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!

Bead Soup - Addendum

Look what I just found!

That's right--the earrings that I made to match one of my Bead Soup necklaces! 

...The earrings that I had misplaced, and said I would upload as soon as I found them. Heh. Luckily for me, though, I just found them--and wanted to share. Yay!

For the rest of what I made with my Bead Soup, go here... or keep scrolling down to see my previous entry! :)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bead Soup - Reveal!

It feels good to be a part of another Bead Soup Blog Party! This is the 9th one--and the first one with a theme. That's right, it's the BSBP: Bead Hoarders Edition! We were encouraged by the hostess, Lori Anderson, to package up a special bead that we've been hoarding and send it to our partner.

As a reminder, here are the lovely hoarded beads that my partner, Lennis Carrier of Windbent, sent to me:

...And she definitely, definitely spoiled me! (Lampwork fishie and coordinating beads? Check! Shell pendants by Michelle McCarthy? Check! Cabochon by Blu Mudd? Check! ...And the list goes on!)

Now, I know that this is a large blog hop, so I'll get right to the jewelry that I made. Overall, I made three different sets--and I still didn't use everything. Ha!

Set #1

This first set was made using one of the pendants by Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio. (Who, coincidentally, was my partner for another Blog Hop I have done--and I love her work!)

I paired the pendant with Czech glass, crystal, and matte-finish grain stone--the last of which I thought matched the texture and color of the pendant perfectly. 

I then knotted it all on brown waxed linen in a slightly--slightly--asymmetrical pattern.


I also made matching earrings! 

Although fairly simple and straightforward, they are also slightly asymmetrical--like the necklace itself.

I really enjoy how this set is gently beachy... It's not bright and boisterous, but rather calm and quiet and still quite lovely. 

Set #2

Next up: the fishie set! 

Heh. Unlike the previous set, this one is bright and boisterous--and delightfully so.

To make this set, I also used a few other pieces from my Bead Soup--namely, one of the lampwork saucer beads and some of the coordinating green beads.

I paired those components with green pearls and peridot, and even made some paper beads to match. (I was so excited--I found the lime-and-white paper while visiting my parents last week, and it was perfect for this project!)

Now, I actually tried another version of this necklace first--with a different orientation of the fish--but it just wasn't what I was going for. 

So! At the last minute (i.e. yesterday), I took it apart and remade it... and, while I was at it, even made two pairs of earrings to match!

Both earring pairs use a combination of beads from the Bead Soup and beads from my stash. One pair is also considerably longer than the other--and surprisingly lightweight, due to the use of paper beads.

I love this set. It's unapologetically cheerful, lightweight, and has a wonderful amount of sway. After making it, I wore it for the rest of the evening--and I couldn't help smiling.

Set #3

This last set highlights the second ceramic focal by Michelle McCarthy. As you can tell, it involves a tassel like Set #2--but, style-wise, it's quite a bit different.

I paired the ceramic component with peridot, prehnite, pearls, green kyanite spears (found on vacation!), and paper beads (also from vacation). Fun fact: the paper beads were made from a paper with a sand print on it.

I even tried my hand at some more asymmetry! Asymmetry is not really one of my strengths, but it was fun stretching my creative muscles. Case in point: I tried to balance out the width of the ceramic component by adding kyanite spears to the other side of the necklace. The pictures don't quite capture it, but balance is definitely achieved when the necklace is worn.

...And I really couldn't help but add a tassel. I really do like tassels.

...Now, I call this a set because I really did make earrings to go with this necklace. Unfortunately, between making the earrings and settling down to photograph them, I completely lost one of them. Oops! I'll try to update this once I find them.

Until then--here! Have some more pictures of the necklace instead. :)


...And, for fun, have some pictures in different lighting:


Of all the things I made, I think I'm most pleased with this one--because it stretched my creativity, because I saw something in my mind and made it happen, and because it felt like an accomplishment when I finished. 

Set #1 is gentle. Set #2 is whimsical. And this one... this one is elegant, and reminds me that I am indeed a capable jewelry designer. (It sounds silly, but I'm not always the most confident artist out there!)

So, there you go! That's what I made for this Bead Soup Blog Hop!

Thank you, Lennis, for the wonderful beads! I'm so excited to play with the leftovers from my soup.

Thank you, Lori, for organizing this blog hop!

And thank you for stopping by to see what I made! Be sure to stop by my partner's blog to see what she created with the bead that I sent her... and for a full list of participants, go here!

Happy hopping, and I hope everyone has a great Saturday!