Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Photo Updates - Fun with Wire

Okay, finally sat down and took some photos of my work last night. Here are some shots of my adventures with wire. A couple of shots of my Eni Oken S-Clasps. The smaller one, with the copper beads, is actually the first attempt. I tried too heavy a gauge of wire on the second one. See previous blog post for more details.

I am also including some shots of wire-wrapped furnace glass gift beads (see the most recent issue of Beadwork magazine for instructions). These were just so much fun to make and are just too cute!!

More photo updates later today!
Enjoy! Thanks for reading and happy beading!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Favorite Site of the Week - Sonoran Beads

I went to the Gem Faire this weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona. Small event but still had fun and still managed to buy beads (of course). There was a local vendor there called Sonoran Beads, and they are my Favorite Site of the Week. They have these beautiful Kazuri Beads that I absolutely fell in love with. As did others. A woman next to me at the booth was showing me the necklace she made with the beads she bought there the day before. And now she was back for more!! Kazuri beads are simple painted ceramic beads in a number of shapes (Pita Pats, Rounds, Shales to name a few). Some are painted one solid color, others have designs added in other colors or even a gold tone paint. But it was the feel of these beads that got me. Smooth, cool, something you just can't help but rub your finger over it again and again. You see more examples of Kazuri beads at the Sonoran Beads Online Store.

I plan to string my Kazuri beads sometime later this week and will try to get a picture up (though don't hold your breath, I still have pictures from October to take :P).

Still working on holiday themed jewelry. Plan to finish those up this week. Also need to make some jewelry as presents for family and friends. Had a busy Thanksgiving weekend, still trying to figure out where most of it went. Thursday was of course Thanksgiving, and I actually got some beading done. I worked on a Candy Cane inspired spiral rope necklace. I also repurposed a piece of costume jewelry I had gotten in a box off eBay. It was a fun little stretchy bracelet with green beaded charms and seed beads. The cord had obviously broken at some point and they had just retied it. So I took it apart, cleaned up the beads, put the beads onto new headpins (the old ones were discolored and one was actually a bit rusted), created a few new bead charms using pearls and tiny brown disc beads, to fill it out. Replaced the size 10 seed beads (that were between each charm) with 4x4mm cubes. Restrung it all on fresh black elastic cord and now have a fun little chunky charm bracelet. Friday, I got no beading done. It was a day of pulling out boxes of Christmas decorations and decorating the house. Saturday was spent doing the same, but outside. And Sunday was the bead show and a Transiberian Orchestra Concert. So all in all, very little beading got done, but it was nice to have a long weekend.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, thanks for reading and happy beading.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin, Keep them Doggies Rollin', Rawhide!

Okay, finally got a decent picture of the "rawhide" earrings I made (see a few posts back). To recap, I volunteer with an animal rescue organization. I made these earrings to sell at a recent adoption event, with all proceeds going to the organization of course, and they sold pretty well. They are made out of polymer clay and are quite simple, and fairly lightweight. I'm actually quite proud of them, they really do like rawhides you might give your dog.

I hope to get some more pictures up soon so keep checking back.

Thanks for reading and happy beading!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Fun With Wire (Thank you Eni Oken!)

So as I mentioned yesterday, this month is going to be a wire working month. I haven't done much with wire, besides the occasional sad looking wrapped loop, so I'm challenging myself and trying something new. Since Eni Oken's techniques and tutorials get such rave reviews in the wire world, I decided to start with hers. The other night I started one of her round pendants. I ended up making the frame circle larger than her tutorial, thinking that would help me work. But because of that, I found it more difficult to follow her tutorial, since I was working with different sizes and numbers of things. See, when I'm first learning something, I find its best for me to follow the tutorial as closely as possible until I get the technique down. Then the next time I can do my own variations of it to make it mine. But to start, I try to copy exactly, otherwise I tend to get frustrated and give up. So, realizing my mistake, I set it aside and said I'd start a new one later. But I had fun with it none the less, I enjoy intricate and detailed work.

Last night I decided to try a different tutorial, one that involved less beads and more wire, the tutorial for her Double Hook Clasp. It took me about an hour, maybe an hour-and-a-half. And I loved it!!! I'm hooked!!! I may just have to make some more. This first attempt wasn't exactly symmetrical, but it wasn't too bad for a first attempt. Even my husband thought it was cool. I had trouble with the heavier gauge wire, but all in all, it was a lot of fun. I plan to make another one tonight. I'm starting with inexpensive wire, as opposed to silver, so that may be part of the issue. But I want to be sure I enjoy it and will continue it before I invest in real silver wire. So Thank You Eni Oken, for venturing into the wire world and sharing your experiences and your ideas with the rest of us, so we too can learn and love the wire world. Artists like you are a wonderful thing.

I hope to figure out how to work my camera soon and get some pictures up, as this blog is quite dull without some visuals. Be patient, I'll get there.

Thanks for reading, happy beading.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

November Already??!!

Okay, where did July go???!!! I cannot believe its already November! And I haven't even thought about holiday themed jewelry yet. Wow, I'm slipping (well, maybe not, I bought holiday lights beads and snowflake buttons on Sunday...). But in my defense, I've had a busy past couple of weeks. My brother got married earlier this month so I was up to Minnesota for that. Then the animal rescue group I volunteer with had its first three events of the fall season last month so I had a lot of volunteer coordinating to do. On top of that, I made earrings to sell at one of their events (an "adopt-a-thon"), with all proceeds going to the organization. I managed to make, I think, 8 pairs of earrings, and sold 5. More on that in a minute. Then, when I could fit it in on the weekends, I was finishing up a course I'm taking at a local community college. So all in all, I had little free time to blog or to bead much of October. But I'm back and I have lots to talk about.

First, the charity earrings. I kept one pair for myself, and so I could get pictures and so I'd have a model to work from in the future. I made some simple pieces using shrink plastic and beads. Basically they were just circles with dog or cat graphics on them. One pair had a dog in a wash tub getting a bath. They shrank less than round, slightly oval, but were otherwise cute (sold). Another pair had a cat in front of a TV. I called these my "Murry Line" in honor of a cat the group had at one point that love to watch TV. He was adopted some time back, but the earrings didnt' sell. They too didn't shrink up round, and I realized when I was putting them out on the table that one had a little burn mark on the back. I'll just have to try making them again. Another pair were white circles with a stylized cat, and I used pink fiber optic beads that had rhinestones set in them for accent. Very cute, they sold. Another pair were tiny little brown circles that had a bone shape punched out of them. Accented with a little turquoise bead. They didn't sell. Think it was because they WERE so small that no one could really tell what they were. And then the remaining 3 or 4 were all my "rawhide" earrings. Basically I took polymer clay and made miniature rawhide bones (like you'd give to your dog, the ones with the knots at each end), stuck a headpin through them, attached earwires, and viola! They sold like hotcakes. Plan to make more for events in January. When I get a picture, I'll attach it, I'm really pretty proud of the rawhide line.

My idea for organizing myself and narrowing down my month project choices has changed slightly. Of the five projects I wanted to complete in October (spiral rope necklace, woven bag with bead accents, cherry earrings, wire necklace, and the grapevine bracelet from Bead Unique magazine), I completed one. I completed my first spiral rope and loved it. Have plans for more. The woven bag instructions were difficult to understand and I gave up. I worked on the vine bracelet but only completed one of the five leaves (will continue to work on this though). The wire necklace was pushed aside for experiments with wire, since I'm not great with techniques yet and decided I needed more practice on the basics (my wire wrap loops still leave something to be desired, but they work). And the cherry earrings, well, I only touched them to move them out of my way a few times. So for November, I decide to narrow it down to just two projects. If I finish them, I have two "alternate" projects waiting in the wings, but out of sight. That way, I only see the two projects I want to work on and that's all I work on. I won't get distracted. So for November, my goal is to complete an Eni Oken tutorial (wire wrapped pendant) and to make a simple S-loop wire bracelet with charms (from Beading Help Web). If I complete both of those this month, my alternate projects are another wire wrap piece (cage bead) and a chain maille piece (simple weave to start). November is offically a wire month for me. I started last night on an Eni Oken piece, loving it so far. I like the sculptural aspect of it I think.

Continuting to work my Muses of Beading projects. My ideas for Urania include some difficult wire wrapping, hence my need to hone my wire working skills. The deadline for that project has been extended to January 1, 2007, so there's still time to join in!!

That's it for now. Until next time.