Thursday, July 2, 2020

Inspiration for the July 2020 Honey Do List

2020 marks the fifth 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 2020!  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:




Since I've been going more monochrome recently, I decided to pop some flowers and color into the mix this month. This is a flower I took a shot of along Hadrian's Wall in England last summer.  Back when we could go out and travel.  I figure folks can find inspiration in flowers, lichen, colors, etc this month!
The reveal date will be Monday, July 27th.  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 27th 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!

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July my friends!!

Friday, June 26, 2020

Art Elements Theme of the Month June 2020 :: Summer Solstice


The Art Elements Theme of the Month is appropriately the Summer Solstice.  I do so love the long days of summer... although since the Solstice has come and gone I know that they will be getting shorter from here.  Sigh.  Anyway, I focused on the sun for my two designs this month.  Looking on the bright side of life and all that!

For my first design I revisited the idea of doing a bead embroidered bezel around a bottle cap.  Bell's Oberon is a summer seasonal...  a great patio beer that I've been known to enjoy in the warmer months.  


I had one another sunny, summery pendant in my stash so it was time for some stringing!  I paired a lovely hand painted wooden pendant by Ashley Bonney of Summer Wind Art with a fun mix of beads.  It's hard to tell in my photos, but the sun itself is a lovely gold paint... thus my decision to use raw brass chain and findings.  I started pulling beads with the blue tones... I used a mix of Czech glass, faceted Angelite, and Aquamarine.  I pulled in a tiny bit of green with a trio of green lampwork glass beads (artists unknown) and wood tones with some coconut discs.



Here's hoping that the humidity here breaks and I get some patio time this weekend... in the shade of the umbrella.  This summer is going to be a little different than past years but I'm going to embrace it all for what it is.  Who knows, maybe it's time to pick up a new six pack of Oberon!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Honey Do List June 2020

Good Monday morning to all my beady friends!  I hope that you all had a lovely weekend... we sure did.  Lots of cooking, creativity, board games, and just relaxing.  For once I didn't leave my Honey Do List projects to the very last second, so that helped!!

2020 marks the fifth 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 2020!  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:



I struggled a little picking a photo for this month, but ended up deciding on this one.  While not incredibly colorful, I like all the icons and symbols present on this amazing bronze door in Prague.  Good luck on this one!  I promise some color next month!

Even though there isn't really color to speak of in Eric's inspiration photo, there were a lot of thematic possibilities.  The first thing that jumped out at me were the Comedy and Tragedy masks at the top of the doors.  I immediately thought of some vintage brass stampings that I picked up at last fall's Inspired by Nature Retreat when we did a giveaway table.  For some reason I have a ton of the comedy ones, but only one tragedy... so I'm not sure what I'll do with the others.  At least I had a set perfect for earrings!  I didn't buy them for these earrings, but I just happened to pick up these really cool West German resin beads at the perfect time.  I added gold plated spacer beads and raw brass ear wires to complete this look perfect for any thespian!  



A lot of my time went into this next piece.  My sweet friend Alexa had gifted me an amazing polymer clay cabochon by Sherri Kellberg of Beadazzle Me last July in hopes of getting me excited about doing more bead embroidery.  It took me a little bit, but after the Bead Cruise this year I was finally hooked!  With the kitty sitting in the left bottom corner of the doors and the metallic patinated look of the cat face, I felt like this was a good time to tackle this fun piece!  I decided to try something new with this one due to it's size... I learned how to add a pin back underneath the Ultra Suede backing.  


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 July 1st to see what Eric has in store for us next month! 
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Inspiration for the June 2020 Honey Do List

2020 marks the fifth 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 2020!  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:



I struggled a little picking a photo for this month, but ended up deciding on this one.  While not incredibly colorful, I like all the icons and symbols present on this amazing bronze door in Prague.  Good luck on this one!  I promise some color next month!

The reveal date will be Monday, June 22nd.  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 June 22nd 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, June 1, 2020

Art Elements Theme of the Month May 2020 :: Butterflies

I love me some butterflies and moths so I was a happy girl when I saw the Art Elements Theme of the Month challenge was all about butterflies!  I may have an embarrassing amount of butterfly art beads... so the biggest problem for this challenge was deciding what to use.

