Sunday, July 31, 2011

Monday Wishes

Amy at Copper Diem started this idea of Monday wishes. I found that I had some wishes of my own!

I did a little chain mail over the weekend and my cheapo pliers didn't help! I realized that I really, really wish I had some ergonomic pliers! Like these:

Or a whole set! Heaven!

Or a whole HUGE set. OMG. This would be so great!

Also these would be nice, thank-you-very-much!

These are from Kristi Bowman's Etsy shop and I just love them.

That's enough from the greedy girl for this week!

Macro? I wish...

My camera seems to have issues getting too close so here's a shot of what the camera calls a macro!

This was fun and fast -- although my cheapo pliers killed my hands!

studio waterstone

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Mighty Triangle

I am crazy about geometric beadwork! It’s why Jean Power is a superhero to me. She has that geometric stuff down and makes amazing and beautiful things that just appeal to me so much. It’s also why I’m so excited about the upcoming book that Kate McKinnon and Dustin Wedekind are working on. The pictures they’ve posted are just so fantastic. See both Kate’s blog and the blog for the book.

I don’t know why I love this any more than I know why I love one painting more than another. It just speaks to me is about all I can say. I tried and finally succeeded in making a simple triangle but, lordy, what a process. Bead, rip-out. Repeat over & over. But finally... Here are some photos of earliest incarnations: The first two are flat, two-dimensional beings. Not at all exciting (except for the fact that they actually came out triangular which amazed me).

The next two are actual 3D triangles. Whoopie! So exciting. Don't ask what I'm going to do with them. I have no idea. I just loved making them.

Finally comes the triangle on steroids! The Wavy Triangle. As soon as I saw it on Beads for Brains, I knew it had my name on it. It has lots of dimension and nooks and crannies and wraps around itself and was the most fun to make. I much prefer Mandy's colors to my own but c'est la vie.

I hope my color choices get broader as my experience does. I seem to be in a rut here. But I am having a really good time in my little rut!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lori's Having a Book Giveaway!

Lori Anderson at Pretty Things is giving away a copy of a cool new book. It's called Hot Connections Jewelry: The Complete Sourcebook of Soldering Techniques, and what I love about it is that it's something I (a rank beginner) could really use.

It has chapters on the basics of soldering, forming metal, adding textures, patinas & other finishing techniques, how to add beads and stones to your work and more.

I'm hoping to win this one but if you'd like to take a chance, too, go on over to Pretty Things and put your name in the hat, too!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday

My first (and maybe only) BTW post. This is the table next to where I work. It's usually an even bigger mess than now because I cleaned stuff up and away last weekend.

And in case you're wondering: Yes, those containers in the background are ones that meat comes in at the grocery store. The butcher gave these to me when I asked for one for a craft project. So generous and accommodating. I was grateful but now have enough for more projects than I'll probably ever do.

The little basket is nearly full of stones (tumbled and polished) waiting for me to learn how to wire wrap them and make them into something pretty. They're left over from the days when I dated a rockhound guy. I love all those stones! See why:

Here's a couple of close-ups of one of the really cool ones. I have no idea what all these stones are but they are endlessly fascinating in color and texture.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

When Trying Is NOT Lying

A while back I was bemoaning my horrible wire wrapping skills on the comments to Lori's blog, Pretty Things. She gave me some really good advice. She said to just do it! And do it again. That's the way she learned -- just by repetition. Smack my head w/ my hand. So profound (?) it never occurred to me. I thought I was just destined to be unable to do this cool trick.

So, thanks to Lori, I sat down with a great little book from Kate McKinnon that had excellent photos and wrapped until my hands hurt (ergonomic plyers would be so nice!). Here's what I came up with.

A lot of the not-so-good wraps, yes. But also a lot of progress. I'm still not a whiz at this. I need to practice more but I'm less daunted by it. (This a practice bracelet, not meant to be worn.)

So here was a case where I was really trying and not lying about that at all!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Metaphysics of Gemstones

Do you ever think about the metaphysical aspects of gemstones when you're making things from them?

I'm very interested in this and have learned in a lot in my short time beading & stringing. Whether you believe it or not, it doesn't hurt to consider this when you're making something specific for any other person.

My almost-daughter (a friend of our daughters) has been trying to get pregnant. At 38-39-40, this is not easy. I made a bracelet w/ stones that are said to enhance fertility. The stones included chrysoprase, green jade, carnelian, quartz and garnet. Our dear almost-daughter isn't pregnant yet but we're still hopeful.

One time a dear friend was going through a very, very stressful time in her life. So I made a bracelet that used stones said to promote balance, harmony & peacefulness, to calm conflict and agression, and to increase desires for new experience and provide general protection. Those stones were unakite, red jasper and mookaite.

And for good measure, I made a few bracelets that covered the chakras, those wheels of energy along the body. I made some with glass in the colors of the chakras but then decided gemstones would be more powerful. So I used garnet (or red jade), dragon vein agate, crystal quartz (or yellow jade), peridot, crazy lace agate (or fire vein agate), sodalite, and amethyst in those. Here's a picture of each of them.

I'd really be interested in what you think about all of this. My interest in metaphysics goes back way before I started to make jewelry but I love the that it ties in so naturally here. Please let me know what you think. Thanks!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Trying is Lying

"Trying is lying," a wise man once told me. You either are doing or not doing. There's no "trying" to do something. Unless you're learning something new and are literally trying over & over to get it right, "trying" is usually an excuse.

I am so guilty of this. I say I'm trying to make jewelry. Well, then, I say back to myself, "Shut up & make it." And that's where I stand at the moment. Wanting not to try. Wanting to do. It sounds so simple. I wonder why it isn't.

This topic will be continued. It's a recurrent theme in my life....

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Why I Started Beading

This title is a lot like "How I Spent My Summer Vacation," but I hope I can express here what I love about this community. I haven't been beading for very long (and seem to be a slow learner about lots of it) but I have made some remarkable friendships along this journey. It is amazing to me how kind and helpful and encouraging you all are. I read blog after blog after blog because I just really like knowing you all and how you express your creativity along w/ the doubts and fears and love and joy it brings you. I want that, too.

I just made a bracelet this weekend for a neighbor who has been particularly great to my husband and me (and one for her mom, too). (This has some onyx, a lovely focal from Lauren at Redredmelt on Etsy, some coral, and sardonyx.) She called and was so profuse with her thanks that I was embarrassed and kept telling her that I don't know what I'm doing yet, that I'm still learning, that this bracelet isn't so great!!

Wouldn't it have been so much better to just shut up and say thank you. Yes, it would! So clearly I'm learning another lesson while learning to be a beader/jewelry maker. And that secondary lesson is a much harder one for me.

I loved making this and making it for a particular person made it more enjoyable for me. I tried to think about her colors and the colors she wears and hoped to find something to blend.

The one I made for her mom was much much different. First of all, her mom wears softer colors and more yellowy, greeny things. So this is what I came up with for her. [This photo makes it look like the jump rings are all scratched and marred but they aren't.] There are 2 kinds of jade, some pink lepidolite and those flat shells are in green & yellow. Because the backs of the shells are not so pretty, I used two each time back-to-back. I was wondering if I should have glued them together but decided not to (well, not exactly decided -- I didn't have any glue!).

So why I started beading is to learn something new, to play with all you bead bloggers, to get immersed in color again (quilting and knitting came before beading). And what I'm learning is a lot about beading and a lot more about myself and some life lessons I need to learn.

Seems like a win-win situation for me. Isn't that grand?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How to Save Money Buying from Fire Mountain

I may not make a lot of jewelry but I sure do buy a lot of beads. Sad but true. I'm working on that. But when I do buy I shop around, looking for the best deals. My last major purchase was a whole lot of Miyuki Delicas. Those babies are not cheap anywhere but when I look at those tiny tubes of glass I totally understand that. They are amazing. And come in hundreds of colors. I want them all!

So I built an Excel spreadsheet of prices of Delicas. There are about 25 online bead sources on that list along with their Delica prices. And you know what? The cheapest was Fire Mountain. Even though I wasn't all that surprised, I had hoped to discover some little unknown shop that would beat them. No such luck.

But now there's a way you can get Fire Mountain beads for even less than their already low prices: Jet Beads is a new service that is so wonderful that I decided to dedicate my 2nd blog post to them!

Here's how it works: Jason, the owner of Jet Beads said this:
I am a large wholesale buyer of Fire Mountain Gems product which means I am able to purchase anything and everything they sell at the super-low discounted 200+ pricing level. In other words I pay less than half the every day prices and leverage this to sell to other potential Fire Mountain customers at a steep discount. This allows me to offer you the ability to buy at a much lower price then you could on your own and still have the order shipped straight to you from the Fire Mountain warehouse.
Here's what you do:
Pick out what you want from the Fire Mountain website but instead of placing that item in the shopping cart, put it in a Wish List. Click the boxes at the top of the Wish List that enable others to see that list. When you're done, go to Jet Beads and follow their simple instructions.

What you get! At least one price break from what you would get if you ordered directly from Fire Mountain. In other words:

When you need 1 to 49 items you will pay the 50-199 price level

When you need 50 to 199 items you will pay the 200+ price level

How awesome is that? If you want more than 200, there's a further discount (but I haven't gone that far out yet).

I'm on a budget, money's tight, the economy stinks, and here is this bright little spot in my beading world that helps me so much. I can't begin to tell you how much I love this service. Jason is great to work with and provides terrific customer service. Orders are shipped directly to me from Fire Mountain and seem to arrive more quickly than when I used to place orders on their website. And in case you're wondering, this is all on the up & up with Fire Mountain.

There aren't enough situations that are win-win in this world, but this is one of them. No, I'm not being paid for this shameless advertorial. I just am finding that lots of people don't know about the service Jet Beads provides, people who would probably love it as I do.

Sharing the goodness... that's all.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Welcome to Wild Sally Road

Hello! I think the birth of my blog and the celebration of the birth of our country is somehow appropriate. Don't ask me why, maybe I just want an easy way to remember the blogiversary.

I, first of all and most importantly, want to thank Mandy at Beads for for this blog. Mandy took my waffling, wobbling and wavering about starting this and ran with it. She said she'd set it up and did it so well! What a great friend is that! I'm hoping I can carry on now without having to call for help every 5 minutes. And what a great blog she has -- I can't even imagine doing what she's doing -- very impressive!

Second, I have to say that if there's such a thing as a dedication on a blog as in books, I would dedicate this to my family. I have an amazing husband who is supportive beyond belief. And he wears the hats of chef, physical therapist, chief cheerer-upper and taxi driver with such good grace and always, always humor. I don't know how I got so lucky. And the rest of the clan? One daughter, SIL and grandgirl (age 20 months, the most amazing Ruby) live in LA; other daughter and grandgirl (the equally amazing 4 1/2 year old River) live in Berkeley. I am not sure I remember how it came to be that we would live in Houston and our family so far away, but I am sure it's not ideal. There will be photos from time to time of the grandgirls. I can't help myself on that score: they are the joys and delights of our lives.

Jewelry: Well, yes, there is that. Or, at least, I hope there will be. The title of this blog was chosen after my long indecision because my daughter believes that "Wild Sally Road" will help me stretch creatively in a way that "Sally Anderson Beads" (or something similar) would not. I hope she's right and because I suspect she is, that's the title! Thank you to my sister-friend Judy for finding the road sign in the first place and for the photos of it.

One of the best reasons for having a blog, for me at least, is Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Blog Party. After reading about this and being a spectator, I can finally be a participant. I'm very excited about that as I just loved seeing what everyone did in the past.

Finally, thanks to Lori Anderson (Pretty Things), Cindy (Sweet Bead Studio), Donna (Soaking in Mustard) and, of course, Mandy (Beads for Brains) for following this blog before there was even a blog. I am so grateful to you for that show of encouragement! Thank you.

Break a bottle of champagne over this blog and call it launched! Hooray!
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