Jewelry For Travel

The topic of this post is simple jewelry designs to help pull your looks together while travelling.   Of course, these can be worn at any time and necklaces add a little interest while coordinating with basic clothing pieces.   These are me-made, and more inspiration can be found on Pinterest.    The post I wrote about my London trip better shows my overall cohesive plan.

The necklace on the left is a wire wrap technique, which means that wire is wrapped with a loop on each end. The bead is in the middle.  A series of loops link together forming a long necklace.

The necklace on the right is a simple stringing project where beads and spacers are strung in a pattern with a closure in the back.

Variation = Versatility
Both necklaces complimented my wardrobe pieces by combining neutral colors. To offer the most versatility, I constructed them by varying the lengths and varying the bead size.   Although I love scarves as an alternative to spice up a neutral outfit, I prefer to wear necklaces if the temps are warm.

Questions To Ask 

What kind of trip will it be? ¬†A beach vacation, a work conference, or a family reunion all require specific wardrobes, so the jewelry included (if any) will be different. ¬† I want simple and easy ‘go-to’ items that add detail that makes the outfit looked finished and that I put a little extra time into the overall look. ¬† I don’t pack items of great value, but I do ask myself if I would be really disappointed if the item(s) broke or were stolen. ¬†Although I would miss these pieces if something happened, I also ask, ‘Can I remake or replace this jewelry?’ ¬†If yes, then in the bag it goes.

Assorted beads from my bead stash

Assorted beads from my bead stash

40 inch assorted bead necklace

40 inch assorted bead necklace

Discover Your Preferred Necklace Lengths
Trends in jewelry come and go. Classics like pearls and gold chains seem to remain strong, but it is the length that is important and very individualized.   I like more substantial pieces and have a shorter and longer length I keep coming back to that seem right for me.

If I want a longer necklace that has the potential to be doubled up, I have discovered that 40″ is a good length for me, especially if I include a closure in the back. ¬†That way I can unfasten it and place the closure in the front, avoiding pulling it over my head. ¬† Another length I prefer is at the collar bone. ¬†I have written about it here¬†and here. ¬†Toggle closures are bigger and can be fasten easily.

Navy, gold, silver, light pink, shell, pearl beads

Navy, gold, silver, light pink, shell, pearl beads

A closer look. Most beads from Joann's

Many of these beads are from Joann’s and from my stash

Design and Composition

Sometimes it helps to take a closer look at the beads, their arrangement and the tiny beads or spacers in between. I have written about going into stores and making a beeline to the accessories to check out the jewelry designs. Keep an eye out for jewelry that can be re-purposed or re-designed to your taste. ¬†If you like to bead, you may recognize in the picture above some of these beads from the Joann’s. ¬† Often the collections are a blend of beautifully colored beads. ¬†All that is needed is to string them up!

Small lobster claw closure

Small lobster claw closure used with a split ring

Metals Used Instead of Color
Using colored beads is not the only way to add interest in a bead design. Sometimes adding metals does the trick.   Adding the wonderful warmth of copper or the cool tones of silver and pewter translate as color and can add so much to the overall color scheme our eye sees.   Gold can be used instead of yellow and blackened silver can add the black to ground a design and add some shine.

Since mixing metals is a current fashion trend, I used gold square spacers on the sides of the navy blue stone beads and pewter/dark gray spacers (above photo) to incorporate a dark gray into the design.

Gold pewter toggle closure

Gold pewter toggle closure

I didn’t get many outfit posts recorded, however, here is one taken while walking late across the Westminster Bridge toward Big Ben.

Dressed for Big Ben

Dressed for Big Ben

Other simple choices for travel were the earrings I packed.  All of them were purchased and could be worn interchangeably with the necklaces.

