Monday, May 22, 2017

Reveal - SJ Designs Jewelry Honey Do List May Design Challenge!

Every month, Sarajo Wentling over at SJ Designs Jewelry hosts the Honey Do List Challenge. What is the Honey Do List Challenge? It's where her husband, Eric, issues her a beading challenge--with the intent that she use up some of her bead stash and get out of her comfort zone. Luckily for me, she lets others play along, too! 

This month's inspiration was a photo taken by Eric on a recent trip to Virginia and D.C.:

Here is what Eric said about this photo:
For this month's piece I wanted to use a shot from our recent trip to Virginia and D.C.  With the recent big storm, most of the cherry blossoms were long gone, but we found this single tree with some pink flowers!  I liked the movement of the dried grasses, the metal scrollwork of the sculpture, and the pop of color from the flowers.  

When I first looked at this picture, I was struck by the pop of magenta against a backdrop of creams and browns--and so, that's what I decided to focus on for my jewelry. (Obviously, there are other colors there... those are just the first ones that jumped out at me.) 

Luckily for me, digging around in my stash yielded just the right beads for what I had in mind--and so, I made this necklace:

In addition to brass and gold-tone findings, the materials are shell (the light cream rounds), pearl (the magenta beads), Dzi-style agate (brown patterned rounds), and coconut shell (the leaf pendant).

...I was particularly pleased with how the patterning on the agate reflected the patterning on the sculpture in the inspiration photo.

I picked the leaf pendant both because of the trees in the photo, and because its curve echoes the curves of the sculpture.

Also! A fun fact about the pendant: it's actually a button. The beads dangling in front of it hide the holes. I honestly debated about adding the dangle or not... I ultimately decided that the extra pop of color brought the design together, and reflected my initial response to the photo.

And so, there you go! That is the necklace that I made for this month's Honey Do Challenge. Thank you, Sarajo and Eric, for continuing to let me play along... And thank you, readers, for stopping by to see my creation! Be sure to swing by SJ Designs Jewelry to see what everyone else made!

Until next time, have a wonderful day everyone!

Friday, May 19, 2017

We're All Ears - May Reveal

For this month's We're All Ears challenge, the inspiration was Trash Transformed.

...In other words, we were challenged to take things that we would normally discard, and breathe new life into them.

Now, I love making things out of unconventional materials, and immediately I thought of paper beads. After all, they can be made from pretty much any form of paper... And, I don't know about you, but we're always getting fliers in the mail. 

So, when the inevitable advertisement showed up in our mailbox, instead of putting it in the recycling, I snatched it up and took it to my craft room instead.

I cut the pages of the flier into strips...

...and then rolled them into beads:

In this form, you can't even tell that they were originally listings for sofas and home organization solutions. ;)

Once I had the beads, I played around with a couple different designs involving glass crow beads--and ended up with these three pairs:

Two of them, I strung using waxed linen and large jumprings:

The other, I used silvertone spacers and headpins:

As a bonus, I also made a necklace-and-earring set, pairing the paper beads with glass, magnesite, and crystal:

...And that sneak peak will have to do, because I actually took the set over to a friend's house to show her what I made--and ended up leaving it there. Oops! 

But, wait, there's more!

Also in the mail, I received a wonderful package (of beads--are you surprised?) that had been wrapped in brilliantly orange tissue paper. Instead of throwing the tissue paper away, I decided to pair it with some wooden beads I had salvaged from an old necklace...

...And, using Mod Podge and additional sealant, I made these:

You can't quite tell, but these beads are practically luminous--and I knew that I wanted to make something bright and cheerful with them. For that reason, I dug out some of my dyed magnesite, and made these:

Like the other earrings I made for this challenge, this pair is quite lightweight... And they are so dangle-y and swing-y and fun. I'm apparently really enjoying bright colors right now, too... I blame the warming weather. :)

So, ta-da! That is what I made for this month's We're All Ears challenge. Be sure to head over to the Earrings Everyday blog to see what everyone else made!

I really enjoyed this challenge, and am excited to make some more paper beads with the next set of fliers that shows up... And who knows? Maybe I'll be inspired with some of our other discards, as well. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by today... Have a wonderful Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable

Quick little entry today... It's getting rather late, and I still have quite a bit I want to accomplish before this evening is over. Still, per my custom, I wanted to share what's on my worktable this week--and it's all shades of blue and orange and copper.

