Saturday, June 30, 2018

Art Elements Theme of the Month June 2018: Sunflowers

I'm really loving the new Art Elements Theme of the Month challenge!  It's great that anyone can play along with a project in any medium.  This month's prompt came from Sue Kennedy and she chose sunflowers!

As is often my way, I started off by making a pair of earrings.  (Seriously... I do this all the time figuring that earrings are relatively quick and easy and then at least I'll have something done for a challenge no matter what.)  Anyway, I digress.  I decided to use a pair of Humblebeads sunflower cane polymer clay discs as my starting point.  (Heather Powers has done several different versions of sunflower discs... this one actually has some sun and leaf canes in the mix too but you can't see it in my picture.)  I made little dangle bead units using topaz Czech glass flowers and turquoise rondelles along with brass accents and hung them from a yummy pair of sari silk cocoons by Anna Pierson of Saga Hus.

Next up, a necklace!  My sweet husband bought me a nice selection of polymer clay beads from Summer Wind Art including an oval daisy pendant.  There is definitely a sunflower sensibility about the pendant so I decided to run with it for this challenge!  I strung it with a bunch of different Czech glass beads, a few vintage glass beads, and some faceted yellow jade.  I quite like the asymmetry of this one even if the colors feel more fall like.

I made a second necklace that features a sunflower connector from Green Girl Studios.  I guess that I could have gone with a more fanciful color palette for this one (and since I still have another one of the fine pewter pieces I may yet do that) but I had the perfect sunflower colored tiny Czech glass flowers that called out to be used here.  Lots of orange and yellow glass flower links and dangles make up this design!

I didn't make these next two designs for this challenge specifically, but I thought that they were worth sharing again anyway!  The first is a necklace that I made for my husband's April Honey Do List challenge featuring a Humblebeads sunflowers lentil.  The earrings have some awesome Golem Design Studio charms and more Humblebeads discs.

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


Sarajo - You are Here!

AE Team


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Honey Do List June 2018

This marks the third 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 2018!  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:

This one is a macro shot of a fern palm from our trip to visit my dad at his place in Florida.  I thought about using a pretty sunset picture but decided the green and the curl in this one just spoke to me!  

Even though this isn't actually a fern... it still looks fern like to me so I chose a fun fern pendant made by Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio.  Some cuprite rounds were just the perfect color to go with the pendant's glaze.  (I feel like I've been using this stone a lot lately... how is it that I survived without it in my stash?!?)  I added in some English cut Czech glass beads with a mercury glass finish to break things up and finished the design off with brass chain.  I couldn't resist making a little pair of earrings to go with my necklace!

I cheated a tiny bit for my second design... I decided to use the second of two fern connectors from Summer Wind Art this month.  Instead of dreaming up a new design, I decided to copy the design that I made with the first one because a) I liked it so much and b) the first one had already sold.  

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Artisans Create Together June 2018

I'm just loving this sweet color palette for the Artisans Create Together June Color Inspiration Challenge!  Due to some travel plans to end the month of June, I didn't have a ton of time to play with this month's color inspiration, but I just couldn't pass up the chance to create something!

First up, a necklace featuring a sweet message pendant by Swoondimples.  I strung a pattern with tons of Czech glass beads in various shades of pale blues and purples.  To coordinate with the pendant's message I chose a little heart and key toggle clasp to finish the design.

I also decided it was high time I made some earrings with the sweet pale blue mushroom charms I've been hoarding from Gardanne.  I kept them super simple and just make little links with some Czech glass flowers and rondelles on sterling silver. 

I wish that I had more time to create a few more things for this challenge, but something is better than nothing!  Now to finish all my other projects, do some laundry and get packed for Portland!

Friday, June 15, 2018

We're All Ears: June 2018

I skipped this challenge last month due to some time constraints, but I'm back in action for the June We're All Ears reveal!  This month Erin has chosen kaleidoscopes to inspire our imaginations!  My gears started turning immediately.

This theme made me think of a Bruce Munro installation, Reflections, at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in the winter of 2016-17.  It was the only indoor piece in an amazing collection of winter lights.  Kaleidoscopic imagines were projected down onto fabric covered tables spread throughout the auditorium.  It was mesmerizing to watch the shifting colors and patterns!  You can get a better idea of this piece over on his website HERE.  You can also explore his website to see some other amazing installations he's done playing with light and color.

Now onto the jewelry!

Probably because of the Bruce Munro installation, I first thought of some bright charms by Jana Bliznakova of Happy Fish Things that have a fun kaleidoscope type pattern to them.  The colors also made me think of the pattern on the left above.  Unlike what I did with a similar set of Jana's charms awhile back, I decided to keep these simple.  I just wire wrapped a few seed beads onto the charms' wire loops with some copper/orange colored wire and called it good!  These earrings are plenty bold without any additional beads. 

As I was looking through my art beads for possibilities (I'm always trying to use these so I can justify new purchases!) I rediscovered some fun wax resist tubes by Joan Miller that I bought at Bead & Button last year.  The patterns in the glaze remind me of how the patterns in my childhood kaleidoscope looked... just in a less colorful palette.  I added some brass bead caps and black and bronze Czech glass beads to the bottoms leading to an overall shape that is sort of reminiscent of a kaleidoscope and finished the earrings off with brass ear wires.

Staying with ceramics for this month, I also grabbed some fun little lentil beads from Golem Design Studio whose patterns reminded me of the images in a kaleidoscope.  I kept things pretty basic and just added some antique silver colored beads to the top and bottom of the lentils.  I wire-wrapped some small seed beads onto the arched ear wires for added interest though... not wanting to go too simple. 

