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!'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. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Summertime fun: Macrame & Swarovski Crystals!

Wondering how to use leftover kumihimo cord? How about a little macrame?

This necklace pretty much designed itself. I knew I wanted to hang Swarovski dangles from it, but had no idea it would end up being frayed until the moment I was unraveling the ends. :)

It's always fun when you end up surprising yourself when making jewelry. This necklace was one of a handful I made for the Cousin Corporation to show off Swarovski crystals at the beginning of the year.

It's definitely my fave. The three long strands that dangle down the back make this the perfect beach necklace to wear with tank tops or bathing suits for a little extra flair.

Now I'm wishing I had some bright colored cord for a completely different look!

Leave a comment or email me if you'd like the instructions.

Have a great summer!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Asked for tassels, found tassels!

Don't you just love it when a plan comes together? I was itching to make some tassels recently so I started digging through beads and findings. I quickly realized my beads were in such disarray, it was necessary to take a detour and spend some time getting organized.

I completely ditched all the beads in 10 bead containers into serious bead soup in order to make room for fresh new supplies. I figured if I hadn't opened a bead case in over a year, it was time.

After getting through several giant ziploc bags full of beads and getting them all sorted into nice little compartments, it was time to call it a day. As I was putting everything away, I discovered these jewelry making kits I received on my recent trip to Cousin Corporation headquarters.

Yay! Organization paid off!

As you can see, I've already ripped open the packages to discover the raw supplies necessary to make some simple tassels. That's a great place to start!

For now, though, I'm off to get ready for work. Not sure why inspiration to bead comes in the early morning hours when there is no time, but that's how it works.

I'll check back in soon and let you know how it goes! Have a great day!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Feeling the need to make some tassels

The thought never crossed my mind until I received these tassels in my last Cousin Corp. package. They are SO cool! Several inches long and the colors are perfectly Floridian.

As soon as I saw them all I could think of was craft project.

I went on the website to see if there were other interesting tassels and I found this one, which is also in the new Boho line.

Okay, now the craft store is calling. I could go through all my jewelry-making and craft supplies and find some pretty fabulous materials to use in a tassel, but there's nothing like heading to the craft store when inspiration calls!

If you have experience making tassels, please share. I'd love to know where your inspiration came from and how you brought your ideas to fruition.

I'll keep you posted on how things go on this end. :)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Swarovski crystals in the's a great day!

It's so awesome to get a package in the mail, especially when you know there's something special and sparkly inside!

When I talked to my husband while walking to the parking garage after work yesterday he gave me the news. You got a package!!

Yay! I knew there were crystals inside and I knew they were crystals I haven't seen in real life before. I prefer shopping for beads in person rather than online, but unless you get to a bead store, there aren't many opportunities to check out all the different shapes and sizes of Swarovski crystals.

I haven't even opened these packages yet, but I wanted to share to get your input. These are 8mm triangle pendants in crystal AB and bermuda blue! Each package has 6 pieces and I am the proud owner of three packages of each color.

Tonight I will open and touch them...something to look forward to!

If you have experience using these, let me know I'm in the mental design phase right now.

As always I'm seeing them all dangling in a big clump of sparkliness. :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Fun in the sun - mixing & mingling!

Mixing and mingling with beads that is!

I had a chance to get a few pics of some faves from my Cousin Corp. 10-minute bead grab today.

The sun started to shine and it was like magic!

The added sparkle gave me all kinds of inspiration. I realized then that I hadn't brought any tools with me for the photo op.

Probably a good thing, I might never have made it back from lunch. :)

It was pretty easy to see some great match-ups so I tore them off the packages to get a better look.

Love the butterflies, love the sparkle and even love the black faux leather bracelet!

Let me know what you think. :)

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!

#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


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.

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

Hole punch
Flat nose plier

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.


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 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. :) 

Monday, February 1, 2016

It's a new year AND a sparkly new day!

There's something about a fresh new year that makes me want to take a leap forward and leave old ideas, things and habits behind. Unfortunately, it's also at a time when it's necessary to wear lots of clothing layers including coats, hats, gloves, scarves, boots, etc. Seems to create a bit of a conflict doesn't it?

What to do, what to do?

In hindsight, I see now why I was so intent on making these sparkly gloves when the weather turned cold! I made them for myself, for friends and for family members. Not only that, I took this craft to our annual December craftnight! EVERYONE made fun, sparkly gloves!!

I really have to laugh! It's so transparent now, but I didn't realize it at the time.

I NEEDED SPARKLE! When I get pushed out of my happy place, I look around for sparkle and if I don't find any, I CREATE IT! Wow...this realization will take me a while to process.

So, more about the gloves! I bought quite a few pairs of these smart phone gloves at Walmart for $2 a pair, a great deal! I also found this bag of sequins at Walmart for a few dollars. An amazingly stuffed little bag of sequins.

Make sure to have a ziploc baggie handy because you'll never get them all back in the bag once it's open. It contains hearts, flowers, leaves, stars, butterflies and more...well worth the $3!

Rather than sew the sequins on, I thought I'd try Beacon Gem Tac since I had received it from the Cousin Corporation to try out. I have a bit of a sensitivity to strong chemicals and do my best to avoid them. I was a little concerned until I opened the glue and it was as strong as school glue! How could it possibly adhere well if it doesn't smell terrible?

I have no idea, but it does! I'll share more jewelry projects using Gem Tac in future posts, but wanted to mention the sequins are glued on the gloves. The pink gloves also have Crystazzi flat back crystals glued on and the gray gloves have tiny little Swarovski crystals glued on. SO SPARKLY!!

If you have a get-rid-of-winter-blues sparkle project to share, please leave a link in the comments section. :)