Tag Archives: beads

Art of Awareness Blog Hop – the power of purple


Lori Anderson is one of my favourite people – in addition to being uber-talented and creative, she’s a huge inspiration to me. So when she announced she was taking a break from the Bead Soup Blog Hop and changing things up this spring, I knew I wanted to participate. Anything Lori organizes is going to be fun.

This time, Lori teamed up with Heather Millican, of Swoondimples, for the Art of Awareness Blog Hop. Heather made a gorgeous one-of-a-kind awareness bean bead for each participant. Our job was to use our imaginations and make a piece of jewelry (although we weren’t limited just to jewelry). Given M’s challenges, ADHD seemed like a logical choice for me. Except the awareness colour is orange – not one of my favourite colours (I like it on other people but it looks horrible on me). As I was browsing through the list thoughtfully provided by Lori, I noticed that purple signifies migraine awareness. Not only is purple is my favourite colour, but I’m a chronic migraine sufferer.

I asked Heather to print “in the moment” on my bead.


This is a reminder that my headaches, however nasty, will pass. I’m also a generic worrywort, so my bean is also a good motto for every day.

As it happens, I had a particularly nasty migraine the day I planned to make my piece. Normally, I’m not very creative or efficient when I have a headache, but the design came together quickly and relatively painlessly. I finally found my long-lost cache of jump rings, which helped make the whole project go easier.

I originally planned to make a bracelet but when I looked at my bean, I realized that the hole was drilled up and down, instead of across the bead. I decided to go with a mixed metal necklace, with my lovely purple bean as the focal.  I made a series of dangles with little bits of chain saved from previous projects  (you never know when an inch of chain will come in handy) and goodies recently acquired from Yvonne Irvin-Faus of MyELEMENTS, a lovely purple leaf bead from Heather Powers of Humblebeads and a tiny brass key. I added a length of beaded chain that I cut from a bracelet purchased from Michaels and a small piece of purple enamel chain, also from MyELEMENTS, to my “tassel”.


I strung a couple of copper-coloured spacers, a large purple plastic trixie (from Yvonne) and a furnace glass bead with a hint of purple and gold highlights from my stash (origins unknown) with my focal. The chain came from my stash, along with a black enamelled toggle clasp from MissFickleMedia.



It took me about 2 hours, from start to finish, which is relatively fast for me. My headache was mostly gone by the time I finished my necklace, which was a bonus.


While I really enjoyed participating in Lori’s Bead Soup Blog Hops, I think the Art of Awareness Blog Hop is my favourite. Maybe it was the colour of my bean or just taking the time to truly be “in the moment”, but the process of making my necklace was energizing. I didn’t struggle with coming up with a design, nor did I have any problems with execution.  It’s not a super-complicated design. With the exception of my awareness bean, everything came from my own stash. The end result is a funky, one-of-a-kind necklace with lots of movement and texture. I wore it today and I expect it will be a go-to piece for me all year round.


Please check out Lori’s blog, Pretty Things, for a full list of participants and to see what she made. Enjoy your weekend!



Bead Soup to the rescue


I had a long day at work. One of those days where there’s more problems than solutions. When I finally got home, I was thrilled to find that my Bead Soup, from Shalini Austin, had arrived. Definitely a pick-me-up.

Shalini sent me a treasure trove of goodies, all wrapped up in separate bags with a little note. I discovered that she had made a number of the components, including these lovely wire flower links.


Wire flower links

Shalini works primarily in wire and I had admired similar flowers in the jewelry on her blog/website. So I was delighted to receive some od my very own. The photos don’t do them justice – they are very pretty.


Close up – wire flower link


Shalini also sent me a Kumihimo cord made of organza ribbon. I’ve never worked with this type of cord before, but now I have 30 inches to play with. Plus a large S-hook clasp.



I love felt beads and Shalini sent me a bag of tiny wet-felted balls in bright colours.


Candy is dandy…but beads are better

The piece de resistance, however, is the focal – a beaded wire Tree of Life, also made by Shalini. It is stunning.


