Monday, October 30, 2017

African trade beads


This is a piece that I made back in 2005 (!) with beads that my sister-in-law brought back from Kenya for me.  Isn't it funny how traditional colors have a way of reappearing in different fashion cycles?  Look at how many of the notes it hits from the current Fall 2017 Pantone palette:


There is a tutorial that I wrote (at the following link) for a very similar piece, which also gives you some background information on Ethiopian crosses.

I've got a new board on Pinterest called Trade bead beauties if you're interested in trade, antique, vintage, and ethnic beads and would like to follow it.  Also, as a reminder, there is a board called Pantone colors, beads, and jewelry, which has tons of inspiration for the current season!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Stitch a clock motif for your bead embroidery - part two


So...I got sidetracked by other projects and failed to finish this one up in a timely fashion.  Sometimes that's just the way things go!  But here, after weeks of other projects, is part two of my Clock Motif tutorial.  Part one is at the link.

Step-by-step instructions for putting together a bead embroidered piece, including back stitch, edging brick stitch, and stack stitch can be found in the free first chapter of Every Bead Has a Story.  Chapter two has instructions for stitching a peyote stitch bezel, and Chapter three teaches the square stitch bail.  Bored By Back Stitch is another e-book that teaches different motifs to stitch around a focal in your bead embroidery.

Additional Materials (also see part one)

Jesse James accent beads for the fringe - Tribal Stripes Inspiration bead mix

Seed Beads from Beadaholique
Size 6/0 seed beads:
Frosted emerald green
Size 8/0:
Color-lined pink

Size 11/0:
Turquoise matte
Hot pink matte

Size 15/0:
Transparent rainbow dark gold


1. Starting with the clock-like shape from part one, fill in between each "hour" with seed beads as you choose.  I placed a size 6/0 with a size 11/0 stopper bead between each hour, and then filled the rest with back stitched size 11/0 seed beads.

2. Cut out the piece, leaving about a 1/8 inch border.  Cut out a matching piece of backing fabric (ultra-suede type fabric), and use some double stick tape or glue to temporarily attach them.  Stitch along the entire outer edge through both pieces of fabric, using size 11/0 seed beads in an edging brick stitch.

3. Begin to add stack stitches to each edging bead.  Start with the fringe stitches so that the count turns out right.  You can add more dangles if you'd like, but I suggest an odd number.

4. At the top of the "clock," directly opposite the fringe stitches, add a square stitch or herringbone stitch bail.



This post contains affiliate links: Jesse James Beads and Beadaholique  

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.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Revisiting Phoebe

Cyndi Lavin, 2010

I just came across this piece that I made 7 years ago.  I rarely have opportunity these days to wear it, but I'm thinking that this winter I might have to try to find one!  The original information on it is at the link, and there are step-by-step instructions in Chapter 4 of my e-book Every Bead Has a Story.  

Monday, October 23, 2017

Red jasper is perfect for this season!


I love the Fall 2017 Pantone palette!  One of the things I like best about it is the versatility of the colors mixed together in designs.  When you're making or choosing jewelry to wear with the Fall colors, it doesn't have to match fact it's probably better if it doesn't.  But the jewelry does need to look harmonious, and that's how I ended up falling in love with Red Jasper!


I found a tutorial that I shared last year (shown at the top), which uses a combo of red jasper and seed beads that look great with all the colors I see in the stores right now.  Anyway, I thought that some of you might want to give this a whirl, because it's a quick project, and it teaches a very important bead embroidery skill...what to do with squared corners on your cabochons.

Not all the materials that I used are available exactly anymore, but I've provided links to some that are similar.  If you don't want to tackle a square cabochon, you could also pick an oval or round, especially if this is your first bead embroidery project.  So, with no further blathering by me, here are the links to my Red Jasper pendant tutorial:

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.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Garnet, pearl, and silver magnifying necklace - for sale

Antique optical lens, crystals, garnet,
pearls, rhodonite, and Bali silver

I made this piece in 2006, when I first began to need a pair of drug store readers, but couldn't bring myself (yet) to admit it!  Now I use them all the time and no longer need this pretty piece, so it is the next item up looking for a new home.

This is what I wrote at the time:

I do not need glasses...yet!  But there are times when the print is just too small.  This handy magnifier is actually a powerful antique optical test lens, dangling from a gorgeous strand of purple, pink, garnet, and black.  The lens is French, from a test set made in the late 1800s.  Isn't that the coolest thing?  The lens "strength" is etched on the glass.  The necklace is a 24 inch long continuous strand to slip over your head.  Keep this one handy!  It is a one-of-a-kind original.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mixed metals and bead necklace - a tutorial

I wore a necklace a couple of days ago that I had forgotten I even had!  It looked amazing with the Fall colors that I was wearing, and it occurred to me that with the mix of metals and the neutral palette, it would be great with all the Fall 2017 Pantone colors.  And another thing...the multiple strand effect at the bottom is exactly what you're seeing right now in a lot of fashionable necklaces.  You might even want to make it just a bit longer by adding several more links of chain at the top, but that is up to you!

