Friday, December 30, 2016

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - December Reveal

It's my birthday!

...It's also the day that I planned for the reveal of my Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge! Woo!

As a refresher, my challenge this month was to make a Christmas tasseled necklace... And make a Christmas tasseled necklace, I did! 

In fact, I even made two of them! (I know that's a huge surprise, heh.)

First up, here is the necklace I made using the bright, festive colors seen above:

It even has bells! 

...And a handmade pendant, made by yours truly. :)

You can't quite see it in the above picture, but the pendant is actually a golden snowflake on a white background. Its creation was actually a rather happy accident... I started off trying to make the pendant using a piece of wrapping paper:

...but the paper was too thin and ended up flaking away. 

The snowflake design, however, stayed.

So, I added a white background in the form of a blank postcard, which was thick enough that it didn't flake away. By doing so, I created the lovely gold-and-white snowflake seen below:

...See what I mean? A happy accident. Not at all what I have originally intended, but it worked out perfectly.

Once I had the pendant made, everything else fell into place--I gathered the beads (including vintage red and green bicones), and all I had to do was wrap the links.

I say "all I had to do." Hah! There are 90 links in the tassel alone... This necklace was definitely time-consuming to make!

I have actually worn this necklace twice: once to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert, and once on Christmas day. I had originally intended to sell it, but apparently I just love it too much! (I mean, come on... It has bells! *grin*)

I'm sure that it's no surprise that I also really love the second tassel necklace that I made. In fact, I've already worn it, too--this time, to Christmas Eve festivities. 

The color palette is a little more subdued, but still no less festive:

Look familiar? These were featured in last week's Wednesday's Worktable.

Using those beads, this is what I made:

...An evergreen-and-holly necklace! 

While the first necklace is bright and cheerful and in-your-face Christmasy, this one is more stately, more vintage-looking, and was just perfect for the feeling of Christmas Eve.

This particular tassel only has 80 links in in--but, since the beads are bigger, it's actually the same length as the other one. Materials include garnet, Czech glass, glass, ceramic, and copper... and, of course, bells! 

Apparently nothing says "Christmas" quite like bells. 

And now, I have a confession to make... I was so caught up in the love of Christmas tassels, that I actually started a third necklace! I just haven't gotten very far in making it. (Imagine, I've been busy!)

Unlike the other necklaces, its palette is more monochromatic... more focused on winter as opposed to specifically Christmas.

The theme? Silver bells:

I really do look forward to finishing this one... The pendant is smaller than the others, and thus the tassel is not quite as sweeping. I think it will be just perfect to wear as winter progresses--reminding me to find the beauty, even in snow.

So, there you go! Those are the necklaces that I made for this month's challenge.

But wait! I have a bonus!

You see, I also made a Christmas tree ornament for this challenge:

...that counts as a tassel, right? :)

I made the focal at the same time as I made the one for the first necklace. It was made in the same manner, as well--with wrapping paper and a blank postcard as the background. I added the beaded dangle, and decided that it was too good not to include for this challenge. :)

Here it is, on my tree:

...And with that, my reveal is done! Thank you so much for stopping by today--and for letting me share my challenges with you this year. It's been a pleasure, and I can't wait to see what this next year has in store!

Happy end of December (and end of 2016), everyone!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

December's Pretty Palettes - Reveal!

This month's inspiration for Pretty Palettes was champagne. 

Old-movie-style champagne, to be precise... Vintage bubbly: the kind featured in black and white films, glamorous and decadent. In fact, the perfect inspiration for this time of year, as we transition from the old to the new.

Not my picture!
From Unsplash, credit Tamara Menzi.

When I first read the post introducing this theme, I immediately had ideas for two necklaces. One was going to be a long one featuring chain and creamy pearls, and the other was going to be a choker featuring the white-and-sparkly color palette picked out by Erin Prais-Hintz.

So! With that in mind, here are beads that I originally picked out and ordered online from Michaels (they were on sale!)...

Notice something not quite right here?

Unfortunately, I didn't realize until much later that one of the beads had actually fallen off of my central focal--whether in transit, or whether in my craft room, I'm not sure. All I know is that I cannot find the bead (or my receipt) anywhere. It's an easy enough fix, I realize--I just need to find the right replacement. (All my 5mm white pearls don't quite match... Honestly, who knew that there were so many shades of white?)

All was not lost, however! 

Another quick trip to the store--and a rummage through my stash--offered up some lovely alternative beads. With them, I was able to make this:

While not as elaborate as the multi-stranded necklace I originally had in my mind, this set has just the right mix of pearl and sparkle. As well as it should, considering it was made with crystal and glass!

The construction is fairly straightforward... All of the components are strung on beading wire. The earrings are dainty, and made with the same materials as found in the necklace. 

Still, I think this simplicity just adds to the charm of this set--a bit of elegant sparkle, reminiscent of that vintage bubbly!

...But wait, there's more! 

Remember that I said I had two necklaces ideas? Well, while the shorter necklace didn't quite go as I had intended (although still lovely!), the longer necklace came out exactly as I had pictured:

...Although it's also a bit of a challenge to photograph well! 

Ah well, I tried. :)

The idea for this necklace was to make it look, and lay, like a lariat. For that reason, it is quite long... It can be worn as is, or doubled up for a shorter, more conventional, length. 

