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!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pretty Palettes :: June 2105 Sunshine & Saltwater

Oh, how I love June in Indiana! The kids are able to enjoy going to the local pool and the days are long and filled with lots and lots of hot weather fun, like exploding water balloons on the trampoline!

Erin chose a really fun palette for this month's Halcraft Pretty Palette challenge (here's a link to learn how you can play along!), and it is centered on these cute illustrated surfboards out of the Pottery Barn Teen catalog:
Beachy fun from the PBTeen catalog inspired this month's Pretty Palettes challenge
I wanted to mix things up a bit this time and decided not to go with a jewelry project this month.  I figured these surfer girls might need something cool to use to keep their stuff together while they're out and about. I'd seen so many cute large totes at Target that were just begging for a tassel, so I made a project that can be a key chain (just attach your keys on that ringy thingy) or you can attach it directly to a strap on a bag. 
Color inspiration for Pretty Palettes
I love the large lobster clasps with the swivel mount. They're great for things like this, and they're relatively heavy duty, so they can stand up to a surfer girl's abuse. I actually use one on my purse and just hook it onto the loop of the zipper pull. I never have to search for my keys that way! This is also perfect for a beach bag, as everything small (and important!) seems to fall to the bottom, and who wants to use up beach time searching for your keys? Not me!

To make the tassels on these I used various materials. The first on the left uses natural hemp , the second and third both use bamboo cord. I love the look of the variegated cord in the second tassel. The third tassel uses different colors off the same card of cording.

I used 20-gauge Artistic wire to connect the tassel to the clasp and string the beads. I've seen these made with cord, but wire's stronger, and these little guys are going to get heavy duty work done at the beach, where the corrosive elements will eat up fiber. 

I stacked up some of my favorite Bead Gallery beads, starting with the large wooden disks. These were especially nice because their large holes cover the wrapped loop of the wire, making it easy to cozy the beads right up to the tassel.

To finish it off, I found sea life charms in the Charm Gallery area of Michaels. On the end cap near the beads there are a bunch of sea life charms as well, which is where that sweet sand dollar on the right came from. They're a great deal, as you get quite a few charms all connected to a chain. 

Just open the jump ring and BAM! You've got a pendant! Be sure to check that out, as these charms might not be around in the fall.

I love what Erin and the rest of the gang have been doing with their versions of the June Pretty Palette challenge. To follow along, just click the link here! 




Monday, June 1, 2015

Tassel Crazy!

I've had a LOT of fun lately making necklaces.

I'm not sure if it's the knotting, the tassels, or the gorgeous focal beads, but these things are a blast.

Today my knotted tassel necklaces were featured on the Halcraft USA blog!  I made a step-by-step tutorial with photos to help everyone learn how to make these beauties. All you need to do is start with some of Beadalon's silk, your favorite round beads, a few focals, and some leather or embroidery floss to make the tassels. Bang! Instant fun!

You've got to get out there and make some of these yourself, I tell you. Just the tassel making alone had me. I want to make tassels out of any and every fiber I can get my hands on!

To make your own tassel necklaces like these, visit the Halcraft USA blog!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May Pretty Palettes :: Branching Out

Welcome to this month's Pretty Palette project! Each month, Erin Prais-Hintz chooses a palette of colors and a palette of beads to inspire and spark creative energy, then she writes a post about her finds on the Halcraft USA blog. Then, you and I and anyone else who would like to participate uses the same colors, and possibly the same beads from Halcraft's Bead Gallery line at Michaels to create a piece of jewelry or art. On the final Wednesday of the month everyone shares their creations

Scandinavian design's simple, clean lines inspired by nature are apparent in this textile choice for the Pretty Palettes May 2015 palette.
 This month I wanted to challenge myself to use the same beads that Erin chose. I thought they were the perfect fit for the inspiration image.
I was able to find everything but the tiger eye donuts at Michaels

And here she is: Branching Out, inspired most greatly by the leaf motif.
It took a while to work out how to make the little black leaves conform to the shapes that I wanted them, but using wire worked well, and I love the articulated movement of each set of leaves. Do any of you have other ideas of how to make these beads look like the leaves in the inspiration image?









What worked for me is making a large wrapped loop through which both of the marquis beads were strung. It's secure and moves a bit like vertebrae. I think I might have to try out making a bracelet with the same technique in the future, as the beads lay so nicely, and it's really just begging to become a three-piece parure.




