July 16, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The last week of the school term was more hectic than usual as my eldest daughter was leaving her Prep School. Her year group put on an impressive programme of Shakespeare plays and Music concerts in the evenings, culminating in their “Diamonds are Forever” James Bond themed Leaver’s Party.
And how could she go to a “Diamonds are Forever” party without the right jewellery? No I didn’t splash out on diamonds for my 12 year old – I’m not that sort of mother. But I DID enjoy making her this sparkly necklace to go with her black sparkly dress.
So how did I make this? With lots of Swarovski crystals – 4mm bicones in both clear and AB finish, 6mm bicones with AB finish, 8mm faceted rounds with AB finish and 8mm Helix crystals. To create focus around the large crystals, I added 5mm sterling silver stardust beads. The Helix crystals I bought from Spoilt Rotten Beads, with everything else purchased from Cookson.
Coming up with the concept was the easy bit. What I found more tricky was actually stringing the crystals so that the large crystals were balanced against the smaller crystals on all four strands.
Working on a bead board helped:
Each strand is 10mm shorter than the strand below. Each in turn is fastened onto a 6mm closed jump ring with a tube crimp.
Although I did consider using organza ribbon to finish the necklace, I ended up opting for a less fussy, simple silver chain that sits comfortably under long curls. To the end of the chain, I used 6mm jump rings to make a little chain for the clasp so that the length of the necklace could be adjusted. Finally, I added a little heart charm that said “Made with Love”. ♥K
July 1, 2012 § Leave a Comment
We’ve been desperate for summer weather in England. We’ve had lots of rain and not enough sun. When I was making this necklace for a friend, I couldn’t help thinking of the warm sunshine that I so miss. (I’m from Singapore, now living in England – crazy I know but needs must!) Hence, I thought: Drops of Sunshine…
The faceted Citrine drops are from The Beadstore. After trying out various sizes of spacer beads, I finally settled on 3mm sterling silver round beads.
This is made with one string of Citrine stones and comes up choker length. I’ve added a piece of silver chain with a Swarovski Bicone on a beaded headpin at the end as an extender so that the necklace can be adjusted to suit. You might want to consider buying two strings of Citrine to have the option of picking the best stones and creating a longer length necklace.
My friend loved this and it goes perfectly with the pale lemon cashmere cardi she owns. Looked lovely on her. ♥K
May 13, 2012 § Leave a Comment
My lovely friend Susanna has wanted to introduce me to another of her friends for sometime now. So after lots of texting, we eventually settled on a date when we could all meet. And what a treat it was. Her friend was none other the Elise, new owner of The Bead Store!
When I first entered, I was quite speechless. It is one thing to browse a web site, scan a page in a category and look at an item one at a time. But seeing rooms full of beads – floor-to-ceiling shelving of beads, in a myriad of colours, assorted textures, in all sizes – it was almost too much to take in. It was unlike entering a bead shop and I think it was the sheer quantity of beads that just made it feel like bead heaven.
Elise shared with us how she had spotted that the business was for sale and then discovered that the Bead Store was in Mevagissey, Cornwall, where they had booked their holiday cottage. So that holiday last summer resulted in her and her husband buying the Bead Store. In the four weeks after, they converted their garage space into what is now their work space for the Bead Store, and took over running the web-only Bead Store.
Elise walked us through each section, showing us the Czech pressed glass beads, the TOHO beads, the Swarovski collection, the finely detailed lampwork beads, the shelves laden with TierraCast findings… the Union Jack Shamballa beads perfect for the Jubilee celebrations in June… how cool are these?
And then I found, we were sitting on the floor surround by beautiful semi-precious gem stones…a whole variety of agate stones, Citrine teardrops, crazy pink agate. It was surreal. I was in seventh heaven. I absolutely love stones. I find handling gem stones very therapeutic and uplifting. The Citrine teardrops for example – the faceted cut of the teardrop stones, shower light and warmth, the sunshine that cheers you up, encapsulated in those little stones:
And of course I fell in love with these:
And couldn’t help playing with these:
I can’t really do justice to everything The Bead Store stocks. Nine months in, Elise is now introducing new beads and has lots of ideas for the store. It was a privilege to spend two hours with someone as passionate about beads as I am. This is definitely a Bead Store I’ll keep going back to. And a massive Thank You to Susanna for making the introductions. ♥K
May 9, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I loved the weight, coolness and smooth feel of this necklace as soon as I touched it. But somehow visually it didn’t appeal.
