Fairy Reveal for Art Elements

Faerie as the prompt for any art medium really leaves the world open to the imagination as there are so many incarnations of them. That was the challenge issued by Caroline of the team at Art Elements this month. I've long loved the world of magic and the mythical realm and was so overwhelmed by the possibilities even within the boundary of fairyland that I didn't quite know where to begin.

While on a bit of a shopping excursion this week, I happened upon the Green Girl Studios display at Hobby Lobby. The pewter pixie pendant there called out to me and came home with me as a starting point. However, I was still stumped as to what to do with her, so I let my mind wander. 

The pixie depicted on the pendant seemed to be floating in mid-air; and fairies, in general, have an ethereal quality. With that in mind, I didn't want there to be much fuss to the piece I created. I never even pulled out a single bead. Instead, I was drawn to my blackened steel wire and compelled to make bubbles.

At first, I thought I would just make one or two of the bubbles but after the first, I knew that these messy swirls of magic would be the main element to my design. I used only a glue stick and a tapered paintbrush to help form the shape of the circles, then wrapped them haphazardly to finish them. Gunmetal jump rings link them together.

To complete the necklace and give it some softness, I used recycled sari silk in a dreamy teal blue. As well, I created my own hook and loop closure with more of the blackened steel. 

The swirly, messy circles definitely keep the necklace feeling light while exuding a sense of magic bubbles floating to the sky of blue silk. I'm still amazed at how quickly and perfectly this necklace came together. It had to have been magic. 

Once the necklace was done, I was still itching to create with the theme. I've always had a thing for fairies. In fact, for a while, I had a second blog (now closed) that I called Fairy Creative. There are at least three fairies, in some form, in my bedroom. And, I shared my process for creating Fairy-themed Altered Playing Cards some months ago. So, I knew that the possibilities for coming up with another design were there. However, I wanted to make something that wasn't jewelry. It didn't take long for this beauty to emerge.

Without any direction, I dug through a box of elements for mixed media art and pulled out a few materials that I thought would work with the theme.
The little mushrooms caught my eye first followed by the Dollar Tree wood butterfly form. When I spotted the paintbrush, the whole idea came into focus. I've long seen altered paintbrushes in mixed media art circles, and have been wanting to make my own. This was the perfect opportunity. 

Using basic scissors, the wood butterfly was cut in half, and the butterfly's center was snipped away. The remaining wings were painted with a layer of black gesso before I added my trademark dictionary text with Mod Podge. If you look closely, you'll see that the definitions for pixie and fairy are included on the wings. The paper was toned down with a whitewash of acrylic paint and water. To echo the rust on the paintbrush, I added splotches of quinacridone/nickel azo gold fluid acrylic paint. To define the shape of the wings, I used a black Faber-Castell Pitt Pen to outline them. These were sealed with more Mod Modge.

Creating a face for my paintbrush fairy baffled me for a bit. I sorted through more of my mixed media assemblage elements for something that would work. In the end, as you can see, I decided to create my own face on watercolor paper with Derwent Inktense Watercolor Pencils. This was also sealed with Mod Podge on the front and back.

Then it was time to assemble her. I did add a touch of fine glitter to the wings and face to evoke the magical quality of a fairy. The mushrooms, thrifted seam binding, and buttons (not pictured) were added to the mix. Everything was glued on with E6000. 

Once most of the elements were added, I decided she needed a crown of some sort, so I created one with more of the blackened steel wire I had used in the necklace along with the mushrooms, mother of pearl buttons, and black craft wire. 
As well, lace, seam binding, ricrac, and recycled sari silk were looped through the hole in the paintbrush handle to create a way to hang the fairy. 

The mother of pearl buttons were added on impulse as I have a penchant for and large supply of them. I think they worked out perfectly to help define her torso. 

She definitely has a woodland fairy vibe that I totally dig. But, we've joked that she's a button mushroom fairy.

I LOVED the Faerie challenge this month as it allowed me to work with a theme that I adore and know well. Even so, it stretched my imagination and creativity; especially since I created both of these pieces in the rush of a single day. Sometimes being under pressure is just the kick in the pants I need. 

Below is the list of participating artists for this challenge. Make sure to check out what they created for this magical theme as well.
Guest Artists
Tammy  
Hope (you're here)
Cat 
Art Elements Team

Have a Fairy Happy Day!

I've also shared this post on the following link parties: Craft Schooling SundayNifty Thrifty Sunday (where I'm featured!), That DIY Party, Made by You Monday, Mad Skills PartyInspiration Monday, Beautifully Made, and Recipe and DIY Linky.

Honey Do List September Reveal

Almost every month Sarajo of SJ Designs Jewelry extends a photo challenge. Her husband, Eric, picks a photo for her to use as inspiration, and she shares it with the rest of us to spark our own creativity. She calls it The Honey Do List Challenge. This month, Eric chose a picture he took while on their recent vacation. And, I found it quite inspiring.


I have to admit that at first glance, September's photo didn't stand out much, but as I studied it for a minute, the ideas began to flow.
Eric's Inspiration Photo

Let me walk you through my process. I began by doing something I never do - sketched a few designs.

Though my sketches may not be clear to you, I knew I wanted to work with tin and somehow incorporate the flowers in the pendant. The sketch on the left is closest to my final product.
I dug through some of my cookie tin scraps and found what I thought would be the perfect elements for my design: a circle that resembled the inspiration's window and a strip that would work well as the wood pillar. As well, I uncovered several Vintaj arte metal flower charms. 

To match the red flowers in the photo, I used Vintaj Patina in garnet to color the flower charms.

While the patina on the flower charms dried, I cut down the strip of tin to fit over the circle. Then, I sanded both pieces of tin.

After deciding where the flowers should go and punching the hole for them in both pieces of tin, I punched more holes and riveted the two pieces of tin together. 

The flowers were sealed with matte sealer and riveted to the tin.

Once I picked out beads from my stash to use to make the chain of the necklace, I realized that I wanted to add a more feminine feel to echo the flowers. Filigree seemed to be the answer, but my search through my stash and a trip to a couple craft stores failed to yield what I wanted. So, I got bead caps that had the same feel and colored them with the same shade of patina. These caps were wired together to create a sort of bead for the chain.

You can see the first bead cap bead above. To these, I added glass beads, red-colored coral beads, and brown nut beads.

Once assembled, I had a necklace that I think reflects the inspiration photo exquisitely. 

I love that this design pushed me to try altering materials to suit my needs as well as riveting the design in a new (to me) way.

I have to admit that this might not be the final design for this necklace as I think I need a better method for attaching the pendant to the necklace. The thin tin wants to slip out of the jump ring. And, I hate not having secure connections. 

Make sure you head over to SJ Designs Jewelry to see what she made as well as the links to those who also played along with the Honey Do List Challenge


Peek at My Week - Sep. 16-22

I really like rounding out each week with these quick posts. They're partly a journal for me and partly a way for me to share some of the more personal aspects of my life with you.

To start off the week, I spent time with one of my best friends' and her family as we celebrated my God-daughter's third birthday.
Her birthday was a combination of ballerina and dinosaur. I love that she has such varied interests, even at three!

On Monday, I made a point of going out on the property for a little bit of fresh air.
First I checked out the "big red flowers" Pat had spied at the back of the yard. I had a feeling they were likely spider lilies, though we've never (to my recollection) had them out in that area before.  I was correct and was delighted to find two out there in full bloom. 

While outside, I meandered over to a couple of fruiting trees on the side of the property. We've been waiting for the fruit to ripen to figure out exactly what they were.
We've long suspected that they were persimmons, though neither of us has ever seen a persimmon firsthand. All the ones I found online were much larger than the ones we have on the trees. But, after a little social media query and a few google searches, we determined that they're Wild Persimmons specifically. Cool.

I spent a bit of time that afternoon working on making Pumpkin Spice Earrings.
I was pleased with myself with this idea because I've known about cinnamon dough for years and was happy to learn that you could work with pumpkin pie spice in a similar manner with such yummy-smelling results!

Tuesday was all about running errands around town.
Since it was Ladies' Night at Southern Antiques and Accents, I made sure to stop in and spruce up the booth. 

