Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Random Necklace - Finis...?

I want to start off sharing new posts I've seen recently about the Gluable Challenge. They are all such clever crafters!

*melanie* at Earthenwood Studios blog - baby moon faces and re-purposed bracelet turned into a necklace all using beautiful ceramics. I'm saving up for a big purchase from Earthenwood some day, I love their work!

Tammy Powley at Crafty Princess Diaries showed of her fun fish bracelet and a cool quote on the brass frame

And Lisa over at A Bead A Day did this very cool bracelet using scrapbooking brads she modified and glued to the disk and loop bracelet form (reminds me of 60s Op Art Posters)

Now, on to the thrilling conclusion of the Random Necklace Adventure...

I pondered and piddled around with it some more today, and here's the finished* piece, which hangs about 24" from the neckline, so it's about 48" around - weighs in at almost a 1/4 lb (3.8 oz). Here's how it (approximately, since this obviously isn't my neckline...) looks doubled when I tried it on - you may notice my concession to pattern and order with the focal point in the center of the bottom loop:

In this shot I highlight the randomness (but not an ability to focus the camera - it looks focused in that tiny window, but my eyes aren't so good anymore - even with my glasses on, maybe it's time for a new prescription):

And this last shot was just to show it full length (I drug in that branch the other day thinking I might use some of the smaller branches for earring photos...DH just rolled his eyes).

*finished as in I may or may not change my mind, but I did put the finishing hardware on it, but I can always take it apart and try again...someday...maybe or maybe not...don't you love how I'm so definite?

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Spilled Beads Do Not a Design Make...Yet

So, I knocked over my box of aventurine and jade beads - the nagging mom voice in my head told me that it shouldn't have been sitting on the floor on top of other things on the floor, and should have been more tightly closed. After saying some bad words to the nagging mom voice (which by the way, isn't remotely like my mom's voice - it's more like my own, nagging at the kids, but much surlier, voice) and grumbling to nobody about having to get down on the floor to scoop them up and more grumbling and bad words said to myself in general about having to sort them, I was on my knees with a tablespoon* ready to scoop them and sort them back into the box when I really looked at the random pattern of the colors and sizes.

*yes, that's what I use to scoop spilled beads off the carpet and it works really well - happens often enough that I keep one in my tool box with the tiny souvenir (probably not what they intended to happen, but it somehow *cough* fell into my carry-on luggage) Singapore Airlines spoon I use to sort small beads I've used and are now all jumbled up on the bead mat

"Hmm," I said to myself - possibly out loud, as I do talk to myself out loud, quite more often these days since I spend a lot of time alone in my workroom, and I guess I kind of miss the sound of human voices, or I'm just going insane, which wouldn't be a bad guess either - "that would be an interesting look for a necklace."

So instead of sorting and putting them back in the box, I dumped them into one of the shoe-box tops I've lined with a small piece of thin foam packing material for a DIY lap-desk and grabbed the bead stringing wire.

Strung about 20" or so - not happy. Tried adding some silver spacer beads, didn't like this try:

So I took off all the roundels and spacers until I just had two roundels and one spacer. Nope. (didn't take a picture of it)

Added some contrasting colored glass beads and some amethyst beads - still not doing it for me. Will continue to play with this until I get something I like. Knowing me, I'll probably end up with a pattern. I'm not that good with random.

Oh, and one other thing, I've had this silver leaf pendant almost a year now and still haven't figured out what to do with it. I considered using it on the necklace above, but rejected it, too. I do think it needs to be on something big and bold, it's 2 and a quarter inches wide and almost 2 and a half inches long.

As always, your opinions, comments, sympathy and humor are greatly appreciated :-)

Latest ArtFire listing:

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

I Finally Made Something Else for the Gluable Challenge - Rectangular Frame

Finally, a sunny day! Got out the MagicGlos and one of my Rings & Things Gluable Challenge frames.

I used the Rectangular frame (Stock#: 49-440-0 Approx. 52x13mm rectangle brass picture-frame charms, 3.5-3.8 inner diameter loop. 1.3-1.7mm thick. Fits 48x9mm image. Back is textured.)

I cut out a piece of the label from my favorite drink, Arizona Diet Green Tea, and glued it to the frame with Mod Podge, smoothed to remove air bubbles underneath. Then I took some 26 gauge brass wire, bent it around the picture, hammered it lightly and set on top of the picture. The reason for the wire is that I plan to use cloisonne beads in the necklace, so now the picture has a cloisonne-like look, too.

Coated it with a thin layer of MagicGlos, took it outside. Learned how quickly Magic Glos sets in sunlight, had to sand with a fine grit sandpaper under water to remove the lump I created, put another coat of MagicGlos on. Needs work, but it's a start. (click to enlarge for detail)

Thanks to Carmi's Art/Life World blog for her post about using MagicGlos - gave me the nudge I needed.

One of the Twitter-folk I follow, mySA_beading, mentioned a contest - Step by Step Beads Colorworks Challenge.

Enter the first Colorworks Challenge!

Tertiary Colors

The orange-purple-green tertiary triad presents a challenge of bold and striking contrasts. Create a piece of bead jewelry (or a bead in any medium: polymer, beads, glass, etc.) using the triad from the color wheel. Black, white, or clear are welcome, but the predominant colors must be the orange-purple-green triad (any shades of those colors).

As it happens, I'd begun work some time ago on a strung piece using those colors and copper. I won't show the whole piece, just in case I decide to enter, but here's a bit of it:

The workspace is a wreck, so I'm going to listen to City Arts and Lectures with Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen as I tidy up.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday's Output and a Bead-loving Cat

I sure let this day slip away - did finish a necklace, but also took a very long nap in the middle of the day, watched a couple hours of TiVo'd shows and basically was very lazy.

I'm having another mental debate about whether this piece is really finished, but here's what it looks like now. It's made from amazonite cubes from Artbeads, sterling wire and sterling roundel spacers, also from Artbeads, and hand-crafted sterling silver hammered links from Prolifique's Etsy shop. (the focus on this pic isn't very good, so if you enlarge for detail, it will be a bit blurry).

Our eldest cat, Yogurt, has taken to jumping up on my worktable when he comes into the room - he's in and out all day because this room faces the back yard and has a large sliding glass door I keep open - there's a screen door that keeps him inside. One of these times I'll be quick enough with the camera to get a picture.

He likes to sniff everything, but I'm afraid he might also try to eat a bead or some of the beading wire. He almost started knawing at my beeswax block, but I managed to shut it in a drawer before he could. That cat will eat almost anything.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Thinking About Weekend Crafting

My order with Annie Howes came in the other day - two part "doming system" resin kit, a bottle of Glamour Glaze, ten small clear glass domes and some really adorable Chiyogami papers.

I'm not 100% sure how to use the glaze - no instructions came with or on the bottle (not that I'm critizing, nothing like that was promised at point of sale, and I'm a real believer in caveat emptor) - so I'm going to experiment with it as if it were Diamond Glaze (which has online FAQs) and see if that works. I was thinking that I'd use it to seal and protect small hand drawn decorations or small printed designs in collage type pieces (yes, I am finally going to use those Rings & Things brass frame blanks).

I'd hoped to use the glass domes on the bracelet blank, but they might not work. I'm beginning to get a tad depressed everytime I see the poor unembellished gunmetal blank lying there waiting for me to get inspired.

Meanwhile, tonight, I'll do some more organizing - this time I'm down to the bead level, not like last weekend where I was moving boxes and setting up the worktable. Should be a lot less exhausting.

And...will this be the weekend I finally give polyclay a try? I'll let you know!

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sky Images and Simplicity

Watching Cosmos episodes back to back over the last few evenings has definitely put me in a cosmic state of mind. I dug out my blue lace agate in response to all the sky imagery. Now the picture below is a work in progress - strung but not finished...because...I'm wondering if I should stop or consider either more embellishment or multi-strands. I am particularly fond of rather delicate, simple necklaces. That's fine if I'm just making things for myself, but I wonder, would I have better luck selling my pieces if I made more elaborate ones?

