Thursday, February 26, 2009

Art of the Firebird

While I'm on vacation, I've been trying to feature other Jewelry Designers I like.

I found Art of the Firebird on Since then I've found her on Twitter and enjoy her posts there and the links she recommends.

She is located in Marietta, GA and has a very busy life as a teacher and family person. However, the part I'm featuring today is her lampworked glass. She also does Handbound books.

Check her out at

(You can check me out too at


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lone Beader

One of the beaders I admire and follow is the Lone Beader. She is in Quincy, MA and describes herself as "Lone Beader (n) 1. one who creates beadwork without the assistance or company of others. 2. one who prefers solitude while creating beadwork."

Her blog her progress with her extremely dimensional relief art which consists of stitching glass beads on felt. Currently she is making the motorcycle shown above. If you go to her blog and go back a month or so, you can follow the progress of making the motorcycle which is amazing. She even shows you the back of her project.

Some of her other pieces are beaded jewelry, earrings and pins. They are often of animals, birds, dogs and custom pieces also.

Interestingly enough some of her earrings were inspired by the parts of her motorcycle.

Can you recognize the hub caps and wheels?

There are so many talented beaders and Lone Beader is sure one of them.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Dr. David Weiman,There must be a Pony

I'm on vacation this week and I'm taking up the offer of Dr. David Weiman (in his blog) to use his you Tube Video called "There must be a Pony"

Dr. David Weiman is a psychologist and management consultant located just outside Philadelphia in beautiful Wynnewood, PA. Dr. Weiman writes about business issues from a psychological perspective. He has previously been quoted in BusinessWeek online and the business section of the Los Angeles Times.

I follow his blog Selling Handcrafted Jewelry. He has lots of great ideas and suggestions for Jewelry Designers. This video is an example of his helpful ideas.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Bleeding Heart Earrings

My Mother really loved flowers. She knew a lot about them, in the "common" way. That is to say not the biological names but the more common names and things about them. She loved Bleeding Hearts and always had one in her garden. I have one too.

She taught me about the "inside parts" of a Bleeding Heart and I've tried to pass it on to my children and grandchildren too. (Not sure how successful I've been but I've tried.) This is a picture of the parts of a Bleeding Heart.

The outer red parts are the "Rabbits", next come the "earrings"

then the "slippers" or shoes (she referred to them as "mules") and last the "bottle of champagne".

The story often was embellished a bit depending on her mood. A Bleeding Heart blossom was always something I could take apart and look at the various parts with their "common" names.

One of my nice memories of my Mother. Thanks Mom.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

South Shore Beaders

Last night we had our monthly South Shore Beaders gathering. I certainly wouldn't call it a "meeting". We had much too much fun to be a meeting.

We have a new member. She found us on Google. Now, we think that is wonderful and a little amazing. It seems if you search for "South Shore Beaders", my blog posts came up and she emailed me and and came to our gathering. We think she is "keeper" and sent her home with several of our boxes. (Each one of us have boxes that have been collected by our audiologist member - repurposing boxes that hearing aides come in and are now used for our jewelry projects)

Since we had a new member we took time during our dinner to tell something about ourselves. This was very nice since we all found out something new about each other.

However, the highlight of the evening was when we decided to open an Etsy shop as a group. We all went home with assignments to get started.

Oh yes, we had our usual show and tell which is the most fun. What a talented group we have. The interesting thing really is how we encourage and teach each other.

A good time was had by all.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Siran Varadian

I have a friend who makes absolutely beautiful beaded pieces. Siran Varadian. She is featured in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Actually, her Mother is my friend but by association... she is too.

I enjoy lots of jewelry designing but seed beading has not been one of my favorites. People don't understand that because I make Chain Maille which people point out is as intricate. Well, not really, but everyone has a favorite thing to do. I totally admire people who can make beautiful beaded pieces as Siran does.

Siran has a real talent for making very unique pieces.

You can see her unique pieces at

Let me know (and Siran) what you think of her beautiful work.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Swarovski crystal bracelets

I once had a discussion with someone on whether it was appropriate to wear Swarovski crystals with jeans or other casual wear.

I won't give you the outcome of the discussion because that is the purpose of this post.

It used to be against the "dressing rules" to wear white shoes after Labor Day. While it isn't very popular to wear white dress shoes in cooler weather, it certainly isn't against any rules. White (or more exactly, I suppose) winter white pants are extremely popular.

So, what is your opinion of wearing crystals with casual wear? I'd like to hear from you.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Camp Sunshine and Brain Tumor Kids

Lexie, you may remember, is the 10 year old girl who has a Brain Tumor who encouraged me to start my Lexie "line" of jewelry. A bracelet, pendant necklace, earrings and choker.

