Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Today's Necklace--decisions, decisions

I need to make ten of the same necklace for a future press gifting event. I was playing around with some ideas and took these pic along the way. I wanted to use these pale blue jade beads I got at the San Diego bead faire. When I was adding the chain components, it looked very simple and sweet. 

I wanted the piece to have an edgier feel so I decided to add some pyrite in gunmetal to the other side. 

I could have left this just like a chain but I wanted to see what a pendant would look like. 

Hmmmmmm pearl? That always looks classic and elegant. But not too edgy. Pyrite??

I decided to go with the cool shaped pyrite bead stacked with a silver spacer and a silver toned pyrite. The finished necklace looks like this. Would you be happy to receive this as a gift? 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Easy DIY Teapot Necklace--no skills required.

Today, I wanted to post a necklace I "made" over the weekend.  I put "made" in quotes because really, what I did was walk into the craft store in search of a storage container, meandered onto the beading section, saw an impossibly cute package of tea themed charms and bought them.

I suppose this would look terrific on a charm bracelet or something more complicated but all I did was buy a16 inch sterling silver chain. The simplest one.

That was it. I put the teapot on the chain and viola. The perfect necklace for me. Why? Because I drink a lot of tea. I love tea. Its my go to drink. There's a cute tea cup in this package. That may be necklace number two.

Perhaps next time you  are at the craft store you will walk over to the beading section, find a charm/pendant you like and put it on a simple chain. I saw some adorable Alice in Wonderland ones, I saw Acorns for Wendy lovers from Peter Pan, I saw hearts, turtles, fish, dragons, and so much more! 

What an incredibly inexpensive way to make custom gifts for your friends!

I feel guilty posting this as a DIY.  But maybe someone will make a necklace seeing this post and have that "AHA that's so easy I could totally do that" moment :)

Happy snowy Monday.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Green garnet earth tone necklace with pearls or with out pearls?

Sometimes I make a necklace but something just isn't right. I made this necklace a while back and I loved the idea of dangling pearls. I had to give it a try. I liked the idea of it but not exactly the execution. Could be the pearls were too big, the drops are too far apart, I couldn't put my finger on it. 

Today, I took all the dangles off. I did a new pattern of garnets and I added the pearl into the chain instead of dangling from the chain. I also updated the dangling pendant to be more proportional, lengthwise, to the piece. 

It's a lot simpler in design and feel. But I think that's what I didn't like before. It was just too much stuff on one strand. Some pieces call for that. I like this version for this piece. The "less is more." What do you think?? 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Oops I did it again... I played with some emeralds and citrine.

Yes! I admit it. I loooove bad music. The pop music that makes people cringe makes me totally seat bop. Or as the young kids say. Totes awesome. I know. I am so lame. But Brittany, Back Street Boys? I can't get enough. But I digress. This is not a pop music blog. It's a beading blog. So here goes. 

My girl friend/beading bestie sent me these three sparkling yellow citrine ovals one day so I made this. 

Soooo pretty. Love emeralds and these had this sparkly rich dark green thing that was completely reflected in the price but now is not the time to contemplate my addiction either....

After a few wears of it like this, I made a quick and simple change. I moved the emeralds out from between the citrines. 

And this is how it pretty much stayed until last night, I decided to play with it some more and now........
Ok wait. Here it is with my branch -- I keep having to hide it in the coat closet bc the gardeners want to take it and my boys think it's unfair that I get to break the "outside things stay outside" rule. 

And finally, me. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Dreaming of Summer and Working with Turquoise

Saturday means piano at 9:30, tennis at 11 and now, acting classes at 1pm. Here I sit for hours waiting for both boys to learn the fundamentals of acting. My two future Keanu Reeves? I'm trying to think of other half asian male actors....

And it's cold. Just cold. So I hunker down with my hot tea in my hot cup and my travel beading bag. 

Today, I've decided to work with turquoise. It's making me think of warm days, white t-shirts and summer jewelry. 

I oxidized some 26 gauge silver wire to make it black. I thought that would look nice against the smooth but uneven shaped stones. After starting, the 24 or even 22 gauge may have been better bc the 26 is thin and hides into the holes of the beads but it's subtle and I like it. 

I got about 10 inches done in the lobby of the acting school and now that I'm home, I'm thinking about clasps and a possible pendant to dangle off the clasp. 

Because the beads are large, a hook is probably easier than a toggle. So, I lay out my options. 
Left to right my options are
-baroque silver pearl 
-baroque cream pearl 
-a large moonstone
-pale pink tear drop shaped pearl 

The sizes are roughly the same so I think at this point, it's personal preference. 

Not sure what I'll pick just yet. 
This is a peek into my process :) 

And this is the final finished product 

Can't wait for warmer weather. :)

Here is me wearing my new turquoise necklace with a summery top. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Beauties at the Bead Store

Today, I went to get 14 gauge wire to make some rings. I like these stack rings to make and give as gifts and I thought I'd buy the materials and prep everything and save the soldering for when I go visit open studio time at Silver Works at Glen Echo Park. 

While I was there, I visited with the beads in the case. Amazing. 

Check out these chrome diopside I didn't buy. 
These were stunning. As were these bessonite (a type garnet) 

The case. It has such fancy things, makes me want to drool. 

But wait. They had some other cool things today. 

I didn't get these either....
Rough green garnets. Big and chunky. I thought about 24 gauge gold wire or oxidized black wire...but I put them back. 

