Friday, April 26, 2013

Saturday Smiles

For my Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal post, go HERE:

On Saturdays I share a couple of things that have made me smile over the last week.

1) I got to bead!
I got to create some fun pieces for Lori Anderson's 7th Bead Soup Blog Party, and I loved it.  I love the challenge of using a specific set of materials to create something new.  YAY, Lori!
(Lori needed to move the 3rd Reveal date back, so I am just now getting to show off my creations!  I'm so glad for the pushed back date, because it meant I got to create an extra piece for the reveal date.)

2) Doctor Who
I finally got to watch some of the more recent episodes from Doctor Who, and I LOVE it!  My sister and I have been watching it as we bead, and having so much fun.

3) Deborah's Retreat
My oldest daughter is gone this weekend on a retreat with the other 4th-6th graders from church.  She was so excited!  When I dropped her off she was literally dancing around the parking lot with her other iGrow friends.  I'm delighted to take her to something that she loves so much and that will be so good for her.  Thank you, Miss Emily!  You are an amazing gift to my family and to our church.

Deborah & Abigail (on the far right, Abigail standing in front of Deborah) 
with some of their friends from church

Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal

Hello, fellow beaders!
I am so excited to be a part of Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party again.  This is my fourth BSBP and, for many reasons, I think this may have been one of my favorites.

One of the best reasons was my partner, the lovely and talented Michelle Escano of The Cabby Crafter Blog. I loved the soup she sent me!  (I have to share something terrible- my husband deleted ALL of the photos I had on our old hard drive when he was transferring the data to our new computer.  I had more than 100 photos of my work plus some lovely jewelry inspiration photos.  He was so angry at himself that I couldn't even get very angry at him.  I am in the process of recovering the photos I had uploaded to my blog, but most of them are just gone.)  The photo I had of Michelle's soup was terrible and the picture she took was a hundred times better than mine, so her picture is the one I'm sharing with you.

Michelle's picture of the soup she sent me
Thank you, Michelle!

I was dazzled by this lovely soup- Green is my absolute favorite color: however, I normally work with cool greens.  Which meant I got to work out of my color comfort zone, with just enough of my favorite to be passionate about the results.

I was excited about the pendant and I had an idea, but I was so scared!  I didn't want to mess up the wire and have to figure out how to fix it...  So I decided to save it for last.

Instead, I started with some fun and easy earrings.  I chose the two big black beads in the upper left corner, because I immediately saw large and swingy lantern-style earrings.  I used four different kinds of chain, copper wire, and green beads.  Then I set out to have fun.

"My Paper Lantern" earrings

They are cheerful and I'm pleased with them.  My sister, Beth laughed when I put them on because I generally wear dainty earrings, but she still thought they had a fun modern-tribal vibe.

Next, I separated out the warm and cool tones in Michelle's soup so that I could focus on the earthy warm tones for my necklace.   When I had them in their little cool/warm piles I discovered that the 'cool tones' beads wanted to be a bracelet.  I mostly tell the beads what I want them to do, but this time they were determined to do their own thing.  So I cooperated.

"Caribbean Beaches" bracelet

I already had some handmade aqua glass beads which mixed nicely with the 'cool tones' pile of beads.  I braided five strands of beads and added a starfish charm.  I love the heavy, chunky feel of this piece- rather different than my normal delicate wire-work.

I wish I had lovely slender arms and hands to show my jewelry to the best effect! Oh, well. =)

After working with the bracelet, I felt brave enough to start in on the necklace.  What I loved most about Michelle's amazing focal was the texture.  The cool mica shift effect and the rich deep colors.  When I looked at it I thought of rain-forests and trees.  I wanted to give the impression of a jungle with vines and movement.  The first thing I did was lay out all the pieces I wanted to string and then I brainstormed the best way to put it all together.  I ended up deciding to create a rosary style chain to keep the focus on the lovely pendant.  
"Gecko Forest" necklace

After laying all the pieces out, I realized I wanted something more specific to point to the life and activity of a jungle.  So I wire-wrapped a wood back to the pendant and added a little gecko on a chain to the front.  (Here's another reason that Michelle is so cool: I NEVER would have thought of just leaving the wire poking out of the top of the pendant.  She placed the wire but didn't wrap it, which allowed me to create the exact bail I needed, instead of having to work with a pre-made one.  Very cool and a special touch I appreciated so much!) 

"Gecko Forest" pendant

After creating the entire necklace I was happy with it, but I wanted just a little more texture, a little more attention drawn to the pendant.  My sister advised that I try a bit of chain, and I loved her idea.  I fought and fought with the chain to get the right balance, and I am pleased with the result.  The chain adds a vine texture and points to the pendant.  Exactly what I wanted.

"Gecko Forest" necklace in action.

After completing the necklace, I still had a week left until the new reveal date.  And I had a bunch of left-over beads.  So I made another bracelet! 

"Earth Shake" bracelet

I used the fun orange & green glass beads from the soup, and paired them with the chain of copper discs.  But the bracelet just didn't feel complete.  So I added the creamy braided ribbon to add even more texture.  The bracelet has a lovely gentle jingling sound and smooth soft feel when worn.  Beth said this one had a 'Bohemian, East-Indian, Bali' vibe.  It was a delight to make and kind of seemed to create itself.

 "Earth Shake" bracelet in action

I still have beads left, and I still have some ideas, too.  I expect to share anything else I create from Michelle's lovely soup.

Thank you, Michelle!  I loved your soup!  To see what I sent her, and what she made, go HERE.

Thank you, Lori!  You are an amazing lady, and my favorite internet friend.  Thank you for your effort and time.

So many more bead soup designers!  Don't miss out.  For the entire list of Bead Soup Blog Party goodness, go HERE.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bead Soup Blog Party - 2nd Reveal

I'm not in the second reveal group, but I didn't want anyone to miss the fabulousness!  There are some amazingly talented beaders out there with some glorious pieces.  Go!  Visit!  See!  Comment!

The list of participants is HERE.

And here's the map with ALL of us that Lori created.

Do you see me?  Way up there on the far left?  I'm the little dot right in the middle of Alaska.  Looks like there are a couple of other participants in Alaska- probably down in the Anchorage area.
I'm so excited I can hardly wait til next Saturday!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

An Extra Smile- Bead Soup Teaser

I have a teaser for the Bead Soup Blog Party Reveal!  My reveal date isn't until April 20th, so the big reveal isn't for a week.  Which is good, because I'm not done!

However-  I have two pieces completed, and I want to share just a tidbit of what I've been working on...

LOVELY beads!  
from my partner Michelle

Come back in a week and let me show you the completed pieces!
See you then.

Saturday Smiles

On Saturdays I share a couple of things that have made me smile over the last week.
I missed last Saturday, though!  It wasn't until Monday came around that I even realized I had missed it.  With Easter and some of the family stuff going on here, my blog totally got dropped.  I am sorry!  I don't often miss my Saturday posts, and I was disappointed I missed it.  At least I remembered this week. =)

1) Yummy brownies!
Some of the left-overs

I made 100 butterscotch brownies today for a parenting class we're doing at church.  About 50 people are involved, and I'm delighted I actually got them all made!  People liked them, and they were eaten.
Bonus: There were leftovers, so we'll have brownies for a couple of days.

2) The Counselor for my girls
Both of my girls have dealt with some big issues over the last year:
My Abigail has dealt with some SERIOUS fears for a while.  She is terrified to be alone, and always wants to know where I am at all times.  She won't go to the bathroom by herself, and this has gotten to be a pretty big deal at school.  She's seven, so it's still in the acceptable range, but she doesn't seem to be getting any better.
My Deborah has struggled with some anger issues that have felt overwhelming to her and us.  We didn't seem to be able to help her no matter what we tried.
A friend recommended a good counselor (Thank you, Carina!) and we have visited her about four times.
I am seeing a difference in both of them, and I can see they are happier.  I'm praying for even bigger changes, but both of these issues have built up over a long period of time and I know that change doesn't come easily or quickly.

3) Date Night and Date Lunch

This last week I got to have two dates with my fella!  Pretty cool.  We don't often get time alone with the way our lives work.  And we miss those times alone.  I love the fact that we still have stuff to talk about and stories to share.  I married my best friend, and I get to do life with him.  I feel blessed.  (Of course, I'm extra-special blessed 'cuz I have TWO best friends- my sister, and my husband!)