Thursday, April 26, 2007

Reduce, Reuse, Reclaim

I was approached by one of my co-workers with a query of "If I brought an old necklace in to you, do you think you could make me a pair of earrings out of the beads?"

Of course I said I could. But when Violet brought her necklace in to show me, I was taken aback: It was absolutely gorgeous! Why on earth would she want me to take something this beautiful apart? It was simply made, with nuts and seeds, on what looked to me like either upholstery or button thread, and used a very simple macramé slide for the closure.

Well, it wasn't her style, and she couldn't see herself wearing it. And although she loved the earrings that had come with the necklace, she'd lost them, and wanted another pair. Here is the necklace, which had been brought back from Brazil by one of her students, as a gift.

I had a very, very difficult time cutting into this necklace. Not that it was physically difficult, it was 'morally' difficult... I held it, studied it, and cast a gratitude spell over the necklace before the dreadful hacking. Now, I know that some of you might be taken aback by the word 'spell', but hear me out. The spell was cast in thanks for the artisan who had poured her/his soul into this piece, probably in an effort to support themselves financially. I thanked the artist for their knowledge, for their skill, and for sending this piece forth, so that I (all the way here in Canada) could study it, and replicate it as best I could, in their honor. I know this sounds weird, and 'new agey' to some of you, but that's the way this witch rolls. ;)

All I can say, is that if I knew that one of my pieces had made itself all the way across the globe, and that the recipient only liked it for the beads, I'd be heartbroken at the thought of all my efforts and skills that had gone into it, and that they were just going to hack it for parts... Have any of you ever given thought to this?

As I mentioned, I studied the piece, wanting to figure out the stitch before I sliced in. I knew straight away that it had been crocheted. Very well I might add. Each side was constructed of 8 crocheted strands, which met at the center, and then were passed through a large Tagua nut.

closeup of the crochet chain

Here we go: It's scissor time!

Keeping a close eye on the construction (or destruction in this case...) of the piece

And here's what I was left with at the end of that ordeal. It took me an entire hour to cut each seed free. I made sure to keep one strand intact, so that I could replicate the tension of the chain. I've given Violet a plethora of choices as far as thread color and hardware goes. She offered to let me keep whatever I didn't use for her earrings, but then I told her that I could certainly make her a bracelet to match, and maybe another, more delicate necklace as well. I might have the Tagua nut left over, LOL!

I'll be sure to photograph the finished pieces. I've already made a pair of earrings, using the dark maroon thread Violet chose. (personally, I prefer the look of the seeds against the maroon thread, the red was a tad too vibrant for my liking)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Working on the ropes

Well, with all these new beads kicking around, I just don't know where to turn next. Too many ideas, just too many... I've finally settled on how the pearl ropes should be finished, which is now going to add a few hours to the project. LoL! As in my original intent, I used the large Swarovski Rondelles, however, I was stumped as to how I could add a tassel to the ends as well. See, I was afraid the Crystals sharp edges might slice through thread. And lets face it, if I'm going to spend this much time and effort on a project, I might as well make it worth its weight in, well, PEARLS! Bwah-ha-ha!... Oh, alright, I'm done...

I didn't want to wire-wrap. I didn't want to see any exposed silver, and I didn't like the idea of a beaded sleeve either. Not on these pieces. Nooooo! I had to go complicate things for myself... ;) Well, I settled on using a soldered 6mm silver ring as the stopper. My next problem would be the ring itself. How do I attach the tassel to it? And what kind of tassel should it be? I didn't like the exposed metal of the ring, and since I had a pretty long tail of thread left, I thought of maybe wrapping the ring with it. And then I remembered a macramé knot I had seen my mom do (yup! mom was into macramé something FIERCE! I so wish I had a photo of the giant 4 foot long orange owl she made. Designed to incorporate found objects, such as large wooden beads for the eyes, and the largest bone from a cow's pelvis she had found on a nature walk for the face... Oh Goddess I wish I was kidding!... GREAT conversation piece!!! LMAO!) Anyway... I digress. I'm so good at that, digressing... So, I decided to use that knotting technique (I believe it's a series of square knots), and covered the ring.

Not bad? I like it. And at any rate, I can't 'undo' it now, it's too late.

Now the tassel. I want the tassels to be removable. I think that the covered ring is wearable as is. (it's not like folks would come right up to the wearer and say "Hey, nice rings on the ends of that pearl rope there!", LOL!) But how do I design a removable tassel? The finger weaving on the rings has enticed me. I need to push this into a direction I've never been, I think. Problem now, is that I need to teach myself this new finger weaving technique. Sure hope I manage to learn it easily, so that I don't have to wait too much longer to see the finished project.

Oh, and I've been playing with the accent beads too. I broke into the Bone, Jade, and Silver beads, kicked in some Hematite, and made this really cool looking beaded bead. I'm going to make a few more for another project I've got in mind...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bead Shopping Extravaganza!

Alright, so, it's been a while. I did find my Mojo, but then got busy with, well, life. ;)

Early Thursday morning, I got a phone call from Kirsten, asking me if I was ready for a little trip to Toronto. And boy, was I ever! I haven't gone for a good bead shopping spree since, well, I can't remember when actually. September I think? Yeah, that's it, that's when I placed those large orders at Bamyan and Czechbeads.

Anyways, we were going to go to John Bead, but I didn't think we'd make it back on time for Mimi's arrival from school. So, we went to Queen Street, where all the best little bead shops are. Actually, there are so many bead stores within the same vicinity, that they're all in a bit of a battle of the prices. So, we go from shop to shop, do a little comparison, and go from there. Of course, the actual buying started at Arton's, and boy, did I ever make a dent in my piggy bank there! Eek! And here I wanted to save my pennies for a rainy day. Oh, wait, it WAS raining on Thursday! Whoot! :P

I spent a bundle on pressed glass beads, semi-precious stones, silver, bone, and nuts. Yes, nuts! I am going to bead with NUTS! I don't know what kind of nut they're made of, but I'm going to have fun beading with them, I'm sure. It took us about an hour's total to spend about $100 each on our first stop, then we crossed the street to Bling Bling, where I loaded up on thread.

Le Loot

Tiger Eye.
Sadly, the camera can't quite capture the iridescence of the stones.

Anyone have any idea what kind of nuts these might be?
I can't wait to use them. They're so light!

Yee Haw! I found my Rondelles!
This means I can finally finish my pearl ropes. Can't wait to show those off.

Pressed glass flowers. Very small and delicate.
I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to use them yet, but there were only 4 strands of them left, and I wasn't about to leave the store without them! Hah!

Bling Bling had this awesome sale on semi-precious stones. They had a huge table, covered in a multitude of stones, 3 strands of $20! I couldn't believe it. I snagged a strand each of Carnelian, Turquoise nuggets, and Jade. I'm not sure how I'm going to use those either, but boy oh boy, am I ever going to have a blast playing with them!

When you crochet or knit with beads, your thread gets eaten up very very fast. And, depending on the size of the project, and the size of your spool, you may have to attach new thread every so often. Which isn't my favorite thing to do. And I've yet to find my favorite thread in large spools.
Well boy, did I ever luck out: Look at the size of that spool! I put my regular thread next to it for comparison. Now, I don't know what the yardage is on the large spool, but the little one only has 33 yards.

The regular price of the small spool is $1.75. The large one was %50 off of $4.95. Methinks I got a really good deal here. LoL! So I got 10 SPOOLS!!! LMAO!!! I'm going to have enough thread to last me for a few years, I'm sure.

Can anyone help me figure out the 210 D? I know that the little 3 on the right means it's 3-ply, but that's it. I'm not sure what the writing is, but it looks Korean to me.

I loved the thread so much, that I went and knit two little sweetheart bags, lickity split!
(I always wanted to make an orange bag, and now I've got TWO!)
Aren't they just delicious looking? Like little tangerine slices.

Cat's Eye. Liked these so much, I made a few Japanese Plum Blossoms

And here they are!

So, what can I make for ya?

I hope you like the pictures of my new toys... Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some beading to do! Gotta go! Buh-bye!



Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Beaded Beads

Beads made of beads. These are made using Triangle Weave, a variation of Right Angle Weave.

I might as well warn you, I'll be going on a beaded bead binge today. A few babies I just NEED to make. One in particular: Turq!

My friend Camille has this piece now. Along with the matching necklace, which has also struck an inspiration nerve. Something's finally going to happen, The sap is running, creativity is slowly seeping back into my veins. Sunlight has arrived, and I'm recharging my panels. I anxiously await the first bud, and the last snowflake. I look forward to the day when I pack away my last mitten, and when going outside won't require an Olympic feat of speed and accuracy in dressing 101. (Especially where the little one is concerned)

I look forward to sandals, skirts, and tank tops. I look forward to lazing by the pool with the "Pool Toy Burglar", and enjoying the crisp heat. Oh, but I don't look forward to a sunburn; this year, we will try to be sunburn free.

K, I've got some beading to do. Well, after I finish the dishes, and get the kid off to school. ;)