Sep 302006

One of the message boards I’m active on had a challenge this month that was really interesting. I didn’t get a chance to participate formally because it’s just too hectic right now, but I loved the idea.

The challenge was to take an Eni Oken tutorial, and “morph” the technique several times until you had a completely different, but inspired by Eni, piece. Some of the entries are just plain amazing.

I did a little bit of this type of challenge myself without even realizing it, but now that I’ve recognized what I’ve done, I think I’ll push myself just a little bit and go a little further around the bend.

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

Started with a simple S clasp, great for necklaces and lightweight bracelets. I love making these, they are so elegant and graceful, yet so functional. The one shown is from my own tutorial, and in copper.

Morph #2 was to take the S clasp, pinch it together so it was closed, and use for links. I used double jump rings with a tiny spring on them for interest and better security. I’ve made a few of these in various types of wire, gauges, and sizes of loops for slightly different looks. They are fun, look terrific, and are lightweight on the wrist. Plus, the design purposely allows the wearer to customize the size of the bracelet – hook on the end for a larger bracelet, or on any of the other links if that’s too loose.

Today I did morph #3. I needed an idea for a challenge piece on yet another forum. The rules were to use teardrops and pearls (along with other beads if desired) purchased from Michaels. I’d gotten these amber and red/amber beads because they made me think of fall…and the leaf spacers were just fun. After messing around with several ideas, I finally settled on making a “Gone Wild” style bracelet, then I hit on using the S clasp link bracelet as my base for the dangles. I really, really, really like the way it turned out…I’m not a red person, so I may remake another in different colors, but it’s so comfortable to wear and makes a fab jangle when it’s worn.

I already have an idea for morph #4. I can’t wait to try it out…I think this version will need to be a necklace or choker, but I’m not sure yet. More to come.

Sep 292006

Every once in a while, I like to just throw some terms out into and see what comes up. Today’s terms: Imaginative Beading Sites. Here’s some of what I got….

Land of Odds “All Dolled Up” contest announcement for 2007. Earlier this year, I interviewed Lidja Fairbanks, the 2005 winner. Due to the time needed to complete one of these detailed entries, you’d better be starting NOW to make the August 31, 2007 contest deadline!!!

A UK bead shop called, The Bead Shop…looks interesting! I wonder if they’d really ship free to Iowa.

An old link on Eni Oken’s web site…YIKES, a bug and insect challenge? Count me out! (Even though it was for 2004, I have no desire to revisit that topic!!!) I have purchased and downloaded Eni’s tutorials before and they are great, if you are not familiar with her work, check it out!

And finally, a link to Jerry Smith’s bead store online…I clicked through a couple of links and found these great Peruvian ceramic Halloween beads. Can you believe those gargoyles???? How cool are those?!? I may just have to expand my Halloween selection to include a few of his beads.

Sep 272006

My team at work took the afternoon off…we went to lunch at a nice Italian place and than walked around the plaza-type shopping center. There is a bead store in the plaza that I hadn’t been to in a while, and when I said I was going to go take a peek, two co-workers tagged along.

I found a couple of cool copper beads and noodles that I hadn’t seen anywhere else, but managed to get out of the store with only about $5 spent. My friends, neither of whom are beaders, were walking around with their jaws on the floor drooling over all the beads and stones…they didn’t come out quite so cheaply. 😉 Converted a couple more, I’m thinking.

Of course, on my way home, I had to stop at Michaels and pick up a couple of things to finish up my challenge necklace…and I had to get some yarn for crocheting too. I’m thinking I may have to go visit my friend who got me started with crocheting and have a long hard talk with her. I cannot afford another obsession!!!!

Sep 272006

Reminder – if you haven’t sent me your scary stories about craft fairs, selling, teaching, or heck, anything about beading in general, get them in soon! Deadline to enter our first contest is October 8, 2006…readers will have the chance to vote on their favorite stories and I’ll award winners with a bag of beads from my personal stash. I promise you’ll have at least one cool focal bead/pendant, and some fun glass or semi-precious gemstones to play with in that bag! Winners will be announced right here on October 31.

Rules and all that stuff can be found on Beading Help Web’s main page…looking forward to hearing from YOU!

Sep 262006

Sent out my fall newsletters yesterday and today. I like keeping in contact with my customers and folks who have expressed interest in my work, but I don’t like to intrude in their lives too often. Once or twice a season is okay, I think…and I offer newsletter subscribers a discount on my work as well. 😉 My newsletter includes just a few tidbits about what I’m working on (lots and lots of wire work right now), upcoming shows and events, and anything else I think is really pertinent.

Today was a busy day with “other” things as well…I’m a member of the Southwest Iowa Women’s Chorus, and had practice tonite. Garned a solo on America the Beautiful, just hope I can remember to BREATHE. During practice tonite, I sort of forgot and nearly fell over. Yet another one of those Blonde Moments…you know, we need to be reminded to do the basics sometimes. 😉

Also did get step by step instructions for my S clasp links written and photos scanned. Should have the entire thing up and running in just a few days. I had multiple comments about the silver S clasp bracelet (shown at left) I wore today – from “OMG, that is soooo cool!” to nearly ripping it off my wrist to try it on. I’m estimating that you can make the S clasp bracelet in an hour or so…and it’s so pretty and versitile, I’m sure you’ll want to try!