I'd be interested in your comments.

Edited to add (on 3/29) Finished it as a simple necklace and listed it on Art Fire:

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Exotic Tiger's Eye and Yellow Jade

Just finished and listed a new necklace on Art Fire, made of tiger's eye stone beads and nuggets and yellow jade. I really love this combination - the shimmer and dimensionality of the tiger's eye has always fascinated me, even as a young child it was my favorite stone.

But I wasn't satisfied with a necklace just made of tiger's eye, so I poked around in the bead boxes of my (newly organized- yay me!) work table and tried and rejected a lot of ideas until I found the yellow jade. "Ooooh," I thought, "this looks great!"

I also decided against a lot of extra embellishments, so the nuggets and jade have bead caps but the rest of the necklace is just tiger's eye beads. This one is strung on beading wire, not knotted.

I hope you like it, too!

(click to enlarge)

I've added a lot of beading and jewelry blogs to my "follow" list - I don't know if you can see that I'm following you on your widgets, since I added them manually via the blogger dashboard (it's my old-fashioned, non-Blogger-layouts, hand coded html template's fault but I like what I have and so there).

I try to comment on other blogs I follow as often as I can, because I believe this should be a conversation, not just each of us shouting into cyberspace and wondering if anyone is listening.

Ever wonder about that? I added Site-Meter to my blogs, just so I could see if anyone but the Googlebots were ever checking in. This blog has gone from one or two real visitors a week, to a pretty good daily visit rate of real people. Thank you so much for stopping by, it means the world to me!

Now, for a really random thought:

Do you like pool - you know, 8-ball, billiards? How about precocious toddlers playing grown up games? Check out my other blog, there's a video clip of a toddler who is a pool playing prodigy embedded there today.

And now a word from our sponsor:

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New Piece Finished Tonight

I finished a piece this evening that I worked on during breaks in my reorganization efforts this weekend. It's just under 18" long, made from blue-gray coin pearls, "liquid silver" sterling silver tubes and seamless sterling silver (3mm) beads, all from Rings & Things.

The clasp has been in my stash for quite some time and I didn't save the packaging (something I do now) so I have to trust my memory - I'm sure it's sterling (has a 925 stamp) but I don't recall the supplier. It's a hook and eye type clasp with a little bit of decorative etching.

I secured the clasp on the Beadalon 49 strand silver tone bright .38mm beading wire with silver plated wire guardians (Rings & Things, again) and silver plated smooth oval Scrimps from Michael's.

I love the baroque look of the pearls, the texture provides some interesting reflections on the pearls. By using three smaller tubes the choker is more flexible than if one long tube had been used, although, to be very honest about it, that's just because I didn't look carefully at the length of the tubes I was purchasing, rather than a deliberate choice. Nevertheless, serendipity worked for this piece I believe.

I'm watching Cosmos on Hulu (see my other blog for details and a clip of the first episode if you'd like to check it out) as I putter around in the workroom. Some of the beautiful natural photography and imaginative animations of outer space may just provide some inspiration! In fact, the blue-gray pearls are rather celestial looking - like little moons floating in a silvery ring...

Well, lookie here - you can buy this right off the page if you like it!

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Monday, March 23, 2009

I've Been So Busy Today, So Why Don't I Feel Like I Did Enough?

Did some new listings on Art Fire and made a new banner - I liked it a lot, so I've changed my blog banner to use it here - what do you think? I also really like the Rapid Cart widget - wish Etsy had one like it. I'm just not sure where the best place to put 'em is.

This blog is about sharing my thoughts, attempts, failures and successes, as well as for making new online friends, not selling. Thing is, I'd also like to have someplace where people who might be interested in buying can come to shop. I've got a domain and hope eventually to find the time to figure out how to put up a store-front site, but no telling when that will happen.

So, until then, hope you'll forgive the occasional plug for something I've made, which I'll always put down at the bottom so we'll have the conversation before the advertising.

The answer to the question above is that so much of my busy day was wrapped up in photography and organizing and making the new banner - time consuming stuff that doesn't seem to add up to a lot being done, even though it really is.

