Friday 27 July 2012

BSBP6 Reveal!

Today is the long awaited Bead Soup Blog Party®. This is the 6th BSBP held by Lori Anderson of Pretty Things. And it's my first. I'm excited, nervous, and a little bit surprised it's finally here.

There are 400 participants this year, and I was paired with the very talented glass artist Maryse Fritzsch-Thillens. Maryse sent me a wonderful soup with her own 23ct gold foiled lampwork, gold vermeil beads and clasp, and two gorgeous lampwork focals.  She also sent some beautiful sari silk, vintage components, and leather cord. Here's a reminder of the soup I received.

I went to work straight away. In total, I made 5 pieces for the reveal. For my first piece, I used the gold vermeil toggle clasp. I chose to do a simple design, incorporating the leather cord. I used Maryse's lampwork, some of the gold vermeil, and crystal quartz gemstones I already had.

My inspiration for this piece was the beautiful, varied colours of the lampwork. They had a Moroccan feel, and I tried to keep this rich palette mixed with gold. It was actually harder to design than I thought. This bracelet was a refreshing new style for me. Here's a closer look at the brushed gold vermeil clasp I used in my Moroccan Bracelet.

For my second piece, Sea Princess, I used some of the extra beads and silk Maryse sent me. I wrapped more of Maryse's lampwork beads with 14ct gold filled wire and made up the remaining length with the pink silk she sent me. I made my own clasp for this bracelet with the same gold wire and used an old coin from the Third Hellenic Republic as a focal piece. That coin was hard to wrap!

There are also tiny lampwork beads from Tania Grey called Little Wishes. I couldn't resist including them since they matched Maryse's bead so perfectly. I think this picture shows how special Maryse's beads are. Look at that flash of color...

Here are some closer shots of the focal coin. I added some faceted gems for an extra touch of sparkle.

And here's a final shot of the front of the coin (the back of the bracelet).

My next piece features some lovely little gems from Tanya of FusionMuse. It seems like fate that I received her free Beads for Blogging and was inspired to use them with the vermeil beads and leather Maryse sent me. I added some matching magnesite stones and created my very first lariat - Boho Chic.


The focal area has a vintage rhinestone ball and a vermeil bead Maryse sent me. This necklace is fresh and simple. There's no need for a clasp, as it's the perfect length to slide over your head.

Are you tired yet? I promise there are only two more! As everyone hopping probably knows, the challenge of the BSBP is to use the clasp and focal your partner sends you. Maryse very generously sent me not one but two focals. I'm glad to say I was inspired and challenged by both of them.

The first one I used was this gorgeous vessel style bead. The flash of yellow matched a strip of sari silk she sent me beautifully. I knew what I was going to do straight away and decided on an asymmetrical design.

One side features the vibrant yellow and purple silk. I mirrored these colours with deep purple amethyst and lemon quartz gemstones.


For an added touch of detail, I wrapped one of the tiny, faceted lemon quartz at the bottom of the focal. It added a bit of extra sparkle and draws the eye down Maryse's lampwork. Can you see the flecks of purple on the focal?


To finish this necklace off, I forged my own copper clasp. It fastens to a chunky copper link meeting the sari silk.

And now to share my final piece for the sixth Bead Soup Blog Party®. It's something very different for me. The second focal Maryse made for me was filled with whimsy. I wasn't sure what to do at first. I loved the lacy black pattern - the pool of blue and the chunky shape.

The earthy colors made me think of gardens, and I soon came up with my grand plan. I know this cuff is a bit crazy, but I'm happy. I'm happy because I was pushed out of my usual styles and created something very different. Faerie Garden cuff took about 5 hours to make.

This garden green velvet cuff features vintage beads and chatons, Czech glass flowers (never used those before!), and that magical focal. I wrapped the vintage chatons I received from the Old Bicycle Shop in Vintaj bead caps.

Maryse's lampwork is surrounded by Czech glass flowers and beads that sprawl along the soft velvet. Tiny dew drop beads sparkle amongst the flowers. A border of vintage speckled drops were hand sewn with fine copper wire onto the velvet.

For closure, I made a chunky, whimsical copper clasp.  And one of those vintage chatons sparkles at the end of the cuff.

And those are my 5 creations for the Sixth Bead Soup Blog Party®. This has been a wonderful experience for me. And I hope the rest of you hopping will enjoy my creations! The fun's not over yet, though. There are hundreds of blogs to hop to.

Here are all of the participants revealing today, July 28th.

 Hostess, Lori Anderson,
Alice Craddick,  Alice's Beads and Baubles
Alicia Marinache,  All The Pretty Things
Amanda Tibbetts,  Amanda Made
Amber Dawn Goldish, Inventive Soul
Annita Wilson,  AW Jewelry
Beti Horvath, Stringing Fool
Birgitta Lejonklou,  Create With Spirit   
Candida Castleberry,    Spinning Spun Sugar
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn's Creations
Cassie Donlen, Glass Beadle
Cheryl McCloud,  One Thing Leads to Another
Cheryl Roe, BeadRoe
Christina Hickman, Vintage Treasures Jewelry
Christine Hendrickson,  Clamworks
Cilla Watkins, Tell Your Girlfriends
Cindy Wilson, Mommy's Dream
Cindy Wimmer, Sweet Bead Studio
Cory Celaya, Art With Moxie
Cory Tompkins, Tealwater Designs
Cris Peacock, Cris' Page
Cynthia Deis, Shiny Little Things
Cynthia Machata, Antiquity Travelers
Cynthia Wainscott, Exotic Peru
Dana Hickey, Magpie Approved
Denielle Hagerman, Some Beads and Other Things
Diane Valasek, Dragonfly Close
Doris Stumpf, Glaszwerg
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell, Dee-Liteful Jewelry Creations
Elaine Robitaille, Too Aquarius
Eleanor Burian-Mohr, The Charmed Life
Enikö Fabian, Perl-eni
Erin Prais-Hintz, Treasures Found
Heather Davis, Blissful Garden Beads
Hilary Frye, FryeStyle
Inge von Roos, Inge's Blog
Jami Shipp, Celebrating Life
Jayne Capps, Mama's Got to Doodle
Jennifer Cameron, Glass Addictions
Jennifer Pottner, Rock Candy Beads
Jennifer VanBenschoten,  Jewelry, Art and Life
Jenny Davies-Reazor, Jenny Davies-Reazor
Jenny Vidberg, Shyme Design
Jessica Dickens, My Jewelry, My Life, Me
Jessica Klaaren, Beadful-Things by Jessica
Joan Williams, Lilruby Jewelry
Judith Johnston, Judith Johnston
Judy Riggs, Rigglettes
Judy Turner, Silver Rains
Julie Anne Leggett, The Peaceful Bead
K Hutchinson, Jumbled Hutch
Karen Meador, Dreamcatcher Ranch
Karyn Bonfiglio, Plus Size Bangles
Katherine Gale, Terra Beadworks
Kathleen Lange Klik, Modern Nature Studio
Katja Benevol Gabrijelcic, Slovonske Technobe
Kelli Jacobson, Creative Moon
Kelly Ramstack, Adventures with Kelly
Keri Lee Sereika, Pink Lemonade
Kim Bender-Hora, KimmyKat
Kirsi Luostarinen, Kirsi Luo Korut
Kitty Bozzini, Kitty Lampwork
Laura Demoya, The Bead Therapist
Laurie Hanna, Laurie's Jewelbox
Leah Curtis, Beady Eyed Bunny
Lesley Watt, The Gossiping Goddess
Linda Inhelder, Must-Haves Jewelry
Lisa Liddy, Metal Me This
Mallory Hoffman, For the Love of Beads
Marge Beebe, Rock Creek Creations
Marianna Boylan, Pretty Shiny Things
Marion Simmons, Shade Tree Studio
Marla Gibson, Spice Box Design
Marta Weaver, Marta Weaver Jewelry
Marti Conrad, Marti C's Clay Blog
Maryse Fritzsch-Thillens, GlassBeadArt, Lampwork Beads
Melanie Brooks, Earthenwood Studio
Michelle Hardy, Firefly Visions
Mikala Coates, Maybe Just Perhaps
Mowse Doyle, HoCArt
Nancy Boylan, Snazzy Doodle Designs
Nancy Peterson, Beading From the Heart
Nicole Rennell, Nicole Rennell Designs
Niki Meiners, 365 Days of Craft
Niky Sayers, Silver Nik Nats
Norma Turvey, Moonlit Fantaseas
Paige Maxim, Paige Maxim Designs
Pamela Gangler, She Always Loved Pink
Perri Jackson, Shaktipaj Designs
Raida Disbrow, Havana Beads
Renetha Stanziano, Lamplight Crafts
Shannon Hicks, Falling Into the Sky
Shannon LeVart, Miss Fickle Media
Sharon Driscoll, Right Turn Art Werks
Shelley Graham Turner, Fabric of My Life
Sherri Stokey, Knot Just Macrame
Shirley Moore, Beads and Bread
Skylar Bre'z, Brising Beads
Stacie Florer, Soul to Substance
Stacie Stamper, Park Avenue
Stacy Alderson, Iridal's Attic
Stephanie Haussler, Pixybug Designs
Stephanie Stamper, Rainy Day Designs
Suzette Bentley, Ellie's Bijoux
Tammy Jones, Jewelry Making Daily
Tanty Sri Hartanti, TJewellicious by Tanti
Terry Matuszyk, Pink Chapeau

Vonna Maslanka, Just Vonna

For the full list of participants in the 3 reveal dates, go to Lori's blog here. And while I send you in her direction. I want to thank you, Lori, for doing this! This has been a wonderful experience, and the fun's not over yet.

Thanks to Maryse, my wonderful partner for sending me a beautiful soup and sharing your talent. And to Tanya of FusionMuse for keeping us on our toes and working hard on the much awaited reveal website. We'll find out more about that as the day goes on.

Now...I'm off to hop! First stop, Maryse's blog.

Tuesday 24 July 2012

A Special Giveaway

I like sharing about giveaways and freebies I come across with all of you. But this one is different.

It's a special chance to win a beautiful, handmade sterling earring and necklace set by Tanya of FusionMuse. The set is made of hand wrapped sterling silver, rubies, and pearls. Tanya is giving away this set, valued at $1400, to raise awareness for a friend and his wife who recently lost two of their triplets.

Tanya's friend owns Sinarin Silver, and by visiting his site and commenting on Tanya's blog, you'll be entered in the giveaway. Spread the word on your blog or Facebook, and you'll gain extra entries.

If you want to go the next step and make this giveaway even more meaningful, making a purchase at Sinarin Silver will give you another entry. And your purchase will help this family during a painful time.

All you have to do is spread the word, but every little bit extra will mean so much to Tanya and her friend. Visit Tanya's blog for more photos and full list of rules.

Beads for Blogging - Nearly finished

Here's my third piece for Beads for Blogging. I used the faux amber (acrylic) and gemstone pendant Tanya sent me. I had originally wanted to do a multistrand bracelet, but decided on a lariat.

I used black cotton cord for contrast between the beautiful amber, red, and orange tones of the beads. The beads are bound with lark's head knots and simple overhand knots. I also added a pair of lampwork glass beads by Tania Grey.

The focal teardrop has an attractive medley of orange and red tones.  For me, using the gemstone focal came easily. But the acrylic beads were more of a challenge. I usually think 'ick, acrylic,' but I have to say these little beads have opened my eyes. They have a crackle effect that catches the sun just as beautifully as any other bead, and the colour is gorgeous against the black cord.

Out of all the jewellery I made for the Beads for Blogging challenge, I have to say this is my favorite. Not using metal is a strange first for me. I love how different this piece is. I was challenged by Tanya's beads and was able to create something earthy and simply peaceful.

You can see my previous pieces using Tanya's beads here and here. There's another one I haven't shared with you yet, but that will have to wait until the Bead Soup Blog Party® reveal this Saturday.

If you want to challenge yourself with free beads from Tanya's shop, check out her blog here for details on how to enter. All you have to do is create and share your work!

Saturday 21 July 2012

A very good day...

Today has turned out to be a good day. The last few days have been really hectic, so a little brightness is very appreciated. My hubby's back from a stint away, the sun was shining, I chatted to some lovely people, and the postman brought me two packages of gorgeous beads. 

