8th Day of Christmas + Inside the Studio with Erin Prais-Hintz

week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio,
creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our
readers and hope you’ll leave comments! As an incentive, we offer a
prize each week to encourage you to use that keyboard and tell us what
you think. The following week a winner is chosen at random from all
eligible entries. And here are the results from last week!

This week’s winner is Mary Morris.

You have won a JOY ornament from Michelle of Firefly Design Studio.
 Please contact Michelle to claim your prize!



Hello lovely art bead peeps!

I am pinch hitting for Miss Heather of Swoondimples today (you can read her Inside the Studio next week, on Christmas!). Since I didn’t know that I was going to be doing this post until about 9:30 on Thursday after I got home from the Christmas concert (the most lovely rendition of Silent Night and Carol of the Bells by the chamber choir along with a stirring medley of the Nutcracker by the band – puts me right in the holiday spirit!) I had to quickly whip something up. Fortunately, I seem to thrive under the last minute pressure. As luck would have it, I also realized in that moment of yes that I needed to also make earrings for my monthly We’re All Ears challenge on the Earrings Everyday blog. It is my party that I host each month (would love to have you join in!), so I had to find a way to roll this all together.

For the We’re All Ears theme for December I came up with the Leftovers Transformation challenge. The idea is that we all have that craft table littered with the remains of projects past, or the craftermath, as I call it. What better time than now to do something with those! Sometimes limiting yourself to just a few materials and giving yourself a very tight time frame can really kick things into high gear. I figured that what would work for the Earrings Everyday blog would work for this post as well.

The first step to the Leftovers Transformation Challenge is to take a picture of what you are working with. So here are a few pictures of the craftastrophe that is my studio….. please don’t laugh! I actually work in about a 6″ square space (and you can’t see the floor behind this table is piled up…. but there are paths to walk in!).

As I was going through my trays and bins, I came across two bean beads from Heather Millican of Swoondimples, that I had her make in late spring/early summer when she was doing the Awareness Words hop. I had her put the word “remember” on these purple beads for Alzheimers’ and intended to make something for my sister and I to wear. Mom lives in a facility not too far away, and I do get to see her, but she really doesn’t have any words, so it is hard to figure out what she is thinking.

When it comes to the holidays it is a bit sad for me as my mom is in the latter stages of this terrible disease. The holidays are always filled with a lot of memories and traditions and it has been years since I could share those with her. But my sister and I are doing our best to keep those memories alive and continue the traditions that my mom started with us so long ago. Like baking my mom’s chocolate lace cookies and using her spritz cookie maker… giving an ornament to each kid so that when they leave home they will have a whole set of ornaments to start out… putting an orange and a walnut in the toe of each stocking… I inherited the gold glass ball garland from my dad after last Christmas. This was my grandmother’s decoration. I can vividly recall watching the adults gingerly place this on her tree each year. When I was putting these fragile strands on each branch, it was like dressing up in my grandmother’s costume jewelry (I also inherited her jewelry box and some of her costume jewelry when I was 18). This is a special old memory and new tradition that I will be carrying on.

My sister Kelly celebrates her birthday on January 3rd and even though we don’t really give each other many gifts for Christmas (we focus on the kids more), I do try to make her birthday something special. So I thought I would make something just for her. Oddly enough, my sister doesn’t have that much of my jewelry. Her tastes
tend to be very simple. So I might be really pushing her boundaries
with this wackadoodle style, but I think that she will appreciate it.

This is a pretty old picture of us… from about 2006… I was so much younger and thinner with way shorter hair… Kelly (on the left), well, she hasn’t changed all that much and looks pretty much the same!

I like making necklaces with orphan beads. My studio is overflowing with them! I actually just bought two sets of orphan beads from two different glass artists from overseas stating that I never met an orphan I didn’t like. I much prefer the challenge of making different beads in different mediums work together. I call this style a “this and that” because it is a little bit of this and a little bit of that!

To make your own “This & That” necklace…

assorted art beads with a color theme in mind (try to find ones that are made from different materials)
beading wire (about 8″ or more if you are going to bead the entire thing)
crimp tubes
spacer beads
seed beads (optional)
chain (about 10-12″)

1::String a combination of art beads separated by smaller spacers onto the beading wire (use a bead stopper on the end so they don’t fall off). You might need to pull them on and off until you reach the right balance for the weight of some beads, and color placement. Make sure that it will hang correctly (i.e., don’t put the heaviest beads to one side!).
2::Separate the chain links in half.
3::On one end, string a crimp tube and then about 7-9 seed beads (to cover the wire). Crimp the wire securely.
4::Repeat step 3 for the other side.
5::Attach a clasp.

I had fun combing through my art bead stash for this necklace. I pulled all different shades of purples for Alzheimer’s and in a variety of mediums and shapes. In addition to Swoondimples, I used glass from Cathie Roberts, a beaded bead from Malin de Koning, an enamel filigree and a Facet Effects bead (I made both). I know there are at least two other glass beads, but I am not sure who made them – the swirly purple and the dottie blue/lilac/lime. (Speak up if you know and I would love to give credit!). I added some funky black gunmetal chain links to the back. That way if I need to adjust it to fit her, it will be a simple thing to do.

I also made a pair of earrings as part of the Leftover Transformation Challenge. If you would like to see what I made to complement this necklace, head over to the Earrings Everyday blog. (P.S. I am also having a giveaway over on the Earrings Everyday blog…if you join in the fun and create some earrings to share in the hop! It is not too late to play along… you have one week to join in. Check it out!)

I have a $25 gift certificate to give away to one lucky reader for answering this question….
What is your favorite holiday memory?

I wish you many fond memories of this holiday season spent with those that you love carrying on those time-honored traditions and making new ones!

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15 Comment

  1. Ann Schroeder
    December 18, 2015 at 8:42 am

    Lovely post and beautiful necklace for your sister.

  2. Anne Marie - Toronto
    December 18, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Going to bed, with no tree up. Waking up to a fully decorated tree, with piles and piles of wrapped gifts, and six, filled stockings, hanging on the fireplace mantle. The gifts were generally simple, and often practical (except for a toy or two), but with six children in the house, it was a happy, chaotic time!

  3. Sarah Ostriyznick
    December 18, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Lovely necklace! My favorite holiday memory is making pumpkins pies with my grandmother.

  4. Sarajo Wentling
    December 18, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    Picking out the Christmas tree and putting it up (at least to the point that it was lit!) was a special time between myself and my Daddy every year. The two of us would go hunting for the perfect tree (I always wanted one that was WAY too tall!) bring it home and get it securely installed in the playroom. I would then help him get the lights on (something, truth told, that usually involved lots of grumbling and muttered curses as he tried to figure out which bulb was out… causing the whole string to die.) The top string of lights that the angel went on top of was from the early 60's when my parents were first married and the last string was a set of those fat bulbs that my dad would screw special glass bells and a few other decorative lights into. My dad has been gone for 6 and a half years now… and I still miss him every day.

  5. freshbakeddesigns
    December 18, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Memorable necklace, Erin, with all those special beads you love! I miss making small crunchy cookies with my mom every Christmas…we called them Peppernuts and ate them by the handfuls. Merry Christmas!

  6. Julie Wong Sontag
    December 18, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    That's a really great challenge! Craftermath and craftastrophe – possibly my new favorite words! I love the ways you can honor your family treasures and traditions. That must be so difficult to be missing your mom's full presence during the season – moms do have a way of making these special times more special. I'm glad you can do that for your kids! xoxoxo – julie

  7. Mary @ MaryMorrisJewelry.etsy.com
    December 18, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Thank you so much! Merry Christmas

  8. Linda
    December 18, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Shortly before my mom passed away, I bought and decorated a Christmas tree for my parents, who would have just skipped Christmas, had I not intervened. Mom was too weak to do it herself and Dad was exhausted from caring for Mom and didn't feel like celebrating. I was talking on the phone to my brother in L.A. while hanging the Christmas decorations on the tree. I was beyond exhaustion too, and started to get "slap happy". Our conversation quickly deteriorated into a series of bad puns about "hung balls", "big balls" etc. You get the drift. We laughed so hard and it the laughter was such a balm to my weary soul. When the tree was finished, my mom was overjoyed. Both our crazy laughter and my mother's delight that she had a tree after all, makes this one of my favorite Christmas memories.

    1. Terri Del Signore
      December 20, 2015 at 1:14 am

      I enjoyed your story/memory!

  9. Dawn of LaTouchables
    December 18, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    I so love your blogspots, Miss Erin. What lovely traditions to pass on from your memory-bank.

    Hmmm, my best holiday memory? There are too many 🙂

  10. Kristen
    December 19, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    My favorite memory is spending Christmas day with my father's family. It was a cheerful time with lots of laughing. My mom died 35 years ago and my dad has Alzheimer's but I feel fortunate I have those great memories.

  11. Kathy Lindemer
    December 19, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    I love the necklace and earrings that you made for your sister. What a very special gift!

    My favorite memories as a child are the family riding in our car and looking at the Christmas lights on the houses in the neighborhood. I continued that family tradition with my family and now they are doing the same.

  12. Deb
    December 20, 2015 at 1:07 am

    One of my favorite Christmas memories is coming home from an evening church service and the entire inside of the house was decorated. My oldest sister had stayed behind & decorated it. It was so magical! We also would get the orange & walnuts in our stockings too : ). Great post Erin, thanks for reminding me of simpler times.

  13. Terri Del Signore
    December 20, 2015 at 1:17 am

    Some of the smallest things can be the best traditions! Thanks for sharing yours!
    How excited my dad got over decorating the tree!! He was crazy for tinsel!!!

  14. Carolyn
    December 21, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Love your necklace. Hope your sister enjoys it.

    I can remember waking up on Christmas morning to sheet covered piles of gifts.

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