Beads

January thoughts

I’ve been neglecting my blog the last few months, only posting when I need to, for a blog hop or challenge and happily ignoring it at other times. No really good reason for it other than, as usual, things get in the way. Like kids, a good book or three, too much time fooling around on Facebook, my real job, that sort of thing.

While I try not to make resolutions these days—they’re too easy to break—January is a really good time to stop and take stock of what has gone before and what is coming toward me, often at breakneck speed!

So, there were a few things I didn’t blog about in 2014, which I really should have done. For example, this necklace which I made for the Bead Society of Victoria’s annual Bead Challenge, which was displayed with all of the other entries at the BSV’s annual Bead Expo in mid-November. This challenge requires the purchase of a kit, and ALL of the beads in the kit must be incorporated into a single piece (yes they count them!).

Here’s the kit …

bead challenge 2014 pack

And here’s my necklace.

Spring flowers necklace

I was very pleased with it, even though I knew it wouldn’t be in the running at all—have a look here to see all the entries and here to see the winners. Part of me wishes that they would run the competition in different categories as those of us who don’t work with seed beads really don’t have a chance against those beautiful creations. But still, I was pleased with what I created and that’s the thing that matters. In case you’re wondering, the beautiful lampwork bead is made by Denise Smith of DKS Lampwork. Here’s a closeup.

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Marketwise, I had my ups and downs. I never seem to sell very well in the middle of the year, when the weather is cold and dreary. However, I had some wonderful markets in November and December. My biggest seller at the markets doesn’t tend to be my one of a kind creations, but I have a line of simple resin jewellery including pendants, earrings, cufflinks and most recently rings, featuring sweet pictures and patterns which sell quite well. This year I’ll keep doing my local market, The Handmade Show, which kicks off for the year in April (I’m now on the committee which is fun and a bit different) and a couple of others here and there as the opportunity comes up.

In the meantime, a lovely little shop in Alexandra, a small town north east of Melbourne, has a selection of my jewellery for sale. If you happen to be out that way, pop in and say hi to Cindy at Rustic Simplicity.

I’m also planning to revamp my Etsy shop, Boho Bird Jewellery, and I’m going to kickstart my efforts with this course. It starts in a couple of weeks, and you may well see some posts about it here as I work through it.

I’ve already got three or four blog hops and challenges lined up for the next couple of weeks, as well as a few overdue Christmas pressies, so I really need to spend some time making jewellery! Yay! And it’s plum jam making time! If you’re lucky I’ll post a recipe for plum icecream in the next few days. Yummy!

 

 

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Beads, Markets

Three upcoming markets and an auction date postponed

It’s a busy time of the year here, the school year is drawing to a close and summer holidays are just around the corner. And with the holiday season just about upon us, it’s also market season for me. I’ve got three coming up in the next couple of weeks, two of them this coming weekend and all local to me!

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This Saturday is The Handmade Show, my regular monthly market. It’s literally just around the corner from home—I can walk there! It’s on from 10:30am-3:30pm if you happen to be in the area. Oh, and my Mum, who is a talented potter, will also be there with me!

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On Sunday I’m participating in a brand new market at The Breslin Gallery, a café and gallery down the street from me in the other direction! It’s a funky little gallery in a converted church and I’m looking forward to it. Just gotta hope the weather holds out, as the forecast is looking damp! It’s going to run from 9am-1pm.

Breslin gallery promo

Then on Saturday 29th September our local primary school is holding its annual Craft Market, from 9am-2pm. It’s strategically timed to coincide with the school hall’s use as a polling place in our state elections, so I’m hoping that means plenty of people will come by.

CPS craft market

If you live in Melbourne, and want to get a head start on your Christmas shopping, I’d love to see you at one or another of these upcoming markets! Tell me you saw this blog post and I’ll give you a coupon to use on your purchase.

Art Charm Exchange new date

Finally, the Art Charm Auction for Beads of Courage has been postponed for a couple of weeks. Instead of kicking off this weekend, it will now be starting on Monday 24th November, in the evening, and the blog hop will follow on Tuesday 25th November.

Beads, Markets

Cufflinks for Dad

Here in Australia it’s Father’s Day on Sunday 7th September, and if you’re looking for a handmade gift for Dad, I’ve got new cufflinks to show you.

It’s always fun to find different papers and images that work well under resin to make interesting cufflinks. And this year I came across a great set of images from Etsy seller Valentine Grimm featuring iconic images and signage from the 50s and 60s such as the Route 66 sign, Vegas signs and more. I picked out a few that I thought might work, what do you think?

Roadside collage

From the same Etsy seller, I also picked up some pretty Art Nouveau tile designs and floral designs, as well as some medieval illumination-style images. I selected ones that I thought were not too feminine, although I realize that can be very subjective. My husband said he’d wear them, so that works for me!

art nouveau collage

Finally, I made a couple of pairs using scrapbook paper with a musical theme.

musical collage

If you’re interested in buying a pair of these cufflinks, I will have them at The Handmade Show this Saturday, and on my Facebook page on Sunday or Monday. And if Father’s Day isn’t coming up for you, don’t forget there are only 19 weeks until Christmas!

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Markets

Upcycling for jewellery display

I’m constantly working on my display options for markets and shows. Recently I have been inspired by Tammie Everly‘s upcycled suitcase display, which she blogged about in April. And then a group I belong to, Bead Swap USA, held a Facebook challenge to “think outside the box”, for us to take a plain box and decorate it. As the challenge description said:

You know those little wooden boxes available at all the big box craft stores? Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to go get one and decorate it with whatever medium or mediums you what. You can paint it, decoupage it, felt it, bead it, and mix media it up to your hearts content. You can choose whatever size box you like, with or without a clasp. 

Well, some time ago (maybe a couple of years ago), I picked up a wooden box on the side of the road, someone had put it into hard rubbish. It had a broken clasp and the inserts inside it were also broken, but I thought that I would be able to do something with it. Of course, it then sat there, and sat there, and sat there …

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When I started doing shows about 18 months ago, I started to paint it, and then went on to easier things, like trays and papier maché busts. So it sat there some more. And then this challenge came along and I thought, aha!

So I painted it inside and outside, first with a colour called Eggshell (it’s kind of a greyish off-white), and then with a lovely aqua blue called Sea Breeze, which I watered down a bit and also wiped with a sponge to get a streaky translucent effect. In retrospect, I probably should have sanded the outside of the box down, but it’s fine for the intended purpose.

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I took some foamcore board and cut it just a bit smaller than the inside of the box—two pieces, one for each side—and covered it with burlap. The pieces just pop in nicely, although I think I will get some double-sided tape and stick them in a bit more firmly. And voila!

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I’m undecided what I will display in this box, but bracelets are a good possibility. Or perhaps my collection of resin cufflinks and earrings. I will have to experiment before The Handmade Show next month. And I’ll need to rework my table to fit it in too. Currently my display looks something like this:

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Would you like to see some of the other elements of my display sometime?

Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

Bead Soup Blog Party and other blog hops

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I just signed up for the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party, the third I will participate in! I’ve got a very soft spot for this blog hop, it was the one that got me blogging in the first place (although not the first blog hop I did), and it’s certainly the biggest and best known of the jewellery design blog hops. And Lori Anderson, the founder and the organizer of the hop (believe me when I say it’s a massive effort on her part, I suspect that for the next 2-3 weeks, she and her family will eat, sleep and breathe the partnering process, and that’s a big job even when you haven’t been ill for the best part of the last 12 months), is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, in real life or otherwise (hoping one day it will be in real life).

Anyway, by the end of the month I should be paired up and I can finalise the bead soup, tailored to my lucky victim partner. It’s got to have a bit of Australia in it, so I’m thinking about the various bead artists I know and like down here. The big reveal isn’t until 3rd May, which sounds like a long way away, but really isn’t so far! Expect another post or two from me along the way. Click through if you want to see what I made in 2012 and 2013.

In the meantime, I have a few things to keep me busy. One of my favourite blogs, Earrings Everyday, is starting a monthly earring challenge, which is due on the 21st Feb, and I am doing Lisa Lodge‘s Winter Sparkle blog hop on the 22nd. I’ve got a good idea percolating for this month’s Art Bead Scene Monthly Challenge, which has a beautiful Paul Klee painting as its inspiration. And the 3rd Annual Challenge of Music, from the endlessly inventive Erin Prais-Hintz, is on 1st of March. I try to keep all of the upcoming blog hops listed via linked blog buttons at the top of the right hand column of this blog, while completed hops are moved down to the bottom of the column. One day I might even manage to make a page for blog hop links, does that sound useful??

