IMG_1557Bright lights.  A Ferris Wheel.  The Fun House.  Neon.  Barkers calling you to “Step Right Up“.

IMG_1560This necklace, with it’s riot of color reminds me of a carnival.  You cannot be sad while wearing it!  It’s for fun.  For laughter.

This is the first time in a long while I’ve ventured out on my own: no pattern, no adaptation of some design from a magazine.

This necklace was inspired by something that I saw the Martha Rogers character (played by Susan Sullivan) on Castle wear.  She’s the Mother, in case you hadn’t caught her name.  I think she may have had 2 minutes screen time on that episode…but the necklace!  Oh, that necklace.  I  couldn’t get it out of my mind.

So, instead of being haunted by the image, I made it come to life.  Something of substance!  I am very pleased with the result.

Specifics:  Magnesite (I think) and Turquoise rounds embellished with brick stitched seed beads of various sizes and colors.  The necklace straps are spiral beading, and yes, each side is meant to be different.


Freshwater Mermaid

I think a freshwater mermaid has lost her bracelet.

I really love this bracelet.  It feels slinky and soft to wear.  The daggers make a real statement: No Wallflowers Allowed.  It’s one of those creations which generates feelings of happiness and pride.

The pattern is from the August issue of Bead & Button magazine.  Believe it or not, it is all simple peyote stitch!

You do have to pay attention so the daggers stand upright and don’t get twisted around to the back, but otherwise there are no odd convoluted bits to the instructions.  Alas, it is not an inexpensive piece to make, as daggers, especially the large ones, are pricey.

This particular bracelet has alternating green stripes.  I see many upcoming permutations: smaller daggers in a pattern akin to a snake’s skin perhaps?  Color wheel variations?

The back of the bracelet is as nice as the front.  Now, why a freshwater mermaid?  Well, the green reminds me of scales.  When combined with a slightly silvered white as the base it just seemed like something you’d see at the bottom of a freshwater stream.  Maybe lost by a mermaid as she sunned herself on the adjacent boulders.

Brooches with Bling

I finished these just before we went out of town for Mother’s Day.  Sparkly pins to wear with, well, anything that takes your fancy.

It was fun to go through the stash of crystals and size 13/15 seed beads and come up with the various color variations.  These pins are made on a perforated form, so basically it’s just stitching in one hole and out another, remembering to attach some beads when on the outer side of the form.  It’s the remembering part that can be difficult!

The only other “gotcha”, if you will, was to be sure to omit stitching crystals where the prongs attach the pin back to the form.  With this project, omission was just as important as inclusion.

Other minutia?  Fireline #6 cable as the beading thread, as crystals and the metal forms have rough edges that would likely cut through regular thread.  I had fun making these, noodling around with different shapes and contrasting colors.  Sometimes, you just need to play!


What goes bump in the bright?

Why a group of bumpy beaded-bead necklaces, of course!

These four necklaces were a lot of fun to put together.  Some work, too, as the beaded beads took a fair amount of time to assemble.  Lots of tiny stitches.

I like these necklaces a lot.  They’re fun.  Colorful.  Can’t you just imagine the conversation they’re having?  All giggles and silliness.

They’re a great antidote to the winter blahs.  I even got to use some of the new powder coated chain I picked up in Tucson.  Nice stuff.

Why four colorways?  I have no idea, other than once I got started pulling things together, that’s just how many there were.  Each one is a little different.

De-Tails:  The bumpy / polka dotted beads were some of the first ones I ever purchased, back when I shopped for quantity over quality.  Which is not to say they aren’t pleasant, but you do have to check for consistancy.  The beaded beads are delicas and size 15° seeds, with crystal accents.

These pieces are a combination of stringing and stitching.  I added  some large Czech crystals to  space the design out, and give a little more sparkle.

Some of the designs are asymmetrical, with chain on one side, while others are balanced.  You can see how small some of the beads are in these photos.

I think these will be just the thing to brighten up a dreary day, or dress up simple jeans and t-shirts.

