Friday, November 24, 2017

After-Thanksgiving Coma

Hello everyone!

Today is being deliciously slow. The last few days have been a whirlwind of cooking and cleaning and eating--wonderful times with wonderful people. (How did I get so lucky to have such fantastic people in my life?)

...And now I'm enjoying a chance to just sit still.

Cookies! ...these were part of Wednesday's preparation.
There were even some leftover for Thanksgiving. ;)

That being said, I'm pleasantly poking away at my Monthly Challenge reveal that I have scheduled for today. There's about a 50/50 percent change it'll go up today. I just figured I'd give you, my wonderful readers, a heads-up... so I don't feel guilty if I end up taking a nap, or going for a drive with my husband, or just cuddling on the sofa watching a movie.

Holidays are the best.

Have a wonderful Friday, everyone! My wish for you is that you get a chance to be as comfortable as I am right now! :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable

Hello, everyone!

So sorry, but there's no worktable post this week... I've been quite busy with Thanksgiving preparation. In fact, between that and NaNo, I haven't gotten a chance to make any jewelry the last few days. Boo!

However, I do still plan on having my Monthly Challenge reveal on Friday... feel free to stop by then to see what I created!

Until then... Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Black and White

If you've been on social media much recently, you may have seen a challenge going around to post black and white photos. The idea is that you post 1 picture a day for 7 days, capturing moments of your life... offering no explanation, and including no people.

I honestly love black and white photography. Granted, I know that I'm not the best at it (my sister-in-law, though--she is a very gifted photographer, and her images are amazing!)... Still, I love the contrast that it brings, and the way that it makes you notice shadows and the play of light. 

I ended up posting my pictures on Instagram at the beginning of the month, but I decided that I wanted to put them here, too. I hope you enjoy!

...And now, I really do need to get back to writing. Hah! These NaNo words aren't going to write themselves.

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Friday, November 17, 2017

We're All Ears - November Reveal

Apparently, I'm not the only one who has words on the brain this month! :)

The We're All Ears challenge for this month is all about the power of words--of quotes, specifically. To get us started, here are the inspirational quotes offered... well, as inspiration:

It's always fun to take something abstract and try to represent it physically, so I jumped on this challenge immediately. Ultimately, I made a pair of earrings and a bonus bracelet... and had a great deal of fun doing so.

Up first, the earrings!

Never Stop Growing

To introduce this pair of earrings, I need to take you back... way back. 

Back to when I was in elementary school, and was starting to make my own jewelry.

Yes, that is one of my very very first bead boxes... And, yes, I still have it! Hah. My bead organization scheme has changed several times over the years, but this box has pretty much remained untouched. The pieces in it are old (vintage now, I suppose), and almost all are plastic, but I keep them around to remind me how far I've come. (And because those clear beads glow-in-the-dark, and I still think that's cool. Heh.)

Who would have thought that this humble jumbled box assembled by a 9-year-old* actually contained the seeds of who I would be today?

...And that's why I thought some of them would be perfect to use in a pair of earrings about growth. I chose to use the pink rounds in the middle of the box--little me had gleaned from an even older necklace, I think--to use for my design:

I paired the pink beads with brass flowers and brass leaf bead caps--all in keeping with the growing theme.

You know, I really have come a long way since I first put that box together. I'm grateful that I haven't stopped growing... and I'm grateful to know that I'm not stopping any time soon! :)

Chart Your Own Course

Since I had my old bead box out, I decided I also wanted to make something with the humble gemstone chip beads that were hiding amongst the plastic:

Those are actual rose quartz and turquoise chips. I remember very specifically that I had gleaned them from a special bracelet that I used to have--turquoise is my birthstone, and I remember being very proud to have an actual turquoise bracelet. (It's pretty amazing the things that we retain, isn't it?)

And so, I decided that I would make those pieces into a new bracelet. After looking at the other quotes, I decided that the best fit for my bracelet would be the quote "chart your own course." After some fishing around in my more recent stash, I came up with this:

With a compass and an arrow, and containing beads from when I was a little girl, I'd say that this bracelet is a pretty good representation of charting my course and following my path. I'm excited to see where that path leads next! :)

So, there you go.

Thank you for letting me regale you with my memories. Please be sure to stop over at Earrings Everyday to see what everyone else made for this challenge... I know that everything will be lovely, and just as inspired.

Thanks again, and have a wonderful day, everyone!


* - Not actually sure if I was 9, but it was around that age. I was in elementary school--probably 4th grade. For the sake of this narrative, I'm sticking with 9. I'm sure you get the idea. *grin*

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable

I get to show off pretty things today! Yay!

As you may recall, last week I was in a bit of a jewelry-creating lull. So, to shake off my creativity block, I asked my best friend to give me a color. Then, I challenged myself to make something in that color.

Just what was the color, you ask?


Those earrings were the first thing that I created to go with this challenge. I honestly thought that they were all that I was going to make.

