Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Jenny Monthly Challenge - April Reveal, Part 2

Here it is, the last day of April... and time for Part 2 of my April Monthly Challenge Reveal!

As a quick refresher from yesterday, my Monthly Challenge for April was to make something using jewelry misfit components that I purchased from my local consignment shop (it's called Shoes Included Consignment for those interested). 

Look at all the possibilities!
I'll give you a hint... today's set was made using two items found in this picture.

And make something I did--to the tune of three jewelry sets, a pair of earrings, and a necklace!

Now, I have showed all but the last set (the other items can be seen in yesterday's entry). This last set took the most time to make, by far. That's why it gets it's own entry--it's a grand finale, if you will.

So! Here is the teaser picture I posted yesterday...

...But that's honestly getting a little ahead of myself.

You see, that mix of beads didn't start off as a jumble. In fact, it started off as nice little piles, that I pulled from my stash to match the components I wanted to use:

Quite the eclectic collection: crystals, Czech glass, semi-precious stones (not sure what type), and different types of glass.

...And what components are those, you ask?

Well, I picked all of those beads to match this pair of mis-matched earrings:

But, again, I'm getting ahead of myself.

You see, when I saw those earrings, I immediately knew that I wanted to make them into a lariat necklace... Which is exactly what I did:

I embellished the focal beads with bead caps and added some points of interest to the tassels. I then added a very long chain to connect the two--which means that the lariat can be worn tied in the front or as a scarf-style necklace.

...So, you're probably wondering where does that bead pile comes in.

Well, I thought it might be fun to embellish on my mis-matched silver-and-gold, white-and-shades-of-blue theme.

And that's how I turned this...

...into this!

I really pushed myself to make that beaded section completely random--in the type of wire I used for the links (there is both silver and gold), the types of accenting findings I used (again, silver and gold or a mix), and the pattern itself (I just pulled beads out without looking).

...But, I really couldn't decide which I liked more--the golden chain by itself, or accented by the beaded strand..

My solution? Well, if you look closely, you can see that there are little lobster clasps at both ends of the beaded strand, which means that it can actually be attached or detached at will. They're unobtrusive, and honestly can't be seen unless you know they're there.

There are so many possibilities with this set! 

The lariat necklace can be worn either with the addition of the long beaded chain, or simply as itself. The beaded strand can be worn as part of the lariat, or on its own--either as a long strand, or as a double-wrapped necklace.

...And, because I couldn't leave just well enough alone, I made matching earrings, which fit the tassel theme of the set:

Here is everything together!

So, ta-da! That is everything that I made for this Monthly Challenge. I really worked hard on these pieces, and I am quite happy with how things turned out. It is always nice when hard work pays off!

...And I already know what my challenge is going to be next month. Woo! 

Happy last day of April, everyone... I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday! 

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Jenny Monthly Challenge - April Reveal, Part 1

I don't know how it's been for you, but my April has been challenging, productive... and short!

At least, it certainly feels like it's been short--which is probably because I got such a late start on so many projects. I have been busy, busy, busy... And I am happy to report that I have many things to show off for this reveal! Hurray!

Remember this bag?
My challenge for this month was to make pieces using jewelry misfits and
components that purchased from my local consignment shop.

I have so many things to show off, in fact, that I am going to split up this challenge's reveal into two parts. This will be Part 1, and I hope to post Part 2 tomorrow. 

Why did I decide to split it up? Well, mostly for the sake of my sanity (so many pictures to edit, so little time!)... And also, because I can! It's my blog, after all. :)

So! Enough chatter... Onto the reveal!

To jog your memory, here are a few pieces that were in the above bag: necklaces and solitary earrings, some pieces that were broken...

From that pile, I started to play around with some of the components:

Laying out a potential design.

And, to prove that those pieces really were salvaged, here's a rundown of where they came from:

  • the leather and purple iris crystal are from one of the purple necklaces (picture on the left)
  • the large silver circle is taken from one of the blue necklaces (picture on the left)
  • the purple diamonds are from a necklace at the top of the bag (picture on the right)
  • the silver glass bicones are from a multi-strand necklace that was fraying (picture on the left)

After I played around a little more--and ignored it completely for over a week because of other commitments--here is the finished design:

Purple and silver! Leather and glass! Acrylic and crystal! A fun mix of textures, this necklace took quite some time to perfect--making sure that the dangle draped correctly, and that the leather didn't completely overwhelm the delicate wire-wrapped crystals.

Also, the leather piece is too short to reach all the way around my neck... To solve that problem, I augmented it with a little bit of chain, which is actually not visible from the front. 

All in all, I am very happy with this set--and not just because I like purple. I went through so many different iterations of this design, and took it from "eh, it's all right" to "I really like it." 

Persistence pays off!

After fiddling with that necklace so much, I wanted the next project to be super simple... And so I made was a pair of earrings using two of the silver donuts seen below:

Here are the finished earrings:

Yep! Simple. Versatile. I'm quite enamored with them, actually. Much of the jewelry that I wear on a day-to-day basis is rather understated, and these match just perfectly!