I had to start with some beautiful faux tin butterfly charms from Humblebeads that came with cute decorative copper charms attached.  The just seemed perfect for Springtime!  Of course I had to dig around for the perfect Humblebeads discs to coordinate with the charms.  Instead of going with a super matchy bead on the top, I picked a Czech glass flower in a bolder coral color to make it pop.


I had also just snagged a few pairs of enameled butterfly and moth charms from Blue Hare Art Wear in a recent show so of course I had to whip up a sweet little pair of earrings with some of those!


Next up, I made a long necklace with a gorgeous butterfly wing pendant by Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati.  This was a special edition piece that she made only for her Simple Truths Sampler Club.  Pictures really don't do this little treasure justice (especially mine since lighting was iffy when I took them.)  There is a lovely iridescence to it that I wish you could see.  I strung the pendant with tons of yummy Czech glass and Swarovski Pearls with gold plated chain at the back.




Even though I had tons of other butterfly charms and pendants, I turned my focus toward my newest obsession, bead embroidery!!  Even though I took some classes on the Bead Cruise a few years ago, for some reason this year really got me excited about doing more with it.  (I'm hoping to share a little post soon sharing a bit of my bead embroidery journey.)  Anyway, the rest of my designs took a little more time as I learn and play with this new medium.

First up is my very first totally original design... this is the piece I'm most proud of this month.  The idea started with a butterfly shaped porcelain button from Round Rabbit that I've had lingering for years.  When I started plotting it out I thought I could keep it to a nice rounded square shape.  As I worked on it though it continued to grow and morph into a more organic shape.  Here's a little peak at the progression this pendant took in its shape and orientation. 


And drumroll please.... here's the finished pendant!  I'm so happy with the texture and movement I managed to get in the background.  I think it feels really rich.  I'm currently wearing this one on some simple brass chain.  The pendant makes enough of a statement all on its own!


I wanted to let you see the back of this one too.  I used some cork for the backing instead of the more traditional ultra suede. 


My last completed piece is a pendant with a gorgeous ceramic cab by Lisa Peters Russ that I got in another recent Facebook sale.  I'm still pretty new to doing peyote bezels, so every time I successfully bezel something I'm over the moon!  I had fun picking out different bead colors and textures for this one trying to echo the colors in the cab.  I used a navy blue ultra suede for the back of this pendant and plan to just hang it from chain.  I can assure you it was unintentional, but I like the way the top loop echoes the shape of the flower detail at the bottom.  Happy accident!


I didn't quite get my last piece done, but it's ready to trim and get it's backing now.  This is another fabulous cab by Lisa Peters Russ.  This one has a nice matte finish.  Wanting to add a pop of the red and corals from the cab's flower, I gave this one a little crown of flowers to match.  I feel like being a seed bead hoarder is finally paying off since I have tons to choose from for bead embroidery projects!  I need to decide if I'll do a simple brick stitch edge or go for a pretty picot.  If you have opinions on that, I'd love to hear them!


Thanks so much for stopping by to see my little collection of butterfly designs!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Honey Do List May 2020

2020 marks the fifth 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 2020!  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 one is from our trip to the Czech Republic two years ago, a little tableau I spotted when wandering the narrow streets of Loket.  This type of thing is exactly what I look for when walking around with my camera!  I like the colors and patterns here, so you folks should have lots of options for inspiration.

There's a lot to love in the quaint charm of the photo that Eric chose for our inspiration this month.  So many colors and patterns to play with from the mugs, the shapes of the window, the warmth of the wood...  I honestly can't wait to see what y'all create this month!

I have to admit that as soon as I saw the photo this month I knew that I had to use some new faux tin pieces from Heather Powers of Humblebeads.  I had snagged one of her super adorable tea cup pendants and coordinating earring charms.  

For the earrings I gathered a little bouquet of small Czech glass flowers to dangle from the bottom of the charms.  I picked beads in some of the colors from the trio of stacked cups on the charms.  Unfortunately, I realized too late that I I'm out of my favorite copper and niobium ear wires.  I popped some different ear wires on for the moment but will likely switch them out.  



I went less literal for my second pair of earrings.  For these I focused on the polka dotted mugs... Who doesn't love a good dot, right?  Some rustic dotted ceramic charms from Slate Studios were just the thing.  The charms are small and lightweight... perfect for earrings.  I paired them with black and red Czech glass beads and blackened findings.



I feel a little bad that I didn't manage to create more, but (full disclosure) I've been more than a bit preoccupied with bead embroidery.  (You'll see more of that soon.)  I've got some beads laid out for the pendant and hope to get that done yet this week.  Here's what I'm playing with for it.




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

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Friday, May 15, 2020

We're All Ears May 2020 :: May Flowers

For this month's We're All Ears challenge, Erin chose the theme of May Day for us.  I'd never heard of the idea of flowers in cones or baskets for May Day... May Poles... yes, cones... no.  Either way, I can totally get on board with the idea of flowery earrings.  For someone who doesn't consider herself super flowery or girly, I do love flower beads!


I started with a fun pair of pressed pansy flower charms in resin from Twinkiedinky that I've had for a while.  The purple and yellow combination is not always an easy one for me, but how can I argue with Mother Nature?  I added some purple Czech glass flowers and little yellow rondelles for some fun and lightweight earrings.


Next up, I finally made something with some pretty yellow rose charms made by our hostess Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati.  These have been languishing in my stash since 2016 (hangs head in shame) but they are finally getting their day in the sun!  I used some faceted citrines and little turquoise Czech glass beads to bring an extra pop of color into the design.


I also couldn't resist playing with some cool components from Artisticaos.  The colors were just so yummy, and the shape with it's wire "handle" does remind me a bit of a flower basket.  Once again I picked some coordinating Czech glass flowers as well as some little dyed agate rondelles.


After playing with a bunch of of my flowery art beads I decide to try my hand with a more May Day specific idea that came to me in the shower of all places, lol.  I thought it would be fun to have some little Czech glass flowers coming out of a cone shaped bead cap.  I had to play around with the lengths of the headpins until I was happy with how they behaved, but I think the end result is pretty cute!


Before I was done creating for this challenge, I managed to get in some play time with some new patterned cork that Heather Powers of Humblebeads turned me onto.  Here are a few variations on an earring idea using a thicker version of a floral cork sheet.  All are paired with brass charms from Vintaj, Czech glass flowers, and plated hematite beads.


This is a blog hop.  You can check out what other folks were inspired to make over on the Earrings Everyday blog HERE.


Friday, May 1, 2020

Inspiration for the May 2020 Honey Do List

2020 marks the fifth 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 2020!  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 one is from our trip to the Czech Republic two years ago, a little tableau I spotted when wandering the narrow streets of Loket.  This type of thing is exactly what I look for when walking around with my camera!  I like the colors and patterns here, so you folks should have lots of options for inspiration.

The reveal date will be Monday, May 18th.  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 18th 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 30, 2020

Art Elements Theme of the Month April 2020: Bees

When I first saw that the April Theme of the Month from the Art Elements blog was bees, I was equal parts excited and nervous.  I actually had a moment where I was worried that I wouldn't have much to choose from in my stash since I made a whole bunch of bee jewelry last year for a different challenge.  It was clearly a needless concern... (and full disclosure, I found a few more things after I took this picture!)


The first thing I whipped up for this month's challenge was a cute little pair of earrings with beehive charms from Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio.  Since yellow isn't always the best seller for me (sad face) I decided to pair the ceramics with some lightweight polymer clay discs with honey yellow, bronze, and turquoise from Heather Powers of Humblebeads.  I topped things off with an extra pop of blue from a little Czech glass bead.


Next, I decided to put together a little bracelet rich in art beady goodness.  I took a set of coin beads from Humblebeads and just added a few extra beads to the mix.  As much as I love the colors and textures in this set, I've been at a loss as how to best use them.  I ended up getting inspired by an old bracelet design that Heather shared ages ago... it was the perfect way to get these cuties out of my stash and into the world!


