Wire work

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When Erin at Treasures Found / Tesori Trovati posted her Challenge of Travel: Staycation challenge, I had just spent my last few weeks exploring Washington, DC.  My house had just been packed up and I was just about to leave for our new life in Brussels, Belgium.  I knew that I wasn’t ready to jump right into this kind of challenge and highlight Brussels (maybe next year) but Washington, DC – oh yes – I could highlight Washington easily.

Photo credit: michpowell, tomlara, davidlat from sxc.hu (along with a few of mine)

 

I have had the privilege of living and working in the Washington, DC are for the last 6 1/2 years.  Who knew that when we said yes to a posting in Washington that I would fall hopelessly, completely, totally in love with the place.  I don’t have enough adjectives to describe how much I enjoy being and living in Washington.  I am getting a little teary-eyed as I write this thinking about all of the things I like about it.  The confident architecture, the stately National Mall, rugged Great Falls, the trees…oh the trees….cherry trees, magnolias, conifers, maples…. so, so many trees. There, I am smiling from ear to ear just thinking about it.

When thinking about what I should make to honor my time in Washington, I thought about what got me started in jewelry making.  Cindy Wimmer, who was first my friend, become my mentor and taught me how to make my first piece – a rosary for my then 2nd grader on his first communion.  When I think of Cindy, I think of all of the things that she taught me and what I saw her wear.  Cindy has a bracelet which she wears over and over again that I love.  It is a simple wire bangle with coiled wire and a lovely large silver heart bead at the hand worked clasp. (BTW, you can find the bracelet in the book Wire Style 2). I love the style of the bracelet and thought that I could do something similar but with a little more color.  When I think of color, I immediately think of Kerry Bogert.  Kerry has a similar piece in Totally Twisted but it uses more colors that I wanted.  I thought I could use the simplicity of Cindy’s piece with some of the color from Kerry’s and this is what I came up with.

 

This piece is made of sterling silver filled wire (14g and 22 g) with beads from HMB studios (I had to use red and blue, right?).  It is a simple bangle to make and even easier to wear.  I love it already.  It now just needs a good pass in the tumbler (I have to figure out how to use it here in Europe) and it will be perfect.

 

 

Thank you Erin for organizing the challenge.  Please be sure to visit all of the artists who will tell you all about their hometown. You can click here for the complete list.

Until next time,

Julie Anne

Hello friends.  I am so sorry I have been away from the blog for so long.  I taught a class earlier today and I told Brenda, my faithful and fun wireworking student that I would get back to my blog soon.  So Brenda, this one is for you and its also for co-worker Pauline.  Read on and I will tell you why.

A few weeks ago (more like 6 actually) I asked Pauline for the name of the community where she owned her beach home.  You see, we had visited there a number of years ago and I remember really liking the community.  It is fairly self contained, has a private beach and is safe and fun with lots to do for the kids.  Pauline told me the name and did me one better; she offered me her home for the week.  I was overjoyed as her home is beautiful and of course, I offered to pay her for the use of her place.  She refused but I could not and would not let the matter go.  In addition to buying her a nice dinner out, gifting her kids with Amazon gift cards and having the home professionally cleaned, I made this for Pauline as a small token of my appreciation.

The beads are from Blue Seraphim and I had been saving them for awhile waiting for the right piece.  Pauline has dark hair and I knew that the combination of the red streaky beads and the shiny silver would look great on her.

The bracelet itself is silver filled simple spirals with the lampwork and sterling silver daisy spacers connected with hand forged jump rings, chain and clasp.  A sterling silver bali bead dangles from the chain.  Once it was completed, the piece took a nice long ride in the tumbler to smooth out the edges.  I think it  is elegant and bold which is exactly how I see Pauline.  I sure hope she likes it.

That’s it for this time.  Thanks for reading and I promise not to be away to so long.

- Julie Anne

Hello blog hoppers and beady friends.  Today is Reveal #1 for the 6th installment of Lori Anderson’s Bead Soup Blog Party.  This is my second BSBP and I was over the moon when I heard that my partner was lampwork and jewelry artist Marianna Boylan.  Marianna sent me some wonderful soup ingredients including a selection of her stunning handmade lampwork.  Here is what Marianna gifted me with:

There were so many ways I could have gone with this soup.  I decided to tackle the large focal first.  It is a flower bead handmade by Marianna in dark brown with a pale green center.  When I say dark brown, I mean really, really dark.  It really reads as black so I decided to run with that.  Here is the inspiration piece:

I paired this beautiful bead with with some black onyx lentils and faceted rounds from my stash, a few green adventurine rounds gifted to me from Kelley Fogel from the last BSBP and the small twisted connectors that Marianna sent.  Here is what I came up with:

The necklace is made with sterling silver filled wire and finished with a handmade clasp. Because the connectors were patinaed, I thought the super shiny silver wire work looked a bit off.  Once it was finished in LOS, polished with steel wool and tumbled, it came out just as I imagined it.  I have already worn it out and about and it looks great with a simple black tee and jean skirt. Here it is on yours truly last week:

Since I didn’t use the clasp for this necklace, I turned my attention to that next.  I really, really wanted to use the amazing orange starfish focal with the clasp but I didn’t like anything I was putting together.  I decided to take a break from the bead (nothing ever comes when I force it) and started working on an order for a rosary bracelet that I received on Tuesday.  While I was finishing that order up, I realized that I have made dozens of rosaries in the last year or so but none of them for me.  Inspiration struck and this rosary bracelet, made especially for me, came quickly:

This bracelet is a real testament to who I am as a person and as a designer.  In this piece the beads were all either bargain bin finds (the onyx “Ave” beads and sterling silver spacers) or gifted to me (the silver bali “Pater” bead and clasp).  The only retail items are the Via Dolorosa cross and dove charm which I picked up at Ornamentea a few weeks back.  I love mixing found items with bargain finds and to have those things culminate in a piece of prayer jewelry makes this piece even sweeter.  I made this bracelet last Saturday and have already worn it 3 times.  I think this one will be in heavy rotation in my jewelry wardrobe.

Unfortunately that means that I have yet to find a way to use the amazing starfish lampwork focal that Marianna sent me.  I have another a piece in the works with it but it is not coming together.  I think I may have to set the bead aside for awhile and wait for inspiration to strike at a later date.

Before I sign off, I want to leave you with a little teaser of what I sent to Marianna.  Be sure to visit her and all of the other artists who are participating in the blog hop.

Thanks to Lori Anderson for putting together another amazing blog hop and to you for reading this far.  Don’t forget to visit the other talented artists who are blogging today about their bead soup creations.  You can find a complete list of blog participants on Lori Anderson’s Bead Soup Blog Party site.

Until next time,

Julie Anne

PUBLISHED!!!!!!!!

Oh sorry, did I shout?  That was actually a cry of joy.  :-)

Seriously though, I have been trying to get this blog post up for about a month now.  With the end of the school year and our immediate departure on an extended vacation it was hard to have more than 5 minutes to sit and write a blog post.  We are now 10 days into our holiday and my hubby and kids are off fishing.  I didn’t bring any tools or supplies along on our vacation (I know, crazy right?) so I thought I should take some time to get this very exciting post up.

A the urging of my friend Cindy Wimmer I submitted a necklace to Step by Step Wire about 6 months ago.  You can imagine my suprise when they said yes.  I had no idea what was involved but I was over the moon with the idea that they would want to publish my design.  Here is the piece that they published which is called Southwestern Sunrise:

I really love this necklace.  It is very easy to make and is a real wardrobe basic.  I like the piece so much that I have already made another, this time in silver filled wire left nice and shiny and faceted black onyx beads.  Forgive the photo quality – I had to shoot this earlier today with my cell phone.

Please check out the magazine for step by step instructions on how this was made and for loads of other interesting pieces and great articles.  You can find it here.

Until next time,

Julie Anne

It’s Cosmo time!

Welcome blog hoppers.  The day has finally come for the Cocktail Party Blog Hop Reveal.  As you can see, my cocktail was the Cosmopolitan.

The recipe:

1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger vodka
1/2 fluid ounce cointreau
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 1/2 fluid ounces cranberry juice
1 twist lime zest, garnish

To be brutally honest, I don’t like to drink Cosmopolitans, but I like the thought of a Cosmo.  When I think about them, I think of Sex and the City; fun, carefree women, part sophisticated, part sweet, effortlessly fun and drop dead sexy at the same time.  Could I do this image justice?

I started by finding some deep rose and copper Czech glass flower beads in my stash from The Bead Goddess and some turbine bicone Czech glass from Caledonia March.  I decided I wanted to add an urban vibe to the very girly beads by adding a strand of messy wire wrapped links (in copper, of course) and finished it off with a big copper bead and hand forged clasp.

Here’s the bracelet on my Mom’s wrist.  I couldn’t wear it and take the photo at the same time.  She makes a good model, don’t you think?

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out the other artists participating in the blog hop:

Copper Diem
Stefanies Sammelsurium
Lorelei’s Blog
My Bead Journey
Adventures with Kelly
Mama’s Got To Doodle
Sadafulee
Wait Just One More Bead
Cynth’s Blog
Palm Coast  Art
Green Shoot  Jewellery Designs
Cianci Blue
Dreamin Of  Beads / SAS Jewelry Designs
Beads for  Busy Gals
Oregon Made  Jewelry
My  Addictions…Handcrafted Jewelry by Patti
Moods by Mari
Soul of Mine  Embodiment
Uniquely Yunikua
Fabric of My Life
Firefly Visions
Indigo Heart
The Peaceful Bead (YOU ARE HERE)
Casa de Everly
Heaven Lane Creations
Sue Beads
Durga Jewelry
Honey Bijou
A Bird in the Hand Art
SilverNikNats
Rainy Day Designs
Tell Your Girlfriends

Until next time,

Julie Anne

For those of you who know me “in person”, you know that I love a bargain.  When a bargain is the catalyst to use another bargain and that culminates in a shiny new piece of jewelry, well, that makes me happier than I can even say.  That is exactly what happened with this piece.

A few days ago I went on a little shopping trip.  I stopped at a favorite store and headed right to their rack of sale cardigans (I have a bit of an obsession with the humble cardigan – I own at least 30).  I found a pretty bright green number (I love to wear green – another bonus!) marked down to $9.74.  I had to take it home.  When I got home I decided I needed a new necklace to accentuate the deep-v neckline of the new sweater.  I immediately thought of some orphan lampwork beads that I purchased a few months ago (another bargain) and pulled them out for a look.  The larger beads were perfect – lumpy, bumpy encased lampwork with swirls of blue and green.  I dug some more and found a group of lampwork spacers that I purchased in the same lot.  I knew I could do something with all of them.

To pull the necklace together I added some round, hammered links from an old necklace, some brushed silver-tone lentils, a length of vintage chain from my favorite thirft store and a few faceted czech glass rondelles.  I threw the whole thing together and this is the outcome.  I LOVE it.

I wish I could adequately describe how yummy the encased lampwork are.  Here is a close up of them – they are delish!

I couldn’t help trying to take a photo of me wearing this piece (in yet another green cardigan).  My son rushed over to help.  He decided he needed to be “artistic” so here is his shot.  Gotta love him for being so enthusiastic.

The "artistic" shot as taken by my 9 year old

Until next time,

Julie Anne

 

 

 

I think I need a new name for my blog.  I am considering calling it “The Exhausted Bead” because that is what I am lately…totally exhausted.

I have been so busy since the bead soup reveal that I haven’t had a chance to sit down to create anything.  I have been working a fair bit, been busy with school and I started teaching a few weeks ago.  Add to that a bad head cold, some serious allergies and trying to help my husband dig out our spare room (read: junk room) and you can probably understand why I haven’t created anything lately.

As you may recall, my BSBP partner Kelley Fogle gifted me with an amazing array of beads.  I had wanted to send her a little thank you but couldn’t figure out what to do in time for the reveal date.  Kelley and I have become FB friends and by her posts I can tell that she is in need of a little pick me up (aren’t we all, really?).  That was enough to get me back to my craft table to make a little something to brighten her day.  Here is what I came up with:

Kelley gifted me with the jasper and shell rounds.  I added the focal (from Blue Seraphim), some Czech glass, a few MOP buttons and of course the chain.  The entire piece is created in brass and is finished with a handmade brass clasp.

I hope that this small gift brings a little sunshine to Kelley this week.  Creating it got me back to my bead table and that definitely lifted my spirits.

Until next time,

Julie Anne

Can you believe it?  Bead Soup reveal day is finally here.  I have had this piece done for a few weeks now and have been chomping at the bit (pun totally intended) to share it.  So without further ado, I give you:

 

MY GIRLY, ROMANTIC BEAD SOUP
(I must add a “TA-DA” in a 6 year old girl’s ecstatic voice.
Oh, and picture me throwing my hands over my head cheerleader-style too.
Yep, that is how happy I am with this necklace.)

 

My girly, romantic bead soup - love it!

I had so much to choose from in my bead soup package from my awesome partner Kelley Fogle that it was hard to know where to begin.  To refresh your memory, here is what Kel sent me:

Where to begin?

I was immediately taken by all of the sea and sand inspired colors.  I jumped right into my soup and started making a multi-link hodge podge sort of necklace.  I actually had to stop myself when I realized that I HAD to use the focal AND the clasp.  That was the challenge.  If I did a multi-link necklace (which will probably get finished BTW) I wouldn’t be able to use either.  I had to force myself to stop what I was doing and re-focus.  It was really hard to do that (I go a little ADHD around so many pretty beads) but I turned my attention to the brass ox focal and decided to run with that.

The first thing that I did with the brass focal (which is from B’Sues Boutiques) was to deal with the connectors.  I knew I wanted to bring some strands in from the side, so I borrowed a punch from my good friend Cindy Wimmer (seriously, how would I bead without you?) and punched some holes in the back.  Then I bent down the top and bottom connectors (glad I didn’t lop them off!) and set about putting the necklace together.

I decided to work with the 6mm faceted aquamarine that was in my soup. I like the greeny blue and the brown tones in the brass together. I added some 8mm stones from my stash, used some brass connectors that I have been dying to put to use and wrapped the whole thing up using 18g vintage bronze wire from Fusion Beads.

Could I get it a little closer? I don't think so.

Next I moved onto the pearl and chain strand.  I started out by using some bronze chain (from Beads 4 All) and the pearls that Kelley had sent me.  The creamy pearls seemed to get lost with the brown and blue color palette so I added some brown pearls from my stash.  Those worked perfectly and that strand came together rather quickly.

Now, what to do for a third strand?  I originally thought I would string some seed beads (I had the perfect color mix in my stash) but once I got one strand done the scale seemed wrong.  I eventually decided on a rosary strand (note that if you are Catholic, you need to remove the Pater beads to use these) from Yummy Treasures and the strands were complete.

Wonderful oxidized brass bow focal.

I then started assembling the necklace again using the bronze chain and the wonderful brass clasp.  Once the necklace was assembled I put it on and thought “hmmmmm……it’s missing something.”  Seriously, there is so much going on with the piece but it really seemed to be lacking something.  I decided to pry back down the bottom connector and add a few dangles.  That seemed to do the trick.  What do you think?

So now that you have seen what I made with my delicious bead soup, are you curious about my partner’s creation?  Well, here is what I sent to her to play with (our soups couldn’t be more different, could they?):

Whatcha making Kelley?

Before I sign off, I want to thank Lori Anderson who has worked tirelessly on organizing this exchange and to my partner Kelley for her generosity and over-all awesomeness.  Kelley has inspired me and been very supportive of my creating beautiful pieces with her soup.  I have more to share on that later, but now, I must blog hop!

Be sure to check out all 200 (yes, 200!) blogs to see what other wonderful bead soup creations have been cooked up all over the world.  You can find the other blogs at:

Hostess, Lori Anderson


Special Book Sneak Peeks, Cindy Wimmer

1.  Adlinah Kamsir (Singapore) and Hajer Waheed (Kingdom of Bahrain)
2. Adrienn Lukacs (Hungary) and Agata Grygiel (Poland)
3.  Agi Kiss (Hungary) and Carolien Muller-Genger (the Netherlands)
4.  Agnes Asztalos (Hungary) and B.R. Kuhlman
7.  Alicia Marinache (Canada) and Dita Basu
15.  Bonnie Coursolle (Canada) and Fay Wolfenden (Canada)
16.  Carmel McGinley (Australia) and Tracy Stillman (Australia)
21.  Cheryl Brown (Canada) and Diana Ptaszynski
22.  Christina Stofmeel (the Netherlands) and Eva Kovacs (Hungary)
24.  Cilla Watkins (Canada) and Elaine Robitaille (Canada)
25.  Sabrina Straub (Switzerland) and Kathy Combs
32.  Dee Elgie (UK) and Joanne Lockwood (UK)
33.  Dian Hierschel (Germany) and Eniko Fabian (Austria)
37.  Doris Stumpf (Germany) and Eszter Czibulyas (Hungary)
39.  Elke Leonhardt-Rath (Germany) and Marjolein Trewavas (UK)
41.  Erika Nooteboom (the Netherlands) and Giorgia Rossini (Italy)
43.  Evelyn Duberry (Canada) and Gaea Cannaday
45.  Ginger Bishop (military, Okinawa) and Martina Nagele (Germany)
48.  Helene Goldberg (Australia) and Karen Vincent
54.  Joanna Matuszczyk (Poland) and Julianna Kis (Hungary)
55.  Joanne Tinley (UK) and Michaela Pabeschitz (Austria)
56.  Julie Anne Leggett (YOU ARE HERE) and Kelley Fogle
65.  Kristina Johansson (Sweden) and Penny Neville (Canada)
66.  Krisztina Erlaki-Toth (Hungary) and Nicole Keller (Germany)
76.  Lori Finney (Canada) and Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp (Canada)
78.  Marta Kaczerowska (Poland) and Milla Starchik (Canada)
83.  Michelle Jensen and Sandra Young (Canada)
92.  Rosa Maria Cuevas (Mexico) and Tejae Floyde
93.  Sabine Dittrich (Germany) and Sally Russick
95.  Shanti Johnson and Tracy Mok (Canada)
97.  Sonya Stille and Traci Zeller (Canada)
98.  Stefanie Teufel (Germany) and Tania Hagen (New Zealand)

 

Until next time,
Julie Anne

This week I have been bending metal like crazy.  My wire working skills are pretty basic so I thought I should spend some time practicing.  Here is just a small selection of what I made this week:

I am rather taken with the swirled, wrapped links on the left (they will look awesome with some patina and a polish).  But I have to say, they are a real bugger to make.  Also, I have trouble with tool marks on them.  Is it me or my tools?  Who knows, it could be both!  But I am going to keep at it until I figure it out. Wish me luck.

Until next time,

Julie Anne


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