Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Bye for awhile!

I'm taking a week off to spend with these people...can you blame me?  :-)  Be good while I'm gone, and get all your New Year's art resolutions in order!

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Yay for Barbara!

Congratulations to Barbara, who won the three strands of large glass pearls for herself and her daughter!  Yay Barbara!!

Bead Journal Project: December 2013

Single St Petersburg Chain, in progress

So last month, I showed you the Double St Petersburg Chain Stitch in its embroidered form.  I was really happy with it, and decided to see if I could come up with a way to add the Single St Petersburg Chain Stitch to embroidered pieces as well for the last month of the 2013 Bead Journal Project.  By adding a bezel to the central cabochon and keeping the stitch fairly small and tight, it ended up being a very cool type of fringe.  Since the pieces were small, I ended up making two of them with month:

The central bead cabochon came from The Best Beads.

Bored By Back Stitch will teach you how to create twelve different bead embroidery motifs, using nine different beadweaving stitches.  Learn how beadweaving stitches can be morphed into beautiful bead embroidered motifs, created to surround and enhance your cabochons or accent beads.
The specific motifs you will learn are designs that use embroidered forms of basic peyote, Cellini spiral peyote, brick, Russian spiral, herringbone, chevron chain, right angle weave, square, African helix, and double or single St Petersburg chain.  In addition, there are step-by-step instructions for three projects to help you use your motifs.  The e-book is available now, 127 pages, $3.00 US.  

January plus explanation for the series




Copyright 2013 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.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

A Bead A Day
Have lots of beads, but no new ideas? How about making a sparkly beaded pendant and finish it with a simple ribbon?

Resin Crafts Blog
Pop by to see the famous "A Christmas Story" leg lamp turned into a pendant made of resin!

Make some adorable wine charms that you can also add to your Christmas tree.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Do you remember the old TV ad, "Time to make the donuts"? Jean had that running through her head when she wrote this piece on making the jewelry and photographing it !

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Super-fast and easy jewelry projects to the rescue (because you waited too long again!)

I know, I know!  You don't have to make excuses to me...I'm in exactly the same boat, because every single year I promise myself that THIS YEAR will be different and I'll start early to make my gifts, but do I listen to myself???  Nooooooooooo!

So here are the fastest and easiest project tutorials that I've posted over the years.  Each one will take you under 20 minutes if you've got all the right materials and tools handy.  If not...well, I can't help you there!

The world's easiest earrings

Large bead necklace with pendant

A sparkling pin

Kidney wire earrings

Wire-wrapped beach rock

The simplest pendant necklace

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday tutorials from SoftFlex

Many of you probably know Sara Oehler, aka SoftFlexGirl.  But did you know she's a whiz at making Christmas ornaments and decorations from beads and craft wire?   These are all fast and easy, for when you're running out of time...

Beaded holiday ornament using bead wire

Craft wire Christmas tree

Beaded ornament cover

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Snowflake pendant or ornament

Snowflake ornament wire forms are a lot of fun to bead up and hang on a tree at Christmas time, but they’re also fun to bead up and wear! To make a snowflake pendant rather than an ornament, I chose the smallest size forms available, but you can easily use the larger ones and clip off the excess length with wire cutters.

This pendant looks equally good hanging from a matching beaded necklace or from a plain silver chain. Try different color combinations too: who says that snowflakes have to be blue and white? The step by step photos that I've included use a different color combination, mostly so that the beads would show up better in the photographs, but wouldn't it be fun to have snowflake pendants in lots of different colors?

Materials & Tools
4 ½ inch snowflake wire forms
28 gauge silver-toned craft wire, about 3 ft
6 each of 6 different beads, graduating from 2mm to 12 mm (36 beads total)
Size 11/0 seed beads in matching colors
6 silver-toned metal rounds, 2mm
Chain nose pliers
Round nose pliers
Wire cutters
Measuring tape

1. Cut a manageable piece of 28 gauge wire. I found 2 ½ to 3 feet to be enough, and still to be easy enough to handle. If your wire breaks or isn't long enough, it’s easy to add an extra piece, so don’t cut this piece too long. Anchor one end of the wire to the center of the snowflake wire form by wrapping it around several of the spokes.