Since my other half hasn't had post in weeks, he begged to open one of the packets. He even knew it would be beads - that's serious withdrawal. The first package contained beautiful lampwork beads by Tania Grey. I LOVE her beads. Want to see?


I got them from Tania's Swappage Emporium. The Emporium is a little site she set up specifically for swapping. Tan swaps for more than just handmade items or beads. She'll take coffee, frit, handmade goodies, and much more. This time, I'm sending her some soap I made.

I love the blue and yellow set - it even has tiny yellow spacers. They remind me of bumblebees, but if you look closely, the dark glass is actually a gorgeous cobalt blue.

My absolute favourite is the tree bead. I've never had a tree bead before, so it's only fitting that this one looks like no other I've seen. 

If you want to swap with Tan, have a look at her Swappage Emporium. She'll be filling the shelves with new lampwork on July 26th. Tan's also started a Facebook page for her site where she'll add other handmade goods.

Now, the second package was from Davida of the Old Bicycle Shop. She is an absolute gem. Davida was offering a prize on a forum I frequent. I ended up tying for first place with my Summer Nights necklace. She even let me choose the beads I wanted from her shop and sent extras. Here's everything...

I've coveted those watch faces for ages. And those faceted gunmetal beads, and...and...Davida really spoiled me. Since I want to share the love, I'll be sending some of these beads to a lovely lady in America.

Now I'll tell you about the beads. The watch faces are from the Czech Republic and made in the 1950s. They're really charming beads and came in a few color choices. I went for the green (I have a plan!) and light blue. Davida sent me extra little Czech beads from the 1960s in matching colors.

I chose a vintage crystal chaton (also for the plan), and Davida added another sparkling blue one. The faceted gunmetal beads are from the 1920s, there's a vintage metal component, a button, and a selection of bright glass beads from the 20s to the 70s.

And that is why today is a good day. Hope your weekend is just as wonderful!

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Kristi Bowman Giveaway

No kidding...Kristi is doing a giveaway on her blog. It's easy peasy to enter, and if you're familiar with her work, you know it's worth it.

Hop over to her blog, Kristi Bowman Design, to find out more.

All wrapped up...

Since there's a lot of buzz about packaging on the Bead Soup Cafe, I thought I would share my latest venture. I usually sell my jewellery at a farm show, so the packaging is as simple as possible. BUT, recently, I had a big order, so I had to try a little harder.

I found some great, recycled card boxes on ebay. They came flat packed in small quantities - perfect! They were easy enough to assemble and with a little glue, and a little dressing up, these boxes turned out quite attractive.

I had to rush the packaging, so it wasn't quite  what I wanted. But I am pleased with the overall look. Each box contained black tissue paper with my business card. And on top of those sat my necklaces; waiting for their new owner.

I printed individual labels for the boxes and tied them on with blue ribbon. The cool colors on the stark black actually worked quite well. Though, I'd have probably gone with something completely different had I the time and choice.

Since I was packaging on a budget, I decided to do the bracelets and earrings in my usual bags. These little black organza bags look sophisticated enough. For an added touch, I tied a business card with a handwritten description of each item onto the bags. Hopefully it makes my customer feel a little special, too.

For my first try at packaging, I think it went pretty well! There are some things I'd change, but the simple look seems to showcase my jewellery really well.

Do you struggle with packaging, or are you a presentation pro? Maybe you have a list of do's and don'ts - I'd love to know!

Friday 13 July 2012

Delicate Romance...

Here are the finished earrings for Beads for Blogging. They consist of Tanya's gorgeous turquoise coloured rounds, individually wrapped in silver plated wire. The tiny turquoise-magnesite dangle beneath pastel pink coral coins.

Originally, I designed these differently. I rolled the beads around my table and decided on a dangling cluster style. The first try wasn't hanging quite right. And it didn't have the delicate flow I wanted. But, with a little tweaking, these sweet earrings came to life.

I'm not one to follow fashion trends, but a little birdy told me pastels are 'in' this year. I have to admit, they're growing on me. Some color combinations are just meant to be.

If you'd like to find out more about Beads for Blogging, check out Tanya's blog here. If you're lucky, you can win some free beads too. While you're at it, drop in her Etsy shop. You can find some of the beads I used here and many more beautiful findings.

Beads for Blogging - in action

Thought I'd share what I'm up to with you. I'm using more of the beads Tanya sent me for Beads for Blogging. The turquoise and pink coral she sent go beautifully. I couldn't resist using them together.

These are going to be simple, clustered earrings. Romantic and sweet. And yes, I DID purposely clump the nearly finished one up. Has to be some level of surprise! I should finish them today, so eyes peeled for the final post.

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Rainbow chain...

Here's a little something I made with some of the free beads Tanya sent me. Using these colorful beads as a rainbow might be a little clichéd, but why not? They're fun beads!

I wire wrapped the mother of pearl beads into a beaded chain. Then I made a silver plated hook clasp and macramed the rest of the bracelet. I used black cotton cord and lark's head knots I learned in Macramé, Art Beads and Wire.

The bracelet was finished at that point, but I went a step further and made a wire cloud charm. It dangles neatly between the rainbow beads. A silver lining in every cloud!

Tanya sent me quite a few other beads. Check out my previous post for all of them. Be sure to have a look at Tanya's blog to find out how you might win some beads. Keep an eye out for what I make next!

Saturday 7 July 2012

The day gets better...

Lori McDaniel Anderson is hosting an amazing giveaway on her blog, Pretty Things. There's not just one prize, not even two, but five! Beads, tools, ebooks, totes...what more can we ask for?

Have a look at Lori's blog for a chance to win one of the five prizes. All you have to do is blog about the giveaway, and comment telling Lori which is your favorite prize. Easy!

Beads for Blogging

Tanya of Fusion Muse and Ploi Thai is doing frequent giveaways of beads from her shop. She calls it Beads for Blogging and you can find out more here.

Today, my beads from Tanya arrived. I had no idea what I was going to receive and love the beautiful, fun beads she sent me. I got a selection of gemstones, acrylic, and some dyed mother of pearl.

The gemstones are right up my street. I love the turquoise coloured magnesite and agate pendant. I'm thinking of using the acrylic beads (top right) in a bracelet. And the fun mother of pearl beads have great potential.

My favorites, though, are the pink coral coins and magnesite. Don't they look great together?

I'll be using Tanya's beads in my jewelry. Stay tuned for my in progress blog about what I'll be making!

Thursday 5 July 2012

For you...

6th BSBP has arrived!

Prepare yourself for a picture overload! This morning, I received the most beautiful and colorful package of beads. Everything Maryse sent me is gorgeous.

I told Maryse I liked gem-tones, sari silk, and vintage things. With that little info, she sent the perfect bead soup. I opened all of the carefully labeled baggies to reveal a stunning collection of lampwork, leather cord, vintage components, 23k vermeil, and sari silk. I was moved, to say the least! Here's the whole soup...

Isn't it amazing? She really captured what I love, but it's all very different to what I'm used to working with. I don't usually use gold color - much less vermeil. But it goes beautifully with the vibrant sari silk and lampwork beads Maryse made.

I can't wait to use these gorgeous beads. Maryse used 23k gold foil on her lampwork. She made them in different shapes and sizes. There's a great variety of color, too - some are spicy orange,  others are beautiful opaque white, salmon, and turquoise. I'm already getting ideas! I love the texture on the round purple and gold one.


Here's a close up of the vintage components. These are definitely special. Maryse included some lovely, French religious medallions and sparkly rhinestone components. My favorites are the little brass flowers and the blue enameled medallion.

Last but very-not least are the focals (that's right, two!) and clasp. Maryse made me two beautiful lampwork focals. It's going to be hard to choose which one to use. I'm thinking both! Don't you love the texture on the vermeil clasp?

Maryse is not only generous, but very talented. I love, love her lampwork, and adore the soup she's made for me. Everything blends together to make a spicy Moroccan style bead soup - what more could I ask for. Even the card matches!

You can check out Maryse's blog here to see what she received from me. And don't forget to pop into her Etsy shop to see more gorgeous lampwork.