AJE Component of the Month Challenge – May Reveal

It’s the end of another month already which means it’s time for another AJE Challenge reveal and the components we had to work with this month were a pair of these pretty beaded beads from Susan Kennedy of Suebeads. 
I have a little stock of these beads and am very fond of using them for earrings because they are small and light but always pack a punch in terms of colour and textures – so that’s the route I took with his challenge.

This first pair are very simple but Sue’s beads were such a perfect match for a pair of ombre ceramic drops by Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Beads that I really didn’t want to add anything more than a little wire wrapping and some simple wires.

The blues of the elements work so well together and are such a natural pairing with copper.

For my second pair I picked out a pair of Polymer Clay heads pins by Heather Powers of Humblebeads. I fed the wire of the headpins up through the beaded beads and bent them round bail making pliers to make a loop and then fed them back down through the bead wrapping the wire around itself a couple of times. I then wrapped the tails of the wire around the tip of my round nose pliers to create a little coil and then stretched these out to create tendrils

 These are super light, really comfortable to wear and perfect for colours for summer.

Many thanks to Sue for the chance to work with these lovely fun beads. You can see what everyone else designed using the links below.

Next month’s AJE challenge is another themed event and this time it’s all about Fireflies with the chance to win one of Jen Cameron’s lovely beads so check out the this AJE post for all the details but do hurry – the winners will be chose tomorrow, Monday June 1st.

Guests
AJE Team

Belle Armoire Jewellery Debut…

I’m not usually one for getting my work published in magazines – mainly because I’m too disorganised to get myself together for the submission deadlines but,when you get an invite from the beautifully put together Belle Armoire Jewelry, well you have to give it some careful consideration.

So that’s what I was doing around Christmas and today it’s safe to say that I’m just a little bit excited as I make my debut in Belle Armoire with seven pieces featured in a technique based article and a piece in the boutique section. You should have seen me run when the mail dropped this morning!

Metal clay and mixed media necklaces

Bronze clay and art bead earrings and bracelet

Wire macrame and bronze clay earrings

Wire macrame bangle

Fortunately I just about remembered to take some photo’s of the jewellery (apart form one pair of earrings) before I sent it off for consideration…

For this necklace I adapted a wonderful mixed media technique I was taught by by my good friend and AJE colleague Jenny Davies-Reazor at Bead Fest last year…

Mixed media necklace adapted for a technique by Jenny Davies- Reazor

These next pieces show case bronze clay and art beads..

Bronze clay, turquoise and Ebony necklace with ceramic focal by Karen Totten

Bronze clay necklace

Bronze clay bracelet

Bronze clay wire macrame earrings with lampwork beads by Puffafish lampwork

Bronze clay earrings with ceramic flowers by Karen Totten

And finally a spiral wire macrame bangle – unfortunately I’ve had the lovely lampwork beads so long I don’t remember who the maker is…

Lampwork and wire macrame bracelet

I hope you like the pieces…I guess now I might have to get myself a little more organised to make a few more submissions….watch this space!

Have a great weekend all.

Lesley

AJE March Hare Challenge Reveal.


Back at the end of February the AJE team announced that we were changing our usual monthly Component of the Month event up a bit by introducing 4 seasonal themed challenges. For the first of these Jenny chose Hares as her theme representing spring and if you missed her great post about these fascinating creatures you can find it here.

Today is reveal day and it’s certainly been a hare raising month for me (sorry couldn’t resist)! Hares are a popular icon for jewellery design and as soon as Jenny mentioned that she wanted them as her theme I started thinking about how I could develop something original. I don’t often sketch ideas for beads but in this instance it seemed the best way to get the ideas out of my head and after much scribbling I came up with this idea. I’m not good at realistic representations so I wanted to keep the form fairly simple and use the different mediums I work in to add interest.

I made my first pieces up in a rustic stoneware clay using a layering technique. I cut the hare  and moon shapes out of a sheet of clay and then laid them onto another sheet of clay to create the background and then cut out the final shape. I wasn’t sure about these at first as I thought they were a bit dark but they grew on me and in the end I fell in love with the rustic feel.