2. Starting with the smallest set of 6 beads, slide one down the 28 gauge wire and also down the first spoke (the red beads in figure 1). Push the bead down to the bottom of the spoke and make sure that all of the thinner wire has been pulled through. String one 11/0 bead (the gold beads in figure 1) on the 28 gauge working wire, and slide another of the set of 6 down the next spoke. Wrap the working wire over and around the second spoke. Continue adding beads in this fashion, wrapping your way all around the wire form until you get back to the beginning. Wrap the working wire over and around the first spoke to finish the row.

3. “Step up” to start the next row by sliding a bead from the next set of 6 (the green bead in figure 2) down the 28 gauge wire and also down the first spoke. Repeat the wrapping from spoke to spoke, adding as many 11/0 seed beads as necessary between spokes. The wire wraps will hold each new spoke bead in place (figure 3, below). When you reach the beginning again, wrap around the first spoke and “step up” to the next row.

4. If you ever find that the beads you have chosen for the spokes have holes that are too small to accommodate both wires, simply wrap the 28 gauge wire around the spoke well, clip it off, and re-anchor it above the new spoke bead.

5. When you've wrapped your last set of beads into place, add a dab of E6000 glue and a silver-toned metal round bead above each final wrap. Push the metal beads snugly into place and let the glue dry. Clip the spokes off even with the tops of the beads and file the rough spots, except for one spoke. Turn a loop from the remaining spoke, using your round nose pliers (figure 4).

Copyright 2013 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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Friday, December 13, 2013

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Resin Crafts Blog
If you want to know how you can wear a beautiful paper package...come see the Mariage Frere Tea necklace!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Organizing a blog hop is a big job. When you have fabulous results like this one...you are excited to share! Come see the Dazzle-it Tassels blog hop for inspiration!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean explores what's new at one of her fave sites, Beaducation!

About.com Jewelry Making
Are you ready for Santa? Get ready with these cute holiday earrings.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Gift books for the holidays

Last year I shared a list of books with you that I still think is pretty stellar (as in, "I worked really hard on it!").  I would still recommend all of last year's picks if you don't already have the ones you want, so what I'm going to do this year is just list out the books that are new this year in the various categories that everyone seems to like!

My top pick for everyone:

Suzanne Golden Presents: Interviews with 36 Artists Who Innovate with Beads

For Beginners: Do you know someone who wants to get started with beading and jewelry making? These are all good books which teach the basics of their various media.

 I Can Right Angle Weave by Mabeline Gidez

 I Can Herringbone by Melissa Grakowsky

 Simply Stylish Crystal Jewelry by the Editors of BeadStyle magazine

 Project: Earrings by Kalmbach Press

Multistrand Jewelry by the Editors of BeadStyle magazine

Bewitching Bead & Wire Jewelry by Suzanne Tourtillott

The Missing Link by Cindy Wimmer

Foxy Epoxy by Kristal Wick

Bead Meets Metal by Kay Rashka

Metallic Seed Bead Splendor by Nancy Zellers

Artisan Filigree by Jodi Bombardier

Metal Clay 101 for Beaders by Kristal Wick

Project: Necklaces by Kalmbach Publishing

Making Chain Mail Jewelry by Lauren Andersen

Advanced topics:

Stonesetting for Contemporary Jewelry Makers by Melissa Hunt

Vintage Revised Jewelry by Co-Co Nicole Bush

Weave Wrap Coil by Jodi Bombardier

Build Your Own Wire Pendants by Kimberly Berlin

Bored By Back Stitch by Cyndi Lavin (me!)

Exploring Canework in Polymer Clay by Patricia Kimle

Metal Jewelry in Bloom by Melissa Cable

Soutache by Anneta Valious

Marcia DeCoster's Beads in Motion

Resin Alchemy by Susan Lenart Kazmer

Bead Embroidery Jewelry Projects by Jamie Cloud Eakin

Shaped Beadwork and Beyond by Diane Fitzgerald

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Book review: The Missing Link

May I just say...this book is awesome!  If you've gotten bored with adding the same old links over and over again to all of your jewelry projects, you're going to be amazed and thrilled with Cindy Wimmer's new book, The Missing Link.  Published by Interweave/F+W Media, and listing for $22.95, this is the book that both non-wireworkers and beginner wireworkers have been waiting for.  The focus is on the 30 original and beautiful links that you'll learn how to make in ascending order of difficulty.  And then the fun really begins!  But first, the basics...

The first section of the book contains the necessary and important information needed on types of wire.  Since people are using many more metals these days, both for cost-cutting and for looks, it's important to know the properties of the metals that you may not have used before.  Cindy has information on metals, wire gauges, shapes, and hardness.  Then she follows with the low down on the minimal basic tools, the additional fun and make-your-life-easier tools, and the basic techniques for wirework.

Corona Link by Cindy Wimmer
The second section is the heart of the matter: 9 easy, 10 moderate, and 11 more challenging links, in order of difficulty as I said before, so that you can work your way through in order.  You'll learn all the techniques easily that way, plus you'll find your own personal faves that you'll probably go back to over and over (my personal favorite is shown above - the Corona link on page 60).  Tips along the way help you to vary the designs to suit yourself.  I advise you to get some cheap copper wire and make all the samples for yourself, because there's nothing quite like seeing them "in real life" to help you decide on your own personal favorites.

The last section of the book includes 15 beautiful full projects by Cindy and other wire greats like Lori Anderson and Kerry Bogert.  My favorite of the finished pieces is actually the cover shot, which is called Sojourn By the Sea.  The designers show how the links can be used not just as chains, wonderful chains, but also as decorative elements, bails, and even as focals.  Each project features one or more already taught links, and the designers give the tips for customizing, so you could easily sub in your favorite links.

Season of Savings at Interweave Store

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Book review: Shaped Beadwork and Beyond

Diane Fitzgerald has been very prolific this year, and each volume has been better than the last!  My previous favorite is Shaped Beadwork, so I was thrilled to receive the new Shaped Beadwork and Beyond, published by Lark Books.  Forty new projects, not to mention variations too numerous to even count.

Diane again focuses on three-dimensional geometric peyote stitched shapes, taking basic shapes introduced in book one in lots of exciting new directions.  No matter how complex the projects seem, they are made up from component parts that are clearly illustrated and explained.

Look at that gorgeous star on the front cover...wouldn't you LOVE to have some of those on your Christmas tree this year?  There's still time...

After a chapter on the basics, Diane covers triangles, teardrops, beaded beads, bezels, pointed ovals, and concludes with a chapter full of miscellaneous three-dimensional projects for good measure!

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Yay for Alicia!

Congratulations to Alicia!  She is the winner of the box of acrylic display pieces from Achieve Display!!

Book review: Jewelry Photography

My friend Elaine Luther is a woman of many many talents.  You've seen her work featured here when we've devoted a month to metal clay.  In fact, her resource list is one of my most oft-consulted links that I return to time and again since metal clay is something that I only occasionally play with.

Well, Elaine has also compiled a wonderful resource for anyone who is dissatisfied with the state of their own jewelry photography.  We all know it's tough to photograph those small shiny objects, but we hate to think about putting out big bucks to hire a professional.  Elaine has advice for you to do it right all by yourself, and she even lists where you can get the materials you need.  And...I think she's nuts...her booklet is only 99 cents!  It is designed for a Kindle, but you can use the free version of the Cloud Reader and read it right on your desktop.  Check out Jewelry Photography: You Can Do It!  by Elaine Luther.  

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Giveaway: Glass pearls in bright red and green

I've got three strands of big, brightly colored glass pearls that I just know I am never going to use.  But maybe one of you would!  These came from Auntie's Beads a few years ago, and the Christmas colors caught my eye recently.  It's time to release them back into the world and see what happens!

