February 23, 2013

Year of Jewelry Week Week 8 - Multiples

Components in micro macrame by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame
Micro-macrame components
This week's theme for the Year of Jewelry is Multiples.  I didn't really have an exact plan in mind when I started making these micro macrame components, but I spent a couple evenings making them.  And then a couple more debating on what to do with them.  Necklaces just seem to be happening lately, so I thought I'd expand on that.  I made a bunch (as in multiples) of connector pieces out of wire and beads to match:

wire and bead connector components
Wire components
And while I was at it, I made a clasp.

wire and bead clasp
Wire and bead clasp
And then I hooked them all together and came up with this:

necklace made of micro macrame pieces and wire connectors
Necklace made of micro macrame pieces and wire connectors
necklace made of micro macrame pieces and wire connectors

Ta da!  Wanna see what else I've done for the Year of Jewelry?  Check here or here for a couple of them.  Or use the search function to find them all!

February 22, 2013

Beaded Macrame Necklaces

Multi strand macrame necklace in purple by sherri stokey of knot just macrame
Multi strand macrame necklace in purple
I've been experimenting a bit with knotted necklaces in a heavier weight of cording than I normally use.  A bit of macrame at each end and a beaded loop and button closure with strands of knotted beads in between makes for a fun swingy necklace.  I've got a few really pretty buttons to play with.  The one in this purple number is one of my favorites with a combination of purple and copper.

Macrame neckace in purple and copper
Purple necklace with button closure
Beaded macrame necklace multiple strands in aqua teal
Aqua macrame necklace

The button in this aqua one is Czech glass with reverse painting and a floral design:

Czech glass button closure with beaded macrame look
Czech glass button closure
beaded macrame necklace with button closure
Aqua multi strand knotted necklace
Still haven't seen enough?  Check out the one I made here.

February 17, 2013

Year of Jewelry Week 7 - Off the Cuff

Purple ombre macrame cuff bracelet by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame

The theme for Week 7 of the Year of Jewelry was "Off the Cuff".  I debated all week (read:  procrastinated) and rejected idea after idea.  Then *bam!* this morning it just hit me.  I dug out several shades of purple cord:

Shaed of purple C-lon bead cord

After playing around a bit, I made some end pieces to anchor my knotting out of darkened steel.  It's got an interesting rustic look to it that works well with my design.

Handmade end findings made from darkened steel

Some solid knotting on both ends made the piece more stable and the strand of spirals in graduating shades of purple makes for an interesting texture.

End of purple ombre macrame cuff showing cavendoli knotting and spirals

You know what's interesting about this piece?  No beads!  I rarely do macrame without beads for some reason, but this piece just didn't seem to need any.  I did add a dangle just for a bit of movement, but it's not knotted in, so I'm not counting it.  (Hey, it's my blog - my rules.)

Fastened cuff bracelet showing cavandoli work

Shades of purple cuff style bracelet with handcrafted wire pieces

Crazy about ombre?  Check out my bead weaving version here.

February 15, 2013

A Palette Swap Challenge

image from Design Seeds
I belong to a fun group, Bead Swap - USA, (don't let then name fool you, though - there are members from other countries there, too).  I joined at first just to trade a few beads.  I tend to go "overboard" now and again (massive understatement there) and overbuy.  Or think I'm going to start making something in a certain style, so I buy the beads for it (in ever conceivable color) only to discover I don't really like that style?  Bead Swap USA is a group of bead nuts who all sort of have the same problem.  Don't get me wrong, it's a good problem to have.  I'd rather have too many beads than not enough beads...

But anyway, I've met some amazingly talented folks there, and Lindsay Starr is one of them.  I've long admired Lindsay's style and flair.  She does a lot of bead weaving - free style pieces that I couldn't do in a million years.  When she suggested we do a swap, I jumped at the chance.  We decided to make it a challenge by choosing a color palette that we would both use and after much debating, we chose the picture of boats shown above with blues and a gray with a pop of mustard and one other color.  It's sort of a yellowish black color which led to an interesting conversation between the two of us:
Me: what is it exactly? dark mustard? baby poo brown?
Lindsay: I was thinking that khaki olive drab...it's what happens when you add black paint to yellow - it turns greeny brown
Me: you call it khaki olive drab, I call it baby poo... One of us obviously has some real training..
Lindsay: puce?
Me: gah - that even sounds bad. waaaaaayyyy too close to a vomit word
Lindsay: Nope! No training! Plus somebody told me puce was some sort of pink color...Oh I know, we can call it bile...that's a great color name!
 And so we called it "bile".  Let me tell you, shopping for bile colored beads is a challenge all its own.  I rounded up some beads and cord:

autumn floats color palette blue gray grey mustard yellow beads and cord

Since macrame is my comfort zone, I decided to do a beaded macrame bracelet.   I ended up making one and then because I wanted it to be JUST right for Lindsay, I did just a bit of tweaking and made another.  This was my first attempt.

