Friday, February 28, 2014

Product Story: Simple Beaded Bracelets, or Modern LARP Jewelry

Fiery Marble Bracelet with Silver Steel Chain
(or, as I like to call it, "+5 to Fire")
by BokBok Jewelry
This particular product line started with a combination of sleep deprivation and beader's block. I frequently have periods of insomnia - or just times where I don't sleep well, whatever you'd prefer to call it - and understandably, I get a little loopy. During one of those times, I was also in a creative slump* and hadn't made anything for a while.

(*)This one requires a bit more explanation, because "creative slump" or "beader's block" or what-have-you usually means you're out of ideas; for me, it means I have a tornado in my head of ideas, and I can't pick just one to focus on. I only call it a "slump" because that's exactly what I do during these times - I slump around the house until something changes and either the tornado slows down or I manage to grab an idea out of the chaos. Sometimes it's an environmental change - clutter, in particular, is incredibly distracting to me - and sometimes it's a change in my routine, and sometimes all it takes is for me to write down the thoughts; getting them out of my head and into the world tends to help immensely.
My inspiration, found here.

One day, while I was shuffling around like a sad zombie, I happened to toss a glance at a piece I had made already - a simple, beaded, pendant necklace. Why couldn't I do something similar, but in bracelet form? I had lots of necklaces already (earrings, too, for that matter), but not many bracelets.

In my sleepy haze, the thinking process was a little wonky. I wound up skipping the whole planning/sketching process and just ran with my instinct. That turns out to be a good thing, because I remember trying to figure out how to make some sort of pendant bracelet, like a charm bracelet with only one charm. I may revisit that idea (as I type, I can see how it could be done with a smaller bead and a different layout), but at the time, all the idea was doing was distracting me from actually getting anything made.

I don't actually remember the making process - I do remember being frustrated with my sluggish brain, and I remember consciously deciding to just "make something happen", but I kind of went into a zone once I picked out the bead and chain. Something was going to happen with this combination, gosh darn it, and then I had a finished product, but don't remember much of the stuff in between the two. At least, for the first bracelet. I'm used to "getting in the zone" while beading, but the lack of sleep makes my memory unreliable. Anyway, I was double-checking the piece for any flaws - were my loops okay? did it fit nicely? did it look good? - when an idea struck me: modern LARP jewelry.

LARP, for those who don't know, stands for Live Action Role-Play. It's like playing Cops-and-Robbers, but for older folks (teens/adults), and that's about the extent of my knowledge. I know of Dungeons-and-Dragons-esque LARPing, and people LARPing other table-top games (Vampire and other World of Darkness games are another option), but I've never actually done it.

I have a general understanding of the DnD world due to my love of fantasy RPGs on consoles and computers alike, so I figured most of the fantasy LARP jewelry would probably be elaborate, elfin-looking pieces. A Google Image Search confirmed that guess. What if people wanted something they could wear every day that reminded them of their fire-flinging wizard character, though? Or what if someone did a setting hack that changed it from medieval fantasy to modern (or even futuristic) fantasy, kind of like Final Fantasy 7 (or FFVII, or FFX, or Shadowrun, or any number of other games I had played)? I thought this may have been an unexplored niche, and another Google Image Search confirmed that thought as well. It's also possible that the medieval fantasy folk just have much better SEO than modern fantasy folk, but I couldn't know without trying. I quickly sketched up ideas for jewelry based on different elemental forces (fire, water, earth, wind), and felt so much better. I slept well that night.

The next day, I took another look at this idea. Maybe there's a very good reason that I couldn't find any modern-fantasy LARP jewelry, and that was because no one was LARPing that setting. I felt like that was a pretty good possibility, and so I knew that this jewelry would have to have a general appeal as well. I had to keep it simple, and that's not necessarily something that I do often. Challenge accepted!

Olive Green Beaded Silver Chain Bracelet
(or, as I like to call it, "+5 to Earth")
Looking through my design notes, I settled on my next piece - an earth-based bracelet. I had a large, green, faceted, probably plastic but possibly glass bead, and made a bracelet like the first. The olive green color reminded me of a mossy forest setting, and it looked interesting with the silver chain. It also passed my, "can I wear it on the street in broad daylight?" test, which isn't actually a test but just something that I asked myself. :P

When the time came to list these two in my Zibbet shop, I was very grateful that Zibbet has the option to have as many shop sections as you want. I made a "Modern LARP Jewelry" section, and listed them there as well as in my more generic sections. There haven't been many hits on them there, but I was careful to not use any brand names or game names in my shop to avoid the trademark issue, and I think that maybe I'm just not reaching my intended audience because of it. After all, if someone's going to LARP DnD, they'd probably search for stuff by name rather than in general. I'm trying a different tactic on my TicTail shop, that being a more general approach, and Pinterest loves the designs, so there's still hope!

