Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July Bead Porn

Take a break from the summer heat and enjoy some refreshing bead porn!
Hammered copper rings and...

...patinated Greek tube beads from Linden Avenue Designs

Sterling silver rustic seahorse charms from Cathy Dailey.

And the same design in a larger, gold bronze pendant version.

And a gold starfish, too.  Yep, I was obsessed!

Luscious Czech glass in a lavender/blue Picasso finish...

...and a paler aqua blue Picasso finish...
...and some blue/brown/beige flowers...

...and maroon/olive green daisies are all from Arte Bella Surplus

Golden Mykonos ceramic spikes and...

...copper charms from Linden Avenue Designs

Handpainted polymer clay leaves from Humblebeads - I bought a pair in the teal color...

Polymyer clay heart charms and...

...matching pendant from Menagerie Studio.  Sadly, I just read that she is closing her shop - guess it's a good thing I have been hoarding pieces from her for quite some time as they are going to be impossible to get from now on.  Bummer!

Bright lampwork headpins from Havana Beads.

Fun blue/green lampwork pair from Loupiac.

Hope you enjoyed this month's bead porn!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

We're All Ears - July Challenge Reveal

Wheee!  Summer vacation is awesome!  And okay, so I don't really get summer vacation any more now that I'm all growed up, but it is still my favorite time of year.  The weather is great, I get to go to the beach more often and some of my responsibilities lighten up since Ryan is out of school.  Oh, and sandals...I get to wear sandals every day and go crazy with my pedicure colors!

So, when I saw the photo for this month's Earrings Everyday - We're All Ears challege, I was super jazzed about it. 

It's everything good about summer:  sun, water, fresh air and bright colors!  Of course, who knows, maybe that photo was taken in December, but I'm choosing to believe it's summer.  Even the colors on the sails reminded me of a summer ice cream treat - bomb pops (if you've never seen one - they are red, white and blue striped popsicles).

I had to bring in ocean elements for my first pair of earrings:

So, I selected some light blue faux sea glass squares, shell leaves (yes, I know, they look like hearts, but they are actually leaves), and tiny white freshwater pearls.

I added some darker blue Swarovski crystals and a few touches of silver for some extra sparkle.  I'm calling these "Leaves on the Water."

Really, though, when thinking about this challenge, I kept getting overwhelmed with mental images of birds and feathers and flying - I guess because of the wind power behind the sails and that gorgeous blue sky. 

And then I remembered that I had just bought these amazing carved bone feathers and I knew they had to be part of this. 
I wanted to show how they look hanging up, too.  To bring in some movement and color, I added red waxed linen cord with ivory howlite spacers and some blue seed beads.

I thought that would be it, but then I was shopping for some other items at a craft store and came across some Vintaj brass sailboat charms and while that is a pretty literal interpretation of the photo, they were so cute and I really needed an excuse to break out my patinas and alcohol inks again so I thought I'd paint them.  


I painted the boats with Vintaj patina inks in "Marble" and "Garnet."  Then I sanded them a bit so they'd have that "weathered boat" look going on.

They looked good, but kind of dinky on their own and I realized what was missing was a background for them so I found these large white shell disks and I was going to use them as is when it occurred to me that...what the heck, maybe I could paint them, too. 

I roughed up the surface with a sanding block and added some Ranger alcohol inks in white, denim blue and dark blue and then blended them a bit with some blending solution and a small brush.  Voila!  I have my own sea-and-sky-scape for my boats to sail on!  I'm calling these "Come Sail Away" after my favorite Styx song.
I thought I was done at this point, but then I was at Michael's picking up a new pair of pliers and I came across this unusual strand of tiny crystals...all in shades of red, white and blue and I knew they had to be part of this challenge! 

To keep up the nautical theme, I figured what is more boat-related than ropes and knots?  So, out came the white waxed linen cord and I repeated on of my earlier techniques of doing the knotting around a hoop.  I added bright red cherry jade rondelles at the top and then tied off and fringed the cord ends. 

It's only now that I'm posting them that I realize they look like super-sparkly life preservers LOL.
That's it for July...hope you enjoyed my finished pieces.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Michael's Challenge Blog Hop

When I came across this post on the Humblebeads Blog about a Michael's challenge, I thought it was a fun and interesting idea.

Then, I saw the selection of challenge beads...

