Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Andrew's "Jonquil" challenge reveal and blog hop

You all know Andrew Thornton, don't you?

Well, this challenge was a long time in the making. I was thrilled when I was able to snag one of Andrew's kits (back on 11/25/11). Not only was there a "mystery component", but the entire kit was a mystery when I hit the "buy" button. Andrew offered the kits as a pre-sale, sight unseen. The "mystery component" is a beautiful pendant, which I used for my focal. I'm not sure if Andrew made it, or his sister Cynthia (love her name, BTW). But I really like it! I used just about all the major beads from the kit. There was a baggie of seed beads with some small to medium beads mixed in. I used some of those too. I'm not a "seed beader", so I don't use seed beads in my jewelry very often. I added the filigree ring, to create a toggle clasp at the front of the necklace. I used the chain from the kit, but I doubled it up, to give it a bit more weight.

Here's a close up of the beautiful "mystery component"....fabulous!!!

Here's the list of blog hop participants:
Alice Bavaud will have pieces on Andrew Thornton's blog
Thanks to Andrew for the beautiful kit!! Enjoy the eye candy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Beaded Humor!!

OK! If you are not reading this blog, you are really missing out on some really funny stuff. Some of the posts will make you laugh out loud. I swear!!
I was so inspired by Sylvie and her funny "Hey girl" posts, I've made one of my own, using a photo of my husband!
I had to change it to "Hey Honey", because my man would never call me "girl".
And the photo is my husband, from the neck up. I photoshopped this a couple years ago, as a joke. Now it's doubly funny!! I will leave the identity of "the body" a mystery, to protect the innocent.
 The file is big, but it's worth the wait!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Secret Snowflake Challenge

Michelle Mach is hosting the Secret Snowflake challenge. She secretly commissioned the ceramic focal and links from Mellisa at Chinook Jewelry. As soon as I saw the Chinook focal, I knew I wanted in. There were other beads in the kit, but the kits ran out, so I bought the focal and links directly from Chinook. (today's lesson: The early bird gets the........kit!)
So, with just the ceramic parts in hand, I dove into my stash. I found some lovely blue Czech crystal rondelles that matched beautifully. I made my earrings first. If you look closely, you will see, as with many handmade things, one of the holes in the one focal was a little farther away from the edge. (this is truly the beauty of handmade!) My small jumprings did not fit and I did not want to use large jumprings, so I wire wrapped the crystal rondelles, sort of like a briolette drop.
 On to the necklace.... When I received my package from Chinook, and I saw the focal, I thought, "where's the challenge?". With a focal so pretty, it was hardly a "challenge".
Looking further in my hoard of beads, I found some AB Crystal faceted rounds, and the Vintaj "sunflower" charm. I thought the sunflower charm rather looked like a snowflake, so I decided to use it. For the link along the necklace, I snipped off the little hole off the charm (and filed it smooth). I used another charm on the pendant, and added some crystals to the bottom of it.
 Seriously, look at the glaze on the focal!!!
 Up close and personal...

Please visit all the participants, and be sure to leave a comment!!
(the names without links can be found at Michelle Mach's blog)
Many Thanks to Michelle for dreaming this up, and Mellisa for creating the beautiful components. I enjoyed this "challenge"!! Enjoy the hop!

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Was it the batteries?

    I finally remembered to buy new batteries for my camera. I loaded them in, and my camera had the same problem. (The lens was not seeing clearly - dark shadows and distorted image). Rats!! Now I need a new camera! I tried to go into the settings, like I know what I'm doing. Nothing!

    But then, all of a sudden, the picture looked normal. Did I fix it? Was it the batteries? Did I change a setting? Or do I really need a new camera? Time will tell. In the meantime, here's what I've been dying to show you.

    I have been hoarding these Diane Hawkey beads for probably 4 or 5 years. I bought them to make Christmas/ holiday necklaces, but never got around to it, until this year.

    The first one, "Joy", has a pink and aqua color palette. I wanted to be able to wear it year round (in case I am feeling joyous). I used aqua blue Czech flower spacers, Mother of Pearl leaves, Strawberry Quartz "Beach Glass" rounds, and, of course, Vintaj brass.

     A closer look...
     An even closer look....
     The next focal bead, "Peace", is green, which would seem more Christmas-y. I tried to give it a "woodland" vibe, with tan and Vintaj. I used green Czech faceted rondelles, tan ceramic beads and some "speckled egg" seed beads (which are one of my favorite seed beads to use).
     This focal is really fabulous up close!!
     Peace to all - all year long!!

    I've got a couple more photos to post. There's Michelle Mach's Snowflake challenge, which I'll post on Friday. The reveal date is over the weekend, but I can't post over the weekend. I'd rather be early than late.
    And I was lucky enough to get in on Andrew Thorton's latest challenge kit - "Jonquil". I need to revisit the reveal date on that one - I'm not sure when it is. I might just go ahead and post my photos early next week.

    In my excitement of the camera cooperating, I forgot to shoot photos of all my fabulous enameled beads I made. Hopefully the camera will be in a good mood this weekend!

    Tuesday, January 03, 2012

    I do not have a word for the year!

    I'm catching up on all the blogs I enjoy reading and I must say...this year more than ever, everyone's picking a word for the year. I have seen folks do this in the past, but there are many people doing it this year. I'm racking my brain for a word that might be good for me. I got nothing. Maybe it was too much champagne this weekend, or not enough sleep, or too much sleep. I just can't think!!! Maybe my word can be "think". If you think of a word for me, let me know.

    On a more exciting note, I finally tried "Painting with Fire" yesterday!! I pre-ordered Barbara Lewis' book this summer. I bought the PWF kit from Barbara at Beadfest Philly (and went to her demo!!!). I went to Home Depot and got the MAPP gas. I cleared (& cleaned) a section of a work bench in the basement. Saved up metal cat food cans (and washed them!!) (keep in mind, all these things we "done" over a 6-7 month period!)
    Yesterday, I clamped the gas tank to the workbench, got a baking sheet and a jar of water. Screwed the torch into the tank. Emptied the vermiculite into the little pan. Took a big deep breath, and turned on the torch. I had a BLAST!! No, nothing exploded, except for the ideas in my head. I only screwed up one bead - pretty good for a beginner! And a couple had "unexpected" results. That's what learning and experimenting is all about.  I enameled about 20 beads in about 2 hours. Of course, there were many work play breaks, so I could show my husband my pretty new beads - "Look at this pretty orange bead"..."Look at this pretty blue color". I can't wait to do it again. I am totally hooked! I need more beads and more colors (of enamel). I bought a couple extra colors when I bought the kit, but I need more!!!! And I need more cat food cans (the kitties will eat well tonight!!).

    The only disappointment is that I did not have charged batteries for my camera before the sun went down yesterday, so I don't have a photo of my fabulous new enameled beads. Damn camera! ....It's not the camera's fault....damn batteries!

    Maybe my word of the year can be "batteries", like, keep them charged!!