October 26, 2014

Celebrating Autumn - Octoberfest 2014 Blog Hop

Octoberfest 2014

My friend Rita of Toltec Jewels is hosting her third annual Octoberfest Blog Hop today and I thought it would be fun to join.  She asks only that participants do something - anything - to celebrate autumn and blog about it.  I've been enjoying autumn for the past several weeks, and what's more autumn than apples?  A friend has over twenty apple trees and sent home a whole bunch of apples for us.  


After conning my daughter and her friend into helping, we peeled and chopped apples until we couldn't stand it anymore.  We ended up with a huge roaster (the giant one I use for Thanksgiving turkeys), a huge dutch over and a large crock pot full of apples.  I added a little sugar and cinnamon and a splash of apple juice and set them all to cook for hours and hours and hours.  The sugar in the apples caramelizes and the apples break down and when all is said and done, you end up with apple butter.  

Homemade apple butter

We ended up with something like 15 pints of apple butter and still had bags and bags of apples left.  I've been slicing them and drying them in my dehydrators every night for a week now.  And honestly?  I am not sure when I'll ever be able to even LOOK at another apple.

In the weekend between apple butter and dried apples, my husband and I took a trip up through the Rocky Mountains.  It's one of our favorite things to do in the fall and we always try to time a trip when the leaves are turning.  
Autumn in the Rockies

My photography skills are just not good enough to capture the beauty, but I always try.  Notice the gorgeous waterfall in the distance in this one?  We hiked up to get this view and it was so worth it!

Mountain waterfall

My favorite, though, is always the vibrant yellow.

Autumn in the Rocky Mountains

Vibrant colors of fall

Brilliantly colored leaves

A while back I found a great variegated cord and used it to make a chain of leaves (the class is available here if you want to try it).  I was never quite satisfied with the outcome, so I set it aside.  After being inspired by the mountain trip, I dug it back out and made a few changes.  At a suggestion from a friend (thanks, Lindsay!) I used some lizard leather to make connectors and added some swags of colorful glass seed beads between the leaves.

Micro macrame leaves and hand made leather connector

I also made a clasp to match and sponged on some of the necklace colors.


And I ended up with a colorful autumn necklace with cascading leaves, funky leather connectors and multiple strands of beads.

Micro macrame necklace by Sherri Stokey with knotted leaves, leather connectors and multiple strands of beads.

And that, my friends, is this year's ode to autumn from me.  I hope you'll take some time to visit the other participants below and see what they did.  And be sure to swing by Rita's site and tell her if you like her blog hop!

Toltec Jewels (Hostess)

Sherri Stokey <----You are Here
Michelle McCarthy

October 22, 2014

A Collaborative Experiment with Bead Weaving and Micro Macrame

Micro macrame by Sherri Stokey with polymer cab by Lindsay Starr

Do you remember my friend, Lindsay Starr?  She's the creative genius behind Phantasm Creations and does some of the most amazing bead work I have ever seen.  I did a trade with her last year (you can read about it in this post) and we decided it was time to do another one, this time with a twist.  We would each start a piece and then send it to the other person to finish.  

I had been hoarding a face cab she made and decided it would be fun to do something with that.  Me being me (with a micro macrame obsession) it stood to reason that I would have to do something with macrame, so I knotted two pieces the size of the cab.  As you can see from the photo, the front piece is a bezel with a hole for the face to peek through and the back is a solid circle of knotting.  I sandwiched them together and did some more knotting to get this:

Micro macrame bezel on a polymer cab

I didn't exactly know what I was doing, since this was my first attempt at something like this.  I learned some things I will definitely do better next time, but I like the way she turned out.  The way the knotting snugs up around her face makes me think of a woman in the cold with her hood drawn up close to keep her warm.  

Knotted micro macrame circles by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame

I wanted to give Lindsay a little more knotting to work with in case she needed to bring it back into her design, so I knotted a couple more circles keeping with the theme.  It will be most interesting to see what she makes with these.  And meanwhile, she send me these beautiful pieces:

Beaded pieces by Lindsay Starr of Phantasm Creations

Gorgeous, right?!  The flower and leaf (and maybe the time of year) made me think of Day of the Dead (okay, that's probably one of those thought transitions that only I would follow, but it makes perfect sense to me).  I decided to try something really different and attempt to knot a skull.  I know!  Ridiculous, right!?

Beaded pieces by Lindsay Starr and macrame by Sherri Stokey

No, it's not a white strawberry and yes, it is going to be more skull-like before I'm finished.  You will just have to come back and see.  

While she was waiting for my packaged parts to arrive in the mail, Lindsay was without a project and asked me for an assignment.  Me being me (my latest catch-all un-apology excuse), I suggested she do something with a sugar skull and a Day of the Dead theme.  

