Sunday, September 30, 2012

Copper and Dichroic Glass Pendant

I just love this piece! Geometry is one of my biggest design inspirations, and this piece really demonstrates that.

I made these dichroic glass pieces myself, and wanted to see if I could work them into a cold connections design. I noticed how well then went with the Swarovski crystal Cosmic Ring, so I wanted to include that, too.

I cut out the copper square, and then decided to push myself with the etching, and I stamped 4 different textures on the copper square, creating 4 smaller squares that met in the middle. It's hard to see in the pictures, but they show up well in person!

I hit upon the idea of turning the Cosmic Ring into a porthole-type of window, so I pierced the center of the copper square, cutting a wide-enough hole for the ring, and left tabs to hold it in place.

Next, I needed to figure out how to form a frame for the window with the pieces of glass. Glass is fragile, so building on the way I attached the pewter tree to the copper earrings yesterday, I drilled small holes in the copper, and used 30g sterling silver wire to attach the glass to the copper.

I decided to hang the pendant from 2 holes on either side, rather than from the center. I added Swarovski crystal dangle to one lower corner for a little touch of asymmetry. Love it!

And it's available on Etsy!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tree of Life Earrings

For these Tree of Life Earrings, I cut the sheet copper into ovals, and etched them to achieve a frame-like textural background for the pewter trees.

Attaching the trees gave me pause, since I was taught that the only 4-letter word, as far as cold-connections is concerned, is GLUE. I certainly wasn't planning to glue the trees to the copper, since that would bring the Bead Police down on me immediately (on second thought, WHY didn't I use glue?! - I could use a visit from the Bead Police!) - so how to attach them?

Then I noticed a few open spaces between the branches, and decided to attach them to the copper discs with very thin copper wire, which I think worked perfectly!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fluffy Butts

Today's post is a totally random total departure - a few of my favorite pins from Pinterest, for those needing a smile (including me!)

 My Bailey has taken notice of this new board on Pinterest, and insisted on being featured:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Take 2 bright red chili pepper lampwork beads, with little green leafy accents,

Add 2 vintage glass Czech pressed glass beads,

Stitch a small loop with 11/0 green seed beads; hang the leaf and the pepper, with a few seed beads between the two,

Suspend from earwires - Tada!

I love these, and am totally, selfishly, keeping them for myself!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


It's a little departure from Wednesday Worktable today, because I'm still not "feeling the beads," so I'm not really working on anything. There are several projects on my bead mat, but they are being ignored.

Everytime I flip over to Etsy, I am greeted by this screeching iPhone banner at the top of the front page:

I can't even articulate what it IS about this that bugs me so much, but bugged, I am.

It showed up there one day over the weekend - virtually within hours of the dang iPhone being available. Man, those folks sure can pop out the handmade iPhone cases/accessories fast, right?

I know Etsy is a commercial site, but this banner just looks ... cheap.

Anyone else bugged by this? Just me?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


One of my regular bead vendors brought by this exquisite composite shell focal bead - I loved the distressed, rustic, mosaic-like appearance of it, not to mention the colors! I am somehow always drawn to blue and brown together.

I had some gorgeous blue chalcedony rondelles that matched it perfectly, and added some smoky topaz-colored Czech glass and sterling silver.

I find that adjustable necklaces are my favorite, because they give me such versatility when pairing a necklace with a shirt: different necklines need different necklace lengths!

This necklace is available on Etsy, and there are matching earrings, too!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Black and White Herringbone

This is a very graphic black and white herringbone bracelet - it uses 4mm cubes and 6/0 rounds:

 Herringbone detail

My super-secret button stash came through, again:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bronze Peyote with Stripe

Peyote remains one of my favorite stitches. This is a bracelet I created using bronze 8/0s, with a thin, off-center stripe of matte cobalt blue 8/0s:

I've been getting very lucky lately with finding matching buttons in my super-secret button stash, and I scored again for this bracelet:
I added a small picot border around the bracelet with 15/0s.

