Spring Necklace Set

Today I finished making a necklace and earring set that I will be donating to the school for its Spring Art Show.

I took inspiration from a necklace I made recently for myself using white glass pearls of various sizes. I wear it quite a lot now that the weather is warming up! It makes everything feel a bit spring-like! You can see my inspiration necklace in the top right of the photo below.Spring! somethingspecialbyfiona.wordpress.com (683x1024)

The colours I chose to represent Spring were yellow and pink. I used a combination of beads in various colours, sizes and textures to make this necklace.

Spring necklace somethingspecialbyfiona.wordpress.com (1024x683)

Each of the smaller charms are on headpins and each one is threaded separately on to wire, with frosted white beads in between each set of charms.

Spring necklace . somethingspecialbyfiona.wordpress.com (989x1024)

I hope it will help raise some funds for our local school.

Do these colours remind you of Spring? What other colours would you wear?

Linking up with:

Table and Hearth

A Tray of Bliss

The Pin Junkie

The Interior Frugalista

Natasha in Oz

Great Idea Thursdays

How’s this for a feature necklace!

I’ve been fixing a few jewellery items lately, you may have noticed 🙂 It makes a bit of a change, and I like to see what is special to other people. I also enjoy looking at the techniques that have been used, and quite often I shake my head at the shortcuts that I see. Mind you, the breakages I am fixing are generally caused by children pulling on things, not necessarily poor workmanship!

Today’s necklace is a gorgeous, bright, multi-strand eye-catcher!

coloured necklace 1

It was originally strung on thread, and I was not surprised when the owner told me it broke quite early on, given the weight of the necklace. It was restrung by a family member of the owner, and she quite rightly used wire. She did a pretty good job, however it has again broken. Due to regular use of crimps around the back of the necklace, it looks like not many beads were lost when it broke – I worked on the idea that just 4 small beads were missing, and the length of those beads was easily made up with the clasp I attached.

I took several photos so I could have records of how it went together, in case I had to totally dismantle it before I could put it back together.

Coloured necklace 2

I could see that the 3 strands didn’t hang separately, they were braided twice.

The three strands of wire didn’t continue throughout the necklace. You can see they finished between the red and yellow beads above the aqua bead cap. There was a crimp hidden inside the bead cap, and then several more around the back to the other bead cap. There was no clasp, instead the two wire ends were crossed over and held in place with crimps.

This is certainly a technique that can be used when you don’t want to use a clasp, or there is no need for one. This necklace is long enough to slip over your head, so a clasp is not necessary. However, since it is quite heavy, I think adding the clasp allowed me to make the join stronger.

I have two widths of Tigertail (wire) I work with – 0.38mm and 0.45mm. Mostly it doesn’t matter which one I use, but in some cases I need the thinner one because I am working with tiny beads, and sometimes I need the wider one as I am making a heavier piece.

This time I needed to use the 0.45mm Tigertail due to the weight of the necklace, but was hoping it would fit through the tiny yellow beads three times!

Even though the yellow beads are very small, this time I was able to restring reasonably quickly by threading the new wire through the old strand then sliding the beads across.

Coloured necklace restringing technique. somethingspecialbyfiona.wordpress.com

In this picture the new wire is on the left, the old wire on the right. I have moved some beads over to the left, and then continued with this process. Working on a small section at a time, this is still a much faster way to rethread rather than putting each bead on individually. (Mind you, it still took around an hour to compete this job.) Luckily the hole through the beads was big enough to let me do this. You may remember when I hope to use this technique before when fixing another necklace, but couldn’t 😦

Once I had finished the three strand part, I braided them loosely twice then gathered all three wires together and crimped them. I hid that crimp under the aqua bead cap, as had been done previously. If you can manage to hide or camouflage a crimp then please do so 😉

The next big yellow bead slipped on easily as it had quite a large hole, so I managed to hide another crimp inside. Then I fitted on the rest of the beads, very pleased that the three strands of wire fitted through those little yellow beads.

