Spring Fever Design Challenge Reveal

Today’s the day we finally get to see what everyone has made with the
beads they received as part of our ‘Spring Fever’ design challenge. To
recap, all the participants were sent a surprise package containing one
of my flower focal sets, one of Caroline’s bird focal sets and a length of sari silk courtesy of Claire from Smitten Beads.
These have now been turned into pieces of jewellery and I for one can’t
wait to see what they’ve become. But first I have to share with you my
own designs…

As always I left this until pretty much the last minute and very stupidly forgot to take pictures of my individual beads…how many times is that now…?

Anyway, for my first piece I decided to work with Caroline’s focal pendant set of a pretty china painted bird and leaf. I started by trying to think of a way to use them independently rather than the set they came as but they really are made for other and look so good together I decided to just go with it. I wired the bird onto a large disc bead to act as a kind of bird table and wired another loop underneath. To this I added the leaf element together with one of my bronze flower charms and some Czech glass flower dangles.

I wanted this to be a long necklace and my natural instinct for this style is to let the focal group do the work and keep the rest very simple but as the host just using a chain for a challenge piece felt like a bit of a cop out so some sort of embellishment was needed. In the end I decided on purple Irish linen woven through the chain and threaded with pearly seed beads.

I love the finished look – subtle and elegant but a bit more eye catching than chain alone would be.

The necklace is completed with hand forged brass ‘S’ clasp and a couple more Czech glass dangles.

Ceramic bird and lead focal beads by Caroline Dewison, Purple disc bead by www.marlasmud.etsy.com, Brass chain, Irish linen and pearlised seed beads from Smitten Beads
Because we put extra sets up for the challenge I didn’t actually get one of my own focals from the original batch and decided I would take something from my stock. Of course, by the time I got around to it I didn’t have a lot to choose from so my focal is more neutral in colour than the other pieces and I was  concerned that it looks a bit more autumnal than spring like. However, since any spring flower that wants to blossom in my garden this year has had to battle it’s way through the untended remnants of last autumn, it doesn’t seem wholly inappropriate…!

Another of Caroline’s birds has found it’s way into this necklace along with one of my bronze flower connectors which acts as a focal clasp.

 The focal elements are accented with ivory lampwork glass, Czech glass and rustic seed beads. I love the earthiness of this  and think it could actually be worn at any time of year.

Ceramic focal, bronze connector and clasp by me THEA Elements, Ceramic bird bead by  Caroline Dewison, ampwork beads by Pebble Dreams, Seed beads from Smitten Beads

I also ran out of Sari silk but I was determined to use all the elements of the challenge so raided my own silk stash to find something suitable. I couldn’t find any sari silk that fitted anything like a spring palette so I picked some pretty hand dyed silk strings instead and used these to create some simple macrame wrapped bangles…

As you can see, I have quite a stash of Caroline’s bird beads so I sat a couple of these in the centre of hoops of 14gauge bronze wire. Starting from the centre and working outwards I worked a square knot around size 5/6 seed beads.

The wire hoop is connected with simple loops and the silk strings tied of and left as tails to give bangles with a fresh fun look… I think I could get addicted to making these!

Hand dyed silk strings by Diane Turton, Ceramic birds by Caroline Dewison

So there you are then…I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing how this challenge inspired me. I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has taken part in this challenge and made it so much fun, and to Caroline and Claire for joining me to make it happen in the first place. I hope now you’ll join me on the blog hop to see the rest of the wonderful designs…just click on the links below to see more.

All these pieces will be available in my Etsy shop shortly but please let me know if you are interested.


Caroline Dewison – http://www.blueberribeads.co.uk 
Lori Bowring Michaud – http://artfullyornamental.blogspot.com/
Erin Prais – Hintz – http://treasures-found.blogspot.co.uk/


45 thoughts on “Spring Fever Design Challenge Reveal

  1. As always I love the designs you produce, the silk beaded thread through the chain is wonderful as are the macramΓ© wrapped bangles ( if you ever do a tutorial on this I would be really keen to learn!) A real inspiration, thanks Lesley!

