Sunday, 15 January 2017

Muffin Tin Challenge

When Heather Powers of Humblebeads fame decided to host her Muffin Tin Challenge again I thought it was a great way to kick start inspiration for 2017. The muffin tin concept is to take a muffin tin and fill as many cups as you want with everything needed for one project. Have a deadline and complete as many projects as you are able to by that date.

This seemed like an especially inspired way for me to get started. What with a heavy load at my bill paying job, Christmas season at home, preparing and bringing all the goodies for Christmas at my parents and spending several days up there with them taking care of things they needed, I was spent. After we got both kids back to their own places on the 29th, I did nothing but veg.

I have a muffin tin sitting on my bench from last year, when I tried to use the concept as a kick start for 2016. Well that didn’t go so well. Don’t get me wrong. I did get some projects done but also kept adding more and more unfinished projects to the cups.

Time to start over. I took a mini muffin tin bought last year (and used for my Christmas baking) and filled it with the focal elements for 12 or more projects.

The Starting Point

As is my bad habit, I forgot to take most of the items out of their storage bags. Most cups have the one item or pair that are generally visible. The two hardest to see, middle left and second from left, contain vintaj brass stampings (left cup) and lovely Lampwork beads in multiple colours (2nd from left). I did not add the remainder of the required items, wire, other beads, cord or chain, ear wires, and so on. I have been known to change my mind and this way I was not as “tied down”. My one goal was to produce 12 finished projects that I was happy with.

Finished Products
I met my goal this afternoon, and actually completed 2 pieces from those 2 middle tins. For whatever reason I placed each completed item on the tile from bottom right to top left. Don’t ask me why because I can’t explain. I just do it on a regular basis. Here’s each item, with the photo taken right after finishing it. (Because this is a long post I am only giving details of the elements used in each piece)

 Picasso Jasper & White Jade Intarsia from a destash by Lori McDaniel Anderson, Pink/Brown Moonstone, Sterling Silver

Dogwood Blooms
Mookite Jasper also from a destash by Lori McDaniel Anderson, Pink Opals, 14Kt Gold Filled ear wires and wrapping wires

Shining Through

Glass beads from a destash by Linda Landing, Gunmetal teardrops and filigree leaves upcycled from a damaged piece, Gunmetal ear wires and wrapping


Glass Rectangles also from a destash by Linda Landig, glass fire polished beads, brass and rhinestone spacers, goldtone ear wires and wrapping wires

Desert Bloom

Textured Copper with patina from Melinda Orr, Lampwork Glass with silver dots from Sue Kennedy, Glass and Copper. The patina on the right earring is better than the photo implies

These 2 Things….

Ceramic discs with individual design by Linda Landig, Ceramic rounds by Gaea Cannaday, Glass seed beads, Copper ear wires and wrapping wires

Singing the Blues

Ceramic discs by Linda Landig, Glass rounds, Sterling Silver

Perfectly Imperfect

Ceramic rectangles from Linda Landig, Ceramic rounds from Cindy Pack, Copper, Waxed Linen

Roll Along

Lampwork glass with silver dots by Susan Kennedy, 14Kt Gold Filled Ear Wires and Wrapping Wires

Jumping Hoops

Lampwork glass with silver dots by Susan Kennedy, Glass beads, Sterling Silver beads and hoops

In Bloom

Porcelain flower by Lisa Peters, Swarovski Crystal, Sterling Silver

On Wings

Vintaj Brass with Gilders Paste patina, Bronzite, Antiqued Bronze, Waxed Linen

Earth Song

Lampwork glass with Fine Silver in the colours stoneground, caramel and silver ivory by Robyn Kirkmand, Glass flowers, waxed linen, copper, antiqued bronze

All these designs will be added to my Etsy store over the next week.

I’ve already come up with several new designs while working on this challenge and am stoked to continue my year.

Please visit the blog reveal to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Art Bead Scene 6th Annual Ornament Blog Hop

When I first read about this year’s version of the Art Bead Scene Ornament Blog Hop I was so excited. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making ornaments for a while now.

My original plan was to use polymer clay to make something new and different to my usual direction. Not only were the polymer gods not in a mood to participate but November and December turned out to be my busiest yet. After scrapping several batches of polymer clay I had to put the idea aside and put my focus to my final shows of the year.

This week I decided to try again. Since I am on vacation from my bill paying job I had more time to play, including spending lots of time on Pinterest. I found many posts about an air dry clay made of corn starch, baking soda and water. I used the recipe from this pin and was letting it air dry.  It was taking too long to dry and today I ended up following the baking instructions from this post.

