Sunday, August 20, 2017

New Designs with Polymer Clay!

I've been having tons of fun playing with the pieces and the techniques I learned in Heather Powers' Wings & Dreams class at the Adornments Retreat last month!  I thought I'd do a super quick post sharing some of what I've come up with so far.  I still have a few painted butterflies and a bunch of leaves to play with, but here's what I've completed over the past week.

These posies were supposed to be for earrings, but I decided to go with pendants instead!  If only I could find the cutter for this flower... I want more of these and can't find one.  :(

Only the top leaf in the pendant is my handiwork (and the patina on the brass leaf too!) The "Hope" bead is by Diane Hawkey.  I'm wishing I had picked up more of her word beads.

I had fun with patinas, rivets, and metal stamping for this one!  It's a little more vibrant than my normal work.

I'm so glad my vision worked for this one!  I had to slightly modify the butterfly filigree from Vintaj to attach my polymer clay creation on top, but I made it work!  I wanted to veer away from the monochromatic so I added some pops of turquoise.

This is actually a holdover project from Heather's Inspired by Nature Retreat last year.  I made the fern imprinted polymer clay circle at the retreat (also the beads) and then used her metal sketching technique on a copper blank.  My rivets are a tiny bit off center, but that's ok.

Friday, August 18, 2017

We're All Ears: August 2017 :: Moths

This month for the We're All Ears challenge over on the Earrings Everyday blog, Erin has challenged us to use the inspiration of moths for our earring creations.  I've always been amazed by the infinite and amazing variety of moths out there.  I still remember the first time I saw a Luna Moth in person... love at first sight!  Here's a lovely photo collage that Erin shared with just some of the moth species out there:

As much as I love moths, I quickly realized that most of my moth beads are more of the pendant or focal variety... not really earring appropriate in size.  (I do have a good number of lovely butterfly wing charms and beads... but those will have to be for another day/challenge!)

I did turn up a few sets of disk beads from Heather Powers of Humblebeads that I'm pretty certain are moth inspired.  I picked out a pair that sort of reminded me of the Luna Moth and then realized that they would play nicely with some colored bronze charms from Lesley Watt that I bought a while back and hadn't yet put away.  Added bonus:  one less thing needing to be put away!  ;)  I mixed in some Czech glass flowers, crystal rondelles, and tiny crystal beads.  Just for fun, I also added some tiny coordinating seed beads to jump rings in front of the flower charms.

This next pair I may be cheating a tiny bit as I think the Humblebeads are probably more butterfly than moth.  This time I was also thinking about cocoons and paired the discs with some wire wrapped silk "cocoon" beads from Anna Pierson of Saga Hus.

I really wanted to try my hand at making my own moth wings too.  I decided to try and adapt some techniques from Heather Powers' "Wings & Dreams" class that I took at the Adornments Retreat last month and even extrapolate a bit from there.  I also used some of the slices I created in Julie Picarello's class at Bead & Button as a veneer over a plain wing shape (the colorful pair on the left middle of the picture).  The pair in the bottom right is actually colored with some old eye shadow that I had in the back of my bathroom drawer!  After waiting (not so) patiently for my little wings to come out of the oven and cool I could finally get to work on more earrings.

Oh, and full disclosure, of course I waited until the morning of reveal to make the wings!  Oops.  I think procrastination ended up working out ok for me this time.  My favorite pair of earrings was made today and I'm super happy with my hand made moth wings.  They aren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but not too shabby for a first try at making wings.

First up, a pair where I was trying for sort of luna moth coloring.  I chose the light green partially because I love it and partially because I was also painting a pair of leaves I made and I was too lazy to change colors!  I hammered the ever loving snot out of some little copper blanks from Vintaj to go behind the wings and then added some faceted prehnite rounds and copper bead caps.

