Thursday, July 2, 2015

Lets Discuss Bead Storage

As a longtime beader, the one thing that seems to elude me is the "perfect" storage for all my beads. I have discovered there is no such thing, because if you have as big a variety of beads, findings, charms and chain as I do, there is no once size fits all. Today I'd like to talk about what I've found to be nearly perfect for seed beads, and that is this great plastic storage box at Harbor Freight.
I love these storage boxes and the small boxes inside are fantastic for my seed beads and will hold up to 25 grams of most seed beads. The larger box comes with 24 smaller boxes and I love the flip top closure they have. Once in a while you will find a box that doesn't close super tight and if you put your 15/0 beads in one that doesn't close like it should, you could lose some if you turn them upside down . I have found that most close just fine so unless you use all 15/0 you should be fine.

Harbor Freight is an awesome place to pick up odds and ends items, I even found a jewelry hammer and anvil there! I love to browse their stores because you just never know what you'll find. I've not ordered from their website as of yet, so I cannot speak for that, but I've shopped in store a lot and it's always been a pleasant experience.

This storage system may not be for everyone, but at $4.99 each, the price is definitely right.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wire-worked Drop Earrings with Lampwork Glass Beads

These are some earrings I created this spring using some lovely lampwork glass beads and stainless steel leverback earwires and glass or gemstone accent beads. These are cute, not too long earrings that are fun to make and even more fun to wear! I'm working on some design ideas to incorporate lampwork beads into some of the beaded earring patterns I've seen. I'll post those as soon as I get them perfected! But until then, enjoy these little beauties!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Lattice Bracelet - Fusion Beads Tutorial

Following tutorials is a new idea to me. When I was only designing and creating wire-worked jewelry I just laid out my beads, grabbed my wire and tools and created! Bead weaving does not come so naturally to me so tutorials have been helping me learn how to group different beads together and to learn the different bead weaving techniques.

One of my favorite bead stores is Fusion Beads, and along with a great selection of beading materials they also offer free tutorials and patterns. Recently I was looking for something to try I found this tutorial for Pastel Lattice Bracelet.  It is labeled "intermediate" but be forewarned the instructions are only text, no diagrams, illustrations, pictures or video!

I had a little trouble at the very beginning, but I studied the picture of the finished bracelet very closely and after a few stumbles I got it with no more problems. The wording is a bit tricky as well. It tells you to "String these beads in the following sequence: 1 – D 1 – B 1 – C 1 – B" at the very beginning and then says "Repeat the sequence three times.", what they should have said was "Repeat the sequence A TOTAL OF FOUR TIMES", or "Repeat the sequence three MORE times", it would have been much more clear. They word things that same way throughout the project, but after the beginning gave me grief I just knew what they meant.

The bracelet is beautiful, a little larger than I'm used to wearing, but it's very pretty. For mine, I did it in all purple and hot pink beads and I used two toggle clasps instead of the tube bar clasp. If I make another one I will get two nice magnetic clasps or a couple of buttons.

Here is how mine turned out:

This was a fun project once I got past the beginning and the confusing wording, but I would definitely do it again. Be sure to check out Fusion Beads, they have great sales and often send coupons in your order, and free gifts too!

Monday, June 29, 2015

EUREKA! Eureka Crystal Beads

The only thing I like as much, maybe even more, than creating jewelry is receiving my bead orders! Recently I got an order from Eureka Crystal Beads and I am very pleased! I happened to have a little more extra money this month and was able to stock up on quite a few beads I've been wanting and I had just found Eureka Crystal Beads.  They have good prices and a good variety of Toho seed beads. I've been having trouble finding one of my favorite color varieties in more than just one or two sizes and they had ALL sizes including small cubes and bugles!! I'm elated! They are in Rhode Island and being on the same side of the country as me is a bonus! I placed my order and got it three days later! They provide free shipping over $35.00 and they are super nice. I highly recommend checking them out!


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Gina's Gem Creations Earring Tutorial and Earrings

I love to browse YouTube searching for bead weaving tutorials. I actually stumbled upon the first one by mistake! I was trying my hand at Kumihimo (which I really do enjoy and plan on talking about at some point), and seen a gorgeous pair of earrings tutorial that was listed on the side of the YouTube page, it was Sidonia's Handmade Jewelry Oriental Earrings. I ordered everything I needed to make these gorgeous earrings and even though my first effort was so so, I didn't give up!! I will be showcasing her designs when I redo those earrings, because her "style" is the style I LOVE!

So while browsing one day I stumbled upon Gina's Gem Creations and watched several of her videos. I decided to make her Lucky Diamond Earrings. I had everything I needed to make them, so I decided to give it a go. Now, the picture of them in her video does not show the real beauty of them. Here is the first pair I made.

While I was making the pair that the tutorial taught I was thinking the whole time of two other ways I could make these. The designer in me always wants to add, subtract or just tweak anything, even my own designs are in a constant state of change!

Here is the first pair of the "tweaked" Lucky Diamond earrings by Gina's Gem Creations.

These turned out pretty good, but I wish I had used white Fireline instead of the smoke. That is one of the pitfalls of being inexperienced. With each piece I create I learn a little bit more! Overall I'm pleased with these. 

Here is a close up showing the embellishments I added to the original design. I used some generic Montees (I bought these by accident when shopping for nail embellishments!). They are not as nice as the Czech Montees, but they're OK for some designs. The briolette drop is Chinese crystal, and I like the added dimension it added to the design.

And here is the second tweaked pair I made.

These are my favorite. They are three small diamonds attached by a single bead to the back of the diamond that precedes it. They are a bit longer than the originals, but I have VERY long hair and long earrings don't get quite so lost!

One of these days I hope to work up the nerve to try doing tutorials. When that day comes I will make tutorials of these earrings that I tweaked. I hope you enjoy these and if anyone is interested in how I accomplished the tweaking I will attempt to explain it!