The next Artists for Animals Auction is coming up May 2 – 8, 2022, so I’ve been making things on and off to get ready. I usually just randomly make things, and then closer to the auction, I take inventory and figure out how much more I should have ready. I’m always surprised how much I’ve already gotten done.
This necklace features a purple flower pendant from Denise Peters Galloway of Crystal Emporium. I’m anxious for spring, so I used flowers, leaves and butterflies with a variety of other Czech glass and a few stone beads.
I also made myself a necklace. I saw some inspiration in a magazine and was looking for a specific pendant in my pendants box. But instead I found a brass feather. I got out my Vintaj patinas and gave it an ombré look using marine, blue fluorite, verdigris and lapis with a little aged bronze for an accent.
I knotted turquoise with tiny faceted sodalite beads. So pretty!
I had a fun weekend with my parents for the first time since the pandemic! It was so great to be together, and my mom and I did some resin projects. I tried some new things. Some projects turned out, and I learned a lot to improve them next time as well.
I made a variety of wire frames to do projects like this and this. Those were a struggle. As I tried to adhere the resin covered tissue or paper to the wire frames, they just kept sticking to my gloves. One turned out great, one okay, two wouldn’t stick at all. I had cut more, but decided to figure out a better way to do them before using up more supplies.
This one turned out great. The paper was thicker than tissue, so easier to work with. It was larger, which helped, and I had hammered the frame flat, so it had a better surface to adhere the paper. The paper was from an old (like 30 years old) thesaurus, so the paper was a bit toothy with fibers, which probably helped.
This is a version of a project from Cynthia Thornton‘s book Enchanted Adornments. I was telling my mom how exciting it is that when I got that book, the projects seemed so out of reach, and it was just eye candy. Now they are things I can try and work toward. Some I can even make! This wing is by no means perfect, but it does encourage me to try again, The tissue paper did actually stick with much fussing, and the wing frame is okay. I need some different wires. Some day I will definitely make the project in the book that uses these wings. I believe the instructions in the book as well as some other tutorials say to glue the tissue/paper to the frame and then after it dries, coat with resin. I watched one tutorial about a week before my trials. I meant to watch more and do some research, but I’ve become more of a hands on learner, so I just jumped in. I might trim this tissue and use this wing for something. I didn’t remember to do it last so I could add some sparkle powder I had to the resin. I’ll do that in the future.
I added old paper I had stamped an image on to this vintage brass piece. I really like how it turned out and will do this again. I love large, flat old metal pieces like this. So fabulous for many projects. I have some small vintage brass tags I meant to resin paper onto but forgot. I will do that next time. My mom loved this piece, so I gave it to her after she gave me this bracelet she made that I loved, below.
The paper looks almost dimensional and the large glass glitter is perfect for it.
I tried just using resin on paper I had stamped. I watched this tutorial. I love the look. I added eyelets to make it a pendant (using my fabulous new Crop-A-Dile!) I will do this again. I was a little heavy handed with the resin, so it’s a bit textury on the paper. It doesn’t matter for this aged look, but it was a good lesson.
I tried it on this “leather” paper that is heavily textured. I also used eyelets to make this a pendant. I think this is a cool technique that could add some nice elements to a lot of jewelry.
My mom suggested using resin on paper for art journaling. I did a little but not as much as I thought I would. Not sure how much I would use that in journaling, but I do think it could add really nice texture. I also get overwhelmed trying to do too many things. For sure the 30 – 45 minute working time for Ice Resin is my limit anyway!
This surprised me the most. The paper was a plain cream background pre-resin. I really love how the resin soaked in and made darker spots and brought out a lot of fibers for a “crackle” look.
Here are a few other random things I used. Some papers that I put resin on and tried to stick to bezels, but they refused to stick (except to my glove.) I’ll use them as charms. I put resin on some sections of an old measuring tape to use in a future project.
Last but not least, I got some beautiful strawberry paper in a paper swap as well as some word stickers. The strawberry paper is almost identical to the wallpaper in my room when I was growing up and has really good associations, so I made a pendant of that memory. I put a little Vintaj patina on the vintage bezel in the moss color. If you haven’t heard, Vintaj patinas will no longer be manufactured; they are being replaced with Colorful Soul paint.
So that’s the end of the experiments for this time. So fun! I look forward to our next resin adventure.
I made two more necklaces yesterday. It was such a productive day! The first one was in response to a challenge from Andrew Thornton, as I explained in my last post. The parameters included using blue, the number six (however we interpreted that) and a natural material. I sketched out a design that ended up having nothing to do with the necklace I ultimately made. Typical!
I got out my box of blue beads and saw these large, organic shaped blue beads. I’ve always loved their grungy look and soft blue color. They are weird in that they are a large hole bead on one side but have a regular sized hole on the other size. I wonder why. I used six of those. I took out a box of natural materials – shell and bone. I chose these carved bone beads. I spied some mixed leftover small African glass beads and a bag of bayong wood beads I got from Allegory Gallery. I really like how it turned out! I didn’t notice until after I’d strung most of it that one of the carved designs on the bone beads is actually a face. One of those is strung upside down. Oh well!
This filigree and “love” charm in the necklace above are from my May Vintaj VIP kit. The kits come with a great inspiration card showing projects made with the materials. There was a necklace showing this large filigree folded over and painted with patina. I loved that idea, so I used it! I added different dangles – the “love” charm from the kit and two vitrail Swarovski crystals from my stash. The chain is from a repurposed necklace I got in a box of goodies from another artist, and I just love it. Each link is three interlocking oval jump rings. I’ll have to find more like this. It’s just delicate enough. I finished it off with a vintage box clasp. I never would have thought to use the filigree this way. I’m so pleased.
I didn’t know this would ever be possible, but I think I’ve reached the point where my stash is good enough that I’m comfortable using some of my really precious beads. It’s kind of silly I wouldn’t feel that way anyway; I don’t sell most of my pieces. I keep them, so I could re-make them if I didn’t like the finished piece or my style changed. In any case, I have a nice stash, so I figure I should be using it.
I came upon this strand of rough beads. I love rough gemstones. I think these are green apatite. I’m not sure. I didn’t have them labeled. My labeling habits are not good. I decided to use one of my favorite brass findings from Vintaj, this pretty floral fan. I used Purple Sapphire Vintaj patina on it. I got this one in a Vintaj VIP box. I would have had to hoard it, but I have a couple more. I put a rough, natural garnet drop at the bottom. That’s something that I’d really want to hoard. I don’t find large rough stones like that as often as I’d like.
It’s really fun to see a beautiful rough strand of beads actually used in a necklace rather than sitting in a drawer!
It’s not always easy for me to work in neutrals or more monochromatic color combinations. I am a pop of color kind of person. But sometimes a design just lends itself to certain beads and certain colors.
This design started with some materials I had laid out for a partial design. None of them ended up in the finished product. But in the process of working with them, I got out some large vintage metal discs. I thought one would work with the other materials. I cleaned one and then added a bit of Vintaj hematite patina to bring out the texture. It did not work, but I thought I could make it work in a similar design with other components.
I wanted to pair an art component with the disc. In looking, I found some polymer shards by Kimberly Rogers of Numinosity that I thought were perfect.
I used a large round bead that I think is tiger iron, stone ovals, and simple cut blood agate. I love how the pendant turned out especially. It makes a bit of music when worn.
It has been a little while since I’ve done an Allegory Gallery Design Challenge reveal. But I was extremely inspired by the Dark Rainbow kit. Once I got it, I started to work with it right away. My favorite things were the matte beads, and I designed and laid out a necklace using those first. Then before I finished it (I had to work on sizing it a bit) I made two other necklaces, finished the first one and then made even more.
