Here are a few more results:
I took these brass components that I purchased on Etsy and transformed them with alcohol inks:
Then I sanded the results to let some of the metal show back through. I still feel like they might need a little extra oomph and since I think they were originally intended to have flat back crystals glued in the center of the flowers, I may still do that. Or not. Decisions, decisions...
Then, I decided to keep going with the inks for a while. I really love the earrings that I did using Barb Bechtel's painted polymer clay ovals as backgrounds for charms. She doesn't seem to be actively selling any more so I decided I needed to come up with a way to make similar background pieces without delving into the polymer clay world. I think I've got enough going right now without investing in a pasta machine, clay, tools and another toaster oven LOL. I found some wood disks and other shapes in the woodworking aisle at Michael's and since I now have the ability to drill holes where I want...I thought they might work perfectly. I gave them a light sanding and prepped them with gesso (tried the inks on the bare wood and...blech...didn't like the results) and got to work with the inks and the blending solution:
I was going for sort of a light-colored center with darker color around the edges. This pair is a combo of the colors "butterscotch" (mixed with a bit of white to lighten it) and "lettuce" from the Ranger/Tim Holtz alcohol ink line.
Then I went with the "lettuce" as the center and "stream" around the edges. It was a bit blah at first so I added some metallic gold.
I lightened up the "butterscotch" with a lot more white, then added some pink, violet and gold
These shapes are a thinner wood that is more absorbent so the colors don't come out as intensely.
Also, I sanded the pieces afterwards to give them an aged, faded look. I really like the effect! These will work perfectly with the seashells I gathered.
Then I went really nutty with the drill and added more holes so I can make lots of dangles for the bottoms. I can see that once again my deteriorating eyesight has betrayed me and I have to get my reamer out to do a bit more filing on the holes of the piece on the right.
I also did some more experimenting with nail polish.
Remember these brass butterflies?
Here they are after I drilled holes, painted them with nail polish and then sanded and polished them to bring out the raised metal areas again. I'm really loving this pink/orange/green color scheme!
Got these "brass" seahorses from the same source as the flower links in the first photos. I lost one to the torch as it turns out they aren't REALLY brass, but some kind of other material that...melts when it gets hot. So, no more torching for this stuff!
But, it works great with nail polish. I feel kinda sorry for that one lonesome seahorse whose partner got melted. At least he looks pretty!
Even though they aren't really brass, they still shine up like brass once they've been sanded and polished. This is an olive green/purple sparkle color combo.
This is a bright, almost fluorescent green/turquoise combo and turquoise sparkles on the fins. Sorry for the blurry photo...I took all these pics in about 60 seconds in the morning before I had to leave for work. Probably NOT the best plan, but I've been getting home after dark every night and was tired of waiting until the weekend to take the photos. Why isn't it Friday yet???!!
This probably isn't the final combination, but this is my basic idea of where I'm going with all of this - a painted charm of some sort hanging in front of a hand-painted background piece.
I've got so many ideas right now that they are keeping me up at night! I wish I could do more creating on weeknights, but by the time I get home, get the kid fed and the kitchen cleaned up and go through his homework...I'm just mentally exhausted. SOMETIMES, I can do rote work like sanding/metal prep or laying down the gesso layer, but I've learned the hard way that any real creative work I try to do when I'm in that state will almost certainly go wrong. Either I will make a mistake that has to be taken apart, or the design will be ho-hum (or downright fugly). As frustrating as it is, I do better when I wait for the right time and state of mind. I kinda haveta be "in the zone" and forcing it just doesn't work.
Seriously, why isn't it Friday yet?????!!!!!