Back to stack – another wee earring challenge / blog hop

A couple of months ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long!), I participated in a earring making challenge / blog hop, organised by Malin de Koning. If you read this blog regularly you may remember it. Malin sent me and three others the same set of beads and we all made earrings from them, then did the blog hop. Here’s a link to my post.  Well, we all enjoyed it so much that we decided to do it again, only this time I selected and sent out the beads, which were these:

10984650_10152962219981598_930617816_nSomewhat inevitably, when picking these beads, I went towards things that had been in my stash for a while, things I’d been struggling to incorporate in pieces.  I combined these with some new beads that I bought especially for the challenge, some of my favourites, and some neutrals and some smaller filler beads to balance out the larger, more elaborate shapes. Perhaps it’s because of my ‘issues’ with the colour – I’ve written about my ambivalence towards green before – but somehow I managed to add lots of green to my pack.  Maybe it’s because I don’t tend to use it and so have more surplus to share. I don’t know… To make matters worse, for some reason, I ended up adding in a certain amount of purple. Now, I know green and purple is a popular combination with many – maybe one of the other participants will be delighted with it! – but I personally don’t get on with it. I think it dates back to when I was on the cusp of my early teens, when I painted my entire bedroom purple and green (they were my favourite colours then), and was a little too keen on tie-dye and patchouli oil.  As a result of this, I see purple and green and I see: !STYLE ERROR!  Consequently, when I came to working with this lot of beads, I found I’d hobbled myself.  I kept putting things together, seeing these colours together, and thinking, ‘no, no, nooooo’. Still, ultimately, it meant I was challenged to arrive at other combinations and to think about different colours a bit, so that was good.  Here’s the first pair I made.

pair 1

When Malin set the first challenge, she suggested we focus on stacked earring designs. I was feeling a bit stacked out at the time, so I tried doing other things with Malin’s pack. This time, maybe because I was struggling with the colours, I went super stack happy, as you can see above and below.

pair 2

And again here:

pair 3

In this last pair I allowed a bit of the purple and green in, whilst trying to dilute it with other colours. Here’s some more major stacking:

pair 4

Possibly a stack too far….

The first few pairs came together relatively easily, but then I hit a bit of a wall. I was at the point of thinking I was all done, but it was then that I really pushed myself to try mixing in other colours and being a bit more inventive with the beads I had left. I put a couple of wooden discs in the pack, unsure what they’d be used for.  Eventually, I thought to use them as a backing to these tin bead caps (from Lorelei Eurto).

pair 6

I really like the top of them but I’m not certain about the drops. One of the ‘rules’ Malin set was that we should use at least three beads from the pack in each pair of earrings and it seemed a shame not to include these vintage glass leaves somewhere.  Now I’m thinking that I might ultimately cannibalise several of the pairs I’ve made and combine the top of one with the bottom from another, etc.. Anyway, next pair: if I hadn’t been pushed, I’d never have thought to use the colours I’ve used here.

pair 6

I really like the combination. I think I’ll leave them as they are.  More heavy stacking here:

pair 7

Yes, that baggy wire on the top right bead is annoying!  Again, after I made these last ones I thought I was done, but then this improbable pair came together, which I was quite pleased with.

pair 8

I’ve stacked the lower section on some skinny vintage chain links. Then, when I really, really thought I was done….

pair 9

After which all I had left was:

left overs

I should probably have forced myself to make something with this last little lot – hey ho. I can’t wait to see how the others have used the beads I sent to them. And we’ll be doing this challenge again soon with another pack chosen by Leah Curtis. Looking forward to that too!  But for now, here’s the links to all the other participants blogs. Go look!:

Rebecca Anderson – Songbead

Leah Curtis – Beady Eyed Bunny

Malin de Koning – Beading by Malin de Koning

Heidi Post – Ex Post Facto

Important Stuff about Bead Custom Orders

I’m starting work on a new batch of beads.

houses

I have lots of plans for new designs and I’m looking forward to coming up with other new things as I go along. I’m also planning on making more of the beads that have been particularly popular in the past. One thing I have noticed in previous updates is that there are certain designs that sell out very quickly.

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In the past, I’ve had a number of people be disappointed that they haven’t been able to bag the beads they wanted. I could just make extra of all the beads I think are or might be popular, but it occurred to me that it would make sense if I offered customers this opportunity to place custom orders for things they particularly want, whether it be things they’ve missed out on or things they’ve had in the past and would like to buy again.

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If that’s you then could you please message me using the following address: somethingtodobeads@gmail.com. Unfortunately, the comment function on this blog is, well, bloody useless, so a message would be much safer.

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Also, do have a look at my Sold Items in the Etsy shop to see if there’s anything there that you fancy.

birds for rebecca

I’m afraid that I won’t be making any of the polymer or patina pieces you might find there, but there’s plenty of ceramic items from which to choose.

