Monday, March 31, 2014

Bead Journal Project: March 2014

I told you last month that I was not able to finish the piece that I started for February, so it became my challenge piece for February AND March.  I'd rather do it right than do it fast and sloppy :-)

The real challenge was that I wanted to mix together as many of the stitches that I developed for Bored By Back Stitch as possible, without making it look like I was trying too hard.  My decision was to go for symmetry in the middle component, and then to stitch six more that would match each other for size, but would vary in shape, texture, and color.  My three main colors, which you can see a bit better in the detail shots below, are turquoise, purple, and copper.  Each of the smaller components features two of these colors, always with turquoise.

I'm pleased, but not thrilled.  I want to make another piece similar to this and see if I can work up some different ways to combine the stitches.  I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm already getting bored by these stitches, but...well, you know!  I'm starting to think that there may be a second chapter that I need to write for Bored By Back Stitch, specifically about combining the stitches.  What do you think?



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, March 28, 2014

heART beats from other blogs!

Mixed Media Artist
The weaving technique that Cyndi used in an art quilt was successful enough for her to try it again...and see if she can get it right this time!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Review by jean and GIVEAWAY as well of the stunning book, 1000 BEADS, Kristina Logan, Juror ! see Jean's blog!

Eggs in Nest Beaded Charm Bracelet 
Three blue-speckled eggs nestled in a wire-wrapped charm make a great focal charm. This bracelet features three nests. Click for directions. There are matching earrings as well.

Carmi's Art/Life World
I wanted to share this special blog hop I coordinated with 12 different designers. All their projects are so unique and different! They received Neo Chain from Dazzle-it come to play with.

Resin Crafts Blog
This is part one of a three part post which focuses on containing resin in a flat wire wall.

Crochet Kit Giveaway
Enter to win an super, uber ad-or-able Wizard of Oz crochet kit!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
There's a NEW metal clay in town! White CopprClay! Andrew shares his experiences working with the latest innovation in this versatile medium.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Yay for Ana!

 Ana, who writes AC Beads, has just won a copy of the new book Mastering Herringbone Stitch,  Congratulations Ana!

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The best books for innovative bead stringing

Need some more inspiration?  Any of these books will be welcome additions to your library!

Classic Style, Fresh Look by Irina Miech

Making Elegant Jewelry by the Editors of BeadStyle magazine

Simply Stylish Crystal Jewelry by the Editors of BeadStyle magazine

Multistrand Jewelry by the Editors of BeadStyle magazine

Project Necklaces by the Editors of BeadStyle magazine

Necklaceology by Candie Cooper (review)

Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry by Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel (review)

The Venetian Glass Bead by Kathy Fox (review)

Jewelry Designs from Nature by Heather Powers (review)

Create Jewelry - Glass by Marlene Blessing and Jamie Hogsett (review)

Designing Jewelry with Semiprecious Beads by Kim Gover (review)

Jewelry & Beading Designs for Dummies by Heather Dismore and Tammy Powley (review)

Ancient Modern Polymer Clay and Wire Jewelry by Ronna Sarvas Weltman (review)

Beading In No Time by Linda Peterson (review)

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Chain maille earrings tutorial

I'm not a real afficionado of chain maille, but once in awhile it's really fun to dabble in, especially when you can whip up a fast and easy (and super-cute) pair of earrings in almost no time!  I'm not sure exactly what you would call this pattern of linking your jump rings: it is either a simple 1 x 1 chain with extra loops added to every other link, or it's a 3 x 1 chain without the second attachment for the outer rings of each 3.

Does anyone know if this pattern has an official name?

Anyway, it's easy to do, as I said, and you can be wearing new earrings in an hour.

Materials and Tools

Pair of silver earring wires
26 Twisted jump rings (20 gauge, 8 mm)
14 drops or charms

2 pair of chain nose pliers

1. For each earring, pick up a drop on 6 jump rings, and close the rings.

2. Starting with 1 open jump ring with an ear wire on it, pick up 3 closed jump rigns, the outer ones with crops and the middle one plain.

3. Use an open jump ring to pick up the next three jump rings as in step 2, and attach it to the middle plain jump ring from that step.

4. Repeat step 3.  You can repeat as many times as you want to make the earrings longer, but I like them just a couple of inches long.

5. Add one more jump rign to the bottom, with a drop attached.  Make the other earring the same way.

As regards FTC disclosure guidelines: I have received some of the above products free of charge from Fire Mountain Gems in order to write a review and/or create a project free of charge for you.   

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.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Book review: 1000 Beads

Ok, big disclaimer...I have a piece in this book, so of course it's going to be hard for me to be objective about it!  So what?

1000 Beads, compiled by juror Kristina Logan for Lark Books, is full of the inspirational work that you've come to expect from this series.  Traditional and alternative materials are both represented here: glass, porcelain, polymer clay, fibers, seed beads, colored pencils, bone, metals, stones, fabric, wood, leather, and in my case, antique plumbing fixtures.

Last year, a few months before the call went out from Lark, I had made a series of beads that I called Not Found in Nature, which were built on old plumbing parts that I found in the attic and basement of our Victorian home.  If you visit the link, it will show you three beads from the series, but I'm not going to tell you which one was accepted :-)

Friday, March 21, 2014

heART beats from other blogs!~

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean writes about the 8th Bead Soup Blog Party hosted by Lori Anderson and what she received from her super wonderful partner Jen Purple--wow!!!

Mixed Media Artist
Here's a quick, easy, and useful project you can do with your scrap papers...scrap magnets!

Get Hopping!
The Crafty Princess participated in a fun Dazzle-It blog hop. See what she cooked up with the jewelry supplies they sent her.

A Creative Dream
June is celebrating the arrival of spring by giving away a bouquet of flowers!

Preserving Memories: Creating "This is Cartegena" Digital Scrapbook Paper
The instant Eileen saw this graffitied wall in the old city of Cartagena, she said to her husband, "I could make a scrapbook paper of that!" Then she snapped away.

Felt Peep Bunnies
Cherie shares some Peep bunnies she made out of felt.

Carmi's Art/Life Blog
With my collection of vintage linens finally sorted and displayed I made some time to make a new necklace featuring the embroidery from one tablecloth.

Resin Crafts Blog
With a week of posts featuring Nunn Design new components it was hard to choose a favorite, but this pearl filled bezel does stand out.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
To celebrate National Craft Month, Fusion Beads is hosting a month-long challenge! Get an overview of what Andrew has made for the first fifteen days! (And play along if you're game!)

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Book review and giveaway: Mastering Herringbone Stitch

Mastering Herringbone Stitch
By Melinda Barta
Interweave/F+W Media; $18.49

Did you know that herringbone stitch is the second most popular beadweaving technique?  I didn't either, but according to Melinda Barta, editor of Beadwork Magazine, and author of the new Interweave book Mastering Herringbone Stitch, it is!  After looking through this volume, I can see why.

Melinda has included a really introductory section in case you are brand new to beadweaving.  The meat of the books is arranged by increasing complexity, first covering flat herringbone, and then moving on through circular, tubular, and spiral variations.  The projects are wonderful, from the simplest beginner flat band bracelet to the most complicated twisting delight.  Seven beadweaving superstars join Melinda in contributing projects.  And you'll really like this...the project resources are listed in the back.  Yay!

My favorite project is Jill Wiseman's "Rolling in the Deep" bracelet, shown above.  Aren't they gorgeous?  I decided that I wanted to try at least one little sample, just to make sure that the instructions were as easy to follow as I thought they looked.  Yup, they are very straightforward.  I stitched up the little double helix sample shown below in size 11/0 and 8/0 seed beads in absolutely no time.


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: March 26, 2014  

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The best books on metal clay

Metal Clay 101 for Beaders by Kristal Wick
How to make focals and findings that will integrate with your current beading style.

Irina's Metal Clay Collection for Beaders by Irina Miech
Irina's favorite projects in metal clay.

Metal Clay and Color compiled by Mary Wohlgemuth
The missing element for metal clay...up till now!

The Absolute Beginners Guide to Making Metal Clay Jewelry by Cindy Thomas Pankopf
My new favorite beginner's guide.  Love it.  

Metal Clay Origami Jewelry: 25 Contemporary Projects by Sarah Jayne Cole
Not for beginners!  The next new big thing?

Metal Clay Fusion by Gordon Uyehara
The most gorgeous advanced work you'll ever see.

Silver and Bronze Clay by Hadar Jacobson
A wonderfully inspiring book from one of the pioneers of BronzClay work

Sculptural Metal Clay Jewelry by Kate McKinnon 
An amazing book by a master jeweler

Bronze Metal Clay by Yvonne Padilla
A technique and project book for beginners.

Picture Yourself Creating Metal Clay Jewelry by Tammy Powley
Disclaimer: one of my projects is in this book, so of course I'm biased. I also think it is an excellent beginner's book which will answer practically any question you have about working with low-fire silver clay...a huge bonus if you don't have a kiln!

Pure Silver Metal Clay Beads by Linda Kaye-Moses
Wonderful step-by-step projects.

Enameling on Metal Clay by Pam East
Learn how to add a whole new dimension of color to your metal clay projects.

Metal Clay and Mixed Media Jewelry by Sherri Haab
How to combine this magical material with everything from resin and concrete to fibers and polymer clay.

Metal Clay Beads by Barbara Becker Simon
A highly rated book by a highly rated author. 

The Art of Metal Clay by Sherri Haab
Artist and instructor Sherri Haab demonstrates metal clay’s remarkable versatility, showing how it can be textured, molded, carved, and sculpted to create gorgeous beads.

Metal Clay Magic by Nana Mizushima
Packed with color photos showing each step of working with metal clay. Covers more than just beads, but has lots of techniques that can be used in making beads.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Mixed media earrings tutorial

The earring blanks that I received from Fire Mountain Gems have a channel around the outside, and there are two small holes at each end of the channel.  These holes, along with the super-fine wire I received allowed me to anchor the wrapping wire at each end.  Not exactly what the blanks were designed for, but they worked perfectly.  I made these fuzzy beaded tooty-frooty earrings in less than an hour!

Materials and Tools 
Channel hoop earring blanks
Decorative yarn, ribbon, or fibers
MicroWrap steel wire
Delica seed beads
Rubberized faceted glass accent beads
Wire cutters
4 alligator clips

1. Wrap the earring blanks with fibers and hold at the ends with alligator clips.  A dab of glue is fine, but unnecessary.

2. Cut about 12" of wire and thread one end through the 2 holes at one end of an earring blank.  Wrap several times around the top of the blank and the fibers to secure, wrapping over top of the short end of the wire.

3. Add seed beads and accent beads to the wire and wrap around the blank to the opposite end.  Thread the wire through the 2 holes at that end and wrap to secure, tucking in the wire end.

4. Wrap the other earring in a similar fashion.

As regards FTC disclosure guidelines: I have received some of the above products free of charge from Fire Mountain Gems in order to write a review and/or create a project free of charge for you. 
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.

Etsy Bead Embroidery Guild

My friend Carolyn Turner Pappe recently shared with me about her international bead embroidery group, which started in 2011 on Etsy, the Etsy Bead Embroidery Guild.  If you are involved with Etsy, the easiest way for you to find them and see what they're doing is to type "EBEG team" into the search bar, and the results will pull all of the work from the team members' separate shops.  You can also find them through the "Community" search, typing "Bead Embroidery Guild" into the "teams" search.

Carolyn writes:
Our current goal is to create a website which is in the beginning stages, and we also have a blog and a facebook page.  We want to keep our group small and somewhat exclusive, with a cap of 50 members.  Right now we stand at 43. We have beading challenges all the time and great participation. 
The pictures above are from some recent challenges.  At the top of the post is a selection from the Red Carpet BeadFest Challenge, and further down is the most recent challenge, featuring Pantone's color of the year, Radiant Orchid!  Doesn't this sound like a lively and fun group of friends?

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Friday, March 14, 2014

heART beats from other blogs!

Patch It Up
Fabric hoarders and scrappers will find this new book from Lark interesting: Pretty Little Patchwork.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviewed Melinda Barta's book, Mastering Herringbone Stitch, The Complete Guide, and is hosting a Giveaway of this really great book this week on her blog! Yay!

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi shows you how to finish up a quilt with a nice wrap and tuck edging!

