Last Harvest Reveal

November 18, 2015

Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery periodically puts together challenge kits.  This month two challenges are on display.  I participated in the Last Harvest challenge.

Each kit consists of some special beads and a seed bead mix that Andrew puts together.

Last Harvest Kit

I always inspect the luxury bead blend very closely.

Last Harvest blend  I like to include some kind of beadweaving with Andrew’s kits, since he so kindly puts together these luscious mixes, aka the luxury bead blends.  But I also like to try to do something different that I haven’t done before when I do challenges.

Usually I spend a couple of weeks thinking about the challenge before deciding what I will do, but this time for some reason, the idea popped into my head after only a few minutes.  Maybe it had something to do with the fact that for the first time, I sat down with my sketchbook.

I decided I wanted to decorate the silk ribbon with bead embroidery.  I had to do some research on how to do the edging, but Google to the rescue.

Here is the finished necklace:curled up


B’Sue Boutiques Build a Line Masterclass

November 18, 2015

I decided to take the plunge and applied to participate in the Build A Line Masterclass sponsored by Brenda Sue Landsdowne of B’Sue Boutiques.  I got my acceptance notice and am raring to go!  Class starts January 5th, with blog posts on our progress in January, February and April for the reveal.  Thinking about joining in?  Get your application in by Wednesday; I heard there are a couple of spots left. See the class syllabus here:


B’Sue Boutiques Change it Up Challenge and Blog Hop

September 24, 2015


Welcome to the Change It Up challenge sponsored by B’Sue Boutiques. Our assignment was to take one of four specific raw brass stampings selected by B’Sue, and use it in a different way than it usually is. I picked the stamping pictured above, which is typically used as a cuff base. I cut it into three pieces as shown (shout out to the most excellent metal shears available at I was able to get three usable pieces using those shears.

The other part of the challenge was to follow the theme of “vintage flair”, vintage but updated. As I write this, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe I got that part wrong. Oh, well, it’s what I did, so moving along…

This challenge was hard for me because I don’t generally use large stampings and vintage is not my thing. But that’s the reason I participate in challenges, to try new things that I might not otherwise have thought of.

When I think “vintage”, I think of dried roses, muted tones and an excess of decoration. Lots of gilt, lace, pearls and bits and pieces. I decided that to update it, I would cut down on the decoration and make a more restrained piece. I succeeded so well that when I was done I thought it was too plain, so I added some bling.

Just to make it even more of a challenge, I decided to make roses out of polymer clay, which I’ve only done once before. Definitely got some practice there – I probably made a dozen before I got enough that I thought were usable.

Once I got the pendant made, I had to figure out how to hang it. B’Sue has a video on making necklaces for large pieces that was very helpful. I made a chain out of book chain and wrapped loop sections of creamy glass pearls that added the weight needed to support the pendant.

It still seemed to be missing something, so I added a dangling chain of pearls to the pendant.

And here is a shot of the entire piece:

Below is the list of blog hop participants. Click to check out what the other participants did with their pieces.

September 25, 2015

Brenda Sue Lansdowne

Jewelry Making Outside the Box

Mary Deis

The Rose Sword

Jann Tague

Clever Designs

Lori Beekman


Renee Hong

Fine and Dandy Jewelry

Cynthia Wainscott

Exotic Peru Jewelry

Dana Hickey

Magpie Approved

Mary Beth Quigley-Spiker

Q Settings

Karen Eaton

KJewelry Creations

Shari Gardner

SLG Jewelry Designs

Alison Huie

Ally’s Baubles

Pamela Anger

Novegatti Designs

Carole Carlson

Beadsophisticate (that’s me)

Cindy Peterson

Howling Dog Jewelry

Marcia Tuzzolino

Aurora Designs

Charlotte Smothers

Sea Horse Ranch Life

Catherine Shattuck

Victorian Rose Boutique

Kelly Wymer

Winged Wisdom Enchantments

Clare Wells Nemeth

Papercrafting Magic

Erin Whitacre

Shattered Time

Lynda O’Mara

Lomara Creative

Ginger Hammond

Lynn Leigh Designs

Ingrid Anderson

Lilis Gems Artisan Jewelry

Deb Beechy


Harry Wood

Oscar Crow

Delyssa Maxwell

Past Time Fancies

Paula Gaskill

Lovely Layla Bugs

Irene Hoffman

Heart’s Dezire by Irene

Alexandra Sefton

Imaginary Jewelry and Altered Art

Leslie Carver

Adorn Divine Designs

Andrew Thornton Challenge – To Bee or Not To Bee – Beadsophisticate

May 20, 2015
Sweet Honey bead blend

Sweet Honey bead blend

I couldn’t resist the title, not that I tried very hard to do so. You’ll see why in a minute.

This month’s Allegory Gallery challenge by Andrew Thornton is a honey of kit, appropriately entitled “Sweet Honey”. As usual, the kit was packed full of goodies.

Sweet Honey kit

Sweet Honey kit

The mystery component is always a pendant handmade by Andrew and always fits the theme, but this time he outdid himself. The pendant looks just like a honeycomb, or what I imagine a honeycomb looks like. It’s not as if I’ve ever got close enough to a beehive to see one. I’m allergic to bee stings, and consequently afraid of bees. But I digress.

I used the seed beads that came with the kit to whip up some flower beads and strung them with some of the other beads in the kit to make a necklace for the pendant. Then I made a bee out of polymer clay and painted it. There is serendipity involved, because I was riding home on the Metro after work the day I was planning to paint it and thinking I would need to find an image on the internet. I turned the page of my newspaper, and there was an article on the honeybee, complete with a color picture!

So I painted my bee and perched it on the pendant. But then I was shaken with doubt. Does it look better with it or without it?

Sweet Honey necklace with bee

Sweet Honey necklace with bee

Sweet Honey necklace without bee

Sweet Honey necklace without bee

Here are closeups of the pendant portion, with and without bee.

Pendant with bee

Pendant with bee

Pendant, no bee

Pendant, no bee

To bee or not to bee? Tell me what you think in the comments.

Here are the links to the other participants in the challenge:

Alison Herrington
Shaiha Williams
Ann Schroeder
Christina Hickman
Dolores Raml
Cheri Reed
Sarajo Wentling
Karin Grosset Grange
Gloria Allen
Andrew Thornton, Kate Enniss-Reid, and Sandi Bass

Andrew Thornton Challenge – Beadsophisticate

April 15, 2015

Periodically, I have been able to snag one of Andrew Thornton’s challenge kits – he only makes 19 or 24 available for sale, so you have to be quick. This month I was able to get in on Frenzied Motion. This is what I received to work with:

Kit contents

Kit contents

Frenzied motion bead blend

In addition, Andrew always includes a handmade “mystery component”, which is not revealed until a couple of weeks before the challenge reveal.

Sometimes when I get the kit open, I don’t know what to make and have to think about it for a while, but when I looked at this one, “bracelet” popped into my head, and that’s even without thinking about the challenge title. Andrew does a great job naming the kits; he has a way with translating inspiration into beads. I put it aside until the last minute (as usual), but was happy I did, because in the intervening time, I received an order containing the perfect bracelet finding for this project.

Frenzied Motion challenge bracelet

Frenzied Motion challenge bracelet

The mystery component is the round piece in the middle. Next to it is what I am coming to think of as my signature, a peyote beaded bead. Beaded beads seem to keep popping up in my work, so I plan to explore that.

I thought a shot of the piece on the hand would be nice. Not having worked with this bracelet finding before, I learned that there are four ways to put it on, and three of them are wrong.

on the hand

on the hand

The first time, the mystery component was back side up. The second and third tries had the dangles under the wrist. Fourth time was the charm. Sheesh!

While doing this project, I also remembered that there is a reason that I generally work with wrapped loops instead of simple loops. Lesson learned.

Here are the links to the other participants in this month’s challenge:

Christina Hickman
Michelle McCarthy
Marybeth Rich
Alison Herrington
Ann Schroeder
Andrew Thornton, Laurel Ross, Joanne Goldberg, Lisa Mendum
Christy Porter

JAC Blog Hop – Spring Cleaning

March 30, 2015

spring cleaning suppliesEach month, some of the members of the Jewelry Artisans Community blog on the same topic.  No secret about today’s topic, it’s spring cleaning.

