Are you the kind of person who avoids a challenge like the plague, or who can’t resist the gauntlet when it’s thrown down? In case you hadn’t guessed, I happen to fall into the latter category. I love a good challenge – nothing seems to get my creative juices flowing quite like a bit of sport. It doesn’t seem to matter if there are valuable prizes offered, or merely the bragging rights, you can usually count me in.
This week I’ve been working on jewelry designs for two challenges: Lorelei Eurto’s Michaels Challenge and my own Dollar Store Challenge.
In case you’re just tuning in, Lorelei issued a fun challenge a couple of weeks ago. She went to her local Michaels and chose 6 strands of beads (that were on sale) plus a length of chain. She then challenged her blog readers to do the same and design a necklace using the materials from Michaels plus two others. After you’ve finished enjoying today’s amazing blog entry, click on the next blog in the list at the bottom of this post for the Michaels Challenge Blog Hop.
I was disappointed that I couldn’t find one of the beads at Michaels (the white cinnabar coins). You didn’t think that would slow me down, did you? To the challenge supplies I added an assortment of brass beads and findings and some gorgeous blue-green Czech glass squares.
I love the way the brass emphasizes the feminine palette of “Elephant Rides.” I gotta tell ya, though, that this necklace was a challenge in more than one way. I am a very logical, step-by-step thinker, and it’s very difficult for me to wrap my brain around an asymmetrical design. Yet I think the results are worth the struggle, and hope you agree.
|A closeup of the focal of Elephant Rides|
|Remember this gift card box?|
I began by using shears to cut off the rim of the box lid, resulting in a flat sheet of metal. I hope you’ll bear with me – I’m new to metalworking and don’t own a jeweler’s saw yet. It’s on my wish list, but meanwhile I’m making do. I was amazed at how well I was able to make do with these shears I bought from Kim St. Jean.
To envision where I wanted to end up, I laid out the beads I had purchased with this project in mind. I definitely had polka dots on the brain!
Note: I don’t recommend using a Sharpie for this next step! I then traced circles onto the front of the sheet metal with a Sharpie, fully expecting that I could remove the ink later with nail polish remover. Unfortunately, some ink residue is left behind on the enamel, so use a wax pencil or other non-permanent writing implement.
My shears worked quite well for cutting out these discs, although they did scratch the enamel in a few places (thankfully not inside the circles). After cutting them out, I sanded the edges of the discs and use my dapping block set to create a gently convex surface. Note to self: hammering on dapping punches relieves almost as much stress as pounding on metal does.
|Don't use a Sharpie!|
|Before using the dapping set|
I played around with quite a few variations for earrings. These are my two faves – which do you like better?
|Completed bracelet is at bottom of photo|
So what have you made recently with your dollar store bargains?
Michaels Challenge Blog Hop list:
Hilary of Fryestyle
For My Sweet Daughter
My Life Under the Bus
Kristie of DreamSomeDesigns
Linda's Bead Blog & Meanderings
Raida of HavanaBeads
Erin of Treasuresfound
Molly of BeautifullyBrokenMe
Beading by Malin de Koning
Deborah M Purdy
Erin Siegel Jewelry
beads by breul
Beads for Busy Gals
Nayas Organized Chaos
2 catch a hummingbird
Rosebud For the Love of Beads
Elysian Studio Art
Designs by Debi
sweet girl design
Silver Rose Designs
Tropic Beads (you are here)