Monday, April 30, 2012

It's Time for Show and Tell!

This week, I'm going to try to highlight some of the jewelry I've been making with the materials sent by my Aunt.  After all, I have so many pictures and ideas--I really want to share them!

So, first, a refresher...  Here are some of the necklaces that my Aunt sent to me:

Look at all the pretty beads!

Immediately, my attention was drawn to those two strands of oval blue beads, the cobalt ones, that you see in the middle of the above picture.

To begin with, I knew that I wanted to do something that included both of those strands of beads--I just really liked the way that they looked together.

And so, I started to restring them...

Lovely cobalt blue beads, being restrung on some beading wire.

...And then looked around to see what else might match them...

Ooooo, silver chain complements the cobalt blue!

...And then I combined them together into a three-strand necklace... 

Those components help the necklace lay flat.

...And then decided to make a pair of matching earrings, using some leftover beads and those same teardrop components...

They match so ridiculously well...  It makes me happy.

...And so, ta-da!  Here is the final product:

I really do love that shade of blue.

A three strand necklace and some matching earrings--that look wonderful when combined with a jean skirt!

I'm so excited with this set--and wondering about ways that I can duplicate the design with some of the other beads that I have.  :D


I don't usually make long, multi-stranded necklaces...  But I think that this one works.  

Just out of curiosity, what kinds of necklaces do you like?  Long, multi-layers ones...  simple chokers...  complicated seed-bead designs?  I'd love to hear your preferences!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mucking in the Mud...

So, you might be wondering...  why was I mucking around in the mud?

Well, let me tell you a story.

Look, mud!  Mud to be mucked in!

I love how, on overcast days,
green seems so much  more vibrant.

When I was growing up, my Dad used to tell me stories about how, when he was a boy, he would go to a local park--and spend hours there.  

What was he doing?  

He was hunting for fossils.  

Those banks are prime fossil territory.

Eventually, he grew up and moved out of state--leaving that park behind.  He kept his love for fossils, though, and continued to collect them through the years...  And, as I grew up, he continued to tell me and my sister stories about that little park.

Now, forward ahead many, many years...  After college, I fell in love, and moved from my home state to be with my now-husband.

...And, when I moved, I ended up close to Daddy's park.

Yes, indeed, this is Daddy's park.  :D

So, back to the question: why was I mucking around in the mud?  

I was at that very same park, hunting for fossils.

If you look closely, you can see some--just lying there!

I went with one of my friends, and we were there for several hours.  We got wet and dirty, and had a lovely time.  The day was perfect for it, too: overcast, not-too-cold and not-too-warm.

At times, we even just sat and enjoyed the scenery...  It felt timeless, really.  It was lovely to be away from the computer, away from indoor lighting, and just sit in the mud.


Yep, that's my foot...  Taken when I decided to sit
down and rest a bit.

So, did I find fossils?  Yes.

Did I feel a wonderful connection to my past?  Yes.

...And not just because I was collecting fossils.  It was just wonderful to know that I was, literally, walking in my father's footsteps.


What am I going to do with the fossils, you might be wondering...  Well, as you might expect, I'm going to do something crafty with them!  :D

Fossil-hunting isn't the only thing that I picked up from my parents...  My mother taught me to sew and knit and make paper crafts, my dad taught me about languages and a love for learning, and they both taught me about the wonders of books.

Do you have any hobbies or interests that your parents shared with you?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday's Table filled with many, many treasures!

See?  Many, many treasures!

My table is covered in all sorts of possibility!

To explain: everything in the above picture is from my Aunt.  She and my Uncle are downsizing, and a little while ago she asked if I would like some of the jewelry she isn't keeping.

My response: would I ever!

And so, she sent me an amazing package filled with all sorts of goodies, packed neatly in baggies.  Here are those bags, unpacked...

Gemstones and glass and wood and metal...  a beader's paradise!

Another shot of the bounty...  How lucky I am!

It's mostly long necklaces, but there are also some pins and some gemstone cabochons from my Uncle.  (Including some in Malachite...  I am so, so excited to work with Malachite!)

Even more exciting is the fact that she has given me full permission to do whatever I would like with the pieces--whether it be to keep them as they are, or give them new life in another form.  

So many beads!

So many possibilities!

