Sunday, December 21, 2014

Gift Making Fun!

Snowflake Obsidian
These snowflake obsidian earrings are accented with sterling silver. Why have I never used my triangular pliers for ear wires before? I love the look! These are available in my Etsy shop.

Making Gifts
One of my favorite parts of making gifts is getting outside my comfort zone and creating things I don't normally make. These things are for my nieces. Hopefully I did ok with the teen pieces. I'm so not cool, but think I made some cool stuff.

I would love to make one of these chain necklaces for myself. The black chain is plated aluminum so it is really light to work with. The discs are actually recycled from an old pair of earrings.
An initial necklace.
I'm still working on my clay skills when I find time. Fortunately I have been super busy this holiday season so those windows of time have been rare!
I wasn't too keen on this gold clay at first because of the streaks of darkness that I can't get rid of. Now I see it as a marvelous effect!
I like the messy texture on the heart. It was not intended but it looks neat against the pretty crystals.
What little girl doesn't love some colorful sparkles?
I tried a new snack recipe from Pinterest. They are honey glazed walnuts. The only other ingredients besides walnuts and honey are cayenne pepper and salt. 
Quite delicious! Quick and easy to make too in the toaster oven too. The recipe recommends trying other nuts as well as other spices so I plan on playing around with ideas!

Thank you for stopping by! Wishing you all who celebrate, a very merry Christmas!!! ~Val

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Whoops Blog Hop

Whoops Blog Hop!
The Whoops Blog Hop is my first ever blog hop that I've participated in! This hop is hosted by Cynthia of Antiquity Travelers. She realized she had an overage of fabulous large (16mm) glass pearls from ZNet Shows. So she decided to have fun with these by sending them out to fellow bloggers to create whatever is desired.

Please be sure to stop by these blogs to see what they created with the pearls!
Bobbie     Bead Song Jewelry 
Christine   One Kiss Creations
Hope    Crafty Hope
Linda  Lindy's Designs
Therese Therese's Treasures
Cynthia (our hostess) Antiquity Travelers

What did I make? Well since big pearls are a personal favorite of mine to wear (real, fake it just doesn't matter) I knew I would make something for myself!

I used 1/4 inch copper cuff bracelet blanks to create coils. I just happened to have 6mm glass pearls on hand in the same color that fit perfectly in the coils to keep them from moving around. They also add interest as they peak through the coils!
I left them in the slightly beat up state since I think they will have a cool rustic look as the copper oxidizes.
The copper wire I had on hand to make a clasp was already slightly oxidized.

Here is a dreaded selfie with my new necklace. I always feel weird taking them. 
Thank you Cynthia for inviting me into this blog hop! I enjoyed the challenge. 

Thank you to all my readers for stopping by! I hope you are enjoying the holiday season. It will be over quickly!  ~Val

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Adventures in Clay

Adventures in Clay
So I have been trying my hand at clay. Very relaxing!

This metallic polymer clay is not that easy to work with. See the roughness and cracking? That was not on purpose! However I like how well it takes stamp impressions.
I made myself some earrings studs using a mold. The camera makes the color look odd but they are nice creamy white.
I tried some different methods with this one. The following were used: a clay roller, metal stamps, craft scissors and silicone molds. I didn't notice the little speck on the larger flower until after it came out of the oven! So I think I need to do a once over with my glasses on before baking. 
I tried a flower to practice petal shaping. Of course more practice and youtube video watching is needed!
A snowman! Here I got a little better after learning the trick of rubbing alcohol and a q-tip for smoothing and cleaning the clay before baking. White is definitely a challenge to work with. Yes his carrot nose is red since I didn't have any orange clay. I tried to texturize the stick arms to look like real sticks.

Then I wanted to try adding other elements to the clay such as stones, glass and wire. Stone and glass adhere well when baked. Metal on the other hand needs to be worked into the clay so the clay bakes around it securely. 

I had my niece in mind for these girly fun pieces. However the bonding adhesive I used turned yellow when baked! So much to learn. I guess things that may need a little extra bonding need to be added after baking.
Here I tried clear liquid polymer clay which add a sheen. Apparently it needed to be spread better and of course the adhesive showing again. So in the future I would need to do the pieces separately then adhere them after baking.

I also need to use a magnifying glass before baking! Why? Well I never seem to notice those little imperfections like some traces of red clay seem to have got on the flower. 
I love this stone looking clay! It comes in other tones and cures rock solid. Fantastic! 

I'm not sure where I'm going with clay but I enjoy playing with it on my free time. Eventually something will call out to me! So I will continue to play until I have techniques down well.

In the meantime, some of these pieces will be turned into fridge magnets!

Thank you for stopping by. Enjoy your week ahead! ~Val

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Life Update

Upcycled Piece
So I made myself this holiday necklace. Certain gaudy things attract my attention. 

This poinsettia is one of them. It is from a broken brooch that belonged to my late great aunt. It has been sitting around for years now and I finally brought it back to life! The velvet choker is also upcycled from some old costume jewelry piece my mom had given me back a few years ago.

New Computer
Jim built me a computer! Yes, he has this special skill. These are the bits and pieces needed to do so.
It's not pretty but it costs way less than going to the store and buying a name brand PC. This will also last 10-15 years with components being upgraded as needed which is another huge money saver since brand name PCs don't last that long. 
Although it's not pretty, it does have a cool blue light that glows inside! 

I was surprised at some of the cool computer towers available like pink and white. However I am very basic about my technical stuff and this one is easy for Jim to get his hands in if need be.

Zinfandel
I couldn't resist buying Zombie Zin since Jim loves the Walking Dead and we love red zinfandels.
Ok. It wasn't great, but it was fun for a laugh!

