Saturday, July 20, 2019

Ok, so last time was catching up on worktables and showing finished items. This time I'll share the next one from June when I finally got back to work.

The work was almost complete, unlike a lot of my tables where it's mostly all the component pieces I hope to use in a half formed design idea lying around. Most of the components for these pieces are from B'sue Boutiques.

This is a piece of 'busted bling' originally part of a 1928 Jewelry bracelet, I think
Decided on one large pearl dangle and some smaller pearl embellishments
using vintage Japanese faux (glass) pearls
For this one I only needed to finish
stringing the necklace and put on the clasp. Pewter cat charm from
B'sue by 1928 collection. 
Final piece got the little chain fancied up with B'sue chocolate brass bows and Swarovski crystal.
Resin cab, chocolate brass setting and bail from B'sue. I took a copper chain and coated it with
Swellegant Bronze to match the chocolate brass - took multiple applications and lots of finishing
clean up work (the coating sometimes fills up the tiny holes in the chain and has to be poked out)
I really love this Lucite resin bead! I used some tiny
Czech glass beads and Swarovskis on the chain
and on the stacked bead pendant.

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Saturday, July 6, 2019

Time to start catching up from my last post! Amazed that it's been over a month - the time has really flown past!

WhedonCon was a lot of fun and the booth looked great. I had a fabulous corner spot that gave me a lot of area for the customer. I had space for three tables!

The last post here was a Wednesday work table at the end of May and I didn't find the time to post again afterwards. So as a reminder, here's the worktable:

Here are some of the finished pieces from that table:

Added porcelain roses and faux pearls for extra contrast
Swarovski crystals and matching chocolate brass bows
The worktable only showed one set but I made these and several more. The design uses Swarovski cube beads, "squaredelle" rhinestone spacers and a combination of beadcaps joined together to form the balloon shapes.
This one I just needed to add chain.
I puzzled over how to connect the pendant to the chain and
remembered the cool connector piece but didn't want boring jump-rings
so I used antique copper wire to wrap the two pieces together.
I think it adds a really special touch,

Last one - I finished the bead wraps using matte gold 'buckwheat' beads, seed beads, Swarovski and Czech glass for the necklace. Simply attached that and added a clasp. It was nearly complete when I posted the WTW.

There are a couple pieces on that table I'm still working on - hope to post them soon, so do come back and visit!
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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Work Table Wednesday for 5/29/19

Another Wednesday and a new worktable to share!

I'm working on a necklace design using the coral beads for the two peach cameos at the top, the green flower cabochon is a printed cloisonne style design and I've finished the beaded part of the necklace, but still figuring out the rest. 

Below it is a stone cabochon I may or may not put in that frame - the frame doesn't really fit with a natural stone I think. in the middle is a vintage cat filigree and I'm going to center it on the round one then curve the piece below it for a bracelet to which I'll add chain to finish.

At the bottom is an assemblage piece with black finished brass flowers and leaves and a black and white cameo. There will be embellishment added just working out what I'll do. 

The last necklace is a beautiful vintage Guilloche rose on a copper plated pewter. I tried just a jump ring to attach to the chain but I thought this piece deserved more. I pulled out the connector piece and then realized I'd have to attach it with a jump ring and wasn't thrilled with that idea. So I thought I'd give wire wrapping the pendant to the connector and voilà! Here's a close-up; it was really easy to do!

Connector, Guilloche rose, Victorian-style pendant frame
all purchased from B'sue by 1928

Lastly I have the little earrings on the bottom left. These are steampunk/Victoriana style Hot Air balloon earrings. The gold balloons I got at B'sue Boutiques but I made the silver ones myself when I discovered that two filigree beadcaps and a tulip beadcap were the basic components of the balloon shape. I just happened to have those items in silver! 

Here's a closeup of the earrings I've finished - I have more colors of the Swarovski cubes but the square spacers (Swarovski Squaredelles) are really hard to find in the right size. I think they might be discontinued, which makes me very sad as I think these earrings might sell well.

The little balloon ones on the far right aren't my favorites, so they may get remade with the larger size balloon.
Problem is that the little ones match the tulip bead cap color better and I have more of them. If I could find smaller Squaredelles and use a smaller cube bead maybe then they'd work.
I did finish some pieces since I last posted - the bracelet is done it's a bit large for my 6.5" wrist but can be sized to fit whomever buys it.

Vintage brass cat from B'sue with faux pearl also from B'sue

Czech fire polished red cathedral bead in cone bead cap with leaf
Design is a homage to a Firefly/Serenity quote
"I am a leaf in the wind, watch me soar"

Sodalite (for self-esteem and confidence) stone pendant
with small sodalite bead and chain fringe. I love how the little bail
really adds to the finished look.

Some pressed purple glass disks (other side is darker) and
iridescent lavender cathedral beads.
I've had those disk beads for years, got them as a gift
and never used them so I figured it was about time.

Will try to post my Finished Up Friday work. Only one more week and a couple days until WhedonCon so this weekend is my last one for making new pieces for the con.
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Saturday, May 18, 2019

I try to get out to the studio after work since the sun is still up when I get home these days. Wednesday I played around with a few ideas and posted them to the creative group's WTW Pinterest board and in Facebook.  I finished up a few pieces from the 5/8 WTW that I shared a few posts ago, the gear pendant was re-worked a bit and the red bow with cat charm is done. I also finished both pairs of earrings in the lower right and have the clock face and Blue Willow birds nearly done but not photographed. The copper chain is proving a bit challenging but I will probably finish it tomorrow.

moved the gears up the necklace and put triple strand of chain in the middle
took some steel wool to the cat and bow to bring out highlights

Come see my collection at WhedonCon (June 7-9 LAX Hilton) which will have a lot of these plus other fun designs for cosplay and fandom.

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Saturday, May 11, 2019

The "Finished Up Friday" Challenge

Each week the creative group on the B'sue Boutique's Facebook page posts the work they finished up that week. It's called Finished Up Fridays but we get until Saturday as a concession to those of us with day jobs during the week. Here's what I posted today - some of it might look familiar from the Work Table Wednesday.

I finally finished the winged filigree piece and the clockwork pendant on the lower right is still in the maybe/maybe not stage as far as the necklace goes.  The cat cameo with the copper bow and kitty charm is probably my favorite piece this week. I had to use copper paint on the cameo, it comes in that Wedgewood blue with white and I just didn't like how it looked. I'm pretty happy with the copper color. Will need to seal it tomorrow after the paint has had 24 hrs to set.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

What's on My Worktable This Week?

I've been very busy lately in the studio working on new pieces for the upcoming WhedonCon as well as my online shops. Thought I'd share some of the work in progress.

The pendant below is a great graphic under a transparent yellow domed vintage Lucite oval about an inch long. I'm going to work up a nice crystal and gear piece to connect it to a necklace - still working on that design.

Here are a couple of cat charms that will have necklaces - they were originally very bright pewter but I darkened them with a solution from Swellegant that's easy to use and doesn't smell up the room like a lot of darkening solutions. The bow is colored with alcohol ink pens and will be sealed. The other pendant has a vintage glass piece and two glass pearls on a vintage filigree bar. I plan to make a collar length necklace with pearls to attach it to.

of course the cats look like they're judging you, they're cats

This piece is an epoxy clay base that has been embossed and colored with mica powder pigments. It will get a glossy seal when the clay is fully set. I love the bamboo frame, though it would be perfect for the cherry blossom design.

Another necklace in progress - I took a domed filigree piece and using more epoxy clay adhered some vintage silver wings. The silver circle to the right will be the back of the pendant, it's the back piece from a vintage watch. The piece is my homage to a certain magical sport.

'Til next time,


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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Getting Ready for WhedonCon

I have this blog listed as the site to visit if you click on the Whedon Con ‘Sunnyvale Mall’ page and realized I hadn’t published anything here in years! Mostly I publish on my Facebook page so here’s the link:  Dawno’s on facebook.

I have been making tons of new stuff lately, but my efforts for the next weeks will be more focused on genre items that I hope connect with fans.

As most of that work is still to be done, here are some of my efforts & some shots from my last con, ConDor in San Diego, CA in February.
One side of my booth at ConDor - my fancier items

The proprietor herself 

One of the new display ideas I'm trying

I love to work with mixed media and assemblage. Here's an example of a fun new pendant where I used paint, mica powders, mixed metals, bead wrapping and threw in a little vintage glass flower for fun.

Somewhere outside of Margaritaville...

Right now I'm finishing up some pieces for a challenge to use a chocolate plated metal piece (could be a filigree or a stamping or a cabochon pendant setting) with something from a color palate of crimson, coral, pink, mint and sage and one additional metal.

Ok, will try harder to post more stuff more often - hope you visit my booth when you come to WhedonCon in June!
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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Learning to do Off Loom Bead Weaving

Since I enjoy loom bead weaving so much, I thought I'd try to do some off loom weaving. For my first attempt I bought the components as a kit from Fusion Beads (except for the Silkon thread and the #12 beading needle I already had) and followed the instructions online. I did have to pick a different color than the one in the project directions as they were out of stock on the lovely 6mm Ruby Lila Vega Luster 2 Hole Honeycomb Jewel Czech Glass Bead.

The pattern works vertically from bottom to top (for the most part) and since the hex beads are two hole there are some interesting twists and turns involved. It amazes me how anyone figures these patterns out from scratch - at least for now, since I'm a bare novice. There has some kind of calculus or algorithm, I'm certain, to finding the best possible path!

I'm pretty happy with the outcome, though - the pattern instructions were very well written, easy to follow. I've only finished one of the set that's meant for earrings because I'm thinking that I might, instead, make it a component in something else.

The next thing to try was peyote stitch. I'd learned the brick stitch from the Endless Loom instructions, since the first couple rows have to be done off loom. The thing about peyote beading is that pictures, instructions and patterns for it seem to be everywhere, so I thought I should try to learn it. So far, I'm able to do a pretty good block of solid color, but I'm struggling to follow a pattern since the rows overlap and the direction of the stitching changes with every row, unlike looming.

I used my Beader's Bible (note: this is an affiliate link, if you want to buy this and use this link, I'll get a small commission from Amazon) to learn how to do the basic peyote stitch.

It took a while to get the first couple rows done correctly, that's a bit fiddly with the 11/0 beads in one color. I probably should have gotten some big beads in red and blue, just like the book and practiced with those. I usually pick the hardest way to do something when I'm just learning. 😊 Peyote stitch has each row of beads off-set from the previous one. Like this:

So here's a shot of the first few rows of peyote I've successfully made. I used Miyuki Chocolate brown11/0 beads from Artbeads and Nymo thread, size D in white. (Unless otherwise mentioned, I don't get compensated for mentioning & linking to my sources for beading materials. I just want to save you the time if you want to try something I've done). If your project pattern recommends a certain thread and needle size, choose them for best results. 

Also in the picture above, are the tools I would use for any bead weaving project - needle, thread, seed beads, thread conditioner (you can also use beeswax, I believe), sharp scissors, and a beading mat on your work surface - something that keeps the beads from rolling around.  In this shot I'm using a Bead Buddy Jr. travel beading board - these are great because you can securely save your work in progress - from cats, bumps, spills and for travel (note: this is an affiliate link, if you want to buy this and use this link, I'll get a small commission from Amazon)  

Both sides of the Bead Buddy have the fuzzy-fabric surface. You can find beading mats all over the web and in craft stores, and put them in box lids for a less expensive solution. I guess you could also cut a piece to size out of an old microfiber blanket for a bead mat, and save even more - I haven't got an old one to try with so I haven't used that option personally.

Now my challenge is learning how to read a graphed pattern and work it into the peyote stitch. If I get it right, I'll show you how!

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Monday, January 9, 2017

Loom Weaving - Endless Loom & Beads Reviewed

I have been doing some bead weaving lately, learning some of both on and off loom techniques. It's a bit time consuming (especially off loom, which is completely new to me) and I don't know when I'll be expert, or at least satisfied enough to try and sell any of it, but I always like trying out and learning new things.

On loom bead weaving isn't exactly new for me. I don't remember when I got my first "Indian Beadcraft Loom" but I do remember enjoying beading on one. It may have been when I was in Girl Scouts or even later as a teen in the 70s when beaded things were very much in style.

These days you can buy a number of versions of beading looms - from the simple standard crafts and kids looms that haven't changed much at all since the 50s, to the newer Jewel Loom (a Beadalon product), which is great for its portability and many other cool features (I love mine), to the Ricks Loom (distributed by BeadSmith) that leaves you with just two warp ends to tie off (don't have one yet, it's on my wishlist), and my latest purchase, Endless Loom which leaves no warp ends to deal with at all.

The instructions that come with the loom are well written enough to get you working immediately, but I found watching a YouTube video a couple times, once all the way through to see the whole process and then again as I was making a bracelet, stopping and starting as needed. The BeadsSmith's video gives a nice intro, showing one application with elastic cord (the loom is a BeadSmith product).

Other videos show alternate applications and techniques, just put "Endless loom" in the YouTube search. Because I bought my loom and beads from Artbeads I watched their tutorial. Here's what came in the kit:

I started off with the clasps and two rows of brick stitched beads attached to them as instructed, warped the loom and started beading. I chose a very simple pattern to start. The first two rows on either side of the clasp are a bit curved on the first two I tried (top and middle as shown below), but by my third bracelet, I was able to get it pretty straight. I'm not sure what I did right that time! Perhaps using more beads and the 4 strand clasp helped?

I used white Silkon #2 thread for the first two projects and tried Frost WildFire 0.20mm for the last one. Both types worked just fine. I think I'll go for darker and thicker threads, maybe matching one of the dark colors, for my next one. 

I also went from using the 3 strand clasp to a 4 strand one, used 9 vs 7 beads (these are size 6/0 seed beads, TOHO, Artbeads Designer Blends) and added some tiny metal cylinder beads on the outside edge to see how that would look. 

The TOHO beads aren't consistently the same shapes, some are more round and some more cylindrical. They are fine for this pattern, as I'm not using large blocks of a single color, but I'd want beads that are very consistent for more graphical designs.

