Monday, November 19, 2018

A new beading project from Facet Jewelry Box


Here's a little peek at a piece of beadweaving that I just finished.  You can probably tell that it's right angle weave beadwork (RAW) and that it's a necklace.  It's not my design, and there's a reason that I'm not showing you the whole thing...you might want to make one yourself!

I told you all about Facet Jewelry Box earlier this year.  It's a great subscription to have if you don't have a local bead shop, or if you just want additional projects to do each month.  The nicest part is that everything you need, with the exception of the tools, is included.  No more buying an entire hank of beads just so you can use a couple of them in a project!  The tools needed are all basic, so if you've been making jewelry for any length of time, you'll have all you need.

This box came with a necklace and earrings set.  So far, I have finished the necklace...the earrings I've set aside for later this week when I'm in between other projects.  I mentioned back in the Spring that I love how all the materials come packed together in zip-locs that have the project name right on them. I also really like that there are a few extra beads in case they are not all perfect.  The instructions are easy to follow, and there is additional help online if you need it. The instructions also include tips as to why the project works, which is helpful if you decide you want to make another using different materials.

The only thing that I didn't like was that Fireline was sent for the beadweaving.  I hate the stuff, though I know it's all personal preference.  I used my Nymo thread instead and it worked fine.  Perhaps I should have taken the opportunity to really work on using Fireline, but...yeah, no :-)  I don't really feel that it's fair to consider this a true criticism, because so many people really love Fireline, and it probably helps to keep the RAW stitching a bit more rigid.

For any readers who are interested in starting a subscription to Facet Jewelry Box, if you use the code HALFOFF at checkout, you can get 50% off your first box!!

As regards FTC disclosure guidelines: I have received the above materials free of charge from Facet Jewelry Box in order to write a review. I have not been paid for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Review: Brightech magnifying lamps


There has been one not-so-wonderful thing about my worktable, for as long as I've had my studio.  Don't get me wrong...I am extremely grateful for having the space, with room for storage as well as work, and with a wonderful view.  But, my hinged clamp-on magnifying table lamp sometimes left me unhinged!


Enter Brightech.  The good folks at Brightech lamps sent me a replacement for my terrible terrible lamp.  Not only is the design far superior - and yes, looks do matter! - but the function is also way way better.  The magnifying lens is large, clear, and perfectly balanced.  Unlike my old lamp, there is a cover (shown in the up position above) that protects your lens from dust while not in use.  All the springs and hinges are protected, which not only looks nicer, but also keeps your fingers out of danger.   

I received a clamp-on magnifying model (shown above but in white) that is dimmable and also boasts 2 different lamp colors, shading warm or cool as you desire.  I took a couple of pictures to show you the color variation.  Now, I know that the color you see on your screen may not exactly match mine, or match the color in real life, but you can still easily see that there is a difference: 



Depending upon your ambient light, the colors of your artwork, and the effect you want to achieve, this changeable shade could be very helpful!

This post contains affiliate links: Brightech 

Copyright 2018 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, November 12, 2018

Garnet Skies chain necklace tutorial - part two








Part one of this tutorial was posted last Monday and covered the construction of the main body of the necklace.  Just to remind you, this post is sponsored by Solid Oak, from whom I have received the products in order to create this project for you. 



5. Make two tassels on large round jump rings, using leftover links from the small-sized crystal chains. Also add one of the chain dangles from your findings pack, folding it in half.  Stagger the lengths as shown.  Attach the tassels to the outside of each of the jump rings from step 3 and close them.




6. Cut the neck chain in half.  You can shorten it if you wish, but I like to leave extra length to make it adjustable.  Add a lobster clasp from your findings pack to one end with a small oval jump ring. Add a dangle, if you'd like, to the other end.  This helps to give the piece a finished look.  I used a leftover link from the medium-sized ruby crystal chain and a few links from another of the chain dangles.  Use two small oval jump rings to attach them.




7. Since I had left over crystal chain, I decided to make a pair of earrings to match.  Earrings like these are things that I would wear all the time, even when I'm not wearing the necklace!  I started with a small crystal chain link, 2 medium links, 2 small oval jump rings for each, and earring wires.  Using wire cutters, I removed one metal loop from each of the small crystal chain links and filed it smooth. 




