Friday, October 20, 2017

Harvest Moon October Inspiration for Earrings Everyday

As soon as I saw the Harvest Moon inspiration for this month at Earrings Everyday, I was indeed inspired. The challenge came to my attention several days after it was posted and thus several days since the Harvest Moon had made its appearance. I had the pleasure of getting to see that moon in all its October glory. Simply recalling its beauty was all I needed to envision this design.

I first considered what material would best represent the moon itself. Almost immediately I was struck with the image of mother-of-pearl buttons. Their holes and sometimes rough texture would be perfect to epitomize the moon. But, I didn't want them to hang loosely in the earrings, they called out to be set in the sky.

Since I've been playing around with tin on and off for a few months, it seemed to be just the thing to use as the backdrop. And, utilizing a technique I picked up in a jewelry class, I was sure I could attach the buttons to the tin by folding the tin over on the buttons. 

At a local thrift store, I found a tin with a black lid. The base was a snowy city scene that I used to practice the design. It was good that I decided to practice as I had originally intended to only use one layer of tin. But, the propeller-like shape (middle) of the single layer made me change my plans to add the second layer.

My initial plans changed again when I added the patina to the tin. See, the backside of the black tin was a brassy-gold that I was able to sand off for the most part. In order give the earrings an "aged" feel, I left some of the original color. When the dark patina was added, the brassy-gold really stood out and sparkled like stars in the sky. Since the fold-overs had this effect on them, I decided to flip the second layer so some of the sparkles would show up in the background too. Even the rivets went well with the bit of metallic poking through. 
I see myself making many other pairs of earrings like these, combining tin and buttons - two found object materials I really enjoy working with. And, I see how I can improve upon this design and the process. For now, though, I'm totally smitten with my own pair of Harvest Moon Earrings.

I'm linking up on the Earrings Everyday reveal post. I do hope you head over there and see how other artists were inspired by this month's theme. I know I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Motivation Waning

I don't know if I'm getting sick or still wrestling with the weather (we had a little hurricane over the weekend), but my get-and-go has got-up-and-gone this week. I'm lacking so much motivation. However, I have my trusty bullet journal to try and keep me on track. So, I've gotten a few things accomplished today.

These three pretties were taken up to Southern Antiques and Accents to be added to the booth.

I listed a pair of earrings in the Etsy Shop.
You'll find these Blue Glass Fairy Earrings there. You may remember the from #The100DayProject.

I'm working on editing pictures of jewelry to be added to the Etsy Shop. In fact, I started editing the pictures for this necklace yesterday. 
And, I decided to wear it to a meeting last night. It got loads of compliments. It's part of an old watch. I added pearls in the face with resin and accented it simply with more pearls and gold-tone chain. I hope to have it in the shop within a week. 

Finally, I started on this necklace from my Bead Box to Go during Hurricane Nate. It's sitting on my desk at the moment waiting for completion. I'm hoping to get to work on it some this evening. 

I did get some household chores done and will be making dinner shortly. Oh, and I just finished a blog post. So, I guess I've gotten more done than it feels like (when I list it all out like that.) I just feel like I'm dragging. Ever have days like that?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Bead Box to Go, prepped and ready

Today my mom is having outpatient surgery. I knew that since I'm the one taking her, I'd have plenty of wait time. And, here I am waiting. Not sure if I'd have internet access or battery; I came prepared. I've not only got my laptop and phone (plus chargers), my journal and a notebook, a book to read, some coloring pages and gel pens, and snacks; but I've also got a few jewelry-making supplies. As usual, I'm over-prepared. I like it that way. Since I spent several hours yesterday gathering the jewelry supplies, I figured I'd share some of what I collected.

I started with this craft organizer that already had a selection of beads and focals packed for vacation. With this in hand, I decided to tackle it like a muffin tin jewelry challenge and fill each compartment with the supplies needed to complete a piece. For the most part, I used what was already in the container, removing only the yellow beads as they just didn't speak to me. As well, I tried to use the focals that were already gathered. 

There weren't near enough focal elements for this task, so I dipped into my inspiration jar (I'll be blogging about that soon) to select the rest. 

In the end, here's how the box looks now.

I tried to put the wire I would use in the large compartment on the left, but there just wasn't enough room. Instead, there's a small pair of scissors and a few beading needles there. Let me give you a closer look at what I assembled. 
These are compartments 1-4
#1 holds a focal made with an old pearl and rhinestone earring. As well, there are black Chinese crystals from, gold-tone chain and wire, and brass bead caps.
#2 is a Tim Holtz bar that I bent for bracelets, pink crystals, a toggle clasp, and Vintaj Arte Metal wire.
#3 has a large brass loop and more Chinese crystals from ZnetShows
#4 is a project I had just started and decided to throw in one of the open spaces. It's a hardware semi-circle thing, a few charms, and glass pearls.

#5 is a strand of freshwater pearls, a strand of clear crystals, and several religious charms.
#6 contains teal Chinese crystals, beading thread, and a couple of bead caps I altered with Vintaj Patinas.
#7 is my favorite of the whole box. There's an old chandelier crystal, a strand of aqua dyed quartz, an elaborate brass hardware piece, and aged brass wire.
#8 has a key that's been decorated with a smashed and colored button. To go with it, I added cultured sea glass tubes and small brass colored beads.

#9 holds a strand of amethyst chips, an enameled filigree bead, and a couple of charms. 
#10 is another favorite with a strand of labradorite, a lampwork bead, an enameled filigree bead, and a ceramic bead from Gaea.
#11 has another bead from Gaea (the heart bead), a polymer clay bead from Shipwreck Dandy, a lampwork bead from StudioJuls, pink plastic beads from an old necklace, and some Picasso Czech glass beads. 
#12 was a tough one. I wasn't sure what to do with those bright red beads. But, the large brown stone seemed to compliment it just right. I added a few gold colored bead caps, red beading thread, and red seed beads.

#13 contains a reproduction dog tag, an enameled bead, a chandelier crystal, black glass beads, and stone beads.
#14 has a ton in it. There's vintage white glass beads, Czech glass beads, and industrial chic element, brass bead caps, and a selection of small, various coordinating pieces.
#15 initially started as something else, but when the ceramic bracelet bar fell out of my hands and broke, I went in another direction. I kept the leaf fringe chain and leaf toggle but added a strand of olive green glass beads.
#16 is a conglomeration of what was left in the box: a large Tim Holtz tag (bent for a bracelet bar) and two different types of stones. We'll see how that one comes together.

In addition to all these elements, I've got a baggie of wire spools, a few neutral filler beads, pliers, and a bead mat on a clipboard. Most of the compartments also have any findings I might need (jump rings, headpins, etc.) Like I said, I think I'm prepared. Of course, I don't believe I'll NEED all of these items today for the short procedure. But, I've got this prepped and ready for today and the days to come. It's nice knowing the decisions are made and all I have to do is create. Now, to just off the internet and get to it.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Jewelry Booth Update (New Inventory and Displays)

Last week I was able to head over to Southern Antiques and Accents in Fairhope (the one on Greeno Rd.) where I have a small booth. Since the season has changed, I swapped out some of the inventory. 
Don't these necklaces have an Autumnal feel to them?

And, since it's been a long time since I'd done so, I updated a few of the displays as well. In particular, a spinning earring rack was added. It was purchased at Goodwill and started out as shiny black. I've seen similar ones at Michael's. The black and glossiness were too much for me. I sprayed it with flat white paint and distressed it with a sanding block. It's definitely more my style now.
Unfortunately, the only picture I got of it was after it was loaded up with earrings. 

I also added an old, large spool to stack bracelets.
It looks a little bare. I guess I better make more bracelets!

As well, some other things were moved around, reorganized, and added. 

I think it's got a bit of a cleaner look now.
Though, there's still lots of room for improvement. I've got a few ideas but would love to hear yours too. This bottom shelf is a wreck. You do have to crouch down to see all the way in the back though. So, I've left it a little messy. I suppose I should fix that. 

As always, if you're in the area, I encourage you to stop by Southern Antiques and Accents on Greeno Road in Fairhope. In addition to my little booth, there are plenty of other larger ones to explore. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Treasure Collecting

I can't help it, I pick up things. I've mentioned before that I'm a pick-up artist. My eyes are usually trained toward the ground looking for the unexpected, the beautiful, the useful items that others often overlook. I've had friends and followers mention that I always find such unique items, but I tend to counter with the fact that I'm always looking.

Because of this tendency, I also have amassed quite a few collections. Just in the last few weeks, I've added to these stockpiles. What I'll do with my found treasures is usually a mystery, but sometimes I have an inkling. 
While on vacation, I walked the beach almost daily gathering driftwood and shells.

Most of the shells and some of the small driftwood pieces will eventually occupy a vintage blue mason jar. Others will hopefully be incorporated into some kind of hanging art. Maybe even with a few beads!

My treasures aren't always found on the ground, but simply items that others might not take a second glace at.
These hardware pieces were unearthed in a fabulous junk store while we shopped on vacation. You should have seen me digging through the little boxes to find these. I only wish I had had more time to explore. I know these will eventually make it into a jewelry design or two. I think the flat keyholes would be fabulous riveted to old tin.

I'm not always one to stop for piles of junk on the curbside. But, a box of rusty parts had me making a U-turn in my own neighborhood.

I couldn't wait to sort through the box to see what treasures emerged.
Wearing gloves (safety first!), I sifted through the box and piled the bits by size, oohing and ahhing over every little piece. There was a lot more in there than I initially thought.

