Friday, November 22, 2013

"Nautilus": Newest Necklace Design

 "Nautilus" - My newest necklace design!

I was inspired to create this OOAK design from a jewelry contest on Bead Soup Cafe (a facebook group).  The inspiration was a photograph of a reef, shown below.  The contest ends November 24th, then a week of voting, and we'll see who "wins"!  It's really about the fun and creativity, sharing and learning, more than the prizes. 

 "Nautilus" - the full necklace.  Beadwoven chain.

 "Nautilus" details - clasp, beadwoven chain with freshwater pearls.

  "Nautilus" details - back of shell, shell attachment

"Nautilus" necklace with polished shell tassel focal.
I'm very pleased with my entry - and amazed by some of the others!  You can see the other entries here:  Bead Soup Non-Blogger/Blogger Challenge.

Happy Creating,

Friday, November 15, 2013

Unique Handmade Jewelry Displays

As I gear up for the holiday season and get another month closer to heading back on the craft and jewelry circuit with my wares (maybe next year!), I've started contemplating jewelry displays.  I have some in the works being made by my brother, the woodworker.  I love wood displays - the warmth and softness.  I also think handmade wood displays will suit my jewelry, because a lot of it is inspired by nature. (I'd show pictures, but I don't have any yet!)

I've hunted for some awesome displays made by others, from Etsy, as well.  They go beyond frames and chicken wire and often into a works of art all by themselves!  While I may not choose to display my jewelry on these stands, I do love them and their uniqueness.  I might pick up a couple for my own home, especially as I'd be so sad if anything happened to them on the road.....and I thought some of you might like them, too.  You can follow the links below the images to each artist's shop.

I chose to show the few truly unique and stunning displays that I found on Etsy, but there are many beautiful, more traditional, jewelry displays also - just go search until you find what you were looking for!  Many shops will take custom orders as well.

Happy Creating,

Friday, November 8, 2013

Jewelry Techniques: Exploring Coiling

You may have noticed that most of my jewelry pieces are unique - I rarely make more than one of the same design.  You may have also noticed that I seem to lack a style - or maybe that my style morphs or jumps between techniques quite frequently!  I can't help it - I love all the jewelry making techniques, so I do flit from one to another throughout the year....

My first coils!  They add that "something" the design needed....
My husband calls these "Princess Leia Earrings" - can you spot why?!

But I also advance my skills in several areas each year.  Right now, I'm exploring wire coils.  I've seen beautiful jewelry made with coils for years, but hadn't tried it myself.  I'm not sure what changed this year, but I've begun playing with coils in my earring designs.  I think I chose earrings because they are generally small projects (when compared to wire bracelets or necklaces....) AND I have to make 2 matching pairs!  That is excellent practice - repetitive AND identical techniques!

Next:  Twisted Coils Earrings - made with twisted wire.

I haven't dove into anything too complicated yet, but here are my budding designs with coiled wire - many of them have used twisted wire for a different, more decorative look.  I've coiled all my wire by hand, but I can see the benefit of a coiling gizmo or drill with mandrel if I was going to make any large scale designs with coiled wire!

Mermaid Knot Earrings - I brought in beads and layers!

I've also found that twisting my own wire with the help of my 4 year old is surprisingly fun for both of us!  It's not as hard to get the same amount of twist in each wire as I thought it would either - just go slow the last couple turns.

Untitled - Coiled Coils Bracelet.  My most ambitious coiling project yet!

I've seen the amazing coiled knots and coiled beads and pendants and bracelets and and and!  I know I have a ways to go polishing my skills with coils, but this has been a wonderful start.  Having fun is important too - it encourages me to keep going!

Keep Going & Happy Creating!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Pyrite in Jewelry

Pyrite Strand sold by KanduBeads on Etsy

I've noticed a growing trend - more and more jewelry designers are using pyrite.  With a name like fool's gold, it's no wonder that pyrite wasn't a main stream jewelry material.  But have you seen the designs utilizing pyrite lately?  They are gorgeous!

Here are some gorgeous handmade designs from Etsy artisans (in no particular order) - I found them inspiring and hopefully you will too!  You can follow the link below each image to an Etsy shop.

Pyrite comes in a variety of shapes from natural crystals to faceted rondelles, from flat nuggets to smooth teardrops.  The metallic sheen can vary from silver to gold to rainbow....  I think I might have to pick up some pyrite beads for myself!

Happy Creating,

Friday, October 25, 2013

Beadweaving with Twin Beads

I started seeing twin and super-duo designs sometime last year - it took me a while to realize that these new seed beads are 2-holed!  Once I realized this, I was enthralled - how could these beads NOT open up the world of beadweaving to new patterns?!  I had to get in on it....

Ordering the beads was the easy part - creating a design that works well with these beads is another matter entirely!  I used some on a strung necklace and just let the long beads dangle, using only 1 of the holes.

