Saturday, October 26, 2013

Oh dear...

Yeah...that previous post didn't work out very well.  I am in a weakened state!  At this moment, trying to delete that post is beyond me, so I'll just try to move forward.  As I was saying, here's a picture of just a small piece of Jeannie's pearls:

Oh, dear.  I can't find the photo of JUST the pearls.  (This picture shows the detail of the necklace strands.)  However, you can see here the precision that marks Jeannie's work.  I am in awe.  I wanted to use as many of the pearl links as I could, without just presenting you with Jeannie's work.  That wouldn't be the spirit of the challenge, would it? 
I started with a bracelet; a strand of the pearls and a strand of some Czech fire-polished Picasso beads in a variety of golden honey colors.  In fact, as I was working on my pieces, I kept thinking "milk and honey" that's what I'm calling this set.  Here's the bracelet I made:
Next up came a necklace.  Again, I used as many of the pearls as I could, and added strands of the Picasso beads mixed with faceted bronze-y metal beads; I created a focal piece using a massive silver flower bead cap and a super-pretty lampwork glass bead in just the right colors.  

So there you have it.  Jeannie, I hope I did justice to your beautiful pearls...I kept as many of the links intact as I could, while changing the feel of the pieces.  Thank you so much for the opportunity to work with you is always such a pleasure!  Please don't forget to stop by and see what the other "do over" participants have created:




Jeannie Dukic's 6th Do-Over Challenge!

I do believe that this is the first time I've participated in a blog hop reveal that I haven't had my post ready and set to publish at 0100 the day of the reveal...and I apologize to Jeannie for the lapse.  Nothing to do with the beautiful wire-wrapped rosary strands of small, sweet white pearls that I received...everything to do with the horrific migraine headache I've been struggling with for the past five days.  Yes.  FIVE DAYS.  I guess I got cocky because I hadn't had a really terrible migraine for a few years, and...well, there's also the fact that I don't currently have prescription coverage...but it got out of hand, and forced me to finally visit my doctor and have a shot of something painful, which is supposed to be a super-powerful muscle relaxer and is also supposed to work on migraines, but which honestly didn't do much for me.  After I woke up (the one benefit being that it put me to sleep), the pain was still there.  Calling it a headache is doing it a disservice.  Imagine having a sadistic torturer put your head in a vise and tighten it...then tighten it some get the idea. 

Enough of that.  Here's a close-up of one of the jewelry pieces sent to me by the awesome Jeannie.  There was a double-strand necklace, a bracelet, and a pair of earrings.  Jeannie, your wire-wrapping skills leave me astounded.  Each wrap is exactly like the last, and each is...well, perfect. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Znetshows Keychain Lightning Round!

Oh, I love these challenges...the chance to shop and choose from the vast array of Znetshows cultured sea glass, super-sparkly crystal, and metal beads and chains is irresistible!  This challenge is called a "lightning round", meaning fast turnaround.  We were sent three silvertone keychains (let's be adventurous...they could be zipper pulls, or cell phone charms, and probably many other things, too), and had the opportunity to browse and choose a couple of crystal items. 

Because I'm such a creature of habit (aka: "set in my ways"), I usually choose the same type of crystals...usually rondelles, and usually in a variety of traditional-ish colors.  So this time, considering that the entire challenge is kind of out of the box for me, I went with BIG crystals, in a gorgeous pear shape and a super-sleek rectangle shape, and I chose the coolest color I could find: Sahara green.  Now, you may think there's not much green in the Sahara, and you may even think that green is green.  I beg to differ.  If I were choosing a name for this color, I would call it "Alexandrite".  It flashes from green to purple, and there's a brilliant bit of totally clear flash when the light hits the crystals.  It is gorgeous.  In fact, I would say that it's...Simply Gorgeous!

Before I show you what I made, it's time for a confession.  I've never used this type of keychain, zipper pull, or whatever.  Never.  I know that it has a retractable clip thingy on one end; I can see that very clearly.  It's the other end that concerns me.  It's a loop thing that appears to be attached to the clip it a screw?  I thought maybe the loop thing came off, so I spent 10 minutes trying to remove the screw-like thing.  I tried a little screwdriver, but that didn't work at all.  Maybe the screw is too tight for my little screwdriver...hmmm.  What might work?  I tried loosening the "screw" with a pair of flat-nose pliers; still no luck.  Then I found the most interesting thing, in the back of my tool drawer.  Tiny.  Looks like wee scissors on one end, and tweezers on the other end.  Maybe the tweezer end?  Yeah...not exactly.  After puncturing my left thumb with the scissor end (lethally sharp), I gave up.  I don't think it's a screw at all.  I think it's a little metal plug-thing, meant to permanently keep the loop attached to the clip thing.  So I went with Plan B, which was to attach my crystal charms to a jump ring, and attach the jump ring to the loop.  It worked.

Here is the first keychain I made.  I used silver headpins with paddle ends.  And because I know from personal experience that the edges of the paddle headpins are sharp and will eventually cut the crystal (!!!), I used a teensy little silver spacer as a barrier between the sharp edge of the headpin and the rectangular crystal.  The headpin used with the pear-shaped crystal has a leaf on the end.  I added a length of silver chain as the third "charm", and attached leaf charms and a lock and key charm to the chain.  I like this one.  I'm going to use this one myself.  Where do I put the keys, though?  Do they go on the jump ring with the charms, or do I stick them onto the clip thing, which opens?  Why am I such a dummy about this?
I like this one, too.  I attached the crystals in the same way as the first one...only this time, I added one to the jump ring, and the other two to lengths of silver chain.  Each crystal hangs at a different length, going symmetrically from short to medium to long(er). 
Now to keychain #3.  I've had a pair of lampworked glass leaf headpins in my stash for ages.  They are beautiful, and I don't believe this picture shows how pretty they really are.  The veins of the leaves are gold...I think lampwork artists call it frit?  Gold frit.  Again, I wanted different lengths, so I added the rectangle crystal charm to a length of silver chain.  And yes, another silver leaf headpin for the pear-shaped crystal.  Guess what?  I like this one, too. 
Forgive me,'s a note to one person: Rebecca Ednie, I know you're reading this, and I can HEAR you (all the way from Oregon to Ontario!) exclaiming about the photography, the shadows, and so forth.  I have misplaced the instructions for my light box setup, and I spent TWO HOURS yesterday searching for the special folder in which I'd placed your step-by-step email instructions, with no success.  I believe I have an organizational problem.  One of my many problems, may, in fact, be that I am not well organized, regardless of what my Pinterest boards lead you to believe.  The light box is sitting on my dining room table, but unfortunately the shadows were worse when I tried to use it.  Much worse.  And I do not hold the light box responsible; I'm positive it's a personal problem.