Bracelet To Go With Onyx & Gold Earrings

Wednesday, July 16

Finished this bracelet yesterday. I LOVE it!! Hubby loves it!! He has asked that I keep this set, including the earrings.

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I used the same supplies as I used to make the earrings with two exceptions. I added bead caps to a couple of the Onyx beads. Just to change the look a bit and not have all of them the same. And I added a few daisy spacers when wirewrapping the flat oval Jasper beads. Again, to add variety.

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Bracelet measures 8″ and has a gold plated lobster claw clasp.

A perfect match to the earrings.

Dangling Earrings in Onyx and Gold; Hearts & Crystals

Tuesday, July 15

Wirewrapping IS getting easier. I don’t even dread it anymore. Though it takes longer to make, you can go off in many directions as you can see from the earrings I made last night.

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Dangles with two tiers of gemstones plus crystal charms using links of chain and jump rings. 

I rarely make earrings so I surprised myself in making them FIRST. When I do make earrings it is usually because I have beads leftover, just enough to make a pair. But this time, I had an idea for a dramatic pair and kept changing, rearranging the pieces until it matched the image in my head.

Now, I have to work on the bracelet. The base is finished. Next I will wirewrap the beads and then decide if I want a full look or sparsely filled look. I would like for the bracelet to match the fullness of the earrings if I have enough pieces.

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Supplies used in this project:

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  • Chain link coils, gold plated
  • Black Onyx beads, oval shape
  • Jasper beads, flat oval shape and smaller round ones
  • Topaz Crystal Dual Channel Connector, gold plated
  • Jet Crystal Hearts, gold plated
  • Jet Crystal Round Channels, gold plated
  • 3mm gold filled round beads
  • Jump rings, gold plated, 6mm, 18 ga and 4mm, 21 ga
  • Fish hooks, gold plated
  • Headpins, 3″, 21 ga, gold plated

New Tools.. Can I Use These For My Toothache?

Friday, July 11

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Not feeling so hot today, nor did I yesterday. Though shortly after experiencing some of the worst pain I have ever endured, I was walking straight enough to browse through the craft store aisles looking for new wireworking tools.

It all started two weeks ago at the dentist. What was supposed to be only a new filling turned out to be a hot nerve that needed to be taken out. Ok. I wasn’t happy but what can you do. You have to take care of your teeth if you want them to grow old with you. Made do with a temporary filling for 2 weeks to let the area cool off and heal. Then it was back to the dentist. Yesterday. The left side of my face was already still sore and my head hurt. And it just got worse as the minutes passed.

During the next hour, you would have thought I was having major surgery without any pain killers. It was that painful. My dentist, bless his heart, stopped several times during the procedure to allow me to catch my breath, giving me a relief break in between the drilling, filing and poking. I went through 4 or 5 hot towels. Boy did they feel good next to my jaw.

Afterwards, they asked me if I had any errands to run. They wanted me to go straight home and rest. I said no, I didn’t. Well, I guess I lied since I knew my next stop was the craft store come hell or high water. Fat lip, swollen face, aches and pains. All of that and it was off to do some shopping.

These are my new goodies. My new wireworking tools.

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I got a hammer with plastic ends to minimize the damage to the wire. A metal block for banging on. A ring thingy. Mandrel I think it is called. For making rings in different sizes. Also for making jump rings. And more 20 gauge wire. Oh.. and also in the photo is my other wireworking jig. The Thing-A-Ma-Jig. That is what it looks like.

So, today, sometime today, I am going to start pounding and hammering. I took two Advil an hour ago. I should be good to go soon. Sure wish I could have used these tools yesterday. To pound on my head.

Wirewrapped Necklace in Green and Copper

Sunday, July 6

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Well, that wasn’t so bad after all. Though my hands DO ache, I guess it was worth it to learn how to work with wire.

My wirewrapping has greatly improved. I know it is probably just my imagination but I get a strange feeling when I start to wrap a loop. It seems the wire gets softer just as I am pulling the first wrap downwards. Then with the next pull, around and toward me, it gets hard again. The first time this happened, I thought it was all in my mind. But it happened again and again. Feels soft one minute and hard the next.

It took 3 days working on this necklace, on and off. I went slow since I wasn’t sure if the wire would do what I wanted. A couple times I had to scrap a section and start over. I did waste some wire but since I am still working with practice wire it was ok.

Necklace was created with wirework and wirewrapping. I used one of my books for inspiration and also used The Coiling Gizmo to create the coiled sections. The sections are connected with jump rings. It measures 28 1/2″.

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I used the following supplies to make this necklace:

  • 20 gauge copper colored wire
  • green glass beads in different shapes and sizes
  • 6/0 bronze seed beads
  • antique copper bead caps, clasp and jump rings
  • 4mm copper colored beads

Wirewrapping With Copper and Beads

Saturday, July 5

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I am happy to report that after only two days, my wirewrapping skills have improved. The wire gauge certainly makes a difference.

I am still working with practice wire. I want to get much better before I work with sterling silver. Or even gold filled wire, when I can afford it.

Late last night I was up, couldn’t sleep for all the boom, boom, hiss, hiss sounds from fireworks going off all over my neighborhood. I think I even heard a few gun pops mixed in. So I took my mind off all that racket by making some copper wire coils with my Coiling Gizmo and practiced wirewrapping.

This is what I made using 20 gauge copper colored wire from Darice. (The coils at the top right were made from 26 gauge wire.)

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The swirly design was in one of my books. Looks sort of like a musical symbol. It didn’t turn out exactly like the picture in the book. My wire gauge is thinner but it came out well enough that I didn’t undo it and start over.

I plan to add a few more sections to this and make a necklace.

Playing With Wire… Look What I Made!!

Saturday, July 5

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Worked some more on my wireworking last night. I really like The Coiling Gizmo. It is very easy to operate. I wear a glove on my left hand to guide the wire so it wraps straight without kinking. Also saves me from getting friction burn on my fingers.

I started a little Wireworking Notebook and am making notes as I create stuff such as… one yard of 26 gauge wire yields 1 1/2″ of coiled wire. I can then refer back to these notes later when I need to.

Decided to make a bracelet out of the two cream colored wire coils I made the other night. I added two strands of bronze seed beads to each coil end. As I was working, I noticed the coils starting to twist. Rather than try to untwist, I went with it and added MY OWN TWIST.

Bracelet can be worn with one twist.

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Or two twists. Just think. By accident, I created two different looks.

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The clasp is kind of different. I found it in the button department at JoAnn’s.

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I liked the bronze eyes and knew they would go perfectly with the bronze seed beads I had. Looks like a fish looking at you, doesn’t it? :D

Don’t know if I should call this bracelet The Twister or Fish Eyes.

Practicing With My Coiling Gizmo

Friday, July 4

Still reading my wireworking books. Still working with my practice wire. And learning all about my new thing-a-my-bob.

The Coiling Gizmo.

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Recently, a friend sent me a box of wonderful things. She had my name in the Fourth of July Pal Exchange. Included in the box was a gadget to curl and make things out of wire. It is called The Coiling Gizmo.

I immediately took it out of the box and started twirling wire on it right away. Didn’t even read the instructions. Not that there was much to read in the first place. From looking at the carton, I stuck the metal rod in the hole and turned. That’s it.

Well…actually there was a bit more to it. And I did have to give a shout out to hubby in the next room. He had to make a trip to the basement to dig out a C clamp for me. The directions called for either screwing the Gizmo into a block of wood or clamping it to a table with a C clamp. To tell you the truth, I never even heard of a C clamp and didn’t know if hubby had either. But 5 seconds later, there he was with C clamp in hand. :D

I have it clamped to one of the work tables in my craft room. For now I will leave it where it is. It is out of the way of my beading and macrame areas. And since I am still in the learning, testing and messing up stages, I won’t need a lot of room.

So far, I have used up most of my 26 gauge red, navy and cream wire. I twirled it and made long coils. Now I have to figure out what to do with them. I shaped them into loops and twisted them together trying to decide what part of the body they would look best on. I added some bronze seed beads to the cream coils. Not sure where I am going with this. Just thinking and moving stuff around. My better half suggested I braid the coils. Hmmm. I think I will pass on that suggestion.

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What I have learned is that 26 gauge is very easy to work with. Mainly suited for wirewrapping. Not sturdy enough for much else. Also I have learned I don’t much like working with 16 gauge practice wire. It is WAY TOO HARD to bend.

Everything I have read said to practice with inexpensive wire. But it also said expensive wire is easier to work with. Go figure. I want to learn but I don’t want to make my hands ache anymore than I need to.

I am going to move up to 20 gauge wire next to see if it is a bit easier to work with.

July is Wireworking Month

Tuesday, July 1

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This month should be interesting. I am looking forward to working with wire. I have been buying books for several months and studying the techniques and designs. And flipping through the pages looking for something that will be kind to my hands.

I have struggled with wirewrapping in my short jewelry making past and have avoided it like the plague. But there are so many beautiful pieces that can be created from wire and the only way to learn is by trying it. Experiment with different types and gauges. Hopefully my skills will improve and my hands hold up.

Here are the books I will be using as resources this month. There’s plenty here to get ideas from or to attempt the actually piece.

  • Contemporary Bead & Wire Jewelry by Nathalie Mornu & Suzanne J.E. Tourtillott. Lark Books, 2006.
  • Creating Wire and Beaded Jewelry by Linda Jones. North Light Books, 2004.
  • Beading with Charms by Katherine Duncan Aimone. Lark Books, 2007.
  • Findings & Finishings by Sharon Bateman. Interweave Press, 2003.
  • Creative Metal Clay Jewelry by CeCe Wire. Lark Books, 2007. (Not sure why I bought this one. I won’t be making any metal clay jewelry. But it was a bargain. 50% off. And it has great pictures.)
  • Step by Step Wire Jewelry. Interweave Press, Winter 2008, Vol 3, No 5.
  • Step by Step Wire Jewelry. Interweave Press, Summer 2008, Vol 4, No 2.

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Cuff Bracelet and Ohhh My Aching Hands

Tuesday, June 24

Here is my cuff bracelet I made in Monday’s class.

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This is my second bracelet made from sterling silver. My first was back in December 2007. The design for that one was diamond shaped with large crystals.

I don’t know if I am cut out for this but I wanted to try it again. My hands ached then and my hands ache now. All that wire straightening, bending, pulling and wrapping. I am going to have to figure out a way to lessen the wear and tear on my hands. Maybe wear gloves.

In class, I had a choice of either the turquoise and bronze above or a mix of bright colors. The sample bracelet used turquoise beads, bronze pearls and 4mm bicone crystals in turquoise and topaz. So I used it as my guide while making mine.

Two different gauges of sterling silver wire were used. 16 ga for the base and 24 ga for wire wrapping.

First, the base was made from 16″ 16 gauge wire. Straightened, bent, cut and shaped to fit my wrist. Then cut ends were wrapped with 24 gauge wire. Next, beads, pearls and crystals were added. Inside base space only allowed for 3 sometimes 4 pieces. I had to constantly be aware of the “shape” of the base and not pull too tight when wrapping or the center would pull in and distort the bracelet frame. I am thinking of inserting a piece of wood next time to maintain the shape.

Finished bracelet measures 6 3/4″ length and 5/8″ width. 101 beads, pearls and crystals were used. It weighs 8 oz.

I am somewhat pleased with the outcome though I do not like how the wire overlaps where the base wire ends connect. I need to work on ways to disguise that area better. If you look closely, it looks kind of messy. (So.. don’t look too closely. :D )

July will be the month for me to work on my wireworking skills. I am switching Embroidery Month with Wireworking Month. I will probably take a few more classes to help me get started.