Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

May the coming year be full of everything bright and beautiful for you and your family!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas to all, and see you next year!

Can't help myself, folks!  I've got to take some time off to be with my family...hope you have a wonderful rest too, and make sure you spend some time thinking about your art resolutions for next year :-)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Crazy for crazy quilting!

I showed you a little sample crazy quilt block that I made for Kathy Shaw's online crazy quilting class, and now I have more!  My first original modern crazy quiltlet has no beading, so I hesitated to show it here, but what the's my blog!  It does have a very few sequins, so that's alright.  It may not look like a crazy quilt to you, but it follows the rules of having all the seams decorated, and it has additional embroidery motifs for fun.  I call it 30 Second Hot Flashes.  Guess why?  :-)

30 Second Hot Flashes
Cyndi Lavin, 2015

My second crazy quilt block is a bit more traditional, but instead of true patchwork, it uses faux patchwork with a single piece of cloth (raw silk), and "seams" that were first basted on by machine, and subsequently have been hand stitched with perle cotton thread.  Some of my patches are beaded, and some are not, and it's also not done yet.  But this is my last chance to show you before I'm taking a break to spend time with my family.  Here's what I've got so far:

Copyright 2015 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 18, 2015

Yay for Richard!

Richard won the copy of The Bead Directory that we had to give away...congratulations!!

heART beats from other blogs!

Another Amigurumi Tip
When you put together all the parts of your crochet toy, it is time to commit!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Mastering Beadwork by Carol Huber Cypher is a must-have beadwork book for all avid beaders! See Jean's review of this classic, and consider it for a holiday gift.Everyone will love it!

Art Bead Scene
Check out Erin's adorable Hoots' Family Reunion! So cute!

Alcohol Ink Ornaments
These gorgeous alcohol ink ornaments require nothing more than alcohol inks, compressed air, clear glass ball ornaments and a sense of humor.

Stitch Gingy
So, you can't catch the Gingerbread man, but you sure can stitch him! The latest free chart from Connie Gee's Designs will make a great pillow or ornament depending on the count of the fabric used.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Great Interweave books for Christmas gift-giving!

By Sarah Thompson
Interweave/F+W; $24.99

In Fine Art Wire Weaving, you'll explore working with super-fine wires (28 gauge - 30 gauge) to create 20 delicate, sophisticated pieces with a "wow" factor that's easier than it looks thanks to expert instruction. Using techniques in layering, symmetry, and dimensional shaping, you'll come away with a strong foundation in wire working, allowing you to create your own one-of-a-kind pieces. Paired with beautiful, full-color photography, you'll not only learn how to work with these fine wires successfully, but what to do when one of your projects goes awry as well. Everything you need to know about creating stunning wire jewelry designs in here!

Simple Soldering: A Beginner's Guide to Jewelry Making
By Kate Richbourg
Interweave/F+W; $29.95
Metalworking is generally regarded as a skill that takes years of dedication, requires a large studio space, and costs a lot of money. Fortunately, Simple Soldering proves that does not need to be the case. This handy how-to guide is complete in its exploration of the craft of creating soldered metal jewelry, including tools, techniques, and 20 beautiful projects that beginners and enthusiasts can make at home. Author and teacher Kate Richbourg demystifies basic soldering for any home crafter, showing how to create sophisticated, polished, and professional-looking jewelry pieces through simple soldering techniques. First, she instructs how to set up a jewelry workspace that fits the confines of your budget and living space. Detailed step-by-step instructions walk you through the basic tools and materials you need, plus how to use them. A sample chapter gives a host of introductory exercises that teach solid skills, allowing you to test these techniques on a small scale. Finally, you'll discover 20 finished projects that include earrings, pendants, rings, bracelets, and clasps that may also include bead or wire embellishment.

Friday, December 11, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews a super beading book concerning a brand new technique: Albion Stitch, 20 Jewelry Projects, by Heather Kingman-Smith. This is a wonderful, energizing book for all the beaders on your gift list!

Candy Cane Pattern
A sweet treat for the holiday season that will be perfect for a card, gift tag or ornament.

Felt Ornament
Whip up some super easy felt holiday ornaments with this quick how-to video.

Snow Glittered Cone Trees
Snow glittered cone trees that don't snow glitter all over. Here's a way to create glittered white snow drifts that stay put with heat set embossing powder.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Yay for Robin!

Robin won our giveaway copy of Beaded Bags!  Congratulations!!

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Interweave books for Christmas, and a giveaway - part two

Here are two fantastic slightly older books that I think would make great holiday gifts.  And, in fact, I'm going to send one of them to one of you!  The giveaway information is at the bottom of this post :-)

By Elise Mann
Interweave/F+W; $24.95

Beaders and other artisans have knowledge and ideas at their fingertips with this comprehensive reference to more than 600 individual beads that are readily available and appropriate for contemporary projects. Chapters in The Bead Directory are separated by bead material, including glass, wood, semi-precious stone, and ceramic beads. Each bead is pictured from several angles, alongside descriptions of dimensions, color range, usage, special care, size of hole, weight, suitable stringing materials, relative cost, and suggested complementary beads. An extensive index lists suppliers in stores and online, making this reference an invaluable companion for designers looking to add to their bead-bag of tricks.

By Carol Cypher
Interweave/F+W; $24.95

Mastering Beadwork is the ultimate resource for beading knowledge—it's a project book plus reference tool wrapped up in one.
Based on years of teaching experience, Carol Cypher presents easy-to-understand instructions with informative sidebars to help anyone master beading techniques. Each of the 13 techniques are explained in detail, and then further explored with projects to enhance the beader's skills and confidence. The 63 projects included here-ranging from bracelets, necklaces, rings, and earrings to findings, closures, beaded beads, and other beaded objects-teach a single project or technique but are arranged to build skills at any level. Suggestions for personalizing and expanding on each project or pattern are also addressed. Learn all the basic beading stitches-from peyote, spiral, vertical and horizontal netting, bead crochet, right-angle weave, triangle weave, daisy chain, ladder stitch, brick stitch, African helix, and more.


I've got a copy of The Bead Directory that needs to go to a good home!  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: December 16, 2015

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Monday, December 07, 2015

Gift books for the holidays

Each year, I like to share a list of books with you that I think are really the top picks from all the books published in this past year.  I still think that many of the books from prior years' lists are good too, and if you'd like to see them, they are linked at the bottom of this post.  Also, I keep running lists of all the books that pertain to specific topics and media, like wirework, bead embroidery, etc, all linked up at the Books tab at the top of every page.  And finally, if you are looking for all of the bead and jewelry books published this past year, just scroll down to the bottom of the linked page and you'll find them all listed by month.

My Top Pick for Everyone This Year:

26 Quick Stitched Elements
by Thomasin Alyxander

For Beginners:

Easy Jewelry Making by BeadStyle

Jewelry Making 1-2-3 by Karin van Voorhees

18 Beaded Jewelry Projects by Dorothy Wood

DIY Wrap Bracelets by Keiko Sakamoto

Fast & Easy Earrings by Erica Swanson

Advanced Topics:

Bead Metamorphosis by Lisa Kan

Beautiful Designs with SuperDuos and Twin Beads by Carolyn Cave

Stitching with Two-Hole Shaped Beads by Virginia Jensen

Advanced Chain Maille Jewelry Workshop by Karen Karon

Decorative Wire Findings by Melody MacDuffee

Beaded Ropes and Chains by Karin van Voorhees

Freeform Wire Art Jewelry by Gayle Bird

Soldered Alchemy by Laura Beth Love

Modern Chain Mail Jewelry by Marilyn Gardiner

Handcrafted Metal Findings by Denise Peck

26 Quick Stitched Elements by Thomasin Alyxander

Bead Play Every Day by Beth Stone

Beadweaving - Beyond the Basics by Kassie Shaw

Handcraft Wire Jewelry by Kimberly Sciaraffa Berlin

Jewelry Design with Knitted Wire by Nealay Patel

Introducing Albion Stitch, by Heather Kingsley-Heath

Chain Mail + Color by Vanessa Walilko

Beautiful Elements by Heather Powers

Oldies But Goodies:

Gift book recommendations for 2014
Gift book recommendations for 2013
Gift book recommendations for 2012

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Earrings to make as gifts - my tutorials

Chain and pearl earrings

Dutch spiral
Simple and fast
Right angle weave
Blue hearts and wire
Leftover beads
Chain and pearl
Shank buttons and beads
Hammered wire and beads
Chain drop with pearls
Simple polymer clay beads
Chainmaille and beads
Simple lampwork beads
Pink bubbles

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Friday, December 04, 2015

heART beats from other blogs!

Back on the Needles
A simple garter stitch shawl is back on the needles in anticipation of cooler weather coming, some day!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's Beading to be done!
Jean reviews a sweet and gorgeous book by Nicky Epstein: Enchanted Knits for Dolls, 25 Mystical, Magical Costumes for 18-inch Dolls. It is a winner!

Accordion Fold Paper Angel Ornament
Use up paper scraps to make this accordion fold paper angel. Hang on the tree or use on cards & gifts. They're quick to make, so why not do a bunch at one time.

Holiday Freebie
Connie's posted a new free pattern that reflects the holiday cheer she feels and she's also offering a great discount in her Etsy shop!

My Kentucky Craft Room
Just before Terry Jeanette of The Tappingflamingo sold their home in Kentucky and moved back to Louisiana, she had to take one last video of her craft room. She shows ideas on how to get organized, and hopes she will be able to replicate the same in their new home.

Art Bead Scene
Check out our last challenge of the year!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Interweave books for Christmas, and a giveaway - part one

It's funny how when you start to think about some "older" beading trend, somehow it starts to pop up again in your life!  I've been talking a bit about amulet bags, and lo and behold, Interweave sent me a copy of Jean Campbell's wonderful book Beaded Bags!  So, at the end of this post, I'm going to have a giveaway for you!!

By Jean Campbell
Interweave/F+W; $16.95
This is a pure project book, not for beginners.  The instructions in Beaded Bags are fairly minimal, but the range of techniques is a delight—embroidery, on- and off-loom weaving, bead crochet, and bead knitting. Whether you're beading a bag for yourself or as a gift, you'll find beautiful photography, clear illustrations, and more than enough projects to inspire you for years to come.

By Yasuka Endo
Interweave/F+W: $17.99

Now beaders can combine their love of handstitching and beautiful beads to make delightfully original trims and embellishments. Bead Embroidery Stitch Samples shows readers how to add beads to all their favorite embroidery stitches, creating delicate details that are perfect for gifts or personal treasures. Inside, artisans will find dozens of stitch patterns that incorporate beads, ranging from elegantly simple single motifs to complex all-over patterns to three-dimensional designs. Along with step-by-step instructions are numerous examples of how the authors have added these beaded motifs to hems, pockets, cuffs, collars, and handbags, or used them as home d├ęcor trim on pillows, curtains, and lampshades. The patterns emphasize beaded edgings and trims, as opposed to heavy, solid beaded fabric motifs found in other beaded embroidery books. Artists will be inspired and charmed as they discover endless ways to make lovely patterns with beads and stitchery. With just embroidery threads and simple beads, readers will set their work apart with dazzling details and exquisite beauty.

By Melinda Barta
Interweave/F+W; $24.95

With interest in beadweaving on the rise, Mastering Peyote Stitch provides a much-needed look into the most integral technique—peyote stitch. With 15 styles in all, beading geniuses will finally have an accessible, easy-to-understand guide to one of the fundamentals of beadweaving, brought to you courtesy of Beadwork editor Melinda Barta. In the "Peyote Basics" chapter, readers learn the basics of creating flat peyote bands, then advance to circular and tubular variations, eventually learning to fashion dimensional jewelry pieces. Once they've mastered the basics, Melinda dives into designing dimensional jewelry pieces. Additional chapters cover combining peyote with other popular beadweaving techniques (right-angle weave, herringbone, and bead embroidery) and creating unique edgings and embellishments for finished pieces Melinda, together with Beadwork's Designers of the Year, including Jean Campbell, Lisa Kan, Carole Ohl, Melanie Potter, Jean Power, Cynthia Rutledge, and Sherry Serafini, demonstrates a range of styles in 15 beautiful jewelry projects.


I've got a copy of Beaded Bags that needs to go to a good home!  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: December 9, 2015

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Book review: Country Living's Christmas Joys

Christmas Joys is a lovely coffee table book, just full of decorating, gifts, and food!  What could be better, as we start off the holiday season?  It's a big lush picture book of inspiration, with a few how to's and some good recipes too.  It would make a great gift book for the Christmas lover on your list.

In the decorating section, there are ideas for the front porch, doorway, alternatives to wreaths, entryway, plants, gift tag ornaments, alternative color schemes, lots of table tops, kitchens, bed and bath rooms, lots of trees, garlands, wreaths, and mantels.  Many are both clever and budget friendly!

In the gifts section, you'll find pillows, embroidered items, kitchen items, cards and notepads, office items, cookies, candies, breads, infused honey, salts, sugars, and vodkas, and beautiful gift-wrapping ideas.

In the final food section, there are four ideas for themed parties, full holiday dinners, and even more desserts than in the gift section!

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