Friday, July 31, 2009

Jewelry How To- FINALLY!

Subtitle: I'm baaaaaack.

Whew so it's been a crazy week. I went to my parents' last weekend (where Bailey had the most fun ever playing with my Mom's dog, Jazzy, and swimming up a storm in the pool) and then my teenage sister and her boyfriend came to visit Monday-Thursday and since it's hotter than death here my sister's boyfriend stayed up in our air conditioned offices and long story short (too late)- I've been in severe computer withdrawal. I'm also desperate for people to make concise decisions. Is that something all teenagers are unable to do?

ANYWAY- ON TOP OF THAT I can finally explain the jewelry how-to since I've been purposely trying to be vague as hell. So. One of my friends does this thing where on the year that you turn the day of the month that you birthday is on, it's considered your "Golden" Birthday and you get a corresponding number of daily presents each day of the month. Let's use a real world example, shall we? Jen is turning 31 TODAY (Happy Birthday Jen) on July 31st so all month a bunch of us gave her 31 objects each day of the month. I had two days so I gave her 31 mini cookie cutters one day and decided that 31 of anything was a lot of something and she's kind of OCD clean freak* so I wanted to give something consolidated. Like a necklace! With 31 beads on it!! Fabulous idea, n'est pas?!

Oh wait. I have NO beading jewelry experience. I did take a metals class in college but that was more bending wire and using a blow torch (which I've since probably forgotten how to do).

So the first time around I just winged it and I basically finished but broke the chain by accident and all the beads started falling off which is completely un-related to the chain breaking and related to the fact I was kinda doing it wrong. Here's how you do it right:

First I have some new tools (and found correct names for the others):
Your chain probably won't have a failed attempt at beading on it though. Also the "flat head pins" are special jewelry pins (they're not sharp) so don't go raiding your sewing kit.

I had found some translucent purple, green and white beads that reminded me of glass and the ocean so I was going for a big cluster like coral or something. If that's not your style- spread those beads out! And we begin:

Step 1: Take a pin and add your desired bead(s) on it. I sometimes had to use the small beads as a stopper because the larger beads had holes that were ever so slightly too large for the pins and some were falling off. The examples below only use the one beads though.

Step 2: Using the round nose pliers bend the pin so it's at a 90 degree angle like this:

Step 3: Keep the grip on the bead the same and using your free hand bend the wire back over the top edge of the round nose pliers making a question mark shape like this:

Step 4: Add the chain to the end of the pin. Sometimes I'd move the chain to the curve of the wire so chain would be on the left and pliers keeping it on on the right but whatever is easiest for you.

Step 5: Wrap the end of the wire to coil around itself creating a loop for the chain that will keep the bead secure. (The photo in Step 6 without the pliers in the way will show the desired result)

Step 6: Admire your handiwork.
Step 7: Once I had a couple of beads on I wanted to make sure it was staying even from left to right so I attached the clasp to the smaller jump ring and both to the chain and the larger jump ring on the opposite side. I forgot to take any photos though so read up here on the proper way to use jump rings. It's basically bend it towards you to open and backwards to close again. I'd model it on my leg and pick out a new spot for each bead.

Repeat Steps 1-6 until you have the desired look. Again- that's my leg. I'll see if I can get a photo of the birthday girl in her finished necklace so they'll be a more proper end to the post.

There you have it. I think it took one and a half DVR'ed episodes of The Closer from start to finished (after I'd taken off all the beads done incorrectly the first time and repaired the chain).

Oh-- repairing the chain. That's what the wire was for. It was the same process as 1-6 but done to both sides to create two loops which each attached to one side of the wire.

Anyway this was quick, cheap, and easy once someone told me the correct way to do it and could be a great bridesmaids gift option. OR to be even quicker, cheaper and easier- EARRINGS! If you make either or both or something similar, send me a photo and I'll get a little gallery started.

*Hi Jen! :D

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chill pill, dude.

(This is what we're trying to avoid)

So here we find ourselves. Smack in the middle of wedding season. Let's take a deep breath.

I've always thought when I was ready to have kids I'd want to plan it so I wouldn't be 9 months preggers in August. But for some reason I never equated that gem of knowledge to other aspects where it might be valid like "I don't want to spend my entire summer freaking the F out planning a wedding" when I set a September 15th date. In fact, I compounded it by moving from DC to MA at the same time. But that's my own bowl of crazy.

And it seems like a lot of people are in that boat. Every time I chat it up with a bride-to-be lately at some point they half shout "IF I EVER MAKE IT THERE!" and by "there" they're referring to it "THE BIG DAY". In honor of all of them I'm going to pour a flute of champagne* on the ground for all my brides who've fallen down the rabbit hole of insanity.

Remember it's all about getting MARRIED. You about to hitch yourself to one hell of a man who has been smiling and nodding (albeit somewhat terrifiedly) about fabric swatches and flowers and guest lists and favors and more. Do you know where I got the name of my business from? Have I shared that story yet? Well, it's been awhile if I have. This is from the most recent Kiera Knightley P&P:

Mr. Darcy: How are you this evening, my dear?
Elizabeth Bennet: Very well... although I wish you would not call me "my dear."
Mr. Darcy: [chuckles] Why?
Elizabeth Bennet: Because it's what my father always calls my mother when he's cross about something.
Mr. Darcy: What endearments am I allowed?
Elizabeth Bennet: Well let me think...”Lizzie" for every day, "My Pearl" for Sundays, and...”Goddess Divine"... but only on *very* special occasions.
Mr. Darcy: And... what should I call you when I am cross? Mrs. Darcy...?
Elizabeth Bennet: No! No. You may only call me "Mrs. Darcy"... when you are completely, and perfectly, and incandescently happy.
Mr. Darcy: [he snickers] Then how are you this evening... Mrs. Darcy?
[kisses her on the forehead]
Mr. Darcy: Mrs. Darcy...
[kisses her on the right cheek]
Mr. Darcy: Mrs. Darcy...
[kisses her on the nose]
Mr. Darcy: Mrs. Darcy...
[kisses her on the left cheek]
Mr. Darcy: Mrs. Darcy...
[finally kisses her on the mouth]

That's about to be you! You're going to be "Mrs. Darcy" and be completely, and perfectly, and incandescently happy. Not always... but you'll have someone to go through it all with!

So screw favors. Screw flowers and crazy relatives and the like. They'll be great. Think about weddings you went to before you got engaged. Do you have one in your mind? Great. What kind of chairs did they have? Were they covered? What did you eat? What kind of centerpieces did they have? Hmm... do I hear crickets? If you happen to remember it all, you crazy loon-- go poll some co-workers. It's in the name of science and getting up from your desk.

What people remember is whether they had fun. And people will have fun if you're having fun. When you perform, even if you screw up if you just keep going- 90% of the people don't notice. If you fling yourself to the floor and stamp your feet, 100% of the people will notice. And that won't be fun for anyone.

BUT most importantly it won't be fun for YOU! So elect a bridesmaid to be extra chipper and bubbly so things stay happy (and not cry-y- ugh- puffy eyes- don't get me started) and make sure there are plants in the audience to start dancing and to keep it going. You'll be just fine and you'll make it there with all your hair intact and not in a pile around you.

*Symbolically. I a) don't have champagne on hand, b) would be so sad to see undrank champagne on the floor I might cry and c) would probably have to clean it up after.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Birdcage Veil How-To

Good afternoon all! I am almost ashamed to post what I am about to post because it is just too damn easy and too damn cheap. It's ridiculous. A short while ago I went down to DC to help R. with her wedding veil since I (kinda-sorta) had practice making Brandy's party veils.

To do this exactly as we did you must begin by eating scrumptious mexican food (along with pitchers of margaritas, of course), watching copious Drunk History on YouTube (1, 2, 2.5, 3, 4), and discussing the pros and tragedies ("cons" is too soft a term in this instance) of fairy/faerie-inspired weddings. Then the previously banished husband/fiance team calls up and asks how things are going and you go, "Ummm yeah. It'll just be a little bit longer" and decide you need to get started N O W.

First review the piles of things you've bought or in this case what people have bought and foisted upon you.
We have 4 ivory silk flower pins from Claire's, wrapped wires with beads (check around your local craft store), feathers on wire (again, craft store has told of this kind of stuff), 2 colors of birdcage veil (which sells at fabric stores for around $5 a yard), regular bridal veil (smaller holes), scissors and a hot glue gun on-hand (off screen). The silk flowers from Claire's were (I'm told) $5 a piece and if you're looking for silk flowers YOU MUST GET THESE. The reason these flowers are amazing AND why we didn't need the glue gun was they had both a safety pin AND a hair clip attached to it. And by "hair clip" I mean this:

If you have thick hair or don't think this would do the job they also sell ones just like this with grooves to lock your hair in a bit more but either way if you have a silk flowers you like that don't have clips or safety pins of them, you can get clips/pins like this and hot glue it on the back. But we didn't need to.

