What does the last of the housewives do?

Tag: beading

Yet Another Black and White Necklace

It’s a funny thing with committees. You just dip your toe in, help out with a stall at the fete here, offer to count the take for the raffle there. You think you can take it or leave it alone, but before you know it you’re on your third gig as Treasurer and no end in sight. It has to be said that it’s an excellent way to find out about an organisation, be it a school or a choir, and you meet the nicest people on committees. Utter nutters too, but you learn to spot those and develop a quick left dodge.

So I find myself on two school committees this year. Another funny thing is that I don’t think I’ve ever gone along to a committee meeting or talked to a committee member and volunteered for anything. I just find myself on an email list with a commitment to leave the bosom of my family every fourth Thursday night. Here’s a tip, if you really don’t want to be on a committee, and someone you know who is on one offers to buy you coffee or a drink, run screaming in the opposite direction. As soon as you agree to just pop along to Sarah’s place tomorrow night and just meet everyone, you are so gone.

There’s a cocktail party at the Horror’s school tonight, rained for the third year in a row into the hall. The president of the committee I’m on at this school just loves the school colours and has fairly firmly suggested that everyone on the “exec” as she’s jovially calling it wear black and white tonight and possibly forever more. There are two ways I could go. I could cop out somewhat by just wearing a black dress and trying to blend in with the crowd. Or alternatively I could join in enthusiastically and wear the white dress I bought on a whim from Dotti because it was forty bucks, sling on a black jacket and make a matching black and white necklace. Oh yeah.

You’d think I’d have run out of black and white inspiration after the end of last year’s efforts, but it just keeps coming. I’ve added a touch of orange, I believe that’s part of the livery colours but I’ve only seen it on stationery. For those who are interested, it’s Swarovski Red Magma.

And because the Horror is only in fourth grade, I’m going to be associated with this school for a long time. This isn’t the last of the black and white necklaces.


Enough Black and White Jewellery – for the moment

I could just put up the photos of the final three, but I thought I should share some of the agonizing and carry on that goes on behind the scenes.

First, the music teacher. I was going to bestow upon her that black and white beaded bead on a black cord. But it looked a bit plain by itself, so I made a couple of smaller ones to go with it, and that’s all very nice, but then I realized this woman was much less involved in the Horror’s school life than his class teacher and would also probably cop a gift every year, so it was too fancy. Too fancy, I tell you. It has gone into the private collection for the moment. Here’s what she’s getting instead, and it will have to go in bubble wrap as that diamond shaped stone is actually stone and a little fragile. Perhaps she’ll break it, so she can get exactly the same next year.


Now for the Horror’s class teacher. For a while there she was going to get gingerbread men, as we haven’t actually seen her wear any jewellery. Then the Horror suggested that was possibly because no one had ever bought her any. Then we spotted her with a gold chain on, so jewellery was back on again. She had only been a casual appointment this year, so did we go and black and white? It may not be as useful to her as to everyone else. However, she does wear a lot of black, despite having more autumnal colouring, so she will get a herringbone spiral necklace, a pattern that has gone down rather well with teachers in the past.

It’s quite delicate, and will have a magnet clasp if I ever get around to finishing it. Those herringbone ropes are all middle.

Finally, the redoubtable Head of Year 7. She’s quite a flamboyant dresser, which is a shame because my stuff tends to be on the light and airy side. She should really be getting something from Six in a Row, but I can’t go around buying other people’s jewellery. I’ve gone with a star pendant which hasn’t turned out quite as I’d hoped. I usually use colours that are quite close together for it, using black and white makes it look rather pixelated. I’m happy with how it’s strung, I found a length of tubular mesh in the archives while digging around for black velvet ribbon, even though I knew velvet wasn’t quite right. I’ve done one in pink on a rosary chain coming out of two of the points, but that wouldn’t have been right for this teacher. I’ve also just sewn a bail onto the top point of a red and grey one, but that didn’t work at all. This works for me, I just have to figure out what clasp to use and I’m done.

Once I’ve finished that herringbone spiral, I can go back to decorating my ankle brace. I wonder how annoying little bells would be?

Black and White Jewellery

The Moose’s school wears its colours proudly. Parents wear black and white to Saturday sport, teachers wear black and white to school events, the president of the Junior School P&F seems to wear nothing else. I like it, it helps you feel more like part of a big happy family. Muffet’s school doesn’t have this going on at all, possibly because it’s difficult to wear red green and white without looking like it’s Christmas all year ’round. So I’ve got years and years of teachers presents sorted, who wouldn’t want some black and white jewellery?


I haven’t made this style of necklace for ages, not since I made one for a wedding. That one was a lot more densely packed with brown and cream pearls and crystals, and from memory had seven strands rather than the five seen here. Actually, I tell a lie, I made a three strand one for the Muffet to wear to her social, where she was the belle of the ball, naturally. It’s a very versatile style, especially considering that you can now get the wire in almost any colour. I really should make them more often. Yes, that is a bag of coconut it’s resting on, why do you ask?

Snuggling beside the coconut is a black and white beaded bead. I haven’t given up on them! That one is destined for the Horror’s music teacher, with whom he is very taken, especially as she shares his views on punctuality. I should really just string it on some black cord and forget about it, but I’ll bet I can’t. Maybe just a couple of small cylindrical beaded beads, one on either side. That won’t look like something that’ll end up on Regretsy, surely?

Pear shaped wasn’t the problem

I know you’ve been hanging on the edge of your seats wondering how the necklace turned out. What was I going to do with those giant beaded beads? Even I didn’t know.

This is how the thought process went. This teacher wears quite long necklaces. I know, I’ll make a pendant to dangle from the bottom of it and put the two round beads higher up. Because I have the pure and innocent mind of a child I didn’t see where that design was heading. It wasn’t until I’d almost finished the bottom dangle that I realized that there was a fundamental problem.

Or even

I just wasn’t going to be able to make that work. The Moose suggested I put a crescent underneath it and then it would look like a smiley face. My children are always full of helpful suggestions.

So with a wrench I abandoned the two beaded beads and just did a rosary chain to hang the pendant from. Now I have five of these things that I don’t know what to do with. I’m going back to stringing them individually on cord, in pairs they’re a bit… too… testing.


In case you were wondering, the pendant is adapted from another Gwen Fisher design, the netted bangle. That’s taken a load off your minds, hasn’t it. Having finished that ahead of schedule I now have time to go get the float for the Messiah concert on Sunday. You are coming to that, aren’t you? Sydney Town Hall, 3pm, Sunday 18th November? It will be awesome. What I really need is a necklace to wear…

Jewellery instead of chocolates

There I was thinking I had oodles of time to make the teachers’ presents. Christmas was in December last time I checked, giving teachers a token of my appreciation for not defenestrating my offspring at any time during the year could surely wait until the last week of term. “Oh, no”, the Muffet informs me yesterday. “I’d like to give my teacher her present at the dinner on Saturday”. As in the day after tomorrow.

I’m still not sure what the finished product is going to look like, but it is going to incorporate beaded beads designed by Gwen Fisher. I’ve been a fan of her work for years and was very excited to see one of her beaded beads appear in Beadwork magazine in April of this year. I’ve made a few in different colours, the instructions are excellent and the resulting bead is tight and symmetrical. But haven’t yet found a really satisfactory way of wearing them. I’ve taken to just stringing a few on satin cord and tying it on as a necklace, but that isn’t going to work for this job.


The one in the foreground is the finished bead, the one at the back is the guts of the next one. I was going to make pairs in the same colour but ran out of dark silver pearls. It will be character building for me to put something together that isn’t symmetrical. I did toy with the idea of going to the bead shop on Parramatta Road to get some more, but I know I’d walk out of there with a whole lot of gemstones I don’t have room for and really don’t intend using, I just like them because they’re pretty.

Well, how’s that, I appear to have written the first part of a two hander. I do plan to finish the necklace tomorrow, so you’ll have to wait until then to see how it turns out. Gripping, isn’t it?

Jewellery with a theme

The Moose’s school colours are black and white, and I have noticed that his teachers often dress in these colours. He has had two women help him enormously this year, so I’m going to be making black and white jewellery for them in appreciation of having to put up with the little so and so.

I have been spurred on by the fact that I’m going to a fundraising dinner tomorrow for which the theme is black and white. Jewellery always needs a test drive, so today I made a black and white pendant to wear once, then gift to the Moose’s mentor. If it survives the test drive.


It’s made with Swarovski crystal, Czech glass, Japanese delica size 15s and a gemstone called howlite. I normally net across these pendants like I have on the other pendant in this shot, but I don’t think I will for this one, it’s dramatic enough as it is. I wonder if I’ll have time to pump out some black and white earrings between basketball and tennis games tomorrow plus a Messiah rehearsal? I could if I kept them simple, but we all know how that will end.

Jewellery as Procrastination

When a housewife has clothes sorting, filing, banking, possibly writing an insurance policy for the choir and treating the dog for yeasty ears on her to do list, her thoughts naturally turn to beading. I actually have some commission work to do, but it’s stuff I’ve done before only in different colours and anyway, I have until Monday. I feel like making something new.

The apple is for size comparison, and because it is a lovely contrasting colour. I’m not totally convinced about the mustard coloured gemstone bead in the centre, but it’s a pretty good fit. The edge isn’t finished because I had the family demanding dinner, so I photographed it to blog about later tonight. Then they went in the pool.

The pattern is from the December 2010 Bead and Button magazine, and I’ve had my eye on it for a while. I’ve not done flat herringbone before, it worked up quite quickly. For those also attempting the pattern, I found that fifty six units wasn’t enough, I had to go for sixty. Also, I didn’t have size eight hex cut beads, but 1.5mm cube beads fit very nicely and still have a contrasting shape. This pattern is a keeper, I’m looking forward to making some in different colours, perhaps next time I have a Treasurer’s report due.

Excellent Earrings

I may have found the perfect earrings. Not in a shop of course, you can only get cheap plastic or vastly overpriced earrings in shops. I started out beading by making my own earrings, it’s very very very easy. These ones aren’t very easy, but I have been beading for some years now.

I must pay more attention to my backgrounds when I take a photo.

These are dangly, very neat looking and light. You can go nuts with the colours, because there are six in each dangle. I’ve been averaging a pair a day, and still want to make some in pink, in purple, in green, maybe a gold and cream. What I should actually be doing is some pendants I’ve been asked to make by a choir member and teacher’s end of year gifts, procrastination is my favourite way of doing things. If you want to make them yourself, have a look in the August/September edition of Beadwork magazine and look for the necklace that looks like a harlequin’s ruff. Why they did that to these terrific components, I don’t understand, they’re much better upside down as earrings.

My daughter tells me that she needs a pair of these for her teacher’s birthday. I don’t remember birthday present for teachers being part of the school arrangements, and besides, the ones she’s chosen (the red and orange ones) go perfectly with a crazy top my sister made me buy from French Connection. With a roll of the eyes and a yoink, they’re gone. Of course I can always make another pair. I’ll start on the pendants tomorrow.