I’m having fun with a bunch of jewelry and bead related things this weekend.
First off, my sister and her girlfriend sent me a box of fabulous goodies, each one better than the last. The first one I did something with was a sterling cuff bracelet circa 1989. It goes perfectly in a bracelet stack! It is the curvy one that has a design that looks like waves.
This necklace uses the purple pearlesque SilverSilk (my photo doesn’t do the color justice) and dark rhodium ends. I also used Soft Flex beading wire and a Humblebeads leaf, two more small businesses that are part of The Great Bead Extravaganza (TGBE). The parts for this had been sitting on my beading table for a while as I tried to figure out how to construct my vision. It turned out a little different, but still good!
Allegory Gallery, also part of TGBE, recently added some fabulous multicolor vintage plastic beads to their shop. I could not resist. They reminded me of some black glass beads that fit together in a similar way that I used in a favorite necklace. I used them almost as soon as I got them. I loved how they all looked together, so I only added some tiny vintage German glass beads from Ava Motherwell as spacers to up the color quotient. I’m thrilled with it.
I was thinking I would make one more thing to add to this post, but I ran out of time and now the week is upon me, so I’m going to publish this post. I hope I get some creative time in the upcoming long weekend (and that you do too!)
I made three necklaces today! I’ll show you two of them. The other is for a challenge next week. I’ve been watching presentations at The Great Bead Extravaganza – Midsummer Market this weekend. Andrew Thornton did a thrown down challenge – make something with blue, the number 6 (however we interpret that) and a natural material. I love that sort of challenge because it’s very specific yet totally open, so it really gets the creative juices flowing. If you aren’t a member of The Great Bead Extravaganza, you can join and watch any of the presentations you missed from this weekend and previous presentations.
This first necklace uses purple flower opal chip beads and a gorgeous connector from Crow’s Cache Supplies. I’m going to keep this.
I came across this Lillypilly pendant in my stash and got out some materials that I thought would go well with it. Here is how it turned out.
This necklace I made for the next Artists for Animals Auction. I like to make pieces over time so I’m not rushing and stressed at the very end. It has horn, glass, and turquoise beads.
I chose copper metals to go with this bead. In addition to the focal, I added a little raku bead I got as one of the 25 Beads of Christmas from Candie Cooper’s fun bead advent calendar that really brightened my December last year.
I felt like I’d made the tassel a bit too floofy, but it was hard to pare down the fibers since I have so many good ones. It doesn’t help that the flattened bead cap makes the tassel flare out into an “A” shape. I ended up trimming a few so they weren’t all the same length, cutting a couple of wider ones in half and trying to pare it down.
It’s still floofy, but I just love all the colors and textures so much, I think I’ll leave it. Nothing wrong with having a real showstopper tassel once in a while. These necklaces are so fun to make. I’m so glad I saw Kay’s tutorial!
Presenters from The Great Bead Extravaganza gave some great tips on a variety of things this past week for what has traditionally been Small Business Week. You can see the replay of videos about creating a customer persona, branding your business with great packaging, using social media to promote your business, pricing your items and more! There will also be a Midsummer Extravaganza coming up June 12th – 13th with a preview night on June 11th. All you have to do is join The Great Bead Extravaganza page to access all the free content.
I’ve written about The Great Bead Extravaganza before. It’s a fun group with all different kinds of presentations, sales and giveaways. They have had three events so far. This weekend is the third. Another is planned for June. It is all online, so you can join from anywhere. Some of my favorite artists are there, and I’ve come to love some new ones I’ve been introduced to. They all have many other outlets – shops, Insta, YouTube, their own Facebook pages and VIP groups. Lots to share!
Today the project that took my fancy was a necklace that Kay from Star’s Beads made. She did it “choose your own adventure” style, where she offered choices and let the majority choose in the comments. She gave some fabulous tips, all about using chain. I really loved the easy, boho necklace she made. She is selling chain bundles and bead cone bundles in her group, Star’s Beads Special Stash Group. She also does lives Monday – Thursday on Facebook, and Friday Night Live in the group. I know where I’ll be on Fridays! The Special Stash group is where you can get the bundles and this Friday she will have some fabulous, large lampwork beads like she used in her GBE necklace project.
