Bead Hoarders Blog Hop

We in the beading community are all hoarders to some extent. Our relationship with our treasures of glass, metal, pearls and gems is (on most days) magical, and we want more of that magic!

Lori Anderson of Pretty Things conjured up a fun way to lighten our secret (and not-so-secret) stashes in the form of today's Bead Hoarders Blog Hop. Simply take hold of some of those pretties we've been saving for a special occasion and design away.

I've been holding on to this gorgeous butterfly wing, bezeled in silver, for a couple of years. Originally purchased to create a necklace as a birthday gift for my oldest daughter, I simply couldn't come up with anything that worked. Believe me. I've woven several neckstraps, long and short, simple and over-the-top, but nothing appealed. Flipping through my copy of Jewelry Designs from Nature by Heather Powers proved to be the inspiration I needed.

Besides the focal, this necklace uses some absolute favorites from my stash: Saki silver hammered link, a hand-cast, braided brass bead, and two shades of beautiful apatite - roundels in pale green and rounds in dark blue-green. And the design is reversible!

My daughter's birthday is several months away, but I'm sending this off to her now. She recently left her career as a Special Ed teacher to start her own cottage school, opening next month. The butterfly is the perfect symbol of change and hope … and enjoying the beauty of the journey.

Thanks to Lori for inspiring me to finally give wing to this focal. I'm currently visiting my youngest daughter in Pittsburgh, and will have to wait until I get back to hop around to all the participants' blogs. But you'll want to click this link right now and get started!


A Challenge in Black and White

When Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime announced her Black and White Challenge, I jumped at the opportunity to step away from color, usually my primary design consideration, and focus simply on form and texture.

I splurged on a black dress for a recent trip to New England. This black dress:

I wore it to a dinner, a corporate affair, at a winery, on a cool Connecticut June evening, where a ruffle-edged white jacket, my favorite Laura Gibson dangles and statement bracelet were the only accessories needed. I'm now back home in Georgia. Gone are the ocean breezes, the cool morning mists. Gone, also, is the need for that elegant jacket. Sally's challenge was to design a piece of jewelry that uses only black and white. The challenge I gave myself was to design a necklace that would take my new black dress from Summer Staple to Something Spectacular.

I knew I wanted this project to be component based, so I began with some beaded beads.

Barrel Beads and an Octahedral Cluster from tutorials by beAd Infinitum, Discos from a tutorial by Sharri Moroshok of The Beaded Bead, and Ringlets, found in Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence.

With their large holes and elegant texture, Gwen Fisher and Florence Turnour's Barrel Beads were the perfect choice to anchor the longest strand. I combined them with a collection of glass rings by Heather Trimlett that I've been saving for a special project. Completing this strand are embellished Ringlets and large Disco beads from Sharri Moroshok's easily adapted pattern. The Octahedral Cluster serves as the focal of the shorter strand, accented by Disco beads, short barrels, and perfectly named Black Tie Affair lampwork beads by April Larson of Bo's Beads.

The velvet ribbon is left long for times when I want to wear this strand long and casual with black linen and a tee.

The more-traditional short strand is 16 ½-18 inches and lays just above the neckline of my black dress. I think it would be divine on its own with a collared shirt.

Much thanks to Sally Russick for challenging us with this iconic duo. You'll want to check out all the black-and-white inspiration from today's participants.




Seasons Challenge

Today is the reveal for the Season Blog Hop, hosted by Lisa Lodge of Pine Ridge Treasures. Each participant was sent a selection of beads, which we could combine with beads and findings from our own stash, to create a piece of jewelry reflecting either a season of the year, or a season in our lives.

Here are the beads I received from Lisa:

When I tipped them out into a dish, the beads initially said "Fall" to me, but their colors also reminded me of the cockle shells my sister and I loved to collect during summer vacations at the beach.

I combined Lisa's fun shapes with a few playful shapes from my own stash, and in no time, the mix was singing Summer.

Freeform spiral stitch is becoming one of my beading staples and its lush texture was perfect for this project. I noticed how the rich, warm browns in Lisa's soup brought out the striking details in the dark blue spikes, so I mixed in a strand of 3mm lapis that matched the tones in the spikes, then tossed in some additional wood beads and abalone discs to keep the necklace looking organic -- and feeling as light as, well, a walk on the beach!

Much thanks to Lisa for inspiring us with this challenge. You'll want to follow the links below to Lisa's and all the Season participants' blogs!

                    Your Hostess: Lisa Lodge, Grateful Artist

                    Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design

                    Cassi Paslick, Beads: Rolling Downhill
                    Stephanie Sanner Haussler, PixyBug Designs
                    Leah Mifflin Tees, My Beady Little Eyes
                    Karin Slaton, BackStory Beads
                    Audrey Belanger, Dreams of an Absolution
                    Lori Jean Poppe, Lorillijean Creative Corner
                    Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
                    Christine Stonefield, Sweet Girl Design
                    Eleanor Burian-Mohr, The Charmed Life
                    Alicia Marinache, All the Pretty Things
                    Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera
                    Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz
                    Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
                    Toltec Jewels, Toltec Jewels for Jewel School Friends
                    Lennis Carrier, Windbent
                    Erin Kenny, Beadifultherapy
                    Tanya Goodwin, A Work in Progress
                    Cilla Watkins, Tell Your Girlfriends
                    Renetha Williams Stanziano, Lamplight Crafts
                    Christie Searle Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry
                    Sierra Barrett, Giraffe Can Has
                    Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes
                    Shirley Jones Moore, Beads and Bread
                    Dawn Horner, Northern Adornments
                    Charlene Bausinger Jacka, Clay Space
                    Tara Plote, The Newbie Beader's Blog
                    Candida Elkins Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks
                    Miranda Ackerley, Daze and Days