Friday, November 30, 2012

Miss Erin's Colour Challenge & blog hop

Last month I really wanted to participate into Erin's challenge on her Michael's necklace tutorial... but life has its way(s) of interfering and I had to send her a note excusing myself. She mentioned her upcoming challenge: the 2012 Colour Challenge. I registered for it immediately!

I love colour, but I tend to be quite mono-chromatic in my designs (comfort in the known, probably :)) So when I received my 2 choices I had a moment of 'now what?' Not one to quit easily - and definitely not because something is hard - I kept looking at my 2 pictures.

Wondering what they are?

Chilean Volcanoes

Okavango Delta
These are *not* colours I would choose to design something with - but something I needed to design, so I quit whining and I started searching through my boxes. Days passed... then weeks... nothing! I was laughing at Erin's note on Facebook tonight, she mentioned her muse being MIA. I know what happened! both our muses went on a cruise or something!

Like Erin, I decided to take the whole matter in my hands - delegating to the muse was definitely not working. In fairness, I have tried something with copper, only to figure out copper will not work well into any of the above pallets! Back to the drawing board: in a desperate moment I simply upside-downed a box and... I found it! From that moment everything went in a jiffy, I made a piece for each palette - in almost no time at all!

What I found? A shell... not any shell, of course, but a Paua Abalone in the exact same colours as the Okavango Delta! Once I had the focal I was able to pair it with some neat freshwater pearls in off-white, aqua, and a deep pink-brownish (not sure how to qualify that colour).

This is my take on the Okavango Delta:

Okavango Delta: Abaolne, freshwater pearls, sterling silver, OOAK necklace :: All Pretty Things
Okavango Delta: Abaolne, freshwater pearls, sterling silver, OOAK necklace

I love the feel of it - it wears beautifully too (I wore it yesterday and I had people telling me how beautiful it is :)) I was thinking maybe to make a 'beaded' necklace for it, from the freshwater pearls, as I am not sure I like the cluster that much (I like it, just not on top of my Abalone :))

Once I had the Okavango Delta being taken care of - I was on a roll and kept going through the same box... until I came up with a pack of mixed ceramic beads. I received them in a box from my sister in law, all sorts of little mix and un-matched beads. Back then - I just sort everything in containers... it was such a container I picked up now - and I used all of them, except for 3 very green beads that would not match the Chilean Volcanoes palette.

This is my take on the Chilean Volcanoes:

Chilean Volcanoes: ceramic beads, sterling silver, wire wrapped necklace :: All Pretty Things
Chilean Volcanoes: ceramic beads, sterling silver, wire wrapped necklace

I don't know about you - but I just love this one! The colours are simply perfectly matching the image: with the off-white and grey and earth-brown, and just a splash of blue here and there!

Chilean Volcanoes: ceramic beads, sterling silver, wire wrapped necklace :: All Pretty Things

What did I learn from this challenge? Two things:
  1. If your muse took vacation - get to work, you'll figure it out eventually
  2. Do not be afraid of colour - embrace it!
And one more, in fact (I knew it, but it's worth to mention it): use nature as your palette, the designs will have a... well... more natural look to them!

Now I would like to thank Erin for including me in her wonderful challenge: it was an eye opening for me (in a very good sense) and I enjoyed it very, very much! Oh, and I made sure to follow Miss Erin's rule #1: I truly had fun!

Please make sure you visit the participants:

Our beautiful host: Erin Prais-Hintz

Rebecca Anderson
Kris Auderer
Chrizette Bayman
Lori Bowring Michaud
Courtney Breul
Lynsey Brooks
Stephanie Buss
Iveth Caruso
Shannon Chomanczuk
Lisa Cone
Cece Cormier
Lori Dorrington
Dawn Doucette
Jeannie Dukic
Kim Dworak
Beth Emery
Janice Everett
Pam Farren
Donetta Farrington
Gloria Ferrer
Cherrie Fick
Therese Frank
Patty Gasparino
Tanya Goodwin
Ambra Gostoli
Jess Green
Denielle Hagerman
Mary Harding
Karla Hartzog
Kim Hora
Brandi Hussey
Emanda Johnson
Jennifer Justman
Sue Kennedy
Ema Kilroy
Lee Koopman
Linda Landig
Kirsi Luostarinen
Cynthia Machata
Alicia Marinache <= You are here
Beth McCord
Mary K McGraw
Karen Mitchell
Cheri Mitchell-Reed
Aimee Moisa
Karla Morgan
Penny Neville
Becky Pancake
Kashmira Patel
Alice Peterson
Kayla Potega
Debbie Price
Bobbie Rafferty
Caron Reid
Nicole Rennell
Cynthia Riggs
Andrea Ross
Sally Russick
Annie Scherz
Pam Sears
Renetha Stanziano
Sandra Stein
Kristen Stevens
Tracy Stillman
Sherri Stokey
Lola Survillo
Kay Thomerson
Jo Tinley
Emma Todd
Cory Tompkins
Pam Traub
Melissa Trudinger
Michelle Tucker
Shelley Graham Turner
Monique Urquhart
Rachel Van-Walsk
Patti Vanderbloemen
Lesley Watt
Lynn White
Joan Williams

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cyber week - Days 3 & 4

I couldn't catch my breath enough to get day 3 in time, so I'll combine them :)

The sale in Artisan Whimsy is still on - check the original post and visit the other participants for amazing giveaways and deals! Have a handmade Holiday season :)
Today we get back to some copper - simply copper. You can see I fell in love with it, and it's quite surprising, it doesn't look as good as silver on my skin. But still - an extraordinary material to work with (I don't feel anything for brass or bronze yet, no idea why)

Less talk and more images - I present you Anna, a complete set: earrings, bracelet & necklace in simply copper.

Anna (gracious): copper earrings :: All Pretty Things

Anna (gracious): copper bracelet :: All Pretty Things

Anna (gracious): copper bracelet :: All Pretty Things

Anna (gracious): copper necklace :: All Pretty Things

Anna means gracious in Greek and the set pieces (there is a necklace / pendant and a pair of earrings) are exactly that: a gracious flow of metal in elegant swirls.

The whole set is a happy accident :) I meant to do something else and it didn't work - at all! So I had this 12" long copper  wires in 18 ga or 20 ga... despite the fact I have a 1 lb roll, I could not throw them out, so I started to play with them and before I knew it I had the first earring done. I loved it so much I simply had to make a whole set :) Of course they match quite nicely with the rings too.

And that's it for today... I'll be back tomorrow with the Miss Erin's Challenge of Colour (which was a challenge!) and on Saturday with Lisa's Holiday Floral hop (which was a surprise for me - the result... you must come back and see that one!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cyber week - day 2

The sale in Artisan Whimsy is still on - check the original post and visit the other participants for amazing giveaways and deals! Have a handmade Holiday season :)

Now - what to share today? After the glamour of yesterday - I'll pick a playful one :)

First this pair of charming happy earrings: don't they call 'Christmas' to you? They did for me - a present under the tree, carefully wrapped in dotted paper :)

daphne: sterling silver, lampwork glass earrings :: All Pretty Things

We can't have a post about jewelry and no blue - so there is Azure: a pair of earrings hand-framed in copper and then carefully wrapped with the most delicious blue stones.

Azure: copper, blue stone earrings :: All Pretty Things
There is more work in progress - I can't wait to share more!

Thanks for stopping by :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber week

The sale in Artisan Whimsy is still on - check the original post and visit the other participants for amazing giveaways and deals! Have a handmade Holiday season :)

In the meantime I will show a couple of items that went up in the store recently. I still have about 20-30 to add, but the weekend was really busy, hopefully this week I'll be done.

By now should be no surprise to anybody that I love blue. In pretty much any form it comes :)

With one of my orders I received from Tanya (Fusion Muse) she included a strand of these gorgeous Kyanite. Which truly spoke to me - but sat in their box on my desk for a long time. No ideas would come to me... until one day recently when I decided i wanted to make a wire wrapped pendant.