Victorian-Inspired Tiered Cameo Necklace
by BokBok Jewelry
Since I'm familiar with the tabletop version of Vampire: The Requiem, I decided to look up vampire LARP jewelry (in general, not just VtR) in Google, too. Apparently, vampires love red and black, lace or silk chokers, and Victorian-style design elements. Predictable! But again, that may be for a reason. Those are definitely the first two colors to come to my mind when I think of vampires. I thought briefly about coming up with a vampire LARP line similar to this fantasy-setting line, but then I thought about it, and logically, vampires can probably wear whatever they want because they're basically immortal - while individual characters may vary, when speaking generally, their setting transcends time. In other words, while I can set up guidelines for myself when making the fantasy LARP jewelry (like the colors for the elements, for example), I found myself unable to do the same for the "vampire style". The best idea I've had so far is to use colors other than red and black, but again, those are probably classic vampire colors for a reason; another issue with that idea is the question, what would make that jewelry scream "vampiric"? That's not to say that I definitely won't do that (especially when I've already given it a shot), but I'm just not marketing it as specifically "vampire LARP jewelry".

Going back to the modern-fantasy line - as of today, I still have yet to make something for either wind or water. For the water, I was thinking a wire-wrapped pendant necklace, quite long; it looks really neat in my head, but I want to do it well, so I've been working on other wire-wrapped projects for practice. As for the wind, I'm just stuck on the color issue. I was thinking about yellow, because in the games I've played (again, electronic games, not tabletop - at least for the fantasy settings), wind tends to be either yellow or green and I already picked green for earth, and I don't have many yellow beads to choose from. As I type, though, I'm running through my beading inventory in my head, and there may be an idea there without having to buy more beads. I'll keep y'all posted.

For right now, I don't have a section for LARP jewelry (modern or otherwise) on my main shop site, but you can find the section for it on my Zibbet store, here.

If you see a product of mine that you'd like to know more about, please let me know! I plan on having these Product Stories be a regular thing on my blog, and I'm fine with having y'all tell me which one I should do next. ;)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Creative Process

Minerva Among the Muses, by Hendrick van Balen the Elder
People in ancient Greece believed that artistic inspiration came from the Muses - beautiful women, the daughters of Zeus and Memory herself, according to some legends, who were kind of the patron saints of various creative and intellectual pursuits. Someone beginning a creative work would often invoke whichever Muse applied to the work about to be performed (or sometimes, just to the Muses in general), at which point, presumably, the Muse would show up and either provide inspiration to the author, or just "speak" (or paint or write) through the artist. Some believed those two actions were the same thing.

My own personal muse comes to me most often at 120+ beats per minute, usually electronic dance music. The repetitive lyrics (if there are lyrics at all) and heavy, steady beat don't require much attention, and so they live in the back of my brain (or so I envision it), leaving the front of my brain free to work on whatever I'm doing.

Another muse lives in B-movies - horror movies, especially. The familiar tropes and plots work similarly to the dance music in that they don't require much attention. If something unexpected happens in the movie, well, that gives me a little break. :)

How about you? Where does your muse live?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Most Dangerous Thing I've Ever Baked

For your consideration: the Brownie Pudding Cake I made last night.

So delicious, but so deadly.

It all started simply enough - around midday, my daughter pulled out her apron and mine and hinted very strongly that I should go do something in the kitchen with her. I would have made bread, since we're almost out again, but I was short on flour. Not to be deterred, I went looking through my cookbook for something else to bake with her. That's when I found the recipe.

The cookbook said it was a wartime recipe that was lauded for its restraint in that it doesn't use butter or eggs, but still is rich and decadent. Hot, fudgy, handmade syrup is poured over cake batter (also made from scratch), then baked, leaving the cake part to rise and float on a bed of chocolate pudding - no frosting required, it said. It was to be served warm, preferably with vanilla ice cream.

After reading the ingredients and instructions (and especially the description of the dish itself, which I have paraphrased here for you), I thought it sounded worth a try; I've never made a cake from scratch before, but I'm a sucker for chocolate and wasn't going to let inexperience stop me. Dessert that night was decided.

