Allegory Gallery Design Challenge – Midsummer Edition

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Today is the reveal for the Allegory Gallery Design Challenge – Midsummer edition.I love even the picture above of the kit. Such beautiful colors! The theme is lovely – Summer Solstice and Faerie folklore.  Also, just from my own midwestern perspective, midsummer is a time when we can count on it being consistently warm and there is still time before the snow flies. OF COURSE, I forgot to take a picture of the kit, but I will point out what I used, so you can get an idea.

First I used a strand of rock crystal quartz beads, purple seed beads, purple waxed linen, pink and purple crystals and a lucite flower from the kit.  I added a copper and resin art pendant and copper clasp from Gaea HandmadeI hope you agree I’ve achieved the funky and romantic look I was going for.

Next I made a bracelet. I was looking for something else and found this little length of plastic chain. I thought it would be great with some of the larger plastic beads from the kit.  I threw in a tin bead from Trinket Foundry and made dangles with kit beads. Cute and chunky.

I had another design in mind for the necklace with Andrew’s handmade component – multi-strand with smaller beads and some fiber. I was going to put one larger amethyst above the pendant. When I got out this strand of matte amethyst slabs, it was clear they were the necklace. I used a pretty Green Girl Studios clasp.

I branched out a little more than usual, pulling in more things from my stash. I had a great time! Please visit the Allegory Gallery Design Challenge Facebook page to see what others have made.  Thanks to Andrew and William for another beautiful kit and fun challenge!

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Easter in June

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I’ve been thinking about making this necklace for a long time. I got this fabulous “chocolate” resin bunny pendant by Andrew Thornton a couple of years ago. Around the same time I got a strand of colorful vintage lucite beads.  It was just a short strand, so I added some spring green tubes and larger colorful glass beads to round out the necklace.  I love it.  It’s very me.  I think I hesitated making it for a while even though I had it in mind from the time I got the materials because I didn’t really have what I thought was an appropriate outfit for it. I’ve recently decided I really need to invest in clothing that is more appropriate for the jewelry I make or want to make. It’s all about the jewelry!

My sister recently called it the “crazy aunt” look. You know your really fun aunt who had the funky clothes and jewelry and said what other people considered outrageous things?  (If you didn’t have one, there are probably TV and movie examples you can recall.) That’s the look I’m going for. This fabulous spring bunny necklace fits right in.

Look at the gorgeous detail in this bunny!  Looks sweet in more ways than one. I’ll have fun wearing it.

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Bead & Button Fun #2

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Welcome to part 2 of my Bead & Button show and tell.  I had intended to focus somewhat on gemstone strands, and one of the booths I had seen people post nice stuff from was Holy & Pure Gemstone. But as I’ve noticed at other shows, I find all those strands too overwhelming, especially when I have to calculate the discounted price in my head. But, I did get some wonderful, colorful beaded chain there. 

They had a ton of chain, very good value, priced a marked.  Next year I would spend more time getting chain and maybe try to be patient and get at least one strand of beads.  Knowing what to expect is half the battle.

I love, love, love Joan Miller Porcelain, so I got a couple things from her. 

Joan Miller was sharing a booth with Patti Cahill, and I fell in love with this bead. I believe this is my first Patti Cahill bead, so that’s good I bought something new.  I’ve noticed that I stick to what I already like.  Next year I would like to branch out more.

I am very happy with my Humblebeads purchases. I have wanted the monarch items for a while. I knew I would get some disc beads because they are my favorite. I love the black, blue and white ones. I saw those posted by someone on preview night and set my sights.  I am going to try this project by Heather Powers with the lentil bead.

I did get some metal spacers like I planned from Hand of the Hills. I liked how they displayed their strands. They were on colored velcro strips. Each color of velcro indicated a specific price. I loved just opening the velcro to get the strand, so easy!

Last but not least, I got some Diane Hawkey beads. I am a huge fan. I got some beads and a cabochon (that I’m going to ask my mom to bead around).

And I got some pendants.  I especially love that little bar that says “I exist as I am, that is enough.” 

I would like to go back next year. I feel like I would be able to focus on other things. At shows, I do tend to stick to what I already know and like. I did get a couple new things, and I didn’t get any African strands, which is something I usually focus on. I feel so satisfied with my purchases this year that I think I could branch out a little next year to maybe see who has other things like vintage beads or maybe some fun or fancy clasps or artists who are new to me.  After all, the artists I love now were new to me at one time.

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Bead & Button Fun #1

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I went to the Bead & Button Show on Friday for the first time in five years. I had such a good time!  I got to meet some online friends, which was very fun.  I bought lots of great stuff.  I’m already scheming my plots and plans for next year, but I know that is folly because I had a big plan for buying this year, and I didn’t really follow it.  But I’m super happy with everything I bought (and I only forgot to get one thing I meant to get!) and I did realize something that affected my shopping.

I generally cannot deal with a ton of strands. I can buy from a booth with lots of strands, like Dakota Stones. But a ton of strands all laid out on top of one another just makes it impossible for me to focus. Throw in a big 75% off sign that will force me to calculate a price in my head, and it turns a good deal into a deal breaker. So my plan to focus on gemstone strands crashed and burned. Speaking of Dakota stones, they had a new cut, called star cut, that I really liked. I thought about getting a few strands of this cut in some favorite stones. But then I saw a collar strand of rough cut labradorite beads. I’ve admired strands like this over the years in the Dakota Stones booth at various shows. I decided to treat myself to one great strand! It’s so beautiful.I also got a strand of pyrite nuggets. I always love these.

I got some fabulous new things from a couple of favorite shops.  First, Allegory Gallery. I got to meet proprietors Andrew Thornton and William Jones in person! That was so nice after participating in their design challenges, reading club and destashes over the years.  They are just as nice in person as they are online!  I picked up some lovelies from the shop.

They had these great fiber cards each with four different kinds of fiber.  I love them!  I really wanted them all, but this is the one I picked.  I can’t wait to incorporate these fibers into my designs.  I’m hoping these fiber cards mights show up in the etsy shop. I also got multiple strands of these beautiful soft yellow vintage plastic beads.  I have a couple, and they are a favorite. I’d like to make a whole necklace featuring these. I love yellow. 

I also got a couple of Andrew’s pendants. I love the meaningful sayings he has been putting on pendants lately. Also, I never met an Andrew Thornton bronze pendant I didn’t love.  In addition, Andrew and William gifted me with this charming podling ornament. 

This magical creature was handmade by Andrew. It’s full of good vibes it will be spreading while hanging in my studio.

Andrew and William shared a booth with their family who own Green Girl Studios. I was hoping to be able to get a couple of their new designs, and I did.

The hands and house are new. Some of the new Green Girl beads are available in Allegory Gallery’s esty shop. If I could still wear earrings, I would totally make the hands into earrings. Even though I won’t use them that way, I bought two so I could have my bead and use it too.  I also bought this gorgeous bangle.  In fact, I was on a bit of a bangle binge.  Here is the stack that ended up on my wrist on the ride home.  LOVE!

In addition to the Green Girl bracelet, there are three glass bangles made from wine bottles from Trinket Foundry and a hand patinaed cuff from Vintaj. I had seen the Vintaj cuffs on their Facebook page just before the show and had fallen in love.

For a while I have wanted a bird from MAKU Studio.  I thought I would check out her supply at the show, and if one seemed right I would get it. This one spoke to me right away. And this little heart wanted to come home with me too.

I got some more things, but I will save those for another post.  I hope you enjoyed this show and tell.

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I’m Going to the Bead & Button Show

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I haven’t gone to the Bead & Button show since 2013. During the intervening years, I have gone to the Madison Art Glass and Bead Show which is smaller but a nice show and right in my own town. I didn’t go this year, so I’m going big and traveling to Milwaukee on Friday to spend a little time (and money!) at Bead & Button.

I hope to be able to meet some of my Facebook bead peeps in person. I’ve read several posts with tips about attending a bead show.  I’ve made and honed my master list of vendors I must visit. I love all beads and materials and get totally sucked in by everything, so I’ve tried to make my list with an eye toward things I will actually use (eventually) and can’t easily order online.  For example, I’ve identified a couple of vendors for gemstones and metal spacers.  Although I can get those things online, I find it difficult to pick them out because no matter how good the description, I often can’t picture size. 