I knew that I wanted to make at least one buzzy bee necklace.  The obvious place to start was with one of the lovely hand painted wood pendants from Summer Wind Art.  I had picked out some Czech glass flower beads to go with one of them a while back, but hadn't circled back to the design until now.  Since I'm kind of guilty of going monochromatic sometimes, I really wanted to push beyond the blues for this one.  I chose some lovely faceted citrine rondelles to break things up and echo the golden yellow from the bee's body and the center of the flower.


Since I had my box of yellow beads out already for the citrines in the last design, it only made sense to whip up one more necklace that used mostly beads from that same box!  (I'm not the only one who logics my creative flow this way, am I??)  Anyway, I wanted to give the the cute little bee and honeycomb pendant from Humblebeads a little more physical and visual heft and a little Yellow Jade nugget was just the thing!  I made bead links with Czech glass in both an ivory Mercury glass finish and yellow/amber, faceted golden blood quartz, and some fun copper hexagons from Allegory Gallery.


Here's a closer look at the front and the back of the pendant.  It would be just as pretty worn backwards!


This is a blog hop.  Please check out what the other participants were inspired to make!

AE team:
Guests:
Sarajo (you are here)

Monday, April 20, 2020

Honey Do List April 2020

2020 marks the fifth 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 2020!  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:




Since I haven't been out taking pictures this season yet, I went back in time to my pictures from last summer's trip to the UK.  This was an amazing metalwork gate we discovered in the gardens outside Alnwick Castle and I think gives lots of options for jewelry inspiration!

As soon as I saw Eric's inspiration photo this month, my mind started going a million miles a minute with tons of ideas burbling around in there!  The vines, the leaves, the keyhole, the color and sheen of the iron work, the vibrant greens in the background.

The first thing that I made was all about the iron frame and the swirling leaves and vines.  At last fall's Inspired by Nature Retreat I scored some cool Vintaj Arte Metal deco rivets that I wanted to finally play around with.  If you aren't familiar with deco rivets, they are decorative pieces with sharp prongs on the back that can be punched through paper or material and folded down.  In this case, I used my round nose pliers to roll those prongs into loops.  I thought the shape and pattern of the deco rivets was perfect to represent the functional part of the gate.  I also had some sweet little Arte Metal leaves that were a similar shape to the leaves around the lock.  To add some color to the design, I incorporated some little Czech glass leaves into the mix!


My next design focuses on the keyhole in the gate.  I had several cool escutcheon focals in my stash, but one by Nancy Adams of Round Rabbit (who sadly, no longer makes jewelry components) caught my attention.  With Minnesota being under a Safe at Home order (and having been super cautious about going out even before that order) I've been trying to spend at least some of my time organizing and putting away my ridiculous bead stash that's been all over the basement.  I had just put away some really cool matte finish melon beads that I got last summer and in looking at the pendant knew immediately that they were a great match.  Apparently I've been in a stringing mood lately (also a symmetrical one) so I started playing around with different combinations including some metal "pringle" beads.  



I really wanted to play with some Vintaj metal blanks and riveting and layering for this challenge.  I knew I had a lot of great leaves and vines in my stash so it was really more an issue of trying to narrow it down.  

For this next piece I went for one of my larger brass blanks in a shape that somewhat mimics the leaves on the gate.  I had a copper ivy vine that I thought looked nice draped across the piece.  (It's connected with a jump ring but I did use a bit of super glue underneath to keep it one place.) I embossed the blank and then painted it with a mix of green patinas for a nice contrast.  I kept the color focus on the greens from the photo's background... adding a lampwork bead by Tanya McGuire and some glass links.  This one is long and can be slipped right over your head.



I got a little fancier with this last pendant design.  I went for an Arte Metal circle blank this time that I embossed and highlighted with sandpaper.  (I'm glad that I hoarded a bunch of Arte Metal pieces since they don't make them any more!  Although you can get some of it at the Vintaj Salvage Esty shop.) The black background was to represent the iron work.  I had a fun brass piece perfect for layering and riveting that I'd gotten as a prize or in a goody bag years ago that I wanted to put over that background.  The holes in the brass decoration were a little big for just the rivets, and that would have been boring anyway, so I picked out some little flower spacers to further embellish.  I painted the flowers blue for the sky and the leaves and vines green for the greenery in the background of the photo.  I'm pretty pleased with the end effect.  It's a tiny bit off center, but considering that there were three rivet points, I think I did ok.  The body of the necklace is strung with a ton of Czech glass in shades of blue and green for a bright, happy look.


And, look, my good friend Monica Peña of Mariposa Originals Jewelry played along with an amazing necklace!  I'm smitten with how she used her vintage key and some fun Vintaj components!  Here's what Monica had to say bout her creation:

Great inspiration photo!  I took the opportunity to dip into my stash of vintage keys for this project, combining it with Vintaj medallion and ivy components for the focal, reminiscent of the gate's metalwork.  I softened the overall look with the addition of green Czech glass leaves and Sari silk for a comfortable, lightweight necklace.



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

Friday, April 17, 2020

We're All Ears April 2020 :: Safer at Home


I'm so glad to see the We're All Ears Challenge back this month over on the Earrings Everyday Blog!  Earrings are my favorite thing to make so I truly look forward to this monthly challenge from my friend Erin Prais-Hintz.

As I type up this blog post it is April 8th and Governor Walz of Minnesota has just extended the stay at home order another two weeks until May 4th.... so the theme is super timely.  I'd really like to challenge each of you to do your best to reframe your view about being home right now.  We aren't "stuck at home," we are Safe at Home.  I wake up each day so thankful that I have plenty of food, a home that provides shelter and plenty of comfort, access to a variety of means for communication, lots of books to read, plenty of movies and shows I'd like to watch, and, of course, a stupid amount of beads to keep me busy.  So, to commemorate this strange time of social distancing and stay at home orders, I've created a mini collection of house jewelry for your viewing pleasure!

First up, a totally sweet pair of enameled houses from Gardanne Beads.  The white on the rooftops is appropriate for all the April snow we've been having in my neck of the woods, lol.  These houses are a little bit chubby so I decided to keep the rest of my design fairly compact.  I just added some cute teal Czech glass flowers with bronzed edges and tiny faceted hematite in a bronzey plating.  I do so look forward to a time when real flowers bloom around our house!


I also managed to snag some of Blue Hare Art Wear's house charms in one of her Facebook sales.  Score!  I love how she mixed so many colors in these charms without coming across as too bright or garish.  It's tough to tell in my picture, but the little striped roofs are actually corrugated... such a fun detail!  I picked a fun stripey pair of polymer clay discs from Humblebeads topped with some bright blue Czech glass to play off the stripes in the charms without getting too heavy.


Not satisfied to just make something with the house charms in my stash, I wanted to play with an idea for constructing some little mixed metal houses.  I brought out my box of Vintaj metal blanks and started to see what might work to bring my seed of an idea into bloom.  For the main body of my houses, I ran some Arte Metal rectangles through my BigKick with an embossing folder and then sanded them a bit to highlight the design..  I loved the lines that made if feel a little like siding or brick.  The roofs were cut from square brass blanks.  I felt a little guilty cutting up the nice finished blanks, but it meant I only had to do a tiny bit of cutting and filing... plus I love the finish on the Vintaj brass.  I still wanted some texture so I used a tiny ball peen hammer all over the "roofs" before I riveted the two pieces together.


Not earrings, but I couldn't help but translate the same house idea into a larger format for a necklace.  This time I used the geometric pattern on the Art Metal roof piece and then used fun flourish pattern for the body of the house made with a brass blank.  I also added a little decorative piece from Vintaj that I painted with their patina paints to give it some color.  At first I wasn't sure where to go from there... or even if I would get a finished piece of jewelry done.  I decided that I wanted it to be a longer necklace, but knew it needed a little more physical weight.  I found a little pewter nest bead from Green Girl Studios that I wire wrapped with some Czech glass and crystal beads that coordinated with the painted flower on the house.  As another perfect little detail, the nest says "home" on the back side.  In keeping with the mixed metal theme, I used some Arte Metal chain right by the pendant and then brass chain at the back.


I hope you'll stop by the Earrings Everyday Blog HERE to see what everyone else was inspired to make!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Inspiration for the April 2020 Honey Do List

2020 marks the fifth 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 2020!  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:




Since I haven't been out taking pictures this season yet, I went back in time to my pictures from last summer's trip to the UK.  This was an amazing metalwork gate we discovered in the gardens outside Alnwick Castle and I think gives lots of options for jewelry inspiration!

The reveal date will be Monday, April 20th.  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 2oth 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, March 30, 2020

Inspired By Reading: The Forgotten Garden

It's been a little while since I've actually made something for the Inspired By Reading Book Club even though I've done some of the reading.  Suddenly the world has been turned on its head and I have much more time for reading and creating (in theory anyway.) 

The March selection for book club was Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden.  I had a good feeling about this book as soon as I saw the endpapers which featured one of Arthur Rackham's illustrations from an edition of Peter Pan.  (We actually bought a print of this very illustration when we were in York last summer.)  This novel involves a family mystery that spans three generations and two continents.  There's a foundling, a book of dark fairy tales, a secret walled garden, and more.  The story switches between the three time periods as the story and the mystery slowly unfold.  Things may tie up a little too neatly in the end but I certainly enjoyed the journey of getting there.  I'm curious about Kate Morton's other books... when the libraries are safe to reopen I'll have to see if I can check them out.


I honestly didn't think I'd manage to make anything this month... but, miraculously, I did!  I spent a good amount of time this past weekend trying to get at least a tiny amount of my insane bead mess organized and put away.  In the process of doing that, I unearthed a wonderful pair of faux tin charms by Heather Powers of Humblebeads that I snagged during one of Andrew Thornton's destash events.  These little fairies were perfect for a novel that featured an Authoress and her fairy tales so prominently! 

As luck would have it, at the same time I found the charms, I also had one of my boxes of dark blue beads was also out on my table.  Some medium sized English cut Czech glass in a nice dark blue with Picasso finish jumped right out at me!  I then grabbed some small caramel colored rondelles that are great match for the tones in the fairy wings.


Ok,  I'm going to go curl up with the kitties and return to reading my current book, The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine.  Even though I have plenty of books on my shelves, I do wish that I had checked out a few more books the last time I was at the library. 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Art Elements Theme of the Month March 2020: Gnomes!

It's been quite a while since I've played along with the Art Elements Theme of the Month challenges.  Life's just been a bit busy and chaotic.  Now in these unprecedented times of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, I have no excuse to not find some time at the bead table and play along!  Plus, it was impossible to pass up Gnomes as a theme!

Much like our hostess, Jenny Davies-Reazor, I adored the book Gnomes by Poortvliet and Huygen.  I didn't have a copy but one of my sisters did and I would sneak into her room to read it.  (She wasn't all about the sharing with her little sister.)  I did have some little plastic gnome figurines though.  I still have them (see the picture I made Eric take below) but seem to have lost the mini version of the book that came with them.  It's probably around somewhere... possibly batted under a piece of furniture by naughty kitties.



The first thing I grabbed to play with for this challenge was a pair of gnome earring charms by Blue Hare Art Wear.  I actually got these cuties as a gift with a purchase a while back.  I think they are just so stinkin' fun with their stylized design and those little red button noses!  I added some red fire agate and little turquoise crystals on top to go with the subtle stripes in their little hats.


As luck would have it, right around the time this challenge was announced, my friend Heather Powers of Humblebeads did a special batch of woodland beads including her sweet little gnomes.  I knew I had to have one for this, and I was able to snatch one up!  I used the gnome as part of a charm cluster for a necklace, pairing him with some coordinating Czech glass flowers and beads.  Since the flowers were mostly blue, I wanted to get some more pops of red in the design so I added some links to one side of the necklace then balanced it with a bit of heavier chain on the other sided.  I'm pretty tickled with how this one turned out!



Ok, this last pair of earrings isn't directly gnome themed, but I could totally see some gnomies hanging out lounging under or on these cute little mushrooms.  Heather Powers also made these adorable polymer clay charms.  I paired them with some yummy red Czech glass that has a luster to its finish and tiny teal crystals.  The findings are all Vintaj Natural Brass and are nickel and lead free.


This is a blog hop!  Stop by and see what everyone else was inspired to make!

AE team:
Guests: 
Sarajo  - you are here