Friday, March 29, 2013

Bead Soup Blog Party # 7

Today is the day!  I’ve been waiting since early March to share my “first” Bead Soup Masterpiece.  It began in February when my new friend Linda Sadler from Ida Louise Jewelry sent me this beautiful stash:


Here is a closer look:

Lori Anderson is the wonderful person who took on this huge endeavor.  She paired us with artists who have different styles so I was a little nervous until I received Linda’s beautiful beads.  Visit Linda at her Etsy shop:  - or - her blog:

And so it begins - trial and error:
My first error; I was trying to design a piece using everything Linda gave me.  It was just too busy.  Many designers think “more is more” but my designs are usually pretty simple.  Nothing I tried appealed to me and I really wanted to make a wearable piece.  Well they don’t call it “Bead Chat” for nothing; I took it to the experts.  After posing the question to my friends on Facebook I found out I could make multiple pieces.  With that problem solved I jumped in.

I created my necklace in sections.  First, I took the focal piece and designed around it.  From the very start, I was happy with that part of the necklace.  Next, I tried to incorporate the silk ribbon.  OMGoodness, I had never used ribbon in my jewelry before and it did not come easy.  When I used it by itself, it just didn’t have enough substance.  The more I played with the ribbon, the more it frayed so I had to consider the design without using my usual trial and error.  Then it came to me; I had been making upscale friendship bracelets using chain and leather by weaving the leather cord in an out of the chain link. (I would love to give credit to the designer but can’t remember where I learned it). I tried it and was very happy with the outcome.  Two sections down with one to go. 
Now I need to create balance between the left and right side of the necklace.  I had several different chains in my stash but they were too heavy or too light so I made a chain using tiger eye beads.  These beads complemented the antique tiger eye beads that were part of the stash. 

Here is a closeup of the left and right side:



Here is my necklace:  (Please excuse the 59 year old neck!)

The bracelet came together quickly because Linda was so generous with her beads.
Here is piece number 2:


Last, but not least, I made a pair of earrings using these beautiful antique brass and glass beads.  I wanted them to stand out so I saved them specifically for this pair of earrings.

Here is piece number 3:


That’s it, my first Bead Soup!  Many thanks to our host Lori Anderson!  It was fun and I learned so much, I can’t wait for number "8"  :-)  If you are interested please go to Pinterest and check out the first of three reveals and don't forget to check back on April 4th and April 16th for the other two groups.  Or, you can read everyone's blog entries to see how each artist approached their design. Enjoy!

To read the Blogs:
Check out pics on Pinterest:


Friday, March 15, 2013

AJE Earring Challenge - Week 9 and 10

Well, the first group has almost come to the end of their allotted responsibility.  I'd like to say this challenge kept me going to my work table and for that I'm grateful.  Before I became active with the folks at AJE I would let days pass without even thinking about jewelry.  This challenge provided me with the discipline that I needed to meet deadlines weather feeling up to the challenge or not.  I also enjoyed having to use handmade elements.  I have to say, my earrings made with crystals and pearls and store bought items are more appealing to the eye but it's fun to know each pair that I made included a piece of me.

Here are my Week 9 and Week 10 entries:

Here is week 10:

Well, that's it for now - have a wonderful evening.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fun Day Learning Something New

Good evening,

This past weekend, I spent the day learning something new.  Christi Friesen came to Northern Virginia  and taught some of her polymer clay techniques. It was so much fun!  The class was held in a Federal Prison, no lie!  Fairfax County Virginia took a Federal Prison and converted it to a center for the arts.  They teach cooking, drama, ceramics, painting, all of the glass arts (to include glass blowing) and much more.  The classes are conducted in the old prison workhouses (that is where the prisoners did laundry, etc.)  If you would like to learn more go to
It is truly a fabulous facility.

Anyway, I have included several photos of us having fun (I'm not in any of the pictures - I didn't have the smarts to have my pic taken with Christi).

A picture of a necklace that Christi made - it appears in several of her published works. It was stunning up close.

This was a piece framed on black velvet. This picture doesn't do it justice, her work is very detailed.

This piece is not finished, but it was her training example, again, wish I had taken a picture of the completed heart. duh!

Here is a picture of my first piece, I have a long way to go but it sure was fun:

Have a great evening - going to my studio to make another pair of earrings for the AJE Earring Challenge.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Week 7 and 8 AJE Earring Challenge

Well, I almost failed to post week 7 and 8 of the AJE Challenge and honestly they are two of my favorite pairs so far!

Here you go, week 7:

These are made with copper elements that I purchased from Melinda Orr. She does beautiful metal embossing.  Of course I had to put my spin on them, I punched a couple additional holes and added the turquoise stones that I purchased in New Mexico.  I really like these and will wear them.
Here is Week 8:
These are made with Quick Fire Bronze Clay elements that I made (the bead caps and the little charm dangles).  I also made the lampwork beads - the photo doesn't capture the beads but as I stated in an earlier post, I plan on working on my photography.
I'm off to continue work on my Bead Swap project - I can't wait for you to see it!  I'm very proud of what I've done so far and pride isn't a word I use very often when describing my own work.
Later friends,