Friday, April 18, 2014

We're All Ears: April 2014

I'm just loving the inspiration pieces for the We're All Ears challenge that the Earrings Everyday blog is hosting!  Here is this month's challenge cue:

Skylark Plates from Pottery Barn Catalog

Now there's a table I'd love to sit down at!  So adorable and the colors are right in my comfort zone.  Even though I have a million other things that I should be working on, I had to take time out to make some quick earrings for this challenge.

I immediately thought of some little Czech glass coin beads that have a gold bird shape pressed into the center.  They were the perfect starting point for my two pairs of earrings this month.  Since I love working with Vintaj natural brass (and think it looks great with this chartreuse green) I picked two different decorative brass elements to pair with the glass.

In my first pair, I tried to play off the concentric circles of the stack of plates.  I dangled the coin bead from the center of a filigree ring and just attached the ear wires to the top of the ring for a bold but simple pair.

My second pair is a little smaller.  I added one of the newer brass charms to the bottom of the glass bead.  There aren't any actual flowers in the inspiration piece, but the petals are sort of stylized so I think they work with the leafy elements in the inspiration photo... plus you still have the roundish shape going.

I always look forward to seeing what everyone else made in response to these challenges.  You can check them all out over on the Earrings Everyday blog HERE.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Jewelry Mojo Challenge Week 6: Inspired by Words

Week 6 of Heather Powers' Jewelry Making Mojo Challenge is all about being inspired being words and translating that into a piece of jewelry.

This prompt was a good excuse to finally work on a project requested by one of my good friends from library school.  A few months ago, my friend Carrie asked if I could make her a necklace with a pendant using the quote "Embrace Your Narrative."  I got out my letter stamps and some silver plated blanks from Nunn Design and got to work hammering the quote onto a large circle (the only shape I had that the word narrative would fit onto).  Using some old business cards from when I had run for office within my professional organization (reuse, recycle anyone?) I made a little resin filled pendant to go along with the stamped tags.  Fingers crossed that she likes the finished result!

For those of you who do more metal stamping than I do... do you have any favorite sets of letter stamps?  I'd love some recommendations since right now I just have the really basic capital letters in 2 and 3 mm.  I want to branch out be keep getting overwhelmed when I look at things.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Art Bead Scene Challenge: April 2014

I really didn't think I had time to take part in the Art Bead Scene challenge this month, but despite a crazy busy schedule, I just couldn't resist.  This month's artwork is Swaying Dancer (Dancer in Green) by Edgar Degas.  You can read more about the artwork and Degas over on the ABS blog HERE.

Swaying Dancer (Dancer in Green), 1877-79
by Edgar Degas
I do not ever pretend to be any kind of expert on art... I've never taken an art history course (and probably never will!) or had any kind of formal art training.  When it comes to art, I just like what I like and probably can't even articulate why I like it most of the time.  With this painting I think it's largely the color palette that pulls me in along with the movement in the piece.

For some reason the round full tutus of the dancers in green in the foreground made me think of some of the porcelain flower beads that I bought from Tracee Dock of The Classic Bead when we visited her in Kansas City last year.  Sure enough, a couple of the pendants had similar colors going on and the roundness of a full ballet skirt.

I pulled together some light green gemstone beads from a couple of strands of mixed beads... some of them fluted.  I also found one orangey-peach fluted bead in the mix.  I wanted more of the orange color from the girls in the background so I added some orange and very pale green Czech glass rondelles into the mix.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

30 Words: Selfie

I’ve never been good at selfies 
but I had to take one... 
Proving that I really was here, 
in the middle of the ocean... 
watery horizon 
a semicircle around me.

The premise of 30 Word Thursday is simple... take a photo, write 30 words (no more, no less) and post it each Thursday.  This is a blog hop hosted by Erin Prais-Hintz over on her blog Treasures Found.  Click HERE to see her post for this week as well as links to everyone else's 30 Words.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Jewelry Mojo Challenge Week 5: Jewelry Redos

Week five in the Jewelry Making Mojo Challenge that Heather Powers is hosting is all about taking apart a piece of jewelry and reworking it into something new.  (You can see all the details (and jump in) over on the Humblebeads blog HERE.)  Now, the true intent of this week's challenge is to rework something that I actually made, but I'm playing it a little fast and loose for my own purposes.

