Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - March Edition

For past Wonder and Whimsy challenges, I've made jewelry inspired by ancient cultures, I've emulated works by visual artists, I've learned new techniques, and I've even limited myself to using only a set amount of beads.

...But you know something I haven't done? 

Made jewelry based on a literary work. 

So! That's what I'm going to do for the March edition of my challenge. More specifically, I'm going to make pieces based on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll.

The inspiration for this challenge actually came from the above necklace I picked up while shopping at the mall. On one side, it has a misaligned compass that says "Curiouser and Curiouser," and on the other it has a depiction of the Cheshire Cat.

My original thought was to just take the pendant and put it on a different chain... But, that idea quickly morphed, and I decided to make it into a theme for my challenge.

Come back on Friday, March 31st to see what all I make!

My apologies for posting this introduction so late... While I actually picked this theme before I went on vacation, I wasn't able to write about it before now. Thanks for your understanding... and feel free to play along! :)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable

Last week's vacation was absolutely lovely.

I'm home now, settling back into routine. I'm also assimilating the many many treasures I acquired while visiting my parents... It's pretty amazing how much I fit into one week--and how much more I wish I could have done!

One of my new acquisitions: another coffee mug!
A present from my sister--which came with a wonderful lunch at
Family Meal in Frederick, MD.

My current beading worktable is overflowing. Part of that is due to the previously mentioned new acquisitions (so many craft stores!)... but it's also due to the many many beading projects I have still on my plate. I have four reveals coming up--and I've hardly worked on any of them!

...So, that's what I'm doing today!

Crystals and Czech glass!
...for an upcoming reveal, but I won't tell you which one. ;)

I'm gathering materials and playing with designs, and just causing general creative chaos in my craft room. Hopefully some beautiful things will coalesce out of the morass!

But, you know what? I don't regret my trip in the slightest. It was wonderful seeing my family, it was wonderful having a change of scenery, and it was wonderful taking a step back to relax.

Now, to use this renewed energy to get some stuff done!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone! :)

Friday, March 17, 2017

We're All Ears: March Reveal

Here I am--still on the road, visiting my parents. (And having a lovely time, might I add.) But! I do have earrings to show for this month's We're All Ears challenge, so I'm taking a moment to do just that.

The theme this month was owls. I really love owls--and, as such, I actually have quite a few owl-themed charms and beads in my stash. I brought a few with me on vacation, and with them, I made two pairs of earrings.

Made with gold-plated charms, and handmade paper beads (made by me).

Ceramic owls and wooden beads, paired with goldtone findings.

...Now, I realize the background is not exactly owl-y, but I've been doing lots of paper crafts with my mother, and I couldn't help but use this envelope I made. If you're interested, here are the earrings on a more neutral background.

As always, thanks so much to Erin Prais-Hintz, and Earrings Everyday, for hosting this challenge!

And thank you for stopping by to see what I made! I apologize for the rather quick entry, but I'm going to go back to spending time with my parents. 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable brought to you from on the road this week. That's right, I am currently out-of-state, getting a chance to visit my parents! Yay!

And, apparently, I chose the coldest week to come visit them--ha! While we didn't get the huge amounts of snow that the weathermen were predicting, there has been quite a bit of ice, coupled temperatures below freezing... The perfect weather to cuddle up in cozy sweaters and create things!

In particular, I've been working on some paper-to-jewelry crafts--namely, making paper beads and pendants.

Now, the paper beads are going to be used in some currently undisclosed projects. (Including my Monthly Challenge! Which I am working on, even though I haven't announced it yet. Too many things to do, and not enough time to write about them!)

I can show off the first of the pendants, however. I picked up the above cardstock when I went craft shopping with my mum on Monday... I thought it was full of some lovely floral pendant potential.

After coloring in a section (using a variety of mediums, to see which worked best), I made this:

Ta-da! A pretty floral pendant! 

...And I'm sure there will be more where that came from. There really was a lot of potential on that sheet, after all. :)

So, there you go! That's what I'm currently working on... Well, that I can show off right now, anyway. I do hope to announce my Monthly Challenge soon, as well as finish up some work on some upcoming reveals. Oh, and you know--visit with my parents. Hee!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable

Last Wednesday, I shared this picture of some bright and colorful beads:

And, guess what... They are still on my worktable this week! Heh.

You see, I wasn't able to find a focal to match them... One that I liked, at least. So, not to be deterred, I used my newly found polymer clay confidence and made one!

More specifically, I made another foray into making a Damascus Ladder cane. This time, I used bright and bold colors (to match the beads, imagine!). I made a few large focals with it--and also some accent beads, for fun.

Now, I haven't actually finished the original necklace I had planned--the one with the golden tassel. At least, I haven't made it to my liking... the current iteration is not my favorite, and I'm going to try my hand at redoing it.

But! I did have leftover cane, and with it, I made this set:


As you can see, I made a necklace, a pair of earrings, and a hairstick. The matching beads are glass and magnesite, with touches of gold and brass.

Now, I haven't made hairsticks for a very long time. They used to be my thing--they're what inspired me to open my Etsy store, after all--but I've drifted away from them a bit. 

Still, I've been making some custom hairstick orders... And, while I was at it, I decided to make this one, too.

...And I didn't stop there. Inspired by my hairstick success, I actually made two more. One of them matches the pieces that I made for February's Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge:

...And the other one uses some of my paper beads:

So, there you go! Those are some of the (many) projects on my table this week!

