Here's part of what I was stressing out about last week.
A woman that I barely know, who lives in Albuquerque, had trusted me with some of her jewelry and beads. I'd had her stuff for a year and was about to see her again, so I knew I had to come up with the goods. But I was stressed out about whether I knew her tastes well enough to produce necklaces that she'd like.
She'd given me a necklace that had pretty colors -- semiprecious chips with Bali silver -- but it had been strung in a very uninspired fashion. When I looked at it, I thought it needed a deeper, contrasting color and some additional silver beads, mixed up in a more interesting arrangement. Amethyst was my immediate choice, and I had some chips in my stash in the right size. I also have a small stash of Bali silver beads, so I pulled that out and added a few.
The other project was more challenging. The woman had given me some large coral beads she'd bought on her travels (in Peru, I think). She handed them over to me, without any preconceived notions about what to turn them into. I had made a few suggestions when she gave me the beads, but she didn't give me a specific direction, assuring me that she would love whatever I made.
Eeeek. Can you understand why I was second-guessing myself so much?
In the end, I made a necklace that I would be happy to wear. I chose to make a short necklace, since the coral beads were so large and heavy. I chose African brass beads, light in weight and full of texture. Turquoise would add a visual spark. I looked in the local beads stores for an appropriate clasp but found nothing, so I made a hook from wrapped brass wire -- the first time I've made my own clasp. I wore the necklace for a few hours, to make sure the clasp would hold up.
I wrapped both necklaces and the leftover beads in bright blue cloth and tied the roll with gold ribbons. (When I take too long to finish something, I try extra hard to present it in a nice package.)
And the verdict? She was delighted. She put on the amethyst and silver necklace right away, because it matched the outfit she had on. She oohed and ahhed over the coral necklace. I told her that I thought that it was a very Albuquerque necklace, especially with the turquoise, and she agreed. In fact, she said she didn't own any turquoise jewelry, which surprised me. Now she owns a little.
She bought some amber beads (in India, I think) this year, so I may be working with those, sooner or later. Although she's also toying with the idea of taking a beading class, which I think is an excellent idea for anyone who love jewelry.
Now I need to restring my mother-in-law's necklace. I am so thankful that she is a patient woman -- and she won't have to wait a year, either.