Vintage Soup

Just returned from a ten-day trip, and have to admit that more than once, my foot was a little heavy on the gas pedal in anticipation of finding my bead soup from Heather of The Beadin Path when I got home.

I was not disappointed! The brown box was waiting on the counter, and inside – this wonderful vintage soup, infused with tantalizing colors and textures.

Just look at the range of colors in the 1960’s brass lily focal! Beautifully complemented by large jet Lucite rounds, chunky red German glass squares, 1920’s Bohemian topaz faceted glass, and, (my favorite!) carved Victorian-era jet beads. A delicate silver clasp completes the soup.

It’s great to be home, and back to the bead table. And fun to receive Heather’s lovely collection of beads that have set my thoughts spinning!


Japanese Gardens

The Inspired by Nature Challenge for week 7 is the Zen Garden, a place of peace and meditation.

The focal in my design is one I found when I was only weeks into my beading experience (and before I took up the habit of inquiring into the names of my stones.)  I was attracted to its cosmic undertone, the way it draws the eye in to explore its depths. Perfect for this week’s challenge! Bezelled in gunmetal and sterling silver seed beads, the stone has a small, center-drilled hole in the top, which I first viewed as a drawback, but came to see as an opportunity to begin embellishing with small pearls and pieces of silver, suggesting the small rock groupings found in these gardens.

The pendant inspired my color palette of  blues, grays and yellow-green turquoise. I added a bit of warmth with deep-red rondelles.

Click over to the Inspired by Nature group on Flickr to get a peak into other designers’ inner gardens.


Crossing Over

I am hooked on bracelets at the moment, and have decided to get my sister into the trend. Today is her birthday, and this layered herringbone cuff should have arrived in her mailbox this afternoon. The design, by Bead Maven, Heather Collin, was pure joy to make! I learned some new techniques I will incorporate into my work, most notably how to increase and how to change the direction of a strand.

The base is stitched in stone gray and orchid and embellished with sterling silver, nickel and lavender seed beads. Deep purple firepolish beads and lavender crystals add more color and sparkle. It should travel through the seasons well, with two beautiful shades of gray appearing on Pantone’s Fall Color Report.

If you’re thinking of entering the Bead Maven’s Meld Challenge, you might want to consider Heather’s Crossing Over pattern. The details of the challenge can be found here, and Heather’s exceptionally well-written and illustrated pattern is currently on sale in her DreamweaversStudio shop.


The Party Begins...

What are the chances? My Bead Soup Blog partner is someone I am already very familiar with, Heather DeSimone, co-owner of The Beadin’ Path in Freeport, Maine. You will often find me poring over the designs and articles on this award-winning store’s website, a virtual one-stop wonderland for jewelry designers.

Not one to wait, I ventured out last week in search of beads for my soup, straight to my favorite brick-and-mortar beadstore, Beadazzles.  Beadazzles’ owner, Alice, is a great source of inspiration and an artist whose designs always make a statement. Her shop is a reflection of her own style, and is so much more than a place to buy beads; it’s a destination and, usually, a hive of activity. But when I stopped in last Monday morning, I found a lone beader working at a corner table, and Alice, restocking the seed bead wall.

When she heard about my mission, she jumped at the opportunity to offer her suggestions (which I took, with much gratitude.) And that was before I knew who my partner was!

So am I nervous about sending out this package to Heather, who spends her days surrounded by strands of glass, shell, gem, vintage and crystal beads? Is there any chance she’ll be inspired? Since my choice of beads was guided by one savvy bead store owner and going into the hands of another, I think the odds are just fine!!!


Inspiration-Tiger Lily

I rarely make a piece for myself, but I was invited to a wedding tonight, and wore a sweater that was in the warm-red, coral pink tones of the tiger lily. Despite a flutter of ruffles, my sweater still called for a necklace, something understated, that didn’t shout for attention.

A dyed jade flower in the colors of the tiger lily became my starting point. My stash yielded some additional rounds and glass beads in warm oranges. Top-drilled peridot and a gold CZ round gave the needed contrast and shine. Finally, I mixed up a bead soup in analogous shades from orange-yellow to magenta. Did you notice the name of my primary seed bead in this mix? Despite the name, it’s a very agreeable, low-intensity amber that always looks good, no matter what I pair it with.

It was a wonderful wedding, celebrated at the Panda Pavilion of Zoo Atlanta. A beautiful summer night, a new necklace, a good time with friends, and I’ve never seen a groom so in love with his bride!

To see some truly inspired tiger lily designs, click over to the Inspired by Nature Jewelry Challenge, and prepare to be amazed by this week's challenge responses!