Friday, July 31, 2009

Beads and Jewelry Findings as Dollhouse Accessories

By on Friday, July 31, 2009 8 Comments

What I did for my summer holiday
Part 1 of 3

We had a great time visiting friends and family in England last month. One highlight of the trip was a visit to cousin Barbara in London.

She is a dollhouse designer and interior decorator who does amazing work. I remember staring at her tiny 1/12 scale slice of kiwi fruit made with Fimo clay and marveled at her skill in making it so tiny and yet look realistic.

She definitely has a creative eye as she uses rather familiar items to make some of her dollhouse accessories! If you know little girls or even not so little girls who have doll houses, you could make them some little gifts from your stash.

As you can see from the photos, in Barbara's hands, beads, crystals and metal rondelles, even bails become exquisite perfume bottles sometimes complete with trays. The trays are pendant findings.

The picture below left shows a goblet on the left made by gluing two bead caps together. The filigree "cake stand" as well as the vase at the back should remind you of certain items too! Note the globe lamp at the back. See the cube beads topped with clear beads in the picture on the bottom right? These are miniature liquor decanters in equally tiny wooden tantalas. Tantalas are old fashioned, now antique, lockable liquor holders to stop the servants from imbibing!

Barbara also had a wonderful collection of cloisonne beads some of which she will turn into luxury dollhouse vases. She now wants me to teach her how to make jewelry since she has a lot of supplies already on hand. It's a promise, Barbara!
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

Thursday, July 30, 2009

How To Make Leather Jewelry Tutorials

By on Thursday, July 30, 2009 21 Comments

Leather Jewelry
Part 2 of 2

A couple of my friends from our group of the Bead Sisterhood recently opened up a booth at a new local weekend market in order to sell our jewelry. Cindy asked if I had any jewelry for men as I once mentioned I wanted to do some. That's because on the very first weekend, at least one man inquired.

More and more men are wearing jewelry these days. But their tastes are different so it's a whole new category of jewelry styles to design. I think it is a good idea to make unisex leather jewelry to please men as well as women who don't like bling.

I've seen some double wrap leather bracelets before where the jewelry goes twice round the wrist. These make a good style for flat narrow strips of leather as they look more substantial. The bracelet (above left) has been decorated with some wire wrapped carnelian cubes for a studded look. Just remember to flatten the wire end so it bites into the leather and not poke the wearer. I've kept the look simple but varying the gemstones shapes and types would be a lot of fun to do too. You could also simply braid flat or round leather strips.

Finishing the ends is the tricky part. There are different kinds of cord ends you can use. Check this tutorial on how to use the fold over kind. I used ribbon cord ends for two flat strips side by side because the teeth on the findings will bite down and hold better. I also added glue just in case.

I didn't have ribbon cord ends wide enough for three strips so I tightly wound some wire over them with some scrap wire (not too much). Then using enameled copper in a dark bronze color, I coiled it around a knitting needle to create my own custom coiled wire ends (see my past tutorial). The scrap wire wrapped end was then inserted inside the coil ends with a dab of glue. It should be a snug fit. Remember to squeeze down the last coil.

Here are more great tutorials to inspire and instruct. Let the creative juices flow!


1. Beaded Leather Wrap Bracelet by Trish is a super tutorial to create your own version of this style of bracelets which cost dearly to buy. I like this one because I would never have thought to wrap beads to leather with Nymo thread ! The bead and loop closure technique is simple to do. The button goes through the gap between two knots. The knots should be glued for extra security.

Add more rows or even crystals if you like to make it for women and you've got the makings of a stunning and unique design.

2. Leather Chain Necklace by fellow Canadian Brit McMaster features cut out leather links - simple yet awesome! There is a fair amount cutting so patience is required. You can always shrink the template so that the links to be smaller and the necklace not as long as she has done. I would probably use large jump rings to secure the necklace to clasps if I were making this shorter. A bracelet will work too!

3. Leather Bracelets from Recycled Belts This tutorial is from which shows you how to make the most macho of bracelets. It's green too because these are made by recycling old leather belts.

You basically size the band allowing for an overlap section and attach snap fasteners. The instructor etched a design on the leather band (he also suggests leather stamping) but if you have already decorated belts, you can omit this step.

4. This woven macrame-style leather woven bracelet tutorial was written by Mette over at her blog, Erleperle. It is easy to do with good instructions on how to do the ends. Individualize each bracelet with different buttons.

More Leather Tutorials 

Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Recycled Leather Jewelry

By on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 2 Comments

Leather Jewelry
Part 1 of 2

It seems such a waste to throw old leather or even leather scraps away. So this post is not just about the creative artisans who upcycle the material but who also make it super attractive for women to wear as jewelry. There are so many talented artisans out there who are able to come up with green designs. Here are some of my favorites.

First up is Jonquiljuice on Etsy with her feminine red leather flower choker. I love how she carefully layers the flower shapes and completes designs with metal and focal components.

Her brown leather ring is another example of how it is possible to make what is really just old leather into something so pretty. A creative genius!

