Feb 052013

“Bead Soup,” simply put, is a collection of beads.  It can be completely random, like saving all your extra beads in a bowl, then seeing what you can do with them.  Or they can be planned assortments with contrasting or complementary colors.  Usually there’s a interesting mix of shapes, sizes and textures of beads.


Often you’ll find these assortments calling your name at bead shows or in craft stores.  (What?  Beads don’t call to You?)

This  necklace was made from a purple and yellow packet that leaped into my cart, erm, that is – I just couldn’t resist it.


I decided to keep the project simple by just stringing 4 strands of beads onto beading wire, adding bead caps, a pendant and some chain around back to finish.

You know me, it’s got to be adjustable.  🙂


As you’ll see in the video, I had a hard time deciding on a pendant until the beads were strung.  Then the choice was obvious.  This is a case of following the excellent advice I once heard to “Make visual decision visually.”  It seems “duh” but often we try to guess without actually seeing.

Anyhow, enjoy the video, and give it a try for yourself.

WordPress has been having issues lately with embedding videos.  So instead of having it here on the blog, today you’ll have to go watch it on my YouTube channel.  Sorry for any inconvenience!

Happy creating.  🙂


Bead Soup Beaded Necklace


  • a “bead soup” assortment of small beads (usually in 50-60 gram containers)
  • 4 20-inch pieces beading wire
  • 2 – 2 inch pieces wire (headpins with the heads cut off work great)
  • 8 crimp beads
  • 2 bead caps
  • 3 or 4 jump rings
  • 2 – 3” pieces chain
  • lobster clasp
  • pendant and jump ring or bail to attach to necklace
  • 2 pair chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • crimping tool, if desired
  • hemostats, beads bugs or other clamping tool for holding beading wire ends

To make necklace:

  1. Randomly string 16-inches of beads from assortment onto each 20-inch piece of beading wire.
  2. Use round or chain nose pliers to make a U-shaped hook in one end of each 2-inch piece of wire.
  3. Slide a crimp bead onto a wire, then slide the wire back through the crimp, leaving a 1/8-1/4 inch loop of wire.  Flatten crimp bead with chain nose pliers or crimp with crimping tool.  Repeat with one end of each of remaining three strands of beads. Trim excess wire 1/8-inch from crimp.
  4. Slide all four loops onto a U-shaped hook, then use chain nose pliers to close U into a loop.  Slide end of wire through a bead cap.
  5. Use chain nose pliers to grasp wire just at point where it exits bead cap.  Bend wire at 90° angle.  Grasp bend with round nose pliers and wrap wire around pliers as far as possible to start to make a loop.  Reposition pliers to finish loop.  Use wire cutters to trim wire where it crosses beginning of loop.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 to add crimp beads, wire hook and bead cap to other ends of bead strands, leaving about 1/8-inch slack in each wire.
  7. Add 3-inch piece of chain to each end of necklace with a jump ring.  Add clasp to one end of chain with a jump ring.  Add a jump ring to remaining end of chain if necessary.
  8. Attach the pendant to one strand of necklace with a large jump ring.  (Or use whatever means is appropriate for your pendant.  If your bail is closed, you’ll need to slide it onto one of the strands of beads before completing step 6.)
Feb 042013

Dunno what the weather is where you are, but here in New England I’m guessing I’m not the only one who has had enough of winter.  I’m so tired of being cold, bleah.

Sadly, we probably have another couple months before it turns warm.

So, in the meantime, I decided to make my own little bit of spring.

Click on any of the pics to see them bigger than life.


Christi Friesen, in addition to having many wonderful books, also has downloadable projects on her website.


Instead of the glass flower beads Christi used, but I tried using metal bead caps shaped just like flowers.  I first colored them with Snow Cap mixative, an alcohol ink.  Then I added other alcohol ink colors over the white to make pastels.


I have no idea what I’m going to do with it, but the pretty spring colors make me happy.  🙂

Also, I promised you an update on the beaded ring redo.  Here it is:


It doesn’t look much smaller, because it isn’t.  I think I only eliminated 3 or 4 beads.  A few of the clusters are shorter and they’re all tighter together now.