Next week, I'm going to be visiting my parents in Maryland, so my worktable post will be brought to you from on the road... I'm working on packing up some projects to take with me. We'll see what I end up working on. :)

Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Bead Soup - The Beads that were Exchanged

After a long delay (on my part, not hers!), I want to show off the beads that my partner, Lennis Carrier, sent me for the Bead Soup Blog Party: Hoarders Edition! I actually received them almost immediately after partners were announced--I just hadn't gotten a proper moment to sit down and share the loveliness.

So, to start... What a lovely package!

...And the beads are just as awesome!

I mean, look at these:

She spoiled me! The fishie is by Samatha Capeling (Venus Art Glass). The brown ceramic pieces were custom made by Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio. The cabochon is by Blu Mudd. 

She also included some leather and matching spacer beads... and can I just say, wow! I am so incredibly thrilled, and can't wait to start creating!

Now it's time to show off what I sent her. Remember this picture?

Well, now I get to show you what that picture actually shows!

The focal is pretty much the first art bead I ever bought--lampwork by Andrea Pirkey. I paired it with rose quartz and lavender-hued amethyst, as well as a handful of paper beads I made.

Come back on March 25th to see what we end up making!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Hello, March!

...and, once again, hello first Wednesday Worktable of the month!

So, what's that old saying... "In like a lion, out like a lamb"? Yeah... if that storm last night was any indication (woke me up at 1:30 a.m. with torrential rain, lightning, and hail that lasted for hours), I think this March has got the "in like a lion" part down.

And, once again, I'm rebelling against the grey drippy-ness and grumpiness (the basement leaked and my brand new treadmill is possibly ruined) by bringing out color. I'm gathering together projects for the month, and many of them are ridiculously bright:

A tassel! And bright beads!
...All I need is the right focal to bring this idea together.

Another look at the bright beads.
Because I like happy bright beads.

Truth be told, February was not the easiest month for me. I fell behind on a lot of things. So, I'm hoping to hit the ground running this month and make up some lost ground ... and, who knows? Maybe all that seems frustrating and stormy today may end up being awesome. (I'm looking at you, treadmill!)

So, here's to a good month... Wishing you all a wonderful March!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - February Reveal, Part 3

...And, here it is! The last reveal of this month's Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge--posted on the last day of February. Heh. That's cutting it a bit close to the end, isn't it? :)

As a recap, in the previous reveal entries, I've shown a few things that I've made with polymer clay (simple components and more elaborate pendants). The last thing I did for this challenge--and what I'm going to be showing in this entry--was make a polymer clay cane

Specifically, I made a Damascus Ladder Cane... and it actually turned out well!

Above, you can see the colors that I picked for my cane. (If you're wondering why that earring is there, it's because I had hoped to make something to match it. That didn't end up happening--but that didn't stop me from making many other things. *grin*) 

Now, before I go any further, I should ask advanced polymer clay artists to forgive my Glaring Beginner Offenses. I don't have any of the fancy tools--no extruder or pasta machine or things to help make canes square. I just had a rolling pin, a knife, and my hands. (Maybe, since this turned out well, I can convince my husband that better tools are a business expense?)

With that disclaimer out of the way, here are some process pictures. First, I conditioned the clay, rolled it out into sheets, and then stacked them together.

And then I twisted the stack. And twisted it some more. And then twisted it even more, eventually making it long and skinny and a bit like a sausage.

Once I was done, I cut the tip off, which revealed a fair amount of color-marbling...

...And then the moment of truth. I cut it lengthwise, and that revealed the Damascus Ladder pattern:

Woo-hoo! It worked!! Not perfect, perhaps, but it worked! 

...Not bad for a beginner.

I then used that cane to make three different necklaces. Brace yourself... many pictures incoming! :)

Necklace #1

The first necklace is the simplest. I took a slice of the cane, and made it into a pendant. I then picked out some matching beads, wire-wrapped them, and created this necklace:

One of my favorite things about this necklace is that it's actually reversible. Each side of the pendant has a neat pattern, so the wearer can decide which side best matches their mood for that day:

The materials for the necklace, in case you're interested, are shell, glass and crystal. Oh, and a polymer clay pendant, of course. :)

Necklace #2

In addition to making the pendant for necklace #1, I also cut portions of the cane and used it to coat some large wooden beads. I then finished them with varnish, and used one of them to make necklace #2.

I also used some waxed linen, glass, crystal, and magnesite (progress photo seen above).

...Oh! And a tassel:

I bet you saw that one coming, heh.

I love the movement of this necklace. I also like the fact that, due to the focal being polymer over wood, it's surprisingly light. 

And, of course, I like the colors... I already have at least two outfits in mind that would match this perfectly. (My original plan was to sell it, but I may I have a hard time parting with it! *grin*)

Necklace #3

The last necklace also used one of those large focal beads... again coated in varnish, and this time paired with magnesite, glass (Czech and otherwise), shell, and larvikite. 

Progress shot!
...You can see where this is going, I'm sure.

Here is the finished necklace:

Yep. It has a tassel. 

Something interesting--and this applies to the other necklaces as well--is how surprisingly difficult to find beads that matched the pendant exactly. I went through at least five different iterations of that tassel before I settled on the final design--putting beads in, swapping them out for different ones, and so forth.

Still, I'm definitely happy with how it turned out!

...And, yeah, I don't think I'm parting with this one. I actually have already worn it (this past weekend), and received compliments on it. I may have to use the rest of the cane to make more focal beads, so that I can make more necklaces. :)

...And there you go! That concludes the reveals for this month's challenge. Thanks so much for stopping by to see what I made--and for having patience with me as I spread this out over a couple of days. I'm sure you'll agree--there was definitely too much for one entry!

Have a lovely day, everyone! I'll see you in March, when I'll have a new challenge to share!


For Part 1 of this challenge, click here.
For Part 2 of this challenge, click here.