Jan 292007

From my email today:

Halstead Bead Sponsors $6,000 Bridge Jewelry Business Grant

Halstead Bead, Inc. is pleased to announce its Second Annual Business Development Grant for new designers entering the bridge jewelry trade. The grant will be awarded to a winning candidate in August. The winner of the 2007 Grant will receive $6,000 in cash and merchandise as well as other benefits. Applications must be received between April 15 and June 30, 2007. Complete application details can be found on the Halstead Bead web site.

Jan 272007

For those fortunate enough to be in the Tuscon, AZ area, or if you are traveling to Tuscon this week, be sure you check out the annual gem and mineral show!

Details on the official site with vendor locations, show times, classes and more. If you make the trip, drop me a line and let me know what you thought! I’d love to hear Beading Help Web’s reader’s experiences at “the BIG show”!!!

Jan 252007

I’ve been playing with Valentine’s Day designs this week! Not only is this a great holiday for gifts, but you can make yourself fun jewelry that’s wearable all year long! Some ideas:

– Look for heart charms, in pewter, sterling, glass and stone that you can add to bracelets, necklaces and earrings.
– Heart shaped beads are a good bet too – pinks, reds, whites mixed with complementary colors and metals are terrific.
ArtBeads has the best pricing on heart-shaped sterling letter beads – a great way to spell out “I LOVE YOU”!
– Wire is easy to shape into a heart – cut a length of wire and mark the center. Use a flat-nosed pliers to bend at the mark at a 45 degree angle. On the example at the left, I’ve used a ring mandrel to shape the rounded tops of the heart, and the a pliers or even your fingers to swirl toward the middle of the shape. From there, let your imagination run wild! I’ve used 26g wire to wrap my heart and add some opalite beads at the bottom. Depending on the size of your heart, hang on a chain, or make two and use small jump rings to hang from earring findings.

Jan 212007

A couple of weeks ago, I made a pendant that I called “Circle of Life”…it’s a sterling frame with tiny stones wrapped on it. I tried at one point using it as the ring end for a toggle, but it really didn’t work. I decided it’s really meant to be a pendant.

I remade the pendant in a bit larger version for an entry to the Year of Jewelry Challenge, but the premise is the same. If you are looking for a fun challenge on a long winter night, or just want to make your own version of those popular circle pendants found in jewelry stores, check out my instructions.

Jan 152007

This is a pretty cool site. Bead stores from across the United States are listed on an interactive map – click on an area and bring up a map that shows the location, name, address, phone number and other info on bead stores in that area!

Of course, the map is only as up-to-date as information provided…so call ahead to be sure the store is still open (and located in the same place!) I can see this as being a really cool resource when I travel – now I can find bead stores anywhere I go!

You can also find Bead Clubs across the US on this map. Same concept, and a great way to get in touch with beaders in your area, or again if you are traveling!

Jan 132007

Land of Odds currently has two contests running.

Entries for the 5th Annual Ugly Necklace contest are due March 15, 2007. Think you’re a great designer? Try designing ugly on purpose. 🙂 Winners are determined in part by votes cast by LoO’s readers, and winners receive a nice shopping spree care of from Land Of Odds.

Also, Calls for Entry are being announced for the 3rd Annual All Dolled Up beaded art doll contest. Entries are due by August 31, 2007. Read Beading Help Web’s exclusive interview with past winner Lidija Fairbanks for some insight into the contest.

Jan 132007

Had a bit of a rough day today. I needed something to take my mind off a personal issue, so I decided tackling the Half-Persian 3 in 1 was the ticket. First, I made up about 250 rings in 4mm size using the Jump Ringer from Contenti.

After tumbling the rings (to remove oil and burrs), I attacked the weave. This one has alluded me for some time, but I tried the tutorial from Danrek that was suggested by Mary Lou, a Beading Help Web reader.

Bingo. Danrek is a chainmaille Hero, IMO.

It takes some time to complete, but once you get the weave down, you’re golden. I finished up this bracelet chain (I used the Circle of Life pendant I made earlier this week as a potenial focal point and clasp, but it’s really not working the way I want it to) and I LOVE the way it looks and feels. Once I get a clasp I’m happy with, this baby goes in the tumbler for final shining and polishing, and then on my wrist.

Jan 112007

I’ve been working on my Year of Jewelry challenge piece and have been challenged this week by the theme, Kisses in the Mist.

I had a great idea, but it didn’t work (I guess that’s the joy of a challenge…educating yourself that brilliant ideas don’t always pan out!). I have seen a couple of renditions of the popular “circle” pendants lately by fellow beaders, and wanted to try something. I think it might be my next YOJ challenge piece.

The “circle” pendants you can buy at any jewelry store usually feature diamonds. Mine has labradorite, tiny rounds (3-4mm) that are wired onto a round frame. Because I haven’t masted soldering (yet!), I used the ends to create a bail.

I love this pendant, and the bail is a little small to fit on the chain that I have, so I added the sterling jump rings so I can wear it tomorrow. I still have a couple of ideas I may add to it before actually submitting to YOJ, but I do like it as is. 🙂

Jan 102007

Rings N Things announces details for the annual “YOUR DESIGNS ROCK” 2007 contest. Entries must be made from items ordered from or available from Rings N Things, and entries are accepted February 1-28.

There are specific entry requirements for photos, so please read details on the Rings N Things website. I’m excited about this contest, after placing in 2005, I’ve already got ideas for my 2007 entry! For more inspiration, check out the gallery on the R&T website for past winners.

Jan 092007

Got a tip from Ruth, a reader from Manitoba today. HHH Enterprises has revamped their web site, and has a section for $2.99 watches!

I went and checked out the selection – it’s not very large, five styles and one is out of stock – but I have hope that there may be more styles added in the future. Regardless, if you are making watches, check them out…$2.99 for a decent watch face is really a good buy!

I’ve purchased watch faces from HHH before, and I have been pleased with the product. Make sure when you receive your shipment that you open the watch faces and stop the watch (they are shipped by HHH in running condition) to extend the life of the battery.