Monday, December 31, 2012

Toast of the Town for I Might Make That AGAIN Monday

Erin Prais-Hintz's Toast of the Town convertible necklace
designed for Michael's
For the past couple of days I had been mentally composing two blogposts in my mind--one for my I Might Make That! Monday feature and one for New Year's Eve, totally forgetting that they were the same day. So this is a special deluxe combo post. Free for you! No extra charge!

Last Monday, Christmas Eve, I had planned to post some more Christmas ornament tutes for IMMT!M, but holiday preparations ran overtime and the post got canceled on account of temporary blogger overload meltdown forcryingoutloudIcan'tdo12thingsatoncesomething'sgottagiveitis. I obviously couldn't post those tutes today, so I started scrounging for something new. I had also planned to blog this week about a necklace I had made back in November but had never gotten around to photographing. I decided what the heck, let's combine the two.

Note that the title of this blogpost says "I Might Make That AGAIN Monday" because this is the first time I'm featuring a piece that I've already made, instead of a project for my my wish list. But I love this necklace so much I want to make several versions. Plus the name, "Toast of the Town," is so perfectly suited to New Year's Eve!

Some of you may already know this necklace, if you follow Erin Prais-Hintz of Treasures Found. She wrote about creating the necklace here back in September, noting that she was inspired by Design Seeds' "toasting tones" color palette. You can find the necklace-making instructions at that link, or check out the version on the Michaels website.

She later hosted a Toast of the Town bloghop (page down; it's at the bottom) and started a Pinterest board to show off the many lovely variations.

Without further ado, here's my version:

Mine is made of dyed howlite discs, quartzite beads in various coral hues, small faceted glass rondelles in peach and crimson, two sizes of gray glass pearls, antique silver fluted beads in two sizes, and assorted lampwork glass beads in shades of red and coral. (This necklace takes a lot of beads!) I think the gray really makes the coral POP! What do you say?

But you haven't heard about the ingenious part of Erin's necklace yet. It is actually two long intertwined loops. A toggle bar is hooked to one end of one loop. But the corresponding circle closure to the clasp is NOT attached. Instead, it is allowed to slide freely through the loops. This allows you to wear the necklace in many ways, depending on how you pull the strands through the circle.

When Erin blogged about this, saying you could wear the necklace at least seven ways, I just couldn't picture it. She showed a few variations--wearing it as two long opera-length strands, then doubling them for four strands, then twisting the strands into a choker-length torsade--but what were the other variations? Finally I decided I would just have to make one myself to figure out how it worked.

Above is the version showing four simple strands. Once I had an actual necklace of my own to play with, I could see that by pulling the strands individually through the floating circle, I could create a staggered effect, as shown below. 

My neckform is not long enough to show off the two opera-length strands, but I think you can visualize it from the pic of it lying flat on the sisal mat. My beads are too big to knot the loops, flapper style, in the long version, but I think with smaller beads that could be another variation.

My pictures of it as a twisted choker didn't come out well, but I have worn it that way (with the toggle as a jaunty off-center focal). I have gotten lots of compliments on this whenever I've worn it. 

Here's a closeup of the toggle bar and floating ring.  

And here's a closeup showing how the two beaded strands are interlocked.

And one last pic--of one of the photography assistants helping me on my photo shoot. (This is Pearl. Although she probably thinks her name is Get Off the Table.)

So that's the I Might Make That! Monday part. Here is the New Year's Eve part:

I launched this blog on New Year's Eve 2010, so today is my two-year anniversary--and my 140th blogpost. I am proud that I have stuck with it, even though there have been pockets of silence here and there.

Normally New Year's wrapups are times of reflections and assessment. This past month has been rough on me, spiritually, physically and psychically, but I don't want to turn this into a pity party. I am lucky in so many ways. One of the ways I feel lucky is that through this blog I've met so many wonderful people whom I wouldn't know otherwise.

I was feeling kind of depressed yesterday morning, thinking about all the things I didn't get accomplished over this break from work and school, despite my best efforts. I pulled out my Toast of the Town necklace and my neckform to snap some pics for this blogpost. Sigh, just another task on the long to-do list I had planned for the day. Then something magical happened.

As I played with the necklace, draping it on the neckform and on the table, I was reminded of how much I liked it. That designing it was a joy--rummaging through the beads, deciding on a color combo, creating the patterns in the different strands. I actually had to string it three times because of some boneheaded mistakes, but I had persevered and finished it. Whenever I wore it, people had admired it. One friend asked if I could make her one in blue.

I noticed that after taking several pictures I felt happy. It felt good to document and celebrate the art of creating.

This was a necklace that came about through the blogosphere. One talented designer had graciously shared her design, and months later, I had benefited. This necklace is a tangible form of what this blog means to me--my way of making connections and celebrating creativity.

Happy New Year to you, and may 2013 be a year of creativity and inspiration.

Monday, December 10, 2012

I Might Make That! Monday--Festival of Lights Edition

I guess I jumped the gun a bit by featuring DIY Christmas bling right after Thanksgiving, forgetting that Hanukkah comes pretty early this year. (Our house celebrates both.)

Hanukkah, which started at sundown Saturday and lasts for eight days, does not lend itself to jewelry inspiration, as far as I can tell. Yes, there are menorah charms, but no one is going to wear a polymer latke around her neck.

But it certainly lends itself to plenty of crafts, from cutout cookies to dreidels. Here is a roundup of DIY menorah. The pretty one pictured above is from Martha Stewart and instructions to make it can be found here.

OK, these last two are here just because they made me smile.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The special Saturday edition of Need a Laugh Wednesday

I won't bore you all with uninteresting excuses of why I missed posting on Wednesday. Let's just say shit happens and move on, shall we?

I realized that last week's NALW installment on How to Wrap a Cat was premature. I neglected to share some of the preceding steps.

First, before you wrap your cats. You have to collect them. Here's one easy way.

Then, after you have your cats, you need sort and organize them. Here are several ingenious solutions.

(More ideas at Buzzfeed's 15 Ways to Organize Your Cats)

Before wrapping your cat, think about the recipient's taste. Does he/she like the Romantics or steers more toward Cezanne? Assign each cat to the appropriate giftee accordingly.

(More inspiration at Funny Cats Imitate Famous Paintings.)

Now you may proceed to wrapping your cat, following last week's video. On the attached gift card, please be sure to choose the correct cat font.

(More at Buzzfeed's 20 Cats as Fonts. And if you haven't seen the canine version, check out my blogpost from October on typography humor.)

[I promise next week's NALW will not involve cats. I don't want to develop more of a crazy cat lady reputation than I already have.]

Monday, December 3, 2012

Wirewoven bail for I Might Make That! Monday

This is going to be a super-quick post, since I really need to devote my Sunday evening to working on a paper for class. I found a really cool wirework tute--I can't remember how I stumbled on it--to share. The site is called Shaktipajdesigns, by Perri Jackson).

The instructions are not for making the entire pendant, which would be far beyond a beginner's talent anyway, but for how to weave wire in tight spaces, and she makes the wirewoven bail for the pendant as her example. The tute, as a PDF, is here. Lots of wire-hardening tips and loads of very nice pics to help you see what she means!