Saturday 25 March 2017

Bead Soup Blog Party - Bead Hoarders Edition

At long last, it's time for another round of the Bead Soup Blog Party. We pair up, swap beads, create, and reveal our goodies en masse. This time, Lori Anderson decided to add a twist: hoarding. For a long time, I convinced myself I wasn't a bead hoarder, but looking at the beautiful handmade beads I've collected over the years is evidence to the contrary. We were asked to choose a special hoarded bead and send it to our partner.

I was very lucky to be paired with Alice Craddick. She loves color. Although I usually stick to certain palettes, I, too, am drawn to colorful delights. Here's the zesty set of orange, lime, turquoise, and purple beads Alice sent me.

Photo from Alice

I was so excited, I even forgot to take a photo! I immediately started making earrings from the small beads, but that pinwheel focal took more time. It's so unusual, and I wanted to compliment the fun, colorful design.

I was very tempted to use the lime lampwork beads (top of the photo) in earrings, but I decided to work them into a necklace with the focal. The lampwork is by Buckaroo Beads, and I love, love them.


In the necklace, I used the ceramic pinwheel, small faceted blue glass, and the lime green lampwork. The rest is from my stash, so this necklace has definitely turned into a stash buster!

I also made a pair of who-hoops with some of the small beads Alice sent. 

I'm sure you're wondering what I sent to Alice, so here are a couple snaps. And yes, it's all pretty colorful. I couldn't choose one color, so I sent Alice a rainbow of components I've collected over the past 8 years.

A huge thank you to my swap partner, Alice, for the delightful collection of beads and for reminding me how fun it is to go a bit wild with it in my designs. Now, I'm off to see what she made!

You can find the full list of participants (it's a doozy!) on Lori's blog, Pretty Things. It goes without saying that Lori is a spectacular hostess. Thanks so much for hosting another Bead Soup Blog Party and for encouraging us to dive into our stashes!

Sunday 6 November 2016

Stacked Earrings Challenge - the fifth and final round!

I am sad to say we're finally at the end of the Stacked Earrings Challenge started by Malin de Koning. This is the 5th and final round! The original idea was for a small group of jewelry makers to send each other a selection of beads. The challenge is to create at least one pair of earrings with at least 3 types of the beads from the pack.

This time, it was Heidi's turn from Ex Post Facto Jewelry. I personally found Heidi's pack of beads so fun! I immediately made two pairs and sadly didn't have a lot of opportunity to make nearly as many as I wanted. In all, I finished three pairs, but I'll definitely be heading back to this stash soon!

Here's a photo of everything Heidi sent:

Photo by Malin de Koning

Aren't they fun? I was drawn to the purple and orange, tiny faceted metallic, and old (African trade?) beads. I only finished three pairs of earrings, but I had so many ideas from this selection.

The very first pair I made used only beads from the pack. They're made with the plump orange beads, rhinestone spacers, green stones, copper tubes, a pair of faceted gems, and those teeny tiny metallic beads.

Next up I went for purple. I've been experiencing purple mania recently, so I pulled out the dyed wood, faceted glass, some complimentary mint colored beads, and decorative bead caps. I added my own enameled twisted headpins for extra fun!

Last and most favorite is the third pair I finished this week. I love to mix a bit of grungy metal with sparkling stones and just a pop of color. At the top of the earrings is a tiny stack of the old striped glass with the faceted metal beads. I wire wrapped hoops of copper and dangled African Krobo beads beneath them with a chain of the rock crystals from the pack. 

Thank you, Heidi, for the super fun beads! All those tiny beads were so useful and perfect for adding extra little details. And a huge thanks to Malin for starting this wonderful challenge! It's been fantastic.

Check out what the others made on their blogs!

Tuesday 1 March 2016

New Made to Order Rustic Roses!

Hello again and happy March! It's already feeling like Spring on the eastcoast (well, in the South!), and I'm pretty sure it's getting me in a colorful mood. I love all sorts of colors from the softest to the boldest. But I usually stick to using earthy and natural colors with the occasional burst of gem-tones. I was a little bit surprised when someone described my handmade beads as colorful! I hadn't really thought about it, but I guess they're right. Sometimes you don't see your own work in the same way. It's good to have perspective.

So, with color in mind, I recently launched five new Rustic Roses for my line of Made to Order art beads. Want to see? And yes, most of them are colorful, but I did squeeze in a couple of muted pinks and creams.

You see that soft, peachy color at the top left? I call that one alabaster cream, and it's actually my favorite. It looks so beautiful with the golden highlights...sigh.

I'm offering it with a distressed black finish, too, for anyone who needs an extra kick of rustic goodness.

Do you have a favorite amongst these, or would you like to see another color in my Made to Order collection? Let me know! I love experimenting with color.

Friday 19 February 2016

New at Beady Eyed Bunny: Made to Order

If you've been keeping up with my shop and Facebook page recently, you might have noticed a few little changes. I'm now offering Made to Order beads in my shop and planning to expand the range very soon. Many of you already know I'm more than happy to accept custom orders (if you want to share in my art, I want you to be happy!), but not everyone passing by my shop knows that.

