AJE Firefly Challenge reveal

Last month I won one of Jen Cameron ‘s Firefly beads as part of the Art Jewelry Elements quarterly theme challenge. Today is the day to reveal my design, and in typical fashion, I have waited until the very last minute to make something (in my defence, it’s been a busy month, and my weekend was filled with dance and gymnastics competitions—not me, my daughters!—and now it’s school holidays).

Anyway, Jen’s beads look like this (I borrowed Jen’s photo, thank you!).

Jen Firefly beads

Fireflies, are found in parts of the USA, as well as other places around the world, and tend to appear on warm summer nights. I once saw fireflies in Nebraska when I was visiting a friend and her family (we drove her car back to California where we were both at grad school). Alas, here in this part of Australia we don’t have fireflies, although we do have glowworms, which I have seen in the Victorian bush. One of my daughters said the bead looked like the Van Gogh painting Starry Starry Night, which it definitely does.

It’s a big bead too, a couple of inches long, and quite fat, so it was destined to go into a necklace. I knew it would need to be balanced by the rest of the design, so I thought I would do a multi-strand necklace and braid the strands together to give each side some visual weight. I chose a combination of some deep blue seed beads surrounding a variety of golden yellow Czech glass flowers, pale translucent yellow beads interspersed with blue rondelles, and after some thought, a strand of mixed seed beads in greens, blues and purples with some pops of yellow.

Last but not least, I added a tassel underneath the bead. I wanted a yellow tassel but could only get blue and green, so I went with green. I tried to age the shiny golden cap but alas it is plastic, so I need to think of the best way to do that—clearly gilder’s paste is unlikely to work. Although, now that the necklace is assembled, it doesn’t look too out of place with the golden yellow beads.


(Apologies for the picture—which is not the best as it was taken at night under lights. I may replace it tomorrow if I can get a better one.)

Anyway, thank you Jen for the fabulous bead, and thank you AJE for the challenge! I’ve listed the other participants below, make sure you go and check out their creations.

Guest Designers:

Melissa Trudinger – https://beadrecipes.wordpress.com <– YOU ARE HERE!!

Mary Detray – http://www.brassrabbitstudio.com/blog

Keren Panthaki – https://vasdea.wordpress.com

Tammy Adams – http://www.paisleylizard.com/blog/

Veralynne Malone – www.veradesigns.blogspot.com

Terri Del Signore – http://artisticaos.blogspot.com

Heather Powers – http://www.humblebeads.blogspot.com

Susan Delphine Delaney – https://susandolphindelaney.wordpress.com


AJE Team:

Jenny Davies-Reazor – http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog

Lesley Watt – http://www.thegossipinggoddess.blogspot.com

Niky Sayers – http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk

Caroline Dewison – http://blueberribeads.co.uk

Jen Cameron – http://www.glassaddictions.com/blog


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

The Beads of Courage Art Charms auction is live!

I recently told you about the Art Charm Exchange and Charity Auction to raise money for Beads of Courage. Well, today is the day the auction goes live and also the day of the blog hop, where I get to tell you about the charms I made for the exchange.

This year’s theme was SOAR. To me, the word evokes a bird high up in the sky, wings outstretched, soaring through the sky, or hovering. I decided that this was an image I wanted to incorporate into my charms. I had some small Vintaj bezel charms that I could use, but the back of them was not flat and finished-looking. And also, I really wanted to include the word soar into my design. So I decided to go for a mixed media design.

On the back side of the charm, I pressed a small lump of turquoise-coloured polymer clay to cover the grooves. I gave it some texture, used some rubber stamps to press the word soar into it and baked it. I used acrylic paint (in a burnt umber colour) to highlight the texture and words without covering up the lovely colour, and sealed with Renaissance wax.


Then I pasted and sealed the images into the bezel side of the charm and finished it off with resin. The images, which I got from Piddix on Etsy, are quite fun, they show the silhouette of a soaring bird over a background of rusty, patinaed metal.


I picked out the 11 best to send to Jennifer Cameron. She then sent 10 of them out to participants (including me, as we each got one of our own back), and kept the last one for the auction. And here is a nice close up picture of my charm that is being auctioned right here right now!

