Saturday, June 30, 2012

I will "knot" stop!

One of my purchases at Bead & Button was The Knotty Do It All. I have always wanted to learn how to make that beautiful knotted jewelry, and watching the woman behind the product - Sandra - demonstrate, I was hooked. She made it look so easy, and the board came with a DVD tutorial as well. She had plenty of beautiful examples on display, which I was drooling over.

Furthermore, many of the projects in the Bohemian Inspired Jewelry book I also got at the show, feature these type of techniques (knotting, braiding, etc....). These are techniques that I have always been daunted by. Every time I attempt something like this, I end up in a pile of tangled mess and get frustrated.

The kit comes with a wood board (reminds me of a very large cribbage board), pegs, pegs with clips, some needle type tools and the DVD. I bought a basic brown linen cord, as I am still learning about the different types of material you can use. 

This week I finally sat down to watch the DVD and embark on my first project. I choose to try the macrame style knotting. I pulled out a gorgeous porcelain dragonfly by Nancy at Round Rabbit, along with some ceramic beads in the same blue and brown tones. Here is a perfect example of what always happens to me. I match a focal piece with some beads and then I'm like "okay, what other beads will look good with this?". I'm not saying that should be the only basis of a design.... of course I love mixing colors and textures and such..... but sometimes, you really want the focal to stand out and have a more simple stringing. I feel that the knots in between each bead are kind of like beads themselves. Instead of using a smaller seed or delica bead as spacers, the cording does this for you.

The tutorials are very easy to follow and I was able to start up with no problem. I decided to do 2 macrame knots in between each bead. The board has rulers on it so it is very easy to see your measurements at all times. Once I got knotting, it was very therapeutic and relaxing. Sometimes I really like that repetitive type of creating. This is very addicting and you can bet that I will be experimenting more with my new tool! It took me back to the days of making friendship bracelets...... scotch taping the end onto a book and working away! If you loved doing that, then this is the more sophisticated, grown up version for you!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Inspired by.... bibs?

Life with a 1 year old involves a lot of bibs. So it's no wonder I've been inspired lately to create bib like necklaces. These type of statement necklaces have been around for quite some time now, and I just love them! They can turn the simplest of outfits into something spectacular. I have found that it's best to wear them either completely on your bare neck, if your neckline allows. Or completely on the fabric of your top - meaning, a high neckline. I've been showing quite a few of these in recent posts (The necklace I wore in one of my Anthro outfits - postage stamp skirt - and the necklace I created for the Bohemian Inspired Jewelry book review). And here are a few others I've put together this week.......

This first necklace features 15 peacocks!!! LOVE! I had bought this chain at Michael's some time ago that had these peacock connectors on it. It was pretty much ready to use - a nice length of chain with the peacocks and some blue beads set at even intervals. While sometimes I do like the ease of something like that, I knew I wanted to do something really cool with these feathered friends. I took all of them off the chain and just laid them on my desk for a while. At first, I was trying to put them in a bracelet but it wasn't working to my satisfaction. Then, I started laying them out, realizing that if I turned some of them upside down, they fit together like little puzzle pieces. This could be cool, I thought. From far away, it looked like a pretty pewter neck piece, but when you get up close you see they are all peacocks! The only question was, as it always is with intricate linking like this, is "will it lay right once they are all linked together". A lot of this depends on the type of jump rings you use so the spacing is just so. Luckily, it worked out!
This next piece has a little bit more movement. Textured links hang in a graduated design with flower dangles off each one. A mix of copper and brass tones, with a fringy feel. This one will be listed in my Etsy shop soon.

I got several of these brass blanks, with cutouts, from Rings & Things with the intention of using them with my tin. While I have used them one by one in some designs, these scallops were asking to be put together. Once laid out, they looked to me like fish scales or a peacock's tail. Having several peacock tins, I wanted to put the eye of the feather in each circle. At first, I was going to cut the tin in the same shape as the scallops so that I could just connect it with the two top holes I was going to drill into them. But then I realized that would be a great waste of tin designs with so much of it hidden behind the brass. So I came up with the idea to cut the tin in circles, a bit smaller than the openings, and dangle them from an additional hole that I drilled in the center. This worked out well, and the piece has some movement. The linking together came together good, but then when it came time to put it on a chain I didn't like how the top row would naturally curve around the neck. I wanted the design to stay straighter as it looked better. So I hammered out a little bar for them to hang on. I can definitely see myself making this design again with some different types of tin.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Feeling Boho

The weekly reader's outfits are up over at the Effortless Anthropologie blog, and here is my submission this week. This ensemble is so "me" when I am outside of the corporate world. I love relaxed, feminine, funky, boho, hippie looks.

These jeans from Anthro (Citizens of Humanity Wide Leg Crops) are not for the conservative, that is for sure! They are wide, distressed and have unfinished hems. I couldn't love them more. The fabric is so soft, like they've been worn for 100 years. I love pieces like this that I know I will own for a really long time. Really comfy and fun.

The tank I got at The Limited on clearance for $9.99. I love the unique butterfly print, where they are set wing to wing so they look like flowers. The sandals - Unlisted "Web Page" are my trusty black wedges that I will wear for many summer seasons.

You can get the necklace - "Ruffled" in my Etsy shop for 20% off right now! It's definitely a statement necklace of multicolored handmade love.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Bohemian Inspired Jewelry Book Blog Party!

Hi! Welcome to the party in my little corner of the blog world!

I remember chatting with Lorelei at Bead & Button last year, while the book was still in production. And now, it's finally here! I resisted all temptation of ordering it ahead of time or purchasing the eBook because I wanted to see it in person at this years Bead & Button. It was so exciting! I was lucky enough to spend some time with Lorelei and Erin (my first time meeting Erin) and get a signed copy of the book! We had a great tapas dinner together on Friday night. These ladies are so fun and fab!

I created the necklace above, inspired by the book, for the blog party. I linked together a bunch of ribbon wrapped circles, colored plastic circles and also incorporated some shapes like flowers and hearts. And to finish it off, a strap made of peacock feather ribbon (which I got at Bead & Button this year - Nifty Thrifty Dry Goods booth)! I sewed the one end around the loops, and then finished the ends at the clasp with metal bar crimps.

I can't wait to try out the Oxford Circus bracelet (page 44) with this same ribbon. And I am anxious to try my hand at the bead wrapped beads in the Elements of Earth necklace (page 42). Miss Lorelei just made a bracelet version of this that is so pretty!

The gals wore many of the pieces from the book to Bead & Button as well as had some for sale. Erin also put together 2 earring kits from the book for purchase. But, if you want to win one of the necklaces from the book, join in on the Polyvore style board challenge. Read all about it in the link I'll leave below. I have yet to make my style board, but when I do I will show it off here.

Here's the link to find more stops on the blog party. Thanks for stopping by! I was happy to be included by Beading Daily!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

More story telling clothes.....

Here’s another outfit that connects to my personality. Edme and Esyllte’s “Air Mail” skirt (from Anthro) has a postage stamp print on it. When I was younger, I used to collect stamps! I still have my entire collection packed away….. in my 80’s Trapper Keeper! LOL! So this skirt really spoke to me when I saw it. It’s an older piece, and had to be searched out on eBay. In today’s tech savvy world of online shipping, emailing and texting, and stamps with a “forever” value, it’s interesting to think about what has happened to the postage stamp over my lifetime. Are hobbies like stamp collecting destined to disappear?

Featured on this weeks Reader Outfits at the Effortless Anthropologie blog.

Monday, June 18, 2012


Most people have a sale before Bead & Button, to get extra spending cash for the show. I didn't get a chance to do that this year, so I am offering a 20% discount now! Just enter SUMMERFUN during checkout to take advantage of this in my completed jewelry Etsy shop.

Battle Creek's annual balloon fest/air show is coming up next week and I look forward to it every year! Seeing all of the balloons drifting through the sky never gets old and you never know where one is going to pop up around town!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Camel Stories

Isn't there a saying about how what you wear reflects who you are? Sometimes, I take this very seriously (or humorously, however you look at it). A while ago I posted one of my Anthro outfits that featured a duck printed skirt, and told the story of how I walk like a duck with my feet pointing outwards. Today, I'm going to tell you about another one of the nicknames my husband has for me: Camel.

He is jealous of the fact that I don't have to go to the bathroom as often as he does. So he calls me a camel. I am one of those people who can sleep all night without having to get up. The only time this changed was when I was pregnant. He was thrilled with the fact that I had to go as often as he did, if not even more! So when I saw this dress in the Anthropologie catalog last year, I just had to show it to him. But at a $228 price tag, I didn't get my heart set on it too much.

Then came the super, super markdown sale at the holidays and this baby was down to $40! I called the newly opened Anthro store in Grand Rapids and they had one in my size. My Mom actually ended up giving it to me as one of my Christmas gifts. It's a beautiful lightweight silk with cool details: a cutout in the shoulders, pleats in front, and a bit longer in the front than in the back. The orange and pink color combo is not usually something that I would go for, but again, these whimsical prints is why I love Anthropologie!

On a recent family trip to the zoo, I told Jon about how I had been trying to submit weekly outfits to the Effortless Anthropologie blog. Not only was this dress perfect for the hot day and the location, but I knew I wanted him to take a picture that would rival the settings of the Anthro catalogs. Our zoo has an entire Africa exhibit (complete with giraffes you can feed!) and I knew the abandoned cargo props they had setup would be perfect!

Dromedary Dress - Charlotte Taylor for Anthropologie
Sandals - Candies (Kohl's)
Sunglasses - Vogue (TJ Maxx)
Necklace - from travels to Mexico

Thursday, June 14, 2012

New tin offerings.....

It's been a long time coming, but I've finally updated my Etsy shop with some new jewelry! Many pieces feature upcycled tin. When I participated in Spring into the Arts a few weeks ago, one of the aspects of it was demonstrating your art. So a section of my booth was devoted to metal work. I brought many of my decorative tins with me as well as the tools I use (tin snips, files, etc...). That night, I cut several triangles which turned into the necklace below.

I currently have 2 tin cuffs for sale, like the one below.....

....... and a coupla tin rings too!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A time for awards.....

Seems the time of year to wear We Love Vera's "Highest Accolades" dress (from Anthro, 2010 I think?). The winning ribbon print is perfect for horse races, graduations and Father's Day! I just love the color combo on this dress and had fun finding a matching cardigan and sandals (from Kohl's and TJ Maxx).

Submitted for the weekly eye candy Reader Outfits at the Effortless Anthropologie blog.