The main redo was for the band.  I thought I was being smart using elastic thread, but mine didn’t have enough recovery and it just made the ring too loose.


Turns out, the original designer’s instructions were just right.  🙂

Oh, and one more fun little thing.  The Blog for Beaders over at ArtBeads.com had a giveaway, and I won this pretty sparkly thing.

See?  Real people do actually win those things. 🙂


I’m looking forward to adding to it.  Like I NEED more jewelry.   Ha!

Happy creating, ya’ll.

Jan 312013

My friends over at All Free Jewelry Making have just released a wonderful new 38-page free e-book on wire wrapping jewelry.

How to Wire Wrap Jewelry: 16 DIY Jewelry Wire Wrap Tutorials eBook

Several of my projects are included, but there many others I want to try.  The Spiral Wire Ring, The Sunshine Spiral Beaded Earrings, and all the pendant wire wrapping (which for some reason, I still  haven’t tried yet) are definitely pieces I want to make.

Although videos are not included in the e-book, keep in mind that all of my projects have accompanying video tutorials, listed for you below.

Caged Bead Bracelet

Coiled Connections Bracelet

Hammered Heart Bracelet

Treble Clef Earrings

Graceful Crystal and Wire Necklace

Tangled Wire Bead Earrings


Jan 292013

As long time readers may know, I’ve been making video jewelry tutorials for some time now.  Of course, each completed video results in a completed piece of jewelry (duh) and at the rate I’ve been going of four to six each month, that’s 48-72 new pieces a year.

Yeah, kind of a lot…

Some of the pieces became instant favorites, like this and this.


Tangled Wire Beads Tutorial

Necklace Tutorial


Crystal Heart Charm Bracelet Tutorial

But do I really need to keep them ALL?

So, resolved not to be greedy desperately in need of storage space,  shortly after Christmas I cleaned out and organized all my pretty, shiny things and sorted the ones I absolutely love and cannot be without, from the ones that I could possibly bear to part with.

The “can possibly bear to part with” pieces are being listed in my Etsy shop at the rate of about one per week.  Here are the ones that are there so far:

Clicking the photo will bring you to the Etsy listing.  Clicking the link below the photo will bring you to the original video tutorial.


Caged Beads Bracelet Tutorial


Hammered Link Earrings Tutorial


Memory Wire beaded bracelet tutorial


Three’s a Charm Necklace Tutorial


Caged Beads Bracelet Tutorial

All items $30 and over in my Etsy shop now ship free to anywhere, and most other items ship free when purchased with another.

Also, be sure to use the coupon code AGIFT4U for a 20% discount store wide.

Happy shopping AND Happy creating!



Jan 262013

Tim Holtz’s tag for this month is so cool, I thought it needed to be made in a more substantial form than just a tag.


A little 5×7 canvas was perfect.  However, I quickly realized that Distress Stains and Distress Inks wipe right off the finish of the canvas.  What to do for a little background color?


After poking around in my supplies, I decided to try mixing Matte Multi Medium with some Distress Reinkers.  I worked like a charm to give a soft, watercolor look.  I used reinkers in Broken ChinaVintage Photo, Faded Jeans and Pine Needles.

The pens in the bottom left corner were stamped in Jet Black StazOn Ink with the Curious Possibility stamp set.


The font I used to print the verses is called Artistamp; isn’t it perfect for this project?  You can download the font for free here.


The ribbon (Tim Holtz Trimmings) was colored with Wild Honey Distress StainFired Brick Distress Stain and Vintage Photo Distress Stain, then stamped with a stamp from Tim’s The Journey stamp set.

The paper on the background was embossed with the Clock embossing folder and colored with several Distress inks, including Vintage PhotoWild HoneyFaded JeansWalnut StainAged Mahogany,  Broken China and Peeled Paint.


The gears were cut out of Grunge paper with my Sizzix Big Shot and the Gadget Gears Die. They were painted with Brushed Pewter Distress Crackle Paint,  Tarnished Brass Distress Crackle Paint and Deco Art Dazzling Metallics-Worn Penny.

Then, like Tim always has us do, I sanded them and inked them with Vintage Photo Distress ink.  The distress only sticks to the places where the paint was sanded away, so it’s a cool look.

A strip of Filmstrip Ribbon, some Sprocket Gears, a Game Spinner, an Idea-Ology 1-Inch Corner and a Trinket Pin finish up the project.

I’m enjoying having this canvas on  my desk as a constant reminder of what is most important.  🙂

Happy Creating!

Jan 242013

I finished sewing this fleece jacket shortly after Christmas and have worn it a lot since then.  I’m so glad I have it today because it is 4° here.

Yes, you read that right, that’s the number four with nothing else before or after it.  Never mind what it is with the wind chill. Brrrr…….


It was a fairly quick project.  The only thing that slowed it down was top-stitching and trimming all the seams.  I’m glad I took the time for this step, though, because it gives it a more finished and professional look inside and outside.


McCalls 5252 is a nice pattern, with lots of options, but keep in mind that it runs really big.


See how huge the sleeves are?

Here’s a closer look at the top-stitching.  I sewed a perfect rectangle for the velcro for the mp3 player pocket.  Too bad it’s crooked.  Grrrr……


Doncha just love fleece? I remember when I first discovered it on a quilting group trip to the American Textile History Museum in Lowell.  Of course, no field trip is complete without shopping, so we then went to the nearby Polartec outlet store.  (Sadly, it’s no longer there.)

I’d never seen polar fleece before was amazed by the stuff. I decided everyone would get fleece bathrobes for Christmas that year. The bag I brought home barely fit on the bus, much less in my trunk.  : – )

Anyhow, here’s my review of the pattern.

Happy sewing and stay warm!

Pattern Description: Misses’ and men’s unlined vests and jackets. Loose fitting, unlined vest or jacket has yoke front, collar or hood, zipper closure (vests A & D, jackets B & E; jackets C & F are pullover) with or without sleeve and inseam pockets.

Pattern Sizing: The pattern envelope says small-medium-large, but this pattern runs rather huge.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes. Although, you might notice that the model is pulling the front down with her hands in the pockets. I’m guessing that’s because it’s tough to put a zipper in fleece with getting at least a little rippling.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yup, they were good.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? What I liked:

I really like the interesting lines of this pattern. The little mp3 player pocket is great, too, as I walk around listening to audio books all day.

What I disliked:

When they say “loose fitting” they aren’t kidding around! I measured the actual pattern and compared them against a finished garment that fit. I ended up making a medium, though according to the pattern I should have done a large. As you can see, it’s still kinda big. However, it is nice to have the option of LOTS of layers underneath. 🙂

Fabric Used: I use a fleece from Joann’s.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I didn’t alter the pattern at all, but if I made it again, I’d probably make the sleeves and armscye less wide. It just seems way too deep to me.

I also would make the back of the pocket (the part closest to the body) out of fleece, rather than lining fabric. The thin cotton I used just doesn’t feel substantial enough, and a little extra bulk isn’t going to matter in this very bulky garment.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I might make this again, but definitely in a small. The fleece is very warm and comfy on chilly winter days.

Conclusion: A great winter wardrobe item! But be sure to measure a similar garment that you like the fit of and compare those measurements to the pattern tissue (less seam allowance) in order to choose a more accurate size.


Jan 212013

I was so excited to get an email from my friends over at AllFreeJewelryMaking.com telling me I was included in the Top 100 Jewelry Patterns of 2012.

Keepsake Crafts is in the top 100 favorite jewelry patterns of 2012

Five of my video tutorials were nominated one of the top AllFreeJewelryMaking projects of 2012.

Meaning they were among the most viewed projects on the AllFreeJewelryMaking site throughout the past year.

How cool is that?

In the top 100:  (Click on any photo to go to the original video tutorial.)

My Pandora style beaded bracelet.


The purple pearl necklace or bracelet.


Hey, in searching for “purple pearl” on my site I realized I used those pearls in three different tutorials.  I must really like ’em, lol.

The bead and chain tassel earrings.


The spiral headpin earrings.


The crystal bead and wire necklace.


Stayed tuned for yet more video tutorials.  I have a couple really fun ones coming soon.

Btw, I finally invested in a new camcorder, so now the sound quality is better, the focus is clearer (that needed to happen) and the vids are in widescreen.  Hope you enjoy!

Happy creating.  🙂

Jan 182013

Hey all!

Sorry I’ve been mia for the past week.  I got a new camcorder, the better to make ya’ll videos with, dearies.  However, said camcorder led me on a merry chase of technical difficulties.

The good news is all the problems are solved but one, and I’m sure I’ll figure that out soon. 🙂

In the meantime here’s a project one could (and DID) make while waiting for programs to load.

Click on the photos to get up close and personal.


Um, yeah, it’s a ring.  

Lest you think I used really tiny beads and made a reasonably sized ring, I did not.


See?  Tolja it was honkin’ big.

Even though it’s humongous, I kinda love it.  However, I think I’m going to redo it only cuz I used elastic thread in the band and it came out too big.  I don’t mind the hugeness, but its flopping around is bothersome.  I’ll be sure to show you HonkinBigRing 1.2.

You can find the tutorial at the Tiny Apartment Crafts blog.  She’s got a lot of cute ideas over there.

Happy creating!


Jan 102013

I just love finding new ways to use supplies, don’t you?


Instead of the usual beading wire, or eye pin links, I made my own links with spirals of wire. This technique would work great for a necklace, too.

One tip: After wearing this bracelet, I realized that the jump rings don’t need to be quite that big. The bigger they are, the more easily they can catch on things and then open.  So experiment and find the smallest size that will work for your coils.

Happy creating!


  • six medium-size focal beads
  • 12 metal spacers
  • five-six 5-inch pieces 20-gauge wire
  • 8-inch piece 20-gauge wire
  • clasp
  • 1-inch length of chain (optional)
  • ¼-inch dowel
  • metal file
  • round nose pliers
  • chain nose pliers
  • wire cutters


  1. Lightly fold a 5-inch piece of wire in half. Use round nose pliers to begin a loop on one end of wire. Use chain nose pliers to spiral wire around loop until it’s ½ inch from center bend of wire. Straighten out remaining wire.
  2. Slide a spacer bead, a focal bead, and another spacer bead onto wire. Use chain nose and round nose pliers to make a loop and spiral the same way as with other end of wire. Face the spirals in opposite directions.
  3. Repeat to make four or five more spiral links, enough to make length of bracelet needed.
  4. Coil wrap 8-inch length of wire around ¼-inch dowel. Remove wire from dowel and cut coils apart to create large jump rings. File ends of jump rings smooth, if necessary.
  5. Use large jump ring to connect center holes of two spiral links together. Repeat to connect all spiral links. Use a jump ring to attach clasp to one end. Attach a jump ring and, if necessary, a 1-inch length of chain to opposite end.


Jan 092013

It’s always fun to find new and different ways of using your supplies.  This bracelet uses eye pins, with an extra twist, to make the links of a charm bracelet.



The best part of making your own jewelry is that you make it with your choice of metal finishes, beads, charms and, of course, any and all colors you desire!

Happy creating.  🙂


  • seven eye pins
  • seven head pins
  • seven beads
  • clasp
  • two jump rings
  • 1-inch piece chain (optional)
  • chain nose pliers
  • round nose pliers
  • wire cutters


  1. Grasp eye of eye pin in flat part of round nose pliers; bend remaining wire into 90-degree angle. Position eye of eye pin between jaws of round nose pliers; wrap wire around one round jaw to create a second loop at a 90-degree angle to first loop.
  2. Trim wire to 1 inch long from loops.
  3. Bend cut end of each eye pin to 90 degrees ¼-inch from end. Use round nose pliers to create loop with ¼ inch of wire. Repeat to make total of seven links.
  4. Slide a bead onto a head pin. To make head pin into a dangle, grasp wire with chain nose pliers just where it exits bead and bend wire end at 90-degree angle. Grasp bend with round nose pliers and begin to form a loop. Reposition round nose pliers and complete loop. Trim wire where wires cross with wire cutters. Repeat to make seven bead dangles.
  5. Connect single loop of an eye pin to top of double loop of another. Repeat to connect all eye pins together.
  6. Connect each bead dangle to a remaining loop of each eye pin link.
  7. Use jump rings to attach lobster clasp to one end and chain to other end to complete bracelet.