Featured Item – Holiday Wreath

I have made holiday earrings to celebrate the season.

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These wreaths are made from Swarovski crystal with bows made from Czech glass beads and Swarovski crystal with gold plated ear hooks. They will sparkle at all your holiday parties and dazzle your friends. Order now, and avoid the rush!

You may purchase these online at https://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/CBeadedDesigns/13403252/christmas_wreath_swarovski_crystal_and_czech_glass_beads

Featured Item – Raspberry Rose

This bracelet is made with rose quartz and Czech glass beads. I used a stitch that is called the flat spiral to get the segmented look.

I used the rose quartz because it’s one of my favorite stones. I recently learned that it is called the “love stone” because it opens the heart chakra. Chakras are part of the Hindu religion and have been written about since 1500 bc. They are an old and venerated belief. The idea of chakras has been plucked from Hinduism by the western world and used in conjunction with yoga in a number of wellness programs. As far as I can tell, the programs work very well. Wearing Raspberry Rose on your wrist isn’t the same as using a chakra crystal. Those crystals must be “programmed” and put on specific parts of the body. However, wearing the crystals is a good reminder to keep an open heart. Mindfulness is just as important as open chakras.

Not a fan of chakras? Keep in mind this is named Raspberry Rose. I chose this name because the colors make me think of deliciousness and beauty.

Whether you’re a fan of flavor or devoted to chakras, if you like this beautiful bracelet, email me at cbd@cbeadedesigns.com. It can be yours for $37.37.

Just For You…

Jewelry made from your own special memorabilia. If you have buckets of shells from your fabulous beach trip, pick out your favorites. I can turn them into jewelry for you. Anything from sea shells to legos or Barbie shoes, I’m your woman. My designs are creative and original and personalized just for you.

To get your jewelry started, email me at custom@cbeadedesigns.com and tell me the following things:

  • The item you’d like me to work with and what you’d like me to do with it. Example, acorn earrings
  • The size of your item (approximate length, width, and height)
  • Photos of your item available
  • And of course your name!

I will reply within 24-48 hours and that will begin the process of designing your one-of-a-kind item. The featured image is a necklace and earring set of shells I made for a friend to give to her sister-in-law for her birthday.

I’m excited about getting interesting things to work on! I hope to hear from you soon.

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Calling All Beads

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Are old necklaces that you don’t wear taking up valuable space? Do you have a ’70’s cool bracelet that is now 21st century ugly? An earring here and a different one there? If you’re done with them, give them to CBeadeDesigns, where their parts will live on in new creations for my clients to buy. This is a great way to reuse unwanted jewelry and keep it out of the land fill. If you don’t have any, I’d really appreciate it if you could check in with your friends that aren’t following me on Facebook and let them know I’m collecting.

What I’m looking for

Since I will be taking these apart, it doesn’t matter if the items are broken. I’ll take beads, necklaces, bracelets, chains, earrings, and rings. Any kind of beads are fine. It doesn’t matter if they are plastic, wood, glass or big or little. I love them all.

One thing you need to know: I won’t be able to tell if your chains are precious metals, so if you’re unsure, take them to a “buy back” specialist or a metalworking/fine jeweler before donating them to me. If you think the piece might contain precious or semiprecious gems, please check with a jeweler first. I’m expecting a lot of beads to come in, and since there are only 24hrs in a day, I’m not planning on cataloging who gives me what. If I do end up with something precious, there’s a good chance I won’t know who it came from and therefore won’t be able to return it.

How to get the beads to me

If I see you “around town” give them to me then. Putting the item in a paper envelop is sufficient. You can email me and arrange for a time for me to pick them up (cbd@cbeadedesigns.com). You can also mail them to me. Get a 6 in x 9 in (or smaller) padded mailer, and mail to CBeadeDesigns, 10042 Cape Ann Drive, Columbia MD, 21046.

Thank you for your unwanted items!

When I make new things from these items, I will post photos on Facebook so that you can see how I’ve used the parts. Enjoy your fall, and I look forward to exploring what you give me.

Why Get Your Necklace Restrung?

No matter what a piece is strung with, it will eventually break. Yes, even wire. When your piece breaks, it can be repaired. Necklaces can also be transformed into bracelets and a matching pair of earrings.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when getting your piece restrung. The first question people usually have, “Should I get it restrung even though it has lasted this long?” Yes. Maybe I should type it YES. If it is an heirloom, do it ASAP. You have no idea what condition the thread is in. Body oils and cosmetics degrade thread quickly, particularly natural fibers like silk. My general rule for frequency of restringing is every 1-2 years if you wear it a lot and every 4-5 years if you don’t. If your piece shows any signs of “wear” such as frayed thread or the things pictured below, it should be restrung.

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Stretched thread
 

Dirty Knots--Time to Restring 2
Dirty knots

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Broken string in mutli-strand necklace

If you have a multi-strand necklace, all strands should be restrung

One strand has already broken, or shows signs of wear, the others are highly likely to break at any time. Don’t take the risk. Get all of the strands restrung.

