A chronicle of the meanderings, false starts (which in retrospect, while sort of embarrassing turned out to be highly instructive), epiphanies, selective apathy (still evolving), wild mood swings, opinions (subject to frequent change), and life lessons of an inveterate dabbler (and her latest dabblings).

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Long Time No Bracelets

So I've been incubating these. I churned them out over last weekend--it was so fun! I dug into my lampwork stash, and finally used the copper buttons I made several months ago. This one below has recycled glass in sea green from Happy Mango Beads (I am almost out of these and they are out of stock. Somebody heeeelp meeeeeeee), rustic olive green Indonesian glass seed beads also from Happy Mango, gorgeous lampwork I received in a bead swap from the lovely Alice Peterson (I wish I knew who made them...Alice, can you remind me where they came from?) and genuine turquoise.
Olive Grove on the Aegean
This one is all plums and coffee browns. I started with my new stash of recycled glass beads from Happy Mango--round ones in plum and these nifty little cupped flower shapes in dark amber brown--and combined them with berry and lilac moukaite, Czech crackle glass, purple aventurine, and coffee-brown porcelain discs on nut brown Irish linen cording.
Plums in my Coffee
These lampwork beads caught my eye, I have a thing for vertical stripes on lampwork, and since I had lots of red, orange and white beads I decided to just go with that. (I got this lampwork at my one and only trip to Hobby Lobby, when I was in Billings one year for the holidays--which is about 8 hours away by car. It's a good thing, if there was one nearby I'd be broke.) The little discs are carnelian, the big oval and small faceted round are red agate, the faceted orange ovals are orange aventurine, and the white lozenges are snow quartz (LOVE these beads). The red seed beads are Indonesian glass from Happy Mango.
Chili Pepper
For this one I used some of my favorite lampwork in my stash, which I don't think I have ever successfully used (I used them in a pair of earrings once which were "meh", so I took them apart)--dark olive scrollwork over a toasted marshmallow ground from My Lampwork Garden (see, it took me so long to use them the shop closed, like a year ago.) I combined them with my new recycled glass from Happy Mango in plum and green (I LOVE LOVE LOVE these little tulip beads, I'd run away with them to Sandals if I could), more Czech crackle glass, and an oval of saguaro jasper.
Forest Flowers
This bracelet is practically orgiastic (I love that word) in its autumn color. I was possessed by some kind of autumnal spirit. It all started with the speckled lampwork from Bebes Glass Beads which has some kind of power over me. I combined the lampwork with recycled glass (of course) in green, one little sliver of amber, a Czech table cut glass pear (LOVE this bead), aragonite, and green opal (which in this case are actually golden.)
Orgy in Autumn
Oddly enough, I think this is my favorite bracelet from this lot. The inspiration was from the button, which had a super dark detail and interesting rosy/peachy colors--I put it under the iron (as I did with the others) after I LOS'd it to bring up the color. I used my new lava beads from Happy Mango (I'm in love with lava), a lovely stoneware bead from JJPotteryBeads, more of Kelley Wenzel's mauve and ivory "dragon eye" beads (love these, I still have some left-YAY!), moukaite, batik pattern bone beads, a little lampwork spacer in rosy peach from the lovely Michelle at The Spacer Bead Shop, and my last wood dragonfly bead (which I got at my only trip to Michael's, which is three hours away--also a good thing.)
And I just got started on my brass button stash with this one and then I ran out of steam. More old lampwork (from another shop that has closed, like a year ago) in delicious pale strawberry/apricot and toasted vanilla, combined with more moukaite, another of these fabulous stoneware beads, a couple more of Michelle's rosy peach spacers, and my own brass beadcaps and headpins.
So there you have it. I will undoubtedly be using up the rest of my brass buttons so there will be more of these. Now I have to go start working on some roman shades for the living room. And I'm totally making it up as I go along. I couldn't figure out a way to make them with duct tape so I have to sew. Sewing makes me cry.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Free Poppy Cap Tutorial

Pop on over to Happy Mango Beads and check out a free tutorial (by me!) on how to make simple poppy caps for a variety of beads--no sawing or soldering!
Blueberry poppies
I've used Happy Mango's wonderful Indonesian lampwork discs, and Indonesian seed beads for these (except for the last pair--those purple seed beads are "glass tile beads" from Fire Mountain).
Green Bean Poppies
And I've used some of my new photo props below--an iron shoe horn and old sheet music:
Grape Poppies
Irish Waxed Linen cording from White Clover Kiln.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

AJE Earrings Challenge Reveal 18 weeks 37-38

Caught behind the eight-ball again with the earring challenge...but I coincidentally have three new pair of earrings to share!
Lily Pads and Roses
I soldered a bunch of copper rings, and patinated them in different colors; I mixed dye oxide patinas from B'Sue Boutiques to achieve this lilac-rose color. I thought I'd go girly and combine them with Czech glass dagger beads in moss green from Happy Mango Beads, and ivory lampwork in a lily pad theme from Kelley Wenzel. I put little Czech glass roundels in bubble gum on the earwires. (Also notice the little seed pods--from my Mommy's garden! I love new props.)

For these, I started with olive green copper rings, and fished around in my stash for some beads--aha! More Czech glass dagger beads from Happy Mango, in olive and azure, lampwork glass spacers from Julie Miller in cornflower blue, and Indonesian seed beads in olive green also from Happy Mango. I thought sterling silver would be nice (sterling silver beadcaps also by me):
Cornflowers and Moss
I just love this etched lampwork, it glows!

These remind me of fields of hay in September on the plains--golden! (More seed pods from Mom!)
Fields of Gold
I started with copper rings that I patinated with Old Lace and Violet dye oxide patinas from MissFickleMedia, and combined them with Czech glass leaves in caramel from BobbiThisnThat, lampwork glass "dragon eye" beads from Kelley Wenzel (somebody tell her to start making beads again, I mean it), glass tile beads in amber on the earwires, and antiqued brass.
Phew, that's all for now!

You can see more at my Etsy shop HERE.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Baubles & Beads Design Team Reveal

Earlier this summer I was invited to be part of the Baubles & Beads Design Team. I accepted! First on the agenda was a challenge using a packet of supplies sent to the members by Baubles & Beads last month. Here's a picture of what I received:
I took the picture above as a "teaser" shot, so I didn't capture everything. Here are the other items:

(Yes, there was a pair of the square brass elements. I might have experimented on the other one with a hammer...) The spool is copper core wire in "Vintage Bronze."

I had intended to do two pieces with the items, but so far I have only been able to finish one of them (this one is mostly done):

Of course I can't bear to leave a piece of metal unaltered, so I flattened out the brass bib, transferred a digital pattern from Aesthetic Addiction to it with Press N Peel and a household iron, and then etched it. I love the weight of this component, it's a more than generous enough gauge (18 maybe?) for etching, and of course the edges are all nicely rounded and finished, so no grinding or sanding necessary! It's raw brass, making it perfect for etching or patina work.

After I etched it, I added holes and tube rivets at the bottom to hang things, and antiqued it in ammonia fumes:

Then I colored it with blue and green dye-oxide Swellegant patinas from B'Sue Boutiques, adding several coats of Age-It from Sculpt Nouveau to make it look a little older, and eventually sealing it with multiple coats of Permalac and Renaissance Wax:

The teal and olive green cording were the inspiration for the whole piece, so I used the cording to make tassels (my first tassels ever!). I used vintage brass beadcaps for the tassels, ammonia fumed to black and then lightly colored with gilder's paste, adding my own agate, kyanite and Russian amazonite beads. I added a couple of the brass cubes from Baubles & Beads to the dangling beads.

For the strands to hang the bib, I knotted turquoise and jade onto olive green Irish waxed linen, and finished them off with more of the little brass cubes (I love the way they look knotted onto cording). No clasp yet, but it's almost done!

I have another project in mind for the remaining items. Can't wait to get started on it! It will involve more tassels, with the other two skeins of cording (this silky, supple cording is perfect for tassels! And since it's nylon, you can even seal the ends with a thread burner if you wish), and I'm envisioning some texture and patina on the square and round lattice brass elements.

Check out the links below to see all the other designs created with the same kit in different color palettes!

You can also sign up for the giveaway to win your own kit and use the 20% off coupon code BPSEP through September 30, 2013 at the baublesandbeads.com shop.

Michelle Mach
Lori Anderson
Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp 
Erin Prais-Hintz 
Jean Yates

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Awesome Rusty Crap!!!

Look at this AWESOME rusty crap!!!! Mom and I went junk shopping today (I was so inspired by the recent repost of Sparrow Salvage's "How to Style Great Photo Backgrounds" blog post at Art Bead Scene, I had to get new props to go with my recent urge to make more rustic relic-y stuff.) Look at the giant gear!! That screwdriver thing! And that donut-y thing!!! And the bolts and nails and that CHAIN!!! Rust is nature's painting.

