Thursday, December 31, 2009

When all else fails, improvise!

Well, I didn't make much jewelry in December but I did make one thing that I ended up really liking:

It's one of those "necessity is the mother of invention" things. I had brought a near-random assortment of beading stuff with me at Christmas, including one of two strings I bought of this stuff from Szarka, which was called "candy jade" but of course is not real jade. I had wire and several other types of stringing material, but nothing like SoftFlex, which is what I would reflexively use for something like this. I had no clasps or anything like that, either. I finally ended up sitting up on Christmas Eve - which was fine since I didn't really have anything else to do, and I'm a serious night-owl anyway - and knotting these beads on thin waxed linen (which was one of those things I got from Ornamentea a while back). I worked the knots with a toothpick, and when that broke, with my aunt's icepick. It worked just fine. The knots didn't make the string of beads quite long enough to go over the head by themselves, and I couldn't decide what to do about the length, so I decided to let the recipient decide, and gave it to her unfinished. As you can see from the picture, she decided she wanted it as long as possible, so I just finished it with a surgeon's knot and added a dot of glue. And I think it's adorable - and better than it would have been with beading wire - and I intend to use the other string to make one just like it for myself!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Warmest wishes for a happy holiday season

Sorry, the promised entry about my Ornamentea stash did not materialize. I will get it up after we get home, for reals.

Here is my holiday card for all of you:

This is the actual card I sent out this year. (The title is what it said inside.)

I've got my Etsy store shut down until I get back - which is in just a couple of days, we're not going far - and I really want to get back to the jewelry-making more in the new year!

So Merry Christmas, everybody (or insert holiday-of-your-choice)!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Deprived of my jewelry fix

Well, I was intending to post about the jewelry class I was supposed to take tonight, but it got cancelled. Bummer. (The store seems to have screwed up their record-keeping in a fairly major way, actually, but they gave me a store credit so I'm not going to slam them too badly. And with it being four days before Christmas, it had occurred to me that there was a possibility of cancellation.)

BUT... my Ornamentea order came today, so I have that to talk about! I'm going to take some pictures later. I promise to get that up by sometime tomorrow. After that, all bets are off until after Christmas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A little case of buyer's remorse

Things I bought from Ornamentea in the middle of the night last night:
  1. preordered Steampunk Style Jewelry (because you getgot freebies with it - I may have gotten in at the very very last minute on that one, because the freebies aren't there any more)
  2. the "Getting Started with Amazing Glaze" kit - even though I already have a different brand of resin that I haven't done anything with yet. This one comes with stamps! (I'm hoping that will prod me, somehow.)
  3. a shrink plastic sampler and the sanding blocks that go with it
  4. a couple of charms and clasps which, darnit, does not seem to include the handcuff charms (seriously, I coulda sworn I ordered them! I'm totally not joking) but does include a lock and key toggle
  5. Elaine Ray lentil beads, because that color is yummy
  6. some scrapbook paper that I thought was pretty. Maybe I'll put it in the resin charms!
  7. some waxed linen, because I am still obsessed with stringing materials
It could have been worse, I took a $45 item out of my basket before I checked out. And I'm mostly kidding about buyer's remorse, I'm not feeling much more remorse than I do about anything else I buy these days. Until I have tried every form of jewelry-making known to manwoman, I will never be safe.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Ooh, a new Kaffe Fassett book:

If you're not familiar with Kaffe Fassett, you really ought to be - even if you never go near a quilt. His palettes would make lovely color schemes for jewelry, if nothing else. (I doubt that I'm the first person to think of that.) And his fabric is absolutely delicious.

Kaffe Fassett flickr groups:
items made using his fabric or yarn or patterns
Kaffe Fassett Love - I think these are just more 'Kaffe Fassett style'

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dallas report and bonus needlework

Ooh, this is pretty:

From Needleprint; it's an antique piece being sold at a Christie's auction.

I like embroidery. I've even been known to do some from time to time. (If you dig in my Flickr pictures, there are some crazy quilt blocks that I did a few years ago. And I've done a few pieces of cross-stitch and even needlepoint way back when.) And I am fond of scroll-and-vine patterns so it's not surprising that I like that particular piece. I swore off doing any more crazy-quilting, though, mostly because I was spending too much money on silk fabric and silk thread and antique buttons and such. The usual problem. I still have a lot of silk thread around, though, so I guess if I was to get inspired I wouldn't necessarily have to buy anything, though. Theoretically.

