Saturday, April 3, 2010

I won some Pliers!

Charlene Anderson offered some pliers for posting on her blog recently. I always need pliers so, I posted. Amazingly, I received an email from her the other day saying I WON!

Now, I'm not one of those people who always win things like that, in fact the last thing I remember winning was a box of sweet cherries when I was 10. (I hate to figure how long ago that was)

I follow Charlene on Twitter and saw her post about the contest. Her blog is here. I wish I had more time to follow all the interesting blogs out there but Charlene's is worth taking the time. (Oh, I have several others too)

A funny side note: I usually wake up early and "think". I get some of my best ideas then. This morning I was thinking about the fact that I always seem to misspell pliers. I'm forever getting words underlined in red. You know those words that you are given the hint are not in the dictionary. It is a form of spell checking. Plyers gets underlined. Looks good to me.

Which brings (finally) me to the thought I had this morning. Plyer is a word but not the tool. Pliers (plural) is the word. That reminded me (remember I just woke up) of the rule I learned in school about plurals ending in "y". Change the "y" to "i" and add "es". Except words that have a vowel before the "y" as in monkey/monkeys. Thus Pliers. OK, I can now remember how to spell the tool name. Those rules do come in handy.

But why is is plural? Is each one of those straight pieces a "plyer". And why do they say a "pair of pliers" when in fact it is only one tool? Some of the things I think about when I first wake up (notice I did not say get up)

Anyhow, check out Charlene's blog and other web sites.

And thanks for the pliers Charlene. (I'll post more when I receive them)

B and

Monday, March 29, 2010

New Chain Maille Bracelet

This is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. The 'funny' thing is that I've had those green rectangles around for quite awhile. Never could come up with a piece that I liked using them. I purchased a strand and they are all different. Some have more brown and yellow stripes in the rectangle. I chose these three because the were all green and white.

Then I added segments of the Parallel or Helm weave. Added a clasp and ta da, finished.

I'm always amazed at the designing process. Sometimes easy and sometimes hard. Sometimes you just have to wait awhile for the results to come together. This will be available soon on our Ring by Ring Designs web site.

What do you think of the results of waiting?

B and and

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ring by Ring Designs

I've been very lax lately in posting on my blog. Not that I have not been busy but I've been working hard with my new designer partner, Pam Barrett. I think I mentioned before that we have joined together to form a new business "Ring by Ring Designs". Totally amazing how much time new adventures take.

Pam has a slightly different style than I do but one thing in common, we love to design Chain Maille. This is one of my new designs, partly inspired by Pam and partly by Urban Maille. They have new copper twisted wire rings. Don't they add a lot to the design?

The basic pattern is byzantine segments but the middle rings are twisted copper. Then the segments are separated by a "rose" constructed with three large twisted copper rings.

I've made this basic pattern before from a kit from Urban Maille called Byzantine Rose.

I really like the results. What do you all think?


Monday, February 15, 2010

New venture

One of my friends and I are starting a new business. Well, same business but with a different direction. Pam and I have been making jewelry for quite a while and decided to join forces to focus on Chain Maille. We both love making Chain Maille but have not had much luck with some of the ways we have tried to sell our pieces. People are very supportive. Some have already purchased many pieces. Some love what we make but can not afford more or tell us: "I'm really not a jewelry person"

Anyhow, we know there are people out there who like what we make and will buy from us but we need to find more of them. We have been putting our heads together and our first step was to join forces. It turns out that our skills and special interests seem to work together very well.

I love to work with Picasa and the above "collage" is the results of one of Picasa's features. Amazing isn't it? Not exactly sure how it will be used. Our new logo is in the middle with some of our designs around it. The logo is still a work in progress but pretty good so far.

We decided to call ourselves "Ring by Ring Designs". The phrase Chain Maille is not as well known (we found out)People think of armor. The Ring by Ring part is the way our pieces are made: ring by ring. Does it make sense to you?

Anyhow, we are off and running working on brochures, business cards, and a new web site. Our plan is also to sell to local jewelry stores. We are fortunate to live in an area that has some good ones. It will take lots of work but we are excited to get going.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Jens Pind Chain Maille Bracelet

You may have read my recent post about having trouble with the Jens Pind Chain Maille weave.

I explained that while it has a reputation of being a difficult weave, it is really just a single spiral weave. Easier said than done. However, I was determined to really learn the weave. I persevered and finished the bracelet in my previous post.

Then I wrote to Aislyn at and explained that I had lost my original tutorial and was having trouble making the weave. Aislyn, nice lady that she is, sent me a new copy.

