Saturday, November 2, 2019

Inspiration for the November 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:









These are really cool windows from Edinburgh Castle.  I liked the geometric shapes of the multi-colored background glass, as well as the more defined patterns and images on the coats-of-arms.  I made Sarajo put up three of these so you can have more options!

The reveal date will be Monday, November 25th.  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 November 25th 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!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Allegory Gallery October 2019 Design Challenges



I haven't been great about playing along with the design prompts that my friends Andrew and William have been putting out in their Allegory Gallery Design Challenge Facebook group.  Life's just been too busy to keep up with any extra projects.  I finally got back in the swing of things the last couple of weeks!  I actually managed to create something for four of the five prompts... not too shabby if you ask me!  Here we go....

Week 1: Use an artisan bead in a design

For some reason I've had bracelets on the brain.  I made a piece for this month's Honey Do List featuring a bead by Summer Wind Art and while digging for that I rediscovered a cute and colorful marigold bead by her that captured my imagination.  I paired the wood burned and hand painted bead with some bright Czech glass flowers on each side along with some glass and plated hematite rondelles.  The colors in this piece just make me happy!  I'm clearly not ready to let go of summery colors.



Week 2: Draw inspiration from an historic piece of jewelry

Ok, this may be stretching things a teeny tiny bit, but what the heck.  It's the closest thing that I've got and I made it this month.  At the Adornments Retreat in 2018 I stamped the word "dreamer" onto this cool, vintage feel bracelet bar.  The patina elements were already there but I did highlight the stamped message with additional patina paint.  The elaborate edges to the brass bracelet focal just make me think of something Victorian or something (I really don't know my period pieces very well) and had some fancy beads to pair with it!  I had some black and gold vintage German glass butterfly beads that were just perfect for gold tone of the metal with the black "antiquing."  I also had some cute little flower beads in the same black and gold finish.


Week 3: Celebrate Fall with an Autumn-inspired creation.

I bought a whole bunch of enameled leaves from Gardanne Beads last year and have just been hoarding them... you know, like I do.  Inspired by some necklaces that my friend Erin Prais-Hintz made last fall, I broke them out and managed to finish two necklaces.  The one on the left also has a fun round ceramic bead from Golem Design Studio, Czech glass, and brass.  The right side has an owl bead by Green Girl Studios, lampwork by Jeff Barber, and Czech glass on a mix of silver plated chain. 



Week 4: Let's get spooky!  Design some Halloween jewelry.

I bought a skully ceramic set from Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio at Bead & Button this summer and now seemed like the perfect time to design with them.  I've only completed the earrings so far, but the pendant is still hanging out on my bead mat.  I paired the black and white skull charms with some vintage lucite from Allegory Gallery, pewter, and Czech glass.  These wouldn't play nice on a flat background so I used a Halloween decoration to hang them from!


Thanks for stopping by to see what I've been up to lately!  I hope you have a fun and spooky Halloween!  I think I'll be wearing my new skull earrings tomorrow!!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Inspired by Reading: Catching Up

I've been doing pretty well keeping up with the reading for the Inspired by Reading Book Club the last couple of months and even had ideas rolling around in my brain... sadly I just didn't get around to actually making anything.  This post will be a quick catch up for September and October's selections!

For September we read The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin.  I wasn't really sure what to expect from this one, but the idea of knowing your death date and how that might influence one's life was intriguing.  I'm still not totally sure how I feel about this book... I'm not sure it's one I'd readily recommend.  I think part of it is that I didn't find the characters particularly likable overall.  They were all very flawed individuals which I suppose is the human experience.  I have to wonder if knowing their supposed death dates led the siblings to make some of the decisions that they did.  What I wonder is would their lives had been different and deaths different and at different times without that "knowledge"?  Each of the siblings seemed trapped in the knowledge of their own individual expiration date.


For my creation, what stuck out to me was the phrase "thoughts have wings."  It comes up in Daniel's story and, if I'm not mistaken again in Varya's.  I honestly can't say why that is what rose to the top, but that's just how the mind and creative process work sometimes!  I decided to stamp the phrase on an Arte Metal blank from which I intended to hang a wing shape that I had painted in silver.  It didn't feel hefty enough at that point so I decided to add another layer behind the original blank.  This time I used a texturing hammer and then highlighted the surface of the blank to get more of a gunmetal grey color.  It's hard to see in the picture but I used some little metal beads between the two blanks when I riveted them to give a more three dimensional effect to the pendant.  Physically, it was still pretty light in weight and I worried it wouldn't hang properly so I added a beaded segment with a chunky rock crystal and Czech glass before hanging the whole thing from a long length of silver plated chain.


October's book was the suitably otherworldly Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.  It really seems like I should have read this one ages ago but, alas, I was late to the party.  Eric made me watch the BBC mini-series ages ago but I honestly remember very little about it.  So little in fact, that I wonder if I slept through a good portion of it!  Better late than never I guess!  I read this one so quickly... it was a a captivating urban fantasy built on the premise that there is a world literally and figuratively underneath the one we know... or at leas underneath the London we know.  Poor, painfully normal, dull Richard Mayhew gets sucked into the dealing of London Below and his life will never be the same. 


Full disclosure, the earrings I made for this month were originally meant to be part of my October Honey Do List reveal (you can see that HERE if you missed it) but I didn't finish them in time.  As I was painting them (and the coordinating bracelet) I was thinking about the character of Old Bailey and his rooftop roost with all of his birds.  These asymmetrical feather earrings are a design I've done before but always in brighter colors.


I've already made a decent dent in November's book club selection, so I have high hopes to participate next month as well.  For now, it's back to the bead table as soon as I can extricate myself from the sweet purring kitty hanging out in my lap!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Honey Do List October 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:




Well, it is that time of the year again...the time for the creepy pagan goodness that is Halloween!  This is a tricked out raven from the Tower of London (which has its own creepy past) which we visited this summer.  If you don't have anything Corvidae to include in your post, I'd be equally happy with something suitably wicked and dark!

I was initially a bit concerned that I wouldn't have much to pick from for this month's challenge when I saw what Eric had chosen.  I used a whole bunch of raven/crow inspired beads a while back for a couple of other challenges and wasn't really sure how much I had left.  I shouldn't have worried, LOL.  

The first thing I made was a bracelet with a lovely raven focal by Summer Wind Art.  (I had honestly forgotten that I had bought him!)  I chose a mix of Czech glass, brass, and stripey bone beads along with a single blue tiger eye oval.  I love the look of this bracelet but I worry that I made it just a bit too long.  I may have to take it apart and restring it (sigh) but for now I'll share it as is!



Apparently I was in bracelet mode this time... I made a second bracelet this month!  This one is a variation on bracelets I've made in the past with a wonderful feather component from Vintaj Natural Brass.  I realized I've only done this design in brighter colors... so to celebrate our raven friends I did one using the black patina paint from Vintaj/Ranger and paired it with some black Czech glass beads.  



I had high hopes of making a few more things but time got away from me.  It happens.  I keep saying that life should start to settle down, but I'm pretty sure that's just a lie I tell myself to keep moving forward.  I'm sure that many of you can relate! 



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 November 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, October 1, 2019

Inspiration for the October 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:




Well, it is that time of the year again...the time for the creepy pagan goodness that is Halloween!  This is a tricked out raven from the Tower of London (which has its own creepy past) which we visited this summer.  If you don't have anything Corvidae to include in your post, I'd be equally happy with something suitably wicked and dark!

The reveal date will be Monday, October 21st.  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 October 21st 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!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Art Elements Theme of the Month: Foliage


For the September Theme of the Month over on the Art Elements blog, Caroline Dewison has challenged us to create art based on foliage.  I'm loving this idea as I have a TON of leafy beads in my stash... art beads, Czech glass, and metal... bright summer colors and muted fall tones are all well represented in my bead collection.  I spent a chunk of time over Labor Day weekend collecting some of my favorite art beads leaves as a starting point for this creative challenge and got to work making some new jewelry!

I got a jump start on creating for this challenge right away... I figure that was a smart idea since I was needing to prep for a big 3 day art show, the Art Wander, the last weekend of the month.  These were all perfect for that!

Thinking more along the fall foliage lines, the first thing that made it to my bead board was a beautiful ceramic leaf pendant by Tracee Dock of The Classic Bead.  I strung this one with a collection of gemstones and Czech glass in an autumnal palette.  The rich colors and patterns of Ocean Jasper and Red Creek Jasper were natural choices for this design.  I added in some Czech glass, mostly in metallics, to round out the necklace and finished it off with a fun brass leaf clasp.


Next up, another fall beauty featuring a polymer clay pendant by my friend Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati.  This little cutie was from her Simple Truths Sampler Club from last summer.  When I opened my box of brighter green beads, the first thing that jumped out at me were some matte banded agate rounds.  They had a nice mix of the colors from the pendant and I built things out from there.  I chose a few different Czech glass beads along with matte jade, green apple jade rondelles, and a copper plated leaf clasp.


As I was in major show prep mode this month, I decided it was a good time to whip up a mini collection of leafy earrings production line style.  I grabbed a bunch of different colors of Czech glass maple leaf beads and revisited a design from last fall.  I love the look of the leaves dangling inside the brass filigree hoops!  Believe it or not, this isn't all the colors of this leaf bead in my stash.  I stopped myself here instead of continuing down this particular rabbit hole!


Next I grabbed a fun box shaped bead by Green Girl Studios that I love but have been at a loss as to how to best use.  I decided that my best bet was to use it on the side of a necklace balanced by some cool carved stone leaves.  To round out the rest of the necklace, I chose some moss agate rounds that I've had since my early days of beading, copper nugget beads, and some tiny Czech glass rounds in a Picasso finish.

You can see the two sides of the box bead on either side of the complete necklace.

Since I only had a small handful of the moss agate beads left and they were still out on my bead mat, I whipped up a little pair of earrings with some of those and some copper colored metal leaf charms.  Easy peasy!


Not done with all the leafy goodness in my stash, I moved on to a gorgeous two holed pendant with a celadon glaze by Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio.  I fell in love with this design when she first introduced it.  There's something delicate feeling about the pendant with it's sprig of leaves across it.  I didn't like the idea of attaching metal jump rings so I decided to try using loops of tiny seed beads on my stringing material.  I strung a variety of gemstones (including prehnite, faceted aventurine, Burma jade) and some Czech glass.  I had some new leaf beads that were the perfect colors to go with the pendant... those went on one side with some chrysoprase nuggets on the other to balance things out.  Once again I used my favorite leaf clasp at the back.


Switching to a cooler color palette, I made a necklace with one of the pendants I made this summer in Erin Prais-Hintz's Petri Dish class.  The pendant has shades of blue with some tiny touches of silver.  I picked out a few different Czech glass beads in shades of blue as well as some smaller silver colored ones to use as spacers.  I grabbed a few denim lapis rounds and faceted angelite beads and a branch toggle to round out the design.


Next up I switched to a couple of necklaces in summery brights... I guess I'm just not totally ready to move onto Fall!  I bought these cute leaf and ladybug pendants from Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio at Bead & Button this year.  I knew that I had some little Czech glass lady bugs in my stash that would be fun to pair with these.  These two ended up being variations on a theme with similar but different beads in each.  (Don't let the photos fool you, the pendants are the same size, but my pictures wouldn't play nice when I went to make the collage!)


I also bought a handful of leaves and branches from Michelle McCarthy with the intention of pairing at least some of them with Heather Powers' big and beautiful polymer clay birds.  A few of those Humblebeads are getting to spread their little wings and fly in a trio of new necklaces.  All three feature branches by Michelle and the two ceramic leaves are hers as well.  The polymer clay maple leaf is by Erin Prais-Hintz... the colors were just too perfect with the rose gold bird!  These may be more focused on the fowl than the foliage, but I'm sharing them anyway because I just love them!



