Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Bracelet

I made this right angle weave bracelet Sunday afternoon:

It was created with gorgeous, shimmery AB2x Czech pressed glass squares and AB2x Miyuki seed beads. It closes with a purple square glass button I found on a dress in my closet; the button was such a perfect match for the colors and shapes in this bracelet that I impulsively snipped it off the dress and worked it into the design. It makes the purple in these glass beads pop!

Is anyone surprised that this bracelet is in my current color obsession? Loving these colors lately!!

I took photos when I got to the shop this morning, and this yummy bracelet is now in my Etsy shop.

Another Victim of "Facebook Fatigue"

Just 24 hours after I posted this, I came across this article in Fortune:

Facebook Fatigue

While this user's situation sounds more extreme than mine, it is just more validation of my own feelings about the "Social" Monster. I am curious as to how the author's attempts to just "cut back" turn out. It was all or nothing with me, and I'm fine with no Facebook at all!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Facebook and Me

Did y'all see this?

The Anti-Social Network: By helping other people look happy, Facebook is making us sad. It's a Stanford University study which was released earlier this week, and I found it interesting, as it put some metrics, science, and validation to the vague feelings of isolation and sadness I experienced almost everytime I used Facebook.

I quit using Facebook about 3 months ago during a period when my computer crashed, and I went for almost a week without access. And didn't miss it one single bit.

For one thing, Facebook sucked up a HUGE amount of my time - posting, promoting, and trying to keep other with other folks' activity and posts. It was an endless time suck.

But additionally, I had been telling friends how disconnected and isolated I felt when I would post something, and my posts would (seemingly) go unnoticed, as they failed to garnish that little "like", or any comments, from anyone. Meanwhile, I'd see other Facebook "friends" posting about changing the toilet paper roll in the bathroom, or something equally (or worse, even more inane) and garnering 75 likes and scads of comments, and I'd really start doubting my sanity (and popularity) How high school and clique-y.

So when I had computer access again, I just didn't go back. A got a few Etsy convos and e-mails inquiring about my health (thanks, friends!), but I basically quit Facebook. I go there every few weeks and post something, but Facebook is really off my radar, and I am OK with that!

And now this mandatory timeline stuff - Facebook is just far too invasive. See ya!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Critic's Corner

Books I've recently read:

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer: This is a terrific book, recommended to me by my good friend Anderson Cooper.

Well, so actually I heard AC singing the praises of this book when he was co-hosting Live with Kelly a few weeks ago, but in my head he and I are good friends. 'Kay? So naturally I dashed off to the Kindle Store and downloaded a copy, using the Amazon Gift Card my good friend Sonya gave me for Christmas. Yay!

This is a terrific book, and I can't wait for the movie (that'll be Netlix for $1000, Alex - we can't afford to go to the theater anymore!). However, this book was incredible difficult for me to read, because the Point of View (POV) keeps switching from the protagonist to other characters, some of whom even have the same name (Thomas) which is doubly confusing, as you try to grasp any straw to get a foothold in the context, and while the POV is switching between characters, all the text is delivered in the same frantic, frenetic style of the pre-adolescent protagonist. I was constantly having to reread pages to figure out which character was speaking, and ultimately realized I would be better served to just finish as best I could, and once it was all sorted out, I would re-read the entire book, knowing who everyone is. But it is definitely one for the Must Read list!

Lucy, by Laurence Gonzales: I am glad this was a digital library loan, and that I didn't fork up any money for it. This book has a terrific premise (from Amazon: "Primatologist Jenny Lowe is studying bonobo chimpanzees deep in the Congo when she is caught in a deadly civil war that leaves a fellow researcher dead and his daughter, Lucy, orphaned. Realizing that the child has no living relatives, Jenny begins to care for Lucy as her own. But as she reads the late scientist’s notebooks, she discovers that Lucy is the result of a shocking experiment, and that the adorable, magical, wonderful girl she has come to love is an entirely new hybrid species—half human, half bonobo.") Very appealing to the science geek inside me. But the execution is awful, written to appeal to pre-teens, in my opinion. I found it juvenile, and yes, I still read it all the way to the end. So it wasn't so horrible that I quit, as I wanted to see how the author resolved the ethical quandaries he had developed, but even that was disappointing.

And a movie recommendation for you: I just watched Dolphin Tale on Netflix - what a delightful, fun film. I highly recommend it!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hot off the Worktable

I made up this interchangeable set of freshwater pearl earrings this morning while teaching a wrapped-loop class:

15 different pairs of earrings - just slide one set of dangles off the leverback, and switch to another!

Now available on Etsy.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Black and Silver

My spin on black and silver chainmaille earrings; I couldn't decide which color should dominate, so I made one pair of each version:
I think I prefer the pair on the right; which pair do you like better?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hot off the Worktable!

A new beaded cabochon:

And look what colors it is! Surprise! I keep working with these colors, over and over.

This pendant started with a gorgeous cab from my friend Mak, whose pieces are always so colorful, fun, and inspiring.

Here is the bezel in its early stages:

One side is higher than the other, so my finished bezel laps over the top on the lower side for a couple of rows (visible at the lower left, just to the left of the strip of matte copper seed beads crossing over the cab):

It's hardly noticeable, and certainly no big deal, but I know it's there!

After finishing the burgundy peyote weaving, I added the strip of matte copper seed beads across the top just for whimsy, and did a picot of slate gray and transparent copper seed beads around the top, and then a slate gray picot around the outer edges.

It had been awhile* since I wove a beaded bezel, and I kind of stumbled when I got to the backing, but I recovered nicely, if I do say so myself. And I enjoy this technique so much that I won't wait so long before I do another one, so my poor brain can't forget again. LOL.

This cabochon flashes so many gorgeous colors - burgundy and other reds, blue and slate gray, coppers - it is just yummy.

It would look great on a chain, or strung with complementary beads, or on a beadwoven rope.

And it is available now in my Etsy shop!

And since we are on the subject - here is the last cabochon I created a beaded bezel for:

*It has been a year, basically, since I did this piece - wow, where does the time go?
a) Look at the colors - there's my blue and burgundy, again
b) How can I forget how to do something I have done multiple times, and the last time was less than a year ago? A little scary...
c) This one is also available on Etsy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Denim Blue Dangle Earrings

These dangly earrings were made with very small denim blue & cream Czech pressed glass rondelles,  cream-colored size 8 seed beads, and sterling silver headpins and chain. They have a lot of delicate swinging movement when I wear them.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I love blue and burgundy together

Seems like I have 3 or 4 color combos that I keep working with; I think most of us do! And most of us have more than one outfit in those colors, too, because we are just drawn to certain colors, and keep buying them!

I have so much jewelry in blue & green; blue & burgundy, black & red, and black & white that I could never manage to wear it all!

This bracelet is one I made to highlight a project in the February issue of Bead & Button (p. 72). The pattern is called "Filigree Fanfare" because it relies on filigree beads to create the design; however, I am still confused as to how the designer managed to make it work! He shows a diagram of how the eight (I think) strands are to be navigated through the various holes in the filigree bead to create the flat bracelet shown in the magazine, but try as I might, once I had gotten the strands through the first filigree bead according to the diagram, it was impossible to follow the diagram/instructions for successive filigree beads - all orientation was completely lost!

Fortunately, the haphazard way I ended up threading mine, because there was no other option, yielded a nice 3-dimensional effect to the fans, and while it initially bothered me that my bracelet doesn't lie flat like the one in Bead & Button, everyone who sees my bracelet and the one in the magazine actually prefers mine. So there!

And naturally I have at least 3 outfits that this bracelet matches! And multiple bracelets in these colors ....I wonder how many bracelets I can actually wear at one time?

Edited to add:  Per request, a picture of the original project as shown in Bead & Button, borrowed from the Kalmbach Website:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Avast, me Hearties!

This is a little something from last Halloween - a local endocrinologist came into the shop and said he was going to a Halloween costume party as a pirate; specifically, as Jack Sparrow, and he wanted a "piratey" beaded dangle for his pirate hat, just like Jack Sparrow wears.

Unfortunately, I have never seen those movies, so he first tried to explain it to me, and then he found a pic on his iPhone, we picked out beads, and this is what I put together:

Some pewter skull beads, copper discs, copper beads, and painted wooden beads. He was thrilled - Whew!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Beading a Bezel

I have really been itching to beadweave this week, and after the fiasco that was my non-contrasty geometric peyote bracelet this week, I decided to bead a bezel for this beautiful raku cabochon by MakuStudio:

I just have 2 rows stitched here, and I apologize for the over-exposed pic.

This cab is very tall, and actually its height varies all around the circumference, so this one will involve a lot of stitching and a bit of a challenge to make the bezel even all the way around.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Before and After



Yes, you read that right.

