Friday, April 19, 2019

We're All Ears: April 2019: Wanderlust

This month for the We're All Ears challenge over on the Earrings Everyday blog, Erin encouraged us to create earrings inspired by travel.  This was a broad net as it could be about the act of traveling or inspiration of a particular destination.  I love this as an idea!


Feeling a bit crunched for time between some other projects, moving my jewelry into Unearthed Arts' new gallery space, and some real life travel I wasn't sure if I'd manage to get anything made for this challenge.  I only made one pair of earrings, but I'm still considering that a win this month!  I had some other ideas but just couldn't get my act together.

I made a new variation of a pair of earrings that I made awhile back.  I'd actually forgotten about that design until I was moving my earring display into the new building and shifting things around.  I curled the pokey bits on some fun compass themed Decorivets from Vintaj and used those resulting loops to attach the moonstone teardrops and the ear wires.  I'm still sad that Vintaj discontinued their Arte Metal line... I love how you can bring out the silver underneath with a little buffing for an fun look. 


Stop by the Earrings Everyday blog HERE to see what everyone else was inspired to make this month!  Have a great weekend.  I'm off to the bead table to finish up some things to share with you all next week!


Monday, April 1, 2019

Inspiration for the April 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:



For this month's challenge I thought I'd get a little nutty.  For your consideration: I call this one "Two Squirrels and a Nut."  
















Ok, you got me.  April Fools!  This is the actual challenge for the month!  I took this last spring (it is still brown and drab here in Minnesota right now) at the Arboretum. They were doing an Origami sculpture exhibit and I liked the two boats a lot.  The previous picture was also from the same exhibit.  Good luck with this month's challenge!




The reveal date will be Monday, April 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 April 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!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Art Elements Theme of the Month: Luna Moths

Image from The Spruce.
Luna moths have always been one of my favorite winged insects, so I was thrilled when Jen Cameron picked them as the Art Elements Theme of the Month for March.  I remember my dad finding and showing me one as a small child, and I've been enchanted by them ever since!

Before jumping into share what I made this month, I just have to share a necklace that I made back in 2014 for myself with my coveted luna moth set by Kerri Fuhr.  I probably should pull this one out and take better photos... but you get the idea!  I should also go through my jewelry box and get things more organized so that I can find and wear my favorites more often, but that's an endeavor for another day.  




I've participated in several moth themed challenges over the last couple of years, so I was actually worried that I wouldn't have any luna moth appropriate beads left.  Happily, I was wrong!  See?



First up, I finally got around to using a lovely luna moth ceramic pendant by Tracey Seder Donoughe that Eric bought for me at Bead and Button two years ago.  I happened to have a little container of Czech glass beads that I got from a friend who is going through her late aunt's bead stash sitting sitting next to my little corral of art beads.  I did a double take and realized that those beads looked gorgeous with the pendant... such luck!!  I added in a couple of other styles of glass beads from my stash as well as some brass findings to round out this long necklace design.


I already had a bunch of beads for a necklace design with Andrew Thornton's sweet little pendant but I got distracted when I rediscovered all the little moths that Eric and I made in Heather Powers' metal sketches class at Allegory Gallery a few years ago.  We hammered steel wire on top of the copper to get the patterns and then added Swelligant patinas for the fun (but unpredictable!) color.  I found two that were really close in size and coloring and knew I had to whip up some earrings!  I made some fun cultured sea glass teardrops dangles, added ear wires, and voila!  I might have to keep these for me... we shall see.


So, after a brief earring diversion, I returned to the pile of beads surrounding Andrew's pendant.  I have to admit that I really had a tough time getting started on this one for some reason but I pushed through for a sweet strung necklace design.  I used a mix of Czech glass, freshwater pearls, and agate in various shades of green plus a little bit of cream.


As luck would have it, I got a package from my friend Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati with a treasure trove of beady goodness for my Simple Truths subscription including a fabulous moth pendant!  While the moth was actually created for the Art Bead Scene Art Journey One, the one that I received was perfect for this challenge!  I couldn't bear to set it aside... I just had to make something with it immediately.

I love the saturated colors in this fun, stylized moth... it just feels like Spring to me.  I picked through my hoard of Czech glass and crystal... finding lots of beads that worked with the pendant.  This is a bold piece that's sure to make a statement!


This is a blog hop!  I hope you'll check out what everyone else made for this fun challenge!


Guests:
Sarajo - You are Here
Art Elements Team:

Friday, March 29, 2019

Inspired by Reading: The Keeper of Lost Things

For this month's Inspired by Reading Book Club we read The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan.  I'm so glad that this charming debut novel made the cut for this year's book list!  This was a quick read with a truly unique premise.  It kept me turning those pages even when I was so sleepy that I had to practically prop my eyes open. 



As I proven so many times before, I'm really terrible at summarizing the books that I read... so I'm just going to share the blurb from the books back cover to give you an idea if this might be a book for you!  Although, don't let that last line of the jacket copy fool you, it's not all happiness in this book.  There were things that truly tugged at my heart strings.

Anthony Peardew is the Keeper of Lost Things. Once a celebrated author of short stories, now in his twilight years, Anthony has sought consolation from the long-ago loss of his fiancĂ©e by lovingly rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidently left behind. Realizing that he’s running out of time, he leaves his beautiful house and all the collected treasures to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, the one person he trusts to fulfill his legacy.

Recovering from a bad divorce, Laura is in some ways one of Anthony’s lost things. But when she moves into his lovely old Victorian mansion, her life suddenly begins to change. Anthony’s final wishes set in motion a most serendipitous series of encounters as Laura sets out to realize Anthony’s last wish: reuniting his cherished lost objects with their owners. 

With an unforgettable cast of characters that includes a teenage girl with special powers, a handsome gardener, a fussy ghost, and an array of irresistible four-legged friends, The Keeper of Lost Things is a heartwarming read about second chances, endless possibilities, and joyful discoveries.
 
My first inclination was to finally create with some lost things that found their way into my possession a little over a year ago... a ring of vintage keys!  I was thinking about the key to the study as well as Therese's locked room as well as the key on the cover of my paperback copy.  I picked out a few contenders and started thinking about ways to put a necklace together... and then got totally sidetracked.  I'll circle back to this idea though!

There really were so many great jumping off points for creativity in this book with all the lost objects, but what really captured my imagination was the rose garden that Anthony planted for his beloved and how the smell of roses was always strong in Therese's room even in winter. 

Earlier this month I attended the Twin Cities Bead Bazaar and its Cocktails with Candie Cooper event where they had some make and takes for us.  One of them was using the Sizzix Movers and Shapers magnetic dies to cut leather shapes.  The room was a little crowded and I wasn't super patient, so I brought my leather pieces home to play with.  Before making the earrings that I had envisioned, I decided to run the leather teardrops through my Big Kick machine in an embossing folder with a fun floral design.  I'm pretty happy with the results!  I added some little dangles inside the teardrops with cultured sea glass and brass for a fun, almost stamen-like effect.


Next, I kept with the floral theme for a necklace.  I originally grabbed this little ceramic connector by Gaea thinking I might combine it with one of the vintage keys, but it had other ideas!  I added some Czech glass flowers to the bottom of the connector and picked out other coordinating glass beads for links along the necklace.  I think that this would be perfect for a garden party!


Finally after I (mostly) got the flowers out of my head, I was ready to return to the vintage keys.  I had already selected a little Green Girl flower bud to use with one of my key designs, and I decided it went nicely with this shiny key.  I wrapped a little bit of patterned sari silk ribbon around the middle of the key and then used wire wraps to attach it securely.  I'm really liking the extra pop of color the ribbon adds.  In addition to the pewter flower, I made two more dangles with a Czech glass flower on one side and a bright polymer clay bead by Heather Powers of Humblebeads.


Figuring out how to get the key to sit just right was a bit of a challenge.  I think that I'll go about future designs a little differently!  Wanting to keep going with the bright pink/magenta hues, I made little links with Czech glass two different dyed agates.  I'm pretty happy with how this one came together (albeit at the last minute!) and I'm going to wear test this one tonight at a get together we're headed out to in just a bit.


That's it for me for now.  My other key designs will have to wait until another day.  Have a fabulous weekend, my friends!  I hope that wherever you are that Spring is starting to have Sprung and you can get outside and enjoy some much deserved warmer temperatures!


Monday, March 25, 2019

Honey Do List March 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:



With more and more snow around us, I struggled to find something with color for this month's challenge.  I discovered this picture I took of a mural inside Breakside Brewery in Portland last year and felt I had color, shape, and texture all for your inspiration pleasure!  Have at it!

As luck would have it, the same day that Eric gave me this inspiration photo I had a torch enameling class scheduled with Sara Lukkonen of C-Koop.  She had some millefiori for us to try out and I managed to make a pendant that perfectly echoed the mural's design!  Since I wasn't really sure what things would end up looking like, I'm pretty pleased with the results I got.  I knew that I was going to be in big trouble with the hubby if I didn't make something with this little guy, but not surprisingly, the pendant had some flaws from trying to get it off the welding mandrel.  I ended up working some magic to hide the flaws with my messy wrapped bail and a copper spacer.   


