Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Pick - The Beadin' Path Vintage Lucite Blogger Package

The other day I received a message from the lovely Heather DeSimone of The Beadin' Path asking me if I would like to "play" with some vintage Lucite beads and blog about them. Not only was I honored to be asked, but thrilled by the opportunity!

Yesterday, when I got home from work, there was a package waiting for me with a fabulous selection of Lucite beads in blues, grays, turquoise, and sea greens. I immediately had an idea for a three strand necklace using the sea greens and light gray ones.

Now, this is still an unfinished work in progress - I'll be fiddling with the design more over the weekend, plus working with the other sets, but here's the first pass.

I'm kind of thinking I'd rather have the inside strand on the outside, so I've ordered more of the light gray to make the strand long enough (plus a couple other strands that caught my eye).

So the "picks" from The Beadin' Path for the necklace above are

Vintage Lucite Muted Grey Moonglow Side Drilled Round Buttons 12mm (20 pc)
Vintage Lucite Matte Atlantic Green Blue Marbled 8mm Rounds (30pc)
Vintage Lucite Light Matte Marbled Atlantic Blue Oval 10x18mm (12 pc)
Swarovski Article 5301 4mm Bicone Beads Montana (72pc/pkg) (I'm not sure the color I used is Montana, it might be Caribbean or a Sapphire...)

The rest of the necklace materials came from my stash: silver Bali bead caps, 3mm silver round beads, 4mm silver mini-bead caps, your choice 49 strand beading wire - I used a rather thick gauge .61mm, and large link rolo chain - Beadalon silver plated Quick-Links in the picture above, but any silver chain would probably work fine.

Check back for more vintage Lucite design ideas with the Beadin' Path goodies this weekend!

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday Feature: Reviews & Interviews - Links Inspired Bead & Wire Jewelry Creations

In addition to buying Polymer Clay Mixed Media Jewelry: Fresh Techniques, Projects and Inspiration by Shirley Rufener and Bead And Wire Jewelry Exposed: 50 Designer Projects Featuring Beadalon And Swarovski by Katie Hacker, Fernando DaSilva and Margot Potter, I also picked up Links: Inspired Bead and Wire Jewelry Creations by Jean Yates. This book was published in 2007, but the tips, techniques and patterns in it are timeless.

Jean has provided full construction details and materials lists for 38 projects, in this 81/2 x 11", full color illustrated, soft bound, 128 page book. As the title implies the book talks about many kinds and types of links - not just jewelry component links like jump rings or chain, but the kinds of links inspired by connecting ideas, memories, imagery - and how these can be transformed into jewelry that tells a story - much like the stories told with every piece in the book.

I was drawn to the book by the chainmaille link earrings on the cover (and on page 62), but compelled to buy it when I looked inside and saw projects like the Charming Teacup Bracelet (pg 22), Nancy's Dancing Pearls Bracelet (pg 40) and the Edward the Sheep Bracelet that shows how to transform a great enameled button into a keepsake bracelet.

I can wholeheartedly recommend this book for its clear and well illustrated step by step instructions, complete materials lists, extra hints and tips, and inspirational messages from other jewelry designers.

Also, you can visit Jean Yates' blog to see more of her work.

If you think you'd like a copy of this book, you could always click the picture above to buy it from Amazon and a couple pennies would go towards Dawno's bead fund!

See you tomorrow!

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mid-Week Mutterings - Beadalon CZ-Gem Dropz Necklace

I had the opportunity a while back to make the acquaintance of a Beadalon rep and mentioned how interesting I thought their CZ-Gem Dropz were but that my local stores didn't carry them. He kindly offered to send me some samples, and today I'm thrilled to talk about a necklace I just finished using them.

I received purple two hole 4mm Dropz, round and square shapes, the specially sized light-weight jump rings made for working with the drops by Beadalon, and decided to match them up with the last bits of sterling granulated diamond curb-chain I've used in other jewelry, purchased from Artbeads. The focal is a checkerboard amethyst from Fire Mountain Gems on a thin gauge sterling headpin from Artbeads.

