Monday, August 22, 2016

Back from Vacation!

...Well, mostly.

I may be physically back at home, but I definitely think part of me is still back in the forests of western Maryland:

This was my beading table last week.
...Yeah, I'm a lucky girl!

As such, I'm still getting back into the swing of things. I have a reveal from last week that I need to post at some point (the one for We're All Ears), as well as needing to make something for my monthly challenge. 

And you know, other adult things--like unpacking and doing yard work and paying bills. Woo. 

Home away from home.
This year marked the 30th year that my family has gone to this state park for vacation.
Can you believe it?!

Ah well. Here I go, plunging back into real life... doing my fourth load of catch-up laundry, and starting to gain momentum again here on my blog.

Have a lovely day, everyone--Monday (and not being on vacation) notwithstanding!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Allegory Gallery - Mystery Challenge 2 Reveal

As promised, it's time for a before-I-go-on-vacation reveal! Woo!

Today I get to show off what I made for yet another beautiful Allegory Gallery kit challenge. Which one, you ask? Well, this one:

The colors for this kit are hinted at in the above picture. So, imagine my delight when I opened the mail and saw this:

What a beautiful combination of yellow and blue! There's lapis, vintage lucite, Czech glass, waxed linen, silk--you name it!

I didn't have the chance to make much with those beautiful components... And, in all honesty, I cheated a little and only used the handmade pendant that was included. And I didn't even use yellow--I used gold.

Ah well... artistic license, and all that!

That being said, however, I really like the necklace set that I made:

I really liked the combination of blue and bronze on the pendant, so I echoed those colors in the design. 

About the construction: it's a pretty straight-forward design using wire-wrapped links and a pattern based on threes. The earrings are made with the same beads as the necklace... What can I say, I like things that match. :)

So, there you go! That's what I've made so far with this beautiful kit. I hope to make more with the other components at some point--and, if I do, I'll be sure to post about it. I really do like the combination of blue and yellow, so I need to make something that does it justice.

...For now, though, I need to go pack! 

Thanks to Andrew and William at Allegory Gallery for putting this kit together, and thank you so much for stopping by.

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Wednesday's Worktable

I'm getting ready to go on vacation! Whee!

As such, my worktable doesn't have anything super complicated on it this week. I've been spending more time packing what bead projects I want to take with me than actually creating anything right now.

However! When I saw these, I couldn't help but start playing around:

...because rainbow hematite makes me happy.

The necklace design that I have in mind is fairly simple... long, with wire-wrapped links that give way to chain. Simple doesn't have to mean boring, though... I'm really excited to see how it turns out! I might even make two (I have two pendants, after all), and wear one while on vacation.

So, that's what I have on my worktable this week! Woo! I'm not sure if I'll be posting next week--I'll be on the aforementioned vacation--but we'll have to see. Regardless, be sure to stop by tomorrow... I have a reveal planned for before I go!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - August Edition

August is my vacation month.

As such, my original plan was not to do a challenge at all this month. After some thinking, though, I realized that I would miss it--and thus I decided to do something a little extra fun for this month's challenge.

Some background: one of my favorite online beadsellers is currently having a huge sale, and one of the things they have discounted are randomly selected mixed bead strands. You know, like these (photos found here and here, respectively): 

With these bundles, you know how many strands you're going to get, and have a general idea of what the material is going to be (glass, gemstone, pearl, and so forth)--but you don't know the specifics. 

Like the color. 

Or the shape.

So, I snagged a few bundles (like the above pearl bundle here and the glass mix bundle here)--and that's my challenge! I plan to make something using the beads from these mixes--and only beads from these mixes.

I'll be sure to show pictures of the strands when they arrive... Trust me, I'm watching my door like a hawk! I just love getting packages! :)

The reveal for this challenge will be Friday, August 26th. Be sure to stop by then to see what I have made!

P.S. If you want to play along, I would love for you to join me! The beads I ordered were on super sale at FireMountainGems (sale goes until August 8th)... But they definitely aren't the only place that sells mixed collections!

And, honestly, you wouldn't even need to buy new beads. The whole idea is to be random--you could just go through your stash, pick some beads at random (not giving thought to size or shape or color), and just make something with them! I just decided to buy some because: 1. sale! and 2. I love a good beadie surprise in the mail.

...Oh, and disclaimer: I have not been paid to link to FireMountainGems--not at all. I just happen to like shopping their sales, and thought I would share the fun. :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Wednesday's Worktable

Not much to report this week, as far as my worktable goes. After finishing all of last month's challenges, I haven't started any new projects. 

Well, correction. I haven't successfully started any new projects. 

I did attempt to make a simple knotted necklace using some gorgeous red coral beads that I have gotten my hands on...

...except the bead holes aren't actually big enough to fit on the waxed linen I was going to use. The bead pictured above? Yeah, that was the only one that I was able to string. I either need to get thinner linen, or change my design idea.

Back to the drawing board, I suppose.

