Sunday, January 31, 2010

Asymmetrical Necklace Artistry by Stavroula

By on Sunday, January 31, 2010 8 Comments

An asymmetrical necklace needs two types of people. A confident woman who can wear it with style and an artisan like Stavri with an artistic flare to create it in the first place.

Stavri, who is from Nicosia, Cyprus, is the creative genius behind Stavroula's shop on Etsy. Her awesome Silk Necklace (above) is a new collection piece available in different colors. It is made from silk fabric, thread and silver wire and embellished with white rhinestones. It's a clever design because you can adjust the length by sliding the fabric portion along the long silky tassels.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Different Way to Wire a Cabochon

By on Saturday, January 30, 2010 3 Comments

New in my shop is this green turquoise cabochon cord necklace. I remember holding the cabochon in my hand and wondering if I could do something other than the traditional way of wire wrapping these hole-less gemstones. So I decided to place the frame well within the edges of the stone. Just because.

A Lovely Picot Flower Necklace to Crochet

By on Saturday, January 30, 2010 1 Comments

Crochet and knitting have had a huge revival in the last few years. It's no longer the kind of craft you associate with grannies! Not surprisingly, these crafts have crossed over into jewelry making. One example is this outstanding picot crochet flower necklace was created by Brook G on Cut Out and Keep. It suits those who favor casual looks and sure does perk up a plain top or dress.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Creating Double Loops for Beaded Links in Chain Maille Jewelry

By on Friday, January 29, 2010 3 Comments

Carol enjoys chain maille a great deal. At one workshop, she practiced making double loops on both sides of glass beads. It's not as easy on the second side as Carol can attest. However, the effort was worth it as you can see from her beaded Byzantine chain maille bracelet.

Kitty Butt Earrings

By on Friday, January 29, 2010 10 Comments

Many of you already know I own cats - see my cat earrings here. I'm very fond of them but sometimes I have to wonder who owns whom. Think about it - my cats don't have to work and get to sleep all day on many comfy beds. They have a warm home which also comes with restaurant and maid service!

They're independent and yes, even sassy at times. So I chuckled when I saw Out of the Pink Sky on Etsy's cat butt earrings. Shown here are her orange tiger shorthair, black and white, Sushi (her cat) cat butt earrings.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

TUTORIALS : How To Make Your Own Light Tent

By on Thursday, January 28, 2010 6 Comments

I'm actually a natural light photography fan mainly because I don't have the space to have a light tent set-up (before I bought commercial folding photo studios). 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Droplet Elven Earrings have been featured on Inspirational Beading!

By on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 5 Comments

Well, I'll be! Mortira over at the Inspirational Beading blog just picked my Droplet Elven earrings (Life Collection for cancer research) to feature in her Poster Sketch of designs by her favorite Etsy bloggers. It's on the last row, far right.

Taking good pictures of pearls is such a challenge!

By on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 9 Comments

Photographic Inspirations
Part 2 of 3
Jewelry artisans use either natural light or a light tent to take pictures of their work. Stephanie of Crystal Allure Designs and the author of Behind the Designs blog uses a light tent - you can see her set up below. She recently emailed me after searching unsuccessfully on my blog.  She was looking for a way to lighten her pictures of pearls. Light colored pearls are tricky especially on a white background because there isn't enough contrast to make them stand out. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

French Revolution Zoya Jewelry Photo Shoot

By on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 2 Comments

Photographic Inspirations
Part 1 of 3
Many of us sell jewelry online. Those of you who do will agree taking good photographs is loads harder than making the jewelry. "Staging" the jewelry is also necessary to showcase the work. So one way to inspire our efforts is to view jewelry photo shoots by professional photographers and artistic directors.

I've featured some unusual photo shoots from time to time. Today's post appeals to the history buff in me -the French Revolution jewelry photo shoot.

Monday, January 25, 2010

EBook Review : Crunchy Granola Charm

By on Monday, January 25, 2010 1 Comments

With a fun title like Crunchy Granola Charm, I just had to find out more about this new eBook. It is a 25 page project book for 7 very easy beginner necklaces and bracelets. Yvette Doss is the designer and author who loves the music of the 60's and is fascinated by the spirit of the era. So this is her "offering to all the crunchy granola girls out there".

