One woman's adventures in the land of hand made jewellery

Sunday, 27 October 2013

October Fest

Autumn is apparently well under way in Northern Europe but here in Morocco the weather is warm and sunny for the most part with little sign of change. The trees are mostly palms or citrus fruit so no leave turning brown either. Life on a boat means that for the most part we stay almost continually in summer but I do miss the changing seasons, the bright new greens of Spring and the rich hues of Autumn. So coming across pictures themed around October in Jewel School Friends latest blog hop inspired me to get a bit more in step with the season.

The colours in one particular photo reminded me of beads in my stash. It took a while to locate them, living on a boat means my bead boxes (all two of them) are tucked away on a bunk usually behind lots of other more useful stuff like charts and life jackets. The beads in question are large and have survived so long because I was not entirely certain how to string them or whether I could even wear them. I fell in love with their glittery shape like a magpie on a visit to a South African bead shop and they've been tucked away for several years, retrieved from time to time to wonder over but until now ideas which would set them off have failed to materialise.

Hand made clasp in brass wire
They are polished resin ovals containing stripes of sharp colour alternated with gold glitter so are not exactly subdued. Like bright colours of a Virginia Creeper these beads shout loudly for attention and deserved to have their season - the acid green, oranges, gold and brown entirely suit Autumn. A length of chestnut coloured leather thong, some gold coloured tiger wire together with a brass wire hook clasp made several months ago and a few other beads complete the ensemble. All that's need now is an occasion to wear it before the season draws to a close.

Autumn Jewels

Close up of the beads
Hope you enjoy Autumn too why not hop over to some of these other season October Fest 13 blog posts, I'm sure you'll be made welcome and find a feast of season goodies:

Andrea Glick-Zenith
Dolores Raml          
Karla Morgan          
Mischelle Andrade  
Kay Thomerson       
Jean Yates                
Kelly Hosford Patterson
Kathy Lindemer       
Liz E                         
Jasvanti Patel           
Christie Murrow      
Jodie Marshall         
Andrea Trank          
Dini Bruinsma         
Elsie Deliz  Fonseca
Karla Morgan          
Vera Lynn                
Rana Wilson            
Catherine King        
Lily Vincent             
Janice Hidey (Janimar)
Cory Tompkins        
Candida Castleberry
Cynthia Kent Machata
Alicia Marinache     
Linda Anderson       
Leah Curtis              
Jennifer Reno (JenRen)
Robin Reed              
Tanty Sri Hartanti    
Lisa Lodge              
Ingrid A.                  
Judy Turner             
Gina Hockett           
Nelly May               
Tanya McGuire       
Sonya Stille             
Carol D.                  
Asri Wahyuningsih 
Ginger Bishop        
Shaiha Williams     
Toltec Jewels         


Monday, 21 October 2013

Been Awhile

So it has been over six months since I posted anything here... and almost that long since I actually made anything beady. Been busy sailing and exploring but having ended up in Morocco for a few weeks I am determined to get my stash out and make something. Watch this space!!

I fully intend to attempt a few challenges to get the creative juices flowing again. I found this list of interesting challenges most of which are now over but still it gave me a few ideas: Jewel School Friends

Saturday, 20 April 2013

UnBirthday Party Day!

It seems so long ago that I was sitting on my boat making a very special piece of jewellery for a complete stranger... well only a month ago and not such a complete stranger, we'd been introduced and swapped emails so I knew her name, where she lives and most importantly what her birthday month is.

Jana lives in the Canaries, a place I hope to sail my boat to later this year and she was born in February which makes her birth stone the gorgeous Amethyst. There is a lovely legend about how this gorgeous stone got its name - see my previous post which also explains why we are making celebratory jewellery for each other.

Purple, violet and all shades in between are my favourite colours so it made making a special gift even more pleasurable. But what to make from my onboard mini-stash? Would it challenge my resources? Would I have to go on a hunt for a bead shop (the one in the city of Portsmouth, UK sadly closed a few years ago)?

Over the years I have collected lots and lots of second hand beads and costume jewellery and amongst my crafting stash on the boat is a large bag of unsorted beads and trinkets. I spread the contents on the saloon table, trying not to loose any on the floor as the boat rocked and swayed in the winter winds howling round outside (it was snowing and a gale was blowing, which seems weird as I write this now in the heat of Dubai).

This is what I picked out, adding a few things from my findings box, some Czech glass pearls and the violet coloured glass beads you can see in the top left:

I'd sketched out a few ideas and decided to make a necklace with a large focal piece that would catch the light and glitter, something for everyday wear over a plain top but that could equally be worn to an UnBirthday Party. I love constructing tassels in shapes and forms.

The whole necklace was laid out several times whilst I decided what to put with what and where. I have finally learnt it, seems to figure out the whole construction before I begin so avoiding the how on earth do I attach xxxxx dilemma later on, where xxxxx could be the clasp, the focal or even simply ending a string of beads. Eventually satisfied I started assembling beginning with the focal piece.

The observant amongst you will have noticed from my first picture that the dark amethyst coloured beads were already wired with bead caps. They came to me that way and I've no idea how they were originally strung, one of the fun things I love about using recycled jewellery and beads. I simply made connecting links threaded through the long faux bone tubes to join these together.

Isn't it amazing how one material glass can look so different - the beads in the picture above look much more robust with their strong colour than the delicate translucent violet ones in the picture to the left.

Some tiger tail enabled the stringing of the last section of pale violet glass beads and pearls up to the sunburst clasp on either side.

And finally the focal piece could be joined into the necklace using a length of silver wire.

All that was left was to wrap it in a swathe of tissue and ribbon, place if in a padded bag and send it on its way....

The finished piece
And that is the story of my HBBH3.5 piece.

I'll leave Jana to tell the tale of her present to me but I will say that as yet my crazy globe trotting life has prevented me in seeing it in real life though I have viewed it via a Skype conversation with my in-laws in the UK! Roll on May 17 when we land at Heathrow and can settle at home on our boat for the foreseeable future.

PS: If you want to know more about my expat and sailing adventures you can find them here

PPS: It is a PARTY and here is a list of everyone who is celebrating - do go and meet them:

Alicia Marinache -
Chris Eisenberg -
Joana Perez Stribel -

Shelley Graham Turner -