Winter has decided to arrive fashionable late this year, but arrive it has. A storm has hit the country, bringing hail and snow up from Antarctica. This will no doubt be a bit of a shock to my plants that thought spring started several weeks ago. I intend to spend much of the remaining season in front of a fire, counting down the weeks until The Walking Dead returns.
This past week I have been weaving a length of trichinopoly chain (also known as Viking Knit) to finish my bracelets off. I love the double knit it’s so sleek and strong after it has been pulled through the draw plate. I have these three new bracelets in store now.
Now the school holidays are looming, and I’m in need of some relaxation. I’m loading up some crochet thread with a single colour of beads, so that I can mindlessly work without having to follow a pattern – bliss.
This morning I lay in bed, not quite ready to function yet. I could hear my 3 year old son calling out to me, but I couldn’t register what I was hearing. My brain was still busy trying to process what I had just seen. A rickety old ship was being battered about by an extremely choppy ocean, it’s mast threatening to topple. On board, a wet and panicked Peter Jackson tried desperately to coax a Snuffleupagus out of his melancholy so that he could shoot a scene. Snuffy was lamenting his lack of a soulmate and bitterly suggested that he might consider buying a “girlfriend” (of the night) with his share of the movie proceeds. I’m really not sure what inner turmoil my subconscious was dealing with by creating such a surreal Sesame Street/A Perfect Storm/Meet the Feebles cross over, and I’m not sure I want to know.
At least my conscious mind is functioning adequately. For the most part. I need more wire practice so I’m working on some wire focal pieces, destined to become bracelets.
I make these in a free-form manner, because if I try to plan them, I just get overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. The result isn’t always pretty, but I am improving, although sometimes the unexpected happens. Which is how Hector the PeaChick came into existence. My daughter asked why he didn’t have any legs, so I explained that he’s kind of like an Angry Bird, which she readily accepted. He’s not exactly a masterfully rendered little fellow, but I like him. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with him; I suspect he’ll just remain my own little mascot.
The free tutorial for the Hop-Scotch chain is available now. In the tutorial I use a combination of Superduos and Rizos, however Rizos can be replaced with Superduos if necessary, or both can be replaced with twins, as I’ve used in the necklace below. To get your tutorial, go to this link, add it to your cart and checkout as usual. Your payment of $0 will be accepted and your tutorial will be emailed to you within 24 hours. (EDIT: I have just learned that I can share the PDF to everyone though this link, no need to go through the purchase rigmarole). Share it, teach it, sell your wares if you wish. Please don’t sell copies of the pattern though, this is free for everybody to use.
I have also now completed my tutorial for The Orient Express, which is available here.
But it’s not all tutorials, I’m still enjoying making jewellery. This week I’m getting back to wirework, starting with my Flutter Away necklace. I’ve been dying to use one of my Ultra Swarovski Rivolis and this pink one makes me very happy.
Many of you are already aware of my key situation, but for those of you who are not, I’ll recap. After putting away my new beads from Fire Mountain Gems, then dealing with the Mountain of Dolphin’s Tears that had accumulated, I somehow lost the key to my bead cabinet. After much searching and wringing of hands, my mother told me she had a matching one for her china cabinet and she would get a copy made. This still meant that I had to go days without access to my beads though. It was rough.
On Wednesday I picked my new key, (HURRAY!) but ever since, I’ve been too ill to attempt anything beady (BOO!). I want to bead, but by the time the kids are in bed at night, I’m too exhausted. I did get a little bit of a bead fix yesterday. My 6 year old daughter had a day off school, so we got a have some rare one-on-one time while Mr. 3 was at kindergarten. She had her first go at peyote stitch using these giant plastic cylinder beads. She zipped her swatch up into a tube to use as a pendant.
If I feel up to it tonight, I’ll be playing with a Swarovski skull bead. I’ve already made one wire wrapped necklace using one of these guys, and now I’ve got a commission to do another. Exciting stuff. I’m hoping to figure out a way of displaying the bead so that his beautifully faceted cranium is visible, as much as I love the pendant below, I can’t help but mourn for the back of the bead and feel like I’m not doing it justice. I have a kernel of an idea, we’ll have to wait and see if it pans out.
It’s been a busy place around here lately. School is well and truly back into it for the year and my afternoons are lost in a bustle of homework, cries for attention from my little one and a frantic rush to get dinner sorted. We’re in the process of selling our house and looking for a new one in a different town. I often find myself shut in my room, talking to Real Estate agents while the kids beat on the door, lamenting their boredom or deprived bellies. Husband has been working tirelessly while trying to find time to finish building a deck on to the back of our current house. Thankfully, most of it is done now after some friends showed up one Sunday with their hammers in hand.
I’m still finding time most evenings to make jewellery, which helps to put my mind at rest after all the chaos of the day. I finished the netted bracelets that I mentioned in my last post and I have listed them for sale in my Storenvy Shop. I named them Rosetta, and I think they’re just darling. I also had some commission work come in, which is fantastic. It’s such a boost when someone admires my work enough to want some of it for themselves. Funnily enough the lovely lady who contacted me has a personal connection. She was a Nurse in the small town I grew up in and she knew my Grandmother. I often wonder what Nana would think of my jewellery if she were here to see it. I think she would approve, she liked a bit of movie-star glamour – she adored Marylin Monroe. Perhaps I would have made her a Swarovski Pear necklace too, in a sparkling Peridot.
Custom Swarovski Vitrail Pear Necklace.
Custom Swarovski Heliotrope Rivoli New Beginnings Necklace
This year, in a move completely out of character, I got organised for Christmas early. All of my shopping is done, dinner is going to be a casual summer barbecue; all I need to do is wrap the presents and I’m done. It’s a good thing too, because my little Facebook Christmas sale seems to have ramped up interest in my artisan jewellery and custom work has been pouring in this last week. I’ve never had anything like it and I’m utterly thrilled. I’ve had to order materials from the same store three days in a row and must offer my sincere thanks to the gracious Queen Bead from The Bead Hold. In the midst of her big relocation, no doubt the last thing she needed was picky customers (me) constantly amending orders.
My main focus over the last week or so has been wire. Once I find something that works, I often have trouble breaking away from a method to find new ways of doing something. In an attempt to stretch my creativity, I’ve been practicing making free-form pendants. I’m quite pleased with what I’ve come up with; they’re not as flawless as I would like, but hey, what is?
One great bonus to working with wire is how much quicker setup and pack up is. Everything goes in one box, all I need is a few simple tools and I’m good to go. Beading is a little more chaotic. I have numerous boxes and compartments, inside which are many more smaller containers containing hundreds different beads. Finding the right combination of beads for a project can be tedious. At the end of the night I have to painstakingly return each container to its box or drawer and find any needles or beads that I may have dropped. I guess it’s a small price to pay for doing something you love.
Before I began this earring episode, I had another play with wire. I re-created my “Beginnings” necklace in silver wire and a beautiful Swarovski rivoli in medium vitrail. I mainly done this because I wanted to play with liver-of-sulfur. I’ve never tried any antiquing before, but I’ve admired it for a long time in the works of other artists.
After weaving the necklace, I found that so much bright silver looked quite tacky, like a gangster rapper – all bling and no class. I prepared myself before opening the bottle of liver-of-sulfur, I’d read all over the internet that the smell was straight from the sewers of hell itself. Clearly the people who thought that have never been to Wai-O-Tapu. It was an ever-so-slight whiff of Rotorua, nothing more – harden up guys!
Anyway, the wire didn’t darken as much as I would have liked, but it was enough to dull the shine, and make it more like a beautiful piece of jewellery and less like Lil’ Waynes teeth. The steel-like colour lets the rivoli really sparkle too.
I’m in the process of making custom ordered New Beginnings necklace too, a gift for the customers wife (take note husbands, happy wife, happy life). It’s deliciously gothic in black and purple, and makes me think of Disney’s Maleficent .