Friday, December 14, 2012

Birthstone Gifts

Birthstone Gifts
One of the things people like to give as gifts is jewelry with birthstones. It is a more personal gift and usually very appreciated.

If you do a "Google" search for Birthstones, you will get many choices. With in the choices you will find some disagreement in what specific Birthstone that fits each month. To simplify things, I chose the list of Swarovski crystals. That fits better into my jewelry making anyhow. Most months are pretty much the same in each list. April isn’t a diamond but (clear) crystal. October has a few choices as does December and June. Other choices for October are Opal, Light Rose and Green Tourmaline. For December other choices are Turquoise and Light Sapphire. For June, Pearl is another choice.


Most chain maille jewelry can have Swarovski crystals added to make a birthstone piece. Of course you can make a bracelet or necklace of just Swarovski crystals with some spacers

Another idea is Family, Grandmother or Mother's bracelets. Having the color of each birth month of each child. Here is an example of one with the child's name and October birthstone, sapphire.


Think of the people on your gift list. Would someone appreciate birthstone jewelry? You can design one of your own that will be special to the recipient.
You can see some suggestions of Angel Birthstones on my website. Actually, almost any angel will make a good gift. Do consider birthstones as gifts.
Let me know what you want to design for your gift(s).

Until next week,

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

New Video Magatama Kumihimo

New Video
Magatama Kumihimo
If you have been following my posts, you probably know what I mean by Magatama Kumihimo.
But if it is new to you: Magatama is a type of seed bead. Seed beads usually are small beads (seed like) Magatamas are not your normal seed bead.
They have a very distinctive shape. The holes are slanted rather that going straight through the bead. There are smaller magatama beads, too, however.
These are 4 x 7mm in size.
And they come in hundreds of different colors. It is great fun trying different arrangements of the magatama beads as well as using different colors. They can be strung all in one direction to have a "pine cone" effect or in a random fashion. Then you can add other seed beads and come up with an entirely different look. And of course, the colors can be in a pattern or completely mixed.
Recently, I made a video of the various Magatama Kumihimo bracelets I've made. It shows the different patterns that can be made and many of the different colors and color patterns. As you watch the video, see if you can pick out the ones that are the "pine cone" pattern (strung in all one direction) or the ones with random stringing. You've seen them all before but having them all in one place may help understanding how they really look. (Unless you have seen them in person, it really isn't clear.) This doesn't even touch the many variations that can be made.
The Kumihimo part is how the magatama beads are woven together. Kumihimo is Japanese braiding using (in my case) a foam disk. This is a picture of the disk and how it looks in progress.

Fibers and not beads are shown here - in case you are looking closely. But the idea is the same.
So, click on the picture below or here to view the video. Enjoy. (I really like the music that I was able to add even though it stopped before the end of the video.)

You can purchase or find more information on these Magatama and other Kumihimo bracelets on my website by clicking here.
You can feel like a "Devil Woman"  while watching   ;-)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Golden Raspberry
Kumihimo Bracelet

While on Thanksgiving vacation on Cape Cod last week, I made 3 new Kumihimo Bracelets. Two are similar to others I've made and one is quite different. I'm featuring the different one this week. (Actually, I haven't really finished the other two.  My reason for the feature - is because this bracelet is different, and I'm sticking to it!)
You may recognize it as the bracelet I showed under construction last week.
However, I was able to get a better picture of the lovely colors at home and show the hammered Antique Brass toggle clasp I found for the finish. Though nothing is like seeing it in person.
The other two should be finished next week. In the mean time you can see more information by clicking on the pictures or clicking here: Golden Raspberry bracelet and go to my website.
(Always remember you can email me anytime, if your prefer)
Until my Friday Special and next week,

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Glass Dome Pendant Ideas

Glass Dome Pendants
Let's come up with some new ideas
Last February I started making Glass Dome Pendants. Because they are so versatile, it is hard to show everyone what can be done with them. The designs are endless and are only limited by our imagination.
I started looking at various pictures and found some "themes". Japanese symbols, flowers, Kaleidoscope designs and various others. You can see some of my choices on my website.
Here is one of the Japanese designs for "Peace". I get compliments when I wear this one. Plus being asked "What does it mean?"
Here is one of the flowers that I chose to make. One of my favorites. See more here
At the two craft fairs I attended lately, there was a lot of interest in the designs I have. But as I talked to the people (that is one thing I love about being at craft fairs - the interaction with my customers) I found they had some other requests. Since then, I've sold some "special" pendants. Children's pictures - gifts for grandparents, pets - gifts for ?? or themselves. So that made me wonder what suggestions will all of you, my newsletter followers, come up with. Thus, this post asking for your suggestions.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the ability to have these pendants used as fundraisers. My friend, Melanie, requested a blue paw print to sell at her school. The school mascot is the "Hancock Huskies"
And of course, the "Parkview Panda" mascot. Pandas are popular in general, of course. And this one is so cute. (Parkview is the school my youngest grandson attends)
You see where this could go? I have another request for the local high school marching band to raise money for trips etc. They sell for $15 (a good price point) and profit is $5 per pendant. Beats magazines and candy bars.  ;-)
Think of the little girls who love dancing, kitties, dogs or play music. Here is the link again to the ones I already have.
Just a quick note about the pictures. Most do not have the glass dome in the picture because of the glare in taking the picture. Hope that is not confusing to you. All will have a glass dome. It does tend to magnify the picture a bit, too.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Blue Danube Necklace

