Thursday, March 17, 2011

Winter Enchantment

It is St Patrick's Day and although my crocus are very happy and it is really nice outside I am blogging about Winter.  My winter piece for has taken a bit more time than I had anticipated.  Part of the reason is  that as always I underestimated how long it would take to do all of the fringing which always takes more time than I expect; and that I have been keeping busy with house projects and doing research to get ready for our spring gardening.

This last year the has been going with a seasonal theme and this is our last season, can't wait to see what comes next.  I love themes and challenges because they often make me think in a different way.  I was really glad this time that it was a winter theme because it allowed me to make a piece that had been in my sketch book since not too long after I had started beading.

I had always planned for it to use necklace sized memory wire so I got some of that.  I have used the ring size to make wineglass markers but had never worked with the necklace size.  It looks to small to go around your neck but it worked really well.  The nice thing is that the package has enough to make several necklaces so I may have to try some other ideas with what I have left.

My inspiration was icicles or hoarfrost which I saw plenty of a couple years ago when I visited Iowa.  When the plants are all covered in the frost and the sun comes out it is an amazing sight.

To capture that look I needed seed beads in whites and silvers so I got several packages of TOHO seed beads.  I ended up choosing their Crystal/Silver and Grays mixes ( really love the mixes you get different sizes and colors), 3 mm magatamas in Transparent Crystal AB (haven't played with these much, less pronounced than the drop beads, very nice), and 11/0s in Frosted Transparent Crystal AB and Silver Lined Crystal (both nice additions to the mix of whites).

The other really important part to make it look icy was some Swarovski Crystals in Crystal AB.  I took this opportunity to try out some  crystals that I had never tried before.

For this piece I chose 6 mm  Helix beads, 4 mm Xilion Bicones, 11 mm Tear drop Pendants, and 13 mm Polygon Drop Pendants.  Wow!  OK I admit that I love Swarovski crystals of pretty much any kind, but I was really happy with the 2 pendants and helix beads which all had great reflectiveness.

I also got Crimp memory wire ends that had loops on the end so that I could hang items from the ends.  These worked really well,  I put glue in them before crimping them on and they seem nice and secure.

The first step was to mix all of the seed beads together,  I added in more seed beads that I already had because I realized I was going to need a lot more seed beads to get the look I was after, luckily I had done a couple other winter projects in the past and had plenty of beads to choose from.

All of the dangles for the piece are made with fringing, lots and lots of fringing.  It takes a while to do but for projects that you want to look like vines, plants or in this case icicles they are wonderful.  I put crystals near the ends of quite a few of the  fringes. Here you can see the fringes.  I made them separately from the necklace to make it easier to make adjustments as I put the necklace together.

Here are the earrings, they are a bit heavy and I may need to make them into ear cuffs or something so that I can wear them for longer periods of time.

Here is the finished necklace, against darker colors it looks really nice and when the sun hits it glistens like ice.  The memory wire worked out really well for the piece and I was quite pleased that the piece came together much like I had sketched.  The last photo is a close up of the largest fringe section.  Hope you enjoy.

Disclosure...As a reviewer of products at, I receive the Swarovski Pendants & Beads and Seed 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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