A chronicle of the meanderings, false starts (which in retrospect, while sort of embarrassing turned out to be highly instructive), epiphanies, selective apathy (still evolving), wild mood swings, opinions (subject to frequent change), and life lessons of an inveterate dabbler (and her latest dabblings).

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Inspiration Is a Lethargic and Dawdling Mistress

It has taken her nearly three months to provide me with a design for Kelley Wenzel's fabulous aqua lampwork nugget beads. They've been sitting on my Japanese-style glass top work bench since early February, within easy reach for fondling and thought experiments regarding how they might be best displayed. For a few weeks I was thinking of doing a variation on the tried and true turquoise-and-coral Southwest tradition, but with glass and carnelian instead. Then I got this fabu pewter pendant from Happy Mango Beads and the muse grabbed me by the throat. And this is what I coughed up:

Also a little red agate, one little dark red seed bead, a scattering of glass tile beads in aqua, and silver accents.

The rest of my hoard from Kelley's Beads sits forlorn on the work bench, awaiting their turn. I do pet them from time to time, so they don't lose hope. I'm kind of counting on Happy Mango to give me another jump start. Some more pewter pendants are sitting in close proximity to them on the bench, so I'm hoping they'll migrate towards each other and spontaneously merge into something divine.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Somebody Spank Me

Because I've been a very knotty girl. Twice.

Brown knotted waxed linen with glass, wood, assorted gemstones, pewter and silver plated accents. Hand-formed sterling silver hook and eye clasp. I got carried away again so it's a little longer (8.5"), just right for a 7" wrist or larger.

I just kept going since all the beads were out and lying around already. I didn't feel like putting them away. Especially since I hurt my back.

Lead-free pewter Ashanti style cross pendant. A little shorter than 19" long. Also knotted brown waxed linen. I didn't really feel like choosing a color scheme so I just used them all.

I was going to knot this last one, but the holes in the tourmaline were so small I would have had to use very fine silk, and I figured the copper heishi would slip right over the knots, so I strung it instead. So I'm knotty AND strung out. Just like Lindsay Lohan except with more to show for it. Handmade Tibetan copper and brass coin pendant (made by those Tibetan refugees living in Nepal), little tourmaline rounds, and some larger moss agate rounds near the pendant. Brass and copper heishi. It's about 17" long.

That's all I had in me today, a mental health day off from work. Actually I did the bracelet last week. So it was a two-pendant day. I was moving a little slower because I hurt my back this morning bending over to pick up a bead pole dancing. That's right, Monday morning pole dancing. That's where I get my coffee money for the week.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Summers Studio Pendant No. 2

This pendant started out as a bracelet. I was going to make a triple stranded bracelet with these wonderful minty porcelain beads by Macarroll, with teal quartz and amethyst glass. I started out with the main strand (minus the pendant focal), and a strand of amethyst glass tile beads with silver heishi, and another strand with tiny antiqued silver rounds and green aventurine pebbles. When I looked at it lying there on my glass top Japanese-style work bench, however, I thought to myself, "That really ought to be a necklace." And then I remembered my one remaining Summers Studio lentil bead, and ran (seriously, I did) and got it. I thought it looked decidedly fabulous with the other beads, so I started trying to figure out how to work it in. I ended up omitting the third strand with the aventurine pebbles, and just went with the amethyst glass tile beads. I threw in a few lilac pearls for variety, and a couple faceted glass beads in an ultra pale lilac (which I bought at the bead store a couple years ago thinking, under the fluorescent lights, that they were blue green).

I spent what seemed like HOURS trying to decide how to finish the ends of the beaded portions (so hard to make it look NICE and also be durable), and settled on wire guards and crimps/crimp covers. I didn't like the way it looked though--wire guards are not very pretty--so I covered the wire guards with some gorgeous pewter ring beads I got from Happy Mango Beads -- they slid right over them. But then the rings were wanting to slide up the chain (seriously cool stuff from Ornamentea), so I had to add the little pearls (on my hand-forged sterling ball head pins) to keep them from moving. Phew.  This took me all weekend to figure out. And some of it had already been sitting there for a couple weeks already -- some green and purple stuff I had big, vague plans for.

