Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

2014 Holiday Ornament Exchange and Blog Hop

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How quickly does the year pass? It seems not that long ago that I took part in Sally Russick‘s 2013 Holiday Ornament Exchange, and all of a sudden it is time to do this year’s blog hop!

Anyway, this time I have been paired up with Elisabeth Auld, a glass beadmaker and jewellery designer living in Virginia, in the US. Our brief was to make each other an ornament using handmade components and art beads. We chatted a bit via email to gauge each other’s style, and happily seemed to be on the same page (eclectic!).

Here is the sweet ornament I received from Elisabeth. Isn’t he a cute snowman?

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He looks great nestled among the branches of my tree too!

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Elisabeth also included a sparkly pair of earrings and a necklace featuring one of her lampwork glass beads as a gift for me. Thank you again!

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Now, for this year’s ornament, I decided to take a mixed media approach. Local scrapbooking company Kaisercraft does a range of different embellishments made of thin balsa wood and some hexagonal shapes caught my eye. I gave them an aged appearance with Distress Ink and then I found some vintage-style Christmas images on Etsy and “decoupaged” them on with Mod-Podge. Holes were punched at the top and the bottom and I wired a pretty lampwork bead (made by Marianne Bradman, Fields of Clover) in Christmassy colours of green and red above and some Czech glass rounds below. The finishing touch was a loop of sari silk in green. Of course, I had to make a couple of them!

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I also included a different kind of handmade ornament, a tree made from cinnamon and star anise, wrapped together with waxed linen (I got the idea from Donna Hay magazine last year). It smelled divine, spicy and mysterious. I was pleased to see it made it across the world intact!

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There were ten other pairs in the ornament swap, you can visit their blogs via the links below! Thank you Sally for such a fun excuse to be creative!

1.  Sally Russick  and Tanya Goodwin
2.  Veralynne Malone  and Sally Russick 
3.  Melissa Trudinger  and Elisabeth Auld
4.  Erin Prais-Hintz  and Lesley Watt 
5.  Jenny Davies-Reazor and Patti Vanderbloemen 
6.  Kim Bender-Hora and Beth and Evie McCord
7.  Becky Pancake and Lynne Bowland 
8.  Therese Frank  and Karen Williams
9.   Melissa Meman  and Linda Hanes 
10.  Sandi Volpe  and Linda Landig 
11. Alicia Marinache  and Susan Kennedy  

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Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Swaps and exchanges

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.

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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.

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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, Swaps and exchanges

A torn and bleeding heart

I’ve talked about Bead Swap USA, the bead swapping group I belong to, in the past. It’s a great group and I have met some wonderful people through it. Recently we had a swap for Valentine’s Day of handmade (by us) pendants and charms. My swap partner was Lennis Carrier, from Windbent,  who has become a good friend, although we have never met in real life!

Lennis is, hmm, not a pink hearts and flowers kind of girl, so I knew I would have to be creative here, and I spent a lot of time searching Etsy and Pinterest for different ideas. I knew I had hit the jackpot when I came across the Etsy store Chocolate Rabbit, who has a fabulous selection of downloadable images with spells and potions. I decided to make Lennis a spell book using the images.

To make the covers I hammered out some copper sheet to make covers, antiqued them with Liver of Sulfur and then glued the book front and back images onto them. I then sealed them with several layers of matte finish Mod Podge. I wanted to give them a crackle finish, but couldn’t lay my hands the right kind of crackle medium, but the Mod Podge did add to the old look. I also rubbed Renaissance Wax onto the bare metal so it was protected from further tarnish. I used jumprings to put the book together. It’s a big pendant, about 3 inches by 2 inches!

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Inside the book I used kraft paper to make pages, and glued tiny love spells to the pages.

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While I had the copper sheet out, I also cut a heart from it, hammered it to give it some texture, then cut it in half and stitched it up again using copper wire. Again, it was antiqued with LoS. A tiny blood red glass briolette hangs from the bottom, hence the name: Torn and Bleeding Heart.

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My final set of hearts for Lennis used some textured porcelain charms I made in Mum’s studio about a year ago. These had been fired but not glazed. I rubbed Gilder’s Paste in a patina blue-green shade onto the front, back and sides, wiping it back a bit so the white showed through here and there. I went over the top with some more Gilder’s Paste in a bronzey colour and then after they’d dried I sealed them with a matt spray sealer.

patina hearts

I have a whole pile of unglazed porcelain charms and pendants to play with, and I want to try a few different things with them, including using the Swellegant system of metal paints and patinas. I’ll do another post when I have some results!