If you have come to my blog for the Haberdashery Blog Hop click here.
If you have come to my blog for the Summer Carnival Blog Hop click here.
It’s been a weekend of blog hops and challenges, and lots of beads. For my third blog hop of the weekend (which I am posting a day late, sorry!), I present to you the Choosy Chicks Choose Chicklets Challenge … C5 for short! For this challenge, Rita, aka Toltec Jewels, generously sent out dozens of chicklet-shaped, flower-stamped, lampwork beads made by the talented Sue Kennedy of Suebeads.
Now I tossed around several ideas for my bead, which is a lovely deep orangey-red colour. A bracelet seemed obvious, I could do the art bead and seed bead on waxed linen combo that is so popular right now, thanks to a tutorial by Lorelei Eurto in BeadStyle magazine a few months ago. But I don’t always want to follow the obvious path.
So I did what I always do in these situations and had a good rummage through my stash. Some Czech flowers in coordinating colours. A couple of spacer beads from Suebeads in turquoise and orange. And a ladybird charm from Jennifer Heynen. I wired them up to form a long dangle, wire-wrapped a handful of orange and yellow translucent Czech rounds and made a long necklace with antiqued copper chain.
Well, that concludes my weekend of blog hops and challenges! I’m exhausted, how about you? And I’ve got lots of hopping ahead of me, I hope you’ll hop along too!
If you’re looking for the Haberdashery Blog Hop Reveal it’s here!
Today’s the day for the Summer Carnival Blog Hop, another one from Lisa Lodge. As with her other hops, she provided a kit to kick start the creative process. This is what she sent me, a mixture of shapes in turquoise blue and lemon yellow sea glass and some sparkling yellow Chinese crystal rondelles.
First of all, I made some earrings. The sea glass heishi always throw me, but I was determined to use some, and they worked nicely as spacers for the yellow crystals in these earrings. The second pair uses some acrylic starbursts I got from the kids’ beads selection at Spotlight, definitely a carnival vibe to them!
Jennifer Heynen‘s bright and cheery ceramic beads always make me think of carnivals, so I was happy to find this gorgeous flower focal in just the right combo of colours in my stash. I included a couple of her disk beads and a selection of the sea glass along with some orange and smaller blue shapes, and knotted it all together on yellow and teal blue waxed linen.
In the end, I used some of everything except the little brass spacers and the shells. Thank you for sending such a versatile selection of beads Lisa, and for yet another excellent challenge theme. Now it’s time to see what everyone else made.
About a month ago, Diana Ptaszynski had the brilliant idea to host a blog hop using waxed linen. Quick as a flash I signed up, as I really really like using waxed linen cord in my jewellery designs. I first came across it in Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel ‘s book Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry, which is a fantastic book, and one of my go-to books for inspiration. I love how both of these designers incorporate waxed linen into their designs, they are both a source of great inspiration to me!
What do I like so much about waxed linen? It comes in a whole range of colours, like teal or lavender, denim blue or rusty red, chocolate brown, black or naturally off-white. It comes in several sizes, or plies (which refers to the number of strands incorporating the cord, usually 4 or 7, but as few as 2 and as many as 12!), so you can find one to fit most beads, except perhaps those tiny-holed pearls and small seed beads. And the waxing makes it kind of sticky, so knots really stay where they are supposed to stay. It’s lightweight and drapes nicely in a necklace, and is strong enough for bracelets too. And it adds a textural element to all jewellery designs that wire just doesn’t have.
For this blog hop I did a couple of pieces. The first is a necklace that is similar in design to the owl necklace I did a few weeks ago for BSBP8. As I have mentioned before, I am a member of Rebecca Anderson‘s Curiosity Club, and the April kit, entitled “Delft”, contained a combination of blue, aqua, white and translucent beads as well as two disk-shaped lampwork beads made by Helen Chalmers. And, like all of Rebecca’s kits, there were 2 skeins of waxed linen, in orange and denim blue.
In my stash, I had a polymer clay pendant in copper and blue-green from Erin Prais-Hintz, with a bird on one side and the phrase “Mother knows best” on the other: perfect as I planned to give this necklace to my Mum as a belated Mother’s day and birthday gift. I combed through my stash for some more beads in similar shades of blue, adding the white and blue floral ceramic beads and some blue seed beads to the mix. A copper chain at the ends of the beaded section allows the length of the necklace to be adjusted.
