Tuesday, October 27, 2009

SATeam Wrist Candy Holiday Giveaway!

The SATeam is having a fabulous promotion! Between 10/26 and 12/6, anyone who purchases an item from any of the participating SATeam shops will be entered in a drawing to win this beautiful charm bracelet, featuring handcrafted charms from over 25 individual team members!

This is one seriously beautiful bracelet...

Can you guess which charm I contributed? ;)

A list of the participating shops can be found at the SATeam blog, which will be featuring a participating shop every day for the duration of the sale. You can also find sale items by searching for SATEAMWRIST at Etsy.

At my shop, this promotion is valid for each jewelry and tutorial sale, so you can enter this drawing by purchasing either a handcrafted piece of jewelry or instructions on how to make your own beautiful creations!

Happy Holiday Shopping!

Friday, October 23, 2009

New Jewelry in the Shop - Fall Colors!

I listed a few new pieces in my Etsy shop:

First, a pair of mini Disco Ball earrings in fall colors:

And a matching Caged Octahedron pendant:

And finally a Double Bubble Jacks freshwater pearl pendant:

Tutorials for the Disco Ball and Double Bubble Jacks beaded beads are also available in my Etsy shop. Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Crystal Bubble Experiments

Long before I tried using freshwater pearls in some of my teardrop beaded bead designs, I had always wanted to try these designs using Swarovski crystal pendants. So, when Artbeads asked me to sample their line of Swarovski crystals, I gravitated towards some clear crystal 7 mm briolette pendants (Swarovski article # 6007) to try in my Double Bubble Jacks and Teardrop Bubbles designs.

Here's the Double Bubble Jacks beaded bead with crystals, which I turned into a charm on a bracelet:

And here's the Teardrop Bubbles beaded bead with crystals, which I turned into a solo pendant:

The resulting pieces worked up very well; in terms of shape and structure, the Swarovski 7 mm briolette pendants are completely interchangeable with the 4 x 6 mm Czech teardrop beads called for in the tutorials. I did however use fireline (4 lb-test) instead of nymo thread when constructing these beaded beads, as the edges of the holes of crystals can cut nymo thread very easily. This even happened with the 4 lb-test fireline while I was constructing the Teardrop Bubbles crystal pendant, so next time I'll use the slightly thicker 6 lb-test fireline, or maybe even wildfire thread.

Next time I'll also try a color palette with more contrasting colors, since this clear crystal and light blue palette doesn't really show all the details in these beaded beads. Granted, I was going for a wintery snowball look which I think I achieved, but it's easy to lose sight of the seed bead pillars among the many facets of the crystals in these pieces. I also found these pieces very difficult to photograph, and the resulting photos still look a bit dark, but if I increased the exposure the beaded beads became overexposed very easily.

Anyway, in summary, I was happy to discover that these briolette crystals work very easily in these designs. I'm also looking forward to including Swarovski crystals as alternative materials for my upcoming beaded bead tutorials.

Full disclosure: The 7 mm clear crystal briolette Swarovski pendants used to construct these pieces were received as a gift from Artbeads.com.

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Jewelry in the Shop

I listed a few new pieces in my Etsy shop this week:

This pair of earrings is in the Double Bubble Jacks design. I've made a pair similar to this one before, and I love this color palette so much that I had to make another pair:

This pendant uses light grey drop-shaped freshwater pearls, and is in the Bubble Box design. This design seems to be quite amenable to unevenly-shaped pearls such as these, especially considering that these particular pearls didn't work as well as other drop-shaped freshwater pearls in the Double Bubble Jacks design.

Finally, here's a pendant in the Disco Ball design. I think it looks like a sweet ball of candy:

Tutorials for all of these designs are also available in my Etsy shop if you'd like to make your own.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New Tutorial - Disco Ball Beaded Beads

I just finished my newest tutorial - the Disco Ball Beaded Bead.

I actually came up with this design over two years ago, long before I conjured up the guts to post my work on the internet. This beaded bead is in the shape of an icosahedron, a regular polyhedron constructed of twenty equilateral triangles. The sides of this structure are decorated with tiny 15/0 Japanese seed beads, which can be woven in different color patterns for very different effects. This design is a relative of the Light Clusters beaded bead, and in the variations section of this tutorial I discuss how to apply elements of this design to the Light Clusters design. I've previously posted the result of this hybrid a few times, as I tend to make copious amounts of earrings out of them. Like the Light Clusters, this design is hollow and completely self-supporting.

