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The BIG Michael’s Challenge

October 17, 2010

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So if you’ve found your way here to this little corner of the blogosphere you’ve probably already heard about Loreli’s fantastic beading challenge and seen some amazing jewelry. I was thrilled when she showed us the beautiful strands she found at her local Michael’s store, and she was just so darn positive when she encouraged us all to go out and seek the same and add in a little magic of our own.

So how did it go? Well personally I’m usually not one to make things several times, but I gotta admit the first necklace I made didn’t survive its first 24 hours. Sorry — no pictures. Looking back I realize this challenge led me to use a lot more contrasting elements than I usually work with, and in that first round I was trying hard to make it into a symphony or something … I had double strands here and there, and was trying to anchor them with the square beads and a storyline about my favorite episode of “LOST,” and before long it had just become way too fussy and complicated. One of those things in life that sounds sooo much better in your head … Anyway, these are such pretty beads, and it just wasn’t the right approach.

So I took a deep breath and started over. In my second necklace I decided to include a lovely aventurine focal piece I also found at Michael’s. The carved green stone was a nice complement, I think, to the carved cinnabar and wooden beads, as well as the new jade. I also relied on some little seed beads as my other contribution to the mix. The most difficult part of the challenge for me was figuring out how to use the white chain. I make much of my own chain out of Argentium silver, so using something white  for goodness sake was outside my zone.

However, I gotta say this really looks nice around my neck. There’s so much contrast in this selection that the necklace has a lot of “pop,” and I think that’s the other thing I got out of this challenge ~ I realized that when you’re working with so many different types of beads, it becomes harder to judge what the finished piece will look like when it’s worn.

So after I finished making this first necklace, I still had a lot of beads leftover, and the darker copper chain I picked up a few months ago at a bead show kept calling my name. Off I went for my own round two in this wonderful bead challenge, and I think the finished results are simply lovely. When I simplified the construction I was able to make my double strand approach work much better than the first time around, and I couldn’t resist sneaking in that beautiful faceted peridot bead as another element (doesn’t it match the green pearls perfectly?!).

The focal piece you might recognize as the incomparable work of Green Girls Studios. The funny thing is I wore this necklace to dinner with friends on Friday night, and my 9-year-old son was along for the ride. When my girlfriends noticed my necklace, I started explaining the blog challenge thing, and as I was talking I noticed my son staring intensely at the necklace … trust me, he’s usually not sitting on the edge of his seat when I’m blathering on about jewelry and blogging, but his eyes were glued to my neck as if I were Liz Taylor wearing the Hope diamond. As the conversation drifted on to other subjects, he leaned close to me to whisper in my ear and the following conversation ensued …

“Mom, do you think I could have that necklace when you’re done blogging about it?”

“Well, honey, I’m not sure it’s your style … why do you want it?”

“I don’t really want that whole necklace, just that Medusa head pendant. I’ve never seen anything so cool.”

I should point out that Eli has just finished plowing his way through some serious Rick Riordan novels that all revolve around Greek mythology. He considers himself quite the expert in all things mythic, and evidently gorgons are a favorite subject (perhaps he’s seen me look a little too wild-eyed in the morning before that 3rd cup of coffee kicks in). Regardless, I now know where to look if this particular piece suddenly goes missing.

Want to check out the other amazing creations in this BIG Michael’s Blog Challenge? Here are the links:

Mary Harding
Hilary of Fryestyle
For My Sweet Daughter
My Life Under the Bus
Kristie of DreamSomeDesigns
Linda’s Bead Blog & Meanderings
Copper Diem
Andrew Thornton
Raida of HavanaBeads
Erin of Treasuresfound
Molly of BeautifullyBrokenMe
Beading by Malin de Koning
Gr8Findings (YOU ARE HERE)
Deborah M Purdy
Spirited Earth
Erin Siegel Jewelry
beads by breul
Beads for Busy Gals
Cynths Blog
Nayas Organized Chaos
Crafty Hope
2 catch a hummingbird
For the Love of Beads
Jamberry Song
Peacock Fairy
Elysian Studio Art
Designs by Debi
sweet girl design
Silver Rose Designs ( i need a correct link for this blog)
Tropic Beads
Imaginative Jewelry
Magnolia Attic

26 Comments leave one →
  1. October 17, 2010 10:06 am

    Hahaha what a small world – I had that same carved focal and didn’t use it- It came out beautifully! Love both of your necklaces but the second one is the *coolest*! ( I have 4 big Rick riordan fans here too!!). Happy Blog Hopping !!!