Siren's Call Series - Black Shell Pendant

Then I spent a week making and remaking a pair of beadwoven loops.  I thought the design was pretty good at  first, but now I think it's missing something....they look better on a table then in my ears!

Twin Bead Hoops with carnelian drops

Finally I made a pair of earrings that I really do like - these are my "Art Nouveau" pair.  I haven't picked up the duos again since making these....but I do have some ideas to try out when I get the time!

Art Nouveau Earrings with twin beads and agate teardrops

I like playing around with the new beads but sometimes it's nice to just grab some beads and make a piece without so much thinking and restringing and reweaving and redesigning, too!  If you want to grab some twin or duo beads and get into creating a beautiful piece the first time, try some of these tutorials!  Maybe I'll post one after I have more experience with the new beads....

Free Super-Duo and Twin Bead Tutorials:

Preciosa Twin Inspiration - follow the photos for tutorials (not all photos have tutorials)
Bead Magic - Twin Bead Patterns
Around the Beading Table - Free Patterns (several are with twin/superduos)

Clarissa Bracelet - connected mandalas/beaded medallions
Bucles Muchas II - earrings

Pinterest - Twin Patterns (not all patterns are free)
Pinterest - Super Duo and Superduo (not all patterns are free)
Pinterest - Twin and Super Duo (not all patterns are free)

And if you would like to mix these with other 2-hole beads, check out tilas/czech mates (2-hole square beads), 2-hole dagger beads, 2-hole coin beads, and the NEW RULLA BEADS!  I just found the rullas while writing this - they are 2-hole cylinder beads!  So many choices.....

Happy Creating,

Friday, October 18, 2013

An Etsy Selection: Tree of Life Pendants

I just finished my own humble tree of life pendant - so far mine have been simple samples to show students the basic technique.  Many of the handmade pendants available online look similar with the chip beads and circular frame, but others are works of art!  The quality, unique styling, and gorgeous materials really make some stand out. 

In no particular order, here are a few of my favorites from Etsy (you may follow the link in the titles back to each artist's shop):



There are many more awesome designs out there - it would take pages to show them all in a single post!  If you want to see more, search on Pinterest for a beautiful visual collection.

Happy Creating,

Monday, October 7, 2013

In Search of a Cookie Jar....

I no longer remember what my original search was, but I started searching for handmade cookie jars.  Why?  Because my house doesn't have one!  What!??!?!  I know, crazy what with the holidays around the corner.....

So I went off to Etsy and began searching.  I thought a cute one would be, well, cute and loved by my children, but then I thought about a beautiful one that would add to the overall kitchen decor.  These are what I found, in no particular order:

(follow the linked titles below each image to go to the artists' shops)


I'm still unsure which one I'll go with - they come in such different sizes and such lovely patterns!  I was surprised to only find one character jar in the handmade category, but that monster is cute!  I also found a nice selection of home decor pottery, but that is for another day.....

Happy Hunting!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Halstead Beading, Inc. Giveaway - I won!

I've entered many giveaways in the past, but it's a very rare occurrence to actually win.  Of course, it's nice to spread the fun around, too, so I don't enter all the giveaways, either.

But this time it was my turn!  Halstead Bead, Inc. was giving away a set of tool organizers to 3 lucky winners.  They are perfect for my new work bench - and I'm hoping I will get a few more metalsmithing pieces done with my lovely, new, and organized bench space!

Thanks, Halstead! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Beaded Suncatchers: Beyond the Spiral

Sun-inspired beaded and wire wrapped suncatcher with antique chandelier crystals. 

There is nothing as mesmerizing on a sunny day as watching rainbows glitter on the walls through a suncatcher - or several!  I remember playing with suncatchers as a child - heck, I still play with suncatchers as an adult!

Beaded and wire-wrapped suncatcher with antique chandelier crystals.

While I love the rainbows splayed from traditional crystal suncatchers, I also love stained glass, witchballs, and beaded window ornaments.  I have not learned how to make stained glass or blown glass, so while I purchase the first two, I happily make the beaded suncatchers!

Simple spiral beaded suncatcher with antique chandelier crystals.

Many beaded suncatchers are simple to make - crimp beads onto fishing line or string them on a wire spiral and hang!  I like these, but I also like more detailed window ornaments - ones that remind me of stained glass.....or are fun and quirky!

Suncatcher for those who like rain - even sunny days can bring joy!

And crystals can always be added to these, too, if you desire a bit more sparkle - and the lure and nostalgia of rainbows! 

Nature-inspired suncatcher with crackle glass and quartz chip beads.

This is my biggest and sparkliest all crystal suncatcher - Columbine - made from Swarovski crystals and entered in one of Fire Mountain Gems' beading contests:

My largest and most detailed suncatcher yet!  Swarovski crystal and copper - "Columbine".

Wish Me Luck and Happy Creating!