Darn Good Beads Kit #2

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I received my second Darn Good Beads kit from Darn Good Yarn and remain pleased.  This kit is called Love Encompasses.  It is actually the February kit, although I didn’t get it made until March.  The insert says it was “designed with the idea that love doesn’t have one size and encompasses us all.” What a lovely sentiment. There are many different kinds of love in the world, and we can all partake. The absolute best kind of love is to love yourself. I always think the more you love yourself, the more energy and love you have to put out into the world.

Enough philosophical waxing!  On to the beads.  Here is the kit.

It looks simple, but it makes such a pretty bracelet.  And again, like the first kit, there was enough effort involved to feel like a project.  It consists of some leather, a metal slider bead and three of the most gorgeous Czech glass beads I’ve ever seen.  I know I’ll be searching for more of these.

Neither of these pictures shows the beads as pretty as they are.  They are pink/purple with real gold and faceted to be just sparkly enough.  The kit has materials for two bracelets, so one can share or just layer them.  The slider design and amount of leather means these can be made to fit any size wrist.

I can’t wait to see my next kit!

Enamel

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I love all of Yvonne Irvin-Faus’ creations.  Not just her jewelry, but the variety of handmade components she sells through her My Elements brand.  I love how she is always offering new things and fell in love with her swirly, colorful enamel shapes called Ethereals.

I followed Yvonne’s lead (she always provides inspiration pictures for her wares) and created a simple but eye-catching necklace with her various shapes.  I didn’t even pick these all out at the same time or necessarily to go with each other, but I do really like lime and turquoise.  I love how it looks like splashes of refreshing color.

Double Happiness Giveaway

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When I was thinking about the name for this blog post, I thought of “double happiness” which I’ve seen on Chinese food menus. I don’t even know what food that refers to.  As a vegetarian, I always get mixed Chinese greens or mixed vegetables, but the name stuck with me. I’ve been a bit down lately, and what better way to cheer me up than a giveaway?  That’s where the double happiness comes in.  The giveaway makes me happy and makes the winner happy! Apparently double happiness is a Chinese calligraphy symbol meaning joy and is especially popular for weddings.

Anyway, let’s get on to the goods!  I just kind of randomly picked boxes out of my stash and went through them and thought, “Oh, people would like this!” and added it to the group.  First up, a lovely lampwork butterfly wing by Kim Snider.

Kim’s wares are super popular.  I have gotten all of mine on her Mandrel Beads Facebook page sales. There is hot competition, and the wings (in pairs or sets) can go pretty high.  However, Kim is very generous and during each show offers not only giveaways but BIN rounds where she offers some wings for a set price. Everyone who comments BIN (buy it now) is entered into a drawing to buy the wings for that set price.  That is how I have gotten some wings, and I’m really grateful to her for that opportunity.  So now here is your opportunity to get a wing as well.  Here is a necklace I made with one of her wings.

Next up is a beautiful starfish pendant by Andrew Thornton for those of us dreaming of summer!

I’m not going to lie; I have quite a collection of Andrew’s art.  I just love it!  If you don’t know him, Andrew is one of the owners of Allegory Gallery as well as an artist in multiple media and just a really good guy.  I’m going to come clean that I’m not good at telling materials apart (or knowing kinds of beads).  I just know what I like.  So I’m not sure if this is polymer clay or porcelain – even after touching it to try to determine.  Andrew works in both, but whatever, it’s beautiful!

Next up is a Gaea bundle.  That tube bead makes my heart go pitter-pat!

Gaea also sells on Facebook.  I tend to like buying that way for some reason.  In addition to loving her beads, I love her original paintings that she has started to sell (I have one!).  She has also started to incorporate her prints into jewelry components by offering copper and art resin pendants and beads.  These gorgeous works of art are popular!

Next up is a polymer bead by Artybecca.  I just love everything she makes. She’s always trying something new.  Here are two sides of this bead so you can see all the colors. It feels just as smooth and silky as it looks.

Next we have a clasp from Daisy Chain Extra, which is no longer in business. Joanne Tinley stopped selling components but still makes jewelry and teaches. I found her not long before she stopped selling components, so I only have a few of her things.  Here is your chance to own this super cute little flower clasp.

My poor little dry hands.  I’m not going to pretend I will take better care of them.  I hate the way lotion feels, so I use lotion and then end up washing it off! But I wanted you to be able to see how cute and functional this is.

Now on to some non-art beads. These came out of my metallic box.  We have black squares with a gold AB coating on one side and some tiny flat square spacers.  

Next is a strand of white agate beads. There was a time when I didn’t like white beads, but now I really love them. I love pops of color and high contrast, and white can really pop in a design!

Last but not least I’ve included some Czech glass.  I must have hit some function on my phone’s camera because this is all vignette-y, but it still shows this lovely selection of English cut Czech beads.  I like the pretty chunkiness of this shape, and you get these three beautiful colors because they happened to be in a bag together in my Czech glass box.

This is kind of a long post, but since part of the point was to cheer me up that’s ok.  I love to talk about beads and post on my blog, so writing this post was excellent for both of these things.

How do you enter to win?  Easy!  Just tell/show me something good.  It can be something good that has happened in your life recently, something good someone else told you, a good tip about how to organize your work space, your favorite bead shop or artist, a good recipe, a cute picture of your sweet pet…you get the idea.  Leave your comment by Friday, 3/17/17 (St. Patrick’s Day!) at 6:00 PM Central Time.  If you are in the US, don’t forget that tomorrow (Sunday 3/12/17) is the day most of us set our clocks forward one hour.

I will announce the winner on this blog later on that Friday or on Saturday morning.  Please include a way to get in contact with you to make my life easy. Thank you and good luck!

Amber

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I love amber. There is just something about it.  I love the colors and the often organic shape.  When I got some lighter yellow amber, it made me think of a great Staci Louise Smith component I had in my stash.

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In looking for what would go well with that combination, I came up with…more amber. I love the warm glow of it.  I put in a few light green garnet nuggets for a little variety. I finished it off with a TierraCast toggle that fits right in.

Vintage Plastic

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I have really gotten interested in vintage plastic beads lately.  I blame Andrew Thornton and Allegory Gallery – in a good way!  Andrew often includes plastic beads in his kits for the Allegory Gallery Design Challenge (super fun and inspiring challenges, by the way) and their etsy shop.

Recently, Anna Pierson of Saga Hus was having a component sale and destash on her SagaHus Components Facebook Page. I love her wire and fiber (and sometimes beaded) components, and I also got some great vintage plastic beads!  I could not resist the fabulous egg shape and swirly pumpkin texture. Reading that description, maybe I was hungry!  It worked out, though, because soon after I got them, I made a delicious necklace!

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I strung them all together on waxed linen with yellow seed beads as spacers.  I added a pair of glass beads that seemed to fit in for added interest at the front and a few trixies for fun at the back. It’s long enough to slip over my head. I really like vintage plastic beads and the fun, lightweight looks I’ve been able to get with them.

Allegory Galley Queen of Hearts Design Challenge Reveal

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Yesterday was the reveal for the Allegory Gallery Queen of Hearts Mystery Challenge.  Andrew Thornton and William Jones of Allegory Gallery host these fun challenges. I completely forgot to post, but here I am now. Artist Andrew Thornton curates a kit based on a theme, and participants make things with the kit materials (another other things if they choose.)

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Andrew also includes a handmade Mystery Component, although lately we’ve been having a lot of fun with mystery kits where everything is a mystery until we receive it! The handmade component this time is such gorgeous colors and design.

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Around the same time I received the Queen of Hearts kit, I also received my first Darn Good Beads of the Month kit that was a tassel necklace.  I didn’t make it into a necklace thinking that the tassel colors would be great to go with the Queen of Heart kits, and I was right!

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I love the romantic, bohemian look of this. I used a gorgeous multicolored faceted bead, some of the bright seed beads and the strand of pink nuggets and a couple of beads at the back. From my own stash, in addition to the tassel, I used a few amethyst nuggets, a couple of silver spacers and a gunmetal clasp that goes with the gunmetal chain that is part of the tassel.

