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Friday, August 4, 2017

Grape Cluster Pendant

Hi Crafty Friends,

As fall approaches, our family's thoughts turn to harvest.  We are grape growers, and this is the time of year when our crop ripens and is picked.  We watch the weather reports and the sky with increasing frequency as all farmers do.  We check the leaves for molds and test the grapes for ripeness.

So, with grapes on my mind and picking fast approaching, I decided to make a grape cluster pendant. 
Grape Cluster Pendant

To create this pendant, I am using etchall® dip 'n etch and some clear beads that I purchased at my local craft store.

I bought a variety of sizes in clear glass.  They are strung on plastic line, so I just removed the labels and taped them to the sides of a plastic container.  The tape is for me to use to lift them out of the solution.
Now, I can add the etchall® dip 'n etch to the container covering the beads. 
As you see, my etchall® dip 'n etch has darkened with time and use.  But, it still works perfectly.  After etching my beads for 15 minutes, I pulled them out and rinsed them off in running water.  Then, I returned the dip 'n etch liquid to the jar for another use.

Here are my beads after etching:
Etched Beads
They have a matte finish now with a "tooth" that makes them easy to color with paint or ink.  Today, I'm using some of Lisa Maria Jimenez' new line of inks from Clearsnap - ColoriQue.  She recently sent me some samples that I am happy to be able to use for this, especially since she sent me the perfect color for this project - Grape Vine.
I put the etched beads in a small plastic recycled container and added a few drops of the ColoriQue.
Using the paintbrush, I rolled the beads around in the ink to coat them.  Then, I took them out of the dye, patted off the excess and heat set them according to the instructions.
Here are those clear glass beads now - wonderfully purple - and ready to turn into a bunch of grapes!

To start the pendant, I created bead dangles by sliding the beads onto brass headpins and making simple loops.  Here they are arranged along the piece of chain to which I will attach them.
You can add more or less depending on how full you want your pendant.  Generally, attach the smallest beads at the lower end of the pendant and larger near the top, but mix it up a bit to create a more realistic bunch of grapes.  Make sure your chain is large enough to attach two dangles in a link.  After arranging, open a loop on a dangle, slide it into a link and close the loop. 

Here's my pendant after attaching my dangles:
Grape Cluster Pendant
I thought it needed a couple of leaves and found some acrylic grape leaves in my beads.  They needed some definition, so I added a little ColoriQue to them with a brush.  Then I attached them with jump rings to the top of the bunch.

Grape Cluster Pendant


Etching is so easy with etchall® dip 'n etch.  Check the etchall website for the latest specials and all the supplies needed for etching.

(I am a proud member of the etchall Ambassador design team and receive compensation and product for my design use.)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

August Pretty Palettes Inspiration

Hi all!

I totally missed out on last month's Pretty Palettes challenge.  July was too full with a big needlepoint project and moving my Mom to a house around the corner.  I hope August leaves me a little more space for beady creativity.  I am posting the inspiration here to remind myself!

Molly has chosen a lovely quiet palette this month inspired by a beautiful pool of water lilies.  I love the calm, peaceful quality of this photo.


Here are the beads she has chosen:


And, here's the palette:


The photo of the lilies looks like a painting by Monet, and that reminded me that some time ago I bought some beads that I was going to use for a similar piece.  Some times I buy beads just because I like the look of them!  You never do that, do you?

So, I dug them out, and they will be the start of my piece.  Well, I found one piece; I know I have some smaller beads to go with this!
As you can see from the packaging, I've had this unakite pendant in my stash for a few years!

Here's a better photo to show the corals and greens in the unakite. 
Unakite
I think this will make the perfect focal for my lily pond-inspired necklace.  Now, for a shopping trip to buy some friends for it!


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

We're All Ears July Challenge

Hi there!

Today I'm on a music-inspired design challenge from We're All Ears on the Earrings Everyday blog.  Erin Prais-Hintz has inspired us to design earrings using a visual representation of a music piece.  I chose Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue represented by Andy Fillebrown.  The piece (along with American in Paris) has been a favorite of mine since I used to listen and dance to it in my parents' living room.  I liked to do a lot of interpretive modern dance in those teenage years. 