I love using buttons for bracelet closures, because there's such a fun choice of buttons right now, and they are so easy and quick to attach (as opposed to stitching a clasp from scrap!) Easy to operate, too!

What kind of closures do you prefer on your bracelets?

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Yesterday, a long-time customer came in to the shop, frantically searching for earrings to wear to a wedding this weekend (today!) The wedding is in Tennessee (so it's a destination wedding for her); she's had the dress for weeks, but couldn't find earrings anywhere (except HERE, but more about that later!)

She tried searching for the earrings without bringing in the dress, but didn't see anything she thought was right. I told her I could make some earrings for her, if I could see the dress so we could find some matching beads. The dress was in her car; she brought it in, and the search was on - she wanted something dressy and sparkly.

None of the Czech glass OR Swarovski crystals matched the gorgeous cobalt blue of the dress. I had some enameled beads that matched perfectly, but she felt they were too casual. I found some beautiful 8mm lapis rounds (leftover from this project:)

The lapis matched perfectly, too, but she felt it wasn't dressy enough - so I asked her to just give me a few minutes -

And this is what I designed:
I know the pictures aren't the greatest - and I would LOVE to hear any tips you guys have on photographing Swarovski AB crystals - they look terrible against colored backgrounds - because they pick up and transmit whatever color you are photographing them against (I've tried blue, black, and red) and they disappear against a white background. HELP! If you have tips, please leave them in the comments! Thanks!

Anyway, I hung the lapis round underneath a 6mm Swarovski AB crystal, with some small Bali daisy spacers - all from a short length of sterling cable chain. Then I made some dangles using 4mm crystal AB Swarovskis, and hung them from the cable chain links, to give a staggered cluster effect.

The customer loved them, and mentally kicked herself for spending several weeks looking elsewhere for earrings, reminding me that she always finds exactly what she wants when she comes here - so nice to hear!

On her way out of the shop, she spied this right angle weave bracelet that I made several years ago:

I know you can't tell in the photo, but it really does match the earrings perfectly. I even took a shot of them together, but the match is lost in these photos -

She was delighted to find the bracelet, because it gave just the right amount of sparkle to her wrist. Yay!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Copper Pendant with Dichroic Glass

I love blue and copper together, and made this deep blue dichroic glass cab awhile back, and it was looking for a good home. I decided to craft a fold-formed copper pendant to display it:

I played around with various sizes and shapes on paper first, and once I had a design I liked, I cut and filed the copper, gave it a deep textural etch, and then started folding.

The bail is very deep and wide, and could easily accommodate a beadwoven rope (I beadweave so much, I usually make sure all my bails are fairly large!)

It's available on Etsy!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I've always liked the word "ennui." It's an interesting word, and fun to say. Ahn-wee. So French, so mysterious-sounding.

But ennui is not fun - I started feeling myself dropping into the chasm of boredom toward the end of last week, and I am definitely there now - totally, absolutely, no-question-about-it, bored.

I have hundreds (hundreds!) of unfinished jewelry projects I could be working on - but I don't wanna (said in my best bored 5-year-old voice). My torch enameling stuff is fully set up, and I could simply sit down and start enameling, but - you guessed it - I don't wanna. I have brand spanking-new beadweaving tutorials I could pick up and start (remember how excited I was to do one last week? Yeah, that feeling passed, and I can't seem to muster it again.) I have hundreds of jewelry books - I could whip some out and dive into ... anything. Heck - I own a bead shop - thousands of beads, lots of wire - anything I could wish to work with, but I am not in the mood.

I need something to ... happen. That's all. Something fun, something inspiring. Doesn't even have to be jewelry-related! Is that asking too much?

Like maybe a fun, exciting, new class to attend - learn something totally new!

Or maybe I could win the lottery - but, that would require buying tickets, and - well, I can't afford to spend money on lottery tickets!

I know this happens to others - and I know it will pass. Just venting a little.

Thanks for listening. Encouraging words welcome!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday Worktable

What is it?

