Deeper Water: Music to my eyes blog hop

The Music to my Eyes blog hop (organised by Kelly Rodgers, a member of the Bead Snobs group that I belong to on Facebook) asked us to make something inspired by a favourite song or piece of music. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have just one favourite song, but quite a few! But I kept circling back to this song, which is definitely up there in my top list of songs!

Deeper Water is a song by Australia’s iconic musician Paul Kelly. As much a poet as a songwriter, his lyrics are evocative and quintessentially Australian. I’ve seen him live a dozen or so times, every time a treat. And this is just one of the songs he’s written that sings to me. When I got married, almost 17 years ago now, our ceremony was on the beach. As I walked down through the reception marquee on my way to join the groom and the wedding guests, the DJ started playing this song and I completely lost it, to the consternation of my bridesmaids. It’s one of those songs that always sends a frisson of emotion across my skin, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, I went looking at YouTube for a good version of the song, and found this live recording from about five years ago:

See what I mean?

So, how to translate this song, this poem, into a piece of jewellery? I had various ideas, and as usual no time to really explore and play with creating. Maybe another day there’ll be another piece inspired by this song. But I remembered I had these enamelled charms by Anne Gardanne and they remind me of the beach, where the water meets the sand. And that in turn makes me think of the beginning of this song, “on a crowded beach …”

I’m a little obsessed with these kind of crusty Czech glass rondelles at the moment, they look like something that has been tumbling in the waves for a while. These particular colours just go so well with the charms. And I’ve been using the bright Vintaj Vogue brass a lot recently too, they seem to work well with the beads. What do you think?

As I mentioned, I made these for a blog hop and there are a few other blogs to visit if you feel so inclined! Thank you Kelly for hosting a fun hop, just wish I had found more time to play! Here are the other participants:

Kelly Rodgers

Verily Vexed

Lennis Carrier

Melissa Trudinger

Sherri Hartman Stokey

Vicky Sophon

Kayla Freeman

 

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Wish Upon a Star: Superstition Blog Hop

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Today is Friday 13th, one of the most superstitious days on the calendar. And Tammy from Paisley Lizard has organised a blog hop to celebrate it. Tammy challenged us to create a piece inspired by a superstition.

I’ve always been intrigued by superstitions—they fascinate me. Even though I tend toward a scientific outlook on life, I find myself looking for lucky four leaf clovers and wishing on the first star I see in the sky in the evening without a second thought. So I decided to choose the latter as my inspiration.

The idea of wishing on a falling or shooting star dates back to the ancient world and wishing on the first star of the evening may be even older, according to Wikipedia. I wanted to incorporate a shooting star into my design. I’m also on a bit of a leather and metal kick at the moment—if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you might have seen some cuff bracelets I’ve been making recently (which I will blog about next week)—and this challenge was a good opportunity to play with both.

I had a leaf shaped Vintaj blank that I trimmed and filed smooth, and combined with a star shaped blank to make my shooting star. And I stamped the words “wish upon a star” onto another blank. I used Vintaj patina in Nouveau Silver to colour the blanks silver and darkened the stamped words so they were visible. The biggest challenge was getting the rivet holes the right size, as I wanted to use the Tierracast rivets to fasten the metal to the black leather cuff, and I didn’t have a punch that produced large enough holes so I had to do a lot of filing with a small circular file to enlarge the holes. Still, I got there in the end!

Wish upon a star

I’m pretty pleased with the cuff. I have a bit to learn still about stamping and riveting, but I have to say it’s good fun!

Now it’s time for you to hop along to see the rest of the participants in the Superstition blog hop. Thanks Tammy for a fun challenge!

Tammy Adams (Hostess)                                    http://www.paisleylizard.com/blog/

Renee Hong                                                            http://www.fineanddandyjewelry.blogspot.com

Betony Maiden                                                       http://beadwenches.blogspot.com/

Coral Law                                                                http://abcoraldesign.blogspot.com/

Lee Koopman                                                         http://stregajewellry.wordpress.com

Jeanette Belmont                                                   http://www.onecanvasatatime.com

Shai Williams                                                          http://www.ShaihasRamblings.com

Beth McCord                                                           http://ebbeadandmetalworks.blogspot.com/

Robin Lynne Showstack                                        http://heartsdesiresjewelryforyou.blogspot.com/

Lori Blanchard                                                        https://alainnjewelry.wordpress.com/

Deb Fortin                                                                http://www.mhotistudio.blogspot.ca

Michelle McCarthy                                                 http://www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com

Maria Rosa Sharrow                                               http://willowstreetshops.blogspot.com

Kim Dworak                                                             http://cianciblue.blogspot.com/

Divya N                                                                     http://www.jewelsofsayuri.com

Karin Grosset Grange                                            http://ginkgoetcoquelicot.blogspot.fr

Mowse Doyle                                                           http://mowsemadethis.blogspot.com/

Rebecca White                                                        http://morganafeycreations.121hub.com/#sec-blog

Shawneen Fagnani                                                 http://blondespotpinkshoe.blogspot.com/

Catherine King                                                        http://Catherines-musings.blogspot.com

Brook Bock                                                              http://artisticendeavor101.blogspot.com/

Kari Asbury                                                             http://hippiechickjewelrydesign.com/blog

Nan Smith                                                                http://wirednan.blogspot.ca

Carolyn Lawson                                                      http://carolynscreationswa.blogspot.com

Linda Anderson                                                      http://fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com

Ann Schroeder                                                        http://www.beadlove.wordpress.com

Melissa Trudinger                                                  https://beadrecipes.wordpress.com/ <– YOU ARE HERE!

Kathy Lindemer                                                      http://bay-moon-design.blogspot.com/

This is Halloween

Or rather, that was Halloween! Blink and you miss things these days! Well, in our case, a horde of children descended on our house to go trick or treating in our neighbourhood (how nice that it was a Saturday night!), that’s my excuse anyway.

But I thought I would show you a few scary bits and pieces that I celebrated the season with! I took part in a Halloween jewellery swap. My partner and I had to make each other some Halloween jewellery. I had actually ordered a rather snazzy lampwork sugar skull focal just before I went away on my big adventure, but sadly it didn’t survive the trip in the post (which was literally just across town), so the artist, Pauline Delaney, kindly offered to make me a new one. Complicating it all was the fact that the first skull was sent in good time for me to receive it before I left on holiday but then took more than a week to travel across town (happily Pauline is local). So I didn’t find out until I got back from my trip, and then it took a little while for Pauline to make and send the replacement.

Anyway. It all got sorted nicely and my skull arrived in the mail. The next challenge was to work out what to do with it. I have to admit to having a bit of designers’ block on what to do. I pulled out lots of beads but couldn’t come up with something I liked. So I turned to Pinterest and went looking for inspiration. And what do you know! I found it! After seeing some skull beads (mostly in earrings I admit) with tasselled skirts, I played around and came up with a sari silk tassel to match the flowers on the back of the skull, flowing from a Fallen Angel Brass black tulip bead cap. The accompanying beads went into a wire wrapped necklace along with a few Czech glass flowers, and Vintaj Arte Metal chain.

Sugar skull collage

While I was in the mood for skulls, I also put together a few pairs of cute earrings, featuring some tiny dyed howlite skulls with floral skirts. A pair of these plus the necklace went off in the mail to my swap partner Janeen, who lives in California.

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And on Monday, Dia de los Muertos, aka Day of the Dead (the Mexican holiday which celebrates and honours the dead), I received a marvellous necklace and earrings from Janeen (she received her package that day too!). The necklace she sent me features polymer clay skulls by Staci Louise Smith, and I love it! Thanks again Janeen!

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The Beads of Courage Art Charms auction is live!

I recently told you about the Art Charm Exchange and Charity Auction to raise money for Beads of Courage. Well, today is the day the auction goes live and also the day of the blog hop, where I get to tell you about the charms I made for the exchange.

This year’s theme was SOAR. To me, the word evokes a bird high up in the sky, wings outstretched, soaring through the sky, or hovering. I decided that this was an image I wanted to incorporate into my charms. I had some small Vintaj bezel charms that I could use, but the back of them was not flat and finished-looking. And also, I really wanted to include the word soar into my design. So I decided to go for a mixed media design.

On the back side of the charm, I pressed a small lump of turquoise-coloured polymer clay to cover the grooves. I gave it some texture, used some rubber stamps to press the word soar into it and baked it. I used acrylic paint (in a burnt umber colour) to highlight the texture and words without covering up the lovely colour, and sealed with Renaissance wax.

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Then I pasted and sealed the images into the bezel side of the charm and finished it off with resin. The images, which I got from Piddix on Etsy, are quite fun, they show the silhouette of a soaring bird over a background of rusty, patinaed metal.

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I picked out the 11 best to send to Jennifer Cameron. She then sent 10 of them out to participants (including me, as we each got one of our own back), and kept the last one for the auction. And here is a nice close up picture of my charm that is being auctioned right here right now!

Soar auction collage

At the time of writing this blog post it has a starting price of USD$9.99. If you like it, please bid on it and help raise some funds for Beads of Courage. 100% of the sale price goes to Beads of Courage—I would love to see it sell for a good price! The auction goes for seven days, and this one will be ending next Monday night December 1st, at 10:17pm EST or Tuesday afternoon AEST if you happen to live in Australia like me (note: you should check the auction end-time in your own time zone).

A few more things. I will post the charms I received in a few days (maybe this weekend). And also, this post is part of the Art Charm Exchange blog hop. Here is a list of the rest of the participants. Please take some time to visit their blogs and the other auctions and see what they were inspired to make!

2014 Art Charm Exchange Participants

Jennifer Cameron: http://www.glassaddictions.com/blog

Alenka Obid: http://pepita-handmade.blogspot.com

Alicia Marinache: http://www.allprettythings.ca

Andrea Glick: http://zenithjade.blogspot.com

Caroline Dewison: http://blueberribeads.blogspot.co.uk

Cassi Paslick: http://badatbeingmom.blogspot.com/

Cate van Alphen: http://fulgorine.wordpress.com

Cheri Reed: http://creativedesignsbycheri.blogspot.com

Chris Eisenberg: http://www.wanderware.blogspot.com

Cory Tompkins: http://www.tealwaterdesigns.blogspot.com

Elizabeth Auld: http://www.beadsforbusygals.com

Genevieve Gabbert: http://www.glassaddictions.com/blog

Jami Shipp: http://celebratinglifewithdamamashipp.blogspot.com

Jenny Davies-Reazor: http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog

Jill Bradley: http://www.jillybeads.blogspot.com

Kim Dworak: http://www.cianciblue.blogspot.com

Lee Koopman: http://stregajewellry.wordpress.com

Lennis Carrier: http://www.windbent.net

Lesley Watt: http://www.thegossipinggoddess.blogspot.com

Mallory Hoffman: http://rosebud101-fortheloveofbeads.blogspot.com

Melissa Trudinger: https://beadrecipes.wordpress.com <– YOU ARE HERE

Michelle McCarthy: http://www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com

Monique Urquhart: http://ahalfbakednotion.blogspot.com/

Moriah Betterly: http://mlbetterly.blogspot.com

Nancy Dale: http://nedbeads.blogspot.com

Nancy Smith: http://wirednan.blogspot.ca

Niky Sayers: http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk

Perri Jackson: http://ShaktipajDesigns.com/blog/

Renetha Stanziano: http://www.lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com

Shai Williams: http://www.shaihasramblings.com/2014/11/art-charm-exchange-auction.html

Sheila Prosterman: http://catswithbeads.blogspot.com

Susan Delaney: http://susandolphindelaney.wordpress.com

Susan Kennedy: http://www.suebeads.blogspot.com

Terri DelSignore: http://artisticaos.blogspot.com

Toltec Jewels: http://www.jewelschoolfriends.com

Vanessa Gilkes: http://culturezine.com/blog/

Clay and Metal Blog Hop

Widgit5 Metal and Clay

It’s reveal day for Lisa Lodge‘s latest blog hop, the Clay and Metal Blog Hop. This time, she’s chosen to send all of the participants something from Sharyl McMillian-Nelson, who works with both polymer clay and metal (hence the name!), with each of us receiving either one or the other, plus some coordinating beads. Sharyl has recently opened a new store online to focus on her polymer clay and metal components, called Metapolies. You can find it in two places, Etsy and Artisan Component Marketplace, a fantastic new online market for beautiful components (stay tuned, as I have plans to write more about this site soon!).

These are the polymer clay charms I received, a pair of long rectangular matchstick-shaped charms that are the colour of nougat, with soft purple stripes across them. I do like the asymmetry of them, enhanced by the purple stripes that continue across both matchsticks. I also received some clear faceted crystal rondelles, but in the end I didn’t use them as to me they didn’t really go well with the organic shades of the matchsticks.

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Because they are made of polymer clay, and therefore so light, I decided to make earrings with the matchsticks. I softened them further using a Czech glass table cut flower, and used waxed linen to tie the two components together and then to the Vintaj brass earwires.

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Thank you Lisa for sending me this challenging pair of charms, and thank you Sharyl too! And as this is a blog hop, here is the list of participants. Please pop over and have a look at their blog posts!

Your hostess: Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist

Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes <– YOU ARE HERE!

Jo-Ann Woolverton, It’s a Beadiful Creation

Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn’s Creations

Shaiha Williams,   Shaiha’s Ramblings

Toltec Jewels, Jewel School Friends

Heather Richter, Desert Jewelry Designs

Marybeth Rich, A Few Words from within the Pines

Kim Dworak, Cianci Blue

Karen Grosset Grange, Ginkgo et Coquelicot

Ann Schroeder, Bead Love

Lisa Prewitt Knappenberger, LiRaysa Designs

Carol Briody, A Beads Life

Miranda Ackerley, MirandAck

Kari Asbury, Hippie Chick Design

Susan Anderson, La Main Tresor

LeAnne Loftus, First Impression Design

Leithleach Seodra, Alainn Jewelry

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.

Owls and dragonflies: the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party reveal is here!

So here we are again, at the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party, the highlight of the blogging beader’s calendar! The premise is simple, participants are paired up by our amazing host Lori Anderson to swap a bead soup containing at the minimum a focal and a clasp, plus some coordinating beads. This year almost 500 beaders and jewellery designers from around the world signed up to play. Today we reveal what we made using the beads our partners sent us.

My partner, Sandra Wollberg, from Wiesbaden, Germany (you can read more about her here), sent me a fabulous soup, including a pendant, clasp and bracelet bar from Blu Mudd, handmade polymer clay headpins, a stunning Czech glass button and a selection of beads including Czech glass dragonflies, flowers, leaves and little critters, freshwater pearls and some painted shell beads, Indian glass, and peanut beads. There was also some sari silk and a packet of mica sheets, thrown in by Sandra as an extra challenge.

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To get my muse going, I started with a few pairs of earrings, using Sandra’s polymer clay headpins, one pair wrapped with the pretty painted shell beads, the other one combined with two little ladybird beads from the strand of Czech glass critters. A third pair of earrings became a posy of Czech glass flowers.

earring collage 1

Next on the list was the bracelet bar. I had it in mind to combine it with leather, and I found some lovely soft teal blue leather that picked up the blue colour in the flowers embossed on the bar. To counter its one-sided weight, I knotted a selection of beads onto some teal blue waxed linen.

bracelet collage

My first necklace was inspired by the dragonfly beads and the Czech glass button, which also features a dragonfly. The challenge for me in this piece was to work out how to incorporate the button into a necklace,, especially as I also wanted to use the clasp Sandra sent me. In the end, I cut off the button shank and used a filigree piece from Vintaj to wrap around the back of the button, with a couple of jump rings to create a link. Between the button link and the clasp, I strung the Czech glass dragonfly coins and the pearls, and used a Vintaj dragonfly as a pendant. I’ve called this necklace the Dragonfly Pond necklace.

Dragonfly pond necklace collage

And finally, a necklace with the Blu Mudd owl pendant. The pendant is glazed in a glossy gold with breakthrough undertones tones of teal and green. I was inspired by some of Lorelei Eurto‘s recent necklaces, with beads knotted on linen, so I picked out a selection of beads in blues, greens and bronze shades, as well as a deep red to give a pop of colour, from both the bead soup Sandra provided as well as my own stash and knotted them on teal blue waxed linen (you’ll recognize some of the beads from the bracelet). The pattern repeats linearly from the clasp to the pendant, but looks asymmetric—a trick I think I picked up from one of the posts in Love My Art Jewelry‘s recent bootcamp on asymmetry. I’m really pleased with how this necklace turned out, I think it really captures the autumn woodland feel of Sandra’s soup. I’ve called it the Owl in the Woods necklace, and I think I’ll keep it for myself!

Owl in the woods necklace collage

Now, there are a few elements from my soup that I haven’t yet used. The Indian glass beads are destined for a necklace when I find the right chain. I almost used the peanut beads in the dragonfly necklace, but the seed beads just looked better. And I plan to make a few more pairs of earrings as well. The sari silk is lovely and I’m sure I will use that somewhere soon. The mica sheets are a bit more challenging, and I’ve been looking at various tutorials and blog posts about how to use. I have had them out to play with but so far I haven’t actually done anything. I have plans though, which I am sure I will blog about down the road.

Thank you Lori, for once again throwing a wonderful party with fabulous guests, despite your own personal challenges besetting you at every turn! I’m already looking forward to whatever you dream up for next year’s party! And thank you Sandra for a fabulous soup, which stretched me as a jewellery designer. I hope you had as good a time playing with my soup as I did with yours!

Now, I have the daunting but enjoyable task of visiting as many of the other blogs partying with me as I can. To see what Sandra made with the soup I sent her, visit her blog. And for the full list of participants, go to the main BSBP page.