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…has a knob on the end, according to Terry Pratchett’s Nanny Ogg! So that’s exactly what I’ve been creating for the wizard to carry in Scunthorpe Little Theatre Club’s up-coming panto, ‘Puss in Boots’. I started with a fluorite sphere…

A wizard's staff...1

…and then used copper wire to create a claw setting for it. First I worked the heavier gauge wire into a five-pointed star with branches, doubling over the ends for safety and holding them together in the middle with a wrapping of finer gauge wire.

A wizard's staff...2

A wizard's staff...3

Then each ‘branch’ was wrapped with the finer gauge wire…

A wizard's staff...4

…and the sphere placed inside.

A wizard's staff...5

I carried on weaving some of the ‘branch’ points together to encase the sphere.

A wizard's staff...6

Finally the free ends were curled into interesting shapes.

A wizard's staff...7

A wizard's staff...8

The staff is a long sturdy stick that my middle one picked up on our holiday in the Lake District last Easter. I’ve given it a couple of coats of black wood stain and then it will be polished with beeswax. The broken bit at the top is going to be shaped into a curve to hold the orb cage.

A wizard's staff...9

And then an unexpected bonus. We discovered the fluorite naturally glows in the dark.

A wizard's staff...10

How perfect is that for the pantomime villain?!

 

The first circle I domed was a bit too small to use for the cocoon pendants and has been kicking about in my bits and pieces box for a while until I had a brainwave the other day for how to use it: as the centrepiece of a beaded brooch.

Twilight brooch 1

I used a piece of purple cotton and some frosted AB delicas in a bronzy-purple colour, stitching a circle around the base of the dome and then adding a slightly smaller circle on top to hold it in place. A further concentric circle gave it a bit of a frame and then I added a fringe with tiny pearl beads for accent.

Twilight brooch 2

As it’s so small (the centre section is only about an inch in diameter) I struggled to find a brooch back the right size. Fortunately another one of my vintage breakdowns yielded a dear little round back which fitted perfectly.

Twilight brooch 3

It came together in a matter of a couple of hours and is now in my Etsy shop here.

And don’t forget, that if you enter TOPAZ1 at the checkout from now until the 20th of December 2014 then you can get 20% off any item in my shop – vintage, upcycled or handmade jewellery. Last few days!

Not much more to see with the blue crazy patchwork, but I have been upcycling/making jewellery again.

First was a simple brushed stainless steel pendant, probably 1970s. I had various ideas for embroidery to add to it, mostly on a second smaller disc, hanging from a jump ring through the top hole, but when I went looking for a jump ring, I found one of my hand cut reticulated brass discs and that was that.

Reticulated brass and stainless steel pendant

I love the contrasts – silver/gold and smooth/textured.

Then I rethreaded the remains of a vintage white glass bead necklace and the oddments from a gorgeous very dark red glass bead necklace along with some odd black and black/white lampwork beads to make this:

Black and white glass bead necklace 1

I love that the dark red beads (the flat faceted rondelles) are so intense in colour that they look black unless they catch the light just right and then they are the most mouthwatering crimson.

Black and white glass bead necklace 2

They’re both in my Etsy shop here.

If you enter TOPAZ1 at the checkout from now until the 20th of December 2014 then you can get 20% off any item in my shop – vintage, upcycled or handmade jewellery.

More blue

I was finishing the kantha stitching when I had a brainwave for the mottled batik piece of fabric on the left.

Blues 1

It’s something I’d seen somewhere on the internet – back stitched spiders web fans in variegated fine perle thread.

Blues 2

Blues 3

Great fun to stitch, fitting them into the corners and edges of the pale blue shapes.

Blues 4

Blues 5

And then I went back to the commercial embroidered piece on the right, adding tete de boeuf stitch (fly stitches caught down with a french knot, rather than a straight stitch) in the same size as the distance between the couching threads.

Blues 6

They make me think of fern leaves unrolling in the spring.

Blues 7

And then back to the chain stitched ‘portholes’.  Last element to finish before I can start on the third strip.

Blues 8

I’m costuming our pantomime this year, so I’m aiming for a birthday finish (April) rather than Christmas.

Thank you all for your comments on the green quartz vintage necklace. I was leaning towards number 4 myself, so it’s good to know that other people liked that one too. In the meantime I’ve been playing with some more upcycling. First, a vintage brass ring which was just crying out for some embroidery in the centre.

Desert Rose ring 1

I measured the centre of the bezel, drew an appropriate sized circle on vilene and filled it with a mixture of eyelets and French knots in a variegated blue and copper coloured cotton thread.

Desert Rose ring 2

I cut it out, stabilised the back with Modge Podge and prepared to add it to the ring. It was too big. By some way. Back to the drawing board. This time I changed my mind as to the colour. The copper didn’t work with the soft gold of the ring, so I went for an old gold and dusty crimson variegated thread. (And I measured the circle more carefully this time…) In progress…

Desert Rose ring 3

…and finished and mounted in the ring. I’m so pleased with the colour this time. I’ve called it Desert Rose and put it into my Etsy shop here.

Desert Rose ring 4

Then I found a vintage brooch with turquoise/blue rhinestones around the edge but its central stone missing. I ran up a blue silk ribbon rose inside a wreath of feather stitch on some hand dyed silk dupion and mounted it over a dome of vilene to replace the centre.

Blue ribbon rose brooch 1

Blue ribbon rose brooch 2

That can be found here.

And finally I took the sad and sorry remains of a vintage brass and glass bead necklace apart and put it back together with some vintage copper/turquoise faux pearls, modern glass beads – turquoise rondelles and tiger striped ovals…

Turquoise drop necklace 1

…hand made glass beads with amber nodules on the surface…

Turquoise drop necklace 2

…and a fabulous hand made green/turquoise glass focal bead I’d been saving for such an occasion…

Turquoise drop necklace 3

…to create this:

Turquoise drop necklace 4

Which is also in my Etsy shop here.

To celebrate my little burst of creativity and the run up to Christmas, (and hopefully encourage some buyers!) I’ve created a discount code.

If you enter TOPAZ1 at the checkout from now until the 20th of December 2014 then you can get 20% off any item – vintage, upcycled or handmade jewellery – from my Etsy shop.

My next upcycled jewellery project is this stunning vintage necklace.

Green quartz necklace 1

It probably dates from the 1950s or early 1960s and is in lovely condition, professionally strung, with gimp loops over the ends of the thread to protect it from rubbing through on the sterling silver catch. The gently graduated green beads are some kind of (probably dyed) quartz and feel cool and smooth. In between them are little crystal bicones. Well, apart from the one that was missing.

I had two choices: to take the necklace apart and restring it, replacing the missing spacer bead, (and I really didn’t want to mess with the quality of the original work) or as the missing bead was to the right of the central bead, I could remove the spacer on the other side and add something of my own silversmithing to hang below/frame the central bead and fit over the thread on either side. So I gently removed another spacer bead…

Green quartz necklace 2

…and began to doodle possible ideas. My first was an organic drop, possibly with some piercing, so I made a paper mock up – silver sheet is far too expensive to cut unless I’m positive the idea is going to work!

Green quartz necklace 3

I liked that, but when I showed it to my middle one, she pointed out that the spacers were angular and didn’t feel the organic flowing shape fitted the necklace design. I took this on board and Mock Up 2, a more angular, crystalline shape, followed:

Green quartz necklace 4

Actually, I quite liked that too, so I showed my husband. He was dead set against both of them and felt the drop should echo the main bead. Like this, possibly with a pierced centre:

Green quartz necklace 5

I also offered this alternative, with the possibility of a bead hanging from the tip:

Green quartz necklace 6

And also this one, using diagonals rather than vertical lines and with the disc having a hammered texture – actually, I’ll probably hammer all of them.

Green quartz necklace 7

The problem now is that I’ve got so many that I’m really not sure which design works best. Every family member has a different opinion so I’m asking for blog help. Here are the five designs I’ve outlined:

Green quartz necklace 8

Which design (if any) do you think works best to complement the original necklace so I end up with a happy marriage of quality vintage and contemporary hand made?

Thanks for all your input on the indigo book. I was starting to lean towards the boro mend myself, so it was good to have that thought supported. Hopefully I should get it finished today.

James’ blue crazy patchwork cushion continues to evolve slowly. I found another scrap of commercially embroidered fabric which I added to the left hand side of the strip to break up the expanse of the piece at that end.

More blue crazy patchwork 1

The printed Japanese cotton had curious spirals within the faux tie-dye shapes, so I enhanced them with spirals of chain stitch in white silk.

More blue crazy patchwork 2

The new piece of embroidered brocade now has a seeded background.

More blue crazy patchwork 3

And the other commercially embroidered patch has had heavy soft silk couched around the shapes prior to adding some extra detail in probably fly stitch and French knots – not quite decided yet.

More blue crazy patchwork 4

The little yachts will be getting their own frames of chain stitch spirals in variegated thread.

More blue crazy patchwork 5

And the ultramarine silk dupion has waves of kantha stitch.

More blue crazy patchwork 6

Slowly making progress.

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