Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Artbeads Design Challenge - What's Old is New Again

The Artbeads Design Partners Challenges are a new thing for me, but boy is this fun!!!! There’s something very special about designing jewelry for a purpose; whether that purpose is a friend, a theme, a color scheme – what have you.

I also LOVE vintage styles, so when I learned the theme of this challenge was “What’s Old is New Again” I dissolved in silly, girlish little squeals of delight. It doesn’t take much to make me happy.
So we begin with something old.

Many moons ago, I found this wonderful brass flower findings on Etsy – I can’t remember the name of the seller who supplied them, so I can’t link you to her, but I just LOVED the possibilities of these. I should have taken a picture before I used them, but I seem to lack that amount of foresight currently. Instead, I’ll show you here the first project I did with those flowers, a matching necklace and earrings set:

Note the stunning photographic stylings of my über-talented cousin Deirdre Stearns-Wingell.
Well, this set was broken up (I sold the earrings) but I still had the necklace kicking around. It wasn’t going anywhere, and I decided it would make a really nice “something old” for this vintage-y challenge – and what looks more vintage than the warm subtle glow of brass??

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll also notice the shaggy chain bracelets I’ve been making over the last month or so. I simply can’t stop making them!!!!  Yes, they use up more beads than your average necklace. Yes, I’ve almost literally blitzed through my bead stash in the last several weeks making them. And yes, I think I’ve now reached “wrapped loop burnout” from making them, but that doesn’t make me any less happy when I see my finished piece for this challenge.

If you’ve ever seen the movie “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” you’ll remember the stately mystique of the city of Savannah, GA. I’ve never been there myself, but when I think of the city (and the movie) it conjures up images of women in flowered dresses drinking tea on a hot day while strands of Wisteria and Spanish Moss flutter on the breeze around them. I think of bees buzzing gently around a garden of tea roses, and I think of bouquets of large, exotic flowers that don’t make me sneeze. If these images don’t appeal to you, perhaps the thought of John Cusack and Kevin Spacey sharing the screen for a really dramatic murder mystery will!!

So with these images in mind, and a big honking brass flower in hand, I designed my challenge piece and dubbed it “Midnight in the Garden of Bees and Flowers.” This is fortunate, because the working title of the piece was “Too Many Damned Wrapped Loops”

As with so many of my recent bracelets, this began with a handmade base chain, using brass jump rings. You can get all of the brass findings (including head pins, the beautiful flowery toggle clasp, and that cute little bee charm) for a similar bracelet here:

Next came the fun part … what beads to use????

If there’s one thing that is at least as classically vintage as brass, it’s pearls. I chose Swarovski pearls in 2 sizes, and chose the Platinum shade which I felt complimented the warm tones of the brass. Then I added Swarovski Margaritas in Siam for color.

I finished to this point, and decided that the bracelet did not feel complete. Digging through my dwindling bead stash, I came across some small Swarovski pearls in a gorgeous deep red shade (I think it’s Bordeaux, but I’m not 100% certain) and added them. You can purchase all of the beads used at Artbeads also right here:

I do hope you’ve had half as much fun peeking at this little creation as I had making it!!!! Thank you so much to Duchess and everyone art Artbeads!!!!

Necessary legal stuff:
I’m not employed by or being paid by Artbeads, and the opinions expressed in this blog are honest and completely my own. I received the following products free of charge from Artbeads :


  1. Love those brass flowers you found!
    Very nice bracelet and your idea in mind of Savannah is about spot on! I visited there several years ago during the summer and your description was dead on!

  2. Gorgeous!!
    I'm so used to seeing the margarita beads used in trees, it is nice to see them in a different light. I love your descriptions... u take the reader right along with u!

  3. oh Cat you're just making me want to go there THAT MUCH MORE!!! lol
    and thanks, BD ... I don't often find good uses for margaritas, but in this case I wanted something that was going to add bling to the bracelet without sticking out in all directions - margaritas were great for that!

  4. Beautiful. I wish I was so talented.