Beads, Swaps and exchanges

BeadFest part 4 — the people and the swaps

One last BeadFest post and then I’m done, promise! This time I want to mention a few of the people I met at BeadFest and afterwards. I’ve been involved in the beading/jewellery design online community for a few years now, blogging, taking part in challenges, swapping beads and chatting on Facebook. So it was fabulous to meet some of the people I have talked to over the last few years.

I took with me a little stash of art beads from some of my favourite Aussie beadmakers—Natalie Fletcher-Jones, Melissa Gabelle (a new discovery), Pauline Delaney, and more to swap with friends I met on my travels (by the way, these three beadmakers are very active on FB bead groups including Australian Art Beads which is a great page for buying beads). I should have taken a picture of it all before I left, but alas, I didn’t.

One of the people I was really hoping to meet was Lori Anderson. As luck would have it, we walked into each other right outside the expo hall, as she was arriving with her son Zach and I was leaving. Of course I knew her immediately from her pink hair! We chatted happily for 10-15 minutes, and had hoped to catch up later that day or the next day, but unfortunately she was unwell and had to leave before we managed to meet up again. Lori gifted me a lovely bag stuffed full of beads and toggles (and I later sent her a bag of beads too, as I didn’t happen to have them on me that day). Sadly, I didn’t think to take a photo of Lori at the time, but here’s a picture of the gift!

Loris gift

I had lunch another day with Heather Powers, who is the creative soul behind Humblebeads. We had such a good chat! Some of the beads I showed in my last post came from a swap I did with Heather.

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At Jenny Davies-Reazor‘s booth, I met not just Jenny but several of the other Art Jewelry Elements bloggers too—Lesley Watt (who came over from the UK to attend the show), Diana Ptaszynski and Linda Landig (who took photos but managed to stay out of one herself!). There were definitely swapsies involved with Jenny, Lesley and Diana, and they kindly allowed me to rest my poor tired feet behind their stand.

AJE swaps

Michelle McCarthy and I had already arranged to do a swap through a swap group we belong to, and decided to do it in person at the show.

Michelle swaps

And here’s a picture of me and Marsha Neal, just because!

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After BeadFest there were a few more chances to meet people and to swap beads via the mail with friends I didn’t get a chance to meet in person.

Lennis Carrier sent me a fabulous selection of art beads, almost all of them with a few coordinating Czech beads as well. We had hoped to catch up in person, but she ended up helping out a friend on the other side of the country instead of coming to BeadFest.

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Cory Tompkins sent me a lovely selection of her polymer clay creations, and a stash of other bits and bobs as well. Aren’t those polymer sugar skulls awesome?!

Corys gift

A few weeks after BeadFest I went roadtripping through the southwest with my family and we had dinner with Gina Hockett, another friend from my bead swap group. She gifted me some lovely turquoise cabs (from Judy McCourt), some lampwork beads, and a bracelet and earrings too, as well as some petrified wood pieces for my kids (collected from outside the national park of course!).

Gina swap

It was wonderful to meet online friends in real life, even if it was only for a short time—I will be back! And of course, I would love to see some of my beady friends in Australia one day…

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Beads, Classes and new techniques, Swaps and exchanges

Bead Fest or bust!

view from the deck
The view across the valley, Marble Colorado

I’m off on a big overseas family holiday to the US in a couple of weeks, to visit the Rocky Mountains in Colorado with family, roadtrip through the Southwest to show the kids the Grand Canyon and other amazing things! There’ll be a few days in New Orleans, a week of Orlando adventures at Walt Disney World and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (my kids are so excited!) at Universal Orlando and a week in the San Francisco Bay Area where my husband and I lived for quite a few years.

But one of the things I am most looking forward to is Bead Fest! I have been dying to go to either Bead Fest or Bead and Button — the two biggest bead shows in the US — since I first heard about them. We have bead shows in Australia of course, but they are much much smaller and only offer a handful or two of classes, not a whole week’s worth. So I’m booked in for a couple of longer classes — enameling with Sara Lukkonen and fold forming with Marti Brown, and also a couple of 45 minute classes featuring some techniques I’m keen to learn. I’m really hoping to meet some of my online bead friends too.

And then there’s the bead shopping of course. Oh the shopping. Just looking at the list of vendors is enough to make me start drooling.

Of course the Aussie dollar has gone south this year, was it really only a couple of years ago that it was on par with the US dollar? Well, now it’s below 75 cents, and the prognosis isn’t good. Sigh. So I’ll be madly converting and calculating prices while I’m there, and focusing on things that I can’t get at a reasonable price here. Oh and art beads of course!!

If anyone wants to recommend bead shops in the Rockies (especially around Glenwood Springs), the Southwest (we’ll be vaguely working our way from Marble CO, through Moab, Cortez, Gallup, along Route 66 to Flagstaff, to Sedona and the Grand Canyon, and finally Vegas, baby!), New Orleans, maybe Orlando (although I think we’ll be mostly doing theme parks, no time for beads there) and the Bay Area (SF and Berkeley/Oakland area), I’d be very grateful.

I’d love to set up some bead swaps with anyone who is going to be at Bead Fest — I’ll bring you some of my favourite Aussie art beads (pssst, did anyone mention Peruzi?) if you like and you can swap for some of your favourites in return. What do you think? Leave me a comment or message me through Facebook or email me (the address is on this blog’s About page).

Also, stay tuned for a SALE later this month! I just need to load a few more things on my Etsy shop. It would be nice to have an excuse to spend a bit of money on new beads after all!

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Swaps and exchanges

Bead Peeps Swap’n’Hop: You’ve got mail!

A lovely package showed up in my mailbox yesterday, all the way from England. A bundle of awesome goodies from Niky Sayers, my partner in the Bead Peeps Swap’n’Hop. And she has totally spoiled me with goodies!

Here’s what I saw when I opened the package …

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Then after the letter was removed:

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And here is what was in those intriguing packages!

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So, the big heart in the middle is a Gaea ceramic heart in a lovely soft aqua on chocolate brown clay. To the right of the heart is an awesome enamel scrip bead from Blue Antiquities, a pair of ceramic beads by Karen Totten and a fly connector by Bo Hulley. Below the heart is a trio of tiny lampwork drops by Laura Sparling — they are like little double droplets. Over on the far right are 4 faceted fossilized coral coin beads plus 2 fossilized wood  beads. A strand of Serpentine rondelles, again in shades of aqua and copper.

And then there are the gorgeous components made by Niky herself! A pair of copper mushroom headpins, a copper roll bead and a copper safety pin (I have plans for you, little pin!). And finally some coin-creations: a sixpence bead, a farthing clasp (I love the little wren adorning the coin!) and a farthing connector featuring a headpin by Jen Cameron! Oh I love Niky’s coin components!

The colours Niky has picked are absolutely me, and I can’t wait to get started with these beauties! I’ve already got some ideas rattling around my head.

Reveal day is 2 May. It’s sooner than you (and I) think!

 

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

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?