BSBP9, Hoarders Edition Reveal

Welcome to the Lori Anderson’s ( 9th Bead Soup Blog Party. Everyone I know who loves beads hoards them and we were supposed to send our partner beads that had some meaning to us. My partner,  Jenny Kyrlach (, sent me the first art bead she ever bought in 2015 made by Andrea Pirkey along with some paper beads she made and some gemstones.

I ended up not using the amethyst and rose quartz for these pieces, but instead was inspired by her color choices of teal, pink, and purple. I wanted to use the paper beads she made and with the handmade lampwork focal, I added Czech glass in the colors that would compliment (I hope!) the various shaded of aqua and teal in the paper.

I had some vintage earring posts that I thought would look cool. Here are the earrings:


For the bracelet, I decided to do a wrap around; this fits around my wrist three times, or I can wear it as a necklace or even a short lariat. I had hoarded some Lucite flowers hand-painted by Sherri Stokey ( that were just waiting for the right project, so I hope she approves since it is her birthday today (Friday.)

The final pictures show what I came up with for Jenny’s special bead. The necklace is about 36 inches long. With a necklace that long using all glass beads can get heavy; the paper beads and silk sari ribbons help keep the weight down, which is great. I hope she is pleased. I really love it and am thankful she sent it to me.

Thank you for stopping by. Please visit the other BSBP participants. There are many talented people participating, so grab a cup of coffee or tea and settle in. You can go to Lori’s site and click on the names.

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BSBP Hoarders Edition, Teaser

Lori Anderson ( is having another Bead Soup Blog Party (the 9th!) and you are all invited to come see the party decorations on Saturday, March 25 2017. This time we are sending hoarded beads and treasures to our partner. Lori emplored us to package up what we were going to give before we knew who our partners were, so that is what I did. I think this was a great idea as then you focus on the beads, and not on trying to drive yourself crazy cyberstalking your partner. My partner this time is Jenny Kyrlach.

Here is her Etsy:

Here is her blog, Wonder and Whimsy:

As you can see, Jenny knows quite a bit about blog hops and design challenges. I think these are a great way to meet people, incourage our creativity, and get disciplined about meeting deadlines. It was fun to look at her designs and I realized we have participated in a few of the same hops and are in several online groups together.

Jenny sent me the first art bead she ever bought. (I still have mine too.) She also sent me some lovely paper beads her mother taught her how to make along with amethyst and rose quartz.

Lori was clear we should not post a picture of what we sent until our partner did. I forgot to take a picture of what I sent so here is one I borrowed from Jenny, but since she hasn’t posted yet, you can’t see it. ;P

What I Sent

Please come back on March 25th to see what we made.

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Caribbean Color Palette Challenge

Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame threw this challenge out to us on the Love My Art Jewelry blog. The color palette is lovely and see that not so little sand dollar? I made that. 🙂

But, do you ever have a piece of jewelry that does not want to be what you want it to be? Well, this bracelet was reworked twice until I just wanted to admit defeat. What is wrong with it you ask? Looks great…except on a wrist, which kind of defeats the purpose.

I almost just turned it into a necklace, but I really didn’t want to and then I remembered my dream catcher; it was made by Lindsey Starr of Phantasm Creations. You might know her from Art Jewelry Elements. 

I kept meaning to decorate it, but it was something I wanted to add to over time with different pieces of trinkets that meant something to me. Then, making sure it meant something meaningful became something that paralyzed me into not adding anything at all. This has happen to me a few times before, especially if I am trying to make a meaningful piece of jewelry, like for a significant event, purpose, or person.

Sometimes, you just have to start somewhere. Sometimes, just the start can get you on the right track eventually. The color palette was meant to inspire us and it was inspiring, just not in the way I expected…

Now I have new ideas. I need to take that big loop off–it was supposed to be the toggle clasp. I want to make several of these now in different color pathways: blues, purples, greens and golds.

Take a look at what Sherri has been making with this color palette:

Then, check out the other creations on her blog today.

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Sportsmanship is Inspirational

For me, sportsmanship is the whole point of the Olypmics; it is supposed to remind us of the best humans can be and achieve. I always want everyone to do their best, no matter their race, gender, sex, culture, or even what nation they are from. I never want anyone to be injured. I never want anyone to be so consumed with winning, they forget their empathy or humanity. I never want people to let the politics of their nations, make them treat each other with disrespect or hatred. The Olympics is supposed to be a safe place for the best of human health, strength, speed, agility, and endurance to shine.

When Melissa Trudinger of Boho Bird Jewellery suggest a we find inspiration in the Olympics to make jewelry, I was a little hesitant. The coverage so far I felt had been sexist. I had seen athletes treat each other badly (judo) based on politics and there were stories reporting anti-Semitism. There were stories of Brazilian workers in Olympic Village being sexually harassed or assaulted. Don’t even get me started on the the lies and frat boy behavior of the U.S. swimmers who are an embarrassment–if not a good reminder that people aren’t “heroes” or role models just because they are winning althletes. Character is what defines a hero.

