Wednesday 31 October 2012

Free Beads Anyone...?

Of course there's a catch - but only in so much as you have to make something lovely with them and share it on a blog hop...not too onerous is it?

My very talented bead making friend Kaz Baildon recently had a major overhaul of her studio to make way for some new projects she is planning and in the process she destashed this huge haul of lampwork beads in my direction - how incredibly generous is that?!

I've sat and played with this pile of lovelies for longer than I'm prepared to disclose but now I've decided that I need to pay some of Kaz's generosity forward and share the beads with you so here's the plan...

Everyone who comments on this post will go into a draw and I will randomly select 10 people to receive a bead or beads from this selection. The recipients of the beads will use them to create a piece of jewellery, accessory or ornament and share this at a blog hop on Wednesday 12th December. 

What the winners receive will be a complete surprise and could be anything from a large focal bead...

To a matched pair...

Or a few beads that I think work together...

And it may be none of those show in the pictures so you'll just have to wait and see...

In addition to the 10 free place there will be some extra slots available for people who would like to take part and pay the shipping for their beads - £3.50 overseas and £2.50 for the uk.

Fancy giving it a go? then here's what you need to do...

  • Leave a comment below this post. If you would be happy to pay for shipping please state this in your comment, it won't come into play until after the 10 free places have been selected but if you don't state it you will not be place in the draw for these extra slots.
  • Payment for shipping will be by Paypal only and beads will not be shipped until payment is received.
  • You must have a blog and be prepared to take part in the blog hop on Wednesday 12th December. Please don't enter if you don't feel you can commit to this.
  • If your blog does not have your contact details please leave your e mail address in your comment.
  • Entries will close at midnight GMT on Saturday 3rd November and I will announce the winners on Monday 5th November and contact them by e mail. Beads will be shipped by Wednesday 7th November.
And because I'm feeling really generous, as an extra bonus on the day of the blog hop I will randomly select one  person from all the comments on THIS post to receive a goodie bag of beads.

So get your comments in and I hope to see you there.

Good Luck.


Tuesday 30 October 2012

AJE Component of the Month Reveal

The Art Jewellery Elements components of the month for October are these lovely sets of 'beaded beads' by Kristen Stevens- aren't they pretty? When I saw these in their saturated autumnal colours the first thing I thought of were all those lovely old fashioned 'fruits' of the season that were so prolific where I grew up - rose hips, conkers, and the quince my mum used to add to apple pie...

I had no idea which set I was being sent but when they arrived I was delighted to find I had the red ones which meant I could use that first thought as my inspiration. Next stop the bead stash to see what I had to help conjure up the effect I was after - strong colours, shapes and textures with an earthy, slightly rustic feel. After a good rummage several things came together and I decided a bracelet was the way to go.

And this is what I came up with...

I've used a mix of carved ebony and handmade lampwork beads with ebony and Greek ceramic accents. I decided to use Kristin's beads as charms so that they were set apart from and set off by the other beads - I think the detailed texture adds a lovely contrast. The bracelet is finished with one of my own bronze leaf toggles, a bronze seed pod and some tiny lampwork dangles. Subtle it's not but I love that it's bold and bright and full of cheer.

Beaded beads by Kristen Stevens
Etched red and ochre lampwork beads by Kaz Baildon
Red ruffle discs by Alisha White
Bronze by moi - THEA too

You can see what the other participants made with their bead sets by visiting the links below:

And our special guests
Happy hopping!


Sunday 28 October 2012

Are you an AJE component winner...

Check out today's post to see if it's you...

And if you're not one of the lucky ones but would still like to play along there are some components available in my Etsy shop now discounted by 20% for AJE readers - see the AJE post for details.

Thank you to everyone who took part.


Thursday 25 October 2012

AJE November Component of the month and Giveaway

I'm hosting the November Component of the Month challenge over on Art Jewelry Elements today and most of AJE team will be taking part to create a piece of jewellery with one of these new winter themed bronze snowflake discs designed especially for the event. I will also be giving one of these away to two lucky AJE readers who will join the team in the challenge and blog hop.

There will also be a limited number of snowflake discs available in my Etsy shop from October 28th with a 20% discount for AJE readers so, you could still take part even if you're not lucky enough to win.

To find out more and enter the draw for the giveaway head on over to Art Jewelry Elements now - winners will be selected randomly on Sunday 28th October 2012.

Good luck!


Sunday 21 October 2012

For the Love of Owls...

I love owls and so it seems, does a large portion of the jewellery making community.

Artisan Whimsy is giving us all the chance to show off our owl creations with a little competition called 'Show Us Your Hooters'. Now I'm not normally one for entering competitions but as owls have been figuring quite heavily in my work recently I thought why not. There are two categories - one for handmade components and one for handmade jewellery featuring owls - and I'm entering both!
In the jewellery section I'm entering this necklace which is actually already on it's way to it's new home but I was really pleased with the way it turned out so I think it deserves some exposure and I'm sure it's new owner won't mind.

