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, pendants, and findings. One of the pieces in there was a large crystal that I thought might be too heavy for a pendant. It got my wheels turning as to what else that beauty could become. It didn't take long for me to settle on using it to create a suncatcher for a window in my sunroom.

And, it took even less time to pull it together. Really, the hard part was deciding what beads to include with it. 

All of the beads included in this project came from my own Secret Stash Box. But, who knows what could be in yours. Each box is different, but all of the pieces are curated to go together. It's such a FUN surprise.

Anyway, back to the suncatcher. Once I decided on the beads, I used fishing line, crimp beads, and a fishing swivel to complete it. You can watch my whole process in my Easy Handmade Beaded Suncatcher video.

I do mention in the video that you can create the suncatcher without the swivel, but I like to include it because it allows it to spin in the light more easily. 

It has brought a smile to my face every time I see it.

And, really, even if you don't have a big crystal from Jesse James Beads, you could use all kinds of things to create a fun hanging decoration with this technique. Tell me, what will you string up in your window?

DIY Emerald Earrings for May

I've been participating in the Pirate Pretties Jewelry Challenge from Angela of Pirate Pretties Jewelry for the last several months. This is a birthstone challenge in which we are given the birthstone(s) colors, a choice of metal types, a project type, and an optional fun element to include in one or more pieces. Here are May's.

Birthstone: Emerald

Metal: Gunmetal or Bronze

Project: Earrings

Fun Elements: Celtic or Crystals 

I made two pairs of earrings using these prompts.

And, I recorded my process for the Pirate Pretties Jewelry Challenge.

I begin the video with the easiest-to-make pair. They are simply made by stringing beads onto a headpin and forming a wrapped loop. I intentionally made them look like "May Flowers," using the emerald beads as the stems. I think they're pretty darling.

For the second pair, I broke out the heavier tools and chemicals as I worked with a piece of old cookie tin that was in the right shade of green. In the video, I walk you through cutting, sanding, punching, aging, and sealing the tin. This is all done before any beads are added. 

For both pairs of earrings, I used crystal clear faceted beads to meet the "crystals" part of the task. While I did use gunmetal findings in the second pair, I have to admit that the first pair is aged brass rather than bronze, but I think that's a small detail. 

Once again, I'm tickled to have had this challenge before me. I probably would not have brought these pieces together without the prompts from Angela. If you're interested in seeing what others made for this month's birthstone challenge, I encourage you to click the hashtag in the video title (on YouTube) or join Angela's Pirate Pretties Jewelry group on Facebook. She will have a picture of what she made in the group and everyone else is welcome to add their contributions in the comments of that photo. 

Are you seeing May flowers where you are, or will you try to make your own too?

Art Journal Videos in April

Here's my monthly roundup of the art journal videos that were shared on YouTube, but you have missed. 

Art Journal Spread - All My Love

Junk Journal Spread - She was Frightened

Art Journal Spread - #MMMApril22 - There is Nothing Simpler

Junk Journal Page - Be Brave and Do It

I don't know if you can tell in these little snippets of pictures, but I had a lot of fun with these. I'm even happier with the couple I already have up for May. Head over to my YouTube channel, and make sure you're subscribed!

May Art Challenges and Inspiration

Finding a good challenge always keeps me inspired and moving forward to try new things. And, I like to see how these challenges inspire others too, so I make sure to share them in one place in case anyone else wants to play along. Below are the challenges and inspirations I've found for this month. Which of them inspires you to make something new?

I'm starting with the ones that have their reveals the soonest. Some of these are in the next several days - so I encourage you to find out what the themes are for next month if this is too short of notice for you. 

