Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Review: Brightech magnifying lamps


There has been one not-so-wonderful thing about my worktable, for as long as I've had my studio.  Don't get me wrong...I am extremely grateful for having the space, with room for storage as well as work, and with a wonderful view.  But, my hinged clamp-on magnifying table lamp sometimes left me unhinged!


Enter Brightech.  The good folks at Brightech lamps sent me a replacement for my terrible terrible lamp.  Not only is the design far superior - and yes, looks do matter! - but the function is also way way better.  The magnifying lens is large, clear, and perfectly balanced.  Unlike my old lamp, there is a cover (shown in the up position above) that protects your lens from dust while not in use.  All the springs and hinges are protected, which not only looks nicer, but also keeps your fingers out of danger.   

I received a clamp-on magnifying model (shown above but in white) that is dimmable and also boasts 2 different lamp colors, shading warm or cool as you desire.  I took a couple of pictures to show you the color variation.  Now, I know that the color you see on your screen may not exactly match mine, or match the color in real life, but you can still easily see that there is a difference: 



Depending upon your ambient light, the colors of your artwork, and the effect you want to achieve, this changeable shade could be very helpful!

This post contains affiliate links: Brightech 

Copyright 2018 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, November 12, 2018

Garnet Skies chain necklace tutorial - part two








Part one of this tutorial was posted last Monday and covered the construction of the main body of the necklace.  Just to remind you, this post is sponsored by Solid Oak, from whom I have received the products in order to create this project for you. 



5. Make two tassels on large round jump rings, using leftover links from the small-sized crystal chains. Also add one of the chain dangles from your findings pack, folding it in half.  Stagger the lengths as shown.  Attach the tassels to the outside of each of the jump rings from step 3 and close them.




6. Cut the neck chain in half.  You can shorten it if you wish, but I like to leave extra length to make it adjustable.  Add a lobster clasp from your findings pack to one end with a small oval jump ring. Add a dangle, if you'd like, to the other end.  This helps to give the piece a finished look.  I used a leftover link from the medium-sized ruby crystal chain and a few links from another of the chain dangles.  Use two small oval jump rings to attach them.




7. Since I had left over crystal chain, I decided to make a pair of earrings to match.  Earrings like these are things that I would wear all the time, even when I'm not wearing the necklace!  I started with a small crystal chain link, 2 medium links, 2 small oval jump rings for each, and earring wires.  Using wire cutters, I removed one metal loop from each of the small crystal chain links and filed it smooth. 




8. Attach the links together in order, using the small oval jump rings.  This is a good stopping point if you like your earrings simple, but...




9. ...I don't like them simple!  So I reopened the top jump ring and added a folded chain dangle to each, staggering the 3 lengths.

       
 


Copyright 2018 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, November 05, 2018

Garnet Skies chain necklace tutorial - part one

Garnet Skies
Cyndi Lavin, 2018

I was contacted by the good people at Solid Oak Inc to find out if I would like to have a look at their products.  They have multiple lines of jewelry making charms, kits, fibers, and metal components at very reasonable prices.  We decided that Solid Oak would sponsor a tutorial here on Beading Arts using their Estrella line of sparkly components.  I was psyched! 

I've been looking at the colors and styles for Fall into Winter this year, and the multi-strand boho inspired look still seems to be going pretty strong, but with a slightly more sophisticated polish.  Jewelry makers can easily create that look using the Estrella line.  With the products listed below, I made the set shown above.

These pieces can easily be altered to suit yourself by choosing the different colors of Estrella crystal chain and the different charms.  However, if you are a beginner jewelry maker and would like to follow along, I've listed all the numbers (exact lengths, etc) for you in the tutorial below.  So welcome to part one of Garnet Skies.

[Note: This post is sponsored by Solid Oak, from whom I have received the products in order to create this project for you.  These are not affiliate links.] 


Materials:
Estrella Linked Crystals Chain - small, ruby/silver
Estrella Linked Crystals Chain - small, rose/silver
Estrella Linked Crystals Chain - medium, amethyst/silver
Estrella Linked Crystals Chain - medium, ruby/silver
Estrella Jewelry Chain - small, elongated oval links, silver color
Estrella Jewelry Chain - medium, elongated oval links, silver color
Estrella Jewelry Findings - silver color
Estrella Charm with CZ - Curved Bar - Crystal / Silver
Estrella Charm with CZ - Linked Stars - Crystal / Silver

Tools and extras:
Earring wires of your choice
Chain nose or flat nose pliers, preferably two pair
Wire cutters
Measuring tape
Small file
Alligator clips



1. Cut 2 lengths of the small-link silver colored chain, each 2 3/4 inches.  Connect the chains to the curved CZ bar with small oval jump rings.  Also add jump rings to the ends of the chains.  Close each of them.  For beginners, use two pair of pliers and make sure you twist the links side to side when opening and closing.  Never, never pull them apart and distort the oval or circle.  They will never close up properly if you do that.


2. Cut 2 lengths of the medium-sized ruby crystal chain, each 4 1/2 inches.  Connect the chains to the linked CZ stars with small oval jump rings.  You do not need to add jump rings to the other ends of the chain this time.


3. If you have a necklace clamp like this, use it, but if not, don't worry...you can just lay out your chains on a towel and use alligator clips to keep it together while you work.  This gizmo (my husband made it for me!) helps in making sure that multi-layered chains sit properly, but again, don't worry...I've done the measurements for you!
Using a large round jump ring at each end, layer on (in order, top to bottom) the following:
6 inch length of the small-sized ruby crystal chain
The previously prepared CZ bar chain
9 inch length of the small-sized rose crystal chain
10 inch length of the medium-link silver colored chain
The previously prepared CZ linked stars chain
12 inch length of the medium-sized amethyst crystal chain

4. Cut a 17 inch or longer length of the medium-link silver colored chain.  Slip one end into each jump ring and close them carefully.  This chain will be cut later and become your neck chain, but just leave it one piece for now.

Part two of this tutorial will post next Monday.  Get ready to finish up the necklace and to make a pair of earrings from the leftover links!

Copyright 2018 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, October 31, 2018

Book review: Kumihimo Wirework Made Easy


Christina Larsen has come up with the next logical crossover skill in jewelry making: kumihimo performed with wire instead of cords!  In Kumihimo Wirework Made Easy, Christina teaches three fairly simple kuihimo braid structures that she then goes on to turn into fabulous pieces of jewelry, both with and without beads.


Even if you have never done kumihimo with cords before, fear not.  The instructions are very complete, and Christina has lots of tips to help you speed through the learning curve.  You do not need expensive equipment or tools to do this...just a few basic wire tools that you probably already have, and one of the inexpensive foam disks.  Since wire doesn't slip out of holes once you've moved it there, you don't need to worry about the disks "wearing out" quickly.  You do have to worry about tension, though, and Christina shows you all her best practices for choosing, straightening, and moving wires, and for maintaining tension as you work. 


The wirework lends itself perfectly to bracelets, but there's much more to be explored in this book.  Rings, necklaces, and earrings projects are included too.  One of my favorite pieces is a pair of earrings that spiral beautifully (shown above) called Chandelier Earrings. 

The final chapter of projects includes leather cording mixed with wire.  I love the look of a lot of these, but my favorite is the Framed Leather Bracelet shown below. 

   


This post contains affiliate links: Amazon

Monday, October 29, 2018

Piano keys! Russian leaf pattern by Rita Sova



Are you familiar with Rita Sova's wonderful bead patterns?  I've come across Rita's designs many times before, but this time I fell hook, line, and sinker!  Since my recent foray into stitching Russian leaves in all kinds of patterns and colors, my eye has just naturally homed in on any new ones that I see as I'm scrolling through Pinterest. 

Well...there was this wonderful piano keys pattern, but without any credits or a link!!!!  Thanks to the magic of google and the Lightshot app, I was finally able to track it down to Rita.  So, here is my rendition of piano keys earrings.  You can get the tutorial at the link above for just a few dollars.  Enjoy!


My previous post on bead weaving Russian leaves

Monday, October 22, 2018

Honeycomb stitch crocheted scarf - tutorial link


I came across this really pretty stitch that I found on MyPicot, called the Honeycomb Stitch.  It takes about 7 rows to complete the entire pattern, but you can then choose to add another few rows without actually having to do an entire additional repeat.  I thought that 10 or 12 rows made a wonderful width for a scarf and am thinking about using this pattern again for something else in the future. 

As you can see in the photo below, I used two very similar colors of yarn for this scarf.  If you want the pattern to really stand out, use multiple colors like the sample on MyPicot shows. 


I recommend printing out the diagram provided.  Since each row is slightly different, it is much easier to follow the diagram than written out instructions.  I found the that I caught on to the pattern very quickly this way. On each long edge, I finished it with single crochet.


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