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. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

December's Pretty Palette: Nordic Inspiration

I'm a knitter, but I've yet to master much colorwork. I love cables, though. Lots of them! 
I love a good knit!
December's Halcraft Pretty Palettes challenge uses inspiration drawn from Nordic knitting patterns that do use colorwork. There are so many wonderful patterns and icons. The socks below are from Annemore Sundbo's collection. Read more about them on the Halcraft blog. I'd love to learn how to "float yarn" and make these great patterns on my own.
Look out Mrs. Weasley; I've got mad knitting skillz, too! 

I tried to teach myself (without much luck) how to do this and make some super cute advent mitten ornaments. But it was a bust; I'm going to my local yarn store, Yarn Stories, to get the scoop on how to do this two-color stuff!

Instead, I made my family tiny initial sweater ornaments. I must admit I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out! 

When I saw Erin's challenge, I thought about how I could incorporate the patterns into my beading, and I came up with an idea: I've always been interested in learning how to use a beading loom, and grid-like design matches so well that this would give me the perfect opportunity to learn a new technique!
Enter the Jewel Loom® from Beadalon. I once had a chance to meet the bubbly and talented Juliana Avelar, inventor of the Jewel Loom, in the Green Room when I was taping episodes for Beads, Baubles & Jewels. (Which reminds me that I have a much overdue post about my escapades with some amazing beading women last month! Look for that in the near future.) I've been hoping to pick up a Jewel Loom ever since!

Some quick jotting with graph paper made my pattern come to life!
Today was the day. I bought my loom, WildFire cord, and some basic 3mm rounds from the Bead Gallery aisle in red, black, and AB clear at Michaels. Then I set it up according to the booklet that came with the loom, which was really easy. To map out my design I used some graph paper and pens. 

I found the experience really relaxing, sort of like knitting. Once I got started, I really didn't want to stop! After I finished the weaving and tied it off, I decided to use ribbon ends with glue to finish the piece.

My first loom project! I'm sure I'll do more. I loved it!

Thanks for visiting my blog, and don't forget to visit the rest of the blog hop by clicking on the links below!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pretty Palettes :: November Reveal

What a month November has been! I'm thoroughly anticipating winter now that we had our first snow in central Indiana last weekend. That being said, this month's Pretty Palettes challenge had a tropical feel that was very welcome!

Here's the palette and Bead Gallery beads Erin chose for November:
For more information on Halcraft's Pretty Palettes challenge, visit the Halcraft blog. 

I played around with some bead mixes, but ended up creating a faux knotted necklace by stringing tiny beads between larger ones. I used the citrine chips, hematite chips and abalone shell beads like Erin, but I added the simulated amazonite rounds (my favorites) that are made out of glass and have a matte finish. 

Even though this image and the colors are gorgeous, I struggled with the challenge this month. I think if I were to do it over, I'd adjust the proportions of the colors in the piece differently. The purple wasn't my favorite shade, but it ties in really well with the shell bead. Maybe I'll  restring or play around with this piece over the next few weeks. 

To play along with us next month, please visit! Thank you, Miss Erin! See Erin's post here!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pretty Palettes :: October Reveal

This is what fall looks like to me. Leaves, warmth, comfort. 
Erin chose the perfect palette for October's Pretty Palette challenge to go along with these "coasty" (the combination of "cozy" and "toasty" my 4-year-old came up with) feelings.
Design Seeds put together a great palette, and Erin chose some beautiful Bead Gallery beads at Michaels. 
Although I loved Erin's bead choice, I had a pair of earrings in mind for the challenge, and I needed some other shapes of beads, so I added a few little faceted rounds and rondelles. I also had some wooden rectangle beads that I'd been hoarding in hopes of finding the perfect project home for them. Because they're so lightweight, wooden beads are great for earrings! Here are the beads I chose for this challenge:
My beads, with the purplish wooden rectangles right in the middle!