However, I apparently own a lot of orange beads. Heh. Before I knew it, I also had two necklaces on my worktable--and I just finished the second one last night.

So, without further ado... Here are the necklaces that I made for this orange mini-challenge! :)

Necklace #1

For this first necklace, I used copper and quartzite, and a pendant that my husband bought me a few Christmases ago. As soon as I saw it in my stash, I knew that I had to use it... and it was not long before this necklace came together:

My original plan was to list this necklace on my store, but now that I've made it I know that it needs to go to my best friend instead. (Yes, the very one who gave me the challenge in the first place.) The combination of copper and orange is right up their alley. :)

Necklace #2

While rummaging through my stash, I also found this giant hank of orange seed beads (also from my husband). I saw it, and immediately wanted to make a tassel. 

...Because I'm addicted to making tassels, and apparently that's not going to change any time soon. Ha!

I then gathered up the rest of my orange beads--glass and crystal, mostly--and things went from there.

The final result is a wonderfully flow-y, drape-y, fun, unapologetically orange tassel necklace.

As a side-note, this necklace took forever to make. I'm not entirely sure why, but this particular 22 gauge gold-plated brass wire that I used was super stiff. Working it made my hands hurt, so I could only do small sections at a time. (Granted, I have used the same stuff before without issues. Maybe my hands are just telling me that they need a break!)

In any case, I'm super excited that this necklace is done!

So, ta-da! That's my follow-up from last week's Worktable post. And, you know, I never used to like orange all that much... but as I'm getting older, I'm finding that I like it more and more. It's just so darn bright and happy. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I'm working on! Now it's time for me to go work on my project for National Novel Writing Month! I'm at 27,800 words... woo-hoo!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable - Part 2


...It's what's on my beading table. :)

Now, I have actually made one and a half pieces thus far for this little mini-challenge--the one I came up with to get me making jewelry this week (with some help from my best friend, who chose the color). I've made a pair of earrings, and the beginnings of a necklace.

However, I have yet to get really good pictures of either. Oops!

So, to tide you over until that happens, I'll give you a teaser:

...Why, yes, that is the beginning of a tassel necklace. I never thought you'd ask. ;) 

I'm going to keep working on this, and hopefully post more pictures soon. In the meantime, thank you for your patience!

And now, I need to go finish my NaNo words for the day. Thanks so much for stopping by today... Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! :)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable

...Part 1!

So, I haven't really been making jewelry this week. As one would expect, most of my time has been taken up with writing for NaNo. (I'm making a lot of progress with that, though. Woo!)

However, making things with my hands is incredibly important to me... So much so, in fact, that when I don't get a chance to be hands-on creative, I get cranky. And that's why today, I sat down to make some jewelry.

...Except I couldn't think of anything to make. Sure, I have projects that need to be done, but making something for fun? Nope. Nothing. Complete creative block.

The answer? Crowd-sourcing! 

In other words, I texted my best friend to give me a random color. 

The view from my craft room table. This tree is like a burst of sunshine.

And the random color of choice: orange!

...And so, I'm about to  go sit down at my craft table to make something orange. If I come up with anything fun, I'll share it tomorrow or Friday. (Hence I called this part 1.) If not, I'll post a picture or two of some pretty orange beads. 

Either way, my goal is clear... I'm going to try to get out of my head, and make something creative with my hands! After all, writing is wonderful, but sometimes it's nice to physically hold something I've made. :)

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

Friday, November 3, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - November Edition

For me, November is all about writing.

And if there is one thing that's true about me, it's that I love connecting my jewelry to my writing. Heh, my entire Etsy store is even devoted to that. (If you aren't familiar with my store, I essentially write stories to go along with every piece that I create--and they are all connected to the setting of the novel that I'm writing. World-building for the win!) 

Recent addition to my store... I had a lot of fun writing the story for this one.

I also love taking characters and "translating" them into jewelry. 

Are they big and bold, or much more reserved and elegant? Are they orderly and symmetrical, or all over the place? What colors match them--are they passionate and bright like red and orange, or are they mysterious and deep like blue or violet? 

I find it fascinating to tell their stories, not just through words, but through physical forms like jewelry. 

Perhaps one of my favorite examples of this...
This is a necklace I made for someone, based off of a DC Comic character
of all people (Jason Todd, for those interested). Going through all my
design choices would take an entire entry in and of itself.

I also really like creating a specific set of rules--almost like a jewelry language--when I work on jewelry for characters from the same story. 

For example: when I was making the pieces to go along with the launch of LS Baird's novel Evensong's Heir, I had certain beadcaps that I would only use for a specific type of character. 

In fact, if anyone was paying close attention to what I made, they would have found a huge spoiler as a result. Hah! (To this day, I don't think anyone caught it. *grin* I'll give you a hint... the beadcaps can be seen in the pieces below.)

So, anyway. I'm sure you're wondering, what does this have to do with this month's challenge? 

Well, I want to make jewelry to go along with what I'm writing for National Novel Writing Month. 

This is not the first time I've done something like this...
This necklace is connected to another of my stories,
and the corresponding blog entry can be seen here.

So... Will my challenge piece reflect the setting of the novel, the Land of Fairy Tales? Will it reflect the main character herself (who, thus far, has been rather elusive as far as jewelry translation goes)? I honestly have no idea... So, come by on Friday, November 24th to see what I end up making!

Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I'm up to... Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Hello, November!

It's that time of year again! 

...That wonderful time where people all over the world attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. 

That's right: it's time for National Novel Writing Month

I've actually done this for the last 7 years--longer, really, but that's as far back as my online account seems to go--and once again I'm joining the crowd of ambitious writers. So far I'm doing well... I've reached today's word count goal, and am still going. Woo!

Now, knowing that this undertaking was looming ahead, I have spent the last few days trying to finish up some beading projects on my worktable. That way, they didn't languish away while I'm writing.

One of those projects was October's Bargain Bead Box. The theme for the box was all things steampunk... it was full with copper gears and keys and shades of brown. I decided to divide up the components and make two different sets, and just yesterday I finished up my projects.

And so, for this week's worktable update, I'll show you what I created!

Set #1

This is the first necklace that I made, focused on the key pendant that was included in the box. I combined it with glass and crystals and paper beads I made--all in shades of purple and green.

Why purple and green? Well, that actually ties in with one of the stories that I'm writing... But telling you about the significance would count as a spoiler, so you'll just have to take my word on it. :)

I also made matching earrings to go with the necklace--also with key-themed charms from the box. 

Oh! And speaking of the key-theme, you might want to check out the toggle clasp I used:

Yep, it's a copper key-and-lock toggle clasp! One that I already had in my stash, actually, and just happened to match... it's always fun when things fall into place like that. :)

Set #2

For this second set, I went all out:

It's a steampunk gear tassel necklace!

It's made with copper and Autumn jasper and glass and crystal and ceramic--honestly, a little bit of everything. (Perhaps I was rebelling a little from only being able to use one type of material for my October Monthly Challenge?)

I also made two different pairs of matching earrings... I couldn't decide which design I liked better, so I just made them both.

Honestly, I have been wanting to make a steampunk tassel necklace for awhile... I was pretty thrilled when I was able to do so with the materials in the box. That pendant is perfect. :)

Now, my original plan was to post all of these pieces to my Etsy store, although now I am strongly considering keeping at least one of them. Probably the tassel necklace. Or I could list it, and buy the materials to make another one for me at a later time. Oh, the decisions!

And now it's time for me to get back to working on NaNo. Thank you so much for stopping by today... As always, I appreciate you!

Happy November, everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful day!

P.S. Heh, I have had a lot of caffeine today in an attempt to have the energy to get a good head start on my NaNo novel. As a result, I am very excited about everything and feel like I'm THINKING IN ALL CAPS. Hah. I tried to tone it down for my blog entry, but I don't know if I did a good job. Ah well... hopefully my excitement isn't annoying! :)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Art Bead Scene - October Reveal(ish)

I have mentioned before that I follow the Art Bead Scene Studio blog. Every month, they have a wonderful challenge where they post a work of art, and designers make jewelry (or beads) inspired by it. As one would suspect from the title, the only requirement is that it include an art bead. I was able to participate back in July, and have been looking for the opportunity to do so again.

So! This month, I carved out a little time to do just that. This month's inspiration is a painting of the famous Madame De Pompadour, by 
Francois Boucher:

And I knew exactly what I wanted to make.

...Except it didn't work out. At all.


I attempted two other designs, and they also didn't work out. 

Eventually, I did successfully make something... only to realize that it probably doesn't fit the one requirement of this challenge. You see, while it includes paper beads that I made, they probably aren't considered art beads.

Ah well. 

Regardless, I decided I would go ahead and share what I made... If for no other reason than to point you in the direction of the creative and talented people who did successfully fulfill the requirement of the challenge.

And because what I did make took a lot of work:

So much wire-wrapping. So much paper-bead rolling. So much work finding the exact right order of beads to make it lay right.

...And you wouldn't believe how hard it was for me to find that ribbon in the right color! :)

All grousing aside, though, I am actually very happy with how this turned out. 

I like the way that the many layers of the necklace reflect the many poofy layers of Madame De Pompadour's dress, and the way that the ribbon softens the finished look to match the soft lines and contours seen in the painting. I like the way that the different shades of magnesite resemble the different hues caused by the shadows, and that the pearls have the same sheen as the orange ribbon around her neck. I like how fancy and frilly it is--like Rococo painting in general, really.

...And I'm also pleased that it's finished. Hah! It's been quite some time since a challenge gave me quite so many problems, and it's nice to feel at least a little bit victorious. :)

So, there you go! Thank you so much for stopping by today to see what I made for this challenge... Hopefully my plan for next month's Art Bead Scene Challenge goes a bit smoother! Heh. I suppose only time will tell. :)

Have a wonderful Halloween, everyone, and a wonderful last day of October!