Apr 242008

UR Charmed Mother's NecklaceThis month’s Ornament Thursday is “Motherhood”. I first created this pendant for my own mom…the pendant is super easy to make, and then it’s personalized with Swarovski crystals representing the birthstones for her children and grandchildren. Another twist would be to add charms that picture things Mom likes – if she loves the beach, use a theme of starfish, shells, lighthouses and fish! Add a couple of aquamarine rough chips or drilled beach glass that look like water. The possibilities are endless with the number of charms available today!


The other Ornament Thursday gals have been hard at work as well….check out their blogs for more great projects!
5 Generations of Mothers
Art Bead Scene
Candie Cooper
Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Modern Glass Link Earrings
Strands of Beads
The Swell Life – Swelldesigner’s blog

Apr 152008

A few days ago, I talked about a pink drusy stone that I picked up at the Omaha Bead Show. While I’m not a “pink” girl, I loved the sparkle of the stone, and wanted to do something with it that would be simple and elegant.

The wrap method is the same method that’s described in our free tutorial….. except because of the cut of the stone, I didn’t need to do anything on the front to hold it in place. My stone had a slight slope inward, toward the crystal, so when I made the frame for my wrap, it held the stone in place.

I did a little research on the drusy stone, and was advised that I shouldn’t tumble it. Too much risk of knocking off one of those beautiful crystals! I did want to clean up and harden my sterling silver frame, however, so I tumbled it for a couple of hours before setting the stone.

To hold the drusy in place, I had to do some wrapping on the back. Because my wraps were very tight, I opted to cut and then wrap some of the sections.

End result is a very secure piece…and still, while I don’t really like pink all that much for me (it clashes with my hair LOL), this is a gorgeous stone, and I think the wrap is perfect to showcase it. 🙂

Jan 202008

This beaded chain is so lightweight, you’ll barely know you have it on! Use tiny beads, in any color or combination you’d like. I designed this necklace to benefit a local charity, Parents United, using the awareness colors for their organization. While I’ve labeled this project as Intermediate level, if you have mastered wrapped eye pins, you’ll find it a snap.

Level: Intermediate

Sterling silver lightweight cable chain
Sterling silver lobster clasp
4mm beads (4)
22g sterling silver wire
4mm sterling silver jump rings (7)

Step 1: Cut 15 inches of chain for a 17 inch necklace.

Step 2: Make beaded links using the 22g wire and the 4mm beads. I leave my wire on the spool to eliminate waste. String a single bead on the wire, and allow it to fall to the spool. Using a round-nosed pliers, make a loop approximately 1cm from the end of the wire. Wrap the wire around the neck of the loop.

Step 3: Move the bead so it is tight against the wrap that you just completed. Make another loop about 5mm above the bead, and wrap the wire around the neck.

Step 4: Clip the wire close to the last wrap, and use a crimping pliers to bring the end in close to the rest of the wraps if necessary. This is your first link.

Repeat steps 2-4 to make the other three links.

Step 5: Connect the links using the jump rings. Connect one end of the linked section to one end of the chain, using a jump ring. Connect the other end of the linked section to the other end of the chain.

Step 6: Hold the necklace so that the links are centered, and determine where the center of the chain is. Cut the chain in half.

Step 7: Attach a lobster clasp to one end of the chain using a jump ring, and attach the remaining jump ring to the other end of the chain.

Jan 182008

How can you give back to your community as a beader? Here are a couple of ideas, based on some service projects I’m doing in the next couple of weeks.

Girl Scouts. A Girl Scout leader in my area who knows I make jewelry approached me and ask if I’d help the girls with a jewelry-making badge. We decided on a project (basically, my Clasp 101 bracelet), ordered some fun beads that were age-appropriate, and set up kits for the girls to make their project. Overall, it’s going to take about 2 hours of my time (ordering, organizing the supplies, teaching the girls), but I know it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Tip: Make sure you pick a project AND supplies that are targeted to the group age. Older Girl Scouts might want to do Amanda earrings involving a little wire work, and Brownies might be better off making stretchy bracelets. Watch lead content on anything for younger kids.

Charity Fundraiser. Someone I work with had seen my work, and she asked me if I’d help design jewelry for her charity, using their “signature” colors. I was glad to do so, and came up with several designs for men, women and kids that incorporated the colors into the design. The members of the organization will join me in a “craft day” when we’ll assemble the jewelry, and then they plan to sell the work at a national convention later this year. Because I can utilize my buying power (Fire Mountain Gems and Artbeads got business on this one…assortability and free shipping were definite factors!), supply costs are kept low, and because my time is donated to teach them how to make the jewelry, there’s no overhead beyond supplies.