You can see them on either of my web sites for Bev's jewelry.

I follow the blog of Lexie's Mom at I usually read it every night or early morning just after I get the email notification of a new post. This weekend they are gathering at Camp Sunshine in MA. This is a very special place for all kids with cancer but this weekend was only for those with Brain Tumors.

The usual comments are what happens in their everyday life. However, everyday life is very different to a Brain Tumor Kid and their families. No matter whether they are in remission or getting chemo or having surgery. They all look forward to and enjoy these times at Camp Sunshine.

Following her list of those in the group who are not doing well and what is going on generally, she normally has something philosophical to say. A meaningful quote or just her thoughts for the day.

Saturday's post had the following, quoting:

"When asked if she had three wishes recently, Hailey, thought, and I quote, 'For the world I would want a better environment. For my family I want happiness. And I don't want anything for myself. I'm really happy with my life as it is.' When her mother asked her, 'But Hailey, Wouldn't you wish to not have your brain tumor ???', she said, 'No. having my brain tumor has taught me a lot. It's taught me to be brave.'

"Those words really give you an indication of how truly Amazing our kids are - Hailey is a True HERO!!! (sorry for the three tries- I had tried to say heroi---, but it got censored) How could the world not be a better place if we just put Her in charge ??? She could ask her BT buddies to help her put it straight, but I know they would succeed !!!

"It reminded me of the time I asked Lexie of her wish for the world, and she replied, 'I need someone to find a cure for my brain tumor, so my friends would stop getting sicker and dying.'
What more can I say ???"

Indeed, what more can I say either?? Keep these kids in your prayers and take their words to heart.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Bev's Magnets

When thinking about a post for today, I decided it was time that I "introduced" my very first products, message magnets.

I've always enjoyed working with computers. Computers and I go way back. When I was in college, my friend and I wrote a program for a simple mathematical problem. The college computer (IBM 650) was in a big room and now resides in the Smithsonian. It used punch cards. Probably not many of you remember those. Last I saw of them, they were used to make Christmas wreaths.

After we were married and had three children, we purchase our very own computer. A Radio Shack Model III. 16 K of memory. (I have seen that in the Smithsonian too)

Well, eventually we purchased a computer with more memory and a disk drive. Whoo, who! And on it went, as I'm sure many of you are familiar, with the newer and better model routine.

I really enjoyed playing around with graphics and went from black and white pics to color ones and then even to a color printer. In order to learn more I started putting the pics with phrases such as the one above. I could go on with the learning curve from coloring pics bit by bit with a paint program, to making little magnets covered with contact paper and a strip of magnet glued on the back. Then I found the plastic magnets in the Christmas Tree Shop; the kind you use for kids class pictures - 2 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches.

I found a store near by and asked if she would sell them for me. She did and after 14 years, she still does. I haven't made a new design in 8 years since I started designing jewelry. (The mark up is better) My friend and I still laugh that my "silly" little magnets still sell well.

Any how if you would like to see the whole "line" you can see them at

And just one more, last thought:


Thursday, February 12, 2009

While I was making several Chain Maille patterns, they seemed very familiar. So, after some surfing and just general reading I found that the pattern was indeed the same.

So, what is the difference? The results looks different. Unfortunately, the difference is simple but complicated. It involves a common measurement in Chain Maille called Aspect Ratio or AR for short. Aspect Ratio is a mathematical way to compare the size of the wire (gauge eg. 16 or 18 gauge) and the inside diameter of the ring. It basically measures the amount of space you have to work with in a pattern. Large AR results in a looser design or a very tight design if the AR is smaller.

In mathematical terms AR is inside diameter divided by the gauge or thickness of the wire.

AR= ID/Gauge. (You have to be using the same unit of measure and that is where it gets a bit tricky for mathematically challenged people.) It is something I've always enjoyed doing. Fun sort of.

The two patterns that started all of this is Single/Double Spiral and Jens Pind. I don't have a picture of a single spiral. It doesn't hold its shape. It "unwinds". Double spiral will hold its shape due to the extra space taken up with the double rings. Now if you've been following perhaps you know where this is going. Extra space allows the chain to unwind. What if you used less space? A smaller aspect ratio? Well someone did that and voila came up with Jens Pind. (I rather doubt that was the chain of events but you never know.)

I totally understand if you can't see what I'm talking about in these pictures. I tried some another picture to see if it would help


Jens Pind (Single spiral with small AR) is on top. Double spiral is on the bottom. Try to imagine just one, not two rings.

Can you see the similarity? Well, don't worry the results are nice and you don't have to understand electricity to turn on a light.