I love the rich, deep purple of these CZ-Gem Dropz. They have two holes drilled front to back for the jump rings to go through, then you can attach them to what ever findings you choose - I was looking for something that, to my eye, suited the delicate look and size and the curb chain kind of jumped out at me.

I had some challenges with a couple of the drops, cracked one trying to get a jump ring in. The majority of them worked perfectly though. I found the Beadalon light weight jump rings very easy to work and they closed up very well, the cuts were flush and clean.

The Dropz I received are cut so the bottom half is faceted to a point, so I think they're going to scratch a bit as a necklace, so these probably do work best in earrings, but we'll see.

I was a bit disappointed with the checkerboard cut amethyst from Fire Mountain - these are currently listed at over $40 a set (you get three - and the price does go down to $36 with Fire Mountain's assortable savings if you've purchased 14 other items) and the holes were poorly drilled - my finest gauge head pin would not go all the way through two of them and I wouldn't like to risk trying to use a reamer to enlarge the hole.

I ended up using one of the smaller pair of the set because that's the only one I could get the head pin through. The stone itself is a nice purple and the checkerboard facets are lovely. The stones have some pretty significant visible flaws inside, too, which kind of spoils the look if held up to the light. I think it will be ok against clothing.

See you tomorrow!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits - Green

I had a wonderful mini-vacation last week, which included the new Harry Potter movie and was topped off with a splendid dinner with my husband and daughter, and the play Wicked at the Orpheum in San Francisco. Besides that I got a lot of rest and reading in.

Now it's back to the usual stuff and I'll be blogging daily again.

First off, I got some great news via Twitter - the Soft Flex company ran a Trios giveaway and I was one of the winners! Sara, at the SoftFlexGirl blog also posted about it on Saturday, but I just found out today. And to complete the circle of synchronicity - Sara went to see Wicked for her birthday, too!

With having just seen Wicked, and having recently finished reading a fabulous book titled, Green, by Jay Lake, I was definitely feeling the urge to make something green.

So, I started by getting out my Renewal Trio to make a bracelet with all three colors (Green Emerald, Chrysoprase and Peridot), plus carved aventurine flowers (from my trip to Beads & Baubles in Berkeley), faceted prehnite ovals and briolettes (Fire Mountain), chrysoprase Druk beads (Artbeads) and small, green, Czech glass disk beads (Rings & Things). I added silver crimp covers over the crimps (#2 Beadalon silver plated crimp tubes) and another crimp cover around the three strands between the first beads and the clasp.

Then I went a bit nuts.

Now I'm trying to figure out how I can make this a necklace instead...

(Additional beads added: round aventurine beads, iridescent green glass beads from one of The Beadin' Path's bead of the month selections, green Czech pressed glass flower beads, more Czech glass disks and really tiny faceted light green Czech glass rondells.)

See you tomorrow!

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mid-Week Mutterings - Taking a Small Vacation

There will probably be no posting between now and Monday - my daughter is here and my birthday is Thursday, so I'll be busy with other things (like the dinner at a surprise location that my husband has set up, then the next day, shopping in San Francisco and seeing Wicked, with my daughter) and very likely have little time for beading or blogging.

I hope the rest of your week and weekend are wonderful. Why not check out some of the blogs I've talked about in my weekly wanderings in the meantime?

See you soon!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits - Hypersten Bracelet and Luster Necklace

On my beads and books trip to Berkeley this weekend I found some lovely luster coated Czech glass. I got two 10", 10mm sized strands in a pale pink and light topaz, and another two 10", 10mm sized strands in pink with a coppery-pale green luster.

