Wild Flower ~ Janine Lucas

Wild Flower ~ Janine Lucas

 

I like to combine a great variety of (art) beads and components. And when I get the chance some beads of one of my favorite countries, Nepal, will find their way into my designs.
This bracelet is a lovely mix of my most favorite beads. It started with a gorgeous bead made by my friend Julie Wong Sontag (UgliBeads), a very talented bead maker. As it happens I had a beautiful polymer clay rose from Leah Curtis (Beady Eyed Bunny) in almost the exact same color as the blue in the lampwork bead. With this combination, the rest of the bracelet practically designed itself. I used old Bodhi mala, prayer beads (Nepal), old bone mala, prayer bead with inlay (Nepal), old “silver” Maya bead (Guatemala), a large kyanite nugget, some vintage lucite beads, Czech seed beads and for closure a metal button with multi color flower design.

Esfera-jewelry-bracelet-20151004061-6

Lindy’s Video Picks:  Diamond Bracelet with Toho Cubes and Seed Beads

Lindy’s Video Picks: Diamond Bracelet with Toho Cubes and Seed Beads

 
11428083_10200444657516320_8351859746402706752_n

Shirley Jones Moore

Recently on facebook, Shirley Moore posted a photo of a fun summer bracelet that she had just completed. The orange and pink are such fun summer colors, looking like ice cream sherbet .

Shirley is an excellent bead weaver and we have become friends through facebook. Shirley often times provides encouragement on my attempts at bead weaving and provides me with links to patterns. After seeing the photo of this bracelet, I asked Shirley if she would be willing to share a link to the pattern.

This pattern is called :

“How to Make a diamond bracelet using Toho cubes and seed beads” by MargheBeadbyBead

As luck would have it, I go looking through my bead stash to try and locate beads to make a bracelet of my own.  No cube beads, no orange seed beads in the correct size and no pink beads either.  Most of you can relate to my dilemma, tons of beads but wrong size, wrong color so off to the bead store I go.

I manage to pick up the crystal cube beads, an orange size 11 and a matte pink bead.  Back home with my beading mat out and my beading light, I lay out my beads to begin – well the crystal and orange are fine but now in the proper lighting, the matte pink bead that I bought just isn’t going to work – just not the right feel to the bracelet.  So back to my bead stash I go again and guess what, I find not one but three beads in various shades of pink in the size that I needed for the bracelet.

I take all of the pink beads back to my beading mat and decided that I like the combination of multiple shades of pink with the orange.  I’ve got the You Tube video playing and my needle threaded and I’m off. After several messages with Shirley about the sizing of her bracelet I got mine completed.

Only problem, even though I used the correct size cubes and seed beads and increased the number of seed beads per row, my center section is measuring about 3 ¾”.  I wear a size 7 ½” bracelet and some modifications were going to be needed to increase the bracelet portion.  I modified my bracelet by adding a couple more diamond shapes at each end with smaller rows of beads to connect the main section.

A trip to JoAnn fabrics provided me with several button options for my clasp.  I love buttons and often use them for closures to my bracelets.  Bracelet completed, not like the tutorial and different from Shirley’s but pleasing to me none the less.

Lindy's Designs

Lindy’s Designs

An added bonus, the bracelet matches a summer top that I have in my wardrobe and a pair of earrings that I just recently purchased (none of this was planned).

It’s a perfect match!

Want to give the bracelet a try?

Check out the You Tube video and grab your favorite summer colors.
Be sure to add an image of your finished piece in the comments below so everyone can see!
Enjoy!

Making Earwires – Taking Out the Mystery

Making Earwires – Taking Out the Mystery

 

Earwire Grouping2Making earwires has been a mystery to me for years. I have been making earrings for quite some time using the commercial earwires that you find in all the bead stores. Making my own earwires never occurred to me until I became a member of the Creative Bead Chat group on facebook and started seeing all the gorgeous earrings using handmade earwires posted. Making your own earwires can really take your earring designs up a notch!

I’ve admired all the folks that made their own earwires but felt that it just wasn’t something that I could do. Well after asking a lot of questions, which is something that I can definitely do, and a lot of online research, which again is something that I do fairly well, I came to the conclusion that making my own earwires was something that I could do. There have been several great discussions online within the CBC group and I thought I might attempt to pass along some of these great tips, tricks and mysteries to you.

First you need to start with wire, sterling silver, argentium silver and copper are all good choices. Craft wire however is not recommended due to all the allergies that people have and the fact that there might be something in this wire that could irritate. Size of wire to use varies but most people recommended 20 gauge or 22 gauge for smaller ear holes. Once you have your desired wire you need to gather your tools. You will need a pair of round nose pliers, a pair of medium size bail making pliers or double looping pliers or as in my case sometimes I use an ink pen that has a rather large diameter. There are various items that you might have around your house to use to form the loop. You also need something to smooth the portion of the earwire that goes into your ear. A nail file or burr cup tool can be used for this purpose.

There are many great tutorials online for making earwires.  Here’s just a few that I have found:

Michelle Buettner https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7btLQIlK00;

Easy Fancy Earwires by Rena Klingenberg http://jewelrymakingjournal.com/easy-fancy-earwires-tutorial/

Deryn Mentock http://somethingsublime.typepad.com/something_sublime_from_th/2007/05/tutorial_du_jou.html

There are tons more available online, just google and plenty will show up.

I’m going to give you my easy earwires for dummies tutorial here.

Tools and Supplies:

  • 20 or 22 gauge Wire (copper, sterling silver, Argentium silver
  • Liver of Sulfur (optional – only if you want to patina your earwires)
  • Sealant such as Clear Guard or Renaissance Wax (this is only needed if you decide to patina your earwires)
  • Round Nose Pliers
  • Bail making pliers, multistep pliers, or any medium size round object that you can wrap your wire around
  • Wire Cutters
  • Nail file or burr cup tool
  • Chasing Hammer
  • Rubber mallet or rawhide mallet (if not using tumbler)
  • Bench Block
  • Tumbler (optional)

Steps:

  1. Cut 2 ½” – 3” of desired wire, flush cut both ends of your wire.
  2. Form the loop for hanging your earring charm, bobble etc. using your round nose pliers. This loop can be a simple round loop or you can get fancy and do a spiral a backward loop, a wrapped loop. The possibilities here are endless.
  3. Switch to your looping pliers, ink pen, or other round object. Hold your first loop just above the looping pliers with the loop facing towards you and make a second larger loop (this will be the loop that actually goes into your ear). Use a hammer to flatten the top portion of your loop. Not necessary but it gives a nice look to your earwire.
  4. File the sharp edge smooth by using a nail file or a burr cup tool. If you are using a nail file just file the edges a few time all sides to make sure that there are no sharp edges. Run your finger over the end to check for any roughness. If you are using the burr cup tool place the end of your wire inside the cup and rotate clockwise a few times and then you can also do a few turns counter clockwise.  You could also use 0000 steel wool to smooth the ends after using your burr cup tool.
  5. Bend the end slightly on the part of the earwire that goes into your ear using a pair of flat nose pliers. This isn’t totally necessary but it gives the earwires a nice look.

Making earwires collage

At this point you can throw your earwires into a tumbler to harden them or if you are like me and don’t have a tumbler yet, you can use a rubber mallet or rawhide mallet and a bench block to harden your earwire. Just take your rubber mallet or rawhide hammer and whack your earwires several times to harden. Harden the earwires by gently but firmly hammering.  Hammering will  stiffen up your ear wires so they don’t bend out of shape.  Hammer  up and down the ear wire, being careful to avoid the little loop end.

There you have it, a simple ear wire. You need to repeat these steps for the second earwire and check to make sure that all loops and edges are equal.

You can stop here at this point, however if you would like your earwires to have a patina or a finish other than the shiny one, you can dunk the finished earwires into a LOS bath and shine them a bit with a polishing pad (or throw them in the tumbler) and then seal them with something like Clearguard or some folks use Renaissance Wax to seal the patina.

Need inspiration for making your own earwires?

Check out some of these pinterest boards for some great designs and links to other tutorials.

Follow Melinda Orr’s board Earwire Inspired on Pinterest.

Follow Linda Younkman’s board Earwires – Inspiration for Making Your Own on Pinterest.

Closures – Not Your Typical Clasp and Design Challenge Announced!

Closures – Not Your Typical Clasp and Design Challenge Announced!

 
270886_10151032872702079_1629326442_n

Bandana Girl Leather with Handforged Copper Clasp

 

Finishing off a piece of jewelry can sometimes be the most challenging part of a design.  Struggling to find just the right ending can often delay the completion of many projects.  Often times executing the idea is a challenge as well.   I’m sure that this is not as uncommon a problem as you might think.  Clasps don’t always have to be the traditional commercial clasps that are quite popular in a lot of designs.  My challenge begins when I stray away from these typical lobster or toggle clasp, but some of your most unique or spectacular pieces are when you use something non-traditional for the clasp.

 Do you struggle to get “Closure”?

Recently I have  been working on more bead weaving projects, and trying to find that extra special way to finish off my piece has become not only a challenge but a bit of fun.

Leather snap clasp goes great with my bead work bracelet

Lindy’s Designs: Leather snap clasp goes great a peyote wave bracelet design

The normal beaded endings or button and loops are always an option but I’m going for a more unique look,  something out of the norm.

Metal, leather, buttons are just a few of the endings that I have used on my bead weaving pieces lately.

Pyramid bracelet-5441

Lindy’s Designs: Pyramid Bracelet with hammered copper square washer & hook

 

Fellow beader, Cynthia Machata of Antiquity Travelers, has been known to use drilled rocks and drapery cord and leather for some of her pieces.

Antiquity Travelers:  Drilled stone with leather loop clasp

Antiquity Travelers: Drilled stone with leather loop clasp

Antiquity Travelers: Button clasp on cuff

Antiquity Travelers: Button clasp on cuff

10351598_10152716709637079_2383342443492480574_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melinda Orr of Bandana Girl does fantastic endings with leather, metal and wire.

What are some of the most unique endings that you have come up with?  What materials have you used that weren’t originally made specifically for clasps?

 

With this in mind we are introducing our first Design Challenge! << Click this link

Clasps and closures challenge header

Bead Circle Will Travel:    Bead Fest 2014

Bead Circle Will Travel: Bead Fest 2014

 
1620647_10202337828959193_7378693472757137150_n

Getting Serious About our Beading!

Recently a few of us have been discussing the idea of a Bead Circle for our CBC community. Ideas are flowing and we are still in the planning stages but recently we had a mini Bead Circle event at the Bead Fest in Philadelphia. Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 11.37.37 AM

Marlene Quigley of markazoart.com has been sharing some of her wonderful knit herringbone bracelets on our CBC facebook page.  A mixed media artist located in Eastern Pennsylvania,  Marlene creates one-of-a-kind pieces taking her inspiration from her garden and nature.  She does awesome beadwork as well as metal work and often combines the two in her pieces.  When asked about her thoughts on this process, here is her reply “as an artist I feel it is an obligation of sorts to share what I know and do with other eager learners of the craft, for by sharing the art form will never be lost. It is great to sell my pieces, yet better gratification teaching and seeing the “lightbulb” go on in somebody else’s brain that they accomplished their very own masterpiece. ”

10567326_10203181377948296_1601867395_n

Here is the tutorial base for this bracelet from Potomac Bead Company.

Marlene has made some interesting changes to this pattern by substituting O beads for some of the size 11 beads in the pattern. Some of our group wanted a closer look at the bracelet and she graciously agreed to share her technique with us at Bead Fest.  Saturday morning a small group of us met in one of the hotel conference rooms and gathered around the table for a mini demonstration.  She is a great teacher, very thorough in her explanation and very calming in her way of teaching.

Bead Fest Pic

Bead friends joining in the fun!

With a little hands on stitching and some scribbled notes, I went home with a small sample and instructions on how to make the changes. As most often happens to me, I didn’t have the color of O beads or Super Duos I needed to start my bracelet immediately and being too impatient for my order to arrive, I headed to the local bead store to pick up some supplies. Back home with several new colors of Super Duos and a coordinating O bead I began my bracelet. Now I don’t know about you, but my memory needed jogging after the weekend, so I turned on the You Tube video to refresh my memory. After starting, stopping, and ripping out my piece numerous times, I finally got the hang of it and got my rhythm going.

This is my first attempt at the knit herringbone stitch but certainly not my last. I love how it turned out. Thanks so much to Marlene for her wonderful instructions and so graciously sharing.

Knit Herringbone with O Beads

Knit Herringbone with O Beads

 

Page 1 of 41234

Pin It on Pinterest