Thursday, March 17, 2011

Winter Enchantment

It is St Patrick's Day and although my crocus are very happy and it is really nice outside I am blogging about Winter.  My winter piece for has taken a bit more time than I had anticipated.  Part of the reason is  that as always I underestimated how long it would take to do all of the fringing which always takes more time than I expect; and that I have been keeping busy with house projects and doing research to get ready for our spring gardening.

This last year the has been going with a seasonal theme and this is our last season, can't wait to see what comes next.  I love themes and challenges because they often make me think in a different way.  I was really glad this time that it was a winter theme because it allowed me to make a piece that had been in my sketch book since not too long after I had started beading.

I had always planned for it to use necklace sized memory wire so I got some of that.  I have used the ring size to make wineglass markers but had never worked with the necklace size.  It looks to small to go around your neck but it worked really well.  The nice thing is that the package has enough to make several necklaces so I may have to try some other ideas with what I have left.

My inspiration was icicles or hoarfrost which I saw plenty of a couple years ago when I visited Iowa.  When the plants are all covered in the frost and the sun comes out it is an amazing sight.

To capture that look I needed seed beads in whites and silvers so I got several packages of TOHO seed beads.  I ended up choosing their Crystal/Silver and Grays mixes ( really love the mixes you get different sizes and colors), 3 mm magatamas in Transparent Crystal AB (haven't played with these much, less pronounced than the drop beads, very nice), and 11/0s in Frosted Transparent Crystal AB and Silver Lined Crystal (both nice additions to the mix of whites).

The other really important part to make it look icy was some Swarovski Crystals in Crystal AB.  I took this opportunity to try out some  crystals that I had never tried before.

For this piece I chose 6 mm  Helix beads, 4 mm Xilion Bicones, 11 mm Tear drop Pendants, and 13 mm Polygon Drop Pendants.  Wow!  OK I admit that I love Swarovski crystals of pretty much any kind, but I was really happy with the 2 pendants and helix beads which all had great reflectiveness.

I also got Crimp memory wire ends that had loops on the end so that I could hang items from the ends.  These worked really well,  I put glue in them before crimping them on and they seem nice and secure.

The first step was to mix all of the seed beads together,  I added in more seed beads that I already had because I realized I was going to need a lot more seed beads to get the look I was after, luckily I had done a couple other winter projects in the past and had plenty of beads to choose from.

All of the dangles for the piece are made with fringing, lots and lots of fringing.  It takes a while to do but for projects that you want to look like vines, plants or in this case icicles they are wonderful.  I put crystals near the ends of quite a few of the  fringes. Here you can see the fringes.  I made them separately from the necklace to make it easier to make adjustments as I put the necklace together.

Here are the earrings, they are a bit heavy and I may need to make them into ear cuffs or something so that I can wear them for longer periods of time.

Here is the finished necklace, against darker colors it looks really nice and when the sun hits it glistens like ice.  The memory wire worked out really well for the piece and I was quite pleased that the piece came together much like I had sketched.  The last photo is a close up of the largest fringe section.  Hope you enjoy.

Disclosure...As a reviewer of products at, I receive the Swarovski Pendants & Beads and Seed Beads above free of charge. I have been asked to review these products and give my honest opinion of the products...positive or negative. I am not being compensated by for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received and reviewed.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Color Bomb Goes Off

It seems that I can't be happy without lots of color in our life, in this case I am using up some of the color we already had.  I had planned for the hallways on the first floor to be purple but which purple ended up changing.  the original idea was for the paler purple that we used in our bedroom but Wayne thought that was too light so when it finally came down to time to paint these spaces instead of choosing to use one color and needing to buy more paint I decided to go with multiple values that we already had, much more fun.  3 values of purple are used between the hallway and the one story parts of the foyer.  Color me a very happy girl!
Here You can see the Wood Violet the lightest of the three value which I used in the hallway between the dining room and kitchen and from the pantry to the foyer.  Lots of doorways and walls, this part alone took me a weekend to paint, not including taping and untaping.
The next project took even longer to do but for entirely different reasons.  The darkest purple wall I had decided to do with a brush stroke texture,  I had liked the effect so had decided to go with that under the stairs in the Honorable Blue.  At some point between Wayne and I things took a bit of a turn and more than brush stroke started to happen.  With the blue we ended up liking the way waves of strokes looked and then things just started rolling for there,  sometimes Wayne probably wants to run when I say "I have/had and idea" but since this one was partly his fault, (he is too good at feeding that creative part of my brain sometimes) and I was doing all of the work he can't be too dismayed.
These first two photos show the first coat of the many value waves going onto the wall.  They are all done with a glaze mixed with the paint so I never knew exactly how things where going to turn out.  That turned out to be both a challenge and sort of freeing, of course Wayne also reminded me that the worse that could happen is that we would repaint it.
The second coat goes on here, just a tad darker and filling in more, occasionally thought the process Wayne would say something about how he thought I was going to do this or that, not so much.  I seldom went with a plan, I just kind of freed myself to play.  I didn't know how many coats it would take I just knew that I would know when I had it the way I wanted it.
Another coat goes on.  I had decided to do a coat a day because that would allow the paint to dry completely, since I wasn't measuring the amount of glaze or any of the paints I never knew exactly how the layers would come out.  I also wanted to have a bit of time to absorb one layer before deciding on the next.
This is a slightly different angle of the same coat.  I found that it was slightly hard to photograph this wall,  I couldn't take the photos straight on and it is really hard to truly capture what it looks like in real life.  I took different angles in the hope that I would at least get an idea of what it looked like.
These last three photos are of the finished wall.  Again it was really hard to photograph, it is wonderfully complex and variegated.  With all of the layers that went into it that probably isn't too big a surprise.
I really can't wait to get the pieces of artwork that are going to go on the wall ready to hang, one needs it's glass replaced and another needs to be properly framed.  I have chosen a few pieces that are all water related to possibly go on the wall,  I still need to figure out whether they will all fit or not but in a quick audition they all look striking against the wave wall.

The last picture (below) is a close up so you can better see some of the values included,  the colors aren't quite right but it gives you a better idea.   I really think once the art is up on the wall I will love it even more.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

In a World of Color

 Although as usual this last year or two this post is vastly overdue I am finally adding a new post.  These photos and info on the on-going projects to make our house a home come from January.  It ended up being a very productive month for us and we got several projects finished.  The major projects are pictured here.  I am assuming you can guess what Wayne is doing crawling around on top of the counters in this photo,  I made him paint all of the difficult areas.
 This is a photo of one of our two copper walls,  it is a decorative painting technique using copper paint and glaze.  It is amazingly difficult to photograph but it looks different no matter which direction you look at it and how the light hits it.  I am beyond pleased with how it turned out, even if I ended up with some copper highlights for a couple of days.
 Another project checked off the never ending To-do list that we seem to have is the curtains for the living room.  I started by cutting the fabric to length well over a year ago.  It has been slow going but the red metallic looks great with all of the other red accents in the room.
 With the pull backs you can choose a couple of different ways to pull the curtains back,  in the middle of winter any sun is a good thing so they don't get closed except when it is nasty or really cold out.
 Here you can see the 2 walls of copper and my myriad collection of house plants,  I have been doing remarkably well with them considering I have a brown thumb most of the time with plants.   Our poinsettias from last year are even blooming this year without having put them in special lighting.  Got 3 new ones this year as well.
 Here you can see the Hyper blue against the copper, quite a striking combination.  As usual if you have been watching the decor come together you know our colors are not too subtle but they make me happy, how did I get so lucky as to have found a spouse who doesn't think all walls should be white??????
Although we still haven't gotten to the back splashes or even put knobs on the cabinets, adding the color has really added personality to the kitchen.  So many projects yet to do, knobs, back splashes, floor, plant tables....  And that is just the kitchen.