100 Pairs in 100 Days - Charm Edition

Bronze, silver, pewter and crystal - each pair of earrings this week features a set of charms culled from my collection. I've combined them with some favorites from my orphan bin - those last few beads left over from much-loved projects.

Vintaj leaf charms, spiffed up with elegant freshwater pearls

Sterling wing charms from Nina Designs, kyanite rondelles,
potato pearls, hand formed sterling earwires
Pewter feather charms, sterling silver discs by Saki Silver,
linked with matte lapis nuggets in the darkest blue

Pewter snowflake charms, ceramic rounds

Sterling silver cross charms from Nina Designs,
Swarovski Pacific Opal rondelles, hand formed and hammered earwires

Bronze charms by Saki Silver, freshwater pearls
Beadwoven pagoda charms from a tutorial by Cindy Holsclaw of Bead Origami,
handmade balled copper headpins and rose-gold-over-sterling earwires

The 100 pairs in 100 Days Pinterest Board is growing! Stop by for lots of earring inspiration!


100 Pairs in 100 Days - Week Two

My theme for this week’s earrings is the subtle beauty of Winter Gardens.

Hand formed rose gold earwires. Copper Rose domed rounds by KristiBowman Design.

My inspiration photo comes from The Guardian. If this quiet spot was in my own backyard, I don’t think I could stop myself from lingering overlong at the window throughout the day just for the pure inspiration.

Love the muted pinks and purples, the sophisticated greys and browns, and the wealth of textures in this winter garden.

Handmade sterling earwires. Porcelain clay rustic leaf shapes by Ragged Robyn

Oh, and the gamut of greens, from yellow-greens to blue-greens.

My final pairs are inspired by the warm spots of color in the scene’s earthenware pots.

Visit the 100 Pairs in 100 Days Pinterest board, hosted by Amy Freeland of Copper Diem, for more earring inspiration.


A Time to Stitch 4 Reveal

Therese Frank and Christine Altmiller are the creators of one of my favorite beading hops - A Time to Stitch. This is the fourth in their series, where one stitch is mandatory (in this case, netting) and participants are given a choice of three additional stitches to try (chevron, chenille and spiral were the supplementary choices for this reveal.)

I have done circular netting around an armature in the past, but, despite the fact that I loved the look, I had never tried stitching a length of horizontal, flat netting. I wanted a piece that would be dense but flexible, like fabric, and because this is a challenge, I decided on a three-bead net in a single color of size 15 charlottes. The pattern, by Beverly Herman, adds a picot edge at the turnaround at the end of each row. Very clever!

After I had stitched a couple of inches using my standard beading thread, 6# Fireline, I realized the resulting bracelet would be too flimsy for the button I'd chosen by Susan Barnes of the Fire Goddess. The weight was much improved by a test sample in 14# Fireline, but charlottes have very small holes, and the beads that received a second pass of thread were becoming too prominent in the weave. That's when I remembered a spool of 10# WildFire tucked away in a drawer. I had never used this brand before, but I quickly became a fan. It gave this project the substantial weight I was looking for, and the perfect drape!

My new bracelet called for some companion earrings, in Russian spiral. They're stitched in the same silver charlottes, with accent rows of glossy black cubes.

Much thanks to Christine and Therese for hosting us once again and for encouraging us to explore new territory. Now, hop around to all the participants' blogs where I know we're going to see some fabulous adventures in netting!




Year of Jewelry Project - It's Golden

Week 2's theme for the Year of Jewelry Project, It's Golden, sent me searching through my art beads for this curved lampwork focal, swirled in gold and blue. Deciding on a bracelet in freeform vertical netting, I loaded up a bead tray with all manner of gold-hued seed beads and pearls.

An afternoon spent building up five rows of vertical netting would have to be at the top of my list of pure beading fun!

This bracelet looks deceptively easy. The hardest design challenge was to tweak the length and weight of each side with the clasp attached until I could wear the bracelet without the focal shifting to the side or to the back. Much experimenting - tweak, wear for an hour, rebalance, retest - until it is now a put-it-on-and-it-stays-put, no-fuss accessory. And it looks smashing with jeans and a white tee!


100 Pairs in 100 Days - Week One

One of my New Year's resolutions was to join Amy Freeland of the Copper Diem blog in her 100 Pairs in 100 Days Challenge. This is Amy's second year to sponsor the challenge and she is very generously donating her designs to Ears to You. I love earrings but rarely take the time to make them, so this is a real challenge. I'm disciplining myself to make each pair first thing in the morning. And my plan is to sell mine and donate the proceeds to Doctors Without Borders.

It's January 7th, so time to reveal my first week's efforts! For this week, I decided I would go thematic, and use the color black in each pair. (Is black a color?) If your winter wardrobe has you in a downward spiral, this first pair will perk up anything drab you pull from your closet.
Tribal lampwork beads by Studio Juls. Enamel & lampwork beads by Elizabeth Girod

When the occasion calls for something a little dressier:
Sterling handformed earwires. At left, Black spinel faceted squares and mixed gemstones.
At right, Mossy Tourmalinated Quartz drops and black gold plated wavy discs

Faceted onyx and freshwater pearls;
Jet silver-foiled textured Czech lampwork, tiny sterling drops and Swarovski pearls

Lampwork beads by StudioJuls, Saki Silver leaf charms
Beaded Disco Beads (from a tutorial by Sharri Moroshok) and Czech glass

Amy has created a 100 Pairs/100 Days Pinterest board for everyone to post their progress. Lots of fun designs to explore! And stop by next week when my theme will be Winter Gardens. No more black!


Year of Jewelry Project - Week 1

One of the challenges I'm undertaking this year is the Year of Jewelry Project, a Facebook group where participants commit to creating a piece of jewelry weekly and posting it to the Facebook page and their individual blogs.

The prompt for Week 1 was Something New for Me, trying a new technique, or an old technique in a new way. I stitched up a pair of right angle weave earrings (old technique) with a (new-to-me) seed bead shape, farfalle beads. The pattern is from Maggie Roschyk's Artistic Seed Bead Jewelry, and I will be coming back to these peanut-shaped beads for more experimentation!

I picked up that hank of Czech farfalle beads at a recent bead show because their transparent, lustered finish combined two colors on Pantone's Spring Color Report.  The center of each seed bead is Violet Tulip, and the edges twinkle with Radiant Orchid, the Color of the Year for 2014. I finished the design with blackberry and pink-hued pearls and a touch of Vitrail and Indian Pink crystals.

Not daring enough (yet!) to try the full-hue exuberance of Radiant Orchid in a dress or a sweater, it's going to be a fun new shade to use in my jewelry designs! At first I thought I had very little of this year's signature color in my studio, but as I was putting away this project, I noticed pops of it on my bead tray - in my glasses and scissors!

Where are you seeing Radiant Orchid?