Monday, November 29, 2010

Call to Create with LizaJayne

Creating Handmade with Handmade...the motto of the new (well, relatively new) Love My Art Jewelry blog.

For the month of November (which I can't believe is almost over) the editors threw down a challenge, or rather a Call to Create that's based on Pantone's color forecast for Fall. I've made a few other pieces based on this color palette, but this time I decided to focus on the pale pink.

Why pink in the fall?  Because I found this awesome lampwork focal and there's that pretty pink!  While wandering around Etsy, I searched on "murrini" because I love those little star-flower-pretties and happened upon this bead by Ms. Eliza Zelachowski, at Bead A Little Dream--her LizaJayne Etsy shop

Featuring LizaJayne

 Pink is mixed with a creamy white, bright turquoise, and swirls of earthy chartreuse on this gorgeous little number.  The colors of the bead were all I needed to pull together stones and chain that match and complement it.  For me, that's the most fun part of working with handmade beads--an artist sat down and chose those colors and made them sing.  It becomes my turn to put them into a bit of a chorus, if you will, to make them sing even louder!  So, in the call to create, I used the call of Eliza's creation to be my muse.

As much as I'd like to go sit at my bead table right now and work on some matching earrings or something, instead I'm going to put on my blue polyester pants with matching itchy blue sweater and go serve my country.  I'm down to less than 100 unread emails in my inbox--and I have two days to get them to zero before I leave for vacation!  haaaaaaaaa  Oh, speaking of...I finished the wedding jewelry last night; one thing checked off my list!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Paper, Paper, Everywhere!

With four days off, you'd think I'd be knee deep in new beaded masterpieces...alas, no.  I had lists of things to do:
- Get in touch with old friends--I hate talking on the phone, so I bought a little earpiece thing hoping that I'd find it less annoying.
- Create wedding jewelry for my friend, Monica's, wedding that's next weekend in Hawaii--that's right, I leave on did that come up so quickly??
- Run outside in the crisp, clear weather--I'm down seven pounds (whoo hoo) and it's totally motivating.
- Scrub the kitchen floor since it's been months since the last big clean.
- Find some promotion paperwork buried deep in a file drawer so I can try to get another promotion--maybe I need some new pretty colored file folders?
- Pack up a care package for my honey so he has some love and joy at Christmas.  :)

Alas...none of these things happened. 
Instead, I discovered (or, rather, re-discovered) paper.  
I flippin' love paper.

There was a little tiny link at Art Bead Scene the other day to a tutorial on making paper boxes.  Well, that little link, combined with my overwhelming urge to use "doorbuster" coupons at Michael's and JoAnn's means that hours and hours were lost to folding...

The best part about this whole venture?  I don't have any reason to have all these boxes!!!!  What am I going to do with them?!  haaaaaaaaaaa  Sure, I could use some for packaging my own little gems and baubles, but I need hundreds of them?

I stayed up late digging through this stack of paper pads (which is only a small portion of the whole selectcion) and decided to make little stacks of "nesting" boxes.  For what?  I don't know.  I just think they're cool.  Be ready,'s pretty apparent what you're getting from Jen this year!  haaaaaaaaaa  Then you can figure out what to do with them!

I haven't even mentioned the card "festival" I had on Thanksgiving day...if I could take some dang decent pictures of them, you'd see them, but I've almost got myself convinced that I need a new camera....haaaaaaaaa

On that note...THANKS!  I'm thankful for having the time to procrastinate and play with paper all day.  I'm thankful for friends and family who understand my need to procrastinate and play with paper all day.  Oh, and, Curtis...your package is almost done!  :)  Love you!  Jen

Monday, November 15, 2010

Corsage Cuffs...My Version

Thanks for all the lovely comments on my jewelry swap post!  I'm glad you liked the cuff with the big flower...I absolutely loved it, so that became my motivation to grow a bit of a garden on my beading table.  I found a good source for the brass cuffs and bought more than I really need, so I got my vintage metal flower action on!

The simple golden tone of the brass works so well with the mixed metal and vintage enameled flower petals!  I dug around and found all sorts of bead caps and other scrapbooking flower thingies to use.  Some thin copper wire wraps the flower onto the bracelet and keeps it in place.  I did a quick coat of spray lacquer to, hopefully, keep the brass shiny and reduce oxidation.

And here's the rest of the far.  Yes, it probably could be a Spring thing, but I am loving these no matter how cold it gets outside!