It all started off so well - mix the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients, pour into prepared cake pan - standard stuff. The batter didn't pour very well, but it spooned just fine, so I wasn't worried there. The finishing is where it started to get tricky - the recipe called for boiling water to be poured into a bowl containing brown sugar and cocoa powder, mixed together, then for the concoction to be poured slowly onto the cake batter in the pan. My pot has a handle and my bowl does not, however, so I did the reverse. That went fine. Here's the dangerous part: when I started pouring the syrup onto the cake batter, it started splattering worse than bacon grease. I was not expecting that, though I reckon that's why it said to pour it slowly. It made a sizeable mess, and I'm glad I used the pot instead of the bowl to pour, because the handle put my hands at a safer distance than the bowl would have.

Once the syrup was in the pan with the batter, it looked like all was well - it had stopped spattering, and I had a layer of cake batter cooling down the molten cocoa-sugar. Still, two factors almost led to grievous injury: one, it was a metal pan, and the sides were already hot enough for my delicate lady fingers to require protection*, which made handling the pan semi-awkward; and two, the batter was alternating between floating on said molten cocoa-sugar and sinking below it. Twice while moving the pan from the counter to the oven, I almost spilled it from the front and sides (but not the back - I'd be darned if I was going to risk being doused in that particular food-magma!). This would have resulted in either a mess or injury to my hands and then probably also legs and feet and potentially body when I jerked from having my fingers burned. Luckily, nothing spilled.

(*) I remember, growing up, my mom referencing "baker's fingers" whenever I'd gripe about something being too hot - I think this is the sort of thing that she was talking about. As my baking adventures continue, I may, too, develop baker's fingers. For now, though, pass me the oven mitts!

Once it was in the oven, I breathed a sigh of relief; according to the recipe, there'd be a nice layer of solid cake on top of the pan, and what could go wrong with that? Oh, right, the part where the cake is floating on pudding. Hot pudding, to be specific. There were no near-misses when I took it out of the oven, but there could have been - the cake was sliding around more than cake should - but the "pudding" wound up looking more like hot fudge, and there was just a thin layer, not the "half the pan's height" I was expecting.

I let it cool for the hour the recipe recommends, then sliced into moist, chocolate-y, decadent deliciousness. The cake was so good. It was, quite honestly, the best cake I've ever had - a rich, dark, chocolate flavor, but not overly sweet. I'd love to post the recipe for you all, but I'm not sure that I can just copy it from the book (plagiarism?). I can tell you, though, that it was from a recent edition of the big, red-and-white checkered Better Homes & Garden cookbook, and the name of the recipe is Brownie Pudding Cake.

Update, 6/13/14 - I found the recipe, online, from BHG! See it here. :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

5 Need-to-Know Tips for Baking

I've been helping my mom in the kitchen ever since I was old enough to stand on a chair and stir something. She is a baker - she used to work professionally as a baker in a restaurant, and she regularly bakes things at home. Now that I have a child of my own, and she's old enough to stand on a chair and help, we've been doing a lot of baking in my own home. I bake my own bread, I bake a lot of cookies and other sweets around the holidays, and I even bake dinner every now and again. I've compiled some tips, here and there, and I thought I'd share. :)

My very first batch of bread.
It was even more delicious than it looks.
  1. Watch the weather - for things with a dough, especially, humidity matters. If it's a dry day, put in just a little less flour; if it's been raining, add a little bit of flour. By "a little", I mean 1/4 cup at a time, max, because that's easy to fix if it winds up being too much flour - just sprinkle some water. (By "some water", I mean get your hand wet and flick your fingers at the dough. If it's still dry after mixing, do it again.)
  2. A stand-mixer is your friend, if you do a lot of baking. I use it to mix my ingredients, and to knead my dough. These are things that I can do by hand, but the mixer makes it so much easier. If you decide to invest, you can buy attachments to make and cut your own fresh pasta or grind your own meat, and lots of other things, too.
  3. On the heels of #2, sometimes doing this stuff by hand is better. Last time I made bread, the mixer started smoking because the dough wasn't stuck to the hook; it was on the side of the bowl, and every time the bread hook came around, it'd slow down the hook, which made something in the motor grind. There were no flames, thank goodness, but it was scary once I noticed.
  4. Follow a recipe, for at least the first few times you make something. Baking is a form of chemistry, and you wouldn't go around adding chemicals in a lab together willy-nilly, would you? I've never seen anything explode in a kitchen, but you might wind up with flat (or sky-high) bread, or tough dough, or just really weird-tasting food.
  5. Several of these tips (and the last few tips I have in mind) boil down to "pay attention", so that's what I'm going with. Just pay attention! Pay attention to the weather, pay attention to your mixer, pay attention to your recipe, pay attention to the oven temperature and placement of the racks, and most importantly, pay attention to the food/dough itself. Once you've done this for a while, the food will tell you what it needs (more flour? more moisture? more kneading?) by how it looks, feels, and/or tastes.
And, a bonus tip spurred by the picture above - stackable wire cooling racks are the bee's knees when it comes to baking. Mine are too short to stack with loaves of bread, but they are a space-saver when it comes to cookies, pies, cinnamon rolls, casseroles, and other short, baked goods.