And a wire wrapped pendant is what I did :) Set in Argentium and wrapped in sterling silver (that's what I had in the proper gauges :)), very bright and glamorous. It whispers 'Christmas dinner' to me, can you hear it?

Ada (noble, happy): Argentium, Sterling silver, Kyanite, Swarovski crystals, wire wrapped OOAK necklace :: All Pretty Things Ada (noble, happy): Argentium, Sterling silver, Kyanite, Swarovski crystals, wire wrapped OOAK earrings :: All Pretty Things

With such a beautiful pendant - there should have been a pair of earrings so out came the sterling swage and a few more Swarovski crystals, plus some sterling spacers (from Tanya as well).

Now I have a complete set! I named it 'Ada' which means "noble, happy". It is very noble and it makes me very happy too :)

What are you working on these days?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Echo Creative Club - Nov 2012

Jeannie from Jewelry by Jeannie, the polymer clay wiz, hosts a monthly challenge, Echo Creative Club. She chooses the artists to receive her art beads or pendants for FREE and make them into a beautiful piece of jewelry. While I have not met her requirements yet - during the summer she opened her club to newcomers like me - and she graciously accepted me in the club, for the month of November.

Not so long ago I received her art pendant in the mail: a gorgeous 'peel paint' turquoise and deep brown flower. I love flowers, I absolutely love turquoise (I asked Jeannie if she did it on purpose and she confirmed - isn't she a lovely soul?!)... now the true challenge was to do justice to her work. I found that's the most agonizing moment of the creation process: when you work on your own pieces, with what you bought, it's kind of OK to have a 'oops' moment (not desirable, but still OK)... but when you work with someone else's piece - oh, you start doubting yourself so much more: 'did I do enough?' 'was I decent?' 'is my piece a bit more than 'eh, OK'?' and so on...

That's exactly what happened to me: I played with the flower, I handled it a lot, I had it on my desk for a long time. I tried various designs mentally and I wasn't happy with any of them.

Then I decided it's time to make a decision and a decision I made: when in doubt, take the simple road. Simple seems to be always better.

I took out my 1 lb copper roll (it must be only 3/4 lb by now, I used a ton of it in the past 3 weeks!) and snip-snip, wrap-wrap, repeat (many times), wrap-wrap again (2 connectors), hammer them down, connect everything together and... I truly love this piece... drum rolls....

Turquoise Toffee: Jeannie Dukic's Art focal, jade, copper, OOAK necklace :: All Pretty Things

The beaded chain is therapeutic not only to make, it is therapeutic to wear too! I think they should study the effect of wearing certain type of jewelry - many ailments might be cured just by wearing the proper accessories! 

Turquoise Toffee: Jeannie Dukic's Art focal, jade, copper, OOAK necklace :: All Pretty Things

I love multi-strands and while the copper might match the chocolate brown on Jeannie's bead better if I try to antique it (can I do it after adding the jade  beads?!) I still love the look of it together: it is light, it has such a happy feeling, of chocolate and candy, I can almost taste it :) I think I'm going to name it Turquoise Toffee! 

Turquoise Toffee: Jeannie Dukic's Art focal, jade, copper, OOAK necklace :: All Pretty Things

What do you think? 

Please also visit everybody else - there are wonderful artists in the group and I am looking forward to seeing what everyone has created with Jeannie's beauties!

Our host: Jeannie K Dukic

Alicia Marinache <= Your are here
Charlie Jacka
Cindy Cima Edwards
Sonya Ingersoll-Stille

Thank you for visiting! And remember, the AWHOLIDAY sale is still on :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving & Artisan Whimsy

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends and followers!

I hope you have a wonderful day with family, friends, and loved ones!!

The extra-big event starts tomorrow: 45 artists from Artisan Whimsy put together a magnificent sale event: there are giveaways with a value of over $1,300!! That's $1,300 that can be won by 45 people - all you need to do is visit everyone's page and enter their giveaway for a chance to a beautiful piece of jewelry or gift cards.

My own giveaway? One of these rings (you choose your own style when you win it!): value of $35.

