Thursday, September 17, 2015

Warrior Stone Blog Hop Challenge

Welcome to this month's installment of "As The Blog Turns," aka, "Allegory Gallery Blog Hop Challenge!" Andrew Thornton selected this month's theme, Stone Warrior, based on the gemstone called Labradorite. Labradorite is hands-down my fav gemstone (next to diamond, of course). The reason I love it so is the unexpected "Blue Flash" that is known as "labradorescence," an iridescent optical effect (or schiller). Labradorite appears to be a mostly gray-green gemstone until light hits it in just the right way and then, ~~FLASH~~, a bright blue explodes from the inside of the gemstone! So Cool!!

I have to confess, I did not have enough time to do everything I wanted with the kit. With the start of the school year and one child moving up to middle school from elementary, we have had a hard time settling into a routine. But I did manage to get a few pieces completed.

My first pieces are just simple chain and gemstone necklaces. I truly feel that Labradorite can stand on it's own without the need for other embellishments. So, I made a pendant using a marquis-shaped Labradorite and added a few small dangles to accentuate the design. Then I linked Labradorite chips together to wear with or without the pendant.

The blue flash is evident in several of the chips without using flash photography and this was a particularly gloomy day that I chose to capture pictures!

Next I decided to make a pair of dangle earrings. The design uses Square Stitch and Fringing techniques and I incorporated bugle beads, rondelles and labradorite rounds from the kit, plus some seed beads that were lurking around my bead mat. The pattern for these earrings is one of my free patterns at Jewelry Lessons. The design is called "Fringe Element Earrings."

That is all I have for this month's challenge. Stay tuned to the same Bat Channel for next month's "Lunar Eclipse Blog Hop Challenge!" Please "HOP" on over to Andrew Thornton's blog to find links to the other challenge participant's designs!!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Dreaming Tree Blog Hop Challenge

This month the featured gemstone chosen by our Blog Hop Challenge host, Andrew Thornton, Creative Director of Allegory Gallery, is Rainbow Fluorite. This is such a beautiful stone exhibiting a range of colors such as purple hues, greens, bluish gray and amber. Andrew drew inspiration for selecting the components of the kit from a meditative exercise that he participated in. He explains his experience,

"The guided meditation included imagining that our energy was a tree, with roots connecting to the earth and branches that extended into the sky and out into the universe.  As we extended our conscious mind upward and outward, it was like we moved through levels... almost like the bands on the stone...So now whenever I see the stone, I think of this tree, made of light and energy and consciousness."

With those positive vibes in mind, Andrew selected the following items to include in the kit: Luxury Bead Blend is composed mostly of the stone, with Czech glass (both old and new), Swarovski crystal, vintage sequins, Japanese seed beads, strand of fluorite and a Mystery Component. Here is a picture of this month's kit:

I decided to use the polymer clay that Andrew made himself in a design that incorporated the variegated Fluorite gemstone chips as leaves. I wire-wrapped the chips on ball headpins and added them to a bronze chain that was adorned with leaf dangles. The necklace reminds me of a flowering tree that is catching the last fading rays of sunlight.

Next I selected the beautiful Czech glass flowers and made dangle earrings to coordinate with the necklace.

And for my final design, I drew on an old memory from my childhood. The neighbor behind my parent's house had a lilac bush that draped into our yard and I used to love the smell and multi-nucleated flower clusters. The seed bead blend matched the beautiful shades of the lilac bush so I made a pair of beaded earrings and added beaded leaves.


 That is all my contributions for this design challenge. Hop over to Andrew's blog or click on the highlighted links below to see the beautiful creations from the other participants!


Monday, July 13, 2015

Endless Sky Blog Hop Challenge

Welcome to this month's Allegory Gallery Design Challenge Blog Hop. The theme selected by Andrew Thornton, Creative Director at Allegory Gallery, is called "Endless Sky." Andrew assembled the kit contents using aquamarine's cool, blue color as the inspiration. The kit contained Czech glass beads, vintage lucite, quartz rock crystal, vintage glass, waxed Irish linen, 3 feet of hand-dyed recycled sari silk ribbon, aquamarine chip strand, vintage Venetian seed beads, and a Luxury Bead Blend.