Tip: Get a budget and plan from there. Capitalize on suppliers who can give you the most bang for your buck. Also, make up samples ahead of time if you are having a “craft day” to assemble pieces…even if you have enough supplies to allow folks to be more creative, they will have a good idea of what to make, and guidelines will stretch supplies further.

Jan 112008

Yes, it’s almost here!

Online sign ups for classes at the June 2008 Bead and Button Show start January 15, 2008. I’ve been taking the time to peruse the class lists and find some classes that look interesting…and there are lots of them!

From PMC to basic metal working to stringing to bead weaving…the B&B Show, sponsored by Bead and Button magazine, has it all, taught by some of the best known beading and jewelry artists in the industry! Names like Katie Hacker, Lisa Niven Kelly, Dallas Lovett…just to name a few.

Classes fill up QUICKLY, so do your planning now, and remember to stop back at the site on January 15.

See you at the show!!!

Jan 082008

Ami (Amigail Designs) recently posted a picture of a multi-strand necklace that she’d made recently, and I was so excited by the colors she’d used that I wanted to try something along the same lines myself.

The base colors (red, turquoise, yellow, orange, lime green and purple) I picked looked like a bright holiday – something tropical and summery that were sure to raise my spirits and make me feel warmer on a cold winter’s day – and I was excited to try something COMPLETELY different from my usual style.

There’s very little rhyme nor reason to the design, which is part of why I love it so much. I picked out colors, used different shapes and sizes of beads, and added some Bali silver here and there to break it up. The two strands of the bracelet use the same color scheme, but different types of beads for each color.

Tied together with an interesting turquoise toggle from Fire Mountain Gems, I’m loving the totally unique and eclectic design of this bracelet.

Now, my challenge is to each of my readers to use the same colors (red, turquoise, yellow, orange, lime green and purple)…let’s see what you can come up with!!

Dec 312007


We have moved all of my jewelry-making supplies, books, magazines and assorted “stuff” into my son’s old bedroom, and moved all of his things into his “new” room.

I still have some organizing to do, but there’s room to spread out and I can find things again.

Until my workbench is done, I’ll have to put up with the card table I’ve been using, but it’s worked for this long, so I think I’ll manage. 🙂

A few tips for organizing that I used when I moved:
– Beading magazines in those plastic upright organizers – I have mine separated by magazine title.
– An old entertainment center is perfect for organizing books, magazines, tools, and other supplies. I’ve grouped my tools and supplies together – all metal-smithing tools on one shelf, jump ringer and flex shaft on another – so I can find things quickly depending on what I’m working on at the time.
– A plastic container with three drawers is perfect for supplies – I put some painting and scrapping supplies in one drawer, sewing supplies in another.
– PURGE and donate or toss!!! I spent hours going through old boxes of materials that I bought when I started making jewelry and got rid of the things I won’t use. Goodwill got bags of old beads, base metal head pins, and ribbon. I know someone can use them!!!

Now to start working on some jewelry!

Dec 282007

Hubby and I celebrated our wedding anniversary this week…yep, crazy, we got married two days after Christmas, and I was working in RETAIL at the time, if you can believe it! Like Christmas, we stuck with low-key because I’m still under the weather (how long is this cold going to hang around???) and he was possibly going to be called in for snow-patrol. Nice dinner at home with family, and practical gifts. 🙂

Because I’m in the process of moving my jewelry studio to another room, I’d love to make some improvements to my work area, so we planned out a work bench that he’s going to make for me as my anniversary gift.

The plan is to have a fairly high (39 inches at the top of the table), sturdy (2 x 4’s on edge with a sanded wood top), 6-foot long bench at one end of my room. The way we’ve designed it, it should be sturdy enough that I stamp and hammer without bounce-back.

I’m hoping the move is complete by New Year’s Eve – I know the bench will still be in progress, but it will be nice to have the move done so I can get back to making jewelry!

Dec 222007

It’s always fun and inspiring to talk to other artists. Over the last couple of years, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to some amazing people, find out a little about them and their jewelry, and make some new friends. Check out the full artist interviews on Beading Help Web’s Artists page.

Janet Crosby makes incredible lampwork beads and lists them on Etsy.

Lidija Fairbanks’ doll artistry is detailed and amazing!

Katie Hacker is one of the biggest names in beading for a reason – she’s not only talented, she also brings her energetic and fun personality into everything she does!

Linda Jones and Sharilyn Miller are terrific wire artists who will take you beyond stringing and into the Wonderful World of Wire.

Katherine Natalia Wadsworth makes some of the most interesting lampwork beads I’ve even seen.

And finally, Rena Klingenberg not only makes fabulous jewelry, but dispenses some of the best jewelry business advice available!
Enjoy reading about each one of these artists, I hope you are as inspired by them as I have been! Look for even more interviews in 2008 from Beading Help Web.