Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bright Orange is In!

Well, I don't really know if that's true, but I have seen quite a bit of orange lately!

I bought these nice bright orange czech glass beads at a bead store Friday so I can use them in a piece of jewelry I am planning to make for a friend. I want to use the cane glass beads that I mentioned a while ago and I also have some swarovski crystal bicones in hyacinth that will go nicely too.

The only thing left to do is DESIGN IT! Gee, is that all! That's the part I enjoy the most, but the part that can also be frustrating if the inspiration doesn't come right away. I'm going to get them out and start studying them all together so the ideas will flow more freely. Sometimes all it takes is going through each container, collecting possible candidates and putting them all together. However, that is also how all my beads get out of control!!

I hope you are all having a great weekend! If you are receiving inspiration for these beads, as always, send it my way!! :)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

This Week's Project: Crystal Extravaganza

Is it possible to go overboard when it comes to crystals? If one gives you a happy feeling, how do you feel wearing 23 crystals? 23 times happier than without them? You never know!!

I personally don't think I went overboard with crystals in this design using the "new" econoflex (from softflex) steel blue bead wire. I also found these turquoise 3/16" anodized aluminum jump rings yesterday and didn't plan to use them here, but I believe it was meant to be!

I wore this to a family function today and while I loved the colors and the sparkliness, I am not completely sold on the design. If I end up back at the drawing board, I'll let you know.

I hope you are all getting the opportunity to craft this weekend!! Let's make the most of a little bit of free time!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Featured Designer: "Nothing But String"

Yay, it's featured designer Friday!! I have Laura Trevey of Bright, Bold & Beautiful to thank for finding today's featured designer. She mentioned the work she found on the Etsy site, "Nothing But String" over the last week and I was awestruck when I saw it!

Emily of Nothing But String kindly agreed to let me show her work to you here as well.

Her Etsy site reads, "Whether it's beading, crocheting, knitting or sewing, it all has one thing in common, the thread that holds it all together. Here you'll find unique pieces and designs for both you and your home decor. Whether your need a little something to decorate a teasured gift for a friend or just something to spice up your home, use your imagination and turn the chaos into harmony."

What a creative idea!! Not only that, this work is flawless!! So much fun to look at and admire!

Thanks Emily!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cobalt Blue Stone

Today's bead was also in the gemstone mix bag from Hobby Lobby that I mentioned on Monday. There is only one of them which is sort of a bummer because it is certainly unique and would have been nice to have at least two!

I am not familiar with this type of blue stone, so I searched on "cobalt blue stone" and discovered there is a stone called cobalt blue! However, once again, I am stumped! Two days in a row I am asking for your help with identifying this cool cobalt blue bead. Help!

Since there is only one, it would be great to go through my collection of beads and pull out a miscellaneous grouping of colorful stone beads that I can use together for an eclectic look! I am a big fan of using several loops of memory wire and stringing on every odd or unusual bead I can find. Maybe that's the case for these!!

It's almost time for another crafty weekend! I can't wait!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Super Purply Stones

I have never seen stones this purple! There is an element of fun in them because of their purpliness. When I posted the cherry quartz yesterday, Doina (of D's Poetry) thought they would make a fun, BIG ring. Now that I have that in my mind, I think one of these bright purply stones would make a fun "giant" ring and one would be cute as a focal bead in a matching bracelet.

I searched around a bit to find out what type of stones these are and the only possibility I could find was Charoite, but I'm not yet convinced. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you are familiar with this purple stone!

The bright purple would look great with some bright silver accents!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cheery Cherry Quartz

Today's beads are made of what appears to be cherry quartz. They are adorable and very "cheery", but I wasn't sure exactly what type of stones they were until I did a few searches. Even though these really do look like they could be made of quartz, cherry "quartz" is actually a type of glass that is dyed and cut into a number of popular shapes. The color is just gorgeous and the photo doesn't do these justice!

When I realized I had two beads in the same color, I started to think of project ideas for using them together. The most obvious method would be to include them as a 2 tiered pendant, but I'd like to try something a little bit different. I'm thinking of taking the rectangular bead, running craft wire through the hole and bringing the ends to the middle point on top of the bead, giving it a twist and adding a variety of glass, stone, pearl and/or
swarovski sparkle!! Sort of like a "beaded" bead. I think it will give it an artistic flair.

In that case, I think it would be fun as a bracelet focal bead, the only trouble then is what to do with the little briolette type bead... Let me know what you think, I am certainly open to ideas!! :)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Colorful Stones

I found a great bag of mixed stones during an unplanned trip to Hobby Lobby today and the best part was they were 50% off! There were so many great stone beads in the bag I might even have bought it if it wasn't on sale! Needless to say, for the next few days I'll be sharing them with you here.

I thought these four stones were so cute and a nice mix of colors in the same shape, they would be fun to design a cute summery bracelet around. Rather than stringing, I'm thinking about making each of the stones a sort of focal bead among colorful crystals on its own wire segment with loops on each end. I'd love to find a pearl that would work well between each of the segments.

I was hoping to work on it tonight, but spent a bit of time moving beads into a few new containers that were also on sale today.

Best wishes for a nice 4 day work week!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

One More Weekend Project

I was able to squeeze in one more project this weekend using the black silk-like cord from Rings & Things I mentioned last Sunday. It's funny that I can see some similarities in this necklace and the 3 tiered decopauge necklace I made yesterday. One-track mind syndrome I think!

I've had the red ceramic beads for quite a while, but hadn't come up with any wonderful design ideas for them until now. :) Actually I thought the contrast between the red and black would be nice and kept trying to add some small copper chain to it, but it felt a little bit too harsh. I did get a couple of bronzy-copper jump rings and headpins in. The main concern I had once I decided on the red beads was how to clasp this choker/necklace.

I ended up using black craft wire to attach one small black jump ring on one end and bent a large black jump ring into an "S" shape for the hook and wired that on the other end. Considering it was a last minute thought, I am pretty happy with it! As I am sure you have realized by now, I am not shooting for perfection in these designs, but more of a happy feeling. That's the beauty of creating for fun rather than profit. If you have the time and allow yourself the luxury of creating solely for the purpose of expressing yourself, you might come up with something unique and special.

Have a good one!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fun with Gold Plated Serpentine Chain

This week's projects were made using a gold plated serpentine chain from Rings & Things. Well, as you can see, I had quite a bit of fun stringing beads onto the chain. I found it necessary in most cases to take the clasp ends off temporarily, but was surprised how many beads had large enough holes. All of the beads used here have been previously mentioned on abeadaday, so you might find them familiar.

The 3-tiered flower necklace was made using wooden beads with decopauged flowers that I cut out from a spool of ribbon I found on clearance last spring. I didn't let the oblong bead dry long enough so the close up version still shows a little hazy, but after a few days, it will dry clear. I liked the 3 dimensional look of stacking the little flowers. The challenge was how to hang the other round wooden beads from the large bead. I cut a piece of 24 gauge gold plated craft wire, doubled it and ran it through the oblong bead after stringing it on the neck chain. Then I twisted, trimmed the wire, made a loop and wrapped the remaining wires. I hope you can see how much I enjoyed working on that one!

I found the colorful glass squares below last year in a mix package and it's amazing how many options there are for using them. The colors are great and remind me of toys! Since the neck chain is 18", there was plenty of room for adding the top yellow square to turn it into more of a pendant look than just strung-on beads.

This yellow oblong bead to the left is from a 1960's jewelry piece. I originally had a good sized bag of them and over the years continue to find ways to use them. These are the kind of beads that should be showcased like a piece of art and a simple chain does just that.

This 27mm jet swarovski rivoli is such a great showpiece, it was perfect for this serpentine chain. It would look great with either the gold or the silver. The fun part is the fact that the serpentine chain formed it's own loop at the bottom when I ran both ends up through the hole in the back. Perfect for hanging the cutest little swarovski vitrail disk.

The little wooden sticks below are adorable on their own, but so cute in this little grouping as a simple focal piece on the serpentine chain.

AND, just for fun, I used one of the oblong wood beads that I had colored in with a gold leafing pen. Any time arts and crafts are involved in jewelry making, I know I'm going to have a great time!!

By the way, if you haven't visited the Rings & Things blog recently, they are now doing a monthly giveaway and also have a nice write-up about the discontinuation of the swarovski bicone among other things!

