Friday, August 3, 2018

My mother-in-law passed away Tuesday evening. 

She was an incredibly dear friend. I started writing letters to her back when I was in middle school, and have known her for more than 20 years (I think the actual count is 26?). She was a fellow writer with a wonderfully quirky sense of humor, she was incredibly supportive of my jewelry making, and she just so happened to be the mother of the man I fell in love with. I couldn't have been more lucky.

And now, faced with her loss--realizing that there are stories that she will never finish writing, and my own stories that I will never get to share with her--I am grieving. 

My husband is grieving. 

His family is grieving.

...I may not be back on my blog for a little while. The world is still bright and full of wonder, but my heart is shattered. I am blessed that I knew her so well--and I am blessed that I can be part of this family as we lean on each other and mourn. 

I wish you all peace and a beautiful August... hold your loved ones close, and please keep looking for beauty. 

I will be back when I am able.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - July Reveal

Buttons!

That was the theme for this month's Wonder and Whimsy challenge. I have so many of them, after all... I figured it was about time that I actually started using them! :)


Now, I need to be honest with you: this month, I went into over-achieving mode. I have six necklaces to share for this reveal. 

However--and again, just being honest--I should also note that I'm not completely happy with some of them. They all look lovely, but the buttons are so much lighter than I am accustomed to, and I didn't quite get the weight quite right on a few of them. Lesson learned! I'm still proud of what I accomplished and learned... and am still tweaking the ones that don't quite work. And who knows? There might be a Part 2 to this challenge at some later time!

Okay! Now that that's out of the way, it's time to share the pretties. Without further ado, here is what I made!


Necklace 1


For this first necklace, I thought it would be fun to use the buttons like disc beads. I used a handful of vintage beads from the button jar pictured above, which I cleaned off and strung on waxed linen. I added spacer beads and chain for extra interest. 


Now, I was hoping that the black linen would make some of the darker buttons pop. Looking at it now, I think I should have gone for a lighter brown instead. The overall effect isn't bad--just something to keep in mind for next time. After all, I have quite a few more of those buttons, so I have lots of room to keep playing around... and I certainly haven't exhausted the possibilities of using buttons as discs! 



Necklace 2


For this next necklace, I decided to embrace the complete button-ness of the buttons. Instead of using them like flat disc beads, I laid them button-side-up and wire-wrapped them as links. I then combined them with a random assortment of wood, Czech glass, vintage acrylic, agate coins, and ceramic. (Woo, I was able to be asymmetric!)



This necklace can be worn with the toggle clasp in the back, or on the side. I'm still playing around with the weight on this one (the ceramic bead is being particularly problematic), but I love the combination of browns and tans... and I really like the way that the buttons look, wire-wrapped the way that they are.



Necklace 3


After having success with the wire-wrapped links in the previous necklace, I decided to take it one step further: wire-wrapping the button as a pendant. I picked a nice-size button and some coordinating beads, and this what I came up with:



Now, this is one of the necklaces where the weight works out nicely. The button is light, but so are the other components. The coordinating beads are mostly wood, with small bits of Czech glass and shell added in, which means that the necklace itself is well-balanced. I love the combination of browns and golds--and, due to its light weight, it's perfect for summer.



Necklace 4


...You may now start to notice a theme. Heh. I started to get addicted to wire-wrapping button pendants, so I moved on to this one. 


I'm honestly not sure about the material or age of the button, but it has a beautiful mother-of-pearl sheen to it. And so, I paired it with mother-of-pearl barrel beads, goldtone metal, and glass. Because of the dangle, the weight of this necklace is perfect--it is definitely one of my favorites. And, what can I say--I'm a sucker for an elegant white-and-gold necklace. :)



Necklace 5


And here we have another wire-wrapped button pendant! (I told you that you might start to notice a theme.) This particular button is a steampunk-themed button that I picked up on clearance at a fabric store. I wire-wrapped it, added a tassel, and then hung it on a silver-beaded chain that I salvaged from an older project I never finished.



...This is actually one of my least favorites of the necklaces I made for this challenge. While I really like the way that it looks, it just doesn't hang right. Gah! The pendant isn't heavy enough to match the rest of the beads, the beaded chain is slightly wonky, the tassel isn't the right weight or length. This is actually the 5th draft of this necklace. Ah well--I'm sure I'll get it perfect one of these days. Until then--at least it looks nice! :)



Necklace 6


All right... while the previous necklace was one of my least favorites of this reveal, this next one is my definite favorite. Hands down. 

Granted, it had a bit of an advantage going in... You see, it all started with the above button--a beautiful artisan-made dichroic glass button I picked up about 10 years ago. At the time, my beading skills weren't where they are today, and the design I made with it was not the best. (You'll notice the glue residue--I cringe now, but at the time I didn't know any better.) So, I freed the button from its previous home, and got to work:


That's right. I brought out the wire-weaving... and made this:


...Which I then turned in to this:



I'm so excited that the wire-weaving hides the glue residue that I couldn't get off the front! And I'm also excited that I found beads to match the button so perfectly. For the rest of the necklace, I used glass: iridescent glass, regular glass, matte glass. 


