Dec 292015
 

For the past six months I have been giving away packages of handcrafted jewelry worth over $100 each! I hope the 10 winners so far have enjoyed their jewelry prizes. 🙂

In 2016 I plan to donate my extra jewelry to a women’s ministry. Many of you suggested that when I started the giveaways over the summer and I think it’s a good idea.

It’s been my pleasure to share with all of you, I wish I could have sent everyone a piece of jewelry, but it’s not possible. Instead, I feel like I’m doing something even better: teaching you how to make your own custom jewelry pieces in exactly the colors & styles you like.

Watch the video below for details. Or watch the video on YouTube.

Please fill out the Rafflecopter area below for your chance to win.

Rafflecopter doesn’t show up on some mobile devices, btw. If you don’t see it below, try refreshing, check back later or visit on a different device.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’m doing the giveaway at my blog rather than at YouTube to protect YOU from scammers. Your info is protected here.

Dec 282015
 

beads on a wire earrings

Finding new and different ways to use supplies is what keeps jewelry making interesting for me. I love how just some simple bead stringing wire gives these earrings their dangle. Crimps hold everything in place and crimp covers keep it all looking pretty.

It would be fun to make a whole bunch of these wire components and put them together into a very fluffy necklace, bracelet or pair of earrings.

Just make sure you pick up some pretty colored wire to use as it will be exposed in the design.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Bead on a Wire Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

Tools:

  • chain nose pliers
  • crimping pliers
  • wire cutters
  • One Step Crimper (optional, but useful!)

Directions:

  1. Slide a crimp onto a piece of bead stringing wire. Use crimping pliers or One Step Crimper to flatten one-half inch from one end of wire. Use crimping pliers to cover flattened crimp with a crimp cover.
  2. Slide on 6mm bead, 2mm x 4mm saucer spacer, 12mm pearl bead, 2mm x 4mm saucer spacer, 6mm bead and a crimp.
  3. Use crimping pliers or One Step Crimper to flatten crimp. Use crimping pliers to cover flattened crimp with a crimp cover.
  4. Make a bend in the wire one inch from crimp cover just added. Slide a crimp onto the wire and slide past the bend. Then slide the wire back through the crimp and slide crimp up so a 1/4-inch loop of wire remains. Repeat step 3.
  5. Slide another crimp on wire and position where you’d like the top of your second section of beads to be. Repeat step 3.
  6. Add a 6mm bead, 8mm bicone, 6mm bead and a crimp. Repeat step 3.
  7. Use wire cutters to either trim the wire to one-half inch below crimp cover or trim off both wires completely.
  8. Repeat to make second earring.
Dec 252015
 

Merry Christmas, everyone!  I’m taking the day off today to enjoy my family, but I know for some of you it’s just another day, so here’s a little video for you to enjoy.

ff crystal beads

Who doesn’t love crystals? They can add sparkle, color and just a touch of class to any piece of jewelry that you are making.

They come in all sizes, shapes, colors and styles that you can think of, but there is often some confusion. What is the difference between glass and crystal?

In this video I explain a bit about the differences between glass and crystal and give you some tips for figuring out if pieces you own are one or the other.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Crystal Beads video over at YouTube.

Dec 212015
 

amethyst copper bracelet

This week’s bracelet design is a fairly basic one. Amethyst teardrop beads are strung onto eye pins to make bead connectors for the main part of the bracelet. They are then linked together by a single link of chain, or an oval jump ring, with several copper bead dangles hanging from each link of chain.

There are so many variations that you could do with this and totally change the look and feel by changing up the choice of beads and colors. I love the idea of making the dangles in freshwater pearls with perhaps peridot or a pretty pink crystal used for the main beads. It would be quite spring-like.

I hope you like this design in that you give it a try! Here are a few of the supplies are used in making this bracelet.