I just started a new beadwoven bracelet - probably not the best idea to photograph purple beads against a purple bead mat!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Just for me - again

I liked the blue and purple version so much, I made a stunning black and opal/crystal AB bracelet:

The only black drops I had on hand were matte; all the other black beads in this bracelet are shiny. I found these gorgeous "opal" colored 11/0s in my stash, and purchased the black twisted bugles at Michael's. Crystal AB 4 and 6 mm firepolish round out the beads - and a pretty glass button for closure.

Love it!

(This is one of Smadar's patterns - I just added the beads and the stitching!)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Turquoise and coral earrings

I had some leftover, irregular hieshe turquoise, and some mismatched coral spicules, and I hate to waste beads, so I put them together in these earrings, with a Bali silver bead at the top.

Turquoise and coral are sort of a foolproof combo, don't you think?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Spiral Rope with Turquoise Heart

I fell in love with this puffy turquoise heart, and fell back on my old standby, the spiral rope, for the necklace. I love weaving spirals with pinch beads - they lie so nicely, and come in such gorgeous colors!
I think this whole piece has a lovely Southwestern look.

And it's available in my Etsy Shop!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Russian Spiral with Jasper

I love the picture painted by this jasper - gorgeous abstract landscape, beautiful colors.

I added a small sterling silver and Swarovski dangle, then woven a large-caliber Russian spiral bail for it.

Using the same seed beads (an 8/0 Delica and an 11/0 round) I wove a Russian spiral rope to hang the focal from.

Bail detail:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Colorful Wire Mesh Beads on Satin

This is another bracelet I created on Wednesday, same design and idea as the Zentangle-inspired bracelet I showed yesterday, but using very different beads and stringing material, for a very different look!

These wire mesh beads are so much fun - I fell in love with them when I found them, and bought them for the shop. They have HUGE holes (7 mm) and are such bright colors! I have sold a few here and there, but I thing the large holes have stymied folks, so I really wanted to come up with something different to do with them, and I really like this idea.

The button reminds me of the 70s, and "Laugh In". I know it gives the whole bracelet a very "Springy" feel, but I just went with the flow, folks!

I have never really designed my jewelry according to the seasons, or Pantone's color edicts. I just do what I like! How about you? Do the seasons and seasonal "colors" influence your designs?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Zentagle-Inspired Bracelet

After listing all the thing I might possibly do yesterday, here's a shocker: I went off in a completely 'nother direction! I got distracted by bright shiny objects!

I have been wanting to make a Zentangle themed bracelet for awhile (ever since I took up Zentangling a few months ago), and had these great ceramic beads which reminded me of tangling:

black and white striped ceramic beads

About 5-6 weeks ago, I experimented with them for a couple of days, trying different designs with wire. The results were .... laughable. Seriously - my "friend" Sonya laughed at the prototype pendant. Huh. Of course, I laughed, too. It was pretty pathetic. Sorry - no photos! Some things just don't need to be recorded for posterity!

Wire is not always my friend.

I restrung the beads, and put them back out in the shop for sale, but they kept calling to me.

Yesterday, I attacked from a different angle, and came up with this:

I love this bracelet! It is SO comfortable - and it's available on Etsy!

 And look how that button complements the design! The button is something I found and stashed away 5 years ago, and I found it yesterday while searching for a clasp for this design, and it couldn't be more perfect! I love the serendipity in that!

Does it make you feel "zen"?

This design works well for large holed beads, and I also made another one yesterday, using very different beads - come back tomorrow to check it out!

I also scrounged around and found all the beads I needed for a black and crystal beadwoven cuff like the one I made over the weekend; it was late when I got started, but I DID get started - so yesterday was pretty productive.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wednesday Worktable

Today, I have a couple of earring repairs on the workbench;

These belong to a regular customer who brings in lots of very old jewelry from India to be redesigned with a more modern look. They all feature gorgeous brass pieces - I love to see her bring these beauties in!

