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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Stacked Earrings Challenge #2

Admittedly, I held this one up a little by having to go and get shoulder surgery. The nerve of me, right? Well, I'll tell you what - it sucks! It hurts! And I haven't been able to make jewelry in 3 weeks.

The time in between receiving my beads from Claire - this time's host - and the date of the surgery was just a few days, so I made four pairs as quickly as I could and took the photos just in time! The problem with being the only American in this group is that I'm inevitably last to get my beads.

With any luck, by the time our next host Leah's beads arrive, I'll be outta the sling and able to get back to jewelry with ease. Though I fear it'll still be slow going. You wouldn't think making a little wire loop had much to do with your shoulder, but I'm realizing a lot about these things lately.

Onward with the reveal! I borrowed Malin's group photo, as I forgot to take one myself. But this is the collection of beads that Claire sent us. Such a fun selection!

This first pair I made was this purple number. I tried many configurations until I realized linen cord was the best way to go, and also add even MORE purple! Photographing clear beads is not the easiest, but as you can see, everything here that's not metal or the cord comes from Claire's assortment.

Next up, the green ones. I believe most of this is from Claire's stash as well. I know the copper discs on top were mine, as are the uppermost wood beads. The bottomest might be mine too. But hey, they're cute and according to the style pull out in a recent paper, Kelly Green is back in a big way. I thought Marsala was the color we were supposed to care about. I'm not as up on all the other Pantone decrees this year as I usually am.

Because I'm a girl that finds it very hard not to include at least a teensy bit of bling in her designs, I had to throw in some rhinestones here, because I thought they were a nice pairing with the pink crackle beads. The turquoise discs at the bottom are mine, as are the rhinestones and silver tiny rondelles, but the rest are Claire's. Pink and turquoise are a classic 80's color combo, throwing back to the 50's, throwing back to Deco. So the rhinestones totally fit that concept, and the 80's comeback still hasn't gone away yet, so yeah. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Finally, I made these. It was my intention to use the little mint green drops (upper right in the group photo) in place of the blue drops on the bottom, but I can't be trusted with delicate beads and wire. Alas, I broke the first one right away and cursed my brutish hands then went on a hunt for a suitable replacement. Everything else but the silver flower spacers came from Claire.

You know what else aggravates a sore shoulder? Too much typing. I'm out!

Go check to see what everyone else did now. I'm going to as well!

  • Rebecca Anderson - SongBead
  • Leah Curtis - Beady Eyed Bunny
  • Claire Lockwood - Something To Do With Your Hands
  • Heidi Post - Ex Post Facto
  • Malin de Koning - Beading By Malin de Koning
  • Friday, January 30, 2015

    Stacked Earrings Challenge!!!

    It's a real challenge getting me to blog. But here I am to share with you the results of Malin's Stacked Earrings Challenge!

    For those of you who don't know Malin de Koning, she is an incredibly generous and talented Swedish designer. She selected a very lucky few of us and sent us all the same beads from her enormous stash.

    What an eclectic selection! We were allowed to use as many of our own beads as we wished, so long as we used at least 3 of hers in each pair. The number of pairs we made was entirely up to us. I think I have the least of all, with a measly four pairs. But I've had a ton going on lately. Crazy busy at work, a root canal (ugh), and organizing a trunk show for myself and a friend - who's another brilliant designer.

    So I'm actually pretty proud of myself for getting these done!

    In the order they were created...

    I really like these. I included some lampwork beads from bluhealer and copper findings, with my own ear wires. 

    Are these stacked enough? They're kind of squat to be stacked, but I think they apply. They look like little UFOs or flying stuffed cookies or something. I could see myself wearing these regularly.

    These aren't really a far cry from a style I've made before. These little wooden beads just lend themselves to this sort of Asian, zen style design. 

    Last but not least, the wildcard. (aka, the Punky Brewster earrings) I spent entirely too long stacking these and many other beads in numerous iterations. I never could figure it out. Until I did. If you look at the original beads photo, you'll see Malin only provided us with one of those little yellow metal flowery beadcaps, and one in purple. However! She had sent me a few in a long ago trade, so I pulled the other one out and used it here! I'm pretty sure the purple color of the other one inspired the purple bead on top though. And for bonus fun, those yellow flowers at the bottom came from the amazing Rebecca's bead shop. She's amazing for many reasons, not least of which is that she whipped up 5 pairs of earrings at the last minute for this challenge. I'm sure they're fabulous though, as everything she creates is!

    Claire & Leah are also brilliantly creative and constantly make the most inspirational pieces. Everyone loves Leah's chubby birdies, roses, and other adorable critters. And Claire! She's the queen of stacked earrings. Every time she blogs, I drool over her earrings. I was rather intimidated to be in such an exclusive challenge with her when Malin first asked us!

