Thursday, November 30, 2017

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - November Reveal

Well, almost a week late, but here we go... it's time to reveal what I made for November's monthly challenge!

Since this month has been dedicated to writing (hurray for National Novel Writing Month... I literally squeaked in under the wire this year!), I decided to go with a writing-themed challenge for November. Namely, I wanted to make jewelry that was somehow connected to my stories.

Overall, I made three things for this challenge. I had more planned out, but life has a habit of being more complicated than anticipated. Ah well. Still, I'm very happy with what I made... And, without further ado, here they are!

A Gift of Garnet

This first bracelet is fairly simple--as was the scene that inspired it. Made of plump garnets and antiqued brass, it resembles the bracelet my main character is gifted while she's visiting the Noble Court (which is essentially the Capitol of the Land of Fairy Tales). 

In the Noble Court, there is a very complicated language of fashion--which extends to jewelry. The color, the metal, the person who buys it... it all has meaning. 

While this can lead to all sorts of subtle social intricacies, in the case of this bracelet, things are much more straightforward. It shows that the person who buys this for my main character considers her as a sister. 

...But I won't tell you who it is, in case one of these days I get this silly thing published! :)

Sea King's Daughter

This second piece is a necklace that is also connected to my series of novels where an Anthropologist goes to study the land of Fairy Tales (called the Landus Fantasticus, or the Land of Happily Ever After). 

While this year's NaNo was dedicated to writing of her adventures in the Noble Court (hence the bracelet above), last year I wrote of her adventures on the Coast. While there, she ends up visiting the Sea King.

This particular necklace was made with the Sea King's daughter in mind.

I chose the silvery peacock pearls for three reasons. First, the way the lights shifts and shimmers on them make me think of the sea. Secondly, they're pearls, which connects them even more to the ocean. And thirdly, because Syranne herself has a fondness for silver. 

I then paired them with matching crystals, and added a clasp that made me think of an underwater flower. The result is a necklace that, while perhaps not the most complicated necklace I ever made, perfectly matches the character I had in mind. 


Rose of Aniad

This third necklace is a bit of a cheat, as it's not connected to my Landus Fantasticus novels. However, it is connected to my writing--specially, to a story that is very near and dear to my heart, and was featured here--and I couldn't help but show it off. 

...Besides, it has a tassel, and we all know how much I like tassels. *grin*

Copper, plum-purple, and forest green are the colors of Aniad. 

What is Aniad? 

It's one of the Four Houses of Elenan--a land I made up, where the story takes place. This land is currently being overrun by an invader from the North, a Tyrant, who essentially is taking over by force. There is a Resistance that's fighting him... and at the heart of the Resistance is the Storyteller of Aniad.

Her name is Cedar. 

Her son, Mannesh, is actually the main character of that story--but this necklace set is more dedicated to her than to him. 

For that reason, I chose not only to go with the colors of Aniad (and the leaves--it's a House mainly located in the forest, so trees and leaves are a bit part of their House symbolism), but also the rose focal as well... One of Cedar's many titles (or nicknames, if you will) is actually the Rose of Aniad.

I'm actually in love with how these pieces turned out... I've always loved the Aniad colors, and I'm thrilled with how well they came together for this particular set.

Well, there you go. Those are the pieces that I made for this month's writing-inspired-jewelry challenge. It's late, but hopefully still worth it! (And hopefully not completely riddled with grammatical errors... I'm still recovering from the Stomach Bug of Doom, so my apologies if any of this doesn't make sense... Oi.)

Thanks everyone for stopping by today... Thank you so much for your patience, and I hope you have a fantastic last day of November!

I Did It!

I may have limped to victory, but ta-da!

I have officially written 50,099 words towards my novel this month.

I started off extremely strong... and it's a good thing I did, too, because this past week I have hardly written anything. But! I did it, and I'm excited to keep up with this writing habit. Who knows? Maybe I'll actually finish one of these novels before this time next year!

...But now, I'm going to go celebrate with a nap. Oi. 

Happy last day of November, everyone!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Pretty Palettes - November Mini-Reveal

I have a very nasty stomach bug. It has thrown all of my grand plans--jewelry, blogging, NaNo--out the window.


Still, I had a lot of fun working on this month's Pretty Palettes challenge, and I wanted to at least share a picture of one of the pieces I made:

I'll try to blog more about it, and the other necklace I made, when I feel better.

Stay healthy, everyone. I look forward to being back when I'm done being sick. 


Monday, November 27, 2017

Reveal - SJ Designs Jewelry Honey Do List November 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, she lets others play along, too!

Here was this month's inspiration:

And here is what Eric said about it:
I haven't really taken many pictures in the past month, so I took this chance to delve deep into older photos for something lost in the archives.  This is a really cool old stained glass window in the Schlitz Brewery building in Milwaukee, Wisconsin that really struck my fancy.  The colors and shapes should be a fun change from my usual naturalistic photos. 

Now, I have two things to admit about this challenge. First, I really really enjoyed it. After the more naturalistic photos, it was fun to tackle something a bit more abstract. Also, the color palette was not something I usually work with, which was interesting and challenging and all-around fun.

Second... Well, second, is that I actually bought something for it. Hah! In the past, I've attempted to only use what I have in my stash, but in this case I bought the focal bead for the necklace. Once you see what I made (seen below), hopefully you'll forgive me! :)

The focal bead is by Golem Studio Beads. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to use it for this challenge. I'm glad I did, too--when it arrived, I was absolutely thrilled. The circle swirls remind me so much of the circles seen in the inspiration picture... it's perfect! :)

The rest of the necklace is made with lava beads, larvikite, white magnesite, and glass--specifically black seed beads, two shades and sizes of Czech glass, and crackle glass. 

I went with those choices in an attempt to echo not only the color of the stained glass, but also its texture... I'm particularly pleased with the black-grey-silver-white Czech beads for that reason. :)

Also noteworthy: Yep, I'm still obsessed with this type of necklace construction (tassel, focal, beaded chain). It's so versatile, and fun to make... It appears to be my go-to design right now. And that's not a bad thing! Mostly, I'm just amused at myself... It's always fun when you find a design that just clicks. :)

So, there you go! That is what I made for this month's Honey Do List Challenge, hosted by Sarajo Wentling. Be sure to hop over to SJ Designs Jewelry to see what she ended up making... And thank you so much, Sarajo and Eric, for letting me play along!

And now, it's time for me to go work on the other reveals for this week. So many pretty things to show!

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

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!