Sunday, December 20, 2009

Finishing your jewelry projects

I was shopping at Shipwreck Beads in Lacey, Washington today and one of their customers asked me if I had any tips on how to finish her next project, a coral necklace. I was really flattered that she asked! I must look "beady". I gave her a few tips which I hope she finds helpful, and gave her my card.

When I got home I went on-line and found two sites that may help her, and you, to be successful with finishing your beading projects. Go to the SoftFlex and Beadalon websites. They both have good ideas on how to attached clasps, etc., and have your bracelets and necklaces turn out how you want!

Mystery lady at Shipwreck, I hope you have a great time on your holiday cruise! I hope you check out my blog and that you finish your coral necklace to your satisfaction!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Vietnamese Coins and Others

I really like this!

I purchased the coins at a shop near the local Mall right next to "Sushi Revolution" (yum yum), drilled little holes in the coins that didn't already have holes in them, and wired on loops for stringing. The spacer beads are from Ghana, purchased at "Dava Bead and Trade" in Portland.

The center coin, with three young women shown, is one of the first coins struck by the government of Viet Nam after the French left.

The very left hand coin is actually a transportation token issued by the State of Washington.

This necklace makes a nice jingly sound and is adjustable.

$50 - c. 2009 -

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Amala's Silk Road Journey

This is Roman era glass from Afghanistan.

The Romans built glass making factories in various places along their trade routes making all types of objects - bottles, dishes, etc., and probably beads as well.

Some of these factories were recently excavated and the glass shards have become available through international wholesalers.

My supplier, "Hands of the Hills" located in Mercer Island, Washington, found their Roman era glass in Thailand. It is shipped to Thailand in big crates and the "Hands of the Hills" crew just had to go to Thailand to pick through the bins and bring the best pieces home. I told them that if they ever needed help just let me know - I'm ready to go!

I bought seven shards and made a necklace with matching earrings out of them. I even made the chain!

This is a beautiful set - the glass delicately jingles as you move and the colors are absolutely incredible.

The set is for sale for $150 -

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Point Defiance Raccoons

David and I went for a ride on the motorcycle yesterday. We rode through Point Defiance Park, one of the largest urban parks in the country. The old growth forest is so beautiful and the weather was so great it was hard to believe that it was October 31st.

As we rode we saw many, many raccoons. Most of them were being fed by stupid people. If they only knew how nasty raccoons can be, besides being carriers of parasites and diseases like rabies. But they are so cute! Especially the little ones!

Urban raccoons, especially the large males (which can weigh up to 30 pounds), are not timid and they are not sweet! Just surprise a family walking across your garden at dusk. You really think twice when that big momma raccoon comes toward you, hissing!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Red Touches Yellow, You're a Dead Fellow"

These bracelets are really, really easy to make. Using abut ten inches of some thin wire from the hardware store I made a loop with two or three wraps at one, threaded on some size six seed beads, tried the bracelet on for size, and, when the size was correct, looped the free end through the first loop, pulled everything tight and then wrapped the free end around three or four times.

This would be an easy project for kids although the adult supervising should probably do the wire cutting and maybe the wire wrapping.

I'm not too into "glitz" so my examples are somewhat simple. I think they are a bit African in feel. Imagine wearing a bunch of these! You could even color coordinate with your wardrobe.

I recommend "Shipwreck Beads" in Lacey, Washington as a great source for seed beads and "glitz".

Sunday, October 25, 2009

La Calavera Catrina

This pin is based on the Jose Guadalupe Posada etching "La Calavera Catrina", a political cartoon published in Mexico in 1913.

I made it out of polymer clay pressed into a sugar skull mold I bought at "Milagros", a wonderful import store in the Pike Place Market in Seattle. To make the pin a little lighter it is stuffed with crumpled aluminum foil. I used "Zap-a-Gap" to glue a pin on the back and painted the flowers, straw hat and the facial features with acrylics. It is especially important to get the face just so. Even the eyes of a skeleton need to look right!

The really fun part is painting the whole thing with translucent glitter paint and then sprinkling on the glitter "sugar". I use "Diamond Dust" brand as it gives a nice crunchy sugary look.

"La Catrina" is fun to wear and especially so during Day of the Dead festivities. She's sure to get compliments - so fashionable in her pretty hat.

$25 c2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

All That Glitters is Not Gold

I stayed up too late the other night making more bracelets.

These turned out rather nicely but I'm going to change the way I make the final wraps on bracelets like the one on the right. I'm going to hammer the ends flat, smooth the edges, wrap and crimp. The way I do it now is too prickly and the ends catch on clothes, et cetera.

The bracelet on the left has a cicada as a focal bead. The bug is about 1.25 inches long and even the underside is detailed. I've had two of these beads for a long time and forget where I bought them. That's too bad as my friend Elizabeth asked for three bracelets just like it. I'm going to see if I can make a facsimile from my magic paper and paint them to look like "gold".

Elizabeth gets this one for her jewelry collection.