Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Swaps and exchanges

BSBP: The other soup!

It’s just over a week until the BSBP reveal. So excited! Not that I’ve finished my pieces, far from it! But I thought I would show you what I sent my partner Sandra Wollberg. It took a quite a while for my bead soup to reach her, in fact, I was thinking I would have to send another soup! I don’t think she was quite so worried though, turns out some strike activity at German airports may have slowed it down a bit.

I took a while putting together this soup. It had to have some beads Sandra might not have been so familiar with, and it definitely had to include at least one Aussie artist. And Sandra and I have overlapping tastes (especially when it comes to Czech glass), so I had to try to challenge her at least a little! In the end this is what I went with.

Bead Soup sent

As you can see, there are multiple possibilities in this soup, with both a cool and a warm colour scheme. First of all, the focals. The big blue/gold pendant on the right hand side is from Peruzi, my favourite Aussie bead artisan. I love this pendant, but I have never been able to come up with a design for it other than knotting it onto a large piece of ribbon or cord, so I am intrigued to see what Sandra can do with it (and I was very amused to see that another bead soup this year also uses this focal).  Immediately to the left of this focal is a second ceramic pendant by Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio. It’s a lovely cheerful yellow tree of life. And just for fun I threw in a third focal, a faux sea glass seashell in a deep red.

I included two clasps in my soup—a gorgeous handmade copper Deco rose button-style clasp by Rebecca Anderson, and a silver-tone leaf-shaped clasp. I popped in a couple of other silver-toned beads and a braided ring, and some copper headpins, and double-ball-ended headpins made by Tanglebeads.

As for the rest of the beads, there are a variety of Czech beads in different shapes and colours, including some intriguing twisted lozenge-shaped beads in a deep red, some faux sea glass in orange, frosted and opaque white, and two big amazonite nuggets. The big swirly orange bead is from Puddle Glass Art, a local lampworker.

Of course, there is ribbon, a lovely sari silk ribbon from Ribbons and Silk on Etsy (also based here in Australia), which I used to tie up the box.


The reveal will be next Saturday, 3 May. At this point I anticipate that my post will go live mid-afternoon on Saturday (when it is midnight on the East Coast of the USA), at the official start time for the hop. Come back then to see what Sandra and I—and 500 or so other jewellery designers—have made.



Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Melbourne Mosey—the 2nd Annual Challenge of Travel Blog Hop

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.

Yarra River and City Skyline
By Donaldytong (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC-BY-SA-2.5 (, via Wikimedia Commons
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.

St Kilda Beach
Stefano at wikivoyage shared [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons
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.

Luna Park, Melbourne
By Adam.J.W.C. (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (, via Wikimedia Commons
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.

Luna Park collage

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.

My Melbourne bracelet

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.

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Nina Designs Blog Partner Program

If you are looking for my Bead Soup Blog Party post, it’s right here!

Back in January, I saw a post on Facebook from Nina Designs, one of the jewellery component companies I like, asking for jewellery designers interested in joining their blog partnership program. I shot them an email expressing interest and was put on their list of potential partners. Then in late March, I was sent a package of Nina Designs goodies to make some jewellery and blog about it!

I received a number of components in the company’s natural bronze finish. It’s a beautiful colour, a soft and shiny warm gold. Among my goodies were a big horn sheep skull pendant, feather and lotus petal charms, a small branch textured toggle clasp, and ten small circle links, along with a pair of earwires and a bundle of sage green deerhide leather cord.

IMG_4007 Nina Designs collage

As soon as I saw the contents in the package I knew where my inspiration would come from. My family has a long relationship with the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. When I was 3 we moved to Colorado and lived in the shadow of the Rockies near Denver for 18 months, spending many weekends camping and exploring the beautiful mountains. Then in the early 90s, a couple of years after I moved to California from Australia, my parents moved back to Colorado for about 5 years, this time living just up into the mountains. And although they have now moved back to Australia, the relationship continues, as they bought a cabin above a tiny, almost ghost town called Marble, more or less on the other side of the mountains that surround Aspen. I’ve spent many a holiday up in those mountains. It’s a magical place, soaring mountains surround the valleys, groves of aspen blanket the mountainsides, emerald green lakes and flower-strewn green meadows abound, and then up high, the craggy rocks above the treeline.

Now, I don’t think I have ever seen a big horn sheep, they stick to the highest parts of the Rocky Mountains, and according to Dad, are not commonly seen in the part of Colorado I’m familiar with. In fact, at the end of the nineteenth century, they had almost died out, and over the last 100 years or so, have slowly been re-established in Rocky Mountain National Park and other places. They spend most of their time up in the high alpine tundra, and come down to the alpine meadows in Spring and Summer to feed.

Using the colours of the Rocky Mountains as my guide, I dangled the big horn sheep skull pendant from a lampwork bead from Indian Creek Art Glass, Then I made a necklace for it using some of the circle links, a pair of lampwork beads from local artisan Emma Sweet, of Puddle Glass Art, and some rainforest jasper, finishing it off with the sage deerhide leather and the clasp. A few tiny Czech glass lentils adorn the rings. I mixed the natural bronze with a vintage bronze wire, which I think worked well.


With the remaining 4 bronze links, and the earwires I made some earrings, again dangling the tiny Czech lentils from the circle links. At the bottom I hung the tiny lotus petal charms, which remind me of aspen leaves.


I still have plenty of the deerhide leather and the two feather charms. I’m seriously considering ordering a few more of those circle links, they are great components (and they come in several different sizes too, as well as in linked sets). Thank you again for the opportunity to be part of the Nina Designs Blog Partnership!

vertical Collage

The materials above were provided as part of the Nina Designs blogging program. The author of this blog has not received any payment from above-mentioned company. The post above represents only personal opinion of the blog author.