Monday, November 5, 2012

Red and Black Gothic Chain Necklace

A friend that I make a lot of jewelry for had a number of requests for some Halloween jewelry this year.  This piece is Halloween themed, but could work in everyday wear as well.  The main inspiration were the charms shown in the picture, and that she asked for the colors to be red and black.  I thought that a gunmetal chain and toggle would work well for the darker look.  After I gathered up my supplies I had to determine what type of design I wanted to go with.  I thought that using the clasp as the focal piece would work well, as I knew it would be a longer necklace that would not need the clasp to be opened and closed.  I started simply with connecting the clasp to the main length of chain and then started connecting the dangles to the clasp itself. 

I decided to go with different lengths of chain for some dimension, as well as because I knew the different drops would stand out more if they were a little off set. Since the clasp is not going to be opened and closed, the dangles could be attached directly with a jumpring to the ring portion of the clasp. I complimented the charms with some red and black Swarovski and Celestial crystals.  The aluminum chain I used was lightweight and had links which weren't soldered, so it made opening the links and connecting everything easier.  Plus, because it is a lightweight chain, the piece is still nice and light. 

I had to adjust the cluster a few times, to get it where it wasn't too separated, but all of the drops and charms could be seen.  Obviously with natural movement and gravity, some may cover others and shift, but I tried to get it where all of the charms were facing the same way and the cluster was somewhat staggered to help minimize this.  

The necklace is longer so it can easily be slipped over the head.  In the picture below, it was hooked on the back of the display so that the cluster would be displayed correctly, so the necklace actually hangs much lower than it appears in the picture.  While this piece was made with Halloween in mind, it could be easily used in a number of different situations. 

This is the first time I have used the clasp as a focal piece.  I like this style as it gives it a more casual look to it.  We'll have to see what I can work this technique into in the future. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Chain and Crystals

A friend received some Swarovski twist beads in a grab bag, and asked me to make her something with them.  Besides the Swarovski beads, I had no direction.  I thought they would look good with gunmetal findings and stardust beads.  I had a gunmetal multi strand clasp, so I took some inspiration and decided to make some beaded links and connect them with gunmetal chain.  First I decided to make all of my beaded links.  This made the process faster as I didn't have to keep stopping to create more links.  I created them all ahead of time so that I could just connect them to the chains and make the process more streamline. 

Once all the beaded links were made, I started taking random lengths of chain and connecting the links and chain to make strands.  The clasp was a three strand clasp, so I did one complete strand and tested the length on my own wrist to determine what length I would need.  Once I got a length that I thought would work, I was able to get started on the other two strands.  I tried to make it completely random, so that the spacing of the crystals and stardust beads changes on each strand. 

I didn't want the strands to become twisted, so I did have to be careful when attaching the chains to each side of the clasp.  What I finally ended up doing was connecting the strands to the first half of the clasp, but then before attaching the other side I secured the clasp together.  With multi strand clasps I have the tendency to turn around the clasp and attach them the wrong way, so I found attaching it while the clasp is together really worked well for me. 

And voila, all the strands were attached and the bracelet was done.  Thankfully the bracelet was a perfect fit for my friend, but if it hadn't been I could have added or taken out links of chain to make it fit properly. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

More Hearts To Be Had

So after making the stretch bracelet with the porcelain beads and hearts, I decided it was only fitting to make a matching necklace.  I used a style that I have made a few pieces with, where there is a chain in the back and section of beads in the front.  I won't lie, one of my friends made something in a similar style forever ago, and I liked it so much that I used it as inspiration for my own pieces.  

For this design I used the same porcelain beads and stardust beads that were used in the bracelet.  I added some flexible beading wire, a gunmetal toggle clasp and some gunmetal chain.  First I went about creating the front section which would be the beaded section. 

I did an alternating pattern of the green porcelain beads with some silver stardust beads in two different sizes and then used one of the heart beads as a focal component.  Once done the wire was crimped to create a loop on each end, and the crimp was covered with a gunmetal crimp cover.  I thought that the gunmetal tone went better with this darker or more muted color scheme.   To finish off the piece I took two identical lengths of the gunmetal chain that I had chosen, and then attached it to the loops on the wire.  The last touch was to add the toggle clasp. 

This necklace can be both casual and more formal.  The style is pretty versatile, and the stardust beads give it a bit of sparkle that can work with more formal looks.  Plus, the friend I made this for now has a matching set of necklace and bracelet that can work with many different outfits and settings. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Festive Santa Stretch Bracelet

Another Holiday themed bracelet coming your way.  This time I used some vibrant red beads with Santas on them as well as some patterns.  I paired these with gold guessed it....stardust beads! This really shouldn't surprise you by now. 

Again, this is done with two strands of powercord because of the weight of the beads.  When I secure the surgeon's knot I use some loctite gel glue to help keep it secure.  It dries quickly and works like a dream. 

I love using bead stoppers on one end of the cord so that my beads don't slip off.  Yes, you could knot the end of the cord, but with these beads, they could slip right over the knot.  Plus, the bead stopper is easily removable, while a knot may be hard to remove.  

The pattern on this bracelet ended up being more random.  The pattern does not match, but in this situation I did not feel that it was necessary. 

See this item in my shop!
The combination of red and gold came out really nicely.  Plus, with a little green in a couple of the beads there is definitely a festive holiday look to it. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Snowmen and Snowflakes

I know, I's not even the end of October yet but I do need to get ahead of the curve and get some holiday or winter themed pieces done and listed so that people have the opportunity to buy them before Christmas or the end of the year.  So...with that in mind I decided to get a start on it with some winter/holiday themed stretch bracelets.  This first one is composed of silver stardust beads and glass beads.  Yes, you may have noticed I use a lot of stardust beads in my jewelry.  I may be addicted to stardust beads.  A little. Maybe.

This bracelet ended up with a steady pattern, I decided to make it match.  Some designs look better random, but I thought this one would look good with a consistent pattern. This bracelet was made using Powercord, and as with the Halloween bracelets I made it was made with two strands/  With the heavier beads it works well because two strands will not stretch out as much, and they will also give some added security.  

See this bracelet in my shop!
The two stardust beads on the bottom of the bracelet have some diamond cut details on it. This is the first time I have used them.  I'm not sure that I will use them in a lot of my pieces (unlike regular stardust beads, which we have already talked about). They do have a nice look, but the diamond cut detailing takes away some of their sparkle in my opinion.  Overall though, I really do like how the bracelet turned out and foresee more of these in my future. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Keeping Your Place, Halloween Style

I tend to make a lot of ribbon bookmarks.  Up until now a lot of them have just been a single length of ribbon with beads or charms attached.  I decided to try laying two different colors and sizes of ribbon together to see if it would work.  

I had a couple leftover Halloween beads from the last couple bracelets I made and had recently picked up some new ribbon to work with. I started with layering a thin black ribbon on top of the orange ribbon.  I secured the ribbon down the middle using some Ultimate adhesive.  Getting it perfectly lined up down the middle took some work, but I found going slow combined with using some tweezers to lay down the black ribbon worked well.  With the Ultimate adhesive (which has a consistency similar to Elmer's glue) you can manipulate it, but there may be some residue if you move it too much.  

After gluing the ribbon down and letting it dry for a while, I then added ribbon crimps to each end.  These are secured using nylon jaw pliers, but I always add a little adhesive on the edge of the ribbon.  This not only helps to secure the ribbon crimps, but I find it can help keep the ribbon from fraying a little as well.  It won't completely stop fraying but definitely helps to prevent it.  

The beads that I had leftover were a black skull and a Jack O'Lantern bead.  I decided to add a couple stardust beads for some sparkle. 
After digging out some gunmetal headpins (I just felt they would disappear more and highlight the beads) and creating drops, I attached them to each ribbon crimp, and voila! Instant and unique bookmarks.  

I love these ribbon bookmarks.  Each one is unique and can be personalized to the owner.  The possibilities and color combinations are endless.  I have a number of these available in my etsy shop and am currently working on more that are themed.   These bookmarks are also incredibly gentle on books.  All of the ones that I make are long enough to work in a standard hardback book.  They are flexible, so they don't damage pages or the spine.  

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Let's Talk Illusion favorite style of jewelry to make is illusion style.  Well, it is at least one of my favorites and one of the ones I am most familiar with.  It's a style that can be used in either multi-strand designs, or single strands.  Plus, you can use it to make pretty much any piece.  
See this bracelet in my Etsy Store!
I prefer to use crimp covers over the crimps that I use because I feel that they give the piece a more polished look overall.  Many people prefer to just crimp their crimps normally, or flatten them using chain nose pliers.  No method is wrong, I just prefer to use covers.  This makes it appear like they are just sections of beads held in place, but you can't really tell what is holding them in place.  

