Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mama Botswana earrings

And here are the earrings that match the previous necklace and earrings to complete the Mama Botswana set.  I set the two rounds aside because they were nicely banded and matched, then made the earrings using sterling silver findings I had left over from other projects once the necklace was done.  I love the deep mauve shade of these stones!

Name:  Mama Botswana earrings

Price:  $10

Length:  .75 inch, not including earwire (about an inch with earwire)

Mama Botswana bracelet

This is the bracelet to match the previous necklace, part of a set for my Mom from the stones she chose at Von's this weekend.  I used the 6mm rounds left over from the yard-long necklace to make this.

Name:  Mama Botswana bracelet

Price:  $10

Length:  9 inches

Mama Botswana necklace

So I conferred with my Mom following my work on the rhodonite necklace (see project Winter Rose), and she decided she wanted the second necklace to be even longer--37 inches.  By the time I got it strung, it was dark out, so I couldn't get pictures with decent light.  Good news, though, is I set up to take the photos in my tiny kitchen on my dining room table and they turned out!  Usually the camera won't focus when indoors under just lamplight.  I had enough beads left over to make a set of jewelry to surprise her: a pair of earrings and a bracelet.  I set the beads for the earrings aside ahead of time so they would (relatively) match each other, but used the leftovers for the bracelet, so the stones aren't quite as fancy as those in the necklace and earrings.  Again, the clasp for it isn't here yet.
So here's the Botswana for my Mama.

Name:  Mama Botswana necklace

Price:  $45 (reason: amount of stone, silver, and time used)

Length:  approx. 38 inches (because I had to end the pattern to keep it equal) without clasp; probably will be 40 inches with clasp

Survivor's Song earrings

And here are a pair of earrings to match the previous necklace.  I don't do earrings very often, but these just kind of came together.  They were the only findings I had for a pair of gold earrings, and I've never used that kind of ear wire before, but they worked out well.

Name:  Survivor's Song earrings

Price:  $8 (originals sold to Lou Anne G.)

Length:  approx. 2 inches including earwire to the bend

Survivor's Song necklace

I had originally planned for this necklace to be for my personal collection, but it's too long for what I wanted.  I may have enough leftovers to make one just a little longer than choker-length for me after all, though, so wins all around.
I bought the tube beads yesterday at Von's while helping Mom pick out some beads for a pair of necklaces, but didn't pay very close attention to what they really were.  I'd intended to buy lapis lazuli (and was in that section), but I'd noticed when I was looking at them that they were missing the gold flecks.  Turns out they are dyed the lapis color, but they're actually kiwi stone.  They work very nicely with the sweater and scarf I'd purchased them to match, however, so they're worth it anyway.  I spiced up a very simple pattern with some 4mm Swarovski bicones I had left from my friend Dan's attempt at right angle weave (see the project Dutch Tartan).  I then rummaged around and found I still had gold metal seed beads to use as spacers, gold crimps, gold crimp covers, and a gold clasp to finish the project.
Taking photos for it was a bear; my camera battery was on empty, so I had to keep charging it, rush out to snap a photo or two in the dying light, recharge enough for a couple more, over and over to get what I needed before it got too dark where I shoot.
The name of this piece suggested itself to me today while I was working on it as I've thought over my experiences the last couple of days, and then over my life in general and what all I've come through to get where I am today.  My best friend once said I could write a book about my life, and though it might seem like the experiences are an unbelievable set, there's no way I could make this stuff up.
The darkness of the kiwi stone can be symbolic of the dark times people (and I) have gone through, with the gold shining in that darkness refined and tempered like a survivor.

Name:  Survivor's Song

Price:  $30 (sold to Dan V.; my original given to Lou Anne G. for Christmas)

Length:  24.5 inches (personal version 16.5 inches)

Winter Rose necklace

This past weekend, Mom and I went to one of my favorite bead stores back home to look for some pink stone to make her a necklace for a sweater she's making.  After being overwhelmed with the choices, we started to narrow things down based on the style she wanted as well as the color--she wanted a longer necklace than what I usually make her, and she likes the simplicity of round beads.  She liked the pink and almost-coral colors of rhodonite, but didn't want the intense black matrix some of the beads had, so we got two strands to give me enough to sort out the most intense patterns and have enough to still make a long necklace.  Instead of wirework, she wanted me to use the same technique I did with her watermelon tourmaline and yellow jade necklaces--simple silver rounds in between the stones.
We looked all over town for a suitable clasp, and finally located one on FusionBeads she liked, so technically this necklace isn't done yet, but I thought people might like to see it in unfinished form.  I used 6mm rhodonite rounds, hypo-allergenic silver 3mm and 4mm rounds, silver crimps and crimp covers that will loop onto the clasp ends (meaning: no neck hair pinching!).  I also used heavy-duty nylon-coated braided stainless steel beading wire wit a 25lb breaking strain.
The necklace is currently 28 inches long; with the clasp it will be (I think) about 30 inches.
Note: the fabric I used is actually a new scarf I "made" during a trip to Champaign with a lady I work with.  The bolt of fabric was mixed in with the "costume fabrics" and since it's near Halloween it was on sale, so I bought a yard to make a scarf/wrap.  It's a mix of pink, mauve, and yellow.

Name:  Winter Rose

Price:  $35 (reason: tons of stone and silver to reach this length)

Length:  will be approximately 30 inches including clasp

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Botswana Song necklace

I've had a whole string of these Botswana agate tube beads for over a year, and have spent much of that time admiring the beautiful mauves, pinks, and browns as well as trying to figure out what exactly to do with them.  They're larger than most beads I use (and heavier given their size).  I wanted to do something unique to suit them.  Each bead is different in color and pattern, which is one of the reasons I like them so much.
Since I've been playing around with wirework a bit more lately, I rummaged through my how-to books and techniques on the supply sites I frequent, and this is the result, inspired out of one of the books (think I got the book for Christmas one year).
I got ambitious, and finally worked with my wire jig (which I've also had over a year), and made my own findings.  I made each of the wire links, wire-wrapped the bead links, and made the clasp from scratch.  Had I not run out of that particular wire (the stuff I bought from another supplier isn't as nice and I didn't want to mix the two), I would have added more links and made a longer necklace.  This was actually the size in the book--actually, the one in the book is a little shorter because they used 10mm beads between wire links instead of 15mm tubes.
Inspiration not only came from a book, but also one of my new sweaters.  I wore the sweater at work today, and had noticed when I was getting ready this morning that the Botswana agate in the bracelet I made a while back looked really neat against its colors (used the sweater for the photography, too).
The nice thing about how it's made: I can add links later if someone is interested in a longer length.

Name: Botswana Song

Price: $35 (reason: extensive wirework, cost of time and materials)

Length: 17.75 inches

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ring of Dreams

And here I thought the last ring was hard to photograph...Swarovski's medium vitrail is even harder!  You may recognize the color from a heart necklace and earrings I made a while back (which I decided to keep and wear all the time.  I love this color!
I had to redo this ring three times before I was happy with it.  The new wire doesn't work like I'm used to (too stiff, for being the same gauge), and I couldn't get my wraps placed where I wanted them.  Now it's done and it turned out well.
Again, had to take pictures in the light of my plant shelf rather than natural light because I just got it done (about 9:00).
The colors are ever shifting, kind of like when you close your eyes or dream.

Name: Ring of Dreams

Price: $10 (reason: Swarovski crystal size and type)

Size: 7 (stone is 14x10mm)

Bejeweled bangle

Ever since I made wire-wrapped earrings for my sister, I've wanted to do something like that again.  I finally managed to find a flat bangle bracelet, and chose a Swarovski crystal mix (turns out it's very similar to the one I used to make my sister's earrings [less purple, though]) to use that wasn't sold out.  Took me about an hour to wire the Swarovskis to the bangle and my fingers hurt, but it's fun and well worth it!  I like using this technique, and the Swarovski crystal makes the bangle both rich in color and sparkly.  I may have to make more of these...using different colors, of course.  So many varieties I could come up with!  The mix is called "Bright Lights," probably because the colors are so bright and rich they practically glow in the dark, but it reminded me of the colors of the gems in the game Bejeweled.  It adds a nice splash of color to any outfit.

