Saturday, October 20, 2012

Jeannie Dukic's Do-Over Jewelry Challenge

It's time to reveal what I received from Jeannie (items from when she was newer to jewelry design and creation), and what I made from the pieces sent to me. This was a great swap...Jeannie is a delight to work with...welcoming and encouraging. I hope she does this again, although I suspect she may be running out of "old" stuff!

Here's what Jeannie sent to me:

A simple strand of lovely Czech fire-polished AB faceted crystal beads, in an icy sage green color, which I love.  Since I'm very, very fond of the warmer, darker antiqued copper and bronze findings, I decided to switch out the silver for my current favorites.  I took apart the strand of beads and the earrings, and started playing with wire and different beads and findings.  Here's my first creation:
The necklace is about 19 inches long, before the pendant.  And a closer look at the pendant detail:

I've been admiring the multi-strand bracelets I see everywhere, but have never actually made one myself.  After educating myself with a You-tube tutorial, this is what I made:
Recently, I ordered some curved tube beads from Fire Mountain Gems, and they were offering cheap multi-strand necklaces (by Blue Moon Beads) for only $1.00 each.  On a whim, I ordered several of these, in various colors.  The sagey green seed bead strand and yellow bead links are from the green necklace I received.  I'm all about parting out stuff I wouldn't ordinarily use, and making it work as part of something else I like the looks of...and here you see that I ended up with a triple-strand bracelet.

My favorite things to make are earrings.  I wear them all the time, they are relatively easy to make, and they sell like hotcakes.  Here are some of the earrings I made with Jeannie's beads:
Okay, this picture will not rotate.  It is correct in Picasa (oh, how I struggle with Picasa), but this is how it loads here.  Annoying.
Honestly, I need to read the manual that came with my digital camera.  Most of my failings are due to photography skills, or my lack of photography skills.  This is definitely on my to-do list.  Promise.

I was amazed at how much fun I had making new stuff from the beads donated by Jeannie.  I have several of them left, too...and they will not go to waste.  I made another pair of earrings also, using the crystals and some antiqued copper skeleton leaf charms, which are long and dangly.  However, although I did upload my photos, they are not to be found in Picasa.  I'm so confused...

So Jeannie, thanks a million for sharing some of your personal beads with us, and if you ever want to do this again, I'm definitely on board!  It's been a total pleasure.  Please join us by hopping from blog to blog to admire what Jeannie's fans have made:

Miranda Ackerley
Donetta Farrington (You are here!)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

This and That

I've been struggling with Windows Vista for some came with the computer, and I never really felt that it was all it should be.  Cranky, capricious, difficult to maneuver...yeah...all that.  My lovely tech support division (my son-in-law) took the computer for about a week recently, and magically Vista is gone, and Windows 7 is installed.  And although I'd love to say that my challenges have disappeared, that's not the case.  I still struggle.  The Picasa thing, for instance  I admit I'm technologically challenged, but I simply can't seem to make it work the way I need it to work.  Why is this all so complicated?  Or am I only making it complicated, when it's really simple? 

Enough.  I've had a dry spell.  Artist trading cards ONLY.  Instant gratification...just the ticket for someone so easily befuddled by all things involving technology.

But I did join Jeannie Dukic's Do Over Challenge, which I've been working on for the past couple of days.  Jeannie sent a piece of jewelry she created a long time ago, when she was new to the whole concept of jewelry making, and when her beading style was maybe different than it is now.  Our reveal date is October 20th, and I am really looking forward to it!  We've been asked to use at least 50% of the beads sent by Jeannie, and we're allowed to supplement from our stashes. 

I've made a pact with myself to keep trying new techniques and new styles.  To stop reverting to what's comfortable for me, because I've done it so many times.  It's tempting to almost copy designs from other jewelry designers, if they've had critical acclaim...but it's very important to keep track of my aesthetic.  It's a balancing act, really...keep learning, keep trying new techniques, but stay true to my style without becoming stale and (thank you, Nina Garcia of Project Runway) a "one trick pony". 

So for now, it's back to the bead table to re-work a project from yesterday that just didn't work out the way I wanted it to.  I leave you with the following visual images of life at this woman's home: