Nov 102012
 

These little maple leaf charms have special memories and I think they’re really pretty, but I’ve never been thrilled with the earrings… until now.

enameled-leaf-earrings-still

(You’ll have to check out the video for the “before,” as I forgot to take a pic before getting started.)

Just adding a couple small bead accents and new ear wires makes them into something wonderful that I love to wear!

Do you have any jewelry that’s been languishing sad and unworn, but you can’t bear to part with it?  Try this technique to make it into something new and special. (I’d love to see pics of your before and afters.)

Happy creating!

Materials:

  • two enameled leaf charms
  • two bicone beads to coordinate with charms
  • four seed beads
  • two ear wires
  • two eye pins
  • round nose pliers
  • chain nose pliers
  • wire cutters

Instructions:

  1. Slide a seed bead, a bicone bead, and another seed bead onto an eye pin. Grasp wire where it comes out of second seed bead with tips of chain nose pliers. Bend wire at a 90-degree angle. Grasp bend of angle with tips of round nose pliers.  Form as much of a loop as possible. Reposition round nose pliers and complete loop. Use wire cutters to cut excess wire where wires cross. Use flat part of chain nose pliers to flatten and straighten loop.
  2. Open ear wire; insert one loop of bead dangle just made. Close loop. Open remaining loop of bead dangle and insert charm. Close loop.
  3. Repeat for second earring.
Nov 052012
 

This wooden cat bead was given to me by a friend quite some time  ago.  I immediately made it into a necklace, but then didn’t wear it very often.

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If you have jewelry you know you ought to like, but never feel like wearing, perhaps it’s time for a makeover.

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Although the cat is wired up much better than before,  I’m  still not sure about the beads I chose for this necklace.  It may have to undergo yet another redo.   Are those green beads too big?  Are the yellow ones too yellow?  Should I go with more wooden beads and natural colors to compliment the cat?

Ideas?  Thoughts for improvements? Anyone?

Enjoy the video and happy creating!

Materials:

  • carved wooden bead for pendant
  • one head pin
  • several seed beads (if needed for head pin)
  • 10 inches of beads to complement wooden pendant
  • 14 inches bead stringing wire
  • two crimp beads
  • two 6-inch pieces of chain
  • four split rings
  • lobster clasp
  • round nose pliers
  • chain nose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • split ring pliers
  • crimping pliers

Instructions:

  1. Slide wooden pendant onto head pin. Add seed beads if necessary to fill in space. Grasp head pin with chain nose pliers just above last bead and bend head pin at a 90-degree 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. Keep round nose pliers in loop and wrap remaining wire several times around wire above last bead. Trim off excess wire and use chain nose pliers to tuck end in. File wire end smooth if necessary.
  2. Use split ring pliers to attach a split ring to each end of both pieces of chain. Attach a lobster clasp to one split ring.
  3. Slide a crimp bead onto bead stringing wire; slide on one split ring and slide wire back through crimp bead. Use crimping pliers to secure crimp beads.
  4. String on half of beads in desired pattern; slide on wooden bead pendant. String remaining beads, a crimp bead, and split ring from other piece of chain. Slide stringing wire back through crimp bead; pull snugly and crimp securely with crimping pliers. (Don’t pull too tightly against last beads strung or your necklace will be stiff and won’t hang nicely.)
Nov 012012
 

Now that Halloween is behind us, it’s time to eat up all that leftover candy!  Erm, no… how about  instead we seriously think about Christmas gifts?

For those of you crafters who like to make your own gifts, here’s a great quick project.

blue-sea-glass-bracelet-still

Stretch bracelets are fun to make, because you don’t have to deal with clasps and such.  They’re also easy to wear, for the same reason.  🙂

I got these sea glass beads at a bead show I attended recently.  These blue ones are pretty, but you should have seen the reds, yellows and oranges.  They looked positively edible.  (I must have candy on the brain, lol.)

Anyhow, enjoy the project.  Be sure to watch the video and/or read the directions, as I give a few hints that will make the process easier and the bracelet better.

Happy creating!

Materials:

  • six 20mm sea glass beads
  • 12 bead caps
  • six 9mm accent beads
  • 10 inches beading elastic
  • super glue

Instructions:

Tip: Don’t cut the elastic from the spool before stringing your beads. This gives you a built-in bead stop.

Pre-stretch approximately 10 inches of elastic before starting to string your beads.

String the following pattern six times, having bead caps facing sea glass beads:

bead cap > sea glass bead > bead cap > accent bead

To tie off elastic, wrap right end over left twice and pull snug; then wrap left over right twice and pull tight.

Pull knot slightly away from bead it is closest to and add a drop of super glue into hole of bead. Gently pull elastic until knot is inside bead with glue. Allow to dry thoroughly before trimming elastic ends.

Oct 302012
 

I love how often as artists we are utterly uninspired by an idea, but once we push through, start pulling out supplies and considering options, we end up creating something we are truly pleased with.

Earlier this month I was totally not feelin’ Tim’s October tag of 2012, but after determining to do something with it and taking a new look at the materials I had on hand, this is the result. (Click on photo for closer look.)

halloween-tag

The Townscape On The Edge Die has really turned out to be quite versatile.  I’ve used it for Thanksgiving and Christmas projects and anticipate pulling it out for much more.

The main technique for this tag is coloring glitter with black ink, which I think looks amazing.  I didn’t have Pitch Black alcohol ink so used my StazOn Jet Black reinker.  I think the glitter ended up being more clumpy than it would have with alcohol ink, but it worked out fine.  I just had to brush off the excess once it was dry.

halloween-tag-bottle-close

The “admit one” ticket was made with the Ticket Strip die and the stamp from the Curious Possibility stamp set.

Aren’t those Mini Bottles the cutest things?  The “Halloween Greetings” is from the Seasonal Paper Stash Pad. A couple drops of Purple Twilight alcohol ink inside gives a cool, spooky look.  Matte Multi Medium is perfect for gluing down the bottle since it dries clear and matte you can’t see it at all, even if you are sloppy.  🙂

(Speaking of Twilight, my mom just called.  I’d recommended Stephenie Meyer’s series to her a few weeks ago… and now she’s totally hooked.  Ha!  ====fist pump and big grin===)

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Then I got the idea to make these little bead and wire spiders.  In fact, I got so inspired that I made a video showing how.

Fun, eh?

halloween-tag-spider-close

The cobweb in the upper left was sketched onto a scrap of  Grunge paper and cut out with a craft knife.

Btw, Tim suggests using Tissue Wrap and says that book paper will not hold up to all the inking and painting.  I used a dictionary page that seemed to have somewhat of a coating and it worked out fine.

(If you look close you can tell the dictionary page I used was the one that had “vampire” on it. I hope this doesn’t make me a Twi-hard.)

The orange and purple colors are very cool, I used Wild HoneyDusty Concord and
Spiced Marmalade Distress inks, Wild Honey Distress StainPurple Twilight Paint Dabber and Pitch Black Paint dabber to color the tag.

The little cobwebby things in the upper left were done with hot glue.  Just put a glob of hot glue on a heat proof surface like a Craft Sheet, position the thing you want cobwebbed next to the blob and use a heat proof tool (I used a popsicle stick) to pull little stringers of glue up and over the area you want to cover.

If you want to cobweb a bigger area, Google “cobwebs with hot glue and an air compressor.”  It’s fairly amazing.

So that’s it for now, hope you got some inspiration.

Before my namesake storm blew through yesterday I bought Halloween candy and asked my husband to hide it.  Now I think it’s time to go search it out.  We never get many trick-or-treaters anyhow.  😉

Happy creating!

Oct 272012
 

Last weekend I had a little “just for me” time and spent the day at a bead show.  Yup, you read that right, a bead show.

Imagine a hall, filled with close to 100 tables… all about beads, bead making and jewelry making.

So. Much. Fun.

(Click on any of the photos for a larger view.)

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Some of the tables were like these, piled high with strands. You had no choice but to run your fingers through all their smooth, shiny yumminess.

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Some focused on individual lampworked beauties, like this one that came home with me. Can you say creamy vanilla goodness?

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I wasted no time making these sea glass beads into a quick stretch bracelet.  (Video tutorial coming soon!)

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Here’s a table of dichroic beads, arranged like a rainbow.  Sooooo pretty.  I wish you all could have been with me; they were so much more sparkly and lovely in real life.

bead-show-beads-001

There were tables of polymer clay bead artists.  (This is the work of Seana Bettencourt.  Her web site is here, and her Etsy shop here.  Sadly, both are rather empty at the moment, but I hope she’ll post some things soon so you can see more of her wonderful creations.)

These little flowers came home with me.  I haven’t a clue what I’m going to make with them, but some day just the right project will come up.  In the meantime they just sit on my desk and make me happy to look at them.

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More strands of beads.  See those little white baskets in the middle right?  They give those out to shoppers so we can pile in whatever catches our eyes as we browse.

So imagine from across the room a huge CRASH — then – rattle, rattle, rattle…

There was a gasp – a beat – and then a collective, “Awwwww…….”

Everybody there empathized.  lol

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Individual lampwork beads.  Loved her display with the little lights underneath.

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I’m still kicking myself for not going back to this table. I wanted to get one of her little vases with air plants.  (Upper right)

2012-10-20-bead-show-3

I also planned to get one of her glass parrots, but then talked myself out of it later.  Silly me.  🙁

Tropical Birdz1 by Mystic Moon Beads SRA U5

The good news is, they’re both in her Etsy shop here. I’ll just have to pay shipping now.  Ah well, lesson learned.  (And the lesson is, don’t leave the bead show until you’ve spent ALL your money!)

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Tables full of all kinds of wonderful chain, of which I bought a fair amount.  They will certainly show up in future jewelry videos.

2012-10-20-bead-show-4

More luscious yummies.

So, who’s going to come with me next year?  We can mutually talk each other back into the purchases we want.  🙂

 

Oct 252012
 

I’ve been utterly in love with my crystal heart charm bracelet lately and decided to make a matching pair of earrings.

wire-wrapped-crystal-heart-earrings-video-007

It took next to no time.  Seriously, any beads that you like could be wire wrapped to make a super quick and easy pair of earrings.

Thinking about Christmas gifts?  You could be done before Halloween.  Ha, wouldn’t  that be great?

Happy creating!

Materials:

  • two 7-inch lengths 22-gauge wire
  • two ear wires
  • two crystal heart charms
  • round nose pliers
  • chain nose pliers
  • wire cutters

Instructions:

  1. Slide a 7-inch wire through a heart charm leaving 1/2-inch sticking out one side.  Bend both wire ends up so they are parallel to each other and perpendicular to hole going through bead.  Bend both ends in towards each other until they cross.  Use chain nose pliers to bend both wires so they are parallel to each other again from crossing point on.  Use wire cutters to trim shorter wire to 1/8th-inch from bend.
  2. Use chain nose pliers to grasp both wires just at point where shortest was trimmed.  Bend longer 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.  Keep round nose pliers in loop and wrap remaining wire several times around wire above crystal heart charm.  Trim off excess wire and use chain nose pliers to tuck end in.  File wire end smooth if necessary.
  3.  Open an ear wire and slip on loop of heart charm. Repeat for second earring.

 

 

Oct 192012
 

Every time I go down the bead aisle at my craft store these Pandora-style large hole glass beads catch my attention.

pandora-style-glass-and-crystal-bracelet-still-2

The crystal bicones set them off nicely, imo.  I like this look better than having them all crowded together.

pandora-style-glass-and-crystal-bracelet-still-1

Now that it’s done, I’m reminded that pale pink really isn’t my color.  Guess I’ll just have to go get a different strand and try again.  >:)

Happy Creating!

Materials:

  • 9 large-hole glass beads
  • 11 10mm glass bicone beads
  • 6-8 small glass beads
  • toggle clasp
  • beading wire
  • 2 split rings
  • 2 crimp beads
  • split ring tool
  • wire cutters
  • chain nose pliers
  • hemostats (or other bead stop)

Instructions:

  1. Cut a 14-inch piece of beading wire. Clamp hemostats or affix bead stop to one end of wire. String bicone beads alternating with glass beads onto wire. Add 3/4 inch of small glass beads to one end of wire.
  2. Add or remove beads to adjust strand length to equal 3/4 inch less than desired bracelet length.
  3. Use split ring tool to add a split ring to each piece of toggle clasp.
  4. To attach toggle clasp pieces to ends of bracelet, string a crimp bead onto wire; then string wire through split ring. (Be sure to attach toggle bar to end of bracelet with 3/4 inch of small glass beads.) Slide wire back through crimp bead and flatten bead with chain nose pliers. Slide end of wire through a few beads on bracelet. Cut off excess wire.
  5. Repeat to attach other piece of toggle clasp to other end of bracelet. Don’t pull too tightly on wire when crimping or bracelet will be stiff and not drape nicely.
Oct 162012
 

Well, the creative slump seems to be over.  We are now back in “Got way too many ideas/inspirations than humanly possible to accomplish in the next ten years” mode.

This is evidenced by the state of my workdesk, which has a dizzying array of pending projects.

2012-10-17-woyww-003

The thing I MOST want to tackle next is the article that’s in the upper right.  It’s from an old Threads magazine and tells how to draft pants based just on your measurements.  There’s a lot of math involved, but I like math so it sounds like fun.  The blue and brown fleece fabrics (on  the bottom of the pile) are destined to be aiding in the perfection of  said pants pattern.

The silver stripe and the leopard print are from Fabric.com.  I was utterly inspired when I ordered them, but now I’ve forgotten what I planned to do with them.  No fear – they WILL be something fabulous.  Just to figure out what….

The blue fleece was on sale at Joanne’s today, as was the pattern.  I was thinking I could make something interesting with the leftover brown and blue fleece once the pants were done.  Ummm, yeah, a patchwork fleece?

The white felt is for a muslin for a felted wool sweater I started thinking about last winter.  Sheesh, a little late, eh?  Or early for this year.  Ha.

Then there’s Tim’s October tag to do, a new polymer clay extruder to play with, several pieces of jewelry to repair… I’m getting tired, thinking about it all.  So it’s time for bed.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been making a lot of jewelry videos lately and decided to leave my video making/picture taking area permanently set up.

My cat thinks that’s just the bestest idea…

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Yes, Oliver, you are VERY photogenic.  ====sigh====

Trudging off to get the lint brush.

Seriously, I’m for bed.  If hubby and son are both away tomorrow I’ll start on that pants pattern.  (It requires wearing a leotard to take the measurements and they surely don’t want to see that.)

Meanwhile, have a wonderful What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesday!

 

 

 

 

Oct 152012
 

The best designs are often just the perfect juxtaposition of color, texture and shape.

gold-oval-blue-teardrop-earrings-still-on-form

Most of us don’t achieve it with every attempt, but sometimes a combination just sings.  

gold-oval-blue-teardrop-earrings-still

I was so pleased with how these earring came out… and amazed at how quick they were to make.

See for yourself…

Happy creating!

Materials:

  • two ear wires
  • four jump rings
  • two head pins
  • two hammered oval metal rings
  • two glass beads
  • round nose pliers
  • chain nose pliers

Instructions:

  1. Slide a glass bead onto a head pin. Use chain nose and round nose pliers to make a wrapped loop.
  2. Open a jump ring; slide on glass bead dangle and oval ring. Close jump ring securely. Open another jump ring; slide on same oval ring and an ear wire. Close jump ring. Repeat for second earring.