Letters - Art Elements Theme Reveal

Can I just tell you how much I love the monthly Art Elements Theme Challenge? One of the team members selects a theme, anyone with a blog can participate, and you're welcome to use any medium you want to embody the theme. It's brilliant! This month, Jennifer Cameron chose to inspire us with "Letters" as the theme. We could take that any way we wanted, and I did - in the form of two projects.

Let me start with the one I finished first - an art journal page.
I used a fairly large mixed media journal for this project and layered on a collage of an actual handwritten letter and Tim Holtz Tissue Wrap in the Postale pattern. And with those two things, I had included letters in two forms. Done! Ha, not really.

I used several brown spray inks to add the color and water to take some of it away.

Letters were stenciled and stamped on with Distress Oxide ink.

And, I added washi tape with letters and words on them in a few spots.

Finally, I  used hand-lettering to create a phrase I thought was appropriate and would finish up my overabundance of letters.

I remembered to record my process since this Letters Art Journal Page was created specifically for this challenge.
It's always fun to get messy in the art journal!

The next project was actually started months and months ago when I made the small tin box. I'm not even sure how long ago it was. At the beginning of January, I picked it back up, deciding it would be a good Valentine project. But, this was as far as I got.

When I saw this month's Letter theme, I decided that it would be a good opportunity to finish the little box, especially since it was a vintage hand-written love letter that was cut for the hearts. So, I began by gluing down the first heart with mod podge.
This not only secured the paper but also helped to seal it for the steps to come. 

A metal punch was used to create two holes at the top of the box. I applied more mod podge to the outside edges of the box before sprinkling in some silver German glass glitter (from Ice Resin). Once the glue was dry, I wrapped the outside of the box in packing tape.

The packing tape helped to contain the Ice Resin that I poured in a thin layer into the box. After the resin had dried for a few hours and was still tacky, I placed another one of the hearts (a smaller one) on top of the first. This one had been edged with Staz-on black ink but not sealed. When the resin was cured, I slipped headpins into the punched holes - through the tape - before the holes were covered in the second layer of resin.

Once the second layer was cured, I added a final black-edged heart. This one was sealed with mod podge (though some of the resin has seeped into it) before getting stuck onto the other hearts and sealed under a third layer of resin. 

For now, I'm letting the third layer be the last one as I like that this thin layer lets some of the edges of the last heart poke up a tiny bit. Once I was sure this layer was dry, I removed the tape and created simple loops with the headpins. Then, the piece was transformed into a necklace with the addition of some ball chain.
And, I REALLY love it!

I should tell you that the red portion of the tin was the outside of it while the inside portion was a distressed silver.

There's absolutely nothing perfect about this necklace, but I think that's the charm of it. 

I know that the letter portion of this reveal is pretty weak, but I did highlight that handwritten love letter in an unexpected manner.

At least it was unexpected for me. 

Before you start (continue) hopping to the other participants' contributions, I want to thank Jennifer for the amazing, inspiring theme as well as the team at Art Elements for allowing me to participate along with them. I needed this! Now, here's the list.

Guests: TammyKarinKathyEvie and BethDivyaHopeAnita

Art Elements Team: ClaireLesleyJennyCathyNikyJen

I hope you find some inspiration in this hop!
If you have any questions about either of my projects, please don't hesitate to let me know. I'd be happy to help. 

Honey Do List Reveal for February

Participating in design challenges each month is my own little way to make sure I stay productive as well as get pushed out of my comfort zone. The Honey Do List from SJ Designs Jewelry is one of these monthly challenges. Sarajo's husband, Eric, gives her a photo to use as jewelry design inspiration, and she shares it with us on her blog. This month, Eric chose a monochromatic photo of a railing and its shadow. It reminded me of the wrought iron railings on the balconies both in my area (Mobile, AL) and in New Orleans. Since today is Mardi Gras, I figured that was plenty appropriate. Happy Mardi Gras, y'all!
Alas, my design isn't Mardi Gras themed in the least. HA! I suppose I could have tossed a few strands of Mardi Gras beads into the photos...but whatever. I'm not celebrating Fat Tuesday this year anyway and am just trying to get back into the swing of things. This challenge has helped with that - even if I am running a day behind on the reveal.