Name: Bejeweled bangle

Price: $25 (reason: Swarovski crystal, time involved)

Size: 8.5 inches

Dusk Blossoms

This is a very difficult project to photograph!  Pressed glass flowers with Swarovski centers, and Swarovski "buds" around them, all wire-wrapped to a vine ring.  I did a similar project for my sister a couple of years ago, and had wanted to try it again, only with different colors.  I had originally settled on purple iris flowers, with bright fern green buds and centers, but when I went to order them, the flowers were out of stock.  So I switched the colors: green iris flowers and dark purple blossoms and centers.  Trying to get all of those pieces (five per loop on the ring, for a total of 15) gets really difficult as the space starts filling up, and a problem with wire-wrapping on head pins is you don't have a lot of spare wire to pull to make things tight.  So the different pieces move and rearrange themselves as you wear it.  I love the richness of the color.

Name: Dusk Blossoms

Price: $15 (reason: Swarovski crystals, time involved)

Size: 7

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Purple Twilight necklace

I taught myself a new technique this afternoon, after a long day at work: a wire-wrap bail for a pendant.  I've been meaning to make this necklace for about a week now, but wasn't sure how to go about attaching the pendant.  I have no bails--you'd think with the supplies I've got I'd have at least one floating around somewhere, but I don't--so I knew I had to make one.  It was just a matter of how?
Long story short (and two 8-inch pieces of wire and a couple of hours later...), I figured it out.
This is all the purple impression jasper / sea sediment jasper / variscite I had, except for a single 6mm round.  I used little silver beads to complement the silver wire of the bail, and a fancy clasp.
The pictures (again, focusing issues, but this time I think a lot of it was the fact that it was getting dark out) don't show how vivid a purple it is--they look more blue than they really are.  The stones are so highly polished they look like someone painted them into abstract art.

Name: Purple Twilight necklace

Price: $25

Length: 20 inches; pendant dimensions: 25 x 35 mm

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Earthsong ring

Went and got a small amount of wire today to hold me over until my order arrives.  I had a bunch of plans of stuff to make today, but I was so tired when I got home (not been sleeping well, and that's on top of my usual insomnia) that I pretty much just sat down and did nothing.  Now that it's later in the evening, my night owl side is waking up and I put together this ring using green impression jasper / sea sediment jasper / variscite and fern green Swarovski crystal bicones.  I would have made this last night had I not run out of wire.
Still battling with my camera to focus on my jewelry and not on the scenery around it...when it focuses at all.


Name: Earthsong ring

Price: $8

Size: 7

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Silver Lining ring

Again, sorry about the picture quality.  Camera is now on the charger, with hopes it'll help focus when the battery's full.  I still had some blue impression jasper / sea sediment jasper / variscite left, so I picked one of the richest in color and used the remainder of my silver wire to make this problem child.  It didn't stay the size I wanted it to--size 7--and for a while it looked like I wouldn't be able to make it bigger than a 5 (again), but I kept molding it with my hammer and got it to a size 6.  I would have just scrapped it and started over if I'd had more wire.  It looks nice despite that limitation.  The photo actually shows a decent idea of the actual color, unlike my attempts to shoot Jill's necklace last night.

Name: Silver Lining ring

Price: $8

Size: 6

Cherry Rose ring

I'm going to go ahead and post this, even though I haven't gotten very good pictures.  My camera's battery was dying, so it wouldn't focus.  I felt in the mood to attempt another couple of rings.  I had a nice flat oval of cherry quartz left in my stash, and it reminded me of a rosebud, so I used some green wire to make it look more like a flower.
Biggest plus?  I actually got it to stay the size I intended it to!

Name:  Rose ring

Price: $8

Size: 8