Monday, March 31, 2008


Yup, the idea that I had last night worked. I am very happily wearing a ruby and haf-persian 3-1 bracelet today. Silver and dark red; yummy. The rubies are small; about 4mm, and lightly faceted. Just enough to catch a small twinkle of light; not enough to overwhelm the maille.

That was the problem with most of my ideas yesterday; they all took attention away from the chain, like a naughty child in a kindergarten class. But these small rubies play well with the chain, they complement each other and neither makes attention getting plays for center stage.

Now for chain number two . . . hmm . . . I'm part of the way there, but not satisfied yet.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

So now what do I do with it?

Half Persian is a beautiful weave, and I've been having a great time playing with it. But I honestly don't know what to do with it yet. I tried out a few ideas today; but didn't come up with anything that wowed me. All of my original ideas were much better in fantasy than in reality.

Oooh. Just had a new thought. I'm outta here!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Notes to self on Half Persian 3-1:

  • Don't set this weave down without hooking a piece of wire through the next ring position.

  • Don't drop this weave.

  • Don't fall in love with it.

(Oops, too late).

Friday, March 28, 2008

Play day

Oh, but I had such a treat today. A whole day, all to myself, nothing I had to do and no one around to change that! So the tube settings came out for real; they sure do go a lot faster in my imagination. But they went fine, no major surprises, and I have a very nice eudialite and corundum pendant to show for it.

The eudialite is an interesting shape; not quite a shield, not quite a triangle, but somewhere between the two and very nicely shaped. I added half a dozen tube set 3mm faceted corundum to it along one side, and I'm very pleased with how it came out.

I made a simple two in one chain and I'm wearing it now. Such are the perks of a day at the bench.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Is it real or is it imagination?

Does it matter?

Today was one of those very busy, running around sort of days. I did get quite a lot accomplished, but I didn't have any time for fun. Not of the real sort, anyway. But in the spaces between the places and the things that needed doing, I pretended I was making things. I made the loveliest little tube settings I could imagine, twinkling around a lovely cab.

Except I kept changing the cab, substituting this one for that, and even incorporating some lovely stones that may well exist only in my mind. I made some fabulous imaginary jewelry today. I'm like that. I rehearse things in my mind so many times that often when I pick them up for the first time, they feel like old friends.

I solved a lot of problems today. And when the time comes to execute those tiny tube settings in metal, I'm sure I'll encounter a few more. But some of it will be very familiar; and that's one of the things that makes it so much fun to do.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Where have I been?

Well, not here, obviously! But I have found some time to get back to my bench and my beading board, and today I took some photographs of my most recent projects. If the muse is willing and the stories come, I'll post them over at Jewelry Tales over the next several days.

I am determined to overcome the difficulties that have been plaguing me this year; I may not be able to solve the problems we are facing, but I have realized that I cannot allow myself to be consumed by them, either. That's easier said than done, of course; but is is time for me to force my focus towards other things.

I may not make it here every day, but I'd surely like to be a lot more regular than I've been.

Friday, March 21, 2008

More adventures with seed beads

Who knew that making Russian Leaves was the coolest thing ever? Raise your hands; I know you knew that and just never told me. So, okay, the first one is very confusing and takes forever and doesn't look anything like the diagrams until suddenly it does; but the second one works up in no time flat and even whispers suggestions for modifications to make it work even better in my design.

Yes, I am making that flower-filled extravaganza of a necklace that I've wanted to make since the first time I saw one. I finally got up enough nerve to do it. I'm old enough now. Perhaps there are young women with enough guts to make a beaded garden and wear it around her neck, but I was not one of them.

Age has its benefits.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Something seedy

Laura McCabe's newest book really got me going! She is an amazing bead artist; she really pushes the limit of what can be done with seed beads. I have a real love/hate relationship with those teeny tiny tubes of glass; I love little things, but I have a hard time using them in a way that pleases me.

And then I saw Laura McCabe's work. Wow. Nothing shy there; she uses color so beautifully and she makes those seed beads sing. I'm humming along behind her; very softly and tentatively right now, but I'm excited. This stuff is just too much fun.

Take a look at Laura McCabes's work and see if you don't agree; she's brilliant!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tribute to three special women

I realized today how fortunate I've been; I have had three very creative women who led, taught and encouraged me from the very beginning of my life. Today, I'd like to pay tribute to them and express my gratitude; I am so very lucky to have had all three of you.

