Friday, May 12, 2017

I Love Beads!

I have always loved beads...and tying knots.  I love how micro macrame has opened up so many ways to make beaded jewelry - some complex and some simple. 

This past week, I have returned to simplicity with making some beaded rope necklaces.  First, I made a couple of necklaces for some Tree of Life pendants that my sister made:

 Then, I had a strand of jet beads that broke a couple of months ago.  So, I decided to make one (very long) continuous loop necklace with them and I love it.
I loved it so much, I had to make one in red.  This one includes some lampwork glass beads my sister made.  Yup, my sister is multi-talented...I'm so lucky she shares with me!
Then, I fooled around with some smaller "Y" necklaces with a few more of my sister's lampwork beads:

Then, another (slightly smaller) continuous loop necklace with...wait for it...yes, more lampwork beads.  I really love this one, too.
And, finally, I made a necklace with a hook closure so it is adjustable.  Again, still playing with those lampwork beads...and I added some faceted crystal teardrops for the sparkle effect:

I have a new camera and new photo editing software, so please bear with me as I learn their quirks and secrets...
Meanwhile, I have already listed the first Tree of Life necklace at my ArtFire shop.

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 fabric...to 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 puzzle...so 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...

Copyright 2007 Donna Littlewood