Friday, October 30, 2015

The Jenny Monthly Challenge - October Reveal

Well, here it is. It's the end of October, and the day for the reveal of my October Monthly Challenge.

And I certainly have a lot to show!

As a refresher, my challenge this month was to make jewelry based off of the works of Edward Gorey--an artist and illustrator known for his unsettling scenes, as well as his drawings of cats. 

Not my photo!
All of these pictures are from the Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.

In particular, I focused on the illustrations he did for the Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, a book of poems by T.S. Eliot. Why? Because they're my favorite, and it's my blog and I can do that. 

Now, to be clever, I'm going to post these sets in order of how much time and effort they took. For example, the first set took about 15 minutes, while the last took practically the entire month. 

Oh, and I named each set using one of T.S. Eliot's poems--again, to be clever. ;)

And so, without further ado... here's what I made!

Set 1
Macavity's Not There

...Pawprints, but no trace of the cat himself!

For this set, I actually made the pendant and the earrings using stickers. Yep--stickers. To show you that I'm not making that up, here you can see a before and after:

These stickers are already rigid, so I simply placed them on a firm backing, cut around the shape, and then glued them to the bail/earring studs. I have no idea how durable these are, but they were simple and fun and fit my theme. Black, white, and cat related? Check! 

Set 2
The Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat

...So named, because it incorporates Gorey's illustration of the Rum Tum Tugger. And by that, I mean that it incorporates an actual page of the book that has been cut out, sandwiched between two panes of glass and soldered shut. That's wearable art, right there!

I should also mention that I did not make the pendant... I purchased it from PisforPaper, a lovely Etsy shop that has all sorts of such illustration pendants available. (You can see the packaging above.) There are quite a few others from the same book--it was really hard to choose which one to buy!

Now, I suppose that this could be seen as cheating a little bit... Not just making jewelry that is inspired by an artist, but also including that art in the finished piece. Still, it was too cool not to do. So, cheating or not, it still makes me happy! 

Oh, and for those that are curious... I paired the pendant with black striped agate, lava rock, and glass pearls. Once again, I was trying to keep with the black-and-white coloring so typical of Gorey's pen illustrations. I think it works. :)

Set 3
The Jellicle Ball

...Shades of black and white!

Now, you might be a bit confused--because, yes, the above picture does not show jewelry. Instead, it shows the very beginning of this set. That's right--this set started its life as four sheets of paper.

...And those sheets of paper were cut into strips, rolled, glued, and coated with sealant to become beads!

I made so many beads

Oh, look, pawprints!
Even though you don't see them when the beads are rolled, it's still
a tip-of-the-hat to T.S. Eliot's poems and Gorey's illustrations. 

And those paper beads became this:

I paired those paper beads with zebra stone and silver plated findings to make the final set--again, shades of black and white. I like the way the lines on the beads echo the lines of Gorey's drawings. 

Oh, and I included the cat charm to bring it all together.

All told, this set took three weeks to make. As I said, I made so many beads--even though I only used a fraction of them. Ah well--that just means that I have more left over to play with!

...But, wait, I'm not done! I have one bonus set to share!

Set 4 - bonus!
Old Deuteronomy

...Thus named, because it's old. Very old. You see, the focal bead--as well as many of the other beads--are actually fossils.

So, why is this a bonus set?

Well, I didn't actually make this set specifically for this challenge. I had just been working so much with shades of black and white and grey that I had all sorts of beads in those hues covering my worktable. When I was done with everything else, I wanted to make something pretty with those leftovers--and so I did. 

Once it was done, I realized that it fit the color scheme--and the general feel--of what I was aiming for with this challenge. And so, I figured--why not include it? The more, the merrier!

...And, with that, my reveal draws to a close. 

As I said, I made many things! And all things inspired by Edward Gorey's work--namely, the look, the feel, and the subject of his illustrations. 

Oh, and I am pleased to share that each of the three main sets include something paper-related, be it stickers or paper beads or an actual piece of the source book. I have to admit that it was fun doing jewelry-supply shopping in the papercraft section... Nothing is safe! If I can turn it into jewelry, I will!

Papercraft destined to become jewelry!
...You'll notice that I actually put numbers in the bags of beads,
so that I could keep them straight.

Thanks so much for joining me today for this long-winded and picture-filled reveal. I had a lot of fun making everything, and I appreciate you letting me share it with you.

Have a wonderful Friday, everyone... And enjoy these last days of October! I have just a bit longer to plan out my next month's challenge--and get ready for National Novel Writing Month! Exciting times!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wednesday's Worktable

Today's worktable is being posted a little late, I realize. It's been rather busy day. A good day! Just also a busy day. 

As far as my worktable goes, I don't have much to show. This past week, I've had a bit of a creative crash. After finishing all of last week's projects, I've sort of hit a wall. Every time I go into my craft room, I just sit and stare at my beads. Or fall asleep.

I did start work on one thing, though...

...Yep. That's the beginning of a snake-themed tassel necklace. And it's going to be lovely--whenever I get the focus/energy/motivation to finish it!

Instead of forcing myself to be creative, though, I've decided to give myself a chance to recharge. And that means that today I went to the Aquarium again. Ahh--it's definitely nice to be an annual passholder!

The tank that welcomes you when you first enter the Aquarium.

I went with two of my friends, and we laughed and took our time and enjoyed ourselves. It was a lovely time. 

And, since I don't have many pictures of beady things to share right now, I figured I'd share some of the photos I took while out and about today.

This turtle was posing for the camera.

I was getting glared at by a Mugger Crocodile.

Incredibly up close and personal with an 800-pound, 14 foot long American Alligator.

Oh, look, it's sharks and a sea turtle.

Dramatically lit shark is dramatically lit.

Little hammerhead shark swimming above me in the shark tunnel.

...Oh, and we also went to a real brick-and-mortar bookstore:

...where I had a run-in with a Stormtrooper:

Yep, he definitely had me in his sights.
Luckily for me, Stormtroopers aren't known for their accuracy. ;)

...All in all, it was a very good day. Not a very bead-productive day, but a lovely time being out and about with friends. Now, hopefully, I can return to my craft table and get ready for Friday's Monthly Challenge reveal.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wednesday's Worktable

There are many, many things on my worktable today.

...And, apparently, I'm rebelling from last month's saturation of Autumnal hues, because there isn't a brown or red or yellow to be seen. Pumpkin spice? Not today! (Although I would certainly go for a hot apple cider... That does sound quite yummy.)

First up! I'm working on a bracelet to match the necklace I made last week. (You can see the unfinished necklace in this post, near the end.) When the entire set is done, I'll be sure to post pictures. :)

Even the black thread matches the necklace!
...And that's quite serendipitous, considering it's currently the only thread color that I have.

And, because I always seem to be working on multiple things at once, here is another thing on my worktable: more paper beads!

 ...Two different color schemes, all destined to become something lovely!

Last week, when I was spending time with my best friend, we went to Michaels and I treated myself to these lovely papers. I mean, c'mon--they were only $0.25 a sheet! So, for $2, I got eight different designs... Five of them are shown here, and the other three are a surprise!

Making the first round of beads.

I also bought some coordinating beads to go with these papers, and I'm really excited to see how everything turns out. 

Another glamour shot of the beads.
Just because.

And! A special treat!

Two weeks ago, my Wednesday's Worktable featured all different shades of blue--shades that made me happy, but that I was unsure how to use. Well, after a few different variations, I'm pleased to show off what I came up with.

These components...

 Became this necklace-and-earring set!


It looks positively rich when worn--and, honestly, makes me want to design a Renaissance Festival outfit around it. I think that would be quite lovely.

Let's see... In other news, my monthly challenge is coming along quite nicely. So far, I have made two sets inspired by Edward Gorey--three, if you include one that I made for the fun of it and then, after the fact, realized rather fits the theme. That reveal is coming up at the end of next week, and I can't wait!

Also! There have been quite a few other real-life, adultish things going on--not to me, necessarily, but to people I care about. While I don't really want to go into details here, any prayers/good vibes you want to send our way would definitely be appreciated!

So, there you go... my busy life is busy. Some of it is good, some of it is not-so-good... but it is definitely, definitely not boring! And I'm excited to see how the not-so-good turns around and becomes awesome. Because, honestly, I think it will. :)

Happy Wednesday, everyone!