Forest Floor Necklace (Art Elements Reveal)

The Art Elements theme this month, as issued by Susan Kennedy, is Forest. What a wide-open theme! It took me a little time to decide whether or not to participate. And, the moment I did, I was right in the thick of it. As Susan suggested, the theme could go in any direction - trees, moss, fairies, woodland creatures, and just about anything that can be found in the woods. 

I've been wanting to use up some of the treasures I've collected over the years and decided to turn to this small Altoids tin for the challenge. 
I started by sanding off the label, but since the word "smalls" was raised, it had to be hammered down before I finished sanding it.

I didn't remove all of the design from it as I knew I was considering painting over the top. 

From there, I had to figure out what to fill it with. I thought about a layered paper design of just trees. Fairy huts also came to mind. However, I just couldn't decide. Since I'm lucky enough to have my own small forest on our property to inspire me, I decided to take a walk.
I love the shady seclusion of the woods and all the natural treasures that can be found there. As such, I began gathering beautiful discoveries from the forest floor. 

I found bark, limbs, pine cones, acorn tops, dried flowers, skeleton leaves, and other lovely elements to incorporate. 

However, since everything green eventually turns brown, there wasn't much natural I could add to get that pop of color. I needed to add my own touch of green to give my piece some life. 
First, I punched two holes in the top of the tin. Then, several shades of green Vintaj Patinas were used to color the inside.

For the outside, I mixed brown and black Patina. A skeleton leaf was adhered to the top with the Vintaj sealer. 
A green border was added for a touch of color and a hint at what you could find inside. 

It took some tinkering to get the natural elements displayed inside the tin just right.
I wanted to include as many of the forest floor elements as I could. E6000 glue was used to secure the pieces. 

To complete the necklace, I used headpins to make loops on the outside of the tin. Brass chain was connected to the loops. 

A few stacks of wood beads were added along the chain to make sure there were natural elements there too. 

I love that this pendant really is reminiscent of the forest in that from the outside, it doesn't look like much. However, when you enter it, it's a whole other world of magic.

I really enjoyed this prompt as it not only allowed me to create something surprising, but it prompted me to go out to explore and find the unexpected. 

Big thanks goes out to Sue and the Art Elements team for the opportunity to participate. Please make sure to hop around to the other participants and see just how they interpreted the Forest too. I can't wait!

Guests: AlysenDivyaEvie & BethHope (you're here!), LouiseMichelleSarahTammy

AE Team: CarolineCathyClaireLaneyLesleyNikySue

DIY Easy Beaded Bookmarks

I really love to make these super easy beaded bookmarks using leftover and cast-off beads. Though most people are consuming books in digital and audio form, there are still some of us that do turn to the archaic paper version from time to time. I know I carry a paper bullet journal, turn to actual cookbooks, and have a stack of books next to my bedside (though my Kindle is there too.) As I see it, bookmarks aren't quite outdated yet either.

I find that they're great little gifts to include with my Etsy orders. It's fun to have something beaded and pretty in the package that the customer isn't expecting.

The actual method of creating these is really just about tying knots, so it's easy enough for just about anyone - including kids. I'm sure you can figure out how these are made by looking at the pictures, but for clarification, I did record a video on how to create these Easy Beaded Bookmarks.

The only supplies needed for this project are beads, waxed linen cord, and scissors. That's it!
From there, you get to be creative in deciding on color and shape combinations, how to stack the beads, and how/if you want to separate the beads with knots. And, since books come in a variety of sizes, the lengths of the bookmarks don't even have to be exact.

If you do have any questions about this process or the materials, I'm more than happy to answer them. Ask away in the comments! And, have fun with this easy project.

May Honey Do List Reveal

Each month, Sarajo of SJ Designs Jewelry shares a photo that Eric, her husband, has offered up to her as inspiration. She calls it the Honey Do List Challenge. This month's photo stumped me. It was a beautiful green Anole lizard with its red flash of a throat wattle flared. Scattered around the lizard are a few small fern leaves. I put the challenge off far longer than I anticipated and almost started thinking I wasn't going to participate, but I finally dug into my stash to see what might go well with the inspiration photo.
I found this oblong bead in green with bits of red and white, much like the lizard in the inspiration. I also grabbed a couple other green art beads, but they didn't make the cut. 

Since it was the colors of the lizard and his wattle that were leading me into the design, I used green waxed linen cord, green glass beads, red e-beads, and a white shank button to create this bracelet.

I started in the middle with the focal bead, running three lengths of cord through it and knotting them on either side of the bead. From there, it was a matter of stringing on the green beads, surrounding them with the red beads, and knotting to create the bracelet chain. 

The bracelet was finished with a shank button on one side and a loop on the other the create the closure. I added an e-bead to each cord end and knotted them on. However, if you look close, you can see that in my rush I failed to securely knot one cord and the bead was lost. Ah well...

This bracelet ended up with much more red in it than was in the inspiration photo, but sometimes you just have to use inspiration as a jumping off point.

I had considered making something with the fern shapes in it too, but one attempt failed and the other just never came to fruition. Though, the ideas are still there. I may work with them later.

For now, I'm just happy I was able to get SOMETHING made. Thank you to Sarajo and Eric for the inspiration. Make sure to head over to SJ Designs Jewelry and see what else was created for this fun challenge!

Thrifty Thursday - April Edition

April is always such a busy month for me that it's hard to find time for even the simplest adventures like hitting a thrift or antique store. I eked in just a couple of trips for a small haul over the month.

