Friday, June 30, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - June Reveal

It is the last Friday in June... and actually the last day in June, period. 

What a wonderful day, than, to have my reveal for June's Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge! :)

As a reminder, this month's challenge was based on the idea of "Something Old, Something New"... meaning that I was going to attempt to finish a project that had been sitting on my worktable for a long time (something old), as well as to start and finish a project I had never tried before (something new).

...And wow, I had a lot of success with this challenge! So much so, that I actually don't have time today to show you everything I made. That's all right, though--I'll show you one for each category, and hopefully share the rest at a later date. :)

So, first up, one of the three necklace sets I made for the first part of the challenge:

Something Old

I have had this collection of beads on my table for months. I actually bought them on my trip to Maryland back in March--I had great plans for them, but never got around to working with them.

Until this week, that is.

Now, I knew that I wanted to make at least two different necklaces with those beads--one focused on the combination of silver/gunmetal/turquoise, and the other on copper/brass/green. I didn't do both this month, but I did do one of them. 

Guess which one:

...And yes, it involved making my own giant tassel. :)

After quite a bit of work (it took me longer to make that tassel than I care to say), this is what I came up with:

I love the way that this turned out. It is a combination of glass, silver plated metal, and magnesite, all wire-wrapped together with 22 gauge gunmetal wire. The tassel is weighty but not overbearing, and has a gorgeous amount of sway to it.


Yeah, I'm definitely in love with it. I've been going through my recent jewelry, trying to decide which pieces to sell and which to keep... This one is definitely staying in the "keep" pile. :)

Something New

Up next, the Something New part of this challenge! For this part, I ended up making two things: a necklace, and a papercraft. I'll show off the necklace some other time... For now, though, I'll share something that my mum showed me how to make:


Now, to be fair, I've done bookbinding before. This was a new experience, though, because we only used one signature instead of multiple--which makes these more like folios or impromptu poetry journals. 

We also made the covers, which was a gloriously creative (and messy!) process. We painted and sprayed and stenciled heavy watercolor paper, on both sides to decorate the cover and as well as the inside:

Once both sides of the covers dried, we then measured and cut and folded paper to serve as the pages: 

...And chose which color linen we wanted to use to bind them:

I didn't get any pictures of the actual binding process, but it involved poking holes through the cover and the pages, and then using the linen to stitch them together:

My mother's craft table is always so neat and clean, and then I come through
and there is an explosion. Heh. Also, I managed to dye my fingers with all
the inks and paints we used. What can I say--creativity can be messy! :)

All in all, I made three journals. Here are some close-ups for you...

I had so much fun making these! I want to make so many more... and part of me wants to make necklaces in those same colors, too. How fun would that be--having your journal and your jewelry match. :)

So, there you go! Thank you so much for stopping by today to see what I made for this challenge! As I get the chance, I'll share the other pieces that I made, too... And I'm already planning what I'm going to do for July. So many creative projects... Woo-hoo!

Have a wonderful last day of June, everyone! :)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Pretty Palettes - June Reveal

It's the last Wednesday in June... and you know what that means! That's right, it's time for the Pretty Palettes reveal! Hurray! :)

This month's palette, chosen by the talented Molly Schaller, is proof that you really can find inspiration anywhere. In her post introducing the challenge, she wrote that she had been looking high and low for a color combination, to no avail... until she looked down at her pencil case, binder, and book she had recently picked up from the library. The combination of colors and patterns really popped out at her:

...and inspired her to come up with the following palette!

To match those colors, as well as the patterns from the inspiration photo, these were the beads that she picked out:

...And I actually picked out most of those same beads, as well. When I went shopping with my mother while on vacation, these are what I found:

The main differences are the size of the white howlite beads, the fact that the blue beads are wood and not magnesite, and the addition of the blue rectangles (the latter of which I didn't actually get to use). Oh, and you may notice that there's some matching paper under there, too. Yep, paper beads are going to make another showing this month!

I had so many ideas of jewelry to make with these beads... In the end, though, I only had time to make two sets. Still, I'm pretty happy with how they turned out... And so, without any further ado, here is what I made!

