Don't miss our book giveaway, running until Sept 21! Visit the link above to enter.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


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Friday, February 26, 2010

Sponsorship contest on Beading Arts...absolutely free!


There comes a time when a blog simply has to grow up a bit.  As you probably have already noticed, Beading Arts has some affiliate sponsors and a couple of regular advertisers.  You've probably also noticed the disclaimers at the bottom of some of my tutorials telling you which products or supplies were provided free to me by the companies that sell them so that I could make something featuring those products and show you how to use them. 

Here's what I'd like to try next: an experiment to see how well small banner ads would work for the advertiser, so that I know whether or not it's worth looking for additional sponsors.  See the big ad for Earthenwood Studio near the top of the sidebar?  Well, you won't be getting one that is quite that big for free!  But what you will get if you enter my contest and you win is a small banner ad which will run just below my paid ads for one month, free.  And I'm going to pick up to four winners!

How to enter the contest and what you'll have to do

I don't really care what kind of blog or website you run, as long as it's family friendly.   It doesn't have to be bead or jewelry, or even art related.  Everyone who applies will be considered equally with this exception: link farmers, scrapers, and folks who peddle "enhancement" drugs and devices need not apply.  

If you'd like to enter the contest for some free traffic (which will of course include some of the most highly intelligent, creative, and NICE people in the entire blogosphere...my readers!), just email me at cyndi @ mazeltovjewelry.com (remove the spaces) and put sponsorship contest in the subject line.

  • Write me a short description of your blog, website, online store, or business.  
  • Why are you interested in trying this experiment?
  • Why should it be your ad?  Will you send me chocolate?  (ok, just kidding about the chocolate)      
Deadline: March 27, 2010

By the end of March, I will select up to four sponsors who will have their ad run free for the month of April.  If you're chosen, you'll have to provide me with a 125 x 125 banner image.  I am really looking forward to seeing how this all works out.  The best scenario would be that you get lots of sticky high-quality traffic from Beading Arts.  Nothing to lose by trying, huh?          




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Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!


Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie unleashes her grumpy feelings with a little rant and a bead sale!

Jean Campbell
A mystery package is the catalyst for this creative challenge. Up for it? You could win a free book!

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei had a chance, a while back (2008) to have a nice little interview with etsy seller, Patina Queen! This is Lorelei's wire supplier, and she ROCKS!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
jean is breathless with delight when she receives a gift from her friend the artist Lisa Kan!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew shares his feelings about the awesome new Spring issue of "Stringing" magazine.

About.com Jewelry Making
Tammy got the 411 on some very cool new metal stamps. Though these can also be used with clay as well.

Art Bead Scene
The Art Bead Scene begins a new monthly feature - the ABS Carnival Blog! Let the Carnival begin!

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Bopping Along the ICE Resin Blog hop - My resin version of Little Egypt.

Beading Arts
Do you want to try lampworking? Cyndi's been busy at the torch again.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi uses a candy mold to make a new resin pendant.

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
Cindy takes a bead shopping trip to the Great White North and almost passes out!



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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lampwork artists

Lori Greenberg

If you're still trying to decide whether to take the plunge and add lampwork to your arsenal of jewelry making skills, you might want to visit some of the fantastic artists who've shared their work over the years:


Lori Greenberg

Lea Avroch

Liliana Cirstea Glenn

Mark Hamilton



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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Recent publications: February 2010



The Complete Book of Polymer Clay by Lisa Pavelka

Your Seed Bead Style: Accents, Embellishments, and Adornments by the Editors of Bead&Button magazine

Simply Stylish Chain and Metal Jewelry by Editors of BeadStyle magazine



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Monday, February 22, 2010

Do you want to try lampwork?

All the Daughters of Eve

By now I think that most jewelry artists have been able to see a lampworking demonstration if you've wanted to. The next question is whether or not you want to do it yourself. It's possible to learn how to do it yourself, using the books and online information available (some is included below), but I really recommend taking an introductory class or learning from a practicing friend. There are so many mistakes you'll be able to avoid by having someone guide you at first.

I’ve been making lampwork glass beads for years and years, but there is always something new to learn. By the way, I didn’t say that I was any good at it, just that I’ve been doing it a long time. If you want to gape over some gorgeous work, take a look at some of the artists who've done profiles for us over the years.

Here's some information to help you make your decision to melt or not to melt...

Frequently Asked Questions about lampworking

An Introduction to lampworking by Ann Scherm Baldwin
An excellently photographed introduction to the steps involved in making lampworked beads.

My favorite books on the subject
Scroll down to the "Bead Making" section.

My very favorites are Cindy Jenkins's Making Glass Beads, Kimberley Adams's The Complete Book of Glass Beadmaking, Jeri L Warhaftig's Glass Bead Workshop, and Karen Leonardo's Creating Lampwork Beads for Jewelry. Another book that I would really like to own is Corina Tettinger's Passing the Flame.

I've always been particularly fond of Cindy Jenkins's book because it was the first one I ever read. It's got tons of great information, but the part on annealing leads you to believe that you can anneal beads with a fiber blanket and/or warm vermiculite. If you are going to make glass beads, you will need a kiln to anneal them. Or you'll need access to a kiln. Annealing can NOT be done with vermiculite and a hot plate, so please factor in the cost of the kiln when you're making your decision.




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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bead Journal Project: bracelet for February


I am really happy with how the Bead Journal Project is going for me this year.  I wasn't overly inspired last year, mostly because I didn't have enough time to devote to it.  This year is a different story, however.  Even though the pieces aren't taking me all that long to do, I'm really satisfied with how they're coming out.


Here's February's bracelet.  Last year, at the very end of February, I left a day job that had become a source of more challenge than I cared to face each day (that's the nicest way I can think of to phrase it, so please don't ask!).  Now on the one year anniversary of my emancipation, I have made a bracelet that symbolizes growth and change, with many of my very favorite colors.   

January

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Girl Wearing Traditional ...
Frances Gordon
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Friday, February 19, 2010

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!


Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
Inspired by the color of summer gardens in a seed catalog, Cindy creates a new bead.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Celebrate the many uses of Ice Resin with Melanie's blog latest blog series which highlights some of her newest works.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean is embroiled in a conundrum--help a girl out!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Working with Jill MacKay's new line of decorative bezels, Andrew experiments with resin and takes advantage of the bezels' deep walls.

About.com Jewelry Making
Tammy reminds you about a thriving jewelry community and how to keep up with news on her site.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene teams up with Margie Deeb for a color challenge.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi restrings a strand of cheap plastic beads with a wristlet. Repurposing is great!

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Artist profile: Sylvia Windhurst


Artist: Sylvia Windhurst
Website & Blog:
Windy River etsy shop
Windy River blog



My work is predominantly beadweaving with some embroidered and painted elements thrown in. I do a little wire wrapping, but my main focus is on beadwork. I am in love with tiny seed beads - the smaller the better. My business name is actually just a contrived name that my daughter picked out (she was 13 at the time.) I was going to use my own name but she wanted to be involved so I let her name my shop - and of course it does sound like my last name so it's not totally unrelated.



My creative process is usually me thinking in the car, while I am doing other chores etc., and I get an inspiration - I might make a quick sketch or if I can run up to my studio and see what materials I have that might work for my idea. I have tons of beads and lots of broken old jewelry that I like to take apart and use pieces from.



Sometimes I'll see a color combination somewhere that I like - like I recently bought a card with a Gustav Klimt image on the front and I loved the colors - he used a lot of golds in his painting mixed with jewel tones, and I love gold beads - as you can see from my work.

I work in silence or sometimes with a movie playing on my laptop - I just listen, don't really watch. I work for a couple hours (usually 2) each night, and as much as I can during the weekends - I do have a full time job as a graphic artist so I can't spend as much time in my studio as I might like, but I enjoy my job as well - so I feel like I have the best of both worlds.



I actually have a BFA in printmaking, which I no longer do, but I have always fooled around with sewing, embroidery and beading. When I was a kid, I used to make tiny little dolls with fancy clothes etc - I still have a box of them at home. I should try doing some more of those someday to see how my esthetic has changed.


A tool I can't live without - extra sharp scissors, lots of needles, every color of Nymo thread possible.

If I get frustrated I will look through my supplies since I often forget what is in the many tubs of beads and parts that populate my studio, and I will see something and have a moment of inspiration.



My advice to artists would be to never regret trying something - I have taken apart many projects that just weren't panning out well- and if you mess up something, move on. Yes it does stink when you ruin materials, but thankfully with small beads you're never ruining anything too expensive. I recently spilled a bunch of beads (size 15) and was able to rescue some, but I just had to vacuum a lot of them up as they were everywhere on the floor and they are so tiny. Also, I tried a new glue on a pair of bead embroidered earrings recently - I had made two beaded bezels for the Swarovski rivolis and then glued them to some suede leather with the intention of adding a nice picot edge. Well this glue was industrial strength and I should have known better, but it dried like cement and I couldn't get a needle through that leather to save my life. So then I thought, I'll just rescue the rivolis by cutting away the beaded bezels but they were stuck onto my fabric backing so well that when I tried to peel them off with a plier, I just chipped them terribly and they never did come off. So I threw the whole project away and will remember that more glue isn't necessarily a good thing and to not use that particular glue again.

Like I said, you have to move on and not get too mad at yourself - it's a constant learning process.

My favorite comfort food is chocolate of course - extra dark.




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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Giveaway: Zulugrass jewelry

***Contest is closed.  Thanks for entering***


Visit Jewelry&Beading this week for an opportunity to learn about Zulugrass jewelry and to sign up to win a piece!

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Monday, February 15, 2010

A bead embroidered necklace with CZs - part three

Now I just need a name...


Once the necklace has edging brick stitch around the entire edge, it's time to do a little math.  To make it easier, I started from the middle and worked outward, tying a small piece of black Nymo thread at each space where I would stitch a CZ or an accent bead (these are the CZ beads that I got from Artbeads).  All the rest of the necklace would be finished with a simple three-bead picot stitch. 



 


 


I recommend going back for a second or even a third pass through the section where the accent beads and CZs are added.  Their weight could prove to be too much for a single strand of beading thread over time.



Here is the piece with all the beading done.  You can see the wires sticking up from each end: they were curled into a circle and stitched in place to the back of the front fabric before the edging was done.  This method gives you a very strong and clean finish at the top edge.



Add a couple of beads and turn a wrapped loop around the chains of a toggle clasp.  You're done!


You can see the rest of the construction here:
Part one
Part two
Part three


FREE e-BOOK CHAPTER


As regards FTC disclosure guidelines: I have received the CZ beads shown free of charge from Artbeads.com in order to create a project free of charge for you. I have not been paid for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received.


Copyright 2010 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010


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Jewelry Vendor, Durbar Sq...
Ethel Davies
12x16 Phot...
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!


Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi attempts to explain how one necklace turns into two.

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
An addition to the Grunge Bead Series - Grunge Faux Bois!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie shows off the necklace she made for the Bead Soup Party: a delicious blend of stone, pearls, glass, ceramic, and brass ingredients.

Jewelry & Beading
Cyndi has a great giveaway going on: TWO gift certificates for Murano glass jewelry!! 

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
The connection you can have with a customer, is a treasure. Collaborating on a necklace, Lorelei and JoAnn create a wonderful keepsake.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Book review by Jean: feel like learning new techniques? Try this new text with fab photos!

About.com Jewelry Making
Ever thought of applying for a jewelry making grant? If so, here is news about how to do so as well as some important tips to follow.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene Unveils the February Monthly Challenge - Luna Park by Vestie Davis.

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Avoiding work by showing off some new jewelry pieces and other eye candy
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Artist profile: Helen Breil


Artist: Helen Breil
Business name: Helen Breil Designs
Location: Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Website: Helen Breil Designs


Helen, how do you describe your gorgeous work?
I work in polymer clay and recently launched a line of Focal Art Beads. I would describe my work as contemporary. I like bold but elegant. I love color and texture. I am more interested in design rather than technique.

What is your creative process like?
I am often driven by some element that has inspired me. For example if I have a new texture I want to use, I play with various shapes and colours to create something that really shows off the texture in the best way possible. I love buttons which I use in my work quite often. Often a button is my starting point. I experiment a lot and learn from my mistakes.

If I’m unhappy with a piece I keep trying to tweak it until I’m happy with it. Often I’ve been close to giving up on a piece but I decide to add a design element and then the piece feels complete. I love that feeling when all the elements come together. And when I’m done I try it on and make sure it works from a practical point of view. If it’s not something I’d want to wear I’m not going to sell it.


What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?
I’ve been working in polymer clay for over 10 years now. I started by learning from books and information off the web. The polymer clay community is excellent at sharing information. I’ve taken a few workshops by well known polymer clay artists which has been inspiring from the point of view of seeing how they work and appreciating their talent but I find I don’t tend to use what I’ve learned in these workshops in my own work. Experimenting on my own has been my biggest teacher.

Is there a tool or material that you can’t imagine living without?
That’s a tough one! There are so many tools related to working with polymer clay. Other than the usual polymer clay must-haves like a pasta machine I guess I would say my needle point tool. I use it daily in many ways.



What inspires you to create?
Everything! I love design and I see interesting design elements everywhere – ads in magazines, a chair design, the shape of a vase. I am often inspired by work in other mediums such as metal and ceramics. I keep a log both on paper and on the computer of pictures of things that inspire me and I look at it every day. I have never experienced a creative block. I always have a pipeline of ideas I’m eager to explore. Often they don’t work out but it was fun trying.

What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?
I once attended a workshop by Dan Cormier – a very talented polymer clay artist. He has the most amazing patience and applies a very high level of perfection to his work. I try to remind myself of his dedication to excellence. That’s what it takes if you want to produce quality work. If I want to be successful and proud of my work I need to keep at it even when things don’t go smoothly. I try to take a break, reduce my frustration level and remind myself of the big picture.



What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?
Often I go through Flickr sites of peoples work and I will see a piece that has a real WOW factor. There is just one in that style and then you can see they have moved on to the next technique. My advice would be to find a style or technique that you love and stick with it for awhile. Really explore it. Try variations. Keep improving it. Create a collection of pieces in that style. Keep at it until you’ve exhausted all your ideas for it. You will learn a lot through the process and you will end up with something really special you can be proud of and that really reflects you.






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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Giveaway: Murano glass jewelry!

 ***Contest is closed.  Thanks for entering***

Please visit Jewelry&Beading before Monday, Feb 15 to find out about how easy it is to enter our fantastic giveaway!  Two $25 gift certificates will be drawn on Monday!



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Calls for entries and submissions



Altered Couture: Deadline, 03/15/10

Ugly Necklace Contest: Deadline, 03/15/10


The Polymer Revolution, 2010: Deadline, 03/15/10

30 Minute Rings, Lark Books: Deadline 03/19/10

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A bead embroidered necklace with CZs - part two


Stitch on graduated stacks of seed beads, starting with just two and working up to around five.  Arrange the stacks along a crazy waving line that covers several inches of your necklace.  When the stacks are completed, stitch them together along the top, adding two or more beads between each stack so that they ruffle at the top.

Nestle pearls and other accent beads into the deep wells formed by the ruffled stacks.




Add more lengths of ruffled stacks and accent bead embellishments along the necklace.  I chose to only use a few accent beads on the top couple of inches of fabric on each end.



When the whole piece is bead embellished to your liking, cut a bottom piece of ultrasuede.  Stitch on a piece of wire at each of the two ends: curl the end of the wire into a circle so that you can stitch it firmly in place on the back of the top fabric.



Glue the top and back together lightly.  Using size 8/0 seed beads, stitch all the raw edges together using edging brick stitch.

Next time, the finishing touches, including the addition of the lovely CZs!

You can see the rest of the construction here:
Part one

Part two
Part three

As regards FTC disclosure guidelines: I have received the CZ beads shown free of charge from Artbeads.com in order to create a project free of charge for you. I have not been paid for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received.

Copyright 2010 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Monday, February 08, 2010

A bead embroidered necklace with CZs


Awhile ago, I received these gorgeous Cubic Zirconia beads from Artbeads.com in order to show you their quality and make a project to share with you.  I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them, but it was a lengthy project and took a bit of time to complete.

Finally!  Over the next few days, I'll share the steps that I took and show you how I ended up using these wonderful sparkly beads as embellishments.




Draw an outline for your necklace on ultrasuede or whatever foundation fabric you prefer.  Cut out along the outer line, but leave the inside intact for now.  Check these two previous posts for more information about creating your foundation piece and about bead embroidery in general. 



Cut lengths of ribbon yarn and pin them in place all over the foundation.  Allow the to extend past the lines slightly.



Using a wide zig zag stitch, use your sewing machine to anchor all the ribbons in place, stitching back and forth across the piece until everything is secure. 




I used black thread so that it would blend in slightly with the ribbon design.  You can make your stitching part of the design if you want.  Stitch all along the outer and inner edge, allowing the zig zag stitch to go over the edge and anchor all the edges in place.  

Next time I'll show you the bead embroidery up close! 

Part one
Part two
Part three



As regards FTC disclosure guidelines: I have received the CZ beads shown free of charge from Artbeads.com in order to create a project free of charge for you. I have not been paid for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received.

Copyright 2010 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


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Detail of Beads for Jewelry Making, M...
Alison Jones
16x12 Photograph...
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Friday, February 05, 2010

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!


Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts:
Are you a follower? Barbe has a giveway for her blog readers.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi did "knot" stress out making this new necklace!

Cindy Gimbrone aka the Lampwork Diva
With the help of Vintaj brass, Cindy whips up a set of tethered butterfly earrings with her bronze floral charms.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie reveals the delicious ingredients she received for the Bead Soup Party.

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei's blog has a new look. And she heads to cooking school!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Kim Miles! Who makes prettier Valentine's day, or "just for yourself" gifts than Kim? Wait til you see what she has up her sleeve...the Ace of Hearts, so to speak!

Strands of Beads
Melissa is giving away a $25.00 gift certificate from Artbeads.com this week!

A Bead A Day
Lisa is hoping to get some ideas for using a bright red, swirly stoneware pendant just in time for Valentine's Day.

About.com Jewelry Making
Catch up on the latest jewelry web news from contests to free tutorials with this handy list of links.

Art Bead Scene
Searching for a way to achieve an etched metal look? ABS has a free tutorial for you!


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