Do you have some versatile jewelry pieces you like to pack? ¬†Do you even bother to pack jewelry? ¬†Would you consider making your own jewelry? ¬†Please share your comments below, cuz’ I want to hear!:)

Happy sewing , creating, travelling, packing, etc.!:)

-Dana

 

Pantone Spring 2017 DIY Necklace

Necklace worn with Butterick 5526

Necklace worn with Butterick 5526

Pantone Colors Spring 2017

Pantone Colors Spring 2017

I love a happy accident. Without even planning it, I managed to make a DIY beaded necklace using all of the warm shades of the Pantone Spring 2017 colors. ¬†Truth be told, I made this before I knew about the upcoming colors. ¬†Sewing my own clothes and making my own jewelry keeps me both on and off the streets! ¬† I never know where I will find inspiration to create….

The Pantone Influence
When Pantone introduces the colors for a season, I’m always interested and curious, but that is as far as it goes. ¬† The colors serve as a springboard to create something new in a slightly different color combination or they prepare me for what I will be seeing in the fashion, home decorating and fabrics. ¬†So far, I am liking these new Spring 2017 colors, both cool and warm. ¬† Do you see anything you like? ¬†Do you already have these colors represented in your life? ¬†One easy way to incorporate them is to pluck your favorite color(s) out of the mix and add an accessory to your wardrobe (maybe something you already own), add a throw pillow on the chair or wear new lipstick/eye shadow shade. ¬†Or say NO to all of them!

Much to my surprise, it looks like Pale Dogwood, Primrose Yellow, Hazelnut, Flame and a pinch of Pink Yarrow are all present in this necklace.  It seems to me that the current necklace style trends are long, tassel, diminutive and/or minimalist. But for those of us who are told to keep the focus upwards, I follow that advice to the point that the majority of my feature necklaces are more substantial in nature and fill in necklines.

Mixed Bead Multi Strand Necklace

Mixed Bead Multi Strand Necklace

Different Styles
Speaking of necklines, I was happy to see the attention these necklaces bring to the celebrities’ faces in this photo.

Neckline focus

Neckline focus

Imogen Lamport wrote a great post illustrating necklace styles that best flatter necklines.

Imogen Lamport's Necklaces for Necklines

Imogen Lamport’s Necklaces for Necklines

The picture above shows that there is a time and place for all necklace types, day or night. ¬†What’s your style? ¬†Are these too much for you? ¬†Too gaudy or just right? ¬†I have heard some women say that most necklaces are just too heavy to wear and the weight gives them headaches. ¬†I. ¬†Would.¬† Die. ¬†I like em’ big and bold here, here and here.

Now I do realize that this is not one of the serious topics circulating in our world right now. ¬†However, what I can control is how I present myself in the best way I know. Wearing things I make is very gratifying because I can express my style, satisfy a creative ‘itch’ and complete a project from my many queues.

And then there is style icon Iris Apfel. I love her spunk! I read somewhere she said, “More is more, less is a bore.” She is a person who knows how to use abundant accessories as her trademark.

Moving in the other direction, is a simple chain with some adornment more your style?

Clean and simple

Clean and simple

Simple chain and bar necklace

Chain and bar necklace

Although sewing is my first love, making my own jewelry using beads of all types comes in second place. ¬†The accessory department is my first destination when I enter a department or consignment store. ¬†It is there that I find inspiration for color schemes, construction and style. ¬†I’ve been know to whip out my phone to take a picture or two….

Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show
As I write this post, it occurs to me why the Tucson streets are crowded with out-of-state licence plates…our city is revving up for The annual Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show running from late January through mid-February. It is a world famous minerals, fine jewelry, lapidary, fossil and all things rock related show. It brings tourists and vendors from around the world and is overwhelming the first time one attends. But then after that, it is all-consuming and exhaustive. I encourage you to visit if beads and rocks are your thing…that sounds weird, I know, but there is so much to see. ¬†If you are able to attend, my advice would be to bring a backpack, water bottle and comfy shoes. Oh wait, MONEY, too!

My Necklace Inspiration:
First of all, I never know when I’m going to see something that motivates me to create. ¬†Often it is color. ¬†Believe it or not, the little .99 bags of assorted peachy/gold beads from Walmart were the inspiration for this necklace. ¬†The little bags contained a random assortment of these juicy colors. ¬†As a result, I pictured them blending well with the other beads in my stash. ¬†The few random big balls were the focal beads, supported by all of the other supporting colored beads.