My mother has always been my best cheerleader; she has found something nice to say about everything I've ever made, and she has always encouraged me to try new things. If they didn't turn out, oh well; it was a learning experience. Thanks, Mom, for teaching me to see the good in everything, and to (finally!) meet new situations with confidence.

My maternal grandmother was a true craftswoman of the old school; in addition to emphasizing the importance of technical skills, she taught me perseverance and objectivity. She always had her work to hand, and she worked every day of her life without fail. She recognized that the work stands alone, separate from the maker, and she never hesitated to rip things to bits and start over if it wasn't what she wanted it to be. Thanks, Grammy, for showing me humility, and for teaching me to refine my skills every day.

My paternal grandmother is still going strong at 101 years of age; she has always marched to her own drummer, and she always will. She gave me total freedom in her bead box, and encouraged me to listen for my own beat. Hers is the voice I hear when the work is whispering, "What if . . ." and I find myself taking a sudden left turn without ever looking back. Thank you, Grandma, for giving me the confidence to go where the work leads, and the courage to turn my back on what I thought I wanted to make in order to find what I ought to make.

I would not be what I am without you!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I'm chuffed!

I finished the Charoite and turquoise bracelet I've been working on, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out. I tried a lot of new things while working on this one, and I really enjoyed stretching myself. For the clasp, I mitered round wire to make a square; what a cool technique! It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, and it made all the difference. Now, of course, I'm kicking myself for not trying it sooner!

As I'm sure you've realized, this year did not start out wonderfully for me. But things are getting better, and I am so happy to be able to work and try new techniques again. It's been too long.

If you'd like to see this bracelet, click here.

Friday, March 7, 2008


Ever have something hit you that is just so obvious that you immediately wonder why you never realized it before? I had one of those today. I have been attracted to chain maille for as long as I can remember; it took me a long time to learn, but once I acquired the proper plier skills, there's been no turning back.

I'm making a bracelet that is really pushing the envelope on my skill set. It isn't a very complicated design, it has "needlepoint" turquoise set in a row on either side of a square piece of charoite; but setting the turquoise was a real challenge for me. It's not great under magnification, but it's "eye clean," so I'm happy. It took a lot of concentration and tongue biting to get those itty bitty pointy-ended pieces of turquoise to stay put; I was very glad to finish and move on to the maille part of the bracelet.

As I'm weaving the maille, I find myself relaxing after the stone setting ordeal; just draping the finished section over my hand is making me calmer. What is it about maille that makes me love everything associated with making and wearing it?

It's a textile. A piece of silver fabric.

Umm hmm, that's it.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Prep work

I kept my date with myself and spent the morning laying out patterns and sawing. I now have a baggie full of goodies ready to file and solder. I'm making a Charoite and turquoise bracelet and I have quite a lot of bezels to solder and place for this one; I'm experimenting.

I also had an idea for making flowers which turned out rather well; I haven't decided yet what I'll do with them, but they're cute little things.

It feels good to be working again.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Just can't seem to find the time

Where has it gone? I feel as though I'm running like mad and not getting anywhere lately. It isn't that I don't have ideas; I have loads of ideas, I just can't seem to get to the things I want to do. Part of it is exhaustion; I've had a bad run with the flu and more than enough personal problems this year to derail the best of intentions.

Actually, perhaps I'm over thinking this, and that's all it is. But -- just to make sure -- I think I'll take a look at my schedule for the next few days and see if I can pencil in some creative time for me. No, amend that: I'm gonna ink that time in!

Monday, March 3, 2008

New stones!

I got some very pretty cabs the other day from Taogemstones; this was the first time I'd ordered from George, but it won't be the last. Pop over and see for yourself; his stones are lovely and he shipped very quickly. I bought some square-cut fossilized coral and charoite pairs, and an oval variscite cab. I haven't had a chance to use them yet, but I have all sorts of ideas rattling around in my head.

I'm thinking Hessonite garnets with the fossilized coral, and, if I'm brave enough, Sleeping Beauty turquoise with the charoite. I haven't put them together yet; it will either be a stunning combination or total yuck. I suspect that the variscite will complement Kingman turquoise; again, it's one of those combinations that will either sing or fall totally flat.

Why haven't I pulled them out and found out yet? Because I'm having so much fun imagining combinations; I'm not ready to make a decision yet.