Next, I went for a black and white scheme.  I used pearl polymer clay as the base for all the wings I made.  Originally, I was thinking I'd use a single bright colored alcohol ink for this pair of wings so you'd see the sparkle of the pearl a little bit.  For whatever reason, I had a change of heart and decided to use some of the Onyx patina paint from Vintaj instead.  I knew that I could paint it on and then wipe it from the high points of the textured design I created with a texture sheet.  (I textured a bigger section of the clay and then used a butterfly cookie cutter to cut out a full butterfly shape.  I played around a bit trimming down the wings until I got a shape that I liked and still felt wing-like.)  I lightly buffed the edges of the Arte Metal blanks from Vintaj so you could see the hint of silver and then just layered the wings on top of them.  The gemstones are a faceted tourmalinated quartz.

I saved my favorite pair for the very last today.  These may not look super "wing-y," but seeing as they (like my luna wings) started out with an oval cookie cutter, I'm pretty happy with how they turned out!  This time I used part of a texture pattern sheet by Christi Friesen.  It was actually part of a dragonfly wing.  After I cut out and shaped the wings, I got to work with the eye shadow that I mentioned earlier.  Between the shimmer of the make up and the underlying pearl clay, the wings have a lovely soft shimmer to them that my photo doesn't do justice to.  I had fun stacking and layering Czech glass and brass bead caps... and through in some crystal rondelles for a little extra bling.

My other pair of wings might not ever fly away as earrings... I'm still not sure how I'm feeling about them.  Nonetheless, I had a productive albeit late flurry of earring making activity inspired by fluttering moths.  You can check out what everyone else was inspired to make over on the Earrings Everyday blog HERE!  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Art Bead Scene: August 2017

This month's Art Bead Scene challenge inspiration is an illustration from a book called Twelve Dancing Princesses and Other Fairy Tales.  As a children's librarian and long time fan of fairy tales, this choice made my little heart happy!  The artwork is from the collection's title story and was painted by Kay Nielsen.  You can read more about the artwork and the artist HERE

Twelve Princesses on the Way to the Dance
Kay Nielsen
Published in 1923
Watercolor and ink

I was inspired by the colors of this illustration as well as the leaves of the impossibly tall and skinny trees.  I chose an oversized ceramic pendant by my friend Tracee Dock of The Classic Bead as my focal.  The colors were just perfect and I thought the patterns in the clay echoed the leaves and, to some extent, the flowers on the princesses' gowns.

The large hole in the pendant cried out for some sort of fiber to run through it and I decided on some brown deerskin lace (does anyone know why it's called that??).  I sewed the leather to brass jump rings with maroon waxed Irish linen.  Since the pendant has a rustic, almost crusty feel to it, I added in some matte red creek jasper in two different shapes as well as some crazy horse jasper rounds that weren't too shiny.  Red creek jasper is one of my favorite stones because of all of it's rich colors... using it here was an easy way to pick up some of the other colors from the artwork. 

P.S.  This is the project that I should have been working on when I was "productive procrastinating" with my giraffe necklace last week!  :)

Friday, August 11, 2017

Giraffe Flashback

Remember this cute picture from my husband's October 2016 Honey Do List challenge?  I've kept thinking about her and have had another partially thought out design sitting on my bead board (or buried under my general beading mess) for quite some time.

In a fit of what I call "productive procrastination," I finally made the necklace I've had in mind today.  You may be wondering what I mean by "productive procrastination"... it's what I call it when I get something useful/creative/productive done because I'm avoiding working on something else!  I find that making something else helps clear my mind and allows me to (eventually) get focused on the problem I need to be tackling.  Right now that something else is a necklace for another challenge... I've got tons of stuff pulled out but just can't decide on a direction to go.

Anyway, I finally made a necklace with the Green Girl giraffe pendant and dalmatian jasper that have been sitting out together for almost a year.  Yay!   I added in some Czech glass and pewter beads to break things up a bit.  It's pretty simple and VERY neutral for me, but I hope the necklace and the message hidden on the back of the pendant speak to someone special.

What about you?  Anybody else practice "productive procrastination"?  (Please tell me it's not just me!)  I hope to tackle the project I've been avoiding this weekend and be able to share it with you all early next week at the latest.  Fingers crossed!


