Wednesday, June 30, 2010

4 Easy Ways to Promote Your Online Store

By on Wednesday, June 30, 2010 97 Comments

Recently, someone from Etsy emailed me a question. She didn`t have any idea how to promote her store. New online stores like new blogs are just tiny drops in the internet ocean. You really have to do something to let people know it exists.

A woman typing on a laptop
Picture source
Tight on money? Then here are 4 easy ways to promote your store (also works for a new blog) online. They cost nothing but time on the computer. I know, I know, time is money. But stay with me! I'm trying to save you money so you can buy more beads to soothe your bead addiction! (Not sure if you are a bead addict? Then check out my past post, Diagnosis - Bead Addiction!).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Heart String Pendant in the July Etsy Treasury

By on Tuesday, June 29, 2010 3 Comments

I haven't yet attempted to make an Etsy treasury - a compilation of designs based on a common theme.  Nor am I going to try any time soon because many of the curators are so darn good!

SimplySuzula just included my Heart Strings Swarovski crystal and sterling silver pendant necklace in the July Treasury. As you can see she was aiming for red, blue and white designs. It is a lovely, eclectic and visually pleasing selection. Thanks, Susan!

From Musician to Wire Jewelry Artisan

By on Tuesday, June 29, 2010 6 Comments

Aparna Halpé's Etsy store is called Melisma Wire Work. What caught my attention was her heritage. Aparna is from Sri Lanka, the fabled land of gemstones (see my past post Sapphire Mining in Sri Lanka). Her designs reflect that influence.

Her interest in jewelry began when her boyfriend gave her a gift of pearls, crystals and tools. She said, "As I mastered the art of wire-wrapped jewelry, I found myself traveling back in time, to the exquisite pieces that my mother and grandmother wore."

Monday, June 28, 2010

How to Make Viking Knit Jewelry Tutorials

By on Monday, June 28, 2010 16 Comments

Historical background
Viking knit is an ancient form of circular wire weaving also known as the trichinopoly chain.  The term chain is misleading because there are no separate links. The chain is formed with a length of successively looped wire resulting in a long tube which is then stretched.

It's known as the Viking knit because several archaeological finds dating back to about the 7th century AD were located in the Scandinavian countries like Norway and Sweden.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pearly Kings and Queens and Vintage Pearl Buttons

By on Sunday, June 27, 2010 8 Comments

A Pearly King and Queen in LondonImage via Wikipedia
Pearl buttons are made from the mother of pearl or shells of the mussels. They were once very popular but no longer practical with our modern washing machines and dryers as they will deteriorate.

However, for the Pearly Kings and Queens of London, pearl buttons still abound in their elaborate costumes.

Fruit and vegetable street vendors in London called costermongers originally used pearl buttons in their "flash boy outfits". Pearl buttons were sewn down the outside leg seams of their pants. The pocket flaps of waistcoats and cap fronts were similarly adorned.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

How to Make a Felt Bracelet

By on Saturday, June 26, 2010 3 Comments

Wet felting is a fun way to make a soft bracelet out of wads of wool fiber. A design can be built up using different colors before the bracelet is worked and shrunk down into a bangle.

These are a series of short video tutorials from Expert Village showing us how it is done. I particularly like the part where cut-outs are made to reveal the bottom color layer.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Green mother of pearl jewelry set

By on Friday, June 25, 2010 4 Comments

Mother of pearl shells are always lovely in jewelry designs. They have a shimmery quality about them which is probably why Debbie chose the green ones in her bracelet and earrings set. The beads are from another Debbie, my friend and co-instructor's collection.

Inflatable Necklaces by Regina di Cuori

By on Friday, June 25, 2010 2 Comments

Blow-up necklaces! Now this is a hoot and utterly clever. The plastic necklace is a boon for the jet setter who needs to pack efficiently becausse it  travels flat. All you have to do is blow it up when you are ready to put on some jewelry.  They even come in different colors!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tutorial : Color Wheel Earrings

By on Thursday, June 24, 2010 5 Comments

Some people have such great ideas. Livngoodjewelry on Youtube posted her Color Wheel Earrings video tutorial. It cleverly makes use of two metal pendants - the filigree ones will work too - to sandwich a colorful mix of round faceted crystals around the edge.