The only problem I ran into in updating this necklace tutorial is that the original beads are no longer available, but I found lots of really nice replacements.  Two collections that really caught my eye were the 40 piece white (including ivory and tan) and the 40 piece gray collections from Jesse James Beads:

Go take a look at the tutorial, and pick the colors for yourself!  The ivories and grays are really versatile, but wouldn't this necklace look great in a bright accent color too?

Interesting chain

This post contains affiliate links: 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.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Golden Harvest - a beaded neckalce tutorial

Golden Harvest

There's lots of swing and movement in Golden Harvest! Brass chain, beads, and findings set off the golds, ambers, and greens of this Fall-inspired piece. The original necklace, shown here, uses my own handmade lampwork glass beads, but I you can use horn beads instead.  I particularly like how Golden Harvest blends with the Pantone Fall 2017 colors Autumn Maple and Golden Lime.



Lampwork beads...substitute horn beads
Rootbeer seed beads, size 6/0
Horn rings, 25mm
Green MOP leaves
Yellow MOP leaves
Brass rounds, 3mm
Brass rondelles, 7mm

Metal components
Gold-colored head pins
Gold jump rings, 7mm
Gold jump rings, 4mm
Medium weight bead wire, bronze
Crimp tubes, size #2
Small brass chain
Medium brass chain
Toggle + clasp

Wire cutters
Chain nose pliers
Round nose pliers

1. Start from the center middle.  Using a short length of beading wire, make a loop with seed beads and brass rounds, taking the ends through one seed bead in opposite directions.  Add a few more beads to each end and set aside.

2. Use four head pins to create two links from two horn rings.  Thread them through the rings from the inside out, and turn a wrapped loop on each end. 

3. Use crimps to attach the center piece from step 1 to the horn links.

4. Cut six lengths of chain in staggered lengths, and attach three to of the horn rings, first to a 4mm jump ring and then to a 7mm jump ring. 

5. Use a head pin to attach a central large bead with a few smaller accent beads to the middle of the loop in the center.  At the bottom of the loop, use a 4mm jump ring to attach a small length of chain, decorated with MOP leaves and brass rounds.  Use head pins to form wrapped loops around the chain links.     

6. Attach beading wire to the outer wrapped loops of the horn rings and string on 4 to 5" of beads, including large and small accent beads, brass rounds, and brass rondelles.  I added another dangle a few inches up using a couple of head pins. 

7. At the end of the beading wire, crimp it around a length of chain.  To one side, add a toggle, and to the other side, add a toggle bar.

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique

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.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Flapper - a necklace made from vintage glass beads

Flapper - 39"
Vintage glass beads, raw brass

Get ready to dance!

I was delighted to come across this necklace that I made 6 years ago, because look at how perfect it is with the Pantone Fall 2017 palette!  I'm putting it up for sale, because although I love it, I just don't wear it, and it needs a new home. If you'd prefer to make one, the link to the tutorial is below.


Original tutorial

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How well do you know your jades?

Dyed African, Chinese, Mountain or Malaysian "Jade" are pretty...but they're NOT real Jade

Jade, Jadite, and various "Jades"

I have always wondered about jade.  Everyone when I was growing up just used the term "jade" to refer to anything that happened to be that color.  Even then, I think that I knew there were stones that were commonly called "jade" but were really imitation.  However...I had no idea that jade and jadeite were two very different beasts, nor did I know that it's actually jadeite that is the more expensive of the two.

Wikipedia to the rescue:  
Jadeite and nephrite are totally different minerals. They have different densities, different hardness, different crystal structure, and different chemical compositions. Classic jade, the jade that comes from China, is nephrite, and jadeite, the rarer type of jade, comes from Burma.

The finest-quality jadeite—almost transparent with a vibrant emerald-green color—is known as “Imperial jade.” The royal court of China once had a standing order for all available material of this kind, and it's one of the world's most expensive gems.

Up until 1863, nephrite was believed to be one and the same as jadeite. Nephrite is a fibrous aggregate variety of tremolite-actinolite, a basic calcium magnesium iron silicate, whereas jadeite is a pyroxene mineral.
Here are just a few of the many options you have to use in your designs.  Please, buyer beware, and only buy from reputable dealers:

African "jade"

Natural jadite, C grade

Nephrite jade

Dyed imitation "jade"

Previous posts in the series:
How well do you know your pink stones?
How well do you know your turquoise stones?
How well do you know your white stones?

