Sunday, February 5, 2017

Simple VS Complex

So, I started the next Gridlock-Tubular bangle bracelet soon after finishing the one in my previous post:
The working of the body of the piece was not so difficult for me as I have made several versions of a Gridlock bracelet.  But joining the ends together is (for me, at least) a complex thing.  I want the bangle to look as seamless as possible, yet there are so many cords to deal with and working in a circle is awkward.

As I contemplated how I was going to approach this complexity, I decided to make a simpler project.  Personally, I love simple projects.  They are quick to make and I get a boost from completion.  They help me to contemplate more complex problems as they do not require my concentration.  Simple projects take just enough of my "monkey brain" to keep it busy while I "incubate" a dilemma.

I decided to finally try putting a "cage" around a large stone bead.  I went for the simplest rendition I have seen in my internet wanderings, as I interpreted it.  Voila!
Then, I found a solution for working in a circle:
I covered a block of styro-foam with some t-shirt fabric, turned the bracelet inside-out and placed it around the block.  It definitely helped get the other side of the circle out of my way and made it easier to pin and keep track of all those cords.  The rest was just painstaking work to join matching pairs of cords together...and the use of a tapestry needle, a crochet hook, and a pair of hemostats.

I don't know why I haven't thought of making a block like this before!  It seems so obvious to me now.  It worked so well!  Since styro-foam won't hold up through repeated use, I have cut a bar from one of my small work boards (of very dense foam rubber) and covered it with t-shirt make a more permanent support piece for working in a circle.

After the glue dried, it was a matter of joining the edges together to make it "Tubular".
So, as to "Simple VS Complex" - I do love sinking my teeth into a complex piece upon occasion, I also love simple projects for the reasons I gave above and because they are fun to make.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Joy of Creating Something Beautiful

 My strategy worked.  I made another simple project - this Spirals necklace with a glass spoon pendant.  I will soon get it listed in my ArtFire shop.  (Click on "Shop for Jewelry and Kits" at top of this page to see what I already have listed there.)
And, then I was inspired to make this variation on a Gridlock bracelet.  It was a hit on facebook!  I have not yet listed it because it might already be sold to one of my mother's friends.
Then, I got an idea of a new way to construct Tubular bangle bracelets and use the Gridlock knotting/beading scheme.  I like it, but it needs some tweaks.  I am currently working on another one to try some of those tweaks.
The joy of making something beautiful is indeed a balm to my soul.  Although I still have moments of grief and miss my husband something fierce, being here with my mother is a comfort and being able to make beautiful jewelry is very healing.

I have also been spending some time updating and tweaking my Etsy and ArtFire shops.  This process will be ongoing, but I have gotten a good start on them.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Trial and Error

I finished the necklace for my mother.  Instead of finishing with tie-offs like on the necklace I made for myself (see previous post), I made her necklace one continuous loop.

Then, I wanted to make a pair of earrings to match, but my mother is not as fond of fish-hook ear wires as I am.  For hoop type earrings, she prefers this type of earring:
So, last night, I started working on making a hoop earring that would sit snugly and stably on this ear post yet still be durable as well as pretty.  I made a couple of samples that did not work, but had another idea.  I was just about to begin again when I noticed the clock was reading 2AM!  Time for bed.

Today, I tried again, but the idea from last night did not work either.  I was in that tedious but interesting phase of developing a technique.  Making sample after sample gets tedious, but I enjoy figuring out a it balances out.

And, yes, I am a bit of a perfectionist...but I wanted it to be right.  So, after a couple more samples that did not work, I finally got it!
The hoops work and Mom loves them.  Mission accomplished.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Getting Back in the Swing of Things

I finally got settled in since moving in with Mom.  She gave me two rooms - one for my bedroom and one for a craft studio!  I am feeling spoiled with a whole room dedicated to crafting.  I am calling it my Playroom.

A couple of days ago, I finished unpacking and organizing my beads.  I started with this pile of bags of beads:
 And ended up with this...
 And, this:
 A deeper look:
I even put a new cover on my work board.  And as you can see, I have enough room to set up my old XP desktop computer for watching videos while I bead.
Now, I am officially ready to get back in the swing of things...making jewelry again.  In fact, I started my first piece right away.  I needed something simple and quick to make and I have this lovely Tree of Life pendant that my sister made for me.  I've been wanting to wear it soooo...I made this necklace.
My mother liked it so much, I offered to make a necklace with her pendant.  I just got started on it this morning:
I will probably make several simple short term projects.  They are a lot of fun and I get almost immediate gratification and that often stimulates the creative juices for more complex projects.  

See y'all later, my beads are calling me...

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Long Difficult Journey

It has been so very long since I posted anything.  This past year has been a difficult one, but I am finished with that chapter and can now focus on the future.

Those of my readers that follow me on facebook already know most of what has been going on in my life.  For the rest of you, I will share a short version here.

A couple of years ago, my husband (of 18 years) was diagnosed with cancer.  This past April, he was placed on in-home Hospice Care and I spent all my time taking care of him.  I cherished every moment we had.  He made it to his 70th birthday and then passed away on 25 September, 2016.

During this time, I also lost two of my cats.  My heart still hurts, but I am blessed with many loving friends and family who are a great comfort to me.

I have since been busy sorting and packing in preparation to move in with my mother.  I got everything moved to her house on 13 December and am getting settled in.

As you can see, I have begun to set-up my beading area and am finally beginning to feel the stirrings of a desire to create again.  I have a feeling that the joy of creating will be a balm to my soul.

Copyright 2007 Donna Littlewood