Friday, May 27, 2016

The Jenny Monthly Challenge - May Reveal

It's Friday the 27th!

That means it's the last day of that busy time I have dubbed Reveal Week. (Seriously, the last week of the month always seems to be the week of show-and-tell. Not complaining! Just amused.)

That also means that I get to show off what I made for my Jenny Monthly Challenge! Yay!

As a reminder, this is what my friend picked out for me to work with this month:

Glass chili peppers!

...And, as an extra layer of challenge, I decided not to make a necklace with a tassel. You know, just to remind myself that I can. ;)

I started off the challenge by accumulating matching beads, whether by rummaging through my stash or by purchasing them on super sale because they matched perfectly (I'm looking at you, Czech picasso rondelles):

From top to bottom: two shapes of dyed coral, Czech picasso rondelles,
and of course the chilis.

And, with those materials, here is what I made!

...It's a chili spike necklace! 

And matching earrings, of course. (Because it's me, and that's what I do.)

Construction-wise, the necklace is pretty straightforward... It is strung on some beading wire, with your standard crimp beads holding everything in place. The earrings are also pretty simple... I twisted some 24 gauge silver-tone wire to hold everything in place.

Simplicity aside, I'm actually in love with this set--although I can't quite put my finger on why. It's just... happy. It straddles the line of classy and quirky. It's made with some expensive materials (those aforementioned rondelles were not cheap), and the spikes could very well be some fancy cut stones.

...But they're not. They're chilis.

And that makes me smile.

And so, there you go. That's what I made for my May Monthly Challenge.

And, I have a confession... I have an idea for a tassel necklace to make, too. I was actually going to make that as well for this reveal, but I haven't found the perfect focal for it yet. Oh, and I'll need to procure another strand of chilis. And more rondelles. I know--darn! More beading shopping! :)

Thank you so much for joining me for this Reveal Week! It's always fun to share what I've been up to--whether it be Bohemian-inspired necklaces (Pretty Palettes), owl-themed (SJ Designs Jewelry Honey Do Challenge), or now--a spicy chili set. Fun times!

Have a lovely day, everyone!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Thursday's Worktable

Woo, slipping this entry in under the wire! It's still Thursday, but just barely. :)

It's been a super busy week, but you will be happy to know that, in the midst of all the deadlines and responsibilities, I've still been managing to have some fun. Like on Monday, when I went to see the Shakespeare tribute/celebration--the one that they filmed in Stratford-upon-Avon, and showed in select theaters on this side of the pond. 

And then yesterday, I went to a Harry Potter-themed dinner.

So, what does that have to do with my worktable? 

Well, the Harry Potter dinner was a potluck... and I made these to take with me:  

Deathly Hallow keychains!

...Because even when we're supposed to bring food items, I'll figure out a way to incorporate beads. Heh. I'm just that talented.

The keychains themseves are made with charms I picked up on Etsy awhile ago, along with black glass (the cut of which reminds me of the Resurrection Stone from the movies) and matching findings.

I didn't completely neglect food, though... I made those keychains to go on these:

Eight little baggies of Jelly Bellies!
Not the Bertie Bott flavors, but close enough for my purposes.

I admit that I went a little above and beyond because these were people that I had never met before, and I wanted to impress them. ("Here, have some sugar and a handmade Harry Potter keychain, please like me!") 

More than that, though, I had a lot of fun assembling those bags. I had a lot of fun making those keychains. 

...And I had a lot of fun making something just for fun, and not because I had to. I wasn't required to take something with me (since it was my first time going), I just wanted to. And so I did!

I also made some candied pineapple to take with me:


And that has nothing to do with beads, I just wanted to show off anyway. I've never made candied pineapple before, and I think that's not bad for my first attempt! 

(As a bit of background: I'm not really comfortable in the kitchen. Recently, though, I've been pushing myself to try making food I've never tried before--a new dish every week. I've made steak, burrito bowls, and now candied pineapple. See, I don't just work with beads! *grin*)

So, that is what's been on my worktable (and in my kitchen) this week.