As you can see, the palette brings to mind a cloud-filled sky. Do you like rainy days? Bright blue skies that stretch toward the horizon? Or skies dotted with cotton candy clouds in the shape of dragons or whatever your mind's eye can envision? I loved the inspiration behind this theme. I hope you enjoy my interpretation in my designs. Here is where the "magic" happens...
First, I wanted to give a bit of 'process' or the method to my madness when I start to work on a kit. I decided to step out of my comfort zone a bit and work with Arashi/Shibori ribbon and bead embroidery. I decided to use a beautiful color way called "Cape Cod Blue," hand-dyed by Deborah Weaver of ArtisticWeavers on Etsy. I wanted to make a rain-drop shape, but I am a terrible free-hand drawer so I decided to put my Mad Mathemagician skills to use. I used the donut-shaped bead to trace a circle onto Nicole's Bead Backing and made a cone by placing a dot outside the circle and connecting straight lines to meet the edge of the circle.

The end result is a pendant adorned with crystals, seed beads and sequins.

I made a coordinating pair of earrings using the Czech pressed glass and crystal beads.

Next, this just in from the "It's A Small World" newsroom: I won a ceramic bead set on the Ceramic
Art Bead Market made by Michelle Ann McCarthy. Then I find out that Michelle is also a participant in the Design Challenge Blog Hops! As a gift, she sent this adorable blue, ceramic bird link with a heart. I decided that the bird fit the theme of this challenge perfectly, so I connected it to brass branch connectors and wire wrapped green glass and aventurine chips to mimic leaves on trees. I also used the little bird charms that came with the branches and more Czech glass and Sodalite beads to make a coordinating pair of earrings.

Finally, I used the Mystery Component, a polymer clay pendant handmade by Andrew himself. The stamped cloud design was a perfect match for the strand of Aquamarine chips. I used wire to attach the chips to a silver chain, like thunderheads climbing into the atmosphere, and suspended the pendant using the waxed Irish linen cord. Various beads from the kit were used as dangles. I made another pair of earrings to give the necklace an "April Showers Bring May Flowers" theme.

That is all I have for this month's challenge. I am vacationing in rainy Seattle (how appropriate!), but you can view the other blog hop participants' designs by visiting Andrew Thornton's blog. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

"Splendid Procession" Blog Hop Challenge

Come one! Come all! You have joined in the Allegory Gallery "Splendid Procession" Blog Hop Challenge!! Andrew Thornton has assembled a beautiful design kit using the rich colors of the gemstone Tourmaline. Tourmaline is one of my favorites, right up there with Labradorite, and is known as the "Gemstone of the Rainbow" due to its array of colors.

My personal favorite is "Watermelon Tourmaline," so named for obvious reasons.

The bead kit for this challenge contained an eye-catching mix of seed beads, Czech/German glass, tourmaline gemstone chips, Irish waxed linen and large, Lucite flower.
The mystery component, created by Andrew himself, was a lovely butterfly wing made from polymer clay.
Here are my design contributions for this month's challenge using the alluring components that Andrew assembled! First, I made a necklace using the Lucite flower as a focal combined with the leafy Czech glass beads. I envisioned one of the flowers in my backyard for my inspiration, the tropical Hibiscus.

Next, I used the delicate butterfly wing as a focal in an organic necklace embellished with pressed glass leaf and Swarovski bicone dangles. The tourmaline gemstone chips composed part of the chain.

Finally, I made a triad of complementary earrings to mix and match with the necklaces.

That is all I have for the this blog hop...but wait! There's more!!!! Please visit the blogs of the other blog hop participants and show some love or visit Andrew Thornton's blog " The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton." And stay tuned to this same bat channel for the next installment of the Allegory Gallery Blog Hop Challenge.
The following participants' contributions can be found on Andrew's blog:
Visit these blogs for individual posts:
Happy travels!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Amethyst Aether Blog Hop Challenge

Andrew Thornton has done it again! He has put together another fun and fanciful Blog Hop Challenge kit with an assortment of tantalizing goodies. This time the theme is "Amethyst Aether" and the kit contents have a Steam Punk appeal. The palette is rich with purple tones from lavender to deep, mesmerizing amethysts and the metallic components include watch gears, which are also reflected in the Mystery Component. The Mystery Component is a polymer clay pendant hand-crafted by Andrew. Along with the bead soup and luxury bead blends are fibers such as Irish Waxed Linen, Sari Silk and leather cord. In addition to my contributions, I have a special Blog Hop guest, to be revealed at the end. Let's jump in!

Here are the components included in the kit along with the luxury bead blend:

I drew inspiration for my main design's theme from a favorite movie: "The Matrix," starring Keanu Reeves. I used the seed beads in the bead soup and paired with the tube of milky lavender seed beads in an intertwined circuit of Herringbone Stitch to create the bracelet below. Metallic hex beads are the anchor points for the herringbone strands. The bracelet reminds me of cyber circuitry, a portal into another dimension.


I used quite a few of the beads and findings to create mix-n-match earrings. I always think of earrings as an afterthought until I want to wear a coordinating set of jewelry...DOH! Now I have plenty to choose from! The last pair is missing an earwire...that is so ME!... I have so many UFOs due to not having the right kind of component or the wrong finish, size, etc.

Finally, I'd like to introduce my blog hop guest: my 11-yo daughter, Athena! She saw the Amethyst Aether kit and was immediately smitten! Purple is her fav color, so she wanted to play along. I decided to get her started on one of the Freeform Peyote designs that I've posted in past challenges. Here is her start to the bracelet she is making:
I love that she is interested in learning the craft of Bead Weaving! She and her peers are the next generation to learn and carry on the techniques and skills of beading as well as push the boundaries of the craft.
That is all I have for this challenge. You can find more participants' designs at Andrew's blog: The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Frenzied Motion Blog Hop Challenge

Well, better late than never! I am almost a week late on the reveal for Andrew Thornton's Allegory Gallery Design Challenge. My computer has decided to divorce me so am posting from my hubby's computer. I am just happy that my photos were retrievable and I can show my contributions for this really awesome design challenge. My apologies for the quality of the photos...I don't have a photo editor at this time.

As you can see from the teaser photo, the colors in Andrew's design kits were absolutely gorgeous. A blend of turquoise, purple, lavender, fuchsia and pinks. I dove right in with much enthusiasm! The first thing I did was sort through and find gemstones, crystals and beads to pair together to make layered necklaces. Here are two using the pink/fuchsia and amethyst/purple palette.

Here are two more using fuchsia/pink/gray and another using the purple/grays.

Finally, I made a long chain and gemstone necklace with a pendant with crystal dangles in turquoise/blues.

I used the bead blend to make a freeform peyote/netted bracelet to coordinate with the necklaces.

I really liked the look of the labradorite crystal, so I used the hex cut beads and seed beads and suspended it from a vintage brass chain.

That is all I have for this challenge, but I look forward to the next reveal! You can find the other participants' contributions by going to Andrew's blog: The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Desert Sands Blog Hop Challenge

Today is the reveal for the "Desert Sands" Blog Hop Challenge hosted by Andrew Thornton. Andrew provides the bead soup and components for the Blog Hop and the participants unleash their creative energies in their designs using the kit contents in whatever way inspires them. This month the kits contained a rich, warm palette of topaz, copper, gold and pearly whites. The kit always contains a "mystery component" designed by Andrew himself. If you have never participated in a Blog Hop, they are a great way to network, be inspired, stretch your creative legs and burst out of that comfort zone we sometimes find ourselves in. So without further ado, here is my contribution for this month's Challenge!

I only managed to accomplish a fraction of what I had hoped. However, I did manage to get out of my own comfort zone with this project. I don't have tons of experience with bead embroidery. I think of myself as a 'dabbler' at this point. When I saw the kit contents, I decided almost immediately that I was going to use the bead soup and focal beads in a bead embroidery project to make a cuff bracelet. I envisioned a National Geographic spread with aerial photos of a desert. Landforms breaking up swirling sand deposits. The mystery component is the polymer clay focal at center stage. It reminded me of a compass (a useful thing if you are traveling harsh terrain). I bezeled around the focal and added pearls, stones, shells and glass beads to accent the landscape. It is in the Work In Progress (WIP) stage, but I have really enjoyed the process. I have to finish the bottom left embroidery, fill in gaps with smaller, coordinating beads, apply the Ultrasuede backing, add edging and attach a clasp. I thought I was closer to finishing until I just typed all that out! I call this design "Tiny Oasis" because the shell bead to the right of the central focal has the slightest bit of iridescent color to it, a splash of green and a watering hole for life in an otherwise barren landscape. Here is a close up of that part of the cuff:
At the end of February there will likely be a catch-up blog hop for all the participants who have WIPs to complete. I am looking forward to it! Please be sure to use the links below to hop to my fellow participants' blogs and enjoy their contributions.
 Also on Andrew's blog:
Thanks for taking the time to view and leave comments on my contribution!