Saturday, October 29, 2011

I heart macro Sunday

 Last weekend was particularly nice and my little family went on a small hike at the nature center.  The kiddo had a blast climbing the "big hills" and hopping on the "big rocks" over a small stream.  The kiddo and I were armed with our cameras and had a good time clicking away.

The kiddo liked a particular bridge.

By the time we were done, her boots were a little dusty.  :)

As we were heading to the car, I noticed shadows on the ground.  I really liked how I could see the shape of the leaves just from the shadow.

I also couldn't resist snapping a picture of the cute decorations hanging from the trees.  Happy Halloween!

studio waterstone

Fall Colors

I have a habit of making pendants and then, instead of creating a necklace to display my new beauty, wander off into another project.

This pendant, unfortunately, was a casualty to such distraction.

This is the Granada pendant, created by Sabine Lippert of Try to Bead.  It worked up quickly and beautifully.  I think this was the first pattern I bought from Sabine and I've since bought a few more (dozen) tutorials. If you haven't checked out her blog or etsy shop, please do. Sabine's tutorials are very well done. Her instructions and diagrams are clear and the projects almost bead themselves.

So, getting back on track .. while in the midst of creating a necklace for the Limabeads challenge, I happened upon this rust colored sari ribbon I got from TandZ supplies.

The rust didn't work so well with the purples and limes from the Limabeads challenge beads, but remembered the Granada pendant still needed a home.  I quickly decided that the rust ribbon and the pendant should not be parted.  I laid both to the side of my table vowing to return.

And, I'm pleased to say, I have returned.  When I made the Granada pendant, I had thought to make a spiral rope to hang it from.  I still liked the idea of a beaded rope, but wanted the ribbon to shine through.

On a trip to my local bead store, I found a chain with very large circle and diamond links.  It seemed like a perfect match for the pendant.  I also grabbed a 10mm swarovski rivoli for the clasp.

I was very excited to discover that the rivoli fit perfectly into the diamond link.  I beaded a small bezel for the rivoli and and was able to attach a jump ring.

With my clasp figured out.  I then made myself sit down and work on the rest.  After a few (dozen) nights of playing around, stringing and unstringing, I came up with this:

I really wanted to have a seed bead strand in the necklace somewhere, but it wasn't meant to be.  I think the pearl/crystal strand does a good job of balancing out the ribbon.  There's a bit of chain in there, also.  I think this is a perfect fall necklace.  The rust and gold will compliment almost anything.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Time flies

I was looking back through pictures of the kiddo and came across this beauty, taken in September 2008:

It reminded me of this picture from last weekend:

They grow up so fast!

i heart macro Sunday

I know diamonds are supposed to be a girl's best friend, but I have a thing for pearls.  There's just something about pearls that seems so luxurious.

Earlier in the week, I came across this necklace designed by one of my favorite artists, Erin from Treasures Found.  I fell in love with the pearls, the silk, the rhinestones and the sheer opulence.  Erin inspired me to find my inner diva. I'm hoping these fuchsia and purple babies will set me on that path.

By the way, the inspiration for Erin's necklace can be found here.  Deryn, the author of Something Sublime, posted a single picture and issued a blog challenge.  Deryn was interested to see what other beaders would create using the same inspiration picture.  If you would like to see the other challenge pieces, check out Deryn's blog.  There are some real beauties!

studio waterstone

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wrap bracelet

There is a reason I don't go to Michaels.  There is a reason the hubster won't go to Michaels.  We have, of course, totally different reasons.

I don't go to Michaels because I am so easily distracted by the bead section, which, in my local store, is located just to the left of the entrance.  I have tried, but I cannot bypass the beads and head toward whatever I actually need.  This usually results in a longer trip.  Of course, the kiddo graciously allows me to browse and takes great delight in showing me all the "beautiful beads" she comes across.

The browsing inevitably leads to extra purchases and I generally leave the store with something not on my list, like these beauties.

Last week was no exception.

The turquoise beads screamed "wrap bracelet."  I then made an extra trip to the local bead store and saw this beautiful flower button:

When you put them all together, you get this bracelet:

I had never done a wrap bracelet before and I learned from this attempt.  There is a fine line between too tight and not tight enough when adding the beads.  The waxed linen thread I used was a bit too thick.  I will probably take this one apart and restring, but, for now, I am pleased with the result and I enjoy wearing it.

All in all, making the wrap bracelet was a fun and easy way to pass an evening.  This type of bracelet works up quickly and there are so many different looks one can achieve with the same technique.

Oh, in case you were wondering, the hubster refuses to step foot into Michaels because the trip results in something like this, which is now a month in the making:

Who would have guessed that a wooden puzzle dollhouse with about 500 pieces would need three people and several months to paint and assemble?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Almond flour pancakes

The kiddo woke up yesterday with a cough and fever.  I spent most of the day on the couch with my iPad.  I had little room for beads.  Honestly, with the kiddo on my lap and the dogs jumping around, I was probably wise in forgoing beading for the day.

I was happy to see the kiddo perk up a bit that evening.  She hadn't eaten much all day, so when she asked for pancakes, I was happy to oblige.  "Put almonds in them, please," she said.  I think she's beginning to like my almond flour versions.