Anyway, back to jewelry... here's a bit cross-posted from my Livejournal about my Dallas trip:
One of the places I wanted to go this afternoon was the one and only Paper Source store in the state of Texas, which is at... Northpark Mall, I think? Or maybe Northpark Center? I don't think it's called anything so plebian as a mall, but it's a huge and very upscale one, whatever it's called, and I ended up getting the full tour, because even though I had looked up where the Paper Source store was ahead of time, I went the wrong way coming out of Dillard's, and had to make the full circle, almost, before I found it. (It's a square, actually, built around the four anchors - besides Dillard's, it was Nordstrom's, Neiman-Marcus and I think Macy's. No Sears here!) I didn't go in Nordstrom's but I did go in Neiman's. I was wearing old jeans from Wal-Mart and the aforementioned LLBean coat - which could really stand to be washed, now that I think about it - and oh my god, it was sort of comical to watch out of the corner of my eye as the salespeople sized me up and decided whether to try to sell me anything. A few did; most didn't. I've been in the N-M in Houston many times, and I don't think the employees there are near as snooty. But hey, I didn't buy anything so I guess the snooty ones judged correctly, really. However, I had a very nice conversation with a Chanel lady about Chanel Beige fragrance, which is apparently only available at that particular store. (I don't think that is the original N-M store because I think that was downtown, but it might well be more or less their flagship store nowadays.) I also sampled another new-to-me Chanel fragrance, "Bois des Iles" which I had read about someplace and knew to keep an eye out for. It smelled quite lovely, and so did Beige, for that matter, but not enough to tempt me to pay $200 for a bottle of either. (She should have tried for something a little less pricey, and I might have been tempted. But I think that her assignment at the time was to push Beige.)

I also went upstairs in N-M and looked at the jewelry - I just wanted to see what they were stocking. They had some lovely stuff - massively overpriced, of course. I did see some jewelry that looked like the stuff from that Elle magazine that I posted, but the "trend" I noticed was chain, chain, chain - necklaces with multiple chains in multiple patterns and sizes, mostly in gold. (Although there was some copper that was very nice.)

I am still amused about the salespeople. -- Oh, and also, I think I saw some of that jewelry out of that Elle magazine I posted about last week - the colored pavé stuff.

And a bit more:
The other plan I had for the afternoon was to find some bead shops. I found the first one quite easily - it was on Lover's Lane, not very far from said mall. I bought a few things but I was not blown away. Then I went northward looking for one that was allegedly in Carrollton, north of Dallas. I got very close to the place where I believe it to be, but I missed a turn or something, and by that time I was tired (I fooled around in the damn mall too long!) and I didn't turn around and go back for a second try at it, even though I will probably kick myself later about that. I headed off towards DFW instead and started looking for dinner, which I found just outside Grapevine Mills Mall. Fuddrucker's is not exactly fancy eating but it's not half bad, and I was hungry by that time.

I think the store I went to was called Beading Dreams. It reminded me a lot of Nomadic Notions/Z Bead, actually, although as far as I know it's not connected. I was right about kicking myself later; I wish I'd kept looking for the second store. But too late now - I'll just have to go the next time I'm in Dallas!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Seminar with bonus shopping

I'm off to Dallas for a seminar - hopefully I will be able to sneak in some shopping while I'm there! So no time to write a long entry right now. I have (Google-aided) locations for two or three bead shops so I ought to be able to find at least one of them, if not more. Hope they're worth it.

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's not easy being green

I was supposed to be studying earlier so of course I went and started making a necklace instead:

I've been intending to do a green necklace for ages, and especially so since I bought this green clay nautilus at the Bead Society show. (I'll have to go look the maker's name up, later - I've forgotten.) The beads on the right are what I was thinking of as my "palette" and the beginning of the necklace itself is on the left. I'm really pleased with it so far. The bead at the very bottom, which looks clear but is actually very pale green, is made from a recycled coke bottle. I happened to pick this particular one up and noticed that it was drilled off-center, so I decided to hang it accordingly. The beads are a little bit of everything - polymer clay, glass, stone, even a little bit of plastic. I haven't decided how long the necklace should be - not really too long, I think, but I haven't narrowed that down too much. Oh well - since I started from the bottom I don't have to decide that just yet, anyway!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Eye candy

I bought a copy of the December Elle magazine, because I have to get my fashion fix once in a while. (If you'd ever seen me in person and seen how I dress, you'd know the real irony of this. Nevertheless, it's true.) It turned out to be chock-full of jewelry, presumably because, as we all know, nothing says "true love" like an incredibly overpriced colorless rock. -- Oops, sorry. Pet peeve of mine. Well, anyway, most of the jewelry was not even made of said overpriced rock, but out of other, slightly-less-overpriced rocks.

(The fact is, I got into jewelry-making in the first place primarily because I was too cheap to pay full price for jewelry. The retail jewelry industry is just lucky there are women out there who aren't like me.)

So in any case, there was some really pretty stuff:

Also, apparently there are other lines of add-a-bead bracelets besides Pandora and Trollbeads. Who knew? (Lots of people, probably - but not me, until today.)

Actually, if I cared to spend a large amount of money on one of these - and don't think it hasn't crossed my mind - the one that I really have a bit of a yen for is Trollbeads, because they have the cutest clasps and also a bigger selection of lampwork beads than Pandora.

(Not that I would buy red and green, really, but I think that one is very cute, too.)