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Posts This Month
·· Turquoise and vermeil bracelet
·· Rambles...
·· Rambles...
·· EZ Bracelet Sizer
·· Pablo Picasso is where it's at.
·· Turquoise and Bali vermeil choker
·· Rambles...
·· Rambles...
·· Rambles...
·· Rambles...
·· Freshwater pearl and tourmaline bracelet
·· Citrine and silver two-strand bracelet
·· Peridot and vermeil necklace and bracelet
·· Gem Faire San Francisco 2007
·· Rambles...
·· Peridot and vermeil necklace, version 2
·· Rambles...
·· Peridot and vermeil necklace
·· Three strand freshwater pearl necklace
·· Rambles...
·· Swarovski crystal, Bali vermeil and colorless aquamarine bracelet
·· Oooooh...
·· Rambles...
·· Chalcedony necklace, then and now

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Beading Blog - thebroadroom.net: March 2007




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One woman's adventures in the wide, wonderful world of beading.
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Turquoise and vermeil bracelet
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 31, 2007 at 1:14 PM (Pacific)



This was made to match the Turquoise and Bali vermeil choker.

Here again, some experimentation with photographing jewelry. This is a plain white cotton tee shirt and a different camera. I think the white paper used for the choker background worked better...but I think this camera works better (it's about the same age as the other camera, but I'm more familiar with the settings on it).

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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 11:33 AM (Pacific)

Thoughts for today:

The artbeads.com 3mm gold-filled crimp covers...even though they're a pain to use, since they must be manually opened wider in order to fit over 2mm sterling crimp tubes...re-use really well.

I tried that today...tried opening some used crimp covers. I had some that had been closed close to each other...the first one couldn't be reused, but the second one looked almost identical to a brand new crimp cover when I reused it on another piece (I would do this on pieces only for myself, of course).

The "bad" crimp covers went on my gold fill pile...found out on the jewelrymaking.about.com forum that www.monsterslayer.com accepts gold fill, as well as sterling silver, scrap (either they pay you for it, or else they discount your purchase).

Another thought...if you squeeze the artbeads 2mm sterling crimp tubes fairly lightly the first time, you usually can make tiny adjustments...slide the crimp tube up or down a little bit...without damaging the softflex. I did that today, realized I had too much slack on a bracelet (double crimped)...jacked the lower crimp tube down a bit and didn't have to restring (the slight extra gap isn't noticeable once you put the crimp cover on).

I hope I don't come across as some kind of self-sacrificing, saintly individual. rotfl My whole concept of doing a "cold turkey" involves not blowing all my money on beads right now...so I'll be able to stay in this game a whole lot longer.

And I am trying to be more conscientious about recycling scrap precious metal. I've had a sterling pile for a long time. I can admit I've been lazy about reusing the crimp covers, but realistically it's only one extra step to at least try to reuse them, and if the cover gets too mangled, it goes on the gold fill pile.

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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 29, 2007 at 3:38 PM (Pacific)

I added a "cold turkey" label...I'm really warming to the idea of not buying beads or components for a set period of time. My target is next quarter, so that would be April through June.

My "ground rules" cover necessities such as beading wire, crimps, that sort of thing. Possibly bails. The idea mainly is to not get material for new projects, but rather to finish up old projects, or old projects that never got started in the first place.

I'm also thinking of doing this every year.

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EZ Bracelet Sizer
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 1:19 PM (Pacific)

I have one of these on order:



I got this tip from the jewelrymaking.about.com forum...because I was at the point where I was trying to make a four-strand, twisted bracelet and I kept getting the length wrong. With the strands loosely twisted, the length was fine, but after wearing it for a bit, I realized it would look so much better were the strands twisted once more...and then, you guessed it, the whole piece became doll-sized.

There is no real way of measuring the strands, because the length is next to irrelevant unless you're talking about a single strand of beads. I contemplated making my own form and even started measuring plastic drinking glasses...but decided to go ahead and buy a readymade one, because it struck me as being practical. If it's as durable as it says it is, and accurate, it'll pay for itself because you need to use it every time you make a bracelet.

This one has 1/4" increments, meaning you would know exactly how much longer or shorter you need to make the piece.

Again you could make your own...looks like you could make it out of stiff paper actually. Hm. Interesting.

There's a bigger one that costs only a dollar more:



I decided on the "travel size" simply because artbeads.com carries it, and it would appear to serve the vast majority of my measuring needs. I don't make ankle bracelets too often and if I did, I could measure the strand (don't foresee making multi-strand anklets!). Likewise I could just measure really small pieces.

I'll post a review when I get the EZ Bracelet Sizer. I did Google it first of course--it is carried by several merchants as well as the inventor. And people have commented on it on beading forums. I got an overall impression of satisfaction with it, some people did say you had to play with it for a while to figure out exactly where you want your pieces to lie.

images courtesy www.gossamerwingsdesigns.com

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Pablo Picasso is where it's at.
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 27, 2007 at 7:58 PM (Pacific)

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.

I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. [yeah baby!]

It is your work in life that is the ultimate seduction.

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape...

source: www.quotationspage.com

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Turquoise and Bali vermeil choker
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 6:07 PM (Pacific)



I'm going on what they call "cold turkey" on the cosmetics forums...all it means is that you stop buying something for a set period of time (with a couple of ground rules of course). Makeup junkies love to buy makeup, natch, so cold turkey for them means not buying cosmetics for x months.

I have a lot of supplies now, so I'd like to not buy them for...hm. It's the end of March now, so I'd like to go at least a quarter without buying beads and components. As to the ground rules, that would cover necessities such as crimps, crimp covers, stringing material, wire as needed (I don't think I actually need wire, I'm just saying)...stuff like that.

Bails and clasps and stuff like that, fall into a somewhat grey area, but I'd like to see what I can do with what I already have on hand.

Having done quite a few cosmetics cold turkeys, I can say it's easier than it looks. It's easy to fall into a habit of buying. Once you stop buying new things, you then have time and space to examine what you already have, and come up with a better concept of what you actually need.

lol! I strung this same piece three times, on a double length of softflex. The first time I got the length wrong...decided it looked best as a choker on its shortest setting. Bugger. The second time, I got the crimps right but neglected to leave enough space for the crimp covers...I'm not kidding, it was off by literally one millimeter (space enough for a 2mm crimp but not a 3mm crimp cover). It's that kind of mistake that's worth fixing, as tedious as it is, because I know it's going to bug me unto eternity if I don't fix it.

I think the engineering is good though, because so many crimps would have to fail, it's not all on one crimp, or even two.

I made the little extender chain and I'd like to see how that flies. It's regular handmade jump rings connecting soldered jump rings.

I got some tips on photographing jewelry from the jewelrymaking.about.com forum...here's the site: Heartworks by Lori

Here the advice was to use a white background, natural indirect lighting, set the white balance setting to sunny...there is more advice also, including to use a tripod, however this is as far as I got (I don't have a tripod as of yet). It's much better focused than before.

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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 26, 2007 at 10:59 AM (Pacific)

I've gotten to the point where I can do pretty much whatever I want to do...I can construct just about anything. Construction, and materials, are not as much of an issue anymore.

Which leaves us to design. It's easy for me to sink into mediocrity. It's much harder to get out of it.

I realize that I stop and rethink my entire approach to jewelry making every so often...so I'm going to have a label just for that. That way, later on, I can go back and figure out how often this happens. Let's call it "rethinking."

The last time I did "rethinking" was December 8 of last year (I have gone back and attached the new label).

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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 25, 2007 at 6:49 PM (Pacific)

Ack I just finished this bracelet and at the last second, saw there was too much slack on the second strand (right after I'd crimped it of course). On bracelets, even a little too much slack shows. Ugh. I will have to restring it.

I'm playing around with the idea of making multiple strand pieces where the strands aren't the same. The same concept as wearing several bracelets or necklaces that go together, only here they're actually attached together. Does that make any sense?

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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 23, 2007 at 8:29 PM (Pacific)

Okay, I went back and labeled all of this blog's posts that contain pictures.

This isn't a complete indexing by any means, the only posts prior to 2007 that have labels are the "pics" ones and these have the sole label "pics."

The idea here is that jewelry making is highly visual, for obvious reasons, and going back and adding labels to anything is a big ol' PITA, so I just did the pic-containing posts. I think I got all of them.

Going back, however briefly, is always pretty trippy. I don't think I use any of the same materials that I started out with. But I do always try to keep at least one piece from each "phase." That's important, you shouldn't dismantle everything.

