Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Jewelry for sale and in progress

Coming off vacation and trying to get back into a routine has been harder than I thought. I just can't seem to catch up enough to actually be creative. Instead, there's been a lot of cleaning, shopping, and taking family members to doctor appointments. But, there is finally new jewelry at the booth, in the Etsy shop, and being made. Here's a peek at it all!

At my booth in Southern Antiques and Accents in Fairhope (Greeno Road location), you'll find these beauties.

That's the view of the shelves top to bottom. I definitely need to work on displaying the earrings a little better. I'm overloaded with them after #The100DayProject. And, I want to change the sign that's at the top of the booth (not pictured). Plus, I'm thinking of making that bottom shelf a "Discounted" or "Sale" section. In any case, I need to eke out time to focus on those projects.

As for the CraftyHope Etsy shop, there are a few new pieces there as well.
Altered Daisy Necklace

Humblebeads Fairy Earrings

Dragonfly Earrings
I'm trying to add at least one listing to the shop each day. Though, I can't promise that that will happen. It's something.

Making jewelry seems to be the biggest hurdle for some reason. However, I did pull out some elements that have been lingering the craft room since OCTOBER(!!) and made progress with them.
These are the backs from watches I dissected for their parts and fronts. I couldn't bear to toss out the backs, especially since they resembled little bezels. Back in October, I had Pat drill holes into them for me. Once he returned them to me, I bagged them up and set them aside. Big mistake! In the picture above, I used jump rings to join them together so I could get a feel for how it looks as one piece.

From there, I pulled out my little drawer of flat back elements (cabochons, cabs) and came up with a pleasing design. I removed the jump rings before altering the insides with Iced Enamels. In the picture, I haven't adhered the cabs yet and was still deciding whether I liked the layout.

I've since made a little progress with this project and hope to finish it up today. I also hope that it inspires me to get my butt in gear and knock out some more jewelry. Ha!

So, that's what's going on in my jewelry world. What's new in yours?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Summer Vacation and Giveaway Winners

I had fully intended to write a few blog posts while Pat and I enjoyed our two-week vacation. Somehow, though, that just didn't happen.

Instead, I spent many hours in and around the pool.

I crafted with my nieces.
One niece was seriously stuck on making slime. So, we made several versions. This was version #2 as she was mixing the ingredients (school glue and laundry detergent) together.
The other niece that stayed with us just wanted to make art. We each grabbed a canvas board and set to work. This was how mine turned out. She went in another direction altogether with acrylic paint, abstract bubbles, and splatters. I won't share without her permission, which I haven't asked for yet.

Pat and I spent lots of time outside doing yard work, working on the garden, and picking the wild grapes growing on the property.
I'm still giddy that those annoying grape vines are actually producing grapes.

Pat bought an old golf cart and got it working. He'll use any excuse to drive around the property on it. Boys!

The majority of the last week of our vacation was spent on one project in particular: QUILTING! I discovered the #BrooklynKnitFolkQAL video playlist when Lorelei Eurto showed off her completed quilt on Facebook. I was smitten! The videos are done by Jaclyn who goes through the steps simply and thoroughly. She made it look so easy! Learning to quilt has been on my bucket list for ages, and I've got loads of fabrics saved for when I learn to quilt. So, I took the break from most everything else to learn and do this. You can watch the videos for all the steps and supplies, but here are a few shots of some of the steps as I went through them.
Drying my fabrics after washing them. I used about three packs of fat quarters for the quilt top.

Cutting the fabric into 6x6 inch squares. This step was by far the longest and most tedious.
Sew the rows. I just loved this glimpse of all my rows stacked one on top of the other.
Pressing (ironing) the backs and attaching the rows to each other.
There were a few more steps in there before the final quilt came together. It's smaller than it looks here and is really just a lap quilt. But, it gave me a good idea of the process, materials, time, and cost it takes to make a quilt. It's much more than I had imagined.

And, while I had the sewing machine out, I made replacement bean bags (rice bags really) for our cornhole game.

Of course, I'm pretty sure I did other things than craft, swim, and garden...but I can't recall any of them at the moment. HA!

I also forgot to do the giveaway for Earrings 81-100. Oops! Before I get to that, I never heard back from the winner of the Earrings 61-80 giveaway. So, I've drawn again and the winner for that one is Kathy L!!! Kathy, I'll be contacting you about getting your prize to you shortly. Congratulations!!

Now for the 81-100 giveaway.
The names were collected
And a random number generated.
The winner is phinner!! Congratulations!! I'll also be emailing you about getting your prize to you.

