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! 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable

I have several older boxes of beads that I don't really use. They're a bit harder to get to (I'm reorganizing, so I'm working on that), and the beads they contain don't usually match my current projects (my style shifts and changes, and so do my bead requirements).

Recently, though, I've been challenging myself to go through them... It's sad for beads to go languishing, after all. Most of the time, my rummaging is mostly reminiscing ("oh, I remember when I bought that!")... but every once and awhile I'll suddenly have an idea. 

And this week, I had an idea.

...A brightly colored glass, unapologetic, in-your-face idea.

Some background: I've had that glass focal in my collection for years... I bought two of them back in either 2009 or 2010, and I only used one. The second one has been sitting patiently in my bead box, apparently waiting for this:

You guessed it: a tassel! *cue the manic laughter*

I have so many other projects on my bead table for challenges and reveals and custom orders, I'm not sure when I'll finish this... but it's always fun to run across older components and incorporate them into newer designs. The past meeting the present--remembering and reminiscing and moving forward, all at the same time.

And what can I say... it looks like I have a lot of wire-wrapping in my future. Hah!

Thanks for stopping by today... Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - April Edition

All of my cleaning at the beginning of this month has had some rather interesting consequences. Not only have my husband and I been playing more board games (hurray for free flat surfaces!), I've actually been keeping the momentum going as I tackle other areas of my life that need to be organized/tidied/cleaned.

So, what am I sorting through and organizing now? That's right: my jewelry. Ha! 

...Which is what actually inspired April's Month Challenge. You see, organizing my jewelry is not for the faint-hearted... I have a lot of it. And a lot of it I never wear--my style has changed, the pieces were actually just experiments in the first place... The list of reasons goes on.

What does that have to do with my challenge?

Well, my designing skills have improved a lot over the years... And so I'm going to give some of these pieces an upgrade. 

What will that entail? Mostly, I'm just going to tackle some of these neglected necklaces (a few of which can be seen here!) and remake them. Perhaps I'll only alter the design slightly... or perhaps I'll take it apart completely and split the beads up into different projects. The sky's the limit!

Regardless of what I do, though, you can come by on Friday, April 28th to see the results. Time to get creating--and organizing--and breathing new life into some older pieces! (And feel free to play along, too--I realize there isn't a lot of time left in the month, but maybe you'll get inspired!)

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

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Allegory Gallery - Forest Journey Reveal

It's time for another Allegory Gallery kit challenge! Hurray!

I love the theme of this particular challenge--the forest journey, which is part of the hero's journey. Andrew Thornton, one of the creators of this kit, described it as such:

When we created the concept of this challenge, we thought about the hero's journey.  Often times the protagonist of the story in faced with entering the woods.  They must leave behind the status quo and go on a journey.  Usually it's a scary prospect.  The forest is a place of mystery and many times it can be perceived as a foreboding place.  But the forest is also a place where remarkable things can happen.  Into the woods, the hero of the quest can find amazing gifts and insight.  Despite the initial challenge, hidden in the sheltering embrace of branches and trunks the hero stumbles upon unexpected friendships, ardent bravery, otherworldly magics, and a deeper knowledge.  It is a place where magic swords are found, wells of wisdom burble forth, and champions are born.

...How cool is that! I liked that so much, I just wanted to quote him directly. Go here to read the rest of his write-up!

Now, I didn't actually take a picture of the entire kit before I dove in... I guess I was super eager to start my own journey. Still, I did think to take a quick photo while I was sorting out the beads:

While that certainly doesn't show everything that was in the kit, you can still see the beautiful focal that Andrew made to go along with the theme. 

Although I had several ideas, I ended up making only two necklaces from this kit. Hopefully, though, you'll agree that they're lovely--and definitely worthy of such a wonderful theme! :)

Necklace #1

This first features that lovely focal, as well as the big juicy lucite beads (seen at the top of the in-process-of-sorting picture) and four bright copper beads. I added the dark copper beads and the findings... otherwise, everything is from the kit.

I chose to use two shades of copper to echo the play of light in the forest--the bright sunshine that shines through the trees, as well as the shadows it casts. 

I chose a rose toggle clasp as a reminder that no matter how forbidding a forest can look, there is always beauty to be found there.

Necklace #2

This second necklace that I made is a bit different than the first one--it's asymmetrical and random and has a tassel. (Yeah, still going strong with the tassels.)

...It's also much longer than the first, and much more wild-looking. While the first necklace almost looks like a keepsake from a journey through the forest, this one looks like it could be worn by one of the forest's own denizens. (I showed it to one of my friends, and she said it looks like something a wood sprite would wear.)

It is also made almost entirely with beads from the kit. The only additions were the findings, and the brown paper beads I made to match (there's one in the tassel, and three in the necklace strands).


This necklace stretched my designing muscles a bit... I've already mentioned in previous entries that I don't normally think in asymmetry--but there was really no other way for this necklace to be. It just felt right.

...And so, just like the forest, this necklace is a bit wild and unkempt--but is all the more beautiful for it.

And there you go! That's what I made with this beautiful kit. I loved the materials, I loved the colors, and I loved the wonderful meaning that Andrew and William of Allegory Gallery gave to it.

Thank you so much for stopping by today to see what I made, and listening to me wax poetic about the forest! (I really do love forests.)

Have a wonderful Thursday, everyone!