I loved the project so much, I just couldn’t wait. I knew I had materials that were close enough to what she used that I could go ahead and make a necklace now. (Though this won’t be my last one.) It’s not unlike things I’ve made before, but she had some excellent tips, and the way she did it allowed me to be a little more free. Sometime I get too worried about little things in design.
This necklace features a beautiful lampwork bead by Genea of Third Eye Gypsys. The patina bead cone is from this shop. As Kay did, I used some bits of fiber and chain in the tassel, bits of chain above and below the bead, one link from a chain for a bail and then chain for the rest of the necklace. I have a dress this looks perfect on. I had to try it on right away!
I had heard of SilverSilk but did not know much about it. After attending The Great Bead Extravaganza, where owner and designer Nealay Patel was a presenter, I started following. I couldn’t resist the kit called Northern Lights. That had to be beautiful, right? And it was. I should have taken a picture of it, but you can see the kit and the beautiful designs Nealay made in his video. I made my first SilverSilk piece based on his lariat style necklace design.
One of the things I like about SilverSilk is it gives a way to wear really pretty or special beads that you want to highlight in a different way than using regular chain (although I often like that as well.) I think it is a lovely design element similar to a beaded rope, which I don’t have the skills for. This style of SilverSilk is called pearlesque. It is knitted rainbow tinsel over ball chain. Then thin wire is knitted in a tube over that. It is very lightweight and supple and comes in various colors. This teal is a limited edition. I was a little nervous to crimp it, but the custom crimps work like a dream and don’t require any glue. I read Nealay’s article with tips and tricks to make sure I had no snags!
Almost everything here is from the kit. Two beads I added are the clear crystal drops. Years ago, before she passed away, my friend Edith gave me some of her jewelry. Those crystal drops are from a pair of earrings. I can’t wear earrings, so I wanted to incorporate them into another piece. This was the perfect chance. I’m so happy I found a special design to use those in. Thanks Nealay and SilverSilk!
If you would like to learn more about SilverSilk, you can check out the links I’ve provided (they are to the shop, the Facebook page and the YouTube channel.) You can also attend the next Great Bead Extravaganza by joining the Facebook group. It is coming up March 19 – 21, 2021. You can watch presenters live or re-watch later if you can’t make it live.
I haven’t spent enough creative time, and I’ve missed blogging too. They go hand in hand as I like to document the things I’ve made. To ease back into it, I made a couple of kit projects. I don’t do a ton of kit projects. I do like kits, but more generally design kits such as the ones Allegory Gallery offers, where you take the materials and do what you will. But sometimes an actual project kit strikes me. And I find I’m really liking Candie Cooper‘s kits. So first, one of Candie‘s.
I bought this in December and just didn’t get around to using it until now.
I thought it was cute and fun, and I think she was having a sale after Christmas. I’d been eyeing it, so I bought it. In her project video, Candie mostly talked about it as a package topper or possibly an ornament. At first I wasn’t going to put patina paint on it, but why not? The thing I love about Vintaj patina paints is that they dry so fast. Otherwise I wouldn’t want to use them as often. I’m less patient with stuff that has to be done in steps with waiting time in between. I used the verdigis and made it look a little older and well-loved. I always think that gives things personality and a story.
Here are two photos of the finished product: one in the light box and one hanging in my studio. I didn’t end up using the larger pink pom-pom. Candie called the pom-poms in the kit Hill Tribe. They are super high quality and soft. I don’t use pom-poms often, but honestly I’m ruined for other pom-poms now. I’m going to keep it up year-round as just a fun embellishment.
Next up, I got a memory wire bracelet kit with some braided leather and TierraCast findings and some Dakota Stone beads when Goody Beads and Dakota Stones were doing a live during the recent The Great Bead Extravaganza – Tucson Experience. I don’t make a lot of memory wire bracelets, partly because I don’t have the strength to properly bend the ends, so mine are always janky. There is a special tool for it that could help, but I do not need another tool that I won’t use often. The kit came with heavy duty memory wire, TierraCast findings (curved tubes, spacers, end caps and a charm) and braided leather. The samples were made with the addition of a combination of size 6 and size 8 round gemstones. The kits and a variety of bead strands were being sold. I chose a kit with some brown leather and silver findings. I bought 8mm mookaite and 6 mm crazy lace agate. I thought those stones looked great together and also with the brown leather. Very boho. I added an enameled peace sign charm, and a couple of jump rings and headpins for my dangles.
I really like how it turned out despite my bad loops. One tool I did invest in is a leather cutter. Tory from Goody Beads said it is important to get a nice clean cut on the leather so it doesn’t ever fray. Wow! I love the cutter. It sliced the leather like butter. I can definitely use this going forward.
There were a number of leftover materials, so I made a fun second single wrap bracelet. I used some of the memory wire and one of the curved silver tubes. I added a coiled piece of the new multi-color Artistic Wire in the silver/gold/black colorway. I spied some wooden beads laying on my table so added those, as I do. Then I got out more wooden beads, a glass hoop (the yellow between the two wooden rounds on the silver tube) some multi color O ring metallic spacers and a little wooden animal.
I got the wooden animal and the patterned wooden beads from Andrew Thornton: Project Destash. Also, Andrew Thornton recently did a video tutorial showing a coiled wire project. Then, he used coiling (with one of the multi color wires!) in a Beadalon Designer Challenge to make a really cool necklace. (You can still vote through February 19, 2021 by clicking on the link and liking the picture.) When Andrew showed his coiling technique, I remembered that long ago my dad gave me an Artistic Wire Coiling Gizmo. I fished it out of a drawer and used it to make my coil. It was fun! I will use it again.
The two bracelets stack well together. It’s difficult to stack them flat for a picture, but I’ve been wearing them, and they look and feel great on.
I had a lot of fun with my creative pursuits today. I also started a project for a design kit. I had several other things I wanted to work on, but those have to wait. Maybe I will get to them tomorrow. Thanks for reading!
I always love the look of a bracelet stack. (Think Candie Cooper on just about any video.) They aren’t always easy for me to wear, although it obviously can be done. I used to work with a woman who was always wearing a cute dress, a bracelet stack (or two) and what I have come to know as a neckmess before the term even existed – and whenever possible, she had biked to the meeting. How cool is that?
The kit contains all the materials you will need; you just need a few tools. You might have some of the materials already at home, but if you need to order some, I encourage you to order from The Bead Place. Abbi is a fantastic teacher, and she puts so many free tutorials on her YouTube page. It’s nice to support small businesses who give us so much!
There was no detail left to chance in this tutorial. I am usually an eyeball it sort of person, but because of Abbi’s directions, I averted disaster more than once. It’s not a difficult project (and, with her instructions, a beginner can be successful) but it is precise. I was patient enough to do it because it was like beading with encouragement from a friend. I really enjoyed Abbi’s teaching style.
I think my bracelet came out great, and looks fabulous with my stack! There is the three strand bracelet from the kit, two silver bangles I’ve had since I was a teenager, four fabulous polymer clay channel bangles by ArtSci Designs, and a design based on a Candie Cooper project with a Green Girl Studios flower connector.
I think this is a great stack, and the kit was a fun project.
I just realized my last couple posts have been about the Artists for Animals Auction, and this one will be (partially) as well. I’ll get back to posting about other things soon. But I can’t pass up the opportunity to advertise the event to raise money for the animals. My auctions will go to supporting Madison Cat Project.
Also, this coming week will be difficult for many people in the U.S. (and elsewhere), so that auction, plus The Great Bead Extravaganza are two things that can be a positive and fun alternative to over-indulging in stressful news. It’s important to be informed, but it is also important to have balance as much as possible and care for yourself.
The Great Bead Extravaganza is a free event on Facebook featuring projects, giveaways, demonstrations and more special content over two days by multiple artists and bead shops. You have to join the group to see the presentations (most or all of which will be recorded and available after the live presentations) but you can see what it is all about in this preview video! I was already totally sold on the idea, and the preview video got me even more excited as there are several projects I want to do. So that will be a lovely weekend to look forward to. I only wish I could take that Friday off work!
Meanwhile, the Artists for Animals Auction start tomorrow! I’ve shown quite a few of the pieces I have for it already, but I’ll just highlight a couple.
I had quite a bit of fun making a bracelet stack for myself from a tutorial by Fanciful Devices, so I decided to make a little stack for the auction.
I made one of my classic knotted bead necklaces with vintage glass and an Artisticaos ceramic beetle pendant.
One more picture of a favorite pair of earrings for the auction: distressed red tin with tinwork and ceramic headpins by Crows Cache Supplies.
I hope you can tune in to both events and have a bit of fun over the next week. Enjoy!