Friday, September 29, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - September Reveal

Ten days ago, I announced what I would do for this September's Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge... and I'm excited to say that I have something to show for it! Hurray!

As a refresher, my challenge was to make something with this lovely mix of orphaned beads (a veritable bead soup, if you will):

Not my picture!
This was from the Etsy listing, found here.

I do love a good bead soup, after all... and it's even in my favorite color! :)

For this challenge, I started by sorting out the beads, trying to get an idea of what I wanted to make...

...And very quickly I realized that I was smitten with the combination of the reddish purple pearls and the beads with the metallic rainbow sheen. That led to me searching through my stash to see if I had anything else that matched that particular color scheme.

One thing led to another, and very soon I had a necklace.

This necklace, to be precise:


Hand-knotted on waxed linen, it is a combination of materials both from the bead soup and my stash. The materials include pearl and glass and brass and gold-plated metal--all put together in a unabashedly purple necklace.

Oh, and another fun fact: the golden circle that serves as part of the pendant is actually a re-purposed ring.

Also, I've made a matching pair of earrings--but I have yet to get any good pictures of them. Ah well. Hopefully soon!

Thank you so much for stopping by today to see what I made... Although rather last minute, I'm very happy with how this necklace turned out. And, since I have many more pieces of the bead mix left, I'm excited to make some other pieces, too!

Have a wonderful Friday, everyone!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Reveal - SJ Designs Jewelry Honey Do List September 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!

Now, I wasn't able to play long last month... But, happily, I was able to join in for September's challenge!

Here was this month's inspiration:

Sunflowers! (Heh, great minds think alike... sunflowers were also the inspiration for this month's We're All Ears Challenge.)

Here is what Eric had to say about these pictures:
I haven't been out with the camera as much as I'd hoped recently.  Looking for something to prolong the summer, I decided on posting these sunflower pictures.  One of these was from the MN Landscape arboretum, while the other was a self-planted seed from our own bird feeder!  I have plenty of shots of bees all over these things but wanted to stick with just the flower this time.  Show me some last gasp of summer in jewelry form!

Now, I mentioned that there was an earring challenge this month that also centered around sunflowers--and yes, I did make some sunflower earrings for it. And, as a result, I kind of cheated for this Honey Do List challenge. 

No, I'm not using those earrings for this reveal... But I am using the necklace that I made to match! 

I couldn't help myself... once I made the earrings, I was on a roll! Besides, I had more of those happy little sunflower charms that I wanted to use. :)

About the necklace: it is made with glass and metal, and is extremely dainty. All of the wire-wrapping was done with 26 gauge bronze wire; thicker wire overpowered the little seed beads. I used both brass and gold accents to mimic the shadows cast on the inside of the flower by the petals.

Truth be told, I'm a little worried that it might be too delicate... I've used thin wire for necklaces before with positive results, but something about this one is giving me pause. I'm hoping to play around with it just a little more to make sure it's up for the rigors of normal wear. 

...Or maybe that's just my excuse to wear it a lot. Hah. In any case, if I make any changes, I'm sure I'll end up posting them here!

So, there you go! That is the necklace that I made for this challenge. Thank you, as always, to both Sarajo and Eric for letting me play along! 

...And thank you, readers, for stopping by today to see what I made! Please be sure to check out the reveal on SJ Designs to see what other artists have created, too.

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable

My worktable is overflowing today!

...And, I must admit, I like it that way. It gives me something to think about other than the fact that I'm sick.

So, for the curious, here's a peak at what I've been working on this week...

Project #1: My September Monthly Challenge

So much purple! If you missed yesterday's post, I finally announced what I'm doing for my Monthly Challenge for September--and yes, it involves a lot of purple! Since the reveal date is pretty close--and getting closer--I've hit the ground running... and I'm pretty happy with what I've come up with so far!

Project #2: This Month's Bargain Bead Box

I didn't even get a chance to play with the Bargain Bead Box from last month, and I missed it. So, I'm making sure to take time this week to actually play with the one from this month... It's a collection of autumn colors mixed with gold--lovely!

Project #3: Custom necklace for one of my sisters-in-law

She picked out the beads and asked if I could use them to make something for her. It's always fun making things for my family members... they all have their own distinct styles, and I enjoy the challenge of making something that's just right. :)

Project #4: Finally posting things to my Etsy store!

...My poor, much neglected Etsy store. Ah well. I have been slowly, slowly chipping away at my huge backlog of lovely items that need to get posted--like the above necklace that I made for March's Pretty Palettes Challenge. I'm hoping to continue to list items, too... If there's something that I've made that you've been secretly pining away for, chances are it will be posted to my store in the near future! (And if you don't see it, let me know and I'll see what I can do. *grin*)

So, ta-da! That's what has been keeping me busy this week--and I've been busy, indeed.

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - September Edition

Egads, this month is getting away from me! 

Here it is, September 19th, and I haven't even posted about this month's challenge--much less the results of last month's challenge! Vacation brain, I'm telling you. (Well, and now I'm sick to boot... ah well. At least I wasn't sick while I was away.)

So! Even though there are only 11 days left in this month, I didn't want September to sneak by without me doing some sort of challenge. And, I think I have found the perfect thing!

Earlier this year, I found an Etsy shop--called The Blue Hutch--that sells really cool orphan bead mixes (Bead Soups, if you will). Since I'm a sucker for collecting projects, I went ahead and bought one:*

Not my picture!
This was from the Etsy listing, found here.

It's a lovely collection of glass and pearl and ceramic, with some handmade components as well. And it's purple, my favorite color. :)

Not my picture!
This was from the Etsy listing, found here.

