Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

A matter of balance

Inspiring-Change-Blog-Button2

Today is the reveal day for Tracy Statler’s Wellness Words jewellery challenge and blog hop.

In Tracy’s words:

Choose an inspirational word or phrase in an area of your life where you want to make positive change.  Make sure your words truly represent something you want to work on.  Don’t choose a word because it looks good, is popular right now or someone else thinks you should choose it.

Incorporate your words into your design.  It does not have to be complicated.  Perhaps simple is better.  That way you may want to wear your jewelry more often so you can be reminded of your words and focus on the healthy change part of this challenge.

My word is a word I keep coming back to:

BALANCE

My life at the moment is not balanced. I have three children ranging in age from 3 to 7. The two girls are have just gone back to school, my little boy starts kindergarten (preschool) next week. I have a (very) part time job that I fit in around school drop offs and pick ups. Then there are after school activities like swimming, gymnastics, ballet, music practice and homework! I love to make jewellery, but that is usually relegated to the evenings and weekends, when I’m not running around to birthday parties and family gatherings. I spend too much time on the computer and not enough time doing things I need to do. I rarely get to bed before midnight, and I am usually up just after 7am, with at least one wake-up to kids in the middle of the night. I ended last year feeling absolutely exhausted. And now it’s all starting up again, with school starting back this week after the summer holidays.

So this is my year to work toward a more balanced life. I know that I won’t achieve everything, but some balance will not go astray. If nothing else I’d like to find a bit of time for me, to take a dance class, go for a walk, anything to make sure that doing the grocery shopping on my own isn’t the highlight of my week!

Enough about the why, let’s move on. I have been playing with clay with my Mum. A couple of weeks ago, we had a lovely day making pendants and stuff out of porcelain clay, including some (hopefully) great leaf-shaped bracelet connectors with my word stamped on them. Unfortunately they’re sitting in the kiln waiting to be bisque fired. So it was time for plan B. After thinking about what I could do with some metal blanks but no stamps, I decided to break out the polymer clay.

Here are the two bracelet connectors I made, using Premo, late last night (nothing like a deadline … thankfully it worked!). I highlighted the word with Vintaj patina ink in Cobalt as it was the only thing I could think of — most of the paints in our house are of the Crayola variety. They’re not super-clean but they have a certain appeal, I think!

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I matched the connector to some sari silk from my stash, and added some elongated brass chain. It’s a very simple design, but that makes it more likely I’ll wear it!

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I still plan to use the porcelain connectors once they are completed. I made several, so Mum and I will be able to play with different oxides and glazes. I promise I’ll show you what works!

Thanks Tracy, for making me think about what is important to me! And please hop over to some of the other blogs involved!

acreativeforce.blogspot.com
alankarshilpa.blogspot.com
allprettythings.ca
anniamaebisuteria.blogspot.com.es/
apolymerpenchant.com
beadlolabead.blogspot.com/
beadrecipes.wordpress.com — YOU ARE HERE!
centsations.wordpress.com
clay-space.com/
creativeatelier.net
elliesbijoux.com
emakdesigns.com
erinsiegel.com
etsy.com/shop/shamaen
facebook.com/hotsouthernmessdesigns
facebook.com/soquilidesigns
fairiesmarket.blogspot.com
firstimpressiondesign.blogspot.com
gemsbyjudy.com
glasstastreasures.blogspot.com
handcraftedserenity.blogspot.com
facebook.com/azuresunshines
facebook.com/whdalaska
jeanetteblix.com
kimmykats.com
kymhunterdesigns.blogspot.com
lisayangjewelry.com
macmillanmarie.blogspot.com
makebraceletsblog.com — our Hostess!
miabellasoul.com
misheldesigns.com
mycreativechallenge.blogspot.com
noseycritters.blogspot.com
pixiloo.blogspot.com
sandivolpe.com
sharonsjewelrygarden.blogspot.com
shaterra.etsy.com
shinylittlethings.blogspot.com
shymedesign.se
shymessmycken.blogspot.se
simpleearthcreations.com
soultosubstance.com
suebeads.com
sunshinebliss.com
sweetbeadstudio.com
sweetwillowdesigns.blogspot.com
thebeadingyogini.com
thestudiosublime.com
treasures-found.blogspot.com
twitter.com/ldymlivelystone
vault31.blogspot.com
veradesigns.blogspot.com
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Uncategorized

One year on … and the year ahead!

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So, a couple of days ago marked the first anniversary of my blog. As of today I have made 64 posts (including this one) and have 66 followers (so I’ve kind of added a follower every post if you like!). I’ve published more than 20 posts with recipes and nearly 40 about beads and jewellery, with one that included both of my passions and a few posts that I have not categorised (note to self …).

