Friday, August 15, 2014

August We're All Ears Challenge Reveal

First, I want to say how much I look forward to the We're All Ears challenge every month over at Earrings Everyday.  When Erin started it, I was happy to participate and even when it took me some time to figure out what to make I was excited to finish and get my piece posted.   I still love the challenge and can't wait to participate.  But boy this month was hard on me!  The modern art chosen for inspiration, is just that, very modern and is usually not something I enjoy.   Since I am not a fiber artist, I really struggled to come up with a game plan.

Next, I spent some time focusing on the artist's color choices.  I love the color choices and the way the primary colors blend into each other and combine in just the perfect way.   From my color study I decided that I would pick one of my favorite colors and then see where I could go from there.  

Even though pink is my favorite color, I design more in blue than any other.  It is such a comforting shade to me and I just love the way it looks in jewelry.  Taking a peek around my stash,  I found the perfect blue beads that I had gotten in a bead swap recently.  Of course, no matter what I tried, the beads just didn't look right on earrings.   They are uneven, and every spacer or bead I put next to them made the earrings look so wonky they were visually displeasing.  I was so ready to give up, to just say I would skip this month.   But that made me sad.   I love this challenge,  have enjoyed stretching my design skills every month and so love the results.  So after about a good 10 minute pout,  I looked at those beads a bit differently and came up with this:

Those seed beaded beads are what gave me all the trouble.  But, I loved the way the lines of teeny tiny little blue beads made me think of the lines in the inspiration piece and I just couldn't let them go!  From the bottom of each bead,  I have continued the line elements of this month's theme, using crystals in clear and two shades of blue.  Personally I feel that they all work really well together.

So what did I learn from it all???  That I love the monthly challenge and as an artist I have to keep going.  If something doesn't work, put it aside for awhile and then return.   In the end, I really like my earrings and even more, I am enjoying the personal satisfaction I get from completing an event I so looked forward to.

Do you want to see what everyone has made?  Check out the link below:
*Until I can get the link thingy to work (don't you love my technical terms??)  Here is the link to the blog post* 

We're All Ears Reveal

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Choosy Chicks Choose Chicklets Design Challenge Reveal

Welcome to double reveal weekend! If you are looking for the Summer Carnival Blog Hop, it is the post below this one.   

One of the nicest people I have met in the jewelry design world is Rita from Toltec Jewels.  She is so caring and helpful and a genuine sweetheart.   Rita goes out of her way to make her design challenges fun for everyone.   Thanks for that Rita!   When she announced this design challenge I couldn't wait to join in.  The pretty little beads made by SueBeads were just so cute I couldn't wait to participate!

See how cute it is???  This sweet forest green little bead was right up this girl's alley.  When it came time to design my piece, I really focused on the size of the bead.   Since the chicklet is small,  and it was very very important to me that the bead not get lost in my work, I decided that I would make a delicate design.

Forest Nymph

My chicklet is the star of the show, and it has lots of glitter and shine to go with it.  The lighting when I took the picture was a little strange.  Thank the Florida summer weather when it is bright sunny  one second and stormy and dark the next.   But,  next to the focal bead are crystal rondelles in a citrine color.  That light yellow crystals work really well with the green.  The spacers have a hint of green in the crystals as well.  Finally,  I used Czech glass beads in ruby and yellow with a Picasso finish.  

I am really very much in love with this delicate piece.

And, as an added bonus, I made a little pair of earrings to go with the necklace.  I just can't keep from making earrings!

Thank you again Rita and Sue!  This was such a fun challenge and I am really looking forward to seeing everyone else's designs.  Please click on the links below to visit the other artists participating.

Guest of Honor & Featured Artist:  Susan Kennedy

Sue Kennedy's blogs:                               SueBeads...A Beady Girl's blog
                                                               Art Jewelry Elements
Sue Kennedy's website                            SueBeads
SueBeads Art Beads                                SueBeads


Toltec Jewels                                 


Linda Anderson                             

Jennifer Reno                                 

Shirley Moore                                

Kristen Stevens                              

Marybeth Rich                                (you are here)

Jael Thorp                                      

Melissa Trudinger                           

Andrea Glick                                  

Nan Smith                                      

Blanca Medina                               

Shai Williams                                  

Carolyn Lawson                             

Rana Wilson                                   

Robin Reed                                    

Robin Showstack                           

Sheila Prosterman                           

Karla Morgan                                

Kari Asbury                                   

Kelly Rodgers                                

Jayne Capps                                  

Mischelle Andrade Fanucchi          

Heather Richter                             

Chris Eisenberg                             

Kathleen Breeding                         

Linda Landig                                 

Crystal Thain                                 

Cheri Reed                                    

Heather d-Entremont                     

Dini Bruinsma                                

Lori Schneider                               

Tammy Adams                              

Melinda Orr                                  

Lennis Carrier                               

Cynthia Machata                           

Elizabeth Hodges                          

Debbie Rasmussen                        

Tanya McGuire                             

Charlie Jacka                                

Ev Shelby                                     

Sharyl McMillian-Nelson              

Jasvanti Patel                              

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Summer Carnival Blog Hop Reveal

Hello again and welcome to the reveal for Lisa Lodge's Summer Carnival Blog Hop!  Lisa is a wonderful jewelry artist over at A Grateful Artist.  She hosts lots of Blog Hops throughout the year and I am always very excited to participate. So, several months ago when she announced the Summer Carnival I had to jump right in!