How to Make Bead and Wire Hearts for Jewelry

By on Monday, January 25, 2010 12 Comments

It won't be long now before heart month. Are you going to be making some heart jewelry? Well, I certainly did and had fun playing with my bail forming pliers (check out the tutorial on how to use them if you missed it). There are different ways to make beaded and wire work hearts so here are some tutorials to get your creative juices started.

As always, I shall add to this post any future heart tutorials I come across so do check my hub page Jewelry Making Tips to find it easily again.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bling Beetle : Woman bought LIVE gem encrusted beetle as a brooch

By on Sunday, January 24, 2010 5 Comments

I twittered about this news stories first thing this morning. But I am sufficiently disgusted by it to want to let blog readers know too. A woman bought a LIVE jewel and gold encrusted beetle brooch complete with attached chain in Mexico. She declared it at a Texas customs station upon entry into the US. Officials confiscated the poor thing. The woman was not charged because she had properly declared it as all moving insects (and potential pests) have to be. This screen capture is from the Guardian video.

Disney and Swarovski team up for Alice in Wonderland jewelry collection

By on Sunday, January 24, 2010 4 Comments

Tim Burton's remake of Alice in Wonderland (3D) isn't even out yet - you'll have to wait till March 5. But the merchandising machine has already started. Tom Binns and Stella McCartney have collections. Swarovski have also teamed up with Disney for a separate line.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tutorial : A Pretty Snowflake Pendant to Embroider

By on Saturday, January 23, 2010 4 Comments

I know many of my readers are keen on crafts such as felting and embroidery. So here is a pretty felt pendant tutorial using you can try. We have piles of snow outside as I write which makes this how to timely!

The tutorial is by Resurrection Fern who was inspired by "fresh fallen snow on the deep dark brown earth". She points out you can make it in different colors. She used yarn for the necklace part but you could also use cord or even chain. Or make a pin instead.

Even if you're not into felted pendants, do check out her gorgeously crafted tutorial. Every photo is an artistic creation in itself. She is self-taught and has always crafted. I don't know how she finds the time because she is a busy family physician in a rural community who also does something rare these days - house calls!


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

Book Review : A Bead in Time

By on Saturday, January 23, 2010 5 Comments

Lisa Crone over at the A Bead A Day blog kept me in suspense for weeks. She let me in to her secret about the publication of her first book. Now it is finally out! Aptly named A Bead in Time: 35 Jewelry Projects Inspired by Slices of Life the book is a refreshing take on beading designs.

It highlights her design philosophy of finding inspiration everywhere and from one's life experiences. Her book inspires you to open your eyes and find your muse as you go about your day.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A study in purple jewelry set

By on Friday, January 22, 2010 1 Comments

Virtually all the workshop attendees who make the wire crochet bracelets shown on this blog have never done it before. Most have never even crocheted with yarn before. And yet, as a testament to the ease of this technique, their designs invariably turn out well.

This is Brenda's pretty bracelet with a purple color theme. She did a good job of choosing different beads from sparkly and translucent to dark brown ones with purplish coatings. She finished it with a bar and toggle clasp. New readers may wish to check out my past tutorial post with video on this technique.

A Little Gym (Gem) Humor....

By on Friday, January 22, 2010 8 Comments

Picture Source
One of my new year's resolutions is to get more exercise. But I have to admit, I haven't had much success in keeping it. I think I know why judging from this humorous but uncredited piece I received in my email. Clearly my problem is the lack of the right kind of motivation....

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How to Make a Necklace from Clip on Earrings Tutorial

By on Thursday, January 21, 2010 0 Comments

When I first saw this tutorial, my first thought was "Did Mum get rid of her old clip on earrings?" I remember being allowed to play with her box of costume jewelry when I was little. If she did, I would have a wonderful time coming up with some really pretty necklaces. This clever tutorial is by Gina who writes the doecdoe blog.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Beading Daily's New 6 Free Wire Jewelry Projects to Download

By on Wednesday, January 20, 2010 0 Comments

Calling all budding wire workers! Beading Daily just announced their latest free eBook, 6 Wire Jewelry Projects.

They are all outstanding designs worth playing with. I especially liked the coiling and wrapping work.

If you're not into wire, there are other eBooks covering bead work, stringing as so on.

The Bejewelled State Coach Britannia - a fairytale royal marriage carriage?

By on Wednesday, January 20, 2010 2 Comments

A new State Coach Britannia for the British Royal Family is getting its final finishing touches. Designed and built by master craftsman Jim Frecklington of Australia in 2007, the coach might look very traditional but has many modern innovations like independent hydraulic suspension, electric windows and yes, heating. It is also decorated with 24 diamonds, 130 sapphires and more than 400 books of gold leaf. That's more gold than any other made in Britain for almost 200 years!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Artbeads' $25 Gift Certificate giveaway winner!

By on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 1 Comments

There were quite a number of Art Beads fans as well as people who had not heard about them before. They do have some gorgeous stuff but the other consensus among regular customers is the attraction of smaller but frequent buys. 

Pacing yourself is perhaps the only way to control one's bead addiction! For new readers, you might want to read my past post Diagnosis : Bead Addiction and have a laugh.

Designer Inspired Sparkly Rhinestone Jewelry Tutorials

By on Tuesday, January 19, 2010 4 Comments

Tom Binns has arguably been one of the most inspirational rhinestone jewelry designers. I consider him the king of sparkly statement jewelry.

His signature style not only features rhinestones but sometimes safety pins which harks back to the punk rock era. Shown on the right is one of his pieces.

Not many people can afford to buy his wonderful eclectic creations but a number have gone on to make their own rhinestone statements and have generously wrote up free tutorials.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Floating Gems - Rhinestone Statement Necklaces

By on Monday, January 18, 2010 3 Comments

Rhinestone inspirations
Part 1 of 2

Statement necklaces are all the rage. I can certainly see why - team a large eye-catching necklace with a plain dress and it'll be instant pizazz. So for ultra-glamor, you've got to check out Sparkle Beast Designs on Etsy.

Natalie Smith's bib style necklaces really deliver on color and uniqueness. Her necklaces are designed with huge rhinestones on sheer lightweight netting giving the illusion of floating gems. She also uses ribbons so the overall weight is much reduced than if she had metal connections. For people who are totally metal allergic, her designs are a great alternative.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The PermaFlow Never Clog Drain - Lost Jewelry Retrieval Made Easy

By on Sunday, January 17, 2010 8 Comments

When I was a child, my mother lost her pearl earrings down the bathroom sink drain.

Just think if she had the transparent PermaFLOW Never-Clog Drainshe could not only see if they were still stuck in the pipe, it could also have helped her retrieve them. Pity the patented design wasn't invented back then!

The unit is "engineered to increase turbulence to propel debris and minimize potential build-up." As it is also transparent, you will be able to keep an eye on the state of the drain.

Got a clog? Just turn the integrated wiper and the blockage is gone. No chemicals, no expensive plumbing bills. It fits standard drains and there are adapters for older types. No wonder it is an award winning, environmentally friendly design.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Band Aid Ring With Printed Diamond

By on Saturday, January 16, 2010 1 Comments

Declaring your love in unusual ways
Part 2 of 2

Ah, to be in love but not yet properly engaged. But that shouldn't stop anyone from declaring their love for another. This unusual band aid ring by the French design duo, Ivan Duval and Jean Sebastien Ides of ATYPTK features a printed diamond! It's cheeky and it's fun!

Propose with a $106,794 diamond cupcake

By on Saturday, January 16, 2010 2 Comments

Declaring your love in unusual ways
Part 1 of  2
Soon, it will be that time of year again when boyfriends pluck up the courage to propose to their girlfriends. Many will choose to propose over dessert at a special restaurant date - a sweet proposition that would be hard to resist when one has just been wined and dined! The family owned diamond retailer, took that inspiration and came up with novel idea of selling a $106,794 diamond engagement cupcake for a truly memorable proposal.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Cadmium in Children's Jewelry from China is Worse than Lead

By on Friday, January 15, 2010 11 Comments

Many of you may have already seen lots of articles about the investigative Associated Press report on the shocking amount of cadmium in cheap Chinese made jewelry sold in places like Walmart, Claire's and a dollar store.

Picture source

Cadmium is a naturally occurring heavy metal which is highly toxic - it's worse than lead in many ways. It is carcinogenic and causes serious damage to the kidneys and liver in particular. It accumulates in the body which could build up to really toxic levels. It's just plain nasty. Like lead, there are deleterious effects on young children who swallow or put jewelry in their mouths. They are at risk for learning disabilities and permanent IQ loss.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Black Hair Roller Necklace Tutorial and Mustache Comb Necklace

By on Thursday, January 14, 2010 3 Comments

Yes, you read right. This necklace is really made from hair rollers. You know, the kind you use to curl your hair. I must admit I had to look at the tutorial to make sure it was really what I thought it was.  The tutorial is by PS I Made It.

The necklace uses plastic rollers which are cut up for the shorter tubes, ribbon and chain. I must say the black looks sharp although there are other colors. The designer recommends spraying with Krylon paint if you are dead set on black and can't find any in that color.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Awesome Sculptured Art Jewelry

By on Wednesday, January 13, 2010 2 Comments

Some artisans are so good, their work are like art sculptures. Here are two recent discoveries who I admire for their creativity and their wearable art.

Eninaj on Etsy
Her shop name is actually her name spelt backwards! Janine is now Israeli based but she has spent her life in other countries and learned many languages. She was born in Uruguay and lived in Switzerland and Panama. Living in so many different places with different cultures has made her highly curious and in my mind, a supremely creative individual. Shown above is her unique take on the Circle of Life pendant theme.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Artbeads' $25 Gift Certificate giveaway and $1000 Sweepstakes

By on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 30 Comments

Ah, January is a tough month when all the December indulgences come home to roost and the wintry doldrums sets in. Spring seems so far away. Need a bead fix to perk you up?  Well, here is a double treat from

Monday, January 11, 2010

How to Use the Bail Forming Pliers Tutorials

By on Monday, January 11, 2010 12 Comments

There are many tools you can use to coil wire and make consistent sized loops. The bail forming pliers is yet another option which can help you make connectors, clasps, ear wires and jump rings.

I bought the large sized bail forming pliers because I already had other tools like the 3 step loop forming pliers and wanted to avoid duplication. It makes two different sizes of rings - 9 mm and 7 mm.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Entire Universe on Your Finger

By on Sunday, January 10, 2010 8 Comments

See this ring? It's simply made, highly polished and appears to be almost perfect but for one small speck of dust or a flaw in the metal. Look carefully and you will see what I mean.

When magnified, this speck is not an imperfection at all but a model of the known universe cleverly inserted into the ring itself.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Earring designs launch a new hobby

By on Saturday, January 09, 2010 4 Comments

Rita was keen to try her hand with a new hobby. She said she had always wanted to learn to make her own jewelry. So to start off, she decided to make a couple of earrings. Her first pair was actually a recycled piece. She brought to a workshop some jewelry she didn't like. She first dismantled it and then redesigned a new pair using some of the pieces hanging from gold tone chandelier findings. Matching irregular nugget beads were hung in front.

Eye Lash Bling - Peeper Glamour

By on Saturday, January 09, 2010 3 Comments

Who wouldn't want long eyelashes? Given all the hype about eyelash grow serums and plenty of mascara products, many do. But for serious attention to your eyes, nothing beats eyelash bling for your peepers! The false eyelashes from Shu Uemura's 2009 Tokyo Lash Bar collection are pure glam. Inspired by nature, the premier collection was designed by their top international artistic directors. Shown below is the Goldglam Leaf by Kakuyasu Uchide made from gold gilded real leaf skeletons adorned with clear crystals.

Friday, January 8, 2010

How to Make a Beaded Steampunk Bracelet Tutorial

By on Friday, January 08, 2010 6 Comments

Steampunk Inspirations
Part 2 of 2

Watch parts are often used in steampunk jewelry. One of the easiest ways to make a steampunk ring is to mount watch movements on a ring base. Check out my past post for the steampunk ring tutorial and a bit more information about steampunk if you are still uncertain what it is.

However, if you are up to some fun beadwork, try this beautiful beaded steampunk bracelet tutorial (UPDATE :no longer available) to make the Continuum Bracelet. You will need a number of old watch movements which you can purchase on eBay etc. The technique is the same as for beaded cabochons. (Update : this style is called beadpunk - beadwork + steampunk)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Catherinette Rings - Steampunk Mastery

By on Thursday, January 07, 2010 8 Comments

Steampunk Inspirations
Part 1 of 2

Steampunk is an increasing popular design trend - not just jewelry, but the whole look - Victorian style clothing with accessories worthy of a Jules Verne or HG Wells movie. That retro technology style is highly distinctive. One master artisan has to be Daniel Proulx, the steampunk designer behind Catherinette Rings on Etsy. When I first stumbled on his rings, my jaw dropped. These are truly art pieces. Shown on the right is his ring with a Swarovski Volcano focal.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pretty in pink jewelry set

By on Wednesday, January 06, 2010 3 Comments

Pam had a really productive afternoon at a workshop not too long ago. Her pink themed jewelry set started out as just the necklace. She had spotted this beautiful mother of pearl mosaic pendant and liked it so much she designed the necklace to go with it. I like how she used the pale blue and white beads with some metallic accents to contrast with the pink pendant. She also chose to string the pendant in-line rather than hang it vertically.

Poll - Do you make jewelry for fun or profit ?

By on Wednesday, January 06, 2010 4 Comments

Some of you may already have encountered the NYTimes article on how some Etsians are making six figure incomes from their hobbies. (Hat tip to Leslie at the Bei Mondi blog for bringing it to my attention.) The article interviews a couple of Etsians who have been so successful their businesses have taken over their lives and prompting them to enlist help.

On one hand, it seems like a dream come true if you could work at home especially if you have a young family, and be your own boss. But is it really a viable alternative?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Great Recession Inspired Jewelry by Kali Arulpragasam

By on Tuesday, January 05, 2010 2 Comments

2009 has been a long and hard year for many. With the dawn of the new year, we can but hope we will truly see the back end of the Great Recession. However, even the gloomiest of situations served as a muse to one artisan. Sri Lankan born, now London based Kali Arulpragasam created her unique CRA$H jewelry collection for 2010.

Pie charts and dipping graphs highlight her recession inspired necklaces. She regards jewelry as a very powerful medium. She said, "You can use it to speak the truth about the banking bail outs and pensioners losing their life savings."

Monday, January 4, 2010

Blog highlights - Funny and strange things people search for on Google

By on Monday, January 04, 2010 15 Comments

Today is my 3rd blogging anniversary. It's hard to believe I've written 1222 posts in that time! I couldn't have done it without all of you. So a big THANK YOU for making 2009 especially a terrific blogging year.

The top post last year which generated thousands of hits and dozens of tweets was JewelEye piercing - bling for your cornea (actually the sclera, not cornea) - which is surgically implanted jewelry. The Japanese marital countdown bra stops with an engagement ring post also garnered plenty of attention.

So to celebrate, I am going to share with you some of my favorites from Google Analytics - the search terms people used which brought them to my blog over the past year. Some are funny, some are weird and kinky and some are just plain sad.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Queen Victoria's Jewels

By on Sunday, January 03, 2010 4 Comments

The Young VictoriaI'm a sucker for historical biopics as most of you already suspect. For anglophiles like me, a wonderful treat is at hand - a new historical and romantic biopic, the Young Queen Victoria currently in limited release in North America.

Watch the trailer and see a little of why Debbie (my friend and co-instructor) and I enjoyed the movie - authentic sets including Westminster Abbey, jewelry, period costumes and excellent acting. BTW, the Duchess of York was a producer. Princess Beatrice had a small role as one of the ladies in the coronation procession early in the film.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

How to Make Paper Beads and Jewelry Tutorials

By on Saturday, January 02, 2010 4 Comments

Paper Jewelry Part 3 of 3
Traditional roll paper beads
The most popular way of making paper beads is by rolling a long triangle strip of paper. However, even though the basic technique is easy, there are many ways to personalize the beads. Check out the tutorials below.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Amazing Recycled Paper Jewelry

By on Friday, January 01, 2010 17 Comments

Paper Jewelry
Part 2 of 3
Upcycled. Recycled. Repurposed. Eco. Whatever you choose to call it, environmentally friendly jewelry is not only cool but helps reduce the waste going to landfills especially paper. We were supposed to use less paper in the digital age but the amount we consume has instead quadrupled! So I'd like to pay homage to these amazing paper jewelry artisans who not only do their part in recycling but manage to put the wow back into yesterday's news.