The unfinished approximately 17" necklace below is from the latter set. I also picked up some 4mm transparent pink luster faceted Czech glass beads which I've used as accents along with champagne freshwater pearls from my Rings & Things bead tour purchases, and "cantaloupe" color Swarovski bicones - they aren't marked as to size but I'd guess 8 or 9mm (big!), and they change color depending on the light - in sunlight they are a beautiful light green, under incandescent light they're a pale peach-pink and in fluorescent light they're a very pale gray - nearly clear (shown here in indirect sunlight). The bead caps are antique gold 8mm Tiffany style from Artbeads. The spacers look sort of 'toothed' around the center hole which creates a zig-zag pattern when viewed from the side, from my local bead shop, Global Beads.

I have an idea about using the remaining cantaloupe beads in a bracelet - not sure I'll get to it this week with my daughter in town and all. We're going to take a day trip to San Francisco later this week, I'm scoping out what bead/gemstone stores we'll try to find and visit when we're there. Also, the way the cantaloupe beads change colors (and present a bit of a design challenge) remind me to mention something I didn't really notice or think of, when I was shopping at Beads and Baubles - these crystals appeared to be light green in the store, which was brightly, but artificially lit - so they must use 'natural light' lighting there, which I appreciate.

The other piece I wanted to share today is a bracelet I made from the lovely hypersten stone I bought down at "The Bead Store" in Redondo Beach last month when I was visiting my family there. I've used black beading wire (both SoftFlex and Beadalon carry it, this happens to be Beadalon 49 strand .46mm. I got from Rings & Things but you could get Medium SoftFlex Black Onyx as well).

I used gunmetal crimp tubes, lobster claw clasp and jumprings all available at Rings & Things, along with TierraCast Luna patterned silver plated pewter pendant caps around the hypersten stones, which I have had in my stash for quite some time and don't remember where I got them, but Beadaholique has 47 pages of TierraCast items, and TierraCast 4mm scalloped silver plated bead caps around 'hematite' colored faceted Czech glass bicones. The small glass spacer is an iridescent coated clear Czech glass spacer beads from Rings & Things - I've been stocking up on many different colors of these, as they work so well with so many designs.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Dawno's Weekly Wanderings Around the Beadosphere

This is going to be a rather abbreviated Weekly Wandering's post - and a day later than usual because on Sunday I was invited up to Berkeley to have a "beads and books" day with some friends of mine. It was a lovely day with both the weather and the company being fabulous. If you're ever in Berkeley, CA the Baubles and Beads store on Shattuck is worth a visit.

So, on to some of my favorite stops this week in the Beadosphere:
This is my birthday week and my daughter is visiting, so while I try to keep posting every day, it might be a challenge!

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Friday, July 17, 2009

New Pieces to Share, but My Friday Pick is Postponed

I may be able to finish a Friday Pick selection later today, but wasn't able to last night. But I do have some pictures I can share of two finished pieces.

On Wednesday I mentioned my package from Artbeads, through their Blogging for Beads program, had come in and that the beads I received were of CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski Elements. Among the selections I made were Crystal Volcano 6mm bicones and a Crystal Volcano teardrop pendant. Here's a piece I just finished using those and Beadalon 49 strand, .030 inch silver plated stringing wire, #4 silver plated Beadalon crimp tubes, fine sliver closed hammered rings from Prolifique on Etsy, and sterling silver beads.

The Beadalon wire I used is so lovely, I was looking forward to using it exposed and am very happy with how this design with it turned out. My inspiration for this design came somewhat from the Woven Rings design (p 126) Katie Hacker showed in the book Bead and Wire Jewelry Exposed, that I reviewed last week.

The clasp is a Sterling Bubble 3-strand toggle, also from Artbeads. I have two more of these and plan to use at least one as a focal in an upcoming necklace since it's way too pretty to hide behind the neck all the time.

Also finished the giveaway bracelet in the blue and gray rain colors that Spamwarrior requested in her winning comment. Hope she likes the bracelet - it's on its way.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thursday Feature: Reviews & Interviews - Polymer Clay Mixed Media Jewelry

Today's review is of Polymer Clay Mixed Media Jewelry: Fresh Techniques, Projects and Inspiration by Shirley Rufener.

This book provides a wealth of information about working with Polymer Clay - from tools, to mixing colors (section 1), to 18 step by step projects (section 2), as well as a design gallery featuring beautiful clay designs by various artists (section 3). There are also sections on the use of Liquid Polymer Clay and Metal Clay, as well as how to do basic jewelry assembly, including how to make and use fabricated bails made with metal clay.

What I liked most about this book is the clear descriptions of techniques with illustrations and photographs - even things as simple as how to pierce clay beads to make holes in them and then how to arrange them on a baking rack - no assumptions are made that would cause one to need to look things up in other books or online if one didn't already know even these basics.

As for the mixed media, as promised in the title, she shows how to use chalk-scraping, decoupage and layering images made with a printer and special transfer paper, a faux dichroic glass technique incorporating resin, and using embossing powder. She also describes the final jewelry assembly using a variety of beads, crystals and metals.

I'm very happy to have found this book in my local bookstore - there are answers to a number of questions I had and it will be a great reference book for when I finally start working with polymer clay in earnest. You can click on the Amazon illustrated link above to get your copy and a couple pennies go into my polyclay materials fund.

Tomorrow I'll be doing a Friday Picks post featuring D&I beads!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mid-Week Mutterings - Artbeads "Blogging for Beads" Goodies Have Arrived!

This month's selections from Artbeads, through their Blogging for Beads program, comes from their great selection of CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski Elements.

As I was looking through the pendants, I saw this gorgeous seashell pendant and picked it, along with some 4mm 5301 faceted bicones in Golden Shadow from Artbead's Swarovski crystal beads collection.

I plan to make a fairly simple necklace with these, possibly incorporating some real shell beads and gold chain.

The next CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski Elements that caught my eye, were the teardrop pendants and this 24x12mm teardrop in Crystal Volcano has so much color and fire, I couldn't pass it up - got some 6mm 5301 Crystal Volcano faceted bicones to go with it.

The color matching opportunities with this particular selection are almost endless, so I'm thinking something multi-strand with lots of colors from my stash as well. I have some beautiful 49 strand silver plated Beadalon stringing wire that I've been wanting to use and I'm considering an "exposed" design inspired by the Bead and Wire Jewelry Exposed book using these crystal beads.

Finally, I came upon the lovely color "Blue Opal" in the 11x5.5mm Briolette pendants. It seemed a perfect match for some angelite beads and pearls to make a romantic short or choker length necklace - again, possibly multi-strand.

I'm planning to sketch up the ideas for all of these, so when I do, I'll post them and, of course, the finished pieces when I'm done.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits - Colorworks Contest in Step by Step Beads Magazine

I got this in the mail yesterday - talk about stunned!


Your work was chosen by Margie Deeb as one of the top ten finalists in our first Colorworks contest! Though you did not win first place, your piece will be showcased in a special Colorworks gallery in the November/December 09 issue of Step by Step Beads. Thank you for submitting such outstanding work!

Best regards,
Editor in chief,
Step by Step Beads
the rules were:

Enter the first Colorworks Challenge!

Tertiary Colors

The orange-purple-green tertiary triad presents a challenge of bold and striking contrasts. Create a piece of bead jewelry (or a bead in any medium: polymer, beads, glass, etc.) using the triad from the color wheel. Black, white, or clear are welcome, but the predominant colors must be the orange-purple-green triad (any shades of those colors).

And I'd started playing with using pale orange faceted coral beads, a purple firepolished bead, some green cathedral cut beads and copper, which met the color criteria, so I worked on several versions of it (consisting of adding new strands) until I came up with the design I submitted. I wrote to the publication to see if I could post a picture, I haven't heard yet so I'm going to wait a little longer on the picture, but I couldn't wait to share the news!