In this hop, Lisa told us that we would receive a kit full of wonderful beads that would include crystals and cultured sea glass and as she always does, her kit was overflowing with goodies; take a peek!

This is just a sample of some of the pretties I received.   There were cultured sea glass beads in both a royal blue and more aqua blue color.  There are flat and oval sea glass pieces as well.   Also, in the kit were several types of crystals.  Rondelles in both clear and a most fantastic aqua color.  Rounding out the collection are larger clear oval crystals and some great metal spacer beads.

Now, you would think with all these wonderful beads I could just jump right in and design, right?  Well yes, tons of ideas presented themselves when I sat at my workspace and focused on these beads.  However, I really struggled on the Carnival theme.  All the cultured sea glass and beautiful aqua beads just fed into my love of the sea and I kept tracking that way in my designs.   So,  I decided to step away from my beads and start focusing on the theme.   What does a carnival mean?  Rides?  Cotton candy?  All the tinny music?  Those games you never win?  

Finally, I started to focus on Lisa's inspiration photo for the hop.  The Ferris Wheel, specifically.  I am afraid of heights and have only been on kiddie Ferris Wheels, and even then I got those butterflies in my tummy.  But there is one Ferris Wheel I really would ride on if I got the chance.  Some day, no matter what, I will get to England...and when I do,  I want to ride the London Eye.  Can you imagine the views?  That is if I keep my eyes open of course!  So,  I kindly asked a friend for an inspiration photo and my design just came to life!

photo credit  D.F.

While I know that isn't specifically a carnival,  I do think the blue and clear crystals really worked well with the sky and the sea glass is a nice stand in for the Thames.  Here is how my inspiration photo looks as a necklace.

Circle of Dreams

I really wanted to carry the circle of the Ferris Wheel into this necklace.  It was important to me that it be distinct and also allow for me to add the sea glass components.  The necklace is designed so that the round wheel portion is worn where a broach would be worn.  

From the kit, I used the blue and clear crystals to make the wheel design.  From my own stash, I added these great wire beads. They remind me of the little cars you sit in when going around in a Ferris Wheel.  The rest of the lower part of the necklace is made using the same blue and clear crystal rondelles, some metal spacers from my stash that I feel give the piece a very vintage feel.   Finally,  I added three of the aqua colored sea glass pieces.  Little nods to the river flowing by past the London Eye.   The chain, also from my personal stash, completes the circle theme.  There is no clasp, because at 30 inches long, this necklace is easy to put on over your head.

If you know me, you know I can't design a necklace and not include earrings!  So, here are a beautiful pair that focus on the beads used in the wheel portion of my necklace.

This time, I used the aqua crystals, the silver spacer beads that Lisa provided and added some small Swarovski crystal bicones and those great metal beads.  There is actually a glass bead inside the wire and they add extra sparkle.

Wow what a hop!  It arrived with a bag full of great goodies that I am still in love with and can't wait to design more pieces with the leftovers!  I really enjoyed focusing on conceptual aspects of art and taking those concepts and ideas and bringing them into a beautiful statement piece.   Making pieces like this for challenges like Lisa's is what makes me feel like a real artist.  It makes my creative spirit sore!

Thank you again to Lisa for hosting us and since this is a blog hop, there are lots of wonderful other artists to visit and see what they created.  Please spend some time visiting them from the links below.  Thank you for stopping by!!!

Your hostess:  Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist
Kim Dworak, Cianci Blue
Marybeth Rich, A Few Words from within the Pines (you are here)
Karin Grosset Grange, Ginkgo et Coquelicot
Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera
Ann Schroeder, Bead Love
Kathleen Breeding, 99 Bottles of Beads on the Wall
Jo-Ann Woolverton, It's a Beadiful Creation
Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Heather Richter, Desert Jewelry Designs
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn's Creations
Candida Elkins Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks
Catherine Yvonne King, Catherine's Musings
Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes
Shaiha Williams, Shaiha's Ramblings
Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware
Eleanor Burian Moore, The Charmed Life
 Marianne Baxter, Simply Seablime Jewelry
Carole Carlson, Bead Sophisticate
Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz
Christie Searle Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry
Dolores Raml, CraftyD's Creations
Marianne Hurley, Reads and Beads
Kathleen Breeding, 99 Bottles of Beads on the Wall
Marci Allen Koziolek, Krafty Max Originals 
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