Monday, March 18, 2019

Art Bead Scene Challenge: Art Journey Two

Today over on the Art Bead Scene Studio blog I'm sharing all the designs that I made for Art Journey Two and the fairytale world of Virginia Frances Sterrett.  I had such fun creating in response to her magical illustrations and you can see it all over on the ABS blog HERE.

Friday, March 15, 2019

We're All Ears: March 2019: Leaping Greenly

OMG.  I need the snow to stop already!  We've had more plans delayed or ruined by weather this winter than the last 4 winters combined.  Like so many others, I'm just done with snow, sleet, ice, and crazy cold weather... I'm over it all!  Erin, our fearless leader for this challenge, is in the same boat and has chosen greenery as the theme for this month's We're All Ears challenge.  Here's hoping we actually see some green (or al lest less white!) in the next month or so.  For now, I'll make do with some new earring designs!

I had fun pulling out tons of great green beads for this challenge.  I have to admit that I didn't necessarily think about the specific images that Erin shared, but more the color green in general.  I am super excited about the thought of little green leaves eventually budding... I'm sure it will happen someday... maybe by May??

These first two designs feature some goodies that I had picked out from some Allegory Gallery kits and such when I was putting things away earlier in the year.  (Whenever I'm digging through a mix or kit I like to grab out matching pairs and set them aside for later use!)  I loved the little pale green leaf charms... I'm pretty sure that they are vintage.  I was making room for some new beads and had emptied some millefiori glass out of a container and noticed two little green and yellow coins.  Turns out that they worked nicely with the leaves and some other little Czech glass beads I already had pulled out.  For the second pair I had the funky bright green beads set aside and added in some green crystals from another kit as well as little Czech glass rondelles.  The longer brass ear wires from Vintaj make for a nice dangle!

Next I dug into my art beads!  Some sweet leaf charms from Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio called out to me.  Turns out that they were a nice match for some brand new green Apatite that I picked up from Dakota Stones at the recent Twin Cities Bead Bazaar.  It took me a few tries to get the wire wraps where I was happy with them.  I had to give up on making the wire loops to go through the charms... it just wasn't playing nice.

This next pair is going to play double duty and make an appearance in my next post for the Art Bead Scene... consider this your sneak peek!  The amazing green and black charms are from Lesley Watt and have a wonderful crackle finish.  I hid the loops on the charms with brass bead caps and then added some fun polymer clay disc beads from Heather Powers of Humblebeads and Czech glass.

Last but not least, I decided it was time to finally make something with these adorable vine covered rounds by Heather Powers.  I paired them with copper wire and some pale green Czech glass beads.  I initially thought I'd have the flower beads on the top, but then I flipped it around and liked it even more that way!  These were the hardest pair to photograph... the rounds really need to be hanging to see them properly.  (They're hanging from one of my parents' fine china plates that I've appropriated.)

This is a blog hop... head on over to the Earrings Everyday blog to see what everyone else was inspired to make!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Inspiration for the March 2019 Honey Do List

This is the fourth year that my husband Eric has been giving me a design challenge each month to get me out of my comfort zone and to help clear out my bead stash... it's the Honey Do List 2019!  I know that I'm not the only one who loves a good design challenge, so I'm hoping folks will continue to play along with us!

Here's this month's inspiration and what Eric had to say about it:

With more and more snow around us, I struggled to find something with color for this month's challenge.  I discovered this picture I took of a mural inside Breakside Brewery in Portland last year and felt I had color, shape, and texture all for your inspiration pleasure!  Have at it!

The reveal date will be Monday, March 25th.  To make it super easy for you to participate and share your creations, I'll set up an Inlinkz link up so folks can add their blogs as they are ready.  Just stop by my blog starting on March 25th and join the fun!  I'll leave the link up open for a while... so you have plenty of time to add your links.  (Last month's is still open... check it our HERE.)  No blog?  No worries!  Feel free to send me a picture of your creation and some brief comments and I'll happily share in my blog post.  You can reach me at  The more the merrier, so I hope you'll play along with me this month!  

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Art Elements Theme of the Month: Birds of Prey

I love all things raptors, so I was super excited when ? announced that the February Art Elements Theme of the Month was raptors.  As I started digging through my art bead stash, I discovered that there was a shocking lack of biodiversity in my raptor bead collection.  In fact, I only had owls... but what a lot of owls I had to choose from!  Dare I say that I have a parliament of owls??

My initial idea was to use just a bit of some of my favorite leafy chain at the front of a necklace with an owl pendant centered on that length.  I eventually settled on a little grey-blue owlie from Gaea that I got from her a while back in a destash bundle.  The loop on the top just sat the best with the leaves on the chain without getting lost.  Playing on the colors of the pendant, I chose some Amazonite and plated druzy beads.

