Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable

Happy Wednesday!

In the midst of packing for vacation and general life craziness, I've been attempting to finish up some beading projects. I'm coming to the realization that I'm not going to be able to do my normal amount of reveals this month... Between vacation next week, and then coming home only to immediately head out of town for a friend's wedding, I just am not going to have time. 

And that's okay. 

So! I'm doing what I can, and not stressing about what I can't finish. For the purposes of this blog post, however, I do get to show off something that I have finished... Something that started off like this:


...Pink!

Bright, in-your-face, unapologetic pink. I bought those beads on clearance sometime last month... They just seemed bright and happy. 

Oh, and confession time: I'm slowly coming to realize that I have a lot of pink-and-black-and-white clothes. Who knew? Every time I go to wear them, I realize that I don't have anything to match them... So! I wanted to make something to fill that accessory gap.

And that is what lead to this:


...and also this:


...which ultimately turned into this:


That's right! I now have two different pink options to wear with those clothes... One that is bright (pink and clear) and one that is edgy (the pink and black). And, of course, they both have tassels!



  
They are both made with 22 gauge wire (gunmetal for the black necklace, bright silver for the clear one), and a combination of crystal, glass, and antique silver beads. Oh, and if you look closely, you can see that the earrings are sporting some of the headpins I made last week. :)


Hmmm... You know, maybe I'll actually pack these sets to take with me on vacation. Because even though I'm going to be in the middle of a forest in a cabin, I might want to look fashionable. Hah! (Really, I'm just thinking about showing off my handiwork, heh.)

Thank you so much for stopping by today... I'm not sure when I'm going to be able to post next (I'm going to be gone next week in the Land of No Internet), but know that I appreciate all of my readers!

Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Giveaway Winners!

Here it is... Time to announce the winners of my Giveaway!!

As a refresher, I offered a Giveaway at the end of my Monthly Challenge last month... the prizes were two pendant-and-paper bead sets that I made, based on the works of Vincent van Gogh.

To pick the winners, I went over to RandomResult.com and plugged in the names of those who commented. And so, without further ado, here are the results!


So! Based on stated preferences in the comments themselves, that means...

Winner for Set #1: Cynthia

Set 1: Flowering Almond Branch Pendant and Paper Bead Set

Winner for Set #2: Becca Jackson

Set 2: Village Street and Steps in Auvers with Five Figures
Pendant and Paper Bead Set

Emails will be sent to both winners, so that I can get their mailing addresses... Thanks to everyone who entered! And for those who didn't win, never fear... I hope to do more little giveaways in the future!

Thanks so much for stopping by today... Have a great weekend, everyone! 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable

In two days, I get to randomly pick my giveaway winners! Interested? Go here to find out more!
---

I've been doing enough of these worktable posts to realize that I have a monthly creative rhythm. This week? Well, it's the second week of the month, so that means I'm focused on preparation and brainstorming... Gathering materials and considering designs, starting preliminary work--this time with a little bit of vacation planning thrown in.

That being said, I'm also trying to take time just to play around... And that's what lead me to bringing out my hammering tools, and making some headpins: 


 You know, just for fun.


Now, I know I'm not exactly the world's best wire-worker, but it is good to continue practicing and learning. Besides, those bits of wire were leftovers from another project... And what better way to put them to use than create something with them?


I did some digging around in my odds-and-ends pile and came up with the above collection of beads: wood and copper and glass, mixed with some paper beads I made from a magazine my mother was re-purposing.

So, eventually, some of those leftover wire scraps became this pair of earrings:


Fun and long and extremely light (wood and paper really are great earring materials in the weight department), these earrings actually match none of my other current projects--and that makes them even more playful. I'm a firm believer in the importance of experimentation and play, after all--it stretches abilities and ideas while giving permission to fail... And is just plain fun, too. :)

Thank you so much for stopping by today to see what I've been working on... Have a lovely Wednesday, everyone!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - August Edition

I'm currently having a giveaway! Go here to see!
---

I have mentioned in the past that August is my vacation month. That's why, for this month's challenge, I have decided to do something a bit less serious and a bit more... well, fun. 

Now, it is probably no surprise that I consider myself a geek. A nerd. Someone who is interested in science fiction and fantasy and archaeology and video games and creating my own languages for fun. And while those two terms originally had negative connotations, they are now being used more as badges of pride. After all, the world is so full of wonderful and amazing things!

So! My challenge this month: make something geeky.

Now, I realize that covers a huge range of material. For example, I could end up converting one of these store-bought pieces into something different:

Above left to right: Terran symbol (StarCraft 2), Protoss symbol (StarCraft 2),
and the Millenium Falcon (Star Wars).
Below left: BB8 bracelet (Star Wars)
Below right: Health and Mana potions (generic fantasy RPG trope)

...Or I could use one of these pendants I made using cards from Magic: The Gathering:


...or I could even use this One Ring replica that came with a Lord of the Rings collection I bought years ago:


...Or I could make something from a piece from a leftover circuit board. Or I could make something based on the Fibonacci series. Or I could make something based on the works of Jane Austen. Or I could make something based on ancient Mesopotamia. Honestly, the sky is the limit... And that's part of the reason that this is going to be so much fun!

Now, since I'm going to be on vacation the last Friday of the month, I'm changing the reveal date a bit... Come back on Thursday, August 31st to see what geekery I end up making! Yay!

Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I'm up to... Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Hello, August!

I have a bit of a soft spot for August. 

Growing up, it was the month of family vacation... That meant that even though school was around the corner, August was a month of fun and travel and summer's grand finale. Even though I've been out of school for years, that feeling is still there... And so, as August begins, I'm pretty excited about what this month holds. (Hah--and it just so happens that this year, family vacation again falls in August. Woo!)

As far as my beading goes, August is definitely starting off on an amazing foot... On my craft table this week, I have something really really special:


That awesome compilation of materials is actually a prize that I won... A prize from one of the most recent Allegory Gallery Design Kit Competitions

That's right--one of my designs actually won something!! Just, wow. Considering how many amazing and talented people also entered that competition, I'm floored. (The winning design can be seen in this blog entry--it's Design 4.)


The prize itself is pretty amazing... It's a combination of vintage plastic, vintage seed beads, a luxury bead blend, Czech glass, a hand-dyed silk ribbon, wood beads, waxed Irish linen, a ceramic piece by Earthenwood Studio, a ceramic piece by Gaea Cannaday, and a few strands of stone beads. There's even a book: "Exposed Bead & Wire Jewelry" by Margot Potter, Fernando DaSilva, and Katie Hacker. 


...Since the lighting in my kitchen is a bit off, I suppose I would remiss in not sharing the official prize photo--to give you a better idea of all the lovelies I now get to play with:

Not my picture! Originally from the Allegory Gallery Blog.

I honestly am not sure what all I'm going to create... But, golly, the possibilities are wonderful! And considering that this month's vacation is going to be in a forest, nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of Western Maryland, I have to say the color palette is right on point! :)

Thanks so much for stopping by today... I truly appreciate the people who read my blog. Just like these beads--and vacation, and August--you make me smile. :)

Have a wonderful August, everyone!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Artisans Create Together Color Palette Challenge - July Reveal

I'm currently having a giveaway! Keep scrolling to my previous entry, or go here, to see!
---

Guess what... I have one last reveal for this month! Woo!

Every month, the Facebook group Artisans Create Together puts out two inspiration palettes. Even though I don't always get to play along, I love seeing the different color combinations... And this month one of the palettes was so bright and cheerful, I just couldn't help myself:


I mean, honestly! Isn't that a juicy palette?

I went rooting through my stash, and came up with an equally juicy selection of beads--and I even made some paper beads to match. Some playing around, and a necklace started to take form:



I was on such a roll that it honestly didn't take long before I was done. Here is the final result: 



The butterfly is magnesite, and the other beads are either glass, crystal, or paper. 

As far as the paper beads go, I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out... I played around with making teardrop shaped beads--not just the long thin cones--and they came out well. Hurray!



Oh, and I thought finding the two-tone lime and orange beads were a nice touch. ;)



I was thrilled to be able to make this necklace set for this challenge... I've had a bit of extra creating time this month, and I think I've put it to good use. 

Thanks so much for stopping by today! Have a wonderful day, everyone... And happy last day of July!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - July Reveal and Giveaway!

You read that right! There will be a giveaway at the end of this post. Hurray! :)

Well, here we are. I have been working very hard this month, and I'm thrilled to show you the pieces I've been creating for this month's challenge.

As a refresher, this month I've been focusing on making jewelry inspired by none other than amazing painter Vincent van Gogh:

Self-Portrait, 1887
Not my photo! From Wikimedia commons, found here.

Now, for more about him as an artist, feel free to check out my Introduction Post--or any of the other numerous internet sources that cover him. Van Gogh is certainly a popular artist, and there has been a lot written on him... As well there should be! He is pretty remarkable. 

For the purpose of this entry, however, I'm going skip that background information and immediately dive into what I made. I have a lot to show, after all!

Oh, and as a quick sidenote, there are many pictures of his artworks that I show (and use) in this entry... they are all from a book that my mother rescued from a discard-headed-to-the-recycling pile:

Yep, this is from last month. You can even see the journals
that I made for last month's challenge in the top right corner.

