Saturday, October 25, 2008

YOJ Week 43: Harvest Moon

Yeah Me! For the first time in months I'm actually on topic for this weeks challenge!! Hopefully this will be a trend! Anyway, I"m still having a ball playing with my pearls, so would could be more perfect for a harvest moon, but delectable, fall colored pearls!! I actually used Goldfilled 18GA for the frame and 24GA for the wrapping, I think it turned out just fine... I usually use sterling or copper, but the color combo I came up with just wanted gold, so gold it got. I used 15 different colors/types of pearls in this. It turned out kind of big, I didn't measure it but I bet it's close to 3 inches long.

This pendant was a special request from a friend.. I made one some time ago and gifted it to her, then her mom saw it and had to have one for her friend, so I made another using blue cat's eye. I've played around with this style from time to time, but I think this one turned out especially well. Hope your mom's friend enjoys' it Cathie! Last, a very simple earring pattern using up some left over crystals and soft touch ( wire) I've always got bits and pieces of the beading wire left over.. and I hate to throw anything away, so from time to time I try to come up with uses for them... These earrings I think work very well !

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pearls Pearls and more Pearls.....

I love pearls. I always liked them-- I bought pearls the first year I started making jewelry.. way back in 1996, just a few strands of rice shaped white pearls. I thought they were pretty, but at the time good colored pearls ( and yes that means dyed, possibly irradiated, and otherwise treated ) were very expensive, and therefore not in Kitty-Kat's budget. The few that I could afford were poor quality, the color would rub off or "flake" and generally I didn't really want to deal with pearls much.. I've always been into color, and when I started making jewelry I was mostly about glass and crystals... because of the colors!!
Well, things have change quite a bunch since then. Pearls, especially colored pearls have gone though a revolution, and give me drum man, cause I wanna sing and march in the parade!! Even inexpensive colored pearls are fantastic!! The vast majority of colored pearls are color safe, they don't smear on your clothes or flake off, and the luster is just short of glorious. And if you buy expensive color pearls? woooo mamma! About the worst I could say about this next generation of fresh water ( mostly Chinese) pearls is they sometimes fade in strong prolonged sunlight.. I mean, leave on the dashboard for a month type fading. And there is just something about pearls... the weight of them, the luster, the history... pearls are just wicked kewl no matter how you look at them! I'm so gosh down grateful that I leave in this age of pearls.. colorful, affordable gorgeous pearls!!!

OK, enough gushing... this gush was brought to you by the Treasures bead show in Des Moines, IA. Last weekend I absolutely went nuts buying pearls at the show. I bought a few other treasure but pearls are what I spend the bulk of my time and money on. I went to this show specifically looking for pearls. I've been on major pearl kick all summer, and I wanted to resupply. I love pearls, but I've also been thinking a great deal about what jewelry to make on this break... I'm shifting more and more to wire and metal work, and for the most part that means a higher price point. To keep my booth balanced, (and frankly well stocked.. the wire and metal work takes longer) I'm planning on a line of more affordable jewelry. What could be better than a pearl line? Besides I love pearls and playing with them! The first couple of pics show the stash I got at the show. The third pictures shows several piles of pearls, and 4 of crystals. When I make pearl jewelry I like to make piles like that, so I can see what I am working with. The last 2 pictures are the finish product... a necklace that ended up featuring 9 different colors of pearls, and 4 of crystals. I love the dragonfly clasp! Anyway, I believe you will be seeing lots of pearls this year on this blog...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cuffs and Bangles....... Week 42 of YOJ

I got into a cuff/bangle kick last month/early this month. First up is a variation on my "crayon id" bracelets I make.. only I decided to make it into a full cuff this time. Funny thing is while it fit people and wouldn't fall off, everyone who tried it on seems nervous about it slipping off... so while I like designing cuffs without clasps, I don't think I will as a general rule... the gal I ended up selling this to wanted a small hook on it.. which I was happy to do, and only took a few minutes to add. That got me to thinking and I ended up making several cuffs/ bangles, all of them with a hook, or even an inch or so if chain to make them adjustable ( Like the bangles from last entry..) Anyway, here are a few more, one made with hematite, one with really lovely amethyst rounds, and another cuff made with opal crystals... yummm....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Browns, bieges and natural tones......

