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Michael's Beading Challenge Blog Hop...Reveal Time!

A big thank you to Lorelei and Heather, our co-hostesses for putting together a fun bead challenge and blog hop. I was looking for a good reason to procrastinate when I saw the share on Facebook to join the hop and there's never a better reason to procrastinate then a design challenge, right?
I borrowed this picture from Lorelei's original post about the challenge. I was able to get all but 2 of the strands at my local Michael's store...for those 2 strands I looked around and was able to find similar styles to substitute. Here's the group of beads I used, including a few additional items I considered as I was thinking over possible designs.
Sorry my photo is a bit dark...I took it in one of my design trays, under my desk lamp...so not optimum photo conditions. I really love the color selections Heather chose, the jewel tones and bright colors with the dark wood...very gorgeous and really spoke to my creative muse!
I've had this tile stashed from one of the first batches I ever made! I love the colors in this butterfly but I never had quite the right combination to make it into a design...until now. The bright colors in this challenge were perfect!
It's a long style, no clasp slips easily over the head. It's also a very rare (by me) symmetrical design.
In addition to the rare symmetrical design, I also made matching sets for this challenge, something I rarely do but for some reason felt compelled with these designs. Here is the bracelet...
and the earrings...
Next up another necklace design...I'd been saving this tile for just the right beads too...
Beautiful isn't it?
and I'm back to my asymmetrical style...and of course when I couldn't find the flower etched wood beads, I substituted with the same beads in the dragonfly version. Had to get my dragonflies in here somehow! and the coordinating bracelet...
and earrings...
I do love how this set came together...and dragonflies! Next I made 3 bracelets styled to be worn separate or together in any combination that suits your mood!
They are all adjustable too...I prefer whenever possible to design bracelets this way for best fit on anyone.
Did I mention they are great simple styles for wearing alone or stacking together or even with other bracelets? I really love how they turned out for the simplicity of the design.
I included one of my scrabble size tiles on this one. I love the colors in this bird and he just fit with these bracelets. Don't you think? Here's a picture of all of them together...
Wonderful colors together and the beads are all a nice size but not too much on the wrist. and yes there's earrings...
So that's everything...I used up almost all of the beads purchased for this challenge and added just a few findings, spacers, ribbon, waxed linen and the ephemera tiles. It was really fun to challenge myself with just the beads in the challenge and not add a lot from my stash. Thanks again to Lorelei and Heather!We'd love it if you would hop along with us...to visit the other participants please visit Heather's blog by clicking the link. She is having everyone provide a link on her post to keep things simple. Happy hopping!I will be listing these designs for sale later this week...you can visit my shop by clicking the shop link at the top of my blog page. If you are interested in purchasing something before I get the listings done you can email me or send me a message on Facebook to work out the details. If you are interested in purchasing similar tiles to the ones seen here, please visit my supply shop, Asbury Avenue Designs.~Kari

Mastering the white photo background and ...has it really been a month since my last blog post?

I know I've been busy but until today I had no idea it's been over a month since my last post...I was doing so much better trying to post regularly...dang it! Oh well, it has been a hectic month...still working on the last touches for the studio space and organizing...read here realizing how many beads I have and wondering where they will all go... I've also been busy fine tuning things as I prepare to really get my feet wet in wholesale. I'm very excited about this new direction for my business, even if I feel overwhelmed by the changes some days.Anyhoo...as part of this new direction it has now become more than necessary to mater the white background photos. Can I just say, UGH! This has been my quiet struggle forever! As jewelry designers I think we all struggle with photos in general...constantly second guessing our photo abilities...then when we finally get a set up we are moderately happy with...we are more than resistant to changing it, starting back at the beginning of the struggle. But here I am...at the beginning...again... On the bright side, I think I've got it figured out and in only a day! Go team me! So here's a few side by side photos of my old set up and the same item on white...I think it works! I also test printed a few pages of my catalog, it looks so much more professional now. :)All photos were taken using my iPhone camera (because that fancy $400+ macro camera sucks taking white photos) and Picmonkey free photo editing for brighten and contrast. I always try to follow and read tips people offer and I will say thanks again to my fellow beady/Facebook friend, Kristin Oppold...she has shared much information on using her phone and apps in the quest for a good white background photo.
I love to read your comments or if you have any tips or tricks to share please feel free to leave a comment below! I'll be back in a few days with the first of several design challenge reveals happening this month...I hope you'll stop by and join the fun!
~Kari

Shop Update... and a few changes...

If you are looking for my Bead Soup post click here.I've spent some time lately looking at my Etsy shops and...I've decide to add a DIY Design Elements section to my jewelry shop and close my supply shop. There are still a few listings in my supply shop, which will be available until they expire around the end of June. In the meantime, I have new supply listings, starting Monday, June 2nd that will be listed here.
At little sneak peak...some of the new tiles I will be listing featuring gorgeous Boho images from Calico Collage. If you follow my work you know Ella is one of my favorite digital designers!
I will also be adding new design kits...I'm very excited to offer these! Each kit will feature one of my handmade wood tiles, a selection of handmade beads from a variety of artists and a length of sari ribbon. All specially selected to inspire your design muse!The initial kits I've prepared include beads from Gaea and/or Firelily...if these kits are popular I will continue adding other artists to the mix...and remember I accept custom requests!~Kari

AJE May Component of the Month...Reveal Time!

I was so excited when I got the email from Sue Kennedy of Sue Beads inviting me to participate in Art Jewelry Elements May Component giveaway and blog hop! If you are not familiar with the AJE blog or the Component of the Month giveaways...click on the link above for more info and have a look around at this fantastic blog!
Sue kindly offered up a choice of beads or cabachons...I of course chose beads...I know, go figure! Above are pictures of the bead sets and individual cabachons...it was a surprise what colors we would receive. I received the second to last set on the right side...beautiful blues and although it looks light blue in the picture, it was actually more of a mint green color...very pretty.So before I show my final designs I will say...I had a false start or two but didn't snap pictures as I was frantically tearing things apart at the last minute! Also, I took lots of pictures since I am still working on a new set up in the new studio space and since they all turned out good...I'm sharing them all!
I love how this necklace turned out. I used two of the three chicklets, one of my ephemera tiles, a large brass butterfly, and some beaded glass chain.
A close up of the chicklets, tile and glass chain...isn't that image gorgeous? My friend and digital collage artist, Ella of Calico Collage, designed a lovely sheet of gypsy, boho style images including this one. I will be adding tiles from these images to my supply shop soon...I've used the few I created in projects lately so I need to create a few more before they will be available. All of the brass elements are from Vintaj Brass Co.
Isn't this butterfly gorgeous! I really felt like the style complimented this design without distracting from all the art bead goodness. :)
and another close up of the gorgeous tile and chicklets...
and just one more of the whole necklace...did I mention I'm experimenting with my photo set up? If you would like to purchase this necklace...click here. I bet you are wondering about that last chicklet too...asking yourself...did she stash it away? add it to the secret collection?
Nope! No stashing...so now I'll mention my original design idea had all three chicklets, the tiles from each necklace and Irish waxed linen in a bracelet design...the colors just weren't working for me!
But this works for me. I love purples and greens and this gypsy soul image combines them beautifully! If you saw my post on the waxed linen blog hop last week...I told you there would be more coming!
Here's a close up of the beads at the top of the tile...deep purple crystals and beautiful green and purple matte lampwork squared rings from Outwest. Chain and finding are from Vintaj Brass Co.
One last picture...I might have to keep this one for myself... I decided to offer it in my shop after all. If you would like to purchase this necklace...click here.Thank you Sue for the opportunity to join in fun! Please visit the rest of the participants by clicking on their links below...and remember we all love to read your comments!
Guests
AJE Members

Good Earth Challenge...the beads arrived!