Which leads me to what I found inspirational during the Olypmics: the Dutch Dressage rider, Adelinde Cornelissen who stopped mid-routine, deciding not to risk her horse Parzival, who was recovering from the illness he had caught from an insect bite. Imagine you work and train hard, every day, for years and then your horse gets bitten by something poisonous. Your team is all counting on you to help medal. The vet says your horse will recover and should be fine. The money that was spent on getting here is an enormous amount. Your family and friends are counting on you. National pride is a huge pressure on your shoulders. But, only you have ridden and cared for this horse for 15 years so only you know what he is capable of, and so…she withdrew from the Olypmics to protect “My buddy, my friend, the horse that has given everything.”

I loved the thought that this women was putting aside her Olympic dreams for the health of her horse–but, is this just media hype that we are falling for? They medaled twice in London in 2012. The horse is 19 years old, was not scoring as well, and she had already scratched them in the European Championships the previous year. They were going to retire this year. Should she have even taken him in the first place? I don’t know.

There were bullets found in the area where the horses were being kept. Let’s face it–this is a sport only available to the incredibly wealthy. I can understand the anger and frustration of people in poverty being appalled that these horses are treated better than they are. In fact, the incredible expense of putting on these games is shamefully wasteful and could arguably be put to much better use. I preferred the Olympics when it was strictly amateur. At one time, I think the idea of sports reminding us of our common humanity through the victory and defeat, was a good one. Now, I’m not so sure. The greed and corruption is oozing out from beneath the curtain.

I can only hope that the Olympics is still a place for us all to be ambassadors for our nations. I can only hope people learn about each other, make friends, and help foster peace in our world. I can only hope the spirit of the Olympic Games is alive to help foster true sportsmanship among mankind.

I know this was not the “jewelry” post you were expecting. Sorry. I swear there is jewelry and I even used a hopeful, bright pink! The pendant was made by Gaea Cannaday. This is a very different look for me, although my favorite vintage Czech and German beads are in there. I even threw in some Greek ceramic as a hat tip. Here are all my hopes:

Thank you for stopping by and supporting me. Please visit Melissa Trudinger’s blog where she will be a ray of sunshine.

Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio is also disgustingly cheerful.

Linda Anderson of Cherry On Top Design has also tooted the fan horn.

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David Bowie Blog Hop Reveal

“I’m Pierrot. I’m Everyman. What I’m doing is theatre … the white face, the baggy pants – they’re Pierrot, the eternal clown putting over the great sadness …”

Thank you to the Love My Art Jewelry group for hosting this blog hop honoring David Bowie and how he has inspired so many people in the world.

Every Bowie fan has their own personal favorite song, album, movie, painting, lyric, persona–it can be a great debate for any dinner party. My favorite album is Scary Monsters. I remember the first time I really heard it, not just the hits or singles, but the whole thing. Sandwiched between the Berlin trilogy and Let’s Dance!, Scary Monsters is that transition from the 70’s to the 80’s that I only really started listening to in the 90’s. The album is sprinkled with lyrics about madness, vanity, politics, drug use, his divorce and custody case, the media, maturity, and power dynamics. I’ll just let him tell you himself as he breaks down each song in this two part collated interview:


RCA released Scary Monsters in September 1980 with the promo line “Often Copied, Never Equalled.” Whoever wrote that was a genius.



A few years ago, Harry Wood of Oscarcrow made these awesome Raku cabochons of faces with dunce caps and I asked him to please recreate his design in blue for me because the costume from Ashes to Ashes is so iconic. I actually bought three because they are so darn cute and each one is different. There are a few in his etsy shop if you would like one.



At this point, Blackstar was going into rotation for me. One of my favorite blogs, Rune Soup, had given an interesting review of the album when it came out. I found this great photograph and realized Bowie understood the power of what he had created. (Of course, he did.)



I figured out what to do with my cabochon as I listened to Blackstar.



I asked Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio to make me a star shaped focal to match her beads that I already had. It is actually fabulous, but it was too small (entirely my fault) for the design I had in mind, so it went into the collection of her work that I am hoarding. That left me making a giant polymer clay star.


I also ordered some discs from Nikki Thornburg of Thornburg Bead Studio so I could make a clasp and some earrings. I started to pull together the colors and beads I wanted to use. Since space and stars were a reoccurring Bowie theme, I went for an Aurora Borealis color scheme.


This is definitely an arty, statement piece with him “strung out in Heaven’s high.” You may hate it or love it, but it is mine.



Thank you so much for taking the time to look at what I made. Please visit the other participants of this blog hop to see how David Bowie influenced them.

Special thanks to Staci Louise Smith of Staci Louise Originals for the inspiration.

