Saturday, 22 April 2017

We’re All Ears April Challenge

The challenge this month was based on eggs in all their forms. Easter eggs, natural egg images, egg colours, egg shapes, whatever struck a creative spark

The inspiration photos of Ukrainian pysanki eggs are amazing and each one is a little treasure. There’s just something about them though that never works for me. Maybe it’s because they just feel too busy, too overwhelming with all their intricate patterns and colours

 For me the natural world, with its many amazing egg colours, shapes and textures, is a better fit. I went looking online and came up with 2 beautiful images. This first one I found online a few weeks ago. Unfortunately I forgot to save the link and have not been able to track it down again

Those purple speckles on the cream background are gorgeous. They inspired this pair of earrings


The ceramic drops, though not quite egg shaped, are an excellent interpretation of the egg. They were created by Natalie McKenna of Grubbi Ceramics. I added glass button drops, also called mushroom beads, in a colourway called summer thunder. I picked out the ones I thought went well with the ceramic drops and used waxed linen in a light purple to tie the stack to antiqued bronze jump rings. The jump rings hang from brass ear wires that I antiqued very lightly.

I also found this image of Lewin bird eggs, this time on Pinterest.

These eggs inspired this pair of earrings


The top egg felt like a close match to the ceramic drops, again from Natalie McKenna. As with the first pair of earrings I used more of the glass button drops from the summer thunder colourway. This time I used a bronze wire for the totem and bright brass ear wires for the final touch.

I hope you enjoyed the earrings. They are available in my shop

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Mother’s Day Sale

The most important women in our lives
We love them
They love us
Let’s celebrate Moms

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Available at the Dufferin Museum

My jewellery and jewellery storage pieces are available in the Gift Shop of the Dufferin County Museum & Archives, now until the beginning of September

My journey with the museum began during the Christmas 2016 season when a good selection of my designs were available in the Gift Shop there.  Despite the terrible winter weather during much of the show period it was a success

The museum has a reputation for promoting not just the history of the area but also cultural and life impacting events throughout the year. In support of their events schedule, there is now a rotating schedule of vendors in the gift shop, and my jewellery is included in the first group. I also make jewellery storage and display units and have some in the gift shop too

 Come and seethe variety of handmade products from local artisans available in the Gift Shop. You may find the perfect item

The Dufferin County Museum & Archives 
936029 Airport Road
Mulmur, ON L9V 0L3

Tuesday to Friday 10:00am until 5:00pm
Saturday 10:00am until 4:00pm
Sunday 12:00 noon until 5:00pm
Monday Closed
Archives and Archives reading room are closed on Sunday and Monday

Admission plus HST
Adults   $5.00
Seniors $4.00
Children (5 to 14 yrs.)  $2.00
Children (under 5)   Free
Family $12.00
Our building is fully wheelchair accessible and provides ample parking for our guests

The DCMA continues to welcome group visits. One of the best things about the DCMA is that there is something here for everyone. Other great reasons to come to the DCMA include great hospitality from friendly staff and volunteers, a huge collection of local artifacts, amazing views over the hills of Mulmur, and a unique architectural space.

To get more information about bringing your group to the museum for a tour visit or call 1-877-941-7787 ext. 32

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Feathered Waves – A New Approach

Way back in August of last year I made this necklace for the Art Bead Scene monthly challenge

I was never totally happy with the necklace. The overall concept was good enough but the pieces just did not add up and didn’t do justice to the large feather. What wasn’t working for me?

The shiny smooth silver plated bail that held the blue iris pendulum bail didn’t fit in with the organic look of the necklace
The one strand of seed beads for the neck cord was just wimpy looking
The toggle bail was too large for that little strand of seed beads

This weekend I took the time to redo the necklace. Now it looks like this

I added 2 more strands of seed beads to the necklace, replaced the bail with one made out of seed beads, making it blend in better and added a silver plated chain to give the wearer options in the length. I also replaced the toggle clasp with a simpler lobster clasp. It fits much better with the size of the seed bead strands

Feathered Waves

The necklace is available in my shop here

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Art Bead Scene March Challenge

It’s time for spring, warmer days, flowers, sun, spring showers, birds and new nests, like this one!