Well, rescued with the intent of re-purposing! We both went through and claimed pages--her for her mixed media art, and me for my jewelry. There are quite a few pages that I saved to be framed at some point... But, honestly, it really was too good of an opportunity to pass up--even for someone like me, who likes keeping books perfect and intact. 

So! Now that you know one of my resources... It's time to get started!


Flowering Almond Branch



This first necklace was inspired by, you guessed it, the above painting.

So inspired, in fact, that I used it to make the pendant:


Once the pendant was done, I paired it with glass (both Czech and otherwise) and two tones of magnesite (turquoise and white). I then wire-wrapped it all together, and this was the end result:



I really like the gentle palette of this necklace (and the inspiration painting, of course). It's so different from the bold-bright colors so often associated with Van Gogh, and I think it highlights both his versatility and talent. 

...It also makes a very light and airy necklace that would be perfect for Spring. :)



The Sower


For this second necklace... Well, it's time to go back into the famous Van Gogh bright and saturated hues. 

I used the above print to create some paper beads:


And when they were done, I was struck how the predominate colors are yellow and purple. I've always loved that combination (especially since they are complementary)... So, those were the colors that I focused on for this necklace.

I was also inspired by the large round sun seen at the top of the painting, so I decided to use that as the basis for the pendant. 


The swirls inside the circle seemed quite appropriate, given how swirls show up a lot in Van Gogh's work. 

As far as the wire-wrapped beads are concerned... Well, this may be a bit too abstract, but I was going for the feel of a solar calendar. After all, the painting depicts a man sowing seeds... Each yellow bead represents a month passing until it's time for harvest (which could be represented by the amethyst diamond bead--why not?). In any case, that was the inspiration for the pendant... Whether or not it really works or not from an abstract standpoint, I still think it looks cool! :)


Once the pendant was  done, I created the rest of the necklace using the paper beads paired with iridescent shades of glass--bright yellow fading upwards into evening purple, a reverse of the painting.




I absolutely love this necklace. It turned out even better than I imagined it, which is always a fun feeling. There are times when creating that things just fall into place and feel right... I'm happy to say that this was one of those times. 

I also think it did a fair job representing the original artwork--from the yellow/purple ombre to the focal sun. Besides, I got a chance to use a lot of yellow--and, as I wrote in my introductory post, Van Gogh was very fond of yellow! :)



Starry Night

The Starry Night
Not my photo! From Wikimedia commons, found here.

I couldn't let a Van Gogh challenge pass by without making something inspired by Starry Night. So, this last necklace is just that--an homage to one of my favorite paintings.

I knew that, for this necklace, I wanted to go Full Tassel. As such, I started by picking out colors to match and then arranging them in a gradient, much like the swirls seen in the inspiration painting:


Once all the tassel strands were assembled, I paired them with a layered lampwork bead by Carol Christensen-Day of GlassFields... And this was the result:



The materials include crystal, two colors of freshwater pearls, brass, and two sizes of lapis lazuli rounds. The findings are either brass or goldtone--including the goldtone beadcaps on either end of the focal that I picked just because they remind me of Van Gogh's cloud swirls.



This necklace took quite some time to get right, but I'm very very glad that I spent the extra effort to do so. I think it captures both the color and the swirling-bright-and-dark-contrast feel of the painting... And I am very happy with how it turned out!



Works in Progress

My paper bead and pendant making station.

So, I've shown you three necklaces that I made for this challenge. Believe it or not, I had at least three more planned. Since I didn't finish them in time, I'll just give you a sneak peak... And who knows? Maybe I'll finish them soon and shared pictures! 



The Weaver





Giveaway!

You made it this far in this post! Yay! 

While I was making pendants and paper beads for my various necklaces, I realized that I wanted to share in the bounty of what I was creating... And so the idea of a giveway was born. 

For this giveaway, I have two different collections that I want to share. Each has a pendant and some paper beads--all made by me, using a page from the book I showed you above.

Giveaway #1
Flowering Almond Branch Pendant and Paper Bead Set

Giveaway #2
Village Street and Steps in Auvers with Five Figures
Pendant and Paper Bead Set

To enter, just leave a comment on this blog entry! Oh, and be sure to leave an email address, so that I'll know how to contact you. In two weeks, on August 11th, I'll draw two names out of a hat. I'll post the winners here, as well as contact them via their provided email addresses. If you have a preference on which one you'd like to win, let me know... If possible, I'll try to accommodate you (although I can't guarantee it!). 

Thank you so, so much for stopping by today to see what I created for this challenge... I really had a fun time, and am excited to share.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!