Sunday, April 14, 2013

Occupational Therapy

After a rather rigorous day at work I was in the mood for something mindless and relaxing. Michael suggested to take a walk in the forest, which is normally great, but today I couldn't even bring up the energy for that. I make jewellery every once in a while. So I decided to do some more of that today. I could unwind a little and Michael could sit beside me watching TV. 

First, let's go back a little in time. I have been making key-chains and bracelets made of horsehair for my horseback riding school De Eendenkooi. They can sell these to get money for our new cafeteria that's being built. Before this, I hadn't really made much jewellery. It wasn't the first time I made jewellery though! If that had been the case I wouldn't have offered my riding school that I make them key-chains  Imagine not knowing if you can do it, and then delivering horrible looking products *shiver*. 

Anyway,  my first attempt was when my brother married. I made my own fake pearl necklace with golden coloured beads. Looking at it now, it's not all that pretty, but back then I was intensely proud of it. 

So that shallow dip in the art made me aware that it's all quite easy really. So when the riding school was looking for ways to earn a little extra, I decided to volunteer. Here are some samples of the key-chains I made. I apologise for the space the pictures take up in this blog, but I haven't found a way to place them sideways. Silly Google blog. 

And here is an example of a horsehair bracelet I made:
I especially enjoyed the bracelets and the one key-chain with the braid. It's a 4 strand round braid that I just learned, and I'm very proud of myself for mastering it.

So after all this horsehair key-chain fun, Michael asked me to make one for him too! That was quite a challenge and a an honour, because it had to be manly, and generally beads aren't very manly. I kept it simple and non-shiny and this was the result.
Not my best work, but Michael seemed satisfied with it. He also suggested I make a key-chain for his mom. He picked out what kind of beads he wanted for it and I took it from there. It's finished and I think it's pretty awesome, but his mother will get it when we fly to Florida so it will have to wait a bit longer. I don't want to ruin the surprise! 

But to get back to the topic of what I was doing today after a rigorous day at work. I decided I was going to make a necklace. I don't necessarily need a necklace, I don't even like wearing jewellery much. It's the mindless process of tinkering with the little rings, beads and wires that helps me relax. If I don't know what to do with it I can always give it away if someone thinks it's pretty enough to wear.

I decided to play it safe and simple and made a black and metal looking necklace. The goal was a classy sophisticated necklace that doesn't look like I made it myself. That in itself is quite a challenge so I didn't want to risk screwing up with fancy colour combinations. I started with folding a metal wire in half and tying it in a knot in the middle. There I fixed a pandora like bead with 2 smaller metal beads. This is the eye catcher of the necklace. Initially I planned to hang something from that loop at the bottom but I later removed it.
I busied myself for a good 30-45 minutes to figuring out how many black beads I wanted between the metal beads. In the end my shortage of black beads led me to decide on a 3 to 1 ratio. That didn't even help me much, because as you can see in the picture to the left, I had to make my necklace artificially longer with a chain. If I hadn't it would have been more like a choker necklace!
Of course, I then screwed up by accidentally cutting the wire too short to tie a knot in it. Which then took me a good half hour. Yeah, half an hour. No. I'm not exaggerating. With 2 jewellery pliers and tweezers I managed after a way too long time to get the little knot in. Man, was I mad at myself. You can bet I did the other knot very carefully and that took only 3 minutes. 

After a little finishing touches this became the end result:

I would love to hear what you guys think of my first serious necklace attempt. Is it worth wearing or does it need more improvement before it looks like a "real" necklace?

The result doesn't even matter though, because it definitely kept me occupied and distracted! I have a feeling I'll be making a whole lot of jewellery when I come back to the Netherlands without Michael.

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