May 042015
 

hammered bangle bracelets
Don’t be intimidated by the heavy gauge wire in these bangle bracelets. It’s not hard to work with, it just may take a little more time to hammer it to the point you want.

Which bracelet do you prefer? I like the one with the rhinestone cup chain best. (You can find this lovely, sparkly chain in lots of colors over at Eureka Crystal Beads. The one I used is the 4mm Rose AB.)

The leather sandbag was a gift and I’m glad I finally got around to using it, as it’s quite helpful and the sound dampening while hammering is appreciated by everyone in the house. 🙂

Since completing the video I’ve discovered a few changes that will make your bracelets come out even better.

  • I used entirely too much heavy gauge wire to begin with. Instead of 10.5-inches, 8.75-inches should be plenty.
  • To be sure of the correct bangle size for you, measure the inside diameter of a bangle you have that fits. Add 3/4 to 1-inch for the loops.
  • To keep the loops together so your bracelet keeps its shape you can either wrap them together with wire or connect them with jump rings.
  • I found I preferred the look of a heavier gauge wire for wrapping the decoration to the bracelet.  I still used about a yard and wrapped it back and forth a few times.
  • Don’t use super fine gauge wire to string your beads. They get too  much wear and tear to hold up for long. Instead use the heaviest gauge wire that will fit through your beads. I used 2o gauge for stringing and wrapping.
  • Adding some beaded dangles to the loops not only adds detail and interest, it weights that side of the bracelet so your beads or cup chain are more likely to stay on top.

hammered bangles redone (2)
Here are my improved bracelets.

hammered bangles redone (3)

They fit much better now and I’m happier with the look.

hammered bangles redone (1)

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Hammered Bangle Bracelets Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials for each bracelet:

  • 8.75-inches 12 gauge copper wire
  • 36 inches 20-24 gauge copper wire
  • 3 inches beads or 3 inches 4mm cup chain (4mm Cup Chain can also be found at Amazon.com)
  • headpins and beads for bead dangles.

Tools:

See video and notes above for directions.

May 012015
 

friday findings-Simple loops.jpg

Simple loops seem like they should be, well… simple, and they are. But if you want your beads and jewelry to hold together securely, there are a few things you need to know, especially how to choose the right wire.

In the video I’ll give details on how to make simple loops two different ways.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Simple Loops video over at YouTube.

Apr 282015
 

Hi folks! Just a quick note to let you know there’ll be no What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday this week.  I’ve picked up a bit of a bug and don’t feel well at all.

im up.jpg

If I lived alone, today I would have seriously considered spending the whole day in bed with a good book or two. But since it would have alarmed the family, I was reluctantly vertical for much of the day. 🙂

Also, I don’t know if I’ll get this week’s dragon done by Thursday. If it doesn’t happen, I’ll try to have it for ya by Saturday.

Hope you all are well!

Apr 272015
 

Mojave Sparkles Necklace

The muted earth tones in this necklace make me think of the soft light at dawn or dusk in the desert. I love the contrast between the earthy jasper beads and the sparkly Swarovski bicone crystals. Even though they contrast, it’s the colors that make them work together.

This design concept of adding smaller beaded sections to a necklace fascinates me.

scalloped pearl necklace

Jude Wroblewski’s bib style necklace featured at FireMountainGems.com

My inspiration for this piece was Jude Wroblewski’s bib style necklace featured over at FireMountainGems. Her piece has over a dozen scalloped strands and those really are the focus of the necklace.

Since I wanted my picture jasper beads to be the focus, I kept the scallops more subdued.

