Archive for the ‘Jewellery’ category

New Earrings for Me

August 19, 2015

I was scrounging for earrings in suitable colourways for a couple of tops and I couldn’t find any. I must have about 50 pairs of earrings so that’s saying a lot. I decided to make a few new ones yesterday and today and made nine in total and also revamped an old pair with new beads (in the upper right of the photograph.

I still haven’t quite got the colourway I needed in blue.  I need navy blue so I’ll check online out and see if they have any beads. The pinks ones second from the right on the bottom row have turtles on them, and their friends to the right were made from a wallpaper border stripe years ago. Keep those old beads, you never know when you’ll be able to work them in.

Click to enlarge.


The point and shoot camera I have is a Sony, but I can’t seem to get good pictures with it. It is perennially disappointing as most of the images I photograph need close-ups and good lighting.

So, not the best picture but it’s always good to get a new infusion of earrings.


Wedding Necklace

May 28, 2013

This is the necklace I made to wear to a wedding recently. The rectangular wooden beads with the impasto embellishment were made by my friend Rose Dix, an artist from South Africa, who sent me these for my 50th birthday in 2006. I was waiting for just the right project for them and I had made two long herringbone ropes in the winter to use with them, but the blouse I was wearing needed a shorter necklace. Click to enlarge.


I was stumped until I realized that I could do an asymmetrical design featuring the clasp off-centre with only one of the ropes. I then mixed in some fuchsia, dark purple, and garnet beads along with 2 mm goldtone beads to round it out. The corresponding earrings were made to match with the more simple pair on the right picking up the fabric pattern from the lining of my jacket. I punched the colours up a bit with coloured pencil and then did some highlighting with antique gold acrylic paint. I have three holes in my ears so always need two pairs, but in an asymmetrical arrangement.

I was really pleased with how this turned out and it was lovely to wear, nice and light. Here is a partial photograph of it, a little out of focus as it was taken on a phone but it shows how it fell on my neck against my nice fuchsia top and black jacket.


Oh, and you can see my long, grey hair as well. There’s always a bonus to be had!


Christmas Gifts and Crafts

December 10, 2012

I got a bit side-tracked two days ago and found a few tutorials on making felt Christmas ornaments. I don’t decorate and fuss over Christmas, but we do have an old table-top tree we bought for our first Christmas that we use. I still have some of the original ornaments, with a few have cat bites on them, but we keep them for sentimental reasons.

I used two tutorials online and sized them down for a tiny tree. The round ones can be found here, and the tree and bell can be found here.


I sent off two parcels in November for online friends. I have known one for ten years and the other for almost thirteen years, and they have both been so inspirational and encouraging to me that I felt like doing something different for them this year.

This one is a Tree of Life pendant I made back in June or so. I kept dithering around about it and it wasn’t quite right so I never strung it. Then when I taught myself how to do the tubular herringbone stitch, I thought a tube of herringbone might give this a nice look so went ahead and did that. it took me some time to get a nice balance to this. I tend to like asymmetry in necklaces, but there is a line between it being a jumble of stuff and a tastefully balanced necklace.


Here is a longer shot of it. I also used some matte black glass beads and some of my own paper beads. The rope was made with Toho 11° seed beads with matte black as the base and some accents of blue and grey. What I like about the herringbone rope is that you can string it on wire and thus add stability.


There are copper accents in the necklace and earrings to match the copper-coloured wire used for the base of the pendant. I used a lot of sodalite in this in various shapes and chips.

I also made an extra couple of earrings and some matchbook notebooks for her with botanical prints. She is an artist and draws lovely botanicals in graphite and watercolour.


It became a nice, cheery little set that I was very pleased with after agonizing over the design for so long. It’s good to get things done! My friend really loved it, she referred to it as “my living tree” and that is just so. We both love trees and nature.



Then I tentatively decided to make my first man necklace. I’ve always wanted to and I checked with my friend first to get the colours right. He wears a lot of black and wanted that, but for the herringbone rope, I used matte black 11° as the base with periodic 8° matte black seed beads for texture and to break the monotony. It looks interesting but still very masculine.

I started this with 22 gauge black wire. They were out of the 20 gauge when I ordered and I thought it would be okay. Nope, not okay. After twelve tries at getting the thinner wire to hold a spiral and loop, I gave up and switched to 20 gauge in a silver colour, which worked perfectly the first time. Ooops, the old stray dog hair in the picture trick…


Years ago he used a nickname related to Buddha, so I included a back pewter Buddha head, with a mystical spiral, and some black pewter keys to give it a bit of a steampunk vibe. The clasp is also black pewter which is a finish I really like. The bail is a simple 3-bead ladder stitch and it is long enough to take off so he can change up the pendant or just wear the rope by itself.


And a long shot showing the clasp. It really turned out well, and he sent me a picture of himself wearing it. It is a perfect fit and length and he is a sharp dresser, always looking very hip, so will wear it smartly as usual.


Pretty, pretty. I love to make nice things. If only I could take a decent photograph and had a proper camera and light tent.

Earrings, Earrings Everywhere

September 16, 2012

I just finished a gift for someone that is a combination of last year’s gift and this year’s. My friend has seen some terrible days due to her spouse’s near death from a heart aneurysm. They continue to struggle on so I thought to send a little pick-me-up.

More matchbook notebooks—just the thing! I have been finding these very handy to make notes, particularly if I hear a song on the radio and want to write the title and artist down for a scrounge at iTunes.

My friends are both cat lovers and they like football. The woman loves leopard prints so I used a specific leopard print scrapbooking paper for one of her little notebooks. I also managed to scan two cards in from my new facsimile playing cards and use them. It’s a one-off measuring about 1 inch and I am not selling them so this should be okay for copyright.

I also made some custom leopard-print beads and used them in two sets of earrings. I managed to use a bit of jasper and garnet and pietersite I think it is. Let’s hope they hit the spot.

I also made several sets of earrings recently using various things and some basic wirework. I even got the wire jig out for one rather exuberant pair, second from the left in the bottom row, and I used some brass and pewter charms and my own handmade beads with gold and copper painted accents.

People can never have too many earrings. I have a couple I am making myself with a duplicate set of wire shapes and some more handmade impasto beads.

Earrings rule the Earth, providing humans with contemplative hours wrangling with specialty pliers.



My First Attempts at Beaded Spiral Rope

September 1, 2012

This week of holidays I have been learning how to bead spiral ropes with seed bead mixes.

I have had instructions for this in books for years but it never made sense. I joined a mailing list where members clarified a few things for me and away I went. I used C-Lon AA thread for the peach one and Nymo D thread for the purple one and waxed them with beeswax.

The peach one on the left is my prototype done with 12° colour-lined transparent beads from China. I bought these beads in bulk from a wholesaler when I had my business, and they are quite irregular and not the best quality but they work up nicely. This was a green and peach combination with a gold tone lobster claw and split rings. I made up a small counterweight with a headpin and some of the beads in the necklace.

The second one was done with 6° glossy hematite coloured beads for the core and a green AB matte 6° accent bead in the centre of the spiral of 12° transparent blue beads lined with purple. This was also finished with a lobster claw and a counterweight. Simple but a nice beginner’s project.

I like the purple and green one so much I am going to teach myself how to do a Cellini Spiral as a central accent, and then do this same purple and green combination for the straps coming out of the larger spiral.

The nice thing about the simplicity of this stitch is that you can build on it. I bought a new book that explains some variations which I think will be helpful in building my skills: Jill Wiseman’s Beautiful Beaded Ropes: 24 Wearable Jewelry Projects in Multiple Stitches.

I love learning new techniques!!!

I made two more for good measure. They are variations on each other. The one in the box has earrings that match the counterweight on the necklace, and are for a gift.


Redwork, Quilts, Beads, and a Tree of Life Pendant

June 8, 2011

I’ve been busy making things. I let my website go because I had been ghettoized in interminably slow free hosting and it’s much easier to discuss projects and my work here at WordPress.

I am currently doing up two final redwork blocks for the red sampler quilt I have been working on for 14 years. I can feel it coming to completion, I just have to fit disparate sizes of blocks together with strips and then it will be done.

This is a nice vase I found in an online free colouring book source. It is working up beautifully in a ten inch block.

The final redwork block has been traced out on fabric. I got permission from one of my favourite artists to use a section of her artwork, much modified for stitching purposes, in this block, so I will unveil that at a later date. I was happy she gave me permission; artists are so generous if you only write and tell them what you hope to do, and then ask.

I laid the completed blocks out to get an idea on how many blocks I still needed to do and was surprised that I don’t need any more. This will finish up around 65 x 80 inches and the quilt is to go with a red Adirondack chair that my brother refurbished for me. The chair was my Mom’s and she sat in it when she was pregnant with me 55 years ago.

The Honey Bee block on the right in the middle section was hand sewn and traded to me by a pen pal of mine from California whom I’ve recently been back in touch with. She’s a wonderful quilter and just talking to her got me fired up again about finishing this quilt.

While talking to her about a name change on her part, I got browsing tartans and made some beads for a necklace using the Wallace tartan as impetus. I used the botanical prints I made for another necklace in black and white, and changed the background to red, and then I generated some great looking patterns in Gliftex to complement the whole thing. I LOVE that program, it comes up with the most gorgeous patterns. The two black patterns and the two red patterns in the lower tier are Gliftex designs. After painting and varnishing the beads, 20 hours later they are done.

And then we come to the fun part: I needed a pendant for these beads and could not find anything suitable in my budget range of $8 and under. So I was browsing around the Internet and saw some stunning examples of a wirework pendant so I took the plunge and made a prototype. I didn’t have a wire that was dark enough to get the contrast I wanted, but I got a nice necklace out of it and used some older beads I’d made several years ago that picked up the colours of the beads in the tree. I also made matching earrings, and the gemstone chips are tree agate and malachite, which look well as tree leaves I think.

I’ve ordered some black and burgundy wire in a fine 26 gauge to make more of these. The gauge I had on hand for this one was 28 gauge and it worked but is a smidge too fine for good definition and the gnarly look I want on the trunk of the tree. So, more plans ahead for these!

And lastly, I made 10 earrings for my neighbour as a thank you gift and that got me fired up again about making jewellery. I have lots of supplies and don’t want to waste them even though I don’t have things up for sale at the minute. I love the variety in these. I took a box of things over to her house and we sat on her back porch creating designs so she would get exactly what she wanted. It was a lot of fun, another spontaneous project that just fell together for some happy creativity.

Updates on the Rumi Tarot Necklace

June 25, 2010

Updating the hexagon bag yesterday, which is done in very saturated blue and green colours, reminded me of the lovely Rumi Tarot and the necklace I am making for that, so I’ll update that situation.

I need really good light for bead embroidery and like to embroider on my sunporch which is not winterized and was closed down for months, so I have had a sabbatical from the Rumi Tarot necklace project. I did lay down a few rows over the winter, but the neck on my Ott light broke so I just didn’t have the lighting indoors that I needed. However, the porch is open now and I’ve got about 3.5 months left to work there and this project is hopefully going to be finished this year.

Since I have now taught myself peyote stitch with seed beads, I would like to make a bail for the bead embroidery and then do a nice peyote stitch rope to finish off this necklace. I think that would be in keeping with the exotic look of the piece. It would also give me a chance to learn to do a few more things with seed beads.

I was looking at a blog yesterday where an artist was working with silver and fancy cabochons that they had bought at a gem show. I don’t drive and can’t get to gem shows, and I also don’t have the money for cabochons, but when you’re creative, colour is always available to you no matter what. One has to be positive about such things and do excellent work with what is available to you. The Rumi Tarot necklace is a perfect example of how I get inspired by other artists and colour. The small cabochons in it were bought on sale many years ago, and they are a good size for this, not too overwhelming.