Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Good Fortune Work in Progress

I am sentimental, and I am also a real packrat. All of this means that, whenever we eat Chinese food, half of the time I end up stuffing the fortunes from the fortune cookies in my bag. I later end up shedding them around the house the way women used to shed hairpins back in the day when we wore a lot of hairpins (and aren't we glad those days are gone?). For my non-U.S. readers, a fortune cookie is an almond flavored cookie that looks a little like the charm at the top of this photo. It's stuffed with a slip of paper (again, see photo) that has a fortune, or nugget of "wisdom" printed on it, and you crack the cookie open to get to the fortune. Nowadays, you can get customized fortune cookies, to celebrate the birth of a baby, for example, and even "naughty" fortune cookies, but I'm really talking about your basic cookie that is usually provided at the end of a meal in a Chinese restaurant. (Actually, I'd be curious to know if fortune cookies have made it to the U.K. They weren't around when I was living there in the early 90s - I used to bring them back with me - along with semi-sweet chocolate morsels to make chocolate chip cookies - for my English flatmate. I remember that she was so taken with them (the fortune cookies, that is) that she carefully packed one up and mailed it to her boyfriend living in London as a little present.)

Okay, back to the beads. I've been thinking of trying to incorporate some of the fortunes lying around the house into a necklace. I made the fortune cookie charm a while back (you may remember that entry), but it took me a while to figure out the best way to create a shallow bezel for the fortune to rest in. Here's the result. This is an actual fortune from our local Chinese restaurant. After waterproofing the paper, I stuck it in the bezel and covered it with a thin layer of resin. (Actually, I learned an important lesson today - never ever pour resin into a glass jar that's been sitting in the basement for a month before checking to see how dusty it is. I use UV resin that doesn't cure at all unless it's exposed to UV light, so I had plenty of time to pick out all of the bits of lint from the piece with a toothpick. It just would've been nice if I hadn't had to spend a half hour picking lint out of resin with a toothpick!) I made the glass beads, as well - I tried to use colors that you might normally find in a Chinese New Year's Dragon (bear in mind that I am not Chinese and that this is all sort of tongue-in-cheek pop culture-influenced, more than anything else).

All in all, this charm pretty much looks the way I intended except for two, er, rather major details - 1) it's really heavy and 2) it's REALLY LONG. I had intended to make a bunch of these to put together an over-the-top necklace, and now I really don't think anyone could wear my original design and still keep their head erect for more than 5 minutes. I think at most I might be able to use three charms in one piece. As for the length, it's going to be next-to-impossible to balance the piece, given how long the charm currently is. I'm thinking of separating out the cookie part of the charm from the fortune part, instead... I need to go back to the drawing board on this one... Sigh.

Oh, and thanks again to everyone who told me that my Comment Section was restricted to Registered Users. I really had no idea. When I went to change this, I finally discovered that I could have any comments posted on the blog emailed to me. Would you believe I've just been manually checking the blog every day for these? I'll get the hang of this blogging thing, eventually.

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Anonymous said...

I love this idea! Did you make the bezel or did you purchase it somewhere?

I've been filling things with resin for several months now, but haven't found a good source for nice bezels. I'm beginning to think I'll have to make them myself...

Melissa J. Lee said...

Hi Stef,

I made the bezel, because of the peculiar dimensions I needed. Have you tried Green Girl Studios ( ) or Sherri Haab's store ( ) ? They both have some bezel cups, and Green Girl's Studios' stuff is first rate!

What kind of resin do you use? I've really been having issues getting all of the air bubbles out of mine - I'm thinking of trying the standard two part epoxy to see if it's any better.