Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 2008

Making The Key to my Heart…found object pins

One of the things I love most about making these pins is that you can cut out a bunch of base pieces all at one time, and then you can spend a little time here and a little there putting the pins together using whatever little scraps come to hand. Or are lying around on top of your work table! There are lots of materials that you can use for a base, but one of the easiest to work with is good old Foam-Core. It’s easy to cut, you can stick wires into it to embed things if needed, and it can be toughened up when you’re done by a coating of two-part resin. Like I said, I usually cut out a bunch of pieces in one session, and then work on them little by little. This particular pin is called The Key to My Heart , and it features an antique skeleton key, some origami paper, a couple strands of fiber, and a couple of beads. Here’s how I made it…change the directions to suit your own projects!  If you want a skeleton key and don't have a real one, there's a cute one you can get from

Book review: The Naughty Secretary Club

The Naughty Secretary Club by Jennifer Perkins Ohmygosh, never before have I wanted so much to leave my boring world of glass and gemstones and get into plastic and resin!! Jennifer Perkins has written a totally delightful book, full of naughty kitschy fun (naughty because she was making jewelry back when she was supposed to be collating and filing. Well, who can blame her? These projects are WAY more fun! If you don’t have a sense of humor, leave this book right on the shelf. Jen invites us all to not take ourselves seriously, and I found it to be a breath of fresh air :-) Her projects are marked as to difficulty, and in an attempt to get my feet wet in kitsch, so to speak, I made this fun fun fun bracelet, which I have unimaginatively named Cloth and Sparkle . I’m boring, so sue me! Technorati Tags: handmade beaded jewelry , wearable art , beads , jewelry , necklace , mixed media , beading

Making a carnelian pendant

This pendant necklace was fashioned from a bola tie slide and some left-over beads from various vintage necklaces. Start by removing the slide finding from the back of the focal piece and sanding down the rough spots if necessary. Next, if there isn’t a hole through which you can fit a jump ring, drill one at the top of your piece. Mine didn’t have a hole, of course, but that was just a good excuse to use our drill press. Be really careful when you’re drilling unknown materials…you never know when something might shatter, so always wear eye protection. Gather up some beads that go nicely with your focal piece. I used some beads from 4 or 5 different necklaces here. The one style that I had enough of, I used to create the necklace strand. They are resin beads that look like polished wood. The rest are a mixture of resin and glass. I love how lightweight the resin beads are…you can get a lot of bulk and movement without a lot of added weight. I started with a split ring in the middle

Making a wrapped loop

Making a wrapped loop well is one of the foundational skills needed for adding wire work to your jewelry. It’s simple and easy, but it takes some practice to get everything lined up just right. After years of making wrapped loops, I know just how much wire I need in each gauge in order to turn one without any waste. That’s important when you’re using pricey materials like gold and silver wire. So get some inexpensive craft wire in some different gauges, and go to town practicing. Measure off a 5 inch piece, and then subtract what’s left to find out how much you really need! I used some nice large, bright, tacky pink wire so you could see the details clearly. You will need chain nose pliers (or flat nose), round nose pliers, and wire cutters, plus your piece of wire. Make a 90 degree bend in the wire using the chain nose pliers. Position the round nose pliers on the working arm of the wire, up against the bend as shown. Begin to guide the wire about half way around the pliers. I use my

Tape measure bracelet

This is another bracelet made with a wrapped blank as the base. I’ve already shared instructions for making a similar bracelet . This one features a vintage measuring tape! So, think outside the ribbon box for a moment with me…what else could we use to wrap a bracelet? FREE e-BOOK CHAPTER

Artist Profile: Jama Watts

The Harvest Piece for Bead Dreams Artist: Jama Watts Business name: These Precious Things Location: Lebanon, KY Websites & Blogs: Jama Watts These Precious Things These Precious Things etsy shop Jama Watts blog How do you describe your work, Jama? My work is very much a reflection of what I’m into at the moment that I make the piece. I’m very ADD when it comes to my craft, learning new techniques constantly and playing with the results. I guess you could call it contemporary tradition! I do everything from pieces that look vintage to incorporating computer parts into my pieces. As for my business name, I’m a HUGE Tori Amos fan and she has a song called “Precious Things.” It just seemed to fit! What is your creative process like? My creative process is all over the place! Sometimes I’ll order beads based on projects I want to do which may or may not start with a sketch. More often than not, I’ll order beads that I find interesting and will end up with a hodge pod

Making a multi-strand necklace with wrapped loops

I neglected to take process photos of this piece as I worked on it, so I can’t really give you an exact bead count and a step-by-step. However, I can still give you plenty of pointers! 1. Chose a mixture of metals and bead colors that all look good together. I used copper, bronze, antiqued brass, which all look really good with the blue to purple tones of the beads. There are also some bronzed glass beads to emphasize the metallic tones. 2. Create three strands, each different, and anchor them to toggle loops. I used large hammered loops and a filigreed piece as intermediaries between the strands and the toggle loops. 3. Attach a substantial chain to one loop, and attach a toggle clasp to the other end of the chain. The toggles will be design elements, not hidden in the back. Don’t use a thin chain or it will dig unpleasantly into your neck in the back. 4. Create many many many wrapped loops around small clusters of beads and charms. Scatter these along the three strands and

Book review: The Beader’s Color Palette

  The Beader’s Color Palette by Margie Deeb Two hundred and twenty gorgeous palettes, with lovely photos and jewelry to illustrate them! I want to travel to all the places that Margie uses for her inspiration…the Middle East, Tuscany, Latin American…and the list goes on. Not only countries are used for inspiration though. The planet itself, historical time periods, the elements of life: all of these and many more are jumping off points for this marvelous color book. Does 220 palettes seem like a lot? Margie says that it was hard to stop with just 220! There are projects too, which will allow you to practice some of the color magic that you’ve seen!

Online dictionaries, glossaries, and encyclopedias of jewelry information

All About Jewels Illustrated dictionary FDJ Tool Dictionary Rings & Things Frequently asked jewelry making questions Technorati Tags: handmade beaded jewelry , wearable art , beads , jewelry , necklace , mixed media , beading

Making a ribbon cuff bracelet

Materials and Tools Silk ribbon, 36 inches or more Bracelet blank Ultrasuede or similar material Thin cotton batting Size 8/0 beads Beading thread Fabric glue Alligator clips Beading needle 1 Cut a piece of thin batting to fit the top of the bracelet blank. Glue it in place with a few drops. 2 Cut ultra-suede just a tiny bit bigger than the bracelet cuff, both top and bottom. Glue the two pieces in place and trim even if needed. 3 Wrap your ribbon around the blank, making sure each wrap overlaps the last slightly. If the ribbon is a little too short to do the entire bracelet, like mine was, leave a bit on each end unwrapped. 4 Turn the ribbon ends under and attach with a dot of glue. Hold in place with alligator clips until dry. 5 Bead along the edges of the cuff, and along the end of the ribbon if that applies. FREE e-BOOK CHAPTER This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique Copyright 2008 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistri