Monday, December 31, 2012

Rose Gold and Swarovski Crystal Earrings

These textured rose gold earring findings are spectacular, and I soooo regret only getting one pair when I had the opportunity at the show - but they were a little pricey!

I paired them with a sterling silver cylinder bead, from which I dangled a 6mm peach Swarovski crystal bicone. The silver bead and crystal hang from sterling chain, which is attached to the earring frame at the top, so the earring has a lot of movement, and catches the light so beautifully!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pink and Teal Spiral with Dichroic Glass Pendant

This dichroic glass pendant really captured my imagination - I love the swirling colors, which remind me of sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico - gorgeous pinks and blues, with a hint of gold!

I decided to make a lush spiral rope for this pendant, and chose the plump pink freshwater pearls first. I just love how they bring out the pinks in the glass pendant.

Then I added teal gold, and blue glass seed beads in a variety of sizes and shapes, and I just love the final result:

It's available on Etsy!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Kokopelli Pendant and Earrings

The texture you see surrounding Kokopelli on this pendant is all a result of the etching process - I love when this feathery detail appears on an etched piece - serendipity!

Here are the earrings:
The acid also gave them some interesting feather texture - not sure why the feathers have a different orientation on the two earrings!

These stamps were custom made for me, so that the Kokopellis would face left and right - I like when earrings have mirror orientations. Sometimes that's tough to achieve.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Abstract Textured Copper and Sterling Silver Earrings

I am crazy about the texture I achieved with these earrings - it has a brushed, matte effect that I just love. Hope I can duplicate it!

I used a piece of sterling silver sheet to craft the loop the earrings hang from, and carried it down onto the earring in a swirl design. The sterling silver is riveted to the earring, but the rivets are hidden by the curly copper "S" pieces I wire-wrapped on top of the silver.

Bali-style copper earwires complete the design.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Red and Pink Beaded Necklace

Well, Christmas is over ... next up? Valentine's Day!

This necklace is perfect for Valentine's Day, and any other day, if you ask me, because I really like the pinks and purples together! Aren't these swirly lampwork beads divine?

I had some wonderful textured sterling silver noodles, and used these at the front to help support the lampwork focals.

I added lots more sterling throughout the necklace, and some red Czech firepolish beads for a little "pop."

The closure is uses sterling silver chain and an S-hook, so the length is adjustable.

And it's available on Etsy!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Blue and Green Beaded Earrings

Just a little pair of earrings to go with Monday's bracelet:

I had 2 of those gorgeous blue and green lampwork glass bicones leftover after making the bracelet, so naturally I had to make some matching earrings!

I tried to get an extreme closeup to show the detail in the lampwork, and I think I got a little too close! It looks like there are 2 beadcaps under the lampwork bead on the left - but there aren't, it's just a photographic artifact. Photographing jewelry is hard!

I hope Santa was good to everyone!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Wishing Happy Holidays to all my readers, and especially to those who take the time to leave me comments - you make my day when you comment!

Wishing you all the best this holiday season!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Blue and Green Beaded Bracelet

These blue and green lampwork bicones really caught my eye - what a fantastic shape! I love blues and greens together, and these beads matched some azurite-malachite beads in my stash, so I added lots of sterling silver, a dangle (I love dangles!) - and some peridot AB Swarovski bicones, and this is the result. Love it!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Chainmaille Earrings

I call this pattern "Bullseye:"

I love patterns that call for rings inside of rings, like dragonscale, and the Off-Kilter Celtic, and this one. And, of course, I love mixing metals! These are sterling silver and copper, but they would look great with different colors of artistic wire, too .... hmmm - I think I need to cut some more rings!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Custom Order: Jasper Necklace

Third custom order this week!

The customer selected the Jasper focal, and paired it with some fluted black and bronze Czech glass beads:

I added some 4 mm aqua terra jasper rounds for a pop of color, and this is the finished necklace:

Friday, December 21, 2012

Custom Order: Ceramic Necklace

This week's second custom order: a lady brought in some large ceramic beads that she made several years ago, and asked me to work them up into a long (36") necklace.

I love the colors and textures in these ceramic beads, and chose kyanite, sapphire, aventurine, and fossil coral to accompany them:

Here is the completed design:
I would love to keep this one for myself!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Custom Orders: Beadwoven Earrings

It's been a banner week for custom orders - here's the first:

Remember the flat spiral necklace?

A customer loves it, and wants to send her husband in to get it for her for Christmas, but she wants matching earrings.

