Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Satin Sparkle Necklace

Happy nearly new year from the Crafty Mama! 

As you know, I almost always participate in the monthly blog hop hosted by Halcraft. This month's Pretty Palette theme was Vintage Bubbly. 
December 2016's Pretty Palettes Bead Gallery beads
To see others' pieces, you can jump to the Halcraft blog and check out today's post

I created a piece with vintage feel based on the pearl and rhinestone connectors. Taking a closer look at these, I was impressed with the details!

Just look at all the tiny rhinestones tucked in among the pearls!
Keeping things simple with a really beautifully sparkling component.
Instead of using all three components as a centerpiece, I decided to detach the center floret and use it as a pendant on a simple long necklace that can be worn on its own or layered with another necklace. The multiple connection points make a couple different options possible. 

Next, I started on what I imagined would become a multi-strand hair accessory, something the Downton Abbey crowd might wear to dinner. It could be worn over an updo. across the hair and fastened on either side with the two components with strands of beads and chain between.

But as I worked through the design, I realized that I wanted to add quite a few strands of beads (there were SO MANY pretty beads!) and I wouldn't have the correct hair accessories to use to attach this behemoth to my unsuspecting teen daughter's hair for photos. 

I nearly made a piece that could be attached as an embellishment on a cardigan or sweater set by using attachments to the button and button-hole near the neckline. Which you could definitely do without too much trouble.
Just add a button to one side and a loop to the other side to create a retro sweater set embellishment!
In the end, I continued on, because I really can't get enough of the big, messily wrapped rhinestone disks. Don't you just love these? I think the way they look with the pearls and mixed metals are perfect to give the more traditional pearl and rhinestone connectors a little bit of edge. 
A little bit retro with a hint of edge, Satin Sparkle is a fun necklace set that combines the sparkle of glass facets and metal facets with the satiny surface of acrylic pearls. 

I loved working with these beads and can hardly wait until next month's reveal! Join us next Wednesday on the Halcraft blog for a new challenge based on 2017's Pantone Color of the Year!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Frosted Lamb's Ears :: November Pretty Palettes

What a fall this has been. I've enjoyed how the season hasn't jumped straight into winter as it does sometimes. This Halcraft Pretty Palettes challenge was a nice soft transition from fall to winter. It was frosty as well as maintaining its warmth.

This month's Pretty Palette was chosen by the Halcraft Facebook fans. They voted which of these palettes they liked the best:
The final four Pretty Palettes palettes!
I loved them all, but in the end, the winner was Susan Conaway's Lamb's Ears & Maple Leaves. Gorgeous, right?

I don't think I ever would have put all of these colors together on my own without having this palette to work from. That is what I LOVE about Pretty Palettes, how it pushes me in my color choices.

Here are the beads from Michaels that I came home with. I ended up adding a pendant as well, as you'll see. Many are the same as the ones Erin Prais-Hintz posted in her inspiration blog post, but a few weren't available, so I picked ones I liked that worked within the theme and I also added a few silver plated spacer-type beads and tiny faceted glass bead for a wee bit of sparkle.
I first started on a necklace using a simple opaque glass pendant. I liked where it went and used a few fancy wire twists for some of the links.

I liked that it converted well into a long necklace (don't you love this trend?), but felt frustrated that I didn't use all of the colors available from my Pretty Palette, so I decided to move on to the bracelet. 

I wanted to make a memory wire bracelet, but I was out of memory wire, so I just started stringing lengths of seed beads onto Beadalon's .015" beading wire, which I like for seed beads because it still drapes well. As it turned out, my strands became quite pretty as a multi-strand necklace! I figured it could be worn either way. Which way do you like it better?

Tip: keep the width of your beads about the same when mixing in accents. This helps with the flow of the piece.
A few metal accent beads go a long way in a layered look necklace/bracelet like this one. Be careful how you place them for the greatest visual impact.

A great thing about this necklace/bracelet is that by using some bumpy rings at the end of your necklace you can gather the strands as well as cover your crimps and give your beads a little room to slide around so that the drape of the necklace isn't stiff. 
Cover your crimps!