The necklace itself is made with alternating sections of chain and beads--champagne crystals and creamy pearls, to be precise. I also used additional pearl clusters for matching earrings.

I find the style rather glamorous, a mix of Edwardian elegance with flapper flair. 

I am, in fact, extremely happy with how this set turned out... exactly as I had pictured it, and very much inspired by the golden decadence of champagne. (The pearl clusters even remind me of the bubbles, ha!) 

So, there you go! That's what I made for this month's Pretty Palettes. 

Thank you for stopping by! As always, feel free to stop by the Halcraft Blog to see what everyone else made--and thanks to Erin Prais-Hintz and the folks over at Halcraft for continually hosting such lovely challenges!

Happy end-of-December, everyone! 

Come back in a few days to see what I made for my own Monthly Challenge! :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Wednesday's Worktable

It's the Winter Solstice. The Wednesday before Christmas.

...And the day that I get to go see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert! Woo! 

For that reason, this week's worktable is brought to you from on the road... I'm over at my friend's house, since we're leaving for the concert as soon as she gets done with work. Still, I made sure to bring a project with me to work on until then. What can I say--I'm dedicated. :)

So... what's on my traveling beading mat? This:

Christmas colors!

That's actually a sneak peek at one of the Christmas tassel necklaces I've been working on for my Monthly Challenge. Czech glass and garnet, oh my! I'm actually hoping to finish this before the concert tonight (hah!), so I suppose I should get to work. Don't worry, though--I have a backup necklace, in case I don't get it done. 

Thanks for stopping by today!

Happy Wednesday--and Winter Solstice--everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2016

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

Guess what today is! That's right... it's the reveal day for December's Honey Do List challenge, hosted by Sarajo Wentling over at SJ Designs Jewelry. Every month, her husband gives her a design challenge--and they let the rest of us play along!

This month, the photo is a festive mix of red and black:

And this is what Eric Wentling has to say about it:

This month's challenge shot comes from a really cool special light exhibit by Bruce Munro at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.  I happily toted my tripod around and took hundreds of pictures while poor Sj tried to stay warm.  This particular photo was a long exposure where I slowly moved the camera to give the impression of motion.  I think the colors and sparkle in this shot will lead to some cool jewelry inspiration!

Now, I wasn't entirely sure what I was going to make for this challenge... I really wanted to echo the lines--and the motion implied by said lines--but I was unsure how. 

Eventually, however, I pulled out some glass and some dyed imitation turquoise, played around, and came up with this:


...Because what better way to hint at motion than by making a necklace with cascading fringe! Or something. ;)

Goofiness aside, I am actually very happy with the way this turned out. This was actually one of my first attempts making a fringed necklace (I usually do tassels), and the entire time I was making it, I was unsure how it would look in the end. I'm glad I stuck with it! I just wish I could have someone model it for me--it looks fantastic when worn. 

...I was so inspired, in fact, that I made some matching earrings:

The entire necklace (and matching earring pair) is knotted on waxed linen, spaced randomly in an attempt to echo the lines in the picture. The necklace sits on the collar bone, with the fringe tapering down to a V.

...Not my usual style, I admit, but definitely still cool! I might even need to try this design in a few other colors, too. :)

So, there you go! That's what I made for this challenge. Thank you, Sarajo and Eric, for letting me play along!

...And thank you for stopping by! I truly appreciate it, and hope you have a wonderful evening! 

Friday, December 16, 2016

We're All Ears: December Reveal - Use Your Leftovers Challenge

It's time for the second annual Use Your Leftovers Challenge, hosted by the Earrings Everyday blog!

I didn't participate last year (I didn't know about it!), so I'm glad that I got a chance to do so this year.

The idea was simple... Take a picture of your work space, gather up some leftover beads from previous projects, put them in a muffin tin or other such container, and use them to make earrings!

This is only part of my table... the rest is currently dedicated to Christmas presents,
and therefore off limits for photographing.

...Yeah. I'm a bit ashamed to say that that is the current state of my crafting table. I endeavor to always keep the beading mat clean and ready to create, but the rest of the table? Is one part bead hoarders paradise and one part craft tornado. (Erin Prais-Hintz calls it the craftermath, and boy is that accurate!)

So, from that unorganized pile of beading goodness, I picked out a few selections and put them in a muffin tin:

There you can see bits and pieces from previous projects--lampwork, paper, gemstone, pearl, a little bit of everything. Some collections I could envision exactly what I wanted to make, others I just had a rough idea.

And, from those selections, I made 16 pairs of earrings!

...Since the above picture doesn't really show them off that well, here they are--in all their leftover beady beauty!

Quick sidenote... the black flower earrings are actually interchangeable, and can even be worn as an asymmetric pair:

...All in all, not a bad collection! Especially since I so often overlook earrings--I'm more likely to make them to match a necklace, than to let them stand on their own. It was fun to just focus on making pretty dangles!

...And it was also fun using up some of my beading hoard! (And whoa, there is a lot more where that came from!)

Thanks so much for stopping by today... Be sure to stop by the Earrings Everday blog to see what other designers made with their leftovers! I'm going to go finish up some Christmas presents, and think about maybe dedicating one of my Monthly Challenges to cleaning up my craft table! :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!