Sunday, March 15, 2015

How Hops and Challenges Made Me a Better Jewelry Designer

Every now and then....something strikes me and I just need to write.  Today, right now, is one of those times.

I was sitting in my bead room working on some new projects and got to thinking about how I've changed since I started doing blog hops and challenges.  In my Facebook group, Bead Peeps, we've embarked on a HUGE task of asking designers to sign up, be paired with someone they probably don't know, swap beads and make a piece of jewelry with what they were sent.  I was thinking about my first swap n hop..... it was an adventure.  I didn't know what I really getting in to, but "the whole class was doing it" so I signed up, too.  =)

Examples of "What the....?!?!?!"

I received my package from a gal in Kentucky.  She sent all kinda stuff I'd never seen before or ever worked with.  She sent some clay beads she'd made, and some antique brass metal pieces - which were by FAR my biggest challenges.  I didn't know WHAT I was doing...but somewhere in the depths of my soul - something came out.  And frankly - to this day (2+ years later) - it's a piece I'm most proud of.  Is it perfect? NO.  It is my taste? Not really.  Is it something *I* would have picked for myself?  Not on your life.  BUT that package of beads GREW me.  It encouraged me to step past my obsession with bright silver and explore other metals....copper, gold, brass, stainless, gunmetal and even (gasp) antique silver.  Thanks to HER, I use other metals now.  CRAZY!  (Read the story here:

My 2nd partner was a sweet gal from Indiana (Whoop whoop!).  She was so wonderful!  She sent me a package of beads that I nearly cried in excitement over.  She had sent this GORGEOUS clasp, the cutest owl bead I've ever seen and Czech beads.  *coughcoughWHAT?!coughcough*  I had NO BLASTED IDEA how to work with Czech beads...let alone ordering them, and frankly - learning a new language.  Words like "picasso" and "pressed" and "firepolished" meant 0 to me.  I just wanted ones like she had sent! So, I learned.....and read...and googled...and asked questions...and ordered. Alot. ;)   (Read the full story here:

 The pieces I made from THAT group of goodies is by far....some of my most proud pieces.  I am still COMPLETELY obsessed by them and get compliments EVERY time I wear them.  I learned a new language, I learned about a different type of bead and I expanded my skillz by making a wire flower to mimic the clasp she'd sent, using some basic wire working techniques to make my owl into a pendant and made my OWN headpins AND earwires (my first EVER).....and I fully blame her... with all kinds of thanks to her, I now own.....THIS....(all Czech glass). =)

Another example....some have heard references to my "favorite color of gemstone" "baby food orange".... red aventurine.  ugh. (and every time I say "red aventurine" "ugh" is immediately followed).  I signed up for a blog hop where I would be sent a "mystery" package of beads and metal parts (again...antique brass).  Now, for those unaware - I HATED IT!  I'm not sure hate is even a strong enough word for my feelings toward this stone.  =)  After a loooong while of sitting and stewing....the deadline was looming and I had to get my rear in gear if I was going to finish....long story longer..... I pulled out a color wheel and went to town.  And guess what? They are AWESOME! Different, cohesive, not too cray-cray....and I'm pretty proud of those pieces, too.   (Read the full story here:

Moral of the Story

So, I want to encourage you that if you opened your package and went "what the....?!", sit with with it....look at it in a different light....this is an INCREDIBLE chance to learn and streeeeeeeetch yourself.


  1. Linda, you certainly rose to every challenge. And, I totally agree, you get stronger when you move out of your comfort zone, stronger and better. Hippety hop. We are going to have SUCH fun!

  2. Lol it happens to me during most swaps - at first I am in love with the goodies, then I am absolutely clueless - I blink till the end of the swap and finally make something out of it. This time, I am hoping to get a early start on the pieces