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.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Facet Jewelry Box will launch in January!

People have been asking for it, and now they can have it... two complete new projects every month, all materials, patterns, and instructions (curated and vetted by the editors of Bead&Button and Facet!), by subscription!!

And right now, you can enter to reserve a spot, with no obligation to subscribe.  Entering now will enter you to win over $300 worth of jewelry supplies!  Go to the link below and enter your email.  Again, you will be under no obligation to take a subscription, but you will be in line to be able to.                        

heART beats from other blogs!

Upcycled playing card necklace

Tips for using leather in your designs

Have you seen Japanese Tensha beads?

Call for entries: Quilt Visions 2018 - Connections

Holiday wire earrings tutorial

Resin leaf tutorial reviews the tools for small business owners

This post contains affiliate links: Jesse James Beads

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Bluebird Singing in the Dead of Night - for sale

Bluebird Singing in the Dead of Night
Polymer clay, agate, jasper, unakite, ruby zoisite, glass

There will be a tutorial for making a necklace similar to Bluebird Singing in the Dead of Night next week.  But if you'd like to own the original, here he is!  He was designed to take advantage of the gorgeous Shaded Spruce color that is so popular this Fall.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Jewelry design board on Pinterest

I've set up a new board on Pinterest on the topic of Jewelry Design.  It explores color theory, design elements and principles, and how they relate to creating unique jewelry.  If you want to design for yourself, this is a good place to start!

Monday, November 06, 2017

Bead embroidered pendant update (leopard skin jasper)

Leopard Skin Jasper Pendant Tutorial
I was looking at how well this pendant from about a year ago fits the Fall 2017 color palette, and I'm especially sorry that the stone doesn't seem to be showing up anywhere in my searches.  So I went to find some new, currently available stones that might work for you if you want to try making one of these!  Use my original tutorial, linked above, to help you figure out what seed beads to use.  It's fun to work with multicolored focals, and not at all intimidating if you keep it simple!

Tempered glass oval cabochon

Orange marble patterned jasper

Desert jasper

Tempered glass rose cabochon

Lucite cameo

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique
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