Monday, April 23, 2012

Bracelet Challenge

Tracy over at Making Bracelets Blog put together an idea for a great blog hop. Bracelet stacks are super trendy at the moment and it's a trend that keeps going. We were challenged to create a bracelet stack using bracelets we made combined with bracelets we already had (not necessarily our own designs).

There are 80 participants in this hop! This time I'm presenting it to you semi low tech. I'm out in Joshua Tree (again) and am almost completely off the grid. I have no wifi but a few bars of coverage on my phone, so please pardon the iPhone photos and short descriptions (and the photos that I can't place in the appropriate location).  [Edit - I'm back home so I fixed things.]

My starting point for the challenge was 3 fabulous bakelite bracelets my wonderful husband got me for my birthday. Scrumptious colors, aren't they?

From there it was just pilfering my stash for beads and components to modernize the look. There are several styles here and I've been quite bracelet addicted recently, so I keep coming up with new styles to make.

But, I couldn't stop there. I had to get a blue/teal collection going as well. An amazing vintage beetle bracelet was my starting point.

Please visit the other bloggers who participated in this challenge:

Friday, April 6, 2012

Glass Headpin Challenge Reveal!

Remember these lovely glass headpins?  I won a set during a giveaway over on Lorelei's Blog last month.  

The glass headpins were made by Anne of Gardanne Beads.   The headpins not only have a beautiful glass piece on one end, but a bead has been drawn on the other end of the pin.  What does "Drawing a Bead" mean?  Well, I've actually done this in my limited experience with torch firing enamel.  Basically, you torch the end of the metal, which melts into a lovely ball.  Here's a better picture that shows the ends of the headpins.

Normally, I would use a headpin to string beads on, but with the ball on one end, only large beads can fit.  But, I took one look at the head pins I got a decided I wasn't going to use them the traditional way.  

But, first, I needed to get out my torch, and draw some more beads on the end of a wire.  I was experimenting with some Blue Steel colored Parawire since the headpins I got were the blue one's on the left.  But Parawire doesn't seem to react to the flame the same way an uncoated wire does.

So, I went back to an uncoated copper wire and torched that.  That wire responded just like I thought it would and some lovely bead balls appeared on the ends.  (It is a bonus that the wire gets a beautiful charred patina on it as well.)

I have had flowers on the brain lately.  I'm getting ready to landscape my front yard (I've ONLY lived here 12 years!) and I remembered I had purchased some Vintage Meadow Artworks hand painted lucite trumpet flowers a while back.  These babies are hard to come by and I have been hoarding the 4 sets I bought, waiting for the perfect project or two.  Well, the blue flowers were a dream match to the headpins.  I used both ends of the headpin, added a few tendrils of the copper wire I had torched, mixed in a few findings (bead caps from Vintaj and copper ear wire I made) and Voila!

I really love these.  I'm a sucker for Fuchsia and these remind me of those beautiful blossoms.  I also loved that I had an "excuse" to get out the torch and play a bit.  I haven't had nearly enough time to just experiment with techniques I have learned but not mastered.  

Visit Anne's Etsy Shop and pick up some headpins of your own to play with.  She updates her shop every Wednesday and there are lots of great goodies to choose from.

And, Thank You Lorelei for hosting another great challenge!  It's always a pleasure to participate.

Now, go see what other lovelies were created by the other blog hop participants.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

ABS Challenge - My Window in Montmartre

This has been a ROUGH week (or 2).  I have a very sick kitty with a dire prognosis and I've had gobs of work keeping me very busy (no complaints about the work part - it's a nice problem to have for a new business).  Needless to say, my ABS Challenge piece sat on my desk with a whopping 2 things to finish before I could photograph it!  Well, I'm not going to make the cut for the challenge, but I can at least show you my final piece and dream about Paris for a bit.

Here is the inspiration piece by the wonderful Vincent Van Gogh.

Ahhhhh, Paris and my favorite place in Paris - Montmartre. I've gone there in my mind MANY times this week and it has been good for my soul.

We've traveled to Paris twice.  The first trip we stayed in Montmartre, just off the little square where the Guimard-designed Abbessess Metro station entrance is.

Our room in our hotel - the charming Hotel Regyn Montmartre - look out over the city towards the Eifel Tower.  Buskers were always playing in the square, so the sounds of French music being played on the accordion always wafted into our room.  There was always a cat or two sitting in the window sills of the apartments and, just around the corner, one of the last of the 2 remaining windmills sat halfway up the hillside.

I would do anything to transport myself to Montmartre right this very second, but photos, memories and this necklace will have to do for now.

My Window in Montmartre:

The artist beads used in this piece are:
Red Enamel Pinwheel - Jade Scott
Ceramic Dot and Lentil Beads - Elaine Ray via Ornamentea
Glass Flower - Mermaid Glass

BTW, I have watched 2 wonderful films lately that take places in Paris.
Midnight in Paris - the charming Woody Allen film that has an amazing love letter to Paris set to music.
Hugo - Martin Scorsese's 2011 Oscar Nom that I LOVED.

Of course, if I really want a Montmartre fix, I watch Amelie.

What's your favorite Paris film?