Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Beading in the New Year with Allegory Gallery :: Part 1

 

I'm not going to lie... I got into a bit of a creative slump after the holidays.  In a normal year my downtime/slump tends to come after I make it through my biggest show of the year at the end of September...  but we all know that 2020 was anything but normal.  Anyway, this fun New Year's challenge from my friends Andrew and William at Allegory Gallery has helped get my creative juices flowing again and has me spending at least a little bit of time at my bead table each day.  I'm going to attempt to complete as many of the prompts this month as I can... although I doubt I'll do them all.  Here's the first round of my makes to Bead in the New Year!

Day 1 :: Make a Pair of Earrings

So, the challenge starts out easy... Make a pair of earrings? No sweat!  I made two.  Full disclosure, I had these two pairs of aluminum discs that Kimberly Rogers of Numinosity Beads colored with alcohol inks sitting around on my bead table along with some new acrylic and resin beads that haven't found a home yet.  After making these two pairs of earrings I had a couple less things to put away!  Both pairs are ultra lightweight.



Day 2 :: Create a New Bracelet

Still easing into things, day 2's prompt was to make a bracelet.  Part of what I hope to accomplish by participating in the challenge is to use some things in my stash that have been waiting far too long to see the light in a finished design.  This cute sea turtle bracelet bar by Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio needed to come out and play.  I paired it with a lampwork glass bead by Firelily Glass, wood, brass, and faceted aventurine on coordinating leather cord.  This design also pushed me out of my comfort zone, another secondary goal of this challenge.


Day 3 :: Put Together a Necklace

I had a bunch of potential necklace options in various stages of being figured out, but I pretty much ignored all of them and went in a totally different direction.  I grabbed one of the Allegory Gallery inspiration kits that I bought last year (and still hadn't used or put away... sigh).  Pretty much everything in this necklace design came from the kit other than the clasp, the vintage twisted brass teardrops, gold plated spacers, and some frosted Czech glass rounds.


Day 4 :: Make a Matching Set of Jewelry

I really went for it with making a set this time and did the whole necklace, bracelet, and earrings thing!  The last time we went to Bead & Button I picked up a whole bunch of new beads and pendants from Golem Design Studio including some that could be turned into matching sets... so that's where I went for Day 4!  (Sorry for the picture quality... winter light here can be super tricky.)  I started with the multi-strand bracelet and let my bead choices there guide the rest of the set a little bit.  One strand is an Allegory Gallery luxury bead blend, one has some seed beads and Czech glass leaves, and the tow others have some India glass rounds that I bought my first year of beading.  I thought the darker ones looked a little like pomegranate seeds.  For the earrings I used the same leaves as in the bracelet as well as a lighter and brighter leaf and more of the "pomegranate seed" beads.  In the necklace I used the same pale yellow vintage German glass rounds as I had in the bracelet, some amber/orange colored saucers from an Allegory Gallery grab bag from ages ago.  I also included some red line agate and a few other goodies.  


Day 5 :: Use at Least Three Artist Made Materials
I'm not normally a heart girl, but I'm a little bit smitten with the hearts and rainbows bracelet that I made for Day 5!  The design started with an adorable rainbow polymer clay heart by my friend Erin Prais-Hintz.  As I was digging for things to go with it, I rediscovered a set of bright lampwork glass from Beadygirl Beads.  I picked the four that went the best with Erin's heart and strung them pretty simply with black Czech glass and seed beads in between them.  I added a little textured hear charm onto the chain for fun... another item that's been hanging around for who knows how long.  



Day 6 :: Fashion a Design Using All Glass

Ok, so it's not all glass... but other than the chain and findings it is!  I bought a super bright set of lampwork beads from Beadygirl Beads what seems like a million years ago at a local bead show.  These are still bolder than my norm today, but they were really out of my comfort zone then... but they spoke to me so I bought them.  Years later they are finally making it out in the world in a design!  I decided to use the whole set at once strung in just the order they came in... I only added black glass seed beads as spacers and some bright Czech glass rondelles from a mixed strand I've had for a long time too.  (Yay for using some things up that have been languishing for too long!)


Day 7 :: Utilize Your Favorite Gemstone in a New Piece

Picking a favorite gemstone is like picking a favorite kitty in my house... it's all about the mood I'm in at any given moment.  This time I picked out a pair of Red Creek Jasper charms that I've been hoarding (along with waaay too many other gemstone matched pairs) for too long.  I mostly probably "save" them because I'm always intimidated by the wire wrapping required.  For this pair of earrings I added some polymer clay discs from Humblebeads as well as some little Czech glass beads and brass bead caps.


Day 8 :: Use a Stringing Material You Don't Normally Use

Leather is probably the stringing material that I use the least often even though I have a pretty large supply of it!  I think it comes down to knots making me nervous... I want to know that things are going to stay put!  Leather seems like the obvious choice for the large hollow lampwork bead that I chose as the focal for my necklace.  The lampwork (focal and two spacers) are by a local artist Mary Ila Duntemann.  I paired it with some wood saucers and turquoise colored rounds as well as fun Nepalese cane glass.  Overall, I like the effect.  It's got a chunky look but is still lightweight.



Day 9 :: Produce a Piece Using Gemstone Chip Beads

So gemstone chip beads aren't in my regular rotation for designing... so today's creation probably speaks more to the letter of prompt rather than the spirit.  Oh well, it's my challenge to do with as I will, right?  Early on I bought I decent amount of them because I didn't feel like I could afford more regular cuts... or justify buying them.  I've had these amber chips for more than 10 years and they seemed like a great complement to the ceramic daisy lentil bead by Golem Design Studio.  There's also a bunch of Czech glass as well as bone and a large holed crazy lace agate bead.  


Day 10 :: Challenge Yourself by Using Sari Silk Ribbon

I have a decent stash of sari silk that I don't make as much use of as I should.  In the past I've mostly used it as ribbon at the back of necklaces so I wanted to go in a completely different direction for today's prompt.  Another thing I don't use as much as I should is my Now That's a Jig.  Two birds with one stone design!  After some guidance and advice from my friend Monica, I used one of my bracelet pucks to form the base of my bangle in copper wire.  I hammered it a bit to work harden the wire but then I was so eager to get started with wrapping the bangle in sari silk that I totally forgot to patina it first!  I chose a bundle of sari silk that had an ombre effect to it along it's length and then added some a coordinating seed bead mix along the wire I wrapped around it.  I'm pretty pleased with the end result and learned some things along the way.  



Well, that's the summary of the first 10 days of the Bead in the New Year challenge!  Hopefully I can continue to keep up with is and will share the next batch of creations soon.


Saturday, January 2, 2021

Inspiration for the January 2021 Honey Do List

Happy New Year everyone!  As we welcome in a new (and hopefully better) year we've got a new Honey Do List challenge for you.  2021 marks the sixth 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... time sure does fly!  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 inspirations (I just couldn't decide between the two options he gave me) and what Eric had to say about them:




So fitting the winter wonderland we are currently in (Minnesota Yo!) I figured I'd post something wintery.  Here was a photo shoot from last year from inside our warm home.  The juncos were going crazy in the snow and entertaining both me and the cats!  Let's see you get those post-holiday creative juices flowing. 

The reveal date will be Monday, January 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 January 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 sjdesignsjewelry@gmail.com  The more the merrier, so I hope you'll play along with me this month

Monday, December 28, 2020

Honey Do List December 2020

Wow.  What a year 2020 has been!  It's been long and stressful yet I have much to be thankful for... not the least of those things continued health for myself and my sweet husband.  We are drawing to a close the fifth year of the Honey Do List! Thanks to all of you who continue to follow and play along with this monthly design challenge.


This is a shot from up near International Falls from last year.  This was just after sundown, and I really like the vibrant blues and purples.  This is kind of a strange one for inspiration but I'm curious what people will do with it.

What I mostly remember about this photo shoot was a lot of waiting around and trying not to be eaten alive by mosquitos!  But the end result sure is pretty!  I may have missed an opportunity to play with some of those purple tones, but my muse pulled me more toward the green/teal colors.  Hey, I was just happy to find some energy to create!

