Bead Box 6 - Reveal

You need to know two things about me: 1 - I like to be prepared and 2 - I prefer to have busy hands. It was for these reasons that my first Bead Box came together back in 2017. And, it's also for those reasons that I just finished my sixth version of this box.
The box itself is a basic, plastic craft organizer with seventeen compartments, and the container snaps closed. This makes it work weel for travel, though not perfect. I've had to place the elements in plastic baggies to keep them from migrating from one compartment to another, but that's not a huge deal. In each section, I compile all the main elements I need to make a piece of jewelry (my wire and pliers are separate.) And then, when I'm away from the house, I can still work on these pre-designed pieces. The picture above gives you a glimpse of what was in box 6, but you can see my Bead Box 6 - Stocked post to get a more detailed view. For now, let me share what I created. 

Most of the time, I've kept all the Bead Box jewelry in the container until I finished everything was ready for the reveal. However, I couldn't resist taking most of them out as they were finished. This first one has an elongated chandelier crystal for the focal and clear, white, and silver beads for the chain. It is currently in the Etsy Shop as Long Crystal Necklace.

 I named these earrings "Frosty Bits" as they feel a bit like a cold day with the blue cookie tin and blue and white bead dangles. They've made their way to my jewelry booth at Southern Antiques and Accents

Also available through Etsy are these Mini Cups Earrings. I had pre-made the tin focals before packing the box so they flew together with the addition of a little chain.

Please pardon the blur of this photo. I must have been in a rush when I took it before placing them in the CraftyHope booth at the antique mall. Textured tin was accented simply with a stack of turquoise, orange glass, and wood beads separated by copper spacers. 

You may remember this necklace from the Art Elements August Challenge that had the theme of octopus. That tells you something about how long it's taken me to work my way through this box. While the necklace had been listed on Etsy, it's since sold.

Like the tin cups, I had these tin pieces pre-assembled as a focal. It just needed some sort of chain to complement it. I simply wire wrapped metallic peach crystals and antiqued brass beads to one another to form this short Brass Lotus Necklace that's currently available on Etsy. 

Also on Etsy is this Colorful Key Necklace. I had trouble settling on just one color for this beautiful pendant, so I picked them all! I love how happy this necklace feels!

Here's another pendant I made myself. For this one, a textured piece of tin was colored and attached to a small piece of upcycled leather belt. Hanging from the bottom is a Tim Holtz charm that was also colored. I simply accented the pendant with a few beads in matching colors before adding a silver chain. You can find this unique necklace at the booth in Fairhope.

This cute mushroom necklace will be headed to Etsy very soon. The Jade Scott resin pendant and floral button were combined to make up the focal. I used vintage red glass domes and copper beads to create my own mini mushrooms. They're combined with white floral glass beads and copper wire to make up the chain.

I love me a key and crystal beads necklace! The assembled rhinestone and key pendant hangs from a chain of wire wrapped clear beads. Simple and Stunning! And, this New Again Necklace is newly available on Etsy. 

These last few pieces lingered in the Bead Box for far too long. Over this past weekend, I made it a point to get them finished so I could re-stock the box. It was this necklace that held me up for some reason. I knew it would be beautiful but couldn't seem to focus on it when I had the time. It's destined for the CraftyHope Etsy Shop

I have to admit that this Watch Back Bracelet's components weren't featured in the stocked post for some reason. But, they were totally there. It's a cute little bracelet that's currently at the antique mall booth. 

I'll also be adding this necklace to the booth. It consists of a salvaged jewelry focal to which I added brown and brass buttons and faceted gold glass beads to make up the chain. 

Handmade lampwork beads from SueBeads and JulsBeads were combined with a couple of silvery elements to create these earrings. I'll be adding them to the booth soon.

As I said before, this little pendant has been in my stash for ages waiting for the right idea to strike. Glass beads in corresponding colors, silver spacers, and silver-tone chain complete the necklace that will make its reveal at Southern Antiques and Accents. 

I admit that I underestimated what I would need when I planned out this bracelet and had to add several more beads to make it long enough. But, it's a sweet little beachy thing.

And, finally, I LOVE these. Those little pops of color are like a rainbow after a storm. I'll be listing these earrings on Etsy

And, that was it for Bead Box 6! I'm a little upset with myself for taking over 6 months to get all these pieces made, but happy that I made it through it. If you're interested in the previous Bead Boxes, here are links to my posts about them. 

