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Monday, August 31, 2015

Fire Mountain Gems seed bead contest

Myst of Avalon
by Cyndi Lavin

So I just got notification on Friday that Myst of Avalon won a Silver Medal in the seed bead contest sponsored by Fire Mountain Gems.  The next contest coming up that FMG will sponsor is the Swarovski crystal contest, which closes October 30, 2015

All the winning designs, from several years past through current, are linked here if you'd like to look through them for inspiration: beading contest winners



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Friday, August 28, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!



Art Bead Scene
Check out Mary's review of the new book 'Handcrafted Metal Findings' - it looks awesome!

Connie Gee's Designs
Connie has added a new free pattern to her site. It is the first in a series of vase-themed patterns inspired by motifs from vintage samplers.

Snap Out of It, Jean! There's Beading to Be Done!
Jean reviews the spectacular new book, Fine Art Wire Weaving by Sarah Thompson -- what a great design book!

Lost Earring Cleverly Replaced
Eileen lost one of the earrings the very first time she wore this pretty set. Don't you just hate when that happens?

Video Book Review
The Crafty Princess takes a look at a new book called "Super Cute Crochet for Little Feet."

How to Sew a Pillow
This easy pillow tutorial uses scrap fabric (from an old receiving blanket) to make a perfect pillow for a little kid's rest time.

Christian Art Greeting Cards
Cherie introduces some new greeting cards she's made with her artwork.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
For August, the Inspired by Reading Book Club read, "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern. See what the participants were inspired to create with this fantastical book in mind!



Fire Mountain Gems and Beads

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Recent publications: August 2015



Jewelry Making: Step by step Guide To Creating Your Own Original And Unique Jewelry by Julia Riley

Beaded Chain Mail Jewelry: Timeless Techniques with a Twist by Dylon Whyte

Ancient Worlds, Modern Beads: 30 Stunning Beadwork Designs Inspired by Treasures from Ancient Civilisations by Mortira Natasha van Pelt

Diamond Weave: A complete guide to mastering the bead world's newest stitch by Cath Thomas and Gerlinde Lenz

30 Minute Jewellery: What Can You Make in Half an Hour or Less? by Beverley McCullough

Brace Yourself!: A collection of bracelets patterns with unique beads, stones and tatted lace by Victoria Clarke

Fine Art Wire Weaving: Weaving Techniques for Stunning Jewelry Designs by Sarah Thompson


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Friday, August 21, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!



Treasure Hunt
Connie's added a new pattern to her Etsy shop called Treasure Hunt. It would be great for an ornament or card.

DIY Chalkboard Sign
Getting ready for back to school? This easy chalkboard sign is made out of a canvas and is a great prop for first day of school photos.

Whiten Yellowed Plastic
Do you know how easy it is to whiten plastic yellowed by age? Eileen demonstrates on her Ott task lamp and also whitened a Braun juicer with awesome results! Everything old is new again.

Doll Experiment Wrap Up
Malibu Barbie is back to give a wrap up of the doll crafting experimentation, good and bad.


Fire Mountain Gems and Beads

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Portal to Dreams



Ohmygosh...I made this piece, Portal to Dreams, such a long time ago, but somehow I think I neglected to ever write about it!  This was back when I wasn't as careful to get good process pictures, so I only have a few to show you.  But the basics of making a piece like this are actually fairly simple.  You can get pretty much all the details you need by going through my step-by-step instructions found in the free first chapter of Every Bead Has a Story.  There you'll learn stack stitch, edging brick stitch, how to back and finish a piece with a clean edge, and how to make and attach the beaded straps.


The sodalite slab that I used for a centerpiece had a hole cut into it, so I took advantage of that by doing some gold wire wrapping.  At the bottom of the stone, I fashioned a wrapped loop to later allow dangles to hang freely.  The beadwork surrounding the stone was done entirely in stack stitch, mostly with larger beads at the top of smaller sized bead "stalks".

When the pendant was completely beaded to my satisfaction, I cut it out and backed it with another piece of non-woven heavy fabric.  I stitched around the edges, adding beads and accents with an edging brick stitch.  I stitched a couple of wire connectors to the top corners, sandwiching them in between the fabric layers.  All these instructions can be found in the free e-book chapter linked above.


A couple of beaded straps and some beaded dangles completed the piece.


Copyright 2015 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 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, August 14, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!



Good Morning Starshine Card Designed in Silhouette Studio
How to make and design one-of-a-kind greeting cards in Silhouette Studio.

Amigurumi Tip #2
This video tips helps you pick out the perfect amigurumi pattern for success.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Dreaming Tree is the latest challenge hosted by Andrew. See what the participants made from the fluorite-inspired design kit!

Art Bead Scene
Check out this sweet summer necklace tutorial from Mary!

Diamond Two is Posted
Connie has posted the second section of her free SAL - there's still plenty of time to join in on it. She also added a new free pattern this week, so be sure to check that out as well.


Fire Mountain Gems and Beads
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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Book review: Modern Chain Mail Jewelry


We just can't seem to get enough chainmaille!  Now there is this new offering from Kalmbach, Modern Chain Mail Jewelry written by Marilyn Gardiner for chainmaille enthusiasts.  The organization of this book is a bit different from most.  After a brief introduction to tools, materials, and basic techniques, Marilyn showcases 21 beautiful projects that utilize a variety of woven components.  These components, a total of 18, follow the projects and appear in their own section.   Though this may seem cumbersome at first, I believe it gives the book real lasting value as a reference for the future.  It's much easier to locate the motif you with to make for your own creative work when it is not buried in the midst of the instructions for a specific project.

Though the projects are all necklaces, many have suggestions and challenges to make bracelets and earrings from matching motifs.  The book is not a beginner text and the projects are somewhat complex, but there are such clear instructions and photos that you should be able to do it if you take your time and learn as you go!  

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Monday, August 10, 2015

New beads from Fire Mountain Gems




I received samples and a product sheet on these gorgeous new Preciosa beads available from Fire Mountain Gems.  Visit the link above, and search on Preciosa Pressed Glass Ripple Beads.

Good for stringing, embroidery, surface embellishment, and bead weaving, with undulating curves and metallic-colored surfaces.  The California-series two-tone vacuum coatings are perfect for romantic or vintage color schemes.


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Friday, August 07, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!



Wire Jewelry Video
Learn a little about metal wire used for jewelry making in this new video.

Connie Gee's SAL Works in Progress
Several stitchers from the Connie Gee's Stitchers group shared photos of their stitch-along works in progress. It is interesting to see how each stitcher is putting her own spin on the project.

Do You Suffer from Craft Room Envy? Embrace Your Space!
Don't suffer from craft room envy. It's satisfying to work with what you have and make it better. See two working craft rooms and their happy owners.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
The July selection for the Inspired by Reading Book Club was, "Swamplandia!" by Karen Russell. See what the participants were moved to create after reading the book!


Fire Mountain Gems and Beads


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Thursday, August 06, 2015

Book review: Coastal Crafts



Ok, who doesn't love beachy decor?  If you have a beach house, rent a room for a week, or just love the color refreshing colors, Cynthia Shaffer's Coastal Crafts, published by Lark, might be for you!



Most of the materials you will need are really easy to find in your local craft or hardware store, but Cynthia includes some instructions that will make one of the more difficult items to find -- drift wood -- into one of the easiest.  That's because she's going to teach you how to make your own!  Yup.  And she also covers how to clean shells properly so that you won't have a stinky mess on your hands when you next return to your beachy home.


There are wonderful clear photos for each project, and instructions with plenty of step-by-steps, so that even if you've never tried making household decor items before, you'll find it really easy.  There are also templates included for projects that otherwise would need drawing skills (which I do not have!).  One of my favorite projects is a set of nautical flags, each representing a different letter, with which you can spell out messages for friends and family...anyone in the know!



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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Book review: Soldered Alchemy

By Laura Beth Love
Fons & Porter/F+W; $24.99


Every now and again comes a book with techniques and projects that are completely new and unique.  This is such a book.  We all like to think that we can look at old materials in innovative ways, but I'm pretty sure you will not have thought of this: turning plain old soft solder into stunning pieces of jewelry.  Take a look at Soldered Alchemy by Laura Beth Love.

Now I know what you're thinking...we've all seen bezels done with copper foil and soft solder.  And if that's all this book covered, well...yawn!  But that's only the beginning.


Laura Beth Love changes your perspective on solder, using it not just as a supporting material, but as a superstar and art material in and of itself.  She arranges her projects in a cumulative fashion so that even if you are new to wirework and soldering, the skills you build will grown as you work through the book.  After a short but important section on the tools, materials, and basics, it's off to the fun stuff!



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Monday, August 03, 2015

Purple pleated silk shibori ribbon bracelet


I mentioned in the introduction to my e-book Arm Candy that I've been using older jewelry bits and bobs in my work for quite a long time, but decided to spend some energy figuring out how to integrate them more fully into mixed media bead embroidery pieces. It all started with an Avon pendant that became the centerpiece for this bracelet (above). Since it wasn't a particularly valuable or sought-after pendant, I didn't hesitate to snip it apart and reuse it.



The rhinestone bracelet (above) was a completely different matter. I had been extremely reluctant to do anything with it because it was so beautiful and well-made, but it was also missing too many unique large rhinestones to still be valuable except as parts. Cutting it apart liberated me and started me on a new(ish) path.

Here in picture form are the highlights of how these pieces became a new bracelet. You can find step-by-step instructions for putting together a bead embroidered piece, including back stitch, edging brick stitch, and stack stitch in the free first chapter of Every Bead Has a Story.

In depth instructions on working with shibori ribbon are found in chapter three of Bored By Back Stitch, which also covers how to put together a cuff bracelet in much more detail. Alternatively, instructions for cuff bracelets are also found in Arm Candy.

















New for 2016!!  Chapter 3 of Bored By Back Stitch will be free with the purchase of the first two chapters, even if you don't buy them at the same time.  Upon confirming your purchase, I will email the final chapter to you at no extra cost!  Ok, the last chapter won't be an instantaneous download like the others, but I promise to send it to you just as quickly as I can :-)



Copyright 2015 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 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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