December 27, 2016

New Year's Eve Necklace and Earring Set: December Pretty Palette Challenge

I've been majorly slacking on blogging this year. But I've still been creating jewelry; I just keep up better with Instagram than blogging--you can usually see my newest creations there long before they make the blog (I'm @everyday_bijoux1 if you want to follow along).

Anyway, when the December Pretty Palette Challenge theme was announced at the end of November, I immediately knew I wanted to participate. Champagne? Old Hollywood glamour? Um, heck yeah. Sparkles and metallics and fancy. Be still my jewelry-loving heart.

Right from the beginning I knew I wanted some sort of lustery metallic as my inspired-by-champagne bit, 'fancy' beads that sparkled as my inspired-by-'glamour' bit, and a black and white color scheme as the inspired-by-old-Hollywood bit (think old black and white movies). So, I rounded up all of my 'fancy' (read: faceted) black, white, and silver luster glass beads and played around with some ideas. I used all the beads pictured above in my necklace and earrings, all of which (except for the large faceted black onyx rounds on the left) are Halcraft beads I found at Michaels.

I also decided to use copper wire to contemporize my design a bit. Even though the silver beads are luster glass and not actual metal, pairing their silver luster with the copper wire feels a bit like mixing metals.

I created three wire focal elements, two matching connectors to be used on either side of the necklace, two earring frames, and a toggle clasp using 20-gauge wire for all of the frames and wrapping them each with 26-gauge wire and copper-colored glass seed beads. (Click here for a how-to on creating wire focal elements.)

Next up, I embellished all of my frames with pretty black onyx and glass beads that were prefect for sparkling and reflecting light off their faceted surfaces. (Click here for a how-to on embellishing wire frames with beads.)

With the wire focal elements finished all that was left was to add some beautiful, sparkling white and silver glass beads and some embellished chain links, and then put everything together. I love, love, love how this piece turned out. It always amazes me when something actually turns out the way I've envisioned it in my head.

Here are some close-up detail shots of the necklace and earrings:

I think this set would be really fun for a fancy New Year's Eve party (or any night on the town, really)--bubbly required, of course. [Or, since this necklace is sort of a party all by itself, maybe I'll just stay home and wear it with my pajamas and watch Holiday Inn, and then I can say I was at a party anyway without having to embarrass myself by falling asleep at 10:30pm on someone else's couch during their New Year's party.]

What do you think, would you wear this to a New Year's event? Do you like the bright copper wire paired with the silver luster glass? I'd love to know.


Possibly linking up with:

December Pretty Palettes Reveal at Halcraft
Fabulous Party at Lou Lou Girls
Show and Tell Link Party at Flamingo Toes
Your Whims Wednesday at My Girlish Whims
Link Party Palooza at Tatertots and Jello

September 6, 2016

A Necklace Fit For a Mermaid: the 'Caribbean Sea' Necklace Gets an Update

I wear my handmade jewelry fairly regularly. But, sometimes I do find that certain pieces receive less love than others, or become forgotten altogether. When that happens, I usually either take the old piece apart to create new jewelry, or try to revamp it somehow to make it more appealing to my current style. That was the case with the necklace above!


If you've followed this blog for awhile you might remember my 'Caribbean Sea' Necklace (pictured above) from the spring of 2015. I created this necklace when I had just started experimenting with wire-wrapped focal elements, and while I did still wear it occasionally, I knew that my jewelry design style has evolved in a slightly more detail-oriented direction since then. It was a prime candidate for a revival!

I knew I wanted to embellish the wire focal frames, and I wanted more depth of color. Adding in some purples fit right into the ocean-theme that had inspired the original necklace, and I also decided to add some iridescent beads and some tiny sparkling crystals to give it a slightly glam feeling. With so many layers of beads and chain I knew it would either have to go the gaudy or glam route. I tried to go more for glam, but I suppose that's in the eye of the beholder!

I also realized as I was revamping this necklace that the new color scheme fit perfectly with Halcraft's August Pretty Palettes Challenge. While the sea-theme is a little far from the challenge's blueberry-inspired theme, at least both took their cues from nature, right?

If you compare the updated necklace (directly above) with the original necklace (the second photo shown in this post) you can see there are two new strands of purple beads--the top strand, which is a series of purple faceted amethyst beads interchanged with crystal-embellished handmade copper wire chainlinks, and the bottom strand of purple quartzite beads, which hangs just above the silver wire focal elements. The wire focal elements have been embellished with a slew of tiny beads in shades of purple (amethyst), blue (aventurine), turquoise (agate), and green (aventurine), as well as some lustrous, iridescent coated faceted round beads and some smaller crystals. All of the beads are Halcraft beads from Michaels, except for the faceted amethyst and turquoise agate (Hobby Lobby) and the glass pearls (from Michaels, but not Halcraft).

All-in-all I'm pretty happy with how this update turned out. It's a bit bulkier than the original version, and while I can definitely tell I'm wearing a necklace when I have it on, it certainly doesn't feel heavy. The color palette is so much more well rounded, and the small bits of sparkle and luster really make it feel more feels more reminiscent of a mermaid to me now, then simply a Caribbean sea!

