Monday, February 28, 2011

Bead Journal Project: February

I'm making a series of covered buttons with watch faces for the Bead Journal Project this year.  I still haven't decided whether they are going to be kept as buttons, used as individual cabochons in a larger piece, or stitched together in some way.  No matter for now...I'm having fun. 

We've had a lot of crazy weather in New England this winter.  A little over a week ago, the temperature went up to 60-some degrees and I sat out on our porch, surrounding by shrinking snowdrifts and melting icicles.  A day later, it snowed again.  I know the grass is under there somewhere, so I stitched it, topped by fluffy snow!

January Button
Link to tutorial

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bead Soup reveal day!

I wish I had known about the Bead Soup Party that Lori Anderson hosts before! That said, I am so glad that I learned about it this year, doubly glad I decided to do it, and triply glad that Chris Murphy was assigned as my partner!  For those of you who don't know Chris, you should!  She won second place in the 3rd Use the Muse contest for a gorgeous piece called Butterfly Net.  Take a look at clever is that?

Chris sent a box full of beads that I might never have known existed otherwise. She introduced me to the most enchanting blue-green fire agate, to lovely carved horn beads, and to copper beads that I still can't believe actually exist! I hope this first piece that I've made using her treasures will make her proud!

The second piece that I made from Chris's stash features the fabulous copper seashell. There was simply no way that a focal like that could sit around unused on my work table for too long!

In a few weeks, I'll post a tutorial for the first piece. Being strung on cord, it's a really fast and easy project, so start collecting your big beads now! In the meantime, I'm still pondering what to do with the bonus pack that Chris sent...some fabulous cabochons.   She knows my weakness for bead embroidery ;-)

Here is the complete list of all the folks involved in the Bead Soup Party this time.  I hope you'll have time to visit many of them...we are all revealing our pieces today!

1.  Lori Anderson, Pretty Things
2. Kitty Durmaj, Perles and Life 
3.  Michelle Heim, Life In the Bead Lane 
4.  Lisa Petrillo, Lucid Moon Studio
5.  Anitra Gordy, Leelu Creations
6.  Paige Maxim, Paige Maxim Designs
7.  Marianna Boylan, Pretty Shiny Things
8.  Cheryl Roe, BeadRoe
9.  Heidi Post, Ex Post Facto
10.  Cindy Wimmer, Sweet Bead Studio

11.  Terri Gauthier, Blooming Ideas
12.  Rachel Walsh, Balanced Crafts
13.  Marian Hertzog, M's Place
14.  Mary McGraw, MK's Musings
15.  Sarabeth Burke, Chronicles of Sarita
16.  Deci Worland, Gem Trails 
17.  Erin Prais-Hintz, Treasures Found
18.  Laura Zeiner, Stick Lizard Designs
19.  Kristin Latimer, MJM Jewelry Designs
20.  Cathryn Brooks-Williams, Chile Cats

21.  Holly Westfall, Silver Rose Designs
22.  Janna Harttgen, Palima-Lim 
23.  Libby Leuchtman, Libby Leu
24.  Rebecca Anderson, Songbeads
25.  Deb Hunter, Living On Air
26.  Diana Ptaszynski, Suburban Girl Studio
27.  Jennifer VanBenschoten, VanBeads 
28.  Margot Potter, The Impatient Crafter
29.  Cyndi Lavin, Beading Arts  You Are Here!
30.  Courtney Breul, Beads by Breul

31.  Stefanie Teufel, Stefanie's Sammelsurium
32.  Patricia Gasparino, My Life Under the Bus
33.  Tari Khars, Pearl and Pebble
34.  Kristi Bowman-Gruel, Kristi Bowman Design
35.  Jayne Capps, Mama's Got to Doodle
36.  Becky Fairclough, Chameleons Designs
37.  Evie and Beth McCord, EB Bead & Metal Works
38. Lynne Bowland, Islandgirl's Insights
39.  Barbara Lewis, Painting With Fire
40.  Lorelei Eurto, Inside the Studio

