Sunday, May 13, 2012

Button Swap 'n' Hop

  Today is reveal day for the button swap challenge! Hip Hip Hooray!

This lovely swap was arranged by Cindy Wimmer of Sweet Bead Studio. If you click on the image above (aka the button swap banner), it'll take you to the post that explains it all, but in quick summary, all of us participants were assigned a partner to whom we sent some small number of buttons, and in turn our partners sent us back some buttons of their own.

I've always loved buttons, but I'd not yet used them in my jewelry. My mom recently gave me a huge sack of buttons, some vintage and some brand spanking new. Because I'm always looking for a way to challenge myself as an artist, I just knew that I had to enter this blog hop, so I did-- and boy, was it challenging to decide what I wanted to do with those buttons!

First things first, I was paired up with the lovely Cynthia over at  Antiquity Travelers, and these are the buttons I received from her:

I told her that blue was my favorite color, so she sent me an all blue set. YAY!
This challenge was particularly challenging because I couldn't decide what I wanted to do with the buttons. Not only did I end up using a different button than I originally planned-- the blue and white gingham instead of the shiny one with black swirls all over-- but I ended up creating something completely different as well. Take a look for yourself to see what I mean:

Yep, you guessed it-- a stitch marker of my very own!!!

My original plan was to make a bracelet or a necklace, but I think I'll get a lot more use out of this project!  I wrapped the button with bright blue wire, and added a star bead and pewter rose to finish it off. I need to pick up a few more buttons before I can use the black swirly one-- I have a metric ton of them, but not too many that are a good match for that particular one-- so once I do that, I'll post lots of pretty photos of the finished product.

Since this is a blog hop, I'm gonna keep this short and sweet-ish and say "see you later" for now. If you want to hop along with the rest of us, click on the links below to travel to the other participants and see what they made. Happy hopping, y'all!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Blogging Without Obligation

  I can't remember which blog on my list led me to the "Blogging Without Obligation" site, but I've been thinking about the concept ever since I came across it. And what better time to put this information out there, considering how long it has been since I last posted on this poor abandoned blog of mine!

"Blogging without Obligation" is a group of bloggers with a shared idea-- the ideal that bloggers should post when they feel comfortable to do so, and that it should not become a "chore." The idea is that typing only when inspired to do so maintains the integrity of one's blog. The idea that blogging is supposed to be a shared excitement about a subject, and that feeling obligated to post every day decreases the likelihood that one will enjoy blogging... and will therefore do it less.

So there will be no apologies from me for my absence. Just a big smile to say that I am refreshed, and glad to be back-- and that a lot has happened since my last post. Most importantly, I contacted a LYS (Local Yarn Store for you non-knitters) about carrying my stitch markers-- as long as everything goes according to plan, they should be in the shop within a couple of weeks!

For those among us who prefer instant gratification, a more immediate news byte will be instantly visible when you come to my blog's page. Yes, you've guessed it, I have an awesome new layout! It took me quite some time to find the "look" that I wanted-- nearly three weeks, actually!-- but I couldn't be happier with the results. There may be some minor "bugs" that need ironing out over the next few days and weeks, so I will apologize in advance for any problems this may cause.

I was going to post some photos of my new stitch markers and of what I did yesterday-- and boy, was yesterday good!-- but for now, I'll leave you with one teasing word.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

3rd Do-Over Challenge-- REVEAL/PARTY!

... Okay, so I feel like a complete moron. I totally thought the hop/reveal was today-- so I'm a day late to the party!
(Next time I should probably write the deadline on my calendar, instead of in my head...)
It's all for the best, really. I wasn't feeling that great yesterday, health-wise, so I spent the whole day recuperating and resting. I'm feeling much better today-- albeit a little sheepish about the mix-up.

So I have been RIDICULOUSLY excited about this reveal. A while back, I received a package in the mail~ a necklace from Jeannie, as a participant in her third do-over challenge. All of us who participated, received one of her older pieces, one that she made when she first started doing jewelry-- in her words, an "old, tired piece" that she "won't" sell-- and our challenge was to transform it into something different and new.

Here is the piece I received:

The glass colors are VERY subtle-- I had to put the piece against my watercolor paper, to show the color of the piece! In reality, it's much less bright. It's more like a watered-down shade, more like a white glass with a slight tint of color.
I loved the construction of her necklace, but the beads themselves were very pale-- and those who know me, know that I don't "do" pale pieces. I love color, and love bright things. It was definitely a challenge for me! But here is the piece that it became:

I figured, since I photographed the original on plain paper, it's only fair to do the same to mine~
I absolutely LOVE this necklace, and I'm so proud of myself! I had never done the wrapping technique used in both her necklace and mine, so it was quite the learning experience for me. I used brass wire and brass links-- and in addition to the faceted glass from Jeannie's piece, I threw in some crystal beads (faceted, slightly smaller-- you can see them flanking the off-white and blue beads) that I got from Suma and some beads that were VERY special to me!

I was so proud of this piece that as soon as I finished it, I woke Hubby up to show him!
The small square beads (between the green, purple, pink and blue ones) were absolutely perfect for this, since they only came in those four colors! I got them *years* ago, when I was only twelve-- my grandmother gave me a gift card to a bead shop near her house, but the items I sold back then weren't "right" for the beads. I've held onto them for years, waiting to find the right project to use them. And I am SO GLAD for that... because they were beyond perfect for this necklace!!!

You can see the square beads and the small faceted crystals much better in these next couple of photos~
I wish I remembered what the squares were made out of!
Oh, and I almost forgot-- in addition to doing over Jeannie's jewelry, I also took apart one that my mom gave me-- the large amber-colored glass beads, between the blues towards the bottom, were taken from a bracelet that was past its prime:

It's got three sections to it, design-wise~ this is one side, the one I took the beads from! See what I mean?
The center cabochon and brass focal bead is another "special" item for me. A local handmade jeweler used to sell her items once a year out of her house, and my mom and I always went. She was so impressed with my interest in the jewelry that she gave me (and I bought) BAGS full of metal pieces that were fixed up by her. This center piece was one of them-- like the square beads, it was one of those things that I'd held on to, waiting for the perfect piece of jewelry to come along. And here it was, and here it is!

Close-up of the focal "bead"-- it's more like a component, but details-shmetails...
I absolutely love this piece-- I am so proud of myself and of the work! I was originally planning on selling the finished piece, but now that I've seen it I think I'm going to keep it for my own collection. I have a few outfits that will be completely completed by this-- and I put aside a few purple beads to put together some earrings, to match! I just have to wait for some brass ear wires to arrive...

Looks like it's time for me to do some hopping, and catch up on the A to Z when I'm done with that~ see you later!