Bead Soup: The Big Reveal!

September 17, 2011 § 85 Comments

Hello again!

I’ve had a lovely break and now, I’m ready to get back into jewellery making and blogging. What better place to start than with the big bead soup reveal?

Here’s what Ana sent me:

A beautiful concoction of blue, yellow, texture and cool beaded beads! I have to say straight away, though, that I didn’t use the clasp…I know, I know, that’s the whole point! But I was just stumped as to what I could do combining the clasp and the bigger beads, as I don’t tend to wear multistrand pieces. So my next post-Bead Soup challenge is to make something with that clasp!

Here’s what I did make:

First up was the satin cord dragonfly that Ana’s boyfriend made. As it was already attached to a metal ring, I thought this would be best as a key ring or bag charm. I paired it with some bright ceramic beads in the tones of the bead soup for a playful look.

Next were Ana’s beaded beads that combined different textures and colours. I wanted them to be the focus of the entire piece, and as they were quite  chunky, thought they suited a necklace best. I used yellow agate donuts and a combination of crystals, seed beads, and the blue glass beads in the soup alongside the beaded beads to create this fresh, zingy necklace. It has a great spring feel and I think that I’d wear it with a plain white or navy tshirt to set off the colour contrast.

This long, simple necklace was next, using some of the cane glass beads from the soup. I wanted to pick up on the yellow and blue colour theme but using this mustard cord, brass wire, and beads with a little more depth gives it less of a bright and more of a sophisticated edge. Very simple but highlights the beads and the different textures perfectly.

This bracelet was the final piece I pulled together from the soup (although I still do have loads of beads left!) After the bright and sophisticated pairings before, I went for something a little darker and more moody: a contrast of matt blacks and sparkling blues. The lucite flowers are wrapped using antique gold findings, and the toggle clasp is in the same colour. This piece really draws out the different bead surfaces – smooth, sparkling, rough, matt, and metallic – and it a little more interesting that a simple strung bracelet through the little explosions of flowers.

This bead soup was my first one ever, just like Ana. I really enjoyed it and found it challenging but in a productive way. I normally steer away from very vivid colours together but the yellow and blue really popped, and I found myself pushing my design skills to think of other colours that blue could be paired with without becoming just a ‘backdrop’. What I like most, however, is that I’ve now used beads in these designs that have travelled all the way across Europe, and when I wear them I will be thinking of Ana in Slovenia, and all the other bead soup partners across the world who must think the same!

I can’t wait to go through all the blogs to see everyone’s soups, although with over 300 to look at, it might take some time…Check out what Ana made with the bead soup I sent her over on her blog. PS It’s awesome.


Bead Soup Blog Party: Update!

August 24, 2011 § 2 Comments

I am getting some seriously wonderful parcels at the moment. There’s a few that will be arriving soon that I have yet to tell you about…but this one I can!

My bead soup arrived from my partner, Ana Krepel-Novak who lives in Slovenia. Ana’s blog is called Cat’s Pajamas, Dog’s Tuxedos, which I immediately loved. She makes her own beaded beads, so I’m glad Lori paired us up as we’ve got the tiny-beads-round-bigger-beads thing in common. She also makes her own clothes and does lots of cool DIY projects, and writes about fashion too.

Here’s the soup she sent me – when I opened the parcel I said ‘awesome’ to myself:

I love contrasting colours, for a start. I also like yellow but find it quite tricky to work with, so that’s great too! Ana also sent me a multi-strand clasp, the type I’ve seen but never used, so I’m looking forward to making some multi-stranded. She also sent me, as the focal, a very cute satin cord dragonfly that her boyfriend made on a ring. Plus there’s the beaded beads and the glass ones too, including some lovely cane glass beads.

What I like about this collection of beads is that it’s in colours I like, and textures I like, but would never have chosen myself. The aim of the Bead Soup Blog Party is to really try and stretch creatively by taking one someone else’s choices, and I think that’s exactly what Ana’s selection is going to make me do. You can see what I sent her over on her blog (and she’s written an amazingly nice post, including being lovely about a focal I made and referring to Joan from Mad Men…a gal after my own heart!)

The big reveal for all the Soupers is September 17th – so remember to come back and see what I made!

I’m having some blog issues at the moment with getting images up, so some of the posts might be a little late coming…but there’ll be there 🙂

Copper Diem’s Treasury Challenge

August 16, 2011 § 1 Comment


I had a family reunion this weekend which involved a 4 hour train journey to my mum’s, then a 2 hour car journey down South, and then all the way back up again yesterday. So you’ll forgive me for completely forgetting to post the results of Copper Diem‘s awesome Etsy treasury challenge, right? Right.

Here’s the treasury Amy from Copper Diem sent me:

A beautifully textured treasury in orange and teal – one of my all time favourite colour combinations! I loved the variety of texture in this treasury and wanted to pick up on that in my piece, along with the different curved shapes (like the bracelet and the swimming pool ladder).

Although I completed the piece very quickly, I still don’t think it’s quite finished. It’s a double bracelet that can be wrapped around twice, but I’m still not sure of the fastening and whether I want to make it a bit longer.

The beads are a mixture of Czech and Indian glass, freshwater pearls, seed beads, some wooden  and metal beads, ceramic ‘cornflakes’, and the two glass hoops in red are by HMB Studios. The whole thing is strung on some thick matte brown leather, and to space out the dangles I used antique gold jump rings and thick hoops. Threading all those on took a very very long time but I’m pleased with the texture it creates, and the weight of it is just right.

To save your scrolling finger I’ve decided to put the photos in this gallery format, which I think looks nice…might try it for some other ones too!

I don’t know if this is in the rules of not BUT a friend of mine, Emily, who is getting more interested in jewellery making (ok, so I’m encouraging the habit – and?!), doesn’t have a blog. So I gave her the link to the same treasury as me so she could make something in the challenge too! Here it is:

I’m really pleased she made this necklace. Great colours and sparkliness – and look at all the dangles! We didn’t compare notes on these designs and yet we both thought of putting pretty dangles and different textures together. Great minds think alike! It’d be great to get your thoughts on her work, and also so we can encourage her to start her own jewellery blog 🙂 Woo Emily!

You can see all the rest of the participants in the blog list below. Thanks to Amy for such a cool challenge and I hope she does another one soon! (Oh, and sorry I was late).

Copper Diem
Fuego, metal y color
Silver Nik Nats
Beads and Bread
Copper Penny Designs
Green Shoot
Wild Sally Road
Mamas Got To Doodle
Beads for Busy Gals
EBS Jewellery
Cianci Blue
Beads for Brains
Nicki’s Reef
Sweet Girl Design
Nicole Rennell

Bead Soup Blog Party

August 1, 2011 § 1 Comment

Oh! What’s that?

On the right hand side there? That purple box thing…what is it?

I’ll stop being an idiot now. I’m getting far too excited but it’s because I’ve just signed up for my very first Bead Soup Blog Party run by the incredibly talented and also incredibly foolhardy Lori Anderson. If you click on the button it will take you to her blog page all about the Bead Soup.

The Bead Soup Blog Party runs twice a year and involves the following:

Sign up between August 1 – 3: you must have a blog to participate.

August 5: Lori partners everyone up with another beading blogger (see what I mean about foolhardy?)

By August 17: you send out a collection of bead soup to your partner, which must include a focal bead, a interesting clasp, and some coordinating beads

You then photograph your beads that you receive, make something, and then everyone reveals their fantastic makes a month later on September 17 and you take about a week to tour round all the blogs. I’m very excited because, at last count, there are 150 participants from across the world! I’m looking forward to reading new bead blogs and interacting with some new beaders – in fact, I may have already started putting together my bead soup (because I’m like that).

If you’d like to take part you still have another 2 days to sign up, so get on it.

Saturday’s Stuff I Love

July 16, 2011 § 1 Comment

Just a small selection of Stuff I Love this Saturday, as I haven’t had much time to catch up on all the blog reading (there are so many!)

Turquoise glass and clay connector from Artisan Clay

Spiky lampworked glass ‘sea anemone’ beads by BatChen Designs

Beautiful pastel bracelet from For My Sweet Daughter for the Margie and Me Challenge

Rich and textured earrings from Kristi Bowman Design

Clasp by Melinda Orr that I am love with. The colours and textures are wonderful!

Ephydriad earrings by Fanciful Devices – bold and powerful.