Well, the day's not over yet - will get back to some beading and feel more productive.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

I'm Exhausted - But My Workroom Is Set Up!

Major spring cleaning happened to my office/workroom. Filled up the paper recycle bin with boxes. Went to Target and got a 6'x3' folding banquet' table, put it up and started moving stuff over to it. Now I'm going to little by little organize and re-arrange things, but I am so happy with the new set up! Exhausted, but happy.

So, as far as getting other things done today - that was it. Well, except for one custom order you can see lying there in my "DIY Beading Lap Desk" in the picture above. I'm so very glad I took tomorrow off, I'll need it to recover!

Saw another gluable challenge post today - Lisa at A Bead A Day shares a lovely creation using Swarovski pearls and a gluable bracelet blank with pre-drilled holes for embellishment. I didn't see that on the listing - nor the bubbly texture that appears in the pictures, so I'm wondering if it is a new product that's not listed yet.

I really have to get going on mine and get them posted!

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

I Bought Stuff Today

Before I start into my ramble, go take a look at the lovely pieces Lisa at A Bead A Day did with the frames from the Rings & Things Gluable Challenge.

Speaking of the challenge, today I went out and got polyclay and some tools for same and a 'how to' book, some ribbons, a bunch of beads I shouldn't have but couldn't resist (this is why I have to stay away from bead stores for as long as I can hold out), some cool metal letter "charms" - made for scrapbooking, so there are no holes or loops on them and they're perfect for gluing.

I may actually have more Gluable Challenge work to post soon. The ribbon is to finish my last choker form - it's almost done, just a couple finishing touches and I'll post a picture - maybe tomorrow.

The polyclay book I bought is:

Currently out of stock at Amazon, but they note that you can order and they'll notify you when available and not charge you until it ships. If you want to get this book and buy it through that link, Dawno gets a few pennies from Amazon.

I really like Dotty's book. Clear, easy to understand examples and step by step how-to's, lovely photography and fun projects. She shares some clever ideas for creating interesting effects with simple techniques and easy to find materials (like dyed eggshell mosaic - with Easter coming up, there should be plenty of dyed eggshell around to save up!)

I know this is going to be frustrating, making beads and focals with polyclay. I have so many ideas I want to try and the proper execution of those ideas won't happen right away because I have to learn something new. I will have to keep telling myself to be patient - which isn't my best attribute.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Have a Great Weekend!

No beading post tonight - but I did just finish watching the finale of Battlestar Galactica so I didn't exactly waste the evening :-)

I'll see you over the weekend with some new beading posts and projects I've finished.

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Why I Don't Have One of those Nifty "Follow" Widgets

I have been on Blogger for three and a half years (this blog isn't that old, but with my other blog) and I customized the template they provided at that time. I've done a lot of tweaking and adding and changing both the CSS and the HTML to get things approximately the way I want them.

I say approximately because there are some things I'd like to do but can't because I don't have the technical knowledge, or I find the directions confusing, or won't switch to the new template - which is why I don't have the follower's widget because you have to be on the new Blogger Layouts templates to use it.

However, you can still follow me - just go to your dashboard and plug in my URL: http://beadedbadgelanyards.blogspot.com

It'd be nifty if you would!

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Found Something Cool on Etsy for Gluable Challenge Bracelet Blanks

Ooo-OOOoo-OOOOOOOooh!! (jumping up and down in my chair, scaring cats)

I think I found exactly what I need for my bracelet forms - Etsy seller AnnieHowes 10 Clear Glass Mini Gems. Don't you dare go buy them before I can. There's a whole bunch of other stuff on her Etsy site I'm also thinking of getting. This weekend may be a good one for a couple Etsy sellers on my 'wish list' :-)

I need to do some Etsy and Artfire photography and new listings too. I'm going to use some really cool scrapbooking stuff I found a while ago when getting ready for my display, I'll let you know when the listings go up and you can tell me if you think the pictures look ok.

One other thing - if you wonder what I'm interested in other than beading, I have another blog where I occasionally post non-beading stuff. Feel free to give me a visit over there, too!

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Need Inspiration? Just Follow the Links!

Have you seen Just A Tish's gluable bracelet form ideas yet? Check out her Gluable Challenge 4&5 (collage, fabric!), Gluable Challenge 2 & 3 (a Yummy Candy Inspiration) and for a giggle (Oops!) - Gluable Challenge - FAIL! I love the picture of the squished clay...I get this flashback to SNL's claymation dude, remember Mr. Bill? "oh nooooooooooooo!"

Or how about Lampwork Diva's ideas? Copper Kisses for $4.00. and also Glue is not my BFF

Another fun one was A Bead A Day's Fun With Bracelet Blanks - has a very chainmaille look to it.

I'm still trying to figure out what to do to finish the one I showed yesterday - and I have two more bracelet blanks to do - one is gunmetal, and then work on the two frames, which I think I'm going to do some mixed media collages (Tish beat me to it, but GMTA!) with to use as pendants, so I need to buy resin.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just Checkin' In

Hi - sorry I've been quiet for yet another week. I am still a bit blog-challenged and have not been in a very creative place lately. I appreciate all the great new connections I've made recently through your blogs and Twitter, and really want to keep the conversation going, so I'll try a bit harder!

I've started messing (and that word is quite appropriately descriptive) around with the gluable bracelet forms - here's one work in progress so far. White metal bracelet form with gluable discs and hammered links to which I have, so far, added 5, 14mm long by 10mm wide hemimorphite beads. there are 7 links in the bracelet, but the final link on one end is the clasp link and the other end is the loop link through which the clasp locks so I couldn't add the beads to them.

and here's how I did it


Snipped about 3" of wire and shaped a "t-pin" shape using the chain nose pliers (and flush cutter when I had excess to snip)

make a right angle bend about 3/4 inch long

bend back over itself about 1/4 inch from the center (long end of wire)

turn over, bend the other side the same way - there's a bit of overlap, trim with flush cutter

flatten the folds as much as possible

Now, for the assembly stuff
  1. Open the connector bit on one of the gluable disk links
  2. Remove the oval hammered link and thread wire through the vertical opening in the opened connector bit (I bet there's a technical term for that)
  3. Put the oval link back in, making sure the bead and the wire are on "top" of the link, otherwise you have to thread the wire back through the link, and the less bending the better because (as I'm sure everyone knows but I tested the concept strenuously, and often, to the failure point...) soft wire gets brittle and breaks the more you work it
  4. Close the connector bit (there I go with those highly technical terms again) over the wire pin and link - it's a tight fit and will make the bracelet a little less flexible, unfortunately.
  5. Thread the wire through the open connector bit on the next disk.

This part is extra tricky. I had to do all the folding and bending and trimming of the wire that I was able to do easily when it was just holding and folding the wire, inside of the open connector and then close the connector over it and the oval link. After finishing, it sometimes stuck out too much so it showed on the right side of the piece, and I either had to try and squish it in, or open the whole thing up again and trim it then bend and squish a much smaller piece of wire, inside the tight confines of the connector.

Then I closed up the connector bit on the other side.

Finished work - so far.

Still need to decide what to do with the gluable disk part. I'm thinking about investing in some resin and molds and trying my hand at little round resin domes with something embedded in them - not sure what to embed (but edging closer to a vintage-y concept), nor what kind of resin to get. I have the MagicGlos stuff, but I need a cure light for that. Also thinking about polyclay, but I need a better working surface than I have right now, which would entail lots of re-arranging the office/beading room and purchases of things I need not be purchasing right now, like new shelving and a nice long worktable/bench (that I've been wanting for some time now).

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Or Maybe It Was A Pothole...

I've hit a bump in the RL road, nothing serious, just have run out of steam for a bit.

I'm watching Tweets go by, reading beading blogs, missing the conversation - just not up to participating right now.

I'll be back to my old beading and blogging about it self soon, I'm sure.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Very Cool Sale Going On!

In what is known as a "Magpie Alert" I am passing along the news that Elise (the wonderful lady who not only provided me with the fabulous BoTMO beads I used in the swirly silver piece) but who also makes beautiful jewelry, is having a fabulous sale. Do look, much wonderful shiny stuff is there.

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Giveaway Contest at Chocolate and Steel

Look here for a giveaway contest at Chocolate and Steel

Beautiful ring as prize. Wonderful jewelry at her Etsy shop.

Go, look! Tell her Dawno sent you :-)

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Tish from Just A Tish gave me a nudge today in a comment to the post below (Thanks, Tish!) - I have been caught up in "real life" stuff this week and haven't paused to post since Tuesday. So to recap the week, bead-wise...

I got some wonderful sunflower beads with a sky above them inspired by Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night, the other day, from Patti Stoll (I got an oval for a focal - she's still got round ones listed). Her work is really exquisite, I promise to post a picture of the finished work.

I *think* I heard about her through a tweet from Dave at Rings & Things - if you're on Twitter and haven't added him to your follow list, do! He has great tweets - not just "buy our stuff" but conversations with other Twitter-ers, links to great crafters and websites, and just plain good or fun information. If you check his follow list, you can follow other bead-y Tweeters he's found (like I did). I'm *days* behind on Twitter, too, so if you sent me a tweet, I'm sorry I haven't gotten back to you yet.

Speaking of Rings & Things, I also put in an order for a book Dave recommended on their blog, and some "liquid silver" sterling silver tubes and beads for a necklace idea with coin pearls that I want to work on.

I hope to be back to my usual regular (almost daily) posting schedule now. Thanks for hanging around.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Comments from Visitors to My Display and Other Musings About Potlatch SF Convention

One of the interesting (well, at least to me) things about doing the convention last weekend were the comments from buyers and browsers. There was a great deal of interest in the vintage look pieces and I even sold the gunmetal and pearl necklace I showed (and Dave of Rings & Things shared on their blog) awhile back.

Another comment was that many of the con participants might prefer bigger and bolder necklaces. One of the ones I sold (along with a custom matching bracelet and earrings - wish I had thought to photograph the set!) I'd almost convinced myself not to make as I thought it was "too much". When I saw it on the customer, I was so thrilled - it really looked great on her.

My copper and mother of pearl necklace also sold early. I didn't sell any earrings (other than the custom order for the set above), though. And none of the green pieces sold, even with St. Patrick's day coming up.

Many of the con participants are already avid beaders and crafters, too. I received more than one suggestion to check out local gem shows - something I do want to do, just need to figure out how to schedule (and budget) one into my calendar.

One customer liked my yellow turquoise and green lace lanyard but wanted it in silver. So I took it home and re-strung it with tiny sterling silver beads instead of the gold plated ones already on it. She was quite happy with the new look and I made a sale.

One of the other dealers in the room (booksales) does jewelry and felt I'd underpriced my work. I understand what she was saying and know I still haven't figured out my pricing. However, I like getting my work out there, so part of my "profit-margin" is satisfaction. I know I'd feel much differently if I was more dependent on the money from sales, so thank goodness for the day job that supports my fledgling side-business!

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Free Earrings Giveaway - Help Me Finish a Necklace

I want to make a pendant on black rattail satin cord with these beads. They are gunmetal beads in 3 sizes, largest is about 15mm and ~10mm cobalt blue glass barrel beads. I will probably put decorative knots on the cord but no other embellishments. I need a focal piece/pendant for it and I'm so brain tired from the weekend, I can't even contemplate searching right now without wanting to take a nap.

So, if you'd please leave some links to a focal or pendant - the specific item, please - that I can go see (and maybe buy) from Etsy shops, Artfire shops, other online shops, or bead suppliers of focals you think would look good with these.

If I buy the focal you suggest, I'd be happy to make you a pair of earrings as a thank you gift...either out of these materials or we can work out what you'd like via email. If I don't buy a focal suggested, I'll do a random drawing from commenters. If the winner doesn't want earrings, we can work something else out, but I really do want to give away a prize!

And yes, this may get me some traffic and comments, but it really isn't my intention. I'm truly so brain and body tired from last weekend that I can't seem to figure this out on my own right now and really would love your ideas!

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