Finally, a girl's gotta have a pair of earrings, so I made a pair with dangles of turquoise gray like the lamb's ears. 
The bumpy rings make great connectors as well as spacers beside beads for added texture.
Frosted Lamb's Ear jewelry set by Molly Schaller for Halcraft's Pretty Palettes blog hop November 2016
Play along with me and the rest of the Halcraft design team by visiting and searching for Pretty Palettes. You can see all of the past Pretty Palettes projects there, or you can visit Halcraft's Pinterest page for even more inspiration!

Link up to the other blogs here: 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Dots & Dashes a Pretty Palettes Pay It Forward Challenge

Hello! I've missed you all! It's time for Halcraft's Pretty Palettes blog hop with Erin and the rest of the bead team--as well as all of you!

Erin Prais-Hintz has created a lovely challenge for us this month in her October Pretty Palettes blog post. It's a little different than usual, though. Erin asks us to:

"...create something meaningful – a piece of jewelry, an accessory or decorative object – that you can gift to one or two friends to let them know that they matter to you and to remind them to take time out and be good to themselves."

When I look back at my life, I find my mind (and my body!) returning to the Adirondack mountains in NY. It's not just the mountains, either. I love returning to visit my old summertime roommate, Carolyn, who I was paired with when we were both employees at Silver Bay YMCA during my college years. Over the last couple of decades we've maintained our friendship, and I've loved having her as a sister figure in my life. Both of our fathers have had neurological diseases, which is one thing that we've been able to talk about. Her friendship has been so valuable to me.

For this month's challenge, I wanted to do something special for Carolyn. After a stint as a math teacher after college, Carolyn felt called back to Silver Bay. She started working as an administrator years ago and she's now the COO (Chief Operating Officer), which means she's one busy lady!
Carolyn and me on the porch of the Store with Morse Hall in the background
Silver Bay is more than just a summer YMCA camp, it's a conference center and family camp were hundreds of people come to enjoy nature and each other. It serves people of all ages and stages of life, from their summer children's programs (your child will be designated as a woozle, chippie, eagle, or wee-woozle, among others) to their participation with the Road Scholar program for those who are retired and yearn for adventure and learning.  If you know any college-aged folks who are looking for a fabulous summer job in a gorgeous place, contact Silver Bay. It really is one of the best summer gigs out there. Imagine living a real-life version of "Dirty Dancing" for a summer. Yep. It's that fun!

A view of the Bay from the rustic Adirondack-style boat house where you can rent paddle boards, canoes & kayaks. You can even take a class to learn how to sail!
My design for this month's challenge is based on our special relationship that started in this very special place. As I thought about how to commemorate the place and our relationship in beads, I went from the inspiration of the colors of the mountains and sky and that glorious Lake George water to looking for a charm that symbolized our relationship to geography.

In the end, geography--mapping in particular--won out. Carolyn likes to accessorize by wearing jewelry occasionally, but she lives an active lifestyle and doesn't wear fussy jewelry. I've noticed over the years that each piece of jewelry she has is filled with meaning. I wanted the piece I made for her to be equally meaningful. I really love the white howlite beads and how the rounds are available in many different sizes and shapes, too. After turning it around in my head a bit, I thought "these rounds look like dots & the cylinders look like dashes. What if I worked around Morse code and used the longitude and latitude lines to create a secret message of sorts using the beads?"

I Googled "Morse Code" and found this chart of International Morse Code to start my work.
Morse Code via Wikipedia

To find the longitude and latitude of your specific location,go to Google Maps coordinates, then find and click the position you're interested in using on the map. It's super simple. The longitude and latitude of Silver Bay's historic inn is 43.69° by 73.50°. Writing down the Morse Code pattern on a piece of paper to work from helped me to stay focused while stringing the beads.

Here's the Dots & Dashes bracelet I made using the beads to create the code. I used larger beads between the numbers as place holders for either a decimal or a space between the coordinates; a small faceted glass round to signifies the beginning of a new number. Each number is 5 symbols long, but just like the chart, there is a difference in the size of the rounds and the tubes, so a number like 0 uses a lot of tubes and will be longer, while a number like 5 uses a lot of dots, so it's shorter. As it turned out my bracelet was the perfect length to wrap twice around a wrist after the final 5 of the latitude. Because the 0 would have made the bracelet 2 and 1/2 wraps, I decided to stop there. You could choose to add filler beads to your Morse Code bracelet.