The artwork makes me want to create with birds or flowers or leaves or all of them and lots more yellow and green and blue and and and. I got a little over excited there. J

I loved the inspiration photo and thought I would be making something focusing on the yellow flowers and blue of the sky and distant mountains, fully expecting to use one of the many flower beads in my stash. Then I found one little Humblebeads bird, somehow buried beneath other polymer beads, that I had totally forgotten about

Mama Bird Necklace

That little bird inspired me to make a nest of copper wire that I very slightly darkened with liver of sulphur, just enough to take off the high shine and give depth to all the twists and turns. This mama bird made a very messy nest. Inside it are 3 faceted glass “egg” beads. I put mama bird on a copper spacer, perched as if she was sitting on a branch looking over her nest, and used dark green waxed linen to tie the pieces together

Next I added more waxed linen to the bottom of the nest and tied a variety of glass flowers and leaves to the dangles. The flowers and leaves bring out the blues, greens and pale browns in the art

Mama Bird Necklace

The necklace was coming together but I wasn’t quite happy with the composition until I realized a couple of things. I had made too large of a loop at the top of the nest making a gap between the bird and the nest. After trying to fit a wood bead in there, and not liking the look, I decided to just wrap a pale ivory organza ribbon around the loop several times. That took care of the first issue.

Now to deal with the 2nd thing that didn’t feel right. My sweet little bird is a lovely shade of yellow with some fine details carved in. Despite the bright colour she just did not pop out, so I took artistic liberty and added some Gilders Paste, Iris Blue for the wings, tail feathers and around the eyes, and German Silver, in that lovely gold, for the beak and tail feathers. Now it feels better!

Similar to the last few items I created, these pieces will be going to the Dufferin County Museum where they will be for sale in the gift shop from April 3rd until Sept 5th

Please visit the Art Bead Scene blog for the blog reveal to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Pretty Palettes March Challenge

The Pretty Palettes challenge for this month is inspired by this gorgeous photo of tulips taken last year in Molly Schaller’s front yard

March 2017 Pretty Palettes Inspiration

Such bright happy colours make everything feel so good don’t they? The goal of the monthly challenge is to get participants to purchase and try the great beads available in the Halcraft Bead Gallery collection available at Michaels. I have purchased many of their beads and they are good quality but one of my goals this year is to use beads that fit from my large stash before going and buying more. I was able to do so for this challenge

Last fall Denise Yezbak Moore posted this lovely necklace with the instructions to make it.

Endless Summer Fringe Necklace

At that time I had tried to make my own version, using colours very similar to this month’s colour palette but just could not get it to hang correctly. That failed attempt sat on my bench ever since. I would pick it up and look at it trying to figure out why and just put it back down. Well this month’s photo was the perfect kick to try again and this necklace came about

In the Tulip Field Necklace

I used glass rounds, brass wire, chain and clasp, a gold plated flower cap and cotton floss for the tassel. Matching earrings came together next

In the Tulip Field Earrings

I’m so happy with how well they work together

It was so much fun finally conquering that necklace I wanted to extend that feeling. Same as with the necklace I had some cheerful orange and yellow faceted glass beads sitting on my bench for months. They were there for so long I forgot why I had pulled them. I matched them with wood beads, more brass, a large rudraksha seed from India and two polymer clay flowers for this necklace

Spring Flowers Necklace

The rudraksha seed didn’t quite have the appeal I was looking for so I decided to add Gilders Paste in copper. Not quite thrilled with how that turned out I added more Gilders Paste, this time in African Bronze which added a nice olive green touch. It’s very subtle and can barely be seen in the photo but I’m happy with it.

With some of the beads left over and 2 more of the poly clay flowers I made these matching earrings

Spring Flowers Earrings

Even though I don’t think it’s necessary to make matched sets, I like how these both turned out

The same as the last few items I created these pieces will be going to the Dufferin County Museum where they will be for sale in the gift shop from April 3rd until Sept 5th

Please visit the Halcraft blog for the blog reveal to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day

Friday, 24 March 2017

Honey Do List March Design Challenge

The challenge that Eric Wentling planned this month was to be about the Minnesota winter in what he calls the tundra. Then 600F weather came along and melted most everything on him. A trip down to the river in Belle Plaine led him to discover these melting ice crystals tucked into the bank where they were sheltered from the sun and warmth

Photo courtesy of Eric Wentling

There’s only one thing that works for this inspiration photo and that’s quartz crystal, so I made these pendants

Crystal Cave Pendants

I saw these pendants in my mind months and months ago, long before they became reality. The brass and copper bails are a simple design that I made, cutting the metals, texturing them, applying liver of sulphur to add a patina, and adding the holes

Once that was done I added a protective coating of ProtectaClear. I’ve used this product before and it does an excellent job of protecting metals, so long as it’s applied under the right conditions. The metal must be spotlessly clean, with no oils from skin or other sources on the metal. Otherwise the protective coating will lift right off

The next day the ProtectaClear was dry and it was time to form the metal into the bail shape. That’s when I realized I forgot to anneal the metal pieces before sealing them. Uh Oh. Well I decided it was time to just go for it and form the bails. Thankfully I was able to do so with assistance from a pair of bail forming pliers

The neck cords were made with mousetail and waxed cotton with different end crimps and clasps. I varied the lengths for no special reason other than for fun

On this last pendant the photo shows how crooked the bead hole is. This wasn’t obvious when I bought the gemstone but sure stands out now. I am working on a different way to attach this stone to the bail, thinking of doing some sort of wire wrap around the stone to hold it securely and attaching it sideways. I’ll post about how that turns out

Two of these pendants will be going to the Dufferin County Museum where they will be for sale in the gift shop from April 3rd until Sept 5th

Please visit SJ Design  for the blog reveal to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Bohemian Inspired Jewellery

Just over 3 weeks ago Michelle McCarthy from the Art Bead Scene team wrote about exploring Bohemian design, using the book Bohemian Inspired Jewelry by Lorelei Euro and Erin Siegel. Michelle received permission to use a design and interpret it in her own way. 

Buoyed by that success she invited readers to join along and try our hand at interpreting Lorelei’s necklace The Beach House

Lorelei Eurto’s The Beach House Necklace
The design is one I’ve seen previously used, most likely in Lorelei’s designs. I liked the idea of playing along but did not want to just make a copy. Instead I gave it my own spin

My design may not be quite so bohemian but I think it still fits in, with natural elements brought in by the 3 different types of Picasso Jasper, all in a natural grey colour, and the Bamboo Corral spacers dyed a bright red

With a Flash Necklace

Add to that the rustic stoneware flower from Lisa Peters, glazed red in a raku firing which allows the natural black clay to shine through

The flower was the inspiration for the pops of red which also show up in the strand of farfalle, or peanut, beads. The colour theme was maintained in the black and steel peanut beads, the black leather cording and the fasteners, a large antiqued silver plated lobster clasp and an aluminum hoop, originally a ring. I used red wire to wrap the leather cording and silver plated jump rings to tie everything together.

In planning the design I was looking at going monochromatic with just black and metallic steel colours, until I decided a pop of colour was called for. All in all this was a fun challenge with a design that came together well, though it took a longer to execute than I expected

This necklace will be going to the Dufferin County Museum where I will be one of several artisans featured in their gift shop from April 3rd until Sept 5th

Please visit the ABS site and keep an eye for the blog reveal in the next few days to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day

Thursday, 16 March 2017

We’re All Ears March Challenge

Owls: “They represent wisdom and truth with piercing eyes that are all-seeing, even in the darkest of nights. Silent, secret and majestic. As a personal totem they symbolize the capacity to see beyond deceit, a heightened intuition and are harbingers of life transitions and change”

The We’re All Ears inspiration for March is owls, majestic, glorious owls. The above quote came from the Earrings Everyday Inspiration blog post for the March challenge

My muse drew inspiration from these three owls

I can see a bit of each of them in the texture I used, the circles around the eyes in the first, the eyebrows in the middle one and the dots on the body of the third owl

I made this pair first. It just felt like the little fellow needed a nighttime setting, perched on a branch, a dark inky sky behind him with the moon peaking over his shoulder. I used guilders paste to layer colour over the different polymer clay colours, added sterling silver loops that are well secured between 2 layers of polymer and sterling silver ear wires

I didn’t like the round shape that I made originally and tried to turn them into an oval shape without an actual oval cutter. They didn’t quite come out right but kind of have a rustic look

Country Owls
Next I decided to make a simpler pair, using the original round shape for the background and impressing the little owl directly into the circle. Again I used a second layer for the back and sandwiched sterling silver loops between the 2 layers. Three different shades of guilders paste were applied. The outside part of the circle needed something more so I carefully applied a texture, trying to imitate the appearance of bark. It’s only when editing the photos that I noticed both are missing one eye. Ouch!


