Thursday, August 22, 2019

Inspired by Reading: What Alice Forgot

Wow.  It's been a looooong time since I actually made something for the Inspired by Reading Book Club!  Yikes!  I've mostly been keeping up on the reading but have lacked the time (and, honestly, sometimes the inspiration) to get something created.  Well, this month I'm back!  For August, we read What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.


This is the second book I've read by Liane Moriarty and I liked this one so much better than Big Little Lies.  The basic premise is that the main character, Alice, has come to after a head injury sustained at the gym and has completely lost all memories from the past 10 years.  She thinks she's 29 and pregnant with her first child when in fact she's about to turn 40, the mother of three children, and is in the middle of a contentious divorce.  It's fascinating to follow Alice as she slowly starts to unravel the mystery that is her present day life.  How bizarre to not remember how you got to be the person you are, and living the life that you are! 

It really made think.  How much would my 35 year old self recognize of my 45 year old life?  For sure I would be surprised that I'd quit my job as a librarian to make jewelry and more of the household.  I had barely started making jewelry 10 years ago and hadn't dreamed of selling anything!  I thought about all the friends that I hadn't met yet then... and the people who have passed away in that time that I wouldn't know about.  Crazy!  Another big shocker is that I now cook (some) and do all the grocery shopping.  I'd also probably be a little dismayed that I weigh a bit more now than I did then, LOL!

It might not be the most imaginative but I went for a piece inspired by the book's cover.  The cover designer was likely thinking of idea of your memories being blown out of you head just like so many dandelion seeds... at least that's my interpretation!  I knew that I had a lovely dandelion pendant from Summer Wind Art tucked away from a recent order.  (Seriously, if you don't know her stuff, check out her Etsy shop.  She does amazing wood burned pieces that she hand paints.)  The colors in the pendant even matched the book cover!  How perfect is that?!  Here's a close up of the necklace and the pretty pendant.


I've really been feeling the stringing lately... does anyone else seem to go through phases like that?  I immediately grabbed a handful of blue Czech glass rondelles that were a great match for the pendant, knowing that they would be the backbone of my design.  I added in some dark wood saucers and small brass beads to pull out the dark, burned lines of the pendants design and some ivory Czech glass melons with brown in the creases.  The final addition to my design were some lovely Terra Agate barrels that I got from Dakota Stones at our local bead show.  I think they bring things together nicely!


I was originally thinking that I'd make this a fairly long necklace with brass chain at the back.  Once I finished the stringing portion, I totally changed my mind and it's a shorter length (about 20 inches) with a lobster claw clasp at the back.

Thanks for stopping by to see what I've been up to.  Hopefully I'm now back on track with creating for Book Club!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Inspiration for the August 2019 Honey Do List

This is the fourth year that my husband Eric has been giving me a design challenge each month to get me out of my comfort zone and to help clear out my bead stash... it's the Honey Do List 2019!  I know that I'm not the only one who loves a good design challenge, so I'm hoping folks will continue to play along with us!

Here's this month's inspiration and what Eric had to say about it:



This month I've chosen a wall from Nunney Castle in England as your muse.  I love the patterns, shapes, and colors of the lichen, with a little pop of green from the fern.  Hopefully this will point you in an interesting direction for inspiration!


The reveal date will be Monday, August 26th.  To make it super easy for you to participate and share your creations, I'll set up an Inlinkz link up so folks can add their blogs as they are ready.  Just stop by my blog starting on August 26th and join the fun!  I'll leave the link up open for a while... so you have plenty of time to add your links.  (Last month's is still open... check it our HERE.) No blog?  No worries!  Feel free to send me a picture of your creation and some brief comments and I'll happily share in my blog post.  You can reach me at sjdesignsjewelry@gmail.com  The more the merrier, so I hope you'll play along with me this month!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Art Elements Theme of the Month: Flowers


I had a lot of fun with July's Theme of the Month from the Art Elements blog!  Marsha Neal challenged us to be inspired by flowers... an easy task especially this time of year when things are actually blooming in Minnesota.  It didn't hurt that I had just visited some lovely gardens during our tour of Great Britain last month either!