21 Inch 5 Strand Necklace

21 Inch 5 Strand Necklace

It was certainly a bead stash-buster and use up some small and medium size beads as filler and color blenders. Instead of looking at containers of money beads sitting in my stash, I love finding a way to use up these little lovelies.   For this style, I simply started stringing beads graduating from smallest to largest toward the center and then down to smallest again.  If a multi-strand necklace is too bulky for you, refining your beads selection and making it only 1-3 strands would also work.  Maybe the color scheme is right, but a longer style with a tassel would work better.

Another view of the strands

Pearls catching the light

Cone and toggle closure

Cone and toggle closure

All five of the strands are pulled up into large cones using beading wire, crimp beads and an eye pin.  The strands are attached to a toggle closure.  I find large toggles to be the best way to fasten the multi-strand necklaces around my neck because they are easier to grasp, fasten and undo.  I have plans to post a DIY tutorial on how to finish a multi strand necklace for anyone who may be interested.

Necklace worn with Butterick 5526

Necklace worn with Butterick 5526

To read more about the shirt I made to wear with it, click here.

And fianlly, what are you making/wearing/ buying that incorporates the new Pantone Spring 2017 colors?
-Dana

Earthtone Beaded Ombre Necklace

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Blended Bead Soup

Blended Bead Soup

If you have been perusing my About blog page, you have seen a glimpse of my extensive fabric collection, an now I’m confessing to you that I have the same problem with beads. ¬†This is why I will not allow myself to start any more hobbies. ¬†I HAVE NO MORE ROOM. ¬†To use up some of the great beads in my stash, I experimented with an ombre (defined as having colors or tones that shade into each other) design, putting a dent in my stash. ¬†I aim to inspire you to make something up for yourself or give as a gift.

Blended Bead Soup Necklace

Blended Bead Soup Necklace

The most difficult part about making this necklace was having the space to spread out the necessary colored beads of different shapes and sizes.  I spread them out on my living room floor and started stringing the strands.  It was messy, but worth it.
My Game Plan:

  • Odd number of strands
  • Alternate different shaped beads next to one another
  • Transition colors in a subtle way
  • Audition final layout
Auditioning the layout

Auditioning the layout

Here, you can see I placed the strands next to one another to see what I liked best.

Coral beads featured

Strands reversed

Above, I reversed the strands to see what it would look like…hmm, not sure.
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Switched back. I think I like this best. Just to be sure, take the time to play around with it a few times before committing to the final decision.

Using bead stoppers

Using bead stoppers

Here, I arranged the necklace as I would wear it and could determine if I needed to add more beads to the outer strands for the necklace to lay right.  The idea is to keep the color groupings together as they curve around.

Add more black or white to ends

Add more black or white to ends

Side View

Side View

It’s time to add a crimp to the ends of the strands, attach to the closure and add crimp covers to hide the crimps. ¬†Oops, look like I need to add two crimp covers to the bottom strands. ¬† Rushed to take the picture!

Slide Bar Closure

Slide Bar Closure

Many closures would work, but I liked this hinged and slide closure/clasp for three reasons:

1.)  It laid flat against my neck

2.) It kept the strands separated

3.) Easy to use.

I purchased the closure from Joann’s, but could not find it on their website to provide a link. ¬†Here is something similar.

Up Close and Personal

Up Close and Personal

This is an up close view of how the beads can be arranged–do what you want.

Blended Bead Soup

Blended Bead Soup

It is a great creative project allowing for so many possibilities. ¬†I want to try some other unusual color combinations just out of curiosity…..and to deplete the stash a bit more. ¬†Have fun with your own leftover beads.

Other ideas:

  • Dismantle and combine old unworn necklaces and bracelets to make something new
  • Check your local thrift stores for possible jewelry to use
  • Make a long single strand blending colors

I hope this inspires you to make your own creation.  Let me know what you think.  Enjoy.

