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.

 

Inspired by Reading Book Club: A Wrinkle in Time

I’ve joined the Inspired by Reading Book Club, a crafty group of jewellery designers and more. The group was started by Andrew Thornton, and I’ve been sitting on the fence for sometime, wanting to join. I finally took the plunge this month, and I hope I can keep up with a design a month! The reading itself shouldn’t be a problem!

Anyway the idea is to read the book and then create a piece (or more) inspired by the book. This month’s book is A Wrinkle in Time, a classic children’s book by Madeline L’Engle, published in 1963. I first read this book when I was a child, and I was thrilled to find it just as readable as an adult, although somewhat dated. As the title might imply, it is a science fiction novel,  with travel through space and time through the tesseract, a form of travel akin to traveling through a wormhole. Meg Murray, a “difficult” and “different” child and her equally different little brother Charles, as well as school friend Calvin, have to rescue Meg’s father, a physicist who has been missing for a couple of years, and is stuck on a far away planet in a far away galaxy. At the heart of the book is the classic struggle between good and evil, with love conquering all in the end.

I did think about creating some pieces with the space theme. In fact, I have made various resin pendants, cufflinks and earrings fairly recently featuring images of space including nebulae and more.

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However the passage in the book that inspired me was a simple description of one of the book’s characters, Mrs Whatsit. Appearing early in the book as an old lady with the appearance of a tramp, she plays an important role as one of the guides through time and space. But her description is what hooked me. She is described as being completely bundled up in clothes, with several scarves of assorted colours tied about the head:

Mrs Whatsit untied a blue and green Paisley scarf, a red and yellow flowered print, a gold Liberty print, a red and black bandanna.

I initially thought I would create a necklace combining these colour schemes, but I ended up creating 4 necklaces, one for each scarf (and hence I’m late posting this blog update!).

The paisley scarf became a necklace featuring a paisley pendant from Humblebeads, knotted on waxed linen with a collection of flowers and leaves in similar shades of green, blue and purple.

Paisley scarf necklace

The red and yellow flowered print scarf uses a pendant I made myself using a scrap of Liberty of London print floral fabric and a clever miniature embroidery hoop from Melbourne-based Etsy seller Dandelyne (these come in a variety of shapes and sizes—this particular one is 4cm in diameter). I attached it to a long copper chain embellished with dainty Czech glass flowers.

red-yellow floral scarf necklace

The gold Liberty print uses another embroidery hoop pendant featuring a scrap of Liberty fabric with gold and purple flowers and leaves. This time I have paired it with a trio of seed bead strands in shades of purple, gold and bronze and finished it with brass chain.

gold liberty scarf necklace

Finally the red and black bandanna is represented by a red pendant by Peruzi and a selection of black and red beads. Although the pendant is very Art Deco in style, I think the geometric nature of it reminds me of bandanna prints.

red-black bandanna necklace

And here they are all together!

Mrs Whatsits scarves

BeadFest part 4 — the people and the swaps

One last BeadFest post and then I’m done, promise! This time I want to mention a few of the people I met at BeadFest and afterwards. I’ve been involved in the beading/jewellery design online community for a few years now, blogging, taking part in challenges, swapping beads and chatting on Facebook. So it was fabulous to meet some of the people I have talked to over the last few years.

I took with me a little stash of art beads from some of my favourite Aussie beadmakers—Natalie Fletcher-Jones, Melissa Gabelle (a new discovery), Pauline Delaney, and more to swap with friends I met on my travels (by the way, these three beadmakers are very active on FB bead groups including Australian Art Beads which is a great page for buying beads). I should have taken a picture of it all before I left, but alas, I didn’t.

One of the people I was really hoping to meet was Lori Anderson. As luck would have it, we walked into each other right outside the expo hall, as she was arriving with her son Zach and I was leaving. Of course I knew her immediately from her pink hair! We chatted happily for 10-15 minutes, and had hoped to catch up later that day or the next day, but unfortunately she was unwell and had to leave before we managed to meet up again. Lori gifted me a lovely bag stuffed full of beads and toggles (and I later sent her a bag of beads too, as I didn’t happen to have them on me that day). Sadly, I didn’t think to take a photo of Lori at the time, but here’s a picture of the gift!

