Saturday, September 30, 2006

Because I am so boring...

...this is what I got done last night instead of painting the town red :-)

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Friday, September 29, 2006

New neckpiece!

I started this new piece yesterday, using some of the techniques I picked up from Larkin's book.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Forget about VendorPro

If you've been getting these emails (I get them about every other month), forget them:

From: "Tracy Weller"
Subject: I want to sell your jewelry products through our stores

I've spent a lot of time at your website and I think your jewelry is perfect for our stores. I especially like your photo pendants.

We work hand in hand with the largest stores in the country, plus thousands of small to medium sized specialty businesses stretched across the U.S.. If you want the opportunity to sell your products through major retailers like WalMart, Target, Nordstrom, Sears, QVC, HSN, etc ... plus the other 51005 gift stores, 15840 health & beauty stores, 6088 craft stores, and over 24000 mail-order catalogs ... check us out at

Tracy Weller

I've asked them several times to remove me from their list since they appeared to be a legitimate company, but to no avail. I don't think they're legit anymore though:
Link to their Better Business Bureau reputation

In my email last night

mixed media

A man was exploring caves by the seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake.

They didn't look like much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the bag out of the cave with him. As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could.

He thought little about it, until he dropped one of the clay balls and it cracked open on a rock. Inside was a beautiful, precious stone!

Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls. Each contained a similar treasure. He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left. Then it struck him.

He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have taken home tens of thousands, but he had just thrown it away!

It's like that with people. We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn't look like much from the outside. It isn't always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount it.

We see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy but we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person.

There is a treasure in each and every one of us. If we take the time to get to know that person, and if we ask God to show us that person the way He sees them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.

May we not come to the end of our lives and find out that we have thrown away a fortune in friendships because the gems were hidden in bits of clay. May we see the people in our world as God sees them.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Wonderful new book!

I received Larkin's new book on Monday from Amazon, and I love it! I think it's the best introduction to the topic of adding beads to your fabric projects that I've seen. And it opens flat since it's spiral smart is that?

I was also really inspired by all of Larkin's beautiful work that is showcased in the book.

Best of all, I've picked up some new ideas to try. In fact, I'm going to start a little piece this afternoon that uses an irregular shaped paua shell piece, and I'm going to try Larkin's caging technique for surrounding the shell. I'll show you pictures as I go along :-)

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Off to France

I sent one of my Mucha pendants off to France yesterday! So far, they've gone to Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Israel, England, Canada, the Philippines, and all over the USA, as well as to France. They are well-traveled, those pendants!

handmade beaded jewelry
Optical lens pendants

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Erev Rosh Hashanah

Time for reflection and prayer.

Moan, moan, whine, whine!

I'm in between projects right now. Well, I do have a commission in the works, but I'm still in the hunter-gatherer stage with that one. There are also a couple of projects that I need to write up for Jewelry Crafts magazine or for my blog tutorials. BUT I DON'T WANT TO DO THEM!! I want to have a big honking project underway that I can just slide into whenever I've got some art time.

Some people would probably kill to have a gap like this in their schedule, but not me. I've got to start something, and it's got to be soon!

whine whine grmbl grmbl...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Rusted and busted

I went to Vermont over Labor Day weekend with part of our youth group. We had a fabulous time away from all the hustle and bustle of suburban life, and I managed to shoot a series of photos starring old rusted farm equipment that dotted the property. You can see pictures of the youth event here.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Just for fun!


Mike and I went to our favorite date spot on Saturday...Home Depot! I know, I know. We're pathetic, aren't we?

Anyway, I found a big jar full of 500 zip ties in lots of different colors. They were cheap cheap cheap, which is my favorite quality when it comes to making jewelry for purely costume purposes. Now I'm not talking about "costume jewelry", I'm talking about jewelry used for a costume!

I got the idea for this very quick and easy necklace that anyone could make for Halloween or other dress-up occasions. I've got a great wig for Halloween this year (when don't I?), and I wanted a special necklace to go with it. Then, just add outrageous makeup, and I've got instant costume.

So here's how I did it:

1. Lay out your zip ties in any pattern that pleases you. I wanted them to extend all the way over my shoulders, but not stick out the back of my neck, so I left a few inches of chain bare in the back.

2. I used an 18 inch curb chain with fairly large links. Even so, they weren't big enough for most of the zip ties to go through them. Starting from the center, I wrapped the zip ties around the chain and snugged them up. The shorter thinner ties fit right through the links, which I did in order to keep the rest of the ties from sliding around. They provided an anchor every couple of inches.

