Saturday, March 31, 2012

BSBP Part Deux

The minute I laid eyes on the goodies that Andra Weber sent me as part of the latest BSBP, I knew immediately what I was going to use these amazing opalite rounds for.
Almost a year ago, I became a Bead Design Corner Academy (BCDA) instructor for Michaels Arts and Craft stores. It's definitely challenged me in my jewelry making as I've been required to learn a LOT of new techniques to teach as part of our curriculum there. Can we say stretched? But it's been a very good thing. One of the new things that I learned was wire crochet. I've done crafts all my life, but knitting and crocheting were never on the agenda- and still aren't. However, much to my delight, wire crochet has become my new favorite- along with chain maille- and using different combinations makes every new piece unique.

For the piece below I used 26 gauge Artistic non-tarnish silver wire. The Artistic wire gives my wire crochet an added luster and richness and while I don't use it for every necklace, these beauties deserved it.

 I did something a little different with this piece, since the challenge is all about doing new things. I used the beads in a graduated strand and then twisted the three strands together. I love the look of  them- they remind me of gorgeous little bubbles!

Here's another one with the earrings. I kept the earrings simple, using the same chain from the back of the necklace, as I didn't want them to compete with main piece.

Wire crochet is so versatile.  I did this for a dear friend's birthday. She brought me some beautiful blue beads from Venice, and I knew I wanted to make something special for her using one of them as a focal. As it turned out, she'd never bought herself any jewelry on the trip so now she has her own memory piece. That delighted me- and her!

This one for was my sister aka best friend. She wanted lots of colors especially pink and purple, and since she's pretty wonderful,  I do my best to give her what she wants. She's able to wear this with all sort of color combinations.

Finally, here's the necklace I entered in our local county fair. It was the first year that they had jewelry as a competitive event. I was excited when this won a blue ribbon!
Bridal Bliss                   

If you've never worked with wire crochet, please get it a try! There are plenty of online resources, but your local Michaels store should have a BCDA instructor who'd love to teach you this technique.

Thank you again, Lori Anderson, for giving us a chance to learn and tackle new things with  5th Bead Soup Blog Party. If you've never participated in this, there's a 6th BSBP coming soon.

Grateful  today for dashes and splashes of grace and joy,


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Serving up some Soup- Bead Soup that is!

The unveiling has arrived. I must confess that I have mixed feelings about the finished product. The BSBP is all about going out of your comfort zone and trying new things, and to that end, this was a definite success. Andra Weber was my partner and she sent me some beautiful choices to work with. We discovered that we had several things in common- we both have 3 daughters and the same faith beliefs. Don't you love when you find a bead soul mate? While we do very different kinds of beading, we both enjoy learning new things, we love beads and most of all, we love Jesus! Can't wait to see what she created with what the soup that was sent her way. Please be sure to stop by her blog, Andra's Joyful Journey.

Andra blessed me with a lovely combination of copper beads, a copper clasp, copper glass rondelles and a beautiful focal bead from 2 Bead Sisters . You can see the full assortment here. She gave me lots of wonderful choices! The guidelines were as follows: you must use the focal and the clasp that your partner sent. Using additional items from your soup or from your stash are up to the individual.

So,without further ado, let me serve you up some soup from the 5th Bead Soup Party. I was able to finish the main piece, but there's another course that is still simmering after experiencing a technical glitch yesterday and a time glitch today. That means you have Bead Soup Part II to look forward to, but here's my soup de jour:)

For this challenge, I decided to depart from the usual stringing, and venture into knotting. In fact, there's not a single crimp in this piece! I loved, loved, loved the copper and wanted to play that up and use the warm, rich colors to balance the cool colors in the focal while weaving black components to tie it all together. I'm still a novice with the knotting, and tried several different weights/types of cording materials before finding what worked with the various sized beads. In retrospect, I probably should have used beeswax to keep the fibers more cohesive, but it's all about learning :). I've developed a crush on chain maille and so again, veered away from the known, and tried a Japanese triangle for the first time as well as creating the mobius chain on the one side of the necklace.

The other side was chain purchased from Michaels, where I have the joy of being a jewelry instructor.  I also used some 26 g copper wire to wrap the cording to the chain and add a decorative element that tied together the three different points of the necklace.

This was the necklace before I oxidized it (again, something new for me) using this technique. Can you see the difference? I love the bright copper, but didn't have enough jumps to make chain for the second side, and the purchased links were darkened already.  Not having a cohesive metal color is too far out of my comfort area.

So, what are the misgivings? I'm not as happy as I'd like to be with the quality of the finishing of the different techniques. Now that I've got a pearl knotter (and am learning how to use it ), I may re-do it after waxing the cords/strings. The big copper beads and copper clasp are so pretty and I'm not sure they were done justice, but for right now, it's done! I can't wait to show you my second offering in a couple of days. I'm using another form of beading that's one of my favorites. I also need to use the matching beads to make a pair of earrings and complete the set.

Ready to taste some more soup? Here's the list of all the participants. A  BIG thank you to our wonderful
Master Soup Chef, Lori!

Hostess, Lori Anderson

Special Book Sneak Peeks, Cindy Wimmer
1.  Adlinah Kamsir (Singapore) and Hajer Waheed (Kingdom of Bahrain)
2. Adrienn Lukacs (Hungary) and Agata Grygiel (Poland)
3.  Agi Kiss (Hungary) and Carolien Muller-Genger (the Netherlands)
4.  Agnes Asztalos (Hungary) and B.R. Kuhlman
7.  Alicia Marinache (Canada) and Dita Basu
15.  Bonnie Coursolle (Canada) and Fay Wolfenden (Canada)
16.  Carmel McGinley (Australia) and Tracy Stillman (Australia)

21.  Cheryl Brown (Canada) and Diana Ptaszynski
22.  Christina Stofmeel (the Netherlands) and Eva Kovacs (Hungary)
24.  Cilla Watkins (Canada) and Elaine Robitaille (Canada)
25.  Sabrina Straub (Switzerland) and Kathy Combs

32.  Dee Elgie (UK) and Joanne Lockwood (UK)
33.  Dian Hierschel (Germany) and Eniko Fabian (Austria)
37.  Doris Stumpf (Germany) and Eszter Czibulyas (Hungary)
39.  Elke Leonhardt-Rath (Germany) and Marjolein Trewavas (UK)

41.  Erika Nooteboom (the Netherlands) and Giorgia Rossini (Italy)
43.  Evelyn Duberry (Canada) and Gaea Cannaday
45.  Ginger Bishop (military, Okinawa) and Martina Nagele (Germany)
48.  Helene Goldberg (Australia) and Karen Vincent
54.  Joanna Matuszczyk (Poland) and Julianna Kis (Hungary)
55.  Joanne Tinley (UK) and Michaela Pabeschitz (Austria)
65.  Kristina Johansson (Sweden) and Penny Neville (Canada)
66.  Krisztina Erlaki-Toth (Hungary) and Nicole Keller (Germany)

76.  Lori Finney (Canada) and Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp (Canada)
78.  Marta Kaczerowska (Poland) and Milla Starchik (Canada)
83.  Michelle Jensen and Sandra Young (Canada)
92.  Rosa Maria Cuevas (Mexico) and Tejae Floyde
93.  Sabine Dittrich (Germany) and Sally Russick
95.  Shanti Johnson and Tracy Mok (Canada)
97.  Sonya Stille and Traci Zeller (Canada)
98.  Stefanie Teufel (Germany) and Tania Hagen (New Zealand)

As always, hoping this soup brings you a dash of grace and a splash of joy!