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·· 2005, the year in beading
·· Okay here's a pic...
·· More earrings
·· Green necklace
·· Green earrings and necklace
·· Green earrings
·· Can't easily find ear wires?
·· This and that

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Beading Blog - December 2005

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One woman's adventures in the wide, wonderful world of beading.
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2005, the year in beading
posted by Colleen Shirazi, December 30, 2005 at 7:50 PM (Pacific)

I know that sounds presumptuous, considering I started doing this only September-ish this year. But I would like to write something summing up my 2005 experience. It's always nice being able to go back, later on, and see where you were.

I'm at the point now where I feel 100% comfortable making anything on stretch cord. I use the 0.7 mm one (although I think the 0.1 mm one would work as well); I found the 1.0 mm one somehow not stretchy enough? The 1.0 mm works; you can, as promised, use crimps with it too. But how often do you really want to use crimps with stretch cord?

I prefer the technique of pre-stretching the cord before stringing anything on it; it makes it much easier to work with. I use a square knot followed by two overhand knots...overkill no doubt but that's what I do.

I then use Hypo Cement to glue the knot inside a "cover" bead (which can be any bead that has a big enough hole to put the knot inside). I no longer try to put the knot inside the cover bead and then glue it, that's too difficult. It's easier to simply cover the knot with a blob of glue, then pull it inside the cover bead. I let the piece dry overnight.

As far as beading wire, I've found 49 strand a bit dear. 7 strand is not flexible enough and it kinks too easily. I've settled on 19 strand. (This is Beadalon wire; other brands have different options.) The 0.15" diameter is best for me; 0.18" is kind of thick.

The crimping pliers are worth it. Much better results than using regular pliers.

I'm comfortable making simple loops. I can competently do wrapped loops but I'd like to get better at it.

As far as design, well I think I've jumped the first few hurdles. I knew from the start that it would not be easy, at least for me (having no experience making jewelry) to come up with designs that I myself would want to wear...and for me that is the thing.

I started out with the intent of making jewelry to sell, but for me that means first making jewelry to wear. Ultimately that is what I'm going to own personal jewelry collection that I, ah, have to first get good at designing and making.

As far as my hands...that's another reason I took an interest in beading. My hands were starting to get stiff particularly in the morning. Instead of doing exercises for them, why not do something that forces you to bend your hands? like stringing tiny beads and making wire loops? It really does work, it produces something useful and it's not as boring as exercises :D

So far I'm proudest of my pink earrings, funnily enough.

Plans for the future...I'd like to make more earrings. I've been googling's interesting. You come across designs that you suddenly realize that you can make yourself. I saw some that were $35 - $40 a pop, that were basically a finding (and I swear I've seen the exact same finding at my local bead shop), and three strings of beads connected by wire wraps. That's it! I can do that! Granted, whoever made them, wrapped better than I do now...I like her technique of making a shorter wrap and completing it by squashing the wire over the last part of the wrap, rather than smashing it into the bottom of the wrap (which forces you to finish the wrap above the bead).

I'm going to try that next, in fact I like her design so much...the three strings of beads connected by wire wraps, attached to a small finding...that I'm going to copy it for my own earrings. i.e. I'm not going to set up shop just yet but the earrings I'm going to make next, will follow that design.
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Okay here's a pic...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, December 27, 2005 at 2:32 PM (Pacific)


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More earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 10:57 AM (Pacific)

I've gotten more into making earrings. Why is that, well there are the obvious can never have too many pairs of earrings. Right? And good earrings tend to be expensive.

There are other economical factors. Making earrings makes use of those odd beads you need only two, or four, or six, of any bead to make a reasonably spectacular pair. You can do it with only wires and beads.

All of that said, I have some designs in mind that I can't make yet, because those would require special findings. The one place I saw a lot of these...sterling silver earring parts...was in San Francisco.

As far as the ear wires, really, I've got nothing. I can't find any place locally that sells what I'm looking for at the price I want, and I'm not willing to pay the Simply Whispers price--it's $6 for french wires--when I can get the silver-colored niobium ones locally for $2.25. As far as gold-colored ones...if I get desperate enough, I can still buy "lifetime guarantee" earrings at Longs Drugs for $5/pair and take them apart. grumbles....

