The strange and wonderful life of a self-confessed bead addict (and speech and language therapist)

18 February 2012

Monochrome Madness: The black (and grey-ish) bag!!

Afternoon all – and happy Saturday!

It’s a pretty important one for me – I start a new job on Monday (eeek!); which will take me away from my home with my fiancé in London for four nights a week. Not ideal, but with the job market being the way it is, I couldn’t really refuse the offer. C’est la vie.

I wonder how many others out there are being forced to accept jobs that are a less-than-practical distance from home? I’d love to hear any comments on this if anyone has something to offer.

But anyhow...I digress. I have spent the past couple of weeks beavering away at my latest ‘challenge bag. This time, it’s the turn of the black (and grey-ish) drawer!! Exciting, huh??
So, here’s what I had to work with – a tiny handful of beadies, really. I ended up feeling truly amazed at the amount of inspiration which came from this. Black really is the most versatile colour!

The first beads that caught my eye in this lot were the black-and-gold lampworked ones; big and chunky and mismatched. ‘What on Earth will I do with those?’, I pondered. ‘They don’t really go with anything except themselves!’ Cue this funky bookmark: The perfect way for each bead to show off its own unique beauty!

Lovely! The perfect accessory for all those gothic horror novels I’m partial to. Lovecraft, anyone?

So, what next? I had plenty of those black-and-silver glass shapes that were also pretty mismatched: a few of each shape. After pairing up a few, arranging and re-arranging them on a bead mat a few times, I was reminded of a watch face I’d bought on a whim a few months ago. I’ve never made a watch before, and inspiration had thus far eluded me. But I liked the black and silver lines on these beads, and it went well with the boundaries of the watch face. A few Lucite flowers, Czech fire-polished beads and glass pearls later, and I come up with this beauty:
Not bad for my first-ever dress watch! I was rather pleased; and by this point I had gotten the ‘cluster’ bug! I used to be rather obsessed with making charm bracelets, and I had enjoyed creating the chunky clusters of beads in between the black-and-silver beauties in this watch strap.

So, I abandoned the rest of the beads in the bag for a while and shifted my attention to the rest of the bag of Czech glass pearls. Two evenings later, this matching necklace, earring and ring set had materialised:

There! Now it was out of my system, and I could return my attentions once again back to the remaining contents of the challenge bag. I still had a number of the black-and-silver beads left; now more mismatched than ever. I added some of the black Czech glass moon beads from the bag, the rest of the packet of Czech pearls and a rather beautiful filigree heart charm, and a second pair of earrings and a gorgeous chunky bag charm were born!

I do love a bag charm!!

The rest of the black-and-silver beads now used up, I could now turn to the remaining few beads from the challenge bag: some silvered glass rounds and a solitary mother-of-pearl disc.

What to do, what to do??

After several long seconds of experimenting with the remaining beads in my hand, I concluded that the silvered rounds and m-o-p disc did not ‘go’ together. Something about them just didn’t sit right when they were side by side. I was going to have to make separate pieces with them.

I’ve been rather partial to crochet lately; particularly with wire. I love the entwined, tangled effect you get when you pull relatively stiff wire into little chains with a crochet hook. Some little black drop beads were all that were needed to accentuate the silvered beads in a funky, gothic-style choker. This one is my personal favourite from the challenge.

Now to tackle the solitary mother-of-pearl disc. A quick rummage in the drawer revealed a few more, which I paired up with some larger, white ones and some genuine freshwater pearls. Placed together on the bead mat, they looked...nice.

Hmmmm. ‘Nice’. Not really a word that screams ‘boundless creativity’, is it? The beads needed something else.
Cue my latest hobby: decopatch. The art of making slightly boring-looking things look slightly less boring by siticking things to them: namely bits of patterned paper. So, a few cut-out discs of decopatch paper and some glue later, my white m-o-p discs were decidedly less ‘nice’, and decidedly more creative-looking – on one side, at least (I decided not to completely deface the subtle, natural beauty of the mother-of-pearl by leaving one side blank. That way, you also get two looks in one necklace).
The results of the experiment also represented my first foray into the world of hand-tied organza bows – and I must say, I’m rather pleased with the effort!

So, there we have it. The little handful of black beads which turned out to be more inspirational than I’d ever hoped for! After making this last necklace, I had the decopatch bug again, and have started this rather quirky beads on this one, but it’s (sort of) monochrome, and was inspired by the results of the challenge, so I thought I’d include it here anyway.

All of these items will be added to the Folksy shop over the next few days. If you’d like any of them reserved for you, just drop me a line!

In the meantime, I’m also collecting suggestions for monochrome items for a ‘Folksy Friday’ blog post this coming Friday. If you’re a Folksy seller and you’d like a mention, send me a link to your product, and consider it included!


  1. Good luck on Monday Jen!! I moved 200 miles away for my job and now almost a year and a half later I am being joined by the boy.... It can work, it's just hard! If there's a weekend when Pete is away and you want to do some decopatching, you know where I am... (well. You might not but you have my phone number!)
    Gutted I don't have anything monochrome... I do have lots of green things, so please do a green week soon!

    1. :) Thanks for the kind words, lovely. I will definitely take you up on a decopatching weekend at some point.

      And never fear - there will be a green week!!


  2. I love the bag charm - I think I will have to make it a soon purchase! The picture frame is good too. I love the stripey colours! The decopatch beads are cool - very much in the style of M & S jewellery! I love it, it is so summery. xxx

  3. Best wishes in your new job!! And you really have a talent with your jewelry, I love it! Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog...Hope was rather twitterpated at the thought of a "real life person from England" reading and commenting about her :)


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