R. isn't entirely sure how she wants her hair to look but she does know she wants it low on her head and the veil to cover it so we played around with some looks. We decided we liked the ivory veiling (as opposed to the white) with ivory flower. Starting with the top gather the fabric from either sides to the top. This, unfortunately, looks like a giant tangle in all photos so I made a little diagram:
Pinch the fabric where there are the finger prints and bring to the top corner. In other words, create 2 or 3 pleats on each side to bring the top and bottom corners of each side together.

The photo below was a trial was one flower and many pleats to make a more bubble-like shape around the hair:

But we all ended up liking the two flowers with a more open flow-y veil, as seen below:
(These were just trials to get the look down which is why you see the ends of the veil on the right.)

Since we weren't sure about the final hair AND we were using the two flowers we decided to make an adjustable veil. I'm pretty sure we're coining a phrase there too. The Future Mrs. Darcy- Home of the Adjustable Veil!!

Anyway, we gathered up either side of the veil with a minimum number of pleats and pinned it together using the safety pin attached to the flower BUT we kept each side separate so each side of the veil is attached to a single flower like this:

To attach to R. we slide each flowers' clip in from opposite sides above her hair-do. This way we're not fixing the veil to the impromptu bun that we had her in while we were creating. We then hot glued some of the beads on the wire to the underside of one of the flowers so they could poke out with a little extra shine and texture.

Here's how it looks on:

Feathers and beads and actual (fake) birds are all optional as well. Either sew them on or hot glue it on but make sure all your work is covered (obviously) by feathers or petals or veiling. This process is all about just trying it out so maybe instead of the "make a fake dress out of toilet paper" game at the bridal shower maybe get some craft materials and let your friends and family help out on the trial and error.

So we were done... and we had all this stuff left over... and a camera out. GAG REEL!

If you have any questions just let me know! Also, all beads are a go on the jewelry How-To, I just need to find some other pliers to put on the clasp, but that is for a later date!

Friday, July 17, 2009

So instructions ARE good... hmm. Interesting.

So here are all the ingredients for the jewelry how-to buuuuuuuut well I nearly finished and IT BROKE! IT FRIGGIN' BROKE! LAST BEAD-- BROOOOOKE. Crap. So went to the bead store and SHOCKER- asked for a general guideline of how to proceed. For not knowing a damn thing I did pretty well but I now have some better pointers. So if you have some pins (top left), beads (bottom left from 15 to 60 cents a piece), clasp and jump rings, cutty snippy jewelry tool and roundy bendy jewelry tool (top to bottom- each $8) and some chain (that I'd already put two beads on) then you will be ready to go when I post correct instructions!!

Now I just need to go re-do the entire necklace. This bringing back frogging knitting anxiety that I had back in the day* but I'm SURE a beer will help!

*I'd love to be able to say I don't need to frog anymore because I'm the knitting shit but alas, it's because all my knitting stuff lives in a big storage box in the basement and doesn't get much love these days. Although YOU KNOW this has been snagging by eye for awhile-- Mrs. Darcy Cardigan-- why you gotta be so cruel knitting gods?!

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I was in DC last week then had some monitor issues (that have now been resolved- finally) but unfortunately not feeling so hot today. Stomach has not been friendly and there's been some slight dizziness (wtf?!) so I may go sit and think of something brilliant that I'll share tomorrow.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I'm currently working on a "How-to" jewelry project, which has been much easier than I thought (I have no jewelry experience) but as I was attaching the last bead I somehow broke the chain! And I saw somehow because I was kinda sorta watching tv...and eating... at the same time so not sure how it all went down but I'm pretty sure it's easily fixable- I just need a "jump ring". I think. Everything I've looked at online seems to say "jump ring" is to "jewelry" as "carbon" is to "life" so I'm placing my bets there.

The second "How-to" I'm flying to DC tomorrow to do. I'm going to work with R. (of Harry Potter fame) to make her veil. I made veils for Brandy's (from Modern Toile) birthday last year so I'm sure this will be as fun. I don't have written or photo documentation of how those veils were made but if you just CAN'T wait the recipe is kind of like this: bird cage veil (from fabric store) + fake pearls (which you can't really see in the photo) + bag of feathers + hot glue gun + beer (for imbibing although any alcohol will do) = veil. Ta-da.*

*The real veil how to will be more informative- don't worry! :)