Normally when finishing off you would thread the wire back though a couple of beads before cutting it off. This just makes things a bit neater, hiding the cut wire between two beads instead of at the clasp.

So I added two large crimps, then the clasp, and threaded the three wires back down through the crimps. Of course there was no way I would fit six wires back through those beads. The next problem is that no matter how good your cutters are, you can’t cut the wire cleanly off right next to a bead or crimp. You just can’t get in that close. It’s not generally a problem when you have threaded back through a couple of end beads, because the wire end can slip back into a bead. So I squashed the crimp closest to the clasp to hold everything in place, then I very carefully slid the second crimp down a touch to cover the cut ends before squashing it. I am talking a millimetre at most here. Hopefully that is enough to stop the wires scratching the wearer’s neck, because that doesn’t feel nice at all.

Coloured necklace fixed! somethingspecialbyfiona.wordpress.com

I didn’t think to take a close-up of the clasp end, sorry.

So hopefully with the three strands running the whole way through the necklace it will be stronger. And I’ve managed to hide most of the crimps to give a slightly cleaner look.

And how about those colours? They would jazz up just about any outfit! What do you think?

* Linking up with Mimi’s A Tray of Bliss

A very special pendant becomes wearable again

A lady dropped in some jewellery pieces for me to fix during the week, including a couple of very sentimental pieces which she hadn’t been able to wear for some time. For example, one was a bracelet from Smallprint with her children’s fingerprints. The clasp had broken. Now she has a new clasp and can wear it again 🙂

She also brought me a pendant. The sort that doesn’t have a hole. The fitting that was glued to it had fallen off, and she asked if I could somehow make it back into a necklace. This pendant is part of her husband’s and her proposal story, so very special. It had been on a black wire choker-style necklace and she wanted something similar.

First of all I needed to make a bail to glue to the back, with a hook to fit the necklace. I wasn’t sure how I was going to fashion the necklace at this stage, but I made the hook quite big. Here is the bead, and the bail I made:

pendant and bail somethingspecialbyfiona.wordpress.com

I decided to make the necklace on wire threaded with black flocking. I glued the bail to the back of the pendant, then made up the necklace. pendant somethingspecialbyfiona.wordpress

When I went to carefully thread it on, there was a small glitch – you guessed it, the loop I made was a smidgen too small 😦 I played around squashing the loop, but it wasn’t going to work, so I had to make up a new one. It’s slightly different in that instead of a double loop it is a single

necklace somethingspecialbyfiona.wordpress.comfinished necklace somethingspecialbyfiona.wordpress.com

I hope she will enjoy wearing this again.

What sort of sentimental jewellery pieces do you have?

* This post has been shared on The Pin Junkie, and A Tray of Bliss

Something different – fixing broken necklaces

Well hello, and thanks to anyone still hanging in here! It’s been a while…

Today I am going to talk about fixing things rather than creating them. From time to time I am asked to fix something, usually necklaces. Most of the time this is relatively easy to do, however it always depends on the original design and materials. Also, the necklace owner might like a slight change – perhaps an adjustment to the length, or a clasp that is easier to manage.

I have had 3 necklaces recently that I have mended. I did them in order of easiness, well, the order I thought would be easiest… 😉

I started with this beautiful one belonging to my friend. I did not originally make this necklace. She had managed to keep the beads that had fallen off, including the tiny seed beads separating each feature bead. All I had to do was restring it. A quick way to do this is the pass the new wire through the beads as they are still on the old wire, then slide the old wire out. This makes it very easy to keep the design correct. However those teeny black seed beads were so small I couldn’t fit 2 wires through them. So I had to take each bead off the old wire, then thread it on to the new wire. Each. Bead.

broken necklace 1

So what I thought was going to be quite a quick and easy fix took about half an hour. I was able to re-use the clasp on this so finishing it off was straightforward.

broken necklace 2

This next necklace belongs to my sister. Again, I did not originally make this one. broken necklace 3The pendant is on a rubber cord which I don’t use, so I needed to find something else. I would normally use a suede or leather cord to give a similar look but I know that won’t last terribly well in her case. She lives in the high humidity of Hong Kong, and previous experience has shown leather- or suede-strung necklaces deteriorate quickly.

So I spent some time working out what to use. I narrowed it down to black satin ribbon, or memory wire.

broken necklace 4

Aiming to have it look as similar to the original as I could, I went with memory wire and threaded on larger black seed beads. The loop on the pendant was a bit wonky, so I fixed that up and attached a bail so it would go on to the wire easily. The old clasp was broken as well, so a new clasp and some extension chain was needed.  And I added a cute butterfly charm to the end of the chain – just because I could!

broken necklace 5

The last necklace I fixed is one I did make! My previous post has the story behind its design. You can read that here. So this necklace went to my mum. One night she forgot to take it off before going to bed, and it got caught in the bedclothes.broken necklace 6

I left this one ’til last, as to re-create it would have been a big job. It had three strands all the way through, so I couldn’t just add on a few extra beads. But then mum said it didn’t need to be as detailed and she would be happy with a single strand. I pulled out my green bead collection to search for something appropriate. I couldn’t change the green glass bead as I had used that in the matching earrings. broken necklace 7


I ended up using the pale green frosted beads which I think worked nicely. I also changed the clasp as requested.

broken necklace 8

And here’s a look at what it was like before it broke (from my previous post):

Doodle pic 1

A bit different now, but mum likes it and that’s the most important thing 🙂

So there you go – a bit of an insight into what’s required to fix a broken necklace. Sometimes it’s straightforward, sometimes its not. Quite often the most time is spent on working out alternate materials to use. When designing a new jewellery item the most time is always spent working out what combinations work best, so it’s the same here!

Last week’s projects

I thought I would share two necklaces I made last week. Both very different, both appealing to different people no doubt.

The first one is a modern look, made with gorgeous agate stones. Some time ago, my friend saw an agate necklace and said she would like one too. I told her if she found beads she liked I would make one for her.

Recently I visited my favourite bead shop and said I would look to see if they had any beads that she might like, since she hadn’t found any herself. Several poor quality phone photos and phone calls later, I made an executive decision and picked a strand.

Agate beads. Something Special by Fiona

Then we had to work out what the necklace was going to look like. My friend told me she wanted just the beads in a simple, short design. But I knew they wouldn’t sit properly or look their best like that. After much negotiation and showing her several options, we finally agreed and the necklace was made!

Agate and variations. Something Special by Fiona

Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo before I handed the finished necklace over, but I did catch her wearing it a few days later…

Agate necklace. Something Special by Fiona

I have another friend who loves pearls and pink. She didn’t ask to have this necklace made, I just ‘used’ her as inspiration!

I wanted a multi-strand, luxurious looking necklace, with a mix of colours and textures. I also wanted to use a rose as a feature, meaning I had to work out how to combine the 5 strands into one to accommodate that.

I think it turned out quite nicely! I know the rose comes in other colours, and I think black and white would give this necklace a totally new look…I might try that another day 🙂

Pink and pearls. Something Special by Fiona

Which look do you prefer?


Today I was all set to work on a particular project for a client, but found I was short a few vital parts. So, after ordering what I needed, I headed to my jewellery Pinterest board for a little inspiration. This is what caught my eye today

pinterest beads

from http://www.beadinggem.com/2010/08/all-in-row-necklace-focal-inspirations.html

I knew I had some beads which have been sitting in a box for some time waiting to be used, and I knew this was the day! So I searched and searched until  found them, then searched and searched some more for various findings, connectors etc to match. You know as well as I do that finding the prefect beads for a project takes way more time than actually making it 🙂

So this is the result:

brown gold necklace. Something Special by Fiona

What do you think? Doesn’t look much like my inspiration does it? Which is a good thing, of course!

Now to see what response I get when I wear it to school pick-up shortly…I think it’s very important to give things the ‘wear test’.  And my pieces also get a very special extra test – the ‘Caitlin test’. A friend’s young daughter always checks to see what beads I am wearing, and loves to give them a good pull!