With illusion style, you can be as symmetrical or as random as you would prefer to be.  Some of my designs are precisely spaced where the sides mirror eachother in beads and spacing.  This especially happens when I make illusion style necklaces, I will almost always make these completely symmetrical. 

In these pieces I not only make the spacing and number of beads match, but I will match the shapes and the colors.  When I do illusion style bracelets, I will often just be completely random; however, when I do multiple strands I try to make sure that the way the spacing ends up, there will not be much blank space when the piece is worn.  If there is a gap on the wire in one strand, I will usually try some beads lining up in that area on another strand. 

Using crimp covers can take some practice.  Believe me, I flattened or ruined many many crimp covers before I got the hang of it.  The best way I have found to close these is by using the very tips of my crimping pliers and then applying gentle pressure.  If the bead does not line up properly or if it's just a little wonky, then I will gently adjust it with the same portion of the pliers.  
Click here to view in my Etsy store!

Creating these pieces can be very time consuming, especially if you are doing a more symmetrical design that requires precise spacing.  Don't feel bad if you need to step away for a minute, or rest your eyes.  I often have to stop for a while as it can put a strain on both your hands and eyes.  As mentioned in a previous post, if you need to mark where you left off or hold beads in place, then use a bit of scotch tape (or a bead stopper) to secure them. 

I love this style as there are just so many different looks you can create.  Using different bead shapes, spacing and number of strands make the possibilities endless.  Yes, it can take some practice, but the end result is elegant and beautiful.  If you commit to creating this style, you will need to become very good friends with your crimping pliers, crimps and crimp covers. I think it is worth it, don't you?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Statement Heart Bracelet

This is another bracelet that I made using supplies that a friend of mine purchased and asked me to make something out of.  A lot of the pieces that I have made lately have been for her utilizing things that she has asked me to be creative with.  I started with the blue porcelain hearts and green porcelain rounds.  I decided that some silver stardust would be a nice touch with them, so I started laying out my beads.  

While I sometimes like to use bead boards, I've also been known to just lay out my beads on a board or my desk to see what they would look like.  Sometimes using a bead board won't show me what the completed piece will really look like, while laying out the pattern in the correct shape will better help me.  I definitely recommend bead boards, but sometimes they just aren't the best tool for me.  

Due to the weight of these beads, as well as the fact that they could have sharper edges, I used two strands of Powercord.  These beads are hollow, so getting the cord to cooperate and go strand through the middle can be a challenge to say the least! While you don't need to use a needle with Powercord, it can really help when using these types of beads.  I chose to use a wide eye needle so that I didn't have any difficulties using it with the Powercord. 

I wanted to use a single heart in the design and thought that it would be a piece that would lay over the top of your wrist well.  I then spaced the green porcelain beads with silver stardust beads, which provide a nice sparkle and contrast (in both colors and size) to the bracelet. Using a bead stopper to hold the end of the Powercord is a lifesaver as it keeps your beads from falling off the cord as well as leaves your hands free.  Can you imagine holding onto that end while stringing on the other?  I would probably drop it multiple times and have to start over.  If you don't have bead stoppers, don't worry! You can use a piece of scotch tape on the ends of the cord for the same effect. 
As planned, the heart bead lays really nicely on the top of the wrist.  After testing it for a while I discovered that it did not turn and stayed in place pretty well.  I have enough beads leftover that I am thinking of making a necklace to go with this bracelet, as I really like the combination of beads and colors.  I just hope the person I made it for feels the same!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Double Take?

This bracelet may look familiar, but I promise it is different than the one featured in a previous post.  Using leftover beads from when I made the first Halloween bracelet I decided that I had enough to make another.  These beads feature creepy eyes, a ghost, spider web and spider.

I used the same technique when making this bracelet as I did with the last bracelet.  I love the look of this bracelet as the beads are more uniform in shape and size, so even though the colors and theme are similar I really feel it can stand apart from the other bracelet.  Like the last bracelet I did this on Powercord.  I ended up adding a second strand of Powercord to the original bracelet because the weight of the lampworked beads did make the single strand stretch a bit too much. Knowing that I did that with the previous bracelet I immediately went about creating this bracelet with two strands from the beginning. 