Card Making Tutorial: "Just a Note"
This "Just a Note" card is made using a base of 12 x 12 cardstock. Since one sheet yields two cards, you might as well make two at once and always have a spare on hand.

Resin Crafts Blog
A special post about using original ephemera in high end bezels.

A Bead A Day
Lisa's sharing memories of her last day at Beadland Headquarters in Florida a.k.a. Cousin Corporation.

Art Bead Scene
Check out Heather's fun tutorial using Aria Design Studio's beautiful hand-dyed Shibori ribbon!

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Metal clay tutorials

If you already have a kiln for working with glass, or you have a torch, you might want to add metal clay to your techniques list at some point.  Metal clay is now available in several base metal forms, which are much much more affordable than the original fine silver and gold.

Beading Arts tutorials:

General instructions for working with CopprClay

Forming, firing, and finishing CopprClay

How to make silver clay leaves 

Some simple CopprClay pendants 

Making a CopprClay disc necklace - part one

Making a CopprClay disc necklace - part two

Making a CopprClay ammonite pendant - part one

Making a CopprClay ammonite pendant - part two

Simple molded piece from CopprClay

Making small cameos with CopprClay

CopprClay experiments

Firing CopprClay

Finishing CopprClay

Tutorials by others:

Copper Firing Guide - by the incredible Wanaree

3 easy ways to patina metal - with easy to find solutions!

How to use heat to patina brass - get a great fire-darkened color

Chemical patina formulas - just about every color you can imagine

CopprClay help from Christina Ritchey

Adding color with paints

Improvising metal clay tools

Metal clay and seaglass

Four free projects from Jewelry Making Daily

Professional Associations:

PMC Guild

Art Clay Society

Etsy Metal Clay

List of guilds and societies

Supplies and Education:

All Things Metal Clay - an extraordinary list of everything you need to know

Free e-book: How to create with metal clay -3 great projects to get you started

Metal Clay Today - a quarterly e-mag that promotes and enlightens metal clay artists

Free e-courses - written by Tammy Powley, and available in several formats

Art Jewelry Magazine - frequently covers metal clay

How to Use Silver Clay and PMC - free downloads

Getting started with BronzClay - a video by Tonya Davidson that will show you what you need to know

CoolTools videos - a series of videos on many aspects of metal clay work

Metal Clay Academy - everything you'll need to know

Metal Clay Artist Magazine - created by metal clay artists for metal clay artists

Metal Clay Today - magazine with featured artists

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Yay for Kay!

Congratulations to Kay, who writes' Kay's Kreationz!  She just won a copy of Lisa Bluhm's book Simple Soldered Jewelry & Accessories

Book review: Patina

By Matthew Runfola
Interweave/F+W Media; $34.99
This is a serious serious book!  Matthew Runfola has written what might well become the bible of Patina, which details over 300 patination recipes for all different types of metal (steel, stainless steel, copper, brass, bronze, silver, and aluminum).  Packed with charts and forumulas that will make your decision-making process easier, the book is arranged with information up front, followed by a directory of samples, and finishing with the recipes used to create those samples.

Safety is of great concern when you're working with metals and with chemicals, and Matthew devotes a chapter to the safe use of your tools and equipment, and to setting up a safe work area.  He then turns to aesthetic concerns, discussing the importance and effect of finishing techniques, a comparison of coloration methods, and factors that can/can't be controlled in the coloration processes.

The next section is devoted to the technical aspects of working with the different coloration methods.  Matthew covers surface preparation through mechanical and chemical means, preparing colorants, applying heat oxidation, cold and hot immersions, brush and spray applications, hot application, wrapping and burying, fuming, masking, burnishing, and layering.  It's a lot of very technical and precise information for all skill levels.  And finally, organized by metal type, the patination directory (followed by formulas) is about half of the book.  The samples are large enough to study, and of course they are in full color. 

Interspersed throughout this amazing book are beautiful examples of colored metal pieces by various artists.  The piece shown above is by Matthew Runfola (not in the book), and is called Prayer Flags no. 2.  It is made from steel with various patinas.  In the book are more examples of sculpture, jewelry, and mixed media art.  If you are serious about metal, this is a book that you will treasure as a reference.  

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