Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Pretty Palettes :: August 2016

Hello, Pretty Palette makers! Were you as excited as me about this month's palette? I just LOVE it! For more information about Halcraft's Pretty Palettes blog hop, visit Halcraft's Inspiration Blog. Bead team member Erin Prais-Hintz is always on the hunt for new guest beaders, so send me a line (or a comment here or the Halcraft blog) if you're interested in playing along and would like to partner with Erin and the rest of the Halcraft team!
Thank you, Design Seeds!
I went to Michaels and purchased my Bead Gallery beads right away for this one, because they were so fun to choose. I chose a couple from the selection that Erin made, but I couldn't help myself: I chose even more!
Erin's Pretty Palette beads
My Pretty Palette beads (give or take a few) from Michaels
Seeing all of these beads in the strands next to each other made me really want to see them that way in the piece, so I decided to create a big, chunky braided necklace. I found some cornflower bluish-purple connectors as well, to tie in that pretty purple hue in the palette.

Without further ado, I present the Bodacious Blueberry necklace!
Bodacious Blueberry, not for the faint of heart!
This necklace is so much fun to wear and make. It's bold as well as feminine, and it's practically bursting with beady goodness!  It was great to capture each of the colors in the palette with this month's challenge. I do still have some 6mm rounds left of four colors, which I'm considering using to make a bracelet. We'll see! 

I can't wait to see what everyone else made. Thank you for a Pretty Palette, Erin!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Pretty Palettes :: July 2016 -- Starry Night

One of my favorite parts of summer is the relief that comes from being outside at night after the heat of the sun has dissipated and the warm breeze caresses your skin. Here in Indiana, we've been experiencing a heat wave, and nighttime is the most comfortable time--some would argue it's the only time!--to be outdoors.

The starry summer night sky is the theme for this month's Pretty Palettes blog hop, hosted by Halcraft USA and Miss Erin Prais-Hintz. For more about this month's inspiration, visit the Halcraft blog.

Some of my favorite stargazing has happened in the Adirondacks, where there isn't the ambient light from cities that can mask the starlight. One spectacular night I happened to see 25 shooting stars in a matter of only an hour!

The image Erin chose this month reminded me of that night:
Click for a larger image from Ryan Hutton:
Erin chose some beautiful Bead Gallery beads for her project, but I knew exactly which beads I wanted to use for this project because of the way the purples, pinks and blues danced around in the heavens as they do in this image.
I bought these beads because they reminded me of the gorgeous sky in the image above. 

Bead Gallery's iridescent citrine nuggets
Bead Gallery's shell drops

All I needed to do was to figure out how to take these two elements and create a piece I loved. Like I said, it's been quite a hot, hot couple of weeks here in Indiana, and I wanted to make something I'd like to wear right now. I didn't want anything too weighty, so I balanced the irregular texture and over-the-top finish of the citrine nuggets with black seed beads for a stylish 4-strand choker. 

And although I considered making a necklace using all of the shell teardrops, I chose to use just one as a pendant with the citrine nuggets clustered around it. The pendant necklace is about 18 inches long and looks great layered with the choker, or it is pretty on its own, too.

For more information on how to play along with the Pretty Palettes blog hop, just click over there! Erin will post August's Pretty Palette inspiration next Wednesday, August 3rd.

You can make your own Starry Nights Necklace set with Bead Gallery beads from Michaels Stores. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

June Pretty Palettes Blog Hop

Silver Bay, NY - My happy place and the location of one of my favorite beaches: Slim Point!
The beach. One of my favorite places & Erin Prais-Hintz' choice for this month's Pretty Palettes blog hop! Each month Erin chooses Bead Gallery beads and a color palette as inspiration for a beading project that we can share with other beaders. For more information about Halcraft's Pretty Palettes blog hop, click this link!

For June, Erin chose these beads:
Halcraft's Pretty Palette beads for June 2016

I love the theme and the colors Erin chose! My Michaels had most of these beads, but not all of them. I swapped out the turquoise teardrops for turquoise ovals, and I used gold daisy spacers instead of the gold matte glass bicones (which btw, are some of my favorite beads). I also found some really beautiful Czech squares with two holes.

Now, I like the ocean, but to be honest, I'm more of a lake sort of girl. The salt water is lovely for floating and fabulous hair, but I'll always pick a freshwater lake surrounded by mountains to the wide open ocean. 

When I made my pieces for this month's Pretty Palettes hop, I found myself daydreaming of a family trip we're planning to take this summer to Silver Bay YMCA, a family camp that is a lot like the camp in Dirty Dancing. A full staff takes care of you and the rest of your family while you spend the days playing tennis, practicing your yoga or even beading and making baskets in the craft shop. Check it out, if you're in the market for some family fun in the near future. 

