Bead Soup Blog Party – Soups!

When I started my blog, one of the things I was particularly looking forward to was participating in blog hops.  Well, this is my first blog hop and I’m starting with one of the biggies – The Bead Soup Blog Party.  For those who don’t know about it, the Bead Soup Blog Party is a huge, international blog hop, now in its seventh year.  There are over 500 beaders from all over the globe who have been paired up by the marvellous organiser, Lori Anderson.  The partners swap ‘soups’ – bead mixes, including a focal and a clasp.  Then everyone reveals what they have made on set dates – there are now three reveal dates, owing to the large number of participants.  I went for the third reveal date, a choice I’m very glad I made now, as I haven’t started making any jewellery yet and I received the soup from my partner some weeks ago…

So, my partner:  Kathrin Lembke, of Alles Perle is a lampworker based near Hamburg, where she sells her jewellery and her lovely beads.alles perle card

I just love lampwork beads but I can’t always afford them, so I was very chuffed to find I’d been paired with a lampworker.  I was rubbing my paws in anticipation, looking forward to receiving some glassy goodies.  I wasn’t disappointed.

lampwork from soup

I do like this mix of colours.  I’ve had a bit of a thing for purple and orange recently, so I was very pleased to open this selection.  There’s a number of potential focals in there.  Along with these, there was a generous mix of antique brass beads and findings, including a dinky toggle clasp. I also received a pretty combination of pearls, floral ceramic rounds and mother-of-pearl drops.

brass and pearl 2

There are some unusual (to me, at least!) pieces in the brass mix.  I particularly like the linked hoops and the large saucers.  I’m not sure what I’ll make yet but I have one or two ideas in mind. Here’s the soup in full – Thanks again, Kathrin!

soup from kathrin

So what did I send?  Well, I started by looking for a focal on Etsy.  When it turned up I was really quite tempted to keep it myself and search out a different one.  But, I resisted – just…  It’s a gorgeous porcelain and glass pod, made by Lisa Stevens of Seapods.  I was a bit stuck on what clasp to send but then I remembered this vintage casein button, which sits rather nicely with the focal, being quite pod-like too.  So I sent that along with a black metal hook.

my focal and clasp - bsbp

I wanted to include some of my own beads, so I improvised a bit and came up with a pod set in red and white.  As regular readers will know, I’ve made quite a lot of pod sets since then.  I added a mix of vintage glass, freshwater pearls and a scattering of seed beads, and I had my soup.

bsbp - soup

I have been a bit bothered thinking that I should have sent more.  Still, there’s nothing I can do about that now.  I just have to wait until 13th April to see what Kathrin makes with it!

Since last time

It’s been over two weeks since I last blogged.  Tsk tsk…  I’ve had some distractions – visiting London to meet my new nephew being the one of the pleasanter ones.  There have also been new beads and some new jewellery designs.  I planned to say more about a number of these things than I will do here, and I will say more in time.  Perhaps it’s the impact of listening to George Osborne’s voice for 54 minutes, but I’m feeling a little short on chat today!

I’ve made quite a lot of beads recently.  I’ve been wanting to try some text-y beads and charms for a while now.  I made a bit of an error before I started, when I ordered my stamps.  As I often do when I order things online, I failed to consider how large the letters were.  Once I opened them up, I realised they were quite large.  I had planned to put little phrases on things but with these stamps I’d be limited to very large pendants if I did that. So, I opted for single words. The matter of what words to use is something I’m going to come back to.  Briefly, for now, I picked words associated with intimacy and constance – fitting for jewellery, I thought.

new words 4 blog

I was anxious with these that they shouldn’t end up looking like Swoondimples rip-offs, especially as the font on the stamps looks very similar.  I hope I’ve avoided that – please do say if you disagree!  It becomes quite hard to tell once you’ve looked at something and fussed over it for some time.  There were quite a number of attempts that ended up in the dud tub, but I’m fairly pleased with this handful.  New, smaller letter stamps are on order.

I also got some new birds and houses made.  A number have sold but these are still available.  bird and house top up

I also finally got around to sending some new stock to Big Bead Little Bead.   There are more houses there now, along with owls and hedgehogs.

And now for the new jewellery.  Hopefully, I’ll get these listed on Etsy shortly.

scribed bracelet

(bronze clasp – TheaTOO, ceramic hoop and cap – Scorched Earth)

rusted indigo

(ceramic button – Scorched Earth, polymer slices – mepale bird bracelet

(ceramic bird – Blueberribeads)

I had to use that Blueberribeads bird to justify getting some more, this time in grey.

grey bird earrings

I got a bit behind with the AJE earring challenge, so I had to make up several pairs.

spring dahlia earrings

(lampwork dahlia beads – Ciel Creations, lampwork headpins – Earthshine Beads)

And I finally got a pair made with my own beads.  These pods are also available in the bead shop.

pod earrings

I’ll leave you with one last pair of earrings.  No art beads, just lovely czech glass and some vintage, antique silver hoops.  I’ll be back soon – I have Bead Soup Blog Party pics to share.

opal glass coin wreaths

New Beads

The new beads are all listed in the bead shop.  There are a number of new designs.  I’d had some of them in mind to make for some time, including these pods.  One pair is ‘side-drilled’ at the back of the pod, so they’ll drop down nicely when strung.  They’d be great focals in a row of dainty beads.  The other, smaller, pair, with central holes, are perfect for earrings – I’m planning to make a pair shortly.

pod pairs for blog

I also made some pod bead sets.

pod sets for blog

I’ve been thinking about making some bead sets for a while now.  As well as these pod sets, I wanted to make some focusing on colour combinations, using palettes I particularly like.  I had to include those faded shades, which I wrote about recently.

bead sets for blog

And yes, there are yet more pods in there – I think that set is my favourite.  Recently, I’ve been looking out for different types of rings and hoops.  I’ve started to use them a lot because they’re so versatile – as connectors, in toggle clasps, as a base for pendants, as an eye for hook clasps.  They also look good when you knot off them.  So, I wanted to try making some myself.  I’ve long admired/coveted Paper Statement bangles, so they provided some inspiration for these.  The first ones turned out larger than I’d planned, but they could be used as pendants or focal connectors.

ombre pendant

With a bit of playing about, I managed to get them down to a smaller size.

ombre hoops for blog

I’m going to make more of these to use myself.  They’d work well in bracelets, I think.  They look quite clean and crisp.  You’d get a nice contrast if you mixed them with some aged chain or dark oxidised wire.  With the remains of the green-blue blend I made these spine beads.spine beads 1

Again, they’d look good pointing out of a row of dinky beads.

What else is there?  Well, I thought I’d better top up the old favourites.

new two tone owls for blog

There should have been three two-tone pairs but the black one was too small to match, which was quite annoying because these pairs seem to be rather popular.  There are new weathered houses and smaller hedgehogs too.

houses and hodgehegs for blog

Then there’s these cane slice sets.  They’re very simple but I like them.  Again, they’d be good in a knotted bracelet.

sunspots slice sets for blog

I also listed a couple of older designs.  I came across a box of beads I made some time ago – I’d forgotten all about them.

rose beads for blog

I only have a limited number of these, so if you want some snap them up now.

Finally, there’s also some new pendants.

pendants for blog

Phew!  That’s a lot of new beads.  No wonder my hands were in a state.  If there’s anything you fancy, here’s where you click to shop!