Saturday, February 17, 2018

We're All Ears Chandelier Earrings Challenge

I have to admit that I completely forgot about the Earrings Everyday We're All Ears Challenge for February until I started spotting the reveals in my feed. Oops! I remember seeing the initial post about the chandelier inspiration. And, I was totally inspired by the chandeliers. I just let it slip my mind. 

I also have to admit that I didn't take the Hudson Valley style quiz until after I completed my design. Oh well. I ended up with Chic Vintage & Industrial as my style type. That sounds about right.

As for making chandelier-inspired earrings; I've long made "chandelier earrings". And, I definitely associate chandeliers with jewelry as I do collect and sometimes even incorporate their crystals into my designs. But, I wanted to go even more literal than that. I wanted to make earrings that LOOK like chandeliers.

Initially, I wanted to make them a little more 3D with four of the arms coming off it. I worked and fiddled and banged and wire-wrapped, but just could not get the result I was after. So, I went with a more flat design but with the same hook idea. 

I started with the thickest gauge copper wire I had on hand (16g), formed the little side loops, created the larger curve, hammered the long pieces flat (so they would fit back to back without much slipping), and wrapped them together with 24g copper wire. Then, I trimmed the tops and curved them in toward each other for a decorative element. 

After that, it was a matter of picking out what bead crystals I wanted to hang from my chandelier. These small briolettes were perfect. (You should have seen the little dance I did across the craft room after finding them.) After that, I aged the copper forms and some additional 24g wire with Novican Black to take away the super shine of the hardware store copper wire. The extra wire was used to wrap the crystals onto the chandelier. 

The pictures don't really do the earrings justice. They look more like chandeliers in person. I'm absolutely smitten with these! Thank you so much, Erin for the challenge. Your chandelier inspiration totally had me motivated to get these done.

Oh, and as for the results of the style quiz...I think these absolutely meet my Chic Vintage & Industrial style!

Hop on over to Earrings Everyday and see how the other designers interpreted this challenge. They're all so unique and different and absolutely beautiful!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

My Partner and Beads for the Bead Peeps Swap N Hop 2018

For the second time, I'm participating in the Bead Peeps Swap N Hop. It's a fun swap between jewelry-makers through the Bead Peeps Facebook Group. Each designer is paired with another to swap pendants, clasps, and beads ensuring that at least one item is artisan made. Then, we make something with the loot. I'm paired with the amazing Kathy Lindermer.

I'm so very bad at introductions, especially compared to the one Kathy wrote about me. Let me at least try to get you acquainted with her. Kathy is an accomplished jewelry artist and blogger who blogs under the name BayMoonDesign (isn't that lovely!?). You can also find her selling her designs under Bay Moon Design on Etsy. Not only does Kathy create wonderfully romantic and nature-inspired pieces of jewelry but also fun and quirky cards.
Ocean Shell Necklace from Bay Moon Design on Etsy
Get Whale Soon card from Bay Moon Design on Etsy

Kathy gets to live the best of both worlds as she spends mild summers along the Delaware coastline and warm winters in the Florida Keys. Lucky her!! Kathy's designs have a feeling all their own. Somehow she is able to incorporate elegance, rusticness, and romance into each of her pieces. And, it works beautifully!
Yellow Floral Pendant Necklace from Bay Moon Design on Etsy
While Kathy and I have never met in person, I feel like we've known each other for ages through blogging and beading. And, I can tell just from what she sent me for the Bead Peeps Swap N Hop that she's a VERY generous person!

It started with this unassuming box! (Well, unassuming except for the fact that Kathy totally picked up on my love of kitties!)
What she wrote in the card hinted at a color palette option. What!?

When I finally got the box open, the eye candy that awaited me was magical! (yes, magical eye candy...I said it!)
Obviously, the peacock feather immediately stood out and captured my attention for at least several seconds. Then I began to dig!

Kathy was able to pack that little box tight with all these treasures!
And, now that they're all out, you can see what she meant about the color palettes. On the left are the ultraviolet (Pantone's color of the year) selections and on the right are her "earthy" selections. I could tell right away which beads were in which palette. Yet, I grouped the copper clasp with the ultraviolet pieces while Kathy took her picture with the rustic ones. We'll see what I end up doing with it.

Let me give you a little more detail about what she sent. At the center, there is a ceramic pendant from Marsha Neal Studio. In the 12 o'clock position is a strand of purple shell beads (look at those SPIRALS).  At 1 o'clock is a polymer clay bead from Humblebeads.  In the 3 o'clock position are luscious Czech glass beads. At 4-5 o'clock is Wooly Wire! (My swap partner last year also sent me some, if you remember, and I never got around to using it. Maybe this time I will!). At 7 o'clock is a lovely spiraled copper hook clasp made my Kathy herself (a woman of many talents!). At 9 o'clock are ceramic beads with stone beads above them.

And then there's a WHOLE OTHER SET!
Again, starting in the center is that fabulous peacock feather pendant from Firefly Design Studio. At the top are green-dyed fire agate beads. Jasper beads are on the right. Polymer clay twisted beads at the bottom. (These are marked as by Jera Luna, but I'm not familiar with this artist so if you have a link to them, please share!!) At the left are natural wood beads.

There is no way I couldn't be inspired by this mix of awesome. I've already got a few ideas that I will set into motion soon. But for now, a teaser of what I sent Kathy!
Kathy should be getting the package in the next day or two so that should be enough to keep you (and her) guessing.

I'll share non-blurred pictures when I'm sure she's received it. Until then, I hope she likes it, and I'd better get to work on my own. Come back March 26th for the full reveal!

Monday, February 12, 2018

King Cake Monkey Muffins

It's Mardi Gras season here in my neck of the woods. Since tomorrow is Mardi Gras Day, I thought I'd share this fun recipe that's a take on a King Cake, a typical dessert this time of the year.

Also, I must admit that this is a take on Pioneer Woman's Monkey Muffins with my own little flair.

The ingredients are simple enough:
I use a can of large flaky biscuits, butter, sugar, cinnamon, sweetened condensed milk, and colored sprinkles (in purple, yellow (gold), and green).

Start by mixing 1/4 Cup of sugar with 1 tsp. of cinnamon in a small, shallow bowl.

Place a sliver of butter in the bottom of each muffin cup you'll be using (I ended up using two more as I was too excited about these to worry with something silly like math.)

Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp. of sugar into each cup.

Add a shake or two of cinnamon.

This combination forms an amazing "crust" of caramelized sugar on the bottom of the muffins. Just wait and see!

Release your muffins from their container. (You could use any kind of prepared dough, but the biscuit dough works for me and is always easy to find.)

Cut your muffin into 3-4 pieces. I cut these into 4 because they're the large biscuits.

Roll each piece of cut dough between your hands into a rough ball then roll the ball in the cinnamon sugar.

Place 3 or 4 of the sugared dough balls into each of the buttered cups.

Top the dough with another layer of butter, sugar, and cinnamon.

Bake at 375 degrees (Fahrenheit) for 15 minutes or until evenly brown.

While the muffins are still hot, drizzle sweetened condensed milk over each muffin.

Sprinkle a little of each color of the colored sugar onto the muffins. Keep each color in its own area so that they show up better.

Enjoy!!

The complete instructions are below

King Cake Monkey Muffins
Ingredients: 
Can of biscuit dough 
Sugar
Butter
Cinnamon
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Colored Sprinkles (in Green, Yellow (gold), and Purple)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Mix 1/4 C sugar and 1 teas. cinnamon in a shallow bowl
3. Place a small sliver of butter into each muffin cup. Top with a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon.
4. Cut dough into small portions (a large, raw biscuit works well cut into fourths). Roll each portion into a ball. Roll dough balls in the cinnamon sugar mix.
5. Place 3-4 balls into each muffin cup. Top with a sliver of butter and a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon
6. Bake for 15 minutes.
7. Drizzle sweetened condensed milk over each muffin.

8. Sprinkle a little of each color sprinkle on each muffin. 


I'm linking this post up at Show and Share on Coastal Charm, Saturday Sparks Link Party at Pieced Pastimes, and Sweet Inspiration Link Party at A Crafty Mix

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Valentine's Day Jewelry

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and whether you've met the love of your life or simply want to celebrate how much you love yourself - I've got some perfect jewelry choices in the CraftyHope Etsy shop

The most obvious option from my shop are the Red Tin Heart Earrings.

Coming in as second most obvious is this Art Beads Necklace with the heart bead and pink accents.

For those who are a little bitter toward the whole V-day thing, my Tarnished Heart Earrings might be more your style. 

If hearts are just too literal for you - how about a nod to cupid's arrow with these Bone and Arrow Earrings

There are also quite a few "Key to My Heart" pieces available. Here are a few of my favorites:
Delicate Key Necklace
Rhinestone Key Bracelet
Skeleton Key and Garnet Necklace
And, if you live in the South Alabama area; there are a few options available in my booth at Southern Antiques and Accents (Greeno location).



Of course, anything from either shop might do the trick as jewelry is always a popular gift for to show some love for yourself or someone else. Valentine's Day is fast approaching so make sure to get your jewelry now so you'll have it in time for the big day!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Addendum to Introduction for Swap N Hop

In the next day or two, I should be receiving my partner assignment for the Bead Peeps Swap N Hop. Linda, who runs the group, asks that we do an introduction so our partners have some idea of our style and what materials we enjoy working with. The Introduction that I did last year was pretty concise. But, I figured I could add a little to it.