So this is what I made:

These circular peyote earrings use leftover beads from the necklace (which I never put away ... duh, and yay! I didn't have to go hunt for them!)

And they match the clasp on the necklace:
I think she'll like them.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Pomander Debacle

I don't even remember how it started, now.

It was shortly before Thanksgiving. I know Sonya and I were sitting at Ye Olde Beading Table, chatting. There might have been a customer in the store.

I don't remember what we were talking about, but suddenly a distant childhood memory popped into my head: those delicious smelling, gorgeous holiday pomanders - those oranges covered in cloves, and decorative ribbons. I remember bowls of them throughout the house between Thanksgiving and Christmas, filling the house with spicy holiday goodness. So did she - and I thought: I should make some of those.

 Famous last words.

Knowing nothing about making them, I forgot about them for a couple of weeks, and then remembered again right as I was preparing for the big monthly trek to the grocery store. I scribbled "oranges" and "cloves" on my list, and searched the grocery store for them once I got there (2 sections of the grocery store I never visit: Fresh Produce, and Baking Supplies. Should have seen the foreshadowing right then!).

Once home, I searched the internet for instructions - although, I really thought that all I had to do was stick the cloves in the oranges, and, as they say on Etsy: "Wallah!"

Good thing I checked. Turns out you need a tad more than that - like cinnamon, nutmeg, powdered cloves, and Orris root. (???). I had some 10 year old (but unopened!) cinnamon and nutmeg in the pantry, but no powdered clove. And certainly no Orris root. Which, as it turns out, is a natural preservative. [Note to self: check recipes before going to grocery store.]

Know what else you need? Time - according to the directions (and believe me, I read about 5 different recipes for these pomanders), it takes 3 to 6, or more, weeks for the pomanders to cure and be ready for use. Ooops - obviously, these wouldn't be ready for the holidays, unless I squeaked under the wire and they took exactly 3 weeks, and even then, the bead shop would already be closed for Christmas (!) - but we'd be enjoying and savoring them right on into bleak January and February. It's all good, I told myself, as I got out a huge knitting needle, and started stabbing my oranges, filling their oozing wounds with whole cloves.

I got all the cloves placed, and had 10 plump oranges, covered with beautiful patterns in whole cloves. I didn't want to climb into the attic and look for ribbon, so I decided this was good enough!

The next step called for coating the oranges in the spices, and then placing them in a brown paper bag and into a cool, dark space. Know what I don't have at the house? Paper bags. Who uses paper bags nowadays? But I kept looking, and eventually found a nice, sturdy large paper shopping bag from some long-ago shopping trip, coated my oranges in my spice mixture (minus the powdered cloves and the orris root), and stuffed the bag in the pantry.

And proceeded to worry for 2 days about my oranges - since they didn't have any orris root preservative. The instructions said to shake the bag daily to recoat the oranges, and to check them, and remove any that show mold. Mold?! - wait .... what?

2 days later I went to the health food store in Augusta, and found orris root. That night, I added the powdered orris root to the mix, and also separated the 10 oranges into their own individual small paper bags, appropriated from the bead shop. And for the next 3 weeks, I let them do their thing. For the first few days, I checked them daily. Then it slipped to every other day, and then every 3-4 days. Let's face it: waiting for an orange to dehydrate is kind of like watching grass grow.

orris root

A couple of days ago, I decided to shake all the bags again, and check the progress. Oops.

bags of oranges, cloves, and spices

Here's what I found:

1 moldy orange

1 moldy orange and 1 non-moldy orange

7 moldy oranges, 3 unscathed (so far) oranges

Of my 10 original oranges, 7 have developed a bad case of mold, and 3 are left, and these three are not even close to dehydrated yet -

So I added more orris root to the remaining 3, and put them back into the pantry for more curing.

I guess we'll see how this goes -- maybe I'll have some Easter pomanders.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tangle Tuesday

I really like this one!

Barber poles of striping, and my favorite tangles (and even a little mooka - still a struggle for me!). Plus, a splash of pink and purple.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Floating Crystal Chainmaille Necklace

This necklace was featured in one of the beading or wire magazines several years ago; sorry - I can't be more specific than that - can't find the pattern anymore.

It uses 16g sterling silver rings, which are fairly large, and each unit "captures" an 6 mm Swarovski cube. I chose indicolite (one of my favorite colors). The crystal cubes appear to float in the weave, so it is called a floating crystal necklace.

