Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Pretty Palettes - April 2018 Reveal

On my worktable this week: a last minute Pretty Palettes necklace!

How last minute, you ask? Well, I had the idea, found the beads in my stash, and put it together--all yesterday. Hah!

First things first, though... Here is the lovely, muted color palette that Molly Schaller put together for this challenge:

Now, I was delighted when I realized that I actually had pearls in roughly each of those colors... So that was what I focused on: a pretty color-blocked pearl necklace. 

Here is the teaser that I posted to my Instagram yesterday, while I was still deciding on what to make:

...And here is what the final necklace looks like!

The gradient goes from peachy mauve to sage green to dusky blue to cream to copper-brown. The sizes increase from back to front, as well, adding additional visual interest. Silvertone saucers divide the sections--offering continuity, even as the shapes and colors of the pearls change.

You know, I don't think these pictures quite do this necklace justice... It is simple and elegant, and the gentle gradient really is quite lovely.

Thanks so much to Molly and the people over at Halcraft for putting together this challenge... And now, to go share these pictures on my other social media platforms! (They have migrated the Pretty Palettes reveals over to the Halcraft Facebook group, and I'm trying to get in the habit of participating there. Don't worry--I'm not going to give up posting this on my blog, too... What can I say, I like it here! *grin*)

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

Monday, April 23, 2018

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

Every month, Sarajo Wentling over at SJ Designs Jewelry hosts the Honey Do List Challenge... It's where her husband, Eric, issues her a beading challenge with the intent that she both use up some of her bead stash and get out of her comfort zone. Luckily for me, they let other people play along to!

This month, the inspiration was bright and sunny--a refreshing burst of color in contrast to this April's grey weather:

This is what Eric said about it:
Spring? Not so much. We have more crappy snow coming down as I write this post. So, how about a picture evoking brighter days to come? I took this last spring at a local orchard in Buffalo, MN and loved the bright yellow bike. Let us see some bright and vibrant work this month! 

I, for one, was certainly grateful for a cheery palette to work with! :)

...And, since I apparently don't have anything bike-themed in my stash, I decided to draw my main inspiration from that bright-and-cheerful palette. Now, my first two attempts to make something did not turn out well at all... Thankfully, though, third time's the charm!

This is what I finally was able to come up with:

My creative breakthrough came when I found that focal bead in my stash... It's handmade by a glass artisan in Rochester, New York, and the colors are perfect for this challenge. It has the yellow of the bike, the blue of the sky, the green of the grass... it even has the white of the distant clouds. With that bead, the necklace practically made itself!

Oh, and I chose the goldtone circles to--abstractly--represent the bicycle wheels. If you look closely at the texture on the outer circle, it looks a bit like tire-tread! :)

The other materials are: vintage German glass (yellow), modern glass (green), magnesite (dark teal), and Chinese crystal (faceted light teal). Oh, and goldtone metal. :)

So, there you go! My interpretation may be a bit abstract, but hopefully it still does justice to the inspiration.

Thank you so much for stopping by to see what I made--and thank you to Sarajo and Eric for letting me play along! Be sure to hop over to SJ Designs Jewelry to see what she made.

Have a lovely day, everyone!

Friday, April 20, 2018

We're All Ears - April Reveal

This month's We're All Ears challenge finds its inspiration in paradise... 

Tropical paradise, that is.

...And this is where I admit that my only experience with the ocean is the Atlantic shore of Maryland. It's lovely, don't get me wrong--but it's not tropical, and definitely not the beautiful paradise invoked by the pictures above. 

So, for this particular challenge, I instead turned my sights on Hawaii. I have family who live on Kauai (who read my blog: hi!!), and my mother has told me about her visits there. The two pairs of earrings that I made don't exactly match anything in particular--instead, I tried to capture some of the essence from my mother's stories... the warmth of both the sun and the people, the bright flowers and turquoise waves.

...Oh, they were also completely and totally excuses for me to play with my new patinas. Hah!

Pair #1

For this pair, I tried to roughly capture the look of the sun shining over both the land and waves--the bright yellow bead over the turquoise-and-green filigree, which features both flowers and scalloped wave-like edges. 

Also, I figured that such large earrings (those hoops are lightweight and huge) looked fun and relaxed--something that one might wear on vacation to the tropics, perhaps. :)

Pair #2

As you might expect, this pair took its inspiration from beautiful tropical flowers--a look that I tried to capture with petite lampwork beads, crystals, and flower-filigree. 
As with the previous pair, I decided to go with goldtone metal since it is warm and reminds me of the sun.

And, as an added bonus: they are quite lightweight... perfect for vacation.

And so, there you go! Those are the earrings that I made to go along with this inspiration. Be sure to head over to the Earrings Everyday blog to see what everyone else made... And who knows? Maybe one of these days I'll be able to visit a tropical paradise, too. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by today... Have a lovely day, everyone!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - April Edition

Time really has gotten away from me this month. Here it is, April 18th, and I'm just now introducing my April Monthly Challenge. Oops! Hopefully you'll still think it's worth it, though. :)

For this month, the challenge idea comes straight from my best friend. We were shopping for beads together, and on a whim I asked what they thought I should do for April. 

Without missing a beat, this was their answer: "make something not shiny."

This is something not shiny.
...Also, this is not my photo.
Photo by Nick Nice on Unsplash

So, that's what I'm doing: I'm going to make something not shiny.

...And, believe it or not, that is already proving to be a challenge! I've recently been quite fond of facets and fire-polished shine, especially when mixed with other textures and finishes... To just go muted and matte--well, it's been interesting!

This is also something not shiny!
...And also not my photo.
Photo by Will Swann on Unsplash

Still, I think it's going to be a fun exercise, and I've been enjoying going through my beads looking for non-shiny options.

I may use some of these... we'll see!

Be sure to come back on Friday, April 27th to see what I end up making!

Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I'm up to--and be sure to keep scrolling to see my Wednesday Worktable update.

Have a lovely day, everyone! :)

Wednesday's Worktable

Looking for my Swap N' Hop reveal? Go here!

On my worktable this week: working on my Monthly Challenge!

...Oh, wait. I haven't actually blogged to introduce that yet, have I? Oops. Guess that's what I need to do after I get done writing this entry. (And yes, that above picture is a sneak peak! *grin*)

Let's see... also on my worktable this week: more playing with patinas! I've been experimenting with blending and buffing--and I've added two new colors to my repertoire: purple and black.

Not even the One Ring is safe! Heh. 

(Quick story: that copy of the One Ring came as a free gift with a game I bought years ago, and most of the gold plating had aged or rubbed off... So! I buffed off the rest of the plating to reveal the metal underneath, aged it with black patina, and then sealed it. You can't really tell in that photo, but there is also elvish writing on the inside. Not bad for a freebie!)

And the last thing that I've been up to: sorting beads. So much bead sorting.

It's not very photogenic, though, so here are some more of the broken necklaces I've been having fun adding to my supply:

Yep, busy week has been busy! I've also been adjusting to my new glasses, and once more dealing with The Crud (the transition from winter-to-spring always messes with my sinuses. Ugh).

...And now, I need to go finish writing my introduction to my Monthly Challenge. Heh.

I hope everyone has a lovely day! :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wednesday's Worktable

Looking for my Swap N' Hop reveal? Go here--or just keep scrolling down!

On my worktable this week: playing!

Seriously. With all my recent organizing and sorting and making challenge pieces, I've been needing a chance to experiment and dabble and allow myself to make mistakes. 

So! I decided that now was the time to finally get my hands on some of these:

Vintaj Patinas! Yay!

Now, I've been wanting to play around with these for a long time--I just never really had the chance to before now. With all that I've been experimenting with this week, I think I'm trying to make up for lost time! 

I've been having fun mixing them:

I've been having fun layering them:

And I've been having fun blending them:

Oh, and using my new Vintaj buffing block, too. Hah.

Are these pieces perfect? Nah. But am I having fun learning and figuring things out? Definitely yes! ...And now I want all the colors. Gah, there are just so many cool things in the world to play around with! :)

So, there you go... That's what I've been working on this week. I hope that your week is treating you well--and that you, too, get a chance to play!

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Bead Peeps Swap N' Hop - 2018 Reveal!

Well, here it is... the reveal for this year's Bead Peeps Swap N' Hop! Hurray!

It's always fun signing up for these sorts of swaps, where partners exchange beads and then make something with them... I enjoy the opportunity to work with new color schemes and beads that I might not have put together myself. 