And, since it is all glass, the weight and balance problems that have plagued my other button creations are completely non-issues. It hangs exactly where it's supposed to, and is not so light that it keeps shifting, or so heavy that it feels like a brick around your neck.

In short, I'm over the moon with how this one turned out! 

...Here, have another picture:


So, there you go! Those are the necklaces that I made for this reveal. Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I made--and for journeying with me through my trials and tribulations of button-use. Hah! I definitely see myself adding more buttons into my designs in the future... especially if they're beautiful dichroic glass! :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Stay creative!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Wednesday's Worktable

My original plan for today was to do a reveal for this month's Pretty Palettes. The only problem is, well, I didn't end up making anything for it. 

Oops!

I do love the combination of colors that Molly Schaller chose--soft blues and purples and reds--so hopefully I'll get a chance to play with them soon. In the meantime, though, I've been organizing beads and doing housework and making jewelry with buttons (you know, so I do actually have something to show in Friday's reveal).

And! I've acquired a bead that looks like a dragon egg:


...So many possibilities! It's pretty heavy (it's stone: crackle agate), so whatever I make is going to be pretty hefty. I do love it, though... and, the more I organize my beads, the more that I realize that my collection is full of such happy, whimsical, wonderful things. I'm such a lucky person.

Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I'm up to... not much to show, I'm afraid, but happy nonetheless. :)

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!


Monday, July 23, 2018

Reveal - SJ Designs Jewelry Honey Do List July 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 theme is crows!


I really do like crows. They are extremely intelligent and playful--and did I mention intelligent? (The crows in New Caledonia are even known to craft and use specific tools, on the same level as some primates. Now you know!)

Here is what Eric says about the above photo: 
I've wanted to get a decent crow picture for ages but they have eluded me. Over our recent trip to Portland (and their plethora of loud crows) I finally had a chance!  The closer of these crows was pretty mad about my presence and kept cawing at me while I took this series of shots.  It ended up dive-bombing a random pedestrian and my friend Ron shortly after this!

Now, I am feeling a bit of a time crunch this month--so much to do, but not a lot of time to do it--so I was only able to make one pair of earrings to go with the photo. Still, they gave me an excuse to use some of my new Czech glass feathers, so I call it a win!

Here are the earrings in question:


In addition to using the Czech glass feathers, I added wooden discs, black glass rounds, and brassy/bronzy metal. In the composition, I tried to capture the look of the bird tails hanging below the branches--with the gold details of the feathers echoing the shimmery shine of the crow feathers. Not too bad for being in a rush! :)


Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I made for this challenge--and thank you to Sarajo and Eric for letting me play along! :)

Have a lovely day, everyone!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Wednesday's Worktable

Hello, everyone!

I don't really have any cool beadie things to show off this week... Shocking, I know! I have been doing some beadwork--mainly working on some challenge pieces, to varying levels of success. Other than that, though, mostly I've also been doing other things--hanging out with my husband, spending time with family, re-sorting the box of seed beads that I dropped and spilled everywhere. Heh.

So, in lieu of bead pictures, here are some lovely tree pictures I took today while having a lunch picnic with my sister-in-law and nephews:



It is such a lovely day! I'm grateful for the people in my life--and for a chance to step away from my bead table, and enjoy time with them.

...And now, it's time to sort more seed beads. Heh. Wish me luck!

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Wednesday's Worktable

Happy Wednesday, everyone! My week has been busy and delightfully creative so far... I've been organizing findings and working on my Monthly Challenge, primarily--you know, in addition to regular life things.

And I have things to show off! Imagine!

First things first, it's time for a necklace update... Can you guess what this chain goes to?


If you guessed the Queen of Hearts key necklace I posted about a few weeks ago, you'd be correct! 

Here's the finished necklace:


It's a combination of Swarovski crystals and vintage glass and black plated metal... A wonderful mix of elegance and whimsy and industrial charm. Thank you everyone for your kind words about the key when I first posted about it... I really do have the best readers ever. :)

My next project on my beading table also continues the red theme... this time, matched with different shades of purple:



It's been too long since I made a beaded tassel, so I remedied that. Still working on the chain, but you get the general idea of what it's going to look like. So fun! I have a few more necklaces like this planned, in different colorways... hopefully I can make some time to finish them in the coming weeks.

Thanks for stopping by today to see what I'm up to... Life is busy, but thankfully my creativity is back in full force. Yay!

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - July Edition

For this month's challenge, my focus is going to be...

Buttons!


I collect buttons. All sorts of buttons--vintage buttons, new buttons, acrylic buttons, mother-of-pearl buttons. It's only been recently, as I've been going through and organizing my stash, that I realized just how many of them I have.

...And I have also been realizing how little I actually use them.


So, for July, I want to change that. For this challenge, the only rule is that I make something that incorporates buttons somehow. 

I have absolutely no clue what I'm going to do, but this should be fun!


Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I'm up to... Be sure to come by on Friday, July 27th to see what I end up making.

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Hello, July!

Happy July, everyone!


No new bead things to share this week--it's been full of festivities with family and friends, and a fair bit of relaxing (with a side of melting in the heat, oi). I'm still finding the balance between creating and organizing, but overall seem to be crawling out of my creative slump. Woo-hoo! I'll take it!

Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I'm up to--or not, as the case may be. :)

Have a wonderful month, everyone!