When I started this blog, I didn’t really know what to expect from it, didn’t know if I would be able to find my voice. I am a writer by trade, but I write about science and business, not about beads and food! But over the course of the past year I feel like a little storyteller inside me has come to life.

One of the things I have really enjoyed about blogging has been the way that it has shown me the way to the beading community, through blog hops, bead swaps, forums and Facebook friendships. I’ve taken part in more than half a dozen blog hops and challenges, each time pushing myself to try something new.

Some of my favourite posts have included the first blog hop I entered—Tracy Statler’s Wrapped, Stacked and Layered Challenge—and Erin Prais-Hintz’s Challenges of Literature, Travel and Colour, not to mention the biggest one of all, the Bead Soup Blog Party!

jewellery collage for birthday
Clockwise from top left: Wrapped, Stacked and Layered challenge; Challenge of Literature; Bead Soup Blog Party; Challenge of Travel.

It has also helped me to push myself into a new challenge for 2013 … actively selling my creations. I hope to set up a stand at a local craft market in a few months, and I’m in the process of setting myself up to sell online, probably via Facebook initially, and eventually through one of the online sites like Etsy or Madeit. I’ll blog more about this soon.

As my blog name implies, the other half of this blog is about food and cooking, and this is more for me, to help me record and share recipes I love. I’m thinking that in a few years I’ll collect all of the recipes from my blog and collate them into a book for my kids. Among my favourite recipe posts are the jams and the lemons, the delicious lamb and silverbeet parcels and all of the Christmas recipes!

CLosckwise from top left: preserved lemons, candy cane marshmallows, lamb and silverbeet parcels, plum jam two ways
CLosckwise from top left: preserved lemons; candy cane marshmallows; lamb and silverbeet parcels; plum jam two ways.

Well, that’s the year past, so what have I got planned in the coming year? Aside from the plans to sell my jewellery, I have a number of challenges and hops coming up in the near future. This coming weekend is sign-up time for Bead Soup Blog Party 7, and I’ll definitely be putting my name down for that. I’m taking part in Lisa Lodge‘s Sand and Sea Blog Hop in March.  I hope to do all four of Erin Prais-Hintz ‘s quarterly challenges (if last year is anything to go on, the first one for the year is likely to be announced in February) and at least a few of the Art Bead Scene monthly challenges too.

I’m also planning to learn some new jewellery-making techniques. I’ve been playing with clay (both ceramic and polymer) and I would like to do more wire-work. Sadly, there are only so many hours in the week when you have 3 kids, including a very busy pre-schooler and a part-time job, so I have no doubt things will happen far slower than I plan.

On the recipe side of the blog, I have a few recipes floating around that I would like to play with and, if they work, I’ll share them.

And in general, I plan to work on my photographic skills. For Christmas my husband gave me a fabulous new tool to help me out—a clever device that functions as both a light tent and a camera stand from a company called Modahaus. It has already changed the way I take photos and I intend to keep refining my skills. Stay tuned for more about that too. Look out too for a blog mini-makeover, I’m updating very soon!

I’m looking forward to 2013. It should be a fun year and I hope you will join me!

Beads

Quick bracelet swap

Not long ago I signed up to a forum called BeadSwap-USA. It’s a great little forum of beaders interested in swapping beads and jewelry with each other.

At its heart are the travelling bead boxes, which sadly only travel around the US at the moment due to the difficulties of shipping bigger packages internationally. I have hopes of getting an Australian travelling bead box established though, if I can persuade any other Aussies to sign up!

The site also hosts a series of person to person swaps of both finished handmade jewellery and beads/components, usually involving a specific type of jewellery or bead/component. I have signed up to take part in a few of those over the next month or two. The first was a Quick Bracelet Swap, in which assigned partners make each other a bracelet (taking into account their partner’s tastes!) and send it off. My assigned parter for this swap is Laura Singley, a beader living in Montana. And lucky Laura gets not one, but two bracelets from me!

I’ve recently seen a couple of fun tutorials for bracelets that I thought I would try out. The first bracelet is a quick and versatile little number from British beader Lesley Watt, which simply alternates beads on two strands of waxed linen cord, with jumprings separating each bead. It’s certainly been a popular design, as I’ve seen it popping up everywhere. I made my version using Czech cathedral beads in a teal green with gunmetal jumprings and a blossom button for the closure.

I’ll definitely be making more of these bracelets—they’re quick and easy, and look great. And they’d work with all sorts of different beads or as part of a larger design.

The second tutorial I was inspired to try comes from Tracy Statler, whose blog Make Bracelets has a number of fantastic tutorials and videos. Her most recent design of clusters of beads was perfect for a strand of glass pearls in rich colours that I picked up recently.

And I’m pleased to report that my partner loved both bracelets!

Make sure you check back in on the weekend when I reveal my Bead Soup Blog Party creations!