Jan 042016
 

crystal tassel earrings

Tassels are very popular now and they are being made out of everything: chain, leather, silk, cotton & other cords, so why not make them out of strands of crystal beads?

The colors of the beads and the style of the bead cones I used give these earrings an exotic feel, but your choices will make your earrings your own unique creation.

I used 4mm Blue Zircon Bicone Swarovski Crystal Beads for the stripe along the bottoms. For the rest of the beads I used a mix called Sonoran which includes the colors:

You could use all metal beads, gemstones or seed beads. You could make the tassels all one or just two colors, or make the strands longer or shorter.

Have fun coming up with your own designs!

Enjoy the video and happy creating.


You can watch the Crystal Tassel Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 122 4mm Swarovski crystal bicone beads
  • 2 bead cones
  • 2 ear wires
  • 2 eye pins
  • 2 4mm round beads
  • 2 3mm round beads
  • 24 crimps
  • bead stringing wire

Tools:

  1. Slide a crimp onto bead stringing wire and crimp near the end of the wire with the One Step Crimper. Trim any excess wire. Slide on 10 beads and another crimp. Slide the wire back through the crimp to make a 1/8-inch loop. Flatten the crimp with the One Step Crimper and trim excess wire.
  2. Repeat step 1 to make 12 beaded units.
  3. Slide the top loops of 6 beaded units onto an eye pin and close securely. Use chain nose pliers to bend eye of the eye pin at a 90 degree angle to the wire. Slide eye pin into a bead cone and adde a 4mm round bead, a 4mm bicone crystal and a 3mm round bead. Use round nose pliers and wire cutters to make a loop with remaining eye pin wire.
  4. Open loop of ear wire and attach to this loop.
  5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 to make second earring.

 

 

Jan 012016
 

ff briolettes

Even those of us who have been working with jewelry for quite some time can be confused by the various terms out there.

I have been working for some time through the book Wire Jewelry Masterclass and found several designs where she called for briolettes. Looking at the designs I had a pretty good idea of what she meant but wanted to know exactly what was called for, so I did a little research.

The result of that research is today’s video. I will explain to you exactly what a briolette bead is, and also show you what it isn’t.

If you’d like to try working with these elegant beads, here are a few to choose from:

ff briolettes

You can see an example of briolettes in the earrings on the right pictured above. The ones on the left called for briolettes, but I ended up using just teardrop beads.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

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

 

Dec 312015
 

Well, I did it!

I proudly present to you the 52nd and FINAL polymer clay dragon in my personal challenge to make a dragon sculpture for every week in 2015. Check out this post on Errol, dragon #1, for the details on why I started.

I’ve made huge dragons on towers, teeny tiny dragon on cabochons, 2-dimensional dragons (so NOT my thing), necklaces, bracelets, treasure dragons, ocean dragons, forest dragons, steampunk dragons and even a cell phone holder dragon!

It’s been fun and I learned a lot, but phew! It’ll be nice to not have to pump one out every week. 🙂

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #52 Opal 1

Opal was inspired by Donna Greenberg’s Rhythm Ruffle technique which was published in The Polymer Arts magazine in Fall of 2012. As soon as I saw it I thought, “Dragon spines!” 🙂

dragon #52 Opal 2

For the base color I used Premo’s new Opal clay. The accent colors are Sculpey Souffle Lagoon, Peacock Pearl and Pearl Purple.

Opal’s body is Premo Opal mixed with just a tiny pinch of Peacock Pearl.

dragon #52 Opal 3

I’ve made a Thursday’s Dragon Pinterest board so you can see them all in one place. Some time soon I’ll put together a collage of the favorites.

As for New Year’s resolutions? I don’t make ’em. I make goals and plans to reach those goals, and those can start any time of the year. After all what are resolutions for without a plan?

cats on treadmill

So what’s up for 2016? Oh I have plans, lots of plans, but I won’t hold myself to quite the same strict scheduling as last year. It’s my hope to spend some time working on figure sculpting and especially developing expression, personality and story telling in my work.

I also hope to get into metal clay sculpting. It’s similar work as polymer, but you end up with fine silver pieces in the end!

It’s also in the plans to start a weekly polymer clay tutorial on my YouTube channel. So be watching for announcements on that.

Many thanks to you, my readers and viewers for all your support and kind comments. It truly is what keeps me inspired to keeping working, creating and teaching.

May you all have a blessed New Year and happy creating!

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.