In other words, I'm working on this month's Bargain Bead Box.

Sneak preview of the necklace, with the earrings in the background.

Ta-da! The earrings!

I haven't gotten much time at all this past week to do beading... Lots of other things to work on. (Perfecting a banana muffin recipe, undertaking a new exercise routine, that sort of thing.) That being said, though, I'm pretty happy with the things I've made for some of the jewelry reveals coming up... And I'm even working more on my poor neglected Etsy store. Imagine!

So, off I go to be productive... Those banana muffins aren't going to make themselves, after all. Heh.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone! :)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable

I have a confession to make: I collect projects.

In fact, that seems to be my modus operandi... I find bead pairings that I really like--usually while I'm working on something else--and I put them in baggies to keep them together. That way, everything is all in the same place and ready to go when I get the chance to work on it.

African trade beads paired with gold coil spacers and
a handful of matching bracelets given to me to repurpose.

Premade tassel paired with a variety of purple glass beads.

So, why is that a confession? 

...Because I'm also pretty horrible about finishing those projects. (Just ask my friends who have been waiting for months for me to make things for them--sorry!)

Leftovers from a previous Monthly Challenge.
Featured: size 2/0 Czech seed beads, Czech faceted tube beads,
and glass bead strands in matching colors.

Part of that is due to the fact that the baggies multiply exponentially. By the time I'm done the initial project that I was working on, I've accumulated several other projects--and when I start the next project, I get even more ideas, and the cycle is perpetuated.

The end result is that my craft room is filled to the brim with project baggies--and the ideas just keep coming!

Handmade lampwork focal paired with faceted firepolished Czech glass.

Raku-style ceramics paired with metallic glass.

So, on my craft table this week, I'm going through some of those project baggies. Mostly, I'm organizing them (i.e. remembering what I have)--but I'm also prioritizing them and making it easier for me to get to them. Who knows... Maybe soon, instead of showing you collections of beads, I'll be able to show what I made with them!

Thanks so much for stopping by today to see my beadie ramblings...

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable

Guess what! It's that time of the week that I share my current projects. (I'm sure you're surprised.)

So, what's on my worktable this week?

In a word: purple!

I'm actually continuing my challenge from last month... I had quite a few projects leftover that I didn't finish, after all. So many necklaces I want to remake!

The beads above, for instance, are part of my remake of this necklace:

What fun... Three-strands of amethyst-hued glass bicones to play with! The original necklace is quite lovely in its own right, but I thought it would be fun to give it upgrade. :)

Now, I've actually already made one necklace with them--I almost shared it for last month's reveal, but I wasn't able to get good pictures of it. (Hopefully I will do so, and post them soon!) In the meantime, I've now moved on to a possible lariat idea using the rest of the bicones. We'll see how it turns out! :)

Thanks for stopping by today... Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - May Edition

The Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge for May is inspired by a color that I hardly ever, ever use when making jewelry.

Want to guess what that color might be? 

Well, here's a hint:

Not my photo!
From Unsplash, credit Paul Green.

That's right: yellow.

Bright and cheerful, unabashedly happy yellow.

Not my photo!
From Unsplash, credit Paul Morris.

Not my photo!
From Unsplash, credit Aaron Burden.

Now, don't get me wrong, I do use yellow as an accent color. It goes well with so many things--green and orange, which are next to it on the color wheel, as well as its complementary color, purple. 

But I rarely, rarely ever use it on its own.

Not my photo!
From Unsplash, credit Natalia Luchanko.

Not my photo!
From Unsplash, credit Kaye Hanson.

So, that's my challenge for May: to use yellow. 

Any shade is acceptable... and there are so many to pick from, from the brilliant color of sunflowers to the amber hues of the sunset. My main goal is to make something where yellow is the dominant (if not only) color... Although I'm sure I'll make something where it combines with other colors as well. :)

Not my photo!
From Unsplash, credit Jeremy Bishop.

I'm pretty excited about stretching myself and giving this lovely color the attention it deserves. Come back on Friday, May 26th to see what I end up making--and feel free to play along, too, if you'd like!

Until then have a wonderful Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Hello, May!

Woo, I survived April!

...And, trust me, that is quite the accomplishment. Heh.

Taken at the Easter celebration at my in-law's house last month.

