Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mixed Bag

My hands are just about dye-free, except for under my nails, and where my cuticles are not gorgeous. (The last actual manicure I had was probably five to ten years ago). I think there was some horror at my glovelessness, and if I did this more often, I'd be more of a glove-wearer, but it was hot and I wasn't in the mood and I knew that skin sloughs enough that by work on Monday I'd be presentable. And I will be, at least in the hands department.

And then there was weekend day #2. I love days which are not filled with deadlines.

I knew I wanted to take that leap of faith in my cat and her multitude of legitimate places for relief around the house, not to mention the vast array of enzymatic cleaners and home remedies that I used on her illegal waste water location, as well as the fact that I ripped out and threw away the wooden tack strips to which the carpet was attached to the floor (wood absorbs cat pee better than Brawny, according to my nose), and roll the carpet back and put the furniture on top of it once more. I'm not foolish, so I have a roll of wire mesh and a plastic crate thing blocking off her favourite area, but I'm hopeful.

That took a short while, but I had the rest of the day to putter, which I did.
I finished the necklace I started a few days ago, and while I do love the rondelles I used, and I'm pleased at the way the necklace turned out, it's just not what I wanted and as such doesn't press my love-button (you know, that button which when pressed by something you see or touch or taste induces bliss and lust and a sense of timeless perfection of the moment), so it needs an owner which won't be me.
It has matching earrings which are not a matched pair but are a pair nonetheless.

I think I may have to buy some more of those beads and try again. I probably need other/better/different fringe beads, seed beads and/or fire-polished rounds. I'm sure that's it. I shouldn't have been so quick to dismiss my metallic/industrial inclinations in favour of the easy fix of colour.

So it was successful in a way, but not in the I Have More Jewellery Now way.

Recently I picked up some faux turquoise rondelles which I'd hoped would work in this design.
Not so much, as it turns out. You can see that the seed beads around the rondelles are not lying neatly and symmetrically, but are buckling and angled and sticking out. Turns out that the rondelles are between useful sizes.

The first version of this design that I developed works well for the 4x7mm rodelles as in the necklace and earrings above, and the second version is tweaked to use the bigger 6x9s, but these ones are neither. They're wider than the small ones (so I had to try the bead counts for the bigger ones because thread was showing for the bead counts for smaller rondelles), but they're both much thinner and narrower than the big ones, so nothing really works well.

I like the colours though.

My total failure today as been reincarnated as a pile of wiggly threads on my work table and beads back in their tubes, trying to wipe their memories of what I thought they could do.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hand Dyed

Quite literally (and I mean it, I'm not using it figuratively and saying "literally" when I really mean "figuratively"). My hand is dyed. And the other one too.

I just wasn't in the mood for gloves at our dye day.

Between five of us (some people chose not to dye) we painted two and a half pounds of blue-faced Leicester roving and two and a half pounds of merino roving, as well as a package of silk hankies which we used as dye mops for spills. I think it is as least as good a technique as deliberate colour placement on hankies or mawata. We also dyed a pound or so of bombyx, but that turned out to be easier to fold and dip than to paint.

Wish I had a photo of all the fibre hanging on the line outside Dale's house, as it was gorgeous!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Colour Instinct

I think I'm usually pretty decent at combining colours in beading. Sometimes a monochromatic palette with variations in finish and depth of shade is appropriate, whereas sometimes contrast makes beadwork sing. I usually know what I want, and I can usually get it.

I'd been eyeing these pyrite-effect rondelles for ages, and then eventually gave in and saved them for a while. Wasn't entirely sure where I wanted to go with them.

On Tuesday I handed off class samples, and had a little me-time before the next class or set of classes, and decided to indulge myself with these beads.

I wanted a metallic industrial look, sort of a mixed metals effect. Since the colour of the beads lies partway between silvery and gold-bronze, it seemed the perfect opportunity to use both.
Meh. (The picture is very flattering. All my pictures float around average: the really good things photograph poorly and the uninteresting look better than they really are).

The fringe beads are too dark and stark and the others look messy and the lovely rondelles fade into the background. I thought I knew what effect I wanted, but I got what I wanted but it turned out I didn't really want it.
Apparently what I REALLY wanted was colour and contrast. Not where my first instincts led me, and not where my plan led me, but at least this way I know it's better.
See, I did say I'd been knitting a bunch, right? I wasn't making it up.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Slightly New

Lately knitting has been calling louder than beading, but not in terms of photographic documentation of my progress and/or accomplishments, and the beading has been meagre.
To whit, a pendant using a pair of bead caps. Pretty, but hardly earth-shatteringly new and exciting, but then again, really, what is?
The second ring using smaller rondelles and magatamas instead of fringe beads isn't either. Earth-shatteringly new.

Actually, I'm ok with that.

I think I'm also ok with having a twenty-one-year-old daughter.

Not that I have a choice per se.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Scant Eye Candy

It's kinda been a week, and I haven't been all that focused on making things so that I can post pictures, and although it's not nothing, it's not much.
A pair of earrings to match the pendant I made last week (class samples).
A pendant I finished today, although obviously not the chain. No, I didn't intend for it to hang on a black chain.

I just realised that it's a bit on the Harry Potter side. You know, pentagram-ish. Witches. That sort of thing. Not my intent, I swear.

I knitted a bunch. No pictures.

I took my baby to college. No pictures. It rained as we moved him in. A lot. An inch, according to the weather people, who are quite a bit better at reporting what has happened than what's going to happen.

My oldest turns twenty-one at the stroke of midnight. No really, she was born at 12:01 ayem twenty-one years ago. The hour is significant only because it gave me an extra night in hospital which when you have a newborn is like being at a fancy hotel spa thing, relatively speaking that is. I mean, there are no facials or hot stone massages or awesome food and expensive mineral water, but you do get waited on hand and foot, especially when the epidural takes a full twenty-four hours to wear off enough that your legs can support your weight.

Good times.

I'm still dealing with cat pee, although at this point I can't tell whether it's pee that I'm smelling or merely the gazillion products I've been using to transmute it into something better.

That's what the enzymatic cleaners do, isn't it? An analogously Rumpelstiltskin thing, but at a sort of lower level. I mean, I think straw has its uses (cat pee does not, as far as I can tell), but gold is better (and cat pee transmuted into water is definitely not as offensive as its starting point).

So far it's been cheaper than getting a new tile floor or even a new carpet, but probably not quite as effective, so I guess you do get what you pay for, at least in some instances.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Uncertain Measurements

I assume I'm not unusual in that weekends are divided into those things that I like to do and those things that I have to do that are too difficult for during the week, when I'm at work most of my waking hours and thus otherwise occupied. It's probably different for people whose time belongs to someone else forty hours a week.

To a certain extent, my measure of the success of a weekend correlates to how much I actually managed to get done, both in the Have To and the Want To categories, and how good I feel about that success depends on how anxious I was about the Have To and how much I enjoyed the Want To.

Weekends in which I make things, and especially when I completethem, tend to be more satisfying, more successful in my mind than when I don't.

Broadly speaking, that is.

I got lots of Have Tos done. Visitation for a co-worker's mother. Shopping for my son for college. Sewing his duvet cover. Laundry, bills, that sort of nonsense. Feeding the cat. Not as much sleep as I needed though.

I'm trying to figure out if the rest was in the Want To or the Have To category, because it was beading (which I like) and knitting (which I like though I didn't finish anything), but on the other hand, it was class samples and not even new ones, just finishing those I'd started or making one which really ought to be available since it's in my Etsy shop.
I made another one of these, because the prototype needed tweaking, and even though the picture on their web-site is of that one I needed a good one for the bead store.

I also finished this necklace, which was ever so slightly on the interminable side. Just a touch.
It didn't need alteration or tweaking or second-guessing, but it did need quite a bit of time. One Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me and quite a few Fresh Airs. Listening online is the best invention ever. Well, it's up there anyway.

So I got Stuff done, and I didn't hate it, but it didn't bliss me out either, and now it feels like past my bedtime and tomorrow is Monday, but I'm not entirely satisfied that it was a weekend well spent.

In truth, all my beading joy could well be tainted by The Cat That Pees On Carpet Even After Steaming It (which makes the likelihood of new flooring all the more likely at a time when I'm not thrilled about pouring money into anything as I'm already opouring money into two college educations as of the week after next when school starts), but I really have no way of knowing for certain, do I?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Out of Proportion

A few weeks ago I missed Nancy's birthday around the time that Adriana admired a pair of earrings here, so I made a few pairs for Nancy and sent Adriana the ones she admired. It was the least I could do, really.

A small gesture of friendship.

But then this was in the mail today.
In case you can't see, it's a lot of chocolate with fabulously exotic flavourings like Indonesian sweet curry with coconut, and wasabi and ginger and blood orange caramel (I've tasted that one: yum!) and jasmine tea. Oh and some cookies, because really, seven slabs of chocolate just aren't enough.

Talk about overwhelmed!

Meanwhile I've been making class samples (story of my life) because the originals are in my Etsy shop (here and here) and so really ought not be sequestered in the classes case in the bead store for the next four months.
The earrings are identical to the ones I'd originally made, but the pendant has an add-on.
The dangle is exactly the same as the earrings (well, close) but without the overlay.

So often I add an overlay to something in large part because it needs strength or support or a place to affix a bail, but with this design, the overlay is entirely unnecessary and utterly decorative.

I actually like it both ways. More is often better but not necessarily, as it turns out.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Variations on a Theme

I had made a necklace with these funny little components, and Amy had suggested that alone they might make over-long earrings, so I made an abbreviated version.
Apart from being shades of grey and therefore awkward to photograph, it was an excellent idea, and I like the way they turned out, though my choice of a teardrop bead at the bottom was perhaps less inspired, as they tend to not want to hang straight. Something with a straighter shaft would have been better, like a dagger bead. Probably one of the cute little miniatures.

The pendant however, does not incite me to second-guess myself.

I'd had the idea for a pendant using one of these components for a while, which turned out exactly as I'd anticipated. I think it could easily be adjusted to accommodate big-bottomed teardrop pendants too - in fact that had been my initial vision, but somehow I was seduced by the shiny.

It happens.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I Don't Love Blue

Without the supporting cones, the medallions at the ends of my twirly slider make pretty decent earrings.
And the Chinese crystals I bought in a feeding frenzy on a whim finish them off just perfectly.

I may have mentioned before that I'm weak for opal-style colours: those milky shades with a hint of translucency that seems to lend them an ethereal glow. If not, I'm telling you now.

So I acquired some opal grey/blue/lilac/something spade beads which I thought I would make into a necklace that I would love and adore and have and hold until death or fraying thread tore it apart or familiarity bred contempt or boredom or something; point is, it was going to be for me.
It's just a bit blue for me (which ought not to surprise me since most of the accent beads are on the blue side), so I'm hoping someone else will first feel and then submit to irresistible lust. For the necklace.
I'm especially chuffed with the clasp, because as it turns out, some time ago I apparently urgently needed some button beads in the same indefinable colour which I promptly put somewhere dark and out-of-the-way so that they would not guilt me with their presence because it turns out I have had (until a few minutes ago) absolutely no idea what to do with them.

As it happens, a pair make quite a nifty toggle-style clasp.

What I'll do with the other twenty-three I have no idea, and I may have to wait another couple of years before I figure it out, but I'm feeling much more confident that something will occur to me.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

And Again

I had to make another twirly slider because I wanted to try rondelles in place of some of the smallish round beads, and I also wanted to see if I could adjust the length so that it would show its face better.
The golden one I made over the weekend was almost exactly two full twists; in other words, if you cut the ends off and cut in in half, it would be two circles. Like open jump rings.

This one is two and a half twists, and my thinking was that one end would sit against your chest, looking down at the floor and forcing the other end to be eyes front.
At least on a small plastic bust it sort of works.

The rondelles definitely work. You can't exactly see them, but they're towards the narrower end of the cone.