Sunday 16 June 2013

Summer Elements Blog Hop

Today is the reveal day for the Summer Elements Blog Hop hosted by Rita from Toltec Jewels at Jewel School Friends. Here is her post for the reveal - she's made a mouthwatering blueberry necklace. I'd wear the heck out of that :D

The idea of the hop is to share an element of summer, perhaps create something inspired by it. 

To me, summer is nature. To me, summer is flowers and their scent. To me, summer is the Song and Dance Festival that takes place every couple of years and the first of which was held in 1869. And I decided to try and share all of this with you. 

The national flower, and certainly one of my favourites, is the cornflower: 

Image not mine - I didn't see any wild cornflowers blooming yesterday, when I set out to find them.
The garden variety.

And some pictures of a field of rye. Rye is the type of crop most often associate with the cornflower, the name of the flower translated directly from Estonian would be rye flower.


For the reveal I created a pendant, using motifs from Estonian national embroidery. I embroidered a cornflower, some daisies and two crop heads. The background is white linen and the pendant is framed with black matte seed beads. Blue, black and white are Estonian national colours.

And finally, a taste of the Song Festival I mentioned. 


Sorry about the poor quality of video, but this is one of my favourite songs that has been performed at the festival. This was recorded in 2004, so it was before I got a chance to be one of the singers. I have participated twice, in 2007 and 2009, and both times were amazing. I would translate the title as Beatuful Land and the first lines as Summer is beautiful and so is the evening... So it kind of fits the hop :) 
Oh yes, and while I'm on the topic, here's a link to a very powerful performance from 2011. *Hint, hint*

The Summer Elements Blog Hop Participants: 

Toltec Jewels (Hostess)
Marlene Cupo         
Cheri Reed              
Ailsa Cordner          
Robin Reed             
Nan Smith               
Sherri Stokey           
Christie (Charis Designs)
Carolyn Lawson       
Susie Harris              
Andrea Glick-Zenith 
Nelly May                
Melissa Trudinger     
Dini Bruinsma           
Kathy Lindemer       
Cory Tompkins        
Robin Reed             
Gina Hockett           
Karen Martinez       
Jasvanti Patel           
Solange Collin          
Karla Morgan          
Anindita Basu           
Alicia Marinache      
Andrea Trank          
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell
Mischelle Fanucchi   
Tanty Sri Hartanti     
Shaiha Williams        
Mary Govaars          
Becca Sirevaag        
Lennis Carrier          
Regina Wood           
Sue Kennedy           
Kathleen Breeding   

Saturday 8 June 2013

A Special Special Order

A friend of mine recently bought a necklace with a hand-embroidered pendant in a golden setting that had some Estonian national flowers as well as a pink blossom on it. She asked me to make her a pair of earrings to go with it. 

My first thought was, well why don't you make them yourself. But as it turned out, not all schools teach things like that in Estonia. Crafts are a compulsory part of our national curriculum in middle school, but the actual content of the lessons depends on the school and the teacher. So I dug out the books I had and reminded myself of the techniques and different stitches of embroidering. 

The flowers are embroidered using woollen and cotton threads (some of them at least 20 years old by now, I have a pile of stuff like that at home), and I added some transparent seed beads to give the earrings a sort of shine. The cloth is 100% linen, though it's bleached to make it white. 

The real question for me was how to actually make the embroidered motifs into earrings. I was also afraid that the threads of the cloth might unravel when I cut it. 

The original plan was to use golden cameo settings to create a similar golden frame around the earrings as the pendant had, but that fell through because for the earrings to be reasonably light, the metal settings would've had to be quite small and I didn't want my first embroidery project in a while to be microscopic, so that it would be easier to accomplish. 

Then I realised that I have some golden Preciosa seed beads and decided to use these to create a sort of a frame. But this still left the unravelling problem. In the end I cut the motifs out larger than the earrings were supposed to be and glued the pieces onto the same cloth. I used a kind of glue that I was sure would become completely transparent as it dried. After it had dried, I cut the earrings out by the outline I had drawn and glued the pieces onto white felt. Then I brick stitched the edges with golden seed beads and added the ear wires with jump rings which sit in one of the seed beads. The end result was super light.

Making these was quite an adventure for me and I don't really think that this kind of technique would ever become my medium of choice, but hey, it's really great to try out new things and I'm sure I'll make some more things like that in the future.

Saturday 1 June 2013

History Hop - REVEAL

I participated in Leah Curtis's history themed blog hop where the participants got to choose from a list of historical periods or cultures and create jewelry inspired by that. My theme was English Romanticism and Mourning Jewelry. Though I had a lot of ideas going on around my head when I picked it out, I only managed to create two pieces - a pair of earrings and a necklace. 

First the earrings. I had a bit of trouble with them at first, but after some useful advice from my mum I got them to work.

Czech faceted glass beads and Japanese Toho seed beads.

They're really not that large, my hands are just super small.
And the necklace. 

I wasn't sure at first if the greyish tones would go with white, but I think they work fine.
The piece started revolving around this vintage metal button with rhinestones that
my mum found in one of her drawers.

I made the focal by embroidering some of the grey faceted beads around it. 

For the additional pieces I sewed beads onto grey filigree discs.
This was my first such challenge and I had a lot of fun making these pieces. Here is the list of all the other participants, so go make yourself a cuppa and enjoy the show. I know I will :)

Leah Curtis - Indus Valley -
Laney Mead - Māori -
Becca - Art Nouveau -
Melissa - English Romanticism and Mourning Jewelry -
Tracy Stillman - Native American -
Liz E - Native North American -
Ahowin - Māori (New Zealand)  - 
Jasvanti - Indus Valley -
Lizzie - Art Nouveau -
Julia Hay - Merovingian -
Dini - Celtic -
Caroline - Art Nouveau - 
Charlie - Moche of Peru -
Karin - China -
Niky Sayers - Rome -
Marcia Dunne - Celctic and Mourning Jewelry -
anafiassa - Mesopotamia -
Kokopelli - Native American -
Christa - Native American -
Clair - Roman -
Susan Bowie - Native American -
Gloria Allen - English Romanticism -
Sheila Garrett - Early Russia -