I don’t normally do spring cleaning as such, as I clean my studio whenever it either gets too messy to work, or I am stuck for inspiration, but this year the timing was perfect as I’m in the process of moving back into my home. I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed my little studio with it’s four windows and a skylight.  I’ve been working in a basement with one meager window and poor overhead lighting, so this is a blessing.

Since the house has been unoccupied for two years, there was plenty of cleaning to be done, mostly dusting (microfiber is my friend), but I’ve also wiped down all the shelves and tables with some Clorox just to be on the safe side.  You’d think it would be easy to just put all my stuff back where it was, but the thing is, in the time that I’ve been gone, I’ve changed.

I still have my giant bead collection, which goes on the shelf units hubby made for me.  If I space the shelves every two holes, my shoeboxes fit perfectly without wasting any space. (Plug for shoeboxes from the Container Store, they are sturdy and stand up to the weight of the beads.)

shelves 2

I’m not sure what is going to go on the lower shelf of each unit.  I originally intended to store my kiln on one of them, but I have decided not to pursue metal clay anymore, so I don’t think I need the kiln handy; it can go in the basement shop.

I have a long built-in desk that runs the width of the room.  Right now it is set up for working with polymer clay, because I needed to complete a project before my worktable was moved over, but I think I will reserve it for office work going forward.  Here is where my laptop will sit, and I’ll have my paperwork center there too.  I hope to leave a good-sized area of the desk free so I can do larger projects.

office desk

I’m debating regarding painting.  I’ve taken up art journaling and mixed media work as well as polymer clay.  I planned to do that in the downstairs workshop, but I really want to do it in the sunny room.  Maybe I’ll move that downstairs in the winter.  I have 3 Elfa carts filled with polymer clay and painting paraphernalia.  I’m not sure it will all fit in here.

Across from the shelves is my worktable.  You can see my tool rack on the left and the beginnings of my soldering station on the right.  I bought a revolving soldering pan, but I’m not exactly sure where it is at the moment. There are a ton of boxes in this house right now.  Normally my pasta machine is anchored at the right side of the worktable, but I need to make room for my enameling torch, so I might make this the “hot” side and make a clay space on the office desk where it is now.


Last is this corner.  Pay no attention to the chair, it is an antique from my husband’s side of the family, and is only in here to keep it safe from the moving hubbub.  My big lateral filing cabinet used to sit in this corner, but hubby has made a place for it in the adjacent mud room, so I have some extra space to play with.  I think I will put a comfy chair and a reading lamp there, for when I want to leaf through an art book for inspiration.  This will also be my video booth when I get around to making some videos.

corner with chair

As you can see, I still have quite a bit of sprucing up to do, but at least I can work in here now.

Read what other members of the JAC have to say about spring cleaning at these links:

The Crafty Chimp

Cat’s Wire

Jewelry Art by Dawn



B’Sue Boutiques Build a Line Challenge Reveal – Carole Carlson of Beadsophisticate

March 20, 2015

Pink and Blue Necklace

Today is the big reveal for the B’Sue Boutiques Build a Line Challenge.  For the past three months, my classmates and I have been working to develop a cohesive line of at least five pieces for today’s post.  I have 11 pieces in 3 colorways to show.  The detail of the necklace above is my top-of-the line piece; here is the full necklace.

pink and blue necklace

Notice how I solved the problem of the bezel with no hole.  I prepared a piece of B’sue Boutiques filigree with a complementary finish, and mounted the bezel on it.  I was then able to wire wrap the beaded chain to the filigree.

Next is a similar necklace, but less complex, in the second colorway.  This time I mounted the polymer clay bezel on a piece of B’Sue filigree in the brass ox finish.  In order to meet the portion of the challenge that required us to produce some pieces in the $10 – $50 range, I had to look for efficiencies, and using already-patinaed findings was part of that.

yellow green onyx necklace

And here is a closer look at the pendant on this one.

green yellow close up

Another way to meet the pricing tier challenge was to make smaller pieces, so I turned to bracelets to help myself out.  I showed a sneak peek of a polymer clay bracelet in the February blog hop.  After test-driving the bracelet I noticed that it had a tendency to stretch a bit, so I added a tie made of silk ribbon from B’Sue Boutiques grab bag package.

