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Sunday, November 6, 2016

The severely overdue final installment of the Stacked Bead Challenge!

This time, it was my fault. I had made up my packs of beads to send the ladies well over a year ago, but then Rebecca was next and then we all kinda forgot about it for a while. Someone finally remembered, and I sent off my beads. Now, there's a caveat here... When I was making my selection, I was recovering from shoulder surgery so I was down an arm and highly medicated. I believe my M.O. was to choose beads that I liked, but that had been hanging around stumping me for quite some time. After a year passed and soberly reflecting on my choices, I felt pretty bad about it. Everyone was going to be in for a tricky design challenge. I cursed myself repeatedly as I struggled to make even one pair. Cursing myself further, I made a second pair about a week later. This cycle continued until I actually managed to make six pairs and I actually like most of them! Persistence and cursing does pay off in the end. So here we go...

Thank you Malin for being the only one to remember to take a photo! Also, if you're counting, you might notice there're a few beads that have odd amounts. When I was packing the bags, I spilled one. I thought I had collected them all, but like I said I was in an altered state at the time. I thought I kept that bag for myself, but it seems Malin wound up with it.

This is the first pair I made. The shells were really the ones that had been bothering me the longest. Mostly composed of my bead selection.

Then there were these. Pretty simple, not bad and contain just the beads I included - other than metal spacers.

And then these. I was excited when I discovered the ceramic charms went with the color scheme. But I swear, I stacked them 100 times before I was satisfied. Yet, I think I only added one bead plus the spacer.

And then came these. I think they might be my favorite of the lot. I added the rhinestones, the piggies, the copper spacer & copper dangles.

Next, there were these. Only one picture, because they're not meant to lie flat... I love those purple & grey beads. I forgot what they're called, but the guy who sold them to me was very excited about how rare and unusual they were. I tried so many times, but I only wanted to make The Perfect Necklace with them, so nothing ever happened. I figured these talented ladies could at least give them a good life as earrings.

And finally, the pair I made after I declared I was sick of looking at the beads and I was D.O.N.E. Pardon the cat hair in the first photo. That would be Nigel's only physical contribution to my efforts, but he gave me so much moral support sleeping next to me or staring at me as I made them all.

I don't know if everyone else had such a difficult time with their own bead selections. But I sure can't wait to see what they did with my weirdo choices! Make sure you check them out too. Links below...

Thank you again Malin for starting this whole crazy experiment, and thanks to Rebecca, Claire, and Leah for being such awesome and inspiring partners in all this and in the jewelry they make on a regular basis. I sure have some talented friends ♥

  • 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
  • Sunday, February 14, 2016

    Stacked Earrings Challenge #4

    It's been awhile, but here we finally are with the penultimate Stacked Earrings Challenge! I think we can blame the holidays. Hopefully the last one will be sooner than later.

    This time, it was Rebecca Anderson who sent the big batch of beads. Rebecca is famous for Czech glass and flowers, turquoise and red. So it wasn't a huge surprise when I opened the package. A thrill, yes--because I always love the beads she works with--but not a huge surprise. I couldn't wait to get started!

    The first pair I made the day the package came. I apologize for the crazy background, but it was almost impossible to get a good photo of them with a white background. Such is the curse of clear glass beads. The only beads in here that were mine are the tiny crystals on top, the turquoise piggies (under the crystals at the top if you don't know what piggies are), and the white saucery discs in the middle. I like that the earwire is the same piece that has all the beads stacked on it. I don't do that often, but I'm generally pretty excited about it when I do.

    Next, I made these. It is not a coincidence that I made both turquoise pairs first; I love the color as much as Rebecca does. I think the big beads with the gold were the first ones I noticed when I opened the box. They are super cute--and they finally, FINALLY gave me a reason to use those dangly arrow things I'd been hoarding for years. I was most excited about that, and I'm very happy with the way they came out. To me, they look like a combo of mid-Century Greek styling meets retro-future (a la the Jetsons). I think my grandmother would have liked these. And since her jewelry collection is what started my whole jewelry making adventure, I'd say that's a good thing. Only the metal beads and the aforementioned dangles were my own.

    The next ones I made were these. I generally try to avoid this many brights in one piece--especially all the primary colors--but it works. I am now seeing those red beads toward the top as little fire hydrants, haha. I think they are supposed to be flowers? Either way, those were mine. As are the little yellows on top and the turquoise discs halfway down, and everything that's gold. I would never have used gold but for the gold on the ladybugs. I think it works though. I also think these would be really great earrings for a kindergarten teacher. Or very early elementary school. F is for Flower. L is for Ladybug. H is for Hydrant... yeah okay, it's still very early and I didn't get a lot of sleep, nor have I had my coffee yet. As an aside, I'm planning to make my iced coffee this morning with sparkling water. Good idea or bad? We shall see...