Do you have your own tips for baking? Leave them in the comments, and I might do a "Readers' Special" post with your tips! :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Product Story: The Lydia Collection

Lydia necklaces, layered
by BokBok Jewelry

Brick red shell spike necklace
 by BokBok Jewelry
A few birthdays back, my parents treated me to a shopping trip at Joann's Fabrics. While there, I found a whole collection of mother-of-pearl beads, freshwater pearls, shell beads, acrylic beads, and glass pearls in matching and complementary colors - pinks, browns, mauves, creams, whites, and silver. I usually make unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, but I wanted to make a signature line this time - this was my Big Project, as soon as I saw those mother-of-pearl beads.

I had picked out focal beads for several necklace designs (these being the mother-of-pearl and acrylic beads), and planned to use the rest of the beads as the body of the necklace. Necklaces, I should say, because I had picked out enough beads for two necklaces in each design, plus matching earrings, and anything left I would use in a bracelet and maybe a cluster pendant.

This was truly an example of a focused, cohesive design plan that worked. All of the designs looked great together, as well they should have since I had bought beads specifically for this project; I did do some bead layouts to make sure I had enough for two of each design, but everything just went swimmingly. I only worked on one specific design at a time, but intuition (and some bead-counting) worked for me - I had enough of each type of bead to make each of the necklaces that I wanted, and I didn't have to fiddle with the designs for very long before I had something I liked.

In addition to making a specific collection of jewelry, the other new-to-me thing that I did in this project was to hand-form my own clasps. Hammering out the clasp with a new baby in the house was the most challenging part of this project, but I made it work...somehow. The first year with my daughter is kind of a blur to me, so I'm not 100% sure how it worked, but it did.
Shell leaf earrings, by BokBok Jewelry

At the time, I had a store on Etsy. When I first listed the Lydia Collection (as I call it; I don't know any Lydia's, but I have always thought the name was pretty), I tried doing a market search for similar pieces to check my competitors' pricing to compare, but there weren't any other necklaces or earrings like that out there (on Etsy, at least). Within a month, several other people had listed similar pieces. I'm not sure if it was just a creative brainwave that went out to several of us - and I just happened to get it listed first - or if it was a case of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, or maybe I'm just a trend-setter. Either way, shell spike necklaces are starting to become a thing, and I like to think that it was because of me. :)

And, shameless self-promotion time -
Browse the entire Lydia Collection at Zibbet!

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Importance of Proofreading

Depending on where I measure, this necklace can
have several very different lengths.
I really should have had someone else read my listing copy before sending it live. While adding listings to my stand-alone site today, I noticed that in my description of the measurement, I said a necklace was "16.5" from clasp to top of center bead".

My purpose was to explain that when I measured the length, I was measuring from the top of the necklace, not the bottom. As you can see, that would make quite the difference! Instead, the original description makes it sound like the necklace is twice as long as it actually is. This description has been like this since I first listed this necklace, back in 2012. I haven't checked quite yet, but I have a feeling this wasn't the only listing with this particular goof. D'oh! :)

Update: The good news is that that was a really easy fix, once I got the wording right. ^.^

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Product Story: Gem Frame Necklace

OOAK silver and gemstone necklace
by BokBok Jewelry
One of my most popular items is this green, silver, and orange gemstone necklace, so I thought I'd write a little something about it.

When I go shopping for supplies, I try to stick to things that I know I will use, and use often - the basic necessities, like clasps and head pins. I invariably wind up buying things because I like the way they look and I "might" use them one day, usually beads. Such was the case with the chain I wound up using for this necklace. I liked the shapes of the links, and it was cute by itself, but I wanted to add something to it; I just didn't know what to add yet.

At around the same time, my mom had been fabric-shopping at a craft store and came across a strand of big, chunky, assorted gemstones on clearance. She knows I can't resist new beads (especially when they're free to me), so she gave them to me.

The idea to combine these two components didn't come to me for a very long time. Initially, I was thinking about using each of the large links in the chain as a frame for pearls or crystals, and I had no idea what I was going to do with the gemstones. They're larger than the beads I usually work with, they're heavy, and the colors are out of my usual palette, so I didn't even have any smaller beads to use as spacers that would have complemented the stones well.

After months (maybe even a year) of having these building blocks but not knowing what to do with either of them, I finally hit on the idea of wire frames. I had been on Pinterest for a while, and wire bead cages were very much in; I thought I could do something similar, but simpler, by making just a frame. Initially, I was going to frame one stone and use it as a pendant, but while I was digging around in my stash looking for the stones or chain or something, I found this chain - the chain - and decided to use it, too.
Close-up of two of the wire frames.

Since I was doing something new, I decided to go all the way with the newness; not only does this necklace not have a central focal point, but it's also asymmetrical. I did this to add visual interest, and to see how I liked it, and because it's just generally good to think outside one's box once in a while.

I had the design - now I just had to make it. This necklace came together fairly easily, once I picked out the stones. First, I made the frames: keeping the heavier wire on the spool, I wrapped the end of it into a loop, then loosely bent it into the size and shape of the stone. Once I had the frame, I cut the wire. Then, I cut off about five inches (if I remember correctly) of a thinner wire, and used that to connect the stone to the frame. The chain came with a clasp attached already, so all I had to do, once the gem-frame units were complete, was to attach the frames to the chain with some jump rings.

And, there you have it. If you'd like to use the idea of framing stones in wire, hopefully this post will help you some. :) As always, questions and comments are more than welcome, and if you do make your own gem frames, please take a picture and share!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Snow Day

Look! Quick! It's a snowflake!
A blurry snowflake, but a snowflake nonetheless.
We had snow today - correction. We have snow today. It's been snowing for about four hours now, and while it has slowed down, it's still going. None of it is sticking, but it's pretty while it's falling.

I took my girl and dog out for a walk while it was coming down thick. She's been in the snow before, but I don't know if she remembers it (it was earlier this year). She was talking up a storm, anyways, and very curious about this white stuff falling from the sky. The dog didn't seem to notice the snow, except maybe to run a little extra because it was cold.

I had a bunch of plans for today - self-assigned listing quotas to fill, housework, and so on - but as much as I like feeling productive, I like curling up on the couch with some hot cocoa and watching the snow even more.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Kid Play: Clean Mud

So, back when I was pregnant, I spent a decent chunk of time "collecting" projects to do with my future kid. Mainly through Pinterest, I found a lot of fun sensory activities. Today, I tried clean mud for the first time. I had seen it on Pinterest (here is the blog post where I found this activity), but I winged the recipe today.

  • A bar of hand soap
  • A roll or two of toilet paper
  • Water
  • Some sort of container  
  • Grater
  • Stirring utensil(s) (optional)
  • Cups, spoons, or scoops (optional)

 First things first: Gather your supplies. I grabbed a whisk, some measuring spoons, the grater, the soap (Ivory brand), the TP (store-brand 2-ply), and a litter-box tub from the Dollar Store that I bought specifically for kid-stuff. I set up station in the bathtub because it makes it super-easy to clean up. Kiddo was in her swimsuit.

Then, grate the soap while everything is still out of your kid's reach. I nick myself on graters often enough that I wanted my daughter nowhere near that thing. :P I learned two things while doing this: first, that soap is really, really easy to grate; and second, that grated soap has a very strong smell. It wasn't unpleasant, but it was very pungent.

Next, I got everything (including the kid) into the bathtub to shred some TP. I didn't know how much to use, so I unfurled about 12 feet of it to start. I was expecting my kid to help with this part, because normally she likes tearing paper - R.I.P., half of her sketchbook, countless napkins, and the first page of Dr. Seuss' The Foot Book - but she was content to watch. She did pick up some shreds that didn't make it into the tub, so she was a helper, just not in the way that I was expecting (and that's okay).

The next thing I did was add some hot water and handed my girl the whisk. (Note: I know my kid and her current love of tools, so I used straight-hot water. If your kid is more the hands-on type, you may want to use warm water instead. Either way, the water needs to be fairly warm so the soap will melt.) I started with 2 cups of water. It was a little soupy, so I added more TP. After some stirring, there was still unmelted soap, so I added two more cups of water, and some more toilet paper. Then I called it good. All told, I used about half a roll of toilet paper and a total of four cups of water.

The texture reminded me a lot of the mud-slop at the bottom of some natural hotsprings I've been to - wet, gloppy, yet silky-smooth, especially after a good bit of stirring. It smelled a lot nicer than the hotsprings, though. If it was me, I could have played in the clean mud all day. My daughter, bless her heart, was less than thrilled with it. She liked stirring it with the whisk, and she would delve into the "mud" to grab a spoon; there were many gasps of surprise and/or delight while she was exploring, and she held up one of the tools to tell me something about it (not sure what, as she's not quite talking yet, but there were a lot of babbles). However, anytime some soap-mud got on her hand, she would cry, "Ewww!" and either fling her hand around or wipe it on the bathtub (or both).

With the second 2-cups of water, the mixture got really bubbly.
Even though she didn't seem to like the feel of the clean mud as much as I did, she played in it for almost an hour. She took three taste-tests to decide that soap was not for eating, and stuck to stirring the mud after that.
The more she stirred, the smoother it got.

"Ewwww!" she says as she wipes her hand vigorously on the bathtub.
When she was done, I removed the mud-tub and all the accessories I had gathered, then turned on the shower. This was also her first time experiencing the shower. She normally hates getting her hair and face wet, and she tried to climb out at first, but after some reassurances (and after I moved the shower-head to aim more at the faucet than at the back of the tub), she was content to sit and play in the water. She was keeping her body mostly out of the spray, but she could hold her hand out and feel the water hit it. I also put the plug in, so that the tub would fill up. Play time turned into a nice, warm, calming bath time, and she went down for her afternoon nap without a fight.

To clean up the mud itself, I watered it down, then dumped half of it in the toilet and flushed it, and repeated the process with the second half. I did not consult a plumber before doing this, but I figured that toilet paper goes down the toilet all the time. It worked for me.


More ideas for sensory play, as well as some other baby-related things (homemade baby food, etc) - Baby Stuff

Projects for toddlers and older kids - Kid Projects

And my main Pinterest page - BokBok Jewelry

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Product Story: The Piece that Almost Wasn't

I have a secret: I'm not perfect.

Every now and again, I have a hard time turning my ideas into reality. Something gets lost in the translation. Such was the case with this piece.

I had this idea for this really bold, strong-looking bracelet made with these giant nuggets of gray marble I picked up a while back. It would be earthy, but cold, and I had the vision of some fashionably aloof lady wearing it while shopping at some high-end boutique. Some blingy, bright silver beads would shine it up and give it some glam. It would be awesome.

The end result looked pretty good. It was almost everything I had envisioned.
Pictured: the bracelet that was not meant to be.

The problem came in the marble, which was the cornerstone of the whole piece. Well, the problem was in the marble, and in the fact that I only had a certain number of the spacer beads, and I had used them all and therefore didn't have more to lengthen the piece.

You see, the marble was chunky - very much so - and this pushed out the effective circumference of the piece. Basically, if I wanted to make this piece to fit, say, a 7" wrist, I'd have to have nine or so inches of bracelet. The problem was that I only had 7" of bracelet, and the finished piece would have only fit a child (or someone with very tiny wrists).

Pictured: the necklace that came to be.
I tried everything I could think of to fix it - which boiled down to attaching a lobster clasp and extender chain, except that I forgot that I ran out of silver lobster clasps and silver extender chain, so I tried gunmetal findings. It didn't look right. I made my own hook clasp and chain. This wound up not working either - the bracelet was a pain to put on, even with help, and once on, the chain lay weird, hovering about a quarter-inch over the skin. Furthermore, if the bracelet ever rotated (as bracelets are wont to do), the chain would probably do a fair number to the wearer's skin, just because the stones are so heavy, and there is some very delicate skin in the wrist area. I considered adding a focal and pretending I did it on purpose rather than as a last-ditch effort to save this bracelet, but nothing I had looked good with it.

Things were looking grim for this piece.

I finally decided to ditch the bracelet idea, but I didn't want to dismantle the piece. The stones looked good with the spacers, and yes - despite all the unforeseen difficulties, I was still attached to this design. I figured, why not continue the chain idea all the way into a necklace? I may have run out of lobster clasps and chain with large enough links to act as an extender, but I had a bunch of finer steel chain and toggle clasps in the right colors.

The piece was saved, though transformed, and there was much rejoicing.