Hope you are all finding time to do a little crafting too!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Featured Designer: Lillian Chen

I'm so glad it's Friday because I have been anxious to share this week's featured designer with you! I came across Lillian Chen's swarovski designs on Facebook and was immediately in awe! I still have no idea how she creates these pieces, they are quite magical!

Her designs are blingy and extremely creative! The first ring I saw of hers is the one that looks like fireworks exploding (below left) which left me speechless! I've never seen anything like this! When I asked her if I could feature her work here, she mentioned that she was teaching classes at the Bead and Button show at the end of May.

In addition to all of her facebook updates and photos, she has jewelry pieces for sale on her etsy site as well course offerings.

Lillian also mentioned she was working on some environmentally friendly "green" designs using existing objects such as her business cards (photo below)!! -so cool!

Looking through all of Lillian's designs makes me want to push myself to dig deeper for inspiration and creativity!

I just know you will enjoy these pieces as much as I have!! Have a great weekend!! (THANK YOU LILLIAN!)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Silver Plated Curved Liquid Twist

Hello! Today's beads are Silver plated curved liquid twist tubes. I wasn't sure that these were still being used in jewelry designs and recently saw some beautiful multi-strand pieces using these twists.

Maybe beads don't really go out of style! I used some of these probably 5 years ago when I copied a design out of a magazine. It was very simple. Three strands using bicones and seed beads at the end of each tube. I wore it for so long that it was necessary to retire it gracefully!

Hope you are all having a great week!! (One more day)! By the way, I was able to make the bauble design using yesterday's chartreause beads and added a picture. :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Red Lined Chartreuse Drop

That's a pretty long description for such a tiny bead! I bought a small tube of these at a local bead shop last year. When I bought them I thought the color combination was interesting and was intrigued by how small they are. The container reads, "Japanese Seed Beads, 3.4mm, Red-lined chartreuse drop". I remember thinking they would be cute used in a simple right angle weave bracelet.

Now that I am looking at them again, I'd like to try making the right angle weave bauble with them. I have only made the bauble with bicone crystals or e-beads, so it ought to be interesting. I'm not 100% sure it will work.

If you have never made the right angle weave bauble, I must tell you that you are missing something very special. It's quite a magical process requiring 12 beads and some beading thread or clear monofilament. The ball forms at the very end when you pull the threads, like MAGIC!

I just realized I used one of my crystal baubles on my cell phone lariat. Here's a picture that you should be able to click on for a close up view. I wrote some instructions for it several years ago that I'd be happy to share if you would like a copy.

Have a sparkly evening!

Update: I just wanted to let you know I did try to make the bauble with the drop beads and it seems to have worked!! Too Cute!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pieces & Parts

As I was searching through some of my bead containers I came across a few pieces and parts of things that I had started, but never finished. What was I thinking?! I thought it would be fun to share them here and find out if I'm the only one with half-completed attempts. I have a feeling I'm not alone!

The rainbow bracelet is a tubular peyote piece made with a small e bead mix. When I first learned how to do the tubular peyote stitch, I admit I got a little carried away. It is so much fun to bead with a needle and thread! The tubular peyote stitch is quite simple to do using a wooden skewer. As you can see from the loose threads on the ends, all it really needs is a clasp! I think I had planned on stitching on some crystally embellishments which is probably the reason it was never finished.

The violet/eggplant piece was the beginning of a sort of nesting pattern I found in a stitching magazine or book. I loved the colors together, but I remember that my brain couldn't catch on to the pattern on the diagonal for some reason. I have another one of these attempts using tiny green glass pearls and seed beads.

The "pièce de résistance" is the flat even count peyote stitch bracelet. I happen to live in a state where people cherish the colors scarlet & gray and the good old block "O" for OSU. My Mom is one of those people and I thought it would be fun to attempt to make something like this for her. We bought the beads together and figured it out as we went. This is also an unfinished piece, in fact, I raided all the siam crystals that were inside the block "O" focal area. This is definitely a "back to the drawing board" piece!!

I also came across this funny little ring. I remember making it after seeing something like it in a beading book, but it sadly ended up in a tossed aside pile... I'm wearing it now because it is really fun to look at. I will do my best not to toss the poor thing aside again!

If you have a minute, I hope you will share your experiences with leftover pieces and parts too!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cheerful Daisy Button

Today's bead is a large daisy button that matches the sweet daisy beads I posted last week. These were gifts from a co-worker and sure are CHEERFUL! I hadn't posted this yet because I was thinking it might be a little redundant since it is styled much like the daisy bead. HOWEVER, it has a bit more cheering power because of its size! (The package reads, 35x7mm).

I've posted a photo of the back side of the button too so you can see how it is made. Buttons with a shank like this one work well on memory wire. To keep it from spinning around, I have found using hollow rubber tubing through the shank works nicely to secure it. I do love large focal piece bracelets, but think this large daisy button would be adorable on a memory wire choker!

I have a theory that you can never be TOO happy or TOO cheerful and any time you have an opportunity to get more of either, you should go for it! A piece of jewelry using this button certainly fits into the category of adding a little bit more of both!

Hope your week is off to a good start!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Black Satin-like Cord

Today's focus is on black satin-like cording from Rings & Things. This is a very pretty and sleek looking cord that can be used in many designs. I have never worked my way to a design starting with a cording like this, so I'm excited to start brainstorming. After working with hemp cord yesterday, my first thought was knotting or braiding this cord. However, I think that might take away from it's sleekness.

Often when I think of using black stringing material, my thoughts turn to silver, hematite and clear crystal. I'm going to do my best to think a little bit outside of my norm this time around. Given that we are well into spring and the color palette is changing in many ways, it might be nice to work in some lighter colors for a nice contrast.

The wheels are turning and I'll keep you posted. If you have received some inspiration on your end that you are willing to share, please do!

I also wanted to take a second to share a couple more cell phone lanyards with you. In my post last Tuesday, I mentioned I had several more lanyards to play with. Since I have thoroughly enjoyed using the red lanyard with the blue crystal bauble, I wanted to add some crystals to the others as well. I hope these simple little sparkly lanyards bring a smile on your end as they have for me. Have a great week!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

This Week's Project

Hello, I hope you are all having a Great weekend! This week's projects were made using the hammered chain I received from Rings & Things last Friday. Surprisingly, both of these projects include black hemp cord. I think I was sort of hooked on it today! The color went so nicely with these hammered links, I just couldn't stop myself!

Once I began wrapping the pearls inside the hammered chain links, I thought they would be nice as more of a focal piece in a bracelet so I just used 3 of them macrame'd together. I enjoy macrame and love to include crystals when using thin hemp cord, so I added some swarovski bicones (and a bunch of dangles!)

The large barrel-shaped crystals in the 2nd design to the right were taken from a vintage jewelry piece. It's always so much fun to find perfect uses for those kind of beads!! As I mentioned above, black hemp cord is the stringing material on both of these pieces.

I sure had a lot of fun working on these today and wish I had 48 hours to play instead of 24!! Have a crafty weekend!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Featured Designer: SueBeads

This week's featured designer is lampwork artist, Sue, of SueBeads. She states on her blog that she enjoyed using lampwork beads in her jewelry pieces so much that she decided to learn how to make them herself and became hooked!!

When I came across these peach persimmon beads on SueBeads blog, I immediately sent her a request to feature them here today and was so glad when she gave me the green light! There is just something about them that strongly appeals to me. It could be that the silver looks like jewelry on the bead. It could be they have a sort of art deco vibe.

The description in Sue's etsy shop reads, "This is a set of 9 mini beads made from peach persimmon coral, wrapped in silver wire and etched. The beads measure approx. 10 mm. All of my beads are made in my studio by me, Sue, in Pittsburgh, PA. They are properly annealed in a digitally controlled kiln, and cleaned with a diamond drill bit and a dremel!"

I love when I get that feeling of some kind of connection with beads, jewelry, things in nature, people, etc. You don't have to ask yourself whether you like it or them, you just have a feeling of knowing that you do! That's so cool!

You can read Sue's blog or check out her etsy site using the links above to learn more about her and her work. In addition to making beads, Sue also sells her jewelry creations on etsy! I've posted a couple of other bead sets from her shop just for FUN! Enjoy!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Festive Pinata Beads

This fun-loving group of beads reminded me of a festive pinata party. The few times I have made a pinata, I enjoyed it. However, I was never a fan of hitting it or running for the candy. I prefer to watch others having fun with it.

