Saturday, April 10, 2021

Bead Soup Swap and Create - Reveal!

I am so incredibly excited... it is officially time for the Bead Soup Reveal! Yay!

As a refresher, my partner was the lovely and generous Veralynne Malone... and she sent me so many things. So many, in fact, it was impossible to get it all in one picture. Here was my one attempt to do just that--and even it doesn't show everything:

If you want to see close-ups of the entire soup, I recommend going here. This is going to be a picture-heavy post as it is, so I thought it might be wise to try to cut down on the overall photo count. I did try to take pictures of the different elements as I was using them--but for some of them, I was so excited I forgot. So! Yes. If you want to see the whole soup, follow that link or scroll down to my earlier entries. *grin*

Why is this going to be a picture-heavy post, you ask? Because I made nine necklaces. Nine! Woohoo!

So, without further ado, here you go!

Group 1: The Ceramics

Necklace #1

For this necklace, I used almost entirely elements from my bead soup. In fact, I only added the chain and a few findings. The ceramic focals, the clasp, the faceted glass--even the beadcaps--were all from the soup. 

So, with this very first necklace, I filled all the requirements of the challenge... which means that the next eight were just me creating for the joy of creating. 

Oh, and as an amusing sidenote, I do monthly challenges here on this blog--just where I push myself to do things a bit out of my comfort zone. This necklace actually encapsulates my last three challenges: it uses a heart (February's challenge), it's asymmetrical (March's challenge), and it's pastel (this month's challenge). And, all in all, I really like how it turned out! 

Necklace #2

After making the first necklace, I had four large round ceramic beads left from my soup. I decided that I wanted to pair them with a viking knit chain... So, I got to work with some 26 gauge gold wire, and after several nights of work, this is the final result:

I had originally planned to use one of the clasps that Veralynne sent me for this necklace as well, but I found that it was just a bit too large--it threw off the balance. So I used one from my stash that balanced better, and I get to keep hers for another time. I call that a win-win!

Necklace #3

After those two necklaces, I wasn't quite done playing around with the ceramic components that Veralynne sent me. I saw this sweet little bee connector, and decided to pair it with the faceted glass from the soup, along with brass and African turquoise from my stash. I once again played around with asymmetry, and am thrilled with how it turned out.

Group 2: Bright and Beautiful and... Striped

And now for something completely different! 

In addition to the pastel ceramics, I was also sent a collection of seed bead jars and three bright striped beads. (They might be resin? Or lucite? Or modern acrylic? Honestly not sure; they are pretty light.) 

So, after playing around with the ceramics, I turned my attention to brighter possibilities. That leads us to the next two necklaces.

Necklace #4

For this necklace, I decided to combine the above elements. In fact, as soon as I saw them, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. I then scoured my stash to get some matching beads, and the ultimate result is this necklace:

I love how cheerful and vibrant this necklace is... as well as how unlikely it is that I would have put those colors together on my own. It's fun and happy, and perfect for summer.

Necklace #5

...and I couldn't help myself. I also used one of the striped beads to make one of my signature beaded tassels. For those who have been following my blog for any amount of time, I'm sure you're not surprised!

The only element from my soup to show up in this necklace is the focal bead--but I think that's enough for this necklace to be counted! After all, it was the inspiration for the entire design. Additional materials include glass, agate, and wood.

I love it. It make me think of the planet Jupiter.

Group 3: The Challenge Bag... Buttons!

And now for one more change of pace!

Along with my soup, Veralynne sent me a bag labeled "challenge mix," which included buttons. 

...What can I say? I had a lot of fun with these buttons. Here are the last pieces that I made--all with buttons as their focals.

Necklace #6

To make this necklace, I wire-wrapped the button to make a pendant, and then paired it with Swarovski crystals and chain from my stash.  

Necklace #7 and #8

Again, to make these two necklaces, I wire-wrapped the buttons and paired them with elements from my stash. Oh, except for that tassel--that tassel was also from my soup. 

I included these two necklaces together because they are both in the same color scheme--and can actually be worn as a set. I suppose the only other thing I should add is the long necklace is made with 1960s acrylic rounds, while the shorter one is made with glass (and some stringing!).

Necklace #9... with bonus!

And now, for the final necklace--and the matching earrings that I made to go with it!

I have always wanted to play around with finding settings for buttons, and was happy when I found these filigree with holes big enough to fit the button shanks. Once the buttons were glued in place, I paired them with more 1960s acrylic rounds and some Czech glass teardrops. 

I am simply thrilled with how this set came together!

Phew! There you go! Those are all the pieces that I made for this year's Bead Soup Swap and Create!

The full list of participants can be found here... please go visit it, and see what all my fellow designers created for this blog hop. :)

Thank you so much to Lori Anderson for organizing and hosting this swap, thank you so much to Veralynne for being so generous, and thank you all for stopping by today to see what I made! 

Have a lovely day, everyone! Happy hopping!

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Bead Soup Swap and Create - Postponed!

Hello everyone!

The Bead Soup Swap and Create has been postponed until next Saturday, April 10th. 

Be sure to come back then to see what I made! :)

Friday, April 2, 2021

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - April 2021 Edition

This year, I seem to be focused on really pushing the boundaries of what I usually create--getting myself out of my creative rut, I suppose. Expanding my creative vision. 

...Or just simply making sure that I don't get so comfortable doing my usual things that I forget to grow.

As I think on them, I realize that these Monthly Challenges might not really be challenges to other designers. To me, however, they have certainly been eye-opening exercises.

I say all of this by way of introducing this month's challenge. 

This month, I'm tackling one of my nemeses: Pastels.

Not my photo!
Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash.

Not my photo!
Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash.

Not my photo!
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash.

I actually really like pastels... Or, rather, the concept of them. But I don't wear them (they look horrible with my skintone), and I forget sometimes that other people do. As such, I just don't think to use them. At all.

So, this month, that's what I'm doing. Stand aside, bold jewel tones... it's time for spring pastels!

Thank you so much for stopping by today to see what I've been up to... Come back on Friday, April 30th to see what I end up making for this challenge.

Until then, have a wonderful day (and month), everyone!

Friday, March 26, 2021

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - March 2021 Reveal

I'm so excited... it's time to reveal what I made for this month's challenge! Yay!

I have actually been ready for this reveal for a couple of days now. It's always fun when you can be done ahead of time. :)

So! As a refresher, my challenge this month was to make asymmetrical jewelry.

Not my photo!
Photo by Evelyn Bertrand on Unsplash

As anticipated, this was definitely a challenge for me--and I didn't even really scratch the surface of possibilities. I did make several pieces, but there is so much more I could have done. I will definitely still be playing around with this in the months to come!

But, enough talk. It's time to show you what I made!

Necklace #1

This first necklace was inspired by the above picture--specifically, the cascade of leaves across a silvery wood background:

...I think the inspiration is pretty evident! 

It was made using aventurine, glass, and silvertone metal. And, on a fun note, the strand of beads can be worn on either the right or left side--depending on the wearer's mood.

Necklace #2

This second necklace was made using an asymmetrical Swarovski pendant with three Preciosa crystals:

I kept the design minimal, to really let the pendant shine. And, trust me, it really does shine. I don't think the pictures quite do it justice... as with most Swarovski crystals, it's practically luminous. 

And, I must admit, it was pretty fun making something so delicate. I make so many statement pieces that sometimes I forget that less can be more. 

Necklace #3

This third necklace is a bit of a cheat... I included it because it's actually the earrings that are mildly asymmetrical. I just happened to make the necklace to match. Materials include silvertone metal and metallic agate druzy beads in silver and gold.

Necklace #4

And now it's time for the grand finale!

I am so ridiculously pleased with this necklace... and I think you might be able to see why:

I actually made up a seed bead pattern! Well, mostly. It's more like I combined two patterns, and then made up the rest. I knew exactly what I wanted to make, and since I couldn't find a tutorial that matched what I wanted, I figured it out. And it actually turned out just like I pictured in my head! Yay!

I should also add that when I decided to do an asymmetrical challenge, this was the first design that I thought of. I wanted to make a peacock feather. 

So, I made a peacock feather.

I will probably post process pictures at some point... I took pictures during the process, to remind me how I did it. Until then, though, I hope you enjoy these pictures of the finished product! :)

Bonus! Earrings

...And, last but not least, I made a pair of earrings. They were a bit of an afterthought, but I figured I should include them all the same.

So, ta-daaaaa! That is what I made for this challenge. 

As I said before, I know that I really did only just barely scratch the surface of what is possible. There are so many ways to introduce asymmetry into designs, and I only explored a few. Still, it was a good start... and it definitely helped me start thinking outside my normal default designs. I think that should be considered a success! And I'm interested in exploring it more. :)

Thank you so much for stopping by today. I really enjoyed sharing my creations with you. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Bead Soup: The Beads That Were Swapped

You may think I have forgotten about the Bead Soup Swap and Create, but I promise you--I haven't!

I just haven't gotten a chance to share what my partner, Veralynne Malone, sent to me. 

That is... until now!

And full disclaimer: she was incredibly, incredibly generous. Seriously generous. She sent me so many things

My original plan was to just take one picture of the beads that she sent me, artistically displayed. Yet I found that almost impossible to do. So! Instead, you get to experience the overflowing riches that she sent me in a series of photos. Enjoy!

What I saw when I opened my package.

My one attempt to photograph everything together... and even then, I didn't fit everything!

The beads, including handmade lampwark, ceramic, Swarvoski rounds, and more.

Seed beads!

The focals!

The findings.

She included these in a bag labeled "challenge mix." Challenge accepted!

Time to dive into my bead soup!

See what I mean? So many wonderful soup ingredients! 

At first, I wasn't even sure where to start--so many choices. I am happy to report, though, that I quickly got over that hesitance, and have been happily creating away. Be sure to come back on April 3rd to see what I end up making!


Oh! And, as promised, here is the reveal of what I sent to her. :)

For those curious, it includes: a handmade polymer clay pendant, two dozen Swarovski crystal bicones and four Swarovski pendants, two shapes of pearls, coated hematite, vintage Monet gold filigree beads, glass (Czech and otherwise), wood, and paper beads made by me. I do hope she enjoys it as much as I have been enjoying what she sent to me!