    On to the next ones. Another pair that called for using something that had been waiting patiently for a long time. These orange tubes seemed like a brilliant idea when I bought them, but I never could make them work until now. Because orange and purple go together so naturally, right? But the leaves at the bottom said so. Or at least one of them did. And who am I to deny the leaf? And it worked! Seriously, I would never have put lavender and screaming bright orange together. I'm sure there's a floral dress out there that was made to go with these earrings. Only the tubes and the copper spacers are mine. I ran out of my ball end headpins and haven't felt up to making more, so I made these twisty end ear wires instead. They're cute but one of these days, I'm going to have to break out the torch and make more ball end pins.

    The next pair is the I'm pushing on, but I'm not particularly inspired pair. I love the pea pod style bead. I've had some dark red ones for probably five years and I'm not sure I've ever used them. I just don't ever feel like I have a good idea for them. But here these were, and by George, I was going to use them! And the hole didn't run through quite straight on the right one, but I used it anyway. I really feel like these were forced though. I just can't get excited about them, alas. Only the light blue beads on top and the metal bits are mine. I think I just had creative fatigue at the time, and the holidays were coming and I had so much to do (like have shoulder surgery again, so I was really trying to just make one more pair). At this point, I said I was done.

    But then a month or so passed after my shoulder surgery, and no one had said anything about a reveal date. And I was really itching to get back to my bead table. I'd even gone to a gem and bead show a couple of days after I got my sling off, but I didn't have the strength to bend wires or anything. All I could do was look at all my pretty new beads and put them in organizers and dream. After another week or so, I started small. Just a simple pair of earrings wore me out. But I managed these. Fortunately I'd made the earwires previously. I did not use any of my new goodies, but rather these old palm wood beads. Just they and the copper beads are mine. After that, I really was done.

    I am very disappointed that I couldn't come up with something for the big blue flowers or the green/gold speckled beads. But I will use them eventually because I love them. Also, I am at a loss when it comes to using the larger rubber rings. I'm sure when I see what everyone else did with them, I will roll my eyes at myself. They were just too challenging for me! As were the huge turquoise discs. I know everyone else likes to go vertical with those, but I can never seem to make it work. Now I am off to see what all the other ladies made so I can ooh and ahh and perhaps figure out what in the heck to do with the beads that were troubling me. Now you go look at what they made too. Links to their pages follow. Thanks for stopping by!

  • 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
  • Wednesday, December 9, 2015

    The Holidays are Here Again!

    I've been busy busy busy making new things for the three markets I have coming up this season. Please stop by and say hi if you're local!

    Thursday, April 30, 2015

    Welcome to the third installment of the Stacked Earrings Challenge!

    This time, Leah sent us a glorious selection of beads. Malin took a beautiful sorted-by-color photo of them for us.

    For the last two, I made four pairs each. This time, I was determined to make more. And I did! I made seven pairs! And my shoulder is still not back to normal. I actually made some of these a few weeks ago when I was even less back to normal, so go me!!!

    This pair features some beads from the necklace that started my whole jewelry making affair. The faceted purpley fire-polished beads were on an old necklace of my grandmother's. There were some other beads on that necklace that I loved even more and decided I was going to learn wire wrapping and I was going to get some sterling wire. I went all out. I never even wear the necklace I made anymore. I need to break it out. But back to these. Those, and the gold discs are mine, everything else is from Leah.

    For this pair, the blue, red spacer, white flower combo are all Leah's. The rest are mine. The round red beads and silver spacers are vintage, plus some bone spacers and little faceted silver beads on top. Plus the birdies.

    The beautiful lamp work focals here come from the wonderful Amber of Naos Glass fame. I'd been hoarding them for a while, waiting for the right inspiration. I think I found it! Everything above them is mine. Everything below them is from Leah.

    The only thing of mine here are the blue flower spacers under those magnificent Czech focal beads, as well as the blue dangley bits on the bottom.

    The copper spacers were mine, the pink piggies are actually from one of our other participants, Rebecca's etsy shop. The Greek ceramic daggers are from the aforementioned Naos Glass. The two blues, and the bottom pinks are from Leah.

    I apologize for the blur here. I thought it came out better when looking at it on my phone. Other than the brass spacers, this is all from Leah. I really love how they came out!

    Everything purple on this (I apologize again for the blur) pair is from Leah. The silver and black & white beads are mine.

    I can't believe I made 7 pairs! And I actually really like them all! This has been such a fun challenge to participate in, and we still have 2 more to go. I encourage anyone reading this to grab a few of your beady buddies and do something similar. 

  • 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
  • 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!

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