5×5 Challenge

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This past month I participated in a very intriguing challenge, along with 4 other Artisan Whimsy members. It’s called 5×5 Testers, and works like this: five artists are chosen each month and each are given five identical components to create with. At the end of the month, all of the pieces are revealed and are featured in the beautiful Bead Chat e-magazine. To see it, click on the “Glossi” link on the right side of the page.

The results are fascinating, as each artist interprets the pieces in their own unique style. I wish I’d have thought to take a picture of the components before I used them (d’oh!), but I do know that some of the other team members did.

Here’s what I came up with-

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I decided to work with this filigree piece first. This was the easiest piece for me, since I work with this style so often. I enhanced just the center of the filigree with Vintaj patinas, and curled the ends under at the sides. At first I was going to join the chain with jumprings, but instead I inserted a headpin with tiny brass beads to work as stoppers. Some absinthe green Czech glass drops swing from the filigree.

Next came the X shaped piece of brass. I gently shaped it with bailing pliers so that it fit the curve of my wrist, and carefully wound hemp cord around the legs and over the center, adding a few African trade beads as I went along. Some vintage cuckoo clock chain and a lobster clasp was added to finish.

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When I saw this large, kind of open weave brass ring I knew I wanted to make a bezel with it, but wasn’t really sure how to go about it. After reading about the process on the ICE resin website, I decided to attempt a backless bezel with resin. I set the frame on a piece of packing tape and poured just a little resin in to cover the inside of the frame. After the first layer was dry I cut a piece of heavy scrapbook paper and laid it in for a background, and continued to add several thin layers of resin, letting it cure between layers. To finish, I painted a brass bird charm and glued it to the front. A couple of tiny bead caps painted with Vintaj patina became little flowers to hide the holes in the bird’s wings.

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Next I tackled the little square of copper. The edges were pretty sharp, so I filed them a little, and then coated the square with Vintaj patina. Once it dried I sanded it here and there for a distressed look, and added a rusty metal flower layered with a bright Czech glass flower bead. It’s strung on bright turquoise suede cord.

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Finally, the domed copper disc! This pretty much had me stumped, and I put off dealing with it until the very last minute. I thought about somehow winding wire through the slots but couldn’t come up with anything I liked, so out of desperation I just started punching holes in it. I had some bright colored embroidery thread laying on my table so I used it to make knots in the holes, and glued a flower shaped Czech glass bead to the front. It’s a little weird, but I kind of like it!

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This challenge was a great exercise, and forced me to think outside my normal creative box! Thanks so much to Melinda Orr for letting me participate, to Alicia Marinache for moderating the challenge, and to Heather Kelly Marston, who generously provided the materials!

Here are links to the rest of this amazing team’s blogs and their fabulous creations –

Charlene Bausinger Jacka     http://www.clay-space.com/blog

Lesley Freedom   http://www.sweetfreedom-designs.blogspot.com

Heidi Kingman     http://www.heidikingman.blogspot.com

Sharyl McMillian-Nelson  http://www.sharylsjewelry.blogspot.com

Heather Kelly Marston      http://www.cswdesignsbyhehe.blogspot.com

 

Show and Tell – Bead Soup Reveal Day!

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I’m so glad it’s here – the first reveal date for the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party hosted by the amazing Lori Anderson!  I admire Lori for taking on a project like Bead Soup, and really enjoy being a part of it.

This is my 2nd year, and has been especially fun because of the incredibly generous  soup that was sent to me by my partner,  Gretchen Nation!

Here’s a peek of what she sent-

A strand of fire agates, vintage beads, buttons and more!

A strand of fire agates, vintage beads, buttons and more!

More beautiful beads and buttons, and best of all - Frozen Charlottes!

More beautiful beads and buttons, and best of all – Frozen Charlottes!

The  first thing I made was this bracelet, using some of the lovely fire agates along with a pierced sterling bead and a pewter button. I threaded a length of gypsy ribbon through the oversized rolo chain for a little extra color. The colors and textures reminded me of walking through the woods on a cool, misty morning-

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Next I wrapped brass wire around and through bone circles and these cool Tibetan beads for a pair of earrings with a funky, earthy look-

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This next piece is totally uncharacteristic of my usual style, as I’m not normally drawn to this kind of bright color – but that’s what makes these blog hop challenges so much fun! I call this one “April Showers”-

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The teardrop shaped magnesite beads are the color of new Spring leaves, and are joined by tiny purple garnets and sterling silver, including the beautiful flower toggle that Gretchen sent. The pendant is a rusty metal rose that I “frosted” with Iced Enamels – a new product from the folks at Ice Resin!

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And finally, my favorite! A Frozen Charlotte – well, Charlie, actually – since this one’s a boy – framed by wings that I formed from gears bent in half and coated with Iced Enamels and strung with Czech glass beads, more gears and a beautiful vintage bead in icy blue. This necklace is called “Frozen Angel”.

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Thanks so much for hopping through today, and many thanks also to Gretchen for sending me such wonderful things to work with! I’ll be dipping into her box of treasures again and again. Be sure to visit her blog at http://artfoodlodging.blogspot.com

Then visit all the other fabulous blogs in this hop by clicking on the link below:

http://www.beadsoupblogparty.com/

I’m honored…

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…that my earrings are featured in the Spring issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry!

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These were made from vintage clock hands that I rusted and manipulated into curves and curliques, and dressed up with gears and beads. They’re lots of fun to make, although they’re too long for my fat little neck.

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But that’s okay, because the real fun for me is getting to see them inside my favorite jewelry magazine! 🙂

p.s  If you’re one of those lucky ladies with a long neck, these and others can be found in my Etsy shop!

http://www.lilruby.etsy.com

Oh, the possibilities!

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It’s Bead Soup time again – I’m participating in the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party hosted by Lori Anderson. This is my 2nd year for Bead Soup, and my reveal date is March 30th.

If you haven’t heard about this wildly popular and fun blog hop, here’s how it works: Lori assigns each participant a partner, and you each choose a mixture of beads and findings (a soup) from your stash and exchange them. On reveal day, you post what you created on your blog. Creating with beads you didn’t choose yourself is a good way to stretch your creativity, and is lots of fun – especially since my partner, Gretchen Nation, sent me an absolute treasure trove of goodies – so much it takes two pictures to see it all! Check this out-

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In this pic you can see vintage beads and buttons, found objects, a strand of fire agates and more!

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Here we have more great buttons and beads, and best of all – Frozen Charlottes! There were five of these little beauties, but I’ve already started creating with one of them. Be sure to check back on March 30th to see what I come up with!

love life

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jewelry 563When I started to make this bracelet, it was with the intention of just making a fun piece to sell for Valentines Day. But as I was deciding how to etch it and what the text would say, instead it became a reminder – to love life – no matter what challenges it holds. My husband and I have experienced some doozies over the past couple of years – illness, the loss of both of our mothers, job loss followed by extended unemployment which in turn has caused financial hardship…all of which equals stress levels that are off the charts! But – love endures – for each other, and for the life we share.
So, instead of a holiday sale piece, I think I’ll keep this one…or at least make another one for me! 🙂

Remembering Clara – Memories and Thanks blog hop reveal

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When I saw that Lori Anderson was hosting another of her great blog hops I was ready to sign up, especially since this one has to do with memory jewelry – that is, jewelry that’s created to honor the memory of someone who has played a special part in your life.

Clara was my paternal grandmother, and was special not only to me, but to our entire family. Christmas Eves and family birthdays were always spent at Grandma’s house on Hendee St.

Grandma was gentle and soft spoken, but also very strong. She’s been gone many years now, but I can still see her in her dress, apron and cute little old lady shoes. She always wore a jeweled pin on her apron or a necklace, and had tea and cookies every afternoon at 4:00. To this day I think of her everytime I see a box of Lorna Doones!

God only knows what I was jabbering at her!

God only knows what I was jabbering at her!

I’m the youngest child in our family by over 10 years so Grandma was already 70 years old when I was born. I knew her as the adorable elderly lady she was at that time, but I’ve always been fascinated by the lovely young woman she once was. So much so that way back in high school I painted this portrait of her –

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The image I chose to use for my memory bracelet is from her wedding picture. I photocopied the photo, inserted it into a lovely brass stamping piece from B’Sue Boutiques and coated it with ICE resin. After that it was just a matter of adding a few crystals and a length of chain that I threaded with some tea dyed ribbon.

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I like to think that Clara would have approved!

Thanks so much for joining me on my little trip down memory lane! Now go and check out all the talented artists and their beautiful creations on this blog hop –

http://www.prettythingsblog.com/2012/11/participants-for-memories-and-thanks.html

2012 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

I found it to be pretty interesting, and was thrilled to see that folks all over the world have visited my lil blog! Thanks to all of you who have stopped by to take a look or leave a comment – it means a lot to me! 

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 10 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Challenge of Color reveal!

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When I saw that Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati Jewelry was hosting the 3rd Annual Challenge of Color blog hop I jumped at the chance to participate. I was intrigued by the premise of the challenge, which is to create a jewelry piece using color palettes that were created by Brandi Hussey from satellite pictures! The images of places all over our planet are from the Earth As Art exhibit, and are breathtakingly beautiful. The other thing that makes Erin’s blog hop challenges so interesting is that she encourages you to go beyond just the jewelry creation part of it and to actually learn a little something about the topic.

Of the two palettes I received, the one I chose to use is called “Lake District”.

Here’s what I learned:

The Lake District, also known as The Lakes, is a mountainous region of Northwestern England. The area is famous for its lakes, forests and mountains, but also for being the home of poet William Wordsworth and children’s author Beatrix Potter.
The highest mountains in England are in the Lake District as well as the two deepest and longest lakes. Designated as a National Park in 1951, it’s the most visited National Park in the United Kingdom. Something that made it all the more interesting to me is that it happens that some of my husband’s ancestors are also from that region!

Another good thing about this challenge is that it forced me to delve into my stash of “stones I couldn’t resist buying but have no idea what to do with”. This pendant was the first thing I made-

Pretty close match, isn’t it? By the way, does anyone know what kind of stone that is?

Next, I thought I’d try to pick up on some of the dusky pink and rose brown tones. I had a strand of large picasso jasper rounds and two of these striped stone beads that I thought would work well for a chunky bracelet. I don’t know what those striped beads are either, but they have a wonderful silky smooth texture! I bent a couple of little gears to make bead caps for the picasso bead and wired everything together along with a few Czech glass beads.

So there you have it – I managed to use some of my mystery stones, learned about something new and had a great time doing it! 

As I was writing this post I was having tons of computer issues so I apologize that I wasn’t able to include the list of other blog hop artists here – but please click on the link below to go back and visit them all – thanks for looking!

Erin Prais-Hintz    http://treasures-found.blogspot.com

It’s here!!

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My husband and I love Steve Martin movies and we dug out “The Jerk” to watch a week or so ago. One of my favorite scenes is when the new phone book is delivered to the gas station where Navin is working and he leaps with joy at seeing his name in print. I felt much the same way when I came home from work one day last week to see that the new issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry had been delivered-

Because – alongside the work of so many really talented artists – is this article!

This hinge bracelet is my all time favorite found object piece, and was also the easiest to make. From the moment I saw that old hinge with its chippy red paint I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it – it’s too bad inspiration doesn’t usually come that easily!

This wasn’t the first time I’ve had one of my jewelry pieces published, and happily I know of at least a couple more to come, but that jumping up and down joy is always the same – along with a sense of wonder that something I used to only dream of has actually happened. So, if you make jewelry or knit or paint or write – whatever it is – don’t be afraid to send it out into the world for others to enjoy!

My knight in shining armor

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During one of my late night internet searches recently I fell in love with this tiny vintage brass watch fob –

When it arrived in the mail I set about finding something that would transform the little guy into a pendant. After rummaging around awhile I found what I was looking for – an old piece of scalloped amber glass that I acquired years ago.

As I had hoped, it fit in the watch fob bottom perfectly! After that it was a simple matter to add some filigree, a matching crystal and some brass chain. I just love this little guy!

I was really tempted to keep this one, but I decided he’d make a great gift for someone so into my Etsy shop it went. Here’s the link to my shop if you’d like to take a look-
http://www.lilruby.etsy.com