I make most of my sales on Etsy. I think it's a great platform, but unless you dig through a shop's entire Policies, Announcements and more, then you're likely to miss out on some of what they offer. We artists all do things a little differently - it's integral to being creative - so a buyer may not realize that you do offer customized or Made to Order items.

So, today I'm launching a select range of my signature beads as Made to Order. I created a new section dedicated to just these items and tagged the listings appropriately to make searching easier. Want to see?

The range is a little limited at the moment, but as soon as I stock up on my go-to colors and supplies, there will be many more. So far, we have Rustic Roses in a choice of black, brown or golden details, and my Love Birds with either black or brown accents. I'm still keeping the options in these listings fairly limited and staying open to custom orders. I don't want to end up overwhelming people!

How it works for the customer: Having Made to Order listings ready in the shop makes things easier for me and the customer. These are items I can make fairly quickly because I keep extra supplies in stock. All the customer needs to do is choose the quantity and finish color, and their beads are ready within a set time limit. There's no digging through pages of sold items to find out what I can make and you don't miss out entirely if my shop updates sell out.

It does initially take me a little extra time to get listings ready and organized for Made to Order items. I thought about what a customer might search for, color options, and the best way to display and photograph the beads so they look good as a constant item in my shop. In the end, I save a lot of time in the future because I don't have to rephotograph and list them over and over.

And how is it working out so far? These went live this morning, and I've already had orders from new customers! People I didn't even know were looking at my shop. That's put a smile on my face and let me know a little change like this can make a huge difference for people looking for my supplies and art.

Thursday 18 February 2016

Pretty Paper Pouch Tutorial: DIY packaging

Hello good readers! As you've probably guessed by now, this post is going to be all about packaging. I'm going to show you a few little tricks to make some quick but very pretty paper pouches. These are great for sending out samples, handmade beads and earrings. Whatever you can fit! And, of course, you can make these as large or small as you need.

Recently, I shared a photo of some packages that were heading out on my Facebook page. My packaging has gone through a few stages. In the very beginning, Stage One consisted of fretting over things breaking and not worrying too much about how the package looked. I call this the utilitarian-ugly stage. Before I started investing more in packaging, it was all about the items arriving in one piece (or how many ever there were supposed to be).  Now that I understand more about how to ship fragile beads and jewelry safely, I've been able to get more creative with attractive packaging.

Over the years, I've received some really pretty packages in the mail. Whether it was every day supplies, something handmade, or a gift, it felt so special opening up a beautiful package. Who doesn't love that? I wanted to pass that feeling on to my own customers.

Now, I don't like to charge my customers a lot for shipping, so I've honed my supplies and worked out what's most affordable and effective for me. My basic materials are paper, tissue paper, tape and ribbon. That's it. I think ahead and shop around to get the best deals. The paper/scrap booking aisle of your local craft shop is a great place to start!

.:: Supplies ::.
Decorative paper (I used a 4.5 inch x 6.5 inch precut piece)
Washi tape or tape of choice
Tissue paper
Ribbon, raffia, hemp cord, etc.
(Beads in the photo above are what I'm packing)

Step 1: I folded my 4.5" x 6.5" piece of paper in half length ways. This paper is from a multipack of designs I found in the stationary/scrap booking section of my local hobby shop. Since it's precut, it makes things go so much faster! You can use recycled papers from books, music, handmade name it.

Step 2: Cut two pieces of your decorative washi tape: one for the long edge of the pouch and one for the bottom of the paper pouch. I chose something that coordinated both with the paper I was using and the beads my customer bought. I love it when things are a little bit different, but still look great to gether.

Step 3: If your tape has a paper backing, peel that off and center your tape along one of the open edges of your folded paper. This shows the edge that will become the bottom of the pouch.

Step 4: Fold the tape flush with the bottom of the paper edge and smooth it along the front and back.

Step 5: Take your longer piece of tape you cut to size and seal the edge of the paper opposite the fold. Hey presto, we have a pouch!

Step 6: Wrap your item in tissue paper and insert it into the pouch. (If I'm wrapping earrings, I like to mount them on coordinating cardstock and wrap that in tissue paper).

That's all you have to do to make your paper pouch! Fold and tape. It's how you finish it that completes the look. You could leave it simple or seal the top with a nice label. For my beads and supply orders, I tend to go for a shabby chic cottage look, so I like to finish the packages with a little ribbon or bow. I ran out of raffia and cord, so I used some white ribbon I had for this.

Step 7: Cut a nice, long piece of ribbon to tie around your package. Flip your pouch over (back side up) and tie a simple over hand knot (once!) around the center.

Step 8: Take the loose ends of ribbon and pull them tight - pull one towards each of the long ends so it creates a criss cross on the back of the package.

Step 9: Flip the package back over. Center the line of ribbon where you'd like it and pull the loose ends of ribbon towards the center from the top and bottom of the pouch. Tie a bow and you're done! I slipped a little "thank you" note under the bow.

I hope that gave you a little inspiration for your own packaging. I find this to be fairly quick for me, but yes, it does take some extra effort. I think it's worth it, though. I love to mix things up, change details about the packaging, and coordinate with my customers' orders. It makes mailing days a little more fun!

Sunday 14 February 2016

Stacked Earrings Challenge Version 4

Hello there! This is the 4th edition of the Stacked Earring Challenge started by Malin de Koning. It's a challenge where 5 of us, Rebecca Anderson, Heidi Post, Claire Lockwood, Malin and myself send each other a little pack of beads and see what we can come up with. It's all about earrings!

The idea of the challenge

We each take turns sending a pack of beads to the group and design 
as many or as few earrings in a stacked style. We try to use at least
3 types of beads from the pack in each pair of earrings.

This time around, it was Rebecca's turn to send out the beads. And I have to say, they looked very like Rebecca's style to me! Colorful, fun beads, unusual and sweet. I made four pairs of earrings for the challenge, but first, here's a photo of all the beads.

I was very excited about these! I had so many ideas while digging through this stash, but I narrowed it down to four that I finished. For all of the earrings I made, I used solid copper and made my own earwires to suite each pair. In order of creation...

These tropical beauties have a stacked trio of beads from Rebecca's stash plus a pair of fiery orange roses by UK lampworker Earthshine Beads. I have had these roses for some time. I think they were waiting to be a part of these!

Next up is a very simple stacked pair made entirely of beads from the pack. I used the gorgeous glowing purple glass, wood beads, tiny spacers and rubber rings. The rings are so neat, but a pain to keep patina off (any tips?). I may have to rethink these.

My third pair of earrings incorporated more of the purple beads. Oh yes, I do love purple. These are a sleeker look than my others. I used slender pyrite gems, a duo of blossoms and tiny purple wooden beads (I LOVE these!) from the challenge pack.

Finally, these super funky earrings. Very unusual for me, but why not...I used the large glass blossoms, adorable ladybirds, acid green flowers and some smaller beads from the collection. I added in some green howlite and rhinestone chain from my stash.

Finished with twirls of copper and wire wrapped earwires. These look huge, but aren't very heavy because of the slim components. 

I hope you enjoyed seeing what I made! I have many more to finish. Thanks so much, Rebecca, for the beads and Malin for starting this great challenge! Until next time...

Wednesday 9 December 2015

History Hop: Paleolithic Style reveal!

Today is the reveal for the most recent instalment of the History Hop. Our inspiration this time was the Paleolithic era. This was a time in early history when primitive humans began to use tools and create art. There's more info on the period in my original post here.

Before I show you what I made, I'd like to thank all of you for taking part! I'm excited to see what each of you made. I hope you had as much fun creating for this challenge as I did!

I drew most of my inspiration from the cave paintings and simple tools of the era. I kept thinking back to the materials primitive man might have used - stones, fiber, gems...The first pair of earrings I made were inspired by the faceted tools called hand axes that our Paleolithic cave dwelling friends used. I carved my own "hand axes" from polymer clay. I used black as a nod to one of the many stones they would have used - obsidian.

I paired my little hand axes with rough amethyst gems and organic styled art glass pebbles by Julia Hay (she's also taking part in this blog hop). The glass pebbles really do look like little stones with patches of moss.

Finished with hemp and brass earwires (I don't think they had those back then, but you've got to wear them somehow!).

Next up is a pair of earrings inspired by the weather. Dull? I think not! I honed in on ice and snow, glaciers and touches of blue sky. These earrings have artisan ceramics by Scorched Earth and At Home In Taos. I wire wrapped icy rutilated herkimer quartz in blackened copper and finished with a pair of my handmade sterling silver hooks for an extra touch of icy cool colors.

Last but not least is actually the first piece I started designing. I fiddled around with a number of ideas for this necklace before giving up and making the earrings. It finally came together yesterday. You can probably tell this one is inspired by the cave paintings themselves. I chose a ceramic face bead by At Home in Taos and a terracotta arrow (it's actually a heart) by Scorched Earth. I used hemp to bind the pieces together and created a totem of stones above the face.

The totem is a mix of natural stones with an organic feel. I used turquoise, herkimer quartz and juicy amethyst. I created a little cradle for the stones with a hand worked copper base and wrapped it tightly with waxed hemp. I even worked in a tiny herkimer above the terracotta arrow to draw the eye to those mica sparkles. And they do sparkle!

The necklace is finished with strands of hemp cord and recycled sari silk in earthy terracotta, umber and pale mustard.

I hope you've enjoyed this blog hop! Please check out the full list of participants below.

Full list of participants:

Leah Curtis (hostess) - Beady Eyed Bunny
Shaiha's Ramblings
Julia Hay - Pandanimal
Rachel Mallis - Mint Monarch
Robin Reed - Artistry HCBD
Joanne Tinks
YeeLen Spirit Designs (will be revealing on Dec. 12th, please check back then!)
Karin G. - Gingko et Coquelicot
Dini Bruinsma
Deborah Apodaca
Tapping Flamingo

Facebook Participants:
Laura Bailey Taskey
Album for Facebook participants found in Bead Soup Cafe 

PS. Check back later for another blog post with a giveaway! I've made a special set of beads similar to the polymer clay hand axes I've used here.