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

And why did I take candied pineapple to a Harry Potter-themed dinner? Because it was Professor Slughorn's favorite, of course! :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

May Pretty Palettes - Reveal!

It's time for another Pretty Palettes reveal! Yay!

Heh... I really do enjoy these reveals. Can you tell? :)

This month's Pretty Palettes takes its inspiration from the Bohemian aesthetic--its vibrant color scheme, variety of patterns and textures, eclectic focal points, controlled clutter, and natural materials. To that end, these are the beads that were picked out as this month's palette:

...And I actually made something with all (but one) of those components! 

To begin with--since it was so convenient last time--I once more decided to buy my beads online. From the online Michaels selection, these are the beads that I picked out...

 Half price sale! Woo!

You can see three of the original components: the green discs, the dragonfly strand, and the copper bead caps.

...but wait, there's more!

Because, as fate would have it, I actually got to the physical store, too. There, I picked up two more strands--the coral painted faceted glass and the acrylic flower rounds. 

So many beautiful beads to work with!

I went a little nuts picking out beads.
...I'm okay with that.

From those components, I had two main ideas. 

The first of those ideas was to stretch myself out of my comfort zone. I really wanted to make something only using the materials originally picked out, saving the extra beads for the second design. I also really wanted to make something using waxed linen. 

And, of course, I wanted to make something that truly fit the bohemian theme of this month's challenge.

So, after some trial and error--stringing and restringing--this is the set that I came up with:

Totally not my usual aesthetic!
...But I still think it works. :)

The necklace is strung on waxed linen, which I also used to make the earrings.  

A little about the pendant... My first attempt at this necklace did not include the dragonfly bead, or the little tassel underneath it. Once I had strung the beads, though, I realized that the pendant needed to be a little bit more pronounced. Eclectic, even. So, I added the extra elements to the green disc, which definitely adds to the character of the piece.

This set was both surprisingly difficult and surprisingly fun to make. Using the linen, mixing colors that I don't usually pair (mismatched shades of brown and green and coral... say what?!), and using all larger beads (I tend to make large statement necklaces out of a bunch of smaller components added together) definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone.

...And I might just try it again! :)

Now, the second set is much more my regular aesthetic--but hopefully no less bohemian. To create it, I started playing around with bead shapes and sizes and textures...

 Oooo, look at all the colors!

...and lo and behold, a tassel started to take form:

And here is the final product!

Back to using lots of smaller beads, with the larger ones serving as accents.

Yep, it's a giant bohemian tassel necklace!

It's made with a variety materials and textures and colors. There are ceramic beads, there are wood beads, there are Czech glass beads, there are crystal beads, there are stone beads. There is bright copper and antique copper and brass. 

I worked hard to control the chaos and balance the colors... I think I did a fairly good job!

This necklace actually took longer than expected to make... While everything just fell into place design-wise, actually finding time to work on all the links proved challenging. And I actually just finished the earrings this morning!

All in all, I am quite pleased with what I made for this challenge--one set that was my regular approach, and one that was quite different. 

Two different interpretations of the same boho aesthetic:

Continued thanks to Erin Prais-Hintz and those at the Halcraft blog for putting the Pretty Palettes challenges together. It was quite the fun project, and I appreciate the chance to stretch my skills.

...And now, after a very full day, I'm going to relax. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Have a wonderful night, everyone!

Reveal - SJ Designs Jewelry Honey Do List May Design Challenge!

Yep, here I am... late posting this reveal. Oops!

In my defense, I had the pieces done, all of the pictures taken and edited--I just couldn't focus enough to write the entry. My apologies... Although, I figure that I've been on top of posting everything else up until this point--missing a day or two isn't the end of the world. (And I technically need to write today's Pretty Palettes reveal, too... Heh.) 


This month's Honey Do List challenge over at SJ Designs Jewelry was all using this picture as inspiration: 

Not my photo!
From SJ Designs Jewelry

...and I really, really like that picture. 

I am quite fond of owls in general--and I love the colors and composition of this photo. That's why I decided to draw inspiration from the photo as a whole... the yellow-eyed owl amongst green and burgundy-purple and brown. 

And so, this is what I made:

Yep. I gave in and made a tassel necklace. It was the first idea that I had upon seeing the owl picture. While making the necklace, everything just came together, and I figured, why fight it?

The materials range from wood to shell, ceramic to glass... I went with goldtone findings to match the yellow of the owl's eyes. (I was so happy to find a ceramic yellow-eyed owl to use as a focal!)

Now try as I may, I couldn't find quite the right color to match the purple-red flowers, but I think the shell and carved magenta wood I used still manage to capture the feeling of the picture.

Oh, and I made matching earrings, too. :)

So, there you go! Thank you so much, Sarajo and Eric over at SJ Designs Jewelry, for letting us play along with your monthly challenge! I know that I was late in posting this, but I really had a wonderful time creating something based on your lovely photo. 

...And now I need to go get coffee, if I'm going to get anything else done today. Heh.

Have a wonderful day, everyone! I'm off to be productive!

Friday, May 20, 2016

We're All Ears: May Inspiration

This month's We're All Ears challenge was inspired by tea.

Yay, tea!

While I might not be quite on the same tea-loving level as my friend who has an entire pantry devoted to it, I can say that I definitely love tea. My personal favorite is Earl Grey, and has been for as long as I remember. (And while I don't think it was because of Star Trek, I'm sure hearing Captain Picard repeatedly say "Earl Grey, hot," certainly didn't hurt!)

When I read about this month's inspiration, I immediately thought of delicate china and tea parties in the garden, scones with clotted cream and cucumber sandwiches. It was based on this mental picture that I made these three pairs of earrings:

Made with cherry quartz and white glass pearls.

Made with pink glass pearls and white freshwater pearls.

Made with freshwater pearls and Chinese crystal, these could be worn to a high tea.
I can just taste the scones.

...Before this morning, that was actually where I was going to stop this entry. After all, three pairs of earrings is plenty!

Yet this morning, when I was preparing this post, I realized something: while those pairs of earrings capture the elegant fancy-china, pinky-up types of tea, they didn't really convey the pure at-home everyday comfort that tea can provide.

After all, I have plenty of fancy tea cups and tea pots...

...but my everyday tea supplies are much less photogenic. I mean, come on... My fresh loose leaf tea is kept in airtight containers with bright orange lids. Not exactly something you'd see in a fine tea room!

Fancy teapot being used for decoration,
while my actual tea-making supplies are on the counter.
See what I mean: bright orange lids!

I live 10 minutes away from Teavana.
My tastebuds think this is wonderful... my bank account, not so much.

So, back to my beading table I went, and created one more pair of earrings...

This time, made in shades of tea--whether it be sugary and sweet with lots of cream (the light bronze pearls), or heavily steeped and dark (the dzi agate). 

This pair is less bright and gilded than the other earrings--less special occasion, more everyday, but elegant in their own right. Just like tea... it can be as fancy as a proper British high tea or an age-old Japanese tea ceremony, or as comfortable and cozy as a mug of tea brewed at home on a rainy day. (Like today. Yep, it's raining again.)

Now that I'm thinking of it, I want to make some earrings that are devoted to the different kinds of tea--matcha and chai and rooibos and white tea. Gah--too many ideas, not enough time!

...Did I mention that I love tea? ;)

So, there you go! That's what I made for this month's We're All Ears challenge. Thank you, as always, to Earrings Everyday blog for hosting this challenge... and thank you, wonderful readers, for stopping by!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! ...and maybe drink some tea, while you're at it. :)