Nov 302007

Here’s another quick and easy holiday project for giving or keeping!

This time of year, you can find cute enameled charms almost anywhere. I’ve used a snowman, sleigh and book with “Dec 25” stamped on it, but you can use almost anything you’d like! Add some dainty red, green and clear crystal dangles, and you have a special bracelet for giving or yourself.

Level: Beginner

Sterling silver finished bracelet (mine is from Fire Mountain Gems)
6mm Siam Swarovski bicones (3)
6mm Emerald Swarovski bicones (3)
6mm AB Clear Swarovski bicones (2)
Sterling silver headpins – 2 inch (8)
4mm sterling silver jump rings (12)
Enameled holiday charms (3)

Using the 6mm Swarovski crystals and headpins, create eight dangles (use wrapped loop technique).

Determine spacing on your chain bracelet…I spaced by charms and dangles out evenly with 5 links between each. You can use a Sharpie marker to mark where each dangle or charm will be placed.

Lay out the design of your charms and dangles on the table in the order that you are going to put them on the bracelet. Starting at the clasp end of the bracelet, I patterned an Emerald dangle, a charm, then the Siam, Clear, and Emerald dangles. Repeat with another charm and the crystal dangles, end with one charm and a Siam dangle.

Using the jump rings, attach the dangles and charms to the chain, being sure that you attach on the same side of the chain.

That’s it! Since your bracelet is already finished with a clasp, it’s ready to wear!

Nov 292007

Looking for something that’s super sparkly and quick to make?

Beading Help Web’s High Society Crystal Bracelet looks fabulous in all clear, sparkling Swarovski crystals, but you could easily add colors- red and green large crystals with clear wheels, blue crystals with clear wheels for a great “winter” look.
Once you have the beads, it only takes a few minutes to whip up a great looking bracelet!
Nov 282007

I’ve talked before about Lisa Niven Kelly’s Beaducation site….loads of inspiration, online classes, beading supplies, and stamps. She’s having a great sale – 15% off all metal stamping blanks, and there are new items for sale too.

I watched Lisa’s free Stamping on Metal video today, and found it was not only easy to follow, but really made me want to start playing with metal stamping. I’ve got some copper (from Dad – thanks Dad!) that would be perfect for playing with.

If you are at all interested in metal stamping, be sure to check out Lisa’s free tuts. I think this is a great cross-over craft for scrapbook enthusiasts…I’ll have to pass it along to my friend Tracey who writes for Scrapbook Help Web!!!

Nov 272007

All I want for Christmas:

A PMC starter kit. They run around $100 and have everything you need to dabble. I took a PMC class last year and loved the medium…I think if I do the torching in my kitchen or garage I can deal with my “fire” issues.

More pliers. ‘Cause you can never have enough. I’m loving these Wubbers (got my latest order yesterday and they are terrific!!!) and I could use a couple more cutters.

More blades for my Pepe Jump Ringer. Ditto the pliers comment, you can never have enough blades! 😉

Gemstones…I need to make up a wish list for my hubby, but I’d love to have some tiny rubies, emeralds and other sparklies around. Besides being fun to look at, they go great with PMC.

Outside of that, more time would be nice. And a studio – a real one that’s not attached to my house. But that’s going to have to wait a few more years, I think. 🙂

What’s on your list?

Nov 262007

I’ve had the privilege of “meeting” Patti Bullard, Ph. D. online at the Jewelry Artists forum. Dr. Patti has had one of her pieces featured on a recent cover of Step By Step Wire (Elegant S-Links Bracelet), and she’s a great, down-to-earth person to talk to.

I was in need of a new pair of bent-nosed pliers, and remembered that Dr. Patti had talked about the Wubbers brand that she is selling on her site, . I ordered a pair along with a jump ring opener.

My package arrived in record time, carefully wrapped and invoiced (use Paypal to pay for your order online!) with a short note from Dr. Patti.

The Wubbers pliers are GREAT. The longer handles are padded and really comfortable, even after an extended period of use. The jaws are smooth (even the edges!!!!) and grip rings nicely without any marks. I do find that they are just a little TOO smooth – not good for grabbing beading wire when I’m working on a stringing project, but I still have my old pair for that job. A+ on this one!

The jump ring opener gets a C…I haven’t remembered to use it, and when I do, it’s a little cumbersome to work with. Maybe in time, I’ll come to love it, but I’m not there yet. At $1.50 each, it’s not like I’m out that much if I never use it again. 😉

Shortly after receiving my bent nosed Wubbers, I ordered two additional pliers from – a chain nosed Wubbers and an Italian Super Flush cutter. Are they here yet? 🙂 I mean, a girl can NEVER have enough pliers, can she? 😀

Nov 252007

Last week, I blogged about an art show that I had been accepted into, and that one of the great things about it was that it was to benefit a local charity.