  • The Be Creative Challenge from Terry of Tapping Flamingo on YouTube is set for its reveal on the 13th (of each month). For May, the theme is Flowers. You are welcome to interpret this inspiration in any medium you wish. This is a video reveal with the hashtag #BeCreativeFlowers so that those participating can find one another. 
  • On the 15th of each month, there's the Pirate Pretties Jewelry Challenge reveal from Angela. This is a birthstone-inspired challenge in which for this month, we were challenged to use the color emerald, gunmetal or bronze metal, make earrings, and (optionally) use the fun elements of Celtic and/or crystals. If the 15th is cutting it close, you can start on June's challenge of using the colors Pearl or Alexandrite, silver or gold metal, make a necklace, and (optionally) included a bold pendant. Your reveal can be on YouTube and/or in the Pirate Pretties Facebook group. 
  • Another strictly-jewelry challenge is the Honey Do List from Sarajo and Eric of SJ Designs Jewelry. Each month, Eric provides a picture as inspiration for the month. The reveal is set for June 3rd when Sarajo will have a linky tool up for you to share your post. In fact, you can probably still find last month's linky tool open if you find some inspiration in April's photo from Eric.
  • If you'd rather just have a palette to work from rather than a whole photo, Halcraft Collection has their Pretty Palette Inspiration that they share each month. I believe this challenge is open for the whole month, but you can find all the information on their site.
  • If you're more interested in art journaling, check out Mixed Media Menagerie. It's a challenge on YouTube and Instagram that gives you three prompts to work into a mixed media piece. This is hosted by Nicole Watson Art, Erin DeCoste, and Laura Mixed Media. For May, the prompts are soft pastels, watercolors, and florals. You can participate in the tag-a-long by using the tag #MMMMay22 on either (or both) YouTube or Instagram. You have all month to play along.
  • Lastly is the #4Core challenge from Ina Solsbery on YouTube. Toward the beginning of each month, Ina reveals what she made for the previous month and shares what the "Four Core" ingredients are for the current month. This is a 3D or 2D mixed media challenge. (Ina is an amazing assemblage artist and has kept me inspired through my 100 Day Project.) The four parts for this month are 1-theme: related to light, 2-vintage or rustic style, 3-add a black and white pattern on one element in the piece, and 4-include something traditionally found in the kitchen. Ina does a fantastic job of explaining and giving examples of these at the end of her April reveal video. If you're interested, I encourage you to watch and play along. 
I know there are plenty more challenges out there that I'm probably leaving out. Please share them in the comments!

Reveal for April's Honey Do List

We're on vacation this week. It's really a staycation because we have loads to do around here and enjoy our area. So, we're not going too far from home. As such, I'll likely still be creating almost daily and trying to share on social media too (hence this post).  As of late, I've been on a real kick of combining tin shapes with thick-gauge wire and other little tidbits. And, this is totally the fault of the Honey Do List Challenge from Sarajo and Eric of SJ Designs Jewelry. 

The inspiration photo (above) from Eric this month really struck a chord with me in terms of how pretty it is. But, I struggled to come up with jewelry inspired by it. Finally, I made myself look hard at it and decide what it was that appealed to me. I realized that I was drawn to the patina and age of the sun as well as the golden yellow hue running from it. All of a sudden, I had an idea, or at least something new to try.

I found the teal discs already cut out in my stash. From there, I used a texture hammer, a sanding block, and Novacan black patina* to give the tin some age. Then, the wire was shaped, and I added embroidery floss fringe in a striking mustard gold. (Something about the little golden tassels reminds me that it's also graduation season.)

I'm absolutely smitten with these earrings and even wore them the whole rest of the day after I made them.

And, they got me wondering about other takes on this idea. So, I cut more tin, shaped more blackened steel wire, and wrapped beads along the wire.


Needing to make more, I turned to my copper wire for a different look. And, I decided to try dangling beads from the tin.

I had two small snippets of that copper wire left on the desk that were mocking me, so they became stems that are riveted onto a couple of tiny mushroom caps.

And now, I want to make a whole line of earrings (and maybe pendants) that combine tin, wire, and who knows what else (probably more beads.) All this snowballed from one inspiration photo. Granted, only the first one has anything to do with the inspiration, but the rest wouldn't have happened without that photo. So, I'm sending a big THANK YOU to Sarajo and Eric for the inspiration. As well, I encourage you to head over to SJ Designs Jewelry to see what Sarajo and the other artists made! Maybe you'll get inspired too! Now, it's back to "vacationing" for me.

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Jesse James Beads (April 2022)

Have I mentioned that I was selected to be a Jesse James Beads Design Ambassador? (#JJBAmbassador)

 It was a simple enough process to fill out the form on their website and then wait for the news. After that, I sat on pins and needles to see what they would send me to play with for April. You can watch my Unboxing Video for the unveiling of the above beauties. 

From there, I set to moving the beads and chain around on my desk. Almost immediately, I was ready to create. First, I came up with a pair of simple earrings made with some wire that framed several of the beads. 

I shared the process of making these in a DIY Bead and Wire Earring Tutorial on YouTube. 

Then, working with both the beads Jesse James sent me and some I bought from them, these little beauties just fell together. 
To see how these were made, you can watch the reel I made on Instagram

After that, I turned off the cameras and just set to work creating a bounty of jewelry. 

I really wanted to play with that gunmetal contemporary chain. So I combined it with a few of the beads from the Sunset Goddess mix and created this bracelet.

Most of the beads I received from Jesse James Beads came in even numbers, making them perfect for earrings. So, I HAD to create several more pairs. First were these that also used a few links of some chain I purchased from them.

And, I had to see how well they worked with a few snippets of tin. 

Then, the gunmetal chain drew my eye again!

Finally, I combined some of the beads they sent with some of the beads and chain I bought to create this lovely, delicate butterfly necklace. 

All around, I'm ticked with the results and how fun it is to create with Jesse James Beads. I'm hoping they want to continue to work with me as a Design Ambassador and can't wait to see what they send next to inspire me! Keep your eyes peeled for more.

Thrifty Thursday Haul - Estate Sale

I've been fortunate to discover that in my area, there are two antique stores that each do a big "Estate Sale" once a month in the warehouse portion of their locations. I like that it's not all cramped in someone's house, and I try to make a point of checking them out each month. They used to be held on the same weekend so I could hit them up on the same day, but they've since altered their schedules so they're not stacked on top of each other. In any case, this past weekend was one of the sales, and I made a pretty decent haul!

If you don't want to watch my Thrifty Thursday Haul on YouTube, here's a peek at what I brought home from the estate sale. 

There was this lovely Asian tin. It's a bit faded, but I like it!

I got a variety of bits and bobs for my assemblage-making. Oh, and there are some lobster clasps too. I also got a baggie of buttons, but I had them sorted and put away before I could get the pictures taken. Ooops!

This was the big score though.

I actually did a bit of bargaining to get this lot of vintage photos. That type of bartering isn't usually in my nature. But, I really wanted them, went for it, and was rewarded for my efforts!

Now, I've got to find some room in my over-packed craft room to store all these treasures. Eek!

Have you found any treasures lately?

Assemblage Art on YouTube

I believe I have mentioned before that I'm doing assemblage art as part of The 100 Day Project. You can follow #Assemblage100 on Instagram to get daily updates on my progress. But, I'm also posting many of the completed projects as process videos on YouTube. In case you've missed any of that, here's what I've shared so far.

Assemblage Art - All Ears

Mixed Media Altered Paintbrush

Vintage Flower Brooch Assemblage Art

Those are the just ones I shared in March. There are already another couple of assemblage videos on the CraftyHope YouTube Channel this month if you can't get enough!

Art Journaling in March

 So much of the content that I've been sharing as of late has been either on Instagram or YouTube. I've gone a little video-making crazy. In fact, I'm posting videos on YouTube two-four times a week! So, you'll likely be seeing more of these types of posts that give you a rundown of what you may be missing. For now, here's a peek at some of the art journaling projects I shared last month. 

Junk Journal Spread - I Do Not Care

Compassion Hop - Reminder Tin

Mixed Media Menagerie Art Journal Spread for March

Art Journal Page - Spring Inspired

Junk Journal Page - Let Out a Long Breath

It's been tough lately squeezing in some time for playing in my art journal since I've been consumed with my 100 Day Project. So, I've tried to make the most of each time I do get to play in these journals. Please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any questions about art journaling or my process! I can definitely make time for you. 

