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

 

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.

IMG_2243
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.
IMG_2238
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?

Garnet Colored Coin Pearl and Rondelle Multi-Strand Necklace

IMG_2222What I’m wearing today…..This is a garnet colored coin pearl necklace I made a few years ago using up some of my gray colored faceted rondelles for a little sparkle. The coin pearl diameter is about 3/8″ or 8mm, and the rondelles are probably 6mm. There are 4 strands total, but I would have preferred to string an odd number but I didn’t purchase enough pearls. It does the job anyway. Earrings are sterling silver posts given as a gift too long ago.
IMG_2229
IMG_2227I like to string the rondelles in the mix at different intervals on each strand. One one strand, I may put them every 6 pearls, and on another I may put one every 8 or 10 pearls just to keep it from looking too boring. The rondelles provide that little sparkle as well as add that gray/black element I wanted in the necklace.
IMG_2226I finished it off with a pewter toggle (no tarnishing) and cones from JoAnns. I did a wire wrap and added some rondelles for a bit more sparkle just because!
IMG_2223So I hope this inspired you to make a little something for yourself or a gift for the holidays. Have a great day!