Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winged Things

I played around with butterflies and dragonflies this weekend in the studio. First up, I've had this delicate little porcelain butterfly from Round Rabbit Extra for a little while now.....

China Shoppe Blues
I started by hanging it with two enamelled jump rings (in blue) from the Industrial Chic line. I pulled out some ceramic rounds I've had for a long time - white with blue patterns - that look like little tidbits of fine china. I also used some blue flat ceramic round tabs that I had always intended to use with this butterfly because I think the glaze on them is almost a perfect match to Nancy's, and some white shell rounds.

My Words
Here is a porcelain dragonfly wing, also from Round Rabbit Extra, hanging down from a polymer clay piece from Swoondimples that reads "if my words had wings". Navy glass pearls, textured brown rounds, and faceted jade glass completed this dreamy blue and green color scheme.

Lastly, I pulled inspiration from two recent pieces and combined them together. I've used this butterfly image in a piece before, as well as the carved colored combo of resin beads. The locket pendant (one of my favorite, most versatile pieces) has a different colored butterfly on each side. I call it: "Two Sides to Every Wing"

*My Words and Two Sides to Every Wing now available on Etsy.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday's Peacock Find

Check out this cute peacock teapot! It's from a collection called Edie Rose by Rachel Bilson that you can find at Macy's. There is a matching lidded box (for sugar) and plate. What a pretty way to have tea and cookies!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I cheated....

So I cheated on my Bead Table Wednesday beads, because something much more fun and interesting came along - the upcycled tin components from Lorelei!
I made a matching necklace & earring set, which are now listed on Etsy. They were so much fun to make, and it has really inspired me to start getting back into metal work. I used some screw rivets to attach one of the flat floral tins to a Vintaj pendant. Some floral connectors I had went well with the charming flower print, and then in order to use the matching bead caps I incorporated some Elaine Ray bronze ceramic beads.
Using the same screw rivets, I attached another two of the bead caps onto these decorative metal pieces I had from the Industrial Chic line and used the floral connectors again to create the earrings.
If you've followed me for any amount of time, you probably already know that I love upcycling unique things into jewelry. Thanks Lorelei, for sharing your genius tin components with the beading world!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Bead Table Wednesday - 1/19/11
Today I am showing these strands of plastic (or lucite) beads I got at Hobby Lobby a while ago. I was drawn to their shapes and colors and how they looked together. There is a forest green owl, blue ribbed design, and faceted fuchsia barrels. I want to mix these into some chunky pieces and will probably add some wood beads in, as well as anything else interesting I can find. Since the holes are larger, I am thinking of trying some leather for stringing. Dare I say I am going to challenge myself again for another weekend reveal!
I thought I'd also share what else I am excited about this week, by the way (BTW):
1. Green Girl Studios unveiled a new peacock toggle clasp! I'm not going to Tucson, so I wonder how soon I can get my hands on some......
2. I am expecting some fun goodies in the mail this week that I cannot wait to play with! Some dragonflies from Nancy's Round Rabbit Extra shop..... Some links and bead caps from Lorelei's Tin Snippets shop....... And a road trip pendant from Melanie at Earthenwood Studio to continue to create car themed jewelry.
3. I was the feature designer on A Jewelry Accord blog today. Thanks Erin and Lorelei!!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

It worked!

The little goal I set for myself this week - to join Bead Table Wednesday and to create something with those beads by the weekend - worked! I've added the link to the BTW flickr group to my side bar.