This is a blog hop!  I hope you'll check out what everyone else made too!!


AE Team
Lesley  
Susan  
Marsha  
Claire  
Jenny  
Niky  

Guests
Dawn  
Hope  
Alison  
Laurie  
Kathy  
Sarajo  - You are Here!
Tammy  
Divya  
Karen  
Alysen  
Mary  
Cat  

Monday, September 23, 2019

Honey Do List September 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:






This month I went with a little less color and a little more pattern and texture.  Both of these shots were from the Holy Island of Lindisfarne in England.  These are ornate Celtic crosses that I just love for the beautiful Celtic patterns.  The first shot includes the ruins of the old Monastery, and the second has the more modern church as a background. Try to come up with something Celtic, crosses, or ever patterns from the church windows or brickwork.  Go crazy!


When approaching a new challenge, I often will opt to start with a fairly quick and easy project first.  That way, if life gets too crazy, I still have something completed come reveal day!  My first project falls into that category for sure.  I remembered that Eric had given me a couple of buttons with a Celtic knot work design a while back... the hardest part was finding them in my messy studio!  I made a quick little bracelet with one of the buttons, grey speckled seed beads, and black leather.  Cute and quick!



When Eric gave me this month's challenge, the first thing that came to mind was to use some stamps I borrowed from a friend to make some etched copper pieces.  I dug out the Celtic set that was in the giant bin of stamps my friend loaned me (I should probably to check to see if she wants them back yet!) and got to work.  

I etched several pieces of copper filled with a variety of designs that I thought would work for earrings, necklaces, and even Christmas ornaments!  After etching and antiquing those sheets, I got out my sheers and started cutting out some designs.  I ended up with three finished necklaces and one bracelet.  I also have the two ornaments cut out and filed, but haven't finished those up yet.  

I kept all the pieces super simple to let the etched focals shine.  The center necklace features a Celtic hound design.  I wanted to add a little visual oomph to the pendant so I ended up shaping it into a nice curve.  The other two necklaces are variations on a theme.  They use the same base etched design but cut out differently.  I started with the one on the left where I tried to cut along the scallops of the design.  For the one on the right, I kept the lines smooth for easier cutting and filing.  (Can I tell you how much I hate filing??)  Both versions have Swarovski crystal dangles.



I'm really digging the bracelet I made.  Again, the work was all in the bracelet component so I wanted that to be the focus of the design.  I just added a nice copper plated chain and lobster claw clasp after I curved the oval piece.  Voila!



All of my pieces from this challenge will be on sale at the Art Wander this weekend.  My house is Studio K if you're in the area and want to visit!

I had hoped to make some earrings, maybe even try my hand at soldiering some posts, but I didn't quite get that far.  Fingers crossed that some of those get done before the Art Wander starts on Friday!  (That's probably what I'll work on today.)

But wait, there's more!  My friend Roberta Szymanowski made a couple of pieces that she asked me to share here.  Here's what she made and what she had to say about each of them!


This is a prototype bracelet using Fimo's very new leather effect clay in gray. I patinated it with Vintaj Nouveau Silver and added emerald accents with FolkArt Color Shift in Emerald. Sealed with Vintaj glaze patina. 1.5mm dark grey metallic leather sliding adjustable closure with natural copper beads. Inside of bracelet is lined with genuine leather.
I'm confident of the durability of the clay since artisans area making handbags from it, but I'm not yet confident of the durability of the finish on it. Hence, prototype.



Since the inspiration has considerably more weathered detail and texture than color, I attempted to replicate the ancient feel in my clay cross. Additional texture is provided by the recycled sari silk but contrasted by the beauty of the Conamarra marble (Ireland's national treasure!) and the Vesuvanite beads. All other elements are sterling. A simple knot ties at the back.
Story behind this piece: I imagine the cross being an ancient family heirloom over time converted perhaps into a rosary. Only a small segment remains, the rest lost to time and memory. It's now held together by a precious piece of silk.


Gorgeous pieces, Roberta!  I'm so glad you played along with us this time!  

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