Friday, February 28, 2014

heART beats from other blogs!

#Durathon Iron Giveaway!
An iron is used for everyday house chores, but it is also an important tool for many needlework crafters. Find out how you can win an awesome new Hamilton Beach Durathon irong.

Mixed Media Artist
Check out how you can use dryer sheets to "paint" a quilt!

Cinnabar Chinese Lantern Earrings & Necklace
Eileen set out to make a set of jewelry for Valentine's Day. When she went to her red bead stash, her eyes locked on some beautiful red carved cinnabar beads just perfect for the design she had in mind anyway!

A Bead A Day
Ever been to sunny Beadland? Lisa shares details of her recent trip...Is this the real life or is this just fantasy?

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean writes a poem about (what else?) jewelry making as she participates in a fun 30 word blog hop created by Erin Prais-Hintz

Anniversary Quilt: Middles and Ends
Cherie continues working on her quilt project.

Carmi's Art/Life World
How to turn a group of brooches into a necklace!

Resin Crafts Blog
How to make a mold with a half doll body.

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Book review: The Jewelry Maker's Design Book - an alchemy of objects

Inspiring is the word you will hear used time and again when people talk about Deryn Mentock's new book, The Jewelry Maker's Design Book.  First, I want to tell you what this book is not, so that you don't end up buying it under false impressions: it is not a book with projects that you'll be able to easily duplicate exactly.  It's very unlikely that you'll be able to (or even necessarily want to) find exact replicas of all the objects Deryn uses.  You may find that frustrating, especially if you're a beginner to mixed media and found object jewelry, but that's just the facts.  If you don't care for Deryn's preference for religious imagery, you won't want to use the same objects in any case.

There, you've been warned.  Now I can tell you all the great things that this book is!  It is an extension of Deryn's journal, a closer look at what she does and how she does it, the creative process that she follows to make her beautiful found object pieces.  If you are a fan of the look of Deryn's work, you're going to love love love this book.  There's a lot to be learned her, especially through the journal notes and tips that she includes with each project.  If you're familiar with Quarry Books, the publisher, you already know about the beautiful photography and high quality of their books.

One of the major issues with found object jewelry is how the heck to hook everything together once you've decided where it all goes.  Just reading through the projects with an open mind will have you saying, "Well, of course!! Duh!!"  That's the real beauty of it...all the pieces are so well thought out and beautifully constructed.

Everyone has read about the elements and principles of design, but Deryn tells you how they actually relate to jewelry making.  Her advice in this area applies to more than just mixed media or found object jewelry, as does her insistence on practicing technique to achieve perfect workmanship in your pieces.  So true...nothing can spoil the look of a found object piece more quickly than sloppy attachments.  Many basic techniques are covered before the project section begins, so never fear if you are new to all of this.  

So, I will close with this: if you like the look of Deryn's work and are able to keep an open mind about what objects YOU would choose to work with, I think you will really value and learn from this book.

This post contains an affiliate link.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The best books on fiber and fabric beading

Most bead embroidery is stitched onto fabric of some sort, even if it's only interfacing, so I decided to steer away from that topic for this list.  Instead, you'll find books in which the fabrics and fibers take a more active role!

Visual Guide to Art Quilting by Lindsay Conner

Joyful Daily Stitching, Seam by Seam by Valerie Bothell

Micro-Macrame Jewelry by Kelsy Eason

The Embroidery Book by Christen Brown

Sensational Soutache Jewelry Making by Csilla Papp

Kumihimo Jewelry Simplified by Rebecca Ann Combs

DIY Wrap Bracelets by Keiko Sakamoto

Fiber & Cord Jewelry by Ashley Bunting

Bead Crochet Basics by Candice Sexton

Micro-Macrame Basics and Beyond by Raquel Cruz

Beautiful Leather Jewelry by Melissa Cable

Kumihimo Basics and Beyond by Rebecca Ann Combs

Soutache by Anneta Valious

Sweet and Simple Jewelry by Aimee Ray

Exploring Dimensional Quilt Art by C June Barnes

The Beaded Edge by Nidori Nishida

Tapestry Bead Crochet by Ann Benson

Celtic Knots for Beaded Jewellery by Suzen Millodot

Felt, Fabric, and Fiber Jewelry by Sherri Haab

Fabulous Fabric Beads by Kristal Wick

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Bead Journal Project: February 2014

Well, I didn't manage to completely finish my Bead Journal Project piece for February, but since my goal is to make larger pieces for it this year, I'm not really concerned about churning out one each month.  What I really want to do is to explore some of the possibilities of mixing the stitches that I wrote about in my e-book Bored By Back Stitch.  Each of the necklace components shown above use at least two (most use three or more) of the beadweaving stitches that I adapted for bead embroidery.  I'm enjoying experimenting with putting them together in different combinations: African helix with chevron, Russian spiral with herringbone, right angle weave with peyote...on and on we go!  Back stitch and stack stitch appear too, of course, along with edging brick stitch, which I use to attach the fabric backing to each piece. 


Copyright 2014 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 21, 2014

heART beats from other blogs!

Mixed media quilt project
Cherie continues the middle squares of her anniversary quilt.

Crocheting and Playing
Tammy takes a look at a relatively new book from Running Press that has some adorable baby and young children's projects.

Carmi's Art/Life World
There is a truly exciting way to create a scarf that does not require you using knitting or crochet needles. Take a peak at what you can make with water soluble stabilizer.

Mixed Media Artist
Dryer sheets? DRYER SHEETS?? Yup...they're great!

Snap out it,Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews the fascinating jewelry design book, Soutache & Bead Embroidery by Amee K. Sweet-McNamara

Charlene Sevier Jewelry
Yes, you too can learn to solder and make gorgeous jewelry using techniques traditionally used to make stained glass. Charlene reviews a book that shows you how.

Downton Abbey Inspired Earrings & Bracelet
Truth be told, the set wasn't inspired by Downton Abbey. The earrings were inspired by a moonstone ring for which Eileen couldn't find matching earrings. The bracelet was a recycling project of a filigree link removed to tighten a belt. But don't they look quite Edwardian?

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Stamping on metal, Andrew created a series of pendants that have a positive message with the newsprint letter set from ImpressArt.

Art Bead Scene
Have you always wanted to try Kumihimo? Try out guest blogger Ema Kilroy's handy tutorial for combining Kumihimo and art beads!

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fiber and fabric beading tutorials

Twisted ribbon necklace

In some of these projects, fiber or fabric is the main component, while in others it serves as a strap or a backdrop.  Not all of the tutorials are for jewelry either...

Crocodile stitch hat and gloves

Honeycomb stitch scarf

Crocheted scarves

Freeform crochet samples (no beads used)
More...part two  And part three

Sandcast beads Boho necklace

Freshwater pearls stitched bracelet

A crocheted bead bracelet for summer

A Shamballa bracelet with larger beads

Leather bracelet with oval links

Turquoise bead embroidered soft cuff bracelet

Mini-Shamballa bracelets

Shamballa bracelets with ribbon and cupchain

Beaded wrap bracelets

3D pyramid form

3D orb form

Spring ribbon necklace with beaded beads

3D crescent form

Boot toppers

3D circle form

Pretty As You Please bracelet

Metal mesh bead embroidered necklace

Twisted ribbon necklace

Shibori silk wild rose necklace

Making shibori flowers and leaves

Double-wrapped ribbon bracelet

Wrap beaded bracelets

Shibori silk flowers and beads

Bead yourself a happy bracelet

Necklace with soutache braid trim

Soutache experiments

Autumn Woods

A twisted peyote spiral necklace

Bead embroidered cuff bracelet

How to make beaded buttons

In Winter, My Garden Dreams

A brass wire flower necklace

Beaded turtles

Beaded turtles, an update

A sequined and beaded quilt

My TAST quilt

Drum Beat

Fibers, Fabrics, and Beads

Ethiopian Crosses necklace

Glass pendant 

Fishing for Trout necklace

Tape measure bracelet

Bead embroidered heritage necklace

Reworked earrings and bracelet

Sunlit Seas necklace

Fun in the Sun necklace

Copper bead necklace

Fashionable tassels necklace

Crocheted bead bracelets

Aegean Seas

Crocheted fiber-wrap necklace

V-pendant necklace

Finger-woven resin necklace

Knotted turquoise necklace

Ribbon cuff bracelet

Wire and ribbon necklace

Wild caterpillar bracelet

Sublime Spring bracelet

Fabric flower necklace

Fabric flower necklace with zing

Wool roving necklace

Turquoise finger-woven necklace

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The best books on making beads

Do you want to make beads from one medium or from many?  Here are the best books in each category to help you learn to make the beads of your dreams!

The Complete Book of Glass Beadmaking by Kimberley Adams

Glass Bead Workshop by Jeri Warhaftig

Making Metal Beads by Pauline Warg

Making Polymer Clay Beads by Carol Blackburn

Polymer Clay Beads by Grant Diffendaffer

Ancient Modern Polymer Clay and Wire Jewelry by Ronna Sarvas Weltman

Ceramic Bead Jewelry by Jennifer Heynen

Fabulous Fabric Beads by Kristal Wick

The Art of Metal Clay by Sherri Haab

Metal Clay Beads by Barbara Becker Simon

Pure Silver Metal Clay Beads by Linda Kaye-Moses

Creating Extraordinary Beads from Ordinary Material by Tina Casey

Monday, February 17, 2014

Necklace with soutache braid trim - part one

Last week, I showed you some of my practice exercises that I went through in order to be able to work more smoothly with soutache braid.  I won't say that I've arrived, but I'm more comfortable with it than I was a few weeks ago.  That said, I have to admit that I didn't really enjoy working with soutache that much and most likely won't be making a lot more pieces with it.  But we'll see!

I decided to keep my new necklace very simple in construction, since the motifs are a bit complicated.  Each one of the seven uses a different bead weaving stitch in a bead embroidery form.  You might recognize these as the pieces that I made for the Bead Journal Project last year, which led to my e-book, Bored By Back Stitch.

So here's how I put the necklace together:

After I decided how the beaded motifs would be arranged, I began to work on how to wrap and soutache braids.  I found markers to be very helpful in plotting out the path of the braids.

I cut pieces of soutache that were much longer than I thought I'd need, and used some Fray Check on the ends.

As I discussed last week, it is easiest to stitch one layer of soutache on first and then follow it with the others.  My beaded pieces are all finished with edging brick stitch (instructions available in first chapter of Every Bead Has a Story, free), so I anchored the thread and worked from the bottom middle of the central motif and the middle of the braid, up to the top, using pins to mark my place.

Stitch on the additional layers, making sure that the grain of the braids all runs in the same direction.

Here's what it looks like from the front.

Add a bead at the top and wrap with one layer of braid first, following up with the other layers.

I wrapped and stitched my way up one side first, using my paper plan to make sure that I attached each new motif in the right place.

In a few weeks, part two!  Sorry, but next week I need to interrupt to show you the new piece I'm working on for the Bead Journal Project, February 2014.

Soutache braid experiments
Part one
Part two
Part three

Copyright 2014 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 14, 2014

heART beats from other blogs!

Postcard: Thanks to the Lord
Cherie works on postcard art for June's mail exchange.

Mixed Media Artist
Maleficent the Dragon is joining Disney's theme park parade this spring, and Cyndi's daughter had (more than one) hand in helping to construct her!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean has a giveaway of a fantastic book, Simple Soldered Jewelry & Accessories by Lisa Bluhm ! Comment on her blog and get a chance to win this classic! It is truly a terrific book!

Resin Crafts Blog
This week I had an opportunity to experiment with a new medium, Powertex, which allowed me to turn crocheted doilies into bezels I can pour resin into.

Carmi's Art/ Life
There is nothing like a fabulous bezel to inspire an equally fabulous felted collar.

Take 2
When you don't succeed the first time, try again! That includes crafting of course.

Chipboard Heart Bracelet and Earrings
Eileen made this heart jewelry set with Valentine's Day in mind, but loved it so much, she wore it early. Her friends asked where they could get one. She said, "Make your own." Eileen wasn't being snide or nasty. These are fun and inexpensive to make. Check it out!

A Bead A Day
Tweet Me Valentine! Lisa found the cutest group of charms that are perfect for Valentine's Day.

The Writing an Art of Andrew Thornton
Happy Valentine's Day! To celebrate, Andrew created some polymer clay heart pendants.

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bead making tutorials

Here are some tutorials that will help you get started in the limitless art of bead making.  The first group are written by other artists, and since I don't enjoy reinventing the wheel, I'm sending you straight to the experts!  The second group are tutorials that I have written over the years that explore some simple ways to make your own beads in various media.

Resources from elsewhere:

An excellently photographed introduction to the steps involved in making lampworked beads.

Polymer Clay Central
Lessons, projects, and instructions from some of the finest polymer artists, all gathered in one place.

The Polymer Clayspot
Frequently asked questions about what it is and how to use it.

Wig Jig Wire Beads
A few lessons and many supplies for making twisted wire beads.

Metal Clay Academy
Everything you'll need to know.

All Things Metal Clay
More resources than you'll ever have time to read through!

