The Bee's Knees (Art Elements Theme Reveal)

You guessed it, the Art Elements Theme for April was Bees! Once again, I signed up a little late but was actually thinking about the theme all month long. 

When I was gathering dictionary papers to solder for the Earrings Everyday Home challenge, I went ahead and found some bee images to solder as well. 

Knowing I would have a backside to this type of pendant, I realized that I had a small bee stamp in my collection. And, it suddenly became the front of the pendant with the addition of the word QUEEN embossed in gold above the little bee. 

I aged the edges of both sides with a little Distress Ink in Old Paper. That color perfectly matched the cream faceted glass beads that I paired with black beads to create the chain. 
And, I was lucky enough to find a hook I had handmade some time ago in my stash. It seemed to perfectly match the little scrolls I created at the top of the pendant. That was a lucky find as though this was the first project I started, it was the last one I finished.

Before I began soldering, I decided to create a few word bubbles to add to my bowl of to-be-soldered. The excess dictionary paper from the Home challenge was sitting in my view and the word "honey" seemed to pop from it. So, I created the bubble and added it to the bowl.

When I soldered the jump ring on, I positioned it so that it would make it easy to string the charm on with some beads. And, that's just what I did!
I used beads from several jars of bead soup that fit in with a honey, black, silver, off-white color scheme then found a toggle clasp that had flowers on it to further accentuate the bee/honey theme. I don't make many bracelets, but really love this one! 

The project that really took up a big chunk of my time was a little assemblage piece. For some reason, a small candy tin caught my attention one day. The next morning, I was scouring the craft room for the little collection of silicone molds I know I possessed. I had a feeling there was a bee mold in there. And, I was right. I spent almost a full rainy day squirting hot glue into those molds, trying to get them to come out just right. It was an embarrassingly long time before it hit me that I could also use Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel which I also have in my stash and which would hold up better than hot glue. I molded all kinds of shapes in my little collection but made sure to create a few bees and flowers. 
Though my work on this tin was all over the place, let me just share the parts you can see. After sanding off all the color from the outside of the little tin, I painted it with a layer of a couple shades of blue Vintaj Patinas. One of my molded bees was painted on the backside with gold acrylic paint before getting glued with E6000 to the top of the tin. I punched a hole on the side that opens and inserted a floral brad, gluing it in place. The phrase "Welcome to My Garden" was simply printed out then colored with Distress Inks before getting glued on with Mod Podge.  I have to admit that I keep humming, "Welcome to the Jungle" everytime I look at the little tin. 

For the inside, I watercolored a piece of dictionary paper for the background and glued it down with Mod Podge. So that the background had some texture, I also created flowers and leaves with watercolors on various other book pages. These were cut out individually and glued with a glue stick. The flower and bee molds were painted with acrylic paint and glued with E6000.

I even punched a few holes in the top and made a little hanger so the tiny garden can be hung. I don't know why - but I had to do that. It was in my head from the start!

And, wouldn't you know it - two days before the reveal as I was looking for something else, I found these two beauties in my stash.
I guess I know what I'm doing next!

I can't leave this post without sharing at least one of the bee photos I captured last month.

Alrighty, I've rushed this thing along so you might have the chance to check out the other participants in this blog hop challenge reveal. But first, a huge thanks to Niky for the theme. I had NO IDEA bees were so inspiring.

AE team: NikySueJennyJenCathyMarsha



Peek at My Week (April 19-25)

Yet again, I'm running behind on my peek. Let's get right to it. 
We waited all day for a serious storm to come through. Since it was gloomy and dreary outside, I decided to make my own fun by finally opening a puzzle I had received as a gift several years ago. BUTTONS! We've worked on it on and off all week.

Pat went out to check on the pool and made a friend.
It's an Eastern Indigo Snake - totally harmless. 

The storm that rolled through that evening was pretty frightening. But, it rolled away after a few hours and the next day was beautiful.

And Tuesday as well. 

Even Zoe was sunny.

I ventured out on Wednesday for a few errands and stopped by the antique store to check on the booth. 

On Thursday, the clouds were back. So, I worked on a few projects inside. 

It was also the birthday of our oldest niece. We celebrated as best as we could with loads of presents and surprises and CAKE!
The best kind of cake - Tiramisu!

Friday cleared up nicely, and I found myself restless in the afternoon. So, I grabbed the metal detector and headed out to that burn pile that we had cleared.
The treasure was plentiful. 

Saturday was another gorgeous day. My niece, Taryn, stopped by for a few minutes for her birthday (yes, their birthdays are 3 years and 2 days apart!) Then, it was yard work followed by our first float in the pool. Then, the grill got its first use of the season too. It was a pretty awesome day. 

And, throughout the week, I kept up with #The100DayProject.
I used craft paint on Day 13.

Book Pages on Day 14.

Day 15 was Distress Stain in an art journal and on fabric.

For Day 16th, I used paint through stencils. 

Paper flowers were used on Day 17.

Day 18 was my favorite.
I used some of my rusted fabric and combined layered art with jewelry. It's turning out great!!

In all honesty, I'm not sure quite where the week went. I didn't find much inspiration for myself or for you, but let me share what I did find.

I hope your weeks aren't just disappearing and that you're finding the bright spots in each day. 

Honey Do List Reveal for April

Some ideas work out just the way you envision them, and other ideas...well...they're great learning experiences. While this particular idea worked out fiiiiine, it was probably more of a learning experience. Each month, Sarajo of SJ Designs Jewelry has her husband give her a photo for jewelry-design inspiration. She offers up the photo inspiration on her blog and calls it the Honey Do List. This month, Eric's photo was mesmerizing.
I have a thing for keys and locks so I knew this one was right up my alley. I searched my stash for keyholes that I liked, but none of them were suitable. Instead, I decided to create something on my own. I was also intrigued by the vines entwined around the lock and thought I might be able to create something with the soldering iron.

I tried.
To replicate the keyhole, I created a stamp with an eraser. I even tried to give it the wonky shape of the whole lock plate but forgot to reverse the image. (FIRST MISTAKE!) Since I just love the bright green in the photo, I sprayed some inks on cardstock that I stamped my keyhole on. I wanted to be able to see the green through the keyhole. At least that worked!

From there, I stamped a few leaf stamps onto another piece of the sprayed cardstock to create the back of the pendant. 
I have to admit that I almost like this side better. Sigh.

Then, I went about sandwiching the paper between glass and soldering it together. No problem! To give the lock some vines, I used copper wire that I stuck on and covered with solder.
Yeah, it just didn't flow and loop the way I wanted. (SECOND MISTAKE!) But, I learned that I should plan out a design like this a little better and will try this technique again another time. 

The soldered areas were darkened with Novacan Black to achieve a similar dark as the lock in the photo. But, the pendant didn't seem to pack as much punch as I wanted and didn't incorporate the leaves (on the front) in any way. Then, I remembered the leaf toggle clasps in my stash. However, I only have them in copper and brass. In this time of self-isolation, I didn't want to try to find a place that not only was open but would also have a clasp that would work. So, I broke out my new Vintaj Patina in Hematite. 
While the hematite patina was the perfect shade, I wasn't able to get it to cover the toggle clasp as well as I would have liked. (THIRD MISTAKE!) The bits of copper that are peeking out echo the tiny bits of copper I can see on the soldered pendant. So, it kinda works...

I made a simple chain of wrapped looped glass pearls in black and dark gray. I think these shades match the soldered pendant best, allowing the green to really pop. Black annealed steel wire was used to continue the dark feel.
So...mistakes were made, lessons have been learned, and a necklace was made. I guess that's winning.

Make sure to head over to Sarajo's blog for her reveal and check out the other designers who participated as well! 

Peek at My Week (April 12-18)

Another week in the books. Again, it's felt like my days are just being cut and pasted over and over. But, I've decided to start keeping track of a few of the little happy moments, joys, and surprises I find in each day that makes them stand out from the others - kinda like a gratitude journal. These may or may not make their way into these posts. We'll see. For now, let's take a peek at the week that was. 

Sunday was Easter, and though we couldn't go have the big family dinner that we usually would, I did try to ensure that the Easter Bunny stopped by with a few things for Pat and my niece. My mom surprised us by bringing a few gifts by herself. During this time of "shelter-in-place," I wasn't as happy to see her as I should have been. My worry genes kicked into high gear, but I sure do miss her! It was also Day 6 of #The100DayProject and I was to use stencils on my Gelli Plate. 

While the plate was out, I also wanted to try a specific technique of transferring magazine images. I had some luck!
That's the image from the magazine right on my Gelli Plate. So cool!!

I had to respect the beauty that was Monday.
It was a good day to get out and knock out the grocery-shopping! 

For Day 7, I was to use images from my stash, specifically Tim Holtz Paperdolls.
I picked the above doll from the Halloween collection, but I thought it worked well since there was a bunny, and it was the day after Easter. I let my intuition guide me for that page, and it came together perfectly!

By Tuesday, I realized that I had more blackberries than I knew what to do with. 
I kept trying to decide if they were going to go in a cobbler or get turned into jam. Finally, I just washed them and put them in the freezer so I could decide later. I'm still not sure. What do you think I should do?

Fiber/Fabric in the form of embroidery floss was Tuesday's task for the project.
When I added this material to my list, I really thought I was just going to sew something into my art journal. However, I was compelled to try something new.

Slow stitching!
I really enjoyed the meditative nature of this activity and kept it up for a few days last week. I'd like to do it more often too. I'm already itching to pull that needle through the fabric again. 

I also turned my desk into a soldering station to tackle a few projects.
It stayed in that state into Wednesday before I found myself just getting frustrated and decided it was time to put the soldering iron away until I was less irritable. 

My irritation didn't abate for Day 9 of the project.
Tape was the supply, specifically some Tim Holtz Design Tape I've been hoarding. While I adore the patterns on the tape, I found that it's slick surface meant that not much would stick to the top of it. However, after a while, I discovered that watered-down gesso left some fun water-stains so I used that to my advantage on the page. But, the spread didn't feel complete. I will be trying clear gesso on it later!

It was Thursday morning that I awoke with inspiration to fix the above page. And, it worked beautifully. I was so happy, that I began another page for Day 10. Using my Stabilo Woodys was the task for the day. 
I'm still a little tickled over the phrase I found for that one. My biggest happy for the day was that since I needed to upload a few videos, I went to do it outside one of my best friend's houses. She and my god-daughter came out to talk to me for a bit from their driveway while I stayed in the car. It totally lifted my spirits!

Friday was full of little sparks of beauty. First, I shared my contributions to the We're All Earrings challenge of making earrings that represent Home.
The earrings on the right were the main reason I needed to get my solder on earlier in the week.

Tissue paper was my medium for Day 11. And, I used a combination of white paper that I stamped two images onto to make a fairy and some patterned floral tissue paper. These two papers were applied to music paper with fluid medium to create this beauty!

I just had to incorporate her into a journal page.

My friend Tiffany of Southern Gals Designs mentioned getting inspired by things you find outside. She found some feathers, and I recalled some lacy dried hydrangea I had seen while picking blackberries that morning. 
I still haven't incorporated these into anything just yet, but I've got a few ideas. 

While Friday had been full of so much awesome, Saturday was rather dull. The weather was overcast and gloomy and made me feel rather lazy. I did knock out my task for #The100DayProject which was using my quote and word stamps. I simply selected several and stamped them onto various pieces of cardstock so I can use them when art journaling.
I'm always struggling to find new ways to add a sentiment, and this seemed like a great solution.

Now, let me share some other inspiration with you. Many of these are actually related to our current situation, so I hope you find them useful!

So, have you found some great distractions and blessings to focus on? I'd love to know what's keeping you busy right now. 

Home is Where the Heart Is (We're All Ears Reveal)

Most months, Erin at Earrings Everyday chooses a theme for the We're All Earrings challenge. Since most of us are (or should be) sheltering in place in our homes, she selected "Home" and what that means to each of us as the theme for this month.

Almost immediately, I was struck with the cliche that "Home is Where the Heart Is." I have to admit that I'm no fan of cliches (unless they're supremely funny) and no fan of hearts. But, as I sit in my house and realize how blessed I am to share it with people I truly love and things that make me happy; I can deal with the idea of both because the cliche rings so true right now.

On thinking about my physical home, the first thing that came to mind was the green of our property and the green of our tin roof. Ahhhhhh, TIN!!! I spent no time sketching out a basic idea for my first pair of earrings.

Like the pendant that I made for the Honey Do List, I cut out, embossed, and colored the roof and house from a blank cookie tin bottom. The heart was cut from tin that was already the perfect shade of red. I made the roof and house match the colors of my own home.

Attaching the roof to the house got a little fussy, but I finally made It work with some blackened steel wire. And, in the end, I LOVE THESE!! My only regret is that I didn't think to add a heart to the back of the houses too.

While I worked on the tin earrings, I had another idea.

It's a pretty simple one: dictionary paper, watercolor hearts, glass pebbles, and solder - done! I  even recorded a video to show you how easy it is to make the Home is Where the Heart is Soldered Earrings.


Both sets of these earrings are really lovely.
And, they're a great reminder of how special our own homes are, how we ache to be there after a long vacation or bad day at work, how there's nothing better than our own beds and our own people. And, the kicker is, that staying in that place that we love to be will help keep others and ourselves safe. So, let's do that!

Now, from the safety of your own home, head over to Earrings Everyday and see what everyone else made to represent their own homes. Thanks to Erin for another wonderful inspiration.

Bead Box 15 - Stocked

It's been months and months since I've had both the need and the urge to pack another Bead Box. Really, that's because I haven&#...