The Struggle is Real (SJ Honey Do List Reveal & GIVEAWAY!)

Let me just go ahead and admit it, I'm obsessed with taking on challenges. Each month, there are several themed or inspirational challenges that I do my best to participate in. Sometimes, I wonder why I torture myself so, but I know why. These challenges always get me to try something new and look at the inspirations, my supplies, and my skills just a little differently. They push me to do more. And, I need that! Sarajo of SJ Designs Jewelry has her husband issue her a photo as inspiration each month. She is kind enough to share that inspiration with us in what she calls the Honey Do List. This month's photo was a real doozy for me. 
The photo itself is striking with its curves and lines and little row of mugs. At first, though, nothing about it really jumped out at me. But, as I studied it more, my mind turned it upside down and I was soon sketching out an idea. 

I saw the little mugs as bead dangles and worked over several days to create a pendant that reflected the picture (upside down) pretty nicely.
But, all I can see is Noah's Ark... And, I couldn't decide how to finish it. And, it's not really my style. So, it's sitting on the edge of my desk, unwanted. Here's where the giveaway comes in - if you want this pendant and are in the US, let me know in the comments by the first of June.

I was exasperated with myself when I made the decision to stop working on the above project, but I knew it was the right decision. I didn't want to give up on the challenge, so I took a deep breath and refocused. This was two days ago!! I took another look at the inspiration photo and the red and white polka-dotted mugs caught my attention. I knew I had a similar bead in my stash somewhere. So, I dug through my artisan beads and came up with a couple of contenders for this project: a dotted ceramic bead from Gaea and a red enameled bead (from...I don't know!) And, this morning, I tried to pull something together. But, it was a Fail as well. 

Knowing that those beads were perfect for the challenge, I tried to refocus again on what it was I liked about the photo: the arched shape, the lines in the window, the pop of color amid the browns. And, something came to me. It took several tries to get the wire shape right, but I finally had something I liked and felt right. 

I am aware that this fringe/tassel style is kinda trendy right now; but I also knew it would work with this shape and fit in nicely with my more romantic, bohemian style.
Once again, I'm so relieved I didn't give up on a challenge. I was able to come out on the other side with a design that I LOVE, not just something that works for the challenge. 

I'm finding so much of my artwork to be a struggle lately, but I'm also finding myself loving more and more what comes out of the struggle. I think that for me, it's important to struggle through it because if it was easy, it probably wouldn't be worth it. 

So, thank you to Sarajo and Eric for another fabulous, inspiring challenge. Head over to SJ Designs Jewelry to see her takes on the inspiration as well as what other participants created. 
And, don't forget, if you think you can make something of that first attempt, let me know! I'm Giving it Away!


  1. I love what you eventually came up with. It has several great elements from the inspiration, one of which is the charming feel of the photo. Perfect! I like it that you take on so many challenges because you really think deeply and creatively and try techniques until something feels right, and I pretty much always love the results. I'm a little surprised that you say the first component you made is not really your style, but that means someone else is in luck! It's my style, and I would not have come up with it. So I'm throwing my mug, I mean cap, in the ring for the giveaway. Thanks!

    1. Ann, thank you! As for that first pendant..yeah, there's just something about it that's TOO rustic and folksy for what I'm aiming for lately. I'm so glad you're interested in it. You're definitely in the drawing. ;)

  2. I am so envious how you came up with the first design and no, it doesn't look like Noah's Ark to me. I'm sure someone lucky will claim it! The second piece you made is by no means less interesting and inventive, I love it!

  3. Hope,
    I like your final design. It keeps your idea to turn it upside down, but in your style! I have fallen out of doing challenges, but you are inspiring me to give it a try again!

    Here are my ideas for making the first design work:
    Hang it from an old key (that would be your style!)
    Or hang it from a piece of filigree (that might be more my style ;-))
    Or possibly add texture to it.
    But if you are hell bent on giving away your first attempt, I'd love to take a shot at it.

  4. I'm sorry that this one was tough for you and glad that you stuck it out until you came up with something you love! Your necklace is super fun... but of course the polka dots were my favorite of the mugs too. I like the way your fringe is hung in a fan shape to echo the window in Eric's photo. As for your first attempt, I think it is a super fun pendant and someone is going to be thrilled to get it to play with! As always, thanks for playing along with us. Cheers from one challenge addict to another!

    1. Sarajo, I don't know why this was so hard. What was it about the polka dots? They're not usually my thing, but they called to me in this photo. I appreciate the challenge from you and Eric. It lets me stretch my creative muscles. Thank YOU!

  5. Sorry to make a tough one for you this month! But I think you did great with both pieces!

    1. Aw, thanks! Tough is good. It makes me think. That's always a good thing. ;)


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