Loris gift

I had lunch another day with Heather Powers, who is the creative soul behind Humblebeads. We had such a good chat! Some of the beads I showed in my last post came from a swap I did with Heather.

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At Jenny Davies-Reazor‘s booth, I met not just Jenny but several of the other Art Jewelry Elements bloggers too—Lesley Watt (who came over from the UK to attend the show), Diana Ptaszynski and Linda Landig (who took photos but managed to stay out of one herself!). There were definitely swapsies involved with Jenny, Lesley and Diana, and they kindly allowed me to rest my poor tired feet behind their stand.

AJE swaps

Michelle McCarthy and I had already arranged to do a swap through a swap group we belong to, and decided to do it in person at the show.

Michelle swaps

And here’s a picture of me and Marsha Neal, just because!

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After BeadFest there were a few more chances to meet people and to swap beads via the mail with friends I didn’t get a chance to meet in person.

Lennis Carrier sent me a fabulous selection of art beads, almost all of them with a few coordinating Czech beads as well. We had hoped to catch up in person, but she ended up helping out a friend on the other side of the country instead of coming to BeadFest.

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Cory Tompkins sent me a lovely selection of her polymer clay creations, and a stash of other bits and bobs as well. Aren’t those polymer sugar skulls awesome?!

Corys gift

A few weeks after BeadFest I went roadtripping through the southwest with my family and we had dinner with Gina Hockett, another friend from my bead swap group. She gifted me some lovely turquoise cabs (from Judy McCourt), some lampwork beads, and a bracelet and earrings too, as well as some petrified wood pieces for my kids (collected from outside the national park of course!).

Gina swap

It was wonderful to meet online friends in real life, even if it was only for a short time—I will be back! And of course, I would love to see some of my beady friends in Australia one day…

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.

Bead Peeps Swap’n’Hop

The day has arrived for the Bead Peeps Swap’n’Hop reveal. This blog hop is hosted by Linda Anderson and the Facebook group Bead Peeps, and like other bead soup-style blog hops, participants were paired up and asked to exchange a selection of beads including at least one artisan-made bead, a nice clasp and some coordinating beads.

My partner this time around is Niky Sayers, a UK-based designer and metalsmith who makes the most fabulous jewellery. I’m really looking forward to seeing what she has made using the bead soup I sent her. She treated me to a lovely selection of artisan goodies including some of her own delicious goodies—a clasp, a connector and a bead made from coins, and more.

Swapnhop soup

The first piece I made featured the gorgeous chocolate clay and turquoise heart focal made by Gaea and the 6mm serpentine rondelles. I added some Czech glass coins and flowers and some supersoft chocolate brown deerhide lace, which simply ties into a bow at the back of the neck.

Turquoise heart necklace

Next up is a pair of earrings featuring two Kylie Parry birds—not quite the same, but similar—perched on top of Niky’s sweet little copper mushroom headpins. The earwires are antiqued copper from The Curious Bead Shop.

Shroombirds earrings

And then finally is a rather special necklace I’m calling the Bowerbird, after the Australian bird that collects all sorts of bits and bobs to decorate its bower to entice a mate. I’ve created a necklace featuring a collection of bits and bobs from my art bead hoard, all linked together.

I’ve used several things from the soup, including two of Niky’s coin components (the copper farthing-based clasp and connector), as well as the enamel script bead by Blue Antiquities, the aqua Karen Totten beads and the Bo Hulley fly connector. Niky’s connector features a lampwork headpin by Jennifer Cameron in deep pinky purples and yellow, which goes well with the pink and yellow lampwork beads from Michelle Mahre. A Gaea love nest bead plus the coordinating beads from the bundle, and a Gaea rainbow wave bead are also in there, and I’ve also included a Humblebeads polymer clay house bead and a tiny charm from Jade Scott. Rounding out the art beads are 2 copper beads with a violet patina, two copper rings with a violet patina and two antiqued copper rings, all from Miss Fickle Media. Finally, I’ve added in tumbled fluorite nuggets and a selection of Czech glass beads in a variety of shapes and colours.

