You’ve Come a Long Way

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More than five years ago, I wrote a blog post with a list of 25 things I wanted to learn, practice or improve. It can be easy to think we aren’t learning or progressing very much because those things sometimes go slowly. However, this previous post came to mind because my mom suggested we look at old blog posts. I’m glad she did. When I read these items, I was surprised how many I had done or how many had changed and were no longer relevant.

1)  Make a beaded bead.

2)  Get a jewelry design published. – This is no longer a goal. So many jewelry magazines are gone, and a kind blog reader pointed out that every time I publish a blog post with a photo of my jewelry, it is being published (thanks, Anne W!) I realized that’s enough for me, and I don’t want to go to the work to get published in a magazine. Limiting the “work” of my hobby keeps it fun and stress free.

3)  Make my own clasp. – Yes, I’ve done this! I’d like to do it more.

4)  Put up a pegboard system in my craft room. – This is no longer a goal because I have put many more organizational systems in place so that I don’t need that specific thing. One is this wonderful way of hanging chain that I got from a peek into Erin Prais-Hintz’s studio

5)  Organize craft room into usability. – I consider this done. Although it regularly needs a good clean up, and I’d like to be one of those folks who cleans up after each making session, it is basically organized. It wouldn’t take much time to clean up the mess from my last making session or two.

6)  Make a decent “messy” wire wrap. – I’ve done this to my satisfaction more than once. It doesn’t always turn out the way I’d like, but I know how to make it work.

7)  Make a decent briolette wrap. – I have also done this. There are so many wonderful tutorials available on the web. Thanks to all the artists who share their knowledge.

8)  Make a decent wire wrapped link from the Deryn Mentock tutorial. – I really don’t need to do this anymore. I’m happy to get a variety of similar items from SagaHus Components .

9)  Make a decent leather infinity link from the Tracy Statler tutorial.

10)  Make my own tin bead caps from the Lorelei Eurto tutorial– I’ve done this. It was so fun!

11)  Learn to rivet. – Done.

12)  Do some metal stamping. – Done.

13)  Learn to take better pictures of my jewelry. – I have learned a lot about this. There often isn’t good light where I live, but I sometimes surprise myself with pictures that are better than I think.

14)  Take a glass bead making class.

15)  Work with color patinas. – I’ve had a blast doing this and wrote a couple of blog posts about it.

16)  Oxidize my wire. – Done.

17)  Improve my knotting. – Knotting is now my main stringing technique.

18)  Use a variety of leather and fiber ends. – Done.

19)  Become comfortable making multi-strand pieces. – I’ve done this. While I prefer single strands, if I had a multi-strand design in mind, I’d go with it.

20)  Use chakra charms in something fabulous.

21)  Re-make a necklace. – Done.

22)  Re-make a bracelet. – Done.

23)  Re-make a pair of earrings. – Done

24)  Finish Jade Scott earrings. – I no longer wear earrings, so I didn’t finish this project. (The thing holding me up was wire wrapping, which wouldn’t be a problem now.)

25)  Make another wrap bracelet.

I’ve done (or changed/don’t need to do) 20 out of 25 of these goals. That’s 80%. Pretty good! Some more of these things are no longer a priority; I don’t think I’d like making glass beads, so I doubt I would take a class. I would take a different class, so I can possibly look for one I would like to take. I won’t make a new list like this, but I will keep in mind that progress is happening whether we think it is or not and also that goals change.

I subscribe to Ginger Davis Allman’s The Muse thrice weekly email newsletter. It is a series of short tips and thoughts that aren’t long enough for a full article, but still worth sharing. A recent email talked about how sometimes we don’t read or attend to things because we think we already know it. But attending to “old” or “basic” information can sometimes help us see things in a different way than when we first saw or learned it. I’m a different jewelry maker than I was five years ago. My style has evolved as has what I want to focus on. This list probably helped me to do that. It was fun to see how far I’ve come not only in how many of these things I’ve accomplished, but in how many are no longer relevant.

 

2019 Art Journey One with Art Bead Scene

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Art Bead Scene has a new format. They offer multiple inspiration pieces on a theme (topic, artist, etc.) and provide artists more time to create a piece using an art bead. They are calling these art journeys, and there will be nine per year. The first uses inspiration by Heather Powers. There are two drawings that are so fabulous. When I saw the first one, I thought “what wonderful inspiration!”

Then a second inspiration piece was added, and I liked it even more! (You can buy Heather’s art prints, including these two in her shop.) 

I really love both of the inspiration pieces and the colors, but I admit I struggled with this challenge. I have plenty of things in my stash that would work, but I’ve found that nature based inspiration is not easy for me. That is something I can work on.

I feel like Heather’s drawings show natural elements as jewels, so I wanted to make something sort of “fancy.” I ended up choosing this polymer and resin butterfly focal by Andrew Thornton. 

I remember Andrew saying it was a faux version of a technique, but I can’t remember the name. He made it for a magazine. You can see how the design in the wings is translucent. It was already assembled with the dangles (I love how the balled headpins make the pearls look like little legs.) I added some small gemstones to the center holes for additional color.

I wanted to bring in a metallic to highlight the edging around the wing designs. I’ve had these fancy Czech glass ice pearls in gold and cranberry waiting for the right project. I also used vintage metal spacers. To bring in a lighter color, I used irregular stone beads because they reference the color of the center moth in the first picture. I finished off the back with hessonite garnets and a clasp by Miss Fickle Media.

Have you joined the Art Bead Scene’s new Art Journey yet? The deadline for this first one is February 9th. To see what others have made, visit the blog.

Bead in the New Year with Allegory Gallery – Final Wrap Up

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I made it through 31 days of prompts! Whoo-hoo! Allegory Gallery heard their customers say that they wanted to be more creative and take more time for self care in 2019. For many of us, creativity and self care overlap. So they came up with a calendar of daily prompts for January to help us all along. We could use it any way we chose. I chose to complete each prompt in order and post it on the day listed. That doesn’t mean I made one item a day; I definitely had to work ahead when I had time. But I’ve never felt the ease of making jewelry so clearly. It’s like these prompts helped me get out of my own way. On to the last five prompts!

Day 27 – Make a piece inspired by a book you’ve read

This necklace was inspired by A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. Ove is a curmudgeon, always annoyed, hence this exasperated lampwork face bead by Maggs Creations. The mix of glass beads represents the chaos Ove feels in the changing world around him. I brought in the purple from the pendant with some amethyst. The beautiful copper claps is by Gaea.

Day 28 – Remake an old project into a new one

I still have a fair number of older pieces. If I haven’t taken them apart yet, it generally means I like the beads and maybe even the design, but it needs to be updated to fit my current style. I used two necklaces in this remake. 

I wanted it to be longer and a bit chunkier. I added the teal beads and pendant by Andrew Thornton. I love the teal with the chartreuse!

Day 29 – Use an Allegory Gallery wood pendant

This wood pendant is one Allegory Gallery made to honor Aretha Franklin. The lampwork lentil is by Anne’s Glass Jewels (given to me by Karin of Ginkgo et Coquelicot – thank you!) The yellow and orange smaller lampwork beads are from BuliBeads. I love this sort of mix of colorful beads. The smallest of the colorful beads are vintage German glass from Ava Motherwell. I was ridiculously happy to get those. I do love how this turned out.

Day 30 – Create a piece inspired by nature

When jewelry artists talk about what inspires them, nature is often mentioned. I love beads and jewelry inspired by nature, but I can’t say I’m particularly inspired by nature. My initial thought was to make something winter-inspired because it is very wintery here now, and I love white beads. But then I realized I didn’t have to actually make something inspired by the outdoors; I have plenty of nature-inspired beads. I have been hoarding this hibiscus flower bud pendant from Humblebeads for a while. I decided to keep it simple, inspired, in fact, by Heather Powers herself. Her inspired by nature designs are always wonderful. I added a couple spacers and a couple of her disc beads, some copper chain and a bird clasp. Done! This will be a great, light necklace on hot summer days.

Day 31 – Make a piece that’s big, bold and over the top!