I wanted to play around with wire, making frames around the larger beads with smaller beads. I ended up adding some gold faceted rounds because I needed some more smaller beads to use to frame the larger beads. Pretty soon I had some components that I could put together with wrapped loops to make some chandelier earrings with a color palette that appealed to me almost as much as a spiced warm apple cider. 
Pumpkin Spice Earrings by Molly Schaller
Now that I've made these earrings once, I want to make them again with other colors, and make them better. Time got away from me, and I didn't have enough of the small beads to make all of the trips around the red bead that I wanted to. I also want to get more practice using wire this way. I'd never made this type of component before, so my wires are a bit wonky. But when it's reveal time, it's reveal time, right? This time I worked down to the wire! ;)

To see the projects that others have made for Pretty Palettes, just click the InLinkz below.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

30 Words Thursday :: Young Love

You be you and I'll be me,  
and now we'll see how fun life will be.
Because I love you
and you love me,
so together forever we'll always be.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pretty Palettes :: August 2015 Edition

For this month's Pretty Palettes challenge on the Halcraft blog, Erin Prais-Hintz chose a palette of muted earth tones inspired by the beauty of the landscape in Cappedoccia, Turkey. I'd never seen these amazing earth formations before.
The other-worldly landscape of the Goreme National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
That's part of what I love about this challenge: the way I learn something new and then get a chance to incorporate those new ideas into my jewelry. It's such a great spark for creativity!

I'd been longing for a reason to use these lightweight twine-wrapped beads for over a month, and when I saw that Erin had chosen these as some of the beads that for this month's challenge, I knew this was my opportunity.

Here are the beads Erin chose:

As it turns out, many of these beads are very lightweight. Those great coppery spacers? They're plastic with a copper coating and weigh almost nothing!

I also chose some wooden disks that are some of my favorites from the Bead Gallery collection at Michaels (which happen to ALL be 40% off through Saturday, 8/29/15) as well as some sparkling rhinestone spacers with coppery metal and cantaloupe-colored rondelles to pick up on that almost peach band of earth in the mountains above.

All I needed for findings was a bit of copper chain, some copper Beadalon beading wire and copper crimp tubes, and a clasp with jump rings. You can make this necklace in half an hour, if you're a quick stringer!

Because the beads are large but lightweight, I wanted to make a statement necklace. I've seen so many women wearing necklaces like this with a t-shirt, coat or blazer and jeans. This necklace can totally rock the office to dinner transition.

Thanks for visiting my page! To learn more about the Pretty Palette challenge, visit the Halcraft blog on the first and last Wednesdays of the month. See what the other designers made by clicking the InLinkz images below.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July Pretty Palettes :: Special Guest Designer!

What an amazing month July is. Around here, it's hot, hot, hot, and lately rainy, rainy, rainy, too. I heard on the radio this morning that June and July both set records for highest rainfall in the history of Indiana. The ground has stayed moist for what feels like forever, sending my handsome husband into fits of chagrin over mowing wet grass; he hates the clumping!

But this happened one night. 
Along with this:

It was spectacular. 
Our garden doesn't seem to mind, though, as we were able to harvest all of this near the beginning of the month.
Our bumper crop!
I always look forward to time in my studio with my daughter, Annika, in the summer. No school, but as she's grown (she's 13 now), she's acquired a schedule of her own, so it was especially nice when this month she had the time to devote to making her own project for the Halcraft Pretty Palettes Challenge. She's been wanting to participate all year!

Here is this month's inspiration image that Erin put together for us. It's based on the aurora borealis video you can find on the blog
The July Pretty Palettes 
Annika set to work one day and put together something that I found pretty amazing. She didn't ask for help once, and made a multi-strand necklace that is balanced but asymmetrical and works perfectly with the color palette, which is tough for even some adults to do! Not only that, but her loops are beautiful, and I love how she interpreted the warm grey color by using chain that has a similar hue.
Not only can she make jewelry, but she can cook one mean cheesecake!
This girl has skillz, I tell you!
Isn't Annika's clasp cool? It's chunky and perfect for the weight of three strands!
I love how it all comes together!
I made a set of bracelets and chose to use gunmetal instead of the warmer copper tones that Annika used.
The oil-spill finish of the hematite beads in the bracelet on the right look though they were made for this project!
This set is perfect for stacking or wearing individually! 
To see the rest of the Pretty Palettes Challenge pieces, visit the Halcraft blog or click on the images below! Playing along is so much fun. Next Wednesday Erin will reveal the August Pretty Palette with another really special guest from "across the pond"! Don't miss it!