Februray She Made/She Made: Clay Faces

WAY, WAY back. . .sometime in 2013 (see, loooooong ago), Therese of Therese's Treasures (another Alabama gal) contacted me and a few other creative ladies to see if we would be interested in a challenge. You see, while shopping at a craft fair she stumbled on these beautiful clay faces made by local sculpture artist Susan Clayton. The maker had a basket of just the faces and Therese grabbed several.

Obviously, I couldn't turn away from this challenge and said, "YES!" Therese was generous enough to give us lots and lots of time for this challenge. So I was able to ponder it for many months. Unfortunately in those many months, I didn't take a before picture of the face she sent me. Instead, I studied it. In that face I saw care, concern, wisdom, gentle-ness, and love. I saw Mother Nature, and that's what I attempted to make.

The other ladies participating in this challenge have some mad seed-bead skills, and I'm sure they've woven intricate details around their faces. Me? I played with moss and resin. The actual base to the pendant is a lid from a baby-food jar that I layered with Vintaj Patinas.

On the inside of it is some fluffy moss that I glued in with resin. I kept the resin coating at the bottom of the 'bezel' so as to not make the moss shiny and wet-looking. The face is attached with epoxy jewelry resin. Of course, you can't really see those details unless you look real hard.

For the necklace, I wanted to keep it simple. I had intended to just make a chain of the green seed beads and tiny wood tubes, but the hubby suggested that I add a few accent beads to give it some interest there too. I sorted through most of my stash before realizing that these Gaea ceramic beads were a perfect fit.

Between the face, metal lid, and resins; the pendant is a little heavy. With that in mind, I made sure to make the chain fairly short so there's not additional strain on the neck. I'm talking like it weighs 50 pounds or something. It totally doesn't, and I probably just over-thought that too.

This challenge really give me a chance to step outside my usual materials and play with a variety of ideas. I can't wait to see what the other artists did with theirs. Here's the list of them so you can hop over and see what they created as well.

Therese (our hostess)
Hope < ---you are here

Thank you so much Therese for letting me participate in this round of She-made/She-made. It's been a definite growing experience.

Bead Table Wednesday: Flotsam

All week I've been working through ideas from my sketchbook. However, I've hit a wall on the next one. With that roadblock, I turned to the Jewelry Making Mojo Challenge from Heather at Humblebeads and pulled out some of the bead soup and other flotsam littering my space for a bit of a break. As such, this is my contribution for Bead Table Wednesday.
Now I just need to figure out what to do with these miscellaneous beads, wire bits, and pieces of chain. Part of the mojo challenge is to not over-think the design. Ha! I'll work on that.
So what's on your Bead Table this Wednesday?

Menu and Recipe Review (2/24)

For some reason I didn't struggle too much with today's menu. Oh, that's right. . .I carried over over half of it from last week. Whatever, that just means less grocery shopping this week. WIN! (I do try to be a positive person.)

Breakfasts: Smoothies, Cereal, Omelets, PB&J muffins, Waffles (from freezer)

Lunches: Cheese quesidillas, pizza (from freezer), Tuna noodles, PB&J, Bean burritos, Soup w/grilled cheese, Leftovers

Sauteed Curry Paneer with sugar snaps & peas over rice (subbing tofu for paneer)
Crunchy garlic chicken w/red potatoes and corn
BBQ tofu pizza w/salad


Recipe Review

Chicken noodle soup: I used the linked recipe as a reference mainly. It was SOUP-ER easy and pretty good too. I used chicken broth and a large chicken breast that I already had in the freezer. I added some chopped carrot to up the vegetables and it was perfectly fine. Definitely will make again.

Three cheese lasagna: For a lasagna, this wasn't too hard to make. I think my biggest complaint was cutting down the noodles. It seemed like such a waste of food. I may make this again but I'll rework the noodles to make sure there is less wasting them. We enjoyed this and even ate all the leftovers.

I hope you are trying to find the WIN in your Monday too!

Self Interview for ALWB

As you may have noticed, I don't share a whole lot of 'personal' information. I saw this Self Interview from Alabama Women Bloggers and thought it might be a good way to give you another peek at me. 

1. What part of the state do you call home? I'm way down in the South of the state, in Fairhope. It's East of Mobile on the other side of Mobile Bay.
2. How long have you been blogging? I've been blogging since 2007. . .so almost seven years now. Wow!

3. Why did you start blogging? I had recently discovered blogs and wanted a way to share my interest in crafting as well as have a bit of an online journal. I also wanted to share some of the cool things I discovered while I was playing around online. It's been so long now that I THINK that was my reasoning. Actually, here's a snippet from my first blog post
". . .while I do expect to spend some time here talking about crafting, I plan on also posting about much more: thrift finds, interesting links, inspiring pictures and quotes, frugal goodness, yummy recipes, and basic day-to-day life. This list may change at any time, because I can be crazy like that if I want to . . . it's my blog dangit!!"
That actually sounds almost exactly like what I'm still doing!

4. What do you love most about blogging? I really enjoy finding other blogs, sharing inspiration with others, and the general online community that bloggers have (no matter what their niche).

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I have a hard time envisioning the future and tend to be a live-in-the-moment kind of gal. So, for me. . .in 5 years. . . I'll be doing much as I am now but maybe with some more success. At least I hope so. Why is this question so hard for me?

6. What is your favorite movie? Another tough one. I'm quite the lover of movies and my interests vary. Some of my favorites are the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter series, Empire Records, and Dead Poets Society.

7. If you could use any actress to play you in your life, who would you choose and why? I've always loved Drew Barrymore. I just love her happy, bubbly persona. In high school, I was often told I looked like 'Blossom' so Mayim Bialik is also a contender. I do love that she has a degree in neuroscience, the brain is an awesome organ! As well, (and though I don't see it) I've had a lot of people tell me I look like Renee Zellweger. So, there's that.

8. Name the top 5 things on your bucket list. ~Travel lots and lots (specifically visit Paris, Ireland, and Bora Bora; though anywhere else is fine too) ~learn to sew ~live more sustainably (grow a garden, use solar panels or other alternative energy, recycle more, etc.) ~Define my artistic style/passion and make a living from it ~Live in my dream home (though the vision of that changes OFTEN)

9. Who or what inspired you to blog? Other blogs. While I can't specifically remember ALL the ones I was reading way back then, I know Crafty Chica and Jennifer Perkins of The Naughty Secretary Club were at the top of that list.

10. If you could be known for one thing in your life, what would it be? One thing!!??? Gah, my mind is reeling over that. I can't even. . .Right now it looks like I'll be known for my indecision. It's a tough call between my fun-loving nature, my artistic vision, and my loving-heart.

11. Where is your favorite place to go on vacation? That's easy. The beach. . as long as it's warm, sunny, beautiful, and there's some water I'm exceptionally happy!

12. Describe the best moment in your life. Every.single.day is the best. Each day I get another chance to carry on beside the man that I love, doing what I love to do, and getting to learn from my previous mistakes.  

13. We’re headed to your neck of the woods for one day. What is one thing we have to do, and what restaurant we must eat at? Exploring Fairhope's beautiful downtown district and beach is definitely a must (there's not really much else to do in town.) Next month we'll have the Fairhope Arts and Craft Festival and that'll be a lot of fun. As far as eats, you really can't go wrong with most of the local restaurants. One of our favorites right now is Dragonfly Food Bar. Of course, if you're heading down right now it's Mardi Gras Season for just over another week and you can party it up here and in Mobile!!

14. What is a tradition you and your family have? Living on the Gulf Coast, we celebrate Christmas with a big-ole pot of Seafood Gumbo instead of the traditional fare. It's a delicious day!

15. We all love social media, share your links so we can follow you. Most of my links are in the right sidebar, but if you're reading this from a feedreader I'll help you out: 
Personal Facebook
CraftyHope Jewelry Facebook Page
CraftyHope on Twitter
CraftyHope Pinterest Page
CraftyHope on Instagram
CraftyHope on Flickr
Hope on G+
Hope's Etsy Profile
CraftyHope Tumblr
CraftyHope on YouTube

I'm linking up this interview on the Alabama Women Blogger's page. If you're a woman blogger in Alabama, you should consider joining up as well!

We're All Ears from Earrings Everyday

The folks at Earrings Everyday have decided to have a monthly challenge. They're calling it the We're All Ears Hop. Each month they will share some sort of inspiration (a picture, painting, person, song, poem, etc.). Blog readers are then invited to create a pair of earrings based on the inspiration, blog about the earrings and inspiration, and share that blog link.

This month, the inspiration is this photo of Damselflies in Love
Photo credit National Geographic, Yeo Weng Sang
While I did recognize the general heart shape that the damselflies have created in their. . .ummmmm. . .activity, I'm not big on the heart-shape in general.  What drew me in to this photo were the colors and general lines. I do love the transparency of their wings and the length of their bodies. I absorbed all that and created this pair of earrings.
I used the clear beads with lines on them to symbolize the wings. As well, the orange and blue I took from their  torsos with the dash of brown for their long tails. In addition, I used the twisted brass bars to elongate the earrings much as their tails do their bodies. Lastly, the pair is mirrored top to bottom like these two lovers are posed in the picture.
I really dig these earrings and am looking forward to more challenges for the crew at Earrings Everyday. I can't wait to see how everyone else interprets the prompt.

30 Words: Sunset

There’s no place I would rather be
Then on the beach or out at sea.
With my lover seated next to me,
We’ll sail the sunset right in; to eternity.

The premise of 30 Words Thursdays is simple...

Take an image.
Write 30 Words about it. No more. No less.
Post it each Thursday.
Share it on Erin's Treasure's Found blog.

Bead Table Wednesday

It's back!
I'm not exactly sure where Bead Table Wednesday disappeared to as I desperately clung to it until about May of last year. Heather Powers of Humblebeads, the originator of BTW, has resurrected the weekly ritual.

What's actually on my desk is something I can't share until next week. As such, I did some more experimenting this morning with an idea that's been bouncing around in my head for the last few days. It started with a couple of the keys from my massive collection.

First I cleaned and sealed them with Renaissance Wax. Once they dried, I altered them with some Gilder's Paste and StazOn ink

Then added a little Magic-Glos. . .

The experiment isn't quite finished as I still need to Glos the other side, but I've learned that I need to add a little bit more of the Magic-Glos than I think I need and to not add more glos after I've already cured a coat. (Unless I want to coat the whole thing again.) All in all I really like the look though!

What's on your bead table today? To play along:
::Snap a photo then share it on Instagram, your blog, or on my the Humblebeads Facebook page
::You can share a work-in-progress, a total disaster, or a finished project. 
::Use hashtag #BTW or #BeadTableWednesday on Instragram
::If you blog about it, grab one of the icons on Heather's blog and link back to her.

I really enjoy BTW and hope you play along as well! The links to Heather's blog above are last week's. Here's her blog post for this week for you to check out and link up to.

Long Weekend, Menu, and a Treasury

Three-day weekends always get me out of whack. I'm usually too busy having a good time (or just avoiding any kind of responsible activity) to worry with things like meal plans for the week. Alas, this President's Day weekend was a perfect example.

We were so busy with
Valentine tacos and margaritas
A quick stop at our local brewery (Fairhope Brewing Co.) for a glass of suds
A trip over to Pensacola to McGuire's Irish Pub for our make-up Valentine's dinner out
And it wasn't all drinking and food. . .We spent a ton of time outside biking, playing disc  golf, hiking, and fishing (above)
It was a blissful, perfect Valentine/President's Day weekend.

Today, I spent my time trying to make up two days worth of chores so I can be back on track tomorrow. I'm almost there!! Anyway, here's what we'll be munching on this week:

Breakfasts: Smoothies, Cereal, Omelets, PB&J Muffins, Waffles (from freezer)

Lunches: Sandwiches, Tuna noodles, Cheese quesidillas, Mac-n-cheese, Soup w/grilled cheese, PB&J

Three-cheese lasagna w/chopped salad
BBQ tofu pizza w/veggies


Oh, and I got the special honor of being included in this Alabama Talent Treasury.
Alabama Talent
Go check it out for more detail!

Today I'm. . .

Bookmarking tons of inspiring jewelry pieces on my Pinterest Jewelry board.

Cooking tacos for our stay-at-home Valentine's Day.

Creating a mess experimenting with all kinds of ideas. Below is my newest experiment with resin and solder. (I’d love to know what you think of it as I'm still not sure.)

Enjoying my second cup of coffee for the morning.

Knowing I am loved.

Liking how my contribution to the clay face challenge is coming along (the reveal will be at the end of the month)

Looking forward to the three-day weekend ahead. It’s supposed to be beautiful down here so we’re hoping to get to the beach once or twice in the next couple of days.

Needing to get off my but and get some chores done. The floors are atrocious and the trash in the craft room overfloweth.

Re-listing this super simple bracelet
Natural Neutral Bracelet

Reading “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop CafĂ©” by Fannie Flagg and loving her writing. However, I just can’t seem to lose myself in the story.

Thinking of doing some shopping, but not until those chores are done!

Wearing my hair in a ponytail. . .meaning it’s time to get my hair cut.

Wishing y’all a very HAPPY Valentine’s Day. Even if you don't have someone to share the day with, I do hope you make sure to love yourself with some pampering, some chocolate, a nice workout, or whatever makes you happiest! Enjoy yourself.

30 Words: Mystical Land

A tiny world atop a wall;
Fuzzy moss turf and great fern trees,
Damp earth and cold stone.
One can only imagine a bug’s eye view
Of this mystical land.

The premise of 30 Words Thursdays is simple...

Take an image.
Write 30 Words about it. No more. No less.
Post it each Thursday.
Share it on Erin's Treasure's Found blog.

A Rundown of Valentine's Past and a Plea for Help

Valentine's Day approach-eth. . .

and once again I am stricken with a bad case of the I-don't-know-what-to-make-for-hims. While I continue to search for just the right project, I thought I'd share with you some of the links and instructions and projects of years past.

Also, I have a "Valentine Love" Pinterest board where I collect fun ideas. I just haven't found the perfect one yet and am RUNNING OUT OF TIME!!

If you have any fabulous, fun, lovey-dovey ideas or have seen any, feel free to share them in the comments section. I hope my links help you find something loverly too!

Menu Plan and Recipe Review (2/10)

This weekend was wildly and crazily busy for me as I kicked off the beginning of Mardi Gras season with my organization's annual ball. Somehow I failed to get ANY pictures; I was too busy being a little too wild and crazy. Ooops. Now it's back to the grind of the week starting with my menu.

Breakfasts: Smoothies, Oatmeal/grits, Egg white omelets, Hashbrown baskets, French toast

Lunches: Leftovers, Pizza, Soup and grilled cheese, Tuna noodles, PB&J, Mac-n-cheese

Baked Ravioli w/salad
Soup from freezer
BBQ tofu pizza w/salad
Three cheese lasagna w/green beans

I'm linking up my meal plan at Menu Plan Monday on the I'm an Organizing Junkie blog.

Recipe Review
(this is for the past two weeks as I failed to post my menu last week.)

Spicy peanut butter tofu: I have made this one several times. It's a favorite of mine and Pat's.

Hashbrown taco casserole:  This was pretty good. I fiddled with the recipe some and used soy crumbles instead of meat, added a can of rotel tomatoes (drained), and threw in a few chopped, pickled jalapenos. It was spicy but we enjoyed it.

Slow cooker Vegetarian Pasta e fagioli: I'll admit that this was one of those slow cooker recipes that requires some cooking before you throw everything into the crockpot. That gets on my nerves some, but this soup was pretty tasty. I'm not positive I'll make it again, but I did put the leftovers in the freezer to enjoy another time.

Traditional baguette:  We had a snow day so I had to make an extra meal than I had planned. As such, I made soup and bread. This bread was pretty easy to make and we ate it all up. What more can I say? Homemade bread rocks.

Split pea soup: This soup was what I made to go with the bread. It was good. However, don't let the 1 hour cook time fool you. You have to cook the ham hock an hour and THEN start on the soup for an hour. We were eating LATE that night. It was a good soup though and had lots of flavor. I followed some of the suggestions in the comments and added some additional seasonings. I might make this again.

Chicken marsala: Pat loves some chicken marsala. This recipe was really good and super easy. I will likely make it again.

Veggie and tofu stir fry: This was super tasty. I left out the baby bok choy as I couldn't find it and just added more of the other veggies. Pat actually ate all the leftovers the next day. I will probably make this again.

Now I just need to figure out what to make/do for the love of my life on Valentine's Day. What are your plans?

30 Words: Fire

A light in the darkness
Warmth from the cold
Survival to some
Destruction for others.
It lit our way out of caves
And gave us the spark to be more.

The premise of 30 Words Thursdays is simple...

Take an image.
Write 30 Words about it. No more. No less.
Post it each Thursday.
Share it on Erin's Treasure's Found blog.

Tutorial: Text Beads and Altered Fringe

Last week I revealed what I made with the Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month and promised a look at how I created the text beads and the altered fringe.

The text beads are simply decoupaged wood beads with some additional alterations. Here's a reminder of what the finished beads looked like.

To make these, simply start with some wood beads of your choice and thread them onto a wooden skewer. In addition for this first step, you will need acrylic paint, a paintbrush, something to put the paint on/in, and a small bowl to rest the skewer on while the paint/glue dries. Notes: I prefer unfinished wood beads if I can find them. Also, the wood skewer is just a basic kitchen one I bought at the grocery store.
Cover your beads with a coat or two of your paint and allow it to dry.

It shouldn't take the paint long to dry. While it is drying, pull out a page from an old dictionary (or other book of your choice) and tear it into small strips. Also, grab some gel medium (mod podge works fine too). Working with one bead at a time, coat a bead with gel medium.

Quickly wrap a piece of your torn text around the sticky bead.

Don't worry if the paper overlaps itself or if there's not enough to cover the whole bead.

For large sections of exposed bead, use tiny bits of paper to cover. Again, don't worry if the paper overlaps. It's also okay if some of the paint color peeks out a bit.

Repeat this with all your beads. Once each bead is covered with text, coat them with a layer of the gel medium to seal the paper.

Now, get out a gold stamp pad and a black stamp pad. Note: I used what I had on hand. I could have used StayzOn black, but I was afraid that wouldn't rub off the way I wanted it to.

Place a bead on the gold stamp pad and roll it around with your finger so that some of the color transfers to the bead. Note: depending on the type of stamp pad you use, you'll have to apply different amounts of pressure to get the coverage you want.
Immediately after rolling each bead, wipe it with a paper towel to remove any excess ink.

Repeat with all beads.

Next, roll each of your beads on the black stamp pad.
Again, immediately wipe each of the beads to remove excess (and help smear the color a little).

Set the beads aside to dry for a few minutes.

Does your index finger now look like this? Good, you're doing it right then.

Pull out some fine grit sandpaper. Note: I think this was some 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper. I tend to just tear strips off sheets of sandpaper as I need them. It keeps me from using a whole sheet when I only need a little.
Feel around your bead and lightly sand off the larger bumpy, lumpy sections...the ones where the paper overlapped.

This will likely expose more of the paint so don't go overboard with it unless you want more of the color showing. Also, try not to rub through the paint either.

Put all of your beads back on your skewer(s) and coat them with Mod Podge matte. Note: I used the matte because it ensured the beads didn't get too shiny. The gold ink gave it plenty of shine.
Let your beads dry and they are done. See. . .easy peasy!

I also created some altered fringe for the necklace.

This was even easier. The fringe bits were taken from a metal chain found at Hobby Lobby.

With a very thin paintbrush, paint on Ranger Vintaj Patina in verdigris and Ranger alcohol ink Mixatives in gold.

Note: I simply did one edge on each side with the verdigris and then just overlapped that a little with the gold.

I had a great time playing with my supplies and getting to create with a beautiful focal from Jenny! I hope these instructions prompt you to play with your supplies some more too.

Don't hesitate to ask me a question if any of my instructions aren't clear or if I left out something.

Winding down the 100DayProject

I awoke the other day with many thoughts about the 100 Day project and decided to jot them down here to share with you. Some of the bits I g...