My next design also used beads from one of Rebecca’s kits, this one the March kit, called “After the Rain”. Rebecca included a piece of Liberty print bias binding, and I was racking my brains to come up with an interesting use for it. Inspired by one of the other designers, I decided to wrap it around a Vintaj creative hoop to make a bangle. Instead of the more common wire wrapped around the fabric to help secure it, I wrapped some yellow and orange linen around instead, with a few tiny translucent pink Czech beads (both the linen and the rounds also came from the kit). I found an interesting lobster clasp in my stash and used it to close the bangle.
I also made a pair of earrings from the same kit, using orange waxed linen to dangle yellow and orange flower beads and “mushrooms”—piggies on top of a round bead—from a brass ring.
Finally, I thought I would show you some other earring designs using waxed linen (these were made a few months ago, not with this blog hop in mind). The first pair uses a pair of ceramic rounds from Jennifer Heynen, with seed beads knotted on waxed linen dangling below. The second pair uses some porcelain charms made by my Mum, with a sweet little floral decal adorning them. A small Czech coin with an embossed bird is knotted over the charm.
Mum and I have also collaborated to make sweet bird ornaments: a porcelain bird with waxed linen “legs” knotted onto an antiqued brass or silver branch.
It seems like there are a lot of other fans of waxed linen out there with Diana and I, as 44 people are taking part in this blog hop. If you have time to visit some of their blogs, the links are below.
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).
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!
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!
Welcome to Melbourne … as seen by me. Today’s blog is the reveal of the 2nd Annual Challenge of Travel blog hop, hosted by Erin Prais-Hintz. Erin had the delightful idea of writing about our hometowns in this year’s Challenge—a “stay-cation” if you will.
So let me tell you about my hometown. Melbourne is not my original hometown—I grew up in Perth, on the other side of Australia—but I have always have had family here, and when my husband and I moved back to Australia over ten years ago, we chose Melbourne as our place to settle down.
Melbourne is the capital city of Victoria, one of the six Australian states. It’s Australia’s second largest city, with a population of more than 4 million. It was founded in 1835 and, after the discovery of gold in Victoria in the 1850s, became one of the richest cities in the world (sadly nowadays, it’s one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, despite its title as the most liveable city).
Nowadays, Melbourne is a vibrant city, known more for its culture and addiction to sports of all kinds (tennis, cricket, motor sports, and especially Aussie Rules Football, locally known as the footy), than its looks. It has a moderate climate, warm to hot in the summer, and cool in the winter, and we frequently experience “four seasons in one day” thanks to the cold waters of the Southern Ocean below us and the heat of inland Australia above. It’s one of Australia’s leafiest cities, thanks to both the climate and the English influence, and there are beautiful parks in all corners of the metropolitan area.
But what I like best about Melbourne is its ambiance. Generations of migrants, starting with the British (convicts!), the gold diggers of the mid-1800s including plenty of Chinese, German and Irish fortune seekers, post WWII immigration by southern Europeans, particularly from Italy and Greece, and more recently SE Asian, Middle-Eastern and African immigrants have made Melbourne home, resulting in a melting pot of multicultural influence, and the ability to find just about any kind of food you might desire! Our damp cold winters lend themselves to art and theatre, while our summers can be delightful. And every neighbourhood has its own personality.
One of my favourite parts of Melbourne is St Kilda, where I lived for a few years. Down by the beach, it’s a magnet for tourists and backpackers, and a lively spot with lots of good cafes and restaurants, with vestiges of a seedy past that give it a bit of an edge. St Kilda Beach, on Port Phillip Bay, is no Bondi, but it has its charms, and is a fabulous spot for a walk.
It’s also the home of Luna Park, an historic amusement park, and the inspiration for my first piece. Luna Park was built in 1912, and has operated more or less continuously since then. Its Scenic Railway is the oldest continuously operating rollercoaster in the world. And its iconic “Mr Moon” facade is instantly recognisable.
I used a fair chunk of my stash of bright happy beads by Jennifer “Jangles” Heynen to reflect the primary colours in the facade, and natural waxed linen inspired by the rollercoaster framework to make a fun necklace and a pair of (mis)matching earrings.
My other piece was more inspired by the colours of Melbourne than a particular landmark. First of all, I’d like to note that this bracelet is heavily influenced by Lorelei Eurto, who regularly makes bracelets in this style. Thank you for the inspiration Lorelei (and my version is for personal use only). The Humblebeads birds nest house represents my home in Melbourne, and the other beads are inspired by the colours of Port Phillip Bay and its beaches, the Yarra River (notably a very muddy river), and the greens of Melbourne’s leafy vegetation. The big lampwork bead is by a local artist, Puddle Glass Art.
I hope you have enjoyed my little introduction to Melbourne! I’d have loved to take you further afield, but there’s a blog hop to get to! Erin has linked up all the participants on her blog post so mosey on over there and take a peek at some wonderful places.