The top pic is a peyote bracelet I designed and began stitching this week. I loved the 3 colors of green and blue Delicas I put together, but as I stitched, I noticed there just wasn't enough contrast between the 3 colors to allow the geometric pattern to be visible .... except with very specific lighting conditions.

I noticed this after stitching less than an inch, but (and I have made this mistake before!) I thought that maybe if I kept stitching, the more beads I added, and the longer it got, the more visible the colors would be.

WRONG. And I have witnesses, too - under normal room lighting, it just looked like a greenish blue strip of peyote.

So once I had 4 inches stitched, I let it sit for 2 days, and kept looking at it in different lighting, and even with my Optivisor, but the colors still didn't show. So I finally tore it apart and separated the Delicas (fun!) and re-tubed them and put them away.

But I decided to photograph the bracelet before I ripped it up, and imagine my surprise when the photographs showed the colors perfectly. Don't believe those lying photos!!

I have selected 3 new colors for the pattern, and will get started on this one again soon.

A true beadweaver can't be afraid to rip stuff up, right?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Funny stuff

Are you guys familiar with Sarah Haskins and her Target Women videos? She is hysterical!

She has about 50 laugh-out-loud videos at her site,  - take a look!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Equal Time

UGA fans are in an uproar, an uproar I tell you, because I showcased my purple and orange "Clemson" earrings here yesterday.

So in the interest of equality and fairness, here are my versions of UGA (University of Georgia) and Carolina (USC, University of South Carolina) chainmaille earrings:

Garnet and Black USC earrings on left;
Red and Black UGA earrings on right

And on a different topic, sort of, today is one of those days where my creative energies are running in 20 different directions, wanting to finish some half-done projects, and also start several new ones. I fear I will keep chasing my tail all day long and actually accomplish nothing!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Clemson Earrings

These chainmaille earrings were part of a custom order I put together for Christmas, and this is what I love about artistic wire: the ability to put together all sorts of awesome color combinations, in this case, purple & orange.

Other team combos available!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pearl Torsade

I spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of last week creating this gorgeous pearl torsade - a multistrand necklace consisting of 10 strands of differently colored and shaped freshwater pearls, with a beautiful shell pink carved mother-of-pearl flower focal bead (which hides the sterling silver tube clasp.)

The mother-of-pearl focal piece is center-drilled, which created some unique design problems: how to attach it to the necklace without it hanging upside down like a dinner plate! I finally figured out (I hoped!) a way to rig one half of the 5-strand tube clasp to a wrapped loop I ran through the flower (with an eye-popping white pearl and vintage rose Swarovski crystal on the front of the flower), and crossed my fingers, and started stringing pearls.

With the 5 strand tube clasp, I planned on stringing 10 different pearl strands, figuring that when twisted they would give the perfect amount of volume to the necklace. I knew a fair amount of length would be lost to the twisting process, so I planned to make each individual strand almost 19 inches long, hoping for a finished length of around 17 inches. I knew there was little I could do to test my plan until I bit the bullet and just strung each strand and attached it, so I crossed my fingers and dug in.

Each strand of pearls was only 15 to 16 inches long, so it actually took 2 strands of each pearl type to get the length I needed.

I chose some absolutely delicious pearls to compliment the carved flower focal: all freshwater pearls, in whites, champagne, and various pinks and mauves.

I love the finished look! When fully twisted, it is between 16.5 and 17 inches long.

 And for a different look, it can also be worn untwisted, falling to around 19 inches in length:

Each strand of pearls is connected independently to the sterling silver tube clasp, which, when closed, is cleverly hidden by the focal flower:

And it's available in my Etsy shop!

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Earrings on Etsy

These delicate earrings were made with blown glass teardrops bearing a brown swirl pattern, complemented with Vintaj Natural Brass components and mocca Swarovski crystals. They are 2 inches long and very lightweight.

Available in my Etsy Shop.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Blog Giveaway Reminder

Just a quick reminder about the blog giveaway coming soon (read the linked post for details):

I will be giving away these earrings very soon:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Japanese Lace Earrings

Here are the chainmaille earrings I made to match my Viperscale bracelet. This is a Japanese-maille pattern, which always gives a lacy look to designs.

I liked these so much I made them in blue:
and in green:
PS: I believe I have a bit of a chainmaille addiction!

