Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wear a Brooch as a Bracelet in a Flash!

By on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 6 Comments

Brooches have made a comeback after decades of neglect.  Even so, I am always on the lookout for alternative uses of brooches.

The latest find is the brilliant DIY brooch bracelet tip from Lisa over at the Pursuit of Happiness blog. What she did was pin an old brooch onto several bracelets thus holding them together.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tiny Swinging Felt Animal Jewelry by Motley Mutton

By on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 18 Comments

A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E.  It's the only word which describes the tiny swinging animals by Nancy Bevins over at the Motley Mutton on Etsy. She has been creating needle felted sculptures for years - see her gallery on her website.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Winners of the Modahaus Steady Stands Giveaway

By on Monday, February 27, 2012 5 Comments

There are many of you waiting for this announcement with baited breaths.  It's not just about these truly  innovative steady stands.  But thanks to Lex's generosity, there were an astounding six of them to give away from last week's sweepstakes. Also a big thank you to all who left such kind comments for both Lex and myself.

Ecuadorian Hands' $40 Gift Certificate for Tagua Beads

By on Monday, February 27, 2012 68 Comments

Do elephants live in South America?  Obviously not. But tagua nuts collected there are connected to these majestic beasts in Africa in a totally different way.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

More Awesome Jewelry Photography Tips using the Modahaus Steady Stand

By on Sunday, February 26, 2012 14 Comments

This guest post is by Lex McColl, inventor of the innovative Modahaus series of portable photography set-ups. (BTW The giveaway for 6 Steady Stands is still ongoing but will expire at 6 pm EST on Monday February 27). Click on the images to view larger versions.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pearl and Ribbon Knotted Necklace Tutorial Shows the Power of 3

By on Saturday, February 25, 2012 6 Comments

Steph over at Southern Fairy Designs created this pretty pearl and ribbon knotted necklace tutorial for herself.  It was inspired by an Anthropologie design called Power of Three. The 3-pearl clusters certainly catch the eye!

The well named design takes advantage of the rule of three concept used in various design disciplines, the arts even in statistics and mathematics, aviation, computing and economics.

Friday, February 24, 2012

What Other People Think YOU do!

By on Friday, February 24, 2012 7 Comments

One delightful meme that's been making the rounds everywhere is the poster one which shows the different perceptions of what someone does and the reality.  Naturally there are ones just for us. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

When a Bracelet is not a Bracelet

By on Thursday, February 23, 2012 1 Comments

Does a bracelet have to be a bracelet?  Nope.  Many jewelry pieces can indeed to be converted to other designs.  One of the easiest and perhaps most common tricks is to turn a bracelet into a necklace. 

That's exactly what Sherri did at one beading party.  She wanted to learn how to do wire crochet but preferred a necklace.  So all she had to do was to make a wire crochet bracelet (see tutorial link below) and then have two lengths of chains attached for the back of the necklace. The result was a pretty necklace just the way she wanted it!

Heading further north is LoveMaegan's DIY for converting a bracelet into a headband!  It's super easy and will give new life to old bracelets.  Little fashionistas you know will also love this idea.

Beader Design #:  689

Before You Go:
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

4 Ways to Finish Cord Necklaces Using Different Findings

By on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 4 Comments

Cord necklaces can be bought ready made.  But it is so much better to make your own because you can easily add the beads or pendants before you add the cord ends.  Commercial ones pretty well commit you to using bails for pendants.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sparkflight's Amazing Wire Jewelry and Sculptures

By on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 8 Comments

Many of us love wire work so it's an absolute treat when we come across incredibly inspirational wire artisans like Ruth Jensen who is the designer behind Sparkflight on Etsy.

Ruth, who is from Minnesota, is a self taught artist who loves working with wire. She is able to make not only spectacular jewelry designs but also much larger wire sculptures.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Winner of Orrtec's $35 Riveted Earring Kit Giveaway

By on Monday, February 20, 2012 1 Comments

I'm impressed!  So many of you were not just drawn to Melinda's gorgeous designs and awesome tutorial, but were keen to learn something new.  Needless to say, there were a great many entries to last week's wonderful riveted earring kit giveaway.

Modahaus Steady Stand Review and 6 Awesome Giveaways!

By on Monday, February 20, 2012 126 Comments

Ever since I bought my compact Modahaus 216 photo set up, I've been delighted with the ease of use and the much better quality jewelry pictures I have been getting.

But there is one angle I still have to shoot without a tripod - the overhead one.  The resulting photos are not ideal as no matter how steady I try to be, there is always a slight blurring.  Trying to get the focusing right with a hand held camera is another issue.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

4 Spring Color Trends to Freshen Up Your Beadwork and Wardrobe Now!

By on Sunday, February 19, 2012 0 Comments

Guest Post by Angelita Williams :

No matter how many trends come and go, beaded clothing and jewelry stay in style throughout the year. But, it is always important to think of new ways to freshen up your creations or generate trend-related sales. One of the easiest methods is to create a few on-trend pieces by copying the color profiles that popular for the upcoming season.

If you’re not obsessively following runway fashion trends, here’s a nice cheat sheet. Endlessly savvy fashion site laid out a great outline of the top spring 2012 color trends to know about now. These hues range from sexy neutrals, to soft and creamy pastels, to fun and sultry tangerine.

Here are four color profiles you can add to your beaded work to both attract your fashionista customers and throw a small splash of trendy color into your own wardrobe this spring.

1. Multi-Layered Neutrals

Layered neutrals were one of the hottest trends for spring this year. And neutrals are never a bad thing to have in your closet, especially when it comes to jewelry. Neutrals can tone down or play up certain color schemes and add a touch of elegance to any outfit. Refinery 29 noted shades like “soft oatmeals, browns, tans, grays, and neutral tones” as prominent on the runway. You probably even have some old beads lying around in unexpected neutral shades. What better time to put them to use, using things like natural wooden beads or neutral fabrics and other soft materials.

Fabric Bib Necklace Tutorial by Another Day in Paradise Part 1/Part 2 and 3

2. Creamy Pastels

Anything girly is all the rage this spring, with shades like blush pink, mint green, creamy lilac and soft blue popular everywhere. This is the best time to buy some creamy pastel beads to use on practically anything. Check out the mint green of these earrings created by an Etsy user. This is the perfect shade for spring in 2012. Try adding some lace, ruffle or polka dots to your creations and market them to the fashion set.

Lace and Pearl Bracelet Tutorial by Flamingo Toes

3. Geometric Black and White

Geometric prints in creams, blacks and whites were popular at the Chanel show this year, and that is a pretty good indicator that they will be seen throughout the spring and summer runways. The coolest pairing was dark blacks with bright whites. Use dramatic black and white jewelry to break up the neutrals and pastels of the spring season.

4. Soft Tangerine

This creamy tangerine shade is probably the most exciting thing to come out of the spring 2012 color story. It just makes you want to grab a mojito and head to the pool, already. Goodbye, winter!

Vintage brass earrings designed by Paula

This guest post is contributed by Angelita Williams, who writes on the topics of online courses. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: angelita.williams7

Featured Fashion Designers
Layered Neutrals : Anne Valerie Hash*; TSE; Burberry; Thakoon.
Creamy Pastels : Phillip Lim*; Rachel Roy; St. John; Reed Krakoff.
Geometric Black and White : DKNY; Ports 1961; Chanel ; Zero + Maria Cornejo
Soft Tangerine : Chloe*; Jason Wu; Cacharel*; Thakoon Addition.
*Maria Valentino/MCV Photo

Original Post by THE BEADING GEM

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Make Linked Necklace Scarves from Old T-Shirts

By on Saturday, February 18, 2012 2 Comments

I've covered a number of recycled fabric jewelry tutorials before (see links below). However, this new find is different.

What Anne from the Perpetually Green blog does is use linked strips from an old t-shirt.  Her Ring Around the Rosy necklace tutorial promises no sewing!  As you can see, it makes for a great unattached collar for a plain top.

This is also a great project for kids, girl guide leaders, church youth groups and so on.  

 Before You Go :
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

Book Review - Show Your Colors - 30 Flexible Beading Wire Jewelry Projects

By on Saturday, February 18, 2012 2 Comments

Are you like me, somewhat set in the usual choices of beading wire colors?  Well, it really is time to break old habits and explore new beading wire frontiers! 

Colored beading wire is not new.  But what got me excited were the fresh and innovative designs in this new book sent to me for review by Kalmbach Publishing. Show Your Colors: 30 Flexible Beading Wire Jewelry Projects is by Sara Hardin Oehler (of Softflex's "Ask Sara") and Jamie Hogsett who is also a Softflex education coordinator.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Necklace Sling for Wine Glasses

By on Friday, February 17, 2012 10 Comments

Do you enjoy drinking wine at parties?  Then you might like this nifty invention, the wine glass holder necklace! It's hands-free drinking like you've never seen before.

The necklace sling allows you to load up on a plate full of tasty snacks at the same time. There is also no chance of mixing up your glass with someone else's. Or if you're the animated sort, it might also prevent you from accidentally splashing someone close by with your drink! Although you could stain your own clothes if you're not careful.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

How to Make Recycled Jewelry from a Leather Belt

By on Thursday, February 16, 2012 14 Comments

My DH was about to toss out a leather belt because it was broken.  But I couldn't bear to see such good leather go to waste so I rescued it for jewelry making!  If you've got similar unloved leather belts in your future, consider doing the same!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Don't Like Dangles? Make Spiral Stud Earrings!

By on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 2 Comments

I'm not really fond of stud earrings as they aren't comfortable when I have the phone receiver to my ear.  However, they do appeal to those who don't like dangles.

The good part about making your own is the ability to get the right length posts. Sometimes bought studs do poke because the posts are too long.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Signe Style's Awesome Statement Mixed Media Jewelry

By on Tuesday, February 14, 2012 3 Comments

Signe Albertson who now lives in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area describes her mixed media style as similar to collage.

Signe also adds, "Having a background in acting and theater design, I find inspiration for my jewelry from many different areas: classic Hollywood films, art, music and literature. " 

Monday, February 13, 2012

ORRTEC's $35 Riveted Earrings Kit Giveaway

By on Monday, February 13, 2012 125 Comments

Riveting is a fabulous way to make cold connections - i.e. join metal pieces without using any heat like from a torch. It is much better than using glue as the connections are secure.

One way is to use eyelets as I did in my tutorial on How to Make Riveted Recycled Soda Can Earrings.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Titanic Jewelry Highlight to Mark the 100th Anniversary of its Sinking

By on Sunday, February 12, 2012 10 Comments

On a chilly April 15 back in 1912, the great White Stars ocean liner, Titanic sank on her maiden voyage. The ship labelled as "unsinkable" had tempted fate. 1518 people perished.

The enduring fascination with this tragedy will peak once more with many planned events as the 100th anniversary approaches.

There are even Titanic memorial cruises!  One $60,000  2-week cruise also includes an 8-10 hour dive in a submarine! Only for those with very deep pockets and who don't suffer from claustrophobia!

On April 11,  Guernsey's Auctioneers will be selling off more than 5000 Titanic artifacts as a single collection. One of the items is this bracelet below.  This very personal of belongings is a poignant reminder of this devastating event.

This auction is controversial as is the company which is selling the artifacts.  The artifacts were collected via submarine from what is essentially an underwater grave site - something some people prefer it remain undisturbed.  Having said that, artifacts are often salvaged from other wrecks which also involved the loss of human life, so the Titanic is no different except in the scale of the disaster.

There are conditions to this sale. The collection cannot be broken up and must be available for research, education and public display. So it will most likely go to a museum. 

April will also see the re-release of James Cameron's 1997 Titanic movie in 3D format.

Perhaps it's been a while since you watched the movie. But do you remember that beautiful blue diamond necklace worn by the fictional heroine,  Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet)?  Check out the movie trailer which shows several scenes featuring this necklace.

The Heart of the Ocean diamond necklace, as wo...
Heart of the Ocean by Ben Sutherland via Flickr

The Heart of the Ocean necklace was created specifically for the movie. The London based Asprey and Garrard designed it using a blue cubic zirconia set in white gold.

There really was a blue gemstone necklace on board the Titanic but it was a square cut blue sapphire. It belonged to Kate Florence Phillips. It was a gift from her married lover, Samuel Morley. Both were fleeing to America to begin a new life. This love story is believed to have inspired the movie.

Morley did not survive the sinking.  Placed in a lifeboat, Kate made it with just a nightgown, the necklace, keys and a purse. She bore his child, conceived on the crossing.  Likely due to the shame of being an unwed mother and a husband-stealing one at that, Kate neglected and abused their love-child. She eventually died in an asylum.

Their daughter, Ellen Walker,  lived until she was in her 90's.  After Ellen's death,  her ashes were scattered near the area where her father was lost. Ellen Walker had tried for years but failed to get her father's name put into her birth certificate. For some reason, she sold that necklace years before her death. More of Ellen's story is here.
Much of the jewelry that went down with the Titanic were small items.  However, Lady Duff Gordon (played by Rosalind Ayres in the movie), a noted London fashion designer, had a $50,000 strand of pearls on loan from her jewelers in Venice. It  was placed in the purser's safe which went down with the ship.

English: Lucy Christiana, Lady Duff Gordon
Madam Lucile, Lady Duff Gordon via Wikipedia
Also lost were her emerald and pearl cross earrings shown in her picture below. These were Duff Gordon family heirlooms, a wedding gift from her husband.

Madam Lucile, Lady Duff Gordon

The Sphere (London, 27 April 1912),  p. 72

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (north-east of New York) where I live, is significant in the story of the Titanic.

English: Map marks the route of RMS Titanic du...
Route and location of the Titanic via Wikipedia
Even though Halifax was the nearest major seaport with rail connections, the survivors were taken directly to New York because the captain of the rescue ship, Carpathia, had to turn southwards to avoid the icebergs.

The grim tasks of body recovery and burial were left to Canadian cable ships and the city of Halifax.  150 bodies were buried in various city cemeteries including that of Irishman Joseph Dawson who was a coal trimmer in the ship's boiler room.

Although James Cameron denied Dawson was the inspiration behind the movie hero, Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio), busloads of young female fans nevertheless wore down the path to his gravestone which is simply marked, "J. Dawson". They left flowers, movie ticket stubs and so on there in the aftermath of the blockbuster movie.

One of several permanent collections of Titanic exhibits is located here at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Many of the artifacts were donated or loaned by the descendents of mariners who not only helped recover the bodies but salvaged floating debris as mementos in an old maritime tradition called "wreckwood".

A particularly poignant and moving exhibit at this museum is this pair of toddler's shoes from the body of an unidentified little boy.  Unlike other personal belongings on the recovered bodies, no relative claimed them. They should have been burned along with other unclaimed items in order to deter souvenir hunters. But the police officer in charge was so overcome, he couldn't bring himself to burn the tiny brown leather shoes, so he kept them. Many years later, his grandson donated them to the Maritime Museum.

Titanic Lounge (Picture Source)
Halifax will inundated with visitors this year due to the anniversary. One interesting event is a historic dinner theater production called Titanic :The Fated Voyage .  The tasteful production aims to set the right historic mood for the audience with the first class lounge setting, period songs and music and an authentic menu - the same that was served to the actual passengers on that fateful night. The cast of 8 will play real and fictional characters in the 3-act show.

Before You Go :
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Book Review and Free Tutorials - A Bounty of Bead and Wire Earrings

By on Saturday, February 11, 2012 0 Comments

I absolutely adore making earrings.  There are so many different designs to come up with and what's more, they are fast projects. There is nothing like instant gratification, is there?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Bling Up Your Bathroom and Medicine Cabinet!

By on Friday, February 10, 2012 6 Comments

It's sometimes useful to be a jewelry maker because all the stuff we accumulate for the craft can be used for home decor projects too.   Laura's clever tutorial to label bottles in the bathroom and medicine cabinet is just such a project. What a terrific idea!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Recycle Old Typewriter Keys into Jewelry!

By on Thursday, February 09, 2012 3 Comments

Did you like my past post on how to recycle computer keys into jewelry?  Well, this tutorial feature goes back to pre-high tech days - the keys come from old typewriters! These add considerable vintage charm to jewelry!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

More Wire Name Writing Video Tutorials

By on Wednesday, February 08, 2012 2 Comments

Wire name writing is a super technique to try because the resulting necklace focal is created from one long piece of wire without any soldering!

There are no easy short cuts - practice is required.  You should use thicker and firmer wire to form the letters- do not use soft temper. The harder tempers will keep the shape better as you go along.  Making your letter formations smaller sized will also help. I learned that the hard way as I had a go myself (see link below).

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Eco Skateboard Jewelry by MuKee

By on Tuesday, February 07, 2012 6 Comments

Broken skateboards need not be sent to the dump. Not if Derek Keenan, the artisan behind MuKee on Etsy can help it! He reclaims old skateboards and gives them a new lease of life as jewelry!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Winner of Ezistock's $50 Gift Certificate Giveaway

By on Monday, February 06, 2012 0 Comments

The jewelry from Ezistock featured in last week's giveaway were simply spectacular!  If you haven't already done so, check out their blog too which has some interesting features about Thailand. Who knows?  You might even visit there some day!

How to Make Beaded Bezels for Cabochons

By on Monday, February 06, 2012 5 Comments

Making a beaded bezel for a cabochon is much easier than one created with metal strips as in metal smithing or with wire.  But you got to like working with seed beads!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Ray Gabriel's Gemstones From Around the World

By on Sunday, February 05, 2012 2 Comments

I thank Aparna (Melisma Wirework), who is a wire work artisan I featured before, for this tip on Colorado based Ray Gabriel's gemstone store on Etsy. I can see why she is a fan because there is a wide range of lovely gemstone cabochons available at affordable (wholesale) prices.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Armature Wire and Yarn Cuff Tutorial

By on Saturday, February 04, 2012 3 Comments

Have you ever considered using armature wire for jewelry projects?  It's really just thick wire which is used as a supporting framework just as sculptures use for larger creations.

It is a very useful idea as you can turn to less expensive options such as aluminum.

More Metal Clay Earrings Tutorials

By on Saturday, February 04, 2012 2 Comments

I'm slowly gathering together all the things I need for making metal clay jewelry. So far I've got the clay, a mini- torch, some clay rolling tools and even the fire brick. The last one thanks to my friend Bonnie who picked one up for me from a local brick place.

Friday, February 3, 2012

These Wire Crochet and Bead Bracelets are Easy to Make

By on Friday, February 03, 2012 1 Comments

Single chain and bead wire crochet bracelets are really easy to make even if you have never done crochet before. It's a very forgiving technique although some people may not like the informal look.