Have fun designing your own necklace with as many or as few scalloped strands as you like. Make them full and lush like Jude’s, more restrained like mine or just all your very own. 🙂

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Mojave Sparkles Necklace Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 8 15mm x 20mm oval jasper beads
  • 9 5mm antique gold plated corrugated beads
  • 60 4mm Swarovski crystal bicone beads (I used a combination of their color mix “Mojave” and crystal clear)
  • 8 inches 3mm brass spacer beads
  • 8 inches chain, cut into two 4-inch pieces
  • 1 or 2 jump rings
  • lobster clasp
  • bead stringing wire
  • 8 wire protectors
  • 8 crimp beads
  • 8 crimp covers (optional)

Tools:

Directions:

  1. Cut a 5-inch piece bead stringing wire. Onto bead stringing wire slide a crimp, then slide wire into one end of wire protector and out the other. Slide the wire end back through the crimp and bring crimp to within 1/8-inch of wire protector. Flatten crimp with One Step Crimper or crimping pliers and squeeze ends of wire protector together. Trim shorter piece of wire close to crimp.  If desired, cover crimp with a crimp cover by picking up with crimping pliers, sliding over flattened crimp and gently squeezing pliers. Use crimping pliers to shape cover into a round bead shape if necessary.
  2. String 20 4mm Swarovski crystal bicone beads onto bead stringing wire and repeat step 1 to finish end of wire. Repeat 2 more times to make 3 small strands of crystals.
  3.  Add a Bead Stopper to one end of a 20-inch piece of bead stringing wire. String on 5mm spacer>jasper bead>5mm spacer>jasper bead>5mm spacer>end of one crystal strand>jasper bead>5mm spacer>end of second crystal strand>jasper bead>end of first crystal strand>5mm spacer>end of third crystal strand>jasper bead>end of second crystal strand>5mm spacer>jasper bead>end of third crystal strand>5mm spacer>jasper bead>5mm spacer>jasper bead>5mm spacer.
  4. To each end of stringing wire add 4 inches of 3mm brass spacers. Finish the ends as in step one, adding end link of a 4-inch piece of chain before bringing wire back through crimp.
  5. Use a jump ring to add a lobster clasp to one end of chain. If needed, add a jump ring to other end of chain.
Apr 242015
 

friday findings-wrapped top drilled.jpg

Top drilled beads add a lot of interest to a piece because they aren’t necessarily so perfectly symmetrical as center drilled beads. Also, all those wire wraps give great opportunity to make nice neat coils or add lots of fun messy wraps.

I love the way the wire wraps above the purple pearl and the amber chips act as funky bead caps.

If you are wrapping with a fine wire (24 gauge or smaller) I would suggest you leave the shorter wire long enough to make the loop as well (treating both wires as one.) Then you can do your wraps with both wires, tucking in the shorter one when it runs out. This will ensure that that short wire doesn’t pull out from under the wraps. (Try it and you’ll see what I mean.)

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Wire Wrapping Top Drilled Beads video over at YouTube.

Apr 232015
 

Two of the dragons so far have been bracelets, and I decided this next one should be a necklace.

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

dragon #16 wyatt 1.JPG

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

hollow lentil beads.JPG

I had a little fun the other day playing with leftover bits of polymer clay cane and the Sculpey Hollow Bead Maker.  The largest lentil bead is 1 3/4-inch in diameter and the smallest is 3/4-inch in diameter.

dragon #16 wyatt 2.JPG

My favorite bead was this blue, green and pearl one from some leftover mokume gane. The little dragon looks happy hanging out there, doesn’t he? Swelligant metal paints and patinas give him the look of an old cast sculpture.

dragon #16 wyatt 3.JPG

The silver wire Beehive and Ball of Yarn links are from Cindy Wimmer’s The Missing Link.

I was so happy to find that two of my old lampwork beads went nicely with this project, the green & white cylinder and the failed green & blue hollow bead. 🙂

dragon #16 wyatt 4.JPG

I’m really pleased with how it all came together and think this necklace will get a lot of wear!

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

Apr 212015
 

Happy What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday once more!

2014 04 22 woyww hollow lentil beads.JPG

Today’s workdesk finds me playing with my Sculpey Hollow Bead Maker. It specifically makes lentil shaped beads, and is a clever design.

For quite some time polymer clay artists have been using light bulbs of various sizes as the forms for their hollow lentils, but this tool makes it a bit easier to get both halves the same size.

I pulled out several leftover canes to play today. Right now what you see is the sanding stage. The edges of each half have to be sanded smooth so they will fit together. I’ll be sure to post photos when they are done!

Check back tomorrow to see my completed dragon #16. The plan is for it to be on one of these lentil beads. We shall see…

That’s all I’ve got for this week. If you wonder why I’m sharing a photo of my desk, it’s this fun little blog hop game we play over at Julia’s called What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday. Join in, all are welcome!

Apr 202015
 

swirly whirly earrings 2

These earrings are simple to create and completely open to interpretation. I love the idea of making them longer and with smaller seed beads. That would give ’em a lot of dangly movement.  Perhaps in a combination of metallic finishes? Maybe with a big, funky metallic bead at the bottom. Hmmm……

The only skills needed are making simple loops and opening & closing said loops. If you can do that and string beads onto wire, you’re ready to go!

I would love it if you shared any projects based on this video at my Facebook page in the “Your Creations” album.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Swirly Whirly Earrings Video Tutorial over at YouTube.

Materials:

  • 2 5-inch pieces 20 gauge wire
  • 2 2-inch head pins
  • 2 6-8mm beads
  • 2 ear wires
  • 6/0 seed beads in two different colors

Tools:

  • wire cutters
  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • a pen or small dowel to wrap wire around
  1. Add a 6-8mm bead to a headpin. Fill remainder of headpin with 6/0 beads in one color to within 3/8-inch of end of pin. Set aside.
  2. Use round nose pliers to make a small loop in one end  of 5-inch piece of wire. Fill wire with 4 inches of other color of 6/0 seed beads. Trim wire after last bead to 3/8-inch. Use round nose pliers to make a loop with remaining wire.
  3. Wrap this 4 inch beaded unit around a pen or a small dowel to make a spiral. Remove from dowel and use pliers to position one of the wire loops near the center of the spiral and parallel to the coils.
  4. Thread the head pin unit from step 1 up through the coils and then through the centered loop. Use round nose pliers to make a small loop with remaining wire. Open loop of an ear wire and attach to the headpin loop just made.
  5. Repeat to make second earring.
Apr 172015
 

friday findings-hammering wire.JPG

Since I do so much wire wrapping and hammering in my jewelry, I thought I’d give you some of the basics of working with wire.

There are two reasons to hammer wire: to harden it and/or to reshape its cross section.

In the video I show you how to hammer to harden but not reshape and how to harden and reshape. I’ll also give you a tips on areas where you need to be careful.

If you or you family objects to all the noise from hammering one of these Leather Sandbags will dampen the sound quite a bit.  The other tools you will need are a Mini Anvil, a chasing hammer and a nylon hammer.

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

You can watch the Friday Findings-Hammering Wire video over at YouTube.

Apr 162015
 

You can tell by this week’s dragon that I’ve been thinking about warmer weather. Meet Ciro, whose name means “sun.” I think it works perfectly with his ocean blue colors, seashell charms and bright golden sparkles. Just like a day at the beach. 🙂

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

Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

dragon #15-Ciro 1.JPG

To get all those lovely crackles the gold leaf is applied to a sheet of polymer clay. The thickness setting on the pasta machine is turned down by one notch and the sheet with the gold is run through, producing crackles that go in one direction.

Then the thickness is turned down another notch and the sheet is run through again, turned 90 degrees. This gives the even, all over crackles.

dragon #15-Ciro 2.JPG

The dragon is from a mold I made of a dragon cameo I sculpted last year. This time I only molded the body and wings. It was so delicate, though, that I put it in the freezer for 30 minutes before trying to unmold it.

dragon #15-Ciro 3.JPG

After crackling the gold leaf on the clay I pressed into it with a rubber stamp to add some detail. It was hard to see the impression until after adding the brown paint, and it’s not as deep or consistent as I’d like.

But I do like those little gems dangling from the corners!

dragon #15-Ciro 4.JPG

What treasures will he be guarding in that little box? I wonder…

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