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for being patient with me last month... I hate missing deadlines, and I hate not being able to post--and I did both of those in April. Ah well... Life happens, I suppose. 

Still, I greatly appreciate you all hanging in there with me. Here's to a calm--and beautiful--May! 

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - April Reveal

After quite a bit of work, I'm happy to finally share my reveal for this month's Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge! Yay!

The idea behind this Monthly Challenge was to take some of my older necklaces and remake them... Give them upgrades, as it were. After all, I've been making jewelry for awhile now, and my tastes--not to mention my skills--have definitely changed.

Some of the potential candidates for a makeover.

I had so many ideas going into this challenge. After all, I had a lot of older necklaces to choose from! In fact, there are quite a few pieces that I started (and even finished!) that I'm saving for future entries. I don't want to overload this entry, after all. :)

All in all, I have four different projects to share for this reveal... and, without further ado, here they are!

Necklace Upgrade #1

I made this original necklace two years ago with beads my husband gave to me: crystals of two different sizes, paired with coral rounds. It's actually a rather lovely necklace... I was tempted to just leave it as it was.

That was, until I found this Czech glass button:

...And I couldn't help myself. From that combination, I made this necklace:

Instead of being strung on beading wire, the original components are now wire-wrapped with bronze wire and paired with brass findings. The button has been made into a pendant by the addition of a bail--also made with bronze wire. The result is just as lovely as the original--and more reflective of my current tendency to make wire-wrapped chains. :)

Necklace Upgrade #2

The pendant for this necklace was originally an earring, which I removed from its hook and added to a pre-made cotton cord. Simple and straight-forward, and not a bad design at all. 

But, while going through my necklaces, I decided to give it a bit of an upgrade by adding some reconstituted shell beads and silver pearls, which just happened to match perfectly:

Here is the final result:

Again, the original design wasn't bad... I just liked adding more of a personalized touch to the chain. I also added a little spiral charm to the pendant, to cover the rather large hole and add a little pop of silver. I have a few more of those charms, too... I will likely use them to make matching earrings at some point in the future. :)

Necklace Upgrade #3

This upgrade actually involved combining a few different necklaces. The two necklaces on the left were made by me several years ago--I love the focal beads, because they are heavy cast metal, and remind me of Mesopotamian cylinder seals. As for the fringed necklace on the right, I purchased that some time ago on clearance (from Target, I believe), because I was fascinated by its fringe.

From those components, I actually made two necklaces... And, you guessed it, they have tassels.

First up, here is the silver-hued necklace:

I took the silver strands of fringe from the second necklace and combined them into a tassel, which I then attached to the re-wrapped focal of one of the first necklaces. The necklace portion is made from the same chain as the original--just with a few wire-wrapped additions.

I'm sure it's no surprise that the brass focal received the same treatment:

...except this time, I used the brass and gold fringe from the second necklace to make the tassel. In fact, the metal color is the only difference--the construction is exactly the same as the silver version, down to using the original chain.

I'm in love with how these two necklaces turned out... I do love tassels, after all, and these practically made themselves! :)

Necklace Upgrade #4

And now for the last upgrade I'm going to share for this reveal. This one actually deviated the most from the original design--reflecting, I think, a change in both taste and skills. 

For the upgrade, I decided to salvage the vintage glass beads and the pink glass pearls, putting aside the silver rose and white glass pearls for another project. 

With those salvaged components, I made this necklace: 

...Quite a bit different, wouldn't you agree? Instead of using silver-tone metal, I switched to shades of brass. Instead of the white pearls, I added orange crystals. Instead of a three-strand dangle, I went with a full tassel. And instead of the rose pendant, I used another vintage crystal I had in my stash--in shades of bright pink and orange.

I'm not entirely pleased with the length of this necklace, so I will probably tweak it at some point... In the meantime, though, I am quite pleased with the look of the design. And who knows... maybe I'll make something lovely with the leftover white pearls and silver rose!

So, there you go! That is what I made for this challenge. Honestly, I had a lot of fun revisiting some older designs--and, as I said, I have a few other projects that I'm working on. Something tells me that this challenge isn't over yet... We'll see what else I end up creating in the months to come! :)

Thank you so, so much for stopping by to see what I made for this challenge... I truly appreciate you reading, as well as being patient with my delay. I hope you come back next month to see what I decide to do for May's Monthly Challenge!

Happy last day of April, everyone!