Friday, April 20, 2018

Paradise Calling Challenge for We're All Ears

Each month, Erin at Earrings Everyday poses a challenge for the readers. It's called the We're All Ears challenge. This month, she chose "Paradise Calling" as she was about to leave for the Humblebeads Bead Cruise and a paradise of her own. Today's reveal day! 

I suppose each person has their own vision of paradise, but mine has always, always been the beach. It's the water that calls to me - the weightless bliss of floating in it and the rhythmic sound of the waves. I will never get enough. It's lucky that I live so close to Alabama's beautiful Gulf Coast. 

And, while our beaches are superb, images from our vacation to Aruba many years ago are what sprung to mind. First and foremost, that crystal clear water was not to be missed.

I wanted to evoke the translucent quality, the blue, and the peacefulness of water with this first pair of earrings. 
I used fairy flowers from Mermaid Glass and lampwork glass spacers from StudioJuls. Silver-tone wire was chosen for its fresh feeling. These pieces were paired with bead caps from Patina Queen

Thinking about vacation and spending time at the beach makes me long for a rum drink or two. While in Aruba, we tried mojitos for the first time. They're definitely one of my favorite beach-side beverages. 
Made of rum, simple syrup, mint, soda water, and lime and served over ice; they are crisp and clean-tasting. I let the colors and feel of a mojito inspire these next earrings.

Green was an obvious choice, though I had a hard time deciding what shade, finally setting on these Czech glass ones to represent the lime and mint. Simple clear faceted glass rondelles were stacked on the top as the simple syrup and soda water. It needed a little something more, so I chose pewter-colored blanks from Vintaj and embossed them with squares to signify the ice. 

While mojitos are wonderfully refreshing, bushwackers are much heavier and more decadent. 
They're also made with rum, but include cream and/or ice cream, coffee liqueur, cream de cacao, coconut milk, and chocolate syrup. These are blended with ice and often served with whipped cream and a cherry. They're like a milkshake, with alcohol.

I used mother of pearl buttons because they're as heavy and creamy as the ingredients blended together. Deep brown glass pearls are silky and remind me of the chocolate. I topped the pearls with little white beads like the whipped cream on top.

Even after a full day at the beach, at the end of the day, I can hardly resist a beach sunset. My phone and camera are full of sunset photos. Here are just a few of them.

But, the one I let guide my inspiration was yet another photo from Aruba.

I really love how the colors just meld together. It's hard to make beads meld, but it was easy enough to stack the colors. 
I used faceted glass beads in orange, yellow, and deep blue to represent the sky of a sunset. Then, I embossed dark Vintaj blanks with a pattern that looks like moving water. 

I have to admit that I made all of these within an hour or two in a very rushed manner. But it was so nice to just think about the beach for a little while. Thanks for that bit of a mini vacation, Erin. 

I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone else interprets this challenge. Make sure to head over to Earrings Everyday and see for yourself. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

DIY Junk Drawer Wind Chimes

Earth Day is just a few days away, and enjoying the outdoors seems the right way to celebrate.  Making a wind chime from "junk" to honor the day and brighten your own outdoor space could be the encouragement you need to get out there. This project uses materials that might otherwise wind up in our landfills. I hope it reminds you that istead of polluting our environment, we can enhance it! 

While preparing my Earth Day Project Inspiration post last week, the upcycled wind chime caught my attention (and many of yours too). I did an image search to find the original post but to no avail. Being inspired by my own inspiration roundup, I decided to make my own wind chimes to share.

It was as simple as gathering junk drawer items: keys, broken jewelry, buttons, crystals, hardware, etc.; stringing them together; and attaching them to a base. Since I wanted to use recycled items as much as possible, tuna cans were the base. Of course, any kind of can would work, or you could use cookie cutters like the original image. 

Spring has finally sprung here in South Alabama (I think). While it's still a little chilly in the mornings, the afternoons are sublime. And, I've been finding it hard to stay inside when it's been so glorious outside. These windchimes have brightened up my outdoor space and made it even more inviting. 