Anyway, I can't say that it started out easy. All of the beads I bought to go with my new etched peacock shell pendants were shells as well. Working with shell is sometimes difficult for me because quite often it can look like a cheap souvenir necklace from the millions of vendors you might see in a tropical location. Maybe you know what I'm talked about? So the first few stringings I put together were not good. For the lighter colored pendant, I had bought 2 different size shell rounds in the same tone as well as white teardrop shaped shells to mimic the shape of the pendant. I only ended up using the larger of the round beads and then added in some freshwater pearls I already had in colors of white and champagne. It's a simple design but I like it. I liked it so much that I made another one and gifted it to a friend whose birthday was yesterday.
Then I started working with the darker pendants. The shell strands I matched up for these were gray ovals. I pulled out some dark wood beads to put into the mix, and then I ended up using the smaller of my white rounds. Again, a simple design that I have done similarly in the past - I just love separating those elongated wood beads with something smaller.
For my last dark pendant, I wanted to inject some color since the other designs were so matchy matchy to the pendants. I recently bought these carved lucite beads in different shapes and colors and I just loved how they looked together. The dark brown and white beads throughout give the pendant a purpose for being included. I used the smaller white rounds in between again, and then some frilly bead caps on every other bead. I must admit, this design is a repeat of the owl necklace that was in the Fall Stringing issue. That design too, was chunky with bead caps on every other bead. This is my fave among them all! I love the worldly, ethnic feel is has to it.
So, making 4 necklaces after such a long hiatus in the studio was very exciting for me. Even if the designs were not very complicated, and I pulled inspiration from pieces I had already done, that was okay. It was a relaxing way to get back into the swing of things.

By the way.... the last few postings have used pictures taken on the new camera my parents got us for Christmas. I haven't played around with it too much yet (meaning, I haven't read the full instructions - I'm bad about that). I was going to list a few of these on Etsy, but the pictures were too large so I guess that means I'd better read those directions!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

It's not peacocks. Or owls.

So I thought I'd let you all in on one of the things that's been keeping me out of the studio - the nursery. And I don't mean that in a negative way at all. It's been a really fun project for Jon and I. Back in November - before Thanksgiving - and right around the time I was 3 months along - we went on our first shopping trip to get an idea about all of this baby stuff. Why so early? Well, as I mentioned yesterday, Jon is in 3 classes this semester so that he can finish his degree in April. Even 2 classes are busy so we knew how crazy 3 was going to be! As exciting as all of this stuff is, being the worry wort that I am, I knew that it was still early and I wondered: what if something goes wrong? Won't it be even more heartbreaking if we've already bought some things? I guess things can happen at any time, but the percentage of things happening early on is a lot higher. Plus, we don't know the gender yet. Isn't it important to know that (for the room that was already blue)? Okay, enough about that.

Even before I was pregnant - say if I was out shopping for a baby gift for a friend - I would make mental notes of the things I would want when it was my time. Oh, I just could not wait! So many cute things out there! Owls! Owls are very popular everywhere now! I knew coming across peacocks would be more difficult. And of course, I wasn't sure what Jon would like since he already teases me about the abundance of peacocks and owls in the house.

So our first stop was a local, independent kids store that has the reputation for the best furniture. Real, solid wood that will withstand the test of time (and kids). But, expensive! We found some things we liked but knew we were going to do more research. One of the things we liked however, was a particular bedding set. The thing that would set the theme of the room. And no, it wasn't peacocks. Or owls. It was cute giraffes, lions and elephants. And, it did not have a speck of blue in it. All along, Jon was intending to only give the room a fresh coat of paint - in the same color it already was. You can see what the room looked like before here - when it was my old jewelry studio.

We went home, did a little research online, and then headed off to Babies R' Us. As much as I like to support local, since our families are in other states, I knew I'd have to register at stores that are available to them. Lo and behold, there was that bedding set we liked in the clearance section - half off!!! They also had the matching mobile and valance so we jumped on it! I went back to the local store for the 2 pictures, so that I could still support them. But now Jon realized he would have to paint the walls AND the trim to match the colors. It didn't matter. At least I could help with the taping. And what was most important to me was that we picked it out together - and it's gender neutral. We picked an off white for the walls, and already had the sage green for the trim that we had previously used in our foyer. He even put a fresh coat of white on the ceiling (which we already had too) and we swapped out the old dated ceiling fan with a fresh new light fixture.

I was surprised, a couple weeks later, when Jon sent me an email with a link to Craig's List. He had been looking for cribs/furniture, and a beautiful crib had popped up in our area. We went to go look at it and bought it. It's a beautiful wood, in the color we wanted, and it transforms into a day bed and then into a twin size bed (which I guess is the big trend now). My other big find was an area rug in the sage green color from Target. I thought at $39.99 it was a good deal. But while looking in the Black Friday ads, I saw it was down to $19.99! A quick price adjustment at the customer service desk was easy! Things were coming along!

