Inspired by Reading Book Club: A Girl of the Limberlost

This month’s book for the Inspired by Reading Book Club was the delightful novel A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter, an American naturalist and novelist who lived by the Limberlost Swamp in Indiana.

The story is about a girl who lives by the Limberlost Swamp. Elnora is determined to go to high school in the nearby town, despite her mother’s resistance, and pays her way through school by catching and hatching moths for collectors. The book mentions a variety of moth species, in particular the beautiful and coveted Luna and Yellow Imperial moths. I was fascinated by the descriptions of the moths emerging from their cocoons and fluttering their wings to dry them out and extend them for flight.

I really enjoyed the book, in fact I couldn’t put it down (luckily I was on holidays and had time to read). Elnora was a feisty heroine, who reminded me a lot of Beth from Little Women and Anne from Anne of Green Gables—independent and smart. And the author’s love of the Limberlost Swamp and its surrounds was evident throughout the book, which is rich in images and details of the swamp and its wildlife, especially the moths.

After reading the book, I knew that what I made would have to feature a moth or butterfly of some kind. Luckily I had the perfect specimen to hand—a delightful enameled moth (well maybe it’s a butterfly but I’m calling it a moth) by Anne Gardanne, which I picked up at BeadFest last year. Although I’m not sure it resembles any of the Limberlost moths, it is a sweet little focal in turquoise with mauve undertones.

It seemed appropriate to put cocoons alongside the moth. I used Heather Power‘s method for making wrapped wire and silk beads (as outlined in her recent book Beautiful Elements) and a piece of frayed mauve and blue sari silk to make two cocoons. A few flowers and a dragonfly clasp—because all swamps have dragonflies!—and it was done.

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Thanks Andrew and the rest of the Inspired by Reading book club! I’m looking forward to the next book on the list. And you can see some of the pieces made by others in the book club’s Facebook group.

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BeadFest part 3 — the art bead shopping

Of course I didn’t forget the art beads at BeadFest. Some of my favourite beadmakers were there, as well as some I have eyed from afar but never seen in person.

A group of beadmakers had a progressive make’n’take going on, so of course I had to play along. The ceramic house is by Diane Hawkey, the copper house frame was made by me on Brenda Schweder’s Now that’s a Jig wire wrapping jig, the dangles are by Nikki Thornburg (who also showed me a cool way to wire-wrap long stems) and the tiny enameled tubes were from C-Koop Beads (who also provided the leather). I’ve worn this a lot as I’ve travelled around the US, it’s nice and light for summer and the colours work beautifully with a lot of my clothing.

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I bought a few more beads from Diane Hawkey. The glass beads in the picture were from Beach House Glass Beads.IMG_0860

I also bought some more beads from Nikki Thornburg—some of her headpins. I’m sure I can find some uses for them somewhere!

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Between Diane Hawkey and Nikki Thornburg was Marsha Neal Studio. Marsha was absolutely lovely and we chatted for ages (more than once!). I bought a few bead pairs from her, one of her organic pod/vessels (and one for my mum, not pictured) and one of her great wrap bracelet kits. Which I had every intention of making as I travelled but, well, you know …

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And I had to buy a few somethings from C-Koop Beads too.

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I had lunch with one of my very favourite bead makers, Heather Powers, on Saturday and then had a little splurge at her booth. Such beautiful beads, I could have bought one of everything. We also did a little swap – more on that in the next blog post.

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Staci Smith’s stand was full of fabulous treasures. I picked out some fun bits and pieces there, and a gorgeous necklace for my sister in law’s 40th birthday (yes I know I could have just bought some of the components and made something myself, but the necklace just seemed right for her, apologies as I don’t have a picture of it).

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Michelle McCarthy, a swap buddy of mine from the old Bead Swap USA group (now disbanded) had a booth of her ceramics (Firefly Design Studio) and I selected some great summery beads and pendants there.

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Right next door was Anne Gardanne‘s stall and I picked up some more enameled components there.

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I splurged on a few exquisitely made beads from Joan Miller Porcelain. I wanted to buy a lot more.

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Green Girls Studios was good for a few more beads too.

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At Jenny Davies-Reazor ‘s booth, I picked up one of her mixed media word pendants — this one just called to me and I suspect I’ll be keeping it. And then I did some swapping with the Art Jewelry Elements girls, again more on that tomorrow.

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I have to say, it’s fantastic to actually be able to see the beads in person, pick them up and fondle them. Although it makes choosing them even harder.

Daenerys’ dragons: Game of Thrones Jewellery Challenge

A couple of weeks ago, Heather Powers suggested that we do a challenge based on the fantastic world of Game of Thrones, the book series by George R. R. Martin and the TV series from HBO. And as a long time reader of the books and fan of the TV series too, I just had to join in.

I had a couple of ideas, but so far I have only managed to put one of them together, thanks to a busy schedule and school holidays. I plan to use the other two for an upcoming blog hop (stay tuned for an announcement of that hop in the next week or two).

For today’s piece I was inspired by Daenerys of House Targaryen and her dragons. Although the dragons were thought to have died out long before the last Targaryen king ruled in Westeros, his exiled daughter Daenerys was given three fossilized dragon eggs on her marriage to Khal Drogo. When her husband died, she placed the eggs on his funeral pyre, and then walked into the flames to claim the newly hatched dragons.

(Image from fanpop.com)

(Image from fanpop.com)

Daenerys wears shades of icy blue and silvery grey and, at least in the early seasons, not a lot of jewellery, other than some wonderful armbands. I am looking forward to seeing what her style becomes as she moves to reclaim her birthright. In the meantime, this bracelet features a Green Girl Studios dragon egg, as well as two beaded beads in shades of aqua and silver made by Rebecca Anderson of The Curious Bead Shop, which remind me of the dragon eggs. The icy blue and silver Czech glass peanut beads also come from The Curious Bead Shop. I love the matted, almost pitted texture of them, almost like stone.

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To see what other participants in this jewellery challenge have made, visit Heather Powers’ blog for the links.

All sorts of things coming up

I’ve just made a list of all the things I’ve signed myself up to do in the next couple of weeks, and, umm, I’m going to be busy! As soon as I have finished getting ready for the craft market I need to get moving on a few other things, a handful of bead and gift swaps and a handful of challenges and blog hops. Then of course I also have presents to make for my family!

Some of the highlights coming up include:

The 3rd Annual Challenge of Color: Earth as Art—Erin Prais-Hintz’s final challenge for 2012. This time, she has teamed up with colour queen Brandi Hussey to create 40 stunning palettes from enhanced satellite images. Each of the 80 participants in the blog hop get to choose between two palettes selected individually for each of us. These are my two, come back on 30 November to see which palette I chose to inspire a design.

The Art Bead Scene Ornament Blog Hop—organised by Heather Powers. In this challenge I need to create a handmade Christmas ornament using either handmade components or artist beads. I’ll post a sneak peek on 1 December, and reveal my creation a few days later on 4 December.

Finally, I was thrilled to be chosen to be part of Lorelei Eurto’s 12 Days of Christmas Handmade Gift Swap. For this swap I need to make 11 gifts and send them out across the world by the beginning of December, and starting on Christmas Day, each of us will open one present per day and blog about it as we go. As I’m the ninth on the list, my gift will be opened on 2 January.

And that’s it for blog hops in 2012. Of course, late January is when sign-ups for the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party are happening, and I’ve got a Sci-Fi themed blog hop happening sometime in the new year too. So it won’t be long before I’m busy again!