Sunday, May 2, 2021

Inspiration for the May 2021 Honey Do List

We're a day late again... we were too busy enjoying a gorgeous sunny day in the low 80's for Eric to spend time deciding on a new inspiration photo for us yesterday!  2021 marks the sixth 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... The Honey Do List!  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 went back in time to an amazing trip Sarajo and I took to Portland.  This enormous thistle (or artichoke) was in the beautiful yard of our temporary home.  I had no idea that artichokes could be so amazing, spiky, and downright ancient looking!  So here is a fun challenge for you: colors, shapes, flowers...

The reveal date will be Monday, May 24th.  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 May 24th 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

Monday, April 26, 2021

Honey Do List April 2021

Happy Monday, everyone!  It's reveal day for the Honey Do List!  Who else is excited??  2021 marks the sixth 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... The Honey Do List!  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:

Hey everyone!  Here is a little tongue-in-cheek challenge for the Easter month.  I took this picture in Pacific City, Oregon several years ago.  Our hotel sold bags of rabbit chow to guests and we had to try this out.  Soon Sj had "wild" black rabbits eating out of her hands.  Welcome to Spring and have a great month!

Feeding all those black bunnies in Pacific City was so much fun!  What a great memory from a fun trip.  I honestly didn't believe the lady at the hotel when she told us if we shook the bag of food that the rabbits would come running... but she was totally right!

Anyways, seeing at the Art Elements theme for April is also rabbit/hare focused, it's a good thing that I had a decent amount of interesting art beads to choose from that could work for either challenge.  


Clockwise from top left: White Swan Studio, Lesley Watt, Jess Contreras, Round Rabbit, Andrew Thornton, Andrew Thornton

I haven't gotten as much made as I had hoped this month, but I still have a few more days to get some more designs finished for Art Elements.  I've got partial ideas for two of the remaining pendants... so we'll see how quickly things come together.  For now, let me show you the two necklaces that I did create!

I kicked things off with a lovely hare pendant by Lesley Watt that I've been hoarding (along with two of it's cousins if I'm honest) forever.  I strung an asymmetrical design that features some lovely matte Czech glass rounds, matte cuprite, cultured sea glass, and Vintage German resin.  To pull in the color of the pendant's flower charm, I added a few dark red touches... Czech glass flowers and rondelles as well as some deep colored faceted garnets.


Next up, I veered a little bit from realistic bunnies into the wonderful and weird world of the jackalope!  The adorable little polymer clay pendant is by the multi-talented Andrew Thornton.  To give it more heft, I wire-wrapped a fun striped Czech glass bead with some brass nuggets.  Still in a stringing mood, I used a combination of matte jade, bronzite, agate, wood, and Czech glass.  


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 May 1st to see what Eric has in store for us next month!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Inspiration for the April 2021 Honey Do List

Welcome (a little late) to April and finally some warmer weather here in Minnesota!  And a very Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it!  2021 marks the sixth 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... The Honey Do List!  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:


Hey everyone!  Here is a little tongue-in-cheek challenge for the Easter month.  I took this picture in Pacific City, Oregon several years ago.  Our hotel sold bags of rabbit chow to guests and we had to try this out.  Soon Sj had "wild" black rabbits eating out of her hands.  Welcome to Spring and have a great month!

Apparently Eric was in sync with the editors over at the Art Elements blog who also chose rabbits/hares as their theme of the month.  So if you're doing that challenge, feel free to play along with us here too!

The reveal date will be Monday, April 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 April 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

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Allegory Gallery Design Challenge: Fairy Garden Reveal

Happy April!  It's not an April Fool's joke that today's the day for the Allegory Gallery Fairy Garden design challenge kit!  After a very long hiatus from their design challenges this is the second kit in a row that I couldn't resist grabbing.


I was really smitten with Ann Schroeder's use of the lentil beads from the Dark Rainbow kit last month and that inspired my first necklace design a bit.  (You can see Ann's designs on her blog HERE.)  When I saw Andrew Thornton's mystery component I immediately knew that those lentils would work with this kit just as well!  I started playing around with different combinations of the larger beads from the kit and eventually came up with a design that I was happy with.  Almost every bead in this design was from the kit... the only exceptions were the lentils, seed bead spacers, and two other Czech glass beads.  

Of course, every time I get a kit like this I immediately look for cool bead pairs with earrings in mind.  Here are the ear bobs I whipped up this time!  I couldn't be more smitten with the cute little pale purple lady bugs in the pair on the left.  It felt like a no-brainer to pair them with the purple flower beads for some fun dangles.  The middle pair was super quick... I just attached the crystal teardrops to some fun Art Deco style connectors.  The pair on the right started with the green flowers.  I built a little dangle with them and some of the other small beads from the mix and then found a perfect pair of disk beads from Humblebeads to go with it.  

I never really know how to deal with dagger and petal shaped beads.  Since there was a nice little collection of them in the bead blend I challenged myself to play with them for once.  I strung them on a piece of wire with seed beads in between for a delicate little focal bib.  


I was about ready to move along and put away the rest of the kit away for the moment to move onto some things that I needed to deal with this week.... but then I took another look at some of the larger beads from the luxury bead blend included with the kit.  I started playing around with them and came up with a pleasing arrangement... now to find a focal to go with it.  Now I don't know about you, but this is 100% the opposite of how I normally design.  I came up with a few fun contenders but in the end chose a sweet polymer clay moth from Humblebeads.  I added a little bit of leafy chain underneath the pendant for a fun effect.  This may be my favorite piece this time around!  I may still need to adjust the length a bit but at least I could get a picture.  (Memo to myself... this is why prefer open link chain.)


Thanks for stopping by to see my latest creations!  


Monday, March 29, 2021

Art Elements Theme of the Month :: Spring


Each month the crew over at the Art Elements Blog take turns and offer up a general theme to get folks' creative juices going.  For March Niky Sayers chose the theme of "Spring."  Perfect timing as so many of us are officially over winter.  So I'm going to start out this post by apologizing for it's length.  What can I say... the thought of the coming Spring was very inspiring!

The very first thing I made, on the very first day of the month were these sweet rabbit earrings.  I drew on the idea of the good luck superstition where you say "rabbit, rabbit" upon waking on the first day of the new month.  I may not have said the words, but I made the rabbit rabbit earrings right away!  I paired the adorable enameled charms by Lindy's Designs with some resin opaline rounds and blackened findings.


Apparently, not only was this month about Spring, but on my bead table it was also about enameled elements!  I recently picked up some great bird and blooms charms/pendants from Blue Hare Art Wear that felt just perfect for some early Spring designs.  These necklaces are both all about the subtle first blush of the season...  more subtle colors instead of the bright riot of color to come.  

For this first necklace I cut the sweetness of the pale pinks and blues with black Czech glass beads that play off the black in the pendant design.  Vintage resin beads were the starting point of the design with glass and rose quartz added in to round things out.


The enameled pendant in this second necklace is a bit smaller than the first but I gave it some additional heft with a fun leafy link connector.  I played off the pinks and pale yellows in the pendant for the beaded links that are a combination of Czech glass and resin.  I can't say that I'm known for working with these sweet pastels, but I do love how these two designs turned out!


Per my usual chaotic designing style, after I finished this first batch of jewelry I grabbed a bunch of other art bead goodies to hang out on my bead table.  Spring had definitely sprung on my bead mat!  While several ideas were marinating at the back of my brain, I whipped up another pair of bunny earrings.  This time I used some little pale blue ceramic bunny charms from Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio.  I paired them with some coordinating Czech glass flowers and rondelles.  I also made a quick pair earrings with some cute floral charms from Golem Design Studio and coordinating silk cocoons by my friend Anna Pierson of SagaHus Components.


Keeping with the muted pastels I whipped up a sweet little bracelet with a Humblebeads house bead (as well as one of Heather's discs) and a mix of cultured & Czech glass, lucite, and brass findings.  Bracelets aren't always my thing, but I really am smitten with how this one turned out.  It was also the perfect use for some Czech glass melons I've had in my stash forever.  Score!


Next up, a necklace that I still haven't decided if I can part with yet as I switched my designing into shades of green.  I just love the wood pendant that was a collaboration between siblings Cynthia Thornton of Green Girl Studios and Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery.  (I'm sad I didn't grab more than one when they were offering these.)  There are so many sweet details in the design... my favorite being the tiny little snail on the right side.  This piece spoke to me of the first emerging leaves and sprouts and leaves of the season and I chose beads accordingly.  There's quite a bit of Czech glass along with freshwater and cultured pearls and a few moon glow lucite beads.


Continuing with shades of green, I finally made something with some little polymer clay leaves that I made in a workshop with Heather Powers a while back.  I had already made little wire bails for them but for some reason never finished whatever design that I had envisioned.  I decided that it was past time to get them completed.  I ended up pairing them with some rustic lampwork glass (maker unknown) along with Czech glass.  


Next up I went for a bit of a brighter green.  Spring makes me think birds and thus feathers.  I picked up this fun little set of ceramic beads from Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio at Bead & Button and fished them out for this prompt.  I made beaded links with the ceramic accent beads, some chunky Czech glass beads, as well as some filigree rounds.  


I just kept trucking through the pile of goodies I had pulled out to celebrate Spring (and, let's not pretend... I kept adding to the mess with more and more options too!)  I whipped up a couple more pairs of earrings to with some sweet spring charms I've been holding onto for way too long.   I paired some sweet daisy charms in polymer clay from Humblebeads with tiny lampwork beads, Czech glass, and brass (similar to the ones I used in this month's Honey Do List challenge.)  Next I used some faux tin charms by my friend Anna Pierson of SagaHus Components for a pair of earrings with purple moon glow lucite and copper accents.
 

With this next necklace I may finally be done with officially making for the Spring prompt.  We shall see.  At least I'll be done as far as my blog post goes!  Photos aren't doing it justice but I had to finally play with this luminous pendant from Humblebeads.  I picked beads that had a similar glow to them including a LOT of Czech glass with Mercury finish and some pale green resin rounds.  To go with the gold accents on the pendant I went with some gold filled and gold plated spacer beads and findings.

Phew!  That's a lot of new jewelry!  I hope you enjoyed these new Spring designs.  Here's to warmer (and longer!) days, blooming flowers, nesting birdies, and all the other special things that the new season will bring.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Honey Do List March 2021

Happy Monday my beady friends!  It's reveal day for the Honey Do List!  2021 marks the sixth 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 still hard to believe we've been doing this that long.  I know that I'm not the only one who loves a good design challenge, and I love having folks play along with us!

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


With the past week's warm up to 40-50 degree days and the melting of the enormous snow pile in our yard, I'm feeling the call of what we Minnesotans call False Spring.  OK, I call it that.  I'm posting this heavily processed picture of lichen and tiny flowers from our England trip two years back, hoping that we soon will see real flowers here as well.  

The first thing I made for this month's challenge ended up being my favorite by a long shot!  I had a gorgeous hand painted wood-burned pendant by Summer Wind Art that I had been hoarding for too long that really captured the feeling of Eric's photo.  It turns out that the green in the pendant was a pretty great match for some vintage wood beads that I had just picked up.  From there I started just playing around with various beads in the colors in the pendant.  In addition to the wood there's a mix of Czech glass, moon glow lucite, and German resin in there with copper plated findings.   The colors and textures in this one just make me so happy!  I'm also pretty thrilled that the asymmetry came pretty easily for once!


Next up a little pair of earrings with some sweet daisy charms by my friend Heather Powers of Humblebeads.  Even though there isn't any purple in the photo, the flowers look a lot like the white ones there.  I paired the charms with Czech glass and moon glow lucite.


Moon glow lucite continues as a theme through my creations this month.  I've had these cute magenta dogwood flower charms from Humblebeads for a stupid amount of town but finally had the perfect beads to complement them.  The colors are vibrant like the ones in Eric's photo and the design is ultra light weight.  


Lastly I pulled together one more necklace... this time using a pendant (actually one of the smaller pieces from a 3 piece mini-collar set) and some small rounds that I got from Dakota Stones at an event or class.  The colors worked and with the mix of colors in the pendant I knew I had some accent beads in bronzite and dyed impression jasper that would play nice with it.  It may not be my normal style, but hey, sometimes it's good to branch out to something new!



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 April 1st to see what Eric has in store for us next month!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Allegory Gallery Design Challenge: Dark Rainbow Reveal

It's been absolutely ages since I've participated in one of Allegory Gallery's Design Challenges, but when they premiered the Dark Rainbow kit I had to snag one and play along!  I couldn't resist the dark iridescence going on in all the goodies!

Each Allegory Gallery Design Kit has tons of great beads to play with and there's always a Mystery Component that's a surprise.  Here's an up close look at the Mystery Component for this kit and some of the beads I was playing with to go with it!  


For once I started with a necklace (instead of the low hanging fruit of a quick pair of earrings!) and immediately zeroed in on the three strands of matte plated hematite rondelles in different sizes.  The bronze tones in those beads was just perfect for the pendant!  The clear rounds with an AB finish were another early pick for the necklace.  The pearly look to them brought out some of the subtle sheen in the clouds.  (My picture doesn't do the color shifting pigments justice!)  All the beads are from the kit with the exception of a few seed beads at the very back.  I picked a brass plated toggle clasp that mimicked the design around the top of the pendant.


Of course the second thing I made WAS a pair of earrings, lol.  With kits like this I usually start by pouring all the beads out and seeing what I have... grouping like things together and thinking about what things might play best together.  I set aside some matching bead pairs that didn't seem like they would work for my necklace idea as well as some coordinating beads right away but then circled back to them once I finished my first design.  All the beads other than the crystal rondelles came from the kit... so shiny!


Last, but not least I made a bracelet to round out my little mini collection.  I got the idea and some of the supplies for this from the Dakota Stones/Goody Beads presentation during the Great Bead Extravaganza.  I mostly used beads from the luxury bead blend as well as the same matte rondelles I used in my necklace.  I added in some purple peanut seed beads and some braided black leather.  The bracelet is strung on heavy duty memory wire to handle the weight of the bigger beads.  


Thanks for stopping by to see what I've been up to.  There are still a bunch of beads that I haven't even cut off the strands so there's more jewelry to be made from this fun kit when I have the time.