Soar auction collage

At the time of writing this blog post it has a starting price of USD$9.99. If you like it, please bid on it and help raise some funds for Beads of Courage. 100% of the sale price goes to Beads of Courage—I would love to see it sell for a good price! The auction goes for seven days, and this one will be ending next Monday night December 1st, at 10:17pm EST or Tuesday afternoon AEST if you happen to live in Australia like me (note: you should check the auction end-time in your own time zone).

A few more things. I will post the charms I received in a few days (maybe this weekend). And also, this post is part of the Art Charm Exchange blog hop. Here is a list of the rest of the participants. Please take some time to visit their blogs and the other auctions and see what they were inspired to make!

2014 Art Charm Exchange Participants

Jennifer Cameron: http://www.glassaddictions.com/blog

Alenka Obid: http://pepita-handmade.blogspot.com

Alicia Marinache: http://www.allprettythings.ca

Andrea Glick: http://zenithjade.blogspot.com

Caroline Dewison: http://blueberribeads.blogspot.co.uk

Cassi Paslick: http://badatbeingmom.blogspot.com/

Cate van Alphen: http://fulgorine.wordpress.com

Cheri Reed: http://creativedesignsbycheri.blogspot.com

Chris Eisenberg: http://www.wanderware.blogspot.com

Cory Tompkins: http://www.tealwaterdesigns.blogspot.com

Elizabeth Auld: http://www.beadsforbusygals.com

Genevieve Gabbert: http://www.glassaddictions.com/blog

Jami Shipp: http://celebratinglifewithdamamashipp.blogspot.com

Jenny Davies-Reazor: http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog

Jill Bradley: http://www.jillybeads.blogspot.com

Kim Dworak: http://www.cianciblue.blogspot.com

Lee Koopman: http://stregajewellry.wordpress.com

Lennis Carrier: http://www.windbent.net

Lesley Watt: http://www.thegossipinggoddess.blogspot.com

Mallory Hoffman: http://rosebud101-fortheloveofbeads.blogspot.com

Melissa Trudinger: https://beadrecipes.wordpress.com <– YOU ARE HERE

Michelle McCarthy: http://www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com

Monique Urquhart: http://ahalfbakednotion.blogspot.com/

Moriah Betterly: http://mlbetterly.blogspot.com

Nancy Dale: http://nedbeads.blogspot.com

Nancy Smith: http://wirednan.blogspot.ca

Niky Sayers: http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk

Perri Jackson: http://ShaktipajDesigns.com/blog/

Renetha Stanziano: http://www.lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com

Shai Williams: http://www.shaihasramblings.com/2014/11/art-charm-exchange-auction.html

Sheila Prosterman: http://catswithbeads.blogspot.com

Susan Delaney: http://susandolphindelaney.wordpress.com

Susan Kennedy: http://www.suebeads.blogspot.com

Terri DelSignore: http://artisticaos.blogspot.com

Toltec Jewels: http://www.jewelschoolfriends.com

Vanessa Gilkes: http://culturezine.com/blog/

Beads of Courage charm swap preview

BoC Art charm swap 2014I’m waiting on tenterhooks for my charms to arrive from the 2014 Beads of Courage Art Charm Swap and Benefit Auction. It’s my first time taking part in this fundraising swap, auction and blog hop, which is organized every year by Jennifer Cameron, a lampwork glass artist based in Indiana.

Beads of Courage is a program based in the US, which enables seriously ill children to collect beads representing milestones and procedures. The organization behind it runs a number of different programs, including commissioning special beads to be made by artists each year.

Jen’s Beads of Courage Art Charm Swap is a benefit for Beads of Courage, involving a big group of jewellery designers and bead makers from the US and around the world. Each participant provides 11 art charms made with handmade components such as lampwork beads or ceramic, polymer or metal clay, or mixed media. One charm is kept aside to auction off on eBay, and the remaining 10 are distributed to nine of the participants plus the original maker.

Each year Jen chooses a theme word—this year it is SOAR—to provide an inspirational starting point for making the charms. I thought about the word for a while, and its clearest meaning for me was to do with birds soaring through the sky. I decided to go with a mixed media approach, and my charms involve polymer clay as well as images under resin. Are you intrigued yet?

Now I can’t reveal my charms until November 14th, even if they arrive tomorrow, but on that day I will show you what I have made, and also what I received, as well as provide information about the auction.