"Use the Muse" Contest Winners!

Well the anticipation of seeing the results of this wonderful contest was palpable . . . I kept checking the website to see if the results were posted. BOY was I thrilled to see all the beautiful pieces created from the same basic kit and I just HAVE to say that the judging was awesome and I'm sure not the easiest job! ALL of the winners produced beautiful and unusual pieces and I have to say I was very impressed. DO check them out!! I cannot help feeling that my own humble offering fell short in comparison BUT I have to say I DO actually FEEL like a winner, because I met the challenge and gave it my best effort! I love my finished necklace and keep thinking the photos did NOT at all do it justice. It is simple and elegant and highly wearable, and a piece I won't be parting with in the foreseeable future! My congrats to ALL the winners and of course congrats to every single entrant, as using the muse -- the antiqued brass filigree -- was indeed a challenge for many. I have spent ages just looking at all the beautiful photos of all SIXTY ONE entries and am amazed at the talent that's out there! I have much to learn and am looking forward to continuing my beady journey. Click on the title to see all the entries!

I certainly felt I was out of my depth when I first opened the package from Scarlett. First of all I felt that the kit itself was tiny! I wondered what I'd do with the beads I'd received. And of course the Muse piece left me stymied initially . . . I spent time with it in my hands trying to figure how best to use it. I considered folding it over a stone . . . cutting it and perhaps stitching it on a cuff . . . but in the end I decided to use it in all it's glory and make it the central point of a necklace. I'm still very happy with that decision. I was actually very pleased with the quality of the lovely Swarovski crystals and of those little pearls, provided in the kit. They all had such an elegant 'feel' to them and they shouted "Victoriana" to me. I loved the barrel Swarovski beads in particular, and felt they truly gave the whole piece a lift. I did not end up using the locket, but spent time shopping for an elegant clasp to finish the necklace. I used Fireline throughout and there are at least four strands used for the necklace . . . these were doubled back through the beads and each strand knotted with half-hitch knots back down through the beads. It is quite a robust piece, despite the use of the Fireline, as opposed to a beading wire.

I am hoping I'll be able to participate in the next competition Scarlett hopes to launch. This challenge taught me a lot and showed me that I have much to learn. I'm looking forward to doing just that!

Variations on RAW bracelet

I was pleased to finish the few variations on the RAW bracelets and now that they are completed they will find new homes. I always hope that the recipients enjoy what I make -- I DO know my daughters like their jewelry bits! I made the fuchsia colorway because I love these colors, and I have actually worn this bracelet already -- it is SO comfortable around the wrist! I have to get back to work now on the recent copper pieces I purchased in the local bead store, and am looking forward to working with these. I have decided to team one of the copper pieces with one of the resin cameos I made a few weeks ago . . . I intend to bezel the cameo and perhaps make use of some of the swarovski beads around the outside. Am looking forward to sharing this one when it's finished!

Right Angle Weave -- my first attempt

I actually broke out and purchased some swarovski crystals to embellish the next right angle weave piece I'm planning. I love Lisa Kan's work, and her most recent book -- Bead Romantique -- is one I'm delighted to have purchased some time ago. I was delighted to see her contribution to the current edition of Beadwork Magazine and was encouraged to finally conquer the fear of learning to do Right Angle Weave! I went ahead and stitched a bracelet-length strip of RAW using lined glass 11o's, embellished it with what I had on hand -- squares, triangles and hex beads for their texture -- and added a tubular clasp.
I have to say I'm delighted with the result. I will of course make this design again (was as always planning the 'improvements' in my head as I worked on it) and this time around I will include some crystals! I've managed to master most if not all of the other stitches, but never tried RAW. For the first piece of RAW I've attempted, the bracelet is wonderful.

This morning when I began my second bracelet-strip of RAW I got as far as making a square, and thought I'd like to make JUST this square into a pendant.
I felt that with metal connectors added to this square, I'd have a nice focal for a pendant to hang from or perhaps make this the focus of a necklace. I am SO very pleased with the results so far and am taking a break from it now just to write this before I go any further. I'll enclose a photo and hopefully another photo when the item is finished. (Adding photo of finished necklace!)
The metal connectors I chose came on a card with four pairs of connectors: one set each in a silver, gold, antique-gold and copper finish. I will use all four connectors and make slight variations ...I like to do this and fully explore each idea that besets me!

Building on the experience of using 'the muse'

I am relatively new to beadweaving, as I truly only purchased my first tube of seed beads less than six months ago. It took very little indeed for me to fall in love with the tiny beads and now totally love it. So sending away for the "Use the Muse" competition kit was indeed a big step -- I wondered if I was up to the challenge -- and now that this challenge has been met, I am anxious to explore using more filigree metal pieces with the seed beads.

When I received the 'muse' piece I honestly held it in my hands for ages, just dreaming! I considered folding it over a stone or bead ... cutting it ... bending a part of it .. but the more I played with it in my hand the more I liked it JUST as it was. I honestly felt I wanted a few of these pieces so that I could give free reign to my imagination and try different things with the same item. So for the actual entry I left the metal filigree exactly as it was. But yesterday, I actually went ahead and ordered some more of the same piece, and I have plans in place and scribbles on paper ready to use these in the near future. I have to be patient and wait for them to arrive via the US mail!! Today I spent some time in the local bead store (I think they know me!!) purchasing other metal pieces and more swarovski beads
in a couple of colors and I'm very happy with the bits and pieces I've brought home to experiment with. I am determined to stretch myself and consider other shapes and forms and just have fun with seeing where this all goes.

Use the Muse entry submitted!

I finally finished off my necklace entry for the Use the Muse contest and was truly very happy with the results. I'll be pleased to post a photo when permitted to do so! However, today was spent writing a few words to be published along with the photo and of course of taking a decent photograph or two. You'd think this was the easiest part, but in truth I found it difficult. There were many interruptions and the hours just melted away . . . so it was four o'clock today before it was all finally on it's way to Scarlett. I was very relieved when the email was sent and the project finally completed.

I enjoyed this exercise as it was totally a challenge for me. I have never incorporated an item such as this 'muse' piece into any of the jewelry pieces I have made to date. I have to say it stretched my designing abilities and challenged me to make my drawing a reality. I believe I ended up with a piece that does the muse kit justice and am VERY anxious indeed to see what everyone else has been able to produce. I believe much of the fun is in seeing what many others who receive exactly the same kit will produce.

I would like to thank Scarlett for this opportunity to 'grow' and am delighted to have had the opportunity to take part.

Productive and busy day!

What a productive if very busy day, I had today! I managed to find inspiration as I played with paper and pencil in an effort to come up with a workable design for Scarlett Lanson's "use the muse" contest. I usually start off with "what if . . . " then scribble a bit more on paper and finally feel that perhaps it's time to reach for the beads and thread. And this morning I could not WAIT to start working on this! I believe what I have will work! Now I have to run down a few more items to finish this, and with time available to me this weekend, should finish the piece with time to spare.

This afternoon and evening we were happy to entertain a wonderful out-of-town friend and enjoyed some lovely time together. I shared some of my beady work items and she fell for an 'almost-finished' (story of my life!) three-strand necklace using hematite beads and grey pearls.
So tonight I not only finished this (added cones and dressed up the closure somewhat), but I also make a nice pair of matching earrings. I just know when I present these to her tomorrow that she will be pleased. Putting a smile on someone's face is what makes me happiest!

Use the Muse Kit

Well I'm SO excited to finally have the "Use the Muse" kit in my beady hands! I am certainly being challenged to incorporate this 'muse' . . . this is something I've not worked with before and feel that my creative abilities are being tested. I have played with the pieces this evening and drawn out what I hope will be a workable design. I will make the time between now and Monday evening to complete everything and send the photo to Scarlett on time. I am looking forward to putting the photo up . . . this cannot happen until after the competition has been decided.

As always there are NEVER enough hours in the day!

Resin Cameos

I completed the second resin cameo today and am very pleased with the results! I also took the time to create more cameos, this time choosing the images to match some beads I have to work with. I am excited at the possibility of making these very personal by using some special photographs and am hoping to have the time to explore this avenue after the coming weekend.

I've been working on two commissioned pieces and these are both coming along nicely.

I've worked on the blog artwork today (SO pleased to find the topper artwork online!) and will eventually have the time to place photos on the blog. There are simply never enough hours in the day!

Use the Muse

I'm very much looking forward to receiving my 'Use the Muse' kit from the wonderful Scarlett Larson (www.thebeadersmuse.com). I did not send off for it until almost the end of February, but should have received it by now. Fingers crossed that it will come in Monday's mail! I am looking forward to the challenge!

Thinking outside of the box

Today I worked on something I've never tried before. I created some epoxy resin cameo shapes and have begun beading one, with some success. I'm excited about the possibilities! To date I've been happy to use semi-precious stones, faux cameos and some lovely porcelain cameos. But I've wanted something a little more unique - something I've created from scratch - and I believe this experiment will result in a lovely and unique piece of wearable art. I plan on posting photos of the finished item(s) in a few days.

March 1st, 2009

March is a month of new beginnings! This month I begin life where our youngest precious daughter is no longer a teenager -- very bitter-sweet. Our family is 'grown up' now! We look forward to all that is to come.

I feel I've taken the 'next step' in my beading journey too this month! I applied for and received my 'Beading for a Cure' kit and am most certainly challenged by this. It is my hope that I can produce an item of beauty that will help raise funds for this wonderful cause. I know that I'll have my work cut out to dream up a design that does the beads justice. My creative abilities as well as my technical abilities will be stretched to accomplish this . . . it is something I've never done before! This project must be finished and mailed before July 5th . . . I have time to work on it.

I have grown so much since I first purchased some seed beads back in September of 2008. I began beading and stringing at the start of 2007 and enjoyed it . . . but working with seed beads and learning and growing as I have been these past months has been so very enjoyable . . . I am passionate about the beads and openly admit to being addicted! I love the creative process! I enjoy the challenge of learning new stitches at this stage and exploring these stitches as my abilities grow.

Most recently I've enjoyed making cameo brooches and necklaces and am proud of each 'masterpiece'!