Thursday, February 28, 2013

Product Review: EZ Jump Rings Maker by Beadsmith

During the Fall month's I came across a project that required an unusually large amount of jump rings.  At the time I got out my stash and realized I didn't have enough.  I was going to totally scrap the project when a beading friend suggested I make my own jump rings.

At the time I didn't even consider this was a thing I could do on my own.  She directed me to go into and there I found it....Beadsmith's EZ Jump Rings maker!

After buying this tool, I can honestly say I have never bought another jump ring.  You basically just need 20 gauge wire, the tool itself, wire cutters and a little know how ( see video below ) and you can make your own jump rings!  The set I bought makes jump rings sizes 4mm-8mm, but they do have a set that makes jump rings sizes 10mm-16mm.

Once you choose the size jump ring mandrel you need, you just need to learn how to coil the wire and then you cut them off to make perfect jump rings.
Follow the video below, by Auntie's Beads, and you will be making your own jump rings in no time!

Happy Beading!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Book Review: Simple Lace and Other Beaded Jewelry Patterns

Simple Lace and Other Beaded Jewelry Patterns, by Mary Ellen Harte
If you are interested in bead netting then this book is a must have!  It is from this book that I learned how to draw out designs and execute them into netted patterns.  Mary Ellen Hart uses large pics and simple explanations to explain each creation in this book.

 If you have ever had an interest in bead netting, but are intimidated by it, this book will ease your fears, and help you to make beautiful creations while taking baby steps.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Challenge: Wire Wrapped Rings

A few weeks ago someone on my Bead Chat group, hosted by Aunties Beads, introduced a video tutorial on wire rings.

Given my history with wire work I was a bit (well, a lot) intimidated.  I was impressed with what everyone was coming up with so I decided to give it a try.  I went down into the bead district to get the additional tools I needed.  You will need a bead mandrel, some 20 gauge wire, round nose pliers, flat nose pliers, wire cutters, plastic and rubber jewelers hammer,  and of course, some crystals or stones to wrap.

The first 3 or 4 attempts were not so great.  But after the 5th try there was a spark of hope!  By the time I had done 10 rings I got the hang of it!  So then I cut apart everything I did and started again.

I also started looking at other tutorials and getting different ideas to make them tighter and found that using a mallet with a rubber handle helps to tighten and harden them.

Now I have these beauties to wear!!!

It's very therapeutic making them!!! Love pulling the wire tight and coiling the wire on the sides!!!  Next I will try a few with gemstones. 

If you would like to challenge your self see the videos below and start wire working!

If these don't work for your personal learning style, go to you tube.  There are several there that you can look at.  I could not find the one that used the rubber mallet, but it did help to harden the wire and and make it look more uniform when I was shaping it.

Happy Beading!

Friday, February 22, 2013

New In My Etsy Shop: One more Lariat and a Wedding Collar

I promised I would put one more Lariat in my Etsy store and here it is;

I found some really pretty swarovski crystals and decided I wanted to add another necklace to my wedding jewelry collection, and here it is;

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Product Review: 1 Step Crimper

Occasionally in the world of beading I have to use crimp beads.  I usually don't have too much luck with the crimper tool and it takes a few tries to get things right. My problem was that I  usually didn't get the crimp tight and secure enough and then later the piece ended up falling apart.  The other thing is I usually end up crushing beads trying to get the crimp bead tight.  It can become very frustrating!

I went to you tube to try to find some suggestions for how to perfect my crimps and found a review for the 1 Step Crimper.   This tool is amazing!!!!! 

 In 1 squeeze you can achieve a tight and secure crimp in 1 step!  I immediately bought this tool, and to this day do not regret it!

Watch the video below and you will see why this tool is so fantastic!!!

Happy Beading!!!!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

One Pattern....Two Different Looks!

I use this basic netting pattern when I want to make something  classy and delicate.  It was a pattern I came up with many years ago when I wanted to make a simple, but lacy necklace.

Last October a friend asked me to make a necklace for her daughter who was going as Marie Antoinette.  I used my basic pattern then with Swarovski crystals and cream pearls.   Instead of a clasp I used a beautiful pink ribbon to complete the piece.

More recently a friend wanted me to make her something simple and she had seen this pattern and wanted something in a nice pale blue with matching earrings.  So here is what I came up with;

I love how dainty this looks!  The blue and silver mix of seed beads makes it a classy necklace.  

The use of different beads gives these 2 necklaces a uniqueness of their own!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Book Review: Seed Bead Stitching and More Seed Bead Stitching

It is no secret that I bead almost everyday.  I do occasionally take Saturday off, but sometimes when I get inspired, I just gotta bead!  With that said, beading as often as I do, I can sometimes fall into a rut.  The 2 books above usually help inspire me.  They are both books which involve common seed bead stitches such as peyote, herringbone and even the common daisy chain, but as the title says they display a creative variation on the traditional techniques.

The books are written in such a way that you can take the patterns given, expand on the idea given, and create something unique and unusual, from a traditional perspective.   For example below is the common daisy chain, but with a twist. Drop beads are added to one to make a beautiful Caribbean necklace and pearls to another to make something very vintage and antique looking! Same stitch, different viewpoint!

In volume 2, More Seed Bead Stitching, it amps it up even further.  On the page below, we have the common daisy chain, now done in circles with pearls!

 If you are in a creative rut, I highly recommend these two books to get your creative juices flowing!

Happy Beading!

Friday, February 15, 2013

New In My Etsy Store: Lariats!

I was taking inventory last week in my Etsy Store and realized all my Lariats had sold out!!!! So this week I made some more.  I guess lariats are becoming more popular because of the popular television program,  Downton Abbey.  I have no doubt this trend will continue, especially since The Great Gatsby will be making its way to theaters this May.  Here are a few which are in my store now.  I will probably add 1 more next week.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Product Review: Beadalon's Spiral Maker

I am a big supporter of beading tools!!!! If there is something out there that can make my work better and easier, I will purchase it without hesitation!

Two years ago I took a wire working workshop.  It was more interesting than fun, is the best thing I can say about it.  The instructor insisted in doing everything by hand, including large spirals which we had to make as connectors.  Well, mine came out anything but lovely.  They were uneven, squarish circles, that dented all the way around.  I was saddened that the piece I created looked like a kindergartner did it!!! Then again the kindergartner probably could have done a better job!

The instructor gave us homework to go home and redo the piece and bring it back the next month to show to the class.  A wave of panic hit me!  I knew I could not get those spirals right and it would still look bad.
I had to find something that could help me.  I refused to believe there wasn't something out there that could help me make the perfect spiral!

That night while I was purchasing a few bead supplies in I decided to look into the tools section and here is what I found:

This beautiful tool helps you to make the most perfect spirals!!!! Not only was I able to recreate the piece with no problem I was able to make a pair of matching earrings as well.  I would show you but someone bought the whole set....yay!!!!!

Not only did I buy it, but Karla Schafer, aunties bead designer, had the most fabulous video tutorial on how to use it! With her video I was well on my way. You can watch her video below.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Book Review: Indian Bead Weaving Patterns by Horace R. Goodhue

I can truly say that there is one book that has impacted my bead work more than any other, and that book is Indian Bead Weaving Patterns, by Horace R. Goodhue.

When I started beading as a way to make extra money, this book was the first one I bought.  At the time it was out of print and I lived in Staten Island.  I remember getting on the ferry and riding into Manhattan where I had it shipped to a Barnes and Noble store.  When I arrived they couldn't find the book!!!! After they realized I wasn't leaving, they got several staff members and they finally found what I consider to be the bible of bead work!

This is the first book that got me thinking about making my own patterns.  In it Mr. Goodhue draws out patterns which is how I design my jewelry today.  For example the page below is how he explains the Ogalala Butterfly stitch.
The book is also rich in history as well.  You can tell by reading it, which I have done several times, that Mr. Goodhue was entrenched in the Native American culture.  During the summer months he and his wife traveled throughout the country visiting Native American communities.  He learned traditional stitches and then began to teach workshops and classes.  The book includes an informational essay written by him entitled, "Beads"  It is a brief history of beads and there connection with Native American culture.

You can find this book online at

Happy Reading!

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Whole Bead Show

Twice a year I get so excited I am beside myself!!!!  The time has arrived again for the Whole Bead Show to come to New York City!  Every October and every March beaders from all over New York head to the Manhattan Pavilion where this 3 day bead extravaganza is held. This year it will be held March 22-24th.

I usually go 2 out of 3 days and get there super early to avoid the crowds. I got there late one year and had to fight to get to the front of each booth!

What I love about the Whole Bead Show is that there is such a variety of everything!  From beads to crystals, to silver and metal. Last year there was a vendor who even had actual leaves dipped in gold!  In addition to all of the beads, there are workshops and classes given on different beading techniques.

The Whole Bead show was started by Ava Motherwell.  She had a deep love for beads and knew that there were others out there like herself, so she started to give trunk shows in hotel suites, and different shops around the country.  The first show was held in Washington DC and had roughly 8 vendors. Her focus was to sell only beads, and it became a frustration to her because a most often than not she would be the only one selling beads.

After meeting a representative of Colored Stone magazine, she was encouraged to have a bead show and they agreed to  list it in there show guide.  She called on friends and colleagues and booked a 3 day show in Tuscon, Arizona. With success on that first show she did one the following year in Monterey, California and now there are shows all over the United States!!!!

If you would like to know when a show comes to your area please go to  You won't be disappointed!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Challenge---Paper Beads!

Two years ago I got into a beading funk.  I just couldn't decide if I wanted to keep beading as a part of my life or just move onto something else.  Even though I had been doing it so long I felt I needed to know more.  So I began to challenge myself to learn things that I felt would be difficult to learn.  I took classes in wire work, crochet wire, and I even started viewing some tutorials and began to make my own beads out of paper!