We both had 2 weeks off at Christmas time, so that is when the actual painting and putting together of everything happened. Since the room previously had blinds on the window, we opted for sheers to go with the valances so that required a trip to get those and the hardware to put it all up.

The other event that happened while we were on our break, was that we had our ultrasound to find out what the gender was. I think I mentioned in a previous post that it is a boy, but probably didn't give the announcement the hoopla it deserved. I will remember that moment - and that day - forever.

So without further ado.... here is what the room looks like so far!

Of course, I can still find some peacock toys!
When we were putting the Christmas decorations away, Jon noticed these large paper mache animals I have had for years. I got them really cheap at an after Christmas sale at a store that had used them for displays, and have used them in the past for a Gingerbread setup I do once in a while at Christmas. But he suggested we use them in the nursery. I agreed, but said they needed to be painted to match the colors. So here they are before:
And after. I already had bottles upon bottles of acrylic paints, so this was a no cost project!
We are so happy with how things have turned out thus far. I love the fact that we have mixed new with old and used for a budget friendly room. (I didn't take a picture of our changing table yet, but that is an old dry sink that was my Grandma's). This is pretty much the idea of our entire home - mixing new with old. I enjoy repurposing things and owning things that have a history.
Now, we will wander into the room every so often and just look around. Jon will start up the mobile from time to time. It's all anticipation from here on in.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday

Heather Power's of Humblebeads started a new Flickr group called Bead Table Wednesday (BTW for short which ironically also stands for "by the way"). I decided to join because I feel like I need a boost to get back into creating again. I hate to put this in writing, but perhaps my challenge will be to have something from Wednesday completed by the weekend to post/list.

The selection I have above started off with some new shell pendants from Bead & Pieces that have peacock feathers etched into them. I took them to Michael's to match up some shell strands, and then I'll see what else I might want to incorporate.

So many excuses for not getting into the studio lately: Getting through the holidays (shopping, wrapping, decorating - then putting it all away). Either tired from being pregnant or on the other end of the spectrum, busy nesting. And as much as I LOVE my studio's new location in the little room off my living room, it is really cold in the winter because it is all windows even though there is a heat vent in there. I have to turn on a space heater well before I plan to go in there.

But, no more excuses. Jon is now back in school 3 nights a week, and I vow to enjoy that time and make the most of it!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Call me old fashioned.....

I came across an interesting article on Yahoo today, entitled Things Babies Born in 2011 Will Never Know. Since I am having a baby in 2011, it peaked my interest. When you are pregnant, your natural thoughts are those of excitement and cute little onesies. But then it sinks in.... how am I going to raise this child? What will the world be like when he is 10? (It's a boy, which I don't think I've mentioned on here since we found out).

So I thought it would be fun to share my thoughts about a few of the items listed, and to see what other people thought too. Some humor, some seriousness. Here goes.....

Video tape: WHAT!?!?!? So you mean I'm going to have to re-buy all of my Disney movies on Blu-Ray or something? Seriously though, I don't know why I have hung on to VHS tapes as well as 2 VCR's in the basement. I guess I thought it would be easy to install these into a kids room someday, so that if they got broken it wouldn't be a big loss. Actually, this last week Jon & I went through an ordeal about buying a new TV. Currently, we have a 27" flat panel with a built in DVD player. It gets the job done, in my opinion. Jon wants at least a 46" LED or LCD or WTF I don't know! Little did I know that also meant a new Blu-Ray player, sound system, and special cords that cost $100 to hook it all up. Luckily, one store was out of stock of what we agreed on and then the big sales were over. I'm going to try to hold off on that as long as I can.

The separation of work and home: When you're carrying an email-equipped computer in your pocket, it's not just your friends who can find you -- so can your boss. For kids born this year, the wall between office and home will be blurry indeed. This.... is an important topic for Jon and I. We are on the same page here. What happens at the office, stays at the office. We do not bring our work home with us. Sure, there are some rough days once in a while. But for the most part, we put in our 40 and that's it! Our jobs are not our lives, and if they ever did become that, I'm sure we'd look at other professions. I know it is unheard of, but I have a no frills pay-as-you-go cell phone. And Jon's is pretty simple too, issued to him through work. I don't even know how to text if I wanted to! Do I feel like I am missing out on anything? Not in the least bit. I see these 20 some year olds scurrying around the office, so involved in their blackberries (or whatever the latest gadget is) that they hardly know they are going to bump into you. They are so worried about getting ahead or what's next - what an exhausting way to live! Life is complicated enough without all of that!

Books, magazines, and newspapers: Like video tape, words written on dead trees are on their way out. Sure, there may be books -- but for those born today, stores that exist solely to sell them will be as numerous as record stores are now. As a published jewelry designer, I must say that one of the biggest thrills is holding that physical magazine in your hand and seeing your piece in print. I like books. I like wandering around Barnes & Noble. And I still rent books from the library. This brings to mind a scene from the first Sex & The City movie, where Carrie is reading a book and Big asks her if she is last person in New York that actually takes out library books. She casually responds, "I love the smell". I'm sure if I tried an e-reader, I would like it. But it still wouldn't be the same. The only time I think I can agree with doing away with books is when it comes to text books. Paying $130 for a book and then when you try to resell it to the school they only want to give you $25 - that was the biggest racket!

Movie rental stores: You actually got in your car and drove someplace just to rent a movie? Yeah, yeah I still do. Although I just signed up for Netflix today.

Hand-written letters: For that matter, hand-written anything. When was the last time you wrote cursive? In fact, do you even know what the word "cursive" means? Kids born in 2011 won't -- but they'll put you to shame on a tiny keyboard. While I probably will never write letters like I used to, I still think a hand-written "thank you" is important. As well as other cards when appropriate. Come on, you have to agree with me because I have a desk full of cards that I will probably never use up in a lifetime!

Commercial music radio: Smartphones with music-streaming programs like Pandora are a better solution that doesn't include ads screaming between every song. Okay, I have to agree on this one. After being introduced to satellite radio, it is the best. thing. ever.

So, there you have it. I am not saying my views are right or wrong, this is just.... the way I live. Don't think I am totally backwards though - I do pay bills and bank online for example - two things I know Grandparents would never trust. It's just interesting to take a look at these things and the differences in generations. I just hope that I can do my best in giving fair views and values to our little boy, and that he will grow up to be fabulous!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

It was just one of those nights....

Here's a recent necklace I made, after the hustle and bustle of the holidays. I'd had these peacock feather charms for some time, and used one or two in previous projects. But I had reserved a good number of both the silver and brass ones, always intending on using them together in a necklace. I had tried stringing them all vertically with beads separating them, but it just didn't look right. Then I was hit with the idea of drilling a hole in the bottom of each of them so they could be linked together - perfect and simple!

So I thought it would be funny to share the story of our New Years Eve..... We are not big partiers anymore. 90% of our New Years, since being married, have been spent as quiet evenings at home. Once in a while, we will go to a party at some one's house (where I think we were home before midnight anyway) or last year we went to the new casino in our town (which was crowded beyond comfort). This year, our plan was to go to dinner at a new restaurant in town, and then to a movie. I had called said restaurant the day before to make a reservation, but did not get through. I figured it wasn't a big deal if we got there early enough. However, we were turned away as they were only taking reservations that night. Bummer! We ended up at one of our favorite restaurants instead, where I usually order the same dish. It didn't taste as good as it usually does and did not sit right in my tummy. Then, we had some time to kill before the movie so we thought we'd walk around a few stores at the mall - by no means is this at a late hour - we're talking 6:30 - but the mall was closed already! Since the movie didn't start until 8:45, we decided to call it a night and just head home. We got out some board games - first we played Clue where I was Mrs. Peacock (of course) and each won a round. Honestly, I had never been beat at Clue until I met Jon - darn engineer brain!!! Then we played Life (the version I have from the early 80's) and I must say it was the saddest game of Life we have ever played. Have you ever played the game and used up ALL of the promissory notes, so much so that you have to start tallying your debt on an extra sheet of paper? It was so laughable! We each landed on the worst squares ever - the entire game - and we both had so many kids they wouldn't all fit in the car! I told Jon I didn't want to play that game again until our kids would be ready to play which I am estimating to be another 10 years.
So, it was kind of a bust of a night. Oh well, as long as I am with my hubby and two dogs I don't care. I was snoozing on the couch before midnight came. We're going to attempt to see the movie again tonight.........