Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Chaton Montee: Mysterious Swarovski Element

I had never heard these words before, I don't know if that means I am out of the loop or if this is more of an obscure product name. Not sure, but now that I know about them, it was only fair that I spread the knowledge!!

Knowledge is power, right? Does that go for bead knowledge? If you are not aware of a particular bead, could you be missing out on making your life's masterpiece?!! :) Okay, I'm getting a tad dramatic there, so on to the bead!

I discovered this swarovski elements product in the Rings & Things catalog and honestly just thought they were cute little sew on type beads. Well, who knew they had such a mysterious name: Chaton Montee.

I searched on google and found some info on the Eni Oken & Friends website, Jewelry Lessons. The page I found describing chaton montee on this site was informative AND had a couple great pictures of pieces using these components. Apparently the simple description of Chaton Montee is sew-on mounted rhinestone.

I have lots of ideas for these little guys, but am still in the experimental phase. I will keep you posted on final designs!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Multi-purpose Resin Beads

Today's bead is an 18mm flat diamond resin bead in the color, "Ruby". As you can see I have an entire strand of these and I found it interesting that they are temporarily strung on white cotton cording. You can clearly see the white cording through the bead, so I wondered why it wasn't strung on a clear or thin bead wire.

Okay, okay, it takes me a while sometimes! Once I started playing with these yesterday I realized the purpose of the white thread was so you could see the dramatic effect a particular colored cording could have on these beads. Since I was in a "pink" frame of mind when I was selecting these products from the Rings & Things catalog, I thought these would work into the mix nicely. The ruby color is a perfect summer tone with a happy little aura. However, there are quite a few other happy little colors to choose from. The aquamarine and capri are very tempting too!!

As I was working with them, I discovered they could be tightly crimped into squares (sort of a 1 dimensional rubik's cube). I have a piece worked together now that will either be a bracelet focal piece or a cool pendant. I haven't perfected it yet.

The other reason I selected a strand of resin beads, in addition to the price :), was the suggested projects for them in the catalog. I recently purchased a stays-on ink pad and it looks like rubber stamping tiny images on these is all the rage!

I haven't tried yet, but I should be able to get several different projects out of a this strand.

Three more work days to go, yay! Looking forward to a long, crafty weekend!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Peace, Love & Bead Bloggers!

My goodness, this weekend just flew right by! I hope everyone enjoyed some sun and crafting while it lasted!!

I'm proud to bring you the weekly adventures of our fellow bloggers below. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a wonderful week!!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews Wirework, a new book by the famous Dale "Cougar" Armstrong.

Jean Campbell Ink: Eureka!
Beading in the fresh air clears the mind, bringing fresh creativity.

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Searching for some new inspiration? Lorelei's got just the place for you to find it!

Beading Arts
Cyndi's initial thoughts on working with the new CopprClay. There'll be lots of projects coming this summer!

Barbe Saint John
Read Barbe's interview on the Objects and Elements blog.

About.com Jewelry Making
Take these quick polls about wearing and making jewelry. Which are your favorite pieces?

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie mixes up gunmetal chains and components with brass to make a necklace with one of her Toolbox Treasure pendants.

Heather sketches out some new designs using this summer's hottest color.

Strands of Beads
Melissa shows off her new lunar phases and compass rose designs.

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
A trip to glass city doesn't go as well as planned. Yet Cindy finds inspiration and a few new tools!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew introduces eight new fine pewter pieces from his family's company, Green Girl Studios.

Art Bead Scene
The Trendy Bead shows off wood filigree pendants are a perfect jewelry touch.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi hand felts a pretty bead from wool roving.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

This Week's Project: Swarovski Sculpture Ring

This week's project is one that I have been wanting to try for quite a while which is why I selected the padparadscha swarovski button from Rings & Things that I mentioned in Thursday's post.

This ring was inspired by Lillian Chen's design style. She creates gorgeous "sculptured" pieces out of various swarovski crystal elements.

I actually had a different plan for building this design, but I couldn't make it work as it did in my head, so back to the drawing board. I recently pulled a bunch of swarovski crystals together from my collection which were scattered in various places. I was surprised I had some of these, they are so cool!

I used two green swarovski crystal butterflies, a swarovski clear ab margarita sew-on and a clear crystal headpin attached to a gold toned ring base. I cut the 3 loops off the ring and using the satin beadalon wire I selected from R&T's catalog, wired the butterflies on and knotted them quite a few times before trimming the ends.

I LOVE IT!! Thanks Rings&Things for this opportunity to create!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Featured Designer Thank You!

Since I have posted so many wonderful designers over the last several months of Featured Designer Fridays, I wanted to do sort of a re-run just in case you might have missed one of them. I also wanted to thank everyone who has allowed me to share there work here. It really makes my week!

Now that I am looking back over this list and the photos of their work, I am just amazed once again, at the diversity and creativity in each individual's perspective and design style.


Blue Nostalgia
Be-Jeweled by Jana
Al's Creations
Laura Trevey (& Anna Leah Designs)
Sue Beads
Lillian Chen
Nothing But String
Whimsy House

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Swarovski Crystals: How do they do it?!

I have often wondered how new colors make it into the swarovski repertoire. When I first heard of the color, padparadscha, from a fellow beader and former craft show partner, I honestly thought she either mangled the correct word for this orangy-pinkish color or she was making something up.

She showed me a piece of jewelry she had made using padparadscha bicones during a craft show and I must have asked her to pronounce it 20 times out of disbelief. I had never heard of such a word or such a color!! That was before the days of everyone having the internet on their phones, so I had to wait until I got home from the craft show to look it up.

Sure enough, padparadscha (with a couple of "d's" in it) was a real word!! Crazy! I love things that temporarily boggle the mind. Until this week, the only padparadscha swarovski crystal I had worked with was the bicone.

I was recently inspired by Lillian Chen's work that was featured here in May and have been wanting to try creating a swarovski masterpiece ring even though I don't have any idea how she makes them!

This padparadscha button was part of my Rings & Things catalog selections in Tuesday's photograph. I had the urge to find out more about this color not only for myself, but so I could share it with all of you too!

I just had to include a link here to wikipedia. The word, padparadscha, comes from the Sinhalese word for lotus blossom. This is a common language spoken in Sri Lanka. There is an actual rare cut padparadscha sapphire stone on wikipedia that looks just like the swarovski button!! That leaves me here repeating this question, "Swarovski: how do they do it?". It makes me want to make up a new word, like "fab-war-ovski". I think the definition would be "the most fabulous swarovski crystal you can find". For today, it is this swarovski button!!

Thanks so much for joining me here each day to admire and appreciate the "little" sparkly things that make life so much prettier!

Update: The padparadscha button project has been completed, it was so fun to create a "scuplture" with swaroski elements!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Here Comes the Sun!!

Today's bead was featured in yesterday's photo, but it really deserves a day of its own! I'm thinking this might not be considered a bead or pendant, but that's what is so great about individual freedom....it can be anything I want it to be!! :)

This fabulous "crystal prism sun" from Rings & Things is a whopping 40mm's and seems like it belongs in the middle of a Sherlock Holmes detective story. He and Watson are always trying to return a missing diamond or treasure to its rightful owner such as the "star of Rhodesia" or the "Blue Carbunkle". Yes, in addition to being a bead fanatic, I have plenty of other branches of fanatacism. Our extensive Sherlock Holmes DVD collection is just the tip of the iceberg! :)

I included a link to the prism in the online R&T's catalog above so you could get a better look at it. IT IS AWESOME!! The people I have shown it to in real life were all in awe and their comments were the same, "it looks like a huge diamond"!! A couple of women, in jest, put it on top of their fingers to see what kind of a ring it would make.

Even though this "bead" is so large, I am going to work it into a piece of jewelry. It would also look pretty hanging as a sun catcher in a window or car, but it would seem like such a waste of coolness not to wear it!

By the way, I wanted to make sure you were aware of the current contest going on over at Rings & Things. All you have to do is post a product review of something you previously purchased and you will have an opportunity to win a $50 gift certificate!!!!

There is also a "blog partners program" link on their website that you might be interested in!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's a Pink, Pink, Pink, Pink Picnic!

Too much "pink"? Nah! Just the right amount! There are various shades here such as light rose, fuschia and padparadscha. I do not believe the photo does these beads justice because in real life they just POP like crazy! So sparkly, colorful and fun, it is bound to bring a smile every time you look at them!

I took them to work to show a few people for their input and no matter who looked at them, a big smile formed and they automatically reached for them!

I have talked about crystals causing big smiles before and now I am sold on the concept! I have decided to fill a clear tube with a variety of sparkly crystals to carry with me. The next time someone wants to blow off steam or get something off their chest, I'm going to experiment with "swarovski crystal therapy"!! What do you think? Personally, I think I'm on to something!! Now, back to the "pink, pink, pink, pink picnic"!!

What a great variety of pinks!!!! I love these beads and I LOVE RINGS & THINGS!! I was provided a very generous opportunity to select some products from their catalog to create with! Wow, what an honor!

There are several projects that will be made with them, but for now, I just wanted to share the beads with you. The gross of 6mm bicones is a mix called "the watermelon crawl". They are a perfect representation of taking a happy picnic on a sunny summer day. There are also 4mm fuschia bicones and TINY fuschia butterflies!! There are quite a few other beads in the photo that I haven't mentioned, but I thought it would just be more fun to look at them first.

I was developing ideas as I selected each item so now it is time to CREATE! Yay! I'll keep you posted on my progress! For now, let's just enjoy the beads!! Yummy!

(Wait till you see tomorrow's 40mm prism!! Unbelievable sparkle!!)

Update: The padparadscha button project has been completed, it was so fun to create a "scuplture" with swaroski elements!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Summertime Pinks!

I was just reading Tish's blog over at Just a Tish Designs where she had done a little research about this season's color trends on the Fashion Trend Setter website. I am a big fan of pink in any shade because of its sweet and cheerful qualities. There seemed to be splashes in various shades everywhere!

Today's sweet pink bead is one I recently received from my Dad. I immediately thought I'd like to use it as a bracelet focal bead since it just seems like it would sit on top of my wrist perfectly!

I'd like to use a number of strands coming out each side of the bead in a variety shades in the pink family, from watery, light pink to bright fuschia! I might even a throw in a few light aqua crystals. Mmm... sounds like something that could really conjure up that nice peaceful feeling of a joyful sunny day!!

I would love to try 2 or 3 individual memory wire strands through the pink bead and then wire the ends together to create a sort of bangle effect. Well, now I've got to get my beads out and it's already well into the evening!!

I hope your week is off to a good start!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Peace, Love & Bead Bloggers!

Exciting news for Sundays on Abeadaday!!

For the last few weeks I have been contemplating making a change to focus on something new each Sunday. Fridays are thrilling for me because I get so excited to share a new designer I have "discovered" over the previous week. Saturdays are also fun for me because I set aside time to make something new to share.

I'd had a couple of thoughts for Sundays, but nothing seemed to stick. I decided I would just have a little faith that something would come to me eventually. Well, now for the exciting news....

I have been generously extended an invitation to join a group of bead bloggers who share each others links each week along with a little info about what they have been up to. You will certainly not be disappointed with all of the wonderful personalities and beading adventures shared by this group each week.

I am happy to present, for the very first Sunday on Abeadaday, the adventures of our fellow bead bloggers:

About.com Jewelry Making
Summer time is affecting Tammy's jewelry designs. How about yours? Check out her summer jewelry plans so far.

Art Bead Scene
Kandinsky inspires this month's challenge. The ABS editors suggest a selection of their handmade art beads for a Kandinsky inspired jewelry piece.

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Barbe reviews Ancient Modern Polymer Clay book.

Carmi's Art/Life World
A vintage comic book becomes the inspiration for a necklace.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
A new shipment of copper blanks has Melanie plotting for some metal playtime!

Jewelry & Beading Auntie's Beads provided wonderful copper beads and findings so Cyndi could create this necklace!

Katie's Beading Blog
In need of a speedy bead? Check out this quick and easy jewelry idea!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Pink, gold,and cream! Jean creates a lovely necklace and earring set featuring a beautiful Russian hand painted focal from Artbeads.com

Strands of Beads
Melissa shows off her work in progress - an eerie lock and key design.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew shares a new necklace design. Check it out!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

This Week's Project

This week's project is a simple beaded ring form. I challenged myself to find beads to use from my current collection that are spread out on a beading mat for use in a couple of other projects!

Sometimes I find that a little challenge can be more fun than having an actual plan!!

This is a rather simple design, but time was just a tad limited. I used the cinnamon colored econoflex beading wire from Softflex which is knottable (is that a word?). How about...which has the ability to be knotted. : )

I'm excited to begin beading up a bunch more of these adjustible ring forms that I found at Michael's! Feel free, as always, to make some suggestions, I am all ears!

The ring form is adjustible and of a sort of coppery bronze tint. Oh so cute!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Featured Designer: You-niquely Chic

This week's featured designer is Tara of You-niquely Chic: Distinctive Crystal Jewelry Designs. When I came across these particular designs of hers on Facebook, I had a eye-popping moment! Wow, are these cool OR WHAT?!!!!

These designs are truly inspired! I just love the shapes and the black industrial quality with the sparkly crystals. It seems to strike a wonderful balance and the wire wrapping suits it perfectly!

Tara has named this design Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, named after the Roman swift footed messenger god which they equated with the Greek Hermes, because it moves across the sky faster than any other planet.

This design is listed as Mars, The fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after Mars, the Roman god of war. Referred to as the "Red Planet." It appears this piece has been sold (not surprising!).

This double decker design is named Mars II and the description reads: make people stop and stare when you wear this unique and elegant one of a kind necklace, it truly is out of this world!

There are so many gorgeous pieces in her etsy shop including a sparkly collection of bridal/prom pieces and, of course, my very favorites in the industrial collection.

I want to thank Tara for allowing me to share her work with you and also thank her for providing me with such a wonderful eye-popping experience!! I LOVE THAT!!

Okay, here's one more!! I hope you are ready for this one!! It is named Saturn. The description reads: 3 small 1/2 inch retaining rings “orbit” around a larger 1/4 inch ring all wire wrapped together using 28ga gold colored wire… jet Swarovski teardrops (7mm and 9mm) dangle along the bottom with a single 4mm amethyst Swarovski bicone in the center and a 10mm Amethyst ab Swarovski heart at the bottom all on a delicate gold colored chain.

In addition to the blog and etsy sites above, you can follow Tara on Twitter.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nice Bright Spacers

These bright silver toned spacers have unlimited uses. My Dad was so kind to split a long strand of them with me. My half of the strand was long enough to fit around my wrist which was pretty cute all by itself. These extremely bright silver spacers always look great with bold colored crystals.
I'm thinking of using several spacers together as a unit amongst lots of strung crystals as well as some dangling crystals along the entire length.

These might also be nice used in an anklet because of the light weight and I do not think they are covered in a metal finish so they would hold up nicely if you showered or waded in them. Lots of small dangling bicones among an entire strand of these would be cute too.

Yay, the weekend is coming!! I need to plan what is going to be made during craft time!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Gourmet Chocolate Cupcake Bead

Can you believe this was an extra free gift from Studio Marcy? She sent this in the package with the doggy bead I posted last Thursday. I just love this yummy bead and it sure would hit the spot right about now! I haven't had chocolate in a while and this gourmet cupcake looks like it would be very tasty!

I am in awe of bead makers who can design a bead and bring it to life with a torch, that is amazing! I am a great fan of these artisans and am always so pleased to come across a blog that provides a glimpse into the world of bead making! It truly is an artform that takes time to learn, develop and hone.

If you have a favorite bead maker's blog that you follow, please share website or link if you have a minute!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Russ Troll Bead

I wanted to share something fun with you today as well as a great success story! I recently received the Russ Troll Bead from Rings&Things and while I am a customer and "read" the catalog fanatically, I wasn't as familiar with the founder/owner of the company.

Russ Nobbs certainly has an online presence! I was able to find him in lots of places such as facebook and a wide variety of forums. At the end of this post is the wonderful success story that was posted on the Bead & Button Forum site. Since I have received this bead, I see that while the real live Russ is off traveling and procuring beads all over the world, the Russ Troll Bead is busy as well.

Every time I turned around he was up to something else, I'm beginning to think he is a workaholic! He promptly moved into our solar powered lighthouse and set up a workshop.

