Tuesday, 30 April 2013

AJE Component of the Month - April Reveal

Yet another month is drawing to a close and it's time for the AJE team and our guests to reveal what we've created with this months special component. Jennifer Cameron supplied us with some beautiful lampwork headpins this month and as usual, I forgot to take a picture of mine before I started working with them - doh! Fortunately Jen's picture shows my headpins...I received two of those on the left, a lovely soft blue with gorgeous encased murrini.

For me the most difficult thing about working with decorative headpins in that you only get one shot - mess it up and at best you have buckled wire to try and make a feature of and at worst the overworked wire snaps...been there, done that. I usually do a trial run with some scrap wire but I still hold my breath when I start on the real thing.

Initially I was trying not to plump for the obvious choice of earrings but my muse had other thoughts, planting a idea in my head while I was in the shower which I then couldn't shake off. These are what developed as a result.

The germ of the idea was some sort of wrapping around a ring but that seemed a little dull so I dug around for something extra and came up with a couple of my own domed bronze flowers. They were the right size for the headpins so I drilled and hammered some copper washers, bit the bullet and started wrapping...

I liked the play of the two metals against each other especially with the added depth when oxidised so I decided to go for a full medley of metals and made some sterling silver earwires. I really like the contrasts with the blue green and  I think these are a good showcase for Jen's headpins.

You can see what everyone else made with their components by clicking on the links below.

Guest Designers:

AJE Team:


Saturday, 27 April 2013

7th Bead Soup Blog Party - 3rd Reveal...

Welcome to the third and final reveal of the 2013 Bead Soup Blog party. Here's a reminder of the fabulous soup mix I received from my partner Silke Grober from Germany who, as you can see makes gorgeous lampwork beads. Silke was incredibly generous sending me not one, but three of her own focals as a matching set and some spacers along with some lovely brass and Rudraksha beads - thank you so much Silke for sending me ingredients that were such a pleasure to work with. I certainly had plenty to play with so I'll get on with it and show you what I made.

I love the earthiness of Silke's beads and they remind me a little of aerial landscapes, autumn seasons and for some reason vineyards. The first piece I made is this necklace using the 'elongated bicone' focal (not sure what the proper name for this shape is) set on a hand made bronze pin and bail.

I particularly like the dark plummy accents on the focal and wanted to try and pick this up in some way so I dug out some lovely matte peanut and seed beads from Smitten Beads and strung them with some of the accent beads from the soup. The Rudraksha beads and the gorgeous brass filigrees add a lovely warmth and although It's a fairly traditional design I think it's very pleasing to the eye.

Next I wanted to do something which incorporated the copper clasp Silke had made which I felt was crying out for a bracelet. I decided to go asymmetrical and fairly casual and went for Waxed linen for the stringing material, randomly adding beads from the soup mix along with a few of my own bronze discs.

I finished the cord tails off with some more of the peanuts beads and that was it - simple but effective.

For my next piece I chose the round focal bead which is probably my favourite but it is rather large so it took some thinking about. In the end I decided on a very long necklace with simple accents to show of the full beauty of the focal. The chunky Vintaj chain is interspersed with lovely sea green crystals (again from Smitten Beads) and both these elements are repeated as dangles below the focal.

I also added one of my bronze flying birds as a dangle and a few matte and shiny peanut beads to the bail to highlight the colour on the focal. This piece did prove somewhat difficult to photograph clearly but I hope you can get an idea.

Last but not least, I used a couple of the smaller lampwork beads to make some earrings which will go with any of the other pieces. The beads are wrapped in bronze wire with a length of chain suspended from the bottom. I added some more peanut beads ( can you tell I rather like these peanuts...) to small jump rings and attached these to the entire length of the chain and finished off with the sea green crystals. These have a lovely sense of movement and texture and I liked them so much I've made some similar styles since.

 All pieces now in my ETSY Shop.

I still have 1 focal, the silk and a few beads left so there will be more to come but for now that is my serving of bead soup - I'm so excited to see what Silke has done with the beads in the picture below which I sent her and I hope you will pop over to her blog too and take a look.

I'd also like to offer  a huge vote of thanks to Lori Anderson and her helpers for organising yet another epic event and being a huge inspiration to us all.

To see the designs made by all the other participants just use the links below and start hopping.
Have fun!


Adlinah Kamsir www.dreamstruckdesigns.blogspot.com
Agi Kiss http://moonsafaribeads.blogspot.com
Alenka Obid www.pepita-handmade.blogspot.com
Alison Sachs www.beadsbyearthtones.blogspot.com
Amanda Tibbetts http://www.amandamade.com/blog
Amy Sims www.amysimsdesigns.com
Ana Cravidao http://acbeads.blogspot.com
Andra Marasteanu http://bijouxdemonange.blogspot.com
Andria Poole www.Jewelleryartiste.blogspot.com
Angela Perkins http://jeweledinspirations.blogspot.com
Anja Schultz http://anjas-perlenwelt.blogspot.de/
Ann Sherwood http://ann-sherwood.blogspot.com/
Anna Nordeman http://annas-adornments.blogspot.com
Annita Wilson http://awjewelryandbeadwork.blogspot.com/
Arlene Dean http://aglassbash.blogspot.com/
Astrid Boyce http://astridboyce.blogspot.com/
Barb Fernald http://barbarasfernald.com/
Betty James Hoppensteadt www.tybetastidbits.blogspot.com
Birgit Klughardt www.gitesbeads-gite.blogspot.com
Bonnie Coursolle http://jaspersgems.blogspot.ca/
Brandy Thomason McNair www.bellavitajewelry.blogspot.com
Brenda Sigafoos http://brenda-sigafoos.blogspot.com
Carmen Lau http://littlemake.blogspot.com/
Carol Wilson http://jetadorn.blogspot.com/
Caroline Dewison http://www.blueberribeads.co.uk
Cassie Donlen www.cassiedonlen.blogspot.com
Catharine Temaluru http://ienmaginationsjewelry.wordpress.com
Catherine Turrell http://fairysketches.blogspot.co.uk
Cheri Reed www.creativedesignsbycheri.blogspot.com
Cherrie Warzocha http://colorsofshae.blogspot.com/
Christa Murphy http://adventuresofwonebeadywoman.blogspot.com/
Christina Hickman http://vintagetreasuresjewelry.blogspot.com/
Christina Stofmeel www.fengbeads.com
Christine Hansen http://intuitivesparks.blogspot.com
Christine Stonefield www.sweetgirldesign.blogspot.com
Cilla Watkins www.tellyourgirlfriends.com
Cindy Cima Edwards www.cindycima.com
Claire Lockwood www.somethingtodowithyourhands.com
Colleen Vinthagen http://www.thewireworkshop.com/blog/
Dagmar Liebisch http://kokopellidesign.blogspot.de/
Dana Fowler www.blogjunepur.blogspot.com
Danielle Kelley http://imbuethemuse.blogspot.com/
Deb Fortin www.studiok24.blogspot.ca
Dee Elgie http://cherryobsidia.blogspot.co.uk
Denise Milward http://milwardstorysofar.wordpress.com/
Diah Anggreni http://pernik-manik.blogspot.com/
Diana Gonzalez www.arteypoemas.com
Diane Valasek http://dragonflyclose.blogspot.com/
Dita Basu http://www.alankarshilpa.blogspot.com
Donetta Farrington http://simplygorgeous-donetta.blogspot.com/
Doris Stumpf http://glaszwerg.blogspot.de/
Elizabeth Bunn http://elizabethbeads.blogspot.com
Elizabeth Drake http://mutteringsofacrone.wordpress.com/
Elizabeth Jones http://www.eyekandyjewellery.com
Elizabeth Stolarczyk http://elizabethsart.blogspot.co.uk/
Ema Kilroy http://www.emakdesigns.com/blog
Erin Kenny http://beadifultherapy.blogspot.ca/
Evelyn Duberry Www.ShebaMakeda.com
Fay Wolfenden www.torchfairy.blogspot.com
Francesca Watson http://francescawatson.com/
Gen Smith http://gennysworld.blogspot.com/
Ginger Davis Allman www.thebluebottletree.com
Giorgia Rossini www.joyblonde.blogspot.com
Hannah Annear www.quirkyhannah.wordpress.com
