Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July's Pretty Palette Challenge

This month's Pretty Palette challenge was a bunch of fun, once again. Thanks, Erin, for hosting and choosing such a great set of colors to use. This palette was similar to something I might use, but the yellows and more grey-blues were slightly outside of my normal color comfort zone. 

Here is the palette, inspired by Erin's niece's wedding:

And here is the set that I created!

The funny thing is that I made this set while sitting in a car during my son's soccer practice. This was my view: 
Needless to say, the boy got wet!
I just grabbed a few of those cards of finding sets that have jumprings, clasps, crimps, headpins and eyepins, and some bead strands that I thought went with the palette, put them in my handy beading tray lined with a bead mat and my go-to tools: a pair of round nose pliers, chain nose pliers and wire cutters. By the time soccer practice was over, I had this great set!

Green and turquoise gradient beads are beautiful together! (And notice that I used jumprings as spacers like in the Jazzy Jumprings post!)
This bracelet is really, really gorgeous, and it has that gradient effect that is so simple to achieve. I used a strand of the green faceted beads that are in a repeating pattern, and divided them into their colors, and added two of each hue. Then the three beads at the center are actually from a strand of beads that are repeating hues of turquoise blue. The colors worked great together!
These simple earrings use the same dangles as the necklace.
 I found that my findings kits didn't include ear wires, so I fashioned these out of the eyepins. I think I did alright!

The necklace hangs a little low, like I like them lately, and it just happened that the second set of beads that I strung near the back of the necklace are slightly darker than the first strand, so the ombre effect happened on its own in this necklace, sort of like the bracelet!

Thanks for hosting, Halcraft and Erin! I look forward to next month's challenge! To see the rest of the designs, head to www.Halcraft.com/blog. There's more inspiration and some beautiful projects!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

May Pretty Palettes Reveal

It's time for another Pretty Palette reveal! This month (well, last month, but the website had some problems that had to be worked out which made the post a little late) Halcraft's Pretty Palettes colors really spoke to me. I love Erin's choice!

I don't know if it was that the winter was so long, or that the colors were so luscious, but I could hardly wait to put something together using these pretties.

Here's the palette:
April showers are sure to bring pretty May flowers in this pretty palette from Design Seeds. http://design-seeds.com/index.php/home/entry/flora-hues38
And here's my design. I decided to just choose beads to string onto memory wire to look like a bunch of stacked bangles. What do you think?

Want to see what Erin, Barb, Katie, Mykeall, Michelle & Denise all made?  Just click here!

Want to play along? Erin Prais-Hintz finds gorgeous inspiring palettes every month and shares them on the Halcraft USA blog. June's Pretty Palette will be revealed next Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The New Girls

Oh, it's been too long since I've written here, but there has been good reason. The reason looks like this:
Meet Muffin. She as well as 5 other little ladies--and one rooster, oops!--were added to our budding homestead the week before Easter. Muffin likes riding in tiny farm equipment, or rather, she did. Now the chickens look more like this:
The ladies (and the rooster who was supposed to be a hen) enjoy a snuggle under a bush for their afternoon nap.
I have wanted to try my hand at raising chickens for years, maybe for the better part of my life, but I had never had the space or guts to give it a shot. Technically, chickens aren't allowed in Muncie town limits. Now that we live out of town and have our own acreage we're giving this a try.

We have Nudge and Tater Tot,two amerucaunas who should lay blue eggs, Muffin the buff orpington, Rosie the Rhode Island Red, Fudge the miscellaneous rooster who must have been in the wrong bin at the feed store and was supposed to be a silver laced wyandotte, but doesn't look at all like one, Fang the austrolorp, and Tooties, a puffy white silky, who is significantly younger than the rest because they didn't have silkies the first time I went to the feed store but did the second time. I had to do some convincing to buy just her; the store usually sells chicks by the half dozen and I can see why, these girls--and boy--like to stick together and have a distinct "cry" peep when they're left alone.

We're working on turning my old college loft into a coop. We've almost finished it! I'll post photos when it's done.

Until tomorrow, when I am going to post a my May Pretty Palettes project for Halcraft, have a crafty day!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Beader on the Go

Oh, how I've missed making a few posts here! I've been busy with a bit of travel, keeping up with many, many snow days, and doing a bit of knitting. I'll start off with my travel first.

