Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ethiopian Cross necklace - for sale

Ethiopian Cross necklace with trade beads

This piece is made primarily with trade beads from Kenya and a resin material that is called Somali amber.  It is definitely NOT real amber!  The pendant is an Ethiopian cross, which you can read about at the link.  I originally made this for a magazine article, but now I've brought it back out because it is a perfect match for the colors this season:


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My secret obsession...

Maleficent's Dragon, made for Disney by
the company my daughter works for!

You might think I was a 13 year old girl...I have never gotten over my obsession with dragons and other fantastical creatures.  So what to do?  Start a Dragon Pinterest board of course!  I know this has very little to do with jewelry making or mixed media art, but at least most of the pins are of dragon jewelry!  

Monday, November 13, 2017

Bluebird Singing in the Dead of Night - a beaded necklace tutorial

Bluebird Singing in the Dead of Night
Polymer clay, agate, jasper, unakite, ruby zoisite, glass
I used a variety of teals, blues, and greens to create Bluebird Singing in the Dead of Night.  My inspiration for this piece was the cute little polymer clay bird made by my friend Heather Powers of Humble Beads.  If you'd like to own the original necklace shown above, he is for sale here


Each of the accent beads is surrounded by two small dyed stone beads that perfectly match the popular Shaded Spruce color that is everywhere this fall.  This ties all the bead links together.  I feel good about using this palette, because I know that these colors tend to be perennially popular and won't look dated after just one season.


Here are some materials suggestions for you:
Shaded spruce bead mix
Leather cord
Chain + wire


1. Choose beads for the top (shortest and smallest) strand.  Cut wires for each link and begin the wrapped loop turn on one end.  All the strands will look best if you pick an odd number of beads.

2. Decide on the arrangement and link them together between two hammered oval links.  Use a jump ring at each end.

3. Do the same for the middle (medium size and length) strand.  Choose either slightly larger beads or, if you want to keep them the same size as step 1, add a few more of them.


4. Add a length of chain for the bottom (longest) strand.  Make sure your chain has an odd number of links so you can add your focal to the middle link.


5. Add a few dangling links to each side of the bird.  Cut some leather cording (or similar non-animal material if you prefer and tie it to each oval link.  I've used a small soldered ring to keep the cords together near the top.  Make the cords long so you can adjust the length depending upon what you're wearing. 

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique and Jesse James Beads

Copyright 2017 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 10, 2017

Facet Jewelry Box will launch in January!

People have been asking for it, and now they can have it... two complete new projects every month, all materials, patterns, and instructions (curated and vetted by the editors of Bead&Button and Facet!), by subscription!!

And right now, you can enter to reserve a spot, with no obligation to subscribe.  Entering now will enter you to win over $300 worth of jewelry supplies!  Go to the link below and enter your email.  Again, you will be under no obligation to take a subscription, but you will be in line to be able to.                        

heART beats from other blogs!

Upcycled playing card necklace

Tips for using leather in your designs

Have you seen Japanese Tensha beads?

Call for entries: Quilt Visions 2018 - Connections

Holiday wire earrings tutorial

Resin leaf tutorial reviews the tools for small business owners

This post contains affiliate links: Jesse James Beads

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Bluebird Singing in the Dead of Night - for sale

Bluebird Singing in the Dead of Night
Polymer clay, agate, jasper, unakite, ruby zoisite, glass

There will be a tutorial for making a necklace similar to Bluebird Singing in the Dead of Night next week.  But if you'd like to own the original, here he is!  He was designed to take advantage of the gorgeous Shaded Spruce color that is so popular this Fall.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Jewelry design board on Pinterest

I've set up a new board on Pinterest on the topic of Jewelry Design.  It explores color theory, design elements and principles, and how they relate to creating unique jewelry.  If you want to design for yourself, this is a good place to start!

Monday, November 06, 2017

Bead embroidered pendant update (leopard skin jasper)

Leopard Skin Jasper Pendant Tutorial
I was looking at how well this pendant from about a year ago fits the Fall 2017 color palette, and I'm especially sorry that the stone doesn't seem to be showing up anywhere in my searches.  So I went to find some new, currently available stones that might work for you if you want to try making one of these!  Use my original tutorial, linked above, to help you figure out what seed beads to use.  It's fun to work with multicolored focals, and not at all intimidating if you keep it simple!

Tempered glass oval cabochon

Orange marble patterned jasper

Desert jasper

Tempered glass rose cabochon

Lucite cameo

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Bali Hai - for sale

Bali Hai
Bloodstone, fancy jasper, & Bali sterling silver

Bali Hai is a continuous strand of polished bloodstone nuggets, interspersed with small bloodstone spacers and larger rounds of fancy jasper.  The large Bali sterling silver beads are stunning with the deep greens and bronzes of the stones.  The handmade beaded necklace is 32 beautiful inches long.

Fall/Winter 2017

If you'd like to learn how to make a claspless necklace like this one, there is a free tutorial at the link!

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Steampunk style

Mixed media steampunk-style jewelry just never seems to go out of style, at least not with those who love mixed metals, industrial chic, retro styles, and fantasy!  Here's a piece that I made years ago that I still enjoy wearing.  Super easy!  The tutorial is at the link above.

If you are a lover of all things steampunk too, you are welcome to follow my new Pinterest board called Steampunk accessories

Monday, October 30, 2017

African trade beads


This is a piece that I made back in 2005 (!) with beads that my sister-in-law brought back from Kenya for me.  Isn't it funny how traditional colors have a way of reappearing in different fashion cycles?  Look at how many of the notes it hits from the current Fall 2017 Pantone palette:


There is a tutorial that I wrote (at the following link) for a very similar piece, which also gives you some background information on Ethiopian crosses.

I've got a new board on Pinterest called Trade bead beauties if you're interested in trade, antique, vintage, and ethnic beads and would like to follow it.  Also, as a reminder, there is a board called Pantone colors, beads, and jewelry, which has tons of inspiration for the current season!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Stitch a clock motif for your bead embroidery - part two


So...I got sidetracked by other projects and failed to finish this one up in a timely fashion.  Sometimes that's just the way things go!  But here, after weeks of other projects, is part two of my Clock Motif tutorial.  Part one is at the link.

Step-by-step instructions for putting together a bead embroidered piece, including back stitch, edging brick stitch, and stack stitch can be found in the free first chapter of Every Bead Has a Story.  Chapter two has instructions for stitching a peyote stitch bezel, and Chapter three teaches the square stitch bail.  Bored By Back Stitch is another e-book that teaches different motifs to stitch around a focal in your bead embroidery.

Additional Materials (also see part one)

Jesse James accent beads for the fringe - Tribal Stripes Inspiration bead mix

Seed Beads from Beadaholique
Size 6/0 seed beads:
Frosted emerald green
Size 8/0:
Color-lined pink

Size 11/0:
Turquoise matte
Hot pink matte

Size 15/0:
Transparent rainbow dark gold


1. Starting with the clock-like shape from part one, fill in between each "hour" with seed beads as you choose.  I placed a size 6/0 with a size 11/0 stopper bead between each hour, and then filled the rest with back stitched size 11/0 seed beads.

2. Cut out the piece, leaving about a 1/8 inch border.  Cut out a matching piece of backing fabric (ultra-suede type fabric), and use some double stick tape or glue to temporarily attach them.  Stitch along the entire outer edge through both pieces of fabric, using size 11/0 seed beads in an edging brick stitch.

3. Begin to add stack stitches to each edging bead.  Start with the fringe stitches so that the count turns out right.  You can add more dangles if you'd like, but I suggest an odd number.

4. At the top of the "clock," directly opposite the fringe stitches, add a square stitch or herringbone stitch bail.



This post contains affiliate links: Jesse James Beads and Beadaholique  

Copyright 2017 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, October 24, 2017

Revisiting Phoebe

Cyndi Lavin, 2010

I just came across this piece that I made 7 years ago.  I rarely have opportunity these days to wear it, but I'm thinking that this winter I might have to try to find one!  The original information on it is at the link, and there are step-by-step instructions in Chapter 4 of my e-book Every Bead Has a Story.  

Monday, October 23, 2017

Red jasper is perfect for this season!


I love the Fall 2017 Pantone palette!  One of the things I like best about it is the versatility of the colors mixed together in designs.  When you're making or choosing jewelry to wear with the Fall colors, it doesn't have to match fact it's probably better if it doesn't.  But the jewelry does need to look harmonious, and that's how I ended up falling in love with Red Jasper!


I found a tutorial that I shared last year (shown at the top), which uses a combo of red jasper and seed beads that look great with all the colors I see in the stores right now.  Anyway, I thought that some of you might want to give this a whirl, because it's a quick project, and it teaches a very important bead embroidery skill...what to do with squared corners on your cabochons.

Not all the materials that I used are available exactly anymore, but I've provided links to some that are similar.  If you don't want to tackle a square cabochon, you could also pick an oval or round, especially if this is your first bead embroidery project.  So, with no further blathering by me, here are the links to my Red Jasper pendant tutorial:

Copyright 2017 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.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Garnet, pearl, and silver magnifying necklace - for sale

Antique optical lens, crystals, garnet,
pearls, rhodonite, and Bali silver

I made this piece in 2006, when I first began to need a pair of drug store readers, but couldn't bring myself (yet) to admit it!  Now I use them all the time and no longer need this pretty piece, so it is the next item up looking for a new home.

This is what I wrote at the time:

I do not need glasses...yet!  But there are times when the print is just too small.  This handy magnifier is actually a powerful antique optical test lens, dangling from a gorgeous strand of purple, pink, garnet, and black.  The lens is French, from a test set made in the late 1800s.  Isn't that the coolest thing?  The lens "strength" is etched on the glass.  The necklace is a 24 inch long continuous strand to slip over your head.  Keep this one handy!  It is a one-of-a-kind original.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mixed metals and bead necklace - a tutorial

I wore a necklace a couple of days ago that I had forgotten I even had!  It looked amazing with the Fall colors that I was wearing, and it occurred to me that with the mix of metals and the neutral palette, it would be great with all the Fall 2017 Pantone colors.  And another thing...the multiple strand effect at the bottom is exactly what you're seeing right now in a lot of fashionable necklaces.  You might even want to make it just a bit longer by adding several more links of chain at the top, but that is up to you!

The only problem I ran into in updating this necklace tutorial is that the original beads are no longer available, but I found lots of really nice replacements.  Two collections that really caught my eye were the 40 piece white (including ivory and tan) and the 40 piece gray collections from Jesse James Beads:

Go take a look at the tutorial, and pick the colors for yourself!  The ivories and grays are really versatile, but wouldn't this necklace look great in a bright accent color too?

Interesting chain

This post contains affiliate links: Jesse James Beads

Copyright 2017 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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