Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Wednesday's Worktable

On my worktable this week: more Queen of Hearts projects!

Seriously, I had so many different ideas last year that I'm still catching up on them. Although, for this particular project, it's fun seeing how it morphed over time in my head. What I made this week is a bit different than what I had originally planned.

You see, originally, I was just going to use a collection of beads and a skeleton key. Pretty, but rather simple and straightforward. But then, this past weekend, my mother-in-law gave me some of my father-in-law's leftover wire (he's an electrical engineer who is fascinated by magnets, so he has all sorts of bits and bobs around the house).

...And, well, one thing led to another, and this happened when I sat down at my beading table:

Now it's a steampunk Queen of Hearts key! The key itself is from a Tim Holtz collection, which I then wrapped with my new wire and some Swarovski crystals (both some bicones and a heart).

My original plan for the necklace chain is also changing. The wire from my father-in-law is much too thin to wire-wrap the links with, but I might use it for more detail work... We'll see!

What can I say? I have quite a bit of wire to work with:

Oh! And I have something else to share. 

My husband's birthday is tomorrow, and I was actually able to pull off a surprise party for him this week! Yay! 

To give you some background: I am the most un-sneaky person I know. Really. I tell my husband pretty much everything--it's natural and comfortable, plus I'm a horrible liar so I don't bother trying. For this party, then, I had lots of help in planning and organizing... In fact, my main job was to make sure that I didn't tell him about it. 

Trust me, that was a hard job for me. But I did it! He was surprised, and it went wonderfully.

Sadly, the only thing that I took pictures of was the cake. My best friend, who works in a bakery, was the one responsible for getting it... While they didn't make it themselves, they coordinated with the cake decorator to make sure it was awesome. 

And awesome, it was! And so I'm going to share pictures of it, to commemorate its awesomeness--and the fact that I successfully pulled off a surprise party! Yay!

Thanks so much for stopping by to see what I'm up to this week! As you can probably guess, my plate is quite full... but at least there's cake on it! Woo!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, and rest of your week, everyone! :)

Friday, June 15, 2018

We're All Ears - June Reveal

It's the third Friday in June... and that means today is the reveal for this month's We're All Ears challenge! Yay! 

The theme for this month's challenge was kaleidoscopes.

Kaleidoscope animation via Wikipedia
found via the Earrings Everyday blog.

I've always loved the shifting colors and patterns of kaleidoscopes. I remember playing with them quite a bit when I was a kid, and finding them fascinating. In fact, as soon as I saw this challenge, I knew exactly what I wanted to make.

...Except I didn't start the ball rolling in time to get that pair done by today. Oops! (My polymer clay skills are still being refined, so it's back to the cane-making drawing board. Heh.)

That's all right, though... I had two other back-up ideas, and I think those turned out pretty well. So, without further ado, on to the earrings! :)

Pair 1

This pair features silvertone charms with a symmetrical geometric pattern that makes me think of looking into a kaleidoscope. I also added scrolling swirling beadcaps whose movement echoes that of the charms.

These earrings also feature color-shifting lampwork discs made by Juli Cannon--and I should mention that those beads are some of my absolute favorite. I've been hoarding them like a dragon, waiting for just the right moment... hurray for finding a project to use them in!

I really do love this pair--elegant and refined, reminiscent of kaleidoscopes but not overwhelming. And what can I say... I really do love those beads!

Pair 2

Where the last pair of earrings is elegant and refined, this pair is unapologetically joyful. Amusingly enough, they also feature lampwork discs by Juli Cannon--this time in bright colors.

...Bright colors, that just so happen to match the flowers that hang beneath them.

Those flowers are actually made out of flattened beadcaps. After I flattened them, I colored them with patina inks and then fastened them together with a scrapbooking brad. That's right--those flowers actually turn! I was hoping to capture the shifting and changing patterns that occur when you twist a kaleidoscope, and I was pretty excited when my idea actually worked!

That's not the best video, I realize, but at least it gives you an idea of how they look when spun. :)

So, there you go! Those are the two pairs of kaleidoscope-inspired earrings that I made for this challenge. If I'm able to get my original idea to work--the one with the polymer clay--I'm sure I'll post those as well... Still, I'm very happy with the two pairs that I was able to create. :)

Thank you so much to Erin Prais-Hintz and those over at Earrings Everyday for letting me play along... and thank you, readers, for stopping by today to see what I made!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wednesday's Worktable

I actually have a project to show off today! Yay!

...I admit, it feels good. :)

The project in question is actually one that I wanted to make for my Monthly Challenge last March--the one that was based on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I had gathered together all the materials necessary to make a necklace... and then did nothing with them.

Until a few days ago.

Here are the beads in question:

...And this is what I made with them!

The Queen of Hearts pendant is one that I made last March as well, from an actual Queen of Hearts playing card that my mother allowed me to cut up. I'm so grateful that my family is so supportive of my creative ideas! :)

The rest of the beads are all various sorts of glass... I am particularly happy with how the gold crackle pattern on the white beads picks up the yellow in the pendant. The findings are a mix of bright and antique silver, with gunmetal accent beads adding just a little more depth and whimsy.

All in all, I'm really happy with how this necklace turned out. It feels really nice to have made something, and to have a project actually completed (even if it did take a year).

Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I've been up to... Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - June Edition

Hurray! I'm so excited to announce that I am, indeed, resuming my Monthly Challenge this month. What can I say--I missed it!

The theme for this month: Creative Chaos.

The inspiration for this particular challenge comes from something I took part in a few years ago (okay, it was more like five years ago) called the Bead Ruckus

The idea behind the Bead Ruckus was simple... There were five designers, and each of us picked a random jewelry-making component. Then, we each made something that incorporated all of those components. It was a great deal of fun, and a fantastic way to stretch my design muscles. (Some of the reveals can be seen here and here, if you're interested.) As I was looking through past years on my blog, I realized that I missed it.

That's when, as I stared into my giant bag of to-be-sorted beads (seen above), I realized that I could do that challenge again. Or, at least, something close to it.

So, I reached into the bag and pulled out a random handful of beads... and my challenge is to make something with them:

In that collection: paper beads (not made by me), swirly blue glass, faceted Chinese crystal, resin, frosted red glass, and green/yellow acrylic beads from a vintage necklace. 

...Not really things I would put together. Heh. But that's part of the challenge, isn't it? :)

My main goal with this challenge is to play. I'm giving myself permission to not be perfect and to experiment. Sometimes I think I put too much pressure on myself to make things perfect on the first try--forgetting that some of the best innovations come from failing. 

So, if I make something wonderful, then hurray! If not, then at least I'm trying something new. And who knows? Maybe I'll be so inspired that I'll pull out more beads and see what I make this them, too.

Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I'm up to... Be sure to stop by on Friday, June 29th to see what I end up making!

Have a  wonderful week, everyone!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Hello, June!

June finds me in a very similar place to May--lots of organizing, lots of possibility, but not a lot of creating.

I want to say "...and that's okay," but honestly it's driving me a little batty.

One of the only things I made last month was this pair of earrings.

So! Here's to June! The month where (hopefully) I reclaim my creating time, push through this creative block, and get to show off pretty things again. Maybe I'll even get a breath of fresh inspiration while I'm at it. :)

Thank you all for being there for me... I hope this month brings you a breath of fresh air, too, and something to make you smile.

Here's the shiny things to come! Have a lovely day, everyone!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Pretty Palettes - May 2018 Reveal

Have you ever had a month where everything just seems needlessly complicated? Not bad, per se... just everything takes an extra five steps?

That's what this month has been like for me. Oi.

Still, at least I can now happily report that I can download pictures to my computer again. Yay! (For those curious, it was an iPhone driver issue.) And downloading pictures means that I can share what I made for this month's Pretty Palettes. Double yay! :)

This month's inspiration comes from a rather spectacular (and flashy) source:

Not my photo!
Photo by Andre Mouton on Unsplash

That's right! Peacocks! Based on that inspiration, here are the beads that the talented Molly Schaller picked out:

...Although, truth be told, I didn't actually use any of those. Oops! You see, with all the organizing that I've been doing in my craft room, I had recently seen beads that I knew would match perfectly. So, I used those instead! (Do I get extra points for using up some of my stash? Maybe? *grin*)

With those beads, I made one necklace... and, without further ado, here it is!

The beads are glass (faceted blue and round purple) and aventurine (both light and dark green rounds). I went with silver findings to match the underlying color of the peacock feather pendant--a pendant that I colored myself using some of my new patinas. :)

I'm hoping to get this necklace listed to my store sometime in the next week... It's long and lovely, and I need to start making it possible for other people to wear some of what I make. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I've been up to! I hope to be back to my normally scheduled blogging next month... I've been missing it! (I've been making great strides in cleaning my craft room, but it's definitely going to take more time... life can just be so busy. Ah well!)

Have a wonderful day, everyone--and a wonderful end of May!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Thursday's Worktable... ish

I'm apparently having technical difficulties right now. I've spent the last few hours attempting to get pictures from my phone to my computer, and it's just not happening. 


I'm going to take a break and come back to it. Thank you for your patience!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Wednesday's Worktable... ish

Hi everyone!

This week's worktable post is being postponed until tomorrow, due to the fact that I completely forgot today was Wednesday. Oops! 

In my defense, this week has been a little nuts... I even went camping over the weekend, and survived! (Okay, that's a bit melodramatic... I went camping and had a wonderful time, even though I'm one of the least outdoorsy people I know. And it didn't even rain--although the sky threatened to!)

This was the sky on Saturday night. Yes, it really is a miracle it didn't rain on us!

Thanks so much for stopping by today... I'll try to have something pretty and jewelry-related to show you tomorrow.

Until then, have a wonderful night, everyone!