Friday, April 28, 2017

heART beats from other blogs!



Creating custom jewelry tags

Wire charm ring tutorial

Open registration for free online crazy quilting class (closes midnight April 29)

The best way to trim asparagus

Taco recipes to get you ready for Cinco de Mayo

Deal of the Day

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Swarovski crystal projects from Fire Mountain Gems

A little sparkle makes everything better, so why not add Swarovski Crystal Beads to your next design project? In addition to adding Swarovski crystal beads to jewelry designs, here a few more ways you can take your projects to the next level.
1. Embellish clothing - you can add Swarovski crystals to clothing for a unique design especially when you mix them with other media like organza ribbon, ricrac or even fabric scraps. Create a one-of-a-kind design with Iron-On Crystal Transfers - Made with Swarovski Crystal Components, too.

2. Home decor - when it comes to home decor, the sky is the limit for adding a special sparkle with Swarovski crystals. Some of my favorite projects go from the simple (Wine Glass Charms made with Swarovski crystals) to the sublime (Flower Lampshade made with Swarovski crystals) and the Fire Mountain Gems website has even more project tutorials for every room in your house.

3. Dress up your gift bags - a simple gift bag is easily dressed up with a charm or bracelet made with Swarovski crystals but if you really want to make a statement, take a look at these beautiful Swarovski Embellished Gift Bags.
4. Projects for the teens - summer is almost here and crafty teens can express themselves by adding Swarovski crystals to many of their own designs. My daughters have blinged out everything from running shoes to their headbands. This fun Cell Phone Cover with Swarovski Crystals is perfect for tweens and teens of all skill levels.

Receive a FREE Swarovski crystal Mystery Gift with your order of $100 or more


These projects contain affiliate links, just so you know!  But you also know that I use Swarovski crystals in many many of my pieces :-)



Monday, April 24, 2017

Bead stringing tutorials

Sunlit Seas

One of the first beading techniques that most people learn is how to string.  After moving on to bead weaving, bead embroidery, and mixed media techniques, some of us forget about that thrill that we got when we first learned how to string a pleasing necklace.  We forget how exciting it was to learn how to finish off a piece with a polished-looking closure.  Never forget the basics!



African Trade Beads
Here is a link to a master list of the stringing projects with tutorials that I've posted over the years.  Maybe you can find something fun that you'll enjoy stringing up for the new season!


Rock Candy

Making your beading designs unique - part one


Making your beading designs unique - part two

Making your beading designs unique - part three




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.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Waves - a beaded necklace tutorial


Unfortunately, I do not have any step-out photos for this necklace.  I actually made it a long time ago, back before I was keeping a blog with tutorials.  But the theory behind making a necklace like this is simple enough, so I'll share with you how it came to be.

"Waves" features a lovely four-holed fused glass pendant by Jeanne Kent of New Terra Artifacts.  It also contains Chinese turquoise, green onxy, amazonite, sodalite, fresh water pearls, crystals, seed beads, and my own lampworked glass beads.  My glass beads provide the structure for the design.  I mentally spaced out the large-holed beads and created the necklace straps in several passes.

The first pass went from the clasp down through one outside hole, across the bottom to the next hole, and back up through that one, creating a second necklace strand up towards the staring point.  A third pass wove back and forth between the two strands, attaching them and adding more bulk to the almost finished first half.  The lampwork beads were particularly helpful since they had holes big enough to accomodate many thread passes.

A second set of strands was stitched on the other side.  After both halves looked fairly balanced (balanced but not identical), I began adding peyote stitched ruffles to each side and to the bottom.  These ruffles helped fill in gaps and make the entire design more coherent.  

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.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Book review: Jewelry Made with Wire and Fiber


Perhaps you remember Nealay Patel from the beautiful projects in his book Jewelry Designs with Knitted Wire (here's my review).  There are so many things to like about Nealay's design aesthetic and his work, so you will be as happy as I am to learn that he has written a brand new book, bringing wire, fiber, and beads together into gorgeous new projects!  Enter Jewelry Made with Wire and Fiber.


If you've been beading for any length of time, you probably already have most of the tools and materials needed to work through these projects.  But here's the best part: although these projects are all very easy to make, they are BIG on style! You might need to add a mandrel or a jig to your tool kit, and perhaps you'll need to find some of the flat and round fiber cords that Nealay uses, but resources are listed, so don't worry.

Nealay gave me permission to share a few of the projects with you so that you'll be able to see how pretty they are.  See that bracelet up above?  The body of it is made from round fiber cord!  Isn't that great?  It's called the Aura bracelet.  And below you'll see a pair of earrings, called the Picasso earrings, that are made from the flat fiber cord.


Just in case you're still worried that these will be too complicated to make, here's an example of how Nealay lays out the instructions: super-clear photos with the steps carefully explained:


So whatcha waiting for?  Fifteen stylish and easy projects that will open a whole new world of design possibilities are waiting for you!

Monday, April 03, 2017

Bead making tutorials



Happy Spring!  It's always nice to try something new at the beginning of a new season.  I have a list of resources and my own tutorials at the link, which may help you decide what to try next...  Beadweaving?  Lampwork?  Metal?

Try one, try them all!



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.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Bracelet tutorials - complete!


For several weeks now, I've been collecting and organizing the bracelet tutorials that I've written over the years.  A very few bracelets have ended up in more than one category, but for the most part, I've tried to keep each tutorial in one category, whichever seemed the most appropriate.  I hope you enjoy them!


Wirework bracelets

Fiber bracelets

Beadweaving and stringing bracelets

Bead embroidery - part one

Bead embroidery - part two

Mixed media bracelets

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.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Bracelets projects galore! - mixed media

Here is the last post in my bracelet series.  Later this week, I will post a page with links to all of the other posts in this series, and from then on, you'll be able to find a link to them in the "Tutorials" tab at the top of the page.  It's been fun revisiting all these projects and planning new ones!




Always Time for Cats



My Hope for Breast Cancer



Cloth and Sparkle bracelet



Bezel Effects bracelet


Bead and button soft cuff



Double wrapped ribbon bracelet

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.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Jewel bead embroidery pendants - a tutorial




A couple of years ago, while visiting my daughter, I found an interesting necklace during one of our vintage and junk shop forays.  My best guess is that the necklace is from the 1980s...big, sparkly, and slightly over-the-top!  The resin "gems" are supposed to look like opals.  Sort of.  It was only $20 for all those potential cabochons!


The gems were all linked together, and it was extremely easy to unattach a few of them with a simple pair of pliers.  After stitching them down (around the prongs) to a piece of foundation material, I added a few rows of back stitch with size 11/0 seed beads, used edging brick stitch to attach a backing (as shown below), and added picots in size 15/0 seed beads around the raw edges.  The final step was to add a square stitch bail to the back so that they could be worn as pendants.

Each one took only an afternoon or an evening to complete!



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.

Another of my e-books, Arm Candy, goes into a lot of detail about how to attach just about any type of vintage jewelry piece into your mixed media bead embroidery.  Although the projects in it focus on bracelets, the general information is applicable to making pendants, necklaces, and earrings as well.


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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