Heather Otto http://www.thecrafthopper.com
Heidi Kingman www.Heidikingman.blogspot.com
Ildiko Jarai www.sviroalkotasai.blogspot.hu
Iveth Caruso www.CreativeAtelier.net
Jackie Locantore http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/blog/MorningStarSanctuaryStudio
Jacqueline Keller www.creartelier.blogspot.com
Jane Pranata Lim http://cherryeve.blogspot.com
Jennifer Davis http://jennifersjewelsandjunk.blogspot.com/
Jennifer Tough
Jenny Vidberg http://shymessmycken.blogspot.se/
Jessica Klaaren Http://cellardoorjewelry.blogspot.com
Joanna Matuszczyk http://filcowe.blogspot.com
Joyce Becker www.joycesjoyfulgems.blogspot.com
Judith Johnston http://www.lampworkbeadlounge.com/
Judy Riley www.threeredbeads.blogspot.com
JuLee Wolfe www.thepolymerpenguin.blogspot.com
June Butt http://www.onewhiteswan.blogspot.co.nz/
Karen Mitchell http://www.overthemoon-design.com
Kari Asbury http://hippiechickdesign.blogspot.com/
Karin King www.maverickbeads.blogspot.ca
Karin von Hoeren www.creativeideen.de
Karla Morgan http://texaspepperjams.blogspot.com/
Kathrin Lembke http://allesperle.blogspot.de/
Kathy Stemke
Katja Benevol Gabrijelcic http://slovoni.blogspot.com
Katy Heider http://onthepondcreations.blogspot.com/
Kay Thomerson http://KayzKreationz.blogspot.com
Kelley Fogle www.mylifeonebeadatatime.blogspot.com
Keren Panthaki https://vasdea.wordpress.com
Kimberly Idalski http://www.Kimisjewelryandgifts.blogspot.com
Kirsi Loponen http://peikkonen.blogspot.com
Klaudia Tóth http://www.klaudiabizsu.hu/
Krista Quantrill www.cornucopiaofcrafts.blogspot.ca
Kristina Hahn Eleniak www.peacockandlime.wordpress.com
Kristina Johansson www.wildrosesandblackberries.blogspot.com
Laney Mead http://laney-izzybeads.blogspot.co.uk/
Lara Lutrick http://www.lutrick.blogspot.com/
Laura Guenther www.blueantiquities.blogspot.com
Lauren Potts www.lpsjewelry.blogspot.com
Laurie Vyselaar www.Lefthandjewelry.wordpress.com
Leah Tees www.mybeadylittleeyes.blogspot.ca
Lena Adams http://mommaslilbirdiesblog.blogspot.com
Lesley Watt www.thegossipinggoddess.blogspot.com
Leslie Wayment www.aabeadsonline.com/blog/
LiliKrist http://pcbylik.blogspot.com/
Linda Kropp http://lindasartbarn.blogspot.com/
Linda Newnham http://www.earth-shine.co.uk/
Linda Younkman www.lindysdesigns.blogspot.com
Lisa Boucher http://lisasclayhappenings.blogspot.com/
Lizzie Clarke www.theneedtobead.blogspot.com
Lora Bright http://fandangling.wordpress.com/
Lorelle McIntyre http://beadyart.blogspot.com.au
Lori Anderson www.PrettyThingsBlog.com
Lori Finney http://lori-finney.blogspot.ca/
Lucie Bouvier http://www.carlosbeadstore.com/blog/
Malin de Koning http://beadingbymalindekoning.blogspot.se
Marina Dobrynina http://savonfeutre.blogspot.fr/
Marina Kosovic http://machoopko-design.blogspot.com/
Marion Simmons http://www.shadetreejewelry.com/blog.html
Marita Suominen http://momentofjewelry.blogspot.fi/
Marjolein Trewavas http://roomforchangemeuk.blogspot.co.uk/
Marsela Schroth www.marselita.de
Martha Aleo www.ornamento.wordpress.com
Mary Govaars www.mlhjewelrydesigns.com
Mary K McGraw http://mkaymac.blogspot.com/
Maybeline Tay http://thejewelrylarder.blogspot.sg/
Mea-B. Uebler www.glasorakel.blogspot.com
Melissa Trudinger www.beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Menka Gupta http://menkag.blogspot.com
Merja Sundström http://suntsan.blogspot.fi/
Merja Syrjämäki http://helmiriippuvuus.blogspot.fi/
Michelle Buettner http://www.MiShelDesigns.blogspot.com
Michelle Escano www.cabbycraft.blogspot.com
Michelle Wigginton http://adornedonadelaide.blogspot.ca/
Milla Hope www.Lbcreativeart.com
Miranda Ackerely