For this swap, here are the beads that my lovely partner Karin King sent to me:

Beautiful things! Lampwork beads that she made, vintage German glass, Swarovski crystal--yay! I love the combination of the bright fire-colors with the dash of dark blue. Overall, I made three pieces with these beads.

...And, without further ado, here they are!

Necklace 1

This necklace was a lot of fun to make. It incorporates the majority of Karin's lampwork glass, paired with the copper spacers and the blue/purple vintage glass. 

I also used bumpy copper chain and bumpy copper beadcaps from my stash--chosen because  they echo the delightful "bumpiness" of the focal bead. I even used extra links from the chain to make the matching pair of earrings.

Oh, and speaking of that focal bead, it took me quite some time to figure out exactly how I wanted to use it. While I knew that I wanted to use it as the central part of the necklace, it took quite a few different iterations to land on a design. Ultimately, I'm very pleased how this turned out... And, imagine, it doesn't even incorporate a tassel! ;)

Necklace 2

This was actually the first of the necklaces that I designed--although the last I actually assembled. When I first looked at the beads from Karin, this is what popped out at me... and making it was my reward for completing the other two necklaces.

When I did make it, everything just fell into place. Isn't it wonderful when that happens?

It incorporates more of the beautiful lampwork beads that I was sent--the focal, some of the lovely headpins, and the luminous rondelles. It also uses the copper spacers and the Swarovski crystals. I even had enough elements leftover to make the matching earrings.

I love the fiery, summery look of this set... a much needed splash of color, considering how much it's been raining here recently! (And snowing, too, but I'm not dwelling on that part. Hah!)

Necklace 3

Ahhh, here it is. My most ambitious of the projects. I knew exactly what I wanted to make when I saw that focal bead--I knew that I wanted to pair it with that clasp, and that chain, and those beads (Czech glass and faceted matte glass, for those curious).

It just took some time to finish it.

That's because, in order to get there, I had to teach myself some wire-weaving first. Hah! What can I say, I like challenges. :)

And, honestly, this necklace was a challenge for me...

It's asymmetrical. 

It involves wire-weaving (something that I had never done before). 

It mixes metals in a way that I don't usually do (dark copper, shiny copper, gold--partially chosen because I wanted to add a bit of depth to the design, but mainly chosen due to the materials I had on hand).

...And it didn't actually turn out like I pictured it in my head (the connection between the clasp and the pendant didn't quite go the way that I wanted, and so on).

All of those things aside, though, I'm insanely proud of this necklace. Because I did it. I decided to do something different, and I stuck with it. And more than that, it's actually quite lovely, even if it's not quite what I pictured. 

So, here's to pushing myself--and seeing lovely results!

Necklace 4

...You know how I mentioned that, in order to make the previous necklace, I needed to teach myself wire-weaving? Well, here is my very very first attempt--made with another of Karin's lampwork beads. My wraps are sloppy, but I love it. Hurray for learning new things! :)

So, there you go! Those are the pieces that I created for this blog hop. Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I made... And thank you to the organizer of this hop, and to my partner for all the beautiful beads!

As a reminder, here are the beads that I sent to my partner... I'm excited to see what she ended up making!

And now, for links! Here are the participants!

Linda Anderson (Hostess)
Inge von Roos

Karin King (yay, my partner!)
Jenny Kyrlach (you are here!)

Kari Asbury
Nadine Edris

Kathy Lindemer
Hope Smitherman

Marde Lowe
Christina Hickman

Terry Jeanette Carter
Lisa Johnson

Catherine La Vite
Joanne Bell

Rosantia Petkova
Bonnie Robbins

Natalie Davidson
Robin Reed

Erika Price
Sarah Reid

Divya N
Lori Schneider

Robin Showstack
Nicole Rennell

Fay Wolfenden
Shai Williams

Andrea Frank
Cheri Reed

Seed Beaders
Deborah Apodaca
Palak Udeshi

Penny Houghton
Paulina Russell Http://

Heather Canepa
Tina Hemr

Naomi Knafla
Michelle Marson

Rebecca White
Laura Bosch

Kathleen Breeding
Becky Pancake

...If you've made it all the way to the end of this very long entry, here is another thank you for being awesome. I hope you have a truly lovely day! :)