Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Pretty Palettes - January 2018 Reveal

If you're here looking for my Bead Swap Introductory post, go here! It's an older post, but it's still accurate. Thanks so much! :)

Here it is--the first Pretty Palettes of the year! How exciting! :)

I actually wasn't sure if I was going to be able to join along this month... It's just been so crazy around here. (Sorry if you're getting tired of me saying that. I'm really trying my best not to complain, but golly it's been rough.)

I had actually decided that I was going to sit this month out... But then, around this time last week, I realized how important it was for me to participate. Creating is therapeutic for me, and I realized I was going to be very disappointed if I didn't at least try.

And so, at the last minute, I dragged my husband to the store (with a gift card in tow!). Here are the beads that I picked out:

Now, there was another added challenge this month. When I finally decided that I was going to participate this month, my hand was already out of commission.... meaning, no wire-wrapping. 

(Sidenote: I'm happy to report that my hand is doing much better today! I have no idea how I managed it, but somehow I had bruised my palm. Huh. That's why it hurt when I tried to hold the pliers. Oh well. In any case, I will happily resume my wire-wrapping ways soon! Yay!)

Anyway, due to my hand mishap, that meant that I could only make something using stringing methods.

...And I am very, very happy with the results!

...Yep, I went all out! It is a six-strand strung necklace, dripping with pearls, Czech glass, crystal, and glass--all paired with gunmetal and brass. 

I really loved the way that the original palette shifted from black to white, and I wanted to echo that movement. Construction-wise, each side of the necklace is a mirror of the other--just using the different color combinations.

It's also rather long. I was having some issues getting the whole thing photographed in my current photo set up. So! I was finally able to set up one of my Christmas presents from my parents--a brand new (larger) lightbox! 

I'm still figuring things out with it, so I realize the next few pictures aren't the best. Still, they give you an idea of the size and flow of the entire piece... Since the inspiration itself was opulent--champagne and caviar--I figured something extravagant was in order!

...Not sure if you noticed, but the gold-and-cream side has a brass end cap, and the black-and-silver one has a matching one in gunmetal. I was having fun in the details. :)

So, there you go! Apparently when I can't do wire-wrapped bead chains, I go all out and make giant strung necklaces. Hah! As I said, I really am happy with how this turned out... Thank you to Molly Schaller and the Halcraft blog for hosting this challenge, and thank you so much, readers, for stopping by to see it!

Have a wonderful day, everyone! Here's to hoping that February is much calmer than this January has been! :)

Friday, January 26, 2018

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - January Reveal

When I was deciding on what January's Monthly Challenge was going to be, I knew that I was going to have limited time to devote to beading this month. That's why I decided to focus on finishing up some UFOs (Unfinished Objects)

...What I didn't realize was just how little time I was going to have. Oi.

Still! For all the craziness that this month has thrown at me, I do have one project to show off! And it's purple, which makes me happy. :)

This particular Unfinished Project hasn't been on my desk for too long. I picked up those Imperial Jasper beads last month, and immediately knew I wanted to pair them with brass. After a little playing around, I came up with this:

Now, it may not be the most complicated thing I've ever made (yep, still on a no-wire-wrap rest for the sake of my hand), but that doesn't make it any less lovely. In fact, I really like how the beauty and variance of the stones are showcased... They take front-and-center, and don't get drowned out by anything super dramatic.

Sometimes I think I get so caught up in making things elaborate (I'm looking at you, crazy tassel necklaces) that I forget the beauty of simplicity. Heh--and things don't always have to be wire-wrapped to be lovely. ;)

Thank you so much for stopping by today to see what I made for this month's challenge! It's always a pleasure to share my creations with you--a little bit of loveliness, even though the world can be crazy. :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Thursday's Worktable

...or, an alternate title: My Recent Adventures with Labradorite.

I really love labradorite. It's probably tied with amethyst as my favorite gemstone. (Although, honestly, I'm rather hard pressed to think of a gemstone that I don't like. Heh.) 

Imagine my delight, then, when this month's Bargain Bead Box came full of labradorite--mixed with copper, even! I love the juxtaposition of the warm brown of the copper and the cool greenish grey of the stone... And it's that juxtaposition that I decided to play around with this week.

Overall, I've made two sets with the components from the box. 

The first one was made with the awesome tree pendant that came in the box (no, sadly, I can't take credit for that beautiful wire-wrapping on the pendant!):

...and the second set focuses on the larger 10mm labradorite rounds:

So much fun!

...And, sadly, also the last wire-wrapping I'm going to be able to do for awhile. Apparently I have done something to upset my left hand--tweaked a nerve, maybe? Regardless of what exactly I've done, I've learned that when I upset my hands, I need to rest them. And that means no holding pliers in my left hand until things calm down... Bah humbug! I suppose I'll just have to find something else to keep my creative side busy. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I've been up to... Oh, and if you're here for my Swap N' Hop introduction, go here! It's the one that I wrote a few years ago--and, honestly, it's still quite accurate! (If I'm able to write an updated one, I will... but, if not, that one is still pretty spot-on! *grin*)

Have a lovely Thursday, everyone!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wednesday's Worktable

I do actually have a few things to show off this week!

...Just not today, sadly.

Today has been full of running around and doing things--not the least of which was going with my husband to the doctor, because he has the flu.

Oi. This month really is doing its best to be a pain in the rear.

