Thursday 26 September 2013

Blue Mystery Stone Necklace...

Here it is, my blue mystery stone necklace finished. You can see in the bottom photo how pretty the colour is with the light shining through -- and that no way it can be mistaken for lapis, although it does somewhat have that colour in lower light or against one's skin.

Blue stones, probably dyed quartz, hammered tinned copper, zinc and copper dangles, copper-coloured Japanese and vintage blue seed beads, large copper clasp; approximately 21"; $55 plus shipping & handling. Please email me for availability, and/or if you need a longer or shorter version. I've had so many requests for longer necklaces that my default now is to make them 20" to 24" in length and the oversize clasps are so easy to do up/undo.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday 25 September 2013

My Heart is Pounding...

Whoo hoo! What a rush!!!

What happened? I booked my hotel for The Gem Expo in November. Yeah, I know, I know, I don't get out much. THREEEEEE nights!!!!!!!!!! Be still, oh beating heart.

The Strathcona on York Street. I get the cheapest room possible, and it's verrrrry small, but I'm only sleeping there, right? Next to the elevator shaft, still, it's quiet enough. I think it used to be a utility/housekeeping room. In fact, the room is smaller than the freight elevator at the Hyatt Regency where the show is. But who cares, right? It's super cheap for right downtown, and you can't beat the location: across the street from the Royal York and the train station, a mere six or seven block walk from the Hyatt, and their pub grub is super-good and not so terribly expensive with an open kitchen just as you hit the bottom of the stairs. To me, open kitchens rule. I was talking about the Strath Pub a while back with my sister the Toronto health inspector and she was saying that all the pubs in Toronto have had to really up the quality of their food in order to keep patrons coming. All the meals I had there in July were just great -- and the Alexander Keith's on tap was icy cold. That's all I care about -- good food and cold beer.

Just got some typing in, so I gotta get at that shortly. I was making chain jewellery all last night (I'd used up all my Internet bandwidth for the month, but had finished watching Dexter anyway) and this morning, finally finished one long necklace off. I was in the midst of stringing another necklace with handmade zinc and hammered tinned copper dangles when the typing arrived. I'll post the finished jewellery later tonight, but here's a sneak peek. The preponderance of pink is only because someone wants a pink seed bead bracelet with a hot pink enamel breast cancer ribbon charm, so I figured I'd make a bunch of chains with different pinks to see what they'll look like, one thing leading to another, and this long two-strand necklace was the result. Plus there was this long neglected but lovely string of blue chalcedony from Nelson Gemstones that has been popping up for at least a year whenever I reach for something -- pick me! pick me! -- so I finally broke the string up and committed myself.

Those dark blue beads are anyone's guess. Dyed something or other, probably quartz, and super cheap, but holy moley, do they look nice, kind of a cross between blueberries and lapis lazuli, if lapis were translucent. The two sizes of pink and peachish beads came out of the same bargain bin at Robert Hall Originals (who will be in Ancaster on September 27, 28, 29, as well as at the Grand River Bead Society show October 5th & 6th). The light blue beads are the 8mm blue chalcedony from Joanne at Nelson Gemstones. 
There's a part of me that wouldn't mind moving back to Toronto -- the 6 a.m. to 2:30 pm part of me, if that makes any sense. But once rush hour hits, not to mention the much cheaper rents, I'm just as happy to be living out here in the sticks... for now, at any rate. But man, oh, man, it's nice to be there during the show, at least until I have to get into my truck to go anywhere and taking 20 minutes to drive five blocks...

BTW, does anyone recognise this little guy? He and his zillions of brothers and sisters are just over an inch long, extremely fuzzy and considerably whiter than this one looks in the picture and motors around quite quickly. No idea what he'll become in the spring. I don't remember seeing quite as many of these other years. 

Thanks for looking!

Friday 20 September 2013

Kingman Turquoise w/Copper Dangles & "Wild Blueberry" Seed Bead Choker...

I love this combination, but then I am colour-challenged in a big way. I still can't quite edit in the purpleness of the purple, but this is reeeeeeeeally purple... "Wild Blueberry" is the name of these seed beads which I got a while back from Spirit Bear Beads. I got the copper dangle eye pins also a while back from Magpie Gemstones. Unfortunately, they're not carrying them any longer. They sure were/are cool, and yeah, I shoulda got more when I had the chance.

Kingman turquoise chips strung on pure copper eye pins with dangles, Wild Blueberry glass seed beads, copper jump rings and clasp, about 19" in length, the centre dangle drops another inch; $29 plus shipping & handling. Please email me for availability or if you'd like me to make you a custom version... like, you know, maybe in another colour... :-).

Thanks for looking!

Rhyolite & Jasper Necklace...

Bonehead move number one was to let go of one end of the stringing wire outside on the deck while I was positioning the necklace to photograph and... you got it. Beads everywhere. Luckily, they're all more or less rondelle shapes so they didn't get too far. Only lost a couple over the edge.

The nice thing about these trapezoid shapes is that they're cut with all the edges rounded so that both sides are usable -- and considerably different from each other.

Side 1:

Side 2:

I haven't put a clasp on yet but it will be copper. I'll be running this by a few people at the market tomorrow to see if I should stick with the multi-coloured seed beads or pick a single colour before I finish it off. I don't know if it's getting too busy with all the colours, or if that will disappear when it's being worn.

Please comment, and thanks for looking!

Lacy Tools, Toronto

Talk about customer service. I ordered price tags just before 4:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon from Lacy Tools in Toronto, expecting they'd arrive some time next week -- but they arrived this morning, just after 10:00 a.m. Whoo-hoo!

On other fronts, I'm trying to think of what to do with these trapezoid rhyolite shapes.

I have several more sets available, $15 for five top horizontal drilled beads, sorted so that each bead set kinda sorta matches, shipping & handling extra. Email me for availability.

Thanks for looking!

Thursday 19 September 2013

Nacozari & Kingman Turquoise necklace...

I accomplished one thing today: a month ago, I'd received some incredibly deep blue, rough-edged Nacozari turquoise slices and, after contemplating them every day, finally broke up the string and today did something with them -- well, one at any rate.

Nacozari turquoise slab pendant, tumbled Kingman turquoise chips, mossy-green Japanese seed beads, pewter and/or zinc beads, pewter clasp. The necklace is about 21" long and the pendant hangs another 2". $79 plus shipping and handling. Individual slabs (drilled lengthwise) are available for $10 each. I take PayPal. Please email me for availability.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Chinese Turquoise Necklace...

...that started out as a bracelet and grew......

Chinese turquoise rounds & wheels (probably Hubei), brass & pewter spacers & beads, finished off with matte chocolate brown Japanese seed beads & a pewter clasp; approximately 24"; $159 plus shipping & handling. I take PayPal. Please email me for availability or to adjust the length.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Epiphany: Vine Pendant Wire-Wrapping Class with Judy Feskun...

Dontcha just love ah-hah moments?

For the past six or eight months, I've been seeing examples online incorporating all kinds of beads surrounding and offsetting a central/off-centre bead or cabochon, along with different styles and patterns of bead-weaving, the swooping, looping, layered complexity of which has basically been blowing my mind. I had resolved this year to shake up my hyper-symmetrical, balanced, linear mindset and was considering finally taking a class in something, anything, as my second step to New Stuff -- the question was where and when (my first step was watching and learning from my pal Nancy with her beautiful asymmetrical stringing). I do have several bead-weaving books, but I'm what they call an "experiential learner": I need to learn new things in person. I'm a dolt when it comes to following written directions.

To this end, I signed up to make a "Vine Pendant" at last night's Grand River Bead Society meeting in Guelph. I chose a sodalite pendant from the many offered, and copper wire was supplied in the kit. This is how mine turned out:

Front view:

Back view:

Side view:

Once you have the pendant wire-wrapped, the actual twining and vining is done with your fingers -- not with tools. I really did believe that all that random looping was done using round-nose pliers. Silly bobo. Temporary taping of wire(s) is also required. That was another duh moment for me.

Judy is the resident wire-wrapping instructor at Robert Hall Originals in St. George where for years I have been admiring the wire-wrapping examples on the class board. Unfortunately, I work at the times the classes are usually offered or I forget to sign up. For those of us into instant gratification, whose schedule prevents taking classes and/or who live several time zones away Judy sells tutorials from her website, but you can also find out about and sign up for upcoming classes held at Robert Hall Originals.

Okay, off to make more of these!

...oops, spoke too soon. I just got some typing in. Well, later, then.

Thanks for looking!

Friday 13 September 2013

Open House "Classes" & Acquaterra Necklace & Bracelet...

I can't really have people in and out like a store nor have a truly open studio on any regular basis because of my real job as I never know from hour to hour whether or when I will have work in or when I will have to start typing.

My current thought is to have an open studio by appointment only, which so far has been on Sundays, although occasionally during the week, with the caveat that I could end up typing while people are absorbed in choosing beads. The idea is that I give someone an overview of where all my beads and findings are and, as in a "real" bead store, they pick and choose the beads they want to make their own necklace. Once they're happy, they string the necklace and choose a clasp, and I do the final crimping and finishing off. What's interesting is how amazed newbies are at how long the whole process takes and how difficult it is to choose the beads that, A, they like (and/or can afford) and, B, that are truly "right" in order to express what they have in their mind's eye.

My buddy Lynn of Fashion Your Space (who is forever helping get me organised) was here a few weeks ago to finally put together her turquoise necklace using the string of Kingman chips I'd given her for her birthday back in January. I'd made those hammered copper hearts a couple of years ago.

This is what Lynn had to say about the experience:

August 2013
Dear Barbara,

I am thrilled with my necklace and earrings!  I just love them!

What an enjoyable experience at your home choosing from an extensive collection of genuine stones, ornate beads and wire work creations. To my delight, I found your unique handmade ‘copper wire hearts’ to add to my jewellery pieces. I never thought I'd be wearing real turquoise. I love the color and I am so proud to wear them. Thank you so much for helping create my jewellery.

Many thanks,

This past Sunday, Lynn and Claudia came for a potluck lunch on the deck (when it was still lovely weather; it's going to be really chilly this weekend!) and Claudia was finally able to start working with the teardrop lapis lazuli that she bought last year from the Grand River Bead Society Bead Show in Guelph (which is coming up again in a few short weeks: Claudia told me she will be going again to buy more beads and findings).

These are the designs that Claudia is now mulling over.

Hi Barbara and Lynn,

Thanks for inviting me on Sunday! I enjoyed playing with my beads at your studio and having lunch. Those cheesecakes were delicious!  I found out in a jewelry store a pearls necklace with the same design that I did for my lapis lazuli and the sparkling rounds. So, I'm going to keep it for me and look for a another one, more modern for my niece. I got an email with the invitation for the show on October, so I'm going to wait to see what can I get there.

Thanks again and see you soon,


That raw lapis lazuli you see in the last example is new and gorgeous with lots of pyrite. Every single piece is full of character and possibilities. I will have lots at both the Grand River Bead Society Bead Show in Guelph the weekend of October 5th and 6th, as well as The Gem Expo Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 22nd-24th in Toronto at the Hyatt on King Street -- or email me and I'll be happy to send you more pictures with prices.

And... I was busy this afternoon. It only took about 3 hours, but I managed to put together a necklace and bracelet with some beautiful blue acqua terra (aka imperial and/or impression) jasper that I got a while back from Nelson Gemstones. I really should have gotten more strings of this particular colour. It is so very, very pretty and goes with so many things. The fill in the necklace is a lovely warm putty pearlescent colour of 6/0 Japanese seed beads that I got from Beads of Colour in Dundas.

The necklace has aqua terra jasper rounds, pewter and silver-plated beads with a silver-plated rose & wing pendant and finished with Japanese seed beads, about 22" in length; $49 plus shipping.

The bracelet is made with aqua terra jasper rounds and silver-plated and pewter beads; 7.5" long; $15 plus shipping.

As always, please email me for availability or to discuss a commission, and I do take PayPal.

Thanks for looking!