Monday, April 20, 2015

Tribal guitar pick?

As an off-shoot of making the filigree tube bracelets, I wondered if I could use the same technique in a necklace. And in the meantime, my friend Suzan gave me a handful of lovely turquoise Zuni bears. Also fueling this particular design, I re-located my bead desk in another room in the house, so I have touched all my beads in the past few weeks. I ran across a small box of Vintaj blanks that I embossed (on my Big Kick), and I had painted some with Vintaj patinas.
The Zuni bears were sitting next to the green fern embossed guitar pick and looked pretty good together and I was thinking about the bracelets.....serendipity.

I put together the focal with messy (bird-nesty) wire wrapped loops. Then made the filigree tube sections, adding the focal half way through. I used fold-over end caps, as opposed to tying knots (mainly because I did not have quite enough cord on the ends). Then I cut and frayed the ends of the cord and added the jumprings, chain, clasp. I used a lobster claw clasp because the necklace is light weight.

It has a tribal, native feel to me. Not at all like Native American jewelry (except for the bear), but reminiscent of it somehow.
This gives me other ideas for bracelets too. Like, putting a big bead or a charm in the middle of the bracelet, perhaps? Or making short sections and attaching them with jumprings or connectors. Hmmmm.....

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

It's a bracelet frenzy!

Looking back over the years, I could count on one hand the number of bracelets I've made. OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but it would not be more than 20. (fingers and toes!)
However, I have been a bracelet making machine lately!!
Part of the reason is that I have been invited to have a "trunk show" at the Cheltenham Center for the Arts gift shop in May, so I am busy making new things to take to it. I know I don't need to fill an actual trunk, but I'd like it to at least fill the table!
So, I have been making bracelets!

I made just a couple of the leather and chain bracelets I've shown in the past. I have been amassing different colors of chain. I started out with only gun metal and matte copper . Now I have shiny silver (shown below), shiny gold, antique brass (shown below) and I just got matte black at Bead Fest (can't wait to make one with that!).
Two handmade buttons from Mudalicious. The brick red leather bracelet has a modern button, but I could not resist the fleur-de-lis.

And I've been making lots of the filigree beads bracelets I wrote about in an earlier post. I ordered more of the filigree tube beads in silver and gold colors, just to have options. But until they arrive, I only have the dark brass.
Here they are all together....
And now we'll break it down.
There are 2 bracelets with more cool handmade buttons from Mudalicious. And I am now out of them. But not to worry. I think I have other buttons by other artists in my dragon hoard.
I love the turquoise glass pony beads!
There are 4 bracelets with vintage buttons. The black button is plastic, the white button is pearlized plastic. The other two are brass.

And ELEVEN bracelets using lampwork orphan beads. These beads are from 2 Bead Sisters and Juls beads.

Lastly, these are just beads from JoAnn's or Michael's. Nothing fancy, but fun to wear!

I have been using cotton woven cord, ramie cord and waxed linen cord. I bought some 1mm leather at Bead Fest Spring and am planning to make some of this type of bracelets in leather. Hopefully I can squeeze it through the filigree beads with out it cracking!

side note:
I just happened to notice today that I have 100 followers!!! I would like to thank all 100 of you for following and reading my blog!!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Beading with friends

Beading with you? Do you bead/ make jewelry in solitude? Or do you have some beady peeps to bead with?
I do most of my jewelry making alone, but I enjoy making jewelry with others. I get more accomplished when I'm alone, but beading with my beady friends is always more fun and more inspiring.

I also enjoy going to my local Bead Society. I've said it's just nice to be with people that "get it". They like beads and jewelry as much as you do. Each meeting we usually learn a new technique taught by another member, or bring a project to work on. Just a room full of ladies (but we would welcome a man) making jewelry together. Fun.

And even, taking a 45 minute "class" at Bead Fest Spring's "Inspiration Playground" this past weekend was fun (and it was only $2!!!). We learned how to make wire bracelets with the Beadalon 3-D bracelet jig - more to come about that later! We all sat there, bending our wire, helping each other, learning the technique. Fun.

Recently, I've had two jewelry making play dates with two different friends. The necklaces I posted in March (made with old brooches) were the outcome from my "jewelry day" with my friend Joan. We spent all day together, making jewelry. We worked on our individual projects. After completing something it was fun to hold up a finished piece to show to her immediately, and also just to declare I finished it. It would be a bit strange to say "Done!" out loud when I'm by myself. (although I don't think the cats would mind). As one of us would finish a design, the other would offer supportive comments. Fun.

Last week, I went to my friend Suzan's house. It was only for a couple hours one evening, but still enjoyable. There is something about sitting and working on jewelry, and chatting at the same time. It's calming, but also inspiring. Suzan always has tons of cool bits and bobs to drool over. She had asked me to show her what I do with old buckles. So, I grabbed some silver metal butterflies from my stash we could use to practice with (they were a thrifty find from a couple years ago - very shiny and not really my style).
She had collected quite a few buckles, so we looked through them (I was oooh-ing and ahhh-ing). I picked one that was not especially special, to demo what I do, wrapping the metal around the buckle. Then I did another one, showing another wrapping variation. She wasn't loving those shiny butterflies either, so she said I should just take them home. She also gave me a fabulous buckle with a pink rhinestone....later in the week, I made all of them into finished jewelry....and here is where the inspiration lead me....

The first shiny butterfly...wrapped around a vintage round black buckle. I used various black beads...faux black Cinnabar, polymer tubes, two of my enameled beads, some silver bead caps...and Arte Metal black chain (from Vintaj).

These shiny butterflies are growing on me....

The same butterfly on a vintage maroon plastic buckle. The lampwork beads have been in my stash for forever (picked up at a bead show, from China or India?). Added to that, dark red glass pony beads, and rustic matte small beads. The jumprings, claps and bead caps are gun metal. I  just got the silver chain at Bead Fest Spring!

Perhaps I can add wire antennae through the hole in his head...hmmm.

And, then there's the fabulous buckle she gave me! It's really half of a buckle. There would have been another piece that hooks into this piece, to make a belt. Can you imagine the dress that this went with?
Anyway, another enameled bead, Czech glass flowers, dark brass beads caps and chain.

 To clean or not to clean? I don't mind the signs of wear, but I may try to get that dark blob in the middle off...either way, I love, love, love it!

Many thanks to Suzan (I know you read this blog!) for the buckles, the inspiration, and your friendship. I look forward to beading together soon. Fun!

Friday, April 03, 2015

filigree bracelets

After making several of the leather and rolo chain bracelets I thought I'd try to make other bracelets. As an experiment, I made one like the below bracelet, but with 1mm leather and a light weight clasp. Maybe it's the leather I used, but the leather cracked where it was bent, going in and out of the beads. It also made the bracelet stiff and was hard to put on. I have tons of these filigree tube beads, in 2 sizes (from Panda Hall), so I really wanted to figure out a cool way to use them.

So, I wondered what I could use to replace the leather. Then, while shopping at Auntie's Beads, I found some small spools of woven cotton cord. It was a great price, so I took a chance and bought a couple colors. I'm really happy with how the bracelets turned out. The cord is small enough to fit through the filigree tube beads (twice!) and flexible enough so the bracelet lays against the wrist. It's very comfortable to wear and the bead hangs like a charm when worn.
My friend, Diane (of 2 Bead Sisters) gave me the gorgeous lampwork bead to use for this bracelet.

This bead is fabulous in person!

I made 6 of these, but put 5 of them in the Orchard Artworks gallery already (before I could take photos). I decided to keep this one ('cuz I *love* the bead!!), and have been wearing it practically everyday!