Sunday, September 9, 2018

Feeling Fall! New Autumn Inspired Necklaces

So, true story.  I'm an art bead hoarder.  Certain artists can boast whole drawers in my art bead hoard.  It's like the more beautiful I think a bead or pendant is, the less likely I am to make it into jewelry.  Ok, not really, but I do find myself just opening up drawers and gazing fondly at my pretties.

What does all of this have to do with feeling (and designing) for fall?  Well, I've been guilty of sitting on a ridiculous number of pendants by my talented friend Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati.  I'm in the throes of getting ready for my biggest show of the year, the Edge of the Big Woods Art Wander, in less than two weeks so I figured now was the time to finally make something with my treasures!  Here's a look at the "before" mess as I was just starting to pull beads...

First up, the oldest pendant in my leafy collection... a two sided piece that Eric bought me that was in an inspiration bundle that Erin had pulled together in her shop several years ago.  The bundle came with the pendant, a string of freshwater pearls, some carnelian rounds (those will make an appearance later) and a couple of Vintaj brass blanks.  I kept this necklace pretty focused on the pearls and just added a few Czech glass leaves and barrels in shades of orange and brown along the way to bring out the colors from the leaf.  A brass plated toggle clasp completes the design.  Erin doesn't really do this style of pendant anymore with it's secret message on the back, but I do love them so!

The next thing that jumped out at me to be finished was the most unique color-wise of this whole little collection... a stick pendant in striking black and gold.  I realized that I had a hook and eye leaf clasp that was a perfect match for the leaf on the pendant.  I chose a mix of Czech glass beads in black and gold plus some vintage German glass flowers for the bulk of the necklace.  To balance out the clasp I used a fluted black agate and some freshwater pearls on the opposite side.  This is the most elegant piece in my opinion.

I had a second stick pendant in my collection... an older design but a newish addition to my stash.  I love the mix of orange and blue in the pendant and enjoyed playing with the color combination.  Lots of Czech glass in this one along with some Sunset Dumortierite and matte Denim Lapis.  The orange maple leaves pop against the blues!

This next pendant is the only one in this batch that has two loops... making it perfect for some fun leafy dangles including an enameled oak leaf by Gardanne.  She sells these charms in pairs so I usually end up making earrings when I buy them, but this singleton was a gift in my goody bag at a retreat.  For some reason, beyond finishing off the pendant and choosing the fun branch toggle clasp, this was the hardest necklace for me to figure out.  I knew that I wanted to go asymmetrical and use a mix of fun Czech glass leaves that looked very much the like the ones on Erin's pendant, but it took me several tries to get things where I wanted them.  The right side is a mix of Czech glass English cut beads and the Carnelian rounds that I mentioned from the inspiration kit.  There are also a couple of vintage glass beads sprinkled into the mix on both sides.  

I'm a little bit in love with this next design and the vibrant pendant that inspired it.  Eric thinks I need to keep this one for myself... we'll see about that.  I will admit that I'm always a sucker for the combination of turquoise (or teal) and orange, so this one makes my heart sing!  Another luscious (if I do say so myself) mix of Czech glass and gemstones.  This time Amazonite, Cuprite, Red Line Agate, and Carnelian all make an appearance.  It's a little tough to tell in this photo but there are some small hints of purple hiding in there to echo the darker tones in the pendant's bright leaf.

Lastly, for this mini collection of fall goodness, I made a necklace that is a pretty similar to one that I made for the Art Bead Scene back in November 2015.  The original was in brass while this one is copper.  I didn't have all the same beads so I made some substitutions while keeping the basic design and balance.  I'm truly not a heart girl, but there's something about this leafy little number that I adore!  I may actually like this version a little more than the original.

I've never been great about designing for the new season early enough.  I think this is finally the year that I've broken the spell with this collection of fall necklaces thanks to tons of inspiration and beady love from my talented friend Erin.  I've got even more fall designs in the works (or already completed!) that I'll have for sale during the Art Wander September 21-23 at my home which happens to be Studio L this year!  If you're local to the Twin Cities I hope you'll wander out and say hello.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Inspired by Reading: Dark Matter

I'm a little late to the Inspired by Reading Book Club party for August, but better late than never!  Our August read was Dark Matter by Blake Crouch... a science fiction thriller that explores the ideas of choices, paths not taken, and how far we'll go to claim (or reclaim) the lives we dream of.  The last words Jason Dessen hears before he's knocked unconscious are "Are you happy with your life?"  The next thing he knows is waking up strapped to a table, surrounded by strangers who seem to know him, and in a world that's not his own.  Thus begins Jason's harrowing and mind-bending journey to get back to the life and family he loves.    

Being short on time, I ended up making two pairs of earrings this month.  First up, I chose a pair of square ceramic charms by Diane Hawkey to represent the box that allows Jason to travel between realities.  I liked the ideas of the squares within squares as a representation of the infinite possibilities.  I added some fun beaded links by Anna Pierson of Saga Hus Components.

Next up,  I picked out some fun Golem Design Studio lentils with a geometric pattern in black and white.  The shattered pattern made me think of how each decision Jason makes causes his timeline to split off.  Wanting to keep with the sharp lines on the ceramic beads, I chose some cool faceted hematite.

Thanks for checking out my newest creations!  Now it's back to crazy show prep time for the Art Wander!!!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Inspiration for the Honey Do List September 2018

After taking a little break in August, we're back in action for September!  

This marks the third 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 2018!  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 haven't had a chance to go through the 1000's of pictures I took on this trip, but this one jumped out at me for the challenge. I like the architectural elements and the pop of color from the flowers.  Hopefully it will challenge you to try something new!

The reveal date will be Monday, September 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 September 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.  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  The more the merrier, so I hope you'll play along with me this month!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Art Elements Theme of the Month: Swirl

As much as I'm enjoying the new Art Elements monthly theme challenges, I wasn't sure that I'd have time to pull it off this month with an 18 day trip overseas.  Luckily, I started thinking about some possibilities before my trip and was able to really focus on getting something done as soon as we got home.  This month it was Marsha Neal's turn to choose the theme and she picked "swirl."  I'm glad that I didn't have to sit such a fun one out... even if I didn't end up making as much as I would have liked.

I thought it was only fitting to use some of Marsha's ceramic charms for this challenge (Marsha Neal Studio).  I had a bunch to choose from that all would have worked, but I loved these little teardrop shaped charms and their mix of aqua and pale green.  They went perfectly with some sage/olive green sari silk cocoons from Anna Pierson of Saga Hus (the charms don't really look so blue in person).  These were a quick and easy way for me to kick off the challenge!

One of the pendants that I had set aside for the challenge, was a fun two holed ceramic pendant by Keith O'Connor.  As luck would have it, a bead mix that I bought in the Czech Republic (more about that in a future blog post I hope) was a perfect complement for the glaze on the spiral pendant.  I decided to limit myself to using just that bead mix and added findings for the most part.  The only extra beads that I added were some brass corrugated rounds to balance things out.  I kept to the swirl theme with the Vintaj brass clasp and the lines that spiral around the barrel shaped beads.

Last but not least, I made one more pair of earrings with some little charms from my friend Diana Ptaszynski that I've had in my stash for quite some time.  I paired the root beer glazed ceramics with some wooden rounds and Czech glass with black findings.

This is a blog hop:  Check out what everyone else was inspired to create!

Friday, August 17, 2018

We're All Ears: August 2018: Circles

This month Erin picked a bevy of cool circle-inspired patterns from a contest over on Spoonflower in July.  If you don't know Spoonflower, it's a super cool website where you can get thousands of patterns on fabric, wallpaper, giftwrap, and more!  You can even upload your own designs/patterns to print.  If I were a quilter or sewer, this would be a crazy dangerous place for me!  Anyway... the top 10 winners of their July "Circles are the New Triangles" challenge gave us a ton to be inspired by!  You can see the patterns up close HERE.

I wasn't sure that I'd have time to make anything this month with some serious travel on the August docket, but I managed to squeeze in a little creating time in between gathering essentials, doing laundry, and deciding what to pack for a 16 day trip.  I have to admit that I looked for circle-inspired beads first and then looked to see if they worked with any of the Spoonflower designs.

First up, some I found some little corrugated, enameled circles from Blue Hare Art Wear that worked with the top right option.  They are a little more red than in the design, but they do have an orange tinge to them.  I used denim ???  and carnelian rounds with a little swirl of wire wrapped around the top beads for fun.

For my second pair, I grabbed some fine pewter charms from Green Girl Studios that have some great circle patterns all over them that reminded me of the mandala-esque patterns in the second from the left design on the bottom row.  Once again, I chose only round beads to complement the charms... picking some aquamarine and very pale faceted rose quartz.

This is a blog hop... stop by the Earrings Everyday blog HERE to see what everyone else was inspired to make!  To those of you participating, my apologies, but I probably won't be able to hop and comment until we get back from our trip!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Art Elements Theme of the Month July 2018: Seed Pods

Another fun theme challenge from the team at the Art Elements blog this month!    Jen Cameron has chosen seed pods to inspire us for July.

I immediately thought of some fun components that I got from Anna Bronze at Bead & Button last year.  They have a couple of collections that are nature and spice inspired that were just perfect for this challenge.  Now I had just the excuse I needed to play with some of my little lovelies that have been languishing.  Thanks, Art Elements!!

I'm not entirely sure what the Anna Bronze component that I chose for my necklace is really supposed to be, but it felt pod like to me!  I decided to pair it with a lantern/melon bead from Gaea and some brass bead caps with a chain tassel hanging down for the pendant.  I added links with coordinating Czech glass.  The back is brass chain and the whole thing is long.  This necklace is currently at Unearthed Arts in Waconia.

Next up I played with some star anise seed pods from Anna Bronze.  These little cuties have multiple holes (at the 4 compass points) so it seems a shame that I'm only using one, but I wanted the pods to shine!  I just made some little bead links with some fun little melon beads for a small pop of color.  I feel like the texture of the melons also seems seed pod like.

In addition to the finished pieces that I made, I did make progress on a couple of other pod-related projects.  During Heather Powers' Fairy Garden Headpins class at the Adornments Retreat I ended up with a couple of headpins with a pod-like feel.  One of the items I used for mold making was some sort of flower bud, I'm not sure what the other little guy really was, but I liked the impression it made!  They don't look like much in this photo especially since I haven't painted them yet, but I think they're going to be cool once I get them finished!

When I got back from the retreat, I went looking in the garden and yard for other items to make molds of... one of the things that I found were milkweed pods.  I've really never seen milkweed up close enough to observe it's life cycle before.  When I left for the retreat the plants still had some flowers on them but by the time I returned it was all about the pods!  I haven't gotten out the polymer clay yet, but I did make what I think will be a great set of molds.  I can't wait to use them!

Thanks for stopping by!  This is a blog hop so check out what everyone else was inspired to create!

Guest Artists:
Sarajo - You are here!
Art Elements Team: 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Art Bead Scene: July 2018

I'm a little mesmerized by this month's inspiration for the Art Bead Scene challenge!  The artwork is one of the plates from the book of Ernest Haeckel's work Art Forms of Nature that portrays ascidians, commonly referred to as sea squirts.  Haeckel was a German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, professor, marine biologist, and artist who discovered, described, and named thousands of new species among other accomplishments.  You can read more about the artist and artwork HERE.

Art forms in Nature, Plate 85, Ascidiae 
By: Ernst Haeckel    Date: 1907
I adore the colors and organic shapes in this plate... so much to be inspired by!  The first thing that jumped out at me were the coral-like tendrils coming from the two center images.  I had already been exploring my small collection of Anna Bronze pieces for another July challenge and found just the perfect elements for earrings in a mismatched pair of bronze charms.  I kept my design simple and just attached the charms to a pair of silk cocoons from my friend Anna Pierson of Saga Hus in a soft green.

Despite some big plans, I only managed to make one other design this month... another pair of earrings with coral designs!  This time I used some cute charms from Heather Powers of Humblebeads.  I wire wrapped some fun mottled turquoise and gold flecked coins along with star cut peach moonstone beads and hung these cuties on sterling silver ear wires.

I'd love to say that August will be a more productive month, but we've got even more travel on the docket.  Hopefully I can still manage to get something made for my favorite challenges.  Fingers crossed!!