Friday, May 25, 2012

Cocktail Hour Blog Hop

Well, this was a fun one!!! How could I resist a blog hop inspired by Cocktails?!?
Amy Freeland of CopperDiem fame thought this one up. She assigned everyone a cocktail to draw inspiration from. I'm very curious to see the other cocktails, and jewelry designs. The blog hop is scheduled for Saturday May 26th, but I'm posting a day early, because I won't be able to post tomorrow!

My cocktail is the Mai Tai. I was happy to get the Mai Tai, because there's a lot of imagery associated with it, although I've never actually drank one:
Tiki lounges, grass skirts and lei's, little umbrellas and fruit, Elvis' Blue Hawaii,....Anything tropical, really.
Elvis looking very dreamy in Blue Hawaii

Looks cool and refreshing, doesn't it?
a scene from Mad Men
 My enameled flowers fit the Mai Tai theme quite nicely. I layered a large orange flower with bitter green, orange and turquoise flowers. I added a "grass skirt" made of silk ribbons in coordinating colors, and put this on a length of orange faux suede. I found some beads with big enough holes to slide onto the faux suede. Little carved bone flowers, and some glass tubes that remind me of a tiki torch. For the clasp, I used one of my enameled vintage buttons.

 Here's a closer look at the button I enameled. The button has a spiral rope design.
 And, while I had everything out, I made a pair of earrings. The little enameled flowers are actually headpins I made with wire, enamel and a little flower bead cap.

My parrot bracelet from the button swap blog hop fits this theme too! Polly want a Mai Tai?

A BIG thank you to Amy, our hostess. Great idea Amy!! Thanks for the inspiration!
The Blog Hop is Saturday May 26th!
Here's the list of participants:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Feeling Patriotic

With Memorial Day coming up, I just HAD to buy this fabulous red, white, and blue lampwork focal from StudioJuls (aka Julsbeads). I mean, how is a red-blooded American gal suppose to pass it up??? I do intend to give this to my Mom, but I might wear it once before I do ;-)

As soon as I got the package from Juli, I enameled up some red beads, and blue beads, and white beads (they're really off white, to match the silvered ivory glass of the lampwork bead.

 Just look at that focal. No really - look at it!!!!

I think I'm seriously in love with this one!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May Bead Trends

***If you're looking for the Button Swap Blog Hop, please scroll down to the previous post!***

I'm in the May Bead Trends! Back in October (or so), I sent several photos to Bead Trends, and they responded right away, asking to use my "Make a Wish" necklace (see post from April 17, where I'm a little excited). I was thrilled that they wanted to use one of my designs. But, then a month later, I got ANOTHER email from Bead Trends! They wanted to use another design for the May issue!
These earrings are one of my favorite pairs. I actually made them a while ago. Every time I wear them, I get compliments. When I started selling my jewelry at The Orchard Artworks (a small gallery near me), I decided to make a pair to sell. They were the first piece I sold there. I really do not like to make the same thing more than once, but I have made an exception here. I have made them several times, and they sell every time.
Bonus: They used this picture on the table of contents page too!
Bonus Bonus: I'm on the Vintaj blog again!
 Below is the photo I sent to Bead Trends. They are really more of a tan color - very neutral - and not as orange as the Bead Trends photo. In my photo you can also see the bead cap at the bottom. I used it to give the nest a rounded looking bottom, to look more like a nest rather than a crazy bunch of wire.
That's it for Bead Trends, for a while anyway. I haven't submitted anything in a while, and I haven't heard from them. But, now that I have a new camera and can take decent photos again, I think I'll submit some photos!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Button Swap and blog hop

Cindy Wimmer organized this button swap and blog hop - what a great idea. Who knew there were so many "button lovers" out there!

I am posting this a bit early, because:
1) I find the scheduled posting by blogger to be a bit unreliable, and
2) posting over the weekend will not be possible for me. Everyone else will post on Sunday May 13th.

Cindy partnered me with Lori Finney. Lori lives near Toronto and makes the most fabulous beaded beads!! We emailed a few times, and checked out each other's blog, to get to know one another.
I did not take pictures of the buttons I sent to Lori, but I will tell you that I made or altered some of the buttons. One button is an old Buffalo Indian Head U.S. nickle, domed and made into a button (since she lives near Buffalo, NY). One button is a small pants button that says "Toronto" on it - I couldn't believe my eyes when I found it in my stash! I embossed a couple brass button blanks on my Vintaj Big Kick to send her. I then, after "talking" to Lori, got the idea to put enamel on old buttons. So, I grabbed a magnet and started looking through my button bins. I have about 3 or 4 large fruitcake tins full of buttons. Surprisingly, there were fewer metal buttons than I thought. But I found a good handful, and enameled them! I was very happy with my new buttons, and sent Lori one of the best of the bunch! And, since she liked my enameled flowers, I sent her one, even though it's not a "button".

Lori sent me 4 buttons and also a non-button. I opened my package to discover this fabulous beaded bead, which I plan on hoarding for a little while.It's just too fabulous!!
Thank you Lori, for everything you sent to me! I hope you like everything I did with them. I can't wait to see what you did with the buttons I sent you.

The first button I used was the one I really thought I'd have trouble with when I first saw it. It's a ceramic parrot! So cute, but what to do? What to do? I decided I'd use it as a toggle, and use a ring or something to create my own clasp. But then, going through my recent Beadfest Spring bags, I saw the dyed Howlite flower beads, and knew I could do something with them. I had the yellow leather already, which was so soft and supple. It was so easy to work with. I decided to forget about using a ring, and just tied a knot to slip the parrot through the end of the bracelet. Here's the result!
Not my usual style - no Vintaj brass in sight - but that is the point of a "challenge", no?

Next up, I set my sights on the sweet ceramic heart button. It is a pinky lavender color. Quite by coincidence, I just bought some new sari silk that had the same color in it. Throw in an enameled bead made by "moi", and it's a simple necklace. At first I tied a knot at the back. But, I don't like wearing long necklaces. I know some people do, but I don't. I remembered a tutorial I found somewhere about making a wire coil to use as a sliding clasp. I was all set to start coiling some wire when I found the small enameled tubes I'd made. They are some sort of copper doo-dads from the electrical dept at Lowes that I discovered one day!! So, I slipped both ends of the silk through one bead for the slide, and tied one to each end as stoppers. Now, the necklace can be worn any length you want!

I also wire wrapped a little piece of silk in between the button and the bead....
The third button is a beautiful (reproduction?) (Czech?) glass button. I have seen (and bought) similar ones at various bead shows. My photography fails to capture the true color. It's blue, but has pink iridescence, and gold highlights. OMG - so pretty! In preparation for the button swap, I recently bought a book, all about button jewelry. And in the book, the author shows a button centered on a doughnut, like stone or glass. I'm not sure how the necklaces she made work in real life, but mine kept flipping around to the back! So, I ended up gluing this button to a square Howlite "doughnut", with a Vintaj filigree ring. Then once the glue dried, I made different stations, in various blues. I use some Howlite beads that match the square, and more of my enameled beads (and some of Barbara Lewis' enameled beads). Let's have a look!

 And, of course, we need earrings to match!!! (I made the little beads at the top of the earrings different colors on purpose, in case someone noticed that!) I used both colors in the necklace, along with the little cloisonne beads.
And last, but certainly not least, there was a tiny little wooden birdhouse (button). And while I love this button, it took me a couple days to develop a plan.... Jade beads (that are probably older than me!) and some Chinese lampwork (again, from Beadfest Spring). I glued the birdhouse to a Vintaj ring, then attached it to a Vintaj branch. Made a little wire nest with jade "eggs". And hung a bird from the bottom.
After the sun went down, I noticed I just threw the earrings in the middle - sorry about that. I was racing to snap these last photos, and I did not "arrange" the earrings! And I'm too lazy to clone them out of the picture.

Great idea Cindy!! I had fun, and I was challenged!! And Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there!
Enjoy hopping everyone! I can't wait to see what everyone made with their buttons!
Here's the list of the other participants:
Alice Peterson  and Kim Bender
Pam Ferarri and Stefanie Teufel (will share their reveal on a later date)
Stefanie Teufel and Pam Ferarri (will share their reveal on a later date)