Dan's newest beading project (and adventure) is finished! This time it was, as I've said before, learning the right-angle weave, using four different Swarovski colors to keep the pattern clear in his head. FusionBeads gave the four-color instructions the nickname "tartan" because the effect looks plaid (theirs was red, orange, yellow, olive). So for now, until he can think up an official name, we'll call this one Dan's Dutch Tartan. Why? Because he's Dutch and it looks tartan. heh. Colors used: fern green, peridot, sapphire, and dark sapphire.
Name: Dan's Dutch Tartan
Price: $35 (reason: Swarovski crystals, time, and effort; personal collection)
I really like the Medium Vitrail color Swarovski crystals. So I decided to make a pair of earrings to go with the Wild Heart necklace I made. Kept them very simple. They look rather rainbow-toned here...there's actually a lot more green in them than the pictures indicate.
Name: Medium Vitrail Heart earrings
Price: $10 (reason: Swarovski and sterling silver; personal collection) *earrings only*
I'm generally not that big on Swarovskis. They're expensive to make a relatively substantial piece, they don't have all the colors all the time, and often they don't have the color I like in a shape I like. Sometimes, however, I find a particular color I like, and a particular shape that sparks creativity. In this case, I ran across the relatively new shape called Wild Heart (came out last year), in a relatively new color for that shape: Medium Vitrail. I've always liked that color, and though I'm not particularly fond of hearts, this one just struck me as perfect for a necklace. It looked like stained glass. I also bought a pair of small, standard heart pendants in the same color to make a pair of earrings to complete the set. I wanted to keep it simple, so just used waxed cotton cord and tied sliding knots so it's adjustable.
Name: Wild Heart
Price: $25 (reason: Swarovski crystal; personal collection) *necklace only*
As I've said before, my sister recently got her certification as a yoga instructor, and I had intended to make this necklace as a congratulations gift. Unfortunately, the silk ribbon I'd bought to string it on was utterly the wrong shade, so I had to order a different one and delay the piece. In that time, I made her a fun bracelet in congratulations as well. Now the new ribbon is here and matches very well, so it's done!
I decided to give the twisted tubular Herringbone another try this week, having bought a pair of seed bead packets specifically for the project last week. I wanted to use a pair of colors that contrasted better than the colors I used last time, and I chose better quality seed beads so they would fit together more evenly. I selected silver lined dark teal and silver-lined ice-blue (I really like the extra sparkle and richness of silver-lined colors). The ice-blue looks more silver than blue in the bracelet, though, but overall I'm happy with it. As with the other of this pattern, I stitched the ends together to form a clasp-less bangle. The colors remind me of the different shades sea ice can be.
I had this necklace planned out and in mind before I spur-of-the-moment made my carnelian and banded agate cross-weave necklace this week. I like the mottled colors and unique red of mahogany obsidian, and since people have said how much they like my cross-weave pieces, I decided to make a longer one in case anyone was interested. This necklace is really long; I can wrap it around my neck and clasp it in the front and still have the pendant dangle. I used a different metal for my findings this time: gunmetal. I like the look of gunmetal, but hadn't had the opportunity to use it until now and I like how it looks with the mahogany obsidian. This necklace took me far longer than the others I've done given the length, and a lot more stone than usual for the same reason. I think it looks incredible! Unfortunately, by the time it was done, it was too dark out to take pictures, so I took what I could inside and will try to get outdoor "fashion" shots in the next couple of days.
Name: Mahogany Sunset
Price: $40 (reason: a ton of mahogany obsidian, time, and effort)
I got a lot accomplished this week! Just got in a creative mood and did something pretty much every day. I still have half a project to finish (the pendant shown needs its silk ribbon, which is on its way), and several projects are set for creation next week--at least three, all of which will take a bit more time.
One of the two projects done this evening: mahogany obsidian cross-weave necklace with gunmetal findings.
All the bracelets!
The pair of earrings and the pendant of the unfinished necklace for my sister.
So my boyfriend Dan decided he needed to learn a new technique and have a new project to work on since I had a bunch I wanted to do. He chose to learn the right angle weave, and decided to use four different colors of Swarovski crystals to make the steps easier to see and the beads are bigger. I set him up with my bead board and the instructions off FusionBeads, and away he went. He thinks it's a fun technique so far.
My sister, photographer Margot Roudebush (blog: whimsicalsbymargot.blogspot.com), recently challenged herself and worked extremely hard to get certification to teach yoga classes. She had to memorize a bunch of routines and be tested in them over the last two weeks or so, and passed last weekend with flying colors. I wanted to give her something to congratulate her, and picked out materials for a necklace which is still in the works because one of the things that arrived didn't match (a downside to online shopping). Shortly after I ordered the materials, I found these really neat hand-blown glass beads on another site and knew they would suit her just as much, so now she's getting two gifts instead of one. Oh, if you look at the top of the photo, you can see Merlin's paw descending to step right on the bracelet when I was trying to take the picture; it's why it's mostly shadowed, too.
Price: $30 (reason: hand-blown glass, Swarovski crystals; given to Margot R.)
