Sunday, 27 April 2014

Mojo Challenge: Week 6 - The Poetry of Beads

"Create a piece of jewelry inspired by a poem, quote or a song."
Thanks Heather for the great multiweek challenge. Click here for the link for this weeks post for the multiweek MOJO Challenge.


I was fortunate to be able to attend a week long retreat with Susan Lenart Kazmer at Hacienda Mosiaco in Puerto Vallarta this past winter. At the start of the week Susan gave each of us a word for the week --- mine was discovery  ---  at the time I was somewhat unimpressed with my word - I wanted something sexier, more romantic, more "something"......  But as the weeks go by I am more and more intrigued by my word - life is a discovery and I am in discovery mode. I am almost 60 and I had been thinking my time for discovery was ending - I thought I was moving into a stage of contentment - but discovery????? Well here I am discoverying so many things - new jewellery techniques, new recipes, new paths to walk, it seems there is new around every corner.

I have taken some liberties with this weeks challenge. There is no poem, quote, song, ????????  just a word. I did not want that word to be too obvious. I wanted it to be a discovery. I also wanted it to be a piece I could wear constantly. I have stamped a single letter on each disk and hung them vertically from a sterling chain. Could not be simpler but it achieved my objective. (And I hope it is at least a nod to the challenge this week.

Thanks for visiting. Enjoy!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

7th Do Over Challenge Reveal

I decided to give the 7th-do-over-challenge hosted by Jeannie of JLD Studio a try. Jeannie ships you an older piece of her jewellery and your challenge is to redo the piece. Thanks for the challenge Jeannie.

Pieces I received ....

I received a piece created with dark blue and black paper beads, light blue plastic flower beads. silver spacers and wire wrapped silver beads. The instructions said it was OK to create one piece from all the pieces I received. Since I like "weightier" necklaces I decided to combine the paper and the silver wrapped beads, add some black vinyl heishi and some African glass donuts. I used the original silver toggle and added some silver spaces to complete the piece.
detail with challenge beads

Thanks for visiting. Enjoy!
And one more this ----- here is the list of participants. Hop around and see where creative inspiration has struck.
Jeannie K Dukic
Judy Campbell
Veralynne Malone
Christine Murrow
Shai Williams
Lola Surwillo
Christina Hickman
Katrina Taylor
Becky Pancake
Roxanne Mendoza
Charlene Jacka
Inge von Roos
Mary Govaars
Penny Houghton
Beti Horvath
Ginger Davis-Allman
Molly Alexander
Linda Britt

Friday, 18 April 2014

We're All Ears: April


Earrings Everyday is hosting their monthly challenge based on this image from the Pottery Barn catalogue. Thank you so much for hosting.

A very interesting inspiration piece if I do say so.
Yellow and green? birds? berries? I had to give this one a lot of thought.
I decided to do something new for me. You may already be aware that earrings are not my favorite things to make ---- so ---- I decided to focus on shape, and then colour in the inspiration photo.
The first pair of earrings remind me of the stack of plates in the foreground of the photo. Simple but effective I think. I know I will wear them.
Colour was more difficult. I searched and searched my stash for olive green...... then any green, I love green - why are there no green beads when I want them......  I think these beads hit the nail on the head. And the openness reminds me of the branches.
Thanks for visiting. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Mojo Challenge: Week 5

"Take apart a few older designs and use the pieces to create a new creation." 

Thanks Heather for the great multiweek challenge. Click here for the link for this weeks challenge of the multiweek MOJO Challenge.

This is the necklace I decided to take apart. Dark wooden beads as well as matte lucite beads. Not a combination I would tend to use today. But the beads are good.

But what should I do - I do not think the small wooden beads have enough presence to become the main focus of the necklace..... but ....... they do mix very well with the bicone banana leaf beads from Mzuribeads. I love the natural feel of these beads - great to combine with the wooden beads. I am really pleased with the new necklace.

Now what do I do with the Lucite beads? Maybe mix them with silver?

another after
I used more Mzuribeads, some vintage Moroccan silver, some Thai and Bali silver, some larger lucite beads and of course the original lucite beads. Much better use of the beads from the original necklace I believe.

