Well Worth The Wait…. From Circles To Art.

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Sometimes it takes me awhile to come up with an idea. A day. Weeks. Even Months. But this time it was over a year.

I bought these Nylon Loops at Fire Mountain Gems & Beads. Not because I wanted them. Not because I needed them. But because I needed extra items to reach a higher discount level. Yep.. Haven’t you ever done that? Thankfully, I don’t do it often. Or my craft supplies would take over.

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These little circles don’t take up much space. Which is why I totally forgot about them. As you can see I have lots of colors.

Ideas started whirling around once I opened the package.

This is what I ended up making. Using gold plated findings.

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I’m using silver for the tutorial set I am working on. Maybe brass or copper findings for the next ones. And I am thinking maybe 8 circles for the necklace instead of just six. Have to experiment. Will go with what looks balanced.

BBL with a tutorial so you can make your own necklace and earrings set.

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Go here to purchase Nylon Loops.


Making Jewelry With Macrame Cord

Wednesday, August 19

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This is what I have been working on for the last several days. Jewelry made with 3 1/2mm braided macrame cord. The cord I use for purses and belts. It makes up larger so it doesn’t take many knots to create something.

8 or 9 Square Knots and you have a pair of earrings. They are very lightweight. I wore a pair for an hour and totally forgot I had them on.

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This next pair I created from 3 strips of cord and added some wooden circle beads.

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Here’s a bangle bracelet made with just square knots and larger wood circle beads.

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Necklace was created with a length of square knots and chain links on both sides with a silver clasp at the top. Large wood circle beads hang from the cord. They move freely across the knots. Ribbon crimps and jump rings connect the cord to the chain links. It measures 22″.

Supplies used for necklace, bracelet and earrings:

  • 3 1/2mm braided macrame cord
  • ribbon crimps
  • jump rings
  • chain links
  • silver clasp
  • wood beads
  • earrings hooks

Charm Bracelet: Animal Planet On A Chain

Wednesday, July 30

Oh, my aching hands. Wirewrapping over 50 items will do that.

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I had been wanting to make something with these beads for months. A friend sent me craft supplies she thought I could use in the jewelry I make. Ladybugs, butterflies, birds (both metal and plastic) and cat faces. I added them with the fish, turtles and elephants I already had and started making a charm bracelet.

As far as making it colorful, that happened by accident. My original plan was to add just a hint of color and focus on the metal beads. The butterflies were light lavender and the plastic birds were light aqua. After I decided to jazz it up, I searched my bead stash and came up with enough lavender, purple, turquoise and aqua beads to soften the metal look.

The bracelet base is a double strand of dark gray chain links connected with a sterling silver toggle clasp.

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I decided not to wirewrap the pieces directly to the chain. Except for the black fish, each item is separately wirewrapped. Everything is attached to the chain links with jump rings. I am so glad I did because I changed and moved things around many times. Trying for balance of size, shape and color.

I knew I would get confused on where to place everything so I took a picture before beginning.

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A lot of good that photo did me, LOL, because once I got to the green glass cat, I started making changes. The cat got ditched. Too large and my wirewrapping was horrible. The holes went ear-to-ear and I haven’t perfected wirewrapping going side to side. I will stick with bottom to top. The Tigers Eye elephant also got shelved. The brown stuck out like a sore thumb. I almost removed the ivory turtle but left it in to balance that side of the bracelet.

After attaching all the animals and birds, I started filling in the empty spaces. That’s when the color explosion happened. I kept adding glass beads until I was satisfied.

I hate to admit it but I spent roughly 10 hours working on this bracelet. I was on a mission!! I took several breaks but kept at it until it was finished. I like to think, I kept going with the fear my newly mastered wirewrapping skills would regress. ūüėÄ

I also made earrings. I had set aside several pieces I wanted to use and made them after completing the bracelet.

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I took quite a few pictures trying to get different views to show you. So, what do you think?

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A Clasp on Memory Wire? Huh!!

Sunday, July 27

Trying to be different. That is me.

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I made this new bracelet… from more black rubber tubing… but this time with a jungle flavor. Don’t know what the focal beads are called. I searched for them in my Bead Directory but couldn’t find them. I think they are bone beads but not 100% sure. They look like someone dipped their foot in brown ink and stomped all over them. ūüėÄ

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Anyway… after adding the beads, I bent the ends of the memory wire as usual. Then added a few dangles. BUT I also added a few jump rings PLUS a toggle bar so when connected, the bracelet has the look of a chain going across the memory wires. You also do not have to worry about the bracelet falling off your arm.

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I used various sized wooden beads, 5-6mm black glass round beads, black rubber tubing and the four larger bone curved rectangular beads.

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This design is kind of what I have in mind to make jewelry for men.

Connecting Wire Squares, Making a Necklace

Thursday, July 17

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Ever try to make a PERFECT square out of wire?

Not possible, at least for me. My edges are rounded no matter how carefully I bend the wire. And try as I might, I could not get two squares to come out exactly the same. I kept making them until I ran out of wire. I have to admit, the last few were much better than the first ones. So practice does make perfect.

My early intentions were to make a bracelet. I got quite a chuckle when I connected four of them with jump rings and draped them around my wrist. OK. So… On to Plan B. Hubby said it before I did. “They would make a nice necklace.”

I selected the best of the bunch, only discarding one. The rest ended up around my dummy’s chest and shoulders.

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I added several links of chains and used lobster claw clasps on both sides to connect them. I love working with chain links. I bought a lot of it months ago but am just now starting to incorporate it into my designs.

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To make these squares, I used 12 gauge brown wire and followed a design found in one of my wire making craft books. I kind of improvised, making my squares slightly larger than the book.

Before making the larger squares, I first practiced with thinner 20 gauge wire.

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The first one is laughable. But instead of tossing it, I kept it as a reminder that the “next” one should be better than the last. As you can see from my line up that is so true. Not sure what I will do with these squares made from 20 gauge. They are too thin to hold up in a permanent design. Great for practicing though.

So… what do you think?

Dangling Earrings in Onyx and Gold; Hearts & Crystals

Tuesday, July 15

Wirewrapping IS getting easier. I don’t even dread it anymore. Though it takes longer to make, you can go off in many directions as you can see from the earrings I made last night.

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Dangles with two tiers of gemstones plus crystal charms using links of chain and jump rings. 

I rarely make earrings so I surprised myself in making them FIRST. When I do make earrings it is usually because I have beads leftover, just enough to make a pair. But this time, I had an idea for a dramatic pair and kept changing, rearranging the pieces until it matched the image in my head.

Now, I have to work on the bracelet. The base is finished. Next I will wirewrap the beads and then decide if I want a full look or sparsely filled look. I would like for the bracelet to match the fullness of the earrings if I have enough pieces.

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Supplies used in this project:

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  • Chain link coils, gold plated
  • Black Onyx beads, oval shape
  • Jasper beads, flat oval shape and smaller round ones
  • Topaz Crystal Dual Channel Connector, gold plated
  • Jet Crystal Hearts, gold plated
  • Jet Crystal Round Channels, gold plated
  • 3mm gold filled round beads
  • Jump rings, gold plated, 6mm, 18 ga and 4mm, 21 ga
  • Fish hooks, gold plated
  • Headpins, 3″, 21 ga, gold plated

New Tools.. Can I Use These For My Toothache?

Friday, July 11

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Not feeling so hot today, nor did I yesterday. Though shortly after experiencing some of the worst pain I have ever endured, I was walking straight enough to browse through the craft store aisles looking for new wireworking tools.

It all started two weeks ago at the dentist. What was supposed to be only a new filling turned out to be a hot nerve that needed to be taken out. Ok. I wasn’t happy but what can you do. You have to take care of your teeth if you want them to grow old with you. Made do with a temporary filling for 2 weeks to let the area cool off and heal. Then it was back to the dentist. Yesterday. The left side of my face was already still sore and my head hurt. And it just got worse as the minutes passed.

During the next hour, you would have thought I was having major surgery without any pain killers. It was that painful. My dentist, bless his heart, stopped several times during the procedure to allow me to catch my breath, giving me a relief break in between the drilling, filing and poking. I went through 4 or 5 hot towels. Boy did they feel good next to my jaw.

Afterwards, they asked me if I had any errands to run. They wanted me to go straight home and rest. I said no, I didn’t. Well, I guess I lied since I knew my next stop was the craft store come hell or high water. Fat lip, swollen face, aches and pains. All of that and it was off to do some shopping.

These are my new goodies. My new wireworking tools.

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I got a hammer with plastic ends to minimize the damage to the wire. A metal block for banging on. A ring thingy. Mandrel I think it is called. For making rings in different sizes. Also for making jump rings. And more 20 gauge wire. Oh.. and also in the photo is my other wireworking jig. The Thing-A-Ma-Jig. That is what it looks like.

So, today, sometime today, I am going to start pounding and hammering. I took two Advil an hour ago. I should be good to go soon. Sure wish I could have used these tools yesterday. To pound on my head.

Things I Have Learned So Far This Year


January 2008

1.¬† Peyote Flat Even Count.¬† I took two peyote beading¬†classes. Made a bracelet in each class. This was my first experience in¬†“sewing” jewelry. In preparation for¬†class I searched the net for peyote tutorials. I found several for the clueless, my level. The most helpful site was¬†Michael’s¬†Crafts.¬†Their tutorial was animated and easy to follow. I picked up the stitch¬†sequence¬†right away and practiced before heading off to class. However, there was one¬†glaring difference in the tutorial and the actual lesson. The tutorial illustrated a knotted thread which would make it¬†impossible to¬†unthread the needle to go back to the last correctly sewn bead¬†to fix¬†mistakes.¬†I took apart the first bracelet to use the beads for another project. Here is the bracelet from the second¬†class.

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February 2008

2.  Chain Maille. I signed up for a class to learn the technique of making jewelry from jump rings. Class was called Byzantine with Crystals. I made a very pretty bracelet out of sterling silver jump rings accented with Swarovski crystals. The process was fun and easy. I had never worked with a jump ring tool. It is metal and fits on the finger of your choice. It has several grooves for inserting the jump ring to open and close it. Step 1 in class was to open 100 jump rings. I found the tool hard to use and cumbersome. It did not fit properly on any of my fingers. My fingers were quite sore for several days after. BUT the tool works great for the function it was made for, once you get the hang of it. I will never again use two flat nose pliers to open jump rings.

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3.¬† Rivoli Bracelet. I took a class to make a¬†bracelet made from Swarovski¬†crystals called, you guessed it, Rivoli. This was another “sewing” class, not peyote but still done with needle and thread. The process of sewing around the rivoli, which does not have any holes for stringing, is called netting.¬† Netting¬†is¬†also one of the techniques for beading around a cabochon. Tiny seed beads are used to make the netting. Wanting it to be perfect, I worked very slowly. I¬†only finished one half of the bracelet in class.¬†¬†I need to finish it. It is really pretty.

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4.¬† Peyote Triangle Pendant. Though I have had two classes in peyote stitching, this design was new to me, so I signed up for the class. (Yep,¬†I love taking beading classes!! I am retired.) The process to create the triangle called for “towers” and “overlays” and a brick stitch. All new to me. Here again, very tiny seed beads were¬†used and the process was very slow. I was able to finish most of the pendant and will return to class this week to finish.¬† Seed beads are silver, black and¬†purple¬†with purple Swarovski crystals.¬† I am pleased with how it looks thus far. I will post a new photo when finished.

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5. Two Drop Peyote. I created a bracelet using a tutorial provided by one of my long time Internet chat buddies,¬†Quilty Kiwi from New Zealand.¬†She excels in beading and as you¬†may have guessed from her on-line name, she is also an expert quilter.¬†Before attempting this bracelet, I had only done regular peyote, flat even and odd count.¬† I had never¬†heard of two drop peyote until seeing a bracelet made by Quilty.¬†Following her tutorial, which¬†was clear and easy to follow, my bracelet turned out beautifully. It is light peach and cocoa opal. Thank goodness for excellent instructions and diagrams.¬†¬†Thank you, Quilty!! (Note: Original design found in Beadwork Creates Bracelets, “Lucy’s Purple” by Lucy Elle)

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