This one is probably for me since it's my first real enameling attempt.  I strung the pendant with tons of Czech glass, fire crackle agate, star cut carnelian, and yellow jade.  Lots of yummy colors that I pulled from the pendant design as well as the inspiration piece!


Seeing as my bead purchases tend more toward the organic than the geometric, I was worried about having things that would work in my bead hoard.  Luckily I did find a few goodies!  First up, a pair of earrings with some fun charms by Diane Hawkey that I paired with some sari silk cocoons from my friend Anna Pierson of Saga Hus.  




I also still had a couple of fun and bright focal beads from Golem Design Studio that featured a series of bulls eye shapes in various colors.  (I made a different tassel necklace with one of these back in March 2017 but with a plain chain and beads decorating the chain tassel ends.)  



When I was looking for the cocoons for my first pair of earrings, I discovered some other fun goodies from Saga Hus that felt right for the challenge. Anna wrapped some fun millefiori glass beads with fibers and wire for bright and cheerful links.  I added some Czech glass dangles in coordinating colors and used niobium ear wires with bright copper accents



Still thinking about how the patterns in millefiori glass echoed the mural, I grabbed some little coins in orange, white and clear.  I added some teardrop shaped beads on jump rings as a fun dangle for these playful ear bobs!



Now it's your turn!  Please add your links to your own creations below.  I love seeing what everyone else is making too.  Please check back March 1st to see what Eric has in store for us next month!

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


https://fresh.inlinkz.com/share/party/8fe82efdb5034060b3b562a6b8a4b0e4

Monday, March 18, 2019

Art Bead Scene Challenge: Art Journey Two


Today over on the Art Bead Scene Studio blog I'm sharing all the designs that I made for Art Journey Two and the fairytale world of Virginia Frances Sterrett.  I had such fun creating in response to her magical illustrations and you can see it all over on the ABS blog HERE.



Friday, March 15, 2019

We're All Ears: March 2019: Leaping Greenly


OMG.  I need the snow to stop already!  We've had more plans delayed or ruined by weather this winter than the last 4 winters combined.  Like so many others, I'm just done with snow, sleet, ice, and crazy cold weather... I'm over it all!  Erin, our fearless leader for this challenge, is in the same boat and has chosen greenery as the theme for this month's We're All Ears challenge.  Here's hoping we actually see some green (or al lest less white!) in the next month or so.  For now, I'll make do with some new earring designs!

I had fun pulling out tons of great green beads for this challenge.  I have to admit that I didn't necessarily think about the specific images that Erin shared, but more the color green in general.  I am super excited about the thought of little green leaves eventually budding... I'm sure it will happen someday... maybe by May??

These first two designs feature some goodies that I had picked out from some Allegory Gallery kits and such when I was putting things away earlier in the year.  (Whenever I'm digging through a mix or kit I like to grab out matching pairs and set them aside for later use!)  I loved the little pale green leaf charms... I'm pretty sure that they are vintage.  I was making room for some new beads and had emptied some millefiori glass out of a container and noticed two little green and yellow coins.  Turns out that they worked nicely with the leaves and some other little Czech glass beads I already had pulled out.  For the second pair I had the funky bright green beads set aside and added in some green crystals from another kit as well as little Czech glass rondelles.  The longer brass ear wires from Vintaj make for a nice dangle!


Next I dug into my art beads!  Some sweet leaf charms from Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio called out to me.  Turns out that they were a nice match for some brand new green Apatite that I picked up from Dakota Stones at the recent Twin Cities Bead Bazaar.  It took me a few tries to get the wire wraps where I was happy with them.  I had to give up on making the wire loops to go through the charms... it just wasn't playing nice.


This next pair is going to play double duty and make an appearance in my next post for the Art Bead Scene... consider this your sneak peek!  The amazing green and black charms are from Lesley Watt and have a wonderful crackle finish.  I hid the loops on the charms with brass bead caps and then added some fun polymer clay disc beads from Heather Powers of Humblebeads and Czech glass.


Last but not least, I decided it was time to finally make something with these adorable vine covered rounds by Heather Powers.  I paired them with copper wire and some pale green Czech glass beads.  I initially thought I'd have the flower beads on the top, but then I flipped it around and liked it even more that way!  These were the hardest pair to photograph... the rounds really need to be hanging to see them properly.  (They're hanging from one of my parents' fine china plates that I've appropriated.)


This is a blog hop... head on over to the Earrings Everyday blog to see what everyone else was inspired to make!