Refreshed by completing an uncomplicated design, I then decided to try my hand at making another necklace using earrings I found amongst the jewelry misfits:

Where are the earrings, you ask? 

They're in the focal. They were three separate discs that I stacked on top of each other and wire-wrapped into place, creating a giant textured pendant.

Now, I didn't actually get a "before" picture of them... You'll just have to take me word for it!

Then I strung the pendant with some matching wooden beads on hemp cord and tied on a clasp. The finished look feels rather tribal and earthy to me... A nice break from all the silver and wire-wrapping!

...Almost done! 

There is one more set to show off in this part of the reveal (you're starting to see why I broke this up into segments, aren't you?), and some of the components that I used to make it can be seen in this picture...

So, what did I make? 

This is what I made!

Back to the world of purple and silver and wire-wrapping, after my brown-and-cream interlude... This time in the form of a long dangling tassel necklace with matching earrings!

The tassel and all of the acrylic components were repurposed... I added some silver chain and glass beads to finish off the look.

So, there you go! That concludes Part 1 of the reveal of my April Monthly Challenge.

...You know, I honestly thought I was going to slack off this month, especially since I chose my challenge so late in the month. Heh. Apparently not.

And, yes, there's more! Tomorrow, I will show off what I made with this pile of goodies--and what repurposed components I matched with them!

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow... In the meantime, I'm off to edit some photos, learn how to cook steak, clean the house, and finish two more challenge pieces that I need to complete by May 1st. Heh. Never a dull moment!

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

April Pretty Palettes - Reveal!

This month's Pretty Palettes was inspired by the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi.

What is wabi-sabi? It's finding the beauty in the imperfect, delight in the broken. It values authenticity and accepts the transience of life. 

To pick out beads to match this aesthetic, the organizer of the Pretty Palettes challenge, Erin Prais-Hintz, found inspiration in old rusty gears. For some gorgeous pictures to illustrate this idea, be sure to visit the inspiration post for this challenge... They match perfectly the beads she selected:

...And, heh, I only used one of those components. 

To be fair, that wasn't by choice. I just wasn't able to get to a Michaels until near the end of the month--and I actually hadn't been sure I was going to get to go at all. Still--thankfully--I continue to have access to a computer, so I was able to place a quick order to JoAnn (they were running a free shipping coupon *grin*).

Based on what they had in stock, these are the beads that I picked out to match the rusty gear theme:

From top to bottom, the materials are: metal gears (which I had in my stash), gold-tone hematite (purchased on clearance last month at Michaels), carved soapstone, Australian jasper, copper plated spacers, and silver-plated wire.

Almost immediately, I decided to save the silver-wire lattice-work pieces for another project, and got to work with the shades of brown and copper and blue:

From that palette, this is what I made!

...Oh, and you may have noticed that I also incorporated some turquoise Picasso Czech glass, for fun. (From my stash, also purchased from Michaels.) *grin*

Here you can also see the asymmetrical earrings I made to match.

To make the pendant, I layered gears on top of an existing filigree that I had in my stash. I even added a touch of teal to the base (which you can't really quite see, but I know it's there!). 

Now, to be honest, I had not intended for any part of the pendant to be shiny... But when I added the final piece, the lacquer-adhesive that I was used seeped through the gear spokes--and, well, I improvised! :)

This necklace was both a blast to make (I love the colors!), and also a bit of a challenge. You see, as an nod to the wabi-sabi aesthetic, I wanted to make it asymmetrical.

...Yeah. Asymmetry is not my strongest suit.

Still, I think I did well. I am very pleased with how it turned out, and think it does justice to the inspiration... It is balanced, asymmetrical, and the array of colors echoes rusted gears, patinas, and the color variation that comes in nature. (And the pendant isn't perfect, but still lovely! Woo!)

But wait, there's more! 

While that is the only full set that I completed, I actually did start another one. So far, I have only made the earrings, but my plan is to make a matching necklace at some point. I didn't finish in time for this reveal, but that's okay... I'll show you what I have so far.

First up, here are the materials:

You'll recognize the wire-wrapped pieces from the earlier picture... this time paired with two shades and shapes of Czech glass.

With those components, I made these earrings:

I aged the silver pieces because they were a little too bright for what I had in mind... I then wire-wrapped the Czech beads (in bronze, because I apparently like mixing metals right now), and added them as dangles.

These two earrings are very similar, but not identical--because the wire-wrapped components are not identical. I think it adds to their charm.

And that's it! That's what I made for this month's Pretty Palettes. 

I really enjoyed working with these colors, and this aesthetic definitely made me push myself... I look forward to getting my hands on the beads that were originally picked out for this challenge, because I would love to create with them, too. :)

Thank you to Erin and the folks at Halcraft for hosting this challenge... And thanks to everyone for stopping by to see what I made!

Have a wonderful day!