    But here we are, we've all made our pieces. I can't even wait to see what everyone else did! Be sure to check them out too. And thank you Malin for this fun challenge!

    Claire Lockwood - SomethingToDoWithYourHands -

    Leah Curtis - BeadyEyedBunny -

    Rebecca Anderson - SongBead -

    Heidi Post - ExPostFacto -

    Malin de Koning - BeadingByMalindeKoning -

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013

    BlueberriBeads & Thea Elements Challenge Hop!

    For this exciting challenge, Caroline of BlueberriBeads and Lesley of Thea Elements combined and sent us all a package of some of each of their creations! The pieces I got weren't my usual color scheme, but that's why this is a challenge, right? Fortunately, there was a gem show in town between when I received my package and when it was time for the reveal. I picked up some beads that worked perfectly in one of my pieces. I created three.

    The first, and my favorite piece, is the bracelet.

    I just love Lesley's bracelet focal! And I am a copper girl, so this went well with a clasp I'd previously made. Caroline's sea urchin bead is adorable, so I wanted that to be in the front. Also Caroline's are the dotted bead, which matches the colors of the focal perfectly, and the cream colored bead to its left. The new beads I got are the three coppery glitter quartz beads. But for the fact that I just don't wear this color scheme, I would probably wear this bracelet constantly!

    Next up is Necklace #1.

    This one's all Caroline. I added a vintage gold spacer and a matching newly purchased crystal and hung her raku bead and pendant from a vintage gold chain. It's a simple design, but I thought the focal was ornate enough that it didn't need a flashy design. It's very pretty and delicate, and would be great for daily wear.

    Lastly, I stepped WAY outside of the box with Necklace 2.

    I didn't feel like this focal went with any of Caroline's ceramic beads, and I was happy with the way I'd already combined them (in my pre-making trials). I didn't want to just hang the focal on chain, and I REALLY lack a big assortment of beads these colors. Finally, I realized that yellow sea glass I'd been wondering what to do with for so long was actually just the right color. In the same box those are stored in, I have a collection of Tagua samples I ordered last year. The orange ring is actually Tagua Nut. I also used some new copper glass spacers, and voila! I had a very modern-arty looking necklace. I love when something comes together that you would never dream up in a million years had you not been given such a challenge. 

    It's been really fun, and I can't wait to see what everyone else did. Please make sure to check out all the other blogs, and thanks for stopping by!

    Saturday, July 13, 2013


    Nigel is getting to be ever more difficult when I'm trying to make jewelry.

    And if he's not there, he's climbing up my lap onto my work table, or chewing on wire?!?!! I've managed to work around him a bit though. Here are some pictures of my latest efforts. Most of them are still available if you see anything you're interested in.

    Friday, May 31, 2013

    I was one of the lucky winners for this month's Art Jewelry Elements blog challenge! Susan SueBeads Kennedy made some colorful lampwork ruffle discs. The one I received was aqua & mango. It's probably the one I would have picked if we'd been allowed to pick. Thanks Susan!

    My immediate thought was some elaborate stacked sort of pendant, but then most of the bead would have been hidden if I'd done so. I pulled out a few beads and tried a few ideas until I came up with this. It took me longer than normal to make it, because I'd just adopted a kitten - and he stole just about all of my free time.

    I selected some small aquamarine beads, a large faceted amazonite round I'd been hoarding for some time, and some mango Czech glass. I think this necklace would be perfect with a sundress. It's so colorful and cheery.

    Make sure to check out the other challengees:

    Lorelei Eurto
    Birgitta Lejonklou
    Lola Surwillo
    Kay Thomerson

    And the Art Jewelry Elements Team:

    Jennifer Cameron
    Jenny Davies-Reazor
    Susan Kennedy
    Linda Landig
    Melissa Meman
    Rebekah Payne
    Kristen Stevens
    Jo Tinley
    Francesa Watson
    Lesley Watt

    Sunday, April 21, 2013

    Long Overdue

    It's been a very long time, but I have a pretty good pile of excuses. At the end of February, my sweet little dog, Crazers, who's been featured on this blog many times, got very sick. I spent a few weeks trying to get her better. Many trips to the vet, working half-days from home, cooking her meals, numerous meds several times a day, but alas, there wasn't really anything that could help. She was just old and had too many health problems. So I had to say goodbye to her on March 9.