But, hopefully, tomorrow I'll get a chance to take some nice pictures and share my recent labradorite adventures. Heh. Hopefully nothing else crazy happens between now and then!

Thanks so much for stopping by today... Have a lovely night, everyone!

Friday, January 19, 2018

We're All Ears - January Reveal

It's time for the first challenge reveal of the year! Woo!

The challenge in question is this month's We're All Ears Challenge. The inspiration? The recently announced Pantone 2018 Color of the Year:

In a word: Purple!

I had so many ideas for this challenge--it's probably not a secret that purple is one of my favorite colors--but, sadly, I could only get to one of them. Considering how this month has been going, though, I'm happy that I was able to do that much!

Here are the beads that I used:

...And here is what I made!


The larger, focal beads are custom-made glass by retiring lampwork artist Juli Cannon, and the rest are amethyst teardrops that I bought while in Maryland. They certainly do seem to match the inspiration color--and the quote that went along with it:

Not my photo! From the original inspiration post.

So, there you go! That is what I was able to make for this challenge--although I'm sure I'll be using this color a lot in the days to come. :)

Thank you so much for stopping by today! Sorry for the shorter entry--I'm still catching up from being gone last week, both sorting through emotions and resuming regular life things. (You know, like do all the laundry. Heh.)

Have a lovely day, everyone!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wednesday's Worktable

...I'm honestly in a bit of a daze today.

You may have noticed that I didn't blog last week. Instead, I was in Maryland with my best friend. It was a hard trip, a spur of the moment trip--my best friend had gotten the call that their father was not doing well (diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer), and he was not given very long to live. He ended up passing away the day after we got there. 

I went as emotional support--no one should have to be alone on a trip like that, to say goodbye--and because I've been an unofficial member of the family for almost 15 years. It felt right to go. We were there for just over a week, and returned back home to Ohio on Sunday night.

As you might imagine, with everything being so crazy, I haven't really gotten a chance to do anything creative. It's been a lot of going and doing (and dealing with one of the worst episodes of food poisoning I have ever had, in the midst of it all). 

I'm only now starting to sort through emotions and settle back into normalcy.

...Now, I realize this is a rather somber entry. I'm feeling very contemplative and drained today. Not upset, really... just quiet and thoughtful, and fiercely grateful for the people I love.

And grateful for sunsets, too. Each of these pictures was taken during the trip--the sky was utterly gorgeous every night I was gone. It was beautiful, and even comforting. After all, everything was being crazy and hard--but the sky itself burst into glory, to remind me that there was still beauty, even then.

Well, thank you for stopping by today and listening to me ramble. I'm sure I'll be posting pretty pictures of beads again soon... Until then, though, know that I truly appreciate you. 

May your days also be filled with beauty.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - January Edition

Attack of the UFOs!

...And by that, I mean Unfinished Objects.

Gunmetal, handmade lampwork, and turquoise

Now, I'm not the first one to coin that term in regards to creating... I've seen it floating around before in the blogosphere (probably first in the Humblebeads Muffin Tin Challenge), and have since enjoyed using it to refer to all of my unfinished projects.  

...And what does that have to do with my January Monthly Challenge, you ask?

Well, for January, I'm going to see just how many of my UFOs I can finish!

Handmade lampwork, amethyst, and crystal

And now, for a bit of background.

This month is going to be a bit... interesting. 

I leave tomorrow for a spur-of-the-moment trip (supporting a friend)... Between that and everything else, I'm honestly not sure what all I'm going to be able to do, blogging-wise. 

The planning stages of last month's Sugar Plum Fairy necklace

With that in mind, I was having a bit of trouble deciding what to do for my Monthly Challenge. I don't know how much time I'll have to devote to beading, and I would hate to bite off more than I can chew. 

...And that's what made me look at the projects I already had collated on my craft table. Even if I don't have time to play with something completely new (like using a wire-jig or vintaj patinas--both of which are on my creative to-do list), I can surely find time to finish one of these lovely things!

Wood, glass, magnesite, and synthetic blue rainbow stone

So! Come by on Friday, January 26th to see what I end up creating--whether one of these lovely projects, or something else I have squirreled away in my stash. And feel free to play along, if you have some UFOs of your own that you want to finish!*

Thanks so much for visiting today... Have a lovely weekend, everyone! :)

* - And I'm keeping my eyes open to see if there is going to be another Muffin Tin Challenge at some point... That was so much fun. And trust me, I have enough Unfinished Objects to do this challenge, and that one, too! :)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Hello, 2018!

Here it is, my first post of 2018! 

....and, honestly, I'm exhausted. 

Now, I realize that my first post of the year tends to be where I reminisce about the last 365 days, and think grand things of the year to come. This year, though, I'm a bit lacking in grandiose sentiments. 

So, instead, I think I'll just show you the last necklace I made in 2017. I made it on my birthday, actually, as I was home sick and cuddled on the couch with my husband. And, you know, there are so many worse ways to spend my time than cozy and cuddled and playing with beads.

The focal bead is lampwork glass by Carol Christensen-Day, and I paired it with citrine, hessonite garnet, amethyst, blue goldstone, and brass. Oh, and two iridescent glass beads in the main necklace chain.

2017 was quite the adventure, and I honestly expect 2018 to be no different. And I'm so, so grateful to spend it here with you, my lovely and wonderful readers.

So, here's to 2018! May it be full of beauty and creativity, and overflowing amounts of joy!