I decided to keep the earrings for myself as past works and samples of my progress, or perhaps lack thereof, working in polymer clay

Please visit the blog reveal to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day

Monday, 13 March 2017

Honey Do List February Design Challenge

Continuing my late participating in Sarajo Wentling Honey Do List challenge, here’s my February creations

The February inspiration was this artistic photo Eric took last summer in the Japanese Gardens in Portland

Photo courtesy of Eric Wentling

Nothing could top the bright attractive fuchsia coloured flowers in the foreground other than that single leaf sitting on the grass. The combination inspired this very literal translation into pendant form:

Blooming in the Square Pendant

The ceramic cube in that bright and cheerful purple glaze was created by Linda Landig and has stamped blue flowers on a 4 sides. Hanging from the cube is a glass flower topped with a silver plated one and a silver plated spacer.

Dangling from the flower are glass leaves in multiple colours, reflecting the variety of greens found in nature. Everything is attached with gunmetal wires and chain. I decided to bring more of the green colour to the top of the pendant and wrapped green organza ribbon around an otherwise plain bail. A gunmetal chain with silvertone clasp let the pendant swing freely

I decided to make a set and added earrings to match:

Blooming in the Square Earrings

The jewellery set is available in my store

Blooming in the Square Pendant and Earring Set

Please stop by Sarajo’s blog to see what she and everyone else has made

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Muffin Tin Revisited

At the beginning of the year Heather Powers of Humblebeads fame sent out a challenge designed to kick start artisans into the New Year. Remember these?

Muffin Tin Group Photo

I was happy to get my little treasures made in time for the post. What didn’t happen then? Getting all the pieces into my store, available to purchase. I’m happy to say that’s now done, with links on the photos found in the original post. Or, you can go directly to the store from here.

Well, to be truthful almost everything is posted.

In the end I was not happy with my efforts for the lovely porcelain flower in the top right corner of the above photo. I’ve decided I will put that one back into the “to be redesigned” pile. When I finally get it to a point where I’m satisfied with the design I’ll post all about it.

Oh yes, that larger muffin tin I told you about in the January post? It’s still on my bench but there are definitely less items sitting inside waiting.

Thanks for stopping by. Wishing you a great day

Monday, 6 March 2017

Pretty Palettes: February 2017

I was running late with my design pieces for the February 2017 Pretty Palette Challenge. They weren’t finished on time for linking up but that’s okay. The inspiration for February was this pretty beach scene, taken by Molly Schaller a few year ago

Photo Courtesy of Molly Schaller

The idea of the challenge is to use some of the recommended beads, selected to fit the colour palette of the chosen inspiration. The blog is really meant to encourage folks to try out the Bead Gallery beads, available at Michaels Stores

I have made a decision to use beads from my large stash and though I try to use any of the Bead Gallery selections that fit, I don’t always have any, which was the case this month

What I did have were gemstone chips in several colours that fit perfectly with the colour theme – Aquamarine, Quartz dyed several shades of blue, Rhyolite and River Stone. Using these I was able to make several pieces. First up is this necklace:

The little chips which make me think of waves splashing against the sand on the beach, a crisp ocean view in the distance, are strung on beading wire. The little house makes a great beach cabana to which I attached a watery blue silk ribbon to wave in the breeze. More gemstones dangle on waxed linen in a tassel underneath the cabana, hanging from a copper bead cone shaped like a sunhat

With lots of the gemstone chips on hand I made these earrings to match:

On The Beach Earrings

The same gemstones, silk ribbon and copper accents were used in the earrings

Mixing 4 strands of gemstone chips means there are lots leftover. A bracelet with 3 full loops strung on grey steel memory wire came next. There were enough chips to make a smaller bracelet too, with 1 ½ loops

On The Beach Bracelet

While rummaging I also came across some sandblasted agate rounds in 2 sizes. With these I made a shorter necklace that layers nicely with the beach cabana necklace

Sand Stone Necklace Layered with the Beach Cabana Necklace

All of these pieces are available in my online store here. There’s also a direct link on the photos

Please visit the blog reveal to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day