Close up of micro macrame work by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame

Then I decided to change the cord color just a little bit and add a variation with alternating mustard and gray beads in one row.  Oh, and notice my bile colored beads (lower right hand corner)?

Finished micromacrame bracelet in blue, mustard and gray grey

I mailed off my piece and then was on pins and needles until Lindsay got it.  Then I staked out my mailbox, waiting.  And boy was it worth the wait:

Bead weaving necklace by Lindsay Starr of Phantasm Creations
Holy cow.  My jaw is still a bit slack.  I am astounded at the detail in her piece.  It flows and catches your eye with well placed color and and plays on size and shape and movement.  She's used her signature free form style and about every other bead weaving stitch known to man.  Even the back of the cab is beautifully beaded.

Bead weaving necklace by Lindsay Starr of Phantasm Creations

This swap was great fun and I couldn't be happier with my new necklace.  Want to do a swap of your own?  Ms. Nicole over at Bead Swap - USA  is always coming up with some new and fun swap.  Right now we're signing up for a handmade charm swap.  There are fifteen of us and we will each make at least one charm for each person and include a little note with each that tells something about ourselves and why we chose to make that charm.  We should end up with an amazing charm bracelet full of meaningful and beautiful pieces.  How cool is that!?

Want to see more of Lindsay's work?  You can find her over on Facebook at Phantasm Creations.

Or maybe you just want to look at some lovely color combinations?  You might want to hop over to Design Seeds and take a gander at some of her color palettes.  LOADS of inspiration there, let me tell you.  Or if you're just plumb happy hanging out here, you can see some other fun palettes I used here and here (this one's a lizard!).

February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine Nebraska sign The Heart City

Happy Valentine's Day!!  I was born and raised in Valentine, Nebraska, so it's a given that Valentine's Day holds a special place in my heart (insert groan here).  Valentine is a little speck of a town in the Nebraska Sandhills and other than a lot of open spaces, hunting, and fishing, Valentine's Day is what people "do" there.  It's their claim to fame.  There are little hearts on the street signs and bigger hearts stenciled down the sidewalks on Main Street.  If you want to be clever, you can mail your Valentine's Valentine to Valentine for a special postmark.  They'll slap a cachet on it and send it off to your special person.  I gotta tell ya, I worked at the post office there for a couple of years and I dreaded the extra workload.  But now it all seems kind of sweet.

Valentine Nebraska cachet 1963 Heart of the Sandhills

  I do have fond memories of Valentine's Day from my childhood.  In Valentine, everybody celebrates.  Mothers buy Valentines for their children, children make Valentines for their grandparents - nobody is left out for lack of a partner.  Everybody loves somebody.  The biggest pageant of the year happens there on Valentine's Day - Coronation.  Children from each grade are selected to be a part of the carefully choreographed and scripted event and, at least when I was in school, it was a big deal to be chosen.  There are different themes each year.  Some years they do the traditional red and white and hearts bit and some years they get a lot more creative.  The year my little brother was the "messenger", he got to run up and down the aisle taking messages to the emcees wearing a little Paul Revere suit.  How cool is that!

Me, on the other hand?  I was in middle school when I got chosen - maybe 6th grade.  And I got to be a tree.  Yep, you read that right - a flippin' tree.  I challenge you to name just ONE teenage girl who wants to dress up in a tree costume and parade around in front of the whole town.  Can't, can you?

Anyway, my costume consisted of a lovely bark colored shapeless tree trunk dress (floor length, no shaping at all) and a headband with leaves sticking out of it.  My fellow trees and I held up leafy branches to form an arch under which the beautifully dressed king and queen candidates passed.  I have a photo somewhere of me in that costume.  It was taken against my will, believe me.  Good times.  UPDATED to add proof:

Me in my tree costume

See - I told you - I couldn't make this stuff up.  By the way, did you notice the groovy macrame plant hangers?

I did get to be a candidate for queen in my senior year, thank goodness.  It was my chance to be in the Coronation dressed in a pretty dress and redeem myself.  Somewhat.  I mean, I'll probably never fully recover from the tree costume trauma, but that helped.

