Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick-or-treat for Samhain

Samhain, Day of the Dead, the eve of All-Saint's, Halloween...

Call it what you will, the night of October 31st-November 1st has always been one of my favorite (and most celebrated) holidays.  It's a wonder, because I've never been one for scary things.  However,  I have wonderful memories of favorite childhood costumes (homemade of course), my teen years playing tricks on the trick-or-treaters with my Dad, giving parties for my staff as an adult, and  celebrating the holiday as a mother of a young son.  All of that is past, and I cherish the event even now.  

It's meant different things to me at different stages (from fun costumes and trick-or-treating for candy to quiet reflection on loved ones gone).   One thing it is to me is a celebration and reminder of my Celtic roots.  To me, it seems a more true and honest reminder than St. Patrick's Day.  For Halloween, as we call it now, gets its roots from the ancient Celtic celebration of Samhain.   Long before wars between Catholic and Protestant, there was paganism in Ireland.  

And on October 31, there was Samhain... 

Whatever/however you choose to celebrate, 
stay safe, 
be well, 
may peace be within you.



For more information:

Santino, Jack. Library of Congress, The American Folklife Center.  "Halloween:  The Fantasy and Folklore of All Hallows."

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I heart macro: Fall flowers and leaves

studio waterstone

This is my first Sunday with "I heart Macro."  (Sort of like Week One and 1/2 for me.)    Late last week I managed to post this image (#47), but didn't get it hooked up to a page.   (Oh, newbies!)  So I'll put it up here so you can see the larger version.

"Hydrangea Heaven"

It's a blue hydrangea from my summer's garden taken earlier this year.  This week, I'll try to do things right!  

I have a set of Fall photos I took this week, and I'll post one to the list.   If I'm still misbehaving, someone just let me know and I'll try to get the rules straight!    Hopefully I'll get it all worked out after this week so next week I can put my elbows out, hands on hips and sigh at the next bunch, "Oh, those newbies!"  ;-)

This Sunday's Macros:   (Hope you "heart" them!)

You'll find this first photo at #24 on the "I heart macro" page.

"My Purple Mum"

Each Autumn, I buy a couple of chrysanthemums
and put in pots at the  front door.
When they start to brown, they get planted on the side of the house,
where they bloom again year-to-year.
This is a pinkish-purple one.

"The Yellow Mum"

Yellow-blossomed chrysanthemum from another year.

"Barely-there Leaves"

Flowering plum tree in our back yard,
only a few leaves remaining.

"Leaf on Curb"

Went for a walk.  Leaf laying on street curb.

"Stepping stone"

From my Japanese shade-garden in Autumn.
Once the trees go bare, the garden finally gets some southern light,
but this garden is made for the darkness of Summer shade
so everything rests until Spring comes again.

Thanks for visiting!   --Sharyl

Please click below to see more macro photography from others!

studio waterstone

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Color Inspiration: "Honey Mustard" it is!

So, we're back to "mustard" being named the "it" color for Fall.   (...And I said I only liked mustard when it was "honey  mustard.")   Well, it turns out my tastes run similar in food and colors.  I just couldn't bring myself to design an entire piece of jewelry around a color I personally find "distasteful."   (I know, pardon the pun... I started to say "icky," that would be worse!)

"Sneak Peak"
But I REALLY wanted to try to challenge myself to use a color I wouldn't ordinarily use, and yellows, whatever the hue, don't tend to be a primary color theme in my jewelry.  Like Winnie the Pooh, I put my finger to my head; said "Think, think, think," and decided I must have a spot of honey!   So, honey mustard it is--the color of and inspiration for my next piece!

What can I tell you about how I created this one?   After forming a general idea of the color of mustard I wanted, I had the notion I wanted to pair it with something cream colored, pearls perhaps.   I decided to just go shopping so I could get a good look at the bead colors, mix and match,  take them home, and start to work.  Once there, I changed my mind just a bit, but kept with the light and airy color scheme.

The Beads:
I chose citrine chunks (top) for the lighter color 
rather than the ivory pearls I had in mind,
and used 7x8mm potato fresh water pearls 
in amber for the darker mustard color.

I wasn't sure what I would use as my focal.  I considered antiqued brass or copper until I found this ceramic gold-colored leaf in a small sale bin, just calling my name--the only one--and in perfect condition!    I took it home and dressed it up a bit with green and amber pearls, added a copper tube bead I had from ages ago--I mean AGES, does 20+ years make it "vintage?"-- and focal!

The Focal:
A leaf among the leaves!

The clasp.

