Wednesday, September 14, 2016

jewelry Stringing, Fall 2016

Once again, I am very fortunate to have more items published in the jewelry Stringing  Fall 2016 edition.  And this time, there is a link to purchase these on my Etsy store at the end of the post. 
Jewelry Stringing has themes and both the bracelets were made with the Southwest Inspiration in mind. 

The first is a bracelet with thick turquoise leather cording and lots of charms.  The charms are ceramic and hand-painted metal, along with some vintage rhinestones.  I really like this leather, but find it is very difficult to cut to size.  I found that nursing (or medical) bandage scissors work really well for cutting thick leather. 

The second is a bracelet with lots of southwest inspired beads.  I love these colors and was just looking for a way to make them all go together.  The 3 strands of beads are these cool Picasso Czech glass beads, silver rondels and turquoise-colored howlite.   The strand his complete with a suede button loop and silver and turquoise leather tassel.  I imagine wearing this with jeans on a cool fall day. 
I think these earrings are some of my favorite!  I love the mixed metals look and the way they swing when I'm holding them up.  These are made with vintage brass tubes, jump rings and some special Japanese seed beads that are actually two colors - gold/bronze and navy blue.  There are not too much navy blue, so really they just read more gold/bronze.

And these have been posted on Etsy.  I'm also working on some of my older jewelry Stringing published jewelry. 
Check it out here: Bracelet #1
Bracelet #2

On a side note, does it bother anyone else that they don't list who contributed or designed the jewelry for bracelets and earrings?  This is the first time that Stringing magazine has not listed the contributors for these pages and they gave no prior information that it would come out like this. 
Its making me think whether I would like to have my jewelry published in here.  In the past, I was one of those people who be so fascinated with a good design that I would look up the other designers to see what other awesome jewelry they had made.  Now, its not possible. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

jewelry Stringing, Summer 2016

I've been so fortunate to have more pieces of jewelry published in the Summer, 2016 Jewelry Stringing magazine.  This time they accepted a bracelet and earrings for the magazine.
The bracelet was inspired by pure Summertime.  I was looking at my vast assortment of beads and thinking about what would look good for the beach.  A relaxed casual bracelet with lots of color.  All of the big beads are actually vintage acrylic or vintage brass beads. 

The earrings were inspired by the 'Vintage Summer' theme that the magazine offered.  The pink color is a Swavorski color - 'Cyclamen Opal' - that I'm not sure is even made anymore. I've had them for a few years.  It is such a hard color to capture by camera.  Pinkish purplish - kind of cloudy - almost looks like clouds at sunset.  They are accented with a creamy white Czech glass flower and brass flower bead caps.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Finally, some sunshine!

Have any of you tried to update your banner in Etsy?  Ever since the change of the homepage, I haven't touched the look of my shop.  So now, instead of an old banner, it just has NO banner.  Don't you think they could have incorporated the old banners somehow into these new designs?  

This is my rendition of a change to the banner.  Still needs some work....

Well, I think the shop needed a lift anyhow and the look of this blog.  So there will be some changes to the look of the blog to hopefully match the changes that will be made to my Etsy shop and to reflect my changing style.  

I've been reading the book marketing and selling your handmade jewelry by Viki Lareau.  It is very outdated - written in 2006 - but I like the questions that she poses regarding identifying your customer.  
I feel like I have been making a lot of fun jewelry and trying lots of techniques but not narrowing on anything. 
***Pattern from heliotrope earrings from an Interweave magazine.  I love this combo and still need to complete the 2nd for a pair of earrings or I may turn it into a necklace...

How can I become really great at anything if I don't pursue it wholeheartedly?  So my etsy shop will show some more cohesive looks but I hope that this blog will still maintain a bit of whimsy and eclectic choices in jewelry-making.  
***Also from the heliotrope pattern from an Interweave Beadwork magazine.  This is the back and the front of a pair.  

I've also been following and watching Renae Christine's free videos.  Honestly, she provides great information!  I just watched her SEO Infusion video - so helpful!  I learned about some websites and info that I hadn't known after being on etsy for 4 years (I will say that I have not done well, just keep chugging along) and reading some books about selling on etsy.  
***My friend had a birthday recently and I played with different color combos for the CRAW wheels.  The ones I ended up giving her had the same turquoise and greenish beads but a matte silver bead in the middle.   

In the meantime, I hope to still contribute to magazines.  I like the challenges and themes - in fact, I have some items in the Summer 2016 jewelry Stringing magazine.  As soon as I get them back in the mail, I'll post pics.  

