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!

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
wet with promises
of yellow days and warmth,
we take hands
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:

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!