By the way when I first started this design I used some fairly inexpensive head pins and 75% of them broke in the making of the loops. Argh. This proves to me once again that cheap materials don’t save you much. Buy the best quality you can afford. You’ll be glad you did with the amount of time and aggravation it saves you.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Amethyst & Copper Dangles Bracelet  Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials

  • 8-12 4mm-8mm beads for main part of bracelet, amount varies depending on the size of beads
  • one eye pin for each bead
  • beads for dangles (4x number used for main part of bracelet)
  • one head pin for each dangle
  • chain with 4-5 mm oval links or oval jump rings
  • clasp

Tools

  • chain nose pliers
  • 1-Step Looper or:
    • round nose pliers &
    • wire cutters

Directions

  1. Slide each of your main beads onto an eye pin. Use round nose pliers to make a loop or use the One Step Looper. Connect all of these bead links together with an oval link of chain or jump ring between each one until bracelet is long enough to go around wrist.
  2. Slide beads for dangles onto head pins. Use round nose pliers or One Step Looper to make loops. Attach four, or as many as you’d like, to each link of chain on bracelet.
  3. Use a jump ring or a link of chain to attach clasp to one and. Attach four additional links of chain or jump rings to other end.
  4. Make additional bead dangles by sliding beads onto head pins and making loops, Attach a few of these to the four links of chain at the other end of the bracelet.
Dec 182015
 

ff bicone beads

If you’ve been watching my jewelry videos for any time now, you’ve probably noticed that I love to use bicone beads. There’s just something about that different shape, especially the diamond shaped profile, that really draws me in.

When I first got into beading I was utterly amazed to discover that beads came in shapes other than round! The cubes especially entranced me.

The one subject I get the most questions on is that of bicone beads. So I put together this little video for you just explaining what they are and how they are used. I even found an interesting alternate name for them.Here are some of my favorite bicones:

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Bicone Beads video over at YouTube.

Dec 172015
 

This week I have for you the penultimate sculpture in my year-long weekly polymer clay dragon challenge. Since Joy was made in the midst of Christmas preparations, I decided it would be appropriate to put her on top of a Christmas ornament,  from whence she can watch all of the festivities. 🙂

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #51 Joy 1

Joy’s body is made from two different brands of translucent clay mixed with gold leaf.

If you’d like to see my other dragon creations so far, I’ve made a Thursday’s Dragon Pinterest board just for them.

dragon #51 Joy 2

I really love the beaded accents for her spines, as well as the webbing bits in between which is more like what you often see on many dragon representations.

dragon #51 Joy 3

The bauble is a ceramic Christmas ornament that I found at the craft store. They only had them in white, so I colored mine with a variety of alcohol inks. I really think the mottled look of the ball very much accents the dragon.

dragon #51 Joy 4

Only one more to go, and I have lots of plans for projects to work on in the new year. But I’ll tell you more about that once Christmas is past.

dragon #51 Joy 5

Don’t forget that next Thursday is Christmas eve and I won’t be putting up a dragon. Instead #52, the final one in this year-long challenge, will go up on New Year’s eve. Be watching for that in two weeks!

Check out this post on Errol, dragon #1, for the details on why I am making a dragon for every week in 2015.

Dec 142015
 

aurora borealis bracelet

Although it’s hard to tell from the photo, those three larger beads are actually clear glass crystal. They have a very thin coating of metal that gives them an iridescent effect, changing colors as you change the angles.

This coating was developed by Swarovski in the 1950’s and was named Aurora Borealis after the northern lights. You can learn more about AB coatings here and here.

What I love about designing with this type of bead is that you can play off any or all of the reflected colors.  In this bracelet I’ve chosen to focus on the purples, but you could just as easily pull out the greens, blues or the fuchsia. Or use all of them. 🙂

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Aurora Borealis Bracelet Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 3 large focal beads 20-25mm
  • 18 inches of small beads: 2mm-4mm, seed beads and the like
  • several medium size beads and spacers for dangle accents
  • head pins for bead dangles
  • 2 bead cones
  • toggle clasp
  • crimps
  • wire protectors
  • crimp covers
  • split ring
  • bead stringing wire
  • 2 3-inch pieces 20 gauge wire

Tools:

  • round nose pliers
  • chain nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • crimping pliers
  • split ring pliers

Directions:

  1. String medium size beads onto as many headpins as you’d like dangles and make wrapped loops. Use split ring pliers to open a split ring and slide on all the dangles. Set aside.
  2. Onto bead stringing wire add three inches of small beads. Onto one end slide a crimp. Slide the wire back through the crimp, leaving a 1/8-inch loop of wire. Flatten the crimp and trim excess wire. Repeat on other end. Make as many of these three-inch sections of beads as you like. (I used six in my bracelet.)
  3. Make a 90° bend in a three-inch piece of 20 gauge wire. Use round nose pliers to make a loop at the bend and add one wire loop of each of your strung bead sections. Make a wire wrap to secure and trim excess wire. Slide wire into a bead cone.
  4. Make a wrapped loop with the remaining wire coming out of the bead cone.
  5. Onto bead stringing wire slide the three focal beads, separated by spacers if you like. Onto one end slide a crimp and a wire protector. Add one half of the toggle clasp to the wire protector. Slide the wire back through the crimp. Flatten the crimp and cover with a crimp cover.
  6. On the other end slide a crimp and a wire protector. Slide the split ring with dangles over the wrapped loop made in step 4. Add the wrapped loop to the wire protector. Slide the wire back through the crimp. Flatten the crimp and add a crimp cover.
  7. Repeat step 3 to secure remaining ends of the short beaded sections. Check bracelet for fit and add more beads to wire, if necessary.
  8. Make a wrapped loop with the remaining wire coming out of the bead cone, adding other half of toggle clasp before wrapping.

 

Dec 112015
 

ff rose gold

Rose gold his been around at least since the 1800’s and first became popular in Russia where it was known as Russian gold.

It then was very much in demand during the Victorian era because of its pink color. And in the 1920s Cartier designed his trinity ring using yellow gold, rose gold and white gold. This brought the metal even more to the public eye.

Because it’s made with an alloy of copper it is a little bit less expensive than pure gold and also the copper makes the gold more durable. Rose gold is often favored by those whose skin tones are not complemented by the color of yellow gold.

Did you also know that there’s green gold, gray gold, blue gold, purple gold and black gold? The story of gold alloys is quite fascinating, you can learn more about it here.

In the video I tell you just what red, rose and pink gold are made up of and show you some examples of how they are used in jewelry making.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Rose Gold video over at YouTube.

Dec 102015
 

dragon #50 Brandt (1)

Meet Brandt, dragon #50 in my year-long series of polymer clay dragons. I can hardly believe there are only two left to complete this challenge!

Brandt’s name means “proud,” which seems appropriate as he is inspired by the beauty of peacocks.

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

working on peacock dragon

Earlier this week I shared this in progress photo. You can see that I made a clay cane based on the designs and colors in a real peacock feather.

dragon #50 Brandt (2)

The original plan was to cover his body with the cane, but that seemed too busy. I much prefer the blue to green gradient with just touches of the peacock eye shapes.

If you’d like to see my other dragon creations so far, I’ve made a Thursday’s Dragon Pinterest board just for them.

dragon #50 Brandt (3)

His tail really gives the impression of a peacock’s tail, without making him look like a peacock.

dragon #50 Brandt (4)

I love the little smirk on his face, a proud fellow indeed!

Check out this post on Errol, dragon #1, for the details on why I am making a dragon every week in 2015.

Dec 072015
 

brushed metal & pave necklace

This week’s necklace was inspired by one I saw a news anchor wearing. I liked it so much that I paused the video, took a screenshot and saved it for future reference. (Doesn’t everybody watch the news on a laptop?) 😀

I love the idea of the metal beads being the focus where they are usually accents. The metal beads and just a few paves really add some great sparkle.

I got the pave beads at my local craft store but below are links to the brushed metal puff beads from Fire Mountain Gems.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Brushed Metal and Pave Necklace Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials

  • 5 12 to 14 mm crystal pave beads
  • 14 12mm brushed round beads in assorted metals
  • 40 bugle beads
  • 20 4 mm crystal beads
  • monofilament stringing wire
  • two bead tips
  • 3 inch piece of chain
  • jump ring
  • lobster clasp

Tools

  • wire cutters
  • chain nose pliers
  • E6000 glue
  • awl

Directions

  1. String the end of monofilament wire through a bead tip from the back of the hinge to the inside. Tie enough knots on top of each other so the knot does not slip through bead tip. Add a drop of E6000 glue and close the bead tip.
  2. Onto monofilament wire string of pattern of a bugle bead, a 4 mm crystal bead, a bugle bead and either a brushed metal or pave bead. Repeat until all beads are used, ending with a bugle bead, a 4 mm crystal bead and a bugle bead.
  3. Repeat step one to finish other end of monofilament with a bead tip. Use the awl to help with placement of the knots.
  4. Attach length of chain to one bead tip loop and lobster clasp with a jump ring to the other to complete necklace.