I had splurged on this strand of rough labradorite slab beads from Dakota Stones a couple years ago at Bead & Button. I loved it and wanted to use it all together in a collar necklace – another project these prompts helped me complete. I added a small labradorite spacer between each slab so the collar would curve nicely, and added chain at the back so the length would be adjustable. I’m going to revisit this prompt. I want to make my first assemblage piece, but I knew I wouldn’t have time for that (or glue, but it’s on the way!)

As I keep saying, I’ve loved participating in this month-long challenge. Big thanks to Andrew Thornton and William Jones of Allegory Gallery for these fun and inspiring prompts. Follow them on Facebook, their blog, or instagram to learn about all the fun challenges they dream up!

Honey Do List – January 2019

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Sarajo Wentling of SJ Designs Jewelry has a monthly challenge on her blog using photos by her husband Eric as the inspiration. Fun! This month’s photo is a great architectural shot from a trip to Prague.

Photo by Eric Wentling

When I saw this gorgeous photo, the first thing I thought of is some vintage metal chain I have with diamond shaped links. I was happy to use the chain in the front of the necklace because it’s too pretty to hide! Although all the beams and windows are probably marble or something, I got a strong wood vibe. I used this cool pieced wooden bead and rectangular wood beads that remind me of the windows. The gold rounds bring in a little of the color from the glass in the dome.

This necklace is fun and kind of different than things I usually make. Thanks to Sarajo and Eric. I look forward to the next inspiration photo!

Bead in the New Year with Allegory Gallery – Week 4 Wrap Up

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As I typed that title, I realized I don’t have full weeks in my wrap ups necessarily, so there will be five weeks this month. 🙂 On to the Allegory Gallery prompts!

Day 21 – Get together with some friends to create

My mom is my favorite beading buddy. This is at her house last weekend. It’s nice to have someone else’s opinion and exchange materials. She also pushes me to try new things by proposing dates to use patinas or finally try epoxy clay. Thanks, mom!

Day 22 – Construct a non-jewelry piece using beads

Many moons ago, I got a pack of artist trading cards from Andrew Thornton’s destash as a prize. I had never heard of such a thing, but when I read up on them, I thought it was cool. I had done some paper crafts (cards, scrapbooks) back in the day. Fast forward to me enjoying art journaling and other paper arts that Crafty Hope posts about on her blog. Combine those two things with this prompt, and I give you my project using some vintage charms. I look forward to doing more elaborate non-jewelry projects.

Day 23 – Do a random act of (bead) kindness

My intention was to do art abandonment with these earrings. I used to do it more often, but I’ve gotten away from it. Honestly, I don’t get to that many places, and I can’t always find a good place to drop. There was a big snowfall on this day, so I ended up giving the earrings to a co-worker who happened into my office. That was random!

Day 24 – Create a piece using vintage materials 

I enjoyed making this piece quite a bit. I used a vintage brass piece as a starting point. The vintage  glass drop (that has a nice purple cast you can’t totally see) and those perfect wedding cake beads are from the Vintage Bead Vault. I got the vintage purple glass pearls from Who Knows What, a treasure of a shop, and the green glass from One Piece At a Time, also a favorite.

Day 25 – Put together a piece using seed beads

I use seed beads mostly as spacers. I wanted to do something a bit different, but I wasn’t about to do any bead weaving. That requires a whole day set up with moral support. But I had gotten the Allegory Gallery Design Challenge Day of the Dead kit. It came with a great sugar skull wooden pendant that had an open weave at the top as well as a tube of really pretty colorful seed beads. I imagined using wire to weave those beads at the top of the pendant. That is one of the things I love about these prompts; it gives some of us to time (or the understanding that we already have the time) to do things we’ve been thinking about. Now if I could only find the strand of beads that came in this kit that I wanted to use for a necklace with this. I’m sure I put them “someplace safe.”

Day 26 – Use a color that you don’t normally use

I don’t think there are a lot of colors I don’t use. I love brights, neutrals, pastels, metallics, etc. The one color I think I use less frequently is blue. But I do have a blue and turquoise box (I separate some beads by color). I looked in there and came up with a design I really like!

I feel like this had the added benefit of helping use those very cute dotty beads I’ve had for years. I tend to shy away from color combinations that are associated with something specific: red, white and blue, green and red, sports team colors, etc. Now to me they just look cute!

I think I’ve been doing Monday through Sunday recaps, but I’m going to post this now and leave the last five days of this challenge for one last recap. Thanks for reading! I hope you are enjoying this as much as I am.

Bead in the New Year with Allegory Gallery – Week 3 Wrap Up

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Can you believe we’re already wrapping up week 3 of this Allegory Gallery challenge, which means we are 3/4 through the first month of 2019? I am learning so much and having a great time. Let’s get to the prompts!

Day 14 – Break out the polymer clay and create something.

#bitny ag day 14 - polymer clay

I have wanted to create with polymer clay for some time. I bought a few tools, tutorials and even some polymer clay years ago. As discussed previously on this blog, I am a chicken and a staller. So this prompt was gold for me! I found that clay, made a few preliminary things and baked them. Whoo-hoo! The beauty part of this is that I allowed myself to just focus on the bake. I didn’t have any expectations of making something even usable. The flat shapes I made too thin, and they were not stable. The bead shapes baked well. I’m ready to tackle my next bake.

Day 15 – Organize your crafting area.

#bitnyday15 organize

Makers of all sorts know how difficult it can be to keep the creating area organized. You get in the zone, pull out this material and that, and at the end you move on to something else, leaving behind what is commonly called the craftermath. My two problem areas are the floor around my chair where I set boxes of beads I’ve looked through (and then trip over) and most importantly my beading surface. It’s so covered that I’m working on an inch strip at the front where things are constantly falling onto the floor. Silly. I didn’t get everything perfectly clean, but both of those areas are improved between the first and second photo. I even took time to clean up a bit after subsequent sessions.

Day 16 – WILD CARD! Ask a friend for a creative challenge.

#bitny day 16 ask a friend - food

I was beading and talking on FaceTime with my sister. I was looking ahead to what prompts were coming up and saw this one. So I asked her to give me a prompt, and she said make something food-related. Maybe she was just hungry! But it was a great prompt for me. I love food related beads and also beads that look like candy. I had a carrot pendant I had been planning to pair with some glass peppers (mostly because I thought it was a pepper until my sister pointed out the truth. So, what the heck, a stir fry veggie necklace!) I had thought I’d cluster some of the charms near the top of the pendant. It wasn’t working. The charms kept going behind the pendant, etc. So I finally re-designed it with peppers dotting this red chain. I love it even better than what I had in mind! This challenge is so good for moving me off of a design idea that isn’t working, but still making a piece.

Day 17 – Use the 2019 Pantone Color of the Year – Living Coral

bitny ag - living coral

On first look, this isn’t my color. However,  Allegory Gallery had a design kit last year using this color, and I had a ball. I was so inspired. So I had a good attitude and knew just what beads to use. At a bead show, I had seen someone walking around with a strand of coral in their basket, and it just looked so pretty I bought one too. Totally not my usual sort of bead but here is the perfect use. I wanted to make it “me” so I separated each coral bead with a Christmas bead. I love the mix of colors, shapes and sizes of African Christmas beads.

Day 18 – Focus on metal as the main element in a new piece

bitny ag day 18 - metal

This just got my mind swirling. So many possibilities! I had wanted to explore metal in a more in-depth way, but at this point I wasn’t working ahead, so I decided to save actually making my own metal components for another time. I was re-working design ideas with this gorgeous colored copper focal by Gaea. Everything I tried was too cloying. Finally I hit on the idea of these vintage crystals; they have the pastel colors I needed in the AB coating, blingy, but subtle in a way. I added a few green crystals and a sterling clasp by Miss Fickle Media.

I did read up about stamping on metal and tried that, to make me feel a little more like I tried something new. This was a prompt suggestion for Day 16 by Alison Adorns for anyone who needed it.

stamped tiny tag

Day 19 – Be inspired by a piece of art to create a new design

bitny ag day 19 - art inspiration

My sister gifted me with a painting by Erin Smith. I love the colors, texture and imagery. This prompt was in my head as I saw this painting every day, and I thought I’d make something inspired by it with this Gaea pendant. I just need to add a clasp to the pink feldspar and Czech glass strands.

Day 20 – Utilize natural materials to create a new piece

I saw these abalone shell rectangles, and they were so pretty I wanted to somehow use them for this prompt. I ended up making a wrap bracelet with a vintage crystals, peanut beads and a few square beads of unknown materials for a pop of color.

It’s harder to keep up when I haven’t worked ahead. I was busy this weekend and just had time to keep up with each day’s prompt. Since it’s a holiday on Monday, I should be able to get a little ahead once again.

 

Bead in the New Year with Allegory Gallery – Week 2 Wrap Up

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I am having so much fun and just bursting with creativity thanks to Bead in the New Year with Allegory Gallery. There are also some positive unintended consequences. I’m getting more things done. I tend to be tired and unmotivated after work. I often come home and plop on the couch not doing anything particularly productive. With #beadinthenewyear, I have projects to work on! I bead while watching TV, I bead while FaceTiming with my sister. I carry the necklaces all around my shadowy house looking for some light to take a decent picture, and since I’m up, I do the dishes in the sink. I feel so productive!

Day 7 – Use your favorite gemstone in a new piece

When it comes to gemstones, I get the most swoony over ruby nuggets. I had a few left over from a strand that I’ve slowly been using in special pieces. When I saw this prompt, I planned to use them together at the front of a simple necklace – sort of like the raw diamonds in the Carrie Bradshaw character’s necklace in the last episode of the Sex and the City TV series. But as I designed, it got even better. I used a large tin capped pearl headpin by Sasha Crow that I’ve been hoarding. (Points to me for being brave.) I also love (as you know if you read this blog) chain by Miss Fickle Media, and I combined severas short sections for this necklace. Putting together a number of very special elements doesn’t always guarantee a special piece of jewelry but for me, in this case, it did. I love this. It would not exist if not for Allegory Gallery‘s challenge.

Day 8 – Use a stringing material that you don’t normally use

I use a variety of stringing materials, but nothing more often than waxed linen. So I decided that anything I use other than that counts. I think my second most used material is Soft Flex beading wire. I thought about looking at some different cording I have, but before that happened, I had a design with leather pretty much done with this gorgeous pendant and bead set by Terri DelSignore of Artisticaos. I often find that leather doesn’t lay like I want, the knots make beads lay weird, I don’t have the right size closure, etc. But this just seemed to come together. Maybe I start out prejudiced and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. I used 1.5 mm leather with horn tubes and small wood spacers. I used knotting and more spacers to make an adjustable closure. It all lays well and doesn’t seem skimpy like leather sometimes can to me. I’m very pleased.

Day 9 – Produce a piece using gemstone chips

Some people don’t like to work with chip beads, but they can look incredibly rich for a small price since most of us can’t always buy strands of large, fancier cut gemstone beads. I don’t know what type of stone this is, but I really love how it looks with these three beautiful glass beads by Andrew Thornton. (Another thing I’ve been using judiciously; I still have some left!) I finished it with large link copper chain I had in just the right length and a copper clasp by Miss Fickle Media. I love the rustic look of this piece, like a treasure from an archeological dig.

Day 10 – Challenge yourself by using sari silk ribbon

When I got this faux tin mitten charm from Heather Powers of Humblebeads, she included matching sari silk. I had already been trying to figure a way to use them together when this prompt came up. I don’t like the way sari silk feels on the back of my neck, but when I try to use it in the front, it sometimes feels too light and floppy. I settled on a cute little bit tied on the top of this pendant made with the mitten and a clear bead that reminds me of ice and gives the necklace some weight. The strand is made of peanut beads and lovely manik manik glass in the perfect color.

Day 11 – Share the work of a jewelry artist you admire

There are many, many jewelry artists I admire. But I followed the prompt and chose one for this purpose: Erin Prais-Hintz. I encourage you to look around her blog. Here are links to a few favorites:

Lies They Told Me

The Challenge of Travel: Nepal

Challenge of Music

Day 12 – Make a project from a craft book. 

I made a project inspired by Cynthia Thornton‘s book Enchanted Adornments. I had a heart pendant with a similar look to the one in the project (mine by Andrew Thornton) and i used it along with a variety of chain and beads to make a pretty necklace. I’m happy; it came out more similar to the project n the book than I thought it would!

