Sunday, February 28, 2010

Queen Alexandra's Jewels

By on Sunday, February 28, 2010 9 Comments

Edwardian Beauties
Part 2 of 2
Princess Alexandra of Denmark, known as Alix, was just 16 when she was chosen as the bride for the future Edward VII of the United Kingdom. Queen Victoria (see my past bejeweled biography) was getting desperate as Bertie, as her eldest son and heir was known as, was sowing his wild oats rather too liberally. Indeed she blamed Bertie for the death of her beloved Albert. He therefore had to marry. Quickly.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

How to make Kate Hudson's Cartier inspired sautoir necklace

By on Saturday, February 27, 2010 0 Comments

SAG Awards 2010 - ARRIVALS
Edwardian Beauties
Part 1 of 2
Sometimes it is worth watching the acting award ceremonies for jewelry inspiration. At the 16th Annual SAG Awards recently, Kate Hudson wore a Cartier diamond sautoir down her bare back. Several diamond tassels hung from the pave set diamond ball.

A sautoir (French for chain or long collar) is a long necklace decorated with a pendant and/or tassel. This necklace style was popular during the Edwardian era when King Edward VII was on the throne of Great Britain (1901-1910).

Friday, February 26, 2010

Byzantine chain maille bracelet for a mother

By on Friday, February 26, 2010 4 Comments

Sarah is just 16. She's not into a whole lot of bling. However, she was fascinated with chain maille at her mother's beading party. She rose to the challenge of learning how to do it and completed this bracelet for her mother in an afternoon! Bravo Sarah on two counts. One, you learned the Byzantine weave and two, you wanted it for your mother not yourself.

Olympic 2010 medals were made from recycled computer circuit boards!

By on Friday, February 26, 2010 2 Comments

Did you know the gold, silver and bronze Olympic medals - the ultimate athletic bling - being given out in Vancouver were recycled from electronic waste? I didn't until Crankypants a.k.a. as Carol dropped me a note in my homepage chatbox. Thanks for the nudge!

2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Medals Unveiled in Vancouver

Thursday, February 25, 2010

World's first gem-coated car - 70,000 carats worth!

By on Thursday, February 25, 2010 1 Comments

The Tokyo Auto Salon 2010 has a bedazzling car which is currently making the news. Honda Net Nara showcased a Honda Odyssey covered with 70,000 carats of Kyoto Opal. Not just sparkle but the special paint job has the distinctive color play of opal. Kyoto Opal is a synthetic opal lab-cultured to be the same quartz grain material as natural opal. They combined it with Jewel Paint, a new type of coating technology from Honda Net Nara. All that dazzle for 8 million yen or US$88,000....not counting the car. Check out the video.

Jewelry Tool Organization Ideas and Tutorials

By on Thursday, February 25, 2010 7 Comments

Judging from the response to yesterday's tool certificate giveaway, most people do want more tools. As Crankypants puts it, "Just what I need, more tools! I don't see how you can ever have too many." But when you start to accumulate them, what are you going to do with them all? Worktable space is prime real estate.

Debbie and I have to have portable tool caddies because we make jewelry at home and instruct at our workshops. But tool caddies are more than just a convenient carry case. They organize our tools so we know where they are and that will save us time. There is nothing more unproductive than looking for things.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Evie's Tool Emporium $20 gift certificate giveaway and tutorial links

By on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 112 Comments

I don't have a regular schedule with giveaways but now seems like a good time to have another one! Michelle over at Evie's Tool Emporium on Etsy has kindly offered to do another giveaway.

The last time Michelle did a free tools promotion here was right after I presented my how to use the 3 step wire loop forming pliers tutorial. I had previously bought the tool (shown above) from Michelle's shop and got to know her. She offered two different tools back then. This time, instead of set tools, the winner will get a $20 certificate. It's a great opportunity to try out a new tool and technique.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Melissa Borrell's Pop Out Jewelry Designs

By on Tuesday, February 23, 2010 4 Comments

I really admire artisans who come up with original and innovative jewelry ideas. Melissa Borrell is one such person because she makes pop out jewelry. She actually asked the question "What is jewelry when it is not being worn?" As you can see, her designs do look like line drawings. So when you pop them out, you'll be wearing her drawings!

Monday, February 22, 2010

My wire wrapped pendant necklace in another Etsy Treasury!!

By on Monday, February 22, 2010 4 Comments

I'm very new at the selling side of Etsy with only 3 sales so far. I know it's going to be a long road to get noticed and am prepared to be patient. However, I underestimated the supportive Etsy community. I was delighted this morning to get an email or "convo" as Etsians call it from Courtney over at the Courtneymcornett store  who does amazing drawings. She just included my copper and turquoise necklace on her Treasury volume of Undiscovered Etsians.

How to Make French and Victorian Beaded Wire Flowers Tutorials

By on Monday, February 22, 2010 11 Comments

Bead and wire floral work is an old medieval art form. Its origin is murky but probably started in Germany with the development of steel needles and wire. The technique was popular in Italy with all the bead making there and in France. The French made "immortelles" - funeral wreaths which were placed on grave sites. Perhaps that's why it is known as French beaded wire flowers. Victorian ladies also loved decorating with beaded flowers.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tom Binn's Alice in Wonderland jewelry for Disney Couture

By on Sunday, February 21, 2010 6 Comments

There can only be one Tom Binns. I am clearly a big fan and you can see why if you go to Boutique To You or CreativeContrast.  When I stumbled upon these sites, I discovered his Second collection for Tim Burton's upcoming Alice in Wonderland movie is now available for pre-order. Pre-order!! By golly, they are very sure his jewelry is going to sell like hot cakes.

I don't think they are wrong. I've never been so tempted in my life. The first designs shown here are from his Second Collection. These not expensive pieces - some are under $100. So owning a Tom Binns piece is within reach.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

How to Make Easy Chain Maille Earrings Tutorials

By on Saturday, February 20, 2010 7 Comments

Chain maille is a labor intensive technique so earrings are super to make if you prefer fast projects. If you've never done chain maille before but wish to have a go, some of these tutorials will help you get started. It's useful to know if you like opening and closing rings and working in a 3D environment. Some may help you explore other weaves if you've never done them before.

Megan LaCore on Cut out and keep has this great Rhumba earrings tutorial which you can make using different colored seed beads. This is an easy one for beginners.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Square tile mother of pearl beads make a lovely change

By on Friday, February 19, 2010 3 Comments

I like tile beads. They make a good change from round beads. Sue thought so too at a beading party. So she took up the challenge of using these large mother of pearl tiles in iridescent brown in her jewelry set. She decided to space them out with long cigar shaped black beads. The darker beads certainly helped make the lighter tiles stand out more.

Baby Teeth Memento Jewelry...and What Babies Really Think about It

By on Friday, February 19, 2010 0 Comments

Baby Inspirations
Part 2 of 2
Babies don't remain small and cute forever so some parents like to keep a memento of their children from when they were tiny - lock of baby hair, favorite book or perhaps have their little baby shoes bronzed.

But baby teeth? Jewelry artisan Kim Kovel has cornered that market with her gilded baby teeth jewelry "Le Knockout" collection. Shown on the right is her cluster teeth earrings.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Make a Fabric Pop Bead Toy or Necklace for Little Ones

By on Thursday, February 18, 2010 2 Comments

Baby Inspirations
Part 1 of 2
I have never been a fan of jewelry for young children and I dare say many of you agree with me. Some time ago, I came across a wonderful collection called Chewable Jewelry created by a dentist. Here is another idea from Clare who writes the Green Valley Crafts blog.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Human Ivory Jewelry - Fingernail and Toenail Clippings Sculptures in Resin

By on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 10 Comments

Rachel Betty Case is sculptor and jewelry artisan. But her chosen medium is human ivory which is basically fingernail and toe nails.  She defines her style as "humorous and shocking, yet refined and sophisticated." And highly unusual. She is probably the only fingernail and toenail clipping artisan in the world!

In this interview, she described people's reactions to her art form : "When people found out I made art out of nail clippings and belly button lint some would scream, some would gag, some would stare blankly. Some would laugh and one even told me I was "the most disgusting person on Earth." Every reaction is different and I treasure all of them."

Prong Set Cabochon - a Great New Alternative to Traditional Wiring

By on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 10 Comments

To Prong or Not to Prong
Part 2 of 2
If you check out my past post on how to wire wrap cabochons, you'll see that the final results are much the same with variations mainly in the number of wires and the end flourishes. I'm not very fond of this style of wire-wrapping and tried to come up with a significantly different approach with my copper pendant using just two main wires front and back with informal weavings on the edge.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Floating Gemstones - The Tension Set Ring

By on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 2 Comments

Some of ORRO's contemporary engagement ring designs  take your breathe away. Literally. There are no prongs to hold on to the gems. Therefore you get to see the entire gem which you don't do with regular rings. With very refractive gems like diamonds, that translates to extra sparkles.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sue's Lampwork Beads Giveaway Winner!

