Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How to wire up a button for a charm holder - reader question


Becky asked me a question today through my contact form, but didn't leave an email for me to reach her.  Becky, I hope you see this post!
Hi! On April 21st you had a photo of the large button charm holder attached to a beaded necklace. How did you attach it? By the way, it is a great idea! i am asking because I have a large button that I wish to add to different pearl necklaces for decoration and wonder what I can place on the button shank in order to do this and still be able to take it off an on.. Any ideas?

I actually posted a tutorial for that piece a few weeks later, but unfortunately, the wire design that I came up with is not removable.  You can see the Button and Wire Charm Necklace tutorial for ideas, and maybe if you create larger loops for the bail, or twist them into hooks instead of loops, the piece will be able to slide on and off different necklaces.



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TAST week 9 - herringbone, chevron, detached chain, chain stitch, and couching stitch

I decided to allow myself to get behind when I went on vacation earlier this month, but I promised myself that I would catch up, and I (mostly) have!  It wasn't too difficult since I'm only doing a small sample of each stitch on my manipulated fabric Take a Stitch Tuesday quilt.

So I had to catch up with herringbone stitch, which I'd already stitched but didn't have time to post about:


Then I added some chevron stitch along with detached chain stitch.  Chevron isn't very different in feel from herringbone, feather, and cretan, with the back and forth swinging motion of your needle.  However, it's much more precise, even when I tried to make it a bit wonky:


Next, very near the line of herringbone stitch, I added a broken line of chain stitch peeking in and out of one of the fabric ruffles:


Finally, the stitch that was featured this week, couching stitch.  I used a long strand of fuzzy green yarn that was wrapped with white eyelash yarn and couched it around one of my circular forms on the quilt.  You can only see a small piece of it in this shot:





TAST week 1 - fly stitch
TAST week 2 - blanket stitch
TAST week 3 - feather stitch
TAST week 4 - cretan stitch 
TAST week 5 - herringbone stitch
TAST week 6 - chevron stitch
TAST week 7 - detached chain stitch
TAST week 8 - chain stitch
TAST week 9 - couching stitch

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Antique key and lampwork necklace - part two


The first part of this tutorial was posted last week, and covers how to make the lampwork rings around the antique skeleton keys.

Today we're going to look at how to add the rest of the decorative beads and turn the key into a wearable pendant. 

Materials & tools

5 ft of 28 gauge green craft wire
3 lampwork glass spacers
Lucite flowers
Lucite or glass leaves
Small and medium sized pearls
Size 6/0 and 11/0 seed beads
4 inches of bronze wire
2 Brass discs
Bronze chain
Jump ring
Lobster claw


Wire cutters
Chain nose pliers
Round nose pliers

1. Using the 28 gauge craft wire, add flowers, leaves, and bead clusters until you have a piece about 4 to 5 inches long.  Space the beads about 1/3 to 1/2 inch apart along the wire.  Detailed step-by-step instructions for making wired pieces are in the 4th chapter of my e-book, Every Bead Has a Story.  

2. Wrap the long end of the wire around the bottom of the key and anchor it well.  Use the long end to wrap back along the entire length of the wired piece to strengthen and thicken the "stem". 


3. Spiral the wire stem upward and around the shaft of the key, looping it over the lampwork rings.  Wrap the wire end around the top of the key to end and snip off any leftover wire.  


4. Using a 4 inch piece of bronze wire, create a connector piece with two wrapped loops that will attach the key to two pieces of bronze chain.  I used a few more of my lampwork beads for this, along with two raw brass discs. 


5. Add a jump ring and a lobster claw clasp to the other ends of the chain. 

Copyright 2012 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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Friday, February 24, 2012

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

 

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
There is a remarkably beautiful new jewelry store on Etsy! Come read all about it, and learn who is behind it! 

A Bead A Day
Have you been developing new healthy habits this year? How about rewarding yourself in beads?  

About.com Jewelry Making
Owls are making a comeback from the 1970s and an owl charm was the inspiration for two jewelry tutorials.

Art Bead Scene
We celebrate some of our artisan bead crafters from across the pond with this treasury of UK bead artist awesomeness.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Ruby Violet necklace kits are fun and easy to work with!    

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie shows off a new creation using the new Pantone Crystal Mixes from Fusion Beads.

Jean Campbell
"Stuff Beaders Say" Are you a beader? If you're not sure, just check out this video and see if anything sounds familiar. 

Resin Crafts!
A dollar store butterfly becomes a necklace center piece with resin!

  

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book review: Spotlight on Wire



Ok, you know the basics of working with wire, so what's next? Melissa Cable's new book, Spotlight On Wire, will introduce you to weaving with wire, texturing and corrugating it, working with heavy wires, and inegrating wirework with chains.

There are quite a few projects that I want to try, including Melissa's Clustered Jewels (the very first project...easy!), and just about everything in chapter 2 (strip wires), especially the Garden Gate pendant which is shown on the cover.  I don't know why it never occurred to me before, but there are a lot of fun things you can do with wide strip wire that perhaps in the past would have to be achieved by cutting out sheet metal.

Melissa swears that woven wire pieces are easier to make than they look.  I'm going to trust her and order some thick flat wire to have a go with! 




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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Yay for Lisa!!







Lisa, who writes Pine Ridge Treasures, just won this selection of tagua nut beads from Ecuadorian Hands. Congratulations!!




A local bead store shout-out


My friend Robbie Payne, who writes Robbie's Paw Prints, sent me this great review of her favorite local bead store (LBS).  Keep 'em coming, folks!  And if you'd like to read about other stores that readers have recommended in the past, just click on the category LBS.

I'm only in Florida around 4-5 months a year but my MOST favorite bead store is located in Ocala, Florida. It's called The Bead Strand, 6140 SW Hwy 200, Ocala, FL 34476
352-620-2323 (BEAD)
Their website is The Bead Strand

I've been shopping at this bead shop since I found it several years ago and I've posted about it often on my blog. In fact, I've even called and have them ship beads to me when I'm back in Michigan! I know they'll have the beads I want and they were more than happy to accommodate. The shop is now under a new owner and she's filling the shop with even more beads and beading supplies! They too are wonderful to work with and seem more than happy to order something special a customer might want or need!

 I've never shopped at a bead store that has such a large selection of colors and sizes in Delicas (of course my favorite!), semi-precious gemstones, Japanese seed beads, Swarovski crystals, and so much more! It's a beader's delight experience for sure!!!



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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Book review: A Bounty of Bead and Wire Earrings



Is it possible to ever have too many earrings?  Shoes, maybe.  Earrings, certainly not!

Nathalie Mornu to the rescue with her new book published by Lark: A Bounty of Bead and Wire Earrings.  Twenty five talented designers bring you fifty fun and fast earring projects.  The basics of wire work are covered, and then it's on to the fun!  I particularly like Melody MacDuffee's designs, so I was glad to see her included in the designer list along with Kimberley Adams, Sharon Bateman, Candie Cooper, Terry Taylor, and lots more that you will recognize.

The instructions are clearly written, and most of the designs are simple enough to work out anyway, but there are also some illustrations that will keep you on the right path if you are a beginner.  The only thing I wish were included that is not is a resource list.  Many people will have no idea where to find some of the materials used, but all I can say is that this will hopefully force the reader to become more creative and encourage substitutions. 

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Antique key and lampwork necklace - part one



You may recall that awhile ago I was able to offer and giveaway sponsored by Bumbershoot Designs and Supplies.  At the same time, I shared a small piece that I made using some of their marvelous vintage beads.  That's it up at the top.  I always meant to share with you how I made it, you know how it goes.  Finally, the design has pushed its way to the top of my work table!

Materials & tools

Antique skeleton keys
Fine steel wool
Lampwork glass bead equipment and materials


1. Wrap fine steel wool around the shafts of the antique keys you wish to use.  I used a small paint brush to apply rings of bead release around the shafts.   



2. Melt your glass rods in the torch flame and make rings around each key.  I got better at this as I went along...the key on the right was the first one I did, and you can see that the rings are much thinner and wobblier than my last attempt on the left.  They are not perfect, but they don't need to be for this project.

3. When the glass has annealed and cooled, carefully remove the steel wool.  Use your reaming tool to clean the release off the insides of the rings.  I made some additional small spacers and other beads to use in my final necklace design.

Next week - how to make a finished necklace
 

Copyright 2012 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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Friday, February 17, 2012

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

 

Resin Crafts!
Resin Crafts has a tutorial on resin layering. 

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
The super fab Margot Potter interviewed Jean on Margot's new blog, Craft. You. What an honor! She is a love and so is this new blog! Join it! Wow it is informative and fun! 

A Bead A Day
Can you stand the temptation of vintage Swarovski crystals? Then it's safe for you to check these out!  

About.com Jewelry Making
Ionic cleaners are a great way to get your jewelry sparkling clean.  

Art Bead Scene
Ornamentea is hosting a fun charm shop! Visit the Art Bead Scene blog for links and info and see the beautiful charms that Erin Prais-Hintz created  




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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Book review: Jewelry for the New Romantic



Jewelry for the New Romantic introduced me to a designer that I didn't know before.  Nealay Patel seems to have more or less fallen into jewelry design when a business class he was taking in high school required him to develop an actual product for sale.  Why not jewelry?  Why not, indeed.  Nealay was hooked and has been designing and making ever since.

Jewelry for the New Romantic focuses on designs that rely heavily on beading wire and crystals.  Lots of the wire is exposed, so if you like the design on the cover of the book, this is very good representative of what you'll find inside.  Although there are only ten named designs taught in the book, each is expanded into variations so that you'll be able to make necklace, earrings, bracelets, etc from each design.  The materials lists are compulsively complete, which is what you expect from Kalmbach publications.

If you are a beginner and want to make your first few pieces exactly as pictured, the instructions are also complete.  If you want to just be inspired by the designs and go off in your own directions, there are suggestions for other paths to try.  The is a very pretty book with extremely pretty designs, great photography, and helpful illustrations.   

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ethics in jewelry making


In the world of art, ethics can include many different topics: copyright, fair trade issues, green issues, customer disclosure, and fairness in contracts and other legal matters. I'm not a lawyer, so whenever I want to learn about these types of issues, I turn to sites that have some legal status.


For copyright issues, in the United States there is only one authority: the US government copyright office. There are some helpful sites that will help you untangle some of the language, but ultimately you'll need to read the rules for yourself. Art Schools and Careers has some great articles that you might also find helpful.

Fair Trade and green issues are starting to garner more attention. Marc Choyt wrote an excellent article for Modern Jeweler called Fair Jewelry: Making a difference from mine to market. Marc is a champion for this issue, and you can read more on his blog, Fair Trade Jewelry.

Nicolette Tallmadge has a podcast on Making Your Art Website Trustworthy. She covers everything from the look and content of the site to the functionality and legal issues.

Finally, the Daily Jewel reported on an industry watchdog called the Jewelers Ethics Association. Their primary focus is on keeping things up front between jeweler and customer (and one would hope also between supplier and jeweler), especially gemstone treatments and information about synthetics.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day challenge



My friend Michelle Mach offered to send out an embossed card to 25 readers who wanted to play around with embellishing them for Valentines Day.  The rules were pretty simple: do what you want with the card and send an image to Michelle to share.  I can do that!

And you're not going to believe it...I didn't add any beads at all!  If you'd like to see it anyway, you can visit Mixed Media Artist this morning :-)



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Giveaway: Tagua nut beads from Ecuadorian Hands




I added Ecuadorian Hands to our list of suppliers quite some time ago, because I really liked the concept of a renewable and responsible product that could easily replace animal products in our work.  Tagua nut beads, aka exotic ivory, are grown and harvested in Ecuador and crafted into beautiful beads and pendants that I know you'll want to try out yourself...


***Free Stuff Alert!!!***

Would you like that nice pile of beads shown at the top of this post?  Just leave me a comment below and you'll automatically be entered to win.  If you tweet or post on Facebook or other social spots about the contest, you can leave a second comment and be entered twice!

Please make sure that your link will lead me to an email address, or else I won't be able to contact you.  No contact, no win, and I simply have to go on to the next person.  Deadline: February 21, 2012


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Monday, February 13, 2012

Geometric bead embroidery


I wanted to try out something different with my bead embroidery, and so far I'm thinking it may have been a mistake!  Well, not exactly that it was a bad idea, just that it isn't something I'm enjoying doing as much as I thought I might.




You see, I was looking for something to work on that I didn't have to think about too much...maybe even something a little "color by the numbers"-ish.  I adapted a part of a design in one of the royalty-free Dover books and made a few copies to play with.  After a bit of coloring fun, I chose a color scheme and got down to work. 

Pattern traced onto buckram


Oh, the boredom of it all!  I thought I wanted something to do that would allow my mind to wander, but the repetition is making me nuts. 
 

I'm much further along than this image would suggest, but I'm still not sure if I'll ever finish it!  That's ok...maybe the style will appeal to someone else and you'll be inspired to make an amazing creation.  I can always hope!

Copyright 2012 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.

FREE e-BOOK CHAPTER


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Friday, February 10, 2012

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

 

Art Bead Scene
Marie shows off some creative and innovative uses for some beautiful artisan components.

Beads & Books
Michelle shares a tip for writing beading project instructions.  

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi receives two different gifts at CHA that result in one very pretty necklace!  

Resin Crafts!
This week Resin Crafts had a big post featuring bezels and components available at Michaels!  

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews the fabulous Jean Campbell's latest book, Creating Glamorous jewlery with Sawarovski Elements. You are SO going to want this great book! Wow!  

A Bead A Day
Looking for a quick and easy button bracelet project? Try using one BIG button and some contrasting rubber tubing!  

About.com Jewelry Making
Polymer clay has come a long way, especially in this new book published by Interweave.  

 

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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Book review: Right-Angle Weave



There's another wonderful volume out in Kalmbach's Stitch Workshop series!  I really liked the volumes that featured peyote stitch and herringbone, and Right-Angle Weave is proving to be no exception to the rule.  Although the projects have been previously published in Bead&Button magazine, there is a lot of value added in the complete exploration of the stitch that this 80 page book gives.  The history and development of the right-angle weave is covered, and RAW fans will be thrilled to see the variety of looks that can be achieved by substituting different colors and sizes of beads.       

Prepare to go waaaay beyond the geometric forms that you're used to thinking of with RAW: there are projects that will teach you to create curves, to work in three dimensional forms, and to just loosen up and have fun with the stitch.  With 28 great projects from nearly as many fabulous designers, there's bound to be ideas that will have you racing for your beads.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Calling all local bead stores!



There are great local bead stores (aka LBS) all over the country, but I don’t know about them. Sure, I can google some search terms, but seeing their web pages online is not the same as walking into them and talking with the owner and the other folks who work there.

Wanna help me out? Maybe you are an LBS owner, or you have a wonderful LBS nearby that you visit with some regularity. Would you like to see it written up and promoted here? Just drop me a comment or an email and let me know about it!   cyndi @ mazeltovjewelry.com (remove the spaces)

I’d love to have a picture of your store, including you and your staff if it’s at all possible. Other than that, I need to know where it’s located, if it has a website, and what makes it a special place to you!

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Suppliers to get you started


Here is a list for you, which I struggle to keep updated, of various Suppliers that I’ve found to be reliable and good to deal with. So that you don't have to bookmark it, you can always find this link in The Basics, listed in the sidebar, or up at the top of the page in the tabs.  If you know of good ones that I've missed, please leave me a comment! 

Seed bead suppliers

Vintage bead suppliers

Czech glass bead suppliers

Gemstone bead suppliers

Swarovski crystal suppliers

Antique and trade bead suppliers

Full-service catalog suppliers

Venetian and Murano glass bead suppliers

Metal bead suppliers

Polymer, clay, and porcelain bead suppliers

Tagua nut beads













Weekly Coupons and Specials - Artbeads.com



This is the brand of buckram that I use as a foundation for bead embroidery:

Unicorn Buckram


These are the two OTT Lights that I use:


OttLite LED Task Light- White




OTT-LITE TrueColor(TM) 18W Dover Floor Lamp


Monday, February 06, 2012

Seed bead necklace



Inspired by a cute little beadweaving pattern in the Dec 11/Jan 12 issue of Beadwork, I stitched up this seed bead necklace in no time.  I recommend that you get this copy of Beadwork to read Phyllis Dintenfass's article "Sea Horse Earrings" (page 66) for the basic instructions.  I made some changes to the pattern, adding more bead units (15 instead of 12) to each arch in order to have a slightly more pronounced curve.






Besides seed beads in sizes 11/0 and 8/0, you'll need some larger beads for the embellishment along the curves and for the cross-pieces which hold the curve more firmly together.  I also added 2 hammered oval links and an S-hook for a closure (not shown).

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Friday, February 03, 2012

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

 

About.com Jewelry Making
This month's feature jewelry designer is Jean Campbell; read about her beading and editing life.

Art Bead Scene
Check out all the great pieces the Art Bead Scene readers made in response to last month's challenge.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie reveals a new bird carving that will become a new pendant design.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading going on!
Jean is so READY for Michelle Mach's Suddenly Spring Challenge! Check out the whole story!  

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew announces three new limited edition components available by pre-order!  


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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Yay for Robbie!



Robbie, who writes Robbie's Paw Prints, won the Art Tiles book!  Congratulations!!


Artist profile: Tina Murphy



Artist: Tina Murphy
Business name: 2 Cool Creations
Location: Kennewick, Washington

Websites:
2 Cool Creations
Facebook page 



Tina, how do you describe your work?
I would describe my work as Organic, colorful, and fun! Wearable art pieces! I chose my business name from my Ebay Name which is 2 Cool Tina. So since I had purchased a lot of my silver and gem strands on Ebay it came to me one day.

What is your creative process like?  
When I began designing jewelry, it came so naturally, I had always wondered how people wrote stories or thought up songs until I started making jewelry. Now I understand! Designs pop into my mind non-stop! I had to start sketching my designs in a sketchbook and have quickly filled up several! What really inspires me is nature and the stones themselves. I can grab a bead strand and instantly a design and color combination comes to mind. One compliment I hear over and over is that people love how I put together my colors, not everyone has that gift.



I do sketch my designs but not so much to plan them out but to rather document what design pops into my head before it's gone! So many designs flood my mind all of the time and even wake me up at night. Particularly if I buy a gem strand that I get really excited about! I love music, fast paced dance/techno, dub step, fast and loud! But I rarely get to play it when I'm working. I create at the kitchen table because that is the biggest area in the house for my things, it seats ten people so I can really spread out! I just pile colors on the table and start mixing!! If I am stringing a necklace I plan as I go. I don't draw it out each time. All of my drawings are for my wire wrapped or silver smith pieces; not any beaded pieces. I make jewelry every day after work and sometimes before work. and on the weekends. Depending on what I'm doing it can take all day or several days. My husband and I dig for some of our stones and cut all of the pendants ourselves. We both cut but he is a much better lapidarist than me.

What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?
I still consider myself a hobbyist because I still have a full-time job outside of the jewelry making that pays for my jewelry making habit! I work as an Industrial Hygiene Technician at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. I basically keep people safe from Chemical/Environmental hazards in the workplace.



When it comes to my artwork, I am mainly self-taught.  A couple of years ago my husband and I did take a basic silver-smithing class through our Gem and Mineral club and when Silver Art Clay came out I took a class on that at the local bead shop in Yakima. But that is all of the formal training I have had to this point. I taught myself to wire wrap and am very glad for that because I have my own style that is different from most. I began wire wrapping twelve years ago, at that time it was out of style and now has totally flooded the market again in popularity! I feel that my main signature design it the "double bail" I thought that putting a stone sideways to what most people would set it and having two bails was a more artistic way to set it. Now I see the trend popping up in other designs too.

Is there a tool or material that you can't imagine living without?
My husband!! He runs the rock saws and he inspires me! We are a great team and plan on this being our retirement gig!

What inspires you to create?
What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough? I go out and look at gem strands the more colorful the better. I just have to buy an interesting strand or cut a beautiful rock with a great pattern in it and that inspires a design! I feel it basically tells me what it wants to be!



What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry? Inventory! That is my downfall! Keeping great records, staying organized and realizing what your jewelry really cost to make it! I still couldn't tell you what things cost to make because I still am not that organized to write down the cost of every component!

What takes up the majority of your time besides your art?
My other job and my wonderful family.



What's your favorite comfort food and your favorite anything else?
My favorite comfort food has to be my famous Tuna Casserole! Its warm and very cheesy! I am also a chocoholic big time! but it has to be really nice chocolate like a Swedish or Swiss Chocolate! Favorite Color is the blue on the chest of a Peacock! That blue!




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