Wednesday, October 22, 2014

We're All Ears October Challenge

I love this inspiration:

 **Picture from Earrings Everyday blog.

The  marbleizing effect is so pretty.  I love the swirls and mixing of the colors.  As soon as I saw these inspiration pictures, I knew what beads I wanted to use. 

These awesome calsilica beads fit the bill.  But what to pair with them?  A few Czech glass beads and a small lampwork glass bead.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ABS October Monthly Challenge

I've frequently looked at and ogled the Art Bead Scene blog - look at all those pretty handmade beads and the talent of the artists on there!  Pretty awesome!  And last month I really liked the monthly challenge inspiration but ran out of time to make any jewelry related to it - too many home improvement projects going on!  So I decided before the month started that I would do this month's challenge.   And boy, what a challenge it is.
This color palette is very different.  I like bright but wouldn't normally pick this choice of colors.  Here's the inspiration art:

**image is from the Art Bead Scene blog.  Read about the artist and challenge here:

But I did have to say that there was a suggestion to use a colored gemstone like purple turquoise in making the jewelry. --And I happened to have some kind of costly purple turquoise that has been sitting in my collection for awhile, so I thought it would be a good use of it.  I fiddled around with all sorts of combinations and first didn't even notice the blue tree in it - somehow my mind was just fixated on all the other color!!!  And finally settled on this. 

A mix of orangish gemstones, some beautiful purple turquoise and amazing handmade beads.  They are all hand-knotted on navy blue nylon cord.  I wanted the front lampwork disc to be seen from the side so I added an extra nylon cord for the front beads and ended it around the focal area. 
The handmade beads are:
** orangey-yellow chicklet bead from SueBeads
**blue lampwork spacers from Kimberly's Corner (  She always sells at our local Intergalactic Bead Show and makes some amazing beads!
**Elaine Ray navy blue teardrop beads.
 I'm thinking about redoing this with another more magenta - purple beads.  The turquoise ended up looking kind of dark and the necklace seems a little overbearing dark with all the navy beads too.   Hmmmm.... I may have to think about this. 
And if I thought this color challenge a little off, a little different for fall well, as I was waiting outside for my son to get off the bus, I happened to notice the beautiful mums in my neighbor's yard. 
These colors together really reminded me of this challenge! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pretty Palettes September Challenge

Have you checked out this cool challenge?  Erin Prais-Hintz picks out a beautiful picture for the Halcraft website, a color palette is developed and then, you use either your own beads or get some from Michael's to make some jewelry with that palette.  This is the color inspiration. 

Doesn't this dessert look heavenly? From Jessica Colaluca of Fresh Hues

I did purchase all the beads and chain from Michael's for this necklace and even had to go back to get some more of those silver balls - not enough came on one strand!
Can you see the raspberries in the necklace?  
 A bib necklace to add some glam to any outfit.   And finished off with a heart toggle. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Silver (Pewter) Vintaj Blanks - part 1

I made a pair of earrings with the silver Vintaj blanks this past winter.  And I wore them a ton.  Very pretty.  I love the Vintaj etched look and that I can create my own designs and that they are in silver (which I prefer to wear).  But I found some things that needs to be worked around when making silver Vintaj embossed or etched earrings, or pendants.  I call them silver, but the Vintaj blanks are actually made with pewter. 
***A good pair - front and back.

First, the silver/pewter blanks are really thick (compared to the brass and copper blanks).  Although I haven't measured them, the copper and brass blanks seem to behave similarly.  I have not attempted any embossing with the silver/pewter blanks.  

The embossing folders for the Vintaj Big Kick are metal inside a plastic sleeve.

After using a non-Vintaj brass blank, that felt the same thickness as the Vintaj ones - this happened (below) to an embossing folder.    I can only imagine what the thick silver blank would do. 
 *They look and feel like the same thickness and both companies say they are 24 gauge.

