Sunday, September 7

Anchors Aweigh Blog Hop

Jewel School Friends - Anchors Aweigh!! Blog Hop Featuring Suburban Girl Studio - September 7, 2014
The beautiful blue anchor pieces by Suburban Girl Studio arrived and inspired me to design a set of jewelry in honor of our men & women at sea. 

It was my hope to create a look that represented a badge of honor and to do so I needed to add a bit more weight to the anchor piece. Finding the perfect sized silver circle to frame the anchor brought the piece to life, added depth, and shine.  Topping the anchor with the square stone proved to reflect the color and motion from waves of the sea.

I knew I wanted to work with "rope" so the piece was more theme oriented and finding creamy white silk cording fit perfectly once it was knotted using macramé.   

It became clear to me that the second Suburban Girl Studio anchor would be useful as a button to fasten a matching bracelet.  Finally the whimsical steering wheel earrings pulled it all together to be sea worthy indeed.
Featured & Honored Artist: Diana Ptaszynski
Diana's Shop Suburban Girl Beads
Diana's Blog:                      Suburban Girl Studio
Hostess: TJ                         Jewel School Friends
Bobbie Rafferty                  Beadsong Jewelry
Chris Eisenberg                  Wanderware
Heather Richter                  Desert Jewelry Designs
Michelle McCarthy            Firefly Design Studio
Kathy Lindemer                 Bay Moon Design
Dini Bruinsma                   Angaza by Changes
Cynthia Machata               Antiquity Travelers
Kathleen Breeding            99 Bottles of Beads on the Wall
Linda Younkman               Lindy's Designs
Robin Reed                        Artistry HCBD
Marla Gibson                     Spice Box Designs
Gina Hockett                      Freestyle Elements
Renetha Stanziano             Lamplight Crafts
Marianne Baxter                Simply Seablime Jewelry        
Christina Miles                  Wings N Scales
Marybeth Rich                   A Few Words from Within the Pines
Shai Williams                    Shaiha's Ramblings
Cheri Reed                         Creative Designs by Cheri
Monique Urquhart             A Half-Baked Notion
Jennifer Reno                     Musings of a Crafty Jenny
Shirley Moore                    Beads and Bread
Tammy Adams                  Paisley Lizard
Melissa Trudinger             Bead Recipes
Jill Bradley                        JillyBeads

Saturday, September 6

Blue Fantasy Blog Hop

Pine Ridge Treasures - Blue Fantasy Blog Hop - September 6th, 2014

Between keeping up the house, having summer guests, preparing for one craft sale after another and working full time at the university, I have had the worst time getting back to my beading.  When I finally caught the fever…beading fever…the beautiful blue of the beads that Lisa Lodge provided in the Blue Fantasy kit made it easy to design one item after another!  
Soon I had three pieces done, but, inspired by each of their individual styles I added a pair of earrings to polish off the threesome.   I started to put the remaining beads away but that revealed enough components and crystals for a bracelet which was the Pièce de résistance to add to the set.
The inspiration, excitement, and fun of the design process was over and I had much to admire.  For a week these pieces lay limp within the beading tray where they were born.  I’d get home from work and after dinner sit at my bead table and look at these very wearable pieces and start wondering how I could best photograph them.

I will admit, photography is not something I like doing or know what I’m doing and the challenge to get the job done was looming over me.  I have a simple “point and shoot” camera of which I would simple click away and hope for the best and mostly I was disappointed with the results.  

So it was with intimidation that I stepped through the process of photographing, downloading, cropping and framing the first round of pictures.  I dubbed the results ugly, uglier and ugliest and swiftly deleted each one!   
Having a bad picture of something so beautiful is not only disappointing but it ruins the entire experience.  After my first photos were such a flop I felt that I wasted the day, hated photography and certainly didn't want to do the whole process over again! 
But, I did do it again…a week later…armed with a bit more knowledge after doing some research online.  Do I use plain backgrounds, colors or white, designs or textures?  Do I stage the pieces with a bust, old wood, antiques, or lace?  I “listened” to some of the tips I read on Facebook such as only taking pictures on a sunny day and using filtered light.  This time I approached my task as an experiment to see what works and what doesn't in the world of photography.
I took pictures in shade and sun, indoors by a window, outdoors under a tree, draped on a flower or branch. The images revealed lessons about light, shadow, texture, and color. This Blog Hop ended up teaching me more about taking useful pictures rather than an outlet to show off the creation of the jewelry.
I’m satisfied that my determination seemed to pay off with photos that provide color and shine and show off each piece in a fun, outdoorsy way.  They also add a bit of the beauty of nature into your lives which is what inspires me to create the jewelry!

Thanks to Lisa Lodge for the wonderful components and the opportunity to take a break from my typical routine to explore, create and discuss my newest passion of jewelry making! To see what the other designers created with their Blue Fantasy kit, check out the links below:
Our hostess:  Lisa Lodge, A Grateful Artist
Kim Dworak, Cianci Blue
Karen Grosset Grange, Ginkgo et Coquelicot
Veralynne Malone, Designed by Vera
Jo-Ann Woolverton, It's a Beadiful Creation
Heather Richter, Desert Jewelry Designs
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn's Creations
Candida Elkins Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks
Shaiha Williams, Shaiha's Ramblings
Eleanor Burian-Mohr, The Charmed Life
Gloria Allen, Wings and Beads
Laurie Vyselaar, Lefthand Jewelry
Terri Wlaschin, Dances in Fog
Lisa Prewitt Knappenberger, LiRaysa Designs
Toltec Jewels, Jewel School Friends
Raissa de Guzman, Abloro
Jill Bradley, Jilly Beads