I'd love for all of us to find a way to recycle some of the junk we have in our homes and enjoy nature, so I made a video of the process used to make the wind chimes.
If any of the steps are unclear or you have any questions about how to make your own, please don't hesitate to task. And, if you do make one, please share it.

These were so very simple to make. I can't wait to create more and try to use up all the excess supplies I have collected. What a wonderful way to upcycle!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Southern Antiques and Accents - April Ladies' Night

I stopped in at Southern Antiques and Accents in Fairhope (Greeno location) to update the booth a little and make sure it's ready for Ladies' Night. 

Hey! That's tonight! If you're in the Fairhope, AL area this evening, you ought to drop by SAA and take advantage of the sales. Everything in the shop is usually 10% off and some of the booths have even more savings!

As for what's in my booth, I only added a few new pieces from last month and swapped around a couple others. Mainly, the top display was changed out. 

Here's another shelf where the changes are noticeable. 

If you want to see more, you ought to head over to Southern Antiques and Accents to check it out!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Peek at My Week - April 8-14

This week seemed to totally fly by, but I got tons accomplished for the most part, and that's a really great thing. Unfortunately, prolific picture-taking wasn't one of the things I accomplished. In any case, here's a little peek at what went down in my corner of the world. 

First off, I continued working on #The100DayProject with my goal of altering something every day for the 100 days. My personal hashtag on Instagram is #altering100 where you can see not only the end results (above) but also pictures of the before and some of the processes. Some of these were pretty quick projects while others took over my whole day (Days 11 & 12 were huge time sucks, but so much fun).

As for what else I did during the week; 
On Monday, I took several items up to the booth at Southern Antiques and Accents before tackling other errands like grocery shopping.

I also listed these Pineapple-Quartz and Chain Earrings in the Etsy shop. 

Tuesday was a full day, but I can't remember what it was full of. 
I re-listed this Pearl Sphere Long Necklace.

And, there were a few minutes for Art Journaling while my broccoli roasted. But, that's about all I can recall. I think I worked on quite a bit of jewelry but somehow forgot to take pictures of any of it. 

Before leaving for my mom's house on Wednesday morning, I made listed the beautiful Rusty Filigree and Rosary Bead Earrings.

And, I got product photographs taken while at my mom's. It was a really beautiful day, perfect for picture-taking. 

Thursday was another lovely day. It began with my discovery of the first ripe blackberry of the season. What a happy surprise! Of course, I've been out every day since picking berries as they ripen.

Later in the day, I found myself just sitting outside and soaking in the gorgeous weather. It was really sublime. 

The majority of Friday was spent on working on that day's contribution for #The100DayProject. After posting about fun projects for Earth Day, I was inspired to try the upcycled wind chimes. I used a tuna can as the base and even made a tutorial (be sure to keep an eye out for that in the next several days!)

These Teardrop Clay and Filigree Earrings went up on Etsy. 

We took it easy Friday evening, even the animals were way chill. 

Of course, they weren't in there at the same time, but that would have been nice (One day maybe!)

Saturday was consumed with watching this storm. We had planned to go to the wedding of some friends, but I'm a wuss when it comes to bad storms and being in the car. So, we stayed home. And, I obsessed instead on my #Altering100 project. But, I did get to see another new episode of Trading Spaces. Y'all, that was my favorite show back when it was new. It's fun to watch some new episodes of it. Are you a fan?

That about sums up the week: not too much excitement, but full. 
What did you do this past week?

Friday, April 13, 2018

Project Inspiration: Earth Day

I'm working on keeping up with the Project Inspiration series that showcases inspiring projects for each season/holiday. I've only made two of these previously for St. Patrick's Day and Easter, but I think they're a great way to give and get a little crafty motivation. Today I'm focusing on Earth Day.