Beads of Clay
Celebrating the world of ceramic bead artists. Artists working together to promote the art form.

Ceramic Bead Artists
Tutorials for both the beginner and the more experienced artist.

My tutorials:

How to make Pandora style beads with resin (guest post)

Lampwork bead tutorials

Dutch spiral

Cellini spiral beaded beads

Brick stitch beads

Peyote stitching a simple beaded bead

Making a two-drop peyote stitched bead

Making a beaded bauble

My favorite styles of lampwork glass beads to make

A mixed media Chinese fortune beads

Copper tube beads with patina

Roll-up fabric beads and wire beads

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Book review: Marcia DeCoster Presents

And just when you find yourself in need of some major inspiration, along comes number two in the Lark Books series "Spotlight on Beading": Marcia DeCoster Presents - Interviews with 30 beaders on inspiration and technique.  Do you remember my review for the first in the series, Suzanne Golden Presents?  Well, this volume is another of those WOW books that I just couldn't put down.  Marcia has been incredibly prolific herself this past year, and now this time you get to sit back and enjoy the work of other artists that she has specifically chosen to showcase, not only for their beautiful work, but also for their ability to communicate their inspirations and methods.

Fairy Ladder by Cynthia Newcomer Daniel
Like the first in the series, this is not a how-to book, but it will certainly set you running off for your needle, thread, and beads, unable to resist trying out a little something or other that hits you between the eyes as you read.  I can't pick favorites, it's just so unfair.  However, there are a few that I've become more familiar with lately, such as Cynthia Newcomer Daniel and Nancy Dale, because they are participating in the Bead Journal Project that I do each year.  It's a thrill to see such talented people honored with a spot in Marcia's book.

Dryad by Nancy Dale

One major difference between this book and Suzanne Golden's is that Marcia has chosen artists who all work with seed beads.  Some of them work with other materials as well, but seed beads are primary for all but one or two of them.  And jewelry is a primary for most as well, as opposed to non-wearables.  So if you love seed beads, or you just like to admire them, make sure you get to see this stunning book!

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The best books on jewelry design

Are you ready to take the next step and begin designing jewelry for yourself?  It can be a bit daunting when you first get started, but don't let that stop you!  If you need a bit of bolstering, these book reviews will help you pick the support that's best for you:

Learn to Make Bead Jewelry by Lynn Davy

Crafter's Guide to Patterns by Jessica Swift

Stylish Jewelry Made Simple by BeadStyle Magazine

The Beader's Guide to Jewelry Design by Margie Deeb

The Jewelry Maker's Design Book: an alchemy of objects by Deryn Mentock

The Beader's Color Palette by Margie Deeb

The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Jewelry Making Techniques by Vannetta Seecharran

Jewelry & Beading Designs for Dummies by Heather Dismore & Tammy Powley

Vintage Jewelry Design: Classics to Collect and Wear by Caroline Cox

The Penland Book Series

Push: Jewelry by Lark Books

Multistrand Jewelry by Bead Style Magazine

My e-books on innovative mixed media bead embroidery techniques
Chapter one of the first book is free

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Soutache experiments

Two weeks ago, I showed you a piece that I made for the Bead Journal Project (shown above) that uses soutache braid in its construction.  Next week I'm going to start showing you how I put the piece together, but I felt that I needed to show you some of the basic skills first.

Soutache isn't hard to work with, but it does take care and patience to get it to come out right.  I suggest that before you dive headfirst into a big project, that you practice first.  The best book that I've found is Soutache, and it shows in beautiful glorious detail how to do the stitching.

Some of my own tips follow:

1.  Practice wrapping the soutache braids around beads in different directions.  Stitch your bead to the inner layer of soutache alone first, and then stitch on the additional layers.  Yes, I know that it takes longer this way, but it will save you from uneven stitching and needing to rip out work.  See how my braids do not line up perfectly in the middle?  This is the very first stack I ever stitched, and they can be a bit slippery!  As I practiced, I did get better!

2. Practice stitching beads between layers of braid.  Even though I didn't use this technique in my necklace, it's a very useful skill that I see in lots of soutache projects.  Again, it will probably work best for you if you stitch on the inner layers first and then add the other layers.

3. Not covered in the Soutache book, here is a technique that I decided I needed to practice.  Using a bead embroidered piece that has been finished with edging brick stitch, stitch it to a stack of soutache braids, first to the inner layer and then adding the others.  Each stitch will go down through one of the edging beads and up through the next.  This is the technique that I used the most in my finished necklace, which I'll share starting next week!