  2. October 17, 2010 10:42 am

    Both necklaces are simply beautiful!

  3. October 17, 2010 11:11 am

    Wow… so mystical, this! It’s simply gorgeous and has a mysterious power all its own. I’m so happy you wrote up all about the thought processes behind this, it’s fantastic to get into another artist’s head like that. Thank you so much!

  4. October 17, 2010 11:43 am

    Love the necklace and what a fun story about your son! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  5. lorelei permalink
    October 17, 2010 12:09 pm

    LOOOOOVE IT! Love the story about your son too. That’s so cool, and I have a whole new appreciation for that green girl pendant, will have to pick one of those up.
    Thank you so much for participating, you did a wonderful job- I think the second necklace is my favorite!

  6. October 17, 2010 12:22 pm

    Wow, you put some SERIOUS thought into your pieces. I think they turned out just lovely!
    As well, I think it’s great that your son likes the pendant as well. Cool!

  7. October 17, 2010 1:02 pm

    The pieces are fantastic but what’s even better is your son’s request for the necklace! If that isn’t the cutest thing 🙂

  8. October 17, 2010 2:14 pm

    I love both necklaces. Love the simplicity in the first one, and how you managed to use the white chain. That was also my biggest challenge. In the second one, I just love the whole simple two starnd design.

  9. October 17, 2010 3:13 pm

    Love both but in particular the one with the silver bar and aqua focals – simple and very, very pretty!

  10. October 17, 2010 3:13 pm

    I could relate to everything you wrote and by the way you write well I was drawn in! I LOVE this necklace with the GG pendant. Just wonderful with the elements that do make it Pop out. I think youve done a wonderful Job!! I would be quite Proud if I were you! ox

  11. October 17, 2010 3:39 pm

    I love them both!

  12. October 17, 2010 4:14 pm

    Love both necklace you made! Both great designs and you work so well with asymmetry.

  13. October 17, 2010 5:36 pm

    Love it! That pendant is perfect with it!

  14. October 17, 2010 5:37 pm

    That is the sweetest story of your son! To be so engaged in not only the jewelry but how it relates to a passion of his is wonderful! And you slide show is really cool. The white chain was hard to deal with. I like what you did with it.
    Thanks for sharing your inspiration.
    Enjoy the day!

  15. October 17, 2010 5:50 pm

    I love the carved jade pendant. That elegant piece adds to the finish of the necklace.

  16. October 17, 2010 7:01 pm

    I love that you made more that one piece. I too ended up creating several pieces that all coordinated together. I have the same carved jade piece and I love how you used it. Thank yo for the inspiration.

  17. October 17, 2010 7:28 pm

    What lovely necklaces you made with all the beads! I especially like the Medusa pendant 😉 When we were kids, Cynthia, Sheila and I used to fight over this battered copy of Greek mythology. I can still remember the cover to this day… bright purplish magenta with a vivid green medusa head! Eventually we graduated into Edith Hamilton and Robert Graves. I’m glad that some of my family’s work found its away into your work. (My sister is the founder of Green Girl Studios and sculpted the medusa coin.)

    Nicely done… on both the pieces!

  18. October 17, 2010 7:59 pm

    Loveley necklaces. Wonderful integration of the beads and the color scheme.

  19. October 17, 2010 8:27 pm


  20. October 17, 2010 10:11 pm

    i love them both, but maybe i love the story about your son even more! i agree- there was just so muc going on in this collection. sometimes less is more. awesome that you made 2 inspired pieces. the carved jade tube reminds me of something i have tucked away and has my gears turning…

  21. October 18, 2010 6:10 am

    Oh goodness, what a great story about your son! And your necklaces, both are just loverly! Wasn’t this challenge so fun?

  22. October 18, 2010 8:50 am

    Love both of your necklaces, beautiful!

  23. October 18, 2010 9:01 am

    Both necklaces are lovely!! Cute story about your son – I have a few Riordan fans here, too. 🙂

  24. October 18, 2010 11:05 am

    What a great post and two fun necklaces! I totally understand the “starting over” – I think I started over with this challenge at least 10 times! (I also totally understand the Medusa-head-before-coffee syndrome, as I suffer from the same thing!). Great job!

  25. October 18, 2010 11:53 am

    I love it! Absolutely wonderful.

  26. October 21, 2010 10:17 am

    They are both gorgeous! I have that same medusa pendant and haven’t used it yet. My kids love anything Rick Riordan. If he liked Percy Jackson, he should love the new Kane Cronicles (1st book that just came out is the Red Pyramid) and also the new series that’s a continuation of Percy Jackson ;o)

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