Friday, June 23, 2017

We're All Ears - June Reveal

Ha, I'm late to the party!

For some reason, I thought that the We're All Ears reveal for June was today... but, behold, it was last week! I was even ready for it last week, too--I had taken pictures of the pieces while I was in Maryland. Ah well... That's what I get for writing my blog schedule in a hurry, I suppose, on the day before I left to visit my parents. Hopefully it's better to be late than never! :)

In any case, on to the party! The inspiration for this month's We're All Ears challenge was fireflies:

Not my picture!
This photo was featured in the introduction to this challenge, over on the Earrings Everyday blog.

And what fun!

I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland--where lightning bugs are one of the first signs of summer. They're even quite common here in Cincinnati, and I look for them whenever the weather turns from warm to hot. I love the way they look against the darkening trees, rising from the ground like faerie lights.

For this challenge, I made two pairs of earrings--one inspired by the look of the fireflies themselves (on the right), and one inspired by the twinkle of yellow light they leave against the twilight (on the left):

The above pair was made with crystal and glass knotted on waxed linen, and was inspired (roughly) by the shape of lightning bugs--the rounded head, the larger bottom, the line that separates the two sections... and, of course, the trail of light left behind them as they fly.

Along those lines, I used similar materials for the below pair--the same glass and crystal, this time with silvertone findings. My goal was to echo the light and magical feeling when multiple fireflies start to twinkle against the evening.

So, there you go! A bit late, but those are the earrings that I made for this month's We're All Ears challenge. 

Thank you so much to Earrings Everyday and Erin Prais-Hintz for hosting... And thank you, too, for stopping by to see what I made.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday's Worktable

All rightie... I get to show off what I've been working on this week! Woo-hoo!

But first, some background. My grandfather was a retired Episcopalian minister, and in the last years of his life he really started to relax and enjoy himself. He took frequent trips to Mexico, where he enjoyed the beach and even saw some Mayan ruins (so jealous!). 

He also started to wear Hawaiian shirts and black-cord necklaces, and when he passed away, I asked for some of those necklaces. I received three of them, shown here:

As I said, they are hanging from simple black cords... These are in varying levels of disrepair, and I've been meaning to remake them so that I'll actually wear them. After all, it seems a fitting way to remember him--and remember that age really is just a number.  

So, what does that have to do with my worktable this week? 

Well, my husband's birthday was yesterday, and I have been wanting to make one of these necklaces into a birthday present. Now, my husband is not a jewelry wearer... but it just felt right for him to have one. 

So, after I picked which one I wanted him to have, I cut off the fraying cord and gathered some supplies: 

...And made this:

The stone pendant has been wire-wrapped with 22 gauge wire, and hung from a custom-length rope chain. It's fairly simple (I was trying to go for "masculine"), and my husband seemed really touched that I made this for him. 

I think Pop-Pop would be pleased.

...Now, that's not actually everything I made for my husband's birthday. The second was a keychain, made to replace another of his keychains that broke:

...Yes, it's sappy. The key is supposed to be the key to my heart (yep, sappy), and that bead is actually made from rose petals--specifically, the petals of the roses he bought me for our last anniversary. He seemed pretty touched by this one, too... After all, I'm not the only sappy romantic in this relationship. ;)

So, there you go. Those are two of the projects that have been on my table this week: presents for my husband's birthday. I've also been finishing up some pieces for upcoming challenges, but I have to wait until next week to share those. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by today... Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable being postponed until tomorrow!

The main project on my worktable right now is actually a present for my husband... his birthday is today, so I want to give it to him before I post about it here. You know, to avoid spoilers. ;)

Thanks so much for your patience and understanding... Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone! See you tomorrow!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Allegory Gallery - Water & Fire Mystery Competition Reveal

Hello everyone!

Now, you might have thought that since I'm visiting my parents this week, I wouldn't be able to participate in today's Allegory Gallery reveal. However, I am pleased to say that is not the case! While I'm working with some limitations (I'm using my ancient laptop and I don't have my regular photo setup), I'm not going to let that stop me.

