Monday, May 2, 2016

DIY Jewelry-making kits


Pictured here are just a handful of the DIY jewelry-making kits the Cousin Ambassadors learned about during our recent trip to Cousin Corporation Headquarters in Largo, Florida.

We were privileged to meet and have a brainstorming session with the person on staff whose primary role is to develop ideas, create samples and pitch jewelry-making kits to craft stores. HOW FUN!

While it sounds like the best job ever, it would really take a lot of focus to stay on track and keep moving forward. We not only saw the huge wall of existing products, we also saw the wall of kits that didn't make it to the stores.

As with any industry, finding the key to what moves customers at any given time is the magic bullet.

These are the kits that moved ME in that moment and found their way into my return luggage. :)


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Celebrating a giant box of beads!

Thank you Cousin Corporation! 


Receiving a giant shipping box full of beads this week was so AWESOME! Yay!

On the last day of our Cousin Ambassador Retreat last week, the agenda read, “shopping in the bead warehouse.” 

For ten whole minutes we had a chance to pick anything from a LONG wall of beads in the Cousin Corporation warehouse. 

I love a good reality TV show and this had all the perfect makings! The entire time all I could think was, "wow, I am so lucky!!"

Fortunately, the ambassadors had all week to bond and the fact we were climbing all over each other in the most mannerly way possible was no big deal. J

Today I had a chance to sort through and pick out a few faves. I'd love to hear your thoughts as I go through the box and share.

This is going to take a while!

So, once again, thank you Cousin Corporation!

I’m so happy to be continuing on as an Ambassador this year.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Memory Wire Obsession!


Once again when pressed for time to make jewelry for myself, I turn to memory wire. It's so fun, quick and easy to come up with something new. As I was preparing for my trip back to Clearwater to spend time with the Cousin Corporation and the other five ambassadors, I realized I needed some new jewelry to wear.


I don't usually stick with one strand, but thought it would be fun to use these larger sparkly mirror beads and mix in a bunch of little dangles. It's like a fun jingly little party for your wrist!

All the movement makes it really fun to wear!

I made this one in the hotel room early one morning before our busy day at Cousin Corp using the furry little beads I had found at Walmart. The blue "feather" dangle was the icing on the cake! :)

Funny how using the same kind of wire can produce such different looks! LOVE that memory wire! :)

This weekend I'll share a little more about our whirlwind bead retreat. I had to take a few days to process all of the wonderful things that happened last week.

Well, no more procrastinating, I better get the show on the road! :)

Happy Friday!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Bracelet made in Clearwater, Florida! - Memories of spring break...

I'm already pining away for the warmth and palm trees we were surrounded by during spring break in Clearwater.

Our goals were to visit with family and then basically relax and have fun! I always bring beads and tools in my checked bag even though it comes close to meeting the weight limit! It's a must!

I can have fun just looking and beads and trying things out, even if I don't actually end up with many completed projects.

Back in February I had found this Cousin Corp. stretchy cord at our local Walmart and decided to use it in a few projects I was making for them.

I was sad that I had to mail them in and hadn't taken the time to make anything for myself. Well, I brought the leftovers and was thrilled when I discovered I had these great peace sign beads that went perfectly!

This stretchy cord is VERY forgiving and easy to use. The ends cut nicely and don't fray. I just knotted the cord around the jump rings on either side of the peace sign and added a few dangles. It just feels like Florida to me.

AND, thanks to Cousin Corp. I'll be taking another trip back to Clearwater next week! More to come on that soon!!

In the meantime, if you're looking for stretchy cord inspiration, here are the other pieces I made for Cousin back in February inspired by my desire for a beachy vacation!

These beachy stretchy knotted bracelets were SO EASY to make! I just cut the cord, knotted the ends and added a dangle.


These bracelets each have a strand of beads sewn right on!


And, here's a simple and fun stretchy necklace:



ENJOY! If you created new jewelry pieces on your recent vacation, please SHARE!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Happy Mother's Day necklace, earrings & more!


It’s springy, it’s girly, it’s the new Mother’s Day collection of jewelry making beads and findings! The first word out of my mouth when I received the pieces below was “awww!”
  