I'm going to experiment with some paint markers on the brass...there were some inspirations in the last issue of Handcrafted Jewelry.  I went through to rip out project to save and ended up with more than half of the magazine.  Now my kitchen counter is a mess of painted towels, paint pens, spray bottles, and little bits of things to paint.  I'll be lucky if I don't jack up the garbage disposal with some little bead or bead cap.  I'll keep you posted on my experiments.  :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Little Swaparoo Treasure

My latest beady-jewelry challenge was a jewelry swap hosted by Ms. Lori Anderson.  Instead of the usual "bead soup" of loose beads and findings, this time we swapped pieces of finished jewelry.  This allowed for a little digging through old or not-so-successful designs.  I have plenty of oddball pieces in a container called "Tear Apart and Start Over" so it wasn't hard for me to find one to share.  My partner in this little venture is Ms. Erin Prais-Hintz of Treasure's Found.  Her blog is always full of inspiration and gorgeous designs, so I was thrilled to see what she might share.  Since I wasn't focused on what I was doing, I forgot to take a picture of the piece she sent, but the basics are:  asymmetric multi-strand necklace with sterling silver tubes, purple pearls, and a big Thai silver floral focal.

After I tore it all apart and made little piles of all the different pieces and beads, I got down to business on a new necklace.  I chose a big lampwork glass focal by Kay Bolden, a local artisan from here around Hampton.  The pretty purple in the glass worked perfectly with the purple pearls from Erin. I added some lemon quartz, shimmery blue moonstone, and a few green Swarovski pearls along with the sterling silver tubes to create an asymmetric multi-strand piece finished off with a little brown leather.

I call it "Lavender & Lemon" and wore it out on Friday feels good.  Not too heavy. 

Since I still had more beads in my little piles, I went on ahead with some memory wire and strung up a matching bracelet.  The Thai silver beads from Erin's piece worked perfectly.

And last but not least, I wanted to do something cool with that big focal and a brass cuff blank served as the perfect base.  I finished off the purple pearl pile along with some silver wire to string the flower and create a mixed metal bracelet.

The rest of the artists in this swap have blogs worth checking's a list!

Erin Prais-Hintz
Johanna Rhodes
Laurel Steven
Loretta Carstensen
Lori Anderson
Mallory Hoffman
Marianna Boylan
Norma Turvey
Sharon Misuraco
Stacey Curry
Tyne Bodenburg

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Celebrate Freedom--Go Hug A Veteran...

Celebrations are the theme of the Art Bead Scene Carnival this month and I can think of tons of things to celebrate, but none quite as important as Veteran's Day--the 11th of November.  Of course I take it a little personally because of my own uniformed life, but there are a ton of folks out there who are doing things a lot more challenging than managing email (my normal focus) to ensure that as Americans we can go about our daily lives with the rights that we enjoy.

I can worship--or not worship--the way I want. 
I can argue with my crazy conservative friends about U.S. policies without threat.
I can vote for the folks who represent my ideals.
I can walk down the street wearing what I want, whenever I want.
I can sing songs in the cubicle where I can work for a living.

There are folks out there in the world who can't do these things, so I appreciate my friends and family who are part of a larger cause.  And, whether you think our missions are right or wrong you can't fault the commitment of those who give their days, years, and even lives to protecting the fundamental freedoms that we enjoy. 

Since this is a bead-related post...I'm going to encourage freedom through creative expression and shopping with a few links to some beads that make me think of the blue sky where we daily Aim High.  :)

Irridescent Blue-Black Lampwork from Paulina's Bead Shop

Gyrate Lampwork Focal from Flaming Fools

Blue Velvet Lampwork from Emmylou Beads
On that note, I'm going to proudly put on my camouflage and boots and get to work...even if it's email and meetings, taking care of Air Force people is what I try to do everyday and that's pretty important.  :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Change of Command

I just have to send a little shout out to my husband who had a memorable day today as he finished his tour in Kapisa with his change of command.  I'm so proud!!!  I love you, Curtis!!

The commander of Provincial Reconstruction Team Kapisa, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Curtis Velasquez, talks with the sub-governer of Koh band District, Afghanistan, about future projects for the PRT and the future of the region. The PRT routinely performs missions throughout Kapisa to interact and engage with local leaders. The PRT's mission is to stabilize the region by enabling local governments to care for, educate, employ and protect their people through the construction of basic infrastructure and mentorship.

He's not headed home quite yet...a couple more months doing some staff work and reports about the last year.  Then he'll be headed to D.C...yes, that's not where I live, so we'll have a bit of a love-commute.  Luckily he likes to drive!  haaaaaaaaaaaa

If you're interested, here's a link to a Photo Essay on some Kapisa operations.


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Bedford, PA, United States
I'm a retiree/artist/student who makes things. It's a nice kind of lifestyle!

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