"do you have any brown earrings?" Boy I heard that bunches this summer. Apparently finding decent brown earrings is harder than finding the holy grail.. so I've been working on brown earrings, which honestly makes me want to do other things in browns/ earthy tones. first up, this is some sort of anonymous jasper, I think it looks stunning wrapped up in a bracelet. The earrings are MOP, they are quite fetching, and I'm sure will satisfy the next person asking for "brown earrings". The pendant is in goldfilled and a lovely honey brown color.. it's also MOP. I'll hopefully get it up on etsy soon... it's $18.00 if you are interested. I could easily whipped up matching earrings also.

Last picture looks like a messy pile of, well, a mess. A couple of weeks ago I felt brain fried and so sat down and made 72 cell phone charms. Some of them are brown of course.. but I really did need to make some, I was down to 15 or so charms, and the bowl on the show table looked mighty sparse. Cell phone charms are an easy and fun thing to make when you are feeling brain dead.

Friday, October 10, 2008

YOJ Week 40 & 41 more catch up

Ok, this wonderful copper and sterling wire bracelet already sold at one of my last few shows, but I wanted to show it anyway.. it's spirals on spirals, and I just think the contrast between the copper and sterling is great... and it makes this much more affordable. I sold it in the 35-40 dollar range, and if I'ld done this in all sterling, I would have had to charge at least $85.00, due to the cost of sterling. The large coils are 16GA copper and the smaller coils are 21GA sterling, and the hand cut rings are in 18GA. It's hard to see in this picture but I made a toggle for this one, as nothing else looked as good.

My second item to consider is a pin made with crazy lace agate, pearls and crystals. The pictures are rather dark, but the stone bead has great natural browns and hints of purple in it.. so I used purple crystals to bring the color out alittle. I'm quite pleased how this pin turned out, I think it's my best pin yet.

Last for your viewing pleasure is a simple but elegant strung piece using sterling, pearls and these gorgeous wood jasper beads. I like the necklace, but I loved the earrings that go with it!! Infact the earrings are long gone... I guess I'll have to come up with yet another design for earrings for this necklace... hmm.......

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Week 38 and 39: bracelets

I am sooooo far behind, I"m going to try to get caught up in the next week. It's been such a busy show season this year, but I"m pleased to report I am done with outside shows for the year now. Don't worry, I plan to stay busy... learning new skills and playing ( which is the best way to learn!) with new tools and materials; doing home jewelry parties ( if you are in the Des Moines, IA area and would like to host one just drop me a email); exploring gallery opportunities; and finally keeping my Etsy site stocked up with jewelry goodness!! I've got several exciting design ideas and sketches I've back burnered during my shows, and I can't wait to work on them! Once I get caught up on YOJ I plan to start making pieces specifically for the challenge again. On that hopeful note, I present week 38 & 39... the first is a spiral bracelet made with 9 different seed beads. I actually started this bracelet 2 years ago, and then put it aside... this summer I took it out again and started to work on it. I'm not sure exactly why I didn't touch it for so long, but I'm glad I've gotten it finished finally!! I think the wide variety of colors actually go well together!

Second bracelet is fire opal agate ( also called crab opal agate) bangle made with gold filled wire. I used 20Ga for the base, and wrapped it with 20GA flat. The clasp is I think 18GA. Using the flat wire for the decorate wrapped worked extremely well, gives it more of an airy texture I think. I've been on a bangle kick, so expect to see more over the next few days.... Bonus pick is earrings made with a sterling disk I punched out by hand, texturized and filed. The blue beads are vintage glass.