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·· This 'n' that
·· Carnelian and gold-filled necklace
·· More on half-finished projects
·· Half-finished project
·· Next project...
·· More pictures...
·· It seems a long time ago...
·· test
·· Some field notes...

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Beading Blog - September 2006

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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, September 28, 2006 at 5:23 PM (Pacific)

I'm so glad that beading has caught on more and more. There is something empowering about it. Women have always worn jewelry and we've always bought jewelry, but there is something brilliant about us making jewelry. And I like the jewelry that women make.

The short version is that I've been busy; we've moved this entire site to a new host, so that means going back on four years' worth of content and moving it. Some of the content is older than four years and so the code in it needs to be updated.

I just wanted to make a note about that half-finished braided bangle pictured below (and people who have made this piece will have already caught it): I made a mistake finishing the ends before attaching the clasp. I'm not sure what I was thinking (somehow I thought you could attach the clasp with jump rings) but for this piece, jump rings make the piece look awkward.

I went back and undid the fine gauge wire wrapping (grumbles...but I got a tip from someone else, you should save all of your sterling scraps, there may come a time when you can melt them) and attached the clasp. Hopefully I'll have a picture of it soon; it's a pretty nifty piece.

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Carnelian and gold-filled necklace
posted by Colleen Shirazi, September 13, 2006 at 5:41 PM (Pacific)

This came out pretty well actually; I don't think the pic does it justice. The triangle...and I've been trying to make a necklace with a triangle in the front for a long time...hangs nicely. It looks a bit puffy in the pic, but it isn't in real life.

I suppose that explains why most jewelry sites don't photograph the jewelry "on." To me it's easier to get an idea about the piece if you can see it on someone. It doesn't photograph as well that way though. grumbles...

I'm thinking about making this same design using faceted beads.

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More on half-finished projects
posted by Colleen Shirazi, September 12, 2006 at 12:51 PM (Pacific)

On the left is the braided sterling bracelet that needs a clasp. On the right is a wrapped gold-filled necklace with carnelian beads, that needs more wrapped links...the front part of it is finished; I'm planning to just make wrapped links (alternating small and medium carnelian beads) until it's long enough.

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Half-finished project
posted by Colleen Shirazi, September 11, 2006 at 7:27 PM (Pacific)

Hmmm...I started doing this piece today: Making Braided Wire Jewelry.

It's easier than it looks, at least the braiding part is. I couldn't find masking tape so I got two rubber bands and a Baggie, and tightly rubber-banded the Baggie on top of the jig. This works well (all you're doing is keeping the wire from popping off the pegs).

What's more difficult is doing the ends. I did my bracelet with 24 gauge wire (I've never worked in 26 gauge)...this came out pretty delicate, like a slim bangle bracelet. But even with 24 gauge, the ends were tricky to're talking six parallel strands that you have to bend into a tight "u" shape and then wrap with more fine gauge wire (I used the same 24 gauge of course).

I got the ends to look nice but mine doesn't look the same as theirs. The end loops are a bit bigger and the wraps are longer. It looks good either way; you get a beautiful silvery look. But if you're shooting for the look in their pictures, definitely go with 26 gauge.

I can't finish it favorite bead shop is closed, so I have to wait until I can get out to Berkeley to get a decorative clasp. I have it in mind to get a sterling one with a stone in it.

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Next project...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, September 9, 2006 at 11:50 AM (Pacific)

Wearing my jade earrings...the ones with the diamond-shaped frames...and the jade necklace today.

It sounds like a whole lot o' jade, but the overall effect is pretty quiet actually, because of the deep soft green. It's soothing.

Of course I realized then that I needed a jade bracelet. :) I have enough of the jade rondelles to do this. I have a couple of bracelets I've made that I'm happy with, but these are either stretch bracelets or softflex, and I'd like to make a wire one with the jade.

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More pictures...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, September 8, 2006 at 3:00 PM (Pacific)

The necklace is made out of oval iolite beads, blue lace agate chips, and some diamond-shaped faceted chalcedony beads I got in Cincinnati. I used handmade jump rings for this piece.