So, without struggling, I made another one. I used some large rings (10 mm) to make a 5 ring mobius focal and call it "Five Silver Rings" At least that is what I call it now. Subject to change as time goes by.

A special thanks to Aislyn at Urban

B and
I'm always open to suggestions for names for my pieces. Anyone?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Parallel Rose Pendant with copper rings

I love to make Chain Maille. I especially like it when I make something different. This pendant is about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. It really is not new. I teach a class at Beadcache in Mansfield, MA on a similar pendant.

Both are made from the Parallel or Helm weave. It makes a nice bracelet too. By making a piece long enough and then joining the ends, you get a nice pendant.

With the new design, I added twisted copper rings for color and used the large rings I had left over from the Emerald Isle bracelet I recently made. I love to use left overs. It was a bit challenging to get the right size rings to go with the large ones and I had to add a middle size ring in the center to stabilized the whole thing with very small connecting rings.

I really have not decided on a chain to use yet. I had a nice silver chain that shows in the picture but I'm thinking about a black cord or maybe a leather cord. Somehow the thin silver chain does not seem in proportion with the large pendant. Maybe a thicker silver chain? Oh, the possibilities.

Any suggestions?

B and

Friday, February 5, 2010

Jens Pind Chain Maille Bracelet

Jens Pind has the reputation of being a challenging weave to learn. In reality it is a simple spiral with a small aspect ratio. A fancy word for a small hole in the ring. Without a small aspect ratio the weave unwinds and isn't pretty.

I had ordered a tutorial and rings for Jens Pind from Urban Maille awhile ago. I still have the beautiful bracelet I made. I decided recently to make one with smaller rings. The first one was made with 12 gauge rings. (Check out my previous post about it) Beautiful but heavy. I even had the appropriate ring sizes on hand.

I hunted for the tutorial with no luck. It is no where to be found. So, I checked out the Internet for tutorials and found a few but neither, though very clear ;-), helped me to get the weave. So, I decided to try on my own using the "just a single spiral" definition. To my surprise, with a few false starts and back ups I had made a Jens Pind bracelet. See the above picture.

I really like it. Goes with everything and is special with the little heart I had in my stash of supplies.

THEN, a friend wanted me to show her how. We worked a bit here at my house while doing other things but she said when she go home couldn't do it. Just didn't "get it". I offered to come over tomorrow to help.

I had some left over 12 gauge rings and last night I started a small chain. No problem. HOWEVER, today, I decided I'd start another piece so I'd be sure I could show her. I couldn't do it for the life of me. I looked up the online tutorials again and still no go. I tried the 16 gauge. No luck. I put it aside and this afternoon, success. I'm determined to really learn how to do this weave! ! !

I now have about 3 - inch long pieces. Starting is the hardest part so I started several pieces.

I'll soon have lots of Jens Pind earrings on hand!

It may be a mental thing. You know if you think it is hard, it is. But I don't know. The reputation may be very true.

Any of you had good luck making Jens Pind?

B and

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Emerald Isle Bracelet

I've been wanting to include some crystals with Chain Maille patterns. There are several books out there (I have them) and I'm always looking for new patterns.

I found this one with a v e r y long name. "Staggered Corduroy with Japanese overlay and crystals." Whew! It is really a combination of two patterns.
The name "Emerald Isle" is an attempt to shorten the name. Plus it does look like an Emerald Isle. Of course the bracelet can be made with many different colors and then, I guess, I'll have to come up with new names.

Here is the bracelet half way through adding on the Japanese overlay part. The pattern isn't very hard but the orientation of the rings seemed to be very important to get it right. Took me awhile to "get it".

The tutorial I used was from an old Bead and Button magazine. (Never throw those out) Actually I downloaded it from their web site (for a small fee). It is handy to have that ability. They gave an editor's suggestion of adding smaller beads on each side of the larger crystals. They show up when you look at the back of the bracelet. My bracelets never stay put so that is a good idea.

So, what other colors would you like to see in the bracelet? I've had one request for sapphire so far.

B and

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bird of Paradise Blossom

If you live in Florida or other warm states, this may not be impressive to you. But here in the northeast, this blossom is great to see especially, in the deep winter.

I've posted pictures of this before but every year it seems to be another "miracle". My brother-in-law brought back some Bird of Paradise seeds just before our oldest daughter was born. (I won't give the date away) My Mother-in-law planted them and after they sprouted, gave one to each of her kids. Slowly they gave out but ours flourished. Then one day we had a blossom. The plant was only a few feet tall. But the blossom was magnificent. Since then the plant has grown, been divided many times, sprouts given away and moved to its current container, a large green garbage can.

