Thursday, June 24, 2010


It is that time again.  Another opportunity to review products for  I have really been enjoying this as it has allowed me to try things that are new to me but also it has challenged me to come up with jewelry using different products.  This time our theme was "summertime" and we had the choice of products in the Glass beads, Pendents and Charms categories.  You could give me glass beads any time since it s a broad category and there are sooooo many wonderful choices in there.

 I got my e-mail shortly after having returned from Wire Fest in Philly and having taken a class from Dallas Lovett that includes both wire and beads that I just adored.  I came away from that class inspired to play more with the idea of combining beads and wire; that inspiration is coming into fruition in two pieces, this happens to be the first one I have finished.

After spending hours looking at's website and trying to figure out how I wanted to interpret "Summertime" I narrowed it down to using the Swarovski Shell pendent as my focal and working from there.  Beach, ocean, and shells; they all feel summery to me.  I decided to go with blues and beiges to bring out the colors of the water and sand.  The photo above is my original sketch.

One of the most exciting moments for me is when the beads arrive.  It is a combination of looking at all of the new gorgeous beads and know that it is time to make my ideas come to life.  What will it look like when I finish it?  Will it have the look, the feel the energy that I am striving for?
Here you can see all the beads laid out.  Mmmm, yummy makes me want to head to the beach.  The Swarovski Seashell pendent in Crystal AB was everything I could hope for.  It picks up the blues and the beiges depending on the angle of the light reflecting off of it.  I chose TOHO seed beads in 11/0s, 8/0s and 6/0s.  In colors like Matte Apollo, Stone Blue, and Matte Natural Picasso all of my colors were everything I could have wanted and more.  I also chose 3 mm and 4 mm Czech Fire-polished crystals,  choosing only 2 of each size was really challenging even knowing I was going for blues and beiges.  The Blue Tiger's Eye and the Crystal Picasso ended up being my favorites.  And last but not least were the 9 x 6 mm Roundelles in Yellow and Cobalt blue both with a Full Picasso finish, both were to die for.
Besides a drawing as a guide and piles of beads this project also needed another really important item.  Wire.  I chose to go with Sterling Silver in 20 and 26 gauges.  One of the things I really like with pieces like this is the challenge of figuring out how to execute them.  How to turn a sketch and piles of beads into the vision I have for the piece.  The photo above is the first step in making it happen,  this will become the center of the piece.
Here you can see the center section finished.  You can see how the seashell is looking more yellow than in the earlier photo of it.  I think I may have to make another necklace with just this center section as the focal,  you could use any pendent you want in it and have a really nice piece.
The first of the two side shells starts here,  figuring out what beads to use and in what order is part of the fun here,  Using the largest beads along the outside edge of the curve allows the beads to follow the curve without needing partial rows or gaps between rows.  
This gives you an idea of where the piece is headed.  I made each of the sections separately because this would make it easier to work on.  The biggest challenge of working on this type of project is to keep from tangling the wire on things or poking yourself with it.
Here we have the first of the side shells.  It was an unexpected benefit that you can see both a shell and an ocean wave cresting in it. And this is where I will leave you for the day.  What will the piece look like when all of the part are finished and put together?  Will it seem like "Summertime"?

Disclosure...As a reviewer of products at, I receive the Swarovski crystal pendant and Glass Beads above free of charge. I have been asked to review these products and give my honest opinion of the products...positive or negative. I am not being compensated by for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received and reviewed.

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