Blue Danube Necklace
A new Kumihimo with Magatama beads
With the time I had waiting for the Hurricane Sandy storm, I had a chain maille class  and then time to make a new Magatama Kumihimo necklace to match a bracelet I made last spring. Here is the bracelet.
There are 4 different colors in the pattern with the beads strung in random directions. It is similar to the one I called "Firecracker" and showed in a post in June.  I have several bracelets made with this design that you can see them all here.
I decided that the Blue Danube bracelet could use a matching necklace. The colors are striking and very eye catching. So here is the matching necklace.
Here is a close up of the beads. Really beautiful, if I say so myself.
For those of you who are here in Massachusetts, I will be at a craft fair to benefit the Boston Children's Hospital (Pediatric Advanced Care System) on Saturday, November 10 in West Roxbury, MA at the Elks Club (248 Spring Street) across from the VA hospital from 10 AM to 4 PM.
Until next week (or Saturday) ,

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Something Different

Something Different
(A New Leather Bracelet)
When I went to a recent Bead Show, my intent was to find the leather and findings for the Regaliz style bracelet I wanted to give to my grandson for his Bar Mitzvah. Of course, that was not all I found.
Clever Treasures is a favorite vendor of mine for all things leather and new designs using leather. Naturally, Deb had the leather I was looking for plus other interesting finds. She was wearing an interesting bracelet and I purchased the necessary materials to make one.
The bracelet has a magnetic clasp and is easy to put on and to take off. Well, easy to take off once you understand how it works. You have to put your finger nail in the right spot and twist. I purchased the clasp at another favorite souce of all good things, pflora beads in Canton, MA
It was an interesting scene when I got it on and couldn't get it off. My husband couldn't get it either. I knew one way to do it but that way took two hands. Not possible with the bracelet on one arm. With two hands, he could do it for me, of course.
At that point I didn't know about the finger nail technique. So after we got it off, I played with the clasp for awhile until I discovered the finger nail method. Oh, yes, the little thingy that looks like you should push it, is not the solution. Needless to say, it is a very good strong magnetic clasp that you don't have to worry about coming off in the refrigerator. But that is another story. (I'll tell you if you ask)
What do you think of this new bracelet? Would you like to have one or give as a gift in the upcoming gifting season? Let me know.
I made two Regaliz style bracelets. So, I also, have another Regaliz style bracelet for sale if anyone is interested.
Until  next week,

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Christmas Earrings

Christmas Earrings
A few weeks ago I introduced mentioned that I needed to get started on making jewelry for the coming Holidays. I will be having a table at a craft fair to benefit the Boston Children's Hospital (Pediatric Advanced Care System) on Saturday, November 10,  10 AM - 4 PM, in West Roxbury, MA. (Save the date if you are in MA) That is not that far away, either.
Here is the first piece I've been working on, Christmas earrings. A really cute "tree" made with Swarovski Margarita beads. (Now, doesn't that sound good?) The spacers are Silver Plated Pewter beaded Heishi beads and topped with a Swarovski Sunflower bicone.
They are really cute and fun to wear for the holiday season.


I have added these to my website and they are ready for purchase. For more information, pictures and to order click here or on the picture.
Until next week,

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Something for me

Something for me
When I make new jewelry pieces, I am either learning a new technique or almost always thinking of selling the piece. This time the set (necklace, bracelet and earrings) are made for me. It sometimes surprises me how that difference influences how I make the piece. It usually effects the cost of what I choose to put into a piece.
Now, don't misunderstand, I always use the best material. Argentium Sterling Silver rings for my Chain Maille, Swarovski crystals and the best brand of seed beads (when I use them).

