September 30, 2012

Art Jewelry Elements Challenge Reveal

I was lucky enough to be chosen to participate in an Art Jewelry Elements Challenge using a ceramic piece by Diana Ptaszynski from Suburban Girl Studio.  She molded the porcelain button charm from one of the vintage leather buttons in her collection and gave mine a lovely root beer glaze.

I spent quite a while looking for inspiration for my piece because I wanted to do something really fun.  I knew I wanted to make a bracelet (it's sort of my thing) which is harder to do with a piece like this with one loop for hanging.  It's hard to tell the size from this photograph, but it's about 1" across.

I did some brainstorming... leather button... tufted leather sofa or ottoman... old boots.... a leather journal with a button to keep it safe from prying eyes.... a beat up old leather valise used for travel to exotic places...  Or tweed.  Hmmm... tweed.  A tweedy jacket with leather buttons - maybe even suede patches on the elbows.  So I set out on a quest to score some tweed while treasure hunting at garage sales and I was lucky enough to come across these.
Score!  And I only had to pay $1 for the both of them.  Perfect.  Now I just had to figure out a way to showcase my tweed in a bracelet.  I messed with some different options.  I considered sewing it around a brass cuff blank using a whip stitch on the edges that would be visible and part of the design.  I even went to far as to carefully cut all the stitching and remove one of the front pocket flaps - which is, by the way, a great size for a wide bracelet.  I just didn't know where to go from there.  I though of using the button charm as a button clasp (GASP - I know, radical thinking) on a bracelet made from the flap, but it needed some "body" and just didn't feel right.  I wanted to make a stack of bracelets and it was just too floppy.

I finally decided on a bangle and had to hunt all over town to find a bangle that was as wide as I wanted.  I cut/tore strips of material from the lighter blazer and wrapped a wide bangle in it.  I took a skinny silver bangle and wrapped a strip of fabric from the darker jacket around it, held it on with a length of tarnished brass wire and added a glass bead dangle for a tiny pop of color.  I tied the button charm to another skinny bangle with a satiny piece of burgundy ribbon. And here's what I came up with.

I love this set.  It has the tweedy feel of autumn to me.  With a bit of English countryside thrown in and the smell of a wood-paneled room lined with bookshelves holding all the classics and a photo of riders and hounds on a hunt hanging on the wall.  A fire crackling in the fireplace and a carafe of Bordeaux next to the comfy chair.
 I want to thank Diana for the gorgeous button charm and Art Jewelry Elements for letting me play along with this month's challenge.  Stop by Art Jewelry Elements to see what the other participants made.

September 27, 2012

Micro Macrame in Reverse

Celtic Knot Micro Macrame Bracelet - front and back views
Maybe the title of this post should be micro macrame on the reverse?  Or the backside of a bracelet?  I've had a few requests to see the back of my work, so here ya go.  My new Celtic Knot Beaded Macrame bracelet on the flip side.  Carry on.

September 25, 2012

Colorful Dragon Bracelets in Micro Macrame

After making a bajillion micro macrame bracelets in the original khaki/copper combination, I decided to branch out a bit recently and the result was this batch (flock?  litter?) of  colorful dragons.  

The little teal beauty MIGHT just be my favorite, but then again, the purple one is very sparkly...

And, what's not to love about a dragon you could wear with camo?

And I've been working on a little number in purple with NO dragon!  I'll keep you posted.  As you were.

September 22, 2012

Tweed and Leather and Garage Sale Finds

My big garage sale find this morning was this set of two tweedy blazers I got for $1.  And that's not $1 each, mind you, but a cool $1 American for the pair.  No, they are not in my size, nor will they fit my husband or anyone else I know.  Why, then, am I so excited by this bargain?
I was chosen to participate in an Art Jewelry Elements Challenge using a pendant by Diana Ptaszynski from Suburban Girl Studio.  She made the porcelain button charm molded from one of the vintage leather buttons in her collection.  Mine has a lovely root beer glaze.  Notice how one of the blazers I picked up has the same style of buttons?
I've been mulling ideas around since I received the charm, trying to come up with something fun to do other than putting it on a necklace of one sort or another.  Leather button... tufted leather sofa or ottoman...old boots.... a leather journal with a button to keep it safe from prying eyes.... a beat up old leather valise used for travel to exotic places...  Or tweed.  Yep, tweed.  A tweedy jacket with leather buttons - maybe even suede patches on the elbows..  
So our quest this morning was to find some tweed I could use.  Score!  And if that wasn't enough, I found this fun scarab pendant:
With markings on the back:
And.... Are you ready for this?  My BEST FIND of the day.... 
Ta Da!!!  Admit it - you're jealous.  It's the coolest kitschy wall hanging EVER!  So, if you can get past your envy, stop back here on the 30th and see what I make this Diana's button and my garage sale treasure and if you need something to tide you over until then, you can check out some of my previous challenges here and here and here.

September 18, 2012

Play Date Artist - Shelley Graham Turner

Shelley Graham Turner of Tori Sophia is one of my best beading friends.  We share a similar sense of humor and have many of the same likes and dislikes.  And just look what she sent me!
Shelley made the focal button - isn't it gorgeous?  And she included all the coordinating beads.  Here's the catch - she's got the same components and we're each going to create something with them and unveil them to the world on October 4th!  Doesn't that sound like fun?  It's a new feature she's doing on her blog Fabric of My Life and she's calling it Play Date Artist.

In case you haven't seen it, her blog features are always fun.  Did you keep up with her BFFs (Beading Friend Fridays)?  If you didn't, you need to hop on over here and check it out and I'll warn you, the first one is about ME.  

Want to know how I'd describe my role in the beading world?  Or what I'd buy if I had all the money in the world?  Or what the favorite year of my life has been so far?  The answers to those burning questions and oh, so much more are in her feature.  Yep.  All my dirty little secrets.  Come to think of it, Shelley needs to answer all those questions for us about herself, doesn't she!?!  I'll get right on that. 

 Meanwhile, check out her blog and her shop Tori Sophia and watch here for the big reveal on the 4th of October! Oh, and I'll leave you with another piece she made:
PS.  Yes, she sent me one of these, too:)

September 17, 2012

My Partner

Okay, I really don't have a partner, but if I did, it would be my Boo Bear.  She might be a lot more useful to me if she had opposable thumbs, but then again, maybe not.  She's my constant companion.  My family tells me she knows when it's time for me to get home and starts hanging around the door waiting.  We're pals.
She's getting a bit gray around the edges and she's a little slower than she used to be, but then I don't have much room to talk.  She still gets up with me every morning and usually sits by my feet as I dry and curl my hair.
She hangs out with me on the couch when I'm making jewelry.  This blanket?  Yes, it used to be mine.  I got it for Christmas and it's so very soft.  She claimed it and now it's hers.  No arguments. 

She's really jealous and possessive when it comes to me playing with our cat.  She doesn't approve of it at all.  Usually she just wedges herself between the cat and I, but sometimes I just get "the look".
Or she won't even look at me:
And that's a ticked off doggie!  By the way, her theatrics don't bother the cat at all:
She spends a lot of time following me around, waiting to see what we're going to do next.  Which, apparently, is pretty tiring because she spends the rest of the time resting up.
She's actually supposed to be my son's dog and her real name is Sweetheart.  But we all know, she's my Boo.

September 13, 2012

In The Pink

 As a little tribute to Lori to thank her for all her hard work, a group of us decided to have a little "in the pink" fun.  Lori, this is for you:
 And why, you might ask, do I have pink in my hair?  Read on:

Lori Anderson of Pretty Things is a dynamo and an inspiration to many of us in the "beading" world.  She's a mom, jewelry designer, published author and the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party.  In fact, Lori is pretty much the reason I have this blog.  I wanted to be able to participate in the Bead Soup Party and I was inspired by her encouragement of newbie bloggers like myself.  I must say, she was incredibly kind and seemed to genuinely care about each participant in her party this year - which is a massive undertaking when you think about having 400 designers involved!  I had a lot of fun doing the challenge (you can find my reveal post here) and it really got me off on the right foot for both blogging and beading challenges.  And, so you will understand the pink hair, this is Lori:

Lori Anderson
Lori has written a book called Bead Soup that was just published.  How fun does this sound:  "What happens when one energetic, well respected jewelry-making blogger and 26 talented beaders connect through social media and end up swapping their leftovers? You get a mélange of projects bursting with every flavor imaginable! Each designer was given a focal bead, a unique clasp, and coordinating beads, and was charged with creating a dynamic piece of jewelry. These artists push their own boundaries to come up with new combinations and original pieces."  You can order the book through her website Pretty Things

I don't know when she finds time to do everything.  My hat's off to her!  Check out the rest of the "In the Pink" participants:

Gail Vanderster-Zwang
Lea Avroch
Leslie Wayment
Kelley Katherine Hagerty-Fogle
Sheila Davis
Amanda Effron
‎Solange Collin
Jennifer Chasalow VanBenschoten
Isolina Perez
Toltec Jewels
Sherri Stokey You are here!
Mary Howell Govaars
Bee Kuhlman
Lynnea Perry Bennett
Alicia Marinache
Heather Otto
Kimberly Flood
Courtney White Breul
Lisa Liddy
Marlene Cupo
Marianne Baxter
Mária Horváth
Andrea Beth Trank
Heidi Mansfield Kingman
Emoke Schmidt
Sandra MrtzDiaz
Lupe Meter
Tanya Boden
Ambra Chicandfrog
Kumi Fisher
Sandra Young
Sandi Marinaro Volpe
Gretchen Nation
Mimi Gardner
Marian Hertzog
Sonya Ingersoll-Stille
Audrey Belangér
Sandra McGriff
Shelley Graham Turner

September 9, 2012

A New Twist on the Dragon Bracelet

If you've hung around my sites very long, you're probably familiar with "the" dragon bracelet.  If not, here's a quick refresher:
I came across this gorgeous copper button with a swirly dragon design a long time back and started using it as a focal piece for a macrame bracelet.  It is by far the most popular (and requested) item in my shop.  The colors are just right.  It's just perfect (the button, I mean).  So of course, it is no longer being manufactured!  I have a small stash of them on hand, so I guess I should be a bit more judicious with their use.  But I had this idea for a fringy beaded cuff bracelet with the button as the clasp/focal.  
I put together a great bead mix with berry and copper and green and purple with touches of teal:
It's a totally different style from my usual macrame piece, but I think I like the way it turned out.  It brings to mind a dragon guarding the mouth of a cave full of treasure.
Even the "back" of the bracelet is pretty.  

September 8, 2012

Creative Chaos Design Challenge Reveal

Skye from Creative Chaos almost had me stumped with this challenge kit.  The rules: pick at least one thing from each baggie and use it to design a piece of jewelry.  Here's a closer shot of the items - remember, I had to use something from each group:
Yes, that's a brass plate that goes behind a drawer handle.  And feathers.
A couple kinds of cord.
A random assortment of coconut shell & wood thingies.
Some buttons and a die. 
 Sky did specifically say  that we could alter the items any way we wanted, so I decided to give the die & a button a little overhaul:

Decked out in rust:)
Then I had this feeling of the rusty old detritus in my Papa's shed.  Odd little bits of this and that and leftover scraps of things.  Old and dented and a bit rusty.  Shabby.  And that was my inspiration for this piece:

I made a rosette from the brown and gold cord and stitched it on to a scrap of embroidered fabric cut from an old dress.  I added the rusted button and a couple of feathers tacked down with one of the little coconut shell pieces.  I sewed on a backing and stuffed it just a bit with the rest of the feathers from Sky's kit.  I decided it needed some movement, so I added a little copper do-dad with some chain an danglies. It feels a bit gypsy-ish to me.  
 I did have a couple of setbacks.  I had wanted to use the brass plate as a bracelet focal, but it was just too heavy for me to bend.  And I really wanted to use the rusty die, but I just couldn't figure out how to attach it.  I think I should have tried drilling it before I rusted it.  I'm going to have to figure out something to do with it, though.  It's just too cool!
Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm dying to see what everyone else made with this kit:

Sandra of Skye's Creative Chaos -
Marge Beebe of RockCreekCreations -
Kristi J of CuriositiesbyK -
Tammie Everly of TTE Designs -
Sarah Goode of Pookledo -
Sherri Stokey of KnotJustMacrame - (you are here)
Paula Hisel of SimplyBeadiful -
Shawn Mills of Bent Wire Boutique -

September 1, 2012

Senegal in Micro Macrame - Challenge of Travel

Erin Prais-Hintz of Treasures Found and Marcie Abney of La Bella Joya  issued this challenge:
choose from one of five regions of the world connected to the five rings on the Olympic flag:  Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe & Oceania ( you cannot choose the region where you live).  From that region, select a nation, or opt to have one selected for you (I chose this one – I love a surprise!).  Create an accessory that evokes that nation based on anything that inspires you.  Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?  I chose Africa and got Senegal.

