Friday, January 16, 2009

I finished the "Three Tutorial Bracelet" and gave it it's patina bath and a polish. I am happy with the results and I wear it often.

Of course, I am my own worst critic...I see all of the little tiny wires I could have placed better, but overall I'm really happy with it.

Somehow the tray it was resting in got tipped over (Schmoopie!!!) and it fell on the floor. Big Al unknowingly stepped on it! It collapsed it a bit and it will never be the same, but I got it bent back to where it is almost as good as new. The funny thing about this though is that on the floor around the bracelet were miscellaneous pieces of stainless steel shot from the tumble-polishing that I gave it. The shot was caught under the focal "basket" and being stepped on released the shot from inside. That was funny!

Next, I made some interesting earrings out of some earring findings I got on clearance somewhere last year. I have no idea where. I don't usually use base-metals to make beautiful creations. I don't know why I should worry, the department stores seem okay with it. If Juicy Couture can sell a plastic and some base metal only known as "silver tone" bracelet for a Benji and some change, I guess there's a place in the world for base metal fashion...but I digress. Anyway I used the findings and wanted to do something really different, sort of in-your-face Valentine-y. What better to do that with than hearts and spiders!
Can you spot the cat hair in the pic? Yeah, she's always shedding. I thought I had it all edited out :-D

These earrings are now listed for sale in my Etsy Store


I tried several different times to get a decent center web. I "went back to the drawing board" more times than I would like to admit. For one whole evening I wrapped, undid, bent, tried again, then slept on it. I didn't dream up any ideas but when I tried again the next evening the web pattern just sort of "happened", and the pentacle in the center was just an added bonus that showed up in my design. Then once I had the web and spiders "woven" on, Big Al said there should be blood drops---drop shaped beads that look like blood---which would have been really great if I actually had some! I know what I wanted, I wanted fringe beads, tiny drop-shaped seed beads that are often used in beadwork to end lines of fringe. The only way to get those was to order them. The next best thing is Czech glass drop or dagger beads. I have seen them everywhere, at least everywhere until I actually needed some!

I tried a couple of local bead stores in the San Antonio area and even some stores like Michael's, nothing. The most interesting thing about the bead stores I went to was that they were catering very heavily to the hispanic crowd. Every strand of beads had a tag on it that said "made in Mexico". Well, perhaps the tag was made in Mexico but I'm fully aware that the beads came from India and China. There were trinket boxes and such on display made of huge acrylic crystals in gaudy colors. Aye Carumba! They did have Thai silver but I couldn't get anyone to help me in the shop. Bad customer service, inaccurate descriptions of bead origins, I won't be back. Which is okay because I don't remember the name of the place.

There is a wonderful little, although spendy, shop towards downtown San Antonio called Nomadic Notions that had the red Czech glass drop beads that I used. They also have many other goodies from around the world. Besides, I had heard of that store before and always wanted to visit so...bonus!

The next task was how will I attach the drops to the earring? The drops were a little bit bigger than I had anticipated but I was determined to make it work. I knew the drops needed to be on chains to get the proper "swing". I had some antiqued silver colored rings that I ordered last year. The color was perfect but I had to build my own chain. Making chains is so much fun! Time consuming, but fun. I tried several different chain "weaves" before just doing a simple 2-in-2. It was the only chain that would work, and face the right direction and not look totally stupid.
So I designed the chains during a day trip in the car to the southern tip of Texas, down toward Brownsville and South Padre Island. Most of the drive was dry-gaggy and boring but making chains helped with the boredom. I might need to switch out the earwires if I find they fall out from the weight-balance of the earring. They aren't really heavy but sometimes if the balance is off the earwire will slip out of the ear.

I appreciate it if you made it this far. Just about every piece of jewelry I make has a long and involves story, where the components came from, how the design came about, etc., I also consider the jewelry making process as part of my bigger life adventure.

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