Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summer Vacation Blog Hop

Due to unforeseen events this week I am, once again, late to post for a blog hop for which I apologize. Technical issues with a variety of things cropped up and... well, it is what it is.  Paula Hisel of Simply Beadiful  had issued an invitation on Facebook to participate and I jumped on it. I've had a very special pendant waiting and knew this was the perfect time to use it. The guidelines were to created a piece of jewelry that reminded you of a favorite summer vacation.

I love when God weaves people into your life unexpectedly and they become dear friends, the kind that make you wonder how life was without them. One of those gifts in my life is my friend Betsy. She and her DH Donny have a special place in our hearts. They are a delight to spend time with, and we've seen God work in their lives in so many ways. Donny is not only a boat captain but a gifted artisan as well. He knows my love of handmade things and had given me a hand carved conch shell starfish pendant. Last summer they invited us to a dinner-on-the-water excursion. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, the company even better and we had an absolutely lovely time.

Betsy and I


Two of our sweet girls

What's not to love with a view like this?

 So, with this great memory as inspiration, I went to work on Donny's starfish. This is what I ended up with

Isn't that pendant beautiful? He had given us a conch shell from the Bahamas, so figured it was apropos to use for photographing the necklace.  Here's a closer view of the pendant- it's carved from the inside of the shell.
I used some chain from our wonderful local bead store, Simply Sterling, as well as some delightful rainbow moonstone beads that were on sale there.   Paired with 4mm pink Swarovski bicones, it makes for a great combination, don't you think? I added little dangles from the bigger links to add some movement and repeat the cluster pattern. I love this- this one isn't going anywhere! It's fairly long, and a little asymmetrical - can't wait to wear it. I'm also going to make a pair of matching earrings- yep, I'm a set person!

One final look:

Now, to figure out a name for it! Don't forget to stop by the other participants and see what they created!
Karin King:
Annette Rivers:
Mischelle Andrade Fanucchi:
Leanne Loftus:
Dolores Raml:
Christie Murrow:  ( you're here)
Paula Hisel:

Wishing you a summer filled with dashes and splashes of grace and joy- and dear friends!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Better Late than Never... Summer Elements Blog Hop

Even though this is five days late, I think it's appropriate that this be posted on the first day of summer! Summer is all about easy for me. A more relaxed schedule, soaking in the sun,beach trips, colorful and cool outfits for our steamy hot Florida summers, and cute little earrings. One of my favorite toys to play with is my Vintaj machine and when I thought about the Summer Elements Blog Hop,hosted by Toltec Jewels, the combination seemed like a winner.  Thank you, Rita, for being such a gracious hostess. The guidelines for the hop were to focus on an element of summer that we loved and how the jewelry reflected that.

I indulged in my Vintaj Big Kick machine at Christmas time, and love it. It was on clearance at Michael's but I've seen it at Hobby Lobby ( and yes, you can use their wonderful weekly 40% off coupon). It's a great machine to emboss designs on metal blanks. You buy the dies separately and then go to town. I've used both the Vintaj blanks as well as blanks from both Hobby Lobby and other suppliers. The main thing to remember is not to use anything thicker than a 24 gauge metal. Knowing my love for Pinterest, I'm sure you won't be surprised to know that yes, there's a board for that! Can't wait to put it to use for Christmas ornaments this year- but that's another season.

This was my inspiration picture ( courtesy of Photobucket)
summer beach photo: Beach summer-beach_zps6c8a08e8.jpg
The colors are amazing- the beach is gorgeous and there's nothing I'm ready for more than soaking in the sun!
So, without further ado, here are some summer inspired earrings using the Vintaj Big Kick:
These are the antiqued brass round blanks by Vintaj embossed with the Wildflower Vines pattern. I used a royal blue crystal and then buffed them so the raised part would stand out.
These lovelies were done on copper and then combined with lucite flower caps and orange crystals with the Wildflower Vines die but on another section. Because the copper was shiny, there was no need to buff it- in fact, I should have antiqued them but it's summer!
I've had these flower beads for ages. A friend who's an airline stewardess, picked up an assortment of beads in Turkey for me and they've been waiting for the perfect partner!  The embossing on the hearts is actually the top part of the butterfly from the Butterfly Swirls pattern. When you use the dies, there's so much versatility depending on where you place the blanks.
And last, but not least, are these little guys. I used an etching die for these- it doesn't make quite as deep of an impression and while I like the pattern, I prefer the embossing dies to the etching ones. These were little strips of butterflies done on small antiqued brass strips.

Here are a couple of other things I've previously made:
 This illustrates one of the major drawbacks of the Big Kick. I cut out the star from copper sheeting but because the dies are only about 2x2 I wasn't able to get the middle of the star covered completely.It does do a great job of showing you the entire Butterfly Swirls plate though. This is a project that still needs some work, but I'm intrigued by the possibilities- especially for Christmas ornaments.

Consider the Lilies

This is a set I made using the Wildflower Vines once again. Paired with antique brass and green crystals, it's my favorite project using the Big Kick to date. Vintaj keeps adding wonderful new designs- Beadaholique is a great place to see all the wonderful choices.

So, here's to summer and all the wonderful memories and things that await. Here's hoping your summer is filled with many splashes of grace and dashes of joy~


P.S. Before you go, stop on by the other bloggers to see their creations:

Summer Elements Blog Hop Participants: 
Toltec Jewels (Hostess)
Marlene Cupo         
Cheri Reed              
Ailsa Cordner          
Nan Smith               
Sherri Stokey           
Christie (Charis Designs)
Carolyn Lawson       
Susie Harris              
Andrea Glick-Zenith 
Nelly May                
Melissa Trudinger     
Dini Bruinsma           
Kathy Lindemer       
Cory Tompkins        
Robin Reed             
Gina Hockett           
Karen Martinez       
Jasvanti Patel           
Solange Collin          
Karla Morgan          
Anindita Basu           
Alicia Marinache      
Andrea Trank          
Mischelle Fanucchi   
Tanty Sri Hartanti     
Shaiha Williams        
Mary Govaars          
Becca Sirevaag        
Lennis Carrier          
Regina Wood           
Sue Kennedy           
Kathleen Breeding   

Sunday, June 16, 2013

My apologies...

Today was supposed to be the reveal for the Summer Elements Blog Hop and I am going to be very late to the party. Not only has it been a couple of very busy weeks with our youngest daughter's end of year awards, graduation (postponed by Tropical Storm Andrea for 24 hours), and company, but this year was also Preview/Orientation at her college. I got the email reminder while gone and did a little shriek inside, because I had totally forgotten. Upon arriving home, I now have major computer problems- as in won't. turn. on. at. all and this is round two in four months of dealing with said issues.

So, please make sure you stop by the other participants, and I hope to have something up here by the end of the week, because it's going to be another busy one. My apologies to our gracious hostess- Toltec Jewels.
Here's a picture of what summer is all about to me, until I get my act together (c/o of Photobucket)

summer beach photo: Beach summer-beach_zps6c8a08e8.jpg