mellificent: (Default)
You can probably tell, if you've been paying attention to all these jewelry pictures I've been posting, that I'm in sort of an experimental phase of things. Last year I was just happy to string things on wire, but that got boring fast, so this year I've been taking classes and playing with other things.

So here's the latest experiment:

I've been calling it my hippie necklace. It's not the most spectacular thing I've ever made, by any means, but I am sort of unreasonably pleased with it. I have not crocheted anything since, like, 1974 - seriously - but it came back to me, at least enough to do a plain ol' crocheted chain-stitch. I saw this technique on Beads, Baubles & Jewels; they were doing a bracelet but I immediately got more ambitious. I bought a small crochet hook and some Aunt Lydia's crochet thread in variegated holiday colors - don't ask me why - and got to work. It only took me a few minutes to be able to make a tolerably presentable chain. (All you do is you thread the beads on first and then just crochet them right into the chain.)

(Other supply notes: the biggest green beads there are resin - that is to say, plastic - from Happy Mango Beads. I love those beads. Also, have you noticed my cute backgrounds in my jewelry pictures lately? They're scrapbook paper. I've been gradually amassing a little collection of it as I see things I like.)


Sep. 8th, 2009 06:40 am
mellificent: (Default)
I started writing about District 9, but I couldn't gather my thoughts so that will have to wait. Instead, I'm writing about jewelry, because I've been working on something new:

This is sort of an offshoot from one of the classes I took this summer - it was supposed to be made generally like this (that is, varied and irregular), but instead of using more normal sorts of beads, I decided to use a whole bunch of skull beads that I've collected up over the past several years. I started out saying it was a Halloween necklace but with all the skulls it might be more appropriate to call it a Day of the Dead one instead. Something like that, anyway. I had put the big wooden skull on copper chain and was adding to that, and then I decided that copper wasn't really the best thing to use and I found a sort of antique brass chain at Michael's and I'm using that instead. It's much more understated. Even though there's some copper and there and some silver too, I like the antique brass a lot. (It also matches those spider web pieces at the top, which I've had for a while.) Oh, and see the silver spiderweb charm with the black background? The black part is a stone bead I had that just happened to echo the web shape perfectly, so I had to use it. I snipped the bail off the pewter charm and glued it to the stone with epoxy. It seems to be stuck quite well. So I had big skulls, little skulls, wooden skulls, bone skulls, glass skulls (black with an AB finish, which I really don't like so much, I've really rather just have the matte black, but oh well). I started putting the little black flat crystals in between to see how they would look, and I think they look really nice, actually, and give it more of a unified feel - something repetitive, when nothing else in this really is.

I think I'm going to finish it as a long Y-necklace instead of just a regular loop - I have a bunch of charms and things to add and the Y part seems like a good place to put all the dangly things.

mellificent: (Bellagio shiny)
I couldn't go to sleep this morning so I got back up and took apart that watch/bracelet I posted the picture of yesterday.

Here is the mostly-disassembled watch. (It looks sort of like the flower bead is still attached to it but it's not.) I didn't have to detach the two squiggly pieces from the watch face because they were fine as they were. But I took all the charms and beads off, and also the clasp (which you can see on the far right) and the other squiggly piece.
and then... )

Also, notice the variety of tools visible in these pictures. I have spent a LOT of money on tools lately. Nylon-jaw pliers, bent-nose pliers, concave pliers, mandrels, a chasing hammer, a new flush-cutter, and more. Making things out of wire ought not be quite so expensive!

mellificent: (Bellagio shiny)
OK, so I took another jewelry class last weekend and here is what I came home with:

I really like it. It was supposed to be a charm bracelet, but I decided to make it into a watch (or watch/charm bracelet, I suppose). It was supposed to have one or more large(ish) focal beads, and so I figured, fine, one of them can just be a watch face! The teacher totally approved, but then she is very into the "do it however you want" philosophy of jewelry-making so I pretty much assumed as soon as I got the idea that she would. This is also, being a charm bracelet, supposed to have many, many more charms - this is just as far as I got in the allotted time.

As usual, though, I'm thinking about totally reworking it. Right now, assuming the watch-face is on the top of my wrist in more or less the normal place, the clasp falls on one side, which is fine, and the big flower bead (which is some sort of greenish stone) falls sort of awkwardly on the other side of the wrist, and a lot of dangles are on the bottom. I started out thinking I was just going to move the dangles and now I'm thinking about taking a good bit of it apart. The big flower bead looks really cute but what I'm thinking I might do is take it off and make it the basis of a completely different (but generally similar) bracelet. And I'm thinking about just taking all the dangles off the watch and making it more unadorned, because I really like the curvy bits (which are 16-gauge copper wire, if anybody cares) and that way they would show up more. Then I can put all the dangly bits on the second bracelet and make it into the real charm bracelet. (This picture has some of the assorted dangly things I was playing with - as well as some assorted other stuff I threw into the picture!.)

Suggestions are encouraged.

mellificent: (WoW - ADD)
I really should be studying, but instead I'm posting about jewelry.

More pictures over here! )
mellificent: (Maleficent)
I think most people who are likely to read this know by now that my schedule is all crazy - staying up all night, sleeping during the day - but I took it to a new level thisyesterday morning by going to the car dealer and getting my oil changed and the tires rotated before I went to bed. It seemed like the best time to get it over with, but I don't think I'm going to be doing that much. It didn't bother me much at the time, but I've felt wonky all night. And I haven't gotten much studying done tonight. I couldn't get my brain to settle down and concentrate on the reading (I'm on Fetal Development at the moment) so I went and took pictures of jewelry instead. It's something I've been meaning to do so I figured if I couldn't read it was at least sort of productive.

People who sell jewelry - they're the ones who become jewelry-photography experts - always say to photograph your jewelry in daylight, but that's sort of hard to do when you're sleeping all day. I'm awake for some hours of daylight, of course, especially this time of year, but still, I never remember. So the other day when I saw somebody talking about photographing jewelry under an Ott-light, I paid attention. I have a couple of Ott-lights (which is a brand of daylight-spectrum lamps & bulbs) left over from quilting, so that seemed like something doable.

Photo and explanation under the cut )

There will probably be some more jewelry posts later, so I can show you what else I've been up to. But right now I'm going to read a bit more and then go to bed.
mellificent: (brain leaking)
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
a slow-growing degenerative brain disease caused by a prion, an infectious protein agent. Related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or "mad cow" disease) in cattle.

This is another one of those things where I had heard the name but I didn't really know what it was. (Mad Cow Disease is not something I've paid a lot of attention to, I admit.) I also didn't know that there was such a thing as an infectious protein.

In other news, I'm taking a jewelry class all day tomorrow - 10:30-4:30, I think - which I signed up for ages ago. I think we're making some sort of necklace that had a bunch of different techniques involved in it. As I recall, I was more interested in the techniques than having the necklace, really. I hope it's a good class because it's going to involve getting up at what is for me nowadays a really incredibly early hour. Speaking of which, I need to go make sure I have the things I'm going to take with me gathered up. (Including a lunch, for goodness' sake. I really just am not a big "sack lunch" person.)
mellificent: (UT tower)
I am kind of groggy but I am bored and not yet sleepy enough for bed. We'll see what I can get out before I crash.

I am spending the night at my aunt's house, but I am primarily here to go to the bank in Normangee tomorrow and turn in the bank stock certificates with my mother's name on them, and get new ones with my name and Paula's instead. It required coming up here a day ahead of time, since the bank has the amazingly old-fashioned hours of 8-2 - isn't that where the term 'bankers hours' came from? Since there is no way in hell I'm liable to start out from Houston and be able to get there by 2:00, I am here in Bryan in order to get a head start on things in the morning. At least I'm closer, and hopefully my aunt will wake me up at a reasonable hour. She usually does.

I went to a bead shop on the way up (Antiques, Beads, & Crafty People, in Pearland), and signed up for two more classes - wire wrapping and peyote stitch. I doubt that I will ever really do any major projects with peyote stitch (which involves seed beads) but I wanted to know the theory. And then tomorrow on the way home I am going to swing by another bead store on the far side of town just to check them out.

I am also going to go visit my mother's grave, since her headstone has been installed since I was last there. Hm, should I take flowers, do you think?
mellificent: (nautilus)
I've been trying not to buy other people's jewelry since I've been making my own, but I broke down over this pair of earrings. It's a bit of a problem - I have been spending a lot of time on Etsy looking at jewelry, because I'm probably going to end up selling stuff there eventually and it's helpful to know what other people are making - but I have to resist the urge to actually buy stuff, unless it's something I can make more jewelry with, i.e., beads. However, I said my rule was that it had to be something I couldn't make myself, and those weren't, because I don't have access to those beads. And for that matter, those look like beads that would be pretty expensive when & if I did manage to find them. So I am not feeling too horribly guilty.