Stringing Material

I prefer to use nylon or polyethylene thread. The choice of stringing material depends on the beads. Traditionalists use silk thread for pearls. However, many of us have found that the strand restrung with nylon or polyethylene thread will have the same look and drape as silk, but lasts longer and does not stain as easily.
The nylon thread is used for beads that don’t have sharp edges and works very well in complex beading patterns. The only drawback: I can sew through it. If I need to take out stitches and I’ve sewn through it, forget it. I have to cut it or let the pattern (mistake) stay as is.
The polyethylene thread is used for beads that have sharp edges, such as crystal, gemstones, metal, and some glass beads. It’s also good in complex beading patterns. I like it because it can’t be sewn through. That’s important in complex beading patterns where I’m weaving through a bead multiple times.
There is no such thing as “double knotted”. Clients do ask for this. In stringing, tying a second knot does not add strength to the stringing material. It doesn’t help “loose” beads. If the bead has a large hole, then the stringing material should be chosen to accommodate that hole so the bead doesn’t wobble or slip, rather than tying large knots.
Wire is used for simple stringing. Complex bead weaving patterns cannot be done with wire. Wire also cannot be knotted. There are special beads, crimp beads, and other findings that  are used to fasten and end pieces strung with wire. Wire works well with crystal and glass beads and can be used with certain gemstone beads (if they are hard enough). The main issue with wire is that it can act like a saw and cut through a bead. That is one reason it is not used with pearls. Pearls are very soft, and wire could slice right through them. The other reason is that metal, even gold, will cause the pearl to discolor.

Knotted vs. unknotted

Both knotted and unknotted necklaces will come back to you shorter after restringing, even if you have all the beads. Thread will stretch, and chances are by the time it broke, the thread had stretched. The new thread will not be stretched and so your necklace will be shorter.
Unknotted necklaces that you ask to be knotted come back to you longer. The knots take up space. That is part of their purpose: equally space the beads so that they don’t rub one another. If you have fifty beads, I add 52 knots and your necklace is longer. The other purpose of knotting is to keep beads together should the thread break. One break means only one bead comes off of the necklace and usually you can catch the remaining strand and find one bead. If you take care of your necklaces, and restring “preemptively”, knotting really isn’t necessary unless the beads are pearls.

Cost

Getting a beaded necklace restrung is not expensive. Getting pearls restrung usually costs about three times more. This is mostly due to the knots in the pearl necklace. The only other reason I can see is that for pearls and gemstones the restringer should be insured. This way if they lose these precious beads they have the funds to replace them.
Well, that’s the basics for restringing. If you have questions, please ask in the comments section below. If you need beads restrung, please visit my website http://www.cbeadedesigns.com/home/restringing or make a request in the comments section below.

Release the Blue

I’m back to writing about my Petoskey stones. I do love these fossils. I want the perfect bezel, and I really like the blue wire. Two great things in one package.

This was the finished bezel. Looks ok from this angle I guess. Nope, changed my mind. The bail is squished and the weave doesn’t sit uniformly around the stone. This wire is aluminum coated in blue. I don’t know what the blue is, but a lot came off on my hands. I’m not pleased about that. What would it do to my customers clothes? I don’ like working with it for another reason. The aluminum is much too soft. I couldn’t make the weave without bending the s— out of the harness. That was incredibly frustrating. Looking at this from other angles reveals a few things.

The weave on the right side isn’t uniform, but at least it’s holding its shape.

The left side weave didn’t hold it’s shape. As I was taking these photos, the fossil slipped right out of the bezel! I did try this weave again, but the wire just couldn’t handle it. I would pull it tight and bend all the previous weaving, and the stone would still fall out because the metal was so soft it would deform at the least touch and out would come my beautiful fossil.

I came up with another way to bezel, which involved wrapping rather weaving. My hope was that wrapping the harness would strengthen it and I wouldn’t have these problems. It’s called a “figure 8” wrap, because from the side it looks like an “8”.

I started it without the fossil, then wrapped it around the stone and finished it off. No, it did not work! Once again, it was too soft and the stone kept slipping out. I’m not a novice, I do know what I’m doing. I swear! I decided to give it one more try.

These stones are actually beads, that means there’s a hole drilled through the middle. I decided to try one last thing. I would stick the wire through the bead, but still wrap it so that it looked like a bezel. It worked. Right up until the wire broke. No, I have NOT been using the same wire. Each try was fresh wire. I did manage to fix it and here is what I ended with.

It is stable, and there is no way the stone is going anywhere. However. The blue wire that was wrapped lost a lot of blue on my hands. This isn’t the best photo, but there are places where the blue is missing and the wire looks silver. I’m done with this horrid wire.

I came up with other ways to to mount the stones. That’s what the main image for this post is showing. I really like these three pendants and will be making more. I regret spending so much time on one pendant. I scrapped the blue bezel. Sometimes you just have to let the vision go.

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Pumpkins on Your Wrist

I’ve put together a tutorial about beading a bracelet for the fall. I know it’s August, but when you’re crafting, or DIY as it’s called now, you need to start early. This little bracelet is easy to make and the pumpkins will be good for all of fall, not just Halloween.

I recommend reading through the directions first before starting.

Let’s start with your list of supplies, which can all be found at your local craft store.

  1. Beading needle – size #10
  2. Beads – size 11/0; green and orange (and brown if you’re more adventurous)
  3. Beading thread – I recommend Nymo D, which is readily found at crafting stores ( if not size D then whatever size is available)

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Step 1

Cut 3-4 feet of thread and put on a stop bead. Jill Wiseman has a good video, so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. I’ll just embed her video here.

Step 2

String 3 green beads and 5 orange beads. The green will be the vine, and the orange, of course, will be the pumpkin.

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Step 3

The next step is to make the pumpkin. You will do that by making a loop of the orange beads. Put your needle back through the 3 green beads. The brown bead at the end is my stop bead. Now come back up the green beads by skipping the first one (at the very bottom) and going up through the next two.

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This is what your pumpkin should now look like. If not, take off the beads and start again. SAM_0041

Step 4

Add 3 green beads. It looks like my string is coming from the top of the pumpkin, but it is really coming out where the pumpkin meets the vine.SAM_0043

Step 5

This is where you will make the vine for the next pumpkin. Put your needle through the middle green bead of the 3 you just added. Put it through in the same direction you originally threaded it. Pull it tight. Bead 3 and 4 will line up next to one another.

SAM_0073The beads should have the configuration shown in the picture below. If not, you probably went through the middle bead in the wrong direction. “Unsew” your last stitch and put your needle through the middle bead in the opposite direction.

Step 6

You will make pumpkin #2. Pumpkin #1 is on the left, so you will make pumpkin #2 on the right. Sting 5 orange beads.SAM_0076

Step 7

Make another loop by putting your needle through the 3 green beads that are the stem for pumpkin #2. Start with the bead that thread is coming out of and go through the next 2. Pull thread tight. Keep the pumpkin on the right side.

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Just make sure to alternate which side your pumpkin is on. You’ll know if it’s on the wrong side. You won’t be able to do the next stitch. Also, keep the the linked beads so that the odd one out is always in the “center” of the vine. Once again, if it’s in the wrong place, you’ll  know because you won’t be able to do the next stitch.

Step 8

Now that you’re at the base of this pumpkin, you need to move up the chain and connect the pumpkins to the vine so they don’t swing around. Stitch up through the first bead of pumpkin #1 and the lonely green bead at the top.

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Done! Repeat these stitches, alternating which side your pumpkin is on, until you have the size bracelet you desire (should be around 6 1/2 to 7 in long).
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If you want your pumpkin to have a little brown stem, instead of three green beads (as pictured above) pick up a green, then a brown, then a green bead (the middle bead should be brown). Stitch as directed. Below is a picture of the bracelet with pumpkins that have brown stems.

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Tomorrow’s post is how to put closures on your bracelet, so don’t finish before I can post it!

This stitch is called a Nepal Chain Stitch. I did alter it slightly to keep the pumpkins from flopping around. The Nepal Chain Stitch is usually used to make a chain of flowers. You can try this with different colors to get a completely different look.

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Please email me with questions at info@cbeadedesigns.com. Happy beading!

If at first you don’t succeed…

Petoskey Pendant


The harness looks great and I attached it to the bezel. These photos were taken with my phone as I was working, so the lighting isn’t the best, but it’s good enough for a WIP.
20160803_002854I measured and I counted beads. My harness came out lopsided! Bah! 20160803_161604 (1)I thought things were going so well!

I fixed the harness and bezel attachment. I did reattach, but I also linked the harness to itself so that the pendant hangs straight, no matter where the harness slides on the wearer. I’m a little full of myself for coming up with this idea. You’ll just have to bear with me for a few days.

I attached the closure at the same time. I made a loop and toggle closure which I think came out very well.

I’ve chosen the wire for my next project. I’m excited about seeing the blue with the Petoskey. You can see how it turns out in next week’s blog.

 

Endings and Beginnings

Hello out there! I have two things to share today from my beading table. The tutorial I promised about the Nepal Chain Stitch is in the works. The technology is being ornery, so I’m behind. I’ll have it soon.

Purple Netting Necklace

The picture of the WIP (work in progress) is from my phone. I have actually finished this project, and I’ll be 20160730_223356taking good photos with a real camera and good lighting this week. Until then, you’ll have to content yourself with the picture from my phone I have here. The drops are amethyst.

 

 

Petoskey Pendant

This is shaping up nicely. I like the color scheme. The bezel ( def.  the rim which encompasses and fastens a jewel) is done in a circular peyote stitch. 20160802_00240820160802_193240

The bezel is actually finished as I write this and you can see it in the image to the right. I’ve started the harness, and it is coming along well. It is a twisted two-strand herring bone stitch. It’s a lot of words, but it’s an easy stitch, giving a simple, elegant twist. I’ve got half done here and it’s the s20160802_193012ame white beads that are the center row of the bezel.

I’d like to bezel another Petoskey stone with blue artwire in what’s called a Viking weave. I think that one will look spectacular! So many ideas, so little time. Good bye for today, but there’ll be more soon.