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Posts This Month
·· Rambles...
·· Aha! Found the earrings...
·· Rambles...
·· Rambles...
·· Rambles...
·· Thanks for the add!
·· Square pearl pendant on goldfilled chain
·· How to finish the ends of fine gauge bulk chain
·· Aquamarine earrings, version 1.1
·· New tools and contracts
·· Aquamarine earrings to go with the necklace
·· Aquamarine and Bali vermeil necklace on goldfilled chain
·· Rambles...
·· Thanks for the "add"!
·· Rambles...
·· Some notes on photographing jewelry
·· Sterling silver and Swarovski crystal "tulip" earrings
·· Further thoughts on the previous design...
·· Still fiddling around with the previous design...

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Beading Blog - thebroadroom.net: June 2007




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One woman's adventures in the wide, wonderful world of beading.
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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, June 29, 2007 at 9:14 PM (Pacific)

I broke my "bead cold turkey" today...I suppose I could have waited until July 1, which would have made it the full three months. But I need to make some jewelry for a particular person, so I thought it well to start getting the materials. I still need to order wire so that's going to take a while.

I've gotten quite a bit pickier about beads; normally I would have bought much more. This time I got three freshwater pearls: a relatively large one for a pendant, two smaller ones for earrings. Likewise, some lapis...a large smooth flat oval, plus two smaller faceted square shapes. Then I got a sort of art glass bead I'd been looking at for months. It just suddenly struck me it would make a perfect small pendant. It's a soft warm pink with a sort of red-brown glass rectangle shape in the center.

I'm seriously out of wire. The only goldfilled I have is some 26 gauge (I think I still have some). I have 22 gauge argentium silver, and 24 gauge regular sterling silver. (And some of that good ol' 26 gauge argentium too!)

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Aha! Found the earrings...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, June 26, 2007 at 3:55 PM (Pacific)

JEZEBEL

(I was looking for these in the previous post.)

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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, June 25, 2007 at 7:34 PM (Pacific)

Haven't made anything new lately. I suppose I want to step back for a while and figure out what I really want to make.

I came across a pair of earrings, neglected to bookmark it, now I can't find it...grumbles... It was a very simple design, two large Tahitian (I think) pearls, on 18KT gold wire, I suppose they had to ream the pearls out some as they were strung directly on the wire. They had a small rosary loop on the bottom, and the top part of the wire formed the earring wire itself.

On the bottom, they had gem grade aquamarine briolettes. Fairly sure these were side-drilled. I don't want to make them with aquamarines, I just liked the idea of integrating large pearls with gold wire.

Here's something else that's been on my mind. You'll have to excuse the general silliness of this video...what I want to show is that gorgeous silver coin necklace the dancer wears:

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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, June 16, 2007 at 10:43 PM (Pacific)

Hmmm, what's up.

I haven't made anything new since whatever I last blogged about making...aha...the square pearl pendant. It's a weirdly good piece btw, for being so simple and imperfect. The pearl I used has a teeny pit on one side, it's on a goldfilled split ring rather than a bail, all in all it shouldn't work, but it looks perfect on.

So, I've been wearing, more than making. Today I wore this ensemble:

hammered sterling silver hoops with apatite, iranian silver and lapis necklace

I didn't make the necklace, it's Iranian. The blue stones in it look like lapis to me.

I've also recently worn the jade and pearl earrings in this pic (the other two pieces don't exist anymore):

jade and pearl earrings

It's funny, when you're unable to work on a new piece, that's when you appreciate your "made" pieces, almost as if someone else had made them. Interesting.

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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, June 11, 2007 at 5:10 PM (Pacific)

Good and (ever so slightly) bad news...I'm getting a whole new work room! It's actually my own room, but I haven't been able to use it in eons since it was blocked up with...is there a nice way to put it? Ever live with packrats?

Anyhow that's the good news. It's a small room, but, so what? One of the virtues of making jewelry is that it's a compact hobby (unless of course you are fortunate enough to do metalworking). 100% of my materials fit into three of those plastic boxes made by Darice that you get at Michaels, an old cardboard box that once housed a Givenchy Organza perfume set, a paper lunch bag, and a couple of odd items like my block. That's it.

The ever so slightly bad news is that the room needs a lot of cleaning. I've already washed the curtain, done some Windexing/dusting, cleaned the little fridge (don't ask, but we own a small refrigerator), vacuumed one side of the rug... I still need to vacuum the other side*

* Why vacuum both sides of the rug? It's one of the best ways to prevent moths from making your rug their home. Moths like it quiet, and the bottom side of the rug is quieter than the top.

...do some mopping, finish the Windexing/dusting. I need to go through my computer books too but I might put that off for later; some of them are very old.

