Dec 312006

Dear Beading Friends:

I wanted to say “THANKS” for a great year in 2006! Beading Help Web grew by leaps and bounds, and a lot of credit goes to you for questions, comments, contributions, and support. It’s been a fun year, and I’m so pleased to have “met” so many of you this past year.

Looking back, I’ve grown personally as well. At the beginning of the year, I thought making chainmaille was totally beyond my grasp. I laughed at the thought of teaching a beading class. I’ve conquered both of those challenges and others…because I refuse to keep to the status quo.

On the main page of Beading Help Web, I’ve posted my goals for 2007. I prefer to call them goals instead of “resolutions” because I can measure my success, and it’s not a pass/fail thing.

Your own personal goals, whether they be in your beading journey or other aspects of your life, don’t have to be figured out by January 1. But do it soon. Write them down. Take a look at them regularly to see how you are doing. Don’t wait – every day that you do is a day you could have spent getting closer to that goal. 😉

Have a safe and happy New Year’s celebration. I look forward to hearing what YOUR goals are for 2007.


Dec 312006

More maille today! This sample is the Vertebrae weave, featured in the Summer 2006 edition of Step By Step Wire Jewelry. It’s really just a twist on the Cleopatra (or catepillar) weave from yesterday – instead of adding beads to the center ring, I’ve added a smaller ring. My version used 7.5 and 4.5 rings in 18g copper wire.

I really love this weave (okay, be honest Lynn…you haven’t found one you DON’T love yet!) because it’s so incredibly silky on the skin. I’ve also been searching for a weave that’s masculine enough to make a bracelet for my husband…he’s a firm believer in the power of copper to relieve joint aches and would like a copper bracelet. Everything I’ve made so far has been too “girly”…but he likes the Vertebrae and said he’d wear it. Even with the 18g wire, it’s dense, but I may still make it in a heavier gauge for him.

I’m posting the unfinished sample to show you the “bread tie” tip I talked about yesterday. It really does make it easier to do the weave – not only does the tie remind you where you started, but it’s handy to hold onto, especially in the beginning of the weave. If you have any other great chainmaille tips, please let me know!

Besides the fun of saw cutting my own jump rings, I’m making a variety of weaves to show at a chainmaille class I’ll be teaching later this winter. When I took a class last spring, the instructor had samples of several different weaves, and it was very interesting when he passed them around! I’m hoping to pass on my love for maille in more students through his method.

Dec 292006

I had seen this weave, called “Cleopatra” by some, on a couple of sites, but couldn’t find any instructions on how to construct it. I thought I had it, but everytime I tried, it sort of fell apart.

After studying photos over and over, I decided I had the right idea, I just wasn’t doing something right…so I just kept going. After about 4 links, it started holding together!

One of the best tips I’ve gotten on chainmaille is to use a bread tie (those little plastic/paper covered wire ones) or a bit of scrap wire at the starting point. It’s something to hang on to while you’re weaving, and if you have to put down your work, it’s easy enough to remember which end is “up”.

I did finish my Cleopatra weave (in copper rings and sterling round beads), added a clasp that complements the design, and tumbled it. I’m quite pleased with the results!

Another interesting tidbit is that the weave I posted yesterday and this one used the exact same rings…just different methods of construction. I think it’s interesting visually that the first bracelet looks more dense and heavier, while Cleo is more open and airy.

Dec 282006

I was jumping for joy on Christmas morning when I found a new jump ringer from Contenti under the tree! I started putting it together immediately, then hooked up my flex shaft saw and started making and cutting jump rings.

In less time that it took to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, I had rings, glorious rings! Perfectly cut, beautiful clean edges…as many as I could wind wire for, I now have bags of!

Now on to learning new chainmaille techniques. I sort of made up something while just playing around (this hasn’t hit the tumbler yet, so it may have a couple of rough edges!). Simple 2 in 2 weave with a larger ring woven into the vertical rings.

More chainmaille fun in 2007, I promise!!!

Dec 232006

I’ll admit it, these Wine Glass Charms took a little longer than the 30 minute projects I highlighted on BeadingHelpWeb as last minute gifts. But they really turned out nicely, and make a great personal touch for a bottle of wine or some nice wine glasses.

I used 24g gold and silver craft wire for my wire wine glass charms. First off, I twisted two lengths of wire together using a chuckless drill (fold two lengths about 3′ long in half, use a pliers to hold the folded end, insert the loose ends in the drill and turn it on until the wire is twisted together). Next, I formed loose circles (about 1 inch in diameter) and cut the wire so it’s an open ring.

I used a small stepped pliers to make spirals to finish off the ends, and used a flat nosed pliers to make sure all the loose wires were contained.

I used two different styles of “charms” – gold wire charms in different shapes, and furnace glass finished with the wrapped briolette method.

My two sets of wine glass charms are for friends – I had picked up some wine at a local winery (we have EXCELLENT wine in Iowa!) and wanted to add a personal touch. I placed the charms in a small plastic bag, added a tiny card with my business information and handwrote “Wine Glass Charms”. I tied some curling ribbon around the wine bottle neck and hung the bag from the ribbon. Voila! instant cool gift.

Dec 212006

I’m doing some research on Kwanzaa, created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga to celebrate African American heritage. From the web site “Everything About Kwanzaa”:

Kwanzaa is a unique African American celebration with focus on the traditional African values of family, community responsibility, commerce, and self-improvement. Kwanzaa is neither political nor religious and despite some misconceptions, is not a substitute for Christmas. It is simply a time of reaffirming African-American people, their ancestors and culture.

The colors of Kwanzaa are red, black, and green. Kwanzaa begins December 26 and is celebrated for seven days, ending on January 1.

Dec 212006

As we go into the last few days before Christmas, I’ve posted some links to last minute gift ideas on the home page of Beading Help Web. Any of these beauties can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes, and make great stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, or can be used to garnish holiday gifts. Here’s a quick run down….

Holiday Tree Earrings
Snowman Earrings
Candle Wraps
Wine Glass Charms
Ornament hangers

Dec 132006

Rings N Things, one of my favorite online suppliers, has announced holiday closings.

[quote]Rings & Things will be closed on the following days, so our employees can
celebrate winter holidays:

— Monday, December 25 and Tuesday, December 26, 2006
— Monday, January 1, 2007

Mark your calendars, and stock up on supplies ahead of time! You can place
an order through our online store even when we’re closed for the holidays.
Just remember that orders placed on a holiday will not be processed right
away, since no staff will be on hand.

We WILL be open between Christmas and the New Year this year, for calls,
online ordering and on-site showroom shopping.[/quote]

Dec 132006

FromInterWeave Press:
Oakland, Calif. and Loveland, Colo., December 13, 2006: Beadwork Bead Expo—one of the
largest consumer bead shows in the United States—will be making its first appearance in California at the Oakland Convention Center April 11–15, 2007. This annual event is sponsored by Beadwork magazine and Interweave Press, a leading craft enthusiast media company and the dominant publisher in the beading, gem, and jewelry-making category with six subscription magazines and eight annual special events. Bead Expo brings together the best of the beading and jewelry-making community under one roof, offering five days of world-class workshops with renowned instructors; incredible shopping at the international bead bazaar; a two-day Symposium organized by the Center for the Study of Beadwork and the Society of Bead Researchers; The Beaded Bag juried exhibit; opportunities to meet best-selling authors; and more.[/quote]

Read more on the Bead Expo web site, and read our review of Beadwork magazine!

Dec 112006

I haven’t posted for a few days, my bad, been getting things tied up for Christmas!

Speaking of tying up…if you are making holiday jewelry for gifts, here are a few fun things you can do to wrap them for the giftee!

First and foremost, place pieces containing sterling or copper in plastic zippered bags. You can even include a little scrap of anti-tarnish strip and a note telling the reciever to keep the jewelry in the bag to keep it shiny!

Including a Sunshine polishing cloth (or other jewelry cloth) in the box or gift bag is a nice touch. Get your Sunshine cloths at Fire Mountain Gems, and remember to use that All Assortment pricing to get price breaks!

Use beads on some craft wire as a bow or “garnish” on your package – use the same method of stringing beads on wire that I’ve used in my candle wraps, spiral up the ends, and you have a pretty decoration that can be reused on candles or stemmed glasses!

If you are giving wine glasses for a gift, how about using handmade wine glass charms as a bow? Or for even more fun, spell out the recipient’s name using letter beads – they’ll be sure to know who it’s for!!!

Flatback beads can be glued to packages, cards, and ribbons for sparkle and shine too. Go wild!