I have had a necklace that our friend Bob wanted me to remake for his wife Angie (also our friend) for an embarrassingly long time.  (I have learned a very valuable lesson that I should NEVER accept a project without a doesn't go very well!)  He actually put in a special order for this necklace based on the colors, but it didn't work out quite as he hoped.  I have honestly never seen a necklace as tangly as this one.  Here's a before picture.  I spent more than 15 minutes trying to get the chain straightened out and this is the best that I could manage.

When I first saw the necklace, I really liked the colors of the lucite flowers... that green is right in my wheelhouse.  The peach rounds were a nice contrast to the limey green too but I have to admit that I was relieved when Bob told me that he was fine with me abandoning the the original chain and metal choice for something different.

I gathered a few extra beads to maybe add into my take two design and then started cutting that sucker apart.  Since I wasn't 100% sure what I wanted to do (actually I'm still not!) I decided to start by remaking the flower dangles on Vintaj brass headpins.  I kept most of them as they originally were with three peach beads inside the flowers and one on the top, but I shook it up a little by adding some cute Czech glass flowers in bright coral inside the lucite.

I did talk to Angie about her thoughts and preferences before I started.  She really wanted more of a symmetrical design than the original had been.  She also said she would love an earring option if that worked out.  With that in mind I decided that I would divide the 12 flowers up into three groupings for the necklace... two groups of three and one group of four... leaving two for a pair of earrings.

Here's a bad picture of where I'm going with my idea... I just need to find more time to play around and see if it works.  With a crazy schedule in all areas of my life, I just haven't had the time to get everything done... but at least the project is started!

I did make the earrings though... Angie, if you are reading this, let me know what you think about them.  Don't pass judgement on the necklace design just yet since the ideas are still percolating.  Now that I have all the flower dangles wire wrapped I can play with attaching them in various ways until I'm happy with the finished product and Angie is too!

Monday, April 7, 2014

New Earring Monday: Weeks 13 & 14

Happy Monday!  This week's edition of New Earring Monday is all about making pairs of earrings to go with some of my recent necklace designs.  I have this (weird?) compulsion to make a pair of earrings to coordinate with almost ever necklace I make.  I think that I just assume that people will want a matched set because I would.  I actually get a little sad when someone buys the earrings but not the necklace or vice versa and breaks up the "set."

First up is a pair that I made to go with the necklace I made for the March Art Bead Scene challenge.  (You can see that necklace HERE if you missed it.)  Even though the necklace is on a larger scale, I used the smaller sized amazonite in my earrings.  The larger gemstones would just have been too heavy for a lot of folks and just didn't seem right to me.  I kept it relatively simple, just adding a Vintaj foliage bead cap and hanging the little bead dangle off of a textured jump ring.

My second pair goes with a necklace that I haven't shared on my blog yet.  It features a pendant from Tesori Trovati's Simple Truths Sampler Club, faceted pearls, shell pearls, and Swarovski crystal pearls paired with silver plated findings.  Here it is:

I had just a couple of the faceted pearls leftover from the necklace design (they came from a destash lot I had gotten a while back from Andrew Thornton) so I decided that earrings were in order.  I paired them with some of the copper shell pearls and a mix of sterling silver and silver plate (the bead caps) to make some fun, dangling earrings that are perfect with the necklace and fun on their own.

So, I've shared my earring matching obsession with you... now it's your turn.  Jewelry designers, do you too feel compelled to make earrings to go with your necklace or bracelet designs?  and if so, do you tend to see buying both pieces together?  Jewelry buyers, do you want to pick up a set?  or are you just as happy to pick up a great necklace or earrings on their own?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thirty Words: Sunset at Sea

Surrounded as far as the eye can see by open ocean,
sun sinking toward the horizon.  
A spectacle of color is the day’s last hurrah... 
a lingering moment to savor.

The premise of 30 Word Thursday is simple... take a photo, write 30 words (no more, no less) and post it each Thursday.  This is a blog hop hosted by Erin Prais-Hintz over on her blog Treasures Found.  Click HERE to see her post for this week as well as links to everyone else's 30 Words.

This was the view from our stateroom balcony on the next to last night of the recent Bead Cruise.  I took a ton of shots as the sun set... you may see another from that sequence in the future.