I had visions of pretty painted ornaments with impressed images highlighted by paint. Things didn’t turn out the way I anticipated, though they do look better in person than in the photo below.

I decided I didn’t like the use of the different coloured paint and went for silver and gold in the next batch, using a dry brush technique. I went a little heavy with the silver paint, mainly because it was so light and hard to see.

I was happier with the way this batch turned out but decided to try one last variation. Skipping the impressions I went to plain ornament shapes and stamped different images on them. These turned out to be my favourites.

I did try a dry brush on the two top ornaments but quickly decided I didn’t care for it and left the rest white. You can really see how white the “clay” mix is. The bottom left ornament had to be painted over and redone because I originally stamped the bird upside down. He did look quite strange that way.

First I need to buy narrow ribbon to hang them with then all of these ornaments will be gifts for some young friends. I hope they forgive my mistakes and enjoy them for what they are.

Please visit the blog reveal to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Weather - We’re All Ears September Challenge

For the EarringsEveryday October edition of the monthly We’re All Ears challenge, Erin Prais-Hintz selected weather ... wind patterns, cloud formations, precipitation... whatever we would like to represent!

I remember studying all about weather when I was a child and being fascinated by clouds. I used to know all the different types, what causes them, what conditions were needed to sustain them, how gentle or fierce they could be. Memories came flooding back when I was reading the challenge blog so of course I chose to focus on clouds

This painting by American landscape painter Albert Bierstadt shows a fierce rainstorm about to start and was the kickoff to my design. I did find it a little too dark and chose to work with the lighter elements of the clouds

Storm in the Rocky Mountains by Albert Bierstadt

I couldn’t quite find the right beads, shapes or colours, to make my vision come to life and decided it was time to take out the polymer clay again and play. I made a free form mixture of a light blue, deep navy and pale creamy pearl colour and made these sets

The Storm Above Earrings

The studs at the top are silver plated and the drops up front are gunmetal. It took a bit of work to get a decent rounded shape and remove fingerprints and clay from the sides and backs but it’s all practice right?

The Storm Above Earrings

I tried to get the look of sky in flux, with churning clouds and bits of blue sky peaking through. Some much needed touch ups to remove divots will happen this weekend.

The Storm Above Earrings

Although I tried to keep a close eye, there were hot spots in my toaster oven and I didn’t take the tray out quickly enough. I wasn’t quite expecting the temperature to be so uneven. Some of the darkened beads were at the back on one side and some near the middle of the oven. I may leave the colours as is but haven't decided yet. They do bring out the stormy look more.

I had enough clay left to make 2 pendants too. Here’s one final photo, a group shot

Please visit the blog reveal to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day

Friday, 30 September 2016

Art Bead Scene September Challenge

The Art Bead Scene team challenge is usually one of my favourite challenges. This year they have been really stretching the inspiration boundaries, with many avant garde inspiration pieces. They did it again for September, with this 1907 oil painting by Paula Modersohn-Becker titled Old Woman from the Poorhouse in the Garden with Glass Ball and Poppies. Sadly she passed away the same year

"Old Woman from the Poorhouse in the Garden with Glass Ball and Poppies" By Paula Modersohn-Becker, 1907
Though there are many colours in the artwork I was attracted to the red, the cheerful pop of the poppies and the muted red of the jacket and flower on her hat

These earrings have the happy colour of the poppies along with the muted background and skin tones of the painting. The textured arrowheads, with a lovely aged colour are copper clay, made by Kristi Bowman. The red glass beads in the centre are Lampwork headpins from Samantha Capeling of  VenusGlass Art. I used the copper wire of the headpin to attach it to the copper arrowhead and make the loop for the copper leverback ear wire

Red Sonja Earrings

Then I went deep into the back recesses of my Lampwork glass stash and dug out this set of Lampwork beads. These are some of the first art beads I ever bought. Unfortunately I never knew the artist who created these. At that time, the shop I purchased them at only used initials on their consignment inventory. Since then they are happy to more actively promote the artists they support 

The beads have the more muted red found in the painting, along with deep black, thicker stringer lines, squiggles and dots that somehow made me think of the flowers in the artwork. I wire wrapped the small matching beads to the sterling silver chain of the necklace and made my own bail, with the help of bead caps, all in sterling silver. The focal bead is double sided which I especially love

Dark Queen Pendant

Here’s the reverse of the pendant focal

Reverse Side, Dark Queen Pendant

Please visit the blog reveal to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Trees! Art Jewelry Elements Autumn Challenge

