Thursday, September 17, 2015

Do You Like a Challenge?

I (Michelle McCarthy) have been participating in blog hops, design challenges and bead swaps for a few years now.  At first I wanted to do it for the fun of it, but so much more has come out of it for me and my business, Firefly Design Studio.  I have never hosted one, so I am going to put that on my to do list for 2016.

I have met so many wonderful artists and jewelry designers through on line challenges.  Most of them require you to have a blog, and revealing my challenge designs is mainly what I use my blog for at this point.  When you "hop" from one blog to the next, the diversity is amazing and each one inspiring.  If you have always thought about joining in, I urge you to go for it!  After you participate in your first one, you will look forward to the next.  I have 2 Halloween themed challenges and a Breast Cancer Awareness themed blog hop coming up in October.  I mainly learn about challenge opportunities through Facebook.

The challenge I participate regularly in is the Allegory Gallery Design Challenges, hosted by Andrew Thornton.  He puts together a wonderful assortment of gemstones, Czech glass, seed beads, waxed linen, silk ribbon, crystals and more.  Every month he includes a mystery component that he hand crafts, usually from polymer clay.  This month the kit is called the Warrior Stone Challenge.

The colors are warm shades of brown with gold and creams.  I am in production mode for gallery restocking and earrings are my #1 seller, so I started pairing things up and included some ceramic beads that I made as well as some fun filigree metal leaf charms.  Here they are:

This is my favorite pair.....they are perfect for fall.  The extra wire tail adds a fun element to the stones.  I placed a small crystal on the wire and curled the end and pushed it down to lay flat.  Fun!

For the mystery component, I drilled another hole in the bottom so I could add another design drop for length and width.  I felt like the pendant should be the star, so I put it on an antique copper chain.  

If you'd like to learn more about Andrew's challenges, (they have hosted 24!), go to or his blog at  If you'd like to see more of my ceramic beads, visit


Kathy Lindemer said...

I would never have thought to drill a hole in that bead. What a great idea! I love Andrew's challenges, but you have to move fast to get the kits! Well done!

Terri said...

Challenges are great motivation for them!

Rachel Lyons said...

michelle, the link to andrew's blog didn't work for me, is it possible you forgot an "e" in the url? :)