Sunday, April 30, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - April Reveal

After quite a bit of work, I'm happy to finally share my reveal for this month's Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge! Yay!

The idea behind this Monthly Challenge was to take some of my older necklaces and remake them... Give them upgrades, as it were. After all, I've been making jewelry for awhile now, and my tastes--not to mention my skills--have definitely changed.

Some of the potential candidates for a makeover.

I had so many ideas going into this challenge. After all, I had a lot of older necklaces to choose from! In fact, there are quite a few pieces that I started (and even finished!) that I'm saving for future entries. I don't want to overload this entry, after all. :)

All in all, I have four different projects to share for this reveal... and, without further ado, here they are!

Necklace Upgrade #1

I made this original necklace two years ago with beads my husband gave to me: crystals of two different sizes, paired with coral rounds. It's actually a rather lovely necklace... I was tempted to just leave it as it was.

That was, until I found this Czech glass button:

...And I couldn't help myself. From that combination, I made this necklace:

Instead of being strung on beading wire, the original components are now wire-wrapped with bronze wire and paired with brass findings. The button has been made into a pendant by the addition of a bail--also made with bronze wire. The result is just as lovely as the original--and more reflective of my current tendency to make wire-wrapped chains. :)

Necklace Upgrade #2

The pendant for this necklace was originally an earring, which I removed from its hook and added to a pre-made cotton cord. Simple and straight-forward, and not a bad design at all. 

But, while going through my necklaces, I decided to give it a bit of an upgrade by adding some reconstituted shell beads and silver pearls, which just happened to match perfectly:

Here is the final result:

Again, the original design wasn't bad... I just liked adding more of a personalized touch to the chain. I also added a little spiral charm to the pendant, to cover the rather large hole and add a little pop of silver. I have a few more of those charms, too... I will likely use them to make matching earrings at some point in the future. :)

Necklace Upgrade #3

This upgrade actually involved combining a few different necklaces. The two necklaces on the left were made by me several years ago--I love the focal beads, because they are heavy cast metal, and remind me of Mesopotamian cylinder seals. As for the fringed necklace on the right, I purchased that some time ago on clearance (from Target, I believe), because I was fascinated by its fringe.

From those components, I actually made two necklaces... And, you guessed it, they have tassels.

First up, here is the silver-hued necklace:

I took the silver strands of fringe from the second necklace and combined them into a tassel, which I then attached to the re-wrapped focal of one of the first necklaces. The necklace portion is made from the same chain as the original--just with a few wire-wrapped additions.

I'm sure it's no surprise that the brass focal received the same treatment:

...except this time, I used the brass and gold fringe from the second necklace to make the tassel. In fact, the metal color is the only difference--the construction is exactly the same as the silver version, down to using the original chain.

I'm in love with how these two necklaces turned out... I do love tassels, after all, and these practically made themselves! :)

Necklace Upgrade #4

And now for the last upgrade I'm going to share for this reveal. This one actually deviated the most from the original design--reflecting, I think, a change in both taste and skills. 

For the upgrade, I decided to salvage the vintage glass beads and the pink glass pearls, putting aside the silver rose and white glass pearls for another project. 

With those salvaged components, I made this necklace: 

...Quite a bit different, wouldn't you agree? Instead of using silver-tone metal, I switched to shades of brass. Instead of the white pearls, I added orange crystals. Instead of a three-strand dangle, I went with a full tassel. And instead of the rose pendant, I used another vintage crystal I had in my stash--in shades of bright pink and orange.

I'm not entirely pleased with the length of this necklace, so I will probably tweak it at some point... In the meantime, though, I am quite pleased with the look of the design. And who knows... maybe I'll make something lovely with the leftover white pearls and silver rose!

So, there you go! That is what I made for this challenge. Honestly, I had a lot of fun revisiting some older designs--and, as I said, I have a few other projects that I'm working on. Something tells me that this challenge isn't over yet... We'll see what else I end up creating in the months to come! :)

Thank you so, so much for stopping by to see what I made for this challenge... I truly appreciate you reading, as well as being patient with my delay. I hope you come back next month to see what I decide to do for May's Monthly Challenge!

Happy last day of April, everyone!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Pretty Palettes - April Reveal

It's time for Catch-Up Reveal #2! Yay! (Again, for why I'm a bit behind, you can read yesterday's entry about my recent misadventures.)

This reveal is for April's Pretty Palettes, hosted by the Halcraft blog.

The inspiration for this month's palette was work by the incredibly talented Heather Powers of Humblebeads... namely, her painting on the left, which was also turned into a design for a fabric contest (on the right):

Not my pictures! All credit goes to Heather Powers. :)

From those works of art, the following palette was derived:

...and from that palette, these are the beads I picked out to use:

Now, I usually start off trying to use the "official" Pretty Palettes beads, but this time I decided to deviate a little bit... or, rather, a lot. You see, I couldn't quite find the shades of green in the original palette at my Michaels (they were in the middle of shifting their inventory around). So! I decided to go with shades of teal and blue instead. 

Once home, I did a little digging in my stash, which lead to the discovery of a perfectly matching ceramic pendant. A little bit of designing, a little bit of knotting, and a little bit later, this was the result:

This necklace is made almost entirely with the beads I picked out... There are three additions: the aforementioned pendant, the toggle clasp, and some mint green crystals that I found in my stash. (Also from Michaels, if you're curious.) 

It is hand-knotted on waxed linen, and 17 inches long. (Sidenote: that's shorter than I've been making necklaces recently, but it works well to have the pendant lying nicely on the collar bone.)

And so, there you go! That is what I made for this challenge. I truly enjoyed working with these colors--not quite pastel, but close. I think this was the perfect palette for April--especially since my yard is currently full of happy purple flowers, the same color as that pendant. :)

Thank you to Molly Schaller and the Halcraft blog for hosting this challenge... and thank you, readers, for stopping by to see my reveal! Please feel free to stop by the official reveal to see what everyone else made!

...And now, I'm going to go work on the reveal for my personal Monthly Challenge. I know that my original reveal date was today, but it may not be posted until this weekend. We shall see. :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

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

Time to play some catch-up on this week's blog reveals! Thankfully, today has been quiet so far--unlike the rest of the week--so I have a bit of time to do just that.

So, first up: The Honey Do List Challenge for AprilEvery month, Sarajo Wentling over at SJ Designs Jewelry hosts this challenge--which is actually a design challenge posed to her by her husband, Eric. The intent is for her to use up some of her bead stash and get out of her comfort zone. Luckily for me, she lets others play along, too! 

This month's inspiration is a cute little Chickadee:

Here is what Eric had to say about this picture:

I had hoped for some more color in my shot for this month, but "spring" in Minnesota is still much later than southern climes.  So I worked a little red into this action shot of a cute Chickadee!  The birds are back, and next month should be much more vibrant with the colors of spring.

I also decided to give myself the added challenge this month to keep my design simple. That may sound silly, but I really like making intricate and complicated designs and have the habit of going overboard. (Who, me?)

So, with that in mind, I dug out some bird-inspired charms and some brown-toned beads, and created this necklace:

Little Chickadees on a branch!

I used wood, crystal, and silver-plated metal to make this design. In hindsight, perhaps I should have added a bit of black to echo the markings of the Chickadee and the shadows of the branches... Still, I think it's quite cute as it is! And it certainly is simpler than some of my recent tassel necklaces, so I think I succeeded at that part of the challenge, too. ;)

Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I made! Be sure to check out Sarajo's blog to see what she made. 

...All right, two more reveals to go--the one for Pretty Palettes and the one of my own Monthly Challenge! We'll see what I end up finishing today. Woo!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Case of the Missing Lawn Mowers

...or, in other words, why I haven't really been posting this week.

So, this was my Monday:

Yes, that is my front lawn. Yes, my front lawn needed to be mowed at the time.

And then this was my Tuesday:

...And that's my back deck, complete with a view of four deputies 
and their respective cruisers.

Long story short: there's been a string of petty thefts around my otherwise quiet neighborhood this week... Lawn mowers and tools have gone missing, and my neighbors and I have been working with the cops to get things straightened out.

Forgive me for not putting any more details on here... I figure it would be wise not to say too much while the case is still open. I just have missed two reveals this week (I have the jewelry made, pictures taken, and haven't had the time or energy to actually write the blog posts), and wanted to show that I haven't been slacking. No accounting for neighborhood drama!

