Friday, December 9, 2011

Designing a Bracelet

I breathed a sigh of relief this weekend, when I finally handed in all my final projects. I wrote about 80 pages of new creative material this semester. It's a nice feeling. Hopefully over the holidays I can get lots of jewellery done.

But here is my topic for the blog today - designing a bracelet. This bracelet, specifically:

It looks pretty simple, but a fair bit of thought will go into a bracelet like this. I have more elaborate bracelets of course, but this won't be a post on how to make a bracelet (I'm not a good teacher and there are plenty of other websites that will show you). It's a post on colour and design.

1) selecting wire and 'findings'

Selecting the wire is important because it will determine what kind of links you will make, and what beads you will choose. I tend to pick wire first because its thickness, softness, and colour will influence what beads I will pick.

I picked a copper wire in 26 gauge. It's a nice coppery orange and bright, which means I have to pick beads that will either be in  warm tones (red, orange, yellow, brown) to blend in, OR beads that won't be overwhelmed by the unusual colour.

Of course, there has to be 'findings' (jump rings, end caps, clasps, etc). I will be using both a bright copper and a darker, antique copper. It may seem weird to mix shades, but I think it looks quite nice, and over time, the wire will darken to match the darker components anyway.

2) selecting the beads: material, colour, shape, shine, and translucency.

Now I have to pick beads to match the wire. Usually when I start designing something I think about its style. Do I want it to be elegant, or fun? Fancy, or simple? What outfits will the colours coordinate with?

As you can see above, I picked strong colours or textures: dark emerald green, pumpkin-coloured pearls, and a faceted glass bead that though white, is a very solid white. It's translucent enough to be very sparkly in the sunlight, but is not see-through enough to lose the whiteness. I picked it to balance out the strong colours. Sometimes you need one weaker, or more neutral colour, to bring all the other colours together.

The pearls looked nice in the pile but after I lined the beads up I ended up taking them out of the design. The copper wire was flashy enough without adding more orange. And I wanted the bracelet to be worn at all times of the year, not just fall.

3) putting the beads together

Cue the indie music and montage:

4) selecting the clasp

Okay, so now I have a length of wire-worked beads. Time to pick a clasp!  Claps are picked for design and functionality.

Toggle Clasp(flower)-
Pros: easier to put the bracelet on, prettier, matches the wire
Cons: it's heavier than the delicate bracelet, the bracelet is not stiff or heavy so the clasp may come loose due to its own weight

Normal Clasp -
Pros: allows an extension chain, more secure, matches the endcaps, matches the delicacy and weight of the bracelet itself
Cons: harder to put bracelet on, plainer

I picked the normal clasp because the dark colour will go well with the darker endcaps, AND (most importantly), it's a more secure clasp, and allows for an extension chain. It's nice knowing that someone can buy this and adjust it perfectly to their wrist.


5) last touches

The chain looks a bit lonely and unfinished, so I added a finishing bead to the end:

ta-da! (I'll be quiet now.)

6) Voila! The last thing you need is a good photo to showcase your piece. It helps to have good lighing (I use natural sunlight), to show the colours accurately, and to have a good macro setting on your camera, to show all the details.

Available for sale here:

I try to make a range of colours in my jewellery. Some pieces are more bold and unexpected in their colour combinations, and some, like this one, tend to be more classic. Sometimes it's the simpler piece that lends itself to everyday wear and matches more outfits.

Hmmm. Now designing the matching necklace and earrings shall begin....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It never rains but it pours.

It's pretty rainy today where I live. I'm always sleepy on rainy days, and my cat was not impressed with me this morning when I slept in!

He's a strange fellow, my cat. He'll meow and screech in the morning for food, and when I get it out for him he practically explodes with excitement. Then he just sniffs it, ignores it, and looks up at me with a curious look on his face. Apparently his meows did not mean feed me, but  Pet meee... PET ME.... PET PET PET. And because I am his slave, I give him a pet and THEN he eats. Ugh.

I know what you are thinking, miniscule audience of readers. Where are the beads in this story?

Trust me, the beads are everywhere. Whenever I procrastinate my beads slowly migrate everywhere until they cover everything I am actually supposed to be doing.

I've been so busy with school! All my final projects for my creative writing masters program are due by the first week of December, and I have discovered that I can procrastinate just as well on creative work as I can on my undergrad essays. But I don't procrastinate as much, of course, since I write every day anyways. But yes, that is why my website is so slow in coming. I've been re-uploading my pieces, but since all my data was lost when my former website shut down, I have to re-measure everything again. Pure tedium. But I'm slowly getting everything done. One thing I got better at once I moved out of my family home was time-management and multi-tasking, and while I am not a domestic wunderkind by any means, I have gotten much better (my fiance will scoff at this however. I am late for all our dates).

On the bright side, one of my pieces (this one: ) got featured on the "what's new?" front page of Pretty exciting stuff. It wasn't up for that long, but still. And yes, I took a screencap to gloat over in my old age.

... what was the point of this blog post again? I don't remember! :P So much for being better at multi-tasking. I think it was just an assurance that I would get stuff done? An attempt to post semi-regularly to this blog?

