December 30, 2012

Renewal - in MicroMacrame

I've joined a group dedicated to making one new piece of jewelry each and every week for the next year - appropriately named, The Year of Jewelry Project.  There are suggested themes for each week, although there is no requirement to stick to them.  The first theme is "Renewal".  I spent some time stressing about what to make.  What represents renewal?  I even resorted to Googling it, which brought up lots of seedlings and eggs and was less than helpful since I don't know how to make a seedling bracelet or an egg necklace.  I finally decided to go back to my roots; the thing that really got me interested in making jewelry in the first place:  macrame.  

I started this journey years ago with micro macrame and even though I've made little forays into bead weaving or wire work or whatever shiny thing catches my eye, my roots will always be firmly planted in macrame.  And what's more, this will always be "my" palette.  The one I go to when I need to do something just for me.  Something I will enjoy making without having to work too hard to make the colors speak to me.

These colors sooth me.  They are always just right.  Take some teal or aqua or turquoise and throw in a bit of navajo white and a little khaki and I'm all set.  I've decided THIS is my renewal.  Like the way the waves wash up on the shore and wipe it clear every day.  Reset.

December 20, 2012

Micro Macrame and an Experiment in Color

I've been conducting my own little experiment this week.  Same bracelet pattern, same beads and bead placement.  Different colors of cord.  I'm amazed at how different each one looks and how the colors of the beads themselves even seem to change.

December 17, 2012

Free Shipping Monday

Happy Monday!  Use code "FREESHIP" for free shipping on any order from my Etsy shop.

December 13, 2012

A Friend's Fire Agate

A friend had this beautiful fire agate he wanted me to make into a pendant for his wife.  Just look at the color in that stone!

My palette is made up of Czech and Japanese seed beads in different shapes and sizes and colors ranging from amber to deep chocolate brown and lots of interesting copper bits .  

This is how it turned out.  I love the way the beads bring out the color in the stone.  I didn't want to detract from the stone, so I kept my design pretty simple.  I thought about doing a viking knit chain to hang this piece on, but my friend wanted simple, so I used a simple copper chain.

He really likes it - now we just have to hope his wife does!!

December 7, 2012

Cross Stitch Christmas Treasures

If you aren't familiar with cross stitch, it's a type of embroidery where little X-shaped stitches are used to form a picture.  It is very time consuming, especially for very detailed work.  I have several special pieces that I bring out every Christmas, including a Santa picture my mom made for me.  That holly border?  It's not part of the matting - it's stitched into the picture.  It took thousands of tiny stitches and untold hours to stitch that border, the toys in Santa's sack and all of the shading in Santa's clothing.

She even stitched all of our names into the list Santa is holding - see mine?

Mom made stockings for each of my children.  My son's depicts Santa's workshop complete with tools and a Noah's Ark play set:

My daughter's stocking is every bit as detailed with lacy Victorian wallpaper and curtains in a room fit for a princess.  There are dolls and a dollhouse and stuffed animals having a tea party:

My stocking and my husband's stocking were stitched by my grandmother.  Mine is a nativity scene:

And my husband's is a snowy scene with holly and a horse-drawn sleigh:

Do you see why I can't wait to get our our Christmas stockings every year?  And just wait until I show you our Christmas quilts!!

December 3, 2012

Jade Dog Designs Fall Challenge

Darcy from The Jade Dog had a Fall Challenge and of course I'm always up for a challenge!  I purchased the kit shown above, with one of Darcy's handmade polymer clay cabochons and an assortment of beads.  The rules were simple - make something beaded using at least one of each of the bead types and the focal.  My first thought was to do a bead embroidery piece; if you aren't familiar with Darcy's work, she does some amazing bead embroidery.  Now I may always be up for a challenge, but I'm not silly enough to put myself up for that sort of comparison, so my mission was to find another way to set the cab.   Uh huh.

The first thing I attempted was a brass prong setting.  I cut the brass shape, textured it, drilled the holes for the prongs, attached them by soldering and then added a patina to the piece using liver of sulfur.  That's when I remembered to snap a photo.  And this step is as smelly as it is nasty looking.

All that and I didn't like it. I tried cutting it down so that it wasn't so large in comparison to the cab, but I still wasn't thrilled with it.  So I put it aside and tried a macrame bezel instead.  I spent nearly two hours knotting this:

Only to discover that I hated it even worse than the brass one.  So I spent another 30 minutes looking for inspiration and over an hour trying to make a wire bezel that I hated even worse than the macrame bezel that I hate worse than the brass one. 

At this point I figured I'd go with the one I hated the least and try to make it work.  It was either that or still be working on this project into next year.  So I took the first brass piece that I'd cut down and I beat on it some more and added some gilder's paste and then drilled some holes and attached a couple of the Czech flowers and a leaf with some wire.  Hmm...  either that was a big improvement, or I'd lowered my standards.  Either way, that's what I went with.  

I hung my pendant on a chain dotted with random beads and added a couple more dangles for movement. 

I even added a pretty floral clasp.

Darcy is going to put photos of all the entries on The Jade Dog facebook page, if you'd like to take a peek at what other folks did. 
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