Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday Inspiration - Lantern Light

Okay, this post title should really say that chandeliers are the inspiration this week as this is all the result of a challenge to make chandelier inspired earrings!  There were a couple of things that led me to lanterns, though.  First, while I do love sparkly, crystal heavy earrings, there are very few times of the year when I actually wear them.  And I'm trying to cut down on all that stuff I love and collect, but never actually use!  And then there's an idea I've been working on for a couple of months - lanterns.  

It all started pretty much right before Christmas when I was brainstorming beads with a winter solstice theme.  I've always loved lanterns - the way they glow on summer evenings when one can spend hours out on the deck watching the world.  And the strong light they give off on dark winter evenings - luminarias, Christmas lanterns, solstice lanterns to bring back the daylight.  I had a couple of types of beads made and bisque fired when the February Art Bead challenge came out - this wonderful 1909 fairy tale illustration by Warwick Goble.

And when Erin Prais-Hintz announced her earring challenge theme for February (read about the challenge here), it all seemed meant to be!  It's been a bit of trial and error to get a glow on the lanterns using stains, but I have one set finished and one that I thought was finished - maybe not.

The set done is based on the Goble illustration.  The beads are earthenware ceramics, stained and fired multiple times before being finished up with a satin/matte glaze.  I used sterling silver wires and findings - the stars have been in my stash for years and never looked quite right with anything I used them in.

This second set is based on Chinese lanterns - I wavered for a few days on whether I should overfire them with tiny gold dots sprinkled over the red and now I think I will take these apart and do that.  It wasn't until I saw them on the finished earrings that I realized, yes they do need that bit of sparkle.  The findings are gold fill and I used black and gold lustre glass beads.

Finally, I have to add in a pair of earrings I made for Christmas last year that really do fit the more traditional chandelier idea.  They're gold fill and crystal and I loved the way they swung when my head moved!

Head over to Earrings Everyday to see how others interpreted Erin's challenge - I've already looked at the first batch up and there is some really beautiful work!  And the entries are still coming in on Art Bead Scene Studio's website, so keep checking back during the month to see other inspirations from Warwick Goble's illustration.

I'll have the star lanterns up on the website shortly and the red lanterns by Monday or Tuesday (

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Selah's Blanket

A new great-neice was born Friday!  She's Selah and is adorable!  I made this blanket for her - a variation of the ones I've made for my grandsons.  Hers is in pinks and purples, but any color works.

*3 skeins Cascade 220 Superwash - Aran
*2 skeins Cascade 220 Superwash - Alaska Sky
*1 skein each of Cascade 220 Superwash in Mystic Purple, Periwinkle, Lavender, Tahitian Rose,  Cotton Candy, and Pink Rose
*size 10 1/2 circular knitting needles, 36 inch
*size E crochet hook

1.  With Aran, cast on 125 stitches and knit 44 rows.

2.  Knit 10 rows with Pink Rose.

3.  Knit 6 rows with Alaska Sky.

4.  Knit 10 rows with Cotton Candy.

5.  Knit 6 rows with Alaska Sky.

6.  Knit 10 rows with Tahitian Rose.

7.  Knit 6 rows with Alaska Sky.

8.  Knit 10 rows with Mystic Purple.

9.  Knit 6 rows with Alaska Sky.

10.  Knit 10 rows with Periwinkle.

11.  Knit 6 rows with Alaska Sky.

12.  Knit 10 rows with Lavender.

13.  Knit 46 rows with Aran. 

14.  Knit 10 rows with Lavender.

15.  Knit 6 rows with Alaska Sky.

16.  Knit 10 rows with Periwinkle.

17.  Knit 6 rows with Alaska Sky.

18.  Knit 10 rows with Mystic Purple.

19.  Knit 6 rows with Alaska Sky.

20.  Knit 10 rows with Tahitian Rose.

21.  Knit 6 rows with Alaska Sky.

22.  Knit 10 rows with Cotton Candy.

23.  Knit 6 rows with Alaska Sky.

24.  Knit 10 rows with Pink Rose.

25.  Knit 44 rows with Aran, then bind off.

26. Join Aran to an edge and single crochet around the blanket, putting three stitches in each corner.  Repeat with two more rows.