As soon as I saw Eric's inspiration photo, I knew I wanted to work with creating a simple silhouette out of darkened steel wire. It would most look like the black railing in the photo. 

However, I wasn't sure what design I wanted to create. A careful study of the inspiration helped me realize that the heart shape would likely be the easiest for me to replicate. 
I cut four pieces of 19-gauge wire down into 2-inch pieces before shaping them with round-nose pliers and various other tools. A wire jig would have likely worked better, but this was the method I chose. From there, some 28-gauge wire was used to hold the pieces to one another. Gunmetal-colored jump rings and ear wires finish the earrings.

It's not the most streamlined of designs but echoes the inspiration well, I think. 
These may be fairly simple, but I'm glad to be getting back into the groove of creating and blogging. And, this challenge totally helped. Big thanks to Sarajo and Eric for the challenge!

Make sure to head over to the SJ Designs Jewelry Reveal to see what she made for the challenge and check out the other designers too. 

Peek at My Week (Feb. 16-22)

I'm doing my best to regain some sense of normality or come to an understanding of my new normal, or something along those lines. In any case, this week felt like a week of getting back on track and catching up. Sunday was my first full day at home in weeks, so I relished in it. But, on Monday, I indulged in some thrifting and antiquing and picked up a few new tins, but that was it. It was good for my soul to do something just for me. 
I spotted this book at one of the shops and it tickled me to no end for some odd reason. I didn't bring it home, instead, I left it there for someone else to prize. 

Things started to feel more back on track on Tuesday as I went grocery shopping and even listed something new in the Etsy shop.

On Wednesday, I helped my mom out at her house and canceled my grandmother's appointments and insurance. That was weird and so final. On Thursday, I was ready to get down to business and my desk totally reflected that from the get-go.

I worked in my bead box that day and the next but was ready to mix in some art journaling by Friday evening. (Of course, I also finally got some serious house-cleaning knocked out too!)

A little liquid therapy is what I was really aching for, but it's far too cold to get in the water. So, drinks and lunch at The Gulf were in order.

Before hitting the restaurant, we made a detour to my favorite bead shop. They were having a busy day, so we didn't stay long, but I was able to pick up a few essentials.

After lunch, we hit Pirates Cove for some bushwhackers on the way home. 
 I can't wait for it to warm up enough to take a dip. 

I'm feeling more like myself now! But, I didn't find a whole lot of inspiration for the week except for these few. Maybe we'll get luckier next week.

I hope your week was wonderful and that the week ahead is full of much joy and creativity!!

Earrings Everyday Reveal - Rock Formations

The inspiration for this month's We're All Ears Challenge from Earrings Everyday is the sculptural land art by Jon Foreman. As soon as I saw the sample pictures from Erin, I knew I could come up with something. 

It was the textural elements of the rock formations that really captured my attention. I considered several different mediums to create something tactile and bumpy. Remembering that I had little time to complete my contribution, I fell back on what I knew - tin.
I used the plain bottom of an old cookie tin since I knew I wanted to color the pieces myself. Then, a disc-cutter was used to punch out the smaller circles from the tin before punching the larger circles. I felt that it would be easier to align everything that way. And, it was. 

From there, I sanded all the edges before breaking out my Vintaj Patinas in deep turquoise and opalite. These two blended beautifully together. 
I felt that the colors echoed the light, washed-out hues I saw in the artist's work. 

Once the patina was dry, I used dimpling pliers to add the texture that had stood out to me in the inspiration photos. 
I tried to get some of the symmetry seen in his work but struggled a bit with that.

The patina was sanded off the raised dimples before being coated with a matte sealer. 
I added the glass beads to the open circles to give the earrings a little weight and additional texture.

With the addition of ear wires, these earrings were done. While I don't think these are any kind of exact representation of Jon's beautiful artwork, his sculptures absolutely inspired every step of the creation of these from the get-go. Thanks to him and to Erin for issuing this fun challenge. I needed a break from some of the other things swirling in my head. 

Make sure you head over to the We're All Ears reveal at Earrings Everyday to see what Erin and other artists made with the inspiration!