Vietto's shop on Etsy showcases this leather lace necklace made from an old leather jacket. The holes were cut free-hand ie without a pattern. A truly unique piece! This Finnish designer makes all sorts of craft items.

OnceAgainSam on Etsy also goes with the layered look for earrings, playing with geometric shapes like her colorful number here.

Her reversible leather studded bracelet is certainly clever too! She is an interior designer who collects and repurposes old leather upholstery samples and other such material which would have gone to the city dump otherwise.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Custom Hair Comb Jewelry

By on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 10 Comments

When Lynda asked if she could do some hair comb jewelry at a past workshop, Debbie thought she meant wiring hair combs. But no, Lynda wanted to do a custom double hair comb set similar to what she had seen on a tv ad.

Well, that still drew blank looks from Debbie and I. We have since learned the product she saw is called EZ comb. This Youtube video of the actual commercial shows the product and how it works. The combs are attached with beaded elastic. Basically you insert the comb on one side and then secure the other side.

It's a wonderful look for when you want to dress up. It also works on days when you just want to get your hair out of your face. It's an alternative to head bands, clips and the good old pony tail style.

Lynda wanted it bigger with beads of her own choosing so she set out to design her very own version. As you can see above, the elastic threads are still faintly visible as they hadn't been trimmed yet. Debbie and Lynda were waiting for the glue on the knots to dry when I took this picture.

Don't you think a similar design in white and creams will look just lovely on any bride who is not into veils?

Beader Design #: 545 ______________________________ Original Post by THE BEADING GEM Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

Monday, July 27, 2009

Bead and Save's Lamp Work Beads Giveaway

By on Monday, July 27, 2009 59 Comments

Aren't these lampwork beads gorgeous? These beads are the very first giveaway prize. Just leave a comment - click on the word Comments at the bottom right of the post. If you are an email subscriber and having trouble, click on the post title first to return to the blog, then click on the word comments at the bottom.

Don't forget to tell your friends about the giveaway! (Click on the post title and then copy the URL at the top or use the Email/envelope icon at the bottom of the post).

The contest closes at midnight EST on Monday, August 3. I will pick a winner using and announce it as soon as possible after that.

If you are shy about putting down your name publicly, pseudonames are okay too - yes, I am talking to you Crankypants! Do NOT put your email address in the comment body. If you do win, email me directly to claim your prize otherwise, I will have to pick another entry. The Giveaways link at the top of my blog homepage is where I will post all contest info and winner lists. Please consider subscribing (it's free) so you don't miss any result announcement or the next contest.

Today's prize was generously contributed by Bead and Save, an online store based in Montreal, Canada - they also have an ad on the right sidebar of my blog. Bead and Save is the growing concern of two sisters, Gail and Karen who started their store because "We adore everything about beads and decided after much thought to finally do what we love." They have a lovely range of beads at great prices for they really do want you to bead and save. Of special note are their lamp work beads and Pandora style collection which enables you to build a bracelet very easily. I know because I just bought some lampwork beads for my workshops!

Gail and Karen also have a great sense of humor which is evident in their newish blog. They described their blog "Love to Bead, love to bitch" as one which chronicles "how they came to have an online store and the trials and tribulations of trying to succeed in business during a recession"! The best of luck to them....and you!

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Giveaways and Promotions

By on Sunday, July 26, 2009 24 Comments

As with any habit, the problem with bead addictions is the need to keep feeding it. So I have decided to try out a giveaway program on this blog where readers like you get a chance to win some free fantastic beads etc from participating beading supply stores. Beadaholicism is not something you want to recover from, right?

Most of us love giveaways (sweepstakes). Last month, there were long line-ups in Tokyo when the French jewelry store Maubossin gave away 0.1 carat diamonds worth about $50 each as a promotion. They also offered to make a ring or pendant for the diamond which will cost around $500! There will be no such catch with bead giveaways as you can make your own jewelry!

Here's what you have to do. Look out for giveaway posts - the first one will be real soon - and leave a comment which entitles you to one entry. At the end of a week, I will pick a winner using I'm just winging this as I go along so there is no set period when these giveaways will occur. Please subscribe so you don't miss a post!

If you are an online store owner and wish to participate or purchase ad space, please contact me for further information.


    Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
    Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

    Rose Quartz Chain Maille Necklace

    By on Sunday, July 26, 2009 3 Comments

    Sabrina was inspired by a chain maille pattern she saw on the internet called the butterfly chain. So she gave it a go on her own and came up with her take with this delightful necklace. I particularly like the linking section with its little accent rose quartz bead. That and the oval connectors really add to this design's character. It definitely has a medieval flair!

    Note that Sabrina also recycled the large rose quartz donut from an old necklace of hers and wired it up.

    Beader Design #: 544

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    Saturday, July 25, 2009

    Creating diamonds from Michael Jackson's hair

    By on Saturday, July 25, 2009 3 Comments

    Michael Jackson 1958-2009

    The media storm that followed the King of Pop's demise last month has been intense and unremitting. The many tributes from his fans include Michael Jackson jewelry. But did you know they are going to create diamonds from his hair?

    The Australian news agency just reported that LifeGems, a company which offers lab manufactured diamonds from hair or from ashes after cremation plans to make a limited edition series of Michael Jackson diamonds. The company has unique technology which replicates what Mother Nature does to basic carbon and turns it into high quality gemstones in a fraction of the time.

    Dean Van den Biesen, the founder of LifeGems said probably 10 diamonds will be created from hair Jackson burned during the filming of a Pepsi commercial back in 1984. Update - a former friend of Jackson who threw his jacket over Jackson's head during that incident, saved the hair and later auctioned it. No sale price has been set but given Michael Jackson's iconic fame it is likely going to be more than the $200,000 paid in 2007 for one of the diamonds Life Gems created from Beethoven's hair.

    It's too early to say what the company will do with the Michael Jackson diamonds. However the company has started a program called Celebrity LifeGems where interested celebrities (and there have been a number) offer their hair to be made into diamonds which are then auctioned to benefit their favorite charities. The Beethoven LifeGems are being auctioned to raise money to create memorial diamonds of loved ones for those who can't afford it and for military families.

    Shown below are some of the lovely jewelry made with LifeGem diamonds.

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    Friday, July 24, 2009

    Math Inspired Jewelry - Marc Newson's Fractal Necklace

    By on Friday, July 24, 2009 4 Comments

    Mathematical Jewelry
    Part 2 of 2

    I never cease to be amazed by the sources of inspiration jewelry designers come up with. Marc Newson created this drop dead gorgeous one of a kind diamond and sapphire design for Boucheron, the luxury jeweler. This is pave jewelry at its finest - 2,000 stones which took the craftspeople 1,500 hours to complete.

    He is obsessed with fractals - these are geometric shapes which incorporate smaller and identical copies of the main shape in the pattern. He was specifically inspired by the Julia set, a fractal whose formula was created by the French mathematician Gaston Julia (1893-1978).

    I can't even begin to understand the math behind fractals but they are really lovely to behold when rendered in a way we can all appreciate. Indeed it is easy to see why fractals have inspired other artists too. You can see more fractal pictures here and here and perhaps be inspired yourself.

    Below is a Julia set fractal which probably inspired Newson.


    Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
    Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

    Thursday, July 23, 2009

    A Bracelet To Help You Count and Stay Healthy

    By on Thursday, July 23, 2009 5 Comments

    Mathematical Jewelry
    Part 1 of 2
    Many of us want to lose some weight, eat more healthy servings and drink more glasses of water. The trouble is often we are doomed to fail because we can't remember what we ate or drank ... or in my case, just how many M&Ms I scoffed when I shouldn't!!

    So Count Me Healthy Jewelry does just that - the handcrafted sterling silver bracelet reminds you of your goals by keeping count for you. Discretely.

    The beads are moved one at a time from one side to the other. A patented jump ring system sits in the middle of the bracelet which prevents the beads from sliding back unless actioned by you. At the end of the day, you will see if you've met your daily goal.

    The bracelet is self-sizing. Chelsea Gossett, the designer, even came up with fun gift packages in different colors - one for the Golf Goddess to remember her golf game, Mommy and Me to monitor fetal kicks perhaps and Happy and Blessed to count kind deeds, the days and weeks when a loved one comes home - the possibilities are endless.

    Now should it be 1 M&M per bead? Hmm, may be 2. No, wait...5...

    Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
    Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

    Wednesday, July 22, 2009

    Eye Shadow Bling and Pave Style Jewelry

    By on Wednesday, July 22, 2009 6 Comments

    Milanese photographer Paco Serinelli's "Vicky Vicious 2008" photo shoot shows a model made up with tiny gemstones as eye shadow highlighter. It makes for an over the top look but if you like to vamp out, this is surely the way.

    The placement of gemstones reminded me of pave jewelry where small diamonds are set closely so no metal shows. The word pave is French for pavement because the resulting surface looks like it's been paved with gemstones. This technique is time-consuming because many tapered holes have to be drilled into the metal. The gemstones are then secured with the tiny beads which form in the surrounding metal.

    You can certainly try an easier technique with Ferido's specialty resin glue and findings from Fire Mountain Gems.
    Just glue on tiny foiled flat backed crystals such as the Swarovski Xilion Chatons or mini gemstone chips in whatever color patterns you desire. The findings such as rings come with built in channels and "orange peel" textures for greater adhesion. 

    The resin clay like material can be shaped during processing to form say the surrounding frame of a cabochon or allow you to embed crystals in them before drying. The product comes in many colors for all kinds of design possibilites. For full instructions and inspirational designs, check the Ferido website.

    You might also like to check out Apoxie® Sculpt, a non-toxic moldable 2 part epoxy resin adhesive from Aves Products. It is also available from Fire Moutain Gems.

    For more tutorials check out my Jewelry Making Tips

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