Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Custom Majong necklace

I hope this blog post finds you all well, and enjoying the holiday season. I don't mind the mild weather we've been having. But it is time for Winter to get on with it, no? Here in the Philadelphia area, we've only had a few frosts so far. Now we know what it's like to celebrate Christmas in one of the Carolinas! But, this post is not about the weather....

A while back, I was contacted to create a custom Majong necklace. I sorted through the tiles I have, and snapped some photos to see which tile my client might like to use. She didn't like any of them, and set out to find her own. I thought at that point that maybe she had changed her mind, and was letting me down easy. Until, a couple weeks ago, I received an email, letting me know she found the perfect tile! So, we met and she gave me the tile. I have to say, the tile is in perfect condition, and is quite nice!

So, I took it home, to get started creating the necklace. The first order of business was to wrap a piece of filigree around it to make it into a pendant. I was so nervous. I didn't want to scratch the tile, as I've done previously to some of my own tiles. But that went very well. Yay!

I then looked in my stash for beads to use in the necklace. I recently got the black fluted rounds (with gold in the recessed areas) and they looked great with the tile. I also wanted to put together some beads to look like the vase pictured on the tile. I put together one of my enameled beads with some various bead caps to mimic the vase shape.  I ended up using it "upside down", but the  vase shape is still apparent. Then, I noticed, sitting on my desk, my special stash of vintage glass leaves! Could I let go of my precious? I used one black leaves connector in the necklace. I just love cool old stuff like these leaves!!
So, here's Ellyn's necklace!

Ellyn did not want to tell me what she wanted, as she did not want to cramp my style, or stifle my creativity. The only thing we discussed was the necklace length, and she also hoped it would be asymmetrical.

When we first talked about what I would make, she wasn't sure if she wanted a pair of earrings to match. I told her she could get the earrings, but she could NOT get them too - whatever she wanted. No pressure! But she liked the earrings I made with the vintage leaves, so she took those. The other pair of earrings are made with my enameled beads. They are currently on Sterling Vermeil ear wires, due to possible allergy concerns. I'll change them to Vintaj brass ear wires, and put them in the gallery. Black earrings go with anything!
By all accounts, Ellyn loves the necklace and earrings!! I am thrilled she's happy with them.

Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

A Dragon's Hoard of Dragonflies!

Ever since I discovered Vintaj Natural Brass (many years ago!) and the different dragonflies they offer, I have had a love affair with dragonflies (& butterflies).
I've mentioned before that I sell my jewelry in a small local gallery - The Orchard Artworks. It is a small but wonderful gallery, filled with all sorts of art and fine craft: jewelry (or course), paintings, wood, fiber and pottery. The gallery has an arrangement with the local Whole Foods store to set up tables on the first Saturday of the month. This happens off and on, but in October, I set up a table there. I was there with Gail Simons & Louise Sussman. Gail is a jewelry artist and Louise is a ceramic artist. Louise continuously makes new and interesting things, and I was helpless to resist buying one of her fabulous wall pockets - with a dragonfly! She even included the sprigs of seasonal flowers.

 So, I took it home and hung it on my folk art rack, in my kitchen. I change this "display" according to the season. It's time to change it to a more winter/ holiday look.

But, while we stood there all day in Whole Foods, chatting and occasionally looking for free food samples, I mentioned to Louise that if she would make just the dragonflies, I could make jewelry out of them. So, we worked out the details, and she said she'd do it!! I was surprised to get a phone call from her about 2-3 week later, saying they were ready! She got right to work on them. She had never made jewelry components before, but luckily there was someone at the art center who had, and helped her when she was working on them. They gave her wires for hanging, rather than makings the holes she and I had discussed. I absolutely love the glazes she used. Lots of blues and greens and purples. They were a bit rough on the back sides, so I had to dremel some of the the pokey bits, but, so thrilled with them. Here are most of them!!

I made 2 necklaces right away. This one is tan and green and purple. I used grayish green crystals and faceted purple howlite and some seed beads, along with Vintaj bead caps, jumprings and chain.

 Ooooh, so pretty!!!
 This dragonfly is a gorgeous turquoise color, so I just made a simple beaded chain of Vintaj brass and turquoise howlite beads. Simple, but delicate.

 Honestly!?! Just squeeee!
I have made more of the loose dragonflies into necklaces. I'll get some photos of them and post more dragonfly goodness, hopefully soon.
Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Grace Lampwork acorns and more

I ran across a sale recently at Artbeads.com and picked up some sweet new focals!

I got this pretty green paisley focal. Unfortunately, I don't know who the artist is.
Update: I have figured out that the ceramic paisley is Firefly Design Studio!!
I discovered the green recycled glass pony beads in my stash, along with the etched agate beads. I've had them too long to know where they came from. There are a couple of small green Czech glass rounds with a Picasso finish, from Michael's. The balance of materials is Vintaj Natural Brass.

 A close up of the focal. This photo is more true to the color than the photo above.

 I'm pretty sure I already have some Grace Lampwork acorns in my stash somewhere, but these were on sale, so I couldn't resist!
I tied a lark's head knot with recycled Sari silk in pink/purple to the top of the purple acorn and bound the loops with wire. The brass rings are vintage supply from my stash. Leaf chain (probably from Primitive Earth), and plain chain (from Vintaj).
Here's the close up of the yummy lampwork acorn. I'm so glad beads don't have calories!
 I love the dangly leaf chain in Antique brass, but added crystal "berries", to extend some color up into the necklace.
This necklace also has a Grace Lampwork acorn, but in tan and brown. The top of the acorn has pretty iridescent glass (maybe dicroic??) I liked the leafy chain so much in the purple necklace, I used it here, but in the Antique copper finish. I added 2 crystal acorns to the chain, along with little crystal "seeds" and "berries". The rolo chain at the back of the necklace was probably also from Primitive Earth (I visit them every year at Beadfest).
 If I don't post anything between now and next week, I'd like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all!!
Thanks for visiting my blog.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Odds n ends

The photos in this post are without category, just some random earrings I've made recently. The muse does as she pleases sometimes.

These are polymer clay charms from Humblebeads. Heather Powers of Humblebeads makes similar components in different colors, but I love the light green with the purple-y aubergine. I just added garnet colored glass beads.
 I recently picked up these printed Howlite beads at Michael's. I like the color combo in the blue and purple beads (I also bought larger, pendant size beads that coordinate - still need to make something with them). The peacock feather image is so attractive, it drew me in. I used garnet colored glass and Vintaj flower bead caps with the blue beads. And Vintaj filigree bead caps and German glass beads with the peacock feather beads - they match perfectly.
Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Jade scott, those are cool components!

I really love buying art beads and handmade OOAK components. I'll admit that I hoard most of them! By the time I use them, they are not even being made anymore. I know I have a life time supply of art beads! I'd love to quit acquiring them, but those darn bead artists keep coming up with new and creative things that I must have in my hoard collection.

Jade Scott makes really cute components from copper, paper and resin. I have been hoarding these for a little while. Recently I was looking through a basket of stuff under my bead desk, that somehow did not get organized or put away when I moved my desk earlier this year. I found 2 small envelopes with these inside. I wouldn't say that I forgot about them, it was more like "out of sight, out of mind".....I decided that it was time to take action!

necklace #1 - This is a branch component, with 3 leaves (or maybe they are berries...I think they look more like leaves) The leaves are 3 different colors. I picked some robin's egg blue 2mm leather from my stash that matches one leaf, and a ceramic cube bead that matches the pink leaf. I decided to make a tassel from some of the leather (tassels seem to be "IN" right now). I finished it off with some Vintaj chain. The necklace length is about 22 inches, and the focal hangs below that.