These were my favorites of the bunch. While most of the rusty parts aren't small or clean enough to be worn as jewelry. I see so many other assemblage art possibilities.

Another treasure I snapped up was this tiny beauty.
It was simply laying in the grass. Doesn't it look like a tiny glass window?  I don't have any plans for it, maybe preserve it in resin. Who knows? I just couldn't leave it there in the yard.

With all these treasures in my possession, I should probably get around to using them. One day. For now, they're just hoarded with all my other collections.

Do you find treasures in unexpected places too? How do use them?

Friday, September 15, 2017

What to Pack for a Vacation Rental

Packing for a trip out of town can be such a headache. You don't want to forget anything and then have to pay those increased prices found in tourist areas or be in so remote or foreign a place that you'll have to go without them. Making lists upon lists is my (almost) no-fail method to prevent forgetting anything, but I have another trick up my sleeve. Enter, the Vacation Rental Box!

As I mentioned in my last post, we just returned from a vacation in Florida. While the trip had been planned for many months, the prepping and packing seemed to only come in the last few days before we left. However, there were some things that I knew I didn't have to think about. Basically, our vacation rental box was just about ready to go. We tend to call it "The Condo Box" because we used to rent condos at the beach fairly frequently. However, those intimate rentals have filtered off over the years. Instead, we've been renting houses or taking the pop-up camper on vacation trips with friends. This box works perfectly for any of those getaways.

Rentals are a special breed of vacationing. In a hotel, you don't have some of the responsibilities or amenities that a rental provides. I'm speaking most specifically of cleaning and cooking. Of course, if you're not planning on using the kitchen, this list may not be for you. We personally have found that cooking while on these trips is a great way to save a few bucks. While most of the rentals are stocked with basic supplies (pots, pans, plates, silverware, cups, coffee maker, etc.), they may not have all the components you're accustomed to commonly having on hand. After a few condo rentals and a few disappointments in my lack of planning, I put together the box. I've actually mentioned the condo box before, but it's grown over the years as my wants and needs have matured.

Now, this list doesn't include the normal things you would pack for a trip: clothes, shoes, toiletries, toys, books & magazine, etc. It's specific to making sure you have the supplies for the amenities you'd find in most rental houses and condos.

I've got a complete list for you at the bottom of the page, but let me go over why I think each of these items are needed in your packing for a rental vacation.

Let's start with the most basic of basics: Paper Products.
The amount you pack of any of these depends on your length of stay and number of people housing with you.

Paper Towels: While not the most environmentally friendly, these are a necessity for drying hands, wiping up spills, soaking up grease, and any of the other things you would normally use them for at home.
Toilet Paper (hidden in the back of the picture): Most rentals will have at least a roll in each bathroom. However, after that, you could out of luck. NO ONE wants to be without some extra toilet tissue.
Zip-Top Bags: These have multiple uses. They're great for putting away leftovers, soaking meats in marinades, packing a picnic lunch, collecting shells on the beach, making baggie omelets, and numerous other uses. I tend to pack a variety of sizes (gallon, quart, and sandwich) for overkill.
Aluminum Foil: I've found it's nice to have foil on hand to cover icky grills, covering food for baking, or containing any leftover food.
Plastic Wrap: This is one of those things that's just nice to have on hand for leftovers.

Next, Cleaning Products.
This will vary depending on how you clean, how long you stay, and what appliances are available in your rental.

Sponges: If you plan to use dishes at all, these will come in handy especially if there's no dishwasher. Some condos I've stayed in have included disposable sponges, but that hasn't always been the case.
Scrub Brush: I'm quite partial to a scrub brush for removing stubborn foods. They tend to last longer than sponges with scrub sides. This is definitely a personal preference.
Dish Soap: It's unfortunate to find yourself with a pile of dishes, no dishwasher, and no dish soap. I plan ahead just in case there's none available at the property, which is usually what happens.
Dishwasher Soap: The little pods of dishwasher soap are perfect for travel. If you've got some of your own, you can throw them in a baggie. However, I found this small pack at the dollar store. Often, if there's a dishwasher, they'll provide a few of the pods for you to use. Sometimes it's not enough though.
Hand Soap: It's likely that there may be a small bar of soap next to one of the sinks where you rent, but to be sure you have cleanly hands, it's a good idea to go ahead and pack some of your own favorite soap.
Multi-purpose Wipes: Cleaning wipes are just about the perfect thing to include in the box. It makes clean-up fast and easy so you can get back to enjoying your stay.
Laundry Supplies: If you're lucky enough to get a rental with a washer and dryer, I highly recommend including something to take advantage of them. You may just want clean towels or there could be an unforeseen accident with your clothes. Or, you could just no pack as much and plan on cleaning the few clothing items you do take. You may want to go the full route of laundry soap, fabric softener, and softener sheets (or whatever it is you usually use). However, I found these 3-in-1 sheets that include all of that. It makes traveling much easier without additional liquids to tote to your destination.

