Thursday, February 28, 2013

Beautiful Czech glass beads giveaway!

What a treat we have lined up for us!  My friend Ekaterina, who runs The Best Beads in the Czech Republic, has offered us a giveaway, plus...well an extra giveaway.  In fact, everybody who enters is going to win! 

First of all, 3 lucky people are going to win a selection of the beads shown above that Ekaterina sent to me.  Not quite all of them, because I'm going to using some to make a project to share with you in the future.  But I will be giving away most of them, for sure!

And're not going to believe this...EVERYONE who signs up to enter will receive a gift card from Ekaterina to use in her store!  How generous is that??


So here's what you need to do...please read this carefully, because only people who follow these instructions will be eligible to win.  And I want you all to win!  Visit The Best Beads and come back here to tell us what style of Czech beads you love the best.  Then sign your comment with your email address.  We will not be following links to find it; you must leave it here in your comment.  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: March 6, 2013

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Bead Journal Project: February 2013

February Cabochon, finished

So far so good on my plan to work on integrating bead weaving with bead embroidery this year! This month I worked on an embroidered form of brick stitch.  I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

In progress

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.

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Polymer clay tutorials from the archives

Here is the up-to-date list of the tutorials I have posted that involve polymer clay, including the three that I posted this month!

Making an assemblage style necklace

A polymer clay frame pendant

A textured polymer clay pendant

Polymer clay swirl necklace

Passion flower necklace

Simple polymer clay earrings

Silver leaf polymer clay cabochons 

Polymer clay frame necklace

Beaded polymer clay pendant

Jelly roll polymer clay cabochons

Patterned polymer clay cabochons

Polymer clay and nail polish head pins

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

I'm drowning in jewelry!

And so it's time for me to de-stash.  Sigh.  I hate to do it, but one of my New Year's resolutions was to find the top of my work table again.  Simply cleaning it off isn't going to do it this time.  My storage space (a very good sized chest of drawers dedicated to finished pieces) is overflowing.  So is the closet that houses my beads, tools, and other materials.  So is my personal collection of vintage pieces...

It's just ridiculous.  Before it gets to the point of hoarding, and I end up on some reality TV show, I decided that I needed to set up a Beading Arts Shop.  It's going to be a separate entity from the Beading Arts blog, but they will be connected by the tab links at the top of the page.

If there's a piece that I've made recently, or even years ago, it could very well end up there.  It's going to take quite some time for me to post them all, but if there's one you want, please know that there is only one.  However, the tutorial will also be linked there, if one exists, so it's also a good place for you to check and see if there's something you missed!     

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Art Bead Scene
Erin talks about using music for creative inspiration. 

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean is so excited by Issue 2 of Digital Beading Magazine! You have to see it to believe how beautiful it is! 

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Working with porcelain, Andrew creates some new pendants that are brightly colored and lots of fun! Jewelry Making
Lisa Niven Kelly has a new class over at and a way to get 50% off when you register for it. Read a review and then go sign up.  

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Update from polymer clay artist Ann Kruglak

Here on Beading Arts, we first came across Ann Kruglak and her gorgeous work in 2010.  You can read about Ann's earlier work here.  Her vision for what she wants to accomplish with her art has not changed, but she is busy making some fabulous new things these days that she has been gracious to share with us!

Ann writes:

I believe that everyone is intrinsically creative, and the variety and amazing strangeness of our dreams proves. We all dream, which at core is, a creative act. Dreams and their origin in the deep psyche have been central to my life path, and to my art which connects me to my spiritual center, and the greater Mystery of the universe. I treasure beauty (in nature and art and all its forms) as a gift that infuses my life with meaning, joy, wonder and gratitude. By creating art, I work to bring more beauty into the world, in hopes of sharing a sense of wonder and wholeness with others. I created Mystic Dreamer: Art for the Earth, as a service project, to donate 100% of proceeds to rainforest preservation (through WorldLandTrust and NatureAndCulture) as a way of giving back to the Earth. My deepest hope is that my art project will inspire others to bring their gifts of service into the world.