  2. Fab stuff! I especially love the bangles – I can see them being popular. I've made a pendant very much like your first piece but I did cop out and use plain chain – your chain is a great touch!

  3. Fab pieces! Love how you threaded linen with the seed beads through the chain on your first piece! Love your macrame bangles I agree with Claire I can see them being quite popular – I would definitely wear a couple stacking style! πŸ™‚

  4. I love every single thing you make, I swear!! I come over to your blog and your shops just to daydream… someday I really want to have the cash to be able to own something you've created. Gorgeousness in every way, each of them!!

  5. Once again, you've blown me away with your gorgeous designs Lesley. The bangles become a fresh twist with the use of the silk string. And I agree, the neutral palette of the flower necklace says it can be worn all year. Love your connector as a clasp! My fave of the group has to be the first necklace! I could not get over how the simple addition of the purple cord and beads transformed that rope. And totally kept the focal center stage. You are one talented lady!

  6. I am totally and completely blown away. Each piece is gorgeous and so beautifully balanced. The use of your bronze flower with that amazing pendant and I am jealous of your bird stash. You are such an artist!!!!

  7. Leslie your work is just fantastic. I LOVE the first necklace with the chain – it is so very simple and spring like. The simple bangles are great as well. All of your work simply Rocks!!!

  8. Leslie-In your first necklace, I love how you wove the tread through the chain and attached the seed beads. Your focal that you created is so pretty. Both features made the necklace extra special and unique. Your ceramic flower focal necklace is gorgeous. The colors are wonderful. I am trying to wrap my mind around how you made the bracelet. It is certainly eye catching and original. I love everything! Thanks for organizing this bead hop and sharing your work.

  9. First, I want to say thank you for the fun challenge! I loved the combination and the surprise! That long necklace with the bird is perfect. You are so right that the chain would have seemed a tad bit boring. But your solution is the best one I have seen yet! So simple and yet so stunning. Those birdie bangles are just so stinkin' cute! I am really no good at bracelets but I do so love them and this is so pretty. But that necklace in the middle really speaks to me. While I love all colors, the neutrals are my go-to and this is exactly the color that I see in spring. In fact, it is mostly white – again – in my world so this hushed greening is the perfect way to kick off spring. Thank you again for the challenge! Just what I needed to get back on track after a forced hiatus. Enjoy the day! Erin

  10. I love it all! But I have to say, I am most inspired by the way you dressed up the chain in the first necklace. I may have to borrow the concept at some point πŸ™‚

  11. Hi Lesley,

    Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this fun and colorful Challenge with all the nice surprises along the way! Love your creations, designs and talent!

    Happy Spring!


  12. Lesley these are amazing i adore that first necklace so very pretty and those bracelets fabulous thanks for letting me join in even if the silly dog ate my homework lol xxxx

  13. I am in love with them all especially the first necklace! I just love the idea of weaving the waxed linen in the chain with seed beads. Just perfect!

  14. I LOVE what you did with the first piece! I struggle with just putting things on a chain that is simple and fancy at the same time – beautiful! Looks like a sweet Spring vine. Love the little birds too – so sweet to work with. Thank You Lesley for hosting!

  15. Lesley, brilliant, beautiful designs! I love the flower necklace, and agree its earthiness makes it beautiful year round. Your macrame bangles are lovely! I love silk ribbons, and how pretty they are tied off at the ends, embracing the beads. The combinations of silk and beads are full of spring, like bird songs among flower blossoms. And your chain with Caroline's gorgeous ceramics & Marla's disc bead! Stunning!! Indeed, the chain does look like flower buds! A star shining brightly, an exquisite welcome to spring!

  16. I always love your style, Lesley, but you've outdone yourself with the chain/fiber/bead design on the first piece! And the knotted bangles are fabulous, too! So fun & they scream spring!!!!

  17. Oh my gosh…I can't decide which one I like the best. They are all gorgeous. I am particularly intrigued by the technique on the bangles – it looks like so much fun and gives such great results!

  18. Lesley all of your pieces are really charming. The way you embellished the chain in the first piece makes it my favorite but the others are all close behind.Lovely designs.

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