Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lampwork and Clay Blog Hop

Time for another blog hop. I love participating in these because a) it keeps me busy, b) it keeps me challenged and c) it's just plain fun! This one is hosted by Lisa Lodge of Pine Ridge Treasures. We signed up some time ago and had our choice of either lampwork or clay beads to play with. I chose lampwork and was sent beautiful little beads by Lisa Anderson, in purple no less, which is always a delight to play with. I've been so busy getting ready for craft shows and jewelry parties ( I'm in Texas with my sister right now for an annual one) that I forgot about this until last week and went into panic mode.

**Deep breath** Then I came across a tutorial that I'd purchased off the Bead Style site some time ago that used coiling, and since I like to tackle new things with a blog hop, decided to give it a whirl ( pardon the pun). The tutorial, Razzle-dazzle Bracelet, is by Carolyn Conley, and while she used her own large lampwork beads in hers, I just decided to scale it down some and see how it worked.  I've done a little bit of coiling before but hers called for long pieces and while I love my Coiling Gizmo, it really only works well for coils up to about 7 inches. So, grabbing a thin knitting needle, I transferred the coil onto it and completed it there. It's not nearly as tight and looks slightly wonky, but at least it worked! I then fed it onto 18 gauge copper wire and recoiled it before adding a wrapped loop on each end and adding Swarovski lovelies for sparkle and shine.
Here's a look at the final product:

I need to oxidize it so the copper isn't so shiny but since my plane leaves in a couple of hours that will have to wait. Isn't it pretty? Love how the copper makes the purple lampwork the star of the show. I have two more beads left and am figuring out how to use the left over coils for earrings. If you're an Instagram person, I'd love for you to follow me on there. My user name is CharisDesigns. I've also joined the interesting world of Twitter, and am trying to figure out the ins and outs of that. I don't tweet very often, but enjoy following people and seeing things they're posting. Over there you can find me @CharisDJewelry.

Here's the list for the other blog hop peeps. Thanks again, Lisa, for hosting another hop. I'm off to play with my sister- that will fill my day with dashes, splashes and buckets of grace and joy!

Your hostess:  Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist
Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
Melissa Trudinger, Bead Recipes
Kathy Zeigler Lindemer, Bay Moon Design
Laurie Vyselaar, Lefthand Jewelry
Annette Rivers, MamaOwl's Mess
Shaiha Williams,   Shaiha's Ramblings
Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreationz
Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
Lori Jean Poppe, Lorillijean Creative Corner
Eleanor Burian Moore, The Charmed Life
Leah Mifflin Tees, My Beady Little Eyes
Terri Wlaschin, Dances in Fog
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson, Sharyl's Jewelry
Jo-Ann Woolverton, It's a Beadiful Creation
Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera
Linda Aspenson Bergstrom, TBD
Toltec  Jewels, Jewel School Friends
Judy Turner, Silver Rains
Gloria Allen, Gloria Allen Designs
Kathleen Douglas, Washoe Kat's
Connie Tipton, TBD
Christie Searle Murrow, Charis Designs Jewelry   (you are here)
Andrea Glick-Zenith, ZenithJade Creations
Michele Dotson, Star Jewels
Chris Eisenberg, Wanderware
Jennifer Clifford, TBD
Kathleen Breeding, 99 Bottles of Beads on the Wall
Molly Alexander, Beautifully Broken Me
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyns Creations
Shirley Moore, Beads and Bread
Bonnie Coursolle, Jasper's Gems
Alice Craddick, Alice's Beads and Baubles (reveal will be delayed a few days)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Jewelry for a Good Cause: Ears to You and 7000 Bracelets of Hope

It's easy to get caught up in our day to day stuff and focus on the necessary and the busy things of life. However, every once in a while it's nice to take some time to be creative on someone else's behalf. I've had two such opportunities in the past couple of weeks and it's nice to be part of something bigger than yourself.

The first took place in October. Three of my wonderful jewelry students joined me for a couple of hours and we made 50 pairs of earrings for a wonderful organization called Ears to You. This great cause supplies earrings to women who are fighting cancer. The founder, Ruth Crane, is a cancer survivor herself, and wanted to give back to women by brightening up their day with pretties for their ears. There are many ways to support  Ears To You, and you can send in new earrings as well as money. Take a peek at the results:

The next opportunity I had was through the Znet Design Team. If you take a glance to the right of the blog, under Design Team members you'll see my name. How exciting is THAT??  This was my first time participating in a lightning round challenge for 7000 Bracelets for Hope.  The number 7000 represents the amount of rare genetic diseases that affect 1 in 10 people. The bracelets are distributed to the families that are fighting these rare, genetic disesases.

 If we chose to participate we got to pick 2 items from the Znet Shows website from the Tiara Chinese crystals, cultured sea glass or glass pearls. I picked the light Sapphire AB crystal rondelles and Light Sapphire 10 mm cultured sea glass rounds which you can see pictured below.. I thought I'd receive one strand of each since we were asked to make one bracelet and mail it in. To my delight, Znet sent me three strands of each. Aren't they pretty?
And here's what I came up with...
7000 Bracelets for Hope
 In her email, Hope, who oversees the Znet social media, encouraged us to use designs that were a one fit all, so I did two on memory wire and two as stretchy bracelets. My mom had sent me the big chunky beads and they were perfect for the last bracelet. I used other beads from my stash and had a ball making these. Hope had also encouraged us to write a note with the bracelets and I was a little apprehensive. After all, what do you write to someone you've never met dealing with something you've no clue about? But after taking a deep breath and saying a prayer or two, I found something unique to say with each bracelet. I hope that it encourages and brings joy to each of the recipients.

One more look:
After these were in the mail, I realized I needed to make one more. My nephew, Josiah, has Spinal Muscular Atrophy and is wheelchair bound. He's an adorable, funny, bright, articulate kid who I've only had the pleasure to meet a couple of times since they live on the opposite side of the country. My brother and sister in law are his caretakers and I cannot begin to imagine the energy, time, and sacrifice it takes on their part- especially with two other children, including a very active toddler. So, when I get back from Texas ( more about that in another post) I'll be using more of these gorgeous beads to make one for my sister in law- or maybe two, for my oldest niece too!

Thanks, Hope and the Znet team for letting me be part of this opportunity. Two great causes- two great ways to get involved in spreading a little splash of joy and a dash of hope....