Soutache braid experiments
Part one
Part two
Part three
Copyright 2014 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 07, 2014

heART beats from other blogs!

Anniversary Quilt - The Middles
Cherie works on the middle squares of her mixed media quilt project.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews a great jewelry book compiled by Karin Van Voorhees: STYLISH JEWELRY YOUR WAY. There is even a super DVD which comes along with it! You will love it!

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi FINALLY got around to finishing up a photo quilt that she started...years ago!

Art Bead Scene
Check out this month's new challenge artwork - The Rose Garden by Paul Klee. You will not fail to be inspired!

Craft Instantly
 For those who love immediate gratification type projects, this new book published by Ulysses Press gives you lots of fast and easy crafting options.

Stamped Valentine's Day Card Tutorial
Hurry! You still have time to make a few of these for your loved ones.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew was recently interviewed by Jennifer VanBrenschoten for Beading Daily. The article is the first in a series called, "Boys Who Bead". Check it out!

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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Book review and giveaway: Beautiful Leather Jewelry

Have you ever considered leather as a jewelry-making material?  I mean, aside from using it occasionally for a necklace strap or rawhide bracelet?  Whether you've thought about it or not, you might be interested to know that Melissa Cable has been doing a lot more than thinking.  In fact, she's written a new book, Beautiful Leather Jewelry just for those who've been looking for something new.

Before my copy of this book arrived, I found myself thinking, "Ok, fine.  Some rustic looking jewelry (which I like, by the way) and some stuff made from leather straps.  Whatever."  I want to tell you I was totally wrong.  Oh yeah, some of the projects are rustic looking, but many are elegant, classic, ethnic, and even futuristic.  I'm not joking.  There is a necklace that looks like something out of a Star Wars adventure.

As much as you'll be tempted to jump right into the projects, I would definitely suggest reading through the introductory material first.  Most of us don't know as much about leather as we'll need to in order to get the most out of our making time.  Then, it's on to cuffs, pendants, collars, rings, necklaces, earrings, and even BEADS!  Yup, my life is now complete :-)


Would you like to win a free copy of this book? Here's what you need to do...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: February 12, 2014  

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Monday, February 03, 2014

Winter Dreams bracelet

When I saw a bead mix assortment packet in wintery shades of blue and white, I knew that I had to make something from the lovely mix. Since I am always working with my hands, making stuff, writing about it, or cooking, I really can't wear jangley bracelets that move too freely, so I figured out a way to combine the solidity of a cuff with the fun of a chain charm bracelet. End of problem! Lots of movement, but not flopping about uncontrollably.

Materials & Tools: 
Bead mix packet in color scheme of your choice, approximately 75 to 100 grams
18 twisted leaf pendants, color to match beads
9 inches 16 gauge sterling silver wire
7 ½ inch sterling silver flat curb chain bracelet
Approximately 70 jump rings
30 head pins, 2 inch
Giant lobster claw clasp
Ball peen hammer
Wire cutters
Round nose pliers
Flat nose pliers
Measuring tape

1. Cut a piece of 16 gauge wire to 9 inches. Flatten the last ¼ inch on both ends of the wire with the ball peen hammer. File the edges to round and smooth them.

2. Create a gentle bend 1 inch from each end. Using the round nose pliers, curl the the end into the beginnings of a spiral, with the flattened end flat against the outer curve. Remove the clasp from the chain bracelet, and attach one end to the closed loop with a jump ring.

3. Create an identical curl on the other end of the wire. Wrap the bracelet loosely around the wire cuff and attach it to the other loop with a jump ring. Form the bracelet into a cuff shape with your hands or around a mandrel.

4. Hang 18 twisted leaf pendants from 2 jump rings each. Space 9 of them evenly along the bracelet, and anchor them through the chain and also around the wire with the top jump ring to keep the chain from untwisting. Hang the second set of 9 leaves from the pendant wire of each of the first set so that they dangle down lower.

5. Make 30 dangles from the bead mix assortment. Close each with a wrapped loop. Divide them up and space them out so that there are 3 dangles between the first two leaves on each side, and 4 dangles between each of the rest of the leaves. Use jump rings to attach them to the chain, also occasionally going around the cuff wire too.

6. Attach the large lobster claw clasp to one loop of the cuff, using enough jump rings to make the bracelet fit your wrist comfortably.

Copyright 2014 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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