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[A brief aside: there will also hopefully be a limited amount of patinated chain!]

purple haze calla lily pair 2

The firing schedule that I’m falling into means that I’m not always in a position to take custom orders, or if I can, it’s often the case that I’ll have to ask the customer to wait for a month or usually more. So, I hope taking advance orders now will suit some of you.  No upfront payment is required, however.

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So, the email address again: somethingtodobeads@gmail.com.  If you could title your emails ‘Custom Order’ that would be really helpful.

wrapped tusk earring drops 1

Thanks!

Final day of Sale, plus things and stuff

I’ve done a woeful job of promoting it but today is the last day of the Spring sale in my jewellery shop.  In case you don’t know, I’m offering 25% off all jewellery, including a good number of pieces that have already been reduced. All you need to do is apply the coupon code SPRING25 when you check out. This means you can get this bracelet for £22.50, which seems a crazy price, frankly.  (Click on the links below the pictures to go straight to the shop listing.)

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Sea Wreath

These earrings – always a bit of a personal fave – can be yours for 12.38.

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Picasso Coins

This bracelet will be just £20.25.

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Soft Geometry

Which, again, is pretty daft. And this necklace can also be had for £22.50.

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Folksy

Sometimes you just want make space and what have you… Many of the items in the ‘Sale’ section of the shop will be removed and no longer available from tomorrow, and the price of those that remain will be put back up. So, it’s now or never on a good few items…

Aside from all this, I thought I’d share a few pics of other things that have been happening, like you should do on a blog. On Thursday, the gallingly good Caroline Dewison of Blueberribeads shared a post on Art Jewelry Elements showing some stamps that she had made by lino-cutting. This is the sort of thing I have been meaning to do, but I hadn’t managed to get my finger out and do it. Thanks to Caroline, I finally gave it a go.  As Caroline said in her post, it’s often not really desirable to use commercially produced stamps and textures, and I generally try to avoid doing so. I made some plaster moulds whilst I was still doing pottery classes last year and I’ve loved having them to use. I wish I had the opportunity to make more. I do own some moulding compound but I always feel I should be all organised and have everything planned before I use it, and that sort of thing tends not to happen in my world. The beauty of the lino-cutting thing is that you can just have a bit of a doodle and see what you come up with, and the materials are relatively inexpensive so it’s no great disaster if you bodge it up. I’ve got a little mound of carved lino bits now.  I’ve yet to try them out properly on any clay yet but I did try a few bits, just to see if I was on the right track.

photo-5 copy 2

a huddle of houses

photo-5 copy

some flowery bidnizz

photo-5 copy 4

scribbly Giacometti-style faces

photo-5 copy 3

And as you can see here, you can save up any stray offcuts and carve them to make textures for rolling beads over. I’m looking forward to seeing these glazed.

What else? There’s been some sun the last few days – the proper stuff that actually makes you feel that Spring might just be a possibility. Dexy has be sprauncing around on the terrace sniffing the air…

dex in the sun

…despite having mysteriously developed arthritis in his back legs. He’s only six. He’s a medical marvel, really – always managing to find some new ailment requiring extensive and expensive treatment. Thank the lord for pet insurance. Apologies for the cruddy little mobile phone pictures. Here’s some better shots of him that I’ve had on my desktop, waiting for to be shared, for an age.

snoozy dex

Other than that, I don’t have much to report. I’ll leave you with a tune that’s been buzzing round my head for the last day or so…

SPRING SALE – 25% off all jewellery

Yes, I know it’s not very Spring-y yet but I felt like it was time to get the house in order anyway. I have yet to really get going with designing new jewellery for sale this year, what with the beads and magazine pieces and other stuff. Before I do start making and listing any new stock in the jewellery shop, I thought I’d have a bit of a sale. I’m offering 25% off all jewellery, including items that are already in the ‘SALE’ section and have already been reduced. The discount code is SPRING25. This means that there are lots of big ol’ bargains available. Such as, numerous bracelets for between £15 and £18. (Click the titles to head straight to the listing.)

feathered bed

(Feathered Bed)

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(Pop Pewter Bird)

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(Ring of Roses)

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(Lone Flyer)

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(Petals)

And there are numerous pairs of earrings for which will be just £10.50 with the discount code, including these:

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(Shell Like)

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(Wee Buds)

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(Serrated)

As for necklaces, this will be only £16.90.

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(Peeper)

And this will be £24.00 with the discount code.

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(Cascade)

There are plenty of other ‘sale’ items that can be reduced further with the coupon code, as well as all the full price items.  The sale will run until the end of next weekend, closing on Sunday night (8th March). After that, a number of items, including most of the ‘sale’ stock, will be removed from the shop, as will the sale section. So, if you’ve had your eye on something now is the time to grab it. Here’s a link to the shop. And that code, again? SPRING25 Cheers!