Since I have nothing more to say, here is a picture of me being devoured by a sculpture when I should have been doing homework. I know, I know, my priorities are all mixed up.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Website Woes

I decided to change the title of my blog to "beads! beads! beads!", because it sounds 1% more professional than "Penguins Dancing Down a Rainbow".

I also can no longer use my website stamp with the penguin on it, because (drumroll), my website no longer exists! All my website, blogging, and business card plans crumbled like a cookie in some schmuck's greedy fist. Well, maybe not crumbled, it's probably more of a setback since I have to start all over again.

I used to sell on Artfire, mainly because the website was easy to manage, and it was free. Sellers had the option of a basic account, or paying 10 - 12 dollars a month for special features. Just a few months ago, Artfire blindsided me (and a great number of other people) by eliminating the basic account and making all paid accounts mandatory. They gave all basic account users a few months notice to close up shop or start paying the monthly fee.

Rather than pay $120.00 a year that I can't spare, I packed up shop. Unfortunately Artfire announced this soon after my fiance surprised me with 500 extremely nice customized business cards. Poor fiance.

So yes. Artfire sucks. But really, what does one expect from a service that was absolutely free? They had no incentive to be helpful to those who held basic accounts.

So what followed was a long hiatus where I searched for a new website to sell stuff on. I considered Etsy, but I don't like how I have to pay again, to relist my items, every 4 months or so. Trust me. I don't make sales that fast!

Anyways, I'm in the midst of setting up shop at . I didn't make my specific URL available yet because I am not finished setting up (although if you follow me on Twitter you got a sneak peek). But this or next weekend I'll hopefully launch the website!

And in a few days, I'll post a little tutorial or demonstration as to what goes into my design process for jewellery.


here's a pic of my cat (willingly!) modelling jewellery for me! Isn't he a darling.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Penguins Dancing Down a Rainbow

I honestly think that will be the title of my blog now (see above). In honour of the occasion I would make penguin and rainbow themed jewellery, but alas, no penguin beads are to be had. Sad face.

Actually, I JUST realized that I have a stamp with my "beaded-bohemian" business name and website on it.... beside a little PENGUIN!! You see? This is all meant to be!

Pictures forthcoming, but of what? NOBODY KNOWS. Stay tuned.

(I have more interesting news, honest I do. I'm just sleep deprived)

Monday, June 27, 2011


I really, really need to find a better title for this blog. "Ramblings of a Short Asian Jewellery-Maker", really? Blaaaah.

I feel as if "[titles, titles]" would be amusing and witty, as well as a nod to my favourite HBO show 'Game of Thrones' (poor, poor King Robert), but on a first glance the suggested title could be miscontrued in MANY different ways - really, there is no titillation to be had in this blog, unless you really really really really really really like beads.

HELP. Anybody.... anybody....

... no doubt in a few days I will be struck by some fantastic brainwave and return with a title of such epicness that penguins will dance down a rainbow singing my name. Although "penguins dancing down a rainbow" would be an awesome title, only I must remember that in order to promote my jewellery I should at least try to be professional.

But... but.... "the Beaded-Bohemian's Blog" sounds soooo boring.

New life to the blog

So I really haven't updated in a while. aka a few years. I was tempted to delete my old entries, but really they were not THAT embarassing, and I suppose it is a nice snapshot of me from a few years ago.

I am updating this blog again because... (drumroll)

1) I need to practice writing, I am dreadfully rusty

2) I want to experiment with promoting my jewellery website

3) I love reviewing movies, books, sharing life

4) really this is all a harsh wake-up call that with each passing year I become less and less funny and more distracted by shiny things.

I am also going through a big life change soon (not menopause) and maybe all the people I cannot maintain daily contact with can read about what I am doing. :)

SOOOO.... big life changes: (I like making lists, have you noticed that? I also like brackets, they delude me into thinking I can ramble without anyone noticing)

1) My dear boyfriend proposed to me in April, and we are planning a 2013 wedding. I have so far attended one bridal show and while it was fun, it was also slightly boring. Thank goodness my mom and his mom are both majorly excited and happy to plan it all for me.

2) I am all graduated from University! With a BA in Medieval and Renaissance Studies and a minor in English. I have mixed feelings about my program and my 4th year, but that could just be residual stress talking. Overall I am grateful for the experiences university has given me, and I think I am prepared to take another step forward, personally and academically.

3) I am now attending UBC's Creative Writing program. It was always my dream to have a degree in Creative Writing, and I count myself doubly lucky to in a few years have not just one, but two degrees in areas I have 100% interest in. Thank goodness for supportive parents, and thank goodness for my fiance going to law school, now I don't have to go. :P

4) I AM MOVING OUT OF MY HOUSE. And living with my fiance, and my lovely Siamese cat Nigel. More about this later.

So that's it! I'll update again in a bit, with more jewellery-related stuff. Please don't read my older blog entries, because they are horrible and just evidence that I hoard in cyberspace as well as real life.

For now, here's a link to my jewellery website and a picture of my cat.