Friday, October 20, 2017

We're All Ears: October 2017

The inspiration for this month's We're All Ears challenge over on the Earrings Everyday blog is all about the moon.  Ok, it was actually supposed to be the Harvest Moon but I used some creative license and went with the moon in general... mostly because I didn't have anything that felt harvest-y.

Photo by Ganapathy Kumar on Unsplash

I started out looking for art beads to use... not feeling confident that I had anything at all.  Surprise, surprise!  I actually found a set of moon and star charms from Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio.  I paired them with some chunky faceted chalcedony, Czech glass, and, for sparkle, crystal studded rondelles.

Never satisfied with making just one pair for this challenge, I put on my thinking cap and came up with a second design.  I had a pretty tiny scrap of etched copper left over from a past project... just enough to cut two very small crescent moons from it.  At first I was thinking that I would rivet the crescents to a larger "full moon" made from hammered Arte Metal circle blanks.  (I used two different sizes of my ball peen hammers to get the "craters.")  With how tiny the copper pieces were, I felt like I'd end up covering up most of the shape.  Plan B to the rescue!  I ended up just punching one hole in each copper crescent and then using jump rings to hang them in front of the circles.  Above my dual moons I wire wrapped some moonstone beads with matte bronze Czech glass spacers.

Don't forget to stop by the Earrings Everyday blog to see what everyone else was inspired to make HERE.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Art Bead Scene: October 2017

Seriously, how is it already October?!?  We've been on the run (and now I'm heading out to a jewelry making retreat in Michigan) but somehow I managed to get something made for the Art Bead Scene monthly challenge.  You can read all about the art and the artist over on the ABS blog HERE.

Title: Madame De Pompadour
By: Francois Boucher
Date: 1756
Medium: Oil on Canvas

I love the colors in this painting are so luscious!  The composition isn't totally up my alley, but I can roll with it.  As I was looking through my art beads, I gravitated toward a fancy flower pendant by Nancy Adams of Round Rabbit (boy I miss her beads now that she's not selling ceramics anymore!) that I've been holding onto for a long time.  I added some fancy dangles made from Czech glass flowers and lots of brass bead caps to the pendant.  For the body of the necklace I used more Czech glass in shades of teal/turquoise and pink as well as some vintage lucite.

If Madame De Pompadour wasn't wearing that pink ribbon around her neck, I think this necklace would be a fine replacement!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Inspired by Reading: The Marriage of Opposites

I skipped last month's Inspired by Reading Book Club, but I'm back in action for the September selection!  This month we read The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman.  I'd never ready any of Hoffman's adult books before... only one or two of her young adult titles.  It took me a little while to get into the story, but I'm so glad that I stuck it out.

The novel tells the story of Rachel, a young Jewish girl growing up in the early 1800's on the island of St. Thomas and follows her and those close to her through to her old age.  There was much beauty in the story as well as sadness and the frustration of coming up against society's rules and norms which are often so very unfair.  Rachel is such a strong, stubborn, and resilient character albeit often prickly to those she cares for the most.  This is a story filled with love, loss, and longing that was wonderful to watch unfold.  I loved how the stories of the characters ended up being even more entwined than you first thought as the lives of what seem like secondary characters come into view.

Despite a lot of lovely imagery and language in the novel, it took me awhile to decide what themes or images from the book I might use as a jumping off point for my creation this month.  I eventually settled on the idea of the Flamboyant Tree whose branches and flowers were repeatedly mentioned.  (I honestly wasn't sure if it was actually a real thing until I did a Google search!)

Flamboyant Tree or Delonix Regia
So just last week, and not for the first time in my beading life, I fell prey to not paying attention to what size something bought online actually was.  Shocking, right??  I've always loved the gorgeous pinks and oranges of Patricia Healey's copper and am particularly fond of her flowers.  So it seemed like a no brainer to snatch up one of her flower pendants that was on last chance clearance at Lima Beads (with an additional 10% off no less!).  But here's the thing....  55mm is HUGE!  Lol.  I'm sure none of you would have been surprised by the size when you opened up your package, but I sure was!  Ooopsie!  But no matter, I knew that someone out there would favor the bold design that this powerhouse of a pedant would need.  The color and flower shape were perfect for a flamboyant tree inspired design... I regret nothing!!

I dug into my box of orange beads and found a good number of chunkier carnelian and Czech glass beads that were contenders for the design.  In truth, I probably could have gotten away with even bigger beads, but this is what I had on hand!  I ended up using carnelian nuggets, faceted rounds in two sizes, and smooth rounds... so many yummy shades of orange, dark red, and peach.  

Not being super knowledgeable about plant life, I also wanted to see what the Bougainvillea flower looked like.  I found a picture where the blooms were just a wonderful mix of bright colors.  Most of what I saw were the pink to purple flowers, but this picture was perfect for the Golem Design Studio bead that I was thinking about using!

I decided to make a variation of a design that I've done before with the carved almond beads from Golem.  (I'm seriously addicted to their amazing designs and COLORS... so yummy!!)  I picked up a strand of this shape in what they call peacock in a mix of orange, pink, and purple.  Despite the name of the pattern, I think looks like flower petals in this color way.  I made a chain tassel and added tiny Czech class beads to the end of each piece of chain in complementary colors.  Sometimes I leave the chain plain for this style of necklace, but I wanted the extra pop of color for this one!

One of the other thoughts that had been vying for my attention while I read the books was the mention of moths beating against the windows.  This imagery came up several times, and though not in any way really central to the story, it stuck with me.  And, hey, a good excuse to pull out my moth beads!  It seemed appropriate to grab one of the small moth pendants by Lisa Peters Russ that I bought from Allegory Gallery after seeing them in a Facebook post (or it might have been a video).

I grabbed three of these cuties, but chose to work with the one with touches of palest green and tiny specks of what I would definitely call "haint blue."  Because of the diminutive size of the pendant, I tried to give it a little extra punch with some beads dangling from lengths of chain that sit behind the moth.  It was fun to pull out some of my tinier gemstones for this design like some AB vessuvianite, prehnite rice beads, faceted smoky quartz, and some Czech glass.  I finished the back with a bit of ribbon in shades of green.

Usually after a big show I go into a sort of jewelry making hibernation period.  I work so hard heading into a show that I'm just done for awhile afterwards.  I'm thankful for book club getting my mojo back way quicker than normal!


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Inspiration for the Honey Do List: October 2017

Last year, my husband Eric has decided to issue me a design challenge each month to get me out of my comfort zone and to help clear out my bead stash... and we're continuing the Honey Do List for 2017!  I know that I'm not the only one who loves a good design challenge, so I'm hoping folks will continue to play along!  

Here's this month's inspiration and what Eric had to say about it:

Last month I took an insect photography class at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum so I figured one of those shots would be a good bet for this challenge.  The day of the course was insanely windy so taking pictures of moving insects atop briskly moving flowers was a challenge!  Luckily I got at least one decent shot of a Painted Lady take the idea and fly with it!

The reveal date will be Monday, October 23rd.  To make it super easy for you to participate and share your creations, I'll set up an Inlinkz link up so folks can add their blogs as they are ready.  Just stop by my blog starting on October 25rd and join the fun!  I'll leave the link up open for a while... so you have plenty of time to add your links.  (Last month's is still open... check it out HERE.)  No blog?  No worries!  Feel free to send me a picture of your creation and some brief comments and I'll happily share in my blog post.  You can reach me at  The more the merrier, so I hope you'll play along with me this month!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Honey Do List: September 2017

Last year, my husband Eric has decided to issue me a design challenge each month to get me out of my comfort zone and to help clear out my bead stash... and we're continuing the Honey Do List for 2017!  I know that I'm not the only one who loves a good design challenge, so I'm hoping folks will continue to play along!

Here's this month's inspiration and what Eric had to say about it:

I haven't been out with the camera as much as I'd hoped recently.  Looking for something to prolong the summer, I decided on posting these sunflower pictures.  One of these was from the MN Landscape arboretum, while the other was a self-planted seed from our own bird feeder!  I have plenty of shots of bees all over these things but wanted to stick with just the flower this time.  Show me some last gasp of summer in jewelry form!

I had really hoped to make a few more things for this challenge but between going crazy for the sunflower themed We're All Ears challenge (see that HERE if you missed it) and my three day studio tour this past weekend, I kind of ran out of time.  That being said, I'm super happy with the two necklaces that I did manage to make.  

First up, a necklace with a lovely polymer clay sunflower pendant from Summer Wind Art that Eric gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago.  I love the rich yet weathered effect that Ashley Bonney achieved for this focal... so yummy.  I stumbled across a little container filled with a mix of Czech beads that I got when I bought a friend's bead stash a while back that were a perfect complement to the pendant.  I wanted a few more beads for the necklace so I went digging for some cream Czech glass melon beads to play up the light tones of the pendant and some carnelian rounds to add a pop of color to the design. 

Since I have an obsession with matching, and I still had some beads left over, I whipped up some cute little earrings.  They aren't actually sunflowery at all, but they do go with the necklace anyway.

For my second necklace creation I went with a lot more COLOR!  I had several Humblebeads by Heather Powers in my stash inspired by Van Gogh's Sunflowers.  I knew I had to use at least one of them this month.  The winning bead was this gorgeous Sunflowers bird that I won at the Adornments Retreat in July... so perfect!  I paired him with a rustic ceramic stick from Diane Hawkey, a ceramic drop by Petra Carpreau of Scorched Earth, and some bright Czech glass.  The copper wire that I used is some that I patinated myself.  I love how this necklace came together and am even happier that it flew home with a very special lady during my show this weekend!

get the InLinkz code

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Everything's Coming Up Rose Gold!

If you know me at all you know that I am so NOT a pink girl.  I've always been a tomboy... no frills and no pink.  Ok, maybe some fuchsia here and there but no pale, sweet colors for this girl.  My favorite colors are turquoise, teal, and almost all greens.  So what bewitchment has come over me that I've been on a designing kick with rose gold??  Apparently Vintaj has cast a spell on me with their new Rose Gold patina paint!  I'm hooked on this gorgeous color and just couldn't stop making new jewelry for the Art Wander in shades of pink!

Here's what's been tickling me pink this week!  The pictures just don't do this color justice... stop by the Art Wander this weekend to see them in person!

Art Wander
September 22 - 24

Friday, 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Saturday, 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sunday, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm 

For full Art Wander details visit:

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this color.... yay?  nay?  meh?  If Rose Gold isn't your thing, never fear I have tons of jewelry in other colors!  :)

Friday, September 15, 2017

We're All Ears: September 2017

I have to laugh because Erin and Eric were on the same inspiration wavelength this month...  I was literally sitting down to read the We're All Ears inspiration post when Eric emailed me pictures of sunflowers that he took for the September Honey Do List!  (You can see the post with all the information on how to play along HERE if you're interested... I hope you'll play along with us!)  What a perfect flower to inspire us during the fading days of summer as we start to feel the first nip of autumn in the air. 

Photo credit :: via Unsplash :: Becca Romine :: Ciprian Lipenschi :: Nick Nice :: Thomas Smith :: 

Here's a little peek at some of the sunflower-y beads in my stash.  Since I was looking down the barrel of dueling sunflower challenges, I figured that it was only fair for me to use the earring-friendly beads for the We're All Ears challenge.  Eric will have to be happy with some sunflower inspired necklace creations.  :)

The first thing I made was a total no brainer for me.  I had picked up some flower charms from Golem Design Studio at Bead & Button this year and one of them was perfect sunflower colors!  I had already used one pair for last month's Honey Do List, so I already had a basic design/style in mind so there was no reason not to get to work!  Since I was on a roll, I went ahead and whipped up earrings with the other two remaining colorways.  I had lovely coordinating Humblebeads disks that were perfect for all three pairs (probably because I pretty much bought a set of every color that Heather Powers had at B&B!!).

Since I was still in painting mode trying to get some of my fan favorite designs finished for my next show that's approaching way too rapidly, I decided to add some paint to a few sunflower charms (or maybe some are really daisies) for a fun effect!  The unpainted pair was a last minute addition when I realized that the Czech glass I had in mind didn't match the painted sunflowers.  I had all the stuff out, so why not?

Lastly, I revisited my Golem collection... and this time fished out some fun polka dotted lentil beads.  These are certainly my least literal interpretation, but I thought the colors were spot on for sunflowers.

So that's it for me this time.  Check back with me on Monday, September 25th to see what other sunflower designs I come up with for the Honey Do List challenge.  I hope you'll consider playing along with us!

Check out the Earrings Everyday blog HERE to see what other sunflower earrings folks dreamed up!