I picked up a strange yellow glow at the bottom of this photo...I think it's a reflection from surrounding trees
 A close-up of the focal. You can see the texture on the copper, and the little print on the paper - so cute! And my tassel, too.
necklace #2 - This wing focal really is so nice, it didn't need much embellishment. I recently purchased a mixed bag of vintage German 4mm beads (from Fire Mountain). They are in a range of colors from a greenish yellow, to a burnt umber. I tried to used them randomly. I made 2 "love knot" headpins and put them through the holes of the pendant, then added my beads, and a wrapped loop. I bent the wire so that the beads are going out to the side of the pendant. This necklace is about 18 inches.
 I realized when I was cropping my photo that I did not lay this down straight. The beads really are at the same angle on both sides when worn. (oops). In my defense, it was cold and windy when I was outside snapping photos. :-)
 And a close up of the wing focal!  *love*
necklace #3 - As much as I love the first two necklaces (and I really do!), this one is my favorite! It all starts with the peapod focal from Jade Scott. At Beadfest, I purchased some delicious lampwork beads from 2 Bead Sisters. The lampwork bead is mostly purple and black, but has greenish yellow lines, and I thought it played well with the peapod. All that was left to do was to pick the supporting cast. The small green and aqua beads are more vintage German beads (also from Fire Mountain) and some faceted purple beads (probably dyed Howlite?) that I've had for several years. The 5mm German beads are in a range of colors from aqua to grass green. Again, I chose the colors randomly. Bead caps, jump rings and chain are from Vintaj, of course. Necklace length is about 19 inches.
 Here's a close up of the peapod focal, and the lampwork bead. Both are yummy!
I'm so glad my muse has come back to me. She still has more up her sleeve, I am happy to report. More jewelry is coming! Thanks for reading my blog!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

10 weeks??

I read somewhere that Christmas is less than 10 weeks away! Is that even possible?!? Is it unreasonable and contradictory for me to think the holidays are coming too quickly AND that it's way to soon for Christmas stuff in the stores? We are still a week from Halloween. But still, I'm already feeling a bit panicky about the holidays! Is it just me? Maybe it's got to do with being a year older, I don't know.

Can you tolerate photos of some new Christmas/ holiday jewelry? Too Early?
Stop reading now if you don't want to see Christmas jewelry - but please come back after Thanksgiving!!

I got this vintage Holly pendant on etsy (from WhoKnowsWhat). I was very pleased with the quality. It appears to be from the late 50's/ early 60's. The 8mm white beads, believe it or not, are Precosia beads. The balance of the beads are several years old, probably from AC Moore. Brass components from Vintaj, as usual.
 Here's a close up of the pendant - it's enameled! Ha - I just had a thought. I probably should have used some of my enameled beads in the necklace.... Oh well, I might need to revise this one.
Walking through Michael's with my 50% off coupon in hand, these little spools caught my eye. They weren't in the jewelry section. I think they were for making miniatures or something. But I was on a mission to find a frame, planning to use my coupon for that, so I kept moving. Happily, the frame I ended up getting was on sale (big shocker!), so I picked up a bag of these spools with the coupon.
I knew I wanted to wrap them with sari silk and wire. After that, I played with beads until I liked the combinations. The peppermint stripe beads are polymer clay beads from a dis-assembled Christmas bracelet. The brown sparkle beads are from AC Moore. The smallish silver, red and green beads are from a miniature reproduction vintage garland. It was meant to go on a mini tree, but I unstrung it to use the beads. The tiny red and green beads are 4mm German glass beads from Fire Mountain.
All these earrings are very light weight.
Once again, thanks for reading my blog!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

zig-zag dangle earrings

I made some Zig-zag earrings. (I wonder what the origin of "zig-zag" is..... I just Googled it. It's origin is unknown, but possibly German from "zick-zack", or French).
Anyway, I saw this idea in online somewhere.
Just a single bead on a 1" headpin with a simple loop at the top. Then another one, with the first one added, and so forth. They have lots of movement when worn.
First pair of earrings with bronze crystal beads...These are light weight so I used hinged ear wires, so they won't fall out of the ear holes. 
Next... Same thing, but smaller blue crystal beads.

Then I thought maybe bigger beads and 5 headpins might be better. I think I was right...they are longer, of course, but also have even move movement. Red crystal earrings will be good to have on hand for the holidays.

I just got an idea - I could make a matching necklace with these "links"....hmmm.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my post!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

More Beadfest inspiration

While at Beadfest this past August, I ran across a vendor with really nice chain at very reasonable prices. It was one of the many smaller foreign vendors - I don't know the name. I'll probably never find him again, even if he's there again. The tables were non-descript. Just the usual...until a friend pointed out the chain prices to me! Some chain was $0.50 per foot (what?!) Of course, I had to stop and buy some!
There were spools of beaded chain too. I tried not to go too nuts. I bought the below carnelian bead chain below, I think, for $3.00 per foot. Each link is connected by wrapped loops - pretty nice.
I know it's kind of cheating - I should be making my own chain, right? But it makes it quick and easy to try out ideas...
I got the idea to make this necklace - with 3 lengths of chain, all in equal lengths of 11-12 inches each. The Carnelian chain and the large twist link chain were from the vendor at Beadfest. I added some smaller Vintaj chain for the "third" chain. It can be worn long, with the either chain in the front, or half and half. Or it can be worn doubled around the neck.

 Because I had to cut the chain, it gave me 2 carnelian beads, so I made them into some simple matching earrings.
That's all folks! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

my blog is NOT dead.

Have you heard the rumor that blogging is dead? I guess more and more people are using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. I have a facebook account, but, honestly, I never log into it. I'm just not interested in it. I don't have any other social media accounts. I think I would like Pinterest, but I also think I would like it WAY too much, and it would suck up all my free time (or sleep time!). The plain old internet is already addictive enough, I don't need more screen time!

All this to say that, while I have been neglecting my blog (as many others have been too), it's not because I'm busy with other online outlets, and I do not think blogging is dead. I just haven't been making much jewelry lately. I had a BIG push back in May, to make jewelry for the trunk show (see previous post), and I guess I burned myself out. Summer is a busy time of year, and I just couldn't get motivated.
Fall is coming fast. The cooler temps and lower humidity are great weather for jewelry making! And, I actually got my camera out and took some photos!!
So, I apologize for the lapse in posts, and hope you are still reading my blog, when I do post.

Today's post is about something I picked up at Beadfest Philadelphia in August. Craft Fantastic is a vendor that I've seen at Beadfest, I think, since I've been going to Beadfest. I bought some washi paper, and glass tiles from them years ago, but never followed through, for some unknown reason. I guess I never was able to get a seat at their "make and take" table....until this year! For free, they walk you through using their glue/glaze product with their glass tiles. You chose a little paper image and glue it to the tile - simple enough. So simple, in fact, that it's almost too easy! You have the option to buy a bezel and chain for 3 bucks, to make it into a necklace.  $3.00?? no brainer!
While we waited a minute or so for the glue to set, she showed us all the other things you can do! The thing that caught my imagination was making faux druzies with seed beads! At a distance they really look like a druzy! So, I bought a kit, and some extra bezels and tiles!
I had some free time on my hands, so I tried testing my Craft Fantastic stuff. OMG - it's almost as additive as the internet. I glued a couple images to glass tiles and mounted them in bezels. That really took no time at all! Next, I put some seed beads in the bezels. You can see in the photos, they turned out great.

