Friday, March 30, 2018

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - March Reveal

It's time for the reveal for March's Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge! Hurary! It's the 4th Anniversary of my monthly challenge--can you believe that? 

And this month, it's all about space!

Not my photo!
Photo by NASA on Unsplash

I had so many things planned for this challenge. Ultimately, I made 4 pieces--but I have at least two more planned. 

However, in this particular reveal, I'm only going to show you 3 of those pieces. The last one, I'll show you after April 6th. (To make it, I used a similar technique as I did with one of my Swap N' Hop pieces--which originally was going to be revealed before this post. Hah! Ah well, hopefully you can wait until then!)

So! Now to the reveal!

For this first necklace, I decided to start close to home:

Cloudy Skies

Not my photo!
Photo by NASA 

This necklace was inspired by views of Earth from space--the glittering oceans, the swirling clouds. To capture that aesthetic, I had to look no further than a cabochon my wonderful mother-in-law bought me for Christmas... and, from there, the rest of the necklace practically made itself.

The cabochon is by Carol Christensen-Day of GlassyFields. (Didn't I mention that my mother-in-law is wonderful? She even knows who some of my favorite lampwork artists are!) I added the bail, picked out the beads, and strung them all on beading wire.


The beads used to complete the look are pearls and imperial jasper--and brass, warm like the sunshine glinting off the water, far below. 

Not my photo!
Photo by NASA

For the next necklace, I journeyed a little further out in the solar system...

Bringing of Jollity

Not my photo!
Photo by NASA

The above image is actually what gave me the idea for this challenge. That happens to be Jupiter (called the "Bringer of Jollity" in Gustav Holst's orchestral suite, the Planets, hence the name of this piece). That image, along with the other recent pictures sent back from the Juno spacecraft, are absolutely breathtaking... the swirls in particular captured my imagination, because they make it look like a painting.

...or a lampwork bead. :) 

So, yes. I scoured the internet, and found these: the perfect Jupiter beads. These, in particular, are by Kimberly Biery of Fresh Baked Beads... and they are perfect! (She actually has a set of glossy beads, too, in similar colors... I may end up getting those, too. All the jupiter beads! *grin*)

Construction-wise, this necklace is pretty simple... golden beads were added as accents, and everything was strung on fine black chain. Why black chain? To reflect the blackness of space, of course. 

Overall, I'm quite enamored of this simple necklace. I may tweak it a bit more at some point... but concept-wise, I think it matches my vision very well. I mean, come on... how does Jupiter not look like an amazing lampwork bead? :)

Not my photo!
Photo by NASA

For this last necklace, I looked past the solar system, to the rest of the universe:

Reach for the Stars

Not my photo!
Photo by NASA

This necklace was inspired by our view of the stars--distant galaxies, nebulae, stars and worlds undiscovered. They show up as distant spots of light, juxtaposed against an inky black expanse... amazing things, that we are only catching glimpses of.

To capture that feeling, I used a very special focal bead set that I purchased from Juli Cannon, with this particular necklace in mind.

Paired with the lampwork beads are rondelles--both Czech glass and black agate--and silvertone findings. They have all been wire-wrapped into a long chain that sways when you walk.

...I think it's fair to say that I love this necklace. Granted, I love the inspiration, too... I doubt that I will ever venture off this planet myself, but it can be beautiful to dream.

Not my photo!
Photo by NASA

So, there you go! Those are the pieces that I made for this month's Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge! 

Thank you so, so much for stopping by today to see what I made--and for allowing me to go on this journey with you. (Yes, both through the stars with this particular post, and through the years as I've grown through this challenge. *grin*) I appreciate all of you so much!

Come back next week to see what I'm doing for April's challenge... 

Until then, have a wonderful weekend--and Happy Easter--everyone!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wednesday's Worktable

Not much on my worktable this week... At least, not a lot of creating! Instead, I've been organizing. 

That's the creative rhythm I've settled into, it seems--I spend time in feverish productivity, and then have to take the time to clean and organize before the next bout of creative chaos. All in all, not a bad system... Although, looking at my craft room, you might think I should spend a bit more time organizing. Heh. :)

One of the things I've tackled this week is the bag of broken vintage necklaces I acquired while on vacation last summer. Very few of them are in wearable condition--which is just as well for me! I'm having fun disassembling them and sorting the beads, getting ideas of future projects as I go along.

I love re-purposing beads and finding inspiration in unlikely places--and I enjoy the thrill of having things organized! 

...At least, until the next bout of creative chaos. Heh. 

Have a lovely Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, March 26, 2018

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

If you're here looking for the Bead Peeps Swap n' Hop reveal, please note that it's been pushed back until April 6th! Come back then to see what I've made for that challenge! :)

Every month, Sarajo Wentling over at SJ Designs Jewelry hosts the Honey Do List Challenge.

What is the Honey Do List Challenge, you ask? It's where her husband, Eric, issues her a beading challenge--with the intent that she both use up some of her bead stash and get out of her comfort zone. I don't always get the chance to play along, but I'm so happy that I got to do so this month!