So, there you go. Sorry I don't have more to share... but, that's part of how the creative process goes, isn't it? Sometimes things just flow together, and other times your waxed linen is too thick. And who knows... maybe this little set-back will actually inspire me to make something gorgeous I wouldn't have thought of before.

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

Monday, August 1, 2016

Hello, August!

July was exceedingly busy. 

...So, my plan for August? Relax.

The necklace that I made this past week with the July Bargain Bead Box.
Well, the start of the necklace, anyway.

Looking back, I am very pleased with all that I was able to accomplish last month. I'm also rather surprised that I made it through in one piece. Ten jewelry challenges--oi! That's a record I don't want to challenge anytime soon!

On that note, I'm not sure what challenges I'm going to tackle this month. I have a vacation coming up, which I am awaiting with eager anticipation... And I'm allowing myself to take a step back and enjoy some well-earned down time. Creating with deadlines is all well and good, but for this week, I'm going to allow myself to relax and play. So, we'll see what this month holds... I'm sure it will be wonderful!

Happy August, everyone!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - July Reveal, Part 5

To see Part #4, go here! To see Part #3, go here
To see Part #2, go hereTo see Part #1, go here
To see the Introductory Entry, go here!


Here it is! It's time for the final reveal for July's Monthly Challenge!

I truly appreciate your patience as I've rolled these out over the last few days... I certainly hope that you will find this last entry to be worth your while!

So! Let's see... In the last few entries, I have already talked about how the ancient Maya liked multi-stranded necklaces... 

Stela 11 from Seibal,
from the terminal classic period.
Not my picture!
From the Wikimedia Commons.

How they liked green jade... 

Not my picture!
From the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Go there--it has a wonderful write-up on the symbolism of this piece and its elements.

How they had an impressive writing system...

Page 9 of the Dresden Codex.
Not my photo!
From the Wikimedia Commons.

And so, in this final set, I decided to highlight all of those traits together. 

Below is the result of that effort.

Set #4

Yep! It is a multi-stranded collar necklace, made with dyed yellow turquoise, Czech glass, vintage seed beads, and Mayan-inspired findings. The matching earrings are made with those same materials--I made two pairs, because I couldn't decide which design I liked more.

Each link was wire-wrapped and then joined together with jumprings... I realize that this was not the most ancient-Mayan-type construction, but I think the final result is pretty impressive--and definitely reminiscent of the beautiful many-stranded necklaces so prevalent in their art!

Also, there is an extender chain, which makes it go from choker-tight to a more draped look, depending on the preference (and neckline) of the wearer.

And so, there you go! That is the last set that I made this month for this Mayan-inspired challenge. Not too shabby! :)

Doing this challenge has reminded me just how much I truly love ancient cultures and archaeology, and would love the chance to really research ancient jewelry. Seriously--I would love to go to a museum and just stare at the artifacts... their material, their construction, their style. Study the depictions in the art of the time. That sounds like so much!

...Perhaps I will do another Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge based on an ancient culture. So many possibilities!

Oh! One more thing. I mentioned briefly that I didn't make everything I had planned for this challenge... Time just got away from me. For fun, here are the three projects that I didn't get a chance to make... Maybe next month I will have a chance to work on them!

Multi-strand necklace, with a lampwork focal by GlassyFields.

Necklace inspired by the white-and-red Spondylys shells favored by the Maya.

More jade-inspired goodness!

...And, with that, I really am done. Thank you so much for joining me on this journey! I hope you have enjoyed my creations... I truly appreciate you stopping by!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - July Reveal, Part 4

To see Part #3, go here! To see Part #2, go hereTo see Part #1, go here
To see the Introductory Entry, go here!

It's time for reveal #4!

That means that it's time to show off the bracelet that I made for this challenge.

This particular bracelet was inspired by the those often seen in ancient Mayan art--depicted in murals, stelae, ceramics, and even codices. In these depictions, these bracelets are wide cuffs often worn by the elite (although I honestly have not seen enough research to say that they were the only ones who wore them).

One of the many famous murals at Bonampak.
Not my picture!
From this article on Mexicolore about Mayan feather headdresses.

These bracelets are also usually green. (I know, what a surprise!)

So, as you might imagine, I decided to make a green wrap bracelet, reminiscent of those cuffs. 

...And I am very happy to say that it turned out exactly as I had imagined it!

The materials include: two shades of dyed magnesite, Czech glass black picasso druks, copper leather, silver findings (including a Mayan-inspired bracelet bar), and dyed yellow turquoise.

I also made it so that it would look visually appealing regardless of the angle... One side features the bracelet bar, while the other highlights the geometric-design button and a hieroglyphic dangle.

As I said, this design just came together just as I had hoped. While I was a little concerned about the combination of silver and copper when I was making it, I am extremely happy that I kept with it... The overall look is precisely what I was going for. (And I am thrilled at how close the colors are to the mural I showed above--even though that was not done on purpose!)

...So, there you go: that was the bracelet I made for this reveal. I am extremely happy with it!

And with that, I have one more reveal entry to go. Come back tomorrow, and I'll show you the last thing that I made for this Mayan-inspired monthly challenge! 

Until then, have a great night everyone!