...and realized that I had just bought most of those same beads earlier in the week (beading world coincidences make me laugh!)...I knew I had to play.  The colors are so delicious, I probably would have been sucked in anyway, but already having a lot of the beads made it even easier.
I love the way all the strands look next to each other in the photo so I decided to let that be my guide and I put together a multi-strand necklace for my first piece:
The rules state that we are allowed to add two other types of beads to our finished designs.  I went a teensy bit beyond that because I only had 1 strand of some of the challenge beads and I needed to make necklace strands certain lengths so they would lay correctly.  The brown "lava" beads on the back half of the longest strand are extras (although they are from Michael's so maybe that's a gray area? LOL)  The copper ceramic gear spacers, the copper daisy spacers, the two copper melon beads and the copper seed beads are all extras as are the chain, wire and clasp.

Here's a closeup of the center front...

...and of the side.
I made a pair of earrings with the last few leftovers from the necklace.  The only "non-challenge" items added are the brass daisy spacer, etched brass bead caps, brass wire and earring wires.

This was actually the first design that came into my head, but it wasn't quite fully formed so I made the multi-strand piece first and then I realized that what the picture in my head had been missing was the addition of the bright pink rounds at the bottom of each floral rectangle bead.

I wasn't sure how that would work out so I wired up a couple of them and let them sit on my work surface for a few days - I figured they could always become earrings if the necklace idea didn't work out.

But, I decided I liked the idea so I strung up the whole thing.  Just added a few seed beads for the loops and some chocolate brown deerskin lace, cord ends and a clasp. 
The coordinating earrings basically mimic the pendants on the necklace except I added three of the bright pink beads as dangles for a little movement and swing.  I love how those beads just glow!
These beads just all look so very yummy together that I went back to my multi-strand idea for the bracelet.  The add-ins are a strand of copper-lined, clear AB seed beads, turquoise seed beads and the copper buttefly disk (from Michael's also), some cones, clasp and copper wire.  I love the way the addition of the ivory beads completely changes the color palette to something so much brighter and more summery whereas the earlier pieces with all the dark brown looked more mysterious and made me think of a Moroccan spice bazaar (or what I imagine one to be like considering I've never been to Morocco LOL) 

The earrings feature the final leftovers with a few of the seed beads thrown in. 

The one thing I found really challenging...for some reason I couldn't come up with names for any of these pieces and that's not normally something I have an issue with so if anyone has any brilliant suggestions...I'm open!
Hope you enjoyed my designs.  Here's a link to the rest of the hop.

Monday, July 14, 2014

9th Winner Announced!

I hit my 900th post around September, 2011.  Seems like I was doing pretty well averaging about 100 posts per year...little did I know that 2012-2013 would turn out to be so challenging at work and pretty much drag my entire life focus away from everything else including beads.  But in 2011, things were still chugging along with book reviews, bead porn (of course), the Bead Soup blog hop for that year, and some posts about various life stuff (like the giant power outage that lasted several days and knocked out power to all the schools so that they had to shut down just as the school year was supposed to start and this was also the time that Ryan was going for his red belt in Tae Kwon Do - which he earned and then decided he didn't want to pursue that sport any more which still bugs me to this day LOL)!
This round's winner will receive:
A copy of "Beautiful Leather Jewelry" by Melissa Cable.  This is a great introduction to working with leather as more than just a stringing medium  Wonderful photos, a comprehensive materials list and corresponding explanation, and great projects.  The ONLY reason I'm letting go of it is that I decided I just don't have the bandwidth to expand into another medium at this time, but I really enjoyed the book. 
Beautiful ceramic focal - designed to be used as a toggle pendant.
Vintage Lucite seashell mix.

Silver plated findings mixture.

Icy aqua and white lampwork set.

Patinated brass filigree.

More patinated brass filigree and a tiny lavender glass pendant that is hollow and can be filled with any mixture you choose:  essential oil, tiny seashell/sand, tiny seed beads, dried flower petals, etc.

Ring mix:  painted wood, fabric-covered and colored plastic.

Ribbon and fiber mix including sari silk, dyed silk ribbon, and fun fibers.

Venetian glass and crystal bead mix.

Ceramic owl pendant and raku ceramic leaf mix.

Clockwise from top right:  lavender ceramic bead, wooden printed square tile, ceramic tiny bird and matching bead, ceramic beig bead and two ceramic bronze buttons.

Clockwise from top:  pink and white striped polymer clay bead, lavender paisly polymer clay bead, black raku ceramic twist beads, pik and white ceramic lentil, pair of poly clay bird charms.
Copper and gunmetal chain, bead and floral link mix.
Lampwork set from Blue Seraphim including one of her handcrafted glass, paper and resin pendants in a matching color scheme.
And the lucky winner is:  Dreamin' of Beads.  Please email me with your address and I'll get your package out to you!