The first necklace is a mash up of the Dark Rainbow kit and a Vintaj inspiration kit. This Vintaj star and blue bead were on my table. I had been trying some beads from my stash in the Vintaj design, and they weren’t working. It occurred to me that the blue bead looked like it belonged with the Dark Rainbow kit, so I chose some beads from the design kit and they were perfect! I wanted some great chain to finish it off, but didn’t find just the right thing on my chain wall. (I have SO much chain; I’m always surprised when I don’t think I have the right thing.) But then I had an aha moment. In a great mixed box of supplies I got from Lennis Carrier, there was a necklace to repurpose.
Each section had two types of chain. I chose the one with interlocking ovals, and I think that looks perfect in my mash up necklace!
Next I used the Mystery Component. That is the only thing you didn’t see if you clicked on the link to the photos of the kit. It is a surprise until you get your kit or it is publicly revealed. It is handmade by Andrew Thornton. It is perfect for the kit’s theme and also has a 70s vibe. If you know me, you know I love a 70s vibe!
With it, I used one of the organic grey/rainbow beads and the lentil drops from the kit along with some metallic rondelles and spacers and grey vintage glass from my stash.
Then I finished the first thing I designed. I used many of the matte beads (so gorgeous!) with a dichroic glass connector I have had for 20 years or more. I also had little rounds that looked very similar to the connector, so I added some of those in and jet rondelles to bring out the black frame in the connector.
I was thinking of how the multicolor metallic coating of the kit beads reminded me of AB crystals. I thought of a black circle studded with AB rhinestones I had. I thought the crystal would work well with the kit, and the circle would give something it hang the other large grey organic bead from. I love those! I also used some other beads from the kit and had a nice black chain that reminded me of the material of the circle.
From the time I saw the kit, I loved the multicolor chain that was included and knew I’d use it for something. It is a fine chain, so it lent itself to a delicate necklace. I was putting away some more destash treasures and really wanted to use some beautiful purple pearls. I didn’t have an idea, except the purple was perfect with the kit! So I used a swirly blue rondelle from the kit, a rhinestone spacer that was on my table for a pair of earrings I was making and one of the pearls. Pretty pendant on the chain! This picture doesn’t show the lovely colors of the chain that well, but it’s really gorgeous.
The idea of this last necklace I’m going to show came to me as I was falling asleep. It helps me fall asleep to design jewelry in my head. For some reason, I thought of a pair of earrings I’ve had for over 30 years. I bought them at a thrift shop when I lived in Chicago and wore them with a white shirt with big orange polka dots, which I also got at a thrift store. It was the ’80s; this was a happening, funky ensemble.
Isn’t the prism perfect for the Dark Rainbow kit? So I employed one for a pendant.
I used a gold bead that was sitting on my table, the grey triangle from the kit. I used more of the purple pearls I used in the necklace above, some of the coin beads and small matte spacers from the kit. I liked the idea of the bigger beveled rounds from the kit because the gold tones in those played nicely off the pendant, but i felt like the size overwhelmed the pendant a little, so I went quieter. I added Czech glass beaded chain made of black cathedral beads with a bronze accent to keep up the sparkle in the necklace. This piece has happy memories of the past.
I did made one more piece: earrings! I don’t make a lot of earrings because I find my wire work lacking, but the only way to get better is practice! So I started these and had one on my table. I finally decided to finish a second one.
From the kit, I used two paddle beads and rainbow rounds and added a couple of AB crystals from my stash. I do love the AB crystals with the rainbowy beads from the kit.
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing what I made with my kit. If you’d like to see what others have made, visit Allegory Gallery Design Challenges to see all the beauty and creativity!
I haven’t spent enough creative time, and I’ve missed blogging too. They go hand in hand as I like to document the things I’ve made. To ease back into it, I made a couple of kit projects. I don’t do a ton of kit projects. I do like kits, but more generally design kits such as the ones Allegory Gallery offers, where you take the materials and do what you will. But sometimes an actual project kit strikes me. And I find I’m really liking Candie Cooper‘s kits. So first, one of Candie‘s.