These caught my eye too. 
More green garnet, smooth and tubular. Could be macrame, crochet? 

These carnelian were cute 
But not exactly what I was looking for. Though looking at the photo now, I kinda want. 

These pearls I photographed because they are dark and baroque. Always good to have but again, I refrained. 
And finally, they had these lovely round faceted iolites. Not something I had seen before. They look black here but they are a pretty blue. 
A lovely trip to the bead store. 
Accent beads in Rockville. Such a happy place. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

David Yurman, I Love You.

David Yurman is one of my favorite jewelry designers. I love the chains, the stones, the rings... One day I saw a quadruple strand moss aquamarine necklace in a Yurman catalog and fell in love. But me, being sort of smallish, probably couldn't wear all THAT.  So off I went, on a quest to recreate. I wish I had the original picture. I will keep looking

Regardless, here is my David Yurman inspired triple strand necklace. And a selfie to boot :) 

Looks great with my usual, very casual style :) (so says me, taker of selfie and maker of jewels....)

Tourmaline Disks Go From Sloppy to Sassy

This refashion is, in my opinion, a drastic change and vast improvement. Early on, while I was trying the silk knot thing, I had (and still have) a hard time deciding on the string size. Sometimes the string won't fit when doubled on a needle. Sometimes the knots are too small and go right through the beads. In this case, I had to use a thin thread but the beads just wouldn't stay put on the necklace. I even double knotted which was not as aesthetically pleasing.

I made it long enough so I wouldn't need to use a clasp and because it was silk, it was very light and easy to wear. But the darn beads kept moving and sliding on the silk string because the knots were too small. That was a bit infuriating, even though it was my fault for the string size choice...big sigh. 

But then, after a while of thinking about it, mulling it over, turning it around in my hand, viola. 
A bracelet. These beads were meant to be close and next to each other. Not knotted separately on a string... For now ;) 

Citrine and Rock Crystal Necklace Gets A Focal Pebdant

A few years ago, I went to what I thought was a gem show but was really a mineral and rock show. Refusing to go home empty handed, I bought a few Druzy sparkling geode slices. I didn't know what to do with them and as my wire skills improved, I was able to add a stone at the center to make it more exciting.

I also had this very plain, wear with anything, rock crystal and citrine necklace on a gold chain. 

They were both within the same color scheme, and then the aha moment. Here is what it was:
And what it became 
Close up 

The Three Stages of Green Tourmaline Tubes

Sometimes I have a strand of beads and I know what I want to make right away. Other times, like in this case, it takes three tries.

First, I tried silk knots with a moss aquamarine pendant.
No. I didn't love it. 
Then I went from silver to gold and created a longer and wire wrapped piece. 

Still, no no no. 
I finally settled on a triple strand bracelet. Yes? 

An Elephant's Journey

Ametrine. I just found out this is a combination of amethyst and citrine--thus the purple/lavendar color to yellow.

This strand was so pretty with the purple and yellow ombré and I had this new ultra strong, no needle needed beading string to try. 

As the eye catching detail, I added this silver elephant. I have a thing for elephants. They bring good luck. I have a collection of them. It's better if the trunks are raised upward but regardless, elephants, in my mind, bring luck.

Sadly, the way I strung this necklace, the elephant  always showed its butt. No good. I needed to add a jump ring to make it lie flat like I forced it to do for this pic. So, knowing a this necklace had an ill positioned pendant, the editing began. 

First? The gemstones. The necklace was shortened to a bracelet. 
I like to mix green with purple. It's a thing I do. Not sure why. The bead that is on the silver circle is green, tho this photo is particularly dark.

What happened then, to the sweet, lucky elephant that kept showing its backside?
It jumped onto a crocheted necklace that I had just been working on, that was in need of a focal pendant.

A friend stopped by, saw the necklace and the elephant and took it home. She, apparently likes elephants too. :) 

The Fascinating Thing About Silver Circles

Blue faceted agate beads that almost look like marbles caught my eye at a gem show. I thought they'd make a cool necklace wire wrapped with silver and some silver pearls to go with the grey hues in the blue. I came home and created this:
I thought it was quite pretty but no bites. 
I added a few silver circles and wham! Sold at the next show. 

Pink Tourmaline and Diamonds vs. Pearls?

Reminds me of that Prince song, "Diamonds and Pearls."

My tourmaline beads are so tiny I thought it would be great with this equally small pave diamond bead. But Drats. I forgot to measure the thing and upon completion, the necklace was a hair short of 16 inches making it a bit short/tight around my neck. 

Then, while pondering a gift for my mom, I thought "hey, I could make the center bigger and lengthen the entire thing." Like this: 
And so I did. I gave it to my mom and she wears it as a casual every day necklace :)

Hang a Pearl On It--Or In This Case, Two.

My beading bestie bought three strands of this gorgeous graduated moss to make a multi strand necklace but then found other strands that were not graduated. I kindly asked to buy one of the strands she was not using. They were gorgeous. To wear immediately, I strung them, as is, on beading wire and closed with crimps. A five minute project, 4 minutes hunting down the clippers. 

But then, while prepping for my most recent show, I decided to add a pearl but one seemed so small. I added another and a stone for sass:

I liked it so much, I wore it to the bazaar. 

Close up selfie of me wearing this necklace to a recent classical guitar concert series: