Monday, September 2, 2019

Artisans Create Together August 2019


With how busy this summer has been I haven't been as consistent with some of the monthly challenges that I normally enjoy.  Or if I have made something, it hasn't always translated into a blog post.  I just couldn't pass up the August color palette over on the Artisans Create Together Facebook Group!  So much yummy bright color to play with!  While I didn't sneak this blog post in before the end of August, I did share my creations over in the Facebook group.

As much as I love brights, I felt like I didn't have tons in the super bright tones of the inspiration palette.  I did the best I could with what I currently had on had art-bead wise.

I decided it was finally time to play with some super bright enameled charms by Marie Demicco of Spurwink River Arts that I've been hoarding for awhile.  I ended up making dangles for the charms with some green Czech glass flowers with pink centers and some fuchsia Swarovski crystals.  These are definitely the brightest design I came up with!


Next up, a multi-strand bracelet with a ceramic lentil bead from Golem Design Studio that focuses mostly on the turquoise end of the color palette with some touches of green and yellow.


Lastly, I got my lucet out to brush up on my leather braiding skills.  The tension is a bit tighter than I really wanted, but after many tries it seemed that this particular leather just wanted to be that way.  I'm really happy with the finished design that was based on one of Heather Powers Bead Table Wednesday videos over on her Humblebeads Facebook page.  The faux tin bracelet bar and polymer clay bead are both from Humblebeads.  All the colors from the palette are here just in slightly more subdued tones.


Thanks for stopping by to see what I've been up to.  I'm so not ready to let go of summer color, flowers, etc. for thoughts of fall.  I suppose I'll have to be switching gears shortly, but today isn't that day!  I hope you've all had a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Inspiration for the September 2019 Honey Do List

First off, let me just give a very special Happy Anniversary shout out to my Honey, Eric!  Today we celebrate 18 years of marriage... and we've been together for 22 years.  Time sure does fly!

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!

The reveal date will be Monday, September 23rd.  To make it super easy for you to participate and share your creations, I'll set up an Inlinkz link up so folks can add their blogs as they are ready.  Just stop by my blog starting on August 23rd 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!

Friday, August 30, 2019

Art Elements Theme of the Month: Octopus

Gotta love this fun garage door in Portland!  I could't resist sharing a little bit of street art in my post.

As intriguing as the octopus is as a sea creature, I feel lucky to have had as many bead options in my stash as I did.  Not everyone is going to be all about the tentacles!

From top left clockwise, Components by: Anna Choi, Tracey Seder Donoughe, Andrew Thornton, Andrew Thornton, Gardanne Beads

I also have this little cheapie necklace that I bought a while ago thinking I would update the pendant and change some things around for a steam punk outfit.  I still may eventually get there, but Gardanne's piece is far more attractive to me right now.

Eric has been patiently waiting for me to get around to designing something with the amazing (I mean jaw-droppingly gorgeous!) Anne Choi bead we bought for him at Bead & Button 2017.  The big problem is pinning him down to discuss what he wants.  It's a sizeable piece, so I lean toward simplicity, but I'm not sure he will agree.  Must. Schedule. Time.

I'm in the ever-ongoing process of trying to get my beads and supplies organized and put away, and as a result had a bag of beads that I bought last month at Rustic River Finds in Galena, IL during the Adornments Retreat.  As I was starting to put some of the yummy Czech glass away, I realized that there were a couple of things in there that looked really nice with the pale green porcelain octopus pendant by Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery... especially some fun crusty feeling rounds. Score!  The pendant has a matte finish and a subtle range of green colors so I looked for things to play into that.  In addition to the Czech glass, I picked some Aventurine, Burma Jade, and some gorgeous faceted green opal rondelles (also from Allegory Gallery) that I've been hoarding.


I always feel a little bit guilty when I sit down to make something for myself.  Perhaps that's what took me so long to get to that sweet enameled octopus from Gardanne Beads.  I piled up a bunch of gemstones, pearls, and Czech glass bead options and just left them sitting on my bead mat until the very end of the month.  I'm such a procrastinator!  At the very last minute (i.e. August 30th) I pulled together one last necklace for the challenge.


I really wanted to use some gorgeous teal faceted pearls in the design but, for whatever reason, I didn't want to string both sides of the design.  For the rest of the strung side, I used some AB finish Peruvian opal and Czech glass.  On the other side I made wire wrapped bead links on sterling silver wire that I antiqued with liver of sulphur first.  It's a combination of pyrite, matte cuprite, and some of the same English cut Czech glass that I used on the strung side.  I was originally thinking that I'd do some sort of dangles off the bottom tentacles, but I think there might be enough going on.  Thoughts?


I actually made the earrings below a while back as a project for the Inspired by Reading Book Club, but I thought that they were too fun not to share!  The ceramic charms are by Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio and I paired them with labradorite coins that I wire wrapped.  I added some messy wire with tiny seed beads to the charms to hide the metal loops.  I need to remember to try this again sometime!


Thanks for stopping by to see what I've been up to.  This is a blog hop, I hope you'll take the time to see what everyone else was inspired to make this month.

Guest artists:
Karen
Kathy
Melissa
Michelle
Rozantia
Sarajo - You Are Here
Tammy

Art Elements Team:

Monday, August 26, 2019

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

When Eric gave me this month's photo, I knew that I had to use at least one of the pendants that I made at the Adornments Retreat in Erin Prais-Hintz's Petri Dish class.  I had one where the colors and blotchy patterns were just perfect for lichen.  Hooray!!  I paired this pendant (one of my favorites from that class) with lots of yummy Czech glass beads.  Picasso finish beads with their mottled colors felt like a perfect pairing!  I added a few Amazonite rounds to pick up the blue in the pendant.




Next up, a lichen inspired pair of earrings!  There's something about the organic look of these awesome chandelier connectors by Happy Fish Things that made me think of lichen.  The yellow and brown colors work nicely with Eric's photo (the backs are a lovely rich brown too) and they also have great texture.  I added dangles made up of crystal and pearl as a nice counterpoint to the rustic nature of the ceramics.  I think these will be really fun to wear!



I had already made a couple of fun bracelets based on a tutorial from Heather Powers, but as I was finally taking photos of them I realized that some of them worked for the Honey Do List.  Voila!  The flower shaped ceramic button is from Lisa Peters Russ and the others are from Marsha Neal.  I snagged all of them at Bead & Button.  The glazes on the ceramics and the Picasso finish on the seed beads both echo the lichen even if the colors aren't 100% perfect in some of them.  I've just added a couple of these bracelets to the Arts Consortium of Carver County gallery in Victoria, MN and Unearthed Arts in Waconia, MN.




Happy to have some solid lichen representation, I moved on to focus a little bit on that intrepid fern growing from the rock.  It's so amazing how life always finds a way!  I've had a little bag filled with components to make a pair of earrings set aside.  I have no idea why I never got around to actually making them other than that they are for me!  Anyway, I had some silver leafy components from Candice Wakumoto and fun little lampwork beads by Jennifer Ionta.




Next up, another foray into my pile of abandoned projects!  When I was looking for something else in an art bead drawer, I rediscovered a fern patterned and filigree wrapped pendant that I made ages ago in 2012 when I attended a Vintaj Two Day Workshop in Galena, Illinois.  (Seriously, I can't believe it was that long ago!)  Again, not exactly sure why this one was still waiting to become a piece of jewelry, but I'm glad it was.  I had gotten out a bunch of beads that I was considering, but then a light bulb went on in my brain.  What if I made a piece on my Now That's a Jig! to connect the pendant and chain?  I tried a couple of different versions before I decided for sure.  Once I had a shape that I liked, I hammered it for strength and texture and then wire wrapped coils around the component on each side.  To let the pendant shine, I just used unadorned Vintaj brass chain... completely ignoring all of those bead that I'd pulled!  



Ok, this last necklace features a polymer clay focal that I made at Heather Powers' Inspired by Nature Retreat in 2016.  (Seriously, what's up with me, ferns, and unfinished projects?!?)  To create this piece we made a custom mix of polymer clay colors that we rolled out into a sheet and pressed actual fern fronds into.  After baking we used acrylic paint to bring out the fern patterns.  It was a super fun class!  Anyway, after lingering for almost 4 years, I used Heather's "Metal Sketches" technique to decorate the back side of the copper piece I cut to go behind the polymer clay house shape.  (And I totally forgot to get a picture of the back side when I had light!  Doh! Thus the background that doesn't match the others.)  I riveted the polymer clay to the finished back and then wrapped a little brass fern piece around the top.  Since the fern piece was brass, I decided to do a mix of brass and copper plated findings in the yoke of the 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 September 1st (our 18th wedding anniversary) to see what Eric has in store for us next month!

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

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Inspired by Reading: What Alice Forgot

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


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

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

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


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


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

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

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Inspiration for the August 2019 Honey Do List

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

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



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


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

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Art Elements Theme of the Month: Flowers


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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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



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