Thursday, April 28, 2011

Strong Foundations

This is my pile of jewelry making ideas I want to try (notice some of the marked pages?)! Yet, this week has completely gotten away from me. I am attributing my lack of productivity to returning from being out of town for Easter. Then I was behind in grading for work, and cleaning our home.

In all my recent reading, I discovered that it is so much easier to understand the instructions for making various pieces or even see how to put it together from the images shown now that I have a good foundation in jewelry making basics. For me, learning certain techniques via DVD, where I could see what the person was instructing, made a tremendous difference in comprehending the steps laid out in books.

Hopefully I am not engaged in wishful thinking when I hope to have some time this weekend and coming week to actually accomplish something. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In it to Win it

From some of my other posts, you may recall that I have won many, many great blog giveaways lately. I was very excited to discover I won a gift card to Gypsy Jewels from an  Emily’s Island blog giveaway.

I used my prize to purchase this beautiful necklace. I got so many compliments on it when I wore it for the first time today. Thank you, Emily, for the fun giveaway; and thank you, Juliea, for the beautiful necklace!

I am back in town now and will return to posting about my own jewelry making adventures tomorrow!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Break

I am taking a wee break for Easter, but will return to posting on Wednesday.

May you have a Holy Good Friday, and a joyous, promise-filled Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Magnificat Reborn

Some of you may recall my Manificat necklace design. I wore the necklace several times since making it and that led me to realize there were a few changes I wanted to make to fine tune my design. I have found that, for me, a large part of jewelry making is learning how to scale my designs. Jewelry pieces- even statement necklaces – present a smaller canvas than I sometimes realize.

Initially, I noticed that the design would benefit from moving the cross closer to the center charm. I also played with the idea of removing the chain from the beaded side of the necklace. And moved the second chain to see if I liked a double chain design on one side. Here is a picture midway through my redesign process. (Wow- there is lots of dog hair on my shirt in both pictures). 

Ultimately, I decided I still liked the chain on both sides, but the necklace needed to be shortened. I think the design greatly benefits from its new length and moving some of the charms around.

Do you like the changes I made?

In other news, I opened a fortune cookie that read, “You will be working with the color purple.” Well, purple is my favorite color so that wouldn’t be a bad thing!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bearing Gifts

Two times in the past two weeks, Liam has excitedly come to me bearing hand made gifts. The first time was after a Sunday school class where they had learned about and made Anglican Rosaries. He presented his to me and declared, “This is for you because you love beads!” I thanked him and told him how much I love all Rosaries. 

Today, when I picked him up at school, he was wearing this asymmetric, nature-inspired (!) necklace. “Did you make that in art class?” I asked him when he got in the car. “Yes,” he removed it and handed it to me, “But it is for you because you like beads so much!” (I am starting to think that I am not hiding my latest addiction to jewelry making so well). 

I am touched by the thoughtfulness and love expressed in these items Liam crafted carefully for me.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nacoochee Antiques

The three of us decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather today and headed to the North Georgia Mountains. My husband and son dropped me off at Nacoochee Antiques while they played miniature golf in Helen, GA.

A very large, old home now houses three floors of antiques. Item upon item from days gone by filled every nook and cranny. I have long loved the mysterious and unexpected of browsing stores like this. Old wood floors creaked as I explored.

There was, of course, wonderful vintage jewelry to be had. I completely blame Susan Beal for my need to have any of it. In her superb Bead Simple book, she has provides instructions for amazing designs using vintage jewelry pieces that she repurposed.

Want a peek at what I wound up with? Antique buttons, old brooches, and more! I am itching to use these.

Upon picking me up, Liam was amazed I could shop for as long as they golfed. My husband explained that I am a woman!

Friday, April 15, 2011

To Forgive, Canine

Our retriever was jumping up in excited greeting when her paw got caught on my necklace. The necklace lost the battle and broke. I have had the necklace a long time, and it is one I wear often. I loved the color palette as well as the multi-chain asymmetry of it.

I was not angry at Daisy, just sad about the fate of the necklace. My disappointment is tempered a little by the fact that I can, at least, reclaim the parts of the necklace and use them for something else. I keep thinking the items I craft from those beads will be called my “Daisy line!” (Here is my son, Liam, hugging Daisy).

I did have fun in my mailbox today with the arrival of divine smelling lavender sachets from Krishenka's Vintage Treasures in France! In my recent crazy winning streak (hmmm maybe I should play the lottery??) I won these. They smell delicious. I think I may need to put one in my car! I had so much fun winning them in a little guess what is in the box contest.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Impatient? Who, Me???

I won a huge amount of beading books from Jewelry By Jeannie. The one I wanted to read first was The Impatient Beader: Easy Jewelry Projects for the Busy Beginner.  Boy did this title speak to me! I tend to like to get things finished ASAP and love the idea of jewelry projects I can complete in a day.

I do realize not all the projects I work on will be completed quickly, but I do like the general idea of Potter’s book. I also like the way she divides the projects into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.

I marked several ideas I would like to try, though with my own spin. Now that I have had the chance to read several beading magazines as well as a few books, I notice a theme in designs I am drawn to.

First, I tend to love multi-strand pieces. Second, (and this should not shock anyone who even remotely knows me) I love romantic designs! I think it is my mother who has labeled my tastes as fairytale/enchanted. Aside from that, I also love the pairing of the romantic with metal elements.

So, my pouring over all these books is, at least, helping me define my style more. I am now about to look through the Big Bead Jewelry book pictured in the first photo above.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Review: The House at Riverton

The House at RivertonThe House at Riverton by Kate Morton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I would rate this 3.5 stars. Morton's writing does create a vivid picture of life during and right after WWI in England- especially class divisions between working class and upper class people. The second half of the book had some flaws in terms of pacing, and believability with some shifts in point of view.

View all my reviews

Converting the Saints

I enter a fair number of blog giveaways, but most of the time I do not win. I am not sure what happened- maybe the planets shifted or something because in the past week or so I have been winning so many awesome giveaways.

I won both a book and bead giveaway from Janine’s Blog, and then another giveaway from Emily’s Island, and also a fun guessing game giveaway from Krishenka’s Vintage Treasures. Needless to say, my sudden windfall excites me greatly.  

I finished a necklace last night and am currently deconstructing some Saint bracelets I got in L.A. and resealing them with acrylic spray. I am not yet certain what I am using them for. I cannot decide which beads or findings I want to use first- a very hard decision indeed.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sapphire Bloom

This necklace’s story began at a thrift store, where I purchased the blue flower brooch. I knew an asymmetric design would work well with it. I then kept envisioning the smooth opaqueness of certain forms of vintage Lucite that I previously saw in passing. I searched on Etsy for vintage Lucite beads that I thought would go with the pin. I discovered this set of five and was pleased at how they work with the flower brooch.

I affixed the brooch to the chain using jump rings, and then did a little stringing to attach the Lucite beads. 

I knew that I wanted to use more modern elements of a chain to shake up the more romantic mood of the vintage Lucite. I took apart an existing chain and reworked it. I especially like the way a double chain works as counterpoint to the other design elements.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

L.A.: City of Bead Dreams

My sister-in-law, Karen, is hard at work at launching her own Etsy shop selling home d├ęcor items. Some of her designs require jewelry-making supplies and findings, so she knows some good sources for supplies. Once she discovered my new hobby, she promised to take me bead shopping in Los Angeles when we visited.

I had a lot of fun on our girl’s morning out. Karen took me to L.A.’s downtown fashion district. Here, she introduced me to the wonderful, extensive collection at Berger Specialty Company. We were sort of hoping with my maiden name of Berger I could somehow get a family discount. Alas, this did not happen.

Upon our arrival, I thought I should concentrate on two necklaces I have in mind. However, that was soon very difficult. The collection of findings and beads is so large, I really could never see everything they have during one visit. So I kept getting distracted by beads and other findings I liked. Karen and I both agreed that the vastness is equal parts fun and overwhelming.

By the time we left, we were exhausted! But, I managed to actually stay under the budget I allotted and, as you can see, found some beautiful things.

I am hoping to pair some of the things like those beautiful floral cabochons I purchased with the stunning vintage/repurposed items I was deeply Blessed with in a recent swap by my friend, Shirlena. 

I think at this point, I have so many beads that I could create jewelry until the end of time!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Out of Town . . .

Taking a few days off blogging while on vacation.

Stay tuned- my sister-in-law has many crafting connections and promises a full morning of bead shopping on Monday!