Day of the Dead sugar skull necklace by Lindsay Starr of Phantasm Creations.

She nailed it, didn't she!  I told you she was awesome.  While you're waiting to see our finished pieces, you should head over to her blog and check out her other pieces.  Prepared to be amazed.  And don't forget to come back and see what we do with our collaboration experiment!

October 12, 2014

The New Artisan Component Marketplace

Macrame necklace by Sherri Stokey with ceramic leaf pendant by Marla James.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  You know all those wonderful heads and pendants (like this oak leaf from Marla's Mud) I'm always showing you?  (Yes, I may have a slight bead buying problem, but that's a discussion for another time.)  There's a new online marketplace just for artisan made pieces - Artisan Component Marketplace.  You won't find any factory produced knock offs there because each shop is juried before being allowed to sell on the site.  That means each and every one of the pieces you find listed there will be hand made by the artist.  

Artisan Component Marketplace screenshot

You will find ceramic and porcelain, handpainted wood and lampwork as well as mixed media and metal.  There are seed bead components made of tiny glass beads woven together in intricate patterns, pendants made from polymer clay and clasps made from wood.  There are all sorts of little treasures from some of my favorite artists, so when I had an offer to do a guest blog post for them, I jumped at the chance.  

You're going to have to go there to see what I wrote, but I will give you a hint:  it involves Marla's ceramic leaf pendant and a little free macrame tutorial.  Have fun!  Oh, and I made up a fancy new, handy-dandy bar for the bottom of my guest post - what do you think?

Sherri Stokey

October 8, 2014

How to Get From Apples to Giraffes in 7 Easy Steps

Micro macrame bracelets by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

Even people close to me are confused as to just how my thought process works.  We can be having a conversation about low blood sugar and I'll interrupt with a comment on the cutest aviator glasses for Carter (true story).  I know there's a method to my madness, but it isn't always apparent to others.  So today I'm going to let you inside my mind for one brief, horrifying minute:  Here's how you (okay, how I) get from apples to giraffes in 7 easy steps.

Sage green colorway kit for Leaves Micro Macrame Bracelet Tutorial

It all starts when I'm putting together more kits for my Leaves Micro Macrame Bracelet Tutorial in this sage green colorway.  It's the strangest combination, really, and it technically shouldn't work.  The cord is more of a turquoise kind of color with a lot of blue in it, while the beads have a definite yellow tinge.  Shouldn't work at all, but it does:

Leaves Micro Macrame Bracelet done in Sage colorway.

Then I start wondering what that cord and bead combination would look like in the Hydrangea pattern, so I have to stop everything and make one up.

Hydrangea Micro Macrame Bracelet done in Sage colorway.

Which leads to trying the beads with a different color of cord.

Hydrangea Micro Macrame Bracelet done in green with marina.

And then I wonder what would happen if I use some unexpected cord color.

Hydrangea Micro Macrame Bracelet done in green with marigold cord.

And before you know it, I'm mixing all the cord colors.

Hydrangea micro macrame bracelet by Sherri Stokey.

Then I notice that the darker color makes little divisions of the flowers and the bracelet looks totally different.  The flowers look more distinct and the diamond connectors almost disappear.  And I wonder what would happen if I rearrange the cord colors.

Knotted micro macrame bracelets by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

And then I notice all the texture in those bracelets and I wonder what would happen if I focus more on the knotting, but keep using the same cord colors and beads.

Knotted micro macrame bracelet by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

Then I look up and it's three days later and we're out of milk.  Oh, and somewhere in there I made up kits for the first three colorways and there are some earrings in these colors around here somewhere that I need to put on earwires and photograph.

And that, my friends, is how you get from apples to giraffes in my world.  

Micro macrame bracelets by Knot Just Macrame.

Micro macrame bracelets by Knot Just Macrame.

October 4, 2014

Fall Daisies

Micro Macrame cord and bail by Sherri Stokey with Humblebeads pendant.

Daisies have always been one of my favorite flowers - soft and pretty without being overly showy.  When I saw this pendant by Heather Powers of Humblebeads, I was definitely smitten.  Not only is it a daisy, but it's done in my favorite colors of teal and olive green with a dash of mustard yellow.  I've been on a kick lately with knotting half knot sinnets in several colors of cord to make a braid that looks a lot like kumihimo, so I pulled cord to match the pendant.

Micro macrame cord and polymer pendant.  Knotting by Sherri Stokey

I knotted it together into a spiraling micro macrame cord.

Micro macrame cord knotted by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

Then I decided it needed a little something special, so I knotted a matching bail to suspend the pendant.

Knotted micro macrame necklace with daisy pendant in teal and mustard.

I was having such a good time playing with these colors that I made a couple pair of earrings, too!

Micro macrame earrings by Knot Just Macrame.

Aren't these great colors for autumn?

Macrame necklace by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...