Monday, March 30, 2009

I heart Mondays

Thanks to Lorelei and Stacy for the encouragement (and subtle pressure), I have two necklaces to show using last week's heart charms. The Tory Burch necklace got me thinking about cord, but I decided that these charms should stand on their own, after all. Here's my first creation:

and a close up of the knotting detail:

The second one uses candy-colored Czech glass beads, Swarovski crystal accents, and is as plain and as sweet as can be. Although it was snowing when I made it, it made me think of Spring.

Friday, March 27, 2009

What I learned from making this necklace

I fell in love with these lava beads at the Rings & Things trunk show I attended last fall, and had to have them in several sizes. I tend to mull ideas over in my head for a few days before I sit down to make anything, and after a few dog walks I knew that the lava beads just had to go with my newly acquired red and black Humblebeads. I thought I could find some large size 8 matte seed beads to balance the necklace, but no luck. I’m picky about my reds, and I after three bead stores, I still couldn’t match the perfect red of these beads. Finally, I found some Czech glass crystals. The color was right, but they didn’t have the organic feel I was going for. I bought the crystals anyway, thinking the color match was more important and I’d have to compromise. My other objective was to make an asymmetrical necklace, to really set apart the red beads. Here is my first result:

It looked great on the bead board and the necklace form. It looked great everywhere except around my neck. I tried to wear the necklace several times, but it just didn’t work. I made the silver-and-polymer-clay-bead section too large, compared to my neck size and where the necklace should lie. For a true asymmetric look, the beaded portion needs to be large enough to be noticed but small enough to fit roughly in the area between the front of your shoulder and the bottom of your collar bone. Here’s my second version. It’s a much better fit on me, and the design is still interesting enough.

So, what did I learn? Set your heart on perfection, but understand you may have to compromise on a few of your materials, so be flexible. Plan your necklace, measure, and then measure again when you’re done. Measure flat, but also measure against the curve of your neck. And go ahead and keep it simple. Just because you can make a double spiral, maybe you shouldn't. Don’t add too much stuff to your necklace and lose the dimension or balance that are so important to the functionality and success of the piece. Oh, and if you're going to photograph your jewelry, use a lint roller on the necklace form before you zoom in!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Steven James Hammered Wire Earrings

I’ve been meaning to make these Hammered Wire Earrings by Steven James for a few years now, and I finally set aside time to do it. Mind you, this is an easy project and it took me much longer to deliberate over my bead choice than it did to actually make the project. Steven’s earrings are a stunning mix of silver and crystals. I thought I’d like something more organic for my version, but the holes in my smallest turquoise beads were too small for the gauge of wire I wanted to use for the project. I pawed through my Hill Tribes Silver collection, thinking it would offer an ideal solution. Alas, my stash of little beads is depleted, and the larger ones are too big to look right in this design. I went back through my crystals, but I couldn't’t settle on a color. Finally, I opted for 3mm and 4mm silver spacer beads. I had a lot, they would provide the texture needed for the design, and by keeping the metals the same I’d get a subtler look than adding a color would have given me.

The project is free to members at the BeadStyle website (and membership is free, too). For more great fun, check out Steven’s website, Macaroni & Glitter.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I heart Mondays

I've been sorting through my bead stash for a few reasons. First, it never hurts to take a look at what you've got, because depending on your mood, you'll see things in a different way. Second, the Bead & Button show is only a few months away, and I realize I haven't used much of what I bought last year yet! Third, it's easy to forget about things, like these charms, when they're tucked away safely. I'm a firm believer in letting your mind wander with an idea for a while until inspiration strikes -- but that's hard to do when you can't remember what you've got to work with. I clearly have a "thing" for heart charms. The hollow heart could be a bead frame. It's from Hip Chick Beads. The hands are from Art Girlz. The rest of the charms are from Wynwoods Gallery & Bead Studio.
What will I do with them? Each of these is cute enough to be on its own on a simple cord or tiny beaded strand. There's always the charm bracelet option. Hmmm... as I write this I'm reminded of a necklace I saw in Oprah by Tory Burch. Maybe these charms should stay together, after all.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Love Seed Beads?

If you love color, fun, and seed bead stitching, you'll love Beth Stone's book Seed Bead Stitching: Creative Variations on Traditional Techniques. Check it out here. And, not to spill the beads, but there's more coming ... I'm editing her second book, which will be published this fall.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I heart Mondays

I do heart Mondays, but I don't really heart knickknack's. I try really hard to keep the "stuff" to a minimum, but I do like to surround myself with pretty things. Today's heart was a gift from my mother, many years ago. It's just a "little something" but it's so sweet, I love having it on the end table in my living room and just looking at it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Short and Sweet

I had a little party at my house last weekend to celebrate the arrival of my friend's second grandchild. We agreed that the guest list should be small, the food simple, and the focus on friendship and just relaxing. It was such a fun night. I kept things easy for me by offering a selection of cheese, some great crackers, and fruit. I did want to make one thing, though, and this is what I picked:
Chocolate-dipped marshmallows with grahm crackers, coconut, or toasted almonds. Kind of like rocky road without the ice cream, or s'mores without the fire! The recipe came from Real Simple magazine, and it really was simple.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I heart Mondays

Here's what Meredith made me for my birthday last year. It's the perfect way to say "I love you," when you're too cool to actually say "I love you."

Friday, March 6, 2009

What a great idea!

I' just came across this blog and I want to share this terrific idea ... Using your beads to make labels for your bead storage is just brilliant. Who wants to read "3mm lapis round" when you can just stick a bead on the drawer!? Hmm... I must drop everything and get organized.