Tucson Gem Show

This past weekend my friend Jessica and I traveled south to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.  There were many beautiful, exotic and unusual things to see.  The photo above is what came home with me this year.  The table is not as full as in years past.  I’m not sure if this was because I am a more discerning consumer, there wasn’t as much to see (not likely!) or I stuck to my list mores so than I have in the past.  Either way, we did our best to keep the economy going.

More rivolis, in some outlandish colors.  I’ve not seen these particular shades before.  Out of the frame is also a vibrant lime green and a deep dark purple.  Some of these will be made up into flowers of some sort, the others, I don’t know yet.

Chinese crystals were also in abundance.  Some were pretty good, others not so much.  It seemed like more companies were making them, as they were all over the shows.  I like the big chunky ones at the top for the dragon bracelets.

Many hanks of Czech pressed glass.  Some of these are dagger beads, others are pinch, and the red ones are a shape called lentil – they’re round, but with an offset hole.  I had black dagger beads on my list, but there were none to be found.  Apparently black is considered too common to bring to the show.  Harrumph!

New shapes in different colors.  I really like how they transition from a rough textured area to a machined side.  I think these will have to age in the bead bins for a while.

Powder coated chain from Ezel Findings This was one of the items specifically on my list.  It’s a fairly generic chain shape-wise, but I think the colors will take whatever I make with them to a different level. After all, gold, silver and brass chains are common, colors are not.

Actual gems.  Topaz, tourmaline, amethyst, onyx.  I have never purchased gem stones at Tucson before.  This is all Jessica’s fault.  She was on the hunt for sapphires.  The booth where we found these had a quantity discount…  We split the quantity.  The clincher for me was the strand of shaped topaz.

We had fun.  Jessica is ready to go again next year.  I think the Tucson Scepter has been successfully passed to a new generation.  I neglected to tell her that this annual sojourn is addictive.  Highly Addictive.


Ouroboros Bracelets

Ouroboros:  an ancient symbol depicting a serpent eating it’s own tail.  Don’t these look dragon-like and scaly?  Can you see the mists rising from the moor as fell sounds permeate the air, the hairs on your arms standing on end.  Quick!  Don’t look over your shoulder.

These are my take on the Ouroboros bracelet design by Kate McKinnon The pattern and instructions were in the December issue of either Bead & Button or Beadwork – I forget which.  It is also available in Jewelry Architect Ms. McKinnon’s most recent book.

I like these, though I think they need a stronger statement clasp.  Alas, these toggles are what I had on hand.  Using a more mechanical clasp, like a lobster claw, would take away from their earthiness, I think.

The bracelet is created in pieces – the primary band and end flares are one unit.  The nesting flares are additional units.  The whole is completed by stringing all the components together, with some statement beads at the end.

The bands feel slinky and substantial when worn.  The printed instructions say to further embellish the bands, but I’m not sure that is needed, nor am I certain it would be comfortable to wear.

Even more surprisingly, this is all done with herringbone or Ndebele stitch.  One stitch creates such a variation of shape and form.  I see a lot of experimentation in the future, this being such a versatile design.

To the question you are all thinking, but have not asked – the purple one stays with me.  The others?  Well, they’re too large for my wrist.  Interested?

Butterfly Bracelet

Amazing how wonderful spending an afternoon finishing “Projects in Waiting” can make you feel.  That’s what I did on over the weekend.  Saturday, in a veritable rampage of energy (it doesn’t happen often, believe me!) the housework was completed, which allowed Sunday to be a day of play.

Wonderful, glorious creativity!  Ahhhhh!  The astute, or long term reader (take your pick) may recall the components of this bracelet.  I blogged about them under Beaded Butterflies waaaay back in August.  The butterflies have taken flight.

The bracelet closes with a magnetic clasp.  I find that I like these when I’m going to keep the piece, as am I woefully non-ambi-handstrous when it comes to manipulating latches and closures of a mechanical sort.

The same beads, in varying sizes of 8 and 11 are used throughout, just not all the beads on each butterfly.  I like this one.  It’s sparkly and fun, and fits my wrist well.  Actually, it should, given I strung it twice – the first time 1/2 inch too large.  The second, as Goldilocks would say, is juuust riight!