On a side note, that is also my philosophy with websites. Even if you redo the entire site, you should still keep a little something from the old site (which reminds me just how backlogged I am transferring the old Broad Room site over).

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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 6:45 PM (Pacific)

Since I hang around on the jewelrymaking.about.com forum a lot (admittedly I lurk more than post, I am in awe of the skill and experience of most of the posters), I can pass along this tidbit of information: some jewelry makers photograph every single piece of jewelry they ever make.

Now I happen to do this, if only to have material for this blog, and for me it does amount to having lots of pictures of pieces that I end up dismantling. It doesn't bother me--this is a blog, I intended it as a record of my journey from absolute beginner to, ah, medium beginner, and beyond. :D

On a side note, that is one improvement of today's Internet. Mostly I dislike the "new" Net...it's corporate, sanitized, uninteresting, in the main. But what's good is that the people who decided to stay on the Net now have more permanent digs on the Net. More than four years ago, the people who put together this site registered the domain...and back in those days, only Infinology had enormous webspace/traffic for a low price, and that's what we got. From the beginning I wanted to make this site as permanent as possible.

Anyhow, it's a good idea. Even if you take the photographs for yourself only, it's still worth the effort.

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Freshwater pearl and tourmaline bracelet
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 6:34 PM (Pacific)



Here I think the charm is in the tourmalines...because they're "rough" looking in real life, rather than transparent gem grade tourmaline. The colors range a lot too, I really liked the black-plum colored ones so I included some of them here.

The pearls...as mentioned earlier, are those one-sided top-drilled ones. Doing them in a multi-strand design seems to keep a lot of the domed sides showing, for whatever reason.

I have some pink keishi pearls I'm going to use for a "matching" necklace...it's...harder than it looks. Ideally the pieces should work independently, i.e. you should be able to wear any one piece alone and have it work.

You should also be able to wear them as a set, and that's not something I have actually achieved as of yet. Even the citrine and silver "set" is not something I would care to wear all at once. I have it in mind to get more Bali silver beads (I got a lot of vermeil last time because I don't usually use silver) and make a pair of simpler citrine and silver earrings.

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Citrine and silver two-strand bracelet
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 6:14 PM (Pacific)



This is pretty straightforward, it's to match the necklace and earrings earlier:



Wondering if I should make it three rather than two strands. I'm going to get a silver three-strand connector bead anyway (just as I'm getting a vermeil one) so I'll decide then.

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Peridot and vermeil necklace and bracelet
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 6:07 PM (Pacific)





This is the same necklace pictured earlier, only now you can see the back (and the fact that I haven't put crimp covers on it yet). There's still a possibility I may redo this piece...I'm going to get a three-strand vermeil connector bead anyway, so I may add that in the front. Or might not. I like it the way it is actually.

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Gem Faire San Francisco 2007
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 21, 2007 at 10:38 PM (Pacific)

They had this in San Francisco and I managed to get out for one of the three-day-weekend shows. I would have liked to have gone again...this one was roughly twice the size of the one I went to last year...lots and lots of stuff.

I ended up buying from two merchants (last year I bought from only one...the same one I bought from this year). I got some American turquoise rounds and barrel shaped beads. Also small labradorite rounds...pretty good "flash" for the cut and size, although it looked as much golden as blue...labradorite rondelles, aquamarine rondelles...and from the other merchant, freshwater pearls.

This show had a lot of items the other show didn't...kyanite, amber, greenish American turquoise, Hill Tribe silver, some Bali style items... I suppose it might be good I didn't go a second time. You have to pace yourself with this stuff.

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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 6:52 PM (Pacific)

No pics today, hence the title "Rambles." :D

I made a nice bracelet yesterday, and put the crimp covers on it today, meaning I intend to keep the design. I always wear a new piece all day without crimp covers (if it's a piece with crimps of course :p) because much of the time I flake out and end up redoing the piece. I have successfully re-used crimp covers but it's difficult; much easier just to wear the piece all day crimp-cover-less.

It's a bracelet with four loosely twisted strands, made out of those (natural?) pink one-sided button pearls, top drilled, and some definitely not-gem-grade tourmaline rondelles.