.green yellow bracelet

Another quick and easy bracelet was this one, with handmade polymer clay disks inserted into a bezel bracelet blank.

bezel bracelet

As we learned in the class, you should at least be aware of trends, even if you don’t plan to follow them, and brooches are going to be big this year, so I made a couple of pendant components into brooches.  Next time I will make them convertible.


For the lowest level of my pricing tier, I put together some really simple matching earrings, shown below:

simple earringsdeco earrings

 I said I had 11 pieces (actually 13 because I made four of the polymer clay bracelets, two in each color).  The 11th piece is another necklace using pre-made pearl chain from B’Sue Boutiques.  This piece was from an idea that didn’t really work out as I had hoped it would, but I wanted to show it because of the cool faux opal effect.

faux opal necklace

I had a great time with this challenge.  It’s given me a lot to think about and I plan to continue to develop these lines.  Here are a couple of pictures of the pieces grouped together.

pink and blue with earringspink blue bracelet brooch deco earringsgreen yellow with earringsgreen yellow bracelets and brooch

If you are interested in purchasing any of these pieces, please either leave me a comment on this post, or email me at

And now, please visit the blogs of the other participants in the class, starting with our fearless leader at B’Sue Boutiques.


Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B’sue Boutiques

Jewelry Making Outside the Box

Marcia Tuzzolino

Aurora Designs

Jann Tague

Clever Designs by Jann

Judy King

Apt to Wander

Linzi Alford

Magpie in the Sky, Spoil Heap Tales

Cynthia Wainscott

Exotic Peru

Carole Carlson


Lynn Stinten


Marica Zammit

Bead Lovelies

Catherine Shattuck


Michaele Collie

The Vintage Gem

Mary Craig

Jewelry Alchemy

Lee Koopman

Strega Jewelry

Erin Whitacre

Shattered Time Jewelry

Monica Casady

MJCasady Copper Works

Leila West

Leila Nicole Designs

Cindy Peterson

Leila Belcher

Leila Bee Designs

Gloria Allen

Wings and Beads

Pamela Anger

Novegatti Designs

Tammy Adams

Paisley Lizard

Lynda O’Mara

LOmara Creative

Elizabeth Hildreth


Dana Hickey

Wind Dancer Studios

Janet Calardo

Jan Lea Designs

Maria Clark

Sweet Willow Designs

Lori Beekman

  1. Accessorized

Jennifer Kroeger

Relic Charm

Amy Jorgensen

Hoarder’s Corner

Robin Reed

Artistry: Handcrafted Bead Designs

Ingrid Anderson

Lilis Gems

Louise O’Shields

Desire Divine Jewels

Susan Killam

Killam Creative

Mary Katherine Deis

The Rose Sword: Artisan and Vintage Collectible Jewelry

Nike Bottalico

Nike Bottalico

Susan Bowerman

Woodside Wireworks

Kristy Le

Kristy Le Trendy Jewelry Designs

Jan Peters

Stylized Vintage

Mitzie Crider

Needful Luxuries Occasional Blog

Gina Hockett

Freestyle Elements

Linda Anderson

From the Bead Board

Alexandra Sefton

Imaginary Jewelry and Altered Art

Melida Boman

The Journey of Pens and Things

Teresa Shurter

TreeZ’s Treasurs

Melissa Latimer

Smithed Up

Renee Hong

Fine and Dandy Jewelry and Art

Nadine Edris

Moondance Jewelry

Lori Meyer

Parisienne Girl

Jennifer Merrill Williams

Artists of All Stripes

Denise Lussier Poirier

Jewelry by Denise

Renee Allen

Small Stuff Design

Autumn Adams

Autumn Dawns

Elizabeth Owens

1996 Shabby Lane

Kat BarronMiller

Midnight Kat Productions Art Jewelry

Sandra Ballard

Mama San’s Mojo

Coral Law



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