participants can join in, as it is so popular—in fact this year there are going to be some 400 participants! I’ll find out this weekend who my partner is, can’t wait!!

I have to admit, one of the drivers behind starting this blog was the possibility of joining the Bead Soup Blog Party. And I’m finding that doing blog hops and challenges is a great way to motivate me and to stretch my creative muscles. And I love visiting other blogs to see what other jewellery designers have made, it’s a great inspiration to me and I learn a lot about how different elements can be used creatively.

In the mean time, I’ll leave you with a picture of some turquoise and leather earrings I made some time ago. I’ve been trying to get to my pile of jewellery projects but one after another, my family and I have been dropping like flies with a nasty chest infection. Hopefully I’ll get some things done this weekend that I can show you!


Works in progress

I’ve had a busy couple of weeks, and life’s popped up a few surprises to keep me on my toes.

It means I haven’t had as much time to make jewellery as I’d like. And I seem to have several pieces going at once!

This one is the remaking of a turquoise necklace for my mum. She bought these enormous turquoise beads last year in Spain and wants them restrung with coral coloured beads in between each one. They are HUGE! I’m not sure they are actually real turquoise, given the price she paid for them, more likely they dyed howlite, whcih has that characteristic veined appearance of turquoise. And the “coral” nuggets are also dyed howlite. Anyway, this is where I am with it, just need to make it longer than choker length —I have plenty more turquoise and coral beads so that’s not going to be an issue. I’d like to use chain at the back because, to me, those big nuggets would be uncomfortable to lean back against. But I am having problems finding silver-plated or silver-filled chain in the right style. It needs to be big to match the rest of the necklace.

These beads are to make a necklace for a friend to give as a present. They are a deep amethyst-hued Czech crystal with a lovely lustre finish. I plan to combine them with silver-plated chain to make a delicate necklace.

Finally, this is the focal I have made for the Beading Forum Design Quest 24 challenge. It combines Czech peacock daggers and small teardrop beads, that I have attached to a Vintaj brass filigree. And then there is a crystal rivoli popped onto the front, also wrapped in a Vintaj filigree beadcap. I’m pretty chuffed with how it’s turned out actually!

I’ll post more pics of the finished pieces when they’re done. On the schedule this week are a couple of mother’s day gifts, hopefully I’ll have time to make at least one of them!