It may be that I don't choose anything different at all when I'm making a piece for me. However, I do notice, I don't even look at the price of the materials when it is for me. Strange?
I showed you the necklace above last week and how it evolved. This week I made a matching bracelet and earrings.
  You can't see it in the picture but the color of the right earring is a bit different than the left. I noticed when I took the picture. No two of the beads are exactly alike on this string of beads but there is definitely more "green" in the right one. I think I'm going to make another pair with better matches. I guess it was not bright enough when I chose the beads for the earrings.
Here is the matching bracelet. I was quite lucky that the segments of Chain Maille and bead sections came out to my size bracelet. No fiddling to get the right length. Unusual.
I know I shouldn't worry about cost as much as I do. David Weiman, a noted "Psychologist/Consultant for Business Owners and Senior Executives" who has an extensive background in jewelry selling, always states that the price you charge for jewelry should never be determined by the cost of materials. If the jewelry piece "speaks" to a potential buyer, the price of the piece doesn't matter. Interesting.
I am pleased with the results of this set.  Oh, you could twist my arm to sell you these pieces if you would like.   ;-)
Until  next week,

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Designing a New Necklace Part 2

Designing a New Necklace
Part 2
Last week, I walked you through the steps I took to design this necklace and mentioned I had another necklace in the works. I have finished the second one made using the Chain Maille technique.
As you know, I love making Chain Maille bracelets and necklaces. I truly love the results. This piece started with a pendant as did the Kumihimo necklace I featured last week. Though, as I mentioned before, the real start was a new gray top I had recently purchased. The gray really needed some color. Silver Chain Maille does not add color to the piece. I needed to add some colorful beads to the design.
With pendant in hand and a Byzantine bracelet, I went off the bead store. When matching colors it is a must to have the pendant in hand. Not even across the store works, at least not for me. This trip was to Canton, MA and pflora's beads
With the help of Phyllis and her helper, I came home with two possibilities. The plan was to make some Byzantine segments and add a colorful bead then more Byzantine segments.
It took a few  minutes to decide I would use both of the possibilities in the necklace. It just looked right with both.
And here is the result:
Close up of the added beads and the
Byzantine segments. I use Argentium Sterling Silver. Argentium is tarnish resistant.
What do you think? Will it look good on my gray top?
Until next week,
PS I found my missing Bulldog clips! They were hiding in my basket of Softflex and wire.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Designing a New Necklace

Designing a New Necklace
I've been thinking about "How do I design a new necklace?" lately. I used to make most of my own clothes and had a similar dilema. Start with fabric first or a particular pattern? Well, it is much the same with a new necklace design.
Start with a particular technique (Chain Maille, Kumihimo or stringing) or design around some particular pendant or beads? Right now I need some new necklaces to go with a new top I recently purchased. That brings up another thought. Do I purchase clothes to go with my jewelry or make jewelry to go with new tops? (Mostly, I buy clothes to go with my jewelry)
The answer to all of the above questions is much the same. It all depends! And I use all of the methods and sometimes even combine the different methods. All that said, here is how I came to make my latest creation.
It started with a new top that required a necklace with some color to it. (The top is a neutral gray) I have about 5-8 pendants that I've collected over the last year from my trips to bead shows. One vendor in particular has great choices and it is hard to come home with only 6 - the quantity you need to purchase to get a better price per pendant.
The next decision was technique. I decided on Kumihimo for this one. (No particular reason other than I liked the colors in the pendant and thought I could find some nice seed beads that would go with the pendant) So, off the my local bead store where I found these two seed bead colors. Transparent Dark Topaz and Gunmetal Iris.
I usually always have cord on hand to make Kumihimo braids but when I got home with my seed beads, I found I was all out. But I did find some  red/maroon/purple/?? C-Lon. and added that to the mix of supplies. It adds some extra color to the finished braid.
I loaded up my Kumihimo disk, mixing up the colors with 5 cords of the Gunmetal Iris and 3 of the Dark Topaz. If you make it an even number , 4 and 4, you end up with a spiral. That is very nice but I didn't feel it would look right with the design on the pendant. This is to be more "mixture".
Nothing seemed to go smoothly in this project and after I started, I soon discovered that I had cut the cord too short for a necklace. So, the necklace project turned into a bracelet. No problem since it is nice to have a matching bracelet.
Here is the bracelet next to the pendant.  I do like the colors together. What do you think?
I admit, I still have not finished the project yet. I still need to add clasps to both pieces. (Thus the sort of "cut off" look in the pictures) I plan another trip to the bead store this week, or maybe search my stash here and finish the project. Sometimes I need to take a break in the process. ;-)
I've started another necklace project to go with my new top. Very different design. Much the same process, though, as this one. I started with another one of my pendants. And yes, I'll make a matching bracelet and probably earrings. This is a chain maille design. So far I like both projects. You'll see some pictures next week.