I’ve also signed up to do a couple of markets in March, a school fair and a new market that hopefully will be in the right place at the right time to get some sales. More details on both of those when I have them. My regular market—The Handmade Show—doesn’t start until April, and my first show there will be in May as I’ll be away in April.

I’ll be back on the weekend with some recent designs and a new jam recipe variation!

Beads, Recipes

Looking forward and looking back

I cannot believe 2013 is over and 2014 has begun! What a whirlwind 2013 was—between my family, a very part-time job and the beads (oh the beads!)—I feel like I barely stopped for breath!

Some of the jewellery-making highlights of 2013 include

  • the multitude of blog hops I took part in—they stretched my wings and challenged my muse
  • selling my jewellery at The Handmade Show, a lovely, and local to me, show with a real focus on handmade products
  • starting a Facebook page, which has introduced me to many new people, and of course
  • getting my Etsy shop up and running!

Here are a few of my favourite designs from the last 12 months:

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Sand and sea necklace collage DS

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AJE blue orchid necklace Collage boho owl necklace

Luna Park collage

Dark Heart Necklace collage IMG_6654

turquoise heart collage

I’m going to spend the next few weeks entertaining my kids during our summer holidays, so I don’t think too much jewellery-making is going to happen. But I have a few things to get photographed and uploaded on Etsy, and I want to take some time to play. This is one of my Christmas presents …

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… a set of uppercase, lowercase and numerical stamps, some fun design stamps, a stamping hammer and small metal block! I also got a handful of stamping blanks in brass and copper to play with.

Another project for 2014 is bead making. Mum and I are going to work together on some ceramic beads and pendants. She’s got a new (old) smaller kiln which will allow us to play a bit more easily. I’d also like to play with polymer clay a little bit more, maybe take another class or two. And I’ve taken a few metalwork classes over the last year or so, so I’m looking forward to combining the techniques I’ve learnt, and perhaps add some new ones.

On the business end, I need to work out what markets I would like to do in 2014. It’s probably not going to be as many as I did in the last few months as I am not finding them to be particularly profitable for me. I’ll be doing my best to keep my Etsy shop well stocked too. I’ll make sure to keep everyone up to date with my activities via my Facebook page.

Finally, I’ve got a few blog hops lined up already, starting with the December Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month, which I will be posting tomorrow. I’m also signed up for several of Lisa Lodge‘s blog hops, starting with the Into the Forest blog hop on 11 January. It’s more than likely that I’ll take part in more than one of Erin Prais-Hintz‘s blog hops as well as Lori Anderson‘s Bead Soup Blog Party. I’ll do as many of the Art Bead Scene monthly challenges as I can. And I’ll keep taking part in swaps over at Bead Swap-USA. So there’ll be plenty to blog about!

Foodwise, I’ll keep posting recipes I come across that I think are worth a mention. It might be once or twice a month, it may be less often. But I did get a lovely stack of cookbooks for Christmas so I’m hoping to find a few keepers!

I’m looking forward to sharing my adventures with you in 2014! In the mean time, Happy New Year!

Beads, Markets

Last market for 2013 is tomorrow

The Handmade Show button

Tomorrow’s table at The Handmade Show is my last one for the year, so if you live in Melbourne, come on down and finish off your Christmas shopping! I have loads of pairs of earrings, necklaces and bracelets, and even a few pairs of cufflinks for the sharply-dressed man in your life!

The market runs from 10:30am – 3:30pm and there are stallholders selling all sorts of handmade goodies including candles, cards, clothing, children’s toys, Christmas decorations and more. Activities for the kids include free face painting and a lolly-guessing competition. Cafe Handmade does a mean bacon and egg sandwich, among other delicious offerings. Musical entertainment will be provided by Marisa Rae Quigley. And there’ll be giveaways for market shoppers, including some for the kids.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday 14th December
10.30am – 3.30pm
St. Anthony’s Parish Hall
164 Neerim Rd (cnr Grange Rd), Glen Huntly