Use rounds and cylinder beads to map out your own beaded Morse Code.

 I used a waxed cord to make this bracelet, but you could string the beads on flexible beading wire or silk cording. I like how the knots make it easy to see the patterns of code. To finish the bracelet (I considered adding a charm, but it seemed a bit too much for this casual bracelet) I created a slide knot (see step 4 of this super fun macramé project by Denise Moore for a good tutorial on this) and added a few beads to the ends of the cord to hold the sliding cord in place. As my little guy would say, easy peasy, lemon squeezy!
If you left the knot slider strands long enough, you could also wear this as a choker!
The Dots & Dashes Morse Code Bracelet
 This project got me thinking about other ways that I could use Morse Code in my beading to create secret message jewelry. You could:
  • Use one color for dots and another color for dashes, with a third color for breaks between the letters or numbers
  • Use different shapes as dots and dashes
  • Use birth dates instead of coordinates
  • Use letters to string messages that can be "read" as words and secret messages
I'm definitely going to play around with this idea more in the future. I made another bracelet for my daughter, whose birthday is coming up, using similar beads and Morse Code. It reads "I love you. 11-8-2001," which is her birth date and the day I became a mother. In celebration of her birthday, we're heading up to Stratford, ON, to see some Shakespeare as well as C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe. We'll be enjoying each other and the shows!

I hope you enjoyed my Dots & Dashes bracelets! You find  more great ideas in the rest of the Pretty Palettes projects, and don't forget that Halcraft's fall Pick Your Pretty Palette will be announced next Wednesday, November 2nd on the Halcraft Inspiration blog!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Pretty Palettes :: August 2016

Hello, Pretty Palette makers! Were you as excited as me about this month's palette? I just LOVE it! For more information about Halcraft's Pretty Palettes blog hop, visit Halcraft's Inspiration Blog. Bead team member Erin Prais-Hintz is always on the hunt for new guest beaders, so send me a line (or a comment here or the Halcraft blog) if you're interested in playing along and would like to partner with Erin and the rest of the Halcraft team!
Thank you, Design Seeds!
I went to Michaels and purchased my Bead Gallery beads right away for this one, because they were so fun to choose. I chose a couple from the selection that Erin made, but I couldn't help myself: I chose even more!
Erin's Pretty Palette beads
My Pretty Palette beads (give or take a few) from Michaels
Seeing all of these beads in the strands next to each other made me really want to see them that way in the piece, so I decided to create a big, chunky braided necklace. I found some cornflower bluish-purple connectors as well, to tie in that pretty purple hue in the palette.

Without further ado, I present the Bodacious Blueberry necklace!
Bodacious Blueberry, not for the faint of heart!
This necklace is so much fun to wear and make. It's bold as well as feminine, and it's practically bursting with beady goodness!  It was great to capture each of the colors in the palette with this month's challenge. I do still have some 6mm rounds left of four colors, which I'm considering using to make a bracelet. We'll see! 

I can't wait to see what everyone else made. Thank you for a Pretty Palette, Erin!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Pretty Palettes :: July 2016 -- Starry Night

One of my favorite parts of summer is the relief that comes from being outside at night after the heat of the sun has dissipated and the warm breeze caresses your skin. Here in Indiana, we've been experiencing a heat wave, and nighttime is the most comfortable time--some would argue it's the only time!--to be outdoors.

The starry summer night sky is the theme for this month's Pretty Palettes blog hop, hosted by Halcraft USA and Miss Erin Prais-Hintz. For more about this month's inspiration, visit the Halcraft blog.

Some of my favorite stargazing has happened in the Adirondacks, where there isn't the ambient light from cities that can mask the starlight. One spectacular night I happened to see 25 shooting stars in a matter of only an hour!