 Enter here:

But wait, there is *more*: starting tomorrow, for a full week, you can buy something
for all the women on your shopping list!

SAVE 20% Off All Items
Use Coupon Code:
during checkout.

I will be offering 

 ~ 20% off  ~ 

use coupon code: AWHOLIDAY

from Nov 23rd to Nov 30th and save on everything in the store

Remember: there are 45 artisan offering giveaways and sales: visit them all and finish your holiday shopping from the comfort of your own home!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Leaves and berries

I know today's post is not supposed to be about jewelry but you'll forgive me. If I don't post it now I will forget and we can't have that!

Unless you've just arrived on my blog you know I am part of a beautiful artisan community - Artisan Whimsy. Lots of things happen there and the most fun of them: challenges. There is always an active challenge and one can hardly resist!

The one I am talking about right now is the 'Berries and leaves' challenge - with a very simple definition: Create a Jewelry Component or a Finished Piece of Jewelry using the Berries and Leaves theme.

For once I will enter the component category; I actually made a necklace with my berries, but I like it as a component and I haven't made that many before, so I am truly proud of it:

Berries and leaves: coral, quartz crystal, Czech glass :: All Pretty Things

Made of Czech glass (the leaves - in 2 beautiful colours, a gorgeous metallic blue on one side, a sheer evergreen on the other), coral (the berries), and quartz crystals (ice flakes) and hand wire-wrapped in sterling silver: the perfect pendant for the Holidays!

If you are an artisan: please join us on Artisan Whimsy and enter the challenge (the more the merrier!). If you just love art: please join us on Artisan Whimsy and check the beautiful work the artists make every day!

Artisan Cyber Sale ~ The biggest EVER

Get in on the holiday sales for Cyber week!

The largest Artisan Jewelry Sale ever!

This year offer handmade artisan jewelry 

for all the women on your shopping list!
(or discounts on handmade components if you are a beader)

SAVE 20% Off All Items
Use Coupon Code:
during checkout.

I will be offering 

 ~ 20% off  ~ 

use coupon code: AWHOLIDAY

from Nov 23rd to Nov 30th and save on everything in the store

I will also offer a giveaway of 

the newly designed ring value $35

 Enter here:
All other participants will be offering a giveaway on their blogs and discounts in their online stores.
Sale and giveaways start on 
Thanksgiving Day & end on Friday, Nov 30th~
There will be 3 exciting "special giveaways" hidden throughout the participants blog be sure to visit them all and find them!
You can search Etsy and Artfire with the code: AWHOLIDAY to see participating stores...
If you would like to participate in the cyber sale as a vendor,
please click here for the details

Monday, November 19, 2012

New adventures (take #2)

I love working with metal - just in case you haven't figured that one out yet :)

I love, love, love it: I love how it feels in my hands, I love that you can soften it or harden it - with just a few tools. I love the colours it takes (not so much the brass, my current loves are copper and silver). I love everything about metal!

This week and the following I will share a few of the items I recently made. And I will start with something I never thought I will make: rings!

They are made mostly of copper (the first one is in sterling silver) - with various gemstones. Wire-wrapped, fully adjustable and lovely: what started as a bunch of wire, through careful and loving manipulation ended as a delicate piece of jewelry, ready to adorn your fingers!

Alika (Of noble kin): sterling silver and amethyst :: All Pretty Things
Alika (Of noble kin): sterling silver and amethyst

Kai (Ocean): copper & aquamarine jade, ring, wire wrapping :: All Pretty Things
Kai (Ocean): copper & aquamarine jade

Kai (Ocean): copper & aquamarine jade, ring, wire wrapping :: All Pretty Things

Keanu (Cool mountain breeze): copper & turquoise dyed howlite, ring, wire wrapped, ooak :: All Pretty Things
Keanu (Cool mountain breeze): copper & turquoise dyed howlite

Keanu (Cool mountain breeze): copper & turquoise dyed howlite, ring, wire wrapped, ooak :: All Pretty Things

Sunday, November 18, 2012

On hurt

Angel (stained glass) :: All Pretty Things
A father had a son who would never listen or behave. One day, the father decided to hammer a nail into the door frame for each bad behavior of his son. When the frame has been filled - the man called his son and showed his bad behaviour 'proof'. The son realized how much he was made his parents suffer and promised to do a good deed every day, so the frame will be nail-free.

