It’s been a while…

December 4, 2011 § 20 Comments

The big reveal is here!

Here’s the finished ornament featuring a ceramic button from White Clover Kiln, seed  beeds, Czech glass and some leftover bits and pieces…

On our tree…with some shadows!

Peyote stitched button and seed bead stitched metal ring

Closeup!

Don’t forget to take a look at the rest of the participating blogs for some more pretty ornaments 🙂

 

I haven’t posted on this jewellery blog since the Bead Soup swap months ago – but I have been very busy over on my other, fashion-related blog!

Anyway, to get me back into the swing of making and posting regularly, I’m taking part in the Art Bead Scene Holiday Ornament blog hop. Today I’m posting a little teaser of the ornament I’ve made using a gorgeous ceramic art bead:

It’s a bit of an unusual colour scheme for Christmas but the finished ornament looks great! The official ornament reveal and blog hop is December 6th, so be sure to come back then for the final piece and a list of all the participants.

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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 🙂

Some simple earrings

August 19, 2011 § 2 Comments

Remember I said that I’d made some great earrings for a gift for someone?

Well, here they are!

Made from Czech glass, agate rondelles, antique gold findings and those excellent long kidney earwires. I don’t think I will ever be able to get as beautiful photos as these ever again, by the way! The sunshine was just right, the colours sparkled, it all worked. These were for a lovely friend who kept mine and Him Indoors’ bikes for a few weeks (a month?) while we moved house. Thank you Squash, you rule!

These are some earring experiments using Czech glass again (alright, it’s an obsession. Sue me.) and these darling headpins from Beads Direct – copper, with tiny hearts on the end. You can also get stars, and different colours too. Love them!

Looking forward to tomorrow as I am off to a secret bead shop location to review the next in the series for Bead Shops of Britain. Oh how I love doing this project 🙂 Have a great weekend!

Copper Diem’s Treasury Challenge

August 16, 2011 § 1 Comment

Whoops.

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 Table Wednesday: BTWW 10/8

August 10, 2011 § 3 Comments

This week’s BTW has an extra W.

That extra W stands for WISH and it’s what I would love to be on my bead table this week! The bead table is looking a bit bare as everything has been put on hold for dreaded dissertation writing, so I thought I would take a little trip into dreamland…

I discovered the joys of online newsletters when I first started buying beads online: it’s a great way to get a heads up about discounts, cool projects, and all sorts of news about the ever-enthralling subject of beads. I signed up to the Beads Direct newsletter a while back and they haven’t disappointed in letting their customers know just how much they’ve got going on! They’re having a fabulously huge sale at the moment and I decided to feature some of my favourite pieces, mainly from the semi-precious selection. Think I must  be having an autumnal moment because they’re all shades of cream, browns, and black!

Mystic agate faceted round beads

Magnesite free-form slabs in inky black

Czech glass mix in dark brown (ok, so not in the sale but I liked it too much not to include it!)

Crazy lace agate pendant

Bowenite octagons (like tiny little landscapes)

Frosted tortoiseshell glass bead mix

Bowenite faceted nuggets

Aren’t they just beautiful? I can imagine these strung up with some leather cords and antique gold chain, with some gold and brown beaded beads inbetween. So far the Summer Sale from Beads Direct has been taking up most of my time…I need to explore the rest of the website and have a look at everything else!

What’s on your bead table – and bead table wishlist – this week? Check out the rest of the BTWs over on the Flickr group.

PS I have some wonderful earrings waiting in the wings to show you, but as they’re a present I’ve got to wait until the receiver has got them before I show them to the world!

Bead Table Wednesday: 3/8

August 3, 2011 § 4 Comments

It’s August already! I can’t believe it.

The weather here is humid, and occasionally thundering, so everyone is very hot and sticky. I wanted to take some photos of my works in progress and finished pieces outside and found that venturing out into our yard at 8am, before the sun had got too hot and there was still coolness in the air, was incredibly refreshing. And helped me take some great photos!

Some of these pieces I am thinking of submitting to a magazine. Erin had a fantastic post on her blog the other day about submitting to magazines (her work was on the front cover of Stringing – well done Erin!) with some very helpful advice. So, with that in mind, I am not showing the whole piece this week, just some small snippets – not all of these are for a magazine but enjoyed the macro too much to not show all of them like this.

Amazonite stick with embellishments

Crazy ball pendant

Czech glass: yum yum yum. Cannot get enough of these beauties!

Those peanut beads look huge!

Iris and flowers

It makes such a difference taking photos outdoors with the early morning light, rather than indoors. Will try and do this from now on for all my jewellery. Although maybe not in winter when it’s snowing!

There’s three challenges on this month – one I am taking part in already run by Amy over on Copper Diem where she has selected Etsy treasuries for her readers. You are sent the treasury and then respond to it in jewellery! Very cool idea.

The other two are Operation Tackle That Bead Stash, with this mystical palette:

And Art Bead Scene, who have this oh-so-cool cycle-centred art!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the BTW photos over on Flickr. Hope you’re having a great August so far!

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