It took about one and a half tubes of the Designer Blend to do the 7 bead bracelet for 7.5" wrist. The larger bracelet at the top was almost 2 tubes - I was working with the 8" spacer bars but it turned out to be 9.5" with clasp, not sure how I managed that.

I didn't use all the bead colors available in the mix with any of the bracelets. The left over beads are more of that one unused color and of the center bead color that wasn't used twice in each row. They'll be great with other projects so it's not a concern.

I really like the Endless Loom, it's a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to trying all kinds of variations and beads with it.
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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Nearly Finished for the Finished Up Friday Facebook Post

Yesterday I showed you one of the necklaces I am working on this week. It was from this worktable submitted to the B'Sue Creative Group on Facebook:

I have really appreciated being a part of this group as it helps me get things done by having a weekly deadline for showing the work in progress on Work Table Wednesday (WTW) and then on Fridays there's the "FUF" deadline (Finish Up Friday). It's very challenging with a day job to do much more than a few hours a night on anything during the week, so I have found that having just 3 or 4 things on the table will get me at least 2 or 3 completed pieces to post on Friday.

Over the weekend in my studio, I can think up designs, gather the materials, and bring them into my inside office on Sunday and not have to worry about walking back and forth in the cold or dark between the house and the studio on Monday - Friday. At least until the days get longer and warmer.

You saw the beige cabochon pendant I was working on yesterday, today I'll show you where I am on the necklaces for the bird stamping and the key.

The bird (I think it's a swallow because of the split tail) is a brass vintage stamping from B'Sue boutiques with a dark red-brown finish and I affixed it to an antiqued copper glue on bail. I used Czech glass beads, seed beads as spacers, and some metallic (or perhaps they're coated with a metallic finish) beads, those are the ones closest to the bail, for the necklace. 

I'm not 100% sure it's exactly how I want it - I might change the piece so it has an offset toggle clasp and put the bird on the clasp - but that's where I finished off this evening. 

Lastly, here's an antique key about 2" long, with two wing stampings and a glass cabochon attached with E6000 glue. I made the chain using jump rings - the largest are closed 12mm brass rings connected by two 8mm twisted wire jump rings with glass #6 seed beads on them. The smaller 6mm jump rings nearest the key are simple antiqued brass also linked in a 2x1 pattern. From the place where I stopped making the upper chain tonight, I think I'll use some finished chain from my stash to make it about 20 to 21 inches rather than continue making it with links.

Now to come up with next week's ideas.
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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Back to the studio worktable from my break over the holidays! I hope yours was as lovely as mine. My son was home from his Army post in Georgia, an my daughter visited several times from across town (and here in L.A. it's a lot of town - takes her an hour or more to get here). We celebrated Christmas Eve with my brother's and sister's families, too.

With all that visiting and celebrating, I didn't do much jewelry work over the holiday, but did get a few things started during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. One of the pieces I'm going to be finishing up this week is a necklace for this pendant I designed:

I set a beige glass cab from B'Sue Boutiques off center in a Vintaj brass bezel (you can find it at Beadaholique) and added gold microbeads and these raw brass faceted cube beads from Rings & Things around the cab with E6000 glue.

The neckline will be strung on Soft Flex Metallics Medium Antique Brass Color beading wire, using the beads shown below. The round beige beads and the two tone bicones came from The Beadin' Path vintage bead collection. Sadly, The Beadin' Path closed so no more of these lovelies for me. I'm also using the brass faceted cubes mentioned above in the necklace:

Here's where I am so far:

No, that's not a dead fly just above the pendant, I'll explain in a bit. The pendant setting's (bezel's) loop is in the same plane as the bezel (see below) and so the pendant can't be strung directly onto the beading wire, it would need a connection that's at a right angle to the bezel, like a jump ring. I didn't like the idea of attaching the pendant to the neckline with just a jump ring, though, I believe that would be too insecure, allowing the pendant to slip off the necklace if the jump ring separated just the tiniest bit.

What I needed was a bail that I could securely string through and attach to the bezel. I have a small number of these little looped things, I call them bead cap bails because I can't remember what they're really called. They have a loop at the top and four 'petals' into which you could press and glue in a small bead (I guess).

What I did to make it a bail was curl up two of the side petals and pinch in the other two, squeezed them closed around the pendant loop and added a generous amount of GS Hypo Cement. I'm hoping it will work! So far, so good and the glue hasn't had that long to set.

Here's an extreme closeup of the bead cap bail in it's original shape and, below it, as it's set on the pendant. The bead cap bail is very tiny, only 6mm (~1/4") long. I think you can see how I bent it into the pendant bail fairly well. I wish I could remember where I got them, but I have had them a long time!

Ok, time to finish that necklace and start on another one!

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