Friday, March 31, 2017

It's a jewelry design BLOG HOP!


I do so love a blog hop! As mentioned in my last post, the six Cousin DIY ambassadors received a package containing identical beads just for the fun of seeing everyone's unique design styles. You never know what might happen during the creative process. So fun!

In the bracelet above, I used memory wire to connect to the focal bead since it's pretty lightweight and the beads are a bit heavier. The memory wire helps maintain the structure.

Of course, I think the dangles bring it to life! I've never had a bracelet like this before with faux druzy pieces so I'm excited to wear it. Those druzys are pretty spectacular. :)

This simple silver necklace may end up being my favorite go-to piece for a while.


It's surprisingly striking and would look great at the beach with a bathing suit or on a flowing bright colored blouse. The bright silver spikes make a real statement.

And, speaking of spikes... The necklace below totally makes me laugh. I don't always create jewelry for the humor in it, but it happens.

This one is perfect for a button-up blouse. The focal piece will be nicely framed and when you get a glimpse of the silver and aqua it might even cause a double-take. I think it's the contrast.

Originally I thought there was a fifties vibe with the black and light aqua, but then it took on a life of it's own. I just loaded up long eye pins with the aqua beads to give it structure and added a giant lobster clasp.


Can you tell I'm chuckling? I don't know why, but it really makes me laugh. Haha! :) It's beachy, but something about the black shamballa beads gives it a little extra dose of fun. What do you think?

Thanks for following along on our little experiment. Each ambassador will be posting their results in the very near future too. Their links are below. Have a great weekend!!

Dawn Doucette - Bella Amore
Rebecca Grafton - My Girlish Whims
Shelly Owen - Raziela Designs
Rachel Nielson - Adventures of a DIY Mom
Jennifer Priest - Hydrangea Hippo

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Design challenge! Preparing for a blog hop

Beads have arrived...it's time to design! 

All six Cousin DIY ambassadors have received the same beads and we're anxious to see what everyone creates.

I learned early in my jewelry making journey that EVERYONE sees things from a unique perspective. I had a very sheltered view of creativity in my youth. I didn't have a clue about individuality and the excitement of being different. 

The easiest way to fit in with other people was to be like them. There weren't any classes in the old days in mainstream rural Ohio schools about self expression. I remember getting a D in art, my very first D...in art? Wouldn't you think you'd at least get a C just for showing up?
              

Fortunately, time passed, life experiences happened and I found myself involved in a creative outlet...making jewelry! 

Many blog hops later, I'm excited to create something fun and unique!

I'm not sure if you can see them clearly, but there's a strand in the photo above with some substantial spikes! I can't wait!! :) 

We'll all be sharing our designs at the end of the month...stay tuned! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

For the love of beautifully photographed jewelry















Okay, I admit I was already sort of in love with this blue dangly bracelet BEFORE the photograph, but after...it's a mixture of love and awe. Thank you Brian Chan and Crystal Cousin!

During my visit to Cousin Corporation in Florida last year, I had the good fortune to receive a photography lesson by top photogs Brian and Crystal.

The best part of the story is this...we forgot to bring a piece of jewelry outside to actually photograph. So, guess who offered to pull a bracelet off their wrist? Ha!

They explained how anyone could take great bead and jewelry pics using their simple methods. It's all about the lighting and background!



First, the background...Brian went across the parking lot and picked up a large handful of white rocks.

Sidenote here, the unplanned perfection of the white rocks and the bright blue beads was not lost on me! I mean...perfection!

Now the lighting...filtering the light using a homemade filter - insider secret...fabric attached to a PVC pipe frame.

And the final step, photoshop! :)

I have to say, the photo was pretty perfect without any adjustment at all! Am I biased because of the bead-love?

What a great experience, thanks you two for a great lesson and for taking the time out from your busy schedules to hang out with a group of bead-lovers. I'm a huge fan!

For any of you who see photos in the Cousin Corporation or Prima Bead catalogs and website, it's all done by Brian and Crystal. Amazing!

Now, let me get that bracelet down off its pedestal so I can wear it today. :) 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The ultimate contrast: Swarovski crystals & pipe cleaners


OMG, I am totally loving this awesome contrast!  

When I bought a huge bag of these colorful pipe cleaners at Hobby Lobby, officially called "Spiral Chenille Stems" I figured I would just play around with them until the novelty of the bright colors and the quirky spiral wore off.

Sometimes I just like to play with good old fashioned craft supplies for their stress relieving properties. 

It just so happened I had these amazing Swarovski spikes laying out on my table too. I got curious about what the stems might look like with beads strung on and twisted around as a focal piece. 

To be perfectly honest, it was a week night and I was too tired to dig and sort through all my beads so I just opened the package at hand. Haha, who knew...laziness paid off!!

Once I added the clasp to the pink bracelet and had it on my wrist I discovered I needed to try another combo. Now I have one for each wrist.

Actually each of these combinations work for different reasons. The pink bracelet with the giant spikes feels a little rebellious. The purple chenille stem bracelet with the smaller Swarovski spikes is more surprising and fun than rebellious.

Yes, for some reason I seem to get an emotional response from jewelry. Need an extra helping of confidence, put on a strong piece of jewelry. Too much seriousness in my life, grab something colorful and youthful. 

Cheap therapy, right?

Glad I had a chance to share! I would love to hear your ideas for other quick and easy ways to use these chenille stems in jewelry making. :) 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Clip-on Swarovski Charms!

OMG...it's a great day! I am loving these charms made with Swarovski crystals!!


When I heard Cousin DIY was sending its ambassadors some new Swarovski charms, I never expected them to be so cool and so substantial! 

As you can see, these all have a major WOW factor! Each of the ambassadors received five charms. Here are the ones I received. So fab and just perfect for me! I haven't seen the entire collection, but they are available exclusively at Michael's stores.

I wanted to make a jewelry project with one of them, but I also had a couple ideas about clipping charms onto other things in my little world. 

Because I was so fascinated by the Buddha charm which is even better in real life than in this picture, I knew I wanted to use it for something special. The charm itself is SO sparkly and magical on its own.

I use this old Clinique apple-shaped case to hold the mala I use for repeating my mantra. It used to have a little green leaf zipper pull, but I took that off and added the Buddha. And now it is perfect! 



I felt pretty special to have received my own birthstone charm for September which came with an adorable tiny little tag with the name of the month on one side and a little crystal on the other.

I thought it would add some much needed sparkle to my cell phone case, but actually the MARCH birthstone charm looked even better! That's my Dad's birthstone and since he passed away unexpectedly last month, I was pleased I received it and happy to find such a great place for it.


AND, last but not least, a jewelry project, yay! I was shocked that I just happened to have aqua and dark blue Crystazzi mirror beads on hand..haha! They look like they were made to go with the charm below! I love it when things come together so perfectly.

The evil eye charm is sooo amazing. Hopefully the opaly-ness and the heft of this charm come across in the picture.


The evil eye charm is meant to ward off or deflect evil away from yourself. I wore this yesterday and I felt quite protected, even if slightly distracted by the beauty of the sparkle. :)

Here are a few step by step photos: Get a bunch of eyepins together, add a bead, bend the eyepin to a 90 degree angle, use cutters to trim off the excess, leaving just enough wire for making a loop. Just before finishing off the loop with round nose pliers, add the next eyepin, then tighten down the loop. Just repeat that until you have the right amount of beads for the size of your wrist, then use open jump rings to add a toggle clasp and clip the evil eye charm to one of the jump rings using the lobster clasp on the charm. It's THAT easy! 


I hope you have enjoyed seeing these charms as much as I have. See you at Michael's! :)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Giving the gift of Buddha


What better to give a life coach than a sparkly, tasselly Buddha charm bracelet!?

This isn't what I originally planned to make when I sat down to bead.

I was going to make a version of the acrylic spikey bracelet from the last post.

However, all the tassels and the Buddha head charms were sitting on the beading table and I kept picking them up.

Before I knew it I was creating something completely different!

Love it when that happens and if I haven't said it recently, I LOVE MEMORY WIRE!

You don't have to worry about sizing a bracelet when using memory wire and that takes a lot of worry out of the process.

As much as I love memory wire, I ALSO love eliminating worry from my life! :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Fun with acrylic spikes!


You wouldn't think a spikey bracelet could also be pretty and sweet. 

I have to say I love that it's pretty much a contradiction of itself. These light amythest spikes from Walmart paired with a few glass pearls provided a simple way to feed my rebel spirit!

More often than not it seems that the beads are telling me what to do (if I let them).

When I pulled out the package of spikes, I wanted to create something a little more complex and was considering a right angle weave with faceted beads.

Thankfully, I followed my instincts of just keeping it simple.

These spikes have their own built in wow factor and didn't need any complicated pattern for added flair.

I'd love to see how you've used spikes in your projects. If you want to share, just leave a comment and include a link back to your blog or website.