May 18, 2010

New Tip Tuesday

I can't claim credit for this one.  I found this tip while completing my organization project last week in one of the magazines I was going through.  If you like working with wire, a cheap way to get colored wire is from phone cords... that's right, phone cords.  They have a series of about six different wires in them, each one coated with a different color plastic coating.  You all probably have some extra phone cords laying around... and if you don't, you can pick them up pretty cheaply at any store.  If you want to save even more money, consider checking thrift stores or reclaim stores for phone cords.  I know I have about 20 extra cords (every time I buy a phone or move apartments, I acquire more phone cords).  Unfortunately, they're all packed away, so I won't be able to try out this tip myself for another couple of months.

Happy beading!

May 15, 2010

Random Non-Beading Project

Recently I have found myself looking at the new laptops in the computer aisle.  Don't get me wrong, I don't need a new computer.  They're just so pretty I can't help myself.  They're little and colorful, and some of them have cute little patterns on them... while mine is boring.  So, I decided that the same skills I use to make pretty jewelry should be put to work to make my laptop pretty.  I found a bunch of the sets of gems for cell phones for CHEAP, so I bought all the sets I could find.  Then, I set to work deciding what I wanted to put on my laptop.  I finally settled on elephants.  They are my favorite animal -- they are just so gentle and kind.  They also represent luck.  So, I found a line drawing of elephants I liked (I didn't think I was up to re-creating anything more complex than a simple line drawing) and started cutting the jewels apart (I found out that cell phone jewels come stuck together on one piece of sticky stuff, so I had to cut them apart to use them).  I personally like it.  Everyone else may think it's silly, but it is special to me.  Not to mention that I will always know which laptop is mine... no mixing it up at the airport!  Hooray for simple projects!

Thank you Mr. Postman!!!

I love getting mail... I mean I really, really love getting mail.  It's even better when the mail I receive is large amounts of beads!  Well, this week I received a couple of shipments of beads... I just haven't had time to photograph them and post the pictures.  Enjoy the pictures of my bead loot!

These first two beads are focals I purchased.  I have a project in mind for the red one (I've already started the woven beaded rope for the glass focal and will post pictures when it is finished).  I don't have anything specific in mind for the fish, but I just couldn't help myself when I saw it.  It represents the summer and SCUBA diving to me... both of which I love.  I can't wait for the perfect project to use it in.

These mother of pearl beads are just so cute.  I love the yellow flowers -- they are just sunny and happy.  I plan to make some earrings with them and maybe some charm type bracelets.  The purple triangles are just a cool shape.  I'm not sure what I'll do with them, but I know it will be really cool when I figure it out.  The brown rectangles are such a luscious color that I just had to have them.

These drop beads are really fun!  They are mother of pearl in resin.  I think they will make really cool chunky drop earrings, and maybe a fun bright focal for a necklace.  I can picture the earrings (they include wire wrapping fun), but I'm still working on the design for the necklace.  I'm thinking of something chunky and VERY colorful.  Check back to see my progress on both projects.

All of the beads in this picture are glass crackle beads.  I was introduced to crackle beads for the first time on a trip to China, and I fell in love with them.  I bought a strand of small multi-colored beads while there, but have been keeping my eye out for larger crackle beads.  When these beads went on sale, I bought all the bright spring/summer colors they had in stock.  The beads with spacers in them are drop beads which can be used to make just about anything (fun earrings, multiple strand necklaces, charm type bracelets... and many more ideas).  The other beads are bamboo shaped.  I just thought they were really fun.  I don't know how I will use them, but I don't have many long thin beads, so I indulged myself.

My next indulgence was stones.  I have some small round stone beads, but I don't have anything chunky.  I have a couple of ideas that include wire wrapping that require me to have larger stones, so I picked up a bunch of different types of stones.  I bought some turqoise, just because it's so popular right now, and it's such an awesome color.  I picked up two shapes of redline marble, some jasper, and another type of marble.  I can't wait to work with it.  I don't work with stones too much, so it will be a great divergence from my normal style.

I was definitely in a spring mindset when I was selecting beads.  I found all types of flower spacer beads that will add some fun and whimsy to my work.  I'm thinking of using the lucite flowers in a ring.  I can also picture them being included in a cool multi-strand necklace and maybe even some earrings.  You'll just have to wait and see what I come up with!

These drop beads are blueberry quartz.  In the picture, they had a lot more blue in them.  The specific set I received only has a couple of beads with a significant amount of blue.  I still think they are really cool.  I just wish they had a little more color.  I don't have a specific project in mind, but will know when it's time to use them.

These spacer beads were too pretty to pass up.  They just scream elegance to me.  I'm not sure whether I should work with the elegance and make a really pretty/dressy piece (maybe using pearls and swarovski crystals) or if I should juxtapose them with some thing really industrial and funky.  I guess only time and my mood will tell.  I can see both ideas clearly and am attracted to both.  Hmmm... what to do, what to do?

With so many necklace and bracelet ideas floating around in my head, I had to pick up some findings worthy of the jewelry pieces I have in mind.  I usually work with really simple magnetic clasps, but I wanted to use clasps that could be displayed in the front of the jewelry pieces... and all of these were on sale, so I picked them up!  Again, spring is the main theme.

Last but not least is a bit of bling.  I selected some beautiful Swarovski crystals from  They came in early in the week, but I didn't take pictures of them until Friday evening.  I am in love with the red and yellow drop bead.  I can't wait to design something to display it.  The smaller beads are going to be used in earrings.  The round bead will be combined with some other beads and wire wrapping to create a really cool focal.  I think I'm going to need to add more hours to the day in order to work on all the projects I have in mind.