Earlier I tried making a "flat" design of the pearls but somehow the duller, flat sides always ended up flipping on top. With the twisted strands, at least as many domed sides show as flat ones. The tourmaline...none of it is transparent. Some pieces are translucent while others are utterly opaque, but the "rough" appearance makes it look nice. These tourmalines range in color from your classic watermelon pink, to greenish, greyish, blackish and plum colors.

I also put crimp covers on a two-strand citrine and silver bracelet that I haven't photographed yet either. It's a pretty simple minimal piece, but I like citrine paired with lots of silver.

Also made a new bracelet today to match the peridot and vermeil necklace in the previous post. Here again it occurred to me how long it takes me to make anything. This is the same peridot I bought at the Gem Faire last October (blogged here), with a clasp I got a few months ago, spacer bars I got from a bead shop (I do most of my shopping online now, with the occasional bead show when possible), Bali beads direct from Bali...easily six months per piece.

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Peridot and vermeil necklace, version 2
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 19, 2007 at 1:40 PM (Pacific)





Okay, I got rid of the double side strands and added more weight to the center of the necklace. The top pic shows the shortest length (choker), the bottom pic is the longest setting.

If the side beads won't stay put, I'm going to ditch this design and get a three-strand connector bead to put in the middle. I'm hopeful about it though.

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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 18, 2007 at 6:42 PM (Pacific)

Ugh, the 3-to-1 design didn't work. The 3-to-1 beads kept flipping (usually just one)...at first I thought it was the twisted side strands, but even after I untwisted them, it still kept on flipping. I realized my black crystal design had a center bead and that probably kept the center stable. I might be able to use the same design by moving the 3-to-1 beads back and making the three center strands longer, i.e. heavier. Since twisting is out of the question, I may make the side strands single rather than double.

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Peridot and vermeil necklace
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 17, 2007 at 7:46 PM (Pacific)





At first I thought, at least I'm not reinventing the wheel...since this is the same design as the black crystal necklace. But, I wanted the two side strands to be twisted, and that doesn't work. If you do that, the tension in the twist migrates to the 3-to-1 beads and twists them too, messing up the front of the necklace.

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Three strand freshwater pearl necklace
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 7:25 PM (Pacific)



Heh heh, I'm really nervous. This is my first "commission piece"; it's the first piece I've been commissioned to make for someone else.

Did I put enough slack in it?

It's a straightforward enough design, three strands of freshwater pearls (literally: three 16" strands transferred to softflex and double crimped, with wire thimbles). I tend to prefer slightly more, rather than slightly less, slack in my own pieces. Here I felt nervous so I didn't do that. Now I'm hella nervous. Did I mention I was nervous?

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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 14, 2007 at 5:10 PM (Pacific)

Hey, I got crimps!!!!! Not a moment too soon, I need to restring some stuff, make other stuff...

I went back and put labels on all of my posts as of January 1 this year. grumbles... From what I've read, the only people on Blogger.com who can use features like "labels list" or "label cloud" are people who DON'T FTP their freakin' blog! I tried going into the template and pasting some of the "widget" code there, but it won't work for me. I'm going to have to wait until they extend the features to the FTP users.

In the meantime, you can pull up all posts by label, but you have to click on a label on an individual post to do so.

Hermmm...I finally figured out what my three strand jade bracelet (pictured here) has been asking for. It's the spacer bars. The ones I used were among the first spacer bars I ever bought, and they're all wrong for this piece. I'm going to get some Bali ones sometime.

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Swarovski crystal, Bali vermeil and colorless aquamarine bracelet
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 10:01 AM (Pacific)



This is it so far...as you can see, I still need to move the strands off the diamond-shaped part of the toggle and onto a jump ring.

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Oooooh...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 13, 2007 at 7:04 PM (Pacific)

I'm really pleased with my new bracelet. Okay I'm still waiting on my crimps order, but I read on the jewelrymaking.about.com forum that you can use seamless sterling beads as crimps. I have some of these on hand (2mm, from Artbeads.com) so I tried it out. Perfect--way better than base metal crimps, about on a par with actual sterling crimp tubes. The one caveat is that two strands of 0.014" Soft Flex just fit...if you were using thicker Soft Flex, it probably wouldn't work.