I took a quick peek inside and found Russ giving a pep talk to some of the 5301 Swarovski bicones which are being retired to make way for the new 5328 Swarovski Xillion.

It appears the Russ bead came across some gnomes out in the yard and was supervising one of their craft painting projects.

I then found him in a flower bed hanging out with some miniature garden gnomes, but I was a little concerned because a lot of these little guys carry dangerous tools and I'm not sure if they can be trusted.

Russ didn't seem to mind. I discovered why the Russ bead had no fear of some of the garden gnomes....he's got a pretty good sized protector in this garden kitty cat! : ) You can find other Russ sightings on this Rings & Things page.

About Russ Nobbs
Russ Nobbs is the founder of Rings & Things in Spokane, Washington State, USA. Russ started in the jewelry industry in 1965 with sales of gold wire name pins and beaded earrings at western US and Canadian fairs and festivals. In 1972 he opened a tiny store in the 2nd City mall in Spokane. Rings & Things grew in size, added a bead store, expanded into a fine craft gallery and moved several times. In the back rooms and background, wholesale sales of beaded earrings, southwestern turquoise jewelry, beads and findings supported our growth.

In 2000 Rings & Things closed the last retail store to concentrate on the wholesale bead and findings business supplying craftspeople and manufacturers around the world. In 2005 Rings & Things moved to their own building with room to properly support more than 90 one day trunk shows each year across the US.

Russ Nobbs and his partner Dee Mueller travel extensively in Asia sourcing beads and findings for Rings & Things and learning about the production methods used in Asia. When at home in the US Dee works in her garden and volunteers with a garden club. Russ has served on the boards of several arts organizations and coordinates recycling efforts at the annual juried Artfest and other regional events.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sweet & Light Glass Drops

These glass drop beads are adorable! They are perfect as a bracelet just as they are without any other embellishment. The color is somewhere between a light rose and light amythest, but there is definitely a sort of watery quality to them...they seem thirst quenching! That might sound a little strange to a non-bead fanatic, but it makes perfect sense in my mind. : )

These would be very cute worked into a right angle weave pattern with either a clear ab crystal or darker rose/amythest ab bicone as the mid-point bead that the two opposite strands go through to form each circle.

I just had a thought about using these to create a good sized right angle weave bauble!! That would be very cool!

As always, let me know what you think if you have a minute!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Focal Pendant - Silver Flower

Today's bead is a large (44mm) silver tone flower pendant by Darice. I recently received a good sized haul of beads as a gift and it wasn't even my birthday! I've previously mentioned that my Dad is a jewelry maker/beader and he was so kind to share the wealth!! They are fortunate to have a Pat Catan craft store near their weekend getaway and I believe it is one of their weaknesses that I must have inherited!

It's a lot of fun to receive beads as a gift, but to receive them from a fellow beader is cool because you know the person probably selected things that stood out to them or things they thought you would like.

I love the fact this pendant is a cutout which gives it a bit of an artsy vibe. I'm not sure If I will use colorful beads with it or stick with a simple silver or black cord. I just had a thought about glittering up the center of the flower somehow...hmmm.

I so enjoy using glitter on just about anything, it just seems to add such a festive and fun flair! Maybe using larger link silver chain with some sparkly crystals wired on would add to the festivity! Stay tuned! :)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

This Week's Project: 3-Minute Bracelet

I realized on Friday that I hadn't posted this bracelet here after I made it several weeks ago, so I thought this would be a good time! I have a casual top that is similar in color to this square canteloupe bead that I wanted to wear under a black suit, but didn't have any jewelry in that color. I have LOTS and LOTS of black jewelry, but wanted to have something in these two contrasting colors that would bring the outfit together.

Of course, I hadn't thought of it until I got dressed and had zero minutes left to make jewelry. I opened up a plastic ziploc baggie and grabbed pieces and parts that I could put together without any tools.

While sitting at a few traffic lights on my way to work, I looked at the baggie of odds and ends and realized I had included these swarovski graduated drops that I had gotten from an Artbeads.com sale. I didn't originally plan to use them in this way and figure they probably aren't meant to be used in this way, but I was excited to give it a try.