Early in February is an amazing gem, mineral and bead show in Tucson. To call it a show, is to call the Grand Canyon a hole in the ground. This show takes over the entire town of Tucson and overflows into the neighboring area. I blogged a bit about my experiences here, over on the Halcraft USA blog, but I didn't talk about being a "beader on the go."

While I was in Tucson I stayed with my wonderful parents who winter there. It was like going back in time, having them cook for me and being the ONLY child. I haven't made a trip to Tucson on my own in about 4 years!

Powering up with a great breakfast with Mom & Dad before a big day of walking the shows.
The shows are wonderful. I always like to make it to the shows that specialize in beads, The Whole Bead Show, Best Bead Show, and To Bead True Blue. Here's where you'll see lots of the most popular booths in the beading world, but one of my favorite things this year was all of the lovely chain. It was scrumptious.
I bought some large chain as well as some smaller chain, but these colored glass link chains and pearl chains were as tempting as anything I saw.
 I hadn't planned on wanting to make anything, especially since I hadn't brought my beading tools, but I saw Sara Ohler at the SoftFlex booth and treated myself to some wonderful tools that I'd been coveting for over a year. I wanted to be able to hold them in my hands to decide what I liked best--and whether they seemed worth the money--and I'm so glad that I waited until I had that chance. Because I found some beads and chain that I loved and had an idea for, I decided to go ahead and get them. I've LOVED using them ever since I got back. Here's what I made that night to wear to a business meeting. I had to make two necklaces...a girl's gotta have options, right?

The blue lapis beads on the right were perfect for a bib-style statement necklace with a simple chain and gold rounds to separate them.
I splurged on these three hollow handmade glass beads. I made them into a long, simple necklace. They don't need much to shine.
Here are some more images from the show. Enjoy!
Huge amethyst crystals
I'm in love with milagros and hearts. This is perfect!
Tucson Tamale Company! Try it if you ever get the chance!
I loved Brenda Schweder's jig. It's easy to use and so much fun!
Double yum.
Triple yum.
Quadruple yum.
I saw so many tassels. I still wish I had bought one of these gorgeous necklaces.
Etched amber.
One of the best parts of Tucson is the opportunity for hiking. I always try to take a hike while I'm there. This year, I went to Madera Canyon, a place which is unique in that it is less desert-like than most of the surrounding area. The elevation and valley combine to make a microclimate that birds, mountain lions, and many other unique plant and animal species find appealing. It's a great place for birding and has multiple hikes that range in difficulty from easy hour-long walks along paved paths to full-day hikes with significant elevation changes and beautiful vistas.

If you're lucky enough, you can stay at one of these picturesque villas partway up the valley.
 Another place that we loved visiting was the Tohono Chul Park and sculpture garden. A few of the cacti were blooming, and the art museum was featuring beautiful botanical and animal illustrations.

I <heart> Tucson!

Being thoroughly a tourist in my short sleeves and sandals! (I needed to soak up all the sun I could before returning to the arctic blast of Indiana, and I steered clear of any cacti that got too close to my toes!)
 My last night in Tucson, Mom & Dad and I enjoyed a fire in their little courtyard.
Visit again soon, for a bit about my knitting escapades and more about spring in Indiana! 


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pretty Palettes :: Jubilee Necklace

Jubilee Necklace by Molly Schaller
It's time for Pretty Palettes! If you've been following along on the Halcraft blog, you know what I'm talking about. Each month Erin Prais-Hintz presents a gorgeous color palette for anyone who wants to participate to use as inspiration for a piece of jewelry or accessory. She uses beads from the Bead Gallery line available at Michaels Stores. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Halcraft's Pretty Palettes Blog Hop Reveal

Have you checked out Erin Prais-Hintz' inspiring Pretty Palette posts on the Halcraft USA blog? If not, you're missing out on a great opportunity to stretch your beading muscles. I love how it feels to design with colors that aren't on my usual "menu."

Here's how it goes: Erin posts an image with an amazing color palette, and you follow along using her guidance of bead choice--and any others you might want to use--to create a project. Then you write a post about it on your blog and link up to the Halcraft USA blog to see what others have created. It's so much fun to see what others have made using these inspiring palettes and beads.