Thanks to everyone who played along with these giveaways and offered up so much support during The 100 Day Project. I enjoyed stretching my creative muscles, and your encouragement really helped to make it fun as well. Thank You!

Now, here's hoping I can get back into a routine! How's your summer going? Do anything fun on your vacation?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Recent Thrift Store Scores

I admit it. I'm a thrift store addict. If I have a few minutes, and I'm near either an antique or thrift store, I have to pop in. Of course, I also have whole days that I'll devote to almost entirely to thrifting.  While those days don't happen often, I did get the opportunity to have one of those recently. And, because I also adore getting to see what other people discover at thrift stores, I thought it only fair that I share with y'all the treasures I brought home.
My first stop, as is my usual, was Goodwill. There, I found a nice wooden basket with jute rope handles. One of the slats on the bottom is cracked, but I hope to fix it with wood glue and then paint the whole thing (except the handles of course). As well, the revolving earring display caught my eye. I want to work it into my display at Southern Antiques and Accents, but am first trying to decide whether or not to paint it. Lastly, there was a lovely vintage pillowcase.

I've been collecting vintage linens for years now with the hope of someday piecing them together into a quilt. This one incorporates all my favorite colors. It gives me the warm fuzzies!

After Goodwill, I headed to a local charity thrift shop.
Their craft bins and prices never disappoint. The linen tablecloth will be used for art rags (don't judge). Then, there's the embroidery hoop, roll of leather, and letter stamps that are obvious craft supplies/tools. The wood candlestick was only a dollar and can easily be painted and worked into my home decor. The little patch thing on the far right - I actually have NO IDEA what it is or how it would be used. It does, however, have a few neat elements on it that I plan to remove for crafty reuse.

I don't always have the best of luck at the Waterfront Rescue Mission's thrift store, but it's always so easy to just pop in there when I'm near it. I scored this time around with a set of three embroidery hoops, a framed picture (for 99 cents), and a blank ledger.

From there, I popped over to one of my favorite antique malls.
I scored big time, especially in one particular booth that was selling loads of arts and craft supplies. There was the bag of lace, the jar of broken jewelry, some beading supplies, and a baggie of ric-rack. In addition, one booth had a small selection of old blank journals and receipt books.

I couldn't resist those lovely, old pages.

Now for another admittance - I've made myself refrain from through all those baggies and jars until I got this post up. It's going to be my reward for actually blogging. Ha! If I find anything spectacular or even remotely cool in them, I'll make sure to share it with you!

So, what have you discovered in your local thrift stores lately?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Finishing up #The100DayProject (plus giveaway and previous winner)

Yesterday, I completed my last pair of earrings for #The100DayProject. This project started on April 4th and encouraged creators to pick a project to work on/complete each day for 100 days with the intention of fostering more creativity. These projects were to be featured on Instagram with the project's hashtag and our own unique hashtag. I chose to make a pair of earrings, using  #Make100Earrings. As I said, yesterday was day 100. Previously, I've revealed earrings 1-20, earrings 21-40, earrings 41-60, and earrings 61-80 along with a giveaway for each set.

I have to admit that I went into the project fully expecting myself to fail miserably. I didn't think I would make it near 100 days. I did miss two days while I was out of town during this bunch but made them up as soon as I got home. So, in the one hundred days...I made one hundred pairs of earrings. I can't even believe it.

As I said above, the purpose of the project is to garner creativity by repeating a similar piece of work day after day. This repetition forces the individual to step out of the box rather than become mundane. I found this forced creative innovation to be true for the most part. Though, towards the end, I began to feel like all my ideas had run their course. A hundred days is probably the perfect number before the project becomes tiring. In any case, I present you with the last of my contribution to this year's project.

Days 81-84
Day 81: I don't even remember what I had on my desk previously, but I distinctly remember getting frustrated that it wasn't working out the way I wanted. Rather than continue to fiddle and fume, I stacked some beads on headpins. These turned out beautifully.
Day 82: After creating my own stencils with my Silhouette Cameo and page dividers, I traced the same shape onto some tin. From there, these teardrops were cut and sanded before being hung from the small coral beads.
Day 83: I've hung onto a couple of rolls of thin metal I got for cheap forever ago. It hit me that the metal was thin enough to be run through an embossing folder. From there, I aged the metal with patina, cut it to fit in the bezel, sprinkled on mica powder, and sealed it with Magic Glos resin. The violet beads are salvaged from old jewelry and flanked on an eye pin by copper spacer beads. 
Day 84: The flower fairy beads from Mermaid Glass have been in my stash for ages. I love them too much to use them...or some such nonsense as that. They're accented simply with bead caps and tiny Chinese crystals and moonstone-colored glass beads from

Days 85-88
Day 85: Using random scraps of leftovers from cutting apart the tin days before, I paired up the pieces and hung small amethyst briolettes from the bottom. 
Day 86: For some reason, the polymer clay discs caught my eye. I was working from my travel box so I dug around for coordinating beads and came up with this combination.
Day 87: When I came upon a list of earring idea for this challenge, I noticed that I had made all of them except for one that mentioned these tiny spools. A few wood discs were added to the top and bottom since the holes were so large. As well, I glued on embroidery floss to add color.
Day 88: At the end of an extremely busy day, I thought I had already made my earrings. Once I realized I hadn't, I dug around in the craft room for something, anything different. These mokume gane polymer clay beads that I made eons ago were unearthed.  I paired them with silver spacers and cherry quartz-colored glass beads.

Days 89-92
Day 89: It was another long day. The beads for these earrings were in a small bowl on top of my bead cabinet waiting to become something. Earrings, they became earrings.
Day 90: We had another day spent almost completely outside, and I just wasn't feeling inspired. Finally, these came together. And, looking at the one on the seems that maybe I cut the bottom wire. These will have to be re-made! I might even make them less sloppy.
Day 91: With summer in full force, I was drawn to these cobalt blue cultured sea glass conch shells from The Czech glass beads I used with them have a feeling of sand to them. Now I want to head down to the beach.
Day 92: It was the 4th of July, and I wanted to make red, white, and blue earrings. I recalled that one of my tins used that color combo. To keep the patriotic theme, I cut the tin into star shapes. They're too cute!

Days 93-96
Day 93: I left out of town EARLY that morning. Late in the evening, when we finally checked into the hotel, I was just climbing into bed when I realized I hadn't made my earrings for the day. I quickly pulled together some of my altered and patina-ed Vintaj blanks and faux blue pearls.
Day 94: The size of these faux pearls are what got my attention. However, I wanted to make them dainty. The use of bead caps and the airy rings finished this pair.
Day 95: Inspired by my niece, my best friend, and the star beads; these earrings took me a little while to decide on. But, they fell together once the decisions were made. 
Day 96: Here's where things went wonky. I was still out of town and didn't have a minute to myself. So, these were actually made after I got back home. The discs are mica washers and are paired with pretty blue glass beads.

Days 97-100
Day 97: Like #96, I had to make these late. The metal teardrops were unearthed in one of my little drawers and were the inspiration for the earrings. They're pretty much a take on earrings #94, but with a bolder statement.
Day 98: The lampwork spacers in these earrings are from StudioJuls. Once I realized a small chain would slip through the holes, these seemed obvious to me.
Day 99: I was drawn to try to make a chandelier frame with wire. There are worse versions of these. While these are not fabulous, at least I tried and know what my weakness is. I'll try this technique again another time.
Day 100: Wanting to go out with a bang, I decided to a new approach entirely. I pressed conditioned scrap polymer clay into shallow bezels, stamped an image, covered it with mica powder, and baked the clay until cured. From there, acrylic paint gave accents and shadow before the whole thing was sealed with resin. They're stunning and make me wonder why I hardly every work with clay anymore.

Now for the giveaway from the last reveal. I received five entries:
And the random number generator chose a number between 2 & 6:

Angela, that's you! I'll be sending you an e-mail soon about getting your prizes to you. Congrats.

If you're interested in entering the new giveaway to win some of the earrings from this current selection, leave me a comment letting me know which of these earrings are your favorites. I do ask that you live in the US and leave me your e-mail address with the comment. I'll have this giveaway open until the end of the month and draw a winner at the beginning of August. Thanks for checking out what I made and for playing along. Good Luck!!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Garden and Property Progress

I've never had a green thumb nor have I ever enjoyed yard work. Yet, here I am on five acres, trying to do the whole "homestead-thing". I have to admit that having a pool really encourages my willingness to get out and work in the yard. We simply throw on our swimsuits and start on the latest outdoor project. When we get too hot to continue, a jump in the pool cools us down before we get back to work. It's a miracle, my aversion to yard work has been cured! (I just needed a little liquid therapy.)
Here you can see some of the progress we've made on the overgrowth. Pay no attention to the purple sky in the top photo, I had to get it from the video
When we bought the place, the property was overrun with jasmine, air potatoes, wisteria, and other invasive plants. You can definitely see that in my initial video tour of the pool and property.  Since we wanted to plant fruits and vegetables, we knew that getting rid of the overgrowth and vines was a priority.  After working to clear some areas, we finally started our raised bed garden in November. While the majority of the plants never really did much of anything, there was actually a little success with the salad mix. We're still waiting for the carrots, onions, and garlic to ripen.

Just about every weekend since it's gotten warm again, we've worked a little more on the property. The past several weekends have been particularly productive.

I knew there was some kind of vegetation in the compost pile, but didn't really pay much attention to it until it started blooming. At that point, we realized we had grape tomatoes growing. So, they were transplanted to the raised beds with the hope that they would make it. Five plants were moved, and they seem to be doing well after a few initial days of droop-age. In fact, one of them has several branches of tomatoes already popping out.
How about them tomatoes?

We also transplanted a few agave plants that were left here in plastic containers, dumped over. Fortunately, there were also several nice planters in the pool area.

AND, I discovered that the annoying grape vines growing all over the edges of the property will actually bear fruit! So, they can stay for the time being.
These are muscadine grapes and should ripen sometime in September.
After that, we decided to actually pick out and plant the food to we want to grow. So, off to the local feed-n-seed we went. It didn't take long to place what we chose in the dirt.
More tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, and jalapenos were put in the last raised bed.
Cucumbers, beans, and zucchini went in pots placed along the trellis.  
Two found (on property) concrete planters were used to plant an herb garden mix of plants and seeds. I believe I planted basil, cilantro, dill, mint, oregano, and parsley. They're in alphabetical order naturally. I should probably make some plant markers for them before I forget what they are. 
I also planted sunflower and zinnia seeds in a few locations. You know, to attract the bees.

Finally, Pat cleared away another ground-covered area of jasmine and wisteria.
Yes, that whole brown area was just vines. It was maddening. 
Now, we can walk from the backyard to the barn without having to unnecessarily go around several buildings. Yay!

We've been plenty productive since we started. I'm happy that we're finally getting it to a more workable point. And, Pat picked up some plastic barrels yesterday so we can start on a rain catchment system to water the garden and the chickens. There's always a project in the works around these parts, but I don't think we'd want it any other way.

I've linked this up at the Homestead Blog Hop and Simple Homestead Blog Hop.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Days 61-80 of The 100 Day Project (Plus Giveaway)

I've been playing along with #The100DayProject, and yesterday I made it to Day 80! The way it works is that each participant picks a creative activity to do for the 100 days and posts what they do each day on Instagram. As well, they are to use two hashtags: #The100DayProject and their own unique hashtag. The purpose of the project, beyond making something everyday, is to help the artists' creativity grow. I can sincerely say that this project has done just that for me. I've worked with materials I've only considered using before. I've picked up supplies and tools that had been gathering dust. I've uncovered forgotten findings and beads. All this in an attempt to make something different from what I made the previous days. If you're just now finding me through this post, you can check out what I did for Days 1-20, Days 21-40, and Days 41-60 in the blog posts highlighted or on the CraftyHope Instagram feed. Today I'm revealing Days 61-80. Oh, and my project is earrings with the hashtag #Make100Earrings.

As you can see from the banner above, as well as the title, I'll be giving away some of these earrings. So, pay attention to the ones you like so you can comment with your favorites. As well, I'm announcing the winner for the Days 41-60 giveaway. All of the details will be at the bottom of this post. Let's get to the earrings first!

Days 61-64
Day 61: The tin shapes were already cut and ready, just needing sealing and accents. It took me some time to figure out what kind of beads I wanted to add. I finally settled on trying to match the colors in the tin with some seed beads and e-beads. As well, I used eye pins to create the ear wires. 
Day 62: After a long day outside, I was totally beat and refreshed at the same time. I grabbed cultured sea glass beads from, a stone bead, and a faux watch hand, simple but pretty. The aqua color totally reflected my chilled mood. 
Day 63: I woke up that morning knowing that I wanted to etch some metal. I was fortunate to find one small piece of copper in my stash that I snipped in half, cleaned, stamped, etched, hole punched, aged, and sanded. It ended up so gorgeous that I puzzled over whether to add anything else. The emerald green glass beads and copper spacers were just the right touch.
Day 64: Tassels are everywhere! After spotting some mass-produced tassel earrings, I was inspired to make my own. I started by stringing the seed beads on a needle and thread by hand before I remembered my bead spinner. Since it was the first time I had ever used it, it took some trial and error, but I finally got the beads strung. As well, I used Iced Enamels to alter the bead caps in which I hid all the "secret" workings.

Days 65-68
Day 65: I was away from home with my travel box when I made these. I simply dug through the box and picked out beads I like: Czech glass, carved bone, Chinese crystals from ZnetShows, and e-beads, and then stacked them all on a headpin. Easy-peasy!
Day 66: After etching the copper the other day, I figured "why not texture some washers?" Using a texture hammer, I banged marks onto the copper washers before patina-ing and buffing them. Rummaging through my beads, I unearthed these neat, teal plastic beads from a vintage necklace I had taken apart. Copper spacers were used on the bottom to finish off the earrings.
Day 67: I had been wanting to use strand separators as chandelier earring bases for a while. This gold tone pair was also salvaged from old jewelry. I accented them simply with black and clear glass beads and gold tone spacers.
Day 68: The chain fringe for this pair came from the scrapbook aisle. They were Tim Holtz accents that very quickly became earrings with the addition of blue beads and ear wires.

Days 69-72
Day 69: I'm not even sure what prompted these. As soon as I opened the orange bead drawer, I was drawn to the flower-shaped beads. Since the triangular tubes were the exact same shade, I grabbed them too. They were easy enough to knot together with blue waxed linen cord.
Day 70: I knew an untouched strand of dalmatian jasper beads were in my stash. It was time to dust them off. They're paired with a couple of acrylic (to keep them lightweight) black beads and copper findings.
Day 71: I woke with visions of grapevines in my head and thus wanted to try to make some with wire. I used sturdy sealed annealed steel wire to achieve my goal and topped them with teal Chinese crystals from Znetshows
Day 72: While sifting through a jar of random beads, I spotted the pair of handmade lampworked beads from SueBeads. They needed to be something other than bead soup fodder. The dangles are altered Vintaj blanks that I had on had. They were textured and colored with patinas in shades of green. I have to admit that they were incredibly hard to photograph and the green dangles are much more muted than seen here.

Days 73-76
Day 73: Something drew me to these Vintaj stampings and I was ready to play. I layered Vintaj patinas and mica powders to create a mottled design before sealing them with a UV resin. I LOVE how this turned out and hope to try the technique again. It's hard to see, but they ended up looking dichroic. 
Day 74: My last post on these Shrink Plastic Firefly earrings describes the whole process used to create these. If you've never tried shrink plastic, I definitely recommend it just for the fun factor. 
Day 75: The ceramic buttons in these earrings were bought for the Bead Peeps Swap N Hop but were never used. I have to admit that they were still sitting in a basket on top of my bead cabinet. The crackle on them is so great. They could have been fine alone, but I decided to add a simple, natural element with these wood beads.
Day 76: Sorting through my artist-made components, I pulled out my collection of lampwork spacers from Juli Cannon of StudioJuls. Since I had no direction, the white ones seemed the way to go. These cherry quartz-colored glass beads give them a soft, feminine feel.

Days 77-80
Day 77: I wanted to use something out of my "naturals" bead drawer. At first, a baggie of shell beads called to me, but the odd shape of these wood ones overrode that. I accented them simply with little copper dangles.
Day 78: It had been a while since I touched any more tin. Rummaging in the craft closet, I found a "new" tin to cut apart. From there, I experimented with making texture on the tin. It worked out beautifully.
Day 79: While my soldering iron was out for another project, I added rings to the back of the rhinestone flowers. They were from old, broken jewelry and were screaming for new life. I gave it to them by dangling them from salvaged faux pearls sandwiched between bead caps.
Day 80:  I had no inspiration. Something about the bone beads drew my attention. They needed something small, but natural, to accent them. The tiny garnets were perfect along with oval brass beads. Once I decided on the brass, I stumbled across the little brass arrows. I had hoped that they would hang evenly balanced, but that wasn't the case. So, I added a few more of the garnets on either end of the arrows for a kinetic result. They are a little quirky, but I totally dig them.

That's where we are now. Eighty earrings down, twenty more to go. I'm not sure what comes next, but I know several days will be spent out of town. That means I'll be working from the travel box. We'll see how that goes. EEK! For now, I mentioned a giveaway didn't I? Let me start my announcing the winner of the 41-60 Earring giveaway. Here's who entered.

Aaaaaaaannnnnddddd. . . the random generator's pick:
Leslie Anne, that's you! I'll send you an e-mail about getting your earrings to you.

As for the giveaway for this batch, I want to start by mentioning that some of the above earrings are already spoken for and won't be available for giving away. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that your favorites aren't available. Please do let me know which ones are your favorites. How about your top 5? That sounds like a good, round number. Please leave your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win. Again, I'm limiting this to US residents. Comment by the end of the day on July 12, and I'll draw a winner the next day.

Good luck!