That's one of the places I feel my age the most. When I was young, I could go all day, cleaning. Just give me a cold beer, a fresh vacuum bag, Windex, Pledge, cheap paper towels...I added Swiffer cloths to this lineup... Now I did only half of it. And I'm trying to motivate myself now to do the other half, so I can start setting up my jewelry stuff there.

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Thanks for the add!
posted by Colleen Shirazi, June 10, 2007 at 8:03 PM (Pacific)

BeadLinks.com

blogcatalog

GetBlogs.com
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Square pearl pendant on goldfilled chain
posted by Colleen Shirazi, June 9, 2007 at 4:33 PM (Pacific)

square pearl pendant on goldfilled chain

square pearl pendant on goldfilled chain

Please excuse the photo...I was out in the garden today, digging up holly. Can you believe holly is a weed out here? It was a cherished, Christmas plant back home. Plus there are tons of English ivy (another weed out here) and blackberries (we have a blackberry "zone," but the darn thorny things seed all over the place).

Here I am trying out the idea of finishing the ends of a bulk chain with wrapped loops (see How to finish the ends of fine gauge bulk chain).

Probably overdid it a bit here, added some Bali vermeil beads, hmmm...what would be nicer would be the small goldfilled beads, but a bit bigger than the ones I have now. The biggest size I have on hand is 2.5mm, because I don't usually use goldfilled beads except as tiny spacer beads (the ones in the pic are 2mm). Thinking more in terms of 3mm, possibly one of the fancier styles.

Oh yeah, and because everyone needs an animated gif:

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How to finish the ends of fine gauge bulk chain
posted by Colleen Shirazi, June 8, 2007 at 4:11 PM (Pacific)

This is something I've been noodling around with for quite some time. The problem with attaching regular jump rings to the ends of fine-gauge chain, is that you stand a chance of the chain getting stuck in a tiny gap in the jump ring.

The answers I've seen most often consist of the following:
  • Use an oval jump ring. This is a special oval-shaped jump ring, with the cut made on the "long" side of the oval shape. Since whatever you put in the jump ring gravitates toward the "short" ends, the odds of anything getting stuck in the cut are substantially lower (plus the stress is on the stronger uncut wire).

  • Use Snapeez jump rings. I've never used these...they're special jump rings that are purported to "snap" shut.

  • Use split rings. I recently got some heavier-gauge split rings, and these have turned out pretty well on chain, but the ones I got were a bit large.

Fortunately, the lovely owner of Camali Design posted this neat idea on the jewelrymaking.about.com forum (published with permission):

"...why not use a wire wrap to attach chain to clasps etc. That way they definitely won't come loose. I sometimes just use a small silver bead and wrap that to chain and clasp. That way it just integrates and no need to use a stone if you don't want to. So, use a small 2 or 3mm silver bead, or if you like match any other stones in the necklace/bracelet with a small round or rondelle stone for the wrap."

If you go to her site, you can see this thought in action on some of the pieces.

Out of all of the options, this is likely the sturdiest and most interesting way to finish the chain.

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Aquamarine earrings, version 1.1
posted by Colleen Shirazi, June 6, 2007 at 1:21 PM (Pacific)

aquamarine, bali vermeil, goldfilled chain earrings

Okey dokey, the version I did yesterday was too heavy. Too much silver at the bottom, stones probably too big...this one uses smaller stones and less than half the silver.

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New tools and contracts
posted by Colleen Shirazi, June 5, 2007 at 5:25 PM (Pacific)



Sorry, couldn't resist...lol

Been playing with my new tools. It was either, "Why did I wait so long to buy them?" or "What's all the fuss about?"

Thankfully, it's the former not the latter. I'm glad I didn't replace my chain-nose or bent-nose pliers...the original ones I got from the late(?) great Bead Biz of El Cerrito are wonderful.

But my new, teeny-cone round-nose pliers have already paid for themselves. I still have my original round-nose pliers, and they're great for tasks such as creating the loops in earring wires, where you need larger cones. If you're going to make the kind of headpins that have a tiny loop at the bottom, you might want to invest in pliers with teeny cones.

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Aquamarine earrings to go with the necklace
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 5:09 PM (Pacific)

necklace and earrings made of aquamarine, bali vermeil, goldfilled chain

earring made of aquamarine, bali vermeil, goldfilled chain

Sorry for the less than stellar pics...I'm getting a bit tired. Soon I'll go water the garden. :)

Here the issue is how to "pop" the color of the aquamarines. In my experience, aquamarines are sold dyed, unless specified otherwise (and priced accordingly). i.e., when you wash them, you lose much of the color.

Yellow is a good color to pop blue (if you have blue eyes and "warm" coloring, you can enhance your eye color with yellow-toned eyeshadows: champagne, gold, peach, orange, brown with a golden tone, etc.), so I went with Bali gold vermeil for these stones.

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Aquamarine and Bali vermeil necklace on goldfilled chain
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 1:03 PM (Pacific)

aquamarine and bali vermeil necklace on goldfilled chain

This is what I was noodling around with yesterday. The fun part is in getting the strands to lie correctly. I'll have to try out wearing it today, but at least in theory, the weights should be in the right places.

Going to make some earrings to go with it too.

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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, June 4, 2007 at 10:01 PM (Pacific)

Trying out a new piece today. Hmmm...I don't know yet. As I was making it, I ran out of heavy gauge wire. It's true what I read on the jewelrymaking.about.com forum, you can make jump rings on the fly out of relatively small pieces of wire. As long as you can wrap it around your round-nosed pliers a few times, you can keep on going.

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Thanks for the "add"!
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 9:15 AM (Pacific)

Globe of Blogs

Okay, I don't have a MySpace (although I am thinking of getting one). :D Globe of Blogs is a neat place; you might want to check it out.
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Rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, June 2, 2007 at 6:07 PM (Pacific)

I haven't made anything new today, had to clean the house... I need to test something out though. I've been having problems publishing on blogger.com. Since it does seem possible to publish from an older browser, it would appear to be browser-specific, but I'm thinking it might be a matter of changing some settings.

Hence, I need to blog so I can publish and test out my theory. Anyhow I've been wearing my hammered sterling silver wire "tulip" earrings. They're pretty neat, even if they did become more of an engineering challenge than a design challenge. I like 'em.

Now let's publish! See if I get one of these:

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Some notes on photographing jewelry
posted by Colleen Shirazi, June 1, 2007 at 5:34 PM (Pacific)

I'm no professional photographer, but taking pictures of jewelry is a skill anyone who makes jewelry needs.

Photographing your jewelry is one of the best ways to see how well you're doing. Every little mistake or flaw becomes apparent when you take a close-up picture of the piece.

It's also a good way to track your progress, especially if you organize your photos chronologically, as in a blog or online photo album.

It's also the best way to keep a record of how you made the piece (surprisingly easy to forget exactly how, even with a relatively simple piece).

Finally, it's a skill you're going to need anyway once you start selling jewelry. Even if you don't sell online, you will likely want to have an online "showcase" for your jewelry.

Here are a few things I've read about, and what has worked for me.
  1. Natural, indirect lighting is the only lighting that's ever worked for me. If you're going to go pro, you'll probably rig up a light box, but I've found adjusting the camera settings can work quite well.

    My "old" Kodak DC4800 actually has aperture settings, so knocking these up a notch or two keeps too much light from getting into the picture. On my other "old" Olympus Camedia, there don't seem to be aperture settings, but you can change the white balance to daylight.

  2. The quintessential "boring" plain white or black background works best. You can always add a prop or two, but somehow colored backgrounds look nice but distract from the jewelry.

    I have had luck using wooden backgrounds, like a wooden table. Dark grey can work. Red is good but I would use it only for key pieces, not for every piece.

  3. Use the "macro" (tulip) button on your camera and play with using optical zoom.

  4. I don't have a tripod, so what I do is use my hand. I rest my digicam on my left hand, as if the hand were a tripod. The ideal is to rest the hand itself on something else, but even if you're holding your left hand in air, it's still better than trying to take a close-up by holding the camera in both hands.

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Sterling silver and Swarovski crystal "tulip" earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 3:54 PM (Pacific)

sterling silver and swarovski crystal hammered wire tulip earrings

Well that's it. Toward the end I was starting to think of these as "Murphy's Law earrings," because seemingly everything that could go wrong with them, did. Yet, here they are.

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Further thoughts on the previous design...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 12:01 PM (Pacific)

On second thought, forget about either of those two ideas. I don't want to use fine gauge wire for this design, and I now think the indentations have to be, for all practical purposes, closed, not slightly open. Slightly open simply reduces the likelihood of the crystals jumping into the next indentation. Since the design hinges on the crystals being in the right place, that's not good enough.

I'm now thinking the indentations have to remain closed after hammering the wire. Once it's hammered, you can't really manipulate the indentations closed again.

All in all this design is a bugger to make. Yet I still like it; it's different. I'm going to try another incarnation of this design today.

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Still fiddling around with the previous design...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 9:36 AM (Pacific)

Ugh! No matter how closed those bottom indentations appear to be, the crystal dangles still manage to end up in the wrong place. I suppose it's a matter of hair moving them up and down.

Last night I tried squeezing them even more closed, and I'll try them out today that way. If that still doesn't fly, then I might make a last ditch effort to wrap the tops of the indentations with fine gauge wire. I'll see what it looks like, anyway.

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