Monday, April 6, 2009

Beading II

Long ago, I mentioned in this post that I was working on an ongoing beading project that I couldn't share at the time. I am, however, ready to share it with you now.

My father (now deceased) use to wear a black hematite necklace a lot. It wasn't a fancy necklace: basically a long string of flat black beads. He had bought it in the Dominican Republic where he and my mom vacationed somewhat regularly. He probably bought it from a vendor who walked the beaches looking for him. They never went more than every two years, but the vendors knew him and when he showed up on the beach, they all came, yelling, "Henry!!"

After his death, I got possession of this necklace which then had a snapped string and needed some repair. My original intent was to fix the necklace and maybe wear it but my first attempt at a repair failed, and the necklace was really too much for my little neck. It was, after all, a man's necklace.

So I just kept the beads in a bag and held onto them.

Until this year. This year, I got the idea to use some of the beads in multiple necklaces that I would gift to my four sisters on their birthdays. The trick would be to find the right beads to complement the black hematite because none of them really wear a lot of black jewellery.

First was my oldest sister in January. Let's call her, "Blondie." Blondie received a very neutral necklace in pearl grey tones with a central pendant.
The black hematite beads are worked in between each oval disc with small seed bead spacers.

Next was my second oldest sister (let's say, "Joomie")  in early February. She enjoys a lot of colours, but I saw some perfect green stone beads that I was sure she would like. Joomie's necklace is a little longer than some with no central pendant. There are just a few hematite beads between the featured larger stones which pick up on the black veins running through the green stone.
I also used a vintage clasp that was from a necklace I had once restrung because she loves antique, vintage, and generally old jewellery.

Next was the third sister, "Mik," in late February. She was also a green: no doubt about it. Mik wears a lot of green and is drawn to it as much as I am to red. But a different green than Joomie, more forest and less yellow.
The construction is similar to the previous necklace but with two different sized beads, medium rectangles and smaller ovals. I also made up some earrings made from the smaller oval stones.

And finally, in early April, my little sister, "Delicia," had her birthday. I was able to deliver this one in person. She has a history of promoting a lot of pink in our family so I couldn't resist using that colour. But I was not looking for a soft girly pink. I finally found some grey pink stones that I felt were neutral and grown up enough to use:

My design got a little fancier (I did, after all, have some additional time for this one) with a double strand in the front. The beads lent themselves well to earrings and a bracelet strung on memory metal so I made those too. (Don't the stones look like yummy little Chiclets!)

And not to leave her out, I made a necklace for my mom too. Her birthday's not til August, but since I was home visiting, I didn't have the heart to wait. What colour to use caused me a lot of angst until I saw these hard-candy like beads. The blues are so yummy and with enough black to work well with the hematite.
Mom's necklaces tend to have central pendants so I strung one unique bead to hang down. I worried about it being too short, but she claimed to love it and that she had been wanting a shorter necklace recently. (Aren't moms great!?) I can always restring it longer later, if need be, or if she wants a change.

And what about me? I didn't make myself wait until my birthday either. I did a little experimenting with some "invisible" cord and crimp beads. And the clasp that I had was so pretty, I didn't want to hide it in the back.

So I strung all the beads in the front, kept them in place with the crimp beads, and then strung the clasp to hang right in line in front too. It wasn't quite balanced so I added a few more beads on top of the clasp and I think it works.

You can see that the necklace, when worn, sort of floats on the invisible cording and that I made myself some matching earrings as well:

I wore it a couple times, and then when I put it on to show hubby (who hadn't noticed seen it yet) the cord snapped right at a crimp bead, and all the beads fell to the floor. I was so thankful it happened at home and not at work, in the car, a parking lot, or any of those much scarier places. (Not eerie scary; just never get my beads back scary.) I can only guess that the crimp bead had enough of a rough edge that it wore the string til it broke.

But I restrung it with a little lighter hand on the crimp beads and have worn it successfully since.

With each necklace I included a card which explained where the beads had come from. My dad did not buy the presents in the family. Sure, the card was signed "Mom & Dad" but we all knew that Mom was the one doing the buying. Except every now and then, Dad would get an idea in his head and buy gifts--the same gift--for everyone. One year it was mugs with our names on them. One year it was matching hockey jerseys numbered with our birth year. And this year, my card explained, they could consider these necklaces as a gift from Dad, who was no longer with us but who surely would have wanted to give us something.


  1. you are an amazing, thoughtful, and creative person. though i know this, you still surprise me with things like this. how good and thoughtful of you.

  2. Wow...thank you! :ducks head blushing:

  3. so beautiful... the gifts and the sentiment behind them. Your heart is a gem.

  4. I had not heard this yet. BEAUTIFUL. What creation. love AMA

  5. Hey, AMA! Not that I expect you to remember, but everyone but "Mik" was wearing their necklace at Philip's baptism. (That's when I gave "Delicia" hers.) If you have pictures from that day, you can see them!


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