Friday, February 17, 2017

We're All Ears: February Reveal

The inspiration for this month's We're All Ears challenge was patchwork.

...And I honestly love patchwork. I love the hodgepodge colors, I love the textures, I love how the pieces of fabric can be used to create either a recognizable image or a painterly impression. 

I've even tried my hand at patchwork before, to varying levels of success. (I made a patchwork skirt!... but that's a post for another day.) I've even tried my hand at making jewelry inspired by it (like this pair of hairsticks, and this pair of earrings).

Not my picture!
Textile by Kit Vincent, and featured as an inspiration on Earrings Everyday.

...Then why, oh why, did I find this challenge so difficult?

I guess it's probably because everything has been difficult this month. Oi. I honestly feel like I'm floundering a little. Still, I did manage to make two pairs of earrings for this challenge... Neither of them are quite exactly what I wanted to make, but at least I tried!

The first pair of earrings was inspired by the piece seen above, the textile by Kit Vincent... I loved the colors and the stripes, both of which I tried to emulate:

I found the darling little tassels on LimaBeads, and fell in love with them. The varying colors made me think of the different colored stripes seen in Kit Vincent's patchwork.

I decided to pair them with the Vintaj filigree--which, in and of themselves, remind me of more traditional quilt patterns. I added the little dyed magnesite rounds to tie the design together.

The inspiration for the second pair came after I did a little more image searching (thanks to the Pinterest page curated by Erin Prais-Hintz). On that Pinterest board, I came across this lovely pattern:

Not my picture!
Entitled Royal Patchwork,
Found via Pinterest, originally posted by Durin Eberhart.

...Which, in turn, inspired this pair of earrings:

They feature enameled metal beads, knotted on purple waxed linen and paired with goldtone findings. Again, the pattern on the beads reminded me a bit of more traditional quilts--and the lovely brocade patterns seen in the inspiration image. By using the waxed linen, I hoped to make them feel a bit more textured, and more reminiscent of the fibrous nature of patchwork.

And so, there you go! Those are the two pairs of earrings that I made for this challenge. I realize, writing this entry, that perhaps they are closer to the inspiration than I originally thought... Either way, I'm glad that I at least tried. And who knows? Maybe I'll come back to this inspiration in the future. :)

As always, thanks so much to Erin and those at Earrings Everyday for hosting this challenge... and thank you for stopping by! Feel free to swing by the host blog to see what everyone else has made.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bead Soup!

The Bead Soup Blog Party is back! Woo-hoo!

And this time there's a twist: it's a Bead Hoaders Edition. That means that when we choose what beads to send our partners (since this is a bead swap), we should choose precious hoarded beads from our personal stashes.

This lovely graphic is not mine...
It's from the blog of the Hostess, Lori Anderson.

My partner for this Blog Hop is the talented Lennis Carrier of Windbent... And what fun! We have discovered that we are in many of the same groups, and have participated in many of the same hops, but we've never officially "met." I'm delighted to get a chance to change that!

I dug deep into my stash, and here is what I sent her:

...Except I can't show you yet!

What you see, instead, is me having fun with photo-editing after-filters. Hah! I will reveal what that picture shows once I know Lennis has received her beads.

The main reveal for this Blog Hop is next month, on March 25th... I'm super excited, and can't wait to see what everyone ends up making!

Until then, have a great day, everyone!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable, Valentine's Day Edition

I have gotten so little done this month, bead-wise, that it's rather maddening. So many ideas, so little time! 

Still, I have at least made a few things this week--and I've learned a new skill to boot!

One of the things I made was a necklace for Valentine's Day... and it involved these:

Seed beads! 

...Blue seed beads!

Now, I realize that those don't look particularly Valentine-y. Hopefully the next picture will help clear that up.

Yep, there's a heart.

Now, I don't usually go for hearts in my designs. I don't have anything against them, they just don't often jump out at me. This one, though, intrigued me because of its color--it's magnesite dyed the color of lapis. 

I was so entranced, in fact, that I thought it would be the perfect focal to go along with a new thing I've been learning to make:

Seed bead tassels.

...After all, if there is a way to make tassels, chances are I'm going to try to learn it. ;)

Granted, this isn't the first of the tassels I've made this month... I also made two smaller ones in the same colorway to serve as matching earrings. (I may post pictures of them, too, at some point.) Still, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out--and the process definitely has gotten a bit smoother.

So, that covers the focal part of the necklace. Here is the rest of it:

I kept the design simple--just a pattern of the same seed beads, strung on waxed linen. It's long enough to not need a clasp, and has a nice amount of sway when worn.

Now, I'm going to be honest and say that part of me isn't entirely satisfied with the final product (maybe it's not complicated enough? heh), but I'm still pleased considering this is my first time trying a design like this. That's part of the process, after all--experimenting and learning, and pushing the boundaries of what I can do.

...And so, there you go. That is what has been on my beadtable this week: seed bead tassels, a blue heart, and trying new things. We'll see what I get up to next week. ;)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Thursday's Worktable

Quick worktable entry this week, due to me not feeling well... and, honestly, also due to not having a lot to show. I'm still in the planning stage of most of my February projects, just waiting to get the time (and the hand-eye coordination, ha!) to work on them. 

The one project I do have to share is actually a continuation of something I posted back in October:

Yep, those again! In case you missed it, those are pendants that I made from Magic: the Gathering basic land cards. (For the blog post, go here!) They aren't perfect, but they're fun, and they make me smile.

I've already finished necklaces for the Mountain (fireball) and Island (waterdrop) pendants, and have finally gotten around to making one for the Forest pendant as well.