And so, on to the reveal! :)

The idea behind this particular Allegory Gallery challenge was the balance between fire and water. To that end, there were two different kits available... And as an added layer of excitement, we didn't get to choose which one we received; they were sent to participants at random.

So, which kit did I get?

Well, I'll give you a hint:

That's right! I got the water kit--and it was lovely!

I don't actually have a picture of the original kit (at least not with me--there might be one on my computer at home), but the above picture gives you an idea of what was in it: beautiful shades of blue and teal and turquoise, with touches of green and bronze. 

Overall, I made three necklaces and four pairs of earrings. 

Set #1

The first of these necklaces is a random tassel necklace, made with materials from the kit paired with brass findings. For some added depth, I also added some paper beads, shells, and cream pearls from my stash.

Set #2

This second set is another tassel necklace, using the glass focal and Czech glass from the kit. I also added some glass rounds and dark teal crow beads to add some slight color variation. Oh, and in case you're wondering, I did actually make matching earrings, too... I just forgot to bring them with me to my parents' house, so I couldn't photograph them.

Item #3

For once, I just made a pair of earrings without a matching necklace. Imagine! This pair is made entirely with beads from the kit, and features a combination of glass and acrylic beads. They are lightweight and fun--and large enough to serve as a focal accessory in their own right. :)

Set #4

Last but not least, here is the set that I'm going to enter into the Competition. It showcases Andrew Thornton's lovely polymer focal, paired with brass and jasper. The beads are hand-knotted on waxed linen, which in turn is knotted to a length of chain. The linen ends were then woven through the chain, echoing the waves seen in the pendant.

These pictures don't quite capture the depth of color seen in this necklace--or the striations visible in the jasper beads, for that matter. I am very happy with the construction of this piece, particularly the way the linen was added to the chain. I'm also thrilled with how well the jasper and the focal match; it's like they were made for each other.

So, there you go! Those are the pieces I created for this challenge. I greatly enjoyed working with this kit, and I'm very happy what I made... And I'm also happy that I was able to share them with you--ancient laptop and all! Thank you so much for stopping by! :)

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable

This week's worktable is brought to you from the road!

That's right... I'm officially visiting my parents this week. That means, in addition to eating some delicious food and enjoying some much needed down-time, this is what I've been doing:

Drinking coffee while working on a bead project? Yes, please!

I am so, so grateful to have the opportunity to see my parents more than once a year. They are such wonderful people, and I am always glad to spend time with them.

And now, if you'll excuse me... I'm going to go back to doing just that. Hurray! :)

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - June Edition

I mentioned in my previous entry that I get to go visit my parents next week. (YAY!)

Now, this decision--as unrelated as it may seem--has impacted my Monthly Challenge in two ways. First, I have realized that my original plan for June's challenge just won't work. I don't have time to research the subject as thoroughly as I'd like, much less write a wonderful long and informative introduction post.

Secondly, amidst the hustle and bustle of packing up bead supplies to take with me, I've once more come face to face with my tendency to collect projects.

So many projects.

If you've been reading my blog awhile, you may recognize some of these pictures from earlier posts... And that's because the beautiful projects are still sitting in queue, waiting for me to get a chance to work with them.

So, that's Part 1 of my challenge: to finish--actually finish--at least one of these five projects shown here.

You may have noticed that I said that would be Part 1.

The second part? Well, whenever I go visit my parents, I invariably do some form of crafting with my mother. Whether she shows me a new way to use paper, or we end up just sitting next to each other while playing in our own favorite mediums, visiting with her always sparks my creativity. So, that leads to Part 2 of my challenge: to make something completely new, whether it be a beading project from start to finish, or something different she shows me how to do.  

In my head, I'm calling this the Something Old, Something New challenge--and I'm pretty excited about it. Come by on Friday, June 30th to see what I ended up creating!