We found out that they have long tap roots and will grow larger if you will put them in a larger container. Needless to say, we stopped putting the plant in a larger container. Somehow, a large garbage container is enough!

We put it outside in the summer and bring it back in in the fall. A big reason to not have a larger container. The process involves a large dolly (bag truck) to move it and boards to act as a ramp for the steps to the outside. We are fortunate to have a very wide front door for the project.

Still every blossom is welcomed (not so much on moving day)

B and

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kids Living with Cancer

On January 24, 2010 at 8:00 PM ET/PT Nickelodeon will be running a program called "The Face of Courage: Kids Living with Cancer" Take time to watch it if you are able. Tivo, DVR it or what ever you can.

Those of you who follow my blog know Lexie Williams. She is the girl in the lower left of the above picture. Because of the upcoming program, Lexie is getting phone calls. Alice, her Mom, commented on yesterday's Caring Bridge web site:

"Lexie was on the phone this morning before we went as it is almost time for her TV appearance, and the papers are calling- She told the interviewer when he asked her how she managed to live this life that, 'We always try to have fun whenever we can, because we know there will be the sad times, like today'- How did she get to be so brilliant ???"

Lexie was referring to the fact that they were about to attend the funeral of Bridget, another 11 year old girl who just lost her battle with Brain Cancer. You can read more on Alice's Caring Bridge journal.

Let's all do what we can to help spread the word about Cancer in Kids. They really need the research to help get rid of this terrible disease.

B and

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Copper Chain Maille Bracelet

Last week our South Shore Beaders group met as usual. But not as usual, actually. We had decided at our December, dinner meeting, to try some different gatherings. The suggestions went from going bowling to taking jewelry classes.

It was finally decided that every other month we would do "something" different and in January the different thing was to join the group at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, MA for their Wed "Bring something and Craft together" meeting. We have been before but not as a group. Well, other than the first time we found this meeting.

Sometimes it is hard to work on the project you bring because we have such fun exchanging ideas and doing "Show and Tell". One brought a very new project of paper beads. (The kit arrived just that afternoon). One brought Viking Knit, one Kumihimo with beads and I brought a Chain Maille project.

Trying to keep one of my resolutions to "use what I have on hand" I brought some copper rings and some focal hearts. I started the bracelet at home, made about an inch there and finished it at home. (Talking takes up time...)

The pattern is the Barrel weave variation. (The "barrels" alternate in their position) I have made a similar bracelet in Argentium Silver before and it is very popular. I have an older post about it. The green and copper really go well together.

Anyhow, it was a fun evening and resulted in a fun bracelet.

What do you think about the copper variation?

B and

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Nickelodeon "Cancer and Kids" program

Alice Williams, Lexie's mom, has been sharing about a program that will be aired on Nickelodeon on January 24, at 8 PM. It is titled "NICK NEWS WITH LINDA ELLERBEE’S THE FACE OF COURAGE: KIDS LIVING WITH CANCER"

Set your Tivo, DVR or alarm clock to watch it. Lexie will be on as one of the Kids Living with Cancer. Her section was filmed at Camp Sunshine. A Camp where Kids can go and be themselves as a kid should be.

Here is a blurb about the up coming show you can read. Click on the underlined section.

Remember the date January 24, 2010 at 8 PM on Nickelodeon.

You can read more about Lexie on other blog posts and see "Lexie's Jewelry" on my websites. $10 of each purchase goes to Cancer Research.

B and

Saturday, January 9, 2010

New Breast Cancer Bracelet

I love it when my customers give me new ideas. Especially this one.

I had a home party at Melanie's home (my Lexie Jewelry partner) and we decided to display more of my regular jewelry than just the Lexie Jewelry. A percentage of the sales would go to Cancer Research as with the Lexie Jewelry. To make a long story short, one of the ladies saw a bracelet

and suggested that it be made with pink beads instead of the hematite in the bracelet I had there. (above) She wanted to give her sister, now with Breast Cancer, a meaningful bracelet.

After a small search for pink beads, I settled on Rose Swarovski 6 mm beads. Funny thing. My daughter who is not a jewelry person commented while I was making the bracelet: "Hey, that's nice. I might wear that!" Now that is a complement!

Anyhow, I'm thinking that I should add this to my Cancer Research line of jewelry.

What do you think?

B and