March 20, 2013

Spring Has Sprung Beaded Micro Macrame - Year of Jewelry Week 12

Close up of beaded micro macrame bracelet in spring yellow by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame

Our "assignment" for this week at the Year of Jewelry is Spring.  As in Spring Has Sprung.  Which is a great thought, by the way, and technically (as in according to the calendar) spring has arrived.  Here in my neck of the woods, however, the weather is anything but spring-like.  It was flat out cold this morning and there's a chance of snow for the next several days.  

For the sake of this exercise, I'm going to pretend spring has arrived.  I'm going to imagine I can see tiny buds of the softest green on the trees with promises of  summer behind them.  I'm pretending the hyacinths and tulips and crocus are blooming with the sweetest of spring hues.  And in the midst of this spring utopia, there must be ducklings, because there is nothing that screams spring more than baby ducks.  They are absolutely the most adorable little things, too - maybe even cuter than kittens and puppies!

With flowers and duckies on my mind, I came up with these pieces for the week:

Beaded macrame bracelet and earrings in soft yellow

Did I lose you on the translation from duckies and flowers to macrame jewelry?  It seemed perfectly logical to me, but I've also been told I don't think the same as "normal" people... I used the perfect duckling yellow cord and beads and the pattern has a sort of floral feel to it.  Are you with me?  

Beaded micro-macrame bracelet knotted by Sherri Stokey

Beaded micromacrame earrings from Knot Just Macrame

OK, don't say I didn't warn you.  I'm going to prove that baby ducks are the cutest thing ever.  Ready?


Told you.

March 16, 2013

Holiday Bling Blog Hop 3 Reveal - Happy Everything You Do Is Right Day

Happy Everything you do is Right Day Happy guy

That's right folks, you heard it here.  Today, March 16, is Everything You Do Is Right Day.  Think about that for a minute.  Margaritas for breakfast?  Well sure, any other day of the year that might be a problem, but today?  Everything you do is right, remember?  Game on.

When Marlene & Shelley of MarShellSwaps decided to host a spring version of their popular Holiday Bling Swap and Blog Hop, they didn't specify which spring holiday we should celebrate, nor did they tell us what we should swap.  They left it all up to us.  My partner, Lori Bowring Michaud of Artfully Ornamental  and I tossed around a few ideas and then we realized the reveal was today - Everything You Do Is Right Day - and well, everything was easy after that.  Because today we can do no wrong.  Ha.

Most of the items in the previous HBBH swaps have been ornaments or jewelry, but Lori and I decided to do our own thing and swap jewelry components.  How fun is that!?  And without further ado, the components Lori sent:

From Lori Bowring Michaud

The top piece in this photo is a polymer and crystal slider.  On the bottom, the clasp on the left is sea glass set in resin in a Susan Lenert Kaszmer bezel and the clasp on the right is made of a vintage copper leaf, Ann Ricketts lampwork bead and Swarovski crystals.  I'm in love already.  But wait - there's more...

sea glass in resin

dilled sea glass

Sea glass!  I adore sea glass!  And not only did Lori send drilled pieces, she set some heart shaped pieces in resin in a gorgeous connector piece.  But no, that's not all...

Handpainted stained glass button by Lori Bowring Michaud

Hand painted stained glass button, anyone?  And, as if all that wasn't MORE than enough, Ms. Lori included one more thing:

Handpainted polymer pendant/bracelet focal

A hand painted polymer pendant/bracelet focal.  Everything is so beautiful and Lori was way too generous.  But since today is Everything You Do Is Right Day, I'm going to accept everything she sent and float around all day on a cloud of euphoria - because it's the right thing to do.  And I'm going to be wearing this bracelet I put together using her sea glass and resin clasp:

Bracelet using Windbent polymer clay bird, sea glass and resin clasp, Kazuri bead, lampwork spacers and dyed howlite starfish.

Isn't that fun!?  It seem beachy and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.   I used some pieces I've been collecting.  The blue bird in the front is by Lennis Carrier of Windbent and the big striped bead is a Kazuri bead.  There are also a couple of dyed howlite starfish (or sea stars, if we're being politically correct and up to date here) and some other bits and pieces.  I think everything goes well with Lori's beach glass clasp, don't you?

Be sure to pop over to Lori's blog, Artfully Ornamental, and say "hi".  You got it - it's the right thing to do.  Then go eat cookies for lunch.  Oh, and here's the list of other hop participants.  Tell 'em I sent ya.