Another thing I really love is represented by this picture:

I took this book out from our local library yesterday, expecting it to be fairly regular designs with maybe a few nice ones…and I was completely blown away! The designs are really modern and exciting, lots of interesting use of texture and scale, and the instructions are easy to follow. Turns out one of the authors is editorial director for Beadwork and Stringing magazines, the other a jewellery design and education co-ordinator for Soft Flex. So of course they’re going to be awesome!

The last thing I love this week is also represented by an image (of my own work!):

This piece has changed slightly from when you saw it as part of this week’s BTW. On Thursday I went to my first ever beading group in Skipton, North Yorkshire, which is about 30 minutes on the train from where I live. I was a bit nervous and arrived early, but all the group made me feel really welcome and were very enthusiastic about my work! They were all very adept at beadwork, working quickly and able to talk at the same time (which is quite hard when you’re concentrating and counting). It was good to hang out with people who understood my interest in the subject and also had enough technical knowledge to suggest new things I could do and ways to add to the piece. I will be embellishing this pendant/piece further in time for a handicrafts competition coming up very soon (next weekend!).

And very quickly, as they arrived this morning, UK beaders should check out Choosy Beads: fantastic beads, some lovely Czech glass, and best of all – I ordered yesterday lunch time and they arrived today! Woo! I’m off to Nottingham again today for another bead shop visit. Have a great weekend whatever you’re doing!

Saturday’s Stuff I Love

June 18, 2011 § 2 Comments

I’ve had a pretty good week so far – I completed my ABS Challenge entry and my Operation Tackle that Bead Stash entry, as well as a bracelet for myself, and also for the Margie and Me Challenge (I’ll be showing that next week). I also found out (for definite) that I have a new house and will be moving a week today! Very excited about that and will be blogging about the set-up of my NEW crafting and jewellery space as I go along (don’t tell my boyfriend, he thinks that room’s going to be an office…mwahahaha).

This week’s Stuff I Love is brought to you by…roundy-oval things, most with holes in, or holes attached. Intriguing!

Super summery sweetie lampwork discs from HMB Studios

Fantastic texture and colour on this embroidered brooch from Jezze Prints (whose whole shop is wonderful)

My newest favourite Etsy shop Outwest and some more summery lampwork discs

Another great Etsy shop, Stillpointworks, and these polymer clay connectors – like ancient jewels

Pajego Art House‘s springy sprigged ceramic connectors (that have already been sold! damn)

Yellow and black polymer clay beads from JivesJools – remind me of a very very closeup shot of pollen

Staci Louise’s collection of lilypad bezels whose texture and charm are just fantastic

Iridescent peacock links from MissFickleMedia – again, already sold! One day I will have some of MFM’s work…one day

A beautiful necklace made from stones from Jamberrysong

Probably one of my favourite pieces I’ve seen all week – Elisabeth at Beads for Busy Gals necklace made using lampwork beads and charms from Floridity

Have a great weekend and hope this has given you some inspiration – at least some roundy-oval-things-with-holes-in inspiration!

Saturday’s Stuff I Love

June 11, 2011 § 2 Comments

What I’m enjoying very much about this post is that, as I browse round the internet and the beady blogs I avidly read, I pick up on all these fantastic images, pieces, and ideas that often seem completely out of tune with each other. Then when I come to write the post, I see themes emerging! This week, it’s two complimentary colours: blue-greens and orangey-pinks.

Fantastic texture and colour in The Hare pendant by ktotten

Honey From the Bee’s Copper River earrings using vintage chain

Playful and bright enamelled and beaded ring from Fred Bean’s Nook

Amazingly blue Forget Me Not earrings from annabella1966 – wow

A shot of Something Sublime’s beautiful hoop and dangle earrings that you can learn how to make in her course

Singing Cat Studio’s detailed and regally-rich polymer clay pendant

Gaea’s combination of a Jade Scott boat pendant and silk ribbons. Very very envious!

Warm beadwoven pendant from La Bella Joya, whose Monday Musings post got me thinking

Jen Judd Rocks! at both jewellery and mixed media weaving, as you can see here -inspiring colours

So I’ve been thinking of the moody blues and passionate pinks this week! This weekend I’ve got a lot of university study to catch up on, but will also be going to a local sewing cafe and hopefully doing a bit of beading inspired by some of the colours and textures above. Have a great weekend and hope you enjoyed this week’s Stuff I Love!

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