AJE January 2014 CoM Challenge Reveal ~ Joyfulness

It's time for another Art Jewelry Elements CoM challenge reveal! This month we were given a gorgeous shabby chic polymer clay and mixed media focal from Jenny Davies-Reazor. She thoughtfully chose a different word for each participant to surprise and further challenge us.

My word is joy (perfect for me, thank you Jenny!) framed in copper and forest green.
And here's what I made…

My first ever cuff bracelet! I knew I wanted to make a cuff right from the start, but I hemmed and hawed for nearly forever on what material to use and how to decorate it. Then late one night I grabbed up this pretty floral printed cotton fabric and my paints and started smudging away with colors—I used burnt umber to age it, and added a bit of copper for a faint sparkle, and then ivory for a faded look around the focal. Ah yes! I loved that look! Next I dug through my bead stash…

Peacock pearls, opalites, itty bitty seed beads…

I needed one more thing, so at the very last minute I decided to make some of my own coordinating beads—I was really on a roll with painting by then, so making beads was must! I used a rose handled knife for the texture, painted on many thin layers of paint, sanded off a few layers, and lightly polished each bead.

Next I arranged the bead layout and started stitching away. About two thirds of the way from the finish line, I lost my needle—the only one I had that fit seed beads. I frantically searched my work table, and trash, finally gave up and started using another needle—one that did not fit seed beads—so it was stitch, remove needle, string seed bead, thread needle, stitch… fun.

Thankfully that only lasted a few minutes—I found the first needle attached magnetically to my scissors! After all the beads were in place, I sewed the beaded cotton piece to a piece of dark brown felt for stability.

To cover the stitches on the back, I added a piece of paint "aged" lace.

And a brass bead for the clasp at the end.

I hope you enjoyed reading my bracelet making journey. I'm so happy with the way it turned out. Joyful indeed. Thank you Jenny!

A few extra rose beads happened too—they're going into my shop today.

Be sure to check out what everyone else dreamed up with their focals!

Flowers for my Garden ~ January 2014 ABS Challenge

Somewhere in between the flurry of bead making, I'm managing to squeeze in a few quiet and lovely hours of jewelry making. (Don't ask me when I sleep.) I have so missed stringing beads, wrapping wire, and all the other fun things that go with jewelry creation.

Today I have two new creations to share with you—this first one is inspired by Art Bead Scene's January challenge:
Textile Design by Lois Mailou Jones

Quite a few years back I had a small woodland garden. As I'm sure all you gardeners know, there's something so invigorating about the time spent in a garden—digging in the soft, moist earth, breathing in the fresh scents of the beautiful outdoors, and watching flowers grow and bloom. It's a very special time. One of my garden favorites has always been the coleus—the colors are truly amazing. Isn't it fascinating how the colors of nature are always in harmony? It's art in its truest form.

And so, here's my little rendition…
A bracelet, of course! I'm calling it "Flowers for my Garden". I knew right away, that I would use some of my speckle beads. I created the dusty rose and green one specifically to match the color and patterns of the painting.

Next I found these cute polymer drops I'd made years ago hidden in my bead stash. I wired them together and hung a little brass bird to fly over—every garden must have birds to sing in it.

Little Czech glass flowers strung with matte purple seed beads and tiny pearls to mimic the flowers in the painting.

At the clasp I added two flower "buds" with twisting stems. And just for fun, I made a pair of earring to match.

Here's the set all together—bright colors to brighten up a very cold winter are just what I need!

And, those two new speckle beads aren't the only ones I've been painting recently…

New colors are going into the shop today!

Go here to see the other entries of the month: http://www.flickr.com/groups/artbeadscene/

What will Art Bead Scene challenge us with next month? I can't wait to see!

We have winners!

I know—I'm a day late. I was cleaning up the studio and working on beads, beads, and more beads. And then time got away from me and it was suddenly the next day.

Anyhoo, without waiting a moment longer, here are the lucky winners:

"Red and Blue Skies" goes to…
Andrea Glick-Zenith!

"Honey Orange and Wild Horses" goes to…

"A Little Color at Dusk" goes to…
Ann Schroeder!

Congratulations to you all! And a big thanks to everyone who entered and played along—you always make these giveaways so much fun.

And as always, you can be sure there will be more giveaways coming up… after all, who doesn't love surprises?!

Wishing each of you a most fabulous week!

Ending soon… giveaway and sale!

There's still a little time left to enter my giveaway and get some new beads on sale!

Go here to enter and for sale details.

Hurry, it all ends on January 11th at 11:59pm EST!

AJE December 2013 Component of the Month Reveal ~ A Spot of Flight

It's finally reveal time! This past December it was my turn to host the Component of the Month Giveaway on AJE blog and I'm bursting with excitement to see what everyone has made with my rustic speckle beads.

For my own design, I chose one of the rusty teal beads. I had so many ideas and as usual, I was working up until the very last moment. So many times I changed my mind, but all along I knew I wanted to incorporate a feather into the design. And so I did.

Come see what I made…

Surprisingly, after going through so many ideas, my finished design is actually fairly simple. I went for a rustic and somewhat plain feel. I wanted something that could be easily be worn with jeans or a skirt. The feather has a southwestern and Native American look to it—I love that. I titled it "A Spot of Flight"—not only because of the spots of the bead and feather, but also because each single feather plays its part to create flight.

To make the feather, I cut a piece of suede into the shape of a feather with a hole to fit my bead and used my wood burning tool to "draw" on the details. I love the texture the burning creates.

I cut tiny notches going all the way around the feather.

And, on the back I added two pieces of suede to hold the bead in place.

For the necklace cords, I used strands of matching suede, strips of coordinating fabric, and hemp. On one of the hemp strands I decided to sew tiny seed beads in matte grey and deep peacock blue going all the way along its length… I don't know why—maybe I was bored (or simply crazy!), but I think it added a nice little dash of sparkle.

And there you have it! Now I might just have to make some earrings to match… :-)

Time to hop! Follow the links below to see what everyone else dreamed up.

Guest Designers:
Ann - Bead Love
Melissa - Bead Recipes

AJE Team:
Kristen - My Bead Journey
Susan - Sue Beads
Caroline - BlueberriBeads