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

Thank you, Malin! – a wee earring challenge / blog hop

Wow – I hadn’t realised it had been so long. I’ve just discovered that I haven’t yet posted in 2015. So, happy new year and all that.  I’ve just had to pay for my slackness by having to delete the 1100+ spam comments that had built up in my absence. I can only delete 20 comments at a time so it’s a laborious process. Anyway, on with the point of this post…

Several weeks ago, that lovely and talented woman, Malin de Koning, contacted me and a few other beaders to see if we’d be interested in participating in a little earring challenge type thing. Malin had sorted out a little bundle of beads and suggested that she send the same assortment of beads to each of us, and proposed that we each come up with some earring designs which we’d share on our blogs today. Malin was particularly interested in stacked earring designs, but it was agreed that we needn’t limit ourselves to such designs alone. The only other ‘rule’ was that each earring pair should include at least three of the beads that Malin sent. There’s something so Malin about this selection!:

10922104_10152884289906598_1029839112_nOne of the reasons why I’ve neglected my blog so far this year is that I haven’t made much jewellery yet. In fact, the only pieces that I’ve made have been for magazines (excluding some earrings for an ABS tute). So doing this challenge was something quite different to what I had been doing and it was a nice change. It was also surprisingly liberating.  Having a small pool of beads to start with lead me to reach for things in my stash that I may have overlooked another day. I’m afraid my stash is so ridiculously gigantic that I sometimes find it a bit overwhelming (especially when it’s all been tied up as it is at the moment).  I was also glad of the opportunity to have a bit of a think about earring designs. I’m aware that lately I’ve fallen into certain habits when it comes to earrings (and bracelets too). One of my challenges this year is to try and break from some of these.  Stacked earrings are a bit of a habit for me so, while I’ve made some stacked pairs, I’ve also tried out some other things. I’m not wholly happy with all the earrings I made and some may well get the chop or be re-worked, but I enjoyed sitting down one empty afternoon and just focusing on this little challenge. Indeed, I enjoyed it so much I ended up with 8 pairs of earrings! Here they are:pair 1These are perhaps my favourites; they may be keepers. The three beads at the top were from Malin. I love those green wheels: they’ve got a real vintage feel – not sure if they are or not. The tubes are from Jon Burgess’s recently(-ish) opened shop. (Go look! – but don’t buy the things I have my eye on….) This next pair turned out better than I hoped.

pair 2

All the beads here are from Malin with the exception of the faceted drops. I love using waxed linen in earrings but I find they’re hard to store if I do. Tips, anyone? Here’s a couple of kooks:

pair 3

Again, most of these beads are from Malin. The double ended copper twisty bobs are from Tracy Smith – wish the nearest one wasn’t sticking out at that distracting angle.  This next pair is (a) a bit of a cheat and (b) the kind of earrings I’m totally in the habit of making.

pair 4

Only the pearls and the ribbed wheels are from Malin. I didn’t mean to cheat; I was going to include some little metal rounds but the hole was blocked in one and I made these on the hoof so it couldn’t be helped. More John Burgess beads, btw.  And – of course! – Scorched Earth. Ditto:

pair 5

Here I’ve used the silver cylinders and gold wooden nuggets from Malin’s pack. Again, these are very me-y earrings. The next are less so. Amongst the beads that Malin sent were a couple of lots of donut-shaped beads with largish holes. These are particularly useful in stacked designs because you can sit a smaller bead above it, in the hole, and get a smooth tapered outline. However, I didn’t end up using them like that.

pair 6

Along with the wooden discs, the striped seeds are from Malin. I’ve done a similar thing with these, using linen instead of wire.


The white beads and the wooden tubes are from Malin’s pack. I’ve teamed them with some copper drop connectors from Joanne Tinley.  Finally, these nearly didn’t get made:

pair 8

But I couldn’t resist sitting those little enamel flowers in the large lucite ones. The metal spacers and the golden yellow wheels are also from Malin.

And that’s the lot. Big thanks again to Malin for organising all this! If, by any chance, you’re interested in owning any of these, please get in touch. I’m really intrigued to see what the others have made. Here’s the links to their blogs:

Malin de Koning – BeadingByMalindeKoning –

Rebecca Anderson – SongBead –

Leah Curtis – BeadyEyedBunny –

Heidi Post – ExPostFacto –