30 September 2013

Late Bloomer :: Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month Reveal

I am coming off an ArtBliss high.

I spent three days in Washington, DC convening with bead peeps. It has been a blast. I actually got to meet up with several of the Art Jewelry Elements team members in person: Jenny Davies-Reazor, Melissa Meman, Susan Kennedy, Karen Totten and Diana Ptaszynski. What a treat! I was very honored to be selected to join the monthly component hop because I am a BIG fan of Lesley Watt's colored bronze clay pieces.

When I left for ArtBliss I grabbed the bead cap so that I could make something, and I had a hank of these beautiful bubble drop beads. But, of course, in my panicked last minute packing, I didn't grab the beads that I wanted. So late, late into the night last night when I finally had time alone with my tools, I had to make it work! I apologize for not having any more than this one picture, and the necklace is not complete because I didn't measure but eye-balled the beading wire and one side is shorter than the other so I didn't put the other part of the clasp on. But you can see what I did and where I am going.

Here is the component that we were sent to play with. Just look at that soft sheen and those juicy colors! I know you want one. Be sure to check out Lesley Watt's Etsy shop so you can get one of your  own!

I made a link with some merlot colored leather that I bought from Erin Siegel and Ornamentea at the vendor night. I created a leather link with one half of a flowered hook clasp to hang the pendant. I used that same leather cord in little groups of knots to hide the crimp tubes because I didn't have any other material to cover those unsightly bits. I used some pretty wine colored Czech faceted glass rondelles (from Joann's Fabric) and some of the silver plated charlottes (again, from Ornamentea) to lead up to some salmon colored piggy-back beads. Love these! I got them at Bead & Button from Nirvana beads. The color has a lovely lustre to it. Tracy Statler was selling these really cool pointed spacers (I need more of those, Miss Tracy!) and I used that to build up the suspense leading to the polymer clay disk beads from Humblebeads in a really great deep fall palette. At the back is a strand of frosted jade beads that have a very soft green color.

I am calling this Late Bloomer ;-)
Sorry for the poor photo. If I have time later this week, I will take some more glamor shots and closeups. There is only so much you can do with a cell phone camera and a tile in your hotel bathroom. ;-)

I am flying back today. So I will save my hopping for later this week. Here are the rest of the participants. Thank you Miss Lesley for the opportunity to work with your amazing creations!

AJE team
Lesley Watt         

18 September 2013

Baubles and Beads :: Hole Punching, Cord Threading Magical Fun!

As usual, I am a bit late to the party. But I always bring a great treat, so I hope you will agree!

A few weeks ago I shared a sneak peek of the pieces that were sent to my by Baubles and Beads, a bead store out of Berkeley, California. Great ingredients to work with! A little spicy with a diverse flavor profile for sure! (Am I watching too much Food Network?)

Today is reveal day!

Of course, I left my percolator on a little too long. That means I almost burnt all the ideas that I had! I love the colors and textures of everything they sent that I think I may have spent too long just fondling it all and not really making anything. That all had to change the other night.

I started with that yummy purple leather strap. It is like buttah, y'all. While the purple leather is a lovely deep shade, I was most drawn to the back, the wine colored suede. And then I spied that perforated metal circle.

[Look! You can still buy these little kits! I thought they had gone the way of the dinosaurs."
Do you remember those plastic lacing grids as a kid? I would save up my pennies and go and buy these little kits that would show you how to do a sort of counted cross stitch to make a picture of a rainbow or a puppy or something. That is what I thought of when I picked that brass piece up.

[In Stitches bracelet - I think this would look great with a stack of purple and teal baubles, don't you?]

I formed the disk with my bracelet bending pliers just for a gentle curve. Then I managed to poke some holes in the leather and then I used a tiny bit of beading wire folded in half as a needle to poke the aqua cord through the holes, essentially cross stitching my way along. At the ends I was at a loss, until I noticed some brass eyelets on the pounding side of my room, you know with all the hammers and stuff. So I poked some more holes and made some nice reinforced brass connection points (since the leather is very soft, I needed something to make it stable). I used the gray pearls woven with teal seed beads and some matte lavender peanut beads for the back. I think I will call this In Stitches.

Next up, I took those little pyramid squares. They each had a hole in the top, but to me they were a bit too big. So I got out my metal shears and cut them up! I did have to file the edges because they were sharp, and I also punched a few more holes so they could dangle like this. I like to work in threes so that is what I did.