Thanks so much for visiting my blog today... Have a happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Hello, June!

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

However, I do have a bit of a confession to make: I don't have anything bead-related to share for this week. The first seven days of June have been wonderfully busy--but not very creative. Most of the time I have spent at my craft table has been organizing, or just pushing beads around. No inspirations yet... just staring at beads.

Still! To make up for this lack of beading-ness, I decided instead to share pictures from the hike my husband and I took this past Saturday:

...And no, that isn't actually a picture of the trail itself--although there were parts of it that truly looked (and felt) like that. There were quite a few challenging parts, from having to traverse ravines to having to scale a chest-high vertical drop using tree roots as footholds. At one point, we even had to cross a dry creek bed covered in rocks very similar to those above. I haven't hiked in ages, so it was definitely a challenge... but I made it!

The trail itself was in the middle of nowhere Kentucky, and looped around a fairly large man-made reservoir. That meant that, while the trail was pretty brutal, the view wasn't bad at all:

So, between hiking, learning new recipes, and dealing with Household Maintenance (main sewer line issues = not my idea of fun), this month has been full speed ahead. And I haven't even started packing for my trip to visit my parents next week. Hah!

And now to go do laundry... Woo! (And I don't even mean that sarcastically--I'm still thrilled to have my own washer and dryer. *grin*)

Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Pretty Palettes - May Reveal

It's the last day in May! 

It just so happens to be the last Wednesday in May, too, which means that it's the day of this month's official Pretty Palettes reveal! Woo!

For this month's palette, the inspiration was succulents:

Not my picture!
This lovely collage is by Molly Schaller, and can be found here

What lovely shades of green! From that picture, this palette was derived:

...And here are the beads that I picked out to match it:

You'll be so proud of me! I actually stuck with the official beads this month! (Well, except for the white shell beads--I chose rounds instead of coins. Ha! Still, I suppose four out of five isn't bad. *grin*)

From those beads, I made two very different sets. Instead of just telling you about them, though, I'll go ahead and show you! :)

Set 1

The main inspiration for this first set came from the succulents themselves. While I was at my local Michaels, picking out my beads, I happened upon these lovely paper succulent cut-outs. While they are technically stickers, as soon as I saw them, I knew I wanted to use one of them as a pendant.

So! Once I got home, I got to work making them strong and sturdy enough to be a pendant.

...Satisfied with my handiwork, I glued a bead in its center, and then started to design the necklace around it. 

Here is the final result:

To augment the pendant, I used the 6mm white shell and aventurine beads, plus the 10mm jasper rounds. They are wire-wrapped with 22 gauge aluminum wire, and the look is finished off with a toggle clasp (whose swirly design reminds me of the succulents themselves).

Interesting enough, this was actually my first time working with aluminum wire... it caught me off guard with just how soft and pliable it is. I found myself going slower while getting used to it. Not complaining--not at all!--it was just different. It's always fun trying new things... And I'm very happy with how this set turned out as a result.

Oh, and I made matching earrings, too. ;)
They can be worn both with this set, and with the next one.

Set 2

After making the first set, I had a lot of beads leftover. Most of them, actually. While deciding on what to make next, I remembered this paper--the swirl of which really reminds me of the design seen in the succulent collage shown at the beginning of this post. (Go ahead and look again--the resemblance makes me happy.) 

So, I decided to turn it into beads.

...And then I decided to just start stringing everything randomly on a very long piece of tigertail, and this lariat was the result:

The lariat uses the paper beads, the aventurine and white shell rounds, the quartizite chips, the seed bead mix, the leftover 10mm jasper beads--as well as a few things from my stash (namely, the triangle leaves and the vintage green bicones at the ends of the lariat). 

The design is a mix of a set pattern and random stringing, and can be worn with either the earrings shown below or with the previous set:

Now, I don't usually make lariats... They definitely aren't my go-to style, and sometimes I forget they are an option. The combination of the long slender paper beads and the seed beads just seemed to ask for it, however... And having such a long piece enabled me to use all of my leftover beads. I greatly enjoyed playing around with so many different shades of green, and really like the overall look of the finished piece.

