Building a Pendant

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I buy pendants for their look, not their size.  But many pendants tend to be small.  I like larger beads. I do like delicate necklaces, but since I’m designing for myself, I generally like a larger piece.  I’m kinda tall, kinda big.  I take up space.  I want my jewelry to take up space as well.  So, I’m starting to realize (yeah, slow on the uptake) what I can do to make pendants the size I need is build them out of several components.

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I got this beautiful dogwood pendant by Heather Powers of Humblebeads that I’ve admired for a while.  I had been planning something else for it, but when I saw it near these faceted yellow-green stitchtite nuggets, I decided to use those. The colors are perfect together. Except the size and visual weight of the nuggets overwhelmed the pendant.

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The easy fix was to take a few of the pink beads and one of the nuggets to make a longer, bolder pendant to balance the necklace. This also adds a design element over just a beads-and-pendant type construction. I strung this on waxed linen and used a Saki Silver bronze toggle clasp. I think it turned out very pretty, and this highlights the beautiful dogwood pendant better than if I had used it on its own.

Allegory Gallery Mystery Challenge 3 Reveal

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Today is the reveal for the Allegory Gallery Design Challege – Mystery Challenge 3 edition.  People really seem to like the mystery challenge kits where we don’t see any of the components prior to getting them.  In other Allegory Gallery Design Challenges, only the Mystery Component that is hand made by Andrew Thornton is a surprise.  Well this kit came as a complete surprise to me. Judging by the photo above, I thought it was going to be all neutrals – taupe, cream and beige.  I did not pick up on the color of the lettering.  The kit actually consists of soft pinks, peaches and greens.  Love!  Just gorgeous.

My first piece is a necklace using the Mystery Component that Andrew made – a gorgeous bird pendant.

BeadLove - Mystery Challenge 3 MC necklaceMaterials I used from the kit include the pendant, the two green saucers above it, a few of the pearly seed beads and the waxed linen.

I made another necklace based on a sketch I had made to use some “flag” beads I have in a necklace unrelated to this kit.  It wasn’t quite working, so I thought why not try a version of it with some of the kit beads.

BeadLove - Mystery 3 Thornton seaglass necklace

I used a sea glass pendant made by Andrew Thornton and his sister Sheila.  I’m in love with it. Above it, I put three chip beads from the kit and two serpentine rounds.  Then I used the flag beads and green beads from my stash along with pink rice beads and pearly seed beads from the kit.  I finished it off with some chain bits because I’m enthralled with chain bits.  This picture was difficult due to the shine on the flags. Also, we’ll see how long this necklace lasts because the flags flap and there doesn’t have to be any wind.  It may or may not bother me enough to take it apart.  But I like how it looks.  I love the look of bunting flags, and hope I got a bit of that here.

Next I wanted to use those gorgeous, lightweight pink barrels from the kit.  I had gotten some of my serpentine out to see if it went with anything, and these twisted barrels were perfect.

BeadLove - Mystery 3 A.T. flower pendant necklace

In addition to the pink barrels from the kit, I used a flower pendant by Andrew Thornton, a few Czech cathedral beads, and the serpentine with some tiny bright green colored pyrite between them. These are all I had of this color of cathedral bead.  It’s gratifying when a small number of beads is just what I have and just what I need! I love the slight asymmetry.

Then I focused on earrings.  When getting the pendant above out of my Andrew Thornton box (I group art beads for storage by artist) I saw a pair of his polymer roman glass pieces in a perfect color for the kit.

BeadLove - AT roman glass earrings

All the other beads in these earrings, along with the waxed linen, are from the kit. I think these earrings are so cute!

Then I moved on to some fabulous faux strawberry quartz dangles from the kit. (I don’t know if they were trying to be faux, but that’s what these plastic pieces looked like to me.)

BeadLove - Mystery 3 pearl earrings

All the beads in these earrings are from the kit.  I even got to use some of the sequins!  I’m always thrilled when I get to do that.  And then I loved these so much I used more of the “strawberry quartz” drops in another pair.

BeadLove - Mystery 3 earrings 3

All the beads from these earrings are also from the kit.  Next I wanted to use one of the big, faceted pink plastic rectangles.  I originally thought of earrings, but even though they are light, they are kind of big. I regularly look at Pinterest for inspiration, and saw these fab bracelets by Shannon of Miss Fickle Media. She has a whole bunch in her shop, along with components that are some of my favorites. I had an open bracelet bar by her and decided to try to use it.  My bracelet isn’t perfect, but I love it anyway. It’s very much my style.

BeadLove - Mystery 3 bangle bracelet

All the beads are from the kit, and I added some WoolyWire on the bottom.  I didn’t want to use it all the way around because the bracelet bar itself is so beautiful.

There were lots of beautiful rounds in the kit. I also had a bunch of fun large glass pearls, faceted plastic and large “sugar” beads I had been trying to use together in a piece. This kit brought them all together!BeadLove - Mystery 3 rounds 4I used about half a dozen green and pink round from the kit along with the other beads, some bead caps and waxed linen for this fun necklace.

This was another super fun and inspiring kit!  Thanks to Andrew and William for this challenge!  Please visit the Allegory Gallery Design Challenge Facebook page to see what other participants made.

 

Gifted Beads

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I recently bought a gorgeous necklace from Patti Vanderbloemen.

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She makes beautiful handcrafted jewelry and all net proceeds go to the Miracle Horse Rescue organization.  With my order, she very generously gifted me some beads she thought I would like based on what she has seen on my blog.  She was right!  And I’ve already used two sets she sent.

I am also a huge fan of Staci Smith‘s beads.  Just after I received the beads from Patti,  I got a fabulous peacock feather pendant by Staci.  I immediately thought of some lucite barrels Patti had sent that were the perfect color family for the pendant. I made a rough beaded chain with dark annealed steal wire.  I also added one drilled beach stone I got from Martha’s Ruby Acorn and a clasp from Saki Silver.

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I’m very pleased with how that turned out.  So then I was on a roll, and the beads Patti sent were sitting right there (except some turquoise squares with a swirl on them that were on another table already slated for a project!) I had a vintage bracelet link with a faux shell background I had gotten from Shipwreck Dandy Supply that I had planned to use in a necklace with some white rounds (MOP? faux shell?) and accent crystals.

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I also planned to hang a floral pastel butterfly made by Vincenza Fazz of Earthly Beads from the bottom of the bracelet link. This necklace takes me back to my past. Long before I got heavily into art beads, I was in love with used and one might even say garish pieces that could be repurposed.  I love ornate.  Gold! Flowers! Enamel! Crystals! Scrollwork!  Who could resist?  Well, many, but not me!  I also love vintage beads, especially if they are an unusual shape or color. Enter vintage twist beads from Patti!  Even though they are vintage, they are very like serenity blue, one of the Pantone 2016 colors of the year along with rose quartz.  So now I have these great vintage beads that go with a project I’ve already got planned out, and they are one of the colors of the year!  This was just kismet.

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I had originally thought I would make a beaded chain, but I am so lazy about those; that’s why the beads were still sitting around.  So I decided they were really waiting for the vintage blue twists and gave myself permission to put it all on waxed linen.  So easy!  I added a fancy toggle, and I’m so pleased by this unusual necklace.

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Thank you so much, Patti! I will be using the beautiful beads you sent me in many more fun projects.

Chevron Is In!

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Chevron is very popular right now, and I am not immune to the trend.  I love the chevron pattern.  I’ve purchased several types of chevron chain, including smaller patina sections from Miss Fickle Media, one of my favorite shops for chain.  Those in this necklace are brass with soot black patina.

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The lapis dangles are also from Miss Fickle Media.  The hand-formed copper clay spacers are by Andrew Thornton.  This turned out so pretty.  Lovely components that just fit together.

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A Perfect Match

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Sometimes things just come together perfectly.  I was so thrilled with how this necklace came together that I submitted it to a magazine.  I never heard anything one way or the other, so I’m going to show it here now because it’s too cool not to share with the world (or at least the people reading my blog!)

I got a beautiful lampwork focal by Julie Schmidt Bowen of Autochthonous Evolved.  Like most things, I put it in my stash so it could wait for its project to come along.  And it did!  I then bought separately, not thinking about the glass focal, a group of beautiful acrylic MyElements components by Yvonne Irvin-Faus. I realized they were such a fabulous match!

BeadLove - AutoEv and MyElements

I still can’t get over how much they match; it’s like they were made for each other.  I added some dangles and a bead I got from My Elements.

BeadLove - AutoEv MyEl full

I alternated some turquoise enamel components to bring out that little swirl in the lampwork focal, and finished it all off with some black chain from My Elements. Sometimes things come together so easily, and that’s really fun.

Allegory Gallery Storm Cloud Challenge Reveal

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I have two reveals today!  To see the reveal for the Inspired by Reading Book Club – The Silver Witch, please click here.