The moment his father took the last nail out, he started to cry.

- Father, why are you crying now? asked the young man, puzzled

- The nails are gone, my son, but the marks are still there!


This story doesn't need an explanation or a morale... just a kind reminder: before you say or do anything ask yourself "what are the marks you'll leave behind?"

Saturday, November 17, 2012

New adventures

This year is one of renewal and discoveries. As you probably know I love metal and glass. I have tried various techniques already, but I kept trying to learn more metal smithing techniques like: soldering, etching, bezel making (soldering, really), precious metal clay and the likes.

I probably read more about metal smithing and glass making than about anything else before (I am the empirical trying person: I get a feeling of how things are done by doing them), just before it was impossible for me to get the toolbox needed for all these and just try them. And I couldn't find a place to try otherwise (not that I didn't try, I did: classes have been cancelled twice this year!)... until I finally got in contact with the lady who was supposed to teach the metal smithing techniques at Burlington Art Centre. And  I finally found out her studio is about 10 minutes away from my house... and she teaches there too!!

I went for the first time about a month ago and I have never been happier! I got my first lesson is soldering - just enough to allow me to understand what it involves and to realize I can do it at home, by myself! I got lessons in other techniques too, and I keep learning. The best part? I validated what I subconsciously knew for a long time: metal *is* my thing. Nothing, absolutely nothing so far makes me happier than having a piece of metal or wire in my hands and tinkering along. Sometimes I get the results I want, sometimes I don't, but with everything metal-related I keep trying (which doesn't happen often). I see possibilities, I see beauty even in the ugly ducklings, and I keep trying.

Point in case: etching. I did etching about 25 years ago, one summer, with a couple of friends: we made bracelets from brass sheets, we would 'paint' them with tar, drop them in acid, clean them, form them and... sell :) They were both university students and selling to the girls at university. I do remember a summer of fun, complete fun (which is rare, especially for that summer - when all my friends were away and I was stuck in our small town doing pretty much nothing).

Fast forward 25 years, a cold and ugly fall (really ugly this year): I got my tools from a trip to Lacy's in Toronto, I got my metal sheets and acid from a trip to Sayal's at home (a store for electronic supplies :)) and I got some brass blanks from the CBC de-stash events. All set - ready - Go!

Etching adventures in brass :: All Pretty Things

Don't you love them? And look at the transformation:

First, 'bathing' in acid:

Etching adventures in brass: Step #1 - acid bath :: All Pretty Things

Rough out of the bath:

Etching adventures in brass: Step #2 - first clean-up:: All Pretty Things

They are ugly ducklings, aren't they?

Etching adventures in brass: Step #2 - first clean-up:: All Pretty Things

But you must be able to see the beauty that's hiding inside (cleaned and waiting for the patina):

Etching adventures in brass: Step #3 - cleaned and ready for patina :: All Pretty Things

With patina, and glazed (now we're talking some):

Etching adventures in brass: Step #4 - patina-ed & glazed :: All Pretty Things

As a pair of earrings (I found the perfect matching lampwork!)

Terpsichore: brass, sterling silver, lampwork, etching, OOAK earrings :: All Pretty Things

 Now you can see the swan!

A few more samples:

* a beautiful turquoise butterfly:

Aponi: brass, sterling silver earwires, etching, OOAK earrings :: All Pretty Things

* Noel in gold (it is gold, I just can't convince my camera to show it! it insists on this strange green)

Noel: brass, sterling silver, Swarovski crystal, etching, OOAK earrings :: All Pretty Things

* a pair of leaves with carnelian (they are beautiful in real life and I need to figure how to take nice pictures of them - today!)

Sylvana: brass, sterling silver, copper, carnelian, etching, OOAK earrings :: All Pretty Things

So there you have it, my first adventure in etching :) I have more to show you - maybe next week, etching and not only. Some I love, some I just like (and some I threw in the garbage :)). But overall I am happy that I am trying and loving the techniques :)

What have you been trying new lately?

Friday, November 16, 2012

More challenges :)

You can see the end of the year is fast approaching when deadlines for challenges are dated in the New Year!

Speaking of which - if you haven't checked the Beads Of Courage auction on eBay, now it's the perfect time: you can get yourself some really gorgeous art charms!

I stumbled upon a couple of challenges I couldn't pass on, so here I am with 2 more (for January this time)

The first one is Lori's Memories and Thanks blog hop - even if you don't want to participate, I would encourage you to get to Lori's blog and read about it. I have many memories and tons of people to thank - so my challenge will be to choose one person, probably... and make something to honour them.

The second one - that's an interesting one. On Artisan Whimsy (I really love that place!) it seems there is no shortage of challenges and events (no surprise, with so many teams and artists getting together) and one of them is called "Sufferin' Soutache". I was curious what is it all about - and then I read the tutorial... and I still speechless! I saw this type of embroidery before and I always loved it, but I didn't realize how you make it... now, of course, I must try my hands at it!

Wouldn't you love something like this?! I know I would!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Now this is serious!

As you might remember I am part of a wonderful artisan community, aptly named 'Artisan Whimsy' - the baby of CBC (Creative Bead Chat group on facebook) administrators. Not only that - I am also a member of the Metal Team. Our team started their existence in style - with a free tutorial and a challenge!

I am, of course, still learning and at the beginning of my metal working 'life' (more on this later, in fact about a month from now, on Artisan Whimsy - I will remind you :)) and nothing pushes me better than a challenge.

Like the current one, Metal Prongs: I procrastinated and procrastinated, I almost toyed with the idea of dropping off... then I decided 'no way! this is *my* team, I will not back off'... Luckily for me I had all the tools available, until I wanted to use the torch and - nothing a trip to the hardware store won't fix it (although I baffled one of the gentleman working there: I had a copper pipe in my hand and asking for a micro torch; he tried to explain I will need a bigger torch for soldering pipes... I didn't correct him, how do you explain a nice gentleman the copper pipe will become jewelry?!).

I looked through my stash of metal blanks (I just finished etching all the Vintaj ones, so I had to look for others!) and I found a beautiful one (from the de-stash at CBC back in August)! Brass, of course.

I had no rivets and no place to get anything like that from. But I had some brass wire (from wonderful Tanya of Fusion Muse) and my evening ended with the following first ever actions:

* cutting a pin off the back of the brass blank
* twisting the brass wire so it'll be a bit more resistant (thank you, Heidi, for the tip - it worked like a charm!!)
* trying to ball the ends of the twisted wire (that didn't go very well, will have to try more :))
* soldering the 'prongs' to the back (that went pretty well)
* pickling, cleaning, buffing (eh, need more experimenting to figure out what dremel head is good for what :))

The stone - I meant to use a smaller one, with no holes... but in the process the prongs kind of 'extended' themselves... so  I used one of the stones from my wonderful friend Therese of Therese's Treasures

What? You want to see it? OK, here you have it:

Metal Prong Challenge @ Artisan Whimsy (metal smithing!) :: All Pretty Things

In the end - it is not a perfect piece, but it is my own, my very first one!
Which makes it just perfect for the 1st try (and don't you dare to say otherwise!)

Thank you for visiting with me today.

This is a blog hop so please hop and visit the other participants!

Carolyn Dewison of Blue Berri Beads

Mary Harding of Mary Harding Jewelry

Dawn Horner of Northern Adornments

Gina Hockett of Freestyle Elements

Heidi Kingman of My Bead Therapy

Alicia Marinache of All the Pretty Things <= You're here

Melissa Muir of Melissa Muir Jewelry

Melinda Orr of Melinda Orr Designs

Staci Louise Smith of Staci Louise Originals

Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame

Francesca Watson of Francesca Watson Designs

Linda Younkman of Lindy’s Designs