Saturday, November 27, 2010

Anniversary Gifts & Still More Birthdays!
Nov 27, 2010

Anniversaries are tough - specially in the jewelry creation world. I mean girls like bling - the husbands not so much. SO how do you create a piece for the wife and something coordinating for the husband that he won't be afraid to show because it's to 'girly'?

Here's my attempt -

My Niece (yes she and her little family are the main focus of my creative world in August and September!!) and her husband have been married for 3 years now. They had a GORGEOUS wedding w/ bright whites, dark reds and well - she's blonde haired, blue-eyed and simply gorgeous (LUCKILY she didn't get the family genes! ;o)) so it had to be beautiful.

To celebrate their Anniversary I contacted one of my favorite lamp-work bead artists and asked her if she could make me a custom bead. I had purchased a big-hole bead from Principessa Glass in the past that was larger than a normal big-hole bead ... this is what I wanted a bigger than normal bead. I asked for a sapphire bead w/ Amethyst and Peridot colors added to it. Sapphire for their wedding month (and her birthday month), Amethyst for his birthday month and Peridot for their daughter's birthday month. This is where my friend Audrey of Principessa Glass knows best - if the blue was the base color the others wouldn't show up well but she did have some shards in her words... "really look cool and have a different look from different angles". And they were plum which actually looks sort of "Amethyst-y" on the beads. So she created 7 beads for me to choose from. One was lighter than the others and I asked to have that one cored in brass (her brass cores look very vintage and cool) and two others I loved and asked to have them cored in sterling silver. B is the one I chose for her necklace, C has lighter dots and I had that cored in brass for me, and A you'll see below...

From those beads I created this necklace - "Anniversary Sparkles" - featuring custom focal big-hole bead cored in sterling silver by Principessa Glass with two of my hand-made, fine silver (.999) big-hole tube beads. I added tiny 3mm Amethyst and Sapphire CZs to the tubes before firing. Fired and tumbled them to a high shine. The beads are hanging on a hand-dyed silk Sapphire ribbon by Jamn Glass. I trimmed the ribbon to approx 20" and created the sterling silver coiled end-caps. It's finished off with a hand-forged sterling "S" hook with a Sapphire blue spacer bead by That Bead Girl (::wink:: part of my That Bead Girl booty!)

As you can see I think I spend too much time thinking about the pieces I make - but then, if I don't love the pieces making them wouldn't be as fun and thinking of how personalized they are and hoping that the reaction of the recipient is positive keeps me creating!

Now for the hubby... What do you create for a husband? Hmmm - how about a key fob? Something he can clip onto his keys and carry with him. Something not to flashy, something that represents them. So here's my attempt - Custom Principessa Glass bead "A" on a piece of hand-woven sterling silver viking knit chain. I coiled sterling silver wire over a thicker guage wire and coiled the whole piece around to make a sort of end-cap. I still really have no idea what I'm doing now... but thought hmmm ok - push the left over wire from the coil up thru the center of the viking knit chain, loop it and make a wrap at the top. BAM! One Anniversary Key Fob. "What do you think?"

Ok so not so sure about that so I'll be adding a gift certificate for both of them with the package when I mail it! ;o)

OCTOBER - Birthday -

I have a new Sister-In-Law ... well, relatively new - she married my brother last year on Halloween. Now think about it - kinda bizarre eh? Getting married on Halloween? I mean ... oi - never mind! ;o) Anyway - her birthday is in October. NOT a great month for birthstones in the silver clay world because most opals don't like FIRE. ::sigh:: which means you have to make a bezel and set the opals and it's something I struggle with! YIKES! So what do you make?

In this case I had purchased a set of beads in June from Bastille Bleu Lampwork that made me think of her. She's tiny and feisty and has dark hair and flashing eyes. PERFECT mate for my brother! "Tiger Tails and Leopard Spots" how's that for a name? I love the names that Nikki comes up with - actually all the folks that make lamp-work beads come up with some hum-dingers for names! It's the artist in them, they can't help it - it suits the beads and gets folks like me to buy them! ;o)I also scooped up a big hole bead w/ similar feel that she created later in the summer. I thought if I edge it w/ bronze it will fit in nicely as the focal for the bracelet.

I am rambling again aren't I? Any who... I've also been playing with Prometheus Bronze Clay... and I thought hmmm she's got pretty coloring that would work well with bronze - so I decided to combine the two - beads from "Tiger Tails and Leopard Spots" set and bronze metal beads. The Prometheus Bronze is interesting - different firing times, set-up and temperatures. Even the feel is different. You really have to work it to get it in condition to roll out. But I liked it. And I've not had any really bad firings. My first batch bubbled a little on the top which someone said was too high heat, but when I researched more I found that people who have really tested bronze clay say the bubbles are not from too much heat - they don't know what it's from. The bubbles go away if you hammer it. And let me tell you I hammered it! I beat the livin' crapola out of some chain pieces that I made and those babies held up great!

So I created some hollow tube beads w/ little 3mm Clear CZs on them. Very pleased with how they turned out. The texture I used was wood grain and it came out subtle but good on the little tube beads. I had used some bronze chain that I made on the first go round of the bracelet and although I liked it - it was too beginner/chunky for this bracelet. My next try was thinner and perfectly smooth! So I redesigned and restrung. It was also my attempt at an asymmetrical design... didn't quite sit right in my mind SO ... I created this lovely instead. The beads as I wrote above are by Bastille Bleu Lampwork and LOVE them! :o) (Luckily have a few left over from the set!) I added some of my hand-made bronze findings - big ole end-caps, the tube beads with clear CZs, the clasp bronze and wire - and then created some 2x2 chain using vintage bronze wire. Yep got all crazy on this one and cut, cut, cut, cut, cut and then connected, connected, connected, connected the chain together each little jump ring! LOL! I really enjoyed it actually and like how it feels. The little green spacers and bronzey/brown colored beads are all lampwork from my That Bead Girl booty! ;o) I really love this piece - it's the first piece I've done in bronze w/ no silver and I'm excited to see what she thinks.

OK so I'm finishing this one even though there is more - yes! So much more! Quick note - for my brother and sister-in-law's wedding anniversary I didn't make jewelry - SHOCKED? Me too! But I found something better! What do you get the couple that has each other therefore has everything? A custom, artisan made, lampwork wine stopper w/ coordinating appetizer forks! What? You didn't think of that? Well neither did I! Until I saw the most awesome stoppers on Amber's site! That Bead Girl is more than just a place for me to get a "bead fix". She has beautiful gifts as well - all made by HER hands!! I loved the wine stopper so much I had to get it and then ordered 10 forks to go with it as a set. She did a fantastic job and if I hadn't shipped them this afternoon I'd run and take a picture right now but I can show you a picture of the wine stopper!

Until next time... I leave you with this thought - Please take time to visit my friends using the links posted above. These gals make all their product by hand - in their work shops, rooms, studios. They are true artisans and I am so proud to present their work in my pieces.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Lordy, Lordy... It's been a while.
Nov 26, 2010

"DANG!" It's been a long time.
Work-work has been crazy. Changes and more changes and yet you know the saying - the more it changes the more it stays the same.

But I've been trying to keep busy on the creative side too - it helps keep my mind clear but sometimes I get caught up in the stressers of work and worrying about getting a piece done and then I step back and remember - this is fun... and try to relax. SO - here's some fun I've been having lately...

Gifts, Gifts ... late gifts!
August starts crazy birthday & anniversary time for our family! And as I indicated at the beginning of this post - it's been awful crazy couple of months so all my birthday and anniversary gifts are late! Yep - late... as in mailing tomorrow late! YIKES! OK enough of that - on to the good stuff!

In August my little great-niece turned two and I created two gifts for her - first is a charm bracelet I call "One to Grow On". It has little mother of pearl beads, Swarovski pearls and some precious hand-made lamp-work beads by Bastille Bleu Lampwork. The Rose is for her name, the cupcake because she loves cupcakes and the color is pretty close to her birthstone. The lady-bug is a nick name she has. The heart was hand-crafted by me from fine silver and stamped with Mom and Dad. The thought is that I can create fine silver charms and send to her and her mom can add them to the charm bracelet for her.

Now, knowing that she's only 2 and this has small pieces I figured that her mom would hold onto it for her for a little while so I created a cutesy little necklace that she can wear now to play dress-up with. Created with lamp-work beads from a number of artists but featuring a bear, ruffled disks and polka dot beads by Bastille Bleu Lampwork. The others are from Blissful Garden. The beads are strung on a piece of pink suede cord and knotted so that it can be shortened or lengthened as the little one desires!

September brings birthdays and anniversaries -

"Baby Love" is for my niece who is a wonderful mom. Her daughter is represented in this necklace. The pendant is hand-crafted completely by me in fine silver (.999). The heart starts on the lower left w/ a lily, curves up to the rose at the top and then curves down to a cz representing the babies birthday - Peridot. The pendant was made in stages w/ firings between each stage. I'm so in love with this pendant. From the little sparkly silver frit and patina in the lily flower to the rose made with individual-shaped rose petals to the leaves wrapped around the heart. It gave me grief but I learned a lot from it!

Now this beautiful (if I do say so myself) pendant hangs from a gorgeous, hand-dyed silk ribbon in chartreuse by Jamn Glass. I trimmed the ribbon to approx 20" and formed the sterling silver coiled end pieces and then hand-forged the sterling hook with a pretty little chartreuse lamp-work spacer by That Bead Girl capped on each end by my own fine silver (.999) hand-made, textured end-caps.

Oh now there's a fun story -
Amber from That Bead Girl makes gorgeous bead, cabochons, and beautiful wine stoppers, appetizer forks, bookmarks, pendants and more all featuring her gorgeous lamp-work pieces. When she creates custom beads she makes extras to be sure her sizing, color, shapes are correct. When she has a large amount of these orphans she puts them together in a lot and posts them to ebay. Wellll let me tell you I scored one of her postings - 355 hand-made lamp-work beads. Spacers like nobodies business! Some focals, some regular beads, discs, mini's, roundels, OMG I was/am in bead heaven!!

So now you know how I ended up with the coordinating chartreuse lamp-work spacer for the hook!!!

OK - enough! Next post will be Anniversaries!! and still MORE birthdays!

Please take time to visit my friends using the links posted above. These gals make all their product by hand - in their work shops, rooms, studios. They are true artisans and I am so proud to present their work in my pieces.