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!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wednesday's Worktable

For last week's worktable, I shared my rose bead making escapades.

So, for this week, I thought it would be only fitting for me to share how they turned out!

They range from 8mm to 14mm. I coated them with 3 coats of glaze, which made them much smoother. I would be curious to see how they held up to sanding with sandpaper, but I admit to being a little trepidatious. The are certainly solid, but I'm not entirely sure if they're solid enough. Something to try next time, perhaps. 

Color-wise, they are a fascinating combination of black and dark dark red. They also smell very very faintly of roses. 

Now, I just need to figure out what to make with them. Oooo, the possibilities.

So, there you go... That's what I've been up to this week. 

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

Monday, March 12, 2018

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - March Edition

This is the 4th Anniversary of my Monthly Challenge!

Can you believe it? I've been doing this for the last 4 years. Ha!

Now, I've been planning this month's challenge for awhile now--it's a special anniversary challenge, after all--and I'm very excited to finally announce it. 

...Want to take a guess what it is?

Not my photo!
Photo by NASA on Unsplash

That's right... I'm going to make jewelry that is based on space! 

Outer space, that is.

Not my photo!
Photo by NASA on Unsplash

I have always been fascinated by astronomy and stars and all things space-related... When I was a little girl, I dreamt of being an astronaut (at least, until I took my first physics class... Oi!). 

Still, even though it is highly doubtful that I will ever personally journey to the stars, I can certainly look up into space and marvel... And make pretty jewelry inspired by it all. :)

Not my photo!
Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Not my photo!
Photo by NASA on Unsplash

For this challenge, everything space-related is fair game--nebulae and planets and meteorites and stars. Come back on Friday, March 30th to see what I end up creating... and feel free to join in, if you're inspired to do so!

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

Friday, March 9, 2018

Friday's Worktable

If you follow my Instagram account at all, there's a really good chance you know what I've been working on this week.

If you don't follow me... Well, here's a hint:

That's right! 

I've been doing my annual turn-my-Valentine's-Day-roses-into-beads project! Woo!

I don't really make rose beads often enough to have a flawless procedure, and I know I've made some mistakes due to being sick (ugh, have I mentioned that I hate being sick?), but I've still been enjoying myself immensely.

Here's how the process has been going so far....

Step 1: Cut, or tear, rose petals into pieces.

Step 2: Soak in hot water for several hours... I started with boiling water and just put a lid on it.

Step 3: Once pieces have been soaked, drain them and put them in a food processor.

Step 4: Pulse the food processor until the pieces are as small as you can make them.
Some people can get this mush into a creamy paste... I haven't figured out how to do that yet.

Step 5: Form into beads.
Step 6: Let dry a bit, and then poke the holes. (They shrink, so I used the paintbrush handle.)

Step 7: Let dry

Step 8: Let dry some more.

Step 9: Yep, still drying.

After several days of drying, here is what the beads look like now...

That's the same paper from the beginning... You can see how much they've shrunk!

This weekend, once I'm sure they're completely dry, I'll probably coat them with some sort of glaze. They are currently strong but scratchy, so I figure that a coating will make them smoother to the skin when worn. And then I get to decide what cool jewelry to make with them! (This particular round is rather special... They mark the day that, 15 years ago, my husband asked me out. Yep, I'm a sappy romantic sometimes.)

So, there you go... That's what I've been working on this week, between rounds of antibiotics and sleeping. Thanks so much for stopping in to check in on my antics!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Hello, March... and Swap N' Hop update! :)

It's March!

...and I'm super excited to show off what my lovely partner has sent me for the Bead Peeps Swap N' Hop! Hurray!

I'll even give you a picture-by-picture unwrapping of it. *grin*

When I first opened the box... oooo, what treasures lie in wait!

Everything was so nicely labeled in its own baggie.

Lampwork! All handmade by my partner. *drools*

Everything together! Lampwork and Swarovski and vintage German beads and and and... I'm spoiled!

I'm in love with the bright mix of colors combined with the splash of dark blue. I already have three necklace ideas in mind... Guess I better start creating, if I want to have them done in time! Hah. The reveal is on March 26--be sure to stop by then!

Thank you so much to my amazing partner for the wonderful beads... and thank you, readers, for stopping by!

Have a lovely March, everyone!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Pretty Palettes - February 2018 Reveal

It's my third reveal today! Woo-hoo... I'm on a roll!

This particular reveal is for this month's Pretty Palettes challenge, put together by the talented Molly Schaller and hosted by the Halcraft Collection. I will probably also be sharing these pictures on my Instagram and the Halcraft Facebook Group, but it's always fun to show what I've made on my blog, too.

The inspiration for this month's Pretty Palettes was this colorful collection of recycled plastic coaster tiles by BOPE:

Not my photo!
Taken from the Pretty Palettes Inspiration Post, who in turn got it from BOPE.

I have to admit, I really love the gradient shown here. Here is the palette that Molly picked out from that lovely collection of colors:

...So cheery! 