Materials used: copper stamped links and copper chain from Accessories Susan, copper bead caps, clasp and spacers from Artbeads, copper wire guardians, crimp covers and Scrimps from Rings & Things, green cathedral cut Czech glass beads from the local Global Beads store, faceted coral beads from JJBead in Huntington Beach, and Satin Copper Beadalon stringing wire.
Dimensions: the collar is from 1.5 inches to 3.5 inches in width and 16" in length.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Miscellany - Two New Necklaces

Two necklaces I'm working on - not sure if they're quite finished yet but here's where I am so far.

The first one started as an assortment of beads I found at JoAnn's fabrics - tiger's eye, gold coated faceted rounds, clear citrine colored faceted rounds and a few other miscellaneous beads. I got out some oxidized brass filigree and chain from Accessories Susan and started piecing this together with some other beads in my stash and a gold coin pearl. Excuse the terrible photography in both of these pictures - it's late evening as I write this, and I'm snapping the pictures at my desk.

The next one uses charoite and sunstone with a twisted and oxidized wire chain. I love how the sunstone picks up some of the shading in the charoite yet gives contrast overall. I'm pretty happy with this design as-is but I'm still slightly pondering possibilities.

And that's all for today - come back for some tid-bits tomorrow!

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Dawno's Weekly Wanderings Around the Beadosphere

Last Sunday my wanderings didn't get posted because of the holiday, but this week there were some great posts around the beadosphere and I'm glad I got a chance to check them out - hope you will too!

Lisa at A Bead A Day featured one of her Rings & Things July goodies - the star connector - and made a two strand stretchy bracelet with new jade stones and light citron bicones. Lovely!

Tish from Just A Tish shows off the beautiful necklace she designed around the Artbead's painted onyx pendant stone of Matisse's Blue Nude. The stones she used - oh my! Lapis, white jade, blackstone - gorgeous complements to the focal piece. Earlier in the week she shared some other lovely new pieces, so if you don't have her blog bookmarked, you should so you won't miss out.

All week at Willow Walker Designs she's been sharing how she organizes her tools and supplies - some really great ideas there. My workroom is a real disaster zone right now and it's starting to seriously impede my productivity and inspiration. Well past time to do a major clean up and I really appreciate any ideas, like the ones Willow Walker shared, that will help me work smarter.

Sara at Soft Flex Girl shares how she glamorized her evening bag with a cool beaded strap. Think of all the different ways you can take a simple smaller bag and make it uniquely yours by adding beads, chain, ribbon, etc., to it - inspirational! Don't miss her three lovely bracelet designs using Soft Flex Trios, either.

Want an insider peek at setting up a display for a crafts show? Jessica at SmuTopia! has a lot of great pictures of hers to share.

Karolyn of The Bead Blog is a very talented artist - she makes the most stunning glass beads. I love these Terra mini-bicones - wouldn't they be great with so many different metals and stones? You can see more of her work at

Cindy Gimbrone talks about working with Bronze Metal Clay - there are a number of posts about her efforts, Wednesday through Friday of last week, so I recommend reading all of them.

Art Bead Scene has a new Monthly Challenge - the Lascaux Cave Paintings. The prizes are great, too. If you love working in earthy tones or doing pieces inspired by nature, this challenge might be right up your alley.

Did you know that Beadalon has a blog? Great source for beading tips and event news.

Margot Potter talks about customer service and how it applies to the crafting/jewelry making biz.

On the Rings & Things blog last week they shared a great video on "metal stitching" - something new to me! Check out the info on August's birthstone: peridot and using brass bezel cups for making resin charms. Don't forget to enter their "review a product" drawing - ends July 31st!

Artbeads Swarovski sale (15% off) ends Tuesday the 14th

Lima Beads has a $500 shopping spree contest going on thru August.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Contest Winner and Finished Rings & Things Circle Connector Necklace

Using a highly sophisticated randomizing process - writing all commenter's names on paper, cutting them into separate strips, folding and putting them in a paper bag which I shook several times and then reached into to pick the winner's name - I'm pleased to announce that Spamwarrior who writes the "How to be a Perfect Lady" blog is the winner of a customized bracelet with "blue/gray...rain colors"! If you'll send me a shipping address, I'll get to work on the bracelet and send it to you once it's done. Congratulations!

