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·· This n that
·· Niobium ear wires
·· Oh yeah...
·· Red crystal necklace #2
·· Red crystal necklace
·· Progress to date
·· Green earrings
·· Some pics
·· So...
·· Ear wires and yadda yadda
·· Odd notes
·· Beading #1
·· Welcome to thebroadroom's beading blog!

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Beading Blog - November 2005

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One woman's adventures in the wide, wonderful world of beading.
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This n that
posted by Colleen Shirazi, November 30, 2005 at 8:10 PM (Pacific)

I'm wearing this one today:

How I made it, I dismantled a turquoise chip choker that I already owned, yet found myself not wearing. Instead of making a plain string of turquoise beads out of it, I interspersed the chips with a pattern of tiny glass beads.

I am going to take some better pictures later on. I think it is important to take pictures of how the piece looks "on." Something that looks great sitting on your table, is not going to do you much good. You have to find yourself reaching for it.

Anyhow...recently I went on a holiday in Jamaica. On the way back, I had some time to kill in the airport (Sangster). There is tons of shopping in that airport. I found it intriguing that several beaded necklaces were being sold (for a good price!) in the shop in the center of the aisle. One was remarkably similar to the red crystal necklace my son designed...but instead of making an entirely beaded strand, the round red faceted crystals were joined by tiny lengths of chain...something I'd like to try my hand at.

Another necklace was one with the thousand flower design, oval glass beads, again held together by delicate lengths of chain.

Side note: hematite jewelry is omnipresent in Jamaica.

I forget to add below that the red thousand flower earrings were designed by my son. :D


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Niobium ear wires
posted by Colleen Shirazi, November 29, 2005 at 6:08 PM (Pacific)

I'm wearing my spankin' new niobium ear wire earrings today. These are the ones pictured below although I took the picture before I bought the wires. The niobium ones I have are quite similar; they're silver-colored french wires with a tiny bead:

So far, zero irritation (I've been wearing them all day).


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Oh yeah...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, November 19, 2005 at 7:25 PM (Pacific)

...and I figured out about the blue earrings pictured in a previous post. If you attach your wrapped beads all on the same side of the chain links, you get that tiered effect. If you alternate how you attach them, you get the random effect. I'll need to change one of my earrings so they match.
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Red crystal necklace #2
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 7:18 PM (Pacific)

Hmmm...the pic below really does not do this justice. The thing is the round faceted red crystal beads...they're not quite red, exactly. They're part orange, they have a distinct orange tone.

I'm wearing the green earrings now (pictured in a previous post), the ones with the freshwater pearl in them. The nice thing about cloisonne is that it's very light in weight. These earrings don't pull at all, they're featherlight.

I finally got a pair of those niobium ear wires, the silver-colored ones for $2.25 per pair (that is the exact price). I won't be able to test them out for a while but I'll post how they work out.
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Red crystal necklace
posted by Colleen Shirazi, November 15, 2005 at 1:38 PM (Pacific)

I'm wearing this one now:

It's good even if I didn't make it ;) My son made it. The only thing I did, was finish it off.

Here is the green choker mentioned previously:

I redid it last night. The bead in front is quite complex even for a lampwork bead (the flowers have stems and miniscule bubbles as centers).


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Progress to date
posted by Colleen Shirazi, November 14, 2005 at 1:00 PM (Pacific)

I wore my green choker yesterday...hermmmmm...

One thing I can say, the colors were right. It's got green glass Indian beads on the sides, and a gorgeous jade-green Chinese lampwork bead as a pendant. I'm undecided as to whether to add more of the Indian beads...being a choker, adding a few more should not make it too heavy. But the colors, somehow, were happy colors. And (the Californian economy is very slow), happy colors are good.

I decided to keep my oval-bead turquoise necklace as is rather than convert it to a double strand. The beads are good...they're big enough and the color is rich (not bright blue dyed turquoise, but rather rough greens, blues, browns and greys).