I've already re-stocked the Box and am looking forward to both sharing what's in there and making the designs I have planned out. Here's hoping it takes me much less time!

So, how do you manage to keep your hands busy when you're away from the house?

Classic Blue Earrings (We're All Ears)

Blue is my absolute favorite color, and there's barely a shade I don't like. So, I was excited to find out that the Pantone Color of the Year for 2020 is Classic Blue. It is indeed a dark, primary, classic blue. And, Erin at Earrings Everyday used it as the January Inspiration for the We're All Ears challenge. I was running behind and rushed to pull together any elements that included the color, grabbing anything that fell into the range, and altering pieces that didn't.
A beautiful blue cookie tin with white and tan slashes on it caught my attention first. I cut ovals from it and textured them in an embossing folder before riveting them to distressed teardrops of a golden tin. 

From a distance, there's something reminiscent of "sailboats on the water" about the ovals. 

While I had the embossing machine out, I ran a couple of Vintaj blanks through it. 
They were colored with lapis Vintaj Patina and sanded. I then used Sailboat Blue alcohol ink to color both sides of clear buttons.

The nature of using an embossing folder means that the backs are a reverse of the fronts.

I also uncovered small plastic flower cabochons in the right shade of blue.
I attached them to small brass filigree pieces with E6000 glue. From them, I hung small rings in which hang lapis lazuli beads to continue the blue theme. 

I think these are my favorite of the three pairs I was able to complete.

While the reveal date was set for the 17th, I lost track of time and let it get away from me. However, just as soon as I realized it, I focused on busting out these designs. And, Erin left the link tool open for a few extra days for those designers falling behind like myself (Thank you, Erin!) 

Make sure you head over to the Earrings Everyday reveal post to see what Erin and the other participating artists made in this beautiful blue. 

Peek at My Week (Jan 12-18)

I thought that I would get into a routine while sitting with my grandmother during the week, but I'm still struggling to find a balance. I'm hoping to start anew with this week. After spending most of Saturday crafting, I needed even more of soul-soothing and suggested that Pat and I head to the beach for a little while on Sunday to get just that. 

He was happy to oblige. We actually started the day with brunch at Cobalt as Pat had a few gift cards that needed to be used. 
We headed down to the water after getting our bellies full. The Gulf was far too cold to take a dip, but the weather was perfect for a stroll along the water. 

Once my mood was in a better place, we took care of some business. Pat needed to pick up a few things at his studio, and I added these Valentine pieces to my booth at Southern Antiques and Accents

On Monday, I was back at my mom's. The weather all week was warm and weird, and our area was covered in fog.
The above picture was taken at 4:30 pm on Monday. So weird! It was on and off like that all week, finally clearing on Friday.

I hovered over my grandmother all week and didn't accomplish much other than getting a few things added to the Etsy shop. Though, I did come home each evening after seven to feed Pat and the niece. I was pretty pleased with how easy and healthy this meatless meal was on Wednesday.
Those were seven-grain meatless tenders along with roasted potatoes and broccoli. Pat and I enjoyed the tenders. Our niece wasn't as fond of them (she didn't add the barbecue sauce like we did.)

On Friday, we were able to work something out so that I could stay home to attend a funeral. I made sure to log a little time at the craft desk too.
I was working on finishing up the jewelry from my Bead Box 6 so that I could re-stock my container to have some more recent projects with me. Happily, I was able to complete all the previous designs!

On Saturday, Pat had a blacksmithing class first thing in the morning, so I was back at the craft desk while he was away. When Zoe and I headed out to check the mail, I stopped to snap some pictures of bright pink flowers to try and identify them with an app I have. While angling for a better position, I looked down and spied a few tiny mushrooms and some snails munching away on them. I couldn't resist!

After that, I began to narrow down the pieces that were going to be added to the Bead Box. 
I'm currently making the rest of the decisions about what will go with them, and it's going quicker than I initially expected. I guess the muse hit me!

With my motivation at a low this past week, I didn't spend much time looking for inspiration. And, I'm sorry about that. But, here's what I did find.

I hope the muse and motivation I've found these past several days stick with me throughout the week. And, hope you find some too. Have a great week!