Mowse Doyle

Mrs M Makes www.mrsmmakes.wordpress.com
Nan Smith www.wirednan.blogspot.com
Natalie Davidson http://northshoredays.blogspot.co.nz/
Natalie Moten http://runningoutofthread.blogspot.com/
Natascha Marty www.sommerlicht.ch
Nikki Banham-Hall http://jewellerymakingblog.blogspot.co.uk/
Noemi Baena http://blog.noemibaena.com/
Norma Turvey http://moonlitfantaseas.blogspot.com
Pam DeBoer http://pamelas-studio.blogspot.com/
Pam Hurst www.pamhurst.blogspot.com
Patti Pruhs http://threebeadsandastring.blogspot.com/
Penny Houghton http://www.smellynelly.blogspot.com.au/
Penny Mills www.cobblestone-lane.blogspot.com
Rachel Van-Walsh www.balancedcrafts.com/blog
Rebecca Sirevaag www.godsartistinresidence.blogspot.com
Regina Santerre http://reginaswritings.blogspot.com/
Regina Wood
Roberta Fauntroy www.thevirtualbeadsociety.wordpress.com
Rosanagh Watson

Rose Johnson

Rosemary Cheslock www.glasseyebutterfly.tumblr.com
Rossana De Gaspari http://rdegas.blogspot.com
Sabine Dittrich www.perlendschungel.blogspot.com
Sam Waghorn http://palemooncreations.tumblr.com/
Sandi James http://www.dobedobeaddo.blogspot.com/
Sandra McGriff http://skyescreativechaos.blogspot.ca
Sandra Wollberg http://city-of-brass-stories.blogspot.com/
Sandra Young http://gypsyroadbeads.blogspot.ca/
Shai Williams http://shaihasramblings.blogspot.com/
Sharon Palac www.sharonsjewelrygarden.blogspot.com
Sierra Barrett http://giraffecanhas.wordpress.com/
Silke Gröber http://just-beads.blogspot.com
Siobhán Keogh http://vovsjewellery.blogspot.ie/
Stefanie Teufel http://stefaniessammelsurium.blogspot.com
Stephanie Stamper www.Skwds.blogspot.com
Sue Hamel http://cardandjewelrycorner.blogspot.com/
Sue Rennie http://moonandsevenstars.blogspot.co.uk/
Susan Kennedy www.suebeads.blogspot.com
Susan McClelland http://mistheword12.wordpress.com
Susanna Lehto http://othellehto.blogspot.fi/
Suse Stelljes www.pearlify.blogspot.de
Susie Hibdon http://vintagesusieandwings.blogspot.com
Suzann Sladcik Wilson www.BeadphoriaBlog.com
Tara Plote http://newbiebeader.blogspot.com/
Terri G. http://terrisbloomingideas.blogspot.com/
Terry Carter http://tappingflamingo.blogspot.com/
Terry Matuszyk http://pinkchapeau.wordpress.com/
Theresa Frank http://www.theresestreasures59.blogspot.com/
Tina Bosh http://bookbug-somanybookssolittletime.blogspot.com/
Tina Noonan www.wingedimp.blogspot.com
Toltec Jewels www.JewelSchoolFriends.com

