I just love a challenge, especially when I’m supposed to be getting ready for a teaching trip and for Bead & Button.

In particular, if there are Swarovski crystals and seed beads, I’m bound to be all over it. Aussie Threads and Fibers has done it again. She’s assembled a gorgeous kit. Here’s what she says about it.

We have put together 24 kits, each with a wholesale value of $50 (as a side note, I think it was worth a lot more than $50, but that’s beside the point…)

We are not big on rules or restrictions, so we only have a few:

1. You must be selling on Etsy AND have an honest to goodness wholesale license.
2. You may create anything your little old heart desires, using any technique you wish.
3. Pictures of the finished project must be sent via email (jpg format) by June 1, 2010.
4. You may choose not to use every item in your kit. Your piece must contain 75% of the kit components.
5. You may supplement your design with additional components.

So I wrote, and here’s what I got in the mail…

Isn’t it fabulous? I gotta tell you, the colors are better in person. I ended up using everything in the kit except for some of the copper headpins and some of the jump rings. I had a few components left over from the previous challenge that worked – they were the same color pearls and also I had a few of the really interesting silver channel rings. I added some cubic zircon drops I’ve been hoarding for a while, some green freshwater pearls, some 11/0 light green seed beads, some 15/0 seeds and some glass cabochons I had sitting around (you can’t see them in the finished photo since they were for texture and are covered in seed beads.

And… here’s what I came up with!

So… How did I do it?

Just kidding.
I started by setting and covering the cabochons. They were made by my friend Catharine and while I generally like to show her work off, these were single color. I don’t think she’ll be offended.

Then, I drew out the two side pieces and put the major elements on it. I layered the copper filigree piece over the Swarovski channel set ring. I wasn’t sure about it at the beginning, but decided to just go with it.

Here’s what it looked like after I covered that back cabochon and did a little bead embroidery.

And here’s the finished side piece.

Linda Gettings has an excellent tutorial on peyote stitching around a bendy straw. It is available in a book called “Creative Beading 3.” My center section is done around a bendy straw (my friend Marsha sent me a whole pile of them, so now I’m just looking for excuses to use them. See the post below for a project I recently completed with her). However, it is done with a netting technique I learned from my dear friend Jeannette Cook http://www.beadyeyedwomen.com.

Here’s the side piece attached to the center piece. As a side note, you gotta be pretty careful with those matte finish gold beads. The finish wears off easily. I remembered to spray them before I started.

So, this piece will be heading to my Etsy store after Bead & Button, but I think I’ll send it on over to an evening exhibit at Bead & Button first.
What? You don’t remember what my Etsy store name is?

You can get involved with the challenges by checking out the Crafty Retailer blog. http://thecraftyretailer.blogspot.com/
Don’t be too on it, though, because I’ve been late requesting every single one of the kits and have still been allowed to play – I wouldn’t want to be too late to the party!

In addition to having a truly fun writing style (she makes me laugh regularly while reading her blog posts), she has some really great sales techniques and articles.

And while I’m at it, here’s her website, Aussie Threads & Fibers. Check the Swarovski Crystal out. YUM!