A recent ‘bracelet’ project

I mentioned in my last jewellery post that I was going to try to get back into beading. I started with simple, but thought this time I’d try something totally different and a bit more involved. I ended up with this:

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I say ‘bracelet’ because that’s what it was meant to be, but I got a bit carried away with the beading and it ended up much more like ankle length on me, oops! However, I do have quite small wrists, so it may be more comfortable as a bracelet on some people! I would recommend though, if you use this pattern, that you keep measuring as you go because the full quantity of beads makes a bracelet far too large for me!

This now anklet is based on this ‘oriental’ bracelet pattern.  You will notice it’s not quite the same – I got part way through and decided it didn’t need any more ornamentation – I’m a fan of small, light, delicate bracelets – but if you wanted a bit more sophistication, you could of course keep on beading!

Also, please don’t be afraid of this project! It may look complicated, but I have very little experience in bead weaving techniques and I found this easily manageable! Have confidence in yourself :).

Here’s a couple more shots to show the front, and the back with the clasp as well: (ok, I know, not the best photos – I’m still learning!)IMG_3281IMG_3284

What do you think of this project? Are you a fan of the delicate and simple, or more opulent and fancy?

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Getting back to old hobbies (and a lesson in jewellery photography)

Coming to the end of my teenage years has encouraged me to reflect on where I was at the start of them.  As anyone would expect, I’ve changed a lot, but that doesn’t stop me wanting to reminisce and drag out things I used to love, if nothing else, for old times’ sake.

I hit teenagerhood (if that’s even a word) right around the time beading and jewellery making was a big thing.  I remember getting  a starter jewellery making kit from book club (yes, book club, remember that?!) in late primary school.

It completely, 100% had me in and I basically spent the next couple of years investing the entirety of my pocket money into jewellery making supplies, and making jewellery that I hardly wore, just for the fun of it.

It’s only now that I see that was a pretty big waste of time and money and that’s what inspired me to try to make an effort to wear some of the things I made, as well as to use up some of the big old stash.

I decided that a good place to start was to use up a whole heap of odd little beads – ones that have no matching ones, or that I don’t really like on their own, but actually work together really well.  There’s a mixture of glass beads as well as a few resin and plastic ones, which help keep the necklace light enough to wear comfortably.  (Please ignore how faded and dusty my beading tray is… it’s been a while!)

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This is what I made.

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This necklace is loosely based on a Katie Hacker design from her book 30 Minute Beading, but I’m sure I could give you a tutorial on the basic design, if anyone would like one!  The thing I like about it most is the fact that the toggle clasp is in the front, so it’s both functional and a feature of the design.  Here’s a close-up of the toggle, which also shows off its usefulness as a place to hang little charms…

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Now, I did mention ‘a lesson in jewellery photography’ in the title for a reason… I’m no great photographer (I use my trusty iPhone 5S as my camera), and I found it really difficult to get good photos of this necklace.  There are so many shiny things for the light to reflect off, so I wanted to share a few tips of how I got this to work.

  1. Indoor photos.  In the shade.  There was too much sun outside to get anything without heaps of light reflecting.
  2. Adjusting the angle to help minimise issues with the light, and to move any shadows around until you’re happy with them.
  3. Try different backdrops to complement the piece.  The earthy amber tones in this necklace just happen to match beautifully with a lot of the natural tones around the house – I used doors, floors, cushions, furniture… basically I walked around and picked out anything I could find that looked like it may work and gave it a go.
  4. Especially if you’re an inexperienced photographer like me… take heaps of photos! I find it’s much less frustrating to take a whole bunch and sort through them later, rather than taking and retaking; agonising over one shot again and again.  Even if you have no idea what you’re doing, you’re bound to get some good ones eventually!

Warning, photo spam… here are some of the better ones I ended up with.

What hobbies did you enjoy when you were younger?  Will you go back to them?  And, would you like to see more jewellery here?