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. 

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.