Saturday, April 27, 2013

Bead Soup Reveal - 7th Blog Party Woo Hoo!

Today is the day for the third reveal for the 7th Blog Party that Lori Anderson, the "hostess with the mostest" at Pretty Things Blog is hosting.  Lori is such a lovely person and she puts so much of herself into this bead swap blog party.  This is why this blog party is so successful and popular.    After I signed up for the bead soup party, I almost backed out due to some time constraints on my part.  The lovely partner that I was assigned, Laura Guenther of Blue Antiquities, and Lori persuaded me not to and I'm glad now that I stuck it out.  

This was the second time that I had Laura as my bead soup party partner and I think it was fate that I was matched up with Laura again.  Laura is such a lovely individual and I am happy that I had this additional time to get to know her.  I received a beautiful package full of beads from Laura many of which she made herself, Laura is very talented at enameling and I hope someday to develop a portion of Laura's skills.  Here's a refresh on what I received from Laura - the packaging is always awesome. 

The first piece that I made is a necklace using a copper focal and some coral colored beads along with some dainty hand painted glass beads.  I decided to try my hand at hand knotting these beads onto some waxed linen that I had in my stash.  After I had all of the knotting done the dilemma set in as to how to finish it off.  I tried leather, I tried chain and nothing seem to work.  I was reading Laura's blog about the beads that she had sent me and I was looking at the pictures.  Laura had made a super cute decorated cone to package my beads - as I was looking at the picture I noticed how great the sari silk that Laura had tied around the cone matched the beads.  I'm not sure if Laura intended for me to use this silk but I took it off of my package (it pained me a bit to take it off the gorgeous packaging) and used it to finish off my necklace along with the hand forged clasp that Laura sent.

In the second piece, I used the multi-colored ribbon in shades of blue and brown, along with the Czech glass beads, crystal beads and the enamel focal that Laura had made.  I also combined the patina rings  Laura had included and added some antique brass chain from my stash.  I made wired bead components for this piece. I think it turned out lovely and I have already worn this piece - it was the accessory for my Easter ensemble.    

Since I had a little extra time with the delayed reveal, I managed to make several pairs of earrings with the other beads and components that Laura sent.  Laura had included some really cute bead caps in the mix and they called out earrings to me.  I also used Laura's enamel headpins in some of these earrings.  

Here's the list of additional participants.  Please visit their sites and enjoy the wonderful creations created.  

Thank you Lori for hosting this event and thank you to Laura for all the wonderful beads and for her friendship.  

Here's the link to our hostess Lori's blog, Pretty Things, where you will find the full list with all the links to all the other participants of the 3rd reveal of the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party (whew that's a mouthful).  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bead Chat Glossi Test Group

I belong to a great group on facebook that is made up of fellow jewelry designers, Creative Bead Chat .  As part of this group, we develop friendships, we have discussions (sometimes lengthy), and we share information and inspiration with each other.  Recently one of our discussions about the use of various gauges of wire snowballed into the beginning of a 5x5 test group.  This first test group was the brain child of  Melinda Orr, the founder of Creative Bead Chat.   Melinda also supplied the products for this test group and she sent 5 identical packets to people in our group.  I was lucky enough to be part of a this first 5 x 5 test group.  The idea was that the results of this test would be included in the April 2013 issue of the newly created newsletter, Artisan Whimsy Bead Chat Glossi!

The products included in this first test included two gauges of copper wire, bronze wire, and some new flat aluminum wire in two widths.   Melinda Orr supplied 5 members of the facebook group Creative Bead Chat with these products and we all independently started playing with these goodies.  

I have done wire work in the past but it has never been the primary focus in my jewelry making, so this was really a test for me as well.  The copper wire was great for clasps and focals and I made several pieces with the copper wire.  

Next I started to play with the flat aluminum wire.  This wire is very flexible and softer than the copper wire that I had been experimenting with.  I decided to try texturing this flat wire and I  got out my Cuttlebug die cutting machine and an embossing folder and gave the aluminum wire some texture.  It took the texturing well and looked great.  Once I had some of the flat wire textured I added beads and did some wire wrapping to make earrings and a flat clasp.  


I tried to incorporate the textured wire in pieces that allowed the wire to remain flat.  Several focals came out of this experiment.

All five participants are featured in the April issue of Artisan Whimsy Bead Chat Glossi.  You can check out their projects on their personal blogs as well. - April 2013 ~ BEAD Chat Magazine

For a closer look at their projects check out their personal blogs:    

Kumi Fisher at Mali Kai Designs, Ali McCarthy of Northwoods Creative Studio, Alicia Marinache of All Pretty Things, and Kristin Oppold of Yay Jewelry.  Everyone did a great job and there is some wonderful inspiration that came out of this process.  If you would like to be part of one of the future 5 x 5 test groups join us on Artisan Whimsy where you will be able to get all the scoop! 

For products from this most recent test, go visit Melinda's store Orrtec for supplies :)