Here are the pieces I made for the challenge, named Beach Bound in honor of upcoming vacations!
The Beach Bound Necklace and Bracelet Collection featuring Bead Gallery beads for 2016 Pretty Palettes

The Beach Bound Bracelets are made with Beadalon's memory wire and a variety of Bead Gallery beads. The wire keeps them rigid, sort of like bangles, but they're easy to slip on and off your wrist. The top bracelet features two-holed beads, which I loved working with. The faceted rondelles on the bottom bracelet are graduated, and each strand includes three different sizes of bead, which would be perfect for necklaces, as well.
 The Beach Bound Necklace is SO EASY! All you do is string the smaller seed beads from the strand in the order that they come in.

One quick tip is to take 5-8 off the string they come on at a time, only removing what you're ready to string. I played around with adding some charms, but this one was just nice as a simple multi-strand necklace. To give it a beachy feel, I used the starfish beads almost like bead cones to gather the three strands.

Another tip is to use the smallest diameter of beading wire that you can, so that the lightweight beads are able to drape well as you wear them. I used Beadalon's .012" flexible beading wire for this necklace, and it lays almost as though it's strung on silk cording, but with even more strength.

I love this piece so much that I had to share a photo of myself while I was wearing it. It's almost a choker, but not quite, at a 16" length. Best of all, this length is exactly what came on the card, so it only takes a few dollars to create this beautiful necklace! I used the larger E beads on the card to create the bracelet with the seahorse charm in the stack above.
I love the length & drape of this necklace! 

Now, it's time for even more fun. Check out the rest of the Halcraft design team's projects and post your own! We'd love for you to play along!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pretty Palettes :: May 2016 Reveal

Boho is the name of the game this month, and the beads and images that Erin chose for Halcraft's Pretty Palette color challenge were beautiful! To learn more about Erin Prais-Hintz' color challenge, visit the Halcraft inspiration blog. Each month she posts an image to inspire as well as a theme, and anyone who wants to can play along by creating jewelry and posting it on her blog. It's a blast to see what others do with a similar batch of beads, and it gives you an excuse to peruse some of your favorite blogs and discover new favorites!

Here's what Erin chose for May's Pretty Palette:

I love all of these beads! The ones on the right made of wood are some of my favorites in the new Bead Gallery line at Michaels. There were so many possibilities!

I started as I sometimes do when I'm trying to get a sense of flow with a batch of beads: make a pair of earrings. Even though the wooden "wheels" are large, they're very lightweight, so I decided to use them in earrings for a big visual punch.

I added the dragonfly connectors as a quick layer and some peachy diamond-shaped beads that mirror the diamonds in the wheels. Now that I see the dragonflies in the photo, I wonder if I might like them with a bit of patina on them. (I'll file that idea away for next time.)

The peachy diamonds have an Asian print on them, which lends to the free-spirited traveler vibe I'm trying to give.
After playing around with the wheel beads some more, I decided to go with using them as multiple-strand connectors for my necklace. That's where things got a little bit crazy. I had these great metallic spikes, then I found some blue sequins in a strand and these beautiful red wooden beads!

I got a bit excited about seeing all of those colors and textures together, so I went for it! I love how it turned out, though I think it leans toward tribal as well as bohemian. What do you think?

I can't wait to see what Erin chooses for next month's Pretty Palette. To find out, visit next Wednesday, 6/1/16.
Thank you for visiting, and to see the rest of the projects made for this month's Pretty Palette challenge, click below!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March Pretty Palettes :: Belle Epoch Set

It's the Halcraft Pretty Palettes challenge time again! Erin Prais-Hintz of went above and beyond this time with THREE different color choices in some of my favorites: royal blue, red & a peacock green. The inspiration images were another treat: images of women in dresses that were taken underwater that create a magical, flowing sensibility. They're truly amazing.

I chose to work with the royal blue colors and this dress:

Erin chose some gorgeous Bead Gallery beads to work with, but because it's spring and I'm enjoying the warmer weather, flowers and green grass so much, my initial intention was to do something summery and casual, maybe even sporty, so I bought some plain blue glass rounds.

After some consideration (as well as a bit of ooohing and aaahing over this image) I realized this image just didn't flow that way. There is a decadence to this image that my planned cotton cording components just didn't work with.

I searched through my stash and found that I had a few sparkly blue faceted rounds in my stash as well as some fabulously princess-y pearl, rhinestone and gold sliders. Perfect!