Day 13 – Get inspired by music! Make a piece based off a song.

I wanted a song that had some visuals for me, so I was kind of listening through my iTunes list and came upon Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits. It’s about a broken-hearted guy healing from a relationship. I used a repaired heart pendant (in the kintsugi style) by Staci Louise Smith. There is a line in the song “you can fall for chains of silver, you can fall for chains of gold” so I decided to use mixed metal chain. There is also a line, “You said ‘I love you like the stars above'”, and I used chain at the front with stardust beads, as well as a star charm near the clasp. This turned out so pretty! Another necklace that wouldn’t have come together like this without the prompt.

If you would like to see what others are making, you can visit the Allegory Gallery Design Challenges page.

 

Bead in the New Year with Allegory Gallery – Week 1 Wrap Up

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As I said in my last post, Allegory Gallery has put together a calendar of prompts for each day in January to help people be more creative and take time for themselves, something they saw many people post about as goals in 2019. I’m going to try to do a weekly recap of what I’m making. I don’t know that I’ll get much else made this month (although I do have the start of idea for the SJ Designs Jewelry Honey Do List challenge for this month.)

Day 1 – Make a pair of earrings

I am having a really fun time participating in the challenges. It’s eye-opening and inspiring. I’ve found that I actually do have more time to bead than I’ve been taking. I like to bead first thing in the morning, so I save it for weekends. But I’ve now make some really great things on workdays. I think I’m more relaxed doing more beading.

Day 2 – Create a new bracelet

I’m also realizing that when I have a simple idea, I should just go ahead and do it! I’ve had the idea to use this beautiful chain and clasp as a bracelet since I got it from Miss Fickle Media. I finally did it. Charm is by Maire Dodd.

Day 3 – Put together a necklace

I’m using the prompts to also finish projects that have been floating around in my head for a while. This is a more recent one, but I hadn’t done it yet. Mary Redman and Walter Gross gifted me with some beads, and these large speckled vintage plastic beads really struck me as wonderful. I had an idea right away. The prompt gave me the push to put it together.

Day 4 – Make a matching jewelry set

Think outside the box and be ok with good enough. I initially thought of a jewelry set as necklace, earrings and bracelet. I don’t do that, so I thought maybe I’d skip this day. Then I realized a set could mean something else. I hadn’t worked ahead so besides having little time after work, I also had no light for the picture. I went simple with my stretch stacking bracelets and took the best picture I could. Done is done, and I’ve got some cute, casual bracelets.

Day 5 – Use an art bead

I rarely start making without an idea. For this, I just sort of looked at art beads in easy reach to see if an idea came to me. When I saw this faux tin focal from Humblebeads, I got out my turquoise colored beads and these chrysocholla looked perfect. I kept trying to design something, and it just looked flat. I worked at it, adding and taking away, and finally came up with something that I think really works. I think sometimes I give up too soon or hang onto a design idea too long. The timeline of the challenge forced me to move along.

Day 6 – Fashion a design using Czech glass

I had been meaning to make this project, one of Heather Powers’ Bead Table Wednesday tutorials, since I got the faux tin toggle from her. I saw the toggle when I picked out the focal from the last project, and knew this project called for Czech glass. I’m so glad I got this done and am thrilled with how it turned out! I love the colors.

Andrew Thornton has addressed some people’s concerns about staying on track or being “behind”. He reminded us it’s supposed to be fun above all, you can participate as much or little as you like and post any project on any day. However, it you want to challenge yourself to finish all prompts, figure out some time management strategies. I am working ahead, but I’m pretty slow and can only finish one or two projects on my best day. But that’s ok. I’m having a lot of fun, and that’s the point!

Thanks to Andrew and William Jones of Allegory Gallery for this wonderful idea. If you would like to check out what folks are making based on these prompts, visit the Allegory Gallery Design Challenges Facebook page. Scroll through the feed or visit the album to see them all!

Happy New Year 2019

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Indeed it is a happy new year for me because I’ve had a decent amount of time to get some great things done around the house (including in my studio – more about that in a future post) as well as work on some fun jewelry. It’s so relaxing!

First is one of those great pieces for which I had one component and then when I saw another, I just knew how perfectly it would go with what I already had. I had ordered a fabulous extra large vintage lucite bead. It looked like 1930s Hollywood to me, just beautiful. I got it from Sondra’s Estate Beads Destash Depot. Then I saw some vintage stardust ball chain in antique gold from B’sue Boutiques. What a perfect combination!

I used some of the very first handmade bead caps I ever bought, from Metal Me This many years ago at Bead & Button.  I loved the idea of making the bead look even richer, like those lampwork beads with integrated textured metal bead caps. I used crystal rondelles to hold the bead caps in place. 

It’s hard to show this necklace as nice as it turned out. The lucite is more lustrous and swirly, the bead caps are richer, the chain is more sparkly. Lovely. Old Hollywood glamour, here I come.

Today I also made a pair of earrings. These will be for sale later this year in the Artists for Animals Auction. I was helped along in making them early by the Bead in the New Year with Allegory Gallery prompt for today. I love this!

I got these beautiful MOP looking guitar picks from Lori Anderson when I bought something from her destash. She always includes extras. I thought they would make great earrings, and I wanted to pair them with kind of an unusual bead that would pop. I chose vintage Japanese paper beads I’ve had for many years. I love the glittery bits.

I intend to participate with Allegory Gallery throughout the month as much I can. How fun and inspiring! You can see what others have made (or post your own creation!) by visiting their Allegory Gallery Design Challenges page.

I hope you have a wonderful, creative year.

Honey Do List – December 2018

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Sarajo Wentling of SJ Designs Jewelry has a monthly challenge on her blog called the Honey Do List. Her husband, Eric, takes great photographs. He chooses one each month to inspire Sarajo’s jewelry making, and she shares it with us so we can play along. I’ve joined up this month; the photograph spoke to me immediately.

I love the bright colors, the cat motif and other strong patterns, so I got ideas related to those things. But I also appreciate the visual of those lovely naked bulbs criss-crossing the area overhead. I thought of a beautiful glass drop that was left in the drawer of an old piece of furniture my parents bought. I intended to make an industrial style piece with that drop and black cord or chain. 

Well, you can see that didn’t happen. Here is the beautiful drop, but when I looked at my black chain, I wasn’t satisfied with any of it. I considered combining some with a short piece of rosary style chain I had with glow-in-the-dark beads since that amused me, but when I came across a baggie of leftover sections of very colorful chain, I couldn’t resist combining them to use with the glass drop. This necklace is so cute!

I couldn’t ignore the cat motif in the inspiration photo. Cats and bright colors, what could be better? In fact, I had made a necklace for myself that would fit well with this challenge. I was planning a similar one with a second bone cat pendant for the next Artists for Animals Auction. I used this inspiration to plan my colors and design.

I used a color block design with a variety of Czech glass, dyed jade, crystal and other beads. Several of the bead colors are from a box recently gifted to me by Patti Vanderbloemen as she gets ready to pack up her studio for a move. So nice! Due to the move, her shop is currently closed. Please check back in a while. I can attest that her work is beautiful because I own some well-loved pieces, and it supports Miracle Horse Rescue.

I’m so in love with this necklace. I love white beads, and I got to use some fun ones here. The focal is by Yvonne Irvin-Faus. When I got into my black and white beads, I found these great black and white eye looking beads that echoed what I feel like are eye shapes on the pendant. I used some large textured beads I believe are from A Grain of Sand, chalk white rounds, fabulous white rectangles, little hatchet shaped black beads I’ve had for a long time and some wonderful large holed red vintage glass on a jump ring for a dangle at the bottom of the pendant. It just came together so nicely. I loved how one of the black and white beads looked at the end of the strand near the clasp to bring that element to the back, but I only had one left in the end. Otherwise, I think it’s perfect.

These three necklaces are the ideas that popped into my head upon seeing the inspiration photo. I’m so glad I participated this month. This inspiration was perfect for me. I had a lot of fun and have two necklaces I will enjoy wearing and another that got me started on my auction items. Thanks Sarajo and Eric! I look forward to participating again. Visit Sarajo’s blog to see what she and others made.