One of the best things about this bracelet is that it’s “endless” and adjustable for almost any wrist. I discovered it was a little loose at one point, clasped it on the next link up and let the last link dangle like a charm, and it got even MORE comments.

Sep 252006

Wow, was I productive today! Finished four wire bracelets – one was started and just needed some finishing touches, the other three were started from scratch. Look for instructions later this week on how to create a dainty S-Chain Bracelet. (Blogger seems to be having issues loading photos this evening, will try to repost later.)

I also finished up a project from my “in progress” pile and got my scanner working. Felt great to get so much done!

My new Ott Craft Light has passed the magic use test – while I’m still not impressed with the heft (it’s REALLY lightweight and I have to be careful not to knock into it) – the lighting angle and quality were a huge improvement over the desk lamp I have been using for the past three years.

Sep 232006

Yesterday I spent a happy hour at Michael’s Arts and Crafts store, picking out beads for a challenge project. I’m really excited about what I found and how I’ll use it. A couple of weeks ago I blogged about Michael’s and how they have expanded and upgraded their beading selection…I found even MORE product when I shopped yesterday. Sterling silver findings and beads are a full 4′ section, new beads in glass, shell, wood and other componets are aplenty.

In this week’s flyer, Michael’s has a 50% off one item coupon…I used my coupon to pick up an Ott task light and I can’t wait to use it. At $59.99 – $149.99 regular retail, you can pick one up for a song by using the coupon. Coupons do expire TODAY, but Michael’s runs regular weekly ads – watch your local paper for future deals.

Even though I picked up new beads and a new light, I spent my evening working on a crochet project. My friend Wormiehas organized a group to make afghan squares for a charity project, and I need to get it to her by mid-October. Given my crocheting ability, it will take that long to complete my 8″x8″ square. Hubby asked if I’m going to take up crocheting, and I just laughed and said “doubtful”. But who knows. A nice big fluffy afghan on my lap this winter might not be a bad thing.

Have a great Saturday.

Sep 202006

It’s still a little over a month to Halloween, but it’s not too early to be thinking about some spooky jewelry to wear! (Heck some stores actually have CHRISTMAS decorations out, so it’s not too early for Halloween!!!)

For starters, even beginning wire-workers can give my popular Spider in a Web earrings a try. If you are feeling really festive, make a single web for a matching pendant!

Grab a bunch of Halloween-themed charms from any one of our preferred suppliers, and hang them on the UR Charmed pendant necklace. The super cool thing about this necklace is that you can easily change the charms for whatever theme or holiday you are celebrating…just use oval or round jump rings to easily change out!

Many of the free bracelet or anklet ideas on Beading Help Web can be made using black and orange beads for a quick Halloween look. One really easy bracelet I’ve made that’s been super popular is to take nesting barbells or orange Swarovski crystals in orange and black and simply string in different patterns, adding in some silver or other beads.

More Halloween ideas to be posted in upcoming weeks. Don’t forget Beading Help Web’s first contest – share your scary sales or craft show stories with us for a chance at free beads! See the home page of Beading Help Web for more details.

Sep 192006

From Beadwork Magazine press release:

Beadwork Bead Expo is coming to San Francisco’s East Bay Area in April – that’s right around the corner! The 2007 event promises to be the best yet, with 120 workshops featuring world-class instructors like Lucia Antonelli, Janice Berkebile, Jeannette Cook, Susan Lenart Kazmer, Tina Koyama, Mark and Viki Lareau, Dallas Lovett, Laura McCabe, Ginny Sycuro, John Winter, and more.

The International Bead Bazaar features more than 150 booths filled with beads from around the world; the Exhibit Hall will also hold The Beaded Bag exhibit, and many, many more fun events. Book your rooms early – at the special Bead Expo price, they’re sure to go fast! Look for travel information now available on the Bead Expo website, and stay tuned for workshop and vendor information, coming soon to

Sep 172006

We’ve had nasty storms the last couple of nights, and being indoors watching the weather updates has given me a great opportunity to clean up my work bench. I’d show you a before and after photo (I was so proud of my progress that I even called in my husband to look :-D) but during one of the storms we had a lightning hit so close that it knocked out my primary PC and I can’t upload photos right now.

Discovered yesterday that the lightning strike was SO close that it had hit the tree right next to our house…so hubby will have the task of taking that down this weekend before it falls down ON the house!

Back to my clean up the clutter project…
– I put away loose beads, new beads, old bead in packages.
– I put snips of sterling and copper wire in their respective recycle dishes (I save the scraps – never know when you need just a tiny dangle and eventually I may have enough to send in to Rio Grande for credit.)
– I made a pile of paperwork and invoices to be filed.
– I made a pile of unfinished projects. It was WAY larger than I thought it would be!

From my unfinished projects, I pulled out three wire bracelets that needed just a couple of final touches. A sterling coiled wire linked bangle was just a wee bit short and needed to have the jump ring on the end moved. A copper woven wire bracelet (inspired by the instructions in Woven Wire Jewelry) needed the ends finished and it needed to be shaped. A copper Egyptian Coil bracelet needed a clasp. Got those bits done, oxidized the whole bunch and threw them into the tumbler overnight.

This morning I got up to nicely finished pieces, a clean work bench, and another day to work on projects. What a great feeling!!!