To this day I still love paper beads, and even though I realize my heart is dedicated to bead weaving, especially netting, I do enjoy the theraputic feel of creating paper beads.

There are two major website I follow; and  Both of these websites taught me a lot and they are chocked full of videos and great ideas for making paper beads. 

You first want to get some supplies, which both sites sell by the way.  A rolling tool is necessary and of course some paper to get the ball rolling.  Below are some examples of rolling tools.

The metal ones are from  As you can see in the closeup there is a little open ridge in the metal one.  That is where you insert the paper before rolling it tightly.  The wooden ones slide open so that you can remove the paper bead after you have made it and it allows you to insert the paper. The wooden ones are from  They are cute with their paper bead handles! 
I have both because sometimes different types of paper react better on one than the other.

Strips of paper are then cut into long triangular shapes which when rolled will give you a saucer like shape. Triangular paper gives you the saucer shape, but you can experiment with other shapes of paper as long as they are long they can be rolled into cones and other shapes! At she sells several templates which create different shapes including the one below.

Next you will need some type of glue which you will put on the very end of the bead to secure it after you have rolled it tightly.  There are many types which you can purchase.  Also sells their own sealant which is museum quality.  I have not tried it as of yet, but will be purchasing it soon. 

After you have glued them together you can then dip them into a glaze which makes them water resistant. At they sell a wonderful glaze which I have used for quite some time now.  I love the way it hardens the beads and gives them a glass like finish!  I usually dip them 5 or 6 times.  I love the glossiness!!!!

Here are some examples of paper beads. 
The black and white ones are the side of a Sephora department store bag, the orange and yellow ones were a magazine ad, and the black ones are origami paper with bronze leafing. 

Below is some jewelry I made with the paper beads.

Note----The glaze makes them water resistant, not waterproof.  This means you can wear them in the rain, where they may get slightly wet, but you should not shower or place them directly in water.

So challenge yourself and make some paper beads!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tools and Things February 7, 2013

It is hard to believe that I have been beading for over 20 some odd years now! 

I feel like beading is one of those things that you never really know everything.  The minute you think you got all the stitches down, something new comes along or your brain allows you to think of something that really shakes things up!!!!

Since I have been beading as long as I have, I have collected over the years an assortment of tools which have helped me during my journey.  I think that each week I will pick one of those tools and let you know how it benefited me in my beading quest.

So, first up I've decided to review Wubbers Looping Pliers!

I come from the world of bead weaving, but every now and then, and that time is coming soon, I have a project which involves wire and making loops.  I hate making loops!  They never seem to come out perfect when I free hand them, and I love symmetry and perfection too much to create anything less.  With that said theWubbers Looping Pliers get you as close to perfection as your gonna get!

Here are some things you should know about them.
  • They are a little over 5 inches and the handle feels comfortable to the hand.  It is soft and easy to handle, especially for someone like me who has small hands.
  • They were specifically designed to wrap loops and to make eye pins.
  • These wire loopers consist of 1 round jaw and 1 curved jaw.  I know I have seen some out there with more than one sized jaw, but through the years I have realized that I have only really used or needed 1 size.  Not saying that you wouldn't need another, but for eye pins and wrapped looped you usually just need one size. 
  • They grip tightly without making grooves or ridges in the wire.
  • 20 gauge wire is best to use with this tool.  A few times I tried 18 gauge and it almost destroyed the tool by stretching the 2 jaws apart a little. 20 gauge dead soft or artistic wire is best. 
  • Unfortunately, practice is still needed, but the result that is achieved is best, and it still was not as long as the practice I needed when I was trying to free hand them ( I still can't do it!!!).  Practice on cheap wire until you have developed a system for yourself.  I'm a lefty so everything works differently when I do it!

The above video shows how they work.  Let me know what you think and if you have used them before what are your thoughts on them.

Happy Beading!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

New In My Etsy Store February 6, 2013

This week I added 2 new items to my Etsy store. 

I had been thinking about peyote stitch and wanted to do something that had a pattern.  I love it when you see peyote bracelets and they have pictures or just different geometric shapes.  I aspire to make something like this one day when my brain can calm down and I learn how to follow the patterns or have patience to create some of my own.  I realize I am a visual learner.  I have read patterns before on this but don't seem to grasp the concept of how to do it, so if anyone knows of any video tutorials, please let me know!!!!

In the meantime I figured out how to create a block pattern and this is what I came up with.

I loved making this bracelet!  The challenge for myself was to make the clasp out of the same peyote stitch.  I have done this with other pieces, but keeping it with the pattern was new for me.  I love the way it came out!
As most of you know I love Tila beads, and I also love netting!  I have combined the two before but this time I was thinking more on creating a wedding necklace.  I think because it is February my thoughts have turned to love, and decided to create a new wedding section for my Etsy store.  This will be the first piece to start the collection.

Enjoy your day!