Here was this month's inspiration:

And this is what Eric said about it: 
I decided to go with a monochromatic shot this month, as winter drags on. This picture of a window was taken while on a walk through D.C. last summer. Let's see what you can pull off with this unusual inspiration!

I really like the differing shades of brown and rust, the juxtaposition of white snow, and the geometric/linear nature of it all. As I was digging through my stash, I was really hoping to find elements that captured all of that. And I did!

...I just don't like the end result of what I made with them. Hah.

It's a combination of Czech glass, agate, and amber shell strung on waxed linen and paired with copper chain. It has the snow-powdered white on brown, the differing shades of rust and tan, and it even has the geometric rectangles found in the picture.

...And I just don't like it. 

Maybe I'm being too harsh, but I think maybe I was trying too hard to fit everything. I like all of the elements... Maybe I just need to revisit them at some point and make something a little more balanced.

Not to be deterred, however, I did make another necklace for this challenge... And this one I like much, much better:

For this one, I just focused on the amazing variations of color. I paired the ceramic focal with a combination of 8mm leopard jasper rounds and 6mm Malaysian jade. I kept the design relatively simple--knotted on waxed linen--and just let the color do the talking.

...Oh, and I'm not the only one who is happy with how this necklace turned out. My best friend has called dibs on it. :)

So, there you go--a finished product and a first draft, the two necklaces that I made for this challenge. Many many thanks to Sarajo and Eric for letting me play along with this challenge, and for inspiring me to stretch my designs! 

...And thank you, wonderful readers, for stopping by to see what I made! :)

Have a lovely day, everyone!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wednesday's Worktable

Happy Second Day of Spring!

...Have some snow!

Seriously, it's snowing here in Cincinnati. That picture was taken this morning of one of the many bushes in the front yard. I look outside, and everything has a thick coating of white.

...All the more reason to make some tea and be cuddly warm at my beading table. :)

As far as my current projects go, I'm working on a little bit of everything. I'm in the middle of challenge crunch-time, so most of my makings are centered around that. To keep it all a surprise, I'm not going to show you those things.

Instead, I can show you what I received this month in the Bargain Bead Box:

Stars! And moons! And a celestial theme, which matches my Monthly Challenge for this month. That wasn't on purpose... Apparently, I was on the same wave-lengths as the creators of the box this month. Heh. There might end up being some crossover there. :)

And I can show you this little project that I picked up while out and about with my best friend:

I've actually finished a design with it, but I don't like it... thinking about how I can redo it. Once I've settled on something, I'm sure I'll show it off here.

And, lastly, I can show you my recent lampwork bead acquisitions--for no real reason, other than they're preeeeetty:

So many options! The beads in the top picture were made by a glass artisan in Rochester, New York (bought them from a third party, so sadly I don't know the artist's name). The beads in the second picture are by Juli Cannon. I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to make with any of them--vague ideas, nothing concrete--but that's all right. I'm sure the right projects will present themselves!

Sorry this entry is all over the place today--my brain is a bit scattered and I'm doing many many things at once. Completing current projects, planning designs for future projects, learning new skills, helping my husband design a video game (possibly), and burning the ever-loving heck out of my thumb while making dinner. Ah yes--it hasn't been a dull week!

Thanks so much for stopping by today... I appreciate you taking the time to see what I'm up to.

Have a wonderful week, everyone! :)

Friday, March 16, 2018

We're All Ears - March Reveal

This month's We're All Ears Challenge, hosted by the talented and wonderful Erin Prais-Hintz over on the Earrings Everyday Blog, was all about contrast.

...specifically, the contrast of black and white.

Not my photo!
Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

An achromatic color palette is always an interesting one to play with... I don't do so very often, so it was fun looking through my black and white beads to see if anything in particular stood out. 

I was looking for different patterns or designs or textures that really caught my eye. I usually associate black and white either with geometric patterns (like the ones shown here) or black ink drawings (specifically zentangle designs), so I was curious if I could find something to mirror that aesthetic.

Not my photo!
Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

The result? Not really. 


I did end up making two pairs of earrings--and I like them very much. But they aren't exactly what I had in my mind when I started digging through my stash. And that's all right! It just shows that ideas morph and change, and creativity doesn't always listen to our rules. (And that I probably will be revisiting this challenge at some point, too! Heh.)

Here are the earrings that I did make:

...They sort of match. 

I realize that these aren't complicated, construction-wise... I wanted the main interest to be the contrast between the beads. 

Both pairs use white howlite (which was a surprise gift from my husband this week--hee!) and silvertone metal. The shorter ones were finished off with black agate, the longer ones with some paper beads I made. All of the beads have grey patterning--the howlite has a matrix, the agate has striations, and the paper beads have hints of writing.

So, there you go! Thank you so much for stopping by today to see what I made... Be sure to swing by the Earrings Everyday post to see what everyone else created for the black-and-white theme.

Have a wonderful day, everyone!