Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Recent publications: December 2016

Casual Bead Elegance, Stitch by Stitch by Eve Leder

Global Style Jewelry: Inspiration and Instruction for 25 Exotic Beaded Jewelry Projects by Anne Potter

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

To all my friends who celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ:

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Blessed Hanukkah

To all of my friends who celebrate the Festival of Lights

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Book review: Casual Bead Elegance

Eve Leder has written a new book, Casual Bead Elegance, published by Kalmbach, which doesn't make you choose which stitch to learn...instead, Eve wants you to try them all!  And then she wants you to learn how to combine them!  

Using beads that any beader will most likely have on hand (seed beads, crystals, pearls, a few gemstones, and a couple of shaped beads), Eve leads you through ladder stitch, right-angle weave, cubic RAW, herringbone, square stitch, circular brick stitch, peyote, and then finally combined stitches.  You'll find three main projects for each stitch, plus variations.  The first project teaches the stitch path and reinforces good habits from the start.  The second project allows you to practice the new stitch with a more elaborate result, and the third challenges you to apply the new stitch in even more challenging ways.  

If you've been wanting to brush up on off-loom beading stitches, work your way from the ones you already know into others, or just expand your skill in a few of them, this may be the book to get you going and moving beyond your present comfort zone!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Daisy chain bracelet

I was leafing through a few older books (meaning 2013 in this case...not exactly OLD), looking for a quick and easy piece of jewelry I could make for a friend.  I came across a bracelet designed by Nancy Zellers in her book Metallic Seed Bead Splendor (review at the link and link to purchase).  It's a super cute bracelet that she calls "Going Baroque with Pearls".  I didn't have the right size and shape of pearls, but I found with just a few adjustments, I could use 8mm faceted fire polished beads.

With some 8mm accent beads and two different colors of seed beads in size 11/0 and one in size 15/0, I made this bracelet in one afternoon.  It's a modified and embellished daisy chain stitch, and I kept my tension tighter than Nancy did so that my bracelet would twist a bit since my friend has a narrow wrist.  You could also leave a link or two out...or add more if you need them.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Book review: Simple Metalwork Jewelry

Have you been hankering to add metal to your work, but haven't been quite ready to invest in a torch?  Judy Freyer Thompson's new book, Simple Metalwork Jewelry, published by Kalmbach, may give you just the boost you need to take that next step!  Judy teaches you cutting, drilling, filing, etching, texturing, riveting, sawing, and adding patina all while creating wonderful wearable jewelry designs.

As you work your way through the earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and rings, you will find your confidence growing in your new basic skills, and maybe next year you'll decide to add a torch after all!  But even if not...Judy sets you up for lots of wonderful fun working with metal and cold connections!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Fire Mountain Gems holiday tutorials

Check out these Christmas resources from Fire Mountain Gems.They have free, intereactive tools that let you design your own Christmas earrings! You can pick your colors and beads, live preview the result, and easily add all your selected componenets into a shopping cart for easy checkout. This is a super fun activity to do with friends and families, and there's added excitement when your custom supplies arrive and you can make your earrings in real life! Some of the content below may contain affiliate links.

Holiday Projects 
Click through for step-by-step tutorials on how to make each of the projects listed below!

Tutorial: Christmas Tree Earrings with Swarovski Crystal Beads

Tutorial: Christmas Tree Earrings with Swarovski Crystal and Antiqued Brass Cones
Tutorial: Steel Snowflake Ornament
Tutorial: Gift Box with Swarovski Crystal and Pewter Charm

Monday, December 12, 2016

Coiled bangle bracelet

I was rather enchanted with Sonia Davis's "Coiled Kumihimo Bangle" which appeared in Beadwork Magazine, the December/January 2017 issue.  I don't really enjoy kumihimo though, so I thought about how to change it for my own use.  I ended up deciding to use tubular brick stitch around wire instead.  The kumihimo project probably weaves up a lot faster than my version, but I didn't really mind.  These are size 11/0 seed beads, so it could have been worse! 

Since it was really the construction of the bangle, with the three segments that overlapped, that intrigued me rather than the stitches, I definitely owe a debt of gratitude to Sonia for such a cool design!  

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Book review: Micro-Macrame Jewelry

The designs you will find in Kelsy Eason's new book, Micro-Macrame Jewelry, published by Kalmbach, are lighter, more open lacy and airy designs overall than you usually find in micro-macrame books.  Kelsy has decided that she wants her designs to be appropriate for everyday wearing, not just special occasions, so she has concentrated on easy-to-find materials and easy-to-learn knots.

Most of the designs use the slightly larger size 6/0 seed beads, C-Lon or S-Lon cords, waxed linen, or 1mm round leather cording.  All of these are readily available online and in beading or craft stores.  There is only one piece of specialty equipment needed, and that is a padded bead board.  If you don't want to invest in one, Kelsy shows you to make one!