The ceramic owl is by LeAnn Weih of Summers Studio and he's framed by a beaten copper domed disc that's been treated with Liver of Sulphur and Ranger patina to give the impression of a silvery moon. The necklace is a combination of Aquamarine, Ebony and Czech glass beads with coppered Greek ceramic accents. I love the contrast of the dark wood with the pale blue beads, it has an earthy richness but at the same time seems cool and calming.

My entry for the component section is somewhat fortuitous as I just happened to be playing around with some polymer clay to see if I could make my own molds and textures and decided to try some owls. A couple of them looked ok so I made them up in bronze and am actually rather pleased with how they came out - It's amazing how you can change the expression just by adjusting the eyes. This little fellow is made to order and available from my Etsy shop now.

Winners will be chosen by Artisan Whimsy members voting for their favourites between October 28th and October 30th so if you like my little Hoots I hope you'll pop over and show them some love here. If you're not a member yet you can join here too and of course, if you  have owls of your own you can enter them too - lets get ourselves a real parliament of whimsical owls!


Saturday 20 October 2012

Outwest Bead Giveaway...

Much as I'd rather keep this to myself I feel honour bound to let you know that Julie of Outwest is having a giveaway over at her blog. These are some of my very favourite beads so if you really must join in here's the link:

That's all the encouragement you're getting from me!


Tuesday 16 October 2012

Mismatched Earring Swap Reveal

Welcome to  another fabulous Art Bead Earring Swap hosted by the lovely Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Studio. This time around Diana tasked us with making mismatched earrings for the designers she paired us up with. Each earring has to include at least one art bead and as the name says, should be mismatched but form a cohesive pair. I've neither made nor worn mismatched earrings before, well not intentionally this was a really interesting challenge for me

My partner for the swap is Lori Bowring-Michaud of Artfully Ornamental who not only makes beautiful  jewellery, she also paints and works with stained glass (check out the adorable Christmas decorations on her blog) - a very talented lady indeed!

So when my earrings arrived I was absolutely delighted to find that Lori had put these talents to work on them. I had mentioned to Lori that I loved autumnal colours and she took that on board and created these wonderful vintage earrings for me - aren't they beautiful?

They combine a vintage copper love knot, copper leaf chain, ceramic beads and some vintage German glass pendants that Lori has decorated with a hand painted oak leaf and and acorn.

These are truly one of a kind and I am absolutely love them. Lori lives in Maine and said in her note that I should enjoy the crispness of fall in New England when I wear these and I just love the idea of having a little piece of New England here in old England. Thank you so much Lori, I really appreciate the work that you put into my earrings and thanks too to Diana for organising the swap.

Pop over to Lori's blog now to see the earrings I made for her and then you can see what all the other participants designed by hopping through the blogs below - have fun and I'll see you there.

Charlene Jacka


Sunday 14 October 2012

Brit Pack Beaders are Back - Component Reveal


Welcome to the second Brit pack Beaders challenge which sees five UK designers create jewellery from an inspiration piece provided by one team member and a bead soup created by the team collectively. If you're not familiar with us you can find out more at our dedicated page.

This round Rebecca was in the driving set and it was her turn to provide the inspiration piece...

(c) The Hunterian, University of Glasgow 2012.
True to her Scottish roots Rebecca chose this piece called 'The Red Rose and the White Rose' by the artist Margaret MacDonald MacIntosh - Charles Rennie MacIntosh's wife. She was part of the Glasgow Four of which MacIntosh was a part too. You can find out more about the artist here and this particular image here

I love this painting but it's delicate and ethereal feeling will definitely be a challenge for me.

These are the main colours highlighted by putting the image through a palette generator which as you can see doesn't pick up the pops of red and cobalt that are integral to the image.

Now it was up to each of us to decide on our allotted components and send them of to the rest of the team and once again I am amazed at how cohesive this mix is considering five people put it together with no knowledge of what else would be in it. So here it is then - what do you think...

Bo was very generous and sent two lovely focals - a classic face pendant and a connector with an authentic design from the period in lovely soft tones.

In Claire's accent bead pack there was a pretty selection of beads in different shapes, textures and colours (including those reds and blues) which fit the palette and style of the painting perfectly.

Jo was responsible for embellishments for this round and she sent me these gorgeous silver connector bars and the tiniest most delicate little copper flower charms.

Clasps for this round were down to Rebecca and from her I received this lovely handmade beaded hook clasp, very delicate and very pretty.

Last up it was for me to supply stringing materials for the project which wasn't easy. The painting has very fine lines which very much drew me towards some sort of beading wire, but without knowing what the other components would be I was concerned it may end up useless. So instead I went for silk and linen instead as I was pretty sure everyone would have wire they could add in if they wanted to.

So there you go - all we have to do now is come up with a design befitting the images  so please do come back on the 31st of October when we'll be revealing the completed designs. In the meantime you can see what the rest of the team have to play with by visiting their blogs and Facebook pages at the links blow.

