Monday, June 30, 2008

Dandelion Necklace

Finally managed to finish this. I started it the weekend before last but never had the time to work on it, because I was so busy with the illustrations.

Unfortunately it was a bit dark by the time it came out of it's bath in Liver of Sulphur so the pictures aren't as good as I'd hoped.

Dandelion Necklace

It so so pretty in real life and the pictures don't do it justice. :-( I've started with a wire shape that I pierced, filed, sanded, brushed, and polished.

I then added all the tiny beads on their stalks: Japanese seed beads in a lovely olive green with coppery mottling, teeny Japanese seed bead in a sunny yellow, moonstone and sapphire rondelles - the sapphires are not blue but a very pale lime and olive colour - using two different gauges of brass wire. There is no solder to attach them, the design holds them in place.

The pendant was so pretty and delicate that I decided a shop bought chain just wouldn't do it justice, so I made my own.

Here is the chain made from tiny little links with three of the green mottled seed beads each, a handmade clasp and a dangle with a lovely lemony-lime prehnite at the end.

The final step was a long soak in Liver of Sulphur which turned the brass from a brassy gold into a deep green with hints of other colours - there are bits of red and purple. The necklace looks so organic it has the feel of something made with vines and berries.

In the very close close-up you can see the mottling on the green beads and the moonstone and sapphires.

Although I really love this necklace, it will be available to buy in my Etsy shop VERY soon, unless you snap it up before I list it. :-)

I am thinking of making some matching earrings, a bracelet and a ring for it. However, not today. Today I am going to play with my new wool - silk covered steel... :-)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Commissions June 2008

On top of all the illustrations I did the last couple of weeks I also had four commissions - one from my Etsy shop (another sale - YAY), two from my website and one from Caroline. Check out her new Etsy shop Pretty Flamingo. Check the Ivy Mania post for details of the ivy bangle.

Green Spectacle Chain

This was custom designed with lots of lovely, mostly glass beads. I've added a few pale sky blue wood beads for texture. The beads include Indian lampwork, Chinese glass beads, Czech faceted and flower beads, Japanese Miyuki seed and cube beads, recycled glass beads and whatever else took my fancy and worked with the design. The cord used is a silky rayon cord from China in a gorgeous leaf green. Available in different colours from my Etsy shop or as a commission in a colour of your choice.

Killer Whale Necklace

This is a design available from my website made with leather, a ceramic killer whale pendant (and a little charm hanging from the extension chain also with a whale), and wooden beads in coordinating colours strung on a blue leather cord. The necklace has an extension chain. It's part of my kids jewellery range. Other pendants available include a little red fox and a yellow duck.

Ladybird's Dream Set

This is a design from my website again, although it's different from the one shown on my website as I never make exactly the same design twice.

The necklace with coordinating bracelet has been made with glass beads in purples and pinks with flowers and ladybirds running as a theme all the way through. It's been strung on very strong pink tigertail and is a lovely addition to anyone's jewellery box.



Ivy Mania

I know, lots of gardeners hate ivy as it strangles other plants, but I love the shape of the leaves, they are just so pretty and decorative, and I am always surprised by their symmetry.

Here's the Ivy Bangle, one of the commissions I made this week - see the Commissions June 2008 post. This one is for Caroline's sister and she'll get it at the end of next month for her birthday, so keep quiet about it until then. ;-)

This bangle - like the one I made for myself - has been made using a real ivy leaf from my garden as a template for the design cut from copper sheet. The leaf then has been filed and filed some more, sanded, brushed, polished, two holes were drilled in it and filed and sanded for the thick wire to be fed through, which then in turn has been shaped and hammered for texture and finally the whole thing has been oxidised and polished.

And here's a little ivy ring I made for Caroline so she wouldn't be sad when she had to hand over the ivy bangle to her sister. It's been made in the same way as the bangle but with a much, much smaller leaf and thinner wire.

Since I was busy making ivy leaves, I decided to make myself some earrings to match my ivy bangle. They are so comfortable to wear and very stylish and unusual, even if I say so myself. :-)

Here you can see them hanging from a little tealight jar in my garden.

Lastly, I made this necklace - in the same way as the earrings, ring, and bangle but with a larger ivy leaf and some gorgeous prehnite triangle beads, my favourite cut for beads. They look like little flower cups and the ghostly lime green works particularly well with the oxidised copper. The clasp is a new design.

All these designs will be available as a custom order in my Etsy shop soon. :-) I will add other leaf shapes and metals as well.

Treasure File

I went to a bead fair in Newmarket last weekend and got lots of gorgeous treasures. It was a good day out as we went to a carboot sale in Newmarket afterwards. The next one is in November and well worth going. For a list of bead fairs around the country click here.

My first stop and absolutely irresistible was Lush Lampwork Beads. I could have bought at least half the stall but restrained myself and only bought this:

These lentil beads somehow remind me of Japanese cherry blossoms. They have all sorts of colour flecks in them and are gorgeous and unusual.

I love the simplicity of the black and white swirly theme going on here.

