Inspiration Flowers from Art Elements

The Art Elements theme for this month is flowers. Marsha Neal issued the challenge with the additional request of showing what's blooming in our area. I have to admit that in Alabama this time of the year, there's not much in bloom other than weeds and wildflowers. Most of our flowers bloom in the spring. I did snap a few shots though. 
The crepe myrtles and hydrangeas are plentiful, but that's it for the local flowers as far as I know. My five acres are covered with plants but there are hardly any flowers. It's just too hot.

I didn't let the heat sway me from being inspired. I had several ideas but couldn't quite get focused to finish anything until I spied a small flower-shaped poppy tin on one of my shelves. It was easy enough to add loops at the bottom and top. I even created a quick tutorial to show you how easy it is to add loops to the tin.

From there, it was just a matter of adding a few dangles from the bottom and creating a chain from which to hang the tin.

I know that this necklace just barely ekes by on the inspired-by-flowers bar, but I really do dig it.

While in the process of making the necklace, another idea struck me: an assemblage flower. I began by painting a scrap piece of wood with gesso. I pulled out some of my junk collection looking for a way to make a flower on the wood, but nothing sung out to me. After a little thought, I was struck with the idea of using buttons. It was a little slow going at first, but once I got started, there was no going back.
It might not look like much to anyone else, but I see a daisy form, and I love it.

I'm not sure if there's more pure button assemblage in my future, but I had so much fun with this one that I hope there is.

I hate that my contributions to this challenge are so small, but I like that I'm getting a little more creative in the last few weeks.

Make sure to check out the other participants in this challenge to see what they did with such a beautiful inspiration.


Art Elements Team:
CarolineCathyClaireJennyLaney, Lesley, MarshaSusan

Peek at My Week (July 21-27)

Yet another week has flown by! It was my last week doing Camp Creativity at Michaels (my job) which means I'll hopefully have more time during the coming weeks to balance everything else.  Take a peek. 

Sunday began with an awesome discovery. Pat noticed this bloom of bananas on one of our many banana trees. It's the first time since we've lived here that we've seen fruit on these trees. I've never heard of anyone having bananas in this area that were edible, but we'll see.

Not long after that discovery, my sister-in-law noticed this irregularity.
Yeah, somehow that pine tree branch twisted just right. It's creepy-cool that you can see through the twist. I just hope that it heals up and doesn't drop down on one of the vehicles. 

The weather has been weird too. While the rest of the country was experiencing a heatwave, we had very mild temperatures. It was almost too cold to get in the pool...almost.

I did take some time to create in my new Soul Food Journal.
But, that's the only spread I got to this past week.

I failed to share the pile of awesome that came from that rag rug I took apart the week before, so here's a peek at that.
I'll do a full/better reveal when I share my thrifty haul for July in a week or two.

The week was mostly spent just trying to get things done.
I actually ventured out on Thursday to upload videos. The niece and I went to a fun and funky local coffee shop that I like.

From there, I drug her to Southern Antiques and Accents so I could update the booth.
I guess that worked because I had a massive sale of earings yesterday and will probably need to go back up there in the next few days to add more. 

We packed as much as we could in yesterday.
I gave the chickens some of the watermelon that was still leftover from the 4th. Pat thinks it may have fermented and that the chickens got a little drunk. Oops.

Before lunch, I convinced Pat to go to an estate sale in this cool log cabin.

While he didn't find anything, I seriously lucked up on craft supplies. Again, I'll do a full reveal in my thrifty post, but I have to share the oddity that I unearthed in a bin full of craft miscellanea. 
Um, yeah...you should have seen me jump when I realized what it was. HA!

We waited for the heat of the day to burn off a little before venturing out to the pool, but we waited too long.
We waded in the pool while it rained, but the temperature kept dropping outside until it just wasn't fun anymore. So, back inside for some TV and dinner. Oh well.

In addition to all that, one of my nieces (not the one that lives with me - her sister) flew out to California for a fun opportunity to attend Supreme Seminar for the International Order of Rainbow for Girls. Alas, we all received texts about how homesick she's been. I hate that for her. But, I'll be picking her up in the morning, and she'll be home in no time. 

Take a look at some of the inspiration I found online:
And, that's it for the week that was. I'm hoping the week ahead sees some real movement forward, as well as plenty of fun. How was you week?

Bead Box 6 - Stocked


I'm not one who can sit idle for long. I've always got a project. If you ask me what I'm doing, I always have an answer. It's hardly ever, "Nothing." I'm not sure what took me so long to come with the idea for my "Bead Box", but the idea has stuck. It's just a plastic, divided organizer in which I place the components for several designs. When I travel or am just away from home for several hours, I have it with me so I can create. This is the sixth incarnation of this box. Let me share what I've packed into it, and when it's all done, I'll show you what came out of it.
The first and largest compartment holds this big, rectangular chandelier crystal and an array of clear, white, and silver beads that will be used to make a chain to create a long necklace.