***Giveaway Alert!!!***

What I've got is a strand of 16mm beads in green, a strand of 14mm beads also in green, and a strand of 14mm beads in red.  These are BIG beads...so who would like to have them?  Please read this carefully!  Leave me a comment here and include your email address.  If I don't see your email address, I won't be able to contact you.  No contact, no win, and I simply have to go on to the next person.  You are welcome to spell it out if you'd prefer, for example, cyndi at mazeltovjewelry dot com.  If you tweet or post on Facebook or other social spots about the contest, you can leave a second comment and be entered twice! Deadline: December 17, 2013

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Monday, December 09, 2013

"Christmas Memories" pendants

"Christmas Memories" pendant, larger than life size to show detail

The great thing about green computer circuit board is that there’s still so much of it sitting around, out of date and useless, just waiting to be made into something else. And since it’s already green, why not use it as the base for Christmas Trees? If you don’t happen to have any old circuit boards lying around your house, just ask your friends ~ you’ll probably have boards coming out your ears by the end of the week!

Materials & Tools
Green circuit board
Broken rhinestone and other jewelry, charms
Two-part epoxy
Hang tag with single hole
Jump ring
Sharpie pen
Jig saw or coping saw
Heavy-duty wire cutters
Mixing cup and stick for epoxy
Chain nose pliers

1. Cut a classic Christmas tree shaped triangle from the circuit board. You can create a paper pattern, draw the shape on the circuit board or just cut freehand. I like to gently round the bottom edge of my tree, but it’s slightly easier to cut it out straight. To cut these out, I have used both a jig saw and a hand-held coping saw with equal success. You might have to cut and pry off a few components to avoid dulling your saw, but it’s possible to cut right through just about everything if you have the right saw blade. Or if you’re willing to sacrifice it!

2. File all the cut edges of the circuit board.

3. Cut apart and file the edges of your broken jewelry. Rhinestones are particularly effective in creating sparkle, but don’t overlook more classic styles, including plain metal and thermoset plastic. Look for a piece that will simulate a tree trunk if you desire one, and be particularly careful in choosing the piece you use for the star on the top of your tree.

4. Move your pieces around until you achieve the layout that you want. You might want to do this on a paper pattern of your tree to make placement easier when it’s time to glue them.

5. You have a couple of options for adhering your jewelry pieces. Circuit board is very difficult to get most glues to stick to. They will seem to at first, but crack off a few days later. Two-part epoxy resin creates by far the most permanent bond. Mix up a small amount and use it to stick the jewelry bits onto the surface. Let it dry thoroughly overnight. E6000 can be used instead, but it is not as secure in the long term

6. After the front is dry, flip the tree over and epoxy a hangtag to the top of the back, with the hole extending up just over the top. Let it dry thoroughly. Slip a jump ring through the hole, a chain through the jump ring, and start thinking about what to do with all the rest of that circuit board!

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique

Copyright 2013 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.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Here's a collection of recent "beautiful losers" by Andrew.

Carmi's Art/Life World 
Phoomph. Not just for sewers. It is an ideal product for jewelers too!

Resin Crafts
A set of quilting themed rubber stamps create interesting jewels when you stamp them into resin clay!

Art Bead Scene
Check out this month's challenge piece - the vibrant Winter Landscape from Wassily Kandinsky. Brandi leads us through it's rich and saturated hues with her Palette post.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
 Interested in a beautiful jewelry design technique? Jean reviews Rebecca Ann Combs' book, Kumihimo. Basics & Beyond

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Thursday, December 05, 2013

It's not too early to start...

More ideas to make your holiday gift giving all handmade this year! Click tutorials to see the rest.