The earrings are the same oval iolite beads. At first I had them in a straightforward string of simple loop links, coming off a pair of the same chalcedony beads, but they looked far too ordinary that way. The beads are much too I wrapped them all and put three strings of them on each earring, using this model: Diamond Chandelier Beaded Earrings Jewelry Making Project.

I've got to come up with a better way to photograph my jewelry! Unless you're already a good photographer, it's not easy. Here is one of the nicest earrings stagings I've seen: Muse On Main--I didn't want to link directly to any one pair of earrings in case they got sold--but check out how they hung the earrings on that cool statue.

Here I've got my iolite, blue lace agate and chalcedony necklace, iolite earrings, jade earrings, and the same turquoise, lustre glass and fluorite heart necklace I'd tried to photograph earlier on. I added it here because I just redid most of the wraps and it looks nicer now. It drapes better in real life than it does in the pic of course.

Finally, a detail of the earrings. Just today I decided to try adding some fine gauge wire to the iolite ones...harder than it looks, but worth the effort. Here you can see the color of the iolite looks a bit bluer here than in real life; it's purpler I would say. An interesting deep purple-blue with gold in it, or a sort of golden brown.

The jade earrings look really nice on. The diamond-shaped frame is gold-filled wire; the faceted jade beads are also from my Cincinnati trip.

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It seems a long time ago...
posted by TheBroadroom.Net, September 7, 2006 at 10:47 PM (Pacific)

...that I started making jewelry. In fact it is almost exactly one year now. Here is a link to my very first post on the subject: Making jewelry

I started on a whim really. I remember going into a Jo-Ann Fabric store looking for sequins one day. They didn't have much sequins beyond a few standard colors (I remember being disappointed), but in the same aisle they had this wonderful bead section.

Of course now I've seen actual bead shops and there are not that many beads I'd care to buy at a Jo-Ann Fabric store any more. The bead shops are much cheaper and infinitely better in quality and selection, you can choose the exact beads you want and how many, et cetera. But I did get my start at a Jo-Ann Fabric store. That same day I bought some rose-colored Indian lampwork beads, some pink glass beads with gold swirls (also Indian), and a bunch of really weird findings and tools. The sales girl was nice enough to give me some advice on crimps and stringing materials; I was totally clueless. Wish I'd gotten her name.

From there I branched out to Michaels...a place I'd been inside maybe once or twice prior to that. I'm not naturally crafty.

From seems so long ago that I even shopped for jewelry. I remember searching and searching for a pair of earrings with green stones. That's the thing. Now, I can make as many pairs of green earrings as I like. It's harder in the sense, I have to find the beads and design the earrings. It's easier in the sense, I don't have to depend on someone else to do it for me.

I have several new pieces I'll need to photograph...the iolite, blue lace agate and chalcedony necklace, iolite earrings, new jade earrings, the carnelian piece once I've finished it (all it needs are a bunch of wrapped links; the piece in front is already done).

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posted by TheBroadroom.Net, at 10:08 PM (Pacific)

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Some field notes...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, September 2, 2006 at 8:06 PM (Pacific)

Today I wore my jade "ensemble"...the green necklace in the pic below, and my new jade earrings--haven't photographed them yet, but it's a gold-filled diamond-shaped wire, same as the sterling one pictured here, with a diamond-shaped faceted jade bead hung inside it (same jade beads as the necklace).

It was fun, I'll have to say, if only because the stuff is one-of-a-kind. It's not as if anyone shopping at Macy's could buy it, or even anyone shopping online.

I suppose we've all become so accustomed to everything being ready-to-wear. It's just a funny feeling. Reminds me of those "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder...and let me tell you, if you never read them, that the books bear little resemblance to the sugary, sanitized tv show. The books are downright gritty; she never glossed over the difficulties that her family faced...but anyhow. There was no ready-to-wear for that time and place. A dress was something you bought material for and made yourself.
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