So, my challenge this month? Make something with at least some of these lovely materials! (I'm not limiting myself to only using them, or having to use all of them... I just want to make sure that a fair number of them are incorporated into something beautiful.)

Be sure to come back in 10 days, on Friday the 29th, to see what I end up making!

And now I'm off to make some tea, and start creating... Have a wonderful day, everyone!


* - Yes, I bought only one! Although I really do wish that I could buy them all... If only money permitted. *wistful sigh*

Friday, September 15, 2017

We're All Ears - September Reveal

Did you know that today is the third Friday of the month?

...Neither did I. Heh. Apparently I still have vacation brain, because I was taken by surprise when my calendar alerted me that today was the reveal for this month's We're All Ears challenge

What's more--I hadn't even thought about making something yet. Oops!

This month's inspiration: sunflowers!
Not my photo... Taken from the Earrings Everyday blog entry introducing this challenge.

Still, this afternoon I was able to sit down at my craft table and poke at my beads. I was rather surprised to find I have a fair amount of yellow beads... And I even had little sunflower charms! Apparently hoarding beads sometimes pays off. ;)

So! For this month's edition of "ack I need to make some last minute earrings," I present the following: 

Pretty little sunflower earrings!

These earrings were made with a combination of glass and brass and 26 gauge wire (thicker wire completely overpowered the dainty seed beads). Even though they're fairly long, they are actually quite delicate and light... Like the petals of the sunflower itself, and just as bright!

So, there you go! Thank you so much for stopping by today to see my last minute earring pair. Be sure to stop by the Earrings Everyday blog to see what everyone else made for this challenge... With such talented artists and a lovely subject, I'm sure everything will be beautiful. :)

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Allegory Gallery - Kaleidoscope Mystery Competition Reveal

It's been a rainy, grey week here in Cincinnati... and that means that it's a perfect time a jewelry reveal! 

And this is not just any jewelry reveal. This time, it's for the Kaleidoscope Mystery Competition, put together by Allegory Gallery--about as far from "rainy" and "grey" as you can get! 

I mean, just look at these colors:

This kit was truly beautiful. Now, I know I say that about all of the Allegory Gallery kits... but that's because it's true! They have an eye for color and detail, and I love their selections. This kit was certainly no exception.

Sadly, none of the pictures I took of the actual kit turned out well. I suppose I was in a bit of a rush to start playing with the beads! Still, I think you get a pretty good idea of the beautiful components from this picture, taken from the official Allegory Gallery listing:

The colors were bright, full of saturated hues and a fair amount of pink. There were seed beads in two different sizes, a strand of glass chips, and a luxury bead blend much like the one seen above. Oh, and in addition to the handmade clay pendant by Andrew Thornton, there were also two matching polymer clay beads (I'm assuming he made those as well--they just match so well).

I had ideas for two different necklaces, but I only had time to make one.

Let's see if you can guess where this is going (and yes, that is one of the matching polymer clay beads I was referring to)...

...If you said "she's making a tassel," you'd be right!

After I made the tassel, I picked out a random selection of beads from the luxury bead blend and wire-wrapped them together using 22 gauge wire. 

Here is the finished result:

The beads include clear and frosted glass, shell, pearls, and the occasional gemstone. Almost all of the components were from the kit... only the 4mm brass rounds, iridescent rainbow rounds, and two-tone glass rounds were from my personal stash.

I debated between using antiqued silver or brass as the metal. As you can tell, I ultimately chose the latter--the necklace colors are incredibly rich, and I thought the brass deepened them and gave them more visual weight. 

...Honestly, it makes them look like jewels.

Now, I know that I've been making this style of necklace quite a lot recently... and I don't regret it one bit. In fact, my only regret is that I ran out of time and couldn't make the other necklace I had planned (which is actually different, and hence a bit more time consuming as I figure out the design hurdles). Hopefully I'll get to it soon, and it goes well--when I do and if it works, I'll be sure to post it!

So, there you go! That is what I made for this challenge... Thanks so much for stopping by to see my reveal! 

Have a lovely day, everyone!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wednesday's Worktable

Well, I'm home! Woo!

I'm honestly still reeling a bit from the whirlwind of it all... I really do like traveling and visiting people, but I also enjoy sleeping in my own bed. I also enjoy sitting at my very own craft table--I didn't do much crafting on my vacations, so I was very excited when I got a chance to sit down this morning and create.

What am I working on? One word: postcards!

I picked up several postcards while I was on my various vacations, all with the intent of turning them into pendants. 

And so, that's what I've started to do!

So far, I've made four pendants. Two are from my stay in a cabin with my family in Western Maryland, and the other two are from my week on Maryland's Eastern Shore (one of them is for me, the other is for the friend who I went traveling with). 

Oh, and in case you don't follow my Instagram... Twigs and Teacups is a delightful little store in Chestertown, MD. I fell in love with it while I was living on the Eastern Shore more than 10 years ago, and I was delighted to see that it was still doing well. And what better way to remember it than making a custom keepsake pendant! :)

I still have more postcards to go through, but I think this is a good start. The next step is to make necklaces with them... what fun! 

It was good to go on vacation... and it is definitely good to be home.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Hello, September!

Hello, everyone!

I'm still on vacation for a few more days... Visiting the Eastern Shore of Maryland, with a few forays to Delaware and Washington, D.C. 

Washington Monument... photo taken by me this past Tuesday.

I do hope to resume my regular posting next week... I've missed this happy bead-y place, after all. 

So, thanks so much for stopping by today! Have a wonderful first week of September, everyone! :)