I hope everyone is having a better week than I am... and, hopefully, considerably less police-y. Ugh. I'll be sure to start posting jewelry again once things settle down a bit, and I have the brain capacity to do so.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Monday, April 24, 2017

We're All Ears - April Reveal

Given the fact that Easter was only two Sundays ago, this month's We're All Ears Challenge was quite timely. What was the inspiration, you ask? Eggs!

Since I didn't get a chance to dye Easter eggs this year (lots of other things to do, and it just didn't work out*), I decided to look elsewhere for my inspiration.

...And I looked no further than the famous Fabregé Eggs of Russia!

Rose Trellis egg,
currently housed at the Walter's Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

These beautiful eggs are jeweled works of art, created by the House of Fabregé. The most famous of these were made for the Russian Tsars as Easter presents for their wives and mothers, and varied in design and complexity. 

Gatchina Palace egg,
currently housed at the Walter's Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

While I was looking through my stash, I came upon the perfect beads to match this inspiration: beautiful white cloisonné ovals--white, and reminiscent of eggs--covered with lovely pastel flowers. From there, these earrings practically made themselves:

I paired the cloisonné with opaque white crystals and a combination of brass and gold--fitting, I thought, since the original Fabregé was a goldsmith. 

So, there you go! Thanks so much for stopping by to see what I made for this challenge... Be sure to stop by Earrings Everyday to see what everyone else made.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week!


* - Lots of other things to do, indeed! That is part of the reason this entry is late. Yesterday was my brother-in-law's wedding--and the days (er, weeks) before that were dedicated to helping with that. Still, I'm happy to report that it was a lovely wedding... I'm so happy for the bride and groom! :)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

JEM's Art Party - April Entry

I love a good art challenge.

That was probably why, when one of my friends introduced me to JEM's Art Party over on Tumblr, I immediately wanted to participate.

Now, the idea behind the Art Party is simple: every month, the mastermind behind it posts a series of prompts, and people make art inspired by one (or more) of those prompts. What kind of art, you ask? Well, whatever kind the participants want to make. Writing, sculpting, knitting--even making macaroni art! 

So! With that in mind, here is this month's series of prompts:

Very cool, I think!

It's probably no great surprise that I decided to make jewelry--even though making jewelry was not a requirement. I admit that it was fun working from a series of prompts that didn't necessarily have beading in mind... It enabled me to be a bit more creative, a bit more abstract, in my interpretation.

All in all, I used three of the prompts to make my necklace-and-earrings set. 

...And what does it look like? Well, it looks like this:

Ta-da! And yes, there is a tassel. You're so surprised. ;)

And now for a little bit of explanation to go along with the design...

Prompt: The phrase "cracked and empty"

This prompt is actually what made me choose the pendant that I did. I picked out an agate slice with a gash in the middle, lined with tiny little crystals. I think the gash is very much like a crack--a crack which broke and left the middle empty. (I realize that's not how geodes are formed, but I went with it!)

I also picked the jasper barrel beads due to the lines that riddle their surface--reminiscent of cracks that have been filled with gold.

Prompt: The Color Swatch

It was the color swatch that inspired me to make teal the main color of the necklace. The various hues (from dark to light) were meant to mirror the variation seen in the swatch itself (and had the added bonus of matching the banding of the agate pendant).

Now, as a side note: I realize that the teal I ended up using is not quite the same shade as the teal in the prompt. Oops! When I was picking out the beads to use, they matched the picture on my phone exactly... it was only after I was committed that I realized there was a difference.  Still, I think it counts... After all, without that prompt, I doubt I would have made this necklace teal!

Prompt: The Object

It was the picture of the shoes that gave me the inspiration to add the contrasting red-purple shell beads. They break up the monochromatic feel of the necklace (and earrings!), and I really like the sense of whimsy that they add.

As for the rest of the construction of the necklace, everything is wire-wrapped using 24 gauge gold-tone wire. Materials include agate (pendant), glass, shell, crystal, and jasper. The necklace is quite long--as most of my tassel necklaces tend to be--which gives it a fantastic amount of sway when worn.

So, there you go! That's what I made for JEM's Art Party! I'm pretty excited to see what next month's prompts are... And who knows, maybe I'll make something other than jewelry. Heh. We'll just have to see!

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