Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Both ropes are done

Not quite. The bodies are done. Now I need to embellish the ends. I sometimes think that having too many ideas is a curse. I have so many options, yet, I'm afraid to go forward with any of them, thinking I'll always wonder what it would have looked like 'the other way'... LoL!

I suppose I could remedy that conundrum by making more ropes. I'm just not so sure I'll be having the opportunity to make much more of these Pearl ropes. I mean to leave a bit more than just 'grandma's bead stuff' when I go on up to the spirit in the sky, and since the cost of materials for these might put me in the poorhouse... ;) Unless they sell, well, now that would be a different story, wouldn't it? Then maybe I could wind up in the 'rich house' instead of the poorhouse.The first rope.

I'm afraid a picture can't do these pearls justice. Actually, I think the camera can, it's the computer screen that can't. lol!
On my screen, these come up a bit more bronze, whereas they have more of a khaki color in person, with some bronze and brassy undertones.

Numéro deux: Natural pearl rope.
Now, even though I used the same stitch count on this rope than the previous one, it didn't take me long to realize that the pearls on this one were bigger. Like, "put the strands side by side, and you might miss it" bigger... And so it came out longer than the brown one. Which means I can probably hold back a little with the ends on this one, but they'll still be flashy. I'm thinking crystals for this one. Big, fat honking Swarovski's, like this large Roundelle here:
18 mm across

Aren't pearls absolutely scrumptious?

A.K.A. "The Party Pimp", A.K.A. "Gansta' Beada'", A.K.A. "The Jewellery Goddess"

Friday, March 23, 2007


Pure opulence is all this is. It will be extravagant, it will be expensive, and it will be worth it! I've always wanted a pearl lariat, and that is exactly what I had in mind for these lovelies when I made this purchase, . I bought them with the intent of crocheting a rope with them. I love lariats, even though they are quite time consuming to produce.

Especially with these irregularly shaped freshwater pearls! I had no idea what I was in for when I started stringing these. Armed with my trusty 3.5 inch long needle, I was ready for the attack. I know from experience that stringing beads of irregular shape such as these is very difficult. The beads roll all over the place, haphazardly, and you always seem to be chasing the hole. So this time, I tried to outsmart them, I decided I'd string the pearls onto my needle while they sat primly on the temporary string. Well, no can do! There's no way I can squeeze the needle between the pearl and the thread. NO SPACE!

Ah, but the ever resourceful Jewels had a Plan B, and here's how it went down:

Pre-strung freshwater pearls.
Everyone of these babies looks perfect, but as the years go by, you learn that they're not all perfect. I'm a stickler for good beads, and refuse to work with broken or uneven beads, so I like to cull them as I work. (I've also been known to 'waste' a whole evening doing nothing but culling, separating, and organizing my beads...) Well, when working with natural pearls, you tend to find stuff like this:

Irregular holes, double holes, broken holes, half-drilled holes, broken pearls, nasty looking pearls (Is that even POSSIBLE????) , which of course, need to be removed from the stash one at a time.

Self-portrait (timers are great!), too early in the morning to even attempt to look good, hat was handy, so this is what you get. Hah! I'm an early morning Gansta' Beada'! ;)

Sitting at the dining room table, stringing my pearls. I carefully dissect the knot of the temporary thread, hold the thread taught, and grab onto 5 pearls. That's all the pads of my index and thumb will hold. And for my next trick, I will try my hardest to keep the pearls as still as possible, making sure the holes stay aligned end-to-end without shifting, as I gently pull the thread out, and will then insert my needle, hopefully through all five of them.

And this little ritual will go on for at least an hour, maybe tack on an extra 10 minutes or so if you happen to get a knot in your stringing thread, and you have to juggle a 10 foot long piece of string as you try to untangle it.

Since the beads are pre-strung in a bead crochet project, you have to carefully push the bulk of the beads forward as you string the new ones on. This is done slowly, taking care to not scrape the beads too much, or tangling your thread beyond repair (which would cause a do-over that might take months to get to, due to the sheer frustration of it all). And depending on the size of the beads you're working with, this could exceed 15 feet of strung beads. Yup! Just like juggling a long string of wet spaghetti!

