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!