Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Wednesday's Worktable

It's Halloween!

...And I don't have anything very Halloween-y on my bead table. At all, really. 

Instead, I have some butterflies:

Butterflies mixed with Swarovski bicones, even. Definitely not high on the Halloween-o-meter.

In fact, the only thing even remotely scary going in the creating department is that I killed my favorite pair of pliers. And that's not so much scary as it is unfortunate--and a little amusing. I apparently am hard on my tools. (So. Much. Wire-wrapping.) Still, my husband is awesome and bought me a replacement pair... which means that it's time to catch up on a week of backlog!

Thanks for stopping by today... I'm off to see if I can successfully not kill my new pliers. :)

Have a Happy Halloween, everyone, and stay safe!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Reveal - October Theme Challenge at Art Elements

I am absolutely thrilled to say that I was able to participate in this month's Theme Challenge over at Art Elements. I really do love a good blog challenge, and it's been too long since I've really done one.

I am even more thrilled to say that I am absolutely in love with this month's inspiration-of-choice: Petroglyphs!

Simply put, petroglyphs are rock carvings (as you can tell from the word's origin: πέτρα (petro) is the Greek prefix for "stone," and γλύφω (glýphō) means "to carve"). They are often associated with prehistoric cultures.

...Given my art history and anthropology background, this challenge was really up my alley.

Although any media could be used for this challenge, I immediately knew what I wanted to use: a lampwork glass bead I have had since 2009. (I remember exactly when I bought it--it was super expensive for me at the time, and it was truly a splurge.) That special bead became the focal point, and can be seen here:

...And here is the rest of the necklace!

Yep, I made a tassel. I couldn't help myself.

To go with the focal, I mainly used Serpentine--which I had also purchased at the same time and place as the lampwork bead. In fact, all of the 6mm rounds are Serpentine. I had a long strand of it, in various shades, which I then divided up to make a gradient for the tassel and the beaded chain. 

All of the copper components are recent additions to my stash. Because of the earthy colors of both the lampwork focal and the Serpentine, I decided to add the leaves and the bumpy copper beads (they make me think of pinecones). It makes it look like this petroglyph is hidden in the forest, just waiting to be discovered.

The only other beads are the little wooden discs--which add to the forest-tree-hidden-rock art theme. I added them to match the swirl on the lampwork bead, and they help make the petroglyph really pop.

So, there you go! That is what I made for this challenge. I truly loved this theme... and the chance to play along.

Thank you so, so much for stopping by today... Be sure to take a moment to look at what the other participating artists made--they are so talented, and I'm sure their creations are beautiful!

Here is the list of participants:

Art Elements Team:
Lesley Watt:
Jenny Davies-Reazor:
Cathy Spivey Mendola:
Sue Kennedy:
Caroline Dewison:
Laney Mead:
Marsha Neal Minutella:
Claire Fabian:

Our Guest Artists:
Jill Egan:
Tammy Adams:
Alison Herrington:
Sarajo Wentling:
Jenny Kyrlach:  (You are Here!)
Kathy Lindemer:

Thanks again... Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - October Reveal

This month's Giveaway is now closed! Want to see who won? Go here!

Guess what day it is!

If you said "it's the last Friday of October," you would be right. If you also said "it's the reveal day for the Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge," you would also be right! Yay!

As a reminder, this was my challenge this month:

...Namely, my challenge was to make something with those beads. As I mentioned in my Challenge Introduction Post, that box is actually from middle school, when I was a budding jewelry designer. It's been in storage for a long time, and I thought it would be fun to make something with those beads. A trip down memory lane, if you will.

And I certainly did make things! Overall I created three sets--one for each of the colorways shown above.

So, without further ado... onto the jewelry!

Colorway #1

This first colorway was a lovely combination of white, pink, and purple. I decided that I was going to try to make something using only those beads... and this is what I came up with:

...Why yes, it has a tassel. This is so surprising, I know. (In my defense, I was making tassel necklaces before they were trendy. So nice of fashion to catch up--hah!)

When I was making this necklace, I was having a hard time deciding what focal to use. I liked the way each of those beads looked with the rest of the design, but by themselves they weren't quite enough--namely, they both got a bit lost among the rest of the beads. I actually pondered breaking down and using a bead from my stash as the focal... defeating the purpose of the challenge, perhaps, but I was stuck.

...That is, until I realized that I could use both of them together.

The rest, as they say, is history.

I really like the way the final necklace turned out. It has a beautiful sway to it, and I like the way the silver blends in with the white... together, they cool down the warmer pink and purple. 