My boyfriend's Mom loves jewelry, especially big, unique pieces. She's awesome at coordinating her outfits to go with her jewelry (or the other way around, depending), so I've made her a couple of pieces. One--a dark teal pearl necklace--I haven't taken pictures of, but yesterday I was remembered to take my camera when I visited and got pictures of the other one, in which I used aventurine, silver, and dark teal pearls. I remember I took Dan with me to look for materials, since it was near Donna's birthday and I had offered to make her a necklace he could give her. You may recognize the pendant; I used another just like it (a little lighter in color, though) for the aventurine cross-weave necklace I donated to the Bollock charity fundraiser silent auction. I also made a very simple pair of aventurine dangly earrings to match. Donna was delighted with the gift and found two great shirts that set it off in two different ways...each makes the light or dark components pop and she says she gets no end to complements on it.
Price: $25 to $30 (given to Donna V.)
Length: about 22 inches; she added an extender as well
So since the earrings went together pretty quick, I sat down and used more of the same glass to make a bracelet with seed beads and silver rounds. I used two different shapes of the fancy glass, the ovals and some diamonds. I bought both at the same time, so it's natural to wind up using them together. Since it's so cloudy it's hard to get good pictures, so I'll try again this weekend, weather permitting.
Figured since I was on a roll this week as far as projects, I might as well do one today, too, since the weather's dreary and too cold to spend much time outside. I kept it simple--a pair of earrings using base metal components, seed beads, and pink fancy glass. They look like flat rounds, but in actuality they're ridged down the center, which is why they don't lie flat in the photo.
On top of my usual feline "assistant" Cassie, I have a new one. His name is Merlin--so named because he's a stray tom who comes and goes as he pleases. He appears to have adopted us, and, though Mom was in the habit of driving him off when he first showed up, she's taken to him now and he appears here to stay. I think part of that's because I was sneaking around feeding him at first because he was quite thin and needy. I never turn away strays; I feel bad they seem to have no one else to go to, so I give them what I can. Merlin is a big cat. He appears to be a mix of Siamese and stray orange cat. He has bright powder-blue eyes and the yowling, attention-needy personality of the Siamese, and the build and average behavior of a barn cat. Cassie and our outdoor former-tom, brown-and-black tabby Levi, tolerate his presence, and he chases off the neighborhood bully black-and-white who otherwise would beat the stuffing out of our two kitties. Now I've discovered he loves to help me take pictures of my jewelry about as much as Cassie does. And it's just about as hard to take pictures of him because he has to be as close to me as possible, rubbing and purring. But, anyway, here's our Merlin.
Today I did a project for myself. I've had a unique oval red-and-black-and-white banded agate pendant for about three years, but had been unable to come up with a suitable design for it. It reminds me of a clownfish, which was part of the difficulty. I'd bought carnelian rounds to go with it (I read somewhere that banded agate is usually carnelian and/or onyx, both members of the chalcedony family, as is agate). I decided today to try just doing a simple round necklace using the carnelian rounds in the cross-weave pattern, but figured it probably wouldn't lay right unless it had a pendant. Then I remembered I had the banded agate pendant sitting in my bowl of collected polished stones and dug it out to use at last. I love the way it turned out, although where the necklace comes together over the pendant doesn't quite lay flat. I didn't have enough carnelian to make a longer necklace, and because of the pendant's size I didn't want it too low anyway. As things are, the V where the cross-weave comes together sits at the hollow of my throat. I used size 15 black-lined red seed beads between the rounds, and a single blackstone round as embellishment below the pendant.
Name: Clownfish choker
Price: $40 (reason: tons of carnelian, time, and effort; personal collection)
My goal today was to make five new 6-loop memory wire bracelets. I also wanted to show a variety of patterns and colors. These are what I wound up with. It's amazing the different sizes that occur, depending on what type of beads you use! Another note: it's very hard to take pictures when you have a big, needy tom cat insisting on attention!
Name: 6-loop memory wire bracelets
Price: $8 each
Length: 6 loops; size varies depending on beads used
I somehow wound up with a bunch of cherry quartz over the last couple of years, even though I'm not much of a pink person. I remember buying the flat ovals and the cubes because I liked the patterns in them, but I know the tiny 2mm rounds came later and I don't remember why. Given I had the different shapes, I decided to make a bracelet using just cherry quartz. This was the result. Cherry quartz is a different sort of pink. The striations are usually bright, though with enough of the clear they look pastel or milky. I'd almost qualify it between coral and salmon pink.
Going into Von's with the idea for this bracelet didn't prepare me for how surprisingly expensive Kambaba jasper is! Well, let me clarify: how expensive uniquely-shaped Kambaba beads are. Rounds, coins, ovals, and "pillows" (puffed squares or rectangles) are about average for stone beads, but the beautiful rectangles I found were a bit more pricey. I'd never seen this particular shape before, and that, coupled with the fact that I use a lot of rounds, made me decide to buy them anyway and see what happened. I limited myself to five (they were nearly $2 apiece!), and matched them to simple blackstone rounds, dark green-teal freshwater potato-shaped pearls, and tiny silver rounds I already owned. Given the Kambaba jasper beads are quite heavy, I strung them on wire for support instead of my usual heavy-duty, durable, flexible fishing line and used a heavier clasp. I love how the look turned out! Black was an obvious choice to match with the Kambaba...this particular jasper is mottled gray-greens and black. As with most agates, no two are exactly alike. I picked the most striking patterned beads from the display and couldn't wait to make this bracelet. New pictures!