Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tube Beads!

I've stolen a few moments in the past two days and made some tube beads - and there will be more listed tomorrow!  Here's a sampling - you can find them at my SueBeads etsy store!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Seed Beading with Cabochons

I've recently become enamored with all things seed bead - I love making beaded beads and have gotten into making beaded cabochons thanks to Sally Russick!  This is the latest one I have done!

 I used a cabochon by Diana Ptaszynski of Suburban Girl Beads - it's a rustic oval shaped cab with a matte finish.
 I made the bail using brick stitch (which I also learned from Sally on her video).  I just noticed the little bit of wispy thread I need to burn off!
 Finally, I used a brass toggle from Fusion Beads as the closure.  It goes really well with the blue seed beads I used.
All in all, I am really happy with this necklace. I'm starting on another using one of my smaller ammonite cabochons.  I'll show you when I get started!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tutorial: Wire Wrapping Kumihimo Braid Ends

When I posted my necklace design with Jenny's Component of the Month, I used kumihimo braid.  I make a thin braid with C-lon and didn't want to use a bulky end cap, so I decided to figure out how to wire wrap the ends.  Some people were interested in seeing a tutorial on how to do this, so here it is!  The one I made for the piece was a messy wrap - here I'm going to demonstrate a fairly neat wrap!

This tutorial is really similar to any wire wrapping you would do with ball chain, rhinestone chain, or any material that doesn't have a clear and viable loop.

Materials Needed:  Kumihimo braid, 6-8" patinated copper wire

Tools Needed:  Two pair chain nose pliers, round nose pliers, wire cutters, embroidery scissors

Here is the braid and the wire.  I think I used 22 gauge wire - it needs to be strong enough to hold your cord, but workable too!

 Slide your wire into the middle of the braid - make sure that you get it in between strands of the cord, because that will be important to hold your work.  Here you should have a sort piece of wire at the top (maybe 2 inches total), and a longer piece at the bottom for more wraps.

 Make a bend in your wire so you basically have a loop.  Here you can really see where I inserted the wire.
 Take your chain nose pliers and grasp the cord and wire - make sure that the pliers are in between the two sides of wire.
 Hold the cord and wire tightly with the chain nose pliers - use your second pair to start wire wrapping the cord.  If you want it neat, make sure you get the wraps as close together as possible.  You can also use your fingers to do this step - this will result in a more messy wrap.

 Keep wrapping until you're happy with the length of the wrap.  You can use the chain nose pliers to tighten up the wrap and make the loops closer together.
 Next, cut off the braided cord above the loop you made initially with the wire using embroidery scissors.  You can tidy this step up later.

 With the round nose pliers, make a wrapped loop with the top section of wire.
 Wrap the short end of wire down to meet the other wraps you already made - again, it's up to you how many wraps you wish to make.
 Here's your finished wire wrapped end.  Not really too hard!  I would use my thread burner to just tidy up the little pieces of braid that stick out through the wrap.  You can finish your wire any way you want - I like to hammer the loop to give it some strength and character, the way Deryn Mentock does. 

And there you have it - another way to finish a kumi braid end without having to use an end cap!  This is also published over at Art Jewelry Elements Blog today!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

This is a dish that my boyfriend got for me in Hilton Head on our trip to help my parent's pack up our wonderful family beach house.  They sold it and we won't be going there anymore.  I'm sad.  

This dish is made from goniatite fossil -  it's an extinct group of ammonoids (cephaolopods) that were related to the octopus and squid.  They swarmed the oceans approximately 390 million years ago - these were from Morocco and carved in India.  So cool!

Have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Seed Beading and Ammonite Cabochons

I wanted to show you all what you can do with my ammonite glass cabochons, so I decided to make myself a necklace!

I used one of my large cabochons (1.5 inches!) and made a beaded bezel from a tutorial from Sally Russick on her blog.  

 I made a spiral rope from directions from a magazine and a little help from fusion beads - their tutorials provide nice illustrations of what you are supposed to be doing.

 I made the bail from Sally's tutorial.  She really did a fantastic job and if you are wanting to give it a try yourself, her tutorial is all videos and very easy to follow.  I'm waiting for a magnetic clasp to finish the necklace - the ones I ordered and received today are too small for my comfort!

So, this is one thing you can do with my cabochons.  You can also bezel set them (like Patti Vanderbloemen) or glue on a metal bail, or .... who knows what else!  What are you doing with cabochons?

Art Elements Theme of the Month - Tidepools

It's time for another challenge, and this month Lesley picked tidepools as the theme for May!  I was all over it! I've been spending...