Friday, 19 May 2017

We’re All Ears May Challenge

The challenge this month is all about trash transformed, taking something otherwise neglected, forgotten or discarded and making it into something of beauty, substance and ingenuity. “There is a fine line between trash and treasure” and this challenge is all about walking that line. We were given this lovely collage of transformed treasures for inspiration

I must confess that recycling items into art is something that has intrigued me for a long time. I’ve actually been collecting interesting tin containers, old watch parts and broken down electronic parts to experiment with, but never took that first step until now.

All cut apart, prepped and waiting for a decent disc cutter, there were several tin containers sitting in my stash. I took advantage of a sale earlier this year and bought a Pepe disc cutter package with a 14 hole disc cutter, sized from 1/8” up to 1”, urethane pad, holding base and 8 centre punches for the larger disc holes. So excited! It sure beats the cheap newbie punch I bought several years ago

I put the new disc cutter to good use and made these earrings

All of the red circles came from a Christmas tin. The red colour is not solid, shifting and changing shades throughout the tin

I added clear faceted glass rondelles to these 1” discs and used silver plated wire and leverback ear wires

Triple Decked

For these earrings 3 sizes of tin discs were put together with silver plated ear hoops and oval jump rings. The pretty light mint discs came from a tin covered in cheerful dots which I pulled in along the edges. The earrings hang just over 2 1/2”

Garden Fruit

Some small tea tins are the source of the discs for these earrings. There are many fruit and leaves on the tins. It will be a lot of fun playing with them. For the earrings I added red glass faceted beads and used silver plated wire and leverback ear wires again


The final pair use 4 different sizes of discs from the red tin. I simply reversed the smallest and 2nd largest discs to the silver back so that there would be contrast and more depth. To make these discs I selected the best area on the tin, tightened down the disc puncher, marked the hole location with the centre punches then punched the discs themselves out. Some minor sanding of all edges, completion of the centre holes and doming came next. The bright and cheery yellow bead is a handmade lampwork glass headpin on a copper wire made by Samantha Capeling. The copper wire was used to form the loop and the trailing curl. All I had to do after was add the copper leverback ear wires

I hope you enjoyed seeing the earrings. They are available in my shop now
Do go to the reveal and see what everyone else made. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day

Monday, 1 May 2017

Art Bead Scene April Design Challenge

I’m running a little late with my challenge post. The last week of April ended up being much busier than I expected. The inspiration for this month’s challenge was this artwork by Paul Gauguin. You can read all about it here

Matamoe or Landscape with Peacocks, Paul Gauguin, 1892, Oil On Canvas
The warm, no hot, colours of the tropics grabbed my eye from the first time I looked at the artwork. I have to admit I had a little trouble trying to imagine how to design with them. Then, I took a walk through my art bead collection and these happened

Other Worldly

This amazing art bead from Sue Kennedy, with different shades of opaque orange and a silver trail with dots, was buried away in my stash. I had bought it probably 3 – 4 years ago but could not picture a design that would be suitable. The agate ring surrounding it is one of more than a half dozen I bought about 5 years ago. I had used up the smaller ones and still have 4 left of this size.

The combination fits perfectly with some images of Saturn taken from the Cassini spacecraft except mine imagines a fiery world. The pendant is finished with sterling silver and waxed linen in 2 complementary colours

Found at the same time as the first lampwork bead is the one used in this necklace

Burning Sky

Burning Sky

The lampwork bead in this necklace is from Robyn Kirkman of FireSong Creations in Australia. It was a bit of a wait before it arrived but not as long as I expected and well worth it. Unfortunately it again sat in my stash for a couple of years. The transparent bead is a cheerful vibrant pink with black stringers and dots. I used black and light pink wood beads, almost a whole string of farfalle beads, aka peanut beads, in an amethyst rainbow, black leather and silver plated metals with this one

Both necklaces are available in my shop

Please visit the Art Bead Scene site for the blog reveal to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day