Leaf and vine earrings by Rena Klingenberg

Kidney wire earrings by Rings&Things

Copper bangels by Monsters Circus

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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Book review: Making Chain Mail

I have really fallen in love with Kalmbach's "The Absolute Beginners Guide" series, and the most recent addition is no exception.  Lauren Andersen has written Making Chain Mail Jewelry for the series, and if you've got chain maille on your list of techniques to master in 2014, this book is a great place to start.  Check out this statement by Kalmbach: "Open.  Close.  It's that easy!"  It is, yes, they are right.  But in Lauren's capable hands, you see how opening and closing jump rings can become an art form!

Crystal Cross bracelet
It's so easy to follow the instructions in this book.  The photos are very clear, and different colors are used in the basic instructions so that you can easily tell how the rings are being manipulated.  You will learn seven basic weaves and then use them to create 18 beautiful chain maille projects, some super-simple and some which will challenge you to move ahead.

So pick up your jump rings and two pair of pliers, and you'll be making chain maille jewelry in absolutely no time!

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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Yay for Nancy!

Congratulations to Nancy Varan!  She is the winner of Project: Necklaces!

Giveaway: Acrylic pieces from Achieve Display

1059 Acrylic Risers

In late October, I introduced you to a company that specializes in display pieces for jewelry businesses (as well as other industries), Achieve Display.  

1338 Winged Earring Display Holder   

1339 Slant back Earring Stand 
Next week, I am going to send out a package to some lucky winner which will include a set of the small clear acrylic risers shown at the top of the post, a set of 10 of the winged earring displays in black acrylic, and a set of 10 slant back earring displays, also in black!

***Giveaway Alert!!!***

Would you like to win this selection of display pieces?  Please read this carefully!  What we want to know from you is what jewelry or bead display piece you've looked for and have been unable to find.  Maybe it doesn't even exist yet.  Leave me your answer here and include your email address.  If I don't see your email address, I won't be able to contact you.  No contact, no win, and I simply have to go on to the next person.  You are welcome to spell it out if you'd prefer, for example, cyndi at mazeltovjewelry dot com.  If you tweet or post on Facebook or other social spots about the contest, you can leave a second comment and be entered twice! Deadline: December 10, 2013

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Monday, December 02, 2013

Hanukkah earrings

This pair of earrings is made in the traditional blues of Hanukkah, but when you see how easy they are to make, you might just want a pair in every color! The major materials you’ll need for these are paper and a disposable plate. You can choose scrapbooking paper, wrapping paper, or plain printer paper that you paint ~ I just recommend that you keep it lightweight. Your disposable plate can be either plastic (no foam) or the paper kind with the waxed finish.

Materials & Tools
Lightweight decorative paper
Acrylic paints (optional)
Paper or plastic disposable plate
Waxed paper
Liquid Laminate by Beacon
Silver leafing pen
Ear wires and jump rings
Sharpie pen
Cosmetic sponge
Awl or nail
Chain nose pliers

1. Gather all your materials and tools. If you are going to paint your own papers, do that now, or else gather three coordinated colored papers that you wish to use. I used a single sheet of scrapbook paper and added thin washes of acrylic paint to change the colors. The lightest colored piece was used for the backs, the darkest was used for the middles, and the medium colored piece for the tops.

2. Draw your shapes onto the backs of the papers. Cut them out.

3. Cut out the flat middle section of your plate. Place it on a piece of waxed paper with the waxy side of the plate down if it’s a paper plate. If it’s a plastic plate, it won’t matter which side is which. Spread a thin layer of Liquid Laminate onto the plate with a cosmetic sponge, and quickly stick down all your cut paper pieces, painted sides up. Let them dry and coat right over top of all your pieces with another thin layer. Let them dry thoroughly. The Liquid Laminate seals the papers with a crystal clear coating. Paint the back of the plate too if you wish, and once everything is dry, cut all the pieces out.

4. Use an awl or a nail to make a small hole at the top of each earring piece.

5. Run a silver leafing pen around the cut edges of each paper piece to give them a finished look.

6. Open your jump rings and slip on the papers in the proper order. Top with a charm. Attach the jump ring to the ear wires.

Copyright 2013 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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