[Giza's Hidden Treasures - rather Egyptian looking, don't you think?]
With my hair at chin length, I like earrings that are a little bit longer so that they peek out from my coiffure. Red is a color that I associate with fall, so I added some little Swarovski dangles to the center of each pyramid, the inverted shape nestling in there just right! These would be great with any color in them.

I also had two of them left, so I just threw them on some longer kidney wires. I have always wanted a pair of 'diamond' earrings. Now I have them! Get it? (Okay, still holding out hope that my husband will one day surprise me with a pair, but that is highly unlikely!) The cool thing is that I can switch the direction of the diamond shape (sorry I didn't get a picture but you can tell what they would look like from the ones above)., from sticky-outy to pointy-inny, really easily making these very versatile.

[Poor Girl's Diamonds - even the poorest among us wants to wear diamonds!]

 Okay, the last piece is the one that I really fretted about. That big crescent shaped brass piece is not only large, but it is substantial. I knew that once I started on it there was no going back! It is also a blank canvas so I knew that I had to embellish it in some way. I thought about stamping words, hammering textures, adding patinas. But I also knew that I had this lovely silky kumihumo (God Bless You!) cord that they sent and I was trying to use as much of their products as possible.

So at about 9:30 last night I started by punching out my first hole with my screw punch. It is such thick metal that I really feared for that tiny tool's life! I was able to make it all the way around where I marked them, along the scalloped edge and across the top. In keeping with the embroidery flair in the first piece, I decided that I would do something similar. I fashioned a 'needle' from a small piece of beading wire doubled over to help me pull the three cords through the holes and just started sewing. It was sort of cool to see how the pattern would come to life. I went first in one direction, and then came back the entire length in the other direction. I just knotted them tightly to the back and added a little dab of Hypo-Cement to make sure they would say put.

For the beaded part, I used the brass hex spacers (I call them cornerless cubes) and the table cut wine colored czech glass ovals. I loved the rich color that echoed the burgundy and gold cords. But I needed some green. So I found a strand of some beads that worked with the shape and the tones. The tag said something I can't recall (something like schwama stone but that sounds ridiculous!), but they are a bit shimmery and a very deep dark forest green.

[Autumn's Armor - just the thing to take on Fall in!]

This looks like an armored breastplate to me and the colors are decidedly fall, so I am naming this Autumn's Armor, something to steel yourself with against the coming cold! I was worried about comfort, but it is very light and not scratch at all. I am wearing it today and it must be a wowza piece as people are stopping me and asking about it!

There are others playing along with me. Please go to the Baubles & Beads blog for a reveal of all the participants. As I understand it, they will be giving away design team bead pack to one lucky reader!

They also let me know that they have a special online coupon code for you to get 20% off until September 30. The code is BPSEP and you can use it on their webstore: Baubles & Beads.

Thank you to Lisa Kaufman and Kate Richbourg of Baubles & Beads for the chance to design these pieces with their fun components. I will be getting another goodie box in a few months, so you can watch for more fun to come!

17 September 2013

Just a Bit Wonky

“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” ~ Roald Dahl

adjective: wonky; comparative adjective: wonkier; superlative adjective: wonkiest
1. crooked; off-center; askew.
"You have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth."
weird, whacked out, messed up, not working for no definable reason. Usually applied to technology.
"Dude, you have the wonkiest computer in the world. I walked through the room and it crashed."
3. crazy, loony, not quite right, out of sorts, a mix of bonkers and wacky.
 "That lady fondling the beads over is a bit wonky, don't you think?"

Miss Kristi Bowman makes lovely bits for your jewelry needs. I love her bronze clay creations in particular. So very tribal in feeling and rustic in look, they add a great touch to your designs. Miss Kristi was taking a little detour from metal clay to play with polymer clay and her results are not only magnificent but totally in keeping with her vibe. So when she announced a special sale on some of what she calls 'wonky beads' to the first to snap them up at a special deal with the promise of using them in a piece to show off what you can do, I jumped at the chance. You know I can't pass up a good challenge.  

Of course, I wrote it on the calendar for Monday, September 16th. I wrote that date on the bag. I put them in my tray in order of what deadline was the closest. And wouldn't you know it? I messed up. I thought I had another day, like the 16th was a Tuesday in my world. But I did have them started, and I had sketched out designs, I just needed to finish them.

I did finish them late, late, late last night (while also getting started on the pieces I need to complete for tomorrow for the Baubles and Beads reveal!), but the lighting was not working in my favor. So I wore them all to work today to use my favorite moss covered cement wall as a photo backdrop. I think this styling suits their rustic quality.

The first idea I had was a lariat with multiple strands of something cord-like to the back. Long. With dangles that you can fidget with to your hearts' content. Tribal looking, like some long ago amulet with magical powers. What I forget is that I don't really have much in the way of cord, and I am horrible at knowing how much to use. I thought I was doubling the amount I would need for this, when in fact I came up a bit short. This necklace is about 28" with a 4" drop, but I wanted it longer. Still, I like the look and it is very light. I give you Wonky Lariat.

Blue and brown dottie bead and drop - Kristi Bowman Designs
Carved bone beads - Rings & Things
Butterscotch and Teal waxed linen cord
Silver cornerless cubes - Rex's African Beads
Okay. So I only used of the six beads in the set. But I did also purchase those fun little drops, like the one on the end, so I think that counts. I like to spread the art bead love around and see how they play with others. And Miss Kristi's beads played nicely!

After I completed the lariat, the rest were just lying there waiting to be loved. I noticed that they were next to some other beads, little orphans from other projects and some newer beads I hadn't even busted into yet. And it all clicked. Next up is Wonky Necklace.

Flower bead - Kristi Bowman Designs
Glass beads - JulsBeads
Polymer clay tiny disk bead - Humblebeads
African brass leaf bead
Glass daggers - Unicorne Beads
Spiral shell bead - pewter hand patinaed by me ;-)

Will you just look at the detail on that little flower bead? Makes me squee all over the place! ;-) Love the color, the texture, the shape. If the definition of 'wonky' is quirky and just a bit off, that is what this necklace embodies for me. I pulled quite an eclectic bunch of bits and bobs for this. I can see doing this in all sorts of styles and colors with a lot of different beads. You will notice that I actually did repeat some shapes, three of each to be exact.

{Shhh...that is my best tip for successful asymmetric designs. Use the number three and repeat elements, preferably three times. Don't tell anyone. It will be our little secret. ;-}


I think that I will make more of this style for my upcoming show and use up all those art beads (not to forget all the other beads) I am hoarding...er...displaying. They actually look really great stacked together, like I am wearing them now.

So you will notice that now I have used two of the six beads in the set. I thought that it was a good idea to use at least one more (the others will wait for inspiration to strike). And this flat disk was calling to me. It looks like stone. I love the texture and the color. And the tiny burgundy droplet from Pinocean jumped right to it. I wanted to be able to see the texture and originally thought of a pendant on a simple chain. But then I spied some little ring blanks. They were too small for me to know what to do with their base, but I don't throw anything away. Good thing! I whipped out the epoxy jewelry clay and kneaded a little pea sized bit to act as the glue to hold it all together. I threaded a rhinestone studded headpin with the Pinocean bead and then played around with some other copper bits until it felt right then just secured it all with a bit of the clay to dry overnight. Et voila! Wonky Ring!

Polymer clay disk bead - Kristi Bowman Designs
Glass bead - Pinocean
Copper ring shank and bead caps
Rhinestone head pin
I think that this little ring might end up being the prototype of some more rings like this. Easy-peasy to make and a fun little fashion statement for your hand. 

Thank you Miss Kristi, for issuing this fun and unique challenge!

P.S. I don't know why Blogger looks and acts funny to me today. Must be a bit wonky! ;-P Check back tomorrow to see what I do with the Baubles and Beads supplies!

10 September 2013

Earrings Everyday

Today is my day over at Earrings Everyday.

I share a pair of earrings that were featured in the recent 101 Bracelets, Necklaces and Earrings publication. Pantone gave us Emerald as the color of the year for 2013, and these are a deep shade of green with hints of gold and a lot of sparkle. The editors of the publication changed the name I gave them from 'Red Carpet Envy' to 'Climbing Ivy.' I think that is a very pedestrian name for something so lovely.

What would you call these?

Stop on over to Earrings Everyday to see the outfit that I selected to go with these stunners!

05 September 2013

Pop-a-Dot Jewelry Fundraiser :: Pacelli Panacea

Come and visit me over at Pop-a-Dot Jewelry to learn about the September fundraiser. 


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