I rather like it. Those silver plated heishi from Happy Mango are so rustic (I think they're silver over copper), they lend an earthy, funky feel to stuff that keeps it from being too formal looking. It almost has an industrial flavor. Those Kenyans. Nothing like Kenyan heishi. (Sounds like a matter for the DEA.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

I Have a Sudden Craving for Fajitas

Maybe it's this bracelet.

Red sponge coral donut, turquoise discs, magnesite half-domes and rounds, red agate donut, carnelian and brecciated jasper, and delicious cocoa-colored deerskin lace from Magpie Gemstones, with pewter and sterling silver accents. Pewter beads and toggle clasp from Happy Mango Beads.

For more information, or to purchase, CLICK HERE.

My New Look

I redesigned my blog. A little. What do you think?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Yak Bone: It Doesn't Get More Elegant Than That

I found these lovely, rustic pendants on Happy Mango Beads a while back--they are handmade of yak bone by Tibetan refugees living in Nepal, and inscribed with the words "Om Mani Padme Hum", a common mantra associated with Tibetan Buddhism. (Even though looked it up, I have no idea what it means. Perhaps some of my readers are Buddhist, or Tibetan, or both, and can explain it.) I thought the pendants were lovely and the words inscribed probably reflected something good. If it's good enough for the Dalai Lama, by gum, it's good enough for me.

The necklace above was made with the ivory-hued pedant; I have another in a rich brown stain as well. I used brown silk beading cord, but ended up not exposing the knots. The cord was really too fine for the knots to play much role in the design so they're mostly hidden. Instead I used really tiny matte finish seed beads in a cocoa color between the ivory bone spacers, and silver heishi between the dark jasper roundels. Fusion Beads has some awesome seed beads, in every finish and color imaginable. It's like collecting nail polish. I keep buying them but I never use them!

I have a stockpile of smaller, really beautiful beads I'm going to start using though, even the itty bitty beads. A friend I recently made a custom piece for begged me (OK, begged is a little strong, but she did say "pleeeaase") to make some more delicate pieces with smaller stones and beads. So that's what I'm going to do, probably knotted and strung. I especially love the little collection of small "glass tile" beads I found on Fire Mountain Gems a long time ago. They remind me of rough gemstones.

But before moving on to the micro beads I had to make this first. This second piece is the same design I've been doing a lot of bracelets in lately--several months ago I bought a pile of big 12mm beads thinking to make earrings out of them but they ended up in bracelets and necklaces instead. Still going to do earrings. Just haven't quite gotten to it yet. This one is with 12mm faceted red agate beads (I'm just enamored with these beads--I can't stop looking at them), some carnelian, red glass (that I cannibalized from some stretchy bracelets from the $10 accessory store in Vegas) and a couple milky-blue sea opal drops. Raw brass rolo chain from Ornamentea, that oxidizes so nicely--in a flash!! Absolutely no varnish on it, I love that.

On a side note, I seem to have some deep metaphysical affinity with rugged-looking ruminant beasts. First the yak bone, and then it turns out, according to my Google Analytics account, that the top search term for my Etsy shop for March 9-April 8 was "how to spin qiviut." Qiviut is, I have come to learn, musk ox underwool. I do not use musk ox pelt in my jewelry, and I don't believe I ever mentioned musk oxen in any of my listings. It's just not a creature I think about much, and it never occurred to me to find one and shear it and make a sweater out of it. But by some circuitous route, on 8 separate occasions, curiosity about how one might turn musk ox fiber into yarn led people to my jewelry shop.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Monster Giveaway!!!!

Monster-SIZED I mean! I don't see any monsters in the photo above. Kelley Wenzel of Kelley's Beads is giving away a sh!tpile of beads on her blog! A full pound and-a-half of mouthwatering stones and beads guaranteed to make you SQUEEE! with delight. All you have to do is go to her blog and comment on the post, mentioning your favorite blog and/or Etsy shop. CLICK HERE to go to the post!!

Good luck!