I was so crazy about this look that I cut more rings, and made a matching bracelet and earrings.

Then the trouble started - the crystals don't want to stay where you put them.

They stay for a little while, but then they start to slip out of their "cages", sliding into the unit below them (gravity-wise) - and the more time they have, the more they make their escape! They turn sideways just a tiny bit from the position they are supposed to maintain, and can actually slip through 5 or 6 cages in one move if the cages below them are already empty. (I actually watched it happen)

About a week after I made this necklace, I decided to wear it, and discovered that almost all of the crystals had slipped out of place. I tried to manipulate them back into position without deconstructing the rings, but that didn't work. Weird, because the little chainmaille cages obviously weren't the tight fit they purported to be.... but anyway.

I toyed with the idea of taking it apart and re-doing it, but figured it would probably just do the same thing again, so why bother? So I ended up just taking it apart, and recycling the rings and crystals into other projects.

I followed the patterns instructions exactly - same gauge, same ID (inner diameter) -  not sure what the problem was. The crystals appeared to fit quite snugly into the little "cages" - and I really believe that if I had altered the AR (aspect ratio) at all, the cubes wouldn't have fit anymore.

Sigh ... I really loved this idea!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Byzantine Bracelet with Fine Silver Horse Focal

The fine silver focal is a slightly domed art clay silver connector, featuring a hand-drawn horse.

On either side, I've woven a large, heavy-gauge Byzantine bracelet, with a toggle closure.

[Sorry - this bracelet has SOLD]

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Just a few months away...

This is the Yoshina Cherry tree in my driveway, in full bloom, last March. Just 3 months away!

It's hard to really capture the beauty of this tree, because the other tall trees in the yard shade it in the morning, and the house shades it in the afternoon. Its blooms are a beautiful pastel pink.

This is what my Yoshina cherry really looks like - without my horrible camera skills:
Yoshina cherry: picture by

I know lots of folks are having much colder weather than we are right now - but it's all relative, right? It's 48 degrees here right now, and damp. For some, that would be a heat wave - but I'm freezing!!

Can't wait for Spring!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Head-to-Head Challenge Update

It's that time again: time to show my progress on the Head-to-Head Challenge Sonya and I are participating in. Except that I can't actually show my progress, because Sonya and I want to be surprised by what each other makes.

Which makes this update kind of silly. Whose idea was this updating nonsense, anyway? (Answer: MINE). Made sense at the time!

I'm going to show an itty bitty piece of my challenge WIP (work in progress), anyway (and none of my fancy photoshopping skills, either!)

You may recall that this is the ceramic bead we are designing our freeform pieces around:

This week, I made the decision to go ahead and design and attach the clasp to the piece, because the type and size of the clasp helps determine the finished length - sometimes I use clasps that can add 2 inches or more to the finished length of a piece! And I did NOT want my piece to end up being too long, so why not go ahead and design a clasp in the middle of the creative process? Why save it 'til last?

Here is what I came up with:
I chose a Swarovski crystal Cosmic Square in Red Magma, which perfectly matches the orange ceramic bead. I attached it using a square stitch "bail," for lack of a better word, and then stitched a matching bar using the same galvanized orange delicas.

Stay tuned - our big reveal is January 14!

And click over to Sonya's blog to see her progress!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lampwork Disc Earrings

These handmade lampwork discs are summery - pastel blue and green, with a splash of orange.

I added some green vintage glass beads, to make these fun earrings.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Purple Heart

I got this amazing purple lampwork heart from one of Etsy's talented glass artisans (if it's yours, drop me a comment and I'll credit you - I can't find the original transaction!) - I love purple, love hearts, and knew I wanted to design a spectacular necklace to showcase it.

Coin pearls: another one of my favorite things! These peacock-colored coin pearls are richly iridescent, and go with the heart focal perfectly! I put them with white freshwater button pearls and tanzanite-colored Czech firepolished beads, and a bit of sterling silver, to create this feminine, romantic, double-stranded necklace:

It closes with a sterling silver S-hook and sterling silver chain, so the finished length is adjustable.

And it's available on Etsy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tangle Tuesday

I have a renewed love of "paradox", so I knew I wanted a triangle to fill with paradox. I decided to divide the tile into 4 triangles, and fill in the string with colors. Then I just filled in the 4 triangles with 4 different tangles, placing betweed and paradox directly across from each other. I played a little bit with perspective (a very weak point for me) in the tangle on the far left.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Multistrand Pearl and Gemstone Bracelet

This multistrand bracelet was made to go with the multistrand pearl and gemstone kumihimo necklace I showed you yesterday.