This month, I was lucky to have a beading buddy want to participate with me! Joyce is a friend who I recently learned has a talent for beading that had been on the back burner. Joyce's daughter and my daughter are friends, so we planned some time for the girls hang out while we treated ourselves to a play date of our own!

It was so wonderful to sit and chat over tea and cookies and BEADS! Joyce told me that she'd put her beads away in a special cabinet after her daughter was born, and she had wanted to pick them back up again. She was game for my challenge, and I'm so excited to say that we're going to make the Pretty Palette challenge a monthly "play date" for ourselves as well as the girls!

Here's this month's palette, which Erin pulled from the fabric of a dress that a friend is wearing to a wedding:

I love this palette--and the dress that inspired it--but it's definitely out of my normal range of colors.

It took a little bit of time to choose our directions, but once we got started, the time flew by. Joyce made some amazing earrings. She didn't put earwires on them because she has to use a specific type for her sensitive ears, so she's just holding them up in the photo. I wish I would have taken a photo of them on their own, as I loved how she was able to use wrapped loop drops to really make them special.

Joyce's choice of shirt goes really well with our color palette this time!
 Here are my own creations. Once I got started on the earrings I had a hard time stopping! I used mostly blues and purples, with a gold chain and inspiration beads.
Lots of little wrapped loop gold drops make these simple earrings look deceptively complex.

Beaded links and an amazing faceted bead give this necklace a vintage appeal.
The wrapped loop drops with bigger focal beads make a relatively simple bracelet a standout.
The textured chain makes these earrings longer than some, but I think the length is balanced by the pretty blue faceted drops.
More wrapped drops give sparkle to simple earrings with a lot of texture.
Here is a photo of the carnage on the table when we were done.
Remember these great little bead cups from my book club post? They still get a lot of use.         

Even William got in on the fun and was quite the helper!

I hope you enjoyed my blog hop post! Visit the Halcraft blog again on February 5th for the next Pretty Palettes reveal from Erin. And let me know if you hope to play along, too!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sending a Guardian Angel & Pretty Palettes for November

My Aunt Mary recently went through what I can only imagine felt like a nightmare. She lost the use of her right arm, and after some tests, a tumor was found in her brain. Cancer is a harsh and ruthless predator, and it has been prowling about my family more than its fair share in these past years.

Her surgery this past Monday to have the tumor removed tested her strength and faith, but thankfully, she's making a wonderful recovery, and--as amazing as this sounds--she's planning to continue on to her previously planned trip to Disneyworld with her granddaughter this Friday! 

Before the surgery I had been praying, but I wanted to do something more concrete with my hands, and send her something in the mail since a visit wasn't possible before the surgery. Matthew made a wonderful card for her. It said "We all love you <BIG red colored-pencil heart> Stay Tough."

We all signed it, and then I went to my studio to make something that I hoped would give her a little more strength and serve as a pick-me-up to let her know that we were thinking of her. I started by searching through my stash for a bead or charm with an inspirational image or word.

The perfect thing was this Guardian Angel charm from Green Girl Studios. In the same cubby was one of their bird toggles. Birds have always been a hopeful symbol for me, so I decided to use that as well. I knew that I wanted to make a long necklace that could also be worn wrapped around the wrist, making it a little more versatile, or it could even hang from a hook on a window as a reminder of all of us who are thinking of her while she's in the hospital.

My aunt has a wonderful sense of style. She likes to wear colors, and she has a sophisticated color sense. I decided to use the colors in Erin Prais-Hintz' Market palette that she shared on the Halcraft USA blog because they're earthy and went well with the tiny gemstone beads I wanted to use in the necklace. I didn't want anything too large so that the piece would be comfortable when worn, and I also wanted the necklace to be able to fit in the palm of my aunt's hand when wound around itself.

Here's the design I came up with. I love the color palette, and I ended up adding more orange, just because it felt right with the other gemstone colors. Because of the warmth of the gemstone colors I used gold tinted tiny seed beads--15/0, I think--between the faceted gemstones and also gold jumprings to attach the pendant to the necklace.

Here's a link to Halcraft's November Pretty Palettes page, so that you can see others' interpretation of the palettes.


Taking the time to string these beads was therapeutic for me. I thought of my aunt with each tiny bead and sent prayers her way as I watched the string lengthen.

Do you ever craft as a form of prayer or meditation?