Beautiful hand-made focal

As if that wasn’t enough, Shalini also included an assortment of Tibetan silver components and a bag of freshwater pearls and glass beads in colours that coordinate with the felt balls and the focal.


More bead sweetness

Lots of colour. The perfect antidote to the sea of white that greets me every time I look out the window (with more snow predicted for later this week – oh joy!).

At this point, I have no idea what I’m going to make with my Bead Soup. There are so many possibilities! I know that I’m going to have a lot of fun. Thanks to Shalini for brightening my day.


A little bit of everything

Please check out Jewellry by Shalini to see what I sent Shalini. I sent along a little card with her Soup – liked the design so much that I’ve copied it for several birthday cards.


The Bead Soup reveal is May 3, 2014. Something to keep me occupied while I wait for the snow to melt.





Mad about Monet – April Art Bead Scene challenge


For as long as I can remember, Claude Monet has been my favourite painter. The first time I went to France, I made it a point to see as many of his paintings as possible. I was transfixed by his Nympheas series in  the Musee de L’Orangerie – I saw them again a number of years later and they were as stunning as I remembered.  I trekked across Paris to visit the Musee de Marmottan Monet, a traditional Parisian “hotel” (mansion) with an impressive collection of Monet’s work. One afternoon, I took the train out to Vernon to visit Giverny, Monet’s home that is surrounded by the most amazing garden that was the inspiration for many of his paintings. It was late June and the garden was in full bloom – I spent a glorious few hours wandering around admiring the profusion of flowers. A number of years later, my husband took me to Montreal for my birthday to see an exhibition of photographs taken at Giverny at various seasons during the year.  As far as I’, concerned, there’s no such thing as too much Monet.

So when I saw that Art Bead Scene had selected Monet’s Walk in the Meadows at Argenteuil” as the challenge for April, my imagination kicked into high gear. The colours are luminous and the pastoral scene conveys the essence of a sunny summer day in rural France.

By happy coincidence, I had an unfinished multi-strand bracelet in greens and blues. Using my favourite technique, I wrapped wire and seed beads around a piece of subtly dyed JodyPoesy ribbon. I had fashioned a clasp using a hand-made lampwork bead my mother brought me back from Australia as a button and made a loop at the other end with the ribbon. I left the ribbon ends loose and added beads on the end to make dangles – a ceramic bead from my hoard of Gaea beads, a glass bead I made myself in a bead-making class, a brass “coin” and some tiny grey beads from FusionBeads.

April 17, 2013 015

April 17, 2013 016

That’s as far as I got – the bracelet was on top of my bead box, unfinished, for months. But when I saw the Monet painting, I immediately thought of the bracelet and decided to finish it.

At my favourite local bead store, I found some 5mm preciosa bicones in emerald-green. I made a “chain” with wire-wrapped loops and wired it to the ribbon strand.

April 28, 2013 002-001

April 28, 2013 003-001

I wanted to add a third strand (3 is my favourite number), but I wasn’t sure what to use. I experimented with several different colours and widths of chain, but nothing seemed to work. I found a small piece of simple brass chain in my supply box, but it was too short. I experimented with adding a double strand of seed beads in a complementary colour to the chain, but after scattering the beads all over the floor for the third time, I abandoned that idea.

April 28, 2013 005-001

I spent the afternoon in my garden (much smaller than Giverny and without the huge pond). When I came back to the bracelet, I picked up some of the waxed linen thread that I recently received from Rebecca Anderson. I “discovered” waxed linen last week when I was working on my Bead Soup creations and I’m hooked. It’s a bit tricky to unknot, so careful planning has its rewards. I played around with the thread and knotted on a couple of faceted czech glass beads that also came from Rebecca. I swapped out the little grey beads that I’d originally tied onto one of the ends for an orange enamel bead from Gardanne Beads and tied a couple of other small beads onto the waxed linen thread.

April 28, 2013 015-002

Voila! my homage de Monet.

April 28, 2013 019-001

I probably would have finished the bracelet at some point, but Monet’s painting did inspire me to try new colour combinations and experiment with textures in a new way.