Friday, April 27, 2018

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - April Reveal

Well, here it is: the reveal day for April's Monthly Challenge. Hurray!

...And now that our internet is working again, I finally get a chance to post it. It's so nice when technology works. :)

As a quick reminder, my challenge this month was proposed by my best friend. They wanted me to make something "not shiny."

Something not shiny!
...And also not my photo.
Photo by Will Swann on Unsplash

Believe it or not, this was quite a challenge for me. I apparently have developed quite a love for faceted, fire-polished, glossy beads... it was fun to change gears and search through my stash for all things frosted and matte finished.

Some of the beads that I picked out to play with.

Overall, I finished two necklaces, and started a third. 

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

Necklace #1

It's tassel time!

This is the first necklace that I made for this challenge. To make it, I gathered together some purple matte lampwork beads and some matte pewter chain, then paired them with gunmetal wire and antique silver findings.

The final result? A long, giant tassel necklace that is both striking and not shiny!

I've been making so many beaded tassels recently that I haven't played around with chain tassels all that much... it was fun to change that and go all out for this one. This particular tassel is made with at least five different types of chain--mostly matte pewter, but with a few strands of antique silver to add some depth.

...What can I say? I love the result!

Necklace #2

For this second necklace, I wanted to use only matte black beads and brass.

...Oh, and my new onyx-shade patina, which is what I used to age the two focal rings. :)

After I added the patina to the rings (and buffed some off, to add the texture), I went about finalizing the fringe design and necklace pattern. The necklace itself is knotted on waxed linen, and includes brass beads and two sizes of matte black beads. 

Oh, and fun fact: that big focal bead was actually salvaged from a vintage necklace.

Overall, the construction of this necklace is actually pretty straight-forward... But I honestly really like how it turned out. It is a balance of striking and subdued--the dramatic design paired with the darker, muted beads. I look forward to playing around with this idea more!


This last one is the focal and tassel that I started to put together... It incorporates glass (lampwork and otherwise) and a dyed stone fossil bead. I can't quite decide on what to hang it from, though. A beaded chain, perhaps? Many layers of chain? A combination of the two? Decisions, decisions!

So, there you go! Those are the not-shiny designs that I made for this challenge. Thank you so, so much for stopping by today to see what I made! Please be sure to come back next month to see what May's challenge will be.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Pretty Palettes - April 2018 Reveal

On my worktable this week: a last minute Pretty Palettes necklace!

How last minute, you ask? Well, I had the idea, found the beads in my stash, and put it together--all yesterday. Hah!

First things first, though... Here is the lovely, muted color palette that Molly Schaller put together for this challenge:

Now, I was delighted when I realized that I actually had pearls in roughly each of those colors... So that was what I focused on: a pretty color-blocked pearl necklace. 

Here is the teaser that I posted to my Instagram yesterday, while I was still deciding on what to make:

...And here is what the final necklace looks like!

The gradient goes from peachy mauve to sage green to dusky blue to cream to copper-brown. The sizes increase from back to front, as well, adding additional visual interest. Silvertone saucers divide the sections--offering continuity, even as the shapes and colors of the pearls change.

You know, I don't think these pictures quite do this necklace justice... It is simple and elegant, and the gentle gradient really is quite lovely.

Thanks so much to Molly and the people over at Halcraft for putting together this challenge... And now, to go share these pictures on my other social media platforms! (They have migrated the Pretty Palettes reveals over to the Halcraft Facebook group, and I'm trying to get in the habit of participating there. Don't worry--I'm not going to give up posting this on my blog, too... What can I say, I like it here! *grin*)

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

Monday, April 23, 2018

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

Every month, Sarajo Wentling over at SJ Designs Jewelry hosts the Honey Do List Challenge... 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. Luckily for me, they let other people play along to!

This month, the inspiration was bright and sunny--a refreshing burst of color in contrast to this April's grey weather:

This is what Eric said about it:
Spring? Not so much. We have more crappy snow coming down as I write this post. So, how about a picture evoking brighter days to come? I took this last spring at a local orchard in Buffalo, MN and loved the bright yellow bike. Let us see some bright and vibrant work this month! 

I, for one, was certainly grateful for a cheery palette to work with! :)

...And, since I apparently don't have anything bike-themed in my stash, I decided to draw my main inspiration from that bright-and-cheerful palette. Now, my first two attempts to make something did not turn out well at all... Thankfully, though, third time's the charm!

This is what I finally was able to come up with:

My creative breakthrough came when I found that focal bead in my stash... It's handmade by a glass artisan in Rochester, New York, and the colors are perfect for this challenge. It has the yellow of the bike, the blue of the sky, the green of the grass... it even has the white of the distant clouds. With that bead, the necklace practically made itself!

Oh, and I chose the goldtone circles to--abstractly--represent the bicycle wheels. If you look closely at the texture on the outer circle, it looks a bit like tire-tread! :)

The other materials are: vintage German glass (yellow), modern glass (green), magnesite (dark teal), and Chinese crystal (faceted light teal). Oh, and goldtone metal. :)

So, there you go! My interpretation may be a bit abstract, but hopefully it still does justice to the inspiration.

Thank you so much for stopping by to see what I made--and thank you to Sarajo and Eric for letting me play along! Be sure to hop over to SJ Designs Jewelry to see what she made.

Have a lovely day, everyone!

Friday, April 20, 2018

We're All Ears - April Reveal

This month's We're All Ears challenge finds its inspiration in paradise... 

Tropical paradise, that is.

...And this is where I admit that my only experience with the ocean is the Atlantic shore of Maryland. It's lovely, don't get me wrong--but it's not tropical, and definitely not the beautiful paradise invoked by the pictures above. 

So, for this particular challenge, I instead turned my sights on Hawaii. I have family who live on Kauai (who read my blog: hi!!), and my mother has told me about her visits there. The two pairs of earrings that I made don't exactly match anything in particular--instead, I tried to capture some of the essence from my mother's stories... the warmth of both the sun and the people, the bright flowers and turquoise waves.

...Oh, they were also completely and totally excuses for me to play with my new patinas. Hah!

Pair #1

For this pair, I tried to roughly capture the look of the sun shining over both the land and waves--the bright yellow bead over the turquoise-and-green filigree, which features both flowers and scalloped wave-like edges. 

Also, I figured that such large earrings (those hoops are lightweight and huge) looked fun and relaxed--something that one might wear on vacation to the tropics, perhaps. :)

Pair #2

As you might expect, this pair took its inspiration from beautiful tropical flowers--a look that I tried to capture with petite lampwork beads, crystals, and flower-filigree. 
As with the previous pair, I decided to go with goldtone metal since it is warm and reminds me of the sun.

And, as an added bonus: they are quite lightweight... perfect for vacation.

And so, there you go! Those are the earrings that I made to go along with this inspiration. Be sure to head over to the Earrings Everyday blog to see what everyone else made... And who knows? Maybe one of these days I'll be able to visit a tropical paradise, too. :)

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

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - April Edition

Time really has gotten away from me this month. Here it is, April 18th, and I'm just now introducing my April Monthly Challenge. Oops! Hopefully you'll still think it's worth it, though. :)

For this month, the challenge idea comes straight from my best friend. We were shopping for beads together, and on a whim I asked what they thought I should do for April. 

Without missing a beat, this was their answer: "make something not shiny."

This is something not shiny.
...Also, this is not my photo.
Photo by Nick Nice on Unsplash

So, that's what I'm doing: I'm going to make something not shiny.

...And, believe it or not, that is already proving to be a challenge! I've recently been quite fond of facets and fire-polished shine, especially when mixed with other textures and finishes... To just go muted and matte--well, it's been interesting!

This is also something not shiny!
...And also not my photo.
Photo by Will Swann on Unsplash

Still, I think it's going to be a fun exercise, and I've been enjoying going through my beads looking for non-shiny options.

I may use some of these... we'll see!

Be sure to come back on Friday, April 27th to see what I end up making!

Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I'm up to--and be sure to keep scrolling to see my Wednesday Worktable update.

Have a lovely day, everyone! :)

Wednesday's Worktable

Looking for my Swap N' Hop reveal? Go here!

On my worktable this week: working on my Monthly Challenge!

...Oh, wait. I haven't actually blogged to introduce that yet, have I? Oops. Guess that's what I need to do after I get done writing this entry. (And yes, that above picture is a sneak peak! *grin*)

Let's see... also on my worktable this week: more playing with patinas! I've been experimenting with blending and buffing--and I've added two new colors to my repertoire: purple and black.

Not even the One Ring is safe! Heh. 

(Quick story: that copy of the One Ring came as a free gift with a game I bought years ago, and most of the gold plating had aged or rubbed off... So! I buffed off the rest of the plating to reveal the metal underneath, aged it with black patina, and then sealed it. You can't really tell in that photo, but there is also elvish writing on the inside. Not bad for a freebie!)

And the last thing that I've been up to: sorting beads. So much bead sorting.

It's not very photogenic, though, so here are some more of the broken necklaces I've been having fun adding to my supply:

Yep, busy week has been busy! I've also been adjusting to my new glasses, and once more dealing with The Crud (the transition from winter-to-spring always messes with my sinuses. Ugh).

...And now, I need to go finish writing my introduction to my Monthly Challenge. Heh.

I hope everyone has a lovely day! :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wednesday's Worktable

Looking for my Swap N' Hop reveal? Go here--or just keep scrolling down!

On my worktable this week: playing!

Seriously. With all my recent organizing and sorting and making challenge pieces, I've been needing a chance to experiment and dabble and allow myself to make mistakes. 

So! I decided that now was the time to finally get my hands on some of these:

Vintaj Patinas! Yay!

Now, I've been wanting to play around with these for a long time--I just never really had the chance to before now. With all that I've been experimenting with this week, I think I'm trying to make up for lost time! 

I've been having fun mixing them:

I've been having fun layering them:

And I've been having fun blending them:

Oh, and using my new Vintaj buffing block, too. Hah.

Are these pieces perfect? Nah. But am I having fun learning and figuring things out? Definitely yes! ...And now I want all the colors. Gah, there are just so many cool things in the world to play around with! :)

So, there you go... That's what I've been working on this week. I hope that your week is treating you well--and that you, too, get a chance to play!

Have a wonderful day, everyone!