Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ladies Night Out - Week 4 - Tennis Anyone??

It's a dreary day today but not as bad here as in many other locations; so I am not complaining. It's not snowing, no floods to speak of, and no tornadoes. The weather has been so inconsistent in so many locations this winter; it makes you wonder at the changes occuring all over the country.

I have Bette Midler playing in the background - I love her voice and songs! I feel like getting up and dancing around the kitchen - who would know??? As usual I digress!

These are the lovely pieces that we made last week in class! This is the class that I had swapped with the Lily Necklace and had to call everyone to get their crystal choice... It took several hours on the computer to make sure that I ordered all the right components. There were all kinds of crystal colors picked and they all came out so lovely. The ladies were commenting as they left that they finally had a finished piece to show off. Some of them are re-doing some of the previous classes because they are getting quite picky on the finishing of their jewelry - I've taught them well!

It was a quiet class last week and I mentioned this to the ladies. I told them that they weren't giving me much to write about for my blog post!! They were all so intent on stringing the crystal sliders and silver beads and in some cases, redesigning the bracelet to fit their individual wrist sizes. Some of them also redesigned their earrings, which I'm glad to see that they have the confidence now after taking many classes to begin the designing process.

We have already completed four weeks - boy how the time does fly by! This coming week is the Lily of the Valley necklace and then the last week is Ladies' Choice. That last week is usually a little on the stressful side because quite often they all choose something different to make and I'm back and forth quite a bit. I should really wear roller skates for the last class but I'm afraid that I would break my neck!

Stay tuned!!

Have a great week!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ladies Night Out - Week 3 - The Herringbone Technique

Wow, two blog posts on the same day!! Trying to get caught up!

This class wasn't as stressful as the previous class, at least for me, thank goodness! This was another new technique; this one I had never done before. I had been thinking of trying this technique for awhile after seeing the instructions for the technique on a bead site that I frequent and decided that it would be this semester.

I have to turn the project list in to the school quite a ways in advance of the actual classes and sometimes it is difficult to come up with new projects. Where I have a group of 7 or 8 ladies that keep coming back to the class, I have to come up with new ideas, which isn't a bad thing. I have this mental list going of jewelry pieces or techniques that I have seen and would like to make and come back to it when I am compiling the list of potential projects for upcoming semesters.

Making the demo for this class was pretty uneventful. The instructions were easy to follow. Given the fact that working with wire is stressful for some of the ladies, I decided to design a bracelet with just a few herringbone links and then connecting them with these cute silver swirls. This way, they could practice the technique a few times, perfecting it as they repeated it and get the bracelet made quite easily after.

A comment was made in the class that "Nancy likes working with wire". I do like working with wire, so it wasn't an untrue statement. I did remind the ladies, though, in fun, that they were paying for a class to learn different techniques and that was what I was trying to do. I asked them if they wouldn't get bored just stringing beads on wire and crimping them; they've already learned that technique and do that at home. I just got alot of smiles in response - they are there for the socializing and the jewelry is just a perk - who am I kidding!! No, many of them actually make up some of the designs we make in class as gifts later on when they can do it in the comfort of their own homes and at their own pace.

I enjoy teaching so much more than I ever thought I would and the ladies that keep coming back are such a fun group! I also do it for the socializing and would miss it if the program was ever dropped from the school.

I like watching the new ladies come in to the class, hesitant at first, but by the third week, with their own little cases of beads or tools. I just chuckle and say - addicting isn't it???

Ladies Night Out - Week 2 - Knotted Pearl Necklace

This semester of jewelry making is just flying by! We are on week four already and are having alot of fun. Granted, there is some whining going on, but I think I would be disappointed if I didn't hear any anticipated whining from my "regular" whiners!! It is all in fun. We spend most of our class time laughing at jokes. One comment by one of the ladies and it is turned into some joke with hidden undertones.

As usual, I get sidetracked.... Week two wasn't without some stress both prior to the class and during the class. The project for the class was pearl knotting with some lovely freshwater pearls. I had only done this technique myself a few years ago, so it was a refresher for me as well. I had purchased a beautiful strand of kelly green freshwater pearls from The Beadin Path; talked my husband into yet another trip to Freeport!

Once home, I proceeded to take out the nylon cord, which has an attached needle on one end, and not even reading my own instructions, eyeballed what I thought was the correct length of thread to use for an eighteen inch necklace and began the knotting process. You see, the technique for a strand of pearls is to have this evenly spaced knot in between each lovely pearl. I was moving along, the knots weren't looking too bad but I was struggling some with making sure that they were just touching the pearl, when I suddenly ran out of cord on the end with the needle. I thought I would add a few more pearls on the opposite end that I had started on but quickly found out that you can't thread the pearl with the cord without a needle - it frays...

Of course, this was just a few days before the actual class, so I began trying to come up with Plan B; maybe only make a necklace for a little girl, cut off the pearls and restart with some other green beading thread that I had in my jewelry stash, or wait until I could get to Freeport again on the weekend and get more of the nylon cord and do it right this time. I decided to try with the thread from my stash and cut all the pearls off the original cord to begin again.

This new thread was much thinner and it required two knots after each pearl. I got about halfway done and really looked at it. I didn't like the way it was coming out and if it doesn't meet my specs, it isn't going to cut it for class or my website. I'm very picky that way. I decided that I would leave it alone for class and bring it in the way it was.

I started the class with a new approach - I explained to them that I had an unfinished demo with me and it was because I had done everything wrong that could possibly be done in pearl knotting so that I could teach them how to do it correctly. I was trying to save them the aggrevation. They didn't bye it and seemed nervous about starting. Once they got going, "the correct way", most of them were getting the hang of it. A few struggled with it and want to remake theirs. I guess if I can do it multiple times, so can they! One of the new ladies, who shall remain nameless, seemed so stressed by the time she left the class. I joked with her that she needed to go home and have a cigarette but she informed me that she doesn't smoke and she gave up wine for lent - so she was really stuck!

I did make it to Freeport the following day, got some more green cord, and finished the necklace. I was pleased with the results and it made it to my website!!

Isn't the expression - Third Time's The Charm!!