Next up, I just had to do something with one of my friend Erin Prais-Hintz's sweet polymer clay owls.  This one is called Minerva.  There are a few different shapes and colors of plated druzy beads in this one to go with her metallic finishes.  I also mixed in some Czech glass beads and plated hematite (boy, do I wish I'd grabbed a few more strands of that since I've pretty much used them all.)  I love the overall neutral look of this one but the druzies give it a bit of pizazz!

As I looked at this fun multicolored owl face pendant and rounds set that I bought from Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio, I knew that I wanted to play with the glaze colors and use some colored leather.  Leather means I needed large holed beads... luckily, I had some faceted Amazonite beads and some wooden saucers that worked nicely.  I also grabbed a few vintage Miriam Haskell Japanese glass beads that I bought from Allegory Gallery a month or so ago.  I finished the back off with brass chain.  I thought the leafy bead and filigree shape added to the woodland feel of this piece.

Last but not least, another necklace featuring one of Michelle's pendants.  I just love the glazing on this little guy and it was fun pulling beads to go with it!  I wrapped a little bit of copper Parawire around the loop on the pendant.  I was apparently in a stringing mood and pulled together a bunch of Czech glass that I separated with some copper colored seed beads.

Thanks for stopping by!  This is a blog hop... check out what everyone else was inspired to make this month!

Team Members: 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Inspired by Reading: Carry On

This month's selection for the Inspired by Reading Book Club was Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.  I know Rainbow Rowell for her contemporary young adult books (and also as the cousin of the now retired Jade Scott!) so I assumed that this was along those lines.  Wrong!  That's what I get for never reading the descriptions or jacket blurbs for book club books I guess.  I learned after I finished it that Carry On is connected to Rowell's first book, Fangirl.  Simon Snow is a fictional character that the protagonist in Fangirl is obsessed with... Rowell wanted to flesh that world out and thus wrote Carry On (and it's sequel out this fall.)  I'm going to have to go back and read that one!

To me, this book felt like a mash up of the Harry Potter series and The Magicians by Lev Grossman aimed at an upper YA audience.  It is set at a British magical academy, Watford, that is kept apart from the Normal world where young magicians learn the skills/spells they will need.  Simon, the main character is an orphan who has become the unofficial heir to the the Mage, the headmaster of the school and the leader of the magical world.  He's also the first student of apparently "Normal" background to gain admittance to Watford.  His roommate and nemesis is Baz, who happens to be both a magician and a vampire.  The big bad in the novel is the magic eating Humdrum... who just happens to look just like an 11 year old version of Simon.  That's the basic set up... I won't spoil the rest of it.

Some books are just harder for me to find some sort of jumping off point for creativity.  This was one of those books.  The only thing that kept sticking in my brain was the chapter when the dragon attacked Watford... specifically, Baz casting "Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home."  I thought it was somewhat endearing that it is Baz, the self-professed villain in the story who understands that the dragon doesn't want to be there attacking the school and that killing it unnecessarily would be cruel and dark.  So between that and a somewhat desperate need for spring and warmer weather (seriously, the Polar Vortex struggle is real), I went with ladybugs and brights for this month's creations. 

I had a ladybug and daisy flower covered ceramic lentil bead from Golem Design Studio as well as a coordinating pendant.  Perfect!  I started with the lentil and worked it into a multi-strand bracelet in the style of a tutorial by Lorelie Eurto.  I used tons of Czech glass including some adorable ladybug beads plus pewter, crystal, and seed beads for the strands. 

For the necklace, I had fun pulling together different flower beads to pull out the colors from the pendant.  The flowers and little ladybug beads pop against the background of green Czech glass just like the designs do on the pendant.  

Not created for this challenge, but made this week... here's another piece that includes some of those fun ladybug beads!  This charm bracelet was a special order for a friend.  The charms belonged to her late sister and she asked me to make something for her with them.  Voila!  The gardening themed charms called out for bright flowers and leaves... and, of course, ladybugs.

I'm really hoping that these bright pieces will help me ward off the next few rounds of snow we're expecting.  If this doesn't end soon, I may have to book a flight south to escape!!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Honey Do List February 2019

Can you believe that we're starting the fourth year that my husband Eric has been giving me a design challenge each month to get me out of my comfort zone and to help clear out my bead stash... it's the Honey Do List 2019!  I know that I'm not the only one who loves a good design challenge, so I'm hoping folks will continue to play along with us!

