Sunday, April 24, 2016

Whistle Stop Bracelet

I feel like I have been working on this bracelet forever.  I gathered beads for this bracelet sometime last summer and put it in my drawer of projects to make and finally started it in March.  The main part of the bracelet worked up fast, but, man, the embellishment seemed to just take a lot of time.  Lots of weaving up through the base before starting the next group of embellishment. 

This bracelet design is called Whistle Stop Bracelet by Marcia L. Balonis from Beadwork magazine October/November 2014.

And at the very end I noticed that on the very first embellishment, for some reason, I had strung the top seed beads on the outside of the 2-hole lentil beads.  Ugh!  Well, this one is for me since it's a learning bracelet...  and the error is not too noticeable.

Here's the result:
What a difference great lighting makes.  The picture above was taken in the shade with lots of ambient light.  The ones below are  in direct sunlight!  In the ones below, you can really see the greenish/yellowish Picasso hues on the 2-hole squares.  Really, this is not as apparent when just looking at the bracelet.
 

Overall, I really like the way the bracelet came together.  It is built nice and solid with the extra reinforcements after the embellishment beads were added.  I felt it was very difficult to choose colors!  Maybe because of having to look at different sources for the different shaped beads and not being able to purchase all the beads from one source?  Or maybe because there is a limited variety of these beads?  Or maybe because I was as much as possible trying to work within the confines of what I already owned?

I ended up using mostly beads that have speckled or mottled or Picasso finishes.  The Czech glass beads are called 'mushroom' and are a matte muted lavender.  The seed beads used on top of the lentils are a crystal lined clear through seed bead with a slight amethyst hint to them.  The look of this bracelet could have really gone in a completely different direction with different colors!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Would you like to learn wire-wrapping?

I have a new Michael's class coming up next Tuesday, April 12th from 6:30-8:30. 
You can learn wire-wrapping and make an awesome very on-trend bracelet in the process.
And the class is FREE!!!  (You do have to purchase the materials, but that just means you can customize the jewelry to your liking.)


Click here to sign-up this class:  http://www.michaels.com/classes-and-events/classesandevents

There is also an Open House on April 16th, from 11am-3pm at the Michael's store.  I will be there showcasing some different jewelry techniques.  I am still deciding on showing how to make either leather and bead wrap bracelets or a long tassel necklace with knotting.  It should be fun!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Stringing, Spring 2016

This post is a long time coming - its been sitting in the draft folder for awhile. 
I got published in Jewelry Stringing, Spring 2016 issue!  It is so fun to see my handmade items in a glossy magazine! 


A dainty, Spring inspired bracelet.  This bracelet was inspired by the magazine's 'Secret Garden' theme.  That flower focal is a real flower bud encased in resin in a sterling silver bezel. I actually obtained another one of these focals and can't wait to use it.  So pretty!  The clasp is also sterling silver with a small garnet in the center.  The sides of the bracelet are accented of different Czech glass beads - the silver ones with a matte AB finish and the crimson ones with a gold sheen to them.

The idea of wearing flowers is pretty awesome - a reminder of the Spring bounty of flowers (that will hopefully not shy away from this sudden cold weather in the Midwest!) .

Monday, March 7, 2016

Teaching at Michaels

Would you like to learn some jewelry techniques and are in the Cincinnati area?
I will be teaching at Michaels in Colerain. My first class is a FREE class to learn basic jewelry techniques and make a beautiful initial & birthstone necklace - Tuesday, March 8th from 6:30-8:30pm. (You can purchase supplies while you are at Michaels).
Click here to sign-up:
http://www.michaels.com/classes-and-events/classesandevents

https://classes.michaels.com/OnlineClasses/control/classDetails?classId=17789 &storeScheduleId=3714413&sessionId=3298702 &storeId=5053&categoryId=


In the future, there are some more classes from Michaels line-up that I can teach or if you are interested in other specific techniques - everything from wire-wrapping, stringing, beadweaving, kumihimo, stamping, riveting, knotting and more - let me know and I can add on classes.  I can teach how to make the latest styles - tassle long necklaces, chan luu style leather wrap beaded bracelets, chunky cuff bracelets and birthstone jewelry. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

CRAW - My New Favorite Pair of Earrings

I love learning new techniques!  I've done right angle weave several times but here's the next step - cubic right angle weave. 

Marcia DeCoster had a tutorial for circle earrings in the October/November 2015 Beadwork magazine as a precursor and advertisement for her cubic right angle weave videos. 

Even my color choices feel inspired by Marcia DeCoster - I really like the metallic and bright colors paired together.  Her jewelry is a style I definitely strive for (after I learn all these different bead weaving techniques!) 

Beyond the initial set-up stitches, I thought the tutorial in the magazine was a little vague but that may have been because it was an advertisement for her CRAW Shapes video.  Luckily, I also have the  Beadweaving Beyond the Basics book and it helped me figure out what I was doing.  After the second unit of CRAW, I feel like the beads just fall into place.  A very fun stitch and I can't wait to make more.  On Pinterest, I keep seeing heart pendants that look like they are made with CRAW and Swavorski Crystals.  I keep pinning them, so maybe that will be the next inspiration.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Pretty Palettes - February Challenge

Late to the party again...

I started this pendant last weekend but just got busy throughout the week.  The inspiration photos this month are images of bobbin lace and the story behind making it.  I find it interesting that no matter who we are or where we come from or what little or vast amounts of resources we have, we humans always seem to strive to want to and to actually make beautiful things.  And sometimes, even with more limitations, the most creative items are made!

The bobbin lace images made me think about how to create lace with my jewelry supplies.  I created a framework with 16 gauge wire and my Thing-A-Ma Jig.  I've had mine for several years and it is all plastic but have you seen the ones sold in stores now?  They are all metal and look very sturdy!

After making the framework, I decided on a pattern slightly reminiscent of one of the images in the inspiration post and used 24gauge silver Artistic wire to wrap the sides and for the middle.  The seed beads are a pearly white color that go with the subtle cream colors of the bobbin lace.  Is all bobbin lace white?  Is that part of what makes it bobbin lace?  


Just a little pink accent with some Bead Gallery pink stone beads and a silver chain that has a tiny silver accent bead in between some of the links.

Check out what everyone else did with this inspiration here:  http://www.halcraft.com/pretty-palettes/pretty-palettes-february-reveal-3/

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Art Bead Scene February Challenge

I decided to participate in the February Art Bead Scene Challenge.  The inspiration picture is very 'Vogue'.  I like the era when the picture comes from - maybe because it reminds me a tad of the current season of Downton Abbey.  And I like the structure and shapes. 



I had ideas in my head of how I wanted my jewelry to go and my piece came out vaguely like my imagination...
This necklace is made with a combination of wood beads, hand-painted wood beads, blood orange lampwork rondelles by Jodie Marshall, seed beads, blue stone beads and the loveliest glass beads by Beadfairy, which are the blue and silvery-white striped barrel beads and the lipstick red mini-ribbed spheres.

The picture is taken in bright sunlight, which is not ideal for photographing jewelry but, since I rely on natural light to take my pictures and we've only had glorious sunny (warm!) days around here (Yay!), this will suffice. 

Seeing the Vogue picture right above my necklace, makes me see what could be improved, and by the end of the month, I may still alter the piece.  You see, the creamy beads are actually painted wood beads.  They are painted with Vintaj Ranger Patina Inks.  First, I covered the beads in two coats of 'agate' and then painted the splashes of color with 'cobalt' and a mix of 'cinnabar' and 'rust', and then glaze.  I think the color would fit more with the original illustration had I not mixed the cinnabar and rust quite so well, maybe left a little more orange showing or if I had used the 'garnet' patina (but I don't own that color!  Also, I think I like the orange-red lampwork beads more than I thought I would.  

Of course, when I am designing, it is in my basement with lots of unnatural light, so some of the color disparities are more noticeable with the bright, bright sunlight!

My original idea was to paint  the beads with the same pattern as the dress in the illustration.  The bead on the right (below) was the first I tried on and it started looking a little Charlie Brownish.  The bead on the left (below) was my 2nd attempt and I actually used a headpin as my 'paintbrush'.  The pattern is nice but for the necklace, I think the abstract brush strokes work well. 
Overall, I think the necklace would look great with a simple solid color top - adding some fun to an everyday outfit!