Monday, October 09, 2017

Hanging the Moon - a beading tutorial

Hanging the Moon

As I was looking at some of my older pieces, Hanging the Moon jumped out at me as being a great match for the Fall 2017 Pantone color called Shaded Spruce!  Some of the original pieces are no longer available, which is a real shame, but I think you'll be able to find a selection of blues and greens that blend well with the new Shaded Spruce color.


2 lengths of bronze beading wire, 24 inches each
4 - 5 inches of gold-toned chain
Gold hook
18 bicones, 6mm
Square ring, 20x20mm
Square ring, 14x14mm
Round ring, 14mm
Triangle ring, 14mm 

6 cubes, 8mm

Star charm
Moon charm
Size 11/0 Delica seed beads, rainbow blue-green
Nymo beading thread, black
8 jump rings, 9 mm
3 jump rings, 7 mm
11 jump rings, 4 mm
11 head pins

28 crimps, size #1
2 crimps, size #2

Chain nose pliers
Round nose pliers
Wire cutters

Beading needles
Tape measure

1. Arrange charms and crystal components in the order you'd like them to hang. Use the largest jump rings to attach chain to the components, and the medium sized ones to hang the charms.

2. Create wrapped loops for each bicone you'll hang, using the head pins.

3. Attach bicones to the chain using the small jump rings.

4. Make a square stitch bail or any other style you want using the Delica beads. The pattern I followed for this bail was created by my friend Dulcey Heller, and was published in Bead & Button, December 2007.

5. String each piece of beading wire through two of the beads at the top of the bail. Use size #1 crimps to anchor the pendant and each of the cubes and bicones that you string on the wires. I used three of each shape on each side of the pendant.

6. Using size #2 crimp beads, attach a short length of chain and the hook to the ends of the beading wires. Add a bicone dangle to the loose end of the chain.

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique

Copyright 2009, 2017 Cyndi Lavin. 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.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Out of Africa - a beaded necklace of trade beads

African glass trade beads, Czech glass,
brass and copper

Look at how well this piece blends with the Fall 2017 Pantone colors!!


I'm sorry that I can't give you links to all of these exact'll see why when you read the story of this piece below!  You'll just need to look for trade beads and glass Czech crow beads (the tans, reds, and browns are the best for making a piece like this).

Out of Africa is a HEAVY necklace...not for the faint of heart!! I used a lot of different African trade beads that I've collected over the years, including some that my sister-in-law brought back for me from her trips to Africa. There are glass mosaic beads, brick red glass greenhearts, pipestone, and sandcast glass beads. I haven't been to Africa, but I've always been fascinated. 

The large tan beads on the outer strand are wound-glass beads, originally made in Hebron, Palestine, centuries ago. The glass makers moved on to several other spots, including Egypt and Turkey, and the beads are still made. These are probably 200 to 300 years old. Not as old as some, but still pretty nifty!

 The inner strand adjusts from 18 to 23 inches; the outer strand moves along with it from approximately 25 to 30 inches. The chain and hook set are natural brass.

This post contains an affiliate link: Beadaholique

Monday, October 02, 2017

Cherry Donut...a beaded necklace tutorial Donut

I have reworked this tutorial to bring it up to date!  The colors are perfect for this Fall's Pantone palette, so it seemed time for an update.  Cherry Donut is constructed with beading wire, so it works up really quickly and easily!

Cherry "quartz" (glass) donut, 40mm
Crow beads, luster burgundy, 9x7mm
Czech fire-polished faceted rounds,light red, 8mm
Size 8/0 seed beads, mix of reds
Swarovski bicones, light siam, 4mm
Czech glass druks, ruby red, 4mm
Miyuki triangle beads, translucent dark red
Accu-Flex Beading wire, medium
Crimp tubes, copper, 2mm
Soldered closed jump rings, copper
S-hook clasp, copper-plated pewter

Wire cutters
Chain nose pliers
Measuring tape

1. Add enough seed beads to the middle of a strand of beading wire to wrap around the donut. Pass both wires through a triangle bead and a crimp. Flatten the crimp and cover it with a large-holed crow bead.

2. Bead up the strand, alternating between passing both wires through crow beads, large faceted rounds, and triangles, and then splitting the wires to pass through seed beads and 4mm accent beads.

3. At the top of the strand, pass both wires through a crimp, through one of the soldered jump rings, and back down through the crimp and a few more beads. Flatten the crimp and clip off the wire end, tucking it into the next bead.

4. Repeat for the other strand, and attach the S-hook to one of the rings, tightening it down. Leave the other end loose so you can hook and unhook the necklace.

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique
Copyright 2017, 2008 Cyndi Lavin. 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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