So anyway, whether you're the queen or a tree, I hope you enjoy your day.  And if you'd like to read more about my hometown, check out this post.  Love ya!

Antique calling card friendship doves flowers

February 9, 2013

Year of Jewelry Week 6 - Embrace

Beaded micro macrame earrings with ceramic connectors.

I can't believe we're in the sixth week of the Year of Jewelry already, but the fact remains!  The theme for this week is Embrace which can mean to receive or accept willingly, like embracing a new idea.  I purchased some great ceramic pieces from Petra of Scorched Earth a couple of weeks ago with the thought of trying something new.  Wanna see the great stuff I bought from her?  You know you do...

Ceramic pieces from Scorched Earth

I wanted to use the connector pieces in some earrings and combine them with macrame.  I've been mulling over this concept for a while now and finally decided it was time to embrace it.  I made a couple of small pieces of macrame and used some rustic looking Czech glass beads in them.

Macrame earrings with handmade darkened steel jump ring

Since I was already in uncharted waters, I decided to push it and make my own findings, too.  I used some darkened steel wire to make ear wires and large jump rings that I used to attach everything.  I used this tutorial for making the ear wires and it was super easy.

Handcrafted ear wire in darkened steel with Czech beads

I can't wait to play with some of the other pieces I bought from Petra and I'm also waiting for another order from her.  She made some custom pieces for me to use in my macrame bracelets so stay tuned for those.  Meanwhile, if you'd like to see a few of my other Year of Jewelry pieces, look here and here.

Handmade jewelry - earrings by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame

February 3, 2013

Déjà Vu - Year of Jewelry Week 5

Reworked macrame necklace with Tori Sophia button.

The theme this week for the Year of Jewelry was Déjà Vu.  As in "Haven't I seen this somewhere before?"  The challenge was to take a piece and rework it (and hopefully make it better!).  I chose a bracelet I'd made with a focal by Shelley Graham Turner of Tori Sophia for a Play Date Artist Reveal back in October.  You can read all about it here, but I'll show you the bracelet:

Bracelet from Play Date Artist Reveal with Tori Sophia

I really loved the button Shelley made and I wanted some bulk since the button was pretty sizable.  I went with a multi-strand bracelet design and beefed it up with some wooden beads I found in the perfect colors.  I liked the looks of the piece, but it was just never as wearable as I wanted it to be.  Because the three strands were made of different mediums, they moved differently - and not always in harmony.  I decided to rework it and I started by cutting everything apart and making a bead soup.

Palette with S-lon Tex 400 cord, Tori Sophia button and assorted beads

I found a spool of Superlon Tex 400 cord in a gold color that really draws out the undertones of the button.  This cord is double the thickness of the cord I usually work with, so it has some heft to it.  I decided to make a necklace this time around, but keep with the multi-strand design.  I used the button as the clasp and made a loop in my macrame to accommodate it.  Then I added a little bit of decorative knotting and some beads, long strands of knotted cord interspersed with random beads and some pretty knotting on the other end with a place to stitch the button.  This is the piece I ended up with:

Multi strand beaded macrame necklace by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame

A close up of the button/clasp area:

Close up of button clasp and macrame knotting

I really like this piece.  I think it highlights Shelley's button much better than the bracelet did and I think the size of it is better for the button, too.  I haven't worked much with the Tex 400, but I think I'm going to have to do some more experimenting - I really like it in this necklace.

Multiple strand necklace with knotting by Knot Just Macrame

So, there you have it.  My version of Déjà Vu.  Want to see what the other members did with this theme?  Check out their work here.

February 1, 2013

Me? A Grandmother?


Meet my new grandson, Carter!  I hadn't expected to be a grandmother for a while yet, but apparently the Universe had other ideas.  Just when I think life is getting a bit dull and predictable...  BAM!  Some fairy somewhere waves her magic wand and POOF, I'm a gramma.  

I'm still getting used to the whole mother-of-the-father-of-the-baby thing.  Testing out monikers.  Granny is already taken, as is Gramma P.  Memaw is out.  Nana is a possibility.  My friend told me I'd love being called Grandma as soon as it's said by that sweet little boy while he's holding his arms out to me.  I think she is probably right.  I am smitten.  He's just absolutely perfect.

My son is learning to be a father.  I think he is going to be amazing at it.  He's a natural.

father and baby

playtime for father and baby boy

father feeding baby boy

I am absolutely certain life will never be the same.  And looking at this sweet face, I wouldn't have it any other way.

clean baby after a bath in a cute frog towel

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