I finished the necklace that I posted about this morning. It's pretty much as sketched, except that I decided to add some detail to the place where the pendant would hang by adding a couple round pearls (they might be glass, I got them in an assortment and am not sure) with gold filled beads and roundels.

(click to enlarge for detail)

I used a circular toggle clasp with pearls snug up against wire guards to finish it off.

I'm going to have to order some gold filled wire and re-do the pearl embellishments on the connector, the gold wire I used is too reddish and doesn't quite match, but it was all I had handy in the right gauge (I think it's 26, maybe 24 gauge).

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Rings & Things July Goodies!

The Rings & Things products to experiment with this month are here. The package had:

Gold filled 4 loop round connector
Gold filled 7 loop star connector
Sterling silver 2 loop pointed connector
Lime CRYSTALLIZED™ – Swarovski Elements 8mm faceted cube crystal, 0.8-1.2mm hole. #5601
Montana/Aurora Borealis CRYSTALLIZED™ – Swarovski Elements 8mm faceted cube crystal, 0.8-1.2mm hole. #5601
Solid copper, approx. 18x6.5mm tube-top bail for gluing. Gluing area is 12x6.5mm

And a yummy Tootsie Roll Midgie!

I'm quite happy with the quality of the gold filled connectors - they are both a lovely true gold color. The look of jewelry made with gold filled components is much richer, and from my reading about gold filled materials, they are more durable and much longer lasting than gold plated - some vintage gold filled jewelry from 60 or more years ago still looks nearly new.

I've nearly finished a pendant using the round four loop connector - this is as far as I got last night before bed. I've used tarnish-free gold artistic wire for the wrapped loops around the coin pearls and for the top drilled pearl. The jump ring for the mother of pearl circle in the center is 4mm, 14k gold filled and a bit thick, so I had to ream the hole in the circle a little for it to fit.

I'll hang another top drilled pearl on the left and probably do something with gold beading wire loops and more top drilled pearls for the necklace, the sketch below is approximately what I'm thinking of.

There will be another post later today with the winner of my giveaway and maybe an update on this necklace.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday Pick - Rings & Things Heart of Gold Necklace

I wanted to do a mosaic, like I did last time, but the graphics wouldn't work with the mosaic maker tool. Instead, I made the sketch above (I've got a ways to go in my drawing re-education, so no laughing!) and I'll list the products (with links) at the end of the post.

Rings & Thing's 5-Day sale through July 12th (Sunday) has beading thread, stringing wire, chokers and all-purpose cording at 15-25% off wholesale prices. So I matched up a gold pendant cord choker with some charms and a Swarovski Heliotrope colored 18mm heart crystal pendant.

The design idea I have in my head (and tried to show in the sketch) is to take the hanging cord (the two strands that are dangling from the center front of the choker) and tie the charms to them with a simple knot that I'll re-enforce with glue and cover with a crimp cover.

Then I'd put the prong bail over that and pinch it through the Swarovski heart with the pendant cap. The two cords would dangle out either side of the prong bail that is now covering the hanging cord knot on the choker.

Seems like a simple and fairly fast way to make a very nice, adjustable length necklace. Not too expensive, either - I estimate total cost of materials for one necklace at under $10. To purchase the materials costs more - for example the chokers and charms are not sold separately but in lots of 10 and the crimp covers are sold in a package of 20. I put all the items in a cart and it came to just under $44 less the 15% discount (on the chokers, but that's only good 'til Sunday the 12th) that comes up if you complete the order process, plus the shipping and small order fee if your order is less than $50.

For other tips on how to use pendant cords and tie things on them with knots, see the Rings & Things Tip Sheet.