8. Attach the links together in order, using the small oval jump rings.  This is a good stopping point if you like your earrings simple, but...




9. ...I don't like them simple!  So I reopened the top jump ring and added a folded chain dangle to each, staggering the 3 lengths.

       
 


Copyright 2018 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, November 05, 2018

Garnet Skies chain necklace tutorial - part one

Garnet Skies
Cyndi Lavin, 2018

I was contacted by the good people at Solid Oak Inc to find out if I would like to have a look at their products.  They have multiple lines of jewelry making charms, kits, fibers, and metal components at very reasonable prices.  We decided that Solid Oak would sponsor a tutorial here on Beading Arts using their Estrella line of sparkly components.  I was psyched! 

I've been looking at the colors and styles for Fall into Winter this year, and the multi-strand boho inspired look still seems to be going pretty strong, but with a slightly more sophisticated polish.  Jewelry makers can easily create that look using the Estrella line.  With the products listed below, I made the set shown above.

These pieces can easily be altered to suit yourself by choosing the different colors of Estrella crystal chain and the different charms.  However, if you are a beginner jewelry maker and would like to follow along, I've listed all the numbers (exact lengths, etc) for you in the tutorial below.  So welcome to part one of Garnet Skies.

[Note: This post is sponsored by Solid Oak, from whom I have received the products in order to create this project for you.  These are not affiliate links.] 


Materials:
Estrella Linked Crystals Chain - small, ruby/silver
Estrella Linked Crystals Chain - small, rose/silver
Estrella Linked Crystals Chain - medium, amethyst/silver
Estrella Linked Crystals Chain - medium, ruby/silver
Estrella Jewelry Chain - small, elongated oval links, silver color
Estrella Jewelry Chain - medium, elongated oval links, silver color
Estrella Jewelry Findings - silver color
Estrella Charm with CZ - Curved Bar - Crystal / Silver
Estrella Charm with CZ - Linked Stars - Crystal / Silver

Tools and extras:
Earring wires of your choice
Chain nose or flat nose pliers, preferably two pair
Wire cutters
Measuring tape
Small file
Alligator clips



1. Cut 2 lengths of the small-link silver colored chain, each 2 3/4 inches.  Connect the chains to the curved CZ bar with small oval jump rings.  Also add jump rings to the ends of the chains.  Close each of them.  For beginners, use two pair of pliers and make sure you twist the links side to side when opening and closing.  Never, never pull them apart and distort the oval or circle.  They will never close up properly if you do that.


2. Cut 2 lengths of the medium-sized ruby crystal chain, each 4 1/2 inches.  Connect the chains to the linked CZ stars with small oval jump rings.  You do not need to add jump rings to the other ends of the chain this time.


3. If you have a necklace clamp like this, use it, but if not, don't worry...you can just lay out your chains on a towel and use alligator clips to keep it together while you work.  This gizmo (my husband made it for me!) helps in making sure that multi-layered chains sit properly, but again, don't worry...I've done the measurements for you!
Using a large round jump ring at each end, layer on (in order, top to bottom) the following:
6 inch length of the small-sized ruby crystal chain
The previously prepared CZ bar chain
9 inch length of the small-sized rose crystal chain
10 inch length of the medium-link silver colored chain
The previously prepared CZ linked stars chain
12 inch length of the medium-sized amethyst crystal chain

4. Cut a 17 inch or longer length of the medium-link silver colored chain.  Slip one end into each jump ring and close them carefully.  This chain will be cut later and become your neck chain, but just leave it one piece for now.

Part two of this tutorial will post next Monday.  Get ready to finish up the necklace and to make a pair of earrings from the leftover links!

Copyright 2018 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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Book review: Kumihimo Wirework Made Easy


Christina Larsen has come up with the next logical crossover skill in jewelry making: kumihimo performed with wire instead of cords!  In Kumihimo Wirework Made Easy, Christina teaches three fairly simple kuihimo braid structures that she then goes on to turn into fabulous pieces of jewelry, both with and without beads.