I'll have a pic of my latest earrings soon; I'd like to wear them first. I made them yesterday out of rose quartz and pink glass flowers.
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Green necklace
posted by Colleen Shirazi, December 20, 2005 at 9:17 PM (Pacific)

Here are some pics:

Not the best pics, admittedly, but I felt like taking the pics now rather than later.

I decided to go with two strands instead of three, which I felt would be "too much." It was a bugger getting the strands onto the clasp. The original formula for this said to attach the strands to a split ring and then put the split ring on the clasp.

Sounds good on paper, but what happened is that the only way to get the split ring on the clasp was to use split ring pliers, and these bent part of the split open. Squashing the split ring with pliers didn't help to close it. So, the two strands (beading wire) tended to fall off the split ring.

I replaced the split ring with a jump ring but felt nervous about it...I ended up using two jump rings and it feels pretty secure.

On the other part of the clasp, of course you can't use any rings at all otherwise you won't be able to pass that side of the clasp into the other side (it's a toggle clasp).

Anyhow I wore it today and I felt pretty pleased with it.


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Green earrings and necklace
posted by Colleen Shirazi, December 19, 2005 at 12:12 PM (Pacific)

First of all, here are the earrings.

I'm also making a necklace using the same beads. Naturally, they need not be worn together (in fact I think they're too "matchy" that way). The bottom strand of the necklace, the one with the seven green charms on it, is completely finished.

Now I was going to add a plain strand on top of it...the strand you see in the picture. But then I saw a pic of a necklace in a magazine, that had 3 strands of beads and each strand had charms on it. So I decided to make the second strand, the same as, or similar to, the first. I haven't made the second strand yet.

Do you really need one of those bead boards? It's not, at least for me, nearly as useful as what you would think. I've found it next to useless as far as planning designs and making accurate measurements. But it is priceless as far as just having a place to put the beads you're using. It keeps the beads (especially the small ones) from rolling all over the place.


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Green earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, December 16, 2005 at 3:01 PM (Pacific)

Dang. I just made some new green earrings today and I can't take a picture of them because I don't have the camera today.

These are the ones I was planning to make, with a slight twist. They use the same basic idea as the blue ones mentioned previously--you make three wrapped charms for each earring and attach them to a chain made of four jump rings.

Here I went a step further. For the blue earrings, I had used eye pins instead of head pins for the charms, and had added a tiny blue bead at the end of each charm.

For these green ones, I used 3 different kinds of green glass seed beads instead of one tiny bead. i.e. you string 3 different seed beads on a head pin and finish it off with a simple loop, and attach it to the bottom of each wrapped charm.

This looks really cool because the seed bead dangles move around and catch the light and look sparkly.

I also used a "pineapple" glass bead to attach the jump ring chain to the ear wire. These two pineapple beads were something I'd bought long ago without any particular plan...I usually buy at least two of each new bead (or another even number) either to make earrings with or else a symmetrical design.
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Can't easily find ear wires?
posted by Colleen Shirazi, December 15, 2005 at 1:03 PM (Pacific)

I'm disgusted. I've checked two Longs Drugs, Macy's, and Claire's. Claire's had a whole bunch of "sensitive solutions" earrings...which would have been an inexpensive solution (buy cheaper readymade earrings and dismantle them) but I've tried so many "sensitive ears" earrings that didn't work. I didn't bother buying any this time. Unless it says "lifetime guarantee," "100% pure surgical stainless steel," "24 karat gold or pure silver over 100% surgical...", I don't bother with it.

All Longs had were readymade earrings with that label, and they were $5/pair at the least. Not worth it, since I can get the niobium ones for $2.25/pair.

There are a few more places I'll try.
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This and that
posted by Colleen Shirazi, December 14, 2005 at 10:53 AM (Pacific)

I haven't had much time to make anything new lately, so I've just been wearing some of the stuff I'd already made.

So far, my two turquoise necklaces have gotten a fair amount of wear, and my two pairs of green earrings. I haven't found the blue ones to be that useful, because I tend to wear much more green than blue. In fact one of the pieces I'd like to make is a copy of the blue earring design (three wrapped charms on a jump ring chain), using green beads. I've already bought them; they are beautiful chunky green glass beads with an irregular gold finish.

Also in the works--a copy of a necklace I made for my daughter.

I'm going to make a green one of this for myself, using some of the gold-finished green beads for the charms.

My son's pieces are wearing well...I got a compliment on the red earrings.


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