I just LOVE the flower pendants. They’re really special and worth seeking out if you have a nearby Walmart

In fact, I’m going to be grabbing a few more of these pendants for myself and using them to embellish other things, like a new cell phone case, but that’s a story for another day! :)
After deciding which one to use on a necklace, I wondered what I could do with the FABULOUSLY 3-D white flower pendant.  I went immediately to “craft project!”
  
In fact, once I decided I could make a necklace for this cute journal I found at Walmart for $5.99, I decided it needed one more little touch, so I cut the “Mother’s Day” words off of the Cousin bead package and glued them to the front of the journal. Ha! A simple touch that just felt right. Crafters, you know what I mean, right?! 

So, back to the necklace and earrings. The design for the necklace is a bit of a go-to for me. Using the beads in this way you get a little bit of both worlds. You get interest and dangles in the front and simplified stringing so you can see the beauty of the silky looking pearls in the back!

The earrings just created themselves. The little enamel flowers were just crying out to be dangling from someone’s ears, don’t you think? Very sweet!

In case you’re interested in making these things or just looking for a little bit of inspiration to get started on your own project, instructions are below. To all the moms out there…Happy Mother’s Day!


Materials:
#AJM31112187 –  Pink pearl beads
#AJM31112195 –  Accent flower pendant & flower dangles
#AJM31112213 –  Accent multiple flower pendant
#34774090 – Jewelry Basics 96pc Metal Gold Starter Pack
#3202101 - 40'.45M 7 - Strand Bead Wire Gold

Tools Needed:
·         Round nose plier
·         Flat nose plier
·         Wire cutters

Techniques Used: (Include any stitch or sewing techniques)
·         Make a loop
·         jump rings
·         Crimp


 Instructions

Create four 1-bead 6mm pink pearl headpin dangles
1.     Add one pearl bead to a headpin, bend remaining wire at the top of bead to a 90 degree angle. Leave approx. 3/8” of wire above the bead and cut the rest off.
2.     Use round nose pliers to make a loop.
3.     Repeat 3 more times.

Create four 1-bead 8mm pink pearl headpin dangles
1.     Add one pearl bead to a headpin, bend remaining wire at the top of bead to a 90 degree angle. Leave approx. 3/8” of wire above the bead and cut the rest off.
2.     Use round nose pliers to make a loop.
3.     Repeat 3 more times.

Create six 1-bead 6mm pink pearl eyepin connectors as follows:
1.     Add one pearl bead to an eyepin, bend remaining wire at the top of bead to a 90 degree angle. Leave approx. 3/8” of wire above the bead and cut the rest off.
2.     Use round nose pliers to make a loop.
3.     Repeat 5 more times.

Create four 1-bead 8mm pink pearl eyepin connectors as follows:
1.     Add one pearl bead to an eyepin, bend remaining wire at the top of bead to a 90 degree angle. Leave approx. 3/8” of wire above the bead and cut the rest off.
2.     Use round nose pliers to make a loop.
3.     Repeat 5 more times.

Create two bead wire strands with nine 8mm & ten 6mm pearls
1.     Cut approximately 6” of beading wire.
2.     Slide the end of beading wire through a toggle clasp loop and bend gently at about ½”.
3.     Add a crimp bead and slide it up to cover the short and long ends of wire.
4.     Use crimping tool or smash crimp with flat nose pliers to secure wire.
5.     Add 19 pearl beads in a pattern: 6mm, 8mm, 6mm, 8mm, etc.
6.     Add a crimp bead to end of beading wire.
7.     Slide beading wire through the eyepin loop of a 6mm pearl bead eyepin connector and weave end back through crimp bead.
8.     Pull short end of wire until beads are tight on the wire.
9.     Use crimping tool or smash crimp with flat nose pliers to secure wire.
10.  Trim excess wire using flush cutter.
11.  Repeat bead strand for other side of necklace.

Assemble necklace
1.     Create five-bead connector strand (6mm, 8mm, 6mm, 8mm, 6mm)
2.     Beginning with one side of necklace, connect 6mm pearl bead eyepin connector to an 8mm eyepin connector opening/closing 4mm jump ring.
3.     Repeat by adding remaining 4 eyepin connectors with jump rings.
Repeat on other side of necklace
1.     On the middle jump ring between the two 6mm pearl bead eyepin connectors, add the multi-flower pendant by opening and closing jump ring attached to pendant.

Add dangles
1.     Add a 1-bead eyepin dangle to each jump ring connector. Add 6mm dangle to the jump ring on either side of the flower pendant.
2.     Add 8mm dangles on next jump ring, then 6mm, etc. See project photo.

Earrings
1.     Create one eyepin section for each earring by adding 6mm, 8mm, 6mm pearl beads to eyepin, bend remaining wire at the top of bead to a 90 degree angle. Leave approx. 3/8” of wire above the bead and cut the rest off.
2.     Use round nose pliers to make a loop.
3.     Add ear wire to one eyepin loop.
4.     On the other end, connect tiny flower charm using 6mm jump ring.
5.     Repeat for other earring.

Mother’s Day Journal Materials
·         Journal
·         #AJM31112216 –  gold tone necklace
·         #AJM31112195 –  Accent flower pendant & flower dangles
·         Packing Tape
·         Decorative paper
·         Glue

Tools
Hole punch
Flat nose plier

Instructions
1.     Find an inexpensive journal with a fairly thin “hard-bound” cover.
2.     Use hole punch to make holes for necklace wire.
3.     Remove clasp from each end so the necklace ends fit through hole punch. Slide necklace ends through holes.
4.     Using packing tape, tape down the necklace strands on the inside cover. Cut out a piece of decorative paper and glue over the taped section.
5.     Open jump ring to add large while enamel flower to chain.
6.     Cut “Mother’s Day” words from the bead package and use craft glue or glue stick to adhere it to the journal cover.

ENJOY! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Surprisingly fuzzy beads!















Just in case you were looking for a reason to take a detour into the jewelry making aisle at Walmart, here you go!! I did just that over the weekend and was SO SURPRISED to find these beads.

They were like a little ray of sunshine drawing me to them! The closer I got to them, the happier I felt. And then...I touched them! They're soft and fuzzy...a serious "awww" moment!

I just don't know how I'd never seen these before. I mean, I've been to the Cousin Corporation and I watch their website for new products. However, I haven't been bead shopping in real life since the holidays. I guess that's where I went wrong.

So, getting back to beads...The other item I ended up buying was memory wire. It's going to be like a little match made in heaven. I  am going to need a VERY cool dangle for this multi-colored, multi-strand memory wire bracelet.

I wish it was ready for me to wear tomorrow..hmmm...I'll keep you posted! :)

Gotta go dig for those neon pink tassels...I know I have one somewhere!



Monday, February 8, 2016

Just add sparkle!


Sometimes when looking at jewelry pieces like the pendant and scroll connectors below, I see them with added sparkle. It's an automatic response in my head. It occurred to me yesterday that I don't always consider it as receiving inspiration, I just take it for granted.

So, today I'm sharing gratitude not only for receiving inspiration, but also for having all the supplies needed to make what I saw in my head, YAY! This Cousin pendant and connectors were practically made for each other and I was so glad to find them in my bead stash! Not to mention the Swarovski flat backs and 6mm mini rounds in amethyst.
                                       



I was a little nervous about gluing on the flatbacks since most of my flatback experience has been with hotfix flatbacks. 
I set up my little work area starting with the supplies below: pendant still attached to package, Beacon Gem-Tac glue, glue holder (cap from my bottle of water), headpin for applying the glue, tweezers and fabulously sparkly Swarovski flatbacks! As I mentioned in my last post, this craft glue is perfect for projects like this and does not have a strong chemical smell at all which is a total bonus! 

It went so fast and the headpin was the perfect size to dot glue for these tiny little flatbacks. It was a breeze. I finished all the gluing and set everything aside for a couple days before connecting all the pieces...so easy!

If you've been wanting to try a project like this, I encourage you to just do it! I was proud of myself when it was finished. Happy that I didn't let my fear and inexperience get in the way!

After I finished this project, I started gluing flatbacks on lots of things, including winter gloves as mentioned in my last post.

I'd love to see your flatback projects too. Just leave a link in the comments. :)