I took a little time while packing this bead box to alter some tin: dimples were added a couple of blue and white discs. Blue and white beads will also be added to hang from the discs to make a pair of earrings.

First off, yes, I arranged these pieces to look like a face. It tickled me. The stacks of tin discs (some domed) and the chain will be combined into earrings. 

More tin!! I dimpled these discs as well, then sanded and hammered them flat. They resemble moon craters. There's not much color in the tin, so I picked out bright orange glass beads and large turquoise chips to go with some wood and copper bits. They're also destined to be earrings.

I've been hanging onto this adorable octopus pendant for too long. It's time for him to meet his destiny. I decided to choose waterlike beads to compliment him. So, his chain will be made from blue and white beads. I also threw in a few brass beads to compliment his own coloring.

These two pieces of tin were combined some time ago, but it's taken me ages to decide what to do with it. To make it the star of a necklace, I picked out small brass beads and Czech glass beads with a peach tone that will make up a simple chain.

Here's another pendant that I've hung onto for forever! (Do you see a theme?) I decided to add a pop to it with an array of brightly-colored beads for its chain.

Textured tin, alcohol inks, tube rivets, and an old belt were used (a while back) to make this pendant. It's been lingering in my stash with so many of the other pieces that made up this box. A Tim Holtz charm was altered with Vintaj Patinas to match and pair with the pendant. A few beads in corresponding colors will be added to some silver chain to finish the necklace.

When Jade Scott was still making these fabulous resin pieces, I was only able to snatch up a few. It's been hard to figure out how best to showcase them. For this little mushroom, I'm pairing it with a vintage button to make up the whole focal. Then, vintage red glass bead caps, white flower beads, and copper beads will be worked into a chain somehow. We'll see how it comes together.

After that brain teaser, I'll need something simple. The assembled key and rhinestone element will be paired with a chain of clear crystals for a beauty of a necklace.

This small riveted tin pendant is paired with an array of colorful beads and brass beads. And, for the life of me, I can't remember if it's supposed to be a necklace or bracelet. I guess I'll figure that out when I get to it. HA!

This button selection had been in my last bead box, but I didn't realize what they were for. Oops! Instead, I'm going to work them into a necklace with that gold pendant and faceted gold beads.

Earrings. This selection of handmade, lampworked beads and silver-tone elements will definitely become earrings.

A friend gifted me with that rhinestone piece AGES ago. I've been puzzling over what to do with it ever since. I think I finally have an idea. It will be combined with beading wire, blue and clear beads, and silver spacers to create a unique necklace.

Here are some simple elements to make a simple bracelet. I hope it comes together as easily as I have envisioned.

While I was pulling out the cultured sea glass beads for the previous project, I grabbed these two lighter-shade beads that are hopefully going to make some super fun earrings with those bright beads and cute bead caps.

And, here's the bead box in its entirety. 
I sort most of the pieces into plastic baggies before I put them in the box to try and make sure all the pieces stay together and don't wander into other compartments and confuse me.

If you're interested in seeing my previous bead boxes, here are the links to those entries. 


What do you think? Are these too...all over the place?
Do you do something similar to keep you busy?

How to Make Bases for Jewelry Backers

I've previously shared a couple of quick tutorials on making earring cards for both fish hook earrings and lever back earrings.  When I made those tutorials, I think I got a little ahead of myself because I never shared how I alter the cardboard that I use as the bases for those cards. It's a fairly simple process, but I thought it would be worth sharing.

Like the other two tutorials, the entirety of it is explained in a quick tutorial you can find on YouTube.
Watch Making Bases for Jewelry Backers there, or I can quickly explain the process here. 

For jewelry cards, I like to incorporate recycling as much as possible. So, the base of them uses cardboard from old cereal and cracker boxes. I flatten and open the boxes up before cutting off the excess (the top flaps and sides that are too skinny for use). From there. I spread Mod Podge (or other thin glue) with a paintbrush over the face (image side) of the cardboard. Dictionary pages are placed on the glue to cover the images and left to dry. I suggest that you use whatever paper types appeal to you: maps, old phone books, newspaper, some of your original art, etc. 

Once the glue has dried, trim off the excess paper by either tearing or using scissors to cut it off. I then like to "whitewash" the dictionary text with white paint that's been slightly watered down. In years past, instead of the white paint, I used a combination of spray inks and bright colors to alter the dictionary paper, but I've come to appreciate the simplicity of the whitewash. The cardboard is then hung up to dry and later used as needed to back my jewelry. 
It really is an easy process, but I wanted to make sure I explained it since I have shared the other tutorials. In addition to those two, I do hope to share how I use this backer base to create large cards for necklaces. And, eventually, I'll be showing you how I pack an Etsy order to be shipped. 