Now, this is where I usually show you the picture of the beads that I bought/used to go with this challenge. In this case, however, the beads that I originally picked out didn't get used. At all. My vision kept shifting and changing. Sadly, I didn't get a picture of the final selection of beads that I used. Sorry!

Still, hopefully the necklace I made will make up for it:

Yep! It's a tassel necklace. 

Oh, and if you're thinking that I missed one of the colors (white), look closer at the material I knotted the necklace on... Yep, that's right! White waxed linen. (I felt so clever when I decided to do that. Hah!)

I don't have much to say about the construction of the necklace itself... once I finally settled on the design, everything just fell into place. I'm particularly pleased with the tassel, and the way that it pairs with the focal bead... it has wonderful weight and movement, without being too heavy or cumbersome. 

So, there you go! That is what I made for this challenge, and the final piece that I have to show off today. Thank you so, so much for joining me for all of these three reveals... I always appreciate my readers, and today is no exception! :)

Have a lovely last day of February, everyone! 

Reveal - SJ Designs Jewelry Honey Do List February Design 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 haven't been able to play along the last few months, so I'm super happy that I got to do so this month!

Here was this month's inspiration:

...And here is what Eric had to say about it:
As winter drags on here in Minnesota with temperatures hanging in the single digits, I had to bring a little summer back into our frozen world.  Here's a picture I took at the MN Landscape Arboretum this past summer and am just now getting to editing!  Give us something bright and happy this month!

For this challenge, I made a pair of earrings. I wanted to do more, but time has been a little scrunched this month. 

Still! I'm very happy with what I made:

Those are Czech glass flowers, paired with faceted peridot drops and gold plated brass. 

While the original photo is more vibrant, I decided to make this pair a little more subdued--using a lighter green, and gold to echo the bright yellow. Granted, that design choice was partially due to the fact that I only had those Czech flowers in white, and I really wanted to use them. After all, this challenge is about using what you have in your stash, right? :)

Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I made! And many thanks to Sarajo and Eric for letting me play along. As always, I love the inspirations that you choose... and here's to hoping that we get to see some of those beautiful flower colors outside soon! 

Have a lovely day, everyone! :)

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - February Reveal


Today is the reveal for my Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge for February!

...You might have thought I forgot about it, since I didn't get a chance to introduce this challenge this month. At all. But, I did it--and I'm pretty excited about showing you what I made!

But, first things first... What was my challenge this month?

Well, I'm not a very big sports person, but I have really enjoyed the Winter Olympics this year. It's always amazing to me to see what people can do, and just how connected the Games make us.

The palaestra of Olympia, a place devoted to the training of wrestlers and other athletes.
Also, not my photo! From the Wikimedia Commons, found here.

It also amazes me just how old the idea is. While the modern Olympic Games have only been around for a century or so (with the official First Olympics being in the late 1800s), the idea of people coming together for large athletic competitions goes back thousands of years. Honestly, while the Ancient Greeks were the ones who coined the term "Olympics," I wouldn't be surprised if the idea was even older than that.

It is that ancient heritage that I decided to focus on for this challenge--specifically, those games held by the Ancient Greeks, and the symbols associated with them.

Carry the Torch

The Olympic Flame is used in the modern Olympics, but the idea itself was derived from the games in Ancient Greece, where a sacred fire was kept burning on the altar of the sanctuary of Hestia all throughout the celebration of the Games. 

In modern times, this is embodied in the idea of the Olympic Torch Relay--where the flame is transported from Olympia, Greece to that year's designated site--and the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron.

So, I wanted to make a pair of earrings that was represented that flame... with bonus points for matching the idea of the Torch, as well!

The earrings are made with a combination of two colors of acrylic flowers, paired with Swarovski crystals and torch-shaped bead caps. I'm honestly really happy how they turned out--with the two colors of flowers really giving the "flame" some dimension and depth.

Olive Wreath

The second piece that I made for this challenge was inspired by the olive wreaths that served as the rewards for the victors of the Ancient Olympic games. The olive branches themselves grew from sacred trees near the Temple of Zeus. There is an anecdote that says that the Ancient Olympians did not compete for possessions, but for virtue... and, with a prize like an olive wreath, that certainly does make sense.

So, to make something to go with this symbol, I thought it would return to my roots (hah, pun intended) to make this hairstick:

For those who don't know, I actually started my professional jewelry-making career by making hairsticks and selling them on Etsy back in 2008. Nowadays, I don't really make them much at all... but, since the ancient Olympic victors would wear their olive leaves on their heads, I figured a hairstick would be a perfect representation of this symbol.

...And, well, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to use that lovely (and substantial) brass finding!

The green bead is ceramic, and the other metals are all brass as well. My hair has gotten long enough that I can actually wear hair sticks again... and this one looks lovely peaking out of my mass of curls. (I'm not very good at taking pictures of the back of my head, though, so I'm not going to post that here!)

So! There you go... those are the two pieces that I made for this month's unannounced Monthly Challenge.

Here's one last picture of them together:

Thanks so much for stopping by today! I really appreciate your time, and your readership. I hope to be a bit better about communication next month's challenge! :)

Have a lovely day, everyone!