Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Blu Mudd Black and White Victorian Challenge

Hi everyone!
I wanted to let you know about a fabulous Challenge I am currently participating in.

My goal today is to ask you to hop-on-over to Blu Mudd on Facebook to see ALL of the entries and vote for one as your favorite piece, before the voting period ends this Saturday (12/7/14).

The challenge is The Blu Mudd Round Six Challenge (Black and White Victorian).  Oh! the hand-crafted artisan beads we received, lovingly created by our Host Moriah Betterly, are awesome (singing 🎵).  Very Victorian, very elegant, feminine yet bold...gorgeous.   It was also amazing to see how many different variations arose from each Participant based on the same set of beads!

The inspiration for my piece?  Well, I thought I saw the phrase 'rose bud' inscribed on one of Moriah's beads..and that got me started on a theme.  Then, I saw a bit of Celtic faery spirit there, too.

So, enough hints!  I'm not going to post my piece here, because I realllllly want you to take a look for yourself and vote for a favorite.

Here is the link to Blu Mudd at Facebook...have fun 😉
The Blu Mudd Black and White Victorian Challenge

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holiday Sparkle

Hi everyone!
Happy 'almost' December.
Tomorrow is Holiday Sparkle Challenge reveal over at Lisa Lodge's Pine Ridge Studios on facebook.  My holiday-themed set is posted there.

However, Lisa sent so many beautiful beads, I couldn't stop with only a few pieces!

Here are all the others..I went totally sparkle-crazy!:

This piece is a re-do of an old tired necklace my manager asked me to breathe new life into.  I took a few of the original necklace beads (those lovely foiled discs and ceramic lozenge beads) and added a few of Lisa's dazzling sparkles...like wow, new life!:

I added a few flat-back Swarovski Crystals to this lovely Angel charm for even more sparkle:

Classic pearls, with a little twist:

Lots of bling:

I think this one is mu favorite:

One of my first attempts at making my own ear-wires!:

...and..there are still a few beads left-over from the Challenge kit to play with!

Please do hop-over to Pine Ridge Studios on Facebook to see my Holiday Sparkle set and all of the lovely creations from everyone else participating in the Challenge!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Clay & Metal Blog Hop

Oh wow!!!...Hi everyone!...you've heard from me Three Times this week!  Can you believe it?

It's time to reveal my 'makes' from A Grateful Artist/Lisa Lodge (Pine Ridge Studios) and Sharyl's Jewelry/Metapolies collaboration - The Clay and Metal Blog Hop. (actually, I'm a little early...the official reveal is Saturday, Nov 15th.)

Here are the pieces I received:

This frosty pendant focal was right up my alley!  Total, instant love!  I had a strand of vintage, softly-faceted, hot pink round beads in my stash just waiting to be paired-up with a bold, vibrant component.  The focal has a shimmery gold-flash and Lisa's crystals very nicely complemented the frosting!  Lastly, I wanted to use a slightly different technique to create a unique necklace.  Using vintage textured gold chain and Irish Waxed Linen in the same shade of hot hot pink, each bead was tied into an open link using a simple macrame knot (there wasn't a lot of room in each link, so each knot needed to be simple and sturdy). The opposite side of the necklace is composed of simple stringing using the waxed linen and a few more knots to secure the connections. Then, Sharyl's focal was secured with several trim wraps of waxed linen and a sweet bow.

What do you think?
Flash of gold = check;  whoo hoo! pink = check;  pretty icing and frosting = check check!

Next, the sad news...omg, I went on to totally ruin Sharyl's lovely little disc set (near the right side of her business card above).  Oh dear..my idea to make something very unique ended in a terrible disaster.  There was no rescuing these wonderful little discs once I committed to the endeavor.

I felt so badly, especially since I had already made my 'feature piece' using the other fabulous components.  The very next day, I contacted Lisa and Sharyl about my blunder. Sharyl was so very kind and gracious.  She made another set of discs and sent those right out to me.

Sharyl's first discs were awesome..however, THESE ARE GORGEOUS!!!  Ruffled, shimmery.  Here is my earring set.  I hand-formed the earring wires, used just 2 of those flashy vintage chain links from which I suspended Sharyl's 'dewdrops' with the same hot pink waxed linen. These are so yummy and light-weight, thanks to Sharyl's beads:

Thank you so much, Lisa and Sharyl!  These were so much fun to work with.

Please Hop-On-Over to see everyone's lovely designs:

Our Hostess: Lisa Lodge - A Grateful Artist: gratefulartist.blogspot.com
Melissa Trudinger - Bead Recipes: beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Jo-Ann Woolverton - It's a Beadiful Creation: itsabeadifulcreation.blogspot.com
Carolyn Lawson - Carolyn's Creations: carolynscreationswa.blogspot.com
Shaiha Williams - Shiaha's Ramblings: shaihasramblings.com
Toltec Jewels - JewelSchoolFriends: jewelschoolfriends.com
Heather Richter - Desert Jewelry Designs: desertjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com
Marybeth Rich - A Few Words from within the Pines: forestofjewels.blogspot.com
Karen Grosset Grange - Ginko et Coquelicot: ginkoetcoquelicot.blogspot.fr
Ann Schroeder - Bead Love: beadlove.wordpress.com
Lisa Prewitt Knappenberger - LiRaysa Designs: liraysadesigns.blogspot.com
Carol Briody (me/you are here!) - ABeadsLife: cbriody.blogspot.com
Miranda Ackerley - MirandAck at Artfire.com
Kari Asbury - Hippie Chick Design: hippiechickdesign.blogspot.com
Susan Anderson - La Main Tresor: lamaintresor.blogspot.com
LeAnne Loftus - First Impression Design: firstimpressiondesign.blogspot.com
Leithleach Seodra - Alainn Jewelry: alainnjewelry.wordpress.com

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My very first Holiday Fair, this weekend!

If anyone in the vicinity of northern Delaware/southeast Pennsylvania is looking for something really fun to do this weekend...please check-out this excellent venue on Sunday, November 16 from 9:30-4pm!

Holiday Craft Show, Congregation Beth Israel of Media:
Beth Israel of Media, Pa  
542 S. New Middletown Road
Media, Pennsylvania  19063
Host: Jennifer Waterston

There will be music, arts & crafts with over 30 vendors, wonderful food, a silent auction..fabulous!

I was asked to host a table for my jewelry creations (ABeadsLife)!  I'm soooo excited, have '1st time butterflies' fluttering around in my tummy and head...

This is sure to be a great event and wonderful opportunity to meet people!  I would love to say 'hello' to you in-person!  Do come join us!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Octoberfest...in November?

Octoberfest..oh dear..I am so sooooo late.  Can we please have 'November-fest'!????

We've been beyond busy at work, much of everything has gone by-the-wayside.  Many days have escaped without me hugging one of these as well (That's my girl, Cherry. She loves hugs):

However, I am determined to keep my promise to Rita of jewelschoolfriends.com regarding her Octoberfest Blog Hop!

A few months ago, I received brilliant orange beads from Lisa Lodge of Pine Ridge Studios as part of a set from her upcoming Sparkle Challenge.  Remember this set from one of my prior posts?:

Orange is a great happy sunny color, which I've typically shied-away from in jewelry, clothing, home furnishings..or beads.  My husband is 'the great lover' of orange.  He is totally utterly nuts about orange, Halloween is his favorite holiday.  So, I must admit, when I opened this package, there was a moment of 'surprised panic'.  Orange beads!?..what am I going to do with these?!  Gorgeous, sparkling, but Orange!?  uhh oh...I'm in trouble for sure.

Fast-forward to an unplanned stop at the nearest Michaels store one night after work.  You know those wonderfully-guilty opportunities...running about 40 minutes ahead of schedule (unheard-of, right?), you're nearing the turn-off lane for the shopping center (should I?  No! I shouldn't!...Oh what the heck)....and in you go, despite having tons of supplies and stuff at home!  YAY..'me' time!

Strolling around the store, I wandered into the bead aisle.  A few moments later, a strand of super-sparkly beads caught my eye.  Totally 'uber-super' sparkly, come-hither beads. Guess what?..these were orange-based, too.  Just like that, it all came together.

They call these 'Challenges' for a reason.  Try a new color, a new style, a new technique.  I pulled out bronze wire, a bit of vintage bronze chain, a cute bronze clasp (ok, not october-ish, but I love this one!), and suddenly developed a new fondness for wire-wrapping.  Wire-wrapping never existed in my repertoire before.  I always seemed to struggle with wire, of any sort.  However, thanks to an excellent tutorial from Melissa Meman of Melismatic and ArtJewelryElements, something 'clicked' and I 'totally-get wire-wrapping' now (thank you, Melissa!).  Please, check-out all of the fantastic tutorials at ArtJewelryElements (AJE) if you are struggling..they cover many topics, the directions are clear/concise/well-written and are beautifully photographed.  Lots of fun, too!

To 'wrap-this-up':
1.  I am totally desperately late for Octoberfest;
2.  I am early for Sparkle Challenge (don't worry, I have many more pieces created from this excellent bead set in preparation for the December Challenge reveal date);
3.  I am completely in love with this new necklace and with wire!!!

Thank you all for bearing with me, for stopping by (again), and many thanks to Rita, Lisa, Melissa!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Agate Challenge

It always seems like time is galloping-by in leaps and bounds...

Here are the lovely items I created with the Lisa Lodge's Pine Ridge Studio's Agate Challenge kit.

The challenge I created for myself??? - use as many of the kit beads as possible, use a different metal color for each piece, and create create create at least three pieces.
(I cannot tell a lie..I still have a few agate beads left over... perhaps earrings are yet to come!)

These were the first beads I literally snapped-up from the kit first!  These are sooo darn cute..chubby!   Paired with a sweet ceramic peachy-pink birdie, several silver flower-drops and a bit of silver...and there it was.

This one came next..challenge = antique brass!..a first for me.   I hammered those bead caps so they would gently cap the super-plump agate beads.  Several strands of chain seemed to fit the scale of these beads best.  I added a vintage star dangle to make this stellar. (sorry ;)

Up next...copper!  Oh, this one was super-easy.  I chose a few vintage Lucite flower beads in a sweet frosty coppery color to pair-up with these elegant agate ovals.  Those are copper jump-rings used as spacers.  Finally, since I had the 'chain-thing' happening, I added multiple strands of bright copper links to the piece.  It's really a beauty in-person, very shimmery and shiny..just like a new copper penny.

Last but not least..more copper, antiqued this time.  This piece started with those same lovely oval agates, but just kept going on for a necklace.  Those spacers are Czech Glass coppery rondelles and the chain has been in my stash for some time (can't remember where I got it?!).  I grabbed that gorgeous flower pendant at Spring BeadFest Phila and for the life of me cannot remember the Artist's name (if anyone does recognize this beauty, please let me know!?).  A sweet peach waxed Irish Linen bow and detailed copper clasp made me smile!

Hope you like these pieces as much as I enjoyed creating!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Autumn Nights Challenge

Hi everyone!
It's time to share the fabulous pieces I created with the lovely beads sent to me by Lisa Lodge at Pine Ridge Studios Beads and More for her Autumn Nights Challenge.
(I'm a few hours early. I've got to be at work early tomorrow and just couldn't wait any longer to post!)

First, here is the official Pine Ridge artwork for the event:

There were just oodles and oodles of beads in this Challenge kit.  The kit I received was a mixture of amethyst, matte and shiny black, and silvery pearl beads.  I dug right in, totally forgetting to take a picture of the beads first!  This will give you the gist of things when I realized the 'before' picture is very important:

My first bracelet 'flew' together with this lovely feather clasp Lisa sent along in the kit.  I pulled out some silver wire and a pair of sterling silver cones from my stash and wah lah:

Next..obviously on a 'bracelet theme'...  I wanted to make a comfy, easy-to-wear stretch bracelet trio that combined several of the bead types.  They needed to keep a strong association to each other for a set.  The silver bead caps with the fluted design worked very well in the amethyst and basic black bracelets.  Years ago, I purchased these star-burst flat disc beads and thought they would be perfect for a Challenge theme that featured nighttime and stars?  These discs are super-sparkly in real life, almost too bright for the camera lens.  A few of those beautiful pearl beads softened the over-all look.  These could be worn in any combination..wear one, two, or all three.  Plus, that basic black bracelet would go with any outfit!..my 'go-to' wardrobe-maker.  Oh, and I love love those matte black barrels:

I was determined to use all the beads in this kit.
These pieces came next:

Lisa included 2 unusual, flat, softly matte glass rectangles in the kit.  What to make?..earrings?..no, wasn't in an 'earring mood' (I get like this..been wearing the same pair of 'basic' earrings to work now for a few weeks now..boring Carol).  A pendant?..maybe..but it needed 'sparkle' to go with those sparkling amethyst rondelle beads.  Out came the Swarovski flat-backed hot-fix crystals in a purple mix.  Using only gentle heat from a common heat gun adhered these hot-fix crystals perfectly..the glass was a perfect conductor.  I was amazed!  Sterling silver jump rings and a slightly oxidized sterling flower toggle clasp (also from my stash) made this necklace.  And, I still had beads remaining to use!  My last piece was a toggle bracelet that used the last funky, chunky matte black barrels (did I mention how much I love those??) and the last few sparkly amethyst rondelle beads with this sterling toggle clasp.  The very last barrel bead became a perfectly fun dangle with a sterling head pin wrapped-up around it.

I think there are about 3 & 1/2 beads remaining from this great kit (which may become my new pair of work earrings?  :)

Please head over to Pine Ridge Studios during October and November to see what everyone created from their own unique Autumn Nights kit.  I can't wait to see them all.  Mine will be posted there shortly, too!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Klik Component Reveal at Resin Crafts

Hi everyone,
I've been On-Call for work this week, and it's been pretty busy...  
Beading has been on my mind, tho!  I squeezed a few hours of creative time in today...

Today, I finished the piece I've been working on for the Pine Ridge Studios Clay & Metal Blog Hop. This is one of those pieces that started 'one way', then I pulled it all apart and went a 'different way', then a '3rd way'...before finally deciding on a 4th totally different design in the long-run.  I was thrilled with the final result today..until I stumbled upon a design element featured at Fusionbeads while checking-out their new line-up of Swarovski beads.  I'm going to challenge myself a little further by trying my hand at this little element tomorrow and then add it my piece.  

So there we go...push just a little further to meet the challenge..that's my motto!

In the meantime, Carmi at Resin Crafts has been revealing the 50 Klik Collaborative submissions over the last 2 weeks.  WOW..you must take a peek at Resin Crafts.  The Artists have created an outstanding array of Klik art.  Now that mine has been revealed, I'd like to share it with you!

Ingredients include: A small Klik bezel, a teeny-tiny wire-crocheted pumpkin by Saffron Johns of otherworlds (Etsy), EasyCast Epoxy Resin, mica powders in antiqued sterling, mossy green and copper fleck, three sparkly Swarovski Crystal flatbacks and a jelly headpin.  

See you soon!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Look at all the Goodies!

Happy September everyone,

I've got 3 sets of pictures to show you today!

The first is the stash I received from Lisa Lodge at Pine Ridge Studios for the upcoming Agate Challenge.   Now, we did receive 3 styles of Agate beads in this stash..but I was so excited, I forgot to take pictures before I started 'making'!   So, missing from this picture are the beautiful plump round Agate beads I used right away!  Don't worry, you will see them again very soon when the Challenge is 'revealed'...

My plan for the Agates..make 3 pieces, each with a different shape of bead and different type of metal.  I have two pieces completed, and the third is still on my bead mat awaiting a few finishing touches.  I may have enough left-over for a pair of earrings!

Next is a picture of the awesome stash received for the Sparkle Challenge.
Oh boy!..Super Sparkles!

And.. last but definitely not least, here are the components for the Clay & Metal Hop...I already have a plan formulating for these.  Sharyl's pieces are so pretty in pink, with a dash of glimmer and icing, and the crystals Lisa added are perfect.

Having a beading blast,

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Indian Rug Set

Welcome back!
Today, I completed my Indian Rug-inspired set with a pair of dangle earrings.  My set was inspired by the Anne Repath painting posted at artbeadscene during August 2014.  I took a series of pictures along the way to show you how I made these.

First, this natural grey Silk thread was the perfect stringing material.  Waxed linen was too thick and wires were too stiff for the look I wanted to achieve.  The soft grey color was a perfect compliment to the beads and the Redpath artwork, too.  For the set of earrings, I used about 12-14 inches of Silk total (about 6-7 inches per earring).

Here are the rest of the 'ingredients':
Two 4mm round Swarovski Crystals in Montana Blue
Four 3-4mm gemstone chips - Citrine
2 gold ear wires
2 gold jump rings (you could use any size jump ring; mine are 'open' rings)
2 Wild Rose Polymer Clay Beads from TreeWingsStudio
6 Vintage Silvery Grey Ruffled Rondelles from beadbrats - 3 per earring

A pair of sharp scissors to cut the Silk thread
A large-hole 'easy thread' needle
Chain-nose or Flat-nose pliers to open/close the jump rings
Optional - HypoCement

For the fist earring:
Cut about 6-7 inches of Silk from the card.  Slip the Silk through one crystal to form a simple loop:

In the photo below, you can see my large-hole needle.  This is a fantastic tool!  It makes slipping thread though a small beading hole so much easier (and makes work for those who need 'vision-correction' a breeze...bifocals...me!).  Make a simple over-hand knot above the crystal.  Leave a nice little loop above the over-hand knot:

Thread a rondelle bead.  Snug-up the beads and then make another over-hand knot below the rondelle.

Thread a Wild Rose bead.  Turn the piece to the 'wrong side' and snug-up those beads, again!   Tie another over-hand knot and snug-up this knot as close as possible to the base of the Wild Rose bead.  I just used the tips of my fingers to gently 'coax' the knot into the proper position:

Separate the Silk threads.  Thread one rondelle and then one Citrine onto each thread end
(so sorry for the blurry photo!):

Tie a knot under each Citrine at whatever length you desire.  I chose to tie my knots on each thread at varied lengths in order to achieve a 'fluttering' effect.  Using sharp scissors to prevent the Silk from fraying, trim the ends of the Silk to about 1/8-1/4 inch below the Citrine.  You could apply a tiny drop of HypoCement to these ending knots, if desired.

Open a jump ring.  Always use pliers to twist a jump ring open.  With a pair of pliers held in each hand, gently grasp each side of the jump ring where it is cut.  Gently twist one side of the jump ring away from you. This motion opens the jump ring slightly while maintaining its nice, round shape.  Slide the opened jump ring through the little thread loop above a crystal.   Making sure the Wild Rose bead is oriented to 'face-front', slip the jump ring through an ear wire loop.  Carefully close the jump ring in the same way it was opened.   Check to be sure the jump ring ends are now tightly 'flush' together and without any gaps showing.

Construct a second earring in the same way...and wa lah!

Here are my completed earrings:

Here is my finished set:

I think they look fabulous together!
Hope you like them, and my first attempt at a mini-turorial!
See you soon,

Friday, August 22, 2014

Coming next....

...a pair of earrings to match The Indian Rug bracelet!

I have 2 more of these gorgeous, deep red Wild Roses from TreeWingsStudio and a few more fabulous Vintage silvery-grey ruffled glass beads from beadbrats....

..and a little idea in mind...

Suddenly, I am SUPER-inspired!

Check-back later this weekend  :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Indian Rug

Hi everyone,  Wow, can you believe it's August 20th?

I wanted to share my August artbeadscene Challenge submission with you today:

The featured Artist this month is Anne Redpath and our inspiration artwork is the Indian Rug from 1942.  It's a very complex piece in my minds-eye...lots of intricate details, vibrant colors, and many points of reference to pull your interest.  Here is the piece, along with Brandi Hussey's excellent inspiration palette across the bottom:

I'll have to admit it..I was stumped.  Too much going on?  The flatness of the piece?
My 'muse' took some time away from my brain at some point.

Finally, I decided to focus on the colors and started pulling lots of beads out of my stash.

There were zero 'red slipper' components in my collection (I can't hardly believe that). However, I did have beautiful flower beads from Rebekah Payne of TreeWingsStudio (Etsy shop link; treewingsstudio is the link to her blog site).  Last year, Rebekah offered Wild Rose Polymer Clay art beads in her shop.  I had to get a few in every color...red, teal, white. Later, she held a de-stash event where she offered unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. That's where I snapped-up this lovely blue rose!  Upon reconsidering, I realized the Wild Rose beads were perfect focal elements to compliment Redpath's artwork.