I started out with a major necklace this time that started with a lovely ceramic connector from Lisa Peters Russ that I got at Bead & Button last year.  My photo doesn't do it justice (thanks, crappy winter light) but it's a rich mix of greens and turquoise with a green crystal at it's center.  I balanced the weight of the ceramic focal with a nice slab of chrysocolla on the opposite side.  I strung a chunky mix of fluorite and turquoise nuggets with some interesting Czech glass square pillows, matte Czech glass melons, and vintage corrugated steel mesh beads.



Next up, earrings!  I snagged these fabulous ceramic earrings charms from Artisan Clay during a benefit for one of my good friends.  Always happy to buy beads for a great cause!  The crackle glass in the middle made me think of the water and the blue was a nice compliment to the photo.  I paired the charms with moon glow lucite, Swarovski crystal spacers and silvery Czech glass.  


Next up another pair that feels "watery" to me.  I combined some fun Czech glass melon drops with super fun swirled glitter confetti acrylic rounds.  There's an extra touch of bling with the crystal spacers tucked in there.


One more pair of earrings celebrating the green tones as well as the wavy patterns of the grass and water.  I managed to snag these awesome colored pewter charms by Inviciti and while working on putting them away I saw that they went really well with some new green glass drops with a wonderful sheen to them.  A simple but cool design I think!


Last up, another quick necklace I whipped up at the last minute.  I made a chain tassel with Czech glass and crystal bead dangles to hang below the lovely teal ceramic bead by Golem Design Studio.  I added a few faceted Czech glass rounds and a pair of Apatite ovals along the long brass chain for extra interest.  


Now it's your turn!  Please add links to/photos of your own creations below.  I love seeing what everyone else is making too!  Check back on January 1st to see what Eric has in store for us next month!  Until then, wishing you all a joyous holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Art Elements Theme of the Month :: All Things Christmas

 


It's been a while since I have made enough for one of the Art Elements themed challenges to warrant a blog post, but I've actually been fairly busy with holiday themed items lately for a series of online shows I've been a part of over in my friend Anna Pierson's Sagahus Components Facebook Group.  Yay!  

I made a little collection of earrings using upcycled tins pairing them with snowflake charms and really fun Italian glitter resin.  I think my favorites are the ones with the embossed silver snowflakes that I cut from some small storage/gift tins that I snatched up last year at Michael's after the holidays.  


I also made a few more wintery versions of my etched copper earrings that use the leftovers from my Christmas ornaments.  I like the combination of the copper evergreen patterns with pewter charms and luckily I had the perfect niobium ear wires in grey with copper accents.  


I don't always buy a ton of holiday specific artisan beads, but this year maybe I just felt the need for a little extra Christmas cheer.  I snagged some fun enameled charms from Lindy's Designs (left and right below) that I paired with more of the Italian glitter resin.  The middle pair of earrings below are some adorable, slightly mismatched poinsettia ceramic charms by Golem Design Studio paired with vintage German marbled resin and Czech glass.


Necklaces featuring artisan beads with some holiday flair were also on my creative docket.  I bought a set of partridge and pear ceramic lentils from Golem Design Studio at Bead & Button last year and I knew I wanted to make a tree for the little bird!  I used the general idea from one of Heather Power's tutorials to shape the tree out of copper wire and then hammered the whole frame to work harden it.  I then filled in the tree with a mix of seed beads, Czech glass, and Swarovski crystal pearls in colors to coordinate with the ceramic bead.  The middle necklace features a whimsical reindeer enameled pendant by Lindy's Designs strung with tons of Czech glass and some lavender candy jade.  The necklace on the right is a stack of polymer clay goodies from Humblebeads.  Love the the little red bird, it's sweet nest, and the snow kissed pinecone she made.  I added a few elements including some copper plated branches and Czech glass beads.    


If you've been following my creative journey on Instagram or Facebook you know that I've been having lots of fun with beer bottle caps and bead embroidery.  Bell's Brewery has some of the best bottle caps around for their seasonal beers.  They had a holiday ale with a cute Christmas tree on it that has become a couple of pins so far... and I'm still hoping to make one more as a gift but it will probably be late.  The middle pin below is the Fulton Brewing logo but it kind of made me think snowflake surrounded by silver.


Last but not least, I made another batch of saltwater etched Christmas ornaments this year.  It's a fun but sometimes frustrating process as you don't always get a clean or deep etch.  I only had one true failure this year... so that's good!  I really should do some non holiday, non ornament etching at some point... or at least start using some of those things I've done in the past.  New Year's resolution maybe??  




