Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I think I need to take a break. I have been beading like a madwoman; the ideas have been coming faster than my fingers can move. It's been a wonderful time, I've let myself be totally immersed in creating. But I fear that my family is starting to wonder where I am; I've been heads down for so long, they only know what the back of my head looks like!

I doubt I'll stay away from my studio for too long; about a day and a half is my limit. But it's time to take a break.


Right then.  That lasted about 30 minutes.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I'm no Edison

One of my favorite motivational quotes is one that's attributed to Thomas Edison. When asked if he felt like he was a failure for not figuring out the electric light, he is said to have said, "Failure? Nonsense! I have figured out 4,976 ways not to make a light bulb."

Okay, so I'm paraphrasing, and yes, I made up the number. But it was in the thousands, and it ended in 6. So close enough.

Today I had a lot of reason to remind myself of that quote. Okay, so I really only had four reasons to remind myself of that quote, but it took all day to come up with them. I learned four new ways how not to make a bezel today.

Hmm. 4,972 to go.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The 24 hour rule

I like to let most of my pieces sit on my workbench for a day or two before I declare them finished; some pieces want a little bit more (or less) a day or two after I set them down. Sometimes I'm pretty sure that a piece is finished; other times, I'm just not. Me being sure or not doesn't seem to change the outcome; I'm every bit as likely to make changes in a piece I thought was finished as in one I thought might not be.

In other words, until I've let a piece sit for at least 24 hours, I really don't know what I'm doing.

Comforting, eh? But, honestly, I get too close to my work while I'm working. Especially my more ornate pieces. Stark and simple is much easier to judge; I have to stop while it is still stark and simple. But ornate, oh, that's a whole 'nother ball game.

I decided to stop on Mom's necklace this afternoon; I could go further, and I might. But it's one of those pieces that I'd like to keep on the simple side of ornate, and I know how easy it is to slip into the, well, very ornate side of ornate.

Know what I mean?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Entering the homestretch

The necklace base is done, and I'm well on my way with the leaves. I don't know how many I'll put on there; I'll decide that later. I'm just making them two by two and sewing them on, keeping the mirror symmetry pretty close on this one. Not exact; I'm just not that meticulous. I like a little bit of variation, so my leaves twist and turn a bit differently on each side.

But the balance is there.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


The Russian Leaves are a go, dagnabbit. In 15s.

Progress report

Four more inches finished, and yes, I'm still sorting out yesterday's mistakes! My goodness, but things went awry yesterday. This necklace is one of those that looks simple, but isn't. Sort of like Jens Pind; there's a right way and a wrong way, and sometimes it is really, really hard to see which is which. But I'm entering the homestretch on this one: four more inches to go, and a clasp. I'll make something very, very simple for the clasp; I don't want anything that will call attention to itself. Most likely I'll make a gold-filled S-clasp for it.

I'm thinking of adding a few Russian leaves; I haven't decided yet. I keep going back and forth on that idea! Anyway, I have to get the main part done first.

Four more inches. Tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Inch by inch

I'm working on a necklace for my mom for Mother's Day, and I'm having to exercise just about all the patience I've got. It is going very slowly; about four inches a day. I expected that yesterday; I was working out the design logistics, and that is a slow process; however, today I fully expected to double my progress.


Today was one of those days where I discovered quite a few ways to do it wrong. Sometimes I discovered the same way more than once. That wasn't fun. With luck, things will go better tomorrow!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Note to self:

Beading faster will not make a too-short length of thread any longer.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Woo hoo!

Yup, that's me whooping it up. I'm getting closer and closer to integrating bead weaving and maille; I'm working on a necklace that mixes the two in a whole new way, and I'm really excited about it. The pendant is done, and tonight I figured out what to do for the necklace part of it. I've done one three inch section, but I suspect the rest will go more quickly, now that I know what I want to do!

Tonight was all about trying things, pulling it out, sorting the beads, and trying again; tomorrow will be about making it.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fringe! Terrible fringe!

I have a new appreciation for those beaders who make fringed pieces. Whew! In theory, it's pretty easy. Go down, skip the last one and go back up. No need to read directions; set the pattern and that's that.


In order to make the fringe interesting, the number of beads in the first color set has to change. in order to keep the decorative beads at the bottom from bumping into each other, the number of beads in the last color set has to change. The color sets in the middle have to stay the same, or the pattern will be lost.

And then there's the little matter of getting the thread through each and every bead on the way back up. It's a lot harder than it looks. So my hat is off to those of you who make acres and acres of gorgeous fringe. I love the look, but I'm not entirely sure it's worth it to me!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Spring Splurge

Sometimes there are things that I just can't resist. Like these cherry wood burl cabochons inlaid with turquoise from TazWood Finely Turned Creations. I've been thinking about them ever since I first laid eyes on one, and today I finally took the plunge and ordered some. Discovering that they were on sale made it that much easier for me to splurge!