The show went very well, raising over $3000 for the charity…the Artitudes board of directors was given the opportunity to retain the gallery space through the month of December, and most of the artists (myself included), decided to leave our work in the gallery.

A percent of sales will continue to benefit Charlie Brown’s Kids, and I’m quite excited to be able to stay “open” for a few more weeks. During this hectic time, it’s hard to give up a couple of days to work in the gallery, but knowing that it will benefit someone else makes it a little easier.

This year, in between cooking, shopping and spending time with friends and family, think about how you can help others with your jewelry. Maybe you can donate part of your sales, or perhaps donate some pieces to a local shelter (women who have to leave their home for various reasons may not have time or ability to take accessories, and it’s nice to bring a little joy to someeone’s life). Another online group I worked with donated Breast Cancer Awareness bracelets to a hospital, where they were given (free of charge) to women battling the disease as reminder of their strength and courage. There are lots of creative ways to touch someone else’s life through your work. 🙂

If you happen to tbe in the Lincoln, Nebraska area, please stop by the Artitudes gallery and say hello. The gallery will be open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10-6, and Sundays 12-5 from now until December 23. Address is 5141 O Street (formerly Pier 1 Imports).

Nov 142007

I have been eating, drinking and sleeping prep for a big art show all week…have barely made time to say hi to my family, let alone do laundry or anything boring like that! I’m finally prepped and ready to set up today…now comes the fun part! A portion of the show proceeds benefit Charlie Brown’s Kids, a Lincoln, NE charity that helps children deal with grief and other issues after they have lost a parent. I’m blessed to be able to give back to the community through my work and very excited about the show. If you are in the area, please drop me a line for the hours and location!

One of the things I’ll be doing next week is starting my holiday decorating…Thanksgiving weekend is the kickoff for many people here in the US! While I won’t probably put up my Christmas tree quite yet, I want to have some wire ornament hangers made up for special ornaments. Add a little swirl on the ends of the wire, or a few colored beads for a really festive look!

Nov 082007

I like to have something on the TV while I create, and usually something I don’t have to watch too closely is my choice…last night I watched and listened to the Country Music Awards while doing a marathon of “finishing up”, creating, and cleaning. I was really excited to have tuned in just before The Eagles performed…one of my all-time favorite bands!!!

Finishing up included three sterling pendants that needed to be polished (part of the cleaning too ;-)) and hung on chains; three pairs of earrings that needed to be hung on posts and carded. It always feels good to get projects completed!

I had goaled myself to make one red, white and blue bracelet and three bracelet earring sets. I actually got four sets done, plus the R/W/B bracelet. The R/W/B bracelet is a little different from your basic stringing…it’s a fun project that’s adaptable to any color scheme, and I’ll have instructions posted in the near future.

I think my favorite piece from last night was a simple stretchy bracelet that uses HUGE (10mm) faceted clear crystals and Swarovski crystal wheels. Super glitzy and perfect for the holidays…I’m betting it will be gone quickly at the show I’m doing this weekend.

Photos to come…with the time change, it’s hard to get in an hour of daylight!!

Nov 072007

Well, it’s not striped (that was my first thought!) but it looks pretty exotic…Zebra Wire, now available from Fire Mountain Gems (read Beading Help Web’s review of FMG).

From the product description:

Copper material is electroplated then sprayed with enamel color and
finished with a glossy lacquer.

I like the concept, and have ordered a few spools to try out the durability. One of the things that I don’t generally like about colored copper wire is that the coating tends to scratch easily – sounds like Zebra Wire may hold up better! Watch for an updated review in the near future.

Available in 18-30 gauge (great for wire wrapping!) and up to nine colors (not all colors are available in larger gauges).

Nov 062007

Interweave Press has some of the best, in my opinion 😉 beading books out there…and while browsing their site today, I found that they also have a great calendar that helps you to find beading events in your area!

The calendar is in PDF format – browse through or do a quick search on a specific date (I used November 10 and came up with several events!) and you’ll find beading shows, classes and other events nation-wide!

Events can also be submitted to the editors, so if you have an event coming up that you’d like to advertise, simply follow the contact instructions on the main calendar web page.

Of note, the Interweave Bead Expo (Portland, OR) is March 26-30, 2008. Not too early to start planning your trip if you are intersted in this gala event!