It was time to make some bangles and a long necklace. My Belle Epoch set would be perfect to dress up blue jeans or wear with a little black dress. You choose!

 Would you like to play along with Erin and the rest of the Halcraft team? Take a look at these great posts and add yours when you're finished! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

February Pretty Palettes :: Pink Lace Knotted Pendant Necklace

I missed the Pretty Palettes day this month, but I've been dying to make up the necklace that's been in my head! Finally I took the time to get it done and I hope that I'll be able to squeeze it onto the InLinkz today! Here's a link to Erin's Pretty Palette February 2016 reveal post, and here is the inspiration and beads she chose:


I love the idea of lace as a theme. Last September my mom, daughter, and I all traveled to Stratford, Ontario to the Shakespeare Festival! My daughter loves theater, and this was nearly as good as a trip to The Globe in London. If you ever have the chance to see a show there, take it. The costumes, actors and town are all wonderful! We chose to do a tour of the costume warehouse before the shows and had an amazing time together. They even had a section with costumes that had been used but were out of circulation that you could try on!
My brief time as a Shakespeare player!
But, to tie this into the February Pretty Palettes post, while we were there, there was a local artists' show, and this lovely lady was making lace! Watching the bobbins fly all around was mesmerizing.
The lace-maker's husband carved all of these beautiful bobbins for his wife.
Watch those bobbins fly!

I always go to nature for inspiration in my beadwork, so when I saw the lacy golden leaf pendant, I knew it was meant to be part of this Pretty Palettes challenge.

One thing that had thrown me off my scheduled Pretty Palettes work was a request to make some knotted necklaces for an upcoming look book.
 It's easy to see why I wanted to make more. These are too much fun & look great!
I had such a great time making these necklaces with Bead Gallery beads (which you can find at Micaels) that I wanted to incorporate the knotting technique into my project for Pretty Palettes as well. The knotting reminds me of the repetitive nature of knitting that I love so much, and the waxed cord is a great fit for most of the beads I wanted to use. The knots weren't too big or too small, and its waxy nature makes it easy to thread. I found some pretty pink stone rounds (these have a bit of purple in them as well), a few accent beads, and set to it.

Here's my knotted necklace for the challenge. I call it the Seychelles Necklace, after the archipelago of islands in the Indian Ocean. (I'm wishing for some tropical weather. Won't winter just stop, already?)

So happy Pretty Palettes! I can't wait to see what Erin will come up with for tomorrow's Pretty Palette challenge, March 2016 edition!

There are some AMAZING pieces in this month's challenge. Check them out by clicking the links below!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

January Pretty Palettes :: Constellation Necklace

It's Pretty Palettes time again! Erin Prais-Hintz came up with some gorgeous inspiration this month (again!) inspired by photographs of real snowflakes. How one manages the feat of photographing snowflakes before the lights melt them is beyond my understanding. Here's one of the images by  Alexey Kljatov
Photo by
And here are the Bead Gallery® beads that Erin chose to send to the amazing Heather Powers, this month's Pretty Palettes partner. (If you're interested in playing along, just let me or Erin know in the comments! We love the guest designer aspect of this challenge!)
To read more about the inspiration for this month's challenge, you can visit the Halcraft blog.

For my own project, I decided to use some of those wonderful sliders along with crystal clear natural quartz nuggets, and a few faceted crystal beans for a slight contrast (this is one of my absolute favorite faceted crystal shapes in the Bead Gallery line). It's subtle, but a nice effect, I think.

I've also had my eye on creating something with cording for more contrast, and this was the project to use it in. The two strands fit perfectly inside this tidy clasp that I also found at Michaels.

The Constellation Necklace made for Halcraft's Pretty Palettes blog hop

When I purchased all of my supplies, I had an idea of how I wanted this project to look, but I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to manage the connection between the cording and the flexible beading wire. That's where those pretty sliders came in. They're also the inspiration for the necklace's name, as the randomly scattered crystals reminded me of a starry winter sky.

To cover up the unsightly connection between the cording and the beading wire, I used these sliders to sandwich that point of the necklace. It also worked well to ensure that the necklace is reversible, as in, it doesn't have a front or a back. Both sides are equally pretty! I have a pet peeve about poorly finished clothing; if it doesn't look as good from the back as it does from the front, I just don't like it. (That's why I've been doing all of those squats, right? <grin>) The same goes for my jewelry. 

Here's a close up of how I used the four sliders and some beading wire and crimps to make this a tidy piece of jewelry handiwork. 

Neat and tidy, just like that! 

I can't wait to see what everyone else has been working on this winter! To see the rest of the Pretty Palettes blog hoppers, just click on the InLinkz below.