Layering

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I love the Jes MaHarry look – gemstones and precious metals in a casual, organic style. You may have seen it in the Sundance catalog. I like how she styles it when I see her wearing it herself – layering several necklaces together. Lately I’ve been making some gemstone and small pendant necklaces that I think of wearing this way.

Four small gemstone necklaces with small silver and pewter pendants.

I’ve used vintage glass, labradorite, turquoise, rubies, sapphires and pearls. the pendant on the left is by Sweet Rock Candy Beads and the other three are by Green Girl Studios. The Green Girl pendants are double sided. The fairy says “joy” on the back. The dove has a peace sign on the back. The (I believe) gryphon says “the final mystery is oneself.”

Same four necklaces in previous pictures turned over to show the back of the pendants.

I wasn’t quite intentional enough when making these, and they are all the same general length. I will need to make another that is a bit longer (or maybe I already have one suitable). The beads are also similar enough to not lay well together. I’ll need to experiment more to get some I think work well together. I think a longer one on chain maybe. These all work well on their own though, and I’m having fun making them and looking for the right materials.

Bring on the Joy

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Recently Hope from the Crafty Hope blog had a giveaway of a cool piece she made, and I won. Thanks, Hope! I love it, and what’s more, she sent some other cool goodies, including several things she made. That’s one of the reasons I admire Hope and like to read her blog. She’s always trying things and experimenting. I love working with beads, but I’d like to get a little more creative. Somehow it’s like exercise. I know it would be good for me, but I can rarely convince myself to do it!

Anyway, I was inspired and decided to use one piece right away. I love clear and white beads, glass, and crystals. I also love soldered things. The texture and color of solder is a lovely contrast with the smoothness, sparkle and/or color of glass and crystal. Hope wrapped a clear class piece and soldered on a ring to make a pendant.

Long knotted necklace with a clear glass and silver soldered pendant, various colors of glass beads and silver beads.
I love this clear class pendant by CraftyHope knotted with colorful vintage glass and vintage silver-plated beads.

I looked in my vintage glass box for some smallish beads and found a short strand of rounds and drops I got from Shipwreck Dandy Supply. I had the 4mm silver plated beads in the same box; they seemed glass-like to me since they aren’t thick or weighty. I got a hank of these from Famous Vintage Bead Hoard Liquidation Destash.

This is my frequently made long, knotted, fits-over-the-head style. I love it! This is a joyous necklace, and I can use some joy right now. Although I’m not wearing jewelry outside of the house, I’ll enjoy wearing it inside and looking at it. I enjoyed making it. I hope you enjoyed reading about it.

What I’m Working On

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I was working on some things that I can’t show, but I have been busy making, and that feels good. Once I got a bunch of household stuff done, I settled in to make something relaxing just for myself. That usually means knotting. I haven’t finished the piece, but I was losing light, so I knew if I wanted a blog post today, I better get some pictures and show what I have so far.

I picked out a two-sided fish pendant by Artybecca. It’s so fabulous.

Two-sided fish pendant by Artybecca

I wanted to use this specific pendant because there are some bright pink beads that are in an open box in my studio. Every time I see them, I swoon and hope I find a project for them. When I saw the pink in this pendant – bingo!

These beads are vintage, but I don’t know exactly what their deal is. They look like mercury glass, but they almost seem like insulated glass in their thickness rather than having the delicacy of mercury glass. Perhaps they are some coated material. I left the above picture a bit dark to try to cut down on shine and capture the texture they have. I love everything about them.

With such a poppy color, I wanted to choose much more neutral colors for the other beads. I decided on dark colors, black and olive green, so I chose the side of the pendant with the olive eye. I also like the flower shape on that side.

The black beads that I’ve put near the pendant are wooden. The barrel bead has a lovely design that reminds me of spoon carving popular on Eastlake style wooden dressers. The olive are vintage lucite beads with a bit of a pumpkin texture. I’m knotting it on black linen.

I’m wondering a little bit if I should have fewer of the small beads in a row and have a black bead every other time as the bead in between the olive beads. If I have fewer olive beads per grouping, I don’t want want the very shiny, bright pink beads to overwhelm the piece. Working on this is just what I needed for a bit of fun and relaxation on Sunday evening.

A Few Little Things

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I haven’t been too creative the last couple of weeks, but I don’t want to skip a lot of blog posts. So I will show my little makes of late.

A while ago I got some vintage pinch bails from Suzanne Branca’s Famous Vintage Bead Hoard Liquidation Destash. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them, but the ladder look of them is so cool. Then I got a few free project ideas with an order from Goody Beads.

I actually have some Swarovski heart pendants, but the scale of my bail was too big. In looking for what else I might have, I found another crystal pendant. I suspect this was gifted to me by Patti Vanderbloemen, but it got separated from its packaging, so I’m not sure. In any case, it was a nice size for the bail.