Of course, you should watch the stellar Ashes to Ashes video. It’s actually difficult to find a clip of David Bowie singing anything live from Scary Monsters that is not 10-20 years after the fact. This Tonight Show clip is the only one I could find, right before the album dropped. Sound and video quality are not great, but it is a part of history:


If you missed Amanda Palmer’s tribute, you can find it here:

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Paisley Jewelry Design Challenge Reveal

Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio has created a Facebook group for jewelry designers to use her ceramic components in design challenges. This month is the first challenge and the theme is paisley. There are two color variations of the same kit, which include: a matching pendant and bracelet bar, coordinating beads, and headpins. Here are Michelle’s pictures of the neutral paisley set and our secret component–a lampwork bead by Shannon Vickers (BlueBlazes Lampwork on Etsy). To see the Bright kit, you can follow my link today to see all the finished designs.

At first, I had a difficult time choosing between the Bright and Neutral Paisley kits. I knew I wanted to add orange to the brown, turquoise, and cream color palette. I guess that is why I didn’t choose the Bright paisley set–I wasn’t sure what my contribution would be. When I discussed this color choice with some friends they got the look–you know the one–like they drank sour lemonade. I had a few doubts, but I had a vision and I really didn’t want to let people talk me out of it. The necklace originally had two strands; I really thought it was too much, so I had a little redesign.

To highlight Michelle’s ceramic components, I picked: lampwork by Kristin Louthan (Prairie Girl Glass on Etsy), Laurie Wright (, and Valerie O’Neal; modern and vintage Czech glass; modern and vintage brass; copper wire; vintage seed beads; Thunderpolish crystal; vintage wood beads; and vintage lucite.


You can see all the jewelry designs with both kits in the Facebook group: Firefly Design Studio Designer Challenge Group. Please visit to see all the hard work these artists put into using Michelle’s components. Each artist has four pictures uploaded: one picture of the entire set we were required to make (necklace, bracelet, and earrings), and one individual picture of each piece of jewelry so you can see the details better. You can vote for your favorite by “liking” or commenting on the pictures with an artist’s entire set of three pieces. You can vote for as many as you like.

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Re-Birth of the Sun AJE Winter Challenge Reveal

When the Winter Solstice arrives, we welcome the longer days to come and feel a sense of hope. Spring is around the corner. We made it through the cold, dark days of winter and will soon be able to grow crops, animals will give birth to their young, and the Earth will be green and vibrant again. I began thinking about the symbolism and archetypes involved in this cycle. Classic symbolism can be found in Tarot cards, which have been around since the Middle Ages, so I started thinking about the Sun and Moon in this pendant by Lesley Watt ( and how people interpret them.


Of course, if you think of those celestial bodies, you also think of Stars. Here are some thoughts I had about the traditional interpretations of what these symbols mean and the journey from the seventeenth card, to the eighteenth card, to the nineteenth card.


You can ruminate on that for a bit, or just say, “Girl, why so serious?! It’s a necklace.”

Obviously, when you’re designing jewelry, you are going to be thinking about color, so I started to grab a few things:


This is when I noticed that the beads that matched the closest in person (believe it or not, the Alexandrite crackled and faceted beads on the bottom right) where NOT the beads that matched in the photograph. I had a little panic.


Sometimes, things said in sarcasm or jest…are a brilliant idea!!!!


The clasp is by Lorelei Eurto (; not only did the color work well, but I love bugs! The beetle is a great addition with its meanings of wisdom, protection, persistence, and adaption for survival. The beetle has a long association with the Sun.


Journeys are usually circular, so on the way back around from the Sun to the Star on my necklace, I added a ladybug that sits on the back of my neck. In the Middle Ages, the ladybug was known as the Beetle of Our Lady. Ladybugs, or ladybirds if you prefer, are supposed to be lucky: they symbolize: abudance; happiness; wish-fulfillment; and death/rebirth. Their life cycle is only four weeks, so they are supposed to teach us to be fearless, living life to its fullest, and that everything has its time under the Sun. The lampwork in the necklace is by Lea Avroch (, the lampwork in the earrings was made by Mallory Hoffman (

I also had a just in case piece, mail being what it is. This lampwork cabochon is by Sue Kennedy ( I am learning to work in metal…so this is still a work in process. I melted the bezel, then broke a prong, and tube riveted it a little tight, so I don’t have the movement I want. I will welcome the Sun and work harder this year on my journey to learn metalsmith techniques. New Beginnings!


Thank you so much for looking. I hope you visit all the other artists on their journeys with the Sun:

Guest Designers:
Melissa Trudinger
Lennis Carrier — You Are Here
Linds Newnham
Tammy Adams
Sherri Hartman-Stokey

Kathy Lindemer

AJE Team:
Lindsay Starr
Jennifer Cameron
Sue Kennedy
Niky Sayers
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Lesley Watt
Caroline Dewison

Lesley Our Hostess:

Lesley Watt – THEA jewellery

Art Jewelry Elements Blog


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