How to Use Buttons in Jewelry

I am, admittedly, bonkers about buttons. I work them into many of my jewelry designs and even into some of the art I create. I've had to stop buying them as I have nowhere else to store them. But, there's no reason you can't start collecting them too. You may just need some inspiration as to how best to use them. As such, I've created this tutorial on using buttons in jewelry design.
 In particular, I'm sharing my method for wire wrapping a button.

The materials are basic.
You'll only need a button, wire, pliers, and wire cutters.

To actually see my process in action, please watch the Using Buttons in Jewelry video. But, I also have complete instructions and examples of other ways to use buttons in jewelry below.

To get started, you'll insert the end of the wire about an inch into one of the buttonholes and bend it along the rest of the wire.

From there, cross the short wire across the long tail.
Before proceeding, you may want to make sure the long tail end is angled up from the button to make it easier to wrap the short end.

Then, begin wrapping the short end of the wire around the long end. Remember that the more times you wrap, the longer the wrap will be.

Trim away any excess wire on the short end and secure it using your chain-nose pliers.

After that, you'll go through the regular steps to make a wrapped loop. Begin by bending the wire at a right angle directly above the wraps.

Use your round-nose pliers to form a loop with the wire. 

Wrap your wire around and over the original wraps.

Once you have wrapped the wire around to your satisfaction, trim away the excess wire and secure the end.

You've now created a button charm. However, if you would like to make it a connector, repeat the process on the other side of the button.

Of course, this is only one of the many ways you can incorporate buttons into your designs. Here are a few other examples of ways I've used buttons in my jewelry pieces.
Simply slip jump rings into the holes of the buttons. This works best if the buttonholes are near the edges of the button.

Use waxed linen cord to tie the buttons to one another like in these Button Bracelets. (link goes to my tutorial)

Here, you see how I used the same method as above to make a chain of buttons.

Use buttons as they were intended and sew them onto fabric incorporated in your design.

Heavy gauge wire was used for the buttons in this piece in which simple loops were formed above and below each of the buttons. 

And, here's another example of button connectors used in a chain with beads to make up a necklace. 

There are still plenty more ways to use buttons in your designs. I hope I've helped you learn something and get those ideas flowing. 
So, how's your button stash looking now?

Peek at My Week (Jan. 5-11)

In anticipation of knowing I would be spending most of the week away from the house, I was determined to make the most of the time I had at home throughout the week, and most of it wasn't photographic. But, I'll share what was.
Pat and I met his brother and sister at The Bone and Barrel on Sunday to celebrate their birthdays. It was a nice day so we sat outside. I was tickled by the sign on the back of the building. 

Later, we headed to the beach as Pat had a photoshoot with the members of one of the bands he's in. So, Zoe and I walked around the duck pond while they did their thing.
I woke up early on Monday and was drawn to my craft desk to start creating. 
That's basically as far as I got, and where that project stayed all week.

I spent most of the week with my grandmother as the strokes have left her confused and just not herself. 
She had appointments on Wednesday and Friday. On Wednesday, she had a Doppler Test, and we followed up with her doctor on Friday.

When I got home on Monday, I found that Pat broke out the watercolor supplies I had given him for Christmas.
That chicken is too cute!

After spending the days at my mom's, I spent the evenings getting dinner made and working on household chores. I forgot how hard it can be to juggle getting all that done with a day job. But, being away from home for over 12 hours each day does complicate things even more.  In any case, by Saturday, I was desperate to be creative. 
I spent most of the day at my craft desk creating several Valentine's Wall Hangings. The weather here was supposed to be super rough, but we were fortunate that it didn't get too bad. In any case, we had no plans to leave the house, and that suited me just fine. I even played with my bead loom for a bit while some of the art layers were drying. 

I hope you found some time to be creative this week. Unfortunately, there wasn't much time to find and share inspiration, except for a couple of items.
  • I've never considered using wired ribbon for jewelry, but here's a Wired Ribbon Bracelet tutorial from Jewelry Making Journal that has me rethinking that. 
  • Lately, I've been playing around a bit with watercolors. This Agate Diptych Watercolor technique looks pretty easy for a beginner like me. 
And, that's it for my week. I'm looking forward to finding a routine with this new change. I hope you're finding ways to fit in time to be creative as well. 

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