Saturday, December 6, 2014

Bead Hoarders Blog Hop

I pondered which beads to use in this blog hop, because, like I'm sure many bead hoarders, I don't just hoard handcrafted beads.  I hoard any type of nice beads and findings - afraid to use them because I think I may not do the beads justice.  Which is quite the irony, because I'm certainly not doing justice to the beads (or the people who made the beads) by keeping them in my bead drawer.
So, today I made two pieces.  The first is with a beautiful heart lampworked bead from RachelBeads (by Rachel Goetz).  I looked for her website but it doesn't seem to be working.  I bought the lampworked bead at the Bellevue Beadery in Kentucky, which has undergone a change and no longer sells loose beads (only jewelry) and Rachel was at the last Intergalactic Bead Show in Cincinnati.  I like the simplicity of her 'kits' that are simple silver spacers to go with her more detailed and beautiful lampworked heart and flower beads.  Click here for some of the only information I could find online about the artist.
A friend who got me into the craziness of the beading world actually made me a necklace with one of these beads in the past.  And I was happy to find the beads at the store and really liked the multitude of colors she offers.  Such pretty hearts!  I kept the necklace simple to highlight the focal bead.  3 strands of purplish seed beads braided.
**When the lighting is better around here, I will take a picture that does this bead justice.

--Each side of the heart is special.

The second necklace comes from my bead hoard of gemstones.  I really like gemstones but don't generally like to make expensive looking jewelry - I generally wear workout clothes most days.  So, the beads stay in my drawer.  And my favorite gemstone is tourmaline.  I've purchased both really nice tourmaline and really cheap tourmaline - what a difference.  This necklace is made with glistening, very nice stones that I got at one of the first bead shows I went to.  The internal shiny striations of the briolettes are just gorgeous in the light.  Even the small disc tourmaline is crystal clear and so colorful.  
Unfortunately,  the light around here has been absolutely depressingly abysmal.  Horrible cloudy, grey, rainy and even foggy days have abounded.  So the pictures are taken under lots of lights and an Ott light - which is not ideal, but will have to do.   No matter what, this necklace adds a ray of sunshine to the day - I may even have to wear it with my workout clothes.

Edited to add better pictures:

Monday, December 1, 2014

Art Bead Scene November Challenge

I know this is late, but I already had the beads out and knew what I wanted to make and well, this holiday weekend was busy so it didn't quite happen on time.  That's how things seem to fly right now. 

Isn't the picture the Art Bead Scene picked out so nice to look at:

I would love to have this painting in my house.  Or better yet, to cross stitch this beautiful image. I couldn't find a cross stitch pattern for the exact pattern, but found some others on the Scarlet Quince website, just as beautiful.  

Instead it is used as a muse for my jewelry.  When I first saw this picture, the only thing that stood out to me were the pretty pinks and purples in the big flower with a very muted background.  That's all I could picture in my head. 
So here is where this inspiration led me:

A necklace inspired from the painting and from the book Bohemian Inspired Jewelry by Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel. 
 The pretty pink focal is from Gaea.  The rondelles are some kind of stone that I've had for a long time and it varies in color from muted pinks to deep purple pinks to pink green and then a deep forest green.  These are braided onto a grey waxed linen cord and finished with a flower pewter button.  I recently, before this challenge, got the cute hummingbird charms and thought they fit in well.

A soft pretty necklace.  Very different from last month's challenge!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Yuletide 2014 at 1305 Gallery

Once again, this year, I will have items at 1305 Gallery during the holiday season.  My items are part of the Cincy Craft Cartel's display of Christmas and art-y items for sale as part of Yuletide 2014.  I wish I had taken some pictures of what will be there but have been in such a rush with family and other obligations, that I totally missed the boat.

1305 Gallery will be open from 4pm - 10pm on Black Friday and  you can check out their facebook page for additional hours.

From me, there are a lot of leather bracelets with handmade artisan beads and earrings.  Wonderful gifts for the holiday!  The Cincy Craft Cartel is a conglomeration of local (really talented) artists and also includes knitted and sewn items.  They also have an Etsy page - Cincy Craft Cartel Etsy

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Halcraft November Pretty Palettes Challenge

Time for the reveal for the Halcraft November Pretty Palettes Challenge.  If you'd like to see more info about this challenge, check out my post from this post or the Halcraft Inspiration Blog
I used this color inspiration:

And received these beads to play with and come up with something fabulous!!!
Our November bead palette!

I hope I did this color scheme justice.  Orange and grey were difficult for me to jive in the same pieces.  I liked some jewelry with the orange color and I liked some jewelry with the blue grey color but the colors together were just not working well for me.

So here it goes.  First, two bracelets. 
The first bracelet has the round orange dyed jade, hematite and natural shell beads.  Finished off with a gunmetal clasp.  Perfect for fall.  Perfect for Thanksgiving.  Definitely within the color palette.  I like thick bracelets - I figure if I'm going to wear a bracelet, especially when I have long sleeves on, then it better be big enough to stand out.  And this one works great with my cream sweater and black shirt. 

I feel kind of like I cheated on this second bracelet.  And I also love this bracelet.  I wore it at a party with my Cousins that I haven't seen in quite awhile and got lots of compliments.  The colors are a little subdued from the color palette.  The second bracelet has the black and white shell lentil and some Czech glass beads in tortoise, blue-grey seed beads and some small white shell beads (coincidentally, also purchased from Michael's).  The chain I got from the recent local Intergalactic Bead Show and wish I would have bought more - love the detail on it.  If you try to make a bracelet like this, here's a few hints:  1) make sure to pick chain that turns like this one and has even links.  I tried another chain that continuously turned and it was not good.  2)  make sure to loosely wire-wrap the links or else the bracelet will not move organically with your wrist. 

Next, a necklace.  Hmmmm..... Still think it needs work.  I like the front beaded part on it, but the circle links are a little big and don't seem to go with the leather quite right.  I think I will have to bring it back to the drawing table.  I was trying to keep it from being too heavy.  I have a problem with wearing necklaces that are too heavy.  But, man, those beads - banded onyx faceted beads - how pretty!  Such awesome stones!  I really wanted to make some kind of necklace with them.  This one includes the banded onyx and bronze plated beads and some copper washers.

And some earrings.  These include the white shell lentils and have been worn a few times already.  I like mixing the metals.

And a failed attempt, but I thought I'd show anyway.  I was trying to make a different type of link earrings with these, but the onyx beads, although the right size, are just a little too heavy for this design.  They just distorted the circle links.  But a good try. 

And all together.

Thank you Erin for including me in this month's pretty palettes challenge.  It was so much fun!   Can't wait to see what next month brings. 

Check out what Erin did with these beads here

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Miss Hannigan

I recently designed a really pretty unique necklace.  It looks great with the style of long shirts and long sweaters.  Even the blanket coats.  It is a wonderful bohemian, shabby chic feel to it and includes some of my favorite things - wire-wrapped beads, Czech glass beads and handmade artisan beads.
Lovely, if I do say so.  *Pendant by Humlebeads.  Lampwork glass by Kimberly's Corner.

And then, I was watching Annie with my daughter.  The original 1982 version.  I loved this movie when it came out and love it now.  I loved belting out "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow" in the shower as a kid and my girl scout troop did a rendition of the "It's a Hard Knock Life" (in Scouts).  Much to my daughter's chagrin, I can still sing all of the songs from this wonderful movie.  I was so into the movie, that at the time, I had the doll, the record and even for Easter one year, got the Annie locket (and still have it - well, I gave it to my daughter).
 See?  Quite awhile ago I added the pearl necklace instead of the original gold chain.  I was making jewelry before I even knew what jewelry-making can all encompass.

So, back to watching Annie with my daughter.  I couldn't help noticing Miss Hannigan's (Carol Burnett) wonderful jewelry collection.  Even in her scanties, she always had an abundance of costume jewelry.  Long chain and beaded necklaces.  The kind that are popular now.  And I was thinking how the necklace I made might fit into her wardrobe.---It just made me laugh.
How To Get Through Monday, By Miss Hannigan From "Annie"
 **Image from:

*Image from:

Seriously, though, this is more an idea of the outfit I was thinking of wearing with this necklace:

  Goodness, aren't these pretty?  and much better than walking around in underwear and feather boas.

This shirt can be found here: Anthropologie.   and the sweater here:  Anthropologie sweater

One last thing, for the Annie fans - did you hear a new one is coming out in December 2014?  With Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan?  She is supposed to much more edgy?  (She has big shoes to fill!)  Can't wait to go with my daughter!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Halcraft November Pretty Palettes Challenge

I participated in the last two month's Pretty Palettes Challenge hosted by Erin Prais-Hintz on the Halcraft blog.  And I was already planning to participate this month (I need some challenges to get my creativity flowing) when Erin asked me to be her partner!  Yay!!!!!  I was so excited.  How fun it is to get free beads in the mail!   

So, then I saw the Inspiration blogpost and the original palette:

Gulp!  What to do with these colors?  I'm not a huge orange fan.  And man are those pumpkins bright!  But then I saw the beads she picked out and all fear went to the side.  
 Our November bead palette!
I mean look at these beads - shell and stone and metal.  These are more my speed.  I really like the shell beads - anything to remind me of summer!   The black and white beads, I thought from the picture just had the light reflecting the white and would be more black and grey.  They are indeed striped with white, black and grey.  And the copper beads have a richness to the color.  So, now the challenge begins.  I must put my thinking cap on and move forward. 

See you back on November 26th for the reveal! 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halcraft October Challenge

Another challenging color palette.  For this month's Halcraft challenge, I could pick either of the paintings on the Halcraft blog by Erin Fitzhugh Gregory - and both were full of color!!!  Check them out here:
I kind of chose some colors from both pictures:
The dynamic and color artwork of Erin Fitzhugh Gregory captivates me with the brilliant colors!

 There is no way to be unhappy when looking at the artwork of Erin Fitzhugh Gregory.

I really like the 2nd picture color palette more but I think the green is what's getting me.  I'm not a huge green fan in jewelry - and this green is .... a little interesting.  I like the red and the blues and even the yellow (from the first picture) and pinks.  So I chose the green from the first picture and the navy, turquoise, pink and red from the second picture. 

Once I saw other people making chevron necklaces, I have wanted to make my own.  So this is the time:

 How hard can it be, right?  Just simple loops hanging on a chain.  I had to make the pink row twice because at first it was too short and the green row 3 times, because it was too long, then too short!  It finally worked out.  I like it - a bohemian cowboy - isn't that a trend now? 
And I also made a bracelet: 

 The green is definitely a softer color. The small green beads in the chevron necklace are aventurine and the larger oval green beads in the bracelet are 'green stone'.  I love the flecks in them.  I think it gives the beads some dimension.   The toggle clasp is supposed to be a flower and leaf combo and the charm is a feather. 

Here is the necklace and bracelet on.  The chain for the necklace is actually much longer, but I like to wear necklaces up a little higher. 
Together, what a nice color combo!  I really like this one. 

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?