I used bright copper wire in two gauges to accommodate the bead sizes and I hammer-hardened each and every wire.  A third, very heavy gauge copper wire was used for the focal and clasp.  The jump rings and the tube bead for the focal were purchased and have an antiqued copper finish. 

The necklace.
The End.

My mustard, with a bit of sweetness added! 



  • And another warm welcome goes to Sandra, the most recent person to join our group!   Sandra, if you would like to comment at any time and tell us more about yourself and your interests, please do!  Either way, we're happy to have you here!

Thanks to each of you for joining us and our conversations!  Welcome!  



P.S.  I have one more Halloween entry to post (not as elaborate as last time), but if you have jewelry you've made you would like featured here, please let me know.  I'll be happy to link to your site or add a photo!   If you don't have a shop or a blog, no worries, just email me!  Last chance!  

And as usual, comments and suggestions on the piece of  jewelry shown above or the photography are most welcome! It's one way I learn.   Also, if you've designed something "mustard" lately, feel free to include a comment with the link or URL to your piece so we can see what it looks like!  (For not being interested in mustard, I've become very interested in mustard!)    Thanks much!  --Sharyl



Photos & jewelry by Sharyl


Comment guy:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"Window Shopping" for Halloween & Autumn Jewelry

I know I promised an update on some things I'm working on, but I haven't anything to show just yet. I finished the "Mustard" piece and took photos as the sun was going down, but must review.  I'm still trying to figure out the Art Bead Scene Oct-challenge-inspired one. 

So, before it's too late, I wanted to take a quick look at Halloween and Autumn jewelry!   

I thought it would be fun to look at OTHER people's jewelry for a change, so these are not mine. (Wish they were!)  They are items I discovered online, thought they were unique, and admired!  Some of these are made by people I've never encountered before and some are from friends like you!   

I hope you enjoy "window shopping" as much as I do!  

Pumpkin Necklace In Gold


First up is this dainty necklace from Anechkas Jewelry.  Wonder why it's so beautiful?  It's made from smooth orange jade, a Vermeil gold sprout charm, and 14K gold-filled everything!   ...And it's really lovely work too!   Visit her Etsy shop to see more exquisite pieces!

As you my know, I'm on a kick for bird pendants and charms right now, so... I love this pendant, the beads, and the way it's all put together!  If found this and the next item on the "3Pearls" shop on Etsy.
Black Crackle Agate Necklace

I also loved these light blue crystals set against the dark metal moons. They "speak" of night and create a stunning contrast!

Blue Moon Earrings

And being from the "Sunflower State" I couldn't help but be attracted to this necklace I found on the "3Pearls" blog!   Be sure to take a look at  the entry for the flowers and photograph that inspired this piece!


(Oh, and check out this coupon!   Who doesn't love coupons?!)

For anyone into Black Cats, these from SusanFaye  aren't too scary--rather sweet actually!  Good for the October festivities and beyond!

Black Cat Earrings

And speaking of cats,...  I went to Leslie Todd's "No Stone Unstrung" site to pull up those "Day of the Dead" earrings I so admired last month, and it looks like she may have sold out!  (Way to go, Leslie!--We'll watch for comments to see if she can supply more!)   But I did find these cute black cat earrings!

Treasure Box Earrings
No Stone Unstrung

Leslie has really included some cute cards to hold her Halloween earrings too!   I'm sure you'll want to see the others!  What a great lesson in packaging a product--very creative and fun!

These tiny beauties are from Christine Brandel's blog, "A Hot Piece of Glass."  
Fall Head Pins
A Hot Piece of Glass
Christine also has a "A Hot Piece of Glass" Etsy shop.  I'm constantly admiring her jewelry.   This bracelet is perfect for, but not limited to,  the Fall season.

A Hot Piece of Glass
And here's one more!

Spooky Spots
A Hot Piece of Glass

Not Halloween, per se, but in the spirit of Halloween,.. (I almost hate to show this one because I've had my eye on it for a while now!)   It's one of the birds from the Chinese shards I'm so loving at "Bits Of Treasure."  

Each pendant is named.  I bought two a while back ("On a Limb" and "Perched,") and should have grabbed this one too!   But if it sells, I'll be happy for the shop owner and the lucky buyer who beats me to it!   I can just picture this mixed with bright orange glass beads, but you might have another idea!   It would be great on a chain or a black (or colorful)  cord or ribbon too!

Shooting the Breeze
Bits of Treasure

In addition to being one more of that charming collection of birds that got me started on the whole "bird pendant thing," for some reason, this one reminds me of my morning telephone chats with my sister!