The Art Jewelry Elements team has issued a new challenge for September, around the beautiful trees of the planet. They invited everyone to participate again this month, and also had a giveaway for 2 participants to use art beads designed just for the challenge. I did not win but that's fine because I have lots of pretty art beads that channel the theme

This image of a cottonwood tree full of fall colours fit both my love of the season and the pieces I made

Cottonwood Tree in Autumn

Digging through my lovely stash of art beads I found myself drawn to pieces that reminded me of the fall season we are living in here. I found several beads that fit and in the end limited myself to 3 designs

First up is this sweet pair of earrings, with ceramic charms by Nancy Adams of Round Rabbit, glass rounds and gold plated wires. The bright orange maple leaves are my favourite fall leaves. The colours of the beads and charms were lined up to give an ombre look, a fading to fall effect. Nancy decided to focus her creative energies in a new direction and is not making art beads anymore. I have a few more of her creations squirreled away for now

Fallin’ Earrings

The next item I made is this pendant with a charm and bead by Heather Powers of HumbleBeads. Heather creates beautiful beads, charms and pendants in polymer clay like the lovely pieces here. I used gold plated wire to link the charm and bead, and attached a gold plated jump ring for the bail. The cord is made up of 3 different colours of waxed linen, picked to match the beads, and closes with a gold plated lobster clasp and ring

Golden Time Pendant

The last piece I made is this sweet pendant with art beads from Lesley Watt of Thea Elements and a large leaf frond from Round Rabbit. The round green apple coloured bead and tiny leaf are ceramic, and both come from Lesley’s talented hands. I thought they paired so well with the large ceramic leaf frond from Round Rabbit. The background of the large leaf matches the colouring of the tiny leaf almost exactly. The round bead has pale shading that coordinates with the lighter foreground colour of Nancy’s leaf. I maintained the earthy aspect of the pendant with twisted vintage bronze wire then couldn’t decide what to string it on. For now it’s hanging from a simple waxed cotton cord.

M’Cintosh Pendant

Please visit all the participants listed below to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

AJE Team

Guest Participants
Mona Arnott            (you are here)

Friday, 16 September 2016

We’re All Ears Challenge - September

For the Earrings Everyday September edition of the monthly We’re All Ears challenge, Erin Prais-Hintz selected cities and city skyscrapers as the inspiration.

Photocredit: Brandon Moore, Chicago, Unsplash

I was inspired most by this photo with its city nights, city lights vibe and happened to have the perfect copper rectangle bars with rhinestone cabs in gold and copper

Two of these bars, one upside down to the other, were used to achieve the symmetry I was craving.

City Nights City Lights Earrings

Copper wire holds the rectangles to the ear wires and make up the bail for the Swarovski Crystal hearts. The hearts are a complementary Golden Shadow colour. On both top and bottom wires some clear glass beads help make the golden colour stand out even more. Using the copper wire I could not get the hearts attached to the rectangles and keep a balanced look and ended up using small chains made from jump rings instead.

City Nights City Lights Earrings

I’m working on a matching necklace, and possibly a bracelet but they are not nearly ready yet. I’ll write about them when done. I’m bringing everything to a show this weekend and will post them in Etsy if they don’t sell first.

Please go to the Earrings Everyday blog reveal to see what everyone else made

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Colour Palette Challenge - Caribbean!

The team at Love My Art Jewelry doesn’t usually issue challenges to artists and artisans but Sherri Stokey has issued a few lately. The latest challenge is inspired by the colours of the Caribbean waters.

 What is extra special about this challenge is that it’s not limited to jewellery. As Sherri states, the rules are simple: “Make something inspired by the photo (below).  It can be anything - a painting, jewelry (of course), a scarf, a hand painted pair of shoes (wouldn't that be cool!?) - as long as it's made by you.”

I chose to stick with jewellery and made this bracelet with the challenge colours, blues (cyan, aqua, Caribbean blue, teal), lime green (chartreuse) and a dash of white.

Caribbean Bracelet
The 3 dot sliders were the starting point. The deep Caribbean blue colour of the glass kicked everything off. I added pretty blue/green tri beads, aqua colour seed beads that are lined with lime green and some tiny white seed beads (that are really hard to see in this first photo. Sticking to the silver in the sliders I added silver plated clasp and findings but used an on colour green beading wire instead of the usual silver wire.

Caribbean Bracelet

You can see those tiny white seed beads better in this second photo. I’m working on matching earrings but, keeping it real here, they are not nearly ready yet. I’ll write about them when done. I’m bringing the bracelet and earrings (hopefully) to a show this weekend and will post them in Etsy if they don’t go.

To see what everyone else made go to the Love My Art Jewelry reveal blog.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.