Even if you have never done kumihimo with cords before, fear not.  The instructions are very complete, and Christina has lots of tips to help you speed through the learning curve.  You do not need expensive equipment or tools to do this...just a few basic wire tools that you probably already have, and one of the inexpensive foam disks.  Since wire doesn't slip out of holes once you've moved it there, you don't need to worry about the disks "wearing out" quickly.  You do have to worry about tension, though, and Christina shows you all her best practices for choosing, straightening, and moving wires, and for maintaining tension as you work. 


The wirework lends itself perfectly to bracelets, but there's much more to be explored in this book.  Rings, necklaces, and earrings projects are included too.  One of my favorite pieces is a pair of earrings that spiral beautifully (shown above) called Chandelier Earrings. 

The final chapter of projects includes leather cording mixed with wire.  I love the look of a lot of these, but my favorite is the Framed Leather Bracelet shown below. 

   


This post contains affiliate links: Amazon

Monday, October 29, 2018

Piano keys! Russian leaf pattern by Rita Sova



Are you familiar with Rita Sova's wonderful bead patterns?  I've come across Rita's designs many times before, but this time I fell hook, line, and sinker!  Since my recent foray into stitching Russian leaves in all kinds of patterns and colors, my eye has just naturally homed in on any new ones that I see as I'm scrolling through Pinterest. 

Well...there was this wonderful piano keys pattern, but without any credits or a link!!!!  Thanks to the magic of google and the Lightshot app, I was finally able to track it down to Rita.  So, here is my rendition of piano keys earrings.  You can get the tutorial at the link above for just a few dollars.  Enjoy!


My previous post on bead weaving Russian leaves

Monday, October 22, 2018

Honeycomb stitch crocheted scarf - tutorial link


I came across this really pretty stitch that I found on MyPicot, called the Honeycomb Stitch.  It takes about 7 rows to complete the entire pattern, but you can then choose to add another few rows without actually having to do an entire additional repeat.  I thought that 10 or 12 rows made a wonderful width for a scarf and am thinking about using this pattern again for something else in the future. 

As you can see in the photo below, I used two very similar colors of yarn for this scarf.  If you want the pattern to really stand out, use multiple colors like the sample on MyPicot shows. 


I recommend printing out the diagram provided.  Since each row is slightly different, it is much easier to follow the diagram than written out instructions.  I found the that I caught on to the pattern very quickly this way. On each long edge, I finished it with single crochet.


Monday, October 15, 2018

Another Kazuri bead necklace - a tutorial


Back in the Spring, I showed you how I used some gorgeous Kazuri beads that my Sister-in-Law brought back for me from Kenya.  The interchangeable Kazuri bead necklace is shown above, and the tutorial is at the link.  I decided last week to make one more strand to suit some of the darker, richer Autumn colors, and this is what emerged:

 

Copyright 2018 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 08, 2018

Fall scarves...because I live in New England!


I was kind of sad when I had to put away my yarn for the summer.  Not only do I really love crocheting, but I also really really hate the heat!  Thanks to climate change, even New England is beginning to experience summers that are almost unbearable.

But finally autumn is here!  Yay!!  I don't need to be wearing scarves quite yet, but it is a lot of fun to be able to pick up where I left off last spring and get my fingers moving again!

Shown above is a wave pattern scarf, stitched crosswise.  You might remember that I made a bunch of them last spring, and mostly showed them in the lengthwise stitching pattern.  I want to give credit to Cori Dodds, who designed the first wave pattern scarf I saw.  She's the one who set me off on this adventure!

Instructions for Wave Stitch

Other examples, crocheted lengthwise and as infinity scarves


Copyright 2018 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 01, 2018

Rope necklace wrap-up!


Because my summer was busy beyond belief, I decided to make rope necklaces.  Pick 'em up and work for a few minutes, put 'em back down and walk away.  As long as you have the current pattern firmly in mind, and a way to keep yourself and your beads organized, it's a wonderful way to be able to feel productive.  And as you can see, I actually was productive!! 

I'm working on another rope right now, but it's a repeat, so it doesn't really count.  There are several more rope stitches that I want to explore before this is over, so as I tackle them, I'll post about them and also add them here.  This page will be linked in the Tutorials bar up above so that you can always easily find it without having to bookmark it. 


Russian spiral rope



Embellished peyote rope



Twisted herringbone rope



Chenille stitch rope



Pearl spiral rope



Indespiral rope



Ruffled peyote rope



Copyright 2018 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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