When I pulled into my parking lot and rolled up my dollars to pay, I decided I'd give myself a few extra minutes to see if I could pull this bracelet together. Guess what?.....3 minutes later, I had a fun and bright new piece of jewelry that really did help to bring the outfit together.

Don't you just love jewelry making?!! I hope you are all having a fun and crafty weekend!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Featured Designer: Whimsy House

Yay, it's "Featured Designer Friday"!

This week's designer is Molly of Whimsy House. I don't think a day goes by that I don't see something new of hers on Twitter that makes me smile, laugh, feel good, etc. I do have a weakness for her rings and pendants! If you connect with colorful retro designs, I guarantee you will love her work!

In addition to being an interior designer, Molly is a jewelry designer using some FUN and colorful vintage findings. Her etsy site reads, "goodness fashioned from felt, wool and vintage findings". I love the descriptions she writes for each piece. The words happy and spunky are used often and if I were asked to write them, I'm guessing they would be identical!

She just wrote a post on her blog about the opening of her favorite flea market and meeting up with the button lady who is selling her lifelong button collection. Wait till you see what she found!

Thanks Molly for allowing me to share your designs.

What a great beginning to a fun weekend!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"Magical" Doggy Bead

This is a magical bead that makes me smile every time I look at it!! : )

I was reading blogs on Sunday and when I saw this "pup" bead on Studio Marcy's blog, I knew I needed to have it. I'm learning as time passes to listen to that little voice more often. It came in the mail today and I just LOVE it! I don't know how she made this so perfect!!

You might be wondering if there is any special reason that I loved this bead so much so I hope you don't mind me sharing pics of my real life doggies who are actually senior citizens rather than puppies.

I can't wait to make something with this bead. It's going to need to hang around my neck and in order for me to be able to see it, a long cord or chain will be necessary.

Once I figure it out, I will share it with you, but if you have used beads like this before, please let me know your thoughts.

The weekend is almost here, time to check the drive-in line up.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

FOUND: Bluest of Blue Beads!

While I was frantically searching for something this morning, I came across a box that I last remembered using to cart things to and from craft shows. I thought it was empty, but when I opened it, I found a variety of odds and ends inside including these beads! These were actually part of a pair of earrings. I also found a bracelet in these blue glass beads that I am getting ready to disassemble.

The icing on the cake was finding 2 slinky sized pieces of memory wire that I assumed I had lost along the way. That was pretty exciting!!

These beads came from an old Ben Franklin store that carries a great selection of beads. It always amazes me that they carry such a wide variety of beads and findings considering they are located in a small town store front with every possible type of craft and a section of chocolates, fudge and bulk candy. It still reads "5 & 10" on the sign.

Once I have everything disassembled, I would love to find a way to really showcase these beads. If you have any ideas, please share!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Colorful Hearts - Can you feel the love?

While visiting a fellow beader recently, I was admiring her giant, clear rubbermaid container full of completely organized clear bead containers. She took off the lid and revealed the beautifully arranged containers of beads. Not only were the beads perfectly organized in their containers, there was a slip of paper in each section describing the beads and where they were purchased. Some were from Ebay, local craft shops, well known online bead distributors, etc.

Can you still feel the love? :)

I know... I felt a little bit of envy and was so glad that I emptied a large bead container with a nice handle and filled it with perfectly arranged beads in preparation for the beading visit. For a moment, I was an organized beader. Within an hour, I had just about everything I brought all over her kitchen counter. When it was time to leave, in true to myself fashion, I put the bead container under the counter rim and began scooping beads into slots in no particular order.

Sigh.....Good thing I have a good sense of humor and self acceptance at this point in life!!

While my friend was going through her containers and pointing out various beads, she noticed she had sections full of glass heart beads in many colors. She picked a bunch of them out and put them in my hand. I honestly thought it would be great to have the aqua hearts, but she kept adding more of them. They are just so cute. I wouldn't have thought about grouping all these different colors, but somehow they make a cool statement. Harmonious diversity!!

I hope you are all having a great week!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Russian Jade Pendant

I wanted to point out this stone pendant that was in the recent group photo because it was sort of hidden. This was one of the "star" pieces in the bunch. It is obviously drilled as a pendant and this time I think I have identified it all by myself! Based on some internet searching (including the hobby lobby site), I believe this might be a form of Russian Jade.