Sale in the CraftyHope Etsy Shop

 Somehow I've been sharing it all over other social media, but not here (OOPS!) that there's a sale going on in the CraftyHope Etsy Shop. Everything is 20% off through the weekend. 

Here's a sample of what you'll find in the shop. 

Garden Tassels Earrings

Copper and Aquamarine Necklace

Button Collections Bracelet

Ruffle Ring Earrings

Amethyst Dangle Necklace

In addition to all that jewelry, there are still two variety paper packs available!

Variety Paper Pack

So, what are you waiting for? Click over to the CraftyHope Etsy Shop and score you some deals. 

April Art Challenges and Inspiration

Taking on a challenge is a great way to push your creativity into areas you hadn't thought to tread. I'm always on the lookout for that kind of inspiration. And, I like to share it here with you each month in a quick roundup. Here's what's on the plate for April. 

  • Sarajo at SJ Designs Jewelry has unveiled the photo inspiration for the April Honey Do List. This is a jewelry challenge in which you use the photo that her husband, Eric, has provided as inspiration. The reveal date is set for April 25, but the linky tool is usually open for a month after that, so you have plenty of time to play along. 
  • On the 13th of the month, Tammy of The Tapping Flamingo on YouTube is hosting a Be Creative challenge for any medium. She will offer a creative word or phrase each month for you to use. For April, the phrase is Rain Showers. Her hashtag will change each month. The one for April is #BeCreativeAPRIL2022.
  • Angela of Pirate Pretties Jewelry on YouTube has a monthly challenge. It's a birthstone theme each month with a color, metal, project type, and (optional) fun element. For April, the challenge color is diamond, the metal is silver or gold, the project type is a bracelet, and the fun elements are vintage or cross. The reveal is set for the 15th of each month on YouTube with the hashtag #PiratePrettiesJewelryChallenge and/or you can join her Facebook Group and add your reveal picture in the comments of her reveal photo. 
  • I recently discovered that Ina Solsbery on YouTube also has a monthly challenge collaboration. This is a general mixed media art challenge that she called #4Core because you only need to include the Four Core "ingredients" to play along. This month, those are to create in miniature (smaller than 6x6 inches), include an animal, incorporate two arrows, and submit your completed photo within your hands to show scale. She asks that submission photos be emailed to her by the end of the month so she can include them in the slideshow in her video. Watch her March #4core video to get an idea of how this works and read the details in the description. 
I know there are probably other challenges out there, but these and #The100DayProject are the key ones in my mind at the moment. If there are any other challenges that you think should be included in this list, please don't hesitate to let me know so I can add them to the list. Happy creating!!

March Honey Do List Reveal

As soon as I saw the Honey Do List inspiration photo from Sarajo and Eric of SJ Designs Jewelry, I had an inkling of what I would create. Admittedly, that doesn't always happen. Sometimes Most of the time, I have to study Eric's photographs to zone in on what calls out to me. However, the simplicity of this one put me right in the zone. I wanted to make a cluster of the same-colored beads hanging from a length of chain. So...I did!

It did take me a bit of time to decide on what findings and chain I would use (I kept thinking aged brass would work too.) Oh, let me show you the inspiration photo so you'll know what I'm talking about.

Do you see what I mean? Brass would have worked well to represent the bark. But, I decided to use some of the black-coated findings I have instead. I don't often use them because the coating flakes off. In this case, I thought that worked well to add an organic feel to the earrings.

Most of the beads in my stash were too much of a cherry-red for the berries in the photo, so I went with these more maroon ones that make them look a lot like red grapes. 

Either way, they feel juicy and fruity like the photo. 

Thanks to Sarajo and Eric for the inspiration. I always like a good kick in my pants to get me creating. 

Make sure you head over to SJ Designs Jewelry to see what Sarajo and the other artists made for this berry good challenge!

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...