If you do like to hear about such information, let me know. If not, let me know that too. I try to write posts people want to read.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Surfing and Dihydrogen Monoxide

I've been doing some surfing today. Trying to find out the latest information on the CPSIA ruling on lead in children's products. As I indicated in my last post about this earlier, it isn't easy to find the latest information. I'm finding lots of people want to make it a political issue. (There is a surprise!) and some just don't understand. So, finding accurate information is often a challenge.

To emphasise my point about not completely understanding issues, I would like you to consider whether you would support the banning of Dihydrogen Monoxide or not. Here are the reasons given to do so:

Dihydrogen Monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless and kills countless thousands of people every year, mostly by accidental inhalation. For those who have become dependant, withdrawal means certain death. It can be found in the excised tumors of cancer patients. It contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape. It accelerates the corrosion of many metals.

Quantities of Dihydrogen Monoxide are found in our rivers, lakes, streams and reservoirs.
Companies dump waste DHMO into rivers and oceans but nothing can be done about it since it is not illegal.

OK, so there you have some of the reasons for banning DHMO. Do you support this?

Listen to this video: about the subject

The title will give you a big hint.

I'm going back to surfing for up to date information on CPSIA and lead in children's products.
I think I'll make it easy for myself and follow updates at Rings and Things Search for lead.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

February Thaw

Last summer we had a new septic system installed. If you have been following my blog since then, you saw this and other pictures of the event.

Since then we have had Fall, the holidays and lots of snow. Much of it fortunately, has disappeared in our February thaw. (January just snowed, no thaw)

Here is a picture taken yesterday of the same area. Reminds me of Erma Bombeck's book The Grass is Greener over the Septic Tank.

Spring can't be too far away???


Monday, February 9, 2009


(One of my "humorous" magnets)

Disclaimer: This post is not my usual type of post.

Anyhow, I have a small slide show that is on the right side of my computer screen. It continually shows all the pictures in "my picture" file on my computer. Since it is random, you never know what will show up next.

It goes from a picture of one of my jewelry pieces, then one of my grandchildren, then a cousin of my Dad, another jewelry piece, my Mother, more grandchildren and on it goes.

Two older family pictures showed up recently, one makes me happy and nostalgic and one make me just wonder. I really glad to have both pictures.

The first one is taken in 1925 and is a group of women who belonged to an organization that both of my Grandmothers belonged. My parents met through this group and I guess you could say I would not be here without this group.

I just love looking at this group of ladies, the dining room it was taken in, the clothes worn, hair dos, and to think about the time and differences from nowadays. Lots of thoughts come to mind. Which lady is the hostess?

The second picture is a group of men in my husband's family. All men, all almost scary looking. He has no idea who they are other than relatives. These men make me wonder too, what was going on the day the picture was taken and what their lives were like?

Well, do the pictures remind you of anyone in your families? See anyone you know?


Friday, February 6, 2009

Lead Law for Children's Protection

One of my "Humorous" magnets

I spent over 2 hours surfing on the Internet to find out the latest on the new Federal Law concerning lead in children's products. I saw a post on Rena Klingenberg's Jewelry business blog and it reminded me of the lead in children's jewelry problem. The original post started in December 2007 and follows what has happened since. The latest contribution was by Russ Nobbs of Rings and Things, a very reputable jewelry component supplier. I buy lots of my components from them just because they are forthright about such things as lead in their products and they have good stuff.

The law is supposed to take effect on February 9, 2009. It effects jewelry and anything else, toys, clothing etc whether hand made or made by large manufacturers made for children under 12. This really effects many small crafters as each item must be tested for lead whether the components are even suspicious for containing lead or not. You can just imagine the effect of that on small businesses.

Crafters of children's toys got up in arms and did the petition, contact your lawmaker route and apparently had some effect.

Anyhow, Russ's post on Rena's blog explained that:

"Yesterday, Feb 2, 2009 the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a one year stay for the new regulations. The stay does NOT exempt “metal components of children’s metal jewelry (effective for products manufactured after March 23, 2009)” The text of the stay is at The CPSC website is

"I’m sure the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America (MJSA) and the other national organizations pressure along with comments from many of us influenced this stay. I’m sure the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America (MJSA) and the other national organizations pressure along with comments from many of us influenced this stay.

"The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted for the stay last week, after Congress was deluged with complaints from the broad range of industries affected by the law, including toys, apparel, and furniture. However, an exception to the stay was made for certain products, including children’s jewelry.

"As a result, third-party testing and certification will still be required for children’s jewelry products made after March 23, 2009. Those items must contain no more than 600 ppm (0.06 percent) lead content by weight. That threshold will drop to 300 ppm (0.03 percent) in August. The CPSC has until November to establish compliance protocols and testing for random samplings."

My response to this problem is
1) check with suppliers (such as Rings and Things) about the content of lead in their items -
Most are now listing any items that do have lead in them and

2) not market my jewelry to any one under 12.

Now that is not easy to do. What if someone asks me to make a 6 inch bracelet? Should I ask if it is for a child? Assume it is for a child? Ask if they will sue me if it is for a child?

I hope this post was helpful (Thanks to Rena Klinenberg and Russ Nobbs for the information included). Let me know what you think and consider checking out some of the links or doing some surfing yourself.


I need to make a disclaimer as part of my 2 hour Internet surfing was being able to find accurate and more importantly timely information. So, if I have things wrong, let me know but understand where I'm coming from.

PS I found this interesting NPR report this morning.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wire Gauge Converter Widget

(One of my "humorous" magnets)

I found the neatest widget. A wire gauge calculator and mm to inches converter. I first saw it on my blogging buddy, Jamie's, blog

Then this morning, I found another reference on Rena Klingenberg's, Jewelry Business Blog

Since I'm back in a Chain Maille mode, I've been very interested in wire and measurement conversions. The new book I purchased on Chain Maille with beads uses Imperial measurements. You know 1/4, 5/64, 3/32 inches. Drives me crazy. I was brought up on that way to measure and wasn't until I was in college that I started using metric. It is so much easier!

Quick, which of the three fractions I listed above is the smaller? Now which is smaller 4mm, 8mm or 5 mm? Easy right?

So, when I saw that widget, I had to have one.

It is now located on the right side of this blog. Try it out. There are instructions if you want one too.


PS the answer is 5/64. Did you get it?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Byzantine Chain Maille Variations Part II

Yesterday, I showed two variations of plain Byzantine: Byzantine Rose and Romanov.

The first variation today is Olivia. It is very similar to the Romanov pattern because they both start with two segments of Byzantine. It is how they are put together that makes the difference.

Instead of putting the segments in a vertical position and joining them at the top, the segments are put in a horizontal position and joined on a side. The segments look like you are pulling the "legs" apart. At least that is the way it looks to me.

The second one today is called a Byzantine Ladder pattern. Again, it takes two Byzantine segments and joins them in a different way from either Romanov, Olivia or Byzantine Rose.

This is very similar to the Romanov pattern except the way the Byzantine segments are joined. The are joined in a "ladder" fashion. Small joining rings - across the segments and in line. It is easier to see in the picture than it is to say how to do it. ;-)

OK, you've seen 4 diferent variation over the last two days.

Which pattern is your favorite? Byzantine Rose, Romanov,Olivia or Byzantine Ladder?


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Byzantine Chain Maille variations Part I

There are so many variations of the basic Byzantine pattern, it is hard to think of them all.

I teach a Byzantine class at my local bead store, Beadcache in Mansfield, MA ( When you are teaching the basic pattern, it is hard to know how far to go with so many possibilities. Usually, I give them a choice to make a bracelet that is all Byzantine or one generally called Byzantine Rose. Well, as you might guess, Byzantine Rose wins hands down.

The Byzantine Rose pattern includes a "rose" that is simply 3 rings each inside the other. Fancy name is : Mobius ball. You make several segments of Byzantine and attach the segments with "roses" in between each segment. "Ta - Da", an interesting beautiful bracelet.

I must interject to tell you that you will see almost any Chain Maille pattern by more than one name. Byzantine, for example, is also called Bird Cage and Queen's Maille. Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

One of the favorite Byzantine variation patterns is Romanov. Personally, I think it is so popular because you can add beads - or not. This is made by making several segments of Byzantine and connecting two of them with a larger ring at the top. A bead can be added in the center. (Cobalt is always a winner too)

I'll have a few more variations for tomorrow. Until then,


Monday, February 2, 2009

Half Persian Chain Maille Bracelets

I recently ordered enough Argentium Sterling Silver rings to make two Half Persian Chain Maille bracelets.

Ever since Urban Maille came out with shaped rings, (that is, the wire used to make the rings is not round as usual). I decided to make a "regular" ring bracelet and a "square" ring bracelet just to try them out. I was pleased with the results.

Regular Half Persian Chain Maille is on the bottom and the square on the top.

I admit that I did not finish the bracelets with clasps. I have a favorite sunflower clasp that I use for the regular bracelet but it doesn't seem to work on the square bracelet.

I was interested to see how different the weave is using the square rings. They take up more room in the weave and therefore the bracelet is a bit stiffer. You can see the difference in the following picture. (Square on top, round on bottom)


PS: I noticed in the close up top picture, you can see I'm wearing a red shirt. You can see the reflection in the square rings. Plus, you can see the rings that are not perfectly closed, yuck!