By on Monday, February 15, 2010 5 Comments

It's official! Lampwork beads are really popular with readers. When you get an artisan as good as Sue, the comments just kept coming. So many of you left such thoughtful comments which Sue and I greatly appreciate.

The respect many readers have for lamp workers was also evident.  Working with a flame is not for the fainthearted. One key skill which separates the good lampworkers from the so-sos is how evenly sized the beads are. Yep, Sue is not just good, she is awesome!

How to Make Photo Jewelry Tutorials

By on Monday, February 15, 2010 9 Comments

Shrinky Dinks
I like to take pictures especially when on holiday. I'm not a great photographer by any means but taking pictures of whatever catches my fancy is another way to express my creativity.  But they were just languishing on my computer. So I have to admit I did rush off to Michael's as soon as I read this fun tutorial from Photojojo. Finally! A use for all those pictures.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hanging Jewelry Bags to Help You Organize and Find Your Jewelry Easily

By on Sunday, February 14, 2010 8 Comments

This post was inspired by a recent conversation I had with a very good friend over a cup of tea. Or more accurately, a cup of tea AND chocolate brownies!

She was lamenting on how she is so rushed in the morning, she struggles to find the right jewelry to put on. It sounded so familiar because until recently, I was doing what she did - dumping out the zip lock bags from my jewelry baskets and rooting around.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

An eclectic leather cord necklace

By on Saturday, February 13, 2010 3 Comments

I still have the leather and cotton cord fringe necklaces I made when I first came across Dana James' marvelous tutorial. Judi saw it at a beading party and was inspired to have a go at making her own colorful version. As you can see, this design lets you use up all sorts of odd beads!

An Anthropologie Inspired Necklace Tutorial

By on Saturday, February 13, 2010 0 Comments

If you've never visited the Anthropologie online store, do so!! Their necklace selection is just awesome and INSPIRING. This high end retailer, according to Wikipedia, is part of the Urban Outfitters group, catering to professional women with total family incomes of over $200,000.

Well, most of us aren't that lucky to earn that much but you could make your own Anthropologie inspired necklace.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Toothbrush Bangles

By on Friday, February 12, 2010 10 Comments

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you would have noticed I feature some pretty unusual jewelry from time to time. That's to remind all of us the ideas we generate as designers are largely self-imposed limitations. Open your mind, your eyes and look around you for inspiration.

In the case of Jamie Elise of Among the Zinnias on Etsy, she looked no further than in her bathroom. These are her awesome, fun and colorful Firey Night Sky red and blue toothbrush bangles!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

James Cameron's Avatar Movie Inspired Jewelry

By on Thursday, February 11, 2010 4 Comments

Have you seen Avatar, the movie by James "Titanic" Cameron yet? If you haven't do go and watch it in 3D. True, the plot is rather simple - in fact if you read this humorous post, the film synopsis is virtually interchangeable with that of Disney's Pocahontas. But it is a worthy spectacle, a view shared by many. No wonder the film has now outstripped Titanic as the largest grossing movie ever and is set to win some major Academy Awards.

Many people were moved by how the Na'vi - the blue skinned people who inhabit Pandora - live in harmony with nature. Did you also notice the awesome earthy tribal jewelry the Na'vi wore? Both the males and females wore necklaces, arm bands, forehead pieces, bracelets and hair adornments. Well, a number of artisans did and have been inspired to come up with their own versions. Below are some of the movie's inspirational jewelry featuring a range of  techniques.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bring on the Bling! Awesome Swarovski Flower BraceletTutorial

By on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 11 Comments

Tuscon in February has got to be the center of the universe for beadaholics. Imagine a whole city filled with bead shows!  Not all of us can go but one person who did was Kristin St Clair. She participated in the Crystallized Swarovski Elements workshop and learned how to make this utterly gorgeous Secret Garden Bracelet.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Saying I love you with jewelry designs

By on Tuesday, February 09, 2010 2 Comments

One thing Debbie (my friend and co-instructor) and I learned from doing workshops is not everyone is enamored of hearts or the color red. So when Art Beads gave me a chance to look at their Valentine collection of beads and components, I went looking for alternatives. These picks will also be perfect for Mother's Day or special gifts.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sue Beads Lamp work Beads Giveaway

By on Monday, February 08, 2010 43 Comments

Artisans who make lamp work beads have my utter respect. They really help us make beautiful jewelry. So I was thrilled when Sue Beads offered this yummy strand of hand made beads worth $24 retail for today's giveaway. They look good enough to eat!  She calls this design Lily Pond Swirl.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

How to Make Different Kinds of Chain Jewelry

By on Sunday, February 07, 2010 5 Comments

Are you looking for ideas to jazz up your chain work? Sometimes all it takes is to use more than one strand. I just love this gorgeous (and clever) design and tutorial from Ornamentea.