–Dana

Cuff bracelets, bangles, wide and narrow

Accessories: Black, White, Gold, Silver

*Slideshow will change or you can click on the arrows to the left/right to advance to next photo.

Because I love to sew, fabric purchases are my first and foremost weakness. (My family can attest to that!) Running a close second is a compulsion to purchase RTW accessories, completing the artistic vision I have in my head.   Sometimes I resort to making my own jewelry out of beads and findings, which takes third place.   Okay, I have said it here:   NO MORE HOBBIES!

It was great fun putting some combinations together of some pieces I have collected over the years. Some are old, some new, but because the black/white or black/cream pairings are so constant in fashion, it has been easy to amass quite a pile.   To see the coordinating Small Black Capsule wardrobe pieces, click here.

Links to buy these would be futile as I pop into stores now and then (Ross, Target, Stein Mart) and consider myself lucky to find seasonal, affordable accessories that last for years. ¬† The same is true for beads and findings from Michael’s, Jo Ann’s or the Tucson Bead Shows. ¬† I hope this post serves as a point of inspiration to make, sew, shop, or thrift treasures that fit your style and wardrobe.

Do you have a collection of black accessories ready to wear for most occasions in your life?  Do you weaken at the sight of just the right accessory?

Red, Whites, Blues

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As July 4th approaches, ¬†I have been getting into the red, white and blue theme in my sewing, scarf shopping, and jewelry making. This combo will be a year-round option, including other shades of the red/white/blue. Here is a quick bracelet I made from my stash beads. I like to call this approach ‘Bead Soup’ because I pick random loose beads from my collection and arrange them in a harmonious way, using up leftovers and creating something less planned and perfect. This works for necklaces, too.

First, gather all of the possible choices from your stash and spread them out.

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The above scarf was my inspiration.  It was from Stein Mart on clearance, similar.
As you can see on my tray, there is a Chico’s bracelet. ¬†I purchased two and broke one apart for parts. ¬† I often buy jewelry for the potential components in future designs.

Collect the tools, findings, and anything that may work in the design. Now, it is time to play.

Starting and completing involves jewelry wire, crimp bead(s), closure, cutters, and the crimp tool.
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Thirdly, arrange beads on the jewelry wire until you are pleased with the design. ¬†If you are using a toggle, allow a little extra length before finishing so that it is easy to get on and off with one hand. ¬†My finished bracelet is 8.5 Inches. ¬† I don’t mind a looser fit, but you may want it tighter. ¬†Do practice ¬†fittings before finishing.

Note: ¬†If you finish the bracelet and don’t like the fit, no biggy. Take a picture with your phone or camera, take apart and start over. ¬†Wire and crimp beads are ¬†relatively inexpensive and you will be happier with the results.

Coral, Pearls, Crystals, Semi-precious beads, silver components

Coral, Pearls, Crystals, Semi-precious beads, silver components

Do you have some beads in the stash that would make a great Bead Soup creation? I’l love to hear about it. Feel free to leave a comment.
Have a great Independence Day!
-Dana

 

Olive Beaded Lariat

Semi-Precious Stones, Pearls, Jasper, Glass, and Mother of Pearl Beads

Semi-Precious Stones, Pearls, Jasper, Glass, and Mother of Pearl Beads

I made this a long time ago when I was in a beading mood. ¬† It was before I had attended the Sewing and Stitchery Expo in 2013. ¬†It was in with all of my other lariats, hanging there, lonely, until I finished the jacket¬†in a prior post. ¬†I don’t wear lariats often because they can get in the way and come undone rather easily. ¬† But I do love the look.

I tried something new with this one to get it to stay in place.  Can you guess?   I had two quarter-sized lozenge stone beads and thought they would be heavy enough to keep the necklace from being fiddle-proof.