Last week I redesigned a necklace for her, removing a lot of turquoise beads and replacing them with undyed coral nuggets. The finished necklace was beautiful (don't know why I didn't photograph it?!), and the next day she brought in the matching earrings, asking again for the turquoise to be removed and the whole earring made "shorter." I can do that!

As far as the bottom pair goes (look at those rubies!) I have completely forgotten what I am supposed to do for them, but I have it written down.

Once these repairs are done, I have nothing on my beading agenda - here's what I MAY get into:
  • making another bracelet like the one I showed yesterday, this time in black and crystal (if I can scrounge up the beads...)
  • enameling some beads, beadcaps, and headpins so I can make the floral cascade necklace in Barbara Lewis's book (which would require setting up the whole enamel workstation....)
  • Poring through all the beadweaving patterns I have set aside for a day JUST LIKE THIS, and finally, actually, making one of them!
Things I will NOT be doing:
  • vacuuming dog hair off the Velcro-like carpet in the bead shop
  • dusting all the dusty nooks and crannies in the bead shop
  • counting the number of 15/0s in a 10-gram tube (I am frequently asked "how many beads in this tube?")
  • ditto, for the 11/0s in a 10-gram tube
Stay tuned - I know you are dying to find out what I do today!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I finally got to do something on my "Just For Me" list!

I have a "Just For Me" list; things I want to make, just for me - and, unfortunately, these things have to wait until other obligations are met.    :(

And I finally got to start AND finish one of my ME items this weekend -

Ta Da!

I saw the tutorial for this pattern on Pinterest (where else?) way, way back in early May (May 4, to be exact), and raced over to Etsy and snatched it up. I was SO excited, and wanted to do it right away....

...but unfortunately, I was under a self-imposed rule against starting ANY new projects (unless they were custom orders) because of, remember this: The Zombie.

I finally finished the Zombie Iolite Fringe Necklace in July, but by then the Bead Soup Blog Party had started, so there was no "me time."

BSBP ended in late August, and I spent several days wrapping up odds and ends, and writing long blog posts deconstructed all my BSBP projects. Then we had a metal studio day, and I started 3 brand new metal projects, finishing them up last week .... and the road was clear for beadweaving! Yay!

Here is how the bracelet looked on Saturday: 

The pic above shows the "spine" of the bracelet, which uses bugle beads. I have never woven with bugles, although I use them a lot in bead embroidery.

Here is the beginning of the filling-in process:
I finished 3 or 4 of these sections on Saturday, and was having so much fun that I packed the whole thing up and took it home, something I haven't done in over a year - I had been way too stressed, getting too wrapped up in beads, the bead shop, etc, and decided I needed to leave the beads at work for awhile, or I might never pick up another one!

I eagerly picked up the project on Sunday, got everything laid out, and started beading - And in just a couple of hours, it was done! I couldn't believe how fast the pattern stitched up!

My bead colors were dictated by 2 things - I had an extremely limited supply of bugles to choose from (I told you earlier about how I went to Michael's on July 4 to find bugles for this pattern) AND I only had drop beads in 3 different colors. Fortunately, some of the drops went with some of the bugles!

This pattern (it's by Smadar's Treasures) is fantastically detailed, and easy to follow. But like so many beadweaving patterns, when more than one color of a particular size seed bead is called for, it is hard to tell (in the pattern) where the particular colors are going to end up. (Wouldn't it be wonderful if the pattern showed the outline of the beads in a section, with an "A" in the ones where color A goes, a "B" in those that are color B, etc? A girl can dream....) So I pulled all my beads, having no idea where the colors would end up (except for the bugles, drops, and fire polish.)

But it turned out pretty well - I love the cobalt blue with the bright metallic purple! Very jewel-toned! If I had it to do over (which, I guess, I do!) I would choose a different size 8/0 bead, now that I see where it goes. I chose a metallic blue iris that goes well with the blue and the purple, but the individual 8/0s are sometimes gold, sometimes green, sometimes blue, sometimes magenta .. and I'm not entirely pleased with this non-uniformity in the design. But that's ME!

Love the pattern, and I want to try more - her designs are ingenious!