Monday, November 30, 2015

The Jenny Monthly Challenge - November Edition Review

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: this has been quite the busy month.

But it has been worth it!

In addition to finishing NaNo, I definitely count my November Monthly Challenge--making a pair of earrings everyday--as a success. Hard-won, perhaps, but a success nonetheless. 

I know that I've been posting the earring pairs throughout the month, but I thought it would be fun to show them all in one place, too. And so, here are all of the earrings that I made this month (in chronological order!):

This Monthly Challenge this month truly has been a challenge--perhaps the hardest Monthly Challenge I've done to date--and for a myriad of different reasons. 

  1. It's been a challenge to think outside the box, and just make earrings and not sets. (This is a challenge I anticipated.)
  2. It's been a challenge to post a blog entry every day, just because of the time commitment needed. (When I chose this challenge, I didn't think that I was actually going to blog everyday about the earrings that I made. Heh. Next time, I'll know better!)
  3. And it's been a challenge to keep the ideas fresh and new. (I found myself going back to the same types of designs, and had to consciously push myself outside of my comfort zone. I spent quite some time just looking at different designs online--and once I even had to ask my best friend for an assignment, because I was completely dry.) 

...Although, I will say that it's been pretty fun watching my style emerge as I made things--it's always been there, but it's become clearer to me through this exercise. 

Also, I've hinted along the way that I made some earrings that I did not feature in my daily posts--for whatever reason. For fun, I thought I'd share some here:

Feathers! Wire-work! ...Other random things! :)

So, there you go! My November Monthly Challenge, in review.

I can definitely tell you right now that December's Challenge is not going to be nearly as intensive... After such a busy month, I am quite ready for a break! (And I just realized that I haven't even started working on Christmas presents yet... Heh.)

In any case, I'm very very glad I did it... And I'm also glad that it's over!

Have a lovely last day of November, everyone!

Today's Earrings: Gemstone Finale!

Well, here it is. It's the last day of the month, and thus the last day of my November Monthly Challenge.

Wow. I've been doing this a whole month.

I wanted to do something special, as a grand finale. So, to celebrate, I brought out the gemstones:

Made with, from left to right: labradorite chips, rainbow moonstone, and amethyst.

...Every time I think I have picked a favorite, I look at the others are realize that I love them all. Those three gemstones are some of my absolute favorite--I think the only one missing is lapis lazuli.

I have one more earring-related post planned for today, and that's a grand overview of this whole month's journey. And, yes, it has definitely been a journey!

...I suppose I should go work on that now. 

Until then--take care, everyone! :)

Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Few Other Things...

Thing the First

My stores have reopened!

There's my main jewelry store, Wonder and Whimsy, and my side store, Shining Silmarils. Things are a bit dusty and under construction, but they're open!

And I have so many big ideas in the works--like more listings! And more stories! And new branding materials!

...Not that any of that has been done yet, but it will happen. One step at a time. :)

Thing the Second

I had two challenges that I was working on this month... The first was my monthly challenge to make a pair of earrings everyday. The second was to write 50,000 words as part of National Novel Writing Month.

As of this afternoon, I'm happy to announce: I'm a winner!

I have one more day to work on things, but right now my word count is 50,255 words!

See, I even have a certificate:

...Yeah, this has been a super busy month. 

Come back tomorrow to see my final pair of earrings of the month--and my monthly challenge in review! 

Today's Earrings: Copper and Chrysoprase

Earlier this month, I got my hands on two strands of gorgeous, gorgeous chrysoprase.

I made a necklace-and-earring set with one of the strands, and I ended up having two beads left over. (Haven't touched the second strand yet; am waiting for just the right design.)

...I certainly couldn't let those two beads feel unloved, could I? So, I got out some dark copper/brass wire, and started to play around:

Are those wire-shaped pieces perfect? Nope. For one thing, they aren't identical. Also, I don't have any nylon-tipped pliers, and you can see some of my work-marks. Still, for someone who is learning and playing around, I think they turned out rather well. 

...And it's hard to go wrong with such lovely chrysoprase. :)

One more day in November--one more pair of earrings to make. Let's see if I come up with any inspirations between now and tomorrow.

Take care, everyone!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Today's Earrings: Chain Maille Flowers

For today's earrings, I thought I'd try my hand at some chain maille.

...Specifically, some Japanese 12-in-2 chain maille flowers.

...Not too bad, considering I can count on one hand how many times I've done chain maille. Heh. Although, after this success, I certainly wouldn't mind trying it a bit more.

This is a quick little entry, because today is quite busy... I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend after Thanksgiving.

Take care, everyone!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Today's Earrings: Green and Gold and Leaves

These last few days, I've been struggling for ideas on what to make for my daily earrings. Today was no exception... I sat down at my craft table and just stared. Completely stumped, I had no idea what to make. None at all.

So, I used a lifeline and phoned a friend: I ended up texting one of my best friends to ask for an assignment. Her response: "Green and gold. Possibly with leaves?"

After doing the fun game of "where the heck are my green bead boxes?," followed by "do I even have any gold leaves?," I was able to come up with these:

The pair on the right is actually quite similar to the pair I posted last Saturday...
just a different colorway and materials.

...Not too bad--especially for not having any idea what to make. ;)

I have to admit that I'm rather happy that the end of November is just around the corner... I am earring-ed out! It certainly take a lot of energy to make something new everyday, and then share them here! (And on Instagram. And Facebook. Social media is exhausting.)

Have a wonderful day-after-Thanksgiving, everyone! 

Time for me to go work on NaNo! :)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Today's Earrings: Cranberry Pearls

Happy Thanksgiving!!

In honor of today's holiday, today's earrings are good enough to eat.

I kept the design simple, in an attempt to let these gorgeous pearls speak for themselves.

These are really beautiful freshwater pearls, plump and substantial, dyed a gorgeous dark red cranberry shade. And, honestly, they really do look like the fruit.

...Aside from the obvious food-oriented connection, I also decided to make these today because they remind me of things I'm thankful for. 

I'm thankful for my husband, who believes in my creative endeavors enough to buy me an expensive strand of pearls for me to play with. I'm thankful for my eyesight, for time and energy, and for space (our very own house--we've lived here for a year!) so that I actually can play with said pearls.

And I am thankful that I am here--and that I can enjoy being here. My life certainly hasn't been perfect, but it has led to this moment.

...And this moment, I am content.   

Thank you for joining me today... May you all have a wonderful, wonderful holiday! Don't eat too much turkey! ;)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wednesday's Worktable

Want to see what earrings I made today? Either go here, or keep scrolling down to the previous entry! :)

My worktable this week is actually quite festive. 

I can't help it. I know that Thanksgiving is tomorrow and technically I should still be doing Thanksgiving-y things (which I will do tomorrow, I'm sure)--but I'm getting really excited for Christmas.

...My worktable definitely reflects that excitement!

Christmas colors!
...They make me think of holly berries.

The star appeared in the sky over Bethlehem...
And these golden stars and clear crystal bicones have appeared on my table.

Those jumbles will (hopefully) become two festive holiday sets... We'll just have to see if my focus can keep up with my enthusiasm.

Now, off I go to do the rest of the things on today's lengthy to-do list... Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Today's Earrings: Well, They're Pink

My goal is to post this week's Wednesday's Worktable entry on time (i.e. today)... However, it might be a bit later. Busy day is busy. :)

The first earrings that I made today were blue. 

And then I realized that I really have made quite a few pairs of blue earrings so far this month. (Like the ones from yesterday. And the 19th. And the 13th. And the 9th. What can I say--I really like blue!)

So, I went rooting through my stash and decided to play with something different.


I don't really have anything clever to say about these... I just like them.

And I actually really like pink, too... Especially that rich rose shade on the top. I should use it more.  (Heh, and I just looked down at my outfit today and realized that it, too, is pink. Rose pink. That was not on purpose, I swear. *smirk*)

Hope everyone is doing well, this day before Thanksgiving... take care!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Today's Earrings: Porcelain and Pearls

Today's earrings came about from experimenting... I had four porcelain rounds and four matching freshwater pearls, and wanted to see what different designs I could come up with.

This is the result... two different looks, using (almost) identical materials!

My pearl obsession seems to be going strong. :)

Now I realize that there is nothing really ground-breaking in these variations, per se, but it was still fun to play around. 

Besides--and I'm rather loathe to admit it--I'm starting to lose steam.

Granted, I figured that this was going to happen... Going into this month, I knew that the monthly challenges I chose for myself--both making earrings and doing National Novel Writing Month--would require a heightened and sustained outpouring of creativity. I knew that it would be tiring, especially on top of the other things I'm trying to do (like be an adult and pay bills and not have the house fall apart). 

...And, yeah, I'm definitely starting to feel it.

Still, I told myself that it would be okay if what I created everyday wasn't ground-breaking and revolutionary--as long as I made something

Looking at these earrings, it makes me happy that even just creating something, I made something pretty lovely.

Now, if only I could go take a nap.

Take care, everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Today's Earrings: Fishies!

Today's earrings are not seasonal at all.

When I woke up this morning, my idea was to make something autumnal and Thanksgiving-y for today's earrings... However, that did not happen.

Instead, these happened:


...Apparently some days are just ceramic tropical fish days! :)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Today's Earrings: Multi-Colored Dangles

I'm a bit late in posting today, but here are today's earrings!

Glass and metal and COLOR!

...It took me way too long to make these. 

My loops were all skewed so I kept having to redo them--and I kept having to redo the pattern, too. It apparently is very difficult for me to be random... subconsciously, I favor certain color patterns. 

Ah well! They are done! And they are colorful and happy, which is what I was aiming for. 

...And now, to work on NaNo!

Take care everyone!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Today's Earrings: Leaves from the Vine

For those of you coming here for the Beady Leftover Blog Hop, it's actually been postponed. Don't worry--as soon as I learn the new reveal date, I'll be sure to let you know! 