Monday, August 7, 2017

Adornments Retreat

Once again, I'm a little late to the party as far as sharing my recent creative adventures... but I'll stick with the better late than never theme!  For the Adornments Retreat, the creative forces behind Vintaj, the Art Bead Scene, and Now That's a Jig came together for an event not to be missed!  Three days of mixed media jewelry fun with Heather Powers, Jess Italia Lincoln, Erin Prias-Hintz, and Brenda Schweder at the Chestnut Mountain Resort in Galena, Illinois made for the perfect birthday weekend for me.  The only bad thing about the retreat is that I had to choose just two of the eight classes and I wish that I could have done them all!!  

Galena is about a five and a half to six hour drive for me (depending on the traffic and construction), so I decided to head out a day early so as not to be stressed out about my arrival time on Thursday.  Luckily, my wonderful roommate Monica decided to join me earlier than she had originally planned.  We had dinner that first night with one of Monica's coworkers, got to watch an amazing rain storm roll through from the floor to ceiling windows at the restaurant, and had our GPS route us down a series of increasingly creepily named dirt roads to get home (Devil's Ladder, Irish Hollow, Cemetery)... Adventure!!  The nighttime rain cleared out and gave us a super muggy morning to explore the shops and restaurants of Main Street Galena before the retreat got going that afternoon.  (Galena is a seriously cute town if you ever get a chance to visit!)

Thursday afternoon kicked off the fun of the retreat proper.  We all gathered in our main meeting space to get our registration materials, name tags, and goodie bags.  This is always an exciting time at any retreat when you get to see old friends and meet new people... everyone is buzzing with anticipation of the fun to come!  After some introductory remarks from Heather and the other instructors, the group had the fun task of making and dividing out some bead soup!  

Before the retreat, we were given the following inspiration and asked to bring 16 inches of beads to go with the color palette.  We were also supposed to bring some sort of focal/pendant and any other beads and findings we might want to add to our personal bead soup portions.  The idea behind all of this is that each person was encouraged to make something made up of at least 60% of the bead soup and enter into a fun design contest to be held at the end of the retreat.  Each table made their own soup and it was fascinating to see the different mixes of beads we had around the room.  

My portion of our table's "soup" with the pendant I chose to use.

We broke for dinner on our own at the resort and then regrouped for a fun evening session afterwards.  Heather and Erin did a presentation about the Art Bead Scene blog and their monthly challenges as well as using art beads in your jewelry designs.  Fun and inspiring stuff!  One of the highlights of the evening was Heather and Erin doing a Chopped style competition where they gave each other a bead soup mix and a focal based on the July ABS challenge and then they had 20 minutes on the clock to make a design.  Nail biting jewelry making excitement!  To add to the challenge, Brenda gave them each a mystery component that they had to work into their designs.... and it was a plastic monkey with a sparkly crystal collar!!  Here are our lovely contestants and their designs at the end of the competition.  

While all those hi-jinx were going on, the rest of us looked on, mingled, and worked on our own beading projects.  I managed to get my Bead Soup competition piece completed that first night (probably a sign of the impending apocalypse!!).  Here's what I made:
This sweet pendant from Erin's Simple Truths Sampler Club was the perfect fit with my mix of pastel beads.  It is beautiful and had a lovely message on the back side that the wearer will keep close to her heart.

For day one, I chose Erin's INKsplorations class where we got to play with different alcohol inks and surfaces to put them on.  I probably didn't experiment enough but I think my brain just isn't great when it comes to really being freeform and just messing around.  I also stuck mostly to the Ranger alcohol inks since those are the ones readily available to me locally.  Before lunch we had time to experiment with the inks and substrates and Erin worked through lunch (naughty monkey!) to get all of our little masterpieces sealed for us so we could move onto the next step when we got back.  We spent the rest of the day cutting down small portions of our inked artworks and gluing them into bezels and adding in UV resin.  Now, resin is a tricky thing (at least for me!) and this class was no different.  I had some bubbling and what I think is the resin pulling away from the material underneath but I believe with some creative problem solving that I may be able to salvage these two.  While I had fun playing with the inks (and got some fun results along the way) I think this may be a little too freeform for me to want to pursue it too much... although I'm thinking about trying two part resin with it instead of the UV and see if it's any less frustrating for me.  Time will tell!