Facebook Participants

Audrey Allen https://www.facebook.com/adallen07
Cindy Wimmer Muse https://www.facebook.com/mritech813
Cynthia O'Toole https://www.facebook.com/cynthia.otoole
Deb Floros https://www.facebook.com/deb.floros
Debbie Jensen https://www.facebook.com/debbie.jensen.984
Erin Honeycutt https://www.facebook.com/erin.honeycutt1
Kaushambi Shah https://www.facebook.com/kaushambi.shah
Lisa Lloyd Harrison https://www.facebook.com/lisa.lloydharrison
Mary Jane Tanner https://www.facebook.com/mary.j.tanner
Valerie Tilghman https://www.facebook.com/valerie.tilghman

Friday, 26 April 2013

New Tutorial - Wire Macrame earrings

I posted a new tutorial for wire macrame earrings over on the Art Jewelry Elements blog today but I've also added it to the Gossiping Goddess's tutorial page here - take a look and see what you think...


Saturday, 13 April 2013

I'm Back....

I have been a very poor blogger over recent months. With so many other commitments it just hasn't be possible for me to keep up but do you know what, I've really missed it. Sharing what I'm doing with you has become second nature and when I can't get the time to do it I get very frustrated, so all that is about to change.

First of all I would like to apologise to the lovely Sally Russick as I have not taken part in her 'Life In Focus' project for more weeks that I can remember. I had planned to get get back to blogging straight after my show last weekend and post in the project today but wouldn't you know it - barely back from the show 24 hours and I went down with a horrible cold and throat infection that laid me up for most of the week. I'm still not 100% and I suspect it's going to hang around a while but frankly I've had enough so it's time for some mind over matter and I will take part next week.

Back to the show then...you may remember that this was my first bead show and was something of an experiment. I was aiming to get my work in front of a wider home audience and just see what sort of reception I got and whether this sort of show (commercial bead show with just 3 artisan sellers) was viable. Well the reception I got was great - people seemed very happy to have something new at the show and were very complementary about my work. Business was pretty brisk in the morning but did slow down in the afternoon and at the end of the day I did come away with a profit, if not a spectacular one. The issue for me is the amount of effort that goes into preparing for a show like this, particularly with a medium like bronze clay where you can only produce small batches at a time. There is an awful lot of time and work that is very difficult to quantify and realistically my conclusion has to be that this outweighs the return.


Unfortunately I was a bit late setting up so I didn't take any pictures - thanks to Pippa Chandler for this one. No idea why I'm holding my table sign...maybe it was a futile attempt to hide!

That's not to say though that it wasn't worthwhile and just putting myself in front of people and getting some feedback was an invaluable exercise. I met some of my lovely Etsy customers and hopefully some of the new show customers will become regular visitors to the shop - I've already linked up with some of them through various social media so a big thank you to everyone who came to visit or buy.

It was also great to meet up with some of the online friends I've made over the last year and I had a great time with Claire Braunbarth of Smitten Beads and her helper for the day Julie Sumner, also a talented designer. Not to mention Bo Hulley who doesn't live that far from me but we are separated by a stretch of water that is very expensive to cross. A good time was had by...well me at least, they were all a bit camera shy!

I don't have any more shows planned for this year but I would like to do a purely handmade show at some point and am contemplating taking part in a two day arts festival next year...we shall see.

The other big thing that is going on in my life at the moment is of course the conversion of my garage to a new studio but unfortunately I've hit a stumbling block on that too. In the UK building work that does not extend the size of the property or affect the outside of the building is usually done under 'permitted rights' regulations, which means you don't need planning permission but just have to notify the relevant council. However, some councils have the right to remove these rights if they want to exercise greater control in particular areas and guess what..yes, the development I live on has no permitted rights!

My surveyor rang to give me this news just as I was agreeing all the fixtures and fitting with the design consultant and I was to put it politely, rather 'miffed'! It's unlikely to have any impact on the plans as four houses close by have already made the same changes, it just means that I can't proceed with the building until permission is formally granted at the end of May and of course, full planning permission costs more!

There's nothing I can do about it though so I've just had to re-plan and on the positive side, having been ill this week the chances of me being ready for builders to move in on Monday would have been slim anyway. I can however, share the 3D visual with you although it's not great quality as I'm still waiting for them to send me a PDF and had to take a picture of a print. The perspective is a little off here and even though it's quite compact it makes it look rather longer and narrower than it is but you get the idea. I need to come up with a tool storage idea for that empty wall I think....

So the upshot is that I find myself with a few weeks with no pressing engagements and nothing crucial that has to be done and I'm quite liking that. My Bead Soup Blog Party reveal is next weekend so I have a week to work on that...it was always going to be to the wire. I'm also looking forward to sprucing up my jewellery shop with some new designs as that too has been sorely neglected over recent months. I gathered up a whole load of stuff for listing yesterday and I don't seem to have done any since Christmas - eek! Needless to say, I also have plenty of component designs floating around in my head and want to start thinking about broadening my range and using other mediums. Plenty to keep me going until building begins then.

Hopefully, while I'm doing all this the weather might get it's act together to. Apart from a rare sunny day it's still cold in the UK with much grey, dismal rain which doesn't do much for the spirits and many of the spring flowers seem loathe to make an appearance. I might have to decorate the garden with some of my bronze ones!

Well, that's where I am and I hope you are all progressing with your creative plans apace. I'll see you back here very shortly - and that's a promise!

Have a great weekend.


Other than that

Monday, 1 April 2013

AJE Component of the Month Reveal - March

The components we had to work with this month were these lovely little hollow copper lentil beads made by Joanne Tinley of Daisy Chain Extra fame.

The fates seemed to be conspiring against me for this months challenge though...I always knew I was going going to struggle for time with all the things going on but this was exacerbated by the fact that the first bead Jo sent me never arrived and the second only made it here late last week...all a little frustrating when you think that Jo only lives about 25 miles from me!

The upshot of this was that when I finally set to work yesterday I had no option but to keep things simple to make sure I got the piece completed but, in the end that turned out to be no bad thing. Jo's bead is fairly small and as I wanted it to have some 'presence' I felt the piece need to be quite delicate. 

Since I've been working with bronze clay I've not used copper very much but after rummaging in the depths of my bead stash I found this pretty patinated copper pendant from Leann Weih of Summers Studio that I've had for years. It's quite light so I thought it would sit well with Jo's bead without overpowering it.

Jo also sent us some tiny charms with our beads and I combined these with the bead and the pendant to form a long focal element which I hung from a simple fine copper trace chain. I actually liked this just as it was but while I have no qualms about keeping things simple, I felt I hadn't really done much for a challenge piece. So after staring at it for a couple of hours I decided to add some light embellishment to the chain in the form of tiny turquoise rice beads and this was the final result.

I think there is a nice balance to the focal section which gives each piece equal prominence and I love the continuation of the chain with the heart dangles..

The necklace is actually quite long but I've pulled it back in this last picture to get a better perspective.

All in all I'm pretty pleased with it - it doesn't break any new ground but it's light, comfortable and eminently wearable and most of all, it think it does show of the beauty of Jo's bead. I hope you like it too.

You can see what the other participants made using the links below.

Carolyn (Carolyn's Creations)
Jess Green
Niky Sayers
Jo Tinley
Jennifer Cameron
 Jenny Davies-Reazor
Susan Kennedy
Linda Landig
Melissa Meman
Kristen Stevens
Francesca Watson
Lesley Watt