I've been collecting tins for years, but only recently really began using them in my designs.
Red Tin Heart Earrings from my Etsy shop
And, the tin doesn't even have to be that old. The metal used in the earrings above was from a fairly new gingersnap container from World Market. But, to add my own spin, I love to distress items so they feel like they have a history.

Delicate Key Necklace
Keys also have quite the prominence in my designs. I acquired quite the stash of them some time ago and am constantly turning to them as a quick focal. They make great bases to embellish.

I do love to alter and embellish pieces with assemblage, though do recognize that some things are best left simple.

In my previous introduction, I failed to mention anything I don't like to work with. In general, I have a hard time with very bright colors, too large items, or plastic. Though, I do love a challenge.

I'm looking forward to the opportunity to meet another artist and see what they send me. As well, it's always so much fun to gather materials and see what someone else does with them. Y'all stay tuned to see what happens next!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Bead Box Restocked

Sometimes I find myself stuck creatively but still want to create. I've tried all kinds of methods to alleviate this conundrum, but the one that seems to be working for me the best right now is my Bead Box. I set up the first one back in October in preparation for sitting in a waiting room. but worked on it over the course of a couple of months to reveal the jewelry made in December. Basically, it's a craft tackle box. Into each compartment, I'm putting the beads/elements for a single design. Basically, I design ahead of time and create when time permits. Since it worked so well for me before, I decided to restock the box. Again, I dipped into my Inspiration Jar to get the ball rolling. 

I'm sure you notice that not every compartment is full. It was actually even less full than this as I had gotten frustrated with designing and had to stop. But, a couple other ideas came to me and got tossed in before I took the pictures. Want a better look at what's in the box?

1: Chinese crystals from ZnetShows.com, a bullet casing (with a hole through it), and a long length of suede cord.
2: Marbled stone beads and two beads from Spirited Earth by Nan Emmett (as received in last year's Swap N Hop).
3: Polymer clay teardrops from a mixed bag from Tree Wings Studio, long bead caps (from Michael's I believe), and a few lovey Czech glass beads. 
4: Brass-colored glass seed beads, a small brass connector, and Chinese crystals from ZnetShows.com

5: Bird charms I altered with the Vintaj BigKick and alcohol inks and a couple of large plastic off-white beads salvaged from old jewelry. 
6: A found, smashed washer with a nice patina on it, a diamond-shaped ceramic bead from Gaea, green-dyed fire agate from ZnetShows.com, and salvaged brown glass beads. 
7: Salvaged blue glass leaves, jade beads, and brass beads.
8: Light blue glass beads, salvaged silver-tone charms, and salvaged light blue sugar-coated-looking beads (unsure of the material, but they are fairly lightweight for their size.)

9: A skeleton key and brown glass pearls.
10: Mother of pearl buttons and amazonite briolettes.
11: A paper-crafting tag that I altered by stamping on a butterfly and sealing it, and a variety of glass and stone beads.
12: A nifty little piece I made with an old keyhole and some tin riveted together, brass beads from ZnetShows.com, and dark blue stone beads.
13: A key altered with the addition of a salvaged rhinestone piece and clear Chinese crystals from (guess where) ZnetShows.com.

As you can see, that's where I stopped with no intention of filling up the rest of the box. However, once I made the first piece (with the crystals, bullet casing, and leather), I had a few of the crystals loose and leftover. I didn't really want to bag them up, so I came up with more designs to fill up the rest of the box!

I got that done late yesterday afternoon and the lighting wasn't great, but I took pictures anyway. Sorry for their poorness.  Also, I numbered these all crazy-like because of where I had stopped and re-started filling the box. I'm all over the place and hope you don't mind too much.
14: I'm not completely sold on this design. I shared these on Instagram yesterday as I was laying them out on my desk. A friend suggested a different design incorporating those little pinecones. I'm letting it marinate for now. In the meantime; those are gold pinecone charms, Chinese crystals, and gold-tone bead caps.
15: Salvaged connectors with rhinestones, Chinese crystals, and brass bead caps.
16: Washers I made ages ago that are embellished with dictionary text embedded in resin (I call them wordy washers), Chinese crystals, and black tagua nut beads. 
17: Salvaged star charms (altered with Iced Enamels), turquoise disc beads, and Chinese crystals. 

Now I just need to pull them all together and get some jewelry made! This method of designing when I feel inspired and making when I don't seems to be working out pretty well for me at the moment. What's your design process like?