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· Citrine and labradorite earrings
· The Mom pendant
· Rambles...
· Better pic of Madeira citrine earrings
· Madeira citrine earrings
· Various pendants
· Rambles and some pics
· Citrine and silver two-strand bracelet
· Chalcedony necklace, then and now
· More blogging here...
· Citrine/sterling necklace and earrings, rambles...
· Pics and more rambles
· Rambles and a few pics
· More blogging here, with pics

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One woman's adventures in the wide, wonderful world of beading.
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Citrine and labradorite earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 20, 2008 at 6:55 PM (Pacific)

handmade citrine and labradorite earrings

Here's my first attempt at using a herringbone weave. I realize I linked to it earlier from the beauty & fashion blog, but now that I can get screenshot thumbnails of the posts here, figured it would be useful to post here for future reference.

Ultimately I was disappointed in using half-hard wire for the weave, because I found it impossible to bend the wire just so on the sides. I think the bezel ended up covering too much of the stone. I haven't given up on the weave itself, but I will wait until I can order some soft wire in this gauge.

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The Mom pendant
posted by Colleen Shirazi, at 12:06 PM (Pacific)

handmade circle gemstone mom pendant

This is a pic of what I was blogging about yesterday.

As you can see, it was a bit of a bugger to photograph. You can get a nice still image by hanging the piece, but then the scale is unclear (plus you can't see all the stones).

I'm quite pleased with how this Mom pendant turned out. When you wear it, it looks different, depending on the light and how the stones have fallen. So sometimes the citrine becomes illuminated, and you see this little golden glow. Sometimes the moonstone shows has the barest of flash, I passed over moonstones with blue flash in favor of this one. The sapphire sometimes shows and sometimes doesn't. At first I tried to get it to show all the time, by putting it at the end or in the front of the chain, but decided I liked how it was. The aquamarine has a small inclusion in the back. In a sense it's the prettiest stone in the piece, because of the light blue color, but the slight imperfection makes it fit in better with the other stones.

Our generous friends at artViper have improved their screenshot thumbnail script. Actually what they did in the case of this blog, is cut off the top banner in the image capture. Great! So I've implemented blog post thumbnails again. Here is a screenshot of the citrine page:

screenshot of post thumbnails

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posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 18, 2008 at 6:12 PM (Pacific)

...where was I? :)

I ditched the earrings...I can't make the herringbone weave work with half-hard wire. It'll make a bezel, but I'm not happy with it.

Latest projects:

Fashion Notes: Earring synergy (the ill-fated half-hard herringbone weave!)
Just Notes: What I've been into, lately (also featuring some pics I found on the Net of my home town)
Fashion Notes: Labradorite necklace

Today I'm making one of those've seen them...a small golden hoop, with some stuff hanging from it. It's a style I've been meaning to try for quite some time, but the challenge of course is to avoid a generic look.

So I started with my kids' birthstones--peridot and pearl--and thought to make a commemoration of my time with them. I added a small round citrine coin (smooth) to represent the sun, a tiny heart of sapphire (for the blue sky), a moonstone (for cloudy days), and an aquamarine (the sea). I wanted to add a tiny prehnite onion, for a grassy field, but it was getting to be too much so I had to take it off.

It occurred to me as I was making this, how much time it takes to make even a relatively simple construction. For me now it's less an issue of skill, and becoming less an issue of materials...I remember back when I found the entire process intimidating. Just making a wrapped loop was horrible, or a wrapped briolette. Now it feels quite natural.

Even so, as I say, it takes forever! The thing has to hang just right, it has to fall just right. The expensive stones have to show; they can't migrate to the back. It has to feel comfortable on. Even if everything seems right, I still have to wear it. I'll know at the end of the day, if it's something I ever want to wear again. Hence it takes at least two days to make a single piece, unless it's one of those freaky pieces that just happens to be right the first time around.

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Better pic of Madeira citrine earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 8, 2008 at 11:41 AM (Pacific)

handmade madeira citrine earrings

Not sure what to make next. Thinking of going ahead and making another copy of these frames, though I don't know what to put in them. I'm just thinking of "something symmetrical, using one or two chains, and a small stone."

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Madeira citrine earrings
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 7, 2008 at 4:38 PM (Pacific)

handmade madeira citrine earrings

Been playing around with these for a while...had the idea of capturing this "winter tree full of robins" idea--not even sure they were robins? They weren't like East Coast robins, with vivid red-orange breasts, but rather a softer color.

Anyhow, because the citrines are wrapped to the chain, they move around a lot...rather like birds on a tree :) I tried this out initially with some bright silver chain I had on hand, but the oxidized one fits much better. (Using the same motif, it becomes like the dark branches of the tree.)

I was out of soft wire, so I went ahead and used half hard. It was, oddly, as easy to make the frames, because I'd started out using only half hard wire in the first place. lol! I'd had no real idea what temper to use for what, so I bought only half hard, in 20 and 24 gauges, figuring these would work for the most applications. So returning to this temper was curiously comforting.

I'd been trying for a long time to make this sort of frame. I'd say my earlier endeavors were typically too big and/or too heavy. And I've been trying lately to make more conservative styles, so again a smaller size is in order.

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Various pendants
posted by Colleen Shirazi, August 28, 2007 at 4:55 PM (Pacific)

american turquoise pendant
American turquoise


red glass pendant
Czech glass and a tiny red glass heart

millefiori pendant
Chinese millefiori

The top two are some experiments with handmade bails. The red glass one, I made specifically with red glass, but it hangs really nicely. It could easily be used with three small gemstones instead.

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Rambles and some pics
posted by Colleen Shirazi, May 17, 2007 at 7:16 PM (Pacific)

Haven't been able to make anything new (or even redo anything old) lately...been fixing up the site. Got fed up doing it for a long I'd like to get it back into shape.

So far I've finished most of the active blogs and some of the archived ones. I started doing the Wit & Wisdom Blog--it used to be five enormous posts, before there were individual pages for blogs. Now I'm making it one quote = one post. (It's probably less than half done now, since you can't keep posting like that on Blogger.)

It's not going to be nearly as horrible as it looks now...I'm going to put a search engine on it (once at least some of this stuff gets crawled) so you'll be able to search it properly.

I did get to take a couple new pics as follows:

labradorite and vermeil multi-strand bracelet

^ This is all labradorite and vermeil.

citrine and sterling silver multi-strand bracelet

^ This is citrine and sterling silver. It's not a new piece, just a new pic.

bali vermeil cage bead and turquoise necklace

Top view of my Bali cage bead necklace.

black swarovski crystal and bali vermeil necklace and earrings

Same black Swarovski crystal and Bali vermeil necklace and earrings.

The rest of the new pics are in my Picasa album.

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Citrine and silver two-strand bracelet
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 23, 2007 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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Chalcedony necklace, then and now
posted by Colleen Shirazi, March 2, 2007 at 5:22 PM (Pacific)

Then (far left):


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

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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More blogging here...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, February 10, 2007 at 4:10 PM (Pacific)

The Lipstick Page Forums Fashion Blog: It's been a day of...

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Citrine/sterling necklace and earrings, rambles...
posted by Colleen Shirazi, January 27, 2007 at 1:01 PM (Pacific)

Okay, I've redone the earrings...these are smaller teardrop-shaped citrine beads. Doing the wrap now has become easy for me. It took me, oh, about five or six times of totally dorking it up, but I've come to see that you have to dork things up at first. I mean you have to be of the mentality that you need to sit down and dork things up. And it's good. It's practice.

I'm starting to play with my 1mm black leather cord...I have five yards of it. It's really nice. I think it's better than 2mm for what I have in mind...I'd like to make a series of pendants. Mind you I don't know how to melt glass, these are just going to be worked with existing glass beads.

All in all I'm quite happy with how it's been going.

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Pics and more rambles
posted by Colleen Shirazi, January 22, 2007 at 2:08 PM (Pacific)

Jewelry is difficult to photograph, to the point that people who make jewelry sometimes pay someone else to photograph it.

I have picked up a few pointers from reading on the topic...
  1. You are to photograph all of your pieces "on" a a bust, or a neck form...not flat. I don't own a form but it sounds like a good investment, if you wanted to sell your pieces online.

  2. Flash is bad. It bounces off your shiny beads and is a general pain in the butt. Try turning the flash off.

  3. Direct lighting is almost as bad as flash! That explains why my previous citrine pictures were so bad. I played around with the top two pictures, trying to reduce the direct light (to the point that I stood in between the indirect light to block out more of it).

  4. You should always use your "macro" button on your digicam (the flower icon one). And carefully "focus" (hold the shoot button down halfway) before taking the pic.

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Rambles and a few pics
posted by Colleen Shirazi, January 10, 2007 at 5:17 PM (Pacific)

This is a horrible photo, I took it in the middle of the night. When I make the other earring, I'll take a better photo. What's great here is the top part...the citrine droplets catch the light and reflect golden. At the bottom is a citrine teardrop-shaped bead wrapped in argentium silver wire.

My daughter helped design this's remarkably simple (being two white square pearls) but the balance of pearl and gold is quite pretty.

Ramble commences here:

Ugh, I'm at the point where I have several "almost finished" pieces. These pieces would be finished, if only...most of them are missing only one or two components, like the extender beads for the turquoise necklace, a clasp for a turquoise bracelet, some Bali vermeil beads for a square pearl necklace (I tried it with just the pearls; too plain), a clasp for a square pearl bracelet, yadda yadda...

I'm finding, once you've mastered the techniques, the next hurdle is finding all the pieces you need. It's almost insanely difficult. Even for basic components, I've used three etailers, not one.

I suppose I should look at it, that "almost finished" can become "finished" much more easily than, say, "half finished."

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More blogging here, with pics
posted by Colleen Shirazi, January 2, 2007 at 7:09 PM (Pacific)

Year 2 of making jewelry

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