These were made with some cranberry colored vintage (antique) seed beads I got YEARS ago at an auction. They really look like a garnet druzy, if such a thing exists. These tiny bezels are from Panda Hall, maybe 10mm wide.
 The black "druzy" components for this necklace and earrings were made with vintage (antique) black seed beads. I just got a whole jar of them recently at an antique store. The square bezel is from Panda Hall. The brass links and bead caps are from Vintaj, as well as the black Arte Metal rolo chain. The fluted black beads are resin but I don't remember where I got them.
 In this close up, you can make out the seed beads....
 These earrings are using the same tiny bezels as the "garnet" earrings above.
I also had some vintage green seed beads, to make "peridot" druzy! I paired them with some purple Czech flower beads, with a greenish Picasso finish.

 The last pair do not look like druzies. In fact, these were my first attempt at making the faux druzies, and I didn't really like them. They just look like seed beads glued in a bezel! But, when I was making the other "druzies" into earrings, I noticed these looked great with some of my Czech flowers! I would probably never put orange and purple together, but that was what was in the seed bead mix. The larger flowers are opalescent purple, which my photography does not capture - they are very pretty beads.

I have some more photos in the queue, so I'll be posting them a little later in the week. Thanks for reading my blog, now that it's ALIVE again.

Monday, August 03, 2015

znetshows Summer 2015 Creative Spark

It's time for another znetshows Creative Spark issue. The design team was asked to do things a bit differently this time. We were given a choice between creating non-jewelry items, or creating sea-inspired jewelry, or veggie/garden-inspired jewelry, or some other-inspired topics. I did not hesitate. I wanted to finally follow through on an idea I've had for quite some time. I offered to make wind chimes.
First of all, I love wind chimes. I have many hanging on my back porch. Some of them don't make much sound, while others need just the slightest breeze to ring. But I really love it when a storm is kicking up, and they are start clanging and clinking, like an orchestra before a performance. (the lightning in the sky is the "house lights", letting me know to take my seat!)
Another reason I wanted to make wind chimes is that I've had one partially started for a while now (maybe several years?). I bought a dark brass butterfly on the internet a few years back. I, apparently, did not convert the millimeters in to inches correctly in my head, and I was surprised when the package arrived - the butterfly is huge! I like a big statement necklace as much as the next gal, but this butterfly is just too big!
So, I thought it would be cool to make a wind chime or sun catcher out of him. I drilled/ punched holes in it, and then he sat on my bead desk, waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the inspiration to hit me.
Then I received the email about the znetshows Creative Spark summer issue, and it was kismet. ;-)

So, my first wind chime (yes, I made more than one) is made with my big brass butterfly and znetshows yellow sea glass. These sea glass beads are left overs from previous challenges/ issues. I wire wrapped tusks and hung shards with butterflies from Vintaj chain. It makes me think of a butterfly flitting around the flower garden on a sunny day.

Next up is another large brass stamping that was bigger than expected. I really should get a ruler out when I'm binge buying online!! But I love this - so Art Nouveau! And it's not sooooo big that I couldn't have used it for jewelry, but it is big enough to use as a wind chime! I was given a choice of znetshows sea glass beads. I picked the bottle rings in turquoise and "coke bottle" aqua, fancy shards in turquoise and 2 hole shards in "coke bottle" aqua and green, and some periwinkle small nuggets.
I used some of the shards and rings for this wind chime, in turquoise and green. I used chain to hang the sea glass, and leather cord at the top, to hang the wind chime on the porch.

While I was on  a "wind chime roll", I looked for more things in my stash that would work. This copper daisy was purchased to be torch fire enameled. And it could be enameled, but it would take a lot of time, and a lot of enamel! This daisy already had pierced holes on the petals, perfect for hanging chain and beads, for a wind chime! The znetshows sea glass beads used in this wind chime is the "coke bottle" aqua rings and 2-hole shards, and one periwinkle small nugget at the bottom

All of the sea glass beads used to make these wind chimes are available for purchase at the znetshows website!
Please check out the Creative Spark Summer 25015 issue HERE!

I think I hear a summer storm coming.....gotta run and take my seat on the porch!