Day two for me was a polymer clay and metal play day with Heather in her Wings & Dreams class.  I really can't overstate how much fun I had in this class!  I never would have dreamed that I would enjoy polymer clay until I took my first class in that medium with Heather last fall.  I'm never going to be the genius artist that she is, but I really enjoy playing with it and learning new polymer techniques.  I was so busy making cute butterflies and flowers that I really didn't do a great job of documenting the day, but here are some pictures I took during and afterwards of my completed projects as well as some that are still works in progress.  I didn't realize this when I signed up for the class, but alcohol inks were a part of the coloring process for these cuties so I had all the supplies I needed to continue painting and playing when I got home!

Right after our day two classes, the entire group came back together for our Wrap Party where we got to see and vote on everyone's Bead Soup creations and officially say goodbye to the wonderful Adornments Retreat and our fabulous instructors.  The fun didn't really end there as many of us were staying over Saturday night.  After dinner Jess's mom, Trish Italia, opened up her lovely bead store Rustic River Finds in downtown Galena for us to do some more shopping.  (I forgot to mention that Friday night we had a private shopping event with our instructors and Trish at the retreat!)  Not that I needed anything, I found some treasures to treat myself with as a little birthday gift.    

Top: Our lovely instructors Brenda, Jess, Heather, & Erin; Bottom: Me with my two teachers and fellow participant Lin.

My birthday goodies!

If you're looking for a fun and inspirational jewelry making retreat, I highly recommend checking out the Adornments Retreat.  They're already starting to plan next year's event.  A huge THANK YOU to Heather, Jess, Erin, and Brenda for a wonderful weekend of jewelry adventures with a great group of folks.  Any time I can come together to share, learn, and laugh with my beady tribe is a blessing and a treasure I'll cherish.  

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Inspiration for the Honey Do List: August 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:

This month I wanted to use something fresh and summery, but haven't been out to take pictures much.  I ended up at the Arboretum and discovered this beautiful dahlia being destroyed by these equally beautiful beetles.  We'll just call this one "flawed beauty".  And shortly after taking this shot, we were all ushered indoors to avoid the axe-wielding loony who was running around the grounds.  I bet you artists will come up with something cool for this one!

The reveal date will be Monday, August 28th.  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 August 28th 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!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Art Bead Scene: July 2017 Take Two

I managed to create a second piece of jewelry inspired by this month's Art Bead Scene challenge, the lush jungle scene by artist Henri Rousseau entitled Tiger in a Tropical Storm.    You can read more about the artwork and the artist over on the ABS blog HERE.  If you missed it, you can see the necklace I made earlier in the month HERE.

Tiger in a Tropical Storm
Henri Rousseau
Oil Painting
I had a fun pair of fern patterned ceramic tiles by the talented Mary Harding that I liked for this challenge.  They reminded me of the leaves that are right in front of the tiger in the painting and even have a tinge of orange to them.  I did a little bit of wire wrapping with some green matte banded agate and Czech glass beads.  

I had another earring idea percolating in the back of my brain that I didn't quite get around to making.  As much as we've had on our calendar (I was out of town 12 days this month!) I'm shocked that I even got this pair finished.  I'm guessing I'll be keeping up the same frantic pace through the end of September when my big art show is done.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Honey Do List: July 2017

I'm so sorry that I'm a few of days late with this month's Honey Do List reveal.  I was gone last weekend for the fabulous Adornments Retreat (more on that soon, stay tuned to my blog if you're interested in hearing more about that) and then life threw me a couple of curve balls this week.  Better late than never though, right?  Right??  Anyway please forgive my tardiness!

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:

We spent a wonderful day with our friends Vicky and Ken in New Ulm last month.  As part of that day trip we visited the grounds of the historic August Schell Brewery (the second oldest family owned brewery in America) and found this beautiful peacock out courting.  I took about a hundred pictures and this side view though his feathers was my favorite.  Now is the time to break out those colorful blues and greens and show us YOUR stuff!

I love that Eric chose this proud peacock as our inspiration this month!  What he didn't tell you about the photo is that while this male was literally shaking his tail feathers to impress the pea hens, the ladies pretty much completely ignored his show boating!  It was pretty hilarious.  Anyway, that's not why I'm glad he picked this one... it's because I've got some lovely peacock beads in my stash that I've been itching to use!

