Friday, August 30, 2013

Barbie...or Lolita...and some New Work

I have been on a quest to find a mannequin.  I FINALLY found one that did not cost a fortune. I need said mannequin to assist me in taking a photo of my necklaces "when worn".  I am not into self portraits...ergo, I needed a mannequin.

Here she is in all of her naked glory!  She is a perfect size 8...I just need to find some proper clothes for her ... they will NOT be found in my closet, as I am not a perfect size 8!

I tend to name inanimate objects - my car is named "The Beast" because I am 5'0" tall and the length of my car feels like four times my height.  Anyway, since my mannequin was labeled "a perfect size 8" by the manufacturer, I feel that the name I give her must suit her perfect figure.  I am toying between Barbie and Lolita.

My next problem is where to put Barbie/Lolita. My "studio" is in my unfinished basement, which also happens to house my photography setup.  IT'S DARK DOWN THERE.  I work with 4 Ott lamps all concentrated on the same place of my table.  I repeat - it's dark down there!  I do use two photography lights for images of my jewelry.  I played around today for a bit - the lighting (or the backdrop) is still not right.  I got frustrated and quit for the day! But, at least I have the tools necessary to get a good picture of necklace when worn...eventually! 

The picture above shows a necklace on a my naked Barbie/Lolita.  I must find clothes for her, or a least a drape of fabric from my mother's fabric stash!

Here are a few pictures of the same necklace taken in my makeshift photo booth, in collage format.

I combined several sets of beads I recently purchased from Julie of Outwest - 23 beads to be exact.  I soldered a few rings as connectors, swirled some wire and some handmade "ladder chain", and came up with a 2 strand necklace.  I love this style! 

I recently purchased some beads from GlassBeadArt and made 2 bracelets.  Her beads are truly gorgeous, aren't they?!  I cannot get enough of these beads...I believe I have had every single color...if not, that will be my mission! :)

I made the toggle from 10 gauge silver soldered and formed into an off-center circle shape -- kind of like a belt buckle.  I added a cocoon bead made of silver, which I learned from a tutorial from Kay Sommers.  I have not made these in a while - so pretty!

The next bracelet also features more stunning "Sparkling Rock" beads from GlassBeadArt.  I call this bracelet Silver and Gold.

See that hand?  I bought a mannequin arm, too!  Anyway, I have made a few of this style of bracelet - it is so much fun to make, and the focal stays right on top of the wrist - where it is supposed to!

The next bracelet is in the same style, with all beads made by Kerry Bogert.  I have had these beads since I bought them at ArtBliss last year!  It was finally time to bring them out to play!

Kerry is the Queen of Color - and these rainbow stripes on her beads look fabulous! Even the back of the focal has a cool textured design - love it!

One more bracelet was made - again, with gorgeous beads by Julie of Outwest.  I call this one Night Sky - although in my neck of the woods, the night sky does not look this good! 

I added a "messy" wrapped bead in sterling.

I suppose I need to come up with a name for this mannequin arm, too...hmmmm

Last up are two pair of earrings - both made with beads made by Julie (Outwest).  Her disc beads are simply awesome - both in color and shape!

I have had a heck of a time with computer issues in both listing my items on Etsy and writing this blog post today. Phew!  I made it!

I hope everyone has a SAFE Labor Day Weekend!  Thank you so much for stopping by!


Monday, August 26, 2013


It has been a lovely weekend!  The weather in Northern Virginia has been nothing short of fantastic, which means low humidity!  I won't even begin to describe the puffiness(more like frizz) my hair achieves in the hot, humid Virginia summer!

Friday, Great Grandma (aka my Mom) and I drove down to Fredericksburg to meet the new babies!  I must remind you that I have no children, so the awesomeness of the new lives was nothing short of breath taking!  Jen and Jason, though very tired, were beaming with joy!  Mom was the first person in the family, outside of Jen and Jason of course, to hold the little munchkins.

You can just see the instant love in Mom's face while holding Evelyn!  My flash was going nuts - so this was the only picture I took.  Mom, Dad, and new babes are doing wonderful! :)

I had not even gone to my bench in over a week.  This does not mean I have not been buying beads, though!  I have a hoardful (is that a word?) of beads from one of my favorite artisans - Donna Millard.  There is just something so very special about her beads - I buy them and leave them on my bench to stare at - each bead is truly a work of art!

With my last purchase, I promised Donna I would take her beads out for play - and I did just that on Sunday.

First I made this bracelet.  I wrapped the focal in heavy gauge wire - coiled the ends and made a hand forged toggle.  The rustic treatment Donna put on these beads really softens the orange and makes it "wearable".  

The beads have a base of orange, green or black - the frit gives it a wonderful element of texture and brings the cohesiveness of the focal into play.

Next up was the "matching" necklace.  I made the extra large infinity hoops from heavy, 14 gauge wire.  I hammered the heck out of them and then wrapped them with 20 gauge wire in the center - they remind me of bow!

Rustic - earthy - boho - love this necklace!

This last necklace was a labor of love!  I wanted to accentuate the gorgeous rounds - transparent glass with her signature scroll, leaf and hand-applied murrine work - also treated with the rustic finish.  So, I got some sheet copper, textured it, and hand cut some bead caps.

I wanted the bead caps to have a touch of "bumpiness" to them.

Just look at these beads - can you understand why I keep her beads on bench to stare at all day long?!

This transparent, icy blue has fast become my favorite shade.

I added just a few links of handmade what I call "ladder chain" to the ends - again, I used 14 gauge wire.  I made these links larger than usual - I am happy with how they turned out!

My hands were tired by day's end! 

I hope you all had a lovely weekend!  Hot nasty weather will return for a couple of days here - and then we hit Labor Day Weekend!  So excited for the return of Fall!

Thanks so much stopping by!