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Bad Blogger Chronicles: Late Again….Here’s Why

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Bad, bad Blogger Bobbi! Seems I have time for work/play with pups/cooking fabulous Valentine’s Day dinner for hubby (recipe below) /buying bridal shower gift two days before actual shower and making some new jewelry. And that, dear readers, is why … Continue reading

Match Your Socks To Your Pants, Not Your Shoes

Words of wisdom from unlikely sources, Vol.II.

Went clothes shopping with my husband the other day – which was a cause for celebration in unto itself. In all the years we’ve been married, I’d say I shopped solo for about 99.9% of the clothes he wears. But he needed a new sport jacket, so I convinced him to shop with me.

Purple Lampwork OOAK Pendant with Sterling Silver Star

(Shopping in Mark’s language means you go into one store, try on maybe 3 jackets and buy one.) But for some reason, he actually allowed the salesman to bring over “accompaniments” that would go well with the jacket. He ended up buying pants, shirts, ties, a belt and even some socks. I was very proud of him.

But, as a card-carrying digressor, I must get back to the point of the story. While I was waiting for Mark to get his jacket marked up by the tailor (note to self: why don’t they have tailors in women’s stores?????), I was admiring the socks the salesman had brought over. But I was puzzled by the color choice. According to him, you are supposed to match the sock color to the color of your pants. Because the ankle/foot is part of the leg.

Now, I don’t claim to be a fashionista, but I always thought most men matched their sock color to their shoe color. Simply put, my fashion world was rocked.

I paused to consider what other misconceptions I’ve been carrying around with me, and how could I use this news to improve the jewelry I make? (Everything eventually comes back to the jewelry.)

And here’s what I decided: just because something has been done a certain way, doesn’t make it the only way to do it…or even the best way to do it.

Zebra Striped Lampwork Bead Sterling Silver Bracelet

Black & White Zebra Striped Bracelet With Stunning Blue Crystal Beads

Take wire wraps. Most experts think that a cabochon should be wrapped in precisely measured, cut and wrapped wire bundles. Certain wires are pulled at certain points to “lock in” the cab. It’s a very time-consuming, everything-needs-to-be-done-just-so type of process. And, certainly, while this can look very nice, it’s also very formal and fussy looking for my tastes. So I am experimenting with my own types of wire wraps. (hint: use the cheapest wire possible when you are experimenting. A lot ends of going in the trash.)

Bottom line? Don’t be afraid to change things up a bit. Break out of your comfort zone. Not everything you do will be a winner…but you just may end up with something really unique and very cool.

As for me, I may not wear any socks with my shoes.

 

Beadfest Philly Day Two, Class Two

Day Two started out just fine. Took the back roads. Got to the convention center in plenty of time to find my classroom, get a seat and be settled in by start time.

Or so I thought.

Even though I was 10 minutes early to class, I was about 15th or 16th out of the 20 in the class. And apparently, you got to pick your druzy (see definition in next paragraph) according to when you got into the class. By the time I got to the druzy-picking table, my choices were pretty much grey, tan, or pale, pale pink. I chose pink.

Half hard, square sterling silver bundle I made in the beginning of "wrap" stage

A druzy is a type of stone that has a quartz/mineral coating on it that looks as if someone sprinkled pixie dust on it. Very shiny and sparkly. (And we all know how much I love shiny and sparkly.)

The instructor is a legend – Dale Cougar Armstrong (not sure if Cougar is her actual name or nickname). She is internationally renowned and  consults for many of the leading bead/supply companies. She makes very detailed, technically perfect jewelry that I am sure sells for a lot of money.

And, while I was very glad to learn the proper techniques, I sensed her impatience with most of us. (Teaching beginners must be a drag.) I also didn’t buy into her mantra that working with dead soft, round wire is just taking shortcuts, and it will never produce quality work. (Probably was a little offended by that because I of course mostly work with dead soft, round wire.)

But here’s the thing. That class was 8 hours long. Granted, some of the time was twiddle-your-thumbs- waiting for everyone in the class to be on the same page, or breaks for food and bathroom, or someone needed a new tool and had to purchase it then, etc. But even if it took, say 5-6 hours to  wrap that one cabochon, and say I charged $20-$30 an hour for my time, by the time I added in the materials (sterling silver, druzy, genuine pearl and sterling silver beads for adornment) that pendant would be a friggin’ fortune!

the wrap takes shape....

That’s not what I do…or who I am. I’m all for jewelry that’s fun and affordable. And yes, I cut corners because I don’t aim for perfection. Is that wrong to say?

Back of Cab with Pulled "lock" wires

I certainly will use a lot of what I learned in that class. And I thank Dale for that. But I will continue to “do my own thing” and walk a different path.

If there’s a moral to be learned here it’s this: learn as much as you can from those around you. But rather than trying to be just like someone else – use the information you gain to help define you as an individual. Be your own person, your own jewelry designer. And don’t be afraid to take a few shortcuts if it gets you where you want to go.

My finished wrapped Cab