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For this round of the Bead Soup Party (hosted by the lovely and talented Lori Anderson) my partner was Kate of Tropical Blonde. She sent me all sorts of lovely pieces to work with including three focals. I was so sure I’d have at least two pieces to reveal today, but I kept working and working the first piece that I didn’t have time for a second.

I tend to mull over projects for a long time before I start putting them together. One of the three focals surprised me by sticking in my mind. About the same time I received my first package from Kate, Susan Lenart Kazmer of Objects and Elements introduced her Industrial Chic line. The wheels really started turning for a more “industrial” piece.

Here is what I’ve created…

I took Kate’s piece and decided to oxidize it, which was a scary but perfect decision because then it matched the chain. I created my own headpins in three different designs. Aside from the two Industrial Chic pieces and the metal component I put behind the smaller one, I used only the beads that Kate sent.

A lot of the details are really subtle. I took seed beads and 28 gauge wire and wrapped them around some of the links.

I also wire wrapped some beads over the chain.

I did create my own clasp.

I had a lot of fun creating this piece. I feel like I stretched myself to do something that was different for me and I enjoyed it.

Thank you so much Kate for all that you sent! I’m hoping to have some time this week before the party is over to create a second piece. The polymer clay components have been talking to me, and I still need to use your clasp.

Don’t forget to visit the others revealing their pieces today…

Don’t forget to comment. Each comment (one per person please) on this post will enter you into my little contest for this piece…

I’ve talked enough for one day, so I’ll tell you all about this piece tomorrow.

Update 6/27: The contest is now closed, but please continue to comment. I love and treasure all of your feedback.

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Bead Soup Party: Day 2

And the party continues. Be sure to visit these blogs today for some more fun and beautiful reveals.

I’m still hard at work completing my piece for tomorrow. All I can really tease you with at this point is that it’s different for me but I think it brings together a lot of things I’ve been doing lately.

There are 97 participants in the second batch of the Bead Soup Blog Party. Last time, we all revealed on the same day, and it was a bit overwhelming.  This time, Lori has split us up into smaller servings, which I think is a fantastic idea.  (If you promise not to tell, I could actually use a few more days because I’m not done yet!)

My plan is to put a post up each day of the soup creations revealed that day.  I’m sure many of us will be doing the same.  My reveal is coming up on Day 3 of the party, which is Monday, so please come back.

To add a little fun to the party, I’m going to be doing my very first giveaway. All comments on the post where I reveal my creation will be entered into a drawing for a piece created with components from the party. Only one comment per person will qualify. At midnight on the last day of the party (June 26th), I’ll be closing the comments.  I’ll pick a winner a couple of days after that.

As for what you’ll win…

you’ll just have to come back on Day 3.  I can tell you for sure, that I have that piece made, so it’s a done deal. 😉

So, here is the list for Day 1.

Have fun seeing what everyone has created, especially my partner, Kate!  And don’t forget to comment here.  The giveaway entries start right now!

11:00pm update: I decided my original contest idea was a little too complicated, so I’m limiting the entries to comments on the post where I reveal my piece.

Happy Birthday to Me

It was my birthday over the weekend, and I’ve been blessed with some really amazing family and friends.  The actual day was on Saturday and my boys treated me to breakfast and took me out to dinner.  I spent the day with extended family on Sunday, and on Monday I hung out with my girlfriends for dessert.  It was a great way to celebrate getting older.

One of the gifts I received was an amazing macro lens for my camera.  I’ve wanted a macro for a very long time, but the price had me not seriously considering it for a while.  I was very, very surprised to receive one as a gift. It’s well beyond my skill-level, so I have lots of learning to do, but I wanted to share a few pictures I’ve taken.

some of my metal stamps

weeds

tiny pink flowers

tiny bee

rain drops on grass

I am so excited about the potential to get really nice pictures of my jewelry. I love being able to take pictures of nature too. And it’s supposed to be a fantastic portrait lens.

I have some books coming from the library that I hope I’ll be able to use to learn more about using this type of lens well.  I am definitely having fun with the practice shots!

My Bead Soup partner, Kate from Tropical Blond sent me some great pieces to work with.  I am in love with copper and was so excited to get two copper focals to work with.

While I’m going to try to make pieces with both focals, I don’t know if I’m going to have the time.  I think I’m already a little surprised by which one is grabbing my attention more.  I’m going to leave that in suspense, but if you knew me and my color loves, you might be a bit surprised with which piece is probably going to get designed first.

Then she sent me this lovely assortment of beads.

This is a fun mix of Rutilated Quartz ovals, 4mm imitation turquoise diagonal cubes, genuine turquoise rondelles, and wooden rondelles.  I think my favorite though are the pale yellow beads that I forgot to get a name for.  I just love them mixed in with the blue and brown.  They make a great third-color contrast.

Then, earlier this week she sends me a surprise email that she’s sending me another package with some of her polymer clay designs.  I’ve never worked with any polymer clay pieces before, so I was really excited.  And who isn’t excited about fun, new beads to play with.

I received that package yesterday, and she didn’t disappoint!  I had a small creation figured out almost right away.

Now I might have my work cut out for me. I really want to make something fun out of everything, but I think I just might run out of time.

My studio space is a nook carved out of the bonus room in our house.  I share this room with my young boys’ toys, a large television equipped with video games, and other miscellany.  A few months ago, I bought and assembled an L-shaped desk that gave some boundaries and definition to my studio space.

About nine months ago, I had the brilliant idea to get a white utility cabinet and mount it on one of the walls in my space.  I have all sorts of stuff and very, very little storage space.  The three cabinet unit seemed like a perfect solution.  The only problem was that it would be impossible for just my husband and I to install.

Finally, last weekend, my dad and brother were able to come over and provide the problem-solving skills and brute strength required to install my cabinet.  I am so excited to have this space.  There are so many things that need to be accessible, but up and out of the way of little fingers.

I was disappointed to discover that the bins I originally bought to go in the cabinets were not the right size to efficiently use the space.  But I was thrilled to find the perfect bins at Target.  They are clear with green latches, come in three different sizes, and I love them!

Somewhere along the way, I also discovered some great little units at Tuesday Morning.  They were marketed for a child’s craft room (who has such a thing??), but they are going to be great for some of my beady stuff.  They were so easy to put together that I might go back and see if I can find some more.

I’m still working hard at organizing the space, but I’m so excited about how it’s all coming together.

For the Bead Soup this time around, my partner is Kate from Tropical Blonde.  For the last Bead Soup, I sent some beads that I already had in my stash.  This time around, I actually made my own components, and let me tell you, that’s pretty nerve-wracking.

I’ve been making jewelry for about eight years now, but I’ve just recently found a more focused interest in making metal components, so I feel pretty new and lacking in experience.  Kate’s response was very positive, so I feel encouraged.

I saw the clasp design in a book and basically copied it.  The pendant started off as a piece of copper sheet that I’d textured.  Then I wanted to rivet the spiral to it because I thought it would tie in nicely with the clasps.  I wanted a word on the pendant, and originally I was going to stamp on a spiral, but when I came up with “LAUGH”, it seemed natural for it to be in the shape of a smile.

“Whimsical” was the term I heard a lot when I was showing the piece before I finished it up and mailed it.  I don’t think that was my original plan, but I like it.  I’m also pretty proud of the vintage Lucite riveted onto the piece.  I really like trying to incorporate beads into my metalwork because I haven’t seen it very often.

Here is some of the rest of the Soup that I sent.  After I took the pictures, I added some more beads, but it was late at night and I was too tired to lay everything out for pictures again.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what Kate creates!