Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bead Soup - Reveal!

It feels good to be a part of another Bead Soup Blog Party! This is the 9th one--and the first one with a theme. That's right, it's the BSBP: Bead Hoarders Edition! We were encouraged by the hostess, Lori Anderson, to package up a special bead that we've been hoarding and send it to our partner.

As a reminder, here are the lovely hoarded beads that my partner, Lennis Carrier of Windbent, sent to me:

...And she definitely, definitely spoiled me! (Lampwork fishie and coordinating beads? Check! Shell pendants by Michelle McCarthy? Check! Cabochon by Blu Mudd? Check! ...And the list goes on!)

Now, I know that this is a large blog hop, so I'll get right to the jewelry that I made. Overall, I made three different sets--and I still didn't use everything. Ha!

Set #1

This first set was made using one of the pendants by Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio. (Who, coincidentally, was my partner for another Blog Hop I have done--and I love her work!)

I paired the pendant with Czech glass, crystal, and matte-finish grain stone--the last of which I thought matched the texture and color of the pendant perfectly. 

I then knotted it all on brown waxed linen in a slightly--slightly--asymmetrical pattern.


I also made matching earrings! 

Although fairly simple and straightforward, they are also slightly asymmetrical--like the necklace itself.

I really enjoy how this set is gently beachy... It's not bright and boisterous, but rather calm and quiet and still quite lovely. 

Set #2

Next up: the fishie set! 

Heh. Unlike the previous set, this one is bright and boisterous--and delightfully so.

To make this set, I also used a few other pieces from my Bead Soup--namely, one of the lampwork saucer beads and some of the coordinating green beads.

I paired those components with green pearls and peridot, and even made some paper beads to match. (I was so excited--I found the lime-and-white paper while visiting my parents last week, and it was perfect for this project!)

Now, I actually tried another version of this necklace first--with a different orientation of the fish--but it just wasn't what I was going for. 

So! At the last minute (i.e. yesterday), I took it apart and remade it... and, while I was at it, even made two pairs of earrings to match!

Both earring pairs use a combination of beads from the Bead Soup and beads from my stash. One pair is also considerably longer than the other--and surprisingly lightweight, due to the use of paper beads.

I love this set. It's unapologetically cheerful, lightweight, and has a wonderful amount of sway. After making it, I wore it for the rest of the evening--and I couldn't help smiling.

Set #3

This last set highlights the second ceramic focal by Michelle McCarthy. As you can tell, it involves a tassel like Set #2--but, style-wise, it's quite a bit different.

I paired the ceramic component with peridot, prehnite, pearls, green kyanite spears (found on vacation!), and paper beads (also from vacation). Fun fact: the paper beads were made from a paper with a sand print on it.

I even tried my hand at some more asymmetry! Asymmetry is not really one of my strengths, but it was fun stretching my creative muscles. Case in point: I tried to balance out the width of the ceramic component by adding kyanite spears to the other side of the necklace. The pictures don't quite capture it, but balance is definitely achieved when the necklace is worn.

...And I really couldn't help but add a tassel. I really do like tassels.

...Now, I call this a set because I really did make earrings to go with this necklace. Unfortunately, between making the earrings and settling down to photograph them, I completely lost one of them. Oops! I'll try to update this once I find them.

Until then--here! Have some more pictures of the necklace instead. :)


...And, for fun, have some pictures in different lighting:


Of all the things I made, I think I'm most pleased with this one--because it stretched my creativity, because I saw something in my mind and made it happen, and because it felt like an accomplishment when I finished. 

Set #1 is gentle. Set #2 is whimsical. And this one... this one is elegant, and reminds me that I am indeed a capable jewelry designer. (It sounds silly, but I'm not always the most confident artist out there!)

So, there you go! That's what I made for this Bead Soup Blog Hop!

Thank you, Lennis, for the wonderful beads! I'm so excited to play with the leftovers from my soup.

Thank you, Lori, for organizing this blog hop!

And thank you for stopping by to see what I made! Be sure to stop by my partner's blog to see what she created with the bead that I sent her... and for a full list of participants, go here!

Happy hopping, and I hope everyone has a great Saturday!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - March Edition

For past Wonder and Whimsy challenges, I've made jewelry inspired by ancient cultures, I've emulated works by visual artists, I've learned new techniques, and I've even limited myself to using only a set amount of beads.

...But you know something I haven't done? 

Made jewelry based on a literary work. 

So! That's what I'm going to do for the March edition of my challenge. More specifically, I'm going to make pieces based on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll.

The inspiration for this challenge actually came from the above necklace I picked up while shopping at the mall. On one side, it has a misaligned compass that says "Curiouser and Curiouser," and on the other it has a depiction of the Cheshire Cat.

My original thought was to just take the pendant and put it on a different chain... But, that idea quickly morphed, and I decided to make it into a theme for my challenge.

Come back on Friday, March 31st to see what all I make!

My apologies for posting this introduction so late... While I actually picked this theme before I went on vacation, I wasn't able to write about it before now. Thanks for your understanding... and feel free to play along! :)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable

Last week's vacation was absolutely lovely.

I'm home now, settling back into routine. I'm also assimilating the many many treasures I acquired while visiting my parents... It's pretty amazing how much I fit into one week--and how much more I wish I could have done!

One of my new acquisitions: another coffee mug!
A present from my sister--which came with a wonderful lunch at
Family Meal in Frederick, MD.

My current beading worktable is overflowing. Part of that is due to the previously mentioned new acquisitions (so many craft stores!)... but it's also due to the many many beading projects I have still on my plate. I have four reveals coming up--and I've hardly worked on any of them!

...So, that's what I'm doing today!

Crystals and Czech glass!
...for an upcoming reveal, but I won't tell you which one. ;)

I'm gathering materials and playing with designs, and just causing general creative chaos in my craft room. Hopefully some beautiful things will coalesce out of the morass!

But, you know what? I don't regret my trip in the slightest. It was wonderful seeing my family, it was wonderful having a change of scenery, and it was wonderful taking a step back to relax.

Now, to use this renewed energy to get some stuff done!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone! :)

Friday, March 17, 2017

We're All Ears: March Reveal

Here I am--still on the road, visiting my parents. (And having a lovely time, might I add.) But! I do have earrings to show for this month's We're All Ears challenge, so I'm taking a moment to do just that.

The theme this month was owls. I really love owls--and, as such, I actually have quite a few owl-themed charms and beads in my stash. I brought a few with me on vacation, and with them, I made two pairs of earrings.

Made with gold-plated charms, and handmade paper beads (made by me).

Ceramic owls and wooden beads, paired with goldtone findings.

...Now, I realize the background is not exactly owl-y, but I've been doing lots of paper crafts with my mother, and I couldn't help but use this envelope I made. If you're interested, here are the earrings on a more neutral background.

As always, thanks so much to Erin Prais-Hintz, and Earrings Everyday, for hosting this challenge!

And thank you for stopping by to see what I made! I apologize for the rather quick entry, but I'm going to go back to spending time with my parents. 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable brought to you from on the road this week. That's right, I am currently out-of-state, getting a chance to visit my parents! Yay!

And, apparently, I chose the coldest week to come visit them--ha! While we didn't get the huge amounts of snow that the weathermen were predicting, there has been quite a bit of ice, coupled temperatures below freezing... The perfect weather to cuddle up in cozy sweaters and create things!

In particular, I've been working on some paper-to-jewelry crafts--namely, making paper beads and pendants.

Now, the paper beads are going to be used in some currently undisclosed projects. (Including my Monthly Challenge! Which I am working on, even though I haven't announced it yet. Too many things to do, and not enough time to write about them!)

I can show off the first of the pendants, however. I picked up the above cardstock when I went craft shopping with my mum on Monday... I thought it was full of some lovely floral pendant potential.

After coloring in a section (using a variety of mediums, to see which worked best), I made this:

Ta-da! A pretty floral pendant! 

...And I'm sure there will be more where that came from. There really was a lot of potential on that sheet, after all. :)

So, there you go! That's what I'm currently working on... Well, that I can show off right now, anyway. I do hope to announce my Monthly Challenge soon, as well as finish up some work on some upcoming reveals. Oh, and you know--visit with my parents. Hee!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable

Last Wednesday, I shared this picture of some bright and colorful beads:

And, guess what... They are still on my worktable this week! Heh.

You see, I wasn't able to find a focal to match them... One that I liked, at least. So, not to be deterred, I used my newly found polymer clay confidence and made one!

More specifically, I made another foray into making a Damascus Ladder cane. This time, I used bright and bold colors (to match the beads, imagine!). I made a few large focals with it--and also some accent beads, for fun.

Now, I haven't actually finished the original necklace I had planned--the one with the golden tassel. At least, I haven't made it to my liking... the current iteration is not my favorite, and I'm going to try my hand at redoing it.

But! I did have leftover cane, and with it, I made this set:


As you can see, I made a necklace, a pair of earrings, and a hairstick. The matching beads are glass and magnesite, with touches of gold and brass.

Now, I haven't made hairsticks for a very long time. They used to be my thing--they're what inspired me to open my Etsy store, after all--but I've drifted away from them a bit. 

Still, I've been making some custom hairstick orders... And, while I was at it, I decided to make this one, too.

...And I didn't stop there. Inspired by my hairstick success, I actually made two more. One of them matches the pieces that I made for February's Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge:

...And the other one uses some of my paper beads:

So, there you go! Those are some of the (many) projects on my table this week!

Next week, I'm going to be visiting my parents in Maryland, so my worktable post will be brought to you from on the road... I'm working on packing up some projects to take with me. We'll see what I end up working on. :)

Have a great Wednesday, everyone!