Friday, 12 August 2011


What a wonderful day I've had!
Fiddling with a CHALLENGE PACK
of beads and findings, playing with
design ideas ... Not everyone's idea of fun -
but it's definitely mine!

The CHALLENGE PACK is the brilliant
invention of:
and will be available to order on a
monthly basis from their website.
It only costs £9.97, which I thought was
FANTASTIC value for quality and quantity ...
and wait until you see what I was able to
create with it! ...

Each month's pack will be completely different, inspiring and pushing you
to create pieces with materials you might not normally put together, or even
ever personally choose - which to my mind, is the perfect way of propelling
your skills and techniques to another level!
If you're not already part of a beading group, why not use these monthly
challenge packs to start one??! ... they are your perfect monthly Muse ...

You'll also be able to showcase the pieces you create on BeadsDirect
page - so not only will you have made some stunning new
pieces ... you'll become famous in your own lunchtime !!

Below is what I received in my Challenge Pack:

I used every component to create 5 new jewellery
items and all I added to the pieces from my own
stash, was ready-made chain, earring posts
and some wire!!

On first opening the pack, I was happy to see
the beautiful turquoise beads, as this is my favourite
(& birthstone) colour! So, I began by separating the
green coloured beads from the turquoise blue (as I knew
I had to make a bold, statement piece with these),
therefore, the green beads, ribbon and findings found
natural ground together.

In my personal 'stash' of materials, I found a length of
plumbing chain that toned well with the findings and set to
work on making my first challenge ... an asymetric style
necklace. (Keep reading ... and I will show you how it was made!).

(Above - Emerald Garland Necklace)

Next, I couldn't wait to use the gorgeous turquoise
teardrop beads ... I had quite a few ideas for
earrings and matching necklace, but in the end
I decided on a really bold designer statement piece,
which I'm really pleased with and I promise you
it looks 'WOW' with a suntan and white T-shirt
(not on me - I'm talking hypothetically!!).

(Tie-On 'Beach Babe' Necklace)
The turquoise teardrop and white beads are threaded
onto nylon filament and connected in tapered
layers. I've made decorative suspension 'hangers'
out of 1mm silver wire and attached these to each
side of the necklace. The white ribbon was then threaded
and doubled through the top loops, so that the ends can
be tied into a decorative bow at the back of the neck with
the beaded shell-like embellishments hanging down from
each ribbon tip. This makes it look interesting and
decorative from the back as well as the front!
("Give us a twirl").

Included in the pack, were some small round turquoise beads,
so, having made the 'Beach Babe' necklace, I was inspired to
create some 'bunch' style earrings to complete the set!

(Oceana Earrings)
The only addition from my personal stash in these earrings
was the wire I used to thread the beads, the 2 pearl beads
suspended at the ends, plus 4 silver beads (2 in each bunch),
as well as the earring findings.

Now for my next challenge: I was still left with the Kilt Pin
finding and luckily, I still had a few left over beads to play with ...

(Fortune Charm Pin)

And here is my Lucky Charm Pin design. I used the
crystal 'treasure' bead for the centrepiece, to symbolise
wealth and prosperity for the future, the turquoise teardrop
represents my Birthstone and the shell bead expresses
my love of nature (hence the little blue heart bead),
not to mention memories of happy seaside holidays!

And would you believe it? There were still a few more beads
left in the pack to create one final piece ...

(Hand Bag Charm)
... and here it is, a Hand Bag Charm or Key Ring!
In fact, this could be a great accessory for a bride
at her wedding, if she wanted to add: ..."something old, something
new, something borrowed, something BLUE"!!

Well, that's it! I managed to use
everything up and create 5 distinctive
new pieces. Go on, what are you waiting for ...
give yourself, or your beading group
a new challenge too!
It's such fun and very rewarding!
(Keeps the brain cells functioning and more enjoyable than SUDOKU!)

If you're interested to know how I created the first piece, with the
green, crystal, pearl beads and findings ... read on:

Above, are the pieces I used - all of them came from the
Beads Direct Challenge Pack, except for the plumbing chain!

1. I began by threading the green faceted pear-drop
crystal beads with the headpins and pushed them through
each side of the circular coil finding.

2. I then secured the headpins at the back of the unit
by spiralling the ends and pushing back into the coils.

3. I cut a small piece of masking tape and wrapped this around
one end of the green satin ribbon, and with my scissors, tapered the
end into a point (to make it easier for threading). I then began threading
the ribbon through the chain links.

4. I continued threading the ribbon in and out of
each chain link, to the length of the necklace I desired.

5. Then, I threaded the 2 round crystal beads with 0.8mm wire,
creating links at each end. I also used all the headpins from the
pack to thread the pear-drop green crystals and white pearls, making
top links with my round nosed pliers. In fact, the pearls are threaded
onto one headpin - so they are co-joined in sets, like Siamese twins!

6. Now, getting back to the necklace ... I cut another length of
plumbing chain and attached this to the central part - leaving
a space at the centre (for my beaded embellishments!).

7. Now, I set about embellishing the front of the necklace.
For this, I cut some more chain and connected the crystal
beads to it and attached the green pear-drop crystals and
pearls at various intervals to the chain. This is not a very
good image of the piece, as it's lying flat be honest, it
looks much better suspended - as gravity gives it weight,
balance and overall proportion! The coil spiral decoration
at the side (created in step 1-2) was initially attached with
jump rings, but when worn, it tended to dip forward, so I
ended up cutting a length of 0.4mm wire and binding it to the
back and onto the chain and ribbon necklace, so that it was
totally secure.

8. Finally, I added the decorative toggle clasp
from the Challenge pack and tied the green
ribbon around the last links at the ends of the chain
and created some coils out of wire to garnish
the dangling ribbon ends.
This makes the back of this necklace as decorative as
the front!!
THANK YOU, Claire, from
I love your CHALLENGE PACKS ...
and I'm already looking forward in
anticipation, to next month's beady