Monday, May 20, 2019

Honey Do List May 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:

On our recent trip to Georgia, we were treated to a tour of the Athens campus by our good friend Kathleen. On that tour we discovered a small hidden park and this little guy!  I spent a good amount of time photographing this little Anole lizard, and suddenly he decided to get randy and started to show off his throat wattle.  And here you go!

I just love these little lizards and spent many an hour chasing and sometimes catching these guys.  I feel a tiny bit guilty now for having terrorized the poor creatures, but none were ever physically harmed and they were always returned to about where I found them.

I'm pretty impressed with how well Eric captured this little dude.  Kathleen and I were just wandering the gardens talking away and didn't notice where he had disappeared to.  The anole looks so proud of himself here!  

Anyways, he is such a striking and vibrant green, I knew I had to do something with that.  My first design feature some fun pieces from Gardanne in a striking green that is not quite as loud as his little body, but still pretty groovy and bright.  The black stripes on the sides kind of tone it down a little bit while giving visual interest.  I added niobium ear wires right to the tops of the charms and then dangled a mix of Czech glass beads in green and black from the bottom.  These are going to be such fun to wear!

Despite his bright green body, the most striking thing about this anole for me is that bright red wattle of his.  I just had to make something inspired by that!  Another pair of enameled charms by Gardanne to the rescue here!  They are meant to be pomegranates, but the holes in them and their color reminded me of the spots on his throat.  I added some Czech glass beads to dangle from the bottom, but the charms are the stars... as it should be!

Now don't laugh, the first thing that I thought of when Eric showed me this picture was strawberries!  I remembered that I had a pair of tiny strawberry charms from Inviciti hiding in my stash and went digging for them.  I kept this design pretty simple... I just added some cool vintage glass tube beads in deep red.  I love the texture on those beads!

Now it's your turn!  Please add your links to your own creations below.  I love seeing what everyone else is making too.  

Due to an incredibly busy June (Bead & Button followed almost immediately by a 16 day trip to Great Britain... gulp), We're going to take a little break from the Honey Do List.  Since we figure Eric will have tons of new inspiration after those trips, we're going to skip the June challenge and resume for July.  

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

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Georgia on My Mind

I meant to get this post done a bit sooner, but life has been a bit more hectic than usual.  You may have noticed a few less posts from me here and on social media, but I'm still here!!

Last month my husband and I took a trip down South for the purpose of attending the wedding of a couple of our good friends.  It was also a bit of a trip down memory lane as we were visiting the city in which we both went to undergrad.  We spent a long weekend back in Atlanta followed by a couple of lovely days in Athens, GA with my bestie and her husband.

We had a bit of an ordeal actually getting to Atlanta due to a lovely April blizzard in Minnesota, but eventually made there, albeit sans checked bag.  Sigh.  Anyways, we still managed to keep a dinner date with one of my very best friends from college and her guy before going to the hotel to crash after a very LONG travel day.  And as a bonus, Delta got us reunited with our bag before we went to bed... yay!

At least the MSP airport has some cool bathroom murals!  You can find fun art in unexpected places.
Friday we woke up refreshed and ready to do some exploring and looking forward to seeing friends, enjoying yummy food, and imbibing some delicious craft beer.  We started the day with a little breakfast and coffee at one of our old college haunts, Cafe Intermezzo.  (Full disclosure, this was our first time actually going there together.)  Eric's camera in tow, we decided to wander through Piedmont Park as we made our way slowly toward our eventual lunch date.  They were setting up for the Dogwood Festival (more about that in a bit) but they weren't quite ready to go at that point so we just enjoyed wandering the park admiring foliage and wildlife as we passed through. 

After exiting the park, we headed toward a nearby entrance to the Atlanta Beltline.  What is the Atlanta Beltline?  Great question!!  We were only introduced to it last fall on a brief stop in town.  From their website:  The Atlanta BeltLine is a planned loop of 22 miles of modern streetcar (an expansion of the Atlanta Streetcar), planned 33 miles of multi-use trail, and anticipated 2,000 acres of parks. It will open in phases through the anticipated completion in 2030.  It is based on railroad corridors that encircled Atlanta and will ultimately connect 45 intown neighborhoods when completed.  There's tons of development and revitalization along it including new housing, restaurants, and retail space.

We only got the chance to go along part of the Eastside Trail, but really enjoyed being off the roads and away from traffic.  It felt safe and well maintained and there was plenty to see.  The best part is that is a ton of really cool public art along the way.  Local businesses seem to be embracing the artistic spirit too...  many buildings had fun murals on them!  Here's a little collage of some of the treasures we found along our stroll... plus an obligatory selfie of me and my Sweetie in Piedmont Park!

It always amuses me when we have to go to another state to see friends from home.  We're all too busy sometimes.  As luck would have it, our friends Jackie and Joe, along with their daughter, flew into town to meet their new grand-baby.  We were able to arrange things to meet them all for lunch at New Realm Brewing.  This time we managed photographic evidence of our visit!  (We are really terrible at getting photos of people!!)

