Two New Necklaces

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I continue to try to use some of my stash as well as put away and clean up everything in my studio so it’s all organized.  I waver between the two, sometimes starting a project, pausing to put away some beads and supplies, and then going back to work.  I just enjoy being in the studio.  I do want to make more work space so I can try some new things, though.  So here are a few beads out of the way.

I have had this Gaea coffee pendant for a while.  One of the great pleasures in my life is my morning cup of coffee, so I love this pendant.  I wanted to make it into a simple necklace with some pretty beads, and I found the right ones in this strand of faceted tiger’s eye.  The picture doesn’t do them justice; they have so many beautiful colors!

BeadLove - Gaea coffee

I also had a variety of large hole irregular glass beads I really love. I had this idea to cascade them down the front of a necklace on large jump rings.  I used some old glass cubes and some rondelles that happened to be in the bag with the large holes beads for the strand. Part of my design aesthetic is “try whatever happens to be nearby.”

BeadLove - large hole glass necklace

I also started another necklace I’ve had in mind for a while, but I might have to do a little research to see how to make it work out the way I want.  I’ll spend some time on that and more on putting things away and organizing. I need to do another haul getting rid of stuff.  There’s just not enough room for everything if I want to have space for trying new things.

Productive Weekend

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I had an especially productive weekend mostly because I had a good patch healthwise and partly because as I clean and organize my studio, work is easier. I made a bunch of pieces for an upcoming blog hop as well as got in some practice with a silk thread and made a couple of other quick pieces.

Lately, my mom has been on a ball chain kick.  She’s making all sorts of cute necklaces on a variety of cool ball chain.  That has influenced me. So a while ago I bought this fabulous vintage glass ball pendant that I thought would be cool on some colored ball chain.  It turned out to be too heavy, but when I got a great lampwork pendant by Julie Schmidt Bowen of Autochthonous Evolved, I realized those ball chain colors were perfect for it!

BeadLove - Julie Schmidt Bowen ball chain

It’s perfect, right?  I really love this easy to wear, great looking necklace.  It’s got good mojo too.

Then I was going through my boxes of Czech glass because, frankly, they are out of control.  I saw these white and coral kind of big beads and the little matte gold ones I got to go with them, and I decided to put something together.  I can’t describe the quality I was going for with these except to say that there is a certain 1970s vibe I liked about them.  I laid out a pattern and then looked for a pendant.  I tried a variety but thought this owl pendant by Andrew Thornton was just the ticket.

BeadLove - Andrew Thornton owl

I’m pleased with how both of these came out.  They were quite quick but have just the look I had in mind. I love when that happens!

Practicing with Silk Thread

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BeadLove - silk cordMy favorite stringing material to use is waxed linen.  I like how things, particularly made with lighter weight beads, hang on linen as opposed to beading wire.  It’s also super easy to use. But sometimes the beads I want to use, especially gemstones, have holes that are too small, even for one-ply linen. So I’ve wanted to use silk cord, but in the past I’ve found it difficult to knot with and also difficult to use the end cups without leaving unsightly (and not as secure) lengths of thread hanging out uncovered. But I’ve decided to practice so I can get better.  Today it was just stringing and knotting the ends.  I’ll work on knotting between beads later.

BeadLove - green and gold on silk cord

First I made this necklace that did not turn out, but it was really valuable practice using the silk. I wasn’t careful with it and had to cut off my first knot cup because I got a knot further up the silk from allowing it to twist.  I learned to be very careful because it is so thin and long and can kink into a knot that doesn’t allow the beads to slide over.  I also didn’t take time to lay out the chip beads to make sure each side was about the same and they were quite different lengths in the end.  I suppose I could resist putting the knot cup on one end before stringing, but it is so much easier to do that way!  I tried to fix it with chain and a clasp kind of on the side, but it just looks wonky and floppy. I’m not even sure these are the right beads for the pendant in the end.  But I got practice knotting the ends of the silk.  It’s relatively easy on the first end, but it’s the last end that requires the knot to get flush inside the cup that is dicey for me.  I did a decent job!

Then I made a necklace that did turn out with the other half of the thread.  I like that once you cut it you still have the attached needle so you can use the rest.

BeadLove - orange and turquoise flower

I used one of the smallest widths, .35mm.  I got this flower pendant from Way To Bead and wanted to use a strand of faceted carnelian with very small holes. This necklace was easier to string than the chip beads, but the sides were still a little different by about three beads.  I had counted them out, and did drop one that I couldn’t find. I’m not sure if the difference was due to the irregular nature of the beads or I miscounted. But again, I had put the knot cup on one end before stringing, so I couldn’t change it.  But it wasn’t a big enough difference to be a problem.  I’m pleased that I got some practice and didn’t give up after my first try.

I Love This Necklace

I’ve always loved unusual beads. Years and years ago when I bought my first Mali wedding beads at Jade Mountain, a great store that no longer exists, they were some of the most unusual beads I’d seen.  I’ve since gotten more online and even a coup of several for under a dollar my mom found for me at a yard sale.  I’ve always wanted to make something really fun with some of them, and I finally have.

I probably should have gotten them all out (somehow I have some in one place and some in another yet to be identified place) but I’m not patient enough for that.  So I chose from the ones I found easily.  I got these little beads in a similar shape, and they were on clearance so I was able to get a whole bunch. That’s often a problem – I don’t have enough of any given bead for a design I have in mind.  Not this time!

BeadLove - mali wedding bead necklace

At first I thought all that yellow would be a good balance to the strong look of the Mali beads.  Then I was nervous about that, so I bought some similar beads in other colors to intersperse.  But when I got them home, they were larger and so didn’t get that same nesting/standing effect.  After I put it together, I wished I had looked harder for all the beads so I could have balanced the colors better. But today I put on a shirt that color of yellow and the necklace looked fabulous with it!  I’m so pleased with it.

Although I’m not too jaded about any beads because I still love them all, it’s fun after all these years to see new or unusual beads or be able to use beads I’ve had for a while in a piece I really enjoy.

Allegory Gallery Mystery Challenge 2 Reveal

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MysteryChallenge2

Today is the reveal for the Allegory Gallery Mystery Challenge 2! I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of the kit.  I can’t even borrow one from the Allegory Gallery blog because it is a mystery kit – no picture. I forgot to take one, and the materials are all mixed with other stuff on my table now.  However, you can tell from this picture that the color theme is yellow and blue.  Yellow is a favorite of mine, but blue is a bit of a struggle.  But not that much because I ended up making three necklaces!

The first is probably my favorite. It was difficult to get a decent picture, so you’ll have to trust me that it is super cute. I’ve already worn it twice. I love how it turned out.

Mystery Kit 2 lapis necklace

I used part of the strand of lapis rectangles from the kit and separated them with tiny brass drops. I finished the necklace with these cool vintage ball chain connectors and a beautiful Mary Harding clasp.  This necklace is great on its own or layered.

This next necklace uses the Mystery Component that Andrew Thornton made and a gorgeous vintage yellow glass bead from the kit. I finished the necklace with some azure agate and metal spacers.

Mystery Challenge 2 - MC necklace

Last, but not least, I used a variety of beads from the kit and my stash to make chain bits to go along with a couple of chain bits I already had. I used a pendant by Yvonne Irvin-Faus from My Elements as the focal.

Mystery Challene 2 - My Elements necklace

Thank you to Andrew Thornton and William Jones of Allegory Gallery.  These challenges are always fun and feature beautiful kits.  Visit the Facebook page to see what other people made.  Someone might have even remembered to take a picture of the kit!

Various Styles

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I like so many styles.  It shows in these two pieces I made recently.  I bought some Azalea Vintage Plastic Bead Blend from Allegory Gallery. I love the color mix, and plastic beads are so nice and light.  Vintage plastic seems to have a nicer quality than modern plastic.  I love how the mix looks, so I decided to make a memory wire bracelet to show it off.  There are a few other things in there.  I was thinking of making something else, and I dumped it together on my bead board with another complementary color mix I had.

BeadLove - Azalea bracelet

I love pink. Wouldn’t this look fabulous with white linen?

Then I wanted to make a necklace with some Hebron glass beads I’d gotten. I love their rustic look. I had thought I would simply hang them off some cool chain with jump rings. When I was looking through my chain, I saw this great patina ball chain from Supply Your Soul.  I love the patina choices in this shop. This chain color is called wabi-sabi.  I swooned over it for some time and finally got some.  This is a great use of it because it really lets both the chain and the beads stand out, and the beads can slip right on the chain.

BeadLove - hebron ball chain

This necklace is so quiet compared to the happy cheerfulness of the bracelet.  I like both styles (and many more).  The variety is why making jewelry is so fun.

Fun Family Weekend

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I spent some time with family this weekend, one of my favorite things to do.  My sister and brother-in-law picked me up from work on Friday, and we stopped at my house to feed the cat before we went on to my parents.  I got beads in the mail! I had placed an order from Bead Box Bargains, a discount bead site I think I heard of from a mention by Shaiha Williams.  Thanks, Shaiha! The stock varies, but you can get some really great bargains.

When I was ordering, they had gemstone random picks. They have a variety of strands of a certain gemstone and you buy it ($1.99!) sight unseen and get a random size and shape. I am really pleased. I got two citrine and two aquamarine.

Bead Box Bargains random pick gemstones

I also got some Czech glass.

bbb czech glass

I am on their mailing list, and they also had a coupon code.  My whole order came to just over $16 with shipping!  For me to get any bead order for less than a $20 bill is amazing!  BUT, I’m going to have to start being more conservative in my buying habits because I’ve decided to go to Bead & Button next year. I need to start saving!

In addition, I got a beautiful ceramic and glass pendant from a new-to-me artist, Kat Townsend.

Kat Townsend pendant

Back to the family weekend. We went to Stoughton, a nearby town, to visit some shops.  One was the studio of an artist a co-worker told my sister about, Bill Amundson.  Really loved his style and anti-corporate bent.  Here is one subtle example; he had more that were quite a bit more salty! They all made me smile.

Bill Amundson

We also stopped in Cheesers.  I don’t have any pictures, but they deserve a mention because they have a wonderful cheese selection, and that’s saying something in Wisconsin! They are quite convenient because they are downstairs from a great bead store, Diakonos Designs.

I am very proud of my first purchase. I (like many people, I suspect) keep buying a lot of the same stuff.  Diakonos has a lot of wonderful African beads, but I have strands and strands of those hanging in my studio.  Even though that is the first thing I am attracted to, since I am not using them at a great rate, let me buy something else! I bought a little strand of blue quartz points.  So pretty!

blue spike quartz

I also bought some Czech glass drops for a specific project I have in mind.  I hope it turns out!  If so, you’ll see it soon!

Czech drops

Of course I couldn’t resist some rustic pieces and a couple clasps.

Stoughton metal

My dad was debating delving into a new media – leather! He was wavering, so I told him I’d like to buy some supplies for his birthday.  Happy early birthday, Dad!

Dad's birthday present

Then we went home and hung out, my favorite thing. So cozy and relaxing. Here is a photo of one of my dad’s mini flower arrangements.

Dad's mini flower arrangement

I didn’t get in any swimming like I planned, but next time!  Today I’ve got to catch up on stuff, but weekends always seem longer (in a good way!) when I get to spend some fun time with family.

Look What I Made

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I couldn’t think of a title for this post, so I just called it what it is.  I had in mind a post called “In the Pink” because I made the pink necklace first and was in the process of making another one that had a fair amount of pink, but I got distracted and made something else.  The pinkish necklace is going to have to wait because next I’m going to work on something for a blog hop.

Anyway, I got this strand of pink striped vintage glass lentils at the same time I got some gorgeous large rose quartz simple cut beads. I really love the simple cut.  When I was putting things away, I saw them together and thought, “Bingo!” I decided to put some little crystals between the quartz for added sparkle and some yellow seed beads in the strand for a pop of another color. I’ve always loved beads that looks like candy, and I think the striped beads do, and next to them the rose quartz is very rock candy.

BeadLove - pink candy necklace

Then I was trolling Pinterest and saw that I’ve pinned many long bohemian beaded necklaces with tassels.  I quickly sketched a design of one with a turquoise connector and a little tassel by swoondimples with a metal band stamped “Lucky”.

BeadLove - Lucky tassel close 2

I added some rustic metal, African glass, vinyl disc beads and what have you for some interest in the front and then finished it with this gorgeous strand of blue glass.  I wish I knew where I got it.  I love it!

BeadLove - Lucky tassel ful

Thanks for visiting!

Lovely Beads

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This post is to highlight a couple of things I’ve made recently with certain favorite types of beads.  One longtime favorite – melon shape – and a new favorite – set stones.

First up the new favorite. I got a vintage Cuba stone pendant from an Andrew Thornton destash that I just fell in love with.  I decided to make a necklace that kept it simple so the focus would stay on the pendant. That’s a little difficult for me because I love lots of color.

BeadLove - Cube stone green

It was difficult to get the color and sparkle in that pendant, but those of you who know beads can see it enough to imagine the rest.  I love the texture too.

Second, I have loved melon shape beads lo these many years.  I recently got a Gaea pendant with a cat face on one side and an owl face on the other.  I had a variety of melon beads from Sarah Willey’s Bead Destash. There is something about the melon shape that makes me ridiculously happy. Especially in a variety of colors.  I decided they would be the perfect happy complement to the Gaea pendant.  I added in some slightly larger light green melons I’ve had for probably a good 15 years or more.  Here is the cat side.

BeadLove - Gaea cat necklace

Here is the owl side.

BeadLove - Gaea owl side

The Cuba stone pendant has given me a new interest in set stones.  I have another even more gorgeous Cuba stone pendant from Andrew’s destash as well as some other set stones in a vintage style that I got from a great shop I just came upon. I’m not even sure how I found it; I wasn’t looking for these specific things, but they charmed me (no pun intended) once I saw them.  One set of drops even has melon shape glass – a twofer!  Score!

BeadLove - set stones 2

Beads are a stress reliever for me. I just love looking at them, thinking about how to use them and working with them. I’m lucky to have something like that.

Inspired by Reading: The Fault in Our Stars

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The July selection for the Inspired by Reading Book Club is The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  I was late getting started in reading this book, but it was short and a really easy read.  I find that young adult books I would have liked as a young adult I also like as an adult, and that was the case with this book. I also often like jewelry that I would have liked as a young person, and I think that is true of the piece I’ve made.

It could be said that this book is about two teenagers who have cancer and fall in love.  But the teenagers in question, Hazel and Augustus, wouldn’t like that characterization. They don’t want to be defined by their illnesses, but those illnesses are a large part of their lives and their story.  The book is good because the main characters are smart and funny.  The supporting characters really add to the story and are well-developed for the most part.

While the characters are not their illnesses, my creation does focus on Hazel’s issue.  She says her lungs suck at being lungs.  And although this feels a little like a cheat because Andrew Thornton made the pendant I used for his own creation inspired by the book Stiff, I still decided to go with it.  I was enthralled with the shrink plastic pieces he made, and knew the right project would come along for the ones I have.  Well, in this case the one.

BeadLove - The Fault in Our Stars

I had this ribcage sitting out on my work table intending to use it for my project kind of in the back of my mind thinking it was lungs.  When I started to work, I realized it isn’t lungs, but close enough, being the protective cage around the lungs.  I added a Nunn Design heart charm for Hazel and Augustus’ love.  I had thought about adding a whole bunch of heart charms around the pendant. When I started designing, I was putting away a group of chain bits (oh how I love chain bits) I had recently gotten.  I decided those were right for this necklace. They are all different sizes, shapes, colors, materials. I often say life isn’t linear. It’s not like an identical strand of beads all around a necklace.  Very few people are born and everything goes smoothly from there.  There are peaks and valleys, joys and sorrows, pain and love in all our lives.  You never know what is coming and when, and I like how the various bits of beaded chain in this necklace symbolize that, yet it’s still beautiful.

When looking for a jump ring to connect it all, I saw my bag of rubber o rings and decided to find a color that represented something from the book.  At one point, Hazel and Augustus go on a picnic and eat a bunch of orange food, so I used an orange one.

I didn’t really think I’d like this book that much from the description, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I also really enjoyed making my piece and know I will enjoy wearing it.  We’ll see if anyone asks me why I’m wearing a rib cage.  If so, I’ll recommend the book!  Visit the Inspired by Reading Facebook page to see other creations inspired by The Fault in Our Stars.

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