Alicia Marinache
Catherine King
 Chris Schlicht
 Cynthia Machata
 Dyanne Everett-Cantrell

Gina Hockett 
Jennifer Reno
Laura Reed
Leanne Loftus
 Lennis Carrier

Lori Bowring Michaud
Marti Conrad
Mary Govaars
Renetha Stanziano
Rita/ Toltec Jewels

Sandra McGriff
Sarah Goode 
Sherri Stokey   <----Yep, you are here
Sonya Stille 
Tammie Everly

Therese Frank 
Tiffany Goff Smith
Marlene Cupo
 Shelley Graham Turner

March 13, 2013

Year of Jewelry Week 11 - Rescued from the Scrap Bin Earrings

Broken clay beads maybe trade beads

This week's theme for The Year of Jewelry is "Rescued from the Scrap Bin" and I found just the piece to rescue.  I picked up a necklace a while back at an estate sale because I thought the beads were interesting.  The piece was in really bad shape.  The knotted leather holding the beads together was cracking with age and several of the beads were chipped and broken.  But I still thought it had potential.

Estate sale necklace with clay beads

I did a little asking around online and the most common opinion is that these are trade beads.  Apparently clay beads like this come from Africa, Asia, and Central and South America and the metal beads with them are common of North Africa and India.  No matter where they came from, I like them.  I thought I'd do a quick pair of earrings with a couple of the beads.  Something a bit rough around the edges and unrefined like the beads.  And since my metal working skills aren't that great, that's exactly what I got.

Earrings by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame using handcrafted brass findings, trade beads and cord.

I bent some scrap pieces of antique brass into horseshoe shapes and then beat the heck out of them until they were fairly flat.  I hung the beads at the top of the arch using some scraps of cord left over from a bracelet project and added little bits of wire to the bottom to hold the cord and the top to hold everything in place.  I made really simple ear wires to match.  Easy peasy and very different for me.  And I still have quite a few beads left from the necklace:)

March 10, 2013

Year Of Jewelry Week 10 - Wabi Sabi

Beaded macrame bracelet by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame with ceramic piece by Scorched Earth.

I have to admit I had no idea what Wabi-sabi was before this week's theme for the Year of Jewelry.  After a little research, this is what I can share:  Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic embracing beauty in imperfection and impermanence.  It's an acceptance of the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death.  Flea markets, garage sales, patina and cracks rather than shopping malls and shiny perfection.  OK, I can do this.  I'm the queen of garage sale season.  Check out these posts about my booty (and that's like loot booty - minds out of gutters, please) Saling and Garage Sale Finds.

Turns out it's way harder than it sounds, if you're fussy like me.  My little knots have to line up just right or all is not right in my world.  But, I know an artist who does wonderful things with imperfection and I recently had her make some bracelet ends that I designed just for macrame.  Petra of Scorched Earth did these end pieces for me.  They're just incredible and they have a bar for me to attach my cords.  She has an organic, earthy style that doesn't even pretend to be perfect, and that's the beauty of it.

Micro Macrame bracelet with picasso czech glass beads and ceramic end pieces.

I was a little off my game when I sat down to make this piece.  The first time around I cut my cords too short.  The second time they were the right length, but I decided the color was wrong.  Third time's a charm, though, I got them long enough and I really like this green color with the end pieces and the Czech glass beads.  I've used these beads with Petra's pieces before - I think they go well together.  There's nothing fussy about these beads.  They're colorfully unapologetic.

Macrame with Czech glass beads with picasso finish
And there you have it.   That's my homage to  Wabi-sabi.  I know I didn't really get in the life cycle concept.  It's pretty hard for me to wrap my mind around the death of a bead.  It's just too sad - we can't go there.  But I did manage to loosen up and bit and get a little more organic feel to this piece.  I think.  Either way, it was a fun exercise and I really love the bracelet!

Micromacrame bracelet with beads and clay end pieces

March 7, 2013

7th Bead Soup Blog Party - Soup's On!

Bead soup from Juli Cannon

If you make jewelry, you've probably heard of Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Parties, and if you haven't, you're missing out.  Lori explains it best, of course, but in a nutshell, a whole bunch of bead enthusiasts get paired up and send one another a "bead soup" consisting of at least a focal, a clasp and a few coordinating beads.  Then each person must make something using at a minimum the focal and the clasp.  I love to  see all the different soups - there really are endless possibilities.  Then seeing how those soups are transformed fascinates me.  

I have been partnered with the lovely and talented Juli Cannon.  This woman has some mad talent.  She makes lampwork beads AND does bead embroidery and bead weaving and jewelry design.  Her work is incredible.  Pop over to her blog, Studio Juls and take a look around.  You'll can thank me later.

So that gorgeous soup up there?  THAT'S what arrived in my mailbox the other day.  My eyes rolled completely back in my head, I swear.  Just look at that focal.  Juli made it to go with the dalmatian jasper beads - isn't that spiffy!?  She made the round lampwork beads with the swirls, too.  

lampwork beads by juli cannon of Studio Juls

And if all that wasn't enough?  She sent me another set just because!

green and aqua lampwork beads by juli cannon of Studio Juls

I am so in love with this set there aren't words.  My very favorite colors all rolled in together.  I just want to carry them around petting them all day.

And, because obviously Juli is an all or nothing kind of gal, she put in some Czech glass buttons for me to take her package past "over the top" and right to "out of the park".  

Czech glass buttons

I sent Juli a soup with a crazy lace agate with gray and yellows for the focal.  The porcelain owl bead is there just because I thought he was cute and matched the assorted glass seed beads and the mix of stone, recycle glass, Czech and Greek ceramic beads.  I put in a couple of different clasps - one metal and then one made of tagua nut.

Bead soup from Sherri Stokey with agate focal, owl bead, tagua nut clasp

This is the second time I've been able to participate , so if you're looking for something to do while you wait for this reveal, you can read about last year's here.  Be sure to come back on March 30th to see what I make with Juli's beads.  Oh, and if you want an endless supply of eye candy, check out the list of participants and their blogs on Lori's blog here.

March 3, 2013

Simplicity Update

Macrame textile pendant on rubber cord by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame

Isn't it funny how we sometimes see something without really looking at it?  I had a vision of this piece, or I should say, I had a vision of the pendant part of this piece.  I made that happen and put it on a chain and the result was fine.  And then a friend of mine whose opinion I can always trust, mentioned that she wasn't crazy about the chain.  So I went back and really looked at the overall design of the piece and discovered I agreed with her.  I replaced the chain with a rubber cord.  Here's a side by side comparison:

Micro macrame pendant on chain and same pendant on rubber cord
It makes a huge difference in the overall look of the piece, doesn't it?  I didn't even know I was unhappy with the first piece until I saw the second take on it!  It's good to have friends who will give you honest opinions.  Thank you, Bianca!

This was also a good lesson for me to stay focused on ALL the details of a piece because they ALL matter.

Necklace with macrame on wire pendant hung on black cord.

March 2, 2013

Year of Jewelry Week 9 "Simplicity" - Macrame Pendant

Year of Jewelry Week 9 Simplicity macrame pendant by Sherri Stokey

The theme for Week 9 in the Year of Jewelry was "Simplicity", and I have to admit that coming up with a piece for this week was anything but simple for me.  I make pieces that are intricate and lacy.  Complex.  Sometimes even fussy.  Rarely simple and uncomplicated.  Since pushing myself to explore a bit outside my normal boundaries was one of the reasons I chose to do the Year of Jewelry challenge, I guess this was a good exercise.

My idea (once I finally came up with one) was to make a simple macrame pendant, but I'm never satisfied to do what's expected of me, so I made a little wire piece on which to hang my pendant.  I used some 14g wire and beat it flat on the ends and started my knots on that.  The color scheme is simple, in keeping with the theme:  black and khaki.

Close up on macrame knots

I did have to finish it off with another wire at the bottom.  I couldn't resist just a little detail.  

Textile pendant knotted by Sherri Stokey

Even my photos are simple for this piece with no busy backgrounds.  That was hard for me, too.

Micro macrame pendant necklace by Knot Just Macrame.
The very simplicity of this design and the bold contrast of the cord colors really brings all the focus and attention to the knot work.  It was their turn to have the lead, you know.  The beads always get to be the stars around here.  Looks like I learned something from this challenge after all!  

Still want more?  You can read more about stretching the limits on creativity here.  Or you can see what everyone else in the group came up with for this week in this Facebook album.
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