I had this awesome chain – in fact a ready-made necklace – in sparkly twisted gold. It goes quite well with the pendant. This photo doesn’t show everything as pretty and glittery as it is.

I also made a couple pair of earrings for the Artists for Animals Auction that will now be taking place in November. The first features peace sign connectors. I’ve always loved the peace symbol; it’s such a hopeful thing. I added vintage Miriam Haskell lemon rainbow glass dangles. They are so pretty. I got both of these components from Suzanne’s site as well.

My other pair features what I call “puzzle pieces” by Sue-Lin Tarnowski. I love the colors. I added a green glass hoop.

Thanks for having a look at my makes. I hope you are doing well.

Self-Care

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I haven’t been feeling that inspired the last week. There is so much sadness and so much to be angry about. But self-care is important because if we aren’t well, we can’t do the work to make things better, so I went into my studio today and made a couple of things.

First I used one of the Allegory Gallery inspiration kits. This is Kit #8. I could not love the metal lady bug more. And I love the green and red palette that says summer rather than Christmas.

I added some brass spacers, glass peanut beads, and an owl. I figured the lady bug should have a friend. Other than findings, everything else is from the kit. It was really lovely weather here today, which does not make for a good picture!

Last week I was auditioning some Andrew Thornton pendants to go with gemstones. One was a polymer clay round that was a strong contender, but ultimately did not get chosen for that necklace.

Sometimes I take photos when I’m working to get a different perspective on how things look.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it, though, and put it on some dark, sparkly chain I got from Sondra’s Estate Beads Destash Depot. I was trying a variety of other charms to go with it, and wanted something long so it would lay right with the round. I spied a perfect head pin by Kimberly Rogers of Numinosity.

Made for each other!

The wire on the headpin is a stronger metal than I’m used to working with, and I’ll tell you I didn’t break the glass headpin just by a miracle. I’ve dangled the two art beads from the chain with a beautiful handmade ring from Shannon of Miss Fickle Media.

Being in my studio is a balm. Sometimes I go in there just to look around or even clean and organize. It’s calm and full of positive energy from the creativity of all the artists who made things that live there.

Take care. I hope you can find ways to help make your community better for all the residents who live there.

Artists’ Studio Treasures

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If you read this blog, you know I have added many treasures to my stash from Andrew Thornton’s destash. Some of my favorite beads, as well as some of my favorite things in general, are from the destash. I love one-of-a-kind things that maybe were an experiment, for a class, or for a project that didn’t come to fruition. One example of this is a polymer clay dish I got by Andrew Thornton. I can’t find my notes on this, but I believe this was the result of Andrew playing around (!).

dish by Andrew Thornton

This dragon dish is one of my prized possessions. It is so gorgeous; it is in my living room so I can see it all the time.

Since I knew what treasures could come out of a studio destash, I was thrilled when, during one visit to his sister Cynthia Thornton, Andrew helped her do a destash from her studio. I got some very fine items, including a pendant featuring an original sketch by Cynthia on a shrink plastic.

Pendant by Cynthia Thornton

It is small, so I wanted just the right beads to complement it but not overwhelm it. I auditioned a variety of beads, but finally found just the right thing. I got some vintage turquoise nuggets that I absolutely love from Allegory Gallery. I feel that there is something very 1970s about this turquoise. There are so many design and style elements I love from the ’70s. Of course there are things I don’t like, but I don’t think a whole decade of style should get a bad rap because of a few missteps, like leisure suits! Every decade has those things.

I added a few Indonesian manik-manik glass beads and knotted the whole works on linen. When I was knotting on the clasp, the strand of linen broke. That sort of thing usually spells the end of a project because I hate a re-do. However, I love this design so much, I re-knotted it the same day and finished the clasp the next morning. It didn’t hurt that it’s not a long necklace, but I really do love it.

Tortoise

No, I’m not talking about a reptile, but the bead variety. It’s a such a classic look. I was going through some beads this weekend and came across some fluted fan shaped vintage plastic tortoise beads gifted to me by Mary Redman. So pretty. I tried a variety of beads with them, some colorful, but I really liked the grey and tortoise together the best.

The other beads in the necklace aren’t officially tortoise, but in the amber/tortoise color family. I got the smaller, faceted amber beads and the matte grey rounds in a swap with Helena Hatten, and the rest are from my stash.

I think this has a fun vintage/modern look, and the colors are different than most of my necklaces, so it’s a good addition to my collection.

Why You Should Be Reading the CraftyHope Blog

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Blogs aren’t as popular as they used to be. The quicker look of a picture and hashtag on Intagram and other social media platforms I don’t even belong to have taken over. I’ll admit, I don’t always take time to read as many as I used to. But there are some I really enjoy where the makers continue to post regularly. Some you see me mention, like SJ Designs Jewelry and Art Bead Scene when I join the challenges. But I wanted to introduce you to another if you don’t already know about it: CraftyHope. Let me tell you why.

1. Beautiful Jewelry

I love Hope’s style, and I even own a piece of her jewelry.

Bracelet by CraftyHope

Here are a few other recent favorites by CraftyHopeearrings, necklace.

2. It’s not only jewelry.

Hope does art journaling and more. Here is a favorite art journal page.

3. Really good ideas.

I saw a post of hers showing how to make little Christmas tree ornaments from buttons. This set off a whole idea of making a bunch of unbreakable ornaments so I can put up a Christmas tree this year without worrying about my cat getting hurt.  Here is my first one.

I actually first saw this next tip from Patti Vanderbloemen, but at that time I didn’t have a lot of “good” wire that needed good storage. Then, once I started caring what gauge, hardness and metal my wire is, I was reminded when I saw it again on Hope’s blog. So I went from this:

To this:

She also regularly posts videos with full instructions for whatever project or update she is showing.

4. Great photos

CraftyHope has a regular feature called Peek at My Week which includes lovely photos of nature, family, projects and various other things. She also alerts us to challenges, good projects, tools and techniques. Another favorite thing is when she shows a thrift haul. I love a good thrift haul!

There is lots to love on the CraftyHope blog, so if you haven’t seen it, check it out. Also, give her etsy store some love. But if, in the end, you just aren’t a blog person (what are you doing here?!?) her Instagram is lovely as well.

Beautiful Elements by Heather Powers

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I finally got Heather Powers‘ book Beautiful Elements: Creative Components to Personalize Your Jewelry. It’s a very exciting book, and I’ve barely delved into it. I’ve made a tour through all the projects, and each one is something I would like to (and will) do, but the first thing I did wasn’t even making my own components. It was one of the jewelry projects shown using a component from the book.

Necklace by Heather Powers from her book Beautiful Elements

The book shows how to make the leaf toggle/focal (it’s easier than you might think!) But I couldn’t wait to make this necklace. I saw those center drilled stick beads and thought of some center drilled African turquoise sticks I got at a bead show some years ago. I picked them up while hovering in the Dakota Stones booth waiting for someone else to put down some gorgeous apatite rough nuggets so I could buy them (she did and I did). I liked the turquoise, but it was an unusual shape for me. Here was an inspiration for how to use it!

I wanted a focal that made a statement like this leaf. I decided to look in my stash of treasures by Erin Prais-Hintz that I’ve been hoarding. I suspected I’d find something perfect, and some of them should see the light! I was rewarded with with this amazing pendant.

Erin always packages things really beautifully and includes information like the name of the piece, which was on the card this was attached to. I very carefully saved it so I would have it for this blog post. That was weeks ago, and now I can’t find it (until, I’m sure, I push the publish button on this post!) Anywho, I believe this is patina mixed with resin, and it is just gorgeous. There are little touches of pink, and I used this  bead my sister’s girlfriend gave me that is the exact right color. I love that. (Thanks, Lisa!)I also loved using the three Czech glass petal beads that echo the shape of the pendant. The pewter clasp, by Inviciti, has a similar shape too.

I am so pleased with this necklace and that I’ve got some experience using a bead shape that I had trouble with before. That will help open up my designs. Look for more projects from this book in the future.

All that Glitters

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This post once again underlines my favorite design theme: every bead will eventually find its project. Over two years ago, I got these gold glass pearls from Sondra’s Estate Beads Destash Depot Facebook page.

They look large, and Sondra clearly said they are 20 x 14 mm “focal sized”. But, my brain doesn’t process size well, so I’m not infrequently surprised by how large or small something is when I get it, and that was true with these. No worries; if I like it, I know I will use it. And these pearls are gorgeous.

Fast forward a couple years, and I got a subscription to the streaming service Acorn. I am watching a show called “Good Karma Hospital.” On one episode, a character walks into a scene wearing the most beautiful large gold pearl necklace! I immediately thought of these pearls.

Now, I didn’t have these materials. This looks like 30 or more large cornflake type fresh water pearls. However, my lovely Czech glass beads could make something with this same rich look. So I found mine and set about coming up with a design that would work.

I wanted the pearls to take front and center and have some sort of small tassel at the bottom. I needed more beads. I added large iris coated gold seed beads and iris coated Czech pumpkins. I also added some vintage glass pearls dipped in a bronzey-gold that my mom gave me.

I really love it. It has a nice weight and just glows. I was actually so inspired that I stopped watching the show at the moment pictured (after rewinding it about three times!) and went to find my pearls. I was just going to see what they were like, but I ended up sitting in my studio designing and constructing the whole necklace right then!