I made a quick video to share the goodies that I found (mostly cookie tins) so you can get a better look at my April Thrift Haul.

But, here are some pictures if you don't have time for the video.
Several tins were found at a local antique mall for downright steals.

You should have seen me standing in the checkout line at Goodwill with my arms full of these tins. It was a sight!

I was so excited to find this vintage sheet. I've been collecting these for a while now, but haven't found many in a long time. I was afraid they were becoming scarce. At some point, I hope to make a quilt out of my collection. I love how many colors are in this one.

So, that was it for my thrifty finds this month. Truth be told, I guess that means that it was an exceptionally thrifty month since I didn't spend much money at all. Here's hoping you've found some steals and deals lately too.

Jewelry Booth Update at SAA

A little while ago (several months maybe, I'm not even sure), I updated the CraftyHope booth at Southern Antiques and Accents in Fairhope (Greeno location). I've been meaning to show off the update and simply forgot until I added a few more display pieces the other day. While I was there, I snapped some pictures to show you the changes. Somehow I failed to get a shot of the whole booth, but the vertical shelf arrangement makes it hard to do that anyway. 
The very top of the six shelves that are my booth is quite high so I use it only to display my shop name. Below that is another high shelf (high for my short self) on which I usually just have a few necklace busts toward the front of the shelves, within reach and view. I just added that button and fabric necklace to the booth. I think it's pretty awesome.

I recently sorted each of the other cubbies in my display by theme/materials. So, below the upper display is where I've placed jewelry made from found and salvaged materials.
Included in this category are pieces made from old jewelry bits, keys, hardware, buttons, and other unusual materials.

There's quite an array of earrings on this shelf, so I've got an earring spinner display there.

My newest display items are a couple of these simple glass bottles that I painted. I think the paint makes for a nice, neutral background to the jewelry.

Within my display, I also have a couple of these slices of an old door to which I've added a few cup hooks to hang necklaces.

Below that shelf, you'll find jewelry made from upcycled tin.
Using old cookie tins to create jewelry in my latest obsession, so I thought it deserved its own space within the booth.

I've got an uncut tin there to give the customers an idea of what I mean by tin.

This shelf is also where I added the other altered bottle.

On the shelf under the tin is where you'll find mixed media jewelry.
Some of the jewelry on this shelf could possibly also go on the found and salvaged one, but I do love the category.

One of my favorite display pieces is in this cubby. It's a small rake head that's mounted in a wood block. I use it to hang bracelets.

This is also where the other necklace display made from the door is.

My bottom shelf is the most chaotic. It's where I've placed sale items.
Most of the display pieces on this shelf don't match the ones above. I should probably remedy that.

Since this bottom shelf is right on the floor and customers will need to squat to get to it, I thought it might be best to make it the place for reduced-priced jewelry. 

While these pieces are on sale, there are still some real beauties in this bottom cubby.

So, there a peek at what's in the booth at Southern Antiques and Accents. May 21st is Ladies Night where everything in the store is 10% off, along with all kinds of other specials, food, drinks, and entertainment from 6-8pm. Of course, if you're not in the Fairhope area, you can still find CraftyHope Jewelry in the Etsy Shop. 

Recent Art Journal Pages

For the last month or so I haven't been as prolific in creating. At least not to the extent that I would like. But, when the urge strikes and the time is available, I make sure to eke in as much creativity as I can. While jewelry is my general go-to, sometimes I like to get my hands messy with art journaling. And, if I can remember, I might even turn the camera on to record my process. Lately, I've simply been working in my Small Junk Journal. Here are the latest pages and videos I've created in that junk journal. Clicking on the pictures and/or links below should take you to my videos.
Small Junk Journal Page 7

Small Junk Journal Page 8

Small Junk Journal Page 9

Small Junk Journal Page 10

Even in short bursts of time, it's nice to be able to finish a project. These little pages in my small junk journal are perfect for that. If you have any questions about any of my process, please don't hesitate to ask. 

May Challenges & Inspirations

I've had a hard time lately completing any artwork unless it's some part of a challenge or theme prompt. But, without these challenges, I don't know if I'd get anything done. Thank goodness for these inspirations! Here are the latest ones I've found for May (and beyond). I hope they help you get something beautiful made too.



  • Erin at Earrings Everyday has issued another amazing inspiration for the We're All Ears Challenge. She chose wirework for the theme, specifically the work of Ruth Asawa. Check out her May Inspiration post and share what you made on May 17th. 
  • Each month, Sarajo at SJ Designs Jewelry shares the Honey Do List Inspiration photo from her husband Eric. This month's photo is of a beautiful green lizard. The deadline for this challenge is May 20th. 
  • I always love to see what the monthly theme is at Art Elements because they open up the challenge to any medium. This month, Susan chose Forest as the Challenge Inspiration. If you're interested in contributing to the blog hop on May 30th, make sure you leave a comment on the post.
  • Over at the Art Bead Scene Blog, they've revealed the Art Journey #4 inspiration of the work of Odilon Redon. Keep in mind that jewelry for this challenge must include an art bead, but you have until Junk 15th to submit your contribution(s). 
Right now, these are all the challenges I know of, but please don't hesitate to let me know if you are aware of any I've missed. I'd hate to rob you or myself of some great inspiration.

Thrifty Thursday

This past week, I helped my mom clean out an old truck of my grandmother's and took a pile of mementos home with me. As well, I visited ...