Tuesday, September 29, 2009


So here's some of the earrings I was making early last year:

Glass leaf earrings

I think that I mentioned the green leaf beads in that past post - I never have seen any more beads like that to this day. Meanwhile, one thing I spent a lot of time making in that period was a lot of pairs of earrings like the ones on the left - I'm not quite as enamored of them as I was at the time, but they are still pretty nice earrings. They swing around and look cute, but they're not too big and/or showy to wear to work and such. I did a lot of variations on them, but they were all sort of similar to that: a bigger Czech bead, a smaller round or bicone in a coordinating color, and a couple of daisy or heishi spacers. It's a really quick pair of earrings to make, for one thing.

Diplomacy through jewelry

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has written a book about her jewelry, of all things. Here's part of the book blurb:

It would never have happened if not for Saddam Hussein. When U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright criticized the dictator, his poet in residence responded by calling her "an unparalleled serpent." Shortly thereafter, while preparing to meet with Iraqi officials, Albright pondered: What to wear? She decided to make a diplomatic statement by choosing a snake pin. ... From that day forward, pins became part of Albright's diplomatic signature. International leaders were pleased to see her with a shimmering sun on her jacket or a cheerful ladybug; less so with a crab or a menacing wasp. Albright used pins to emphasize the importance of a negotiation, signify high hopes, protest the absence of progress, and show pride in representing America, among other purposes.

Sounds really interesting!

Monday, September 28, 2009

More blasts from the past

Here's another early piece of jewelry, and an LJ entry I wrote in Feb. 2008. (And ooh, the pictures copy right over - that'll make doing this much easier!) The bracelet isn't anything spectacular and neither is the entry, but I'm just trying to get all my meanderings about jewelry over here in one place.

I made another little bracelet Friday night:

Garnets from Elise

It looks better in person than in this small picture, particularly. These are some of the garnets from the beads-of-the-month package - there were some more, better-quality ones this same size but I'm saving the rest of them for later. The rest of it is just random spacers, but I think it looks nice and it fits my wrist perfectly and I really love it.

I also made some more bracelets and a pair of leaf earrings that I have on right now and I really like a lot. I will have to see if I can figure out what kind of beads the leaves are - they look like glass and I'm pretty sure they came from a Fire Mountain Gems order several years ago. (Fire Mountain Gems used to have a fairly large minimum order policy, as I understand it, so back when I was crazy quilting several of us did a big order and split it up. And that's where the leaf beads came from. They are the oddities in that set of beads because almost everything else is very small beads. Like, everything else is 4-6mm and these are 20.)

As I said, I've been picking up beads here and there for a number of years, so now that I'm using them I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out what some things are in order to find more of them. I just looked, for example, for those leaf beads on Fire Mountain's site and I don't see them, even after paging though all 700 listings for "leaf". I also had a couple of strands of little 4mm beads that are sort of a dark pearlescent color, and I made a two-strand bracelet with them that I like - but again, no idea what they're called or where I got them.

Patterns and details

I worked on my skull necklace some last night. Part of me wants to stop here and call it finished, but another part of me is not convinced. I suspect that it is still going to undergo some more changes. (There is a picture of it on LJ and flickr and they should be making their way over here soon, but I'm not going to stop to find it right now. I am on a break from studying so I shouldn't take too long about this.)

I have been adding lots of jewelry blogs to my "follow" list, which I think you can see if you look at my profile, right? I have to get used to Blogger again, I haven't used it in a while. (I will add the Followers widget when I have some followers, which I don't right now. I am confident that some people will wander along, eventually, though.) Right now the ones I have are inclined to be heavy on the seed-bead people, which is not my thing to make, really, but I love to look at it. It's an awful lot like I was with applique when I was making quilts, actually - I admire it, I love to look at it, I just don't do it. I've already done more with seed beads than I ever did with applique, but the principle still applies. I'm just not a detail person, and those little bitty beads and little bitty applique stitches both give me a headache.

I'm not even sure it's true that I'm not a detail person, now that I think about it. I fuss around about the details of things, that's not it. I just like to start with more simple projects, I guess you'd say. And I'm not really into following patterns, and for seed beads and applique, both, you pretty much have to follow a pattern, or make your own. I love to look at books and magazines full of patterns for beautiful jewelry - but I rarely really follow the pattern. Often I use the pattern as sort of a guide, and I may come out with something sort of similar to the pattern but not exactly. I don't know how common this is. I know from quilting that some people seem to be much more inclined to really stick with patterns than I am, though.