There are so many more wonderful Halloween and Fall jewelry items, being produced by you and others, I may do a followup to this!    If you have items you would like me to include, please just drop me a note.   I'll be very happy to highlight!  

A special thanks to those whose jewelry is shown here today!   And a happy season to all!



I can hardly believe it, but we have another new follower!   I'd like to extend our greetings to Tamara!  So happy you have joined our group!  Tamara describes herself as a "Card Maker gone Beader."   (I can relate to that myself!)   She hosts the "Handcrafted Baubles by Tamara" blog.  And while we're talking about jewelry for the season, be sure to check out her "Oak Leaves" earrings!

See you all next time!



Oh, and one more thing...  I'm trying something new in my ongoing effort to improve my photography.   You may notice this on the right side border:

(Every time I think I have the icon linked, turns out I don't!   But the icon should link to this page at Studio Waterstone.  I'll work on fixing that.)  

The goal is to submit one example of macro photography each week.   After numerous tries, I finally got one in tonight, but an error occurred and it went off without my editing!   (The system was so polite, it even took the blame, when I naturally would have assumed it was my fault!)

Anyway, here is the photo I submitted (#47 on the list), prior to the funky editing job:

"Hydrangea Heaven"

All right, so I didn't just take it this week.  I live in Kansas, for heaven's sake!  This was from my summer garden.   Next time I'll try to be more current--give you something yellow, red, or brown! This week was all about learning the ropes!   Hope you enjoy a bit of Summer!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cliff-hanger Revealed!

So I left you hanging last time, but I knew this would take more time and space than the others.   This is the last piece I completed over the weekend.

You may recall when I purchased these items from the NepaleseBeadstore?   The focal bead is a dark piece of solid Lapis, and I don't see a flaw in it.  It's smooth and polished to a high sheen.  Then there are Tibetan glass beads which are described as black, but for the world look like very dark navy to me.   No matter.   They go together perfectly no matter what.  The Tibetan glass beads are also very shiny.

The red beads with blue-gray markings have more of a matte finish. I bought two strands of those on sale at a local craft store afterward, just hoping I could pair them with the beads above.

I began my work with the piece of Lapis.  I knew I wanted to put caps on the ends and create a focal bead for my necklace.  I looked through my stash for bead end caps, but found these spacers I had recently purchased. I liked how they looked so I went with those.  They were a bit loose on the ends though, and I had already decided to use some light blue cathedral glass beads in the necklace, so I added one of those to each end too.  They fit snugly into the metal spacers and I could then tighten with wire on each end.   

My original intention was to use the piece horizontally, but as I  began working on the rest of the necklace, the focal piece seemed too wide and stiff to lay properly, so it became a vertical dangling pendant instead.  I made large metal jump rings to attach it to the necklace.

(I later found that the three rings didn't want to stay put between the beads, so I changed it so only one ring hung from the necklace and there were two lengths of three rings each before the pendant.  You can see examples of this change in photos at bottom of this page.)   

I seldom work with beads that have a patterned design, and in this case, I was combining two different designs, but lately I've been trying to break out of my old mold, so I  eagerly began creating this necklace!   Looking over the pieces, I did decide to string this piece rather than do lots of wirework, as my last few pieces had entailed--lest I fall into another new rut!   

This necklace is symmetrical, but the pattern of bead placement isn't completely predictable.

Some closeups of the sides...

Toward the back near the clasp are a few black wood beads 
and a Bali-like bead.

Finally, it was time for the clasp.  I made a hook out of 18mm wire.   Then I tried a technique I commented on recently which was to cover the end loops of the wire stringing material with seed beads.   This became the loop for my latch.   The seed beads are the same light blue color as the cathedral beads, though a bit shinier (not so sure if that is a good thing or not).    I inserted a layer of firmer wire with the stringing material through the seed beads to give the loops additional strength and shape.

The finished product:

Okay, so you know what to do!  :-)    As always, your comments, suggestions, and questions are extremely appreciated!    

Coming soon:   Progress reports on Oct. Challenge and mustard color jewelry!

A very special welcome to new follower Mina!    Mina is from Belgium, started her own blog, "Mina's Juwelry" in September of 2011, but has been making jewelry for several years.   I've already got my eye on her beaded wrap bracelets!  (See the orange and green ones!  Mmmm!)   She also has an Etsy shop:  MinaJuwelry.

Thanks for joining us all the way from Belgium, Mina!   Welcome!

Image Credits:

All other photographs:   Sharyl, Oct. 2011