As you can see, I love the beadweaving, just wish it didn't take quite so long to complete each piece!

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:

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: &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:

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!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Halo Earrings

I wish I was more computer literate.  I have great ideas of what could be but no idea (or desire to learn) how to carry my ideas out.  First, I would create a ravelry site for beadweavers.  Do you knit or crochet?  If you do, then you know what ravelry is all about.  The best compilation of patterns, tips, kinds of yarn to use and how the patterns look in real life.  I love the set-up and envision it for beadweavers.
*This is the front of 4th & 3rd attempts.

We could include the pattern, the exact type of beads we used (specifically, what brand! - see below), the stringing material, and the colors, even needle size.  And most importantly, include tips for the average beader.  I know what patterns call for, but sometimes, we need to use what we have at hand and something this works and sometimes it doesn't!

This week, I decided to try out the Halo Earrings by Lisa Kan.  This pattern is from the February/March 2016 Beadwork magazine.  I liked the structural look of the beadwork and the fact that it was an earring (so it wouldn't take forever!).  Well, these were a labor of love.  And, honestly, a kit would have been quite nice. 

Before, I begin, I should say the pattern calls for 11 Japanese seed beads and 15 Japanese seed beads. 

First, I tried the pattern with some purple glossy speckled 11 seed beads from Tamara Scott and metallic silver 15 rocailles (from Fire Mountain Gems).  Well, I kind of thought the purple beads seemed on the larger side for 11 seed beads, so the initial circle was very tight and difficult to pull together and... it ended up not too much like a donut circle and more like a circle in the shape of a Pringles potato chip. 
**These are #1 & #2 attempts.  (before embellishments)

So, I tried again with some shiny greenish 11 seed beads, that on comparison, actually looked close in size to the purple speckled 11 seed beads & with the metallic silver 15 rocailles.  Again, the end result was of a Pringles potato chip.  And, working with two very shiny beads was making my eyes cross-eyed!  Way too hard to see, even with sufficient lighting and reading glasses!
**The 11 seed beads from the 14st and 2nd tries.  They purple one looks just slightly bigger than the greenish-metallic one.

**These are the two different 15 seed beads.  The one on the left is a size 15 used in #3 & #4.  The one on the right is a rocaille, used in #1 & #2.

So, then I thought it might be the rocailles causing the problem.  The 3rd time, I tried all new beads - Toho transparent rainbow frosted black diamond 11 seed beads and round matte metallic silver 15 seed beads (from Tamara Scott).  And this combination worked perfectly (and was so much easier to see!). 
**These are the 11 seed beads from #3 and #4 attempt.  They look the same size, don't they?

So, I thought I would try a 4th time with the purple glossy speckled 11 seed beads again and the round matte metallic silver 15 seed beads (from the 3rd attempt).  And... this one also came out like the Pringle shape but not as bad as the first two, so I finished the piece to see if the embellishments would help pull it straight.  They kind of worked, but the piece is still a little wonky in shape.  (See the picture up above - it has pink embellishment beads.)
*This is the back of 4th & 3rd attempts.

So there you have it!  The type/brand of bead really does matter for the integrity of the donut structure!  (Learned the hard way).  And, wouldn't this be nice to include in a beadweaving ravelry for others to learn from my mistakes?

One more tip - the beaded bead really doesn't come together until that last Finishing step.  It really pulls everything into place and makes the pattern pop!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Learning Kumihimo - Melange de Perles

This is another kit review.  Yah!  I learned how to do kumihimo.  I've seen a lot of the corded kumihimo and wasn't as interested in the style until I saw kumihimo with beads.  Wow!  What awesome designs out there. 

And this design - Melange de Perles Necklace by Adrienne Gaskell from the December 2015/January 2016 issue of Beadwork is gorgeous! 

I was fortunate to get a kit - because the beads and end result are very drool-worthy! -And they are gone.  When I was stringing the beads on the cords, my kit was missing some of the 3mm khaki rainbow ris magatamas (104 to be exact).  I had some other drop beads in my stash that were a matte purple iris color and would have fit in beautiful with this necklace, so I started adding them or trying to add them to the C-Lon cords.  But even with making sure the tip of the cord had glue on it to make it more like a needle and trying to squeeze the tip into a smaller slant, I could not get my purple drop beads onto the cords.  Why do beads that are otherwise the exact same size have to have different size holes?? How frustrating!!!   Anyhow, I wrote to interweave and got the extra beads (and some) mailed to me so I could finish stringing the beads. 

