Saturday 31 January 2015

AJE 'Use Your Stash' Challenge Reveal.

Instead of our usual AJE component of the month we decided to change thing up this month and challenge ourselves to break into our art bead stashes and design something around a piece (or two, or three...) by one of our team mates. We also gave away some pieces for guest designers and we are joined by some of our readers who have also raided their collections for AJE beads.

My original plan was to make something for every member of the team but what with the madness that January has been that turned out to be wishful thinking but, I did manage to make five pieces. I'm going through a bit of a 'less is more' phase at the moment and I've kept all my design fairly simple to let the focal pieces shine.

First up is a necklace using a mixed media focal I got from Melissa Meman in a swap at Bead Fest last year. This handmade copper bezel is set with a vintage butterfly illustration set in resin with silver loops and I think it's utterly charming.

A good rummage turned up some lampwork and Czech glass beads the matched perfectly some metal dipped Greek ceramic beads to continue the mixed metal theme. These were all put together with my favourite double link chain from The artisan Bead Company, some silver jumps and a little silver clasp I made. A Thai silver flower charm and some Czech leaves suspended from the bottom of the focal add a final flourish. I'm really happy with this as it's just the sort of thing I would wear.

My second design is a pair of earrings using beads made by Jen Cameron, very simply wire wrapped in sterling silver with chain fringing and hand made ear wires. I patinated these with LOS (liver of sulphur) and left them quite dark to give a cool, steely and elegant appearance but they're a bit of a pain to photograph.

Next up I chose a ceramic feather focal set by Karen Totten. I love Karen's beads and usually all I want to do with them is hang them on a simple leather cord or chain because they convey so much on their own. In this case I wire wrapped the set in copper and suspended it from a necklace strung with toning seed beads interspersed with textured copper beads and finished with a hand forged clasp.

There is an added bonus with this piece as it can be worn standard length with a double strand or long with a single strand and the round bead has a different pattern on each side - four for the price of one!

This next pair of earrings came about from a fortuitous meeting of beads while I was pulling things out to decide what to make. Kristen Steven's beaded beads landed next to Sue Kennedy's lampwork headpins and perfectly accented the reactive glass striations. A bit of wire wrapping and some hand made ear wires and job done.

Last but not least is a longer length necklace using a ceramic vessel bead by Caroline Dewison. I've started designing with this a couple of times but never got it to work properly. I think my current mood for keeping things simple and streamlined helped with this one as this focal really does speak for itself. I wrapped copper wire around the neck of the vessel to create a bail, wrapped a couple of toning lampwork beads and attached these to some ball chain.

Just to add a bit of textural variation I added what I thought were solid copper crimp covers at points along the chain but after tumbling I discovered these were fact copper plated brass. Hey ho - these things happen.

So there you go - I got six of my team mates in and I'm aiming to pay tribute the rest of them in the near future - thanks to each and every one of you for your awesome talent. I hope you'll now join me on our little blog hop to see what everyone else has made using the links below.


AJE team: 

Guests winners
Samantha- Wescott Jewelry
Nikki - Silver Nik nats
Yvette - Blue Kiln Beads

Extra guests

Monday 26 January 2015


Thanks to everyone for yet another wonderful response to my giveaway and to everyone who signed up, followed and left such kind comments.

I'm delighted to announce that the winner of the component set is....

Kathleen Lange Klik

Congratulations Kathleen - I'll be in touch shortly and look forward to seeing what you create with your prize.

And thanks once again to everyone else.


Thursday 22 January 2015

Late But Great...Giveaway

Phew! it's been a manic start to 2015. I had all sorts of new ideas in my head I wanted to start on early in the new year but a last minute  request before Christmas and a looming deadline saw me head down for a couple of weeks concentrating on a possible project for later in the year. That done, I had to tackle the annual tax return - a job I hate and never get properly organised for. But now that's done and dusted and I can concentrate on getting the new year and my creative ideas of the ground properly.

There is however one other thing I need to do first and that's to say a big thank you to everyone who helped my Facebook page fly past the 2000 followers mark by the end of 2014 - being visible on Facebook is getting harder and harder so I'm very grateful for this. Just before Christmas I said I would have a giveaway if I could achieve this milestone and I'm always true to my word so here it it is...a great little collection of ceramic and bronze components that are just perfect for spring designs.

For a chance to win this collection all you need to do is leave a comment below and if you would like to share this post on your own social media you can leave another comment telling me what you've done for another entry. You can also get an extra entry by signing up for my newsletter (see sidebar of this blog) which will make sure you get an early heads up on shop updates, events, and special promotions just for newsletter subscribers.

The giveaway will close at 8pm GMT (UK time) on Sunday 25th January 2015 and I will announce the winner shorty afterwards.

Thanks again and good luck...


Saturday 3 January 2015

AJE Component of the Month - December Reveal

Happy New Year! I hope 2015 has started well for you. I did my celebrating in Edinburgh this year and got home just last night so I'm feeling a little groggy this morning having slept in rather late to catch up on missed sleep. I finally had to drag myself out of bed to put together this post for the reveal for the last of the 2014 AJE COM challenges...these lovely snow flake pendants from Diana Ptsazynski of Suburban Girl Studio.

I chose a white matt glazed pendant and found my main challenge was deciding where to go with colours. I didn't want to use anything that would make it specifically Christmas themed and I don't actually have many white beads. Those that I do have were a very bright white which made the pendant look very grey and do even less for my skin tone! In the end I decided to stay very neutral but went for an off white which seemed to blend the colours of the glaze and the clay - maybe not everyone's cup of tea but I liked it.

I started with some open linked antiqued bronze chain which I jazzed up by adding some pearlised seed beads to alternate links.

Now I quite like the pendant simply strung from this and that's how it sat for a while but then, I did begin to think it was a bit simple for a challenge so I added a couple of frosted Rivoli beads for a little added interest. I still felt a little unfinished so I cut some shorter pieces of chain and made some wire wrapped seed bead dangles to create a tail beneath the focal like falling snow or even a falling star.

I used single links from the chain to keep it in place and sitting flat at the back...

Here's how it looks altogether, rather understated but that tends to be the type of jewellery I wear so I'm happy with it.

Many thanks to Diana for supplying such lovely pieces to work with - you can see what the rest of the team and our guest's made using the links below and we look forward to bringing you more challenges throughout 2015.



AJE Team