Full of lunch and sloshing with beer, we said goodbye to Minnesota friends and started making the journey back toward the hotel... but not without some other stops along the way!  Eric probably got some really cool shots along the way, but I haven't seen them yet.  You'll just have to settle for my picture of him taking pictures and some iffy cell phone shots. 

Our next stop was the Ponce City Market where we picked up some yummy snacks for later (including biltong!)  This is one of the really cool developments connected to the Beltline (although Ponce City Market opened first I believe).  Located in the restored Sears & Roebuck building, the star of the Market is the amazing Food Hall in my opinion.  This mixed use space also includes retail, housing, offices, event space, and even a rooftop amusement park.

Since our friend Shea wasn't quite ready to play with us yet (work, blech), Eric and I decided to wander back to Piedmont Park to check out the now-open Atlanta Dogwood Festival.  Wasn't it nice for our friends to plan their wedding location and accommodations just a few blocks from an amazing art festival?  Ok, that was just luck too, but a happy occurrence for those of us able to get out and enjoy it.  Eric and I had time to a good percentage of the art booths Friday afternoon and even came home with some new art purchases.  If you ever have the chance to attend, I highly recommend it.  This seemed to be a well juried show... the caliber of the artwork was unusually high IMHO.  I suppose that I shouldn't be surprised since it's been running for over 80 years!  We ended a fun day with an amazing dinner at Empire State South with Shea and finally completed our foursome when Kathleen finally got in from the airport later that night.

Saturday Shea was still needing to get some work done so Eric, Kathleen, and I went out exploring on our own.  Our mission was primarily to get to a few more breweries that Eric wanted to visit but we started the day by finishing checking out the rest of the art at the Dogwood Festival.  With only so many hours before the wedding we ending up limiting ourselves to lunch and brews at the lovely SweetWater tap room followed by some amazing flights at Orpheus Brewing.  For my money, Orpheus was the star of the trip as far as beers go.

Being the terrible friend that I am, I didn't get a single picture of the happy bride and groom at the wedding Saturday night.  I did at least get one decent snapshot of the four of us when we were all looking spiffy.  You'll just have to trust me that the bride was radiantly beautiful and happy and the groom was quite handsome!  Here's to them living happily ever after!  The backdrop of the Jimmy Carter Center was fabulous for the moving ceremony.  We pretty much all had something in both our eyes by the end of the ceremony... in a good way, of course!  Between the wedding and the reception we were treated to a guided tour of the Jimmy Carter Center museum by one of their senior docents.  Very cool!

Sunday morning we shifted our base of operations to Shea and Kathleen's lovely new home in Athens, Georgia (Go Dawgs?).  We'd hoped to visit one of favorite Southern breweries, Creature Comforts that day, but they were closed for a staff appreciation event.  We ended up mostly hanging out and playing games since it was a rainy, grey day.  No worries, we had plenty of Creature Comforts (and others!) at home to keep us happy. 

Our last full day in Athens, we finally caught a break weather-wise and were able to get out and explore campus and the State Botanical Garden of Georgia.  Seriously, every other time I've been to Athens it's been cold and rainy for most of the trip.  Not this time! Here are a few of my snapshots from the afternoon.  I can't wait to see more of Eric's more artistic shots. 

Sadly, this ends my chronicle of our little vacation to warmer climes.  Thanks for sticking with me as I reminisce.  This blog does seem to serve in part as a sort of online journal for me.  Eric and I will have to get back to Georgia at some point to check out some more of the breweries in Atlanta that we haven't tried yet, visit with the newlyweds, and more.  Now that we have a concentration of friends so close together it's more of a magnet.  Who knows, maybe we'll fly to Atlanta and then road trip someplace!  For now, I'll remember this trip fondly as I plan for our next adventures.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Inspiration for the May 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:

On our recent trip to Georgia, we were treated to a tour of the Athens campus by our good friend Kathleen. On that tour we discovered a small hidden park and this little guy!  I spent a good amount of time photographing this little Anole lizard, and suddenly he decided to get randy and started to show off his throat wattle.  And here you go!

The reveal date will be Monday, May 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 May 20th 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  The more the merrier, so I hope you'll play along with me this month!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Art Elements Theme of the Month: Repurposing

For this month's Art Elements Theme of the Month, Lesley Watt has given us an interesting prompt... repurposing!  This is a really broad theme and I had super grand plans at the beginning of the month.  I'm sure that some of you can relate to the fact that time has sort of gotten away from me this time!

I'm guessing that my contributions are not going to be as impressive or exciting as what many folks come up with, but meet the challenge where you're at, right??

I started out by making a necklace with another one of the vintage keys that a friend gifted me awhile back.  I've still got quite a few keys left in my stash, so I'm guessing you'll see more key-filled designs from me in the future now that I've broken them out!

The perfect addition to the key pendant was a sweet little heart charm by Mary Harding.  Then the light bulb went off and I decided to stamp "Key to My ♥️" on a silver plated circle to tie things together.  I picked Czech glass and vintage lucite beads to go with the colors in the heart charm. 

This one is long and can just be slipped over your head without any monkeying around with a clasp.