The image Erin chose this month reminded me of that night:
Click for a larger image from Ryan Hutton:
Erin chose some beautiful Bead Gallery beads for her project, but I knew exactly which beads I wanted to use for this project because of the way the purples, pinks and blues danced around in the heavens as they do in this image.
I bought these beads because they reminded me of the gorgeous sky in the image above. 

Bead Gallery's iridescent citrine nuggets
Bead Gallery's shell drops

All I needed to do was to figure out how to take these two elements and create a piece I loved. Like I said, it's been quite a hot, hot couple of weeks here in Indiana, and I wanted to make something I'd like to wear right now. I didn't want anything too weighty, so I balanced the irregular texture and over-the-top finish of the citrine nuggets with black seed beads for a stylish 4-strand choker. 

And although I considered making a necklace using all of the shell teardrops, I chose to use just one as a pendant with the citrine nuggets clustered around it. The pendant necklace is about 18 inches long and looks great layered with the choker, or it is pretty on its own, too.

For more information on how to play along with the Pretty Palettes blog hop, just click over there! Erin will post August's Pretty Palette inspiration next Wednesday, August 3rd.

You can make your own Starry Nights Necklace set with Bead Gallery beads from Michaels Stores. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

June Pretty Palettes Blog Hop

Silver Bay, NY - My happy place and the location of one of my favorite beaches: Slim Point!
The beach. One of my favorite places & Erin Prais-Hintz' choice for this month's Pretty Palettes blog hop! Each month Erin chooses Bead Gallery beads and a color palette as inspiration for a beading project that we can share with other beaders. For more information about Halcraft's Pretty Palettes blog hop, click this link!

For June, Erin chose these beads:
Halcraft's Pretty Palette beads for June 2016

I love the theme and the colors Erin chose! My Michaels had most of these beads, but not all of them. I swapped out the turquoise teardrops for turquoise ovals, and I used gold daisy spacers instead of the gold matte glass bicones (which btw, are some of my favorite beads). I also found some really beautiful Czech squares with two holes.

Now, I like the ocean, but to be honest, I'm more of a lake sort of girl. The salt water is lovely for floating and fabulous hair, but I'll always pick a freshwater lake surrounded by mountains to the wide open ocean. 

When I made my pieces for this month's Pretty Palettes hop, I found myself daydreaming of a family trip we're planning to take this summer to Silver Bay YMCA, a family camp that is a lot like the camp in Dirty Dancing. A full staff takes care of you and the rest of your family while you spend the days playing tennis, practicing your yoga or even beading and making baskets in the craft shop. Check it out, if you're in the market for some family fun in the near future. 

Here are the pieces I made for the challenge, named Beach Bound in honor of upcoming vacations!
The Beach Bound Necklace and Bracelet Collection featuring Bead Gallery beads for 2016 Pretty Palettes

The Beach Bound Bracelets are made with Beadalon's memory wire and a variety of Bead Gallery beads. The wire keeps them rigid, sort of like bangles, but they're easy to slip on and off your wrist. The top bracelet features two-holed beads, which I loved working with. The faceted rondelles on the bottom bracelet are graduated, and each strand includes three different sizes of bead, which would be perfect for necklaces, as well.
 The Beach Bound Necklace is SO EASY! All you do is string the smaller seed beads from the strand in the order that they come in.

One quick tip is to take 5-8 off the string they come on at a time, only removing what you're ready to string. I played around with adding some charms, but this one was just nice as a simple multi-strand necklace. To give it a beachy feel, I used the starfish beads almost like bead cones to gather the three strands.

Another tip is to use the smallest diameter of beading wire that you can, so that the lightweight beads are able to drape well as you wear them. I used Beadalon's .012" flexible beading wire for this necklace, and it lays almost as though it's strung on silk cording, but with even more strength.

I love this piece so much that I had to share a photo of myself while I was wearing it. It's almost a choker, but not quite, at a 16" length. Best of all, this length is exactly what came on the card, so it only takes a few dollars to create this beautiful necklace! I used the larger E beads on the card to create the bracelet with the seahorse charm in the stack above.
I love the length & drape of this necklace! 

Now, it's time for even more fun. Check out the rest of the Halcraft design team's projects and post your own! We'd love for you to play along!

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!