Anybody out there? What do you think?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

More old entries

I posted in the last entry about the first jewelry class I took, in 2007. That was right after my mother died - I think I was trying to distract myself - and after that I got busy being an an executor and fun stuff like that, and didn't make anything else for a long time. It was 2008 before I started again and here's the next thing I made:

Tri-color bracelet

I had already bought those beads somewhere along the line - I guess I would call them "art glass" nowadays but I didn't really know at the time what they were, I just thought they were pretty!

You can also see the progress of my jewelry photography techniques, such as they are. This one was taken on the cushion of the (now-lost) swivel chair that I inherited from my mom. It also came out pretty well, considering.

Here's part of the entry that went with the picture:

Rob bought me a really pretty bracelet for Valentine's and all I could think was that I wanted to take it apart and use the clasp. I seem to be hooked. And incidentally, it may seem like I started talking about this out of the blue, a bit, but it's been coming on for a while. I've been playing around and buying bits and pieces of stuff and trying to put together earrings and so forth occasionally for 5 years or more and just never quite got going, too much. And I took the beading class nearly a year ago, and I believe I did mention a while back that I signed up for [info]elisem*'s bead of the month thing (aka [info]botmo*) this year, too, and that's just getting started this month. So I've been sneaking around doing pieces of this in a stealthy way for ages.

Hmm. I'm gonna have to go look around in my jewelry and see if I can find this bracelet Rob gave me, because I don't remember right now what it looked like. Our life has been turned upside down between then and now but surely it's around here someplace. (Up until Ike, we used to live in Galveston, in a first-floor apartment right behind the Seawall. Now we live further inland. This is also the reason I don't have my mother's chair that I mentioned above. It wasn't actually lost per se, it was just covered with mold by the time we attempted to retrieve it. I'm sure I will fill in further backstory as we go but since that's already come up twice, obviously that bit of story needs to be filled in now!)

I should probably also mention that I posted the link to my Livejournal before, but if you wander over there you will not necessarily be able to find all the entries that I'm quoting; that's because I have a paranoid streak and I restrict a lot of my Livejournal posts to friends only. I used to lock anything where I talked about work, for example - that's one reason why I've posted on Livejournal for so many years, because it allows me to post privately about things I wouldn't feel comfortable saying in a public post. But I am trying to get over that!

I'm back

I have been posting about beads and jewelry-making on my LJ and nobody seems all that interested, so I thought I'd try posting over here again and see if I can find any kindred spirits!

While I was stewing about the failure of my Livejournal friends to be properly interested in my jewelry-making habit, I looked at my past LJ entries that I had given a "jewelry" tag to. I really didn't start making jewelry at all until 2007, but there was even one entry from June 2006; it was a summary of an article from Science magazine, which I still think is pretty interesting:

Ancient Accessorizing

Art or other forms of symbolic expression are found in many early human sites that date to about 50,000 years ago, but earlier evidence of such modern cultural behavior has been sparse. Vanhaeren et al. (p. 1785; see the news story by Balter) now describe a few gastropod shells apparently modified for jewelry that were collected previously from two inland sites in western Asia and North Africa. Both sites date to older than 100,000 years ago, about 25,000 years earlier than similar but more abundant drilled shells found in South Africa. Examination shows that these shells were drilled by humans, presumably for threading and wear.

And here's the first entry that's actually about jewelry I made, from February 2007:

I forgot to talk about my jewelry-making class (actually it was just a bead-stringing class, basically) that I took on Sunday. It's something I've meant to do for ages - ever since I found out that there was a bead shop reasonably near me - and I really enjoyed it. I made a bracelet out of lime-green and purple Czech beads, and coordinating green earrings, which I got a lot of compliments on yesterday when I wore them. I'll have to try to remember to take a picture. Now, of course, I am wanting to buy beads everywhere I go. This may have been dangerous. I am trying to keep things within reason, though.

And here is the bracelet in question:

Look, I'm a jewelrymaker!

(That picture seems to have been taken on my desk at work, so really it came out amazingly well.)

I sort of like the retro-post thing. Maybe I will do some more of this!

(I don't really think I have any readers at the moment, considering that I haven't posted here in well over a year and never did post regularly, but in case anybody finds this and is impatient for more (!!), the Livejournal in question is here.)