27.  Repeat edging rows as follows:  after the Aran, crochet three rows with Tahitian Rose, one row with Alaska Sky, and three rows with Mystic Purple.  Fasten off and weave in all the ends.

Happy snuggles sweet Selah!

Happy Creating!  Deborah

Friday, February 2, 2018

Friday Inspiration - Hello Sun!

There seems to be a common belief that in the Pacific Northwest it rains all the time during the winter.  Okay, it does rain or drizzle a lot, but it's rare to have a day where it rains steadily the whole time, so usually one can get out for a dryish walk.  However, it is cloudy most of the time so it's really exciting when the sun peeks through the clouds!  Seeing it today made me realize how much I'm missing those golden yellow summer afternoons!

One way around this lack of yellow sunshine is to work on a project with that warm summer feeling.  I've found a few ideas!

Today's Quilter has free patterns and instructions for making a Sunshine Quilt Block using fat quarters.  This would make a great quilt for those cold, gray winter days or a nice pillow or two to brighten up a living room.

If you have a local quilting fabric shop they likely have a good selection of fat quarters as does Joann's.  If that doesn't work, I found these two fun fat quarter bundles at the online Fat Quarter Shop, this one in yellow ...

and this one in warm oranges.

If sitting by the fire embroidering sounds good (and it does to me!), Handiworks offers a free YouTube video here on creating a basket of sunflowers.

The daffodils are starting to poke their green stems up through the dirt here!  Judy Hartman (Art and Stitch) has a great free tutorial on making a darling little bunch of felt daffodils.

Last winter I made a fun to knit cowl that's also free.  Spiral Cowl is one of those almost mindless knits you can work on anywhere and would look great in a warm sunshine yellow.  

Juniper Moon's Moonshine is a super soft wool, alpaca, and silk blend - Sun Haze would be a good color!

Another good choice would be Malabrigo's Silky Merino (silk and merino wool) in Sand.

Finally, if you're feeling more into jewelry making than fibers lately, take a look here!  I love participating in Sarajo Wentling's monthly challenges and this month's inspiration photo is beautiful yellow black eyed susans!  Instructions on how to participate are on the February Challenge page here.

Eric Wentling
Happy Creating!  Deborah

Monday, January 29, 2018

SJ Designs January Challenge

I love, love, love bracelets and think I'm getting near to having more of them than I do earrings!  Not that I get to wear them lately - with Baxter in his "land shark" phase, pretty much any jewelry that dangles is out.  As are skirts, loose pants, long cardigans, coats, gloves ..... I'm looking quite rag tag in my torn puppy jeans and coat.  But I will hopefully, someday, be back to wearing jewelry again, so I made a bracelet for this month's challenge as a reward for making it through all that puppy nipping!

For January, Sarajo's husband Eric went full out colorful with this gorgeous photograph he took of a lorakeet.  You can read what he wrote about this month's challenge photo here.

Eric Wentling
I've had six sets of round and square beads sitting in my studio waiting for rainbow glazes and this was the nudge I needed to get them finished.  They're terracotta and I glazed them in the majolica tradition - first with a white satin glaze and then topped with several coats of overglaze.

I love rainbows and these turned out just as I had pictured - not something that's been happening regularly lately!  Next I needed to decide how to put some together and after several starts I wasn't completely happy with, I decided on this ...

The birds are copper mass produced beads I've had forever and the black beads are glass.  Sets of the rainbow beads are not up in my online store yet, but should be sometime tomorrow.  

I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get any beads entered in the Art Bead Scene Studio monthly challenge after several kiln mishaps, but I just squeezed in these beads from sprig molds I made with lavender from our farm.  

They have multiple layers of stain and are finished with a clear fired glaze.  Several of these are up in the store now at  Below is the inspiration photo for this month and you can see how others interpreted it here

Spring, Frances MacDonald, c.1900-1905, watercolor on linen.
And be sure to stop by Sarajo Wentling's blog here to see the gorgeous pieces she was inspired to make (the colors are so beautiful!) and what jewelry others made.

Happy Creating!  Deborah