I never have gotten around to saying that I did make a jewelry weblog, although there's not a lot there yet. But I dunno, making a specialized blog worked pretty well for the quilt weblog so it seemed like a good idea to do the same for this. The latest thing I posted there came from [info]columbina, who linked to Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories earlier - which it turned out I bookmarked sometime in 2006, but I had forgotten about - and they had the cutest fractal earrings. I can't imagine actually making them myself, but they're still cute. (A reaction I often had to quilts, as well. Say, this one.) 
mellificent: (WoW - shiny)
Wanna know why I am getting so much into jewelry? It's all Elise's fault. God, I love that necklace. I want to be able to make something like that someday. (And I also would like to be able to sell things that cost $700 and change, incidentally!)

I had a watchface I hadn't made up my mind what to do with, so I made a watchband out of jet beads for that, finally - which I keep forgetting to take pictures of - and last night I made two more bracelets and some earrings. My sister thinks that we should try to get accepted to sell at the Nutcracker Market this fall (big, big gift show held in Houston every November) so obviously I need to get to work. I'm watching very closely about what items I wear that people admire, and so forth. Doing something big like Nutcracker Market is going to be scary when I'm not entirely sure what's going to sell. I really think the little short dangly earrings that I've been making out of Czech beads* will sell well to that sort of crowd, though. I guess I just need to make a lot of those in wintry colors and cross my fingers. (Which is not to say that that's all I will make, anyway. I will try out a number of things.)

Incidentally, I was telling[personal profile] columbina  about my watch with the jet beads and we ended up discussing the Wikipedia entry on jet. (Jet is actually a petrified wood - sort of similar in composition to high-grade coal, oddly.) We is geeks.

Speaking of geeky, I am fascinated by stuff like this: Dino-Era Feathers Found Encased in Amber

mellificent: (lotus)
Well, I have a little picture of jewelry and a big one, so I'll put the little one out in the open and the big one behind a cut.

Glass leaf earrings

I mentioned this pair of earrings and one of the bracelets (the 2nd one) below in this entry a week ago - these are the unidentified glass leaves, which Fire Mountain seems not to sell any more. They have a sort of antiquey glittery thing going that I like.

mellificent: (Default)
We didn't do a lot this weekend. I keep saying these lazy weekends aren't going to last long and I should enjoy them while they do, but in fact they've lasted a while now. Saturday afternoon we went on a shopping-and-dinner expedition - Rob wanted shoes, so we went to the gigantic Marshall's in Clear Lake to see what they had - he ended up buying Pumas, I think, which he'd never had before in, what, 15 years now of running. He wasn't complaining about his legs the rest of the weekend so I guess they were ok. We looked at beads and such at Hobby Lobby - their selection really kinda sucks, which I guess I shouldn't be surprised about. And we went to eat at my favorite italian place - I finally tried the pesto sauce there, and it was very good.

Sunday we went to see The Spiderwick Chronicles. It was good, as kids' movies go. A bit twee for my taste off & on, but enjoyable. Other than that, GuildWars and beads. I won't bore you with the Guildwars (for once) but I will about the beads!

I made another little bracelet Friday night:

Garnets from Elise

It looks better in person than in this small picture, particularly. These are some of the garnets from the beads-of-the-month package - there were some more, better-quality ones this same size but I'm saving the rest of them for later. The rest of it is just random spacers, but I think it looks nice and it fits my wrist perfectly and I really love it.

White Men Hold the Key - I was especially amused/annoyed by the part about how white men were having trouble identifying with either Clinton or Obama. Poor disenfranchised things - welcome to how the other half lives. I haven't identified with a presidential candidate much since - well, ever. Maybe Clinton (Bill, I mean) and Carter a bit - they were poor Southern white boys, originally, so at least I knew how they were brought up, more or less. But good lord - Reagan? Mondale? Anybody in the Bush family? Not hardly.
mellificent: (Buffy quote: molded plastic)
From the new issue of Science (you may or may not be able to follow that link, I'm not sure):

Ancient Accessorizing

Art or other forms of symbolic expression are found in many early human sites that date to about 50,000 years ago, but earlier evidence of such modern cultural behavior has been sparse. Vanhaeren et al. (p. 1785; see the news story by Balter) now describe a few gastropod shells apparently modified for jewelry that were collected previously from two inland sites in western Asia and North Africa. Both sites date to older than 100,000 years ago, about 25,000 years earlier than similar but more abundant drilled shells found in South Africa. Examination shows that these shells were drilled by humans, presumably for threading and wear.


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