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

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.

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Swaps and exchanges

Octoberfest: Better late than never!

Well, here I am, arriving a week late at Rita’s 3rd Annual Octoberfest party! I am so sorry, I have just been a bit swamped with life recently.

Anyway. I thought I would pay homage to Autumn, even though we are in the midst of Spring here in Australia. Our trees are that wonderful intense green of new foliage and the weather is veering wildly from yesterday’s heat to today’s rain and wind.

I have to say I find Autumn bittersweet, as I am a summer girl at heart. Here in Melbourne, at least, we have enough European trees to get the changing colours of the leaves, which I love (the piles of leaves on the lawn and the verges, not so much). So I thought I would use an Autumn leaf as an inspiration for this hop.

Recently I received a pile of metal goodies from Cheryl Foiles, through a fun game of giving presents and stealing presents and then stealing some more, that I played with a group of bead-loving friends. Amongst all of the fun stamped and enameled components was a beautifully patinaed fold-formed copper leaf. I combined it with some large dyed agate beads and some Czech glass in shades of red, orange and yellow, green, and even a deep purple to make an autumnal necklace.

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Here’s a close up of the focal. It’s pretty special isn’t it!

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But wait, I haven’t finished yet. Last night was Halloween here and I wore a pair of earrings sent to me by Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio in a Halloween-themed earring swap a couple of weeks ago. The cute ceramic pumpkin charms were made by Michelle. She also sent me a second pair that are very pretty indeed. Thank you Michelle, I’ll be wearing both pairs a lot!

Halloween swap Michelle

In return I sent her this little pair of earrings, featuring pumpkin-coloured glass beads and gunmetal sugar skull charms. The second pair of earrings are just a cute little flower and leaf design.

Halloween swap Melissa

I’ll be back in a few days with a few more updates, and teases for some upcoming blog hops!

 

 

 

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, Swaps and exchanges

Snowflake Bird: the 3rd Annual Handcrafted Holiday Ornament Swap and Hop

Handcrafted ornament swap and hop

Today is the reveal day for the Handcrafted Holiday Ornament Swap and Hop, hosted by Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime. In this swap and blog hop, we were paired up and asked to send our partner a handcrafted holiday ornament incorporating an art bead or handmade component. Lucky me—I was paired with Erin Prais-Hintz, who makes lovely polymer clay pendants and beads.

Without further ado, here is the beautiful ornament Erin sent me. It incorporates one of her limited edition Snowflake Birds and the leaves are frosted with gold.

Erin's winter bird

Thank you so much Erin! I absolutely love it! I haven’t found exactly the right place for it yet, but it may just hang next to my desk so I can see it all the time. Our Christmas tree is a bit, umm, crowded (remind me to buy a taller one next year)!

To see what I sent Erin, you will have to visit her blog.

And follow the links to the rest of the swap-hoppers below:

Sally Russick and Beth and Evie McCord

Erin Prais-Hintz and Melissa Trudinger

Karen Williams and Shirley Moore

Lori Finney and Alicia Marinache

D Lynne Bowland and Paula Kramer

Kim Bender Hora and Jenny Davies Reazor

Becky Pancake and Lori Anderson

Veralynne Malone and Therese Frank

Tanya Goodwin and Sandi Volpe

Jeanette Ryan and Rochelle Brisson

Patti Vanderbloemen and Susan Kennedy

Beads, Swaps and exchanges

Mr Frog jumped out of his pond one day

Mr Frog jumped out of his pond one day
And found himself in the rain
Said he, “I’ll get wet and I might catch a cold”
So he jumped in his pond again.

This nursery rhyme inspired a necklace recently. Actually, this rather fabulous bead inspired the necklace.

GGS Frog bead

It’s a pewter bead by Green Girl Studios, which has a frog on each of the four faces, alternating up and down. It was sent to me as part of a Bead Swap-USA exchange by Diana Keever, along with a bead soup containing all sorts of goodies to match, including a green raku ceramic donut by Olivia Dowdy Brown. As I played with the beads, the green donut, which has a lovely swirly texture, became a pond, and the frog bead jumped out of it. Some clear and white crystal beads dangling from the frog became raindrops. And I knotted a selection of the lovely soup beads—jade, dyed agate, carnelian, malachite, jasper, Czech glass—above the donut. The clasp is a dragonfly, because dragonflies and ponds and frogs all hang out together, right?

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Did I tell you I love frogs?

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Markets, Swaps and exchanges

Bits and bobs

I’m working up to another market in mid-June, not sure what it will be like as by June it’s pretty cold and wet in Melbourne, which could drive down the numbers a bit. Still, as long as I can sell a few things, I’ll cover the costs of being there.

I recently took part in a swap through Bead Swap-USA with the talented Lennis Carrier of Windbent. Our swap was to be a finished piece (or pieces) of jewellery with a woodland theme. I think we both laughed when we opened our respective packages and found we had gone down the same woodland path. Lennis made me this necklace:

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I love the mixture of metals—copper, gunmetal, brass and that wonderful rusty iron pendant—and the eclectic mixture of glass beads (see the owl bead?). And there is a coordinating pair of earrings there too.

Here is what I sent Lennis. See what I mean about sharing inspiration?

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The pendant is from Peruzi and I chose a mixture of brown and green beads to go with it. I also made a cute sari silk and copper wrap bracelet for her. It’s long enough to wrap twice around her wrist, and works as a choker necklace too.

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In the next couple of months I have a few challenges and blog hops coming up. First up is at the end of this week, the second round of the History Hop, hosted by Leah Curtis. Then I’ve got Toltec Jewels’ Summer Elements hop in mid-June and  Lisa Lodge’s Seasons Blog Hop in early July. Mid-July will see Lori Anderson‘s Bead Hoarders blog hop, and in late August there is the Summer Colour Surprise blog hop, also hosted by Lisa Lodge. You can see buttons on the sidebar for most of these hops (a few of them haven’t had official sign-ups yet). All of that should keep me on my toes!