I knotted each strand separately and in different places.  This way if one of them is worn or gets cut, it can easily be repaired without having to completely restring the bracelet, or deal with the beads flying everywhere if one strand does break.  Both knots on the bracelet are sealed using Loctite get glue, which not only secures the knot nicely, but dried relatively quickly.  Even though it does dry quickly I do try to hold the knot for a few minutes to give it a chance to cure and so that it doesn't immediately stick to the other strand or the beads.  After I feel it has dried enough I then shift the cord to hide the knots within a bead.  Now, with natural shifting the knots won't always stay hidden, but it gives it nice presentation. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hearts All Around

A while back a friend of mine gave me a scrabble tile pendant that had been given to her and asked me to make a necklace around it.  At first I thought, ok, no problem - but this one gave me some challenges.  

I started creating with it and had a piece halfway made some time ago, but then I just wasn't happy with it.  I ended up taking it apart and starting back at square one.  After quite a while of debating what I was 
going to do with this piece and how I was going to create something with it, I thought of some of the heart shapes available from Swarovski and how the Devoted 2 U heart shape so perfectly fit the shape of the heart on the pendant.  So, using that I went forward and looked at the colors available to see what would work best.  This ended up being my starting point and finally allowed me to create something that I was happy with.  

For this piece I knew that I wanted to go with an illusion style, because it is one of my favorite styles to work with.  I enjoy the fact that you can do a perfectly symmetrical and intricately spaced style, or it can be completely random in the spacing and still look beautiful.  For this design, I decided to go with rose and jet Swarovski crystals as they were pretty close to the colors on the pendant.  

After I had this direction, I knew where I wanted to go, so I started constructing it.  For this necklace I definitely wanted the spacing to be even and match on both sides.  I worked with bicones, wild hearts and one Devoted 2 U heart.  Sometimes these can be tricky, especially when you are working with multiple strands, because you want to make them match, and when working with wire it can move and shift without you knowing.  Scotch tape is great to utilize here.  I usually use it to mark the middle point where the pendant will go, and then once half done I will use it to keep the strands in place so that the spacing is easier.  

Another thing I make sure to do when I know that both sides will match is to plan carefully.  The last thing you want to do when 3/4 of the way done is discover that you have run out of a certain color or size of bead.  I will usually make a small section, then before moving on I will set aside the beads for the other side.  This way they are already set aside so I won't use them by mistake.  If your illusion style design is more random, or doesn't match then you don't have to worry about setting aside these beads, because you can just play it by ear.  

I'm really happy with how this necklace came out.  In fact if I had another of the pendant I would probably make one for myself! :)  Sometimes having one piece to build something around can be so inspiring and sometimes it can be a road block.  This one proved to be a little difficult, but in the end I am SO pleased with the path that it took me on.  This is definitely one of my favorite pieces that I have created.  

Friday, August 31, 2012

Halloween Stretch Bracelet

So you may remember in my last post that I was talking about creative blocks and possible ways to get past this.  I decided it was time to break my own creative block and get back to work! I have a friend who likes to buy beads and other items, then pass them on to me to make items for her.  In the last month, she gave me two ghost beads for a piece for Halloween.  I remembered that she had also given me some other glass Halloween beads that may correspond well with these beads.  After mulling over these items for some time, I decided that they may be best used in a stretch bracelet.  

I remembered that I had purchased some powercord in black a while back so decided it was time to experiment.  This was not only my first time using stretch cord, but also my first time using a surgeon's knot.  I definitely recommend using glue on the knot and letting it dry suitably before stretching or testing the piece.  Surgeon's knots can be very secure, but you definitely want the added protection from the glue. 

This piece went by relatively quickly, but I did have to remake it a couple times.  Figuring out the length with a stretch cord can be hard.  I finally used my own wrist as a template to figure out how all of the beads would lay, especially when the cord was stretched. 

I think the finished piece came out pretty well and my friend likes it.  So overall I would say it was a success!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Creative Block - How Do You Deal With It?

I haven't been creating many pieces as of late, though I have some works in progress that are on their way.  There's a horrible thing that affects most artists, whether it be writers, creators or any other arts - an inspiration block. It's awful, especially when you want to create things and you have so many ideas, but they just won't flow like you want them to.  Sometimes working yourself out of this block can be relatively easy, but often it can be a struggle.  Here are some methods I use to try and break free.

1. Find new sources of inspiration: Photographs, books, surroundings - this can be anything! A lot of my color combinations can come from nature, so a way to break a block could simply be to immerse yourself in the items or images that inspire you.  