My friend Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio has recently started making some fabulous peacock feather components... and I just had to use some of them here!  I picked up the pendant at Bead & Button but then was tempted by her earring charms at a Facebook trunk show she did after I got home.  Since I was still waiting for the earring charms to arrive, I started with a necklace.    

The darker glaze of the feather called out for brass... also I knew I had a toggle clasp with feathery details in brass.  I picked a selection of green and blue Czech glass to complement the glaze colors in the pendant and made beaded links.  To mix things up and add a little more brass to the design, I also used a few filigree beads in the design.

Below are the earrings I made... combining Michelle's lovely components and peacock worthy discs from Heather Powers of Humblebeads.  I added some Swarovski pearls and plated hematite along with brass accents for these.  I wire wrapped the loops on the charms with wire to hide them... I like the look of that versus the raw metal.

Actually the last thing I managed to finish (mostly because I needed to patina some copper wire before I could make my wire-wrapped links) may be the one I'm most proud of for this month.  I bought the amazing polymer clay peacock feather pendant from Staci Louise Smith at Bead Fest Philadelphia when I went (check out her stuff at Staci Louise Originals HERE).   This pendant is CHUNKY and has a great metallic iridescence that my photo just doesn't capture.  This time I used mostly gemstones including carnelian and plated druzy.  There's also some Swarovski pearls and Czech glass thrown in the mix.  I think the right person is going to go nuts for this one.

Another little gem that I found while looking for other peacock inspired beads was a large Vintaj Natural Brass blank that I had etched with their "Bird of Paradise" DecoEtch die and then added patina paint to a while back.  (When I play with the paints I tend to do way more than I plan to immediately design with and then save them for later.)  I had also picked up some peacock patterned shell beads ages ago and used one as part of the pendant.  With the large size of the pendant I wanted a longer necklace.  I had fun picking a wide variety of Czech glass beads to coordinate with the pendant blank and bead.

Not art beads, but I found a bag of items that needed to be put away that happened to include a cool patina green feather pendant and some faceted blue green quartz coins... it was a perfect combination!  I just added some small bronze seed beads in between the coins for a simply strung necklace.  I didn't have quite enough coins to make the necklace as long as I wanted (also, the holes were a little small to double the stringing wire back through them) so I finished it up with a few bloodstone rounded puff coins.  To pull it all together I added some Vintaj patina paints to the clasp to make it match the pendant.    

As an added bonus, I whipped up a little pair of earrings with some fun luster finish Czech glass teardrops and peacock spotted coins.  I don't know why I haven't used more of my teardrop beads... they really are great for earrings!

I'm proud as a peacock about all my new designs!  I can't believe after all this creativity that there are STILL more things that I didn't get to sitting on my bead board.

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Monday, July 24, 2017

We're All Ears July 2017: Visual Music

This month's challenge for We're All Ears over on the Earrings Everyday blog truly was a challenge for me!  Erin threw down her beady gauntlet and asked us to make earrings inspired by visual representations of music.  She gave us tons of amazing examples from two different artists and I spent a good amount of time mesmerized by the patterns trying to get earring ideas to bubble to the surface of my brain.

I finally decided on Stephen Malinowski's representation of Ghost Waltz by Situm.  There was something about the vertical strings of circles that made me think dangling earrings.  You can see more examples of visual music over on the Earrings Everyday blog HERE.

In my haul of new beads from Golem Design Studio that I just picked up at the Bead & Button show, I happened to have some small lentil beads that felt right for this challenge.  I wanted to play with several of the ideas that I found in the visual music... the chain of circles going from larger to smaller, the lines connecting them, the dots themselves, and to some extent the colors.  In the middle of the musical piece, the dots end up being connected at more of an angle... it's not quite the spiral effect of the lentil beads, but still angular and also busier.  I'm pretty happy with these fun and bright ear bobs and glad that I didn't give up when the challenge seemed too, well, challenging!  

Stop by and see what everyone else created for this unique earring challenge over on the Earrings Everyday blog HERE.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Artisans Create Together Color Palette Challenge: July 2017

I always enjoy a good color challenge and this month's Artisans Create Together Color Inspiration challenge is no exception!  These color inspirations are just one of the creative challenges that this Facebook group organized each month.  