Friday, January 13, 2012


I've learned the Viperscale weave, plus I discovered this gorgeous lavender wire, so I made this viperscale bracelet. I really like this weave - it lies flat, and is complex and interesting-looking.

Naturally, I made some matching earrings, but those will wait for another post - tomorrow, maybe?

I wish I had more time for chainmaille!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Blog Giveaway!

I've been blogging for a few years, and have recently rededicated myself to being a better, more consistent blogger.

As of today, I have 62 wonderful followers, and I treasure them, and would love to have more. To that end, I will be doing a giveaway here once I reach 100 followers.

This is what I will be giving away to thank my readers and followers:

These earrings were designed with Vintaj Natural Brass findings, Swarovski crystals, and vintage Swarovskis.

To follow my blog, look to the right sidebar, and scroll down to the button that says "Join this Site," and follow the prompts. It's easy!

You can also help this giveaway happen even sooner by Tweeting or Facebooking about this giveaway, and by telling your friends. Get the word out!

Details about entering the giveaway will be posted here when I reach 100 followers! And I promise even more giveaways in the future!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Metal Dogwood Cuff

This cuff was truly a labor of love! I wanted to create an ornamental metal cuff, and had the idea for a sterling silver flower with leaves, and made several sketches, but initially balked at working with the sheet sterling - it's so expensive, and I was so afraid I would make a mistake!

Eventually I screwed up my courage, and started cutting the silver; I annealed, and folded the edges, and then deeply scribed the leaves for texture, following this up with liver of sulfur to enhance the ridges I'd created.

Attaching the flower and leaves was problematic, since I had already folded and textured the cuff. I was finally able to solder the leaves to the cuff, but I wasn't confident in my joins because only small areas took the solder, so the leaves were also riveted to the cuff. The height of the leaves prevented any soldering of the flower to the cuff, so I wired the flower to the cuff using Swarovski crystals to create the flower's center, with a pop of color. Graceful copper tendrils were then wired around the flower and leaves. I ultimately affixed a leather swatch to the inside of the cuff to hide all my rivets and wires, and protect the wearer's skin and clothing (even though everything was carefully filed down and smoothed!)

The cuff is malleable, so it will form to your wrist easily, and will fit up to size 7.5.

This elegant, contemporary piece of wearable art is now available in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Contemporary Olive Loaf Jasper Pendant

I know there's no such thing as Olive Loaf Jasper, but since I don't know this particular jasper's official name, and since it looks like olive loaf, I am calling it Olive Loaf Jasper.

This beautiful jasper cabochon has islands of olive green, brown, and salmon in a background the color of dark sand. Copper really pulled out the colors in the stone, so I cut a deeply serrated backing out of sheet copper, and soldered a fine silver bezel to the copper. The piece hangs from a 17 inch copper cable chain.

And you can find this piece in my Etsy shop!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hero Worship

By now, you know I have a crush on Tim Gunn. I read Gunn's Golden Rules earlier this week, and found it very inspirational.

I would love to incorporate Tim's rules into my everyday life, so I designed an homage bracelet yesterday morning to serve as a visual reminder.

I used Swarovski crystal cubes in indicolite and padparadscha, Swarovski crystal bicones in crystal silver shade, and sterling silver beads, including the 5mm alphabet beads (What Would Tim Gunn Do?)

Just a fun, whimsical piece...but I have enough of the alphabet beads to make a few more of these if anyone is interested....

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Oh My Stars!

This design started with some gorgeous 8mm teal matrix jasper beads that I had been hoarding. I didn't really know what I wanted to do with them, and one day I just cut the strand apart, grabbed some Fireline and several coordinating colors of seed beads, and just started playing.

This was a situation where the beads dictated the design, and I started making rounds of circular peyote, and when I "finished", I had a blue-green star. So I made as many of these stars as I could, and then started playing with how to build them into a finished piece.

I noticed that the stars' edges lined up geometrically to produce this pattern, so I started connecting them together, adding some Swarovski crystals for a little "oomph".

Once this piece was joined, I needed to figure out how to turn it into a necklace, and settled on a beadwoven spiral, using the same blue and green seed beads that went into the stars components.

Then I found a perfectly-matching glass toggle, and the result is this striking bib necklace.

And I had 2 stars left over for earrings:

I haven't decided yet what to do with this set; they may go to my Etsy shop, or they may stay in my collection - The bib was such a labor-intensive piece, and these are my favorite colors! Some pieces are SO hard to part with!