Set 1

When I was first designing this set, I attempted to use all of the beads I had picked out. Eventually, however, I realized that not everything worked with the vision I had... So, I put aside the crackled agate, rummaged through my stash for matching beads, and came up with this:

Surprise! It's a tassel necklace. :)

To make this necklace, I made four different colors of paper beads: red, brown, redbrown, and bluewhite. Four of each color are featured in this necklace--two in the tassel, and two in the mildly asymmetrical strands. (If you look closely, you can see that the strands are actually reverses of each other. *grin*)

I also made sure to add some dark brown wood rounds (leftover from March's Pretty Palettes, actually) and some 4mm grain stone... That way, both the dark and light shades of brown were represented, even though I didn't use the crackle agate.

After I made the necklace, I decided to also made some matching earrings:

These were so much fun to make! They're so much bigger than I usually create, and it was fun stepping out of my comfort zone. Using paper beads and the silver plated saucers helped cut down on the weight, so even I can wear them comfortably. (I'm incredibly, incredibly sensitive to heavy earrings, and never wear them as a result.)

The patterns featured in the inspiration picture really made me think of my college thesis, which included a section on Navajo textiles... So, with this set, I tried to stay true to both the color palette as well as the slightly Southwestern feel of the inspiration. Overall, I am very pleased with how this set turned out! :)

Set 2

After finishing up the first set, I wanted to work next with the crackle agate. I didn't finish making a necklace, but I did make a pair of earrings (seen above), and a bracelet (seen below).

To make the bracelet, I used grain stone and two shades of magnesite (blue and white). The leather I used is metallic rose; it looks brown in these photos, but it is in fact a beautiful muted red. I then finished the design--and made sure all colors were represented--by making dangles with crackle agate and wood rounds.

While the colors of the first set are very bright, the hues of this second set are much more subdued. I'm excited to make a matching necklace at some point--perhaps with those beautiful crackled agate ovals. We'll have to see!

So, there you go... Those are the pieces that I made for this June's Pretty Palettes! I admit that it was a fair challenge for me--those are not colors I usually think to put together. I certainly enjoyed pushing myself!

Thanks so much for stopping by today to see what I made... Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Monday, June 26, 2017

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

Every month, Sarajo Wentling over at SJ Designs Jewelry hosts the Honey Do List Challenge. 

What is the Honey Do List Challenge, you ask? It's where her husband, Eric, issues her a beading challenge--with the intent that she both use up some of her bead stash and get out of her comfort zone. Luckily for me, she lets others play along, too! 

This month's inspiration was a photo of a grosbeak:

Here is what Eric said about the inspiration:
This spring I've really been taking a lot of bird pictures and wanted to use one of these shots for this month's challenge.  I thought this rose-breasted grosbeak would be an interesting subject due to the stark black and white colors with a pop of bright red.  Try using this color combo for a piece!

For this challenge, instead of focusing on the bird (mainly because I've actually run out of different bird beads/charms in my current stash, and was trying not to buy anything new), I decided to take Eric's suggestion and focus on the color combination.

Luckily for me, I had some beads left over from last month's We're All Ears challenge that fit the color scheme perfectly!

Paper beads made from a sofa advertisement...
who knew that they would match the colors of a rose-breasted grosbeak?

Since I was going to Maryland for part of this month, I packed up my tools and some coordinating beads... And, like I did back in March, I started playing around with necklace designs while on vacation. You can even see some of my mum's paper-crafting supplies in the background while I was playing with different ideas:

I went through so many design drafts while working on this challenge. When packing, I hadn't included a focal to go with the beads... and recently, I have very much been using focals as the springboards for my ideas. 

Eventually, however, I finally settled on this design:

The materials include crystal (black), shell (white), coral (red), and the paper beads (of course), all wire-wrapped together with 22 gauge aluminum wire. 

For the focal, I went with a chainmaille love knot... the interweaving of the rings reminded me of a stylized bird nest, so I thought it matched the inspiration picture quite well. Besides, I didn't have a focal with me--but I had many sizes of jumprings! :)

I also made three pairs of earrings to go along with this challenge--two from the same batch of paper beads, and one with different materials altogether.

That last pair is made with howlite, coral, and custom-shaped ebony drops... light-weight and elegant, and a variation on the red-white-brownblack theme.

All in all, I made four pieces for this challenge... Here they are, all together:

Thank you so much for stopping by to see what I made for this fun challenge... and, as always, thank you so much to Sarajo and Eric for letting me play along! Be sure to check out Sj Designs Jewelry blog to see what everyone else made!

Have a wonderful week, everyone!