Another Andrew Thornton bead kit and design challenge. I love these kits! Andrew puts together a wonderful assortment of beads in a beautiful color palette for these creative challenges. Only 20 kits available and you must buy a kit to participate...click here to see what I created from the last design kit, Dark Waters.
So my Good Earth kit arrived yesterday and it is delicious! Greens, golds, yellows, browns...the ideas are already brewing.
Close up of the glass beads and gorgeous Irish waxed linen...
More glass, brass feather and beautiful gold toggle clasp...
and then there's the premium blend of glass, wood, seed beads, sequins...all sorts of extra bead goodness!
as if all that isn't enough to get the creative muse going...Andrew creates a little something special he calls the mystery component. This special component is a mystery until our packages arrive in the mail...then we have a special reveal date...JUNE 2...to share it with all of you! This kit has TWO mystery goodies!We have until July 10 to let our creative muses go...I hope you will join us then for a reveal and blog hop!

It's a waxed linen creation craze! Blog Hop and Reveal Time!

First off, THANK YOU, to our lovely hostess Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Studio...without her we would not have united today in our craze to create with waxed linen! As usual I was creating up to the last minute and am rushing to write my post...things are so hectic lately! I'll also mention in my defense...I have been working to create a new studio space in my house from one of our extra bedrooms and while it's not done...I have managed to create more disarray for myself and had to scramble to get photos since my photo station is still waiting on it's new place in the studio! But enough of all that...let's get to some creations!
First up, earrings! I am in love with the chicklet beads from Sue Beads. I have LOTS of them and she just keeps listing more lovely, tempting colors! This pair is a denim blue color and I've paired them with some rings from Outwest, in blue, green, cream and grey. They were a nice little extra with one of my purchases. Crystals in smoke and brass ear wires from Vintaj...everything brought together with a denim blue waxed linen of course! These earrings are long and have lots of swing...love them!
One more picture...I was experimenting with my make shift photo set up to get these. Not too bad considering how make shift it is...no pictures of it...to embarassing ;)
The other piece I completed is a necklace...the focal and large lava bead are actually from my bead soup leftovers. A few crystals, small lava beads and waxed linen complete the look.
The crystals and small lava beads were part of my 50% off sale finds at Michael's. 
A close up of the beautiful butterfly focal...
and a close up of the rest of the necklace... Well that's it for me...I do have a couple of works in progress but they weren't coming together in my last minute frenzy so they will wait for another day! I hope you'll stop by next week for a special reveal using more of those wonderful chicklet beads from Sue...there could be more waxed linen too!
Please visit the rest of the participants by clicking on their links below...and remember we all love to read your comments!
Kari Asbury you are here :)

A little late...We're All Ears May Reveal...

So I'm a week late...but better late than never right? Last week was the May Reveal for the monthly challenge We're All Ears from the Earring Everyday blog. Click here to see what Erin created as well as links to visit the other challenge participants!Now on to my reveal...
The spirals are handmade by me from silver, brass and copper wire twisted together. The lampwork dangles are from Artbylisi on etsy. So I'll share one more picture from a different angle...the new studio is still in disarray so I had to set up an informal photo station to get these pictures...so of course the light is a bit off :(
That's it for now...sorry for a short post but I still have to finish my post for the Waxed Linen Blog Hop tomorrow. Nothing like last minute rush!

Reveal Day! 8th Bead Soup Blog Hop is finally here!

Here is my original post about my partner and the goodies I received...it also contains a brief explanation in case you aren't familiar with the Bead Soup Blog Hop and our lovely, inspiring hostess Lori Anderson. Now on to the reveal...
Beautiful, pale blue sea glass from my soup...I still have several of these beads left for another project since my partner graciously sent a whole strand! I thought they might be a bit heavy for earrings originally and was mulling other ideas when I ran across this wonderful chain at Michaels Craft Store in the Bead Gallery section...during a week when all Bead Gallery strands were 50% off...how could I resist? They are tiny wood beads so very lightweight...I added a Swarovski crystal on the top (seen better in the next picture) since the holes in the sea glass are a bit larger and finished off with brass ear wires from Vintaj. I really love the way the chain creates just the right amount of movement.
My soup had a pair of rustic, pink wood beads...perfect for earrings, right? I tried several techniques before settling on this finished design. I wanted the beads to sit sideways so you could really see how pretty they are with a bit of gold, slightly worn. In that same trip to Michaels...they had pink and purple chain too...did I mention 50% off? That's completely my justification for adding more beads I didn't really need to my ever growing collection. A purple, pink hued luster finish glass bead and brass ear wires complete the look. These are ultra lightweight, for their size and lots of movement in all that beaded chain and dangle!
                            
Aren't they just gorgeous, girly earrings...perfect for a summer dress or jeans and a tee shirt!
                            My partner was very generous with what she sent so I had a choice of focals and clasps to use...hop rules say you must at least use the focal and clasp you are sent...I've been on somewhat of a wax linen, cord knotting, type kick lately...not sure why. So I had some great dark orange colored cord I wanted to use with the bee focal and copper clasp. Faceted glass compliments of the 50% sale...lol! They are called 'painted' and as you can really see in the next two pictures, they really do have a kind of water color painted look. I also like them for their bright colors, like crayons. :)
So I hand knotted all the beads on my lovely orange cord, and hung the bee focal from the clasp at the front of the necklace...just 'cuz I'm like that...I drive my hubby crazy with my asymetrical, off balance, 'weird-ass' designs...he always says things look good but wonders why I can create just one 'normal' thing? I guess it's just not me.
I have worn this necklace a couple of times and it seems to be a hit...looks very good with my standard casual favorite jeans, white tee and grey soft drape cardigan and mint green chucks ;)
I do have another necklace started with the butterfly focal, lava and rudraksha beads...but it won't be finished in time for the post. I hope you've enjoy visiting me today and I hope you will stop by Lori's blog here for a complete list of participants. We have nearly 500 participants...I hope you will take some time to hop around and enjoy all the wonderful designs!

Dark Waters Design Challenge...Reveal Time!

I was so excited when I saw that Andrew Thornton was starting up his design challenge kits again. It's always a treat to get my hands on one of these precious, limited quantity, beady filled treats! This month's kit was filled with shades of watery blues and greens from clear tropical waters to deep dark oceans...truly gorgeous! This time Andrew really gave us a treat with this beautiful seahorse pendant...the "mystery" component...which is a surprise item included in all kits.
I really love this seahorse pendant but found myself really stump for designing anything with it from the beads included in the kit... I spent several days thinking on it then decided to look through my other beads for possible inspiration...that's when I found these beauties! A few small turquoise rondelles from my stash and the wax linen included with the design kit and suddenly a design was coming together. 
 I have worn this necklace twice and I am really struggling with whether I should keep it for myself or list it in one of my shops for sale... But enough about that...now for some earrings... The kit included two of these beads so naturally they had to be earrings! 
Again, I struggled over using elements from the kit and ultimately went with items from my own stash to complete this fun design. I love the look of mix metals, especially the warm of copper and the cool of silver...I think these earrings pull that off perfectly. They are very light weight. 
and one more pair of earrings...I really love the look of the antiqued copper with the teal and turquoise colors in these beads...so warm and tropical...I need a vacation!
I hand formed these earrings including ear hooks from one piece of wire for each and hammered each side of the wire for texture. 
I hope you enjoyed my creations for the Dark Waters Challenge. Please stop by Andrew's blog here to see what he created as well as the other participants or visit the links below. Remember if you want to play along next time you have to follow Andrew's blog and be quick only a limited number of kits and they always go fast!
Kari Asbury http://hippiechickdesign.blogspot.com you are here :)
Andrew Thornton, Marian Howarth, Julie Katz, Crystal Farrel, Laurel Ross, Alison Herrington http://andrew-thornton.blogspot.com/

We're All Ears April Challenge...

I've just discovered that each month the Earrings Everyday blog does a little inspiration challenge...I really need to pay attention sometimes! Anyway, I happen to catch the post for April's inspiration when I was catching up on the recent posts and decided (at the last minute) it would be fun to whip up some cute earrings and play along.Seeing the picture I actually had an immediate idea...just had to find the beads in my current disorganization/reorganization...hopefully I'll have a post on that later. You can click here to see the original post including the inspiration for April's design.
Apologies for the somewhat crummy picture...I was experimenting...since my photo cube is unavailable during the re-organziation. Lampwork beads from Pinocean. Enamel leaves from Sue Beads. Ceramic birds from Gaea. They don't have a name yet...I'm not so great at naming my jewelry...so if you have any ideas feel free to help a girl out and post suggestions in comments! :)