Friday, 28 April 2017

Pretty Palettes April Design Challenge

The challenge this month from the Halmark team Pretty Palettes creator was based on 2 sweet spring illustrations from Heather Powers. You can read more about Heather’s creations here

I chose this one to build my design with

Handpainted design by Heather Powers 

The jumping off point for this necklace was the pretty embossed teardrop in the light mint colour. To showcase it I gathered some mint glass beads and mother of pearl rounds, both I had bought at Michaels quite some time ago. To these I added some peach aventurine rounds that are close to the recommended colours, a multi coloured glass flower and some rectangle shaped chain

Mint Sprigs

I had 2 of the mint coloured glass beads left and decided to make a pair of little stacker earrings using the 3 bead colours. It gives a nice finishing touch. Oh yes, all the metals are silver plated

Mint Sprigs

The set is available in my shop

Mint Sprigs

Please visit the Halcraft site for the blog reveal to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Honey Do List April Design Challenge

For this month the hope was to capture spring in all its early season glory. Being in Minnesota, and with a cool spring so far, there wasn’t much glory yet. Eric Wentling did capture this sweet photo of a chickadee perched on red dogwood twigs

In honour of spring I made this pendant with a totem anchored by a red leaf

Bring the Spring

 I used several ceramic beads by different makers, all strung on a waxed cotton cord, tied to a gunmetal jump ring and suspended from a large antiqued silver plated ring. The makers?

Ceramic leaf – Leslie Watt
Ceramic Melon bead – Gaea Cannaday
Sprocket beads – Joan Miller

The pendant is available in my shop

Please visit SJ Design for the blog reveal to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day

Saturday, 22 April 2017

We’re All Ears April Challenge

The challenge this month was based on eggs in all their forms. Easter eggs, natural egg images, egg colours, egg shapes, whatever struck a creative spark

The inspiration photos of Ukrainian pysanki eggs are amazing and each one is a little treasure. There’s just something about them though that never works for me. Maybe it’s because they just feel too busy, too overwhelming with all their intricate patterns and colours

 For me the natural world, with its many amazing egg colours, shapes and textures, is a better fit. I went looking online and came up with 2 beautiful images. This first one I found online a few weeks ago. Unfortunately I forgot to save the link and have not been able to track it down again

Those purple speckles on the cream background are gorgeous. They inspired this pair of earrings


The ceramic drops, though not quite egg shaped, are an excellent interpretation of the egg. They were created by Natalie McKenna of Grubbi Ceramics. I added glass button drops, also called mushroom beads, in a colourway called summer thunder. I picked out the ones I thought went well with the ceramic drops and used waxed linen in a light purple to tie the stack to antiqued bronze jump rings. The jump rings hang from brass ear wires that I antiqued very lightly.

I also found this image of Lewin bird eggs, this time on Pinterest.

These eggs inspired this pair of earrings


The top egg felt like a close match to the ceramic drops, again from Natalie McKenna. As with the first pair of earrings I used more of the glass button drops from the summer thunder colourway. This time I used a bronze wire for the totem and bright brass ear wires for the final touch.

I hope you enjoyed the earrings. They are available in my shop

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Mother’s Day Sale

The most important women in our lives
We love them
They love us
Let’s celebrate Moms

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Available at the Dufferin Museum

My jewellery and jewellery storage pieces are available in the Gift Shop of the Dufferin County Museum & Archives, now until the beginning of September

My journey with the museum began during the Christmas 2016 season when a good selection of my designs were available in the Gift Shop there.  Despite the terrible winter weather during much of the show period it was a success

The museum has a reputation for promoting not just the history of the area but also cultural and life impacting events throughout the year. In support of their events schedule, there is now a rotating schedule of vendors in the gift shop, and my jewellery is included in the first group. I also make jewellery storage and display units and have some in the gift shop too

