Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Bead Porn

Nothing like bead porn to chase away the rainy day blues.  So Cal is getting its first wet weather (I don't count drizzle) in over a year!

Brass turtle with spiral design from Linden Avenue Designs.

And they had a verdigris patina version, too.

Plus this tiny little turtle charm - perfect for hanging on a bracelet.

And some verdigris spacers!  I find that one can never have too many spacer beads - they are so useful.

Copper starfish earring charms from Kristi Bowman.

Bronze clay flower with gorgeous colors from Thea Elements.

And a pretty pink/olive green bronze bracelet bar from the same store.

I'm sure everyone outside of So Cal is thoroughly sick of winter, but for those of us who don't get snow...I thought this captured winter's beauty perfectly.

But, for those who are really, truly over it, here's a spring version...

...and this gorgeous fiery red and orange flower clasp for summer/fall.  There!  All seasons covered.  These are all from Bead Swede Supplies.

Watery, ceramic scroll links from Pajego Art House.

Bright, sunny yellow dragonfly pendant/clasp from the same source.

Delicate pink and yellow lampwork pansies from Serena Smith.

Intense, bright lampwork pair from Stinky Dog Beads.

Deep pink beads from The Lampwork Beads.

Streaky blue/green lentils from Flame Crazy.

Pink/orange/yellow flower disk beads from Beeboo.

A gorgeous set of finely detailed lampwork beads in ivory and teal from Pinocean.

Lastly, this yummy set of turquoise, yellow and lime green lampwork beads from Loupiac.
Hope you enjoyed this week's selection and don't forget to stop by tomorrow for the Challenge of Music Blog Hop!


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Play It Now

Just a heads up that I will be participating in the Challenge of Music Blog Hop this weekend.  I don't normally post over the weekends, but this hop goes live on Saturday, March 1st, so be sure to stop by.  The hop is being sponsored by Erin at Tesori Trovati - check out her blog for the details and to follow all the hop results on Saturday.

And, as long as we are talking about music, I thought I'd share this from Tuesday night:

There he favorite musician...participating in his first band concert as a clarinet player.  He's also wearing his first nice dress shirt and dress pants after much coaxing.  He's definitely a jeans and t-shirt kind of kid! 
He played violin last year (in 4th grade you only get a choice of vocal music or violin) and wasn't all that enamored with it.  Now that he's in 5th grade, there are more options and although he originally told me he wanted to choose the flute, at the last minute he changed his mind and opted for the clarinet.  After last night, he told me he wants to continue with it next year and I was pretty excited about that.  We'll see if that commitment lasts through the rest of the year and the summer LOL!
I know I'm terribly biased, but I think he looks pretty darned handsome in that photo!
Don't forget to swing by on Saturday for the hop - I've got some awesome stuff to share!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Just In Case You Were Wondering...

...whether or not Czech glass beads are washable in the washing machine, the answer is...

...they come through just fine.  Of course, that was on "cold"...not sure what "hot" would do to the color or finish.
I was changing laundry out of the washer and into the dryer last night and I found this strand at the bottom of the washer after I took out all the clothes.  I have NO IDEA how that happened as I didn't wash anything of mine that has pockets.
Maybe the beads just decided they needed a bath?
P.S.  Ryan's theory is that the beads were in my underwear.  When I asked him if I look like the kind of person who would walk around with beads in  her underwear, he didn't even hesitate before answering with a resounding "YES!" and then laughing himself silly.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Enough is Enough

I believe I mentioned that one of my challenges with these new techniques has been to learn when to STOP piling on the various treatments.  Not everything needs...EVERYTHING.  So, I thought I'd share some of my boo boos as a learning experience and for fun :-)


This was actually more a case of equipment failure and my stubborness and not being willing to stop and acknowledge that and wait to fix it before moving on.  As you can see on the red/copper butterfly, the top left hole is perfect.  This was done with the screw punch before it broke.  The top right hole is where it broke and I tried to salvage the situation and was not totally successful.  To be fair, the screw broke off IN the hole, flush with the edges and acted like a plug and I thought there was no way I'd be able to get it out, but after some poking and prodding, it came out - it just did damage on the way.  The blue butterfly is where I tried to take over doing holes using the Dremel...without practicing on any test pieces first or allowing for the metal to heat up while being drilled such that I couldn't hold it in place with my fingers (which I shouldn't have been doing anyway for safety's sake).  So, I ended up with wonky holes.

Because of the wonky holes, these became my test pieces for trying out the addition of mica pigments to the finishing process of torched pieces.  I used some copper, crimson and interference red on the top butterfly and I used interference blue and a color called "sparkle brass" on the bottom butterfly.  I liked the addition of the subtle shimmer and it helped punch up some of the torched color - especially in areas where I had sanded/polished away a little too much.

This was a case of not testing out a color scheme first and then overworking the surface in an attempt to fix the blech color.  These were coated with gesso and then I applied alcohol inks.  The top area was supposed to be a lighter purple and then a deep teal along the edges.  I accidentally painted the purple down too far so when I applied the teal over just turned darker teal.  I tried to work with the blending solution that comes with the inks to lighten things up or blend better and discovered that when you use too much of that, it starts to soften up the gesso layer which then mixes in with your alcohol inks and you end up with the more the consistency of acrylic paint and the color turns chalky from the white gesso.  Then I thought I could fix it by sanding off the high areas which worked on some spots, but created a weird, smeary mess in others. 

Trying to cover the mess with gold Rub 'N Buff didn't help either, but I did take a picture in the sunlight to try to show how the gold areas sparkle so nicely LOL!
Okay, I'm STARTING to get the hang of things.  The holes are drilled perfectly - I just need to get my reamer and do some slight filing to make sure they aren't rough.  Gesso base/alcohol inks went well although I'm not 100% into the color combination, but I was trying to go for something outside my blue/green/teal/purple safe zone.  Sanding to expose the gold raised areas went well.  The only thing that was a bit of a boo boo here was the application of the Rub 'N Buff.  It got a little more distributed around than I really wanted and covered up some of the color instead of just staying on the raised areas.  I probably should have just skipped this step and left them as they were and just put sealer on.

These are better.  I did a little more sanding on the top pair than I really wanted to, but I think they are still usable.  The bottom pair I left alone.  Both have been sealed with Renaissance wax. 

I finally got it right with this pair.  Prepped with gesso, applied alcohol inks, used the blender solution sparingly and then I dry brushed just a TOUCH of the metallic gold ink in a couple of spots.

These components were pre-drilled so I didn't have to mess with that part, either.  Just sealed this with the wax to preserve the color and they are good to go.

Now, I just need to develop more color combos that look as good as this one LOL!  I can't make EVERYTHING teal/green/blue.  Well, I could...but that would get kind of monotonous after a while even for me.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Results Are In

So, after all this messing around and experimentation, what have I got to show for myself as far as finished pieces of jewelry are concerned?  Well, I had to stop with the experiments long enough to find out how these components would perform and here are the results:

These charms with nail polish... 

Turned into these earrings.  I added faceted Czech glass rondelles in a mottled purple/green color at the top, some brass chain links and then the charms at the bottom.

I used alcohol inks on these brass link pieces...

...and added fuchsia Swaro crystal butterflies to this pair...
...and faceted green glass brios to this pair...
...and swirled yellow/clear Czech glass flowers to this pair.  I really like that once you've put all the work into the components up front with the custom colorization, you don't really have to do much to jazz up the final designs.
These were some of my very first experiments with nail polish...
...and the addition of some green shell disks and pink lampwork beads turned them into this.
This pair... 

...turned into this with som lavender Czech glass wheels and some brass seahorse charms.
These were my favorite of the first few pieces I did...

...and here is the final version with faceted green chalcedony rondelles on top and abalone shell disks on the bottom.  I'm tempted to keep these for myself!
I knew I was on to something when I saw how well these pieces layered together...

...and when I found the deep berry glass beads in my stash...

...the results were really exciting.  I've got to find more of these components and try some other color combos on them.  The Gem Faire is coming in two weeks and there have been some great metal component vendors there in the past so it should be a good opportunity to stock up.

And, just to show I haven't completely lost my mind over my own stuff, here's a pair of earrings that I made using some etched copper butterfly disks that I purchased from Orrtec on Etsy:

In addition to etching the butterfly design onto dapped copper disks, she added some color as well - I'm thinking possibly via mica pigments mixed into paint or gel medium because they have a subtle shimmer to them.

I added turquoise disks and purple jade rondelles and some bright copper spacers.
Now, I have got to stop playing around and get going on some of the challenges and blog hops I just signed up for.  Working to a theme or rules or external inspiration source is not really my thing - I usually let the beads do the inspiring and they tell me where they want to go and what they want to do (not that I am a slave to the beads...uh, no...not that) so participating in these activities should be interesting.  Stay tuned to see if I can actually get the projects finished on time AND whether or not they are frightfully awful LOL!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Well-Manicured Beads

Okay, so, this nail polish thing is addicting.  I love the results and the bright colors and sparkliness of it all just make me happy.

Here are a few of the latest pieces:

These are not the real raw brass - they are purchased "brass" charms from Michael's.  I wanted to see if they would hold up to the process and so far, they take the nail polish really well.  I don't know how lasting the effect will be, but I would guess that nail polish is fairly tough considering it has to last on our fingernails through daily wear and tear and jewelry pieces shouldn't get quite that much action.
Violet polish with purple glitter over top.

Lime green with sea and forest green glitter.

Pretty pastel seashell charms

This polish is a transparent aqua and then I did a coat of glitter polish over the top.

I did a more opaque light blue over these and then just used a shimmery, transparent pink in the center...and it turned this lovely lavender color which I wasn't expecting, but totally love.  I did a bit of light sanding on these to let some of the shiny brass peek back through.  I didn't want to do too much as I definitely ruined a few pieces over the weekend by sanding too much.  Less is more, Kelly.  Less is more.  Learn it, live it, love it.
These seahorses are the same polish combo as the small spiral shells up above.  The only difference is I added some purple on the eyes and fins, did some sanding to reveal some of the brass and then hit those raised, revealed areas with some gold Rub 'N Buff.  Love that stuff, but it is definitely easy to overdo it.  I put just a tiny dab on my finger and then dab most of it off on a paper towel before I go over the piece.  Also...the "Copper" NOT copper.  It is a dark, dark brown.  Use VERY carefully. 

These are probably my favorites of this whole group.  I did the transparent shimmery pink with an overcoate of violet glitter and it worked so well with the nobbly texture on these.  You can't see it in the photos, but these have a subtle glisten in the sun rather than screaming "GLITTER!"  Also, the raw brass peeks through and adds spots of shiny gold here and there.  I am definitely making more of these!

Tiny winged scarab beetles - I may be a bit too attached to this green/purple color combo.

This color combo was so successful the first time around, I had to try it again.  These are going to be perfect for summer earrings!