Reader's Challenge - Jonquil

My challenge with Andrew Thornton’s November Reader’s kit wasn’t the fact that nearly every component in the set was yellow, a color I have little design experience with. My biggest challenge stemmed from the luxury seed bead mix dominated by sparkling yellows, pale greens, peaches and a punch of gold and bronze. They begged to be spilled out on my mat and stitched into something lovely, organic and freeform. But I promised myself I would complete this project sans needle.

My favorite pieces in the Jonquil kit were the knowledge tree pendant (the month’s mystery component), and the long wooden bead, both of which cried out to be used in a focal. With kit in hand, I was off to my favorite bead store, where I found a carved, black onyx leaf, which brought out the color and detail in both. To heighten the challenge, I threw pink into the mix, another color that rarely makes an appearance on my bead table.

Once my focal was secured to the brass chain supplied in the kit, I dusted off my wireworking skills, creating sections of dangles leading to some gold Venetian glass coins from my stash. I used the soft peach tones from the kit to transition to the larger dangles that echo the focal. To give more length to the necklace, I added a doubled length of Vintaj ornate chain.

Much praise and many thanks go to Andrew Thornton for offering his readers these monthly opportunities to forge down new creative paths and work with artisan pieces that excite our imaginations. Take a moment to click on the following links to all the participants who will be revealing their Jonquil Challenge results:
Alice Bavaud will have pieces on Andrew Thornton's blog


Earring A Day - Banishing the Blues

In a solid week of gray, foggy mornings and rainy afternoons, I found sparkle and shine at my bead table, stitching up some colorful baubles to beat away the blues. Continuing with my earring-a-day project, this week I’ve added 5 more, all fit for a party.

Bright with greens, purples and golden orange, these would be perfect for Mardi Gras. The pattern, which uses two sizes of drops along with peanut, 11 and 15 seed beads, is Cindy Holsclaw’s Pagoda Charm.

Blue is a big accessory color this year, and I love to contrast it with yellow-orange. This is another component from Maggie Roschyk’s Artistic Seed Bead Jewelry. I don’t know when I’ve been so inspired by a beading book! I can see these done up in so many different colorways and accent beads.

Classic black and silver never goes out of style. Deborah Roberti’s Diamond Tila pattern gave me a chance to use up more of these tile-shaped beads from my stash. 

Double the sparkle, these dangles with red magma cosmic rings and padparadscha rivolis pick up and reflect light from all directions.

Gwen Fisher’s three-dimensional designs are always fun and challenging. Her Deco Lotus earrings gain enough wow-factor from a second layer to make them just right for special occasions.


EAD Dress-Up-a-Casual-Tee Edition

Continuing the January earring-a-day challenge, I managed to create 5 this week, all just a bit dressy to spice up a casual tee.

I bought a tube of Tila beads six months ago, but never found the perfect use for them, until I came across this Carole Ohl design:

As my Tila earrings lay on my bead table, I noticed that a scrap piece nearby, the point of a star that ended up being too large, was approximately the same size and shape as my finished earring. Instead of cutting up the scrap, could I repurpose it into an earring?
 After reorienting the point, adding some tiny crystals and a slender dagger, it was ready for an earwire!
That silver and black earring with its jet dagger led to this aqua green and black version:

I recently began receiving catalogues from Arhaus Jewels, and as I thumbed through each edition, I always seemed to linger over these silver and turquoise crescents.

I set out to duplicate them with seed beads. Although I took up this earring-a-day-challenge to build up my show inventory, I like this pair so much, they just might have to stay with me!

My final pair for this week is designed around a component from Maggie Roschyk’s new book, Artistic Seed Bead Jewelry. I love how the red-orange and aqua blue work together in this pair, as classy from the backview as from the front!


Earring a Day Challenge

The Beading Daily blog inspired me to take up their January earring challenge. The idea is to create a pair of beaded earrings every day this month. I love a challenge and this one offered the added bonus of building up my inventory for an upcoming show. For the first week, I featured shades of orange-red in each earring, to celebrate Pantone’s color of the year, Tangerine Tango.

I love how these Tila Drops catch the light and add just the right amount of shimmer. The pattern is by Deborah Roberti and can be found at Bead Patterns.

If you’re not a fan of orange, you can pull it into your wardrobe in small doses by combining it with purples, greens, yellows or hot pinks.

Top row:
Rachel Nelson-Smith's two-layered Nightingale design from Bead Riffs
Desert Skies pattern by Terri Wlaschin
Diane Fitzgerald's two-dimensional triangles

Bottom row:
BeAd Infinitum's Spinning Tops
Spinner Rims by Virginia Jensen from Bead and Button, October 2009
Almond Drops, another pattern from BeAd Infinitum