Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

We’re All Ears: Greenery, the Pantone Colour of the Year!

I meant to post this yesterday but time got away with me, that’s school holidays for you! Anyway, this month’s challenge for the Earrings Everyday blog was to use Pantone’s Colour of the Year, Greenery. Erin helpfully provided a few colour palettes featuring the colour, which is a really lovely spring green, symbolic of new beginnings (and oh how apt that is this weekend!).

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Now, you might have seen this pair of earrings in last week’s Muffin Tin Challenge, but here they are again. The charms come from the talented torch of Cathleen Zaring and they are just bursting with green! The lampwork dangle comes from Lesley McIver, and the copper earwires are from The Curious Bead Shop.

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If you pop over to the Earrings Everyday blog here, you’ll find the links to the other participants in the challenge. Thanks to Erin for another great challenge, hopefully I’ll do more of them this year!

 

 

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

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.

 

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Daenerys’ dragons: Game of Thrones Jewellery Challenge

A couple of weeks ago, Heather Powers suggested that we do a challenge based on the fantastic world of Game of Thrones, the book series by George R. R. Martin and the TV series from HBO. And as a long time reader of the books and fan of the TV series too, I just had to join in.

I had a couple of ideas, but so far I have only managed to put one of them together, thanks to a busy schedule and school holidays. I plan to use the other two for an upcoming blog hop (stay tuned for an announcement of that hop in the next week or two).

For today’s piece I was inspired by Daenerys of House Targaryen and her dragons. Although the dragons were thought to have died out long before the last Targaryen king ruled in Westeros, his exiled daughter Daenerys was given three fossilized dragon eggs on her marriage to Khal Drogo. When her husband died, she placed the eggs on his funeral pyre, and then walked into the flames to claim the newly hatched dragons.

(Image from fanpop.com)
(Image from fanpop.com)

Daenerys wears shades of icy blue and silvery grey and, at least in the early seasons, not a lot of jewellery, other than some wonderful armbands. I am looking forward to seeing what her style becomes as she moves to reclaim her birthright. In the meantime, this bracelet features a Green Girl Studios dragon egg, as well as two beaded beads in shades of aqua and silver made by Rebecca Anderson of The Curious Bead Shop, which remind me of the dragon eggs. The icy blue and silver Czech glass peanut beads also come from The Curious Bead Shop. I love the matted, almost pitted texture of them, almost like stone.

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To see what other participants in this jewellery challenge have made, visit Heather Powers’ blog for the links.

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

We’re All Ears: Floral February

This month’s We’re All Ears inspiration over on the Earrings Everyday blog comes from a series of mixed media collages featuring watercolour paintings with fresh flowers by Malaysian artist Limzy. Aren’t they stunning!

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The first pair of earrings was inspired in part by my favourite series of books (and now TV series) Outlander (or CrossStitch as it was called in Australia and the UK) by Diana Gabaldon, about an English woman who travels back in time to the days of the last Jacobite rebellion in Scotland in the mid-1700s. Her journey back in time is triggered as she reaches to pick blue forget-me-nots at the base of a standing stone in the Scottish Highlands. They are on handmade copper earwires from Rebecca Anderson and feature Czech glass flowers and waxed linen.

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The second pair is a dainty pink pair for my daughter’s best friend. It’s fun to think that over the next few years as my girls get older and start wearing earrings, I’ll be making earrings for them and their friends too! This pair is on sterling silver for sensitive young ears and again feature Czech glass flowers.

Dainty pinks

Pop over to Earrings Everyday for links to other participants in the monthly blog hop!

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Giveaways and contests

ACM contest

One of the Facebook groups I follow—Artisan Component Marketplace—recently held a contest for jewellery designers. The brief? To design a piece of jewellery using a component from one of the many artisans who are members of the group.

I happened to have a pair of polymer clay “sinkers” made by Kristi Bowman languishing in my stash, and this challenge was the perfect opportunity to use them. I chose a couple of Czech glass table cut flowers and wired them together, and wrapped the join between them with sari silk, inspired by the creative ways Kristi Bowman uses sari silk in her own designs. The dangles are hung from a pair of Rebecca Anderson‘s Deco Rose earwires in antiqued sterling silver to make a sweet pair of earrings.

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Much to my surprise, I won second place in the contest! Thank you to Artisan Component Marketplace, the judging panel and to Kristi Bowman for the delightful sinkers, and the inspiration! And I’m looking forward to receiving some new components from Kristi, courtesy of the $25 gift voucher I won!

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Lots of knots: Waxed Linen Blog Hop

If you are looking for my BSBP8 post, it’s HERE!

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.

Mother knows best necklace Collage

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.

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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.

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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.

Waxed linen earrings Collage

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.

Birds of a feather Collage

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.

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.

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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

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!

Beads

Joining the Curiosity Club

Late last year I bought myself a Christmas present—six months membership in Rebecca Anderson’s Curiosity Club. Rebecca, one of my favourite and inspirational jewellery artists, has a little bead supply shop on Etsy, selling Czech beads, waxed linen cord, her own range of handmade findings and most recently a nice little selection of Vintaj components and leather cord. Last year she set up the Curiosity Club, a monthly shipment of beads and components personally selected by her. Along with the shipment, there is a Facebook page for members to share their designs, and each month Rebecca does a little tour on her shop’s Facebook page to show off what we all make from the kits.

So far I have received two kits, and the third should arrive any day now. Silly me, I haven’t taken a picture of each kit before diving in, but they’ve been lovely, with some waxed linen, a selection of beads sweetly threaded with a little brass or silver key and a special component or two! Anyway, I thought I would show you some of the things I’ve made so far using the beads and findings I’ve received.

The first kit, sent in December was called Winter’s Tale (Rebecca is from the UK, currently living in Belfast, Ireland), The special item in this kit was a pair of snowflake charms from Bohulley Beads, which I used in a pair of earrings along with the charcoal grey waxed linen and some of the clear and smoky rondelles, Rather than just stringing the beads on the linen, I did a little macramé between each bead.

snowflake earrings

Sadly, the school holidays prevented me from making more from this kit, although I am still mulling over the remaining beads, which include a variety of minty green and olive beads. Before I knew it, it was time for the January kit to arrive. Aptly named Paintbox, this kit contained a bright and happy selection of beads in aqua blue, lavender, and bright fuschia pink, some pale green leaves, a red heart, Picasso-finished flowers, waxed linen in lavender and denim blue, and some of Rebecca’s own components—a spiral clasp and a pair of heart headpins.

The first beads I turned to were the aqua blue piggies—little curved beads with two holes. I wove the lavender waxed linen in and out of the beads and dangled them from the fuschia flowers.

Paintbox earrings Collage

The lavender and aqua combination looked great so I dug out some fantastic aqua blue lampwork beads from Brisbane-based lampworker Liz de Luca to make some more earrings, this time with the lavender rondelles and some tiny Hill Tribe silver bead caps and spacers.

aqua gumballs Collage

So far, obviously, it’s all been about the earrings. I’m working on a challenge at the moment—the 3rd Annual Challenge of Music—which may well find itself using a few more of the beads from the kits in a bigger piece. The reveal date is this Saturday so come visit me then to see what I have come up with.