Bead Box 7 - Stocked

I use the term Bead Box for the plastic organizer that I tote around with me. It's filled with most of the components I need to complete seventeen pieces of jewelry. And, it keeps me busy and working when I need to be away from my craft desk for an extended period of time. This is my seventh version of this box. 
And, this version might just be my favorite version yet. But, I'll let you decide what your favorite version is as I'll have the links to all the others at the end of this post.  First, let me show you what I've stocked in this one.

Each compartment holds almost all of the elements I need for a jewelry design. I keep the wire in other containers and have a small travel case of pliers. As well, I add the closures later, leaving that part of the design to be decided once the main part is completed. 
In Bead Box 7, I placed this large soldered pendant in the largest and first section of the organizer. Since the sentiment on this pendant is all about simplicity, I kept the design simple and will be making the chain with only black glass pearls. 

This little bracelet bar was made Using Vintaj Patinas on an embossed Vintaj blank. Since there's a touch of pink it, pink stone beads and brass beads were selected to make the chain.

I was gifted with an assortment of pairs of keys by one of my best friends. Since these two keys are so pretty on their own, I'm only going to accent them with a couple of salvaged teal beads and brass findings. 

This adorable little soldered pendant has that gnome with a butterfly on one side and a single butterfly on the other. A variety of clear, frosted, and white beads were chosen for the chain of the necklace to keep the cute at the center of the design. 

I soldered a whole batch of items including this little wish charm. It will be the focal point of a simple bracelet that will include navy leather lace. 

I went through an acrylic paint pouring phase last year and tried the technique on some plain tin. After cutting the above pieces into hearts, I sealed them with a crackle sealer and added gold wax. These will become cute earrings with brass findings. 

I've had this upcycled tin pendant on my desk for a while and finally decided to incorporate it into a necklace. Matching beads in orange, brown, blue, and silver will be strung on brown waxed linen cord to make up the bulk of the chain for it. 

I made this focal piece when I did the others using Vintaj patinas. It has a very watery feel so I decided to continue that theme with a variety of blue and labradorite beads with copper accents to make a bracelet.

These soldered mother of pearl buttons are divine. Small chandelier crystals and gunmetal findings are all that will be added to turn them into earrings. 

Isn't this mix gorgeous? I knew I wanted to keep the design for this soldered chandelier crystal simple. So, I selected a few mother-of-pearl buttons and beads as well as clear glass beads. It's going to be stunning!

This is one of the few questionable designs in the bead box. I'm sure I had something particular in mind when I cut out the berry tin pieces and punched the holes, but I have been struggling to figure out what that was. To keep with the natural theme, I picked out some marble beads that seem to match the greens in the leaves on the tin. We'll see how this works out!

I was smitten with the soldering and large loop I included on the amethyst stone but had trouble deciding how to use it. Finally, I picked out a few rough amethyst beads, labradorite chips and beads, moonstone beads, silver beads, and silver stars to work it into a necklace. 

This is another tin piece I had cut a while ago. I chose matching resin and wood beads and some gunmetal-colored glass seed beads to make a chain for it. 

I don't know what compelled me to put that sliver of a dictionary word into the jar, but it's flipping awesome. It's going to become a cute little necklace with two colors of crystal beads. It should turn out to be something that will layer with other necklaces beautifully.

It's been a few weeks since I put this bead box together, and I'm struggling to remember exactly what I had intended for these elements. But, I think they'll make a sweet little bracelet reminder to just breathe.

Yes, it's another soldered bubble! The "artistic" within the bubble made me want to include something colorful. And, these watercolor-like beads were just the thing. I included a few black beads to break them up on the necklace chain. 

Finally, I don't know what compelled me to encase the hornet for this pendant. But, he's kinda fun. A variety of natural-colored beads in browns, blues, and greens were selected along with gunmetal accents to make the chain. 

Since I've been sitting with my grandmother for a few weeks, I've already made it halfway through this box and am really loving the results. I can't wait to show you all the finished pieces. For now, though, you can check out the previous boxes.

Let me know what you're most looking forward to seeing from this current box or which of the other boxes was your favorite. I'd love to know!

Winding down the 100DayProject

I awoke the other day with many thoughts about the 100 Day project and decided to jot them down here to share with you. Some of the bits I g...