Use Leftover Beads to Make a Necklace

I don't know about you, but I hardly ever use all my beads. There's always a few stragglers at the end of a project just lingering on my desk.  If there are two beads, I can use them in a pair of matching earrings. But if there's just one lonely bead, it tends to get tossed in a nearby bowl to be dealt with later. That bowl of random beads becomes what's known in the jewelry-making world as "bead soup". I'm not sure what everyone else does with their bead soup, but here's one way I like to make use of mine.

When my bowl of bead soup starts to overflow, I pour it into a large jar. When I'm feeling particularly uninspired and restless, I sort my beads by color.
I have to admit that this over-full container doesn't just hold the leftovers from my projects, but also beads and buttons from projects that didn't quite work out. Having them sorted by color makes me happy (and feel a little more organized.)

I created a necklace (above) in this manner for myself many years ago. It's worn often and gets compliments all the time. 

Sometimes I feel like creating but don't want to delve into a project that requires a ton of work. Making a Leftovers Necklace tends to settle my mind and idle hands! To begin, pick out a palette of beads and set to work creating a chain with them by simply wire-wrapping them together
When making your leftover necklace: 
* make sure to mix up large and small beads throughout the chain
* if using a wide variety of colors - don't let two colors "touch"
* make it long enough that it can easily slip over your head. 

You don't even have to bother including a clasp if you make sure to add your last link so that it closes the necklace. Without a clasp, it never matters which way the necklace is positioned, and any of the beads in the chain can be the focal point. Though, you could easily include a clasp if that's your preference.

A necklace like this without a pendant is convertible too as it can wrap around your wrist a few times to create a layered bracelet. The necklace/bracelet pictured is about 35 inches long (if you work better knowing the numbers.)

I think one of the most fun parts of creating a Leftover Necklace is coming up with the color combinations.

Fortunately for me, the Sea Gypsy Challenge on the Artisans Create Together Facebook Page was an inspiration mosaic of aqua and lime images. Aqua and lime are two of my favorite colors.
It was easy enough to fish out those shades from my bead soup box and complete a yummy, beachy necklace. 

And, I've just started another with a palette of browns and golds. I guess I'm getting geared up for Fall now.
I've placed all my supplies for this necklace on the metal tray I found from my last Thrift Haul post -  so it's portable. The portability makes it easy to work on these simple designs while watching television with Pat.

That's just one way to use those pesky leftovers. I'd love to know if you've found a great way to use them in designs too.


Peek at My Week: August 19 - 25

I actually feel like I accomplished quite a bit this past week. Sunday, in particular, was quite full. 
We started the morning with some monkey muffins. I used canned biscuit dough to makes these, the kind with all the layers. This was before I added the condensed milk. Look at those layers of yum!

With some energy (and sugar) in my system, I finished up a necklace that incorporated a couple of salvaged jewelry pieces. 

Rosalina, the oldest kitty in the house, made sure to get some head-lovins.

I finished a little art journaling to commemorate several special lives that were lost during the week.

And, I dipped into my rainbow bead box to create a mish-mash necklace.

Our puppy turned two this week. Happy Birthday, Zoe!!

I took several moments throughout the week to soak in nature and respect its beauty.

I mean, look how cute that little green lizard is.

Besides the monkey muffins, I made several other yummy meals.
This one I made up as I was absolutely craving quinoa. It's kinda a taco bowl with fresh corn, black beans, chicken, spinach, and feta cheese. It was exactly what I was craving.

And, I can't resist a yummy breakfast parfait of yogurt, berries, and homemade granola

The big project, though, has been getting our pop-up camper clean for an upcoming camping trip. We've let it sit for several years unopened and apparently had a mildew issue developing. I tried several products but finally found one that worked to get the ick out. You can see the before and after pictures above. What a relief that we won't be sleeping with all the mildew in there!

Like I said, I feel like I got quite a bit accomplished. I hope your week ahead is full of productivity. Here's a little inspiration to get you in the spirit. 

Have a fantastic week!


Bead Box 4 - Stocked

Most creative individuals recognize that sometimes you have more ideas than you know what to do with and other times you can't even fathom what made you think you were creative in the first place. I never know when inspiration is going to strike or when my motivation will lag. As such, I've been trying to keep a divided plastic craft box stocked for those times when the inspiration is just not there. It's also served me quite well on those days when I'm away from home. In fact, that's how this bead box began. Since then, I've worked my way through (almost) three boxes worth of designs. This is the fourth.


If you're interested in the others, take a look.



This time around, rather than just show you pictures of what I prepped in the box, I also created a video of me going through the content of the box.

As with the previous posts, I still have the pictures with a quick explanation of what all I put in the box. You should be able to click on the pictures for a larger view.
Because I was heading out of town for several days, I decided to go ahead and re-stock the box before I had completed all the designs in it. As such, these first six are carry-overs from the previous one. 
1: This one is mostly done as I had started it in the other box but grew tired of the process. When I packed this box, I decided to go ahead and transfer it over just in case I needed something repetitive to do. I've got beading needles, a small pair of scissors, tiny crystal beads, the bracelet's start, and beading thread.
2: You may be able to tell that this necklace was also already started. I just transferred it over. It's a super simple design involving purple glass beads, silver tone wire, and a decorative key (Tim Holtz).
3: Here's another design that was started but left unfinished because of its tediousness. Again, I thought I might get to it if I was in the mood. It's simply a couple of large silver tone rings, beading thread, and seed beads.
4: Pink and green beads perfectly match the altered Vintaj pendant I created for this design. It should be fairly easy to throw these together with a little wire. 
5: My niece had this Buddha charm that she asked me to use in a design. I picked out some small black and dark blue beads to go with it.
6: A ceramic pendant from Gaea was the start of assembling the components that went into this section. Several different violet beads and some aqua seed beads complete the ensemble. 

Once I moved those around in the box, I still had eleven spaces open for designs. To start, I pulled out the elements I had created as part of The 100 Day Project and spread them out for inspiration.

I let them inspire me to stock the rest of the box.
7: A tassel that I made from eco-dyed fabric (from Art at the Beach 2018) is paired up with turquoise and tan marble beads.
8: A pendant that I created from tin that was then darkened seemed to need little more than black cultured sea glass tubes and gold tone wire and findings.
9: To the altered jewelry piece, I decided to add gold findings, black faceted beads, and aqua-dyed beads.
10: Two small projects were placed in this section. First, small bezels containing the resined-in-place paint peelings from an acrylic pour will be simply accented with salvaged orange beads, and gunmetal bead caps and findings. The other is just rectangles of tin on which I did an acrylic paint pour that need to be added to silver ear wires.

11: You can probably just barely see the Tim Holtz tag that was altered with Vintaj patina. I added a variety of artist-made beads, glass beads, and bead caps with a roll of titanium-colored wire. I plan to make a bracelet with these components. 
12: The pretty, pastel flower that was created by riveting old jewelry elements together and adding a faux pearl cabochon is pictured with matching glass pearls.
13: A fancy paperclip was transformed into a pendant. To keep it simple, I've just added clear glass beads.
14: Altered copper hardware washers are set to become earrings with the addition of glass beads and antiqued copper findings and bead caps.

15: A small capsule (from Michael's) was altered by adding rolled snippets of some of my tin paint pourings to the center of it. It will eventually become part of a necklace with the help of antiqued copper beads and aqua stone beads.
16: There are only two things in this compartment: a Vintaj blank that was texture, colored with patinas, and curved and some Czech glass beads. Hopefully, that's all it will take to make a stunning bracelet.
17: Finally, a bracelet bar that I created with layers of reclaimed tin will be the centerpiece of a bracelet that also contains green Czech glass beads and small brass beads. 

I have to admit that I'm already about halfway through this bead box as I planned these out well and have whizzed through the designs. But, you'll have to wait to see the reveals.

I hope this post gives you some insight into planning designs ahead. I know it helps me out a ton to have these ready to go when I'm ready to make. 

Peek at my Weeks: August 5-18

I've got two weeks worth of peeks for you since last week went a little wonky on me.

We went to the local waterpark, Waterville USA, with several friends and one of our nieces. It was a first for myself and my niece.

While the waterpark was fun and all, it was so nice to come back to our own oasis and grill some burgers (that's the cause of all the smoke).

On Instagram, I shared a few peeks at what I've been creating.

I've been trying to work through some of the components I created for The 100 Day Project and incorporate them into finished pieces of jewelry.

I've also been playing a little with the backgrounds for my product photography. 

This is especially true for Instagram photos (since Etsy photos were already taken.)

While out running around, this anomaly caught my eye.
I mean....why?

But, to balance it out I got to take in the beauty of the roses my step-dad gave my mom for their anniversary. 

And, there was this beauty of a mushroom that I captured while absent-mindedly perched over an ant bed. OUCH! I guess it was a week of finding balances. 

To start the next week, I began working on cleaning out our pop-up camper for an upcoming trip.
I moved all the cushions outside to air out and clean.

Next up is tackling the mildew that's developed from letting the camper sit for FAR TOO LONG. ICK!!!! We spent most of yesterday trying to find a product that would work on it. And, I think we found it. That's today's project. 

I worked on a design that came to me in a dream. Alas, it didn't pan out as envisioned. But, I may try a more simple shape at a later time.

Like I said, there's definitely been a lot of trying to find balance. The past few weeks have felt like everything's gone wrong. So, I made sure to put a little win in the week with one of my favorite comfort foods. 

This mac-n-cheese recipe is one of my favorites. I like to throw frozen peas in with the boiling pasta and cook up some smoked sausage before making the roux. 
Once it's all baked together, it makes it a complete meal!

This flowering weedy vine reminded me of the past two weeks. I'm no fan of the vines taking over the property, but the persistence and beauty of this one insisted on being admired. 

My mood the past several weeks has been pretty low, but I've let it run its course and hope to find some beauty of its own in the end. 

With that being said, here's some inspiration for your week ahead.


Here's hoping you find loads more inspiration this week and create something amazing!

We're All Ears August Challenge Reveal: Spoonflower Circle Fabrics

I have to admit that when I thought about the We're All Ears Challenge for this month (that was to be inspired by the circle fabrics from Spoonflower), I already had a pair of earrings sitting in front of me that fit the challenge perfectly. If you're a regular reader, you may have spotted them in the works a few weeks ago when I gave you a peek at my week.

Yes, these earrings are similar to the ones I created in October for the Harvest Moon Challenge, but I really love this style and process so it's likely you'll be seeing more similar to them. 

If you haven't read about this month's challenge, the starting point was to pick one of the ten winners of Spoonflower's Circles are the New Triangles contest and use that as the inspiration to create a pair of earrings. Like I said, my earrings were already in progress when I saw the challenge. However, I do believe that my finished earrings are reminiscent of the Painted Oranges fabric. 

  Do you see it? The background tin is floral, though it's hard to make out. And, the greens and reds in the fabric are echoed back in the earrings. As well, the obvious perfect circles with a second layer of color are just hanging there. 


I've been obsessed over the last week or two with using my disc cutter to punch out a variety of circles.

And, I've been gathering them in baggies organized by the size of the circles. 

This has allowed me to stack the mismatched tin in fun combinations. That's exactly what I did to make these earrings - stacked a smaller circle on top of a larger one then stacked the button on top. I was able to set the button in the top tin disc by cutting prongs in the tin to fold over and secure the button to it. The tin pieces were distressed and aged with a patina before they were riveted together. 

And, a matching red glass bead was wire wrapped to connect the circles to the lever-back ear wires. 

Though the combination of red and green usually give me a Christmas vibe, I think the addition of the brown and yellow in the top layer of tin helps break them from that mold. What do you think?  These Green Button Layered Tin Earrings are available in the Etsy shop. 

Make sure you head over to the Earrings Everday August reveal and check out how the other participants, as well as the hostess Erin, were inspired by the circle fabrics from Spoonflower. 

August Art Challenges and Inspirations

It seems as if the summer laze and heat may have gotten to many of us.  As I was gathering the links for this monthly challenge round-up, I found that for several of them, either the challenges had been extended or haven't been posted yet. Of course, it may just be me feeling lazy about the whole thing. HA! Anyway, here are the challenges and inspirations I did find for August.



  • The We're All Ears Challenge at Earrings Everyday usually has the earliest deadline, so I like to list if first. This month, Erin has proposed that our inspiration come from one of the top ten fabrics from Spoonflower's Circles are the New Triangles contest. You'll have to read all about it over at Earrings Everday, but I will tell you that the deadline is August 17th. That's in a week. EEK!
  • As I mentioned last month, Facet has a Road Trip inspired challenge that is going on until August 29th. However, voting on the submissions started on August 1st so you may want to get your piece(s) in soon. 
  • At Art Elements, Marsha has created a SWIRL inspiration for the month. This challenge is open to any art medium, but you need to let Marsha know by Aug. 26th if you plan to participate and the reveal date will be August 30. 
  • Over at Art Bead Scene, they've extended July's Challenge to include August. Take a peek at the awesome artwork that serves as the inspiration and get to making. You've got until August 31 to submit your art (that must include an art bead.) Get all the details at Art Bead Scene
  • The inspiration on the Artisans Create Together Facebook Page (must be a member), is called Sea Gypsy and includes an exquisite mix of aqua and lime (two of my favorite colors!) Entries for this challenge should be in before the 31st. 

I'm planning on keeping my eye out to update you if anything changes, but let me know what art challenges and inspirations you find for this month or beyond that I don't have listed. 


Peek at My Week: July 29 - August 4

Another week whipped past me and now we're almost in the middle of another one. How did that happen?
Despite having a "helper" this week, it's been hard to get anything done. Once she's in my lap, I can't bear to disturb her!

I spent more time on the raised beds. I only have one that wasn't covered in weeds so I used it when I transferred more compost tomatoes into it. Like last year, they've seriously drooped. But, I'll wait and see if they perk back up like before. 

The purple color of my single Crepe Myrtle stopped me in my tracks. Isn't it lovely?

I also took pause outside the pole barn when I spied something poking up from the ground. Yes, three years here and I'm still steadily finding buried treasures!

The old hinge had a beautiful patina on it. I hope to start assembling some of these finds into art at some point. 

I did steal some time away from the property to enjoy a night out with one of my best friends for her birthday. We enjoyed some drinks and a cheese plate. It took some work to find a place near me that had both a good beer selection and a good cheese selection. We're thinking we may need to open our own beer and cheese place. Ha!

I played with much more tin - experimenting with a variety of designs. However, for the most part, I spent a huge chunk of time just punching out tin.

I also worked on home decor projects like finishing up the other two chairs. The above was the before.

Now I have two of each of these re-covered chairs. I adore the mismatched-ness of them.

Art was hung and re-organized around the house. I made this earlier in the summer and finally sealed it to be hung outside. There's been a real lack of artwork in the house as most of our pictures are buried in a room that's begging to be unpacked (waiting for some bookshelves to be built). The lack of items on the walls has started to drive me a little batty. To remedy that, I grabbed a bunch of art from the craft room and hung it in the hall and in one of the bathrooms. There's still the rest of the house to worry with, but it's a start!

Oh, please tell me you find this amusing too. Pat says it's not all that funny. 
See, the Doctor of Physical Therapy is Dr. Walker. Funny right?

I ended the week with a large margarita at our local Mexican restaurant. Yes, that's a single serving. I think the mini pitchers are so cute. It may look bigger than it is because I have TINY hands. It was so good!

Here's some of the inspiration I found this week:
Art & Artists:

Television:
  • Mr. Roger's Neighborhood was one of my favorite shows growing up. As of late, Mr. Roger's has been given a lot of attention. One of his actual neighbors shared his story about meeting him.
  • Have you heard about Making It on NBC? It's a craft competition show. I've been waiting months for it, and it finally premiered last week. So, you haven't missed much yet if you want to jump in and catch up. 

It's time to make this week count, and that means actually getting some stuff done. How's your week shaping up?

Make Your Own Beaded Suncatcher

 As a Jesse James Beads Design Ambassador, I received one of the Secret Stash Boxes this month. And, it was PACKED with beautiful beads, p...