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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.