Monday, July 20, 2015

Pretty Peyote Bail

I love hand-crafted findings. They give pieces a more organic, custom feel and can also help save money. I learned what has become my go-to technique from Laura McCabe's book Embellished Beadweaving but I think it's a pretty standard technique.

Over the years, I've made a few bails but not nearly as many as toggle closures. Recently, I finished a beaded rope using a wonderful technique by Kristen Stevens on the Art Jewelry Elements blog. Isn't this a fun rope pattern? It works up really quickly once you get the hang of the thread path.

I wanted to use a Steeler pendant but needed a bail and had a triangle shape in mind. When I looked online for ideas none were quite what I had in mind. I wanted something fairly simple and on the smaller side. So I decided to come up with my own. This technique is probably documented out there somewhere but I couldn't find it. It is super-easy. Just make two triangles with one having one more row so you can zip them together on the "top" of the bail.

Here's what my hand-crafted findings looked like.

And here's the finished piece.

The bail is dual-purpose since it can be easily slipped over the toggle portion of the necklace so the rope can be worn with or without it. I was going to work up a quick tutorial for anyone who might be interested so leave me a quick reply and I'll be sure to notify you when it's done.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Bonkers for Bracelets!

I've been on a bracelet binge these days. Somehow, my beading path has crossed with some terrific new (to me) tutorials and techniques and today I will share those with you.

First up is this wonderful five-strand bracelet by Christina Larson whose YouTube tutorials are among the best I have tried. Here's the link to her Five-Row Wrap tutorial and here are my finished pieces. These bracelets take lots of thread and a bit of time to make but the end result is worth it.

On this version, I made a button using a Pitt logo sealed and glued into a Nunn design button form and then glazed over with Lisa Pavelka's Magic-Glos which is easier to use than resin since no mixing is involved. These customized buttons have endless uses and I especially like them personalized with photos of the jewelry recipients.

I so enjoyed Chrstina's tutorial, I thought I would give one of her macrame lessons a try. Next up was the beaded vertical larks head knot bracelet. These are super-easy and make up quickly. I made a couple of these as gifts for some of my young nieces.

And then I went a different route with a Cellini spiral bracelet.

My frenzy ended with one of my favorite techniques - flat Turkish bead crochet adorned by this clever cuff I found on Etsy.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Independence Day 2015! (And a little from 2014)

July 4th is a special day around our house. First, it is within close proximity to hubby's birthday, which is always a cause for celebration, and because our little down does it up in a big way! Cave Creek actually has two fireworks festivities: one on July 3rd hosted by Harold's Cave Creek Corral (our favorite watering hole) and one on July 4th hosted by the town. We can see both from our back patio but really have an amazing view for the July 4th fireworks which are almost in our back yard. 

We couldn't keep such an awesome view to ourselves and, starting the first year we moved into our home, we have hosted an annual July 4th party so friends can enjoy the show too!

Oh, and here's a big shout-out to Rita from The Coffeeshop blog for her terrifically patriotic photo blog templates which I used above to frame some red, white and blue beady pieces I made last year.

Happy Independence Day!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

My Favorite Beading Surface

Occasionally I toy with the idea of ordering one of those fancy beading mats with the padded fabric frames but then I look at the prices and think that I would rather spend that money on beads. I use a very economical beading surface which I have come to love. The base is nothing more than a plastic cafeteria tray which perfectly accommodates a standard beading mat. I bought my trays at Target but on a recent trip, I noticed they were just carrying the ones with the compartments for your food which doesn't work. You need the basic flat cafeteria tray and there are oodles on eBay for around $1 each.

On my beading trays in June.....

I just finished the Peacock Necklace, design by Ellad2.

And I am completely smitten with these five-strand bracelets. I discovered a wonderful tutorial by Christina Larson and was so impressed with the quality of her instruction that I subscribed for her YouTube channel and blog.

What's on my bead tray for this week? More five-strand bracelets and a pearl knotting kit I purchased to try to build a new skill.

What's on your bead tray?
© Cave Creek Beads