Thanks for visiting. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A New Kind Of Candy

I have been doing something new to improve my design skills. I am taking photos of completed necklaces that I love and analyzing what it is I like. (I am much more objective with a photo than I am with the actual piece.) The photos do not have to be great but they must allow me to see the components. Here is a group of those photos taken of a necklace I shared yesterday. I love the necklace. I worked very hard to create a piece that I am very proud of. I am getting ready to make more in this style so I am studying this piece to see what it is I love. The repetition of colour, the shapes of beads, the mix of sizes,.......

Have a great day --- Enjoy!

finished piece


Monday, 14 April 2014

Is Simple Best?

I often admire necklaces that are composed of many different beads and involve a very intricate pattern. I also look at multi-colour pieces with admiration. I will occasionally try to use this technique. Sometimes with more success than others. I find I like simple classic design, sometimes with a twist. I usually like to let the main components shine and let the "extras" add something without taking away from the main components.

The following necklace is very simple, made with silver and vintage amber. I really think this piece speaks of beautiful components. I like to wear this necklace alone as well as mixed with other pieces. It stands on its own as well as part of a group.

This piece, made of bone, wood and small brass spacers speaks with a somewhat louder voice. Still very quiet as far a colour goes, the necklace is far busier. Still lovely.

The next piece (made with silver, dyed jade, turquoise and red coral) is by far the busiest piece in my opinion and I do love it. I think this piece has received more compliments than any other piece I have made. Not sure why but I think I should try to figure it out.

This last necklace is very busy. It took me a very long time to create what I considered a successful piece. It is actually a variety of beads on a single long strand that I have doubled so it will fit in the photo. This is a wonderful layering piece that also captures my heart.

I am trying to figure out what makes a necklace successful to my eye. What is lovely is very much a personal thing but I think the design of a necklace has rules that when followed will often improve your odds for a successful piece. I try to read as much as I can on design and practice a lot.

Thanks for visiting. Enjoy!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

It's Sunday and I Have Some Time

It is Sunday today - just plus 1 C but the sun is trying to shine ------ we have had some warmer weather but the sun does not come out as much as I might like -

We had another great hike in Kananaskis on Friday. The weather ran the gamut from sun to snow to sun again. It was plus 7 so very nice. The snow is definitely still there in the mountains.

The hike started innocently enough - the path was well marked and almost impossible to go the wrong way......

We followed the red snowshoe markers.... Very helpful in deep snow when the actual trail is not visible or you are walking through what would be a marsh in the summer.

The vistas are always mind blowing.....

This photo gives you an indication of how much snow is still there. You would normally stand in front of this sing to read it........

Obviously deeper here......

At one point the trail appeared to head left. We were pretty sure the packed trail went straight ahead but since the used trail headed left we thought there may be an issue with the normal path. We headed left following the snowshoe marks. Within 10 or 15 steps I was up to my waist in snow. At that point I started laughing so hard I fell over backwards. My friend came back to help me and sunk up to her waist as well. After much laughing we got ourselves out of the holes and promptly turned around for the snow covered but well packed trail. The hike was much easier again.

This has to be my favourite sign on the trail. Not sure what the penalty is for going the wrong way on a hiking path???????

We had a great day. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014


How many of you agonize over your blog statistics? I know I do. Since the New Year, I have been blogging and posting to Facebook on a regular basis. I am still not certain that I understand the meaning of all the statistics that are available, but I will continue to learn more about their meaning and about their usefulness.
So far, I believe that I am doing okay with my posts, but I would really like to achieve a larger response. Sometimes I can feel a bit frustrated, but most often I enjoy the process of creating these entries. It is important to me not to disappoint anyone by adding an entry about something that is not interesting. I often find myself wondering - is this post good enough? Is it something that someone would want to read? I know that everyone’s time is valuable, so I do not want to waste anyone's time. My follower number has gone up and down by one person twice over the last few weeks. I wonder if I did something wrong for someone to leave, since they have not been here very long. That also seems silly - people have a lot on their plates and maybe it has nothing to do with me...... But then maybe it does. I am still trying to find my voice as well as learning how to create content that people will want to read.
Let me know about what your experience is like reading my blog. Your feedback helps me to set reasonable standards for myself. My blog goals are to create a blog that is;

  • a record of my work and

  • an enjoyable and informative experience for those people who read it.
 This blog is not about selling jewellery, it is about sharing my work. But lately, I have been getting some requests for prices and for more photos of some pieces. And now that my website is almost finished, I need to decide if I should mention it in this blog. My web site has a shopping cart, photos of everything and even descriptions that explain the materials used.
I welcome your feedback.
I am also venturing down a new path and am currently developing a new line of jewellery that I believe will be named something like "URBAN TRIBAL". I have completed my first piece and am now working on a second. The pieces will have a very raw feel, but will also have a contemporary edge. 

I am planning on incorporating ‘softer elements’ like leather and ribbon for the stringing material, which is a departure from the ‘hard elements’ of wire or chain that I would normally use.
Any ideas or thoughts that you wish to share with me;

  • about blog content,

  • about mentioning the name of my new web site in this blog or

  • about “Urban Tribal”
will be very much appreciated.


Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Tuesday Eye Candy

I sound like a broken record - not sure how much longer that figure of speech will be understood - but ---- it is time for eye candy....

I think I have fallen off the rails with my blog and facebook. I have allowed some of my routines to fall by the wayside and have not really been accomplishing much in the way of jewellery creation. But that is why today is very good - since I intend to post eye candy it does not matter what I have done lately - only what is in my past (respectable past) that I hope you will enjoy.

The light this morning is terrible for taking photos - bright and sunny :) - but absolutely wonderful to enjoy!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Monday Morning Somewhere

Good morning, hope you all had a great weekend - I had a very great time.

As usual, we walked / hiked in the mountains Friday. Lake Louise to be more precise. Since I have been away for some time we are slowly working up to a real hike. On Friday we walked around the lake. At the start of the walk the snow was falling. We were walking into large fluffy flakes over a rather rough path. (We shared the path with a horse drawn sled so smooth the path was not.) By the turn around point the snow had stopped falling and the sun came out - so beautiful to see at least a hint of mountains. By the time we retuned it was lunch time so we indulged at the chateau. Such a treat!

Saturday was uneventful - worked on some jewellery, finished some more ----

Sunday was time for another walk (in town this time) --- we walked along the Bow River and got an up close look at some of the damage from last June's floods. There were points along the path that you could tell the water from the river (now many feet below us) would have been over our heads during the peak of the river flow - large expanses of the bank are gone - it will be interesting to see what the new version of the pathway looks like.

Sorry but the camera was left at home during these walks.... I will do better next time....

I have one necklace that I am very pleased with from my work this weekend. I posted it to Facebook but I thought I would share it here as well. Most of my other work was for challenges so they will be shared in due time.)

This piece was inspired during a class I took from Susan Lenart Kazmer during a retreat at Hacienda Mosiaco in Puerto Vallarta. My tablemate Susan Bolding was also instrumental in its development. Various gauges and lengths of wire went into this prototype. Circles have always played a part in my work and this piece says so much to me. I am already working on another incarnation.


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Inspired by Reading Book Club (March): An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor

Here I am back - I have been absent for some time from this group and have missed it tremendously. Andrew Thornton of The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton has been our gracious host since the beginning of this group. The above link provides a recap of the Challenge for March as well as a few details of the group. Andrew selects a very interesting group of books to read - not all my favourites - but definitely expanding my reading style. I can honestly say I have enjoyed all the books I have read in the group and I have read more than I have created with.

The selection for March, An Irish Country Doctor, has been a particular favorite of mine. An "easy" read it has led me to read more of the books in this series. But inspiration? I had a hard time with this --- colour seems to be my inspiration lately. But "green" is so cliché. I wanted more. But what? After much contemplating with no ideas, I received a package in the mail. An order I had forgotten about ---- but I made up my mind very quickly ----- green it was - with a brass stencil of a number - 1, Main Street,  Ballubucklebo - the address of Doctors O'Reilly and Laverty.

I torch fired the number onto a copper blank - the hint of blue is from over firing. I was going to redo it but decided to leave it - the house number would be old so I decided to leave it with the "aged appearance". The ceramic pieces are a very subtle green (for Ireland??) or perhaps for the bricks on the house or perhaps for the moss that I am sure would be abundant.

The links to other participants can be found on Andrew's blog.