It's called the "How do I love thee bracelet.." - perfect for Valentine's Day. There are red heart charms and numbers for the inspiration came from Elizabeth Barret Browning's famous love poem (#43) among her collection of Sonnets from the Portuguese.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cubic zirconia fan wire wrapped necklace is finally finished!

By on Saturday, February 06, 2010 7 Comments

Remember the tutorial on how to use large bail forming pliers? The design I showed as an example of how to use this great tool was not complete at the time.  I actually didn't have the right sized sterling silver chain on hand. So I couldn't show the finished piece.  Well, here it is finally complete and in my Etsy store!  (This is a Life Collection piece where 100% of net proceeds will go to cancer research).

The All Clasp Necklace Chain

By on Saturday, February 06, 2010 7 Comments

At first glance, this necklace looks like a large link sterling silver chain. Look a little closer and you will see it is made entirely of spring clasps! What a totally cool idea as you can remove chunks to alter the length. There is also no more groping for the clasp to undo the necklace.

Indeed the designer, Ron Gilad calls it the Endless Necklace because there is "no beginning, no end, just closure." The cost is $95.  (Update : link no longer works).

Friday, February 5, 2010

Niobium earrings for hypoallergenic ears!

By on Friday, February 05, 2010 7 Comments

I am sensitive to nickel so shucks, only the good stuff for me - sterling silver and gold. I am lucky as some women are so allergic to metal, they can't even wear those. They are invariably disappointed at not being able to sport earrings....until they come to our workshops. We offer niobium ear wires which really work. Niobium is the metal used in pacemaker devices.

Killer Spiked Cuffs

By on Friday, February 05, 2010 8 Comments

Jewelry is usually for adornment. Jewelry sometimes does double duty - like medic alert bracelets. What about personal protection? Joomi Lim has got wicked spiked cuffs your self defense instructor never told you about. Put these on and the pepper spray in your handbag and you're all set to go down some dark alley. Wait, team it with last year's killer diamond ring and you'll have a formidable pair, plus the spray!

No? Well, they might just enhance your rocker chick look! Or wear it as PMS jewelry. You'll be guaranteed extra personal space! Lots and lots of it.....

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Make Your Own Glass Bubble and Tile Pendants

By on Thursday, February 04, 2010 8 Comments

Making your own glass bubble or tile pendants is really easy. Actually so easy, it is suitable for children. Glue is involved so adult supervision is advisable!

The special glue  - Diamond Glass or DG3 - is non-toxic. It's a fast project but allow for drying time. You can use your own or purchased artwork or a cutout from a photo.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Feast Your Eyes on the Rarely Seen Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond

By on Wednesday, February 03, 2010 2 Comments

If you are headed anywhere near the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History from now until August, there is a treat in store if you care to visit. Exhibited next to the famous Hope diamond,the museum's star gem, is the elusive Wittelsbach-Graff diamond. It's not been seen in public for over 50 years!

Inukshuk Inpired Jewelry Designs

By on Wednesday, February 03, 2010 9 Comments

February Highlights
Part 2 of 2

Canadians are very proud and excited because the 2010 Winter Olympics will be held later this month in Vancouver. Much hope is riding on this Olympics because for some reason, Canadians have never gotten gold medals at the past two Canadian hosted Olympics (Montreal in 1976 and Calgary in 1988).

Victoria, British Columbia

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mending broken hearts : Artisans Who Fund Raise for Causes

By on Tuesday, February 02, 2010 5 Comments

February Highlights
Part 1 of 2
February is not just the month for lovers. February is also Heart Month whereby international Heart Associations/Foundations hold their annual fund raising campaigns. Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the US, Canada, England and Wales. It kills one person every 34 seconds in the US! There is still much to be done to vanquish this killer disease. Remember, medical doctors and research scientists don't work alone. They need our help so that they can find better treatments and possibly cures for many potentially deadly diseases.

Monday, February 1, 2010

How to Make Ribbon Jewelry Tutorials

By on Monday, February 01, 2010 8 Comments

One of the most popular ways to incorporate ribbon into jewelry is to use it like a cord. However, there are other ways. So as if you have loads to spare time, here are some wonderfully inspirational tutorials to get your creativity rarin' to go. This one by Ornamentea uses strips of frayed ribbon (tutorial no longer available). With the right beads, the end result is simply stunning!