Wire is used to weave the two metal pieces as well as attach the crystals. The same wire also form the wrapped loop at the top for the ear wire. Fun and unique designs!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lookville - a new Fashion Social Network

By on Wednesday, June 23, 2010 3 Comments

Many of us like to go clothes shopping with close friends and family simply for that fitting room consultation before buying. But much as we love them, not everyone we know is a talented fashion maven who can make good suggestions or offer tips on how to put together a certain look or style. Thanks to modern technology, you can now get that help without even leaving home!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tiaras : Historical and Other Style Inspired Creations

By on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 2 Comments

Many artisans make tiaras. In fact, so many do such beautiful creations, it was hard to pick. So I chose based on historical time periods and iconic styles which were clearly the inspirations behind these designs.

This drop dead gorgeous piece with sterling silver, rock crystal and Swarovski crystals is actually called the Renaissance Tiara. It's deliberately designed such that it can be worn as a tiara or inverted and worn as a circlet. The artisan is Annick Ebersole of Anique Designs on Etsy who finds her inspiration in Renaissance and Victorian designs.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tutorials : How to Make a Bead and Wire Tiara

By on Monday, June 21, 2010 11 Comments

Tiaras are traditionally a type of crown, worn by royalty and the pope. Long ago, the tiara was more like a cone.

Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara (picture source no longer available
But in more recent times, the tiara became semi-circular as the Cambridge Lover's knot tiara above, once worn by Lady Diana, Princess of Wales.

Did you know some tiaras can be converted into necklaces? Those designs (see example below) were made so the main portion of the tiara could be detached from the headband, inverted and worn as a necklace.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sapphire Mining in Sri Lanka

By on Sunday, June 20, 2010 0 Comments

Sri Lanka (Ceylon) is a large island off the southern tip of India. The island is actually briolette shaped which suits this gemstone rich country. Sri Lanka itself means "magnificent island". The Indians call it Ratnadeep or Gem Island. Both are well deserved for it is truly a treasure island.

The flawless Sri Lankan Logan Sapphire 
Second largest blue sapphire (423 carats) in the world
Smithsonian Institute

Saturday, June 19, 2010

UV Sunsense bracelet tells you when to reapply sunscreen

By on Saturday, June 19, 2010 2 Comments

Is it getting very hot where you are?  Want to stay UV safe? You could use UV sensitive beads in your jewelry designs. These beads turn color when exposed to strong sunlight reminding the wearer to either get out of the sun or apply sunscreen.

However, The UV Sunsense bracelet works differently. It helps you remember to reapply sunscreen! Neat!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Amazonite, turquoise jasper and moonstone necklace

By on Friday, June 18, 2010 2 Comments

Large gemstone focals can either be hung as a pendant or included inline as shown here. Debbie, my friend and co-instructor, made this for a client who really liked the amazonite tile. Debbie added oval turquoise jasper beads to enhance the color of the lighter tile.

Oil Spill Mourning Jewelry and the scope of the disaster

By on Friday, June 18, 2010 3 Comments

It was only a matter of time for someone to come up with a jewelry based fund raiser for the terrible Gulf of Mexico oil spill.  For New Orleans based designer Mignon Faget, the disaster really hits home.  She says, “I was born here and I’ve lived here all of my life. What is so beautiful about Louisiana comes out through my work." So she decided to do something about the calamity that's already killed much wildlife and threatens the livelihood of many for years to come.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Duponi Silk Roses Necklace Tutorial by LoveMaegan

By on Thursday, June 17, 2010 4 Comments

This has just got to be my all time favorite fabric necklace tutorial. Lovemaegan, this fashionista's tutorial shows how she made this outstanding ruffled dupioni silk roses necklace.

I really like how she left the fabric edges raw, lending considerable character to the design. Dupioni silk is also an inspired choice because two colors of silk are woven for a shimmering effect. In her blog post, she also models the creation as a belt and as a headband. I think a wrist corsage will also work.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Using Ground Walnut Shells for Polishing Chain Maille

By on Wednesday, June 16, 2010 13 Comments

I've always used dry rice to polish chain maille jewelry or jump rings. It's easily available and relatively inexpensive. But lately I have switched to ground or crushed walnut shells. It's available from pet stores for reptile and bird cages.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sequin Jewelry Inspirations

By on Tuesday, June 15, 2010 6 Comments

Many artisans have already cottoned on to sequins.  Hats off to these amazing and inspiring artisans who came up with totally different designs. I couldn't include all of them but here are my favorites. Also check out The Beadin' Path's selection of vintage sequin jewelry inspirations.

Monday, June 14, 2010

How to Use Sequins in Your Jewelry Designs

By on Monday, June 14, 2010 5 Comments

Did you know sequin is the French form of the Italian word zecchino, the name given to a medieval Venetian gold coin?  The Italian form in turn originated from the Arabic sikka which meant coin. Gold coins were used for centuries as sequins especially in the Mediterranean countries. (Belly dancers still use a lot of coin like sequins). Sequins actually date back much earlier, to the sequin and bead adorned robes found in the tomb of the Egyptian King Tutankhamen.

Today, sequins are small, thin discs used to decorate clothing and accessories. Sequins are also a wonderful way to add variety to jewelry designs. If you've never considered using them, then check out these tutorials.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Catherine de Medici : The Dark Queen's Jewels

By on Sunday, June 13, 2010 8 Comments

Catherine de Medici (1519-1589) was born an Italian commoner but became the Queen Consort of France's Henry II. She was a remarkable woman but vilified by many as an evil one.

Known as the Dark or Black Queen, the Maggot from Italy's Tomb and even Madame La Serpente, Catherine fought like a tigress for her cubs and did whatever it took to preserve her children's Valois dynasty legacy. She endured numerous personal tragedies and setbacks which would have crushed weaker individuals.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Goofy rubber band bracelets for young children

By on Saturday, June 12, 2010 2 Comments

Many of us hesitate to make jewelry for the under 6-8 crowd. The dangers of lead and cadmium are well known (see past posts below ).

Lately children have been hankering after funky rubber band bracelets in all sorts of fun shapes to wear, collect and trade. Unless the child is allergic to rubber - most kids aren't - these are safe, age appropriate and cost very little. However, school authorities beg to differ. This craze has become such a source of classroom distraction, several US states have banned them.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Imperfect Face Jewelry By Sophie Duran

By on Friday, June 11, 2010 0 Comments

The Imperfectionist is a series of 4 face distorting jewelry designs by Dutch born art designer Sophie Duran for her graduation project. These are statement pieces of a different kind. She wanted to make us aware that with plastic surgery and media influences, "people all over the world are beginning to look more the same".

She has a point. If every one tried to change their appearance to meet society's view of what is beauty then instead of standing out, they become average. Sophie is so right when she said, "Individual unique characteristics make people attractive."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Multi- tiered earrings

By on Thursday, June 10, 2010 1 Comments

Beaders at our workshops often make inspiring designs. Sharon made two pairs which didn't conform to the usual dangles. She layered them.

Multi-tiered designs make earrings very distinctive as the bead choices are infinite. The first pair  on the right is triple tiered with a lovely crystal adorned round bead at the top.  I thought she chose a great combination of beads for her design!

More Recycled T-shirt Jewelry Tutorials

By on Thursday, June 10, 2010 1 Comments

The how to make fabric jewelry tutorial links post is wildly popular. Comfortable, soft jewelry using up your fabric stash is a fabulous idea. What could get even more comfier than some t-shirt jewelry made from well loved t-shirts?  I wrote about t-shirt jewelry how-tos before but I found a couple of new ones worth featuring. Neither of them require the use of metal so these are super for those who are allergic.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How to Make Hardware Jewelry Tutorials

By on Wednesday, June 09, 2010 12 Comments

I once made some earrings from recycled washers from a decommissioned instrument. These cannot be reused and it seemed such a shame to throw them away. So if you are eco minded or just love the industrial look, then hardware jewelry is for you.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Industrial Chic : Hardware Jewelry by Whim Originals

By on Tuesday, June 08, 2010 10 Comments

Some artisans are so adept at seeing potential in the most mundane of materials. Whim Originals on Artfire is one of those highly creative souls who can turn hardware items into unique jewelry pieces. This Michigan based artisan says she creates on a whim, hence the name of her shop.

Monday, June 7, 2010

How to Spool Knit Wire Jewelry Tutorials

By on Monday, June 07, 2010 12 Comments

I remember doing French or spool knitting with yarn as a youngster. Little did I know I would still be doing it as adult and with wire! Spool knitting is a fun wire technique using a spool knitter (sometimes called a dolly or nancy) which can be home made or bought. Shown here is the necklace part of my Copper Reflections jewelry set.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Swarovski bejeweled elephants charity drive

By on Sunday, June 06, 2010 7 Comments

Ever since I wrote about Stella McCartney's stunning life size suspended Swarovski horse sculpture, I've hoped to see another animal inspired art work. Now there is and it's for a good cause too. 250+  life- sized fibre glass baby elephants, some adorned with Swarovski crystals, have been created for this year's Elephant Parade in London, England (next year, it will be in Copenhagen) running from May to July.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Book Review - Crystal Brilliance - Making Designer Jewelry with Crystal Beads

By on Saturday, June 05, 2010 3 Comments

Were you one of those who read my book review on Seed Bead Style and went, "No way, seed beads are too small"? Well, I hear you! Seed bead woven jewelry is gorgeous but there is a price to pay. Time. So for faster bead weaving projects, incorporate crystals instead. Better yet, Swarovski crystals for added sparkle.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Would you pay $3.2 million for a dog collar?

By on Friday, June 04, 2010 8 Comments

I know what your answer would be. No. You wouldn't pay that but yet, there are people out there with oodles of money who wouldn't hesitate to spend serious money on their pampered pooches.

The world's most expensive dog collar is this design called Amour,Amour - rightly named because the owner has to love his or her dog to distraction to drop $3.2 million for a diamond collar.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Easy netted bracelet tutorial

By on Thursday, June 03, 2010 2 Comments

Paint the town red
Part 2 of 2
Learn to do netting with this easy bracelet video tutorial by Beads Unlimited. No tools or clasps are necessary because the bracelet is totally elasticated. I really like the color choices here - red with black AB (aurora borealis or rainbow) beads.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Red Hot Beaded Jewelry

By on Wednesday, June 02, 2010 4 Comments

Paint the town red
Part 1 of 2
I love the color red - mainly because it suits me!  However, red is not that popular as a jewelry color. So it gave me great pleasure to see these two workshop pieces.

The first one is by Sharon who chose a large faceted glass bead as her focal. Most people would have put just one metal bead between the glass ones. However, notice she not only placed 2 metal beads as spacers but she alternated different shapes, too. By doing so, her design became just that bit more distinctive.

Ruffled Ribbon Jewelry Tutorials

By on Wednesday, June 02, 2010 4 Comments

Ribbons are so feminine in jewelry designs. There are so many, many ways to incorporate these delicated strips as shown in my past post on How to make ribbon jewelry tutorials. Here are three more to inspire!

The first one reminds me of the Lanvin inspired version I wrote about before. The vintage crystal and ribbon necklace tutorial appeared on the  Ruffled blog as part of a DIY contest.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cattlehorn Jewelry : Biojewels from Brazil

By on Tuesday, June 01, 2010 3 Comments

Jóias do Pantanal (Jewels of the Pantanal) is a Brazilian handmade jewelry company started by Isabel Doering Muxfeldt and Anita Muxfeldt. They both live in a Brazilian state called South Mato Grosso which is heavily into cattle ranching.

Like another feature designer I wrote about before who made use of cow bones from the abattoir, these two artisans together with design partner, Verhuska Tameiros, also saw cattle horns as potential jewelry making material.