My son's design is good as is. He even managed to improve on my was his idea to use crystals and he innovated a device for the front that I'd like to copy.
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Green earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, November 10, 2005 at 6:50 PM (Pacific)

These are two pairs of green earrings. I realize they don't look overly impressive just sitting there by themselves. I designed them specially for green eyes. I tried taking some pics today of them "on," but for some reason, the pics didn't turn out that well, so here is a pic of just the earrings themselves.

They both feature cloisonne beads. The pair on the right also features a genuine freshwater pearl and some kind of a semi-precious deep green stone (agate?).


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Some pics
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 5:30 PM (Pacific)

Okay, I've finally gotten some pics of some of the pieces. I'm debating as to whether to make my two single-strand turquoise necklaces, into two two-strand necklaces. For the oval turquoise one, definitely...not sure about the turquoise chip one yet. In any case, I'll photograph both when I've made up my mind.

Here are some earrings I made today:

I got the instructions for the earrings from a Katie Hacker book. I would put a link to the exact book but it appears to be out of print. (There are many other books available by the same author.)

While I'm here, may I heartily recommend Katie Hacker as an author. The book I have, superficially it is a shiny, glossy book filled with large colorful pictures and you're thinking, eh, how useful is this book?

However, the book is loaded with useful, practical information. Everything from how to make a wrapped loop, a simple loop, how to use jump rings, what tools to use, the names of the various beads and beading materials...she's got beading wire projects, stretch cord projects, seed bead projects, macrame...

For these earrings, all you need are:

8 jump rings
6 beads of your choice
6 eye pins
6 tiny beads
6 head pins

The easiest way is to go ahead and make the charms first. What you're going to do, is construct two small chains using 4 jump rings each. You are then going to connect the charms to the chains. If you make the charms first, you can construct the chains and add the charms to them at the same time.

Make 6 wrapped charms using beads of your choice and the 6 eye pins. (If you don't want to add the tiny beads, use head pins instead of eye pins.)

Make 6 simple-loop charms using the 6 tiny beads and 6 head pins. Attach each simple-loop charm to the bottom of one of your wrapped charms.

Now, make the two little chains by connecting 4 jumps rings for each chain. While you're making the chain, attach a wrapped charm to the first link, the second link, and the last link...the #1, #2, and #4 links.

Attach the #1 link to your ear wire. You're done!


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posted by Colleen Shirazi, November 8, 2005 at 9:28 PM (Pacific)

...what did we learn in jewelry making today?

Not a whole lot. That trick of using Hypo Cement to glue the knot of an elastic cord inside a bead with a hole big enough to cover the knot...that was brilliant. I'm almost sure I saw it on (which seems to have a lot of good beading projects on it btw).

Now I'm buggered...I'm trying to make a rose quartz necklace. I don't like how regular beading wire shows through the rose quartz beads. You will note that most rose quartz necklaces are made with regular, non-stretch cord (I tried using Stretch Magic, of course the look was fine but I wasn't satisfied with the stretch aspect).

So, my next venture will be to figure out which is the best non-stretch cord. I've also yet to use bead tips, believe it or not. I can't think it would be that much different from using crimps or tying knots.

So...hey, it was the special election today! Well worth sitting down and reading through the props. Of course some of it is written in "proposition-ese" but it's still worth going through.

Beading note: for the special election, I wore my oval turquoise necklace :D (I'll have some pics soon.)
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Ear wires and yadda yadda
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 10:57 AM (Pacific)

Mmmm...I checked the price for the niobium wires again. It's $2.50 per pair for traditional-looking, silver-colored, ball and spring french wires. It's $1.25 per pair for colored niobium wires...these consist of a single wire bent into the french wire shape, colored magenta, green, blue, or turquoise I think...

Now, if you could not wear any other type of wire, it would be well worth it to pay $2.50 per pair, but I haven't given up the notion of finding the same surgical steel or 24 KT gold over surgical steel, wires that Longs Drugs used to carry. It seems to me you'd get at least two pairs for that price, and I can wear them all day, day after day, without irritation.

I was googling around to check out other beading blogs. lol! Someone was complaining she'd been shanghai'd into a "beading party"...apparently there are such things. I can admit it's a bit hard to imagine doing this sort of thing in a party setting. To me somehow it is very personal. I suppose it makes more sense if you think of it purely as a business, but I don't. My plan is to make jewelry for my daughter and myself first. It has to work first as personal jewelry.

Lessee...I have some finished pieces now, they go into the trial phase. There are two turquoise necklaces, one green glass piece (it's hard to test this out because it's choker length, and I've been living in sweaters lately), the long deep red and blue grey necklace, two blue and gold pieces...a couple of bracelets for my daughter, some earrings.

Today I would like to find those ear wires so I can make more earrings. My son designed a'll sound almost silly (he's eight years old) but he's coming up with some good stuff. Men design differently than women do, just as they buy different jewelry for women, than women buy for themselves. Men's jewelry designs for women, imo, are bolder. They show more. I suppose he's less interested in fashion (which is something he's inclined to laugh at) and more interested in color. To the kids this is a form of coloring and drawing...they spend as much time playing with the beads as doing anything with them.

I have been wearing the two pairs of earrings I did have wires for. Stupendous! If you check back on my jewelry searching days (chronicled in the Lipstick Page Forums Fashion Blog), you will see that I never did find that mythical pair of green earrings. It's easy enough though to make them.
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Odd notes
posted by Colleen Shirazi, November 4, 2005 at 8:41 PM (Pacific)

So, what did we learn in jewelry making today?

Hermmm...well one thing I've found, is that it's very hard to find ear wires that work for me. I can't wear most kinds, including sterling silver and 14 KT gold. I can wear 18 KT gold ones, but they're expensive. Forget about platinum...

The funny thing is that, a few years ago, I could find wearable surgical stainless steel wires, and the steel wires plated with 24 gold, everywhere. Longs Drugs had packs of them for what, a couple of bucks? I bought some back then to convert my earrings to, but I didn't stock up. Why bother? Now, I can't find those packages anywhere.

I did find some "niobium" ear wires at my local bead shop, so I googled niobium :) Apparently niobium is the material for ear wires, if you can't wear anything else. It is expensive though, I'm sure they're $2.50 each. They look very nice but again, that is not a general solution, since it adds too much to the cost of the earrings.

So, that's that. I checked Baubles and Beads in Berkeley today, all they had was sterling silver and gold.

Simply Whispers does make these but they are far too expensive to be practical if you're making jewelry.

I'm slowly restringing some of my old pieces. It takes patience. It's still easy for me to mess up a piece, and if I'm not happy with it, I will redo it. I've set up a box now for finished pieces...and by "finished," it usually means the piece has been redone several, sometimes many, times.

I'm wearing my own earrings today...I feel obligated to wear everything I make. Either it works or I'll dismantle it.

There is this really odd thrill in finally making at least some of your own jewelry. You need no longer search for perfection, you can create it.
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Beading #1
posted by Colleen Shirazi, November 3, 2005 at 11:11 AM (Pacific)

So, what did we learn in jewelry making today?

One is that only larger crimps work with Stretch Magic 1.0 mm cord. #2 size Beadalon crimp tubes--1.3 mm--are too small, but the #3 size--1.5 mm--work fine.

It is possible to make the 1.0 mm SM cord into a nice soft drape. It just takes practice. Once you've thoroughly pre-stretched the cord, you can then use the trick of coiling the piece 1-1/2 times, or 2 times, in order to get the drape right.

I've been coiling my pieces 2 times actually. Sometimes this produces a slight amount of slack, but I prefer that to having a piece that's at all stiff. The choice would be yours, here.

I've branched out into making earrings also. Earrings are of course less involved than larger pieces, but there are earrings and there are earrings. I haven't found a good source of truly hypo-allergenic ear wires yet, I should explain that my ears are extremely sensitive. I can't wear sterling silver or 14 KT gold wires, along with much of what is labeled "surgical stainless steel."
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Welcome to thebroadroom's beading blog!
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 10:39 AM (Pacific)

Previous posts on this topic may be found here: The Lipstick Page Forums Fashion Blog.
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