Because of my wrist, I haven't gotten a chance to play around with them much...  But I am already dreaming!  

Here are some highlights...

Five long strands of delicate pearls--
two cream, three pale pink.
They are so lovely, and I haven't yet
decided what to do with them.

Rose-tinted glass...
Versatile and lovely, and so many of them!
Teardrop beads!
Possible earrings...  or hairstick toppers.
Ooooo...  I like all of these colors together!

Pale rose quartz...
The perfect size for hairstick toppers!

This necklace has so much character--
Not sure what I'm going to do with it,
but it just begs for a story.

Other beads on that same necklace...  Very cool!

And here are some of the pieces that I think I'm going to leave as they are...

I love this piece...
I think I'm either going to leave it alone,
or shorten it and use some of the leftover
beads to make matching earrings.

I think I'm going to leave this one as is...  Love the colors!

A close-up, simply because I think it's cool.
What delightful colors!  I think the simplicity of this
necklace lets the gradient really stand out.

The leaf's detail is simply stunning...
I cannot think of anything I could do
to enhance its inherent loveliness.

I am like a kid in a candy store...  Such beautiful jewelry, such quality materials--and all for me to enjoy!  *does a happy dance*

I cannot wait to get started!  (Hear that, wrist?  Get with the program!)

I am so blessed!


I should note that my Aunt is not the first person to send me jewelry she isn't keeping...  another friend of my family has sent me a similar box, filled with vintage pieces to enjoy.  

So, why haven't I highlighted that particular package here?  Well, I am saving it as a reward for when I finish organizing my craft room.  Gotta have something to motivate me to get everything cleaned up!  And, when I do, I will be posting pictures here.  :D

And, of course, to my Aunt--thank you so much for such a thoughtful and wonderful gift!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Trying to Learn Patience: A Post in Two Segments

Section I:  Setting the Scene

With my wrist out of commission, this has been a rather rough week.  

It's a mummy hand!
...Or, rather, just me trying to get a good shot of my
wrist to post here.  For sympathy, mostly.

Don't get me wrong--it's actually not that bad.  Nothing broken, no shooting pain... just the soreness of over-distraught muscles.  You know, the kind that you don't want to make worse.

So, the hardest part of this week hasn't been the pain...  It's the fact that I haven't been able to create.  No knitting, no beading, no writing.  

In fancy terms, I lack a creative outlet.

In more practical terms, I am bored.  

I am stir crazy and cranky and more than a little whiny.  In fact, I give major points to my husband this week, who has been patiently loving me as I flop around like a fish out of water, bemoaning my current lack of crafts.  If I wasn't so out of sorts, I would laugh at my own ridiculousness.

As it stands, however, I just want to make something.

Section II:  Patience is a Virtue

So, with all of this in mind, look what came in the mail today!

What has it got in its boxses?

How exciting--it's my yarn for my Dr. Who scarf!

There it is, all lovely in a row.

Of course, there is a problem.  I cannot knit right now--not without upsetting my wrist further, and causing actual problems for myself.  

And so, I am once more struggling with my old nemesis: patience.

I want to knit now.  I want to write my story now.  I want to make tons of jewelry now.  But, all of my wanting and whining is not making my wrist heal quicker.  In fact, my muscles will get better in their own time.  In the meantime, I need to stop focusing on what I cannot do, and focus on what I can do.

Like reading.

Or organizing my beads.

Or making smoothies. (To thank my husband for his patience, of course!)

And, I might not be able to knit my Dr. Who scarf right now...  But, by golly, I can take pictures of the yarn!

Why post this?  Because I can!

Wooo!  Another angle!

Overall, I know that I am not very good with this patience thing, but I can certainly try!


All right, I'm shameless...  Does anyone have some suggestions to what I can do instead, while I give my wrist a break?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tuesday's Table

...looks a lot like last week's table, but with one addition:

Please pardon the left-handed picture taking...
I am not ambidextrous.

Yes, I apparently over-knitted last week, and have hurt my right wrist.  Nothing major, I think... but since I'm right handed, it's enough to keep me from doing things.  (Currently, I'm using the mouse and typing with my left hand.)

So, no knitting for me this week.  Or beading.  Or really doing anything.  

Here's to hoping that I don't go crazy while it heals!