Which I thought odd. I liked the individual stones, just not the necklace. I set out to find out the name of the stones and searched lots of different sites. I was getting quite frustrated when it occurred to me to make an appeal for help on twitter :
(if you are on Twitter, I recommend following Yvonne, I’ve found her bead tips very helpful – Many Thanks Yvonne! )
The lines of the Black Water Jasper made me think of the waves in the Blue Sardonyx that I had fallen in love with (and purchased ) at The Beaderie.
So here you have it:
The addition of the 12 mm faceted Blue Sardonyx rounds and the 3 mm sterling silver beads complimented each piece of Black Water Jasper. I’ve abandoned the chord and strung the necklace on 7 strand Beadalon Stringing Wire with a sterling silver clasp to give it a more polished finish.
Now this appeals! ♥K
April 29, 2012 § Leave a Comment
April is Remade Month – a campaign by 10:10. I was delighted to discover that my recycling of jewellery that would otherwise be languishing in boxes or worse still thrown away, was in a small way cutting carbon emissions.
One of the biggest barriers to a truly low-carbon world is the energy used to make the things we buy and use every day, especially when we need to replace them every time something goes wrong.
By sharing the skills and resources to keep our stuff going for longer, we’re giving ourselves choices, saving money and laying the groundwork for a smarter approach to making and owning things.
My latest remake is this Garnet & Peridot necklace:
The original necklace had been strung on pink nylon which had snapped at the join to the clasp. To repair this, I chose to use jewellery silk thread, only because I like the fluidity of the finished piece. You can also use 0.40 mm fishing line or Beadalon stringing wire. The benefit of the later suggestions is that you do not need to purchase a collapsible eye needle.
Some of the peridot pieces were missing and damaged, so I decided to add galvanized silver delica Miyuki beads.
By adding these, I could pick the best beads to put back into the necklace without sacrificing the length. The silver added a touch of sparkle to the necklace. And the tiny little tube beads also concealed the tiny knots I added throughout the necklace to make it more secure. (Of course you wouldn’t have to add knots if your are using fishing line or stringing wire.) Once, I had re-strung all the stones and seed beads, all there was left to do was attach the clasp.
I replaced the clasp. The original one was all crusted up inside which I suspect caused the nylon to snap (I’ve saved it to clean and polish up another day); and in any case it would not have matched the silver that I’d now added. So I picked this one instead:
As you can see above, I’ve attached the clasp by looping through the ring, threading back through the last bead , then tying the knot. I like to back-thread through a few beads, knotting after a couple to make sure it’s secured. You can use a touch of UHU textile glue or clear nail polish to seal the ends of the thread after you’ve cut of the excess.
So here’s the remade necklace:
This was a really simple remake. All the materials are easily found in Bead shops, craft stores or online and it probably only cost me £3 – the new stirling silver clasp being the main expense. I hope you’ve been inspired to remake some of your jewellery, if you do, have fun! I did. ♥K
P.S: If you haven’t already, I urge you to join 10:10
P.P.S Have a look at my previous remake projects on this blog for more ideas:
And how I started recycling jewellery: Recycling Jewellery – a challenge
April 24, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I haven’t been beading as much as I used – my husband even commented that he thought I had lost interest! “Well compared to before,” he said. Truth be told, I was struggling.
I’ve had this string of flat tear-drop pearls sitting on my table for ages.
Since last summer, in fact, as I bought these in Singapore. They are such lovely petals. I imagined a necklace of these overlapping, cascading over each other in fluid movement. But could I achieve the effect I was after? No. I felt very frustrated. I tried; put them away. Then tried again. And again. With wire. In different gauges. With silk thread. With knots; without knots. With chain. No joy.
That’s when I realised, that one of my prime motivations is the joy of creating something tangible from my imagination. Before the advent of hot-desking, I used to have a lovely poster on my desk at work which said:
“Everything you can imagine is real” – Pablo Picasso
But now I was stumped with this one. Now what? Do something else? Come back later? This really bothered me.
On Saturday, I had this out again with lots of scrap lying about. My seven-year-old wanted to make a necklace too. She got her stash out but she was getting really frustrated because she just couldn’t find all the pieces she wanted for her necklace. Then I said to her: “I’m sure you can make something just as beautiful – it may be different from your first idea but it will be just as nice.” And as we sat there discussing the merits of each bead she examined and listening to her chat about her creation, it dawned on me that I too could do something different. I could imagine something else…
Totally different from what I first envisioned. Maybe one day I’ll learn how to create my ‘cascading’ idea but for now, I like this creation and I’m back in a happy space. ♥K