August 2009

One of my clients requested a bit of custom beadwork for a sweater she had just purchased.  She got the sweater from Cache and it is a really unique design.  It originally had a piece of gold-plated chain where you now see the beads.  She thought it would look much more custom if the commercial chain was replaced with my beadwork.  I thought it was a great idea and took it on.  She had the beads from a necklace she purchased elsewhere that had broken.  She also requested a necklace and earrings out of the remaining beads, if that was possible.

I was very careful in designing the beadwork for the sweater.  I cut the chain off and weighed it using a small postal scale.  I did not want my beadwork to be much heavier than the original chain because that way I knew the sweater would hang properly.  One way I dealt with the weight issue is to use seed beads near the top of the beadwork.  Her hair covers that part and since she says she only wears it up once a year, no one will see that the gemstone beads do not continue further.SignatureLook

I then went to create the necklace and earrings.  The original necklace had a beautiful design that called for passing through some beads three times.  This in addition to using size 15 seed beads I think caused the original designer to use very thin beading cord.  I modified the design slightly so that I only had to pass through each bead twice and could use heavier beading wire.  My client did not know I would try to stay close to the original design because she knew it was a bit complex.  But, I felt if she liked it enough to buy it and save the beads, that it was worth the extra effort.

I was glad I took the time when I saw the look on her face when she saw both pieces.  Her eyes lit up and she got so excited.  She said about the sweater – “This is signature.”  And she was thrilled with the necklace and earrings.  She had told he salespeople at Cache that she wanted to do this and promised to bring it back to show them.  One other detail – the beadwork is detachable so she can remove it when she washes the sweater.  TheFix


Gray Button PendantMaking jewelry from metal sheet means drafting or sketching the items out on paper first.  Templates can be very helpful in this process.  However, most of the ones I’ve seen are either basic geometric shapes or shapes geared towards office uses.  I was so pleased to find templates designed for jewelry at Cool Tools.  They have several to pick from and the setting for this necklace was designed using one of them.  They are a great find, the only thing I wish is that they had little tic marks indicating the enters of each shape both vertically and horizontally.

The necklace – it was inspired by a beautiful gray glass button.  I thought it was so gorgeous it deserved to be the focal point in a necklace and I sawed the shank off and set it in silver.  I then used a complementary palette of gray and black beads to accentuate the pendant.


RufflesThis summer I saw a lot of ruffles on women’s clothing, and I’m seeing them again this fall.  I think they’re so pretty and one of my favorites is this shirt from J Crew.  It manages to mix the girliness of ruffles with a shirt that has a little bit of the boyfriend feel.  The ruffles add volume and detailing at the top, but don’t think that means no jewelry.

Quite the contrary.  A bold, chunky bracelet is the perfect accessory to balance the volume added at the top by the ruffles.  A pretty earring in a deeper shade of blue adds interest but not heaviness around the face.

Clothing photo courtesy of J Crew


A really long time ago, there was a period when I made themed pins – school, beach, garden, etc.  I enjoyed it, but then moved on to different styles.  Fast forward to the present and one of the things I am trying to do is see things in different ways, find new ways to use things.  Not just for the sake of creativity, but also to find ways to use, rather than discard items.

I had these little fishing basket brass pieces left over from the theme period and they have been sitting in a container for years.  The other day, I came across them, picked them up, liked the textured pattern on them, and wondered hmmm…

I sawed off the tops, filed them, drilled holes and created the bracelet components shown here.  I think they look great with the brecciated jasper ovals.  I still have the tops I cut off, and am eyeing them, thinking hmmm… 


BeadShoppingIf you’re ever on route 301 in the stretch between Port Royal, VA and La Plata, MD – stop by Terry’s Treasures.  It’s a fabulous bead store  that rivals bead stores in much larger cities.  Terry’s Treasures has everything – gemstones, a vast selection of Swarovski crystals, glass, pearls, charms, findings, tools, and lots more.  These are a couple of my treasures from Terry.  Many beads are sold temporarily strung like those you see here.  Jewelry designers then cut them apart and use the beads in all sorts of dazzling temptations.  I can’t wait to get started on mine.

If you’re in the area, call Terry’s Treasures at 540-775-4611.  The address is 9553 James Madison Pkwy, King George, VA  22485.

ProjectRunwayWeek1I’m a big Project Runway fan and like millions of other viewers was so excited that the series finally was back on the air.  I think what I like about it most is seeing the creative process as the very talented designers bring their ideas to life.  Of course, some of the personalities and things that happen along the way are fun to watch too.

I just loved Christopher Straub’s dress and felt it was fun, sophisticated, and modern.  I think the model would look great with my Nikki earrings, especially with her hair pulled back the way it was.  The earrings would add a bit of interest without competing with the elaborate detailing of Christopher’s gorgeous creation.

Project Runway photo courtesy of Lifetime.

PowerfulWinI like a certain mint and it comes in a little tin.  Once the mints are gone, the tins just don’t look like something that should be thrown away – they look useful, they look open to the idea of being reinvented.  So, I’ve been saving the empty tins, not sure how I would use them or what I would do with them, until now.

In the back of my mind, I see the tops of the little tins evolving into bracelets somehow.  That idea is still germinating.  But, while at Penland, I did get this pair of earrings made using the mint tins.  Penland had a circle punch and I used it to punch out both the tin curcles and the larger silver circles underneath.  I punched out a few circles while I was there since I don’t have a circle punch.  I still cut circles by hand and find they have their own charm too.  I then drilled the holes in both circles, used chasing tools to texture the silver circles, darkened them, made the earwires, and assembled the earrings.

I have a few of these tins and only used a small bit on these earrings.  Expect to see more later.

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