Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bead Hoarders Blog Hop - Challenge Accepted!

I missed the deadline to sign up for Lori's amazing Bead Soup Blog Party for this year, so when I saw her post about the Bead Hoarders Blog Hop I rushed over to join the fun! 

All participants are, you guessed it, stashers of beads and jewelry findings!  It's difficult not to stash a little because it's difficult not to buy every pretty bead and clasp that I find - sometimes those beads seem so special that I end up waiting for a great inspiration to use them, or for the right accent beads to come along, or, ahem, I forget about them....  I like to think my beading area is fairly well organized and most of my supplies are visible, but some items, especially focal beads, are "stored" in a drawer system, out of sight.

Some of my stashed focal beads - these are my choices 
for this year's Bead Hoarders Blog Hop!

So for this challenge, I've decided to select some of my oldest focal beads and *hopefully* some of my older bead strands to use.  I could have done this on my own, but it's way more fun to accept a challenge and get creative!  Of course, if this Bead Hoarders Blog Hop turns into a yearly thing, it kinda encourages me to keep a least a few items stashed.....

I've picked out accent beads for one of the pendants - the pink quartz one.  Pink is a hard color for me to work with, almost as hard as yellow!  So I chose to start with it and I really like how the design is coming out! 

Destash #1 - Rose quartz focal bead and glass accent beads.
What will my final design be?!

I'll post more sneak peak updates until the July 20th reveal - when I'll show off my final designs and have links to everyone else's!  I love blog hop days!

Follow my link above, or the button/badge on the top left of my blog, to sign up, read more about this challenge, or visit Lori's amazing webpages!  Reveal/Blog Hop is July 20th!

Happy Creating,

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

And the Winner Is.....

Silly me, I held my final giveaway (at least for doubling blog followers) over the Memorial Day weekend!  Poor planning aside, I had one lucky participant, LJ!  She responded to my winning email and chose her custom colors for a mini rose garden pendant

Here's her prize:

Congrats again, LJ and enjoy!

For anyone else interested in one of my mini flower garden pendants just follow the link!  I have a few selections in my Etsy shop, PZ Designs, and I LOVE taking custom orders!

Happy Creating,

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Art of Mixing Jewelry Making Techniques

While I'm waiting to hear back from my winner and only entrant, I thought I'd post about something else!  If I don't get a response, I'll reopen the Double or Nothing Giveaway for another week - so check back and see if you can enter to win a free customized necklace by your truly!  I'm thinking that having the giveaway go over the Memorial Day weekend wasn't my best idea.....

Details on my Mountain Sunrise Necklace.  
Mixed techniques include beadweaving and wire wrapping.

So onto The Art of Mixing Jewelry Making Techniques - or Combining Beadweaving with Other Techniques, since I love my beadweaving....

I've recently finished 3 necklaces that combine some beadweaving, some stringing, and some wire wrapping to make a completed piece.  All of these designs have been submitted to Fire Mountain Gems beading contest, and now I'm waiting....but I won't make you wait to see my designs! 

Mountain Sunrise Necklace - herringbone spiral rope on the right
and wire wrapped bamboo leaf agate on the left. 

I'm ridiculously proud of how my designs have grown over the last year - it means making a necklace takes twice as long as I contemplate each part of it before moving on or adjusting it to make a cohesive whole, but the end result is worth it.  Especially when a piece is as versatile as the one above - Mountain Sunrise can be worn asymmetrically as shown or with the rope in back, so the agates are displayed in the front.

Siren's Call Series #2 - pearl netting, wire wrapping, and stringing.

Part of the reason I've begun mixing techniques is to change up classic, fully beadwoven designs.  A good example is shown both above and below - my 2nd in the Siren's Call Series - my pearl netted piece.  The pearl netting is a classic and lovely beadwoven design, but I needed to have something different to submit to a design contest.  So I broke up the pearl netting with some fire polished beads, a off-center focal of glass sea shells, and a handmade wire clasp.

Siren's Call Series #2 - pearl netting, wire wrapping, and stringing.
Handmade beaded hook and loop clasp.

The end result has classic beauty with some design flair - maybe enough to have my piece move onto the next round of the contest, maybe not, but it was still a challenge for me and I am happy with the end result!  The final necklace I'm showing was a real challenge - I remade parts of it several times before I was happy with the overall effect.

Siren's Call Series #1 - Black Shell Necklace
Beadweaving, stringing, some wire wrapping, some dapping.

I love how this necklace sits on the body.  While the above 2 pieces were asymmetrical in design, this one is symmetrical to the hilt - even the clasp was specially made to continue the symmetrical theme!  Both sides of the clasp are fully functional.  I was lucky to find 2 different sized naturally black shells that worked so well for this necklace....

Siren's Call Series #1 - Black Shell Necklace
Beadwoven shell settings, rope, toggle loops; 
wire wrapped toggle bar, dapped gold links, strung sides.

Have fun changing it up!  Learn a new technique to combine with one you are comfortable (maybe too comfortable???) with - it's sure to let you design a wonderful piece that won't be too stressful to learn.  Instead of an entire piece that is knotted, strung, wire wrapped, beadwoven, or otherwise put together, try mixing a couple techniques!  I loved the challenge of designing around several techniques in a piece - it opened up more design possibilities and creativity for me.

Happy Creating,