And then there are the art beads. That’s a major part of what I’m in it for. When I went five years ago, I didn’t know all the handmade bead artists were grouped together on one side. I started on the other side, and by the time I got to the art beads, I was running out of money. That should not happen this year. Although I’m not necessarily going there first – because I actually have a pretty good stash of art beads and need the aforementioned gemstones and spacers – I won’t make the mistake of buying things I’m not in love with prior to getting to the art bead row! I have said for a long time if I get to go to Bead & Button again, I would immediately swoop down on Diane Hawkey’s booth. I feel a little less pressure because I got the above fabulous stash of her beads online last year. But they are not always readily available online (except some of her well know beads like word beads and a few others) so I will definitely be stopping there while feeling slightly less desperate!

I have little bottles of water, peanut butter and jelly Larabars (not too crumbly and possible to eat without water if necessary) and a list of other things to take. My sister and brother-in-law are going with me. I don’t think either of them has ever been to a bead show before, so I will be interested to see what they think. I’m excited and hope I find and pick all the right things. Tune back in next week and I’ll do a show and tell. See you then!

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OMG, I Did Bead Weaving!

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I have never been good at bead weaving.  Trying to follow the instructions, I just get lost. I wish I were good at it, and wonder every once in a while if I tried (again) I could learn.  Recently I saw this Window Bracelet pattern from Good Quill Hunting and for some reason decided it looked easy enough for me to do. I bought the pattern and looking at the directions, I mostly still thought so. I enlisted my Mom for technical assistance and moral support because she does some bead weaving and is WAY more patient than I am. Here we go!

My Mom suggested starting in the morning when we were fresh so the day didn’t get away from us.  She was right; I’m also at my best in the morning as far as concentration, not being tired or crabby, etc.  So with the pattern up on the computer, my beads out in front of us, we started. I kept the bags near the beads in case I forgot what any of them were called. Then I spend the entire process calling the Tango beads (white ones) Tila Beads because they were abbreviated TB in the pattern and in my mind it made sense since the smaller yellow beads were Half Tila.  Which might go to show part of why I’m not that good at bead weaving.

But I made it through the first part, and I thought I’d snap a picture before I ruined it.

It was kind of exciting, and I kept going. It took me longer than it would a seasoned beader, but the pattern actually made sense, and I did get into kind of a rhythm like my Mom said, although I have to pay really close attention because this is just not how my mind works. There were a couple of snags, but amazingly few, so I got a picture of the next part before I ruined it.

This was really exciting because usually I mess something up and abandon the project prior to actually being able to see it take shape.  Here there is only one error (that you can’t see) but I learned something from it, and also figured out what I was doing wrong and fixed it in the later sections. In the pattern, the last part before the clasp looked so complicated, fewer straight lines, but it really made sense in the end!

The clasp is the one thing in the tutorial I couldn’t understand. It didn’t make that much difference because the part on the right looks relatively like the tutorial picture. However, I could tell if I did that on the other side (as I was supposed to) the bracelet was going to be too big. I had originally decided to take out one repeat, but then decided that would make it too small. Maybe I should have. In any case, between the size issue, the frustration that I was now feeling about not understanding the clasp and it being late in the day, I just decided, heck with it, I’m going to attach it securely and make it fit despite how it will look. I probably should have let it sit until I was feeling more patient and thought it out, but I’m so proud I finished it at all!

AND, I’m going to make at least one more, applying what I learned!  That’s pretty amazing for me, being willing to try it again even if it wasn’t perfect the first time. I really feel accomplished!

 

Darn Good Beads Kit #4

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I made the project from my latest Darn Good Beads kit.  This time it was a bracelet.  Materials were larger jump rings, smaller jump rings, two colors of Toho seed beads and two clasps.  (They included enough to make two bracelets.)

I’m visiting my parents, and I told my Mom I’d have this bracelet done when she got out of the shower.  I ended up taking a help-dad-carry-some-chairs-upstairs break, but I was almost right!  They give three design ideas, but let you know you can design it how you’d like.  I used double jump rings as a design feature and only made one bracelet, so now I have seed beads, jump rings and a clasp left for another project.  I have two of the larger jump rings with seed beads on them that I will make into earrings.  Two pieces of jewelry, plus leftovers (I love leftovers)!