I bought this in December and just didn’t get around to using it until now.
I thought it was cute and fun, and I think she was having a sale after Christmas. I’d been eyeing it, so I bought it. In her project video, Candie mostly talked about it as a package topper or possibly an ornament. At first I wasn’t going to put patina paint on it, but why not? The thing I love about Vintaj patina paints is that they dry so fast. Otherwise I wouldn’t want to use them as often. I’m less patient with stuff that has to be done in steps with waiting time in between. I used the verdigis and made it look a little older and well-loved. I always think that gives things personality and a story.
Here are two photos of the finished product: one in the light box and one hanging in my studio. I didn’t end up using the larger pink pom-pom. Candie called the pom-poms in the kit Hill Tribe. They are super high quality and soft. I don’t use pom-poms often, but honestly I’m ruined for other pom-poms now. I’m going to keep it up year-round as just a fun embellishment.
Next up, I got a memory wire bracelet kit with some braided leather and TierraCast findings and some Dakota Stone beads when Goody Beads and Dakota Stones were doing a live during the recent The Great Bead Extravaganza – Tucson Experience. I don’t make a lot of memory wire bracelets, partly because I don’t have the strength to properly bend the ends, so mine are always janky. There is a special tool for it that could help, but I do not need another tool that I won’t use often. The kit came with heavy duty memory wire, TierraCast findings (curved tubes, spacers, end caps and a charm) and braided leather. The samples were made with the addition of a combination of size 6 and size 8 round gemstones. The kits and a variety of bead strands were being sold. I chose a kit with some brown leather and silver findings. I bought 8mm mookaite and 6 mm crazy lace agate. I thought those stones looked great together and also with the brown leather. Very boho. I added an enameled peace sign charm, and a couple of jump rings and headpins for my dangles.
I really like how it turned out despite my bad loops. One tool I did invest in is a leather cutter. Tory from Goody Beads said it is important to get a nice clean cut on the leather so it doesn’t ever fray. Wow! I love the cutter. It sliced the leather like butter. I can definitely use this going forward.
There were a number of leftover materials, so I made a fun second single wrap bracelet. I used some of the memory wire and one of the curved silver tubes. I added a coiled piece of the new multi-color Artistic Wire in the silver/gold/black colorway. I spied some wooden beads laying on my table so added those, as I do. Then I got out more wooden beads, a glass hoop (the yellow between the two wooden rounds on the silver tube) some multi color O ring metallic spacers and a little wooden animal.
I got the wooden animal and the patterned wooden beads from Andrew Thornton: Project Destash. Also, Andrew Thornton recently did a video tutorial showing a coiled wire project. Then, he used coiling (with one of the multi color wires!) in a Beadalon Designer Challenge to make a really cool necklace. (You can still vote through February 19, 2021 by clicking on the link and liking the picture.) When Andrew showed his coiling technique, I remembered that long ago my dad gave me an Artistic Wire Coiling Gizmo. I fished it out of a drawer and used it to make my coil. It was fun! I will use it again.
The two bracelets stack well together. It’s difficult to stack them flat for a picture, but I’ve been wearing them, and they look and feel great on.
I had a lot of fun with my creative pursuits today. I also started a project for a design kit. I had several other things I wanted to work on, but those have to wait. Maybe I will get to them tomorrow. Thanks for reading!
I decided to get myself the Vintaj VIP monthly subscription box. I had thought about it for a while, but hadn’t done it. You can get a good look at what type of things you will be getting because Heather Powers does an unboxing video and project every month on her Humblebeads Facebook page. That is what finally convinced me to get the box. I really wanted the box shown in the most recent video. I love the components and especially the gorgeous Swarovski. Also, they had a deal for half price the first month, so I took advantage of that.
The kits include finished design ideas for inspiration. Heather Powers makes something different in her video, so that gives you additional inspiration if you’d like.
