Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I will see you all again in 2018!  Hope your holiday season is wonderful :-)

Nate, Lizzie, Cyndi, Mike (back)
Katherine, Dani, Julianna (front)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A few more things to amuse you!

I don't think I've told you yet about a couple of the Pinterest boards I've been busy filling...and two of them actually have something to do with jewelry and beading!  The third one, you might be able to guess from the image above, is purely self-indulgent :-)

Inspiring Handmade Beads

Trade Bead Beauties

AND...Amazing Shoes!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Do you need some more ideas?


Holy cow!  As if you didn't already have enough projects on your list, I've got a Pinterest board for you to (at least) double your list!  Jewelry making tutorials is open for your browsing pleasure!  Some are free, some cost a bit, but you'll find all different media covered here in jewelry making.  If I've missed any that you've found particularly helpful, will you drop me a line?  Thanks!

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

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:

Jewelry Making with Resin

For Beginners:

Jewelry Made with Wire and Fiber by Nealay Patel 
Jewelry Making with Resin by Theresa Abelew 
One Jump Ring: Endless Possibilities for Chain Mail Jewelry by Lauren Andersen 
Beginner's Guide to Beadweaving by Diana Rehfield
The Big Book of Jewelry Making: 73 Projects to Make by GMC Editors
Joyful Daily Stitching, Seam by Seam by Valerie Bothell

Advanced Topics:

The Art to Quilling Paper Jewelry by Ann Martin
Geometric Beadwork (Volume 1) by Jean Power
Beautiful Beadweaving: Simply gorgeous jewelry by Isabella Lam
The Art of Tatting Jewelry: Exquisite Lace and Bead Designs by Lyn Morton
Soutache: How to make beautiful braid-and-bead embroidered jewelry and accessories by Donatella Ciotti
Wire Jewelry: Beaded and Beautiful: 24 captivating jewelry designs by Irina Miech
Peyote Stitch Companion by Melinda Bart 
Jewelry Designs with CzechMates Beads by Anna Elizabeth Draeger
Mastering Wirework Jewelry: 15 Intricate Designs To Create by Rachel Norris
Elegant Beadwork: 25 beaded jewels with right-angle weave by Evelina Palmontova
A Passion for Flowers in 3-D Peyote Stitch by Sheila Root
Not Just for Show: The Archaeology of Beads, Beadwork, and Personal Ornaments by Daniella Bar-Yosef Mayer and Clive Bonsall
Creative Wax Carving: A Modern Approach to an Ancient Craft with 15 Jewelry Projects by Emilie Shapiro

Oldies But Goodies:

Gift book recommendations for 2016
Gift book recommendations for 2015
Gift book recommendations for 2014
Gift book recommendations for 2013
Gift book recommendations for 2012

This post contains affiliate links: Amazon

Twelve Giveaways of Christmas!


Did you see that Beadaholique has started their Twelve Giveaways of Christmas and special sales?  They run every weekday until December 21.  You do not have to buy anything to enter!

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Book review: Joyful Daily Stitching, Seam by Seam

I have several books on stitching seams for crazy quilts, and each time a new one comes out, I hesitate.  Do I really need another one?  But fortunately, I usually come to my senses and realize that I always learn something new and delightful in each new book!  So I joyfully (no pun intended) bring this book to your attention: Joyful Daily Stitching, Seam by Seam by Valerie Bothell.


Not only is it visually beautiful, but it is also possibly the best organized of all the CQ books I own.  The emphasis is on the seam stitching, although there are basic instructions for CQ piecing as well.

The photos of the stitches are beautiful and easy to follow, and many many stitches are shown in beaded varieties as well!  This section is followed by 500 different stitch combinations, using thread embroidery, silk ribbon embroidery, and beads.  You will want to start immediately!

This post contains affiliate links: Amazon

Monday, December 04, 2017

Red bead embroidered pendant with drops


I made this bead embroidered pendant a couple of years ago, but it looks so good with this year's Fall + Winter colors that I had to pull it out of my drawer again!  You'll find the free tutorial for it at the link.  

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Bead embroidery inspiration


I have been having a blast on Pinterest lately, looking at gorgeous examples of bead embroidery.  Not all of them are wearables, though a large percentage are necklaces or pendants.  If you need some inspiration for your next piece, even if you don't plan to start until after the holidays, browse around these two boards:

Beautiful bead embroidery

Details, details 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Coptic cross necklace - for sale

Coptic cross, Dogon beads, Bohemian beads

The Coptic cross on this necklace is hinged at the top, and it is surrounded by small Bohemian striped glass beads and larger glass Dogon beads (German, trade beads used in Africa).  The entire necklace is 17 1/2 inches long.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Sandcast beads Boho necklace - tutorial + for sale

West African sandcast beads, Telsum bead, Venetian beads,
Bohemian striped beads.  39" long, adjustable

I was inspired by the long Boho-style necklaces that are everywhere this Fall, and by the collection of fabulous African trade beads that I've built up over the years.  You may not be able to find the exact same beads that I've used if you want to make your own necklace, but you can no doubt find some wonderful beads in the season's colors either at Jesse James Beads or at Beadaholique


1. I used an eyeglass cord that I bought years ago in Guatemala for the fiber strap of this necklace.  You'll find some really interesting and colorful cotton straps at Beadaholique, which will give you a similar look.  You can simply add a wrapped wire loop to the cut end of the flat strap (make sure to seal it with glue!).

2. Cut two cords, one about 15" and one about 18".  String on the beads for the shorter cord and knot it to one end of the strap.  Do the same at the other end, and add a small bead to the tail end as shown.  The shorter strand in my necklace is all sandcast West African beads with a few seed bead spacers.

3. Make your longer strand more elaborate.  To the center portion of this strand, I added a Telsum bead, a couple of Bohemian striped glass beads, and two old Venetian glass beads.  The Telsum bead is made in Africa, while the Bohemian and Venetian beads are European-made trade beads.

4. I decided to add another shorter cord with sandcast beads to the loops on each side.  The cord was about 8" long.  The finished necklace is a very long 39", but the cotton strap portion can be easily knotted to make it shorter.    

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique and Jesse James Beads

Copyright 2017 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, November 24, 2017

African sandcast bead necklaces - for sale

 Sandcast bead necklace #1

These cute little necklaces have a West African sandcast bead in the center, surrounded by some European Bohemian striped trade beads.  The thin leather cord is 27 inches long, which allows you plenty of room to pick your favorite length.  The cords are unfinished on the ends, and are meant to simply be tied.  The center beaded portion is approximately 1 1/2 inches long. There is only one of each available!

Sandcast bead necklace #2 

Sandcast bead necklace #3

Sandcast bead necklace #4

Tis the season to go shopping!


I can't stand shopping in most stores.  There, I've said it.  Black Friday is just not my thing.  Granted, there are some Mom and Pop stores around here that I love to patronize, helping in my small way to keep them in business.  But as for the malls, the chain stores, etc...yuck!

So I put together a Jewelry gift ideas board on Pinterest, both for myself and for you.  I'm sure that there are at least a few mass-produced items that slipped through, but I'll be removing them as I go.  Many are linked to different Etsy sellers, and while some may be out of date and no longer available, my thinking is that if you like the seller's style, surely you can find something else similar in their shop.

There are also lots of good ideas on the board for you to make yourself for your friends, family, and self.  And I included a few books which cover fast and easy-to-make projects.  The books make good gifts too, come to think f it!  And don't forget about my Jewelry making tutorials board or about the Tutorials tab at the top of the Beading Arts blog either! 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Don't ruin your jewelry work!


There is nothing like a cheap, mass-produced clasp to totally ruin the beautiful piece of jewelry you've spent hours on making!  Of course there are some manufactured clasps that might be just perfect, but often your best choice is to make one yourself that fits the style and materials of your piece.  How I wish I could gather up some of the work I made in the early days and redo that clasp...

I've put together an ideas board for you on Pinterest: a Handcrafted clasps board.  Please take a look, follow the board if you'd like, and see if there are some ideas there that will spark a new trend for you with your own pieces!  And if you've made a lovely clasp yourself, let me know and I'll add your link to the board!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

30% off your order, one day only!


Did you see this?  Today only at Beadaholique!

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique

Jewelry making tutorials on Pinterest


Just in case you need even more projects, more inspiration, more ideas...I've got a rather large Jewelry Making Pinterest board that you can check out and follow.  Recently, Pinterest allowed the boards to be divided into sections, so I have spent some time sorting all the pins out for you into Wire, Bead embroidery, Bead stringing, Fiber + fabric, Metal clay, Polymer clay, Beadweaving, Mixed media + recycled, Metal fabrication + stamping.

Hopefully, there will be something for everyone there!  Please let me know if you've got a tutorial that you'd like included :-)

Monday, November 20, 2017

Picture jasper choker necklace - for sale

Picture jasper, brass coin, ceramic beads 
This piece is a 15" choker necklace, featuring a pretty donut of picture jasper and an interesting brass coin.  Please note the length...this looks great with scoop and crew neck tops and goes wonderfully with the Pantone Fall palette!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Ethiopian Cross necklace - for sale

Ethiopian Cross necklace with trade beads

This piece is made primarily with trade beads from Kenya and a resin material that is called Somali amber.  It is definitely NOT real amber!  The pendant is an Ethiopian cross, which you can read about at the link.  I originally made this for a magazine article, but now I've brought it back out because it is a perfect match for the colors this season:


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My secret obsession...

Maleficent's Dragon, made for Disney by
the company my daughter works for!

You might think I was a 13 year old girl...I have never gotten over my obsession with dragons and other fantastical creatures.  So what to do?  Start a Dragon Pinterest board of course!  I know this has very little to do with jewelry making or mixed media art, but at least most of the pins are of dragon jewelry!  

Monday, November 13, 2017

Bluebird Singing in the Dead of Night - a beaded necklace tutorial

Bluebird Singing in the Dead of Night
Polymer clay, agate, jasper, unakite, ruby zoisite, glass
I used a variety of teals, blues, and greens to create Bluebird Singing in the Dead of Night.  My inspiration for this piece was the cute little polymer clay bird made by my friend Heather Powers of Humble Beads.  If you'd like to own the original necklace shown above, he is for sale here


Each of the accent beads is surrounded by two small dyed stone beads that perfectly match the popular Shaded Spruce color that is everywhere this fall.  This ties all the bead links together.  I feel good about using this palette, because I know that these colors tend to be perennially popular and won't look dated after just one season.


Here are some materials suggestions for you:
Shaded spruce bead mix
Leather cord
Chain + wire


1. Choose beads for the top (shortest and smallest) strand.  Cut wires for each link and begin the wrapped loop turn on one end.  All the strands will look best if you pick an odd number of beads.

2. Decide on the arrangement and link them together between two hammered oval links.  Use a jump ring at each end.

3. Do the same for the middle (medium size and length) strand.  Choose either slightly larger beads or, if you want to keep them the same size as step 1, add a few more of them.


4. Add a length of chain for the bottom (longest) strand.  Make sure your chain has an odd number of links so you can add your focal to the middle link.


5. Add a few dangling links to each side of the bird.  Cut some leather cording (or similar non-animal material if you prefer and tie it to each oval link.  I've used a small soldered ring to keep the cords together near the top.  Make the cords long so you can adjust the length depending upon what you're wearing. 

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique and Jesse James Beads

Copyright 2017 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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