Not totally a new idea for me, but this month I did get the chance to play with some new colors as well as a slightly different spin on some branch components wire wrapped with Czech glass flower beads.  This first one was a special order for a friend.  I had made a similar one with copper plated components but she wasn't a fan of copper.  Once I got my hand on some silver colored branch components, I was able to whip this up for her!


For this next necklace, I clipped off one of the branch connectors and turned the piece on it's end as a fun floral dangle from one of Heather Power's larger scale polymer clay birds.  A fun way to give flight to this little Humblebeads creation!!


Next up, I finally made a necklace with the floral pendant that I made in last year's instructor make & take round robin at the Adornments Mixed Media Jewelry Retreat.  This was Erin Prias-Hintz's project and was made with two part epoxy clay and some fun Pearl Ex powders.  The pendant was fun to create and I'm glad that I've finally made something with it.  It's a pretty simple design... just strung with tons of great metallic Czech glass beads.  Maybe I'll add some of those powders to my Amazon shopping cart... hmmm.


Since earrings are my favorite thing to make, I had to include at least one pair for this reveal.  I picked out a gorgeous pair of copper and resin charms by Twinkiedinky with a blue and golden yellow floral pattern.  To keep them from getting too heavy, I used some chunky amber colored lucite beads framed by copper plated bead caps.


For some time I've been looking at a tube of some fun green-yellow tube beads with white stripes that I got in a goody bag from Candie Cooper at a Twin Cities Bead Bazaar event this spring.  I had cut them off the strand and got them into a box... but that box has been hanging out off to the side on my bead table ever since.  I was toying with the idea of doing a multi-strand bracelet with them (and I still may) but this amazing daisy pendant from Golem Design Studio jumped out at me.  This is one of the thicker pendants I have from Golem (it's domed rather than flat) so I thought that using some heavier weight waxed linen


There are still a bunch of flower pieces on my bead board... we'll see how many more become something now and what gets put away for another day.

P.S.  I did manage to make something else for this challenge!  I had a couple of floral pendants from the super talented Ashley Bonney of Summer Wind Art on my bead table but in the end it was this sweet and subtly colored piece that had to be made into a necklace.  I had a lot of fun picking out a variety of Czech glass beads in pale hues to match the pendant.  There are also a couple of rose quartz rounds in there.



Please take some time and look at the wonderful things people are creating and contributing to this theme by visiting these artists blogs (if you are having issues leaving comments, please try using google chrome as your browser).
You can also see and participate yourself via social media by using the hashtags: #AEThemeChallengeand #AEFlowers

Monday, July 29, 2019

Honey Do List July 2019

This is the fourth year that my husband Eric has been giving me a design challenge each month to get me out of my comfort zone and to help clear out my bead stash... it's the Honey Do List 2019!  I know that I'm not the only one who loves a good design challenge, so I'm hoping folks will continue to play along with us!

Here's this month's inspiration and what Eric had to say about it:




After returning from our epic UK trip I have something like 8000 pictures to go through.  How to pick a challenge piece for this month?!  I ended up picking this super cute puffin because seeing these little birds was one of the best parts of our trip.  I'm sure actual puffin jewelry components are rare, but the colors should give you some inspiration.  And besides... look how cute this puffin is!

I'm feeling like a bit of an underachiever this month for only managing one fairly simple design for this challenge.  It's been a crazy summer (even more so than our normal level of chaos) and I've just barely been keeping my head above water.  I especially feel bad since seeing the puffins was one of the highlights of the trip for me!  Oh well... that's how it goes sometimes.  

Eric's awesome picture was just the jumping off point for me this time... part of what inspired me wasn't successfully captured in any of our still photos.  As the little puffin parents came out of their burrows they would fly off to fish for dinner for the family.  They would swoop back onto the cliff edge with their beaks full of fish and then zip back inside their burrows super fast.  It was pretty amazing to watch!  I'm so sad that I didn't think to take some video footage.  

The only thing that came to mind was to do a charm style necklace.  I've been hoarding a really interesting strand of dyed malachite faceted teardrop beads for a couple of years.  They have many of the colors from Eric's photo: orange, black, blue, and blue-green.  The Swarovski-studded rondelle adds a tiny flash of sparkle.  I also have a little collection of German resin fish that I got from an Allegory Gallery de-stash event earlier this year.  (These were a set of six so I was originally thinking earring pairs, but one of them just had to go into this necklace!)  I rounded out my little charm cluster with a Czech glass leaf with some extra little beads on top to make it a bit longer.



Now it's your turn!  Please add links to/photos of your own creations below.  I love seeing what everyone else is making too!  Check back on August 1st to see what Eric has in store for us next month!



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Monday, July 22, 2019

Adornments Retreat 2019


I'm sorry it's been so quiet on my blog so far this summer.  Since June1st, I've only been at home three weekends and one of those was spent with serious jet lag!  We're on the run again this coming weekend too.  Wowza.  No wonder our summers just fly by!

Anyway, I digress.  This past week and weekend was filled with travel to and tons of fun and learning at the Adornments Mixed Media Jewelry Retreat.  While it's all still fresh in my mind, I wanted to share my experiences and my projects with you all!

2019 marks the third year of Adornments and I've been lucky enough to attend every year so far.  Since it falls around my birthday (it's tomorrow!), I look at this as my birthday present to me.  Each year the schedule has worked out a bit differently.  Our instructors were Jess Lincoln from Vintaj, Heather Powers of Humblebeads fame, Erin Prais-Hintz our mad scientist, and Candie Cooper who is the queen of sparkle and special sauce!  This year participants could take four different half day classes over two days (Thursday and Friday).  We also had a round robin make and take session on Saturday where we got to a little project with each of the four instructors... so great if you didn't have a class with everyone!!

Our fabulous instructors: Candie, Jess, Heather, and Erin

My friend Alexa that I met through Heather's oh so awesome Bead Cruise flew into Minneapolis and rode with me this year.  It's always better to have a buddy to keep you company on a long drive!  Plus we'll be rooming together on the 2020 Bead Cruise so this was a great opportunity to get to know each other better before we room together for 8 nights!  We had a nice dinner in downtown Galena before settling into the Chestnut Mountain Resort for the week.

Wednesday:  Day 1 of the retreat was all about registration, housekeeping for the event, digging into our goody bags from all the generous sponsors, and the ever popular pendant exchange.  Each attendee is encouraged to make a pendant for the exchange and then it's a blind choice... you get called up one table at a time and just grab the package that speaks to you!  Here's what I made for the exchange with etched copper and the cute dragonfly that I received from Tammy N.



Another fun part of the first day is creating and dividing out a bead soup to be used for the design challenge.  How that works is each participant is asked to bring a 16 inch strand of beads (or it's equivalent).  Each table has it's own bowl and the folks sitting at that table throw their respective strands in, mix it around, and then divide it out.  On the last day of the retreat we reveal and vote on our favorite designs made from the bead soups.  More on that later!  Sadly, we were so eager to get started that we forgot to take a before picture of our table's bead soup.  Oops!!  At least you can see the palette below.  After dinner, we reconvened for a night of shopping with the instructors, beading, and socializing.  I came away with some nice goodies as always!



Thursday:  Day 2 dawned and we were all excited to get started with our first classes.  For me it was Heather's Faux Tin Charming Affair.  Yes, I know I've taken this a few times before, but it's always different images and projects... plus she and her awesome husband Jesse have tweaked and perfected the process over time, so you get the most up to date and best technique to take home!  This time we were more focused on charms and earring components... right in my happy place!  I'm often a little pokey in class but I did manage to get one pair of earrings completed and some textured copper pieces cut out.  Eventually I'll get the faux tin pieces cut out and everything filed and put together!


My afternoon class was Erin's Petri Dish Pendants.  I really enjoyed each and every one of my classes, but if I had to pick a favorite, this would totally be it!  Unlike many techniques, this one feels a bit like mad science.  You really have no idea exactly how the resin and alcohol inks will react with each other... it's just a leap of faith.  The only bad part is that you have to wait 24 hours for the resin to cure before you get to see how things turned out.  This is not a technique for those of you who want a reliable and repeatable design.  If you're willing to take a chance the results can be amazing.  Not everything turned out how I expected/hoped, but I still think that they are all attractive and fun!

On the left you can see how things looked from the back... this is the pre-cured picture.  The right is how they looked right after I peeled them off the tape.  So exciting to see the results!