FTC Disclosure: The Swarovski beads in the last picture of this post were provided to me free of charge from for review or design purposes as part of the Bead Blogger program. I am providing an honest review of the products for which I am receiving no compensation.

May 10, 2010

New Tip Tuesday

If you are like me, you love organization and being able to find things when you need them.  However, you can go broke purchasing bead and wire storage systems.  Well, I recently lucked out.  I was in the sporting goods department of a local department store and happened to glance down the fishing aisle (this is not a usual occurrance for me... I tried fishing once and ended up reading a book within about 5 minutes, so I am definitely not a fisher-woman).  There, right in front of me, was an entire aisle of organization tools!!!!!  I couldn't help myself.  I think I spent about an hour in the fishing aisle.  Because all the fishing bits are small and need to be kept apart, the storage systems are all perfect for separating beads.  Fishing boxes are also perfect because they are made to be taken on fishing trips... which means you can pack up your beading supplies and hit the road!  They even have organizers for holding spools of fishing line (they have sections that are spool sized and each spool section has a hole to pull the line from) that is perfect for organizing wire, fireline, string, etc...  So, today's tip?  Check out the fishing aisle for great organizers at a bargain price!

Beading Organization Project

I subscribe to a couple of different jewelry making magazines, and I purchase additional magazines when they inspire me.   I also turn to the internet whenever I need to learn a new technique.  The result is a huge pile of loose papers and magazines.  I hate to throw any away because I might want to refer to them at some point.  However, my upcoming move has made me think about how much I need to keep and what I can get rid of.  I decided to go through all the magazines and find the projects I want to keep and organize them into binders.  The added benefit is that it will be easier to find projects when I need them.  It isn't an easy undertaking, but I'm excited to have all my wonderful resources organized in a way that will make them even more useable (not to mention, it will be nice to go through all the projects again to see what I have)!  Right now, the biggest hurdle is that I already shipped my three-hole punch, so I am left to organize all my papers with my manual one-hole punch.  That makes the process a little slower... but it will still happen!

Thanks for reading... and happy beading!


May 8, 2010

Wirework Attempt

Okay, so it's a lot more fun to share my successes with everyone than my failures.  However, I promised to blog about my trials and tribulations as I try to launch a jewelry business.  I'm still in the learning stages, and I've had some success with simple wire work, so I decided to try something more complex.  I've been very into butterflies recently, so I wanted to create an abstract butterfly shape with wire, and wrap it in colored wire to make it a bit more fun.  Well, it turns out that I got the abstract part right!  It's a bit of a mess... and it took quite a while to make.  I think I need to work up to the more complex wire working skills.  Maybe I'll stick to simple wire work for a little longer.  I seem to be at least moderately more succesful at that.  Well, I hope you enjoy this little "goof" of mine.  I'm back to the drawing board for the rest of the weekend!  Happy weekend boys and girls!


May 5, 2010

Pretty Pretty Beads

beadsI just put in a couple of order with and I can't wait for the beads to arrive.  Check out the pretty pretty beads I have coming:

These charms are so cute. I can't wait to make a funky charm bracelet with them!!!

I just couldn't help myself when I saw these glass beads.  They remind me of the ocean... maybe some of the sea charms will find their way into a bracelet with these:

What girl doesn't love some sparkle?  I just love the colors in these Swarovski Crystals!

Check back to see my design ideas and how I incorporate these beautiful beads.  I'll post pictures of the finished jewelry pieces as soon as I receive the beads and am able to create the jewelry!

FTC Disclosure:  The items in this post were provided to me free of charge from for review or design purposes as part of the Bead Blogger program.  I am providing an honest review of the products for which I am receiving no compensation.

May 3, 2010

New Tip Tuesday

I love working with seed beads, but boy do they end up everywhere (I find them in the carpet, between the couch cushions, in crevices on the table... I could go on).  Recently I've been looking at different types of containers I could use to contain the beads while I am working on a project.  Here are some of my ideas:
  • Ramekins:  I thought this would work better... but because of the stiff sides I have trouble getting the beads with my needle.
  • Votive holders:  smaller than the ramekins, so great for seed beads... but difficult to get the unused beads back into their tubes.
  • Ice cube trays:  good in theory... but they have small deep holes... I've had trouble getting the beads with my needle.  Also, I made a mess trying to put my beads away afterwards. 
And the winner?  It's cheap, it's easy... it's mini muffin papers!  They are small and flexible so I don't have trouble reaching my beads.  They can stack so if I need to put my project away for a little while, but will be coming back to it I can stack them with the beads in them and set them aside.  They are flexible, so I can just fold them in half to pour the beads back into their tubes when I'm ready to clean up!!!  I can't believe I didn't come up with this sooner!  I would definitely suggest that the seed bead lovers out there give mini muffin papers a try!

May 1, 2010

I've been away...

Wow... this last week has been really busy.  I haven't had time to do any beading, let alone blogging about my beading.  However, it has been an exciting week for me (hence the no beading and no blogging).  The movers were here for two full days (until almost 9 pm the second day) packing up all our belongings and loading them into containers so they are ready to be shipped.  Because of this, I spent last weekend and Monday night preparing for the movers and sorting through stuff (what should stay until we actually move, what should be sent now, what should be donated, what should be thronw away).  Then, the last few days we've been recovering from the move.  Setting up our rental furniture and organizing the few things we kept with us for the remaining month in Guam.  Our apartment looks like a hotel now... with no art work and generic furniture... but it's a huge step toward our move.  I should be back this week for a little blogging.  I have to finish my final project for school this week, but then I'm free to bead and blog!!!  I'll be seeing more of all of you in the coming weeks!
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