Friday, March 31, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - March Reveal

Looking for my Bead Soup post? Go here... or keep scrolling! You'll find it eventually. :)

I've been doing so many other challenges this month, you might have thought I accidentally neglected my own.

...And you would be right, honestly. While working on pieces for my other projects, I almost ran out of time to create pieces for this one. Rather fitting, honestly, considering the inspiration for this month's challenge--Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll. The White Rabbit's admonishing of "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!" actually echoed through my head this week as I tried to finish up something to post.

But! I'm happy to report that I do have something to share for this Month's Challenge. It's not much (and I have three other pieces planned--including one involving the above compass), but it is something. Yay!

Anyway, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. Time to back up a bit. Again, my inspiration for this challenge was Alice's Adventures in Wonderland--more specifically, Lewis Carroll's whimsical and logical and nonsensical novel, not the Disney adaptation. (Not that there's anything wrong with that version! just wasn't my focus. *grin*)

I actually started work on this challenge while visiting my parents:

Rolling paper beads! Can you guess which ones were used for this project?
...You can also see the lime green I used in one of my Bead Soup creations.

The Queen of Hearts! My mum had a pack of cards she let me cut up.
Also, you can see the paper beads in their final form.

Once I got home, it was time to start putting those different elements together...

Designing time!

Ultimately, my puttering solidified into four different necklace ideas--only one of which I was able to finish in time for this reveal. That's all right, though... I'm really happy with how it turned out!

Without any further ado, I present: 

Painting the Roses Red

This necklace is made with: the three shades of paper beads, glass, crystal, the recycled chain tassel from a pre-made earring, a key-and-lock toggle clasp, and a pendant featuring the rose from the Queen of Hearts card.

It was made to represent the part of the novel where Alice first meets the Queen of Hearts. For those unfamiliar with this scene: Alice uses a key to unlock a door that leads to a lovely garden, where she finds three hapless gardeners (who are also playing cards) attempting to paint white roses red. The Queen then bustles in, and starts uttering her famous proclamation: "off with their heads!" Alice manages to save the heads of the gardeners--and her own--and is then requested (i.e. ordered) to join the Queen in a game of croquet.

To reflect this scene, the paper beads going from white to red (or perhaps red to white). I also added a heart charm for the Queen of Hearts and the key used to enter the garden in the first place. Oh, and as aforementioned, the pendant was made from an actual playing card, where the Queen is holding a red rose. Can't get much more Queen of Hearts than that!

I also tried to echo some of the Wonderland kookiness through the design. At first glace, it looks like the sides are simply asymmetrical, but in fact there is more to it than that. The sides are actually inverses of each other: one has the design going up, the other has it going down. One side uses silvertone wire and brass findings, the other uses bronze wire and silver findings. 

...What can I say, it seemed fitting for the subject matter. :)

I made one other thing to show off for this reveal: earrings!

And not just any earrings... Mushroom earrings! I present:

What Size Do You Want to Be?

In the story, Alice comes across a caterpillar who tells her that one side of the mushroom it's sitting on will make her taller, and the other side will make her shorter. This is quite a relief to Alice, who has been spending most of the novel going from one size to another!

Unlike their inspiration, these earrings don't actually change the wearer's height. They are also not edible. They are made with lampwork mushrooms and silvertone findings, and add a bit of Wonderland whimsy to any outfit.

So, there you go! Those are the pieces that I made for this reveal. Here they are together:

Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I made for this challenge. I do hope to post again with the other pieces I have planned... we'll just have to see when I have a chance to make them!

Have a wonderful Friday--and last day of March--everyone!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

March's Pretty Palettes - Reveal!

The end of March is creeping up on me... and that means it's time for this month's Pretty Palettes reveal! Hurray!

The inspiration for this month's challenge was this picture--taken by Molly Schaller, featuring tulips from her front yard:

From that picture, she came up with this palette:

...which she then translated into these beads:

Now, my Michaels was actually sold out of the green jasper stone chips... As a result, I did a little searching and came up with a slight variation on that theme:

...including that lovely Sedona pendant on clearance! I picked out a few darker greens to match the emerald hue of the pendant--meaning that, overall, my pieces have a bit of a bolder color contrast than the original palette. You'll see what I mean in a minute!

Now, it's been such a busy month that I was actually had to spend this morning finishing up my pieces for this challenge. (That's why I'm posting a bit later, for those of you keeping track.) It felt a little bit like writing a paper for a college class--knowing that there's a deadline looming and trying to get motivated to finish, all while longing to take a nap. Ha!

Despite my last-minute antics, I did successfully make two necklaces and three pairs of earrings.

Here is the first necklace:

Yep... there's a tassel! You're so surprised, I'm sure.

There is also that bolder color contrast that I was talking about... the juxtaposition of the dark green and the bright orange is much more stark than in the original color palette. Still, I think it works!

The tassel was made by me using a collection of different sizes and textures of beads. I used similar beads to make the body of the necklace itself, which I knotted on brown waxed linen in a semi-asymmetrical pattern.

Again, it's probably not a huge surprise that I used some of those same beads to make a matching pair of earrings. You know me and making matching sets! :)

...However, I also made a pair of earrings that don't quite match:

These earrings were made with wood saucers and two different styles of Czech glass--the hues of which don't exactly show up in the tasseled necklace. And that's okay! Look at me, branching out of my normal matchy-matchy tendencies. :) 

So, that covers one of the necklaces and two of the pairs of earrings. That leaves one more of each left to cover.

Below, you can see a hint of what the second necklace would become...

I'll give you a hint: it involves the beautiful Sedona pendant, and the beads on the right.

...It also involves no orange whatsoever. Heh.

I actually tried several different patterns, all involving orange, and none of them worked for me. And so, I decided to just focus on the green (Czech glass and crystal) and brown (wood), brought together with goldtone wire and findings.

That colorway is also seen in the matching earrings (reverting back to my matching ways).

Even though it doesn't resemble the inspiration photo in the slightest, I still think this set counts... After all, it incorporates the colors of earth and growing things--perfect for the beginning of Spring!

So, there you go... Those are the pieces that I made for this month's Pretty Palettes! Thank you, Molly Schaller and the Halcraft Blog for hosting this challenge!

And thank you for stopping by to see what I made... Be sure to swing by the official reveal to see what everyone else created for this challenge.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, March 27, 2017

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

Looking for my Bead Soup post? Go here... or keep scrolling down to see my previous two entries! :)

Every month, Sarajo Wentling over at SJ Designs Jewelry hosts the Honey Do List challenge. What is the Honey Do List Challenge? It's where her husband, Eric, issues her a beading challenge to use up some of her bead stash, as well as help her get out of her comfort zone. Luckily for me, she lets others play along, too! 

This month's inspiration was a close-up picture of ice crystals:

Here is what Eric said about this photograph:
I finally got set up with winter gear to go out in the Minnesota tundra...then it promptly got into the 60's and all the snow melted.  Shrugging it off--and into a light jacket--I took a trip down to the river in Belle Plaine and discovered these melting ice crystals shoved up onto the bank.  Not much colorful to take shots of yet but crystals seemed appropriate for a jewelry challenge!

I had a general idea of what I wanted to make as soon as I saw this picture--which was lucky, because at the time, I was packing projects to take with me on my visit to my parents. So, I gathered up some odds and ends (and by odds and ends, I mean quartz!), and went on vacation.

I'm proud to say that I actually made all of my challenge pieces while on vacation--and it was rather fun working with only what I had taken with me. I didn't have my entire craft room at my disposal, which added another layer of challenge. 

All in all, I made two sets.

Set #1

My first set was made with quartz stick crystals. Above, you can see my portable workstation that I had set up in my parents' living room... I got to sit on the couch and create, while my Dad sat in his favorite chair and watched March Madness.

To make the necklace, I wire-wrapped the crystals. This is the end result:

I chose the darker gunmetal wire to echo the play of light and dark in the inspiration picture, and I chose to messily wrap the pendant (and end dangle) to make it feel a bit more organic.

Now, I had originally planned on making two necklaces--a simple chain with the messy-wrapped crystal as a pendant, and another one with the crystal links. As I went along, however, neither design felt complete. 

And so, I decided to combine those two ideas into this final form.

Also! The length for this necklace is totally adjustable. Below, you can see two of the different length variations... When it's worn shorter, the extra chain with the crystal dangles down the back.

While I was wrapping the links, I put aside two of the crystals for earrings. They're rather simple earrings, really, but they match the feeling of the necklace: they are messily wrapped with gunmetal wire.


...So, there you go! The first set I made for this challenge.

Set #2

This second set also used quartz--but not stick crystals. (Although I did have an extra strand of them! You can see them in the upper left of the above picture--again, on my portable workstation. Really, it's just a beading mat in a cookie tray, but it's pretty much the best thing ever.)

Instead, I used frosted crackle quartz. I knotted the quartz on waxed linen with silver spacers, and came up with this design:

I didn't actually have enough of the quartz nuggets to make a complete necklace, so I added some chain for extra length. As a result, this necklace is approximately 17 inches long--and sits right on my collar bone.

And--surprise, surprise--I made earrings to match this necklace as well. I used two of the crackled quartz nuggets, and paired them with more linen and spacers to make these:

...They're a bit different and quirky, and I like them. In fact, I wasn't actually sure about this set at first--it wasn't quite what I had envisioned--but the more I look at it, the more I like it. It's always fun to play around, after all... And, chances are, I wouldn't have made this set if it hadn't been for this month's inspiration picture. :)

So, there you go! That is what I created for this edition of the Honey Do List Challenge. As always, be sure to swing by SJ Designs Jewelry to see what everyone else made!

Thanks so much, Sarajo and Eric, for continuing to let me play along... and thank you, readers, for stopping by!

Have a wonderful day, everyone!