And here are some orphan beads I picked up and just had to have!!! I should only be allowed to go to bead fairs with my hands tied behind my back! LOL

All from Lush Lampwork Beads.

I love unusual semi precious beads. And they don't come much more unusual than these lava cubes. They're a bit rough, which will be fine for earrings, however I may try and tumble some of them with pebbles. I'll let you know how it goes...

Labradorite beads - this string came with graduating sizes, which is unusual because normally such strings are roughly of beads almost the same size. I like the fire within labradorite - without the flashes of colour (blue or coppery gold usually) it would be a fairly unassuming gem.

The green apatite below was irresistible. One of those must-haves. It's a pale green with flashes of gold and copper and deep brown. It's not a perfect or flawless by any means but that makes it dearer to me because it is so much more interesting.

Prehnite is one of my favourite gems. I love it's ghostly lime green glow. It looks totally magical to me.

Cherry red jade, such a lush deep red, it looks good enough to eat!!!

All from Buffys Beads.

Right at the beginning of the fair was the Designer Cabochons stall. I am not that interested in cabochons as you have to make bezels etc for them, something which I haven't tried yet enough to make something worthy of a cabochon of their calibre. However, the beads below caught my eye.

Aren't these two pendants utterly fun? I love the robot and the zombie. They were far too expensive, but again 'must-haves'.

The swirly heart below is so pretty, like the red jade it looks almost edible with the glossy glaze over the top. It reminds me of a jam tart!

Last but by no means least a celadon green Day of The Dead pendant. I love the delicate colour with the flowers and then the contrasting skull. Works for me. Think this might be one I can't bear to part with.

All from Designer Cabochons. Note, these beads are not yet on their website as they are a new line, however if you want anything similar, just contact them.

Below is a selection of the trade beads I picked up. They are so light. The lady at the stall told me that they are made by women in Uganda displaced from their homes by draught and war. The beads are made by rolling paper strips cut from magazines and then coated with resin. It allows the women to send their children to school and feed them. I also got the lovely sterling silver calla lily beads.

From Spoilt Rotten Beads.

There was one more stand at the bead fair which stood out to me because of the quality of the beads and findings: Itchydo. I really liked the unusual beads and the great quality, alas, I'd run out of cash by then....

Friday, June 27, 2008

Oh NO!!! Dragonflies Re-Working...

There was me thinking all was well, and then I started looking through the printouts of the final images and, imagine my despair, the dragonflies had gone all wonky. They had looked okay on screen but not when they were printed out. Sniff. More work....

Spent most of the day re-working the file, especially the background, to make the picture look as good as it possibly could. Here's the final version.


And here are three more images I added to the final selection:

Panier Avec L'Oiseau

Seen here before, but to save you clicking on a link and then the back button... here it is again:

Brand new and never seen before are the next two images. They were inspired by a painting by George Auriol, 1863-1938. George Auriol is the pseudonym of Jean-George Huyot. He was an Art Nouveau artist and designer, one of a group who frequented the Chat Noir or Black Cat Cafe in the Montmartre district of Paris. He came to Paris in 1883 to be a writer and some of his essays were published in Chat Noir; info from Typophile.

Candy Lily

Water Lily

It's a very different style from my normal, more detailed and complex style, however I like it and it was fun to do. The images started with some canvasses I picked up for my newly decorated living room. I decided I wanted to paint - real paint!!! - some pictures in the style of a poster by George Auriol of a bunch of daffodils. I really like the painting and the loose style it's been painted in. I also like the way he incorporates type and the little stamp into the picture. Not sure what the story behind the little stamp is, but it works. :-)

Well, the canvasses are still on the top of the shelf but I managed to draw four designs on the computer, 3 of which are finished, although, one of them I am not quite happy with YET, the other is only in a rough colour stage.

Promise, tomorrow it'll be jewellery again. I've taken pictures of the treasures I bought last weekend and also of the 4 commissions I made in the last week. BUT I am far too exhausted tonight. Too many late nights in front of the computer finalising my images when I wasn't making commissions. So watch this space. :-)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Last Three

The last three of the re-drawings, although the two spiders I only re-touched as they went a little fuzzy when I scaled them. Didn't stop till gone past 1 o'clock last night.

Leafy L

I like the new design - although not drastically different - better. The colours are slightly more subtle and there is a little more detail. I might make more of these letters (possible a whole alphabet) and offer them on Etsy as prints or custom orders for names. Decided to have a 2nd Etsy shop for my prints. The flowers (orchids and bird of paradise) will be sold as prints as well.

Black Widow

It might have been quicker to re-draw it from sketch as the lines are so detailed and fine. However, it's done now and it looks as nice and clean (if not better) as the original.

Red Back Spider

Again, drawing from scratch may have been quicker, but this is still the original design just more than twice the size. :-) Very scary. LOL

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bird of Paradise

The last of the flower pictures, phew!

Today I've been listening to:

More Duffy, Kate Nash, The Fray, Scouting for Girls - examples of all available on

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Latest Re-Drawing

Here's the latest of the images I needed to re-draw.

Butterfly Orchid

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Paintings and Music

Due to my own stupidity I have to re-draw some of my pictures. Here are the two I have finished (of the five I need to do):

Dendrobium Dixanthum Orchid

Marylinin Ottawa Orchid

I will post the others as I go along... Sorry no jewellery... I've made a bracelet but it's still waiting for the final touch...

This is the music I've been listening to whilst painting:

I like the whole album, but this is my favourite. Here's a review on the BBC.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Botanical Theme and a bit of Night Sky

Despite my cold I couldn't help myself but make some jewellery although it did take a lot longer this time... Sigh!

Here's what I made over the week.

Anemone Earrings

My dainty little anemone earrings were made with little brass cups that I made using my new shaping tool and the dapping punches. I then filed them and sanded them into shape and drilled a hole into the centre. There's a little moonstone rondelle set into each cup and it hangs from brass wire that has been hammered to keep its shape. The cups have been lightly oxidised to give them a deep old gold colouring. The longest stem also holds a crackle quartz, drop shaped bead and I've used small, very dainty ear wires to hold them. The jump ring is as per usual handmade too. The earrings are fairly long, but not too long and very light. The flowers dangle beautifully when worn.

Below you can see how filigree the wire is and you can see the moonstones and quartz in more detail.

Below you can see the cups and their lovely scalloped edges close up.

Willow Earrings

These must be my favourite earrings I've made so far - although it's a close run with the anemone earrings, which are so sweet and dainty.

The earring are made from oxidised copper. I made two heavily textured willow leaves and added a lovely chartreuse green flower with a little Japanese seed bead in olive with a copper lustre. The second dangle holds a lovely large chartreuse dagger bead. The ear wires are so cute with the little spirals (also handmade) and I think they match the earrings perfectly.

Below you can see the texture on the leaf and the beads in more detail.

And even more detail. Note, these earrings are longer than I normally make them, however they are so light and lovely and sway when worn just like real willow. Anyway, long earrings are the latest trend...

Blue Ginkgo Leaf Necklace

I have a thing about ginkgo leaves, I love their symmetrical shape and the detail in each leaf. So here's another example.

The gingko leaf was cut from copper sheet, I then shaped it using my new tool and pliers and bashed it to get a lot of texture. I then shaped the edges using files and sand paper and drilled a hole. At first it was going to be another bangle like the Ivy bangle I made recently, but when I looked at the shape I thought it would work better as a pendant. I haven't quite given up on the idea of making a ginkgo leaf bangle. So watch this space.

I added the deep blue quartz faceted beads in two sizes, and the lovely pale blue chalcedony faceted bead. The chain is bought, the jumprings handmade. A lovely handmade clasp in a new design finishes it off.

In the two pictures below you can see the pendant hanging and also all the detail of the texture (almost like bark) of the copper leaf. To add more depth the leaf has been oxidised and then polished to bring back some of the original colour.

Fire Seed Necklace

This is my lovely Fire Seed Necklace.

All the little cups were shaped and cut from copper sheet and they are very dainty and took ages to file, sand and shape. They are so very small (the largest is just over 1 cm in diameter) and each one is an almost perfect sphere.

Below you can see the beads I wired into each of the little cups. There is bright red coral, deep red ruby, bright orange fire opal, and lovely muted red jade. The beads are all very small, some smooth, some faceted. The beaded cups have then been hung from fine chain and handmade jumprings and attached to a deep red frosted glass ring. The glass rings have been handmade (not by me) and I have used them throughout the necklace. They are all a little different in shape and colour; they range from deep red to rusty red to coral red. The dangle of fire seeds feeds through the large ebony ring to close the necklace allowing the length of the necklace to be adjusted at your pleasure.

I've used lots of of different types of chain, handmade large copper rings, handmade copper jumprings, the glass rings and one large ebony wooden ring for this lariat style necklace. I like the different textures and shades of copper. The little spheres have been oxidised twice until they had a lovely charcoal shade. The large jumprings are oxidised with a blow torch and are therefore different shades of deep red to very dark red. The jumprings have been oxidised and then lightly polished, the chain ranges from antiqued to bare copper, all adding texture and colour to the necklace.

Constellation Necklace

Okay, this is not quite botanical, but the pendant looks a bit like a flower... on a dark night. LOL

I started off with thick copper wire and made a spiral which I then shaped using my new shaping tool and a dapping punch and a hammer to add texture. Next, I oxidised the pendant and then added the big lava bead that fitted perfectly in the half sphere of the spiral. To add more interest I wired on the little moonstone beads in a pleasing pattern.

Antiqued copper chain, handmade jumprings and clasp finish the design. It's a simple design and wood work well every day as well as for a night out.

Here you can see the pendant hanging.

I will try my best to get all my recent designs into my Etsy shop this weekend, so if you're interested check back soon and hopefully the little Etsy shop window in the top corner will have changed to lots of new designs.

Newsflash - Etsy Mini has changed!!! :-) All the items in this entry are now available in my Etsy shop with more to come.

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