Creating with Cabochons Reveal

We are in for a real treat today - the reveal of Sally Russick's Creating with Cabochons Challenge. I, for one, can't wait to hop around to see what everyone was inspired to create!

I love the tribal trend, and when I pulled out a rounded Ammonite and triangular Dinosaur Bone jasper from my stash of cabs, they immediately suggested a pendant in the shape of a shield. A few hours browsing the internet for ancient weaponry and I had my design!

I let the reds and gray-browns of the jasper dictate the quiet, earthy color palette. These are not colors I normally design with, so I was happy to see a flash of iridescent blue-green in the Ammonite - my design now had some depth and an accent color that can always be found on my bead table.

I captured the large jasper with a Bead-Across bezel, a technique I discovered in Jamie Cloud Eakin's Dimensional Bead Embroidery. Larger beads are added at points around the base row, and then smaller beads are strung through them to secure the component. An intriguing touch of engineering and an interesting alternative for irregular shapes, it was the perfect decorative element for my shield-themed pendant.

The neckstrap combines firepolish beads from the pendant with lustrous labradorite rounds and rectangles. The deep ruby rondelles are faceted dyed jade.

Many thanks to our hostess, Sally Russick, for inspiring us with this challenge. I had forgotten how much fun bead embroidery can be and I learned some new bezeling, edging, and construction techniques. And I'm sure I am going to learn much, much, more as I visit the blogs of all today's participants. I hope you can join me!

Your Host: Sally Russick

Cheryl McCloud            


Pearls! Pearls!! Pearls!!! Blog Hop

I'm so happy that Michelle Buettner of MiShelDesigns decided to give pearls the spotlight in today's blog hop. Michelle's invitation was the nudge I needed to tackle a project I've been trying to bring to the top of my to-do stack for almost two years. That's how long ago I purchased the pattern for Shelley Nybakke's Satisfaction cuff. Substantial and statement-making (you won't find anything prim or stuffy at Shelley's Sturdy Girl Designs), the cuff uses Swarovski crystals and pearls to create texture and sparkle in built-up layers of right angle weave.

Once I completed the gunmetal base and had the outer channels filled with crystals, I began to question my original plan to use black pearls in this design. Side-by-side, the black brings drama to the piece, but the gray pearls add their own light and glamor. For my own Satisfaction, I intended to stray a bit from Shelley's design of alternating pearls and crystals in the center channel. So I compromised by using Light Gray in the pop-up sections of pearls/crystals, and Mystic Black in the recessed sections of sterling spacers and pearls. Drama and glamor - now that's a double dose of satisfaction!

I purchased the pearls for this design at The Beadcage in Columbus, Georgia. The Beadcage is a Swarovski distributor and always has a well-stocked and totally tantalizing wall of pearls to choose from, a great choice if you live in the Atlanta area.

Soft and classic, or saturated and edgy, pearls are everywhere this Fall - click the links below to see how today's participants are mixing them up in their designs.


Crystal Play

I'm longing for Fall, aren't you? Our afternoons are still peaking in the hot and humid nineties, so while lightweight and airy dictate the fabrics of the day, I CAN start the transition to fall with my jewelry.

This Snake-Belly Bangle combines autumnal earth tones with a summery hit of turquoise - the perfect transitional piece. It's from Anna Elizabeth Draeger's, Crystal Play, a book that makes me wonder why I don't reach for crystals more often when planning my designs!


A combination of two of my favorite stitches, peyote and RAW, this one can easily be finished in an afternoon. It sparkles with over 200 crystal bicones and gave me a chance to finally use my SuperDuo's. These two-hole seed beads give the bangle great structure, but I have one caveat - check the holes in these beads carefully before using - nearly a third of my tube had undrilled holes, requiring drilling the second hole mid-stitch.

My sister was visiting last month, and one afternoon I handed her a stack of my beading books to look through while I got dinner in the oven. Crystal Play was the one book she set aside, commenting that she would love one of every design! (Anna includes more than a dozen bracelet/bangle designs in her book, ranging from fun to fabulous to killer exquisite!)


So after I finished my bangle, I stitched up a Snake-Belly for Janet in season-spanning black and silver. She has two sons in high school and often finds herself drafted to chaperone at their school dances. She'll be one cool Mom rocking this on her arm!