The knots used are ones you probably are already familiar with if you've done any macrame in the past, and they are all easily learned if you are a beginner: Lark's head (both horizontal and vertical), square knot, half knot, and half hitch (both diagonal and horizontal).  The designs you can make with these few knots are young and fresh and fun...give it a whirl!

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Gift books for the holidays!

Each year, I like to share a list of books with you that I think are really the top picks from all the books published in this past year.  I still think that many of the books from prior years' lists are good too, and if you'd like to see them, they are linked at the bottom of this post.  Also, I keep running lists of all the books that pertain to specific topics and media, like wirework, bead embroidery, etc, all linked up at the Books tab at the top of every page.  And finally, if you are looking for all of the bead and jewelry books published this past year, just scroll down to the bottom of the linked page and you'll find them all listed by month.

My Top Pick for Everyone This Year:

The Embroidery Book
by Christen Brown

For Beginners:

Learn to Use Two-Hole Beads by Teresa Morse
Make It Sparkle by Lindsay Burke
Cool Copper Cuffs by Eva Sherman
Colorful Wirework Jewelry by Kim St. Jean
Hubble Stitch by Melanie de Miguel
Discover Torch Enameling by Steven James
Play with Chain Mail by Theresa Abelew
Bead Embroidery Stitch Samples series
Fast Peyote Stitch Jewelry by Josie Fabre
Learn to Make Bead Jewelry by Lynn Davy

Advanced Topics:

The Embroidery Book by Christen Brown
Beaded Lace by Cynthia Newcomer Daniel
Metalsmithing Made Easy by Kate Ferrant Richbourg
Art Jewelry Today 4
New Connections in Chain Mail Jewelry by Kat Wisniewski
Sensational Soutache Jewelry Making by Csilla Papp
Kumihimo Jewelry Simplified by Rebecca Ann Combs
Wonderful Wire Jewelry by Kalmbach
Jewel Loom Inspirations by Julianna C Avelar

Oldies But Goodies:

Gift book recommendations for 2015
Gift book recommendations for 2014
Gift book recommendations for 2013
Gift book recommendations for 2012

Monday, December 05, 2016

Amethyst tree necklace tutorial - part three

Over the last two weeks, I have showed you how I put together the centerpiece of this bead embroidered necklace (links at the bottom).  Finally this week, I want to show you how I made necklace strands that would echo the colors of the center, but not compete with it for attention.

15. On the center of a long piece of beading wire, I added enough seed beads to loop through one of the bails.  I used a crimp tube, covered with with a large-holed bead, and filled that bead with tiny little seed beads for stability.

16. I strung each strand of wire separately, bringing them together in the middle through a small donut of amethyst.

17. I worked to keep the colors, textures, and sizes of the beads balanced on the strands, larger beads towards the bottom, and smaller towards the top.

18. At the end of one strand, I added chain and a handmade wire hook.

19. At the end of the other strand, I added chain and a wire dangle.

20. And here is the finished piece, adjustable in length to accommodate different necklines.

Check out Part One - the design and Part Two - the edging if you missed them!

Copyright 2016 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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fire Mountain Gems Swarovski crystal resources

Swarovski Crystal Projects 

Swarovski crystals offer beautiful sparkle and a dazzling array of shapes, colors, finishes and sizes of beads and other components. Below are a few step-by-step tutorials to help you get started working with Swarovski. Some of the content below may contain affiliate links.

Tutorial: Swarovski Flat Back Pendant
Tutorial: USB Drive Embellished with Swarovski Crystal

Video Tutorial: How to Create a Swarovski Focal
Video Tutorial: Creating a Polymer Clay Flower


Monday, November 28, 2016

Amethyst tree necklace tutorial - part two

Last week, I showed you how I decided to trap this unusually shaped slab in a wire cage in order to add it to a bead embroidered necklace.  Starting where we left off...

8. I trimmed the foundation fabric close to the outside edge of stack stitched beads, and removed the guide thread.

9. Since this is a heavy piece, I decided to add another piece of interfacing (see step 3), this time to the entire piece.  I chose Lutradur, because it is extremely strong even though it is quite thin.

10. After cutting a backing piece of fabric, I used edging brick stitch to cover the raw edges all the way around.

11. Around the sides and the top, I added a simple stack stitch to each edging bead.

12. Near the bottom, I added heavier beads and stitched the stacks longer so that they became fringe.

13. I tested the piece for balance and chose two spots on the sides near the top where I wanted the necklace strands to attach.  At those points, I stitched two square stitch bails.

14.  Here is the finished centerpiece.

Next week, please join me for Part Three - the straps, and check out Part One - the design if you missed it!

Copyright 2016 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.

Friday, November 25, 2016

heART beats from other blogs!

3D Goofy Turkey Place Cards
Put smiles on guests' faces this Thanksgiving as they search for the goofy turkey place cards clutching guest names in the beaks. How-to and downloads.

Pattern Mix & Match Card: Eye-catching & Easy Peasy
If you enjoy mixing and matching patterns in your decor or art, then you'll love making this pattern mix and match card!

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