My husband and I have had problems in the past with our almond flour pancakes coming out too crumbly.  I took my go-to white flour recipe and tweaked it.  I am very pleased with the results.  My pancakes have a pancake like consistency, but are a bit denser than the white flour pancakes (almost like a wheat flour or oatmeal version).  The kiddo devoured them and my husband even liked them.  :)

Almond flour pancakes
(makes 12)

2 cups almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon (we like our cinnamon around here)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil (this is what I had on hand, melted butter would work also)
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
melted butter or bacon fat, for frying

Mix dry ingredients together.  In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients together.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients.

Heat skillet on medium low heat.  Add melted butter or bacon fat.  Pour batter by 1/4 cup into skillet.  Let fry about 3-5 minutes.  (With these, when I think they are ready to turn over, I wait one more minute.)  Flip. Fry on other side for a few minutes.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

i heart macro Sunday

The hubster, the kiddo and I went to the arboretum last weekend.  We gave the kiddo our small point and shoot camera.  I took my DSLR.  The kiddo had a blast taking pictures and the hubster and I were amazed at how well she did with the camera.  Both the kiddo and I came home with a pile of pictures.

These are a few of my favorites:


A Leaf in the Wind

And, of course:
You never know who's watching

studio waterstone

Saturday, October 8, 2011

i heart macro Sunday

I keep telling myself to take more pictures and practice with my camera, and what better way than to participate in "i heart macro" Sundays.

The kiddo and I spent some time in the yard looking for a suitable subject. This is a rose on its last legs. I played around a bit in photoshop and love the colors.

studio waterstone

Lorelei and Shannon's Lima Beads Challenge

I'm not an artist. I am comfortable with that fact. I relish the arrival of my beading magazines and I love seeing what true artists create. I enjoy recreating or reimagining a favorite piece. I rarely branch out on my own and attempt to design something new. When I do try, the process goes something like this:
  1. Dream up an idea
  2. Get excited about the idea
  3. Buy beads
  4. Realize the idea won't work exactly how I imagined
  5. Rework the idea
  6. Buy more beads
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 until my husband starts to question the bead related expenses on our bank statement
I get frustrated a bit easily and tend to feel guilty about abandoning all those innocent beads. I apologize to those beautiful crystals or focal beads for not using them and usually scrap the entire project.

When I saw the LimaBeads challenge on Lorelei's blog, I thought it could be a chance to redeem myself.

I gave myself two rules:
  • I could not buy any beads for this challenge, not even extras of those in the kit
  • I had to finish
When I received the kit (very quickly, i might add), I was in heaven.

Everything was gorgeous. I love abalone and pearls and the 4mm cubes were to die for! I lost myself in the colors of the flower beads and the rondelles. Then reality began to sink in: I love stick pearls, but have never been able to use them. The abalone cylinder was one of my favorites, but I had no clue what to do with it.

So, I added another two rules:
  • Use the stick pearls
  • Use the abalone cylinder

I followed the first two rules with this necklace:

True to form, the necklace went through about four or five versions. At one point, I had copper washers and was determined to use a wire wrapped jasper nugget as a toggle. Something just seemed "off" in those incarnations.

The final version is a double strand necklace.  I used the Vintaj pendant to frame one of the purple teardrops.  I then created a small jumpring chain and used the cube beads as an accent.  I wirewrapped the green czech beads and wove the ribbon through.  I was happy to use the lemon ovals as another sort of focal on the sides of the necklace.

I like the final version.  I was hesitant to use the lemon ovals because they looked so white at first, but I think they really add something.  And, as you will see in a bit, I even found a use of the last one.

Still, I needed to use the stick pearls. My first inclination was to use them in a "flower" motif similar to this one by Melissa Meman on the cover of the April/May 2011 issue of Step by Step Wire. I then did the same to five of the amethyst teardrops. With the teardrop flower on top, the stick pearls resembled leaves. Ultimately, the wire pendant was too big to use in a necklace and I wasn't sure if I liked is as a bracelet focal. (I wish I had taken a picture before I made amends with the beads and disassembled my work).

At one point, I was going to do a spiral rope in my necklace. I still had all the seed beads scattered about. And then it came to me. I had been wanting to try a sculptural peyote bracelet for some time, but never had the nerve. I looked at the seed beads, the cube beads in the kit and these great orange delica beads I've had forever.

I spent the next several nights working on this:

I pulled the colors from the ribbon and just went at it. I had wanted to use the stick pearls to embellish the peyote, but i thought the potato pearls and the lavender flowers worked better.

While working on the bracelet, I thought the abalone cylinder would work well as a toggle for a clasp, but it seemed too heavy for the piece.  I then pulled out the last lime oval.  It was just the right size.  I created a bezel using the seed beads and hid a hook and eye clasp beneath it.

All in all, I am loving free form peyote.  I may have to try something more "halloweeny" with the rest of those orange delicas.  I've had my eye on some kitty or skelly beads from Earthenwood Studio that would be fun to use.

As for my goals, I'm proud to say that I did finish and I didn't buy any extra beads. I'm sorry not to have included the stick pearls, but I have an earring idea in mind.  They will not be forgotten!  The abalone cylinder is just so very pretty (and, much like Malcolm Reynolds, too pretty to let die in my bead box), so I will be using it soon.

A very big "thank you" to Lorelei and Shannon and Limabeads for the challenge!  If you want to see what the other participants did, hop over to Lorelei's blog.