Usually there are two different choices, but this time it's almost like having three since Challenge #1 is all about using either blue and white or red and white.  (Is it wrong that I was relieved that this was an either/or thing and not the full on red, white, and blue thing?)  Anyway, so many good choices just in this first challenge!  

My first two designs are variations on a theme... and that theme is super cute red and white enameled mushroom charms by Gardanne Beads.  I snatched up two pairs of these little mushrooms the first time she offered them up at an online trunk show and was thrilled to get them.  I kept one pair (fairly) simple with little links of Czech glass flowers and rondelles in red and red with brass.  I went a tiny bit "bigger' with the second set using adorable red and white polka dotted lampwork beads by Grace Lampwork that I got from Lima Beads with the mushrooms in mind.  I wish I had snagged more!

I had big plans of making a necklace with this amazing pendant that I also got from Gardanne, but I ran out of time and other things were screaming louder.  Eventually I'll get back around to this little beauty!  

For the Orange & Lime challenge, I went for more earrings.  I knew that I had some perfect charms in my stash for this one!  I started with some fun ceramic charms by Jana of Happy Fish Things.  I love the bright colors she uses... in this case green, orange, and turquoise!  I'm not always crazy about how the metal loops on ceramic components look and often hide them in some way.  This time I decided to leave them alone as I kind of liked the black and silver rustic look these have.  I picked some vibrant Czech glass beads to dangle from the bottom loops.  These are a little "louder" than what I often design but I think they're super fun!      

I also revisited a design I first made early in the year using enameled bead caps from C-Koop Beads.  This time I used some lime green flower bead caps and added some brass foliage bead caps that I painted bright orange.  The tendrils turned a bit looser than my previous attempts.  In Eric's words... "natural product, results may vary."

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my latest creations!  I'm off to pack for the Adornments Retreat in Galena, Illinois.  I can't wait to immerse myself in creativity for my birthday weekend!  I'll tell y'all all about it when I return!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Inspiration in Everyday: July 2017: Koi

It feels like it's been awhile since I've played along again with a design challenge from a newer group on Facebook called Inspiration in Everyday.  The group has been created as a means to share the everyday things we take inspiration from to use in jewelry.  The idea is pretty simple... find something that inspires you to create beads, components, or jewelry, take a photo of it, create something based on that inspiration, and share in the group!  There is an art bead focus to the group and each creation shared should include at least one handmade art bead or component.

While we were wandering around Milwaukee when we visited for the Bead & Button Show last month, we stumbled upon a cool piece of sidewalk art.  We were on a mission to get someplace (probably the next beer or cocktail!) but I still stopped to snap a quick iPhone photo of these delightful koi fish swimming on the cement.  Maybe I was subconsciously inspired by this unexpected artwork, but I ended up buying a cool koi pendant from Diane Hawkey at the show.  

In my usual way, I gathered a bunch of possible beads to play with Diane's pretty pendant and let them percolate on my bead mat (and in my brain!) for a bit while I worked on other things.  Here's a peak at my not-so-controlled-chaos!  Most of these beads made it into my final design!

I ended up using an eclectic mix of materials to play with the pendant... ceramic, Czech glass, copper, cracked quartz, and teal paisley jasper.  I didn't love the look of the black wire loops on the top and bottom of the pendant with the materials I had selected, so I played around with a couple of different options to camouflage them.  For the top loop, I wrapped coils of copper colored wire all the way around it.  On the bottom I was originally thinking that I would have some sort of dangles... charms and or beads... so I started by adding some small jump rings decorated with seed beads that I thought would fall on either side of the charms.  I never quite got the dangle idea to gel (partially because it felt like the focal was getting too big and partially because I wanted the koi have the attention) so I ended up just adding a few more decorated jump rings.  I like the effect... what do you think?

My photos really don't do justice to the gorgeous shimmer or the gold highlights in the pendant, but I promise it's even lovelier in person!  I may have to make Eric get the photo light box and real camera out for this one.

Thanks for stopping by to see the inspiration that I found in everyday!  P.S. If you're interested in my Bead & Button adventures this year, you can read my post on that HERE.