What do you think of this color palette? Should I add more some more sparkle? I'd love to know your thoughts!


Linking up with:
Halcraft Pretty Palette Challenge

August 2, 2016

Update: Queen Anne's Lace Bracelet and Earrings

Back in February I participated in the Halcraft Pretty Palette Challenge and created the Queen Anne's Lace necklace and earrings set below:

I was quite happy with how the necklace turned out, but (as I mentioned in the original post) I wasn't really satisfied with the earrings--they were just too big to be easily wearable, and I knew I wanted to remake them. I thought perhaps I could create new, smaller earrings and instead use the large wire-wrapped frames from the original earrings to create a bracelet. And I finally did!

I took the two original earring frames and remade them into one central focal element (an exact replica of the focal components in the matching necklace) for the bracelet, and then added several chains of glass pearls on each side to connect to a handmade toggle clasp.

I created a pair of earrings to match the set, although they do not directly mimic the focal elements of the necklace and bracelet. They are much more wearable--lighter and smaller--though I'm not sure I feel that their design meshes with the necklace and bracelet well enough. I really don't want to remake them AGAIN though, so this is how they'll stay.

The wire components are all handmade with German style copper wire, and the beads are a mix of quartzite, shell, agate, crystal, freshwater pearls, and glass pearls.

I think my favorite part is the freshwater-pearl-and-jewel-encrusted toggle clasp on the bracelet! It's the finishing details that can really make a piece special, like handmade clasps and artistic earwires. Overall, I think these new pieces will create a really beautiful set when paired with the original necklace:

A set perfect for a bride with a pink-themed wedding, or maybe the honoree at a sweet quinceanera celebration. Until then, I will happily find every occasion to wear these fancy pieces in everyday life for no reason at all.

Do you enjoy wearing matching jewelry sets? What do you think about the earrings not perfectly mimicking the necklace? I'd love to know.


Possibly linking up with:

Your Whims Wednesday at My Girlish Whims
Show and Tell Link Party at Flamingo Toes

August 1, 2016

'Carnivale' Wire Statement Necklace: Halcraft Pretty Palette Challenge

During the month of July I finished my second piece for Halcraft's monthly Pretty Palette Challenge. This month the inspiration for the challenge was a beautiful photo of a star-filled twilight sky fading from blue to purple to orange over a forest of treetops.

I had completed the wire-wrapped silver focal elements several months ago and then reached a mental block--I just couldn't find the motivation to put them into a necklace, so I put them aside until this challenge kicked my bum into gear.

I chose to try to translate the actual image itself into the design of the necklace, rather than use the colors or nighttime sky imagery simply as inspiration for an abstract piece. I'm boring like that architecture-trained brain finds it easier (and often more aesthetically appealing to me) to directly translate pictures into shapes and color schemes rather than try to design a completely abstract creation inspired by suggestions or ideas. I think these silver wire focal elements are evocative of both trees and stars with their conical end shapes and many points. In weaving the strands of beads between them I hoped to convey the feeling of both stars in a fading twilight sky and the sky growing dark through a forest of treetops.

I love, love, LOVE the ombre twilight color scheme and was super excited to finally have a reason to pair these colors together in a necklace. If you know me you know I don't shy away from bold color in my jewelry. But can I just tell you how difficult it is to find translucent cobalt colored beads in 10mm - 12mm sizes?? I finally found these beautiful 10mm blue glass beads at Michaels as a great substitute for the semi-precious stone beads I usually prefer to use in my jewelry, since I couldn't find ANYTHING similar elsewhere with the right color. I almost never use glass beads in my jewelry (the exception being glass pearls) as most of the inexpensive glass beads I come across these days are clear glass beads with a colored coating on top, rather than being actual colored glass all the way through. And unfortunately, the colored coating seems to often contains small amounts of latex. I am allergic to latex, folks. I suffered for this necklace. But it was worth it (if that doesn't prove my devotion to the art of jewelry making, I don't know what does. Ha ha!).

As usual, all of the wire-wrapped components are handmade, including the focal elements, side connectors and the toggle clasp, and were created using silver-tone German style wire in 20-, 24-, and 26-gauges. The focal elements and toggle were created using the same processes as the focals and toggle clasp I made for my Queen Anne's Lace necklace.

The beads consist of a mix of agate, dyed jade, quartzite, aventurine, and glass, and all of the silver-tone beads are silver-plated. All of the beads (excepting the orange beads and tiny blue beads) are Halcraft brand and were purchased at Michaels. The embellished chain links around the back of the necklace are also handmade with German style wire.

I have to say, this is one of my favorite necklaces I've ever made! The funny thing is that, while it was inspired by the image of the evening twilight sky, now that it's finished it makes me hear samba music in my head and think of wild Carnivale nights in Rio. Hence my titling it the 'Carnivale' necklace.

Do you enjoy bold colors in your jewelry? How do you translate imagery into inspiration? Do you know of a good source for translucent (non-opaque) bright blue beads??? I'd love to know!


Possibly linking up with:

Show and Tell Link Party at Flamingo Toes
Your Whims Wednesday at My Girlish Whims