Make sure to let me know if you do have any questions about any of these processes so I can clarify anything I didn't explain. I hope this inspired you to use your recycling in unique ways!

Peek at My Week (July 14-20)

Look at me actually posting this when I should! I'm trying to stay on top of things. But, to make sure I can get to everything else, I'm going to try to keep this peek as short and sweet as possible (like me - ha!)

On Sunday, I finally started the online Soul Food class from my friend Tiffany of Southern Gals Designs. We were experiencing some of the bands from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Barry so staying inside was the only option. Having an arty outlet was the perfect way to spend the day.

We couldn't grill out as I had planned, but we did enjoy some local, fresh Silver King corn.
I removed the corn from the cob and cooked it in a cast iron pan to make it skillet corn. So good!

I had to work on Monday, but did go out in the yard for a little bit. After all the rain, there were mushrooms popping up everywhere.
These two closest to the house (and each other) caught my eye.

We had a few repairs to the exterior of the house that needed to be done. Since Pat didn't really want to handle them himself, he called in some handymen. One of the repairs involved removing an exterior door for a little while, so this was our view most of Tuesday.

No worries, that evening we joined a few friends for some time on Fish River and had a much better view.

Before heading to work on Wednesday, I started taking apart a cheap rag rug that I bought just for that purpose.
A few art friends had mentioned that they'd done it before and found a bounty of beautiful fabrics. They were so right! One rug filled my dining room table with scrap fabric. It also made a huge mess (all the connecting thread was everywhere.) I finished taking it apart on Thursday when I didn't have to work.

I did get a couple of pictures on Friday, but that was of some girlfriends when we went out for a really nice dinner for girls night. I don't want to share those without their permission.

Saturday began with loads of rain, so I worked to finish my Soul Food Journal.
I love it so much!!

As the day began to clear, Pat and I had lunch at a place on the river. We chilled at the house for a bit then took a quick dip in the pool before dinner.
It's been really nice to be back in a routine.

As for the links I found and shared this week, take a look:

And, that was the week for me. I love that I'm getting things done again. Now if I could only get some jewelry made too. I'll put in on the to-do list! What are you looking forward to in the week ahead? I hope it's magical.


Blueberry-inspired Earrings (We're All Ears)

The July inspiration from Earrings Everyday for the We're All Ears Challenge was Blueberries, and today's the reveal day. Since I've been out of the loop for over a month now, I knew I wanted to try to eke in at least one challenge. Hopefully, I'll get to more, but let's just take it one at a time!

We were fortunate that when we moved out here to Silverlox (our home), there were several existing blueberry bushes. We've enjoyed them every summer! Being so familiar with them. I knew it would be difficult to capture that blue-violet color of blueberries, but I didn't let that stop me. I did try to color beads to echo that unique shade as well as add in some of the green, but it was a disaster. I picked myself up and instead decided to try to create the look of berries on the bush with beads that are a true blue.
I did this by twising antiqued brass wire so that the beads were clustered together. For the beads themselves, I chose ones with a bit of an AB coating so that there are shades of other colors within each bead, much like ripening blueberries. 

My execution of the twisted wire was very much lacking on this attempt. The backs were oddly bent in my attempt to try to make them hang right. While they remind me of many vintage earrings I've found in the past, they need some work. But, the idea is there. And, hey, I made some jewelry!

I moved on to the next thing that inspired me about blueberries, their round shape.
Hoops were formed with heavy-gauge wire before being wrapped with recycled sari silk. The silk was then secured to the wire with a layer of thin-gauge wire onto which seed beads are scattered. 

Once those steps were completed, I was compelled to add something to the center of the loops. When I failed to locate large enough beads, I decided to use small ones with the addition of Vintaj Patina-colored bead caps. These caps, turned upside down, resemble the crowns on the end of a blueberry. 

And, that was it! I'm happy to have accomplished something jewelry-related and am ready to make more! Please head over to Earrings Everyday to see more blueberry-inspired earrings. 

June Thrifty Haul

It's so much fun to see what steals and deals other people find at thrift stores and even on sale at chain stores. Since I'm a sucker for reading about and looking at others' thrifty finds, I thought it only fair that I share what I've found too.

The big deal in June was that Hobby Lobby had an insane markdown of a bunch of their artist supplies. I tried to be sensible and remember that I have plenty of supplies, so I held myself back and only got a few things.

I did find a few other thrifty scores at Tuesday Morning and Goodwill. And, I recorded a video to reveal it all with y'all, if you're interested.
It really wasn't much since my summer has been so very busy, but it was more than I found in May.

Have you found anything for a great deal lately? Tell me all about it!

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...