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Today is the reveal for Allegory Gallery‘s Storm Cloud Challenge.  Participants buy a kit and then create things using as much of the kit (and any other supplies) we’d like.  Here is a picture of the kit from the Allegory Gallery Blog.

stomr cloud kit

Andrew also hand makes a Mystery Component that remains a surprise until we receive the kit.  Of course I didn’t get a picture of it, but I used it in this necklace.
BeadLove - Storm Cloud MC necklace

I also used two wooden donuts from the kit and alternated labradorite chip from the kit with some dark red rondelles.  I like how this turned out; the colors reminded me of the Noble Knight challenge kit.

The kits always have special beads I really love, and I want to highlight them. I also often don’t add a lot of outside beads to the kit, but this time I did so that I could have supporting beads that would let the special kit beads shine.  This first necklace uses from the kit: the fabulous faceted plastic drop, four grey/silver crystal beads and the square rhinestone spacer.  I added a fantastic coin bead by Niky Sayers that has been waiting for the right project.  The pendant is strung on waxed linen from the kit and finished off with some beaded chain and a gold filled swirl clasp from Miss Fickle Media. I’m kind of in love with it.

BeadLove - Storm Cloud long Niky Sayers

Often I design things by looking at the picture of the kit and making sketches. Sometimes the designs work, sometimes not.  This time I made 3 out of 4 of my sketches, and the fourth one turned into the Mystery Component necklace.

BeadLove - Storm Cloud designs

I really loved some of the earrings people made for the Mystery Challenge 2, so I made sure to make some for this challenge. I’ve recently gotten interested in set stones and glass. They really make pretty earrings easy, and these fit in perfectly with the color scheme.  I really love these little faceted glass tubes from the kit that I used as dangles. I love the clear/light with the black findings.

BeadLove - Storm cloud dangle earrings

Although I didn’t sketch these next earrings, I was inspired by a photo on Pinterest of earrings by Janine of Esfera Jewelry. I recently got some glass rings in a destash!  Perfect. I used a couple of the diamond shaped cubes from the kit. Super fun.

BeadLove - Storm Cloud ring earrings

I wanted to use some of the craggy plastic “stone” beads from the kit.

BeadLove - Storm Cloud heart necklace

I added them above a gorgeous rustic heart by Jetta Bug Jewelry. I added some beaded chain, fabric (a freebie from Shipwreck Dandy Supply, a favorite shop) and used a white tube bead from the kit as part of the clasp.

BeadLove - Storm Cloud hear necklace full

Another design from my sketches is a bracelet made with more of the labradorite chip, waxed linen, and hex cut seed beads from the kit with an elephant button for the clasp. Very cute.

BeadLove - Storm Cloud elephant bracelet 2

I was so inspired by this kit and had so much fun! Check out what other participants made with their kits on the Allegory Gallery Design Challenges Facebook page. Thank you for another great challenge, Andrew and William!

Inspired by Reading – The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston

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I have two reveals today!  To see the reveal for the Allegory Gallery Design Challenge – Storm Cloud, click here.

Today is the reveal for the Inspired by Reading Book Club featuring the book The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston.  I really enjoyed this book, although it took me over 100 pages to get into it, and it wasn’t a long book!  I don’t know why. Perhaps because so much of the beginning of the book was the main character in her head.  I live so much in my own head, maybe I like books with characters who get outside themselves more for a change.  I’m not sure.  Anyway, as I’ve said before, this is the great thing about book club. I persevered because of book club and enjoyed a book I otherwise would have abandoned.

This book is about Tilda Fordwells, her experiences and what she learns about herself as she starts a new life in a remote cabin in Wales a year after her husband’s death. I really enjoy books about women taking control of their lives and also like magical realism, so this was just my sort of book.

BeadLove - The Silver Witch

I had recently gotten this hare by Grubbi, so it was just perfect since a hare features in the story.  I wanted to include something in beautiful gold as a nod to the torc.  I had larger things in mind, but settled on this one bead with a fancy design on it.  I have a couple of large gold seed beads and a gold Nunn Design toggle as well.  I had some lovely matching rounds also from Grubbi that I thought about using, but I couldn’t stop thinking about these vintage German glass beads.  They always remind me of snow, also something that has a role in the story.  I separated the glass with tiny stones. Although they are stone, they look to me like clay pots and reminded me of Tilda’s work.

When I went to look for a good link for this book, I found the author has a bunch of others.  I enjoyed this book enough that I will be checking those out, and I look forward to reading more of Paula Brackston’s work.  Thank you to Andrew Thornton and William Jones of Allegory Gallery for hosting the book club!  Check out the Inspired by Reading Book Club Facebook page to see what others have made.

Two New Necklaces

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I continue to try to use some of my stash as well as put away and clean up everything in my studio so it’s all organized.  I waver between the two, sometimes starting a project, pausing to put away some beads and supplies, and then going back to work.  I just enjoy being in the studio.  I do want to make more work space so I can try some new things, though.  So here are a few beads out of the way.

I have had this Gaea coffee pendant for a while.  One of the great pleasures in my life is my morning cup of coffee, so I love this pendant.  I wanted to make it into a simple necklace with some pretty beads, and I found the right ones in this strand of faceted tiger’s eye.  The picture doesn’t do them justice; they have so many beautiful colors!

BeadLove - Gaea coffee

I also had a variety of large hole irregular glass beads I really love. I had this idea to cascade them down the front of a necklace on large jump rings.  I used some old glass cubes and some rondelles that happened to be in the bag with the large holes beads for the strand. Part of my design aesthetic is “try whatever happens to be nearby.”

BeadLove - large hole glass necklace

I also started another necklace I’ve had in mind for a while, but I might have to do a little research to see how to make it work out the way I want.  I’ll spend some time on that and more on putting things away and organizing. I need to do another haul getting rid of stuff.  There’s just not enough room for everything if I want to have space for trying new things.

Productive Weekend

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I had an especially productive weekend mostly because I had a good patch healthwise and partly because as I clean and organize my studio, work is easier. I made a bunch of pieces for an upcoming blog hop as well as got in some practice with a silk thread and made a couple of other quick pieces.

Lately, my mom has been on a ball chain kick.  She’s making all sorts of cute necklaces on a variety of cool ball chain.  That has influenced me. So a while ago I bought this fabulous vintage glass ball pendant that I thought would be cool on some colored ball chain.  It turned out to be too heavy, but when I got a great lampwork pendant by Julie Schmidt Bowen of Autochthonous Evolved, I realized those ball chain colors were perfect for it!

BeadLove - Julie Schmidt Bowen ball chain

It’s perfect, right?  I really love this easy to wear, great looking necklace.  It’s got good mojo too.

Then I was going through my boxes of Czech glass because, frankly, they are out of control.  I saw these white and coral kind of big beads and the little matte gold ones I got to go with them, and I decided to put something together.  I can’t describe the quality I was going for with these except to say that there is a certain 1970s vibe I liked about them.  I laid out a pattern and then looked for a pendant.  I tried a variety but thought this owl pendant by Andrew Thornton was just the ticket.

BeadLove - Andrew Thornton owl

I’m pleased with how both of these came out.  They were quite quick but have just the look I had in mind. I love when that happens!

Practicing with Silk Thread

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BeadLove - silk cordMy favorite stringing material to use is waxed linen.  I like how things, particularly made with lighter weight beads, hang on linen as opposed to beading wire.  It’s also super easy to use. But sometimes the beads I want to use, especially gemstones, have holes that are too small, even for one-ply linen. So I’ve wanted to use silk cord, but in the past I’ve found it difficult to knot with and also difficult to use the end cups without leaving unsightly (and not as secure) lengths of thread hanging out uncovered. But I’ve decided to practice so I can get better.  Today it was just stringing and knotting the ends.  I’ll work on knotting between beads later.

BeadLove - green and gold on silk cord

First I made this necklace that did not turn out, but it was really valuable practice using the silk. I wasn’t careful with it and had to cut off my first knot cup because I got a knot further up the silk from allowing it to twist.  I learned to be very careful because it is so thin and long and can kink into a knot that doesn’t allow the beads to slide over.  I also didn’t take time to lay out the chip beads to make sure each side was about the same and they were quite different lengths in the end.  I suppose I could resist putting the knot cup on one end before stringing, but it is so much easier to do that way!  I tried to fix it with chain and a clasp kind of on the side, but it just looks wonky and floppy. I’m not even sure these are the right beads for the pendant in the end.  But I got practice knotting the ends of the silk.  It’s relatively easy on the first end, but it’s the last end that requires the knot to get flush inside the cup that is dicey for me.  I did a decent job!

Then I made a necklace that did turn out with the other half of the thread.  I like that once you cut it you still have the attached needle so you can use the rest.

BeadLove - orange and turquoise flower

I used one of the smallest widths, .35mm.  I got this flower pendant from Way To Bead and wanted to use a strand of faceted carnelian with very small holes. This necklace was easier to string than the chip beads, but the sides were still a little different by about three beads.  I had counted them out, and did drop one that I couldn’t find. I’m not sure if the difference was due to the irregular nature of the beads or I miscounted. But again, I had put the knot cup on one end before stringing, so I couldn’t change it.  But it wasn’t a big enough difference to be a problem.  I’m pleased that I got some practice and didn’t give up after my first try.