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?
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!
It’s an awfully long time since I managed to do a post for the Earrings Everyday We’re All Ears challenge. I always start the month with the best of intentions, but the reveal date is the day before my monthly craft market (and I am one of the organisers), so I’m usually too busy getting ready for that to think about anything else.
But this month, I had the perfect beads in my stash, so I couldn’t really not do it, could I?! The theme this month was tea parties, and Erin put up the most delightful pictures of vintage tea pots and cups with dainty floral patterns.
A little while ago I bought a few pairs of beads and charms from Natalie McKenna, aka Grubbi Ceramics, decorated with fragments of vintage floral decals. I’m not sure how she does it, but these beads have almost an aged patina to them, as if they’ve been dug up as fragments in a forgotten back garden. I love them!
The first pair of earrings feature Grubbi charms with a vibrant English cut Czech glass bead in rosy pink, to match the decals.
And the second pair of earrings, which I think might make their way into my jewellery box, pair a prettily decorated ceramic round with a rosy Czech glass rondelle. Sweet, don’t you think?
Thank you for the inspiration Erin and Earrings Everyday, it was just what I needed!
Visit the Earrings Everyday blog for a daily dose of inspiration!
My absolute favourite show, hands down, at the moment is Outlander. You could say I’m a little obsessed with it. For those who haven’t had the chance to see it yet, it’s a romantic, action, adventure series set largely in 18th Century Scotland, right before the Scots rise under the banner of Bonnie Prince Charlie in their final futile attempt to seize control of the British throne. It’s based on a series of novels by Diana Gabaldon, which are being made into a series by Ron D Moore (whose credits include Star Trek Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, as well as Battlestar Galactica). The summary from Starz says:
Outlander follows the story of Claire Randall, a married combat nurse from 1945 who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743, where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate relationship is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
The story is not just a romance, although the developing relationship between Claire and Jamie plays a big part. There are political machinations, accusations of witchcraft, and the looming threat of Black Jack Randall, an English soldier who is the ancestor of Claire’s 20th century husband Frank. The end of season one is truly not for the faint-hearted, and I’m going to be waiting with baited breath for season two to air.
There is a lot to inspire in Outlander. The sweeping vistas of the Scottish Highlands for one. The divine costumes for another. And of course the story itself. I created three pieces inspired by the show, each drawing from different aspects.
My first piece is inspired by the Scottish landscape. One of the key locations in both the book and the TV show is Jamie Fraser’s home Lallybroch. In real life, the derelict Midhope Castle near Edinburgh was used for Lallybroch exteriors.
UK bead artist Natalie McKenna has a series of ceramic pendants inspired by Scottish landscapes. When I saw this one, I immediately thought of Lallybroch. In this piece I’ve tried to invoke the gorgeous vistas of the Scottish Highlands, the blues and greys of the sky, the browns and greens of the landscape. I’ve kept it simple, choosing beads that complement the focal, rather than compete with it, including some more beads by Natalie.
My second piece was inspired by the incredible wedding dress created by Outlander costume designer Terry Dresbach. Silvery linen is pleated and tucked into a full, lush shape, and flakes of mica give the underskirts a wonderful shimmer as they catch the light. The final flourish is a scattering of acorns and oak leaves embroidered with metal thread across the skirt and bodice:
If you’re interested, Terry Dresbach has posted close-ups of the dress details on her blog here.
I’ve used the embroidered oak leaves and acorns as inspiration for this necklace. The silver-plated stampings I’ve used look a lot like the embroidered leaves. Through the chain of the necklace, I have woven some grey-green sari silk.
My final Outlander piece was inspired by a line uttered by Jamie Fraser to his wife Claire. “You are my home now,” he tells her in a moment guaranteed to send hearts aflutter! When I came across a word bead by Swoondimples that says almost exactly that, I had to have it. A house to dangle from it from BoHulley Beads. Red hearts for Jamie and Claire’s love, and some blue flowers to represent the Forget-me-knots that Claire picked right before she fell through the stones and into the past. The clasp is a dragonfly, a nod to book two in the Outlander series, Dragonfly in Amber (currently in production for season two).
So that’s Outlander. But wait, there’s more. A few weeks ago, when I did Heather Powers’ Game of Thrones challenge, I promised that I had another piece in the works, just waiting for some beads to arrive. This is a necklace inspired by another wedding dress, in this case Margaery Tyrell’s dress for the wedding to Joffrey Lannister. The Tyrell symbol is the rose, and her dress had an intricate train decorated with fabric roses, and beautiful embroidery of thorny vines and flowers across the bodice.
Leah Curtis from Beady-Eyed Bunny makes polymer clay roses in just the right shape. I wanted to evoke the cascade of roses on the train, and I included some red roses too, just for fun. Silvery thorns peek out between the blooms and red droplets remind one of the hidden dangers of the rose. Quite fitting perhaps as Margaery’s new husband died at the wedding, although not necessarily by her hand.
So that’s it from me, thank you for reading this far and if you haven’t seen (or read) Outlander, give it a go! I’m looking forward to seeing what other designers have been inspired by their favourite shows to make. Here’s a list of the participants, thank you all for playing along!