When I dumped these beads out of their package, I immediately thought about the pinatas you see hanging from the ceiling of a party store. Unfortunately, these don't have any candy in them.

You could probably use a tiny balloon to papier-mache and make a piece of pinata jewelry. As long as you could accept the fact that someone will eventually want to destroy it to retrieve the candy inside!

My favorite in the bunch is the turquoise and black bead. Even though it is a little bit sad-clown-like, the color combo is so cute!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sweet Little Daisy

I must have done something right recently because I have been gifted with beads from a number of people. When I arrived at my desk today, there were 4 packages of beads with a note that read, "these were in the clearance bin, maybe you can make something to make someone happy".
Such a nice surprise and a very sweet thought!! I have seen these beads at the craft store before, but the person who left them for me found them for $.50 a package at the Crafts 2000 store in Springfield, Ohio. I have never been to this store, but have heard it is a crafter's heaven! I believe it requires a membership of some kind to shop there, but I don't know all the details.

I immediately took these Darice beads out of the package and when I discovered they had holes for stringing, I knew I wanted to make some simple rings with them. The daisy bead fits perfectly on top of any finger. I am feeling lots of gratitude for the niceness of people in my little world. It just wouldn't be any fun without them!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"MYSTERY" Lanyard

I'm not sure this is much of a "mystery" to some people, but to me it was something I'd never worked with before.

Besides wearing jewelry, there are other ways of decorating, beautifying, sparkl-izing or brightening up your day to day life. This accessory falls into that category. When I received these lanyards from Rings & Things, I thought the first thing I needed to do before coming up with a beaded design was to actually use one for a while.

By now, I'm sure you have concluded that these are cheerful little CELL PHONE LANYARDS!

I wanted to add some embellishment to the lanyard so I could see what it was like to have something hanging from it so I took this blue bauble off of a neck chain. Quite honestly, I was concerned this was going to get in my way or be too silly.

Well, I have to tell you how much I have enjoyed using this on my phone for the last few days. First of all, when I slide the phone into the front cell phone pocket on my purse, the little beaded lanyard hangs over the side of the pocket. In contrast with my black bag, the red, blue and clear crystals really stand out and make me feel extra sparkly.

When I need to use my phone, I no longer have to struggle to shimmy it out of the pocket, the lanyard is actually functional and can be used to pull the phone out!

The final reason I have enjoyed trying out this lanyard is that I think it makes me look extra cool, hip and sparkly when I am using the phone. Okay, that might be a bit of a stretch, but I see it dangling there and it makes me smile! :)

So, now that I have told you about my latest experience with sparkle, I am hoping you can let me know your thoughts for embellishing the lanyard. Additionally, I know there are a few of the newer touch screen phones that might not have a place to add a lanyard. I don't know why that is, but I think with all the crafting ingenuity out there, we can think of a way to overcome that. I'm thinking there must be a way to add a lanyard to the cell phone case or cover.

I can't wait to add a little sparkle to each of these and share with friends!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Beads from Sedona

I received today's beads as a gift from a friend/co-worker who just returned from a trip to the Grand Canyon and Sedona, Arizona. She is not a beader or crafter of any kind, but took the time to visit a bead store which was so thoughtful!!

The beads she selected are interestingly very much like her! Very earthy, but sleek and shiny with some serious sparkle thrown in.

She couldn't recall the name of the shop, but she did say it was in the craft village of Tlaquepaque. I am guessing it was probably, Cocopah. When I searched on Google, I found a short, but cute, video of the Cocopah bead store.

I can't wait to have some time to brainstorm on how I want to use these!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hammered Oval Chain

Today's bead is a length of hammered oval cable footage chain from Rings and Things. This came on Friday and I know I had some ideas for using this type of chain as I was perusing the catalog recently, but now I can't remember what I was thinking!!

I wanted to remind myself and all fellow beaders how important it is to write down your ideas in words or in sketches!

I'd like to figure out a nice way to add some sparkle to this chain with crystals!! I'm going to make a few attempts and will share with you when successful!!

I sure hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and happy Mother's day. As always, please share your ideas for this chain! I plan to post a finished piece no later than next Saturday!