I don't have a pic yet...and I will need to restring it, I'll probably wait until I get the crimps to do so. I'm using the same diamond-shaped vermeil toggle here:



The reason I need to restring it is that it's a three-strand design, and I put all three strands (with their respective wire guardians) in the loop of the diamond-shaped part of the toggle. The three wire guardians do fit, but they don't lie as nicely as they would if you put them inside a soldered jump ring and then used a small jump ring to attach that to the clasp.

The three strands though, look smashing with this type of clasp. With the clasp on the bottom, the effect is like three individual bracelets. Also, with three strands, the clasp lies nice and flat.

The three strands are different combinations of Swarovski crystals, vermeil Bali beads and some clear aquamarine nuggets. I used three finishes of clear crystal: plain, AB and Moonlight. It's mostly bicones; one of the strands has Swarovski rondelles on it. As I say the idea is to make it look like 3 bracelets.

What else did I learn...you can't twist the strands on this design, they don't stay twisted, at least not easily.

About Moonlight, if you haven't tried it...it's nice. I got some from Fire Mountain Gems to try out...the effect is subtle, not "flashy" like the AB finish. It just seems to have a bit more depth and definition than plain crystal. Worth the extra cost? that might depend on how many crystals you're planning on using. If it's a boatload of crystals, I wouldn't pay the difference. But here it looks nice (I will put up a picture once I've restrung it)...three kinds of clear crystal.

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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 11, 2007 at 8:13 PM (Pacific)

I haven't made anything new recently. For one thing, I maxed out all my crimps...now I'm waiting for some. I got a lot this time.

In the meantime...I'm thinking about a few things. I'd like to redo my turquoise necklace; the one I have is too ordinary. It's the one on the left (yup, I'm redoing the other one too):



Those flat oval beads look so nice, but they are hard to work with for necklaces. They tend to "flip" when you're wearing the piece. I tried getting around that by making it choker length...they flip a lot less that way, but I still don't like the effect. Plus, I think the pattern is too simple.

I'll probably mix some of my turquoise nuggets (the same ones in the necklace on the right) in with the oval beads somehow.

The fool I am, I already used my vermeil 2-to-1 beads (which I was planning to use for redoing the necklace on the right!). I still have a set of 3-to-1 beads, so I could do that, although I think it might end up too bulky.

I'm also thinking of making a super simple strand of the nuggets...oh, I love turquoise. I love, love, love turquoise; it's one of my favorite stones.

So...I'm already thinking in terms of three turquoise necklaces, possibly as many turquoise bracelets...I got a lot of turquoise. Just love it.

Another thought...for later...would be a jade necklace. I already dismantled my earlier jade and pearl one. Now that I have more vermeil spacer beads to choose from, I think I can make a better one of a similar design, but later on, I'd like an almost plain jade necklace, just a simple strand with a few spacer beads or something.

I know I sound like a complete flake right about now, but keep in mind that in this phase, I'm still making most of the pieces for myself. So the process is more similar to shopping for jewelry...I'm thinking...what do I want? What holes do I have in my wardrobe? What necklace is this outfit crying out for? etc.

Again with the makeup...but with makeup (reference: I've been a member of makeup boards since 1998, and run one now, The Lipstick Page Forums, which I'm really proud of btw), I never liked "collecting." I'm not knocking it, but I never liked owning makeup that looks great and ends up sitting in the drawer. I have to wear it. I feel the same way about jewelry.

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Chalcedony necklace, then and now
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 2, 2007 at 5:22 PM (Pacific)

Then (far left):



Now:



There is another pair of the Bali vermeil cylinder-shaped beads in the back, behind the last pair of chalcedony beads, that would show in the summer when you put your hair up (in fact I think of this as a summer necklace).

These are the same chalcedony beads I used before; I bought six of them, so there is now a lone chalcedony bead in the box. I suppose I've gotten away from "wrapping for wrapping's sake" and more into trying to create simpler, more wearable designs.

Speaking of wrapping...AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! There are so many different choices even for wire for this. All along I've been using half hard, round wire, usually 22 or 24 gauge. Now I've been reading that soft wire works better. I tried out some dead soft for doing my briolettes:



...and it worked great, but I never thought of using soft wire for wrapping!

Then, to make things even more interesting, I saw a rec for half round wire, this one:


image courtesy www.rings-things.com

The idea is that half round wire lies flatter against your piece and tucks better. Now that certainly stands to reason, and it's a great idea, but I am dizzy!!!!!

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