October 27, 2012

October Fest Reveal

Rita of Toltec Jewels is hosting a little celebration today - an October Fest to celebrate the splendor of Autumn.  Her challenge was simple:  make an autumn inspired treat.  I chose colors that remind me of autumn, of pumpkin pie and butterscotch and turning leaves:
I also ventured outdoors to see if I could find any remnants of fall.  There are still a few leaves on our trees, but most are bare now.  The leaves that have fallen are no longer vibrant, but dead and dull.  We had a bit of snow the other day that left them sodden.  But beneath all the dreary, I found this:
A perfect leaf stenciled on our driveway.  Beauty is indeed all around us, even if sometimes we have to look a little harder.

Join me in visiting the other October Fest participants, and be sure to tell Rita "Happy Birthday" when you visit her page!!
 Hint:  This is Rita & it's her birthday --> Host Toltec Jewels     Jewel School Friends
Heather Otto   The Craft Hopper
Mischelle Fanucch
    Micheladas Musings
Marlene Cupo   Amazing Designs
Shaiha Williams    Shaihas Ramblings
Shelly Graham Turner    Fabric of My Life
Shelly Joyce     au jour le jour
Charlie Jacka
   Clay Space
Pam Sears   Crazy Creative Corner
Margareta Saari    Mags Jewelry
Marita Suominen    Moment of Jewelry
Lisa Posthumus   Lisa Posthumus-Harper FB
Jeannie Dukic    Jeannie's Blog
Cheri Reed    Creative Designs by Cheri
Susan Kennedy   Sue Beads
Sonya Ann Stille     Dreamin of Beads
Audrey Allen    Wrapped Up In Magic
Kashmira Patel   Sadafulee
Kathy Lindemer     Bay Moon Design
Kris Mattingly    Kris Hake Mattingly FB
Lennis Carrier     WindBent
Paula Hisel     Simply Beadiful

Karin Slaton    Backstory Beads
Shirley Moore     Beads and Bread
Alicia Marinache     All the Pretty Things
Lo     The Creative Klutz
Zoe Marcin     Beads, Tea and Sweets
Kimberly Booth     The Pink Martini Boutique
  You are here  --->   Sherri Stokey    Knot Just Macrame
Tanya McGuire    Tanya McGuire
Debbie Rasmussen    A Little of This, A Little of That

Christine Stonefield   Sweet Girl Design
Tanty Sri Hartani  TJewellicious
Sandra McGriff    Creative Chaos
Renetha Stanziano    Lamplight Crafts

Colene Waltermire    October Fest FB Group
Lee Nova   
October Fest FB Groups

 And if you're still with me clear down here, be sure to stop by Artistan Whimsy 
and vote for your favorite hooters!  Read all about my entry here

October 26, 2012

Halloween Bracelet Giveaway

I think we need a little giveaway, don't you? I have this bracelet entered in a Halloween Design contest that ends on October 30th.  Entries for the giveaway will run through midnight on October 31st and I will chose the winner on November 1st.

I designed this quirky charm bracelet around the pretty cameo portrait and added lovely flowers in black Lucite and orange Czech glass.  And a a bat charm, a black cat, a few skulls and skeleton claws... Pretty and creepy at the same time.  Creepily pretty?  Prettily creepy?  You can read more about it and see more photos in this blog post.

Enough said.  I've given you several ways to enter - your choice on how many or few you'd like to do!  PS - I'm getting creamed by little woven bead ghostie earrings AND an eyeball.  Go vote, will ya?  Vote Here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 23, 2012

Hooters Owl Challenge

When I heard about this hooters challenge, I just knew I had to participate - and get your minds out of the gutter:  hooters as in owls!  They're hosting a Hooters Owl Challenge at Artisan Whimsy and the rules are pretty simple.  Any Artisan Whimsy member can participate in one or both categories:  jewelry and components.  Submissions must be your own personal design and be handmade.  Oh, and the most important part - must contain an owl!
Now I ask you, what goes with owl better than macrame?   I started my owl with a crystal slider piece and used knotting and seed beads to make his body.  And then I was stuck.  How to hang him?  I debated for quite some time and took suggestions.  I considered a spiral macrame cord but decided it would be too much of a good thing.  Ribbon would be too simple, as would plain chain.  Strung beads are just not my style.  I finally decided on a fairly simple bead and chain combination.  A little random.  A bit eclectic.

I tried photographing this guy three different times before I finally got some pictures I thought were good enough.  The mix of black and silver and brass actually has a fair amount of color, but it is hard to capture.  I even tried hanging him in a tree (stop laughing - owls hang out in trees, don't they?).

The winner of this contest will be chosen by votes and voting begins October 28th at midnight and goes through October 30th at midnight.  Anyone can vote, but you will have to sign up at Artisan Whimsy to do so (and if you haven't already, you should anyway!).  I'll remind you when it's time to vote.  I'm counting on you to help me out on this one.  Remember, vote for this guy:

October 21, 2012

Kalmbach Bead Soup Party Reveal

Kalmbach Books is having a Bead Soup Party to celebrate the release of Lori Anderson's book Bead Soup and I was lucky enough to be chosen to participate.  I received this great soup from Boston Bead Company.  Check out that octopus!  How cool is he!  I will confess, though, that I received this package almost a month ago and it has taken me quite a while to decide exactly what to do with these components.  I'm just not a "gold" girl and the raw brass of the octopus was throwing me.  I love silver and copper and brass, but gold?  Not so much.   What's a girl to do?  Well, if you're me and you've been painting lucite flowers with your Vintaj patinas (here, if you missed it), you paint him.  Boy, did it take a lot of nerve to do that first blotch of color, because I knew there was no going back!

First I hit him with some sponged on blue patina, and then I added some of my new bronze.  I decided he needed to look cruddier (go figure - spellcheck says that's a word!), so I went over him with some black and brown antiquing.  Then just to bring out some highlights, I sanded him off a bit.  I'm thrilled with the results.  NOW he looks like a denizen of the deep.  A monster from the deepest part of the ocean.  

I decided to add a few freshwater pearls into the bead mix because I figure my Denizen deserves some sea-type treasure.  I made some links from all the beads at random and then used several different sizes of jump rings to string them all together.  I made a hook clasp with a freeform movement (inspired by tentacles!) and hit it with a little patina in keeping with the theme.  (Well, that and I seem to be obsessed with patinas, but I digress...)

Anyway, without further ado:

Did I mention I added a Vintaj starfish?

Many thanks to Kalmbach Books and to Boston Bead Company for allowing me to play!

October 19, 2012

Tutorial for Painting Lucite Flowers

Wanna know how to make some pretty painted Lucite flowers for yourself?  Do ya?  Huh?  Well, listen up, because I'm about to tell you.  You're going to need some kind of paint.  I used Vintaj patinas.  I know they adhere well to the Lucite and I haven't tried anything else, so what kind of paint you use is up to you.  I used:

You will also need some glaze.  I had this on hand, so that's what I used.

You will need something on which to mix those two things, as well as a mixing utensil.  I went low brow and used a paper plate and some toothpicks.  You'll also need some sponges.  I'm known for being a bit messy, so I opted for some disposable gloves and I covered my work area in newspaper.

You will also need some Lucite flowers.  I used some frosty white ones and some in colors. 

Pour a little puddle of glaze on your plate and add a few drops of patina.

Looks pretty cool when you drop it in there, huh?  Stir it around a bit and then dip your sponge in it and start sponging paint on the flowers.  I did several in one sitting (maybe a couple dozen?) so by the time I'd finished sponging one color and started with another, the first ones were dry enough to hit with that second color.  Just keep dabbing on paint until you get something you like.  I used blue, olive green and teal with a touch of bronze on the ones in the first photo.  Here's one during the process:

And here they are after I've done all the sponging I'm going to do:

Now comes the scary part:  antiquing.  Mix some glaze with a dark brown or black (or I guess you could use whatever you want - I used brown with a drop of black).  Use quite a bit of glaze in your glaze-to-patina ratio here.  Then go over the whole flower with it:

Told you it was scary.  Now wipe off the excess, leaving the color mostly in the cracks and crevices.  You should end up with something like this:

Let them dry well and then hit them with a coat of clear glaze to shine them up.  Sit back for a minute and admire your handiwork:

Here are some others I did in different colors earlier in the week, layered up with some brass filigree:

Now for the disclaimers:  I don't profess to be an expert at painting Lucite flowers with Vintaj patinas.  I don't know if it's against any rules and I don't know if the resulting floral artworks will last into the next millennium.  Nobody told me I couldn't do it, so I did.  It worked for me.  If you try it, I'd love some feedback.  Have fun!!

October 15, 2012

An Introduction to Using Fiber in Jewelry Design

I hope you'll forgive me for the duplication if you saw this over at Artisan Whimsey, but I thought there was some good information here that I really wanted to share with you.  And yes, I did write it - I'm not just ripping off blog content LOL.  Read on:

 Fiber in jewelry design is HOT – it’s everywhere you look right now. From leather to repurposed sari silks and everything in between, adding fiber to your jewelry designs can soften things up and add "warmth". Think of it like adding curtains and floor coverings to a room.

There are lots of different ways to add fiber. Try using silk ribbon as a stringing medium with large hole beads. Or use a length of lace to suspend a pendant. How about some waxed linen knotted between an eclectic collection of beads? Or nylon cord knotted into a macramé bracelet. A strip of material wrapped around a bangle? A simple little ribbon bow might be just what you need to add the finishing touch to a pair of earrings. You are limited only by your imagination.

There are a few things to consider when using fiber:
  • Strength: Some fibers are not as strong as other materials, just as some chains are not as strong as others. Be sure you understand the strength of the fiber you are using. Weaker, thinner fibers might best be used for accents rather than the main stringing material, for example.
  • Stretch: Elastic stretches and many other fibers do, too. You'll want to think about this when you are designing if you don’t want your choker to become a necklace.
  • Drape: Different fibers have different draping characteristics. Some are thinner, some are thicker and others even have stiffeners or coatings added. Experiment a bit with your chosen fiber to make sure it will behave the way you want it to.
  • Durability: A delicate handmade lace might not hold up as well over time as leather cord, which leads to the next consideration:
  • Special care: Will oils from the skin affect the fiber? Will it react badly to being accidentally immersed in water? You will want to know these things, and so will the people wearing your jewelry.

What types of fiber are we talking about here? The choices are practically endless! Consider:
  • Ribbon of all kinds including hand dyed silk and sari silk
  • Hemp in a range of colors and sizes. Some hemp is less refined and has more variation in diameter down the length of it, which gives a more rustic appearance.
  • Nylon cord in a huge array of colors and diameters
  • Lace
  • Leather, suede and manmade alternatives
  • Yarn including a huge variety of hand spun alternatives
  • Fiberwire which is essentially a fiber with a wire core
  • Textiles
  • Waxed Irish Linen/Cotton
Now that I have you convinced using fiber in your next piece of jewelry is a must, you are probably wondering, “But, how do I finish it?” There are all kinds of specially designed findings from end caps to ribbon clamps made just for working with fiber. Or go outside the box and do you own thing. Knot it around a jump ring or tie your clasp on with a bow. Experiment and have fun.  And for some great examples of fiber used in jewelry design, check out the Artisan Whimsey Pinterest board for all things fiber: Fiber, Leather, Silk! Oh, My

If you haven't signed up yet at Artiscan Whimsey, you really should.  It's a gathering of some of the most talented jewelry artisans I've ever seen and the blog posts are fantastic.  There are also tutorials, forums and enough eye candy to keep you busy for weeks:)

October 12, 2012

My Mom Sews

My mom makes the most beautiful quilts.  Not only are they visually appealing and artfully made with an eye for color placement, they are also technically perfect.  Every seam lines up perfectly, every corner is exactly square.  She's able to achieve this level of perfection because she's a fusser.  And a measurer.  And a ripper-outer and re-doer if necessary.  Me, on the other hand, I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, I'm-sure-it-will-be-fine-when-it's-finished, nobody-will-ever-notice-that-little-goof type of person.  If it weren't for the fact that we agree on most other things, I'd wonder if I was adopted.

Seriously.  She uses recipes and measures.  Right down to 1/4 teaspoon.  My philosophy is that a half teaspoon is some, 1/4 t is a little less, and a teaspoon is a little more.  1/8 t is a smidge and anything less than that doesn't even show up on my radar.  My mom?  Yes, she measures 1/8 t if the recipe calls for it.  She also keeps a ruler in her kitchen drawer and if a recipe calls for rolling something out to a 8" circle... Yep.  Hers is 8".  Although this kind of attention to detail is not my forte, I do have to admit that her recipes turn out the same every time.  Mine?  Not so much.  And it frustrates my mother in law to no end when she likes something I've made and asks for the recipe.  Honestly, though?  After 25 years of this, she out to know there isn't going to be one.

So... what did I start to tell you about before I wandered off on a random topic?   Oh, yes - sewing.  My mom sews.  I do not.  She tried to teach me - really, she did (and still has the grey hair to prove it).  You can imagine how much fun that was for her given our personality differences in this area!  I suppose it should be said that I technically possess the knowledge necessary to sew.  I have sewn.  I could sew again, but only if it would save someones life or right some catastrophic wrong or something.  You know... like if I sew this seam, the hostages will be set free:)  Barring that, I'm not gonna do it.

My kids didn't even know sewing was possible until one time we were at my parents' house visiting and my daughter came out with a pair of her pajamas with a rip in the shoulder seam.  My mom took them and stitched that right up and my daughter was flabbergasted!  Who KNEW you could FIX clothing!

This is the Autumn quilt my mom made for me and it's fantastic.  Thank goodness for her fussing and measuring tendencies.

Oh, did I mention my mom alphabetizes her spices?

October 9, 2012

Creepy With a POP of Orange

 These are the beads and findings I pulled out to use in a fun piece this week.  I had a few spare minutes to play along with the Color Combo Challenge of the week.  Here's the palette we had to work with:
Yes, you may see a fish, but I saw a great Halloween-ish piece.  I decided I just had to use the piece with the lady's portrait set in the pretty pendant frame, but I still wanted a creep factor to the piece.  So I mixed in black Lucite flowers and bright orange Czech glass flowers and a little heart shaped cameo charm with some skulls and skeletons, a bat charm and a black cat.  I added some filler beads and do-dads and a few rattling chains and ta da:
 There's even a little clock charm - Oh, look!  It's almost midnight.  Bwahahahaha...
I do think it's a pretty piece, though.  Fun and funky, slightly weird and a little twisted. 

October 4, 2012

Play Date Artist Reveal

Do you remember when I told you about the new feature Shelley Graham Turner of Tori Sophia
is doing?  Play Date Artist?  Remember?  Okay, if you don't remember you get two demerits and have to stand in the corner, or if you don't want to do that, you could check out that post here.  I'll give you the short version for good measure:  Shelley calls herself a weirdo, but she's an incredibly talented, fun loving and generous artist.  She sent one of her handmade polymer clay buttons along with some matching beads (see photo above) and kept a set of the same beads for herself.  We both make something from this collection and unveil what we make on a certain date, which just happens to be today.  End of recap.

I decided to try to use as many of the beads Shelley sent as possible, so I went with a multi-strand bracelet.  I love the colors in her button focal - they range from coppery oranges to a plumy purple color.  I went though my stash and found some wooden beads with great markings and the right colors and used them to string one strand of the bracelet.  I knotted another strand in a simple square knot pattern using ginger colored cord and the seed beads from Shelley's stash.  For the last strand, I used all the other beads and the copper links and added a few of my own copper bead caps, too.  I even added one of the pretty leaves on the end of the extender chain.

  I hope you will stop by Shelley's blog at Fabric of My Life and see what she made - that's where I'm headed! 

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