Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Baby

It's been a cold, blustery day...we had snow on the ground this morning!  It melted away well before noon, but when we decide we're having a snow day, some of us really know how to make the most of it.  

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fear of Snow

Here in Portland, we have an odd relationship with snow.  We do get snow, but only occasionally.  And while the higher elevations receive quite a bit of snow (again, only occasionally), here in the city proper it is quite an event.  We begin receiving dire warnings from local news stations, advising us that it's coming, and showing all sorts of vehicular disasters from past snows.  (Some are very entertaining, actually, but only for those of us who were not in those vehicles at the time.)  And then sometimes we do get snow, which literally shuts down the city, and sometimes it just passes over the lower elevations. 

Yesterday was a Fear of Snow day.  I bundled up in fleece and decided to sit cozily in my comfortable chair, add to my yo-yo stash, and watch marathon episodes of The Tudors.  Here's what was going on at my house:
It's a terrible blurry picture, isn't it?  (I keep hoping that my skills will improve with each picture I take, but I'm beginning to think that I should read the instruction manual.)  I actually have quite a lot of this project joined together, with a king-size coverlet in mind.  A COLOR-BLOCKED coverlet...I saw a very small version on Flickr and was so impressed that I had to make one for my bed.  I've already completed two tablecloths, but something for a king-size bed is quite an undertaking.  Here is a picture that shows more of this project...

I had to plot out the color sequences before joining the yo-yos...each section contains a total of 12 in one color group, and I offset the groups by one as I added on below.  My first "row" (which is actually 4x4) starts with blue, then with purple, pink, green, yellow,orange...and just below, for the second "row", I started with purple, pink, green, and so gives a diagonal stripe effect as the coverlet grows. 
It is portable, soothing work that satisfies my need to multi-task while watching television.  For some reason, I feel lazy and unproductive if I actually sit down to watch with nothing in my hands.  In reality, it was always a real bone of contention for my family to watch television with me, since I was frequently saying "I missed that, will you please rewind?". 

And by the way, I did see snowflakes for about 10 minutes...but nothing stuck, and all the fear of snow came to nothing (for me)...but I did get a lovely day out of it!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Secret Snowflake Challenge Reveal

Michelle sent each of us the most beautifully wrapped box full of pretties with which to create one, two, or many pieces of jewelry (or whatever!) with the purpose of revealing what we've done with the beads.  Here's what came in the mail:
I was a little much many beads I might never think to use on my own!  At first, I was tempted to do what I did in the previous challenge...make a whole bunch of charms, basically, and attach them to a large-link necklace.  But I remember that I wasn't really thrilled with the final just didn't feel like "me", and I ended up taking it all apart and making several different items, using one or two of the components in each.  Much, much better.  More streamlined, less cluttered, more ME!  So I moved pieces around on my bead table and chose a few to make these earrings:
They were fun!  I used some pretty baby blue petal beads from one of my favorite Etsy sellers, Diana at Mountain Shadow  Design, found here  Additionally, as you can see, I used some of Michelle's small frosty blue glass beads, and some silver spacers I had on hand.

Then I found myself drawn to the frosty white long teardrop beads, and one thing led to another:

First I made two sets of dangles (three dangles per set) using the small frosty white glass beads.  I attached the dangles to the eye pin holding the teardrop beads topped with the tiny silver daisy spacers, and another of the small frosty white beads. I attached the earrings to a pair of silver lever-back earring wires.

Still feeling the need for frost, I rummaged in my bead stash, and found some frosty white hearts.  So I did this:
They were the simplest of all...a simple stack of the frosty white glass hearts, topped with tiny silver daisy spacers, glittery pale blue oval crystals, another set of silver daisy spacers, and topped with those sweet little frosty blue glass beads. 

Feeling as if maybe I'd gotten earrings out of my system, I moved on to a bracelet.  Frankly, I'm loving the bracelet.  It's dangly without being all over the place, and full of turquoise and white joy:

However, it was a little hard to photograph, and I never did end up with a satisfactory picture. 

I can tell you that it was really pleasurable to create all the sets of baby bell dangles...three pressed glass bell flowers for each dangle, in three different blues.  I used silver headpins with paddle-shaped ends for the flowers.  And I was able to use all six of the freshwater pearls with offset holes; I think they added a lot to this bracelet. The turquoise colored druk beads were discovered in my stash.

Then I moved on to the necklaces.  Remember, I had a hard time with my necklace last time.  I wanted to use the ceramic snowflake pendant and beads, and I also wanted to glam it up a bit, but the more I added, the less I liked the result.  So I really kept it simple.  I added some bead dangles to rest over the hole of the pendant, and I actually thought they should stay...they made it through the removal process.  Here's what I ended up with:

Not a great picture...I need so much more practice!  Moving along...I recently got all enthused about the types of wooden tiles made by Marie Cramp (find her here).  They are so beautiful!  She is such an inspiration, and I have to say, it's not easy to make these!  It took me quite awhile to figure out how I could make similar wooden tile pendants, using digital collage images from various Etsy sellers, and to decide which finishes to use.  Finally, through MUCH trial and error (and error and error), I think I succeeded.  See?

There, that's the detail of the wooden tile pendant.  I glued it to a silver filigree blank, added some more of those little baby bell dangles to the bottom, and worked up from there:
By the way, the heart bead that looks chipped?  It's an optical illusion...a shadow.  Truly, it's a perfect heart.  Initially, I wanted to keep the original "snowflake" theme in mind by using bright silver chain and findings. However, coupled with the butterfly tile, it just didn't look right.  So naturally, having serious issues with foresight and forethought and (to be honest) impulse control, I decided to use liver of sulphur for the very first time, to darken all the shiny stuff.  Bear in mind...this necklace was completely assembled.  That is a WOODEN tile, with a (basically) decoupaged image.  Into the horrifically stinky bowl of liver of sulphur it went...and not 10 seconds later, out it came...this dark.  It's, like, INSTANT!  Who knew?  Please, take my advice...darken your chain and findings before assembling your pieces.  The tile is perfectly intact (sooooo happy that I coated it and buffed it with some waterproofing glaze...), and the chain and findings are fine.  But I had no control over the situation, and it could easily have gone very wrong.

So there you have it...all my items for Michelle Mach's Secret Snowflake Challenge!  I hope you enjoyed my blog post, and please check out the others here:

  • Alice (Alice Dreaming)

  • Chris (

  • Christa (Adventures of One Beady Woman)

  • Crystal (Here Bead Dragons)

  • Cynthia (Cynth's Blog)

  • Dawn (Morning Glory Beading)

  • Donetta (Simply Gorgeous)  (that's me!)

  • Erin A.

  • Jennifer (JenniferJW)

  • Jennifer (Jewelry, Art and Life)

  • Kari W.

  • Kate (We Can Make That at Home)

  • Kay (Palm Coast Art)

  • Linda (Lindy's Designs)

  • Lisa C. (A Bead a Day)

  • Lisa (Inspired Adornments)

  • Mary (MLH Designs)

  • Michelle (Beads & Books)

  • Michelle B.

  • Millie (AMM Jewelry)

  • Norma (Moonlit Fantasies)

  • Pam (The Crazier Sister)

  • Rebecca J.

  • Renetha (Lamplight Crafts)

  • Rosemarie (Gem Rose Designs)

  • Shannon (Falling into the Sky)

  • Susan (Bead Inspired)

  • Therese (Therese's Treasures)

  • Therese (Domestic Goddess Enterprises)