Thursday, May 29, 2008

London, True Love Too and Blue Leafy Earrings

Had a very busy half term week so far. Went to London on Tuesday to meet Penny with her son Toby and Caroline with her daughter Stacie. It was great fun but far, far too short, although we managed to fit in lunch at the World Cafe in Neal's Yard, a coffee at Covent Garden and, of course, a quick (expensive) trip to the bead shop in Neal's Yard.

At the bead shop I managed to pick up the final missing piece of my True Love Too necklace. The copper heart necklaces have proven very popular so far, so I decided to make another along similar lines.

True Love Too

This one was another labour of love as I punched holes into the heart which I then filed out and connected to make the filigree pattern. I also used the hole punch to make little 'dents' in which to set perfect little vintage diamante stones in ruby red.

The pendant, as you can see below also has the lovely lampwork heart that I bought in Neal's Yard on my trip to London attached to it and a lovely vintage key charm.

The chain was created with handmade jump rings, wire roses (like in the Candy Roses Bracelet but smaller) and lots of vintage beads of varying sizes and shapes in red and black. The final touch was some double-ring copper vintage chain.

Below you can see the little dangle I added to the back of the chain next to the handmade clasp. I've used a lovely vintage heart charm in red and a vintage heart charm in black plus a little copper heart made by yours truly and set with another of the vintage ruby red diamantes.

The visit to London was inspiring, there was so much to see and look at. However, nothing like the earrings below. :-)

Blue Leafy Earrings

These were fun to make. I designed a paper template for the little twig, then cut it out in copper twice and filed, sanded and brushed the twigs and drilled a little hole in the top.

Then I made the 'blossoms': one is a whole lot of blue topaz chips threaded onto copper wire, the other is an aquamarine wrapped in thinner copper wire.

To finish it off I added the gorgeous spiral ear wires and threaded the leaves and blossoms on. To make sure it all stays in place I added a lovely little copper saucer bead and a crimp bead.

Watch this space, there will be a matching necklace and bangle coming soon.

The Stargazer Lily earrings have now been sold, but there will be a necklace with similar little flowers soon. Possibly even a bracelet.

Today I went to see the new Indiana Jones film with a friend and four kids. We all thought it was great fun and well worth watching.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Bangle Magic - Roman Bangle and Wave Bangles

Had some fun with copper and cool blue or rather sea foam blue green beads:

Roman Bangle

This reminded me of Roman mosaics in a pool.

I started off with a heavy gauge copper wire and shaped and hammered it, filing and sanding any sharp bits.

I then started adding the beads with fine copper wire.

You can see below the beads I've used: amazonite cubes in shades of blue, pale green jade cubes and lovely pale blue aquamarine (rectangle) beads. I've finished it off with a 3 very, very pale green Magatama drops. It took me about half a day to wrap all the beads around, there are loads of them to achieve this lovely mosaic effect.

Wave Bangle: Copper

I really had fun with this, although my hands wouldn't agree.

This is my wave bangle:

I first cut it out of copper sheet, then filed and sanded it smooth.

Finally, I added some handmade hole to pull it together and hammered it some more over a bangle mandrel. I added some handmade jump rings, a handmade copper fish, a little handmade wire spiral and some lovely watery Magatama drops to finish it off.

Here's the bangle just after cutting:

Here you can see close up how the shapes look before filing. You can only get so close to the design with a pair of tin snips!

It took me almost a day to finish this.

Wave Bangle: Fine Silver

This was made from Fine Silver sheet in the same way as the bangle above, although I freehand designed the wave pattern in each case rather than creating a template.

Here you can see the front (top) and back (bottom) of the bangle in more detail.

This is the bangle from the top. To get it this round you really need a bangle mandrel, especially with the little waves that just want to stick out until you hammer them into place.

Below you can also see the two little fish charms and jump rings (all handmade of course).

The Fine Silver Wave is not for sale, the other two bangles will be available from my Etsy shop soon.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Candy Roses Bracelet and Fire Flower Bangle

Said I was playing with something pink and sweet, didn't I? :-) Well, here it is.

Candy Roses Bracelet

Sterling silver roses with chalcedony wrapped in more sterling silver.

Complete with handmade clasp...

... and caterpillar made from fuchsia fossil beads.

Fire Flower Bangle

Can you spot the lovely Red Stones 2 beads from Firedance Beads I posted the other day?

Here's my first creation with the beads I bought:

I've used three thicknesses of bare copper wire. A medium thickness to create the first frame, which I oxidised. I then added a thicker gauge second frame (without the swirly bits) and wrapped it all together with very thin copper wire.

Here's the bangle from the side.

Here you can see the detail of the front. I've used the gorgeous Red Stones 2 beads from Firedance Beads, including the accent Swarovski beads in (I believe) Indian Red, and then added faceted deep red garnet faceted rondelles and a few Siam red Swarovski beads to complement the beads from Firedance Beads.

A little garnet at the back holds the two frames together, You can see the difference in colour of the oxidised and bare copper.

The bangle is lightweight and because of it's design will fit most wrists (it's adjustable). I am pleased with how it turned out. It's opulent and has a lovely warm glow and will work as well with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt as with a little black dress.

Available soon in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Glorious Glass

I bought the most glorious beads on Etsy last week and they arrived today - all the way from Canada in under a week. I bought them from Firedance Beads and he kindly let me use his beautiful photos to show you all what I bought.

Here they are:

Bluesy Pink 1

Clearly Rose

Red Stones 2

Black Obsidian Swirls 2

Black Gold

This is just a small selection of all the wonderful beads in Firedance's Etsy shop. The ones I just HAD TO HAVE. LOL

Can't wait to make something with them, but as you all know, anticipation is half the fun. Have to finish my current project first... Something sweet in pink... You'll see. :-) Meanwhile, why don't you all go and check out Firedance's Etsy shop - but don't buy all the beads, leave some for me!!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bloomin' Marvellous

Nope, I haven't been working my fingers to the bone, these are all pendants I've made a while back and didn't have any chain for, or as in the case of the last one, hadn't decided quite what to do with them. I bought some lovely sterling silver chain at the BMF on Saturday and I think I've put it to good use. :-)

Daisy, Daisy... Necklace

I love the simple shape of daisies and I wanted to make one in sterling silver wire, so I did. LOL I added lovely crayon red Japanese seedbeads and wrapped them around the centre.

The pendant is very light but quite large (5cm or 2") and it hangs from a lovely 40.6 cm (16") chain.

Here you can see all the tiny red seed beads wrapped around the centre of the flower (the back is flat and all wire ends have been securely hidden).

Pretty in Pink Necklace

This is similar to the Daisy, Daisy necklace but I've used a thicker gauge sterling silver wire and added the most gorgeous, delicious fuchsia pink chalcedony briolette to dangle in the centre.

The heart has been hammered, oxidised and polished to give it texture and a lovely satin shimmer. I've used lovely smooth, bright sterling silver snake chain and the wire wrapped around the chalcedony bead is also lovely and bright in contrast to the oxidised heart.

I'd tried lots of different ways of hanging this heart - handmade chain, larger chain, satin rat tail in bright pink, leather, belcher chain, nothing quite worked, because the heart is so striking it needed something slinky and stylish to stay the star of the show.

The chain is 16", the pendant just over 2" (5.5cm).

In Bloom Necklace

I love this necklace - it's full of the colours of Spring.

I've made 'branch' from shaped, textured and oxidised very thick silver gauge wire, then wrapped lots of semi-precious beads.

I've used carnelian (orange), prasiolite, peridot, amazonite, and chalcedony and hung the pendant from more lovely sterling silver snake chain, this time 18" (ca. 45 cm). The pendant is just over 2" (5.5cm).

Calla Lily Necklace

Another labour of love. The calla flower was made from copper sheet: first cut, then shaped, hammered, filed, sanded and oxidised.

Next, I've added lovely beads - freshwater pearls in white and taupe, mother of pearl, and a white tiny shell. The pendant is again about 2" (5cm) in length and hangs from a double-link vintage copper chain about 16".

Free Necklace

The making of the copper bird has been described earlier, I've further oxidised it and achieve a lovely colouring - almost like oil on water.

I've added home made figure of eight links and vintage lucite and glass beads, rock crystal, and white jade to make up the chain. The beads and chain are graduating in size from small starting on the wing of the bird to much larger back to the tail feather of the bird.

The necklace has no clasp and just slips over the head.

Here you can see the detail of the colouring on the swallow. It looks like it is flying and the chain looks like those pictures showing the flight of birds in books about birds.

Below is the chain in more detail:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Nature and Heart Theme

Spring is finally here, and although it rained part of this week, it's been hot and sunny for a few days, which made everything grow and look all lush and green again.

Spring Necklace

I am still playing with sheet metal, and the necklace below has been made with two pieces - once slightly resembling a budding twig, the other resembling a seed - from copper sheet. They've both been cut, filed, sanded, hammered, texturised and oxidised with a pencil blow torch.

I've added two types of jade (dark olive green oval bead, and pear shaped briolette in lime green jade) and two sizes of peridot (sticks) and a lovely picture jasper with a fossil pattern on it.

Here you can see the beads in more detail:

And here you can see the detail on the picture jasper and the copper pendants. I love the way you can achieve different colours (pink, purple, blue, green, maroon) on the copper with blow torching it!

The chain has been made up with handmade jump rings in copper and two different types of vintage chain, one copper, the other a gingerbread brass, which gives is a lovely organic feel, especially as I've added one of my handmade clasps.

If you're interested in the necklace but want to know more about length, size of pendant, price, etc, feel free to contact me, but be quick, these are selling like hot cakes!

Growing Necklace

Right now everything is growing and one of the essential ingredients for nature to grow is sunshine and of course water or rain. With people it's not that different. Sometimes we need some tears to grow.

I've combined a very organic and flowing copper shape wit Ceylon blue kyanite, iolite (water sapphire), blue topaz, chalcedony and I believe, aquamarine and capri blue chalcedony. (I honestly can't remember apart from that all of them are semi-precious!) I've used a lovely copper double-ring vintage chain that I oxidised further to get the colour I wanted.

Here are the beads in detail, all nicely wrapped:

Here's the copper shape in detail:

And this is the little dangle right next to the handmade clasp:

Fleur Fantastique

This one was a labour of love and done over a few days.

I started off with the flower shape, that was first cut out of brass sheet, then filed and bent and hammered and shaped and filed some more and sanded and finally oxidised with a blow torch to bring out the different colours in the brass. It's like magic, you never quite know what colours will appear. There could be a lovely rosy pink, or a grassy green, or a violet blue, or a turqoise or just a dark brown or a gingerbread colour.

Next, I made lots of little leaves (7 altogether) from more brass sheet. They had to be shaped, filed, sanded and oxidised too.

The round ring from which the flower pendant hangs came after that (more info below on how it works). It was made from two gauges of brass wire and wrapped with wire all the way round and oxidised and polished.

Then, it was time for the fun bit, choosing the beads. I've used a lava bead for the top of the flower and black tourmaline, black gold stone and REAL ruby for the stamen. All wrapped nicely within the flower shape. Adding the gorgeous vintage chain was the last step.

Here you can see the pendant - flower and leaves. The necklace is actually a lariat and the leaves go through the ring to adjust the length.

Here's the flower with beads in detail:

Here are the leaves in detail. You can see the lovely textures and colours from shaping, hammering and oxidising.

This is my fabulous 'adjuster ring' . The little spiral at the front allows you to loop the chain around to adjust the length of the chain/necklace. It works really well, and unlike a lot of lariats you don't have to make a knot in the necklace which you'll have to undo before you can take it off again and you also won't end up with part of the lariat trying to strangle you.

Damasque Butterfly Earrings

More brass jewellery. The butterflies were cut out of brass (using a template I cut from paper so they both would be the same) and then texturised, oxidised, polised, filed, shaped, sanded... the usual drill. It took me about 4 hours to finish these little darlings. I have then adorned them with gorgeous wrapped round coral beads in a deep laquer red, and with little threaded coral sticks. I have used handmade earwires and jumprings.

Here you can see how they look when they're hanging.

Here you can see the lovely red coral beads and the texture of the butterfly in more detail:

A close-up of the texture of the butterfly. To me it looks a bit like precious golden damask fabric and with the red beads it definitely has an oriental theme.

Damasque Heart Necklace

This necklace matches the earrings above but can also be worn by itself. The two (earrings and necklace) will be sold separately though, as they go together or by themselves.

The hearts for the necklace were created in the same way as the butterflies, and adorned with coral carved roses, coral beads and more coral sticks. I've used a handmade clasp, handmade jumprings and a lovely figure of eight vintage brass chain with a gorgeous patina on it.

Here's the big heart in more detail; as you can see, I drilled holes all along one side of the heart and threaded little coral sticks through them with brass wire.

Here are the two smaller hearts 'in position' on the necklace:

Here's the heart on the right in more detail:

Here's a close-up of the heart on the left. You can also see the chain in more detail.

Silence of the Heart

Romantic hearts are all well and good, but I wanted to do something more interesting and combine wire with sheet in a creative way. When I'd finished the heart it reminded me of the poster to the film 'Silence of the Lambs' and the mask worn by Hannibal Lector - not sure why, but hence the name of the necklace. It's of course nothing as gruesome and terrible as the film. LOL See for yourself:

The heart has been cut out from copper sheet, cut in half, then I drilled the holes so they'd line up before filing and sanding and shaping it. Next, I threaded wire through the holes to combine the two heart shapes again. The heart was then oxidised with the help of a pencil blow torch. You can see all the different shades that can be achieved (alas still more by accident than by intent):

I then added gorgeous chalcedony beads and a candy jade pink heart bead to the pendant with handmade jump rings. Each bead has been wrapped in a different way to add more texture and interest.

Finally, I added a handmade clasp (wrapped in more thinner gauge wire) and lovely vintage copper chain. There's also a little dangle with another small heart made of copper sheet and jade and fossil beads threaded onto more wire.

All the items will be in my Etsy shop soon, however, if you can't wait and fell in love with one of them, e-mail me for more info on sizes, lengths and pricing. :-)

If you'd like matching earrings or a bracelet with any of the items, let me know and we can discuss things.

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