Head over to the Earrings Everyday blog to check out what everyone else was inspired to make this month!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Art Bead Scene: June 2018

This month's Art Bead Scene inspiration artwork is Les Ibis by Jean Metzinger.  You can read more about the artist and the artwork over on the ABS blog HERE.  I have to admit that this style of art really isn't my thing... I think that it's both too abstract for my sensibilities at one end of the spectrum while being weirdly not abstract enough at the other.  Does that make any sense at all???  Oh, well... onto the jewelry!

Les Ibis by Jean Metzinger, 1907

Instead of digging through my art bead collection to see what might possibly work, I decided to capitalize on the fact that my friend Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati sent the June installment of her Simple Truths Sampler Club out early.  Instead of putting all my new goodies away I chose to work with her pendant that was directly inspired by this piece of artwork!

The pendant I received was predominately peach and shades of green.  Actually, there's a fair amount of black in there too, but I wanted to keep the colors sweet and spring like.  I started with some chrysoprase ovals and some lovely peach moonstone star cut beads.  I found a few little clear green flower beads in the leftovers of a bead mix that added a nice contrast to the lighter colors.  I also used some vintage glass rondelles in pale green to use as spacers along with small seed beads.  Limited by the amounts of some of these beads that I had on hand, I finished off the back of the necklace with some brass ladder chain from Vintaj.

The really cool thing about Erin's pendant is that the back is just as lovely as the front... you can wear this necklace with either side facing out!

While this design may be a little more petite and sweet than what I tend to wear, I love how it turned out!  I'm also so thrilled when what I end up with lives up to the initial vision I have in my head and that totally happened this time.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Inspired by Reading: Station Eleven

As expected, I'm running a bit behind for the May Inspired by Reading Book Club selection.  No one should be shocked.  Better late than never though... and, darn it, I finished the book!  Speaking of the book, the May selection was Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

Station Eleven, despite the sound of the name, is NOT a science fiction space story...  it's the story of a world-wide flu pandemic that wipes out the majority of the Earth's population and how the world looks 20 years after the collapse of civilization.  The book goes back and forth in time following a small group of characters who end up having an unlikely connection.  While it may have been a bit of a shark jump for so many people who were connected to survive the highly virulent strain of influenza, it was enjoyable to read and unravel the threads.  While bleak, it was not the depression inducing read that The Road was for me...  I don't know if it enhanced my reading experience or not, but there's some irony that Eric and I have been playing through the game Pandemic Legacy... trying to save the world from collapsing due to spreading and mutating disease.

So, I have to say, the parts of the book dealing with the actual pandemic and the bleak world it left behind were not particularly inspiring to me.  Luckily, I got an idea from the storyline of the Dr. Eleven comic books embedded within the overarching tale.  Station Eleven is a planet like space station that has escaped from chaos on Earth through a wormhole.  Unfortunately the station systems were damaged and it is perpetually twilight on the station and most of the surface is covered with water.  There is conflict between the island dwellers led by Dr. Eleven and the people of the Undersea who want to return to Earth.  The Undersea dwellers ride giant and dangerous seahorses... half animal, half machine.  I used the seahorses as my jumping off point... although the ones in my designs aren't scary!  Also, it doesn't hurt that it's summer time and seahorse items seem seasonally appropriate.

My first design features a porcelain seahorse pendant from Andrew Thornton... I think I picked this one up at last year's Bead & Button show but you can find all his lovelies through Allegory Gallery.  I started playing around with various design options in shades of purple and eventually settled on stringing the necklace with a rich mix of gemstones and some accents of Czech glass.  The dyed white jade briolettes are from Allegory Gallery as well and were a perfect match for the pendant's color.  There's also a ton of amethyst in various cuts and shades... yum!  In keeping with the undersea theme, I used a sweet little starfish clasp from Green Girl Studios in fine pewter.

I also wanted to play with a fun ceramic set that I got from Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio.  When I pulled these guys out onto my bead mat, I realized that they color was just perfect for some cuprite beads I recently acquired.  I started with the bracelet design, adding in a couple of bronzite faceted rondelles to the matte cuprite beads.  I figured I should keep going and finish the set since I already had everything out!

Next, I laid out a necklace design that mixed matte and shiny cuprite beads with the bronzite... I kept with the same style chain and a similar dangle on the end of the chain to go with the bracelet.  I'm really loving how both of those turned out.  I've started the earrings, but since they aren't specifically seahorse patterned, I'll share them on my Instagram account when I'm done. 

Thanks for stopping by to see my May book club creations.  The blue set should be swimming over to Unearthed Arts soon! 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Inspiration for the Honey Do List June 2018

Sorry for the delay in getting the June inspiration posted.  A family health emergency has had us on the road.  Thanks for your patience!

This marks the third 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 2018!  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:

Eric is otherwise indisposed at the moment, but I wanted to go ahead and share his inspiration with you all ASAP.  He'll stop by when he can to add his thoughts on this cool photo... for now I'll just have to say a little bit about it.  This picture was taken on a little mini-vacation to my father in law's place in Florida.  It's actually a palm tree but it looks like fern fronds unfurling to me.  There's a lot to be inspired by in this photo... the rich greens, the spiral shapes, the fuzzy texture.  I'm excited to see what folks come up with!

The reveal date will be Monday, June 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 June 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 out 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!