Friday, February 15, 2019

We're All Ears: February 2019: Frozen

This month's theme for the We're All Ears challenge is Frozen.  Well, Erin could not have chosen a more apt prompt for this month, at least for those of us living in the great stretch of the country dealing with the polar vortex and stupid amounts of snow.  Minnesota is already having the 4th snowiest February in history, and we're not even half way through the month.  Whoever pissed Elsa off needs to apologize!!! 

I have to admit that at first blush, I honestly wasn't sure I had much to use for this month's challenge.  I used lots of snowflake themed items for the December Art Elements Theme of the Month (which was "White."  You can see that post HERE if you like.)  I was surprised at how many ideas I suddenly had when I shifted my thought process from actual snowflakes to beads with an icy feel!

My first trio of earrings all focus on frosted or Mercury finished Czech glass.  These all have a winter woodland theme going on with leaves and wee pine cones.

Next up, a couple of pairs of earrings with long ear wires.  The ones on the left feature some vintage plastic from Allegory Gallery paired with snowflake bead caps and dyed agate.  The pair on the right uses some cultured sea glass under some of my favorite pewter bead caps that remind me of lily of the valley.

I didn't ignore my art beads either!  The pair on the left has some fun swirl pattered ceramic charms by Marsha Neal dipped in teal matched with polymer clay discs by Humblebeads, crystal, and brass.  The pair on the right is totally fit for Elsa!  Photos don't do the sparkles in the clear pale blue lampwork glass justice.  I added crystals and leafy bead caps to the design and topped things off with some Swarovski crystal and sterling ear wires.

I wasn't done yet... but I'll say that these last two are a bit outside my normal design comfort zone.  I played with some oval pewter links and iridescent Czech glass teardrops for the pair on the left.  I'm unreasonably happy about the pair on the right which are in no way my normal style!  I've been working on getting my studio under control and have been sorting through beads and supplies.  In this process, I found these fun caged gems that I got in a goody bag at a retreat.  I didn't have anything appropriate to hang them from, so I got out some copper wire and my hammer!  Although I like how the hammered copper curves in this instance, I do wish that I was capable of getting this sort of thing to stay straight!  I like the way the gold and copper tones work together in these shoulder dusters. 

Pop on over to the Earrings Everyday blog HERE to see what everyone else was inspired to make this month!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Inspiration for the February 2019 Honey Do List

Can you believe that we're starting 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 shot outside our friends Jim and Lori's cabin up north in Minnesota.  At the time I thought it was pretty cold out.  After the past week of -28 degree and up to -60 degree windchill that now seems like shorts weather!  To commemorate this Polar Vortex of Doom I really wanted to get a winter shot for this month, so here you go!  A cute nuthatch on a limb!

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

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Bead in the New Year: Part 3

 My friends Andrew and William of Allegory Gallery in Ligonier, Pennsylvania have designed a fun creative challenge to kick off the new year.  They're calling it Bead in the New Year and it's been a wonderful way to get my creative juices flowing after a bit of a holiday break.  January is often a time of year that I find myself in a slump and this has been a fun way to get me out of that funk and making something everyday.   This is my second installment chronicling what I've made for the challenge.  You can see Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE.  This is the calendar that they've come up with for us:

Here's what I've made since the last installment:

Day 18: Focus on metal as the main element in a new piece.

This is actually another piece inspired by a project in a past Bead Cruise booklet!  Finally used that leather clasp from Bandana Girl!

Day 19: Be inspired by a piece of art to create a new design.

Ok, slight cheat here... I did actually make a new piece inspired by Heather Powers' artwork on this day, below, but I figured I'd share the first two things that I made for it too since I'm so smitten.
This piece features a faux tin pendant by Heather Powers of Humblebeads along with some copper that I textured and Czech glass beads.  You can see the other necklace I made from this inspiration over on the ABS blog HERE.
Day 20: Utilize natural materials to create a new piece.

Wood, waxed Irish linen, brass, and polymer clay by Humblebeads.  Not all made of natural materials, but a healthy dose!

Day 24: Create a piece using vintage materials.

Not sure about the gold and teal beads, but the brass leaves are vintage.  I'm not usually much for gold, but love how these turned out!

Day 25: Put together a piece using seed beads.

It's not all seed beads, but I did use seven different types of seed beads in this long necklace featuring a lampwork glass pendant by Wendy Mosman.

Day 26: Use a color you don't normally use.

Mustard yellow isn't my normal jam, but I love this chunky hollow bead by Mary Ila Duntemann!  This one also fits the category for Day 31... big and bold! 

Day 27: Make a piece inspired by a book you've read.

Here's the pendant I made in response to A Discovery of Witches.  To see the whole finished design, pop over to my post about the January Inspired by Reading Book Club HERE!

Day 29: Use an Allegory Gallery wood pendant.

I had fun painting this wooden pendant with a lovely goldfish design by Andrew Thornton.  I kept the stringing simple and chose glass and coral beads on the smaller side.

Day 30: Create a piece inspired by nature.

I've been in a moth mood this month!  Pendant and larger ceramic beads by Gaea with a mix of other gemstone and ceramic beads on leather and brass.

Day 31: Make a piece that's big, bold, and over the top.

This Golem Design Studio pendant is bigger than my norm, but I fell in love with the rich, bright colors and had to have it!  Lots of Czech glass flowers and leaves help complete this statement necklace design.

A HUGE thank you to Andrew and William at Allegory Gallery for inspiring me to have the most productive January ever as far as jewelry making goes.  Not only have I made a ton of new designs that I love, I was excited to get to my bead table.  What a gift, my friends!

I suppose after neglecting many household chores and my taxes for far too long, that I should attend to some of that now.  But never fear, I've got another date with my bead table soon to keep working on the ideas that cropped up while I was working on the Bead in the New Year prompts!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Art Elements Theme of the Month: Moon

Moon photo by my talented husband, Eric Wentling.

This month, Lindsay Starr chose Moon for the Art Elements Theme of the Month.  I was initially worried that I wouldn't have anything suitable since I used a bunch of moon themed things over the last couple of years.  I shouldn't have worried... I did have a few appropriate things squirreled away!  The problem ending up being finding the time to make things.  January got busier than I had been planning for!

My moon-themed art beads... fine pewter by Green Girl, mixed media resin pendant and ceramics by Gaea, and lampwork by unknown artist.
I had honestly forgotten that the  pendant by Green Girl Studios I had set aside with some coordinating beads had a moon in the design...  I think that I had originally pulled it for the crow.  I figured that this was a good time to revisit the partially thought out design since it fit with the theme and helped me resolve one more UFO from my oh-so-messy workspace.  Win-win!!

Some of the beads that I ended up using were in my original collection of beads for this pendant, some were plucked from an Allegory Gallery bead blend, and some from a gift of Swarovski lovelies from Brenda Schweder from the Adornments Retreat.  I decided to go with an asymmetrical design strung on one side, links and chain on the other.  I kept it all to a palette of black, greys, silvers, and a tiny bit of white... colors of the moon and moonlight as well as the night sky in which it hangs.

I thought I'd share this one too.  It wasn't made for this challenge specifically, but for yesterday's Inspired by Reading Book Club.  I had some fun with riveting.  I made the moon shape with some textured copper scrap left over from the Christmas ornaments I made last year and used some little spacers underneath to give it some dimensionality.  If you're curious about my full book club post, you can read it HERE.

As you can see, I didn't get around to some of the more colorful moon options that I had pulled out.  Tomorrow's another day!

This is a blog hop... please check out what the other participants have been inspired to make this month!


Sarajo (you are here!)

Art Elements Crew:

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Inspired by Reading: A Discovery of Witches

I actually read the November selection for the Inspired by Reading Book Club but never got around to making anything, so I'm happy to be back in the swing of things this month!  This month's book was A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.  I remember ages ago picking this up as an ARC at an American Library Association conference and happily handing it over to one of the adult services librarians.  I remember this book having a pretty big buzz when it came out so I was mildly interested in seeing what all the fuss was about.

Overall, I didn't love this novel, but I did stick it out to the bitter end, which clocks in at 579 pages if you're curious.  I thought that the premise was intriguing, but it devolved into way too much romance for my taste.  I also thought that Diana as a main character needed way too much saving by a man... or a male vampire, whatever.  Anyway, I did preserver and finish the book, but I'm not going to run out to grab the sequels. (Although if someone wants to tell me what happens, that's cool.)

I decided to to try and make a pendant based on the de Clermont seal featuring a crescent moon and star.  I used a scrap of copper left over from my Christmas ornament making frenzy.  I had used a couple of different Fretz texturing hammers on the scrap before I used my disc cutter to cut the moon shape out.  I used some spacers under the moon to give it a 3D effect when I riveted it to an Arte Metal circle blank that I went around the edges with my ball peen hammer.  I then riveted a brass star beside the moon and wrapped a brass filigree around the pendant.  I have to say that it was fun to do some riveting.  I want to do more metal work!

I could have left it here and just put on a jump ring and plain chain, but I wanted to do a little more than that.  I made some Czech glass links in metallics and black and finished the design with Vintaj natural brass chain.

When I was putting some unused beads back in their proper place, I discovered a few brass beads with star and moon designs.  I just had to make something with them!  I paired them with some fun purple druzy barrels that I've been holding onto for a bit.

I'd better go pick up the February book from the library and get started soon... or maybe I'll wait until we're back in the positive numbers for temperatures!  If you're interested in joining the book club fun, check out our Facebook group HERE.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Honey Do List January 2019

Can you believe that we're starting 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 trip to Prague I took a lot of architectural pictures!  Most of these look great but just didn't grab me for being a good subject for jewelry work.  Then I came a across this interior shot of an Art Nouveau building and had my inspiration!  The color palette is limited but bright, and the shapes and designs should give some good options. 

I loved this particular gallery it's glorious glass skylight was breathtaking!  That being said, Eric had given me a bit of a challenge and I was a little slow to wrap my head around a design direction.  Yellow isn't necessarily a color I create with often... and my design tendencies run more toward the organic than the geometric.

Lucky for me, I did have a pair of black and white geometric patterned lentil beads from Golem Design Studio in my stash.  While they are a more random pattern than the glass of the gallery, I think they still work here.  Plus their round shape echoes the round center of the skylight.  I paired them with some AB finished yellow glass beads and blackened findings.

Another fortuitous beady event was that I got a package from my friends at Allegory Gallery that included some lovely faceted vintage plastic beads in a nice light yellow color.  I added some brass bead caps and small Czech glass beads in a matching color and dangled them on long Vintaj brass ear wires.

Apparently once I started playing with yellow earring ideas, I had a hard time stopping!  I made one last pair of earrings, this time using some faux tin charms that I made at the Inspired by Nature Retreat two years ago when Heather Powers first taught her faux tin process.  I won a sheet of Klimt images, and here's the only part of that set that has seen the light of day so far!  I made little dangles with the same yellow teardrop beads from my first pair of earrings and some tiny Czech glass flower beads.  

get the InLinkz code

Art Bead Scene Challenge: Journey One

You may have heard, since I've been practically shouting it from the mountaintops, that I'm a new contributor over at the Art Bead Scene Studio blog (ABS)!  Today I'm posting over on the ABS talking about everything that I created for Art Journey One.

You can see all my creations and some additional art bead inspiration over on the ABS blog HERE!