Friday, April 13, 2012

...And This is Why It's Hard to Get Anything Done

Today has been a much-scattered day, when I have been having difficulty actually focusing on anything.

Nope, not even knitting!

I present Exhibit A:

  1. This morning, I checked Twitter.
  2. There was a funny link to a YouTube video; I clicked it.
  3. Whilst on YouTube, I decided to check my subscriptions.  In one video, the lady was wearing this fascinating little scarf.  
  4. I examined the scarf and learned that my inclination was correct: it was a miniature Dr. Who scarf.
  5. Natural progression: I want to make a Doctor Who scarf!  It's made only with garter stitch--how hard could it be?
  6. I began to research the Scarf (tm)--to learn that there are several different iterations of the theme.  Each season had its own scarf, all of different patterns and lengths. (The longest one is the scarf from season 18--it's 26 feet long!)  
  7. So, which scarf did I want to make?  Time for more research, this time looking for patterns.
  8. I settled on a Season 12 scarf--and found a pattern here.  
  9. Where to get the materials?  I actually have some of them.  And, oh, look, JoAnns is having an online sale!
  10. So, four hours after checking Twitter, the laundry was not done.... but I had lined up yet another project for myself--and may or may not have made a purchase from JoAnns.  *shifty eyes*

Look at all of the other projects, awaiting attention:
fancy yarn from Colorado that wants to be a scarf,
camo yarn to turn into potholders for a friend,
light blue training yarn for crochet training...
What's another one in the basket?

In good news, however, I have been able to focus a bit more since then.  Despite the many detours (yes, there are more Exhibits to consider), I have been productive!

The laundry has now been done and put away.  The dishes have been done and put away.  I have worked on my novel.

...And I have a package of Dr. Who yarn heading my way!  *geeky happy dance*

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday's Table

With the furnishing of my craft room, I have found that I can have multiple projects going on at once.  So, what does my table look like today?

In the Land of Beads...

Since I tend to ping-pong between inspirations, recently I have really been trying to focus on two main themes at a time.  

Currently, one of those themes is flower hairsticks.

Lovely roses!  Look familiar?  That's because similar roses are already
featured on my Etsy store--entitled "the Language of Color."

My second focus is Steampunk-themed jewelry.  

More specifically: Steampunk jewelry without gears.  While I'm sure that I will make some items with gears, too, I have challenged myself to create pieces that can fit into that genre without resorting to the popular practice of just adding gears and calling it Steampunk.  As of right now, the overall look that I'm going for is slightly Victorian--with a twist.

I enlisted the help of my mother to pick out some pieces that would fit
this description...  imagine my delight when she sent me a package,
with all of these pieces inside!!  :D 

Close up of some filigree--delicate, Victorian-looking,
and wonderfully Steampunk-y.

My first piece made in this style...  For a first try, I am very pleased!

Now, of course... there is some overlap between these two themes...

Steampunk rose!

...And even more Steampunk roses!

And, because I can't quite contain myself, there is even a little deviation...

Working on a custom pair of earrings--
fun with Swarovski crystals!

Close up of the crystals...  these are 4mm bicones in the color Siam.

Apparently, I like to keep myself very busy!

In the Land of Yarn...

Anyone who has been reading my blog recently knows that I have been dividing my creative energy between beads and knitting.  When it comes to knitting, mostly I've been working on my blanket.  To be expected, it is taking a lot of time to knit this thing.  After all, it is 8 feet long--and will probably be just as wide!

Believe it or not, I don't always match what I'm
knitting...  Just most of the time.

Sadly enough, I still haven't started the lovely bright orange scarf that I have planned...

This yarn matches my nails!
Orange apparently is my current favorite color.
Well, besides purple.  I think I will always love purple.

And, lastly, I am trying to teach myself to crochet... which is actually a lot more frustrating than I had anticipated.  (Just ask my husband--I actually had to put it down and walk away, for the sake of my sanity.)

This light blue yarn is my "training" yarn...
I used it years ago to learn how to knit, and
by golly, I'll use it to learn how to crochet!

Hopefully, by the time I finish my blanket, I have learned enough to make a nice trim to go around it.  ...Or, at least, enough to try!  If crocheting turns out to be a bust, at least I can always go back to enjoying one of my many other crafts!


Wow, I am keeping myself busy!  

What about you?  Are you working on anything wonderful and crafty today?