Next, the rug in the artwork totally attracted my attention. Anything bright silver or cool pale grey is a favorite. In my stash were very special Vintage Glass beads from Marie at beadbrats (Etsy).  These softly ruffled, silvery beads provided an amazing background element for my bracelet.  That was an easy decision!

Next, I wanted to incorporate some of the golden and darker blue notes. The Swarovski Elements Crystal Pearls gave just the right amount of color with a soft subtle glow.  More important to me was that they didn't detract from Rebekah's and Marie's beads.

I also didn't want a clasp to pull your gaze away from those carefully-chosen elements, so decided to construct the bracelet with an old favorite = stretch elastic!  It does seem like Memory Wire and elastic are both making a come-back these days.

And, wa lah.. that was it!  What do you think?

With a simple goal in mind - COLOR - the piece came together.

Thanks to ABS for another great Challenge!  And thank you Rebekah and Marie!  :)

Happy beading days,

Saturday, August 9, 2014

ABS August 2014 Challenge

Don't forget about this, too!

artbeadscene August Challenge - The Indian Rug by Anne Redpath (1895-1965).  This clip of the artwork displays a color palette created by Brandi Hussey.  This palette is just as inspirational as the artwork!

The description at ABS:
The vivid colors and flat patterning of this painting owe much to Matisse, while the 'tipped-up' perspective reflects Redpath's admiration for early Italian painting.  Redpath was fascinated by colour and texture.  In this painting, the pattern of the rug meshes with the shapes of the slippers and chair to such a degree that it is difficult to separate flat from three-dimensional form....

Anne Redpath was born in Galashiels and studied at Edinburgh College of Art.  In 1920 she married and moved to France, devoting much of the next fourteen years to her family and doing little painting.  In the mid 1930's, she returned to Scotland, settling in Hawick in the Borders.  Redpath admired the French Post-Impressionist artists, such as Van Gogh and Gauguin, and also Matisse...

Another fascinating life and career!  Thank you, ABS.
I am looking forward to creating!

Clay & Metal, Agates, Sparkles and Autumn Nights!

Guess what?:
I've signed-up for this super Hop, offered by Lisa Lodge at Pine Ridge Treasures on Facebook!
The Clay and Metal Hop features components made by Sharyl McMillian-Nelson of Metapolies (Etsy) and SharylsJewelry (Artfire).  Our Hop Kits will contain fabulous pieces created by Sharyl in either clay or metal (hence the Hop's title!).  There may also be coordinating beads from Lisa's stash involved in this kit!  As with all of Lisa's Hops, 'surprise awaits' for those who accept her challenge..we won't know exactly which colors or beads might arrive at our doorsteps!  What great fun!!  Keeps things spontaneous and exciting!  My creative jewelry pieces for C&M (for short) are due to post here at my Blog on November 15, 2014.

Lisa is also hosting an Agate Challenge. I was able to keep my 'Hop going' and dashed in on this, too!  These kits feature Agate gemstones, perhaps even Fire Agate, which is perfect for Autumn!  Not sure which kit is coming to me just yet..however this Challenge will reveal itself on October 18, 2104 over at Pine Ridge Treasures.  I will likely post pics here as well.

Speaking of Autumn, October and November...our busy girl Lisa also just opened a Challenge titled "Autumn Night Sky".  Who could resist?  This kit features bead themes in purple, lilac, grey, black, silver, clear, wine, dark blue, and perhaps more colors.  There may be some crystals, pearls, cultured seaglass and metals in the mix, too.  Lisa will post our creations at Pine Ridge Treasures all during the months of October and November.  So, please do check-in at Lisa's Facebook page often to see what's new!  I'm sure a few pics will make it onto my Blog also!

Lastly, I was lucky enough to absolutely squeak-in on Lisa's Sparkle Challenge for December 6, 2014.  This kit contains Tiaria crystal in either round, bicone or rondelle shapes.  Colors?..you guessed it...a total secret until my kit arrives!  Pics of Creations to follow at Pine Ridge and here.

So, I kind-of fibbed (five Hops, not just one)... and have stuck my creative neck waayyy out there:

Things are going to get pretty-beady-busy around here!!  Loving it!
See you real soon,