So I made some more up in a white porcelain stoneware clay and used some more colourful glazes.
While I was making the ceramic pieces I started thinking about how these hares would translate to metal clay…typical of me to be always thinking ahead o myself. The eight and cost of bronze clay meant that I need to do something a bit more economical so I decided to make pendants the shape of the hare and add loops that would allow for embellishment. I a spring flower texture mat for some of these and made them in both copper and bronze, the latter with Cubic zirconium set in for the eyes. I also make some moon connectors to go with the pendants.

Then I went on to make some up in silver which I love. The foot broke off the one in the middle so I have an idea to solder him onto some copper sheet with his own moon…when I get time.

I also played around with combining metal clay with sheet silver and adding a pretty gemstone and fine silver heart drop to the bottom.

While making this piece I also managed to tattoo a hare on my trousers when I sneezed and the hot hare leaped of the solder block! Fortunately I moved fast enough to avoid getting burnt but the studio floor didn’t fare quite so well!
In the last couple of weeks I’ve been revisiting the ceramic hares and making some tweaks to the designs. The first batch where quite large so I wanted to make some more compact versions and these little fellows silhouetted against a full moon were the result. I love the way the bloom on the cream glaze looks like the moons surface.

You’d have thought I’d have had enough of hares by now but no…I had an idea to separate out the the elements and make some sets that would give give people more to play with in their designs. I made some clay hare figures and moon faces up similar to the forms I’d used for the metal pieces and also made some tiny stars. When I showed these as a work in progress on my Facebook page someone suggested a crescent moon might look nice too…and they were right. These were great fun because I could mix the sets up to combine different glazes and give different effects. I think these are definitely my favourite so far.

I was hoping to make some jewellery for this challenge with some of the hare beads I have in my stash but sadly I just haven’t had the time but I will still try and get them done in the future as I think hares are here o stay. I did just manage to finish  this very simple necklace for myself though…

Speaking of which, if you are a member of the Facebook group Ceramic Art Bead Market you will know that we have a regular giveaway and from later today and for the next week this pendant will be up for grabs. You need to be a member of the group to enter but  the group is open to anyone with an interest in ceramic beads so if you haven’t already do come and join us to meet some great artists with some beautiful beads.

So I hope you enjoyed meeting my little bunnies and will visit the rest of the AJE  team and our guests to see how this theme has inspired them.

AJE Component of the Month – February Reveal

It’s the end of another month
(already?) and that means it’s time for another AJE Component of the Month (COM) reveal. This months
components were these beautiful copper clay pieces byMelissa Meman featuring one of her own  textural designs and the I got  the rectangular pair to play with.

 
My original intention was to split the pair and  make to separate items but time and energy have been against me this month so in the end I opted to stick with earrings. I always love the combination of turquoise and copper so I used a pair of lampwork headpins from Maryse Fritzsch Thillens to create some drops for the bottom of the earrings.

 I
then added some tiny turquoise beads to some ear wires for a little
extra lift and that’s it – job done. Very simple but I think the
embellishments set of Melissa’s charms, which are and should
be the star of the show very well. Apologies for the colour on this picture which seems to fade during the uploading process no matter what I do.

Many thanks to Melissa for providing these lovely pieces to work with. To see what the rest of the AJE team and our guest designers have made just use the links below:



AJE Team
Guest Participants:

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.

Lesley

AJE team: 

Guests winners
Lee – Strega Jewellry
Samantha- Wescott Jewelry
Kathy – Bay Moon Designs
Nikki – Silver Nik nats
Yvette – Blue Kiln Beads
Extra guests

GIVEAWAY WINNER….

 

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.

Lesley

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…

Lesley

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.

Lesley

Guests

AJE Team

Happy Holidays and a Little Gift for the New Year…

Well Christmas is almost upon
us now and I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all the very
best for the holiday season.

2014 has been a pretty good year for me and I hope 2015 will continue in
the same vein. I have lots of ideas brewing in my head including the continued
development of my component offering and a complete overhaul of my
jewellery range. I am also hankering to have a go at some new creative projects like larger,
ornamental and functional clay pieces and hand made books.

The only reason I will be able to put these plans into action
is because of the support of you, my friends and customers and as a little thank
you I will be offering a 10% discount in both my Etsy shops throughout
January. Just use coupon code HNY10 when you check out and your discount
will automatically applied.