Bowerbird collage

The resulting necklace is an eclectic collection, that I think would happily grace a bowerbird’s nest, or my neck! It was super-hard to photograph in its entirety though!

Bowerbird necklace

Thank you Niky for sending me such a delicious soup! I still have a few pieces yet to use, and I’m looking forward to finding the right pieces to feature them in. And thank you to Linda and Bead Peeps for hosting the hop! There are loads of participants listed below, so pick a few to go and visit!

Finally, if you’re looking for a new blog hop challenge, consider my Epic Inspirations Blog Hop, which has a reveal date in early June.

Bead Peeps Swap N Hop 2015  Partner List

Our Hostess: Linda Anderson       http//:fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com

Linda Anderson                               http://fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com
Marica Zammit                                 http://www.beadlovelies.com

Linda Anderson                                http://fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com
Jessica Hocutt                                  https://faithfamilyandadventure.wordpress.com

Kristina Hahn Eleniak                      http://www.peacockandlime.wordpress.com
Debbie Jeffries                                   http://wordpress/debrasdivinedesigns/blog.com

Rosantia Petkova                              http://bairozan.blogspot.com/
Shalini Austin                                    http://jewellerybyshalini.co.uk/my-blog/

Catherine La Vite                             http://drygulchbeadsandjewelry.blogspot.com
Annica Larsson                                 http://zestyfrog.wordpress.com/

Lori Schneider                                  http://beadaddicted.blogspot.com/
Divya N                                              http://www.jewelsofsayuri.com

Mowse Doyle                                    http://mowsemadethis.blogspot.com
Fay Wolfenden                                 http://torchfairy.blogspot.com

Kathy Lindemer                               http://bay-moon-design.blogspot.com/
Claire Fabian                                     http://saraccino.blogspot.de/

Janice Warden Bergeron               http://thejewelryroom.blogspot.ca
Natalie Davidson                             http://www.northshoredays.com

Deb Fortin                                         http://www.studiok24.blogspot.ca
Inge von Roos                                  http://ingetraud.wordpress.com

Karen Mitchell                                  http://overthemoon-design.com
Robin Reed                                        http://willowdragon.blogspot.com

Marie Covert                                     http://thistledown-and-swaddlings.blogspot.com/
Alicia Marinache                              http://www.allprettythings.ca

Nan Smith                                         http://www.wirednan.blogspot.ca
Johana Nunez                                   http://artincendi.com

Kelly Hosford Patterson                 http://travelingsideshow.blogspot.com/
Lori Blanchard                                  http://alainnjewelry.WordPress.com

Sue  Kennedy                                    http://suebeads.blogspot.com
Shai Williams                                    http://shaihasramblings.com

Niky Sayers                                       http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk
Melissa Trudinger                            https://beadrecipes.wordpress.com  <– ME!

Candida Castleberry                        http://www.spunsugarbeadworks.blogspot.com
Erin Guest                                          http://www.renlish.com

Nicole Rennell                                  http://nicolerennell.com/blog
Ien Temaluru                                    http://ienmaginationsjewelry.wordpress.com

Robin Showstack                             http://heartsdesiresjewelryforyou.blogspot.com/
Sam Waghorn                                  http://palemooncreation.blogspot.co.uk

Marianne Baxter                              http://www.simplyseablimejewelry.blogspot.com
Elsie Deliz-Fonseca                          http://ladelizchica.blogspot.com

Shai Williams                                    http://shaihasramblings.com
Lee Koopman                                   http://stregajewellry.wordpress.com

Jayne Capps                                      http://mamasgottodoodle.blogspot.com
Marti Conrad                                    http://marticsclay.blogspot.com

Tina Bosh                                          http://bookbug-somanybookssolittletime.blogspot.com/
Eleanor Thomas                               http://woolywireetc.blogspot.com

Jeanne Steck                                     http://www.gemsbyjeannemarie.blogspot.com
Gloria Allen                                       http://www.wingsandbeads.blogspot.com

