Without really thinking much about it, when I started tinkering with making jewellery again a few weeks back I set myself a challenge to finish or abandon most of the pieces I’d left incomplete last time I had a bout of diy-jewellery-itis along with refashioning and exploring new ideas.

I had these paper beads made from the pages of a book. I tried stringing them, knotting the string between each bead, but the result left me feeling ho-hum. As I cut the threads I lined the freed beads up in a row, and that’s when inspiration struck.


I used a beading technique from The New Beader’s Companion called ‘square stitch’. The result has drape, and a pleasing nubbly texture.

The other batch of paper beads I’d made were from Japanese paper. I tried joining them in a hexagon pattern to make a triangle, bib-style necklace, but they wouldn’t sit flat. So, once again, I separated them. I started playing with them on my beading mat. They put me in mind of beaded curtains, so I lined them up in a triangle that way instead, and I liked the effect.


(Necklace stand bought from Waverley Antiques Bazaar. It’s a bit small, but works okay for my shorter necklaces.)


Paul wanted to go to the tip shop the other day, after a friend said there were some vintage cameras there. I tagged along, and found myself trying to untangle some necklaces. I wanted some of them for the beads, but boy were they tangled! I wound up buying a fistful of beaded strands because it was easier than separating them. That and a beaded bracelet cost me $2.

Once home, I washed everything, pulled apart the bracelet and untangled the necklaces. Turned out that the reason half of the strands of beads wouldn’t separate was because they were joined with a small circle of beads to make one necklace. I liberated them, but got to thinking about how they, and two other strands, went really well together.

So I started exploring how I could hold them together. I tried this snap clip first:


Works, but is a bit ‘industrial’. What I wanted was a ring that could open and close. The next morning, as I was putting the clip away, I noticed my bag of old buckles. Particularly a fancy one I’d always wanted to try incorporating into jewellery. So tried it:


It works and looks better than I expected. The tongue is not inclined to hinge open, even when there’s no pressure from the strands holding it down.

The whole exercise has had me thinking about jewellery-making again. I did a pile of it around this time last year. First I had a critical look at the costume jewellery I have already, finding a few pieces in my collection I wanted to cull or alter. Then I looked in my supplies case, reminding myself about projects I didn’t get around to last year.

So I got playing, and had some winners:

This is a re-de-refashion, or something. I liked the original bracelet…


…but the crimps holding the beads in place were scratchy. So a couple of years ago I did this instead:


But I never really liked the result. I preferred the look of the first bracelet better. So this time I remade it using beads instead of crimps, threading the tiger tail through them twice to keep them from moving:


I made this a couple of years ago:


Then later made a matching bracelet using a washer for the closure. I didn’t love it, and I was going to simply cull the necklace. But looking at the washer closure gave me an idea:


I’ve also tweaked two more necklaces – including one that must be 15 years old. The ideas are flowing. The visual diary has some new sketches in it. Looks like I’ve tipped over into one of those short-term craft obsessions again. That’s fine. It never lasts more than a month or so, and I’m having fun.

The Arty Necklace – Inserts

I started the Arty Necklace in 2012. Let me recap…

First there was the preparation, then the linking.

Next I was supposed to fill the frames with… something. I’ve been changing my mind on what I want ever since. First it was mini artwork, then photos, then embroidery, then mirrors. Each kind of filling has difficulties to overcome. None are particularly quick to do. In the end I came full circle and returned to artworks, so I brought out the acrylic paints and got to work.

First I filled all of the frames with pieces of acrylic board – cardboard with a surface that mimics the texture of canvas.


Then I wrote down a list of as many kinds of traditional paintings I could think of, and started painting.


This is going to take a while, so I’ve decided my WIP Wipeout is over and have begun a few new projects. More on that soon.

Ribbon Scarf


After getting my craft mojo back post trip, I couldn’t decide what to work on. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to tackle anything on my to-do list but that I wanted to do all of them equally as much. So faced with too much choice I figured I may as well attack the WIP list instead.

The first thing I did was finish the flamingo pendant, then warp up the rigid heddle loom for some more placemats. But I wanted to reduce the WIP list and I had four placemats to weave then a runner to warp and weave so it would be a while before I could cross that one off. Rather than start weaving I set my sights on finishing faster WIPs.

I made a tough decision and unpicked the embroidery on the grey vest, While I thought it looked sweet, it really wasn’t me. Nothing like abandoning a project to quickly reduce the WIP list!

After that I examined the ribbon scarf. I’d been basting ribbons on slowly, usually during an evening of tv watching. But I found it hard to tell if I was getting the colours evenly spread, or if I had enough ribbon to cover both sides. So I decided to lay the fabric out on a table and lay the remaining ribbon over it. I worked out that I really only had enough ribbon to cover one side.

I started cutting and pinning ribbon, and once I was satisfied with the arrangement, I basted the ribbons down over a couple of sessions. All that was left then was to sew them down, hem the scarf and unpick the basting, and it was done.


This is a 100% recycling project. The gauze was left over from another project, and the ribbons removed from an old costume.

As for the rest of the WIPs… I reckon I can get the Paua Shell Collar done pretty soon. I’ve also returned to art classes, so I’m finally making progress on Justin’s portrait. What I really need to tackle, however, is the Art Necklace. It’s the oldest WIP and it’s time I got it out of the way.

Flamingo Pendant

Here’s the finished embroidered pendant I began while overseas:


As I suspected, it all started to look right once I got the full range of feather colours on. I found a blue cord necklace at Spotlight that was a close match to the fabric.

Last weekend it went to the recipient, a thank you present to my lovely friend Karen who made some promotional notebooks for me to use as gifts overseas. She is rather fond of flamingos.

Something Borrowed, Something New

Jewellery-making continued…

Key Necklace:

A remake of a necklace I made a while back with an old fob watch on it, but never wore it because it was too long and heavy. This is lighter and tidier.

Netted Stone:

I’d seen something similar, with rough crystals and leather, on Pinterest. I used linen thread. It looked fiddly, but it turned out to be very easy. You don’t have to hold the stone while tying the knots. You just knot a round and test the net for size now, then repeat until it’s big enough. The closer together the rows of knots are, the less flexible the net is width-wise.

Amethyst and Linen:

Adapted from a necklace in Micro Macrame Jewellery. I used the same linen from the Netted Stone, and amethyst chunks. There’s a lovely weight to this necklace – light but substantial.

After that I was drawn toward back to paper beads. But I found I didn’t have enough of those I’d made previously to do what I wanted to do, so I’ve wound up making and decorating beads instead of jewellery this last week. And resting my hands, as work is stirring up the rsi.

Typical Craft Twitch

I guess it was inevitable…

Friday night: untangled, culled and sorted jewellery
Saturday morning: bought lamp, mirror and materials to make jewellery display board
Saturday afternoon: made board, set up dressing table
Saturday evening: pulled apart some culled pieces and added to jewellery-making supplies
Sunday morning: culled and reorganised jewellery-making supplies
Sunday afternoon: read jewellery-making books and pinterest during work breaks, sketched ideas
Sunday evening: started fixing and making new jewellery, sketched ideas
Monday morning: culled more costume jewellery
Monday evening: made more jewellery
Tuesday morning: blogged about it

… but I’m not complaining. I’m relieved that I finally found my craft mojo again. Jewellery-making has always been an interest that comes in sudden bouts of inspiration, lasts a month or so then ebbs away. It’s good for a quick crafty fix, but it also reaches that ‘I don’t need another x or y” stage pretty quickly. That’s why a cull tends to lead to creating – it ‘makes room’. And the bonus is that I can pull apart and reuse the bits of pieces I’ve culled. This time I’ve taken that a step further, and culled things so that I can reuse components.

What have I made so far…

Map bead bracelet


Pen nib pendant


Geometric necklace


Charm bracelet


I also had fun taking the photos. Ah, bokeh, you’re almost retro already.

A Bit of Dressing Up

I’ve just finished a little weekend project, which had the added bonus of motivating me to unpack yet another box: a new costume jewellery board.


Back at the last house I kept my costume jewellery on two pinboards I bought and covered with calico:


There’s no convenient alcove to use as a dressing table here. Initially I wanted to put a shelf in the walk-in-robe, but there wasn’t room for it. The next choice was having an actual dressing table in the bedroom. Using the old Singer sewing machine table seemed like a good option as it’s small and cute and it means we don’t have to buy another piece of furniture, so I put it in position… and covered it in unpacked boxes of bags, shoes and jewellery.

I had a table, but what about a place to display jewellery? For a while I flirted with the idea of turning my old printer drawer into one, but most of my costume jewellery is necklaces and the compartments are the wrong size.

So I eyed those old pinboards. They were the wrong colour for the bedroom, so I’d have to sand and repaint, replace the fabric, and make two new holes in the wall to hang them. Or I could take that old metal poster frame with no board or glass that’s been hanging around in the garage, buy a new board and come cork squares that happened to be exactly the right size to fit 2 x 3 in the frame…


… then glue the tiles, assemble the frame and hang it up by a chain to a new nail in the existing nail hole, stick some pins in it, unpack, cull and hang the jewellery…


The end result looks great and was pretty quick to knock together. The cork and black frame match the sewing table wood colour and cast iron base. I also bought a lamp and mirror on the same trip to get the tiles and board. And I’ve moved my make-up and perfume into some decorative boxes.

The old pinboards are going into the craft room, where I’m sure I’ll get plenty of of use out of them as inspiration boards.

And speaking of inspiration, I now feel the urge to make some jewellery…

Craft WIPs

Tapestry Bracelet – Abandoned
I went off the boil with this project. The trouble is, though I’ve sewed in the ends, the flower yarn is slippery enough that they worked their way out again. And it’s was such slow work. This is about five or more hour’s worth. Zzzznore!


Art Necklace – in hiatus
I was going to fill the frames with little paintings of eyes and ears and mouths, then after I started embroidering I got the itch to stitch something instead. But I couldn’t think of a subject. Lately I’m thinking photos of my ancestors might be better – and much faster.


Double Trouble Baby Blankets – picking up again
Inspired by a weaving group meeting on multiple projects on one warp at the Guild, I cut a warp for two baby blankets late March. I lost momentum for this project for a little while, but resumed warping a few weeks ago. Last weekend I finally finished and started weaving. I’d really like to give one of the blankets to a friend who had a baby in April.


Two Heddle Leno Scarf – established
Another project inspired by the weaving group, after a meeting in which we explored bead leno. I got to thinking that bead leno should be possible on the rigid heddle loom if it had two heddles. Well, I didn’t manage to do bead leno, but worked out a way to do doup leno with tabby between.


Gift Yarn Jacket Modification – current tv project
Adding another band of ribbing to this:


Eye Embroidery – poised to begin
The skull was a great ongoing brainless portable project that I could pick up while watching tv or work on while travelling. Now that it’s done I’ve got this eye ready to go.



This was the only embroidery project I started while overseas. I got the ‘eye’ of the feather done, then finished the branches at home. It’s done with cotton floss, using one thread.

Mounting it was easier than I hoped. I’d cut an oval of clear plastic the same shape as the setting’s interior to stretch the fabric around, and stuck double-sided tape inside the setting to hold it in place. I’m relieved and rather chuffed that both ideas worked – the fabric stretched smoothly over the plastic and the tape appears to be holding it securely in place.

I gave the front of it a spray with shoe waterproofer in the hope this would prevent staining. Then I stole a chain from another necklace.

It’s definitely a winner in my eyes. I love it!

In other embroidery news, I’m still working on the skull:

It’s slow but satisfying work – also done with one thread of cotton floss. I’ve also started another pendant design:

This one’s using with three threads of floss which is giving it an appealing bulk and sponginess, though I might do the veins and arteries with single threads.