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I’m not sure how these things keep happening to me, but I found yet another hobby online the other day. Last weekend, I was browsing the German Longhaircommunity for hair decoration, and among other things, there was a link to a website with instructions on how to make your own jewelry with beads. Sounds Hippie, right? That’s actually right up my alley, but when I clicked over to the site (it was Alexis’ Beads, btw), I was a little surprised (and not all sad) to find that it wasn’t Hippie at all. It was sparkly and creative and looked like a lot of fun.

So I took to researching further, as I tend to do since, you know, I’m a researcher, and the next thing I know I was browsing craft shops on eBay and had four bags of facet beads in my shopping cart (they arrived the day before yesterday, and they are prrrrrrrrrrrretty!). My SIL gave me some good advice on where to buy what at a local garden center (they have an arts and crafts section there, don’t ask me why), and come Monday, I spent 20€ on rocailles, a needle, more facet pearls, and nylon string there. I guess you could say that one thing led to another. Hobby begat hobby.

Two projects had caught my eye during my initial online research. The first one was a necklace/bracelet from Alexis’ site, the second was an intricate tubed design/technique called the Cellini Spiral. And they are what I set out to produce.

Two or three days later, the first project was finished, and Hubby is already a little freaked out by the prospect of me sitting by the not-yet-existent fireplace every night, beading the crap out of all the lurvely projects to be found all over. I haven’t bought any books as of yet, but I’m presently feeling the amazon-itch creeping up on me.

Anyway, not to brag, but this is the first of the projects, and I think it turned out really quite alright:

There are a couple of flaws that are mainly due to my tightening the string too much, and there’s one outright mistake I made incorporating one of the facet pearls. But, all in all, I’m giving myself an A for effort, and I’ve already worn the necklace twice without blushing. 😉

By the way, it’s a design Alexis calls Thetis after a mythological sea nymph. I felt immediately drawn to it because of its how-on-earth-did-she-do-that-quality. Also, I’m an Aquarius, I like water. And the sea. And nymphs… never mind.

In other, rather unrelated news, I was watching Moby Dick on DVD while making part of the bracelet. I will never look at either again without thinking about the respective other, because the sparkly blue waves and the boat-tipping whale went so well together somehow.

What is really satisfying about making these is the way the wave shapes come together. The dark blue beads are strung onto the thread and curl in on themselves when the facet bead is inserted. And when the row of light blue beads is added, the wave shapes magically form that lovely arch.

The instructions can be found here (in both English and German; scroll down or CTRL+F thetis), if you’re interested, and I followed them to a tee for the bracelet. With the necklace, I went for a little more sparkle by substituting the white rocailles with silver ones. I’m not sure which I like better, so I’m glad I did both.

I especially like the clasp beads that are made of the same seed-beads and facet beads used to produce the rest of the necklace. I think it’s neat not to have to go buy some pre-made clasp elements for the jewelry. This way, it’s really one hundred percent home-made.

Well, apart from the pearls themselves. And the nylon thread. And the big eye needle needed to thread the factory-spun thread through the factory-made beads. Okay, never mind the home-made part. I just like making stuff myself, so I’m all for the semi-homespun clasp beads.

One thing I’ve learned already is that nylon thread is a bit of a beach to work with if tightened and stretched too much. It tends to tangle. But if you leave it alone and let it slide freely through each bead instead of making it squeeze through your uncertainly clenched fingers it will act mature and cooperative. If you’re making this necklace, the whole trick to making the picots work is keeping the thread tight where it comes out of the previous bead, and holding it thus until it gets supported by the next bead in line. Other than that: if you love it, let it flow.

I untangled my fair share of nylon knots before I learned that lesson, so I thought I’d share.

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