Laying out the design.

...The finished necklace!

Slowly but surely, I'm working my way through them. Next up is going to be the one for the Plains (the white sunburst)... I just need to find the right beads for it. :) 

So, there you go... That is the only finished project I have for this month so far. Here's to crossing my fingers and hoping that I soon can tackle the rest of the projects I have planned.

Have a wonderful Thursday, everyone! Stay healthy!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable going to be postponed until later in the week. Possibly tomorrow. 

I'm tired and sick, and haven't actually gotten a chance to sit down at my craft table since last week. Ah well... It just means I'll be super excited to get back into the creative swing of things.

Thanks for your patience and understanding!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - February Edition

This probably isn't a great surprise to anyone, but I have a lot of craft supplies. My craft room is overflowing with creative chaos... There are beads, of course, but also paints and yarn and paper and stamps and all varying types of artistic miscellany.

The only thing is, a lot of my supplies go unused. They languish around in their imaginative potential, just waiting for me to get the inspiration to use them again.

That is why, when I was picking my Monthly Challenge for February, I decided to dig out some of those supplies and show them some love.

And so I present: polymer clay. 

Now, there are people who do amazing, amazing things with polymer clay--they make sculptures and beads and pendants and all manner of beautiful things.

...I am not one of those people.

Instead of a polymer clay artist, I think of myself as as a polymer clay dabbler. That is, I have played around with it, experimented with it, and just generally mucked about with it. While I greatly enjoy it, I very rarely have anything truly amazing to show off.

Inspiration #1: steampunk meets polymer clay.

But, here's the thing... I won't get better if I don't actually try.

And so, for this month, I want to try.

Inspiration #2: pearls and marble and clay, oh my!

My goal for this challenge is plain and simple: to make jewelry using polymer clay. 

I'll probably try my hand at making pendants or beads or components... We'll see what I come up with! I certainly don't expect anything to be perfect--I'm giving myself permission to try and fail and experiment and play. The whole idea is to try... I might even surprise myself.

Come back on Friday, February 24th to see what I end up making! And, of course, if you have some polymer clay hanging around that you've been wanting to use, feel free to join me... the whole idea is to have fun!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Hello, February!

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

True to form--at least, here in Cincinnati--this month is starting off grey and cloudy and cold. (You know, like it's winter or something. Heh.) And, if I'm honest, my mood is also threatening to be grey and cloudy and cold (i.e. grouchy) as I continue to fight being sick. Honestly, it could be so much worse--but sinus headaches really do take their toll on my mood.

So! On my beadtable, I am rebelling against all things grey and grouchy... and I'm doing so with color:

I've been wanting to make some more paper beads for awhile, and this insanely bright paper offered just the right February remedy. I honestly don't have any plans for these beads just yet... they're just bright and cheery and they make me smile.

I hope everyone is doing well this first day of February, and finding happiness even if things seem grey where you are. And hey... grey days are good for tea and cookies.

Happy February, everyone! Take care!

Monday, January 30, 2017

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

Every month, Sarajo Wentling over at SJ Designs Jewelry hosts the Honey Do List challenge--where her husband, Eric, issues her a beading challenge to help her get out of her comfort zone, as well as use up some of her bead stash. Luckily for me, she lets others play along, too! 

This month's inspiration picture is a beautifully altered photo of a blue jay:

This is what Eric said about the picture:

This was one of the first visitors to our newly placed bird feeder this fall, so I ran for my camera and got a few shots while I could.  While I liked the picture, I felt it could use an oil paint look so spent some time tweaking this in Photoshop until it looked how I wanted it.  I like the textures and the bold blue and white color palate (and green if you want to include the background)!  

...I couldn't agree more! I, too, like the bold blue and white color palette--and blue jays in general. (Even if they can be quite mouthy! When I lived in an apartment, our balcony was the prime territory of a blue jay, and he guarded it quite jealously--and loudly!) 

So! Inspired by that picture, I made three necklaces. Here is the first one:

...And here is the second one, which looks incredibly similar to the first:

That's right! 

They are both pretty much the same necklace--with the same beads and the same layout. They are just made with different color metals. You see, I had the cute little birdie pendants in both silver-tone and brass, and I couldn't decide which I liked better. So, I made them both!

The birds are paired with metal and glass (Czech and otherwise). They both are 18 inches long, and are fastened by standard lobster clasps.

So, those are the first two necklaces. The third necklace that I made was a bit of a surprise... I had only planned to make the first two. 

However, while I was looking through my stash, I found a beautiful glass bead that had blue and white swirls in it... swirls that reminded me of the texture of the blue jay's feathers.

As you can guess, one thing led to another, and this necklace came together:

Ha! Yes, it's a tassel necklace. I'm sure you're incredibly surprised. ;)

The materials are identical to the earlier necklace, with the only additions being the blue teardrops and the cobalt blue glass. I also added a little leaf charm, which reminded me of a feather.

Another shot of the lovely swirly bead.

I made this necklace quite a bit longer than the other two--and as such, it actually layers quite nicely with the matching bird-pendant-necklace. 

In fact, since I have more of the beads, I'm even considering making another one in brass!

...And there you have it! Those are the necklaces that I made for this month's Honey Do List challenge. Thank you, as always, to Sarajo and Eric for letting me play along... I greatly enjoy these challenges!

Thank you, too, for stopping by my blog today to see what I made... Have a lovely day, everyone!

(Me, I'm going to take my next dose of antibiotics so that I can hopefully clear out this sinus infection and start getting my energy back. Ha! This month has been a doozy.)