 Come and seethe variety of handmade products from local artisans available in the Gift Shop. You may find the perfect item

The Dufferin County Museum & Archives 
936029 Airport Road
Mulmur, ON L9V 0L3

Tuesday to Friday 10:00am until 5:00pm
Saturday 10:00am until 4:00pm
Sunday 12:00 noon until 5:00pm
Monday Closed
Archives and Archives reading room are closed on Sunday and Monday

Admission plus HST
Adults   $5.00
Seniors $4.00
Children (5 to 14 yrs.)  $2.00
Children (under 5)   Free
Family $12.00
Our building is fully wheelchair accessible and provides ample parking for our guests

The DCMA continues to welcome group visits. One of the best things about the DCMA is that there is something here for everyone. Other great reasons to come to the DCMA include great hospitality from friendly staff and volunteers, a huge collection of local artifacts, amazing views over the hills of Mulmur, and a unique architectural space.

To get more information about bringing your group to the museum for a tour visit or call 1-877-941-7787 ext. 32

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Feathered Waves – A New Approach

Way back in August of last year I made this necklace for the Art Bead Scene monthly challenge

I was never totally happy with the necklace. The overall concept was good enough but the pieces just did not add up and didn’t do justice to the large feather. What wasn’t working for me?

The shiny smooth silver plated bail that held the blue iris pendulum bail didn’t fit in with the organic look of the necklace
The one strand of seed beads for the neck cord was just wimpy looking
The toggle bail was too large for that little strand of seed beads

This weekend I took the time to redo the necklace. Now it looks like this

I added 2 more strands of seed beads to the necklace, replaced the bail with one made out of seed beads, making it blend in better and added a silver plated chain to give the wearer options in the length. I also replaced the toggle clasp with a simpler lobster clasp. It fits much better with the size of the seed bead strands

Feathered Waves

The necklace is available in my shop here

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Art Bead Scene March Challenge

It’s time for spring, warmer days, flowers, sun, spring showers, birds and new nests, like this one!

The artwork makes me want to create with birds or flowers or leaves or all of them and lots more yellow and green and blue and and and. I got a little over excited there. J

I loved the inspiration photo and thought I would be making something focusing on the yellow flowers and blue of the sky and distant mountains, fully expecting to use one of the many flower beads in my stash. Then I found one little Humblebeads bird, somehow buried beneath other polymer beads, that I had totally forgotten about

Mama Bird Necklace

That little bird inspired me to make a nest of copper wire that I very slightly darkened with liver of sulphur, just enough to take off the high shine and give depth to all the twists and turns. This mama bird made a very messy nest. Inside it are 3 faceted glass “egg” beads. I put mama bird on a copper spacer, perched as if she was sitting on a branch looking over her nest, and used dark green waxed linen to tie the pieces together

Next I added more waxed linen to the bottom of the nest and tied a variety of glass flowers and leaves to the dangles. The flowers and leaves bring out the blues, greens and pale browns in the art

Mama Bird Necklace

The necklace was coming together but I wasn’t quite happy with the composition until I realized a couple of things. I had made too large of a loop at the top of the nest making a gap between the bird and the nest. After trying to fit a wood bead in there, and not liking the look, I decided to just wrap a pale ivory organza ribbon around the loop several times. That took care of the first issue.

Now to deal with the 2nd thing that didn’t feel right. My sweet little bird is a lovely shade of yellow with some fine details carved in. Despite the bright colour she just did not pop out, so I took artistic liberty and added some Gilders Paste, Iris Blue for the wings, tail feathers and around the eyes, and German Silver, in that lovely gold, for the beak and tail feathers. Now it feels better!