Coffee/Beverage Supplies
There is nothing worse than getting to your rental late at night, crashing, and realizing that there's no coffee the next morning. I only made that mistake once. Now I pack the following to prevent anyone from getting hurt.

Coffee/K-cups: Check your rental closely to see what type of coffee maker they have so you can pack accordingly.
Coffee Filters: If there's a coffee pot, make sure you also pack some filters.
Creamer and/or Sweetener: Throw in whatever it is that you and those staying with you like in their java to make sure everyone's happy.
Drink Mix: It's nice to go ahead and have something else to drink, so I always pack some kind of drink mix that includes the sweetener (like lemonade) and just needs water to make it.

Pantry Items
You never quite know what will be included in the pantry at a rental property. Sometimes they are fully stocked, sometimes the cupboard is bare. I try to take a small assortment of the items I most commonly use. If you plan ahead and know what meals you'll be eating, it's even easier to pack this section.

Salt and Pepper: The most basic of food seasonings, but I've encountered a few places that didn't even have these. It's harder than you think to cook without them.
Olive Oil: Having a fat on hand also makes it easier to throw a meal together, especially when you're as big a fan of roasting vegetables as I am.
Spices/Seasonings/Herbs: This is completely up to you and your tastes. I use granulated garlic in my food like it's going out of style. I also try to pack onion powder and parsley flakes. Think about what flavors you turn to most often (curry, thyme, basil, taco seasoning, seasoning salt, cajun seasoning, BBQ rubs, etc.) and make sure to include them in your box.
Non-Stick Spray: It's handy to have some spray on hand, especially if you plan on baking. This got added to the box after an unfortunate sticking disaster. That's all I'm going to say about that.

Miscellaneous Other Supplies
These final items are the random things that I found I needed on different occasions and just didn't have.

Drinking Straws: As bad as they are for the environment, I always have to have a straw because of my sensitive teeth. I'm on the edge of buying some reusable ones, but for now, I still pack the plastic disposable ones. I think we used all of five of them on this past retreat.
Chip Clips/Clothespins: Potato chips are an inevitable snack on vacation, but we almost never eat a whole bag in one sitting. Chip clips are a luxury I've found we don't really need as clothespins work just as well. And, if you do need to hang something on a line, you've got the clothespins with you!
Can huggers: There often tends to be a bit of beer-drinking when we vacation (shhh, don't tell), so I like to have a few koozies with us.
Scotch tape: When you need some tape and there's none around, you kinda lose your mind a little. Go ahead and pack it. You may not need it, but if you do and don't have it, you'll kick yourself for it.
Scissors: I'm one of those people that have a pair of scissors in EVERY room of my house. Seriously. (I am CraftyHope after all). Like tape, it's nice to know you have them if you need them.
Tongs: These are a fairly new addition to the box. They're really more for camping but do come in handy for grilling or fishing crabs out of a crab net.
Skewers: Like the tongs, there are more for grilling purposes. Grilled veggies on skewers are so yummy. Just saying!
Twine: Like many of the other items in this list, these are a "just in case". I think they got added when we were planning on going crabbing and wanted to make sure we had twine for the nets. However, it can be used for any number of other tasks.
Bug Spray: I keep this in the rental box because I always remember to pack sunscreen, but tend to forget about the bugs. So, I keep a bottle or two in the box to make sure we're covered.
Lighter: Whether you're grilling out or having a campfire, a lighter or matches is good to have on hand.

Of course, this list pertains mostly to those vacations within driving distance. If you have to fly to your destination, this list could be hand for your grocery trip.

I promised a printable version of this Vacation Rental Packing List and the link should open a PDF that looks something like this:

You definitely want to want to check with the rental agency or owner to see what they provide because I've heard that some don't have some basics like sheets and towels, but we haven't encountered any of those issues in our travels yet. Read through the listing well so you're good and prepared for what's to come. That way, you'll spend more time enjoying the vacation and less time running out for supplies.

When my list was shorter, I was able to fit it all into a smaller plastic box.

But, for longer trips (like our most recent one), I've had to pack the paper products separately. In this case, a reusable shopping bag was just the right size.

There may be other foodstuffs that you want to go ahead and take with you, depending on what you plan on cooking. We tend to buy groceries on the way to the rental or during our stay, once we have a plan. Of course, if there are any specialty items you want that will keep on the voyage, I recommend adding them to your box.

I'm sure that there may be other items that you find necessary for a rental property. Please let me know in the comments if there's something you feel I left out. You can never be too prepared. Happy Travels!!