AJE April 2014 CoM Challenge Reveal ~ A Countryside Spring

It's finally time to show off our buttons!

I adore ceramics and so of course I jumped at the chance to get my greedy beady hands on another lovely ceramic component, this time from Lesley Watt of Thea Jewellery and Thea Elements for AJE's April Component of the Month Challenge. She crafted a whole lot of buttons, each with its own unique design and luscious glaze and a bright shiny copper clasp… and then let us pick our favorite! I know, you're probably thinking I chose the orange ammonite, right? Nope.

I went for green this time…

Sheer loveliness in ceramic button form! Don't the colors of this button just sing Springtime?

I do love the greys of winter, but after awhile they get a tad dull even for me and I start hunting for those little peeking shoots of green.

And so, here's my Springtime creation…

I've titled it "A Countryside Spring".

And now, let me start at the beginning… Lesley's pretty spring-green button was finally in my hands and had a very brief visit with my other hoarded art beads and was now sitting front and center on my jewelry making table (I had actually cleaned it off from my last project—shocking, I know!). Next, I started my search for complementing beads…

First on my list was this pretty rose pendant—its delicately fine details are entirely hand drawn by my sister Bethanne. It's translucent, which gives it a beautiful glow when light shines through.

I made a little wire-wrapped bail and hung the pendant on a strand of brass beads and picasso finished czech glass—like little rosebuds or petals.

Next on my list: a fabric covered bead cord—all hand-stitched by my mom (I know, I'm one lucky girl to have artistic friends and family! So inspiring!). My mom makes these unique beaded cords using vintage fabrics and beads. You know I love working with fiber, so of course, I had fun using this cord! The neutral colors and soft edges of this cord brings to my mind the velvety buds of pussy willows.

I used soft sea-green shell coins with teeny bone and ox-blood beads between. Ox-blood is my go-to color when I want a contrasting pop in a design.

And finally, I connected it all together with the star of the show—Lesley's button!

Actually, looking at this necklace, I realized that so little of the work was my own—I had only simply picked a few other beads, done a little wire-working and strung them together with some most gorgeous artisan components. That's the beauty of artisan components, don't you think—they become a lovely jewelry piece so effortlessly!

And that's all there is! I hope you enjoyed reading about my creative process and taking a little peek into the making of this necklace. And thank you to Lesley for a most fabulous challenge!

Be sure to check out what everyone else created with their buttons!

Guest Artists:

The AJE Team:

April Showers…

Bring sweet sleepy chestnut-brown bunnies to your flower garden… 

They love pretty posies in soft pink and white.

Some say Spring only comes once a year… these bunnies don't believe that—they never have and never will.

Affectionately known as Bunnies-in-Flower-Pants or Bunnies-in-Bloomers, these new sleepies are extra special—each one has a tiny piece of vintage rose fabric carefully trimmed to fit and tediously applied.

You know me—if it's tedious and involves painting, yes! I'm all for it!

I only have a small piece of this same fabric remaining, so after just a few more batches, that will be it for these bunnies. Perhaps I will go through my fabric stash and make some other colors and prints too…

They're up for adoption in my shop here.

Bead Soup… for Shirley

My Bead Soup from Shirley Moore is softly simmering in my studio right now—all in pieces still—I know some of you have already completed your new creations, but me, well sometimes I spend more time thinking about it than doing the actual assembly—but that's the way I love it. :-)

Can you believe that we are so close to the reveal date?! Me neither!

But, wait! I haven't yet posted what I mixed up for Shirley…

So, here you go…

How funny that we both went with pink when mixing up bead soups for each other!

I can't decide if when it comes to the Bead Soup Party, do I love the giving or receiving best—I think every part of it makes me so happy. I can't wait to see what we both create!

Wishing you a happy Tuesday!

Some days…

A little extra help is needed.

Yes, this sweet little furry critter fills my heart with so much joy.



Spring Bead Cleaning Sale!

It's here! My Spring Bead Cleaning is now live in my Etsy shop!

You all know I love to be organized (even though I'm not at all half the time!) and so cleaning up and sorting through my hoarded bead stash was like a big breath of fresh Spring air. It brought back a lot of fun memories from my first years as a bead maker, rekindled old ideas, and also gave life to many, many more ideas that are just now starting to bloom.

Many of these beads are one or a few of a kind, and since it was much too dull to set up listings of one or two beads, I arranged them into mini bead soups—I always think beads in an artfully combined color scheme with varying shapes and texture are so inspiring.

Oh wow! I had so much fun arranging the sets! It was exciting to see too, that while my beads have changed over the years they all still match together with my new beads in amazing ways. I really think I might continue to offer some of my beads in sets and so, to celebrate the start of my new inspirations sets…

…these Spring Bead Cleaning sets are 20% off for a limited time only!

And now, here's a glimpse at some of what's now available in my shop

until they sell out, of course!

And these are only a few of my new sets—I didn't want to slow down your computer too much! ;-) Go here to see them all and grab a few for yourself!

Happy shopping!

Spring Bead Cleaning

It's that time of year again!

The birds are all singing happy spring songs…
light rain is falling (instead of snow and ice)…
 frogs are chirping at the ponds again…
the grass is greening…
and, finally the flowers are blooming!

It's been such a long drear winter!

And of course, it's well past time to start spring cleaning!

This week has been all about studio organizing—if you saw my mess a couple weeks ago, you'll know that I was starting to get a little desperate and overrun by the chaos. My main focus has been bead cleanup—I was a little shocked to find how many beads I had that were in an unfinished state and how much I was hoarding for future projects. I still had some old jewelry that needed to come apart to open up the possibility for new life to those forgotten beads too.

And so… this spring brings Spring Bead Cleaning to all of you!

My whole stash of hoarded polymer beads—the smaller bowl holds the few favorites I still can't part with—they will wait for jewelry making days.

Notice the brown theme I have going. The little bit of blue is for fun and to challenge myself… but I bet you're surprised to see the pinks here! Me too! Those little guys are some of my first beads and you have to admit that they are kinda cute in all their bold pinkness. They will stick with me for a least some time longer…

And here's what's nearly ready to fly to new homes and bead boxes… and hopefully new jewelry…

Some of these are years old, some are newer and I just never got around to finishing and listing, and some are one of a kind—those happy accidents that leave you wondering what colors and techniques you used.

They'll be going live in my shop over the weekend—be sure to check back here for all the details and to grab up some new beads for yourself!

Happy Friday!