The observance of Earth Day occurs on April 22 each year, and according to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the observance began in 1970 to gather attention about environmental issues. The Earth Day Network has made this year's focus on putting an end to plastic pollution. There are loads of links and information on their site about this endeavor and the harmful effects of plastics on our environment. 

Of course, you can also make your Earth Day about planting a tree or collecting trash or any other activity that makes our world a cleaner place to live.  Here are some of the crafty projects I've found for Earth Day. 

This first one is all about recycling AND planting. What's better than a two-for-one? Chelsey at Buggy and Buddy shares how to Make Seed Balls out of Recycled Paper. Spreading green and reducing waste will make your heart happy.

I've always dreamed of having a greenhouse made from old windows like this one from Apartment Therapy. Again, it's not only recycling old windows but also promotes planting. Win-win!

If repurposing and recycling in a quick project is more your speed, you've come to the right place - that's my speed too. 
Upcycling tin cans into something functional has been a popular project for ages, and it just never gets old. This Rustic Recycled Tin Can Organizer from Homeroad showcases a new take on the tin-can organizer.  

I've even made my own versions of the simple project, integrating a little mixed-media art to jazz up my organizing. 

There's something really special about these junk drawer windchimes I found on WallaceGardens. Think of all the little bits and pieces you can wire up and upcycle into these. And, even better - use one of those tin cans as the base! Yeah, I may have to make one (or two or an army) of these.

Take a look around your home and find ways to improve and re-use something you might otherwise throw away. I made these Upcycled Mixed Media Magnets from advertising magnets that were destined for the trash. The were fun to make too.

How about repurposing some of those finds from the thrift store?
I know I've found embroidery hoops, lace and ribbon, and old doilies at my local thrift stores. In fact, I've bought them. There's a distinct possibility I may make a Vintage Style Crochet and Lace Dreamcatcher like this one from Flamingo Toes. It's dreamy, isn't it?

You can also use those thrift store finds to help others, like the birds. Sadie Seasongoods has gathered 20 Upcycled Ideas for Birds. These projects are not only eco-friendly, they're also pretty cute too. 

Of course, if you want to make something that's specifically for Earth Day, you can download this Earth Day Cross Stitch Pattern from Serenitas Designs

That's just a few of the ideas out there for projects you can make to embrace Earth Day. I'd love to know if you have any ideas or projects you turn to to help the planet. Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Bead Box 3 - Stocked

Between the Bead Peeps Swap-N-Hop and some of the other challenge reveals I've worked on, you might think I've been too busy to restock my bead box. But, that's not the case. In fact, I restocked it at the beginning of March. However, I have been too busy to mention it and ALMOST too busy to work on the projects in there. If you're not familiar with my bead box, it's just a basic divided craft organizer. Into each compartment, I put the components for a design. And, when I need I project to work on, it's there for me. 

I first stocked it back in October with a reveal in December. Then, I restocked the box in January, revealing the designs in March. Here's how I stocked it this time around. 
I know, I know. It's hard to make anything out of that photo. Well, I had to put everything in baggies as I had trouble (in the other two boxes) with the smaller beads escaping into other compartments and confusing me. So, the baggies give the photo a blurry, mysterious feel. Sorry!

Finding inspiration to stock this bead box was difficult. I just wasn't feeling it. Then, the perfect challenge and solution presented itself! I used the March Bead Challenge from Fusion Beads to fill each compartment to kinda-sorta match up with the first 17 days. Here's a better look.

1: Make an easy pair of earrings - I pulled an altered Vintaj blank and corresponding beads together. 
2: Create a piece with chain as the main element - A large, chunky chain in my stash caught my attention. Its antiqued silver tone compelled me to pick a matching bar from Tim Holtz that I bent into a bracelet shape. As well, I grabbed several beads that just happened to be already sitting on my desk. 
3: Design a set of jewelry - I quickly decided on a necklace and earring set and created a few components with antiqued copper wire. I selected an enameled filigree bead as the focal then chose matching stone beads along with black ones for the rest of the design.
4: String something with bicone crystals - Here's where things started to get tricky for me. I just happen to have a few bicone crystals in my stash. But, not near enough to "string" something. So I improvised and selected a few along with other materials to make earrings. 

5: Bead something with two-hole SuperDuo beads - Again, tricky! I think SuperDuo beads are something you use in seed beading and not something I own. So, I improvised and decided to make something using two-hole beads. But...I couldn't find any of those in my stash. I did locate a few three-holed copper beads, but I'll be treating them like two-hole beads for the sake of the challenge. I also went with some multi-colored glass beads that match the copper nicely. 
6: Whip up a wrapped cord bracelet - I've never made a wrapped cord bracelet but found the instructions on the Fusion Beads site easily enough. I selected bright yellow Chinese crystals (from, turquoise waxed linen cord, black beading thread, and a turquoise button. It'll be fun to learn a new technique. 
7: Create something unique using flat spiral stitch - What? Haha. I think that's another seed-beading technique. Instead, I zeroed in on the word spiral and grabbed more of the spiral copper beads that I used in one of my Swap-N-Hop pieces. I also selected the violet shell beads from my partner because they're little spirals too. In addition, I picked out 4mm copper beads, an enameled bead cap, a copper connector bead, findings, and loads of copper chain. 
8: Fix or finish a project - This was easy enough, I have tons of unfinished projects sitting around. I grabbed the one closest at hand: tin waiting to become earrings.

9: Gather your best beading buddies and have a bead night - Since that's not completely feasible for me, I decided instead to think more in terms of online friends and participate in Sarajo's Honey Do List Challenge. I have to admit that I skipped ahead in my bead box to make sure I got this one done for the reveal. I chose a rusty key, scrapbook label, matte black and clear glass beads, and white glass beads.
10: Learn a new beading stitch - I only have a vague idea for this one, but it'll be something new for me. There are large silver-tone hoops, beading thread, and labradorite-colored seed beads. 
11: Feature charms - This wasn't too hard. I selected a few charms from one of my drawers, chose a large hoop, and picked out beads. Next is just to make it!
12: Design jewelry that features your favorite color of Swarovski - I simply went with my favorite color. It's that blue in the picture - though the color isn't coming through as true. I also picked out bead caps, text washers, black crystals, and findings.

13: Construct jewelry with gemstones - I selected small labradorite beads for the gemstone portion of this challenge and decided that I would try another of the wrapped cord bracelets. As such, I opted for black cord and a clear button (I'll use the thread from Day 10). 
14: Create a long necklace, at least 24 inches - This isn't new to me at all. I love a nice, long necklace. I picked a small key and a bunch of purple glass beads.
15: Work up jewelry inspired by nature - For this, I looked out my window at the azaleas in full bloom (bottom left) and decided to use that color palette. First, I colored a Vintaj blank with Patinas then picked out fuschia (dyed white jade) and green (jasper) beads to match. 

16: Make a handmade gift for a friend or family member - Just days before deciding on this challenge, my niece handed me the Buddha charm and asked me to make something for her. Since she's in high school, I was reminded of the short, almost choker, necklaces with a simple charm that I wore when I was her age. So, I selected a few black beads with some cobalt ones to create a similar style necklace for her.
17: Make a project using one of our seed bead palettes - Searching through Fusion Beads' palettes, there were quite a few that caught my attention. However, the Hyacinth one was my favorite. While my selections aren't the same, they were definitely inspired by the palette. I picked out a Gaea pendant with a beautiful violet and blue glaze on it, pale violet beads, and bright aqua beads. 

I have to admit that I've been quite distracted with tin over the last month and haven't made it very far into the bead box, but that's kinda what it's there for - to have a project ready to be made when I'm not feeling inspired. As long as I'm inspired, it's not a problem. And, with the Fusion Beads challenge list, I still have almost half a month of inspiring prompts to restock the box when I'm done! 

Where have you turned for project inspiration lately?