Next up, I played more with some of the vintage tin that I broke out for the Art Bead Scene Art Journey 2 challenge.  This time I'm using some of the pieces from the edges of the containers lid (I'm so glad that I didn't toss them... Packrat for the win!!)  I had really hoped to be able to cut a taller triangle, but I just didn't have the material to work with this time.  I'll have to revisit my other idea later.  After cutting the two trapezoids instead, I hammered the rolled edge of the lid flat and filed all the edges smooth.  Because of the shape, I knew that I needed two connection points at the top for them to hang correctly... so then I had to decide what to put up above the tin pieces.  The solution?  My (very under-utilized) Now That's a Jig!  Yay me!  I whipped up two cute little connector pieces to fit perfectly and hammered them a bit for strength and texture.

Lastly, because I was needing to get ready for a little home jewelry party I'm doing at a friend's house this weekend, I started to make a new batch of my up-cycled beer can earrings.  I had a lot of new beer can colors and patterns that I wanted to play with for the first time.  Unfortunately, I didn't finish any of them... this is where things were at yesterday when I called it a day.

In the next couple of days I'll get them all put together but I always underestimate the amount of time it takes to complete these.  There are so many steps... emboss the metal blanks that serve as a base, smooth the rough edges of the aluminum punch outs, punch holes in the centers of the flowers and the metal blanks, rivet, hammer in the dapping block, pick out beads, complete the bead links, attach earwires.  Whew... tired just thinking about what I need to get done!  Those aluminum circles at the top edge of my photo will hopefully become medallion style necklaces this week too.  Fingers crossed!

This is a blog hop... Check out what everyone else created by repurposing this month!  This should be a fun one!

Sarajo  - You are here!
AE Team

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Inspired by Reading: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

The April selection for the Inspired by Reading Book Club was Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.  This is one that I'd been interested in for a little while so I was happy to see it on our list for this year!

As the story began I really just felt like Eleanor was just an odd duck of a character.  She's someone very rigid and totally stuck in her routines.  She really lives for the structure that her office job gives her during the week and then loses herself in vodka over the weekend to make the off time go faster.  As you continue to read, you begin to understand that there are many layers to Eleanor and they are slowly peeled back.  As usual, I really don't want to say too much about the book to avoid giving anything away. 

As much as I enjoyed this novel, I was at a bit of a loss for what to make.  Maybe I just go too immersed in the story and wasn't paying attention to creative jumping off points.  In the end, the only thing that came to mind was a bit of a stretch.  I chose Eleanor's froggy pouf to start off my design! 

I knew that I had a pair of enameled frog charms from Gardanne that would be cute as part of a charm style necklace.  When I was picking those out of my art bead storage, a little word bead from Swoondimples caught my eye as well.  I thought the message of "give more" made sense for Eleanor... her life starts to change as she starts to give a little more of herself to those around her... opening up.  I added the key to represent Eleanor unlocking the secrets of her past to herself and those close to her.  The flower is to mark how Eleanor really blossomed by the end of the novel.

I love the colors in this long charm necklace.  I added a few Czech glass links along the chain for additional color.  I know that this one is a bit quirky, but I hope it finds a happy home with the right person!

Thanks for stopping by to see what I've been up to lately!  I hope you're having a great week.  We're finally getting some spring weather here so I'm trying to balance making new jewelry with enjoying some fresh air and sunshine!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Honey Do List April 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:

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!

I adored last year's garden sculpture exhibit at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum!  These large scale metal origami pieces were really amazing to behold and Eric and I had a great time wandering through the gardens exploring the exhibit.  (Memo to self... I need to check and see what this year's will be!)  I really wanted to do something related to the paper boats, but I didn't get there.  The closest thing I have are some adorable canoe charms (with paddles!!) from Holly Stultz but they weren't totally right and I'm still not sure what (if anything) I want to pair with them.  

So, instead of little boats, I focused on the purple flowers in the foreground.  True to my usual form, I started with a little pair of earrings.  (True confession... making earrings is relatively quick and then the pressure is off because I know I've made something for a challenge!)  The flowers on these Golem Design Studio ceramic lentils aren't quite the right color, but I rolled with it anyway.  I love the green background on these and it is so nice with the deeper red tones.

Earrings out of the way, it was time to turn to lovely pendant from my friend Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati.  The purples in this amazing polymer clay creation are so vibrant and have a great pearlescent finish that was difficult to capture in photos.  

For this one I pulled together a bunch of different purple beads, mostly Czech glass but punctuated with some faceted amethyst rounds.  Too keep the necklace from being too monochromatic, I used a few dark iridescent turbine beads and some bright blue and bronze flowers.  Copper colored seed beads were the perfect spacers for this strung design.

This month's challenge pushed me to try something that I've been thinking about since I bought some fun branch focals at Bead Fest back in 2015.  I wire wrapped some of my favorite Czech glass flowers in two shades of purple onto a brass colored branch to mimic the flowering branches in Eric's photo.  There's enough going on with the focal so I kept things simple with plain chain and just a coordinating flower dangle from the clasp.  

Heres' a closer look at the branch focal.  I love how the flowers sit at all different angles.  I was so happy with how this one turned out that I went ahead and made three more... each in different color combinations!

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 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 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!