Not too bad, if I say so myself. I think Middle School Me would be most pleased. :)

Colorway #2

This second colorway was perhaps the most challenging of the three. There was a lot of red--but not enough of the other colors to really balance it out. I tried quite a few different designs, but nothing really seemed to work--everything felt unbalanced and sloppy. Still, I really didn't want to pull in other beads from my stash... Again, I was stuck.

Eventually, I decided on a compromise: I borrowed a few of the blue and green beads from Colorway #3. They were still components from the box, so it wasn't completely cheating. It just helped me get a better color balance!

Eventually, after a lot more trial and error, this is the design that I came up with:

The final design is an asymmetric necklace. It's made with 22 gauge wire, glass, and lots of textured spacers. (And not a tassel in sight... See, I am capable of not making everything into a tassel. Heh.) I worked very hard to make sure that both of the sides are balanced but different... asymmetry isn't my strongest skill, but I think I did all right. :)

Oh! And I also made a pair of mostly-symmetrical earrings:

Full disclaimer: I designed those at night, in the living room, while watching my husband play games. The problem with that is that the lighting isn't the best in the living room. I didn't realize until the next day that the bicones are a slightly different color. Hah! Ah well. They still fit the aesthetic of the set, so I think I'll keep them. :)

I really wish I could get a picture that truly captured the richness of this necklace... the glass is truly brilliant and jewel-like. In addition, all of the silver spacers really give it a glorious weight... It feels so luxurious and elegant. I am very pleased with how this turned out--especially considering how much trouble it was giving me!


And now, it's time for Colorway #3. This was by far the easiest of the necklaces for me to design--even with some of the beads pilfered for the second set. I am extremely comfortable with these colors together, and there was even a nice balance of them in the box.

I knew that I wanted to make a fringe with the bigger beads, and that I wanted to use the seed beads for the necklace itself. I went poking around for some matching waxed linen, and here is the result:

Just as with the other sets, all of the beads are from the box. Now, I did add the central silver ring and the "Journey" charm from my stash--but I consider those more findings, so I think it works. ;)

Fun side note: I used Vintaj patinas to color that "Journey" charm while I was visited my parents last month--yes, on the same trip that I found the bead box. How fun that this necklace is a little combination of past and present: the beads from middle school, when I was just starting, and the charm that shows where I am now. It definitely has been a journey!

Also, I made a pair of earrings to match this set--again, using a combination of waxed linen and silvertone findings.

Overall, I am very pleased with how this necklace turned out. It is different from the other two--using the linen instead of wire-wrapped links makes it feel much more organic and free-flowing.  The weight of it is quite lovely, as well.

I definitely call this a success--as I mentioned before, it is a fitting representation of my own personal jewelry-making journey! 

(And do you know that I only just now, while typing this up, realized the significance of using that charm? When I was making this necklace, I picked it because it was the right color! Hah. Sometimes these things just fall into place.)

So, there you go! Those are the pieces that I made for this month's challenge. I'm honestly really happy--and a little surprised--at how lovely everything turned out to be. In the middle of the month, I was definitely starting to worry! 

Overall, though, this was a very fun challenge for me--getting a bit in touch with where I started as a jewelry designer all those years ago, and seeing how far I've come. It was wonderful getting back to the roots of creating things, and just letting my creativity explore. Sometimes I forget how much I need to just sit down and make things... I have always been that way, and it was nice getting back to that this month. 

Thank you so, so much for stopping by today to see what I made! I really appreciate you stopping by... It makes me happy that there are people who like going on this crazy jewelry-making journey with me.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Giveaway Winner!

Woo-hoo! Today is the day that I get to announce the winner of this month's giveaway... Yay!

So, without further ado, the winner is...

Angela Mullis

Hurray! Congratulations! As a reminder, this is what she won--a beading kit that I've had since middle school:

I'm working on getting in touch with you, Angi... expect to hear from me soon!

And now, to continue working on my challenge reveal post. This is so exciting, getting back into the swing of things... It makes me very happy. :)

Be back in a bit with the reveal!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Wednesday's Worktable

On my worktable today: color!

And not just any color... bright primary colors, that I don't usually put together. At least, not is such a bold fashion.

I've finally gotten a chance to start tackling my backlog of projects... These are designs that I actually planned out months ago, and just haven't gotten a chance to do. (You know, because life has gotten in the way. Bleh.)

One such project involved making this tassel:

...and then making this necklace to go with it:

So much color! I love that the focal bead is two-sided, so you get to choose which mood you're in for the day. 

I also love the fact that I would have completely overlooked these beads if my sister-in-law hadn't admired them. We were shopping together, and she pointed out the focal bead. I would have completely passed it by! So, many thanks to her for helping me step out of my comfort zone and play with something I would have never tried.

And there you go... that's what I'm up to this week. Oh, and I have one more of these bright-and-bold necklaces that I'm working on... I'm about halfway done with the tassel. We'll see how it turns out. :)

Thanks for stopping by today to see what I'm up to... I'm so glad to have something bright and colorful to share.

Have a wonderful week, everyone!


P.S. I'm doing a giveaway! It ends on Friday. Go here for more information! :)

Monday, October 22, 2018

Finished it!

I'm doing a giveaway! It ends on Friday. Go here for more information! :)


So, I couldn't wait until my Wednesday Worktable post... I wanted to show off the necklace that I made with last week's components!

The entire thing is made with India agate, paired with a mix of bronze and copper. I'm particularly pleased with the little swirl on the top of the leaf. (I suppose it's the little things that make me happy.)

...By golly, it feels awesome to have shiny pretty jewelry to share. Here's to, hopefully, many many more! :)

And now it's time for me to do laundry. Heh.

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Wednesday's Worktable

I'm doing a giveaway! Go here for more information! :)


On my worktable this week: more Autumn hues!

Those components are partially from this month's Bargain Bead Box--and I'm very, very happy to report that there's considerably less emotional baggage attached to Fall colors than there has been, even as recently as last week. Today, my creating is more playing than it is working through complicated emotions.

...It feels really, really good to be creating again.

I have no idea what the final iteration of this necklace is going to be--I have already changed the design three times. That's okay, though... As I said, it is really nice just to be playing again. We shall see what it looks like when I'm finally done!

Thank you for stopping by to see what I'm up to today... Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Wonder and Whimsy Monthly Challenge - October Edition

...and Giveaway!!

Yep, there's a Giveaway this month! Details are at the bottom of this entry... Keep reading to find them--or just scroll until you see it. :)

First things first, though: this month's challenge. I came up with this challenge when I was visiting my parents last month. While there, I spent a fair amount of time going through boxes of my stuff in their basement. I got rid of quite a bit of it, but I also found some treasures--like my binder of letters from my late mother-in-law, my trowel from archaeological field school, and my rock collection from when I was in 2nd grade.

And I also found some beads.

...Not only did I find some beads, I found some necklaces that I made back when I was in middle school:

Both are made with glass and metal--and, honestly, the construction has held up pretty well considering these were made in the 1990s by a self-taught jewelry novice.

Oh! And I even found the jewelry that I wore to prom... Hah!

I remember that I wasn't happy with the offerings I found in stores, so I bought two pairs of earrings and a plain beaded choker. Some simple manipulation later, and I had a matching set:

...Not revolutionary, I realize, but it still makes me happy that I was thinking outside the box even then. I guess I come by this jewelry thing honestly.

And now, to the beads.

Nestled amongst other middle school memorabilia, I found these two boxes:

Each box is full of a collection of large seed beads, some large glass, and some findings. (The one on the left has bobby pins and wire, and the one on the right has necklace and earring findings.)

Here's a close-up of the contents of the multi-themed box:

...And now, for my Monthly Challenge. 

As you might guess, my challenge is to make something with the contents of this box. My goal is to mainly use what is in here--although I'm sure other findings and such will make their way in. And! If I have time, I may even remake some of the necklaces I showed earlier to reflect my more recent skill set.

Now, you may have noticed that I only revealed the contents of one of those bead boxes. So, what about the other one? Well, that answer to that brings us to:

The Giveaway!

That's right! I want to give someone this box: 

By my best estimation, this collection of beads was put together sometime in the 1990s. (Egads, I guess that means they're vintage? Heh, I feel a little old.) While they are not gemstones or handmade lampwork, this is still a happy mix of colors--and they're a special little bit of my past. I want to share that little part of me; hopefully these beads will bring someone some joy.

So, how to win? Simply comment on this post! Oh, and please be sure to leave an email address, so that I'll know how to contact you. I'm willing to ship internationally, so everyone can feel free to enter. 
On Friday, October 26th, I'll draw the winner's name out of a hat. I'll post the winner here in my challenge reveal, as well as contact them via their provided email addresses. 

So! Come by on Friday, October 26th to see what I end up making... and see who the winner of the Giveaway is!

Until then, have a wonderful October everyone! And best of luck winning these beads! :)