Today's earrings make me happy.

Made with fire-polished Czech glass and acrylic (which makes them very pleasantly light).

It's such a silly thing, but I'm goofily proud of those little wire loops in the middle of the design. I was just playing around with a scrap of wire and made that little pattern, and then everything fell into place around them. 

...It's always fun when tinkering and poking around actually creates something lovely.

Take care, everyone! May you have a wonderful Saturday!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Today's Earrings: Study in Mauve and Champagne

I am happy to present: more fun with wire-wrapping!

More specifically, I'm happy to present today's earrings, which are made with stick pearls (color: mauve) and Chinese crystals (color: champagne).

It was rather amusing trying to take a good picture of these,
since the colors of the earrings are so close to the color of my beading mat.
That's what I get, trying to make all of these pictures have some sort of continuity. ;)

I had fun playing around with different ways to wrap the pearls--hence why the wraps aren't identical. Subtle asymmetry, and all that.

As far as the composition goes, it's quite similar to a lot of other earrings I make, so nothing revolutionary there... I just enjoyed playing around with a different way to add texture and movement to these.

And now I'm off to work on my NaNo novel--my current word total is 36,800. Let's see how much more I can write today!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Today's Earrings: Wire-Wrapped Hoops

Yesterday, in my Wednesday's Worktable post, I mentioned that I've been pushing myself to try different earring styles. Most of them are rather awkward prototypes--hence why I haven't really been sharing them. 

Today, though, I actually had some success. And that success is what I'm counting as today's earrings.

I present: wire-wrapped hoops!

Made with magnesite, lapis lazuli, and metal.

Yes, they aren't perfect. Far from it. I could sit here and tell you all of the things wrong with them... But I'm not. Because, they actually aren't bad for a first attempt. And even though I didn't get them perfect on the first try (heh), it means that my jewelry making skills are still growing.

...And, honestly, being able to use lapis in a design is a win. I do love that stone. :) 

So, there you go! Thanks for stopping by today... Take care, everyone!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday's Worktable

Today's worktable is covered with a little bit of everything.

...Seriously. It's getting difficult to keep everything straight.

Still, I will do my best to give an overview of what I'm working on... At least this means that I'm definitely not bored!

Project #1
My worktable is covered in earrings. So many earrings. There are all of the ones that I've made, all of the ones I have planned, and all of the ones that I'm playing around with. 

Today's earrings!
...Yes, I've already talked about them in another post, but I figured I'd put there here, too.

I'm really attempting to try new things... It may not look like it from the final products, but I have definitely been pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I think it's safe to say that this has been one of the most challenging Monthly Challenges yet... And that's a good thing! :)

Project #2
I have these three lovely lampwork beads from GlassyFields that are sitting on my worktable, staring at me. 

I love the colors of these beads.

I'm planning to make them into focals for three different tassel necklaces, so I've been shifting through my stash to find just the right coordinating beads for them. I have some ideas, but nothing concrete yet.

Project #3
I have the BargainBeadBox shipment that arrived in the mail this week--and I'm so excited to make things with it!

Beautiful, classic, traditional holiday colors...
Hues that transition nicely from Autumn to Christmas.

I hope to make a few pieces to enter into their Monthly contest... I actually won the drawing last month ($25 gift certificate, woo!)--and, even though I doubt I can win two months in a row, it's always fun to play around with such a lovely selection of materials. :)

Project #4
I have some earrings that I made for my monthly challenge, but decided not to include.

Why did I decide not to include them? Because I've already started making matching necklaces for them. The whole point of my challenge is to make earrings that stand out on their own... But, golly, these just begged to be made into sets.

So I'm making them into sets.

Project #5
Last but not least: I'm also working on blog hops! Two, to be precise.

Blog Hop 1: 
Beady Leftovers

This one was the brainchild of Marybeth over at ForestofJewels... The idea is to use leftover beads from other projects to make something wonderful. Considering how many leftovers I have, I definitely thought that would be fun!

Purple leftover beads...
A collection of amethyst, glass, jade, and a smattering of acrylic.

The reveal for this blog hop is November 21st--yes, this Saturday! Be sure to stop by and see what I end up making! :)

Blog Hop 2: 
History Hop, Paleolithic Edition

Just today, I signed up for this History Hop, organized by Leah Curtis over at Beady Eyed Bunny.

This one is inspired by paleolithic art--cave paintings and stone tools and carved fertility sculptures. Considering my academic background, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this one. Art history and anthropology? Yes, please!! 

Oh, and I was very impressed with the amount of research she did to introduce this hop... to check it out, go here.

Not my picture!
Source: Beady Eyed Bunny
...And she did such good work introducing this blog hop, you really should go check it out. *hint hint*

The reveal for this one is December 9th, so I have three weeks to create something awesome! I've been going through my stash, I've ordered a few pieces to use, and I'm super excited! 

So, there you go. My worktable is overflowing with projects... and I really wouldn't have it any other way. :)

Thank you so much for letting me share my worktable with you!