Here’s the finished product (photo by Mom, my new photo assistant.  Thanks, Mom!)

Tile Trials

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I scored a variety of beautiful tile left over from remodeling jobs (not mine, alas) and was excited to try them as photo backgrounds.  Here’s how it went.

Here are two pieces on a whole sheet of small, square tile. I wasn’t sure if I’d like this because of the spaces. But looking at it, I think it could work sometimes.  I can’t seem to get a nice picture of this particular necklace. I also tried on another day on other backgrounds. The tin bead (with the horrible glare on it!) is from Trinket Foundry.

Here is the same tile closer with a beautiful necklace by Andrew Thornton and Cynthia Thornton. I think the background colors are perfect for this piece, and I love the texture of the tile in this close up, but I’m not wild about how the webbing shows. Also, I know I’d get all perfectionist on whether the lines look straight.

Here are some photos on decorative bathroom tiles.  I actually have three designs, but I’ve only used two here.  i was in a hurry because the light was fading. The lampwork bead below is also from Trinket Foundry.

I think the bracelet below looks better on the patterned tile than the necklace above.  The design shows through the glass pendant on the necklace too much. There are so many variables in a picture that affect the outcome, but I can see that these tiles will be good for many things.  (They look fab in the bathroom too!)

I really like how this elephant by Staci Smith looks on the patterned tile too. I think small, bold pieces might fare best on the patterned tile.

Here is a necklace with a bird by Heather Powers of Humblebeads on three different smaller tiles put together. I actually really like this picture which surprises me. I would have thought the transitions between each piece of tile would be off-putting. I don’t find that. I like that there is a dark, medium and light, and I could position my piece to take advantage of that.  It’s often a problem to have a dark pendant and light beads because one inevitably suffers in a sold background photo.

Here are two pieces on a small square of kitchen counter.  It’s so much prettier in the kitchen, but I think both pieces look relatively nice, although again the bold elephant pendant does better than the necklace. The problem with this pieces is that, unlike the other pieces, it is shiny. That will cause glare, as you can see in the picture with the necklace.

The banana pendant is by Artybecca. The banana dangles are by Joan Miller. The Zola Elements chain is from Lima Beads. The clasp is Nunn Design.

The tile I think fared the worst in photos was this plain white/grey. It’s kind of flat and dark, and again when I need it bigger and put multiple pieces together, I won’t like the line.

I’m not sure this tile is great with these two pieces, but I do believe it will be great with many, many things.  It is gorgeous stone tile, and I have one very big piece that will be good for larger/longer jewelry when the colors are right.  I also have another partial piece with different colors/textures.

I’m very happy to have all these tiles, and will enjoy trying them in the future to have more options for jewelry photos.  MooKitty is also very excited about all the packaging I carried the tile home in.

Inspiration in Everyday

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Artist Terri DelSignore, one of the contributors to the Art Bead Scene blog, created a new Facebook page dedicated to the inspiration for bead and jewelry making that we find in everyday things.  I like this because it stretches my creativity.  My inspiration mostly comes from beads, often challenges.  If I have a group of beads, ideas come to me. But I know I make different things with different inspiration – for example the art posted on Art Bead Scene or a book from the Inspired by Reading Book Club.  I’m very task oriented, and don’t think to find a lot of inspiration in the everyday.  But it’s all around!  Here are some suggestions by Terri in a recent post.

I often walk past a clothing boutique, Change, near where I work.  I like the logo they have in their windows: it’s retro yet modern. Here is a picture I snapped the other day.

It reminded me of a plastic filigree piece I got in an Andrew Thornton destash. And I think this logo was in the back of my mind when I got the piece. Then Loralee Kolton, who makes some of the best earrings anywhere ever, made earrings out of a couple of filigree pieces and they had dangles.  She does the best messy wire wrapping (not on the earring dangles, but just this is what was in my head.)  Here is what I came up with.

I’m really happy with the piece.  I think it turned out fun and elegant.  I used tiny garnet briolettes with a shiny copper wire messy wrap for my dangles, one calla lilly bead above the plastic scroll pendant, and freshwater pearls. The beautiful hand patina chain by Miss Fickle Media brings the copper from the front around to the back. The pendant totally reminds me of the logo! What inspiration can you find around you every day?