Beads and cabochons. I especially love the two pairs of set glass in the front. They will look wonderful in an Apoxie Sculpt project.
Metal components. Vintaj has all types of finishes, which I love. They show great mixed metal projects. I like all finishes. I’ve turned over one in a couple of the pairs to show the textured side and smoother side. You could use them either way.
Vintaj filigree. I’ve always wanted to work more with filigree. I buy it, but I often don’t know what to do with it. I’ve purchased a couple of Vintaj technique books, so those will be helpful, as will the kit inspiration sheets.
I don’t often make projects designed by other people, but I really loved the idea presented for the Swarovski piece on the Vintaj design ideas card, so I did make that with kit items and a vintage chain I had. Even the back is beautiful with the mirror finish on the crystal and the design on the filigree.
I think I will really enjoy these Vintaj boxes! There is still a lot of stuff to get through this year until there are more forms of support available (visiting family and friends in person, etc.) so I am continuing to find ways to engage in extra self-care.
I’m on vacation, so I went up to my studio just to see what happened. Maybe I would clean, maybe I’d work on a project for an upcoming challenge, maybe…. And then I saw a red glass heart bead I’d gotten a while ago from Andrew Thornton: Project Destash.
I had wire wrapped it with a tiny turquoise Czech glass bead. I can’t even remember the project, but I didn’t end up making it. But I loved how the dark red looked with the turquoise color, so that sent me down a path. I didn’t have a headpin of the right type, so I used wire. Since that gave me the option for an eye pin, I decided to add a small tassel with some chain in the dark red that was on my table.
I played around with that a bit and was using a turquoise bead that had been part of packaging with a necklace I bought from Luciana Lavin. Check out her work. It’s gorgeous! She had also included a tiny little seed beaded tag perfect to use at the bottom of my tassel!
The metal rectangle is a vintage piece I got from Famous Vintage Bead Hoard Liquidation Destash. I got a bag of them. I’m not sure what they are. They are curved and have two spiky bits on each side that I cut off and then flattened the piece. It doesn’t look perfectly smooth on one side, but it has been filed to smoothness. I would not have bought such a thing because I wouldn’t have known what to do with it except that I saw something similar in this Heather Powers video. When the pandemic began, Vintaj gave away kits called Rise and Design. There was a piece included that Heather cut, flattened and used to beautiful effect in a bracelet. I have that kit and planned to make a similar bracelet (still might) but the best type of tutorial not only shows you how to do something, but also inspires you to take the technique and make it your own.
I considered a variety of turquoise colored beads for the strand. These won because I wanted to cover the crimps where it connects with the metal piece with a large hole bead. I used seed beads that matched the metal piece as spacers. I think it turned out very well and was a fun piece to work on.
Sarajo of SJ Designs Jewelry has a monthly challenge. Her husband, Eric, takes great photos. He chooses one to inspire her jewelry making, and she invites us to play along. The inspiration this month is fancy metalwork from a castle gate in the UK.
Photo by Eric Wentling
When I saw this elaborate lock, it brought to mind a beautiful ceramic keyhole pendant by Kylie Parry I got years ago.
I’ve been working with the Vintaj Rise and Design We-Care package I got recently, so when I wanted to add some metal elements, I dipped into that. I had watched Heather Powers’ videos about her designs with the Vintaj kit, and I used a couple of her techniques here. I hammered and sanded the brass key and used a thicker chain near the bottom with thinner chain further back; that keeps the pendant from flipping around. That is a great tip!
I wanted a tassel feel, so I added a second key and a couple of leaves. I kept one the black of the metalwork in the inspiration and used the same Vintaj Marble patina on the other that I used on the second key.
A small lampwork bead (artist unknown) and a Vintaj ring, along with the chain, complete the look.
The Honey Do List challenges are really fun. The photos are always really beautiful and full of inspiration. To see what Sarajo and others made, visit her blog. And check back after the first of the month to see the next challenge; maybe you’ll be inspired to join in!