Monday, December 31, 2007

YOJ Week 52 - The Promise of the Sun King

This is the last week of 2007's Year of Jewelry project and the theme is the Promise of the Sun King. After doing some research I learned that on the Winter Solstice the (new) Sun King is born and as he grows stronger the days grow longer and brighter. So, to help him fulfill his promise I created a very, very sunny piece - one that is shaped like the sun and colored as the sun is - so even if it doesn't help him, it very definitely cheers me out of the winter doldrums.
For this bracelet I used a gold chain and added some charms I crafted out of 20ga gold filled wire, flat square gold beads and topaz Swarovski crystals. I made a charm for every other link in the bracelet - and even though there are 28 of them the bracelet is not heavy. To make each charm, I cut a piece of wire approximately an inch and a half long, put a loop in one end, added a flat bead, strung the wire through the link in the bracelet, added the crystal and another loop then twisted the wire together over the link in the bracelet. And repeated it 27 more times! It's a fun bracelet to wear, has tremendous sparkle and really makes me smile - even if I can't get a tan from it!
Happy New Year everybody!!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

YOJ Week 50 - Ocean Floor

An experiment is what this cuff is - but I won't say it's a failed experiment as I really love it. The theme was the ocean floor so I found a great thermal image of the ocean floor from space - etched the image into a copper cuff and then set out to add some patina to the piece. I had just read an article in "the Blue Issue" of BeadStyle magazine for adding patina to copper - a blue patina at that, and I thought that would be just perfect for what I wanted to do. It is a bit involved but truly no more involved than etching the copper is. I followed all the instructions but as the instructions weren't very involved to begin with (just about 5 steps under two pictures)I am not sure if I messed up something or skipped something along the way. The patina is very definitely blue and though the color is very consistent along the piece, there are areas where there is no patina at all. I cleaned the piece thoroughly after taking it out of the etching solution - even went so far as to lightly scrub with a scotch brite pad to make sure no oils or solution remained on the piece. I wore latex gloves when handling the copper and moving it from one step to the next, so how the bare spots came to be I do not know. BUT, I really love the color that came out on the copper and am definitely going to try this again. When it was dry and cleaned, I buffed it with some wax to preserve the patina color - although the patina seems to be really set on there.

Monday, December 10, 2007

YOJ Week 49 - Jack Frost Nipping at your Nose

When I saw the theme for this weeks entry, and being that I live in Maine, I knew I wouldn't have a shortage of inspiration! In the end I decided to use the cold winter morning colors as a guide - and figured surely that would portray a definite Jack Frost feeling! I had some wonderfully sparkly round 2 holed cz's in two sizes that I paired with some 20gauge sterling silver wire that I curved to add some movement and interest - connected them all up and added a beautiful "color-changing" cz (both cz's can be found here )as a drop to the center curve. The colors in the cz drop are reminiscent of the colors I see here in the morning in the sky over the lake and the rest of the necklace reminds me of a very cold winters day. The necklace sits at choker length and is delicate yet supremely sparkly - perfect when paired with that little black dress. mrs beadsley

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Getting ready for the holidays..........

Is it really possible to do that? It just seems that as hard as I try to keep up, that is how far I get behind!

On a brighter note, I had an order for 10 bracelets that are going to be Christmas presents and I thought I would share a couple of them here, in case anyone thinks I only make one piece a week.
I didn't have any restrictions on what to make (don't you just love clients like that?!) except that 5 are for girls 10-15 years old and the other 5 are for women 40 years old.

I love memory wire for girls - it makes a nice splash of color and no matter the size of the wrist, you know it will fit. For my first bracelet, I used some pretty small glass cubes in multi colors and used no pattern - just a jumble of soft colors. It came out pretty good, so good in fact that the client said "more of the same!" I added a heart charm and a crystal drop to the ends so the loops didn't look so plain. The other memory wire bracelet is made with seed beads (6/0) silver lined aqua ones and crystal ones. I strung them on the wire in a pattern which worked well as now it looks very symmetrical.
I had great fun making all the bracelets as it gave me an opportunity to go through my bead/findings stash and use some beads that haven't seen the light of day for at least a year!! The really good news is that I made a few extra bracelets for the client to choose from and she had a look and decided to take them all!! (her reason being "bracelets are great gifts all year"!!! - a sentiment I agree with completely). Here are a couple more along with a really gorgeous lapis and silver bracelet I made for my sister for Christmas.

Gray pearls, vintage crystals and silver accents

Matte finshed aqua rounds with gold scrollwork, gold filled bead accents, hammered gold filled toggle.

8mm lapis beads, ornate bali silver beads, sterling silver rounds and silver rose toggle.