2. Walk away from it! No, I'm serious - really! Sometimes you just need to put your project down and walk away.  Take a day away from it, then come back to it with fresh eyes.  Many of my own moments of frustration have been cured using this method.  You can get so immersed in it that you lose sight of the design that you wish to create, or you simply can't make any progress. 

3. Start working on something else.  This is another version of number 2, but it can also work.  Switch from a labor intensive project to some quick earrings or fun bracelets.  The change in pace and type of pace could re-energize you or inspire you to start working on your more detailed piece again. 

4. Clean your work area! This can be my least favorite of the different techniques I use, but it often can work the best.  Often your workspace may become covered in supplies, cast offs, or simply items that need to be put away.  Organizing and cleaning your area can not only help you to get refocused on your project, but you can discover items that you forgot you had, or find points of inspiration for a piece in the future. 

These are some of the techniques that I use when I am having trouble focusing or continuing a project.  Since I've been experiencing a little bit of creative blocking lately I should hurry up and employ some of them! :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Exciting News!

Guys! Guys!! GUYS!  Big news!

Just Another Symphony has been chosen as a Friday Spotlight artist on Peacock's Roost (!  I'm probably a bit over excited about this, but it's the first time I have been featured anywhere.  Please take some time to wander over and take a look!

A big thank you to Cherise over at for giving me this opportunity.  I truly appreciate it! :D

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Update has been a while.  I really didn't intend for this span of time to pass in between blog posts, but alas, life throws things at you.  Nothing drastic has happened, but between my day job, freelance jobs, boyfriend, parents, health issues and the like - I haven't had many spare moments.  What can I say? There are only so many hours in the day and lately it doesn't seem there are enough.  There are a number of things planned for this blog, as well as for my etsy store and facebook page. Some exciting things that are to come? Oh alright, I'll share some with you. 

  • A post dedicated to the wood pendants I make, as well as info on how I create them.
  • Posts on inspiration
  • Posts on breaking creative blocks
  • More new stuff listed and shown
  • And much more!
This blog is still very much in its infancy, but I hope as I get more used to the format I will be able to share experiences and knowledge with any who read it. I look forward to creating these posts and hearing from anyone who reads them!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Why 'Just Another Symphony'?

I've been asked before why I chose to list my designs under the name Just Another Symphony.  To explain this I really need to explain a bit about me.  In my life, one constant has always been creativity.  My first creative love was and always has been music.  So many things in my life tie back to music.  The term or phrase 'Just Another Symphony' became a way for me to describe something I have created, a beautiful moment or something that is a work of art. In these thoughts, something that is creative, even if not music, could be a symphony - a symphony of colors, style or simple something beautiful.

These are the type of thoughts that I apply to all of my creative endeavors, whether it is my music, my writing or the jewelry and craft items that I create.  When it came to the thought of what I would name my shop, what name I would apply to my items, it was a phrase that I have spoken many times. Each creation is a symphony, movement or moment in and of themselves.  Enjoy!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The start of

Hello All! 

While I have a Tumblr that I have started for my jewelry making/etsy, I find that it is better for little tidbits.  I decided that starting a blog was probably a good route to take.  A place where I can give more information, pics and insight on my creations, creative process and other facets of who I am.  

First things first, there are a number of different ways to reach me or to view my designs.  You can email me regarding my jewelry or store at  Please also take a moment to look at my shop, read my tumblr and like my facebook page. 

When I first started making jewelry and listing it on etsy, it was really just a fun way to maybe sell some of my stuff and get my work out there.  Now it is becoming something more. I love knowing that people enjoy the items I create and it gives me a certain thrill knowing that they will wear the items or share them with others.  I have never been a terribly social person, so it is hard to put myself out there, but each piece of jewelry or accessory that I create allows others to see my work and know a bit about me.  

I work with most materials that I can get my hands on and make a wide range of items.  At one moment I may be obsessed with the wood pendants I create, but then move on to an elegant illusion style or crystal designs.  The range of items in my shop, included in this blog, or on my facebook page may be constantly changing.  

I'm hoping that this blog can not only serve as a place for me to share my designs, but maybe along the way I can show how some things are made, or give more insight on my inspiration and creative journey.  I want this to not only be a place where I can display things, but a place for interaction as well.  Thanks for coming along for the ride with me!