Similar to the last few items I created, these pieces will be going to the Dufferin County Museum where they will be for sale in the gift shop from April 3rd until Sept 5th

Please visit the Art Bead Scene blog for the blog reveal to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Pretty Palettes March Challenge

The Pretty Palettes challenge for this month is inspired by this gorgeous photo of tulips taken last year in Molly Schaller’s front yard

March 2017 Pretty Palettes Inspiration

Such bright happy colours make everything feel so good don’t they? The goal of the monthly challenge is to get participants to purchase and try the great beads available in the Halcraft Bead Gallery collection available at Michaels. I have purchased many of their beads and they are good quality but one of my goals this year is to use beads that fit from my large stash before going and buying more. I was able to do so for this challenge

Last fall Denise Yezbak Moore posted this lovely necklace with the instructions to make it.

Endless Summer Fringe Necklace

At that time I had tried to make my own version, using colours very similar to this month’s colour palette but just could not get it to hang correctly. That failed attempt sat on my bench ever since. I would pick it up and look at it trying to figure out why and just put it back down. Well this month’s photo was the perfect kick to try again and this necklace came about

In the Tulip Field Necklace

I used glass rounds, brass wire, chain and clasp, a gold plated flower cap and cotton floss for the tassel. Matching earrings came together next

In the Tulip Field Earrings

I’m so happy with how well they work together

It was so much fun finally conquering that necklace I wanted to extend that feeling. Same as with the necklace I had some cheerful orange and yellow faceted glass beads sitting on my bench for months. They were there for so long I forgot why I had pulled them. I matched them with wood beads, more brass, a large rudraksha seed from India and two polymer clay flowers for this necklace

Spring Flowers Necklace

The rudraksha seed didn’t quite have the appeal I was looking for so I decided to add Gilders Paste in copper. Not quite thrilled with how that turned out I added more Gilders Paste, this time in African Bronze which added a nice olive green touch. It’s very subtle and can barely be seen in the photo but I’m happy with it.

With some of the beads left over and 2 more of the poly clay flowers I made these matching earrings

Spring Flowers Earrings

Even though I don’t think it’s necessary to make matched sets, I like how these both turned out

The same as the last few items I created these pieces will be going to the Dufferin County Museum where they will be for sale in the gift shop from April 3rd until Sept 5th

Please visit the Halcraft blog for the blog reveal to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day

Friday, 24 March 2017

Honey Do List March Design Challenge

The challenge that Eric Wentling planned this month was to be about the Minnesota winter in what he calls the tundra. Then 600F weather came along and melted most everything on him. A trip down to the river in Belle Plaine led him to discover these melting ice crystals tucked into the bank where they were sheltered from the sun and warmth

Photo courtesy of Eric Wentling

There’s only one thing that works for this inspiration photo and that’s quartz crystal, so I made these pendants

Crystal Cave Pendants

I saw these pendants in my mind months and months ago, long before they became reality. The brass and copper bails are a simple design that I made, cutting the metals, texturing them, applying liver of sulphur to add a patina, and adding the holes

Once that was done I added a protective coating of ProtectaClear. I’ve used this product before and it does an excellent job of protecting metals, so long as it’s applied under the right conditions. The metal must be spotlessly clean, with no oils from skin or other sources on the metal. Otherwise the protective coating will lift right off

The next day the ProtectaClear was dry and it was time to form the metal into the bail shape. That’s when I realized I forgot to anneal the metal pieces before sealing them. Uh Oh. Well I decided it was time to just go for it and form the bails. Thankfully I was able to do so with assistance from a pair of bail forming pliers

The neck cords were made with mousetail and waxed cotton with different end crimps and clasps. I varied the lengths for no special reason other than for fun

On this last pendant the photo shows how crooked the bead hole is. This wasn’t obvious when I bought the gemstone but sure stands out now. I am working on a different way to attach this stone to the bail, thinking of doing some sort of wire wrap around the stone to hold it securely and attaching it sideways. I’ll post about how that turns out

Two of these pendants will be going to the Dufferin County Museum where they will be for sale in the gift shop from April 3rd until Sept 5th

Please visit SJ Design  for the blog reveal to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day