In addition to the pieces I've already posted, I made a new pendant in this design using lots of metallic colors:

I originally made the following necklace over two years ago with silver-lined topaz seed beads and a gold-plated clasp, both of which were showing signs of serious wear. So I ripped it all apart and completely reconstructed the beaded beads using high-quality gold-plated seed beads. This necklace features a Disco Ball beaded bead, two smaller variations based on both the Disco Ball and Light Clusters designs, and two beaded bead variations based on a rhombic dodecahedron structure (although these turned out much more egg-shaped than I had intended). It also has three small all-seed-bead beaded beads. Venetian gold foil beads, large Japanese seed beads, and a shiny vermeil clasp complete this necklace.

This is one of the fanciest pieces in my collection, and while I don't wear it often, it usually gets tons of attention when I do. I hope that you like it too!

You can see more images of these and other designs in the gallery of my website. As always, if you use this tutorial, I'd love to see your creations!

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Birthday Gift for my Great Grandmother

My great-grandmother is 100 years young this week, and as per her preference I set out to make her a pastel pearl necklace. Even though I had recently gotten the Double Bubble Jacks beaded bead to work with drop-shaped pearls, I wasn't quite ready to try pearls in the Teardrop Bubbles beaded bead anytime soon - I was afraid that it would require too much tinkering to get it to work. But I wanted to make something really special, as my great-grandmother is the crafty genius of the family, excelling in crochet, needlepoint, gorgeous french-beaded flowers, and yes, beadwork, since long before I was born. Plus how often does your great-grandmother turn 100?

So I started with some drop-shaped cream-colored freshwater pearls which are about the same size as the drop pearls in the beaded beads in this necklace. To my surprise, the result was very encouraging the first time through. The only adjustment that this beaded bead needed was the addition of a large core bead to stabilize the structure, mainly because the holes of pearls are smaller than those of Czech beads, so the finished freshwater pearl beaded bead cannot be satisfactorily stabilized by filling the holes with thread.

I strung the finished beaded bead as the necklace focal, and rounded out the necklace with more drop-shaped freshwater pearls. Here's the finished piece, in dedication to the woman from whom I inherited the crafty gene:

Happy Birthday Mimi, and Rock On

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dark Sapphire Crystal Caged Octahedron

About a month ago the kind folks over at Artbeads.com invited me to join their blogger program, beginning with sampling some items from their Swarovski crystal line of products. I have a bunch of ideas for pieces containing Swarovski crystals that I've never gotten around to doing, so I was very excited at the opportunity to try these ideas out. This post is the first of a three-part series on what I created with these crystals.

For the first piece, I wanted to try an octahedron beaded bead pendant with round faceted crystals, in the same style as this pendant but in a different color palette. Here is the result:

I used 6 mm dark sapphire faceted round Swarovski crystal beads in combination with Japanese seed beads to create this piece. The crystal beads definitely give this pendant an extra sparkle compared to glass or gemstone beads, however the seed bead overlay is a bit loose on this pendant compared to the gemstone pendants that I've made with this design. This may be due to size variations in the gemstones that I used in the other pieces, which is much more common in gemstones than in crystals. I'll have to play with the bead count of the seed bead overlay the next time that I use crystals in this design.

I really like the color of these crystals, but unfortunately it's a fairly rare Swarovski crystal color. The dark indigo Swarovski color is a pretty close match though, so I'll be using this shade the next time that I use crystals in this color palette.

Full disclosure: The twelve 6 mm dark sapphire faceted round Swarovski crystals in this piece were received as a gift from Artbeads.com.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Disco Ball Pendants and a Necklace

I made some new pieces using a new beaded bead design. It's in the shape of an icosahedron, a regular 3D structure consisting of 20 equilateral triangles. While there are a couple of pretty icosahedron beaded bead designs currently out there in the beading community, I decided to spice mine up with an outer layer of tiny 15/0 seed beads. The result is an elegant, tactile, and very detailed beaded bead. I think it looks kind of like a disco ball.

Here's one with deep blue freshwater pearls:

And another in red and silver, to match a pair of earrings currently in my shop:

Finally, I made a necklace with one large and two smaller beaded beads, made to match the beautiful lampwork beads from fellow Etsian and SATeam member Melissa Vess. I love color-matching beaded beads to lampwork beads; it's a fun exercise to pick a lampwork bead to serve as the color palette for the piece.

The smaller beaded beads are in the same style as the disco ball beaded bead, but these are octahedral, or eight-sided, instead of 20-sided. I've made many pairs of earrings in this design.

These pieces are now listed in my Etsy shop. A tutorial is in progress...
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