Thursday, July 21, 2016

Allegory Gallery Tribes Challenge Reveal

Allegory Gallery hosts several bead challenges throughout the year (here's a link to the blog  Last year I had participated in a couple of them and had really enjoyed stretching creatively using different colors, beads and supplies.  I wanted to join up again, but challenge reveals were moved to Facebook which I wasn't on so I didn't join in.  But after reading about this challenge in a post by Andrew Thornton, the creative mastermind behind the Allegory Gallery challenges in his blog (, I knew I had to join Facebook and give it a go.

So here I am, new to Facebook (I know, what took me so long?) and since I live in Wisconsin, a proud member of the Forest Tribe.  Here are some photos of what was posted on Allegory Gallery's blog regarding the beads included in the Forest Tribe mix.

I started with Andrew's pendant, then started selecting beads that had the deep, rich colors of the forest.  I had two (nut?, seed?) beads, which have a cool looking texture that reminds me of bark, roots and vines in the forest. I ended up using two beautiful earthy green ceramic beads from Gaea, some vintage glass beads I had on hand including some old crystal and leaf and flower beads.  I wanted that warm, rustic feel to my piece so I used oxidized copper wire to wire wrap the beads.  After adding some flowers to Andrew's pendant, I felt the design needed more flowers (what doesn't?) so I wire wrapped a few more with some leaves thinking I'd just add them to one of the beads.  Since that didn't work out, I wrapped them on a headpin and tried to use that for a component.  Well, that didn't work either, so I settled on a piece of textured and oxidized copper sheet I made a while back.  A few more bugs needed to be worked out of the design (yes, it was this morning when I finished), and voila! I give you my Forest Tribe Necklace.

I tried a few ideas out and finally came to my final design. 

Flowers and leaves were added to Andrew's pendant.

Final Design of Forest Tribe Necklace.
I really enjoy participating in Andrew and Allegory Gallery's challenges.  I highly recommend them to anyone out there who's starting out (or is a seasoned pro) in jewelry making.  The bead mixes are full of beautiful beads and Andrew's pendant is always delightful.  Go check out what everyone else has made at Allegory Gallery's Design Challenges Group on Facebook. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Welcome to ubetchabeads blog!

This is my first blog post for ubetchabeads, a handcrafted jewelry line that I have been selling on Etsy called "ubetchabeads1" since 2012, and at local craft fairs.  At ubetchabeads1 I offer my customers casual jewelry that's a mix of classic styles with a bohemian feel.  Beautiful beads are always the stars of each piece.

Recently I have been working with copper sheet metal and have created some jewelry pieces with rustic copper dangles.  Triangles have also been a motif I've been working with, but I've found that I need to really file down the pointed edges as rounding them makes the piece a lot more comfortable to wear - no pointy edges poking you!  
Here are a few preliminary photos of my recent work.  Photographing my jewelry has presented a whole new host of challenges with the copper elements getting weird highlights on them causing the stamping to either look too dark or just plain awful.  

This first photo is of a pair of earrings I made with the copper triangles.  Even though I filed and filed the edges, I think I'll pull them apart and file some more - they still feel a bit pokey!

This necklace features a lovely ceramic bead from Gaea Handmade.

Come join me as I plan to use this blog to describe my process, projects, tips and hopefully not too many frustrations as I continue to create my own vision of casual jewelry.  I'll also participate in some bead blog hops and contests  along the way and will introduce those of you who are new to jewelry making to some of the wonderful jewelry designers and bead makers out there.

Thanks for joining me here.