I almost added some of the tiger's eye beads to the earrings, but I ended up favoring the simple flowing lines of the black beads, better for keeping with the theme of Scandinavian design, too!

Also, I found that even though the strand of red beads alternated transparent and opaque, I only wanted to use the opaque ones, because they seemed to flow with the design of the fabric better.

Thank you for visiting my blog. You can visit the Halcraft blog next Wednesday to see the June inspiration photo, and I hope you play along! 

Friday, May 1, 2015

April Pretty Palettes :: Lavender Fields Forever

This month has been busy! This week I taped two segments with the wonderful Katie Hacker for the PBS television show, Beads, Baubles & Jewels. The show tapes in Cleveland, and this time I got a chance to share an entire year's worth of birthstone projects as well as finishing techniques!  It's a great show that features some amazing designers. Every week you can see free video of the show on the Beads, Baubles & Jewels website. Check it out!
Katie Hacker and me on the set of Beads, Baubles & Jewels!
I managed to finish my project for my favorite blog hop before I left for Cleveland, but I didn't manage to get the piece photographed and written up, so I apologize for being a bit late to the Pretty Palettes party this month.
Here's the great Design Seeds palette Erin posted for us to use as inspiration. Gorgeous!
I decided to play around with a little finding that was new to me this month: the slide connector from Beadalon. 
Beadalon's slide connector comes in silver and gold in multiple widths
The slide connector has a channel into which you could put a thin material like leather, silk or other cording. 

Here are the Bead Gallery beads that I chose for this project. I must admit that I have a new favorite bead. It's the green faceted Czech glass with the mottled finish. I want to put these little earthy guys in everything I make.
I didn't have many of these beads left when I finished, but here's what they look like when you get them from Michaels.
Here's what you need to make this project.
I played around a bit with the idea of using cording, but in the end I thought I'd give it a try as a multi-strand connector for a bracelet. 
Inside the connector I used a gold round and a crimp to hold things in place. When I was finished, I pinched the connector together to hold the flexible beading wire in place so that it didn't get abraded. I was concerned that the connector could cause the wire to break. I've worn the bracelet a few times and haven't had any issues. I'll update this if I have any problems with it. 

Now, I wasn't quite finished, and I had a few beads left, so I decided to make a little pendant to go along with the bracelet. Something simple and easy to wear, but with a chevron-esque look. 

If you want to play along or just check out the rest of the projects on the Halcraft blog, visit the April Pretty Palettes post.  Erin Prais-Hintz will have May's inspiration photo up next week, and word is, that the next blogger partner is none other than the fantastic and talented Heather Powers of Humblebeads!



Thursday, April 9, 2015

30 Words :: Puddle Jumpers


when rain falls
in sheets and the world is
lush-green-wonderful
wet with promises
of yellow days and warmth,
we take hands
and
puddle jump
both feet at once

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   
The premise of 30 Words Thursdays is simple...
Take an image (preferably one you shot, or have permission to use). 
Write 30 Words about it. No more. No less.
 
Post it each Thursday.
 
Add your link to the InLinkz on my 30 Words Thursday post.
 
 
(InLinkz code will be open for one week.) 
 
Enjoy seeing the verse and vision others have captured by visiting them and leaving a comment.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March Pretty Palettes

What a winter! It feels good to talk about it in the past tense. We've made it to spring, and Halcraft's March Pretty Palettes palette is gorgeous.  Erin picked some of my favorites, and working with these colors was like visiting an old friend.
Erin found this palette here: http://color.romanuke.com/

I'd been wanting a chance to make a chevron style necklace for a while now, and this seemed like a great chance to do it. I used a few of the new strands of Bead Gallery beads on the end cap at Michaels that features multiple colors of blue beads, and then I added pops of copper and gold strung on a long piece of knotted white leather with a slightly shiny finish. 
Instead of using two eye pins, I used a slightly heavier gauge wire (20- gauge gold German style Wire from Beadalon, which can be found at Michaels as well), made wrapped loops at the ends, and bent the loops at an angle that would easily accommodate the leather cording. I didn't knot the top ends of the loops so that the beads can slide up and down the cording, just for a little fun! 

Enjoy the rest of the Pretty Palettes posts back at the Halcraft USA blog today!