Book Review: Jewelry Studio Wire Wrapping

Recently I found a book that I recommend to anyone who is into wire wrapping.  “Jewelry Studio Wire Wrapping” is available at Amazon.com at a very reasonable price.

Inside are several variations of the bracelet you see on the cover.  I intend to make each and every one of them.  Each bracelet is styled in a way that makes each one a new bracelet, different from the others.  You will also find a couple of nice rings inside and a beautiful pendant.  All projects have very detailed instructions.  All are easy to understand with great illustrations.  I believe this book takes wire wrapping several steps up from just being a hobby. You can’t go wrong with it.

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Kumihimo = Chaos

About three weeks ago my daughter, Jan, saw a shopping channel that was featuring something called Kumihimo.  Hmm, looked interesting.  I had never heard of it before but the shopping channel made it look so easy, so much fun that I had to have it.  So, I ordered a mountain of stuff.  See Mountain below:

I started out slow with embroidery floss.  Big mistake!  When finished it was about 1.5 mm wide, took forever  to finish because it was so small and I thought that was the end of the experiment I now call Chaos.  But something clicked in my brain and I decided to order some supplies that would make a bigger braid.  That would be much quicker to make.  I ordered about a dozen rolls of 30mm colored wire, some satin rattail cord, a ton of cotton cord that looked suspiciously like embroidery floss, 2 more kumihimo disks (round and square), a cute little red weight, a big roll of hemp cord, a stack of little white plastic bobins, 8 large plastic bobbins that fold over to keep the cord on and who knows what else.  Then I started collecting instructions.  They’re all over the web (you can find anything there for free).

What was I thinking?  I’ve blogged before about my sister who delights in getting me into hobbies that she discovers.  Now my daughter, my own little girl, has joined the fray.  It’s a conspiracy!  I know one when I see one.

I’ve met a new friend through WordPress.  What are the odds that on the day I decided to blog about my mountain of kumihimo that she would comment and suggest that my daughter try it?  Thanks Eunice for the suggestion.  (I suspect Eunice is into just as many crafts as I am.  You can see some of her great photography here.)

So, maybe someday, sooner rather than later, you will see some of my efforts from this chaos.  I hope so, I don’t give up easily.

Looking Back

When I was young I dreamed so many dreams.  First I wanted to be a nurse.  All my friends became nurses so I thought I should too.  My Dad said he would send me to school but first he wanted me to be sure that was what I really wanted. So, I went down to the local hospital and signed up to be a Nurses Aide.  My friend Margie and I got ourselves some white nurses uniforms and shoes and reported for work.  Looking back on it, Margie had the calling, no doubt about it.  My friends Janice  and Glenda did too and all three became nurses.  The last I heard Janice is a school nurse at a big Mid-West University and Glenda is the head of a home healthcare organization.  Me?  I became a bookkeeper. But that didn’t happen until 18 years later.

You could say My Dad knew me better than I knew myself.  The first time I got in a messy situation at the hospital I caved.  It’s a sin and a shame, but I did.  So I didn’t have the call.  I’d try something else.

At seventeen I went to Washington to become a government worker, a typist.  That didn’t last long as Washington was a scary place to a 17 year old small town Georgia girl and while I was there Washington was having growing pains.  With riots breaking out across the city I headed back to Georgia.  I became a telephone operator. That lasted a couple of years then I tried sewing in a jeans factory.  Actually that wasn’t bad, I kinda liked it, but as everyone started bringing in clothing from overseas the factory went belly up.

During a period of working at an Army ordinance depot, alas a typist again, I became friends with a girl who was into oil painting.  So, I signed up for classes where she studied.  I had absolutely no color sense.  The instructor was continually asking me to make color wheels until I thought I would scream.  But I persevered and produced some ho-hum paintings that I gave away to family members who probably trashed them, as was very fitting, believe me.  One that I gave to my Dad survived.  He kept it and on his death it came back into my hands and straight into a closet.  A couple of weeks ago, cleaning out said closet, I ran across it again. My daughter framed it for me and is planning a wall with all kinds of artsy stuff and there she plans to hang my picture.  So since the framing has made it look a lot better than it ever did before, I thought I’d post a picture here:

The lone survivor, my ship.

So now I’m through walking down memory lane. I’ve worked in bookkeeping since then, loving most every minute of it.

Here’s to my wonderful Dad, he knew me well.

Birdie Beading

I do a lot of shopping at a site called beadaholique.com.  Matter of fact, I do a lot of shopping at several places like them.  At Beadaholique they have nice tutorials on beading, wire wrapping and lots of other topics. I really appreciate a nice tutorial.

One tutorial they had was how to make a birds nest charm.  I thought I’d give it a go.  What turned out wasn’t a charm.  It would weigh down any one’s charm bracelet, it’s way bigger than what I would put on mine.  Now that’s not Beadaholique’s fault as I didn’t follow the instructions like I should have.  I think their instructions called for 26 gauge wire and I used 20 gauge.  Big differece in sizing as anyone who wire wraps knows that the larger the number, the smaller the wire.

I chose not to use 26 gauge because the last time I tried to use it, I cut the wire binding it andf it came alive.  It sort of poofed out to form a giant wire blob and just kept growing.  I never got that wire back into a shape that I could work with, trashed it, and swore that I would never use it again.  Hence the 20 gauge wire.

So the charm has turned into a pendant that will probably go on a natural looking cord.  Those baby birdies will have a tough time breaking through those shells.  Kind of cute.

Birds Nest in Bronze Wire with Turquoise Bead “Eggs”

Maybe I should make a Mama Robin to perch on the outside edges of the nest.  Nahhhhhhh!

Thirty Years Ago . . .

Back in the 1980s I soaked up so many crafts I can’t remember them all.  One that I remember and still love is Smocking.  I had a neighbor who was a smocker.  She had a daughter a year older than mine and she introduced me to it.  The majority of my earlier work had some flaws, sure, but I enjoyed the learning.  My daughter, Janet, loved the wearing.

Four of the following smocking designs were from the wonderful designer Ellen McCarn.   I believe the fifth design is also Ellen McCarn but am not absolutely sure.  The dresses are 30 years old but the colors are still as outstanding today as they were then.  It probably sounds kooky but I actually saved these five because I couldn’t make myself get rid of them and so much work went into each one.

This first one was Jan’s favorite.  She called it her Sunday School dress and here you can see why:

“ARK” by Ellen McCarn – 1979

“APPLES” by Ellen McCarn – 1981

The above bib was worn over a blue dress.  Notice the button holes at the shoulders.  The dress had 2 red buttons on each shoulder where the bib buttoned to it.  The belt at the bottom went around the waist and buttoned in back.

This next dress was done on blue gingham.  The smocking was designed for a Bishops neckline and continued around the neck to the center back.

Smocking design is “MEDALLION” by Ellen McCarn – 1980

The bright colors in the following smocked design are still vibrant after 30 years.  I’m so glad I used DMC embroidery floss since it holds its color forever.  The dress pattern was called “Day Dress” and buttoned all the way down the front.

Smocking design is a middle section of “BROOKS” by Ellen McCarn – 1982

I show this one last because I learned a lot making this dress.  It was the most ambitious project I had done at the time and the most costly.  The collar is finished with  Swiss Entredeux and French Lace.  I agonized a lot over the little bullion rosettes; I probably had to re-do all of them at least three times and I’ve never done them again.  There is a smattering of little seed pearls sewn around the rosettes.  The collar was worn over a pleated dress of batiste in a pale mauve color.  I’ve tried unsuccessfully to find the smocking plate I used but I believe it was probably Ellen McCarn but not sure.