Monday, December 31, 2018

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - December Reveal

A bit late, but here it is: the reveal for this month's Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge. Hurray!

...As a side note, I really need to stop scheduling blog reveals for the last two weeks in December. Between Christmas, my best friend's birthday, my own birthday, and New Years, I'm completely swamped. Don't get me wrong--it's a good problem to have! I just need to remember to take that into account when I'm doing my schedule.

Anyway! Onto the jewelry! To jog your memory, my challenge this month was all about chainmaille.

I had a lot of fun with this challenge. Now, I have actually tried my hand at chainmaille before, but this was the first time that I really devoted myself to it. 

...And I really, really enjoyed myself.

Overall, I made six items: five necklaces and one bracelet. I went through all of the chainmaille-specific rings that I had bought, and considering how much I enjoyed this challenge, I need to buy more. (And, a quick note: the size of chainmaille rings is very specific, having to do with inner and outer diameters... I will do my absolute best to document what I used correctly, but I apologize if I make any mistakes. I am, after all, still learning.)

And now, without further ado... Here is what I made!

Necklace #1

This one was actually a birthday present for my best friend. It features a captured bead design, made with 4mm iridescent beads and 18 gauge 3/16" aluminum rings. Oh, and silver tone chain to complete the design. :)

Necklace #2

This necklace was a fun experiment. When I was cleaning up my craft table as part of this month's We're All Ears challenge, I found those two chandelier crystals. I thought it would be fun to make them into a chainmaille pendant... and so I did.

Again, I used 18 gauge 3/16" aluminum rings... and matching lightweight aluminum chain from my stash. As far as the design goes--I just kind of played around and came up with it. I'm sure there's an actual name for what I made, but I still haven't found it. (Maybe the box weave?) Regardless, it was really fun to just experiment. After all, that is one of the ways that I learn best. :)

Necklace #3

The idea for this necklace actually came from one of my new beading friends, who sent me the photographed instructions via Facebook messenger. It is essentially a variation of Japanese 12-in-2 made to look like a snowflake. (The inspiration article is credited to Rebeca Mojica, so I am going to credit her with the idea.)

I made the pendant using 18 gauge 5/32" aluminum rings paired with matching tiny jump rings from my stash. I then decided to pair the pendant with clear faceted glass and chain--adding the wire-wrapped links that seem to be part of my signature style.

...I really, really like the final result.

Necklace #4

I couldn't let this challenge go by without attempting to make a full necklace of Byzantine weave. I love the way that this weave looks, and it's considered pretty beginner-friendly.

...It would have been nice, however, if I hadn't run out of rings before I finished it. Hah!

It is made with the aforementioned 18 gauge 5/32" aluminum rings... with a few 18 gauge 1/8" aluminum rings at the end. Essentially, the smaller rings are placeholders until my next shipment of 5/32" rings comes in. If you look really closely, you can see where I switch weaves near the clasp.

All in all, though, this necklace came together like a dream--albeit a dream where I ran out of materials. :)

Necklace #5

So, first things first: this necklace was made from a kit that I purchased some time ago from Mhai o Mhai beads (which is also, incidentally, where most of my rings were purchased). I don't know if it's available any more, so I'm super glad that I bought it when I did. 

It is, essentially, a variation of the captured bead weave that I showed earlier. I really, really like how it turned out... and, again, I really like the combination of the chainmaille with the wrapped links. It's always fun taking a new skill and melding it with my signature aesthetic.

Bracelet #1

...And now, it's time for the grand finale. I did some research and chose my favorite advanced weave, and gave it a try. And I actually had success! Yay!

I present: dragonscale chainmaille.

It was made with 18 gauge 9/32" rings and 18 gauge 3/16" rings, all made from aluminum.

I love this bracelet. I like how it looks, I like that I was able to figure out how to make it. I'm sure that there are ways that I can improve... I'm still working on closing my rings perfectly, and I'm sure it would look better with smaller rings. But I was able to do it! And for a chainmaille novice, I think that's pretty cool. :)

So, there you go! Those are the pieces that I made for this month's challenge. I really did enjoy myself, and I look forward to playing around with chainmaille even more in the New Year. I like the rhythm that goes into opening and closing the rings, into building the weave one piece at a time. I don't think I'm going to switch over to the chainmaille exclusively--but there are so many possibilities in incorporating it in what I already do! :)

Thank you so much for joining me today--and for this year. I really appreciate all of my readers, and I'm so glad that you're part of my jewelry-making journey. 

Happy New Year, everyone! Here's to a beautiful year to come!

Art Elements - December Reveal

I didn't get this post up in time to be officially part of the reveal, but I did actually make two pieces to go with this month's Art Elements theme

And, well, since I made them, I figured I might as well share them!

The theme itself was White... and I enjoyed the chance to play around with it. :)

Necklace #1

For this first necklace, I made the pendant using bits of vintage lace. Sadly, the pictures don't quite capture the detail--but it is there! After I made the pendant, I put together the tassel and chain to match. I enjoyed trying to come up with different variations on the white theme--different finishes and shades to give the final product both texture and depth. I'm pretty happy with how the finished product turned out. :)

Necklace #2

I made a lot of wire-woven pendants as Christmas gifts this year (pictures of those to come at a later date)... When I saw this lovely little bead in my stash, I knew that I wanted to make a pendant for this reveal, too. Relatively simple, but elegant--and, again, quite fun to make.

Thanks for stopping by to see what I made for this challenge... I know that this is a quick little entry, but I'm trying to get it up before midnight. And now, to work on my post for my Monthly Challenge reveal.

Happy New Year's Eve, everyone!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Upcoming Reveal

Hello, all!

I know that today is the scheduled reveal date for my Monthly Challenge. As you can tell, however, that is not likely to happen. I've been having a lot of fun being social and celebrating the holiday--and I'm a bit behind on taking pictures. Oops!

So! I will be doing this month's reveal over the weekend. Hopefully you'll still think it's worth it. :)

Thanks so much for your patience, everyone! Have a wonderful night, and I'll be back this weekend to show you the happy chainmaille pieces I made!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Pretty Palettes - December Reveal

Today is Wednesday! That means that it's time for me to show what's been on my worktable the last few days. Yay!

...It just so happens that today is also reveal day for this month's Pretty Palettes challenge. Now, I have done several of these reveals in the past... Recently, though, they have been shifted over to Facebook and Instagram. Still, there is no reason I can't share them over here, too. :)

Here is the palette that the very talented Molly Schaller picked out:

And, without further ado, here is what I made!

...Yep. I went full tassel. 

It's actually been awhile since my hands really felt up to doing one of my signature tassels... It is a considerable amount of work, and I'm realizing more and more that I need to be selective about which projects I undertake. But, oh, I'm glad that my hands were feeling up to it this month! The beads and color scheme that Molly picked out just seemed to call for it.

And I really, really like making tassels.

About the materials... Almost every bead in this necklace is Czech glass. In fact, the only exceptions to that are the blue goldstone rounds, and the tiny little faceted glass beads at the top of the tassel. (Well, and the glass accent seed beads.) Everything is wrapped with 24 gauge silvertone wire, and paired with silver findings.

The overall effect is quite striking--and the color scheme is very appropriate, since it is now officially Winter here in Ohio.

So, there you go! In addition to what I made for last week's Earrings Everyday reveal, and all the Christmas presents I made (which I'll show once they have all be received), this is what I've been up to. What can I say... it's been a busy month! :)

Thanks so much for stopping by to see what I've been up to. Happy Boxing Day, everyone! May you all have a beautiful day!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

We're All Ears: December Reveal - Use Your Leftovers Challenge

It's finally time for the 4th Annual "Use Your Leftovers" challenge over at the Earrings Everyday blog. Yay! (I know I'm a few days late, but at least I'm here now! *grin*)

I really do love this challenge... It gives me the incentive to tackle my "craftermath," and gives me a chance to come up with some lovely earrings I would not have thought of otherwise. This year, I made 9 pairs... but, I'm getting ahead of myself. The first part of the challenge was to take a picture of your work area:

I wasn't able to do as thorough of a cleaning as I did last year, but ah well! At least my mat was cleared off completely by the time I was done. (And then filled up completely with present-making supplies. Heh. I suppose that's just how it goes!)

And, now that I've given you a sneak peak of what I was working with, here are the earrings!

Pearl, amethyst, and crystal.

Matte rose quartz and crystal.

Pearl and glass.

Steampunk buttons and iolite.

Glass and acrylic leaves.

Pearls and vintage chain salvaged from a broken Monet necklace.

Asymmetrical crystals.

Crackle agate, buttons, and crystal.

Everything but the kitchen sink.

I had a lot of fun playing around and experimenting--going from simple to extravagant, and everywhere in between. I was also pleasantly surprised that I was still in the mood to make earrings at all, after my personal challenge last month to make a pair of earrings everyday. I even have ideas for more... After all, I certainly have the supplies! :)

Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I made for this challenge. Be sure to check out the official reveal over on the Earrings Everyday blog to see what everyone else made, too!

And now I'm off to wrap some Christmas presents... Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Coming Soon: My Earrings Everyday "Use Your Leftovers" Reveal!


Hi, everyone!

I haven't forgotten about my blog... Things are just super busy over here in Wonder and Whimsy land. (Well, that, and I'm really missing my mother-in-law as the holidays draw near. Grief is a fluid and fickle thing... I've been doing really well, and then I got an inspiration for something I could make her for Christmas--and, well, that's not going to happen. Ugh. Anyway. Holidays can be hard.)

Speaking of holidays, my husband's family is actually celebrating Christmas today... one of my sisters-in-law is a nurse who works on Christmas day, so we moved the celebration to be able to spend it with her. 

...And that means that I don't have time to post the reveal for this month's Earrings Everyday We're All Ears Challenge today. But! I do have a quick moment to share a tantalizing picture of my orphan bead bowl:

...and tell you to come by tomorrow (or Sunday) to see what I actually made for this challenge. The whole idea was to "use up our leftovers," and I had a lot of fun doing just that.

Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I'm up to... I do have lots of pretty things to show off, so I hope to get back into the swing of things soon.

In the meantime, have a wonderful Friday, everyone!