Friday, February 16, 2018

We're All Ears: February 2018

This month for the We're All Ears design challenge over on the Earrings Everyday blog is all about chandeliers.  I love that Erin usually picks a prompt that can be taken so many different directions... and my mind certainly went in many of them all at once!!

I always love that first rush with a new challenge when I get to go digging through all my beads and stash looking for possibilities!  I grabbed anything that allowed for multiple dangles, Vintaj brass, vintage components, crystals, and more... and then got started playing.

My very first pair may be my favorite of the bunch!  I had a bundle of Lesley Watt's bronze clay charms sitting out to possibly use in another challenge, and I noticed the cool dagger shapes and a lightbulb went off in my brain.  I immediately went digging for these cool vintage glass pieces that I bought at a local bead show.  They aren't at all the type of thing that I gravitate toward, but I grabbed them on a whim.  I'm so glad that I did because they were just perfect wire wrapped with Lesley's gorgeous bronze.  I think the result is a nice mix of vintage and modern.

Next up, a pair with some vintage flair featuring fun brass connectors from Vintaj Natural Brass.  These are pretty straight forward but do feel like they could be part of a fancy light fixture... a nice (albeit black) crystal drop.

These next two are very much a variation on a theme and both use a cool floral connector from Vintaj.  I added my favorite tiny Czech glass flowers as dangles on both of them using different colors and paired each with Humblebeads discs to coordinate.  These may not be in the spirit of a traditional lighting chandelier, but they are a chandelier style of earring!

In my stash I had a few different drop connectors/earring components with room for multiple dangles.  With these being metal I thought they definitely fit the chandelier theme.  I added Swarovski Crystals to both pairs (and Swarovski pearls in Petrol to one of them) which also seems in keeping with the inspiration!

Maybe I shouldn't have spoken so soon about favorites up above because I'm pretty smitten with this last pair too!  I was just about to put my new acquisitions from the talented Kristi Bowman away when I realized that one of the pairs of charms would make a pretty funky entry into my chandelier collection.  These have a scalloped shape and sea urchin texture, so I thought what better to pair with them than freshwater pearls!

The post isn't up yet, but check out the Earrings Everyday blog HERE later today to see what everyone else was inspired to create!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Art Bead Scene: February 2018

This month's Art Bead Scene challenge inspiration is The Star Lovers by Warwick Goble.  It is a watercolor illustration that originally appeared in the book Green Willow and Other Japanese Fairy Tales in 1910.  You can read more about the artist and the artwork over on the Art Bead Scene blog HERE.

Title: Star Lovers
By: Warwick Goble
Date: 1910
Medium: Watercolor
There is a lot going on in this painting... and so many different directions you could go with it.  This is such a enchanting piece of artwork... I can only hope my designs can achieve a fraction of the magic!

For this post I focused on the starry element of the artwork as well as the blue and grey tones.  I pulled out a pair of crescent shaped ceramic charms from Marsha Neal.  I thought I was going to run lengths of chain from the two sides of the charms with some sort of beads at the top connecting things.  Before I even grabbed any chain my mind wandered off to some fun beaded "U"s from Anna Pierson of Saga Hus.  Happily, the size was a perfect fit!  Even though the charms have dots instead of stars on them, they are reminiscent of the field of stars to me.

While looking through my little stockpile of Anna's lovelies, I came across a fun set that I special ordered a little while ago.  The shape of the glass beads and the color of the sari silk ribbons reminded me of the lantern in the inspiration art.  The blue was perfect for the color palette and the stars... well, I told you I was focusing on them this round!  I kept my design simple by just adding some etched star charms from Vintaj that I highlighted with a reliefing block.  To add a little pizzaz to the long ear wires that I chose, I wire wrapped them with some seed beads in shades of blue.  Ta da!

Thanks for stopping by to see my designs!  I have an idea in mind for a necklace for this month too... but we'll see if a trip South to visit family and friends will leave me enough time to conjure that up before the end of this short month.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Have a Heart!! Heart Fest Mini Challenge

I'm really not a hearts type of girl... it's just not necessarily a shape that appeals to me and I'm not all mushy gushy into love when it comes to my jewelry designs.  So, I was surprised when I saw the Heart Fest Mini Challenge over on the Artisans Create Together Facebook page and went digging in my stash, that I had a few hearts hiding out in there!  And I didn't even use all I had for this little challenge.

First up, a pair of earrings featuring some enameled connectors by Blue Hare Art Wear.  I love the black and white speckled look of these and the red and red-orange murrini hearts blooming in the centers.  The two holes at the bottom posed a bit of a design challenge for me but I solved it with some jump rings and fun textured pewter rings.  I like the mix of silver and black tones in the findings.

Next up, a pair of earrings featuring heart shaped bronze clay charms by Lesley Watt.  I paired these with Czech glass in shades of blue and brass findings.  

To break out of my earring run (seriously, I made 9 pairs of earrings in a row!) I did make an necklace.  I used a wonderful polymer clay charm by Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery strung with tons of Swarovski pearls in copper and bordeaux.  I was so happy to discover that Andrew's pendant was the perfect color match for these pearls.  It's a simple stringing project, but I think it has great visual impact!

And not to ignore the bracelet lovers out there, I did whip up a batch of bracelets with (mostly) heart shaped button clasps in shades of red, pink, and purple. 

All of these heart themed designs are currently available at Unearthed Arts in downtown Waconia, Minnesota. 

Saturday, February 3, 2018

More Stash Busting!! Use Your Stash Part 2

As I mentioned in my post on Tuesday, I didn't manage to make everything that I had hoped to for the Art Elements Use Your Stash challenge.  (If you missed my previous post, you can see that HERE.)  Since I still had all the bits and bobs sitting around on my bead table and no other time sensitive projects, I decided to keep on working this week.  As a reminder, this is a little peek at what I had gathered together.

I started by (finally) tackling some great charms from Terri DelSignore of Artisticaos that I picked up a little while ago.  I think I originally had grabbed them thinking I might use them for a challenge last month.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do and had all the supplies pulled together... I just kept not making them!  But all that is over now... and I adore the finished design.  I had just the perfect color grey seed beads in my stash that I used in the wire wrapping.  The faceted hematite dangles plated in a matte pewter plating top things off.  I'm kicking myself for not grabbing more of this shape from Terri.  I'll keep my eyes peeled and my fingers nimble during her next Facebook sale!

Next up a pair of necklaces featuring large polymer clay beads from my friend Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati.  As I mentioned in my previous post about using my stash, oversized beads often leave me flummoxed so I really wanted to challenge myself to design with some of my larger art beads.  The first one was inspired by necklace made by Lynda Carson of Fresh Baked Designs who was in turn inspired by Lorelei Eurto.  (You can see Lynda's piece HERE and Lorelei's HERE if you're curious... both are gorgeous!)  After seeing what these talented ladies had made using these fun wood chips, I had to have some to play with.  I added in some large lucite beads from Allegory Gallery to add an extra pop of color to the necklace and to balance out the sides and finished the back with brass chain.

Originally I had thought I might use the other strand of the wood chips I have in my second necklace, but plans changed as I started playing.  I had pulled out the turquoise wood beads and the pale aqua African recycled glass previously and as I played with combinations decided that they might feel a little overwhelmed by the size of the wood chips.  Instead, I grabbed some darker wood saucers that I worked into the design.  I chose copper plated findings this time.  You can't tell from my photos but there are tiny flashes of a coppery metallic in Erin's bead.  Plus I just like the combo of turquoise and copper! 

Last, but not least I dug WAY back into my bead stash for a ceramic crescent shaped pendant by Gerry Lee Cruthird and some coordinating gemstone beads that I bought in a destash several years ago.  In addition to the beads that came with the pendant, I added in some Venus jasper rounds, impression jasper heshi, Czech and vintage German glass, and Vintaj Natural Brass findings.  I finally used the Nouveau Swirls clasp that I got in a combo pack years ago.  I quite like the effect and may buy more of this one.

I've only managed to make the tiniest of dents in my art bead stash, but I'm still proud of the pieces I've managed to complete in the last month.  Now I'll forge onward to tackle February's challenges!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Inspiration for the Honey Do List February 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:

As winter drags on here in Minnesota with temperatures hanging in the single digits, I had to bring a little summer back into our frozen world.  Here's a picture I took at the MN Landscape Arboretum this past summer and am just now getting to editing!  Give us something bright and happy this month!

The reveal date will be Wednesday, February 28th.  (I'm giving myself a couple of extra days since I have a trip down South planned this month.)  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 February 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 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!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Art Elements Use Your Stash 2018

January is a great time to get a fresh start... to get organized... to refocus your energy and direction for a new year.  To help get us all off on the right foot this year, the editors over at the Art Elements blog have brought back their Use Your Stash challenge after taking a year off.  The idea is to dig into your art bead stash and create some new designs.  Well, I certainly have a big ol' stash to rummage through, and plenty of things that have been languishing for way too long.  Challenge accepted!  Here's a picture of some of the goodies that I gathered:

I was one of the lucky recipients of a prize beads from the Art Elements editors, Laney Mead of Izzybeads!  Laney sent me one of her cute little lampwork critters and a pair of carrot beads from her stash with coordinating spacers.  I'll start by sharing what I made with my prize stash.  :)

I initially thought about stringing the critter on leather with some coordinating beads, but I just didn't have the right leather in my stash.  (Memo to self:  get on that leather cord order ASAP!)  I ended up making beaded links instead.  I had some stripy glass beads in my stash that coordinated with the focal and the spacer beads from the carrots that I used here.  Pretty simple design, but I wanted Laney's whimsical critter to be the focus.

For some crazy reason, when I saw that the carrot beads had holes that went top to bottom, the idea of knotting them onto brown waxed linen popped into my head and wouldn't leave me alone!  My thought was that this technique would mimic roots at the bottom... like the carrots were pulled right from the garden!  Too weird?  I don't care... I think they are super cute!

I really have been trying to make a dent in my art bead horde... not so much because I think I have too many, but more to make room so I can justify new purchases.  Hey, at least I'm honest!!  As I was digging around for other challenges this month, I had the Use Your Stash idea in the back of my mind and kept pulling things out for possible beady play.  Several oversized beads ended up in that little collection so that's where I started playing with my personal stash!  Why have so many large baubles been languishing in my stash?  My design aesthetic just tends to veer away from big, chunky designs.  How about you... is bigger better?  or just bigger?

First up, a set of big ol' polymer clay beads made by Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati for her Simple Truths Sampler Club.  They were inspired by a Picasso painting that was for the May 2017 Art Bead Scene challenge so they haven't been hanging around all that long in the grand scheme of things.  Something just clicked in my little brain and I went digging for some crazy oversize wooden beads that I've had forever.  (Seriously, I bought them in my first ever online bead order back in February 2008!)  I don't know what I was thinking... except that I wasn't and I had no clue about bead sizes at that point.  These wood beads are GIANT at 31 x 21 mm.  After almost 10 years, I've finally found a design to use them in!  I strung all of these big beads together on blue waxed Irish linen along with some brass spacers to anchor the large holes in the wooden beads.  Brass chain finishes out this chunky design that would feel right at home around the neck of Wilma Flintstone or Betty Rubble!

Next up, a variation on a theme... this time using a set of polymer clay beads from Artybecca that I won as a door prize on the 2014 Bead Cruise.  These guys, and their wooden counterparts, are a MUCH smaller size than the last neckclace!  Once again, I just knotted them on waxed Irish linen with brass chain at the back.

As always seems to be the case with me, I didn't make nearly as much as I'd hoped to for this challenge (if only I'd had one more day!!!), but I am proud that I dug deep and tackled some things that have been gathering dust for too long.  Hopefully I'll keep the momentum going and finish up some more designs that I had envisioned.

This is a blog hop!  Stop by and see what everyone else has been up to this month.  I can't wait to see what goodies everyone found in their personal stashes!


Niky Sayers

Monday, January 29, 2018

Honey Do List: January 2018

This marks the beginning of 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... Welcome to 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!  

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

After last month's fairly monochromatic challenge I wanted to find something a little more colorful.  I took this shot of a lorakeet at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh a few years back when Sj and I took a trip to visit Andrew and William in Ligonier for some jewelry making classes.  For a few dollars more you could hold a cup of nectar and the lorakeets would land on you and drink their fill.  This bird was actually perched on Sj's arm!  While taking this shot, another adventurous lorakeet decided to take a poo on my shoulder...resulting in much amusement all around.

For my first design, I'm playing a little bit fast and loose with the color scheme... but it does feature an adorable bird pendant from Cathleen Zaring of Blue Hare Art Wear!  The cute little legs were made by Anna Pierson of Saga Hus and I picked them up in the same shopping event on Facebook.  I obviously added a bunch of turquoise beads to the mix along with bright greens.  I wanted to string this one, but I didn't want a symmetrical pattern.  I wanted it to be a bit more visually interesting... I hope the mix of Czech and recycled glass worked!

Next, I stayed with the added turquoise but did add in the orange!  The pendant is something that I made back in 2012 when I went to the Vintaj Two Day Workshop in Galena.  I used their patina paints on the brass blank then used a rubber stamp over the paint.  The glossy finish comes from using the UTEE (Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel) in a Melting Pot.  I made links with Czech and recycled glass beads that coordinate with the pendant and had fun with flower beads and brass bead caps for the little dangle at the bottom.

Next, I turned my focus to the gorgeous greens of the lorakeet's feathers.  I had this lovely "Heal" pendant made by Andrew Thornton.  (You can find this one and many more of Andrew's pendants HERE in the Allegory Gallery Etsy shop.)  I chose recycled glass rounds, Czech glass in shades of green and gold, and dyed agate rondelles.  The seed beads I used as spacers are a fun green/gold that I've never had a good use before now!  Yay for justification for random purchases of the past!

Last, but not least I did make a pair of earrings!  These bright leaf charms by Kristi Bowman were actually the first art beads that I thought of for this challenge albeit the last thing I made.  I think that I psyched myself out about the wire wrapping that I wanted to do.  I'm pretty pleased with the end result!  This is definitely the design that's the most true to the photo with the bright orange and green.  The lorakeet also has some darker blue/purple on its head that are reflected in the gorgeous leaves.  I think that now that I've successfully made this pair, I need to pull out some of my other goodies from Kristi while I'm feeling confident!

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