As you may have noticed, I like the color olive and all of its pond-scum colored relatives.   Jewelry is a great way to jazz up some boring or downright difficult-to-wear neutrals.  Any of the earth tones blended with a little crystal or shine is fine with me.   It is common that I will either buy/make the jewelry first and later find out it goes with other clothes in my closet or I sew up and outfit and am motivated to go to my beading stash and make earrings, necklace or a bracelet to go with that outfit.
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More about this jacket here.
Three Simple Ways to Tie a Lariat:
1.) Wrap it like the current scarves are worn; fold in half making a loop and pull the ends through. Slip over the head.

2.) Put it around your neck with ends hanging down and tie it like you are starting a knot but just do one cross over instead of two.

3.) Tie a loose knot.

Did I mention that this measures 47″? You can make a lariat longer or shorter. It is up to you.

TIP: Use a measuring tape as the lariat to determine the length wanted in the final design. This way, you will know exactly where to place your feature beads, overall design, and how it will drape before you get started.

Have Fun!!

Braided Beads

IMG_2231Mixing beads and then braiding them may not seam like a difficult approach to making a necklace, and it’s not, but I thought I would show you a few color combinations. Every necklace includes nine strands divided into three separate groups. Braid as usual, bringing the ends toward the middle until all nine strands are loosely draped. Add beads to ends if needed using spring clips on your wire because the braiding will draw up the length. When you are pleased with the drape, length and look, attach strands to the eye pin and prepare it for the cone and toggle closure.

Necklace length is 24 inches

Necklace length is 24 inches

I envisioned this being worn a turtleneck or deep v neckline so I thought the longer length would be a better choice. Plus, when the beads are braided, they seem to lay in the round a little better in a wider arc shape. All of the braids create a cord that doesn’t exactly drape or droop, so as I was making it, I would keep using the necklace form to see how it was progressing. The collection of beads includes chips, seed beads, Czech glass, any strand that catches my eye at bead stores! The strands can be strung in a repeating pattern or in a random to way. It is up to you.

Up close view of braided strands

Up close view of braided strands

Notice that all of the strands are different, yet related. This project is great fun because you get to use up so many beads from the stash. I call it “Bead Soup” because leftover beads can be used and incorporated.

Cones and Toggle

Cones and Toggle

All of the strands are attached to an eye loop of 20 guage wire and put up inside the cones. I then attach the toggle ends and finish with a wire wrap.
IMG_2246The next color combination used up some of my deep purple and green beads as well as iridescent blends of both colors. If possible, I blend both matte and shiny finishes to add interest.
IMG_2248As you may be able to see, the thickness of these necklaces is determined by the thickness of the beads used. It also affects the drape. I have found that the smaller seed beads keep the necklace more pliable.

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IMG_2247The same technique is used to finish this purple and green 21 inch version.
IMG_2237This is the dressiest of the three necklaces. I haven’t worn this as often in the past, but now that fancy, statement necklaces are more popular, it will get more use.
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IMG_2255If you love the look of pearls with casual outfits, you could make this with various size pearls and make the necklace more substantial. It would also sit higher on the neck with thicker beads or pearls.

Rose Toggle

Rose Toggle

I’m afraid my resources aren’t easy to track. I frequent the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show when it comes to Tucson every February. Purchasing findings are my goal every year, and I don’t always record all vendors and respective purchases. My routine involves coming home and putting newly purchased items with older like-items as an effort to stay organized. I make jewelry for myself and not to sell so it has never been too important.

I am particularly fond of the new pewter findings because they don’t tarnish. There are plenty of sterling components in my collection in the way of closures, spacer beads, end caps which just take more polish maintenance because they sit and don’t get worn as often. However, there is nothing like the beauty of shiny sterling silver. I am lucky to not have any metal allergies which would, of course, change everything.

What is your preferred closure choice and metal preference?

ReStyled Oval Faceted Iridescent Necklace and Earrings

I bought three strands of the large oval iridescent faceted beads so that I would have enough to do two rows to mimic a bib-style necklace. I could have just strung these horizontally on beading wire as I normally do but I thought I would design this hanging the beads vertically to resemble the current bib styles.  On the blue background, I see the aurora borealis (iridescent) finish bringing out the purples and the golds, but to your eyes, you may see other colors.
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Some of my most rewarding jewelry restyles are taking odds-and-end jewelry pieces from stores and various beads and then take them apart and make something new. Here is a clearance bracelet from Chico’s, beads from JoAnn’s that measure about 3/4″ long, E6000 adhesive and findings from JoAnn’s, and chain from Hobby Lobby. ¬†Some of my inspiration comes from fabric, colors in nature, internet photos, window shopping and people watching.

The following is a brief description of how to make something like this.  If you are not sure of some of the supplies or terminology, there are some great YouTube videos on how to do basic beading techniques.  You can also contact me with questions for more information or ideas for future posts.

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To make the necklace and earrings, here are some of the items I used:
1.) Gold Chain approximately 30″ for the bib style from Hobby Lobby like this.
2.) Closure like a toggle, lobster claw or magnetic.
4.) Jewelry tools: wire cutters, round nose pliers, flat surface pliers to open links when needed.
5.) Bracelet from a store to be reworked. (I removed two round hammered gold decorative discs with pre-drilled holes off the bracelet for the earring posts to glue to. They aren’t even missed on the bracelet!) How about using two pretty buttons?
6.) Earring Posts like these or sterling silver options like these
7.) Dremel tool or sand paper
8.) Head pins in gold or silver to attach bead to earring back
10.) E-6000 adhesive
11.) Toothpick
12.) Napkin or paper towel
I want to make a comment on the E6000 adhesive. I normally buy the large tube, use it a couple of times and then store it away. My jewelry making can be sporadic, and by the time I get back to using the big 2 oz. tube, it has dried up and I throw it away. I was thrilled to pay the same price for 4 small tubes because I think I will actually get more value out of less product!

Before gluing the posts to the back of your earring piece, I recommend sanding the back with the Dremel or sandpaper so that the surface is given some ‘tooth’. ¬† The roughed up surface will help the glue to better adhere to the metal posts. Put a little dab of the glue on the napkin, scoop a little glue with the toothpick onto the earring backs. Allow to get tacky and then stick to earring decorative disc piece. You can wipe off excess now or later. That is why I love E6000 for this application: strong hold and easy clean up.

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Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to design something like this necklace or earring for yourself.

Necklace:

  • Determine how long you want the necklace. ¬†My longest chain measures 18.5, which allows for the beads to hang down right where I want them to.
  • Aim for an odd number of beads. ¬†It seems to be the universal rule for ‘pleasing the eye’ ¬†or you can do whatever you like.
  • Evenly space the beads by counting the links between each bead.
  • Be willing to play around with placement. ¬†It takes some time to get the beads and layout just right.

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Earrings:

  • The earrings were made just like the necklace beads. ¬†Although these are meant to be a set, the earrings will be¬†usable¬†by themselves with other gold jewelry. I know it’s matchy-matchy, but I don’t care.
  • Feel free to do a wire wrap instead of a loop to attach the bead to the earring post portion.
  • Allow the glue to dry at least overnight.
  • The earring loops were made the same way as the necklace. ¬† Insert the headpin up through the bead and form a loop. ¬† Cut wire allowing enough remaining to form an attractive loop but don’t close completely because you still have to insert into hole of the disc. (Or whatever you are using for the decorative earring post). ¬†Close hole.

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The necklace/beads move around, so if you want something that lays perfectly every time, this design may not be for you. I don’t mind the shifting because I love the way the light catches the facets of the beads.
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Here, you can see the green coming out in the beads but that is not the only color.
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The necklace looks more pink-ish against the black. ¬† Because I am easily amused, what’s even¬†more¬†fun is seeing how different fabrics bring out the colors of the beads. ¬† This makes the necklace/earrings so much more versatile in my wardrobe.
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I hope you have fun coming up with your own restyled/refashioned/remade design. I would love to know how your’s turns out.