Beadwork!

I finally sat down and finished the beaded jewelry set that I was working on! And I’m pretty thrilled with the result!

Beadwork Jewelry

Beadwork Jewelry

These are essentially beaded bezels around the polymer clay button beads that I made a while back. I used Peyote stitch for the bezel, of course. I started this at around the same time that I made the Peyote stitch tube, so the beads are still the non-uniform ones. I love how the pieces have turned out, though. Making the loops and connections was pretty fun too — especially when I got the ones on the central piece of the necklace correct with just a bit of planning ahead. πŸ™‚

Now that my stash has uniform beads, and more importantly, since I’m more confident in my beading skills, I can’t wait to make my next beading project. I’m afraid I’ll feel the need for size 15 beads soon, and they’re not available locally. (I used size 11 in the current pieces, and had to stitch differently in the innermost row because the beads were too big.)

Natasha beads

I know Natasha beads involve slicing, and Sculpey III is probably not the best clay to use when it comes to slicing. But I had this Sculpey III cane of green, brown and white that I’d made when I started claying, and I haven’t really been able to find a use for it, so I decided to just ‘destroy’ it. And what’s a more satisfactory way to destroy clay than to make Natasha beads from it! πŸ™‚ Even if the beads might not turn out fully symmetrical, because not only is Sculpey III so soft and pliable, but it’s already really, really hot here these days…

Natasha beadsI first thought of making keychain charms from the cuboidal Natasha beads, and they didn’t have to be super-perfect. In fact, I had to cool the clay multiple times in the refrigerator to be able to slice it without squishing it. (It’s still a bit squished, though :) but like I said, I didn’t need the pieces to be perfect.) I attached eye pins before baking, securing the pins by bending them slightly before inserting into the beads.

Natasha bead keychain charmsI sanded and buffed the beads so they’re smooth. (Sculpey III doesn’t ever end up with a shine.) When I showed them to my folks, they thought they’d make great earrings. So my sis picked two beads that are more similar than the others (at least in size — these beads never turn out the same!) and I ended up making an earring pair and two keychain charms!

Natasha bead earringsThey’re pretty easy to make, especially if you use clay harder than Sculpey III. Do you think you’ll make some? :)

Carved beads jewelry

My next project in PCA 2017 is inspired by the Night Out Necklace from Shannon.

Carved beads jewelry - PCA 2017

Carved beads jewelry – PCA 2017. Perfect Pearls shine! ❀

Shannon’s necklace involves hand carving beads. I have great self-awareness when it comes to my knife skills — I know that I’m bad with knives and constantly afraid I’ll slice my thumb off πŸ˜› — so bead carving was going to be a challenge for me. (Gulp!) Not one that I’d shy away from, although I wouldn’t make as many beads as Shannon did. Partly because, you know, too much knife time, and partly because I’d like my jewelry better in a slightly different design.

Making the beads was fun, and even more fun was applying Perfect Pearls on them. Ooh, the shine! The combinations! I used Berry Twist with a hint of Perfect Bronze. (Or was it Perfect Copper? I knew I should’ve jotted down the colors right then.)

I’ll admit the carving was strangely therapeutic, and I’m relieved my thumb is still intact πŸ˜€ but I’ll need a lot (and I mean a whole lot) more practice to make those slices neater. More practice, and more experience to figure out the science behind when they slice off easily and when they don’t. The edges of the focal bead (the cuboidal one) were much easier for me to work on. Maybe it’s the angle of the surface? Was it just that I’d gotten more comfortable by the time I picked up this bead? I’ll need to know more, and boy am I gonna do more carving! πŸ™‚

Back to the jewelry. Another first for me was using a drill bit to make a hole at the bottom of the focal bead, where the tassel is attached. A bold move, considering that it’s the focal! πŸ˜‰ It went well though, and I love how neat the hole looks. I’m officially sold on post-bake holes.

I made tassels from leftover Nako Comfort Stretch yarn, and picked a variety of bead caps, and attached them to the main focal bead and the two spherical beads. Since there’s only one hole for the tassel on the focal bead, and that support is not sturdy enough, I used E6000 adhesive to make it stick and stay there better. Next time, I’ll bake the bead with the wire already in it.

Lastly, I attached the earwires to the earrings, and some bead caps and eye loops to the pendant. That’s it!

Tiny flower earrings and pendant

My mom had received tiny glass bangles at a ceremony — they’re barely 2-3 cm (an inch) wide. They were obviously not made for wearing, but the uneven thickness of the glass made them look very artsy. With my newly developed interest in polymer clay, I had just the idea for using them in some jewelry.

In related news, I recently made my first cane with some leftover gray and pink clays from a (disastrous) project that I talked about previously. I didn’t have any particular design in mind, I just wanted to practice reducing the cane and seeing if the original pattern stays recognizable. The pattern did change, and I need a lot more practice to get to the stage that I see in tutorials, but this cane is obviously not wasted. (Is anything ever wasted in clay land?) I cut out slices from it for the jewelry I had in mind.

Remember, in my last post, I’d discovered that Sculpey III clay, which I’m using, turns out brittle when used for thin pieces? Well, I used that wisdom this time. If you’re thinking I made something thick, well, you’re in for a surprise. I went even thinner! πŸ˜€ What can I say? I trust my creative instincts, and it pays off sometimes. πŸ˜‰ I cut out slices from the cane, and stuck them to one another like independent-but-kinda-joined petals, and to the backs of three of the bangles. One of them would become a pendant, and I worked on that first to get a feel for this stuff. The other two would make earrings, and, feeling confident from my practicing with the pendant πŸ˜› I made them look mostly alike. (Phew!) I shaped all of them so they would bulge slightly outward.

Then came the baking. I placed tiny paper balls under the petals so they would retain their bulges. And I used my newly-made foil-lined paper box to protect the them from temperature fluctuations. I baked for about 10 mins tops because they’re so thin, and they turned out alright when I took them out of the oven, yay! Maybe I can stop feeling apprehensive about the possibility of burning things now.

I grabbed some jump rings and findings. (Looks like I don’t have blackish rings and findings anymore, and neither does the online store I usually shop at. Time to look around.) I carefully added jump rings to all three pieces, and then earring findings to two of them. Ta daa!!

Tiny flower pendant

Tiny flower pendant

Tiny flower earrings

Tiny flower earrings

Given the fragile nature of all the parts that make these jewelry pieces, I don’t know how long they’ll last. I did apply copious amounts of glue to the backs, and since earrings and pendants don’t undergo rough use, I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Not all my fingers, though. πŸ˜‰

Foray into clay

For a while now, I’ve been thinking about my jewelry making supplies, or lack thereof. I’ve mostly been interested in trying out wire jewelry so far, but I’ve not been able to find thicker-gauge soft wire — essential for cool jewelry πŸ˜‰ — where I live. The only other option is ordering from stores outside my country, and I’m not ready to undergo the hassle of international shipping every N months, and all that waiting for the package to clear Indian customs, with no way of tracking its whereabouts. πŸ™‚

So I decided to look for other types of jewelry-making that I could try out, and this time my choice would be based not only on my interest, but also on easy availability of essential supplies.

Enter Polymer Clay.

My sis already has a sample pack of 20 mostly-earthy-and-pastel colors with her that she’d bought from a domestic company, and she’d made an awesome bowl and some cool coasters with it a long time ago. I, being in my wire-jewelry world, hadn’t given much thought to polymer clay then. But when we talked about my supply issue, and she mentioned polymer clay, I was like “Why haven’t I looked at this yet?” Because I’d definitely seen some cool polymer clay stuff on Pinterest.

So I went through some basic polymer clay videos on YouTube, appropriated my sister’s polymer clay supply (muahaha!) and made these dangle earrings.

First polymer clay dangles

I rolled some gray clay into a sheet, and cut out two rectangles. I stamped some circles on the lower half of the rectangles. I then hand-rolled some white clay into a rope, and gently set the rope on the rectangles, above the stamped area. I poked a hole at the top of each rectangle to let a jump ring through later. I baked the pieces at the recommended temperature.

After the pieces came out of the oven, I applied some prussian blue acrylic paint on the stamped halves of the rectangles, and quickly wiped it off lightly so the paint still stays in the etched areas. Some paint remained on the unetched surface as well, but I do like that it turned out that way. I let the paint dry.

I then applied a couple of layers of Mod Podge to the pieces, inserted jump rings and added earring findings. Done!

Needless to say, I’m happy and excited about my foray into polymer clay, and I’m buying some tools when my basics get better. (Yes, tools do seem to be available in India. Hurrah for that!) I’m hoping it’ll be a rewarding hobby.

Pearl dangle earrings

I’d made a pair of wavy pearl dangle earrings a while ago, but noticed I wasn’t wearing them much. So I decided to give them a quick makeover. I twisted the waves into rings (still squiggly ones though) around the pearls. Heh, I really didn’t want to waste that wire even if it was slightly dented from my earlier bad handling. πŸ˜›

Pearl dangle earrings

Surprisingly, this small change makes the earrings cuter and more appealing to me. I’ve already worn them twice!

Background: My valet tray. Embellishment: Fringe from my macramΓ© ornament. Looks like my DIY items are wonderful props! πŸ˜€

Scrappy earrings

Scrappy because they are made of fabric scraps and look disorganized as well.

Scrappy earringsI tore out strips from unused brown/black fabric, and cut some pieces of leftover brown yarn from my old knitting projects. I made two hoops from silver-colored wire. I created each hoop this way — first, I made a loop about 1cm in diameter; then an eye loop from one end such that it circles around the other end; finally an eye loop from the other end just below the first eye loop. The second eye loop will turn out perpendicular to the first. (Wish I’d clicked photos of the steps, but it was a random experiment.) I made sure the second eye loop was large enough to fit in it a bunch of the fabric strips and yarn.

So you now know what the next step is. πŸ™‚ I took a bunch of the strips and yarn and ran them through the second eye loop. I checked that both ‘arms’ of the bunch hanging from the eye loop were similar in length. I gathered both arms together, smoothed them out and made a knot (not too tight right now, though!) right where the second loop is. There, that hid both eye loops because of the thickness of the fabric bunch.

Before tightening the knot, I moved around the strips and yarn slightly so they look haphazard but not too much.

To finish the earrings, I added a finding to each hoop.