Thursday, November 29, 2012

NO Berries and Leaves - a personal challenge

Earlier this week I blogged about the Winterberry Pendant I made as an entry in the Artisan Whimsy Berries and Leaves November Challenge.  Today, I want to share with you my "No Berries and Leaves" pendant, which I also made from a photograph that I took at the same time as the photo used in the Winterberry pendant.

If you remember, I ended up with 6 usable photographs from the photo session in our neighborhood park. Columbia, Missouri has approximately 30 small, neighborhood parks and our neighborhood is lucky enough to have one. The park includes a children's play structure, a concrete basketball court, a small shelter with picnic tables and grill, and a 1/3 mile gravel track. It also has two giant oak trees

Photos from Louisville Park, Columbia, MO

After finishing the Winterberry Pendant, I wanted to use the tree photo next. This idea about a black-and-white photo pendant using a bare tree has been stewing around in my brain for a long time and the time of year was finally right to capture the tree and its limbs.

Using Picasa (my favorite graphics editing program), I added a black-and-white filter, a vignette border and cropped away the sidewalk in the forefront of the photo. I found a rectangular wooden blank in my stash and painted it black with silver accents, then resized the photo and sealed it with Matte finish Mod Podge. Voila! The result was exactly what I had in mind. I added a Tim Holtz eye hooks - just the perfect size for the wooden blank.

Tree Pendant

Now all I have to do is turn the pendant into a necklace. Hopefully I will have time to do that soon, but I have Christmas shows for the next 2 weekends. I am feeling some stress and trying to get everything that I have started finished, but I guess that means I should stop starting things!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Berries & Leaves - Artisan Whimsy's November Challenge

Artisan Whimsy is a great website for creative folks to connect. It was created by 3 ladies from our Facebook group Creative Bead Chat. If you aren't a member yet, you should head over to both and join us!  Every month, they host a challenge. This month, it's Berries and Leaves. Perfect for the Holidays!


I have been on a nature kick with Fall in full swing. Mo, my 2 year old Bassett/Cockapoo mix, and I walk around our neighborhood park every day! I pick up acorns, dandelions, bark just to mention a few - and I take photos. Tons of photos (thank goodness for digital photos). I use my phone when I forget my camera...those don't always turn out the best, but sometimes you get lucky. Mo is wonderful when I stop and start shooting the same flower from 12 different angles - she just stops and sits down, patiently waiting for me to finish. That's pretty hard for a high-energy dog to do!

Here are my favorites from my last "Photo Shoot."
My photos from Louisville Park in Columbia, MO

I decided to use one or more of these as the basis for a piece of jewelry for the Berries and Leaves challenge, so I started playing in Picasa. Picasa is a free photo editing software. It works for almost every photo editing function I need. Plus, did I mention it's FREE?!

I love the milkweed pod and seed photos, I think I really managed to capture how they were blowing in the wind that day. But when I sized them down to create a pendant - down to a mere 1 to 1 1/2 inches tall - all of the detail was lost! So those photos are going to have to be used in a different way.

Next I decided to work with the Winterberry photo. It is a species of holly that grows wild in Missouri, all over our park.. It was the perfect green and red for a holiday pendant. I spiked up the color in Picasa and shrunk it down to fit in a round bezel I had in my stash.

My new color printer makes great color copies, but it's an Injet - which runs like crazy if I were to put resin or paper glaze over it. I did an internet search on how to set inkjet color, and the answer is - Krylon fixative spray (gotta love Google)! I got some today, and sprayed the photos I printed out. After they dried, I coated the paper with Alene's Paper Glaze. Last, I put the coated photo into the bezel and topped it with another coat of Paper Glaze.

Ta Da! Winterberry Pendant

I decided to keep the necklace simple and topped it with a cluster of olive green and red Swarovski crystals and an 18" brass chain.

Finished necklace with Swarovski crystal cluster
And so I have entered and completed my first Artisan Whimsy challenge. Tune in tomorrow for my "No Berries and Leaves" challenge piece, using the Tree photo above.