I just finished this Bohemian Style Layered Necklace Set today. And, I absolutely love how it came out.
I’m calling this series of layered necklace sets, “Dandelion Dreams” and “Star Wishes”.
The set contains two necklaces.
One long beaded necklace with earthy gemstones I’ve hand wrapped with brass wire, patina’d and hand polished.
The long beaded necklace is adjustable. It can be worn as a long single strand, a mid length double strand, or a triple strand choker.
Depending on your wrist size, the beaded necklace might also work as a Bohemian Style Wrap Bracelet. Give it a try.
The second necklace in the set features one of my handmade pendants in either brass or copper. Although some pendants may be similar, the patina process and design application makes each one unique and pretty much one of a kind.
The pendant dangles from beaded gemstone links on an antiqued brass or copper plated jewelry chain.
The necklaces can be worn separately or layered to create your own unique Bohemian Gypsy Style.
Picking out the gemstones to match the pendants is an enjoyable part of the creative process. Here are some of the pendants waiting to be made into cool necklaces along with a few of the many gemstones I currently have on hand.
And, here are a few of the pendants I’ve matched with gemstones. Beautiful amethyst, black onyx, African opal, and blue/brown agate are just a few of the gemstones I have on hand. And, I’ve just made another order for more gemstones today!
What’s up next? Here is a necklace set that I have just started. It’s a “Star Wishes” pendant in brass. The gemstones are multi colored amazonite. And together this will make another lovely Bohemian Layered Set.
It takes me a few days up to a week or two to finish one of these necklace sets. Depending on what I have on hand supply wise (I go through a lot of wire and jump rings).
The pendants I do have on hand. Recently completed, they are finished and ready to hang.
The beads are each wrapped by hand and linked with small jump rings. The jump rings are an extra finding that some designers may or may not use. I prefer to use them as I find the necklaces have a better drape and less “kink” when using the jump rings to connect the gemstone links.
In the Dandelion Dreams necklace set completed and shown here, I’ve wrapped 71 gemstones to create the long beaded necklace and 12 gemstones to create the pendant necklace.
The next step is the patina. And after the patina is the hand polishing. I use very fine steel wool to hand polish each wire wrapped bead. This process is a must in my wire wrapped creations as I find it smooths out any nicks or gouges that may have occurred during the wire wrapping process and takes the darkened patina’d metal back to a shiny, antiqued finish.
That’s a lot of wrapping and polishing but I don’t mind. I love the entire process. Just need a little break now and then to work out the kinks in my fingers and neck.
So there you have it. One of my new necklace designs with more to come. If you are interested in purchasing one of these necklaces custom made for you, contact me. (prices may vary)
Here is a link to the completed “Dandelion and Dreams” Bohemian Layered Necklace shown here:
It’s amazing what a little rain will do. Friday I just found a few little guys out in the garden. Now it’s Monday and Wowzer! I picked a peck to pickle! And blooms galore! Some of these guys got almost too big. But not to worry, they will find their way into one of my pickle jars.
We have a few favorite recipes and I’ll share the links below but today I am making Claussen Copycat Pickles! It’s one of our favorites and an every year must make!
And, another bonus! I am totally thrilled. My dill came in just as my cucumbers started producing! Yea! In years past, my dill patch, which I continue to struggle with every year trying to get an abundance, was usually ready before my cucumbers resulting in…….sigh……having to use dried dill weed or dill seed. But, not this year! This year I will have these pretty little dill heads to showcase in my pickle jars. Flavor and a lovely, earthy presentation!
And, while I’m on the subject of pretty and presentation; while picking cucumbers this morning I noticed that one plant was producing funky shaped cukes! Not that I mind but I was curious as to causation.
This year I planted late. (and, whoa is me because I didn’t start a garden journal this year as I usually do so I don’t have specifics at my fingertips to help me analyze…..note to self, next year, document!)
I planted four hills with three seeds each. (Those are my cucumber plants on the right along the fencing. I planted my rows north to south. Last year, this area had tomatillo plants. I rotate my crops every year).
The first planting didn’t take except for one small plant at the north end of the fence. I left that plant and replanted more on that hill and the other three hills.
This area of the garden gets the same amount of sun throughout the day. The same amount of water when I water (which was twice this year with a sprinkler. And, of course, when (if) it rains, the plants get the same amount of rainwater.
The seeds were old seeds (two or three years old). Same variety from the same package. (Boston Pickling Cucumbers are usually what I plant…..again with the lack of journaling…….smacks forehead here!)
Anyway, just found it interesting that all of the cucumbers from the three hills on the south have pretty, straight cucumbers. That one hill to the north has more curved and a funky one or two. Not that looks matter, mind you; the taste is still delish. Just an interesting observation this morning.
Enough about cucumbers and gardens for now. Back to the good stuff!
Here are some recipes I’ve come across over the years. I did not create these recipes; I take no credit; I am merely sharing.
These are just some of our favorites. Of course when preserving and canning make sure you follow the proper guidelines.
Claussen Copycat Pickles! Our most favorite. These stay crunchy because they aren’t processed. They are crisp and sour and salty perfection. They keep for a long, long time. We are still eating some from last year; over a year in the fridge (Yep, we have more than one refrigerator. It’s a home garden/farm necessity here). I pretty much follow the recipe exactly except I add a few peppercorns to the jars. Cut the cucumbers however you like; sometimes I do slices (thick and thin), spears, chunks, halves, and small whole.
This is a recipe for sweet pickle relish. Makes me want to fix hotdogs for dinner every night! It is very similar (if not exactly the same) as the one I use. Mine is from a “Ball” cookbook (my cookbook is definitely showing signs of wear and tear; I’ve had it for ages). Sometimes I add jalapenos to my recipe for a little sweet heat!
This recipe is for Sweet Lime Pickles. This is Greg’s favorite; “like Grandma Ida used to make”. These are a must have for Greg each year. The lime makes them super crunchy and these pickles are super, super sweet, almost like candy.
This recipe for refrigerator pickles I’ve had for years. I don’t know where I found it or who gave it to me so I can’t give credit where credit is due. There are similar recipes out there but I couldn’t find this exact one so I’m just going to jot it down here for you.
These are sweet but not overly so. I make them in a big glass jar (looks pretty). Good all on their own as a side salad. I don’t make these with the intention of preserving them. Just make a batch and eat ’em till they’re gone.
7 cups sliced cucumbers
1 cup sliced onions
1 green pepper cut into thin strips
2 TBSP salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 tsp mustard seed (I’m a freak for mustard seed; I always add more)
1 tsp celery seed
Mix together the cucumbers, onions, green pepper, and salt. Let them stand for one hour. Do NOT, do not, do not drain off the liquid that forms.
Bring the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed and celery seed to a boil to dissolve sugar. Let cool. Pour over cucumber mix. Let stand in fridge for 24 hours. Enjoy.
Make someone’s day! A gift from your garden or something homemade from your kitchen is an unexpected delight! Share the joy of gardening and abundance!
Have a terrific day!
Here is the first batch today!
Ended up with 5 quarts of Claussen Copycat Pickles, one batch of refrigerator pickles, and of course some munching along the way!
A wonderful article for sure. And here’s my two cents!
Yes, handmade is a unique and beautiful way to share and join the creative spirit of one person with another!
When I am creating a piece of jewelry I focus on positive energy and happy thoughts and wonder about the individual who will someday be receiving this item that has been touched by my hands and my spirit.
I’m always in awe when someone finds and purchases something I’ve created. For me it’s not all about the $$$. It’s about having created something, having someone find something I’ve created, having someone like something I’ve created, having someone want something I’ve created, having someone receive something I’ve created, taking special care in packaging something I’ve created, shipping something I’ve created, and communicating with someone I would never have met but through the simple act of creating something. All of this brings me peace, love and joy!
When I create and list an item I’m also creating and listing an experience, an interaction, and sometimes a friendship or two. Things that would not have happened but for a handmade creation.
So why buy handmade? Certainly for unique and unusual handcrafted treasures. But also so that kindred spirits that might otherwise never have met might connect.
Yes, buy and support handmade whenever you have the chance! You never know who you might meet.
Life is a Journey and The People You Meet Along The Way
What goes into one of my handcrafted necklaces? Well, it all depends.
If it’s a piece that is commissioned from my own creative muse, it all starts with a flicker of an idea; maybe from seeing a unique pendant I’ve come across, or a pop up idea with something I already have in my abundant stash of gemstones, pearls, charms, and pendants and such; or, an urge to create something wild and unruly and rustic where I create starting from scratch such as one of my sun catchers or dream catchers.
If it’s a custom piece requested by a customer, it all starts with getting a solid idea of what that person has in mind. This can be challenging. It’s kind of like reading a book; two people can read the very same story but have a totally different idea or picture in their mind of what the characters look like, the scenery, and how the story ends. So to be very clear on things we’ll send some notes and pictures back and forth until I feel confident that we both have the same outcome, or close to it, in mind. That’s the beauty and challenge of creating a custom piece.
I’ll then determine the cost, set up a custom order and once the purchase is made I’ll get started.
If I have the supplies on hand, I start right away. How long it takes to get it done depends on the style. I’ll give a time frame with an expected completion date and my goal is to exceed that expectation but without rushing just for the sake of getting it done quickly. I won’t compromise quality for a quick finish. If it takes longer than a week, I’ll send updates along the way so the customer knows I am diligently working on their order.
Here are some pictures and the process that went into a custom order I recently received and completed.
This is a necklace that wasn’t exactly what the customer had asked me to create. Why? Because initially the request was to replicate a necklace. And, out of respect for other artists, I don’t copy other designs. I guess in the grand scheme of jewelry making, a necklace is a necklace; a string of beads or trinkets in different lengths that may or may not have a pendant at the end and may or may not have a clasp at the back. But, still, I start from scratch: how long, what kind of beads, how will I string them, pendant or no pendant, clasp or no clasp. Of course, creativity breeds creativity but in the end I take pride in knowing that my creations are not copies but pieces that start from scratch and develop into their own unique finish.
After a few notes and pictures of pieces I had previously created, we agreed on the design. A long strand of beaded links. Long enough to create a triple wrap necklace. Color was to be black, dark blue or purple. Beads, type and style, were to be the same. Pendant was to be one of my etched copper pendants with a dandelion design, no dangles below. Wire was to be copper. Clasp was to be something simple that the pendant would hang from. The customer indicated her fashion style was minimalist and simple.
I created a price sheet, set up a custom order. The purchase was made and I got to work.
Initially, I thought I would create the necklace with black onyx gemstones in a smaller 6mm size to better fit a simple/minimalist style. Got out my bead stash and my copper wire and got to work on hand wrapping.
But, snafu #1; I didn’t like how the copper jump rings were working with the beads. In my opinion, the jump rings I had on hand were a bit too thick and too big for the size of beads I wanted to use. So, I placed an order with one of my most favorite and dependable suppliers for a more suitable jump ring.
This, fortunately, did not create a delay in the making of the necklace for in the meantime I would work on creating the pendant.
My copper pendants start with a sheet of blank copper. I use 20 gauge. Not too thick and not too thin. I cut the desired shape by hand with heavy duty tin snips. This leaves behind a rough edge on the metal. So, after cutting the metal, I use a fine grade sand paper to smooth the rough edges; once again, by hand.
After the shape has a nice smooth edge, I smooth the front and back flat surfaces with steel wool to create an even surface to apply the etched design. The surface has to be clean of oil and dirt so I scrub the pieces with Dawn dish soap and Comet cleanser.
Next comes the design application. I’m still working on my artistic skills with drawing and painting. In this case, I used a rubber stamp and ink to apply the dandelion design on the metal. Here’s an example from a previous custom order.
After the design has been applied, the metal is put through a process which will etch the design into the metal. There are several ways this can be done. You can find them by searching the internet.
Once the metal has been etched, I clean it again with steel wool and soap and water. Now I have a nice clean shiny copper pendant.
The next step is my favorite part of creating these pendants. The patina! There are different ways to develop a patina on metal and again you can search the internet to find out how (the internet is an amazing thing isn’t it!). I use a heat patina which develops into beautiful colorful designs and patterns. And, the lovely thing about the patina is no two pieces come out exactly the same.
After I’m satisfied with the patina I may or may not add an ink design to the back side of the pendant.
The final step on the pendants is to apply some type of sealant. This will help to better maintain the patina. In this case, I applied three coats of spray lacquer. This was a three day process to allow each coat to dry between applications.
Now my pendants are done and I’m ready to start wire wrapping the beads.
In the interim of making the pendants and waiting on the jump rings I had made another gemstone order and received these BEAUTIFUL dumortierite gemstones. These gemstones are a dark blue with some medium blue, black and brown inclusions. I knew they would look marvelous with the copper wire and pendant. So I opted for the dumortierite over the black onyx.
What is dumortierite? From the web:
1. a rare blue or violet mineral occurring typically as needles and fibrous masses in gneiss and schist. It consists of an aluminum and iron borosilicate.
(If you’d like to know more about these stones or may be interested in their crystal meanings be sure to google it for some interesting facts and/or opinions.)
I had estimated the length needed to wrap the necklace three times would be between 52″ to 54″. That’s a lot of beads and wrapping but wrap I did. 85 times!
After wrapping the beads I put the necklace through a patina process. This darkens the metal wire making it almost black. So now we’ve gone from a too bright coppery wire look to a dark corrosive looking patina.
The next step is to hand polish the metal on each beaded link with steel wool. This process smooths out the metal and brings back some of the coppery shine while leaving enough of the patina so the metal has a more aged/antiqued finish; not too bright, not too dark. I find this to be the most time consuming part of the process. Earlier on I had tried to find different/easier ways of doing this; tried a vinegar bath which ruined some beads, didn’t buff out the scratches and brought the metal back to a coppery dull finish. My husband bought me a Dremel which “chewed” up the metal. In the end, for me, I find hand polishing the best way to finish my pieces and so that is my process.
Now I have the finished necklace. It’s a very long 55″. The clasp is a simple toggle clasp. I had to try a couple of different ways to attach it to determine how it would best work with the finished product. This resulted in a re-wrap and patina and polish of a couple of beads but that’s just my style. If I don’t feel absolutely sure of the outcome I keep trying until I get it right.
I also made a little “S” type removable/optional clasp. Attaching this to the back of the necklace after it has been wrapped may help hold the necklace in place.
Now the finishing touch. Adding the pendant. Earlier on in this post I mentioned that each pendant will have a different patina. I had created six pendants when I started this necklace; two different sizes, all with the dandelion design. I liked the smaller pendants with the necklace and one of them had a more coppery finish with hues of purple and blue which looked fabulous with the beads and copper wire.
Snafu #2. I didn’t care for the lacquer finish. It was just too shiny. Now I could have left it because it looked okay. The necklace was finished and all I had to do was add the pendant. But, I didn’t absolutely “love” the outcome. So……
I decided to remove the glossy lacquer finish and apply a coat of Renaissance Wax instead. This would provide a hard, protective seal will less shine.
Removing the lacquer finish was easy but it also removed the stamped ink design on the backside so I would need to re-stamp. No big deal but I would want the stamping to set for a day so as not to smear the design when I applied the wax.
And, finally, after three coats of wax and a good polishing I attached the pendant. And voila! The necklace was complete. And done within my two week start to finish window. And I LOVE how it came out.
Snapped a few photos. Put it in some pretty packaging and sent it on its way to its new owner.
I hope she loves it as much as I do.
I do have five of these awesome dandelion pendants available. I plan on making a few more beaded chains like this one to dangle them from. Maybe you’d like one for yourself. If so, you can contact me through my etsy shop and request a custom order or email me at judith_r@hughes. net.