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Next I used the Mystery Component because it’s so pretty! I put two Beady Girl Beads above the pendant and strung it with some pretty faceted garnet (one of my favorite stones) and green tourmaline. There was a tiny star in the kit, and I used it as a dangle from the chain extender. I used two bright red kit beads at the back as a nod to the tiny red heart on the pendant’s crown.

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I had these fantastic heart cubes from Joan Miller Porcelain. I used the purple waxed linen and beads from the kit to make a choker attached to a jump ring.  I attached some pink chain from My Elements to the bottom of the jump ring and added the Joan Miller beads. I used some red, pink and purple jump rings for a little interest under the cubes. This necklace is very fun!

Visit the Allegory Gallery Design Challenge Facebook page to see what others made!  Thanks to Andrew and William for sponsoring these fun challenges.

WIP – Finished!

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I like to visit a nearby thrift store during lunch in search of good jewelry to repurpose, tins to cut up, photo backgrounds, storage (and now frugal fibers based on a recent blog post by Terri Del Signore).  Last time I was there, I was charmed by some lovely ice cream bowls that looked like they would be perfect work-in-progress bowls or leftovers sweep bowls for my bead table.  It’s still messy, but I was able to corral three projects that have been sitting on my table.

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In deciding what I wanted to work on today, it seemed so much more doable to try one of the bowl projects. The bulk of materials are already together, and it would be a great way to get some stuff off my table!  I went for the project in the purple bowl, which has be languishing around for some time.

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I was mostly right about the materials I needed.  The waxed linen was a bit too small, even knotted to be sufficient between the apatite heishi beads, so I added some seed beads.  I had planned to use the irregular white beads in back, but the holes were so big, I needed something else.  I found some glass beads in the color of the polka dots from the focal.  I had ordered these very large lobster claws, not realizing how big they would be, but it is the perfect size for this heavy necklace.

One work-in-progress done!

Art Bead Scene Challenge – February

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The monthly Art Bead Scene Challenge offers a piece of art for participants to use as inspiration for making an art bead or something that contains an art bead.  The inspiration piece this month is the oil painting The Two Crowns by Sir Frank Dicksee.

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The colors in this piece are so rich, and that’s what inspired my piece. I was first drawn to the white of the horse, and I thought I had a white clay and glass pendant by Kristie Ann Roeder of Artisan Clay. When I went to look, it was white and teal, which worked as well!

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I also used a rosebud charm by Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati, a gold flower connector, moonstone rondelles and some teal and rose colored Czech glass.  I kept trying to think of a design I liked using gold sari silk because the painting definitely brought that to mind. But they just didn’t work for me, so I used a little piece of it as a photo prop.

I think this necklace looks appropriately opulent (more so in person with the moonstone flash.)  I’m pleased with this necklace, and I love the Art Bead Scene challenges for encouraging me to use and combine materials I otherwise might not.

 

Darn Good Beads of the Month Club

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I love a good surprise package, so I always like the idea of a monthly bead club subscription.  I had done business with Darn Good Yarn in the past; they have lots of lovely things in addition to yarn.  They have a variety of things that beaders can use, so a Darn Good Beads of the Month Club seems like a natural fit. I suspected the projects would be geared toward beginners, and I wondered if I would enjoy them. I decided it was worth a try because their aesthetic is something that appeals to me – I’ve purchased supplies as well as clothing from their site.

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I really enjoyed my first project – The Lanterns of Marrakesh.  The materials are good quality, like a decent gauge jump ring. Materials were for an entire necklace, although I only made the tassel and didn’t attach the chain to the tassel because I plan to incorporate this into another project. However, I would have been happy with the project as is.

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I like the rustic nature of sari silk, but this was sticking up at right angles too much for me after tying it onto the tassel cap, so I ran the iron over it.  I might have gotten a bit heavy handed, but that’s ok.  I really love the colors of the ribbon and the findings.  There was enough work to this to make it seem like a project – cutting the chain (I had started doing that before remembering to take a photo of the kit), cutting the ribbon, and connecting it all.  But these are nice supplies that one could use separately as well.

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In fact, because I’m not making the tassel into a necklace with the kit materials (yet anyway) I have some nice chain, jump rings and a clasp left over.  I really look forward  to receiving the next kit.