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
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
April 14, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Feeling delirious from a very-needed, totally lovely spring break in The Lakes, I wanted to make something pretty to add to a beautiful world. Inspired by the enchanting spring light and the many bubbling becks around Buttermere, I made these:
The glass is from Cumbrian Crystal in Ulverston. I fell in love with the design as it reminds me of the swirling water of the Becks and Lakes.
If you would like to see more pictures of The Lakes, visit my Pinterest Board: http://pinterest.com/kbeading/lake-district-uk/
Wishing everyone a Beautiful Spring! ♥K
February 29, 2012 § 2 Comments
I have to confess that I’ve always preferred neat ear-studded earrings and only started making dangle earrings recently to match the other items I’ve been making. There are two online resources that I recommend before you start making your earrings.
The first is this YouTube clip on how to make a Wire Wrapped Loop. It’s by Juliet of Spoilt Rotten Beads. She does make it look easy and it is after a bit of practice. I had lots of practice making these loops for my Profusion of Pearls necklace. You can make the loops tight and neat as Juliet demonstrates or go for a more casual layering wire wrap.
If you also want the close-up view to examine exactly what is going on at every stage, have a look at this Beading Daily article: Six Steps to Perfect Wrapped Loops. To make open loops, cut your wire after you ‘swing it under’ (step 3) instead of wrapping.
Once you have learnt how to make the wrapped loops and the open loops, the variations are endless. If you are joining multiple loops, as in these stardust earrings, you need to make sure the loops face the right direction – the loop below needs to be perpendicular to the loop above. To give you an idea of what you can make, here are some earrings that I’ve made:
Have fun! ♥K
February 25, 2012 § 1 Comment
Project No. 4: I loved this quartz necklace as soon as I saw this. It was knotted on black thread that really didn’t do it justice. You couldn’t really see the rutilated features in the quartz.
My first instinct was to remake the necklace with silver filigree balls that would add light and bring out the clarity of the quartz and the streaks of the rutile. However, I could not find filigree beads large enough that would create the effect I was after. I had to come up with another solution.
Although I rarely buy paper magazines or books these days, I was drawn to purchase Everyday Gemstones Winter 2012 . Enjoying the novelty of turning pages instead of swiping a screen, I found my ‘solution’ in the project “Steel wire & stones” – knotty wire beads. The instructions were easy enough – wrap wire around a mandrel. But the beads were quite tight and compact. After a bit of experimenting, I figured out how to create a more airy wire bead – more like a nest.
I used a 60 length of o.5o mm silver on copper wire to create each bead. Using a BeadSmith small mandrel which had stepped diameters from 1.5 mm to 5 mm, I wrapped the wire around full length of the mandrel tightly, then unravelled it gently, keeping the curls and twists in the wire.
Using the wavy wire to loosely warp a round shape on the 5 mm section of the mandrel with some diagonals and loops, I created the airy wire ‘nest’ bead.
So the last thing to do was to string it all together to form a necklace. The quartz pieces are fascinating and I searched online to find out more about rutilated quartz. I discovered on the International Colored Gemstone Association web site that these quartz pieces were tourmalinated quartz.
Less well known is a variety called tourmalinated quartz which, instead of golden rutile, has black or dark green tourmaline crystals. – http://www.gemstones.org
Learned a few things in the making of this necklace – everyday is a school day! ♥K
February 16, 2012 § 1 Comment
“This was my favourite that I used to wear all the time until it broke” – sound familiar? That’s what this piece was…an old favourite:
I totally understand why it’s a favourite: after all who could resist the lovely translucent pale green of the gorgeous facetted chunks of Chalcedony in irregular shapes? The clasp was special too – it reminded me of a Lotus flower.
The stones had to be cut free as the wire had twisted in several places. After closer examination, I decided that all the silver spacers had to be replaced as a couple were missing and several dented. I ordered 6 mm plain sterling silver beads from www.cooksongold.com which were delivered the next day (I was impressed by the speed).
The next thing to do was to give it a good clean – twice in the ultra-sonic cleaner and a polish of all the stones with a soft tea towel. But the clasp and the rings needed more work. I started with Silvo Tarnish Guard, using the silver polish wadding, I gave it a good rub all over which got all of the tarnish off. But it was still looking rather dull. So I set to work on it again, this time with a silver polishing soft cloth (from John Lewis) and this worked a treat, bringing out a lovely shine.
While polishing the clasp, I noticed that the links were only attached to one of the two eyes on each side of the clasp. So to balance this out I discarded the old oval loop and added two sterling silver jump rings on each side , then connected these to the other links.
Instead silver wire, I opted for 0.46 mm Beadalon 7 Strand bead stringing wire with a silver finish. This is more expensive than the other 7 strand Beadalon wires and somehow more fragile too in that it kinks if you twist it unnecessarily. In spite of that drawback, I still like it because it is just as strong and blends with the other silver findings.
Here’s the re-strung necklace:
It was very satisfying working on this piece knowing that such lovely piece will not languish at the bottom of a jewellery case but be worn and loved once again. ♥K
February 13, 2012 § 1 Comment
Here’s the first of my Recycle Challenge. I picked an easy one – the rectangular lava rock necklace. I love the texture of stones and these lava rocks are so tactile. The lava rocks were strung on double strands of black thread and knotted between each stone.
As lovely as this was, it was choker size and the corners of the stones bumped against each other when the clasp was fastened. The thread tied several times around the lifesaver clasp meant that there wasn’t any flexibility for the clasp to lay flat.
So here is my refresh solution:
Instead of thread, I opted to use Beadalon Bright 7 Strand .46 mm wire. I doubled the wire and used a Beadalon No.2 Crimp Tube to create a loop on the clasp allowing some space to allow movement. The silver stardust beads added sparkle but complimented the pitted and porous texture of the lava rock. I chose the 10 mm size to give sufficient space between each piece so that the corners wouldn’t ‘bump’.
What do you think of the necklace now? Please ‘like’, rate this post or leave me a comment. I’d appreciate your feedback. ♥K