Chocolate
I've been playing around with chocolate! 
This one has large salted peanuts in it. Fun and delicious to make!

Snow
We had our first significant snowfall Thanksgiving night when only flurries were predicted.
It was the heavy wet stuff! There are still some hot pink rose petal holding on for dear life behind this shrub.
I'm looking forward to Spring!

Vintage Jewelry
My parents gave me my grandmother's jewelry. 
Whenever I receive a lot like this I keep the pieces that call me to wear and cherish. Then I will need to decide which pieces to pass on to another vintage jewelry lover and which to re-purpose. 

Thank you for stopping by! Wishing you a marvelous week ahead! ~Val

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Lilli Heart Designs

Multi Gemstone Necklace
A new multi gemstone necklace in my Etsy shop

I made one of these for myself years ago and it is probably my most worn piece of jewelry. It seems to go with everything solid! The length allows it to be worn as 1 long strand or doubled to wear like a choker. The huge chunk of red coral hangs at the center.

Lilli Heart Designs
Lilli Heart Designs is a wonderful customer of mine. Lilli has quite an eye for sparkling Swarovski crystals! Using beading wire she creates the most beautiful suncatchers.

They are a great gift idea since they can be hung in various places.

The angels are gorgeous!
Angel Suncatcher
She also creates colorful chakra stacks on certain pieces.
Chakra Color Suncatcher
I could never pick a favorite but this warm orange certainly attracts my attention!
Heart Suncatcher
Imagine hanging these Swarovski pretties on a Christmas tree!
Starburst Suncatcher
I love the vitrail crystals. Stunning!
Vitrail Suncatcher
Lilli also sells an array of Swarovski crystal jewelry in her jewelry shop.
Necklace
Lilli Heart Designs can be found in the following places:

Thank you for stopping by. Wishing all of you in the U.S. a fabulous, tasty Thanksgiving! ~Val


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Curry Roasted Vegetable Wrap and Turquoise Earrings

Turquoise Earrings
I've been looking at my copper cuff bracelet blanks differently.
I came up with this long, dramatic design. I found the wire is difficult to coil after texturing but managed a small coil on the bottom. These turquoise pretties are available in my Etsy shop.

Curry Roasted Vegetable and Avocado Wrap
The original inspiration recipe found here is a curry roasted veggie and avocado naan-wich from Naturally Ella.
The only big differences for me were leaving out the onion and using a wrap instead of naan. Changing the bread is a great way to reduce the calories!
The filling includes:
1 cup of diced red pepper (I used yellow because it was $1 less a pound!)
1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half (I used one large regular tomato)
1.5 cups diced zuchinni
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
salt to taste
1/2 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed 

Preheat the oven at 425 F. In a roasting pan, toss all ingredients except the chickpeas. 
Roast for 15 - 20 minutes until veggies are tender. Then stir in the chickpeas and continue to roast for 5 additional minutes. 
The avocado is used like a mayonnaise. Mash up 1 avocado with 2 tablespoons of cilantro or to taste. I used the freeze dried. Sprinkle in the lime juice if desired. 

Then you spread the avocado on the wrap followed with the veggies. So delicious and healthy! 

Next time a make it I'm going to spice it up a bit since both Jim and I like our curried foods to have some heat.

Thank you for stopping by! Have a beautiful week. ~Val

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Fairytale Flower

Square Wire
I've never worked with square wire before.
I love how rich it looks when coiled! I will be experimenting with it more. These white howlite earrings are available in my Etsy shop

Fairytale Flower
For a while now I have been wanting to do features on my findings customers and am finally doing so! My first feature is Fairytale Flower on Etsy. 

This beautiful shop makes boutonierres using my stick pins. The shop owner has offered a photo of her creations that I include in my listings as an example! Great idea! 

The boutonierres are so sweet and great for wedding parties like these handsome red ones.
red flower boutonierres
The accessories are quite varied and oh so beautiful in this shop. I love this golden flower hair clip for the bride or special occasion. I also think it can translate well in a casual look too.
golden flower hair clip
She also make marvelous crowns which are so in right now!
leaf crown
Corsages are gorgeous accessory for brides and/or wedding parties.
corsage
If Jim and I do decide to tie the knot someday, the ceremony will likely be on the beach in Florida. Barefoot sandals will be a must!
barefoot sandals
If you are looking for fancy accessories for a special occasion, please stop by Fairytale Flower.

Thank you for stopping by! Have a beautiful week ahead! ~Val








Sunday, November 2, 2014

Cool Room Decor and Necklaces

New Necklaces
I found a great use for Apoxie Sculpt clay! 

These metal flowers have been in my box of miscellaneous lovelies for years not knowing what to do with them. I could never get the back completely smooth to work with. That's where the Apoxie Sculpt comes in! Since it can stick anything to anything it is the perfect adhesive to use. 

I like the earthy look of it under the flowers and how it gives them depth. This has been featured in the Jewelry Making Journal.

Cool Room Decor
Jim and I live in an old drafty house! He mentioned we could benefit from draft dodgers (aka door snakes) for a few doors. So off to Etsy I went and found Cool Room Decor.

We went with a plain brown that would work with the decor. The fabric is heavy and feels luxurious!
We bought a massive bag of rice to fill them up. 
Luckily there is two of us, otherwise there would have been rice all over the floor! 

They are available in wide array of colors and prints. Perfect for drafty window too! You choose the length.
draft dodgers
This shop also offers pretty pillow covers. I love this print!
pillow cover
It is also a great shop for valances!
valance
I love the different shapes offered.
valance
There are also super cute stockings for Santa to fill!
stocking
Next time you need something custom for your home, stop by Cool Room Decor. You won't be disappointed!

Thank you for stopping by. Enjoy your week ahead! ~Val