3. That's it! Put it on and smile when people stare at you. Best part, there were still hundreds of ties left over for my husband to use in his projects!

Copyright 2006 Cyndi Lavin. 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.

To ask questions or leave comments about this post, please visit Jewelry & Beading

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Carnival of Jewelry Designers

Lynn DeVries has just started a Carnival of Jewelry Designers and posted the first entry today! Make sure you check out Lynn's offerings on Ruby Lane as well :-)

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Saturday, September 16, 2006

Commissioned bracelet

Finished the bracelet! Russian coins and natural raw amber collected in Russia are the side focal pieces.

handmade beaded jewelry

handmade beaded jewelry

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Golly good show!

Five of my pieces came home from England yesterday! I don't know how many of them will actually make the final cut into Sandra Wallace's new book, The Beader's Colour Mixing Directory. Hopefully all of them! The book is due out in March 2007.

You can see enlargements of the first four pieces on my site Mazel Tov! Jewelry Treasures, and the fifth resides on Wildest Dreams Designs.


Magic Carpet

Rock Candy

Crystal Ball

Nomadic Treasure

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Embroidered bracelet commission

handmade beaded jewelry

The bracelet blanks still haven't arrived...*sigh*

On the other hand, I've been able to get the first parts done anyway.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Dreamers is available now

handmade beaded jewelry


"Dreamers" is back to being available on Wildest Dreams Designs. It came back home on Saturday along with "Flurry" after being photographed for some how-to articles for future issues of Jewelry Crafts magazine. The pictures are all women painted by John William Waterhouse.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

"Flurry" came home

handmade beaded jewelry

This is one of the pieces that I made for the holiday issue of Jewelry Crafts. I don't know whether it will end up in that one, or in a later mid-winter issue, but that's ok! It arrived home on Saturday, so I've added it to my website.

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Bobbi's date with the necklace

Our necklace made two anniversary appearances! First, a gallery sale in Washington state, at a hospital with Illaya and her husband Lee. They weren't able to get pictures, because someone stole their camera, along with several other things in a home burglary!! Sheesh.

The next stop-over was in Texas for Bobbi and her husband Rudy's anniversary. Rudy took the pictures of Bobbi, but they forgot to get one of the two of them together! What's up with that? :-)

Off to Leah now, in California. Both Leah and husband Chris are artists, so I hope they'll go out and do something fabulous. Stay tuned...

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

From "Blessed be Your name" by Matt Redman, 2002

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Wendy's date with the necklace!

Read all about Wendy's date here! The necklace then went to Washington state, and then on to Texas.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fabric bead necklace finished

Guess what season I'm looking forward to? :-)

This piece is really lightweight, thanks to the fabric beads. There are 55 of them on this necklace!

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Fabric bead necklace

handmade beads

I spent some time creating clusters of fabric beads on headpins today and hanging them on a chain necklace. I'm out of time, but I might be able to finish it up tomorrow. Gotta get going on the bracelet comission as soon as the materials get here!

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Time to take a course?

Over at, our Jewelry making guide Tammy has compiled a blog post of all the jewelry courses available to us. She covers glass, metal, and design, lists both free and paid courses, and provides a host of links to societies and clubs as well. Check it out and consider whether you should go back to school now that the kiddies have!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Hard to believe

I'm using a pine tree air freshener in one of my current jewelry projects...

Do I have you intrigued?

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Monday, September 04, 2006

Bracelet blanks

I bought a variety of bracelet blanks from Beyond Beadery today. They have several different sizes and styles. I just received a very interesting commission for a bracelet ~ it will include raw amber that was collected in Russia. Very cool looking stuff, but very fragile. I've got a few ideas for how to incorporate it into a bead-embroidered piece. As soon as the blanks get here, I can get started.

I'll keep you posted!

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Friday, September 01, 2006

A closer view

handmade beads

I received a really good question yesterday from Janet, who asked if I used anything to seal the beads when I made them from fabric instead of paper. I don't, because I like the looks of the frayed ends. I even make my diagonal cut with pinking shears so there's more texture and fuzz.

But then I realized that my final step in decorating them does help to seal them somewhat: after they are dry, I dry-brush the ends with Lumiere's halo pink-gold acrylic paint, just accenting those fuzzy parts. The base medium of acrylic paint is an excellent glue, so in a sense this step definitely helps to insure that they don't unroll.

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