So, there you go! That's what I made for this month's Pretty Palette's Challenge... Thanks so much for stopping by today to see my creations! Be sure to stop by the official Halcraft blog to see what everyone else made, too.

Have a wonderful last day of May, everyone!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - May Reveal


...Not only is it a lovely color, it's also the basis for this month's Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge. Woo-hoo!

Not my photo!
From Unsplash, credit Paul Green.

For those who didn't see my post introducing this month's challenge, here's a recap. At the beginning of this month, I realized that I don't really make yellow jewelry. Sure, I use it as an accent color... but a necklace that is almost pure yellow? I had never really done that before. So, since it's May--and the days are getting longer, and the sun is shining more--I figured that this would be a great month to change that.

And I had success! For this challenge, I made two sets--and I'm very happy to report, they are very yellow indeed.

Set 1

This first set is made with glass--vintage pressed glass ovals and two shades of glass pearls, to be precise. They are strung on beading wire, and matched with bright silvertone findings. This makes yellow the dominant color (yay!), with white and silver serving as the accent colors.

To be honest, this set was actually a last minute addition to this challenge... I hadn't planned on making it, but I ran across the vintage pressed glass and it just knew I had to use it for this purpose. After some playing around, I decided to keep the design simple to show off those beads (and because the next set more than makes up for it, ha!). 

All in all, I'm very happy with how bright and cheery this set is... Indeed, perfect for this challenge. :)

Not my photo!
From Unsplash, credit Aaron Burden.

Set 2

Now, while the previous set is beautiful in its simplicity, this next set... well, it got a little out of hand. But in a good way, I think!

So, would you believe it if I told you that the necklace seen above is the same as the necklace seen below?

It is! 

But, how can that be, you ask? Well, let me back up.

This necklace is made with two strands of wire-wrapped yellow beads interspersed with gold metal rounds. The yellow beads range in materials from glass to lucite to wood, randomly shaped and randomly spaced.

It can be worn over-the-head, with the toggle clasp and dangle hanging down in the front:

However, if you remove the dangle, double it up, and add the piece of silk, you can wear it like this:

 Oh, and did I mention that I made matching earrings? I suppose I should mention that here. :)

 Now, if you want to wear the double-stranded necklace a bit shorter, you can add this piece of chain instead of the silk:

...Or, you can wear the necklace as the over-the-head style, and wear the silk and chain as a bracelet: 

...Or, if you like super dangly bracelets, you can add the dangle and wear it like that:

...Or, if you have a smaller neck than I do--and like things that are a bit asymmetrical and funky--you can wear that as a necklace, too:

So! Confused yet? All in all, there are five mix-and-match pieces for this set... Here they are together:

Necklace, earrings, silk that can be worn as an anklet,
and dangle that can be added, well, to whatever you want to add it to.

The five pieces include: a strand of wire-wrapped yellow beads, a piece of silk with a toggle clasp, a piece of chain with a toggle clasp, a dangle that can be added to any part of the piece, and a pair of earrings.

And, you know, I'm honestly probably missing a few different options on how to wear this set. (I mentioned that the silk can be worn as an anklet... but did I mention that, depending on the size of your head, you could also probably wear it as an over-the-head necklace too? Oh, the possibilities!) 

...What can I say? I got inspired!

Not my photo!
From Unsplash, credit Natalia Luchanko.

I think it's safe to say that I had a lot of fun playing around with yellow this month. It's such a bright and cheerful color... it looks rather horrid against my skintone, but it's so fun! It even managed to sneak into some of my other jewelry designs... Apparently this was a month for creating unabashedly bright and happy things!

Thank you so, so much for stopping by today to see what I made for this challenge... I really enjoyed myself creating these pieces, and I hope you enjoyed seeing them. Be sure to come by next month to see what the challenge for June will be. :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!