Here's this month's inspiration and what Eric had to say about it:

I took this shot outside our friends Jim and Lori's cabin up north in Minnesota.  At the time I thought it was pretty cold out.  After the past week of -28 degree and up to -60 degree windchill that now seems like shorts weather!  To commemorate this Polar Vortex of Doom I really wanted to get a winter shot for this month, so here you go!  A cute nuthatch on a limb!

I'm so glad that Eric chose a picture from our pre-New Year's trip up North.  It was a magical trip to our friends' cabin that mostly involved sitting by the fire eating, drinking, chatting, or reading while looking out at the snowy landscape.  We had some late night wildlife watching too as we sat in the darkened living room and watched a group of deer eating right outside the wall of windows.  Amazing!  But I digress...

As soon as I saw this little nuthatch, I knew that I finally needed to make something with a sweet birdie polymer clay pendant by Summer Wind Art that Eric gave me ages ago.  This pendant is on the small side, so I knew I didn't want to overwhelm it with anything too large.  I ended up picking out some Swarovski crystals, labradorite, Czech glass, and matte plated hematite to coordinate with a size 11 seed bead blend and strung an asymmetrical design.  I'm not sure I'm loving the background for this one, but it's what I had on hand when I was taking pics.  I may try for a do-over the next sunny day we get!

Here's a closer look at the little earrings that I whipped up to go with the necklace.  

My second necklace also features a pendant by Summer Wind... this time one of her wood burned and hand painted pieces.  While the turquoise bird is far brighter than our little nuthatch friend, I liked that he too was sitting on a bare branch and has a white background immediately around him.  I'm playing with asymmetry again here, but using bead links instead of stringing this time.  The turquoise Czech glass links felt like a no brainer, but I also mixed in a few beads with yellow/golden tones to play off both the colors of the wood as well as the nuthatch's chest.  I used a mix of glass and gemstones (yellow jade, golden blood quartz, and some sort of jasper) with Vintaj brass findings.

In addition to my designs, I'm thrilled to share this stunner of a necklace made by Shelia Sheets!  Shelia made the lovely polymer clay pendant and beads and I'm swooning over here!!

Now it's your turn!  Please add your links to your own creations below.  I love seeing what everyone else is making too.  Please check back March 1st to see what Eric has in store for us next month!  

Inlinkz Link Party

Friday, February 15, 2019

We're All Ears: February 2019: Frozen

This month's theme for the We're All Ears challenge is Frozen.  Well, Erin could not have chosen a more apt prompt for this month, at least for those of us living in the great stretch of the country dealing with the polar vortex and stupid amounts of snow.  Minnesota is already having the 4th snowiest February in history, and we're not even half way through the month.  Whoever pissed Elsa off needs to apologize!!! 

I have to admit that at first blush, I honestly wasn't sure I had much to use for this month's challenge.  I used lots of snowflake themed items for the December Art Elements Theme of the Month (which was "White."  You can see that post HERE if you like.)  I was surprised at how many ideas I suddenly had when I shifted my thought process from actual snowflakes to beads with an icy feel!

My first trio of earrings all focus on frosted or Mercury finished Czech glass.  These all have a winter woodland theme going on with leaves and wee pine cones.

Next up, a couple of pairs of earrings with long ear wires.  The ones on the left feature some vintage plastic from Allegory Gallery paired with snowflake bead caps and dyed agate.  The pair on the right uses some cultured sea glass under some of my favorite pewter bead caps that remind me of lily of the valley.

I didn't ignore my art beads either!  The pair on the left has some fun swirl pattered ceramic charms by Marsha Neal dipped in teal matched with polymer clay discs by Humblebeads, crystal, and brass.  The pair on the right is totally fit for Elsa!  Photos don't do the sparkles in the clear pale blue lampwork glass justice.  I added crystals and leafy bead caps to the design and topped things off with some Swarovski crystal and sterling ear wires.

I wasn't done yet... but I'll say that these last two are a bit outside my normal design comfort zone.  I played with some oval pewter links and iridescent Czech glass teardrops for the pair on the left.  I'm unreasonably happy about the pair on the right which are in no way my normal style!  I've been working on getting my studio under control and have been sorting through beads and supplies.  In this process, I found these fun caged gems that I got in a goody bag at a retreat.  I didn't have anything appropriate to hang them from, so I got out some copper wire and my hammer!  Although I like how the hammered copper curves in this instance, I do wish that I was capable of getting this sort of thing to stay straight!  I like the way the gold and copper tones work together in these shoulder dusters. 

Pop on over to the Earrings Everyday blog HERE to see what everyone else was inspired to make this month!