Look at this great tool, and how beat up it is. It looks like it came off the HMS Bounty! Look at that old wood!!! I love it so much.

This is more industrial looking stuff, except for maybe the shoe form and the fold-out ruler. I love that shoe thing!!! It's really heavy. I love the lettering on it. I am realizing I need red lava beads.

I love the rust on that bracket. I'm really hoping I can get the nuts off the bolts on that strap thing. I got one off, got my liquid wrench working!

This is the ring and lid off a wood stove, thankfully left outside in the weather to rust. Also an old bobbin and a textile spindle. And the shoe thing again.

Then these old books, I really like the one with the green cover. The blue one might be too bright. Maybe I'll have to leave it outside over the winter, haha! The old black one is full of tatty old papers that I think will come in handy.

And look at this ratty old sheet music ("The Bee"):

Everyone should have a giant corrugated metal M. Or W. And a webbed belt in Army Green (which might be a little bit unloved looking, so it might have to spend the winter outside.)

And a giant choppy broken machete thing. I am going to make photographic MAGIC with this.

And lastly, look at this magical stuff my Mom collected for me in her garden! Seed pods, grasses, birch bark, a feather, lichens and sticks. IT'S LIKE CHRISTMAS!!!!!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Earring Challenge, Reveal 17, Weeks 35&36

It's that time again! For another Art Jewelry Elements earring challenge reveal. This pair is a tribute to autumn, but with a girly flair! Lots of rose, mauve and lilac, with a splash of cinnamon to prove I'm serious about the whole autumn thing:

The lovely enameled oak leaf charms are from Gardanne Beads, and provided the color inspiration for these earrings. I had lots of delicious moukaite ovals from Lima Beads to pick up the colors in the leaves, and had the perfect pair of peachy pink lampwork spacers from Michelle at The Spacer Bead Shop. I recently bought some whiskey-colored Czech glass roundels from BobbiThisnThat that picked up the cinnamon-colored moukaite nicely (it was all fate!):
You can see a little better in this picture on the enameled leaves how there are splashes of almost terra cotta on a lilac background. Anne's enamel is always a two-fer, at least!--A base color with little sprinkles of complimentary colors that can inspire a whole color palette.

Check out the other participants' creations below!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Bead Show Loot

I went to the Bead Stampede today. As stampedes go, it was very orderly. And petite. Not so much a stampede, as maybe a gambol in the paddock. A small paddock. With just six or seven baby cows. But there was a gemstone seller who had some earthy looking stones that I was in the mood for--and most of the ones I liked were in the 50% off bin! Right on. Here's what I got:

Clockwise from top left, big prehnite nuggets, Botswana agate, Bronzite (I LOVE these rounded disc heishi), and more prehnite (all half price--uh, YEAH.)

From the outer strand working in: Dragons Blood Jasper, Red Picasso Jasper, Silver Leaf Jasper, turquoise, and Yellow Jasper.

From the outside strand in: Recycled glass, turquoise, Brecciated Jasper, and multicolor Rutilated Quartz.

And lastly some really interesting pendants: From top Crazy Lace Agate (I think), Dragons Blood Jasper, then I think more Crazy Lace Agate on the left and not sure about the one on the right, maybe Fossil Coral Agate? I've never seen it in black before. And at the bottom, more Dragons Blood Jasper. I've never seen rectangular pendants drilled like those top two, that's why I got them. Hopefully I can do something interesting with them within the next 10 years. Haha.

I have lots of beads at home but they were going stale. I needed fresh ones.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Earring Challenge Reveal 16 weeks 33-34/52

I'm jumping into the AJE Earring Challenge as a late-comer. I just finished these today!
Southwest Savory
I'm calling them Southwest Savory. The enameled keyholes are from Gardanne Beads--they have a lovely soft turquoise base color, liberally sprinkled with butternut and persimmon. Or as I like to think of it, cayenne and turmeric! I'm wanting Mexican food now! I paired them up with antiqued copper and stones in the colors from the enamel--turquoise ovals, tiny turquoise roundels, carnelian nuggets, and poppy jasper saucers . These are long, but lightweight.
Check out the rest of the participants by clicking below:

Friday, August 30, 2013

Baubles and Beads Design Team

I was recently invited to join the Baubles & Beads Design Team--if you haven't checked out the Baubles & Beads online store, you must! I especially like their selection of faux sea glass beads, vintage-style metal flower elements, glass domes, and floral collage sheets (they carry a lot of Nunn Design items, so their supplies present tons of creative possibilities!)

The design team completes design challenges using a surprise packet of items sent to the participants. Here is a little sneak peak of some of the items I received:

The reveal of the participants' designs will be September 18 on the Baubles & Beads blog--stay tuned!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

New Stuff

I've been having fun with color and metal!

One of my favorite ways to bring color into my jewelry is with enamel. Anne of Gardanne Beads is my new favorite enamel artist!
I just love these little butterflies, and the color scheme was divine: soft lime and juicy berry. I didn't even have to think about what beads to use, it's like cheating!
I'm in love with these keyhole charms too. I keep gravitating to this green/yellow and berry color combination. These are more of a pale lemon yellow with berry:
I combined them with moukaite ovals from Lima Beads, handmade lampwork spacers in pale apple from The Spacer Bead Shop, and Czech glass (on the earwires) in pomegranate--that is my current favorite color of Czech glass bead!

These earrings below are in another color combo I can't get enough of--butternut and fuchsia! I made a bunch of these aspen-leaf-shaped etched copper components and paired them up with lampwork and gemstones. These lampwork beads are from my stash, made by a local lady, Pat Redinger, and the gemstones are pink quartz from Fine Gems. The etched damask patterns on the metal focals for all four pair of earrings below came from a digital file from Aesthetic Addiction.
I also did these, with lapis and green aventurine. The wonderful lapis sticks were a gift from Lori Anderson--she has sent me all kinds of fabulous beads!
These earrings were made with some gorgeous snakeskin stone roundels, from a bead swap with Alice Peterson. I just love the soft green and subtle patterning. The sticks are of shell, and I put little white pearls on the earwires.
These are in the same style, with new jade sticks, impression jasper roundels, and green aventurine nuggets on the earwires. This is the same pattern as above--it's a lovely damask, and I just use different parts of the pattern.
I have been wanting to try a kind of folded beadcap for a while. These below were my first experiments. The first pair is with Czech glass drops in transparent red, with an interesting, mottled golden finish. I just happened to have just purchased some Czech glass roundels from BobbiThisnThat, in the Same. Exact. Color. Go figure. It was fate! Or just one of the many, many upsides of compulsive bead shopping.
These are also Czech glass, in their "Picasso" style--I really love the colors in these beads! I THINK these beads, and the ones above, are old stash from one of my first purchases from Happy Mango Beads (if you are a fan of Czech glass, you MUST check out Happy Mango--they have a GINORMOUS selection of Czech glass right now. I just looked (dammit, why did I look...)) The etched glass seed beads on the earwires are "glass tile beads" from Fire Mountain Gems--I have tons of these in different colors and I just love them.
These are Crazy Lace Agate--I got them locally at Powderhorn Trading, and I couldn't resist all the purple in them! You don't see that much vivid purple in that stone very often. The wonderful Czech glass roundels on the earwires are also from BobbiThisnThat--they're an amethyst color with an awesome coppery finish.
This an old design of mine--I found the metal components all finished and ready to go in one of my boxes, and I thought well why the heck didn't I finish them? I decided to use some of my new gemstone ovals from Lima Beads--these are azurite malachite, and I've combined them with Czech glass in emerald. The greens and blues in the stones are quite vivid!
I just finally finished this necklace couple nights ago.

I got a strand of these fabulous fossilized coral agate rectangular beads from Happy Mango, and they never cease to inspire me. They range from deep ochre all the way to pearly gray and white (THEY HAVE MORE!!!). (They're way more impressive in person, by the way.)

I love the patterns in them, like fireworks or dandelions (look at them! LOOK at them). I've paired this one with every buttery golden/butterscotch/Grand Marnier bead in my stash--crazy lace agate, opaque butterscotch amber roundels (locally from Powderhorn Trading), golden jade, yellow jade, red creek jasper, bone (Happy Mango), golden lip shell, moukaite, and transparent amber ovals (from Fire Mountain Gems). I went monochrome crazy with the yellows! The dangling coil beads were based on a tutorial by Kharisma Sommers (Popnicute jewelry--you MUST see her work!! You will GASP.)
(Everything above is sold or otherwise spoken for, except for the fossil coral agate necklace, which I haven't listed yet).

I don't feel like doing anything at all today, and I'm trying to decide if I'm going to go with that. In spite of all the activity above, I'm kind of in a funk. And feeling funky. And not in a good way.