I've used TazWood's beads before, and, in anticipation of getting these, I pulled out a purpleheart cabochon that I've had in my bead box for quite awhile now. I'll start on that one tomorrow while I wait for my new pretties to arrive.

I'm loving the seed beads and maille combination; I just finished a necklace, and I can't wait to start another one. Hmmmmm, wonder what color beads go with purpleheart?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Humming along

Serendipity. Yup, that's what I've had going for me today; serendipity. It all started a few days ago, when I picked up a string of labradorite briolettes by the wrong end and sent them flying all over the floor. What was serendipitous about that you might ask? Well, at the time, it didn't feel much like anything except clumsiness, but this morning I found one of the little escapees on the floor and tossed it on my bead board.

When I sat down to work, there it was, right next to the piece I started last night. Amazingly enough, it looked like it belonged there. I hadn't given those briolettes a thought in the composition of this piece; suddenly, I couldn't imagine the piece without it. The labradorite needed a friend, so I began looking through my bead boxes; petal pearls in the exact shade required were there, waiting patiently for me to find them.

But that's not all. The maille component of this piece was giving me fits; I had my mind set on something ribbon-like. In vain, I tried every flat weave I knew; and then I looked up and tried a few I don't know. I felt like Goldilocks: this one was too big, this one too small; would I ever find a weave that was just right?

Serendipity again. RSD just popped into my head. Nope, it isn't ribbon-like, it's not even flat; it's very textured, in fact. But it's perfect. Just absolutely perfect. I've only completed 3.5 inches of a necklace today, but it's beautiful. It was a very good day.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Something to think about

So . . . how about combining maille with seed beading? I'm currently working on a piece that uses my beaded-bezel cabochons in much the same way I would use silver-bezeled cabochons; as decorative elements linked with maille. Gwen, from beAd Infinitum gave me an interesting challenge the other day: to actually integrate maille into seed beading.

Trust Gwen to think completely outside the box. She wondered if maille links could actually be part of the beaded elements; if the chain and beading could flow seamlessly together throughout the piece. I don't know yet if they can, but what a concept! That idea will be wandering around the dark recesses of my mind for quite awhile, I'm sure.

I get by with a little help from my friends!

Friday, April 11, 2008

How small can I go?

I'm really on a roll with the seed beads; I just posted my latest over at Jewelry Tales. In that one, I beaded around some top drilled Swarovski crystals, and that gave me an itch to try beading around some small vintage glass cabs that I recently acquired. I'm very pleased to say that I was successful! These cabs are 10x8 mm, and are a gorgeous apple green.

I've only done one so far; it took me awhile to get the bead count right. These are very tiny cabs! I don't know what I'll do with this one; but it would make very pretty links for a maille bracelet.

Hmmmmmm. . . .

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

One bead at a time

Seed beading isn't fast; it takes days, or even weeks, to complete some projects. I'm not talking love beads any more! Yup, that's where I started, way back when: long strings of multicolored seed beads, daisy chains, and shoulder duster earrings. Worn with distressed cotton skirts and tiny Ts, the clothes I still love best.

How many of us secretly (or not so secretly) still yearn for our high school and college styles? I love going to the town of Woodstock, New York; tie dye and my Stevie Nicks skirts and tops are still in many of the stores there. Yup, I own several of them, and I wear them. My beadwork may be different these days, but I still love the fashions of the late 60s and early 70s.

Those were the days.

Monday, April 7, 2008

They get me every time

You know those volume discounts that some jewelry supply places give? Well, they get me every time. I swear that I'm just going to order what I really need, I am not going to pay any attention to the little counter that says, "Buy x more and save x dollars!"

I just did it again. How can I not? I entered my order and took note of the total; and then I added enough stuff to bring me to the next "volume discount" level. That total was lower than my original total! And I'm getting more stuff!

Hmmm, I wonder what happens if I go to the next level?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Weaving around

I've been experimenting with wire weaving, using copper wire to make rings. Finger rings, not maille rings; that's probably not a confusion for anyone but me, but there it is. Rings is a word I feel that I need to clarify.

Jargon is a funny thing. On one hand, it simplifies communication between people who share an interest; on the other, it confuses and shuts out those who don't know it. I have teenagers, and there are times when I absolutely do not know what they are talking about.

Well, this entry is wandering all over the place! I am at a total loss as to where to go from here, so I think I'll just stop.