41.  Stacy Hartis, Sissy & Jack's
42.  Jennifer Cameron, Glass Addictions
43.  Marcie Abney, La Bella Joya 
44.  Johanna Rhodes, Fire Phoenix Creations
45.  Nan Emmett, Spirit Rattles 
46.  Melissa Mesara, One Eared Pig  
47.  Amanda Davie, Articulations
48.  Cherin Poovey, Lanyard Lady
49.  Virginia Joste, ViviBijoux

50.  Andrew Thornton, The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
51.  Lori Dorrington, Lori's Glassworks

52.  Melanie Brooks, Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
53.  Kate Gardenghi, Tropical Blonde
54.  Serena Trent, PinkIce Jewel's Blog
55. Malin de Koning, Beading by Malin de Koning
56.  Shai Williams, Shaiha's Ramblings
57.  Francy Inman, 8 Second Studio 
58.  Amy Freeland, Copper Diem
59.  Lisa Liddy, Joolz By Lisa

60.  Sandi Lee James,  Do Be Do Bead Do
61.  Mary Harding, Mary Harding Bead Blog 
62.  Stacey Curry, Star Hitched Wagon
63.  Leslie Gidden, Mad Maggie Designs
64.  Elisabeth Auld, Beads For Busy Gals
65.  Niky Sayers, Silver Nik Nats
66.  Linda Djokic, Lutka and Co.
67.  Tracy Bell, Copper, Glass, and Recycled Trash
68.  Laurel Steven, Rue's Daftique
69.  Ingrid McCue, Wrapped In Silver

70.  Birgitta Lejonklou, Create With Spirit
71.  Diana Hawkey, Diana Hawkey
72.  Norma Turvey, Moonlit Fantaseas
73.  Jeanette Ryan, Jeanette Blix
74.  Jackie Ryan, Silver Lodge Gems
75.  Jean Yates, Snap Out of it Jean, There's Beading to Be Done!
76.  Debbie Goering, Prairie Emporium 
77.  Valerie Norton, Hot Art 
78.  Jana Trupovniece, Stories of the Secret Garden  
79.  Amy Severino, Amy Beads 

80.  Emma Thomas, Fred Beans Nook
81.  Karen Zanco, Everyday Gypsy
82.  Suzann Sladcik Wilson, Beadphoria
83.  Janet McDonald, Singing Woods
84.  Dana James, Dana's Jewelry Designs
85.  Kristina Johansson, Wild Roses and Blackberries
86.  CJ Bauschka, CJ Bauschka
87.  Angela Barribea, Re: Angela Rae
88. Marcy Lamberson, Studio Marcy
89.  Tanya Floyd, Glass Migrations

90.  Lisa Kavanaugh, Beading Bliss
91.  Sue Hodgkinson, Hello Gorgeous 
92.  Jenni Connolly, Jenni's Bead 
93.  Nally Parfyonova, Nally's Creations 
94.  Karyn White, Releases By Rufydoof  
95. Emanda Johnson, Artemisia Studio 
96.  Sandy Richardson, Sandy's Coloring Box
97.  Cindy Dolezal,  Cindy Dolezal Designs 
98.  Stacie Stamper, Park Avenue
99. Mallory Hoffman, For the Love of Beads

100.  Linda Landig, Linda's Bead Blog and Meanderings
101.  Nicole Valentine-Rimmer, N. Valentine Studio
102.  Jacinta Meyers, Jamberrysong's Creations 
103.  Charlene Gary, Gray Girl Studios
104.  Rubiee Hayes, Glitter and Keys Galore
105.  Marge Beebe, Rock Creek Creations
106.  Elizabeth Freeman, Turquoise Sky
107.  Shelby Foxwell, Sundown Bead Designs Rhetoric
108.  Lynda Moseley, Diva Designs
109.  Grace Danel,  Grace Beading
110.  Lois Moon, Que Onda Quitman

111.  Agnes Shapiro, Beader Bubbe 
112.  Terry Carter, Tapping Flamingo 
113.  Judy Glende, Judith B. Designs
114.  Mary Ellen Parker, Bee Tree By Me
115. Barbara Bechtel, Second Surf
116.  Charlene Sevier, The Bead Dreamer
117. Alice Craddick, Alice's Beads and Baubles 
118.  Cory Celaya, Art With Moxie 
119.  Ronda Adams, The Ravished Heart 
120.  Sandi Volpe, Sandi Volpe Designs 

121. Anna Lear, The Laughing Raven 
122. Susie Hibdon, Vintagesusie & Wings  
123.  Amanda Austin, Sea Shore Glass 
124.  Jennifer Velasquez, Jen Judd Rocks 
125.  Hazel Ward, All Those Things 
126.  Brenda Salzano, Salzanos 
127.  Dee Gordon, Runako Designs by Dee 
128.  Anna Denisova, Anita-M 
129.  Margaret Saari, Mags-Jewelry

130.  Genea Crivello-Knable, Genea Beads 
131.  Penny Neville, Copper Penny
132.  Angela Blasingame, Hopemore
133. Helena Fritz, Beadwork by H's Blog
134. Stephanie LaRose, Confessions of a Bead Hoarder
135. Stephanie Haussler, PixyBug Designs
136. Diane Cook, Rosa & Josies  
137.  Maryse Thillens, Glass Bead Art
138.  Jennifer Pride, Jewelry by J.P.
139.  Shannon Chomanczuk, For My Sweet Daughter

140.  Lisa Godfrey, Bead Happy
141.  Heather Pyle, Welcome to My  Muse
142.  Regina Santerre, Regina's Writings
143.  Liz DeLuca, Creative Arty Facts
144.  Sig Wynne-Evans, Beaded Bear's Nonsense
145.  Loretta Carstensen, Loretta's Boutique
146.  Raida Disbrow, Havana Beads 
147.  Amber Dawn, Inventive Soul 
148.  Shelly Graves, Stars Dance With Me  
149.  Jess Italia Lincoln, Vintaj Blog 

150. JJ Jacobs, Coming Abstractions
151.  Carrie Tahquechi, Carrie T
152.  Staci Smith, Staci Louise Originals
153.  Katarzyna Kwiatkowska, Quiet Area 
154.  Ema Kilroy, Ema K Designs
155. Magdalena Sikora, Poranna Gazeta
156.  Nicole Keller, Nicki's Reef
157.  Ann Rishell, My Critical Eye
158.  Noemi Baena, Fire, Metal, and Color 
159. Christa Murphy, Adventures of One Beady Woman   My Fabulous Partner!

160.  Barbara Blaszczyk, Labotorium Flory
161.  Collette Collins, Firefly Myst
162.  Carola Greiser, Polymer Clay Shed
163.  Joanna Kopijczuk, Bizuteria z Filcu
164. LeAnn Weih, Summers Studio 
165.  Cassandra Watsham, Design by Cassandra
166. Anna Motz, Stunning
167.  Shea Zukowski, Gr8findings
168.  Susan Kennedy, Sue Beads
169.  Lisa Boucher, Lisa's Clay Happenings

170.  Hope Smitherman, Crafty Hope
171.  Alison Crenshaw, Beads by Earth Tones
172.  Dorcas Midkiff, Wondrous Strange Designs 
173.  Melissa Rediger, Sea of Glass 
174.  Marina Dobrynina, Savon Feutre  
175.  Julie Nordine, Julie Nordine | Credit River Art Glass 
176.  Menka Gupta, Menka's Blog
177. Patsy Evins, Patsy Evins Studio
178.  Cherrie Fick, En La Lumie're
179.  Suzette Bentley, Ellie's Bijoux

180.  Molly Alexander, Beautifully Broken Me
181.  Lyn Foley, Lyn Foley Wearable Art
182. Tara Plote, The Newbie Beader's Blog
183. Natalie Schuetz, Natalie S Perlen 
184. Kim Hutchinson, Running on Ink
185. Haley Frank, Wide Eyed Smilin 
186. Grace Caputo, Suddenly Last Summer
187. Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp, Skye Jewels 
188. Erin Siegel, Erin Siegel Jewelry 
189.  Janea McDonald, Organized Chaos

190.  Kristi Evenson, Colie Bug & Co.
191.  Linda Inhelder, Must Haves Jewelry
192.  Hilary Frye, FryeStyle
193. Whitney Lassini, Whitney Lassini
194. Nancy Schindler, The Rabbit Muse
195. Pam Brisse, The Blue Between
196. Beth Bricker, Vintage Sweets
197.  Ruthie Stickney, Rose Works Jewelry and Gifts
198.  Rose Noble, Lady Noble Designs
199. Karen Williams, Baublicious

200.  Claire Maunsell, The Next Bend
201.  Christine Damm, Stories They Tell
202.  Kerry Bogert, Kab's Creative Concepts
203.  Wendy Blum, Sand & Sea Designs
204.  Juli Cannon, Julsbeads
205.  Jenny Robledo, La Dona Boutique
206.  Krista French, French Elegant Jewelry
207.  Pam Krinski, Ewa Beads
208.  Melissa Meman, Melissa Meman, Art, Life, Love
209.  Dana Jones, Dana's Jewelry
210.  Shirley Moore, Homeschooling Life

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Friday, February 25, 2011

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!


Beads & Books
Do you use buttons in your jewelry? Michelle is hosting a Button Swap. Sign up to get a partner, trade buttons, and create something!

Cindy Gimbrone, the Lampwork Diva
Do you use any sewing techniques in your jewelry? Come see what Cindy's sewn up!  

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
A fun find at an antique store uncovers new inspiration with some women's medicinal history and a crazy folk song  

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
After a very busy couple of weeks, Lorelei finally has time to share some pictures from a recent trip to Spain! 

Snap out of it, Jean, There's beading to be done!
Come and see what the amazing Kim Miles has been up to as Winter turns to Spring--You will love it!  

The Bead Dreamer
Inspired by the poet Rumi and a gorgeous pendant from Green Girl Studios, Charlene creates a necklace using beads, fiber, a button - and of course - the pendant.  

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Want to win some FREE ImpressArt metal stamps from PJ Tool & Supply? Andrew hosts another Thursday Giveaway with a prize valued over $70!  

A Bead A Day
Expressing her love for daisies, Lisa uses scrapbooking embellishments to make a quick and cheerful bracelet! Jewelry Making
Winter white can mean bitter cold or a beautiful double strand pearl and matte glass bracelet.  

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene gets your creative juices flowing with a treasury inspired by the monthly challenge painting. 

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Society of North American Goldsmiths

The Society of North American Goldsmiths, or SNAG as it’s known, consists of metalsmiths who work in both wearables and non-wearable art forms.  There are many jewelers and designers who are members of SNAG, and they embrace artists who work in metals other than gold too.  This is a professional organization well worth your while to check out if you are serious about working in metals.

Whether or not you decide to become a member and receive the journal Metalsmith, there are resources on the website that are available for all.   The Professional Guidelines page has an amazing amount of information to download on topics from taking better pictures of your work to inventory and legal advice.  There are sample contracts that you can use, and information on fundrasing auctions and open studios.   Want to get into a juried show?  Read the Top Ten Tips first!

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What would you do? The source of our materials

Try googling "child labor", "slave labor", or "sweatshops" together with the term "jewelry". You might be shocked by what you find, or maybe not so shocked. I think that many of us know instinctively that where there are large profits to be made, there are also likely to be people who will unscrupulously take advantage of others. This is the topic that I want to think about for this installment of our series What would you do?

Edahn Golan, writing for the International Diamond Exchange has written an article that discusses child labor and slave labor practices in several countries. Some of these countries - not all - have laws prohibiting this behavior, but they are not enforced, or at least they are enforced selectively. You can find dozens of articles like this without even trying very hard.

I'm not trying to make us feel bad, but I do want to make us think. Do you know the practices and standards held by the companies that you buy from? Are you aware that some - not all - inexpensive stone beads are inexpensive because of the sufferings of another? That conditions in some - not all - glass factories are so bad that you wouldn't allow your worst enemy to work there?

We all want to keep our costs down, whether we are making things for our own pleasure or making them to sell. And of course it's very difficult to really know the provenance of the materials we use. Sometimes we just have to rely on the word of those we buy from. Is there more we can do, though? Is this something you've thought about at all?

Tell me your thoughts on this. I don't necessarily have any wonderfully insightful answers to give. What would you do?

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Beautiful turquoise from Auntie's Beads

Ok, just because turquoise was "last year's" color doesn't mean that it is passé!  Look at this beautiful turquoise that I received from Auntie's Beads last week.  You can find these pieces and more at their gemstone page.  In the picture above, you'll see from top to bottom:

Small turquoise chips
Medium turquoise nuggets
6mm turquoise rondelles
Squared cross pendant

The rondelles are my favorites, and I immediately had to start putting them to use as cap beads on these brick stitched tube beads:

I've got an idea in mind for how these are going to be used, along with some of the other materials shown above, but it may take a little while for me to get it all together.  I'll be sure to show you the results as soon as the piece is ready.  I'll probably do a giveaway with some of the left over beads too, so stay tuned!

As regards FTC disclosure guidelines: I have received turquoise beads free of charge from Auntie's Beads in order to write a review and/or create a project free of charge for you.  I have not been paid for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

So now that you know about honeysuckle...

Next you'll want to see a copy of wonderful Margie Deeb's Spring/Summer 2011 Spring Color Report for Bead & Jewelry Designers.  Margie publishes these reports twice a year, with Pantone's approval, so you know you're getting the most accurate and comprehensive color report available.  The information and color palettes presented are for bead artists, polymer clay artists, fashion, interiors, graphic design...everyone who uses color!

I have had a chance to preview this year's first report, and I can tell you that Margie has done a spectacular job of creating palettes for you which show fresh new combinations and the proportions of each color that you should aim for.  As always, she features lovely beaded pieces by herself and other artists which illustrate so clearly how these colors can work together.  I particularly love how Peapod, Blue Curacao, and Honeysuckle have been used together in the cover piece (shown above) that was created by Jamie Cloud Eakin.  Just gorgeous!

Can I also admit to you that this is the first palette put out by Pantone that I've been 100% excited about in a long time?  Dreary is gone, and gorgeousness is in!

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Beads & Books
Michelle shares a behind-the-scenes look at her work doing technical edits on a jewelry magazine.

Carmi's Art/Life World
A new bronze pendant from inspired this new necklace from Carmi.  

Cindy Gimbrone, The Lampwork Diva
Cindy shares her "DO" for the week. Come take a look!  

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie explores the old craft of paper quilling in an experiment combining the technique with resin for jewelry.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews a comforting and beautiful book for beaders which she herself has often turned to as a "bridge over troubled waters": Beading for the Soul, by Deborah Cannarella

The Bead Dreamer
Book Review: Steel Wire Jewelry. Love alternative materials and modern, whimsical jewelry design? This book is a must have. Project one is an earring wardrobe! Read the review in full.  

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew gets in touch with his inner "Calder" and hammers some wire with Kate McKinnon and Dustin Wedekind.  

A Bead A Day
A 1 minute jewelry project? Lisa shares a swarovski component that can be used to make a SPARKLY ring! Jewelry Making
For gemstone fanatics, earrings are the perfect way to enjoy fast projects that include all their favorite stones.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene loves a wall of beads. Stop by and see if you don't love it too!  


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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Book review: The Beaded Edge

The Beaded Edge: Inspired Designs for Crocheted Edgings and Trims 

I had no idea exactly what I was opening when I first received a copy of  The Beaded Edge.

May I just say, I need to go buy some more sweaters and scarves so that I can add beaded edgings and trims to them!  Midori Nishida and some other talented contributors show you how to make 18 different crocheted or bead woven trims that you can combine and alter in many ways, just in case 18 isn't enough.  Using a small crochet hook or a beading needle, you'll learn how to use a simple thread and lovely beads to make exceptionally lovely embellishments for both your wearables and non-wearables.   

After you drool over the trim designs themselves in The Beaded Edge, there are many suggestions for how to use them and what to use them on.  Midori's book also covers how to attach your trims and obtain a clean finish, important in maintaining an elegant classic look.

A pretty book with a different twist, published by Interweave Books, so you know it's gonna be good!

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Improving your jewelry designs for 2011

Spending some time improving your jewelry designs is a great way to work through the dreaded February slump!  Just when inspiration seems to be at its lowest, take heart that spring is just around the corner.  At least it is when you think about coming up with a new collection for your customers!

Our own archives have many posts on jewelry design.

Check out the book review on a one of the fabulous Dummies Guides, Jewelry & Beading Designs.

Michelle Mach of Beading Daily wonders Why Simple Designs Aren't Always Simple to Make.

Trendsetter shares some insights into Fashion Trends for the spring and summer of 2011.

Artbeads has posted a prediction for 2011 Jewelry Trends.

And Pantone has their color fashion report ready for the spring too!

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What would you do? Using inexpensive materials

Next up in our What Would You Do? series. There's a temptation when we first start a new art or craft form to buy the most inexpensive materials possible so that we can practice without breaking the bank. In theory, I think this is an excellent idea. For example, if I wanted to practice doing a really tricky wire wrap technique, I might want to think about using inexpensive craft wire before shelling out for sterling silver.

But there is a real world problem with this: sterling silver doesn't feel and work quite the same as inexpensive craft wire. There comes a point when you actually have to use the real thing...take a deep breath and start bending. My friend Cindy Lietz pointed this out in relation to polymer clay. Sometimes the inexpensive alternative can have quality issues that make it unsuitable even for practice.

And as far as using inexpensive materials in our finished work...well, let me just say that I put way too much time into my pieces to trust them to inferior clasps, findings, unannealed glass beads, etc. What do you think? Are there times in your experience when you felt very strongly one way or the other about using inexpensive materials? Does inexpensive always mean inferior?

Sound off below! What would you do?

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Star Light Star Bright

My first thought was of flowers, but as this piece came together, the dazzling sparkle from the Swarovski crystals reminded me more and more of stars, especially the brilliance that we see in the winter skies during the long New England nights!

My thanks go out to for supplying the glorious crystals that made this piece possible.  I bezelled the 18 mm Rivoli with seed beads, and used three different sizes of Margaritas (6, 8, and 10 mm) on 32 gauge gold-colored wire to crochet the centerpiece.  Although I was originally thinking about making a pendant from it,  it ended up becoming a hair fascinator instead.  Have you heard of these?  "Fascinator" is just a newer term for a hair thingie...attached usually by a comb like I used, but sometimes with a barrette or head band instead. 

Instead of just wiring the piece together, I decided to place it on a fabric foundation and to back it with another piece of fabric (which has the comb sewed to it) so that the wire wouldn't end up hopelessly tangled in someone's hair.  Like mine ;-)

As regards FTC disclosure guidelines: I have received the Swarovski beads and Rivoli free of charge from in order to create a project free of charge for you.  I have not been paid for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received.

Copyright 2011 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.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!


Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene unveils the February monthly challenge.

Beads & Books
Michelle shares the bracelet she made for 7000 Bracelets for Hope. There's still time to make and donate a denim blue bracelet for this great cause.

Carmi's Art/Life World
This week Carmi has a hand felted heart brooch to celebrate Canadian Valentines!  

Cindy Gimbrone, The Lampwork Diva
Finding the perfect findings can be difficult. Here are some suggestions.  

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie uses metallic resin clay to solve a design problem of altering antique buttons to make them into charms and links.  

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean got some super wonderful beads from Amy Freeland , her Bead Blog Soup Party partner, and shares some photos of them and some thoughts with her readers here!  

The Bead Dreamer
Bead Soup starts to simmer in Charlene's studio Jewelry Making
Tammy has a new book review out, this one for a book on making ceramic jewelry.  

A Bead A Day
Lisa shares a great new beading resource that has just hit the shelves!! It's Tammy Powley's new book, "The Complete Photo Guide to Jewelry Making"!  

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Book review: Lacy Wire Jewelry

Lacy Wire Jewelry 

Fans of Bead & Button magazine are sure to be familiar with Melody MacDuffee, both her exquisite beadwork and her larger than average heart.  I am extremely pleased to tell you, that Melody has a new book out, and if you've been looking for something new and really different, this just might be it!  In a world where wire jewelry books start to blend together, Lacy Wire Jewelry stands apart. 

Would you like to learn new attractive ways to wire wrap and bezel your focal pieces?  Have you ever admired older pieces of filigree jewelry?  Would you like to bend wire fearlessly?  Melody's book will have you humming right along in no time.  The techniques are straightforward, but they will take practice.  So if you decide to order this book, also order up some inexpensive 20 gauge and 28 gauge craft wire to practice with!  Believe me, when you see all these gorgeous projects, you'll want to dive right in and not have to wait. 

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Make way for "Honeysuckle" this spring

Last year, Pantone's color of the year was turquoise.  This year, turquoise moves over (but doesn't completely retire) to make way for honeysuckle.  Fashion Trendsetter reports that honeysuckle lifts the spirits and emboldens us for the trials of life.  I sure hope it's true.  I really like this color, even though it's one that I would probably never wear.  Nonetheless, a lot of people will be wearing this color, in their clothing and even more so in their makeup.  We'd be foolish to ignore the trend in our jewelry-making plans if we plan to sell what we make!     

Leatrice Eiseman reports:
While the 2010 color of the year, PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise, served as an escape for many, Honeysuckle emboldens us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. A dynamic reddish pink, Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting. It elevates our psyche beyond escape, instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of everyday life.

“In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Honeysuckle derives its positive qualities from a powerful bond to its mother color red, the most physical, viscerally alive hue in the spectrum.”
Here is a link to the rest of the Pantone palette prediction for Spring 2011, complete with a link to the pdf file. 

And here is a recent post that gives some advice on stones that match the color palette!

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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

What would you do? Skivving someone else's work.

A friend of yours knows that you do very fine beadwork, and she wants you to make something for her. Wonderful, you think, I'm getting a commission. But then she drops the bombshell on you: she wants you to make a piece for her that's "just like" the one she saw in a book or magazine.

Oops. You're no copyright skivver, but probably no one will ever know. And some magazines say that you can make copies for yourself or a friend. And you could really use the money from the commission...

What would you do?

I haven't had to face this exact issue, personally. I did have a gentleman email me and ask if it would be ok for him to use one of my how-to articles (in a magazine, not online) to make a piece for a customer who wanted THAT EXACT NECKLACE, but was unable to make it for herself. I have to tell you, I really appreciated him asking me. I'd never have known that he did it if he hadn't asked, but it made me feel really good about his personal ethics. Of course I told him that was fine.

I'm not sure what I'd do, though, if someone asked me to make something for them following someone else's instructions. It's just not what I do. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with it, as long as you handle it ethically. So, What would you do?

BTW, I added my answer to what I ended up doing to last week's post if you want to know!

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Monday, February 07, 2011

How to make beaded buttons

I've decided to make a set of 12 beaded buttons for the Bead Journal Project this year.  Last year I did embroidered cuff bracelets, and while I enjoyed them very much, I thought I needed something a bit faster this time.  I'm thinking that I might end up stitching some of them together when they're finished and treating them like cabochons instead of buttons.  But in the meanwhile, until I know for sure, I'm constructing them as easy with the Dritz button covers that you can find everywhere!

1. I used the largest (I think) size that Dritz makes, or at least the largest that are easy to find.  Size 60 are 1-1/2 inches across, and I bought 12 of them.

2. Use the pattern that comes with the package to trace circles on muslin.  I used the actual size of the button top to trace smaller circles on lightweight fusible interfacing.  I wanted to make sure that the embroidery would stay firm, and that heavy elements wouldn't rip the fabric.

3. Cut out all the circles and iron the fusible pieces to the center of the muslin pieces.  I did all the buttons at once so that I wouldn't have to drag out all my equipment every month.  Get the boring stuff out of the way!

4. Since I have an enormous collection of watches (most of which don't work), gleaned from flea markets and friends, I decided to use watch faces as the centerpiece of each button.

5. This watch was stitched in place before the bead embroidery was done.  The picot edging extends just a tiny bit past the interfacing circle that's hidden on the inside.  Follow the directions on the button package to snap your button together when you're finished stitching.

6.  I used watered down acrylic paint to color the muslin that showed around the edges.  You could paint the fabric first if you knew for sure what colors of beads you were going to use (I didn't!), or you could use commercially printed fabric instead.  Just make sure the fabric is relatively thin so that it will fit into the button form. 


Copyright 2011 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.

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Saturday, February 05, 2011

Casting Your Own Jewelry

Leon Harris from Pennsylvania Precision Cast Parts has written this article on lost wax casting for all of us.  Thank you, Leon!

Casting Your Own Jewelry

If you’ve been engaged in basic jewelry-making for a while, then you are no doubt familiar with such techniques as stringing beads, creating chains, and so on. Simple jewelry-making can be done by almost anyone with just a couple of tools (pliers, tin-snips) and a little creativity. If you’re a bit more hard-core, you might even be firing your own glass beads. But if you’re starting to get bored with the basics, it may be time to move on to something a bit more complex where your hobby is concerned. If you’re looking to take your craft to the next level, you might want to learn how to cast metal as a way to create professional pieces like the ones you see in stores and online. You will have to invest more time and money into the process, but it may not be nearly as difficult as you think. Here is the simple step-by-step process behind casting metal jewelry.

Wax model

1. Start with a model. You can either opt to copy a piece that you already have or you can go independent and create your own model. If you choose the latter, you will need to start by forming a wax model of the piece you’re making. It can be as simple or as complex as you like, although you will probably have to experiment a bit before you get a good handle on what will work in terms of size and intricacy. You might also have to get creative with your modeling materials. Wax is standard, but finding the right balance of stiffness and malleability could take some time.


2. Set it up for molding. Once your model is complete, you need to prepare it for the mold. You’ll start by attaching it to a wax rod called a sprue, which then attaches to a base. This allows the model to be suspended in the center of the mold once it is poured as a way to ensure that all parts of your model are effectively stamped into the mold.

Removing the wax

3. Pour the mold. There are a couple of different molding materials suitable to jewelry casting, but the most common is plaster (which is easy to use and heat resistant). Before you can pour the mold, you will have to secure the base (with model attached) inside a container that leaves plenty of space around the model. From there, you simply pour in the molding medium and allow it to harden.

4. Remove the model. You may now be wondering how you’re going to remove your wax model in order to create the space needed to pour in your metal. You can do this in a couple of ways. The first requires you to create a small incision or hole in the mold until you reach the wax model. Then you simply put the whole works into an oven or kiln that melts the wax and allows it to drip out, leaving the mold hollow and ready to be filled. You could also cut the mold in half and remove the wax (again by melting it) so that you have two pieces that can be taken apart and reused for subsequent castings.

Pouring the metal

5. Pour the metal. Finally, you’re ready to pour your molten metal. You will likely want to heat it with a blow torch since you may not have the facilities to house a forge. Once pouring is complete, you should rapidly cool the mold (and the metal within) in a vat of cold water. When cooling is assured, you can remove the mold and view your finished piece (although it will still need some finessing before it can be worn).

Polish the finished piece

Leon Harris writes for Pennsylvania Precision Cast Parts, a leading medal casting manufacturer specializing in the investment casting process. At PPCP you are sure to find the highest quality products at a rapid turnaround.

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