THEA elements
THEA jewellery

I will also be offering a number of special discounts to my Newsletter subscribers in 2015 so if you’d like to take advantage of these don’t forget to sign up using the link in the sidebar of this blog or via my Facebook page.

In the meantime enjoy your festivities, recharge those creative batteries and I will see you next year.

Warmest wishes,

Lesley

Christmas Ornament Swap 2014

I am very happy to be taking part in this annual event organised by Sally Russick again as I missed it last year having fallen and broken my ankle and not got myself together enough to participate. This year however I’m fighting fit and delighted to have the lovely and talented Erin Prais-Hintz as my swap partner. You know you’re in for a treat when you’re gift arrives packaged like this…pretty enough to grace any tree itself!

And what was inside certainly didn’t disappoint…Erin sent me this adorable botanical bird with a juniper berry pattern in the polymer clay and resting on a beautifully beaded branch of berries – I love it!

She couldn’t have picked a better subject for me since both my Christmas tree and my soft furnishings share a similar feathered theme…

And here’s the ornament nestled happily near the top of the the tree…

Erin also sent me this beautiful ‘Call me Rosebud‘ pendant which I’ll be turning into a piece of jewellery for myself as soon as I get a chance…

Erin thank you so much for your beautiful gifts and your generosity – both very much appreciated.

So what did I send Erin in return…? Well after much debate I decided I wanted to make something in ceramic that was jolly and fun. The result was this happy little snowman with his own decorations and a little birdie friend to keep him company.

The holly decoration was applied with china paint after the glaze firing for an added flourish. To where he is now and Erin’s beautiful Christmas themes pop over to her blog at the link below

If Erin likes her snowman half as much as I love my bird I will be more than happy!

Many thanks To sally for organising this lovely event again…it’s been great fun to participate and now I hope you’ll join me in a little festive blog hop to see what everyone else has made.

AJE Component of the Month – November Reveal

The components for this months challenge come in the form of these lovely beaded hoops from the seriously talented seed beader Kristen Stevens. Once again I forgot to photograph my own beads but they were the same as the purple pair in the centre of this picture.

Since they came in a pair I decided pretty quickly to make earrings but I wanted to try and do something a bit different. They’re very light and quite flexible so I began by looking for something that might give them a little more rigidity and structure. Whilst rummaging I came across my pot of copper washers and found some that the hoops sat quite nicely inside and I started to think about ways to attached the two elements – a little wire wrapping seemed in order.

I decided I wanted integral ear wires so I began by soldering some copper wire to the washers. I then had a bit of a ‘what if’ moment and used some solder paste to give the washers a more grungy, industrial look by dotting it around, melting it and then hammering it for a more battered look… I like this look a lot and I wish I’d thought to take process pictures but I always forget when I’m experimenting. I also punched a hole in the washers opposite the ear wire.

Next I had to attach Kristen’s hoop and this proved a little tricky. Because they didn’t fit snugly to the washer so it was difficult to keep them aligned – I kept wrapping too tightly and pulling the hoops to one side. Eventually I managed to get a more even and relaxed tension which held the hoops centred where I wanted them. Some ‘messy’ wrapping took care of the excess wire and created a contrasting accent.

For a little flourish I found some crystals that matched the colour of the hoops and added them to the bottom of the washers as dangles. Finally I formed the integral ear wires and here we have the finished product…

Because it took me a few attempts to get the wrapping right I did take a
bit of the surface colour of the hoops but in actual fact I really like
the effect and I think it works well with the grungy theme.

Many thanks to Kristen for providing up with such great beads to play with. Please use the links below to see what the rest of the team and out guests made for this challenge.

Lesley 

Cindy Martin Shaw
Shai Williams
Karen Martinez

Linda Landig

Caroline Dewison
Francesca Watson
Jenny Davies-Reazor
Lindsay Starr
Jennifer Cameron

Pre – Christmas Sale – 25% Off….

If you’re looking for some bargains while you’re Christmas shopping I’m running pre-holiday sales in both my shops from 8am GMT Friday 28th November until 12 Midnight 1st December. Use coupon code SANTA25 when you check out and 25% (excluding shipping) will be deducted from your order automatically.

THEA elements
THEA jewellery

Happy shopping!