Here's the glamor shot of my finished components.  One of my maple leaf pendants still needs a tiny bit of clean up, but it's way better than it was!

Thursday night after dinner we had two fun presentations and a make and take hosted by Ron Rock from Swarovski and Jess from Vintaj.  Ron brought each of us a gorgeous (and hefty!) orchid pendant that we wire wrapped with a lovely Vintaj brass piece.  Heather shared an inspiring presentation all about the elements of design.  Lots of sparkly and art bead inspiration for sure!

My finished make and take pendant!  Isn't it amazing?

A couple of pages from one of the Swarovski inspiration books that they come out with twice a year when they announce new products.  These pages are hand crafted and just GORGEOUS!

Friday:  My morning class was Adding Images to EVERYTHING with Candie and it was super fun!  We did a quick project with an image under a glass dome and then got down to business with some fun translucent image transfer material.  Unfortunately it's not on the market anymore but I did buy a few sheets for future play!  I have some fun new pendants to create with plus more images to use when I get a chance to experiment some more.



For the afternoon I was back in Erin's classroom for her Quick Cure Clay Components class and more mad science!  Quick Cure Clay is a super new product on the scene from Ranger and the class was all about exploration and experimentation.  It's a really interesting material that cures quickly with just a heat gun as the catalyst.  It's strong and the cured product feels more like a ceramic than anything else that I can compare it to.  Even though Erin had a ton of different options for adding color to our creations, I chose to focus on making pieces since I had access to lots of textures and molds that I don't have at home.  I still have more clay in my package so after I do some more with this first batch color-wise I can expand on my experiments!

On the left, I'm set up and ready to start.  The right are my cured pieces.  The four flowers along the bottom have jump rings embedded in the back side so that I can use them as button clasps.

The last official night of the retreat is a crowd favorite... the Pajama Beading Party!  We get to be silly and wear fun pj's while we continue to work on projects and chat.  Pretty much eat, drink, bead, and be merry!  Another fun tradition is the Facebook Live beading challenge where Erin and Heather give each other a bead soup mix based on that year's palette and one of the other instructors provides a mystery component that must be included in both designs.  It's fast paced and good, silly fun that always results in some lovely new jewelry designs.  You can watch the replay, hosted by Candie Cooper HERE.

Heather and Erin working under the pressure for the Facebook Live Beading Challenge!

Saturday:  The last day of Adornments is always bittersweet.  I feel sad to be finishing things up and saying good bye to beady friends, yet by that time I'm also ready to be back home with my Sweetie and the kitties.  Similar to last year, the instructors planned a fun progressive make and take where we all got to do one charm project with each of the four instructors.  They divided us into groups and we rotated through all four stations.

Make & take charms:  Clockwise from top left the projects were by Candie Cooper, Heather Powers, Jess Lincoln, and Erin Prais-Hintz.  The pewter piece is from Vintaj and can be shaped in fun ways if you wish.  I haven't decided what I want to do yet so it's in its natural state!

After we did our round robin of charms it was time to vote on your favorite creation for the Bead Soup Design Challenge.  You could have knocked me over with a feather... I won second place and with it a $50 gift certificate to Rustic River Finds.  Jess's sweet mom Trish Italia owns this fabulous bead store right in downtown Galena.  I always find some really unique things that just have to come home with me there.  Trish also stocks a great selection of gifts and home decor items.  So fun to shop there every year!  Here's my winning entry:

h
entry was actually two necklaces that can be worn together or separately.  Both focals are polymer clay... the heart is by Erin (and I bought it the first night of the retreat) and the rounded square is by Heather and was in my goody bag.   

After lots of hugs and good byes to the folks hitting the road on Saturday afternoon most of us headed into downtown for lunch and shopping.  Monica, Alexa, and I enjoyed yummy white sangria and frozen fruit with our pizza lunch.


With our bellies now happy, we wandered down to Rustic River Finds to spend my gift certificate and more!!  Trish always provides a little make and take project for all the Adorners.  This year it was a sweet necklace.


Every night Monica and I opened our room for late night shenanigans and socializing.  Just hanging out and catching up with old friends and meeting new ones is one of the best parts of any retreats.  We always have some fun and silly times after hours in the "party room" but what happens in Galena stays in Galena!  ;)  Saturday night was our last hurrah and we probably stayed up a little past our bedtimes, but it was all worth it!  

I've come home with my creative batteries recharged and my heart full of gratitude and love for my beady tribe.  I don't get to see most of these awesome folks nearly often enough but I enjoy every moment when I do get to spend time in their company.  Until next year, Adornments!!




Friday, July 5, 2019

Inspiration for the July 2019 Honey Do List

We're baaack!  Sorry for the delay in getting the Honey Do List back up and running after our June hiatus.  Life and time kind of got away from us as we negotiated re-entry into real life after 17 days in Great Britain!

This is the fourth year that my husband Eric has been giving me a design challenge each month to get me out of my comfort zone and to help clear out my bead stash... it's the Honey Do List 2019!  I know that I'm not the only one who loves a good design challenge, so I'm hoping folks will continue to play along with us!

Here's this month's inspiration and what Eric had to say about it:




After returning from our epic UK trip I have something like 8000 pictures to go through.  How to pick a challenge piece for this month?!  I ended up picking this super cute puffin because seeing these little birds was one of the best parts of our trip.  I'm sure actual puffin jewelry components are rare, but the colors should give you some inspiration.  And besides... look how cute this puffin is!

The reveal date will be Monday, July 29th.  To make it super easy for you to participate and share your creations, I'll set up an Inlinkz link up so folks can add their blogs as they are ready.  Just stop by my blog starting on July 29th and join the fun!  I'll leave the link up open for a while... so you have plenty of time to add your links.  No blog?  No worries!  Feel free to send me a picture of your creation and some brief comments and I'll happily share in my blog post.  You can reach me at sjdesignsjewelry@gmail.com  The more the merrier, so I hope you'll play along with me this month!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Honey Do List May 2019

This is the fourth year that my husband Eric has been giving me a design challenge each month to get me out of my comfort zone and to help clear out my bead stash... it's the Honey Do List 2019!  I know that I'm not the only one who loves a good design challenge, so I'm hoping folks will continue to play along with us!

Here's this month's inspiration and what Eric had to say about it:




On our recent trip to Georgia, we were treated to a tour of the Athens campus by our good friend Kathleen. On that tour we discovered a small hidden park and this little guy!  I spent a good amount of time photographing this little Anole lizard, and suddenly he decided to get randy and started to show off his throat wattle.  And here you go!

I just love these little lizards and spent many an hour chasing and sometimes catching these guys.  I feel a tiny bit guilty now for having terrorized the poor creatures, but none were ever physically harmed and they were always returned to about where I found them.

I'm pretty impressed with how well Eric captured this little dude.  Kathleen and I were just wandering the gardens talking away and didn't notice where he had disappeared to.  The anole looks so proud of himself here!  

Anyways, he is such a striking and vibrant green, I knew I had to do something with that.  My first design feature some fun pieces from Gardanne in a striking green that is not quite as loud as his little body, but still pretty groovy and bright.  The black stripes on the sides kind of tone it down a little bit while giving visual interest.  I added niobium ear wires right to the tops of the charms and then dangled a mix of Czech glass beads in green and black from the bottom.  These are going to be such fun to wear!



Despite his bright green body, the most striking thing about this anole for me is that bright red wattle of his.  I just had to make something inspired by that!  Another pair of enameled charms by Gardanne to the rescue here!  They are meant to be pomegranates, but the holes in them and their color reminded me of the spots on his throat.  I added some Czech glass beads to dangle from the bottom, but the charms are the stars... as it should be!



Now don't laugh, the first thing that I thought of when Eric showed me this picture was strawberries!  I remembered that I had a pair of tiny strawberry charms from Inviciti hiding in my stash and went digging for them.  I kept this design pretty simple... I just added some cool vintage glass tube beads in deep red.  I love the texture on those beads!



Now it's your turn!  Please add your links to your own creations below.  I love seeing what everyone else is making too.  

Due to an incredibly busy June (Bead & Button followed almost immediately by a 16 day trip to Great Britain... gulp), We're going to take a little break from the Honey Do List.  Since we figure Eric will have tons of new inspiration after those trips, we're going to skip the June challenge and resume for July.  

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