Here's the link to the YouTube video created by Andy Fillebrown:
Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFF2miSQ4Zg

I am not sure how to get a screen shot, so I hope you'll watch the video.

It is something like the opening to Star Wars as you watch the notes come toward you, stretch and disappear.  You can see all the notes being played as if by two hands as you go in toward the center of the piece, then ripple outward in the runs of the notes.  It gave me a deeper appreciation of the complexity of the piece and how it all fits together because it allowed me to see it all at once.  If I were a pianist, I'm sure I could explain it better, but I only poke at the piano using my right hand.  I've never really learned the base clef, but it was fascinating to see the chords being played out visually while listening to the music.

One can start out with one idea or impression for a design in one's head and then the design evolves and changes as you try to interpret it with the materials and skills one has.  Meaning:  I thought I had that material in that color and I can't find it anywhere in this pile!  And, oh, I forgot I had that, maybe that will work here!

So, after trying numerous materials and ideas with a few camera glitches thrown in, here is my interpretation of the visual representation of Rhapsody in Blue.

Rhapsody in Blue
After all the frustrations, I am pretty happy with these.  I think they reflect the visual representation of the music with the different levels of blue notes.  And, they are full of movement, reflecting the swinging jazzy music.

For more earrings inspired by these unique visual representations, go to the We're All Ears Reveal.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dish Towel Apron

Hi there,

Let's face it - life can be messy.  Well, here's a quick and easy apron that helps with that problem.  I made it from a gingham dish towel.  And, I personalized it with JOY Iron-on letters.
Dish Towel Apron

These letters were white, but are easy to dye or color.  I used some pens for this project.  As you can see, I left the letters on the sheet while I colored them.  This holds them in place and makes them much easier to color.
Coloring your letters

All the kids will want their own, and you'll want one for each child.  I'll be creating four more for the rest of my granddaughters!  When they are done with watercolors or eating their peanut butter and jelly, you can just toss the apron in the wash.

For this one, I sewed the bias tape to the dish towel, but you can use fabric glue for a no-sew version.  Either way it's very quick.  And, if you need to shorten the dish towel, simply fold it up and glue or sew it down to create a pocket across the front.  You can also use the pieces you cut out for the armholes to create some patch pockets.

You can find the materials you'll need and the tutorial over on the Creating with Joy blog.

(I am a design team member for JOY SA Inc. and have been provided their product with which to create my product.  I am happy to recommend them.)


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

June Pretty Palette Reveal

Hello!

Today is the reveal day for the June Pretty Palette challenge.  This month Molly put together a palette with some great colors with geometric and Southwestern influences.  I love this color selection; it's got turquoise, a pinkish red, a chocolate brown and a couple of neutrals.  I can live with that!  In fact, it's a staple of my wardrobe, especially in the summer.


And, the photo has additional inspiration:


I love the geometry of Southwestern patterns, so I'll try to capture a bit of that in my design.

Here are some of the Halcraft beads I used.  Some are from Michaels Bead Gallery line and some came from JoAnn's and their Bliss Beads line.
I also used some shell rondelles from Bead Gallery that didn't get into the photo along with a few beads from my collection.

Southwestern Fourth

I wrapped and tied some red twine around the turquoise cross and added a bone feather for the focal. It's not a large focal, so I didn't want to overpower it with a lot of beads.  So, I decided to space out the beads on chain for a lighter look.  I left the chain long with no clasp.  Maybe later I'll add a bracelet because I love these beads and the color combination.  And, I'm ready for the Fourth of July barbeque!

Thanks, everyone, for stopping by my blog.  Take a look at the other designs inspired by this color and design inspiration here.  There are some fantastic designs there.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Shabby Chic Birdbath

Hi Crafters!

Now that some of the grass and weeds have been cleared from the garden, I want to decorate a little.  A year or so ago, I made a teacup votive for my garden and an etched glass angel.  This year, I'm ready to add more etched garden art to my flower beds.  I have a few ideas, but I thought I'd start with a birdbath.

I headed to my local thrift store and picked up some glass to upcycle.  I have quite a stash but I needed a large plate or shallow bowl for the main part of the birdbath.

Here's what I found - a large divided plate.

I combined it with some pieces that I had from previous trips.
One dish here was already etched, but the rest were ready to go after washing in warm soapy water.

Here's one ready to etch with etchall® dip 'n etch.

As you can see, it is not quite covered in the dip 'n etch, so I solved this problem by rotating it while it etches.  If you do this, wear gloves.  The original dip 'n etch is a clear liquid, but as it is used, it turns dark.  It is still effective and after I etched all my pieces, I poured the leftover liquid back in the container.

Here all the pieces after etching stacked into the birdbath. It's pretty like this, but I wanted a little color to bring out the patterns.
Etched Birdbath
I wasn't quite satisfied with this arrangement of glass.   For one thing, after I painted the large dish, the back was more interesting than the front.  But, then I needed a larger bowl for the actual bath.  So, I went shopping again!

Here's the beautiful pressed glass bowl I found.

The inside is smooth and the outside has a very intricate pattern.

I didn't have enough etchall® dip 'n etch to cover this bowl, so I coated it with a layer of etchall® etching crème.  It would have been easier with the bowl's intricate surface to use the liquid, but the etchall® etching crème worked fine.  I used a plastic knife to get into all the grooves on the glass.

After it was finished etching, I washed it off using an old toothbrush to get into the crevices.  On a smooth surface, I would have scraped it off and put it back in the container (it's re-usable!).  But, this surface was too intricate to make it worthwhile.

After drying, I painted it as I had the vase and plate with Americana® Décor Chalky Finish paint by DecoArt®.  With the tooth on the glass created by etching, the chalk paint works very well, and I love the soft romantic colors.  I left the inside unpainted.

To give the pieces a distressed look, I took off some of the paint with sandpaper. 

Then, I glued the pieces together with an epoxy glue.

Here's the finished birdbath:
Shabby Chic Birdbath
I can't wait to try more garden pieces!  Ready to try etching?  Head over to the etchall® site for all your supplies. 

Looking for more garden "etch-spiration", you might like these etched garden crafts:


Etched Angel
Happy etching!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Layered Flower Cuff

Hi Crafty Friends!

Today I'm sharing a tutorial for a layered flower cuff.   It's a design that I created for a make and take at the Creativation Show last January.  It's quick and easy and you can use your fabric scraps to create your own version. 
Layered Flower Cuff
Here's what you need to make this cuff:

An aluminum cuff (or other type of cuff)
A 1 yard strip of unbleached muslin (1" wide)
2 small pieces of double-sided tape
1 12" piece of print fabric (1"wide)
A crocheted flower
1 medium die-cut flower in denim
1 small die-cut flower in leather
1 small button
4" narrow ribbon
6" wire (22 gauge)
Needle and thread
Metal punch, scissors

The components for the cuff

First, punch a hole in the center of the cuff.  This is where you will attach the flower. However, if you don't have a hole punch, just cut your wire longer so that you will be able to wrap the flower on securely.

Next, make a running stitch along one edge of the print fabric.  Pull up to gather into a circle and tie the ends.

Now, fold the wire in half.  Thread the button on the wire.  Tie the ribbon onto the wire loop above the button. 

Thread both ends of the wire through the leather flower, denim flower, gathered flower and crochet flower.

Push both ends of the wire through the hole in the cuff and wrap the ends of the wire around the cuff tightly.  Press ends flat against the cuff.


Tape one end of the muslin strip at one end of the cuff.  Start over the end of the cuff so that the aluminum doesn't rub.  You can also add some extra fabric on the end and wrap over it. Wrap around the cuff working under the flower.  Wrap to the other side of the flower and tape down the end.  Trim the extra muslin and any threads.


And, here's the cuff:
Layered Flower Cuff
As you might have noticed, I changed the layering on the tutorial as I went along and placed the gathered flower in a different place.  It's all good!  That's what creating is all about!

I hope you have fun creating your own version of this easy cuff.  It's great for a group craft like a birthday party or craft night.  And, it's a nice way to use up some fabric scraps.  I am going to try it in a red, white and blue version for the Fourth of July with the denim and some scraps of bandana fabric.  What will you try? I'd love to see your version!