Thing is, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Everyone has their own technique. My friend likes her bead spinner, which isn't bad, but I find you lose a lot of beads due to the fast spinning of the bowl. Best part of a spinner, is that it takes a fraction of the time to string your beads. Like, 10 minutes as opposed to an hour. I like my trusty old olive dish, got it for a steal at the Dollar Store! If I'm using all the same beads, then it usually takes me about 15 minutes to string a project with my olive dish. But when you work with irregular beads, you have to do it by hand.

All Strung!

... and I'm all strung out! LoL!...

This white one is my second bead crochet pearl rope. I made another one right before, in a brassy khaki color, and it looks awesome! I'm just finishing off the ends before I photograph them and show them off. But so far, oh my Goddess they're yummy!!!! I've never seen anything like it.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bead Party!!!!!!!!

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Christine, who had stumbled upon this blog, looking for something interesting to do for her twin daughters' birthday party, and she found this post. Christine emailed me, asking me if this was something I only did for my friends, and if not, then would I be interested in another one. (Go Blogger, eh?)

Well, most certainly I would! Any time I can get a chance to infect more people with my love of beading is fine by me! ;) I mean, there could be worse things to get kids hooked on, no? Besides, it's better to get them hooked when they're young. LoL! *side note: Jewels was introduced to beadwork at the tender age of 8, by her Native American Nana, and hasn't looked back since*

When I arrived, I could clearly hear the sounds of a party, wrapping paper being torn, little girl giggles and chatter coming up from the basement. Christine showed me to the dining room, and I set up my loot. Oodles of vials filled with an array of colorful little seed beads, and a Memory Wire bracelet and necklace form at every seat. I'd even made sure to bring some extra forms, as on one of our phone conversations, Chris had mentioned that it might be interesting to try beading. I figured "Hey, I'll kill two birds with one stone! I'll get mom hooked too!"... LoL! No, I didn't really think that! LOL! But I thought she might have just as good a time giving it a go. Chris' mom was there, and she did express some concern as to whether I thought the girls would be capable of doing this, since the beads were so tiny, but I assured her that at this age, they'd be in total control of their fine motor skills.

I waited for everyone to pick their colors, then let them each pick a lovely little pendant for the neck piece. I did a little how-to demonstration, and away we went. Everyone caught on really quick, with only a few individual demonstrations on how to make it easier for themselves. It's funny how when you've been beading for so long, you just do things automatically. You pick up your beads without much thought as to how you pick them up, until you watch how a 'non-beader' picks at them. See, there's a method to picking up beads, however, I won't bore you with that just yet.

Back to the party: Everyone got to finish their necklace, and they all looked absolutely fabulous!

See? I even got mom in on it! ;)

There are my favorite shots of these kinds of parties: Such concentration!

Focus! ;)


I'm so happy everyone had a good time. I had a good time too. It's fun. It's fun to be in a different environment, surrounded by these children, who just want to learn something new and fun. It was interesting to hear comments of "This is harder than it looks", or "Wow! It takes a long time to do this!" I loved hearing that they were all planning on wearing their necklaces to school next week. I loved how each girl couldn't wait to finish her necklace, so she could slip it on. I loved the little looks of accomplishment on their little smiling faces. And I also loved how Mom was wearing hers as well. As I recall, I think Chris' mom would like her daughter to take up beading as well, so she can reap the rewards. Ha! Ha! Ha! Just like MY mom! LoL!

Thanks so much for asking me to do this Christine. I had a blast, and this experience has showed me one of the things I've been missing the most in my beadwork lately, and that's sharing my passion for it. Oh, and I believe this party has lit a little bonfire under me, I think you helped me find my Mojo again. ;)


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Just for Phos!

You're going to like this one Phosie, in the beginning, you see Isidora with her students, but just wait for her part, it's definitely worth it (about 2:45 minutes). This woman can isolate like nobody's business!

Oh but wait! You've got to see more! I reckon this will be largely entertaining for you . :)