Rachel Mallis                                    http://www.mintmonarch.com/#!blog/c1jlz
Andrea Glick                                     http://zenithjade.blogspot.com/

Stephanie Stamper                          http://skwds.blogspot.com
Chris Haussler                                  http://pixybugdesigns.blogspot.com

Betony Maiden                                  http://www.beadwenches.blogspot.com/
Kari Asbury                                        http://hippiechickjewelrydesign.com/blog/

Jenny Kyrlach                                   http://anafiassa.blogspot.com/
Colleen Foley                                     http://colleenfoleycreations.blogspot.com

Marybeth Rich                                  http://forestofjewels.blogspot.com/
Marcy Lamberson                           http://www.StudioMarcy.blogspot.com

Dyanne Everett-Cantrell                http://www.deelitefuljewelrycreations.blogspot.com
Ginny Lones                                      http://www.Skippingintotheunknown.blogspot.com

Maria Rosa Sharrow                       http://willowstreetshops.blogspot.com
Loretta Carstensen                          http://designsbyloretta.blogspot.com

Dolores Raml                                    http://craftydscreations.wordpress.com
Michelle McCarthy                          http://www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com

Louise McCormick-Glazier           http://jewelrytreasuresbylouise.blogspot.com/
Heather Richter                               http://desertjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com

Tammy Adams                                 http://www.paisleylizard.com/blog/
Shirley Moore                                   http://beadsandbread.blogspot.com

Seed Beaders

Susanne Stelljes                               http://pearlify.blogspot.de
Sheila Prosterman                           http://catswithbeads.blogspot.com

Pallavi Asher                                     http://kalaabhushan.blogspot.in/
Jami Shipp                                         http://celebratinglifewithdamamashipp.blogspot.com

Peggy Kosier                                     http://www.kosydesigns.blogspot.ca/
Andra Weber                                    http://andrasjoyfuljourney.blogspot.com

Catherine King                                  http://catherines-musings.blogspot.com
Krafty Max                                        http://kraftymax.com

Sierra Barrett                                    http://giraffecanhas.wordpress.com
Lois Sherwood                                 http://thiznthat5454blog.wordpress.com

Katy Heider                                       http://onthepondcreations.blogspot.com
Rebecca Robertson   (White)        http://morganafeycreations.121hub.com/

Heather Richter                               http://desertjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com
Brandy Collier                                   http://bhjewelry.wordpress.com

Stephanie Haussler                          http://www.pixybugdesigns.blogspot.com
Lori Blanchard                                  http://alainnjewelry.WordPress.com

Kathleen Breeding                           http://99bobotw.blogspot.com
Becky Pancake                                 http://beckypancakebeaddesigns.blogspot.com

Renetha Stanziano                          http://lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com/
Tami Norris                                       https://jewelrybytami.wordpress.com/

Ginger Bishop                                   http://lilmummylikes.blogspot.com/
Peggy Johnson                                 http://charmbarn.blogspot.com

Tiny Flowers: We’re All Ears March Challenge

This month’s inspiration from Earrings Everyday ‘s We’re All Ears earring challenge is a sweet little pen and watercolour illustration from Beatrix Potter’s book The Tailor of Gloucester.

March earring challenge


Pen and watercolor by Beatrix Potter
from The Tailor of Gloucester from the collection at the Tate Museum

My earrings inspired by this image feature a pair of polymer clay matchstick charms from Humblebeads, which have been painted by Heather in a tiny floral pattern that to me resembles the stitching in the picture nicely! I topped them with a pair of Czech glass flowers from the Paintbox kit I received through the Curiosity Club, and dangled them from Vintaj brass earwires. I did have ambitions to use waxed linen cord in a lovely shade of magenta instead of wire but I just couldn’t get them to look right. Best laid plans and all that! In any case, they are quite sweet.

Tiny Flowers Earrings

Go here to see what everyone else has made this month!

Tin Roof … Rusted: the 3rd Annual Challenge of Music

Once again, I’m taking part in Erin Prais-Hintz ‘s Annual Challenge of Music. This year, she has set us a new challenge:

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).

Love shack focal

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!

Tin roof ... rusted collage

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!