I had to do a bit of research because I’ve never been to Senegal.  Or anywhere close to there, for that matter.  It’s a long way from Nebraska.  

The facts:  the Republic of Senegal is a country located on the coast in western Africa.  Its capital and largest city is Dakar, which is a port located on the western most tip of Africa.  The landscape ranges from beautiful coastlines to rolling plains to arid sand dunes.  Islam is the predominate religion and polygamy is a common practice.  Senegal is one of the most stable democracies in Africa and participates in international peacekeeping. That's all fine and dandy, but I'm a very visual person:
Something about the sand speaks to me.  I know, I'm usually an ocean kind of gal and I'm amazed that I didn't go right for making a piece based on the tropical blues and greens, but for some reason these dunes fascinate me.  I even found a closer photo of the sand:
I based my piece on the colors and the rolling, undulating waves formed by the wind over the sand.  I made a bracelet in micro macrame with glass seed beads and a little dangle of beads of bone.  I call it Sands of Senegal.
I hope you will take a few minutes (OK, it might take more than that!) to visit the other participants:

Name Blog Region Chosen Inspiration Nation
Monique Urquhart Africa Burkina Faso
Niky Sayers Africa Egypt
Therese Frank Africa Kenya
Raychelle Heath Africa Lesotho
Joan Williams Africa Mauritania
Sherri Stokey Africa Senegal
Regina Santerre Africa Seychelles
Raida Disbrow Africa Tanzania
Kristi Wodek Africa Zimbabwe
Sally Russick Americas Brazil
Melissa Trudinger Americas Mexico
Tracy Stillman Americas USA
Sandra Wolberg Asia India
Tanya Goodwin Asia Japan
Susan Kennedy Asia Japan
Beth Emery Asia Japan
Lisa Cone Asia Japan
Tanya Boden Asia Japan
Inge von Roos Asia Laos
Erin Prais-Hintz Asia Nepal
Dee Elgie Asia Phillipines
Carolyn Lawson Asia South Korea
Lisa Stukel Asia Sri Lanka
Elly Snare Asia Thailand
Shelley Graham Turner Europe Austria
Mallory Hoffman Europe Bosnia Herzegovina
Paige Maxim Europe France
Jenny Davies-Reazor Europe Germany
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson Europe Greece
Evelyn Shelby Europe Iceland
Holly Westfall Europe Ireland
Rebecca Siervaag Europe Ireland
Toltec Jewels Europe Ireland
Lee Koopman Europe Ireland
Laren Dee Barton Europe Italy
Cindy Wilson Europe Norway
Kathleen Lange Klik Europe Poland
Shaiha Williams Europe Portugal
Jennifer Justman Europe Romania
Elsie Deliz-Fonseca Europe Spain
Lola Surwillo Europe Sweden
Kim Hora Europe Switzerland
Leanne Loftus Europe The Netherlands
Patti Vanderbloemen Europe The Netherlands
Marcie Carroll Europe Turkey
Marlene Cupo Oceania Federated States of Micronesia
Ine Vande Cappelle Oceania Fiji
Tammie Everly Oceania Guam
Alice Peterson Oceania Kiribati
Elisabeth Auld Oceania Nauru
Susan McClelland Oceania New Zealand
D Lynne Bowland Oceania New Zealand
Denielle Hagerman Oceania New Zeland
Rebecca Anderson Oceania Papua New Guinea
Mischelle Fanucchi Oceania Samoa
Kari Asbury Oceania Solomon Islands
Cece Cormier Oceania Tonga
Emma Todd Oceania Tuvalu
Debbie Price Oceania Vanuatu

photo credits: gbaku via photo pin cc; gbaku via photo pin cc; gbaku via photo pin cc; kalyan3 via photo pin cc
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