Product list:

Double Cord with Contrast in Antique Gold
Swarovski Heliotrope 18mm Heart Pendant
Prong bail
Pendant Cap
Beadalon Assorted Crimp Covers

Update! July 15th: the product order came in today and I made the necklace:

I really like this, even if I say so myself! (click picture to enlarge)

I got my Rings & Things goodies for July in the mail today - I'll write about them tomorrow, so do come back!

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thursday Feature: Reviews & Interviews - Bead And Wire Jewelry Exposed

Hi again. Sorry to have been away for a week, between my family's visit and changes at the day job, I've been a bit busy and wasn't able to squeeze in the blogging, but I'm hopeful that I'll be able to find time again now that I've caught up after a few days off.

I bought Bead and Wire Jewelry Exposed by Katie Hacker, Fernando DaSilva and Margot Potter the other day. In it the authors share design ideas which use beading wire and components in a variety of different ways. The book has 7 different design chapters plus sections on exposing your creativity, materials, tools, techniques, resources and an index.

The book takes you through design ideas with colored wire, metallic wire, coiled and shaped wire as well as some bead-weaving techniques. Throughout there are large, full color step by step photographs and detailed instructions. I'd say someone with just a bit of experience would be able to do any of the projects and anyone can learn valuable new techniques for more complex designs.

The book features use of Crystallized Swarovski Elements and Beadalon products in the creations, but one could use their own beads and alternate supplies from their own stash. They also show how to use things like rubber tubing, bead bumpers, clasps and crimps as integral and exposed (thus the title) design components.

For example, one of Fernando DaSilva's designs uses rubber eyeglass holders to form the links between beads wrapped in Colourcraft wire (page 66). Margot Potter uses half circles from bracelet sized memory wire and E-Z Crimps to make a fabulous necklace (page 90). Another DaSilva design puts a slide-bar clasp front and center instead of hidden at the back of the neck (page 84). Katie Hacker's bracelet design on page 60 uses large twisted wire jump rings you make from colored craft wire to beautiful effect.

I've gotten great inspiration from this book and highly recommend it. If you click on the Amazon link above to buy it, a couple pennies go into my beading fund, too.

Hope you'll be back tomorrow for my Friday Picks featuring Rings & Things products.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Having a family get together for the 4th - son arrives today, daughter tomorrow and Dad over the weekend. I may not have a post until Sunday's Wandering Around the Beadosphere as a result.

Wishing you and your loved ones a great holiday!

Free Clipart Picture of Patriotic Cats. Click Here to Get Free Images at Clipart

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mid-Week Mutterings - A New Lanyard + Kyanite and Vintage Swarovskis from The Beadin' Path

When I was in L.A. one of the strands of beads I bought was a set of glass coin beads in a light blue with subtle white stripes that reminds me of blue lace agate. I decided to make a new lanyard and strung it with light sapphire Druk beads and a matching light blue opaque Czech glass bead between 4mm scalloped Tierra Cast bead caps. Since it's a lanyard I put two lobster claw clasps on it and it's 29" long.

The next piece is a necklace, 24" long with a silver flower clasp. I noticed how well the kyanite beads I had also purchased in L.A. went with the Indian Sapphire vintage Swarovski Sunflower beads from The Beadin' Path, so I used some of those and matching Swarovski bicones. There are floral decorated Bali silver tube beads from the Rings & Things road show, silver disk spacers and Tierra Cast scalloped bead caps as well.

The Rings & Things Gemstone Index has fascinating historical information on this stone and notes that it is also "widely used for industrial applications, especially in the manufacture of spark plugs, electrical insulators and heat-resistant ceramic (to reduce shrinkage as it expands)." I particularly liked this part of the introductory sentence "kyanite can become the sparkle in a necklace or the spark plug in an engine." I could use some spark right about now!

I'm working on something with the charoite and peach sunstones right now, hope to be able to share it soon!

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