So, all of my stone loving friends, if I have improperly "named that stone", PLEASE help me set the record straight!! :)

If I were to make something for myself with this stone, I would use a colored beading wire, probably black, similar to one of my favorite necklaces that I wear all the time (and featured last year). However, that seems a bit boring since it would look so much like the other one!

So, if I were making this for someone else, I might get a little more creative. The size is approximately 1.5 inches square. Using several strands of beading wire, each with it's own style would be eclectic and fun. Maybe I need to take a cue from Tish of the blog "Just a Tish Designs", whose fabulous multi-strand necklace was recently selected as a Bead Star finalist!! Once you take a look at that, you will certainly see why she made it to the top!!!

Her designs are always overflowing with creativity!! I need to work outside of my default mode of "conservative" and stretch just a tad.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Slick, Colorful Beading Wire

Today's post is not about a bead, but about an important component in strung jewelry, the WIRE!

This wire is by the SoftFlex Company and is part of their Econoflex line. I was able to find this wire locally at Hobby Lobby and during my last trip there I bought the Steel Blue, Spring Green and Cinnamon Red for the first time. I have since used the Steel Blue wire on my "crystal extravaganza" bracelet posted last weekend. Something I just discovered when I was photographing this wire is they connect to each other as you stack them which keeps they perfectly organized.

I am anxious to use the Cinnamon Red this week as an accent with orange, red and yellow beads. If successful, I will post the outcome next Saturday.... :)

I have previously used the Black and the Autumn Brown wire and they look great worked into a piece together!

If you are looking for projects or more information on the softflex wire, please make sure you visit the website above. They frequently feature a new designer as well as beadshops around the country.

If you were wondering who has a couple of the best jobs in the beading world, I would have to nominate Sara Hardin (a.k.a. SoftFlex Girl) and Jamie Hogsett. If you don't already follow these two blogs, I highly recommend it!! Not only do they share wonderful insights into the beading industry, but also share their awesome and ultra-creative designs using softflex!

Sara has been posting some wonderful photos from the Bead & Button show, so if you weren't able to attend, take a quick peek.

Here's wishing you all a wonderful week!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

This Week's Project: Stone Memory Wire Bracelet

Saturday crafting time was just a tad limited today, so I took the simple path and pulled out the memory wire! Always a fun and simple alternative to stringing! I wanted to use some of the stones I posted Thursday in a bracelet, but once I started working with them realized I wanted something in light tones.

I pulled out many of the lighter colored stones and began randomly placing them on the wire. Once I got past the 3 larger "focal" beads, I sort of repeated a sort-of pattern on the other side. I used one of the larger yellowy stones on the dangle worked in the star bead in too. The little ring was just sort of an afterthought, but I have it on now and it's pretty simple and cute.

That was certainly a QUICK project and for anyone hesitant about using memory wire, I strongly encourage you to give it a try.

Many years ago I started out making 6 and 7 strand memory wire bracelets using various seed beads and lots of metallic embroidery delicas. It was tedious, but I really enjoyed it. Like anything else, interest in things evolve and now my memory wire bracelets are often one strand mostly because of the immediate gratification of a 10 to 30 minute project!!

I hope you are all having a great weekend and enjoying lots of sunshine!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Featured Designer: MandiBeads

Three cheers for Fridays!! :)

The featured designer for this week is Mandi of "Mandibeads". I am always so impressed by people who have created a niche for themselves within the beading world. When I first came across Mandi's blog, I was drawn in by the home page header which has some great pictures of beaded pens and journals. I definitely wanted to see more!

Mandi's etsy site is where you will find her collection for sale.
She writes on her site that "Beadweaving and Bookbinding are true "labors of love" as each piece takes many hours to complete. Every book and pen that I make has that love woven into each stitch. I also proudly use recycled materials in my work and packaging whenever possible. Thank you for supporting indie artists like myself and buying handmade! Peace & Love, Mandi"
As you can imagine, all it took for me was seeing these peace signs and mention of "peace and love"!!

My thanks to Mandi for allowing me to share her wonderful creations!!

Have a great weekend!