This was my first time doing kumihimo and I will admit that I should have probably started with something not as beady.  I learned the hard way about the placement of the beads when they go to the center of the disc - the beads need to go under the strings.  I originally put them on top of and in the middle of two of the cords - and, well, after a few rounds, I noticed that mine didn't look like the picture- in fact, the cords show up as a line on the outside of the rope.  So, a look at a video on how to do kumihimo with beads and I eventually figured it out. 

I also learned that if you mess up, its best to go backwards to undo everything - like with knitting.  After doing about 8 rows of beads, to undo the kumihimo, I decided that I would just pull all the cords out the holder and untangle.  But that was a HUGE ever-loving mess that took me quite a while to put back into a workable arrangement. 

It was actually quite fast once all the beads were strung and I stopped messing up!

And the result - the necklace feels as good as it looks. I love wearing it because it is soft on my skin (I definitely have some sensory issues with scratchy necklaces) and it doesn't get tangled with the hairs at the nape of my neck and so far it always stays in place - the back clasp stays in the back and the heavier front stays in the front.  An awesome necklace to make and I'm looking forward to trying some other beaded kumihimo ropes!

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Poppy Bracelet

Last Friday was National Wear Red Day.  That day is a 'massive national public awareness day to "go red" to bring attention to the leading killers of women - heart disease and stroke.' 
I am a nurse and previously worked as a Health and Wellness Planner for a company.  So the reason for this day has a great place in my heart.  To know that most heart disease and stroke is preventable, yet still kills 1 in 3 women, shows how important education and awareness is!  And I can attest that a lot of women don't know their risks nor that it is big killer of women.

Part of my plug for National Wear Red Day ties into jewelry (of course!).

I've been working on a beadweaving kit.  I know that kits are not real popular for people who design jewelry - because really, there is no designing, just making in a kit.  But I'm NOT a beadweaving designer and still trying to figure out techniques - which I think kits are great for.  I learn a new technique and produce a beautiful wearable piece of jewelry - without the pesky annoyances of picking colors that go together and figuring out if I have all the right seed bead sizes (and seed bead brands) that will work in a pattern (and, boy, does that matter - as I'll write about in a future post!).

So, here is the Poppy Beadwoven Bracelet.  This one is by Glass Garden Beads, and I purchased it from Fusion Beads (but they don't have it on their website anymore). The picture on the website was very over exposed and it was hard to tell how it was actually going to turn out.  Here it is in real life: 

 I originally planned on making it for Christmas.  The colors are quite lovely for Christmas but life took me to other things in December and instead the bracelet got finished in January.  It actually worked up a bit faster than I had first anticipated and is really quite a lovely design. Eight flowers fits my 5 3/4" inch wrist perfectly and it stays put when I wear it - which is what I like. 

And the best part -was that the bracelet went perfectly with my red outfit for National Wear Day!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Pretty Palettes: January Reveal: Snowflakes!!!

This winter has been very different from the last two (and frankly, I love it!).  Hardly any snow!  We were on the edge of the huge snowstorm last week and while the kids had a Snow Day, we ended up getting a dusting and that was it. 

I really dislike shoveling snow and wearing winter coats and boots, but, if I always looked at a snowflake like the artist of this month's Pretty Palettes Challenge, Alexey Kljatov, I may have different thoughts.

--Probably not, unless I was looking at it on a computer while sitting on a warm beach!  :)

Leaves of ice, snowflake desktop wallpaper (explore 2015-08-22)

I DO like wearing bling-y jewelry and the snowflake is a great inspiration for that!

When I saw the color palette, and the beads chosen, I thought of brightness and shininess and reflection...and rhinestones. 

So, together some of the snow-like icicle beads and rhinestone cup chain was paired with a leather bracelet blank. 

More of a rocker look, than a romantic bling-y look but still great.
First, I stained the leather to make it a darker hue - a better backdrop for the bright beads and then poked holes with a leather needle to make it easier to thread the thread through.

The rhinestone cup chain and beads are held in place with a pale mint great silk thread and knotted towards the ends.  This is by no means my own idea - in face, if you follow 'the beading gem' - a very good resource for jewelry making, she had the link for the original idea. 

The beads and leather (and all leather tools used) are from Michaels. The cup chain was from my bead stash.

Thank you Erin for another great source of inspiration!!!