It contains the same green and white freshwater pearls (such great irridescence and texture!), dumortierite, kyanite, and Swarovski crystals, and closes with a sterling silver lobster claw and extender chain, so that the length is adjustable.

Available on Etsy!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Kumihimo Necklace with Japanese triangles

Furthering my adventures in kumihimo, I wanted to try another interesting bead shape - the Japanese triangle, size 11. (Remember the lentils? - that gorgeous necklace is still available on Etsy!)

kumihimo rope with 11/0 Japanese triangles

This necklace started out to be a simple kumihimo rope, with that gorgeous teardrop lampwork pendant as the focal. But that plan got derailed rather quickly.

Stringing the 11/0 triangles was no easy feat, but nothing compared to the braiding. When I do kumihimo, I like a lot of tension on the braid, so in addition to the weight I suspend from the bottom of the braid, I also grip the braid tightly between the 4th and 5th fingers of my left hand (the thumb and other 2 fingers are holding the disc) - and squeezing the sharp triangle braid as it lengthened was pretty painful on my tender little fingers!

So after about 4 inches of it was braided, I realized I needed a plan B. I attached the focal pendant, braided an equal length of kumihimo on the other side, and capped the braid on both ends. And put on my thinking cap.

The blues in the focal and kumihimo braid go so well with green, and of course, with white pearls, that I fell back on that color combo, and strung a multistrand necklace with green and white freshwater pearls, kyanite, dumortierite, and Swarovski pearls. I had a beautiful sterling silver branch and leaf box clasp that deserved to be showcased in the front of a necklace, so I put the closure in front, and added some dangles. I love how this piece turned out - it is much more interesting than if I had gone with plan A!

multistand pearl, gemstone, and Kumihimo necklace

And, it's available on Etsy!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Holiday Wreath Chainmaille Earrings

Aren't these festive?

These chainmaille wreath earrings were woven with jumprings I cut from red and green artistic wire. They are very lightweight, and I love the red artistic wire earwire with them!

Available on Etsy!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Black and White Lampwork Necklace

Who doesn't love black and white? Stark, graphic - dramatic! It is one of my favorite combinations to work with AND to wear!

This necklace was designed around 3 black and white lampwork glass beads, handmade by a talented Etsy glass artisan. I added sterling silver beadcaps, onyx rounds and chips, small white howlite rounds, and black seed beads, resulting in a simple, yet elegant, adjustable length necklace which goes well with so many different looks!

And it's available on Etsy! (This necklace is now on sale - listed price is 35% off!)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Blue Lampwork Cube Earrings

I really like the unexpected shape of these handmade lampwork cubes - you see lots of round, oval, lentil-shaped, etc. lampworks, but not so any cubes! And the colors - love!

I paired them with some Swarovski crystal dangles to make these whimsical earrings.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Paddle Earrings with Lampwork Beads

I made these sterling silver paddle earrings during the cold connections class I taught Sunday:

I used 18 gauge sterling silver wire, hammering it flat and wide at one end to hold the handmade lampwork bead in place. After sliding the bead on, I continued to carefully hammer the wire above it to slightly flatten it, and then used round nose pliers to create a loop at the top for hanging.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tangle Tuesday

Not sure where this came from - I wanted to try color with my tangle, and I love black and red. I pictured a string I could fill with color, and this stellate shape is what I drew - After I filled it with red, the aura just seemed perfect, and then I just kept repeating it until the tile was full.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Cold Connections Class

I taught a Cold Connections Class yesterday - this was the class project:

copper pendant

This is the pendant I made back in October as a demo for yesterday's class. We had 3 wonderful students in the class yesterday, and their pendants are all beautiful, and unique, as they all used different stamps for etching, different hammers for texturing, and different patterns and metals for the woven portion.

2 of my students: that's Karin, of Backstory Beads, on the left, and Stephanie on the right.

Materials table: tools, acid, Liver of Sulfur

I put all the tools and chemicals on one table, separate from the students' workstations - the classroom suddenly gets very small when we fill it with people (!), so it's good to be able to keep this stuff out of the way when you're working.

Students' work table

Bailey and his purple monkey snooze through the class

Everyone had a great time, and learned a lot!

And note to my friend Deborah up in Canada: it was 75 degrees and sunny here yesterday - just gorgeous! Sorry you missed it!