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:

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! 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

30 Words :: Up, Up & Away!


on the orthodontist's appointment slip:

MAKE time to create with words.

Unraveling the memory of us

floating above the earth

sharing a shivering, silent reverie.

Your knuckles brushing mine.

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 Erin's 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, January 28, 2015


Two posts in one day? It might never happen again, but I couldn't keep myself from sharing how heartbreakingly beautiful my yard was this morning. Here's a little taste of my "commute" out to my studio office in the barn.

All things bright and beautiful!

January's Pretty Palettes :: Rose Blush Necklace/Bracelet

According to Pantone, 2015's color of the year is Marsala, a rich red wine shade with earthy tones and killer versatility. I love this image showing Marsala with some of its possible color companions. This color was the start for Erin Prais-Hintz' January Pretty Palettes blog hop hosted by Halcraft USA.

For more information about the blog hop and to see what others have made using the same color palette of beads, visit the Halcraft blog here.

Erin used this image as the inspiration image for her post, and I LOVE it. Whoever thought to put succulents in a bridal bouquet? Brilliant! The dusty rose and the almost greenish gray of what we around here call "hen & chicks" feel sophisticated and lush.

Here are the beads I started with to match the Pretty Palette. I used the image as much as the swatches at the bottom, and I really loved the faux pearls in dusty rose. I ended up adding some metal spacers with crystals and left out many of the pinkier beads in favor of just using the ombre pearls in the end.

My Bead Gallery beads from Michaels Stores!
I fumbled a bit with this project, as the colors were way pinker than what I am usually comfortable working with. What is it about pink? It's intimidating to me. Is it to you?

Do you ever have days where you just want to do something sort of monotonous and repetitive? That was my day yesterday. I wanted a project in which I could just enjoy the beads, their rosy color, their different textures and finishes, so I decided that I wanted to create a really long knotted bead necklace. 

I ended up using the great ombre pearls, some of the green blue faceted beads, and some of the marsala red rounds along with the great silvery resin rounds that look like they have tiny crystal caves inside. 

I used Beadalon's handheld knotting tool (how-to video in the link). They have a newer tabletop tool (how-to video in the link) that I haven't tried yet, but I'm really happy with my little handheld jobbie. I love this little wooden thing. It makes the knots slide off easily and keeps them close to the beads. If you haven't tried one, it's definitely worth asking some of your beading friends about. Maybe one has a knotting tool you can take for a test drive. You string all of the beads you'd like to use, then slowly and meditatively get into the rhythm of knotting and sliding a bead, knotting and sliding a bead. It's lovely, and just as relaxing as knitting!

Maybe I'll get a chance to use the newer tabletop tool next week when I visit the Beadalon booth in Tucson!
You can wear this as a long necklace, or wrapped around your wrist multiple times as a bracelet, or even doubled as a longer and shorter strand necklace, as I did on my little mannequin here in my office.

And with the leftover beads, don't forget to make yourself a pretty pair of earrings!

Even though the greenish gray flashes that showed up in the succulents didn't show up in the little samples on the palette, I decided to incorporate them into my jewelry. I love how this color looks with the dusty rose and marsala red. It's so sophisticated and unexpected!

Thank you for another wonderful Pretty Palettes blog hop, Erin!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December Pretty Palettes :: Dark Matter

It's time for Pretty Palettes again! To learn more about the Pretty Palettes blog hop, go to This month's palette selected by Erin Prais-Hintz is glistening and sophisticated! Check out the palette, fit for a New Year's Eve party:

The beads that Erin chose were so pretty, but I couldn't find all of them at my local Michaels Store. (There's a Michaels in my town now, and it has the really pretty bead section up near the front with lights! When I walk in there, I can spend an hour just looking at them all!) 
I could find the mixed metal cubes and the black faceted cubes, but the pretty little stars and pyramids were out!
The ones I did have were the little mixed metal cubes and I had plenty of black faceted glass beads and pearls, which I thought would work, but I didn't really have a strong direction. It wasn't until I saw this image in the National Geographic magazine that I really gained a direction with this project.

Isn't this crazy? This machine is used to track/investigate dark matter in the universe. I read a bit about it, but to be honest, the kids were running around, and to really absorb all of it, I would have needed my reading glasses, some quiet, and my thinking cap. Anyway, I loved this image, and it really jump started my creative process. The reflective metal squares arranged in circles got me thinking.

I found some oval links and wired the mixed metal cubes around them for a pair of earrings, then I did a larger version with some more black faceted beads for a pendant. I found that attaching the dangles to the oval links before wire wrapping the cubes to them made the process a lot smoother than trying to attach the loops after the wire was wrapped. 

The finished product is alright, and has a sort of Art Deco feel with the black, white and the metallic cubes, especially the earrings. 

What do you think?
Thanks for hopping along with me! Join Erin by checking out the Halcraft USA blog next Wednesday, January 7 for the January Pretty Palettes bead selection and palette! 


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

November Pretty Palettes :: Frost on the Pumpkin

This month's pretty palette features very familiar colors for me, as a pile of pumpkins sit jumbled next to the door to my house, which is sided in a gray so similar to the gray in this month's Pretty Palettes blog hop! Find out more about Erin Prais-Hintz' Pretty Palettes blog hop on the Halcraft USA Inspiration blog.
Actually, when I checked them this morning, one looked decidedly squishy, so I think it might be about time to clear the pumpkins out to make room for some Christmas decorations!

I've seen so many color block style necklaces lately that I just loved that I decided that this was my chance to give making one of my own a try. I just had to find the right beads.

When I saw the white gradient pearls in the Bead Gallery aisle at Michaels, I knew that I had to use them in this project for the warm grey tones. They're so easy to use, in that you just string them in the order that they are strung on the plastic cord on the card. Each card has two strands, so it took 3 cards to make this 3-strand necklace. The best part of this is that you can remove a few faux pearls from the ends of the strand near where the clasp attaches to create the right drape for the necklace as well as lining up the more strongly colored beads near the center of the necklace.

One other pick was a bit of a luxury: these faceted banded onyx beads are a little larger than I usually wear, but they're so amazing in their colors and striations.
All I needed to do now was string some strong orange rounds and add a few rhinestone spacers for flare, and I've got the perfect necklace for my trip home for Thanksgiving! I think this would look great with a pair of brown cords, slouchy sweater, and boots, as it's on the long side, which makes it feel more casual than a traditional pearl necklace.
 To see others' project for this month's Pretty Palettes blog hop, jump on over to the Halcraft blog & thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October's Pretty Palette Challenge :: Cowgirl Chic

Oh, was this one a hard one! I don' t know if it was the fact that I was too oh-so-in-love with this color palette or that I had mostly rounds to work with this time. For more information and to see the rest of the participants' creations, click here to be whisked off to the Halcraft Pretty Palettes Challenge, hosted by Erin Prais-Hintz for this month! 

Here is our inspiration piece and the palette I chose to work with, by Erin Fitzhugh Gregory
Isn't this gorgeous!?!

Even though the painting is decidedly floral, the colors, when pulled out together, gave me a feel of leather and blue jeans, a sort of cowgirl chic, which gave rise to the Cowgirl Chic necklace.

I have been digging the often undervalued but very useful rounds lately, and this color palette really worked with the beads I had on hand. A few of the beads that I used have facets, but most are the smooth, round workhorses of the beading world.

This palette includes so many wonderful colors, and they're all over the color wheel in intensity as well as color value, giving me a brain bending workout in that way, as well.

Did anyone else struggle in this way with this palette?

Although it looks simple, it took me a surprisingly long time to design the Cowgirl Chic Necklace (hence my evening post)! I'm probably not alone in this, but although the techniques used to create this necklace are common, I find that choosing the beads for the almost-symmetrical look is challenging for me.

One special part of this necklace is the golden honey-colored beaded bead. I used Beadalon's WildFire cord to make this one.

I couldn't stop at just a necklace so I went ahead and used some very cowgirl-esque leather in one bracelet, some stretch cord to make another bracelet, and a traditional beading wire bracelet, along with a pair of earrings, perfect for horsing around. ;)

Thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope you find the time to play along next month! Erin will be revealing next month's Pretty Palette on the Halcraft blog next Wednesday, November 5th!