Visit me on Facebook for ongoing dialog on art, dreams, creativity and spirituality.  Visit my Etsy Shop for gifts and treats!

The Sacred Flame Teapot: This teapot is inspired by my connection to Pele (Hawaiian Goddess of volcanoes and fire) and Fire as a sacred element. I includes an element of the Phoenix which bursts into flame and re-creates itself periodically – and this teapot did just that. After winning 1st place in the IPCA Progress and Possibilities 2012 Sculptural Objects (Proficient Level), it broke, and has now been re-constructed into the Fire Jelly, a wall sculpture jelly fish (shown below).

Animal Clocks: These are a new line of creativity for me, that I’m having a wonderful time with. An Etsy customer who loved my clocks, and who is an animal lover commissioned the fish and parrot clocks for her home. Now I’m going on to additional animal forms, such as the chameleon (shown at the top of the post). I have great fun naming my clocks too: Dive Time, Squawk Clock, and my personal favorite, Iguana be a Great Day.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Yay for Kathryn!!

Congratulation to Kathryn, who writes Blue Ridge Diva!!  She is the winner of the gorgeous Mended Heart pendant made by Leslie Kill!

Book giveaway: Enlightened Polymer Clay

Would you like to own a copy of this book and see polymer clay in a whole new light?  If you'd like to know more, you can find my review of Enlightened Polymer Clay here. 

***Free Stuff Alert!!!***

Would you like to win a copy of Enlightened Polymer Clay?  Just leave me a comment below and you'll automatically be entered to win.  If you tweet or post on Facebook or other social spots about the contest, you can leave a second comment and be entered twice!

Please make sure that your link will lead me to an email address, or else I won't be able to contact you.  No contact, no win, and I simply have to go on to the next person.  Deadline: February 27, 2013

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Polymer clay artist: Shulamit Raanan

Artist: Shulamit Raanan 
Etsy shop: Shuli Designs
Facebook page: Shuli Designs

I live in Timrat, a small community in the lower Galilee, Israel, with my husband and three wonderful kids. I create in the fields of painting, ceramics, paper works and graphic design. In the last few years I am fascinated with Polymer clay's endless options of combine colors, shapes, designs and products, using mainly the Millefiori technique that combines various surface textures.

I am considered an addict.

I teach Art and Technology. I have a B.Ed. degree in Technology, Drama and Art and a Master's degree in Humanities.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Patterned polymer clay cabochons

I really enjoyed reading Julie Picarello's book Patterns in Polymer and looking at all the beautiful pictures, but I didn't think much more about it since I'm not a polymer person until Polymer Clay month came around again on Beading Arts!  How's that for motivation?  Now, when you see these crude cabochons and beads I made, please don't blame Julie...her work is exquisite, as you can see on the cover of the book.  And read my review; I've got a shot of some more of her work there.

But I was influenced by her methods, so I have to give her credit even though she will probably cringe if she sees these!  One of my main downfalls is that I didn't really follow her directions, and I certainly could have chosen nicer colors.  Also, I do not have a pasta machine, so my clay layers were very uneven.  Nonetheless, these were still a lot of fun to make, and I could see a lot of potential in the method.  And I will use them in a project, for sure!

1. I made a four colored stack of thin polymer sheets and imprinted them with several different tools.  Then I used my long thin razor cutter to slice off thin sheets to expose the patterns.  Many of these needed to be rolled out thinner since my cutting isn't very accurate.

2. Using scrap clay, I made some cabochon shapes in various sizes.

3. I used the patterned clay to top each cab.  See the tear in the front?  That had to be patched before baking. 

4. I used every single scrap of clay in this batch.  The "leftovers" became a few round beads.  Bake per manufacturer's directions.

5. These are some of my cabs, all baked and sanded, but not yet polished.

6. Future Floor finish makes them shine!

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, February 15, 2013

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up! Jewelry Making
A little bit of red can go a long way in any jewelry design.

Art Bead Scene
Guest blogger Kaushambi tells a fine tale through a whimsical selection of art beads, perfect for this month's challenge!  

Carmi's Art/Life World
A love for Downton Abbey has resulted in this statement necklace! 

Resin Crafts!
An experiment with quilled paper has resulted in several stunning resin filled bezels. 

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean writes all about her cool bead partner for the 7th BSBP hostessed by Lori Anderson!  

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Featuring the Pantone color of the year, Andrew creates a peyote stitch bracelet with a NEW button from Green Girl Studios.  

A Bead A Day
Looking for a way to remember your furry friend? How about making a doggie for your wrist?  

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Update from polymer clay artist Jackie Ryan

 A shield shaped gold setting holds a large faceted Pink Amethyst, 
strung with pink and dark Amethyst

Artist: Jackie Ryan
Kydo Jewellery
Kydo Jewellery blog

Ocean Jasper, is strung with Amethyst and Pearls

Jackie Ryan has shared her beautiful work with us before during polymer clay month, and it still amazes me that her pieces even are clay!  Don't they look like precious metal?  Jackie writes that all of the settings are cutaway at the back except in the case of opaque stones, so the gems stones get light shining through them.  Very clever!

A large faceted Smokey Quartz, with baby blue Turquoise drops, 
strung with Smokey Quartz and the Turquoise drops. 

 Madagascar Dendritic Agate with Carnelian cabs, 
strung with Jasper and Carnelian. 

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Giveaway: a Mended Heart

I can't believe how fortunate we are!  Leslie Kill, who was featured just yesterday, has offered to give away one of her fabulous Mended Hearts to a lucky reader!  That's it, right up there at the top.  I'm only sorry that you won't receive it in time for Valentine's Day, but heck, there's no wrong time to receive a Mended Heart, right?

Aunt Matilda’s Jewelry Box
Aunt Matilda's Jewelry Box on etsy   

***Giveaway Alert!!!***

Would you like to win this beautiful Mended Heart?  Just leave a comment below to tell Leslie and me what Valentine's Day means to you, and you'll automatically be entered to win.  If you tweet or post on Facebook or other social spots about the contest, you can leave a second comment and be entered twice!

Please make sure that your link will lead me to an email address, or else I won't be able to contact you.  No contact, no win, and I simply have to go on to the next person.  Deadline: February 20, 2013

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Polymer clay artist: Leslie Kill

Artist: Leslie Kill
Aunt Matilda’s Jewelry Box
Aunt Matilda's Jewelry Box on etsy   

I am a jewelry designer. I make handmade jewelry with a Vintage or Steampunk flair. Until last year, I was an artist disguised as a middle school science teacher. When my boss decided that I should be a reading teacher for the upcoming school year, I decided to let my inner artist out! I use polymer clay to make a product that I call Mended Hearts.

The idea behind the product is that each heart is mended with love. Once mended the heart is now stronger and has positive energy to ward off future heartbreak.

The Steampunk Mended Heart Pendant is handmade from metallic polymer clay and is signed on the back. I have carefully mended each heart by embossing the clay and adding a gears, rivets, zippers, springs, and crystals. Each heart measures approximately an inch and a half across and 2 inches in length. It hangs from an adjustable 18" black braided leather cord. A ball chain is available upon request. The Mended hearts are available in antique silver, gold/bronze and copper. Matching earrings are also available.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Happy Endings

 Arctic Frost

It's done, it's done, it's done!!  What a bittersweet feeling to have another major project finished and crossed off the ever-growing list!  Some Assembly Required is finished, and I am now able to launch the fourth and final chapter, Happy Endings.

New for 2016!!  Chapter 4 will be free with the purchase of the first three chapters, even if you don't buy them at the same time.  Upon confirming your purchase, I will email the final chapter to you at no extra cost!  Ok, the last chapter won't be an instantaneous download like the others, but I promise to send it to you just as quickly as I can :-)

If you've been following along as these chapters became available, you know that the book arose because of a change in my construction methods, where I moved from collar-style bead embroidered necklaces to a component approach that incorporated bead weaving, as you can see in the necklace above.  We've been following Arctic Frost from beginning to end, and now we're finally able to put all the finishing touches on it.  Happy Endings shows seven different ways to finish the edges of your pieces (with multiple variations), three ways to attach six different styles of neck straps, and five suggestions for clasps to finish the necklace in style.  The final bonus section of the chapter contains the step-by-step directions for exactly how I finished off Arctic Frost.

If you want a copy, you can see all of the chapters at the link for Some Assembly Required, or here is the direct link to purchase just this chapter if you'd like.  Happy Endings, 76 pages, $3.     

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Jelly roll polymer clay cabochons

Back when I reviewed Lori Wilkes's brilliant book, The Absolute Beginner's Guide Working with Polymer Clay (here's my review), she sent me images of my favorite project and challenged me to try making them.  Oh boy, have no idea just how rudimentary my skills really are!  Here is Lori's version (two-sided beads, turned into beautiful earrings):

Here is my version: flat, lack-luster slabs that are pretty darned pitiful.  And yet...

 The full-sized colored slab with the canes, uncut and unbaked

One baked piece, unglazed


And yet, you can tell what they are supposed to be!  I think if I tried it again, and especially if I actually followed the directions and used the right materials and tools, mine could turn out not completely horrible! 

I decided to make them one-sided, since I wanted cabochons for bead embroidery instead of earrings.  I also used Inktense acrylic ink pencils instead of alcohol inks, because that's what I've already got.  As you can see, I probably needed to cut the cane slices a LOT thinner in order to have the color show better.  In would also help to have a real cutter or two so that the shapes aren't so pathetic.  But I think my biggest mistake was in just leaving the slabs flat. 

Next time, instead of forming flat slabs, I will roll this sheet out thinner and use it as the topping for a domed cabochon, similar to the way I did in these Silver Leaf Polymer Clay Cabochons.

Photos 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, February 08, 2013

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!


A Bead A Day
Have you ever created a piece of jewelry and wondered if you went one bead too far? Stop by A Bead A Day to share YOUR story. Jewelry Making
Fernando Dasilva is this month's jewelry designer interviewee. 

Art Bead Scene
Take a peek at some gorgeous eye candy - a beautiful and inspiring treasury curated by Erin for this month's challenge.  

Resin Crafts!
Do not miss this post showing you how to embed vintage trims in resin!  

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean is so thrilled that Nina Designs is offering great new videos on how to make lovely and versatile jewelry. See her blog for an example she really liked!  

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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Polymer clay artist update: Dayle Doroshow

Versailles Blooms I: Dayle's series of flower brooches 
inspired by gardens at Versailles, skinner blends and millefiore

I am very happy to be able to bring you an update from Dayle, one of the most innovative polymer clay artists I know, again this year!  You can find features on her here on Beading Arts for both 2010 and 2011.

Artist: Dayle Doroshow
Dayle Doroshow
Dayle Doroshow blog

Fruit Burst- Brooch and pendant using Millefiore and applique

I'm very inspired by the time I spend in France in the summer teaching workshops there. The natural surroundings, the architecture, gardens, gorgeous food, colors,  light-  really get my creativity jump started.  I'm also still enjoying the exploration of fabric and polymer clay. I like to create a fabric wall collage and then design a piece of jewelry inspired by the collage. It's my sideways approach to designing polymer clay jewery. The collage might inspire the shape, the color palette, the imagery, or maybe just a feeling or mood.

Versailles Bloom II: a series of flower brooches inspired 
by gardens at Versailles, skinner blends and millefiore


Red Hat- fabric collage

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Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Polymer clay books

Even though I don't work with polymer clay very much, I love love love reading about it!  Go figure :-)

Here is a list of all the books on polymer clay for which I've written reviews.

Making Polymer Clay Beads

Polymer Clay Beads

Ancient Modern Polymer Clay and Wire

Patterns in Polymer

Jewelry Designs from Nature

Enlightened Polymer Clay

The Absolute Beginners Guide: Working with Polymer Clay

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