I hope you've enjoyed my little tour through this year's holiday makes!  Wishing you all a joyful holiday season!


Monday, December 7, 2020

Inspiration for the December 2020 Honey Do List

Sorry for the delay (again) this month.  We've been a little preoccupied with other things here.  We'll just chalk it up to 2020.  Better late than never!

2020 marks the fifth 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 2020! 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!


This is a shot from up near International Falls from last year.  This was just after sundown, and I really like the vibrant blues and purples.  This is kind of a strange one for inspiration but I'm curious what people will do with it.

The reveal date will be Monday, December 28th.  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 December 28th 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 sjdesignsjewelry@gmail.com  The more the merrier, so I hope you'll play along with me this month and end 2020 with a bang!


Monday, November 30, 2020

Honey Do List November 2020

Sorry to be posting this so late in the day, but at least I got it done on the due date!  I got a little caught up in our Five Friends Holiday Sale on Facebook that extended through today, Cyber Monday.  And I'll apologize in advance for my photos... the light hasn't been on my side lately.

Anyway, as most of you know, 2020 marks the fifth 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 2020!  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 went a little surrealistic on this one.  I took this from a moving car in England: a field with a bunch of wild poppies.  I like the blur and the pop of color here.  Good luck!

As soon as I opened the picture file from Eric I knew one of the art beads that I just had to use this time!  But I'll get to that design in a bit.  As always, I started by gathering all the possible beads that I might want to use for this challenge.  I had a nice selection of art bead options!


As is my normal habit, I started with a pair of earrings.  I snagged these pretty poppy enameled charms by Lindy's Designs in a Facebook sale before Eric chose this month's artwork and they came just in time!  As luck would have it, I also had just gotten some fun new acrylic that were sitting out on my bead table when inspiration struck.  I love the acrylic for being bold without being heavy.  The black and white floral pattern really was the perfect addition to this design!


Next up, I had to play with at least some of my extensive collection of Golem Design Studio poppy pieces!  For this first necklace I strung a collection of Czech glass beads in colors to coordinate with the pendant.  I even threw in some red flowers for fun.  I just love the mix of teal or turquoise and red!


While I was noodling on what to do with some of the other pieces, I whipped up a multi-strand bracelet using Lorelei Hill Eurto's design from back in the day of beading magazines being plentiful.  I used several different colors and sizes of seed beads, Czech glass, and bamboo for the strands.  Wood and a ceramic round round out the focal section of the bracelet.  


My next necklace was inspired by a series that my friend Erin Prais-Hintz made a couple of years ago.  I got my Now That's a Jig set back up on the end of my table and whipped up a little teardrop pendant frame that I could hang another Golem lentil bead off of.  A few coordinating rows of beads wire wrapped to the frame completed the look.  I just strung the pedant off of a long brass chain.


Lastly I've got my favorite piece of the whole bunch... with the art bead most perfectly suited to Eric's photo.  I had snatched up a pair of of fabulous enameled focals by Gardanne Beads a while back that really look like Anne could have taken her inspiration from Eric's picture!  I knew from the first that I wanted to do a multi-strand necklace with a variety of smaller beads pulling the colors from the pendant.  I hid the ends of the strands in brass cones topped with turquoise colored beads.  I added links with red and black flower beads to connect the front part of the necklace to the brass chain in the back.  This one still needs a little bit of tweaking, but you get the general idea! 



Now it's your turn!  Please add links to/photos of your own creations below.  I love seeing what everyone else is making too!  Check back on December 1st (omg, that's tomorrow!) to see what Eric has in store for us next month! 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Inspiration for the November 2020 Honey Do List

Sorry for the delay (again) this month.  We've been a little preoccupied with other things here.  Better late than never!

2020 marks the fifth 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 2020!  (And today marks the our 19th wedding anniversary!) 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 went a little surrealistic on this one.  I took this from a moving car in England: a field with a bunch of wild poppies.  I like the blur and the pop of color here.  Good luck!

The reveal date will be Monday, November 30th.  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 November 30th 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 sjdesignsjewelry@gmail.com  The more the merrier, so I hope you'll play along with me this month!