The etching folders are what feels like a piece of heavy duty felt - one-sided.  So, when you etch with them, the plastic sheets that go into the Vintaj Big Kick machine get imprinted as well.  The instructions clearly say to lay the etching piece down with the blank and put the clear plastic sheet on it with no protective barrier. 
This etched plastic sheet then transfers to the back of the silver blank that I am working with. 
*See the skinny lines - they are not supposed to be there.

So I have to constantly move the etching piece with silver blank around so that it is on a clear part of the plastic.  And then, basically all of the plastic sheets are getting imprinted all over. 

(This does not affect the embossing because the blank goes between 2 pieces of metal and then in between the plastic sheets).
As you can see, the silver blanks also make a pretty good indention in the etching piece - which can be good if you are making earring pairs, so you can get exactly the same image on both pieces but not so good if you want to make a different image on the same etching piece or use a different size blank with the same image.

When making the silver blanks, you also have to be careful of where the hole in the top of the blank is placed.  The earrings that I made in January have some etching surrounding the hole in the top of the blank.  This basically weakens the metal and eventually the earrings broke.  Whoops!
These are just my experiences.  Maybe someone more expert with these materials would have better or different experiences with these.  And even with these caveats, I keep plugging away with the Vintaj BigKick and the pewter blanks because they are fun to work with and I like the outcome.

Has anyone else worked a lot with these pewter blanks and had similar experiences or better experiences? 

Monday, September 8, 2014

New Storefront Look

I'm trying something new for the storefront look (on Etsy).  I've noticed other shops where items are grouped by color - and it just seems so pleasing to the eye.  So the items below were recently listed - see the silver color scheme?  By the way, I love labradorite -  the color is just so rock on cool with the iridescent blue and little flecks in the almost see-through grey. 

What do you think?  Do you notice more people perusing your shop if you post with some sort of theme?  I tend to make all different kinds of jewelry, so I think this makes it look a little more cohesive.

 I am trying to include a screenshot of the storefront, but blogger won't save the post with a screen shot.  You'll have to go my etsy shop to see what I'm talking about and 
-- here are some pictures of new items ......

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Back to work.

I've put my Etsy shop on hold for awhile due to taking care of other family stuff and spreading myself a little thin with volunteering.

But not now - I've started listing some more items.  Yeah!!  Some items that have been sitting on the beading desk for awhile and many, many more that are new!  I'm so excited about some of the designs.  I've had lots of ideas in my head, and on paper.  And to see which ones actually work in person is very exciting.  Sometimes I have to figure out how to get the clasp connected well or how to make it stronger  - especially bracelets.  I tend to be hard on my bracelets - doing too much with too nice of jewelry on - so I try to make bracelets unbreakable. 

And some new earrings!  (For myself and for the store).  I don't know how other jewelry designers make so many different designs for their shops and not keep the jewelry themselves!  

I'm trying to list a few items daily to keep my items in front and center on Etsy.  But here are some sneak peeks of items that already are in the shop or will be soon!  
 Lady Bug Golem Bead with gemstones.  Strung on waxed linen cord.

 Swirly Golem Bead with buri nut beads and brass spacers.  Strung on Waxed Linen Cord.
Gold and brown Golem bead with buri nut beads and brass spacers. Accented with acrylic flower beads and a flower lobster clasp. Strung on beading wire.  

Can you tell I've become good friends with Golem Beads?  I love the intricacies of the colors and  designs on these handmade ceramic beads!  Each bead is so pretty. 
I have many moods when designing and so it will definitely come out in the future listed items - some beadweaving, some embossed or etched brass and silver, some wirework.  
Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A pink rosary

I am really proud of this and happy that I could give something so meaningful to my daughter.  Last Spring, she celebrated her First Communion.  And this is the rosary that I made for her - in her favorite colors - pink, purple and silver.
The pink beads are some kind of gemstone and the purple beads are a Czech glass bead. I ordered the crucifix and the rosary center from Inspirational Supply - the shop owner was so nice and helpful!

Although Daphne is still learning what its all about, I hope that one day it will get some use.