 

Lesley

Beads Of Courage Art Charm Exchange and Charity Auction…

 

Welcome – this is my second year of taking part in this Art Charm Exchange and Auction organised by the talented and indefatigable Jennifer Cameron in support of ‘Beads of Courage’ a charity providing innovative, arts-in-medicine supportive care programs for children coping with serious illness, their families and the health care providers who care for them.

The Program is a resilience-based
intervention designed to support and strengthen children and families
coping with serious illness. Through the program children tell their
story using colorful beads as meaningful symbols of courage that
commemorate milestones they have achieved along their unique treatment
path. 

The premise of the exchange is that each participant makes 11 charms based on a given theme and sends them to Jen, who then sends each of us a collection of 10 charms including one of our own. The 11th charm goes up for auction for BOC and you can find details of the auction later in this post.

The theme for this year was ‘Soar’ and my immediate thoughts went to the song from the Children’s classic film Mary Poppins since he seems to draw a parallel with these kids daily striving to rise above adversity…

Let’s go fly  kite, up to the highest height,
Let’s go fly a kite and send it soaring…
Up to the atmosphere, up where the air is clear
Oh let’s go fly  kite….

I made from charms from bronze clay and engraved a heart on one side to represent courage, then painted them in the bright fun colours from the BOC logo and added a little brass dangle for the tail.

So those are my charms but what about the ones I was sent…? Well what a
fabulous selection in all sorts of media and here they are…

You can find out more about the inspiration behind these charms and the others in the auction by
visiting the makers blogs below. All participants will have a charm up for auction so If
you’d like the opportunity to get your hands on one… including my
design, while donating to a fantastic cause, you can take part in the
auction here. You can buy each of the charms
individually and the listings will be staggered so keep
checking back for new ones!

Last year we raised just over $1500 dollars for the Beads of Courage project, so dig deep and let’s see if we can’t do better this year.!

Thank you

Lesley

Jennifer Cameron: http://www.glassaddictions.com/blog
Alenka Obid: http://pepita-handmade.blogspot.com
Alicia Marinache: http://www.allprettythings.ca
Andrea Glick: http://zenithjade.blogspot.com
Caroline Dewison: http://blueberribeads.blogspot.co.uk
Cassi Paslick: http://badatbeingmom.blogspot.com/
Cate van Alphen: http://fulgorine.wordpress.com
Cheri Reed: http://creativedesignsbycheri.blogspot.com
Chris Eisenberg: http://www.wanderware.blogspot.com
Cory Tompkins: http://www.tealwaterdesigns.blogspot.com
Elisabeth Auld: http://www.beadsforbusygals.com
Genevieve Gabbert: http://www.glassaddictions.com/blog
Jami Shipp: http://celebratinglifewithdamamashipp.blogspot.com
Jenny Davies-Reazor: http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
Jill Bradley: http://www.jillybeads.blogspot.com
Kim Dworak: http://www.cianciblue.blogspot.com
Lee Koopman: http://stregajewellry.wordpress.com
Lennis Carrier: http://www.windbent.net
Lesley Watt: http://www.thegossipinggoddess.blogspot.com
Mallory Hoffman: http://rosebud101-fortheloveofbeads.blogspot.com
Melissa Trudinger: http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Michelle McCarthy: http://www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com
Monique Urquhart: http://ahalfbakednotion.blogspot.com/
Moriah Betterly: http://mlbetterly.blogspot.com
Nancy Dale: http://nedbeads.blogspot.com
Nancy Smith: http://wirednan.blogspot.ca
Niky Sayers: http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk
Perri Jackson: http://ShaktipajDesigns.com/blog/
Renetha Stanziano: http://www.lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com
Shai Williams: http://shaihasramblings.blogspot.com
Sheila Prosterman: http://catswithbeads.blogspot.com
Susan Delaney: http://susandolphindelaney.wordpress.com
Susan Kennedy: http://www.suebeads.blogspot.com
Terri DelSignore: http://artisticaos.blogspot.com
Toltec Jewels: http://www.jewelschoolfriends.com
Vanessa Gilkes: http://culturezine.com/blog/


AJE Compononent of the Month – October Reveal

Yes, it’s that time of month again and for this months AJE COM challenge the components we got to work with were these gorgeous earthy fossil discs from Karen Totten of Starry Road Studio. These are right up my street and I chose a lovely chocolate/tan one in the middle of this image.

I wanted to give my design an old or tribal feel and knew I wanted to use leather. I had in mind to use a wire cocoon bead I made years ago and recently reclaimed from an old necklace but in the event it wasn’t substantial enough to balance Karen’s focal. So I started from scratch and made a new one in bronze wire and incorporated a wire bail to attach it.

I wanted to get a layered talisman effect so I added one of my bronze clam shell shards with some tiny seed bead dangles at the bottom.


I was originally going to keep it very simple and use a very thick piece of leather to suspend the focal from but I couldn’t make up my mind on colour so I started playing around with mixing thinner pieces. I used some chunky rustic Czech glass beads to create this woven pattern and made wire wrapped cord ends and a clasp to finish it off.

And this is my finished piece – quite a design departure for me as I don’t usually make short necklaces but it was necessary for this bold focal and I quite like the effect so I think there may be more to come…


Thank you for visiting today and I hope you’ll join me and visit our guest bloggers and the restof the AJE team to see what they have designed with Karen’s beads.

Lesley

Guest Designers
AJE Blog Team

And The Giveaway Winners Are…

Many thanks to everyone who has taken part in this giveaway and for
everyone who has like and followed and shared the word…you are all
awesome. I’m not going to keep you in suspense any longer and I’m delighted to announce that the winners are:

Main prize – Emily Smith

Anchors Away Inspiration packs – Sara Jo Wentling and Carol Briody

Congratulations ladies – I’ll be in touch with you shortly to sort out the details.

Lesley

A Very Late Bead Fest Giveaway….

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

OK I know Bead Fest was weeks ago now but I did promised that when I got back I would give away some goodies. Well September kind of got away from me and snook out the back door and now here we are running headlong into October. Better late than never though especially when it comes to a giveaway and here’s what’s up for grabs…

 This little bundle of loveliness will be won by one lucky person and consists of:

Stoneware Queen Anne’s Lace Pendant from me THEA elements
Stoneware leaf connector from me Thea elements
Pewter bird pendant from Green Girl Studios
Lampork headpins from Glass Addictions by Jen Cameron
Enamelled charm pair from Gardanne Beads.

The Green Girl pendant is double sided and has an Emily Dickinson quote on the back – how lovely is that…

I will also be giving away two “Anchors Away’ inspiration packs kindly donated by Diana Ptasztnski of Suburban Girl Studios. The pack were designed by Erin Siegal for a bead cruise and feature one of Diana’s ceramic anchor beads along with an anchor charm, seed beads and waxed linen.

To be in the running to win one of these prizes all you have to do is leave a comment on
this post. But there are are lots of ways you can increase your chances
of winning too… Do any of the following and leave an additional comment for each thing you do and you will get an extra entry for each one:

  • Sign up for my newsletter using the link in the sidebar of this blog.
  • Share this giveaway on your own blog.
  • Share this giveaway on your Facebook pages, Google+, Twitter etc.
  • Become a new follower of ‘The Gossiping Goddess’ – see sidebar.
  • Become a follower of my Facebook page.
  • Follow me on Pinterest
  • Like my Etsy shops THEA jewellery and THEA Elements.
  • Anything else of you can think of to spread the word.
Don’t forget to leave a separate comment for each method to maximise your chances though!



The giveaway will close at 8pm BST (UK time) on Sunday 12th October 2014 and I will randomly select and announce the winners later in the day.

So good luck and I’ll see you back here on Sunday.

Lesley

AJE Component of the Month – September Reveal….

Almost October already – how can that be? It seems like only yesterday I was planning my summer holidays and here we are charging headlong into autumn. So it is that I welcome you to another reveal for the AJE Component of the month challenge ( full details here) this month featuring these lovely copper pieces from Kristi Bowman which she calls goddess vessels.

The component I chose to work with was the white copper piece in the centre of the top row and I have to admit it did give cause me some headaches trying to come up with a design. For some reason I struggled for a while to find beads in a shape or colour that I felt worked well and then when I did find something I liked for a bracelet I didn’t have enough beads to do what I wanted to – argh! At one point I got quite quite stroppy, shut the door on the studio and went off to sulk.

But then 10 minutes later an idea popped into my brain to make some chain links that mirrored the shape of the focal and after playing around for a bit I hit on something I liked using steel wire. So all I had to do was find some beads to go with them and there they were sitting on my bead table – a new delivery of Czech glass flowers from Buttoned Up Beads Extra. The lovely blue of the beads went really well with the colour of the metal  and the result of the combination is this necklace called ‘Blue Steel”

It has quite a minimalist urban feel which I love… the strong  contrast of the two colours and the way the flowers, despite being very cool in colour add a certain softness appeals to me.

I played around with the positioning of the beads for a while, in the end opting for an asymmetrical format. The piece is finished with black brass chain and the focal is embellished with a little crystal and silver charm to balance the asymmetry.

I’m pretty happy with how this turned out in the end and it just goes to show that it pays to take a break when your muse isn’t playing ball.

 

Thanks to Kristi for providing this months challenge and to you for visiting this post today – please now join me in seeing what the rest of the AJE team and our guest have made with their components using the links below.

Lesley

Guests

AJE Team Members

Jenny Davies-Reazor
Sue Kennedy

All About the Beads…



So yesterday I arrived home very tired but very happy after an amazing holiday in the USA which gave me the chance to meet a whole bunch of awesome people as well as to attend Bead Fest. If you were one of those people be it friend – old or new, customer, social event organiser or vendor then thank you so much for making me feel so welcome and contributing to me having such a great time – I really am grateful to you all.

I have plans for a number of blog posts in the near future inspired by my visit but since I am still suffering a little from ‘plane brain’ this first post is all about the beads… heavy on pictures and short on words. There are beads I bought as well as numerous beads that other artists and vendors were generous enough to swap with or gift to me and as you will see – I was very much in my element.

I’m going to start with the beads of my lovely hosts without whom none of this would have been possible. Diana Suburban Girl Studio Ptaszynski and her lovely hubby Colin met me at the airport and put me up for the first few days of my stay. Very generously Diana also offered me the opportunity to sell my own beads from her booth which of course meant I had more money to spend on buying beads – thanks Diana and everyone who bought my beads.

photo courtesy of Kathleen Lange Klik

Considering I had access to trays and trays of these beautiful beads all day I was
actually very restrained but if I’d had a bigger suitcase and higher customs
limits it would have been a whole different story…

Jen Cameron was hosting me for a road trip straight after Bead Fest but as you can see she was having a great time at the show… I think maybe the strain of making inventory while recovering from a broken arm finally got to her though!

Jen makes gorgeous lampwork headpins and I managed to bag a good selection along with some cute little beads…

The last leg of my trip was spent with Jenny Davies-Reazor – an artist and teacher who has inspired me to many new things during my stay but that’s definitely for another post.

Again I was  reasonably restrained and could have got completely carried away looting Jenny’s huge and wonderful range of ceramic and mixed media pieces…

Don’t worry that I had to limit myself though – these lovely ladies have all been warned that I will be making a return visit next year to stock up further!

Before I even left the UK I’d made a list I things that I had to have and at the first opportunity I headed straight for Staci Louise Smith’s booth to snag this little (well not so little actually) bronze clay and copper Sugar skull… Staci’s work is so unique and original I just had to have it.

I was also extremely fortunate in being paired with Staci for Diana’s annual art bead swap and just look what she gave me…lots of her own beautiful polymer clay and bronze beads plus pieces by Marsha Neal Minutella and Ann Gardanne – the bead mother load or what! Thank you so much Staci.
And as if that wasn’t enough I also got this lovely white copper ring which I’ve worn constantly since.
I did the bulk of my shopping on the last day of the show and headed straight to the Green Girl Studio booth and found everything was heavily discount so yes, I got a little carried away but who wouldn’t…isn’t this all just heavenly? I have to keep getting it out and stroking it.
Next stop was the lovely Diane Hawkey to pick up some of her fabulously quirky ceramic beads…I just love these little gems and have a feeling they may be staying in my personal collection.I’ve certainly been inspired to create by this trip so that bead is definitely staying close to my heart.
I’ve long been a fan of Gardanne Beads enamelled flower caps so it was wonderful to be able to meet Ann in person and lose myself in the vast array at her booth but I really did have to force myself to leave to make sure I had money to spend elsewhere!

Another must visit vendor on my list was Hands of the Hills and if it hadn’t been for the sheer weight I would have spent a lot more time and money there…lovely vendors and all sorts of beautiful things to be had.

Heather Powers of Humble Beads was vending at Bead Fest for the first time this year and I was so excited to able to meet Heather and shop ‘in the flesh’ for her wonderfully creative beads. Hard to choose when you’re faced with so many lovelies but I think I did a pretty good job…

I’m also a really big fan of etched lampwork and soda beads so I was very happy to be able to do some swapping with Genea Crivello-Knable and get these wonderfully earthy, crusty beads and headpins – just perfect for autumn designs.

One of the biggest hightlights of this trip was meeting so many of the AJE blog team who have become such good friends and supporters online. No less than 9 of the 13 members made it to Bead Fest and I had such a great time with these lovely ladies…


From left to right: Karen Totten, Melissa Alford-Meman, Sue Kennedy, Me, Diana, Kristen Stevens (back) Jen, Linda Landig (back) and Jenny. And of course there was much swapping of lovelies among the group…

Gorgeous totem sets from the uber talented Karen



Melissa’s amazing mixed media pieces including polymer clay, metal clay and a resin set hand made bezel…

 The sweetest beaded beads and gorgeous headpins from Sue Kennedy

Great pieces from Linda’s new line of ceramic – who’d know she was new to this…

And always fabulous – Kristen’s beaded hoops and beads. Kristen also made me some beautiful beaded jewellery but I’m saving that for another post.

Kristi Bowman couldn’t make it to the show but Linda bought some of her work along and I snagged myself these cool copper earring charms…

 I also managed to get my hands on a few Basha Beads courtesy of Cooky Schock – love the ancient rustic feel of these…


Although there may seem to be a lot of beads here… there were in fact a number of vendors I never made it to just through being somewhat overwhelmed and exhausted. Although we met at the show one of these was Marsha Neal Minutella so I was absolutely delighted when I got to Jenny’s and found out we were going to visit Marsha who lives close by.

Marsha is one of the first ceramic bead makers I came across, an absolute force of nature and an all round delightful person so I can’t tell you how excited I was to find myself actually standing in her studio – when I grow up I want a work space like that. She is also incredibly generous and had I been there earlier in my trip and had more space my pockets would have been loaded with a lot more beauties like these. Can’t wait to meet up again next year Marsha…

And if all that wasn’t enough, I also met my online friend Jan Onipenco while I was staying at Diana’s and she gifted me an incredible lampwork ammonite bead and some of her lovely shrink plastic pieces…another very generous lady that I hope to meet again.

So as you can see I had a pretty good time increasing my bead stash but I do feel a little greedy keeping everything for myself so, I am planning to do a little giveaway or two once I’ve sorted myself out a bit so keep an eye out for that. A lot of the artists featured here will also be listing Bead Fest inventory in their shops so do check them out using the links in this post.

My own beads are being shipped back later this week and as soon as they arrive I will be doing a big shop update but this trip has left me feeling hugely inspired to make some jewellery so until then I think this little lot will keep me more than busy!

Happy beading!

Lesley


AJE Component of the month – August reveal

As I am currently on vacation in the USA and staying with fellow team mate Jenny Davies-Reazor we are combining our post and my design for this month can be found at jdaviesreazor.com/blog.

Lesley

Summer Sale – 30% Discount….



Well I’ve finally gotten to the end of my Bead Fest bead making marathon and all I have to do now is individually wrap each bead and pack them up ready to fly out ahead of me… not much to do there then!

While I’ve been busy with this preparation my Etsy shops have been a little neglected. Actually that’s a bit of an understatement for my jewellery shop which for some time has needed a major overhaul and restock and I’m hoping to tackle this on my return from the US…after all I will have lots of new beads to play with.

In the meantime though, I’ve decided to pave the way by having a sale in both my shops. From now until close of play on Wednesday 14th August you can get 30% of all items using coupon code SUMMER30.

Components at THEA elements
Jewellery at THEA jewellery

I will be closing the shops on Thursday 15th August until early September so now is the time to grab yourself some great bargains.

Many thanks

Lesley