On Wednesday, I took my grandmother to a doctor's appointment and then we partied!
Well, we celebrated her 92nd birthday with cake and presents. 

On Thursday, I spent some time with a good friend as I took her to a doctor's appointment just over the state line. We had a bit of a scare, I won't go into it, but all is well. 

After getting some work done on Friday, I started helping Pat with the deck replacement by cleaning out some of the debris that was under the old deck. 
I found a couple of general bones that I figured were probably chicken bones that had just been thrown out there after a meal. However, when I happened upon the above, I had second thoughts. We're pretty sure it's a possum jawbone. Trust me, it's much smaller than it looks in the picture. 

Now that it's Fall, our Saturdays are College Football Saturdays. 
Since we were watching the 2:30 Bama game at our friends' house. I made sure to make a delicious batch of homemade hummus. Between the four of us, it was just about gone by the time the game was won! I guess that's a win all around. 

How about a peek at some of the inspiring links I found and shared over the week?

So, that's been my week. How was yours? Any big plans for this one?



Pumpkin Spice Earrings DIY

I have to admit that it's hard to think about Fall when the heat index has been above 100 degrees all week. However, as soon as I saw Erin's Ode to Autumn as the inspiration for this month's We're All Ears prompt at Earrings Everyday, I knew what I wanted to create. And since it's so simple and fun, I thought I'd share the process.

This time of the year, coffee lovers are all a-flutter about Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Honestly, I'm more of a Peppermint Mocha gal, but it's hard to resist the allure of the of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and clove mix that is Pumpkin Spice. Who wouldn't want to carry that scent with them? I have vague memories of creating cinnamon dough ornaments when I was a kid so the idea of making a pumpkin spice dough, in the same manner, came easily enough. 

There are only three basic ingredients to the dough: white school glue, unsweetened applesauce, and pumpkin pie spice. 
If you don't have any, it's easy enough to mix up your own pumpkin pie spice with ingredients that are probably already in your pantry. 

The dough recipe is for a small batch, but you can easily increase it. To make the dough, I used an old take-out container into which I added 3 Tablespoons of Pumpkin Spice,

1 Tablespoon of Unsweetened Applesauce

and 1 Tablespoon of White Glue.

Mix the ingredients together until they form a soft-ish ball. 
You can play with the ingredients to get the right consistency. Add applesauce if it's too dry and spice if it's too wet. When your dough is mixed, place it on wax paper for easy clean-up.

You may want to sprinkle some of the Pumpkin Spice on the dough as well as on your rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking.

Use a rolling pin or old jar to roll out the dough to your desired thickness.
I rolled mine out to about 1/4 inch thick.

Cut out your shape.
I used a small, oval-shaped cookie cutter (from my polymer clay tool stash), but you could use any shape you have or cut it out with a knife.

I found it difficult to pull the shapes from the dough, and instead removed the excess to get to the ovals out cleanly.
(Sorry for the blurry photo.)

Use a toothpick to carve lines in your pumpkin and make sure to create a hole at the top from which to hang your charm.

Once your charms are created, you will have to let them dry so they will harden. I let mine dry overnight then baked them in a 200-degree oven for an hour. You could also let yours dry for several days or bake them for 2 hours at the same temperature.

Once they are dry, they will be stiff and smell wonderful.

From there, you could add jump rings and ear wires and be done, but I wanted my pumpkin spice earrings to have a little more pizazz. So, I created connectors that look like viney pumpkin stems. The process for making those is detailed in this Making Wire Vines for Pumpkin Spice Earrings video.

When the wire vine connectors are made, you'll have something that looks like this. 


Connect your ear wires in the same way you would open and close a jump ring

And, BAM - you have a super cute and fun pair of earrings that smell like Fall where ever you go!

Who needs a latte when you've got Pumpin Spice Earrings?

Make sure to head over to the Earrings Everyday blog and see how the other artists interpreted the Ode to Autumn.


Honey Do List November Reveal

I really love this month's inspiration photo from Sarajo and Eric of SJ Designs Jewelry for their Honey Do List challenge . It's mo...