Thursday 11 October 2012

Art Jewelry Elements - First Post...

Good morning lovely people...
Beads by Kaz Baildon

Today sees the publication of my first article on the Art Jewelry elements blog so I do hope you'll come over and check it out. As I'm the first person from the UK to join the team, I've used the opportunity to showcase some of the home grown talent that excited and inspired me (and still does) when I first took up jewellery design .

I'll be posting on AJE at least once every two weeks on Thursdays so do join up to follow if you want to be among the first to read about  what I and my talented colleagues have been up to. There's also an AJE Facebook page you can follow where you can interact and tell us what you've been up to and what you'd like to see on the blog

Have a great day all.


Monday 8 October 2012

Artisan Whimsy UK Team - Let Us Inspire You..

Have you joined Artisan Whimsy - the new website and learning centre for all things handmade jewellery yet? I hope you have because today the first post from the UK Team will be live on the blog and we've set our readers a little challenge that could win them some lovely rewards. 

The UK team is made up of jewellery designers and component makers who encompass a wide range of media and our aim is to share a little of what we do and maybe give a bit of Brit insight into the world of jewellery. In our first post you'll find short biographies of the team's founding members and a bit of information about the places we live.

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to pick one of these regions and create a piece of jewellery or a component using it as your inspiration and then showcase it with a mini blog and page hop at Artisan Whimsy. Each region will have it's own prize draw for it's entrants and one person will be randomly selected to win a prize made by that team member - that's 6 prizes up for grabs. To enter you need to leave a comment on the blog post on the Artisan Whimsy site which you can find here along with the full details.

For anyone who might be considering my region I thought I'd show you bit more of the place I call home to help get the creative juices flowing. I live in a small county called Dorset on the south coast of England...

That's me right there at the bottom - can you see me waving? Dorset is well known for it's stunning scenery. As the birthplace of author Thomas Hardy (Tess of the D'Urbeville's, Far From The Madding Crowd) and the setting for many of his novels, it is often referred to as Hardy country and as you can see it's very beautiful...

Golden Hill Shaftesbury was the setting for a nostalgic TV advert for Hovis bread.

 Some of our fabulous rural landscapes.

The region also boasts a 'World Heritage Site' Jurassic coast which is simply stunning.

Landscape photographs courtesy of Joe D /

Are those not truly inspirational views?

When I began looking for something jewellery related that might help inspire you I remembered that Dorset has a long tradition of button making with a thriving cottage industry in the 18th and 19th Centuries before it inevitably became more mechanised. These old buttons were made from rings of sheep's horn, covered in cloth and embroidered with linen - you can read more about the history here.

Although the buttons weren't originally designed for it, modern day versions are great for making jewellery as you can see from these pieces by Louise Armitage.


If you fancy having a go at making these here's a tutorial and I'd be really interested to see what you do...I've not tried it yet but I think I should.

There you have it - some visual inspiration should you decide to choose my little piece of the planet to base your design on. And if you do, this is what you'll go into the draw to win...a patinated bronze seahorse pendant and a pair of patinated turtle charms similar to these. Seahorses have a protected breeding environment off the Dorset coast and turtles, well I thought they'd be good company for him.

All you need to do now is pop over to the Artisan Whimsy site and enter the challenge on the UK Team blog post; if you haven't yet joined Artisan Whimsy you can do that first here.

So I hope you all find some inspiration somewhere in the UK. You can of course make more than one piece if more than one place inspires you but prizes will be limited to one per person. I'm looking forward to seeing the results


Saturday 6 October 2012

I've Lost My Heart...

 To linen and leather and cotton too...

Particularly where earrings are concerned when some sort of cording seems to be the first thing I reach for - a bit of a turnaround from the old fibre-phobic me.

These two pairs were made in the wee small hours of this morning when I should have been sound asleep!

 Gorgeous organic lampwork beads by Outwest, Czech glass, cotton cord and handmade bronze earwires

 Lampwork beads by Lush Lampork, linen cord, sterling silver accents and handmade earwires.

Then we have a couple pairs I made for Pay It Forward Gifts which have now been received by their winners Sandi Volpe and Linda Younkman.

 Fine silver (PMC) charms by me, lampwork beads by Molten Mayhem, leather cord and handmade sterling silver earwires.

 Ceramic charms by White Clover Kiln, lampwork discs by Nomad Glass wrapped in bronze, Czech seed beads, linen cord and Niobium earwires

 And finally a couple of pairs made last month and I think these were probably where the love affair began.

  Ceramic charms by Suburban Girl, lampwork beads by Suebeads, linen cord, sterling silver accents and handmade earwires.

Handmade bronze rings by me, lampwork beads by Puffafish and Pebble Dreams, cotton cord and Niobium earwires.

I don't know how long this affair will last...things are going well right now but who's to say what's around the corner to tempt a girl to try something different!

So what's caught your eye lately in this beady world of myriad temptations?

Have a great weekend all.