    In a crazy desperate attempt to mitigate my sadness, I adopted another dog right away. But after a few days, it was clear that she was way too aggressive toward our cat. Perhaps with time and patience and a month off work, I might have been able to teach them to get along, but I was in no state to do that. Not to mention, the shelter neglected to test her for heartworms until AFTER I'd filled out the paperwork and went back to pick her up after being spayed, and it turns out she had them. They said they'd pay for the treatment, but she'd be on a waiting list for a couple of weeks. It really was more than I could handle, so I decided to return her. At least it didn't take long for someone to foster her, because she really was super cute and sweet to people. Anyway, after that, I was very depressed and totally unmotivated to do anything at all. So I took some time off from jewelry for awhile. We've since decided to get another kitten instead, and worry about another dog (in trainable puppy form) once we don't live on the 3rd floor of a condo. Kitten searching commences next weekend. I can't wait!

    So in the last couple of weeks, I've managed to make a few things that I like pretty well. I've become a little obsessed with making this particular style of earrings:

    A few days ago, I ordered some more lampwork pairs, and plan to make plenty more in this style. 

    Next month, I'm going to be a vendor at the New Orleans stop of the national touring Sugar Art Fashion Show, which I'm excited to do! There's only going to be a handful of vendors, so hopefully I'll do pretty well and maybe make some good contacts with buyers, shop owners, etc.

    Here are a couple of bracelets I've done this week:

    I will do my best to update my blog more regularly at this point!

    (Sorry about the Captcha for comments, but I was seriously getting 5-10 spam comments a day for awhile, so I had to.) 

    Friday, January 18, 2013

    I'm on Fiyah!

    I am an embarrassingly bad blogger!!! So to recap since whenever it's been... I had shoulder surgery shortly after Christmas. All went well, and I should be pain free in about 2 more months. My doctor was so impressed today with my range of motion, he's not even sending me to physical therapy. Hooray!

    I've still been keeping up with my jewelry, though maybe not at the speed I have in the past. I've got a bunch of new stuff to deliver to the salon tomorrow - I've had nothing there since the beginning of December, which is inexcusable.

    Now I must show you what the wonderful and uber-talented Susan of Libellula Jewelry did. Several months ago, she offered to make me some copper tags for my jewelry. I know she did it for a couple of others out there too - Keirsten and Brigitta at least. She sent them to me before Christmas, and I have neglected to blog about them. They're wonderful and I can't wait to start using them! I just haven't made any copper necklaces that hook in the back since then. She sent them bright and shiny, and I immediately dunked them in the LOS. I've buffed a couple, but figured I'd do the rest on an as-used basis. Pardon the indoor, Ott-lit, iPhone photo of them, but you can see how fabulous they are! And if you are tempted to order some of your own, she would be happy to design some for you!

    I also had the chance to meet and hang out with her over the holiday season. She's super cool and so easy to get along with. She was in town again last weekend doing a table at an Art Market in the hipster part of town, and she asked if I wanted to split a table with her next month. Apparently that market encourages people to split tables; so I agreed to do it. It's a weird weekend to do a market, i.e., Mardi Gras weekend. So I'm not sure how many people will be attending it rather than parades, or if those who do go will even be looking for jewelry - since it's touting that weekend as Last Minute Costume Sale - the Bywater hipsters are massively into fabulous DIY costumery. No matter what, it'll be fun and it'll be good exposure for both of us. I also kinda sorta think some of the artsy folks who attend that market will likely be more my demographic than the last several markets I've done. So crossing my fingers and toes for that!

    Did I mention that I got a torch for Christmas? Of course that led to: oh, and I need pickle. and a pickle pot. and crosslock tweezers. and copper tongs. After I finally managed to get all that, I spent the better part of last weekend making ball end headpins and a few clasp hooks. It was SO MUCH FUN! And another friend who has a tumbler offered to tumble it all for me, and of course I let her keep some for her trouble. Weirdly, they all curled up in the tumbler. I guess I cut them too long? Or is that the usual?

    Not really a problem, as I can straighten them easily enough, and some of them are halfway to being earwires anyway! Notice the two sterling ones in the bottom of the picture. They did not curl. All of this is 20g.

    So yeah, I'm gonna need a tumbler now. All because I wanted a torch! How it grows. Surely it'll be a kiln soon, and a new place to live so I have room to store/use all these things.

    Here's a necklace I made last night featuring one of my fancy new hook clasps!

    I love it! The heart, in case you didn't know, is from Nancy Schindler of Round Rabbit fame. So that sorta matching bead on the side there? It was all white carved cinnabar so I took some black acrylic paint and rubbed it in there, and sealed it with renwax for good measure. How perfect is that? I suspect I'll be doing that again, 'cos I got another one of these hearts in teal.

    Now for some earrings made with my exciting earwires:

    Note the teeny 24g headpins holding the green garnets. I am awesome. Haha. Really though, I'm so excited about all this.

    I will be back to blog again soon, I promise!

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