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).

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: