Thursday, 31 May 2012

Summer stacking bracelets

I had lots of fun looking at the Wrapped Stacked Layered Bracelet Challenge blog-hop recently - it was so inspiring seeing all the creativity out there. But at the time I really didn't think I could ever make anything co-ordinating without becoming excessively matchy-matchy, which really isn't my look. There was also a lot of stuff with sari-silk and highly complex designs which were clearly waaaaay beyond my capabilities. But! But! Look at what I made!

This is the story of how it happened. It was sunny, and I was off work, and while my little son napped sweetly on the sofa, I started to dismantle a Christmas necklace I'd made. I loved how the silver beads in that Christmas necklace were now starting to get a little bit tarnished - you can't see it so well in these photos, but they're not shiny-bright silver any more, they look a little bit speckly and battered and altogether much more interesting.

Suddenly I realised these slightly-tarnished beads really, really needed to go with some animal-horn beads that I'd bought ages ago in Brighton. The bracelet wasn't quite long enough, so I added some colour with lampworked, green-blue little glass beads and some subtly speckled dark-green ones. Because the lampworked beads are handmade, they suit the irregularity of the horn beads.

I liked this so much, I immediately decided to make another with the last of my turquoise-y beads (also slightly irregular in size), with a red Czech glass heart for colour-contrast and some interesting brassy beads that had come from a find some time back from the antiques market. The technique I used for the heart dangle was the same one that I discovered worked well for the re-done leaf-dangles.

Then I realised these two bracelets could actually go together! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!! Now I can stack and layer!!! (Although, I still can't wrap with sari silk, mainly due to not actually having any sari silk, but that's a whole other challenge, right?).

And the weight of the dangles means that if you wave your arms around a bit, the bracelets tend to align with each other in the same way each time... which is kind of satisfying.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Fun with negative space

When I made these earrings I thought that the leaf-dangle parts needed re-working. The leaves were too thick to attach easily to jump-rings, so I decided to use wire instead. After a small amount of experimentation I figured out a figure-of-eight method for attaching them. I am pleased with how this turned out - this way of doing it somehow suits the shape of the leaves.

I enjoyed taking pictures of the different shapes the earrings made with their different sections. You cannot imagine how restrained I am being by only posting one of these.

 Yeah, it's possible to have a lot of fun with negative space on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Wirework and purple

Had a trip to London and had fun nosily looking at people's jewellery (although of course I had to pretend I wasn't, because you're not supposed to look at other people on the Tube).

I saw a gorgeous necklace made of turquoise seed-beads - it looked like a kind of coral reef. I wonder if I can make one like it somehow. It would be a lot of seed-beads, though, and take a long time.

Anyway, these earrings are a further attempt at non-messy wirework.  On those terms they were fairly successful. They were impractically long and kind of heavy for all-day wear, but I like all the beads in them and I am pleased with my wirework which is getting a bit neater. Maybe to make them a bit more wearable I will rethink the leaf-dangle parts. The blue-grey Czech glass beads right at the top are particularly nice, I think - you can't really see them in this photo but they are very pretty.

Won't post much more on this because it's late and I need to go to bed!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

When problems are successes, and successes bring problems

This weekend my parents came to visit. I wanted to give them some things which my son is too big for, in preparation for the planned visit of my sister, her husband and her baby (the youngest grandchild) next month. Next month! I'm getting really excited now and am counting down the weeks as they pass!

My mother brought me the necklace which I'd given her for Christmas, asking for a small repair - which was, happily, accomplished within seconds (it was not so much a repair as, shall we say, an optimisation). Actually I was pleased because the fact she noticed the problem and wanted it fixed is a sign she's actually been wearing it. She is not normally a very necklacey type person so this is a great compliment. In other words, very existence of the problem-that-needed-fixing meant that the necklace was in fact a success.

I made this necklace with Acculon beading wire (tiger-tail) because this bead shop, where I did a lot of my Christmas shopping, has loads of very nice beads but not the largest range of beading wires. But tiger-tail is actually not a bad choice for this necklace: it's so stiff that it holds its circular shape really well, and the beads are pretty light so the wire doesn't get kinked by their weight.

My parents also baby-sat my son on Saturday so that I could go to my friend's hen party, which was held at her new house. She lives in a tiny village on the top of a hill that rises all by itself out of the plain, topped by an actual Norman church, with green fields stretching all around as far as you can see until they merge softly into blue hills far in the distance. You approach the village down a single-track, winding road, with beautiful long-maned horses kept tethered by the roadside, grazing happily on the lush grass - honestly, it's just like a village in a fairy-tale. And her house is almost at the top of that hill, with wood flooring, white walls, lots of space everywhere, and very simple classic decor. It's really lovely.

I think I might have mentioned something along these lines to the bride-to-be, but she just laughed and said "well, it's so big that it takes ages to clean!" To be fair, I do agree that this is a major disadvantage of living in a big house. Even fairy-tale princesses have their own problems...

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Little bird(s)

For these "little bird" earrings I decided to use my 0.8mm wire instead of 0.4mm, and to keep the wire-wrapping under rather firmer control this time! I've actually had these little red-white-and-blue millefiore glass beads for a while, and was wondering how to use them - and these cute little bird charms just seem to go perfectly. I think all the different components of these earrings in fact came via Beads Unlimited, although they were bought at different times, some online and some in the actual shop. Because I do like my bead shopping!

The brown beads, which are Czech glass, are shot with a yellow-brown shade, rather like tiger's eye quartz. It doesn't come out well in the first picture, so I took another photo using a different view. I like the contrast with the intense turquoise - it suits the time of year.

"Little Bird" is also a splendid song by Annie Lennox from the early 1990s  - see, the early 1990s weren't universally dreadful for music, were they? In this video, she was clearly having enormous amounts of fun hamming it up, and it didn't appear to matter a jot that she was seven months' pregnant at the time. Annie Lennox is, in general, extremely cool - musician, mother, political activist, charity campaigner... And her music reminds me of when I was young and firmly believed that women could do anything they liked in the world, as long as they really tried. That was highly naive, of course, but it was nice to grow up with that belief for a little while. And it's a good philosophy to have for oneself, anyway, even if it's not always strictly true in the real world.